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my sharona 2According to skipper George Gamble of MY SHARONA, “the most nervous day of preparation we have had was for the last day of racing of the J/111 Worlds.  The sailing conditions were so variable, we felt anything could happen.  And, with so many boats so close in a breeze that was unpredictable even for local sailors, we knew it was going to be a difficult last day.”

In the end, Gamble and his crew on MY SHARONA demonstrated yet again why they are such a good team.  Never taking any flyers and trying to stay in the hunt, they managed to take a 3rd place in the first race of the last day to seal the deal and win the 2015 J/111 World Championship off Newport.  They did not have to sail the last race.

The weather forecast for the finale on Friday was unusual as a weak frontal system was approaching Newport offering up WSW winds in the 8-12 kts range with the expectation of afternoon showers or thundershowers.  Typically, such forecasts can be way off.  With skies clearing for a period of time, the Newport seabreeze machine asserted itself for a period of time fighting the frontal gradient over the land and nearshore waters.

Ida Lewis YC PRO Peter Garard setup the course east of the R4 red bell and sent the fleet off on their first race on an upwind course of 235 degrees for a 1.8nm first leg- four times around.  The starts were not without a bit of drama and after several general recalls, the final start went off with an “I” and “Z” flag.  Leading the fleet right after the start was Rob Ruhlman’s SPACEMAN SPIFF and after rounding the first weather mark first, they managed to maintain their lead to the finish.  Second was Richard Lehman’s WIND CZAR and third was Gamble’s MY SHARONA.

The final race of the series was even more complex than the first race.  The impending frontal system played games with the winds and an enormous black cloud kept diminishing and reforming over the western end of the course.  Winds varied from 7 to 12 kts and from 235 to 255 degrees.  With an outgoing ebb tide from Narragansett Bay, it was anyone’s guess how any strategy would play out. Ultimately, it was the Brummel/ Henderson/ Mayer team on KASHMIR that won the race, leading wire to wire. Taking second was Marty Roesch’s crew on VELOCITY and third was Carl Desgagnes’ VOLTEFACE from Quebec City, Quebec.

In the end, Gamble’s MY SHARONA won with a 31 pts score followed by the KASHMIR crew from Chicago YC in second place.  Third was Bob Hesse’s LAKE EFFECT from Rochester, New York that normally races on Lake Ontario.  Fourth was Richard Lehmann’s WIND CZAR from Harbor Springs, Michigan and fifth was Rob Ruhlman’s SPACEMAN SPIFF from Cleveland, Ohio.  There’s no question there was a bit of a “theme” here, many of the top J/111 teams were all Midwest/ Great Lakes boats from J/111 Fleet #1 in Chicago and the surrounding area.

Thanks to the Ida Lewis YC, Commodore Gary Lash, and their amazing team of volunteers that helped make the J/111 World Championship a resounding success.  In addition, thanks to the PRO Peter Garard for conducting excellent race management throughout.  Finally, thanks go out to all the sponsors that helped support the event, including Gold Sponsors North Sails and B&G electronics and also Industry Sponsors that included Bacardi, JBoats, MJM Yachts, SEABlade, Quantum Sails and RaceQs.com.  Sailing photo credits- Cate Brown. Title inspiration here.

 

June 19th, 2015

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big booty

A classic rear end never goes out of style…Great shots from Jesus Reneado at the Superyachts in Palma. Here’s a modern view or two or three.

 

June 19th, 2015

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odds 2odds 1If you had sat down with me two weeks ago to have an honest discussion about whether Tripp and Chris Burd would ultimately finish the inaugural Race to Alaska, I probably would have said no. A capsize, a broken mast, a leaky pontoon, going delirious from lack of sleep or just losing the will to continue were all extremely likely. The race itself messes with your head because even after you pass through the utter madness of Johnstone Strait, you’re not even close to halfway done. I underestimated their mental toughness!

Luckily for Team Freeburd, the winds and seas north of Vancouver Island were much more manageable for their ARC-22, and with a newly engineered reefing system they decided to go for broke and sailed non-stop for 3 straight days. Their dogged perseverance paid off as they snatched 4th place away from the weathered grasp of Team Kohara who were heroically keeping their craft afloat with plywood, duct tape, and one hand-powered drill!

Today we spent the morning organizing the boat here in Ketchikan and seeing the Burds off as they flew away back home just in time for a family wedding. We can only imagine the conversations they will have at Table 8 and the socially unacceptable amount of food they will eat. Chris said it best at breakfast this morning when, after inhaling his bagel, he described the challenge of catching up with their “large calorie deficiency.” The guys had prepared 7 days of meals for the trip, raced for 10 days, and had 3 days of food remaining at the finish line. We’re not nutrition experts, but we get the sense they didn’t eat enough!

odds 2odds 2odds 2odds 21Team Waterlust drives onto yet another ferry tomorrow to begin the return trek south. Meanwhile, the majority of the R2AK fleet remains at sea, battling their way north towards Alaska. We can’t wait for Roger Mann (Team Discovery) to finish, he’s doing the race on a Hobie Island Explorer. Or Team Mau who turtled their Nacra 570 in the straits but managed to right it AND keep racing after sleeping for days on a deserted “beach” using their sails for shelter. Apparently they didn’t bring sleeping bags. Or Team Grin who have been living on an Etchells for nearly 2 weeks which is about 13.9 days longer than anybody should spend continuously on an Etchells.

It is the bizarre combination of seamanship, bravery, and craziness that makes this event so appealing to us. In today’s world where it feels like headlines are only grabbed by the biggest, fastest, or most expensive ordeals, it is refreshing to celebrate the underlying energy that powers it all, the human spirit. It was a great honor to be part of this race, even from the sidelines with a camera in hand. I applaud the race organizers, the competitors, and everybody that tuned into the tracker to see how things would shake out.

Now to take all this video footage and try and turn it into something beautiful that tells a story that does this event justice. Hopefully we’ll be done sometime in July, stay tuned!

Patrick Rynne, signing off!

 

June 19th, 2015

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hero to.png

…zero. As Team SCA is finding out in the VOR, it’s a tough crowd. This screen shot shows them trailing the fleet into “Pit Stop” at the Hague. Props to Team Alvimediaca – that’s two straight!

 

June 19th, 2015

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Being There

black 1What a moment: together with 500 boats at the starting line of the Bol d’Or – the largest regatta on a closed basin! Ahead of us more than 66 miles of distance to cover. Pascal, our helmsman, got the perfect position with enough space towards the other ships to catch the weak 3 knots of wind and push BLACK NESSI over the starting line at exactly 10:00 am. Using our gennaker, we managed to sail away from the huge pack and despite maximum concentration we were thrilled about our perfect beginning: only one ship in front and almost countless in the back.

Of course we knew it would not remain like this as the multihulls catch some wind on their side of the line. Ladycat with Donna Bertarelli at the helm was the first to overtake us, followed by a dozen of dinghys and helicopters. We managed to defend our excellent position among the monohulls when we catched the first calm spot right at the border to France. Slowly the conditions on the western shoreline improved and the bunch of boats sailing there got on the fast lane. But next to Nernier we also caaught a puff and managed to leave the Petit Lac under Code 0. With a stable easterly of 5 to 10 knots we were heading for Saint-Prex but tried to stay in the center of the lake to observe which side would later develop better winds. We went for the longer option via Lausanne.

black breezeblack breezeblack breezepascal 1Until close to the city we did very well and it seemed that by the steep French shoreline the boats were falling behind us. But a little more than half way between Lausanne and the turning marker at Le Bouveret next to the entry of the Rhône River windspeed almost immediately dropped to almost nothing. We could not do anything but watching the boats on the french shoreline slip by, one by one. Whilst they profited from an extremely narrow wind strip inshore we could not exceed 2 knots of boat speed. Impatiently we waited for some pressure and almost craved for the thunderstorm which had been developing ahead over the Rhône Valley. Almost there the squalls, whilst heavily turning, hit us with 35 knots. But as the thunderstorm went by we were left with heavy rain and another calm spot right at the turning marker.

We rounded at dusk on position 150. As expected most of the yachts of our class were already well ahead. Obviously discontented we went after them, this time by the french shoreline. Sometimes under gennaker, sometimes under jib or Code 0 we tacked with direction Geneva. Aside from another calm spot next to Thonon-les-Bains we made good progress and reached Nernier at dawn. Back in the Petit Lac we sailed slowly but steadily in the dying breeze, our eyelids heavy as rocks.

We crossed the finish line at the Sociéte Nautique de Genève with almost no wind at all after 22 hours and 36 minutes of racing. . Thanks to our successful hunt on the way back home we managed to at least climb to rank 95th out of 500 boats in our class. Our Conclusion: What a magnificent regatta! – Anarchist Pascal.

 

June 19th, 2015

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wild oats

Not looking quite as wild as it used to, Wild Oats rolls into Dago for it’s assault on the Monohull elapsed time record to Hawaii. Photo thanks to Da-Woody.

 

June 18th, 2015

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my sharonaThe weather forecast for Thursday’s racing at the J/111 Worlds was benign enough- winds of 6-9 kts from the SSW all day with skies clearing in the afternoon. After about an hour postponement, the seabreeze filled in from the classic southerly direction offshore. Once the winds averaged 5 kts, Ida Lewis YC PRO Peter Garard sent off the fleet on the first of three windward-leeward races. By the late afternoon, the breeze had built into the 8-12 kts TWS range, making for excellent, incredibly tightly-packed racing.

Sailing the best record of the day was none other than George Gamble’s MY SHARONA, extending their lead with a 4-3-1 scoreline for a total of 19 pts overall and a seemingly unassailable 15 point lead over the rest of the fleet. Behind them, it has become a war of attrition for many teams hoping to crack the top five overall. By virtue of their 3-4-20 finishes, Bob Hesse’s LAKE EFFECT has now taken over second overall with 34 pts. However, only one point back is David & Maryellen Tortorello’s PARTNERSHIP; their first race horizon job drove them into contention with a 1-7-11 score for the day.

Sitting in fourth is the trio of Brummel/ Henderson/ Mayer on KASHMIR, posting the second best scores for the day with a 5-6-3 for a total score of 39 pts. After being in striking distance for the lead after the first two days, Rob Ruhlman’s SPACEMAN SPIFF had a rough go of it on Rhode Island Sound with a 19-10-5 scoreline to drop into fifth overall with 40 pts total. Only ten points separates 5th from 10th place in this close-quarters racing.

The J/111 Worlds finish on Friday with two more races planned in what appears to be steady SW breezes offshore of Newport.

 

June 18th, 2015

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Screen Shot 2015-06-18 at 8.35.34 AMAfter missing his hoped-for launch date by a few months, Andrew “AMAC” McDougall’s long-awaited ‘people’s foiler’ is finally wet!  This pic posted by SA’er “Phil S” shows the shroudless, stayless, wishbone-boomed foiler that Amac’s been working on for five years, shot recently near Mach 2 HQ in Melbourne, Oz.

Will the Waszp change the sailing world the way the Laser or Hobie 14 did, or will it be just another fun, fast toy for the privileged few to jump into on their way to the faster, more expensive Mach 2 and its successors?  Listen to the man himself back in January, and decide for yourself.

We’ll know more soon, and if you follow the thread, you can too.

 

 

June 17th, 2015

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white out 1

“Isla Navarino experienced a 952 Mb low, bringing us knee-deep, low-density snow. The inlet around us is frozen and we are digging ourselves out to reduce the condensation inside. James has been hauling water (as the pipes at the Micalvi marina are now going on week 4 of being frozen) & diesel (for the Eberspächer which is now running 24/7).

Quite the sight as he’s carrying the jugs strapped like saddle bags across the top bar of a mountain bike back to the boat along the snow packed road. Two out of three kids are sick and they have been stuck unwillingly inside the Anasazi Girl igloo, so it has been a bit “wild” to say the least.” – Somira Sao.

If you can, click here to help this terrific family get back to their mission – sailing! – ed

 

June 17th, 2015

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AFP photographer Jean-Sebastien Evard had another view of the Spindrift 2 versus Volvo Ocean Race RIB incident, and it differs from that of the Spindrift in several ways; first, that the RIB was stationary (though the prop wash in several pics calls that into question), and second, that the trimaran was under reduced sail (a photo and caption in his original story show a full main and solent).  Our thoughts go out to everyone effected by this horrific accident, and most especially to the woman fighting for her life in a hospital.  We have little doubt that phone videos and viewer accounts will help pin down the chain of events leading to this one and lay blame where it belongs, but for now, positive thoughts or prayer are in order.

Read the full account in French here.

This is the start of the ninth and final stage of the Volvo Ocean Race, a prestigious sailing race around the world for monohulls. The Spindrift 2 is not among the competitors. But the boat in Lorient as home port, and it is traditional tall ships attend the race starts when they take place at home.

I find myself on a press boats with three other photographers and two pilots. The weather is beautiful, the working conditions are ideal. Before launching out to sea towards Gothenburg, the end point of the race in Sweden, the Volvo Race yachts must carry a small race course near Lorient.

The media boat on which I find myself took position at the limit of the exclusion zone strictly limited by the organizers not to hinder competitors near the starting line. There are always many people on the water on racing days. Several organizer boats are there to prevent boaters and jet skis that swarm around the perimeter to venture into forbidden.

I see the Spindrift 2 going to the starting line. Almost stopped, the boat turns to port and picks up speed. He heads straight for the marshal boats. Immediately, the maneuver seems dangerous. This trimaran is a real Formula 1 of the sea, with great sailing, unheard-of acceleration and tremendous inertia. The helmsman does not have a good view.   The Spindrift 2 is like a big ship, difficult to maneuver down the track towards a stopped marshal boat.  The boat driver knows that if he advances, his boat will pass under the hull of the trimaran. It seems paralyzed, like us, on board the press boat.

The scene lasts only three or four seconds. The shock is inevitable. I see the RIB occupants jump overboard in panic.  Life jackets inflate automatically on contact with water. One of the rudders of the trimaran hits with full force the side of the RIB, making a frightening noise that sounds like “tac”.  A woman is launched violently into the water. I am the only photographer on board the press boat to have the reflex to whip my camera into place and take 15 continuous images.  Why? I do not know … I have not had time to understand what happened.

Immediately, our skipper rushes to the scene of this rare accident, thirty or forty meters from us. But we will not have to intervene: In seconds, two National Rescue Society boats are already there and take things in hand.

A huge bloodstain slowly spreads in the sea near the RIB. After twenty minutes, a helicopter arrives, hoisting the victim aboard.  She looks in very bad shape…

Full google trans here.

 

June 17th, 2015

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