new direction

Funny now seeing a monohull line offered by McConaghy these days! And even more interesting is the design choice of Malcolm McKeon. Who?...

no paris for you

French marine industries federation FIN (la Fédération des Industries Nautiques) today announced that it has been forced to cancel the...

latest posts

finding funding

Nothing happens without money, and that axiom applies here, in spades. Most everyone in this sport, ourselves included, is hurting and here is a good look at how some Vendée Globe teams are finding funding:

Given the current public health situation and the economic difficulties that have arisen, there was the fear that some sailors who had not completed their budget for the Vendée Globe might have found it hard to find sponsors.

However, Romain Attanasio managed to secure a partnership right in the middle of the lockdown, while more recently, Alexia Barrier, Clément Giraud and Benjamin Dutreux have succeeded in their attempts to convince sponsors and to ensure they have the budget required to compete in the round the world race. Read on.

get it together man!

Advanced instrumentation that just keeps getting better.

The Vakaros Atlas continues to be the top choice for performance sailing, with a series of recent software updates adding powerful new features. The Atlas now includes time-to-line, helping you set up and accelerate at just the right moment to nail every start.

An advanced algorithm learns the performance of your boat to deliver an accurate prediction of when it will reach the starting line, providing the performance of a high-end starting package in a system that can be used on any boat. Maintaining your position in the starting box has never been easier, thanks to a new graphical starting screen.

When paired with an Android or iOS device running the Vakaros Connect app, the Atlas is even more powerful, with customizable settings and live data streaming for crew, tacticians, and coaches.

There’s never been a better time to upgrade to the future of instrumentation. The Atlas is in
stock and available — get yours today!

santa cruz lives

The new Moore 33.  A pretty conventional looking Alan Andrews design, light weight – 3,700 pounds, retractable keel. But why not a retractable sprit? It seems ridiculous not to have one. Can you say Melges 32?

Discuss here.

7 up

Quite the history here…

Plan Lombard built dear Mag France, it took the start of the Vendée Globe 2000 in the hands of Catherine Chabaud , who had to retire following a dismasting 3 days before the finish.

Then Italian Simone Bianchetti then finished 3rd in Around Alone in 2003, then Marc Thiercelin took over for the Vendée Globe 2004 which he had to abandon in New Zealand…

Taken over by the American Brad van Liew for the Velux 5 Oceans 2010, he won all the stages, before returning to France in the hands of Tanguy de Lamotte who finished 10th in the Vendée Globe 2012-2013

Read on.

there’s always next year…

The 17th PalmaVela (originally scheduled 6th – 10th of May and later set to the penultimate week of October) has been finally postponed to 2021 as an exercise in responsibility, as it happened with the Copa del Rey MAPFRE last August.

The Regatta organisers, headed by Emerico Fuster, president of the RCNP, have announced the decision today after considering the different options for organization and participation. “For us, both as a club and as an organization and after 16 uninterrupted years of celebration, this has been a very hard decision to take but in our mind, above all, it has always been to guarantee the health of our club members, our employees, the sailors and, consequently, of all Majorcan society,” said Emerico Fuster. Photo by Max Ranchi.  Read on.

smiles abounded

One of the few major sailing events to actually go ahead, over 17th to 20th September on the water off Wu Yuan Bay, Xiamen the 16th China Club Challenge Match, fleet racing element was contested in J-80s by 41 teams from across China in what was, for the third year running, the largest one design keelboat event in Asia as well as the oldest such event in China.

The ‘Club Cup’ as it is often known started as a challenge between Iron Rock Sailing Club of Xiamen and Zhuhai Sailing Club in two very beat up J-24s. Over the years the event has been sailed in Flying Tiger 10s, FT 7.5s and for the past few years the J-80. 

With the cancellation of this year’s China Cup in Shenzhen due to that event being largely dependent on foreign charter crews and visiting yachts this also placed the event as the largest keelboat event of the year in China by a significant margin.

As boats headed out to the race area the light wind and strong tidal current led to many boats being [...]

Read On

it’s a lock

The Alphalock brand is a relative newcomer on the sailing hardware scene but its CEO, Eric Hall – founder of Hall Spars and inventor of their renowned Hall Autolocks – is anything but “the new kid on the block”! Eric has taken all his years’ experience and channeled them into producing an ultra-simple, lightweight and adaptable halyard locking mechanism.

Upffront.com sat down with Eric to discuss his new technology and he started by describing where the name came from. “I was throwing around a few ideas but then it just hit me: ‘Alpha’, which means ‘dominant’ or ‘leader of the pack’ ….…. which is exactly what we are aiming to be. It also gets you at the top of any alphabetical list, which is a bonus!” Read on.

don’t jump

The woman looks like she’s about to jump; “I can’t take the ridiculous amounts of awesomeness of this boat!”

a new look

It looks pretty dull compared to the craft we’ve been seeing of late, but it is no doubt a missile…

The brand new Arkema 4 was launched in the water this morning outside the Lalou Multi Composite shipyard in Port Bloc in the Gironde region, after one year of painstaking work. This Multi50 is the result of close and intense technical collaboration between the Arkema Group and Lalou Multi, partners for now 8 years.

With recyclable resins, new adhesives, clean energy…, many innovative materials and technical solutions complement bold architectural choices. Adorned with blue and grey with a touch of red, the new Multi50 is now ready in the run-up to the initial tests and a swift and efficient handover, thanks to a busy and varied sports program.

From the Lalou Multi Composite shipyard to the salt water of the Gironde estuary is just a few steps. The crane did not have to extend its boom very far this morning to lower Arkema 4 into the water. Risen from the ground just a year ago for the construction of the new Multi50, the Lalou Multi Composite shipyard literally lies at the water’s edge, and only had to open its doors wide for the public to finally catch a glimpse of this new machine. Arkema 4 unveiled its stylish look and contemporary design, before being lifted to don its deep central rudder.

no day at the beach

These things are punishing, aren’t they?  Kinda surprised they don’t have some sort of heads up instrument displays for the driver…

no signal

The United States issued a renewed warning to mariners of multiple instances of significant GPS interference. According to the U.S. Maritime Advisory, this interference is resulting in lost or inaccurate GPS signals affecting bridge navigation, GPS-based timing, and communications equipment. Satellite communications equipment they warn may also be impacted.

This renewed warning is non-specific to an area of the globe, but it notes over the last year, areas from which multiple instances have been reported include the eastern and central Mediterranean Sea, the Persian Gulf, and multiple Chinese ports.  Read on.

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.

here they all are

Given the start of the Vendée Globe is merely weeks away, this video showing all of the boats entered seems appropriate. Quite the spectrum!

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!