August 31st, 2012
The second AC event to be televised on NBC failed to reach the numbers of last month’s Newport broadcast, falling short by around 25% despite wider availability and a significantly bigger local audience. The numbers, which show 860,000 people tuned in, are also somewhat questionable at the moment as they are supplied by NBC, and according to the Youtube broadcast, the most viewers ever recorded watching concurrently online was less than 6,000 worldwide. Even if many more are considered “average number of viewers” if NBC or Nielsen-type measurements are applied to Youtube, that means that only a tiny fraction of Americans watched it online – not what logic would suggest for the highly-web connected sailors that tend to watch sailing.
In any event, at least there are some numbers out there, and we definitely dig the slick new official AC app, which lets viewers get Virtual Eye and audio streams on their iPhones or tablets and soon on Android. It’s an essential tool for those who can’t get the somewhat buggy Youtube/mobile live video working consistently or with any resolution, and a good way to reach a bigger audience.
We’ve already shared our thoughts on some of the broadcast’s weaknesses, and we hear that wholesale changes are coming to the broadcast team before October. There was also a definite lack of any kind of planned national promotion, but there’s a bigger problem: NBC. Their official website teaches you plenty about The Biggest Loser when you search for “America’s Cup”, but damned if the AC wasn’t even listed in their offerings anywhere on the site. And maybe we’re idiots, but we spent a half hour looking for any mention at all about the AC on NBCSports.com, and all we could find was a cut and pasted AP wire about the event. Plenty of bow hunting and bass fishing, but not the smallest bit of NBC news on the entire subject, and NBCSports has a sizeable readership. Perhaps because the broadcast is not costing them anything, they just don’t give a crap, but without the huge network’s help, the domestic numbers are probably not going to get much better. For that matter, where is MSNBC? And why can lumberjack competitions and midget car racing get Sportcenter’s attention but the AC can’t?
August 31st, 2012
back to roots
A national audience got a taste of a multi-million dollar TV production of high speed sailing last weekend, and this weekend we get to bring it back to basics with something that costs a fraction of percent of what the AC broadcast costs to produce. It’s the Extreme 40 racing from Wales, with what’s essentially a slightly upmarket version of On-The-Water Anarchy streamed live from the water and narrated by Richard Simmonds. The feed starts at 1500 local, which is 10 AM EDT.
sex it up
The days of obsessing on the latest improvement to make an IACC slug go .2 knots faster than the other slugs are gone, and it’s been a long time since the run-up was exciting to the average sailor. With fully flying foilers and never-before-seen aerodynamic and structural innovations already coming out of the shed, they’ve got our attention. Here are two recent movies from the recently launched “New Zealand” (which aside from foiling hit 40 knots) and the just-revealed “17” from Oracle.
The 18s may look a little pokey compared to the AC45s, but they – and their crews – are still some of the baddest mother*&kers anywhere. It’s hard to find much about them, though they’re racing all week in SF (viewable from Crissy Field), and the big Kiwi contingent is slaying it. This video is from a couple weeks back, and is a great look at how exciting these boats are.
If you spent any time in a tender, you’ll dig this. Get close and personal with Morelli/Melvin and Salthouse Boatbuilder’s 1000 HP RIB catamaran that gets to keep up with ETNZ’s flying boat.
A 76 year old skipper got caught out trying to bring his ketch to safety before Hurricane Isaac hit Alabama, and after he was taken off by local law enforcement, the boat ‘sailed itself’ around Dauphin Island into an overhead power line, then tacked by itself and headed out to sea. This despite the police attempt to anchor the boat. Check it out here and comment in the thread. Thanks to Pippi for the shout.
August 31st, 2012
Hugo LeBreton’s SIG45 cat concept has been around since 2005, but thanks to early financial issues and years of teething pains, the first hull didn’t splash until 2009, and only this year did we see hull # 2 hit the water in the hands of a new (and very private) owner. Now it’s in San Francisco, and Paige Brooks jumped aboard to give us her impressions while the AC45s were practicing nearby.
Hugo LeBreton has been drawing pictures of boats since he could hold a pencil, and a few years ago, he decided to draw his dream boat. And then he built it. It’s a racer/cruiser, and thanks to its size and quality, it’s really the only boat of its kind on the market. It also capitalizes on the sailing public’s new AC-driven focus on fast catamarans – and 45 feet is a familiar number right now for true enthusiasts of fast multihulls. LeBreton worked with VPLP and Bruno Peyron on much of the design, and it was a challenge to get exactly the balance between aesthetics, comfort, and outright speed that he was looking for.
Gunboats pioneered the luxury catamaran market, and their popularity makes them a useful point of comparison with the SIG. Stepping aboard, the Gunboat provides a comfy ‘living room’ sheltered by structure and windows, while the SIG is all deck and trampoline, a huge open space that just screams ‘let’s go to the Caribbean or Med’ at you. The deck is as environmentally friendly and clever as it is gorgeous; the cork composite doesn’t get hot underfoot, it’s easier to clean than wood, takes dramatically less maintenance, and costs thousands less than a comparable teak deck.
Down below are three double bunks; one big one for the owner to port and two to starboard. The owner’s side gets a galley and a small saloon, port gets a nav station and L-shaped seat, and heads with showers are on both sides. And both interiors are absolutely stunning, Philip Starck-esque pieces of functional art with major attention to detail. The minimalism doesn’t let you forget that this is an ultra-light rocket, but you can’t escape the luxury statement that it makes, either.
I am first to admit that I am a multihull newbie, and in fact this was my first non-Hobie sail on a catamaran of any sort of size or speed, so there was a huge learning curve for me. The boat, upwind or down, has the apparent wind so far forward that trimming the boat or thinking about where the wind is coming from is a complete 180 from much of the traditional monohull sailing I’m used to. Going 18 knots, Hugo took me out to the sprit where we sat in the netting and watched the bow cut smoothly through the light chop in the bay as we sailed from Sausalito to Point Bonita. This is a trip I’ve done dozens of times, and it usually takes an hour and a half or so on most 40-footers. It took us less than 30 minutes.
They gave me the helm after we’d hoisted the gennaker, and I hit 21 knots – the absolute fastest I’ve ever driven a sailboat. Then the guys got all serious and we started dashing back and forth across San Francisco Bay, teasing and taunting the AC45s for a lineup. We hit 25 knots around then, and it took us 9 minutes and 30 seconds to run from Blackaller to Angel Island. If you know the bay, you know that is crazy fast.
I came off the water with a major high on the speed we’d done. The surreal part is that you can’t feel it; your only cues (besides instruments) are the gale in your face, the water rushing underneath you, and the speedboat wake you leave behind. It wasn’t till we passed a boat under full sail that I felt any real concept of just how fast we were moving; it almost seemed anchored.
When we finally got to line up with a playful AC45, we gave them a run. They definitely had us, but at least in my own myopic view, not by much.
(Did you know there is a new Sig 60 in the works? – ed)
August 31st, 2012
Apparently sneaking past the ever-vigilant paparazzi, it looks like Bono took a turn at the helm of l’Hydroptère in ‘frisco. He was only on the boat for 30 minutes, but what would you expect from a rock star? Wonder where he got the Artemis hat? We hear he is starting a new band to be called U1 as the huge ego doesn’t allow enough room for U2…Jump in the thread. Photo by the awesome Christophe Launay.
August 30th, 2012
The Aegean, lost (thought to have run into the North Coronado Island while motoring) with the entire crew dead on the Newport to Ensenada Race, has been found by San Diego lifeguard Ed Harris and boater Russell Moore, who owns La Jolla-based Xplore Offshore. Said Moore: "They almost missed the island. They hit so close to the tip. A 1/4 mile in either direction and they might have sailed right by. The drive shaft between the transmission and stuffing box is tightly wrapped in chain which probably confirms that the engine was running and in gear."
They made three visits to the crash site, beginning on May 2 and this month they turned over to the Coast Guard about an hour of underwater video footage from the site, along with a navigation panel, laptop computer and controls that they hope will shed light on what happened the night of the crash. Thanks to the UT and click here to read the story.
August 30th, 2012
Update: Whatever doubt there was about whether or not the AC 72 cats are foiling is long gone. This shot from Graeme Swan. Jump in the fray.
August 30th, 2012
Fresh from the Salthouse floor, the super sexy new Elliot 35 Super Sport gets ready for her launch next week. With a hydraulically canting keel and canard, she’s the latest to eschew ratings rules in the quest for serious speed in a small package. Look for a report soon after her first sail.
August 29th, 2012
Every few years, we get all excited for a new wonder product that could replace the uber-expensive, petro-based, ultra-gnarly carbon-fiber that is absolutely essential to today’s high-performance racing craft (and airplanes, and race cars, and just about anything else that requires very high strength and low weight). And every few years, we’re disappointed when reality interferes with our desire to see something a little kinder to the environment than high-tech’s ‘black gold.’
Well, it’s that time again, and while we haven’t seen any boats built yet out of NanoCrystalline Cellulose (NCC), there’s clearly enough potential for further study of this material; it comes from cheap, abundant, renewable wood pulp, its got plenty of strength, its natural color is transparent and can be made any color at all, and it can be spun into fibers that might just take the place of carbon. Already a Canadian company is pushing the stuff out the door, while the US Forest Service just invested a pile of money into developing it as well.
August 29th, 2012
First look at the new Oracle AC72. Looks pretty slick. Can’t wait to see these things in 25 true! Jump in the thread.
August 29th, 2012
brand new classic
For those of us who get the opportunity to race in the global classic
yacht circuit, new additions to the fleet are highly anticipated, even
in their design stages. Rockport Marine in mid-coast Maine has
developed a new design for SOPHIA, a 70-foot, high-performance sloop
that will be a competitive new addition to the spirit of tradition
Her design was inspired by Sparkman & Stephens A-Class yawls
that have a long history of winning races. With traditional lines, a
cold-molded hull, carbon fiber spars and a modern sailplan, SOPHIA
will be a welcomed new competitor on the circuit.
August 29th, 2012
Life would suck without cool boats like this. How ultimately fast it is or isn’t, isn’t the point. The point is, well, we don’t know what the point is, but we know we like it. Photos thanks to Gabor Turcsi.
August 28th, 2012
job well done
We ran the story from onboard the sinking of the Sonoma 30 Cowabunga a few days ago, and now here is the Coast Guard’s report to them…
From the Coast Guard’s perspective your crew members onboard the S/V Cowabunga were extremely well prepared. This preparation expedited your recovery and potentially saved lives. Due to the hand held radio and portable GPS we were able to maintain communications and track your position while in the water. This essentially removed the search from Search and Rescue. Once you entered the water everyone stayed together, improving your chance of survival.
Upon receiving the Mayday call the Coast Guard established communications and determined the number of people on board, location, nature of distress and the description of your vessel. Due to the severity of the situation and the distance offshore we launched all of our available assets in the region. This included an HH-65 helicopter out of Air Station Barbers Point, a 45′ Response Boat out of Station Honolulu, a 47′ Motor Life Boat out of Station Kauai and a C-130 fixed-wing aircraft from Air Station Barbers Point. We were also in the process of launching CGC GALVESTON ISLAND, a 110′ patrol boat stationed in Honolulu. The GALVESTON ISLAND would have enabled us to conduct an extended search if necessary. Luckily in this situation it was unnecessary.
In all honesty, the response by all parties enabled a potentially deadly situation to resolve smoothly. I’m not sure that we will ever know exactly why the S/V Cowabunga sank, but you should that the fact you had a working radio and life jackets very likely saved lives in this instance. Every press release the Coast Guard puts out has some sort of safety pitch in it. This is because the best thing you can do to help yourself on the water is to prepare before you go out. Life jackets, radio’s, EPIRB’s, GPS these items truly do save lives.
Thank you for being prepared and making our job easy.
As I’m sure you have realized by now any Coast Guard response is truly a team effort with everyone does their part. Mr. Darin McCracken was the individual coordinating the Coast Guard response in this instance. The helicopter and boat crews who were on scene did fantastic work as well. One member who I do not think you have included and may think about putting into your story is Petty Officer Kevin Retamar. Petty Officer Retamar was working the radio’s during this instance. He was the person that initially answer that mayday call and was the voice on the radio, keeping you calm and passing information. Mr. McCracken has remarked to me several times that Petty Officer Retamar really did play an essential role in this case. Not only was he talking to you, but he was passing information and directing four other assets at the same time.
This is no easy task. Much of the credit for this case proceeding so smoothly undoubtedly goes to him.
August 28th, 2012
What makes a great one design class? Fun boats. Fun people. Fun events. The Fun this last
weekend was in Traverse City, Michigan, at the 2012 Melges 17 National Championship. Thirty of these Fun little rocket ships arrived at the Grand Traverse Yacht Club for the three-day event from Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Iowa. Fun boats, check!
Eleven championship races were held on West Grand Traverse Bay. Conditions ranged from 5-18 and varied from race to race. Eleven races, zero protests, plenty of penalty turns, happy people on the water and on shore. Who showed up? Couples, Junior sailors, and parents sailing with their kids. Fun people, check!
The first start was at 1 p.m. on Friday and four races held. 10 a.m. start on Saturday, two races then lunch back at the club before two more races and then a great dinner party in the Grand Traverse Yacht Club tradition. 10 a.m. start Sunday, three races, lunch, awards for ten places, with everyone on the road by mid-afternoon. Fun event, check!
If your reading this and your last sailing event was missing some of the "Fun", maybe you should be
looking at a Melges 17 so you can start having more Fun!
Top five boats, 1st Mike & Stephanie Dow, 2nd Deb & Jim Gluek, 3rd Hans Meyer and Susan Shernkopf, 4th Mitchell Kiss and Rob Hallawell, 5th Tom & Reed Munroe. Full results here:
August 28th, 2012
24 hours of hoover
We just sailed Anarchy in the Sharp Hospice regatta here in Dago, and are stoked to see that there is a really different version in Westerville Ohio. Called The 24 Hours of Hoover, it is a 24 hour race that will raise money for the Kobacker House, their local hospice provider. It looks like good fun for a good cause so check it out!
August 28th, 2012
Either you innovate or you stagnate, that’s a simple rule of life, and sailing is no exception. In order to drive the sport and to keep people interested one has to innovate, take some bold steps, maybe even make a mistake or two. Actually there is nothing like a mistake or two to make people take notice. Who remembers that fateful day when oneAustralia, challenging for the America’s Cup, snapped in half during a race? Since then boat construction and carbon technology has come a long way but it took a disaster to focus attention.
Many new innovations are really just new twists on old ideas. Take for example the fixed-wing mast and sails on the current crop of Americas Cup boats. The AC teams have taken the technology to the next level, but the technology itself has been in play for decades. I can still remember watching the C-class catamaran Patient Lady sailing with a fixed wing for the Little Americas Cup back in the late 70s and early 80s.
Over the years class associations and rule makers have tried to balance the degree of innovation against safety and expense, and the result has not been great for the sport. Box rules have stifled innovation with no commensurate cost savings and some would argue that they have led to boats that are less safe rather than more safe. Time will tell where the Volvo Ocean Race will end up now that they have made the decision to go to One Design, and of course we wish the event well, but it’s hard to not feel disappointed that this cutting edge fleet, one that has been responsible for so many great new ideas, will no longer be pushing the technology envelope.
Highly innovative projects like L’Hydroptere and Sail Rocket continue to break new ground and it’s great to see them still pushing into new frontiers. Right now L’Hydroptere is on stand-by in Los Angeles waiting for a weather window that will allow them a fast and safe passage across the Pacific in an attempt to break the record from LA to Hawaii. This amazing project has struggled through years of financial setbacks and catastrophic breakages, but with perseverance and true grit they not only set the outright speed record for a sailboat at a staggering 52.96 knots, they have attracted the truly elite French sailors as crew for the trans-pacific crossing among them Yves Parlier, Jean le Cam and Jacques Vincent. These guys don’t show up to go sailing unless they are sure of conquering new territory.
In their first year of sailing the Sail Rocket team was barely able to crack 30 knots let alone their ambitious goal of 50+ knots. As they pushed harder and harder there were some spectacular crashes including a few times the boat went vertically airborne only to come crashing back down in a hail of splintered pieces. Nine years after the project was conceived they were finally able to crack the 50 knot ceiling. It took finding a sponsor to fund a larger version of the same design, a conversion from a soft sail to a fixed wing, and most of all a never-say-never attitude that kept the team focused and on track.
At SpeedDream we take inspiration from those that have already blazed the trail. In order for us to achieve our lofty goal of becoming the worlds fastest monohull we have to recognize the traits of those projects. Innovation seems to be a central theme and we too have tried to push barriers and stretch limits, but we have done so within the bounds of designing a prototype that draws upon proven ideas and takes them to the next level. For example a canting keel is not new, but a Flying Keel most certainly is. We have also drawn from powerboat designs with the stepped hull, and high-speed ferries that utilize wave piercing bows to increase efficiency and save on fuel.
If sailing is to continue to attract new blood we all need to take a close look at where things have been, for only from looking to the past can we have a clear vision of the future. We also need to look at the present and be thankful for those before us who came up with great ideas like roller-furling sails and the hand-held GPS. Most of all we need visionaries who can see what the future may look like. With SpeedDream we hope to play a part in that future. – Brian Hancock
August 28th, 2012
8 the hard way
Ballsy singlehander Pip Hare takes you deep inside her world. It’s a scary one…
La Grande Huit means literally the Big Eight. It is a figure of eight course, starting from La Grande Motte in France, going out around some buoys on the French coast, the centre of the eight is Las Islas Medas, close to the Spanish border, then a long leg around Menorca, back through the centre and then straight home to La Grande Motte.
The course is 500 miles long and over that stretch the ever changing face of the Mediterranean will throw at sailors whatever ever weather it can.
Immediately after Cowes week I was on a plane out to La Grande Motte to take part in this race, in a culmination of partnerships, as a Magic Marine sponsored sailor, taking the helm of a Magic Marine sponsored boat.
We started the course on August 19th and for the most part it was excruciatingly hot with light winds which meant the racing was close and the pack stayed together continually fighting over boat lengths and jostling for position.
For me despite the fact I am no fan of light winds this was good as being the first time in the RG650 I had no idea on settings or trim so with so many boats alongside I was able to try out various things and learn a bit about how the boat handles and where I should be looking for boat speed.
Having spent so many miles in my pogo 2 I discovered that the feel of the RG was a complete change. The boats underwater profile is radically different to the pogo, there is a lot more volume in the bow and this alters the feel of the boat, particularly upwind.
As well as learning how to get the boat up to speed I was getting to grips with the cockpit, using the daylight hours on the first to try and learn where each of the ropes went to so when the lights went out there would be no scrabbling around to make small changes to trim.
The cockpit on the RG650 is to my mind one of the best features of the boat, everything is very well laid out, and just where you would expect it to be when reaching a hand out in the dark. It is much bigger than a pogo cockpit and so a lot more comfortable to helm and to move around. It did not take too long to get to become familiar with my little pod of controls and anyway, Bret Perry from Katabatic Sailing,the European RG650 agents, had been down the week before the race to prepare the boat had labeled every clutch up with ‘glowfast’ which shone so brightly I am sure the boat next door could have told me the third clutch from the left was the outhaul.
So heading into the first night things were going well, I was learning the boat, keeping pace with the front of the fleet, and looking forward to a close and interesting race ahead. There was only one fly in the ointment; my autopilot.
I did not use the pilot much on the first day, for the upwind sections in lighter airs I was steering the boat, trimming the sails and trying to feel as much as possible. When I did engage the pilot to hoist the code zero or the spinnaker it really did not have much to do, the boat was well balanced sailing in a straight line in light airs so it took me a while to realise that each time I engaged the pilot there was a lot of action and noise from the ram working away below decks, but this was not translating into any movement from the tiller above decks.
I worked to get the boat ahead and clear of the others and then set it on a course, engaged the pilot and investigated the problem. After squeezing into small holes below the cockpit, and taking the system apart above decks I discovered that yes, the pilot was working well but the system to connect the ram below decks to the tiller above was slipping due to one of the parts being the wrong size and so no matter how much tightening I did to try and connect it all together the pilot was not able to steer the boat.
Over the next 24 hours I tried various ingenious and not so ingenious ways of fixing the problem, including wedging a screw driving between the pin running through the boat and the on deck pilot arm, but no matter what I did the piece worked it’s way free and eventually I had to come to terms with the fact that every time I tried to fix the pilot I was losing places and for no ultimate repair of the pilot.
As the fleet came passed through the centre of the eight at Islas Medas we were all unbelievably close together, with there being a mix in the fleet of single and double handed boats the racing was exciting and I was still in the thick of it but I had a decision to make.
The next leg around Menorca would be a long one and really this was the point of no return, and I really had to decide if I would or could carry on for the next 400 miles without an autopilot.
I weighed everything up in my head, how would I sleep, eat, hoist and drop sails? It was fairly simple in the lighter winds but if the breeze got up what would I do?
Those who read my blog regularly will know if there is one characteristic I have above all it is stubbornness and the absolute obsession with finishing something that I have started.
To give up would be to let down a lot of people not least myself and anyway, I was curious. It must be possible to sail over long distances without a pilot, just a question of management; if the boat is well set up it can mostly sail itself especially in light winds and upwind but if all else fails you can just heave to or take the sails down to sleep. The big question for me was could you actually race and be competitive?
So I decided to carry on, to go and find out what I could do and what the RG650 could do on this course; but one thing was for sure the boat was going to have to look after me.
The passage to and around Menorca was fairly uneventful, the boat behaved well if I set it up properly and the wind was light and often non existent which allowed me to sleep, eat and generally get on with life.
The evening of the 22nd August saw a change in conditions which really was the start of a wild ride and an extraordinary couple of days.
The course back to the mainland was downwind and so with the big spinnaker up I started to chew up the miles. Into the night the wind built gradually to a steady 16 – 17 knots and it was then the RG came to life in my hands, turning from the sheep to the wolf.
I noticed first that we were pulling away from the boats behind me as a look over my shoulder confirmed that the spinnakers that had been haunting me all through the day had faded away to specs on the horizon.
As the night came on the pace increased and I realised this if any time was going to time to make miles. The question was how long could I stay awake?
With still 100 miles to go to Islas Medas I divided the night into 10 mile segments and set myself different tasks for each of those to keep me awake. Sometimes I was singing, sometimes talking out loud in French, Spanish and English; punching the air, moving around, playing word games out loud but all the time steering.
I must have looked like a complete freak but so long as I was moving or making a noise I knew I could not fall asleep.
At the end of the night the wind died away to nothing and I collapsed. Someone was looking after me, the boat could go nowhere in the lack of wind and so I took down the spinnaker and slept, waking after a couple of hours to a beep from my AIS.
Now time for round two
The wind again built and so with the big spinnaker up I set off again for the centre of the eight, the last check point and the final leg home.
The ride was amazing, the RG was responsive and fast and the wind steadily built to a wonderful 22 knots, perfect conditions to ride with the big kite.
However coming into Islas Medas the conditions became a little more that perfect, the wind started gusting up to 25. Ok I thought that’s alright in the gusts, I’ll monitor things and I mentally prepared for a take down.
In the blink of an eye the wind was up to 30 knots and I was careering off downwind at over 13 knots with as much sail up as was possible for that boat and wondering where the hell it was all going to end.
It’s a gust’ my hopeful side told me. But the gust blew and blew and my realistic side let me know that I was in a bit of bother.
First things first how on earth was I going to stop the boat from wiping out? I decided to ease the kite sheet out to try and dump a bit of the power and this made my life a whole heap easier. As I eased the sheet the spinnaker rotated round, this made the stern squat down in the water and the bow lift clean out and just like a racing dinghy the boat lifted up and sped off even faster, but this time feeling completely in control.
I took my chance made a little prayer to I have no idea who, let go of the helm and went for a kite drop, just hoping the boat would stay on a downwind course without gybing long enough for me to get this monster in.
I was lucky, down it came and off I went through the final gate just taking time to look around me at the two boats I was between.
I nearly fell over! I could not believe where I was. I passed through the final gate of the course in third position overall in the series fleet, placed between two double handed boats and as I learned later 10 miles ahead of the first placed series boat.
I was delighted, excited and of course gunning to keep that position. After the gate I hoisted the code 5 small spinnaker and went gunning off into a building breeze and what was to be a horrendous night.
The wind built steadily to over 30 knots, gusting 34 but we were riding steady and fast through the waves with my new found trick of easing the spinnaker to lift the bow the boat was looking after me.
However at this point my body and my mind started to argue about what it is humanly possible to do without sleep and things started to take a very different shape, quite literally.
After four or so hours with the spinnaker I started to wipe out a bit. I really need to put a reef in the main but was not able to because of the lack of pilot. The boat was overpowered and I was starting to get too tired to handle it.
I decided to take the spinnaker down and give myself a break for a while thinking I would put it back up later.
The drop was difficult but I got the sail in eventually but then discovered that sailing downwind in 30 knots, big waves with no spinnaker the boat would not go in a straight line. Without someone steering it was impossible to carry on.
I tried what I had done the night before, singing, moving but nothing worked and then I started to hallucinate.
Staring at the screen of the NKE checking my course and the wind speed the red screen developed a series of dancing green dots, which moved around the screen and jumped around over which ever number I wanted to read. It was annoying because out the corner of my eye I could see the dots were not over the other numbers or on the other screens but every time I looked somewhere else the dots followed.
I could no longer see my course so I decided to try and look to the sky to get a fix on where I should go and then my friend the dinosaur appeared. He was an inflatable diplodocus I believe, red, smiling and just bobbing along beside the boat keeping and eye out for me.
I looked down below and could see some ones legs, lying on the bunk. Lazy so and so! Chilling out down there while I struggled on deck; I go single handed sailing to get away from people like that.
In amongst all this I managed to fall asleep at the helm and crash gybed the boat, waking up as the boom landed on the backstay right in front of my face. It was frightening and the final straw. I had to admit defeat. I had got as far as I could, there were only 50 miles left of the course to sail but I had found the limit of what was physically possible without sleep and it was time to back off before I did some serious damage.
I hove too with the boat, put a reef in and went down below taking 30 seconds to have a whimpering little cry while I imagined all those boats sailing past me before I passed out.
And so the wild ride and the glory where over; after a couple of hours I got back up; the wind had dropped and so I hoisted the big kite and made a calmer approach to the finish line, still fighting the nodding dog as my brain tried to send me back to sleep.
I eventually finished the course at lunch time on the 24th August; though officially the RG is still a prototype I would have been classed as the 3rd place series solo boat, and though my initial reaction was disappointment at everything I had lost with a little perspective this a result to be proud of.
I did not just sailed but I raced 450 miles without an autopilot in a boat I virtually no previous knowledge of.
I have discovered a lot about what I am physically and mentally capable of, I have pushed the boundaries as hard as I can and now gained more experience of the unknown.
The RG was an incredible boat to sail, to have been easy enough to handle and to allow me to do what I did is surely the sign of a forgiving boat. It was a great experience to sail it and I have been really delighted with the way Bret Perry and designer Nico Goldenburg have been so supportive of my race and are eager to hear my thoughts on the boat and all my feedback as this was the first solo race that the boat has completed.
One thing now because with me there is never an end to the story…………. I want to race it again, to ride those waves and scream off over the horizon; but this time with a pilot.
August 28th, 2012
The other great thing about this pic, besides the obvious great thing, is you can almost see how fast the dude on the far right’s head snaps around as he checks out the babes on Team Danger. Here’s their story:
A SCOTW moment for you in Hong Kong yesterday – the Hebe Haven Typhoon Series concluded with a windless race around the islands (Typhoon Tembin has been threatening to give us some awesome sailing conditions all week but they failed to materialise on the day) I helm the J80 ‘Hakawati’ as part of Hong Kong’s first all-girls team in about 15 years (we are known as Team Danger in Hong Kong for reasons entirely undeserved), and we won our series overall – with help from some suspect swimwear and distraction tactics!
Thought I would pass the photo along to you as a demo of what not to wear sailing, but also to prove that girls can wear literally anything on a boat and they will get attention! – Anarchist Lauren. Take a better look…
August 27th, 2012
Anyone who is still thinking the Australian’s recent dominance of the sailing medal count at the Olympics was a bit of luck or a fluke, this weekend firmly establishes that you are wrong. Witnesseth: America’s Cup (SF), Aussie skippers; 1,3. Moth Worlds (ITA), Aussie skippers; 1,2,3. Melges 24 NA’s, Aussie skippers; 1,2.
Maybe it’s something in the water, maybe it’s a national character that fosters high performance, or maybe the venom of one of the 400,000 poisonous animals in Oz has some incredible effect on one’s sailing ability. We don’t know why, but we do know at this moment that our friends from the bottom of the world are the cream of the high-performance world right now. Hopefully we can learn something from them.
August 27th, 2012
Without a doubt, the best one-two combo in the AC is Jimmy Spithill and John Kostecki. They pulled out an impressive come from way behind 2nd place (and almost won) in the final fleet race to win the ACWS Sunday in Frisco.
This also was the day that NBC televised the event and as much as the pictures, graphics, venue and crowds were impressive, the broadcast blew on so many levels – most notably Gary Jobson’s commentary. We aren’t the only ones who know this, but it is just painful to listen to him butcher the race description. Half explanations, poor explanations, incomplete, simplistic analysis, no real insight, no humor, nothing compelling whatsoever other than the same voice from the same guy who does the same coverage over and over and over again. We suppose they need the know-nothing pretty boy Todd Jones to "lead" the broadcast, but when the "expert" commentator, adds almost nothing more than the know-nothing guy, you know you are in trouble. And as long as Jobson is the "expert commentator", the broadcast is doomed. Put Mitch Booth in there and pair him up with somebody who can punch it up and make it exciting.
And just as an aside, we can’t recall ever seeing the telecast of a "major" sporting event start off with a "sports break" to spend a couple of minutes filling you in on the more important sports before broadcasting the one that you tuned in to watch. A bitch slap to how unimportant sailing is in the TV/sports world, no doubt. The other highlight? Right here. Interesting to note how badly Big Ben got smoked as well…Thanks to Christophe Launay for the nice above shot.
August 27th, 2012