Sail-World Asia: MOB, seasick VOR sailors, and the Rolex China Sea Race (but not in that order)

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 04 Apr 2014

Nobody ever said the Volvo Ocean Race is easy – or even the training. There's a refreshingly honest report here from the Chinese Dongfeng Team who set out from Sanya, Hainan, 11 days ago to sail to Auckland, New Zealand, by way of a training session for the offshore newbies on board. It would be a grand thing if more reports out of China were this ‘straight', instead of the usual fare we are dealt about how everything is the biggest, best, glitziest, most wonderful and altogether fantastic event in the world. This goes for races, regattas, and boat shows, and 90% of it is pure guff.

Every sailor worth his salty socks has a tale to tell, otherwise they'd always be buying their own drinks at the bar. I was plum scared at the start of my first ocean crossing – a delivery of a 38' race boat from Manila to Hong Kong in the aftermath of a China Sea Race. On the first night we blew out the main (which already had three reefs in it), and I remember lashing the end of the boom to the toenail while throwing up, throwing up, and then throwing up some more. Heaven knows what the windspeed was. A lot.

Next morning - and things all look better in daylight - the wind was still blowing old boots, and the swell at least as high as the mast. One moment we were in the Slough of Despond, and moments later we were Kings of the Ocean as a large lump of the South China Sea surged through underneath us. After a couple of hours of this, and the gradually dawning realisation that a 38' boat floated quite happily in these conditions, and that the swell, although huge, was not breaking on top of us... and all of a sudden life on watch became a competition to better the top speed of the previous helmsman. Bear away a shade as the swell came under the boat, start surfing, and we were hitting bursts of 16 and 18kts with just a storm trysail and a blast reacher. Huge fun, and not at all scary. It was 1988.

Now spare a thought for the crewman who went overboard from one of the Clipper boats in mid-Pacific, 2,000nm from land. He was in the water for 90 minutes, and (presumably) pretty damn scared before the boat found him and fished him out of the water. This was not South-Pacific-islands-tropical-idyll water, mind; this was the North Pacific on the great circle route from Japan up-and-over heading for the USA. Damn cold.

Sail-World will be heading down to Singapore next week for the Asia Pacific Superyacht Conference and the Singapore Yacht Show, from whence we look forward to bringing you bulletins of a more comfortable sort. My friend Noah also says it'll be good to get away from Hong Kong for a few days before the whole place turns into a paddy field, and the perennial shortage of moorings is solved by everyone parking their boats in the middle of Central.

Guy Nowell, SW Asia Editor

Rolex China Sea Race 2014 - big fleet raring to go
IRC Overall should provide a riveting competition, with the fleet containing four skippers who are former winners of the China Sea Race Trophy – Neil Pryde on Hi Fi (1988, 2010), Jonathan Mahony on Zanzibar (2012), Ernesto Echauz on Standard Insurance Centennial (1998, 2008) and Sam Chan on FreeFire (2004) but each division offers its own compelling microcosm of skill, tactics and boat set-up.... [more]
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Clipper Race: MOB survivor Andrew Taylor interview
Laura Kitching, Practical Boat Owner,
The 46-year-old Londoner Andrew Taylor was rescued from the Pacific Ocean after a 90-minute ordeal having fallen overboard during the Clipper 2013-14 Round the World Yacht Race. Derry~Londonderry~Doire crew member, Andrew Taylor, aged 46, from London went over the side on Monday in rough weather around 2,600 miles from land. He was recovered 90 minutes later after his crew managed to locate him an... [more]
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Dongfeng VOR trainees take a licking and a wake-up call
Dongfeng Race Team,
Fear of the unknown is one thing and being scared of what you know is another! For Kit, Horace, Wolf and Liu Xue, Liu Ming and Yiran Zhang, the Chinese sailors on board ‘Dongfeng', they have had their first real taste of what the Volvo Ocean Race can be like and it is scaring the hell out of them.... [more]
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RHKYC and HKSF present the inaugural Hong Kong Race Week
Organised by the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club in association with the Hong Kong Sailing Federation, this Easter's inaugural Hong Kong Race Week represents a development of RHKYC's ‘Middle Island Regatta' for dinghies, expanding the length of the regatta from two to four days, complemented by a pre-regatta training camp. The regatta will also serve as a HKSF ranking event for Hong Kong sailors.... [more]
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Hainan Rendezvous: suffering from a hangover?
Wei Gu, Wall Street Journal,
At the Hainan Rendezvous last weekend, China's anti-corruption drive seemed to be giving vendors a sinking feeling. The number of brands that exhibited this year at the annual event dropped to 72, down from more than 90 last year, according to the organizer Visun Group. Last year there was a substantially wider range of top luxury names including Aston Martin and Chopard.... [more]
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Top of the Gulf Regatta: sailing strong for 10 years
Top of the Gulf Regatta celebrates its 10th anniversary this year with top sailors from around the world heading to Pattaya, Thailand, to compete in Asia's largest multi-class regatta from first to 5th May 2014 at Ocean Marina Yacht Club.... [more]
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Oman Sail unveils ambitious summer sailing programme for 2014
Oman Sail,
Sidney Gavignet, skipper of Oman Sail and a mixed Omani and European 12-man squad will make a bid on both the Seven Star Round Britain and Ireland and the Tour de France a la Voile titles in 2014 as part of an intensive summer's racing in Europe on the MOD70 flagship, supported by the Ministry of Tourism of Oman, and the M34 to continue developing an Omani sailing squad.... [more]
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Philippine Hobie Challenge tests sailors
David Brookes,
The 14th Philippine Hobie Challenge got underway with two inshore races. In sunny 16 knots of breeze the Hobie 16s had execllent sailing conditions. Bob Engwirda and Carla Kramer won the first two races.... [more]
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ASAF Asian Sailing Cup Series launch announced
Jason Lim,
ASAF Asian Sailing CUP Series 2014 - In another significant development, ASAF Executive approved the first partnership for ASAF with Laser Performance during the meeting. This will be an initial three year partnership where Laser Performance will support ASAF Administration. The funding will allow ASAF to grow sailing in Asia, and run the organization more efficiently.... [more]
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Using Gmail and your newsletters have stopped arriving?
Rob Kothe and the Sail-World Team,
We receive a range of different email newsletters to which we subscribe, and we have found over the last month they are all ending up in Gmail Spam bin. Now we know that Gmail does a great job protecting our email box from real spam but this is just plain irritating. And when a Microsoft password email is labelled as Spam by Gmail, you know its not just you.... [more]
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Airlie Beach Race Week - Early entries turn up interesting character
Tracey Johnstone,
Sifting through the early entry list for this year's Vision Surveys 25th Airlie Beach Race Week has turned up an interesting character among the Cruising Division entries. Mark Hipgrave is a return competitor in Race Week having enjoyed his time there last year.... [more]
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ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca - Giles Scott extends lead on day 4
Robert Deaves,
On day four of the ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca – Trofeo Princesa Sofia, Giles Scott (GBR) produced a superlative performance as he took two more race wins to extend his lead at the top to eight points. Thomas Le Breton (FRA) remains in second while a great day for Jonathan Lobert moves him up to third, with just one day of the finals series remaining.... [more]
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Clipper Round the World Race - Teams reach east towards San Francisco
Clipper Ventures,
In the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, the teams are reaching east towards San Francisco with the majority of the fleet positioned far enough east to stay ahead of a front associated with the next low pressure system.... [more]
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Kiteboarder challenges high-speed Extreme 40 cat in the gulf of Oman
Joanna Hurt,
From the 19-22 March, the blue waters of Muscat, Oman hosted the international Extreme Sailing Series - the second Act of the 2014 global tour that attracts the world's best sailors to race on the short, sharp Stadium-style racecourses.... [more]
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Fireball World Championship - Penultimate day in Pattaya
Cormac Bradley,
To borrow a phrase from the most famous Scottish football manager of recent times (though maybe not the most loved Scottish football manager of all times), with the penultimate day of the 2014 Fireball Worlds now completed, it is squeaky-bum time for the top three crews (plural) at the regatta in Pattaya, hosted by the Royal Varuna Yacht Club.... [more]
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ORC World Championship - Class splits revealed
ORC Media,
The record-breaking ORC World Championship fleet of over 160 entries will be split into three classes, with further sub-divisions made to enhance race quality.... [more]
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IODA Optimist Asian Team Racing Championship - Day 1 + Video
Icarus Sailing Media,
We welcome you to Bahrain and the prestigious Optimist Asian Championship organized by the Bahrain Maritime Sports Association under the authority of the International Optimist Dinghy Association. Al Jazaeer beach is full of life and fun as more than 130 sailors from 22 nations gathered to participate and to take their chances for the crown.... [more]
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ISAF outlines new plans for a revamped Sailing World Cup series
Rob Kothe and the Sail-World Team,
The ISAF Sailing World Cup is the annual circuit of Olympic sailing for serious campaigners and up and coming sailors. The series is now seven years old, has attracted less media and sponsorship attention than ISAF had hoped and it's still looking for mainstream media relevance, as President Carlo Croce has been saying loudly and clearly.... [more]
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ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca - Day 3 images by Thom Touw,
Photographer Thom Touw was out on the water during day three of the ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca to capture these images.... [more]
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Global Ocean Race - Significant changes in store
Global Ocean Race,
Global Ocean Race organisers have revealed some significant changes to their event today. In response to a clear demand from potential entrants to shorten the event's overall timespan and further reduce the costs of competing in the GOR, an exciting and challenging new format has been created.... [more]
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Clipper Race 2013-14 - Distance to finish falls below 2,000 miles
Clipper Ventures,
Clipper Round The World Yacht Race 2013-14 - Spirits are high as good speeds are made towards San Francisco and the distance to finish fell below 2,000 miles. The main pack is power reaching in 30 to 35 knots of wind and surf towards San Francisco, and pointing directly east towards the finish line for the first time.... [more]
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A personal tribute to Hobie Alter
Phillip Berman,
I first met Hobie at the age of 13, in Newport Beach, California, where he was showing off his latest invention, the Hobie Cat 14 at a local beach club. It was 1969 and Hobie had just created his corky little catamaran. As soon as Hobie cast away from the dock and started 'flying a hull' I was enthralled.... [more]
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Government sneaks through the 'Affordable Boat Act'
Nancy Knudsen,
Sitting until the early hours of the morning, the government has just sneaked in a new law called: 'The Affordable Boat Act' declaring that every family unit MUST purchase a new boat once they reach a certain level of combined income. These 'affordable' boats will cost an average of $54,000-$155,000 each, dependent on income, and will provide a much-needed boost to the economy.... [more]
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Japan's Antarctic whaling program harpooned,
The International Court of Justice - on Monday ordered a temporary halt to Japan's Antarctic whaling program, ruling that it is not for scientific purposes as the Japanese government had claimed.... [more]
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