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Celebrating sailing’s adventures—Sailing from North America & beyond


The latest sailing news from Canada and the world.
 25 Apr 2017

Celebrating sailing's adventures—Sailing from North America & beyond

Race to Alaska  Race to Alaska
The other day I was sitting in my office, contemplating the ways that the sport of sailing serves as a conduit to adventure, when I received a text from a good friend and mountaineering partner saying that he and his brothers were strongly contemplating a late entry into this year's Race to Alaska (R2AK), which begins on June 8 at 0500 hours. For anyone not in the know, the R2AK starts in Port Townsend, Washington, and sails 40 nautical miles across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the seaside city of Victoria, British Columbia (read: the shakedown leg), before progressing another 710 nautical miles to Ketchikan, Alaska (read: the real deal). Racers are welcome to bring any craft they like, so long as it doesn't have an internal-combustion engine, and so long as their journey is entirely self-supported and human-powered (read: sails, oars or pedal-powered propulsion).

Racers can stop anywhere they like en route (just mind the grizzly bears on British Columbia's beaches!), but the first team to Ketchikan wins ten grand, while the runner up receives a set of steak knives. Everyone else gets to sail home with the honor of having completed something really hard, and that likely made them rise to a higher level of understanding, skill and compassion than they began their voyage possessing.

Race to Alaska  Race to Alaska

While most teams spend months, if not years, preparing for the R2AK, my friend is a veteran of the first R2AK (2015) and is one of the toughest blokes I've ever met when it comes to suffering with a smile, be it humping 60 pound packs up glaciers on Mount Rainier or “sleeping” in his dry suit on the nets of a glorified beach cat en route to Ketchikan, but for most people a last-minute whim to enter the R2AK likely wouldn't end well.

After all, the R2AK has a tremendous reputation for spitting-off great sailors and adventurers, much like the tall mountains of Nepal or Patagonia sometimes treat world-class climbers.

Race to Alaska  Race to Alaska

Having enjoyed a firsthand taste of the R2AK in 2015 as an embedded journalist on the shakedown leg from Port Townsend to Victoria aboard a proa sailing canoe that came damn close to sinking, I can attest to the fact that in the R2AK, the water is cold, the currents strong, and the sense of adventure out of this world...and I only tasted the shakedown leg, not the R2AK's true unvarnished experience.

The R2AK is certainly not alone in offering boldface adventure. Other big-name, big-budget sailing adventures include the Volvo Ocean Race and the Vendee Globe, however these events require seven-figure war chests to contest (add a few million if you actually want to be competitive), making them well outside the grasp of most adventure-seeking sailors. Not so with the R2AK, as the past two winners have claimed their ten grand using a borrowed F-25c trimaran (2015) and a structurally reinforced M32 catamaran (2016)...expensive boats, of course, but cheap compared to the new-build costs of an IMOCA 60...or even the mainsail of a Volvo Ocean 65.

Jake Beattie - Race to Alaska  Race to Alaska

Given the harmonic chord that the R2AK seems to have struck in the hearts of sailing adventurists across North America, there's no question that Jake Beattie, the Director of the Northwest Maritime Center (one of the R2AK's main sponsors) and one of the R2AK's founders, and his friends taped into a vein that's both rich and deep in 2014 when they announced the first R2AK.

While the R2AK is currently the jewel in the crown of North American adventure sailing, the Golden Globe Race 2018 takes the cake for the biggest homespun adventure afloat. Here, sailors are attempting to recreate the kind of adventure that Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Bernard Moitessier, and their other competitors faced in the 1968 Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, which was the first non-stop and solo around-the-world sailboat race (imagine NASA's first moonshot and you're on the right page). Heroes such as Sir Robin and Moitessier were minted while their fellow competitor Donald Crowhurst never returned home.

Robin Knox-Johnston aboard Suhaili at the finish of the 1968 Sunday Times Golden Globe Race  Bill Rowntree - PPL ©

[Editor's Note: Interested readers are highly encouraged to read Peter Nichols' great book, A Voyage for Madmen, or see the 2006 film Deep Water.]

For the Golden Globe Race 2018 (GGR2018), contestants must sail aboard vessels similar in nature to the ones that were used in 1968 (read: 32 to 36 feet, LOA, designed prior to 1988, and carrying full-length keels with attached rudders), while also using the same level of technology (read: no electronic navigation, string sails or satellite communications) that were available to the race's original sailors.

2018 Golden Globe Race Chart  Barry Pickthall

Instead of focusing on shaving hours or minutes (or seconds) off of existing around-the-world records, GGR2018 skippers will be navigating using sextants, paper charts and parallel dividers, and they will be tackling their weather routing by consulting the clouds and other telltale signs of change. Here, offshore adventure, grit, gumption and downright determination out-strips racecourse competition. While the first of the modern GGR races (event organizers have already announced the GGR2022) has yet to be held, I imagine that, much like the R2AK, anyone who crosses the finishing line will do so a changed person.

Circa 22nd April 1969: Robin Knox-Johnston waving aboard his 32ft yacht SUHAILI off Falmouth, England after becoming the first man to sail solo non-stop around the globe.  Bill Rowntree - PPL ©

While the R2AK and the GGR2018 represent high-level adventure sailing, other, more modest events exist across the country and around the world that allow sailors to get back to the basics of wind, current, navigation and seamanship. Finally, for any event organizers out there, strongly consider taking a few leaves out of the R2AK or GGR2018's playbooks, as all signs are indicating that there are plenty of sailors out there who are interested in engaging a bit more adventure than one typically encounters on a Wednesday evening windward-leeward course.

May the four winds blow you safely home,

David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor

America's Cup - Artemis Racing shifts into dog-fighting mode
Artemis Racing and Sail-World,
The third round of America's Cup ACC practice racing got underway in Bermuda on Monday, April 24. Skipper Nathan Outteridge says Match Racing skills have always been a big part of a successful campaign and the team at Artemis Racing is now working hard at improving its “dog fighting” tactics.... [more]

A Few Rays - When you think of sunscreen as a filter....
If a sunscreen is a filter of UV rays, how much is enough? Where the skin is exposed and a sunscreen is working for you, it is filtering UV rays. Some of those rays always get through. The percentage of the high energy UVB rays (said to cause sunburn) that get through to cells in the skin can be determined by the claimed SPF of the product you are using.... [more]

Charleston Race Week - Overall report
MagMarin / Wraceboats,
Charleston Race Week 2017 took place in April 20-23 2017. ORC rule was implemented as the principal handicap rule for the Charleston Race Week 2017, it was the first time this system was used in a major North American regatta. Thirty boats raced in four separate ORC Classes at this event.... [more]

World Cup Series in Hyères – Racing needs to be fast, not the food
Richard Aspland - World Sailing,
Many sailors will be brimming with confidence after browsing the weather forecast and will be striving for gold in Hyères. But it is a team small in stature that know exactly where they stand in terms of performance that intrigues.... [more]

New addition to North Sail for Volvo Ocean 65 racing machines
Volvo Ocean Race,
Instead of assembling cloth panels into a particular sail shape, the Volvo Ocean Race sails are composites. This means that 3Di material 'tapes' are laid in a specific arrangement, offering stable structure to the sail where it is needed most.... [more]

Masters Games - Slater off to a flying start on Day 1
Yachting NZ,
Dan Slater, who competed in three Olympic Games, had a perfect start to the 2017 Masters Games with two first-placed finishes in today's two races in the Laser fleet. It has been more than four years since Slater finished top-level racing following the London Olympics and it's fair to say he let standards slip.... [more]

Masters Games - Paralympians perform well against Rockstars
Yachting New Zealand,
Chris Sharp's green machine is becoming well known on the sailing course at the World Masters Games, largely because it's finishing ahead of most of his rivals. What makes that extraordinary is that Sharp is a paraplegic after a motorbike accident seven years ago. The 59-year-old is sitting eighth of 30 competitors in the single-handed Weta class after two days of racing... [more]

Experience is key as Team Oman Air prepare for Extreme Sailing Series
Oman Sail,
Known worldwide for hosting sailing at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Qingdao is notorious for its ability to catch crews off guard with a fickle breeze that can go from next to nothing to gale force in a matter of minutes.... [more]

America's Cup - Emirates Team NZ first practise in Great Sound - Video NZ and MyislandhomeBDA,
Emirates Team NZ had their first solid day of training on Bermuda's Great Sound on April 23, 2017. Winds during the session were averaging 10kts gusting 15kts. As with the other video it is impossible to gauge boat speed, or form an accurate impression of relative speed. However the infrequency of splash down is apparent, as is the very slick gybing and tacking while remaining foil borne.... [more]

FAST40+ Spring Regatta - Preview
FAST40+ Race Circuit,
The second event in a busy FAST40+ season will be the FAST40+ Spring Regatta, hosted by the Royal Southern Yacht Club. FAST40+ Race Director, Stuart Childerley, sets the scene for the event.... [more]

Meet the Clipper 2017-18 Race crew Zuzana Vybiralova
Clipper Round the World,
A first for the Clipper Race, crew member Zuzana Vybiralova will make history this year as the first Czech Republican to take part in the race in eleven editions.... [more]

Champions crowned after tricky finale at Sperry Charleston Race Week
Charleston Race Week,
Charleston is known for its reliable spring seabreeze, but the Holy City's coast outdid itself this year during the 22nd edition of Sperry Charleston Race Week. It wasn't just the three race days either; from the first team's arrival for practice more than a week earlier until the lengthy awards ceremony on Sunday night, reliable southerly winds buffeted the region, ensuring maximum racing... [more]

She's still here with us, and now we can be there for her
John Curnow,
Of the many endearing qualities in Lisa Blair, the one that is paramount is her effervescence. Yet it is what lies behind that which could be her most incredible characteristic. Sometimes you can almost overlook her steely determination, but not for long when you start talking with her. Catching up with her live from Cape Town surely was a vivid reminder of not only what this sailor can accomplish... [more]

America's Cup - Tech Tuesday - Why AC50's sail bow down - Video
Oracle Team USA,
Why do the America's Cup Class catamarans sail with bow down trim? It's a common question. Helmsman and Tactician Tom Slingsby? provides a detailed answer in this TechTuesday feature.... [more]

Wild Day 2 at Sperry Charleston Race Week
Charleston Race Week,
For a second straight day, Charleston Harbor and the open ocean just offshore provided near-perfect conditions for over 200 competing teams at Sperry Charleston Race Week 2017. Boats across all six courses faced brisk southerly winds of 15-20 knots, while the offshore boats saw five-foot waves and big gusts on the second day of the biggest multiclass keelboat regatta in the Americas.... [more]

America's Cup - Touchdown and take-off for Emirates Team NZ in Bermuda
Emirates Team New Zealand,
It is just over three weeks since Emirates Team New Zealand was sailing in New Zealand, and today the teams America's Cup Class race boat was out sailing on Bermuda's Great Sound for the first time under inquisitive gaze of an armada of competitors' chase boats getting a first hand glimpse of the kiwi boat... [more]

America's Cup - Emirates Team NZ has first sail in Bermuda + Video
Richard Gladwell, NZ,
Emirates Team New Zealand has just completed for their first sail in Bermuda, in preparation for the racing phase of the 2017 America's Cup campaign. The team, the last to arrive in Bermuda, returned to their base in the Royal Dockyard around 7.15pm local time (1015am NZT).... [more]

America's Cup - Images from Practice Race Session 2 in Bermuda.
Austin Wong/ACEA and Sail-World.comNZ,
Images have just been posted by America's Cup organisers of the second Practice Session conducted in Bermuda between April 6-7. Images are not available from the third session which finished on April 12. The next Practice Session is a five day one beginning on April 24 to April 28.... [more]

The Vendée Globe skippers hosted at the Elysée Palace
Vendee Globe,
The Elysée Palace yesterday hosted a grand ceremony where the Head of State honoured the heroes of offshore racing. Twenty-three of the twenty-nine Vendée Globe skippers attended the event, gathering around winner Armel Le Cléac'h, appointed Knight of the Legion of Honour.... [more]

48th anniversary of Sir Robin's Golden Globe victory
Clipper Round the World,
In 1968, when 29 year-old Robin Knox-Johnston set off for the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, striving to be the first person to sail single handed, nonstop around the world was not the only challenge he had to overcome.... [more]

35 days to go until the start of the 35th America's Cup
America's Cup,
Friday 21st April is another milestone in the countdown to the start of the 35th America's Cup as it marks exactly 35 days to go until the greatest race on water begins in Bermuda.... [more]

New rules add spice for breezy opening to Sperry Charleston Race Week
Charleston Race Week,
It was a tale of two mornings for the more than 200 boats taking to the water today for the opening day of 2017 Sperry Charleston Race Week. Over 150 inshore boats on four circles inside Charleston's world-famous harbor faced hot temperatures, flat water, and sedate wind of four - six knots on their first race. In the meantime, the 46 offshore and Pursuit class boats were battling steep... [more]

World Cup Series Hyères – Returning to action
Richard Aspland - World Sailing,
Besson, along with partner Marie Riou, won all four Nacra 17 World Championship titles in the Rio 2016 quadrennial but failed to capitalise on that dominance as a back injury hampered any Olympic medal ambitions the pair harboured.... [more]

Bella Mente Racing revving up for a challenging European Race Circuit
Kirsten Ferguson,
At Les Voiles de St. Barth, there is no option for a premature starter to return to the line and restart; instead, a 10% penalty is added to the boat's final time upon finishing the race. Bella Mente continued to sail a fantastic race, taking first place on corrected time, but due to the penalty fell to sixth, which ultimately hurt the team's overall ranking.... [more]

It's time for Qingdao and China round of the Extreme Sailing Series
Extreme Sailing Series,
Following an epic season opener in Muscat in March, the racing reconvenes over China's May Labour Day holiday weekend, with open water racing on day one followed by Stadium Racing in Fushan Bay, a venue notorious for its temperamental weather that has previously seen multiple capsizes caused by its unexpected gusts.... [more]

Friday Afternoon...
John Curnow,
What does every Friday afternoon need? A look at a cool boat, and today's is the awesome SuperFoiler. They have had a rebranding just recently, but far more importantly, some test sailing - YeeHaaaaaaaa! Jack Macartney has told us, “It's been a huge couple of months for us. We were thrilled to recently launch SuperFoiler Boat 1 in Callala Bay (Jervis Bay Yacht Club)....... [more]

The Queen's Cup will include an ORR Fleet in 2017
Calling all fully crewed boats with ORR certificates. We are pleased to announce that we will now be accepting registrations for fully crewed boats with a current ORR certificate for the 2017 Queen's Cup Race. We have just updated the website and entry form. Please go to our website at, to the Queen's Cup tab, for the amended NoR and revised entry form.... [more]

The 30th Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta – Overall report
Antigua Nice,
Nearly 50 classic yachts have gathered in Nelson's Dockyard for the 30th edition of the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta, on now until April 25th. Racing begins tomorrow, Friday, April 21st, and spectators can watch the starts each day at 10 am from Shirley Heights, Fort Charlotte, and Fort Berkeley.... [more]

Famous Classic Yacht targets Australian Races in 2017 Campaign
Kirsten Ferguson,
Over the past 86 years, the iconic Sparkman and Stephens classic yacht Dorade has sailed hundreds of thousands of nautical miles across open water and won more ocean races than any other yacht in history.... [more]

America's Cup - Oracle Team USA's Jimmy Spithill does a flying leap
Oracle Team USA and,
Oracle Team USA skipper, Jimmy Spithill became the latest AC50 sailor to go overboard with an epic leap after he crossed the AC50 during a manoeuvre and was unable to stop when he reached the new helm position. In a split-second decision the twice winner of the America's Cup had to decide whether to drop, slide and try and grab something, or just keep going and leap clear of the rudder foils. H... [more]

Competitors and Sponsors alike psyched for Race Week
Charleston Race Week,
Sperry Charleston Race Week 2017 will start tomorrow morning, and everyone – from competitors, to VIPS and sponsors to fans and locals – is pumped that there's a perfect spring forecast for the 22nd edition of the biggest multiclass keelboat regatta in the Americas. With three days of 80+ degree weather, no rain, and reliable southerly breeze on tap for 16 classes of race boats... [more]

Windsurfing Festival - Slalom racing kicks off in Cape Hatteras
International Windsurfing Tour,
A refreshing Southwest breeze picked up enough for the slalom racing to kick off at 4:30pm this afternoon. The race included a professional slalom-racing format organized by the US Windsurfing Association Slalom series organizer.... [more]

America's Cup - Practising in Bermuda's Great Sound - April 20 - Video NZ,
The America's Cup Teams were training on Bermuda's Great Sound on April 20, 2017 including Oracle Team USA, Land Rover BAR and Groupama Team France in AC50's.Sailed in moderate to fresh breezes the teams seemed to be sailing OK but with some significant splash-downs and broaches.... [more]

Gladwell's Line - Timeout in Bermuda and a decision OTUSA will regret-
Richard Gladwell, NZ,
With Emirates Team New Zealand's AC50 now in Bermuda and being re-assembled, it is time to take a breath from what has been a hectic couple of months, both in Auckland and Bermuda. The third major Practice Session has concluded in Bermuda. This was conducted almost entirely if winds of around 16-25kts - starting to get close to the top end of the range for the AC50's.... [more]

America's Cup - Ashby expects Kiwis to sailing by weekend in Bermuda
Talbot Wilson/,
Emirates Team New Zealand skipper, Glenn Ashby has revealed that the team expect to be on the water in Bermuda this weekend. In a long interview with Bermudan newspaper Royal Gazette's Talbot Wilson, they covered a lot of ground.... [more]

Mini Transat – 40 years old, a fine age
Mini Transat,
Created to ensure sailors once again had a prominent place in a race ranking, the Mini Transat was devised by British sailor Bob Salmon and first set sail from Penzance in Cornwall some 40 years ago.... [more]

Melges 24 European Sailing Series and Italian Sailing Series kick off
Like the good traditions that used to last, has become a nice tradition for the Melges 24 sailors from all over the Europe to gather to the beautiful Portoroz in Slovenia for the first regatta of the sailing season.... [more]

Oman Sail's Tour de France a la Voile campaign already started
Oman Sail,
After a highly respectable fifth place finish in the French classic last July, the experienced Oman Sail crew set out on this year's campaign with their sights firmly set on a podium place this time around.... [more]

Volvo Ocean Race - Chinese trio returns for Dongfeng Race Team
Volvo Ocean Race,
Dongfeng Race Team have confirmed four more crew members for their 2017-18 campaign, including the returning Chinese trio of Black, Wolf and Horace.... [more]

Nothing's better than a fully participating sponsor
Barby MacGowan,
Every year our regatta gets better. Those are often empty words, but not when gauging the success of Bell's Beer Bayview Mackinac Race, the longest consecutively run freshwater race in the world. The event's 93rd edition starts this July 22, and for a seventh year, Bell's Beer Brewery, headquartered in Comstock, Michigan, has come aboard as presenting sponsor.... [more]

2017 World Cup Series Hyères - Back to the future
Richard Aspland,
When round two of the 2017 World Cup Series takes place in Hyères, France from 23 - 30 April, many attending sailors know what it feels like to stand on top of an Olympic podium.... [more]

Pro-Am event to highlight Sperry Charleston Race Week
Sperry Charleston Race Week,
Sperry Charleston Race Week has been America's biggest keelboat regatta for some time. While the racers love the competition and parties that come with a ‘supersized' regatta like this, it's the overall quality of Sperry Charleston Race Week that motivates those who come back year after year. And among those sailors is a wealth of competitive talent... [more]

Windsurfing Festival - Sara Flowe - Fastest woman on the East Coast
International Windsurfing Tour,
Sara Flowe was the first woman to cross the finish line in Monday's 20K long distance races. With 177 sailors on one start line for an exhilarating windsurfing adventure, Sara finished 27th overall. The International Windsurfing Tour got a chance to interview the champion and this is what she had to say:... [more]

America's Cup - Babysitting Emirates Team NZ's AC50 to Bermuda - Video
Emirates Team NZ and,
Join three of the Emirates Team New Zealand shore crew, Chris ('Curly') Salthouse, Sean Regan and Martin McElwee as they travel aboard the Emirates Sky Cargo 747 air freighter, and ride on top of the team's AC50 and other equipment on the flight from Auckland to Bermuda via Los Angeles, and keep an eye on the delicate cargo.... [more]

A Few Rays - What is Broad Spectrum Protection-
What is Broad Spectrum sunscreen? Ultraviolet rays (UVA, UVB and UVC) only make up a small proportion of all of the sun's rays. UVA and UVB sun-rays are however the biggest contributors to skin damage from sun.... [more]

Engines already revving in anticipation of GC32 Racing Tour
GC32 Racing,
These international teams will come from three continents, with sailors represented from four. They include a mix of professional and owner-driver teams, including several gearing up for the Red Bull Youth America's Cup.... [more]

Rising stars join Dongfeng Race Team for Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18
Dongfeng Race Team,
For each of them this is another opportunity to race with some of the world's greatest offshore sailors and to take on nature's wildest and most challenging oceans as part of the team on Dongfeng.... [more]

Excitement builds for J/111 Worlds at St. Francis Yacht Club
What happens when some of the world's best keelboat sailors climb aboard high-performance One Design boats on a famously windy racecourse for a world-class regatta? In the case of the J/111 Worlds, the result will involve tightly contested starting lines, high-drama mark roundings and ample bow spray. Since launching in August of 2010, the J/111 class has enjoyed steady, sustainable growth... [more]

Windsurfing Festival - Phil Soltysiak wins Best Freestyle Move
International Windsurfing Tour,
Congratulations on your win! How would you describe the energy surrounding the freestyle event yesterday? The energy was firing surrounding the best move contest. Everybody was stoked after two long distance races... [more]

America's Cup - Glenn Ashby on hitting the AC50's sound barrier
Richard Gladwell, Sail-World NZ,
The big difference between the AC72, the America's Cup Class, used in the 2013 America's Cup in San Francisco and the smaller AC50 to be sailed in Bermuda, lies in their light and medium air performance. 'These boats are incredible. The performance that can be achieved in light airs is the amazing thing. In 7-8-9-10 knots of breeze, you are sailing at 30kts at times.... [more]

America's Cup - Bernasconi on expected winning factors in Bermuda
Richard Gladwell, Sail-World NZ,
Emirates Team NZ's Technical Director, Dan Bernasconi has let out a few clues as to where he thought the differences might lie once the six teams entered in the 35th America's Cup. 'We have had a great run', he says. 'We've had a few hiccups along the way, as always. But the boat is going really well. We are getting through manoeuvres very well. And we think our straight line speed is good.'... [more]

Les Voiles de St. Barth – Best action images by Christophe Jouany
Christophe Jouany,
Photo gallery with a selection of the best shots at the 2017 edition of Les Voiles de St. Barth... [more]

Best shots from Les Voiles de St. Barth by Michael Gramm
Michael Gramm,
Photo gallery with a selection of the best shots at the 2017 edition of Les Voiles de St. Barth... [more]

Hatteras Windsurfing Festival - Tyson poor takes the win-
International Windsurfing Tour,
North Carolina welcomed windsurfers of all skill levels and ages for a grueling endurance race. 178 riders battled it out in two 20 km long distance races today in near perfect conditions on the glassy Pamlico Sound. Riders were spoiled with warm weather and southwest winds averaging 20-25 knots.... [more]

Both Dongfeng's teams secure a podium finish at Spi Ouest
Dongfeng Race Team,
A familiar face on the series he created some 20 years ago, Nicolas Groleau took the win, but it wouldn't have taken much for the Dongfeng men and women to upset the usual hierarchy.... [more]

Wildwind Easter News Round-Up
As you may have heard this year is very special for us, it's 30 years since Simon Morgan, the company's founder, took a sabbatical from work in London, took in a few major sailing events including a 727 mile non-stop race in a Hobie 16 from Miami to Fort Walton beach, and eventually drove his VW campervan to a windy place called Vassiliki... and never looked back!... [more]

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