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S2H preview, Vendee Globe - Sailing news from North America & beyond


The latest sailing news from Canada and the world.
 26 Dec 2016

S2H preview, Vendee Globe - Sailing news from North America & beyond

Start - 2015 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race  © Rolex / Studio Borlenghi / Gattini
As Americans and Canadians rub the sleep and lingering Christmas from their eyes, our antipodean friends are engaged in Australia's biggest sailboat race of the year, namely the infamous Sydney to Hobart Race (S2H), which began in Sydney Harbor on Boxing Day (December 26). This year, 89 boats from ten different nations signed up for this classic, 630 nautical-mile open-ocean contest that takes the fleet down Oz's southeastern coastline, across Bass Straight and then up the River Derwent to Hobart. While this 35,000' overview sounds simple enough, anyone who has ever sailed this ocean race knows that weather always emerges as the race's most important actor.

While most sailors are familiar with the tragic 1998 S2H, when six sailors and five vessels were lost, plenty of other Hobarts have featured “a bit of a pounding”. Yet throughout these (less-than-sporadic) poundings, Aussie sailors-like all keen yachtsmen the world over-keep their eyes riveted on making their boats sail fast and on being competitive in all conditions.

Matt Allen's turbo-charged TP52, Ichi Ban  © David Brogan

Take skipper Matt Allen (AUS), the owner of a Carkeek 60 and a TP52. Given the medium-term weather forecast, which called for conditions that would favor his “smaller” ride, Allen announced that he would be sailing to Tasmania aboard Ichi Ban in hopes that this year's conditions pull a repeat of the 2015 race, when Paul Clitheroe's Balance (another TP52) took top honors.

Wild Oats Xi and Comanche go to battle in 2014 - Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race  © Rolex/ Kurt Arrigo

For the past two years, North American S2H interests were well-represented by Jim and Kristy Clark's Comanche, a 100-foot VPLP/Verdier-designed super maxi that's skippered by Ken Read and sailed by some of the most experienced offshore sailors on the planet. This year, however, the Clarks, Read and company are instead focusing their efforts on Clark's J-Class yacht, Hanuman, and will not be competing in the Sydney to Hobart, possibly leaving the all-conquering Wild Oats XI to try and set another S2H course record.

Wild Oats XI, shows her downwind form in the Rolex Sydney Hobart race  Carlo Borlenghi / Rolex

Instead, the North American baton has (metaphorically) been passed to Joe Mele and his crew aboard Triple Lindy, Mele's Swan 44 Mark II. While this is Triple Lindy's first Hobart, the New York-based yacht is no stranger to offshore racing and has been a frequent flyer at North American events such as the Newport to Bermuda and the Marblehead to Halifax races, and Mele will be sailing with his dedicated crew that includes more than a few ringers.

“We're happy to be sailing an event where an entire nation is not only behind and enthralled by [it], but they are literally all present and on water following us out from the start,” reported an excited Mele prior to the starting guns sounding.

Triple Lindy competing at the Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean  © Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

Inside, don't miss a pre-Hobart interview with Mele-along with a heck of a lot of other great S2H race coverage-and stay tuned for a post-racing Q&A with the American skipper, once the fleet has reached Hobart.

Meanwhile, in other offshore-sailing news, the frontrunners in the singlehanded, non-stop-around-the-world Vendee Globe Race, Armel Le Cleac'h (FRA), sailing aboard Banque Populaire VIII and Alex Thomson (GBR), sailing aboard Hugo Boss, have both now rounded Cape Horn and are making tracks for the finishing line, which is still some 6,000 nautical miles in front of Banque Populaire VIII's bow.

Hugo Boss at 20kts plus in the Southern Ocean match racing with Banque Populaire VIII  © Alex Thomson / Hugo Boss / Vendée Globe

While these two skippers have commanded the race's pole position virtually from its onset, Thomson suffered a foil-breaking collision with an unidentified floating object weeks ago that has hampered Hugo Boss' ability to realistically hang with Banque Populaire VIII, who now enjoys a lead of (ballpark) 600 nautical miles.

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

Get the full Vendee Globe reports, inside this issue, and be sure to stay tuned to the website for the next several days as the Sydney Hobart drama unfurls. Enjoy!

May the four winds blow you safely home,

David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor

Thomas Coville smashes Solo Round The World Record
Sodebo Ultim,
Securing what is a remarkable time for a solo sailor, he beat the previous record held by Francis Joyon by some eight days 10 hours, 26 minutes and 28 seconds.... [more]

Vendée Globe – Thomson rounds Cape Horn on Christmas Day
Alex Thomson Racing,
Thomson's time to Cape Horn beats the previous record set by Francois Garbart in the 2012-2013 edition by 3d 6hrs 10mins. This is the first time in the race's history that skippers have rounded this landmark by Christmas.... [more]

Rolex Sydney Hobart - Live coverage details of start of record-breaker NZL,
With just over 12 hours to the start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart race, the routing function of Predictwind is projecting that the course record of 1 day, 18hrs will be slashed by around 5hours. The expected Southerly front hitting the race fleet appears to have stayed away and will be replaced by a period of light airs.... [more]

Beau Geste's Christmas wish for Rolex Sydney Hobart
Lisa Ratcliff,
On Christmas Eve morning competitors in this year's Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race received the Bureau of Meteorology's official race forecast, indicating a fast start on Sydney Harbour in north-easterlies likely to strengthen throughout the afternoon as the fleet sprints down the NSW coast. A more traditional Hobart race with a decent upwind slog is the preference for Beau Geste's sailing team... [more]

Vendée Globe – Light winds in Atlantic and gale warning in the Pacific
Vendée Globe,
Hugo Boss is sailing with southerly winds at more than 20 knots towards Cape Horn on starboard tack, the good tack for his remaining foil. In the Atlantic Ocean, the wind is very light for Banque Populaire VIII, but it should only last a few hours.... [more]

Rolex Sydney Hobart Race – Sharpening the Swiss Army Knife
John Curnow,
The stunningly pretty, devastatingly quick, and super well-sailed Reichel-Pugh silver pencil earned herself the nickname, the Swiss Army Knife, quite sometime back now. It paid homage to all the underwater appendages she had on her. Of course, she now has one less, with her version of the DSS being taken off only a little while ago, but there are still more than enough to get the point.... [more]

UBOX-Dongfeng Race Team gears up for Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
Dongfeng Race Team,
Charles Caudrelier, the skipper of Dongfeng Race Team in the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race, is making his final preparations for his first attempt at one of the most famous challenges in world sailing... [more]

World on Water - Paul Westlake's Vendee Globe Half-Way Special
Sail-World NZ,
World on Water talked once again to Paul Westlake the International Sales Manager of North Sails who is over all the major sailing initiatives. First up a discussion on the nine retirements so far from the Vendee Globe Race and why.... [more]

Challenge charts a new course to Hobart
Team Challenge28,
For the first time ever only one Sydney 38 has been entered in the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. Challenge, from the Sandringham Yacht Club, will be proudly flying the flag with an international crew within a fleet of 89 yachts.... [more]

Vendee Globe - Le Cléac'h's Islands route in light airs
Vendee Globe,
Due to the light westerly winds which have been with him since he rounded Cape Horn, the Vendée Globe leader Armel Le Cléac'h has taken a passage close to some of the small islands of Tierra del Fuego and this morning is passing just seven miles to the east of Isla de los Estados (Staten Island from the Dutch Stateneiland).... [more]

Rolex Sydney Hobart Race – Left field, handshakes and buckets Pt.III
John Curnow,
Unobtainium keels, Einsteinium sails and Nobelium challenges ahead for the most radical supermaxi to ever start in the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. The 98-foot CQS started life as the 90-footer known as, Nicorette. She is being campaigned by dual Hobart winner Ludde Ingvall (one of which was with this very vessel in her former life, back in 2004), and his cousin, Sir Michael Hintze.... [more]

2017 Sunfish World Championship NOR released
Sunfish Class,
The 2017 Sunfish Youth World Championship and 2017 Sunfish World Championship Notice of Race are now available.... [more]

Santa may deliver a sleigh ride for yachts in Rolex Sydney Hobart Race
Rob Mundle,
Santa looks destined to make a late delivery to the big guns in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race starting Boxing Day: a rapid and record-breaking downwind sleigh ride to Hobart.... [more]

Rolex Sydney Hobart Race - 89 yachts poised for great journey south
Quinag Communication,
For one of the 89 crews primed to embark on this most illustrious of offshore sailing challenges, the dream of lifting the historic Tattersall's Cup and receiving a coveted Rolex timepiece, will shortly become reality.... [more]

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Southerly still the big question
Jim Gale,
Skippers and navigators of the 89 yachts competing in the 2016 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race have received their Christmas Eve weather briefing from the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia this morning. BOM's Jane Golding has told them the forecasts produced by the various models that meteorologists use, have been pretty consistent in recent days... [more]

Clipper Events team ready to take on Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
Clipper Round the World,
For many of us Boxing Day brings the enjoyment of turkey leftovers and shopping sales but for almost one hundred entries, including Clipper Events' CV5, it brings one of the world's ultimate blue water classics, and staple of our previous two Clipper Race editions, the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race (RSHYR).... [more]

Vendee Globe - No respite for Didac Costa
Vendee Globe,
Catalan sailor Didac Costa is in nineteenth place 6940 miles from the leader, currently less than ten miles behind Pieter Heerema in terms of distance to the finish, he is approaching the longitude of Cape Leeuwin. Conditions have not been simple, as he explains in his message today.... [more]

Wild Oats XI Training Day - VIDEO
Crosbie Lorimer,
As your Christmas Day preparations get into full swing, chances are you won't have much time to get into the mood for the big race to Hobart on Boxing Day. So here's a pacey one minute video we've compiled from a training day that we shot aboard Wild Oats XI this time last year in a solid nor'easter, shortly after her major rebuild was completed. Merry Christmas to all from Crosbie and Dale... [more]

Vendée Globe – Le Cléac'h at the horn, Thomson in the cooler
Vendée Globe,
The French skipper, who continues to exhibit his absolutely single minded determination had the briefest of smiles and a salutary champagne moment as he passed seven miles south of the legendary rocky island, leaving the Big South carrying a lead of over 760 miles ahead of second placed Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss), the sole British skipper in the race.... [more]

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Another TP52 year
Jim Gale,
Rolex Sydney Hobart skipper Matt Allen announced today he will leave his more comfortable 60 foot, purpose-built for the race Carkeek 60 at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia dock, choosing to be flung around on his TP52, Ichi Ban, on Boxing Day.... [more]

Rolex Sydney Hobart Race – The Lazarette Pt II
John Curnow,
Well the joy of The Lazarette Pt I was in finding all those extra gems that we all know lie in there somewhere. So the very first thing is to say thank you to all of you who corresponded, read, phoned and emailed. She's a big old hold, our lazarette, what with all the boats and crews contained therein, being as diverse, varied, colourful and different as the world is.... [more]

IM20CA brought 2016 World Ranking challenge to a dramatic end
Melges 20,
With fifteen events completed spanning Asia, Europe and North America, the International Melges 20 Class presents a 2016 World Ranking trifecta.... [more]

Rolex Sydney Hobart Race – Left field, handshakes and buckets Pt. II
John Curnow,
The 100-foot experiment? Four supermaxis are contesting the J.H. Illingworth Trophy for Line Honours in this year's 628 nautical mile dash from Sydney to Hobart. The outright favourite is once again the Oatley family's Wild Oats XI. WOXI has taken line honours seven times and Mark Richards and his seasoned crew is looking for another win after a split mainsail caused them to abandon last year... [more]

World Match Racing Tour announces 2017 World Championship season
The 2017 season will include one World Championship Final, six World Championship level events and eighteen World Tour level events.... [more]

CQS Media Launch and on water images by Beth Morley
John Curnow,
The talented Beth Morley was at the CQS Media Launch and also out on Sydney Harbour for the CQS training session today. Here are her images from Birkenhead Point Marina and also the chase boat. Enjoy... [more]

Rolex Sydney Hobart Race – Left field, handshakes and buckets
John Curnow,
Dual Hobart Line Honours winner, Ludde Ingvall, and his billionaire cousin, Sir Michael Hintze, are tilting at the windmill in the 72nd Rolex Sydney Hobart Race. They started on a handshake watching the famous Boxing Day start two years ago, and now for the 2016 race, they have the most radical supermaxi in the event's history.... [more]

A record breaking run is in the wind for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race
Rob Mundle,
While the weather forecast for the start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart on Boxing Day suggests it will be “a typical Hobart”, where fast downwind will be brought to an abrupt halt by a stiff southerly change, the bigger picture leaves little doubt supermaxi Wild Oats XI's race record time for the 628 nautical mile classic could be lowered by some three hours, possibly more.... [more]

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Looks like a quick race this year
Jim Gale,
A long range weather forecast predicts a fast, possibly record breaking 2016 Rolex Sydney Hobart, according to the Bureau of Meteorology's Jane Golding, Manager, Weather Services NSW.... [more]

Rolex Sydney Hobart Race – The Lazarette Pt I
John Curnow,
You never no what you find when you go digging down in a boat's lazarette. You'll also never what you'll find out until you ask! Often, the bigger the boat, the more gear and sometimes the odd gem really does appear. The more cruisy a boat is, the more likely you are to find a plethora of items, akin to Grandpa's shed out the back.... [more]

Vendée Globe – Day 46 – Rookies' regrets, warriors' wars
Vendée Globe,
On Sunday afternoon it was the 35 year old race first timer Thomas Ruyant who was forced to abandon his race after 42 days while lying in eighth place. His seamanship in bringing his badly broken IMOCA, which threatened to break up and sink at any minute, 220 miles through some horrendous weather conditions, writes him into the race's history books.... [more]

Team Zain to put big smiles on crew faces in 2017 EFG Sailing Arabia
Oman Sail,
So, in 2017 the team, unchanged from last year with French skipper Cedric Pouligny and navigator Gerald Veniard back in control, will travel to Muscat early ahead of the start and devote as much time as possible to setting their boat up for the best possible performance.... [more]

2017 Delta Lloyd Regatta - Registration is open-
Delta Lloyd Regatta,
The registration for the 2017 Delta Lloyd Regatta is open. We are looking forward welcoming world class sailors again in Medemblik, the Netherlands.... [more]

USA takes three medals at 2016 Youth Sailing World Championship
Will Ricketson,
US Sailing's 13-member 2016 Youth Sailing World Championship Team (YWT) secured three medals at the world's premier youth regatta, including gold in the boy's 420, silver in the Nacra 15 open multihull, and bronze in the boy's Laser Radial.... [more]

Dan Oatley - from bridge of Queen Mary 2 to bilge of Wild Oats XI
Rob Mundle,
After the unique experience of being on the bridge of the 152,000 tonne cruise liner, Queen Mary 2, and guiding her out of New York Harbour, Dan Oatley's life is about to go to another extreme: being in the wet and water-logged “sewer” of the 28 tonne supermaxi, Wild Oats XI, for the Rolex Sydney Hobart race.... [more]

Vendee Globe - Doyle Stratis sails keeping Alex Thomson in race
Ellie Brade,
It has been 43 days since the Vendee Globe 2016/2017 began and Alex Thomson on Hugo Boss, powered by Doyle Stratis, has performed exceptionally well to date. Currently lying in second place after an impressive start that saw him lead for a large percentage and take out no less than three new race records, Thomson is now more than half way around the world and chasing first place.... [more]

Vendee Globe - Thomas Ruyant arrives safely in New Zealand
Richard Gladwell, NZ,
Thomas Ruyant has arrived in the southern New Zealand port of Bluff after a tense 280nm trip from the Southern Ocean. He was met last night NZT by a team from Coastguard Southern with vital pumps to keep the Vendee Globe entrant Le Souffle du Nord afloat for the final 30nm into the Port of Bluff.... [more]

Rolex Sydney Hobart Race – Canines of the Sea
John Curnow,
There is a contrast that is as beguiling as it is stark. On paper they may appear as if to be from different planets, and yet there is incredible commonality. One could be said to even take the form of the very canine used to describe her, Greyhound. The other certainly has the pace of that breed, but her form would far more resemble that of a Rhodesian Ridgeback.... [more]

A QandA with Joe Mele of Triple Lindy about the 2016 Sydney Hobart Race
David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor,
Ninety boats have entered this year's Sydney to Hobart Race, but only one, Triple Lindy (USA 93310), skipper Joe Mele's Swan 44 from New York, will be flying the proud colors of Old Glory. I caught up with Mele ahead of the race to get his impressions of the event as a first-time contestant, and to learn more about his road to Hobart.... [more]

Italians lift Nations Trophy to close Aon Youth Worlds
Richard Aspland - World Sailing,
Master of ceremonies, and affectionately known as the 'voice of yachting', Pete Montgomery began proceedings at the Auckland University of Technology City Campus by welcoming the 389 sailors from 65 nations, coaches and guests.... [more]

Ian Williams takes World Match Racing Tour card number four
At the start of last season many people were in doubt over the future success of six-time match racing World Champion Ian Williams with the change in format and boats. He proved everyone wrong by winning the first multihull event... [more]

Vendee Globe – Thomson sails past the most remote place on Earth
Alex Thomson Racing,
Point Nemo, also known as the oceanic pole of inaccessibility, is the farthest point from land on our planet. Located within the Southern Pacific ocean between New Zealand and South America, the nearest landmass is 1,670 miles away.... [more]

Nanny Cay Round Tortola Race returns to BVI Sailing Festival
BVI Spring Regatta,
On December 12th Nanny Cay Resort and Marina opened a new Outer Marina that will provide more slips for deeper draft race boats. Currently, 42 slips are operational along the mangrove-lined shore, with the last 78 slips expected to be in place by August 2017.... [more]

Double gold for British Team at AON Youth Sailing World Championships
Lindsey Bell / RYA,
Windsurfer Emma Wilson wrapped up the RS:X Girls crown with a day to spare on Monday before Crispin Beaumont and Tom Darling sealed a dramatic victory in 29er Boys event on the final day of racing today... [more]

Harken Grinder Challenge all set as part of Hobart preparations
John Curnow,
On Wednesday December 21, Olympians and sailors step up for the Harken Grinder Challenge as part of preparations for the upcoming Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. It might all be a bit of fun, but the grinders, or pumps, are the mechanical devices that rotate the winches that various ropes go around to control the sails. The larger the boat, the larger the sails, and they can weigh 200kg.... [more]

Rolex Sydney Hobart Race - That Viking spirit brings Swedes to Sydney
Jim Gale,
A somewhat unfocused 2015 racing season in Sweden is the reason Jonas Grander bought a boat he'd never seen in Sydney, and is about to embark on his first Rolex Sydney Hobart.... [more]

Fa 60 miles from the Pacific, Le Cléac'h 1300 miles from Cape Horn
Vendee Globe,
At 0500hrs UTC this morning French solo skipper Thomas Ruyant was less than eight miles from the shelter of New Zealand's south island coast having nursed his badly damaged IMOCA over two hundred miles, as the boat threatened to split in two at any moment.... [more]

Esctasy and despair at Aon Youth World Sailing Championships
Richard Aspland,
Racing came to a thrilling climax in Auckland, New Zealand as all medals were confirmed in the finale of the 2016 Aon Youth World Sailing Championships.... [more]

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