don’t jump

The woman looks like she's about to jump; "I can't take the ridiculous amounts of awesomeness of this boat!"...

no signal

The United States issued a renewed warning to mariners of multiple instances of significant GPS interference. According to the U.S....

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no excuses

“The first sailing race that I can recollect as having taken part in was on Boxing Day 1878. The dinghy I sailed was about 15’ long, 4’6” in beam, 2’ deep, fitted with a fixed fin. Centreboards were only to be found in very few boats in those days. She was rigged with a sprit sail, bamboos being used for spars – partly for lightness, but principally because they grew in great numbers in Wally Bennett’s old home in Shell Cove.

Our victory was mainly due to the fact that most of the others in the race capsized. It was quite the usual thing to do if you could not win. It was a kind of excuse. I never did hold this view, and although I have been in many races since, I have never been in the ‘drink’. Perhaps I am lucky.” –Stanley Spain – Beginnings (1958)

(Stan Spain was a stalwart of the Sydney sailing community and won many championships in his 22-foot open boat Mischief. He was an active member of the Sydney Amateur Sailing Club for 64 continuous years – a club record. Spain died in 1967.)

all about the glue

Think of a color that best represents advanced yacht construction and it is hard not to see black. But while carbon composite technology has dominated the sharp end of the sport for many years, when it comes to the range of resins that have been a part of that development, there’s little that West System epoxy hasn’t seen or been involved with in this field.

But it hasn’t just been carbon that has allowed builders to push at the boundaries, some have been combining the latest composites with the oldest of building materials, wood.

As one of the UK’s longest running users of West System epoxy, Spirit Yachts is a perfect example. Famous for producing their distinctive range of elegant yachts, one of the key elements in their appeal and success has been the way in which they have blended a traditional style and approach to building with modern techniques and materials.

‘Every one of the 74 yachts they have built has used West System epoxy,’ explains Wessex Resins & Adhesives’ sales director Dave Johnson. ‘And during that time the design and engineering has not just evolved, but Spirit Yachts has been adapting and embracing new materials and techniques. Read on.

rollin’

Fulcrum Speedworks, creator, builder and global dealer of the UFO has bucked the trend of hard times and just keeps getting people high.. in the air. “It’s been an incredibly rough year, but we’ve been perpetually heartened by our new customers. While the world seems to be getting dark, delivering flying machines to so many people starting out on the fun new adventure of learning to fly has been a welcome beam of light. Being busy in the face of rough times is one thing. Being busy and bringing joy to people who really need some source of joy is a whole extra level of satisfaction.

Fulcrum rolled into the fall still booked out four weeks, which is frankly rare for us. Rarer still, as of today, we are suddenly booked out eight weeks. How? We just booked production of another container load of UFOs for Foiling UFO Australia. They have a couple still in stock, so jump on them NOW. The next shipload of boats will be arriving before Christmas. Merry Christmas, Australia!

Jump on the shipload ASAP as well before they sell out. While there are definitely pangs of survivors guilt, I’m proud to say that the Fulcrum family is resoundingly healthy and happy. We’re looking forward to making you a UFO soon so we can put your home movies in New Invaders, Summer 2021.

Love to you all. We can’t thank our awesome customers enough. They are our North Star. ” -Dave Clark, President, Fulcrum Speedworks llc

doggy dogg

“A company has been formed, named Australian Challenge for the America’s Cup. The Syndicate has now been in operation for well over a year and has engaged Alan Payne for the design of the challenger. Alan, as we all know, is a most meticulous man, and is presently finalizing the design. We of the Syndicate are confident that Alan’s design will be a well-rounded and thoughtful yacht, which should perform with the World’s best.

The yacht will be constructed from aluminum, by Aquacraft, and is scheduled for completion by August. Crew is now being selected and applications are invited from any person considering they have the attributes, and are prepared to dedicate themselves both mentally and physically to the enormous task of the Syndicate to wrest the cup from the New York Yacht Club.”  – Syd Fischer – Report to the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron (1982)

(The syndicate struggled for support and their campaign was chronically underfunded. Without the benefit of tank testing Alan Payne’s design for the 12-metre Advance was soon shown to be uncompetitive – a “dog”. She was eliminated early in the challenger trials in Newport in 1983 and Payne then sportingly acknowledged the boat’s shortcomings by presenting skipper Iain Murray and his crew with a bag of dog biscuits.)

Props to Tha Doggfada

that’s a win

Armel le Cleac’h has won overall victory in the 51st edition of the Solitiare du Figaro after the fourth and final leg – which had already been shortened from 183 to just 83 miles – has been abandoned entirely due to a lack of wind. The 43 year old Banque Populaire skipper now joins the ultra-exclusive club of 3-time Solitaire winners, which includes the likes of such legends as Michel Desjoyeaux, Jean le Cam, Yann Elies, Jeremie Beyou and Phillippe Poupon. For le Cleac’h, it’s sweet redemption after a brutal couple of years that included two capsizes and the destruction of a brand-new maxi trimaran. Up against the ropes, the current Vendée Globe champ poured his heart and soul into training in his Beneteau Figaro 3 and has been rewarded with his first overall victory in a decade.

Frederic Duthil on Technique Voile – Cabinet Bourhis Generali, who went from last place on the third leg to take an improbable and decisive victory, finishes second overall, just 10 minutes behind le Cleac’h. Young Tom Laperche on Bretagne CMB Espoir rounds out the podium a further 50 minutes back of Duthil. Irishman Tom Dolan finishes fifth as the top foreign sailor, while Kevin Bloch wins the Bizuth (rookie) division.

livin’ large

Back in July we reported on John John Florence and Kai Lenny sailing across Hawaii’s Kauai Channel on an 18-foot foiling beach cat. Gathering our intel by stalking social media accounts, details were understandably light but we were beyond stoked on the effort! As well as being one of the world’s best surfers and a 2-time World Champion, Florence is a passionate sailor.

From owning a Gunboat 48 and chasing surf around the Pacific with the likes of Jacques Vincent to very nearly winning the Sydney – Hobart overall and even giving it a go on an F50 with Tom Slingsby and the rest of the Aussie Sail GP crew, John John’s development as a sailor has been rapid and well documented. For Kai Lenny, perhaps the best all around waterman of our generation, if not ever, the World Championship caliber surfer, kiteboarder, windsurfer and paddler has developed an unparalleled proficiency with all things foiling. Infrequently finding his way onto various racing boats in Hawaii and abroad, Lenny was the perfect co-skipper for John’s ambitious journey across the channel.

Through John’s publicist, we managed to catch up with the 2-time World Surfing Champion John Florence to pick [...]

Read On

sporty smart

Designed specifically for sports and day boats, Cyclops is thrilled to announce the latest addition to their smart range—the smarttune 5/16”. Using the same tried and tested wireless technology developed in partnership with INEOS TEAM UK, the UK’s America’s Cup team, and in use by multiple Olympic teams, the 5/16” compresses next generation load sensing into the most compact size possible and is optimised for low weight and low windage.

The result is an unprecedented level of data insight for smaller boats. The smarttune 5/16” is the smallest, most convenient, most resounding performance upgrade available for your boat.  Read on.

well, most of the time

“We rigged the square sail but the wind dropped. It rose again with the coming of night. During my watch we raced along, not a star to be seen, the moon hidden and giving a diffused grey light that made the sea a polished black pearl shell.

Why was it that the helmsman felt responsible for the wind, pleased as if he had blown it along himself when the ship made good time? In the mornings, when we compared notes of our night watches, we always liked to be able to say that at any rate she sailed well in our watch, and we estimated the rate – five knots at least, or four, or six.

To Sven’s inquiry, ‘All the time?’ the answer usually was, ‘Well, most of the time’. He always took a discount off our estimated rate of the night watches and said nothing about it.”

Dora Birtles – North-West by North (1935)

(Birtles was one of three women in the crew of Skaga, a 34-foot cutter with no engine that made a leisurely eight-month journey from Newcastle in NSW to Singapore in 1932. Her book is part travelogue, part personal memoir, and includes some penetrating insights into the psychology of crew relationships during a long voyage.)

Click the image to buy the book.

we stand corrected

Over the last few years we have run a number of articles written by Brian Hancock. I’ve enjoyed most all of them, and I know some of you don’t agree or like them, but they are often thought provoking and generate discussion. There have been mistakes, and it has been my fault not to catch them.

His most recent, all in the family, had a few things glaringly wrong, and ultimately, that is again on me. I just skimmed it and posted it.  A few of you have contacted me and I thought this was the most appropriate one to post. I’ll step up my game – ed.

Recently while reading SA, I read an article about the IMOCA 60s racing in the recent Defi Azimut race. The article had a fantastic photo of Sam Davies’ foiling IMOCA Initiatives-Coeur achieving flight somewhere off the coast of France. A bit further down, I read Brian Hancock’s Vendée Globe preview and was a bit shocked when he mentioned quite emphatically that Samantha was sailing a non-foiling boat and stood “a very good chance of winning if the foilers crash and burn”.

There were also several [...]

Read On

stay home

We don’t know the story, but we are calling bullshit on this “distress”. Our guess is that they have no idea what they are doing, got scared and called for mommy to “save” them. The boat is named “Yes Dear”, what would you expect?

As tropical storm Sally passed by Florida and began to gain strength into a powerful hurricane it placed several sailors in distress prompting rescues.

COSCO Shipping Lines’ container ship COSCO Malaysia was sailing from Port Tampa Bay, Florida to Mobile, Alabama when at 8:22 a.m. on Sunday, September 13, she received a distress call from a sailboat. Located in the Gulf of Mexico, approximately 130 nautical miles west of Florida, the sailboat with four people on board reported that it was in distress.

Working with the U.S. Coast Guard, the 8,500 TEU container ship was able to locate the sailboat named Yes Dear. Around 11 a.m. the captain and crew of the COSCO Malaysia maneuvered their 1,096-foot vessel into position and successfully took aboard the four from the small sailboat. The crew of COSCO Malaysia provided water, food, and dry clothing for the rescued party. The container ship reversed course and took the four people to Tampa where they were disembarked at approximately 9:00 p.m. local time that same evening.

Read on.

 

too short

This morning UTC, the fleet was again approaching Point Lizard at the most southwestern point of England. —– Ian Lipinski POL/Julien Pulve FRA (Crédit Mutuel) are still leading with now Valentin Gautier/Simon Koster SUI as closest pursuers 3nm behind with 260nm left to the finish.

The very light and shifty breeze, together with some misty phases, made the race again very slow on day 4 of this Class 40 event, provoking the Race Director to shorten the course, omitting the Fastnet Rock off southwest Ireland. —– The race tracker, the news and the videos.

Title inspiration thanks to, well, Too Short.

dip shit

The nearly lost art of the dip-pole gybe is the topic here, with some excellent replies!

Advice needed!!

More often than not after a dip pole gybe, after we square the pole back, we discover that the lazy spin sheet has gone under the pole. Any tips to avoid this? Why yes, yes there are!

Photo thanks to Bull Sails.

right said fred

After rounding the NW corner of France in light air and descending Brittany’s coastline towards a finish in Saint Nazaire, Solitaire du Figaro sailor Frederic Duthil onboard Technique Voile – Cabinet Bourhis Generali managed something that we’ve very rarely seen when he was able to go from last place to first place in about 40 nautical miles of sailing. While approaching a trio of islands near Quiberon – just thirty miles from the finish – there was a major split in the fleet with the majority of boats choosing the middle option to split the islands while many of the leaders chose the northerly route.

Duthil and two other back markers worked the south, sailing just below the island of ‘Belle Ile en Mer’. This proved to be a fortuitous move as Duthil and rookie Marc Mallaret on CER Occitanie picked up a puff that propelled them to 7 knots of boat speed while the rest of the fleet bobbed around making just 1-3 knots. Quickly moving from 32nd and 33rd place (out of 33) into 1st and 2nd, the duo managed to collect Adrien Hardy and Ocean Attitude to sail 1-2-3 to the finish and put a solid gap to the next finisher.

More importantly however, overall leader Armel le Cleac’h on Banque Populaire was able to work himself into the lead of the middle group of boats, gradually positioning himself south into the new breeze and consolidating his gains on the fleet’s overall leaders to finish a strong 4th place. With a strong performance on the fourth and final leg of the regatta, le Cleac’h could lock up his third overall win in the Solitaire and his first in a decade.

His three main rivals entering this leg – stage 1 winner Xavier Macaire, three-time champ Yann Elies and Briton Sam Goodchild – all got hosed up north, but nobody got it worse than Sam. After finishing 2nd place in the 2nd leg of the regatta, Goodchild controlled the pace for much of the third leg while attempting to compose a wire-to-wire victory and propel him into the overall lead. Unfortunately for Goodchild – the first true British podium contender in the history of the race – he got shit out the back in the closing stages of this penultimate stage to finish a disappointing 29th, losing some 3 hours to overall leader le Cleac’h and all but ending his chances at a solid finish in the event.

After strong finishes in the first two legs and a commanding win in the third leg however, Frederic Duthil has unexpectedly moved into second place overall, and sits just ten minutes behind overall leader Armel le Cleac’h on Banque Populaire. Headed into the final leg of this year’s Solitaire du Figaro, 23 year old Tom Laperche on Bretagne CMB Espoir is rounding out the provisional podium, just one hour off the pace, and further confirming his very solid results in this year’s Solitaire pre-season.
Irishman Tom Dolan currently sits in fifth overall and represents the best shot at a non-French sailor making the podium. The fourth and final stage of the 51st Solitaire du Figaro will take place this Friday and Saturday and is the shortest of the regatta at just 183 NM. Beginning and ending in Saint Nazaire, the finale will include a tour of several coastal islands, which should again be contested in more light air which has defined this edition of the race. – Ronnie Simpson.

the ship of my banishment

fida manet, trepidae duxque comesque fugae, 
perque tot eventus et iniquis concita ventis
aequora Palladio numine tuta fuit.”

“It stays faithful to me, the guide and companion of my anxious flight, and through so many changes of fortune, so many seas swirled up by unfriendly winds, it has been my safe haven under Minerva’s divine protection.”

Ovid – The ship of my banishment – Tristia I.X.10-12 (AD 8)

(This beautifully sentimental passage from the poet Ovid’s Tristia – “Lamentations” – refers to the boat that took him to his exile from Rome into the Black Sea. He had been banished by the emperor Augustus and settled in Tomis – present day Constanta in Romania. He died there without ever seeing Rome, or his wife, again.)

hobart a go?

We are hearing that it now looks better than a 50/50 bet that this year’s Sydney to Hobart Race will go ahead.  We don’t know anything other than what we heard.

Of course no one associated with the race will say shit, but that’s your hopeful rumor for the day!

that’s some mayflower

The Mayflower Autonomous Ship (MAS), an AI and solar-powered marine research vessel which will traverse oceans gathering vital environmental data, was lifted into the waters off the coast of Plymouth, England. Developed for the non-profit ocean research organization ProMare, in partnership with IBM and a partnership of scientific organizations, is preparing to make one of the world’s first autonomous transatlantic voyages.

After two years of design, construction, and training of its AI models, the new fully-autonomous trimaran will be officially launched on September 16. The hull of the Mayflower was built and outfitted in Gdansk, Poland, before being transported to Plymouth, UK. The vessel measures 15 meters in length and weights five tons. It will have a top speed of 20 knots. Read on.

boss’d up

Getting pretty dialed, but won’t we all be waiting for some sort of mishap to yet again befall the Boss?

san diego racing is open for business!

Today San Diego County voted to lift the “household members only” limitation for recreational sailing in San Diego and to reopen under safe protocol which will be posted soon and sent to all clubs and marinas.

The Safe Reopening Protocol will cover things like keeping a log of people on board, limiting the number of persons on board based on the natural configuration of the boat to allow a 6 foot separation between non-household persons unless face coverings are worn, etc.

This means racing may resume!

it can happen, and it did

We grabbed this excerpt from this lengthy and frightening story…

The wind remained stiff and we were slightly overpowered – but fast – and decide not to gybe past the buoy but instead tack back. We would then drop the jib and keep the main up as we always do when entering or leaving a harbor, to ensure a sail up in the event of motor issues. Spinnaker sheets lay inboard and coiled, genoa sheets on the winches, we crossed the line, came up to the wind, dropped the jib and started the motor.
Engaging in gear the motor suddenly cut out – probably something wrapped on the prop. We could either fall off toward the beach and shallower water, or try to come up and catch the breeze on the port side. For the latter Raymond went forward to unclip and hoist the jib. With the jib up we slowly made way but had little steerage, each wave knocking the bow back, until we felt the unmistakable, heart-dropping thud of keel touching sand. Soon anther bump, stronger, and then several more jolts, still not enough drive from the sails to pull ahead and each wave set pushing us further toward the beach.
We elected to drop sails to lessen the load — Raymond went forward to pull down the jib and I began to drop the main. A big wave rolled us flat and I saw Raymond tossed overboard, but more alarmingly, the bow swung over where he had fallen in. Looking over the low side rail I spotted him in the water, life vest inflated, and grabbed the cockpit VHF (ship radio) and called in my first and hopefully last Mayday. It was not exactly the practiced call we rehearse during our training sessions – the first part interrupted as we rolled over again and I tumbled back to the low side, followed by a somewhat more breathless second part.
While recovering my footing and handholds I saw Raymond laying on his back, gracefully sculling with his arms as if on a holiday dip, but also several surfers — who only a few months earlier suffered the tragic loss of five friends in this same spot, swiftly paddling to his rescue…

melges goes quantum

Melges Performance Sailboats , a longtime North Sails affiliate (North Sails Zenda) is making the switch to Quantum Sails. (Just like I did haha. – ed). This is not an insignificant move with a ton of implications, for example what of the Melges IC 37, wherein North Sails are the only class legal sails? We suspect a quick rewrite of the class rules to be forthcoming!

We don’t know what precipitated the move, although there is something strange to this and we feel it is on the North side.  More to come, we are sure.

Care to discuss?

tootle around

“Very few of the blokes who actually formulate the rules know anything about boat structures. They don’t seem to know anything about safety. Go to any IOR meeting and you would swear you were looking at a bunch of London bankers. They’re usually dummies, rich blokes and corporate executive types who wouldn’t know the sharp end from the blunt end.

They just sign checks and allow themselves to be led by the designers. Boats started to get weaker and weaker. That’s OK for boats that tootle around the Mediterranean or off the California coast. Ninety percent of the world’s boats get away with it, but not in Australia. When you’re in the middle of Bass Strait you’re in the middle of the ocean. These are the guys who have to sit down and think hard about the lesson of the Hobart Race.” – Ben Lexcen – The Bulletin (January 1985)

(Lexcen’s opinion was sought after the punishing 1984 Sydney-Hobart. The fleet was pounded by a strong Southerly on the first two days. From a fleet 155 starters there were 104 retirements and one death. Many of the rig and hull failures were later traced to under-strength construction and equipment.)

It is worth noting that the pic includes boats from California’s BBS, seemingly just tootling around. – ed.

yes please

A new yacht launched by Grand Soleil is bound to generate a bit of a buzz. The Italian marque’s parent company Cantiere del Pardo has enjoyed a remarkable run of popularity and commercial success over the last six years, easily outpacing the market as a whole and steadily growing its revenue while some of its rivals have declined. The shipyard’s strategy boils down to releasing one new model a year, alternating between its two parallel ranges of yachts, the Long Cruise and Performance series.

This year’s launch of the Grand Soleil 44 Performance – announced back in January at Boot Düsseldorf and due to make its début at Cannes in September – has drawn more interest than usual because Matteo Polli is now involved. To back up the hype, it’s worth noting that even before the official announcement of the new model, half a dozen of these yachts were already sold off plan. Read on.

now that’s a hobie day

We love the 35 year-old photo with this 35 year-old story!

This with my second Hobie back in 1985, three-up, two big guys on the wires during a ‘Sumatera’ – a 35-45kt wind bomb that used to bounce into Borneo once a year or so and shake the coconuts from the trees. – Anarchist Euan.

on the way to evil

“Racing, no doubt, has improved the form and build of yachts, for racing means competition and therefore improvement. It is only when competition is not properly controlled that it becomes evil. Just as the English turf’s undue encouragement of short races gave us a wretched weedy class of thoroughbred, so in yachting a badly considered rule of measurement has resulted in our racing yachts becoming ‘junks of lead bolted on to a superstructure of wood’ that I venture to say, at least among the decked class, are not perfectly seaworthy.

We have heard of three-tonners being built on the Clyde, 60 feet overall with only 3 or 4 feet beam, and 11 feet depth. We may as well go to sea on the back of a knife as in a craft of that sort. Seeing that this infection has reached our doors it behooves our racing authorities to see that it does not spread.”

Keel Issues – The Sydney Mail (1884)

(Appeals to the authorities to ban or penalize extreme design developments through handicapping are as old as the sport itself. The narrow-beamed, deep-keeled “breadboard” sloops certainly provoked controversy, but they also gave Australia such classic little racing yachts as Kelpie – above – and Sao.)

realities

Interesting story about production issues of Beneteau 

The Bénéteau group brought together its representative bodies and those of its French subsidiaries on September 8, 2020 to launch negotiations around a long-term partial activity agreement and the implementation of employment protection plans (PSE ).

Announced in July, the reduction in the production capacities of the world leader in yachting is starting in concrete terms in France, Poland and Slovenia, after having started in the summer in the United States .

Read on.

string wars

The Sixth Circuit has affirmed a Michigan sailmaker’s $2.5 million win as part of “an epic saga” alleging a South African sailmaking company illegally sold sails, rejecting arguments that a special master’s recommendations in the case went beyond the scope of what he was told to do.

A three-judge panel on Thursday backed a lower court decision awarding Quantum Sail Design Group LLC $2.5 million in a suit against Jannie Reuvers Sails Ltd. and Leading Edge Sailmakers Ltd. claiming breach of contract and breach of a trade secret license agreement the parties had inked.

It’s quite the story. Read it.

moore bamba

It’s not possible to have more fun doing our Retro Boat videos, and  we hope you like this little tour of this little beauty!

Title inspiration thanks to Sheck West.

diego downer

The crew of the Coast Guard cutter Bertholf offloaded more than 11 tons of cocaine in San Diego on Thursday.

The drugs, worth nearly $400 million, were seized in international waters in the Eastern Pacific. The shipment represents the results of 13 drug smuggling vessel interdictions off the coasts of Mexico, Central and South America. Read on.

all good

More than halfway through the third stage of La Solitaire du Figaro, Englishman Sam Goodchild is continuing to leave his mark on the history of this ultra-competitive and very French class. More than 20 years since Irishman Damian Foxall won the fourth and final stage of the Solitaire, Sam Goodchild is threatening to join the ultra-exclusive club of non-French sailors to win a stage, let alone place on the podium or even win the whole event outright.

Since placing 9th in the first stage and passing three-time Solitaire winner Yann Elies at the finish of Leg 2 to claim a second place, Goodchild has been leading nearly the entire third leg thus far. Again taking place in light, shifty and benign conditions in the English Channel, the breeze is set to go even lighter as the fleet approaches the NW corner of France and begins sailing down the west coast to a finish in Saint Nazaire in the Loire-Atlantique region of France.

Very critically, stage 1 winner Xavier Macaire on Groupe SNEF is right on Goodchild and Leyton’s transom in second place and not giving up an inch. After the first two stages, Xavier sat in 2nd place overall with Goodchild in third and just six and a half minutes stood between them. Equally as important, previous overall leader Armel le Cleac’h and his 37 minute cushion to Macaire is all but gone as the Banque Populaire skipper again tried a northerly option early and got buried in the fleet as a result. His rivals Macaire and Goodchild were part of a small handful of boats to tack to the coast and make big gains that only got bigger. As of this writing on Monday morning, le Cleac’h is back up to 24th, but more than 13 miles astern of Goodchild.

With just over 200 miles to go including a dying breeze, big currents and tidal gates, and a predicted northerly fill to the finish, this one is far from over. – Ronnie Simpson.

mask free

What do you people think this regatta is, a Trump rally? Where are your fucking masks? What, no Covid-19 in the UK?  That is some piss-poor race management, not to mention a missed opportunity to set an example by simply doing the right thing – wear a mask.

We looked at all the pictures from the J/70 UK Nationals and couldn’t find a single mask.  It’s irresponsible – masks should simply been made mandatory by the PRO.

Nice whiff, pomes.

massive

Well done. We sometimes take this kind of stuff for granted.