Back to the Future

18 Sep

The news of Don McIntyre’s reinvention of the original Whitbread race raises some interesting questions about the psychology of modern sailing. The thought of a fully crewed race around the world employing none of the technology and little of the labor-saving equipment we now take for granted excites some people and strikes horror into the hearts of others.

McIntyre tested the waters, so to speak, with the recently concluded Golden Globe race, in which 16 redoubtable sailors set off on a somewhat quixotic rerun of the original solo round-the-world race held half a century ago. Minus mod cons like GPS, ...

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Safety and Sense

19 May

The loss of Team Scallywag crewman John Fisher in the Southern Ocean during the Volvo Ocean Race (see Eight Bells: John Fisher) was yet another tragic reminder, if one were needed, of the unforgiving nature of the sea and the dangers inherent in top-level ocean racing, a game of calculated risks whose dramas are played out in some of the remotest, most hostile regions on the planet.

At this level, sailing is indeed an extreme sport in which any number of scenarios could lead to injury or death. You might, therefore, be surprised to hear that such occurrences ...

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A Singular Cup

6 Dec

The news that the America’s Cup is going back to monohulls for its 36th edition comes as no surprise to Cup insiders. I do not count myself among these, but even back in 2013, when the big AC72 cats were gearing up to transform multihull sailing forever, the whisper on the San Francisco docks was that if the Kiwis won, they’d do away with the multis.

Well, we all know how that turned out. Pride, fall, etc. Anyway, it came as no surprise to yours truly when, shortly after they took Oracle Team USA to the woodshed in Bermuda, ...

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A record setting lap of Antarctica

8 Dec
Tomas Coville aboard Sodebo
While the recent focus in the sailing news has been on the boats racing in the Vendée Globe and the epic battle between Armel Le Cléac’h racing Banque Populaire and Alex Thomson on Hugo Boss, we are missing what is quite possibly an even greater story. I am talking about Tomas Coville aboard Sodebo vying for the single-handed, non-stop circumnavigation record. Coville rounded Cape Horn at the tip of South America yesterday and is currently turning his bow north as he deals with the strong currents in the Estrecho de le Maire, or the Straits of ...
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Cruisers should care about performance sailing

7 Sep


There’s a problem: many cruisers think that sailing performance isn’t important. Hey, cruising is about slowing down, right?! But dismissing performance is poor seamanship. After some years of listening to cruisers disregard performance and gripe about slow passages, it dawned on me that confusion is to blame.

Our good friend William demonstrated this last year during a fun race in Madagascar. William is a good sailor with much blue water cruising experience. He doesn’t race, but his competitive side, or maybe his social side, was piqued by party and prizes to follow the competition. With his racing cap on he ...

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Old Guys and Girls Rule

11 Mar
Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

Even people who couldn’t give two hoots about sailboat racing have heard about the brutal beatdown that is the Rolex Sydney Hobart race. Every year, on the day after Christmas, a hundred or so boats thrash their way down the Australian coast and enter the Bass Strait separating Tasmania from the mainland. There, they almost inevitably receive the kind of spanking that breaks boats and spirits and occasionally kills people.

It’s the kind of sailing that landlubbers just cannot get their heads around. Nor can many sailors, come to that. It’s one thing to deal with ...

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A Cup Half Empty

24 Jun

The 34th America’s Cup went down in history as possibly the most exciting match race series ever at this level; it was the best possible advertisement for multihull sailing, showcasing its speed, grace and technical sophistication as never before.
Perhaps, like me, you thought a whole new chapter of Cup racing would follow on, a reprise of that stirring epic with big foiling cats as the stars and the iconic expanse of San Francisco Bay as the stage upon which another great sailing drama would be played out. But of course, this is the Cup, so nothing plays out according ...

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Scrapping in La Rochelle

19 Oct

By Kimball Livingston Posted October 19, 2014 – Lead photo by Icarus Sailing Media

Halfway through, the 2014 Student Yachting World Cup belongs to England to lose. Accounting for a discard race apiece, Ireland and Italy on Sunday edged the USA into fourth, and that is the group that appears to be headed toward a battle for podium finishes.

Racing continues at La Rochelle, France in a fleet of 12 matched keelboats. The breeze has been light to killing light so far. But that may change.

Representing the USA for the second time is the California Maritime Academy, qualified off ...

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Roepers’ Plenty takes Farr 40 Worlds

18 Oct

Posted October 15, 2014

It was an early-arrival, late-starting and slow final day, but the 17th Farr 40 Worlds made it to seven races, with Alex Roepers’ Plenty slipping in race seven to its only double-digit finish.

With four firsts in seven races, Plenty wrapped with a ten-point lead over Australians Lisa and Martin Hill and Estate Master.

Terry Hutchinson called tactics aboard Plenty, in waters where he has has success before.

Nineteen boats sailed the regatta, hosted by St. Francis Yacht Club....

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Bermuda Gets Through Gonzalo

18 Oct

Posted October 15, 2014

The organizers of the Bermuda Gold Cup report of their fleet of IODs—

Hamilton BERMUDA, October 18, 2014 – The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club has announced that the Argo Group Gold Cup is still set to sail, albeit on a compressed schedule, starting Wednesday, October 22. Using the one-day-delay plan announced last Wednesday, the Argo Group Gold Cup will be compressed to five days of racing and organizers will take advantage of the fine weather expected after Gonzalo. Winds predicted to be in the 20kt range each day will help get the full event completed for ...

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