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After several years of losing multiple days of racing from the usually reliable Charleston Race Week schedule, the 2017 regatta is more of what Charleston became famous for: 80 degree days and 12-18 knots of sea breeze for the 200+ boat fleet.  It’s also the first regatta in America to feature ORC for all handicap racing – an experiment that we’ll be reporting on after the data are in.

Results, photos, and constant video updates from our own Mr. Clean are over here.

 

April 22nd, 2017

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 webb 1

The latest from one of the greatest – Webb Chiles

Rodney Bay, St. Lucia

The Moore 24 Southern Hemisphere Fleet went out of existence at 12:35 p.m. on April 1 when GANNET crossed the Equator and returned to the weirder hemisphere after an almost three year absence.  This was GANNET’s second time across the Equator and my fifteenth.

The day’s runs on the passage from St. Helena to St. Lucia add up to 3859 miles, the second longest passage GANNET has made.  In the little over two months since we sailed from Durban, the little boat has crossed another ocean and covered 6423 miles.

Even more pleasing because it wasn’t planned, but serendipitous, is that we have sailed more than half the world from Darwin, Australia to St. Lucia with only two stops:  Durban and St. Helena.  Anchored at Darwin, Australia at 130º49’E, we are now at 60º57’W.  That is more than 191º of longitude.  We have also swung from 12ºS latitude to 35ºS, then up to 14ºN.  Daily runs from Darwin to St. Lucia total 12,337 miles, and miles since leaving San Diego 22,016.  Not bad for a little boat intended to day race around buoys.

webb 2Much of the passage was slow and dry.  More than usual I was able to stand in the companionway, sit on deck and sail with the forward hatch open.  However, we were seriously slowed by the doldrums where we had by far GANNET’s slowest week ever of 458 miles.  Her previous slowest was 678.

While I often used sheet to tiller steering, the Pelagic tiller pilot steered through some severe conditions, including torrential rain one morning that felt as though we were sailing under a waterfall.  I still use the remaining Raymarine at times because it is quieter than the Pelagic, but the Pelagic has steered perfectly though weather that would have killed a Raymarine.  I am very impressed.

I am pleased with the spray hood fitted in Durban.  It succeeded in keeping some water out of the boat and unexpectedly also was useful as a sun screen and wind scoop.

An expensive fiasco came when the shackle let go at the tack of the G2 when I went to furl it.  This was my fault for not seizing the shackle, which I routinely do but obviously didn’t in this case.  The sail, still connected at the head and by sheets, streamed horizontally ahead of us.  I managed to get it down and back on board without dumping it in the sea, but not before one of the sheets caught around the Velocitek, playfully plucked it from its mast bracket and tossed it overboard.

There was other damage.  The two remaining Aurinco solar panels died, bringing their failure rate to a perfect 9 for 9.  The two Solbian panels provided enough charge with judicious use of sheet to tiller steering.

The Raymarine masthead wind unit stopped sending wind speed after being immersed in a masthead in the water knockdown on the passage from Durban to St. Helena.  It is still sending wind angle, particularly useful with sheet to tiller.

And yesterday the Torqeedo battery died and I had to be towed into the marina.  Normally I would have anchored outside, but I want to be in the marina because Carol is flying here for a week.

The battery was showing 99% charge when I started to power in.  Then a few minutes later 4% and it died.  These batteries are hazardous material and can’t be taken on airplanes, so I may be engineless until I reach Florida, not a problem once I get clear of the marina slip.

The plan is to sail from here to Florida after Carol’s visit, possibly stopping in the Virgin Islands.  In Florida I’ll lay the little boat up and return to the flatlands for a while.  Time and chance permitting, I’ll sail from Florida to Panama and then to San Diego to complete the voyage next spring.

I have many character defects, a known one is that when I get close to the bottom of a bottle I think I might just as well finish it, only to discover that after I’ve poured, there is twice as much as a usual drink in the glass.  Thus, last evening with the end of passage Laphroaig.  Careful experimentation has proven that trying to pour from the glass back into the bottle results in shameful wastage.  Once poured, there is only one reasonable course, which I followed.

Four weeks before I reached St. Lucia, the JetBoil stove failed because the gas canister connection threads stripped.  The connection is aluminum.  Threading on a canister on land is easy.  Sometimes on a lively boat it isn’t.  In any event, I couldn’t use the stove.  Carol is bringing a new one out to me.  I had a back up stove of a different make but hadn’t looked at it for years.  It was corroded and unusable, too, so for quite some time I have been drinking air temperature instant coffee and eating uncooked freeze dry food soaked in air temperature water.  I’ve done this before.  Some is better than others.  Some that is good heated is terrible unheated.  Fresh, cooked food upon my arrival was even more appreciated than usual.

 

April 21st, 2017

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Duff_Stadium.pngNobody discounts anything if it is in demand. Yet, the America’s Cup is offering their grandstand tickets at half price for one day only.

Might people be getting a whiff that this dog and pony show ain’t gonna be quite what the promoters say it is? After all, when they falsely state that the AC 50′ cats (a mere 5′ longer than the almost boring 45′ ‘training cats) are “the fastest boats in America’s Cup history”,  the bullshit detectors start to go on alert.

We’re pretty sure it will all be very underwhelming and not unlike anything you can see in a number of multihull events like the so-called Extreme Series, or the GC 32′s, etc. Hopefully it will be full of NASCAR action like close racing and crashes and breakdowns and angry hillbillies – wait, cancel that last one.

Although it remains to be seen, we expect the closing sentiment will be “that was the America’s Cup?

 

April 21st, 2017

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poop

This is what happens when you name your boat “Poopy Express”.

 

April 21st, 2017

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sneaker pimpsBummed out that you can’t make it to Bermuda for the America’s Cup? Disappointed that you won’t be paying exorbitant prices on everything from airfare to hotel to meals and drinks? (well, everything except AC grandstand tickets)

Not to worry, bro. You can get your fill of the arrogance, disconnect and overpriced experiences, thanks to Louis Vuitton! Holdovers from the America’s Cup days of yore, LV offers some of the most hideous, insanely priced “America’s Cup” apparel ever!

We present you with today’s offering – this will be a weekly exercise – the LV Fastlane Sneakers.  Ugly as any shoe ever created, these are sure to disappoint on every level, except one: How much they cost.

Wow your friends when you roll up in your $850 dollar LV kicks, yo! Mothafuckas be like “Damn son, where you get them ugly mothafuckas, KMart”? You be like, “Shit fool, these here is some bad ass Louis Viton’s, boy!” If you do that, be prepared to get your ass kicked.

Title inspiration here.

 

April 21st, 2017

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So will everything soon by foiling?

 

April 20th, 2017

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Some raw video of the aftermath of a particularly nasty wreck yesterday in Italy, where Bavaria 50 Dipiú got tossed on a rocky jetty after losing their engine on final approach to Rimini Harbour. 4 dead including the owner and his daughter, and a deeply sobering lesson that clearly must continue to be beaten into sailors’ stubborn skulls.  SA’er ‘dolphin60′ translates and paraphrases Italian news reports:

The yacht left Marina di Ravenna harbour in uncertain conditions.  The boat had completed some refitting  at a boatyard at the  marina  days before.  That same day the boatyard manager was supposed to ferry a sailboat somewhere along the coast, but he quickly changed his mind when the first gusts hit. He then called the skipper of the damaged boat, which had already set sail, to try and convince him to turn back.  He answered that he was experiencing rather rough conditions but he expected the wind to abate in the next three hours so he was comfortable to press on.

The skipper later contacted Rimini harbour, asking for a berth. He was relaxed and even joked with the harbourmaster, whom he had met before.  The harbourmaster assigned the sailboat a berth, and a man tasked with assisting the yacht in berthing followed its approach to the harbour entrance.  He said that the vessel was proceeding without apparent problems and was about to enter when the engine stopped working. The crew then tried to raise a sail but a very steep 5 meter wave picked the boat and smashed it against the break water.

The day of the accident a low pressure system was rapidly transiting over northern Italy. Strong northerly winds had been forecast. The yacht was heading south  in would have been a swift reach along the eastern coast of Italy, by all means a lee shore.  The “bora” northeasterly wind is well known and respected by all those who sail the Adriatic sea. It can set suddenly with gusts reaching F11 that create a very short and steep sea.

Later that evening two ferry boats from Greece heaved to outside Ancona harbour for two hours waiting for the conditions to improve.

The skipper was a 68 year old retired professional. At least one of the crew, a 64 year old who also perished, was experienced, having just completed a RTW cruise on another boat.  Of the two survivors, one, a 39 year old man, was found unscathed inside the boat,  the other, a 68 year old man, was picked from the water one hour later, hypotermic but is  now rapidly recovering in hospital.

And Mauro Melandri, Publisher of Zerogradinord, summarizes more reports (edited) with photos here.

The boat is a Bavaria 50 Cruiser, registered under Monfalcone (ITA) Port Authority, usually moored in Marina di Ravenna, named Dipiù.

Italian Coast Guard, the morning after the event, reports four victims: E.M. (69), who completed a circumnavigation some years ago,  A.F. (67), co-owner of the boat, his daughter A.F. (38), the first who fell overboard according with survivor description of the facts, and E.S. Two men – L.N. and C.C. – were recovered few moments after the event and lifted to the hospital in serious condition. C.C. is in recovery room.

Official investigation is underway, but it seems that the boat, with six crew members, most of them coming from Verona (Veneto, ITA), was sailing from Marina di Ravenna (Emilia-Romagna, ITA) to Trapani (Sicily, ITA) when, just after 40 nm, the crew opted to repair in Rimini harbour to the severe worsening of the weather conditions. According with media info, the engine went out of service and the crew had no time to set sails so the boat grounded hard on the main harbour jetty,  close to the famous Rock Island bar, losing the keel and after few minutes was capsized and dismasted by the imposing waves. From the picture where the boat has still the mast, it seems that the crew deployed the staysail as ultimate attempt to avoid the impact.

At the sunset, Coast Guard, Fire Department and all the other law enforcements, whose intervention activated by some observers was timely, were still looking for the survivors, using also two helicopters. They found the bodies of the victims early the morning after the event close to the destroyed hull of the boat.

Having come to know about the loss of the four crew members, Michele Capra, friend of the owner and Bavaria dealer in the harbor of Marina di Ravenna released a few declarations. He said he met the crew yesterday, since Dipiú was moored next to a boat that Capra had to move to a close shipyard, transfer that eventually he didn’t do because of the extremely adverse weather conditions. He said he advised the crew not to leave, being answered that weather forecasts were advers just for few hours, and the six left Marinara Harbor. When gusts became even stronger, Capra called A.F., owner of the boat, who said: “There are big waves and we are already a few miles away from Ravenna. Weather should be improving so we are going to go on”. “I should have done more to convince them – Capra regrets.

Cino Ricci, skipper of Azzurra, first Italian challenger to the America’s Cup and very experienced seaman, told Italian media that “A double mistake was made yesterday: First, you don’t leave harbor under those conditions and forecast.  The passage to Sicily was a long one; waiting a day to depart doesn’t make much of an impact.  Second, once you are out in a boat of that size, get offshore a few miles where the waves usually aren’t breaking.  Nothing will happen there.  Here the mistake was to choose the coastal route rather than staying offshore.  Then, the decision to seek refuge in Rimini signed the end of the journey – the entrance to the harbour in downwind conditions gets complicated.”

Comments.

April 20th, 2017

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Screenshot 2017-04-20 11.20.28The future of foiling may be all chicken winged, if the latest from foiling design leaders VPLP is anything to go by.  Called Voilavion, it’s a little black windmill of a 16-foot cat designed to be easily foiled by beginners at sailing schools,  clubs, resorts, and the like.

This certainly ain’t the first tilting rig, but it would be the first to use a tilted rig to help a boat get – and stay – on the foils in little more than a mosquito fart.  Makes sense in theory and on paper, and time will tell if reality corresponds to the thinking.

It may be a little early to call the thing a success, but it’s fun to talk about.  Folks are monitoring the project here…

 

April 20th, 2017

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mystery main

Do you know who made this? Or what it is made of? Might you see sails like this on a boat coming to San Diego soon? Well?

 

April 19th, 2017

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cletusLeave it to a particular “genius” PR hack and the do-nothing NOSA officials to take the Newport to Ensenada race to an all-time low of 164 verified entries at the entry deadline. There are a few still pending, but in the best case scenario they are around 30 below last year’s 211 entries. Already, 10 boats have withdrawn.

The only difference between this year and last? Last year SA worked with them to promote the race as much as we could, and even participated in the race (missing first overall in PHRF by 25 seconds; see 25 second shit box).

But said “genius” attempted to bullshit us with his vast (nonexistent) knowledge of how to better promote the race. Think what you will about us, but there is no disputing our reach and enthusiasm when it comes to promoting a race like this.

Imagine being so delusional that you think your race will get more entries without us. Well fuck me, how did that work out, “genius”? One thing that was accomplished is that whatever esteem that we used to hold for the venerable N2E has now been eliminated, and as long as this clown is involved, we’ll never promote nor sail in the race again.

If this race is going to be left to people in charge who don’t know shit from shinola, we’ll just stand here and watch it burn to the ground.

Title inspiration thanks to Middle Class Rut

 

April 19th, 2017

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