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Posts Tagged ‘open 60’

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Thomas Ruyant’s Souffle Du Nord (“Breath of the North”) is out of the Vendee Globe, and might not even stay afloat for another day. Words from Thomas as translated in the thread.

I lowered the mainsail. I turned on the engine. I remained a few hours hove to.
The damage at the front of the boat is deteriorating, the hull is opening up, the frames are coming unglued from everywhere.
I am heading to the South of New Zealand. I should be there in 2 days. I am not sure it is going to hold until then.
 
The good thing is that I am within helicopter range. It is comforting. I just need to push one button for someone to get me. The living quarters are not damaged. With the watertight doors, I can stay protected.
 
The hit was ultra-violent. I still shivers, just thinking about it… and talking about it.
I was sailing at 17-18 knots. And everything stopped. I think I hit a container. That’s what torn apart the bottom of the hull. The front of the hull exploded. The hull buckled. Luckily I did not lose the mast. It was very, very violent.
 
I was sleeping in my bean bag. Thank god, I had my head deep into the bean bag. I ended up against the mast bulkhead. I found items against the mast bulkhead that were packed up at the rear of the boat; it flew forward over 10 meters…
 
A bit stressful. The good thing is that I am not too far from shore. But actually, that is also what could have caused it. I saw several cargos. I think I am on a maritime route between New Zealand and Australia. Knowing the sea conditions, there must be a few containers in the water. I think that’s what I hit, considering the violence of the shock…
 
Here we are…End of my Vendee Globe…Finished…Half around the world…

I am so sad it ends up this way…I had my lot of hardship… For sure I had a truck load of them…

But this one… this one… Fuck! I really wish this one to nobody…

Thread has the latest news and discussion – go there now.

 

December 19th, 2016 by admin

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Clean Report

My first long trip since becoming a father was an eye-opening one for me in many ways.  I learned that it takes about 15 days before family Facetime chats fall off and the missing really begins.  I learned that Sailing Anarchy can be a force for positive change.  I learned that driving non-stop from Barcelona to Amsterdam alone costs a fortune in tolls, fuel, and misery.  But mostly, I enjoyed being back in the thick of it for three extremely important events for the sport I love.  I’d like to express my heartfelt thanks to everyone who helped make the trip possible, and I encourage you to check out informative pieces I did with each of the four sponsors during the trip:

Musto’s head of marketing and the Figaro sailor who reps them in France chatted with me about their new offerings and just how much of the Vendee fleet wears HPX in this video from METS.

Torqeedo Marketing Director Georg Roben gave some candid answers about the company and products that have netted two of the prestigious “Most Innovative Product” awards in the past five years at the METS show in this video.

As usual, Doyle Sails NZ owner Mike Sanderson was funny and interesting in this live chat about the Hugo Boss sails, superyacht sail technology, and the future of the Volvo Ocean Race, while Bruce Schwab explained what Ocean Planet Energy’s slick battery, regulator, and charging solutions do for ocean racers in this interview. 

Enjoy them, and stay tuned for the next big thing.  Got something your company thinks needs some coverage?  Let me know.

A Hazy, Crazy Vendee

A special invitation to be aboard one of just a handful of support RIBs permitted inside the 2016 Vendee Globe starting area gave me a great view to one of the most special single days in all of sailing; a day where our humble sport sees crowds that make the World Cup look small.  As it turned out, the start itself wasn’t even in the top ten most interesting things about V-Day, and my view inside the commentary box four years ago was quite a bit better than being aboard a photo RIB shooting the 2016 start.  It’s a start that barely matters at all for the race itself.

What I didn’t experience four years ago was the single most intense crowd moment our sport has; when each skipper comes ’round the corner, entering the famous LSD Canal to the roar of an estimated 200,000 fans lining the shores.  Fortunately, my spot with the Boss photographer allowed me to be just a few meters away from this action, and the 18-minute video above is my attempt to get you as close as I could to the unique emotional surge unlocked by that final trip through the fairway.

I’ve been asked by many people whether the Vendee and IMOCA will ever really grip the attention of anyone outside of France and the niche yachting community, and I remind people that there’s plenty of precedent for it.  When Mike Plant dominated solo racing (and indeed in the early days of the Open 60) the Vendee was international.  When Ellen was one of the UK’s best-known athletes, the Vendee was international.  And now that Alex Thomson has a real chance to win and with the help of Open Sports Management and the IMOCA Class, the Vendee is pulling in decent international numbers. But it’s all probably not enough to transform the event into a truly world-wide phenomenon, and that’s entirely because of the shortsightedness of the French organizers of the race itself.

You see, the non-French world just doesn’t matter much to the region of Vendee, or to the paymasters behind the communications strategy of the race, and where they do make an effort, it is specifically pointed at a UK audience.  The English portion of the VG web work – mostly translated news stories and voiced videos – are a shadow of the French language content. The live dockout show and start were commentated by a fully English team.  And the live call-in shows and ‘vacations’ are hosted by Andi Robertson, who, through no fault of his own, is basically impossible to understand for anyone South of the Midlands (including the sailors he talks to on the phone).  Even the video distribution is distinctly French and distinctly annoying, with organizers always pushing views towards the awful DailyMotion over Youtube, Facebook, or Vimeo.  We’re confident that the organizers don’t know any better – nor do they seem to care – and unless Thomson wins and sets up a massive cross-channel rivalry, or another Ellen or Mike Plant comes along, things will most likely continue along on their continually growing, largely Francophone path.  Why change now?

The biggest wildcard for the internationalization of the Vendee Globe comes from outside the race, and we hear Mark Turner, the Keith Mills/OSM contingent, and a number of different designers and builders are hard at work to determine the feasibility of the ‘Joint Strike” foiling IMOCA/Volvo Ocean Race 68-foot concept for the 2019 Vendee/2020 VOR.  With OSM getting somewhat lukewarm worldwide buy-in of the Ocean Masters Series concept since its inception, the combined power of OSM, Boss, and the Volvo could really tip the international balance of IMOCA racing.  You won’t have to wait long to find out where that one’s going, and we’re on the edge of our seats along with everyone else who loves ocean racing.

Finally, I want to heartily recommend a trip to West France for anyone who loves sailing, and if you can go during a Vendee start or even one of the finishes, you’ll not be disappointed.  There’s nothing even remotely like it.

world-sailing-certThe Government It Deserves

Joseph deMaistre (no, not Thomas Jefferson) wrote “every nation gets the government it deserves” back in 1811, and little did I know when I scheduled my trip to Barcelona that I’d be struggling more with the ramifications of this quote at home than on the ground at the World Sailing AGM and election.  I watched in shock at 6 AM in a tiny AirBnB apartment as the US Election results rolled in, and there was almost as much discussion of the Donald at the AGM as there was of Carlo Croce, Kim Andersen, and Paul Henderson, with the US attendees trying valiantly to assuage the fears and worries of the rest of the delegates.  More on that below…

As many of you know, Sailing Anarchy led the world in coverage of the avalanche of ISAF’s public problems over the past four years, and we weren’t bashful in laying it all at the feet of the man in charge.  Carlo Croce may not be a bad person and he undoubtedly loves the sport, but as a leader, he was an embodiment of the opaque, conflicted, unaccountable governance that invariably ends in major problems. We don’t need to go into the full list of ISAF’s planning, contracting, and communications fuckups over the past four years again, but when we learned that he had real challengers for his second term, we jumped at the opportunity to help them get the word out to the wider sailing community.  And you know what?  You guys helped send Croce back to Italy in defeat.

According to numerous sources amongst the delegates, the flood of calls, emails, and comments you sent to your National Governing Body and our continual shining of the spotlight of shame on World Sailing’s missteps in Rio and Russia helped to unseat an incumbent ISAF/WS/IYRU President for the first time in history.  Strong public statements from the other candidates (most notably, in our two podcasts with them), a well-organized plan from the Danish challenger, and Croce’s complete unwillingness to engage anyone in public doomed the Italian, and when I hit the road for Amsterdam on the Monday morning, I left confident that World Sailing is headed in the right direction for the next four years, even if America is not.

As an ISAF AGM virgin, I found the conference quite effective compared to similar conferences I’ve attended in other disciplines.  Sure, doing work in big committees as ISAF does is massively inefficient, but that’s how volunteer representative governance works.  Much of the various committees’ time was spent on inane arguments and old men who like to hear themselves talk, but lots of business actually happened; handicap racing, offshore rules, media strategy, match racing, Olympic formats and equipment – all saw well-found presentations and solid progress towards more modern, transparent, and creative approaches to success.

The theme of the conference itself was a different story.  Called “Our Sustainable Future,” it was a fairly brazen attempt to position sailboat racing as the ‘go-to sport’ for major corporations looking for a ‘green’ sports sponsorship partner.  While we at SA believe environmental awareness and conservation to be inextricably tied to sailing, World Sailing’s attempt to do so was clumsy and hypocritical.  Case in point: The final AGM was a busy affair, with hundreds of delegates and staff and hundreds more observers, and the first thing I noticed when stepping into the room was a booklet on every single seat that touted ‘sailors and nature’.  It wasn’t an agenda or anything with important information in it, it was a big pile of trash masquerading as a promotional brochure.  Another chunk of obvious bullshit came from a staff executive’s attempt to justify the only major ‘environmental’ sponsor of the entire World Sailing portfolio – Gazprom – by explaining that even dirty companies need a green sports partner.

Call us crazy, but to us, allying our ‘clean’ sport with the single biggest polluter in the entire world and a company almost inseparable from Vladimir Putin and his international adventurism isn’t the best start to sustainability.  It’s probably better to establish a reputation for environmental awareness and conservation and pick up some sponsors who are actually walking the walk before positioning World Sailing as an image-launderer for every coal, gas, and oil company in the world.  Otherwise, we’re just whores.  You can watch the full Sustainability Forum as recorded live here.

As an American, one of the most shocking exchanges of the week occurred before the delegates voted on the next two years of AGM venues; the 2017 meeting in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and the following year in Sarasota. Florida.  I’ll direct you to the starting point of the actual discussion as filmed live by World Sailing TV here (it goes on for about 20 minutes), and for those of you with short attention spans, consider this: In just a few days, the world went from a place where the USA was safe and prosperous and Mexico a dangerous, drug-ridden cartel state to exactly the opposite: Nearly a third of the delegates chose not to support a meeting in America, while just 6 delegates voted against Mexico.

For all its faults, World Sailing TV did a real service to the world’s sailors by live streaming much of the conference to the world.  Nearly no one watched them, but it’s early days and we think the precedent was well worth it.  You can check out all the WS live streams here.

The Show of Shows

Compared to the first two stops, the Marine Equipment Trade Show was far less important and far more fun.  For one, it’s in Amsterdam, which never sucks.  For another, it’s the single most important show for the sport, and hundreds of friends were there to laugh, drink, and carouse with.  It was an uplifting show as well – the industry is pumping right now, and even if most of the really interesting innovations are targeted squarely at the big dollars super- and megayacht markets, at least there’s money to keep our favorite companies going.  In any event, anyone involved in the business of sailing – even small companies – really should add the METS to their calendar over any other show.  There’s just nowhere in the world where you can connect with more people inside every aspect of sailing than here.

After the number of updates I did in Amsterdam there is little need to recap the full show; if you love the sport and innovations, you’ll probably already have watched the videos (all streamed live from the floor of the RAI with one from Holland Composites).  If not, I encourage you to head over to the SA Facebook page and have a look at our overall Best In Show, one of the biggest safety innovations we’ve seen in a while from a brilliant 20-something year old kid, and about a dozen more really interesting product videos from the show floor.

And don’t forget the Sailing Anarchy Podcast.

 

 

December 10th, 2016 by admin

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Conrad Colman continues to prove that he is an ‘innovate or die’ kind of dude.  The first all-electric propulsion in the Vendee Globe.  The first drone shots from a solo racer in the Southern Ocean.  And now – the first podcast from an Open 60, via Soundcloud.  The tech to pull this off has been around for the better part of a decade, and it’s amazing no one has done it before now, but that’s why Colman is one of our favorites – because he is always in search of new ways to share the sport with the world.

This one is only 3 minute long, but we really do suggest you find a good set of headphones and turn them way up before you click ‘play’ if you want a taste of what a Southern Ocean cold front feels like.

Shout out to one of the best kids’ movies ever; a reminder that not all cartoons need to be corporatized drudge from Disney and friends.

 

December 8th, 2016 by admin

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The world is moving damned quickly; we just got notice from our old South African friends at Aerospective that Romain Attanasio is in Simon’s Town, fixing his rudder – and we’re able to watch it almost in real time.  Romain is NOT out of the race as long as he receives no physical assistance; they say that every Vendee Globe skipper needs the skills of a boatbuilder, and we’re about to find out how good Romain’s are!  The full aerial flyover video is over here.

Here’s a post from Romain’s better half summing up the situation for Attanasio:

A quick update on Romain’s situation. As you can see on the tracker he is heading towards Cape Town. He is aiming precisely for Simonstown (a military town in False Bay to the East of Cape Point.) We know it, as we visited the port during the 2014 Volvo stop-over, so geographically Romain will be able to recognise his landfall and find his bearings, and he remembers that there were moorings there. He is hoping to be able to catch a mooring, but will obviously be ready to anchor if necessary. Then the plan is to remove the broken rudders and asses the damage properly, which will probably involve swimming! At this time of year in Simonstown, it is around 25°C in the daytime and so this will help dry out his broken rudders. He needs to be able to make repairs to the least damaged of the two rudders, to make the blade watertight and vaguely streamlined so that it will not deteriorate further. He will also have to install his spare rudder, which is a delicate operation that will also involve swimming. The critical part of this procedure is to be able to not damage the bearings in the boat. And not be eaten by a shark, of course!

Romain has been assessing the performance and manouverability of his broken rudder and is positive that if he manages to follow his plan, he will be able to continue the race with one clean, new, rudder and one short, damaged but repaired, rudder. This may imply sailing a bit more carefully on whichever tack has the damaged rudder and he will take the weather into consideration when he chooses which side he puts the new rudder back into the boat on.

Romain has the laminating equipment required to make the repair, and has enough food to accept taking a bit longer than planned in the race. He is totally motivated to stay in the race and make this repair “unassisted”. I have notified this fact to the guys in Simonstown who have been very supportive and are passing the message around to “protect” Romain from any enthusiastic by-standers and keep people away from helping him! This is much appreciated.

A big thanks to everyone who has sent us messages, I have forwarded them all to the boat and it really has made a difference to Romain.  I will keep you updated when I have more news.

Sam

 

December 8th, 2016 by admin

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With jagged bits falling off his now-wrecked starboard side foil, Alex Thomson has tapped into his inner Brit, keeping the proverbial ‘stiff-upper lip’ despite watching his huge 120NM+ lead erode sched by sched.  How long can he hold the charging Armel and Seb off?  It all depends on the wind direction, and the closer they charge toward the Antarctic Exclusion Zone, the less choices Alex will have to make.

screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-7-28-41-amWestern France is collectively breathing a huge sigh of relief to see the rosbif’s game-changing race begin to falter, but they shouldn’t count their Maitre Coq before it hatches; this edition of the Vendee has been noteable not only for the dominance of Old England, but for the incredibly lack of attrition up to this point.  It won’t last, and if one foiling 60 can wreck a foil, they all can…

Meanwhile, we’re not sure who made it, but props to the Anarchist who brought the beautiful Windyty streamlines to the Vendee Globe tracking data to produce this ‘world’s best’ tracker for the VG.  Check that link here, go over here for a full-fleet performance graphing option, and of course wade into the thread if you love the Vendee.

 

November 21st, 2016 by admin

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The odds-on favorite for the 2016/17 Vendee Globe checks out an entirely novel use for his foiling j-board aboard Banque Populaire.  Photo dug up by whoever the hell Nolimit Team 972 is…and there’s already a pile of great Race Village photos on the VG site…T minus 18 days!

 

October 19th, 2016 by admin

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Thought you knew what J-foils were supposed to look like? Guess again.  These from Jean Pierre Dick’s St. Michel Virbac, currently lying in Les Sables D’Olonne getting ready for the Vendee Globe in just two weeks!  Sailing Anarchy will be there – will you?

Title shout to one of the funniest bits in modern movie history.

October 19th, 2016 by admin

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There’s never been anything quite like the latest generation of Open 60s, and in just a couple of months, we’ll learn how they perform in anger when the Vendee Globe kicks off.  We haven’t been this excited by a monohull class in years, and we recommend you take some time to catch up with the latest; here’s the Ocean Racing Anarchy forum thread, full of info.  Here’s the most reliable Facebook Page under the Vendee umbrella.  Here’s the latest promo/trailer video for the race, and here’s a pretty good Conrad Colman documentary from the NY-Vendee Race. Brian Carlin photo, with more from this past weekend’s Azimut Race here.

September 26th, 2016 by admin

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062816-FrenchMinistry-cropped-1024x768We love the fact that Rich Wilson spends the vast majority of his Open 60 time and energy providing unique, powerful learning oportunities for kids through his sitesALIVE! program.  For the 2016 Vendee Globe, Wilson has taken a big step further – he’s gone full French on us, and all the way to the top!  From the very well-done sitesALIVE! Newsletter (which you can sign up for here):

As Great American IV arrives in les Sables d’Olonne ready to complete training, we’ve surged ahead in our bid to appeal to audiences in France, where the Vendée Globe is well known. We are set to launch a French version of our website; our Teachers’ Guide has already been translated into French; and, most importantly, the Directorate-General for Schools of the French Ministry for National Education has agreed to collaborate on our educational program. More details to follow after administrators return from the August holidays.

Although the Vendée Globe already offers an education program for school children via their website, the education ministry appreciated several novel aspects of sitesALIVE! They liked that we put curricular topics into real world context and that we offer a team of experts, plus the chance for students to interact globally around the various topics. After an initial favorable meeting in February with ministry officials (thanks to the introduction of the American Embassy in Paris) we met again in June to hash out details. The ministry has approved our program for use in French schools.

In other France-related news, we arrived in les Sables d’Olonne on August 17th (see details below),  after motoring for the last part of the trip over calm seas. Training will be completed here. Previously, at the end of June, we sailed a short training run with British sailor Dee Caffari (who was also on board to help on the voyage from the Azores to South Hampton in November last year). Although we started out on this latest training run with lightning storms, which Dee categorized as “very, very, frightening,” we managed to put skipper and boat through their paces, tacking and gibing, changing sails and checking all systems on board. As in November, it was reassuring to have Dee aboard as we got the hang of sailing the big boat in a variety of conditions.

Seventy-five days before the start, French enthusiasm for the Vendée Globe is building, and this time around we want to make sure to do everything possible to make our educational program accessible to French-speakers. We’re on track to launch a French version of the sitesALIVE! site, due in September. We’ve also had the teachers’ manual translated into French, giving francophone teachers — wherever they may be in the world — instructions on how to guide their students through our math, science, history and geography curriculum, based on a sailing adventure that circumnavigates the globe.

 

August 23rd, 2016 by admin

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Videographer Stan Thuret gives us this 2 minute tease of a longer NY-Vendee Race movie to come in a couple of weeks.  Pretty stuff from a pretty old boat and an Anarchist skipper we really dig.

August 4th, 2016 by admin

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