Brian Hancock

Tactical brilliance, or not?

13 Feb
Team Sun Hung Kai Scallyway and AkzoNobel off on their own flier
I am often criticized about the points of view that I take with my blog and sometimes that criticism is warranted. I often get praised for what I write and sometimes that praise is not warranted. At the end of the day I try and do my best and I am grateful to those who take the time to read what I write. This blog post should come with less hate mail, let’s just put that out front.
At the end of Leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean
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Golden Globe Race – then and now.

9 Feb
Robin Knox-Johnston finishing the first Golden Globe Race in 1968
I am really looking forward to the Golden Globe around-the-world yacht race that starts on July 1 this year. It’s a brilliant idea, I only wish that I had thought of it, and judging by the number of entries it seems as if many others also saw it as a great idea. Thirty eight people signed up to do the race, but from the race website it looks like that number has been whittled down to 22, still a healthy fleet.

The Golden Globe race celebrates the 50th anniversary of
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Volvo Ocean race Leg 6 underway

8 Feb
Race start in Hong Kong harbor

Leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race is underway and already the crews are dealing with testing conditions. After a pleasant start in Hong Kong harbor the six remaining boats are now having to deal with 30 to 35 knots right on the nose as they approach the southern tip of Taiwan. The fleet is in the Luzon Strait, the stretch of water that separates Taiwan from the Philippines and will follow much the same course as they sailed on the way up from Melbourne, except in reverse order. They need to leave the ...
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The great Nantucket Bucket fish caper

2 Feb
Timoneer powering along

I saw online that there was a Superyacht regatta underway in Antigua. The eighth annual apparently. It reminded me of a funny story. I raced the first Superyacht regatta in Nantucket many years ago. So long ago in fact that the biggest boat, the one that I was racing on, was a measly 125-feet long. I recently wrote an article about a new Superyacht that has just been launched. It is 198-feet overall, had a mast that towers  216-feet and a Gennaker that is 24,000 square feet in area.   That’s larger than 11 tennis courts,
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Collision and death in the Volvo Ocean Race

23 Jan
Vestas 11th Hour Racing after colliding with a Chinese fishing boat
I have been wanting to write about the collision that happened in the Volvo Ocean Race between Vestas 11th Hour Racing and a fishing boat at the end of Leg 4, but still, need more facts before I can put together something that makes sense. The accident resulted in the death of a Chinese fisherman. As you can imagine both Vestas and the Volvo Ocean Race media team are being very vague about things and word is that Vestas have quite wisely lawyered up with a local law firm
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Dumb luck or not – you decide

22 Jan
Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag – Leg 4 winners

Like many other sailors out there I have become a tad obsessed with the Volvo Ocean Race tracker especially at the start and finish of each leg. And I confess that  in the last few days I have been keeping a close eye on the Hong Kong entry Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag. Some that read my stuff on a regular basis will know that I am not a big fan of David Witt, the skipper, although I have never met him and he may indeed be a great guy in person. ...
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Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag win into Hong Kong

19 Jan
Scallywag approaching the finish line in Hong Kong

It was a hometown heroes welcome for David Witt and his crew aboard Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag as they rocketed into Hong Kong to take their first leg win of the Volvo Ocean Race. The racing had been intense since the Scallywag team snatched a surprising come-from-behind lead as the hunters hunted them with every bit of grit and determination, but they fended off all challengers by employing a well known inshore tactical strategy; they placed themselves squarely between those chasing and the finish line, and the tactic paid in spades. By

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Man overboard in the Volvo Ocean Race

18 Jan

Crewmember Alex Gough being helped back on board

Over the years I have been pretty outspoken about the use of lifejackets and safety harnesses, and have received my fair share of grief from readers who have a different opinion. Basically I view it as a personal responsibility kind of thing. You know when you need either, or both, and it should be up to you to decide what’s best for you. I am, however, having to rethink things a little after the recent man overboard incident in the Volvo Ocean Race.

We are told that the sailors racing in the
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Spindrift 2 dismasted

16 Jan
Spindrift 2 dismasted
There is a superstition among sailors that it’s bad luck to change the name of a boat. According to legend, when a boat is named the name is recorded in the ‘Ledger of the Deep’ and is known personally to Neptune, the god of the sea. If you want to change the name of a boat you need to consult Neptune first (not exactly sure how you go about doing so) otherwise the renamed boat will invoke Neptune’s wrath and bad things will happen. I personally don’t go along with legends and superstitions but I am starting ...
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New life for an old boat

10 Jan
I often wonder what happens to old boats. There must be thousands of yachts that were once commissioned, designed, built and raced hard, and then pretty much forgotten. I was sure that this was what had happened to a boat I used to race on in the early 80s. The boat was designed by German Frers, built by Palmer Johnson in Wisconsin, and owned by Chuck Kirsh and Jack Batts. Chuck Kirsh made his money as founder of Kirsh Curtain Rods (one in every home) and Batts pioneered injection-molding coat hangers. There’s money in coat hangers I guess. The boat ...
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