Brian Hancock

Flying boats

14 Aug
When my children were small one of their favorite books was The Wreck of the Zephyr by Chris Van Allsburg. The story was about a boy and his obsession to become the world’s greatest sailor. He so badly wanted to be the best that by sheer willpower he was able to coax his boat out of the water to fly above the waves.  It was a fanciful story but my kids would always finish the book and say, “boats will never fly.”

Fast forward a few years and what do we have; flying boats and boats that almost fly. Since ...
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Bring it on – the origins of Le Trophée Jules-Verne

7 Aug
The mighty Spindrift  – just a stunningly beautiful boat

Fall is shaping up to be the battle of the giants. Two of the biggest racing sailboats are gearing up for one of sailing
s toughest challenges; a non-stop lap of the planet to claim the Jules Verne Trophy, or by it’s real name Le Trophée Jules-Verne. Francis Joyon, the humble French sailor who currently holds the record for the fastest solo, non-stop circumnavigation will sail IDEC, while Yann Guichard and Dona Bertarelli are readying the giant trimaran Spindrift, each with an eye to break the existing record
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Golden Globe Race revisited

30 Jul


Bernard Moitessier was one of the competitors in the first Golden Globe race. Nearing the finish he decided that he didn’t want his time at sea to end so he turned around and sailed to Tahiti.

Has some of the true adventure been lost from modern day ocean racing? My first long offshore race was the Parmelia Race, a 13,000 mile jaunt from England to Australia. Nothing compares with rolling through the Southern Ocean trying to snatch a sun sight after five days of grey skies knowing that you are fast approaching the coast of Western Australia, but not really

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Worthy or not? You decide.

21 Jul
                                              Lending Club en route to Hawaii – photo credit Lending Club crew

It was fantastic to see Ryan Breymeyer and his team on Lending Club demolish the Transpacific record this past weekend. They sailed a superb passage and knocked more than a day off the record time set by the curmudgeon Olivier de Kersauson on Geronimo. To be fair Lending Club is 15-feet longer than Geronimo, but either way you look at it they had

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Age is just a number

16 Jul
                                                                  Sir Robin Knox-Johnston aboard his Open 60 Grey Power

When I was in the army in South Africa I used to run long races. Half marathons and such. I would be running just fine until I saw some old bugger overtake me. I would look at the guy and think jeez how can a guy that age be running so fast. He must be at least 40.
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Ellen in the house

3 Jul
I first met Ellen MacArthur in 1999. She was relatively unknown then, at least to the sailing community. She was a young British girl that had done a bit of sailing. I had heard of her because she had sailed the Mini-Transat and I was a big fan of the event. I got a call from my friend, the yacht designer Merf Owen. He told me his girlfriend wanted to charter my boat for the Route du Rhum race but had very little money. He said her name was Ellen MacArthur and she was hoping to do the Vendée Globe ...
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29 Jun
                                                     Photo Credit – Jacques Vapillon

The Swiss sailor Laurent Bourgnon was reported missing last Thursday after failing to return from a diving trip in French Polynesia. Laurent who, you ask? Well let me clarify that. If you are a non-European you probably have never heard of him and wonder why this is big news. If you are Swiss or French he is a household name, a sailing superstar, someone small French kids aspire
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Fastnet Force 10

18 Jun
                        Just one of the awful images from the ’79 Fastnet Race

While those of us (in the Northern Hemisphere at least) are enjoying some summer sailing (rather than snow shoveling) I am going to take a break from writing my blog on sails and sailmaking and do a series of TBT (Throw back Thursday) blogs looking back at some of the amazing sailing experiences I have enjoyed over the last few decades. This blog goes back to the Fastnet Race in 1979.

It’s almost 36 years since I ...
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Some sailing trivia

11 Jun
                    All About Sails blogger Brian Hancock at the helm of his own boat Great Circle.

With summer here (at least in the Northern Hemisphere) sailors are out sailing rather than reading blogs about sailing and for that reason I am going to take a break from excerpting my book Maximum Sail Power into blog size chunks and write some lighter, less technical pieces. Here are some lesser known bits of sailmaking trivia to get things started.

Have you ever wondered where the name Nylon came from? Me neither until I
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A blog about the All About Sails blog

1 Jun
This is a blog about the All About Sails blog. Since launching the website and blog a few months ago we have posted 20 blogs covering everything from the different fibers used to make sails to the different kinds of engineering that designers use to come up with to make the best sail for your own particular purpose. The idea has been to give you, dear reader, a solid understanding of how sails are made. Some of the content may have been a bit dry but thanks for getting through it and thanks also to those numerous people who have ...
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