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What’s the saying, “youth will be served”? That phrase certainly applies to this week’s SCOTW, Blaire McCarthy. I had the chance to hang out with Blaire at the  as she was skippering Matt Wake’s fellow American Team at the  FarEast International 23R Regatta in China, and what a delight she is! Smart, sweet, tough and a hell of a young sailor, Blaire is the kind of kid that makes us feel good about the future of our sport. This picture above is one that needs a bit of an explanation, so stand by for that! In the meantime, here are a few words from Blaire: - ed.

I began sailing at the age of 6. The first boat I sailed on was with my mother on her Sunfish. I started racing as part of the summer program at Barnegat Light Yacht Club in NJ and the remainder of the year on the Junior Sailing Team at the St Petersburg Yacht Club starting in Optis and racing them until I was 14. During that time I had the opportunity to race for the US Team at the 2012 British Nationals in Pwllheli Wales and the 2013 Garda Optimist Meeting in Riva del Garda Italy.

I left Opti’s early to start racing Laser 4.7 and I am currently the National Champion, two-time MidWinters East Champion, and headed to Kiel Germany for the 4.7 World Championships this summer.

While racing Opti’s I started racing keel boats in 2012 when I crewed on a J70 at the St Petersburg NOOD Regatta. I also crewed on our family J/24 and with my Coach Todd Fedyszyn on his J/24. When I started High School I was able to join the SPYC Jr Offshore Program in 2014 and participated in several races including my first real offshore event the 2015 Bone Island Race where my primary role was helmsperson.

This past winter, Matt Wake temporarily loaned his Fareast 28r to the SPYC Jr Racing Team, I became the team skipper and we won the Sailing World Trophy for U25 Competitors at the 2016 Key West Race Week. Based on our performance, Matt Wake invited me to take the helm in Shanghai at the 2016 Fareast Cup, and we will also be racing together in the 2016 Figawi Race later this month.

 

May 23rd, 2016

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Big Pimpin’

southern boomHave you ever scared your family when you got stuck with too much sail up when you should be reefed? Southern Spars’ range of SouthernFurl booms are the answer – letting you reduce sail quickly and easily without leaving the safety of the cockpit.

Southern Spars in-boom furling technology changed the game for superyachts with furling main sails. Their design team have since done the same for yachts of smaller size and smaller budgets  – from 35-70 feet. Setting the SouthernFurl aside from its rivals is an open-front design means the booms forgiving of less than perfect furls. It also allows for full-length battens, giving a better sail shape and reducing flogging, making your sails perform better and last longer.

Easily retrofitted, the new range of booms are fully constructed from carbon fibre, so are light, stiff and strong for maximum sail performance and easy handling. It also means they don’t suffer from corrosion, unlike other furling boom systems.

So strong are the SouthernFurl Booms, that one Moody 54DS equipped with a new SouthernFurl boom successfully completed the Sydney to Hobart Race in particularly trying conditions. Peter Hrones of Windcraft Sydney, who sailed on the boat, was more than impressed with the SouthernFurl.

“The Southern Spars boom did not just look good, it performed fantastically when required,” says Hrones. “We could reef or un-reef during a tack. So eventually we got it down to only 10 seconds to shake a reef, without losing any speed. This was the difference in beating our friends in the Hanse 495. Also, the strength of the boom is incredible. We accidentally gybed twice due to some freak waves in the Bass Strait and the boom was as solid as a rock. I believe any other boom would have broken under these same conditions.”

For more info, quotes and to check out the SouthernFurl booms in operation take a look at their dedicated website.

 

May 23rd, 2016

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We don’t know anything about the event, but damn if we don’t love the pure joy of it. This is the essence of our sport, unquestionably.

 

May 23rd, 2016

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Big Pimpin’

A welcome to the badass builders at Persico as they join the superyacht world.  This pimpin’ piece, in association with Seahorse Magazine.  

With a well-established reputation for innovation in building highperformance racing yachts Persico Marine is poised to enter a new chapter with the build of the fourth member of the steadily growing Wally Cento series. Created in partnership with Mark Mills and Pininfarina design, this new 30m beauty, when launched in 2017, will be the absolute latest in combining style, innovation, advanced technology and design. This exciting project will add to Persico’s impressive record of producing the highest-quality composite raceyachts for the top teams in the America’s Cup, TP52 and Maxi 72 classes, Volvo Ocean Race, Imoca 60 and other grand prix fleets.

When looking for the best in reliability and durability in advanced composites, the managers of the Volvo 65 one-design class approached Persico for their hulls. These boats have now raced around the world without a serious failure, with one spectacular exception: when Vestas grounded on a reef it was Persico that took on the major rebuild to put this boat back in the race in one-design trim. This impressive feat convinced Volvo race organisers to contract Persico to build any additional boats needed for the next edition of their gruelling event.

So it was not surprising that after evaluating bids from other teams, and with performance the key criteria, the owner and project manager of Wally Cento No4 selected Persico for their project.

A 22-month design and build programme makes full use of Persico’s latest equipment for the creation of the best possible composite fabrications, including a 2.6 x 7.2m autoclave, four modular ovens up to 45m long, three five-axis CNC milling machines up to 25m, a 9m vacuum table, a 4m-wide plotter, a finish press, a clean room, in-house ultrasound testing, a digital dimensional scanner for reverse engineering plus tooling for roll-forming aluminium and Nomex core material. Efficiently combining this latest equipment means precision tooling alignment, accurate fibre placement and quality control, and with Persico’s advanced processes the exactness of the finished hull shape along with complete weight control.

Read on.

May 22nd, 2016

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Your mission, should you choose to accept it: Find this 1D35, stolen last week from San Diego.  We know the Anarchists will find it – the question is, will you burn the deck and wheel off before you call the cops and get your reward money? From the forum:

Hello to all,

My name is Jason Petersen and I purchased Two Guys On The Edge 1D35  with Johan Pieterse last October in Hawaii. We shipped the boat to San Diego and over the past 5 months, it has gone through a complete refit and was ready to start racing.

As of 10 days ago it was sitting in a slip at Kona Kai marina in San Diego  but was “stolen” sometime in the last week. I was notified by the Marina Manager this Tuesday and have reported this the to US Marshals office, Coast Guard and San Diego Harbor Police.  An APB has been put out to all Marinas in California and Ensenada, and Emails with pictures and description have also gone out to all Marinas in Southern California.

It is the only 1D35 with a wheel and has black stanchions, Mast looks new with fresh clear, new rod rigging, all new running rigging, boom is polished it has grey soft deck all over the cockpit and deck and Hawaii registration stickers. It doesn’t have any stickers or name on the hull.

Any information in helping out with locating the boat is very appreciated and I am available 24/7. all of the law enforcement  agencies are actively looking for the boat up and down the coast.

Thank you in advance for any help with information about the theft of the boat.  Post here.

 

 

 

May 22nd, 2016

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When I was little, we found a man. He looked like – like, butchered. The old woman in the village crossed themselves… and whispered crazy things, strange things. “El Diablo cazador de hombres.” Only in the hottest years this happens. And this year, it grows hot. We begin finding our men. We found them sometimes without their skins… and sometimes much, much worse. “El cazador trofeo de los hombres” means the demon who makes trophies of men. 

This line from one of Hollywood’s true classics is as silly now as it was when we first heard it in 1987, but somehow, it seems to describe the decaying situation in all of Brazil, but especially Rio.  With thousands of athletes on the ground training in the hot, stinky city, reports are beginning to come in showing crime, corruption, construction, and political chaos pushing towards a furious crescendo.

Nationally, President Dilma Roussef came out of hiding the other day giving her first big international interview to Glenn Greenwald, and she shows no sign of ending the political civil war that’s led to millions of protestors in the street every few weeks, and a completely uncertain political future for the nation.

Closer to the Olympics, training for got a lot more hazardous recently.  One Spanish gold medal team was allegedly held up at gunpoint last week and robbed clean of gear, money, and papers last week by a band of banditos close to Olympic Sailing HQ at Marina De Gloria.  Their coach spent most of a day driving around with local police trying to find the thieves.

Also last week, a gunfight broke out in the Favela just above the grounds of the Rio Yacht Club in Niteroi; the training base for several national teams and Torben Grael’s home club. The members and athletes seemed to think it was fireworks at first – until they saw the boat workers running for cover.  According to the article in Veja, authorities would have covered it up (as usual) were it not for the athletes witnessing the gunfight – including a bullet grazing the wall of the club.  Until this event, the Danish and other teams’ request for more police security near the team bases were ignored.  Now, many of these teams just don’t walk anywhere – a taxi takes them even when they need to go a half a mile.

Yet while the crime and political/economic uncertainty are ever-present, they’re still something of a lottery; if you use your head and follow some basic rules, visitors to Brazil can minimize most risks  (and if inflation continues to skyrocket, you might actually get some incredible deals down there).  But there’s one risk that no sailor can really get away from – the water.  And as the rain starts to fall, it’s getting as bad as it ever has been.

On Tuesday, a new hue graced the bay – iridescent green, the color of anti-freeze, with a smell of ‘burning chemicals and decomposition.” (see pic below). One crew saw a huge sea turtle upside-down on the foamy green surface of the bay.  She was unsure whether it was the plastic entangling its face or the poisoned waters that killed it.

And then there is the pic that headlined this piece, shot on Friday smack in the middle of the Medal Race Course.  Well, we don’t know where the dog was shot – or even if it was a gun that did him in – but the photo was definitely shot there.  If we didn’t laugh, we’d cry, and aside from the poor bastards who have to compete there, our condolences go out to the proud Brazilians, their humiliation and shame on display to the entire planet – for three more months.

rioBrazil’s current crises – and yes, that’s plural – are likely to continue to worsen just as the world’s eyes are all turned Southward, with the once-burgeoning economy getting pulled back into the morass that’s defined so much of Central and South American politics and government for the better part of the past century.  Even if economic chaos is fairly common to much of Latin America, the confluence of factors hitting Brazil right now is something far worse.  The worst James Bond villain could never pull it all off; pollution, corruption, impeachment, Zika, a crime wave, and oil prices all crushing the country at the same time?  No way.

Were this the Winter Olympics, we’d end up shrugging our shoulders and saying, “oh, well, another fucked country,” and maybe sparing a few thoughts for its inhabitants, but this time, it’s different:  These are OUR friends and our families and OUR crews and our skippers in harm’s way, and the more they know you’re behind them, the more likely they are to stay safe.  We don’t know how it is that the IOC and ISAF are immune to worldwide pressure to actually behave responsibly, but if you care about your athletes, please continue to push via social media on those organizations, the media, and the Olympic sponsors.

 

May 22nd, 2016

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RORC Vice Admirals Cup Cowes Day 1 Race I-3 May 20 2016Photo: Rick Tomlinson

Naw, just a quarter tonner at the RORC Vice Admirals Cup in Cowes. Photo thanks to Rick Tomlinson.

 

May 20th, 2016

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It has been then years since Hans Horrevoets was swept overboard and died during one of the final legs of the Volvo Ocean Race. It was a tragedy that effected not only his crewmates and the rest of the teams competing in the race, but it effected all of us who sail. Most, if not all of us who have been out of sight of land have wondered what it would be like to be sitting on deck enjoying the sailing and in the blink of an eye be overboard watching the transom sail away from you. When the weather is up and the rail is down accidents can happen and they come out of nowhere. It’s all over in an instant. Horrevoets was an extremely accomplished sailor aboard one of the best boats in the race, but the breeze was building and he was the last to go down below to grab his harness. In fact he was about to duck below when a cascade of water upended him and in a split second he was gone. The crew, in a masterful piece of seamanship, found his body but it was too late.

We remember Hans on this day ten years later, but we also remember that in the last few months two people have died competing in the Clipper around-the-world race. Andrew Ashman was killed in an onboard accident off the Portuguese coast, and Sarah Young was washed overboard from the same boat a few months later. These are all real tragedies and their deaths should not be minimized, but to be honest it’s amazing that so few people have died while sailing. The Clipper Race continues with 12 boats competing. More than 20 sailors have just finished or are still racing single-handed across the Atlantic in The Transat. The Newport to Bermuda race will be starting next month. At any given time there are hundreds of boats competing in various races all pushing as hard as they dare to win. The weather is a fickle thing; one moment all is just fine and then next it’s blowing a gale. We can never be too prepared.

In the first Whitbread Round the World race in 1973/74 there were three fatalities. Paul Waterhouse, Dominique Guillet and Bernie Hosking were all washed overboard and drowned. Hosting was working the foredeck when a sail that had just been lowered suddenly got caught by a gust of wind and billowed knocking him overboard. Back in those days few bothered to wear a life-harness and man overboard drills were not part of a race requirement. There were no personal EPIRB’s and not much in the way of safety equipment. The good things is that we have learned from those deaths and these days most people are clipped on and carrying some sort of signaling device.

In the 89/90 Whitbread Race two sailors were washed overboard from the maxi-yacht Creightons Naturally. The boat was sailing in the Southern Ocean when Bart van den Dwey and Tony Phillips were swept overboard. The water temps in that part of the world are in the 40s so hypothermia is quick to take hold. The crew managed to locate van den Dwey. He was unconscious but alive and and they were able to resuscitate him and he survived. Not so for Phillips who was found 15 minutes later but he had already succumbed from the cold.

Sailboat racing in an awesome sport and we are lucky to be able to compete in so many different events, but on this ten year anniversary of Hans Horrevoets death let’s take some time to remember those who were not so lucky and to be thankful that we have not taken by some freak wave with our name on it. As part of Hans’ legacy the Volvo Ocean Race has established an award in his name. The award award is given to the outstanding young sailor of each Volvo Ocean Race, the most recent recipient being Sophie Ciszek from Team SCA.

Title inspiration thanks to Ten Years After.

 

May 20th, 2016

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Big Pimpin’

fat cat“Nothing like driving a house at 25 knots, jumping off waves…” is how one crew member described his first 24 hours on-board the 80’ Morelli designed catamaran, Fat Cat, in the Caribbean 1500 race in 2011 which they won.  Fat Cat, originally a Morelli 65 has been “tweaked”, if you can call it that, over the years as she has been stretched out twice from the original 65’ to the current 80’.  That makes designing a new rig with only the original boat design specs a considerable challenge.  To add to the challenge, Fat Cat’s owner likes to sail fast and hard, and is rumored to insist on being the only one on the main sheet if they are flying a hull.

This was the starting point when it came time for a new rig this year.  The owner went to every top carbon spar supplier in the world for ideas and quotes as he wanted to maximize performance with the new rig.  He had worked with GMT in the past, but wanted to make sure he would get the best designed spar available for Fat Cat.  Gino Morelli, of Morelli & Melvin, came in to advise, but insisted the boat be pulled and formally weighed to begin calculations.

GMT’s bid using high modulus carbon to achieve the weight and stiffness goals won the job.  GMT’s head engineer & owner, David Schwartz has consulted closely with Morelli & Melvin in optimizing the rig design for the 80’ cat.  Commissioning and sea-trials are planned for the start of this season, and a full report will be following.

For more pics: http://gmtcomposites.com/morrelli-80-goes-gmt-high-modulus-carbon-mast

 

May 20th, 2016

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Phil Sharp is racing an unbelievable story in The Transat bakerly. Not only has he suffered zero power for 60% of the race, forcing him to sail blind, race with no comms, and eat dry dehydrated food with a faulty desalinator, he’s also had various sails shred, the worst being the main. As Phil was trying to reef in 30+knots a tear formed at the leach ripping away from the sail. He was about to get back into 1st place again before this happened. After spending hours trying to make a repair, there simply were not the resources on board to make the fix, having made several other repair jobs on ripped sails. Phil has managed to climb the mast and tie the sail up, allowing him to get what pressure, if any, out of the lower part of the sail.

“Here she is right now – next to useless! I climbed the mast to lash it at the 2nd spreaders so i could try and use the lower section a bit. Every little helps! The top half is stuck, so that’s just added decoration…It’s been a fast night at over 10 knots with the spinnaker! So nice to have a half decent sail up for a change, seems really fast after spending a week going upwind! Carac has been flying in from the south… was hoping their might be a fight on but with a 70nm lead, doesn’t look likely… also not a lot of weapons in your cabinet if your flying several large shredded bags from your mast in place of a useful sail…”

Currently fixed for 3rd place, Phil is due to arrive on Saturday.

 

May 19th, 2016

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