wowa

Panamax sloop Nilaya reached another milestone with her departure from her construction hall at the builder’s Vollenhove facility in preparation for the installation of her towering rig in Amsterdam. This highly anticipated superyacht is the first to utilize Royal Huisman’s new Featherlight™ design and production method. Continuous weight monitoring throughout...

the shape of shapes

Humans have been sailing the seas for a very long time. In the beginning, boats ventured at sea for fishing,...

make ’em pay

The Environment Four Greenpeace activists boarded an underway heavy-lift vessel carry an FPSO unit for saying they will occupy the...

latest posts

dumb and dumber

What a weird tagline for an America’s Cup team. Funny, competition usually makes me feel dumber…

fair and balanced

Truthfully, we like it better when they crash, but look here we are being all fair n’ balanced n’ shit.

Doolittle

Oh look, a strongly worded letter from King Cayard on the Parasailing/Olympics controversy. We wonder, what, exactly, did US Ailing do to perhaps prevent this from happening? We ask, because we don’t know. And trying to even get a reply from anyone over there is a waste of time.

Click here to read said strongly worded letter.

why

Black Pepper makes some cool and odd monohulls that are both appealing and head-scratchers. And their new big cat is no different. Why build a 69′ cat that looks just like the others that have been to market for some time?

How many could they possibly sell? It seems a weird decision, but then again, that seems in keeping with Black Pepper. More here.

nothing to see here

Sydney-Hobart winner Celestial disappeared briefly from her pen at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia marina and has now returned minus the rig. Hmm…

the bigs

Convention says it takes five or six editions before a new 600-miler can join the ‘Classics Club’. The Aegean 600 did it in two years…

Offshore racers are always looking for new challenges to test their boat and themselves, this is a fundamental driving force for our sport. While this challenge is inherent to the game due to the inevitable changes in wind and sea even on the same race course sailed at the same time of year, sometimes new venues will be attractive for teams seeking to enhance this challenge and their enjoyment of the sport to further hone their offshore skills. The Aegean 600 offers this challenge.

Building on the success of the second edition of the race in 2022, the third edition coming in July 2023 (7-15) will offer both returning and new teams an opportunity to experience what has been called “the perfect 600-mile race”. This is a bold claim of course, but one borne out from the race’s format, its setting, and the exuberant feedback from those who participated in 2022. Read on.

some love

We hardly ever give these guys any love. Here’s a bit.

do what ya like!

On his way to winning the Australian Scow moth National title, Chris Musto of Western Australia revealed his brand new ‘old” style scow moth. Based on the proven Bunyip 9 design and sailed for the first time at the event the all-composite hull weighing in at 18kg, proved superior to all comers in the light to moderate breezes during the event held in January at St George Sailing Club NSW.

Built by Composite Components in Perth WA, noted for their contribution to early moth foiling in the early 2000’s, bladerider, Mach2, and wing sail developments. The hull is a sleeping giant, combining pre-preg carbon fibre foam composite with a wood veneer outer to create the ‘forever boat’ and keep in step with the history of the class and with a wide choice of veneer on offer individuality can still be assured from this production design.

The Scow fleet (lowriders) remains a solid keystone to moth class history and combining these older designs with the latest foiling designs on offer at a single national event (over 2 separate courses) has provided thrills for all, regardless of age and budget. It truly was a defining moment in the reunification of what was looking like a divided class, Power on !

overcrowded

Homeland Security Task Force – Southeast’s Operation Vigilant Sentry was first approved in 2004, and it deploys air and surface assets to address illegal maritime migration in the Caribbean corridor of the United States. The primary objective: to protect the safety of life at sea, and to deter and dissuade maritime mass migration with our federal, state and local partners.

The director of Homeland Security Task Force – Southeast is the commander for the Seventh Coast Guard District. Migrant interdiction is one of the 11 statutory missions assigned to the Coast Guard by Congress, giving the military service the authority to take the lead role in the ongoing and historic migrant surge.

Operation Vigilant Sentry is not country specific, but it is a framework for any Caribbean country. The most common nationalities trying to illegally migrate to Florida by sea are Cuban and Haitian. Despite the unique challenges faced by each country, the rationale for illegal migration can occur for any number of various reasons. More here.

southbound

The way south in the Doldrums of the second leg of The Ocean Race is tough and difficult. And it requires a high level of concentration to keep some movement in the boat at all times in the light wind. The GUYOT environment – Team Europe has managed this job well in the past hours.

Around 200 nautical miles in the zone of calm winds have already been completed with a very direct course to the south, but at least the same distance still lies ahead of the black boat of the European campaign to break through the belt of light winds around the equator and then pick up speed again in the southern hemisphere towards Cape Town. – GUYOT environnement – Team Europe.

over his head

Just a few months after putting the ex-Mighty Merloe/ Groupama 2 on the bricks at Anacapa Island, it looks like Donald Lawson is at it again. Showing up recently in Acapulco, Mexico with tattered headsails, no bowsprit, visible hull damage all around, and the mainsail haphazardly dumped in the cockpit, it’s clear that the current Transpac race record holder and fastest ORMA 60 ever built has seen better days.

Don seems like a nice enough guy and we applaud his efforts at promoting diversity in sailing and dreaming big, but it’s pretty clear that he’s in way over his head on this one. Last we heard, he was promoting his pie-in-the-sky efforts to break 35 world sailing records including solo, non-stop around the world. No doubt those ambitions are on hold for the time being. 

So what do you think? Can Lawson right the ship and get this once-great trimaran back in order and do something with it or is he destined to follow his fellow trimaran sailing namesake Donald Crowhurst into the record books for all the wrong reasons? Of course, our fabulous forums were quick to get the scoop, and huge shout out to Sylvain Barrielle for getting these photos online. 

don’t fall in

Cold water shock causes involuntary body reactions that can be as swift as they are deadly – meaning your ability to swim well has no impact on your survival. It is far deadlier than Hypothermia, yet far less understood by boaters.

Cold water shock is a real danger in temperatures below 15°C. If you do find yourself in the water, the right clothing and a lifejacket may save your life.

When the body is immersed in cold water, your core temperature immediately drops prompting a number of physiological responses. These responses rapidly incapacitate you, which can result in fatalities.

What happens with cold water shock?
When experiencing cold water shock, the biggest danger is inhaling water and drowning. Cold water shock triggers hyperventilation, an immediate loss in breathing control, which causes water to be inhaled into the lungs. Read on.

x marks their spot

Never huge in the states, but here is a look at the history of X-Yachts…

Faithful to Scandinavian principles, the Danish shipyard X-Yachts has been manufacturing fast and elegant sailboats for more than 40 years.

A look back at the history and evolution of the famous Danish monohulls.

Read on.

the front fell off

Picture this: you’re racing doublehanded around the world and you’ve just rounded Cape Horn in the lead. After a brief stopover at the bottom of the earth in Argentina to celebrate your leg victory and prepare for the next leg, you begin the next leg and you’re absolutely launched and pointed north towards the next finish in Brazil.

You’ve got boat speed for days and you and your co-skipper are perfectly in sync; you’ve played the weather card right and were the first to reach the new breeze. You extend on your rivals. Conditions are getting warmer and milder and you’re finally able to shed layers and shake the reefs after the long, cold, and windy southern ocean legs. Life is good. Really good. 

Then, BOOM!

You’ve just slammed into an unidentified floating object and the boat comes to a screeching, grinding, bulkhead-popping stop. The extent of the damage is unclear, but one thing is for certain; the boat is broken and you now need to get to port to make repairs. In an instant, you’re no longer racing and are in a survival situation and unexpectedly headed to port.

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what can be done?

Community

Thirty-five years ago, a young college graduate took over a sailing school in Colchester, Vermont.  Robin Doyle grew up on the Connecticut coast in a racing sailing family, and her love of sailing made her want to share the sport with others who would never have even dreamed of world-class sailing so far from an ocean.

She, with the help of her beloved dad, gathered a small fleet of Solings and a few pocket cruisers in need of rescuing, fixed them up, and started teaching.  She now has an ASA-award-winning school and club, welcoming beginners, cruisers, racers, club members (boat owners or not), and students from all over the US and Canada and even farther.

She has mentored more than one teenage kid looking to learn by doing; she offers programs to underserved youth and through the local parks and rec department, to people who wouldn’t have the means to try sailing.  She has created a community of like-minded club members who are interested in developing their skills and helping others develop theirs.

Robin sets up and runs countless races, having repurposed her own trophies to commemorate these series.  She is generous with her time and knowledge and is “Mama Duck” watching over all her little ducklings as they learn to venture farther from their home port.

Her business of owning and maintaining boats for club use allows people to sail without having to worry about doing all that for themselves until they’re ready.  When her students pass their Learn To Sail, the cost of renting boats to keep practicing is the best deal going.  Hers is a no-frills, pure sailing experience.  She teaches her students to SAIL on and off a mooring, not flip a switch and drive off.  One protege started the sailing club at the University of Colorado, Boulder; another student sailed a 39’ chartered cruiser to a dock in 25-knot winds after the prop shaft crapped out.

Last year, the residents of Colchester passed a bill to install sewer along West Lakeshore Drive, ostensibly to improve Lake Champlain water quality, but it has increased the value of the property along the bay.  It will push out small businesses in favor of rich people getting richer and decrease access to the lake for people of average means.

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nurdle

The Environment

Environmental authorities in France are livid over a wave of plastic nurdles washing up on the pristine shores of Brittany, where the tiny white pellets have become known as the “white tide” or “mermaid’s tears.” The source vessel is unknown, but local and national officials have asked prosecutors to find and charge the anonymous perpetrator.

Nurdle pollution can interfere with tourism and fishing, and it has been linked to deformities in marine life. The problem is widespread, but it gained attention after the sinking of the feeder X-Press Pearl off the coast of Sri Lanka in 2021. That accident released nearly 1,700 tonnes of white plastic pellets – raw ingredients for the manufacturing of plastic goods – which washed up in drifts along the island’s western shores. It was by far the largest spill of its kind in history, and the long-term damage to marine life, fisheries and tourism will likely cost Sri Lanka billions of dollars. More here.

uh-oh

The Environment

A Chinese freighter has gone aground on a giant coral reef just off the Japanese island of Ishigaki, an outpost in Okinawa Prefecture located some 125 nm to the east of Taiwan.

The freighter Xin Hai Zhou 2 lost power between Ishigaki and Kohama Island on Tuesday morning, and the crew requested assistance from the Japan Coast Guard at 0905 hours. However, high winds were causing the ship to drift, and it grounded on a reef at about 0930 hours.

According to NHK, Xin Hai Zhou’s location is at the edge of Sekisei Lagoon, the largest coral reef in Japan. The area is known for its reefs, diving destinations and seaside resorts, and while no pollution has been reported, any potential fuel spill from the vessel could have an outsize impact. More here.

it just gets better

Big Pimpin’

With its mix of competitive offshore and inshore racing held in a gorgeous springtime Mediterranean setting, coupled with a deep heritage in event management excellence now in its 68th year, Circolo del Remo e della Vela Italia’s Tre Golfi Sailing Week sponsored by Rolex is one of the best events in the race week genre. Nearly 140 entries from over a dozen countries participated in 2022, with more expected when the event offers some new formats and features for 2023.

First, the start of the legendary 150-mile Tre Golfi Race on Friday 12 May will not be at midnight as it has been a tradition for many years past. While this is a dramatic start to a classic race with silhouettes of the fleet backlit by the night lights of Napoli, there is also the difficulty of usually having very light wind conditions. The reflections of the fleet and the reflected glow of the lights on the glassy water make for great art photography, but not for very great progress on the racecourse. Read on.

sam speaks

Sure, some of you are griping about our extended coverage on this, but so what? Go read something else if you don’t like it. We think it remains a compelling story. – ed.

Sam Haynes, the owner/skipper of Celestial, has now responded to an invitation to comment on coverage of the yacht’s IRC handicap issues following the recent Sydney-Hobart race. This is the entire, unedited text of Haynes’ written response: 

“Celestial was weighed, with seven other IRC yachts in early December (after the Cabbage Tree Island Race).  The measurement process included weighing the bulb.  The yacht was inclined and her overhangs measured in the water.

 “All the sails were measured by an accredited independent measuring authority.  The data, which completed a full measurement for IRC and ORCI, was collated by an accredited measurer and submitted to Australian Sailing (our IRC Authority) who submitted to the RORC IRC certification office.  The certificate is endorsed and is one of the most up-to-date certificates carried in the 2022 RSHYR.”

Those words are carefully chosen and still leave considerable room for speculation. But it is important – and fair – that Haynes has had the opportunity to place his response on the record.

Meanwhile, the indefatigable Mr. Russell Beale in the UK is soldiering on with his requests to the RORC and Australian Sailing for a rating review of Celestial

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studebaker

Grabbed this from FB and damn, it reminds of us an old Studebaker or something similar that has not stood well under the harsh glare of time. It musta seemed pretty avant-garde at the time, but now?  Oh boy!

Comment here!

we need more power

Phil Sharp (remember him?) has a cool new project and with it, he finally gets a chance to have a competitive IMOCA boat to race all the big events. This boat will be sailed using zero-emissions hydrogen fuel cell technology. More here.

Title inspiration thanks to Gexa X.

three-for-all

What happens when only three boats want to go on a distance race?  Well, it’s happening as we speak as a grand total of three (3) boats are sailing in the 811-mile Miami to Montego bay Pineapple Cup.

Three. Not thirteen. Not 23. Not 33. 3. Three.

Why even bother? Sure the boatload of pros on Pyewacket want to set an elapsed time record, but at a current speed of 6.4 knots and 211 miles traveled over the last 24 hours, that ain’t happening.  Oh well, the checks will just be bigger for those fat daily rates, eh boys?

The race website is equally lame too. For example, clicking on the results tab from the home page takes you to the 2011 to 2019 results, where in ’09, twelve boats made the trek. Granted, this is never really a well-attended race, but three boats? And all miles apart in speed (and distance when it is all said and done).

The show must go on, one reckons, but the future of this race looks as glum as Pyewacket’s record prospects.

chapter and worse

The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia is meticulous when it comes to ensuring the safety of boats and their crews. 

To enter the Sydney-Hobart race each yacht must submit 22 separate forms and documents. Of these, the Category 1 Equipment Audit Form has 236 individual items alone. It’s exhaustive, covering everything from foghorns to the number of surgical gloves in the first aid kit.

But when it comes to a yacht’s handicap  – the most significant single factor in determining the outcome of the race – there’s just one form required: the Class Measurement and Rating Certificate. 

Most clubs that run offshore events in Australia take this CYCA approach as their template. For safety, they insist on physically audited compliance, yet they accept the IRC and ORC rating certificates on trust, and at face value. 

The process of deriving those ratings is less than transparent. 

The raw data is first forwarded by the measurers to the owner. The owner then submits that information to the national authority, Australian Sailing. There, those numbers are “endorsed” (but not validated) before being passed on to the RORC or ORC for the rating to finally be calculated. 

In my view, there are just too many opportunities for manipulation or errors to creep in along this loose and unnecessarily complex path of paperwork. And that’s where the real issue behind the Celestial saga lies. 

In his Facebook post following the ORCi ‘flying jib’ fiasco, Celestial owner Sam Haynes wrote: “yacht racing is a self-policing sport”. 

That might work if the sport – like golf – had a traditional ethos of personal accountability. Pro golfers are sticklers for the rules and don’t hesitate to call penalties on themselves if they even suspect they might have infringed. 

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moon age daydream

Big Pimpin’

Let top Italian sailmaker and racer Paolo Semeraro loose with a boldly innovative designer like Shaun Carkeek, give them a wide-open brief to just ‘do it better’ when it comes to contemporary cruiser-racer design and no surprise that the end result really is kinda special…

The quest for both performance and comfort on the same boat has been an ongoing challenge for builders and designers everywhere since there are inevitable compromises in finding appropriate solutions to achieve both. Yet the new Neo 570 c may be as close as possible to have found an optimally perfect solution, as confirmed by initial sailing on hull number one, Carbonita.

Two years ago the vision from project manager and builder Paolo Semeraro sounded simple enough: use the best possible elements of modern design and technology to build a boat that can be as fast as a TP52 in most wind conditions yet still be capable of being adapted for comfortable family cruising, and with both modes having reduced crew. Along with designer, Shaun Carkeek, it was determined that achieving this would be possible only in a longer larger boat, so the design settled on 57ft being a perfect length to accommodate all the elements of the design brief.

Read on.

pedal not to the metal

Kevin Escoffier’s Swiss-flagged team won the opening leg with a battle behind for second place with 11th Hour Racing Team and Team Malizia…

Skipper Kevin Escoffier, a veteran of The Ocean Race who is now leading Team Holcim-PRB, steered his boat over the finishing line off Mindelo, Cabo Verde just after 01:00 local time on Saturday morning, to win Leg One of The Ocean Race.

Team Holcim – PRB finished at 02:01:59 UTC for an elapsed time on the leg of 5 days, 11 hours, 1 minute and 59 seconds. Read on to see how they won without pushing the boat too hard…

alt racing

Translated and unedited copy. We do what we can.

After the last edition of the event, support of the F18 World Championship in 2020, the Martinique Cata Raid signs its return to the calendar of sports catamarans and will take place from Sunday 22 to Saturday 28 January. 23 crews (in double) will compete for the title over just over 300 nautical miles and 5 legs: a week of competition in the crystal clear and enchanting waters of the island of flowers.

Because we don’t change a winning formula, the Martinique Cata Raid returns at the beginning of the year with this specific format which guarantees its success: the tour of Martinique by stage in a sport catamaran (F18 and F16), where every day, the competitors set off for a coastal course of around thirty miles. Sublime landscapes, varied conditions, fierce competition, warm welcome in each of the stage towns, so many elements that are sure to delight all audiences.

23 crews will therefore compete over 5 days of a competition which promises to be, once again, highly contested; between the aficionados of the circuit and the ambitious young talents, difficult today to establish a prognosis.

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reaching machine

This is Teasing Machine (whatever), the King-built Nivelt/Muratet 54′ IRC that just won the RORC Transatlantic race.  When the design was first listed in the race pr, it said a NMYD, but we all know Nelson doesn’t draw anything anymore. Rather, it is a 2017 design that is a powerful reacher/runner in a breeze, which proved unbeatable in this race. And the thing is gorgeous.

“windfall”, get it?

The Environment

Further demonstrating the strong demand emerging in the offshore wind energy sector for prime locations, the UK’s Crown Estate concluded agreements for leases on six new offshore wind sites as part of the country’s fourth round of leasing. The annual option fees set by the companies through the auction process stand to provide £1 billion ($1.24 billion) annually to the UK Treasury setting a new record following similar records in the U.S. from 2022’s auction for the leases in the New York Bight.

The Crown Estate, which manages all the UK’s offshore property, decided to launch the auction process in August 2022. Three of the six projects offered are located off North Wales, and the Cumbria and Lancashire coast, while the other three are located in the North Sea. The Crown Estate estimates the locations could provide a further 8 GW of power generation bringing the total rights awarded by The Crown Estate to 41GW of offshore generation capability. Read on.

ease the mains, please

The construction contract for the world’s first, large wind-powered modern commercial cargo ship has gone effective marking a key milestone in a project launched more than a decade ago. With the completion of financing, including investments from the CMA CGM Fund of Energies and Corsica Ferries, Neoline Armateur and RMK Marine shipbuilding of Turkey reported the contract went into force on January 6, 2023, and calls for the delivery of the Neoliner in 2025.

“Here we are, the first Neloner will come to life,” said Jean Zanuttini, CEO of Neoline calling it the first achievement of a more than 10-year project. “Together, we have succeeded in carrying out a project which, in many respects, could initially seem utopian. This is an unprecedented opportunity to do our part in the energy transition and to pick up the thread of history of maritime transport under sail.”

The 446-foot long Neoliner is a Ro-Ro cargo vessel that will primarily be propelled by two 250-foot high solid sails that provide over 32,000 square feet of sail area. It will be the first installation of the SolidSail rigging system created by Chantiers de l’Atlantique. The French shipyard will develop the sail system for the vessel which consists of carbon fiber masts and a unique base that both permits the sails to rotate and to till to increase the vessel’s clearance. The sails are expected to reduce emissions from operation by 80 to 90 percent versus conventional vessels. Read on.

oh but wait, there’s more!

A dramatic development in the Celestial rating saga has been prompted from an entirely unexpected source 11,000 miles away from the TP52 group in Sydney. Russell Beale, a former Royal Yachting Association National Judge in the UK, has written directly to the RORC. His email of January 17 was short and to the point:

Dear Sir/Madam,

I have been following the Sydney-Hobart race and its results with interest. I would like to request a rating review for the TP52 Celestial (owner: S. Haynes).

Yours faithfully,
Russell Beale.
UK. 

The effect of those two sentences was like lighting the fuse of a rocket flare. The RORC responded the following day, asking Beale to explain his “valid interest” in Celestial’s rating and quoting the applicable IRC Rule 9.2. It states:

9.2 Anyone who has a valid interest in a boat’s certificate may also request a rating review from the Rating Authority, by submitting a review request through their Rule Authority to the Rating Authority. A fee may apply. The owner of the boat subject to review will be requested to file a reply as soon as possible.

Undeterred, Beale wrote back the same day. He noted that there is no definition of “valid interest” in the IRC Rules and offered the dictionary definition of “well-grounded or justifiable: being at once relevant and meaningful”. Beale then got to the real substance of his request:

There is clearly a contentious issue here relating to the sudden change in the IRC rating relating to just prior to the Sydney-Hobart race, and, as many of the parties involved will know each other there may be a reluctance to request a review. But for the integrity of the sport, it is important that ratings are seen to be correct and open to challenge.

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geez, that looks like fun!

Launched at the start of 2023, the Sailart 17.5 is tackling the 5m sports-boat market (we didn’t know there was one – ed). With modern shapes, this keelboat is aimed at a sporty crew who wants to go beyond a dinghy. More here.

waterfront

South Street Seaport Museum announces Metropolis Shaped by Waterfront on January 25, 2023 at 6:30pm, both in-person at 12 Fulton Street, NYC and via Zoom. This lively presentation with author and historian Kara Murphy Schlichting will investigate how the waterfront shaped the history of New York. Discover how New York City came of age as a modern metropolis and how the waterfront shaped the history of our city. An in-depth moderated discussion will follow the presentation. For more information and to register, visit seaportmuseum.org/metropolis-shaped-by-waterfront. Advanced registration is encouraged but not required.
Kara Murphy Schlichting is an Associate Professor of History at Queens College, City University of New York. Her work in late 19th and 20th century American history sits at the intersection of urban and environmental history. She is the author of New York Recentered: Building the Metropolis from the Shore (University of Chicago Press, 2019).

what the h…?

One would expect the official presenter on an official channel to be wearing official clothing.

Such is the level of care taken by the Ocean Race PR team that they H-Hiccupped and allowed this woman who is a China distributor for the competitor clothing brand she is wearing to promote herself and her business at the expense of the official Ocean Race clothing sponsor Helly Hansen.

I wonder how      H-Happy those sponsors are – or not as the case may be…

cosmic debris

Photo: ROLEX/Andrea Francolini

The post-Hobart rating ructions have not abated. It’s just that none of the key players – not the owners, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia or the national authority – are yet prepared to take the next step. 

And, as always seems to happen in such fraught situations, that vacuum of inaction has only served to heighten speculation and suspicion.

What seems clear, at least, is that the “illegal flying jib” issue has cooled. While there is still widespread disappointment that Celestial waited until after the presentation ceremony to retire from the ORCi division, the matter is no longer a source of conflict.

But that can’t be said for the questions over Celestial’s last-minute IRC re-rating. 

Some of the other TP52 skippers are far from happy that these doubts about the boat’s new bulb and hull measurements remain unresolved. Three weeks after the Sydney-Hobart they are still waiting for answers, and fear the whole issue might just be swept under the carpet. 

It is understood that when their concerns were first raised with CYCA Commodore Arthur Lane in Hobart he assured them he would have a face-to-face chat with Sam Haynes, the owner of Celestial. If that indeed happened, there’s been no announced outcome. The club remains mute on the whole matter.

The most common view is that the only fair, honourable and sporting way to settle any doubt is for Haynes to organize an independent re-measurement and re-rating of his own boat. Otherwise, the rumours and sour taste will persist – and the other owners might be forced to exercise their right to commence a joint request to the RORC for a rating review. 

With the next Australian TP52 regatta scheduled for March – and run by the CYCA – the dockside banter between crews might not be as lighthearted as usual.

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birds of a feather

Big Pimpin’

With 97 boats from 18 nations in seven classes and elite pro teams competing alongside amateur crews in perfect sailing conditions, this year’s Rolex Swan Cup was a classic

From New Year to the New York Marathon, there are certain events that don’t just populate columns in diaries, they provide key anchors. Without them, a calendar feels unhinged. Among the classic events in the sailing world that pin the season down is the Rolex Swan Cup.

For more than 40 years this biennial event, hosted by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in Porto Cervo, has not only been one of the best-supported regattas of its kind, but for the many skippers and crew that return year after year, it has become a non-negotiable feature of the sailing calendar. More recently it has become a natural focus of attention for Swan’s highly successful Nations League. It doesn’t take much to see why the Rolex Swan Cup has proved so successful.

For starters, the wide variety of sizes and designs on the entry list from the brand-new Swan 120 Audrey the First to the S&S designed Swan 36 Josian (a magnificently restored example of one of the earliest Nautor Swan models dating back to 1967) says a great deal about the range and depth within the Swan family.

More here.

to “er” is human…

Last week’s Ocean Race in-port race left me thinking ‘Where is Ken  Shirley when we need him?’

I switched the audio off during last week’s In Port racing. Sam Davies is an accomplished sailor and interviews very well but the preponderance of “er, er, er” peppering her commentary, I found to be somewhat wearing. I was not alone as I received communications from several who had the same problem which is a real shame because her insights as a current IMOCA sailor are well worth hearing

I would have thought that, in the intervening week, some feedback and/or coaching would have been performed to eradicate that from the commentary. Also, as a sailor, the technicalities used posed no problem but for the wider non-sailing audience, which I am sure is a much bigger market, I am pretty certain (and have been told as such) that the terms used leave them very much in the dark.

That all said, in the VO65s the Polish team, Wind Whisper showed that their win in the In-Port Race was rather more than the luck some people suggested as they led the Sprint Cup fleet out of the in-port section of the leg.

Then came the main event with the IMOCAs showing their pace and power with speeds from the leaders around 30 knots. Biotherm led the boats away with Pre-Race favorite 11th Hour coming off the line slowly in a poor position but working their way through the fleet, well to third place anyway which I suppose is only mid-fleet.

Of course, speed wins races but while that is important it must be remembered that although the VO65s are virtually bulletproof managing the IMOCAs is going to be important with managing the risks and knowing when perhaps they should back off and protect the boat. 

Of course, the broadcast as the boats leave Aliante and head offshore is all through relatively flat water and there is no guarantee that within a matter of days, or perhaps even hours this order will be different. In fact just as the broadcast faded out the boat which had led from the start, Biotherm was overhauled by Holcim PRB.

Ahead of them is wind which is already expected to strengthen and of course, as the breeze is out of the North the sea state is also likely to increase.

1,900 or so Nautical Miles to go to Cabo Verde.