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Posts Tagged ‘imoca’

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Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 8.26.33 AMDamage to the 15-boat fleet killed the media-friendly Newport to NY “Prologue” race for the NY-Vendee program last week, but when we were down on Friday, everyone looked ready for the long haul to Europe.

Fast forward 36 hours, and debris and UFOs have taken out a third of the fleet in just a couple hundred miles – the pic to the right is Banque Populaire headed back to shore after destroying a foil.  Just 8 of 14 starters remain on the course, and that doesn’t include at least one boat whose whale strike prevented them from even making it to the line.  That’s the attrition rate for a full RTW race, and right now the skippers and designers have to be stressing about the biggest race of their careers in just a few short months.  Is there any way to prevent the problem?  Is it more whales, quieter foils, or increased speeds that have turned the fairly reliable IMOCA into boats with an 50/50 chance of finishing even a short Atlantic crossing?  Does anyone have a solution besides slowing the hell down?

The next SA Podcast tackles this subject head on, and much much more, including the OSM push and where it’s going, the recent sacking of both the longtime Managing Director of the Vendee Globe and its Race Director Denis Horeau, and the controversy over media crew.  Look for it this week.

Track the race here, and discuss the craziness here.

May 31st, 2016 by admin

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In this piece, Brian Hancock analyzes the coming NY-Vendee Race for Open 60s after Mr. Clean went over to the Big Apple for a few hours to do some interviews and finally get that ride on Hugo Boss.  They did not win the exhibition/charity race (Mich Dej/Paul Meilhat on SMA caned it), but at least the 14 stallions were able to run a little bit in a rare 8-12 knots of reliable breeze in NY Harbor, and it was a site no one has ever seen before (though as with the ACWS, New York doesn’t really give a crap).  Clean’s race video is in here and SA Podcast # 6 next week will include some excellent interviews and a detailed discussion about the good, the bad, the conflict, and the controversy of the Vendee Globe – fans of solo ocean racing won’t want to miss this one.  Big thanks to former “The Beat” host Katy Nastro for the production help, with photo credit to George Bekris for the shots above and below.

IMG_7951This coming Sunday New York City will be the backdrop to one of the newest ocean races on the calendar. The New York-Vendée race is essentially a feeder race for the Vendée Globe which starts in five months from France. It will provide an opportunity for the skippers to complete their qualifying voyage in order to take part in the Vendée Globe. The turnout for this inaugural event is very good with 14 IMOCA 60s lining up for the start. Among them are the who’s who of solo sailing including previous Vendée Globe winner Vincent Riou on PRB and Armel Le Cléac’h on Banque Populaire. Le Cléac’h finished second in the last Vendée Globe and is the odds-on favorite for the next one. Also competing will be Alex Thomson aboard Hugo Boss. Thomson finished third in the last Vendée and is back with a brand new boat.

The race starts at 14:00 EST on the Hudson River and exits the mouth of New York harbor at Sandy Hook before crossing the Atlantic to finish off Les Sable d’ Olonne on the west coast of France some 3,100 nautical miles away. It’s going to be a very interesting test for both skippers and their boats. Until now most of the head-to-head racing that they have done has been upwind. This race will be a downwind sail and designers and pundits alike will be keeping a close eye on whether those boats equipped with foils will do better than those that do not have them. The conditions of the New York-Vendée race will be more similar to those of the Vendée Globe.

Of the 14 entries, 9 are French with the rest from New Zealand, Finland [Finn Air entry has withdrawn and manned the HB pedestal with Clean all Friday -ed], the Netherlands, UK and my old friend Kojiro Shiraishi from Japan. Only Thompson from the UK stands a chance of a podium finish otherwise it’s going to be a French dominated race. The first boats are expected to arrive in Les Sable d’ Olonne in a little over a week.

May 28th, 2016 by admin

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Arrival at the pontoon © Conrad Colman Ocean Racing

Few sailors have made the kind of sacrifices Conrad Colman has in his pursuit of solo ocean racing glory. We love his story, we love his passion, we love his attitude; “I’ll sail the shit out of this boat, or die trying.”  Conrad’s looking for some love from the SA community, so give yourself something to root for in the next Vendee Globe and throw some cash his way.  Get to know Conrad in depth in this SA Innerview we did with him during the hate mission that was his Barcelona World Race, and enjoy his writing, as we do.

Sick of the election? Want to focus on something cool in November? Come vote with your wallet and help get me into the Vendée Globe. As some of you will know from previous posts here, I won the Global Ocean Race and co-skippered Nandor’s boat in the last Barcelona World Race. I am now signed up for the Vendée Globe, the solo non-stop race around the world that starts in November. I have secured a boat, completed a refit, and will be sailing across the Atlantic next week to participate in the solo race from NYC at the end of May.

Lifting the boat © CCORAfter the BWR I don’t need to do another race to qualify but as one of the only English speakers in this class I am coming to the States to share my campaign and the Vendée Globe with as many of you as possible. I am still looking for a title sponsor and have launched a crowdfunding campaign to help keep the wheels on until I do. Please click here to participate by signing up for a T-shirt or to join me on board a real Open 60 for the pro-am races in Newport and NYC to experience life in the IMOCA fleet – first hand.

In a professional racing class defined by big budgets as much as fast speeds, I am one of the few projects scraping through on the smell of an oily rag. This winter most skippers checked in on their refits once a week whereas I have been pulling 16 hour days in the boatshed with one day off since the new year, and have personally sanded the bottom, painted, laminated, screwed, wrenched and cursed my way through the winter. Number of full-time employees at Gitana? 35. Number of full-time employees at team C? 3 (Me, my wife and one preparateur).

IMG_0917In addition to repainting the whole boat, repairing the mast, servicing the keel fin, replacing the electronics and redoing the rigging we ripped out the diesel engine! That’s right, we’re going fully electric and zero emissions for the race around the world. In partnership with Sailing Anarchy advertisers Oceanvolt, Power Sails, Super B batteries, Gori propellers and Fischer Panda (to get through the IMOCA tests) I will race around the world without burning diesel with only solar panels in my mainsail and the hydrogenerator function on the motor providing clean limitless energy.

Why go green? Because we should! Sailing is the only clean mechanical sport, and from Tesla to the COP21 the world is going electric and zero emissions. It’s also lighter than an engine and fuel, with less moving parts and provides a huge buffer of stored energy that buys me time to find solutions in the case of problems. In comparison with the tricky prototypes on the Acciona boat four years ago, all the technology is off the shelf and I hope my race around the world will show that its a good solution for the general yachting population.

I hope you join me in this crazy adventure, either online here on SA, by participating in my crowdfunding campaign or by becoming a sponsor of the campaign. The Vendée is one of this year’s biggest international sporting events, I’m one of the only English speakers and I have a TV deal to top it all off!

Send me an email if you would like to browse a sponsorship proposal, or if you have any ideas or questions about solo sailing, eco-friendly energy solutions, or just want to say ‘hi’!

 

April 29th, 2016 by admin

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The haters will whinge at yet another Alex Thomson/Hugo Boss Sailing stunt while the marketing wonks will nod in admiration at the latest in the now trilogy of Thomson’s ‘walks’, but when we first heard AT had another stunt in the chamber after the Keelwalk and Mastwalk, we winced a little in fear.  I mean, would anyone really be surprised if Alex put on a vintage leather biker jacket and jumped an actual shark?

So with full expectation of a shark jumping moment, we sat back with quickened pulse and watched an earlier version of the video above.  And motherf^&ker – they did it again!

They’re calling it the Skywalk, and whether or not you think it somehow sullies the honor of your ‘sport’, you have to admit – it’s a seriously badass bit of stuntery and they make it look damned good.  There’s a reason these pieces work so well; they are slick, ballsy, and push the envelope a little further each time, in a sport that seems made for extreme stunts – what other athletes carry around a hundred foot carbon fiber stunt pole? Alex’s enthusiasm doing his own stunts shines through and a small fortune spent on production make the new Skywalk pop and crackle; if only Hugo Boss’s coming Vendee Globe qualification run and transatlantic race are as successful…

Pics and more behind the scenes tomfoolery at Merc.

 

March 14th, 2016 by admin

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Keep your eyes peeled if you’re enjoying the balmy winter with a December crossing of the Atlantic, because you might just run into the world’s biggest Christmas present: The defending champion Vendee Globe and Route Du Rhum-winning Open 60 SMA, adrift about 700 NM off Cape Finisterre!

With solo skipper Paul Meilhat’s fractured ribs and pelvis forcing him into a helicopter, SMA crew launched two Screen Shot 2015-12-24 at 7.30.53 PMrescue attempts to retrieve the multi-million-dollar pedigreed purebred; an especially nasty December in Biscay laughed at them and sent them crying for home.  A third team of four insane Frenchmen (and quite possibly Marcus Hutchinson) has now set off from Brittany to try to succeed where a 66-meter oceangoing tug failed.

If that sounds like impossible odds to you, it just means you don’t know any Bretons.  Seb Josse won the carnage-filled St. Barth-Port La Foret (which most skippers have told us they hate), scoring the first real offshore success for a Dali foiler. Head over here for Seb’s video (with translation from SA’er ‘surlepont’).

 

December 24th, 2015 by admin

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Vento Di Sardegna only had a few months with an Italian name before being taken over by Mich Desj’s Mer Agitee management company, and while we continue to operate under rumors that a Dutch sailor will make a run at the Vendee in this beast (and we think it’s this guy), no one seems to be able to confirm whats coming for this new VPLP/Verdier just yet.  Similarly, the 5 new builds in the 2015 TJV are staying mum about their issues and findings, so for now, we have only Alex Thomson’s frank account.  Fortunately, our Senior Editor is headed to Europe to the METS show next week on a factfinding expedition, and no one can hide from Mr. Clean…

Think you can spot what’s wrong with the Persico build of Vento?  We can’t, but we do love time lapse.

 

November 10th, 2015 by admin

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A fascinating story from a great storyteller; Alex Thomson tells us the why, the how, and way, way more about the Hugo Boss damage, dismasting, rescue, and recovery.  You won’t wanna miss this classic SA Skype ‘Innerview’, and you can see the written index of the chat here and add your thoughts or arguments here.

 

November 4th, 2015 by admin

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This shot of the outside of Hugo Boss’s hull shows the impact that broke the ribs of Alex Thomson’s brand-new Open 60; the first in a series of cascading failures that led to their near-sinking in the Bay of Biscay a few days ago.  Alex is 99.9% sure this presumed collision was the root cause of the rest of the issues,  but that’s not the most surprising thing we learned in our Skype interview with him this afternoon.  You’ll have to tune back in to this page for the rest of the story early tomorrow, exclusively on Sailing Anarchy.  It’s a good one!  We’re also pleased to report that VPLP and Verdier seem to be completely on top of it, with their top guys working hand in hand with all the teams with issues.  Stand by for more.

TJV thread here.  Boss Sinking thread here.

November 3rd, 2015 by admin

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UPDATE: After unsuccessfully attempting a repair for several hours at sea, Alex Thomson and Guillermo Altadill onboard HUGO BOSS have made the difficult decision to proceed to Vigo. This partial repair will not allow the duo to cross the Atlantic serenely.The technical team is currently en route to Vigo, Spain, to join the crew and try to consolidate repairs.More information tomorrow.

With two of the newest VPLP/Verdier foiling 60s already out of the TJV, it comes as no surprise that a third is now on the ropes.  With just a few days of sailing under her keel before the start of the race, Alex Thomson’s Hugo Boss is the newest of all of ‘em all, according to Facebook, Alex and Guillermo Altadill will spend the next few hours hove to in the North Atlantic as they dig into unspecified technical issues and try to save their race.  On one hand, the attrition rate of the new boats is a big failure for the teams; on the other hand, reliability is never great at the extreme edges of any development box…especially on the first real outing as they build up to the big dance next year.

Our Senior Editor sat down with Thomson just before the Boss left for France earlier this month to chat about everything Open 60, with questions mostly provided by you Anarchists.  It’s another great chat between Clean and AT, and there’s plenty to listen to as you wait to see if they get back in the race.  You can download the full video from Vimeo here to play later. Track the TJV fleet here.

October 28th, 2015 by admin

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Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 11.18.08 AMThe always-positive Andrea Mura has been tooling around Europe for the past few years in various singlehanded boats called Vento Di Sardegna (Sardinian Wind), and we were extremely enthused to see some Italian blood finally returning to the Class that called Gio Soldini one of its founding members.  Unfortunately, the lack of Frenchness continues to be a huge handicap, and Mura seems to have bitten off way more than he could chew with his 2016 attempt at the Vendee Globe in a latest-gen IMOCA boat.

His Italian sponsors paid for a gorgeous, brand new VPLP-Verdier Open 60, but according to Velablog, he’s broke, can’t get to the starting line for the TJV, and the boat is up for sale.  Bad news for anyone who wants to see IMOCA as more than a Francais-only men’s club, but great news for anyone looking to get a last-minute entry with a latest-generation foiling 60 to next year’s Vendee starting line.  MichDej, perhaps, just in time to defend his record against either of his two protegées?

Latest goss in the thread.

 

September 22nd, 2015 by admin

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