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There is some very dramatic racing going on in the Volvo Ocean Race as the boats close in on the finish of the penultimate leg of the race. After a very slow start out of Cardiff that saw the boats drifting on a glassy sea, things changed as the fleet picked up some breeze off the Scottish coast. As they rounded the Hebrides Islands the Spanish yacht Mapfre led with the Chinese on Dongfeng in hot pursuit. Much is at stake as these two boats are atop the leaderboard with Dongfeng a single point ahead of Mapfre. Had they maintained the same order all the way to Sweden Mapfre would have leapfrogged into the lead claiming bonus points for their first place. But overnight things changed and they changed dramatically.

In third place in the overall standings is the Dutch entry Team Brunel. They had been a little off the pace on this leg languishing mid fleet, but I am guessing that skipper Bouwe Bekking had been keeping some of his powder dry. During the dark of the night Bekking turned on the afterburners and rocketed into first place. The conditions are perfect for all the boats as a steady southerly wind blows over their starboard beam and with sheets eased they are all sailing between 15 and 20 knots. The forecast for the rest of the leg looks for much of the same so it’s going to be a boat speed, drag race to the finish, unless of course the breeze craps out close to land the game restarts. You can be sure that there are some nervous navigators crunching numbers with only 150 miles to go to the finish in Gothenburg, Sweden.

So as it stands as of this morning Brunel is leading but only by a slim margin. Mapfre is in second place a scant mile astern but here is the interesting news. Dongfeng has fallen back into fourth place. If this is how things remain for the rest of the leg the overall standing are going to get a shakeup. Brunel and Mapfre will both be in first place overall with 65 points and the Chinese will be relegated to third overall with 64 points. However, if Dongfeng manages to claw back into third they will stand alongside Brunel and Mapfre in first place overall with 65 points. There is one little twist in the tail to look out for in the final points tally. There is an extra point awarded for the boat that sailed the fastest race. It’s the Total Elapsed Time point and at this stage of the game I believe Dongfeng is lined up to receive the bonus.

Did I mention that there is some dramatic racing going on in the Volvo Ocean Race?

For my part, in case you were wondering, I am hoping that Team Brunel wins this edition of the Volvo Ocean Race. Bouwe Bekking is by all accounts a really decent guy and after many previous attempts it will be nice for him to finally go out with a win. But more than that history will be made by New Zealander Peter Burling. Burling, as you may remember, won the America’s Cup last year and previously he had won both gold and silver Olympic medals.  For him to win the Volvo Ocean Race aboard Team Brunel will make him a Triple Crown winner and that would be very cool.

The final leg of this Volvo Ocean Race starts on June 21 and is a 700 nautical mile sprint to The Hague in the Netherlands. It may be that just a measly 700 miles decides the overall winner of the race. Oh, and there is one more reason that I want Team Brunel to win. They are a Dutch entry and The Hague, as we all remember from our geography lessons, is in Holland.


June 14th, 2018

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Yeah, they are ripping it up in big breeze at for the J/70 European Championships in Ria de Vigo, but not everyone delighted in them!


June 13th, 2018

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Jesus Christ CNN, could this have been any weaker? Love how they fail to mention that Ratcliffe is a huge financial backer of fracking that isn’t exactly popular in the UK and that his “sponsorship”, other than make a few members on the AC team wealthy, is a big fat Fuck You to their once aspirational eco-friendly campaign. Here at SA, we hope you fail miserably.

It started with a beer and ended with a $153 million investment aimed at finally breaking Britain’s America’s Cup duck. After experiencing “the worst feeling of my career” a year ago last week, when his Land Rover BAR was knocked out of the 2017 Cup in Bermuda, Ben Ainslie had promised himself he would never experience that same sensation again.

Motivated by that failure, and after being introduced by a mutual friend, four-time Olympic champion Ainslie went for a beer with Jim Ratcliffe — who is the head of petrochemical company Ineos and was last month revealed as Britain’s richest man with an estimated wealth of $28 billion.
A $153m deal happened at lightning speed. Ainslie, who will lead a newly-branded Ineos Team UK team, told CNN: “I realized he’d been successful in business but, at the time of meeting, I wasn’t quite aware he was Britain’s richest man at that point!

“But I’d read about his exploits as an adventurer going to both Poles and taking part in crazy full-on marathons across deserts. I knew he had an interest in sailing so we got together for a chat and that got to talking about the America’s Cup. “Jim got back to me the next day, was really excited about the challenge and wanted to get involved.”
And discussions quickly translated to actions. As Ainslie put it, “Ineos has ventures all over the world so, when an opportunity like that comes up, you have to grab it quickly.”

Read more if your brain can take it… Title inspiration thanks to Nelly.


June 12th, 2018

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A friend of mine sent this picture of his backyard, wondering if it was time to trim the heard. That’s utter nonsense!


June 12th, 2018

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We always love the different view, and this, found in the Fabulous Forums, is indeed that.

So I sailed North from VA Beach/Norfolk on Friday. My outboard died (overheated) on the way out Little Creek, but I said the hell with it. I’ll have a problem trying to dock now or in a few days and I knew the wind was suppose to come up. (although it hadn’t at this point early afternoon)

So after I crossed the shipping channel (Thimble Shoal Channel) just ahead of a ship, the wind picked up and I had the tide. My Bristol 27 at one point actually hit 7.8 knots in the deep channel near the anchored tankers close to Cape Charles.

Anyway, I sailed on up to maybe 10 miles or so North of Cape Charles where the land dips way in to the East. (near Smith Beach) North of Cherry Point and maybe even with Eastville.

I sailed here because the wind was heavy SE and I found a nice calm spot west of the Eastern Shore, but with my luck during the night, the wind rotated to the SW so I had bay waves knocking my boat around much of the night and got little sleep

So when I got up I carefully fixed coffee with my propane hot plate while the boat still pounded into the waves, but a least now the waves were head on and not on the beam.

After I got straight, I raised sail and sailed off my anchorage barely missing running aground as the wind was pushing me toward shore. Depth finder showed 1′ under the keel as I made the turn.

So now I’m headed just North of west (270) since my Bristol simply will not point. It’s around 8 am or so.

A mile or so off after I get the autopilot hooked up and things get somewhat normal (decks are slippery etc) I get to look around and spot a sail. (blue hull/ maroon bottom seen when he got closer) His heading is different than most boats I see coming down the bay. (I didn’t know there was a race happening!) He is headed to the spot where I was anchored which was maybe 200-300 yards off the shore

He carries his tack way too long for a cruiser (which is what I’ve been trying to learn to be after racing beach cats for 15 years, Florida Gulf Coast, beach cat racing heaven at least in was back in the day).

I can’t really tell the boat type since he is a ways away so I’m thinking I wonder if I can point with this guy. I have position being west of him with a SE wind. I know he’s going fast but…….hey, I’m a racer guy. Or at least I was…

Jump in if you like.


June 12th, 2018

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European dealers cancel US boat orders in anticipation of tariffs

Industry leaders on both sides of the Atlantic appeal to TrumpEuropean marine trade associations warned last week that retaliatory action proposed by the EU in response to import tariffs imposed by the US on steel and aluminium has already resulted in cancelled orders for American boats by dealers in Europe.

Meeting in Berlin last week, marine industry associations from over 30 countries listened intently to Nicole Vasilaros, government and legal affairs council for the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), describing the US marine industry’s reaction to unwelcome tariff actions initiated by the Trump Administration.

The tariffs threaten to disrupt both domestic boat and equipment supply chains and distort production costs in the US, as well as the flow of boat exports to Europe and Canada.

The brewing trade war between the US, Europe and Canada was one of the key topics discussed at the annual Congress, hosted by the International Council of Marine Industry Associations (ICOMIA). It was particularly relevant as one of the main reasons behind formation of ICOMIA over 50 years ago was to facilitate international trade within the boating industry, while reducing tariff and non-tariff trade barriers. Read on thanks to IBI.

And before all you reich-wingers start inundating me with your predictable reich-wing horseshit, understand that as long as that traitorous fuck endorses policies that hurt our industry or our environment, I am always going to bring it to attention. – ed.


June 12th, 2018

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We know, but it’s still kinda hard to believe…

Jump in the existing thread.


June 12th, 2018

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I read with interest an article by British sailing journalist Magnus Wheatley. He had a pretty acerbic take on the state of the current Volvo Ocean Race and I have to say  that agree with him. His article starts, “Like the drunken uncle that refuses to leave the coming-of-age party, the Volvo Ocean Race staggers on.”  That should give you a pretty good idea of his opinion of where the event now stands on the offshore sailing calendar. His article continues, “But just like the uncle, its glory days are way in the distant past and the cool, relevant ones desperately want it to go home, tuck itself quietly to bed, and get on with the proper party.” 

Hmmm, pretty tough talk, but I think it’s time for some tough talk when it comes to the Volvo Ocean Race.  Up to this point I have been the lone voice out there lamenting the demise of what was once a magnificent international sporting event.

While I may have been taking a hard line on the state of the race, I am not criticizing. I fully recognize the difficulty that race management has faced over the last decade and it starts with one simple premise; you can’t have a race if you don’t have any competitors. The balance between reeling in costs while at the same time  knowing that innovation is what’s really needed has resulted an incongruous dance that has led to the death of the event, in my humble opinion.

There are not enough boats to make it an exciting race, the boats themselves are boring dinosaurs, and there are no characters among the sailors that can bring the race to life with their charisma. There are no Eric Tabarlys or Peter Blakes or even for that matter the Flying Dutchman, Conny van Rietschoten. Conny might not have been the most interesting sailor but he did have swagger and he twice convincingly won the race.

I don’t want to be the skunk at a garden party here and I appreciate the effort that it takes to sail one of those boats around the world, but to me the event has lost its soul. I came to this realization a few years back when I attended a Volvo Legends event in Alicante. There were a number of the old boats there and plenty of washed up, worn out sailors but looking around the room I saw characters. There were adventurers, misfits and professional sailors and the room oozed with personality.

Outside the room the current crop of Volvo Ocean Race sailors were strutting around in sponsor garb with an air of self-importance. As Wheatley noted, “most of the sailors today are duller than a winter in Gothenburg.” The boats looked like  Farr 40’s on steroids and were colorful, resplendent in sponsors livery, but something was missing. Perhaps, again as Wheatley pointed out, who can get excited about boats named Mapfre, Brunel or Dongfeng?

The reason to go One-Design was forced as a way to cut costs as was the reason to go for a smaller boat from the Volvo 70 to the Volvo 65, but in doing so it tore at the fabric of the event. The Volvo Ocean Race calls itself the pre-eminent offshore sailing event, but it seems to pale against the Vendée Globe or the excitement that is generated by those massive French trimarans that are raced all over the world. Now that’s sexy and big and impressive and how the Volvo should look and feel. Look at Hugo Boss and how the boat is branded. Video of Alex Thomson careening along, foiling at high speeds is something that I can watch over and over again. Not so much the footage from this current VOR. It just does not look as exciting.

Going forward the Volvo Ocean Race will be under new management. Volvo has agreed to remain involved and to fund the next race but the details of how it’s all going to work are pretty sketchy. Unless there is some kind of miracle and money pours in, the next race is going to sailed in the same tired old boats that are currently being used.

Unless money pours in there is not going to be any innovation in the fleet and no big change in direction, something that would have the public saying “now that’s what the pre-eminent around-the-world yacht race should look like.” Unless money pours in the next race is going to look like the one just finishing up and frankly I lost interest in this race before the fleet departed Alicante. Wheatley has an even bleaker view of the future of the race. He writes, “Can it, under new ownership, come back from the dead? No, is the short answer. The dead horse has been flogged. The life support machine must be switched off. The world has moved on. It’s a pointless charade of a format and it’s time to admit that it’s “Game Over.”

– Brian Hancock


June 12th, 2018

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Dear Dr. Rules,

If a bridge is listed as a mark of a course in the SI’s. If you touch it, do you spin? If you touch it and don’t spin, is it a DSQ? Discuss!


June 11th, 2018

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Big Pimpin’

Capehorn.us is truly something special. Notebooks, wallets, card holders, key chains, eyeglass straps, coasters, are just some of the new products that Cape Horn is launching this year, always letting sailors keep their passion close, even on land.

We’ve all seen many different reincarnations of recycled sails, but these guys, located in Chile, South America, have a strong concept and a story behind that inspire. The sails that they use for their handcrafted products come from sailors that have challenged the southernmost tip waters of the world.

Cape Horn is the Mount Everest for sailors and every product is built with the aim to inspire people to challenge their limits, just like a Cape Horner sailing in the coldest, hazardous and wildest waters of the world.

If you are planning to give a gift for you or to your dad with a story behind, you should check out their products that are available on amazon. Order up right here and get a Father’s Day discount!


June 11th, 2018

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