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Sail-World New Zealand- January 29, 2014 - Step back to another time

by . on 28 Jan 2014
Waitangi - 2014 Mahurangi Regatta - Classic Yachts January 25, 2014 © Richard Gladwell
Welcome to's New Zealand newsletter for January 29, 2014

The Mahurangi Regatta on Saturday was sailed in near ideal conditions – with a lovely seabreeze giving the 70 Classics – Classic and Modern a good work out.

For many it is THE race of the year around a two-lap course that always seems to consist of a couple of good reaches – a single tack beat – and a short run.

It is a race not to be taken too seriously, and a great way to get people on the water who don’t normally sail, or are having their first experience of a yacht race.

Ashore it is a great scene too, with plenty of activity in the morning at Sullivan’s Bay on the western side of the narrow harbour. After the race, the fleet anchors or rafts-up at Scott’s Landing on the eastern side of the harbour for the prizegiving and barbeque.

The exact date of the first regatta is not known, but it is reported that one was sighted in progress on Year’s Day in 1858. Maybe it pre-dates the America’s Cup – who knows? In its early days the regatta was a rowing race between whalers.

The 1865 event nearly didn’t take place after Maori prisoners had escaped from nearby Kawau Island and would-be participants in the regatta were afraid to leave their properties unattended. Times have changed somewhat in the past 150 years!

Certainly it is an occasion to step back in time, and the sight of so many Classic yachts racing back and forth up the harbour is one few will easily forget.

In this edition we feature several galleries of images taken on the day from aboard one of the modern yachts – who on the other 364 days of the year is very much a cruiser.

At the other end of the sailing spectrum we have a couple of reports from two large French trimarans being sailed singlehanded. There are actually three singlehanded record attempts underway but we have lost the plot on one – Sodebo – in which Thomas Colville is trying to set a new solo circumnavigation record. Unfortunately all three websites are in French, and while translations are possible using Google, the Sodebo site does not seem to be posting news updates.

Of the other two, one – Lionel Lemonchois – today announced that he had capsized about 800nm off the coast of Brazil while sailing from Port-Louis in France to Port-Louis in Mauritus. Currently he is living in the upturned trimaran’s centrehull, and had to cut away the rig alone. Easy enough to write and read those words, but the reality of the situation must have been extremely challenging – with one man to work alone on an 80ft boat.

It is a different story, so far, for Armel Le Cléac'h and the maxi trimaran Banque Populaire Solo VII.

The French sailor is trying to break the record for the Discovery Route sailed from Cadiz to Bahamas. Along the way he set one new solo 24 hour record, of 677nm and then broke it a few hours later with a new mark of 682nm. That is an average speed of 28.41kts for the 24hour period.

We have reports of that record attempt, again written off a Google translation, along with an on-board video in this edition of’s newsletter. Stay tuned for more updates as to whether Le Cléac'h will be able to break The Discovery Route record. Suffice to say that currently he is ahead of record time.

The America’s Cup scene is rarely quiet. In this edition we carry a story on the loss of two designers from Oracle Team USA and Emirates Team New Zealand to Artemis Racing. Sail-World was originally told of the resignation from the team a couple of weeks ago, and that in turn ETNZ had acquired the services of a designer from another team, who was a Kiwi returning home.

The somewhat surprising aspect of the hirings by Artemis Racing, a Swedish team, is that they are being done in the absence of a Protocol – especially given that the next Protocol is expected to have a nationality clause in it which could cover sailing and design crew.

It is also somewhat surprising to see reported from offshore, that the game of musical chairs is underway again for the venue for the 35th America’s Cup. The accompanying music sounds very similar to the 2013 event. Then the options seemed to be limited only by the extent of the organisers’ imagination. - Italy, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, Valencia – even Auckland was bandied about.

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Later it was clear that it was always going to be San Francisco – so the latest pontifications on the venue now have a very hollow ring about them. Certainly few in the sailing media give them too much credence. Given the effort that other potential venues suffered previously on what proved to be a wild goose chase, it is hard to see them spending too much time on repeating the folly – unless San Francisco is unequivocally ruled out.

But even then who would rule out a last minute successful bid from Larry Ellison’s home town?

Certainly the Cup needs to return to far simpler times. And running the event on the same basis as the 1987 America’s Cup in Fremantle would be a good starting point in terms of Nationality Rules and allowing the Challengers to look after their own Selection Series – with the Defender agreeing to take on the winner.

Oddly enough that event attracted the largest Challenger entry ever.

Good sailing!

Richard Gladwell
NZ Editor

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