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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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Big Pimpin’

zhikThey took the dinghy market by storm and now the Australian clothing specialists are (successfully) moving on to the offshore racing scene. Zhik hasn’t been around all that long in the sailing world, yet it quickly became the clothing of choice for many of the world’s best sailors. Olympic medallists like Nathan Outteridge and Pete Burling aren’t going to compromise performance by wearing inferior kit, at least not by choice.

‘We were pushing to be able to wear Zhik a long time before it was finally adopted as the official clothing for the Australian Sailing Team,’ says Outteridge, who won 49er gold at the 2012 Olympics and steers the Swedish entry for the America’s Cup, Artemis Racing.

Outteridge has been wearing Zhik as his first-choice kit for a decade now, from not long after the Australian company was launched in 2004 following the Athens Olympics. It has made great strides since then due to a never-ending search for the answer to difficult problems, as founder Brian Conolly explains: ‘We try to find the problems worth solving in order to differentiate ourselves from the other products out there,’ he says.

Read on.


July 19th, 2016

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So proud of my kids. Left on their own to help with RC course change for Stars. Idle hands. – Anarchist Tom.


July 18th, 2016

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drumBrian Hancock has a reunion with a rock star. An actual one.

It’s been 30 years since I sailed around the world aboard Drum in the Whitbread Round the World Race.  I was a baby faced 28 year old with long blond hair, a puka bead necklace and not a care in the world. I was looking for adventure and found it one night very deep in the Southern Ocean. We were caught with too much sail up as a front approached and the boat was careening down the face of a massive breaker.

There was a yell from the helmsman and the rest of our watch bolted forward to drag in the headsail for a sail change. The foredeck was awash and the water freezing cold. The fabric on the mylar headsail seemed to be made of plywood as numb hands gripped at it trying to wrestled the beast down. Then all of a sudden there was a shadow next to me, someone grabbing at the sail as if his life depended on it, and a minute or two later we had things under control.

Fast forward three decades and I am backstage at a concert at the Xfinity Center in Mansfield, Massachusetts. I have some friends with me and we have been invited to meet the star performer of the concert that we were attending. Most of my friends were ladies and most of them had, in one way or another, been “married” to the rock star. There was plenty of excitement in the air because meeting the lead singer of one of the most successful bands of the last four decades is quite a thrill.

Thrilling for me too, by the way. You see I was thinking about that night in the Southern Ocean halfway between New Zealand and Cape Horn, and how surprised I was to see one of the owners of the boat rush the foredeck to help get thing under control. I was only surprised because in a situation like that the owner, the one who pays the bills, is more often than not happy to stay aft and watch how things turn out. But this was no ordinary boat owner. He was a young rock star, the same age as myself, looking to put some perspective on an incredibly quick and successful rise to stardom.

In fact at the end of the race he was asked to sum up his feeling about the whole experience. “I have a measuring stick now,” he said. “I have something very simple, very strait forward and very honest by which I can compare other things in my life.”

How true that is. Unless you know what it’s like to be poor it’s hard for you to appreciate how lucky you are to be rich. Many of us just take it all for granted. I have some perspective. I have been poor, cold, wet and rich and they have all given me some perspective, but that’s not what I was thinking about backstage. I was wondering if the rock star would recognize me, after all it had been 30 years and in all the publicity photos I had seen of him he seemed ageless.

But then the door opened and Simon LeBon, lead singer of Duran Duran strode out toward us. I have to say that I was very happy that he recognized me and also quite pleased to see that life on the road as a working musician had taken some toll on him as well. Not as much as me, but then again I don’t have a stylist.

So there you have it. A chance meeting three decades later with one of the nicest and also one of the most successful rock stars of the last four decades. I pointed to my lapel pin that was our logo on Drum and I could tell that of all the memories that Simon must have accumulated in the far flung parts of the world, that his time aboard Drum was one he treasured. He must have treasured it otherwise why would he have bothered to make some time for me and some ladies who now have a memory that they can cherish for the rest of their lives.

Title thanks to XTC



July 18th, 2016

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what is it 7 18

This one you will not know.


July 18th, 2016

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In the early hours of Sunday morning, Musandam-Oman Sail capsized approximately 450 nautical miles east of St Pierre and Miquelon, off the coast of Canada, while racing the Transat Quebec-St Malo.

Oman Sail received a call at 0305 UTC on Sunday 17 July from the boat. All five crew are safe and secure on board.

The Transat Quebec-St Malo race committee and Oman Sail’s immediate priority is to evacuate the crew and bring them ashore safely, and this operation is well underway. Following the capsize of Musandam-Oman Sail early Sunday morning, the five sailors have been safely transferred to a cargo ship and are in transit back to Canada.

The capsize happened in the early hours of Sunday approximately 450 nautical miles east of St Pierre and Miquelon while racing the Transat Quebec-St Malo. The team is currently assessing solutions for recovering the MOD70. Our next update will be when the crew is ashore.

Check their site for updates.


July 18th, 2016

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