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Nick Craig just won the OK Dinghy Autumn Trophy with 8 straight bullets!...

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U.S. Coast Guard Offloads Six Tons of Cocaine in Miami The above headline for the story below is funny. Like,...

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At 07:20 UTC Captain of Triana (66) FR, Jean d’Arthuys, contacted Ocean Globe Race control to request an urgent medivac...

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how low can you go?

As an exercise in effrontery, this one is hard to beat. The King and Queen of Spain have traveled to Barcelona to present America’s Cup CEO Grant Dalton with a City Promotion Award.

Seriously. Dalton squeezes well North of $100m out of Barcelona for the “right” to host AC37 and now he has the bald-faced cheek to accept a gong for his efforts.  

But there’s worse to come. In late November the AC Magical Mystery Tour will decamp to Jeddah on the Red Sea. For those who don’t know their geography, Jeddah is the second city of that wonderful, sport-loving, democratic nation of Saudi Arabia. We can’t be sure how much Dalton extracted from Jeddah but it must be a small fortune.

That deal was done more than a year ago, while the world was condemning Saudi Arabia for the murder and dismemberment of a journalist who’d had the temerity to question the conduct of its ruling King and Crown Prince.  Dalton was clearly untroubled; at the March 2022 announcement of the Jeddah deal, he even went so far as to claim that it would “transform lives through sailing and the technologies associated with it”. 

Regrettably, those “transformed” lives will not include the lives cut short by the routine imposition of the death penalty in Saudi Arabia where there have been up to 80 executions in a single day. 

This is a country with no national elections or political parties. It ranks 150th out of 157 on the Democracy Index. It sponsors terrorism, censors the internet, and discriminates savagely against women. None of that seems to concern Dalton and his America’s Cup Event operation.  And how this must all stick in the craw of the New Zealand public. 

For decades they contributed huge amounts of taxpayer and corporate funding to contest – and win – the America’s Cup. They had a right to expect the defense to be sailed on their home waters. But when the NZ government and city of Auckland couldn’t quite meet Dalton’s price, he turned his back on national pride and sold the regatta to the highest bidder. 

Such is the appalling influence of big money on sport in the 21st century.

 – anarchist David

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Recent Posts

  • When reputation leads – X Yachts

    When reputation leads – X Yachts

    It doesn’t happen every day that a new model appears from the X-Yachts yard in Haderslev. But right now, something is cooking. The next yacht is well under way and it’s called the Xc 47. The launch will happen at Boot in Düsseldorf in January, and will mark the beginning of a new generation of the X cruising segment. When asked to comment, CEO at X-Yachts, Kræn Brinck Nielsen, simply puts it this way: ‘It’s probably the best yacht we ever built’.

rest of the latest posts

cut it

Big Pimpin’

The tech wizards at Vakaros are bringing a new instrument to the market suited for the more cost-conscious dinghy sailor who still wants peak performance.

The Atlas Edge combines powerful hardware and a 100+ hour battery life with the simplicity so many sailors have been asking for. This instrument integrates class-compliant modes and is legal in the Lightning, Thistle, Dragon, and more one-design classes.

The Atlas Edge is on preorder for a limited time at $599, learn more and check out all the options today!

demanding

Big Pimpin’

As we were watching a small number of Imocas battling it out around the globe fully crewed for the first time, a new generation of 60s was being launched and put through its paces. To try to understand the latest thinking in structural design, and to evaluate how far the most recent boats had evolved from the previous generation, we spoke to Gurit’s Paolo Manganelli, Yoan Stephant and Nicolas Poidevin.

The firm has been involved in three of the most recent projects, in each case with a different set-up: directly contracted by Jérémie Beyou’s Charal team, in collaboration with VPLP for Malizia, and coming in to doublecheck the work for Eric Bellion and Jean Le Cam’s efforts. Three configurations, three different philosophies… and a host of new parameters to play with.

For Malizia the focus was firmly on reliability, with a ‘clear demand from the team’ on that aspect, stresses Paolo. Compared with the previous generation of boats this meant significantly pushing the requirements in terms of structural strength. Read on.

whither woxi?

As is customary every year around this time, the Rolex PR machine has trundled out a media release gushing over the early entries for the Sydney-Hobart race. The start on December 26 is still 98 days away but more than 60 boats have already submitted their initial paperwork.

Four 100-footers have entered: the usual suspects Andoo Comanche, LawConnect, and SHK Scallywag, plus Wild Thing 100 (the former 80-foot Beau Geste which has now been stretched to 100).

But what the release from the race sponsors doesn’t mention is the elephant that isn’t in the room.  Wild Oats XI, the Reichel/Pugh supermaxi that has headlined the event since 2005 and won line honours nine times, is not listed as an entrant. 

SA readers will recall that WOXI was damaged during the recent Hamilton Island regatta. She was then nursed home to Sydney and is now waiting for access to her shed at Woolwich Dock. 

Entry to the dock by water has been restricted since the fire that destroyed Andiamo, the 92-foot motor yacht that also belongs to the owners of Wild Oats.  Gossip in the offshore community is that Oats will not be heading South on Boxing Day, and is probably soon to be offered for sale. 

Another prominent yacht yet to lodge their entry is 2022 overall winner Celestial

That might be of interest to fellow TP52 Caro. The Fastnet winner ran a close third to Celestial in the 2022 Sydney-Hobart and has entered the Australian classic again.

 – anarchist David

like it’s 1973

The Ocean Globe Race started from Southampton off the south coast of England q week ago. In full disclosure here, I am the Race Commentator, but I hold no bias. Having said that I hold no bias, I have to say that it was a spectacular start full of emotion and one of the best around-the-world-race starts that I have ever been to, and I have been to plenty. For those not familiar with the OGR, the event slogan is “Sailing like it’s 1973.” It’s essentially a retro Whitbread race limited to boats that had sailed in previous races during the 70’s and 80’s, as well as similar boats of the time, Swan’s being a good example. In the earlier races there were many Swans and in this race, there were nine swans competing including some famous ones. 

In the 75/76 race, Clare Francis skippered a Swan 65 named ADC Accutrack. She was the first female skipper with a mixed-gender crew. That same boat is back in the OGR, now renamed Translate 9 has a very competitive Italian team racing with their eye on the top prize. There is also a Swan 651, Spirit of Helsinki which is the same boat my old mate Skip Novak and I sailed from Finland to the Dominican Republic in 1984. We were hired to train an amateur Finnish crew who were planning to compete in the Whitbread the following year. The boat still looks great; some of these older boats never age. Like a fine wine (yes I know it’s a well-worn cliche) they just seem to get better with age. 

One of the most iconic boats in the race is Maiden. Some may remember that Tracy Edwards led the first all-female team in the ’89/90 Whitbread. Maiden was originally Disque ‘D‘or skippered by Pierre Fehlman in the ’81/82 Whitbread. It was later abandoned and left to rot behind a shed on the docks in Cape Town. Tracy found the boat and restored it. She sold the boat after the Whitbread and it was once again abandoned. Tracy found it rotting in a boatyard in the Seychelles Islands and once again rescued it. It’s back in immaculate condition and competing, again, of course, with an all-female crew only this time it’s very multicultural. Black, White, Arab, Indian, South African, you get my drift. 

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own the ocean

As the proud and official rope supplier to 11th Hour Racing Team, Marlow Ropes heartfully congratulates 11th Hour Racing Team for taking first place in not only The Ocean Race, but also The Ocean Race In-Port Series 2022-2023.

Despite being involved in a no-fault collision in the final offshore leg, 11th Hour Racing Team pulled off a historical win as the first American-flagged boat to be victorious in what is considered the world’s longest and toughest team sporting event. We were happy to know that Marlow Grand Prix custom-made series and Blue Ocean Dockline, made from recycled products, helped contribute to the team’s success.

More here.

there won’t be hull #2

Perhaps not expected to do much at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, the foiling weirdo FlyingNikka did not disappoint, racking up straight DFL finishes on corrected time.

“Hey man, that’s not what the boat was meant for”, we can hear you say. Then just WTF is it for? Oh that’s right, it is a big  (little?) dick energy vanity project of the super-rich. But then again, aren’t all these things?

Thanks to Max Ranchi for the photo.

contrasts

We are in a period of telling contrasts. Last week on the Med at Porto Cervo the massive supermaxis had their annual big-swinging-dick contest. They made an impressive spectacle – 120-foot monsters with carbon sails the area of Arizona all crossing tacks in pleasant breezes on an azure sea. A billionaire’s sailing wet dream.

Among those titans, the J-boats stood out for sheer beauty. There is a timeless grace to their towering rigs, low freeboard, long overhangs and sweet sheer line. It would be difficult to imagine a more impressive, heart-lifting sight on water.

Contrast those scenes with what was happening just up the road at Saint Tropez. The SailGP circus was in town. Ten ostensibly identical foiling cats were all trying to stay on their foils and out of the water. The races were usually done and dusted in less than 10 minutes, the timespan of three pop songs.

To underline the fragility of those 50-foot float-planes the New Zealand entry took a gentle nose-dive after the third race, at which point their entire, impossibly flimsy 95-foot wing mast folded and fell over the side. Not a pretty sight.

Meanwhile, further down the coast in Spain, the America’s Cup hopefuls were all thrashing their AC40 test boats back and forth to see how much more technology, engineering and computer power they could cram into a swing-foiling monomaran. Any connection with the fundamentals of sailing seemed largely coincidental. 

But back North in Genoa they’d just finished the International 8 Metre World Cup. The metre rule was established in 1906 and has produced some of the most beautiful yachts to ever sail. The older “classic” 8 metres raced alongside more modern interpretations of the rule. This was pure, simple sailing where the hulls stay in the water and any form of powered assistance is forbidden. A true test of tactics and skill. 

What a contrast. Photo ©Jack Taylor

 – anarchist David

water world

Fully crewed IRC yachts increasingly use water ballast to reduce the weight of the keel bulb without sacrificing stability upwind and when power reaching. Despite the ubiquity of such systems in short-handed racing the top IRC teams have found scope for innovation and improvement. RORC Commodore James Neville’s new Carrington-built Carkeek 45 Ino Noir, for example, has a water ballast system with 500 litre tanks on each side developed by Hamble, UK-based Diverse Performance Systems. This is an evolution of the setup on Niklas Zennström’s Carkeek 52 Ran 8, which launched last year.

‘We’ve made it neater, lighter, and more compact,’ says Diverse MD Nick McGarry. ‘We’ve also added our own pneumatic actuation systems with on-deck push button control.’ Instead of the stand-alone valves used by Imoca 60s, custom units with pneumatic valves are integrated with the manifold. This reduces weight and complexity, streamlines installation and allows for a very simple actuation system on deck.

Other key elements include a pair of hull scoop valves that minimize aeration at speed and retract when not in use, plus a high capacity 24 or 48V electric pump rated to move up to a whopping 900 liters of water per minute. An extra-large crossover pipe transfers water from windward to leeward in only five to 10 seconds when tacking. ‘We worked hard to make tack speed as fast as possible,’ says McGarry, ‘so the system works flawlessly for inshore racing when decisions often need to be made at the last minute.’ Read on.

dumb and dumber

We wonder which is dumber – the nonsense in this video, or the nonsense that has become the America’s Cup? With a supposed 400,000 people watching these odd ducks racing over the weekend, the people of Rotterdam clearly think this is less dumb of the two.

How pathetic to think they aren’t wrong.

jimmy buffett

I dropped a fresh podcast today, with the main topic being Jimmy Buffett. Most will not like my take, but I do tell a story about him from way back that you might find funny.

Oh yeah, and I talk about boatyards and the idiosyncracies of so many of them. Enjoy.

damn dude!

On Tuesday, the Drug Enforcement Administration raided a 70-foot yacht, the Jess Conn, anchored in Nantucket and reportedly found drugs, guns and sex workers on board. According to the Nantucket Current, they were tipped off after local police received a “report of a female party, on board a yacht, who did not want to be there, was under the influence of narcotics, and possibly has overdosed.”

The harbormaster and Nantucket Fire Department EMTs were reportedly able to get her off the boat and to a local hospital for treatment. A further search of the Jess Conn turned up 43.4 grams of cocaine, 14.1 grams of ketamine and two Smith & Wesson pistols. The owner, Scott Anthony Burke, a retired doctor from Key West, Florida, was arrested. More here.

maxi taxis

These too short, too many quick-cut videos are pretty lame, but it’s always fun to look at these monsters…

floriduh man

Not Sailing

The sea is a cruel and unforgiving environment. From orca whales attacking vessels to the occasional rogue wave, the idea of heading out on the open ocean in a small human-powered craft sounds absurd. A man in Florida is now facing federal charges after he tried to head out into the Atlantic Ocean in a massive hamster wheel and ended up in a three-day standoff with the United States Coast Guard.

According to the Independent, the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Valiant spotted the bizarre hamster wheel 70 miles off the coast of Georgia on August 26th. Inside the strange-looking wheel was Reza Baluchi, a 51-year-old Iranian-born athlete. The Coast Guard stated in court documents that Baluchi threatened to kill himself with a 12-inch knife if anyone tried to arrest him. He also claimed that there was a bomb inside the wheel. The explosive device was later found to be fake. Read on.

sail on

Not my cup of tea – although I did like “Cheeseburger in Paradise”, it is understood how popular Jimmy Buffett was among a segment of the sailing crowd. – ed.

My mate Jimmy Buffett died on Friday evening. I use the word mate loosely. I did meet him back in 1980 in Saint Barts but, like many of us mourning his death, we all felt like we were his friend. 

When I met Jimmy he was playing in a bar of a hotel that he would one day own; to his regret. Jimmy was after all a musician, well a whole lot more than just a musician, but he was not a good hotelier. He admits that in his memoir so I am not out of line here by stating that. He was playing to a small crowd of sailors, and this, by the way, was long before Jimmy Buffett was Jimmy Buffett. He was just a troubadour with a guitar and a pretty good voice, but his songs captivated the audience and if I am to be honest, changed many lives, mine included. 

For us sailors, and I know that you wouldn’t be on this site if you weren’t a sailor, his songs became a soundtrack to our lives. How do you write a song that starts, “Mother, Mother Ocean?” For those of us who have seen some blue water, we understand that lyric. And there were many, many more. “A Pirate looks at Forty.” Who among us does not feel themselves a pirate in some way even if it’s only just having a margarita for breakfast? And, well, what can I say, who else could write a best-selling hit about a cheeseburger?

Jimmy Buffett captured the essence of what it means to be a free spirit who found the open ocean as an outlet to sail away from our day-to-day traffic and jams of life. The steel drums, the beautiful lyrics, the tailgate parties. Jimmy gave us an outlet and I speak for most of us, he gave us hope and a sense that life is just better than OK. 

He was also a better-than-good sailor and owned many boats of all kinds including his innovative powerboat “Last Mango” and his even more innovative (in my humble opinion) sailboat named “Drifter.” He sang about the sea but you can’t write and sing that well about something you don’t feel or understand at a core level and it’s clear that he understood not only sailing but the sailing lifestyle and all it entails, more than just a good salt-rimmed margarita and a lost shaker of salt.

Sail on buddy. There are so many of your songs that I love but perhaps the one most fitting for this sad time is “I have found me a home.” I hope that you have found a good home and I hope that it’s a place named Margaritaville. – Brian Hancock.

another bummer

The Oatley family, owners of the legendary 100-footer Wild Oats XI, must be wondering what misfortune will strike them next. 

Just a fortnight ago the foredeck of their WOXI supermaxi fractured under excessive load from a hydraulic headsail ram. That repair is sure to be complex and expensive, and there are strong indications that the yacht will then be sold and the whole Wild Oats racing team disbanded.

Now, the family’s 92-foot motor yacht Andiamo is a total wreck (see above) after catching fire and sinking at her dock in Sydney. The blaze took hold on Saturday night and the $8m cruiser could not be saved despite concerted attempts from both land and water. 

The supermaxi LawConnect is moored at the adjacent dock space and was fortunate not to be damaged by the intense flames.

Andiamo (the Italian word means “Let’s go!”) was a unique design suggested by Sandy Oatley. The lower sections of the hull were in the form of a trimaran and the propulsion came from two jet water-thruster engines in the outboard hulls.

As yet the cause of the fire is unknown. 

sail on

Captain Bill Pinkney sailed for his last horizon after passing away suddenly yesterday, August 31, while on a business trip to Atlanta, GA. Captain Bill was the first black man (ever) to sail single-handed around the world via the five capes, including the Cape of Good Hope (well Cape Agulhas to be more exact) at the tip of South Africa, Cape Leeuwin on Australia’s southwest corner and of course, the one and only Cape Horn. Bill was a friend and a Master Mariner and I will miss his bright white smile. 

Bill’s circumnavigation took 22 months but what was really great about it all was that he made his trip not only for himself but about the 30,000 school children that followed his voyage as part of an educational program. This, by the way, was long before the Internet and reaching, by satellite, when many school children showed his pure passion for educating and inspiring young people.

Captain Bill was the first to skipper the replica of the AMISTAD which has a fascinating history and dovetails to an extent with Bill’s journey. In 1839 the AMISTAD left from Sierra Leone with Mende captives on board. It was essentially a slave ship but the Mende managed to take command of the ship and they docked in the port of New London Harbor, Connecticut. The Mende were faced with two choices, either slavery or execution, neither of them good choices, but their cause was taken up by many residents of Connecticut and the U.S. Circuit and District courts ruled in favor of the Mende. Their case was then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court and in 1841 this court agreed with the lower court decisions and the Mende captives were ordered freed.

The reason why this story parallels Captain Bill’s is because since launching the replica of the AMISTAD the ship has been used as an education platform designed to inspire inner-city youth, and in fact kids from all walks of life, to strive to follow their dreams and most of all to dream big.

In 2022 Captain Bill was inducted into the National Sailing Hall of Fame. Sail on my friend. Maybe we will meet again on some distant horizon, but for now, know that you have left an awesome legacy on planet Earth. – Brian Hancock.

that’s mad, man

There may not be a better mid-size racer (cruiser) than the J/111. Fast in a lot of conditions, good looking, decent one design class, etc.  I wanted to buy one a while back but didn’t have a wide enough slip at SDYC.

I noticed the used boat prices were starting to climb a couple of years ago, but when I saw this listing for one, I almost couldn’t believe it. Asking $339,000 for a 13-year-old 111?

Granted, this boat looks to be really, really nice, and all you boat owners know how spendy it is to keep a boat in top form, but jesus h. christ that is a ton of money.

Or am I tripping?ed.

tribal wind battle

The Environment

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s plans for offshore wind development on the Oregon coast have drawn widespread criticism from fishery stakeholders and public officials, including the state’s Democratic governor and both of its senators. Representatives for the Native American tribes of Oregon’s southern coast have joined the chorus, calling for a pause in the process until there is more certainty that offshore wind development won’t harm the marine ecosystem.

According to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), Oregon has substantial opportunities for offshore wind deployment. The draft wind areas announced earlier this month would allow the development of up to 2.6 GW of wind power using floating, bottom-tethered platform systems. The proposed areas cover about 220,000 acres off Brookings and Coos Bay. Read on.

taylor swift and f-bombs

This is part 2 of the Mall Cop article by Peter Huston we published yesterday. Enjoy.

At just about the same time, a guy who was probably about 100 yards away went into a typical hard roll tack and whacked his head pretty hard as the boat capsized.  I thought I heard it, but wasn’t sure, and then I thought I heard him say help, but again, I wasn’t sure, and I shifted my focus from the F-bomb guy to the guy in the water. There was zero wind, and the water was as flat as glass. 

I saw him swim around to the board, and it seemed like couldn’t get the boat righted.  I was just about to put the boat in gear and forget about our F-bombing friend when I saw a coach boat go over to assist. The guy got checked out ashore and was okay, thankfully.  

All the while, things have gone sideways very quickly just as Katie had predicted and it was suddenly a rockfest.  Our job was made easier because we knew the time limit was going to run out for some, and it did.  During the period between being F-bombed and the time limit expiring, I witnessed a match race break out right in front of us. While Katie and I kept saying “Nope, that’s tactical” about every tack in perfect coordination, there was nothing within the rules that allowed us to throw a flag, but to my eye, it was synchronized sailing between two guys who knew exactly what they were doing.  It was an exceptional display of talent.

While being F-bombed Katie told me about other judges with whom she works that have a hair-trigger finger on tossing a rule 69 penalty.  We discussed that a 69 is not something to be handed out for a pretty minor infraction.  Yes, I prefer to sail when things are civil, but the world has changed a bit since 1923, which is where some judge’s social attitudes seem to reside.

When Taylor Swift, the worlds sweetheart, has the massive hit song, an anthem actually, “All Too Well” with a line about “fuck the patriarchy” and every little kid in the world can hear it, maybe it’s time for World Sailing to join the 21st century and realize an F-bomb or two in a highly charged competitive environment does not warrant all the time and trouble a 69 becomes for everyone. One can only hope the sort of thoughtful judicial temperament displayed by Katie spreads through the judging community worldwide.

But there’s a good ending to the F-bomb story.  The next morning Captain F Bomb found Katie, apologized, admitted he was wrong, and said he was trying to work on controlling his temper.  My dude, if you are reading this and if talking will help, please feel free to call, I’m pretty easy to find.  Be happy to tell you about the times I let mental roadblocks limit my capabilities and how I work to fix that, constantly.  Everybody has a bad moment from time to time. The world needs your talent on the race course, with an improved attitude.

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mall cop

The Canadian ILCA National Championships were held this past weekend at the Buffalo Canoe Club.  There were 133 boats spread across the three classes. The winner in the 7’s was Norman Struthers from Royal Canadian YC.  The 6’s were won by Rory Walsh from Royal Vancouver YC, while Angus Beauregard from Hudson YC won the 4’s.   Full results here.

As an umpire, I wasn’t really in a position to watch the race, and no one really cared about who tacked on who and when.  Being an on-the-water umpire for the first time gave me an interesting perspective on some things that happened behind the scenes.  Generally, the regatta had a great vibe, and the talent level for the vast majority of this fleet is exceptionally high. 

The 7 fleet was loaded with talent including six former Olympians.  Oscar Johansson, CAN 2004 and 2008 Tornado.  Chris Cook, CAN 2008 Finn.  Greg Douglas BAR 2008 Laser and CAN 2012 Finn, Bernard Luttmer CAN 2004, Rob Crane USA 2012 Laser, and Lynne Jewell Shore USA 1988 470.  

The Canoe Club has a long history of running major championships for Lightnings, FD’s, Sharks, Sunfish and most relevant for the ILCA, the  300+ boat 2002 Laser Radial Worlds. When Regatta chair David Starck asks me to help with something, I usually just say “When am I supposed to show up?” because I know anything that David runs will be very well organized and fun.  He’s obviously a great sailor, and more importantly, he has superior leadership skills that benefit the sport. 

As it happens, he’s about to become the President of the Lightning class. As usual, he assembled a great team of well over 50 volunteers, many of them North American or World Champions, or otherwise excellent sailors, who worked their butts off, especially the scorekeepers who had to sort out colossal jam-ups at the finish on a couple of races.  It’s what happens when the best-laid plans go sideways when one fleet as three general recalls, everyone compressed at the finish line, like literally 100+ boats finishing in giant clumps within moments of each other.

I have been involved in various aspects of race administration for more decades than I care to admit.  I was very active within USYRU/US Sailing when all the match race umpiring rules and procedures were being formed, and I’ve been around match racing a long time.  While I had never sailed in an umpired fleeted regatta, I have sailed in enough umpired match races to I know the general process from both sides of the umpire boat. 

My concern about being a first-time umpire was because I really do not know the tendencies of Laser sailors, and the edge to where the rule gets applied. David got Lightning and Snipe sailor Darryl Waskow to be Chief Umpire/Jury Chair, along with Dale King, and Katie Coleman Nicoll so I was always paired with an experienced umpire. Among this group of very experienced umpires, I felt like a mall cop.

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wounded warriors

The two famous 100-foot supermaxis – Wild Oats XI and Andoo Comanche – were billed as the main attraction at last week’s Hamilton Island Regatta. 

Neither managed to finish the series. Both have limped South after damage that will cost hundreds of thousands – if not millions – to repair.

Reports are that Comanche ran aground in Dent Passage while apparently under motor at moderate speed. By all accounts, it was not much more than a bump but re-aligning the sophisticated engineering of the canting keel mechanism might be a complex fix. 

The yacht is now in the second year of a two-year lease. The conditions of such arrangements would normally require Comanche to be returned to her owner in good condition. No doubt the insurance broker might be asking who was in command at the time of the grounding.

Meanwhile, there is serious damage to the foredeck of Wild Oats XI. It seems this was caused by overloading one of the deck-mounted rams that tension the headsail luffs. The crew apparently believed that a rig load sensor failed allowing excess hydraulic force to be delivered to the ram. 

This will be the second time the foredeck of WOXI has had to be repaired, following the damage caused by the mast failure two years ago.

Both supermaxis are expected to be racing again before the Sydney-Hobart in December.

trans

In addition to claiming the first-to-finish trophy for the 2023 Trans Superior, Tailsman, skippered by Bruce Aikens, also clinched the Barthel Trophy with just a 15-minute 25-second total corrected time advantage over Amante2.

(After over 900 miles of rhumb line racing!)

More here.

midwest maxi

Just wrapped the 2023 Inland Championship with Vincent Porter’s Full Throttle taking the A Scows and Eddie Cox’s Coldsmoke winning the E Scows. Almost 200 boats were sailing on Geneva Lake for this annual celebration of scows. Results.

represent

Bang for the buck, It’s hard to think of a big boat project that scores more highly than I Love Poland. The VO70 that was originally constructed for US skipper Ken Read’s Puma campaign in the Volvo Ocean Race, Mar Mostro is now enjoying a fulfilling second life as the 70-foot platform for an extremely successful and well-run tour of the offshore racing circuit. And a lot more besides.

Earlier this year, the young Polish crew sailed I Love Poland to line honors and IRC Super Zero class victory in the RORC Transatlantic Race. It’s just the latest in a long list of achievements, such as winning line honors in the Rolex Middle Sea Race, the Gotland Runt, and the Roschier Baltic Sea Race.

The project is spearheaded by two ambitious 27-year-old Poles, Maciej Patoka and Konrad Lipski. Patoka is the business brain, the man who brings it all together on shore. Lipski is the navigator on the boat, and the one who coordinates the sailing team and helps point the boat and the project in the right direction on the water.

More here.

swan song

The brief history of Ensign  #4…

The boat, then named Summer Squall was acquired by Norman Dodds and brother Bill Dodds in June of 2022 from Walter Powers who owned the boat for almost 40 years, and who crewed as a teenager for the previous owner George Pardee.

The boat had been swamped in a thunderstorm and sustained significant damage to the hull and deck and had not been sailed for years. With some 400+ man-hours of the restoration effort, the original hull was stripped/sanded to the original light blue gel coat, the original deck re-cored and repaired, all re-painted, all teak replaced, all new Harken hardware installed, all new standing rigging/mast / boom, all new running rigging, all new Quantum Sails….. to gain entry into the 2023 Ensign Nationals in Pentwater Michigan.

The boat was re-named eyjafjallajokull ( after a volcano in Iceland ) and was skippered by 30-year-old Allison Price, with her father Pete Price trimming, Chad Hough calling all tactics on foredeck and Frank Reeg on trimming /tactics finished in 11th place of 36 the boats entered, with top finishes of 2nd, 4th and 7th in the shortened three-day regatta pending day four wind/thunderstorms.

The four aboard had not sailed the boat together prior to day one of the regatta and in total the boat was sailed only twice the prior two days. On the early morning of the scheduled/cancelled final day of the regatta the boat was struck by lightning and caught fire and burned virtually to the waterline.

Ironic, given the fact that there were over 40 Ensigns in the Pentwater harbor that day and many other larger sailboats nearby.

It’s a true testament to the beautiful design and construction that a 1962 Pearson Ensign can be saved from a certain land-fill-grave ending and be restored to be competitive at the top of the Ensign Class.
We all have stories that will last a lifetime from this all too brief re-birth of Pearson Ensign hull # 4.

closer

Construction of the OceansLab IMOCA hull is complete and the boat now entering the final systems installation phase. OceansLab is set to compete in the solo transatlantic race, the Retour à La Base, a qualifier for the Vendée Globe 2024.  Growing collective of partners focused on supporting positive environmental change. More.

a 3-day tour

On Friday, the U.S. Coast Guard rescued a man who had been stranded on an uninhabited island for three days after his sailboat was disabled.

The sailor was first spotted by an auxiliary aircrew attached to Coast Guard Air Station Miami. (Auxiliary aircrew members are private civilian pilots who volunteer their time and aircraft for Coast Guard missions, including search and rescue.) The volunteers were flying over Florida Strait when they spotted signal flares from a small sailboat near Cay Sal, a remote island about 100 nm due south of Miami.

Though part of the Bahamas, Cay Sal is located on the south side of the Florida Strait, closer to Cuba than to Nassau. It is abandoned, but Cuban refugees are often stranded there, and the Bahamas has a standing arrangement with the Coast Guard for regular overflights to look for any potential survivors in need of rescue. The auxiliary aircrew reported the sighting to Coast Guard Sector Key West for a response.

An Air Station Miami Ocean Sentry aircrew flew out to the site to establish contact and drop basic supplies, including food, water and a radio. The man told the aircrew he’d been stranded for three days after his vessel became disabled during a voyage.  Read on.

the call

When you are one of the few people in this world to have sailed on, let alone owned a Santa Cruz 33, you give it props when deserved. And this one is well deserved. Congrats!

r.i.p. tokitae (1966-2023)

The Environment

Tokitae, the southern resident orca that was captured as a juvenile from the pacific northwest in 1970 and relocated to an aquarium in Miami, has died. While we normally cover two subjects in the Weekly Current, we feel that after 57 years of sacrifice, Lolita (as she is known locally), deserves the spotlight alone.

We will explore some of the most common reactions to Tokitae’s death we’ve seen on the internet and use them as discussion points.

Let’s dive in: “How was it legal for a wild orca to be captured and relocated to an aquarium in Miami?”

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true love

The Lahaina Yacht Club building may be gone, but the community most certainly is not.

by Kerri Meade

Nestled inconspicuously in the heart of Front Street, recognizable by the burgundy wooden exterior and the signature sperm whale burgee, resided Lahaina Yacht Club.  Pushing your way through the old saloon doors, you were temporarily blinded by the afternoon sunlight, forced to throw on your sunglasses and give your eyes a moment to adjust. 

You would find the regulars perched at the bar in their usual spots, their stools permanently indenting the floor.  Past the bar you made your way through the dining room to the railing which served as the club’s fourth wall, framing the iconic view of the ombre blue water and the island of Lanaʻi in the distance. 

Most importantly, the deck provided the ideal viewing platform to cheer and heckle the sabbat racers below.   A secret hatch on the left side of the dining room floor could be lowered to access a set of stairs which led down to the small rocky beach only visible during low tide.  The wooden wall panels, saturated with laughter and alcohol, preserved the stories held within these walls.  

 On August 8th, an untamable wildfire ravaged its way down Lahaina’s hillside, devouring Front Street in mere minutes.  There was no warning.  There was no time to escape.  It left nothing in its wake except unimaginable loss.    

The town is gone, but the whispers of memories remain.  Like every building in Lahaina town, LYC had a rich history.  Founded in 1965, Lahaina Yacht Club was originally a dilapidated building falling into the ocean.  Ian Ponting, Sailing Director of LYC, recalls, “There was a pool table, a ping pong table, and a keg of beer. 

That’s how it started.  Not much different from now,” he says with a laugh.  1969 marked the inaugural race of the VicMaui, which brought more outside interest and reciprocal members to LYC’s doorstep.  Additionally, Lahaina Return, an annual long-distance regatta from Maui to Oʻahu on Labor Day (a staple race for sailors in Hawaiʻi), would have celebrated its 80th anniversary this year.   

Lahaina Yacht Club’s trophy case was its own historic site, each trophy a beautiful piece of the mosaic of the LYC ‘ohana.  The Ron Wall Memorial Trophy, a huge slab of monkey pod taking up nearly half the case, honored commodores past and present.  The Louis Abrams trophy, awarded to the first to finish for the Lahaina Return Regatta, was created from the original cup from the 1906 Transpac Race. 

But possibly the most hotly contested prize among these relics was the trophy for the annual softball game of Lahaina Return weekend where the LYC Moby Dicks would battle the Oʻahu Thundercocks fueled by a keg of beer, hotdogs, and hamburgers.  The soul of this yacht club was its unpretentious atmosphere.  Ian says, “It was never about stuffy pressed collars and ties.  Our by-laws say you have to wear a shirt and shoes after 5 p.m.  That’s our dress code.”

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