Irrespective of whether you loved or hated the 34th America’ Cup, there’s no question that this regatta utterly changed the face of sailboat racing. Gone were the days of slow-but-cerebral sailing, welcomed were the boatlifting foils and the mighty wingsails that propelled the now-generation AC72 at speeds north of 40 knots. Then there was Oracle Team USA’s fantastic, come-from-the-verge-of-death recovery to defend the Auld Mug, and AC34 delivered the stuff of sports legend. Now, fans of high-end foiling can relive the action of AC34 with two interesting new books.
The first of these projects, called 'Winging It', by noted Cup writers Diane Swintal, Steven Tsuchiya, and Robert Kamins is currently available online and through retail book sellers, making it an ideal holiday gift for the sailing-obsessed on your list ('selfie' gifts are fully course legal, of course!). McGraw-Hill published the book, and it covers the entire AC34 arch of events, from the Louis Vuitton Cup, all the way to Oracle’s epic last battle against Emirates Team New Zealand.
The second AC34 book project is a bit less straightforward and requires Kickstarter action from readers like you. America’s Cup commentator Jack Griffin has announced that he will use a Kickstarter funding program to try and raise $17,000 for his proposed book project by December 20. Inside, get the full scoop on how you can get involved with the Kickstarter campaign (pledges start at just $5) and how you can get your copy of Griffin’s (hopefully) soon-to-be e-opus.
Meanwhile, fans of offshore ocean racing will find plenty of great content in this issue, given that the fabled Sydney to Hobart Race starts next Thursday (December 26, or Boxing Day, as it’s known in Australia), and also given that this rugged event has fielded one of the most impressive entry lists ever seen for a distance race.
The scratch sheet now includes numerous boats that could claim line honors, including a host of super-maxis and Volvo Open 70s, but in the final pre-race days, the two favorites are Anthony Bell’s 'Perpetual Loyal' (formerly 'Speedboat/Rambler 100) and Bob Oatley’s 'Wild Oats XI'. Oatley it will be remembered, is the Challenger of Record for the 35th America’s Cup, as well as the current record holder for this bluewater classic, so its fair to say that Oatley’s crew will be metaphorically sailing with bull’s eyes on their sails for all 628 of the race’s miles.
According to preliminary forecasts, this year’s Hobart looks to be a downwind affair, which could favor 'Wild Oats XI' and her smorgasbord of underwater appendages, but that future is anything but certain. 'If it’s downwind then we will be a chance to beat our arch rival, 'Perpetual Loyal', but if it’s reaching across the wind it will possibly be a different story, particularly if the wind is strong,' said Mark Richards, 'Wild Oats XI’s' skipper.
Close inspection: Wild Oats XI’s skipper, Mark Richards, checks the yacht’s 12-tonne ballast bulb which is fitted to the canting keel. The yacht is out of the water this week for a final pre-race inspection - Rolex Sydney to Hobart 2013 - Andrea Francolini Click Here to view large photo
'It’s going to be an interesting few days for everyone as we watch the weather pattern for the race unfold,' continued Richards. 'The only thing for certain right now is that this is going to be the most challenging and exciting Hobart race in a long, long time. It’s a common held belief among Hobart race sailors that, given ideal conditions, a supermaxi, or something similar, could reach Hobart in around 24 hours.'
Get the full Hobart report, inside this issue, and stay connected to the website as we approach the final weeklong countdown until this epic race begins. And once the sleds have started punching for Hobart, count on Sail-World to deliver the Internet’s best 'S2H' coverage.
Also inside this issue, be sure to get the latest scoop on the ORC’s World Championship, check out the IFDS’s rankings for Paralympic Classes and don’t miss the latest news on the Professional Kite Racing Association’s 2014 tour schedule.
May the four winds blow you safely home,
by David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor
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4:30 PM Thu 19 Dec 2013GMT
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