If you want to know the definition of the word 'frustration', as applied to the current sailing news, I would have advised that you go and solicit the advice of a Classe Mini sailor who is intent on racing the 2013 Transat Race. This event, as it will be remembered, has been postponed for almost three weeks now as major weather systems pummel Western Europe. Now, however, it’s the double-handed sailors racing in the Transat Jacques Vabre (TJV) who get to learn the less-than-beautiful meaning of this word when placed in the context of waiting on the inclement weather.
The Transat Jaques Vabre 2013. Le Havre - Itajai, Brazil Pictures of the Oman Air Musandam MOD70 skippered by Sidney Gavignet (FRA) with co skipper Damian Foxall (IRL). Shown here in the race village prior to the race start. Credit: Lloyd Images
According to the latest reports, the event’s organizers took the prudent step of postponing racing due to gale-force winds that are raking the waters off of Le Havre, France. Instead of a Sunday send-off, skippers in the IMOCA 60, the Multi 50 and the Class 40 fleets will now start on Monday, giving the storm some time to dissipate.
'We are into a typical November situation with intense lows following each other across the Atlantic and bringing a lot of wind to the North of France, the Bay of Biscay and the racecourse area,' said Damien Foxall, co-skipper of the MOD-70, Oman Air. 'The tidal current is very strong as well, so for six hours twice a day we have wind over tide, which really makes the sea state very difficult and dangerous.
The Oman Air MOD70. Skippered by Sidney Gavignet (FRA) with team mates Thomas LeBreton (FRA), Fahad Al Hasni (OMA), Neal McDonald (GBR),Damian Foxall (IRL), Mohsin Al Busaidi (OMA), Ahmed Al Hassani (OMA) and Giles Favennec (FRA)
'For the race committee it is a case of finding the least dangerous and difficult window to get the fleet off safely,' continued Foxall. 'The start will be upwind and bouncy-there is a really big sea out there and it is really a case of finding the safest moment.'
Please stay tuned to the website for the latest on the TJV, as it develops.
Also offshore-related, co-skippers Dona Bertarelli and Yann Guichard, along with 12 other crewmembers are making good progress on their attempt to beat the speed record between Cadiz, Spain and San Salvador in the Bahamas aboard Bertarelli’s 'Spindrift 2', which is the world’s biggest and fastest offshore trimaran. Impressively, the team has already managed to cover 2,880 miles in the first 48 hours, a distance that covers roughly one-third of their racetrack, and, as of this writing, are on track to break Franck Cammas’ 2007 record.
'The sea condition is today once again the factor limiting our speed, although we are racing well,' reported Guichard. 'The entire crew has wholeheartedly embraced the pace of the record and ocean life. All eyes are permanently on both crew and equipment. We try to make as few demands as possible on the material, especially the sails and rigging. It is all about staying in tune with the elements, to sail fast in the best wind angle when the sea state allows for it, and then to slow down when it is a little less favorable.'
Audi Melges 20 Miami Winter Series - day 1
And in Miami, a lack of wind led to a dearth of racing on Day Two of the Audi Melges 20 Miami Winter Series, which is taking place between November 1 and November 3. According to the latest reports, the RC tried valiantly to get in some racing before finally sending the fleet of sailors back ashore to the Coconut Grove Sailing Club, which is the host YC for this first (of several) winter series.
Conditions depending, the RC hopes to get in four races today, so stay tuned to the website for more information on this great OD event, as it unfurls.
Lijia Xu tastes Gold - day 9 Medal race - Laser Radial. London Olympics 2012
And in Olympic sailing circles, China’s Lijia Xu won a proud Gold at the 2012 London Olympics in the Laser Radial class and was named ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year 2012. Lijia’s acceptance speech at the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year awards is considered to be one of the more eloquent soliloquys given in the sailing world in recent years. Inside, don’t miss the full video (and transcription) of her powerful words.
Also inside, be sure to get the latest news from the J/105 North Americans, the Extreme Sailing Series Act 8 (Florianópolis, Brazil from 14-17 November) and the JP Aloha Classic. And be sure to look for the latest news on the restart of the Mini Transat, as it breaks.
Skipper Ken Read on the helm. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 3 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Abu Dhabi, UAE to Sanya, China. (Credit: Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race)
Lastly, I recently caught up with Ken Read, President of North Sails, World Champion sailor and the unofficial Don of the Newport Sailing Mafia, to get his pulse on sailmaking in the post-Great Recession era. Parts One, Two and Three of this exclusive Sail-Word feature are now live on the site, so don’t miss this interesting insight into one of sailing’s most decorated American skippers, and into one of the industry’s leading brands. Enjoy!
May the four winds blow you safely home,