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crowded dock

A rainy, ugly day in Les Sables D’Olonnes couldn’t keep the crowds away at the opening of the Vendee Globe race village.  You’d think a crowd like this means the race is about to start…but you’d be wrong!  In fact, a full 3 weeks remains until the 20-strong fleet sets off into Biscay, and this Jesús Renedo pic of the early days should help explain how they get over a million people through the gates for this, the toughest race in sailing.

Get psyched, because for the first time, Sailing Anarchy is sending over a crack coverage team to finally get the kind of English-language reporting on this incredible event that it deserves.  West Coast singlehander Ronnie Simpson will join up with interviewer par extraordinaire Mr. Clean to get all the details on every boat and words from every skipper, so keep an eye on this front page and the thread to get everything you need for your Vendee Globe fix.  We still have a couple of slots open for companies looking for some extra-special advertising as well – get in touch here if you want in.

October 22nd, 2012

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crowded house

The forecast is ‘breeze-on’ all week as Monday ushers in the start of the 2012 Ronstan A-Cat Worlds in Florida, and the crowd at the top is a big one.  Current World Champions Steve Brewin is looking to defend the title he won in Aarhus, Denmark last year, while fellow Aussies Jack Benson, Andy Landenberger and Brad Collett are all gunning for the top spot after scoring top five finishes last year. Lars Guck and Matt Struble of the United States, having sailed the 2011 event in chartered boats, are back again with quicker bits of machinery, and Australian expat and Florida local Ben Moon, Germany’s Bob Baier and New Zealand’s Mike Drummond are all looking to climb the ladder after scoring top ten finishes in 2011. But if that weren’t enough, now Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s Rob Greenhalgh and Artemis Racing’s Nathan Outteridge are both throwing their hats into the ring, and rumors are even circulating that Team Oracle’s Jimmy Spithill is looking to get in on the fun. Add in 49er silver medalist Blair Tuke of New Zealand, American Olympian Brad Funk, current European Champion Chris Field, America’s Phil Kinder, and top European gunners Thilo Keller and Thomas Paasch and there are legitimately 20 competitors with top 10 potential. Anyone claiming that they know who is going to win, or thinks that this event actually has a clear favorite, is kidding himself.  

Videos will pop up daily here, and event news and on-the-water blog action will be here.  Photo of practice race thanks to Will Clark.

October 22nd, 2012

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a fistful of fifty

Paul Larsen and the Vestas Sailrocket folks are back in Namibia for a little record-breaking.  Will their new foil package help finally get the Rocket to the moon, or are we in for some more crash-and-burn?  If this video is any indication, they’re almost there:  Already they’ve bagged a 500-meter run of just under 51 knots, with a peak of 53 knots.  Check out the video and follow along at the VS site.  For the band that inspired the title, listen here.

October 22nd, 2012

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sa pimpin’

line drive

Q: What do Russell Coutts, Jimmy Spithill, Ben Ainslie, Nathan Outteridge, Loïck Peyron , and Dean Barker all have in common?  

A: Besides being the best of the best, they all use the Velocitek ProStart to make sure they get the best start in their AC45 catamarans.

The Velocitek ProStart is the best Distance To Line tool ever, and it is used and trusted by the best sailors in the world.  For pictures of the ProStart in action during the ACWS, click here.

October 22nd, 2012

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foggy notion

Do you know what boat that is in the background, looming through the murk?.

October 21st, 2012

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they’ll win the cup!

Another video making fun of the farce formerly known as the America’s Cup.

October 20th, 2012

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knife party


A little dubstep for y’all, courtesy of Knife Party and the chicks at Chad’s Angels All-Women’s 18 Foot Skiff Team

October 20th, 2012

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miss guided

We’re big fans of the Skiff Chicks Racing Team, and clearly they’re fans of ours too.  And along with everyone else in Sydney Harbor last week, we’re impressed.  Despite never having sailed an 18 foot skiff until 6 days earlier, the Skiff Chicks Racing Team did their thing and wrestled their Lomax Financial Group-sponsored boat around Sydney Harbour last weekend.  

They tipped over once, but hung in there and made it around the long 3-Buoys Challenge course in 2h26 – a half hour behind the next competitor. We’re cheering for ‘em to tear through that learning curve fast.  Full report here.

October 20th, 2012

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big pimpin’

ready for prime time?

If it ain’t, it’s pretty damn close!

October 20th, 2012

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out there

Jesús Renedo sends this awesome shot from the Vendee Globe starting area – ominous looking! The village for the race opened today and it is starting to look like a race!

October 20th, 2012

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ac dope

america’s cup road kill

Photojournalist Jen Edney gives us her unique impressions after a season covering the AC World Series.  Learn more about Jen at the Edney Adventure site.

“Keep calm and carry on? No thanks! I’d rather raise hell and change the world.” This quote pretty much sums up my approach to my work. The feeling I get when an AC 45 flies by at speed with the windward hull and rudder just a few feet from my head is indescribable, and that adrenaline rush is what makes me love what I do. But I also thrive on the challenge of trying to tell a meaningful story and make a difference.

Someone said the other day that life begins at the end of your comfort zone and I thought to myself…well, in that case, I must have been re-born several times over the past few months. In May I found myself traveling to Europe for a few assignments, with the first stop in Venice to shoot the America’s Cup World Series. It was my first time shooting these wing-sailed catamarans, loaded with some of the best sailors in the world aboard. I came into the event totally green, never having seen these boats in action except on TV, and absolutely no expectations. My mind was wide open and I was ready to take it all in.

While in Venice, after a few days of shooting from the press boats and familiarizing myself with the AC racing format, I started to entertain the idea of shooting an AC45 from in the water. I wasn’t sure if it was even a possibility or if it was just too dangerous. I figured I’d just ask and see what the response was. I had several people raise their eyes at me when I asked, but I think it more had to do with what might be in the water then the dangers of being that close to an AC45.

Newport – Energy Team Road Kill

Newport is where things turned around for me. I was determined to try my luck with shooting an AC45 from the water so I set out to find a team and skipper who might be up for the task. After a bit of searching, Loick Peyron and Energy Team France answered the call. I walked into the Team Energy tent to pitch the idea to Loick. He stared at me, cigarette in mouth and nonchalantly said, “Sure! No Problem!!! We sail over you, beside you, whatever you want, no problem! How about today? Can you meet back here in 1 hour?” I said ok, walked out, stomach immediately in a knot and said to myself, “Oh Shit! They actually said yes!” I guess that’s what people mean when they say be careful what you wish for!

With my trusty red helmet, flippers and camera in hand, I went out to become Energy Team road kill. The chase boat dropped me in the water and my fate was about to be decided. The first time the boat sailed past I was on the windward side and thought, “hey, that wasn’t so bad.” The second time it was clear they were going to sail directly over me. My heart started pounding as the hull and rudder passed only a few feet away from me and the sounds of the boat passing overhead intensified to add to my adrenaline rush. I definitely closed my eyes for a few seconds but kept shooting. I was nervous but had total confidence in Loick and the crew. After a few more passes overhead I climbed back into the chase boat, heart still pounding with an exuberant grin on my face thinking to myself, “I love my job!”

To top off the day, I was asked if I wanted to ride aboard and take photos during the practice fleet race. It was my first time on board an AC45 and quite exciting to be on during a practice race. That experience really changed my perspective on the sport and increased my understanding immensely. It was there that I saw the true athleticism and raw intensity of the sport as I watched the guys sprint across the trampoline to grind up a halyard or douse the gennaker. That day was such a high spot in my sport coverage this year. Making the transition from being in the photo boat to being in the water with the AC 45’s and then to finally being on a boat in a practice race… It was my best day in the office yet!

My specialty has always been shooting from the water, which has earned me such titles as “Mermaid”, “Watergirl” and my personal favorite, “Shark Bait” over the years. But a new one was added to the list in Newport: “Ballsy water chick”. I was also fortunate during the week to be in the right place at the right time during some key moments, including Team New Zealand’s capsize. I was leaning over the edge of the windward mark boat with my water housing in the water, focusing on the water line on the lens and waiting for New Zealand to round the mark. As they started to come around I noticed something was wrong and looked up to see the wing almost on top of us. I managed to hold the camera steady in the water and continued shooting as they capsized right next to us. Never a dull moment on the water!

San Francisco – ACWS meets Fleet week

San Francisco gave me whole new perspective on the world of ACWS. I was working with Team JP Morgan BAR and my primary focus was on the guests that came out everyday as guest racers. I witnessed the event everyday from the eyes of someone just experiencing the thrill of America’s Cup racing firsthand for the first time. To some that repetition might sound like a real-life version of the movie “Groundhog Day”, but in reality it just makes the job more exciting for me. Shooting from a chase RIB already presents several challenges in trying to get the shots that you need but when you add in a few extra bodies to work around it can really make things interesting!

One of the more exciting days on the water was during the first event with Ben Ainslie and the BAR team when we nearly capsized during training. I was caught on the low side with nothing to stand on so found myself dangling with nothing to hold on to but the net. I somehow managed to keep my camera in hand…got to keep those priorities straight! The boat righted itself and the crew made sure that I was alright. The first event was described as a “whirlwind” by Ben having just come off the back of the Olympics and the team had limited training on the water together.

The second event was a great week for Ben Ainslie and Team JP Morgan BAR in San Francisco. They dominated the first day of fleet racing and continued that momentum the rest of the week. The team had an amazing final race making a comeback from last to 4th on Super Sunday and ended with a podium finish at the end of fleet racing. It was an exciting week with the Blue Angels flying overhead as the boats prepared for racing and hundreds of spectators out on the water to add to the excitement! San Francisco has certainly made an impression on me and I look forward to my next visit!

The best part of working the past 4 ACWS events has been the incredible opportunity to work alongside so many of the people that have inspired me the past few years. It’s incredible how much talent and camaraderie the ACWS event brings together within the sailing community, I was blessed to be a part of it. There are so many people I’ve met over the past few months I’d like to thank for their help, generosity, time and hospitality. THANK YOU!

What’s Next?

I’m looking forward to seeing the AC 72s ripping through the Bay next year and am excited about some new projects on the horizon. It’s a hectic lifestyle, always on the go, full of random encounters navigating me around the world but I guess that’s what it takes to raise hell and change the world! My bags are always packed and I am willing to shoot anything, anytime, anywhere!

Cheers!
-Jen

October 19th, 2012

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coastal carnage


Team Vodafone Sailing’s ORMA 60 set yet another record in this week’s Coastal Classic, New Zealand’s famous 119 NM sprint that ain’t for the faint of heart!  TVS beat her 2011 record of  5h44 minutes by just a few ticks and reported hitting 40 knots on the way.  Have a peek at the conditions they faced – and the monster broaches and chaos amongst the 174-boat fleet  – at the Friday morning start.  And here’s a crew that loves prawns.

October 19th, 2012

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nice air

Day One in Nice was a blowout penultimate event of the 2012 Extreme Sailing Series; only the second  wind-cancelled day in the six-year history of the series.  They gave it a shot but an hour of screwing around under postponement in 30+ knots with boat-breaking waves rolling through the course convinced everyone to hit the bar instead. Shot from Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images.

October 19th, 2012

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already broken?

In preparation for sailing, the Artemis Racing AC72 team was conducting structural tests afloat earlier today when damage was incurred to the front beam of the big cat. The AC72 has been hauled out of the water and the design team, led by Principal Designer Juan Kouyoumidjian, is on site to evaluate the damage. At least they haven’t capsized…yet.

Photos Sander van der Borch / Artemis Racing.

October 18th, 2012

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livin’ the dream

The Speedream protype sails! Pretty interesting looking thing, ain’t it? Click here for their blog, here for their Facebook page.

October 18th, 2012

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do fries come with that?

The video below made us laugh out loud…

Cheeseburger Sailing Team Germany supported the Americas cup and decided to bring the Cup to Hamburg, Germany. At October the 16th the first Event of the new named Cheeseburgers Cup started with the Qualification of the Teams. 

The all new concept of the cup is now being realised on ultra hi tech but low budget c55 (swedish racing class). Because the race was brought so unrehearsed to northern Europe the first issue wasn´t that well prepared so all boats looked pretty much the same because time was too short to print big ads and sponsor logos on the boats. The new concept of the cup includes ONE DESIGN BOATS as well as ONE DESIGN CREW MEMBERS (a concept which sailing has never seen before, right?). 

This video, showing the very first fleet race in the new World Series is the first official video material of how stunning and amazing America’s Cup sailing has become again after one extreme failed 33rd Cup. 

Larry Ellison said in a press release shortly after the horrifying capsize of USA 17 that "Cheeseburger Sailing Team Germany invited me into a stunning new concept and I am totally glad that Team Oracle can now look into a better future maybe winning the cup again and especially that sailing is realised on Mono hulls right now. – Anarchist Niklas.

October 18th, 2012

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inside game

upon further review…

The smart guys and gals at Tidetech share some of their insight about the AC 17 flip…

The speed of global mainstream and social media being what it is, the world now knows what a 72’ catamaran pitchpoling looks like.

In order to inform those that don’t know how this kind of thing can happen to arguably the best sailors on the planet, Tidetech, technical supplier to the 34th America’s Cup, has analysed the elements that conspired to create conditions capable of landing a cat on its head…

Most sailors know that when current direction is against wave direction the effect is to steepen the wave field and create choppy water. The opposite, when waves and current act in the same direction, results in the waves being ‘smoothed’. This is a feature known as the wave-current interaction.The collision of these two phenomena at a time of maximum ebb current is one likely factor in the capsizing of the Oracle AC72. Here are some facts from the time of the incident:

At 2.50pm on 16 October 2012 the wave buoy Station 46026 – SAN FRANCISCO – 18NM West of San Francisco, recorded mean wind speed of 19.4kt, gusting wind speed of 21.4kt, significant wave height of 5.9 feet, dominant wave period of 13 seconds, average wave period of 6.6 seconds and mean wave direction from the west.

The wind and gust speeds inside the bay itself were higher than this with Predict Wind forecasts showing speeds of around 25kt while the recording station at Crissy Fields on the San Francisco city front showed average wind speeds of around 20kt and gusts up to 28kt. At the same time one of the highest tidal ranges of the year (High Water 1222 PDT 6.6’, LW 1849 PDT -0.9, tidal range of 7.5) resulted in very strong ebb currents heading west out of the Bay. In a nutshell, strong tidal currents were opposed to strong prevailing winds and waves at just the wrong time.

Looking at the animation of the tides through that part of the day shows that only 20 minutes before the capsize, the tidal current in the bear-away zone was only 0.8kts. Between 1430 and 1500hrs the ebb tide increased from 0.8kt to 2kt. This would have rapidly steepened the waves in the critical region where the cat eventually headed downwind. While Oracle may not have had problems on previous circuits, this time around things had changed significantly. Take a look at the tidal video animation.

By 1530 the tide is running at 4.5kt to 5kt just west of the Golden Gate Bridge. This speed of current combined with steep waves no doubt hampered the recovery efforts, which would have become easier around 1930hrs with the onset flood tide.

Any catamaran can pitchpole if buried into a steep wave but it takes something impressive to catch-out a crew of this standard and a boat of this size. Bad luck to Oracle but with no-one injured and time to lick wounds, it’ll hopefully only be a short time before they’re back on the water in their AC72.

Tidetech is offering full access to its OceanView online view to Sailing Anarchy readers for three days. Click here for access. To see tidal currents for 16 October go to the ‘Brown Trousers’ product…

October 18th, 2012

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where is it?


There are clues…Jump in and take a swing

October 18th, 2012

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preview

battle royale

There is a fight of epic proportions going down in early November, and an entire nation will be watching. The fighters are currently entering the ring and taking their places, each presenting their own challenge. With just a precious handful of weeks remaining until the throw down, it’s go time. Put up or shut up. At the end of a long and grueling campaign, only one candidate can emerge as the victor.

If you thought that I was talking about the upcoming Presidential Election, I forgive you. I’m talking about the Vendee Globe. In stark contrast to the massive shit slinging contest that is currently being broadcast into our living rooms, we at Sailing Anarchy offer you an alternative. How does 19 sailors sending it around the world, solo, non stop and via the Southern Ocean sound? I thought you’d like that. To sweeten the deal we’ll add in a sexy fleet of tantalizingly high-tech and high-performance 60-footers built with but one objective: to absolutely haul ass around the world. The rules are simple, leave the rocks to port and the ice to starboard. First one around wins. No lobbyists, no interest groups, no PACs. Just good clean Southern Ocean fun, sans errant fecal matter.

And we’re going to bring you all of the action, live from France. With ten full days of coverage leading up to the November 10 start, we’ll have a full media team of boots on the ground committed to bringing the race to your web browser in a way that English speakers have never known before. With written reports and photos of each boat, skipper interviews, “Cocktail Hour” with select skippers, written news articles and video coverage of the start, you’ll see what we see, which should be quite a lot! With a bit of luck, we’ll even be sourcing a live feed of English-translated press conferences. Now how’s that for “working for the people”!

Game Time

The October 19 deadline to be in Les Sables d’Olonne is fast approaching. Several skippers are already in Les Sables, while others are either en route or frantically preparing for their pre-start delivery.

Here’s some highlights:

Mike Golding showed up Monday on Gamesa, ready to sail in his fourth Vendee Globe. Gamesa, having been thoroughly refit over the winter suffered a dismasting in May due to a broken furling gear and has since been fitted with a new mast. After a mostly “mellow” delivery with everything from light winds to 25 knots, Golding states that he and crew have “beaten the tides and made it into Les Sables d’Olonne by the skin of their teeth before the tide turns”.

Crowd favorite Zbigniew Gutkowski or “Gutek” is finishing up a last minute re-fit of his yacht Energa. Energa was still in Gosport, UK on Monday but should be on the water sailing by the time you read this. “Gutek” is expected to face 35 knot headwinds on the journey to Les Sables. Nothing like a full-on, gnarly delivery sail to the start of a round the world race!

Dominique Wavre on Mirabaud was sail testing Tuesday in La Rochelle. The boat is scheduled to be hauled out and continue preparations through the end of the week, arriving in Les Sables d’Olonne on Friday night. It sounds like Mirabaud has a very busy week and will be working frantically up to the deadline!

Media favorite Alex Thomson is in Les Sables d’Olonne on Hugo Boss. Sporting a blinged out chrome paint job and having just smashed the solo trans-atlantic record, Hugo Boss left Gosport a day earlier than anticipated to avoid a strong storm system that was predicted to slam the English Channel over the coming days. Ducking into Lorient for to briefly wait out some weather, Alex completed the delivery on Tuesday.

Other sailors and boats currently in Vendee include:

Bernard Stamm on Cheminées Poujoulat
Vincent Riou on PRB
Jérémie Beyou on Maître CoQ
Tanguy de Lamotte on Initiatives-Cœur
Javier Sansó on Acciona 100% Ecopowered
Kito de Pavant on Groupe Bel was the first non-Les Sables based boat into port.
Stay tuned for more updates leading up to our ten day coverage of the Vendee Globe start!

-Ronnie Simpson

October 18th, 2012

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caller id

At least someone has a sense of humor….!

October 18th, 2012

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Gunboat 60 sailing in Annapolis, MD.

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