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Archive for the ‘Big Pimpin’’ Category

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Still the most successful inshore/offshore big-boat box rule ever, the TP52 continues to set the standard for owner/driver Grand Prix monohull action, and with new faces and the return of the ever-competitive Ran program, the 2016 season looks as good as its ever been.  This piece brought to you by our partner Seahorse Magazine in association with the TP52 SuperSeries.

Going through the 52 Super Series 2016 scheduling and entry list one might think that not much has changed from the spectacular 2015 series in which we saw nine new builds join the fleet. However, there are two new venues: Scarlino in Tuscany and Mahón in Menorca. Scarlino opens the series in May. The modern Marina di Scarlino provides ample space to get a fleet of this size and standard properly measured and prepared.

Scarlino is followed in late June by the testing conditions on the emerald coast of Porto Cervo. A fine combination of scenic but nerve-racking coastal races and a couple of windward-leeward days will decide the winner of the highly valued Settimana delle Bocche trophy. From Sardinia to the Bay of Palma and Puerto Portals in July provides another contrast in sailing conditions, requiring remoding to both your boat and to your tactician’s mindset.

This year we choose not to race during August as many of our officials and umpires are involved with the Olympics, but the TP52 worlds in September will see 12 TP52s battling it out in beautiful Mahón. One of the largest natural harbours in the world, Mahón has been claimed by many seafaring nations and has seen some epic sea battles. We hope to add one more, albeit more peaceful.

Finally, on 15 October we will know the identity of the 2016 52 Super Series champion… after five final days of racing on the challenging waters of Cascais and a total 45-odd races sailed with no discard allowed. No doubt another worthy winner.

One of 12 strong teams will share the experience this year, with Sorcha owner Peter Harrison and his sailing team directed by Campbell Field as the only newcomer in the fleet. They will join us at Porto Cervo and the TP52 worlds.

A few weeks ago five of our 2016 teams engaged in six days of sailing from the Valencia base of the St Petersburg Yacht Club, an initiative by the owner of Bronenosec, Vladimir Liubomirov. As can be expected after a full season of racing, I witnessed a different level of boat preparation than what we started with last year.

All five had used the long winter recess to evaluate and modify their boats. As a consequence it is equally as exciting to line up for the first time now as it was last year.

This year the TP52s for the first time in the history of the class race below seven tonnes displacement (6,950kg) but, as things go, the loads still go up by popular demand of the trimmers. Most rigs have consequently been beefed up by adding extra laminate to the outside of the tube. But as each team has different ideas on tube stiffness it surely was not the same mod for all.

Many have changed their standing rigging to fine-tune in this department in terms of both strength and drag. Provezza bit the bullet and the owner combined his wish to have a spare mast with a new rig incorporating significant changes in stiffness… as well as fibre optics laminated into the tube to record mast bend.

Retrieving quality data is the basis for proper performance evaluation, the only basis really. The majority of the Vrolijk-designed boats will sport new or re-profiled keel fins, some in combination with a new rudder. Rudders are moving forward as well, in search of higher modes upwind.

The majority of the Botín-designed boats are also on a new rudder track. Sails are never the same; I am not qualified to say anything sensible there. I just make sure we end up within the class limits with the right logos and sail numbers…

The human mind’s appetite for change is hard to contain. In combination with a lack of appetite for reading the rules, we sometimes end up on the wrong side of the fence. But once again I have Pablo Ferrer, now in his 11th year of measuring and checking TP52s. He has not seen it all, but more than most for sure.

So what did we see on the water in Valencia? Guillermo Parada, helmsman on Azzurra, noted, ‘All of the boats had improved and every day it is getting harder to gain a speed edge, so this season will be super-tight. Now it’s time to download all the data from this week and make the final choices about equipment and settings for the Super Series itself.’

Talking to Tony Langley and Tom Wilson, owner and manager of Gladiator, there was cautious optimism that with recent improvements the team have now found the legs to be on a par with the others; this was backed up by observations from the other teams. It hardly ever gets more detailed than ‘Gladiator is fast’ but they were not joking. With Mr Ian ‘Abu Dhabi’ Walker, double Olympic medallist, on tactics for the season I feel the orange-red hull shall be visible in quite a few photos of the leading pack. Once they’re confident and up to speed the next goal is consistency, maybe even harder to achieve.

Simon Fry, trimmer on the Vrolijk-designed Provezza, confirmed their search for more improvements upwind and the trade-off that demands: ‘In general now we can live in skinnier [tighter, higher] lanes upwind than we could before and I don’t think we have given away much downwind… So it’s hopeful.’

Amazingly, it is the fifth year already since the demise of the MedCup. Time flies. Also in 2016 the Super Series fleet will be predominantly owner-driver and the outlook for 2017 is no different. Teams joining (like Interlodge) or showing interest in joining in 2017 are so far all owner-driver.

If there ever was any overlap with pro-driver commercial sailing events like the AC, Extreme Sailing Series or the Volvo in the MedCup days, whether in reality or in ambition, I feel this is no longer the case. This is important as it will produce a clearer picture, a clearer product, whether one is looking to join, to enjoy, to work, to support, to sponsor, to watch or to follow online.

As for the boats, they suit that model perfectly. Cutting-edge technology, fast and sometimes even furious without getting into the extreme sport arena, certainly not one-trick ponies and well sought-after secondhand all over the world.

The space for evolution has narrowed after the large steps taken between 2011 and 2014, at least without a major rewrite of the TP52 Rule. Right now present and interested future owners all appreciate and expect rule stability. They will get just that till they indicate otherwise.

With class president Niklas Zennström back on the tiller of Rán Racing for the full series after a semi-sabbatical from racing in 2015, the 52 Super Series and the TP52 Class are ready for 2016. We wish all sailors, wherever their competition takes them, good times, nice winds… and fair competition.

Click here for more information on 52 Super Series »

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May 17th, 2016 by admin

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Ragtime2Big Pimpin’

Many of our younger readers know J/Boats as the “establishment brand” of asymmetric racer/cruisers typified by the J/70, 80, 88, and 111 that dominate inshore one-design fleets and the 120, 122, 109, and 105 that typically make up somewhere around half of most handicap fleets.  But few of them realize that with the launching of the J/24 Ragtime, the Johnstones were the original Sailing Anarchists of the 70s.  Happy Anniversary to the J/24 – here’s a note from the celebration, with a title shout thanks to Sublime.

rag2Family and friends gathered yesterday in Stonington, CT to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the launching of the 24’ sloop RAGTIME – Rod Johnstone’s garage-born, dream boat built by hand over a 17 month period, and launched on May 15th, 1976.  There were lots of stories shared as most who were gathered had helped either build, launch or sail RAGTIME during the memorable summer of ‘76.  After launching, RAGTIME and her family crew (mostly under the age of 16), would go on to win 15 of 17 races in Eastern Connecticut that summer and inspire enough people to want a sistership, that Rod quit his job, asked Everett Pearson to build them, his brother Bob to sell them, and the J/24 (and J/Boats) was born.

May 17th, 2016 by admin

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Big Pimpin’

Oceanvolt Systems are now being offered on new Elan E3, E4 & E5 models!

“The motor is just amazing, the maneuvering in the harbor, torque, the silence. Better than we ever expected!” – owners of the first electric Elan E4,

Oceanvolt electric motor systems are standard on more than 90 boat models, both monohull & multihull, represented by 45 different boat manufOV2acturers worldwide. In addition to Elan this list includes brands like McConaghy Boats, J/Boats, Dufour Yachts & Alerion Yachts to mention a few. The systems are highly reliable, silent, maintenance free & create energy while sailing. The batteries of the propulsion system can be charged using the hydro generation feature on the motors, solar power, shore power or a small DC generator. Because the systems are 48V they can be installed by anyone without any special electrical certification.

Contact Springline Yacht Sales ([email protected]) in the US to get more information about the different electric motor packages on the Elan models.

May 14th, 2016 by admin

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Big Pimpin’

Our buds over at HH Catamarans pushed the all-new HH66 cruising cat hard in her recent sea trials, with the boat passing with flying colors and now tucked away for her shipment to a happy new owner in Valencia, Spain.  The boat looks especially slick in the hands of a few well-known ex-Gunboat peeps you’ll see in the video, and we look forward to our first sail aboard this sexy carbon beastie.

HH has revamped their Facebook page and website in time to take your order…check ‘em out here.

Title shout nostalgia from 1987.


May 11th, 2016 by admin

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Day Three of the Star Sailors League rolls on, live from Hamburg, Germany.


May 5th, 2016 by admin

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The Star Sailors League hit a new high this week, with 90 teams racing the SSL City event in Hamburg Germany for a share of the $100,000 prize purse.  In a big nod to series creator Michel Niklas’s vision, young racers are kicking ass after one day – Connecticut crew Josh Revkin sits in first place, while Luke Lawrence and Ian Coleman hold third.  Full news over here, and today’s racing begins above at 1000 local time (CET).

May 3rd, 2016 by admin

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Big Pimpin’

The Star Sailors League continues on its merry way 180 sailors, 90 teams, 100,000 dollars on the riverfront in Hamburg, Germany.  Live, big money, knockout format monohull sailing may be right up your alley.  Check it out all week, right here on the front page.  Full schedule here.


May 3rd, 2016 by admin

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Zika, Roussef’s impeachment, and Brazil’s nasty recession have taken the focus off the putrid condition of the Olympic Sailing Venue in Guanabara Bay, but a team of high level documentarians is hoping to make sure the environmental lessons learned in this debacle of an Olympics will never be forgotten.  If you believed any of the ISAF or IOC or Rio2016 bullshit, watch the beautifully produced trailer above to find out the real truth from people who really have something to lose.  Here’s a deeper description from our friends at Sailors For The Sea.

We just recently helped raise the funds to send the film crew to finish filming so the documentary can be released before the Olympics. Tomorrow we are launching a crowd-funding campaign to finish production. We could really use the help of the passionate Sailing Anarchy base to get this thing off the ground. With 99 days to the Olympics I don’t think it could be better timing!

Film Overview
When the world descends on Brazil this August for the Olympics, they are going to get more than they bargained for. Shopping carts and couches, offensive odors and a web of plastic pollution blanket the once iconic landscape of Guanabara Bay.

The film will document the origin of waste, from the communities where it is generated, to the streams and major tributaries that carry it into the Bay. We will define the scope of the problem and tell this story from the perspective of community members and activists who desire lasting change, such as Arthur a young sailor featured in the trailer.

We will also document community-level waste collection centers, and other localized solutions that can be scaled, as an example not only of the hope, but also of the real and prosperous future that is possible for the citizens of Rio, who call the Bay their home.

Sound Off Films’ founder Annie Costner has been traveling back and forth to Rio since 2011. Intrigued by the waste issue and determined to tell the locals’ side of the story—which extends beyond the concerns of international athletes competing in this summer’s Olympics—she started asking questions.

Read On.


April 29th, 2016 by admin

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One of the breeziest Charleston Race Weeks in years wraps today, with waves so massive outside the jetties that organizers took the unprecedented step of moving the entire offshore racing fleet under the Ravenel Bridge for some tight windward/leewards in the Wando River.  Want to see how it all unfolds?  Watch Clean and the team on Facebook, all day.

Here’s a shot and story from the inshore course.

I have been a part of some epic knock-downs, but I think this one had even more special meaning.  I was onboard with two amputees and a blind guy that not only recovered from this 90 degree charleston harbor perfect 10, but proceeded to put the spinnaker up again and push to get it right.  I can’t tell you how amazing this group of men and women are that committed to sail in Charleston race week with Warrior Sailing Program. Back on the water today for some J22 action and big boat racing!

The Warrior Sailing Program is still seeking last bit of funding to help make their fund-raising goal!

This is the deal:  The men and women of Warrior Sailing Program have opportunities to sail onboard USMMA Sailing Foundation vessels.  One of the vessels provided this week is Metolius, an 84’ donated vessel.  All of the expenses for this opportunity are covered by the Foundation.  We need help from the sailing community to make this happen on a consistent basis. While we have been sailing in regattas and having a blast, these men and women have been fighting for our freedom and safety.  If everyone takes a minute and donates even $5, it is going to a worthy cause!

Please introduce yourself and come meet the Team!  We will be at all of the Charleston Race Week events sporting our awesome new Zhik gear.

-Ben ‘Pooch’ Poucher

April 17th, 2016 by admin

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Miami  to Havanna RaceThere are a few folks who truly stand out for their thankless, difficult work trying to build a future for this sport we love so much, and Ben Poucher is one of the most noteworthy.  He sends us the latest from the WARRIOR SAILING PROGRAM to try to get your support, and to remind everyone that the WSP has nothing to do with the scandalized Wounded Warrior organization - with Ben, your money actually goes to the veterans!  If you hate reading, just go and watch this great video about WSP.  Thanks to Marco Oquendo for the shot of the program-owned Trebuchet in Havana Harbor.

People who read the SA front page consistently might notice the name Ralf Steitz or USMMA Sailing Foundation on occasion – usually they’re getting some love for their efforts in supporting youth sailing initiatives.    But do people ACTUALLY know what they do for sailing?  I doubt it.  Not only does Ralf continue to support cadets at King’s Point and youth programs like 13Fifty Racing, but he has also committed to making Warrior Sailing Program a sustainable success story.  With over 120 graduated wounded veterans through the Basic Training Camps to date, the Warrior Sailing Program is expanding its horizons and challenging its graduates to new sailing adventures!  New initiatives for advanced training, offshore sailing opportunities, and able bodied regattas are all on the upcoming schedule.  WSP is the lead sailing program in adaptive sailing opportunities for wounded members of the armed services.

So what, exactly, is WSP about?  The Warrior Sailing Team is comprised of graduates from the training camps that are ambitious to race at a competitive level.  The WS Team will be competing in able-bodied and disabled body events through the spring/summer 2016. The first in a series of inshore training regattas for 2016 is Charleston Race Week.  The team’s season will continue with monthly regatta or training events and will culminate this August in Kingston, Ontario for the J22 WORLDS !

IMG_0254In addition to supporting Warriors on the J22 race circle during Charleston Race Week, Ralf and The Sailing Foundation are also offering their newest donated sailing vessel as an awesome platform for pursuit racing during the Charleston eent.  The 84 foot ‘Metolius’ will be a sight to see with Warriors taking their new skills aboard from April 14-17.  To add another event to the already busy April schedule, The Sailing Foundation is sending Kings Point Cadets along with youth sailors offshore onboard the Foundation Reichel/Pugh 69 Trebuchet in the Palm Beach To Charleston Race  April 8th.

The USMMA Sailing Foundation is taking the lead and needs your help to keep these initiatives and opportunities for youth and warriors!  Send your support to Warrior Sailing and go to the WARRIOR CAMPAIGN fundraising efforts, or go to the website to see how you can get involved!

If you see us in Charleston, please come introduce yourself!  Our top priority is to make the men and women who graduate from WSP camps feel welcome and included in the sailing community.  We all owe these warrior sailors a sincere ‘thank you’ for their service and sacrifice. Support Warrior Sailing, not other initiatives that don’t directly impact those that need it the most.

-Ben ‘Pooch’ Poucher, Director

Warrior Sailing Program


April 3rd, 2016 by admin



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