Kitesurf Craziness Down At Luderitz

10 Dec

Okay, so Paul Larsen and SailRocket finally stole the outright speed record back from the kitesurfers, putting sailors back on top. 

But that doesn't mean they will stay there forever, or for long. Because the kitesurfers are down at the Luderitz speed ditch, which is also in Namibia, and the wind is starting to blow. Wind speeds today are 30-35 knots and building, and we're seeing 50-plus knots speed runs. (Best place to follow along is on Facebook).

Larsen is sitting on an outright record of 65.45 knots, so he is probably not sweating as much as he ...

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All About Bilge Pumps

5 Dec

Bilge pumps are the critical last line of defense against sinking, and boats sink all the time. Bilge pumps and attendant equipment are fairly cheap, and easy to install and wire, yet often neglected, inoperable, or undersized. Some people think just one is enough, when two is the bare minimum, better three or four.

Bilge pumps are neglected because they sit in the least desirable place on the boat, sometimes wedged under an engine, and are usually covered with crud. They lead hard lives down in the wet and darkness, yet are fairly reliable if installed correctly.

First, the Coast ...

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HMS BOUNTY: Many Unanswered Questions

4 Dec

Rescuing Bounty survivors

SAY WHAT??? Has my esteemed SAILfeed colleague, the mysterious Mariner, been spending too much time sniffing go-juice fumes? I eagerly dove into his post yesterday, in which he hailed and linked to “the first detailed journalistic account” of the loss of HMS Bounty, but was sorely disappointed by what I found. The account in question, currently bouncing around the Internet in various (often unattributed) iterations, was originally published by Spiegel Online and is barely coherent in places and doesn’t even pretend to address some of the biggest questions raised by the tragedy.

Right at the top ...

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WHALE SHARK RESCUE: Measure Twice, Cut Once

3 Dec

Here’s a cool viddy that popped up on YouTube a couple of weeks ago. This poor whale shark, found swimming off Baja California, somehow got a very heavy rope wrapped around itself, and this team of divers managed to approach it and cut it free. The rope evidently had been in place a long time, as it looks like it was studded with barnacles and other growth and had cut way into the shark.

How do YOU spell relief???

I bet that was one happy fish.

Biology lesson: whale sharks are huge filter-feeding fish that snack on tiny creatures ...

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Hans Klaar Sets Sail

29 Nov

Regular readers will know that Hans Klaar is a remarkable voyager–a builder of classic two-hulled sailing craft, who sails where the wind and his spirit take him. After a shocking and painful turn in his life, Klaar set out to build a new boat on the west coast of Africa. 

And every once in a while, out of the blue, he sends me an update on his progress and whereabouts, which always get me dreaming and thinking my life is way too bound by convention. Here is his latest, from this morning, with the welcome news that he completed ...

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The Fastest Sailing Run Ever

28 Nov

We got the news of SailRocket's mindblowing new outright speed record of 65.45 knots over the weekend.

Now we get the video and analysis from Paul Larsen.

First, the video, in which you can see what real speed (and joy) looks like. (Props to whoever got those shots from a remote control helicopter).

And here is some of what Paul Larsen had to say (his full account is here):

We were using all the course this time. We hit it hard and the acceleration was rapid. We went straight into the 60's. The pod was instantly high

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Home from the Caribbean – 60 miles on the bike, and one felled tree

27 Nov

It's way past fall now, and my sailing days are over for a while. Mia and I got back from Tortola last Sunday after an awesome week running the Caribbean 1500 cruising rally finale. We had a blast at the prize giving ceremony, the highlight of which was when Martin, skipper of the Australian-flagged JAC,  came onstage to present the 'Best Bruise' award (quick aside: Mia had created an Excel list of prize distributions before the event. I was reading down the list preparing my speech, and came across the 'Best Bruce' prize. Excuse me? I thought. Ironically, there was ...

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Loick Peyron On The AC72: It’s REALLY On The Edge

27 Nov

We've all been watching the development of the AC72, trying to get a good feel for what kind of design it is, what the limits are, where the risks lie.

We've seen ETNZ handle their beast with aplomb

We've seen Oracle Racing devoured.

But now, for the first time, we have a real inside evaluation of the AC72. It comes courtesy of Loick Peyron, who is working with Artemis Racing and has probably sailed more miles in more multihull designs than just about any sailor on the planet. 

Peyron knows what he is talking about, so when he ...

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SailRocket Is Unstoppable

26 Nov

Now we've gone from impressive to off the charts (the speed sailing charts, that is).

After nabbing the outright speed sailing record ten days ago with a Walvis Bay run of 59.23 knots, Paul Larsen took his suddenly brilliant design back out for another windy day over the weekend. 

The result? A blistering run that raised the outright record to 65.45 knots, and topped out at 68.01 knots (subject to WSSRC verification). In short, Larsen and the SailRocket team just raised kiteboarder Rob Douglas's previous record of 55.65 knots by almost 10 knots. That's not just an ...

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