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Posts Tagged ‘open 60’

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The Sailing Anarchy Podcast is back, and this week Mr. Clean gets into the business behind the single biggest event in the entire sport: The Vendee Globe.  This 100-minute episode # 6 is a mix of insider chat from Clean and four interviews he grabbed last month in New York with interesting Vendee figures: IMOCA Ocean Masters Commercial Director Alex Mills, Canadian Ocean Racing grom Morgan Watson, Irish skipper and storyteller Enda O’Coineen, and Team SMA media man Brian Carlin.

Episode # 6 will drop next week and it’ll be all about the Race 2 Alaska.  If you’ve got something to say about the R2AK, let us know and we’ll add you to the show.  Subscribe to the Podcast here.

 

June 22nd, 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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12304559_583351165155507_6759979268176838742_oNandor Fa’s Spirit of Hungary, the skipper-designed, home-built Open 60 that limped around the world in a 110-day Barcelona World Race continues to prove her poor reliability after a lap around the world and then some; dismasted off Madeira last month during the carnage-filled Transat Jacques Vabre, her skipper sat in Funchal for the past few weeks, finally sorting out a very short replacement to get him back North to get a new rig for the Vendee Globe.

Slow and steady will never win a race like the Vendee Globe, and while the fans love a late, late finisher, we sure hope Fa’s lifetime of experience will continue to get him through the seemingly endless problems with SoH.

Chat endlessly about the latest and greatest in IMOCA world right over here.

 

November 29th, 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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post-106437-0-80951600-1446216726This shot from the floor of Jean-Pierre Dick’s Virbac St.Michel shows the broken ribs that knocked the new-gen foiling Open 60 out of the Transat Jacques Vabre last night; the fourth retirement out of the 5 VPLP/Verdier fliers and a clear sign that someone in the design office seems to have gotten these multi-million-dollar beats wrong – very, very wrong.

One of the major innovations in the new boats is a transverse version of the approach to hull design that we first saw in Comanche; instead of a few large stringers in a structural grid over a relatively thick hull, the VPLP solution uses these small semicircular ribs to support an extremely thin hull (4mm in some spots).  It’s a significantly lighter way to do it, but if the difficult production process isn’t micron-perfect or if the ribs aren’t taking the load in unison, things go ugly quickly, as JP and Fabien discovered when they went down into the sail locker.

While four foiling boats are out, the final “Mustache” boat is showing why they all bothered, with the new Banque Populaire XVCCIVXIICL sailing an average of more than a knot faster than the ultra-quick previous generation PRB in the same stretch of ocean on a nice run.  In a Vendee, that would translate to a couple of weeks’ lead…assuming BP can avoid the speed bumps…

To The Orphanage For You

Our sentimental favorites aboard Adopt-A-Skipper have unfortunately also pulled the plug thanks to a blown out backstay, with Ryan and Nico headed back to Concarneau.  What a yard sale this TJV has become!  Chat and crowdsource all the TJV news here.

Thanks to SA’er ‘chasm’ for grabbing the shot from Virbac before they pulled it from their site.

 

October 30th, 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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