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14 Jan 2013

Offshore, inshore and onshore—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond

Applications are open for one of the great media opportunities in sport  Volvo Ocean Race ©
The newly formed Sailing Yacht Research Foundation held an interesting 'meeting of the minds' of high-performance sailing this weekend at the Stamford Yacht Club in Stamford Connecticut. While I was unable to attend due to geographic constraints (I live in Seattle), I was fortunate enough to be able to send a proxy in my stead (thanks, Dad!). According to my East Coast eyes and ears, the presentation—which featured key-note speakers such as world-class navigators Stan Honey and Peter Isler, Grand Prix yacht designer Jim Teeters and veteran high-performance racer (and longtime sailmaker) Steve Benjamin—offered a fascinating glimpse into how technology can meld with hands-on sailing to produce better boats, more accurate VPP systems, better rating rules and even more accurate navigation. Stay tuned for more from this event, as the week continues.


Farr 400 Team Premier - Rolex Big Boat Series 2011  © Rolex/Daniel Forster



And speaking of high-performance racing, the Farr 400 class has announced that five boats will be racing at Key West Race Week (January 20 – 25) as part of the greater High Performance Class. 'We really do not know what to expect,' said Jesper Banks, himself a double Olympic Gold medalist as well as skipper of the Farr 400, 'Santa'. 'We really are still getting to grips with how to sail the boat. We have a great crew, very experienced and we are confident we will get it to work together, but we are still relatively new to it. So far we have done two real events with the boat and one was in 30 knots of breeze, but we are really looking forward to measuring up against the other boats. The key for us will be to pick it up quickly and execute well.'


And in ocean-racing circles, the Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) has put out the call for 'Onboard Reporters' for the 2014/2015 race. The wording is important here because the last two editions of the VOR required each team to carry a Media Crew Member, or MCM, who was responsible for producing onboard footage and reportage, but who was restricted from helping to physically sail the boat. In reality, MCMs spent a lot of their time cooking and cleaning, so as to help pull their own weigh. From the sounds of the VOR's call for Onboard Reporters, which specifically calls-out the fact that sailing experience isn't necessary, the new role will be vastly different from that of the MCMs.


'We're starting the hunt for proven media professionals to tell the real story of this extraordinary race,' said the VOR's Director of Communications, Jon Bramley. 'We need people who can be at the top of their game despite conditions that test even the world's best professional sailors to the core. It's one of the toughest jobs in journalism but also one of the best—and we're looking for outstanding candidates to match.' If you think you've got the gumption to tough it out as an Onboard Reporter, be sure to check out the full job description, inside this issue.


Francois Gabart onboard Macif - 2012 Vendee Globe  © François Gabart / MACIF



Meanwhile, in the nonstop-around-the-world-alone-and-unassisted Vendee Globe Race, race leader Francois Gabart ('Macif') continues to pull ahead of Armel Le Cléac'h (Banque Populaire), extending his lead (at the time of this writing) to more than 250 miles. This is impressive, give that Gabart and Le Cléach were in lockstep for weeks, their mastheads separated by a mere few miles. Also interesting is the tug-of-war for third place that's been taking place between third-placed Jean-Pierre Dick ('Virbac-Paprec 3') and fourth-placed Alex Thomson ('Hugo Boss'), as the two skippers continue to trade tactical fisticuffs as they punch northward into the South Atlantic.


Jean-Pierre Dick, Virbac Paprec 3 - 2012 Vendee Globe  © Jean-Pierre Dick / Paprec Virbac / Vendée Globe



'I'm doing good in terms of health and physically,' reported Dick, who like all the Vendee skippers is now entering his tenth week at sea. 'I'm tired, of course, I've used a lot of mental energy [and] I'm not as reactive as I was at the start. I hit a lot of things on board, I have bruises, but I didn't get injured, and apparently, neither did the other skippers. It's almost a surprise because we get shaken a lot, but I guess we've all been careful. Alex is not having great wind, so I guess I'll be able to go faster than him. Armel is sailing faster than me, though, so I need to put an end to that situation. I think we'll be able to catch up a bit in the near future. Right now the gaps are quite big.' Get the full Vendee Globe report, inside.


Moth Nationals 2013 - ZHIK, CST Composites 2013 Australian Moth Championships  Kingsley Forbes-Smith



Also inside, check out the photo reports of go-fast teams training in Auckland, New Zealand aboard their 18-foot skiffs for the upcoming JJ Giltinan Trophy, don't miss the wrap-up report from the Australian Moth Championship, where Peter Burling (a Kiwi Silver medalist at the London Olympics 2012) took top honors amongst a star-studded fleet, and finally, be sure to check out the latest edition of 'America's Cup Discovered'. Enjoy!


May the four winds blow you safely home,


David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor



New York-San Francisco - Maserati crosses equator after nine days
Record New York-San Francisco,
Maserati has already crossed the equator and is now sailing in the Southern Hemisphere towards the challenging Cape Horn route after nine days and 45 minutes since leaving the Big Apple for the record-breaking New York-San Francisco attempt. ... [more]
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New sanctioning body formed to manage busy Caribbean race calendar
Alison Sly-Adams,
The Caribbean Sailing Association has created a new Regatta Sanctioning Committee with the aim to manage and supervise the scheduling of upcoming national and international events in the very busy Caribbean race calendar for 2013.... [more]
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Vendee Globe - Fatigue taking a toll on mind, body and soul + Video
Vendee Globe,
In the Vendee Globe, following nine weeks at sea, alone, the fatigue of the race is begin to toll on the mind, body and soul of the skippers. The tiredness can be heard in their voices. The bodies are beginning to fail. Arnaud Bossières (Akena Verandas) is suffering from salt blisters all over his hands and is in a lot of pain.... [more]
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Zhik, CST Composites Australian Moth Championship - Burling victorious
Tony Outteridge,
Saturday was the final day of racing at the 013 Australian Moth Nationals and as predicted, the weather was not good (stinking hot and no wind). Luckily, the race committee's decision to run four races on both Thursday and Friday meant that only one final race needed to be sailed.... [more]
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Images of the Waitemata: 18ft skiffs training for the JJ Giltinan
Richard Gladwell,
Those who frequent the Auckland waterfront, will have noticed the steady growth of the Auckland 18ft skiff fleet over the past couple of years. The Auckland Championships are next weekend. We caught these images from Sunday's practice sessions.... [more]
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America's Cup Discovered: Episode 72 - Passion to Excel
ACM,
This week on America's Cup Discovered Cup veteran and America's Cup World Series commentator Gary Jobson take us on a journey through the oldest trophy in sport. Features a lot of historical footage of previous America's Cups including J-Boats and the 12 Metre era, plus the sailors and characters of that era.... [more]
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Vendee Globe – Macif's Gabart makes furious push towards finish
Vendee Globe,
The Vendee Globe race has reached its ninth Sunday since the round-the-world journey for these sailors began way back in November 2012. Macif's Francois Gabart continued to pad his lead heading into final stretches of the race, leading Banque Populaire's skipper Armel Le Cleac'h by 252.2 miles and Virbac Paprec 3 skipper Jean Pierre Dick by 605.1 miles.... [more]
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Vendee Globe - Of jury decisions and ice cream cravings + Video
Vendee Globe,
In this morning's Vendee Globe report, we indicated that Dominique Wavre (Mirabaud) appeared to be sailing an unorthodox route. This afternoon, we received this update from his team. 'I was on the phone with Michèle (the wife of Dominique Wavre (Mirabaud), there was a 40-knot wind and suddenly, the autopilot alarm went off! It was brutal, the yacht tacked suddenly and it tilted at 90 degrees.... [more]
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Etchells Australian Championships - Black flag drama continues
Bernie Kaaks,
Despite a black flag penalty in the second of the three races run today at the Etchells Australian Championship, The Croc sailed by Michael Manford, Dean McAullay and Nicholas Gray, tightened its grip on the 2013 National title with a third and a fourth place in the two races she finished.... [more]
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Australian Moth Championships - Moths flying everywhere in Wangi
Kingsley Forbes-Smith,
The Australian Moth Championship 2013 has showcased some of the best racing for the start of the Australian summer sailing season. With speed comes excitement and (sometimes) failure. With some very experienced sailors fighting out at the top, there is also plenty of space for others to go fast and enjoy the ride.... [more]
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Vendee Globe - Lead extended in Atlantic battle + Video
Vendee Globe,
In the Vendee Globe, around 900 miles away from the duelling duos at the front of the fleet - Friday night in Rio De Janeiro breathes party, fiesta, mojitos and caipirinha. But on the ocean a ferociously intense battle has begun, with skippers electing tactical choices, which vie for bold strategic positions.... [more]
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Sir Robin Knox-Johnston to unveil new Clipper 70 in London
Ruth Harrington,
Some 45 years since he embarked on his record breaking attempt to become the first man to sail solo non-stop around the world, legendary yachtsman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston will reveal the latest phase in the development of his famous Clipper Round the World Yacht Race in London today (Friday).... [more]
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Farr 400 fleet to race at Quantum Key West 2013 Regatta
Victoria Low,
Azure blue racing waters that are often complemented by the reliable winds of Key West, Florida, will form the arena for the first skirmish of the 2013 season for the Farr 400 fleet, which will race within the new High Performance Class at Quantum Key West 2013 Regatta January 20-25 2013.... [more]
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Vendee Globe - Thomson snags third, Wavre under threat
Vendee Globe,
In the Vendee Globe, the weekend is almost upon us and for the twelve sailors still in the race, they are not thinking about donning their glad rags, or disco dancing, but tacks, gybes and sail trimming. Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) strengthened his hold on his third place. Yesterday, ahead of the game, François Gabart (Macif) tacked first followed, seven hours later, by Armel Le Cléac'h.... [more]
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Volvo Ocean Race puts out call for Onboard Reporters for 2014 event
Volvo Ocean Race,
The Volvo Ocean Race has launched the search for a team of Onboard Reporters capable of taking the event's unique media programme to the next level. For the third consecutive edition, each team taking part in sailing's premier offshore race will have on board an embedded multimedia reporter, formerly known as an MCM.... [more]
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