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Our friends at OffCenterHarbor.com have just released a beautiful e-book of The Common Sense of Yacht Design — the iconic book on yacht design by L. Francis Herreshoff. This book has long been out-of-print, and goes for $150+ on eBay. They’ve done a nice job presenting it in a high-resolution flipbook format, so it’s easy to read, and you can browse through over 390 photographs, plans, and designs in detail.

You can click here to sign up to get instant access to the full Volume 1 of the two-volume set. Members of Off Center Harbor get access to the full two-volume set, plus several more classic maritime books that are out-of-print.


January 23rd, 2018

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I have been wanting to write about the collision that happened in the Volvo Ocean Race between Vestas 11th Hour Racing and a fishing boat at the end of Leg 4, but still need more facts before I can put together something that makes sense. The accident resulted in the death of a Chinese fisherman. As you can imagine both Vestus and the Volvo Ocean Race media team are being very vague about things and word is that Vestus have quite wisely lawyered up with a local law firm that specializes in Maritime law.

Here is what has been pieced together. Vestus 11th Hour Racing was approaching Hong Kong in the middle of the night and at around 2am collided with a fishing boat. It’s unclear if they hit the boat or the boat hit them but the result was a decent size hole in the side of Vestus and the fishing boat sinking. There were ten crew on the fishing boat and the Vestus crew did an excellent job picking them all out of the water. It was immediately apparent that one of the Chinese crew was severely injured and the maritime authorities arranged for him to be airlifted to a local hospital where he later died.

A couple of things come to mind and of course hindsight is easy. If you have ever approached a major metropolitan area like Hong Kong in the middle of the night you know how hard it is to make out lights on the water from lights on the land, but this should not have been an issue because they were still 30 miles out. That far out I would guess they could see the loom of lights on land but still be able to make out individual lights on the water, but it’s not easy. It appears that many of the fishing boats in the area were from mainland China and were probably being manned by people without much money. Someone was asking why the fishing boats didn’t have AIS on board. AIS is an automatic tracking system used on boats and ships.

Give me a break. I would bet half the fishermen out there didn’t have enough money for a toilet let alone nav lights or AIS. It’s also well known that some fishing boats run without lights. When they are hauling in the fish they don’t want the competition to know.

At the time of the accident Vestus was around 30 miles from the finish with a 16 miles lead over Dongfeng Racing, and it’s reported that the were sailing at 20 knots. They could easily have slowed down to a more prudent speed and not be overtaken by Dongfeng, but again hindsight is everything and we know that it’s not in the nature of most racing sailors to take their foot off the gas if they don’t have to.  I would hope, and I think that this is where the legal issue is going to be sticky, that they had one if not two people stationed on the bow as lookouts.

They should also have had spotlights panning the water. If they were relying on the crew in the cockpit and radar to pick up objects they were not doing enough to keep an adequate lookout. Just from the simple fact that there was an accident seems to indicate that there was not an adequate lookout and that could have very serious implications. Remember the collision happened in Chinese territorial waters and therefore will fall under the laws of the Chinese Maritime Authorities. I think that the Vestus team is going to need an unbelievably good lawyer to defend them against what will probably  be either second degree murder charges or manslaughter all conducted in Chinese and under Chinese laws.

Like most of us in the sailing community I am gutted by this and can only imagine how terrible all the VOR sailors must feel, say nothing of the friends and relatives of the deceased man. In the last Volvo Ocean Race Vestus ended up on a reef and was pretty trashed but Vestus the company salvaged the boat, had it refit and rejoined the race. That was an amazing act of corporate responsibility on their part and they came back again as a sponsor for this race only to have this incident happen. I am pretty sure that we are not going to get anything but vague answers from Volvo and Vestus until long after this has been litigated in court.

One last point. Many people in online forums have suggested that Volvo is responsible, that they planned a course that suited their commercial interests over the interests of the sailors. I think that’s rubbish. This is a dangerous race, always has been, and the chances of “stuff” happening along the way is pretty high no matter the course. Having said that don’t surprised if they are pulled into the whole lawsuit issue. There is money there and lawyers like money. – Brian hancock.


January 23rd, 2018

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Big Pimpin’

The new J/121 has been created to allow fast, simple sailing for those who want to spend their time tackling classic ocean races (quickly) as well as local beer can races… and not chasing down a large crew

Four decades ago a sleek, flush-deck keel boat appeared in the summer race circuits around New England and turned heads with both its looks and its speed around the racecourses. Fractional-rigged with a large genoa and balanced sailplan, the J/24 was an instant hit; within a few short years fleets were appearing all over the US and elsewhere, with the top names in the sport enhancing the competition among rival sailmakers fighting for their share of a fast-growing new market for sails.

Pictured above, the boat has a very contemporary sailplan with multiple headsails set on furlers will allow a friends and family crew of mixed ability to extract the most out of a very modern sailboat – whether stress-free fast cruising or tackling the great ocean racing classics under IRC and then filling in the blanks with evening racing! And after not very long there will be one-design class racing as well…

The newest offering from J/Boats, the J/121, is both a logical extension of other performance designs they have built over the years but also a significant departure for the company. The J/120 brought sprit-boat sailing to the 40ft range two decades ago, and more recently the J/122 brought a more modern and IRC-friendly design to the same size range. Both, however, assumed a full crew of 8-10 people would race onboard, with the sailing systems and interior accommodation arranged accordingly.

Read more.



January 23rd, 2018

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Your dopey editor is hoping on a jet Wednesday and heading out for the Dusseldorf Boat Show for a few days. The show is amazing – if for no reason other than it’s sheer size. There is an amazing display of virtually every type of boat, and for sailboaters like us, it is really, really good.

Some stunning European builds, tons of vendors, and a good way for us to connect with industry folks that we otherwise wouldn’t get to meet.

If you are going to be there and you want to say hi, buy huge amounts of advertising, or just to tell me to f-off, drop me an email!


January 23rd, 2018

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What is it about King Harbor Pier?  Just 10 months ago a Martin 242 got beaten to a pulp in the same exact spot as this little S2; the Martin got the worst of it, but the S2 has some issues too.  Nice work from the Redondo Beach Fire Department rescue swimmer who dove in off their Harbor Patrol Boat.


January 22nd, 2018

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80 million dollars is the publicly disclosed amount of PRADA’s 4-year sponsorship of Luna Rossa Challenge, at least according to the public filings required by the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

It’s a bit frightening that this pile of cash isn’t nearly enough to win the next Cup, but it’s a hell of a head start for what most assume to be the biggest threat to New Zealand’s dreams of a decade of cup supremacy.  Note that this sum does NOT include Prada’s sponsorship of the America’s Cup or the Prada Challenger Series…so well over $100M all-in from the luxury design house…

Great find by obsessed AC SA’er ‘stingray’, who we think bought Prada stock just to get the digital filings before anyone else.

Download the full ‘Continuing Connected Transaction’ filing here.

January 22nd, 2018

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If we were looking for a sailing PR company for a class or event, nothing would make us run away faster than this kind of sloppy infographic bullshit complete with tiny anchors and probably a compass somewhere.  Before we even get to the actual content – could they possibly get the sailing any more wrong?  Is it just us?

January 22nd, 2018

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The creator and director of one of our favorite short sailing documentaries ever weighs in on an issue few mariners are paying attention to, and one we will all be paying for when it inevitably goes wrong: Donald Trump’s expanded offshore drilling proposal, which was unveiled Jan. 4. The public has until March 9 to weigh in on the proposal, and you can learn more at the end of this guest editorial.
I remember holding the tiller for the first time with my late great Uncle Bob, Robert Keleher, a racer of the San Francisco Bay. “You have to feel it, Barbara. Then you’ll find the groove.”
It’s taken me over 30 years to find that groove and maybe we’re all beginning to feel it now.
With the threat of offshore drilling looming over us, we sailors of the San Francisco Bay should be feeling the threat of our precious coastlines and waterways that have been our playground, a place where we got to feel those powerful elements of wind and water, a reason to come together as a community to revel in love of the water. And now there is reason to come together as a community to revel in a responsibility as our oceans face acidification, off shore oil drilling and more because of our landlubber habits.
In 1981 there was a great union strike, the air traffic controllers stood up to President Ronald Reagan in order to speak for honesty, as campaign promises had been made and then not given. Those following years proved disastrous for my family with high  levels of guilt and anger as my father was labeled a federal criminal for striking against the federal government. I hated my father for years for his decision to strike, to follow his ego instead of being a family man, as my grandfather, a sailor himself, had said to me. We suffered great financial difficulty for years. I was just 13 years old.
I grew very close to my Uncle Bob, who had proven himself to be the saltiest, grouchiest and most critical person in my family. He had offered me sailing lessons in my twenties, but I refused them because I felt I was too busy with landlubber responsibilities. But when he died, my mother gave me a photo of him sailing, along with a 1st Place silver platter from the St. Francis Yacht Club he won in 1962 with his boat Magic Bear. That’s when I realized I had lost out of the gift of learning from a master racer who could have taught me how to navigate The SF Bay, one of the toughest places to sail, as some say.
I set off to learn how to sail.  I took up dinghy classes with the nonprofit Sailing Education Adventures, and quickly learned the power of wind and water and how incredibly liberating and beautiful the sport of sailing is. A ten year love affair began with running the nonprofit,  teaching, racing regattas and an ocean voyage.  The most beautiful day? When I got to sail Magic Bear, owned by the Maloney Family. I sailed her across The Bay, through the wicked onslaught of youth Red Bull catamaran racers of America’s Cup series, straight to The Maritime Museum, for the annual Bear Boat festivities. While people watched America’s Cup excitement, I instead laid on the docks and looked straight up the Bear boat masts to a blue sky, a feeling of heaven of having discovered a beautiful family heritage and fantastic Bay Area sailing culture  that I had known nothing about just years before  – sailing blood can go deeper than even family blood.
Life began to change for me after that point. I started to discover a different story in our collective national history.  Reagan’s economic and environmental policies have actually led us to a horrific path, one leading to ocean acidification, global climate change and our incredible economic disparity, policies that have given the wealth more wealth. As I began to understand these policies, I also had to apologize to my father and tell him “Dad! You stood up to a miserable president! That takes guts.” And that is powerful family heritage!
This newfound truth led me to a new passion, as I learned hard truths about our oceans. I cowrote and produced an ocean documentary film called Racing with Copepods, understanding we have a duty to the next generation. Dr. Sylvia Earle, the world’s famous oceanographer joined those efforts, as did the sailing writer Kimball Livingston, the very announcer of America’s Cup. I personally call him Neptune. I had never made a film before and I’m pretty sure Neptune blessed its success.
I lived with a lot of anger and hatred toward my father for years until I discovered something profound. Anger creates more anger. And it’s best to let it go and instead live with love.
As sailors, we have a love for the ocean and this is the time to take a stand for it. And show the landlubbers the beauty, freedom and courage that the ocean has given us during our pursuits of trophies and racing honor.
It’s time we take to the water, with a message of peace, love and harmony. And share with landlubbers, that a wave hitting us over deck won’t make a good helmsman and crew wince when they are on a true course. It’s time we sailors take lead on what will be the greatest battle on our oceans since the days of Sir Francis Drake . . . and the trophy waiting for us? Integrity and freedom. 
Barbara McVeigh is the author of Redemption, How Ronald Reagan Nearly Ruined My Life. Her film Racing with Copepods is now free on line. Her next film, The Man Behind The White Guitar will be released this summer, a message of peace and harmony with world musicians.

Comments can be made through the regulations.gov web portal. Navigate to http://www.regulations.gov and under the Search tab, in the space provided, type in Docket ID: BOEM-2017-0074 to submit comments and to view other comments already submitted. Information on using www.regulations.gov, including instructions for accessing documents, submitting comments, and viewing the docket after the close of the comment period, is available through the links under the box entitled “Are you new to this site?”

Comments can also be made by mail, in an envelope labeled “Comments for the 2019-2024 Draft Proposed National Oil and Gas Leasing Program” and mailed (or hand delivered) to Ms. Kelly Hammerle, Chief, National Oil and Gas Leasing Program Development and Coordination Branch, Leasing Division, Office of Strategic Resources, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (VAM-LD), 45600 Woodland Road, Sterling, VA 20166-9216, telephone (703) 787-1613. Written comments may also be hand delivered at a public meeting to the BOEM official in charge.  

January 22nd, 2018

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As someone close to the communities involved, ie. Chinese seafarers, Chinese sailing and the VOR I understand the concerns of all parties. It is never good news when someone dies in an accident and that applies to all concerned.

However to suggest that legs should finish out to sea instead of in close to where people can see the finish would potentially kill the event as a large part of the sponsors’ visibility would evaporate. Besides an ocean crossing or ocean race is from shore to shore, not close to shore.

And why stop doing it? I have followed the Whitbread/Volvo since a washing machine manufacturer won the first one, and while I admit my memory may have missed or forgotten some details, and I cannot remember any such accident ever – not in Volvo Ocean Race finishes.

I have been on chase RIBs welcoming the lead boat as it comes out of the gloom of a nautical dawn, been on or driven the VOR photo RIB at numerous VOR in-ports and leg stats and the only time there was any issue was when an over-enthusiastic power boat owner encroached on the well marshalled race course.

Just think of the numbers, multiple races, each race with multiple legs, each leg with multiple finishers and many in poor or NO light and yet this is the first time this has happened AND it was 30 miles out to sea.

On the other hand there are multiple reports of collisions between yachts and other vessels way out to sea – do we stop all yacht racing in areas where there may be fishing boats or other shipping?

There has, perhaps naturally, been a knee jerk reaction to the death of a fellow seafarer but it is most certainly NOT a common situation with the Volvo Ocean Race.

Everyone needs to calm down, slow down, stop “specuguessing” and leave it to those concerned with – and responsible for – finding out what actually caused the collision, suggest the solutions for the future and then ensure, as best as humanly possible (and only if deemed necessary) they are implemented them into race (and perhaps the sport in general) to help avoid a repetition.  

Let’s not forget that the sea is NOT our natural environment and accidents, and yes, deaths at sea are sadly not a rare occurrence. Just a matter of weeks before this event over 20 sailors lost their lives when a freighter and tanker collided only a few hundred miles from Hong Kong off the Chinese coast.

Yes be sad for the sailor who lost his life but let’s not throw the sport out with the seawater and also lets leave the professionals to investigate the causes and reach sensible decisions unencumbered by less well informed, more emotional arguments.

-Shanghai Sailor


January 20th, 2018

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UPDATE: Video of the fisherman casualty being winched up into the helicopter is on the web, and we note that he may have been dead before he ever got to the hospital.  Investigation underway and VOR finally confirms the death hours after numerous other sources.

If there is a mild winner in this whole situation (and it’s a morbid thought), it’s Charlie Enright, who sat out this leg to deal with health issues in his family.  We doubt he is feeling particularly lucky tonight.

More reports as available.

January 20th, 2018

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