Local Knowledge 9th Xiamen China Club Challenge Match. Got a Local Knowledge report? Send it in!
Who said good sailing didn’t exist in China? 4 Days, 4 umpires, 17 teams, 64 Races, 2 Black Flags, more ‘Y’ Flags, green, blue and yellows than you could shake a stick yet not one Rule 14 infringement. In one semi final, on one 800m windward leg, 27 tacks apiece and on the final day 23 knots of wind – more than they can seemingly handle in the America’s Cup.
The Club Cup, as it is often known amongst sailors in China, is the oldest keelboat regatta in China and it would be a fair guess that it is the largest (for Chinese sailors), the highest quality and most respected keel boat regatta in the country. The respect comes from the fact that it has rightfully gained a reputation for fairness and lack of favour to any team from the equalizing of the boats by the President of J-Boats Asia 9himself a former world champion sailor) – the event is sailed in J-80’s – through the boat draw, the swapping of boats between races and the toughness, yet even handedness, of the umpire team.
Started as a challenge between 2 clubs in beat up J-24s almost 10 years ago it pre-dates the more commercial China Cup International Regatta by a couple of years but the biggest difference is that this is a Chinese Regatta for Chinese teams not racing charter for predominantly a bunch of foreigners and the event has grown in size, quality and stature year on year. The speed at which this event has matured both in terms of race management and the skill levels of the competitors is little shy of unbelievable, there is obviously a lot of coaching, practice and perhaps even video watching going on in the Chinese sailing circle.
In the past it has been run over the week of the Chinese National Holiday, this year the event had to be split into a preliminary fleet racing regatta where the 30 entries were whittled down to 16 who returned to Xiamen 3 weeks later (this past extended weekend) for 4 days of knockout match racing. This match racing could best be described as combative, competitive and confrontational with the flags flying almost as much as the spray on the final day yet so often the teams could be seen giving each other the thumbs up and applauding each other as they crossed the finish line with victories that were incredibly frequently not assured until the last 100m of the race track.
The first 3 days lost an average of 2 hours per day due to the breeze being, simply put – somewhere else but the team comprising of PRO Kang Peng, Li Li, the “glue” that held the event together, and the umpire team of Jono, Al, Lauren and GG, not forgetting Jim Johnstone who tirelessly fixed breakdowns and handled boat swaps kept the event pretty much on schedule albeit with nav-lights required on the umpire boats for the return to the marina on a couple of days.
The semi finals saw both extremes of weather from 6 knots for the first 2 races and the match curtailed by that frequently used cricketing term “Bad light stops play” – it was after 5pm after all – to a breeze that easily topped 20kts – peaking around 24 – for the completion of the match.
Little by little the 16 teams were whittled down to the finalists Xiamen Blue Sea YC and Yomovo Sailing Club from Hainan. Each race within this match was won by boat lengths rather than legs and proved to be a hard fought battle that was almost as intense to watch as I am sure it was to compete in. In one pre-start the boats did so many spins round each other than the umpires appeared to be demoted with the umpire flag on their RIB turned from a ‘U’ to a ‘J’. (Think about it)
There were attempts, some more successful than others, to use just about every rule in the book to encourage the umpires to fly the other boats flag but the umpires decisions were accepted in the right spirit with, quite naturally, one or two close decisions having to be talked through on the dock later.
There were lead swaps where a runaway leader dropped the kite in the tide allowing the other boat to take over and run away themselves, to races where the protagonists crossed the finish line overlapped as they had been for virtually the whole race.
Ultimately it was Xiamen Blue Sea who prevailed winning the competition to become the challengers to the current holders Liuzhou Sailing Club with the local team from Xiamen Island prevailing 4-1 over the defenders although the scoreline suggests less close racing than reality.
So it is all over for another year, and although there may be pretenders to the throne of the Club Cup, certainly as far as match racing is concerned, nothing in China even comes close. - Alistair Skinner
November 19th, 2013
Could not quite imagine a Women’s Team without Ashley Perrin. Get with it!
November 19th, 2013
It’s nearly impossible for a US Olympic team to go the distance without loaded parents, the top American Red Bull Youth AC skipper went into major debt just to get to the starting line of an America-based event, and raising the $5-15M for an American Volvo or Vendee campaign? Fuhgeddaboutit.
We understand that corporations just don’t see the value; Gilligan’s Island, US Sailing, Rolex and the major Yacht Clubs have done their best over the past couple of decades to make sure the sport is as obscure and elitist as possible, but there is a group of people for whom this is no excuse: The multi-millionaire and billionaire big boat owners that abound in yachting.
Rich American big boat owners just don’t seem to help their sport much, at least beyond the occasional quiet junior sailing contribution. Rather than helping the sport itself grow, the big time financial and legal eagles don’t generally fund major sailing efforts or Olympic programs beyond ‘helping a crew out’ a bit, content to spend all their sailing dollars on their multi-million dollar custom carbon racers in the relative obscurity of local handicap racing and amateur-dominated events like the Newport-Bermuda, Transpac, and Key West Race Week. But why? It’s simple, really: Major sponsorship means major publicity, and that’s something that a big businessman in an economically challenged country just can’t afford.
Don’t believe us? Just check out what The Economist thinks of yachtsmen in their recent story ‘Luxury and Lies’. Here’s an excerpt:
Beware chief executives with big yachts
GETTING to the top of the corporate ladder is hard work. But once there, chief executives can at least console themselves with the perks of the rich and powerful. An afternoon glugging Armand de Brignac on your yacht can make a lifetime of climbing the greasy pole seem worthwhile…But according to research to be published in the Journal of Financial Economics, bosses who enjoy the finer things in life can be bad for their companies. The researchers hired private investigators to uncover the personal assets of a sample of American chief executives. They then compared those who own trinkets such as a yacht, a $75,000 car or a super-expensive house against a list of companies cited for fraudulent accounting by the Securities and Exchanges Commission. After controlling for things such as its size, the probability that a firm with a flashy CEO will commit fraud, they found, increases by 6% a year for every year that he is at the helm. At firms run by more frugal heads, on the other hand, the likelihood of fraud decreases by 61% every year.
November 18th, 2013
We’re calling the “130 knot winds” reported by the Clipper Round The World Race ‘poetic license’, but there’s no doubt the Winnebago 70 fleet is balls deep into the Southern Ocean. Here’s some near-death action from aboard Clipper 70 GREAT Britain, and we encourage you to check here for the skipper reports, and stay up to date with the thread.
November 18th, 2013
Once upon a time sailors went to sea with just a sextant and a barometer to guide them across the oceans (oh and of course some rum), but nowadays we have come to rely on complex computer programs that when fed with high resolution gribfiles of different wind models at different altitudes calculate your optimal route. We are also spoiled with a wealth of satellite and infra red imagery, wave models and ocean current data that we can download in seconds via our sat comms systems on board. We would usually get at least 4 grib files a day and on the approach to the equator would be monitoring satellite images to make aninformed decision on the best place to cross the ITCZ. Unfortunately for us that vital sat comms system that feeds us and our computer with all that important decision making data has decided to go on strike for now, so our forecasting materials have been somewhat down graded.
November 18th, 2013
Seve Jarvin’s Gotta Love It 7 stormed off to a resounding win in Race 5 of the Three Buoys Challenge series, but Race Committee didn’t quite see that way! Seve missed his OCS call and sailed the entire course without getting a gun. This let Michael ‘Cocko’ Coxon and Thurlow Fisher Lawyers jump in for the win. Season standings are here, full video coverage of the 18 Footers is here, and thanks to Frank Quealey for the heads up and for the photos courtesy of www.18footers.com.au.
November 18th, 2013
Well-regarded Canadian yacht owner Dick Oland (Southern Cross 52 Vela Veloce) was murdered more than two and a half years ago, allegedly bludgeoned to death with an axe handle while sitting at the desk of his New Brunswick office. This sort of thing isn’t really a regular occurrence in the Canadian Maritimes, so the lack of suspects or arrests for some 28 months was surprising to everyone, though with last week’s arrest of Dennis Oland on the charge of second-degree murder, things are becoming perhaps a bit more clear.
Police say Dennis Oland and his father had a sometimes combative relationship, and that Dick’s son found himself in financial straits in 2011, owing his father more than half a million dollars. Police also found a blood-spattered jacket in Dennis Oland’s home with DNA belonging to Dick, and evidence that Dennis had lied to investigators about wearing a different jacket on the day of the murder.
As damning as this evidence may be, Oland’s family hasn’t made it easy; the St. John police seem to have spent a lot of time trying to keep the investigation secret, and six months passed between the DNA evidence and this arrest. And now, the family says the police are just flat-out wrong. “We wish that the police would turn their attention to finding out who is really responsible for Dick’s [Richard Oland's] death,” a statement from them reads. ”We know that Dennis is innocent. We are devastated that this nightmare for Dennis and for all of us is going to continue.”
It’s certainly a nightmare, but will justice ever come for the killer of this passionate Canadian sailor? It’s hard to be optimistic, but you can talk about it in the thread.
November 18th, 2013
As the days grow shorter, sailing videos grow more important. Here are your weekend selections from SA’s staff:
An entire season of racing all over the world, and it’s all down to the final day of the final event: Can Morgan Larson win Brazil outright, putting a boat between Alinghi and The Wave Muscat to take the 2013 Extreme season?
As much as we’d love to see US skipper Larson take it, we have to admit that, with MacMillan at the helm, Muscat has been smart, fast, and consistent for the better part of two years now, and they should fairly easily claim the first back-to-back Extreme Sailing Series title in the event’s history after a solid, conservative, and winning start to the final event.
But desperation makes for good TV, so you better watch as Larson will do everything he can to screw the Wave’s day up. Watch it here starting at 1300 EST/1000 PST.
One of our favorite sailing videos ever is nearing a million Youtube views, but “Everybody” – the high-speed action shoot with various ORMA 60, Open 60, kiteboards and windsurfers – is getting decidedly long in the tooth for the late night party/yacht club TV screens it is most suited for. So we’ve got a new one for you; it’s video producers GZ Company’s 2013 highlight reel, and it’s got everything from 12 meters to sport boats to maxi catamarans to Volvo boats. Enjoy.
Bert and I
The ‘Bert and I’ collections of humorous maritime stories may be from Downeast Maine rather than the Chesapeake, but they capture some of what Annapolis sailor Bert Jabin was all about. We remember a leader, a legend, a mentor, a boatbuilder, a racer, and the founder of Junk Jungle Lane, and our most sincere condolences to the entire Annapolis community on Bert’s death. Share your own thoughts in the thread.
Kiting With Crocs
For all the talk about snakes, sharks, and jellyfish, Far North Queensland aborigines will tell you there’s just one animal to be truly afraid of: The Saltwater Croc. Check out this Naish-produced video to see how Ewan Jaspan, Will Smallacomb, and Ant from Kitesafari Australia just don’t give a shit.
Who says you need to wait for a big downwind day to practice wave sailing? And who says you need a surfboard to go surfing? Screw it! Grab your Zuma and do what SA’er ‘wrybread’ does at the mouth of Northern California’s Tomales Bay. Wanna know more? Ask him here.
November 16th, 2013
The name lives up to its, un, name!
November 15th, 2013
The latest from the MiniTransat…
As expected, the Portuguese trade winds continue to push hard. The wind consistently exceeds thirty knots as one moves away from the coast and the combination of a cross breeze over a residual northwesterly swell gives the senstion of being in a pinball machine. Several competitors have had bitter experiences and for some, the punishment has resulted in retirement, either becuase the vessel has suffered too much damage, or simply because, there comes a point when enough is enough and you simply want it to stop. This Mini Transat, with its long days of waiting, has helped to blunt craving for adventure amongst some shrinking violets. The test has not spare anyone from prolonged waiting, crossing the Gulf of Biscay was brutal, then a pit stop in Spain and for the vast majority of the fleet there was a difficult delivery passage along the Asturian coast . Finally, they have been accompanied on their passage down the Portuguese coats by a particularly vicious north easterly system. One thing is certain: the winner of the 2013 edition wont just be a good sailor, they will by necessarity be a truly accomplished seaman.
Breakages and lessons
The Portuguese trade winds have already pulled the rug from under a number of competitors, include two podium contenders in both the series boats and the protos. Ian Lipinski (Pas de Futur sans Numérique) paid the price for coming off a big wave. Bad luck struck when Ian, just out of a nap, was about to go on deck, he was caught by a wave that filled the interior of the Pogo in no time. At the same time, the boat turned turtle sitting with its keel in the air for a long time before coming upright dismasted. Ian was collected by a cargo ship that was en route to Sfax in Tunisia. Later that night, it was Gwénolé Gahinet (Watever / Logways) requesting assistance from the race organisation, when one of his keel bearings broke. The navigator, who could have lost his keel at any time, was finally able to board a Portuguese fishing boat. Other soloists who have thrown in the towel are: Joel Garcia Miro (Argo 650) who will not leave Camarillas where he had taken refuge. Yann Le Pautremat and Sébastien Picault have confirmed their retirement, alongside Bert Bossyns (Netwerk) who took refuge in the port of Peniche. Finally, Gilles Avril (Evolution Marine) hit a log in a surf. The bow of the boat did not survive the crash. He is now safe aboard one of the support boats.
Meanwhile, Giancarlo Pedote, Benoît Marie (benoitmarie.com), Nicolas Boidevezi (Nature Addicts) and Bertrand Delesne (TeamWork) are leading the dance masterfully, which speaks to their extensive offshore experience. Other competitors have chosen to temper their approach, for example Stan Maslard (Sefico Group) has clearly opted to stay closer to the Portuguese coast to to take advantage of the calmer sea and a less strong wind. Renaud Mary (www.runo.fr) is taking the same strategy. It’s a choice that may pay off, since Renaud is credited with the biggest gain over 24 hours from noon to noon. And the fight between Aymeric Belloir, Justine Mettraux (TeamWork) and Simon Koster (Go4It) remains spectacular ….
For still others, the race has been put on hold for the duration of a technical stop. In Porto, Clement Bouyssou (No War) and François Guiffant (Scidiam) are due to leave tomorrow morning. This is also the case for Pip Hare (The Potting Shade), François Lamy (Guadeloupe Espace Océan) and Diane Reid (One’s Girl Ocean Challenge) who have all called in near Lisbon. Others, like Carlos Lizancos (Reyno de Navarra) or Pilar Pasanau (Peter Punk) have not yet confirmed their intention to continue the race. They will sleep on it …
Ranking (prototype) at 16.00 (fr)
1. Giancarlo Pedote (747) with 3099.7 nm to finish
2. Nicolas Boidevezi (719) + 43.4 nm
3. Benoit Marie (667) + 53.8 nm
4. Bertrand Delesne (754) + 60.7 nm
5. Julien Pulve (802) + 65.4 nm
Ranking (series boats) at 16.00 (fr)
1. Aymeric Belloir (810) with 3171.4 nm to finish
2. Justine Mettraux (824) + 7.8 nm
3. Simon Koster (819) + 11.5 nm
4. Renaud Mary (535) + 18.3 nm
5. Jean-Baptiste Lemaire (607) +39.1 nm
The full ranking lists are available here.
November 15th, 2013
Top this, bitches. Thanks to Anarchist Loic.
November 14th, 2013
Wins what? Wins the honor of the “preppiest” sport ever! Haha, this is funny and so, so true…
2. Killing your stepmother Muffy so she doesn’t see a fucking dime of Daddy’s estate
6. Fox hunting
Read on thanks to Deadspin…
November 14th, 2013
Big Pimpin’: Getting grippy in Florida
Do you own a boat in Florida? Are you bringing your boat down to Florida for the winter sailing season? Has your original non-skid worn smooth and providing no traction? Are you slipping and sliding all over the place every time it gets wet? Is your foredeck crew spending more time on their ass than on their feet? Then maybe it’s time to redo your non-skid.
Have you contacted a boat yard to get a quote on a traditional non-skid job? $3,000?? $5,000?? $7,000 or more? For a traditional non-skid job at a boat yard they have to pull your boat out of the water, remove all your deck hardware and sand your deck. Then they apply a combination of Awlgrip and crushed shells or sand, re-install all your deck hardware and put your boat back in the water. The process takes about a week and what you get is a surface that provides decent traction will shred a pair of shorts in months, is hot under foot and tends to break down over time.
Why not consider a non-skid job from South East Non-Skid, LLC? They use a revolutionary product called Kiwi Grip. Developed in New Zealand, it is hands down the best non-skid application you can put on your boat. It is a single part acrylic polymer designed by a yachtsman for yachtsman. The texture is dialed in by a proprietary roller and they can do anything from fine to aggressive. They do it with your boat in your slip or trailer and it goes right over your existing deck surface. A 35 footer takes just one day and you can be out sailing the next They don’t remove any hardware, everything is expertly taped. What you end up with is a surface that provides superior grip without being abrasive, is attractive in appearance, is cool under foot and lasts for years. All at usually less than 1/3 of the cost. Nice.
Based in South Florida they do everything from J/24′s to 70ft sleds, from 60ft Sportfisherman’s to Boston Whaler’s. From Jacksonville to Key West, from Pensacola to Ft. Meyers they cover it all. And as a special promotion, SA followers can get a 20% discount on your job. Just enter “SA” in promo code box on the “Get a quote” tab. That’s a $300 savings on a 30 foot boat. Check em here.
November 14th, 2013
Some unreal shots from EasyRide!
November 14th, 2013
An update from the boys and their toys in the MiniTransat
In prototypes, Giancarlo Pedote (Prysmian, pictured left) has clearly been able to demonstrate that the special bow shape of his Reason design is equally competitive in these downwind conditions. The Italian navigator has regained the lead in the standings as of 12 noon, and has an 18 nautical mile (nm) lead over Benoit Marie and more than 20 nm on Bertrand Delesne (TeamWork Proto). This gap may sound significant, but, based on the current average speed of the boats, is only just over an hour. In theSeries boats, Aymeric Belloir (Tout le Monde chante contre le Cancer) and Simon Koster ( Go 4 It) have built a small gap on the rest of the fleet, which is led by Justine Mettraux (TeamWork) who, after a cautious start, has been working her way gradually to the forefront . In fourth, the amazing Robert Rosen Jacobson (Postillion Hotels) confirms once again that the doyen of the race is at ease in the breeze. But with physical age can come mental strength. And in this field, Robert could remonstrate with many.
Technical stops and retirements
Yannick Le Clech (692 Diaoulic) dismasted. A support boat is 12 nm away and heading to him. Under jury rig, he is en route to Cascais at a speed of 2.2 knots.
François Lamy (566 Guadeloupe Espace Océan) is heading to Cascais with a damaged rudder to try to fix it.
Carlos Lizancos (431 Reyno de Navarra) is heading for Cascais with a technical problem.
Maxime Salle (348 Bongo) has restarted from Baiona after solving his steering problem. Pilar Pasanau (519 Peter Punk) and Richard Hewson (816 RG650.org) are also due to leave the Spanish port following technical stops.
Yann Le Pautremat (483 Prep Nautic Sea Echo 1% for the Planet) and Sébastien Picault (198 Kickers) have confirmed their retirement.
November 14th, 2013
Joe Harris (Class 40 GryphonSolo2) shares his perspective on the TJV….
I have been watching the Transat Jacques Vabre race develop with interest and wanted to provide a quick update and further comparisons to the 2005 race. My focus will be on the Class 40′s, who are mostly now solidly into the trade winds, with the leaders flying along at 14 knots in 25 knots of Northeasterly breeze. After the pitstop in Roscoff to let a low pressure system go through, the rich seem to have gotten richer, as the two leaders- GDF Suez and Mare- (Mach 40 sisterships from the design board of Sam Manuard) seem to be moving extremely well. Next up are my friends Halvard and Miranda on Compagne deFrance, who are also blasting along in rough seas and wet conditions, about 127 miles back from the leader, as the move past the Azores to the West and Madeira to the East. The new Ker-designed Concise 8 with Ned Collier-Wakefield and Sam Goodchild have had to drop out with a broken port rudder that was evidently ripped off by an unidentified submerged object. The new Akilaria RC-3 Caterham Challenge sits in 11th place, about 218 miles back from the leader and going slightly slower in less breeze. Finally, 11th Hour Racing is back in the race after breaking their headstay and returning to Lorient, France to get it repaired. They are now 671 miles back from the leader but they are back in the race and bound and determined to catch up.
This situation reminds me very much of the 2005 race. Aboard my Open 50 “Wells Fargo- American Pioneer” with co-skipper Josh Hall, we were match racing fellow Open 50 class competitors Artforms and Brehat across the Bay of Biscay when suddenly Artforms turned back to Lorient to repair a torn mainsail. We were ahead of Brehat, but they elected to take a more Easterly course through the Canary Islands and also through the Cape Verde islands further south. While our routing showed that a more westerly path was faster, we were reluctant to let Brehat go on their more Easterly path alone, not knowing whether Artforms was going to get back in the game. After much discussion, we elected to cover Brehat to the East and then -sure enough- Artforms came roaring back into the trade winds 200 miles west of us and quickly began clawing back the 500 mile deficit their pitstop had created. We sailed into some very light winds near the Cape Verde Islands and were freaking out as Artforms gained on every scheduled report and our lead evaporated. Luckily, we finally found some wind and made it to the Doldrums first and then had a fast passage through the Doldrums while Artforms and Brehat struggled. We got into the South Atlantic trade winds first and were off to the races towards Brazil, with our lead now growing at every report.
So for Team 11th Hour Racing I would say “hang in there!!” as you never know what might happen with over 4,000 miles still to go. The very fast downwind trade wind sailing under spinnakers that most of the Class 40 fleet is now experiencing can lead to some spectacular wipe-outs as either auto-pilots fail or skippers get tired at the tiller, so skippers will need to be particularly vigilant and not carry too much sail in big breeze. If a spinnaker is lost (shredded beyond repair or lost overboard), it can definitely make the boat uncompetitive for the rest of the race, as each sail in the 8 sail limited inventory is critical for the boat to deliver maximum performance.
It will be fun to watch the race tracker and leaderboard change in the coming days as skippers choose different routing options as they set up for passing the Canaries and Cape Verde islands and also beginning to think about their entry waypoint for the doldrums and crossing of the equator. More to follow.
November 14th, 2013
Question Of The Week
Longtime Anarchist, occasional Anarchy I.T. Department head, and now Caribbean cruiser BJ Porter asks “Did I do it right?” after receiving a Mayday in the southern Caribbean over the weekend. Got an answer? It goes here. Note: The photo is NOT of the fisherman in the story; just something random and descriptive that we liked.
Saturday afternoon we left Trinidad for Aruba. About 11:18 p.m. on Monday night as we are sailing about 20 miles NE of Bonaire (12° 34.715N, 068° 13.732W), conditions were 22-28kts of wind from around 100°, seas 6-8 ft. and somewhat disturbed. We were sailing along on a broad reach at 8-10 knots with reefed sails. Then I get a Frantic “Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!” call over the radio.
After trying to get a response back from the guy, I finally got a burst of frantic Spanish. I tried slow English…more Spanish. OK…by now someone has dug up our copy of “Spanish for Cruisers” and I am able to get a few phrases like “We speak very little Spanish” on the air. Slow pigeon English from the other boat…”No fuel! No water! No Food!”.
As I was responding and trying to raise a response we saw a boat…distance was tough to tell, but it was disappearing and reappearing. Eventually when I asked for their position they said “You just passed us” and I knew that was the boat. So we pulled off the preventer, turned the boat around and beat back to them. When we arrived we lowered the sails and motored around him in the rolls and chop. The boat was roughly 20′ long, center console…sort of, there were tarps on it, with three fisherman on board. Given the location (NE of Bonaire, nearby some of the remote Venezuelan islands) we figured they were Venezuelan.
It did enter in our minds that this COULD be a problem, there have been some incidents off the Venezuelan coast. But given the relatively rough conditions boarding would be something only someone pretty desperate would try. We fetched the machete we bought for opening coconuts up and left it in the cockpit…
Conversation came to it that we couldn’t easily get him fuel, as we only had six gallons of gas on board in our dinghy and no good way to get any of it to him, if we could even pour or siphon some out without spilling it. Given that they had what looked large twin outboards, the two gallons or so we might be able to get to them wouldn’t get them all that far even if we could figure a way to pour it, store it, and get it to them uncontaminated. It was rough enough that there was no way the vessels were coming together intentionally, someone was going to get damaged if we got within six to eight feet of them.
So they asked us to “Give us food, give us water.” Their vessel was sound and not sinking and clearly just out of fuel and they did not ask to abandon it or get rescued.
So we scrounged up some fresh water and what food we could find that was in cans with pull tabs (there was no way we were going to be able to have a coherent discussion about can openers!) or in packages that might survive a dunking and put it in a water proof container. We tied this whole mess to an orange PFD and an inflated white trash bag (for visibility and more floatation). When then dropped it in the water upwind of them, at which point we very quickly figured out that their boat was drifting a hell of a lot faster than a little package of food and water…oops. So we circled around a few times and fished it out then tried again from down wind which worked much better since they drifted down on it quickly. They recovered it on the first try and thanked us on the VHF.
At this point we felt there was little we could do beyond relay their position to someone else who might be able to get them. They didn’t want off their boat, and no one else had heard their call in the area. If we stayed all we could do was circle them and try to call someone with our higher VHF or SSB. So we talked to them and they asked us to relay their position to someone, and we headed back to our regular course.
I wasn’t completely sure this was the right thing to do, but I couldn’t see what we would do hanging around them either, except stay on station in case their boat started to sink (unlikely) and they needed to be pulled off. But we could do nothing more to affect their rescue, except try to get in touch with authorities on their behalf which wasn’t working too well with VHF from this area. Wind and currents were both pushing them West, towards Curacao and Aruba.
I spent the next hour and a half trying to get in touch with ANYONE in authority. At one point I hailed “Coast Guard” on 16 and received a scratchy, inaudible but lengthy reply which made it clear the recipient could hear and understand me even if I could not hear them. So I relayed all the information I could; our boa name, last position of the other boat, name of the captain (we could not get him to understand that we wanted his BOAT name, or it didn’t have one), number of people, their problems, our actions, etc. I was trying VHF 16, and all of the SSB Emergency Hailing frequencies.
Nothing. Not a whisper of a response. I even went so far as to send Winlink e-mail messages to a bunch of people I knew, on the off chance that they might be awake still and able to at least forward the info to the USCG who would know how to contact the proper authorities in Venezuela/Bonaire/Curacao. Alternatively I was contemplating breaking into some yammering hams and asking them to do the same for me, but we got a hail back before I needed to try that.
Eventually I got a scratchy hail. Turns it out was from a freighter named Malmo about eight miles away from us; he could hear me but I could barely make him out but he’d heard my boat name and that we’d helped a boat in distress. He was able to relay to Curacao authorities the position and situation, and speak with me to clear up the details. And his course was going to take him right back through where we left the boat, so I think Curacao asked him to check in on them. I don’t know where it went from there, as we were passing out of VHF range and could not follow the conversations after that. The last thing we hear was that Malmo had “Made contact with a boat with Spanish guys they could not understand” which sounded a lot like our fisherman.
I am still second guessing myself on my actions. Questions and thoughts for discussion…
1) Should I have stayed on station? There was no immediate or even short term risk of life or injury to the fisherman, they were out of fuel in an area with reasonable shipping traffic and not insanely far from shore and now had some food and water. Could I have accomplished anything at all by continuing to circle or drifting with him all night? Eventually we would have raised Malmo as she came through, but I couldn’t know that at the time.
2) SSB/VHF – OK, I’m going to look into Sat Phones now. This was a real eye opener for me that they really can be quite useless as no one seems to answer the damned things. Or no one can hear my SSB, though I talked to a guy in Moscow with it a few months ago. Two minutes on a Sat phone and I could have reached the USCG or local authorities if I had a number to call.
3) On board procedures. We are still more reliant on me than we should be – while at the helm I can’t operate the SSB, but I’m the only one that knows the detailed operations of it. No one was comfortable taking the helm in close quarters with another boat in 25+ knots of breeze in 6-8′+ seas. My wife went to sleep reading “The Guide to SSB for Idi-yachts” tonight; we’ve decided that EVERYONE needs to know how to operate it and we will be doing some training and practice.
4) The other discussion this brought up with was quick accessibility to food and water if we had to ditch – based on my wife’s experience trying to gather food and water in a pitching seaway. Yes, there is a ditch bag with a PLB, VHF, GPS, Flares, food rations, some water, hand pumped watermaker, etc. etc. ready to go. But if we have to ditch we’d also want to grab as much as we can that time and conditions permit. And if you open a cabinet to grab some canned goods and everything comes piling out on you, or you need to dig three layers deep under the floorboards…this could be problematic. We realized that we had two types of emergency water – the stuff deep in the boat in case the water maker pukes, and the regular drinking bottles in the fridge; 10L or so of water we can grab quickly and toss in the life raft. And some discussions about what to grab…bags of salted snack peanuts for example should never end up in the life raft!
So, that’s the story with my concerns and misgivings and thoughts. I’d love to hear what others would have done.
November 14th, 2013
Remember when we announced the ‘flying’ Great Cup 32 Catamaran more than a year ago? With its ‘compound W’ daggerboard shape and L-foil rudders, the Martin Fischer-designed boat looked slick, modern and sexy. They even sold a few, raced a couple of regattas, and last month, pulled off a demo day in massive waves and 25+ in Nice while the Extreme 40s were sitting at the dock.
The main problem? High performance foil design changed more in one year than it has in decades. Essentially, if you have a new ultra-performance multihull these days and you’re not flying, you’re failing – and the GC32 foil package was doing just that.
In the meantime, the AC72 showed everyone the way, and Fischer’s work on both the Groupama C foiler and the Flying Phantom project gave him the inspiration he needed to turn the 32 into a full foiler, and you can check it out above and here. Sea trials will happen in France around the New Year.
November 14th, 2013
When I was 11 years old, my parents wanted me to do something besides get in trouble. So they enrolled me in sailing classes at the Sea Shell Association in Santa Barbara, Calif. From the moment I climbed into that 8½-foot dinghy in 1952, I knew instinctively what to do and sensed I had done it before. I was a natural sailor, and it’s one of the reasons I later wrote “Déjà Vu.”
Sailing alone in that boat for the first time was a transforming experience. I came back the next day and every day after that. Sailing became one of the main streams of my life. I suppose my father was an influence. I remember seeing a photo of him at home sailing a big boat to Bermuda in his 20s. I still have it.
“High Noon” also left a mark. My father, Floyd Crosby, was the film’s cinematographer. I didn’t realize until later, but “High Noon” had blossomed in my head. The movie is technically a Western, but it’s really about an honorable, stand-up guy who sticks to his principles—even when he has to go it alone.
Before long I sailed that dinghy around the harbor alone, getting as close as I could to the big sailboats anchored there—particularly a beautiful wooden schooner that I learned later was designed by John Alden, one of the great American yacht architects. I loved its design and wanted to see how the different lines and sails worked. As my confidence grew, I started sailing to the harbor’s outer buoy. That scared everyone and they tossed me out of the club.
My next big sailing experience came in 1967, after I was thrown out of the Byrds. I borrowed $25,000 from my friend Peter Tork, who was in the Monkees, and went down to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., looking for a schooner. I found one identical to the John Alden-designed boat I had seen years earlier and bought it.
The 74-foot boat was named Mayan and was built in 1947 with Honduran mahogany. The cabins below can sleep eight, but six people is more ideal—four to keep watch and take turns manning the sails and two who can alternate cooking and cleaning.
After I took possession, I had to learn how to sail it. I had never sailed anything larger than 8½ feet, and you need a good wheel-hand—that’s me—and two good deckhands to handle the sails. So I made friends with lots of experienced sailors who wanted to sail on the boat, and they taught me everything I needed to know.
November 14th, 2013
This fun video comes from Impression Sailing Week, Elan’s answer to the J/Fests or Beneteau Rendezvous of the world, where some 60 yachts from a half-dozen countries race in beautiful Croatia for bragging rights in their cruisey/racey Elans. There’s a bit of actual explanation on the Youtube page, but we preferred this ‘LifeBuoy 15′-written narrative from an entertaining SA thread filled with the usual combination of brilliance, utter stupidity, and humor (and yes, this is parody/hyperbole/fiction for all you litigious assholes, and ‘shitbox’ is a term of endearment…)
The Starboard tacker being an Élan 350 shitbox was factoring his shitbox’s massive leeway and pinching like shit to compensate, (because he bought an Élan, we can assume he is clueless. Nothing in the video would suggest otherwise.) The Port tacker also was factoring in the Élan 350 shitbox’s massive leeway and had determined that he would cross ahead. However he had forgotten that his Élan 410 was an even bigger shitbox with even greater leeway. (Again due to his choice of boat we can assume he was equally as clueless as the 350 owner but slightly wealthier.) He then hit him amidships. The Serbian owner of the 410 then recognised the Croatian owner of the 350 and tries to repeatedly drive the bowsprit through his head, and then the Croatian owner of the 350 ran below to get his gun.
The protest was held in the streets outside of the yacht club but was broken up with tear gas and water cannons.
November 14th, 2013