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Viking Line has installed a Norsepower rotor sail unit on the cruise ferry Viking Grace, making her the world’s only working passenger vessel with a modernized Flettner rotor.

Viking says that the 80-foot-tall rotor will allow the Grace to save up to 900 tonnes of fuel annually on her run between Turku, Finland and Stockholm, Sweden. A newbuild Viking Line cruise ferry currently under construction in China will also receive two of the Norsepower rotors.

The history of the Flettner rotor dates back to 1924, when engineer Anton Flettner installed two of his newly invented rotors on the converted schooner Buckau. The Buckau showed promise, with high reliability and efficiency, but the availability of cheap fuel and the onset of the Great Depression sunk the technology’s chances at widespread adoption.

Flettner rotors depend upon an aerodynamic phenomenon known as the Magnus effect. When wind contacts a rotating cylinder, it flows at different relative speeds as it passes on each side. That speed difference translates into a pressure difference, creating force at a right angle to the wind direction – an effect similar to that of a traditional cloth sail. Unlike a sail, though, the Flettner rotor needs no furling, reefing or line-tending. The Buckau’s performance also suggested that rotor-driven ships could sail closer to the wind than traditional sailing vessels. Read on.


April 12th, 2018

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Holy christ what a radical new Fast 40+ this is! It is the new Carkeek-designed Ran, and it clearly just broke new ground in design evolution.  With looks like this, it better be fast. Like really fast. Here’s the dope:

A new carbon mold was CNC milled by Persico in Milan, and shipped to Carrington Yachts. Jason Carrington is world-renowned both as a professional yachtsman and as a race yacht builder.

With an all carbon fibre construction, Rán has a very minimalistic layout with halyard locks to reduce the size and number of jammers and winches. There are no jib-cars, control lines adjust the position of the headsail clew and the spinnaker drop system below deck is state of the art. The single grinder pedestal and trimming positions are aft to keep crew weight to the back of the boat. The helm position, via a tiller extension, is behind the main sheet trimmer, and forward of the tactician. Rán features side-deck hiking benches and forward of the rig, the flush deck eases sail changes and manoeuvres. Rán also features a lightweight and environmentally friendly electric engine.

Photo thanks to Louay Habib/FAST40+ Class. Jump in the thread for more pics and discussion.


April 11th, 2018

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Having a look at the entry list for Charleston Race Week, and in the VX One class, we saw the best boat name/skippers ever! You don’t want to go to the Room with that asshole – all he does is lie…

 USA 69    Alternative Facts      Stormy Daniels / D. John Trump    BGYC Lake Tahoe     


April 11th, 2018

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Gotta love this shot of the Gunboat 66 Phaedo in race 2 of Les Voiles de St Barth. Photo thanks to Rachel Fallon-Langdon.


April 10th, 2018

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Brian Hancock is only here to irritate you…

There are times when things have to be said and if no one else is prepared to say them, I will and yes I am fully aware that some people are not going to be happy but that just too damn bad. Let me start by saying that I am a fan of the Volvo Ocean Race (even though some would beg to differ). I have been around this race since 1975 when the boats came through Cape Town and I have always been in awe of the sailors who put it all out there in the name of adventure. Well sorry, no more.

There has been much praise heaped on the US/Danish entry Vestas 11th Hour Racing as they departed the Falkland Islands with a jury rig heading for the leg stopover in Itajaí, Brazil. Well done lads – after 8 days on land and with a full crew of “professional” sailors you managed to rig some kind of stove pipe and flew in a delivery crew to move the boat. Give me a break – seriously?

Let’s go back to the 81/82 race then known as the Whitbread Round the World Race. The late great Peter Blake showed up with a brand new Farr design Ceramco New Zealand and the best wishes of most Kiwis in his pocket. Ceramco was cutting edge but they cut it a bit close to the edge when it came to mast engineering and halfway down the South Atlantic enroute to Cape Town the mast came tumbling down.

What to do one would ask? Well Blake, or Blakey to those who knew him well, was not about to cut the rig away and motor to the nearest port. That’s not what a proper seaman does. No, he had the cook pass up the wooden cutting board from the galley and he and his crew stepped what was left of the mast. The rig was small but adequate. They changed course to dive south of the South Atlantic high, picked up the westerly winds and roared into Cape Town. By the time they arrived they had every single person in New Zealand supporting them. Seamanship and an astute PR move catapulted Peter Blake into Whitbread legend.

Fast forward a couple of decades and the Whitbread is now the Volvo Ocean Race. Ken Read and his crew are sailing in the South Atlantic when their mast dropped over the side. They managed to salvage most of it and all the sails and made for the small island of Tristan da Cuna some 700 miles away. So far so good but then the wheels came off. Instead of sailing the boat to Cape Town they had a freighter pick it up and deliver the boat and the crew to Cape Town.  OK before you fill my inbox with hate mail – and I am a fan of Ken Read so don’t shoot me – I realize that with the modern format of the Volvo Ocean Race the layover time is very limited and that’s probably the reason why a ship was involved, but it’s great pity. It could have been an amazing story of seamanship.

Probably the greatest example of seamanship was carried out by the French sailor Yves Parlier. Parlier was competing in the Vendée Globe when his mast came down west of New Zealand. Parlier, alone on the boat, salvaged what he could of the mast and with a jury rig made for Stewart island, a tiny island south of the south island of New Zealand. He anchored, and over the course of 10 days repaired his carbon mast. Because it was cold and he was using resin he fashioned a primitive oven by wrapping the mast with a `Space Blanket’ and pushed in light-bulbs to create the warmth needed to set the resin. He then used his boom to create a derrick and re-stepped his mast. Did I mention he was all alone? 

Parlier did this not to sail to the nearest port to put his boat on a ship. No he fixed his mast so that he could finish the race back in France. Realizing that the mast was a tad on the short side and his progress would be slow he gathered up mussels and seaweed and caught fish to supplement his food supply. He finished back in Les Sables-d’Olonne 126 days after starting and even managed to beat two of the other competitors. The French, realizing his amazing act of seamanship, awarded him the Chevalier of the Légion d’Honneur (Legion of honor), France’s highest award. The award, by the way, was established by none other than Napoléon Bonaparte.

I am not trying to poke at the crew of Vestas 11th Hour racing. I was not on boat when the mast came down and I was not there in the Falklands but I do think that one of the most important aspects of sailing offshore – seamanship – is becoming a thing of the past. Perhaps it’s because many modern day sailors grew up sailing in clubs where the coach boat was always close by ready to jump in and rescue any sailor that got him or herself into trouble.

I dunno, maybe I am just a grumpy old has-been as one writer referred to me after I dared criticize the VOR boats as being unseaworthy. Maybe I should put an oar over my shoulder and start walking inland until someone asks me what an oar is for. Or maybe not…:)

Note: to watch a terrific documentary about Peter Blake (including stepping his mast on the bread board click here

– Brian Hancock

modified on 4/12/18 – ed


April 10th, 2018

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Well, not always! A light air day one at the I14 PacRim Regatta. Nice shot with much thanks to Leialoha Creative.


April 9th, 2018

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The Biz

SHANGHAI, China – In exciting news for the disabled sailing community worldwide, the S\V14 organization are proud to announce that Fareast Yachts will produce the S\V14 at their production base in China and in a remarkable offer, will supply the first one thousand S\V14’s at a subsidized price of US$ 3,000 for the base boat ex works Shanghai. Fareast Yachts have also agreed to keep this price fixed until the end of 2019 after which the price correction will be no more than the material cost, and capped at the official inflation rate as published for the People’s Republic of China.

“This is an unprecedented development none of us saw coming”, says Mr. Alex Simonis who was in Shanghai to sign the agreement on behalf of the S\V14 organization with the CEO of Fareast Yachts, Mrs. Demolar Du.

Read on.


April 9th, 2018

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Tonemai is the Terrace-on-sea version of the Wally80, the successful design that carries the signatures of the top racing-yacht naval architects Farr Yacht Design for the hull lines, and of the renown Lazzarini Pickering Architects for the interior, resulting in a stylish cruiser with exceptional volume and superb sailing performance.

Tonemai’s spacious interior is coupled with large exterior social areas including two separate cockpits, one amidships and one aft, and sun lounges throughout the deck.

Down below, the salon is aft opening onto the Wally Terrace-on-the-sea to provide for the inside-outside living. The owner and guest quarters are forward, and both guest cabins have two twin beds, which is unique for a yacht of this size. The galley, crew cabin and engine room are amidships concentrating the weight in the centre to increase the stability of the yacht under sail.

Tonemai is in ship-shape conditions: since her launch in 2004, she has been constantly refitted and upgraded. Additionally, she comes with a complete sail inventory, including racing sets, ready to go to the starting line of the acclaimed Wally Class. More here.


April 9th, 2018

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Really good video from life aboard Team AkzoNobel…


April 9th, 2018

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You know, there was a time when advertisers used to love to feature sailing in their ads. It was cool, romantic, exciting and it made perfect sense. But not so much anymore. What the hell do you think happened? Weigh in!

Video thanks to Anarchist Serge


April 8th, 2018

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