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The timing of this great shot from today thanks to Ingid Abrey is punctuated by the look on the face of the dude in the middle!


September 30th, 2016

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Big Pimpin’

talk-talkThe premier conference for the global yacht racing industry will take place in Malta on 28-29 November. The only major business-to-business conference to bring together the sport’s key players, the Forum encourages business development through quality networking opportunities with decision makers from all sectors of the industry.

This annual two-day event draws together sailing’s key personalities and experts to discuss the business of the sport as well as the critical wider issues of sponsorship, television, media, sustainability, new markets and event hosting by venues.

Many of the most active brands and stakeholders have already confirmed their participation in the ninth edition of this increasingly popular gathering of the great and the good. It’s not an exaggeration that the Forum has evolved steadily into a must-do event for organisers, sponsors, sailing teams, technical providers, venues, yacht clubs and agencies involved in the yacht racing industry at all levels and in all its many and varied guises.

And for those who can arrive a few days early, this year’s Forum has the added attraction of being preceded by the 2016 RC44 Valetta Cup. More here.


September 30th, 2016

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screen-shot-2016-09-30-at-12-20-39-pmBest known for his straight talk and perhaps the most beautiful ocean racing boat in history, Jim Kilroy died last night in hospice care according to multiple sources.  The Alaska-born Californian became one of California’s most successful real estate owner/developers, but his passion for the sea never dimmed.

Jim’s memoir is a lot like the man; brash and honest with a touch of vainglory; buy a copy and read one of the most interesting sailing/business stories around; Jim donated all proceeds of that book to youth causes, including sailing.

Here’s one tribute from Aussie SA’er ‘recidivist’: “In the bar of the CYCA after a Southern Cross Cup race back in the early 70′s (in which race Ted Turner cheekily put American Eagle inside Kialoa on a mark rounding – without rights), Ted entered the bar to be greeted by Jim Kilroy lifting him off the ground by his shirtfront and saying “You ever try that again and you’ll have 2 fucking six-metres”.  Jim put him back down and walked out.”

Here’s another, from ‘Hitchhiker’: When asked if maxi racing isn’t a rich man’s sport, Jim said, “No. there’s one rich man aboard and 25 poor men, and they enjoy it more than the rich man does!”

Share your own Kilroy and/or Kialoa stories, pics, or what have you in what should be a legendary thread about a legendary man.



September 30th, 2016

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screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-2-53-05-pmAs you’ve likely read on these pages before, one of our biggest beefs with the folks who run ISAF World Sailing has long been their willingness to threaten those who compete in non-ISAF sanctioned events with a ban from competition.  We’ve long maintained that the rule allowing them to do this (ISAF/World Sailing Regulation 19.14 (a)(ii)) is illegal in much of the modern world, and it appears that the European Commission agrees wholeheartedly.

Acting on complaints from a pair of Dutch speedskaters, EU regulators have told the International Skating Union that its threat to impose lifetime bans on speed skaters for taking part in unauthorized events is anti-competitive, putting pressure on the ruling body and other agencies with similar penalties to back down.  The skaters said the ISU threatened them if they competed in a big money “ice derby” in Korea, and after a year-long investigation, the EU agreed that the ISU violated the anti-trust sections of EU law.

For a legal description of what exactly happened and what the implications are for the ISU and other bodies (like ISAF), check out the EU Competition Law Review summary here.  We can sum it up quickly though:  The EU investigated ISU for a year, and determined that the ISU rules (that allow up to a lifetime ban for competitors) unduly restrict athletes’ commercial freedom and effectively discourage them from participating in events other than those organized by ISU or its members.  In other words, the international governing body’s rules are an attempt to create an impermissible monopoly over all skating events…

ISU now must issue a response to the EU, after which point the EU will decide what penalties and actions they will take against the ISU, and if the ISU’s incredibly condescending and dismissive initial response is any indicator, the EU is going to have to take a swing.  ISU said it was “surprised” at the EU view, and that, despite their investigation, they ‘failed to understand’ the international sports world.  Perhaps they meant to write that the EU  “failed to understand how crooked our international sports world is…”

The smarmy Swiss-based org went on to write that “any allegation that the ISU’s rules are somehow anti-competitive appears to be based on a misplaced understanding of the governance structure of sport and the Olympic movement. A neoliberal and deregulated approach to sport could destroy the Olympic values underpinning sport.”

It’s the same response that insiders always give when challenged with their malfeasance, and it’s always bullshit.  Bodies like ISU and ISAF need to face the fact that their monopolies are ending, and organizations that dedicate their resources to improving the services they offer in a competitive world are going to succeed. Those who stick their fingers in their ears and complain that the government just doesn’t understand them?  Folks who are allergic to transparency and equality?  It’s time to go.

We’ll dedicate an upcoming podcast to the wider-reaching implications of this anti-competition ruling, especially as it effects ISAF’s unfounded attacks on IKFO kiteboarders and the non-transparent and anti-competitive equipment selection process for the next Olympics.  The kiters are in almost the exact position as the Dutch skaters so we’d expect the IKFO to be filing a complaint with the same EU body very soon if they haven’t done it already.  This one is getting good.


September 29th, 2016

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You say you can’t do something? Fuck if you can’t.


September 29th, 2016

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When I was a kid one of the books I read that really captured my imagination was A World of My Own by Robin Knox-Johnston. It was his account of his solo, non-stop voyage around the world aboard his tiny ketch Suhaili. It was true adventure and as a kid all I wanted in my life at that time was adventure. Robin would become the first person in history to sail solo, non-stop around the planet and while I had full admiration for his accomplishment, I was kind of in awe of his boat. Suhaili was 32-foot William Atkins designed double-ender. Photos of the interior showed a tiny cramped cabin with a single burner stove.

Not sure where Robin slept because the boat was loaded with over a thousand tins of food. Yup this was before freeze dried food. Each tin had had the labels removed and was carefully varnished to prevent rust. Suhaili was built out of wood in a carvel planked fashion which in those days was a common way of building boats, but by today’s modern boatbuilding standards Suhaili was not much short of a leaky tub. I was in awe that Robin took the boat the entire way around the planet; Cape Horn included.

Fast forward 30 years. I was minding my own business raising a family when an email dropped into my inbox. The name on the email was Sir Robin Knox Johnston and the subject was “writer needed.”  I was a writer and had been writing about my own sailing experiences as well as about some sailing events, but this particular email was out of the blue. Robin by this time was Sir Robin, knighted for his contribution to sailing and in recognition of his epic circumnavigation. He was also the owner of the Around Alone race, formerly the BOC Challenge. At that time it was the only single-handed around-the-world-race that had stopovers.

rnj3I skimmed his email and smiled to note that he took the time to introduce himself – as if no one had ever heard of him. “We are looking for someone who can tell the story of the race through the eyes of the competitors,” he wrote. “You have been around the world and you can write so I thought we should talk.” I made contact with Robin and the rest is in the rearview mirror, as they say. I was hired to tell the story of the 2002/03 Around Alone Race and it was one of the most fun projects I have been ever been involved in.

For the previous – I am not sure how many years – Suhaili had been housed in a maritime museum on display for all to see, but Robin told me that he had “rescued” the boat from the museum and floated it again. “A boat like that needs to be wet,” he told me. And so Suhaili had been splashed and was in a small marina on the south coast of England. The first leg of the Around Alone went from New York city to Brixham, a seaside town on the south coast of England. I did not put two and two together, but I was soon in for one of the most fun days of my life.

The first Around Alone boat was getting close to the finish line and I was lined up to go out on the media boat to capture the moment. I had my gear ready when Robin stopped by my desk. “Come with me and bring your foulies,” he said, and so I followed him out of our media center to his car. We jumped in and as we took off Robin leaned over. “We are going for a sail.”  He was the boss but I had a job to do and was thinking of protesting when we pulled up alongside a small, wooden double-ender tied up alongside the dock. Suhaili: In the flesh, or rather, in the wood. We were going out for a sail on a boat that I had only read about and dreamed about.

It was just Robin and myself on board. We cast off and motored out of the marina to be greeted by a gentle swell and building breeze. I took the helm while Robin raised the sails and pretty soon we were rail down. The little boat came alive  effortlessly cutting through the chop. It was an extraordinary experience. I never dreamed that I would ever see the boat let alone sail on her and better yet with the big man himself.

Before long we saw the media boat steaming toward us and almost at the same time saw the Around Alone competitor, Bernard Stamm aboard his Open 60 Bobst Group emerging from the haze. It was on the edge of twilight and  the colors were softening. We bore off slightly and headed in the direction of Bobst Group sailing on a course to intercept. It was incongruous. A tiny wooden boat that taken Robin safely around the planet, and a massive carbon fiber IMOCA 60 just starting its trip around the world both powering toward each other. Within moments the Open 60 was alongside, Stamm grinning widely, and then in seconds they rolled by. We eased sails and bounced in Stamm’s wake.

rnj-2By now the sun was almost on the horizon and on shore the lights of Brigham were coming on. It was an incredible experience. Then it got just a little better. With sheets eased the boat sailed effortlessly, the full length keel keeping it on course without the need to helm. Robin slipped down below and shortly returned with a small hip flask. “Gin,” he said. “Take a drink.” I could see Bobst Group about to cross the finish line. I could see the media boat close behind, but I could barely see anything. I am nothing if not a sentimental person and the very fact that I was sailing on board a boat that I had only read about as a kid, with a man I admired  greatly, was one thing.

Maybe it was the sting of the gin hitting my throat that brought the tears, but looking back I am sure it was just the moment. One of those moments aboard a boat that gets seared into your memory.

I am writing about this now because I recently saw some awesome photos of Suhaili out sailing. The photos were taken by my colleague Nic Compton. Suhaili has been completely restored by Robin and the boat looks amazing. Take a look for yourself and just think about it. This little lapstrake double-ender has sailed all the way around the world. That was 50 years ago, back when the world was flat and the edges sharp. It took enormous courage (I think) to get on board, toss the lines ashore, and head toward the horizon.

Robin did it “for Queen and Country” and 312 days later he and Suhaili returned. Quite an adventure by any measure.

- Brian Hancock, pictures thanks to Nic Compton.


September 29th, 2016

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The Finn may be dropped from the Olympic classes. I just won my 6th Polish Champion title and just in case its the last in Finn as an Olympic boat, I wore a suit and said an elegant good bye!  - Piotr Kula.


September 28th, 2016

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We shared the tragic story of John Harrison Doucet, and sadly it has not gotten any better…

Surgeons had to amputate John Harrison Doucet’s right arm above the elbow Monday, his parents told their Gulfport attorney, Joe Sam Owen.

The lifelong sailor, 20, was shocked by an overhead electrical line as he parked his sailboat Sept. 18 at the Gulfport Yacht Club after taking his mother and her sisters on an afternoon sail. He was gripping the boat’s trailer as a cable from the mast touched an overhead power line.

“The arm that they amputated, there had been a great deal of muscle damage and it was obviously a significant problem for him,” said Owen, whom the family notified by email. “The burns are third and fourth degree, which is very serious.”

Owen said muscle from John Harrison’s back also had to be removed because it was so severely damaged. His legs had been amputated after the accident, when he was flown to the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Jackson.

Read more here.


September 28th, 2016

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Big Pimpin’

Representing a revolution in concept, the Diam 24 new one design sport boat multihull is seducing its audiences across the world. Why?

Conceived carefully to correspond to the needs of the market – it is an exciting fun modern (strict) one design sport boat multihull that is affordable and technically accessible to a wide audience of both mono and multihull sailors through its innovative design and simplicity.

Well-constructed, the rigid, robust, low maintenance platform gives you the ability to experience high performance multihull thrills in complete safety. Why go slow..?!
The boat is everything you would expect, designed by the renowned Naval Architects VPLP in France; it assembles the best technological developments and innovations of the multihull world over the last 20 years.

Elegant modern design, a two part sleeved Carbon mast, well thought out efficient systems, quality hardware, good sails, solid composite engineering and appropriate construction techniques, (carbon and epoxy where you need it), an electric motor and its delivered complete with all mandatory safety equipment to boot.

It’s no surprise it’s been selected by the Iconic Tour de France a la Voile for its new spectacular “stadium and coastal race” format and is powering forward into the 21st century – rupturing a 36 year run of mono hull participation.
But more than a product it’s a concept. The product is supported by a class organisation and a simple set of easy to apply class rules.

Visit us at Annapolis Boat Show DOCK C – (special offers available). Grab your opportunity – demos by appointment NOW available in the USA – call +1 401 662 7658.


September 28th, 2016

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The monthly World Sailing show may be a relic from another era, but occasionally they stumble upon great stories. Never mind that America’s Cup and VOR video producer Sunset + Vine didn’t bother to use actual Olympic video, instead relying on still images and grainy camera phone for this piece; the story of Santi Lange’s gold medal performance in Rio is perhaps the most compelling in Rio 2016. Over 50 years old and sailing aboard the quickest Olympic boat of all, Santi took an unlikely gold just months after losing part of his lung to cancer.  Lange is one of the kindest and most generous people in all the sport, and his story should inspire all of us.

To read a deeper piece about Lange’s accomplishment, check out the NBC site here.


September 27th, 2016

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