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Posts Tagged ‘Vendee Globe’

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One of the well-proven adages in business is to spend, spend, spend during a recession.  Marketing hard and growing fast when the markets are down is a great way to build market share, and it seems that the big names in the United Kingdom sailboat racing business are doing just that, despite all kinds of fears about austerity measures and deficit problems.  Here are three quick bits to illustrate.

The Great Contender

Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 10.24.53 AMRussell Coutts chased off the most serious challenger for the next America’s Cup.  Then he pulled the rug out from both his own hometown and the team that came a couple of minutes away from ending his run at AC34.  Just one of those is fully funded by a billionaire, but it’s the less well-funded one – Ben Ainslie Racing – who currently has the best chance of ending Larry Ellison’s reign of bullshit and the constantly waffling hypocrisy from the Russell Coutts Flying Circus.

Why, you ask?

Because Ben and his team are genuinely not in it for cash, but for nation, for country, for all those things that the rest of the world finds quaint and anachronistic.  Their hashtag is #BringTheCupHome, and that resonates like a motherf&%*ker.

That’s how he got longtime Mclaren Formula 1 team boss Martin Whitmarsh involved, and that’s where Red Bull Formula 1 designer and aerodynamic wunderkind Adrian Newey came in.

And perhaps most importantly, Ben will have home field advantage, as we’ll see during next month’s ACWS event in Portsmouth.  Bermuda is unfailingly British, and there are we cannot find anyone from the United States who wants to see the betrayal of Ellison and Coutts go unpunished.

Don’t underestimate the power of the crowd; unlike the almost entirely mercenary teams (and Oracle Team NOT-USA just added yet another non-american to the mix), Ben can get talent like Whitmarsh and Newey to help him despite being unable to pay them what they made when they worked for the F1 juggernaut.  And the more one-design the boat, the more cerebral the game becomes – and the more morale and confidence come into the mix.  If you don’t know what we mean, head over to Portsmouth and listen to what an estimated half a million people sound like when they are cheering.  The biggest questions remain about Ben himself; is he a fast enough driver in foiling boats?

Longtime pommie sailing boffin Matt Sheahan wrote a solid profile of the team and its obstacles over at howtospendit.  Check it out here.

Long Overdue

The Extreme 40 has been long in the tooth for the better part of 5 years, but much of that time was devoted to ensuring the Extreme Sailing Series survival and OC Events future cash flow.  As the rest of the world’s catamarans innovated, the Extreme Sailing Series looked more every season like a race for lorries in a downtown parking lot.  But Mark Turner’s stature as one of the sport’s best organizers doesn’t come from his generosity; he is a master of spending only when necessary.  Thanks to a few years of downturn and the ineptitude of his ostensible competitors, the X40 got a bit of breathing room – but not anymore.

And while Turner has been saying for years that ‘foiling is not for them,’ on Wednesday the ESS announced just the opposite; 2016 and beyond will likely see the new Extreme boat flying.  Turner says they have ‘four options’ that they haven’t distilled down yet, but the clock is a-ticking.  The X40 hulls are a mess, with dozens of repairs adding weight and reducing stiffness throughout the fleet, and one-design something of a joke.  The design itself is as dated as you’ll see in a modern event, as you’d expect from a boat created more than a decade ago for the 2005 Volvo Ocean Race; the event that re-launched stadium sailing (though not a new concept; cf. the Formula 40 series in the 90s, the wildly successful 150,000-person Match Cup Sweden in the late 90s and early 2000s, the One-Design Grand Prix circuit, the…well, you get the point).

So there are a lot of reasons for a new boat and it’s almost imperative for it to happen quickly, but it is already pretty late for one of the brand new designs being evaluated by OC to impact the 2016 season.  Enter the GC32, currently the front-runner for the Extreme series next year.  It’s a bit small for much of the corporate PR and VIP work that’s the bread and butter for Turner, but Martin Fischer’s flying boat is furious and exciting in anything over 8 knots of breeze.  Perhaps more importantly, two years of now-solved foil issues has taken much of the value out of the GC32, and having spent millions on the creation of his dream boat and a relatively low-budget series, GC32 creator Laurent Lenne is ready to get back to racing instead of running a sailboat marketing company.  That could mean ‘bargain’ to the famously cost-conscious Turner, solving all his problems for 2016.  The only other option for next year is to modify the truck-like X40 for foils, but that’s crazy talk.

And for 2017, look for an all-new X36/X37/X38 – a straight or foiling daggered monster that looks as modern as possible.  Whether you are talking about markets, boat types, or formats, the world is a-changing, and Mark Turner and his group will continue to be one of the most important drivers of those changes.

Watch the final day of ESS racing from Cardiff today.

He’s Got The Look

WSince we couldn’t get a new rendering from the Alex Thomson Racing team, we’ll keep this one short, but a monster piece of sailing sponsorship news hit the wire this week providing further evidence that a good look, a strong marketing team, and a few successful PR stunts are far more important than performance when it comes to finding big money for sailing.  Thomson’s team announced on Thursday that Mercedes-Benz had joined the Hugo Boss/ATR racing program as a ‘Core Sponsor’ in advance of this summer’s launch of Thomson’s brand new VPLP/Verdier Open 60 HUGO BOSS.  The move comes on the heels of last years defection of Hugo Boss from the McLaren F1 team to the all-conquering Mercedes Silver Arrows, marking the end of F-1′s longest team sponsorship deal.  The best part about it?  Thomson doesn’t even need to change his color scheme.

With Alex scoring a 3rd in the last Vendee in a last gen boat, and telling us numerous times that he’s getting a bit old for all this noise, and with golden boy Francois Gabart sitting this one out in favor of a much faster singlehander, 2016 will mark Thomson’s best chance ever at the biggest win ever for an Englishman since Sir Robin beat Moitessier in 1969, nearly 50 years ago.  That is, if he can finish, unlike the last BWR, or the one before that, or…

 

June 21st, 2015 by admin

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Did anyone expect the first bluewater foiler to be a monohull? We sure didn’t, but Morgan Legraviere’s new Open 60 Safran looks ready for takeoff.  Sick work from the dominant duo of Verdier and VPLP, and you can hit the “New IMOCA” thread for video and more pics.  Oh – and you’ll like what Verdier calls them; ‘Dali Moustache’ foils.  We’re a little confused though; When did dropping hundreds of balloons into the sea become ok? Biodegradable or not, seems like a bit of a dick move.

March 8th, 2015 by admin

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Looking for some of the great sailing videos this week to watch on a near-summer Sunday?  We’ve got it for you right here.

High Line

As much as we like the one-design idea of the next Volvo Ocean Race, there’s no doubt that the usual buildup of excitement for the VOR is largely gone without the open design challenge of a developmental class.  The VOR hasn’t handled this change with a lot of grace, but Rick Deppe and his video team are finally getting it rolling, and this look at what it’s like to work in the sky is both beautiful and interesting.

Time Line

Petey Crawford shares a time lapse look at a series of ‘days in the life’ of a sailing videographer, with a nice track and some of the prettiest scenery you can imagine.

Scout Report

We never let a chance to speak to Loïck Peyron slip by, and he stopped by the Austrian Alps with Artemis teammate Iain Percy to have a peek at the foiling GC32 action on Lake Traunsee.   Mr. Clean sat down with the boys to see what they thought about the foiler and where it fits into the AC world, and watch the final day of action at the GC32 Austria Cup right here on the front page starting at 1000 CET/0900 UTC today.  For dozens more interviews, go here.

Scouts Rising

If sailing is to ever to grow again, it ain’t Yacht Clubs that will make it happen; it will be the sailing centers, community organizations, and folks like the Sea Scouts who spread the word to the unwashed masses.  Huge, well-funded spots like the new 60,000 square foot Sea Scout base in Galveston, TX will lead the way; check them out above and support Sea Scouts in your neck of the woods.

The Haunted

Sure it’s a sport, but it’s also all about soul and history and isolation and all the things that don’t easily fall into the realm of ‘competition.’  Here’s a look at some of that soul, captured by some of the sport’s ocean racing pioneers.

 

May 31st, 2014 by admin

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It took us longer than we thought to get this up and we thank you for your patience, but it’s worth it; this hour-long Sailing Anarchy Innerview with Hugo Boss skipper Alex Thomson tells the secrets behind his mast walk stunt (and whether it was a stuntman who did the big dive) and gets into dozens of other subjects thanks to your excellent questions; Alex shares his plans for 2014 and the next Vendee Globe, tells us who has new boats coming in the IMOCA world, and gives us the low down on his Caribbean 600 race on a Beneteau 40.  You can grab audio only via your smartphone or browser here on the Mixcloud, or download an MP3 file for later listening here.

We highly recommend you check out the “Behind the Mastwalk” video here as well; it’s even better than the other one.

 

March 20th, 2014 by admin

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bwr 1We welcome our friends from the Barcelona World Race back and thank them for their support and advertising with Sailing Anarchy!  The BWR is a completely unique race, providing most of the adventure and challenge of the Vendee Globe, but adding the spice and flavor of a start in the fabulous city of Barcelona and the excitement and adrenaline available from the higher-performance of a double handed crew.

The additional body aboard also means the interpersonal relationship is a big part of the race, and with one more person to write/shoot/edit there’s more content as well.  In just three editions it’s become one of the world’s greatest ocean races, and you can talk about the race here, and hit their Facebook Page here for more info.  Here’s their big announcement:

The third edition of the Barcelona World Race starts New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2014 and will reveal ten duos or more on the start line, ready to take on the biggest and most arduous challenge in double-handed ocean racing!

Four high caliber teams have already announced their participation, including six co-skippers who return as BWR race veterans.  Entered teams are the Mare Racing Team with German and French skippers Jorg Riechers and Sebastien Audigane, GAES Centros Auditivos with Spaniards Anna Corbella and Gerard Marin, Hugo Boss with Alex Thomson from Great Britain and Pepe Ribes from Spain and the recently announced Neutrogena Sailing Team with Spaniard Guillermo Altadill and Chilean Jose Munoz, to be joined by another six in the upcoming weeks and months.

The next edition will take a new course, taking the fleet south of New Zealand this time. Stops will be taxed much more heavily. The Barcelona World Race, a thrilling adventure to take competitive human sporting partnerships to the limit of endurance, has long since set its position as a ‘must do’ on the IMOCA Ocean Masters World Championship.

An innovative and exciting media programme using up-to-the-minute platforms will bring the Barcelona World Race to individual race fans and into households around the world, developing and reporting the sporting and human stories hour by hour and day by day. The commercial returns for sponsors and partners on previous editions of the race represent excellent value. And alongside the sporting challenge, the Barcelona World Race will open avenues for important scientific and marine research.

 

March 5th, 2014 by admin

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Having followed Bernard Stamm and his Cheminees Poujoulat program for years, we have a few lessons to share with prospective Open 60 skippers.

1) “Win or Break” may be a silly axiom, but when it comes to sponsor exposure, nothing is truer.  And “Just Break” may be even more effective, especially when you pick the wrong designer and have no chance to win.  Proof:  Bernard and his sponsor have gotten more press since his Juan Yacht Design cracked in half on a delivery sail in December than he ever received sailing around behind the lead pack in any major race – except for when he crashed into an island.  And then again he got a lot of notice when disqualified by the Vendee Globe for outside assistance.

2)  As a follow-on to (1), if you want lots of exposure for your major race campaign, bring in JuanK to your design team.  We’re not saying that any of the recent disasters were his fault – after all, a big boat is a big project – but between the Artemis AC72 disaster, Cheminees implosion,, and Rambler 100s capsize and near-death experience, nothing can get those journalists fired up quite like a JuanK boat.

3) Nobody takes care of their boats like the French (and their kissing cousins, the Franco-Suisse like Bernard).  What American, Italian, or British skipper would spend months finding and recovering a boat that won’t even work as a garden planter? Remember during the infamous Route Du Rhum when half the ORMA 60 fleet was lost?  Only French boats made it back, often upside down and useless.  And guess what?  Some of those boats are still sailing today.  It’s no wonder the French can keep finding sponsors – the French sailors will just about die for them!  And you’ll never catch a Frenchman polluting on the ocean.  Unfiltered cigarette butts don’t count.

We joke, but only just.  Keep up with the latest on Stamm’s busted up ride here.

 

February 19th, 2014 by admin

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Our resident offshore soloist and francophonic rigger Ryan Breymaier checks in from the Nautic, with the first real piece of IMOCA news since Keith Mills Open Sports Management announced it would be trying to increase the commercial appeal of the world’s marquee offshore monohull class.  Their first move:   A series and a promo.  Here’s Ryan’s take.

 The Paris boatshow is France’s biggest non-sailing maritime event of the year. All the movers and shakers in the yachting industry are there for a show that’s open for 10 days over two weekends to offer maximum opportunity for visitors to discover the latest in industry news and developments.  Historically the crowds are huge from start to finish and so I was very happy to attend the ‘pro’ day, reserved for media and maritime professionals the Friday before the start of the show.

They weren’t wrong, though they say the show was smaller than previous years, there was everything you could want for a boat or boat-related; from the fashionable blow-up SUP to a wood carving knife to information on the Corsican classic regatta to the brand new one-design flying cat… but more on that later…

What I’d come to hear was the joint press conference between Open Sports Management (OSM) and the FNOB.

OSM is the company created in 2013 and backed by Sir Keith Mills to commercialize and internationalize the IMOCA class.  As part of their role, they will create new races and manage the racing schedule. They will also actively seek title sponsors for the class and assist skippers in seeking their own sponsorship.

Until now, the IMOCA class has been skipper controlled and has acted as the governing body of the class of open 60 boats used for the Vendee Globe and Barcelona World Race.

On Friday, at a joint press conference with the FNOB who organize the Barcelona World Race, OSM announced the “OCEAN MASTERS CHAMPIONSHIP” along with the inaugural NEW YORK-BARCELONA RACE, starting June 1st, to be held every 2 years.

The Ocean Masters Championship is effectively the new name for what was previous known as the IMOCA circuit.  The championship will still run over a four year cycle and there will still be a points ranking amongst the skippers, based on placings within the full schedule of races on the racing calendar. The name was chosen because out of over 50 people asked every day at the race village prior to the Transat Jacques Vabre, not one member of the public could say what IMOCA stands for. (International Monohull Open Class Association).  Sir Keith explained the new name like this (more or less): “Short-handed ocean racing is a sport that is based around the skippers. In no other sport do people race 24/7 in such tough conditions for up to 90 days non-stop. The racing is about the skippers and so the circuit is called Ocean Masters.”

The New York- Barcelona Race is really great news for anyone interested in seeing more major offshore events in the US.  Bringing the boats to the USA in the springtime will finally provide US sailing fans the chance to get up close and personal with these amazing machines, as well as providing an excellent opportunity for US companies to get into sponsorship of shorthanded ocean racing.

The race will be managed jointly by OSM and the FNOB who have already a good experience with organizing a race from New York.   The program has the boats going to Newport RI at the end of May with a race to NYC with media onboard each boat on the 24th. There will be a race village at North Cove Marina and a Grand Prix on the Hudson River on the 26th. Race start is on June 1st.

The potential is huge for the first American sponsor to get involved; both in terms of the marketing opportunities offered by the race start in New York, as well as beginning a long term relationship in a sport with undeniable values and an incredibly captivating story to be told in the lead up to the Vendee Globe 2016, singlehanded, nonstop around the world.

I am working hard to be on the starting line for the race and this latest news creates a great starting point for a sponsor willing to accompany me in my quest to be the first American winner of the Vendee Globe.  We are certain there is a company out there for whom this is the perfect opportunity to expand their reach, both in the US and in Europe; it’s just a matter of finding them in time to be on the start line.

Finally, to help you all navigate the future of IMOCA (just so everyone’s got the jargon right):

Open Sport Management or OSM promotes the IMOCA class worldwide.

IMOCA manages the technical side of the class. This is still skipper-run and this is where the decisions about one-design, etc. are made.

OCEAN MASTERS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP is the new name of the racing circuit,

FNOB is the organizing body of the Barcelona World Race.

-Ryan

 

December 11th, 2013 by admin

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We’re pretty jaded when it comes to mainstream coverage of the sport we love, but allow us to revel a bit in the glory that is HBO Sports.  Because the undisputed heavyweight of original cable programming has seemingly seen the light, producing a meaty segment on Alex Thomson’s Hugo Boss and the Vendee Globe for their Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel show that airs tonight at 10 PM nationwide.

It ain’t no ‘found footage’ either – HBO sent over a full production team to get down and dirty with what solo ocean racing is all about.  Click on the thumbnail to the left to watch a two-minute teaser, and make sure you set your DVR to record what we all hope is an eye-opening report for the millions who watch HBO.  When it makes it online, we’ll let you know.

 

September 17th, 2013 by admin

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To say Bernard Stamm had a frustrating Vendee Globe would be an understatement, but after seeing this video of multiple accidental gybes and other mayhem while he cavorted around the transom, the Swiss mountain man is lucky to be alive, much less finished the course five days ago despite the DSQ.  Fast forward to around 0:54 if you’re in a rush.

More crazy stuff from the craziest race there is…don’t believe us?  How about a little Tanguy Lamotte doing underwater basket weaving and McGyvering up a new bilge pump?  Meanwhile, he’s just a few days out and has added 160,000 friends to the Initiatives-Coeur Facebook page.  That is 13 children whose lives Tanguy and his fans have saved thus far.  Still a bit to go – please go LIKE HIS PAGE to save some more lives.

Just a few more days to go before this one is in the books, and the ultra-marathon Vendee Globe thread continues to stay interesting…

February 10th, 2013 by admin

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Well, he finally shut the naysayers up! And we couldn’t be more excited to see Alex Thomson finish on the podium in Les Sables D’Olonne where he completed the race in 80 days 19 hours 23 minutes 43 seconds. Here’s the full press conference following Thomson’s Arrival; check it out to show your support for a guy that has earned every inch of his exceptional Vendee Globe podium finish with a last-generation boat and 2 months of neverending repairs. And for one hell of a finale, he made it through 35 knots and huge Biscay seas right to the finish. Meanwhile, JP Dick has to decide whether to weather a Biscay gale without a keel…more drama ahead!

January 29th, 2013 by admin

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