SailRocket Lays Down A 50-plus Run

22 Oct

Paul Larsen's Vestas Sailrocket just put up an unofficial 500-meter run of 50.98 knots, with a peak speed of 53 knots. That puts SailRocket shy of Hyrdoptere's sailboat speed record by just .4 knots, and surpasses some lesser records (like the Australian speed record).

But the outright speed record (currently owned by American Rob Douglas on a kiteboard) is still 4.5 knots away, which is a pretty big gap. So while this run would have made Larsen exteremely happy a few years ago,

he's a bit disappointed, expecially because in the perfect conditions they had (25-29 knots) ...

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REID STOWE: Out of South America

22 Oct

Reid Stowe's mom, RIP

Here’s a titillating bit of synchronicity. It seems that marathon voyaging champ Reid Stowe, who has spent much of the last year living with his family in the jungles of Guyana working to refit his schooner, will soon be leaving South America, just as his old buddy Ivo van Laake sails in from Europe on a cruise with his family. Reid’s mom Anne (see photo up top), after whom his schooner is named, died recently, and Reid’s current plan is to sail north to North Carolina via the West Indies and move in with his dad. Meanwhile, Ivo, a ...

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Bluenose II Relaunched

20 Oct

The Bluenose II splashed down about six weeks ago, and they stepped the masts a few days ago. I blogged about the Bluenose last New Years, when my wife and I were in Luneneburg, visiting her parents. Back then the Bluenose II looked like this:

This makes it one of the fastest restoration projects I've ever heard of, but it helps when you've got an army of both professionals and volunteers on the case.

Now she looks like this:

And here are the masts going on:

You can read all about the history of the Bluenose and Bluenose II here...

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ULTRASONIC ANTIFOULING: Second Full-Season Results

19 Oct

Lunacy hauled

Lunacy was hauled at Maine Yacht Center last week, just for a quick scrub and zinc replacement, as I plan on taking her south to Puerto Rico for the winter. This is the second full season she’s had her Ultrasonic Antifouling system clicking away trying to keep her private parts clean. As you can see in the photo up top, the results from a distance look pretty good.

Once you get closer, however, you see the old girl’s tush was indeed a bit slimy. This is after six months in the water, without the hull having ever been scrubbed.

Lunacy hauled

Lunacy hauled

Lunacy hauled

Lunacy hauled

All ...

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Et Tu, Artemis?

19 Oct

Well, I thought I was done with AC72 disaster posts. And I was–at least when it came to Oracle Team USA.

Today's America's Cup AC72 breakage report comes courtesy of Artemis, which took their AC72 out for some tow testing, and damaged the front beam.

Artemis was already behind the curve, after breaking their AC72 wing earlier this year. And they are the only team that have yet to sail their AC72. Not surprisingly, they were very light on details regarding what happened

(photo gallery here):

18 October 2012 – In preparation for sailing the Artemis

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Oracle AC72 Disaster Finale

18 Oct

Okay, this will be it from me on this subject (at least for a few days!).

The boat, or what's left of it, is back at Pier 80. And there are lots of questions ahead, like: when will USA 17 sail again? Will it sail again

For its part, Oracle sums up its painful 24 hours this way:

Grant Simmer's mouth may say (oxymoron alert!) "extensive superficial damage," but his emotions suggest

another story, and a pretty devastating one at that.

Here's what "extensive superficial damage" (aka a yard sale) looks like (from this gallery):

And what does ...

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A Genuine Catch-22

18 Oct

Catch-22 is a horrendously misused term. People use it to mean damned if you do, damned if you don’t, but this is not what a Catch-22 is. I haven’t read the book in a long time, but I believe the episode I had in Iquique, Chile, would get Joseph Heller's blessing. Every international cruiser has a horror story about bureaucracy run amok. After ten years, 34 countries, and clearing in or out of countries about 200 times (I came and went from the same countries a lot), this episode in Iquique stands apart.

My new passport was supposed to be ...

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Fortunes of War

17 Oct

I know this feeling . . .

I know this feeling . . .

It was February 12, 2010 and Jimmy Spithill had just stalled the giant Oracle Racing wing on the starting line of the 33rd America’s Cup, race one. Alinghi was romping away. Alinghi was a quarter-mile gone . . .

I can’t live with this, I was thinking.

Photo by Guilain Grenier/Oracle Team USA

Now here’s that feeling again. What I tell people, half joking, is true. Going into the 34th Americas’ Cup is like sitting down to a poker game with aces, deuces, one-eyed jacks, tens, ...

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A Fish Story

17 Oct

Twelve days and a quick hop over the International Date Line behind us, we made it to Tonga.  Thank.  Goodness.  Of course, the boat was so strangely still in the anchorage last night that neither girl could sleep, and we were packed like lemmings in the V-berth.  It was, shall we say, somewhat warmish and squishy.
Nevertheless, we must have slept at some point, because around dawn there was an earthquake (Richter 5.5) about 40 km away, and none of us felt a thing.  Another boat reported that, about fifteen seconds before the quake, all of the fish started to ...
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Classic boats and cold welcomes at the Madisonville Woodenboat Festival

17 Oct

Last weekend there was a Wooden boat festival in Madisonville, LA, on the Northshore of Lake Pontchartrain (if you’ve ever wondered why that lacks a space it’s because in New Orleans ‘the Northshore’ means a very specific North shore- the one on ‘the Lake’). It seemed only proper to sail there, but the show was only Saturday and Sunday and, as it goes here, there was a parade on Sunday we didn’t want to miss. We figured we could make it there and back in time if we used the nights for sailing rather than sleeping.

Once again I started ...

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