In terms of sheer speed, power and adrenaline in a (relatively) simple package, it's virtually impossible to beat the 18-foot skiff. And in terms of sailing venues, it's downright impossible to beat San Francisco Bay when it comes to consistently delivering the goods, both in terms of boisterous breeze and surfing-friendly seas. Add the two and you quickly arrive at a regatta, where even the top sailors are spending time swimming.
'That's what makes them fun to sail,' said San Francisco local Howie Hamlin about racing 18s on the Bay. Hamlin, it should be noted, is currently sitting in second place in the 18-foot Skiff International Regatta, along with crewmembers Matt Noble and Paul Allen, amongst a leader board that's chockablock full of Aussie accents. But, given the Bay's storied reputation for flipping boats, as well as the series' six remaining races, the podium is far from decided. Stay tuned for more as it turns up (pun intended).
In offshore sailing circles, Francis Joyon flipped his maxi trimaran, IDEC, some fifty miles off of Newport, Rhode Island during an ill-fated east-west solo Transatlantic record attempt. Joyon had passed the starting point, off of Ambrose Light, just after 0800 hours and had been sailing in what has been described as wildly variable conditions when his ride suddenly ended, suddenly, some seven hours after starting. Joyon was thankfully unharmed but he too spent some time swimming before getting inside IDEC via an escape hatch. The French soloist is now working with tugboat operators to determine how to best right IDEC. More inside.
Laser Heavy Weather Slalom 2011 - Laser Heavy Weather Slalom 2011 Ultimate Yacht Shots 2011
In keeping with our themes of San Francisco and wiping out— dinghy sailors (and reformed Laser sailors) should pay special attention to the great wrap-up coverage from the St. Francis Yacht Club's 2011 Heavy Weather Slalom event. As the event's name implies, the opportunity for pitch poling, death rolling or even free falling was high. 'I needed to gybe, I got a huge puff and was just not going to make the gybe,' reported Scott Ferguson, a veteran the fleet's most impressive catapult ride. 'Making the gybe is the difference between staying in the race - or not! It was a lot of fun.' Be sure to check out the report and the fantastic wipeout video footage, in this issue.
And because sailing is supposed to be about lift—not lifejackets—be sure to check out Erik Simonson and Christophe Favreau's image galleries from the 18-foot Skiff International Regatta. While the spray is flying, all masts are (mostly) vertical...at least in these frames.
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