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Posts Tagged ‘Abu Dhabi’

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Screen Shot 2016-01-21 at 11.39.35 AMAs we pointed out last week, ISAF WORLD SAILING’s mealy-mouthed response to Malaysia’s violation of ISAF and IOC rules in their discrimination against Israeli sailors didn’t actually say much, nor, in our opinion, will it prevent a repeat violation amongst the Israel-haters hosting many of ISAF’s coming events.  As far as we can tell, ISAF WORLD SAILING hasn’t even invalidated the World Championship status of the Langkawi event despite clear noncompliance with the Racing Rules of Sailing and the ISAF/Malaysia’s Host Venue Agreement – and the fact that two of the perennial medal winning juniors couldn’t attend.

We’re not sure why World Sailing is so weak-kneed and impotent, but usually these things flow downward from the top; perhaps President Carlo Croce is too busy? Remember, this guy – ostensibly running the organization governing the entire world’s sailboat racing – is also the President of the Italian Sailing Federation and the President of Italy’s biggest yacht club.  Busy man?

Like us (and anyone else who’s been paying attention), the Israel Sailing Association has no faith in ISAF World Sailing, and they’re not going to hide quietly by while their athletes are unlawfully excluded from this Olympic-funded sport.  After reading the World Sailing statement on Malaysia’s malfeasance,  the ISA asked on Monday for a guarantee from Croce that Israeli sailors won’t be excluded from any future ISAF events.

“We are very concerned that their decisions have no teeth,” ISA President Gili Amir told The Jerusalem Post. “If we don’t remain on guard, we will find ourselves in the same situation ahead of the championships in Oman as we did in Malaysia.

“There are a lot of politics involved, and everyone just wants to get away with the minimum required. The president is facing an election in November and this is all politics. He wants everyone to support him. No one knows what will happen the day after the president is chosen and we are concerned.

“If there isn’t a proper warning period to make sure host countries act according to the Olympic Charter and that if they don’t they will lose the competition or be barred from taking part in the Olympics or sanctions of that sort which can change their stance, there is no point to this entire episode.”

Israel’s Yoav Omer and Noy Drihan did not have an opportunity to defend their titles at the Youth World Championships in Langkawi, Malaysia, earlier this month after the ISA said that it will not be participating in the event due to the demands made by the organizers and the fact the surfers had yet to receive visas.

The ISA claimed that it was told the surfers would not compete under the Israel flag, wouldn’t be allowed to use any symbol identifiable with Israel on their cloths or surfboards and that the national anthem would not be played should an Israeli win a gold medal.

“We are disappointed that Malaysia hasn’t been punished,” said Amir.  “We are also skeptical whether World Sailing plans to enforce its own decisions.  We are afraid that this is all politics and we only trust ourselves.”

After investigating the matter, World Sailing wrote in a statement last week that “all World Sailing championships involve an element of country representation, and at all these regattas, flags shall be displayed and winners’ anthems played. They shall be displayed and played equally for all competitors.

Organizing Authorities who are not able to meet this requirement should not bid, and will not be selected, to host future World Sailing championships.”

The sport’s governing body said that it “deeply regrets” that Israel’s representatives were unable to compete “due to the conditions imposed by the Malaysian authorities,” but also added that the ISA’s conduct contributed to the unfortunate outcome.

“That is complete nonsense. We did exactly what we were supposed to,” insisted Amir. “They received our letter 24 hours before we sent it to the media. They are telling tales. They had to somehow appease the Malaysians so they wrote that nonsense. It is entirely inaccurate. We went exactly by the book and they are looking for excuses after not meeting their obligations.”

Amir believes money is ultimately the source of the problem.

“Organizing an international sailing competition is an expensive business and World Sailing chooses countries in which it makes money,” explained Amir. “Places like Oman, Malaysia or Abu Dhabi pay World Sailing a lot of money to host events. They don’t even have any sailors so what incentive do they have other than a political one?

“This is a growing trend in recent years, with more rich Muslim countries bidding for competitions. We are waging a battle for all of Israeli sport and this shouldn’t be the case because this isn’t our private war. Israel has a Foreign Ministry, Sports Ministry and Prime Minister’s Office and I see this as their responsibility. They don’t give us the support we need. We shouldn’t even need to deal with this.”

Read the rest of the story here.


January 21st, 2016 by admin

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ISAF World Sailing today issued the formal report and recommendations for the Langkawi Youth Worlds in Malaysia we’ve all been waiting for.  You remember – just a day ago, they told us it would be some groundbreaking shit, and we told you not to hold your breath.  It’s not complete crap, and it certainly moves the conversation forward.  But as you’d expect from a report written by an obviously conflicted party working for ISAF, it’s mostly a whitewash, and pretty much every ‘fact found’ had already been published in the Sailing Anarchy Forums or Israeli press days or weeks before.  Let’s have a look (Report excerpts are indented):

So Sorry

World Sailing deeply regret that 2 sailors from the Israel Yachting Association (IYA) were unable to compete at the 2015 Youth World Championships due to the conditions imposed by the Malaysian authorities, in order for them to be allowed permission to enter the country and compete at the regatta. 

They’re sorry!  We cannot remember the last time ISAF apologized for anything.  That means more than you might think.


The key facts are set-out below and as a consequence of the investigation World Sailing re-affirms and defines more explicitly, the requirements of its “no discrimination” regulations on all regatta organizers. In summary, going forward, in the event of a breach of the “no discrimination” regulations at a regatta, World Sailing shall at its discretion impose sanctions on the Member National Authority (MNA) concerned. These may include:
• non-selection as a future venue;
• denial of appointment of World Sailing race officials to future regattas in the country, and / or
• cancellation of membership of World Sailing.

Notice these ‘sanctions’ are not mandatory despite the use of the term ‘shall…impose’; the words are gutted by the loose legalese ‘at its discretion’ and ‘may include’.  It’s an old trick a lawyer uses when they think you’re stupid and they are trying to fool you.  This loose language absolves World Sailing from imposing any sanctions on any MNA as long as they don’t feel like it, and allows them to impose only the most token of sanctions if they want.  It also ignores perhaps the most important sanction of all: Invalidating the regatta where the discrimination occurred.

Organized Chaos

Countries who do not have diplomatic relations with the country of a chosen venue, and officials who know they may have difficulty over entry into a country, shall accept the need to highlight these challenges well in advance. Such countries shall be prepared to select sailors and plan participation early enough for arrangements to be made.

Changing venue after selection is never desirable. In future, World Sailing staff will explicitly report on the implementation of its “no discrimination” requirement at a World Sailing regatta to the committee responsible so that any emerging difficulties can promptly be escalated to the Council of World Sailing. 

Instead of a hard requirement that a suspect nation’s Minister of Immigration or State Department Chief or King or Chief Avenger sign a Host Venue Agreement (including the nondiscrimination clause) guaranteeing immigration status to all competitors, Chris Atkins’ report calls for ‘highlighting these challenges well in advance’.  So no real timing guidelines for the revolving door of ISAF volunteers who run these events, more of a call for someone to ‘say something, so emerging difficulties can be escalated.’  T.P.S. Reports, anyone?

Spread It Around

The conditions required by the Malaysian authorities breached Article 7 of the World Sailing constitution. The late starting of the process to enable Israeli sailors to participate, delays and poor communication by all parties during that process, and the late notification of the conditions, contributed to the outcome and made it impossible for World Sailing and IOC to resolve the incident before the championships.

Here’s another tricky passage that calls to mind ambassadors and diplomatic statements rather than a sport enforcing its laws.  It starts off so strongly: “Malaysia, you broke the fucking rules.”  But then it all falls apart in the time-honored method of cowards and diplomats everywhere – creating fictitious blame and spreading it around.  Despite their own timeline saying otherwise, Atkins blames both Israel and Malaysia for ‘delays’, even though the Israelis notified Malaysia of their team 2 and a half months before the event – plenty of time to get a visa in any country, and precisely the amount of time Israel needed to complete the regattas they used to select its team.  It was Malaysia who then waited almost two months before telling the Israelis the odious ‘conditions’ they’d need to meet if they wanted to compete: No public presence, no purchasing of anything, no attendance at the event off the water, no anthem, national sail identification, and so on.  Atkins somehow has the nerve to write that it was the ‘late notification of the conditions…’ that contributed to the outcome; but it wasn’t.  It was the despicable, discriminatory conditions themselves that created the problem, and ISAF and the IOC’s lack of spine that allowed it to go on.  End of story.

The Five Commandments

• All sailors at all sailing events shall be entitled to race with their country code letters on their sails. A requirement for sailors to enter any sailing event under “World Sailing” or other disguising title breaches World Sailing regulations.
• If country flags are to be displayed, anthems played, or national team clothing worn, this shall apply equally to all sailors from all MNAs.
• All World Sailing championships involve an element of country representation, and at all these regattas, flags shall be displayed and winners’ anthems played. They shall be displayed and played equally for all competitors. Organizing Authorities who are not able to meet this requirement should not bid, and will not be selected, to host future World Sailing championships.
• The principle also applies to officials appointed by World Sailing to regattas. An Organizing Authority or host country MNA shall not seek to restrict such appointments on the grounds of race or any other discrimination.
• With regard to security, World Sailing believes that security is the responsibility of the host country; and there shall be no obligation to accept other nations’ security personnel. Security considerations may mean sailors from different countries are treated differently ashore.

We like this concise list of the kind of behaviour that’s prohibited as it doesn’t leave much up to interpretation.  But neither do the current IOC or ISAF rules, and Malaysia (and Oman, and Abu Dhabi) ignored the hell out of those.  Remember, the danger here is some vague possibility of sanctions levied on a whole nation by a body that’s shown no stomach for it; does anyone think that this won’t be a problem five or ten years down the road when the next country decides it wants to exclude people for whatever reason?

The final bullet above is a direct reference to the excuse that Malaysia gave for the Israeli situation – like George W. Bush, they trot out the old ‘risk to security!’ to explain their visa conditions.  Israel presumably said “fine – we’ll send our own bodyguards”.  Malaysia didn’t like that, and ISAF is trying to head the problem off with this term.  Let’s all keep our fingers crossed that we don’t have to revisit this one anytime soon.

Days of Future Past

While the report conveniently ignores the string of ISAF screwups that led to Malaysia being awarded the Youth Worlds without an ironclad nondiscrimination guarantee despite their knowledge that it was a potential problem, it does clearly lay out what’s prohibited in a way that can’t be ignored, and it should be commended at least for doing that job somewhat competently.  But what about the 900-pound elephant in the room?

We’re talking, of course, about the validity of not just the Youth Worlds, but also last year’s RS:X Worlds in Oman (an Olympic qualifier) as well as the 2014 and ’15 Sailing World Cup Finale in Abu Dhabi – all regattas with discriminatory visa issues that excluded top Israeli sailors.  The Atkins report itself cites an October statement from the International Olympic Committee – the body from which ISAF and MNAs get much if not most of their funding from – addressing the problem head-on.   The IOC wrote that for all competitions taking place under the auspices of an International Federation or National Olympic Committee or their continental or regional associations, it has to be ensured that all athletes from all their members can enter a country to compete and are treated equally. It was agreed that should this rule not be respected, the event in question cannot serve as a qualification event for the Olympic Games or any other championship. [emphasis ours].”

The Atkins report adds that “World Sailing confirms it will apply this guidance strictly to all future sailing regattas.”  But what about the qualification events that just happened?  How are they somehow considered valid despite clearly violating the IOC rules?”

Next Crisis

All in all, the ISAF World Sailing Report on Malaysian discrimination has holes big enough to drive an RS:X through.  That being said, it’s more direct and clearer than almost anything ISAF has done in years.  When one has been fed a diet of rotten food and offal for as long as one can remember, a piece of Wonder Bread tastes like the finest gourmet meal.  With Oman on deck for the Youth Worlds and Israel scheduled for the year after, here’s to the hope that the next meal is something a little better, and the one after that, better still.


January 13th, 2016 by admin

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The Malaysian visa denial scandal has started a full-fledged political brouhaha in Malaysia’s government, but there’s plenty going on under ISAF’s roof as well, with a crucial emergency meeting coming up on the 8th of January.  We turn to SA’er “Rail Meat” for a more analytical look at the situation, and what you can do to make your opinion heard before the ISAF meeting. To really dig into it and find all the links and public statements, read the SA Forum thread.

In what is normally a quiet week, there has been a lot of activity in the halls of the various organizations that govern sailing.  I honestly did not expect to see as much action as we have seen, given the fact that most of the world disconnects between Christmas and New Year’s.

Since Sailing Anarchy first lit up the story about Malaysia injecting politics into a World Championship sporting event, there has been progress made.  Several National Authorities including US Sailing, the Danish sailing federation, the German national sailing authority, the Dutch national sailing authority and the New Zealand national sailing authority have all made public statements that rejected Malaysia’s actions and forcefully urged World Sailing (ISAF) to take action.  Some have wished for additional or different language in their responses, but in my view it was pretty remarkable that five significant national sailing authorities were able to quickly mobilize the necessary quorum to publish these statements in a timely fashion.  It highlights the apparent failure of other significant sailing authorities to similarly support fair play in sailing, with no political influence.

I have also been heartened by the degree to which US Sailing President Bruce Burton has been wiling to engage in direct dialogue on the topic.  He responded to an email I sent him on the topic, and engaged in an on-going dialogue that has been notable for its honesty, candor and desire to see something done about the type of politics that we saw play out in the Youth World Championships.  He certainly had better things to do with his holiday week than to engage with me, and the level of detail he was willing to get into suggests to me that there is a forthright desire to see World Sailing make changes in future events.  The actions taken to date by US Sailing along with the direct communication I have had with President Burton goes a long way towards restoring faith in US Sailing, and makes it far easier for the US Class 40 to renew its membership.

World Sailing’s initial response, while reasonably quick, was weak.  Dispatching someone to Malaysia who was probably already going to be there is hardly a endorsement of the values we as sailors want to see in this situation.  The fact that they have convened an emergency board meeting for January 8 is a positive sign that they are taking the situation seriously, or are at least engaged enough to understand that there is real anger across the sailing community over this situation.  But their statement of December 31 has some worrisome language.

When they wrote that “[World Sailing] acknowledges that delays in communication by both Israeli and Malaysian officials in the lead up to the regatta have contributed to the situation spiraling into the current controversy” is a poor attempt to obscure the fundamental reason for this “current controversy”.  The only reason there is any controversy is because Malaysia initially denied the Israeli athletes visas, then would only grant visas if the Israelis accepted intolerable and embarrassing restrictions that no other countries’ athletes were subject to.  World Sailing’s language suggests that the Israelis were some how at least partially responsible for the outcome, a completely false canard that seems to be World Sailing’s way to spread blame and take the focus off of Malaysia and World Sailing’s culpability.

It is too late to take any action that will impact this year’s Youth World Championships.  It will forever be tainted by this controversy with its host country rightfully being scorned by the world wide sailing community and its participants unfortunately never able to have the satisfaction of knowing that their accomplishments were achieved against the all of the world’s best.

It is not, however, too late to hold World Sailing accountable to make the kind of changes so that this will not happen again.  This will not be easy.  The very structure of World Sailing insulates its decision makers from that accountability.  National Sailing Authorities have important influence, but even their ability to drive action is indirect at best.  The IOC certainly has a strong influence in the form the financial contribution it makes to World Sailing, and maybe for the first time, the world’s sailing community can actually be heard, and bring more conversation to the issue.

So what can you do?

1) IF you’re in a country whose National Authority has not yet made a statement on the Malaysia visa issue, reach out directly to your national MNA via phone, email, or social media, and let them know what their membership wants to see and what you will do if you don’t see action.

2) When your authority has made a public statement, hold them accountable for following through on it.  Far too frequently, these statements become lost in the shuffle, their makers forgetting promises almost as soon as they make them.

3) Contact the key parties in World Sailing directly!  They do this ostensibly because they love sailing, and their job is to represent their members.  You can submit a general contact via the ISAF website, or reach out to Carlo Croce, Nazil Imre, George Andreadis, Chris Atkins, Adrienne Greenwood, Gary Jobson, Quanhai Li, and W. Scott Perry – the full Exec Committee – via social media or your own contacts.

4) Reach out directly to the people who have the most contact with these types of situation -the Events Committee – and tell them how you feel.  It’s a small smart and a big committee, so you might know some of them, and their contact info is here.  Conversation and discussion can only help these hard-working volunteers do the right thing.

5) ISAF and the Events Committee get a significant amount of operating budget from their sponsors.  If you’re not happy with ISAF’s response, let those sponsors know via social media or e-mail.  They may not even know that the event they sponsor has  discriminated against Israeli athletes.

As you’d expect, a wide variety of thoughts have been shared on the Sailing Anarchy thread about the “correct” course of action that should be taken by World Sailing, but a few ideas seem to be consistently repeated:

1) Malaysia should be censured, perhaps by being denied the right to host any future events (including the Monsoon Cup) for the next several years

2) World Sailing/ISAF should enhance their screening process to look for such things as governmental policies that prohibit visas to citizens of certain countries or are discriminatory in other ways.  Another enhancement would be cooperation with other sporting authorities to determine if athletes in other hosted events have experienced unfair practices.

3) A demand from World Sailing that if awarded an event the national authority and the government guarantee that all athletes will be treated equitably, and an understanding that failure to follow through on this commitment could result in loss of the event or a ban on hosting future events.

4) The understanding that if sanctions are taken by World Sailing against a country, then those actions will be shared with the governing authorities for other sports for their own evaluations.

Given by an apparent history by both Oman and Israeli in holding up visas for athletes in prior events, World Sailing should require a commitment from both countries in order for them to keep the events scheduled in each over the next two years.

If you are going to share your thoughts, do it soon.  January 8 is coming up quickly.

Michael “Rail Meat” Hennessy


January 4th, 2016 by admin

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As usual, it takes an Anarchist to put things much more rationally than the hothead editors of Sailing Anarchy.  Longtime SAer and solo racer “Railmeat” gives us a sober answer to the question we’ve now been asked by several hundred readers: “What can I do about ISAF and the Israeli visa situation?”

ISAF, on its own, won’t be able to change a country’s policies. But what it can and should do is use its influence to ensure that the sport under its purview is kept free of those politics. And that starts with ensuring that it does not sanction events in countries that to not welcome athletes from all UN recognized countries, and welcome them on equal terms.

ISAF is funded through several revenue streams, but in no small part through all of us, the sailors. They receive revenue streams from associations, and through national sailing authorities, and those organizations are directly funded by all of us.

If you agree that sports should hold to the naïve but worthy goal of being free of these types of politics, then the answer is simple. Take action with your national authority, and the associations you are part of. Make them put pressure on ISAF to do the right thing. Make them commit that if their representatives, our representatives, are part of the decision making process then they are making the right decision on which countries are rewarded with sanctioned events.

Make those thoughts known by emailing your representatives, and make it known by with holding your dues. Speak your mind, and speak loudly.

The USA Class 40 will not be renewing it’s US Sailing membership until they forcefully and publicly state that their reps will not vote for events in countries that engage in this type of discrimination and that they, as our national representatives insist that ISAF make a similar commitment. I will also be sharing that action with the full board of the Class40.

Likewise, my own personal membership renewal arrived in the mail this past week and I will not be renewing that membership to US Sailing until they take those actions. I will also suggest to every organizer of an event that I participate in this year that they should not make US Sailing membership a requirement for participation, nor confer benefit for such membership until US Sailing takes a stand against this type of behavior.

Make your voice heard, and not just in these forums.

Michael Hennessy

More answers here, and don’t forget the power of your social media account!  Twitter and Facebook activism WORKS, especially when you include the big sponsors in your hashtags. 

December 29th, 2015 by admin

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Future SCOTW Clare Bright grabbed a press spot with the inshore-blitzing Team SCA boat during the practice race in Abu Dhabi last week on the condition that she tell us their story; given how many fans Samantha and the team have here at SA, we were stoked when it hit the inbox the other day.  Track the girls, as they hang on for dear life at the back of the Leg 3 standings.  Photos from proud hubby Jeff Bright.

IMG_7130OK, this is me…I’m a Brit, grew up on the North Kent coast and crewed Condor Cats as a kid, found it all too cold in that part of the world and gave up for many years, then moved to Abu Dhabi and started again on keelboats.  That was just over 3 years ago and now I’m a mad sailing addict, race regularly in IRC and one-design fleets, sometimes against my better half (yes, I can beat him!) and could not believe it when I got the opportunity to go out on the TeamSCA Volvo boat thanks to Sailing Anarchy.  Here’s my story:

Sailing with ‘the girls’ for the practice race was an amazing experience. The Volvo boats are stunning and the top end of the sport has gone too long without all-girls team. I run my own female team, albeit a much smaller one, on my SB20 and the dynamics are quite different to being out with a male crew.  We focus on a clean race, finding our own lane, clear air and smooth maneuvers to tack, gybe or set/drop sails.  There are no port tack starts on a busy start line just to look macho, or legs spent chasing other boats downwind to try and take them up and out (which usually results in the aggressor taking herself out) or other such testosterone-loaded tactics.  And the result? Very often we quietly and smoothly gain places and end up with a podium finish and smiles on our faces.  It works!

Back to the Volvo race, that’s exactly what I saw with team SCA.  From the moment I stepped on board there was full focus on teamwork, the race, discussing tactics, practicing the starts, learning from every move and a subtle but firm, quiet and concentrated attitude.  With a couple of changes amongst the crew there was an air of needing to get back into a rhythm and it sure didn’t take long.  The girls were a little early at the start, killing time to the line, then they played the course perfectly going left first, which often pays off in Abu Dhabi while the offshore wind is settling, and rounding the first mark in the lead.  From that point their tactics were about getting ready for every maneuver early and to keep things clean. Looking back, the guys were desperately trying to catch up and clearly not so calm. I was smiling as I watched spinnies with bad sets or late drops causing mark roundings that weren’t so clean, the girls showed everyone how to do it that day.

IMG_2781Plenty of people thought the team got lucky…until they did it in the In-Port Race.  This time watching from one of the media boats, we saw the girls peel off early and the general commentary out on the water was that they probably had no choice given their position after the start.  How wrong could they be! What the locals know is that there’s a narrow channel running across the bay near the gate end of the course.  Going right early they took both an advantageous wind shift and current help, taking them around the top mark with a solid lead. They won on excellent tactics, navigation and skill – both times.

I’m sure you’ll be wondering if any of the crew really stood out, but the truth is that they all did.  Pure teamwork is a joy to watch, with everyone playing an important and integral role. Libby as navigator called the lines perfectly, then Carolijn would add some fine tuning as she spotted a wind shift or wanted a better position while driving.  Up front, the foredeck team was incredibly smooth and there was great communication between them and the rest of the crew.

Foredeck is my favorite place to be on my SB20, and I would love to have been up there helping out!  Sadly, I had to stick to the guest role, watching from the back.  Next time, eh? The trimmers worked constantly, and everyone from mainsheet to bow made sure to always keep the boat tidy, never leaving a chance to mess up from a tangled sheet as they were all back in the bags when needed.   Even OBR Corinna Halloran played a fundamental role, looking out for the guests IMG_7098and snapping great pics for all of us.  If there’s one thing I noticed that possibly use improvement, it would be for the girls to make sure they always know who’s in charge when it hits the fan.  A gentle inshore race in Abu Dhabi might be fun and the consultation amongst the girls is always going to be valuable, but the challenges on the next leg may need a fast, clear decisionmaker in the crew.

The Volvo Ocean Race Abu Dhabi stopover has been an incredible week!  Over a hundred thousand people checking out these awesome boats, some great racing for the participants, the VIPs, and the spectators.  The way the shore teams, Boatyard staff, and VOR HQ support the teams and public is outstanding, and I just hope that both Abu Dhabi and SCA sign up for another go, because we would love to have them back in three years.

January 7th, 2015 by admin

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After receiving thousands of applications for the On-Board Reporter program, and with a high likelihood that at least one of the seven OBRs would be knocked out of the race for one reason or another, you’d think that VOR headquarters would have a solid list of qualified replacements – but you’d be wrong.  And when doctors diagnosed Dong Feng OBR Yann Riou’s wife with a life-threatening illness and he left the race two weeks ago, a mad scramble ensued in Alicante and Abu Dhabi to find someone to fill his brilliant shoes.

Thankfully, that lack of preparedness opened the door for a kid who we consider one of our own, and one of those talents who will help define the sport over the next decade: Longtime SA contributor Sam Greenfield was working in the video edit room for the VOR tv army – he was there, he was ready, and he was raring to go.

If you’ve read anything over the past few years here, you know we think Sam is sailing’s version of a young Warren Miller, and his work has the same potential to revolutionize the perception of a sport just as Miller did for backcountry and extreme skiing.  Despite our hearty endorsement, there was a palpable fear from quite a few VOR and team staffers; Sam is undeniably talented, but he’s never dealt with the specific pressure of on-board race coverage, with all the obstacles it brings.  We didn’t doubt him for a second, and after watching his first dispatch from the now-leading Dongfeng Race Team, we’re glad to see that, as usual, we were right.

This kid is money, as are the subjects in his first video – Kevin Escoffier and the hazards of fishing nets. Clicky the video above, and keep your eyes on the Leg 3 thread for upcoming interviews we did with all 6 OBRs just hours before the start, as well as everything else you need to know about the VOR.


January 4th, 2015 by admin

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Screw football:  Let’s watch some boat racing!  Team SCA, with 3-time Olympian Carolijn Brouwer taking over the stick from Sam Davies (who moves to trim and big-picture stuff)  gets their first In-Port Race win today in Abu Dhabi!  With the In-Port Races getting more and more important as the fleet’s parity becomes evident, this was some of the most aggressive racing we’ve seen yet from the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race. Team Brunel finished second, and the local favs in third, with MAPFRE’s woes continuing and Alvimedica caught along with the Spanish team on the wrong side of a big first-beat righty.

Check out Clean’s raw interviews with Sally Barkow, Carolijn Brouwer, Bouwe Bekking, Anderson Reggio, Nick Bice, and Patrick Shaughnessy as well as dozens of pics from Anarchist JeffB starting about here in the Abu Dhabi stopover thread.

And be sure to tune in at the same time on Saturday for all the action from the Leg 3 Start – with Chris Nicholson alongside Knut and Clean for the OTW commentary. We’ll have it right here on the front page, of course.



January 1st, 2015 by admin

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Mr. Clean’s headed over to Abu Dhabi next week to bring you more of what a sailor wants to see, but already, SA Middle East Bureau Chief Jeff B is on the ground putting his own slices of life together with some Canon L glass.  He ain’t Borlenghi but he’s got a good eye, and we can definitely say we’ve got the only VOR-accredited photographer who flies fighter jets!

Jeff caught this awesome Lego Team SCA boat in the race village, and we learned the (now old) story of why it’s going with them around the world; very cool stuff that you can learn too if you get to the Abu Dhabi Stopover thread for all sorts of pics of the haulouts, the teams, the race village, the Boatyard, and much more.

And don’t forget to check out the live feed when Clean and the VOR team bringing you the In-Port Race and Leg 3 Start on the 2nd and 3rd of January.

December 16th, 2014 by admin

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From a healthy-looking yachtie to a meth-addled trucker in just 3 weeks; Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing war correspondent Matt Knighton shows just how hard life is at the extreme – and there hasn’t even been an extreme leg yet.  And he’s got the least physically demanding job on the boat.

Nice work from Ian Roman.  Now get that man a burger!

December 15th, 2014 by admin

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Dongfeng Racing hangs on to a slim lead over Bouwe and the Brunel boys, with Ian Walker’s Abu Dhabi team just a few miles back with a hair over 100 miles to the finish.  And when the sun comes up in Abu Dhabi today, the Volvo Ocean Race folks will bring the last piece of the Leg 2 puzzle to you live. Click the link above for the countdown timer, and look for videos, analysis, and share your predictions and banter in the thread.


December 12th, 2014 by admin


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