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Keeping my New Years Resolutions—Sailing news from North America

1/9/2017 1

The latest sailing news from Canada and the world.
 09 Jan 2017

Keeping my New Years Resolutions—Sailing news from North America

Puget-Sound under winter light  David Schmidt
I'll admit that I was fairly surprised that the Race Committee didn't shorten the course for the annual Three Tree Point Yacht Club's Duwamish Head Race, which unfurls each January on the waters of Puget Sound, at the Duwamish Head turning mark, but our crew just assumed that they would truncate racing at Blakely Rock, which was our second major “mark”. After all, it was only 25 degrees Fahrenheit in the parking lot of Seattle's Shilshole Marina when our crew mustered at 0615 hours, and while the sun had belligerently risen, the air temperature was still cold.

Talk of warm chili and perchance a nip of sipping rum buoyed optimism amongst our crew as we battled light, sticky airs to escape Elliot Bay and fetch Blakely Rocks, oscillating between an A1 and a Code Zero as the squirrely wind swirled and frittered out. Then, just as we were certain that our time in the cold was winnowing, we caught the profile image of Crossfire's kite against the wooded hills of Bainbridge Island, and became was obvious that we were looking at the full-freight 30.8 miles of racing.

Thankfully, my friend's boat is light, fast and nimble, and our crew accustomed to rolling with the psychological setbacks (read: wind-hole created parking-lot restarts) that racing on Puget Sound can deliver, and we had enough fleece and insulated clothing aboard to start our own chandlery, so we knew we'd survive.

Thriving, of course, comes down to crew chemistry and to everyone staying engaged in the tactics rather than the temperatures, and I'm happy to report that our crew came through with flying colors (especially Erik K, who made a heck of a call about flipping boards on that final header to lay the finishing line!).

Dark Star approaches Whidbey Island during the 2014 Smith Island Race - there was no danger of sunshine or warm temps during the 2017 Duwamish Head Race  David Schmidt

Granted our corrected-time performance perhaps wasn't blinding, but-for our crew-the real goal was getting out sailing on a cold winter's day, being safe, having fun and hoisting a few sails. With this as our goal, rather than a performance metric, we ensured ourselves a nautical adventure on a day that most of our other friends were spending at home, on the couch, engaged in the all-American tradition of pre-gaming before the all-mighty kick-off time.

While there's certainly nothing wrong with a gathering of friends assembled for the big game, I realized-maybe five miles from the finishing line-that the RC had done us all a massive favor by not shortening course. Sure, my hands were little icebergs and my acoustic guitars likely wouldn't be getting any love for a day or two, but this was a minute sacrifice compared to the challenge of thriving in conditions that could otherwise define the term “Type Two Fun”.

Which pulls me back to last week's editorial, where I revealed my resolution to get out sailing more in 2017 than I did in 2016. While I'm handicapped by the fact that I don't (currently) own a boat (ahem), I live less than a mile from one of the biggest marinas on the West Coast, and I'm fortunate to have generous friends who regularly invite me for rides. But the simple fact remains that I would have missed a fantastic day on the water if I had been focused more on the weather forecast rather than the promise of crew camaraderie.

Bottom line, you'll never know what it's like out there if you don't go and try, and while stout-hearted foul-weather gear and thermal clothing isn't cheap, it's a bargain compared to the opportunity costs of sitting at home, pre-gaming, when there's sailing to be done.

As for my hands, they're still cold, but I've barely stopped smiling since stepping off (OK, in the interest of journalistic integrity, maybe it was more of a stumble) the boat, under a cold blanket of winter dark, back at Shilshole Marine Saturday night.

Banque Populaire VIII - Armel Le Cleac'h - Vendee Globe 2016/17  © Team Banque Populaire

Meanwhile, on sailing's far grander stage, there's a serious dogfight setting up between Armel Le Cleac'h (FRA), sailing aboard Banque Populaire VIII, and Alex Thomson (GBR), sailing aboard Hugo Boss, in the singlehanded, nonstop around-the-world Vendee Globe Race. While Le Cleac'h has been leading for weeks, there's only 88.6 nautical miles separating Hugo Boss' bow from Banque Populaire VIII's stern. Even more troubling for Le Cleac'h is the fact that there are only 2,776.9 nautical miles of racing left, and Thomson can sail these miles on starboard tack, meaning that he won't be hampered by his broken Dali foil.

Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) – Vendée Globe  © Cleo Barnham Hugo Boss

Adding further intrigue to the Vendee Globe drama is the fact that Jeremie Beyou, sailing in third place aboard Maitre COQ, has significantly reduced the miles separating his bow stem from the frontrunner's transoms.

Jeremie Beyou (Maitre CoQ) – Vendée Globe  © Jérémie Beyou / Maitre Coq / Vendée Globe

Be sure to stay connected to the website in the next few weeks as this high-stakes drama plays out on the waters of the North Atlantic.

May the four winds blow you safely home,

David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor

A QandA with Daniel Smith, the Clipper Race's new deputy race director
By David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor,
I was fortunate to sail with Daniel Smith [36, SCO], skipper of “Derry~Londonderry~Doire” for the 2015/2016 edition of the Clipper Round The World Race, when the fleet reached Seattle last spring. Now, Smith has been hired as the event's deputy race director-a job that will test many of the skills that he polished as a skipper. I caught up with Smith via email to learn more about his new job.... [more]

Vendée Globe – Day 65 – Critical 12 hours for leaders
Vendée Globe,
The next 12 hours could prove crucial to the outcome of the race, according to British sailing star Ian Walker. Walker, the reigning champion of the Volvo Ocean Race, has been glued to his computer following the exploits of fellow countryman Alex Thomson, currently locked in an epic battle for first place with Frenchman Armel Le Cléac'h.... [more]

Exceptional take up for 47th Rolex Fastnet Race
RORC Press,
Entry into the Royal Ocean Racing Club's flagship event, the 47th edition surpassed expectation today in record-breaking time. The 340-boat limit was reached in just four minutes and 24 seconds setting a new record.... [more]

EFG Sailing Arabia – Team Renaissance aim for podium finish
Oman Sail,
Since Fahad Al Hasni first competed in the inaugural EFG Sailing Arabia - The Tour (EFG SATT) back in 2011, he has dreamt of standing at the top of the podium, having won fair and square with a team made up of Omani sailors.... [more]

J70 DIYC Winter One - Round Two images by Christopher Howell
Christopher Howell,
Photographer Christopher Howell was on water at J70 DIYC Winter One 2016-17 and provided this gallery of images from Round Two.... [more]

Quantum J/70 Winter Series - Bruno Pasquinelli's Stampede wins
Julie or Christopher Howell,
Forty-eight J/70 teams traveled to Davis Island Yacht Club in Tampa, Florida for the middle weekend of the 2016-2017 Quantum J/70 Winter Series. Conditions ranged from wet and wild on Saturday (winds up to 28 knots) to sunny and cool on Sunday (winds 10-18 knots).... [more]

Two Gates Pursuit Race - Lane and Meier win for second consecutive year
Rick Roberts,
Bob Lane and co-skipper Lisa Meier became two-time winners of the Two Gates Pursuit Race Sunday on Mr. Lane's Andrews 63, Medicine Man, a repeat of their win in last year's race.... [more]

Miami Winter Series - A windy weekend in Miami
Aston Harald,
Rick DeVos wins event one of the Miami Winter Series! Competitors came to Miami for sunshine and fast racing around Biscayne Bay; Saturday was a sailor's delight, and Sunday a day to pack up early and enjoy Miami.... [more]

Jules Verne Trophy – Calming things down in the Pacific
IDEC Sport Sailing,
Because of the weather uncertainties, Francis is unable to give an ETA for the third major cape, but for now he is 1185 miles ahead of the record set by Banque Populaire V.... [more]

America's Cup - Ashby confirms that Kiwis will sail AC50 in Auckland
Richard Gladwell, NZ,
Emirates Team New Zealand skipper, Glenn Ashby has confirmed that Emirates Team New Zealand will launch their AC50, in Auckland and will do a substantial build up on the Waitemata harbour before shipping to Bermuda. Speaking on Newstalk ZB, Ashby said the Emirates Team New Zealand AC50 had been assembled and was having hydraulics, daggerboard systems and electronics being installed at present.... [more]

China on the podium at Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race
Al Skinner,
With Perpetual Loyal storming up the Derwent at 20kts, and knocking almost five hours off the race record, sailors in Asia could almost be forgiven for missing an equally remarkable performance just one place behind on overall IRC Handicap. Loyal was overtaken for the “double” by the VO70 Giacomo who managed to navigate the Derwent just before the wind died leaving a bevy of 50 footers struggling... [more]

When whales meet sails
Tyson Bottenus,
Currently the database for marine mammal strikes is very sparse. We are requesting sailors and boaters help to submit information on current and past incidents, however long ago that may be. By giving a location, date, identification if possible, and any other relevant information you can help scientists better understand where marine mammals are at risk for strikes... [more]

Miami Winter Series - Beautiful breeze on Biscayne Bay
Aston Harald,
The Miami Winter Series kicked off with ideal conditions. Rick DeVos leads the event with three solid races. Boats came out blazing today for the start of the 2017 M32 Miami Winter Series. A building 12 knot southwest breeze was all sailors could ask for. PRO Mattias Dahlstrom ran two efficient races before winds picked up to 20+ knots and boats were required to reef for the final race of the day... [more]

Star Mid Winter Championship - Paul Cayard and Josh Revkin in action
Paul Cayard,
Three races were scheduled but only two races were held today on Biscayne Bay before the wind pipped up ahead of a front that will hit Miami tonight. The first race started at 10:30 in 12 knots from the southwest. Josh and I had great speed and got to the first mark second. Alberto Zanetti of Argentina, with Mark Stube crewing, led and held the lead down the first run.... [more]

2017 Youth Match Racing World Championship Notice of Race released
The Notice of Race for the 2017 Youth Match Racing World Championship set to be held out of the Balboa Yacht Club in Newport Beach, California, USA has been released.... [more]

New initiative to nurture a British Vendée Globe winner
Sailing Intelligence,
Launched in 2016, Vendée2020Vision is a new initiative to support British sailors along the path to success in yacht racing's most challenging event - the Vendée Globe, the quadrennial singlehanded non-stop round the world race.... [more]

Leader Le Cléac'h back in Northern Hemisphere
Vendee Globe,
Vendée Globe leader Armel Le Cléac'h has crossed the Equator into the Northern Hemisphere, signalling the start of the drag race through north Atlantic towards the finish line. The French skipper of Banque Populaire VIII passed the famed zero degrees line of latitude at 0023 UTC today after 61 days, 12 hours and 21 minutes at sea in this eighth edition of the solo non-stop round the world race.... [more]

Star Mid Winter Championship - Overall report
Paul Cayard,
Only one race was held today on Biscayne Bay and it was trying. The race committee postponed ashore again today waiting for wind and finally around 13:30 a feeble southeasterly breeze filled in at five knots. The wind died throughout the race to less than one knot at the finish.... [more]

470 class - Double Olympic medalist announces retirement
Yachting New Zealand,
Polly Powrie, half of one of the most successful teams in New Zealand sailing history, has retired from Olympic yachting. Powrie and Jo Aleh, colloquially known as Team Jolly, first teamed up in the women's 470 in 2009 and established an impressive record in their time together, winning gold at the 2012 London Olympics and backing that up with silver at last year's Rio Games.... [more]

Star Mid Winter Championship - Overall report
Paul Cayard,
Josh and I are back at it here in Miami in the Star Mid Winter Championship, four days of racing with up to eight races in total. The first two days races will count for the Bob Levin Memorial trophy.... [more]

IDEC Sport at the International Date Line
IDEC Sport Sailing,
At the start of their 21st day of racing, Francis Joyon and his elite crew are preparing to leave the low-pressure system that propelled them so far at high speed, allowing them to sail for eleven days on the same tack and to set several records in the Southern Ocean.... [more]

Hyde Sails extends partnership with Clipper Round the World Yacht Race
Clipper Ventures,
We are pleased to announce Hyde Sails is returning for the fifth consecutive edition as Official Sail Partner... [more]

Big names, powerful boats highlight Quantum Key West Race Week
Storm Trysail,
Just 11 days remain until the start of the 30th anniversary Quantum Key West Race Week and the fleet of more than 100 boats shows great strength throughout its ranks.... [more]

World Match Racing Tour card to Frenchman Yann Guichard
Yann Guichard came in to last season as a real dark horse. His talent in multihulls was unquestioned but his lack of experience in match racing made many people question his abilities.... [more]

America's Cup - Team NZ has a re-think on launch after Protocol change
Emirates Team NZ and Sail-World,
Emirates Team New Zealand is back hard at work this week as 2017, the year of the 35th America's Cup, kicks off at the frantic pace. As a result of the Protocol amendment, Emirates Team New Zealand, like all of the other teams, face a strategic decision of when to launch their America's Cup Class race boat... [more]

EFG Sailing Arabia - Dee Caffari returns to the Tour for fourth time
Oman Sail,
The women on new German entry DB Schenker have a unique challenge at EFG Sailing Arabia - The Tour 2017: to inspire women from across the GCC to follow in their footsteps.... [more]

America's Cup - Emirates Team NZ win 28 day sailing blackout- Updated
Richard Gladwell,,
In an deal, apparently brokered by the anonymous Arbitration Panel, the Protocol for the 35th America's Cup has been modified to institute a 28 day blackout sailing period, beginning January 9, 2017. The move follows a Hearing by the as yet unnamed Arbitration Panel for the 35th America's Cup, over the removal of the sailing of the America's Cup Qualifiers from New Zealand.... [more]

Another WMRT back-to-back heads for Miami
This Easter will present a perfect opportunity to watch World class sailing if you get yourself out on Biscayne Bay in Miami. The venue will host not only one but two back-to-back World Match Racing Tour events in the M32 high-speed catamaran during April 2017.... [more]

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