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Displaying balls the size of grapefruits by splitting with their competitors (Mapfre and Brunel) for the  overall win, Team DongFeng has indeed made the split pay by coming back from a multiple mile deficit to win this leg – right at the end – and win the 2018 Volvo Ocean Race! They finished at 15:22:32 UTC with about a 3 mile lead on the next boat.

An amazing call, an amazing execution, and an amazing win.


June 24th, 2018

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Can you believe this shit?  It is literally less than 4 hours to the finish of the 2018 Volvo Ocean Race and it’s still completely up for grabs!  Watch the tracker replay to see how Dongfeng Race Team either threw their chances away on a Danish beach or made the smartest flier in history, and stay tuned for the finish, when a million Dutchies will either be very excited or very annoyed!

UPDATE: Mapfre just crossed Brunel and AKZO in a moderate air gybing duel.  The three lead boats – and remember, either MAPFRE or Brunel is going to win this race – are 35 NM directly upwind from Den Haag. Fascinating shit.

June 24th, 2018

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This is a good look into what sort of drone/video technology is out there. This is done by my friend Justin Richard, while we were in Newport Beach doing the livecast of the start of the Newport to Ensenada Race. Don’t judge me for the hoody, I didn’t know we were being filmed…haha.


June 23rd, 2018

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From the Ed’s “I love me” collection comes this week’s masturbatory moment from the last beercan race that he didn’t win. 2nd just won’t do, son. Photo from Da-Woody.


June 22nd, 2018

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No, not the Alec Baldwin TV game show, the death match between Mapfre and Dongfeng has begun. Add Brunel to the mix (hopefully), and good lord is this going to be an incredible fight! Follow along here.


June 22nd, 2018

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There have been some very dramatic finishes in the Volvo Ocean Race. One that comes to mind was the battle on Waitematā Harbour between Kiwi’s Grant Dalton on New Zealand Endeavour and Chris Dickson on Tokio as both teams vied to be the first into their homeport. It was in the dead of night with most of Auckland’s population out on the water to witness the dramatic finish. To be honest I don’t remember who crossed the line first but there was just seconds between them and the excitement was electric.

There have been other close finishes but this current Volvo Ocean Race, now on the last leg of the race into The Hague, is by far the most dramatic. It’s bound to be a close finish, that’s been the nature of the race thus far, but there are three teams atop the leaderboard who are in a tie for first place and the overall winner of the race is going to be decided on this leg. The three boats vying for the win are the Spanish yacht Mapfre, the Chinese team Dongfeng and the Dutch aboard Team Brunel. All are tied with 65 points, well technically Dongfeng has only 64 but they will pick up an extra point by having the lowest elapsed time for the race.

Here’s what’s at stake. There has never been a Spanish or Chinese winner of the Volvo Ocean Race so if either of those boats win there will be history made. There have been a number of Dutch winners going all the way back to the legendary Connie van Rietschoten aboard Flyer in 1977/78 but the sentimental favorite to win has to be Team Brunel skipper Bouwe Bekking who is competing in his eighth, and probably last race. Who doesn’t support a man who has been on such a mission to win, especially as he will be sailing into his home country?

The course for this final leg is a crazy one. The boats started off Gothenburg on Sweden’s west coast but instead of sailing direct to The Hague they were sent to a turning mark off Norway.  From there they have had to retrace their wake to a “fly by” in Denmark. As this is being written the boats are currently sailing into the harbor of Aarhus where they will round a turning mark in front of thousands of spectators and then head back north again to sail around the top of Denmark before finally being able to point their bows south toward the finish in the The Netherlands.

So far the racing has been dramatic with the two red boats, Mapfre and Dongfeng Race Team in a boat-for-boat match race at the front of the fleet. As the boats sail into the harbor of Aarhus the Chinese aboard Dongfeng have a slight lead but they are sailing in shifty wind conditions and anything can happen. Let’s not forget that Mapfre skipper Xabi Fernandez is an Olympic Gold and Silver medallist in the 49’er class. No slouch when it comes to picking wind shifts especially in shifty conditions.

It seems that Bekking and company are not enjoying much luck and are languishing in fourth place 12-odd miles behind the leaders, but let’s not forget that they were toward the back of the fleet for the first half of the last leg before they made a spectacular come-from-behind surge to win the leg. The course ahead has many passing lanes and the forecast for the west coast of Denmark is for strong northwesterly winds, just the kind of conditions  that Team Brunel excel in.

I may have been a critic of the Volvo Ocean Race in the past and I have received some grief for it, but this is very dramatic and exciting and could not have been scripted by even the best writers. This is match racing on a global scale played out by some of the very best sailors on the planet speaking of which there is a secondary game being played out by Kiwi sailors Pete Burling and his former teammate Blair Tuke. Burling and Tuke won a gold medal in the Rio Olympics and both won the America’s Cup last year.

They are going for sailings Triple Crown, a win in all three that includes the Volvo Ocean Race. Tuke is aboard Mapfre who rounded the turning mark in Aarhus in second place just a few hundred meters behind Dongfeng, and Burling is aboard Team Brunel. If Dongfeng Race Team hold onto their lead and win in The Hague they will deny both sailors the Triple Crown but there is a lot of runway still ahead and much to play for. Sailing at its best and kudos to the Volvo Ocean Race for providing the sailing community with such drama. – Brian Hancock.


June 22nd, 2018

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Travis Rice is a bad ass!


June 22nd, 2018

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The notorious Bora breeze at 30 knots kept the 52’s sitting idle at the Zadar Royal Cup in Croatia.


June 22nd, 2018

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Anarchist David, our occasional Down Under correspondent, recently filed an extended analysis for Afloat magazine of the recently released Class Rules for the AC75 yachts to be used in the 2021 series. Here’s a condensed version of his thoughts:

A distinguishing feature of the Trump Era has been how quickly a weird policy proposal or outlandish public statement becomes the ‘new normal’. No matter how preposterous the notion, after an initial day of media anguish and ferment what seemed way out of left field yesterday somehow drifts into the middle ground by today. Tomorrow it will be accepted as reasonable, if not inevitable. Nobody seems to have the courage to stand up and yell, “Stop! This is batshit crazy!”    

This reluctance to confront arrant nonsense has now infected just about every area of human endeavor, and sailing is not exempt. Here’s a case in point: when the New Zealand holders of the America’s Cup and the Challenger of Record published their joint new class rules for the 36th America’s Cup the boat they envisaged was like nothing that exists in the sport. They dreamed up a bizarre foiling monohull with no keel that has never been built, let alone sailed.

Those new rules were released on March 31 – just 24 hours before April Fool’s Day –  but did anyone say, “You’ve got to be kidding”? Nope. We accepted this drawing-board fantasy as yet another triumph of sailing technology and didn’t bother reading the fine print.

Well, the AC75 rules are all fine print. The document runs to 62 pages of very small type. There are 304 distinct rules, plus their many sub-sections. They range from specifying the extent of allowable foil cant angle to the electrical actuation of drive clutches. There are at least a thousand cited limit values on length, weight, diameter, area, volume, strength, thickness, density and pressure. Everything is tightly controlled – down to tolerances of +/- 2mm – for fear that some cunning designer or computer whizz might stumble on an advantage that puts all other entrants out of the competition from Race #1.

The levels of detail driving this control mania are astonishing. The nominated restrictions include:

* only eight permitted brands of surface paint

* an allowable variation in hull length of just 10 cm

* 13 separate rules governing hydraulic control circuits

* nine rules (plus detailed diagrams) to regulate electrical and electronic systems

* 10 rules to govern the foil cant system

* a formula with eight components to limit mainsail girth

Not surprisingly, the rules document concludes with no less than 100 separate definitions of the terms it includes.

The end result is that the fleet of AC75s who will race from Auckland in 2021 are likely to be virtually identical. It was much the same with the foiling catamarans in Bermuda last year. The only notable physical difference was the quartet of cyclists on the New Zealand boat. (The new rule even puts an end to that wrinkle: all crew power “must primarily be transmitted through the crew’s hands”.)

So, what will be the point of all this huge expenditure of money, effort and expertise? Why such extraordinary degrees of complication and control? If the America’s Cup is to become a pure test of yacht racing skill then we may as well sail it in one-designs –  Etchells, or even Lasers. At least the ordinary sailor might then feel a genuine connection to the event.

There is, however one part of these new America’s Cup rules that should be a comfort to us all. Rule 27.1 states that the crew “shall all be human beings”. Good to know.


June 22nd, 2018

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Big Pimpin’

HH Catamarans announced in May their new line of world touring catamarans. They will be built by Hudson Yacht Group, builders of HH Catamarans and Hudson Powercat, at their state-of-the-art production facility in Xiamen.

“As has come to be expected from Hudson Yacht Group,” says HYG’s new company President, Chris Doscher, “exceptional build quality and beautiful finish will be standard throughout. The HH Oceans Series catamarans will take you touring in style, offer luxury living and remain strong and powerful and simple to helm.”

The HH Ocean’s Series will be ultra-modern, e-glass cruising catamarans, built strong, elegant and safe, with sailing systems perfectly tailored for ease of use. These catamarans will be aimed at an audience familiar with the award winning, all carbon Morrelli & Melvin designed, HH Catamarans, who want a cruising focused vessel from the same industry leading designers and builders.

The first design ready to go into production will be the OC50. This catamaran features a very spacious general arrangement. The large saloon offers a generous sized galley to starboard with an L-shaped counter. Ample seating around a large dining table and a dedicated navigation station to port with cold storage and an L-shaped sofa forward. Standard options include a three or four cabin layout with master suite in the port hull aft.

Deck layout and sailing systems have been designed with the owner in mind. The OC50 will have a single helm station with raised bimini starboard aft, that will provide excellent visibility and allow the helmsman total sail control. All HH Oceans Series catamarans will have fixed keels allowing the boat to comfortably navigate shallow waters.

The design brief for the HH Ocean Series allows for significant cost reduction in comparison to the all-carbon HH Catamarans models. Composite sandwich construction with e-glass, rather than carbon fibre, hull and deck will be standard, with all high load areas reinforced with carbon fibre.

For more detailed information, including full specifications, option lists, pricing and short delivery schedules, contact the HH Catamaran sales team right here.

HH Catamarans are built by Hudson Yacht Group at their wholly-owned, state-of-the-art production facility in Xiamen, China. Hudson Yacht Group delivers innovative yachts with unmatched pedigree, craftsmanship and performance.

Visit their site to learn more.


June 22nd, 2018


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