latest posts

out west

After repeated race cancellations and a feared fourth wave of a COVID virus that seemingly just won’t quit, rumors of this year’s Transpac being 86’d have been circulating through west coast sailing scenes about as freely as new variants of the virus itself. And so it was a welcome signt in our e-mail inbox to read a recent press release from the Transpac Yacht Club that insists 2021’s race is ON!

While the challenges in holding a safe, legal and well attended race are undoubtedly numerous, the TPYC has taken unprecedented measures to insure that this year’s race will indeed take place. Consulting with epidemiologist Sara Stone, organizers are creating race-specific protocols that will aim to ensure safety and compliance with both California and Hawaii’s current rules and restrictions.

To be clear, many questions still remain. Will there be parties and social events before or after the race? A virtual awards ceremony? Crew limits? Quarantine before or after the race? Who knows, but for all Transpac race entrants there is a COVID-19 webinar scheduled for [...]

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more minutes

How many minutes of sailing have you seen covered on your TV in the past few Olympics? We, the sailing public, would of course like to see more. In an effort to make it more exciting we changed to faster, more exciting boats and even foiling but there has been little change in the amount of mainstream coverage sailing has received anywhere in the world. Why is this important?

Especially as we’d like to see our sport grow and greater mainstream media coverage is one way to help that.

The new Mixed Offshore Doubles Olympic Event tentatively scheduled for Paris 2024 (Marseilles) certainly has the potential to shake things up in this area and bring sailing to the mainstream public in a more humanised and accessible way – being on tap to view online 24/7 throughout a single ‘medal race’. Like the Olympic downhill… but with more than that 100 or so seconds in which to enjoy it. Read on.


We Love this work from Pete Hogan.

The America’s cup has been a fruitful source of inspiration for marine artist over its 170  year history.

Even if I could have, I don’t know that I would have rushed out to Auckland to see it, had such a strategy been an option.  But certainly a lot of people in the world would have.  From cruise ships to superyachts to plain tourists, Auckland was banking on a big splash this summer.  Auckland would have been the centre of the yachting world for these two months and the people of New Zealand would have considered that the sponsoring of the event to the tune of $240 million ($200 on infrastructure and $40 million on entry fee) should have produced a few tourists to visit NZ.  But Covid was not part of the calculations.  

Locked down here in Dublin and glued to my computer watching the excellent coverage coming out of Auckland I had ample time on my hands to be inspired to paint pictures of these exotic flying machines. I had some early [...]

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reality bites

The Organizing Committee announces the cancellation of the 2021 Melges 24 World Championship, that was expected to be held in Charleston, SC, USA on April 9-17. With the increased restrictions being put in place to manage the further spread of COVID-19, cancellation is the only possible outcome at this time.

The organizers deeply regret this situation with addressing the message of Laura Grondin, the Chair of the International Melges 24 Class Association. More here.

kiwi whew

Residents on New Zealand’s coast were warned to head to higher ground immediately over the threat of a tsunami after a strong earthquake struck off the country’s North Island and caused severe shaking.

The 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck 147 miles northeast of Gisborne, New Zealand, at 2:27 a.m. Friday (8:27 a.m. EST), according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

New Zealand’s National Emergency Management Agency issued a tsunami warning shortly after the earthquake. About 5 a.m., the agency said in an update, “Based on current scientific advice and information from coastal tsunami gauges there is no longer a threat to land areas. People who have evacuated can now return home.”

Earlier the Emergency Management Agency had warned residents from Cape Runaway to Tolaga Bay to move to higher ground. Hundreds of people sought shelter in a school on higher ground above Hawke’s Bay on the central coast of North Island, TV New Zealand reported.

Gisborne Mayor Rehette Stoltz told TV New Zealand, “I’ve heard reports of little bits of damage, nothing major at this stage.” Crews will check for damage to buildings, roads and pipes in the city, Stoltz said.

Read on.

forum fuckery

There is some sort of glitch in the forums, but we are working on it! Hang in there. – ed.

it is better to have loved…

With 130 nautical miles to go to the finish line of the Vendée Globe this Thursday afternoon, the 25th and final skipper Ari Huusela has made what should be his last tack of the race and the 58 year old Finnish skipper is this afternoon concentrating on tidying his boat and having everything perfectly shipshape for his arrival across the finish line which should be – he believes – around 0900hrs UTC Friday morning, 1000hrs local time.

The light winds he has had today have been ideal for him to neatly fold away the sails he won’t need now and he says it is important to him to everything in good order and in place for his finish. And staying busy is also good for his nerves and emotions.

“It is good now to be able to work and clean stuff and tidy I only have five or six knots right now so I am doing all I can.” Ari said this afternoon. After my tack I will be heading towards Les Sables d’Olonne and that feels good. But it is very slow progress. The wind is from the ENE, 060 degrees. I met my first fishing boat and fishing nets and luckily it was in daylight so it was easy to avoid. I hope it will stay a bit calm for a while but the wind will pick up in the night so it will be 20kts in the morning, six to eight hours upwind. I should be able to make it on the one tack so it will be fine to enjoy.”  More.

the more i see…

“Before 1970, I would have expected that challenging yacht clubs would be able to place themselves completely in the hands of the New York Yacht Club and be assured of scrupulous fairness. After the 1970 challenge, I was disappointed with their handling of measurement questions in the same way that Martin Visser and Jim Hardy ended up being disappointed witch the handling of racing rule problems.

The more I see of these bits of evidence [regarding the notorious starting incident protest in Race 2] the more steamed up I get at the NYYC statements that make GII blatantly ridiculous and wrong. I am now utterly convinced that either she was quite within her rights, or she had only fractionally overstepped them, and that Hardy and Visser were by no means the blundering and collision-happy country idiots that some people, in Australia as well as the US, have made them out to be. The protest committee was so lacking in proper procedure as to make it invalid as any kind of objective body.”  – Alan PayneSail magazine (1971)

(As the designer of Australia’s 1970 challenger Gretel II, Payne also had a succession of disputes with the NYCC measurers over the defending 12m Intrepid. It had peculiar “fairing strips” below the waterline, the flotation test was flawed and there were compliance issues with the internal fit-out. )

on top

For Marlow Ropes, the 2020-21 Vendee Globe has been a highly anticipated, history-making race, electrified by two inspirational Marlow-rigged skippers. Boris Herrmann (Germany) and Pip Hare (UK) who completed the Vendee Globe 2020-21 respectively, rigged with Marlow’s bespoke Grand Prix (MGP)* series.

Known as the ‘Everest of the seas’ the Vendee Globe is the pinnacle of single handed, non-stop races that sailors aim for and only 89 out of 167 contenders have ever managed to cross the finish line. Herrmann, as the first German skipper to compete the 2020-21 race finished in fifth place on Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco and was crowned the new IMOCA Globe Series champion**, due to his consistent campaign with Team Malizia over the last three years.

British skipper Pip Hare made history as only the 8th woman to have ever completed the race and is the first British skipper to finish the 2020-21 race, having dreamt of competing in the Vendee since she was a teenager. Crossing the line after 95 days, she follows in the footsteps of UK sailing success, Ellen MacArthur, who was also rigged by Marlow in her 2000 Vendee Globe.

Commenting [...]

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ain’t no thing

Received this today from Boat US. They are whining about a $40 buck increase,  over two years? Bfd.

California boaters will see their boat registration fees increase from a minimum of $20 every two years to at least $70 every two years as soon as July 1 if Gov. Gavin Newsom’s state budget proposal is enacted. Budget subcommittees in the state Senate and Assembly are discussing this proposal now, and are anticipated to decide on the issue in the next few weeks.

We urge you to contact your state senator and assembly members and request this proposal be revised to ensure boaters’ taxes go to their intended purposes.  Take Action  to easily make your voice heard.



The new Jeanneau 60 by Phillipe Briand.  There sure is a familiar look to all these recent types of cruisers, isn’t there? Why not move that house about 6 feet forward, move the wheels a bit forward, and open up the cockpit – you know, the place where you spend most of your time? The owner’s stateroom sure looks nice however!

Title inspiration thanks to Me Always.

no yanks

Here’s a good take…

Is that a Zen koan? Sadly, it is not. The American/New York Yacht Club challenger for the world’s oldest sporting trophy’s current holder, Emirates New Zealand, was eliminated early on.

Three countries and their teams were competing in the 36th edition of this event, and this time, their goal was to oust New Zealand on their home waters on March 6. The challengers were the aforementioned Americans, plus the British and the Italians.

After a few weeks of intense sailing competition for the qualifying Prada Cup, the Italian boat Luna Rossa, sponsored by luxury brand Prada and tire maker Pirelli, left the American boat Patriot and the British entry Britannia 11 in her wake. The America’s Cup (AC) is thus between the Italians and Emirates’ New Zealand team.

This is the fourth time in the entire 170 years of AC competition that the Americans did not make it to the finals. Read on, thanks to Worth.

yeah baby

A bit late with this report, but how cool to see the mighty A4 on top again.  That’s it above, now Andiamo,  getting the Code 0 going in what appears to be perfect FT 10 weather. – ed.

On January 2nd, Del Rey Yacht Club’s William Berger & William Stein Malibu and Return Race was run as part of a new Single/Double Handed Winter Series. Despite the Covid configuration, we still managed 36 entries! 

As State and County guidelines changed in February, we removed the “living under the same roof” rule for the 13nm Topanga Race, held February 6th and we ended up with 53 entries, included Stars, Marie Rogers’ (CYC) beautiful N/M 55 “Marie” (Retro Boat, Ed.?) and Doug & Jack Jorgenson’s (LAYC) J/111 Picosa. 

 First overall in PHRF was John McEntire’s (DRYC) “Andiamo”, ex  A4 (FT 10), maybe the Ed sold it too soon! So you can run “safe and sane” races!

$5.00 gets you entry into the 21nm Santa Monica Bay (Squirrel Bank) Race held March 6th , the last in this 3 race series. As DRYC’s Guest Docks are closed, any out of the area boat races for free (as did Picosa for Race #2) and can stay at the Los Angeles County guest docks.

May 1st, we hope to run our first “fully crewed” race of the season. The William Berger & William Stein Series Pt. Dume Race, is a challenging 32nm RLC race, with typically strong winds for the leeward leg back to the MDR.  

Races 4 and 5, The Cat Harbor Layover and Eagle Rock to Marina del Rey races follow on June 12th and 13th. This is a great race with 45-50 entries and a huge BBQ party at our facility in Cat Harbor. Usually, about 50 of us hike over to Doug’s Reef, before stumbling back in the dark and hitting the sack. Photo thanks to Lisa Bronitt.

Rick Ruskin
DRYC Sail Committee Chairman 

i really don’t care, do u?

World Sailing has a survey that they likely will use to somehow monetize for themselves. Call us cynical, but we’d say there is plenty of reason to be.

Funny that they use the word Trust. Should you care to participate there is a thread.

why indeed

Remember Wally? Is this what it’s come to?

In collaboration with the manufacturer Ferretti, new owner of the brand since the beginning of 2019, Wally unveils his first superyacht project, the WHY200, a futuristic 27 m long boat.

obligatory girl

One of the things that absolutely fries us is the proliferation of a whole host of mostly lame “sailing” videos that wouldn’t even exist if there wasn’t a hot chick in them. They tend to get way too many views, and it is without a doubt because a bunch of dudes like to check out whatever obligatory girl is in a bikini on a boat in some sunny locale.

So we thought we’d do our very own obligatory girl “sailing” video! This of course is parody and our obligatory girl loved the concept and was happy to play along. It was fun and no feelings were hurt during this shooting.

Cue the faux outrage in 3,2,1… – ed.

the verdict

The confident and very successful Grand Soleil shipyard gave the brilliant design talent Matteo Polli free rein with their first collaboration. The result is exceptional… in every sense

The proof of the pudding is in the eating. And the old saying holds true for yacht designers and builders too. No matter how much CFD modelling has been done, the first sea trial of a new model is always a nervous occasion. Can it match its polars? Could it even beat them? Whatever the numbers say, when you take the helm does the boat behave, respond and feel like a thoroughbred? When the brand new Grand Soleil 44 Performance set sail for the first time off Portofino, it had a lot to live up to.

The boat’s designer Matteo Polli gave his own verdict. ‘With the helm in my hands, I was able to judge the characteristics of the boat in various different wind conditions,’ he says. ‘The GS44 sailed well at all speeds, both upwind and downwind, confirming my expectations as a pleasant and fun hull to be at sea with, especially thanks to the ability to make careful and precise adjustments to the sails and the well-designed deck layout. Read on.

hold up

The NZ government has now imposed an immediate week-long COVID lockdown on Auckland, meaning the first week of the scheduled America’s Cup will be delayed.

All non-essential travel and outdoor activity is severely restricted. (The move is in response to the discovery of one infectious 21-year-old having wandered about the city for five days before diagnosis.)  The Americas Cup is scheduled to start on March 6, the seventh day of the lockdown. More here.


Ok, we doubt that’s what they we’re yelling! Just an average day in the life of the 18

big league

It’s safe to say that Kevin Escoffier’s debut appearance in the Vendée Globe didn’t quite go according to the plan. While showing good pace and fighting hard for the lead entering the Southern Ocean, his IMOCA 60 PRB famously broke in half off of a wave and plunged into the deep.

Rescued at sea by the unflappable Jean le Cam, the 40 year old Breton skipper was perhaps down for the time being, but certainly not out. With a CV that includes a Trophy Jules Verne victory onboard Banque Populaire V and a win in the last Volvo Ocean Race with Dongfeng, it would almost certainly only be a matter of time before opportunity again came knocking. 

A former head of Banque Populaire’s design office who has proven his merit within the organization over more than a decade of working together, it was only fitting when the team announced yesterday that Escoffier would be Armel le Cleac’h’ co-skipper on the soon-to-be-launched Maxi Banque Populaire XI. Expected to launch within the next 1 to 2 months, the team will immediately begin sea-trialing and optimizing the new 32 meter beast before working up to [...]

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bush league

A through deck bush, also known as a fairlead, is designed to protect a surface from a rubbing rope or wire, they can also be used to act as a deflecting point.

In most applications, a through deck bush is used to guide a rope through a surface, such as the thwart or strut of a boat. It also offers protection to the material the rope or wire is passing through.

Allen offers a wide range of through deck bushes in many different materials and shapes. One of their most popular ranges is the aluminum threaded through deck bush. The two bushes simply screw together either side of a surface resulting in a neat finish on both sides, as well as, offering more protection if the rope or wire is deflecting either side.

These are available in six colors which gives the option of having color coded control systems or simply giving a touch of personal flavor. See the complete range of Allen through deck bushes here.

speed freaks

With just 10 days to go to “THE MATCH” in Auckland rumors are rife with regard to speeds of the boats, who is going to get in bed with who depending on who gets to the required number of race wins first – which is 7 by the way. 7 is the number of races that could be enough to win or it could take all 13. 

A few weeks ago it was ‘leaked’ that ETNZ had broken the 100kph barrier – that’s 54kts. Then in the past few days figures of 58; 60.3 and 62 knots have been reported as achieved by the Kiwi boat then earlier today I saw a figure of 57 quoted for LRPP.

Then there’s the talk of who the AC37 Challenger of Record will be – give me a break, let’s get this one done and dusted first, and that’s at least 2 ½ weeks away and could be almost a whole month away.

There is talk of talks between Dalton & Ratcliffe – just talk mind you and on the other foot perhaps the Italians may [...]

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what, no foils?

We’re kidding, sort of. Make a big “fun” boat but no foils seems so 2018. Here is a more in depth look, but I love how they say it isn’t an offshore boat! Then what the fuck is it? – ed.

hey, let’s do this!

With the world still reeling from the impacts of the COVID 19 global pandemic, many major races have continued to be postponed, re-scheduled or cancelled entirely. One of the first – and biggest – casualties was the inaugural edition of the re-configured The Ocean Race, formerly known as the Volvo Ocean Race. With the start of the first edition of the race to include both IMOCA 60 and VO65’s being delayed by a year to October 2022, this newfound gap in the schedule has opened the door for an entirely new race to take place; The Ocean Race Europe.

A tour of Europe that will include up to five host cities, this new race hasn’t thus far been met with overwhelming enthusiasm, but with much of the world still experiencing a hangover from COVID, it’s hardly a surprise to see this new event sailing into headwinds from it’s inception.

Race organizers reportedly hoped to begin the race from the iconic Breton port city of Brest in late May, but city officials allegedly deemed the cost of hosting the event to be too high and have balked. Other cities rumored to be [...]

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deep dive

Interesting history, along with the world’s longest single sentence!

The archive of the Camper & Nicholson shipyard has recently been rediscovered and partially digitized. In collaboration with the yacht designer and historian Enrico Zaccagni, a cycle of master’s degree theses is proposed with the following guidelines: to analyze the archive’s documentary, iconographic and technical material; to propose effective categorization and cataloging methods to aid design activity; to outline recognizable design parameters typical of the shipyard and evaluate their evolution; to elaborate guidelines for the nautical restoration process, both philological and historical; to apply the knowledge acquired through design case studies.

“The history of Camper & Nicholsons is integral to the history of Yachting. The shipyard was founded at Gosport even before sailing as a sport was invented.” More here.

cabo wabo?

We are a little skeptical (shocking, right?) of a couple West Coast races here in Cali that are planning to go to Mexico in the middle of the pandemic. One is the Newport to Ensenada in April, but that race has other course options that do not include finishing in Ensenada.

The other is the Newport to Cabo race, which does indeed finish in Cabo San Lucas. To our reckoning, this one is fraught with Covid issues that seem potentially troublesome.  As of now there are 28 entries, but at least a couple boats are pulling out. But here is a twist that seems odd: a reported six boats (including 3 TP 52’s) are planning on bailing on the race and instead, having their own race –  2 of them – one thought to be some 400 mile race in US waters, including a fair bit of upwind work, the other a 200 miler.

If you signed up for the Cabo race, it is because you want to go downwind to an excellent destination. Covid concerns would be a legitimate reason not to go, but deciding to have your own race at the same time doesn’t seem very copacetic. Details are scarce, but even the race organizers are alluding to it.

Jump in the thread here.

another big ‘un

There is one thing the design team of Reichel/Pugh is known for, and that is drawing a beautiful boat.  More here.

a worthwhile cause

The British Tall Ships Youth Trust which operates five vessels with the aim of taking young people to sea on week-long courses is one of the charities which has suffered significantly during the Covid crisis. It is particularly focussed on introducing disadvantaged children to a life at sea.

The organisation is looking to attract industry partners who would like to be associated with the work the charity undertakes. Tall Ships would like to talk with companies within the boating industry who are looking for an innovative two-way charity partnership in a truly immersive relationship.

Partnerships could focus on any one or all of the following suggestions: Opportunities for employee volunteering and support ‘in kind’; profile-raising activities with exclusive opportunities to showcase a company’s brand purpose; staff fundraising to sponsor geographically distinct groups of young people (the company’s choice) on a voyage; bespoke branding and marketing opportunities such as sponsoring our upcoming ‘Round the UK’ youth voyage.

A relationship with Tall Ships would enhance internal staff engagement, increase a company`s brand profile and provide fresh, exciting and exclusive content to engage with its customers. And most important of all a company which becomes a partner will be making a difference when needed the most.

For more information please contact Richard Leaman-Grey the CEO of the Tall Ships Youth Trust at [email protected].

Thanks to IBI for the story.

very together

Nautor’s Swan has always worked hard to ensure that owners continue to enjoy their yachts long after the pink ribbon comes off. Now the new Nautor’s Swan Experience takes this already rarified level of customer care to an even higher level

‘We have long wanted to present the Nautor Group at 360 degrees and the Nautor’s Swan Experience concept has been on our table for many months. The current situation, with the cancellation of nautical events all over the world, has speeded things up, but we are ready. Nautor’s Swan is a brand walking hand in hand with its owners, making them feel part of an amazing and international family,’ says Giovanni Pomati, Nautor Group CEO.

Fully respecting all the regulations regarding Covid-19, from 13 to 20 October, Nautor’s Swan Experience was held at the Marina di Scarlino on the Tuscan seaboard. Comprising two overlapping events, the inaugural Swan One Design Worlds and the Scarlino Private Boat Show, the event was the first of a new series of unique opportunities to become immersed in the whole world of Swan. Read on.

built tough

This is Pelagic 77. She is an expedition yacht that will sail in the charter fleet of Skip Novak, well known ocean sailor, from the south of Chile. More here. Photo: Guy Fleury-KMY.

down under

I’m sitting on the edge of a hole drilled through 15 feet of Antarctic sea ice, about to descend into the frigid ocean of the southernmost dive site in the world. I wear nearly 100 pounds of gear – a drysuit and gloves, multiple layers of insulation, scuba tank and regulators, lights, equipment, fins and over 40 pounds of lead to counteract all that added buoyancy.

I do a final check with my dive buddies: Air? Hoses? Weights? Then, one by one, we put in our mouthpieces, plop into the hole and sink out of sight into the dark.

As we frog-kick along, following our lights toward the work site, a Weddell seal glides by with a few effortless undulations. It glances sideways at us a couple of times, as if doing a double-take.

In contrast to us awkward, gear-laden human divers, Weddell seals are completely at home under the ice. They can hold their breath for over 80 minutes and dive to a depth of nearly 2,000 feet. Somehow they explore, find food and return to their isolated breathing holes even when it’s completely dark. Read on.

a wing and a prayer

In just a coupe of short years, hand-held inflatable kite wings have completely revolutionized the board-sailing world. Existing somewhere in the middle ground between kiteboarding and wind surfing, the wing has exploded in popularity like almost nothing we’ve ever seen. Prominent sailors like Jimmy Spithill, Francois Gabart and a host of others have become big advocates of the sport and frequently fill their Instagram accounts with pics and videos of them foiling around on their days off, propelled by nothing more than the wind and a simple hand-held wing.

While out-of-touch boomers will inevitably argue that “that’s not sailing”, they couldn’t be more wrong. Tacking, gybing, easing in puffs and trimming for speed, wing foiling is about as pure a sailing experience as you can get. The embrace of the wing by the sailing world – with major players like Ullman Sails and North Sails subsidiary Duotone becoming industry leaders – only further strengthen the ties between the sailing world and the wing foiling world. 

With this entirely new type of sailing taking the world by storm and exploding in popularity, it was only inevitable that some crazy fucker would eventually try to cross an ocean with one. That man is apparently Chris Bertish. The South African born big-wave surfer, adventurer and motivational speaker has successfully attempted a number of extreme challenges in his life time. From winning the big-wave surfing contest at Mavericks in 2010 to being the first person to ever paddle a standup paddleboard (SUP) across an ocean in 2017, Bertish is quite an accomplished and well-rounded waterman. Hell, he’s even done some sailing and tasted victory in the So Cal 300 aboard the DSS-foil equipped Infiniti 46 Maverick

Chris now has now set his sights on arguably his most ambitious challenge yet however; sailing across the Pacific on a small boat powered by a hand-held wing. Planning a solo and unassisted voyage from Half Moon Bay, California – the site of his beloved surf break Mavericks – to Honolulu, Hawai’i, Bertish has billed the journey ‘The Transpac Wing Project’.

With a slick fundraising video that seemingly tries to bill the journey as both a cure for COVID and a way to save the world, Bertish is trying to come up with 50 large to help fund the effort. With a remarkably high production value, some nice environmental and humanitarian tie-ins and a narrator that sounds like the guy from ‘300’, we have no doubt he’ll rustle up some dough and get to the starting line. Combine that with Bertish’ track record as an ocean pioneer and all around bad ass, we fully believe in Chris’ abilities to turn this dream into a reality.

Extensively re-fitting the craft that he standup paddled across the Atlantic in 2017, Bertish is aiming to add hydrofoils, a better autopilot and even a self-steering wind vane to help keep the boat on course to Hawai’i during this summer’s planned expedition. Look for Bertish to ship his boat from the UK to California in the Spring and rock up to Honolulu around the same time as the Transpac fleet.  – Ronnie Simpson.


French boat manufacturer Beneteau SA said it will slow down or stop some of its production after a cyberattack.

The company detected a malware intrusion during the night of Feb. 18 to Feb. 19 and disconnected its information systems to prevent a further spread, it said in a statement on Sunday. While the deployment of backup systems will allow Beneteau’s activities to start again, production at some of its units, particularly in France, will have to slow down or stop for a few days.

“Alongside this, investigations will continue moving forward with a view to fully restoring all of the group’s systems,” it said.

The impact on the company’s earnings will be covered by the group’s insurance policy, according to the statement. Further information will be provided when it announces its full-year financial results on Feb. 25.

Last week, French President Emmanuel Macron announced a plan to bolster the country’s defenses after two French hospitals were attacked by ransomwares. Earlier, French cybersecurity agency ANSSI warned that an attack similar to one used by Russian military hackers has been penetrating companies that use Centreon software for three years, between 2017 and 2020. Thanks to Bloomberg News.

too slow

Reams of words will flow about the thorough beating Luna Rosa administered to Frackeos in the recently completed Prada Cup (7-1), but there is only one real issue that ultimately mattered.

No doubt Ben Ainslie on GBR got beat with alarming frequency at the start line through all 8 races by Jimmy Spithill. It was both troubling to watch from the pome perspective, and no doubt awesome from the eye-talion camp. Spithill put on a modern-day AC starting line clinic that Ainslie really had no answer for.

And while there weren’t a lot of obvious differences between how the boats were sailed, one thing became abundantly clear – Ineos is a dog.

We’re the differences huge? No they were not, but Ineos almost always looked disadvantaged. Notably struggling,  especially in lighter breeze, the boat made it obvious that it did not like to turn – at all. It just seemed to park up and then took forever to finally get going.  The foils always seemed to be making a fuss going through the water – it just looked like way too much drag. Awkward looking, oddly disproportionate, with too much keel/skeg, it seemed that it would rather just drop off it’s foils and go home than keep up the charade.

The ungainly Britt spaceship appeared to be the opposite of a modern F-1 car. F1 cars look the way they do (not exactly gorgeous) because the wind tunnel and aerodynamics, etc. over the years have determined that a particular shape is faster. Ineos was a one-off that had no such multi-year development. It was simply the result of what one team, in one effort, thought was better. Compared to Luna Rosa, which is sleek, beautiful to the eye (as beautiful as these odd ducks can get), with more of a minimalist hull design, Ineos just didn’t look right, nor fast.

And it wasn’t, and that is my premise: Ineos was just not fast enough, nearly all the time. While LR didn’t start this entire series as unbeatable, they obviously had a good baseline of a good boat that they continually improved, made faster and sailed better. Ineos was kind of the opposite in that when push came to shove, they simply got shoved on their ass by a clearly superior boat and program.

Props to Luna Rosa, who must now hope the ETNZ doesn’t do to them what they just did to the Britts, and won’t it be fascinating to watch!

As for Ineos, well I routinely criticized the team for taking millions of dollars of dirty money. Horribly dirty fracking money. The kind of thing that is the antithesis to what our sport should be about – clean water, less pollution and a true concern and stewardship of our amazing environment.

I thought karma may have a say in this, and I may well be right, but karma doesn’t make you produce a boat like that. They once again have badly missed the target, and similar to what has been said about the Britts for many decades, maybe next time. – ed.

Photo Copyright: C. Gregory and thanks to Sailweb.

the right thing

While sailing and yacht racing is oftentimes billed as a sport that is green by nature, it’s no secret that building a modern race boat is an intensely dirty, wasteful, unsustainable game. So we were stoked to stumble across this recently released video by the 11th Hour Racing team outlining many of the ways that the team is working – in conjunction with Brittany’s renowned builder CDK Technologies – to reduce waste and the associated environmental impacts of building their new IMOCA.

Overseen by 11th Hour’s Sustainability Manager Damian Foxall, the team is evaluating their new IMOCA build process through a fine-toothed comb to reduce waste and environmental impact where possible. “We are going to be measuring every step of the build process to understand what the full environmental impacts of the build are, and so we have an intern student from the local university who is working with CDK on recovering that data… so that we can understand what those impacts are”, says Foxall. 

One of the most obvious solutions to reduce waste was to re-use building materials. Every time that a layer of carbon goes down, there is a ton of plastic involved with bagging and peel-ply materials, and so the team is recovering those plastics and re-using them wherever possible. Likewise, carbon off cuts and extra pre-preg materials are sent back to carbon recyclers and manufacturers to be re-used.

“What we need to do is get that to a scale which is relevant and valuable enough for those carbon recyclers. And so with CDK, with the other manufacturers, with the IMOCA class, and other teams in the area we’re already having these discussions, how can we make this happen?”, Foxall further explains. The team is even sending cardboard packaging materials back to Spain and saving some three thousand euros a year by doing so!

Another way to reduce environmental impact and achieve greater sustainability is to get away from using carbon fiber completely and switch to more naturally occurring and sustainable materials such as flax. In a move that reflects new rules changes and innovations that are taking place in sports such as Formula 1, 11th Hour Racing is experimenting with building two versions of various parts – one out of carbon and one out of flax fiber – and then evaluating the actual differences between the two; weight, cost, performance and environmental impact.

These small incremental changes and gains already appear to be permeating the culture at CDK and their suppliers. Hopefully, this will translate to tangible gains and an industry-wide movement towards a cleaner and more sustainable future. On the part of 11th Hour Racing, we’re happy to see that their efforts at sustainability are proving to be more than just marketing hyperbole and that they are making real efforts to run a more sustainable campaign.  – Ronnie Simpson.