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Posts Tagged ‘Australia’

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Sydney Historic 18 Foot Skiffs

Here’s a good look at historic 18-footer Yendys on her way to a 2014 season championship win in the Sydney Flying Squadron with far too little mainsail on…Look at that boom!  Congrats to our good friend, sailing cheerleader, camera cat owner and all-around lover of sailing Bob Killick on the victory, and here’s a report from the Squaddie.  Bob Ross photo and full results here.

Race 27 (the final race) of the 2013-14 Season and Heat 7 of the Autumn Point score. The forecast for the day was anything but encouraging with the influence of an east coast low expected to produce extreme weather conditions. Consequently, skippers and crews rigged for the worst whilst hoping for the best as they prepared their skiffs amidst showers of rain. 8 skiffs under their smallest no.4 rigs and 1 GP18 set off for the start in Athol Bay. Whilst the breeze was quite fresh earlier in the day by the time the race got underway conditions had moderated significantly, with the prospect of more bursts of strong wind under the approaching banks of rain clouds on the southern horizon.

The race got underway from a handicap start on the #5 westerly course, with the breeze in the south to south-western sector. This is the shortest of the SFS courses and in comparison to the other courses is sailed in a confined section of the harbour. The limit markers all got away to a good start and soon settled in for a close race as they worked towards the Kirribilli mark. Alruth was first to round followed by Top Weight, Scot, Britannia and Tangalooma, for a tight reach down to Point Piper. Meanwhile there was a long gap before the back markers were on their way.

When the skiffs turned at Point Piper for the reach back to Kirribilli, it appeared that Top Weight was just ahead of Alruth with Britannia 3rd, then Scot and a break back to Tangalooma, then The Mistake, Aberdare and Yendys. At this stage we should point out that the rounding mark for the SFS course is the YA mark off Point Piper (a faded yellow and robust steel cylinder), and that the Double Bay S.C. was running a Laser class race with their start-line nearby (ie 200 metres to the west) that used a very bright yellow and skinny inflatable cylinder mark. In addition, it has been quite a long time since the SFS last ran a race on the #5 course.

When the skiffs turned at Kirribilli for the leg to Clark Island, Top Weight was just ahead of Alruth as they continued their 2-boat dual, followed by Britannia and Scot. The back markers had made up some time on the lead group but on such a short course the lead group would never be challenged with only the final leg to sail to the finish off Kirribilli.

Top Weight continued to lead down the final reach to cross the finish line just 4 secs ahead of Alruth, then a few minutes back to Britannia, another 3 mins to Scot, 2 mins to Tangalooma, then The Mistake, Aberdare and Yendys. However, Tangalooma was declared the race winner. It appears the first 4 skiffs did not round the YA mark off Point Piper, they used another mark nearby, sailed a shorter course and hence did not sail the course as prescribed in the Sailing Instructions. Aberdare took fastest time, completing the course in less than 1 hour.

It’s on again next season; we look forward to seeing you down at the Squaddie, and thanks for your ongoing support.

 

April 16th, 2014 by admin

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FishingTrawler_300pxDid anyone misplace a blue mast about 170 km west of Darwin, Australia last year?  If so, call Bill Passey from Australia Bay Seafoods to pick it up.  Passey said one of his ground trawlers had a huge snag last week in 90 meters of Timor Sea while fishing for snapper, and after about six hours of tugging, ‘something finally gave way.”  The fisherman hauled up a mast and sails that have become quite the mystery over the past few days.  Northern Territories water police are taking this thing seriously; while they can’t find any unaccounted-for Australians in their database, the boat could be from anywhere.

Springing to mind immediately is the tragic loss of the classic gaffer Nina last year; the timing works out but the mast color and location don’t.  One Anarchist suggested the mast may have fallen off a Fremantle to Bali Race competitor last May; the timing and location both work for this one, we can’t find any that fit the mast profile.

A huge percentage of Australia’s racers read Sailing Anarchy, so spread the news around amongst your friends and let’s see if we can solve this mystery.  Brainstorm in the thread here, and thanks to Bill E Goat for the heads up.  Here are the full details reported so far:

-Mast color: Blue
-Timing: “8-10 months in the water”, according to a shellfish expert’s examination
-Location: 170 km West of Darwin
-Depth: 90 meters
-Sails: “Match a type made by a boutique sailmaker in Sydney”
-Hardware: “Stainless rings on mast (maybe spinnaker pole mounts?) made in Auckland”

 

April 2nd, 2014 by admin

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Prowler

Despite inventing and perfecting the most wand-controlled t-foil flying system used by every Moth and plenty of imitators, John Ilett and his Fastacraft-built Moths were simply out-developed by Andrew McDougall and McConaghy China’s Mach 2 Moth in the supremacy of the world’s fastest dinghy.  Launched back in 2009, the Mach 2 has dominated every major event for half a decade, with the first real contender – the Exocet in England – getting a couple of top ten finishes at Worlds just this past fall and likely to get on or near the podium this summer at the Hayling Island Worlds.

Meanwhile, many have wondered what the Ilett boys have been up to over in Perth, Australia;  wonder no more; John’s been working on this beauty.  It’s the new Fastacraft Moth,  and it looks slick, sleek, and aero as hell.  John sent us a note:

This is the new boat, and its design, tooling and build methods have been designed with the intent of a real production run, assuming we get enough interest and orders.  In the short term, we can only build a limited number of boats that we hope can prove themselves in racing soon.  If we do go into a production run, the hull and trolley would be produced overseas, while all other components – foils, wing frame, rig, and wand/control systems would still be manufactured in our shop in Western Australia.

The first boat is just three weeks out of the box and pushing 30 knots – great control, no crashes!

Keep an eye on the new Fastacraft Moth here

.

March 25th, 2014 by admin

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cst skiffLooks like some breeze finally hitting the Harbour for the fourth race of what’s been a light air affair until now in the JJ Giltinan/18 Foot Skiff Worlds.  Today most of the fleet has their small rig up; will it pay or will it wallow?  Watch right here and a big shoutout to the great job the whole live streaming team is doing; it’s our privilege to be their Official Streaming Partner and we’re stoked there are another 4 days of great action ahead!

The Cocksweat aboard Thurlow Fisher Lawyers in the lead after three.  Make sure you register to view the video archive and play Pick the Podium.

 

March 4th, 2014 by admin

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18 picThe spectacular racing of the 34th America’s Cup was, at times, frustrating for we sailors, with an overhyped know-nothing commentator and an over-aged AC winner pointing out irrelevant facts and useless trivia in vain hopes of getting the ‘mainstream’ to buy into the live feed.  We got to see some of the most amazing sail racing ever captured on screen, but it was often better with the sound off.

This week’s 18 Footer Worlds (also known as the JJ Giltinan Championship presented by Sydney City Marine) might feature some of the same faces; AC34 Regatta Director and AC35 Challenger of Record CEO Iain Murray is helping out with the commentary at times, while numerous AC sailors are spread throughout the fleet.

But this broadcast ain’t for the landlubbers, it’s for sailors only, and the boys behind the microphone make no bones about it.  So if you’re a racer and you want to know who’s on the inside of what shift, and who’s got a slightly better kite drop than the other guy and the inside position at the Zone, this live coverage is for you.

Check out Day 3 of the JJ above, with all the news and current results from yesterday’s racing here.  Scroll down the page for yesterday’s video, and the highlight reels are here.

 

March 3rd, 2014 by admin

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Saturday’s abandoned race day for the JJ Giltinan/18 Foot Skiff Worlds got another chance on Monday, and with Gotta Love It 7 manager and Australian America’s Cup CEO Iain Murray on the Camera Cat with Killo and Marko, a great race with tons of lead changes and drama even if the good breeze never showed up…replay above and full story and news over here and plenty more action throughout the week, live here on the SA front page.

 

March 2nd, 2014 by admin

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An up and down 2 hours of racing in everything from 2 knots to 15 knots for the 18 Footers.  Watch it all above or fast forward to this page for the day’s results.  Tonight’s racing starts 2230 EST/1930 PST once again, and once again, it’s all live right here on SA.  Get over to Pick The Podium to bet on the winners.

 

 

March 1st, 2014 by admin

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UPDATE:

For the first time in the 75-year history of the JJ Giltinan, the first day of racing was abandoned after two races were started and sailed in a shifty and dying breeze – watch above for the call.  Monday’s lay day will likely become the replacement for the abandoned race day, and we’ll have it all live starting at 1430 Sydney time;10:30 PM US EST.  The coverage from yesterday is still damned good, especially for a team that’s doing its first fully live stream of 18 footer racing; go here to check out the videos from the day. 

Bob Killick hits us with the race report and the first Pick The Podium winner from a funky practice race on Sydney Harbour.  Register and get your entries in NOW: Just an hour and change left before the deadline!  Racing starts at 11:30 PM on the US East Coast; perfect for you drunken knuckleheads just coming in from the bar.  Or plug the computer into your club’s HDMI port and away you go!  Can’t watch it live?  Eyes on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates.

What can I say? yesterday’s Invitation Race was a practice race, and at this stage the Livestream gadget is 1 and and we are at 0.  Something about the brain to web interface…in other words, the ‘software’ that is us.  See, there you go:  The geeks are winning again!

Apparently the live tracking didn’t live up either, so 2 for the Geeks and still nought for the Camera Cat boys and girls.  To make matters worse, whilst heading into the Double Bay wharf the Camera Cat and Brett Van Munster’s 18 footer Kenwood Rabbitohs came together with a crunch.  Brett was not happy and we certainly should’ve had eyes on him with so many on the cat, but it could have been a lot worse as it sounded like we had taken his bow off.  Great evidence that Van Munster-built boats are tough [Bret builds the 18 footers and high performance carbon racing yachts at his shop North of Sydney -Ed].

Yesterday’s race video will be uploaded asap today, and is a must watch for you more serious players, because of the next two day’s weather forecasts.  We noted especially the ability of C Tech NZ, Yamaha NZ, and Mojo Wines’ ability to push it to the big rigs – something that shouldn’t happen.  Also, the performances of Pica UK and CST Composites USA who look to have the measure of the Sydney boats.  So look at their work when the video goes live and factor that in with the forecasts for today and Sunday before you Pick Your Podium!

So Gotta Love It 7 was a no brainer for most, but Pica UK was not on anyone’s radar, and as a result we had a stand alone winner yesterday. Congratulations go to Jimmy Flemming, who was the only entry with two boats in the correct finishing order: 7 in first, and Fisher & Paykel in third, nice job Jimmy! He wins the  Java sunnies from Barz Optics, takes the Bragging Rights for the race AND is our first winner to go into the draw on Sunday 9th for a crack at the best-ever set of major prizes for this JJ competition.  Prize donors listed over here along with the form guide for you P-T-P aficionados, and a big THANKS to them.

Entries close off for today’s JJ Race 1 at 1200hrs local Sydney time so get cracking and have a shot…..here’s an obvious tip: Just enter Gotta Luv it 7 as your 1st place pick, and at least you will get one right.  Good luck!

-BK

February 28th, 2014 by admin

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Screen Shot 2014-02-28 at 10.18.39 AM

We promised it to you…and not unexpectedly, the practice race for the 18 Foot Worlds found all the bugs in the live streaming system and shut the live stream down.  Our friends at 18 Footers TV promise us the first points-scoring race will go smoothly and we’ll have it right here.

In the meantime, the three “S” boys – Seve, Sammy, and Scotty – crushed it, with the new Gotta Love It Seven looking as strong as pre-race indicators and the form guide said, winning over UK challengers PICA by around a minute and a half.   The full report on the Invitation Race is here, and thanks to Michael Chittenden for the speed shot.  You can get updates from yesterday’s action via Facebook, enter the Pick-the-Podium competition here, and check this story for all the links.  If you’re having issues with any of it, get over to Twitter and send a message to @18Skiff and they’ll get it answered.  Tonight’s race coverage will start around 11:30 PM on the US East Coast; that’s 3:30 in the afternoon on Saturday in Oz.  Huh?

 

February 27th, 2014 by admin

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Whether you’re in the middle of the Southern Summer or like most of us, you’re still locked into the hellish landscape of ice and snow that is Winter 2013/14, we have got something extremely special for you beginning this Friday!  After our begging for it for years, the good folks of the 18 Foot Skiff Class have finally bitten the bullet to bring you FULLY LIVE COVERAGE of the entire week-long JJ Giltinan/18 Foot Skiff World Championships, and as their Exclusive Streaming Partner, we’ll bring it to you every day, right here on the front page of Sailing Anarchy!

This ain’t no stop-and-go stadium sailing surrounded by wind-blocking buildings, either – this is full-speed, full-on racing in beautiful Sydney Harbor at the height of sea breeze season, and if you thought ‘Eyedeens” were just for Aussies, you haven’t been paying attention: There are an amazing 34 teams from seven countries on the beach, with seriously credible challenges like the ass-hauling boys from the UK’s Haier Team in the video above as well as a veritable smorgasbord of America’s Cup, Olympians, Extreme 40′ers, Volvo Ocean Racers, and more.  You read that right: 34 of the fastest, flipppingest, launchingest, most acrobatic racing dinghies every created, picking their way through islands, ferries and spectators for the right to be known as the baddest boys (or girls, ’cause they’ve got them too) in all of dinghy-dom.  They may not be as fast as an AC45 or fly over the waves like a Moth, but let’s be frank here: There’s just nothing on the water that looks quite as awesome as an 18 Footer caught out with the big rig in a building breeze, careening from wave top to wave top, bows pointed skyward, crews leglocked together and hanging onto a tiny thread of spectra for dear life as they dodge sharks, crocodiles, and satan himself.

The format is simple:  There’s just one race each day with a lay day somewhere in the middle, and the first day is the Invitational – a non-points scoring practice race that lets some of the many visitors get to know the Harbour, and lets the streaming video team and RC get up to full speed.  Racing begins at 3 PM daily in Australia except for the two Saturdays, when it starts an hour later, and the live stream will start 30 minutes before that.  Never mind the time conversion – we’ll do it for you:  That means that for the next week, each night at 10:30 PM EST (7:30 PST) you’ll get a full 2 hours of live action from one of the most colorful and exciting regattas in the entire world, commentated by the hilarious and knowledgeable team of Bob Killick and Mark Heeley along with a stream of guest stars to help along. Here’s a little excerpt from 2010, with Killo explaining just what the Invitational is all about, and you can explore the past four years of JJ Giltinan racing videos in the archives here.

We’ll have the live player up a couple of hours before each day’s start, but in the meantime, now’s a good time to register at 18footersTV.com so you can enter the Pick the Podium Competition, where the sponsors are giving away a bad-ass retro bar fridge worth literally thousands of dollars and shipped to whoever wins it regardless of your nationality, cases full of high-performance Barz sunglasses, and more; there’s no cost to enter and each day you simply enter your three podium picks to be eligible for each day’s prize.  Will Seve Jarvin defend his title and tie the all-time wins total of the legendary Iain “Big Fella” Murray?  We certainly don’t know, but it will sure be fun to find out, and you might as well win some swag while you’re at it.

Run over to the 18 footers Twitter page if you can’t get to a real screen, and check into Facebook for a constant stream of info, including some soon-to-be-released shots of some of Sydney’s most beautiful sailor chicks that you’ll have to see to believe.

This event really does have it all, and we can’t wait.

 

February 27th, 2014 by admin

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Australia’s Brad Blanchard gave us some info on the kind of charity work we love.  Check out this amazing program; if you can help them out, do it.  If not, get over to Facebook and like them.  We’ll be following this one closely right through the 2014 Hobart, and we expect a major sponsor announcement today.

Southern ExcellenceOcean racing is a long way from the landlocked and war-torn country of Afghanistan, but it’s certainly helping some of our country’s wounded veterans heal their physical and psychological wounds.  Australia’s Soldier On charity was established in April 2012 by John Bale following the death of a mate, and the program is all about the Australian community coming together to show support for our wounded and ensuring they know we will always having their backs. It’s about giving those who have served our country the dignity they deserve and the chance to do and be whatever they choose through; providing access to inspirational activities, supporting rehabilitation and providing opportunities that empower them.

As a Soldier On volunteer and Veteran of modern conflicts including Iraq and Afghanistan, I developed my interest in sailing following retirement from the military.  After returning from combat, I craved adventure, excitement, competition, and competitive sailing and ultimately participation in the Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race was just the thing to scratch that itch. Recognising that a lot of other Veterans weren’t coping well after their service in conflict areas, I leapt at the chance to get involved with the Soldier On organisation. I realised that my involvement in sailing had helped me successfully transition out of the military and I wanted to inspire those who were struggling to get back into life, particularly those who had been injured, by helping introduce them to a sport I have become so passionate about.

After the first Soldier On Sailing Program was successfully run in 2013 out of Royal Perth Yacht Club, the organisation has now scheduled courses across Australia to help our Wounded Warriors get involved in the great sport of sailing. Incredibly, plans are now well under way to take one of these Veterans from sailing virgin to Category 1 ocean racer in less than a year by taking part in the 2014 Rolex Sydney to Hobart.

woolichAny sailor worth his salt knows that the Rolex Sydney to Hobart is one of sailings’ great ocean races and 2014 should see a huge and massively competitive fleet with the running of the 70th iteration. In thinking about how we could best capture the spirit of Soldier On’s Sailing Program and the resilience of wounded Veterans, we felt the Sydney to Hobart would be the perfect platform to raise awareness for such a great cause. As a fundraising event our venture will not only help Wounded Warriors recognise that there is life after service and injury but encourage wider participation in our great sport.

For the 70th Hobart, one ‘newbie’ wounded veteran and I will be crewing along with the Volvo 70 Southern Excellence II.  If you would like to follow our Soldier On 2014 Sydney to Hobart Challenge please head over to our Facebook Page here, and share it with anyone in the world who might appreciate it. To discover more about Soldier On and how they help our wounded Veteran community please visit them at www.soldieron.org.au. The official launch for this massive undertaking is today at the Royal Perth Yacht Club, and we are still looking for sponsors for this worthy program.
 

February 19th, 2014 by admin

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Myra too

We reported on yet another 18-foot skiff replica popping her cherry on Sydney Harbour the other week; now they are sail testing, and check out this shot from Aussie National Maritime Museum’s David Payne of the new Myra Too. 

Frank Quealey from 18 Footers TV wrote up a chat comparing the 18s with the AC72s with someone who should know: Oracle Team USA bowman/Gotta Love It7 forward hand Sam Newton.  Sam’s back on the red 7 boat in search of his fifth JJ Giltinan title in early March, he took a few minutes to discuss what he sees as the differences in the two boats.

“I had the pleasure of doing a lot of sailing and racing on the AC45’s and AC72’s over the past 2 years and between them I also experienced a lot of similarities to the 18ft Skiff.

When Oracle set the Protocol for the 34th Cup, their concept had a lot of similarities to what the 18ft skiffs have been doing for decades.  It was all about creating a spectacle for sponsors and fans, something the skiffs have done well for a long time. The racing is short and intense and the venue is close to vantage points to ensure it encourages a big following.

gotta love it 7 in action this seasonOn board the boats, the main difference between the Skiff and the cat is obvious.  Two hulls and a wing sail compared to the single hull and a conventional mainsail.  Another is the much larger team of eleven sailors on the AC72, which brings in a whole new dynamic.  All the boats are fast, they are all wet and they all get the adrenaline going when the breeze is up, which is what I love.  They all feel like your sailing on the edge in the higher winds, which keeps you on your feet and thinking ahead as you become fully aware of the consequences if it goes wrong.

One thing still remains; the 18ft skiff is by far the hardest to bear away at the top mark in 20+ knots.  The 45’s give good action to the sailors and spectators at the top mark as we saw through the AC World Series, and the 72ft Cats are a lot easier by using the foils to create lift in the bow which we don’t have the option of in the skiff.

It‘s been great to be back out sailing on Sydney Harbour.  From my travels, it’s still the best harbour in the world to sail and play and I’m enjoying being back with my long time sailing partner Seve (Jarvin).  Now it’s all about getting the new “7” skiff up to speed to challenge in the upcoming JJ Giltinan Championship, which is looking like being the most competitive line up in recent years.”

The Gotta Love It 7 team of Seve, Sam and Scott Babbage will go into the 2014 JJ Giltinan Championship as favourites in March, but face a challenge of more than 30 skiffs from six countries in the regatta, which will celebrate 75 years of the world’s greatest 18 Footer championship.  Stay in touch (and check out the new Livestream action) at the 18footers TV site.

 

January 15th, 2014 by admin

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Mast Break_2_Beau_Outteridge

Long time Anarchist Beau “Bangin’ the Corners” Outteridge did some of his usual wizardry with this dismasting from the Aussie 5O5 Nationals.  Beau’s brilliant when it comes to creative media and marketing; if you’re looking to help your Aussie or Kiwi event get some exposure, hit him up via LinkedIn here.  More info on the Aussie 5-Ohs here.  Title hits up the 80s for inspiration.

January 10th, 2014 by admin

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crowd on wharf Hobart

Ronnie Simpson checks back in with Part 2 of his Sydney-Hobart adventure.  You can read Part One here, and check back on this page for a final and probably debaucherous Hobart wrap-up later this week from the inimitable Mr. Clean.

Back to a non-poled out jib top in 40 knots, I remained on the helm and we managed more 16-18 knot surfs, but at horrible angles with the poor reaching jib flogging itself to death in the lee of the main. As the breeze dropped slightly, we hoisted the A3 and eventually chose to go back to the A2 around dinner time. I was off watch and down below when I heard the crew preparing for the peel. With just one tack line on the bow-sprit, we can not do proper kite peels and must douse and then re-hoist the new kite. Hoisting bareheaded the A2 wrapped itself around the headstay in what became the worst kite wrap i’ve ever personally seen. In one of those moments when a racing sailor sheds a tear of compassion for both the boat and the owner, we sent Ben up the rig to cut away the kite while myself and Rod “Fergo” Ferguson cut away the kite at the bottom. Eventually, we got the remains of the kite down into the forward hatch. More time lost. Things were going from bad to worse and the wheels were falling off for One for the Road and her crew. Back into the A3, we were under-wicked and slow, gybing dead downwind to remain where we thought we wanted to be.

Watching the barometer continue its rapid decline, we were expecting the breeze to go light and then instantly shift to the W-SW and quickly build with a forecast 50-60 knots on the leading edge of the front. Ben spotted the quickly approaching cloud line around sunset. Light refracted by the approaching moisture lit up the sky into a million fiery shades of pink and orange shrouded in an ominous grey cloud cover. It looked nothing like the lead-colored, cigar-shaped cloud line that I had read would indicate a southerly buster. Watch leader Jeff Shute made the call “kite down now! #4 jib on deck, deep reef the main!”. In a scene straight out of Rob Mundle’s book “Fatal Storm” (about the ’98 Hobart race), we were all on deck for our chinese fire drill, which we pulled off in just 3 minutes. The main was double, then triple-reefed as we expected the blow. The shift was immediate and with 20 knots we sailed slowly for half an hour before it built to 30. Then 35. Then 40.

Less than two hours after dropping the kite, we were in the full force of the front with breeze in the mid-40’s puffing into the 50’s. Adrian was driving as I began thinking to myself that it must be hard to drive as his normally spot-on helming was up and down of course. Handing me the wheel, I was confronted with the reality of how challenging the driving was. Driving half my shift 4-hour shift with 3 reefs in the main and #4 jib up, it was some of the most full-on, gnarly sailing i’ve ever experienced. Waves slammed into and broke over the boat with a spray that made it nearly impossible to keep my eyes open. Driving almost entirely by feel, I merely tried to keep the boat on course and avoid upwind wipeouts.

Exhausted from both physical and mental exertion, I fell asleep in my soaked foulies as soon as I got off watch. When I came back up on deck a couple of hours later, we were sailing bald-headed with the #4 lashed to the rail. I was not happy to see this as it meant we had continued to bleed miles to our rivals for an untold number of hours. I called for the storm jib. The boys agreed, so Ben and I went to the foredeck to tee it up. Coming out of the bag twisted and with the long pennant wrapped around the sail, Ben and I faced a monumental struggle just merely getting the sail ready to hoist. 50 knots of breeze, intense saltwater spray and breaking waves battered the two of us for what felt like an eternity before we were ready to put it up. Once we got the storm jib hoisted, boat speed went from 4 knots to 7+. We were racing again. Back in the cockpit, Ben clenched his fists and grunted “ahhh!!!, I live for this shit!!!”. A kindred spirit…

With the new sail configuration, the boat drove like a Cadillac while she tore through the building seas like a race horse on crack, leaping up and over each wave. With no light pollution and the strong clearing breeze, the stars were amongst the most brilliant i’ve ever seen while every wave that broke over the boat brought a million bright green specks of bio-illuminescence. It was beautiful heavy-weather sailing and while the breeze remained in the 40’s, the seas stopped building as we sailed into the lee of Flinders Island, just north of Tasmania.

I went off watch and when I came back up, the sun was up and the breeze had moderated significantly, now down into the high 20’s and low 30’s. Back to the #4 and we started shaking reefs. Within another hour, we were reaching along in champagne conditions about 13 miles east of land. By 9 am, we hit a transition in the breeze and became almost becalmed in a lumpy, confused sea state with residual slop that had rounded the corner from the west only to meet several variations of southerly swell coming up from the Southern Ocean. We chased the breeze, attempting to sail from wind line to wind line; not an easy task when nearly becalmed in lumpy seas. Big John Searle the rugby player and dinghy sailor shined in the tricky tactical conditions and kept the bus rolling.

With our bottled drinking water nearly gone, we prepared to make the switch to the water tank. In a race where even the easiest of tasks turned into monumental struggles, even this normally mundane chore became an arduous ordeal. With no manual water pump, pumping water would require electricity. Electricity that we barely had. After a brief debate, we flipped the water pump switch and began filling water bottles. The water came out brown. Our lone water bladder that we left full before leaving Sydney had ruptured during the rough night and become contaminated by the endless procession of water that ran through the boat in the hectic crossing of Bass Strait. We were now faced with a grim reality: 6 liters of bottled water now had to last 10 people more than 24 hours.

In what was one of the most challenging days of sailing in my recent memory, we had to fight highly variable, shifty conditions all the way down the coast of Tasmania. Were we too far inshore? I don’t know. None of us knew as we were on very limited weather data, with only the electrical capacity to receive verbal forecasts via the SSB radio sched’s. With 4 knots of breeze gusting to 25 out of every possible variation of south, we soldiered on in a tack – tack – sail change – tack – sail change fashion with up to half a dozen other boats in sight at times. Boats inshore would catch a puff lift and put a mile or two on us, while the boats outside would die off. The scenario would then exactly reverse itself in this navigator’s nightmare.

The breeze began to fill and solidify from the west during the very early morning and by day break, we were reaching along with a full main and #3. The jib top would have been the right call, but it was still on strike after it’s massive flogging in the strait. Things felt a bit cruisy, so we put up the #2. Things still felt a bit cruisy so we put up the A1, which we knew would be a bit dicey as the angle and pressure would put us on the edge. Kym drove us on the ragged edge of control. I was off watch, so after the kite was up and the jib was back down, I went down below. A few minutes later, I heard a sail flogging and a lot of yelling, so I jumped on deck to see the A1 coming down behind the boat. The tack line’s block on the end of the retractable bow-sprit had broken off the sprit. The design is that of a threaded pad eye attached into the end of the sprit and the pad eye broke flush with the sprit. The kite partially went into the water, but we managed to get everything back on board while the #2 was re-hoisted. With a freshening breeze, we were back in the #3 within a few minutes. So much for my final off watch, which I was desperately hoping for so that I could be rested for the final approach to the finish.

We rounded Tasman Island at about 10:30 in the morning, hardened up on the breeze and began beating into Storm Bay. We each took a sip of Drambuie and toasted to the Newcastle-based 40-footer Aurora, who donated the bottle to us after missing their first Hobart in 15 years. Throwing in a couple of tacks, we were again disheartened to find another problem. A mainsail batten was working it’s way out of it’s pocket and moving forward with half the batten in the pocket and the other half working forward towards the mast. We contemplated sending Ben up the rig but it would be doubtful that one man aloft could fix the problem. We dropped the main, shoved the batten back in it’s pocket and re-hoisted, which is always a difficult chore on a bolt-rope main. More boats slipped by and more time was lost.

Sailing upwind on starboard tack, famed Tassie photographer Richard Bennett flew by in his airplane less than a hundred meters over the water to capture an image of One for the Road. We approaching hobarttucked in and shook a reef twice before the breeze shut off again. Becalmed in the middle of Storm Bay, we scanned the clouds over head and watched other boats sail in different breeze as we created a strategy. Big John again shined as inshore tactician. We worked to a wind line and saw another boat sailing 90 degrees higher than us on port tack, about a mile away. Our angle was atrocious and we all wanted to tack to starboard and try to get into the same breeze. Kym urged us to wait a moment longer before tacking and as we stuck our nose further into the pressure we were initially knocked and then the lift came. Pressure again increased, and we had a beautiful port tack beat straight towards the River Derwent.

We threw in a couple quick tacks to clear the Iron Pot and then passed a bottle of Pusser’s Rum down the rail. Our third sip of the liquor in 4 days. One for the Road was almost home. We cracked sheets as the river turned right, as I again longed for the jib top. Approaching Hobart, I got a proper introduction to the River Derwent. There were holes everywhere, powerful gusts coming down and contradictory current that built as we made our way deeper into the river. We chased a Beneteau the entire time until they picked up a lift and sailed across the finish line. Minutes later, our private puff came down, we took a major lift on port and hardened back up towards the line. The puff tapered off, but before it died completely, we crossed the finish line just before 7 pm.

It was over. I mentally broke out a black marker and added a large check to my bucket list, just as I added “do ten more Hobarts” and “win division in Hobart” to the ever-growing list. (Sail in the Vendée Globe is still written in 100-font bold print at the top…) Life is like working on a race boat, I suppose. Every time that I cross something off the list, I have to add two more and the process repeats itself as the work is never actually done.

We achieved another goal of ours after the finish as we had enough electricity to use the engine to motor into the harbor and not require outside assistance. We dropped the main and lashed down the two headsails that were on deck. Motoring into the harbor, we cruised past the wharf which was filled to capacity with the annual “Taste of Tassie” festival. The lead singer of the band that was performing stopped his song early and recognized One for the Road for completing the journey from Sydney. The massive crowd on the wharf stopped what they were doing, put down their food and drink and stood to clap and cheer for us. A lone voice yelled “hip hip” and the crowd would respond “hooray!”. It was the most beautiful and heartwarming reception i’ve ever received at the end of a yacht race.

pre race crew shotWe placed 17th out of 21 boats in our division, and about two thirds of the way down in the overall standings. It’s one of the worst results i’ve ever achieved in an ocean race and while the competitor in me is upset with our result, the sailor in me deeply proud and grateful to have sailed, and finished, this great race. Things don’t always go your way when you set to sea, but by working together, we all achieved something that is much more important than any poor result on paper. No two people on the boat ever argued with one another and all ten of us got off the boat much better friends than when we started. In my mind, we are all champions.

As an American who has done quite a bit of sailing on the west coast, traveling to Australia to sail in the Sydney- Hobart has been one of the best experiences of my life and only increases my love for the sport and my resolve to constantly learn more and improve as a sailor. There were a million lessons learned and lessons reinforced during this race, but that constant learning curve is what keeps sailing fresh and exciting. This race was not just a race, it was a beautiful adventure that released the emotions that only true adventure can. That feeling that compels us to undertake challenging races; when you’re profoundly grateful for simple things like seeing the sun rise after a rough night at sea, when a sip of water tastes like fine wine, when a $6 meat pie on the street tastes like a gourmet 5-star meal.

If I still have your attention after this marathon recap, I want to thank Kym Butler for this incredible experience and all of the crew on One for the Road. Rockstar sailors we were not, as we found ourselves thoroughly tested, but even if I were to hand-pick a crew I could not pick a more enjoyable bunch to spend four days with than the nine strangers that i’m now honored to call friends.

It’s the Sydney-Hobart, and whether you are a boat owner, crew, or just a random guy or gal looking for a great adventure; put it on your bucket list and make it happen.  You will never regret it.

-Ronnie Simpson

January 7th, 2014 by admin

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The Sydney 18 footer freaks continue to astound and amaze; and they’ve knocked together a replica of the iconic and dominating 18 footer Myra Too from the 50s,  splashed a couple of days ago for her maiden sail above.  Myra was built with the help of of the Aussie National Maritime Museum – take a look at some of their excellent research and photos here.

Myra Too will join the Flying Squadron’s Historic 18 fleet, which (quite incredibly) sails constantly though the summer out of the squaddie.  She’ll bring their number to an amazing 11, including a replica of Britannia, the first ‘modern’ 18 footer, whose original lives at the museum and is worth a visit from any sailor worth their salt.  We’ll have shitloads more news on the “eyedeens” over the next few weeks leading up to the fully live video coverage of the modern 18′ers World Champs, where 30 of the bastards will go for J.J. Giltinan’s gold.

For a really cool look at the fleet in the 60s, check out Sports Illustrated’s old files here for “A Bloody Way To Go Sailing.”  A great read, and you can actually see the original, as-printed story in the e-mag here (click forward to page 58).

 

January 7th, 2014 by admin

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All the interviews, stories, and pictures in the world can’t replace a few seconds of 100′ yacht getting smacked around by a 30 foot wave, so here’s all that and more from what may be the best event video we’ve seen from Rolex since they entered the world of yacht racing.

Don’t forget we’ve got dozens of interviews, hundreds of photos, and quite a bit more up on the Macca’s Facebook Page, and keep an eye on this front page for Part 2 of Ronnie’s race report as well as Mr. Clean’s overall ‘report card’ from the 2013 Sydney Hobart Race.

You’ll need to be deep into your ’80s trivia to get the title reference.

January 2nd, 2014 by admin

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2013 Sydney Hobart Race - FIREWORKS

From beautiful Tasmania, we wish every Anarchist everywhere around the world a wonderful new year, and a huge thanks to all of our Aussie Anarchists (including the Perpetual LOYAL boys who made this Meredith Block shot possible) for such an incredibly warm welcome for our first-ever coverage of the world’s toughest (mostly) amateur yacht race.   May 2014 bring fun, breeze, and plenty of sailing your way.

January 1st, 2014 by admin

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Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2013

The Anarchists aboard Brindabella got their own escort in to Hobart this afternoon and Carlo Borlenghi shot it in this beautiful vista above; around 20 boats have finished while 10 have retired and 60 remain on the continuously nasty course; 35-40 knots is commonplace out there, and it’s going to be a long night ahead for the 50′ and under crowd.  The original Wild Oats (now Wild Rose) still has a chance at the overall handicap trophy, but it looks more and more like Cookson 50 Victoire will take it; check in on the almost unmanageably big thread (150,000 views and nearly 2500 posts) for loads of pics, videos, and plenty more.  And don’t forget there’s still swag to be won; McConaghy’s Facebook Page is where you find that.  Track the fleet here.

UPDATE:  We spent many hours and imbibed liters of rum digging for the real stories of the race late last night at the infamous Customs House; open for 24 hours a day for the next four days, this bar/pub makes about 20% of its annual revenue in one week, thanks to the sailors who rarely leave there until it’s time to go home.  Last night, we dug deep and picked up our ‘Epic Story of the Hobart” so far, and here it is (with apologies to a rum haze for any minor inaccuracies or embellishments):

With 35 knots up the ass (before the Westerly change),The VO 70 Blackjack (ex-Telefonica) had a few miles lead over Beau Geste and Giacomo (ex-Groupama 70), with Wild Thing a bit back.  BJ went for her final gybe to clear the island, and when the main snapped across, they broke a batten; I think I remember they had an A5 and two tucks in.  The batten pierced the 3DI mainsail and zippered it from leech to luff.  Half the sail came down and the rest stayed up.

BcoeZGUCAAAd4IM.jpg-largeNow they have half a sail violently flogging up the mast with no way to bring it down; up goes the bowman on a halyard to cut it free.  During the drama, BG, Gia, and WT all get through ahead.  Mind you this is at about 11 at night and nothing but nav lights and spray are visible… BO Peter Harburg – who is as cool as can be – told me “We went from 4th to 7th in a few minutes and I just went to bed.  What was I going to tell my wife?”  Meantime, the crew got the trysail on and set the FrO, and guess what?  They fucking ground down the 100 footer, then the Volvo 70, then the 80 foot Beau Geste, and they only beat Karl Kwok’s brand new beast over the line by something like 50 seconds.  Giacomo came in a minute later.  Harburg (who had barely slept until  after losing the mainsail) popped up from his 3 hour nap to find he’d gone back from 7th to 4th.

I hit them up at the dock just a few minutes after they tied up, and in contrast to the BG and GIA guys, Harburg was completely charged up and full of energy.  He was hanging out at the stern, watching the crew clean up and smiling his ass off as he pulled off the tracker to return it to the race official in exchange for two slabs of complimentary beer.  He smiled and told me “beating those boys across the line without a mainsail?  To me, that felt like we just pulled a line honors victory.”

Later on I spoke to Rod Keenan off Giacomo, a long time Anarchist and ultra-talented sailmaker from Auckland with a list of wins as long as the list of banned SA forum members. Rod  laughed when he told me “who would have thought a trysail was the fastest sail for those conditions, but when three reefs is still too much area, maybe that’s what you have to do.”

There are plenty more stories waiting to be told…stay tuned.  Blackjack photo from @Greg_Faull.

December 29th, 2013 by admin

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Update: With Loyal backing up in the light, WO has ground them down and is now sailing away with a 30 mile lead and growing…

Despite sailing into some squally crap when he brought WOXI a bit too close to shore, Tom Addis, Navigator (and ex-Puma nav) sounds confident that they can reel in the bigger, more powerful Perpetual Loyal by the time they get to Storm Bay.  The gap has shrunk from 11 to now just 5 miles, with Oats gaining another mile every hour.  This sets up a truly spectacular finish, and we’re on station in Hobart to bring the play by play to you right here on Sailing Anarchy and on McConaghy Boat’s Facebook Page.   Listen to Tom’s from 7 AM this morning.

 

December 26th, 2013 by admin

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sydney hobart fleet

World-girdling ex-military adventure-lover Ronnie Simpson made his way down to Sydney to experience one of the world’s great races, and he checks in with his first comprehensive look at the Sydney-Hobart fleet with this missive.  Expect tons more content this week from Ronnie and a fleet full of Anarchists.  It’s already started; want to check out the sports book line and place a bet?  How about a virtual walk-through of the boats on the CYCA docks in glorious high-res photos?  Get your ass into the Sydney Hobart thread and get involved.  And finally, if you’re looking for interviews, boat tours of the biggest and baddest, and words from some of the biggest characters in the race, get yourself plugged into the McConaghy Boats Facebook Page – ground zero for all our race coverage from the start to all the finishes and the only place you need to go if you want to win some sweet SA swag.  And for our North American spectators, remember that the start will be broadcast live by Yahoo!7 starting around 8 PM EST on Christmas day (with our coverage starting long before that) with the first finishes on the evening of the 26th.  For the next week, Sailing Anarchy (thanks to McConaghy Boats) A will be Hobart Central – don’t miss out on any of our coverage!  Photos by Ronnie and SA’er ‘point’.

Sydney.  Hobart. Two of the most notorious words in all of sailing.

The words themselves bring up so many visuals and so many stories that simply muttered under one’s breath, they cause rapid synaptic firing in the brain of any offshore sailor.

Spurring vivid recollections of massive spectator crowds ringing the famous harbour and foreshore, 100-foot super maxi’s battling for line honors as they trade tacks in the Derwent, 60-foot breaking waves skirting the skids of rescue helicopters among the streaky spindrift from hurricane-force winds, if there’s a race that has spawned countless legends, it’s this one. Now in its 69th edition, it’s got the well-earned reputation as one of the most challenging, dangerous, and brutal competitions in all of sport – despite still being accessible to your average mom-and-pop club racer – and this 69th edition should easily live up to the reputation we’ve all come to expect.

With a highly complex and constantly changing weather scenario, the fleet is preparing for everything from light-air upwind to heavy-downwind and back.  While not a likely record-breaking year, you never really know, especially with the ultra-high quality of yacht at the top end of the fleet and a constantly evolving weather scenario.

As it stands, a localized low moves over the New South Wales coast at the start with the accompanying Southerly breeze.  In a ‘classic’ pattern, the wind should back to the Northeast and light to moderate run to the South.  The speed of the low’s movement – or outright dissipation – will determine how early the NE fills in and how fast it builds, with the potential for a real slingshot South for the boats that can position themselves for it.

As the big boats approach the Derwent, the rest of the fleet will be bracing for impact as a classic Southerly Buster rolls in from West to Easy over Tassie.  With a forecast up to 45 knots (with gusts that may be MUCH higher) this one could be a true test not only of racing prowess, but of straight-up seamanship for any boat stuck behind the frontal change.

With yours truly covering the race from on-board, dozens of Anarchists spread throughout the fleet, and Clean and Mer just on the ground ready for some bang-up interview, video, and photographic coverage from both Sydney and Tasmania, our hack team will be covering the Christmas Classic as it’s never been done before.  As a Sydney- Hobart virgin who admittedly doesn’t know the local Aussie sailing scene, I had but two options when compiling data for this article; regurgitate what’s already been written about the race or get drunk with the players in the scene and get the real scoop.

The latter option got the nod. This is Sailing Anarchy, after all…so on to the Ronnie Simpson form guide:

With IRC, ORCi, PHS and one-design fleets, it’s impossible and redundant to write a preview for every fleet, so i’ve focused on the IRC divisions, as that covers the vast majority of the fleet.

IRC 0

Many of the biggest, baddest, fastest monohulls in the world are represented in IRC Division 0. From perennial line honors contender Wild Oats XI to 2011 line honors winner Ragamuffin 100 (previously Loyal), the new Loyal (ex- Speedboat/ Rambler), the sparking new Beau Geste 80, a trio of Volvo 70‘s and a host of others, this is the division that everyone is watching. Who’s going to win? Hell if we know, but after talking Bundaberg-fueled shit with some of the top guys in the game, Beau Geste sounds like she may be the real deal, and the sleeper pick. Aside from the usual suspects, keep an eye on Volvo 70 Black Jack and Cookson 50 Victoire to be contenders for a handicap win.

Here’s the run down of the three big line honors contenders:

107_1424Wild Oats XI- Unlike many years in the past where Wild Oats XI was the clear favorite to take line honors, this year’s Hobart race is wide open. While still the line honors favorite with the bookies, Oats is getting a bit long in the tooth after 8 years in the game now, and it’s starting to show. She’s been heavily bastardized, er, modified to include new DSS foils and a lighter, stiffer new rig and the results are far from conclusive, but they’re also far from confidence inspiring. The rig’s already suffered two failures, the DSS foils are unproven and they’ve got a new navigator to boot (though Tom Addis is no one to sneeze at). With a weather forecast that has the best in the business confused (including ultra-navigator Stan Honey navigating Loyal…), WOXI’s Addis will have his hands full, that’s for sure. Don’t count the old girl out, but personally, my money’s on the competition.

11503647904_4c57335f35_hPerpetual Loyal- Owner Anthony Bell took line honors two years ago on the earlier Loyal, and clearly he wants to do it again.  To that end, he picked up the most powerful monohull every built – Alex Jackson’s Speedboat – putting her back together after her capsize and near-destruction back in the Fastnet.  Bell loaded the boat with a who’s who of top sailing, including  Stan Honey, Tom Slingsby, and Michal Coxon (though now marked as questionable due to illness), and he spent plenty of time on refitting some important bits thanks to McConaghys.  In Loyal, he’s got a wider, newer, more powerful boat than Wild Oats, and it showed in the Big Boat Challenge two weeks ago as Loyal led Oats around the course before blowing up one of her specialty reaching sails and giving away the victory.  Loyal has only shown two weaknesses in her career:  Light air, and breakages.  Barring either of these two occurences, it’s hard to bet against her.

Beau Geste – The brand new, and most eagerly anticipated boat in the Sydney- Hobart is as revolutionary and cutting-edge as it is downright sexy and intimidating. The new Botin Partners – designed 80-footer weighs half as much as Wild Oats at about 16 tons, yet creates 60 tons of righting moment vs. 68 for Oats.  The keel cants 3 degrees more than a Volvo 70, while the canards are angled at an incredible 18 degrees, generating around 3 tons of lift at 27 knots of boatspeed.  The closest we’ll see to monohull foiling in this race, Beau Geste’s polars indicate multihull-like downhill speeds approaching 40 knots of boat speed. Not just fast, she’s designed from the ground up to be a durable and burly boat with a rig designed to withstand 50 tons of pressure at it’s base and an innovative hull structure. Remember, this boat was built as a replacement for Farr-designed BG that broke in half last year, and project manager Gavin Brady isn’t scsrewing around when he says this boat is ready for anything the Bass Strait has to throw at her. Bigger, more powerful, and lighter than a Volvo 70?  Hard to bet against this one either.

IRC 1

sydney hobart docksTied for being the largest IRC division in the race with 21 boats, Division 1 should entertain from start to finish. The new Carkeek 60 Ichi Ban is as highly anticipated as Beau Geste, and despite her relatively short length, expect her to school all of the bigger Clipper 70’s and even a few of the boats in Div 0. Like the Carkeek 40s wake-up call to the 50-foot racers, the new Carkeek 60 should give plenty of trouble to the very well-sailed Ker 51 Varuna and the brand new sexpot Tony Kirby’s Ker 56 Patrice.

Patrice is a development of Piet Vroon’s all-conquering IRC beast Tonnerre De Breskens which has now claimed three RORC season championships in a row. Kirby and his crew have been putting in the work, doing a lot of sailing and earning some great results. Their thorough preparation and level of boat development makes them a definite contender, though the same can be said about her larger cousin Varuna. With a well-run program that’s been campaigned around the world, to include this summer’s Transpac, and rockstars such as Barcelona World Race vet Guillermo Atadill onboard, Varuna’s hard work and dedication should pay off in spades.

Don’t count out previous winner Primitive Cool (ex-Secret Men’s Business 3.5), the R/P 55 Wedgetail, the 100-foot racer cruiser Zefiro or my personal favorite, Frantic; the first-gen TP 52 owned by former pro rugby player Michael “Mick” Martin and navigated by Singlehanded Transpac champ Adrian Johnson. Frantic comes in with momentum after winning this year’s Gosford- Lord Howe Island race.

IRC 2

A fifteen boat division with depth throughout, merely getting onto the podium will be a monumental feat. Standouts include the always compettive Rogers 46 Celestial, sexy new Ker 40 Midnight Rambler and IRC optimized DK 43 Minerva amongst several other solid programs

Celestial is a contender not just for Division 2, but for the overall if they get their conditions. Consistently running near the front of the fleet on handicap, the Rogers is a good all-around platform sailed by a wicked up crew that includes former Olympic sailor and multi-time champion at everything Steve McConaghy (yes, that McConaghy…) Midnight Rambler on the other hand is an experienced group that has a weapon in their sexy new Ker 40. Winners of the notorious 1998 race in their old Hick 35 AFR Midnight Rambler, the crew has 120 Hobart’s between them and earned a second in Division 2 last year. A wild card in the fleet is the Humphreys 42 Zanzibar. A stalwart on the Asian scene, the Singaporean yacht has tasted success to the tune of winning last year’s Rolex China Sea Race overall on IRC and should go well in a range of conditions.

IRC 3

11504567124_088c081d9c_oWith 5 Sydney 38’s, 4 Archambault 40’s, a slew of Beneteau First 40’s and 45’s and several other IRC optimized racer-cruisers, Division 3 is a complete toss-up. Tied with Div 1 as the biggest of the IRC fleets at 21 boats, it will require equal parts luck, skill, conditions and seamanship to end up on the podium. I’ll be on the Archambault 40 One for the Road as we battle the fleet to Hobart, hopefully updating to SA along the way! The Sydney 38’s should entertain as they always do, and with a huge fleet of boats occupying a very narrow rating band, IRC 3 should offer some of the closest racing of any division. As an added bonus, it’ll even last a couple of days longer than the big boys! Just long enough for us to get creamed in the Bass Straight and down the Tassie coast…

IRC 4

The slowest of the IRC divisions, IRC 4 is loaded with class. The Petersen 44 Bacardi is competing in her 28th Hobart race- a record. Also in the fleet is the Hick 35 Luna Sea, (ex-AFR Midnight Rambler) that won the notorious and tragic 1998 race. When conditions turn heavy and out of the south, look for some of these older, slower upwind machines to revel in the heavy upwind stuff and move up the leaderboard.

-Ronnie Simpson

 

December 24th, 2013 by admin

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