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They’re off and the start of the most amazing global match race has begun. In the dead of night this past Sunday morning off the north coast of France two of the fastest and most amazing sailboats on this planet took off to lap the planet in an effort to break the non-stop circumnavigation record currently held by Loick Peyron and his crew aboard Banque Populaire V. The first to go was IDEC Sport skippered by Francis Joyon. At 02:02:22 GMT IDEC Sport crossed an imaginary start line that runs from the Créac’h lighthouse on Ile de Oessant (Ushant Island) to Lizard Point on the southwest corner of England. This imaginary line has served as the start of the Jules Verne Trophy since it’s inception in 1990 and the same line will serve as the finish line. It’s hard to believe but if the crew of IDEC Sport are successful in their mission they will be back just as the new year starts.

Just under two hours after IDEC Sport took off Yann Guichard and his crew on Spindrift 2 crossed the same imaginary line in search of the same record. In order to be successful both boats need to be back by late in the day January 6, 2016. The time to beat is 45 days, 13 hours, 22 minutes, and 53 seconds and was set in 2012. Spindrift 2 is the same boat that holds the record but in new livery and a refit for this almost impossible quest. They will need more than good weather to beat the time; they will need a whole lot of luck. There are so many potential pitfalls on the 25,000 mile course from floating containers to submerged ice to extremes in weather from the heat of the tropics to the bone chilling cold of the Southern Ocean.

The wind was out of the north blowing around 10 knots when both boats set off. “We don’t have much wind at the moment, just 8 to 10 knots,” said Yann Guichard shortly after they started. “The sea conditions are not easy because there is a strong current but the wind will pick up in strength. So it’s a steady start at 15-18 knots.” The breeze is expected to build to around 30 knots and the sea state to even out, a perfect way to get underway.

The first ten days will be critical. Both teams have studied the weather in minute detail to pick the very best time to start. They will need to slingshot out of there across the Bay of Biscay and past the doldrums and equator into the Southern Hemisphere. If they are not ahead of, or at least close to where Banque Populaire V was there may not be any need to continue. It’s hard to make up time and Loick Peyron himself attributed the success of there record attempt to great weather and a lot of good luck.

In under three days both boats have covered over 1,800 miles at an average speed of 30 knots. At last check both IDEC Sport and Spindrift 2 were separated by just a few miles and both boats were just under 200 miles ahead of where Banque Populaire V was at the same time into their journey.

To me it seems as if the record could well be broken. In past attempts the boats have been racing an imaginary ship; these two boats are going to be going head to head pushing each other every inch of the way. There is nothing like a physical boat on the horizon ahead to stir competitive spirit. In any event it’s going to be a clash of titans to wrap up what’s been an amazing year of open ocean racing. Bon chance to both boats. We are looking forward to some spectacular racing. Most of all be safe.

You can track the progress of each boat - Spindrift Racing and  IDEC Sport or even better, track them both together right here!

And you can become a better sailor by reading Brian Hancock’s blog right here. Money back guarantee!


November 24th, 2015

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The Clipper Round the World Race may be a travel agency dressed up as a yacht race, so you can forgive us (and the rest of the racing world) for not paying much attention to a round-the-world ‘race’ that’s always had its share of unqualified skippers, useless crew, and now fatal accidents.

Until now, there just wasn’t much to watch outside the occasional crash or capsize, but all that’s changed with the addition of former Miss Universe Great Britain winner Amy Willerton to the crew of the Garmin boat for the final, cold and nasty homecoming leg from New York to London. We’re not sure how much Sir Robin paid the blonde smokeshow best known for her stunning resemblance to Cindy Crawford in her heyday (see her Miss Universe pic here) but we’re certainly paying attention now – as is the rest of the world.  Regardless of who is actually winning the race (and no, we’re not going to look it up), we know which boat we’ll be following, and we salute this latest chick for getting out of her comfort zone for a trip with the potential for some real nastiness.  Maybe, just maybe, she’ll get the bug and become a real racer.  Fingers crossed, and thread here.

November 23rd, 2015

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The Canadian Melges 24 contingent loves Miami seafood, but 4-time Canadian Olympian Richard Clarke got more than he bargained for when two fat Spanish Mackerel nearly took his head off last weekend in the Miami Melges 24 Invitational – the ‘test event’ for next year’s Worlds.  One fish landed in the cockpit, but it escaped beforethe Zingara crew could bust out the rigging knives and make sushi…results are here.

Photo copyright Petey Crawford, Penalty Box Productions.

November 23rd, 2015

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Try as they might, French marketeers just don’t have a handle on the art of the publicity stunt.  Brian Hancock mentioned it the other day, and now the video is in of Julbo eyewear and Franck Cammas becoming the first humans to foil around the Horn. While they accomplished their goal, is it wrong for us to be completely underwhelmed?  ‘Cause we are.

We also wonder what it says about the Flying Phantom that Cammas chose to go with the Nacra 20 FCS instead of the boat he helped to develop.  Was the FP not up to the task for the first stunt we’ve ever seen from the Man in Green?

Hey – at least they added their names to the record books – and got a nice big spread in GQ-France.  Clicky above for the video.


November 23rd, 2015

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12232949_922206577832671_4473452555276846803_oWe probably spend more time watching kite chicks than we do any other sport, and with good reason; We don’t know any athletes who do a better job of sharing their exotic, exciting, bikini-filled lifestyle with millions of die-hard fans than girls like Hannah Whiteley and Anastasia Ashley.  Since they’re all going after the same sponsors, they’ve brought their competitiveness to social media, and we’re all winners for it.  This gorgeous shark’s eye view shot comes from Hannah’s Facebook page, which is worth a long, long look for any red-blooded man, lesbian, or fan of wind-powered sports.

As an avowed SA’er (and past Extreme Sailing Series guest racer), perennial top-ranked surfer Sally Fitzgibbon is always worth paying attention to, and if you’re a chick (or you’ve hatched one that needs a role model), here’s a really interesting interview by a surf journo chick as Sally gets set to try to break her streak and win the World Champs at the Maui Pro.

Title shout to one of the top 25 sports documentaries of all time.


November 23rd, 2015

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in the bank

This is the 5.5 meter to be built by Jorgen Jensen and helmed by Jesper Bank. The boat to beat?


November 21st, 2015

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cammas catFranck Cammas, one of the most successful sailors in the world has done what no one has done before; rounded Cape Horn on a foiling catamaran. In a quintessentially French move Cammas and his crew Johannes Wiebel rounded the most iconic of all landmarks flying on foils.

The conditions were perfect and while there is not a whole lot of information it looks as if Cammas and his crew on their carbon Nacra F20 catamaran went back and forth a few times in order to capture this amazing photo. As someone who has seen Cape Horn from the deck of a heaving yacht I never in my life thought that I would see a tiny boat flying gracefully in front of that amazing weatherworn island at the bottom of the world. Congratulations; it’s a world first. – Brian Hancock.


November 21st, 2015

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And this video from Easy Ride leaves absolutely no doubt. Oh yeah, our boy John Casey won…


November 20th, 2015

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kialoa 2.pngA rare opportunity to purchase a famed pedigreed yacht of uncompromising quality and beauty. Kialoa II was designed by Sparkman & Stephens for the famed Maxi racer Jim Kilroy who would go on to own 5 competitive Kialoas in his lifetime. She was built of a special aluminum named Duralium by Yachting Dynamics of Torrance, California and launched in 1964.

The boat was designed to compete in Maxi ocean racing events such as the Sydney-Hobart and Transpac Races. This she did fairly successfully, winning most major ocean races at least once during a racing career that spanned nearly a decade. One of her highlights was winning the grueling upwind Sydney-Hobart race (Australia’s premier ocean race falling on New Year’s day) in 1971. She also won the 1965 Transpac Race (Los Angeles – Honolulu) in 9 days, 19 hours.

Regarding the use of Duralium for the hull and deck, this is a special aircraft grade aluminum that was chosen to completely prevent corrosion. This has proven to have been very effective over the life of the yacht.

By present day racing standards Kialoa II is fitted with a quite luxurious interior and has numerous amenities for the comfort of the crew and guests, a true gentleman’s yacht. She is a beautiful yacht and epitomizes the S&S aesthetic: classic sheer with graceful overhangs, and some real history. More here.


November 20th, 2015

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Okay so maybe it’s a little too touchy feely for our tastes, but damn, there is something so very genuine about Transpac. And those who have done it, know it. Why the hell do you think they all come back??

Thought you might enjoy this video that includes some wonderful images of our fair City. Stick to it through 4:15 and you’ll see a cameo. I remember 22 years ago flying to Hawaii to meet my future wife after she had raced in a hard fought battle on board Orient Express. Who knew Transpac could help build families and family traditions?

As Mark Twain is often quoted, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

The Transpac is a wonderful race. If you’re so inclined; make plans now. We look forward to welcoming you to Rainbow Harbor in 2017. If you’re in the neighborhood, stop in sooner at Gladstone’s Long Beach.

Aloha and Mahalo,

John Sangmeister


November 19th, 2015

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