Every time I work on a boat hull propped up on the hard I think of this: what if it falls over? Even worse, what if it falls over on top of me? Then I chase that errant bit of evil paranoia from my mind. Nah, can’t happen! But apparently it can. Witness this alarming news-bit from Great Britain. Kevin Keeler, age 56, crushed to death on Monday by his new-to-him 29-foot Westerly, Ginny Kwik, at the Weymouth Sailing Club in Dorset as he was preparing to launch it after a quick haul-out. He’d only bought the boat three ... Read More
Well, this didn’t take too long. The big news in the boatbuilding world last week was that Richard Hadida, co-founder of Evolution Gaming, has purchased Oyster Yachts, scraped clean of its Polina Star III liabilities, for an undisclosed sum. Hadida is an active sailor who has chartered Oysters in the past and is a frequent guest on Lush, an Oyster 885 owned by Eddie Jordan, a regular columnist for the super-yacht comic Boat International. Hadida has said his immediate priority is finishing the 26 boats currently in build, including Oyster’s first super-yacht, the 118. Moving ... Read More
I did take the family down to Hilton Head to visit Lunacy over the Christmas vacation, but we did not take the boat anywhere. It was far too cold for that. Instead we used the boat as a hotel suite (thank God for the Refleks diesel heater!) and toured the surrounding environs. Savannah, Beaufort, Charleston, and of course the island of Hilton Head itself. To get home we had to drive to Jacksonville (the airport at Savannah was closed) through a vicious ice storm, and I swear I saw more car accidents in those few hours than I’ve seen in ... Read More
I put in an appearance at the Miami International Boat Show last week for the first time in a few years. My first visit actually since the main part of the show moved out of Miami Beach and consolidated all its bits in front of the old Marine Stadium on Virginia Key. While roaming the ever-shrinking sailboat side of the show (it didn’t take long) I had a few conversations about the demise of Oyster Yachts. Word on the docks had it that the Polina Star III keel disaster was indeed the proximate cause of the boatbuilder’s sudden liquidation. ... Read More
She has risen again to infest the newsfeed of unsuspecting sailors! The good vessel Sea Nymph–belonging to controversial bluewater sailor Jennifer Appel, abandoned by her and shipmate Tasha Fuiava and their two dogs last October–was sighted yesterday approximately 360 miles east of Guam by skipper Dee Caffari and her crew aboard Turn the Tide on Plastic, a VO65 racing in Leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race.
Caffari in her text report couldn’t help remarking on the irony of the situation: “I just hope now we have given authorities her position there is a chance for salvage ... Read More
Here’s an interesting item my neighbor and erstwhile shipmate Jeff Bolster recently pointed me at. You may recall his Valiant 40, Chanticleer, was unfortunately parked last summer in Road Town, Tortola, and was dismasted in Hurricane Irma last September. He now has the boat in Kittery, Maine, for a refit (she motored on her own bottom from Tortola to St. Thomas, traveled by ship to Florida, then by truck to Maine), and he was thinking this new headsail system from Elvstrom might be worth trying out.
The basic concept, a symmetric pair of matching headsails for flying wing-and-wing ... Read More
I’ve been in this business long enough to know there’s no such thing as a boatbuilder immune to financial difficulty, but this does come as a surprise. As recently as last month Oyster proudly announced they have in hand £80 million in orders. They just showed off the new Oyster 745 (see photo up top) at Boot Dusseldorf, where it was the largest boat on display. One of these big boys was also parked just across the pontoon from my boat at the Annapolis show last fall. Oyster was also launching itself well and truly into the superyacht market ... Read More
I have studied with some interest the results of the most recent running of the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race, which this year boasted a record-breaking seven race records broken. I was amused too to see that it was billed as the 82nd running of the event. A deft bit of marketing I reckon, as the race, in its current form, was but two years old when I sailed it in 2012. At that time it purported to be a reincarnation of a much older round-island competition amongst trading schooners that dated back to the 19th century. Tradition has ... Read More
You have to hand it to the Kiwis and Italians who now control the fate of the Auld Mug: they are not lacking in imagination. Nor are they unwilling to take risks. Their concept for the new AC75 monohull in which the next America’s Cup cycle will be sailed, with a pair of canting T-foils sprouting out its sides like insect legs, is both highly creative and unprecedented. My favorite editorial remark so far, from the Daily Sail’s James Boyd in a Facebook thread, is that the new AC boat looks like it wants to crawl up on a ... Read More
By far the biggest disappointment of my recent new-boat buying experience was when new Lunacy’s engine flooded in the middle of the Atlantic as I was sailing her back from France this past spring. My initial reaction, as I described before, was one of abject denial, though the problem was not at all unanticipated. In fact, prior to leaving, I had asked Jean-François Eeman, managing director of Boréal, point blank if they’d ever had any flooded engines on their boats. He answered there had been only one, on a boat where the buyer had asked that the ... Read More