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Big Pimpin’

sleekUmberto Felci’s new Grand Soleil 58 design does a nice job delivering performance plus contemporary styling typical of a much larger yacht. The collaboration between Felci Yacht Design and Cantiere del Pardo has a long history. It is now 15 years since Umberto Felci designed the GS70, the Italian yard’s custom flagship produced for a German customer. In 2002, in collaboration with Rolf Vrolijk, we also designed both the GS45 Cruiser and the successful GS44 Performance Cruiser, which kickstarted a string of similar designs that for many years dominated IMS racing, winning several European titles. After the GS45, in 2003 we designed the GS50, working with French designer Patrick Roseò.

Pictured left, clearly working very well together, Umberto Felci, Nauta Design and the Cantiere del Pardo shipyard have come up with a stylish new 58-footer that does a pretty passable impression of a much larger contemporary yacht… those famous words Wally-Style even spring to mind. Nobody is calling €860,000 cheap, but take a look at the cost of some similar sized rivals…

So after so many years we were pleased to return to work with Cantiere del Pardo, this time with another great studio, Nauta Design. Our task involved the naval architecture of the new Grand Soleil 58 Performance, a fast-cruiser designed and built to the highest production standards.

We tried to create an efficient hull that was able to accomplish the difficult task of sailing fast but that was also easy, safe, comfortable to handle and, last but not least, with generous internal volume.

When we approach a project for a so-called fast-cruiser yacht we have to first look at the compromises that will always be necessary in a multi-purpose boat of this type. This is a matter of sensitivity, balance and a good feel for the client’s objectives more than just a matter of numbers and science.

Read on.


December 6th, 2016

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On Sunday, a pleasure boat named Nap Tyme crossed the bow of the Washington State ferry Chetzemoka, resulting in a collision. Wonder what he was  doing down below???


December 6th, 2016

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Vendee Breaking

UPDATE: Kito de Pavant, the 55 years old French skipper of Bastide-Otio, who suffered damage to his keel when racing in the remote South Indian Ocean while racing in the Vendee Globe solo round the world race, was successfully recovered from his stricken yacht around 0100hrs TU this morning and taken aboard the research and supply ship Marion Dufresne II approximately 110 miles north of the Crozet Islands. The solo skipper was immediately assessed by the ship’s doctor. De Pavant is uninjured but is extremely tired and disappointed. Follow the race here

At 0800 UTC this morning (Tuesday), the Vendée Globe Race Directors were alerted by Kito de Pavant’s technical team about serious damage aboard his boat Bastide Otio. Kito de Pavant, who was sailing at 16 knots under mainsail with two reefs in very heavy seas, informed his shore team that the boat had experienced a very big shock to the keel, hitting an unidentified floating object, which has led to a significant ingress of water aboard the boat.

I hit something hard with the keel. It was a violent shock and the boat came to a standstill. The rear bearings of the keel were ripped off and the keel is hanging under the boat kept in place simply by the keel ram, which is in the process of cutting through the hull… The keel housing has been destroyed and there is a huge ingress of water there, but for the moment, it is limited to the engine compartment. I currently have forty knots of wind and 5-6m high waves. The boat is stopped. I brought down the mainsail so that she is heeling less. The situation has been stabilised for the moment. I have my survival kit alongside me. Someone is going to have to come and get me. I am trying to contact the Marion Dufresne to ask them to come here.


December 6th, 2016

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I can totally appreciate that many (most?) people have a contrary opinion on this subject, but I am going to bring it up here again if for no other reason than it’s good to talk about things. Take a look at this pic of Seb Josse racing in the Vendée Globe. He is in the Southern Ocean sailing in rough seas and I imagine he is hitting speeds in the mid-twenties. I know what it’s like to sail down there. I have done numerous Southern Ocean transits and I know it to be an unforgiving region. So I was interested to see that Seb is wearing neither a pfd nor a harness. Interesting. Not sure if you saw the incredible footage of Alex Thomson aboard Hugo Boss careening along on a broad reach at who-knows-what speed. He was certainly at full speed and the boat was awash most of the time. If you have not seen the footage Google Hugo Boss Southern Ocean. Also note that Alex is running around on deck without a harness. Stupido they might report in an Italian magazine. Perhaps.

So my positions on both whether or not you should wear a life jacket and/or a life harness are well documented. I am not for wearing either but I do appreciate that both have saved lives and I know that there are many sailors who vehemently disagree with me. Heck I even got a death threat from someone so incensed about my position on life jackets. I am not sure he would really have killed me but who knows? Hope not. So I was not surprised to see that I got a bit of a scrubbing in the Sailing Anarchy Forum and perhaps it’s deserved – not sure.

Here is what I really want to say. When the heck did we stop thinking for ourselves? It’s absurd.  Some sailing body publishes their view on pfd’s and we all take it as religion. They have to err on the cautious side; they are an organization that is funded by sailors. Imagine if US Sailing came out and said that wearing a life jacket was for pussies (you know I would never have used that word in a blog before Trump made it ok to do so…;)  They can’t and won’t ever do that but when they do offer up an opinion take some time to examine what’s being said.

Yes I agree that pfd’s save lives and yes I agree that they should be worn but I say it’s up to each individual to decide for themselves when to wear one. If you are on a boat where the owner/skipper mandates wearing one at all times then wear one at all times or do not sail on that boat. But seriously, do you really need a life jacket when the boat is still in the marina tied to the dock? Kids for sure, but fully grown adults capable of rational thought? I don’t think so.

So I write these pieces not to annoy anyone and I certainly don’t enjoy getting trashed or personally threatened. I write them to provoke a conversation, to urge all of us to stop following like sheep and to bring some personal responsibility back into our lives. Think for a moment if Mr Josse, who by the way is an immensely experienced sailor, had been wearing both a life jacket and a safety harness and somehow (probably taking a leak off the stern) had been washed overboard. I would venture to say that he would not stand any chance of surviving. If you think he would be able to pull himself back on board a boat sailing at twenty-plus knots I personally believe that you are mistaken. Think about the amount of clothing he is wearing to stay warm at those latitudes and think about how heavy it gets when soaked.

One person in the Forum stated that at least there would be a body to recover and I guess that does offer a certain perspective. Say he was wearing a life harness and a life jacket but was not clipped on and fell overboard. Not sure what good a life jacket would do as you watch the autopilot sail your IMOCA 60 over the horizon other than prolong your suffering. Also remember that the Chinese sailor Guo Chuan who recently fell overboard from his trimaran and was lost at sea was indeed wearing a harness but the lifeline snapped and he was never seen again.

So before you flood my inbox with hate mail all I am saying is we need to start thinking for ourselves a bit more and taking more personal responsibility for all the things that we say and do. – Brian Hancock.


December 6th, 2016

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Big Pimpin’

July 23, 2014. Team Brunel training, ,Lanzarote, SpainAs the fleet of Volvo Ocean 65s undergo refits in Europe, Southern Spars is forging ahead on the first batch of new masts, scheduled to leave their Auckland factory in early 2017. There are currently four more build slots available for early next year which will fill up as teams continue to commit to the race. Completing a full set of rigs will take the company’s tally up to 46 masts for Volvo Ocean Race and Whitbread teams.

For the teams, time on the water is king. So Southern Spars has been pushing hard to ensure the masts will arrive to meet the yachts as they emerge from their winter refits and teams can begin training with their new masts as soon as possible. The build process has been timed specifically so that they arrive to the yachts as their refits are completed.

For the full story, and more pictures, click here.


December 6th, 2016

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Some afternoon entertainment from this weekends RYANI Topper Squad training! Thanks to Chris & Stephen for this, it’s awesome. #mannequinchallenge #sailinni #trysailing


December 5th, 2016

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ocean-warrior-departs-16x9Sea Shepherd, One of our favorite organizations that is actually doing something about the rampant brutality and murder of the Earth’s precious whales by the Japanese, is underway as we speak. Click on their site and take a look at the pictures.

Even you Trumpanzees, despite your hero’s disregard for the environment (and the very oceans that you sail in), must support Sea Shepherd’s cause.

After final preparations in Australia, two Sea Shepherd vessels are now on their way to the Southern Ocean to intercept the Japanese whaling fleet in a bid stop them killing Minke whales. The marine conservation organization’s flagship vessel the Steve Irwin departed Saturday from Melbourne, followed by its fast new patrol vessel the Ocean Warrior, which departed from Hobart, Tasmania, on Sunday.

The Japanese whaling fleet left Japan on November 18, and reportedly has set itself a quota for 333 Minke whales. Ocean Warror’s captain Adam Meyerson says the vessel is fast enough to outrun any whaling ship and is equipped with a powerful water cannon. Sea Shepherd predicts the Ocean Warrior will be a game-changer for their 11th whale defense campaign, Operation Nemesis.

Read on.


December 5th, 2016

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Look at this picture. It is of  Sébastien Josse, the latest Vendee entry to bite the dust. Note that he is not wearing a life jacket and no tether. That amazing footage of Alex Thomson on Hugo Boss also showed that Alex didn’t bother to clip on and his deck was awash.

Sure seems irresponsible and more than a little dangerous. Brian Hancock addressed both of these issues here and here. Jump in the thread here.



December 5th, 2016

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vmg-screw2VMG Yacht Design has engineered a set of screwable low friction rings. They are to be mounted through a deck or a bulkhead. The VMG rings can be used either as a fairlead, a chainplate or even a pad eye by simply adding a dogbone. Ideal to guide, deviate or tighten a control line whilst being an easy to install and use and reliable fitting for composite structures.

It is a light “must have” piece of hardware developed to deviate ropes and prevent both the structure and rope from wear. Ideal for efficient, reliable and simple modern deck layout. Today, there are three models of rings each adapted to a different rope diametre from 2 mm to 18 mm. The threads make them very easy to adapt to composite structures of variable thickness: they are adjustable from 14 mm to 21 mm.

The products are distributed in France by Inorope, in the UK by Technical Marine Supply and in Australia by Bombora Marine. New distributors are welcomed. Today the most demanding teams are equipped with the VMG rings from the America’s Cup to International Moth.

Meanwhile VMG Yacht Design is a yacht design office based in Switzerland. Mainly designing custom racing boats from mini-transat to lake racers. It is a small and reactive team with all engineering made in house. A fast production club racing boat signed by the office will soon hit the water. Click here for more information.


December 5th, 2016

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Sure the music is sappy, but the spirit of these folks is anything but. Ya gotta love it.

The New Orlean’s based J/30 Team Zephyr was awarded the top fund raising sailing program in the nation after raising $127,000!  Check out their annual video kicked off by San Francisco Yacht Club’s Rhett Krawitt who is now “GONE WITH CANCER”. Music “Hold On” by NBC’s The Voice and Zephyr sailor, Terry McDermott with his band Lotus Crush. #J30 #OD48 #GoSailing #LLS.


December 5th, 2016

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