Offshore tragedy and AC musings—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond

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07 Jan 2014

Offshore tragedy and AC musings—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond

Billie - Start of 2014 Cape Town to Rio yacht race  Trevor Wilkins

'All of us here aboard [the Volvo Open 70] 'Maserati' are greatly dismayed by the news,' reported skipper Giovanni Soldini, who is also sailing the race. 'Our thoughts are with all of 'Bille's' crewmembers and their families.'

Still, the storm's arrival on the fleet's first night out does beg some questions about the seaworthiness of some of the competing vessels, especially since the storm arrived with plenty of warning. 'Given that the Cape2Rio fleet includes small cruising yachts ill-prepared to cope with such violent ocean storms, it might have been wiser to postpone the start,' said Soldini. 'But it's always easy to evaluate these things in hindsight. On the other hand, this deep depression with winds of 50-60 knots was forecast well in advance of the start.'

Maserati and crew, Giovanni Soldini skipper  .. .

Get the full story, inside this issue, and stay tuned to the website for more information from this tragedy, as it becomes known.

Meanwhile, in America's Cup news, former Olympic medal winner and longtime Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) coach Rod Davis is still searching hard for the reasons that ETNZ ended up loosing the 34th America's Cup, despite the fact that they at one point held what many Cup journalists (myself included) considered to be an insurmountable lead.

'It's still hard to believe that we out-prepared Oracle by that much, ahead of this regatta, and lost the regatta,' said Davis. 'Normally when you out-prepare a team by that much in any sport, you come away with a victory. And it didn't happen that way.'

Newport, 30/06/12
America's Cup Hall of fame
Hanna and Rod Davis
Photo: © Luna Rossa/Carlo Borlenghi  Luna Rossa/Studio Borlenghi ©

While Davis has undoubtedly amassed a fine collection of contributing factors for ETNZ's unbelievable defeat, one reason stands considerably prouder than its cohorts. 'The major mistake that I see in the campaign was letting the world know we were foiling way too early,' said Davis. 'From a Sponsor, Press and Public point of view it was a coup, but for the big picture and winning the Cup, it was a liability'

While it's no secret that Oracle Team USA was playing catch-up in the foiling department, literally deep into the finals, there's also no question that the Americans learned a lot about making an AC72 fly by watching their antipodean rivals. Had ETNZ been able to keep this particular cat in its particular bag for even a month or two longer (back in 2012), there's a reasonable chance that ETNZ's level of preparation would have exceeded even Jimmy Spithill's confidence in his Oracle Team USA crew.

While hindsight is always 20-20, there's no question that the sailors and staff involved with ETNZ for AC34 will likely spend the rest of their lives pondering what they maybe could have done a bit differently during the final weeks of Cup racing. Inside this issue, don't miss the great interview that Sail-World's New Zealand editor, Richard Gladwell, put together with Davis, and stay tuned for the latest news from ETNZ.

29th Annual Rose Bowl Regatta - 29th Annual Rose Bowl Regatta   Rich Roberts

Also inside, be sure to get the latest news from the Rose Bowl Regatta, the Clipper Round the World Race and-for anyone who needs a shot of sunshine and saline-be sure to check out the great image gallery of the 12-foot skiffs in action on New Zealand Worser Bay. Enjoy!

May the four winds blow you safely home,

David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor

Cape Town to Rio Race: Latest update after crew death
Latest update from the Cape Town to Rio Yacht Race, in which a crew member died after an incident as the boats cleared the South African coast: RCYC General Manager, Marcus Reuter, boarded SAS Islandwana last night as they set sail for the fleet to assist yacht Bille.... [more]
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St. Maarten Heineken Regatta - New racing class added
St. Maarten Heineken Regatta,
The 34th St.Maarten Heineken Regatta already has all that a sailing event could offer. A large variety of classes ranging from monohull to bareboat and multihull, no matter what type of boat you enjoy sailing, there is a class for you, including the all fun lottery class that the live aboard, family home/cruiser fits right into.... [more]
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Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Fierce sprint underway
Clipper Ventures,
On Day 5 of Race 7 of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, with just a few miles separating the top three teams and with less than 35 miles until the finish line, the fierce sprint to win the maximum 12 points and secure a coveted podium position is well underway.... [more]
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Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Drama packed week
Marina Thomas,
In the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race 2013-14, with some very tough racing and the equivalent of three Sydney to Hobart races in as many weeks, the 12-strong racing fleet has almost completed half of the round the world ocean odyssey as it races to Brisbane.... [more]
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12' skiff Interdominions: Broken boats and bones in heavy weather slam
Sven Pannell,
New Zealand extended to a commanding lead over Australia in the 2014 12' skiff Interdominions, after a race day packed with drama, incident and very tight racing. Wellington's 'nuking' winds brought chaos and another lead change, as a third competitor puts one hand on one of dinghy sailing's most desirable trophies.... [more]
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Image Gallery: Interdoms 12ft Skiffs low-level flying in Worser Bay
Garrick Cameron,
Garrick Cameron was on hand at the fourth day of racing at the Interdominion 12ft Skiffs at Wellington's Worser Bay... [more]
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OK. Let's have some more wind and wave action
Alex McKinnon,
Photographer, Alex McKinnon, displays her images from the last day of the OK Dinghy Interdominion Championships that were sailed out of the Black Rock Yacht Club. In Melbourne, the Westerly quadrant breeze climbed in to 25 knots and the seaway built with it. In the end, the final race of the day and the regatta was abandoned.... [more]
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Rolex Sydney Hobart - One of the most exciting editions on record
The 69th edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race shaped up early to be one of the most amazing editions on record. The 94-boat fleet featured five 100 foot maxis, three Volvo 70s, seven former race winners and a seriously competitive lineup across the fleet.... [more]
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America's Cup: Rod Davis - still looking for answers after Cup defeat
Richard Gladwell,
Emirates Team NZ coach, Rod Davis, admits he is still a bit stunned, three months after the conclusion of the 34th America's Cup, and the shock loss by the Challenger, after being on Match Point. Part of the post-Cup frustration-relief therapy is to go sailboat racing every chance he can - and by is own admission, that is a lot of sailing at present.... [more]
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Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - 180 mile Ocean Sprint underway
Clipper Ventures,
In the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, the 180 mile Ocean Sprint in Race 7 has commenced and with two valuable points up for grabs, the fleet will do all it can to cross the gate in the fastest time possible as the last few hundred miles to Brisbane, Australia gets underway.... [more]
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29th Annual Rose Bowl Regatta Day 2
Rich Roberts,
The 29th Annual Rose Bowl Regatta was an event when it paid to pick your partner, Georgetown University and Point Loma High School will tell you.... [more]
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2014 Two Gates Pursuit Race - Jim Snook sails to victory
Rick Roberts,
In the 2014 Two Gates Pursuit Race, hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club, Jim Snook of Long Beach Yacht Club sailed his J/120, Jim, to victory Sunday. Snook and his crew (with an average age of 71) passed and fought off 30 other boats, some bigger and faster, throughout the 13.2 nautical mile course that winds its way through and around Long Beach and Los Angeles harbors.... [more]
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Kiwis assert early dominance in 12' skiff Interdominions
Sven Pannell,
In spectacular racing, New Zealand established a convincing early lead on Day 3 of the 54th 12' Skiff Interdominions. A dominant display over three races on a blustery Wellington harbour sees the Kiwis carrying 71 points, clear ahead of the Australians on 123. However, NZ is a recently burned nation not entirely comfortable with calling sailing victories too soon... [more]
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Interdominion 12ft Skiffs: Reach for the Sky - Image gallery
Garrick Cameron,
Garrick Cameron was on hand at the first day of racing at the Interdominion 12ft Skiffs and provided this amazing gallery... [more]
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