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A new horse for the VOR course—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond


11 Apr 2017

A new horse for the VOR course—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond

Guillaume Verdier to create new One Design yacht for Volvo Ocean Race  © Amalia Infante / Volvo Ocean Race
One of the more interesting developments in offshore racing news was last week's announcement by the Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) that world-class yacht designer Guillaume Verdier, who is responsible for helping to draw many of the world's most outrageous sailboats, including Comanche and the new 32-meter Maxi Edmond de Rothschild for the Gitana team (launching this July), will lead a design team to create a new boat for the race's 14th edition. While it's unclear as to how long this new VOR warhorse will be, or even how many hulls it will have, the race has confirmed that they will continue to use their same One Design concept moving forward. Moreover, the VOR has confirmed that they will announce plans for the new design at a May 18, 2017, press conference in Volvo's hometown of Gothenburg, Sweden

The 13th edition of the VOR (2017/2018), it should be noted, will still be contested aboard the same identical Volvo Ocean 65s monohulls that were used in the 2014/2015 race (plus a new boat that's being built to these same exacting standards), however the plan for this fleet was always for it to be used for two editions of the race.

“Conceived in 2011, the current fleet of boats was built to be competitive for two editions,” said Volvo Ocean Race CEO Mark Turner in a press release. “We need to move now on the future boats to keep all our options open on boat type and design.

MAPFRE have signed Britain's Rob Greenhalgh as a watch captain - Volvo Ocean Race  © Ainhoa Sanchez / Volvo Ocean Race

“We're excited to work with someone as talented as Guillaume Verdier–who will be a perfect complement to the wider Volvo Ocean Race Design Team, and the input we plan to have from a wider group of professional sailors and industry partners.”

With Verdier's hire comes a new world of possibility for a race that regularly looks to push the boundaries. For example, the routing for the 2017/2018 will spend significantly more time in the Southern Ocean and will involve some seriously long legs, including the mammoth 7,600-nautical-mile run from Auckland, New Zealand to Itajai, Brazil. While the Volvo Ocean 65s are quick boats, there's no question that a maxi trimaran could sail this same distance in significantly less time, provided the crew was able to keep the right side of the nets pointing up.

IDEC Sport - lining up for another shot at the Jules Verne Trophy  JM Liot / DPPI / IDEC SPORT

Recent years have seen big multi-hulls knock stunning times off of various record passages. For example, skipper Francis Joyon (FRA) and his IDEC Sport (née Groupama 3, Banque Populaire VII and Lending Club 2) crew established a new Jules Verne Trophy record on January 26, 2017 for the fastest fully crewed, nonstop circumnavigation with a time of just of 40 days 23 hours 30 minutes 30 seconds, and on Christmas Day, 2016, Thomas Coville (FRA), sailing aboard Sodebo Ultim, set a new solo and nonstop-around-the-world record of just 49 days, three hours, seven minutes and 38 seconds.

Thomas Coville crossed the finish line off Ushant  Jean-Marie Liot / DPPI / Sodeb'O

There's no question that multi-hulls are fast, and if the America's Cup is any guide, they could also be sailing's future, but interesting questions start emerging when talk of hydrofoils enter the equation.

Moth and Cup sailors have now been using hydrofoils for years, and skippers Armel Le Cleac'h and Alex Thomson showed the monohull world the stunning results that can happen when “Dali foils” (AKA, 'DSS foils') are pressed into service aboard IMOCA 60 monohulls in the solo and nonstop-around-the-world Vendee Globe Race. This leads one to think that, irrespective of the monohull/multi-hull question, Verdier and his VOR design team have got to be looking at the possibility of foiling-or at least limited foiling-during the 14th edition of the VOR.

DSS foils on Banque Populaire VIII - Vendee Globe 2016-2017  V.Curutchet

“We're bringing together a wide-ranging depth of experience from events such as the America's Cup, offshore multihulls and IMOCA Open 60 projects,” said Verdier in a VOR release. “We are starting from a blank page, and whatever kind of boat we design, whether it's monohull or multihulll, we will learn a lot from this process of working together.”

While there's no question that foiling multi-hulls could shave entire days of a passage such as the run from Auckland to Itajai, there's no escaping the fact that the VOR also tackles some of the world's most remote waters (as does the Vendee Globe and the Jules Verne Trophy), potentially placing the sailors in a life-or-death predicament, should their stability vanish.

Dongfeng Race Team – Volvo Ocean Race  © Benoit Stichelbaut / Dongfeng Race Team

Irrespective of whether the race and Verdier's team elects to go with a monohull or multihull, the VOR has already announced that the fleet of new boats for the VOR's 14th edition will all be built to exacting standards by Persico Marine.

Depending on how things go in Bermuda this June during the 35th America's Cup, there could be a lot of multi-hull experts in the job market, as Emirates Team New Zealand has hinted that they would likely return to monohulls for AC36, if they manage to peddle off with the Auld Mug.

MOD70 Virbac-Paprec capsized ahead of the Transat Jacques Vabre  Yvan Zedda ©

So what could possibly go wrong if the VOR switches to foiling multihulls for the 14th edition of this storied race? Well, one might consult Jimmy Spithill, skipper of Oracle Team USA for the 35th America's Cup. This weekend, the team accidentally capsized their brand-new ACC boat on Bermudan waters. (No one was hurt and damage was minimal, at least compared to OTUSA's 2012 capsize on San Francisco Bay.) Granted, ACC boats are designed for high-performance and maneuverability around a short course, but the situation highlights the fact that, when multihulls and hydrofoils combine, stability sometimes has a way of vanishing, even with some of the world's best sailors on the flight controls.

Oracle Team USA capsizes their AC50 in Bermuda  The Royal Gazette ©

It will be interesting to see what direction Verdier and the VOR choose, so stay tuned for more on this interesting twist in offshore racing, as it unfurls in May.

May the four winds blow you safely home,

David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor

GC32 Racing Tour complete as new Corsican venue signs up
GC32 Racing,
For the last four years Sirius Events has run Marseille One Design, the event for flying boats that traditionally concludes the annual GC32 Racing Tour. In 2017 Sirius Events is also organising the fourth and penultimate event of the GC32 Racing Tour, the GC32 Orezza Corsica Cup.... [more]

FAST40+ take to the water to start season with RORC Easter Challenge
Media FAST40+,
After a busy winter with lots of the FAST40+ race teams carrying out some exciting developments to their boats, five of the teams are ready to hit the water for early season racing... [more]

An exceptional experience both on and off the water
Barby MacGowan,
The French West Indies island of St. Barth is a little slice of paradise, attracting jetsetters and cultured travelers from around the globe with its exclusive accommodations, local gastronomy, breathtaking beaches and swinging nightlife, and every spring this charming Carib... [more]

Phil Collins wins 2017 U.S. Multihull Championship on Biloxi Bay
US Sailing,
The fleet of 16 Hobie 17 catamarans completed their fourth and final set of races on Sunday at the 2017 U.S. Multihull Championship, hosted by Ocean Springs Yacht Club on Biloxi Bay. Phil Collins (Piedmont, Okla.) bolstered his Hobie 17 racing resume with another win in the class. Collins led from start to finish and won the Hobie Alter Trophy by seven points over Daniel Borg... [more]

America's Cup - Emirates Team NZ's AC50 flies out for Bermuda
Emirates Team NZ,
Emirates Team New Zealand is now official on its way to Bermuda for the 35th America's Cup. New Zealand Aotearoa, the team race boat, has been packed and loaded on the Emirates SkyCargo 747 departing from Auckland's International Airport today.... [more]

2017 Melges 24 U.S. National Championship - Day 3 - Lucky No. 7
Melges 24,
The final day at of the 2017 U.S. Melges 24 National Championship hosted by the Charleston Yacht Club (ChYC) commenced as originally forecasted - light to almost no breeze. Plenty of sunshine and warmth prevailed, but very little on the wind horizon resulting in an immediate on-shore postponement. PRO Hal Smith kept teams up-to-date on the half-hour... [more]

'Nika' conquers 2017 Melges 20 World League European Division
International Melges 20 Class Association,
Australia's Rodney Jones on Cars 167 moved up a notch after cashing in a productive 7-1 daily scoreline placing him in the overall second place position.... [more]

America's Cup - SoftBank Team Japan's Nick Holroyd explains foiling
America's Cup Media,
The battle that is the America's Cup may start in 47 days, but make no mistake; the war of the foils has been raging for years. As teams begin to line up with their America's Cup Class race yachts in Bermuda, the dagger board shapes deployed are coming under increased scrutiny....... [more]

2017 Melges 24 U.S. National Championship - Day 2 - Crushin' It
Melges 24,
Wow, what a difference a day can make. This was the theme of Day Two (April 8) of the 2017 U.S. Melges 24 National Championship hosted by the Charleston Yacht Club (ChYC). More sunshine, cool temps, and a lot less breeze settled the fleet in well for round two of Melges 24 racing.... [more]

'Fomo' out for a practice before Les Voiles de Saint Barth
Rachel Fallon-Langdon,
Lloyd Thornburg has come back to Les Voiles de Saint Barth for the first time with a monohull for 2017. This year he has chosen to compete on a 40ft Shaun Carkeek design. `This will be the second event for him on this boat, he previously raced it from St Petersburg in Florida to Havana Cuba, winning the historic race.... [more]

Virtual Sailing World and Nats Champs - Action starts on 17th April
Today SailX is delighted to announce the Virtual Sailing World Championship 2017. This Championship will start on Monday 17th April and conclude five weeks later on Sunday 14th May with a Grand Final - a single regatta between the Top-30. Winner-takes-all.... [more]

Two additional races in Porto Venere Keeps 'Nika' in the Lead
Melges 20,
For a second day, Vladimir Prosikhin's Nika keeps control of the lead at the 2017 Melges 20 World League, European Division, Porto Venere. At this point in the regatta, Prosikhin possesses an impressive twelve-point advantage over second place Achille Onorato on Mascalzone Latino, Jr., and a nineteen-point lead over Australia's Rodney Jones on Cars 167.... [more]

America's Cup - Oracle Team USA capsize AC50
Sail-World NZ, Oracle Team USA, Royal Gazette,
Oracle Team USA capsized its new America's Cup Class boat during training on Bermuda's Great Sound on Saturday. No crew members were injured and early indications are that damage to the boat is limited. “We flipped over our new America's Cup Class boat,” said skipper Jimmy Spithill at dockside about an hour after the capsize.... [more]

'Rocking' days continue for the tenth year of Sail Port Stephens
Nic Douglass,
Passage races for the majority of the 110 boat fleet yesterday made for some stunning views around the surrounds and offshore from sensational Port Stephens. This is the tenth year that Sail Port Stephens has been an event on the calendar for Australian sailors, and it is no wonder that it has grown each and every year, especially given the conditions yesterday.... [more]

A very difficult day - Got fuel to Cape Town
Lisa Blair Sails the World,
Well after my dismasting I have spent the last two days motoring North towards Cape Town trying to collect myself and to intercept Hong Kong container ship M/V Far Eastern Mercury who had been diverted by Maritime Rescue Coordination Center Cape Town (MRCC Cape Town) when I had issued a Pan-Pan during my dismasting.... [more]

Melges 24 U.S. National Championship - Day 1 - Beauty behind the speed
Melges 24,
Melges 24 teams could not have asked for more spectacular racing conditions on opening day (April 7) at the 2017 U.S. Melges 24 National Championship hosted by the Charleston Yacht Club (ChYC). Plentiful sunshine, a shifty 20-25 knots of breeze and relatively moderate seas ushered in the event, along with a thousand smiles.... [more]

America's Cup - Encouraging Day 2 win for Artemis Racing over Oracle
Talbot Wilson and,
Swedish America's Cup Challenger has recovered well from their dismasting and break up of their test AC45T boat to score an encouraging win over Defender Oracle Team USA in a Practice Race in Bermuda yesterday. Talbot Wilson reporting for the Royal Gazette in Bermuda reports... [more]

America's Cup - Artemis Racing wins on first day of Practice Session
America's Cup Media,
Artemis Racing joined its America's Cup opponents on the water on Thursday for the start of the second race week. Skipper Nathan Outteridge was excited to be back racing on the team's America's Cup Class (ACC) race boat. The racing had an eventful start when Artemis Racing managed to skilfully avoid a power boat which had wrongly driven straight onto the course as the team was rounding Mark 1... [more]

Meet the Clipper 2017-18 crew - Adam and Ian Cristol
Clipper Round the World,
Adam Cristol's first experience on the water didn't exactly foreshadow a future that included racing across the world's oceans.... [more]

Prosikhin's 'Nika' dominates the Day 1 of Melges 20 World League 2017
Melges 20,
The first day of the third International Melges 20 World League event (the first European appointment) has revealed three, high-quality races, ultimately naming some of the top teams to watch - the absolute stars of success as the season begins. The long Melges 20 World League schedule includes 16 events over three different continents.... [more]

Over 110 teams soak up stunning Sail Port Stephens
Nic Douglass,
From the Pantaenius Performance Cruising and Racing divisions and their picturesque passage race, to over twenty Sports Boats taking part in their National Championship alongside the Seabreeze Super 12 State Championship inside, and the Garmin IRC NSW State Championship offshore, there was SO much going on for the second part of Sail Port Stephens yesterday!... [more]

Oracle Team USA almost capsized in America's Cup practice racing
America's Cup holders Oracle Team USA have survived a major scare just days after Artemis Racing demolished their test boat.... [more]

Full day of action at Day 1 of IKA Youth Freestyle World Championships
It is very early on the first day of the competition, seeing 70 young riders between nine and 21 years pumping up their kites before the skippers meeting. The Tramontana is already blowing with 25 knots, but the forecast gives the race committee only one day to complete as much as possible of the schedule.... [more]

The IWT returns to Morocco this May
International Windsurfing Tour,
International Windsurfing Tour professional rider Boujmaa Guilloul has been working tirelessly as the local event coordinator to organize the IWT Morocco Spot X event taking place May 6th-13th in Moulay.... [more]

50 days to go until the start of the 35th America's Cup
America's Cup,
5.00pm in Bermuda on April 6th 2017 will mark exactly 50 days to go until the start of the 35th America's Cup in Bermuda. The countdown continues to what many experts are predicting could be the greatest America's Cup in the 166 year history of the competition for the oldest trophy international sport.... [more]

Guillaume Verdier to create new One Design yacht for Volvo Ocean Race
Volvo Ocean Race,
Verdier has joined the Volvo Ocean Race Design Team and is currently working with the race on the crucial issue of whether the new boat will be a monohull or multihull. The final decision on the proposed designs will be announced on 18 May at an event in Gothenburg, the home of the race's owners and title sponsors Volvo.... [more]

Triple Crown Series to revolutionize Olympic Sailing in US
Oakcliff Sailing,
The Triple Crown Series will consist of up to six regattas to be held annually in Oyster Bay, New York, and will offer both international and American athletes in five of the ten Olympic Classes a chance to win prize grants.... [more]

A QandA with Sir Robin Knox-Johnston on the Clipper Race's Seattle visit
David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor,
The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race recently announced that the race's 2017/2018 edition will again visit my hometown of Seattle, so I caught up with the legendary Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, who still actively serves as the race's chairman, via email, to learn more about this exciting development.... [more]

Melges 24 U.S. National Championship kicks off in Charleston
Charleston is an all-time Melges 24 Class favorite, not just because of its warm shoreside southern hospitality and progressive social scene, but also for its addictive one-design harbor racing elixir - relatively flat water conditions, plenty of breeze and current.... [more]

Zhik named official technical clothing partner by team AkzoNobel
Liz Rushall, Zhik,
The crew will race across four oceans and encounter some of the most extreme weather conditions known to man during their nine-month circumnavigation. From the freezing waters and winds of the southern latitudes, to the sweltering heat of the equatorial zones, the sailors will rely on Zhik's technology and design expertise to keep them operating at peak performance.... [more]

Myth. Busted-
John Curnow,
Oink oink, and here is the proof. Just watch it fly...... [more]

U.S. Multihull Championship preview
US Sailing,
For the first time in event history, this four-day national championship will be raced in Hobie 17 catamarans. Sixteen sailors, representing nine U.S. states and one from Canada, will compete for the Hobie Alter Trophy on Biloxi Bay.... [more]

Unicef UK gifted a team entry in Clipper Round the World Yacht Race
Clipper Ventures,
The 2017-18 Race will mark the second consecutive edition that the organisation has been gifted one of the event's twelve 70-foot yachts, which will represent Unicef and its work to make a safer world for children as the teams race around the planet.... [more]

Michael Hestbæk - Coaching speed merchants in Extreme Sailing Series™
Ed Gorman,
Imagine racing a 32ft foiling catamaran at more than 30 knots on an inner city stadium racecourse with other boats “flying” on all sides. The boat is powering forward and the marks of the course are coming up so fast you barely have time to think about what will happen when you get round them – and your opponents are crossing or overtaking.... [more]

Meet Clipper 2017-18 Race skipper Rob Graham
Clipper Round the World,
Already a familiar face to many, Rob Graham first became involved in the Clipper Race when his partner completed the full circumnavigation in the 2009-10 edition. Eight years on, it's his turn to race the world's oceans as a Clipper Race Skipper.... [more]

America's Cup - Artemis Racing drop wingsail in test session - Updated
Richard Gladwell,
The Swedish America's Cup Challenger Artemis Racing has dropped a wingsail and suffered catastrophic boat damage to their training and test boat in Bermuda today. The wingsail is believed to be a new one and to the AC50 shape and design. Updated with new photo and eye witness report... [more]

Straight from the Melges 24 World Champions
Simply put, the Melges 24 is still the best sport-boat ever built. It was ahead of its time when introduced in the early 1990's and it's still the gold-standard today.... [more]

Helly Hansen National Offshore One Design Regatta returns to Annapolis
Evily Giannopoulos,
The annual three-day event features one-design racing, where teams compete in races against identical boats. Points are accumulated based on finishing position in each race, and the team with the fewest total points at the conclusion of the regatta wins its class.... [more]

One of the coolest cats with Colligo Marine rigging
Colligo Marine,
Paul and Kathryn Garlick are owners of this Jacque Fioleau 60 Catamaran since 2009 and have been sailing for over 40 years. Prior to the Jacque Fioleau 60 Catamaran (an Etincelle Catamaran) they had only sailed Hobie Cats.... [more]

Lisa Blair heads to Cape Town under motor following dismasting
Lisa Blair Sails the World,
Lisa Blair has assessed the damage to her yacht, Climate Action Now, after being dismasted 895 nm south of Cape Town in 40 knot winds and seven metre swells early in the morning of April 4, 2017. She made a PAN PAN call over the radio at approximately 0300 (AET) / 1900 (SAST) signalling an urgent threat to her safety and this remains in place.... [more]

World Sailing welcomes the world of sport to Aarhus
Daniel Smith - World Sailing,
Kim Andersen, World Sailing President, welcomed IOC President Thomas Bach and Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) President Francesco Ricci Bitti to Aarhus – the Sailing Capital of Denmark - at the ASOIF annual dinner for the International Federations at the SportAccord Convention on Monday 3 April.... [more]

Meet Clipper 2017-18 Race skipper David Hartshorn
Clipper Round the World,
Looking at his qualifications and experience, many would be surprised to learn sailing is a second career for David Hartshorn.... [more]

2017 Melges 24 U.S. National Championship kicks off in Charleston
U.S. Melges 24,
This weekend, for the third time in Class history, the U.S. Melges 24 Class Association (USM24CA) is excited to bring back its highly-coveted National Championship to Charleston, S.C., graciously hosted by the Charleston Yacht Club (ChYC) on April 7-9. This time however, it also collectively serves as Act 2 of the Quantum World Winter Series, and is Stage 1 of the 2017 NorAm Tour.... [more]

Lisa Blair dismasted 895nm South of Cape Town
Lisa Blair Sails the World,
At approximately 0300hrs (AEST) on April 4, Lisa Blair issued a PAN PAN 895nm south of Cape Town when in 40 knot winds and seven metre swell her boat Climate Action Now was dismasted after the port shroud broke in a knock down. Her position was reported as 048:38:384 S 022:31:430 E. Search and Rescue in Cape Town have been notified and will provide assistance if required.... [more]

Walker named as RYA Director of Racing
Lindsey Bell / RYA,
The double Olympic medallist, America's Cup sailor and Volvo Ocean Race-winning skipper will take up the baton from John Derbyshire OBE, who is set to retire later this year after 32 years' involvement with the organisation, including 16 years in the Director of Racing role.... [more]

Les Voiles de St Barth – Thornburg and Cunningham ready with new rides
Barby MacGowan,
While some competitors are new to the event, others call this their go-to event on the Caribbean racing calendar every year, and several high-profile teams will return to the regatta with new rides in 2017.... [more]

14 teams ready for Antigua Dragon Yacht Club Challenge
Louay Habib,
The event will consist of up to 14 teams, each representing a different yacht club from around the world, and sailing in a friendly competition to determine the overall champion.... [more]

Top of the Gulf Regatta set to welcome 3000th entry
Event Media,
Having received international acclaim in 2016 and 2014, the multi award-winning regatta is an international showcase for sailing and the Gulf of Thailand. Famous for its warm weather sailing and good winds, Top of the Gulf Regatta has a well earned reputation for world-class sailing and race management, and a relaxed and convivial après-regatta scene.... [more]

A QandA with Charlie Enright about his recently announced VOR campaign
David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor,
On March 21, 2017, in Newport, Rhode Island, Americans Charlie Enright and Mark Towill announced their Team Vestas 11th Hour Racing campaign for the 2017/2018 Volvo Ocean Race. I caught up with Charlie Enright via email to learn more about his latest VOR adventure, which begins this October off of Alicante, Spain.... [more]


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