Please select your home edition

Jumbos rule

by John Curnow, Editor, Sail-World AUS 10 Oct 2021 14:00 PDT
B&G Nemesis on board a Gunboat © B&G

Not all the world's jumbos got retired and parked in the Arizona desert at the beginning of 2020. Boeing's venerable bus had served us all - so, so well... Later on that same year, B&G, another powerhouse organisation, gave us Nemesis, and this was a pretty cool piece of kit indeed. So seeing as the behemoth known as Brunswick Corporation only recently completed its acquisition of Navico (B&G's parent company), I could not help but see the distinct parallels between all of that and a little project on some very well known, and also record breaking maxis that has been going on since earlier in 2021.

To that end, I spoke with Laura Tolmay, Marketing Communications Manager at Navico in Sydney, about how it all came to pass. "In previous years, B&G never had a direct partnership with Wild Oats. However, the vessels were always equipped with our gear through Olectric, who provided all the labour, support and electronics. In the middle of 2020 we began discussions with the Wild Oats team on a future partnership, in conjunction with Olectric, to refit both Wild Oats X and XI with B&G Nemesis displays, WS700 series wind sensors, along with various graphic displays, and WTP3 interfaces."

"As the world's leading sailing instrument specialist, we wanted to not only partner with a leader in performance racing, but also acknowledge the unwavering loyalty and support that Wild Oats has always provided to B&G."

"Last year we had an exciting launch of our B&G Nemesis displays. They highlighted how we had shifted from an HV display, to a fully customisable digital display that affords greater visibility and functionality. Wild Oats X and XI were the optimum vessels to showcase the Nemesis displays with expert crew, along and a comprehensive racing schedule."

"Nemesis stock arrived into Australia early in 2021, and Olectric set out to install Wild Oats X with multiple Nemesis 9 data displays, WS730 Vertical Wind Sensor, and 7 x H5000 Graphic Displays, with the intention of being race ready for a successful sailing season. Covid restrictions, and the lack of sailing events have proven to be quite prohibitive to date. Works on Wild Oats XI have halted for now", said Tolmay in closing.

Apart from being involved in some events in and around Pittwater as Sydney emerges from restrictions today, there is some chance that Wild Oats X may take part in the Southport Yacht Club's Sail Paradise regatta from 3-6 January, 2022.

So B&G Nemesis is the first of its kind in the marine industry. A new generation of intelligent sailing data display that offers unparalleled visibility, touchscreen and Apple watch control, with complete customisation, or easy to use pre-set multi-function templates and automatic dashboards, based on your point of sail. Nemesis allows you to define what data you see, when and how you see it, no matter what the conditions, providing an intuitive link between your trusted instrument network and the real world.


Over. Not out...

Yassine Drk's first attempt to complete 300nm, solo, non-stop and unassisted in a Laser no less, started at 1040hrs on September 29 in front of Dalia Beach, Morocco. Now he might not have made it, yet, and that is something really important to remember here, but the tale to date is a wonderful testament to determination, adaptability, respect for yourself and the sea, as well as all the souls who gathered around to help him.

His support boat, Gladius, arrived on station at 1000hrs and he received a radar reflector, some little torches and a VHF from them. It was the first he had actually met the volunteer crew, who had stepped up once they had heard about his plans.

Yassine talks about what it was like once under way, "As expected, the wind was of 9 knots, but soon after leaving, things got different. The first thing I noticed was that apart from having a dominant swell coming from the West, I had to face waves from the East; from the left, from the right, from everywhere. So the challenge was not to nose dive. Imagine surfing a 5 to 6ft wave, and then suddenly you get a 5-footer coming just in front of you!"

"I had two stashes of five litres water with me, and a bag with all my food and batteries that weighed another 7 kilos, so keeping the boat balanced was tough. The wind was gusty. I would say from 15 to 20 knots gusts, so I had to keep really focused, and apart from having my eyes on those weird waves coming from everywhere, I had also to watch my back and watch for gusts, so as to be ready to adjust mainsail and route."

"The swell was of a super short period, and also pretty hollow. The way to surf those waves is to give a 'kick' to the mainsail when the boat started to speed up. It's a technique we use, and it consists of pulling on a bit of mainsheet in a very fast way, so the nose goes up and the boat accelerates. Note that the bodywork has to follow, meaning that every time I had to adjust my upper body to avoid 'counter heel', when the boat heels to your side. Capsizing like that means that a very long swim will follow after the boat turns turtle. In the Strait of Gibraltar it's bad, very bad. The currents are so violent that there would be only one outcome. All over. I battled for around seven hours to leave the Strait." Here's a little video of part of it all.

"As going downwind was impossible, I had to break my way out of the Strait, so it was all about close reaching, which also reduced the likelihood of capsizing. Every time I felt that the boat was going to heel to my side, I just pushed the rudder and got in the tacking position. When facing the Moroccan coast I had a 90 degrees angle to it, and when going to the Spanish coast I had a more opened angle, so I could go deeper only on one side. So I was sailing across the wind when on port tack, and reaching when on starboard."

Yankee Foxtrot

"There was a time when I crossed the path of a super tanker. I didn't panic, I was kind of amazed by the waves crashing against it; so much power. Those vessels are very quick. You see it two kilometres away, and then a few minutes later it's by your side!"

"I kept sailing in this way till I arrived at Cape Malabata, where I got a bit inside Tangier Bay to just have a deep breath, and some tobacco. I've never had similar experience. I was proud of myself, and happy that I hadn't capsized. Every time I had to tack, I had to adjust the weight on board, and change the two big bottles of water from one side to the other. It wasn't a pleasant manoeuvre."

"From Cape Malabata to Cape Spartel, the swell period got a bit longer, but the wind was still strong. I managed to turn after Cape Spartel before dark. The water got flat, and it was a Thai massage after what I had gone through. The total distance to cross the Strait from Cires Point to Cape Malabata ended up at 65km, instead of 40km."

"Around 6pm I was in the Atlantic Ocean, and it was less windy for an hour. Then when it got as dark as a black coffee, the wind came back and again from astern. My hope was that in the Atlantic I was going to get it from the side:(("

In the drink

"I had a talk with the support boat before it got dark, and we started off again. We lost sight on each other at 10pm, and at 1am I started to feel weak. Subsequently I threw up, and was feeling very bad. I had a fever. At 2am I capsized, and righting her took all my last energy. I felt very cold and decided to find Asilah's city port."

"That was again a challenge, as there were no lights showing you the entrance, the marina is being rebuilt, so it was impossible to spot the entrance. I asked a fisherman, and he pointed to a resort with blue lights, saying the entrance was in that direction, and you could only when you were 100 metres from it. The wind died, so I paddled for like 30 minutes and used the swell to get there. I was afraid of being dragged onto the jetty."

"I made it to the authorities pier, and they were surprised to see me there (of course). They said I gave them a hard time, as they were following my manoeuvres using thermal binoculars and didn't know what I was doing, nor who I was. By 5am I called my brother and asked him to come with my documents and my phone. The officers offered me a hot shower, a blanket, a pillow, and invited me to sleep a bit."

"My brother came with dry clothes, the boat got picked up and sent to Tangier Yacht Club, as Asilah is only 40km from Tangier. My wife arrived, as too my friend Fabrizio and I went to Tangier with them, where I had a hot drink and fell asleep."

The waypoints of the journey can be seen here.

It's a matter of a few weeks before they try again. The support boat is coming along again. The owner holds multiple fishing world records, and Yassine is determined to be even more prepared.

"It was a wonderful journey, and I'll never forget that feeling in the Strait: deep focus, maximum effort, huge hills, dolphins, big birds coming to say hi or just curious and looking to understand what I was hahaha, or the battle with the elements."

"The next attempt will probably start from Tangier instead of Point Cires. I ended up with sore hands as I didn't block the mainsheet for the whole crossing. I tested my limits in, and have more love and respect for the ocean than ever, as well as even more love for sailing."

A super-appreciative Yassine closed by saying, "The team on Gladius have all my gratitude as it was very tough for them, as well. They came as volunteers to give a hand with a true Mariner's Spirit. Thanks to my wife, brother, family and friends, Jacky my dog, the Moroccan Sailing Association, also to you John and the Sail-World family." In typical style, Yassine added, "Thank you to my butt for handling the pain, hahaha. Of course thanks to my sponsors for taking the risk to be a part of such madness."

Please avail yourself of the plethora of information on the group's sites when you can.

Equally, if your class or association is generating material, please submit your material. Want to subscribe? Just follow the instructions on our newsletter page. You can also register for other editions from the pull down menu.

Finally, many thanks for making Sail-World your go-to choice. We're always here to keep pumping out the news. Stay safe, and enjoy your time on the water.

John Curnow
Editor, Sail-World AUS