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screen-shot-2016-12-01-at-12-15-21-pmWe are massive fans of the Mudratz, and of their unintentional discovery of just how to fix that problem we’ve all been asking about for more than a decade: “How do we turn junior sailors into lifelong sailors?”

If you haven’t followed the kids from Mystic (and beyond), take this opportunity to peruse their recent history here.  They’ve got a team of kids racing at the Melges 24 Worlds in Miami, and to celebrate, they’re auctioning off Charlie Enright’s genuine, brand new, autographed Musto/Team Alvimedica HPX Smock from the last Volvo Ocean Race.  It’s live on eBay with the auction set to end this evening – 100% goes to the team’s 501(c)(3) charity fund, and we encourage you to get over there and bid it up right now.  Hell, at the current bid of $435, it’s cheaper than retail.  Let’s raise some money!

Your auction price will be a tax-deductible contribution, and it comes at the perfect time for your 2016 tax year.  Get over there now.

 

December 1st, 2016

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With Robert Scheidt wiping off the ring rust and rocketing to the top of the leaderboard after two days of qualifications, the Star Sailors League Final in Nassau may be a foregone conclusion this year.  Meanwhile, the live numbers have been through the roof, with the SSL on pace to more than double their viewership from 2015 – clearly, there are plenty of folks enjoying Star Fleet racing with stabilized lenses, good looking graphics, and commentary from the likes of Genny Tulloch, Luke Patience, Louay Habib, Bob Fisher, and several Star insiders.  Watch Day 3 above.

 

December 1st, 2016

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We’re digging the quirky and creative daily cartoons from the collaboration between Ino-Rope and French illustrator Francois Denis; in yesterday’s cartoon, Nandor Fa tries to make Rich Wilson feel better after being passed.

You can see all the archives at Ino-Rope’s site here and we’ll feature the best one each week.  Title shout to one of the nastiest, funniest shows of the 2000s.

December 1st, 2016

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Fairly amazing footage of the two leaders in the VG. Amazing how much Boss heels, isn’t it? Must be fast because Alex Thomson is now leading!

 

December 1st, 2016

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Quantum Key West Race Week is on your “Bucket List” but you don’t have a boat or simply don’t want the hassles of getting your boat to Key West. We have a solution, National One Design Sailing Academy  in association with Torqeedo, is making their hot fleet of 10 Flying Tiger 7.5’s available for charter at QKWRW. National One Design does all the heavy lifting. The boats will be in the water at the Truman Annex, rigged, tuned and ready to go.

Charter fee includes 2 day North U. Clinic (Sat. and Sun), paid registration, haul in and out each day, insurance and five days of racing (M-F) in the regatta. Bring your crew, step on board and at regatta’s end step off the boat. Charter fee for the experience of a life time is US $9,700.00 or register as individuals at US $1,940.00 and we will put you on a boat and become part of a winning team. Click here for more information.

 

December 1st, 2016

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Early qualifications have 2015 SSL Finale winner George Szabo deep in the fleet, but the unique format gives him and the rest of the 25-boat strong fleet a chance at the big cash payout at the end of the event.  With a solid Bahamian forecast and commentary from Dennis Conner and Scottish superstar 470 skipper Luke Patience, the all-live streaming coverage of the SSL should be well worth watching, especially if you love keelboat racing.  Watch from 1100 EST above.

 

November 30th, 2016

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nuts

Gotta love the cartoon brilliance of Sarah Steenland.

 

November 29th, 2016

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I really thought I had seen it all until I read that FIFA, that sporting governing body which has hardly been short on ridiculous decisions and financial impropriety has charged Scotland & England for breaking their rules.

On 11th November each year the Great Britain & Commonwealth fallen of two world wars. The commemorative symbol is a Flanders Poppy, a red flower.

Scotland & England had an international football match on that day or very close to it (not into football enough to bother checking) and the players, fans and national associations felt it appropriate to wear poppies in memory of the collective sacrifice of millions of men and women.

It was against the rules – FIFA’s rules that is – and the Football Association and the Scottish Football Association rightly ignored FIFA’s ruling and wore the poppies.

Incredibly FIFA have now charged the associations with inappropriate behaviour.

Nothing more to say! Thank goodness our sport’s governing body is more in touch with reality. Isn’t it?

Title inspiration from both the Poppies, this song, and the fact that those pricks have to be really high to pull that horseshit.

 

November 29th, 2016

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Big Pimpin’

HH Catamarans continues to push boundaries in the already uber-cool world of performance cruising cats. 66-01 set the scene ablaze this fall when she made her debut at the Cannes Yachting Festival and went on to take 1st Place overall amongst a tough fleet at the Multihull Cup in Mallorca. 66-02 survived her first Typhoon unscathed and is now sailing the South China Sea.

Next to launch – the formidable HH66-03 ‘Nala’, a turbocharged, stripped down version with taller rig and longer longeron. This slick cat will begin sea trials mid December and make her first public appearance at the Strictly Sail Miami show in February.

Not far behind, HH66-05, pictured above, is slated to launch next summer. Kicking the wow factor up another notch, 66-05 will be the first in the line with inside central helm and forward cockpit AND tiller steering aft. A flush cabin top loaded with solar and carbon bucket seats make this cat the epitome of cool.

Keep up with the latest and all the excitement on the HH Facebook page. If you’re ready to get in on the action, contact company President Paul Hakes to discuss your customized HH66 and schedule an appointment in Miami.

 

November 29th, 2016

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cat_and_mouse_781165There is a cat and mouse game underway in the Southern Ocean along with a handful of intrigue. After a record setting run from France to the Cape of Good Hope Alex Thomson aboard Hugo Boss has finally relinquished his lead to Armel Le Cléac’h aboard Banque Populaire.

It’s a case of The Jackal and The Boss as the two skippers duke it out as if joined by a bungee cord. Le Cléac’h is nicknamed The Jackal because of his ability to seek out and hunt down prey and hunt he did making up a deficit of over 100 miles to overtaking Hugo Boss earlier this week, but his top spot was short-lived.

Thompson had gybed to the north in a lessening breeze and strictly on a ‘distance to finish’ basis he fell behind Banque Populaire, but once he gybed south again Hugo Boss reclaimed the lead but that too was short-lived. Le Cléac’h found a wind lane and practically in sight of Hugo Boss he snuck by to take over the lead once again. As of writing Banque Populaire holds a 20 mile lead over Hugo Boss as both boats gybe along the ice exclusion zone.

Race organizers have demarcated an exclusion zone that runs roughly along the 44th parallel for the first part of the Indian Ocean dropping down to 50 degrees south halfway between South Africa and Australia. There is a very real threat of ice and no one taking any chances. You don’t have to hit an iceberg to have a problem; hit a growler or bergy bit sailing at 25 knots and it straight down to Davey Jones’ Locker for the boat and skipper. The problem with the exclusion area is that most skippers want to sail as far south as possible to take advantage of the Great Circle route, but this means sailing right along the edge of the zone forcing multiple gybes.

The Great Circle route, by the way, is the shortest distance between two points on the globe. Because of the curvature of the earth the shortest distance between Cape Town and Cape Horn is right over Antarctica and not in a straight line between the two points. With satellite tracking you can bet that the Race Officials are keeping a close eye on things to make sure no skipper crosses the imaginary line.

Now to the intrigue. Alex Thompson reported a few days ago that he had snapped off his starboard foil and was sailing a crippled boat. Despite this he continued at a cracking (no pun intended) pace even on port tack when the stump of his foil would have been causing a good amount of drag.

Asked for some photos of the broken foil Thompson claimed that it was too wet and rough to take any, but the weather has since moderated. Indeed yesterday Alex did a nice selfie video shot in light winds and sunshine. He referenced the foil but did not snap a pic leading many to believe that he has been playing mind games with his competitors.  Did he really break the foil or has it all been a ruse? His shore team have indicated that he has a spare foil on board and that when the time is right he will ditch the broken foil and replace it with the spare. When Alex was asked directly if he had a spare on board he was more than a little coy about it. My guess is that it’s a mind game which makes this whole cat and mouse thing even more interesting.

While the leaders are approaching the Kerguelen Islands, a remote windswept archipelago at 49 degrees south, the bulk of the Vendée Globe fleet are dealing with the fickle winds of the St Helena High. By the way I happen to know it’s a remote windswept archipelago because I have sailed right by the islands and seen first hand what a rugged and beautiful place the Kerguelen’s are. But I digress. The South Atlantic or St Helena High is a tricky bit of weather to navigate.

There is a temptation to ‘cut the corner’ on it to sail fewer miles, but the high pressure expands and contracts at will and this time it expanded to suck in 10 boats among them Rich Wilson, the lone American in the race. At one point Wilson aboard Great American lamented a boat speed of 0.00 knots. I wonder what his ETA was showing at that speed?

Meanwhile Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront is welcoming two of the pre-race favorite skippers. First it was Vincent Riou on PRB who retired with damage and then Morgan Lagravière aboard Safran also retired after hitting something and damaging his rudder. As some consolation Lagravière was welcomed into Cape Town by a pod of 60 humpback whales. These two skippers along with Tanguy de Lamotte, who retired earlier in the race, brings the total remaining to 26 intrepid skippers.

If you enjoy Brian Hancock’s regular contributions to SA you might want to check out his blog on sails and sailmaking. His best selling book Maximum Sail Power is being updated and released in blog sized chunks – everything you need to know about that most important part of your boat – the sails. Click here for the skinny.

 

November 29th, 2016

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