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space station no 9

From November 26 until December 12, the Race for Water Foundation will be in Paris, on the occasion of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21). The foundation will be present with its ambassador, the Race for Water Solar Vessel, and will symbolically bring the ocean to the COP21 as a new member of the Ocean and Climate Platform.

The Foundation will organize and participate in several events and conferences both at Le Bourget Conference Center and at the Grand Palais. Check it out here. And check out Christophe Launay’s great shots of the space station.

Thanks to Montrose for the title inspiration.


November 26th, 2015

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Clean Report

We took a whirlwind tour through the world’s most important boat show in Amsterdam last week, and our only regret is that we didn’t stay longer at the Marine Equipment Trade Show.  In the three years we’ve taken off from November’s marquee industry event, it’s exploded in size and scope – and for the sport we all love, that’s a very good thing, because METS may be the most accurate barometer in the world for the health of sailing globally.  And if that’s the case, we’re in for a hell of a decade – in just three years, the number of attendees has nearly doubled, and you may remember that the METS doesn’t allow public entry – every one of those 24,000-odd people is in the boat biz or a special guest of an exhibitor.

The number of exhibitors has also mushroomed up to over 1400 from literally all over the world; instead of a couple of exhibition halls, there were about 12 massive spaces filled to overflowing with products and service providers touting everything from infrared engine-room monitoring cameras to new fender systems for marina walls.

We were mostly unimpressed with the number of truly innovative new products, but that’s not a bad thing; rather than a lot of dreamy new toys, there were dreamy new companies from dreamy new lands – another positive sign that the sport’s providing new opportunities in new places.

We had enough time to pick our own ‘best in show’ as well as to grab some interviews with the sport’s movers and shakers.  Here’s the video guide, and no, we don’t care if the sound isn’t up to your standards.  If you want the info no one else has, this is your only option, and we can guarantee a much bigger effort for next year’s METS.

Outside looking in; entrance and intro to the METS

Oceanvolt’s new App and remote management for their electric propulsion/storage/generation systems

The obscene display of jewelry that is the Superyacht Pavilion

A quick look at SOS Marine’s new emergency MOB retrieval system.  Good shit.

The guys at Forward Sailing WIP have some seriously sexy helmets and armor.

One of our Best In Show choices – Rope Eye’s “Spiderblock”

A fascinating chat with Diab Composites engineer Valerio about the new Divinycell ‘anti-slam’ core, including a chat about Hugo Boss structural issues and the future of high-speed monohull construction.  Part One.  Part Two.

The kiwi hippies at Seabin Project need your help to clean the world’s harbors and bays.  Required listening.

A quick look at the DAME award winning PFD strobe, as well as the much more interesting new Rig-Sense gauge.

Two products Americans might never otherwise see despite their cleverness – the Ino-Block high-load block and the “Nub”.  If you want the latest and greatest as seen on the Mini/Class 40/Open 60, clicky.

With IRC and HPR proving dismal failures in the US and ORR struggling to get out of the box, it’s time for a new player in Grand Prix rating rules, with Key West 2016 ringing in the new year with ORC in America.  Learn all about the rule in this 20-minute chat with Dobbs Davis and Matteo Polli.

They kept trying to kick me out for shooting the “no photography” DAME awards hall.  I shot it anyway. 

BONUS VIDEO: The “Sailor Girl” Nic Douglass shot VOR Boatyard boss Nick Bice giving a talk about the shared boatyard concept.  Good stuff here.  Check Nic’s feed for more from METS and wherever the hell she is this week.

November 25th, 2015

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We love sailing whether it’s on land, water, or ice.  So how about a combination?  These Class 5 sand yachts certainly look like a complete blast as they rip the beach apart at 30+ mph in Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands.  Wanna know more?  Ask the guy who shot it.


November 25th, 2015

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Aside from a precious few standouts, mainstream US news does a pitiful job of covering sailing – a sport that can be arcane and esoteric for anyone not born to it, and one that comes with a presumption of rich, white douchebaggery.  So when a local newspaper in the middle of nowhere publishes a full feature on a small Moth regatta, it stands out. And when that reporter – the area’s most senior journalist – captures exactly what happened, it’s a small miracle.  It shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, though: New York Times reporter and longtime SA’er Chris Museler joined the fleet recently, and between his knowledge and new US Moth Class media queen Lara Dallman-Weiss’s enthusiasm and social media skills, we expect plenty of new interest and solid growth over the next 12 months.  And pieces like this one can only help.

Some sailors will tell you that if you want to go fast, you should get a power boat. That presumes that boats with sails are, by nature, pokey.

But not all.

Consider the Moth.

ofpmf 2015A small boat capable of 30 knots, Moths fly above the water thanks to hydrofoils.

Moths are the kind of boat that makes you look twice, their hulls held aloft by hydrofoil legs, high above the water that other boats ply.

In mid-November there was a chance to see Moths in action in Pamlico County waters. For a few days, just off of Steve Benjamin’s newly-opened Minnesott Beach Sailing Center, the Moths zipped along several feet above the Neuse River.

Steve knows about sailing a boat fast – in early November he’d placed 2nd in the World Etchells Championships in Hong Kong – but these Moths were faster still and he’d invited the Moth sailors to come here for a weekend Moth camp with an important mission. It would be their one last training and practice in advance of a December regatta in Bermuda where they’ll face sailors with Americas Cup experience.

The Neuse was perfect for practice this time of year says Anthony Kotoun, the US champion Moth boat sailor. That’s because the river has the same kinds of sailing conditions he and other Moth sailors expect to encounter in Bermuda.



November 25th, 2015

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By “rules”, we mean third place! Gotta love this one and props to Anarchist Luis.


November 24th, 2015

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paraThe 2015 Para World Sailing Championships will see 142 sailors from 31 nations compete across three Paralympic events in Williamstown, Melbourne, Australia from 27 November to 3 December.

World Championship titles and Rio 2016 Paralympic Games places are at stake with racing taking place out of the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria. A number of Paralympic medallists and World Champions make up the starters in the 2.4mR, SKUD18 and Sonar fleets. More here.

Editor’s note: Legendary “disabled”sailor Dee Smith from the USA will continue his shameful and embarrassing “disabled” sailing campaign at this regatta.

We hope some of the actual disabled sailors at this event have the stones to tell Smith what a disgrace he is to all of Para Sailing…


November 24th, 2015

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what is it 11 18

Tricky, no?


November 24th, 2015

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They’re off and the start of the most amazing global match race has begun. In the dead of night this past Sunday morning off the north coast of France two of the fastest and most amazing sailboats on this planet took off to lap the planet in an effort to break the non-stop circumnavigation record currently held by Loick Peyron and his crew aboard Banque Populaire V. The first to go was IDEC Sport skippered by Francis Joyon. At 02:02:22 GMT IDEC Sport crossed an imaginary start line that runs from the Créac’h lighthouse on Ile de Oessant (Ushant Island) to Lizard Point on the southwest corner of England. This imaginary line has served as the start of the Jules Verne Trophy since it’s inception in 1990 and the same line will serve as the finish line. It’s hard to believe but if the crew of IDEC Sport are successful in their mission they will be back just as the new year starts.

Just under two hours after IDEC Sport took off Yann Guichard and his crew on Spindrift 2 crossed the same imaginary line in search of the same record. In order to be successful both boats need to be back by late in the day January 6, 2016. The time to beat is 45 days, 13 hours, 22 minutes, and 53 seconds and was set in 2012. Spindrift 2 is the same boat that holds the record but in new livery and a refit for this almost impossible quest. They will need more than good weather to beat the time; they will need a whole lot of luck. There are so many potential pitfalls on the 25,000 mile course from floating containers to submerged ice to extremes in weather from the heat of the tropics to the bone chilling cold of the Southern Ocean.

The wind was out of the north blowing around 10 knots when both boats set off. “We don’t have much wind at the moment, just 8 to 10 knots,” said Yann Guichard shortly after they started. “The sea conditions are not easy because there is a strong current but the wind will pick up in strength. So it’s a steady start at 15-18 knots.” The breeze is expected to build to around 30 knots and the sea state to even out, a perfect way to get underway.

The first ten days will be critical. Both teams have studied the weather in minute detail to pick the very best time to start. They will need to slingshot out of there across the Bay of Biscay and past the doldrums and equator into the Southern Hemisphere. If they are not ahead of, or at least close to where Banque Populaire V was there may not be any need to continue. It’s hard to make up time and Loick Peyron himself attributed the success of there record attempt to great weather and a lot of good luck.

In under three days both boats have covered over 1,800 miles at an average speed of 30 knots. At last check both IDEC Sport and Spindrift 2 were separated by just a few miles and both boats were just under 200 miles ahead of where Banque Populaire V was at the same time into their journey.

To me it seems as if the record could well be broken. In past attempts the boats have been racing an imaginary ship; these two boats are going to be going head to head pushing each other every inch of the way. There is nothing like a physical boat on the horizon ahead to stir competitive spirit. In any event it’s going to be a clash of titans to wrap up what’s been an amazing year of open ocean racing. Bon chance to both boats. We are looking forward to some spectacular racing. Most of all be safe.

You can track the progress of each boat - Spindrift Racing and  IDEC Sport or even better, track them both together right here!

And you can become a better sailor by reading Brian Hancock’s blog right here. Money back guarantee!


November 24th, 2015

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The Clipper Round the World Race may be a travel agency dressed up as a yacht race, so you can forgive us (and the rest of the racing world) for not paying much attention to a round-the-world ‘race’ that’s always had its share of unqualified skippers, useless crew, and now fatal accidents.

Until now, there just wasn’t much to watch outside the occasional crash or capsize, but all that’s changed with the addition of former Miss Universe Great Britain winner Amy Willerton to the crew of the Garmin boat for the final, cold and nasty homecoming leg from New York to London. We’re not sure how much Sir Robin paid the blonde smokeshow best known for her stunning resemblance to Cindy Crawford in her heyday (see her Miss Universe pic here) but we’re certainly paying attention now – as is the rest of the world.  Regardless of who is actually winning the race (and no, we’re not going to look it up), we know which boat we’ll be following, and we salute this latest chick for getting out of her comfort zone for a trip with the potential for some real nastiness.  Maybe, just maybe, she’ll get the bug and become a real racer.  Fingers crossed, and thread here.

November 23rd, 2015

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The Canadian Melges 24 contingent loves Miami seafood, but 4-time Canadian Olympian Richard Clarke got more than he bargained for when two fat Spanish Mackerel nearly took his head off last weekend in the Miami Melges 24 Invitational – the ‘test event’ for next year’s Worlds.  One fish landed in the cockpit, but it escaped beforethe Zingara crew could bust out the rigging knives and make sushi…results are here.

Photo copyright Petey Crawford, Penalty Box Productions.

November 23rd, 2015

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