It didn't take long for the Volvo fleet to go from exhilaration that it had finally hit the trades (which delivered blistering speeds) to the realization that a VO70 at speed is an uncomfortable, wet, painful, and even dangerous place to be.
Let's start with CAMPER's Tony Rae (the audio includes a frank summary of how hard it is to deal with going to the head: "the worst experience of my life"):
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“You’re just blasting along and the boat is leaping around like a wild animal. I think in my 30 odd years’ experience of offshore sailing I’ve never
Lunacy is again spending the winter inside at Maine Yacht Center, and though there are no ambitious modifications underway, like last year’s bowsprit, I have been trying to address some smaller issues that have been bugging me. Number one on this list was the big Marelon seacock on the boat’s one and only raw-water inlet, which feeds the toilet, washdown pump, and auxiliary engine. I’ve been worried about this seacock failing someday, ever since a sister seacock, on the galley sink outlet, started weeping steadily and had to be replaced a few years ago.
Turns out it wasn’t ... Read More
I had a call last night from my blog boss at Sailfeed asking me why I had been quiet on my blog. Truth is I just have not been feeling like I had anything very worthwhile to say on the blog for a couple of weeks. I’ve been designing and taking care of a few personal things but I have not been waking up busting with profound or important thoughts I felt I needed to share. I’m reminded of a line in Bob Dylan’s tune BROWNSVILLE GIRL: “Oh if there’s an original thought out there I could use it right ... Read More
I am off for 3-1/2 weeks on The Clipperton Project, a scientific/artistic expedition to an atoll in the middle of nowhere, and not on the way to anywhere…or I might be the unwitting participant in some bizarre social experiment or new reality show. At any rate, about twenty of us are off on three boats, leaving from La Paz, with the goal of having eight days on the island to carry out various studies on the island, the lagoon, and the surrounding reefs. Clipperton is a French possession, but closer to Mexico/Central America.
I arrived at about 10 p.m. ... Read More
The Volvo fleet is finally broad reaching in strong trade winds, doing what a VO70 was designed to do: sail at 20-plus knots over the open ocean.
What would that be like? These will give you a feel.
And if you want to see what it looks like on video, as well as see what sort of damage these speeds are handing to the fleet, click on.
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It is impressive how fast, and how far, sailing and sponsorship have come in the Arabian Peninsula. So it's no suprise to see the Extreme Sailing Series open its season in Oman, which makes for a nice promo:
We're through Day 2 of the racing, and so far the big story has been the impressive debut of surfer/sailor, and
laid-back, all-around nice guy, Morgan Larson, who took his team to the top of the Day 1 rankings despite nearly losing a man overboard. Larson's Oman Air is still a close second after two days, so it ain't no fluke. ... Read More
The Whitbread/Volvo has generally been considered an "Anglo" race, with the French preferring the solo and multihull stuff, like the Jules Verne and the Vendee Globe. So it was an interesting wrinkle that Groupama stepped up to build a VO70 and compete in this year's edition of the VOR.
No one knew quite what to expect, but now that we are a few legs in, and Groupama is leading the fleet to Auckland, I'm loving the flair and competitiveness of Franck Cammas and his team. They are in third place on the leaderboard, they have shown a propensity for ... Read More
You know how, sometimes, you’d rather be wrong?
I seem to remember writing, If lead negotiator Stephen Barclay and his Americas Cup cohorts were a trifle nave regarding San Francisco politics when they first blew into town, trumpeting the splendors to come, an 11th hour lawsuit filed last week by former President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and still-local chairman of the Democratic Party Aaron Peskin should complete their education. This is a blood sport, and you dont have to be certifiably sane to play.
I remain on-message. The Americas Cup is going to be fine. Read More
Unfortunately, if ...
Gauges and sending units can get very confusing.
In the photo above, this very nice Beneteau came with this engine panel, which has idiot lights for high water temperature and oil pressure, but no gauges. In an ideal world you want both, the gauges to show you normal temperatures/pressures and trends if anything changes, and the idiot lights/buzzer to go off if something catastrophic happens. This also builds in redundancy, because you have two pressure senders, two temperature senders, and the corresponding guages/lights at the helm.
To get a new panel from Yanmar with gauges cost $1700, and I ... Read More
The sea is a mysterious place, despite all our science. And its creatures have mysterious habits that are sometimes extraordinary to behold.
One of the wildest phenomenons is a dolphin stampede, where massive numbers of dolphins gather and go, um, nuts.
Here is a recent example:
This has been seen before and though no one really knows why dolphins behave this way, we are learning
more and more about how intelligent and socially complex dolphins are. In fact. scientists who study dolphin intelligence have started to call for giving dolphins "non-person rights" that would protext their lives and liberty. ... Read More