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over and out

At 1920hrs this Wednesday, November 23, the race management of the 12th edition of La Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe received a message from CROSS Antilles to tell them that Gilles Buekenhout (JESS) had triggered his distress beacon. Buekenhout was the long-time leader of the Rhum Multi Class on the Martin Fischer-Benoit Cabaret-designed 12m trimaran. The skipper contacted Race Direction some seven minutes later to say that he had capsized 225 miles NE of the Tête à l'Anglais. The Belgian skipper is on board and reported that he is not injured. After speaking with their skipper the JESS technical told race management at 1950hrs that the 60 year old skipper is fine. His backup Iridium phone is working. Two cargo ships have been diverted by the CROSS Antilles Guyane, as well as competitors Loïc Escoffier (Lodigroup) and Roland Jourdain (We Explore) as requested by race management. More here....

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wham bam!

French skipper Yoann Richomme joined the very elite group of solo ocean racers to have twice won their class on the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe today when he brought the new build Lombard Lift 40 V2 Paprec-Arkea through the finish line of the 12th edition this Wednesday afternoon at 16:23:40 UTC to win in the Class40 from a record entry of 55 boats. Richomme repeats his 2018 Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe title success in the class with a facsimile program, launching his latest new boat in the same season as the race, optimizing and making the boat reliable over a compressed period before going on to win comfortably. More here....

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david v goliath

The Environment Greenpeace activists from Mexico and New Zealand renewed their protests over deep-sea mining again targeting the drill ship Hidden Gem, as it returned from its first test mission in the Pacific. The vessel has been the target of past previous environmentalists’ protests over the controversial practice of extracting precious minerals from the deep sea. The Hidden Gem (61,000 dwt) is a converted drill ship, operated by Swiss company Allseas and commissioned by Canadian miner The Metals Company. While the vessel was undergoing its conversion in Rotterdam in preparation for the new role it was targeted, and again at the end of last week as it arrived off the coast of Manzanillo, México after eight weeks of test mining. Activists from Greenpeace protested in kayaks holding banners that read “Stop Deep Sea Mining,” as the vessel reached Mexico. Greenpeace Aotearoa campaigner James Hita, onboard a small vessel off the Manzanillo coast, also delivered a message of protest to the captain of the Hidden Gem via radio. The protest was mostly symbolic to draw attention to their cause. Read on....

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unspoken credo

There is a certain understanding among mariners of all stripes, no matter creed, culture, country, or religion. If there is a fellow mariner in distress you stop where you are going, divert to where you are needed, and lend assistance. This unspoken credo has saved many lives over the years and, thankfully, it saved the life of one of the competitors competing in the Golden Globe Race.  The GGR is a solo, non-stop circumnavigation in retro boats retracing the route (and spirit) of the original Golden Globe race that took place in 1968. This past Friday the Finnish sailor Tapio Lehtinen activated his EPIRB. He was among the leaders when on a perfect summer sailing day (his words) in the Southern Ocean, his boat hit something and within five minutes the water was up to deck level and twenty minutes later it had sunk. Tapio was able to inflate his liferaft, grab his emergency grab bag and watch his beloved yacht slip slowly beneath the waves; every sailor's nightmare.  The pre-race preparations for the Golden Globe Race are rigorous and the boats are well prepared. Tapio was lucky, if you can call it that. Two other competitors and a Hong Kong-flagged bulk carrier, the Darya Gayatri were in the vicinity. In a coordinated effort between the GGR Crisis Management team in France along with Race Founder Don McIntyre who was in Cape Town at the time, and with support from the Maritime Rescue Coordination Center, also in Cape Town and CROSS Griz-Nez in France, they managed to rescue Tapio.  First they diverted South African sailor Kirsten Neuschafer and Indian sailor Abhilash Tomy while at the same time communicating with the captain of the Darya Gayatri. A kite more than 24 hours after his boat sank, Kristen hauled Tapio on board. They shared...

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out of this world

Big Pimpin' Featuring class-leading strength, accommodating rope diameters up to 10mm, and available in 23 individual configurations, Ronstan’s new Series 40 Orbit Blocks™ are the most capable blocks of their size. Impressive load ratings ranging from 400 - 1000kg (HHL versions) create opportunities for more applications that may have previously required the use of a larger block. Ronstan’s two-stage bearing system ensures high efficiency across the full load range in both dynamic and static load applications. Highlights include the RF48109 and RF48109HL lashing blocks, which feature rotating cheeks for optional snatch block functionality. Multiple sheave packages up to quad and quin blocks allow for the creation of 12:1 purchase mainsheet systems for performance multihulls like F18’s and Nacra 17’s. Check out all their blocks here....

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oxy is good for you

Here is a really neat-looking little rocket - the i550, made by Oxy Crafts. They are a new-generation workshop with focus on sustainable manufacturing and their first pilot project was to build redesigned i550 class made by plywood, flax fibers and bio-epoxy....

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bubbly

Thomas Ruyant, solo skipper of LinkedOut, was unofficially crowned ‘King of the Transats’ when he won the 38-boat IMOCA class on the 12th Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe. Hollow-eyed, wobbly-legged, and exhausted this morning after setting an infernal, unbeatable pace, especially over the last three days and nights of the 3542 nautical miles course from Saint Malo to Pointe-à-PItre, Ruyant received universal acclaim from his rivals who finished in his wake. More....

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they’re breeding! 

A rare sight in Sydney last week – the two Reichel/Pugh Wild Oats offshore racers side-by-side like a humpback whale and her calf. Actually, the mother is smaller than the child. The 66-foot Wild Oats X was launched in 2004 for an Admiral’s Cup campaign. The all-conquering 100-foot supermaxi Wild Oats XI – which has been much modified – was launched just a year later in 2005. The Oatley family continues to keep both yachts in immaculate condition and their distinctive silver-and-red livery hasn’t changed for 18 years.  The big boat is back in the water after an extended Covid hiatus and will compete for line honours in next month’s Sydney-Hobart race against Black Jack, LawConnect and andooComanche. The 66-footer has a distinguished offshore record but these days tends to be used more for day sailing.   Helluva daysailor, eh?...

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being there

For more than a century the lure of sailing to paradise has inspired thousands of offshore sailors to take on the 2225-mile challenge of racing to Hawaii. Since 1906 the Los Angeles to Honolulu Transpacific Yacht Race (more commonly known as Transpac) has been organized by the Transpacific Yacht Club to give offshore sailors the opportunity to realize this dream. The 52nd edition of this classic ocean race will have its first starting gun fired on 27 June 2023. On this date and two successive dates – 29 June and 1 July – waves of monohulls and multihulls will set off from the start, off Los Angeles’ Point Fermin. From here they will sail upwind 26 miles west to clear the first mark of the course at the west end of Catalina Island with the next mark being the finish line buoy off Honolulu’s famous volcanic crater at Diamond Head – 2,200 miles to the southwest. How they get there is the challenge of this race. Each team needs to do a careful analysis of weather forecasts that, when combined with the performance of the boat, are used to develop an optimal routing strategy around the ever-present but ever changing North Pacific High. Rhumb line or great circle tracks rarely work: the light air of the High can be a trap with lessons in drifting. Sagging south from the rhumb line gets you trade wind breezes that bring speed, but at the price of sailing extra distance. The trick is finding the best balance between the two, and most of the best navigators in offshore racing history have come to race Transpac to meet this challenge. More here....

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