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Celebrating everday heroes—Sailing news from North & America & beyond


The latest sailing news from Canada and the world.
 21 Aug 2017

Celebrating everday heroes—Sailing news from North & America & beyond

2017 29er Worlds, Long Beach, CA, USA
- Day 3  © Mattias Capizzano
Let's face it: launching a news app on one's smartphone in the year 2017 is a constant gamble—will this innocent-enough little screen tap flood one's world with a huge amount of depressing, enraging, or otherwise illogical news that some might decry as fake? It's no easy flying out there for those who like to keep a pulse on the world's cardiovascular system, but every once in a while even a year as challenging as 2017 drops a nugget in front of you that reinstates belief in humanity. For me at least, one such example happened on August 6 at the 29er World Championship Regatta, which just took place at the Alamitos Bay Yacht Club in Long Beach, California.

According to several news reports, Jesse Dransfield (AUS) and her crewmember Simon Hoffman (AUS) were advancing their Olympic dreams by competing in the 29er Worlds when Hoffman made an on-the-spot decision that saved a life. The team was reportedly approaching the first leg of the regatta's final race when Hoffman heard emergency cries emanating from a capsized boat roughly 120 feet away.

2017 29er Worlds, Long Beach, CA, USA - Day 4  © Mattias Capizzano

The cries were coming from skipper Lola Kohl (IRL), who was desperately trying to alert her follow competitors that her partner, Johnny Durcan (IRL), was tangled in cordage and trapped under the boat.

Rather than waiting or even consulting his skipper, Hoffman's high-performance athleticism kicked in and the talented young sailor simply reacted.

2017 29er Worlds, Long Beach, CA, USA - Day 4  © Mattias Capizzano

Granted, Durcan is one of Hoffman's best friends, but the outcome-and Hoffman's brave and selfless reaction-would have been the same irrespective of the endangered sailor: Hoffman simply debarked his 29er and started swimming, loosing his lifejacket so that he could dive deep to reach his stricken mate.

Fellow competitor Santiago Alegre (ESP) also saw what was happening and abandoned his race to help Hoffman save Durcan.

2017 29er Worlds, Long Beach, CA, USA - Day 5  © Mattias Capizzano

Together, Hoffman and Alegre managed to get a nearly lifeless Durcan to the surface, but the talented Irish youth was not drawing breath on his own. Fortunately, a powerboat soon joined the rescue efforts, and Hoffman and Alegre swam Durcan to the powerboat, where he was pulled aboard.

Then, Hoffman and Alegre went to work.

2017 29er Worlds, Long Beach, CA, USA
© Matias Capizzano  © Mattias Capizzano

Hoffman had recently received an intensive first-aid course as part of his Olympic sailing training, which included CPR, and while the situation was grave, Hoffman and Alegre diligently kept administrating the life-saving procedure until-finally-Durcan started to breathe on his own.

Durcan was immediately rushed to the hospital, where he recovered and was visited by Hoffman and Alegre, and where the young Irishman also reached out to Australian Sailing with a plea to have Hoffman's life-saving efforts recognized.

Day 1 Zhik 2017 29er Worlds, Long Beach, CA, USA  © Mattias Capizzano

While there is likely a lot more to this story (including some less-than-savory reports that other boats sailed past Kohl and Durcan's capsized boat and-instead of stopping to help-simply yelled out to other competitors that someone was in trouble), the simple fact that Hoffman and Alegre would react in such a selfless and honorable way, and would possess the calm, steady, diligent mindset required to save a would-be drowning victim speaks volumes of a maturity and capability far exceeding their ages.

2017 29er Worlds, Long Beach, CA, USA - Day 4  © Mattias Capizzano

So, as the real world struggles through another week of a grinding, churning international news cycle, take heart in the fact that our sport (and our global population) is loaded with people like Hoffman and Alegre, offering hope that when things get darkest, the strongest amongst us ditch their own Olympic dreams and instead ensure that others can simply see broad daylight again.

May the four winds blow you safely home,

David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor

Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards nomination period open
World Sailing,
World Sailing will draw up a shortlist of nominations with the highest and most inspirational achievers going on to become the 2017 Rolex World Sailor of the Year Nominees.... [more]

Clipper Race – Day 1, Race 1 – Settling in
The Clipper Race,
Once clear of the River Mersey, teams began to progress towards the Irish sea, but changeable and fickle wind conditions teamed with close proximity racing overnight made for a tiring night with regular sail changes and movement of leader board positions.... [more]

Spectacular race expected as Extreme Sailing Series returns to Cardiff
Extreme Sailing Series,
The ultimate Stadium Racing championship will headline the Cardiff Harbour Festival over the August Bank Holiday, with the free-entry Fan Zone, located next to the Norwegian Church, offering the perfect place to catch a glimpse of the thrilling racing.... [more]

Oman Air hopes history will repeat at Extreme Sailing Series Cardiff
Oman Sail,
It is an unrivalled sequence of success the current Oman Air crew will want to continue as they set out to reinforce their position on top of the overall series leaderboard.... [more]

GKA Kite-Surf World Tour – Round 4 – Matchu Lopes takes the title
Matt Pearce,
Julien Kerneur had the potential to score his first podium, or would we get another sensational showdown in the final between heavyweight unhooker Airton, whose dominant strapless freestyle performances have led many to wonder if he can actually be beaten on flat water this season, versus the ultra-fluid, smooth and stylish Matchu.... [more]

World's youth attracted by the timeless challenge of the Finn
Robert Deaves,
One of the largest Finn Silver Cups on record is about to begin on the largest lake in Central Europe. Nearly 50 young Finn sailors from 21 countries and four continents are gathering at Balatonfüred, a popular resort town on Lake Balaton's northern shore.... [more]

J Class World Championship 2017 action-shots by Carlo Borlenghi
Carlo Borlenghi,
Carlo Borlenghi provided this gallery of images from J Class World Championship 2017.... [more]

St. Francis Yacht Club reclaims Hinman Trophy Team Race
After three years of close, but not quite, St. Francis Yacht Club is again the champions of the New York Yacht Club Invitational Team Race Regatta for the Commodore George R. Hinman Masters Trophy. The West Coast team has been one of the strongest masters team racing crews for the past decade, including a run of three straight Hinman Trophy wins from 2011 to 2013.... [more]

The Clipper 2017-18 Race start in Liverpool
The Clipper Race,
And they're off! The biggest ever edition of the Clipper Race – one of the world's toughest endurance challenges – got underway today on the River Mersey, in Liverpool, in front of thousands of supporters.... [more]

America's Cup - Coutts 'threatens' return to Cup if monohull chosen
Richard Gladwell, NZ,
Five times America's Cup winner, Russell Coutts, has echoed his famous quote about the 34th And 35th America's Cup regattas being for the Facebook generation, not the Flintstone generation, in an interview with OneNews reporter Abby Wilson. Now the Commodore of Manly Sailing Club, Coutts hit back at those who have criticised the format and boats used at the two events.... [more]

Biggest Clipper Race sets sail from Liverpool in front of huge crowds
Grace Kitching / Clipper Ventures,
712 non-professional crew, the most ever in its eleven editions, from all walks of life and including many who had no previous sailing experience, will take on Mother Nature in this ultimate ocean challenge, representing 41 different nationalities.... [more]

America's Cup - Two months on from start of 35th Match + Video
Emirates Team New Zealand,
To mark the passing of the two month milestone since the start of the 35th Match for the America's Cup, Emirates Team New Zealand have released this compilation from the series in Bermuda.... [more]

Clipper Race Leg 1 preview - Liverpool, UK, to Punta del Este, Uruguay
Clipper Round the World,
The Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race promises a shore side spectacle when the fleet crosses the start line in front of the large crowds that are expected to line the River Mersey at 1230 (BST) today.... [more]

2017 Melges 20 U.S. National Championship - Nail-biting final day
Melges 20,
A massive round of congratulations is in order for newly crowned Drew Freides on Pacific Yankee. He and his team which includes Morgan Reeser and Charlie Smythe are the 2017 Melges 20 U.S. National Champions.... [more]

Clipper Race - British Olympians swap sports for new challenge at sea
Kathryn Foulkes,
Joining this year's Great Britain entry in the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race are two athletes who have already spent their lives representing their country at the highest level.... [more]

2017 J/111 World Championship - Preview,
Every team's journey to a starting line is a tale of organization, crew alignment, vessel preparation and practice. Add in international travel, and the complexity snowballs. Then, weave in the pressures and prestige of a World Championship— in this case the 2017 J/111 World Championships (August 23-27, 2017), hosted by St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco, California — and situation compounds.... [more]

Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Three sleeps to go-
Clipper Round the World,
With less than 72 hours before the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race fleet line up on the River Mersey to start the 2017-18 edition of the 40,000 nautical mile race around the globe, anticipation is building in Albert Dock with crowds gathering to wish the fleet well.... [more]

Megan Ploch and crew earn win at Int'l Women's Keelboat Championship
US Sailing,
For the first time in event history, the revitalized International Women's Keelboat Championship, a US Sailing Championship, was held outside the United States. Club de Vela La Peña A.C. in Valle de Bravo, Mexico hosted the 2017 edition of this historic event and provided the competitors with a unique experience.... [more]

US Grade Two Grand Slam begins this weekend in Chicago
Chicago Match Race,
This weekend Chicago Yacht Club and Chicago Match Race Center are co-hosting the first stop of the three-event, US Grand Slam Series. The field of competitors includes twelve teams from five countries, seven of which are currently ranked in top 100 in World Sailing match racing rankings. Sailors will compete in CYC's fleet of Sonars just outside Belmont Harbor, alongside Chicago Air & Water Show.... [more]

2017 Melges 20 U.S. National Championship - Day 2 - Newport long haul
Melges 20,
The sunny skies on Day One of the 2017 Melges 20 U.S. National Championship hosted by Sail Newport were replaced with low flying southerly squalls and an on-time 1100 start. PRO Anderson Reggio sent the fleet to the 'inside' Halfway Rock racecourse for what would be a very exciting, four-race day of Melges 20 sailing.... [more]

Laser Radial Youth World Championships – Day 6
Katie Olsen,
Dimitris Papadimitriou of Greece, who was not ranked in the top 10 heading in to the Final Series, began pulling himself to the front with a third and fourth yesterday in gold fleet, and another incredible performance in today's racing.... [more]

Iranian finn sailor aims to make history at Tokyo 2020
Robert Deaves,
Ahmad Ahmadi is aiming to become the first Iranian sailor to compete at the Olympic Games. He opens his campaign at the 2017 Finn Gold Cup next month at Balatonfoldvar in Hungary and has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help fund his Olympic dream and give him the best possible chances of success in Tokyo.... [more]

Young prepared for tight battle at Laser Radial World Championship
Anisha Walkerley / RYA,
While Young says being defending champion has given extra impetus to this edition's build-up, she knows it will count for little when she takes to the startline alongside 99 rivals from 41 nations when competition starts on the IJsselmeer next week... [more]

Tasar World Championship in Gamagori
Jenny Sorensen,
The five race day event saw the outstanding North American crew from Seattle YC, former gold and bronze medal Olympians in the Flying Dutchman and 49'er Classes, Jonathan and Libby Johnson McKee, take out their fourth World Tasar Title... [more]

A Pacific Yankee Doodle Dandy opening day at Melges 20 Nationals
Melges 20,
On a traditional sunny, summer day, Newport is known for giving sailors a headfake with a weak, northerly, morning breeze, only to have that fade into a solid, southwest seabreeze. Knowing the conditions well and despite the solid northerly morning gradient, PRO Anderson Reggio wisely postponed the 2017 Melges 20 U.S. National Championship fleet, and settled on a 2 o'clock... [more]

Laser Radial Youth World Championships – Day 5
Katie Olsen,
Under gray skies and rain, the breeze built from 10 knots for the first race up around 15 knots for the second – the heaviest wind seen at the event thus far.... [more]

OK Dinghy World No.1 for the third time for Greg Wilcox
Robert Deaves,
Tomasz Gaj and Pawel Pawlaczyk from Poland record career bests in second and third, as does fourth placed Henrik Kofoed. The August release includes 488 sailors, 56 of whom sailed their first ranking event in 2017. The Wiorld Ranking list, and the numbers sailing OK Dinghy, keeps getting bigger.... [more]

2017 U.S. National Championship - Newport Pow Wow
Melges 20,
Summer sailing and racing in Newport is at its seasonal high point and smack dab in the middle of it all, is the 2017 Melges 20 U.S. National Championship hosted by Sail Newport happening on August 17-19. Three days of competitive sailing will take place under the careful management of PRO Anderson Reggio and his legion of local sailing and race committee volunteers.... [more]

2017 Laser Radial Youth World Championships - Day 4
Katie Olsen,
Three races were completed today in each fleet, concluding the qualifying series for the 2017 Laser Radial Youth World Championships in Holland.... [more]

Step two for Kialoa II
Lisa Ratcliff,
Kialoa II has completed the Rolex Fastnet Race and will soon hoist sails and head to Sydney, Australia, and the second major goal for the owners Patrick and Keith Broughton, the Rolex Sydney Hobart starting from Sydney Harbour on December 26, 2017.... [more]

MAPFRE set the Volvo Ocean Race bar with overall Leg Zero victory
Volvo Ocean Race,
Charlie Enright's Vestas 11th Hour Racing became the third team to grab a victory from four stages in Leg Zero – a series of pre-race qualifying stages for the next edition of the round-the-world race – as they sneaked ahead of MAPFRE in the early hours of Wednesday morning.... [more]

Young British Finn squad head to U23 Finn World Championship
Robert Deaves,
The squad of six, under the guidance of coach James Hadden, a former British Sailing Team member, have made significant improvements.... [more]

Volvo Ocean Race – MAPFRE seal overall Leg Zero victory
Kevin Fylan,
The decision to call a halt to the racing came late on Tuesday night as the stage had become a drifting contest, with the teams making a series of expensive gybes in a bid to find some wind, and latest ETAs predicting that the boats would not reach Lisbon until well into Thursday.... [more]

Volvo Ocean Race – What the skippers say
Jonno Turner / Volvo Ocean Race,
We had an email a couple of hours ago from Race Control saying that the forecast was no wind at all and they decided to shorten the race which I think is a good decision because this Leg Zero was already becoming quite long and we are looking forward to finish and have a good rest.... [more]

Waukegan to host 2018 USSCA North American Championships
Sunfish Class,
Lake Bluff Yacht Club will host the 2018 North American Championships July 30th through August 4th, 2018.... [more]

U.S. Match Racing Championship Qualifier - Chris Nesbitt in action
Rick Roberts,
Chris Nesbitt of San Diego Yacht Club and his team won the World Sailing Grade 3 2017 U.S. Match Racing Championship Qualifier Sunday, thus earning a qualification spot to the big dance at the 2017 U.S. Match Racing Championship, Oct. 13-15, at Oakcliff Sailing on the Long Island Sound in New York State.... [more]

Volvo Ocean Race - MAPFRE invest in west – and it's looking best
Sam Matson,
With the exception of Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag, the fleet remained close together to the east of the front throughout the night, experiencing light northeasterly winds as they sailed down wind towards Cape Finisterre.... [more]

Laser Radial Youth World Championships – Day 3
Eric Faust - ILCA,
With enough speed to sail off the start and upwind, the fleet managed to cover two thirds of the first beat before the wind shifted 40 degrees to the left and the race was abandoned. The wind continued to shift left 20 more degrees before dying completely.... [more]

France annihilates Rolex Fastnet Race competition for a third time
James Boyd,
As ever the course took the giant fleet west down the English Channel, either side of the prohibited 'traffic separation scheme' zone between Land's End and the Scilly Isles, across the Celtic Sea to the Fastnet Rock, four miles off southwest Ireland, back south leaving Bishop Rock and the Scilly Isles to port and then, on past the Lizard, to the finish off Plymouth - in total 605 nautical miles.... [more]

A medal for the 470 Medal Maker
Australian Sailing,
Australian Sailing's Head Coach and 470 Coach since 1997 Victor Kovalenko has an unparalleled coaching record, his sailors have won ten Olympic medals and 19 world championships. He is widely known as the Medal Maker and his string of coaching success continued recently when the 470 World Championship 2017 was won in Thessaloniki Greece, by Australia's Mat Belcher and Will Ryan.... [more]

Panerai Newport Classic Yacht Regatta returns for 38th edition
Event Media,
For the first time, immediately following the Herreschoff Classic Yacht Regatta, Newport Classic Yacht Regatta competitors will compete in a point-to-point race from Bristol to Newport.... [more]

2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race - Leg Zero - Light wind as calms continue
Conrad Colman,
The fleet restarted on Monday morning from the south coast of Brittany in the same order they finished yesterday, so it was no surprise to see MAPFRE and Vestas 11th Hour Racing take an early lead.... [more]

2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race - And they're off-
Jonno Turner,
The fleet restarted the fourth and final stage of Leg Zero at 0615 UTC on Monday – with the boats spread just over five minutes apart from front to back.... [more]

Laser Radial Youth World Championships – Day 2
Eric Faust - ILCA,
On Alpha Course, the yellow fleet got off their start under a U Flag and Ireland's Ewan Mcmahon led the way around the course with Josh Armit of New Zealand and Australian Caelin Winchcombe close on his tail. The following blue and red fleets had multiple general recalls before finally starting race one.... [more]

Melges 32 World Championship – Countdown to the start
ot only does it crown the next Melges 32 World Champion, but it will also define the true strength of teams after a long season on the World League circuit.... [more]

Discussing the Storm Trysail Club's Ted Hood Regatta with Clarke Smith
David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor,
Given the late, great Ted Hood's sterling reputation as both a sailor and innovator, it makes a lot of sense that the Storm Trysail Club's Marblehead Station would create their inaugural Ted Hood Regatta (August 25-27), which will be held on the waters off of Marblehead, Massachusetts, in his honor. I corresponded with Clarke Smith, chairman for the 2017 Ted Hood Regatta, via email, to learn more.... [more]

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