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ac 2021? fuggedaboudit!

OK, I’ll say it if nobody else will. It’s time to scrap the whole America’s Cup catastrophe and start again. The disruptions of the COVID-19 crisis may be the catalyst, but there have been signs for more than a year now that the pinnacle of our sport took a disastrous wrong turn after Bermuda. This thing is out of control.  The INEOS team photo published recently showed more than 100 staff posing proudly in their team uniforms. That’s more than 100 paid bodies just to keep one boat racing in a handful of regattas. New Zealand, a small nation, is spending countless millions building a port facility for the defense series. The challenge teams are gobbling up sponsorship money at obscene rates. Meanwhile, it is beginning to dawn on the general sailing community that the foiling monomarans are incredibly difficult to sail in anything other than a straight line. They’ve been testing for a year now yet how many videos of these 75-footers show them completing a successful tack or gybe?  You get the uncomfortable feeling that we’re not being told something.  It may well be that the fundamental design concept of a swing-foil monohull with no keel is flawed – that it may not be possible for these boats to complete a conventional windward/leeward course in a reasonable range of wind strengths and wave heights. When a helmsman with the skills of Ben Ainslie can’t keep a boat on its feet during a simple bear-away gust there must be something wrong.   Then there’s the ridiculously complex set of class rules – all 304 of them, plus their many sub-sections and 100 definitions. This may keep the armies of designers, builders, sailmakers, engineers and computer analysts all nicely employed for three years, but their work is happening at such an...

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tough love

“The first duty of the crew is to drive the ship and themselves to the limit of endurance and safety. All this implies hard work which produces fatigue. Therefore, when not on duty rest every minute you can. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. The general morale of the crew is extremely important. Remember to be prompt and quick to respond to watchkeeping or 'all hands' calls, no matter how lousy you feel. If you feel like grumbling save it until after the race. Remember that a race is never won or lost until it is finished, and that a slow boat sailed hard will beat a fast boat not driven. Every man must be particularly keen to get the last fraction of a knot out of the boat – and in the right direction.” Colin Haselgrove's letter to his crew on Nerida before their 1950 Sydney-Hobart win....

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pac cup pau

Did they jump the gun? Race organizers for the 2020 Pacific Cup race from San Francisco to Hawaii have announced their decision to cancel the 2020 race, with the next race to be held the week of July 4, 2022. “We’re terribly disappointed to take this step to cancel the 2020 race, but the health and safety of our participants, partners, and the many supporting volunteers must take priority,” said Pacific Cup Commodore Michael Moradzadeh. An array of pre-race events and meetings are held at Richmond Yacht Club on San Francisco Bay.  "Many of our members have raced in the Pacific Cup, and it's been our pleasure to host racers and the race organizers for the events leading up to the race," said Inge Lundegarrd, Commodore of Richmond Yacht Club. "We're sad not to see the race go off in 2020, but we support this difficult decision.  RYC is looking forward to a great 2022." More here....

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first selfie ever?

So here is a picture from 19 years ago of world-renowned photographer Richard Langdon when he was 3/4 way across the Atlantic, taking a selfie with a film camera! He couldn't even see what he looked like. Langdon was News Corp's  On board Reporter....

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going under?

Even before the outbreak of the corona virus, the economy of the International Sailing Union was under pressure. Large cost overruns had forced the borrowing from the Isle of Man reserve fund, and even then it would just be about the transfers from the IOC after the Tokyo Olympics. This reserve fund, which was built up in Arve Sundheim's time as secretary general, was the result of hard-fought financial management where no krone was spent before it was booked, and the IOC funds were carefully divided into five, with four parts distributed over the period between the Olympics, and the fifth part is set aside in a reserve fund. This is no longer the case and the money spent by today's board and general manager Andy Hunt has brought World Sailing to wherever it is now. Read on and thanks to Devo for the title inspiration....

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touch taste smell

In his early twenties, this Morbihan native, motivated by his father who had already raced at sea, practiced various forms of sailing during his childhood. He soon discovered offshore racing in Multi 50 and Class40. He is now a full-time skipper thanks to his victory in the Challenge Espoir of the Brittany-CMB offshore racing industry, earning him a Figaro 3 for 2 years. In 2019, for his first year with the Team, he came 11th at the Solitaire URGO Le Figaro, and 8th at the Tour de Bretagne, last September. Sensory memories… Read on, thanks to Regate.com....

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30 years on

My fascination with the story of the Bell Rock and its lighthouse began in my teens when the Royal Tay Yacht Club had a race to the rock and back. The rock which lies abut 11Nm off the East Coast of Scotland was so called because in the 14th Century the then Abbot of Arbroath had had a bell placed on the rock to warn seafarers of its presence – it lasted but one wnter. Even though ‘The Bell’ had over the years claimed dozens of ships over the years and perhaps thousands of lives it took approaching 500 years when, in 1804, at the start of the 19th century a Royal Navy ship, HMS York, foundered on the rock with a loss of all 500 of her crew. This brought such an outcry in the British Parliament that finally the Northern Lighthouse board commissioned the building of a lighthouse on the rock. The size of this challenge cannot be underestimated as, not only did the reef lie 11 miles off, it also, apart for a few hours each tide (about 2 hours), lay below the waves. Critical to the success of the lighthouse was its curved base which, instead of resisting the force of winter gales, diverted the power of the waves upwards in what is now almost standard lighthouse design. How well did it work? Well the lighthouse was completed in 1810 and it still stands proud today, 210 years later and shows no sign of reaching the end of its life. About 30 years ago a couple of friends and I sailed from The Forth to The Tay and as we approached the rock I was cast adrift in the inflatable to get pictures of the light with the boat included. The North Sea provided benign enough...

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no duh

Sea Shepherd Global has decided that its ships, all of which are presently in port, will self-quarantine for at least the next 14 days due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “The health authorities in almost all our partner countries have registered cases of COVID-19 and as a result those governments are wisely implementing travel restrictions,” said the organization in a statement. Sea Shepherd notes that when the Ebola virus disease hit Liberia, illegal trawlers moved in by the dozens. Read on....

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