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Posts Tagged ‘vestas’

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Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 9.47.15 PMClean Report

UPDATE: WATCH THE ANNOUNCEMENT LIVE FROM 0930 HERE.

As we mentioned when we broke the exclusive news that a true blue US team was back in the VOR, we were going to leave a little to the imagination about some of the moving parts of the new team.  Both title sponsors were extremely sensitive about their message and branding were presented at the right time, which is tomorrow (Tuesday) at an 0930 press conference at Sail Newport.

With all those months of secrecy amid toothy nondisclosure efforts, it was something of a surprise to see the well-guarded name of the new team – including both organizations behind it – pop up on Facebook the day before the big, live reveal.  As you’ll note from the pic to the left, the joint US/Danish effort will come with backing from the massive Danish turbine builder along with an environmental organization that’s been balls deep in smaller boat sailing for years.

You can certainly understand why Vestas wants to control their message so strongly, seeing as how they were something of a laughing stock in Denmark after their unscheduled date with an Indian Ocean reef and the months of ensuing mayhem. You can also understand 11th Hour Racing’s cautiousness; we all know that bad shit can happen when the scent of billionaire hits the water in this sport, even if the water is that much cleaner thanks to the Schmidt Family Foundation and fortune.

You can also understand the color scheme we previewed for you with that spy shot of Bicey last week; blue for Vestas, and blue/orange stripes for 11th Hour Racing.  Check back here in the morning for the live stream of the newest eco-team in the sport, and let’s find out which Dane(s) will join Charlie and Mark in the upcoming race.

And if you’re in the social media business, give the team a shout; they may be looking for someone new after today’s unintentional leak!

 

March 20th, 2017 by admin

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We are total junkies for pretty much anything Paul Larsen does.  And when it has to do with foils, supercavitation, and ludicrous speed, we can’t look away.  So here’s a long report – with almost no sailing in it at all – that we ripped from the SailRocket site in full.  Go see Paul’s creation at the Advanced Engineering Show in Birmingham, England on the 4th and 5th of November.

Well, to be honest, that all got a much closer to really happening than we expected when we set out. In the end the real show stopper was the same old nemesis of all speed sailors… the weather. The forecast changed rapidly and the stiff SW-WSW winds we were looking for simply faded away. These winds would have enabled us to run in close to the Cause-way along the shore where the water is flat and we have places to rig, launch, lower and retrieve the boat. Alex and I went out in a RIB (Thanks Tom Peel) and surveyed the course on the expected 1.25 meter tide. I haven’t done this since we last sailed SR1 here in 2006. I was surprised to see how close I could get in and there was actually a lot more room than I was expecting. It was definitely do-able… almost comfortable.

THE RED LINE SHOWS THE PROPOSED COURSE WE WOULD AIM TO TAKE. WE WOULD TOW SR2 TO THE BEACH AT UPPER LEFT AND RAISE THE WING THERE. SR2 WOULD THEN BE EASED OUT AND ALLOWED TO DRIFT DOWN-WIND UNDER THE GUIDANCE OF THE SUPPORT RIB. ONCE CLEAR OF THE SHORE SHE WOULD BE RELEASED AND I WOULD TRY AND GET HER STARTED BY SAILING HER BACK INTO THE WIND TO CREATE APPARENT WIND AND ALIGN ALL THE WING SECTIONS. ONCE OVER HER LOW SPEED DRAG HUMP AND SAILING BACK IN TOWARDS THE SHORE, I WOULD CONTROL HER SPEED TO BOTH INCREASE IT AND PREPARE FOR A GOOD LINE UP WITH THE SPEED COURSE ALONG THE SHORE. THE COURSE (LONGEST STRAIGHT LINE HERE) WOULD GIVE ME A GOOD FAST 500 METER STRETCH. I WOULD THEN HAVE ENOUGH ROOM AND DEPTH TO SHEET OUT, SLOW DOWN, TURN AWAY FROM THE SHORE AND GIVE MYSELF ROOM TO ROUND UP INTO THE WIND AND STOP. FROM THERE A RIB WOULD RE-ATTACH AND TOW ME TO THE SHORE SO WE COULD LOWER THE WING. TOTAL DISTANCE 1.26 MILES.

Regardless of the fact we didn’t actually get on the water, it was an excellent excercise for all of us. Sailrocket 2 now goes away completely battle ready, serviced and dry. It showed we could sail her on short notice if need be. I am also confident we could do a 50+ knot run in Portland Harbour on a decent day.

Other aspects raised their heads such as getting the Third Party liability Insurance that would be required to operate in the Harbour. The Harbour Masters Office sounded as keen as us to see us on the water but understandably wanted boxes to be ticked, a risk assessment ot be presented and to be there on site themselves to monitor it. That’s all fair. Thankyou to everyone who piled in with help, advice and contacts regarding the Insurance. Only one company, Fastnet Marine Insurance, came up with anything solid we could have gone forward with on such short notice. Basically it was going to cost £1,000 or therabouts to do one run. It was a lot for what was going to be a “jolly” but once again, understandable considering  the request and the short notice. Thanks to some of you who offered to contribute to it all. I will continue the discussion with the Harbour Master and also with the Insurance companies so that we will be better prepared if a next time comes.

So that was the only weather window we had. Sailrocket 2 will have her now completed wing put on her one more time in front of the WPNSA on Thursday… just so all those at Weymouth Speed Week… and anyone else who passes by can have a good look. After that she gets stored away in her container in preparation for appearing as a guest at the upcoming Advanced Engineering Show at the NEC in Birmingham from 4-5th of November. We will be there on site to show her off.

A VISIT FROM SPEED SAILING ROYALTY…

Despite not sailing the Rocket yesterday, we did have a visit from one of the sport’s true heroes. Erik Beale flew in especially to see us. Erik was the first sailor to do a 40 knot run in 1988 and he is still firing his windsurfing creations down trenches today.

We have had long Skype discussions about foils and various concepts but never met in person. The thought of having him present whilst doing a run was pretty tantalizing. Nonetheless it was great to see him and share some of our ideas. In fact, there was almost too much to talk about and I hope we get another longer chance to chat at leisure. It’s always a great pleasure for me to sit and hear the stories direct from those who did it. The inside personal perspective. The little details that only they remember. It needs to be the right environment and company for it to come out. I had the chance to sit on the end of an empty bar in Walvis Bay,2007 and listen to Finian Maynard tell me of his big day. Sailrocket 1 was still sub 40’s and crashing regularly. I remember walking home (well, to the container where we were sleeping) alone in the dark, strong wind. I stopped and stood in front of the silhouette of our first creation just buzzing and wondering if I would get the chance to share such a moment with some other dreamer one day.

Erik is designing, building, testing and competing with a host of foils which are trying to use similar concepts to those which we used i.e. base ventilation. He is also dealing a lot with cavitation and the various options for cross-overs. It’s a fascinating puzzle and definitely one worth tackling. I described how good our concept was at showing the nature of the problem. The huge amount of stability the Bernard Smith concept gave us allowed us, at times, to just pour raw power at the foils to see if we could bust through the drag and get a higher number. We only ever did once. 52 knots was our nemesis with up to 7 different foils, 2 boats and all conditions. Our first wedge foil managed to hit a peak of 54 knots once (with a WIRED journalist in the back).

The point I’m making is that the drag becomes severe, the curve goes up hard. It’s a real barrier that needs different solutions. We knew we needed power and that’s why we liked the Bernard Smith concept. Whether or not the “surfers” (kite or wind) can make the foil concepts work for their applications remains to be seen. The thing is that you need to try… and be persistent. Often the solutions come from strange and unexpected places. Sometimes, it’s staring you right in the face but you’re looking straight through it only to laugh later when you realise. We don’t show many people our 65-knot foil. I showed Erik. I like the path he has chosen and the passion with which he is still tackling it. It’s inspiring. Good luck with the conditions in Luderitz, mate.

FAST COMPANY. A COMBINED SPEED SAILING RECORD HAUL OF 250+ KNOTS. (L to R): PETE VAN HOOF, ME, ERIK BEALE, DAVE WHITE, ZARA DAVIS.

So Sailrocket and all the various Insurance companies were stood down. It was raining and the wing was left in the Hangar at the Academy. I rigged up the A-class in preparation for the lighter afternoon winds now forecast. I was desperate to go sailing on this wonderful new foiling toy. Malcolm was out sailing his latest back-yard creation and i was keen to play. There is still so much potential for this to be a great week for sailing… especially with so many amazing new dinghies coming out all making big speed claims. It’s what this week is all about. Moths, Phantoms, Nacras, A’s, Whispers, C-fly’s, kite-boards, i-flys, AC45’s… the south coast is full of them and yet they spread out almost avoiding each other. Surely this week could bring them together to line up, discuss,inspire, share and just enjoy each others company. Luca Rizzotti has done a great job with The Foiling Week so maybe he should join up with the long history of this event on these shores. The WPNSA and Portland Harbour provides a fantastic venue for all manner of craft. There’s not many places that could handle all the diversity speed-sailing has to offer.

At the end of play yesterday, there were two boats on the water, Malcolm’s and mine. We wove back and forth across Portland Harbour in the dramatic light enjoying our craft. The forecast we wanted for Sailrocket to run had truly not materialised but it was good enough for these two to play. I finally got in some good foiling runs on the A-class and just loved every second of it. I feel a lot more in control in Sailrocket at 50 knots than I do two feet high on an A-class at 18 or so knots. Yeah there’s a lot of fun still to be had way down the range.

So that’s it for now. if you want to sit in the hot-seat… then come down tomorrow. If you can’t make it then come to the NEC in Early November. If you want to sit in it… just ask. If you don’t ask, you don’t get:) Now, if you do sit in it, you can know this: If this thing you are sitting in, as she sits today, was fired off down the right course in the right wind…and you sheet that little white rope in to that little mark…there’s not a sailboat in the world that will even come close. She’s good to go.

Thanks to everyone who helped. It really is appreciated. That’s why we share it.

Paul

 

October 16th, 2015 by admin

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Screen Shot 2015-01-02 at 1.25.50 AMClean Report

Like almost everyone, I hate awards ceremonies, even when I win something.  And since the ceremony for the VOR leg 2 awards in Cape Town was a 3 hour long snoozefest, I purposefully didn’t bring anything dressier than a ripped pair of jeans to Abu Dhabi, figuring it was a convenient excuse to avoid another parade of dignitaries who like to hear themselves speak. But when VOR media boss Jon Bramley told me ‘you’re my guest tonight’, the writing was on the wall, and jeans would have to do.

And boy, am I glad I went, because it was certainly the most dramatic awards ceremony I’ve ever attended, thanks to a crushing, then heartlifting presentation from OBR Brian Carlin, a choked up speech from Nico, and then the bombshell: Team Vestas Wind CEO and CMO of Vestas Group Morten Albæk’s nnouncement that Team Vestas Wind would be rejoining the fleet with a mostly new boat before the finish.   If you’ve been under a rock for a month, get the full story from my interview with skipper Chris Nicholson in Australia a couple weeks ago.

Details remain a little thin until tomorrow’s Vestas presser after the In-Port Race, but we can tell you a few things we found out:

1) The decision was literally made 24 hours ago.  A week ago they were almost sure it was over.

2) Nico has full control over selecting the crew for the rest of the trip.

3) He will take a few weeks to really mull it over.

4) Themes of redemption and unity in both Nico and Albaek’s speeches lead us to believe that the crew could remain entirely the same

5)  Lisbon may be too soon, but it’s the target.  Lorient is the backup, where we can be mostly certain to see the new blue boat begin her redemption song.

6) Vestas is 100% committed, as is co-sponsor Powerhouse.  They love this race and feel there is really only one choice for them if they want to send the right message to their employees, customers, and the world.

7) We will be able to follow the ‘race to rejoin the race’ via webcam and through updates, and the team’s sponsors are working on a documentary of the whole affair.  In many ways, this wreck – and the way it was handled – are the best and most important things that have happened to the race since the introduction of the Volvo 70.

Got questions for Team Vestas at the presser? Post ’em in the Resurrection Thread here and we’ll do our best to get them answered, and don’t forget we’ve got a great team bringing you live video coverage of the In-Port Race starting tomorrow at 0950 UTC.  That means an early morning for East Coasters and a late night for you Pacific Time folks.

Go here for some title-inspired redemption of your own, and thanks to GCaptain’s story (via shippingnews and the salvors) for the photo.

January 1st, 2015 by admin

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nichoVolvo Ocean Race Breaking News

We’re extremely stoked to be able to report to you with 100% confidence that Chris Nicholson will get another shot at winning the Volvo Ocean Race this coming October!  VOR fans will remember the affable Aussie sailing to a runner-up spot in the last two editions of the race, including an incredible run from the back to nearly a win in the previous race as skipper of Camper.  

Multiple sources have told us the the former 49er standout is the guy with the helm for the final Volvo 65, and the fact that we haven’t been able to reach him despite blowing up a dozen connections over the past two days might even provide a little confirmation in itself (we’re told he is ‘out of internet range’).  This confirms what we reported hearing back in June, but there’s a new twist; rather than Russian sponsorship as we opined, it now appears that one of a select few Danish corporate giants will be footing the bill as title sponsor for a Danish-flagged Volvo 65.

It isn’t hard to name the Danish companies with deep involvement in the Volvo; Satcomm giant Thrane & Thrane and shipping behemoth Maersk have been major corporate partners and sponsors for the race for years, and if the VOR allowed them, either would probably be happy to be a title sponsor for a team put together by a two-time runner-up in the race.  But our favorite rumor, and one that we think may be the real deal, is that monster windpower manufacturer and installer Vestas will be behind the effort.

The name Vestas is probably better-known to our readers than many sailing sponsors thanks to an extremely effective branding campaign with Paul Larsen’s wildly successful  Sailrocket world speed record program, and a Volvo team makes some sense for them; while they still are at the top of their field, significant competition has seen their market share erode since the mid 2000s despite their growth throughout the world.  A major international effort in a green sport like sailing could help drive the Vestas name to a wider audience, while the hospitality part should be easy; Volvo has been accommodating the folks at Maersk and Thrane for years.

While we’re not as sure of the Vestas connection as we are of Nicho’s appearance, allow us some wishful thinking; how cool would it be to have a giant windpower sponsor – one we already dig because of their support of the batshit-crazy overachiever Paul Larsen –  in the sport’s most visible ocean racing challenge?  And with one of the sport’s coolest customers and best racers at the stick?

We love it, and fans of great racing should love it, too.  While it is indeed the 11th hour, with just 8 weeks left until the gun sounds in Alicante, we have zero doubt that Nicho can put together a shit-kicking team, and with Neil Cox back in his role as one of the world’s most highly regarded shore/team managers in the game, we expect the Vestas boys to be damned fast, out of the box.  Bouwe, Ian, Iker, and Nicho all have some seriously unfinished business ahead of them, and it just got a lot tougher to win.

This is going to be war…and we just got a new favorite for the win.

MORE BREAKING NEWS

In another bit of somewhat astonishing news that continues to throw the early form guide into disarray, we have also recently learned that France’s most famous and legendary living sailor, Michel Desjoyeaux, will indeed race aboard the Spanish Team Campos, as a Watch Captain, filling in for Iker as skipper during the two or three legs when he’ll be off on Olympic duty in the Nacra 17.  Not many people can say they’ve got MichDej sailing for them as a watch captain.

Want more?  Hit the thread.

 

August 2nd, 2014 by admin

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