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Big Pimpin’

We hope that this doesn’t get lost in translation, but Astra Yacht has some pretty cool stuff they want to share with you…

astra 1In the last 40 years sailing  has changed a lot, from the almost instruments-free navigation similar for millenniums of years, to the explosion of electronics on board of the last decades. So if in the 60′s or 70′s a wind sensors was the top technology available together with a log speed sensors, then in the 90′s it started with some LCD display, the revolution of GPS for civil and then a literal vertical explosion. 2000: pc software for tactics and chartplotters. In late 2000 the APP innovation begins with the mobile revolution, and so multitouch display, Wi-Fi on board, miles of cables in the boat and data, data everywhere.

How to manage this amount of information coming from the boat in an efficient way?

This is what Astra Yacht aims to do and this is what we did in the last years, implementing a new approach based on the new most advanced technologies coming from the highly developed nautical and other industries.

Astra Yacht is a company operating in the instrumentation and electronic field for sail boat, developing software and hardware for both racing and cruise purposes (from the tactical software to the electronics unit box up to the output devices such as multitouch displays and wearable peripherals). Performing but still simple systems for winning races and set the sails during cruise as well for a more aware enjoyable and safer navigation.

Check out their website for more info.


July 21st, 2016

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the beauty of light air

Not everyone does, but we love light air. The nuances, subtleties and patience required is what we like. Max Ranchi captures the essence from the ORC Worlds.


July 20th, 2016

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Our beloved Shanghai Sailor has seemingly gone too far….not!

Bitch: What an extraordinarily offensive post by Shanghai Sailor. The Olympics is about winning medals not simply making the final. At the 2012 Olympics Australian sailors won 3 gold medals and one silver to clearly lead the medal tally.

It could very easily have been 4 gold. The 3 medal winners were dominant and have since transferred their winning form to other disciplines of our sport.

Australia was the dominant sailing nation in 2012. Let’s acknowledge that and look forward to Rio 2012. Credit where it is due please.

Reply: Oh dear, it would seem that we have upset someone.

Mr Graham Burrell who as “Executive in charge of Production – Foxtel Olympics at Foxtel” an Australian broadcaster, and has an obvious vested interest in the viewer figures in Australia called our article on who had the bragging rights after the Weymouth Olympic Regatta “extraordinarily offensive”.

To who?

Mr Burrell perhaps? He clearly needs to take a chill pill.

In the first line of his – yes, let’s call it a tirade – he states “The Olympics is about winning medals not simply making the final.” Well I would have thought the executive in charge of production of the Olympics might have had a better knowledge of the basic concept of the event.

Perhaps we are both wrong as, in the view of Pierre de Coubertin, the essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.  Note to Mr. Burrell : Baron de Coubertin founded the Modern Olympics by the way.

What was intended as a somewhat playful challenge to our down under sailors whom we have enormous respect for, the likes of Burling and Tuke in the 49er & Aleh & Powrie in the 470(W) – oops sorry Graham, they are Kiwis, hope that doesn’t upset you too.

But Belcher & Ryan would be very disappointed to come away with anything less shiny than gold.

On the Para-Olympic side there are defending champions, Fitzgibbon and Tesch and let’s not forget Tasmanian Matt Bugg who has been posting some great results in the 2.4m.

On the flip side GBR is taking 3 reigning world champions to Rio along with sailors, who once again, could ALL end up in their medal race – no one left out because “they are not a podium potential” And let’s not forget Helena Lucas who will be a close rival to Bugg in the 2.4m.

Of course with Australia NOT sending all sailors in all classes which qualified to the Games because they stood no chance of winning (Olympic Philosophy?), once again they won’t feature in every medal race. Team GBR may however – just like they have in the last 3 Olympics.


July 20th, 2016

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hh 55

Big Pimpin’

The first of the uber-cool, carbon fiber HH cats landed in Valencia last month and was recently spotted cruising the turquoise waters of Mallorca. The newest offering in the realm of high performance cruising catamarans, the HH66 is sleek, sexy, fast and lavishly appointed.

Equally comfortable cruising the Med or flying around the race course, the HH66 is setting a new standard for dual purpose yachts and looking damn fine doing so. For more info visit:hhcatamarans.com Photos ©Jesús Renedo


July 20th, 2016

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On Board to Hawaii

Well it’s about 4am California Time.  I’m not sure what time it is out here since we are traversing a number of time zones (with nothing in them) , but we are getting close to Hawaii time.  So I guess it it’s a little after midnight locally.  The graveyard shift might be in the cockpit sailing the boat, but is’s far from a grim affair out there.  The big moon and wild clouds play across the course of the 2016 Pacific Cup in a spectacular way.

So here we are, about five and a half days into the race from San Francisco to Hawaii and things are great out here.  We have had good breeze the entire year, and of the more than a dozen Hawaii races I have done, this is probably one of the most ‘typical’ in that there were no terribly large weather anomalies that we had to contend with.  This is pretty close to the textbook thing.  Plus it’s fast.  If things persist as forecast, we should be finishing early Friday.  That’s less than 8 days to Hawaii.  That’s really quick for a 50 footer.

Everyone on Hula Girl has been doing a great job.  We’ve had a small amount of boat-work, but nothing rushed or unplanned.  You know, the typical staysail up and down thing, a couple of spinnaker peels, one douse for a small preventative repair, and so on.  The driving aboard has been getting better and better, despite the challenging conditions:  first off, it gets breezy, solidly in the 20s, up over 30 at times.  Secondly, the wave pattern is really very erratic.  A couple of tropical disturbances to the south have kicked up some swell energy coming from the wrong direction, so it is a bit of a washing machine.  Makes surfing and driving tougher than usual.  And finally, the breeze, while present, is not terribly consistent.  There are some pretty big shifts and variations in velocity around the persistent (but mild) squall activity out here.  So all in all, a challenging environment in which to hone one’s skills at ocean driving, but like I said, everyone is doing fantastically.

In fact, we have been doing well enough to maintain our lead and continue to be winning our division.  We are on the long port tack gybe towards the islands some 600 miles away right now, and we like our position relative to our competition, so now we just need to work extra hard and not have any major problems!

Ok, enough of this typing.  I came down here to pull the latest weather reports, but then got to feeling guilty about not sending in an update earlier in the day.  But now I really want to go sit in the cockpit and enjoy the evening,.  The moon plays across the water out in front of the boat and it feels like you are speeding into a sea of a million silvery fish.  Hula Girl, our trusty steed, has been performing flawlessly and just loves this stuff.  Brendan is driving, Paul is the on deck watch captain.  Steven is trimming.  Michael is grinding.  And I’m just going to go out there and soak it all in.

See you all tomorrow…

Wayne Zittel and Team Hula Girl


July 20th, 2016

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Records set by boats that are supposed to set them don’t much impress us, but this one’s pretty good.

Spindrift 2 arrived in St Malo this evening (Tuesday) having crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a just over 6 days at an average speed of just over 22 knots in the ninth edition of the Transat Quebec-St Malo.

After 3212 miles of racing, Yann Guichard and Dona Bertarelli and the 12-strong crew crossed the finish line in their black and gold boat at 23h17m41s (local time), winning not just line honours but smashing Loïck Peyron’s 1996 race record by just under two days.

The multihull specialists established a new race record of 6 days 1 hour 17 minutes and 41 seconds, beating the previous record set by Peyron in 1996 onboard the trimaran Orma Fujicolor II by 1 day, 19 hours 6 minutes and 19 seconds. Spindrift 2 started the race three days after the monohulls and multihulls in the race, and their line honours and record performance further underlines the potential and performance of this legendary boat.


July 19th, 2016

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One Bronze Medal. That is what is projected for the mighty USA in the sailing Olympics. One Fucking Bronze Medal. What a pathetic, low expectation, slap in the face this is to everyone associated with the US Team. US Sailing, sponsors like Sperry, coaches and to the product that they have created, the sailors, should all be so embarrassed by this abject failure that not only awaits, but seems inevitable.

Sure this decline has been ongoing for years, and it should have been dealt with actual corrective methods that would have generated results. Instead, the slow race to win the bottom would appear to be within the grasp of all those involved. What a proud moment!

Given the shit show lead up to these Brazilian Olympics, and the very real potential for a disastrous, infectious, violent nightmare awaiting, the US should have pulled out anyway. It not only would have protected the athletes, it would have sent the right message, and as a side benefit, saved the US from yet another Olympic Sailing Embarrassment.

We see a new Olympic Sailing slogan: Make America Slow Again.


July 19th, 2016

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British Classic Week 2016 Ph: Guido Cantini  /  Panerai / SeaSee.com

Helluva shot from the Panerai British Classic.


July 19th, 2016

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The Rio countdown continues, and the latest bit of prurient news for those waiting for the action is a gem.  According to The Daily Beast, the IOC has ordered 450,000 condoms for the 10,000+ athletes in the Olympic Villlage for the month and change they’re on the ground. That’s around 40 rubbers per olympian, and evidence that fold medal marksman Mark Russell wasn’t lying when he called the Olympic Village “the most testosterone fuelled place on earth.” The Guardian reported that ‘after Beijing 2008, an Olympic table-tennis player divulged the secrets of the “sex fest” and the “volcanic release of pent-up hedonism” that apparently happens when thousands of athletes at the top of their game come together.”‘  Maybe this is why so many athletes dedicate half their lives to the Olympics?

Gone Viral

ISAF World Sailing is proving just how serious it is about their sailors’ health in Rio; we recently had a peek at an urgent memo from an unnamed ISAF official to all “International Technical Officers” that concluded that “athletes, coaches, and race officials…did not have a significantly increased health risk through water contact…above the normal tourist population visiting Rio.”  And we think they actually expect everyone to believe that.

In other words, sailors with raw, frequently abraded and cut-up bodies, immersed in water proven to be filled with nasty viruses, have no more chance of getting sick than a tourist at a hotel in Copacabana.  Their caveat is that this warm, safe place is only available to those who follow the World Sailing safe list below.  And again, they aren’t joking.  From the memo:

On the water:

Rub hands and forearms with alcohol based disinfectant for 3 minutes, including:
- both hands, then forearms, then both hands again for a total of 30 seconds
-repeat the same 30 second provedure 5 times, each time with new disinfectant
-wait for the hands to dry fully before eating or drinking on board
- rinse your mouth with mouthwast (containing 0.05% chlrohexidine digluconate…) before eating or drinking

On shore after disembarking:

-use the water hose to shower immediately on return from sailing
-your recovery procedure may require to you drink and eat immediately on arrival on land after sailing.  Before you actually do so – wash your hands with liquid soap and water for 60 seconds and dry them with paper towels.

Aaaaand…..you’re good!

Russian Dressing

Our final Olympic news impacts sailing far less than other sports, and it’s not really news at all just yet; the IOC has delayed its decision on whether to ban all of Russia from competing in Rio after WADA investigator Richard McLaren found Russia to be behind a comprehensive program of state-sponsored doping.  If you’ve been hiding in a cave and missed this fascinating story of what may be the biggest program of cheating in the history of sport, it’s worth having a look (start with the Beeb here.)

The IOC also said it will:

  • Not organise or back any sports events or meetings in Russia, including the European Games, scheduled for June 2019;
  • Start disciplinary action against Russian officials named in the report compiled by Dr Richard McLaren;
  • Ban Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko from the Rio Games;
  • Urge McLaren to continue his work and name individual Russian cheats;
  • Encourage individual sports federations to look for any Russian infringements of the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) code.



July 19th, 2016

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One of the weirdest videos we’ve seen. The incredible Russian girl who climbed the rig explains partially here: “the spinnaker was locked between shrouds at the middle spreaders, and I have to climb the mast once more. At the end we realized that the top of the mast was broken, and we can not to put the mainsail down.”


July 19th, 2016

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