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new ran 1

Wouldn’t that be funny if it was? But of course it isn’t, as Dan Meyers, in addition to his bullshit lawsuit against us, has a whole slew of other “numbers” to deal with. You know, like this one, and this one, and this one, and this one

No, what this really is is the brand new J/V 72′ Ran, photographed here and here by Jesus Renedo. Can’t wait to see it sailing.

 

April 10th, 2014

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Scot Tempesta (11 of 14).jpg_smlSadly, we bid adieu to the Shaw 650 Sock Puppet as it heads to the east coast to make it’s new home and hopefully help kick start a new sportboat revival there. Quick as shit and a ball to sail, our time with the boat was limited as were the boats to race against here in conservative and sportboat barren San Diego.

But that doesn’t change how much we dig the thing and highly recommend the 650 to anyone who wants to sail what has to be one of the fastest small monohulls downwind in breeze ever! And check out their new 550

 

April 10th, 2014

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Why so much is being made of yet another ill-conceived ocean journey by people that had no business doing such a thing is kind of surprising as it is hardly unique. Lot’s of dummies do exactly this. That the cost to rescue them was over $600,000 is part and parcel of such foolishness. From Charlotte Kaufman, wife and mother of this most recent near-disaster:

I think this may be the stupidest thing we have ever done. ‘Stupid’ is the number one word that resonates throughout my day as we tick the slow minutes away to the kids’ bed times each night. ‘Why am I doing this?’ ‘What the fuck was I thinking?’ ‘Why did we pick such a hard way of traveling?’ Stupid.

Well said, honey. Read on.

 

April 10th, 2014

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A pretty interesting look at a part of our water world that we don’t usually think about in these terms. Click here for more info.

 

April 10th, 2014

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University of Michigan racer Sarah Sloan reports on what college sailors go through to get on the water in the deep-frozen midwest.  a  U of M alums should come and support your team; see their full schedule here and donate something toward their boat fund here - it’s tax-deductible!

IMG_3173No one understands cold quite like an MCSA sailor; early season practices can include pulling boats over patches of ice to reach open water, and it’s imperative crews know how to melt the ice off frozen sheets by whatever means necessary (no one is above sucking on the Cunningham just minutes before a race).

Traditionally, winter is supposed to turn into spring come March, but much like the kid at the party who can’t read between the lines when you say you’re washing your hair every night for the rest of the semester, this winter couldn’t take a hint.  Teams across the Midwest are still waiting for multiple feet of ice to thaw on inland lakes, and sailors have been forced to resort to extreme melting measures to salvage the spring season, because sometimes you need a friendly MCSA regatta and regatta party after numerous weekends competing against the big varsity teams on the East coast.

When it became increasingly apparent the snow wasn’t leaving any time soon, The University of Michigan Sailing Team began to consider spring practice-alternatives in addition to ICSA regattas, chalk talks, intramural broomball, and even part-time modeling in the case of one of our co-captains.  The team initially tried to escape the Polar Vortex by driving to Norfolk, Virginia for a spring break training trip, but the miserable weather followed them twelve hours south. Temperatures dropped from seventy the day before their arrival to thirty the day after. The first day of sailing was cancelled due to the latest snowstorm locals could remember, and didn’t rise much above forty the rest of the week. Fortunately for their hosts, the team took the bad weather back to Michigan, as temperatures rose to sixty the day of their departure.

Frustrated upon coming back to Michigan only to realize they’d have to drive to the east coast every time they wanted to sail, team members resorted to drastic measures to sail at home sooner. Members of the executive board ventured to Baseline Lake in mid-March to personally chop apart the 18-inch thick ice, with some even suggesting the Capital Campaign fund (which is less than $30,000 away from the $100,000 needed to purchase a new fleet of boats), should instead go toward space heaters and fireworks to help along the melting process.

10001385_10203446367349097_389987139_nWhile the rest of the team played with pickaxes, seven freshmen were fortunate enough to sail on the only open lake in the Midwest for the Freshman Icebreaker Regatta at Notre Dame. Determined to fulfill the legacy of excellence both on and off the water as established by their upperclassmen fore founders, the freshman dressed for success, looking dapper in the suits they will no doubt one day don as titans of business and industry. Some even took the plunge into Lake St. Joe’s after a successful race and came out baptized into a new sailing faith.

If Michigan sailors know one thing, it’s how to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. There is still time yet to salvage the season, and with temperatures reaching downright summery peaks of fifty-five degrees in Ann Arbor this week, this heat wave will likely make the lake sailable within the next two weeks, just in time for finals.

 

April 10th, 2014

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J70 out

With 81 J/70s at Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week – the biggest fleet by far in the 287-boat fleet - there’s bound to be carnage; we just didn’t know how soon it would start!  This driver forgot about the one tree at James Island Yacht Club at just the wrong time.  Racing starts tomorrow, and Clean and the team will be bringing you pretty much non-stop video and photo action all week long via the CRW Facebook Page.  There’s plenty to see – big one-design fleets, four wicked-up Carkeeks racing in the HPR Class, a huge Pursuit fleet and for the first time ever, multihulls.  And no, you don’t need to be a Facebook user to watch.

 

April 10th, 2014

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X-E2-BBJP3212

America’s winter sailing destinations have changed substantially over the past decade; Tampa, Key West and South Beach have all either partially or completely disappeared, while Miami’s Biscayne Bay has become the Lake Garda of this hemisphere and Charleston is a hive of activity in the Spring.  But one thing will never change: from June to October, Newport is the sailing capital of the USA.

For one of many reasons why, take a look at Beavertail Light in Jamestown RI through the lens of Ben Jacobson.  Stunning.

 

April 9th, 2014

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Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 9.54.04 AMIf you read Sailing Anarchy regularly, then you know that we have a major hard-on for all things related to the French shorthanded offshore racing scene; from the larger than life Vendée Globe to the ultra-extreme Mini Transat to the pinnacle-of-boat-porn-cool maxi trimaran scene to the biggest spectator scene in the sport at the Route du Rhum, we love it all and go out of our way to bring it live to your web browser.

That includes the biennial Transat AG2R which currently sees a fleet of one-design, 33-foot Beneteau Figaro II”s racing doublehanded from Concarneau in Brittany to St. Barth in the Caribbean, some 3,890 miles away. The single most competitive ocean racing fleet on the planet, the Figaro class has put 15 boats on the line for this AG2R with a smattering of former Figaro winners, Vendée Globe vets and even ‘Le Professeur’ himself, Michel Desjoyeaux.

Departing Brittany on Sunday, the fleet navigated a 10.5-mile coastal route before putting to sea and immediately beating into the leading edge of a cold front. Upwind on port tack in big breeze, defending champs Gildas Morvan and Charlie Dalin on Cercle Verte assumed their position at the pointy end of the fleet alongside Mich Desj before suffering a port lower shroud failure and dismasting. The defending champs are safe after cutting the rig away and have motored to Port La Forêt.

Almost in unison, all 14 remaining Figaro’s tacked to starboard on the passage of the front and began reaching south in westerlies which gradually backed to northwest and finally to the prevailing north/ northeast flow. Currently sailing downwind off of Cape Finisterre, this AG2R has seen it’s first major tactical gamble, almost splitting the difference to the east and west of the infamous Finisterre Traffic separation scheme.

Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 9.53.45 AMThe five inshore (easterly) boats are making out ahead for the time being with Classé MIni standout Gwenolé Gahinet and former MACIF Figaro skipper Paul Meilhat stretching out to a small lead over Made in Midi, co-skippered by former Groupe Bel IMOCA skipper Kito de Pavant who’s surely relieved to make it past Biscay and the separation scheme after being haunted by the region in the last two VG’s. Long-term forecasts show that the fleet will battle light air to reach the mandatory turning mark at La Palma before sailing downwind in the northeast trades to St. Barth. Mich Desj and Corentin Horeau on Bretagne-Credit Mutuel Performance currently lie in 7th, some 15 miles back from the leaders (and far west), while Roland Jourdain and Martin Pope on La Cornouaille are currently in fifth place at the tail end of the leading (easterly) group.

Check the front page and read the official Transat AG2R thread to stay hip to the latest on this under-appreciated and almost unknown race.

Transat AG2R site here, tracker here, standings here, Facebook here.  Photos from Dom Bonobo with more on his FB page.

 

-Ronnie Simpson

April 9th, 2014

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We love the fact that one of yachting’s most respected veteran photographers has jumped on the video bandwagon; more importantly, it’s great to see a guy known for his classic yachting and monohull AC work bringing a different perspective to the kind of high-speed shenanigans we at SA spend most of our time drooling over.  Onne Van Der Wal shot this excellent highlight reel from last month’s Line Honors US Moth Nationals in Key Largo, scoring a ride-along for 14 year-old son Adrian (who flies his drones) along the way.  Van Der Wal has been shooting video with Canon DSLRs for about three years now, but this is the first real high-performance reel we’ve seen from him, and we are most definitely fans.  Judging from young Adrian’s reaction to the Moths (and his clear lack of excitement about superyachts and classics), the next generation of Van Der Wal is going to be even better.

For more from the Nationals including interviews with champion Anthony Kotoun, past SCOTW Emma Aspington, world champ Bora Gulari, Swedish gold medalist Freddy Loof, and plenty more, hit up this gallery.  And be sure to check out Onne’s Vimeo page for a diverse portfolio of good sailing films.
 

April 9th, 2014

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Decomposition

As lakes thaw and boats get loaded back into the water, take a minute to get your brain around this chart.  Maybe this year, you’ll stop throwing cigarette butts over the side, or letting crew get away with tossing aluminum cans in the sea?  Everything lasts a lot longer than you might think it does, so keep it all on the boat.  Source: NOAA

April 8th, 2014

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good science 1

Really, who’s to argue? It just makes sense, somewhere… Thanks to Anarchist Ryan.

 

April 8th, 2014

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This month’s column from Kevin Hall and brought to you by Mauri Pro Sailing goes where few dare…

So you want to win the America’s Cup. You’ve got a budget and a core sailing team. You’ve found or retained or poached some great designers, engineers, shore team, and maybe more sailors. You’re ready to go.

There are many good books and articles on the long history of the Cup, things which have worked in the past. I’m going to offer one word to sum up the future of the whole shooting match: offense.

First an example from on the water. I was surprised by both teams when they lead into the bottom but chose the left gate looking down wind in the flood. Yeah, I know first into the cone. But to me it read as a defensive move, something like this : “If we choose the right gate, tack, and they go to the other one and tack after having more current relief, which we should have known would happen, they might have a piece of us, and then we’ll look like gooses”. Or is it geese. Anyway, my read of the course and bottom gate decision was different. I rated the slightly left angle of the inshore breeze, and the slight left shift as the boats sailed into less flood, and the fact there was a good chance that crossing over to the Cityfront from the right-gate-to-boundary tack position would work pretty well, as the stronger move on average. If the trailing opponent made a small gain from being first into the relief and tacked off the boundary in the cone and had a piece, they might win that battle. But, the boat up a tack is ahead if it ducks close, and is likely to win the war from there.

I have not carefully reviewed every gate of every race of America’s Cup 34 looking for data to support my theory, so I am probably the biggest goose of all. I don’t mind. My point is about the mentality : if the choice was made defensively … it was made poorly.

What are some other places this offense or defense mentality can be seen? Let’s say you have two choices with resource. Choice A allows you to have an upgrade of an existing piece of equipment, of a certain magnitude. It is an incremental gain from an existing piece of equipment. In order to make sure your spares program keeps up, the magnitude of the upgrade is partially compromised. (No free lunch or unlimited resource, or helpful time warps. All that). Or, you can have a bigger upgrade but no spare. I realize “it depends”. It always depends. But if you’re going to be uncompetitive with upgrade A or its spare, you have to go with the bigger but lonely upgrade B. Offence.

You can trust your data that very few, if any, races are likely to be sailed with Code Zeroes (why did it take everyone so long to learn this? Seems so obvious…now, with Harry Hindsight and Isabelle I Told You So at the bar). This allows you to ditch the entire Code Zero program. If you’re scrambling in other areas, ditching everything about Code Zeroes might produce a huge net gain in 90% + of the races. That would be offence.

Top teams are already on offense to get setup to respond as new information about the class rule and the venue comes in. I humbly submit that part of that setup time could be invested in (bear with me) setting up a program to improve the rate of improvement in many areas. I’m sure every team is different, and I’m sure every team has strived, and will strive, for continuous improvement. Cool. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about committing, right now, to systematically and continually improving the methods by which a team gets better.

I realize it’s easy to throw the word “meta” around and say nothing. An example should help.

Team A has great sailing sessions, great tools, great debriefs, and works very hard. Their debriefs produce information which they scurry to use to make decisions about the existing and the future boats. They go on to sail those boats and have great sailing sessions, great tools, great debriefs, and lots of hard work. They will improve. No question. They will be sailing faster tomorrow than they were yesterday. Step by step. They will probably have the occasional day off but only to recharge enough to repeat the above. Perhaps ratchet up the intensity just a little toward the final push.

Team B has great sailing sessions, great tools, great debriefs, and also works very hard. They also know that quality time on the water is important. They also know that recharging drained physical batteries of personnel is necessary. They value time as the most precious commodity in the America’s Cup game, just like Team A does. Here’s what Team B does differently to team A. Before the first sailing session even begins, they plan to follow it up with a session to review that session’s process. Let’s call it a retreat just to hammer it home. It’s not to talk about the sailing session’s results, what the session produced. It’s to discuss all the ways the session itself could have been better, from a better way to get the message that the lunches were soggy through to the person with the responsibility and the power to make them dry, to getting the quiet people to say what they really think, to getting the sailing team down on the floor trying to understand their tools better.

At this point, it’s still only a suggestion box. A meta one, which sounds cool, but a suggestion box nonetheless. So far, we’ve lost valuable time-on-the-water time. The reason we’ve set proper time aside for our efforts to improve the way we improve is to take the next, much more difficult step. We’re going to actually do something about those lessons in the box here on Team B.

After the first sailing session, Team A will be ahead. Guaranteed. They don’t have time for touchy-feely, airy-fairy, ra-ra meta crap. After session two, Team A will still be ahead. Maybe even further ahead. But Team B’s third session will have been considerably better than the first one, and the seed is planted. The expectation is set by and for the people on Team B to seek to improve the way they improve, from day one.

We’ll be in another new class in AC35, so there will be plenty of design and technique space to exploit before worrying about the subtle stuff. Some day, though, the “AC62ish” will be a MkVII (I hope). When that day comes, the team that is still able to improve because they are still finding new ways to improve, will carry the day.

This is not an easy commitment to make. There are no double blind studies supporting it, it’s hard to even talk about in a way which keeps everyone talking about the same thing. It’s very hard to touch this stuff much less hit it with a hammer.

It is an investment in the long game. A tangible benefit which probably can be expected occurs on the very human level of grumble and grouse. If the troops suspect that management just doesn’t seem to understand or to be committed to a vision beyond putting out fires and supplying better food at the team BBQ, some of that time we all decided was so precious will be lost to grumbling. If, on the other hand, everyone looks around and sees people who want to not only do their own job as well as possible, but also facilitate inter-personal and inter-departmental improvement during the three or four years everyone is living out of pretty much the same suitcase, the team will perform better when it counts the most.

Offense.

 

April 8th, 2014

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Thousands of sailors are following the Flying Phantom project to see whether Alex Udin and his group have created the holy grail of high-performance sailing; a full-foiling boat that’s easy and stable to sail.   Based on this short video with some words from French multihull supercoach Philip Presti, (and admittedly in very flat water), it looks like they have succeeded.  Enjoy, and get in on the Phantom discussion in Multihull Anarchy.

 

April 7th, 2014

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CHSF2B

Young Tim Fitzgerald shares his experience as the founder of the first drag-race style speed sailing event on the East Coast; the 3.8 mile Fort2Battery Race in Charleston, SC.  Photos from Els Sipkes; her blog is here with more, and there are hundreds more in her SmugMug gallery.  

60 days ago I didn’t know if Charleston wanted a drag race sailing event, and after today I can only say “WOW” when I see how much they do! Today I saw 150 people line up on the Battery to watch kites and boards and boats on a 9-minute sprint down Charleston Harbor. Elderly people stopped me in the park to confirm the start time. People in golf carts tailgated on the points of land on James Island to watch the watery wipeouts that equate to “the big one” in a NASCAR race. The only time in my sailing career I’ve ever heard of more than 100 people coming out for an American sailing race was the America’s Cup or the Olympics and today we accomplished that with little more than the economical low-end of sailing’s high speed Band of Brothers.

Charleston is the perfect place for a sprint like this; with the beaches, breeze, and boating community, it’s a playground for those who chase the wind, and with North America’s biggest regatta, the biggest Sportboat regatta in the world, and the East Coast’s biggest kiting community, the “Sailing Capital of the South” has emphatically stuck its pin in the world of high-performance sailing.  With an oversubscribed field of 55 entrants in the first ever running of the Fort 2 Battery Race, you can consider that pin the size of a railroad spike driven in with the overhead swing of a sledge hammer.

Anyway, it went like this:  At 3 PM on Sunday, a new battle took place in the shadow of Fort Sumter; the site of the Civil War’s opening salvo.  A ragtag fleet of foiling moths, kite board, catamarans, sailboards, and skiffs went on a downwind blast to the Battery in 13-18 knots of Northeasterly breeze for a cash prize, bragging rights, and the new title of “King of the Harbor.”  Bora Gulari, fresh off his win in last weekend’s Moth North Americans, led from wire to wire on a starboard-tack favored run; his time of 8m58s for the 3.8 NM course equates to an average VMG of nearly 26 knots – even more incredible when you account for the 2-3 knot outgoing tide and a gybe.  The first four finishers were moths, with the fastest course-race kite board about a minute behind; importantly, there were no foil boards in the inaugural Fort2Battery Race; we’re told they will most definitely be back next year, as will the Moths.

Fort2BOf course there were obstacles along the way, but you’d be amazed at what a great community there is here around the water. The kind of roadblocks you’d expect for a new race with a new format and extremely high speeds just didn’t exist; the USCG, Department of Natural Resources and local governments all shared the same message when I approached them; “That sounds awesome – go for it!” was their almost unanimous response, and thanks in large part to Sailing Anarchy, the entries rolled in from the moment we announced the race right here on the front page.

Now that it’s finished, I find myself why there aren’t events like this one everywhere; people were so eager to jump up and support a speed sailing event that it blew my mind, and confirmed what I had suspected; the only thing keeping people from doing more of this stuff is a lack of events.  The format – one start, one finish, and a short course – makes the racing incredibly accessible to both competitors and the public, just like the hundreds of easy 5K runs that happen every weekend all over the country.  We had a perfect mix of sailors; from full-family programs on a Hobie 20 to 65 year-olds on sailboards to the Moth World Champion, and everyone had a smile on their face afterwards.  The simple format was a relief to the journalists and spectators we spoke to; people who often struggle to understand the details of more complicated sailing formats

When it comes to gaining the attention of young people and our communities, high performance sailing is where it’s at. This is exactly what kids need to put down the X Box and pick up a mainsheet, and I guarantee you that if you or your club or association wants to make it happen on your harbor, river, lake, or bay, you’ll find it absolutely worth the effort.  And if you are interested in organizing a sprint race in your home town, hit me up through my website and I’ll share any tips I can with you.

A huge thanks to Mr. Clean and Sailing Anarchy for all their help and support; without you guys, this would definitely never have happened.  Also a big thanks to Dave Pritchard at Gill North America for helping us out with competitor vests, and much love to James Island Yacht Club for your support and RC work; please can check out the rest of the sponsors at the Fort2Battery site, and we’ll see you next year!

 

 

April 7th, 2014

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When it comes to reporting on sailing in the Med, no one is better than Pierre Orphanidis.  The quick-witted, multilingual founder of Valencia Sailing (now called Vsail.info) is one of precious few sailing scribes unafraid of telling it like it is, even if that means fewer press junkets or PR writing gigs on his calendar.  For us, this makes Vsail required reading, and a few days ago, he took aim at the Volvo Ocean Race organization after a somewhat awkward “Stakeholder Meeting” held in Alicante.  Below you’ll find Pierre’s piece, and here’s the place to talk about it.

Three days ago, on April 1st, we had the opportunity to assist in the opening session of the conference the Volvo Ocean Race and all its stakeholders are holding in Alicante. It is a a four-day meeting, until Friday, where nearly 200 people from the organization, teams, sponsors and stopover cities, gather to discuss all aspects of the round-the-world race. It is meant to provide a platform for debate and exchange among all participants and a mean for the organization to convey its ideas and philosophy on the race.

Unlike the previous editions, media were allowed to participate in the first hour of the conference and listen to a nearly one-hour long speech by Knut Frostad. Although we didn’t learn anything extraordinary, it is always interesting to listen to the CEO of what is considered to be on of the top three events of the sport, together with the America’s Cup and the Olympics. Whatever Frostad and his team decide to implement, certainly has an impact on the sport overall. Their success or failure will, undoubtedly, have a positive or negative result.

Seven entries confirmed – Sixth team with “Spanish flavor” to be announced soon

Frostad opened his speech by being adamant on the fact that seven boats will be on the starting line next October in Alicante and admitted it would be too late now for an eighth entry as their boat would be ready. Although he didn’t reveal the identity of the two remaining teams to be presented, he hinted that the sixth entry would have a “Spanish flavor”. No information whatsoever was given in regards to the seventh entry.

Storytelling

As one can observe from the conference agenda, and as it was repeated countless of times by Frostad in his opening speech, the fundamental axis of the race’s communication policy and philosophy in this edition is storytelling. Stories will be the cornerstone around which the race will evolve. As Frostad pointed out, gone are the days of frequent race updates and press releases where navigators would go on and on, saying “today we lost 10 miles” or “today we gained 15 miles”. This will be the “human” edition of the race. With all boats being strictly equal, technology now becomes nearly irrelevant and sailors, the “human factor”, will take center stage. Frostad boasted he had the best storytellers in business that would produce very attractive and interesting content. The most important issue for him is to engage the audience with stories that go well beyond the conventional sailing jargon and try to win sailing and non-sailing fans alike.

All that sounds wonderful if it weren’t for the fact it isn’t the first time Frostad made those claims. In fact, the “human stories” are always mentioned in his speeches at the World Yacht Racing Forum. In addition, even if we are six months away from the start, the stories by the onboard reporters have been dismal so far, especially at Team Brunel. Here is an example. The Dutch team, skippered by Bouwe Bekking, achieved a remarkable feat on their delivery from Southampton to Lanzarote, just a week after receiving their brand new boat from Green Marine.

They sailed 540 miles in 24 hours, that is 56 miles, or less than 10%, short of the 596.6nm world record established by the Volvo Open 70 Ericsson 4 in 2008. This is an astonishing figure for a crew going through a selection process on a brand new boat that no sailor has ever sailed before. Wasn’t that story important enough for Feike Essink, the team’s onboard reporter, to write about? Where are the videos or photos taken during that achievement? Where are the videos of the helmsman commenting while the Brunel VO65 is being slammed by winds of 45 knots? What about photos and videos from inside the boat when sailors come back from their watch, wet and exhausted? Or the rookies talking about their maiden experience in what is supposed to be the premier round-the-world race? Aren’t these “engaging stories”?

Instead the “stories” and photos on the Team Brunel website are about what groceries they went buying in Lanzarote, what paella they ate or the arrival of a new recruit at the Lanzarote airport! In an increasingly image-driven world of communication, the only video there is, doesn’t last more than 25 seconds… We wish them good luck if they think this kind of content will engage non-sailors.

Urban connectives

If you scratch your head, trying to figure out who the urban connectives are, don’t worry. As Frostad confessed himself, he didn’t have the slightest clue until recently. However, urban connectives will now become one of the primary targets of the Volvo Ocean Race communication strategy. Apparently, the are people that might have nothing to do with the race or even sailing but they are considered to be very influential and followed by hundreds of thousands of people. According to Frostad, they are mostly critical but when they endorse a view or opinion, their followers will do as well. As a result, if urban connectors get hooked on the Volvo Ocean Race, millions of people around the world will follow suit.

That might very well be a brilliant strategy but it certainly will not be easy and to our humble opinion it won’t be done thanks to the stories being told so far. Maybe it still is too early to make a judgement but it reminds us of the same strategy the 34th America’s Cup was envisioning in 2011 when it was even prohibited using the terms port, starboard or knots but instead the mainstream left, right or km/h. A year later, and after millions of dollars spent, they realized that no matter how much they wanted to deny it, sailing had its own terms and switched back to them. It is a slippery path to follow when one thinks that by alienating your core audience you hope you will attract non-fans. At least, Frostad stressed more than once that he and his organization love sailing and that the Volvo Ocean Race will remain first and foremost a sailing event.

Again, the “human factor” is an excellent idea and the all-women team could be a fantastic tool but still there is hardly anything from there.

“Crop for diversity” and Instagram filters

This is the point that puzzled us. Given the date, April 1st, we thought Frostad was joking as we couldn’t believe the CEO of a major, global sporting event would spend more than 1 second on such a frivolous issue. However, Frostad dwelled on that and even mentioned it as a key communication policy!! What is “Crop for diversity”? It is the, apparently, magic solution that allows us to make ten photos out of one. According to Frostad, the Volvo Ocean Race will attend the needs of its different audiences with the same photo by cropping it in different ways. As one can observe from the photo here below, the photo of Camper’s helmsman in the previous edition of the race has been multiplied by seven.

How anyone can really think this is something to be proud of and present it in a conference that gathers the event’s stakeholder is beyond our understanding. Not to be outdone, Frostad went on, stating that another innovative communication and marketing strategy will now be the application of Instagram-like filters on the photos. While so far, it was unthinkable to retouch a photographer’s work, apparently the application of filters will engage more audience. Depending on what your target is, you apply the corresponding filter and you have an impacting photo. Again, we are bewildered by such statements. If it were so easy to attract fans and non-fans any other sport can also do it, rendering void any advantage it might have… We can’t even believe those slides made it to Frostad’s presentation.

Despite our criticism, we sincerely hope the Volvo Ocean Race, as well as any sailing event, becomes much more popular. Everybody, including ourselves, will benefit from such a success. Let’s hope Knut Frostad didn’t over-promise and then under-deliver a year from now…

 

April 7th, 2014

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red devil

From Anarchist Joachim from SailingAnarchy.de…

Maarten Voogd, designer and owner of the Fareast 31 R, brought the boat from Netherland to East Germany to promote his latest design for the China based FAREAST Yacht company. Built full  carbon fibre using vacuum infusion technology, a carbon rig by Seldèn with dyform shrouds, the boat showed the high building level of that yard. 31 feet long, only 600 kg for hull, hardware and rig, 1.200 kg keel and ballast lead bulb combinedwith a sail area upwind of 65 m² makes you grin while helming the boat or hiking on the rail.

We had 2 days with wind around the 10-16,18 kns, flat water, later in the afternoon a short wave built up to 0,5 m. Ideal testing conditions for this high performance racer and the boat did not struggle: Upwind boatspeed was 7,2-7,5 kns at 40-42 degree to wind, downwind under the 120 m² asym. spinnaker easy up to 13, 14, 15 kns when heated up :-) The boat responded very well to crew weight and trimming and was easy to control even by a dummy like me. In short: great boat, great fun, wish I have 140.000 € to spend for that boat, but that price does include sails and trailer!

More pics here.

 

April 6th, 2014

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Back in November we shared a story about an Anarchist jumping into the world of the Moth. Here’s the follow-up.

start it 1This is the story and adventure of my first three days learning to sail a Moth. What is a Moth? A small, skiff-like dinghy that can rise above and foil over the water. It is an unforgiving and challenging boat that can achieve speeds over 25 knots and has a loyal following of America’s Cup and pro sailors alike. Can a gray haired novice successfully learn to foil and rediscover his youthful energy? There was only one way to find out. Fly to Miami where the fleet hangs out in the winter months and find the best coaches available!

“Come down to Miami and we can get you sailing on a Moth,” replied Ian Andrewes, the manager for the 2013 Red Bull America’s Cup America Youth Sailing Force team. I was one of many thousands who became mesmerized by the sight of America’s Cup 72 foot catamarans flying above the water as much as sailing across the San Francisco bay last summer. The Moth became a one-person training platform for many of the skippers learning to “fly” their boats in a seemingly precarious new way. I couldn’t pass up this opportunity and one hour after my 24 hour call shift ended, was on a Virgin America flight bound for Florida.

A Northeasterly wind whipped across Biscayne Bay as I drove across a bridge bringing me to the Miami Rowing Club. With a setting sun, I arrived just in time as sailing coaches Ian Andrewes and Jonny Goldsberry were stowing gear at day’s end. “It’s pretty windy today from a low pressure system passing through. Hopefully the wind will moderate a bit tomorrow for your first lesson. See you then, “ Ian replied as I departed.

Indeed it was windy the next morning with gusts sending darkened ripples and whitecaps in a chaotic dance across the water. “Steady 22 mph with gusts to 28 mph”, I called out while reading a wind meter app on my smartphone. “Let’s go get lunch at this great Cuban Café and check back after lunch”, Ian suggested. It sounded like a great idea as I nervously eyed the 62-pound narrow carbon fiber hull, bounded by small winged trampoline seats on each side and sharp wing-like foils underneath. In fact the Mach 2 Moth looked more purpose built for flying than floating.

That afternoon the wind subsided a bit and I donned a shorty wet suit, gloves and booties and jumped into a small RIB powerboat that took us out in a more central part of Biscayne Bay. The setting was spectacular as downtown Miami high-rise buildings peered directly at us in the distance. I stepped carefully off the RIB into the cockpit of the Moth and it immediately rolled over, capsizing. The sudden shock of being immersed in the water caught me by surprise but was much warmer than I expected as I hung on to the side of the boat. “Grab the mainsheet and slide back on”, Ian shouted from the RIB. I pulled myself up and grabbed the line attached to the boom, controlling the sail. Suddenly the Moth came to life and I hung on, trying to balance on this knife’s edge. A brief puff of wind filled the sail and over I went falling back into the water on the far side. I tried fruitlessly for the next hour to find some point of equilibrium in this small and unforgiving vessel. Where was the wind coming from? Head up, bear off! The tiller feel is non-existent and doesn’t do anything at slower speeds. Recognizing my complete fatigue, Ian came to my rescue. I barely found the strength to climb back inside the RIB for the ride back to the rowing club. “Don’t be discouraged”, Ian advised. “We all find this boat a real challenge to learn how to sail. I still do after 6 years and as a pro-sailor. That’s what makes it such a rewarding challenge”.

The second day came quickly despite protests from my body. Sore yet undeterred, I was ready to go. “Hey, look at Cooper. He’s up and foiling on his first day!” Cooper was a teammate of Ian’s during the 2013 Red Bull America’s Cup Event. The Moth had risen out of the water and was flying toward the horizon. An hour later I was wet, exhausted and no closer to successfully staying upright and afloat for more than a few moments.

start it 3“Use your weight more aggressively and find your balance”, Ian urged me as we began our third day on the water. It was a bright and sunny morning with a brisk, easterly wind. The small, light boat felt like a bucking bronco, flipping over repeatedly when I failed to quickly grab the reins (mainsheet) in time. “Joe, get your feet under the strap. Here comes a puff….ease, ease…good balance”, Ian called as he rode nearby me keeping pace in the small powerboat. I began to move faster as the water rushed by. “You’re foiling! You’re foiling!” I heard a voice behind me yell. Suddenly the sound of rushing water disappeared and I felt myself flying over the water, accelerating at a faster and faster rate. It was as though I was weightless, hurtling through space. And as soon as it began, the boat took an abrupt dive and my brief flight came to an end, crashing, bow first into a wave a meter below. “Good job. Good way to end the day”, Ian exclaimed as I bobbed on the surface of the water with the overturned Moth a few feet away. After three frustrating days, I finally found the proper balance that propelled me over the water for those brief moments.

I left Miami and headed home with much to share with family and friends. It was time to return to my professional life but with a surprisingly renewed energy. Now I have a much deeper understanding and humbled respect for those who sail over the water rather than in it.
Many thanks to coaches Ian Andrewes and Jonny Goldsberry whose patience, encouragement and expertise kept me going. And a special thanks to Paul Kilkenny who made me a believer that gray haired novices can learn to foil and sail a Moth. I started from the bottom and now I’m here. And ready for much more! Check the video!

Best,
Joe Andresen, MD

 

April 6th, 2014

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the view

This is pretty much the view the rest of the fleet had of lovely Marit Bouwmeester at the Trofeo Princesa Sofia. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to be “behind.” Yuk yuk.

 

April 6th, 2014

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Big Pimpin’

uk ad 4 3Regardless of which side of the political spectrum you favor— the left-leaning progressives who actually care about our environment, or the  right-wingers who support things like abolishing the EPA under the guise of “less regulation” —you are bound to have a dog in the hunt regarding the new RRS 55. By prohibiting the discharge of trash and other articles overboard, ISAF has deemed that rubber bands and yarn used to stop spinnakers fall under the auspices of a rule 55 no-no.

Rules, environment, whatever; but how the bejezus are sailors supposed to set a spinnaker when it’s blowing dogs off chains? Set a chute safely in stops…or break the rule. Talk about a “rock and hard place” conundrum.

Here’s the thing: today rule 55 no longer controls the spinnaker stopping conversation. “How come” you ask? It turns out that the designers at UK Sailmakers have come-up with a way to stop spinnakers that IS EASIER, FASTER, AND ACTUALLY WORKS BETTER THAN RUBBER BANDS OR WEAK YARN.

Introducing SPIN STOPS from UK Sailmakers.

SPIN STOPS are quick-release elastic and Velcro tabs stitched onto the luff and tack of spinnakers. As in the past, your bowpeeps below will run the tapes of the sail; but instead of forcing the sail through a funnel or bottomless bucket loaded-up with rubber bands, they can simply and quickly wrap the SPIN STOPS around the sail and connect the Velcro tabs. No muss, no fuss, no remembering to buy more rubber bands or yarn. Quick, easy, and effective.

UK recommends installing SPIN STOPS on the top half of luff and the first third of the tack finding that both asym and symmetrical chutes once again can be set in all manner of wind conditions with safety, ease, and confidence. Once hoisted, simply trim the sheet as in the past and, SHAZAAM, the SPIN STOPS pop open and the spinnaker’s flying. SPIN STOPS are sized to fit different sized spinnakers and are small enough not to impact the sail’s performance once opened.

One of the worst jobs on a racing boat is going below and re-stop a spinnaker in a seaway (funny how the folks who pay for the sails usually don’t get tagged with that duty). However, sailors who have gone below during a blow to re-stop a chute using SPIN STOPS find they are back on the rail in half the time and only wish that SPIN STOPS were developed years ago.

SPIN STOPS makes sense regardless of which side of the proverbial Rules Aisle you sit. Call UK Sailmakers today at 1-800-253-2002 to discuss adding SPIN STOPS on your new spinnaker or retrofitting SPIN STOPS onto an existing one. To see UK’s SPIN STOP video, click here.

 

April 5th, 2014

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Saying that Waterlust has blown us away, again, never gets old…

 

April 4th, 2014

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