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what happened?

We just got this pic. Who knows the who, what and where?

September 25th, 2012

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ac dope

coming or not?

We broke the story that Oracle is in the process of setting up temporary facilities at Larry Ellison’s new Hawaiian Island of Lanai, and here are the docs that verify that. However, now we are hearing that they may not be coming….?

September 25th, 2012

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race report

counting down

The first report from the Flying Dutchman Worlds…

Many FDs arrived earlier in the week by container from Australia, Europe & New Zealand, others arrived by car from various remote parts of North America after driving many days to reach Santa Cruz.

The Regatta Inspection team had made good progress checking the FDs, sails, spars & equipment of those that had arrived early and so by the end of the first day most of the FDs had been inspected by the hard working team. Meanwhile the reception team handed out T-Shirts, Harken folders and paper work for the event.

After a foggy start to the day, the sun tried hard to break through; the light winds increased to the 8 to 12 knot winds for the practice race which started after a postponement and a general recall. Over 30 FDs joined in the practice race and others came out into the race area after completing their regatta inspection. The course was a traditional triangle, sausage finishing upwind of the first mark.

Lin Robson & Adriaan Schmal (USA 36) gained an early lead in Lin’s new Mader. At the first leeward mark they were followed by Killian Koenig & Johannes Brack (GER 113). The current World and European Champions – Szabolcs Majthényi & András Domokos (HUN 70),  Nicola & Francesco Vespasiani (ITA 4) and Enno Krammer & Ard Geelkerken (NED 26) were chasing close behind.

Some say that winning the practice race is unlucky, so we shall see if Nicola & Francesco Vespasiani (ITA 4) who crossed the finishing line first can maintain their form! For more information see www.fdworlds2012.org photos are at www.facebook/ifdco

September 25th, 2012

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money shot


A cool pic from the Monaco Yacht Show from the masthead of the 170′
Dubois ketch Mondango. More pics on www.rick-tomlinson.com.

September 25th, 2012

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community

shut it down

We don’t know much about this other than what’s in the story, but it appears to suck…

For many years David Stimson built and repaired boats on his family’s property in Boothbay. On August 28 the Town of Boothbay served Stimson with a notice of violation that barred David and his family from continuing to work on their property because his business was not in conformance with the Town of Boothbay’s zoning ordinances.

Stimson’s boatbuilding shop located at 261 River Road was deemed in violation because Boothbay’s zoning ordinances prohibits the manufacturing of boats within a residential area, and Stimson’s business is in such an area. Stimson, who claimed he had been building boats on his property since 1981, was unaware that the act of manufacturing boats was illegal in the residential district when he applied for a building permit in 2011. Thanks to the Wiscasset Newspaper, read on

September 25th, 2012

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kelp cutter needed

Christophe Launay sends this one…

September 25th, 2012

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race report

the blink from the sink

Collin Leon sailed with John Mollicone’s 11th Hour Racing (USA 5235) during last week’s 2012 J/24 Worlds at Rochester Yacht Club.  Finishing second overall in the largest J/24 Worlds fleet in the Class’s history, Colin gives us his perspective from his position on the starboard sink…errr, mast.  

The Crew: John Mollicone (Skipper), Geoff Becker (Trimmer), Tim Healy (Tactician), Collin Leon (Mast), and Gordon Borges (Foredeck).

Responsibilities: Count down the start, hike your ass off, live in the starboard sink when it gets light, get yelled at about the vang, run the tapes, make sure the jib halyard isn’t knotted or kinked, call puffs and waves, pre-feed the guy, roll gybe the boat off twings, human pole, drink as many free drinks as possible before you’re too exhausted to stand (30 minutes after starting) and go swimming really early to clean the hull (yes, I swam a total of 6 days in the Rochester yacht club harbor… may or may not have mercury poisoning, MRSA infection, or something more exotic?).

Report, Day 1: Started out light at 4-8 knots out of the south/southeast, with a confused sea state and a race committee that was set on three races for the day, it was sure to be a mentally and physically draining day. After a mediocre start and good boat speed in both races, we didn’t seem to have a leg up as we did on previous regattas this season, as the conditions were so tricky. Conditions ranged from me spending half my time on deck and half down below (aka, in the starboard sink, or its counterpart on port, the battery box).  With 1.8nm upwind legs, the race came down to small gains or huge losses. On the downwind legs it was key to not only position yourself for the pressure, but with 96 boats in the race it was even more important to make sure you had enough space to pass boats to leeward. Although it was extremely hard to make perfect tactical calls as everyone was in different pressure and headings, we seemed to find a “safe” mode where we could finish around the top 15 in both races for the day. I couldn’t tell you much about the upwind beats as I was mostly down below, however downwind we had a speed edge playing angles and flawless gybes that didn’t slow us down at all. So although it’s impossible to win the regatta the first day of racing, we certainly didn’t lose it. Sitting in 10th after the first day we were determined to up our performance, keep consistent results, and press forward. As the last race ended at 4:45, we were sent in.

Day 2:  The first race started with a puffy southwest breeze and a race committee that was once again determined for three races. We started a few up from the pin after seeing consistent left shifts coming down before the start and battled it out with Travis Odenbach, holding our lane until a nice lefty came down the course. We tacked in the 15-degree shift and looked LAUNCHED on the fleet, finally a good shift going our way. Well it wasn’t to be!   A massive righty came down a couple of minutes later, and we rounded high 20’s. With impressive downwind boat speed and a solid tactical plan by Tim, we finished 18. Not a great race, but not a bad one. On race two we all decided that the left looked better and would work this time again so back to the pin it was. After one general recall, the I and Z flags went up. With the Argentinian defending world champion “Luca” below us as well as two others, we were sure to be careful not to be pushed over the line. Luckily the Argies couldn’t keep their speed back and were over early. Immediately as we heard general recall on the radio after the start gun and saw a recall flag go up, we dropped our genoa and headed back below the line to listen for numbers. Hearing we weren’t called over and Luca was, we were ecstatic as it was a very stressful start where we came away unscathed. The only problem was that the fleet was still racing… the other two RC boats had X flags up and we began to lose our cool a little. GENOA UP! WE’RE RACING. Tim hailed on the radio that the general flag was up on the pin boat and after holding Gordy back from verbally abusing the flag guy on the pin boat (and what seemed like potentially boarding their boat) for switching the flag from a general flag back to an X after we “informed them”, the RC called the fleet back. Phew, that could have been an ugly race. With a solid pin start on the next start, a great left shift, we rounded top 5 (Finally!) after narrowly missing a hole at the layline for first. A great run had us move up 2 positions and we held our position until the last run. Looking behind a curious black cloud was coming down the course. We decided to set ourselves up for the storm by putting ourselves in the best position to get the maximum anticipated left shift from the storm (that was moving left to right). Well, welcome to Rochester. Storms moving from left to right have a 30-degree right shift to them. In 25 knots, pouring rain, and a 30-degree right shift had us finishing in 4th. A top 5 race, finally. The best part, no 3rd race today and not one moment spent in the sink. A miracle.

Day 3: Day 3 had us motoring out in 15+ knots, our rig set at two settings above base, and a crew ready to post some top results and bounce into a better position. Race one started with us starting towards the pin end of the line with a good line going out left. However, after working the left hard, the right dominated, and we rounded in the top 25.  Working downwind and the rest of the race hard, we finished up 15th (at this stage we determined we’re VERY good at mid teen results). Needless to say, other top ten competitors were not as consistent, and we kept pushing for consistency, which we’ve been working for all year to win regattas. The following race, with similar conditions and a little sharper boat handling and tactics had us pass a bunch of boats and finish 9th in a dying SW’ly breeze. After finishing, the very determined race committee – at 4 PM – decided we needed a third race.

Exhausted more mentally than physically from the two previous races, we knew if we could out sail our competition in this race we would have a good chance in advancing on the leader board.  With the breeze dying, we dropped our rig settings to base and started with a clear lane above the midline boat after a general recall. We had great speed and after seeing Darby Smith roll top contenders of the fleet in what seemed like her own private lefty, we tried to make the left shift work and like everyone else, failed. She was launched. At this point the breeze dropped off to 5-6 knots and I found myself in a familiar place down below. Moving my body weight in and out to keep the boats heel consistent, we finally made it to the mark in the mid 20’s. After a great set, we went to work downwind, and once the kite was down I was back down below. Gaining another boat or two upwind (or so I was informed), we had an intensely slow battle downwind, passing another two boats, and were moving at a snail’s pace toward the upwind finish.  Halfway up the final leg, Gordy came down below to sit in front of the bulkhead.  No words were needed:  We’d hit a massive hole, 200 yards from the finish, and were parked.  

Now, if you’ve never sailed a J/24 before, you probably don’t know that there’s only one thing worse than contorting your body down below.  That’s having two people down there.  Because that only happens when there’s nothing to do but wait for breeze as you boil and marinate in your gear.  At the tune-up regatta in Oswego a few weeks back we practiced this situation:  Tiptoe up on deck to roll-tack the boat, stay on deck to leeward until the sails are full, then slither back downstairs.  We knew the drill…

We dinally saw breeze coming down the lake, coming right toward us in fact!  But being in Rochester (and remembering George Costanza’s ‘Opposite’ episode) one must remember the mantra, “Right is wrong and wrong is right, down is up and up is down.”  Left side puff, righty shift, and we finished in 14th.  We survived, and continued keeping to our plan for consistency over all else.  Meanwhile, 3-time J/24 Worlds winner Mauricio Santa Cruz was putting on a clinic in his ancient chartered boat, taking his second bullet of the event.  

Day 4: Day 4 showed us some great breeze, starting out with a 15-knot southerly building throughout the day to 25 knots, then settling in the mid teens. With three races left, we needed to post two top scores to be in contention for the title.  Okay, maybe not in contention, but at least close.  Since the event started, for the most part you had either be in the pressure, have a shift go your way, or just win your side no matter what happened on the other. With 1.8nm legs, a 5 degree shift could be the difference between first and 50th. We decided that the right looked pretty good at the start of the race and set off to win our side. Will Welles, Matias Pereira, Rossi Milev and Travis Odenbach had the same thought, and when the massive righty came down, it was a pack of old friends at the top mark, with 11th Hour Racing in the lead!  We held everyone off until the last quarter of the final leg, when Will and Matias split sides. This forced us to pick a shift, as we couldn’t cover both boats. As luck would have it, a righty came in when we were on the left. We lost Will but still beat Matias to take second:  A solid race in the end. With one race left we were postponed for half an hour until the wind became steady enough to start a race. The left kept filling in stronger and stronger and shifting towards more of a left number throughout the sequence. We had a little starting issue where the breeze shifted so hard left we couldn’t quite reach the line at go. The boats that had good starts immediately tacked in the large left shift and we had to continue further left before getting a lane. Once we tacked we looked way behind the fleet, however the breeze went harder left as the breeze increased. As we were the first to get the new higher velocity breeze being the most left boat, our deficit wasn’t as bad as it could have been. We rounded top 20 and went to work passing boats all over the course to finish 9th, a great comeback. However as great of a comeback as it may have been, Mauricio and team Bruschetta finished 3rd, winning the regatta without having to sail the last race.  Even better for those guys, they could sit out the entire final day.  It was an “ass caning” as John put it at the awards dinner…but we knew Day 5 would be intense for us regardless of the outcome, so we headed back to the hotel early after a few drinks.  And by ‘drinks’ I mean rocky mountain water, which was all we could handle.  

Day 5:  With a light but building Southerly of around 5 knots at dockout, I was pretty sure I’d be finishing yet another 2012 regatta – the fourth of the year — sitting in the sink. Imagine my surprise when enough breeze came in to pull me into the cockpit! We saw that the right had better pressure and we won the boat end of the line convincingly. Being 1 point out of third and 2 out of second, we determined our strategy would be to sail fast and leave the points to be determined by how well our competitors sailed. After being headed within 25 seconds of the start, we tacked and headed towards the right hoping the breeze would turn around during the 1.8nm leg. About half way up the beat we realized that the right wasn’t to be, but like the rest of the week we still had to win our side to have a chance. We pressed the right hard, but the harder we pressed the more left the breeze shifted. The bad news was there was no way we were going to break into the top pack, the good news was our closest competitors were right there with us (in the mid 50’s). Rounding around 50th, we had an issue with two slow boats on the first downwind where they were literally stuck to the water, but after rolling one to leeward and the other to windward, we set on pressing for the rest of the race. After a VERY few tense if not comical legs, we finished 37th, however our closest competition finished just far enough behind in the race to push us into second overall. Dropping the 37th and having our next worse race an 18th, we went on to finish 7 points ahead of third overall.  We felt the satisfaction of a hard-fought 2nd place at the 2012 J/24 Worlds.

While motoring in, we tried to pass as many boats as possible for the first-come, first-served haulout. On the way in, it came clear that, although we had little luck on our side for the event, having consistent results (averaging a little over an 11) was really the name of the game in such a large fleet on a huge course. On top of a great result, we also got to save a life and win some karma from nature after Tim noticed a duck with its leg stuck between two jagged edges of an old piling from one of the docks. It was one last swim for me to save the little quacker, and she was transported to the animal hospital to assess the injured leg. Volunteer quacks Sarah Enwright and her mom reported from the vet that the duck would make it…

Overall, we were pretty stoked with the result as the race was really for second after the second day. Mauricio was in a world of his own, and really showed how to win the event (for a fourth time).  A big congrats to the organizers at RYC who put on a wonderful regatta.  The 11th Hour Racing Team of USA 5235 will be racing ECC’s in a few weeks and then down to Florida for NA’s in mid November.

You can find full results here, a video playlist from the event here, and please be sure to check out 11th Hour Racing to learn more about how you can help the environment, and for more about what Sailors for the Sea does.

September 25th, 2012

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mr. rogers j-borhood

We dug last week’s J/24 Worlds video coverage because it sounded like it was produced to sound like a children’s TV show…perfect for the typical J/24 racer!  Day 3 was the best of ‘em – have a look here.

September 25th, 2012

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fran tech

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sailing Master Fran Charles made news last week with his open letter denouncing what he says is an illegal agreement between college sailing’s governing body and LaserPerformance (see “College Angst”).  We admired the balls he showed in sending it, but even more, we admire the work that he continues to do for both his school and the wider sailing community.  Along with Ken Legler and a growing number of coaches and sailing directors, Fran is leading the push to shake things up and modernize collegiate sailing.  His agenda at M.I.T. similarly shakes things up; the racing team is just a small part of a program that sees some 2,000 members sailing over 100 boats every year.

So we’re going to put him to the Clean test and give you a Skype Innerview with the college sailing Hall of Famer.  We plan to learn more about the Laser imbroglio, to get Fran’s take on the record-setting lack of performance by mostly ex-college sailors in Weymouth, and to get far deeper into the world of college sailing than we’ve ever gotten before.  Got questions about these or any other relevant subjects?  Post them here before Thursday afternoon.

September 25th, 2012

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juicy

The Women’s Open Keelboat Championship organised by Jody, Ellie and the Hamble River Sailing Club benefited from some late summer sun over the weekend and was enjoyed by all participants both on and off the water.

On the water three races were run each day and wind speeds between 10 and 20 knots provided a good variety of conditions for the women to revel in. In the IRC class Elaine, the Elan, entered by Sabrina Gravelle & Heather Ross proved hard to beat with Annie Kelly’s Blackjack keeping them honest. In the J80s it was Lavinia Paternoster onboard Juicy who took the top spot only relinquishing her position at the front of the fleet in one race.

Off the water the girls were treated to an informal ‘Pink’ Canape & Rose party on Friday night with a short brief from Peter Bateson (PRO) and weather wizard Libby Greenhalgh. At Saturday night’s ‘Frock n FlipFlop’s’ party, in aid of Breast Cancer Care, all the stops were pulled out, the HRSC was buzzing, the champagne was flowing and the hog roast was going down a treat! In the charity raffle alone, over £800.00 was raised!

Thanks should go to Jody and Ellie for organising such a fantastic and most importantly fun event and I am sure I speak for everyone when I say that we hope the WOKC will return to the HRSC bigger and better next year. – Anarchist Bertand.

September 23rd, 2012

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college angst

It looks like Intercollegiate Sailing Association President Mitch Brindley has gotten himself into a bit of a pickle, and this Open Letter from MIT Sailing Director Franny Charles raises serious questions about his recent agreement with LaserPerformance to act as the exclusive boatbuilder/supplier of all ICSA National and Semi-Final Championships.  Why does LP seem like it’s always in a shitstorm these past few years?  Judge for yourself, and if you’re a member or alum of the ICSA, maybe it’s a good time to start asking questions.

Dear Mitch-

It is with chagrin I have learned the news that you, as the President
of ICSA, have signed an eight year contract with Laser Performance
exclusively naming them as the only official boat builder at all
national and semi-final college championship regattas excluding
sloops. According to Article VII of the ICSA bylaws, The Board of
Directors is the only authority which can make changes to the
conditions of the National Championships and this agreement is
categorically a change to the conditions. It is also a change to the
Class Rules of the Collegiate Dinghy Class, which also requires
approval of the Board. Therefore, as President you have entered into a
contract purportedly on behalf of ICSA which you are not authorized to
sign. It is wrong to assume, with no public debate or even public
notice beforehand that this contract is in the best interests of
college sailing. ICSA should immediately renegotiate the contract
before LP ‘performs’ any of their services.

Furthermore, and more importantly, this contract is definitely not in
the best interests of college sailing. Laser Performance’s inattention
to the long term and immediate needs of some customers has created
healthy competition for the collegiate boat building market over the
past several years. This sponsorship agreement is a strategic move by
Laser Performance to keep their competitors out of the college sailing
market. If left in place, it will cripple the ongoing efforts to
develop faster, more tunable, more durable, and more fun-to-sail boats
for the future of college sailing as well as severely effect member
institutions that have already chosen to buy from other boat builders
who are responsible and responsive to the customer.

I am sure that your intentions were good but the process, legality,
and substantive consequences of this agreement are all wrong for the
ICSA and its member institutions.  Because some of our members’ boats
are not manufactured by LP, they are now required to purchase fleets
of boats from a sole vendor if they wish to be considered a host for
the nationals or semi finals.  The LP agreement only requires the
builder to provide boats for singles and the host schools must
purchase their boats at whatever price LP decides to charge for
dinghies, women’s, semis, and team racing.

There are many other schools who will make fleet purchases over the
life of this eight year contract who will be forced to buy from Laser
Performance, whether or not that equipment is the best value for their
program’s needs. That is not fair, nor healthy for our organization.
Fordham University, New York Maritime Academy, Columbia University,
University of New Hampshire, MIT, Tufts University and all the schools
using Performance Catamaran-built west coast FJs have invested
hundreds of thousands of dollars in collegiate boats which are now
excluded from hosting a championship. The Administration and Alumni of
these institutions will understandably be very concerned about the
exclusion of their school.  Retroactively banning an institution from
hosting an event based on their choice of equipment supplier is a
blatant disregard for these schools.  I am quite sure that you would
not have inked this deal if your fleet at Old Dominion University
would be subject to this ban.

As a Commonwealth of Massachusetts corporation, the ICSA is subject to
some of the broadest consumer protection laws in the country. Laser
Performance’s strategy to exclude competitors’ boats might constitute
illegal anti-competitive conduct, and through your actions ICSA is now
a party to Laser Performance’s plan. The ‘confidentiality agreement’
that you agreed to as a part of this contract precludes the member
institutions from knowing even an estimated value of this contract
that delivers the entire college sailing market to Laser Performance
until 2020. What exactly is it costing Laser Performance to get
exclusive rights to our market?  There is no representation in any
ICSA meeting minutes that are available about the negotiation or
considerations of this agreement. Never was notice given to the
membership that this was an item to be considered by the Board of
Directors. This is egregious behavior which smacks of favoritism,
Mitch.  The lack of transparency by you and the ICSA BoD makes the
membership feel suspicious of your motivations.

The need to have singlehanded boats for our championships is certainly
a concern for ICSA. Though the singlehanded discipline is a tiny part
of the collegiate schedule, it is a national championship that the
members support. However, with US Sailing having now chosen to work
with Zim Sailboats for their youth championship sponsorship with 420s
and Bytes for singles champs, Laser Performance is in an extremely
precarious position. They obviously view it as essential to have
college AND high school sailing singles hosted in their Laser design.
This agreement with ICSA does them a big favor. Granting LP the level
of concessions that you did in this agreement does far more for LP
than they are doing for college sailing. It is a very strange balance
of our priorities. There are other options for ICSA’s singlehanded
championship if LP is unwilling to work with us. Video production at
our championships is an ICSA need but this is a tiny cost to a company
which guarantees itself millions of dollars in boat sales over the
life of this agreement.

By granting an exclusive right to host all of our national
championships in LP-made boats, ICSA is making a long range commitment
to stifle competition in the institutional market. Recently, the
college sailing market has developed healthy competition from builders
who could offer alternative manufacturing processes, improved spare
parts inventories and service, and exciting changes in modern
equipment like cored hulls with resin infusion, gnav vangs, reef
points, and cassette style rudder stocks. In addition, improvements
like 420 bow bulkheads, angled thwarts, integrated bow bumpers, and
lighter rigs make our boats much safer, as well as more fun to sail.
These changes have ONLY come from schools that have been willing to
break away from the Laser Performance stranglehold. Now, ICSA is
poised to make a long range commitment to the company who has
repeatedly been unwilling to change anything until their market share
is threatened by other builders who innovate.

There needs to be public debate, full transparency, and the ICSA
should take very seriously its responsibility to hear every member
school’s concerns with respect. As a college sailing director I am
very concerned about this contract, the secrecy behind it, and the
detrimental consequences it has on many of the ICSA members. It is
wrong, unfair, and probably illegal.

Franny Charles
MIT Sailing Master
http://sailing.mit.edu/

September 23rd, 2012

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race report

9/10′s

Update: The racing has been good, with a bit of a shake up after Saturday’s last light air race. Ruckus is currently tied for first with Justice, and the dopey Ed maybe having one of the dumber things happen when his engine trap door opened during day one, rendering the boat so off the pace for races two and three that it was almost beyond belief. We started slowing down in race one while in the lead, and tried everything but didn’t even think to look at the door. That sealed our fate but we have a decent shot at third going into the last day…

In what must be one of the best (and last?) turnouts, the Flying Tiger 10′s are having their NA’s this Friday-Sunday at Coronado Yacht Club. Smooth water, no kelp and decent breeze are usually delivered in SD’s South Bay, so it should provide a good venue for pretty tight racing. We’d guess that the boys from Oxnard on Ruckus are the favorites, with second up for grabs between Mile High Klub, Justice, Nihui and Anarchy. But you never know and that’s why they play the game. The Ed will drop in updates Friday, Sat and Sun, assuming he doesn’t get thrown out of the event for something…

September 23rd, 2012

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freaky styley

Two very nice young girls, Stine Haberkost and Amalie Spork Dalum from Royal Danish Yacht Club, showing they can do that weird new hikey-thing too!. This weekend we had the Danish Youth Championship at Rungsted Marina near Copenhagen. I have followed the two girls since they started as Optimist sailors and they have just changed to 29 er and they are sailing like they have had this boat for 5 years. Very talented! More pics. Anarchist Peter.

Title inspiration thanks to RHCP

September 21st, 2012

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movie madness

Images of sailing adorn popular life here in America, but not because lots of us actually sail – in fact, it’s quite the opposite.  Jewelry, fashion, and financial companies – or rather, their advertising agencies – bank on yachting’s perceived exclusivity to sell their high-dollar wares. Yachts are featured as bit players in film, too; hundreds of them, but rarely does sailing play a big part in the story.  But sometimes it does, and since we can’t find any article that’s ever given a ‘best of sailing movies’ review, we decided it was our duty to do just that.

But who’s got time to research the best movies to watch?  No one.  So we decided to do the heavy lifting for you, and along with a few forum members, we came up with the official Sailing Anarchy Top Ten Sailing Movies Of All Time.  We tried to restrict these to full-length feature fiction or documentary films, and we left off pretty much everything from the olden days; those swashbuckling films may look good in your memory, but with very few exceptions they didn’t age well at all.  You can find most of these on Amazon or Netflix or the various BitTorrent or Free TV Search Sites out there, and feel free to tell us what we missed in the thread.

10 – Morning Light
Take a pile of young sailors, give them a shit hot TP-52 and some of the best coaches in the world to train them to race it, and send them on a race to Hawaii.  Throw in a custom-modified power trimaran to follow them every step of the way, and you’ve got the recipe for the ultimate sailing movie.  Right?  Somehow, it didn’t’ work out that way.  This could’ve been Roy Disney’s final and most enduring legacy to a sport he adored, but it fell flat in almost every way:  The race itself was a dull one, they didn’t even end up being the youngest team in the race, and somehow, the editing team managed to make some damned interesting and opinionated kids look downright dull.  They had hours and hours and hours of gates-of-hell style sailing off Hawaii during training, tons of shots of fights and drama and the real stories about a crew having to come together to win, yet somehow, none of that made it to the final cut after an editing process frought with disagreement and delay. Morning Light makes it to the Top Ten solely on the strength of the offshore training footage – it’s by far the best-produced big-water sailing footage of a modern racing boat available. On a big screen, you tend to fast-forward through the rest of it.  

9 – 180 South: Conquerors of the Useless
This recent feature doco contains maybe the least amount of sailing of any of these Top Ten pictures, and most of it is over and done with before the first half of the documentary.  But that bit includes a very real and quietly beautiful piece of ocean passagemaking from the US to the South Pacific that is an absolute must-see piece for any ocean sailor, combined with more reality with a dramatic dismasting and the month-long jury rigging process on wild Rapa Nui (Easter Island), followed by the eventual landing in Chile.  Once in Patagonia, Jeff Johnson meets up with Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins; the conservationist heroes who helped tell the world about this most wild of places nearly 50 years ago.  Whether you’re surfer, sailor, scientist, climber, or just a kid,  the haunting beauty and incredible video work in a place that can easily overwhelm the lens is some of the best you’ll ever see.  And the conservationist message is powerful without being preachy, thanks to Johnson’s Warren Miller-esque narration and a script that’s more surf movie than Discovery channel.  A great one for kids and adults alike, and one you can turn schoolteachers onto as well if you want to see the next generation conserving more than this one.

8 – Dead Calm
A young Nicole Kidman shows off her tits and ass, then later has a wheel in one hand and a spear gun (or was it a flare gun) in the other, kicking ass and taking names.  At least that’s how we remember it, so do we really need to go into the plot?  There’s plenty of suspense, but the movie loses sailors with some of its seaborne silliness, and loses regular folk with the stupidity of its main characters. Billy Zane plays a pretty good maniac, while Sam Neill is the useless foil to Kidman’s badassery.  But Kidman’s flesh and her expressiveness are the real stars, and no matter how dumb the plot, she makes you want to cheer for her as she opens up a can of beatdown up on Zane. 

Bonus Fact:  The movie was shot mostly just off Hamilton Island, Australia – the site, of course, of the famous Hamilton Island Race Week.  Kidman’s “Saracen” was actually the Van De Stadt 73’ plywood ketch “StormVogel”, which won the Sydney Hobart in 1965 and is still racing today.  Bonus Rumor:  A pair of Kidman’s panties still hangs in the stateroom of StormVogel.

7 – Pirates of the Caribbean
Yes, the sailing is ridiculous.  But the movie – if you can remember back to before it was a billion-dollar franchise wiuth a litany of crappy sequels and merchandise overload – was a roller-coaster ride of fun and adventure that brought swashbucklers into the 21st century.  This one makes the list for its sheer enjoyment value, as well as for the interest it created in tall ships for literally hundreds of millions of kids around the world.

6 – White Squall
One of the true classics for the thousands of kids and adults that have gone through some form of tall ship training, this pic casts a flawless Jeff Bridges as Skipper Chris Sheldon of the Brigantine Albatross in 1962 – a sail training/university ship for well-off kids long before such a thing became accepted.  Directed by visionary director Ridley Scott, the script was written using many of the actual documents produced during the maritime hearings from the real-life tragic loss of the brig, which took four students’ lives along with those of the cook and Sheldon’s wife.  This one is worth watching for anyone, but the capsize and sinking scene gives sailors a particularly harrowing look at all of our biggest fear:  Being trapped in a sinking boat.   Bonus Fact: Captain Sheldon went into the Peace Corps after losing the Albatross, and in 1965 he bought another ship – she burned to the waterline off West Africa on only her second voyage, and Sheldon would never return to sea.  Bonus Education: Daniel S. Parrott spent years researching the loss of the Albatross along with those of four other tall ships, and carefully pieced together the very simple explanation for why these boats were inherently dangerous in the 2002 book Tall Ships Down.  An excellent read after watching the movie.

5 – Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
Bringing one of every bored cruiser’s favorite seafaring characters to the big screen, director Peter Weir brought in a great cast and spent some serious money making brutally believable battle and storm scenes from the Age of Sail.  It’s a combination of a couple of books from Patrick O’Brians epic series, and the great characters and detailed realism of the chases and skirmishes at sea help the movie appeal to a broad audience, both lubbers and salts.  An enjoyable movie on every level, and easily watchable more than once.   Bonus Fact:  Weir hired longtime SA’ers to teach Russell Crowe and other crew how to handle lines properly and to safely climb the rigging of a tall ship at their base in Baja California.

4 – Masquerade
Rob Lowe is a studly young rockstar skipper running loaded old FBO Brian Davies’ S&S 70’ Mini-Maxi “Obsession” for the summer out of the Hamptons.  He’s also running Davies’ trophy wife (a Kim Catrall already the slutty older women back in ’88!) around the bedroom, but he falls in love with a very young and exceptionally cute Meg Tilly instead.  To complicate matters, someone is trying to steal Tilly’s massive fortune, Lowe is blowing hundreds of thousands on modifications to the boat, the cops are dirty, and the propane isn’t the only thing that’s explosive.  This is a fun thriller with lots of sailing, most of it – including some of the sailor stereotypes – being quite accurate.  And don’t even think that you sounded any cooler than the douchebag yachties in this 80’s classic. Viewing Tip: This one will hold the attention of a non-sailing wife.  Bonus Fact:  The hull of the Hinckley 36 used as “Masquerade” in the production was, according to a Hinckley Company newsletter, in good shape after they blew her up in a ball of fire.  She was acquired by an experienced boatbuilder to be subsequently restored.  Where Are They Now: At least a couple of years ago, Obsession was still doing head boat daysails out of Seattle’s waterfront.

3 – Deep Water
This one is deep indeed, and painful too, and it asks all the right questions about the first solo offshore racer to truly step into the void.  The 93-minute documentary about Donald Crowhurst’s infamous leap into the chaos of the first non-stop, Round-The-World race relies on riveting footage found aboard the ghost ship Teignmouth Electron months after Crowhurst disappeared along with words and video from Moitissier and Sir Robin.  The film documents Crowhurst’s descent into madness, and the reasons it was almost a foregone conclusion.  Filmmakers Louise Osmond and Jerry Rothwell force all seafarers to ask themselves some of the deeper questions behind our own motivations for escaping a land-bound life, be it for a few hours or a few years. 

2 – Captain Ron
We’ll always love this one for its unending stream of memorable quotes, combined with just how hilariously true all the delivery skipper stereotypes seem to be when seen through a comic director’s eyes.  Kurt Russell fits the bill perfectly, with Martin Short as the clueless owner and a hilarious crew keeps it interesting, and if you haven’t seen it in a while, medicate yourself with your favorite elixir and sit back for an hour and change of laughs.

1 – Wind
Still the gold standard by which all other crappy sailing movies are judged, Wind succeeds for sailors because a) it’s our only real ‘sports/drama’ movie and it loosely follows the reality from 1983 to 1987, and b) because of the utter ridiculousness spewed in nearly every scene.  From the sail that goes “Whomp” to the pickup truck/salt flat wind tunnel tests to the stupid Geronimo dance, it keeps you laughing even as you check out Jennifer Grey’s sailor chick credentials.  We don’t need no stinkin’ rules for yacht racing, do we?  Not when it goes from flat calm to ocean gale in the middle of a single buoy race!  For all of its substantial stupidity, Wind was still the first movie to really capture some of the excitement of sailing that Hollywood’s ever seen; the 14-foot skiff (a/k/a I-14) footage is breathtaking, and some of the AC racing scenes in the big stuff will be remembered forever.  And as long as we keep it alive for the next generation, there will be Whompers in the sail locker for another 50 years.  Bonus Fact:  Iconic lifetime yachting commentator Peter Montgomery does most of the ‘TV commentary” in the movie.

September 21st, 2012

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19.6/26

 

Donovan GP26 (Wraceboats) Promo Video from Baran Öneren on Vimeo.

Here’s the Windseeker-built Donovan GP 26 absolutely hauling ass. Sure looks quick, and well behaved!

September 21st, 2012

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big pimpin’


hi def

Tidetech has developed a high-resolution tidal model for the Melges 32 Worlds. Due to get underway on 25 September in Newport, RI, this is the first time a tidal model has been available for races in Newport.

The model covers Narragansett Bay and its approaches, providing a forecast of surface currents in 30-minute time-steps. The data is available through Tidetech’s online viewer OceanView, or as GRIB files to be downloaded for use in tactical navigation software such as Expedition, Deckman or Adrena.

The product data is sourced from an operational model run by the University of Massachusetts and made available by Tidetech through the Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal and Ocean Observing Systems (NERACOOS).

With 34 boats registered for the Melges 32 World Championships the competition will be tight and every possible gain will be taken advantage of… knowing what the water is doing under the hull could be the winning margin.

Click here for more images of the model data

Click here to subscribe to the Basic or Pro packages

Tidetech is a technical supplier to the 34th America’s Cup with its San Francisco Bay tidal models and also recently supplied the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race with global ocean current data.

September 21st, 2012

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what is it?

This one’s a bit different. The last what is it took 14 minutes to get. How long for this one?

September 21st, 2012

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wet dream

The li’l SpeedDream gets wet. Built by Lyman-Morse, the boat will test some of the concepts and systems before going forward with the Big Dream!  Check it out.

September 20th, 2012

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community

all about the pink

I remember meeting Tom Watson for the first time. It was May 2010 and I was preparing to shove off on my 400-mile qualifying sail for the Singlehanded Transpac. A small group of us had assembled in Sausalito to leave together on an early morning ebb, Tom included. The night before, I shared a beer with Tom and he told me of his plans to circumnavigate the globe non-stop via Cape Horn. I looked at Tom in disbelief and said nothing. I then looked at his piece of shit Cal 27 T2. “You’ll never make it”, I thought. I turned to Tom and nodded in support of his voyage, mostly just hoping that he would shut up while silently shooting my friend Adam a look that said “who is this guy and why is he talking about sailing around Cape Horn in a Cal 27?”.

The next morning, Tom followed us out under the Golden Gate Bridge and into the Pacific Ocean. We all went on to complete our 400-mile qualifying voyages while Tom merely sailed out to the Farallones, got sea sick and then sailed back into port claiming that his keel was falling off. Wanker.

Wrong. First off, Tom’s keel actually was falling off, as evidenced by a severely cracked hull to keel joint that was pouring water into the bilge. Either way, I was confident that that was the last I would see of Tom Watson. Wrong again. Two months later, i’m standing on the beach in Kauai when Tom randomly shows up to help bring a boat back to California. That was to be his first ocean crossing.

Fast forward to July 2011. Tom has purchased a Pearson Triton and named it “Darwind” after his beloved son Darwin. He still claimed that he was going to sail the boat around the world non-stop and that his trial run would be the 2012 Singlehanded Transpac. He also claimed that he was going to raise $1 million for breast cancer research. Pretty lofty claims if you ask me. I again scoffed at Tom’s ambitions. Not that I wanted to see Tom fail, but having done some serious offshore single handing and worked to raise money for charity, I knew first-hand how hard Tom’s road would be.

Before he could do the Transpac however, he needed to qualify for the race, so he entered the 2011 “Great Pacific Longitude Race” or Longpac. The weather forecast looked ominous, predicting a gale. Needless to say, the gale materialized and only 4 out of 30 boats finished the 400-mile long solo race. Tom Watson persevered to finish an impressive second place in class and third overall. Sailing back from Hawaii double handed and then spending a few days in a gale was Tom’s coming of age, his rite of passage. I no longer scoffed at Tom when he claimed that he would sail around the world. Instead, I listened.

But to know Tom is to know the Pink Boat. He isn’t just sailing around the world for his own personal glory. He is doing it to make a difference. With Darwind now painted bright pink, Tom began sailing her up and down the West Coast organizing fundraising regattas to raise money and awareness for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. To start, he organized the first Pink Boat Regatta in San Francisco which went off with great success. Two months later, I was walking down the street in San Diego watching the AC45’s practice when I saw a pink Pearson Triton sailing around San Diego Bay, wing-sailed catamarans buzzing by at speed. “This kid is everywhere”, I thought to myself. Sure enough, he was down in San Diego to promote another fundraising regatta.

This summer, Tom sailed the paint off of his pink Pearson Triton in the Singlehanded Transpac race. He blew up two spinnakers along the way, bent his spinnaker pole in a round down, hoisted himself up the rig solo under spinnaker and finally sewed his two kites together to create “Franken-kite”. Despite these problems, Tom managed to keep Darwind moving at exactly hull speed for 16 days and corrected out to first in class and third overall; an impressive result in a stacked fleet. A natural salesman and true philanthropist, I watched him chat up a bar tender at a bar in Kauai and solicit an online donation to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. “The kid’s got commitment”, I thought to myself. He truly believes in the cause he’s sailing for, as I do for mine.

Not only does Tom believe in his cause of raising money for breast cancer research, he believes in using sailing to help others, no matter what the cause. When I organized Hope for the Warriors’ first wounded-veteran sailing clinic in San Francisco in April, Tom was one of the first to volunteer; he worked tirelessly, sun up to sun down, to help me pull off the clinic. And for our next wounded-veteran’s clinic in two weeks? He volunteered to drive from Seattle to San Fran on his own dime to again volunteer. I spoke to him about possible reimbursement for his expenses and he shrugged it off nonchalantly in between sips of his beer, “nah man, I got it. It’s what I do.” I am both humbled and inspired by Tom’s selflessness, dedication to the cause and courage.

Two weeks ago, I skippered a delivery from Kauai to Seattle. As I made my final approach to Shilshole Bay Marina, I noticed that there was a regatta going on. It was the Pink Boat Regatta. “This kid is EVERYWHERE!!!” I again thought to myself, in utter disbelief. After his triumph in the Singlehanded Transpac, Tom had again sailed solo across the Pacific, this time from Kauai to Seattle in his engineless Pearson Triton. The kid has commitment AND balls.

Tom’s most recent Pink Boat Regatta was his biggest yet, boasting nearly 50 boats in the race. With a rocking live band, dunk tank and donated beer, the after party was absolutely raucous. But it was for a cause as Tom brought multiple yacht clubs together, not just to party but to raise money for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. The crazy thing is that it actually worked.

Last week, Tom Watson and the Pink Boat wrote a check to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation for $36,000, a staggering amount considering that the Pink Boat started just a year ago with literally nothing. $36k from ONE regatta. And the Pink Boat is only getting bigger and better.

Two years ago, when Tom told me of his plans to sail around the world, I laughed and dismissed him as a dreamer. Now I cheer for him.
Tom Watson will sail Darwind around the world, solo and non-stop via the three capes, from San Francisco next September.
Fair winds and following seas, friend. If anyone can do it, it’s you. I am both honored and privileged to be able to consider you a friend. For more information, go to: www.pinkboat.org or on Facebook.

-Ronnie Simpson

September 20th, 2012

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cat crazy!


Wow there is a ton of new multihull action! This is the new Toro 34 -hey look the kids can play! Check the first sailing video.

September 20th, 2012

FSS_SA

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