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Posts Tagged ‘antigua’

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Massive shoutout to sharp-eyed crew of Volvo 60 Esprit De Corps IV Charlotte Rousellot, who gets the second Sailor Chick of the Week award this week for her part in the rescue of the crew of the Bermudian racer Monterey when they abandoned their 56 footer during the recent Antigua Bermuda Race. “After five days sailing day and night, the 60-foot monohull had just crossed a long and frustrating zone of weak winds when an orange glow appeared on the horizon,” writes Tristan Peloquin, who says that Rousselot first thought the first flare she saw was a burning ship before realizing what it was and waking the rest of the crew.  Amazingly the V60 had a journalist from Canada’s La Presse aboard, and the result is some of the best boat-on-boat rescue footage we’ve ever seen, as you’ll note in the video above.

We think (but we’re not positive) that this is Charlotte’s Facebook Page if you want to give her some props…if we’re wrong, apologies to the good looking sailing chick at the link.  Thanks to our friend Francois Silvestre for the heads up, and thanks to E.B. White for one of the world’s best childrens’ stories (and a great treatment for juvenile epilepsy).

 

May 31st, 2017 by admin

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Clean Report

The Gunboat G4’s famous flip in St. Barth’s a couple of years ago didn’t do wonders for the marketing plan behind that ‘cruising’ foiler, but the dedicated racers developing the DNA F4 one-design spinoff of the G4 have been following a different, more logical path.  Two-time America’s Cup winner Shannon Falcone (who sailed the G4 extensively) and the team at DNA have been working up the 30-knot-plus machine in Antigua to find her limits before going into full production, and they found those limits a few weeks ago while testing the boat on a squally day off the West Coast of the island.    We spoke to the guys in Holland to get the story (and if you want to see the F4 being built in the DNA factory, click here for the full tour we did back in November.)  Here’s a photo from under the boat, and here’s a look at the F4 at 30 knots on a more typical daysail.  In a bit of bad news for race fans everywhere, the golden F4 won’t make the start of yet another record-setting fleet in the Caribbean 600.  Anyway, here’s the official statement:

Thanks for your inquiry, Clean.  Although everyone knows cats can flip, we would wished it wouldn’t have happened on a sunny day in the Caribbean after they’d already survived rough weather and storms from NY to Bermuda and then another thousand-mile trip to Antigua without issue!  But hey, it happened – so let’s learn from it.  That’s why Shannon has been working so hard to learn the boat.

While we hope you get the story straight from Shannon [it’s coming sooner than you realize] we learned from him that he was sailing inside the jib, heading towards the harbour while his crew were on the bow getting the furled FRO down on the tramp.  A squall and a big shift caught them with the jib on the winch, and even with the main blown off completely, the pressure on the jib slowly carried them over.

In association with Andrew “Macca” Macpherson, we’ve been working for some time on a system that’s essential for these kinds of boats, and this incident reinforced its need. While winged AC boats and sealed-mast cats lay on their sides in a capsize, boats with more conventional masts turtle almost immediately, making recovery complicated and causing damage to electronics.  That’s why we’re excited about the mast-mounted inflatable balloon system we’ve been engineering for the TF-10 trimaran and G4 and F4 foiling cats; in the rare case that one of these boats goes over, there’s no reason they shouldn’t be able to be righted quickly and easily.

We’ll have more news on the system later, and while we get the boat back in racing shape, feel free to check out this video of the F4 sailing in BDA and Antigua.  She’s a dream!

February 15th, 2017 by admin

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img_0727Looking for an extra $10,000 while you’re lounging in the Caribbean? Read on.

A young English couple and their two adorable kids saw their cruising dream fall apart just before Christmas when they abandoned their disabled yacht Dove II in sporty conditions about 500 miles East of Antigua.  Two Chinese cargo ships couldn’t make the rescue, but the lee they created while standing by helped the crew of the charter Discovery 67 Tilly Mint pull the crew of Dove to safety with a life raft.  Here’s an excerpt of the rescue story from the rescuees, and head over to their blog for an extremely positive look at the aftermath of a decidedly non-positive experience.  The story begins with the disintegration of Dove’s rudder, here. 

Around 5 o’clock a lot happened, Falmouth coastguard rang and advised James to leave the vessel, Fort de France followed and advised the same, Newseas Jade moved towards us, into a position to create a lee and Tilly Mint bounced around next to us looking gorgeous. When they’d radioed the night before they had sounded so professional, now we could see them and they looked professional.

img_0718We confirmed the plan on the radio and then it all happened so fast, Jim deployed the life raft off the back of the boat and then we had a moment, it was probably three seconds long but it was beautiful and broke my heart all in one and then I jumped, off the boat and fortunately into the life raft. Now I must pause here, when you think of life rafts you think I could do that, I could hang out in a life raft, drifting around, life would be fine and I’d survive. No, just no. This one was a six man raft, it was tiny and you feel incredibly exposed and open to the elements, it’s sitting on a piece of plastic floating over 4000ft of sea? I got on my knees and James basically threw me Heath, he was so brave, I hadn’t witnessed him and James’s goodbye but he just sat where I told him, didn’t scream, didn’t cry, he just said “Mummy, I don’t like this!”

Isla came down next and again she landed in my arms in the raft, she was very scared but she sat down next to Heath. I was saying things like ” its like a paddling pool!” But as I looked at their faces they were just scared and in the end I just said repeatedly “you’re fine, we’re going to be ok” Tony appeared in the raft and James cut us free, we were off the boat, we were in a life raft in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. This is a shit situation but we’ve got to get out of it and we unfortunately have to do that ourselves, so we all tried to stay calm.

Now, about that 10 grand: The patriarch of the Dove family posted this today: URGENT $10,000 REWARD FOR RECOVERY. Sadly we had to abandon our yacht DOVE II 460nm due east of Antigua on the 21/12/16. We are now trying to find out where it is with the hope of recovery and carrying on with our adventure.  It should now drifting towards the islands.  Could I ask people to keep a sharp lookout for it and report any sightings to myself or the coastguard. Many thanks, James.

You can read the full story of what actually went wrong on our blog.

Find out where the yacht is likely to drift by cruising the thread.  Photos from the Dove II blog.

January 9th, 2017 by admin

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Saturday is a great day for videos, and this one might just open your eyes to a much wider application for foils than we’re used to.  This one comes from SA fan and top kiter and SUP stud Kai Lenny, who we first ran into during our G4 sailing last year in the Caribbean.  Kai’s got soul, Kai’s got skills, and with this foiling paddleboard he’s got  (to paraphrase Commander Cody): “Man, what a ride.”

May 7th, 2016 by admin

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Antigua Sailing Week remains one of the fullest ‘race weeks’ available anywhere in the world, and it’s great to see the Caribbean fixture on the upswing.  SA pals Roddy Graeme Grimes and Robin Johnston put together this sweet little highlight reel from day one, and you can find pics, news, and more on their Facebook Page.  Results after day one are here.

 

April 25th, 2016 by admin

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Bang! goes the gun for the Caribbean 600; is anything quite as pretty as a big fleet of big boats racing into the tropical blue sea? Nice editing work from the RORC guys on this start video from yesterday; track ’em and watch the rolling leaderboard here. Argue about the race, monohulls and multihulls, and what an asshole Mr. Clean is here.

For bonus coverage, check out Comanche bowman Shannon Falcone, publishing short vids during the race on Instagram.

 

February 23rd, 2016 by admin

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Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 8.18.23 PMIf 500 miles a day isn’t cruisey enough for you, how about a metre-long barracuda coming over the stern?  Shannon Falcone posts this pretty pre-sashimi shot from the Charleston to Antigua delivery on the eve of the already-a-legend RORC Caribbean 600. Go to Instagram to find the usual advice from the ciguaphobic.

While the RORC’s only major fuckup – a useless registration system that makes it tough to find anything but an overall entry list – makes it hard to give you exact links, the quality of the fleet and the stories that abound make it worth watching:

Biggest fleet ever?  Check.

MOD70 match race featuring the most successful British sailing recordbreaker ever against France’s most-revered shorthanded sailor? Check.

Dozens of schooner sailors flinging 200-footers around like massive wooden dinghies?  Check.

Two of America’s newest maxi canters, one of them with a serious fishing pedigree? Check.

Race starts tomorrow morning.  What’s not to love?  Track here.

February 21st, 2016 by admin

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Clean Report

After a couple of years away from the island, I was pleased to get such a warm welcome from the folks in Antigua for this year’s Antigua Sailing Week.  I was even more pleased to see that Antigua – the granddaddy of the Caribbean regatta scene – is among the first in the region to recover from the serious fleet damage done by the GFC.  Like all the historic Caribbean regattas ASW is well down from its highs, this year saw 118 boats on the line in a wide stretch of handicap and charter classes.  That’s 15 more than last year, and double-digit growth is nothing to sneeze at these days – especially with Les Voiles de St Barths skimming off the top spenders in the fleet.

ASW’s secret is that there is no secret at all; just common sense, hard work, and a great sailing venue.   To wit:

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 8.27.28 AMThe format is widely lauded as perfect; a full week of mostly short-course racing split up by a layday with a huge beach party and stand-alone spectator-friendly regatta.  For folks who want high-intesity, windward/leeward racing, Antigua is the best of them all, with laid marks and 1-2 hour courses taking up the majority of the week’s racing.  Unlike with the long, lazy courses at Les Voiles de Saint Barth or the Heineken, when you hit the daily beach party at the end of the dock, you know you’ve earned he right to drink to excess (or eat fresh sushi prepared right at the Club!)  And with ASW providing the final ‘jumping off’ point for many of the serious charter and private racing yachts headed back to England for the Solent racing season, the competition – especially in the 40-foot range – is absolutely fierce.  That’s maybe why we love the regatta so much; like very few others, it has a great balance between hard-ass racing, non-stop shoreside partying, and family-friendly fun.  And with a consistent crew of media and video staffers who put together the video above, they’ve been good at sharing it with potential customers.

Owners and boat managers dig it because yachting infrastructure is substantial on the island, thanks to a combination of investment in facilities, private and governmental recognition of the sport’s economic value, and a seriously forward-thinking Yacht Club and National Sailing Academy.  For years they’ve been teaching locals to swim and then teaching them to sail their way into a fun and typically well-paying career working with sailing and powerboats, and it seems like everyone on the island has a brother or cousin who works on boats.  Don’t underestimate the power of friendly locals; few things make competitors want to come back more than feeling truly welcome.  Regatta organizers run huge parties for both racers and locals, bringing in bands like Steel Pulse and endearing the regatta to thousands on the island.  Thanks to this cooperative arrangement, everything is easy compared to other islands, and finding someone to sort out repairs, electronics, sails, carpentry – even carbon work – is possible with a few phone calls.  All in all, this place has what a race team needs.

We’ve only got two issues with ASW, and with their new partnership with Sailors for the Sea and their long-running deal with the Rubber Ducky Recycling nutters, we hope one will be solved easily; that’s the ASW association with Day Sponsor Yida International, the Chinese developer of a massive new resort that may seriously harm some of the most important coral reef ecosystem in the area.  Yida’s VP allegedly went on an alcohol-fueled rant against critics of the project at the regatta’s closing ceremony last week, but it was an unnecessary rant – the real economic reality on the island means the resort if a done deal.  Ppposition to the plan has been easily quelled with promises of prosperity and jobs; that makes it even more important for organizations like ASW, the National Academy, and the AYC to advocate for development that protects these crucial resources for generations of sailors and fishermen to come.  And that means not accepting sponsorship from a company that’s not doing anything to help.

The other criticism of ASW may also be easy to solve; the regatta is just a little too late in the season, and many potential US boats have already headed North.  Many potential charter crews are already sanding and painting their own hulls back home.  The Caribbean is a winter circuit, and this one is just a little too springy for most people we spoke to – a couple of weeks would definitely increase participation from this side of the pond, at least.

With those two caveats, we can heartily recommend ASW for anyone looking for real, hardcore, caribbean racing and partying.  Watch the full video edit above for a report on the week, and for bikinis, barbecue, and Clean on commentary (as well as some good enviro-reporting), watch the Nonsuch Bay RS Elite Challenge Regatta video here.

Screenshot of spectators cheering on RS Elite teams from inside the zone comes from Acqua Films/Roddy GG.  Those of you patiently waiting for my Gunboat G4 foiler report and video, sit tight.  It’ll be worth it.

 

May 11th, 2015 by admin

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Since getting his walking papers along with the rest of the Luna Rossa team, 5-time AC’er Shannon Falcone is playing with some new toys. Having locked up the win on Thursday, a local took his spot on the Gunboat G4 for Friday’s race so Shannon could shoot some foiling action from the sky.  Here’s a look at this budding videographer’s  movie, and you can check out all the week’s videos and pics on the Gunboat Facebook Page.

Sick of the G4 yet?  We’re not.  It’s fast, it’s bold, and it unabashedly sticks up the middle finger to the establishment.  More importantly,  the concept works.  And it works better than even the ever-optimistic Peter Johnstone expected.

We’ll have a world-exclusive Antigua race report and boat review from our Senior Editor soon, and a comprehensive video walkthrough of the boat and all her systems later this week.  Until then, click HD and watch it big.

 

May 3rd, 2015 by admin

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Screen Shot 2015-04-25 at 8.50.52 AMClean Report

The G4 ‘Wipeout’ video has already racked up some 330,000 views in less than a week, well on its way to million-view status.  But I barely had time to enjoy it last week before Gunboat Marketing chief Lauren Bataille sent me a text message.

Still coming?” she wrote of my already-booked trip to Antigua for some G4 racing at Sailing Week.

Maybe I’m crazy, but watching a sweet 30-knot run segue into a gentle capsize didn’t make me nervous; in fact, it had the opposite effect, and sitting here at Newark airport waiting for a connection to Antigua, I find myself watching that video over and over again.  What would I do?  Where would I hang on?  Do I really want to find out?

My answer remains as it was in my response to Lauren.  “Hell f*&^ing yes!

My seven-months pregnant wife always knows how to cut to the chase.  “If she flips, be sure it wasn’t your fault,” was her first directive.  “Oh, and wear a helmet.  And have fun.”  That part should be no problem at all.

Got questions about the interior, the exterior, the foils, the stove, the capsize, the electrical system…or anything else?  Well, so do we.  Plant yours in the G4 thread (without being a dick) and we’ll try to get an answer for you. Keep an eye in the forum, on the front page, and especially on SA Facebook for video and pics from Antigua.

 

April 25th, 2015 by admin

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