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Posts Tagged ‘Australia’

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James Cameron’s stupidly-named Deepsea Challenge 3D movie comes out today across the US, and while it hasn’t garnered the best reviews, we suspect that water people like us will probably like it just fine.  The world’s most successful movie maker is certainly impressive man and he spent some serious coin to fulfill a lifelong dream, and whether his pet project’s film makes any money at all (or whether it is anything more than a shallow vanity project) is besides the point for us.  We just want to get a little irie, have a tub of popcorn, and see the bottom of the ocean in huge, glorious 3D with an ear-splitting soundtrack.  And not just because advertiser McConaghy Boats built Cameron’s record-breaking sub, either!

 

August 8th, 2014 by admin

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Our favorite blonde bombshell hits the airwaves with another edition of Adventures of a Sailor Girl; for this weekend’s edition, Nic Douglass mixes rock and funk songs with some of Australia’s biggest sailing talents.

At 7:05 – She’s got one of the winningest one-design pros in history on the line and a longtime friend to SA; Darren ‘Twirler’ Jones, a show regular called in from the farm, ahead of going to the Farr 40 Worlds.

At 18:52 – She spoke with Josh Chant, the founder of 33 South Racingabout the scholarship program and where the program is headed (including an Extreme 40).

At 39:18 – Nic got ‘the big get’ with ‘the Big Fella’ – Australian AC Team CEO Iain Murray who took some time out of his busy schedule to chat about the sails, foiling cats, and the America’s Cup.

At 53:05 – Nic gets into the CYCA winter series with her own report from sailing on the Harbour.

Enjoy, and if you dig Nic like we dig Nic, go give her some Facebook love over here.

 

June 16th, 2014 by admin

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Our gal pal Nic Douglass continues to burn up the internet airwaves with her Adventures of a Sailor Girl radio show, and this week, she says her show was ‘massive!’  We don’t know about that, but we do know that we love this petite blonde dinghy sailor’s attitude and pluck, and encourage you to give her show a listen. It’s an hour’s worth of mostly music peppered by interviews and monologue about racing sailboats. Nic tells us about her show:

At 5:36, we caught up with the awesome Howie Hamlin after his 5o5 North Americans win, and all that is ahead for him this year.  So many adventures to draw from that no doubt make him the fantastic sailor that he is today, and always great to talk to!

At 18:00, I managed to catch  Red Bull Youth AC skipper Jason Waterhouse straight from the Alps at the GC32 Austria Cup – too awesome! With his team, skippered by Sebastian Cole, they had two bullets just before I spoke to him. Great to hear that all is going well for this dedicated cat sailor.

At 36:13, last but definitely not least, Stacey Jackson, a great friend, called in from the Canary Islands to touch base about all that is happening for Team SCA leading up to the Volvo Ocean Race. She has promised to be in touch regularly, after the Canary Island race, and also following the UK/Ireland race when all the boats should be out racing. We chatted for a decent amount of time off air as well – and it is just amazing to hear what she has been up to.

At 56:30, I talked about my adventure for the week, involving a very serious story about M&M’s post-racing at the CYCA Winter Series race today!
 

June 4th, 2014 by admin

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lagoon catamarans

Lagoon Catamarans Director Yann Masselot gives us the corporate view of the “Creature From The Sunk Lagoon” story we published yesterday about the sinking of a 50′ cat near Brisbane, Oz.   

Lagoon has built one hundred fifty Lagoon 500 catamarans between 2005 and 2012, when we replaced this popular model with the Lagoon 52.  Many of the Lagoon 500s have sailed around the world with their owners, and the boat is widely recognized as a seaworthy, safe and good performance catamaran.  We do not know yet what happened to One World and we hope that the investigation will bring more information. The important matter is that the crew is safe, thanks to the efficient intervention of the Australian coastguards.

Regarding your statement about the Thai Lagoon 500 Nipper, we would like to supply you with the truth about this story: Nipper was abandoned by its inexperienced new Thai captain after catching the Dyneema dinghy painter in its propellor, tearing the engine off its bed, and creating a huge leak.  This captain never closed the connecting valve between the engine bilge and the main bilge, and he never started the bilge pumps.  He got scared, abandoned the vessel on a nearby sand bank, leaving all windows open.  At the next tide, the waves flooded the grounded vessel and sank her with no one aboard.

The owner of the vessel sued our dealer in Singapore and lost the case. He then tried to escape Singapore with his money to avoid paying the court fees and expenses he was ordered to by the judge.  This owner was upset about his own bad decision to choose a cheap insurance plan with a high deductible (that he asked us to pay) that he is trying to blame Lagoon for what transpired.  Of course the court in Singapore did not see it that way.  If you read the content of his website, you’ll find all pertinent documents that prove our version.

Thank you for sharing this information with the readers of your great website.  Many thanks, and best regards,

-Yann

 

May 9th, 2014 by admin

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Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 11.42.45 AMThe US-based Lagoon 500 cruising cat One World went down off Brisbane, Australia earlier this week just 16 miles from the Aussie coast. The L500, according to documents, billed by brokers as ‘nearly unsinkable, with watertight bulkheads’, clearly is quite sinkable, and owner Wes Garner says he thinks one of the hulls cracked; this is the second Lagoon 500 that we’ve heard of going down in just four years – far too often for a modern cat of any stripe.  We’ve got feelers out to Lagoon but we’re not holding our breath, and until they address these two sinking cats, we counsel you to stay far away from Lagoons unless you intend to never leave the dock.

You can read far more about the Garners three-year voyage on their blog, here.  And here’s a local news video on the sinking, and here’s the long, nasty story of the litigation over the earlier sinking.  And the place to talk about it all?  Here in Multihull Anarchy.

UPDATE: Lagoon head honcho Yann gives us his version of events…definitely an important read if you want to get the full picture.

 

May 8th, 2014 by admin

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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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