Please select your home edition
Edition
Marine Resource 2016

Offshore tragedy and AC musings—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond

by David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor on 8 Jan 2014
Billie (left) pictured at the start of 2014 Cape Town to Rio yacht race Trevor Wilkins
Tragedy struck the Cape Town to Rio Race this week when a violent storm tore through the fleet on their first night at sea. According to reports, one sailor has died, several more crewmembers have been injured and plenty of equipment destroyed, forcing at least two boats to turn back. The fleet of 35 boats encountered 40-60-knot winds and seas exceeding 16 feet, which proved unmanageable for some boats.

The Bavaria 54 'Bille' had been struggling with their mainsail and had already turned back to shore when the storm struck. The yacht reportedly lost control in the big conditions and also lost its rig, which hurt four crewmembers. Tragically, Antonio Bartolomew later succumbed to his injuries; the others, including the owner, have been rescued from their stricken yacht and have received medical treatment.



'All of us here aboard [the Volvo Open 70] 'Maserati' are greatly dismayed by the news,' reported skipper Giovanni Soldini, who is also sailing the race. 'Our thoughts are with all of 'Bille’s' crewmembers and their families.’

Still, the storm’s arrival on the fleet’s first night out does beg some questions about the seaworthiness of some of the competing vessels, especially since the storm arrived with plenty of warning. 'Given that the Cape2Rio fleet includes small cruising yachts ill-prepared to cope with such violent ocean storms, it might have been wiser to postpone the start,' said Soldini. 'But it’s always easy to evaluate these things in hindsight. On the other hand, this deep depression with winds of 50-60 knots was forecast well in advance of the start.'



Get the full story, inside this issue, and stay tuned to the website for more information from this tragedy, as it becomes known.

Meanwhile, in America’s Cup news, former Olympic medal winner and longtime Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) coach Rod Davis is still searching hard for the reasons that ETNZ ended up loosing the 34th America’s Cup, despite the fact that they at one point held what many Cup journalists (myself included) considered to be an insurmountable lead.

'It’s still hard to believe that we out-prepared Oracle by that much, ahead of this regatta, and lost the regatta,' said Davis. 'Normally when you out-prepare a team by that much in any sport, you come away with a victory. And it didn’t happen that way.'



While Davis has undoubtedly amassed a fine collection of contributing factors for ETNZ’s unbelievable defeat, one reason stands considerably prouder than its cohorts. 'The major mistake that I see in the campaign was letting the world know we were foiling way too early,' said Davis. 'From a Sponsor, Press and Public point of view it was a coup, but for the big picture and winning the Cup, it was a liability'

While it’s no secret that Oracle Team USA was playing catch-up in the foiling department, literally deep into the finals, there’s also no question that the Americans learned a lot about making an AC72 fly by watching their antipodean rivals. Had ETNZ been able to keep this particular cat in its particular bag for even a month or two longer (back in 2012), there’s a reasonable chance that ETNZ’s level of preparation would have exceeded even Jimmy Spithill’s confidence in his Oracle Team USA crew.

While hindsight is always 20-20, there’s no question that the sailors and staff involved with ETNZ for AC34 will likely spend the rest of their lives pondering what they maybe could have done a bit differently during the final weeks of Cup racing. Inside this issue, don’t miss the great interview that Sail-World’s New Zealand editor, Richard Gladwell, put together with Davis, and stay tuned for the latest news from ETNZ.



Also inside, be sure to get the latest news from the Rose Bowl Regatta, the Clipper Round the World Race and-for anyone who needs a shot of sunshine and saline-be sure to check out the great image gallery of the 12-foot skiffs in action on New Zealand Worser Bay. Enjoy!

May the four winds blow you safely home,

Zhik Isotak Ocean 660x82Bakewell-White Yacht DesignWildwind 2016 660x82

Related Articles

The price of legacy
Malcolm Page OAM, two-time Olympic Gold Medallist, became the Chief of Olympic Sailing for the USA on January 1 Malcolm Page OAM, two-time Olympic Gold Medallist (470) with Nathan Wilmot in 2008 and Mat Belcher in 2012, became the Chief of Olympic Sailing for the USA on January 1 this year. In and of itself it is hardly the freshest news, and well and truly yesterday’s fish wrapper. It was also a wise choice on behalf of Team USA, for he has succeeded in both the physical and commercial arms of our sport.
Posted on 5 Feb
You spin me right round
Vinyl records went the way of the dodo with first CDs, and then now with the likes of MP3 and streaming. Vinyl records went the way of the dodo with first CDs, and then now with the likes of MP3 and streaming. Recently, we have had unbelievable records set by Thomas Coville and then Armel Le Cléac’h. Soon (with over 1200nm in the bank as it were), it would seem to be the turn of the crew on board IDEC Sport for a record after their spin right round, as well. This is quite simply, terrific stuff.
Posted on 23 Jan
Lounge Music
What a groovy time that all was. Very sophisticated, and was the world so much simpler back then or what? What a groovy time that all was. Very sophisticated, and was the world so much simpler back then or what? It even managed it’s own parody with Jerry Lewis and the über-cool Purple Pit in the original Nutty Professor. I’ll just have an Alaskan Polar Bear Heater right now, thank you… Some will get their noses all twisted up about now saying it is all elevator music, but it was so well orchestrated
Posted on 15 Jan
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Suck it up, sunshine!
The 72nd start of the iconic blue water classic had 300,000 spectators lining the foreshores of Sydney Harbour The 72nd start of the iconic blue water classic had 300,000 spectators lining the foreshores of Sydney Harbour, another two million watching on TV, and the constant buzz and whir of media helicopters overhead. 88 boats, from Australia, USA, UK, Germany, Sweden, Russia, Japan, Korea, China, oh and New Zealand, had lined up on three start lines.
Posted on 31 Dec 2016
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Suck it up, sunshine!
The 72nd start of the iconic blue water classic had 300,000 spectators lining the foreshores of Sydney Harbour The 72nd start of the iconic blue water classic had 300,000 spectators lining the foreshores of Sydney Harbour, another two million watching on TV, and the constant buzz and whir of media helicopters overhead. 88 boats, from Australia, USA, UK, Germany, Sweden, Russia, Japan, Korea, China, oh and New Zealand, had lined up on three start lines.
Posted on 31 Dec 2016
Rolex Sydney Hobart - The Weather Gate
In order to win the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race there are three things you absolutely need to have accomplished In order to win the iconic Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race under IRC or ORCi rating, there are three things you absolutely need to have accomplished. Two of these you can certainly do something about, whereas the third is entirely out of your control.
Posted on 25 Dec 2016
Rolex Sydney Hobart - The Weather Gate
In order to win the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race there are three things you absolutely need to have accomplished In order to win the iconic Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race under IRC or ORCi rating, there are three things you absolutely need to have accomplished. Two of these you can certainly do something about, whereas the third is entirely out of your control.
Posted on 25 Dec 2016
Flight of the Pterodactyls
And you can be sure that it is very much a product of, and absolutely going to change, the future of our sport. OK. Well that pretty much sets up a mindset from a time long, long ago. However, this is something from the here and now. And you can be sure that it is very much a product of, and absolutely going to change, the future of our sport. The SuperFoiler is 7.9m long, 5.14m wide, has a 12.5m rig and a 295kg sailing weight. It has been developed to be the fastest course yacht ever, so to get a handle on
Posted on 27 Nov 2016
It’s Chuck’s fault!
The blame rests squarely with the much venerated, and truly celebrated US sports photographer, Chuck Lantz The blame rests squarely with the much venerated, and truly celebrated US sports photographer, Chuck Lantz. Had he not shown me this image he took during the recent Rolex Big Boat Series on San Francisco Bay, then this editorial would not have come to pass.
Posted on 26 Sep 2016
…and don’t call me Shirley!
Ah yes! It could only be the truly inimitable Dr. Rumack (Leslie Nielsen) from Airplane! Ah yes! It could only be the truly inimitable Dr. Rumack (Leslie Nielsen) from Airplane! (And that takes us all the way back to 1980 – believe it or not.) You know the lines; it’s when Ted Striker says, “Surely you cannot be serious?” To which Rumack then replies, “I am serious, and don’t call me Shirley!”
Posted on 19 Sep 2016