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And what is it doing?


July 3rd, 2015

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I first met Ellen MacArthur in 1999. She was relatively unknown then, at least to the sailing community. She was a young British girl that had done a bit of sailing. I had heard of her because she had sailed the Mini-Transat and I was a big fan of the event. I got a call from my friend, the yacht designer Merf Owen. He told me his girlfriend wanted to charter my boat for the Route du Rhum race but had very little money. He said her name was Ellen MacArthur and she was hoping to do the Vendée Globe in 2000. Ellen and her business partner Mark Turner (now Chairman of OC Sport) flew to Marblehead and came to my home to discuss the boat and hopefully make a deal.

We sat in my living room and I remember for the first time in my life feeling totally inadequate. Ellen knew more about my boat than I did. She was intense, perceptive and totally focused. She asked me questions that I couldn’t answer. Her knowledge of boats and sailing far exceeded mine and by the end of our conversation I let her take the boat on a wing and a promise because I saw something exceptional in her. And I was right.

Ellen landed a major sponsor for the Vendée Globe and went on to finish second, and extraordinary accomplishment not because she was a woman, but because she was racing against some of the best solo sailors in the world. Her accomplishment blew sailing wide open. She quickly became a household name in England and France and not long thereafter her notoriety spread to the US and beyond. She blazed a path for women in sailing long before Team SCA’s entry in the Volvo Ocean Race. Not content with her Vendée performance she set her sights on another sailing challenge; the non-stop, solo around-the-world record.

For her attempt she and her team built a 75-foot trimaran designed by Nigel Irens who went to great lengths to ensure that the boat was suited for a small person. Ellen is only 5-foot 2 inches (1.57 m) tall. In 2004 I flew to New Zealand to interview Ellen and to go for a sail on the boat. She was as intense as ever, focused on her goal and determined to break the record. What I remember most was that it took five strong men a very long time to wind up her mainsail. I had simply no idea how Ellen alone would be able to get the sail up, say nothing of reefing and unreefing while dealing with the giant headsail at the same time. It was mind-blowing, but Ellen did set off, she dealt with unbelievable weather in the Southern Ocean, and returned home with a new world record, a lap of the planet in 71 days, 14 hours, 18 minutes 33 seconds. It was by any measure an extraordinary accomplishment.

While myself and others waited to see what she would do next she did something that really surprised all of us; she retired from sailing. She had already been appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (the female equivalent of being Knighted by the Queen) and it’s believed that she is the youngest ever recipient of that honor. The French President awarded her the Légion d’Honneur, France’s highest award for her contribution not only to sailing, but to society.

It’s been a while since I last saw her. I knew that she had set up the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, but to be honest I was never quite sure what her foundation did. That was until last week when I was clicking around the Internet looking for something to keep myself amused. I love TED Talks and knew that there had been a big TED conference in Vancouver earlier this year. I was not surprised when I stumbled onto a speech that Ellen gave at the conference, but I was blown away it. Take 17 minutes out of your day and be prepared to be blown away. This is a masterful presentation that could only be given by someone who has sailed around the world. I speak from experience when I say that circumnavigating the world, propelled only by the wind, and getting around in a relatively short amount of time, gives you a very unique perspective on the size and delicacy of our small blue marble. Please watch Ellen’s talk and please let’s all try a little harder to take care of our planet. Here is the link – Brian Hancock.


July 3rd, 2015

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coconut 2

While in remote and uninhabited Salomon Atoll, Chagos (Indian Ocean) this month, a 48’ sloop went on the reef during a squall at 0-dark-30. She bounced nearly 1000’ through a maze of coral. It took 12 hours and much effort by 10 cruisers to protect the hull from damage and get her out and anchored safely.

Amazingly, damage was limited to a bent prop shaft (engine unusable) and rudder badly damaged along the leading edge. What to do when the nearest port with haulout facility involves a 1,000 mile passage? Put 1,500 pounds of water in containers on the bow, to lift the stern. Then drop the rudder, float it to the beach, and get to repairing. Among six boats there, we had a generator and angle grinder, several liters of epoxy resin and just enough biaxial cloth to make the fix. Problem was that inside the rudder cavity we found a bent tang and to our surprise, almost no foam core on one side (lousy fabrication!).

With concern about rudder integrity for the long passage ahead, on which a stout 45’ cruising boat sank last year because of rudder failure, this coconut island provided the solution – dried coconut husk. We set the kids to collecting and shredding the husk. Mixed with epoxy, the coconut composite filled much of the void areas beautifully; and even worked well as filler for fairing the leading edge before glassing the outer skin.

The 1,000 mile passage is now behind them (winds to 30+ knots and lumpy seas up to 4 meters) and repairs to the prop shaft are underway. The rudder remains as tough as a nut.

- Jamie & Behan Gifford /


July 3rd, 2015

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This is the greatest (by that we mean most retarded) headline ever, one found in a PR email we received today. What’s even better is that despite the “reassuring” headline, the actual message is contained in the body is far from that:

One week since the world was left shocked at the news of an ISIS terrorist attack in Tunisia, local superyacht businesses are reassuring yachtsmen that security has been increased at Tunisian ports despite numerous cancellations. Not long after the country has had to recover from the impact of the Bardo Museum attack where 17 were left dead, a total of 38 people, including at least 29 Britons were killed by a gunman with links to Islamic State extremists near Sousse, Tunisia.

Despite the upped security and the government’s involvement, The UK Foreign Office has updated its travel advice to warn that further terrorist attacks in Tunisia are possible and are urging people to be vigilant. According to some local yacht businesses, superyacht owners, crew and charter companies are already cancelling their travel plans.

Oh yeah, that’s pretty reassuring.


July 3rd, 2015

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If one measure of a person’s worth is the impact they make on those around them, Trevor Moore was one of the most highly-valued sailors of his generation.  We salute the thousands who tried in vain to solve the mystery of Trevor’s loss; from Facebook, Kyle Kusunose writes about it (and thanks to Amory Ross for so perfectly capturing Moore’s spirit in this photo):

Over the last week I have witnessed more generosity and love than I can put into words. It is a testament to Trevor’s character and how much he meant to people, even those that barely knew him. People have come to Miami from all over the country to aid in the search and rescue. They have dropped their lives and donated their time and money in hopes we would bring Trevor home. After day 3 the physical and emotional exhaustion began to set in but adrenaline and Libby’s will pushed us on.

I’ve had the honor of spending much of the last week with Libby Patton. Her courage, strength, and determination have been inspirational as she personally combed every inch of the bay. She never stopped, she never lost hope, and I am truly proud of her as her friend. As of yesterday we have concluded our search. This is the first morning we haven’t been out on the water in 6 days. I continue to pray for Trevor’s miraculous return. Until then…be well my friend. Please continue to pray for Libby and her family, and Trevor’s family and friends.

July 2nd, 2015

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This one is a bit excruciating to watch unless you are a foiling fanboy, and we admit our fanboyness for AMAC’s new Waszp thanks to the decent shot we think it has to be a game changer.  So here’s 46 minutes of Andrew introducing his price-point, one-design foiling moth to the world at The Foiling Week.


July 2nd, 2015

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Screen Shot 2015-07-02 at 7.07.58 AMPenalty Box Productions’ Petey Crawford and Melges 24 Class President Jens Wathne take a short break from the action at the M24 Worlds in Middlefart, Denmark, where moth and 49er rivals Bora Gulari and Chris Rast have been battling it out all week.  Rast capitalized on yet more mostly non-planing conditions to take three bullets today, with Bora losing positions to both the Rastaman and Italy’s Andrea Rachelli.  Watch it live over here for a couple more days.

Petey’s got a bang-up gallery of beauty shots over here and be sure to check in on the front page for more great work from Petey during next week’s J/70 Worlds in La Rochelle, FRA.


July 2nd, 2015

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Screen Shot 2015-07-02 at 11.37.00 AM

Longtime singlehander Tim Kent sent us this report from the deck of Areté, the Great Lakes’ new king of speed. It’s great to finally see a real, modern ocean racer come to freshwater sailing – even if she’s more than a decade old herself. Expect to see some records fall this summer, especially if the all-Anarchist crew can keep the skinny side up.  Head over to the team’s Facebook Page for photos, videos, and updates.

The idea of bringing an ORMA 60 trimaran to the Great Lakes was an audacious one.  There are an extremely small number of decent examples of the world-beating trimaran class left, fewer are for sale.  The closest ones are in France, and shipping one is ludicrously expensive, so a long transatlantic delivery needs to be planned and executed with all of the vagaries that such a trip can entail.

Because the boat is roughly a 60’ square, it won’t fit anywhere easy, and has to come in through the St. Lawrence Seaway – and if the boat is to be raced on the Great Lakes in the summer, it has to come in during the spring.  The early, windy, very cold spring.  Why so cold?  Because at the northernmost point of the delivery, the boat is at a latitude that is roughly 530 statute miles north of Detroit.

Screen Shot 2015-07-02 at 11.37.23 AMRick Warner has an affinity for audacious projects – his previous trimaran was the relatively audacious [modified F-31 R] Cheeky – so he dove in, acquiring the ORMA 60 Sopra in April and rechristening her Areté (from the ancient Greek, meaning “striving for excellence in all things”).  The boat made a two-part delivery from the Med to Newport, RI – including an unplanned stop in the Canary Islands.  Members of the racing crew picked her up in Newport and sailed her up over the Gaspé peninsula, down to Quebec, then through the locks on the St. Mary’s River and the Welland Canal – lifted 590 feet above sea level – to her summer home in Port Huron, Michigan.

The team’s first-year goals are simple – compete for first-to-finish in every race.  Our first race was last weekend’s Queen’s Cup, South Shore Yacht club’s annual sprint across Lake Michigan from Milwaukee, and our goal was the Sylvie Trophy for first-to-finish.  The top contenders for first to finish were a bit different from last year, as unfortunately the Max Z86 Windquest and the VO70 il Mostro were both sitting out the race, but the TP 52s and the Andrews 77 Ocean were on the line.  No matter what, we wanted to post a lusty time.

South Shore Yacht Club moves the Michigan finish for the Queen’s Cup each year; this year, the race re-visited the resort town of South Haven, making this trip 78 miles on the rhumbline.  The race starts in the early evening, with the cruising fleet starting mid-afternoon.  Our start would be with the rest of the multihulls – last – with the forecast calling for a breezy, one-legged reach across the lake.

Our new sails had the battens from our old ones installed, and with our confidence in the old sticks a bit low, we started the race with our foot not entirely on the gas.  We crossed the starting line with a reef and the J2, reaching hard at 21 to 23 knots.  After clearing the multihulls and the first two fleets, we switched to the J1.  Still not satisfied, we declared the veteran battens to be stout enough for reaching and shook the reef and Areté responded, jumping to over 25 knots.

At this point we were carving through the fleet, doing our best to minimize our impact on the boats we passed.  With the cold water temps, spray and wind chill, it was cold on deck but no one minded – after a 9,700 mile delivery, we were finally racing!  As we watched our distance to finish quickly diminish, we realized that if we were to get all seven crew a little helm time, we were going to have to start rotating fast!  After the mid-point of the lake, it began to get warmer, but the wind backed off a bit as the temps rose.  As we closed on the coast, we picked out the finish boat, which had hustled out to meet us and crossed the line in 4 hours, 30 minutes, the first boat to finish.

We nailed our goal, adding Areté’s name to the Sylvie Trophy.  We learned more about the boat – it is an absolute thrill to sail, but we have a long, long way to go before finding all her speed buttons.  In two weeks, the freshwater sailing world’s longest race will begin in Chicago; it’s the 568-mile long SuperMac, and all the big players will be on the line.  We can hardly wait.

Queen’s Cup results here.


July 2nd, 2015

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Long the place for the dreamers and tinkerers to play, the evolution of top-end sail racing has finally made winged catamarans not only technologically interesting, but actually cool.   How else do you explain all the good looking youth engineers throwing their souls into the Quebecois Rafale Little America’s Cup project? Here’s an update from Canada, and head over to the thread for the latest likely entry list and chatter about the Little AC.

Our hulls are in the last stage of fabrication, i.e. just adding the daggerboard cases. Plateform assembly should be well advanced by the end of the week, depending on a few missing bits and pieces.  A prototype set of our hydrofoils has been tested by the Mystere Composites team on their Espadon Air Design 20ft catamaran. Results have been very encouraging with some good speed and stability. Our set of foils and rudders are being built as we speak by the Mystere team.  The wing is also at an advanced stage of completion. The front element is 90% complete. The flap / rear element is 60% or 70% complete. Most of the wing assembly should be complete by next weekend.

We are on track to be hitting the water on the weekend of July 4th and 5th. We should have 1 months testing and debugging before we ship the full kit to Switzerland.  There are still some questions marks on some key elements, especially shipping and budget. We are keeping our head down and hoping for the best.

I have to give a big shout to all the people who have supported us and helped us get this far, especially all our sponsors who have trusted us to deliver! We hope to make a good showing in Geneva and make them proud.  Overall I have been really impressed by the resourcefulness of the team and what we have manage to achieve considering where we started from. Few would have given us much chances of making it this far. For sure we have had to make many compromises along the way to save time and/or money. The result will be a boat that is slightly heavier than we would have liked but it’s not a bad effort for a first attempt. It will be a tremendous plateform to work from in the future.

 The team keeps some update and uploads regular photos on our Facebook page, accessible also from our website (



July 1st, 2015

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Talk shows, live sporties, SCOTWs, flying scows, and one of the biggest races in the world.  It’s another Sailing Anarchy video tour!

kind of a big deal

Ian Walker and Jamie Boag began their Volvo Ocean Race adventure way back in the Green Dragon days, and if anyone’s earned the victory in the world’s premier sailboat race, it’s them.  Clean grabbed Walker and Boagie (both late to their own show, of course) as well as Phil “Wendy” Harmer and best overall OBR Matt Knighton for 45 minutes of chat just before the final awards show last weekend.  Plenty to learn and plenty to laugh about as these boys depressurize after a well-deserved few days of R&R in Sweden.  As all of our VOR coverage, this one is thanks to Sperry, where Odysseys Await.

better late than never

It’s only been 6 years since On-The-Water Anarchy broadcast the first-ever live racing action from a Melges 24 Worlds, and thankfully the cameras are better, the network’s better, and the location and fleet size are both far better than those dismal grey days from the Chesapeake Bay.  The racing, unfortunately, is just as bad – ultra light air began the first four shitty races without much improvement in the forecast – but if you dig sportboats, you’ll still enjoy this live action with 95 boats on the line (half of them Corinthian), and significantly more than the next week’s J/70 Worlds in France.  More links here, and results here.

straight talk sally

Remember all that debate about Saving Sailing?  Team SCA standout Sally Barkow gets to the answer in just a few minutes.  One of our favorite all-time sailor chicks…listen to Sally talk about the race, about inspiring the next generation, about sailing instructors and mentors, all here.

the genny fan club

Who knew when superstar skiff/sportboat/match racer/SCOTW Genny Tulloch came to commentate with Clean and JC at the 2010 America’s Cup that it would be the start of a new career?  While we think the TeamSCA boat might have done well to add her to the race crew, Genny did a lovely job of sharing the 2014-15 VOR with the world through her daily shows and live-finish commentary.  Always a great chat and good chemistry with her old friend Clean, the brilliant GT is always worth watching.

23 proof

We’ve seen the stills, but until there’s video, it never happened.  Last week, the world’s first foiling sportboat proved that, indeed, she does.  Where to from here for the Q23? 


July 1st, 2015


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