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28 May 2012

AMA on Orcas Island—Sailing News from the U.S. and Beyond

Local children race remote controlled boats in the race village - Extreme Saling Series Act 2  Lloyd Images ©
Memorial Day Weekend is the traditional start to the American summer-racing calendar, as celebrated by three classic distance races: the Block Island Race, which starts off of Stamford, CT; the Figawi Race, which starts in Hyannis, MA and the Swiftsure International Yacht Race, which starts in Victoria, British Columbia, and which is my personal favorite of the lot (the scenery is impossible to beat, even if the breeze is sometimes 'unpredictable'). Sailors all over the U.S. are reliving the weekend's glorious spinnaker sets, the starry-starry night watches and the joys of simply racing a small boat through the inky dark of adventure. Sadly, I'm not one of them as a 'Ream and Run' (the surgeon's term, not mine) artificial-shoulder surgery (the sins of a life spent trimming symmetrical spinnaker poles and spending WAY too much time rock climbing at the Gunks) added three-plus pounds of titanium and stainless steel to my right shoulder and has sidelined me for the entire sailing season.

Or so I thought.

Instead of racing this weekend, my wife and I travelled to nearby Orcas Island, in Washington's glorious San Juan Islands to unwind and visit friends. While the rest of our gang was playing on a pristine mountain lake on SUPs and in kayaks, my dear friend—who just happens to be a world-class sailor—magically produced a high-performance AC-class remote-controlled sailboat. A light, shifty breeze with a few pronounced bends made for an incredibly entertaining afternoon of tacking, gybing and learning to work the foils on this quick little craft that at times gave my wife a run for her money on the SUP.

For those familiar with RC sailing, you know the joys. For the uninitiated, RC sailing is a seriously fun and cerebral challenge that's both joyous and humbling, often simultaneously. For me, the strangest part was the 'remote' nature—not feeling the breeze on my ears, or being able to feel boat movement/trim and translate it to wind/wave patterns—but this was quickly overcome by venturing into the windy, steady part of the lake and running endless windward-leewards...probably not too unlike what plenty of physically capable readers spent their weekends doing.

The best part? My surgeon, a truly 'challenging' man, can't complain. True, I went sailing, but—dear reader—is it really going Against Medical Advice (AMA) if ones feet never left terra firma? I'll argue no, and since my bone cutter doesn't read this newsletter, there's little risk of getting busted. After all, it was Memorial Day Weekend and there was sailing to be done. In my family, there is no other way to celebrate the weekend, its national significance, or the start of a wonderful sailing season, and I was happy to keep the tradition alive, albeit in a scaled-down, semi-AMA way. And fortunately, my parents took my Dad's J/44 out for a spin on the East Coast, so order and balance were maintained. [Deep sigh of relief and a big THANK YOU to my friend for lending me his remote racer.]

Krystal Weir, Laser Radial - Delta Lloyd Regatta 2012  Thom Touw ©

Meanwhile, on the international stage, there are plenty of great real-sailing reports to read in this issue. In addition to the Big Three distance races (Swiftsure, Block Island and Figawi), the Atlantic Cup 2012 featured around-the-buoy racing on Class 40s on Newport's Narragansett Bay; the Delta Lloyd Regatta has kicked off in Medemblik, Holland, giving One Design sailors a serious pre-Olympic stage; the World Match Racing Tour is taking place on Germany's Lake Constance; the Global Ocean Race is on its final leg, taking the fleet from Charleston, South Carolina to Les Sables d'Olonne, France, and—finally—the Volvo Ocean Race fleet continues to battle a high-pressure system that (at the time of this writing) was preventing some teams from tapping into the breeze train that will hopefully carry them to Lisbon, Portugal. Get the full scoops inside, enjoy the long weekend of sailing, and—should you ever meet my shoulder surgeon—please don't blow my AMA cover!
Kelvin Harrap enjoying some light-air downtime on the bow. (Credit: Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race)   Amory Ross/Puma Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race©

May the four winds blow you safely home,

David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor

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A little under 10 years ago, I first started seeing some sensationally cool sailing gear that was adorned with this fantastic Z. It certainly reminded me of Zorro slashing his moniker into all and sundry and apart from looking cool, the gear seemed to be very much fit for purpose.... [more]
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Farr 40 East Coast Championship - Groovederci emerges victorious
Tink Chambers,
The winner of the 2012 Farr 40 East Coast Championship has been decided. As Groovederci pulled into the docks at Bert Jabin's Yacht Yard, crew members from the other Farr 40 programs stopped what they were doing, stood and applauded. It was a testament to how popular owner John Demourkas has become within the class.... [more]
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Robert Deaves,
The 2012 Finn World Masters is now under way amid soaring temperatures and brilliant blue skies in Pwllheli North Wales following a month of terrible weather across the UK. The 131 Masters from 23 countries who are gathered in Pwllheli just cannot believe their good fortune.... [more]
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Mark Chisnell,
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Match Race Germany - Kiwis victorious in final flight sudden-death
Leigh Ireland,
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The Brand is Zhik! Part two
John Curnow Sail-World.com,
So we've just had what amounts to the proverbial ad break with our story on how we, the world, got to Zhik (pronounced Z i i K, you might remember). In this, Part Two of The Brand is Zhik, we'll have a look at what's emerging right now and then what is to next install for us all.... [more]
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Volvo Ocean Race - Groupama contain attacks from Telefónica
Franck Cammas,
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RC44 Championship Tour heads to Austria
Jo Grindley,
RC44 Championship Tour 2012 next stop is the RC44 Austria Cup which is being held on Lake Traunsee from 30th May until 2nd June. It was the 2011 RC44 Austria Cup that saw the Russian Team Nika owned by Vladimir Prosikhin and Aleph Sailing Team (FRA), make their RC44 Tour debuts. Meanwhile, for Chris Bake's Team Aqua (GBR) last season's Lake Traunsee event saw them compete for the first time... [more]
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Clipper Round the World Race - Ninth victory for Gold Coast Australia
Isabel Hokken,
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Atlantic Cup 2012 Inshore Series - GryphonSolo2 excels on day 1
Joe Harris,
Atlantic Cup 2012, presented by 11th Hour Racing, final leg of the three stage race is underway. Joe Harris onboard GryphonSolo2 provides a progress update: The GryphonSolo2 team is preparing for the start today of the inshore series here in foggy Newport... [more]
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Volvo Ocean Race - Anything's possible onboard Puma's Mar Mostro
Amory Ross,
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Volvo Ocean Race: Sanya's bold move might have paid big dividend
Sail-World and Volvo Ocean Race,
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Volvo Ocean Race: Andrew Cape - 'The big decider will be today'
Sail-World and Volvo Ocean Race,
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing clawed their way back into the Leg 7 lead on Saturday as the six-boat Volvo Ocean Race fleet fought to position themselves for what could be a leg deciding 24 hours, with light winds from a high pressure system slowing them down. By 1300 UTC, Abu Dhbai had pulled out a 20-nautical mile lead which skipper Ian Walker put down to smart thinking from navigator Jules Salter.... [more]
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Global Ocean Race - Sail repairs continue for Nick Leggatt
Oliver Dewar,
Global Ocean Race fleet leaders Conrad Colman and Scott Cavanough have made a breakaway with Class40 Cessna Citation as they close into 340 miles of the bluQube Scoring Gate at 49W and in third place, the South Africans on Phesheya-Racing have made good gains following a bold move north and have been polling solid speeds making the best of the light headwinds and playing the Gulf Stream current.... [more]
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Volvo Ocean Race - Groupama crew prepare for drag race
Franck Cammas,
Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 team Groupama 4 are still on a beat in the area surrounding Newfoundland's Grand Bankson on the sixth day of racing in leg seven. Groupama has got back in contact with the head of the fleet during the numerous tack changes over the past 24 hours.... [more]
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Less than a week to the Susan Hood Trophy Race
Guy Perrin,
A tradition at the Port Credit Yacht Club since the mid-fifties, the Susan Hood Trophy Race is usually known as the beginning of the offshore racing season at the western end of Lake Ontario. For 2011, racers' enthusiasm for the event appears to be taking us back to it's glory days with nearly 100 yachts registered and eager to get to the start line.... [more]
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Volvo Ocean Race - Puma's Mar Mostro slams upwind + Video
Amory Ross,
Volvo Ocean Race, Day 6 of Leg 7. Amory Ross, MCM for Puma Ocean Racing powered by Berg, reports on the crew's progress:... [more]
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Farr 40 East Coast Championship - Enfant Terrible takes the lead
Tink Chambers,
In the Farr 40 East Coast Championship, Italian Alberto Rossi and his crew on Enfant Terrible turned in an outstanding 1-2 performance to take the lead on day two. If his lead holds for the remaining two days of the event, it would help solidify his current position at the top of the standings in the four-event Farr 40 US Circuit leading into this year's Rolex Farr 40 World Championship... [more]
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America's Cup: Oracle Racing move wingsail for shipping to USA
Richard Gladwell,
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Crewed Farallones preliminary findings released by US Sailing
Jake Fish,
A US Sailing Independent Review Panel has now released a set of preliminary findings and recommendations from the research conducted on the 2012 Crewed Farallones Race that resulted in the deaths of five sailors from sailboat, Low Speed Chase, on April 14, 2012.... [more]
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