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With all the talk of declining fleets, lack of interest in racing and needless expense of going racing, sometimes you just have to start from the beginning again.

So it has been with the Manly Combined Clubs Series in Brisbane, Australia. Now, Brisbane does not a huge keelboat fleet and it is spread around a number of clubs and boat harbours.
Also, it has a keen trailer boat fleet which tends to turn up at any event going.

So how do you fit all that together and get over 50 boats on the one race course? You make cheap, simple, fun and put the owners back in charge. So how does it work? The Series has a Committee of owners who love sailing and do all the administration and this is done independent of any yacht club. No professional administrators here. No club representatives. No yacht club politics. Clubs are asked to provide support, but never run the show.

Ironically, the Club that provides the most support to the Committee is historically a trailer power boat and fishing club not a sailing club. The Series runs one race a month for the whole year with two weekend events, one two day racing event and one a fleet cruise. So no onerous week in week out crew commitments.

It is cheap on any standard, you get 14, yes 14 races the entry fee is an outrageous AUD$ 100.00. Again the point is that conducting a sail boat race is not profit making centre for some club administrator looking to shore up their job. As to who turns up, you get everything from Farr 6000 trailer sailers, Farr 30s to First 40s, DK 46s and few 50 footers.

Three divisions are run, roughly grouping similar boats with similar boats but the Committee never tells an owner which division to sail in. Courses are chosen each week by a few old hands to get the best course for the conditions. Variety is good, usually with one good kite ride.

Single handed sailing is encouraged but you can’t use the autopilot for a whole leg of the course. Handicaps are not run on any recognised system but along several guiding principles, you do well you go up, you do poorly you go down but you buy new sails or change the boat, everyone knows and you go up.

How much you go up or down generally depends on how many boats raced in your division that day. You win on the big day, you go up more than winning on a slow day. It is what it is.

The best sailed boat is usually the one that keeps improving over the year so usually ends up on top so no one complains and if someone does there is enough history of performances to deal with it. Because competitor numbers go up and down from race to race unlike a single regatta, RRS scoring systems are abandoned and Committee use their own scoring system where series points for any position in one race varies with the number of boats competing that day. So a second in division on a 20 boat day is much better than a second on a 10 boat day.

In short, you get rewarded when you win on the big days. For the small trailer boats which are also members of the Trailer Sailer Club of Queensland (TSCQ), a deal has been done whereby membership of TSCQ gets you automatic entry to the Combined Club Series with no separate entry fee.

At the end of the year there is reckoning based upon how many TSCQ boats actually sailed each race as not every boat will sail every race. That way the little boats don’t have to fully pay up when each may sail only half the races. Again, make it easy and make it cheap for the owners especially the little guys.

Remember, idea is not make money from owners but to let them go racing together for fun. Sure the race management gets a bit casual some days and the results are not available by the time you hit the dock but funnily enough there always seems to be many more people around at the end of racing that you actually want to have a beer with. Funny that!

Anarchist Lydia

Title semi-rip-off thanks to Rage.

 

October 17th, 2017

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When you’re hot, you’re hot, and nobody is hotter than electronics and nav guru Artie Means. Artie just guided Peter Thornton’s turboed Volvo 70,  as they set the new outright elapsed time record from Chicago to Mackinac. We grabbed Artie for a quick five post record questions…

 

Q: How did this come about?

A: A very lucky opportunity as Il Mostro’s navigator, Matt wWachowicz ‘was busy at another event, I got to jump in as the guest navigator. Plus Peter assembles a killer team (Justin Slattery, Phil Trinter, Freddie Shanks, Chris Higgins, etc). Chicago YC has encouraged teams to make WSSRC approved runs to establish records outside of the race window.

Q: What were the challenges?

A: It’s always tricky to find a good weather window for a run like this, especially when trying to beat a multihull record with a monohull; it takes really good conditions, a solid team, boat, and minimal breakage. We had all of those!

Q: How was the boat?

A: The boat is awesome. A Volvo 70, lightened up, bigger spirit, bigger main, deeper keel….basically all the tricks.

Q: Was it ever in doubt?

A: The start was quite dicey. We had 7-10 knots for the first few hours; which aren’t record setting conditions. But we were banking (with A LOT of advice from Ken Campbell – Commander’s WX) on the building breeze, and wanted the flatter prefrontal sea state. Luckily it all worked out quite nicely.

Q: What’s the next challenge for you?

A: Dave & Peter Askew just added a Volvo 70 to the Wizard team; so really excited to be prepping & navigating for Sydney Hobart with their team.

Jump in the discussion thread if you wish…..

 

October 17th, 2017

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Inspired by the story above? Well here is a very similar opportunity…

The first of this breed to enter brokerage captivity, with a desire to bust loose and wreak some serious havoc.

A Volvo Ocean 65 that is absolutely ready to go, having undergone a full refit at the Volvo Ocean Race.

A full technical breakdown of this yacht is available on request.

Click here to learn more. Brought to you by Seahorse brokerage.

 

October 17th, 2017

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There some interesting boats in the SA Classifieds; how about a couple of genuine light air PHRF killer J/39’s, a Flying Tiger 10 or two, perhaps? Howzabout a Sunfast 3200? How about the prettiest, gray hulled J/145? Moore 24? melges 24?

Check them out; you can almost always find something that floats your boat!

 

October 17th, 2017

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Apologies if you have already seen this; for the rest of you – enjoy! And be sure to watch in in HD.

Title inspiration from Iggy Pop – ed.

 

October 16th, 2017

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After the Caribbean Islands were left devastated from recent hurricanes, Dutch yacht transport company Sevenstar quietly went to work. The result: last week Sevenstar delivered 140 pallets of aid, including generators, medicines and water at no cost to the devastated island of St Thomas for the American Red Cross.

Says Richard Klabbers, MD Sevenstar Yacht Transport: “We are frequent visitors to the Caribbean islands, delivering hundreds of yachts each year. Over the last ten years we have built many great relationships; they are close friends and are in great need of help to re-build their community. We have the ships, and we want to help. It is fantastic to be able to assist in a meaningful way with what we do best – providing timely transports in a well prepared and coordinated manner.”

We see it as our humanitarian responsibility to take care of those in need and where possible we will help at no cost.

Please contact Nic Kühne who is coordinating our aid efforts on should you feel we can be of further service.

 

October 16th, 2017

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The boys at OneSails Perth putting the finishing touches on their super bad filmless 4T molded sails for our Santa Cruz 33, Anarchy III. Omg, we are so stoked!

 

October 16th, 2017

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I have been reading about this latest “crisis” to befall the Volvo Ocean Race, formerly known as the Whitbread Round the World Race, and can only smile. Yup the VOR has finally grown up; the suits are “officially” in charge.

OK for those that have not been following a couple of things. The Volvo Ocean Race bills itself, and rightly so, as the preeminent fully crewed offshore ocean race and the 13th edition is about to set sail from Alicante, Spain this weekend. With just over a week to go to the start of the race one of the teams, Team AkzoNobel, decided that it was a swell idea to can it’s skipper. Can, as in fire him, or to put it in PR-speak, he was ‘invited to stay on but declined.’

The (former) skipper is the Dutch sailor Simeon Tienpont who has participated in two previous VOR races and has also been part of a winning America’s Cup team. Clearly the guy is qualified and he put together a formidable crew that includes Brad Jackson, an old mate of mine who is a Watch Captain, and Jules Salter a three-time veteran of the race. Did I mention that the next Volvo Ocean Race starts this weekend?

Before I get too deep in the weeds here I must note that I really don’t have a clue what actually happened. (we do, click here. – ed).  Both sides have (presumably) lawyered-up and the statements coming from both sides are as vague as a hookers perfume after a long night…:)  I have, however, been in this game for a long time and I can smell a suit from a mile away.

Tienpont, cleverly, wrote a lucrative deal with his sponsor before becoming engaged with them. AkzoNobel is, according to their website, “a leading global paints and coatings company and a major producer of specialty chemicals.” Fair enough and I can see why they would probably like to align themselves with a global brand like the Volvo Ocean Race especially since the idea of the VOR is all about being clean; as in the wind is free and the water is pure, and they make chemicals which I am guessing are not so clean or pure. But I digress. It seems that AkzoNobel has been less than impressed with the performance of their skipper and his management team, Steam Ocean B.V. There was, apparently, a cost overrun on some things and AkzoNobel used this as an excuse to terminate their contract with Steam Ocean B.V.  In other words the “suits” got involved.

Let me digress one more time. The very best thing that happened to the VOR was the appointment of Mark Turner as CEO. There are few people more qualified to run this race but less than a year into his term Mark is out. Resigned I believe (or was he pushed…:)?  Mark had many interesting and innovative ideas of how to bring this iconic event into the 21 century but it seems he might have fallen afoul of the bean counters. And he is out.

Late this afternoon there was a report that the aforementioned Brad Jackson has been appointed as skipper of AkzoNobel. Good for him and I am sure he will deliver but I have to wonder where you draw the line. Loyalty to your mate and the guy who hired you, or loyalty to the pay check that will come as skipper. That goes for the rest of the crew. They too could have resigned in protest and I read that there were plenty of rumblings on that note, but a job is a job and a paycheck is a paycheck so I don’t blame them. But I do blame the suits for their heavy handedness. One thing that sets a winning team apart from the rest is crew morale. I am sure that crew morale is at a low ebb on the good ship AkzoNobel.

So back to where I started. The Volvo Ocean Race has finally grown up and come of age. It’s now about money, bean counters, egos and suits. Surely this is a sign of a well developed event?

Don’t you agree?

Brian Hancock

 

October 16th, 2017

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Cruising Anarchy

Lots of other boats out here traveling this lonely blue highway. In the Northeast we are all heading south down the Atlantic coast, Delaware and Chesapeake Bays, and ICW. Lots of warm, blue water to chose from once you make further points south.

Some chose to spend more time offshore than others, but everyone has to make the New Jersey coastoffshore passage which is 120 miles with sketchy inlets and short weather windows this year. First it was hurricanes and tropical storms, now it’s autumn gales.

Sailors of all levels on boats of all different sizes, shapes and pedigree are out here. Folks on a C&C 38 blew past me and are well close to South Carolina by now. A kid on a Catalina 25 towing a hard dinghy is out there right now north of here (Atlantic City). It’s blowing 30 knots. He probably won’t die but must be shitting his pants by now. At least it’s a following wind and sea. Another C&C is continuing on south in a day or so. An old Pearson 30 is still north in Sandy Hook. Lots of French Canadians on Beneteaus. Met one couple on a Brewer 44 and another on a beautiful Baba 35. A Hunter 33 almost dragged into me. There’s a Shannon 28 floating around here somewhere…

I left from Lake Champlain in September onboard my 1968 Pearson Ariel 26, down the Champlain Canal and Hudson River. I was shit out into the ocean at the Verrazano Narrows south of NY Harbor where the Hudson, East River and Atlantic all meet. I solo’ed eighty miles offshore from Sandy Hook, New Jersey to Atlantic City where I’ve been stuck for five days.

A landlubber friend came to visit whom was intending to be my crew for a bit, but left me high and dry at the dock when she saw the size of my boat in comparison to the size of (everyone else’s boats) the ocean. All’s well that ends well, though. It looks like I finally have a weather window to continue south tomorrow. See you out there!

Emily Greenberg
S/V Vanupied
www.dinghydreams.com

Title thanks to Billy Idol.

 

October 16th, 2017

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Not Sailing

A photo released by Spanish Maritime Search and Rescue Society shows just what can happen when 50,000 tons of fertilizer overheats during transit.

The photo shows the 56,000 dwt British bulk carrier MV Cheshire, which suffered a cargo fire in August off the coast of the Canary Islands during a passage from Norway to Thailand with a cargo of ammonium nitrate fertilizer.

The cargo in all five of the ship’s cargo holds burned for two straight weeks until there was no more fertilizer to burn.

Read all about it.

 

October 16th, 2017

http://www.camet.com/

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