The Real Vendee Globe

19 Nov

To get to the start line of the Vendee Globe you have to be a great sailor. But the real secret of the race is that to get to the finish line you have to be a great MacGyver

Because stuff breaks. A lot of stuff breaks. And sometimes (Guillemot, De Pavant, BurtonDaviesBeyou) that means you are out of the race. And sometimes it means you can stay in the race IF you can MacGyver a solution.

Here's Alex Thomson taking you inside this reality after his hydro-generator ripped loose and ...

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SailRocket Outright Record Run: The Video

18 Nov

Still waiting for WSSRC ratification, but here's the video of SailRocket pushing down the course at an average of near 60 knots. You can hear the excitement in Larsen's voice as he suspectes that 10 years of hard work and setbacks has finally delivered The Prize.

Here's Larsen's intro:


Ok, the hangover is over and the laptops are smoking in the container. I'll write the full update soon. I've been overwhelmed by all the people writing in and obviously enjoying this as much as we are.

So it's time to take you all on that magic ride down the

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Five Failed Attempts To Feel Sorry For Myself

16 Nov

Friends, I'm having a little difficulty with this post. Maybe you can help me out. We are about 800 nm from New Zealand, and I'm trying to make the point that I'm kind of sad to be leaving the tropics. But every way I try to tackle the issue… well, you'll see.

Attempt #1: No more mermaids

A few days ago, I was snorkeling with Erik and the girls. There is a fishing boat wrecked on the reef in Ha'afeva, and it has become the usual habitat for coral and fish. Stylish delighted in seeing how deep she could dive, ...

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68 MPH

16 Nov


Hand it to Paul Larsen. He’s been at this game for years. Since 2002. I remember talking to him in 2005 in Qatar, UAE, at the start of the round-the-world Oryx Quest, and trying to convince him to run Sailrocket in the protected waters close to the western shore of South San Francisco Bay. Instead he dedicated his time to Walvis Bay, Namibia, which has become the speed capital of the sailing world. Today, Paul reports himself drenched in champagne with a new 500-meter record pending ratification.

Now, 59.23 knots sounds fast, but for most ...

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SAILRocket Takes The Outright Record!

16 Nov

Okay, this is subject to WSSRC ratification, but Paul Larson just posted this update:

I'm sitting here with great French champagne all around and smiling people. VESTAS Sailrocket 2 sits outside on the lawn shivering lightly in the decreasing breeze. She has the noble composure of a race winning horse that struts around wondering what all the fuss is about.

We are downloading the TRIMBLE data now. The great thing is that the GPS we use out there is set for a 18 second average… but at 59 knots we might not need that long. It said we did

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Props for L’Hydropt

16 Nov

L'Hydroptère's latest news is that the project lost its sponsorship from DCNS. DCNS is a French company, and apparently didn't feel like it was getting any bang for its marketing buck here in California. The project is setting up a California structure and will be looking for sponsorship here. Interested, anyone? Oracle? Apple? Anyone?

I was out sailing last week and came upon L'Hydroptère on a mooring just off the Corinthian Yacht Club in Tiburon. I assumed L'Hydroptère lived a coddled existence, like one of the America's Cup boats, and got hoisted out of the water every night into some high ...

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SOUTHBOUND LUNACY: Passage to Puerto Rico

16 Nov

Lunacy at sea

WE’RE HERE! In the photo, if you look carefully, you’ll see the lumpy bumps of dry land–the island of Culebra to be precise–that we encountered at sunrise yesterday morning as we swooped in from the north on a moderate east-southeasterly breeze. By 1030 hours we were tied up at the fuel dock at the Puerto del Rey Marina in Fajardo, awaiting a U.S. customs inspection.

This, strange to say, focussed largely on our garbage. We answered several questions about the food we bought in Bermuda (all of it processed stuff or fresh produce that, of course, had originally been imported ...

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Breaking Down SailRocket’s Epic Run

15 Nov

Paulo Larsen has drunk his champagne, and a lot of rum as well, as far as I can tell. And now he has had a chance to look at the detailed speed data logged during SailRocket's 60-plus knot run.

It's pretty interesting analysis and Larsen is now very confident that they have cracked the design code and just need the right conditions (steady 26-30 knot breeze) to set an outright sailing speed record that will top a 60 knot average over 500 meters. 

Here's the video again:


And here's Larsen's account of the run, and what was going on:...

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Starting with Small Jobs

14 Nov

So this week we've managed to get a few things accomplished on the boat. The refrigeration is up and working again—for the time being at least. Two leaking skylights were fixed (those pesky things seem to leak after about a year no matter what I do).

New zincs are on the shaft and rudder. A rip in the bimini is fixed and reinforced. And two lifelines that have always been too loose have been shortened and tightened up. It's not a great list—there are no major accomplishments on there—but it's better than a stick in the eye.



Free Shuttle...

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