Today the party people of San Diego mourn as 28,000 pounds of their best friend passed away today…
Some might say this is nearly as sad, nay, much more sad, than the murder (as reported below) of the San Diego to Ensenada race…
October 7th, 2014
You can tell your wife you just bought a brand new 100′ Maxi! Think of the look of love she will bestow upon you….when she finds out you bought the mini version….!
October 6th, 2014
Hey congratulations are in order to SWYC for the years of poor promotion, lack of energy and zero creativity that has led to the death of the once great San Diego to Ensenada Race. What?, you say, it’s not dead! Oh yes it is, it just doesn’t know it yet. Need some proof? Take a look at the results.
Take a pathetic entry list, stupid class breaks and a YC that is either too old, too out of touch, or just doesn’t seem to give a shit and what you get is one of the better SoCal coastal races that has died a death from atrophy.
October 6th, 2014
The next generation of sailing studs is clearly taken with Charlie and Team Alvimedica, even if they can’t say the name. This is too damned cute, and thanks to Brandon for the heads up about our favorite Ratz of all. And while we hate to give love to another idiotic use of the ‘Everest of Sailing’ tautology, it’s good to see the young American getting some solid ink from the WSJ.
October 6th, 2014
2013 Melges 32 World Champion mast man and SA Staff Videographer Petey Crawford dusted off his sailing gloves for a little fall action this past weekend, and in our first piece of today’s Midwest Madness, he reports from the 18-boat Lake Geneva Melges 24 Fall Champs, with great pics from LGYC’s Michael Moore and a small gallery over here.
This past week I got a call from some friends in Western Michigan, and they asked if I wanted to go Melges 24 racing in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. After rescheduling a couple of things I jumped at the chance – I used to come to this even more than a decade ago when it was all J/24s, and Buddy Melges’ home club is always a great time. The lake’s empty of powerboats, the fall colors are popping, the breeze is almost always on, and the blue-collar LGYC never disappoints.
Imagine my surprise to pull up to the parking lot and find the clubhouse gone, and replaced with a construction site as the new Buddy Melges Sailing Center takes shape. With no facilities available at LGYC, the event moved across the lake to Gage Marine in Williams Bay, with the Gage staff doing a great job hosting every one of the ten out-of-town teams making the trip.
The Saturday forecast was a little on the brutal side, with expected temps in the high 30s to low 40s, and a mix of rain and snow. You heard that right – SNOW. Despite the hard core forecast, all 18 teams piled on the layers and sailed out through the wall of steam rolling across the water. The RC cranked off 4 races with wind ranges in the 12-18 knots, and it really wasn’t that bad once you got into it. My biggest problem was visibility; glasses on or glasses off, you couldn’t see much through the rain, but it was marginally better than getting the full wintery mix right into my eyeballs. It was a really fun day of sailing with good friends, and we were off the water by 2pm. That opened up the afternoon for us, and we took full advantage to up the fun factor. We were staying at a Methodist church retreat, and along with our upstairs neighbors from Muskegon, we probably broke just about every rule they had with all that time to kill before the 6 PM regatta party. We had about 3 hours of playtime on the shore of the lake with frisbees, volleyballs, wiffle balls, horseshoes, and even acorns flying through the air from all directions. It was pretty chaotic at times and I’m pretty sure we provided more than one topic of discussion for the group of college students who were staying there on an actual Methodist retreat. But goddamn, did we had fun.
Sunday morning started out with a similar forecast but with less warmth and less wind, but with the sun shining, it felt a comparative heat wave. The RC got us two more races to close out this year’s event and again, like it was on Saturday, it was a great day of sailing. Brian Porter and the Full Throttle team fully throttled us all and won every race but 1, but we won the most important race of the week, getting to the hoist first after an early finish in the final race.
We had a brand new VHF radio that must have been on a half-price sale because it only half-worked; we could transmit but could not receive. That was a problem all event, but especially when we were OCS on the last race; by the time the windward boat rolled us and we could hear them telling us we were over we were pretty far back. We swung the bat hard on the first beat hoping to make a gain to get back in the race, but with the breeze cranking, the boats in front of us hooked up on the downwind and were gone, we didn’t stand a chance of passing anyone and decided to take the extra point and get on the trailer first.
This is a great event and a beautiful time of the year to be racing sailboats, I have missed these events over the past few years with living in California and then Florida, and it was just perfect to be out there with friends, racing hard and having fun…even if it felt like we were inside a refrigerator.
-The God Damned Reverend, Out
October 6th, 2014
Rossi Milev’s final report from last week’s J/24 Worlds has reappeared from the hole it fell down, and here it is. Congrats to Rossi and the team on a solid 7th place, and a big thanks to all of them for contributing to 6 great reports from yet another strong J/24 WC. Also a big congrats to winner Will Welles and his crew on their first J/24 Worlds victory, especially long time Anarchist and contributor Luke Lawrence, who becomes one of the year’s super successful one-design sailors. Luke adds the Worlds to a list of diverse overall wins including the Bacardi Cup (Viper), Charleston Race Week (Viper), Celebrity Pro-Am Nantucket (IOD), J/24 Nationals, and the Medal Race in the Finns at the Miami OCR, as well as 6th in the J/70 Worlds and 15th at the Jaguar Cup. Here’s the report from our favorite Canadian Bulgarian. Vote on your favorite photo from J/24 Worlds at the Class Facebook page.
Brad Read made the call at 830 AM – it’s the Worlds, and that means we’re going out to the ocean again. And what an EPIC day it was! Very windy on the way to the course, and we were thinking the jib was the call again. Waves were 90 degrees to the wind and looked a lot like day one, but the wind was from the NNE. I wished it was day one and I could start this regatta over again from the beginning…
We had a nice 30-minute tune up with Will, with our boat finally moving really well upwind. We’d moved the mast butt forward a bit to get less forestay sag, and the boat felt lit up. It’s always amazing when you find the sweet spot with the tune just right, and the boat just transforms herself into something beautiful. Maybe she is called a ‘she’ for a reason!
In Race One, we again had a solid start just under the midline boat, burning boats off our hip until we looked good again. The breeze was dying a bit since we tuned up and the shifts becoming bigger and more unpredictable. We tack to port and look launched – until the next righty came in again and we can’t cross. A few more tacks back to the left and we’ve gotta win our side. Some things never change.
A very tight fleet at the top with Mollicone rounding ahead by a length or two over Will, with Tar Heel following. We rounded fifth, and with good right shifts on the downwind it was a drag race to the mark and the new course change. Not much changed for the rest of the race, with the order at the finish mostly matching the order at that first rounding. With Mauricio Santa Cruz out of the top ten, it was now a three boat regatta – not gonna be a lot of match racing in the last race!
As we grabbed another good start – five in a row now – I found myself wishing again that the regatta started on Monday. We went straight again, looking good and playing the left, though the leg repeated the first race; right with more pressure and left shifts short but strong, making you put the bow just high enough to clear the waves and grab the lift. Climbing up the ladder was tricky.
Mauricio was very patient on the left, surviving to round on Chile’s Matias Seguel stern. Welles in third again, and we were top ten. With Helly Hanson in the twenties and not a lot of passing lanes, the race between Will and Mauricio was on – but the boats behind suffered in few-to-no-gybe drag race. A big left shift on the second upwind inverted the fleet, and some corner bangers made huge gains on the left; we went middle right and lost twenty boats. Not the way we wanted to finish!
On the other hand, we were overjoyed for our long time friend and tuning partner Will Welles and his crew for fighting right to the end and winning a title that’s eluded Will for decades. Well done, guys.
The awards ceremony was a class act and a great finishing touch to a Worlds that celebrated the 35th anniversary of the first one. Can you imagine predicting that the J/24 would still provide some of the world’s best keelboat racing a third of a century after its first Worlds?
Feel free to question that by coming to Germany next year and trying to win. If you do, your name will be in some great company.
A huge thanks to Lavalife.com, Sailing Anarchy, and DryUV for their support of our Toronto-based team, which included Trimmer Chris Ball, Mast Mike McKeon, Bow Whitney Prossner and Tactician Chris Snow. We hope you enjoyed our stories.
October 6th, 2014
Charlie Enright’s Alvimedica Team may be the youngest in the Volvo Ocean Race but they didn’t look it on Saturday; the Turkish-flagged, American-helmed crew looked smart and conservative, letting the other boats mostly take themselves out of racing with a litany of boathandling flubs. Bad gybes, worse furls, screwy roundings, ugly laylines – most of the teams had one or more of these issues – but not Charlie. So the boys in orange get the morale boosting In-Port Race victory over Ian Walker’s Abu Dhabi team with the Spanish
The coverage itself was a bit embarrassing even for the first go-round, with the sole production bright light being brilliant talker and ex-Olympic Star guy Mark Covell on the microphone. Unfortunately, the hysterically screaming play-by-play Englishman beside him snuffed that light out most of the time with brilliant observations like “they are really close together!!!” and “this is the team’s third Vendee Race together!!!” The actual pictures weren’t much better – two helicopters, zero on-board footage, and what looked like iPhone footage from the water making up nearly all the images on the Youtube and broadcast feed. Even the Virtual Eye (or more likely, a knockoff based on the poor quality and completely inaccurate speeds) was useless.
We get that the VOR needed to cut costs, and we get that the In-Port now counts for almost nothing, and we get that the In-Ports are now pretty much internet only – and we applaud all these decisions. But we don’t get how the sponsors can look at this level of coverage and not be embarrassed to be involved. No coverage of any part of the world’s premier ocean race - the Formula 1 of the ocean – should be outspent and outperformed by live coverage of the World Match Race Tour, the Great Cup, or even the 5o5 Worlds. But this In Port coverage was.
Organizers deserve a little leeway because it’s their first attempt for this one but it ain’t like the VOR staffers haven’t been down this road before, so they don’t get much. Step it up, guys and girls, or give up on your claims of being the Big Show.
October 5th, 2014
This is the other Windows that we all hate! Props to Anarchist Gino.
October 3rd, 2014
Miami WRace/Donovan GP 26 Chronicles
Sitting on the patio of the Biscayne Bay YC on Sunday, enjoying the evening breeze and the traditional Lime Daiquiris that signal the end of the Lime Cup, it was easy to look across the parking lot and see Cliff Clark’s new Donovan GP 26 “Picarón” on the trailer, and forget about the work that went into putting the boat on the water for the regatta.
After all, just over a week before, the designer/mast builder Jim Donovan arrived in Miami with the mast, and a work/gopher crew arrived to pitch in on the project at various times during the week. Through the week, Jim kept all of us involved and working toward the weekend like an engine firing on all cylinders, resulting in a test-sail on Biscayne Bay on the afternoon before the regatta. Irrespective of the monumental amount of work done, to put any new boat on the water, and this one was no exception, the smile on the owner’s face would never have been as big if the boat had not been so much fun to sail.
The thread about the Donovan GP26 Production in Turkey is chock-full of information about the boat, but hopefully this report can fill in some of the blanks about on the water performance. “Picarón” hit the water on Friday 9/26 for a brief test sail in 8-10 knots of breeze on the flat waters of Biscayne Bay. After a quick look at the working sails and AP spin that came with the boat, we had a look at the MH and Frac Code Zeroes, and headed in to put the boat away for the night, comfortable with the knowledge that everything worked as intended, and that the boat was responsive and fast, even in pretty light conditions. It was time to go racing.
Saturday boat calls are early for the Lime Cup, with competitors headed across the bay and out the Stiltsville channel, to the starting area SE of Key Biscayne, for a race up to Ft. Lauderdale. The usual short first leg to the east was scrubbed this year, due to a missing National Park mark, so the race was essentially a drag race to Ft. Lauderdale, with the requirement of leaving all marks of Government Cut to port, in about 8-10 or 12, roughly out of the east. The Gulfstream was in close enough to make this requirement moot, with most boats heading out aggressively enough to get in the Stream and out beyond the channel pretty early. The angle was close enough to keep us from using the Frac CZ right off of the line (after an operator-error late start), but even with the headsail, we were able to work forward and low on the high boats, including a pair of Tripp 33s, a Hobie 33 and an Evelyn 32, who all fought higher than what we wanted to sail. As soon as we cracked off a bit and set the Fr0, this changed drastically.
With the slightest hint of following sea, we were able to repeatedly put the boat on waves, effortlessly getting onto a plane and staying there from wave to wave in the puffs. I say effortlessly because you really don’t notice the transition, it is so smooth; even in displacement-mode, the boat puts out very little wake, unless you A) have a fat guy on board and B), he is sitting or standing in the stern and to leeward (we tested this extensively on Friday). This allowed us to roughly parallel the coast, and maintain our position in the Stream, while not working way out with some of the rest of the fleet. Eventually, we needed to soak down to the finish, so we shifted up to the MH Code 0, and worked down on every puff. One interesting observation here is that we were the only boat (if memory and observations are correct) using a Code sail at this point, staying on edge and hiking like hell. It gets the apparent forward, and keeps it there. This has something to do with our inside position, negating the need to drive down as much as the outside boats did, but there were boats on the inside flying reaching kites. W
e finished off of the Dania Pier without ever having to do the low and slow soak to the finish; we were juiced up the whole time, thanks to early planning and soaking on puffs. The end result on Saturday was that while we could not hang within seven seconds per mile of the beautiful brand new Oyster 57, who corrected out about 10 minutes ahead, we were competitive with everyone else, edging a well sailed Farr 395 by about a couple of minutes.
Sunday was a different beast, with pretty steady 10 kt breeze a bit farther forward than what we saw Saturday, for the shorter ride from Lauderdale to Government Cut. Seeing a bit of north current on the pin, we were committed to getting in toward the beach. Having done this race a time or two, we knew that a lot of boats like to fight high on the Sunday leg, and we were content to let them go, knowing that we wanted the chance to get the Fr0 into clear air, and fairly certain that we could hike the boat down to the point that we could keep it off of the beach. This meant that the Fr0 was going to be on the jib halyard, which in turn meant that we were starting bareheaded. The predicted fight to go high materialized right on cue, and we had a nice lane to drive right over the pin just as the kite was hoisting, a few seconds late, but with a nice clear lane to head down toward the beach, and out of the north current.
Once we settled into a lane, with two bubbas hiking and the two skinny guys sailing the boat, we were comfortably making our way down the beach, hitting eight and change often, and staying in the sevens pretty regularly. That put us to leeward and even-with or a bit bow-out on the Aerodyne 38, and a couple of lengths behind the Farr 395 (and well inshore of both), with all of us watching the Oyster 57 sail away to the win. The finish was offshore enough that we had to downshift to the jib a couple of miles from the end. This allowed the Aerodyne to leg out a bit, beating us across the line by a couple of minutes. The corrected results put us in third for the day, 20 seconds or so behind a Beneteau 36.7. The combined times for the two days left us comfortably in second.
By the time the party started, we had already finished removing the rudder, lifting the keel, putting the boat on the trailer and cleaning everything up, with an hour to spare. This was despite taking an extra hour to get in from the race course, so that we could sail down and around Key Biscayne on the way in, to give the fat guys a chance to take the helm and have some fun. The tear-down was neither effortless nor overwhelming. With a bit of practice, it will be a smooth operation.
Conclusions about the boat…. To use single-word descriptions, “fun”, “fast”, “effortless”, “value” and “fun” spring to mind. (I like fun.) I say “effortless” to describe the ease with which the boat planes; it is easy to overlook when you have made the transition, it just happens. Add a little bit of wave action to the mix, and the fun-factor goes up exponentially. It will be interesting to see how the various boats perform with the different rigs (Picarón has a Jim Donovan-built mast and boom), when the east-coast boats get together, and they Should Get Together.
This is an awesome amount of boat for the money, a boat with the ability to peg the giggle meter at the red line, to go offshore (and come back in one piece), and do it in a hurry. Sail one, or two. Here. – Chris Woolsey.
October 3rd, 2014
Admit it, you have no idea.
October 1st, 2014