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I have stayed quiet publicly about the loss of Low Speed Chase, which happened almost a year ago, on April 14, 2012.

It was just too close, too deep, too tragic, and for a while too overwhelming to write about it here. As the anniversary of their deaths approaches, I feel the sadness again, and look forward to a gathering of friends of Low Speed Chase on Sunday. Over the course of the last year, the accident has inspired many who knew and didn’t know Marc, Alan, Jordan, Alexis and Elmer, to review their own safety plans, to learn about lee shores, wave science, safety equipment, and to talk about it with their friends and family.

While those of us close to the people lost still mourn them, we also saw amazing action among and outside of our small community. Committees were convened to review safety standards in racing, to revise existing races, and make recommendations to the sailing community. Brian Chong, a survivor of the race, took the time to write his account of the accident, revealing what we all were afraid to hear, but also needed to hear in order to understand, and begin healing. Ted Elliot, bereft at the loss of his dear friend, corralled a group to plan a memorial in three days in which hundreds attended on the water, even more on shore, and was covered by the international sailing community and national news. Ashley Perrin took significant action when she brought ISAF’s safety at sea course to San Francisco. She researched the people and resources she needed and with the help of the San Francisco Yacht Club, started what has become internationally sought after training for those who plan to go off-shore.

It’s important to me now as we begin our next sailing season to remember a few things.
1. Love your friends. Love your family. Tell them. Spend time with them.
2. Never stop learning.
3. Ask for help. Remember the power of the community and how often it can rise up to an occasion.
4. Render aid, in whatever way you can, be it out on the deep blue sea, or shoreside.
5. Sail safe, and make sure your crew does too.

-Paige Brooks

Title inspiration thanks to The Smiths

 

April 10th, 2013

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The vibe is so good at Port Townsend’s Wooden Boat Festival that it’s become a pilgrimage each year for the faithful. OffCenterHarbor.com takes us behind-the-scenes at this all-out celebration.

 

April 10th, 2013

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The Ed and his lovely girlfriend Eva will be milling about at the Strictly Sail Pacific Boat Show in Oaktown this coming Friday. That in and of itself isn’t exactly newsworthy, but he will have a Bag O’ Swag with a bunch of the latest brand new SA gear – belts, beanies, hats, visors and tech shirts.

Find him, come up and say “Fuck off, Ed!” and you will get something. The phrase that pays must be delivered exactly like that. “You’re a dick”, Fuck you, Scot”, “Scuttlefuck rules!”, etc. not only will not work, it will disqualify you from further participation. Looking forward to your salutations. – Ed.

 

April 10th, 2013

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While waiting to see how Artemis emerges from the embarrassing debacle of their non foiling AC 72, the boys get on with foiling their 45. Would love to pull for these guys….

 

April 10th, 2013

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Big Pimpin’

Speaking of foiling 45′s…

Morrelli & Melvin, have announced that they will collaborate with McConaghy Boats to produce an exciting new 45ft racing catamaran with hydrofoils.

After helping write the AC72 class Rule, M&M is working with the best designers and sailors in the world as part of the Emirates Team New Zealand challenge. Drawing on their experience with foiling Americas Cup 72 ft catamarans, Morrelli and Melvin have conceived the California 45 with the objective of making the exhilaration of Americas cup sailing available to the club sailor.

The California 45 will foil in relative comfort, with high coamings, and solid aft deck, the effect of high powered water spray on the skipper and crew will be minimised. Electric winches and an ergonomic deck layout will make high speed, high adrenalin sailing a breeze. Transportable by containers will make it possible to ship to favourite regattas easily.

Gino Morrelli of M&M and Ellen Pragnell-Raasch of McConaghy will be attending the Strictly Sail Pacific show in Oakland California this weekend where they will be available to discuss the California 45…..

Title inspiration thanks to 2Pac.

 

April 10th, 2013

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It’s occasionally exciting, and many of you love it; it’s match racing, and it’s live from Long Beach. We’ve been complaining about the lack of live video at the Con Cup for years, so let’s see what they got.  And despite the over-modulated, nasally voice of one announcer, it’s not terrible. And go Taylor!

 

April 10th, 2013

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Companies that received €46m contracts to repair a Sicilian harbour before a 2005 Louis Vuitton race indicted

From IBI Plus… A judge in Sicily has given investigators permission to seize part of Trapani harbor in Sicily as well as control over companies linked to fugitive Mafia boss Messina Denaro, one of Italy’s most wanted men. Investigators say Francesco and Vincenzo Morici, the owners of the companies, have close links with Denaro.

The court order, which made headlines in Italy, was due to allegations that a €46m contract for the 2005 America’s Cup series was “steered by organized crime.” Corriere della Sera said that the Moricis were paid that amount to repair Trapani harbor before the Louis Vuitton series took place there in September 2005. The work was never completed.

Investigators also allege that Antonio d’Ali, former chairman of the Trapani provincial authority and junior minister in the Berlusconi government, was complicit in the illegal deals. D’Ali is currently on trial for complicity in a “Mafia-style criminal association,” according to the paper.

 

April 10th, 2013

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Performance Cruising Class, Banderas Bay Regatta, last week.  To leeward (with the kayak on deck) is Camelot, a Hunter 54.  Windward boat is J/160 Blue, with longtime Puerto Vallarta pro Mike Danielson on tactics. After Mike disappeared out of the frame, his legs were crushed between the boats, and we wish him a speedy recovery in beautiful Nuevo Vallarta.

The video speaks for itself, but what do you think?   You make the call.

April 10th, 2013

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The Sicilian businessman known as the “King Of Wind” had his kingdom stripped last week when Italian police seized nearly 2 Billion worth of assets from the renewable energy developer in Italy’s biggest-ever seizure of mafia-linked assets.  While we (and most sailors) have a soft spot for wind-power advocates, this dude – Vito Nicastri – was essentially a bagman for the Sicilian Mafia’s most-wanted fugitive, investing money made from extortion, drug sales and other illegal activities for Matteo Messina Denaro, who is believed to be the [Mafia syndicate] Cosa Nostra’s head boss.

With their seizure of 43 wind and solar energy companies, 98 properties and 66 bank accounts, Italy becomes one of the largest alternative energy producers in the Mediterranean.  Any bets on how long it takes Italian bureaucrats to fuck it all up completely?

For a deeper look at the dirtier side of clean energy, have a look at this good Proedgewire.com piece.

 

April 10th, 2013

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An Anarchist (in the real sense of the word) couple may have discovered that 25 feet is just too damned short for a family voyage; at least that’s one theory on why Joshua and Sharon Hakken flew back to Tampa and turned themselves and their two boys in to authorities after escaping from the US to Cuba on their Morgan 25 over the weekend.

The couple lost custody of the kids thanks to the brilliant War on Drugs; a marijuana possession charge last year led to the custody issues in the first place.  That’s the same war that’s put a few billion dollars worth of ships, radar and materiel in the Caribbean to save Americans from themselves, and that’s the same massive interdiction and e-warfare fleet that couldn’t find two chubby adults and their kids in a 25 foot sailboat that struggles to move at 6 knots…

The two young boys will likely be returned to their grandmother in Florida later in the week after the family returned home early this morning.  Wherever they end up, the Hakkans aren’t likely to get custody anytime soon.  On a positive note, Cuba and the State Department seem to be pretty chummy lately; might we see Cuba opening up to some SORC-style yacht racing once again?  Write your damned senator to help get rid of door-tending OFAC and let us go sailing to a beautiful country, and stay educated about our nearest island neighbor’s future.  Here’s some video, and here’s the thread.

 

April 10th, 2013

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Not much of a contrast in this shot today at the Les Voiles de St. Barth! Photo thanks to Christophe Jouany.

 

April 9th, 2013

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AC Dope

We love this stuff.  From SF Weekly

Anyone curious about the French take on the America’s Cup fiasco is in for a lesson on the difficulties of translating colloquialisms, bureaucratic frustration, and swears. Le Monde recently covered the fiscal tussle surrounding the incredible shrinking regatta: Organizers claim sales and hotel tax revenues from the race will suffice to offset anemic private fund-raising. This was not part of the original arrangement; the city was supposed to be made whole beforehand – with tax revenue serving as a cherry on top. Per the contract, however, the America’s Cup Organizing Committee must merely “endeavor” to meet its fund-raising goal.

“I’ve shouted publicly to the rooftops how ashamed I am that I see that language” – the vagueness about “endeavor” — “and not reading into what it said. I was fucking played. All the members of the Board of Supervisors were fucking played,” Supervisor John Avalos told SF Weekly on Feb. 20. Read on.

 

April 9th, 2013

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5 minutes, eh?

 

April 9th, 2013

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This one’s a bit different, eh? There is no way any of you are going to get within the 5 minute window… Photo thanks to Edney Adventure Photojournalism.

 

April 8th, 2013

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Old (and we do mean old) ex-sailmaker Keith Lorence has written a good book about his adventures from back in the day. Here is an excerpt from Back When Sailing Was Fun.

I once sold a set of sails to a guy who lived 30 miles north of Seattle. He sent in the deposit, we delivered the sails and went out for a test sail. Because he didn’t have his checkbook with him and was a known local sailor, I thought I could trust him and said that I would bill him. That was my first mistake. This was back in the innocent days of business. Back when sailmaking was fun.

After a year with no payment received, I was getting a bit ticked off, naturally. It was about $5,000 and my fledgling business needed the money. I would call him at 3 a.m. and say “I can’t sleep because I can’t pay my bills. If I can’t sleep, neither should you.”

One night, after a Wednesday night race while sitting in a Seattle restaurant, three friends and I decided that this had gone on long enough. We decided to go and repossess the sails off the boat. We drove 30 miles and got to the marina around midnight. We jumped out exuberantly and leapt over the gated marina fence to get to the boat. We had been thinking clearly enough to bring a tire iron to break the lock. So that’s what we did. The four of us grabbed MY sails and one extra for good measure, and walked back up the dock to the car.

When we exited the gate with the sails over our shoulders, we saw the police car. Parked right behind our borrowed van. Our van had Idaho license plates and the cops were curious. One of our party of four turned back, dropped his sail and jumped into the 48 degree winter water. We never did find out how he got back to Seattle.

The police had stopped for their dinner doughnuts in the marina and thought it unusual for an Idaho state van to be there in the marina with its side door open and they decided to wait and see why. Well, here we came with our booty. They stepped out of their car and said, “Well boys, what are you doing?” “Well,” says I, “I own these sails and am picking them up for repair.” “Yea right,” they said and made us take the sails back to the boat, which had all the signs of breaking and entering.

There was no way of talking our way out of this one, so we spent the night with the real criminals in the Everett jail. The next morning we called one of our wives to come up and get us. Begrudgingly she did, and we all went for ice creams after our night in the pokey.

On the way home, the three of us criminals decided that buying Lasers would be a good idea. So we did. I lucked into a Laser with the hull number 69069. One of my friends named it “Lickety Split” for me. He said it was a no brainer.

Our court dates were set, and our attorneys were ready. But I had to go and sail in Europe and couldn’t make the court date. “No problem,” said my attorney, “when will you be back?” I gave her a date and she fixed it. Little did I know I almost wouldn’t make it back due to extreme weather in England.

When I returned home, I found that my two fellow captives had been given one year probation and a $600 fine. Not too bad. But my attorney informed me that I had a different judge. And he was the hanging judge, and not lenient at all. This made me a bit nervous to say the least. Would I get jail time?

I went to the judge to plead my case with my attorney and explained the situation; with fear of the hanging judge in my heart.

I needn’t have feared; it turned out the judge was a sailor. He knew the person who stole the sails from me. He said that he knew that this person had done this before. This guy was a crook and the judge really couldn’t blame me for wanting MY sails back but, never the less, breaking and entering is still against the law. The judge told me that because my other two compatriots had been fined and put on probation, the law said he had to do something. He gave me half the fine and half the probation and said that if it were not for the previous judge’s decision, he would have let me off clean.

Lucky for me that the hanging judge was a sailor!

 Buy Back When Sailing Was Fun from Amazon.

 

April 8th, 2013

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Bunch of us returning from the Newport to Cabo are holed up in Turtle Bay waiting out the big blow coming down the coast. In the pic crews from Dorade, Condor, Bad Pack, and El Invisible’ Mano.

Cheers, Lord Nelsen,
El Capitain and random Ponga operator

 

April 8th, 2013

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Big Pimpin’

A bitchin’ looking project from our newest advertiser…

Box 8.5 is the yacht bred from our frustration that mid sized high performance cats are financially out of our reach. Spending 300k on a lake boat didn’t sit well with us so we went about designing and building our 28ft option to enter the market 1/3 the cost of boats only 5ft longer! The concept is for a one-design yacht that is easily and quickly rigged and de-rigged, light enough to tow with a regular vehicle and able to be shipped in a container with up to three other boats. The yacht is designed to be manageable in the marginal moments of bearing away and windy running, carrying the main beam aft and the buoyancy forward with lots of reserve buoyancy while still supporting enough horsepower in sail area and smooth underwater lines to hit 20kts in 12-13kts of wind!

We offer the yacht in kit set options, differing in stages of completion to give people more options to fit their budget. Initially the kit concept involved CNC machined polystyrene cores wrapped in carbon laminates. Our first yacht seen in the sea trials video is built this way and to be honest we have become very attached to the “poly plug”.

The reality however became obvious when we had fluctuations in weight in the two hulls from resin soak and the worry that kit set builders could modifying the hull shapes which is clearly not conducive to a strong one-design class. The new hulls are all female moulded carbon/foam/glass and epoxy infused. The kit set purchaser gets the hull “shells” in two halves with all the materials to join them and finish the yacht along with everything else for a complete platform. The finished yacht buyers get a boat ready to sail, all that is needed is sails.

Masts are 230mm rotating carbon sections supplied by C-Tech in NZ along with all the carbon tubing for tillers, bow pole and lifting posts. The Box 8.5 may not be the fastest most technologically advanced new one design on the market but the “bang for buck” is unparalleled. With two sold and more in the pipeline we are finally be able to go racing a mid size high performance multi for realistic cost.

Two boats will compete in the Bay-to-Bay yacht race next month in Queensland, Australia and at least two will be at the Multihull Nationals in Airlie Beach later in the year. Check out the sailing video from the weekend just past. If you want more info contact Matt direct or visit our web site. Platform kit sets start at $29,990 AUD. The completed yacht option is $75,000 AUD (both ex GST).

 

April 8th, 2013

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SCA’s Volvo Ocean Race all-girls team is taking form, with the first five announced on Friday.  This smartly produced corporate vid gives you all the details and a nice ‘meet n’ greet’ with the awesome ‘pink ladies of the VOR’;  more on ‘em here.

 

April 8th, 2013

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73 days into a leisurely row across the Atlantic wasn’t quite far enough for the OAR Northwest team on their Africa to Miami trip; they were rescued two days ago when their boat went over in an unrecoverable capsize. Here’s the statement from OAR Mission Control’s Greg Spooner, and we encourage you to check out the excellent OAR blog for some great ‘day in the life of an ocean rower’ stuff here.

At 3:50am Pacific Daylight Time this morning I received a phone call from the United States Coast Guard station in San Juan, Puerto Rico, indicating that a distress signal was activated on board the ocean rowboat, “James Robert Hanssen”. The boat and its crew were 73 days into a trans-Atlantic rowing expedition between Dakar, Senegal and Miami, Florida, to study the health of the Atlantic and inspire kids to make their dreams a reality.

The signal from a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) attached to a life jacket was activated approximately 400 miles north of Puerto Rico.

A Coast Guard C-130 airplane was deployed and made visual and radio contact with the overturned boat and life raft. The ocean rowboat suffered a catastrophic capsize event, unable to self-right as designed.

The four rowers were able to safely deploy their life raft and are awaiting rescue by a passing commercial vessel. Many years of preparation and training went into the trans-Atlantic ocean row to mitigate the risks involved. Unfortunately careful planning cannot make an important expedition like this 100% safe.

We are extremely grateful for the services of the United States Coast Guard, and all other agencies involved in the successful location and rescue of the four rowers. They put their lives at risk to save ours.

More information to follow as it becomes available.

April 8th, 2013

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Some great SCOTW board action from Jesús Renedo in Palma. Pictured here is the stunning Spaniard Blanca Manchon. Winner Flavia Tartaglini looks awesome here, and gets a helluva nice congratulations from runner-up Bryony Shaw.

 

April 8th, 2013

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