diab big

west system fp banner ad 1 15

pyi vendee ad

Article Separator

Future of Sailing 2018

Today marks the last day for classes, MNA’s, regional groups and World Sailings ”events committee working party” to hand in their suggestion for future events in Olympic sailing. These submissions will guide the council to make a decision on which events will be sailed at the 2024 Olympics.

I have been privy to some of the working party’s working documents and I am concerned for the future of our sport. At the 2017 World Sailing annual conference it was decided by council that the basis for these events should be:

1 – Achieve gender equality at an event an athlete level
2 – Include either 2 or 4 mixed events
3 – Offer the best possible value to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and to the Olympic Games and strengthen the position of Sailing within the Olympic Games
4 – Ensure that men and women of different physiques have an opportunity to compete
5 – Include both universal events and events that showcase the innovation of sailing and demonstrate the diversity of the sport

I think the above decisions made by the Council makes sense and will help put sailing in the best possible position for the future. But I do miss two very important points:

*Increase participation in sailing by creating a natural progression into Olympic sailing. A red line from kids starting to sail and all the way to Olympic glory.
*Protect our Olympic legacy by building our sport on top of the legendary sailors of our sport has had.

To me the biggest misunderstanding and what evidently is missing from any papers produced by the Event committee working party is the sailors. What does the sailors want? What classes would they like to sail, how do we create legendary athletes that transcend the sailing community and become household names anywhere. Names like Elvstrøm, Coutts, Scheidt and Ainslie.

It seems to me that Sailing has lost confidence in itself and like an insecure overachiever is scrambling at the end of the night to get lucky. Perhaps we should believe in ourselves and instead focus on tackling the issues that have risen with the increased focus on delivering media attention and spectator numbers. I have said and written this before, but how come we are discussing events and classes as the primary reason on how to survive and not how we do our sports presentation?

I just witnessed the last 5 races and the Medal race at the Finn Europeans and it was epic. Tough as nails, true athletes coming forward to take the podium. And when talking about the podium, have a look at the sailors who took to it. Ed Wright, the winner is a former Laser sailor and probably the most decorated sailor never to have made it to the Olympic games. He has been in the class for 13-14 years and is still one of the fittest sailors alive. Nic Heiner, a former Laser world champion who changed in to the class after a serious bid to become the representative from the Netherlands in the laser in 2016 and Max Salminen the current World Champion who is also an Olympic gold medal winner in the Star from 2012. This class has over time collected and produced more sailing heroes and legends than any other class and has therefore earned its iconic status in the Olympics.

The sailing was epic due to the choice of venue. Big waves and a lot of breeze. When the discussion on events and equipment is going on it has never been considered to have a venue strategy in place. Put any class in +15 knots, sun and waves and it looks epic. Do the opposite and any new high tech class looks boring. Look at the footage from the latest World Cup in Miami. Doesn’t get much better than that. But why do we not cater to venues that has these conditions more often than not? It’s like having a downhill event in skiing on either the blue slopes or in towns with high risk of no snow. Just doesn’t make sense.

We need to work on getting tracking, onboard cameras and sound at affordable prices. Portray our sport better and in an easier format. By including cheap tracking and use this tracking to reduce personnel cost we will increase the reliability in our start times and execution of events. Again an area that would improve simply by sailing in venues with higher average winds. The setup in Rio was a disaster and we did a disservice to our sport. We can make it cheaper and much much better, we just need to invest in it.

I am a big fan of close racing and speed, but very often these two things do not go hand in hand and the way we have solved it is to make the races shorter and move the course closer to land. The cost of this is more fluky races and the risk that a sailors result is more influenced by circumstances outside the field of play. Is this a cost we as a sport are willing to take?

I am a massive fan of creating fan areas and fence off the area of the event to create a sustainable commercial venue for an event. This is how you monetize a festival. All for it, but from a strategic point of view there is no reason to demand that this needs to be held on a beach. Demanding beach events will highly limit the places we can sail and will for many classes create issues with berthing in strong winds. So to me it is counterproductive. If the venue is ideal for a beach berth, by all means go ahead, but it should not be our strategic pillar.

Being from Scandinavia I am all for gender equality, but it is paramount that we not only aim for gender equality at the Olympic level, but also take measures that to a larger extend inspire women to join our sport. With the setup proposed by IOC for 2024 we will have to do a top-down execution of this strategy but WS and MNA’s should produce a clear plan on how they will secure more female sailors in the sport. Today 1 of every 5 sailors are female. Let’s have a goal to make that 1 in 3 and then 50/50.

The working documents I have seen from the Events committee working party simply disregards the decision made by World Sailings Council to secure sailors of different physiques an ability to compete. This will surely be a disaster for the sport. Since the 2000 Olympics the average weight of Olympic classes has dropped. At the same time the average weight of fit people in the same period has risen and people are getting taller. First it was the Soling, then the Star and now one of suggested solutions from the Events committee working party is to get rid of the Finn and not even replace it with a boat that caters to larger athletes.

This effectively means that if you are a male sailor of more than 84 kg you do not have a place in the Olympics. That excludes pretty much any sailor over the height of 188 cm. At the same time it also looks like the 470 is on the ropes, which for both men and women will narrow the window of the weight range in which sailors can compete. It will effectively be 70-85 kg for all events for the men and 60-70 kg for women. I hope you start to see what this over time will do for the general participation in our sport. Fun fact: Christiano Ronaldo would at 87kg be too heavy to sail at 186 cm and a body fat percentage of 8.9. Slatan Ibrahimovich would not even consider it at 97 kg and 10% body fat.

Another way to look at it would be to look at which sailors the professional scene picks up at lets say the America’s Cup. How many small sailors did you see competing? By the way, there was Finn-sailors on every team. By taking away classes that cater to the heavier sailor you will effectively cut the cord between a lot of professional big boat sailing too.

We need to focus on the sailors, we need to focus on creating legends and heroes, we need to have a better venue strategy, we need to commercialize our setup, we need to implement media solutions that deliver our sport in a nice and understandable way.

We have great athletes across our sport, it will not be the equipment that define them, but their ability to use events and equipment that deliver a clear pathway and progression in their career.

I hope this will inspire World Sailing, the Council and the MNA’s to think extra long and hard and hopefully come up with a solution that takes the above points into consideration.

All the best
Jonas Høgh-Christensen.



March 19th, 2018

Article Separator

There’s half the globe ahead though the big Southern Ocean leg seems like the last big challenge for the 2017-18 VOR course.  Live Leg 7 Start with Greeny and Sally thanks to VOR Facebook.

March 17th, 2018

Article Separator

Our coverage of the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race is presented by Musto, Official Apparel Provider to the VOR.

With just hours to go until the all-important Leg 7 start of the Volvo Ocean Race, episode FIVE of The Boatfeed is LIVE, and Matt and Clean are taking a look back at Leg 6 and a look ahead at the infamous “Deep South” leg of the Volvo Ocean Race. Get pumped for the next leg with the duo’s top video picks from Leg 6, along with:

Favorites from ScallywagBrunel Sailing, and more…
“Drone-gate” from Turn the Tide on Plastic
Southern Ocean in-depth preview
OBR equipment checklist for Leg 7

See all the VOR Raw Content at this link.



March 17th, 2018

Article Separator

Sailor Chick of the Week

Our coverage of the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race is presented by Musto, Official Apparel Provider to the VOR.

We’ve had a massive crush on Minista and Figarista Cecile Laguette since she first snuck onto the scene years ago, and her quiet determination and excellent seamanship in those tough classes finally turned into an international gig when she joined Team AkzoNobel a couple legs ago. She’s a fascinating human, and not just for her racing prowess – Cecile is also a Naval Architect with experience inside the Cup as well as the VOR Boatyard. Former Boatyard boss and current VOR exec Nick Bice caught up with Ceci before the start of the big Southern Ocean leg in this 7 minute video interview.  Enjoy.

March 17th, 2018

Article Separator

Dunno, but this looks exactly like the kind of sailing we’d like to do – looking back in disdain at your competitors (whose asses you are kicking); a couple of quite likely tipsy broads admiring your sailing prowess. And we all know how this is going to end….This bud’s for you, indeed.

Pic thanks to Anarchist Larry.


March 16th, 2018

Article Separator

Big Pimpin’

When former Hobie Cat world champion, author, and yacht broker Phillip Berman decided to design his own catamarans, he did so as much from frustration as inspiration. He was selling about 90 used catamarans every year at his brokerage company and grew increasingly disturbed by what he felt was a steady decline in the quality of catamaran construction and overall sailing performance.

“If you look back on the evolution of catamarans,” Berman said, “over the past 30 years each generation of production catamarans has gotten wider, slower, heavier, and frankly, less seaworthy.” However, racing-type cats did not hold appeal for Berman either. “Curved daggerboards, all carbon this-or-that, Kevlar rigging… in the end, much of this is great for marketing to a certain buyers, but not deeply value additive to the serious, practical-minded voyagers we are committed to at Balance.”

“We had an idea to create catamarans that would be fast and comfortable at anchor, but also easy to operate and care for. We are happy to let people go crazy for go-fasts, but in the end, you could spend significantly more for terribly marginal performance gains, which often comes at the expense of simplicity and reliability. Our 760 F has an aluminum rig and hit 27 knots, as have our 526’s.”

“A boat should sail fast in light airs, point to windward admirably when required, and sail in the low to mid-teens anytime you have winds over 12 knots. And it has to do that carrying kayaks, a dive compressor, air conditioning, parts and spares, etc. Too many ‘racing-type cats’ are cramped and only fast if sailed empty.”

Berman began Balance Catamarans in 2013, starting with the Balance 451, a design he worked on with Kiwi Architect Roger Hill. Due to Roger’s strong working relationship with a builder in China, Startown Marine, the 451 was and remains fabricated in Guandong. To date, they have launched over nine 451’s. The team takes pride that not a single 451 has come up for resale, proving how happy their clients are with their boats.

All larger Balance Catamarans are built in South Africa. Both the 526 and the 601, of which four each have been launched, are built by Nexus Yachts in St. Francis. Due to the high demand for the 526, Balance has been backordered for over two years, which led to the recent purchase of a new factory space in 2018 in St. Francis. The 601 is now giving way to the 620, which is an even lighter, faster, and more modern edition to the Balance family.

The most radical design departure found on the 526 and new 620 is the VersaHelm system, conceived by Berman and co-designed with South African architect, Anton Du Toit. The cantilever helm can be set in an up-and-open position to enjoy fair weather sailing, or dropped into the aft cockpit to offer total protection and visibility in foul weather. The sight lines for piloting the 526 and 620 from either position are the finest found in the catamaran world today.

“The goal,” reflects Berman, ”was simple. Produce catamarans that can sail fast carrying heavy payloads, are as pleasing to look at as they are to live on, can be sailed short handed when required and which are engineered and crafted to tackle the worst weather nature can deliver.” To learn all about Balance Catamarans, click right here!


March 16th, 2018

Article Separator

Update From Anarchist Ron: My first boat…delivered to USCG LORAN station French Frigate Shoals in beginning of 1972…based on this ad. My buddy and I each got one…

Today we present you this brilliant ad. And you just have to love the tag line: “Never a rough puff” Genius! Thanks to Anarchist Michael.

The amount and quality of old print is stunning. But as we all know, there is ton more. If you something out of the ordinary, or just plain fucking weird, send it on in!


March 15th, 2018

Article Separator

I know that I often use my blogs to rant and rail and I get quite a bit of flack for it so today I am going to write something very different.  I am going to use this space to bring to your attention an inspiring story and I hope that you will dig into it a little deeper and see what you can do to help.

Last summer I hosted a group of sailors at my house for a BBQ. They were a youth group and came from different backgrounds all there with one intent; to become better sailors. I was chatting to many of them when I overheard a girl talking about her goal to sail around the world to raise money and awareness for the charities that had helped her little sister in her battle with brain cancer. The girl’s name is Ariel Nechemia and her sister’s name is Noah. Both girls were born in Arizona but grew up in Beijing, China raised by a single mother.

Noah, according to her sister, was an exceptional athlete and often traveled all over Asia to compete and more often than not she brought home medals. She had recently returned from one such competition when she was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma, a relatively rare type of brain cancer. Noah was just 10 years old. She went from competing and training to not even being able to lift her arms. She had two surgeries within a week’s time and could not talk for a month afterwards. Due to the location of the tumor all of her movements and the general control of her body were greatly impaired.

Many of our lives have been touched by cancer and we all feel so helpless about it. We feel that there is nothing that we can do that will make a difference. It’s almost as if we feel defeated before even starting, but Ariel is different. She started a project which she named The Mens Sana Project. Mens Sana is latin and roughly translates to ‘Sound Mind.’ Noah received exceptional care that included being able to stay at Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times, a summer camp in California for kids who are experiencing or have experienced cancer. As Ariel explained, one of the hardest parts of cancer treatment is that often you are away from your family  when getting treatment and we all know how important family is when recovering from such a devastating illness. The Ronald McDonald camp allows for patients and their families to attend and to meet and integrate with other families who are also going through a similar ordeal.

The sailing community around the world is diverse and very different but we all share similar values. A love of sailing and a love of humanity. The world is round for a very good reason; it allows people to sail around it in order to challenge themselves or to raise awareness about some issue and in both instances sailing has been a very useful and important means to an end. Ariel wants to sail around the word to bring hope and awareness to cancer survivors everywhere and to raise money for the numerous charity organizations that helped her sister. I think it’s an awesome goal for a teenage girl and I hope that you will consider supporting her however you can. As we all know the hardest part of a circumnavigation is making it to the starting line.

You can find out more about the Mens Sana Project. – Brian Hancock


March 15th, 2018

Article Separator

So after we got a ton of compliments for running the February 23, 1959 cover and article of Sports Illustrated, we thought we’d see if y’all want to play along by sending in old covers of sailing rags, old advertisements, anything creative or hokey as hell.  Maybe an older hard core crash or some other shit show/embarrassment.

Our first is from Anarchist Dale, and it is a beauty! So if you have something, send it in. I have about a dozen new Anarchy hats that we’ll dole out to the best. Now get on it and send ’em on in. I mean, you know you want to be the first in your hood to roll up with the shizz, bruh.


March 14th, 2018

Article Separator

No disrespect to 18ft Skiff sailing in Sydney Harbour in the JJ Giltinan Trophy, but we prefer the catamaran here. It’s not even close. Just look at all the babes on the bow!


March 14th, 2018

ewol banner ad