Brian Hancock

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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Fazisi, it ain’t easy

4 Jan
Fazisi, the Soviet Union’s first, and by happenstance, last entry in the Whitbread Race

When she was first launched there was a saying going around, “Fazisi, it ain’t easy,” and I guess it was prophetic as the iconic Soviet yacht was recently spotted on a barge being hauled to points unknown. Fazisi was one of hundreds of yachts that were washed ashore as Hurricane Irma slammed its way across the Caribbean. The boat was badly beached and battered and I wonder if this time it’s finally broken.
I have a special place in my heart for Fazisi. You see back ...
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Record time for Sydney Hobart race.

27 Dec
 Wild Oats XI overtakes LDV Comanche to take the lead – photo credit

A Boxing Day start is always a little tricky for a long offshore ocean race. First you have to deal with that Christmas pud and a couple of beers still sloshing around in your belly and then you have to deal with the forecast, which, in the case of the Sydney to Hobart race is usually not very pretty. This year was different, however, and the sailors participating in this iconic race woke up to a very pleasant forecast that promised a fast and relatively easy
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Slippery when wet

19 Dec

I saw on the Volvo Ocean Race website that Annie Lush, one of two women racing aboard Team Brunel, was injured when she and Peter Burling (remember him?) were washed into the aft guardrails by an errant wave. Burling was fine but Annie was in very real pain. “It felt like one of the wires had done something inside,” she said. “I had a big pain in my right hand side and couldn’t really move my right leg and I really needed to get off deck because we needed to gybe for the ice gate.” She continued, “I tried to
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Done and dusted – new record set

17 Dec
No need to caption this – just awesome

I don’t think that I have enough superlatives in my already superlative soaked vocabulary to describe how amazing the new solo, nonstop circumnavigation record just set by French sailor François Gabart is. His immaculate performance is a feat that will, in my opinion be unmatched in a generation. Yes I know I said that last year when Thomas Coville set the record that Gabart has just obliterated, but this is beyond superhuman. François Gabart is, in my humble opinion, the best offshore sailor; ever. Period. Yes I know there was the great
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A blog is not an article

15 Dec
There is a difference between a blog and an article. I know, because I write both but on balance 90% of my writing these days are my various blogs. Blogs, at least the way I view things, are there to provoke a conversation, to get people thinking and talking (and arguing if necessary). I recently wrote a piece about the new America’s Cup design saying that I didn’t much care for it. As you can imagine I got some hate mail but at least I didn’t get a death threat like the one I got when I wrote a piece ...
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Roaring in the Roaring Forties

14 Dec
Dubarry Crosshaven Boots in action on Scallywag, Volvo Ocean Race 2017/2018, credit Ricardo Pinto
They don’t call them the Roaring Forties for nothing and right now those Forties are starting to roar while the seven teams competing in the Volvo Ocean Race are suiting up for the challenge. Since leaving Cape Town the sailors have been keeping an eye on an intense low pressure system rolling in from the west. On a weather map it looks like a swirling beast that will be impossible to avoid. The best the sailors can do will be to ride it out making sure ...
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Volvo Ocean Race Leg 3 start

11 Dec
Mapfre and Turn the Tide duke it out along the Cape coast
When the Cape Doctor blows, it really blows and the Doctor was in the house for the start of the third leg of the Volvo Ocean Race. The Cape Doctor is the name given to the gale force winds that often blow in the Cape Province of South Africa, so named because the wind was said to blow the dust and germs out to sea ushering in fresh, clean air behind it. This time the Cape Doctor made for a challenging start for the seven boats preparing ...
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The new America’s Cup design

8 Dec
Extra terrestrial or innovative new America’s Cup design?

You may have noticed that I have not weighed in on the new monohull design for the next America’s Cup. You may have seen it. The hull is pretty ordinary but it’s the strange appendages that stick out each side to allow the boat to foil that has many people atwitter. Frankly I am not that impressed. I have always gone with the notion that pretty boats sail fast. Yes I know that’s a tad simplistic but I believe it and over the years I think I have been right. This design
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