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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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sharp main

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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what is it 5 19.png

A crowded 40′ field just got more so. We dig the looks. What is it?

 

May 18th, 2016

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golf 1Sixteen pro hydrofoil racers gathered for an exhibition event on the Sacramento River in California on May 14-15, 2016. The purpose of the event was to showcase the potential for racing in venues that provide close quarters viewing in an action packed setting. “Racing on the river was a new challenge”, said Rogelio Basave a top world ranked racer who came from Puerto Vallarta for the event. “It was fast, there were lots of maneuvers required, and the setting was very cool.”

Johnny Heineken (USA) won the event by a narrow margin with Riccardo Leccese (Italy), Joey Pasquali (USA), and Nico Landaur (Uruguay) all challenging for the top spot. Young sailor Daniela Moroz won the top Female and top Junior categories. Nico Landauer was top master (35-44) and Sonny Swords was top grand master (45-54).

Plans for future events in the idyllic river venue are underway. Organizers aim to get this spot added Hydrofoil Pro Tour. “Imagine a racecourse that spectators could see from all sides. They can walk up and down and all around, like watching a golf tournament. Now that would be cool!”

 

May 18th, 2016

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Now this is straight up gangsta.

 

May 18th, 2016

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Still the most successful inshore/offshore big-boat box rule ever, the TP52 continues to set the standard for owner/driver Grand Prix monohull action, and with new faces and the return of the ever-competitive Ran program, the 2016 season looks as good as its ever been.  This piece brought to you by our partner Seahorse Magazine in association with the TP52 SuperSeries.

Going through the 52 Super Series 2016 scheduling and entry list one might think that not much has changed from the spectacular 2015 series in which we saw nine new builds join the fleet. However, there are two new venues: Scarlino in Tuscany and Mahón in Menorca. Scarlino opens the series in May. The modern Marina di Scarlino provides ample space to get a fleet of this size and standard properly measured and prepared.

Scarlino is followed in late June by the testing conditions on the emerald coast of Porto Cervo. A fine combination of scenic but nerve-racking coastal races and a couple of windward-leeward days will decide the winner of the highly valued Settimana delle Bocche trophy. From Sardinia to the Bay of Palma and Puerto Portals in July provides another contrast in sailing conditions, requiring remoding to both your boat and to your tactician’s mindset.

This year we choose not to race during August as many of our officials and umpires are involved with the Olympics, but the TP52 worlds in September will see 12 TP52s battling it out in beautiful Mahón. One of the largest natural harbours in the world, Mahón has been claimed by many seafaring nations and has seen some epic sea battles. We hope to add one more, albeit more peaceful.

Finally, on 15 October we will know the identity of the 2016 52 Super Series champion… after five final days of racing on the challenging waters of Cascais and a total 45-odd races sailed with no discard allowed. No doubt another worthy winner.

One of 12 strong teams will share the experience this year, with Sorcha owner Peter Harrison and his sailing team directed by Campbell Field as the only newcomer in the fleet. They will join us at Porto Cervo and the TP52 worlds.

A few weeks ago five of our 2016 teams engaged in six days of sailing from the Valencia base of the St Petersburg Yacht Club, an initiative by the owner of Bronenosec, Vladimir Liubomirov. As can be expected after a full season of racing, I witnessed a different level of boat preparation than what we started with last year.

All five had used the long winter recess to evaluate and modify their boats. As a consequence it is equally as exciting to line up for the first time now as it was last year.

This year the TP52s for the first time in the history of the class race below seven tonnes displacement (6,950kg) but, as things go, the loads still go up by popular demand of the trimmers. Most rigs have consequently been beefed up by adding extra laminate to the outside of the tube. But as each team has different ideas on tube stiffness it surely was not the same mod for all.

Many have changed their standing rigging to fine-tune in this department in terms of both strength and drag. Provezza bit the bullet and the owner combined his wish to have a spare mast with a new rig incorporating significant changes in stiffness… as well as fibre optics laminated into the tube to record mast bend.

Retrieving quality data is the basis for proper performance evaluation, the only basis really. The majority of the Vrolijk-designed boats will sport new or re-profiled keel fins, some in combination with a new rudder. Rudders are moving forward as well, in search of higher modes upwind.

The majority of the Botín-designed boats are also on a new rudder track. Sails are never the same; I am not qualified to say anything sensible there. I just make sure we end up within the class limits with the right logos and sail numbers…

The human mind’s appetite for change is hard to contain. In combination with a lack of appetite for reading the rules, we sometimes end up on the wrong side of the fence. But once again I have Pablo Ferrer, now in his 11th year of measuring and checking TP52s. He has not seen it all, but more than most for sure.

So what did we see on the water in Valencia? Guillermo Parada, helmsman on Azzurra, noted, ‘All of the boats had improved and every day it is getting harder to gain a speed edge, so this season will be super-tight. Now it’s time to download all the data from this week and make the final choices about equipment and settings for the Super Series itself.’

Talking to Tony Langley and Tom Wilson, owner and manager of Gladiator, there was cautious optimism that with recent improvements the team have now found the legs to be on a par with the others; this was backed up by observations from the other teams. It hardly ever gets more detailed than ‘Gladiator is fast’ but they were not joking. With Mr Ian ‘Abu Dhabi’ Walker, double Olympic medallist, on tactics for the season I feel the orange-red hull shall be visible in quite a few photos of the leading pack. Once they’re confident and up to speed the next goal is consistency, maybe even harder to achieve.

Simon Fry, trimmer on the Vrolijk-designed Provezza, confirmed their search for more improvements upwind and the trade-off that demands: ‘In general now we can live in skinnier [tighter, higher] lanes upwind than we could before and I don’t think we have given away much downwind… So it’s hopeful.’

Amazingly, it is the fifth year already since the demise of the MedCup. Time flies. Also in 2016 the Super Series fleet will be predominantly owner-driver and the outlook for 2017 is no different. Teams joining (like Interlodge) or showing interest in joining in 2017 are so far all owner-driver.

If there ever was any overlap with pro-driver commercial sailing events like the AC, Extreme Sailing Series or the Volvo in the MedCup days, whether in reality or in ambition, I feel this is no longer the case. This is important as it will produce a clearer picture, a clearer product, whether one is looking to join, to enjoy, to work, to support, to sponsor, to watch or to follow online.

As for the boats, they suit that model perfectly. Cutting-edge technology, fast and sometimes even furious without getting into the extreme sport arena, certainly not one-trick ponies and well sought-after secondhand all over the world.

The space for evolution has narrowed after the large steps taken between 2011 and 2014, at least without a major rewrite of the TP52 Rule. Right now present and interested future owners all appreciate and expect rule stability. They will get just that till they indicate otherwise.

With class president Niklas Zennström back on the tiller of Rán Racing for the full series after a semi-sabbatical from racing in 2015, the 52 Super Series and the TP52 Class are ready for 2016. We wish all sailors, wherever their competition takes them, good times, nice winds… and fair competition.

Click here for more information on 52 Super Series »


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May 17th, 2016

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What do you get when you cross a 24 year old kiteboarder from the Great Plains, an insane creative genius videographer, and a loudmouth Sailing Anarchy editor?  It’s called the Charleston Fort2Battery, and it’s one of the big successes in ultra-performance sail racing of the past few years.  Watch the video for the full story, and go here to find out about the 2017 edition.

May 17th, 2016

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Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 10.59.06 AMFrench Minista Olver Jehl set off over the weekend to try for the fastest Mini time ever from New York to The Lizard aboard his Zigoneshi.  Instead, he established perhaps the fastest time ever for a Mini skipper to go from harbor to helicopter.

Jehl barely made it to the Hudson Canyon before holing his Mini and calling for rescue, and Bjorn Kils (NY Media Boat) was there to document it.  There’s also a thread.

Title goes to another all-terrain vehicle that didn’t quite make it.

 

May 17th, 2016

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