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Clear but cold in Seattle—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond

by David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor on 4 Mar 2013
St. Maarten Heineken Regatta 2013 - Day 1 Leighton O'Connor
When you live at almost 48 degrees north, it’s hard not to celebrate winter’s annual demise. Just two months ago it felt like a blessing to merely see a patch of blue sky during the seemingly scant window of daylight that presented itself each day, but fortunately that has all now changed with the approach of the vernal equinox (March 20, 2013). Now, days are getting noticeably longer, the smell of spring is in the air, and there have even been occasional sightings of some weird glowing orange ball in the sky that some sailors speculate could be a distant energy source. The best part? It’s only going to get better, starting next Saturday.

Should the start of this week find you in need of a shot of optimism, here it comes: Daylight savings begins with turn of midnight on March 10 (next Sunday), thus helping to 'sequester' the darkness into more usable hours for us humans. Sure, mornings will be inky dark again (at least for a short while), but I doubt anyone will complain about an extra hour of daylight in the evenings, especially with the full-on start to the 2013 sailing season just around the corner and plenty of work remaining to get done before boats are ready to be re-launched (lat/long depending).

Still, with all this talk and promise of spring in the air, it was a bit of a surprise to see frost on the roofs of nearby houses this morning. The stormy clouds that shrouded the city last night blew away, revealing an azure sky and a perfect half moon, which was last seen in the southwestern sky. Sure, yesterday’s Blakely Rock race might have been blustery (and partially wet), but today certainly looks promising for sorting out sails or re-tuning the rig.

Meanwhile, on sailing’s greater stage, Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa have been continuing to mix it up on New Zealand’s Hauraki Gulf aboard their AC72 wingsail-powered catamarans, which the teams will both use to challenge for the 34th America’s Cup. Inside, don’t miss photographer Chris Cameron’s great image gallery of the two massive cats flying on their foils.

And in Volvo Ocean Race news, Lisbon, Portugal, has been selected as a stopover for the 2014/2015 and 2017/2018 editions of the Volvo Ocean Race (VOR). Lisbon hosted the race during its 2011/2012 edition and proved popular with both racers and spectators.

'Lisbon is a great port city, and the people came out in [the] thousands to welcome the sailors as their own,' said Tom Touber, COO of the VOR. 'The race village was a hive of activity, with everyone coming together to give the stopover a distinct Portuguese feel. It was a truly great success, and we can't wait to come back.' Get the full scoop, inside.

Also inside, be sure to get the full briefing on the ongoing Manning Regatta, check out the reports from our team at London’s RYA Dinghy Show, and get the post-racing report from the J/22 Midwinters, which just wrapped up in Tampa, Florida.

And for anyone needing a more intensive injection of Vitamin D than what’s offered with the early season sunshine, be sure to check out photographer Leighton O’Connor’s great image gallery of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, as well as the racing reports. Enjoy!

May the four winds blow you safely home,

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