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Caribbean 600, Vendee news, VOR—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond


21 Feb 2017

Caribbean 600, Vendee news, VOR—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond

A record fleet is expected for the 9th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 starting in Antigua on 20th February 2017  © RORC / ELWJ Photography
All told, today's run was a good one: no rain, not too much wind, temps in the low 40s, and only moderately high humidity-meteorological rarities for Seattle in February, and the kind of conditions that dedicated runners should be grateful for. Still, the human brain has an amazing way of simply knowing when the grass is greener on the other side of the hill, and, as I turned to begin running up the long hill home, I made a mistake: I started to daydream about sailing, specifically about the RORC's Caribbean 600, which starts today on the crystal-clear, bathtub-warm waters off of Antigua and stretches around the nearby islands to create a geographically interesting and navigationally challenging race that has long topped on my personal sailing bucket list.

Instantly, instead of being grateful that the pregnant clouds overhead weren't unleashing their “liquid sunshine” at 0530 hours, my brain became transfixed with thoughts of perfect trade-wind sailing, watches spent wearing shorts and a t-shirt, and the stunning scenery that the fortunate few will be enjoying over the span of the next few days. And that's to say nothing of the promise of world-class downhill sailing, surfing on open-ocean rollers with kites full of mercifully warm airs.

2016 RORC Caribbean 600  © Tim Wright /

Suddenly, my run felt like pure drudgery compared to the adventure that awaits the crews of the 80 yachts that are currently registered for this yearly bluewater adventure. If you find yourself facing similar hills today, metaphoric or otherwise, take heart in the fact that we can live vicariously through our luckier friends while planning for future winters that involve Caribbean breezes.

Also offshore-related, sailors continue to cross the finishing line in the solo, non-stop-around-the-world Vendee Globe Race, which began back in November. Skipper Armel Le Cleac'h (FRA), sailing aboard Banque Populaire VIII, took top honors in this highly prestigiously (and highly Francophile) event on January 19, followed by 11 other solo skippers, but now the finishing-line drama involves two skippers who carry American passports, namely Rich Wilson, who is sailing aboard Great American IV, and Conrad Colman (NZ/USA), who is sailing aboard Foresight Natural Energy.

Conrad Colman new mainsheet arrangement - Vendee Globe 2016-2017  Vendee Globe ©

While both of these sailors have captivating stories to share, Colman has earned international headlines in the past week and a half after he dismasted on February 10, some 800 miles from the finishing line. Colman, a former sailmaker, is now sailing under jury rig, and-at the time of this writing-had 352.7 miles to go to the finishing line, which he was dispatching at a pace of 3.1 knots.

Wilson, it should be noted, had just 217.5 nautical miles to go, and was sailing at a pace of 10.4 knots. With some luck, Mr. Wilson, who ranks as one of the race's smartest and best-educated sailors, as well as its elder statesman, will enjoy his first non-freeze-dried meal in several months within the next 24 hours.

Rich Wilson, USA skipper, great American iv on pontoons of the Vendée Globe  Mark Lloyd/ DDPI/Vendee Globe ©

And for fans of fully crewed offshore racing, word broke that two-time Olympic medalist Xabi Fernandez (ESP) will serve as skipper aboard MAPFRE for the 2017/2018 Volvo Ocean Race. Keen fans of the VOR will remember Fernandez well, as he has already completed this grueling course four times, once as co-skipper of MAPFRE with his Olympic sailing partner, Iker Martinez. Now, Fernandez will be serving in this capacity alone, as Martinez plans to sit out this next VOR and pursue other professional plans.

Xabi Fernandez (Mapfre) talks to media after the finish - Leg 4, Finish - Volvo Ocean Race  © Richard Gladwell

“The Volvo Ocean Race is an enormously difficult challenge combining human adventure, world-class sport, technical expertise, logistics on a global scale, and a unique communications platform,” said Fernández. “Being fortunate enough to be back on the start line, with a chance to claim victory, is something that we are very proud of, and I'm thankful to MAPFRE for believing in a project that began back in 2014.”

Onboard MAPFRE – Xabi Fernandez on the helm with tight upwind conditions - Leg 8 to Lorient – Volvo Ocean Race 2015  Francisco Vignale/Mapfre/Volvo Ocean Race

To date, three teams, including the Dutch-flagged Team AkzoNobel, led by skipper Simeon Tienpont (NED), the Chinese-flagged Dongfeng Race Team, led by skipper Charles Caudrelier (FRA), and now the Spanish-flagged MAPFRE, led by Fernandez, have announced their participation in the next edition of the VOR.

In total, the VOR expects to see seven or eight of the identical, Farr-designed Volvo Ocean 65s on the starting line off of Alicante, Spain, come October. Giddyap!

May the four winds blow you safely home,

David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor

Phaedo^3 starts RORC C600 with Maserati by their side
Rachel Fallon-Langdon,
In what is to be predicted and lighter wind race that the norm, Phaedo^3 stated at 11.40am local Antigua time. With a strong competitor Giovanni Soldini's MOD70 Maserati close by their side, it will be a chase to the end.... [more]

A QandA with US Sailing's Malcolm Page about the Sailing World Cup Miami
David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor,
I talked with Malcolm Page (AUS), a two-time Olympic gold medalist in the Men's 470 class and the chief of Olympic sailing at US Sailing, to get his pulse on the team's performance at the 2017 Sailing World Cup Miami and discuss some recent coaching changes within the Olympic-sailing program.... [more]

Vendée Globe – Conrad Colman speaks about his dismasting and battle
Vendée Globe,
Tenacious New Zealand skipper Conrad Colman is fighting an incredible battle to finish the race after the mast of his Foresight Natural Energy crashed down on the night of Friday 10th February.... [more]

EFG Bank Monaco wins Leg 3 of EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour
Oman Sail,
Reigning EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour champions EFG Bank Monaco (MON) today tightened their grip on the overall lead with a victory in the third offshore leg of the race around the Arabian Gulf.... [more]

Abnormal weather for the RORC Caribbean 600
RORC Press,
Wouter has competed in the Barcelona World Race, the Volvo Ocean Race on numerous occasions and is Head of Sevenstar Racing Yacht Logistics.... [more]

America's Cup - Emirates Team NZ elaborates on the pedal-powered AC50
Richard Gladwell/Peter Montgomery,
Kevin Shoebridge is now COO of Emirates Team New Zealand, working alongside his long-time friend and nemesis CEO Grant Dalton. At last Thursday's AC50 christening and launch ceremony, Shoebridge spoke to top international sailing commentator, Peter Montgomery about the 35th America's Cup campaign, the change, and growth of the team, and compared the current boat and Cup to previous editions.... [more]

America's Cup - Glenn Ashby on why Emirates Team NZ went cycling
Richard Gladwell, NZ,
After the revelation that Emirates Team NZ had switched from grinders to cyclists, how did the potentially game-breaking development remain a secret for so long? 'The team started work on the project three years ago, but the actual testing started 18-24 months ago,' explained skipper and Sailing Director, Glenn Ashby. 'The team has done well to keep it under wraps for all this time.... [more]

Vendée Globe – Alan Roura takes twelfth place
Vendée Globe,
Roura's finish reflects his exceptional drive and tenacity and belies the very tight budget which the young sailor ran his programme on.... [more]

The Bay Regatta 2017 wraps with a picture postcard final day
Event Media,
The fourth and final day of The Bay Regatta, the Chang Beer Race Day, saw all the fleet sail a short loop around islands off Krabi's Railay Beach before heading out for a straight shot back to the southern end of Koh Yao Yai with the racing boats doing a slightly longer course than the cruisers.... [more]

Vendee Globe - From Conrad Colman this evening
Vendee Globe,
I might not be going very fast but I'm certainly keeping busy here on Foresight Natural Energy. Indeed, never have I worked so hard to go so slowly! The problem is that I am sailing upwind in light winds which is never a recipe for breathless speed and certainly not now! Going downwind on a slow boat, the wind pushes against the windward side of the sail... [more]

SCYA Midwinter Regatta - Sam Heck and Robert Marcus in action
Rick Roberts,
Sam Heck and Merry Cheers decided that just having bought a new Farr 40 race boat, Viva La Vida, wasn't quite enough. They wanted to race it, right away. So they entered the 2017 SCYA Midwinter Regatta through Long Beach Yacht Club, which hosted their class, and won in the first racing sailboat that they have ever owned.... [more]

Overall winner crowned at Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta in St. Petersburg
Evily Giannopoulos,
The first event of the 2017 Helly Hansen National Offshore One Design (NOOD) Regatta wrapped in St. Petersburg on Sunday. After a weekend of close competition in the Lightning division, the class winner — Steve Hayden, 49, of Lake Mary, Fla. — was awarded the regatta's overall prize.... [more]

Spectacular opening for the 2017 RORC Caribbean 600
RORC Press,
Sailors enjoyed a traditional Caribbean welcome with the Panache Steel Orchestra opening the musical entertainment, complimentary drinks and fine Caribbean fayre.... [more]

18ft Skiffs - Thurlow Fisher take another win as JJ's loom
Frank Quealey,
With the 2017 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship just six days away, today's Race 11 of the Australian 18 Footers League's Club Championship on Sydney Harbour took on even greater importance than usual for the 19 teams contesting the event. A 10-15 knots ESE wind allowed all teams to set their big number one rigs.... [more]

Krabi waters deliver a spectacular Day 3 of the Bay Regatta 2017
Event Media,
Opting for just two starts each day – monohulls and multihulls – has proven a successful strategy for the 2017 The Bay Regatta, getting the boats off early and enjoying the good breeze and eye-candy that is the Andaman triangle of Phuket-Phang Nga-Krabi.... [more]

H.H NOOD Regatta - Local sailors make waves on Tampa Bay during Day 2
Evily Giannopoulos,
With sailors from across the country and beyond in town for the annual Helly Hansen National Offshore One Design (NOOD) Regatta this weekend, stand-out local skippers were a highlight of Saturday's competition. Michael Zonnenberg, of the Lightning division, is currently one of only two local skippers leading a class.... [more]

Amedeo writes his own Vendée Globe story
Vendée Globe,
Parisian political journalist turned solo ocean race Fabrice Amedeo secured 11th place when he crossed the finish line off Les Sables d'Olonne at 09 hrs 03 m UTC this morning Saturday 18th February.... [more]

Vendee Globe - Under a square head jury rig and storm jib - Day 104
Conrad Colman and Sail-World,
Conrad Colman updates from the Atlantic as he makes 6.2kts under Jury Rig with 488nm remaining to sail to reach the finish line of the Vendee Globe. The single handed sailor is attempting to become the first competitor in the eight editions of the solo non-stop round the world race to complete the course using only natural energy. He has 200nm under the makeshift rig... [more]

Amedeo writes his own Vendée Globe story - 11th place
Vendee Globe,
Journalist and solo ocean race Fabrice Amedeo secured 11th place in the Vendée Globe when he crossed the finish line off Les Sables d'Olonne at 09 hrs 03 m UTC this morning Saturday 18th February. His excellent finish represents the culmination of a dream to take part in the famous solo ocean race around the world. Sailing Newrest-Matmut Amedeo's elapsed time for the course is 103 d 21h 1 m.... [more]

EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour - Douillard avenges upset with victory
Oman Sail,
French sailing star Thierry Douillard avenged a shock last-minute defeat in the opening stage of EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour by snatching victory in round two of the Gulf classic on Friday.... [more]

2016 Community Sailing and Training Award winners recognized at NSPS
Jake Fish,
The 2016 Community Sailing and Training Award winners were celebrated on Thursday night as part of the 2017 National Sailing Programs Symposium (NSPS) at the Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol in Austin, Texas.... [more]

Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta - Day 1
Evily Giannopoulos,
The Helly Hansen National Offshore One Design (NOOD) Regatta Series kicked off its first event of the year today in St. Petersburg, Fla. Although light winds delayed racing until mid-afternoon, most of the 13 competing fleets were able to complete two races on the first day of the weekend-long event.... [more]

Phaedo^3 finishes first in the Antigua 360 Race
Rachel Fallon-Langdon,
Today Lloyd Thornburg's MOD70 Phaedo3 took part in the second edition of the Antigua 360º Race which was a 52 mile anticlockwise circumnavigation of Antigua. Organized by the Superyacht Challenge committee, entry is exclusively reserved for boats entered in the ninth edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 offshore classic.... [more]

A great excuse for FINNtastic racing – Finn Masters Magazine
Robert Deaves,
It must be close to the start of the European Finn season, with the publication of fourth edition the Finn Masters Magazine and Yearbook this week.... [more]

J Class to race its first ever World Championship this year
International Maxi Association,
Just over one hundred years on from the advent of the Universal Rule, to which they were originally built, the J Class will this year get to race its first ever World Championship.... [more]

Hunt and Betsy honored with US Sailing's highest award
Oakcliff Sailing,
Hunt and Betsy Lawrence are being awarded the highest award that US Sailing can give, the Nathanael G. Herreshoff Trophy.... [more]

Spain's Xabi Fernández to skipper MAPFRE in Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18
Volvo Ocean Race,
The 40-year-old Xabi, who has taken part in the Volvo Ocean Race four times, won Olympic gold in Athens 2004, and followed that up with a silver in 2008 – both times alongside his long-term sailing partner Iker Martínez.... [more]

Vendée Globe – Arnaud Boissières takes tenth place
Vendée Globe,
After a slow final night at sea in very light airs as he waited to arrive after sunrise, Arnaud Boissières crossed the finish line at 0826hrs UTC this Friday morning to take 10th place in the non-stop solo round the world race.... [more]

Vendee Globe - Cali on the line at nine; Colman with square top main
Vendee Globe,
Arnaud Boissières is poised to cross the finish line around 0800hrs UTC, 0900hrs local time. Winds have been very light for his last, quiet night before he takes 10th place.... [more]

America's Cup 12 Metre Freedom to return to Newport
Barby MacGowan,
The 12 Metre yacht Freedom has been purchased by Charles A. Robertson (Guilford, Conn.), a well-known East Coast sailor who has been active in a number of America's Cup and 12 Metre campaigns and is well known for skippering his Frers 75 Maxi Cannonball and a series of other like-named boats to victory in various one-design and offshore racing events.... [more]

The Art of Boat Art,
Putting exquisite art on the hulls, sails and decks of sailboats is an art form on top of an art form.... [more]

Vendée Globe – Right direction, better speed for Colman
Vendée Globe and,
Conrad Colman has been reaching speeds of four knots during the last few hours and is heading in a good direction, towards les Sables d'Olonne.... [more]

America's Cup Year has special resonance for Andrew Simpson Foundation
Peta Stuart-Hunt,
It will not have escaped many people's notice that 2017 is the year of the America's Cup in Bermuda, a much-anticipated sporting event of global interest and of special significance to the Trustees, Management team, Supporters and Beneficiaries of the Andrew Simpson Foundation (ASF). The Foundation's founding Trustees include Sir Ben Ainslie and Iain Percy OBE.... [more]

Interview with Grant Dumas, past St. Pete NOOD Regatta overall winner
Sailing World,
The event, which is seeing record registration numbers with nearly 150 local, national and international teams in 11 classes, is hosted by St. Petersburg Yacht Club.... [more]

RS Aero Florida State Championships at Martin County US Sailing Center
Greg Popp,
The setting proved spectacular in terms of facility, race management, hospitality, location and weather for the eighteen racers that signed up for this second largest US East Coast RS Aero event.... [more]

Al Hasni guides Omani team to victory in EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour
Oman Sail,
EFG Bank Monaco skipper Douillard vowed to avenge the defeat in Leg 2, a 140-mile sprint from Sohar to Khasab on the beautiful Musandam Peninsula, the second of five offshore stages that will see the fleet race 763 miles around the Arabian Gulf.... [more]

America's Cup - Emirates Team NZ give first look at the pedaling AC50
Richard Gladwell, NZ,
Emirates Team New Zealand formally christened their new AC50 America's Cup Challenger on a rainy Auckland afternoon. The team has been sailing for the previous two days making news headlines after it was revealed in that the AC50 would become only the second yacht in America's Cup history to use pedal power.... [more]

America's Cup - Emirates Team NZ christen AC50 100 days from Cup
Hamish Hooper,
Just 100 days out from the first race of the Louis Vuitton America's Cup Qualifiers, Emirates Team New Zealand accomplishes the most significant milestone of its challenge for the 35th Americas Cup by christening their America's Cup Class catamaran that will begin racing in Bermuda in May.... [more]

Have you tried foiling yet- Top tips from Marko at Wildwind
In 2016 Wildwind invested in foiling kits for some of their Laser fleet, converting the standard everyday Laser in to a flying machine. ‘Can it be that easy?' we here you cry, well you're right but fortunately the Wildwind staff are not ones for turning down a challenge and have put a lot of time in to finding the optimum techniques so that you can be flying as soon as possible.... [more]

St. Maarten Heineken Regatta – Recipe for success
Louay Habib,
What it is like to take a bow on the big stage, in front of thousands of sailors, at the Caribbean's biggest sailing regatta? Four of last year's winning yacht skippers reveal how to win at the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta.... [more]

America's Cup - Images from Oracle Team USA AC50 launch + Video
Carlo Borlenghi,
After unveiling their AC50 yesterday, Oracle Team USA launched their Defender today in Bermuda. Top international photographer Carlo Borlenghi was on hand to capture the moment. Catch the moment on video, too... [more]

Helly Hansen National Offshore One Design Regatta returns to San Diego
Evily Giannopoulos,
Hundreds of local and visiting sailors in nearly a dozen classes of sailboats will compete for individual trophies and the top prize — an invitation to race in the Helly Hansen NOOD Caribbean Championship Regatta, presented by Sunsail in the British Virgin Islands in October.... [more]

Record entry for RORC Caribbean 600
Louay Habib,
A fleet of over 80 yachts is expected for the ninth edition in which 900 sailors from 30 different nations will race non-stop around 11 Caribbean islands, starting and finishing in Antigua.... [more]

Perini Navi announces key 2017 events
Perini Navi - Press Office,
2017 promises to be an important year for Perini Navi, the Italian shipyard renowned for the design and build of superyachts... [more]

YCCS Virgin Gorda to host top international regattas in March
YCCS Press Office,
The team at YCCS Virgin Gorda, the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda's Caribbean home, are putting the final touches to their newly redeveloped Clubhouse and Marina prior to reopening in time for three international regattas taking place in the first half of March 2017.... [more]

Just 100 days to the start of the 35th America's Cup
America's Cup,
Right across the beautiful island of Bermuda, preparations continue apace for the incredible events that will unfold, with racing taking place on the Great Sound.... [more]

America's Cup - Images from Oracle Team USA AC50 unveiling in Bermuda
Carlo Borlenghi,
Top international photographer Carlo Borlenghi was present in Bermuda at the Oracle Team USA unveiling of their AC50 and provided this gallery of images of the occasion. The AC50 was revealed for the first time, but was not launched or sailed.... [more]

Wildwind sponsor Hobie 2017 Multi Worlds and Europeans
This year the Hobie 2017 Multi Worlds & Europeans will be held in Noordwijk, Holland (a.k.a. ‘the beach of Amsterdam') on the 20-29 July and we are proud to announce that we are once again sponsoring the event... [more]

America's Cup - Kiwis sign Olympic Cyclist for the Tour de Bermuda
Richard Gladwell, NZ,
Emirates Team New Zealand put in a second foiling display on Auckland's Waitemata harbour ahead of the official launching of their AC50 tomorrow. With brighter skies the cycling team took their places on the pedalstals and used leg power to provide the hydraulic pressure necessary to run the AC50's control systems for the foils and wingsail.... [more]

Oracle Team USA celebrate completion of new America's Cup Class boat
Oracle Team USA,
On Tuesday evening, Oracle Team USA held a ceremony at its team base to reveal its new America's Cup Class boat, “17”, the foiling catamaran the team will race this summer in Bermuda.... [more]

Vendee Globe - Conrad Colman sets sail again under Jury rig NZ,
Round the world sailor Conrad Colman (NZL/USA/FRA) is underway again in his attempt to become the first sailor to complete the Vendee Globe using only renewable energy. 'The boom is up with a sail on it. Conrad will put up the jib during the night. Long long day but determination and patience pays off and he's got a 'mast'!!'... [more]

Powerful line-up for the inaugural GC32 Championship
GC32 Racing,
The ultra high-speed foiling one design GC32 catamarans will be competing at the GC32 Championship from Tuesday 28th February until Sunday 5th March. Racing will take place off Al Mouj Marina (The Wave, Muscat), on the outskirts of Muscat where the event's host, Oman Sail, has its headquarters.... [more]

Big breeze baptism of fire as EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour kicks off
Oman Sail,
The eight international crews vying to be crowned champions were today facing a baptism of fire with heavy weather lying in wait on the opening offshore leg from Muscat to Sohar.... [more]

Transat Jacques Vabre – Setting sail for Salvador de Bahia
Transat Jacques Vabre,
On Sunday, November 5, 2017, the competing skippers will cross the starting line of the longest transatlantic route to a legendary coffee port, Salvador in the state of Bahia in Brazil.... [more]

Vendee Globe - Bellion, one man and his boat - First words
Vendee Globe,
Huge crowds braved the Monday evening rain and wind to show their appreciation for Eric Bellion's Vendée Globe. The 40 year old skipper who had only sailed two, separate weeks solo before he started the longest, toughest single handed race there is exceeded all expectations, perhaps most of all his own, as he crossed the finish line in ninth place. He is the first rookie, Vendée... [more]

New Xperformance - Optimising the cruiser/racer range from X-Yachts
Georgie Eggleton,
Since the company was founded back in 1979, X-Yachts have built a wide range of 'Cruiser/Racers' as well as dedicated racing yachts which have won many famous International titles, and of course One Design Class yachts such as X-79 and X-99... [more]

America's Cup - Emirates Team New Zealand reveal big AC50 breakthrough
Richard Gladwell, NZ,
Emirates Team New Zealand have splashed their new AC50 in Auckland this morning and have revealed another break-though. In the 2013 America's Cup the team designed the first foiling catamaran even though that concept was not contemplated in the rules. It was widely reckoned that they revealed their secret too early and other teams were able to copy in the time available.... [more]

Miami Winter Series Event Two - Tropical conditions in Miami
M32 Series,
Ryan DeVos and team XS Energy won the Miami Winter Series Event 2 in the final race. A windy northerly for the practice day and two sunny hull-flying race days was enough to make competitors smile!... [more]

Eric Bellion 9th in the Vendée Globe, first rookie
Vendée Globe,
From one of the most prolonged and challenging storms encountered by any of the 29 skippers who left Les Sables d'Olonne on Sunday November 6th last year, French solo skipper Eric Bellion emerged triumphant, securing a remarkable ninth placed... [more]

Bavaria Yachts to introduce Cruiser 34 and Nautitech 46
Bavaria Yachts,
The Cruiser 34 will be on show at the Bavaria Yachts display at the Strictly Sail boat show at Bayside's Miamarina, from February 16th to 20th.... [more]

A QandA with Shawn Macking about the StPYC's Sailing Center and OD fleet
David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor,
I caught up with Shawn Macking, waterfront director of the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, via email to learn more about the club's Sailing Center, its hefty investment in a new fleet of ten J/70s, and how the StPYC is using this infrastructure to expose more people to the sport we all love.... [more]

World Sailing unites Kiteboarding governing bodies
Daniel Smith - World Sailing,
World Sailing has today signed a landmark agreement with the International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) and the Global Kitesports Association (GKA) to unite the kiteboarding community and provide clarity of kiteboarding's governance structure.... [more]


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