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The Vendee Globe makes the NY Times, in an eco-friendly kinda way…

Bernard Moitessier of France surprised the sailing world by peeling away from the first solo, nonstop, around-the-world race when he was on the cusp of finishing in 1969. He said in his reports to passing ships that he had found enlightenment on the high seas. He continued to go two-thirds of the way around the globe before landing in the South Pacific because he could.

This week, in the same storm-tossed Southern Ocean that Moitessier attacked twice, the British sailor Alex Thomson is struggling to conserve diesel fuel while competing in theVendée Globe, the offspring of that first race in 1969, then called theGolden Globe Race.

Diesel is the lifeblood of Thomson’s Imoca 60 racing yacht. All the electrical systems on the boat are run off a battery, which is charged by the diesel engine on board once or twice a day. Without energy produced by the boat’s diesel engine and two hydro generators, the autopilot and essential navigation systems would be lost. After losing one of the hydro generators that trail from the back of the boat in November, he is at risk of running out of fuel and abandoning the race.

Thomson may be pining for the days of Moitessier, when slower, simpler boats were steered by a wind vane, but there is only one boat today that can match Moitessier’s bold move by continuing on, seemingly indefinitely: Acciona 100% EcoPowered. It took three years of intense trial and error, but Javier Sanso’s eco-powered, 60-foot racing yacht in the Vendée Globe has been fully charged since the start of the race in Les Sables-d’Olonne, France, in November. And he is poised to make gains on the eight skippers in the front pack based on that fact alone. Read on.

December 25th, 2012

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Most of the year, we hate the fact that Australia is so many time zones away.  It makes interviews hard to schedule and airfare massively expensive, and generally serves to cut us off from the Aussies in the city with more Sailing Anarchists than any other: Sydney.

But one day a year, we love it, because the time difference means we get to watch the start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart race on Christmas.  We’re already laying around on the couch, we’ve got friends and family around to share the experience; what better way to spend a couple of hours in between shots of eggnog, binging on bird meat, and fighting with parents/in-laws/siblings?

THE GUIDE TO THE DAY

Hobart organizers are notoriously bad at conveying the ‘feel’ of this race to the public, and their years of organizing stories and video with Channel 7 producers has led to the perception that the race is one for big boats only.  Fortunately the continuing growth of social platforms has forced the RSH to do a better job of informing the fans, while a few new options should make this Hobart start perhaps the best-covered in history for those outside New South Wales.

PRINT:  
First off, we’ll send you to the Sydney Hobart thread; as usual, the overeducated fans in Sailing Anarchy’s forums will be analyzing the weather, the fleet, and the tracker to help you figure out what the hell is going on.  Check it out now.  Also, get on the Hobart Twitter feed to get the little stories and pics that race staff are uploading sporadically.

One place you’ll want to bookmark is the official entry list, with each yacht name hyperlinked to a fact sheet and photo of the competing boat.

RADIO: Next, you’ll want to open up the SailingChix With Nix live radio feed starting at 10 PM GMT/5 PM Eastern Standard Time/2 PM PST on Christmas Day.  Nicole, Mel, and Nix will be going for something like 5 full hours from their HQ high in Tania Park, while one of the girls will be down on a start boat for the actual start.  We’re told to expect plenty of great guests along with some super-secret insider info that should make the race a heck of a lot more fun to follow, so keep this feed going even when you are watching the video of the start.  More info is in the sailingchix thread, and the live feed is here, or you can download the mobile app here.

VIDEO:  
Starting at 12:30 local/0130 GMT on the 26th and 2030 EST/1730 PM PST on Christmas, you’ll want to check out the 90-minute, high-gloss live video stream of the start on the official Yahoo!7 Live feed here.  If you have a problem with it, you may be able to find the live feed on the official Race page.

TRACKER:
We’re told the very stale, unchanged-for-years tracker for the race has been redesigned, though it isn’t quite live yet so we’ll reserve our comments for later.  Either way, you can find it here.

BETTING:  If your country lets you place a bet on yacht racing, you can do so here.

December 25th, 2012

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Santa seen here making some last minute x-mas deliveries of new light air #1′s, code zero’s, winch packages, instruments and the Gold AmEx card to pay for it all! Merry times from Christophe Launay and your half-drunk pals at SA.

December 25th, 2012

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Looks pretty cool, right? How about all this for about $11k?

December 23rd, 2012

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The latest analysis on the fascinating Vendee Globe race from Ronnie Simpson. Brought to you by Bruce Schwab Energy Systems

Nearly 44 days into this Vendée Globe race and the leaders are still basically tied. This epic, record-smashing singlehanded match race around the world continues into it’s seventh week quickly becoming the stuff of legend. No dramatization in this writing, the two leaders Francois Gabart on MACIF and Armel Le Cleac’h on Banque Populaire continue to swap the lead on an almost daily basis, still separated by just a handful of miles; 7.5 as of this writing. The nearly identical VPLP-Verdier sisterships are consistently posting up duplicate speeds of one another, down to the tenth of a knot. Reviewing the Vendée tracker before writing this article only reinforces the extraordinary nature of this race. South of everything but Antarctica and more than halfway around the world, the guys are literally trading gybes, often in sight of one another, at sustained average speeds in the upper-teens and low-twenties. Solo. Fascinating stuff. Now a quarter of their way across the Pacific Ocean, the two have recently dispatched the New Zealand gate, with Le Cleac’h pinging the gate first and then gybing south, some 70 miles west of where Gabart crossed the gate and gybed. Cleac’h and Gabart now have just two gates (out of 8) left before reaching Cape Horn and beginning their trip home up the North Atlantic.

No close Vendée Globe match race would be complete without some brilliant psychological warfare, this edition being no exception. First, it was JP Dick not reporting that anything was wrong with Virbac-Paprec 3, only reporting the damage after heroically going aloft and fixing the problem. And now it’s 29-year old Vendée rookie Francois Gabart’s turn to play some psychological games as he has done by reporting “Spoon damage” on MACIF. With the rest of the fleet stopping to fix problems, nursing wounded boats around the globe and climbing their own rigs, the race leader is posting before and after pictures of 3 broken “sporks” and then a repaired one, taped together with black electrical tape. The always-smiling Golden Boy added:

“… No kidding I don’t have much else to eat with! I have my fingers but…

Fortunately I fixed it! I hope it will hold!

Have a good weekend

François”

With Gabart smiling, wearing Santa hats, claiming “he’s ready for Christmas” and joking around in videos and interviews, he is simply rubbing salt into the wounds of a battered fleet of pursuers struggling to keep up. Even Armel Le Cleac’h is sounding worn-down and melancholy, with his last Vendée Globe Live TV interview sounding quite brief and dejected, despite him trying to sound upbeat:

“It’s dark night outside. There is some sea. The weather conditions are going to be harder in the hours to come. The depression is coming on us. Christmas is going to be tonic.”

Is Cleac’h tired? Is Gabart really as fresh as he appears? Or are they having the same tough times that their 3 pursuers; Dick, Thomson and Stamm, have had? Are they having as smooth of a race as they show? Only time will tell. Perhaps something, or someone will finally break, but for now the two look set to continue sailing fast on starboard tack, headed straight for the penultimate gate, the West Pacific gate. After slowing in some moderate westerlies, the pair looks set to hook into an east-moving low that will keep them reaching fast in 25-35 southwesterlies. Watch for the leaders to maintain their slightly north of east heading and rhumb-line it the next gate. Again sailing in better conditions than the rest of the fleet, the leaders should continue extending on everyone but possibly Virbac-Paprec 3.

Virbac-Paprec 3 meanwhile continues sailing in third place, sailing a race almost equally incredible to the two leaders. Reaching the New Zealand gate after the leaders, Dick sailed well North of the entire thing, aiming straight for the trough of compressed breeze between a strong developing high east of New Zealand the low that Cleac’h and Gabart are hooking into at the moment. Broad-reaching east northeast in 25-35 knots of northwesterly breeze, Dick threw down a nearly 480 mile day on Saturday to re-claim 120 hard-fought miles from the leaders, bringing the gap down to nearly 500. Maintaining high speeds and again on-pace with the leaders since his up-the-rig heroics, the two-time Barcelona Champ was slightly slower on the last check-in but looks poised to stay in solid breeze in the trough, potentially working his way back up to the leaders when this low dissipates and the leaders hit the next ridge of high pressure. If Virbac-Paprec 3 can stay close to the leaders and catch the next low before MACIF and Banque Populaire, then we could potentially have a 3-horse VPLP match race to Cape Horn. That next low after this one could take all 3 leaders to the Cape.

Thomson maintains while Stamm heads to Auckland Islands for repairs

Now sailing all alone in 4th place since the loss of his Swiss match racing partner Bernard Stamm and Cheminees  Poujoulat, Englishman Alex Thomson is merely trying to maintain his position, still just under 900 miles from the leaders who look poised to extend further as they catch onto this next low. Spending the majority of his past day working on his hydrogenerator like his fallen comrade Stamm, Thomson was expected to reach lighter northerlies this morning that should allow him a productive day of work on repairing his hydros and restoring power to Hugo Boss, the only previous-generation boat in the top 5. Considering the hydrogenerator and rudder tie bar problems that Alex has had to deal with, not to mention a couple of days of major losses after getting dropped off the low a week ago, it’s absolutely incredible that he is where is in the fleet right now, situated just under 894 miles behind the leaders. Facing more unstable weather in the trough between two systems, Alex should shed more miles in the next 3 days, and now has to begin looking behind him. With Stamm stopping in the Aucklands and a hard-charging Jean Le Cam just 840 miles behind, Alex finds himself out of touch with the leaders who have pulled away and now has to nurse his boat back to health and fend off a crazed brit-hunting Frenchman in 3-time Figaro winner and 1-time Vendée Globe runner up Jean Le Cam on Synerciel; a very similar boat to Hugo Boss, with both of them being now 6-year old Farr designs.

Bernard Stamm meanwhile has had to seek shelter in Sandy Bay, south of Enderby Island, located in the northeastern part of the Auckland Islands archipelago. Relegated to stopping as his hydrogenerator has stopped working and his diesel fuel spares are dwindling, the Swiss sailor was surely haunted by the prospect of anchoring out at nearly the same latitude as Kerguelen Island, the sight of his retirement in the previous edition of the Vendée Globe. The memories of encountering rough conditions and being washed aground while trying to anchor are all too fresh in Bernard’s mind, with him reporting to the race committee just before 6 AM this morning that he had broken his engine seal and had to use his motor to reach his anchorage with winds up to 40 knots in the area. In the last Vendée Globe, Marc Guillermot on Safran was allowed to use his engine to anchor in this exact spot in the last Vendée Globe, a race in which he re-started and finished third. Race Director Denis Horeau fully supports Stamm’s actions and is likely to allow Cheminees Poujoulat to re-start after his repairs are completed and all information is submitted to the race committee.

While the close race between Alex Thomson and Bernard Stamm may have come to an end, the poetic nature of this duel will go down in Vendée history. Both men are still trying to finish their first Vendée, now each on their third attempt. Both have long been plagued with hydrogenerator problems amongst a myriad of other issues, and both had been match racing each other, swapping the lead repeatedly and often separated by miles, just like our two leaders Cleac’h and Gabart. Stamm even led the race overall for a while when approaching the Crozet Ice Gate. Bernard plans to also conduct a sail repair, rebuild and repair his central winch-grinding pedestal and repair his broken hydros in 24 to 48 hours and leave before Christmas Day and it
s forecasted challenging conditions and strong northerly breeze.

Le Cam is the man

The King is back. Everyone loves a comeback story and in the next two weeks, “King Jean” will be it. After wrapping a net around his keel in the South Atlantic and battling hard across the Indian Ocean, Le Cam has now managed to drop his longtime rivals Mike Golding and Dominique Wavre behind, sailing his new-to-him chartered Farr designed Synerciel (ex-Gitana Eighty who led the last Vendée early before dismasting a month in with Loick Peyron at the helm). Maintaining a gap of about 840 miles to Hugo Boss, Le Cam and Thomson were both making 16 knots at the last check-in. Thomson was forecast to hit light northerlies, while Le Cam was looking to outrun a brief hole before hooking into a low that will carry him under New Zealand and away from his pursuers. Depending on what this low does and how fast Le Cam can sail, he could likely find himself once again on the same weather system and in the same patterns as Thomson. Watch for the 3-time Figaro winner to pass the parked Cheminees Poujoulat and begin reeling in Hugo Boss. The Brit-hunting Le Cam already took care of Gamesa, finishing him off by sailing away and then adding “I think Mike has a problem with his sails because it’s not possible to sail like he does with the current wind directions.”

A battle of attrition and speed, Jean Le Cam is about to find himself in the top 5 and gaining on fourth place. Amazing stuff from the 53 year old multi-time Vendée veteran who sports the best hair in the Vendée, only rivaled by The Professor himself.

Misery loves company

Gamesa, Mirabaud and Acciona 100% Ecopowered are suffering in the light and moderate breezes in between two highs at the moment with a low building below them. Quickly allowing Jean Le Cam to sail away, the 3 boat race is going quite slowly with Golding and Sanso taking painful gybes south at just 10 knots and 7 knots of boat speed respectively. Dominique Wavre on Mirabaud was making 13 knots at the last check-in, right in between the two, but the forecast is bleak for these three in the middle of the fleet. Currently passing under Tasmania, the trio should continue struggling with light airs before catching breeze on the back of Le Cam’s low, again stalling on the ridge after the low, further losing miles. And then there were three. With 4 boats, it was fun while it lasted, but now it’s back to a three way battle for seventh place with Jean Le Cam being traded for Javier Sanso.

Elsewhere

At the back of the pack, Arnaud Boissieres on Akena Verandas continues to sail by himself in 10th place while Bertrand de Broc and Tanguy de Lamotte both currently negotiate the West Australia gate. The trio is spread out but should soon all be in solid breeze from an east-moving low that should carry them under Australia and to the East Australia gate before stalling out and heading south. Maintaining 13th position is an always-smiling and laughing Alessandro di Benedetto sailing fast in his ancient fixed-keel Team Plastique, averaging more than 16 knots over one four-hour stretch. Alessandro should continue to stay in breeze and make a rapid passage from the Amsterdam gate to the West Australia gate before entering the Pacific Ocean.

-Ronnie Simpson

December 23rd, 2012

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Michigan iceboat superstar Ron Sherry says if everyone lived like Jan Gougeon, the world would have a lot more fun.  On his death, Ron put together the following story to celebrate the man.  Remember that Jan’s memorial party is on the 27th in Bay City, MI, and for a unique memorial for the rest of you, mix a jar of West System Epoxy at 7 PM Friday night with the rest of the Anarchists and toast a great man and a great life.

 

I could write a book titled “What I Learned From Jan Gougeon” but it would take volumes. So I am going to tell you a few stories about building, racing, and dealing with people that we all need to remember and try to live by.

Jan always was looking towards the next project. He was not what you would call a party animal. However, one of my first real good memories of Jan was in 1980 when Meade won the DN North Americans. Jan was so happy to see his brother win the North Americans he was heard by many to say, “I haven’t puked in a long time, let’s get drunk tonight”. We partied well into the next morning and we carried Jan to his room. You would have thought he had won. I know when I finally won Jan made sure to help me celebrate and I thought that was so cool.

In 1982 Jan and I were at the top of our game taking first and second in every event we entered. We knew we were going to Germany for the Worlds and kidded each other on the starting line in the one and two starting positions at the Detroit Invitational, saying, “It’s going to be just like this in Germany”. Little did we know it would really happen.

Jan had traveled to Europe before and was the victim of a little team racing that kept him from winning. With his new veneer mast, he had enough speed that no one could stop him. He also strategically placed himself in the final race to make sure I ended up second for the regatta.

One night during the regatta all the national teams were working on their runners in one big barn. Every team had the most sophisticated equipment I had ever seen. They had light bars and you could change the angle on their sanding machines to what ever you wanted. Jan walked into the room carrying his front-runner and the room got real quiet. Every one was looking over their shoulders to see what he was going to do. He asked if he could borrow a machine and Christoph Schmidt said sure. He took his runner and set it on the belt free handed first one side than the other dragged his fingernail across the edge said thanks and walked out. It took all of about 2 minutes. All the teams were sure he would not use that runner and said he only did that to try and psych them out. I just thought it was great.

Jan’s Lesson #1: Share your secrets of speed with anyone who asks.

FAST is FUN. The faster you make others the faster you will be. Jan always shared information and technology. He honestly would let you know how he built things and what he was trying to accomplish. He knew fast was fun and wanted everyone to have a piece of the fun. He never tried to tell you what to do; he knew everyone has a little creative genius inside them and just tried to coax it out. He had a way of putting everything in layman’s terms that made it look simple.

When Jan dominated the DN Worlds on Barnegat Bay with a new hull design, he went home and made a detailed set of plans so anyone could build the boat. These plans are still today the official plans the DN Class uses and sells.

Jan’s Lesson #2: BRING YOUR BEST SHIT!

Jan is one of the only people on earth with more enthusiasm for iceboating than me. I called him often, and when we talked, by the time we were done telling stories on racing and what we were building we were on the phone for one and a half hours. But we would always end with the same things. Number one he would say, “Thanks for the core dump”, and then he would say, “Bring your best shit”. Because when we sailed against each other, there were no excuses. If you looked at Jan’s boat he always had a lot of adjustments so if someone was beating him, he could match their tune and learn. There were at least two Worlds and one North Americans that we finished first and second. I knew I was starting to get it when the conditions changed; we got to the starting line and had made the same changes to our boats.   I know that when Jan said, “Bring your best shit” it was about all of life, not just sailing. Lets all try to bring our best shit no matter what we are doing. We always ended our conversations with I love you. It took a little while for Jan to get used to that but it made me real happy when he would beat me to it.

Jan’s Lesson #3: Appreciate what you have.

I talked to Jan about a month ago, and he told me about the Fibrosis of the lungs he was suffering through. The problem started when he knocked down a wall in the house he bought in Florida and inhaled a deadly concoction of dust and mouse poop. He told me that it would never get any better. The only hope would be to slow the advancement of the problem. He was on oxygen and was thrilled about the trip that he and Patty had just taken to the Galapagos Islands. He started to break up when he said he didn’t think he could sail his DN any more. I thought to myself, “You might as well cut my arms off” and I knew he felt the same. He also could not fly his planes any more either. He knew the end was coming and called it a shitty deal. Then in Jan’s fashion he turned it around and said what a great time he had in life and how lucky he was to live the life he had with all the great sailing, Great duke-outs and most of all, great friends. He was making plans to take oxygen on the boat so he could still sail.

I called him last Tuesday to tell him about the Western Challenge Cup and how great my son, Griffin, had done. He was busy building his trailer with his brother Meade so he could take his catamaran, Strings, to Florida. The call was short so he could get back to work, but it ended the same way, “Bring your best shit and love you lots”. He wasn’t able to work on the trailer the next day, but Meade took him to lunch. The next day when Meade took him to lunch, he knew it was time to go to U of M hospital. U of M tried everything they could but the writing was on the wall. The doctors gave him options and he chose his path. Understandably he didn’t want everyone to know, but at Jan’s request he got to say his goodbyes to his brothers, Patty, and close friends. He did not want a funeral- he wanted a party, so let’s not let him down.

Jan’s Lesson #4: Even when it’s already really fun, find a way to make it more fun.

Enough of all that, back to what I learned from Jan. One afternoon on Cass Lake after racing was done for the day we went back to Cartwright’s house to have some venison Sloppy Joes and talk about the racing. It was a beautiful evening and Jan went back out sailing. It was probably a good idea to go back out side because, the Venison tasted amazing but it created a reaction that needed to be released out side.

We weren’t going to let him have all the fun so we joined him. After a couple of speed runs, Jan came up with a great idea. He said, “Let’s just keep on doing laps and who ever is in the lead has to do a loop around the leeward mark.” Can you imagine that in an iceboat? Jan got just what he wanted. We had 8 or 10 of us out there and everyone had to do a loop at the bottom mark. We must have done about 24 laps. Our arms were falling off but everyone had a time that will never be forgotten.

Jan’s Lesson #5: Be positive and encouraging, no matter how drunk and obnoxious someone is.

One year on the Port Huron to Mac race, I was sailing on a Santa Cruz 70 called Equation. Jan was sailing a new G-32. We exchanged leads several times. The crew on our boat was getting really pissed off when he was passing us again on Sunday night. I let them know that we were duking it out against a true God of sailing and that should not be discouraged. I knew exactly who it was and when I said hi Jan, he said, “Is that you Ronny? I thought that was you”. The crew quieted down.

When we got to the island Jan and I were standing at the Pink Pony telling stories. A young man came up to us and said he was an iceboater. Neither Jan nor I recognized him. He had been well served, and went on to tell us how he was going to kick our ass this winter. I smiled and looked at Jan. Jan asked him what kind of equipment he had and went on to tell him what conditions that equipment works really good in. He also told him how to tune it for the different conditions. I followed Jan’s lead and told him how great it is to learn things from different sailors. Needless to say if Jan were not there, the conversation would have taken a different turn.

Jan’s Lesson #6: Be the one to say something good.

The last lesson I will tell you about is one of the greatest of all. We were at an iceboat event and we had a big group standing around talking about a jackhole who had really pissed us off. Every one in the group was telling stories bitching about this guy. When it was Jan’s turn he said, “Ya that stuff is all bad, but at least he got this right”. Jan went on to tell a story about the person that was positive. What a great lesson. From that day on I always try to be the one that says something positive even when everyone else is bitching about someone. If you look, you can always find something positive to say about anyone.

Respectfully submitted with heartfelt love and appreciation. Let’s all try to live our lives using the lessons we learned from one of the greatest people ever born, Jan Gougeon.

-Ron Sherry

December 23rd, 2012

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Designer and Anarchist Merfyn Owen shares a look inside the world of Open 60 design…

This is an introduction to a series of articles, sometimes short; sometimes long, to be posted on the subject of performance racing and cruising yacht design. The aim is to be informative, in some cases to reinforce knowledge and in others to dispel some commonly held beliefs. We’ll draw on over twenty five years in the business of yacht design and naval architecture.  The last twelve years of which really have been at the leading edge of the rule which has provided the widest and cleanest blank sheet to designers and engineers of blue water performance sailboats – the IMOCA Open 60 rule. During this time OCD have also been the most prolific designers of Class 40′s outside of France with fourteen boats on the water and we are now extending our portfolio into the IRC world.

During this time under the umbrella of ‘Owen Clarke Design’ this team has designed and had more Open 60’s built than any other design office, bar none. Our approach has always been technology lead and more often than not been based on the model of an extended independent design team, which has included some of the leading designers and engineers in the world of sailing. So, when you see terms such as OCD, or ‘we’, it goes without saying that as a company we owe a huge debt to everyone who’s worked in particular on the designs of our Open 60’s going back many years. You’ve all contributed to the knowledge base and the standing that as a design group we have now. You know who you are! Read on.

December 23rd, 2012

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Gotta appreciate the effort to design and build something different. You want one? So do a lot of other people and that’s why they are sold out for 2013!

December 23rd, 2012

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Like pornography, we know one when we see one, but thanks to a society that must litigate every god damn issue in the world, the Supreme Court will now define it for you…

The Supreme Court at 11 a.m. on Monday will hold one hour of oral argument on how to define a “vessel” for purposes of moving a dispute over a floating structure into the special court that handles maritime commerce.   Arguing first in the case of Lozman v. Riviera Beach, Fla. will be Stanford law professor Jeffrey L. Fisher, representing the owner of a houseboat that was at the center of the dispute, Fane Lozman.  Fisher will have twenty minutes of time.  Partly supporting Lozman, Curtis E. Gannon, an Assistant to the U.S. Solicitor General, will argue for the federal government as an amicus, with ten minutes of time.  The Florida city will be represented by David C. Frederick of the Washington office of Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel, with thirty minutes of time. Read on.

December 23rd, 2012

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UpdateBernard Stamm, after informing the organization and his team, has decided to  head towards the Auckland Islands. He will shelter there in order to make some repairs on his hydrogenerators. Then he will able to continue his journey in the South Pacific safely and serenely. More here.

And fourth place Alex Thomson continues to outperform any previous generation boat as he powers along at 20 knots in the Vendee Globe, but he’s got a major problem and it’s looking pretty grim at the moment.  Have a listen to this excellent little video update from Stew and Rachel and the Hugo Boss team, and keep your fingers crossed that he gets his generator problems sorted.

December 22nd, 2012

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This morning, Kennebunkport, Maine SA’er ‘derf’ posted the following help notice.  If you’re on the Maine coast, please keep your eyes out.  The cops added a little info, but they are asking for help too.

Hello all,

Over 48 hours ago a friend from kennybunkport decided to go for a midnight sail with some friends after a few cocktails, the idioticy of this decision is beyond most normal people.  The crew of four left their cell phones and wallets in an apartment there.  None have been heard of since they departed.  The coast guard began a search and rescue mission at dawn this morning.  If anyone has any information that may help lead to their recovery please let me know.  Information is a bit scarse, but I believe the boat is a ~30ft blue hull sloop.

Know something? Post here.

December 22nd, 2012

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You’ve got just a few hours to put a long time Anarchist on the podium for the second-most prestigious award in sailing (after SCOTW): Seahorse’s Sailor of the Month!

This month is an easy call; you can either pick a guy who just wrecked what is, pound-for-pound, probably most expensive catamaran in history on her first breezy practice day, or you can pick the guy whose actions saved the Little America’s Cup a decade ago, and who is in large part responsible for the modern provenance of the wing sail.  Read more on Seahorse’s voting page, but whatever you do, VOTE FOR STEVE TODAY!  Note: you might need to make sure that ‘cookies’ are enabled on your browser in order to vote.

Meredith Block photo of the swan dive that ended Steve’s 2010 Little AC bid.

December 21st, 2012

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As the snow around the US starts falling in earnest and the temperatures plummet, it’s time to head South, and what better way to enjoy winter than sailing your Star in gorgeous Biscayne Bay?  The inaugural Star Winter Series has already had 24 sailors competing over two events, with the biggest week of the winter just around the corner.

So if you want to get in more high-quality sailing for less money than any other winter option, now’s the time: January 5-6th  is the next event, and the big Midwinters gives you four more days on the water from January 10-13th.  What are you waiting for?  Photo from Meredith Block/Star Winter Series.

December 21st, 2012

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Either the Vendee Globe’s English-language editors were off on holidays on December 19th or someone in the press office has a slightly homoerotic sense of humor. Either way, it is  funny to immature assholes like us!

December 21st, 2012

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There is an old saying in sailing “If you can’t tie good knots, tie lots of them…” the same goes for Weather forecasts. When they are accurate they can save lives and property in severe weather events. Good routing can save several days on a race or a Trip. Much of the information provided this year through our forums by forecaster Mark Michaelsen has been golden and helped people in the path of systems like SUPER STORM SANDY better prepare days ahead of other people not aware of his forecast. Survivors of Super Typhoon Bopha also sent in their thanks which prompted a story on Mark last week here on the home page.

Mark did the same way back in ’05 with Katrina and it made a tangible difference to many here on SA.  But this week we personally wanted to say thank you to Mark for all he has done for the SA community so we sent him some actual PayPal appreciation through his “donate” page which up until now you probably didn’t know existed because he has never once mentioned it once to anyone. We just thought that maybe those of you who he has helped would actually enjoy throwing a little love back his way during this season of giving.   Click to donate any amount. And thanks very much from yer pals right here at SA.

December 21st, 2012

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Our new, fully automated classifieds here at the new Sailing Anarchy are brought to you by the also very new Do It Yourself  Yachtbroker. Bouwe Bekking is a part of the new venture and here, live and on tape, he does a little pimpin’!

December 21st, 2012

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A superyacht built for the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was impounded in Amsterdam on Wednesday because of a dispute over an unpaid bill to designer Philippe Starck. Jobs, who died last year, never got to use the 80m (262ft) Venus, but had commissioned the French designer to work on the vessel. It cost more than €100m to build. According to Reuters, a lawyer representing Starck’s company Ubik said his client had received €6m out of a €9m commission for his work on the minimalist vessel and was seeking to recover the rest of what he was owed.

The yacht was impounded on Wednesday night and will remain in the port of Amsterdam pending payment by lawyers representing Jobs’s estate. ”The project has been going since 2007 and there had been a lot of detailed talk between Jobs and Starck,” Roelant Klaassen, a lawyer representing Ubik, said. ”These guys trusted each other, so there wasn’t a very detailed contract.” – IBI News.

December 21st, 2012

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Okay we’re not always so quick with our “news”, but damn we love this shot of the 30m supermaxi Lahana off the NSW Central Coast as she races south toward the finish line in Sydney Harbour in the Cabbage Tree Island Race last Month. The race also acts as a qualifying race for Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race (see more on that in tide over, below). Photo Dallas Kilponen/Fairfax Media.

December 20th, 2012

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SOME INTERESTING INSIGHT ON THE TIDAL-TACTICAL ASPECTS OF THE UPCOMING SYDNEY TO HOBART RACE FROM OUR FRIENDS AT TIDETECH

This will be the fifth year that Tidetech has supported the Rolex Sydney Hobart race with tactical oceanographic data. In every Sydney Hobart since 2008, the handicap winners used Tidetech’s data. Last year Investec Loyal, a Tidetech subscriber with Stan Honey aboard as navigator, pipped Wild Oats XI for Line Honours. Investec Loyal went east  (track, pictured left)for fresh breeze and favourable current in 2011. It worked!

This year, the offshore currents for the Rolex Sydney Hobart are shaping-up to be potentially volatile and the fleet may face complexities that could profoundly affect the outcome of the race.


IT’S ALWAYS BEEN THAT WAY

In the last two years the East Australian Current (EAC) has been reasonably straightforward, as these things go. The assumption for many years has been that a Hobart-bound yacht need only sail out through Sydney Heads, find the 200m contour, turn right and ride the EAC as far south as Eden at least. Often between Sydney and Batemans Bay there is little current of note, then increasing southbound flow between Ulladulla and Green Cape. The last two years has also seen a fairly consistent eddy sitting off Green Cape that has helped some vessels with a positive slingshot effect. Yet in 2009 it paid to head a lot further east before turning south for Hobart – that year, the boat that went furthest east (Two True – a Beneteau First 40) gained a significant benefit from the southbound current and won the race overall.


BREAK WITH TRADITION

Recent information recorded from 4-12 December has raised the spectre of the race not being ‘business as usual’ in 2012… We’re very lucky at the moment to have a NOAA floating measurement buoy drifting in and around the waters of the EAC. We’ve been paying close attention to its data feed over the last few weeks and, significantly, the buoy spent several days heading north in this ‘reliable’ current. 4-12 December demonstrated the complexity of the water movement and we also saw a volatile system of eddies in the EAC between Batemen’s Bay and the Bass Strait, one of the reasons we saw the north-bound current during that time. The unpredictable nature of these eddies could make the race more complicated tactically – the prospect of meeting northbound current on the ‘usual’ track doesn’t make for pleasant viewing.

CLIMATE CONCERNS

According to the Australian government report  ‘Marine Climate Change in Australia – impacts and adaptation responses. 2009 REPORT CARD’ – compiled by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) – the flow of the East Australian Current has strengthened, and is likely to strengthen by a further 20% by 2100. “Southward flow has strengthened so warmer, saltier water is now found 350 km further south compared to 60 years ago (HIGH confidence) “[The EAC is] likely to strengthen by a further 20% by 2100 (MEDIUM confidence)”

CURRENT AFFAIRS

On Wednesday 19 December there was a sequence of six eddies that could affect the racecourse with varying influence on tactics and overall optimised route strategy.Caption: Wednesday 19 December 2012 – six fast changing eddies that could influence tactics during 2012 Rolex Sydney Hobart Looking back and comparing to Monday 17 December it’s clear that these rotations are changing quickly and could have a profound influence on a yacht that gets caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. C


SWEET RESULTS

Last year’s Line Honours winner Investec Loyal chose to head slightly further east in its Bass Strait crossing. This was nominally to gain the benefit of new wind filling from the east after a significant drop-off in pressure; it also allowed them to use the current more effectively. Investec’s 2011 navigator Stan Honey sent us the track Investec took across the Bass Strait – the red arrows show the current as an actual measurement. The combination of fresh breeze and favourable current could well have been the three-minute difference that gave Loyal its maiden Rolex Sydney Hobart Line Honours.


APPROACHING HOBART

The difficulties of the Hobart approaches and the Derwent River (graph, left) have made and broken many a Sydney Hobart campaign. There are several elements that can change the conditions quite dramatically, none of them obvious – wind can die after sunset; an often strong outflow from the Derwent River can have a huge effect (particularly after rain) by mixing with the tidal flow to make current patterns complex and unpredictable; river flow often stays in a narrow band all the way out to the Tasman Peninsular, enhanced by the ebb tide.
Caption: It all hangs on Hobart. Overall, It’s tricky. Read more on the complexities of the final stretch to the line in this article.

ROLEX SYDNEY HOBART TIDAL DATA PACKAGES

Tidetech has set up its 2013 packages for the race. Subscribers can choose from full GRIB files to download and use in tactical navigation software (including Sydney and Hobart tides; ocean currents; new, updated sea surface temperatures; and wave height, length, speed and direction forecasts) or Tidetech’s exclusive OceanView online viewer and PDF generator. The packages also include access to an online video briefing from Tidetech’s leading science and navigation team. Click here to find out more . Tidetech’s GRIB packages can be accessed within Adrena and Expedition navigation software applications. Click here for Tidetech’s Expedition support page . Tidetech is a technical supplier to the 34th America’s Cup and supplied the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race.

December 20th, 2012

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Is the new Premier 45 this modern-looking, kinda cool performance cruiser? Or is it this clunky potato? At the very least it looks really good inside

December 20th, 2012

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