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Goblin Mode, Moth Worlds, AC news, offshore racing

by David Schmidt 6 Dec 2022 08:00 PST December 6, 2022
Dylan Fletcher on day 5 of the Moth Worlds at Buenos Aires, Argentina © Moth Worlds ARG 2022 / Matias Capizzano

Mornings dawn late these days at 48.7519 degrees north latitude here in Bellingham, Washington, and yesterday morning I found myself — in between double shots of espresso — going extra deep on the world headlines. I made my usual rounds, starting with The New York Times and the Washington Post, but it was a small sidebar story on the BBC World News that caught my eye.

While Merriam-Webster announced last week that "gaslighting" [Editor's note: see Donald Trump's grievance campaign] was their official word of the year, the BBC reported that Oxford had selected "goblin mode" as their word of the year. While I'll spare you the grammar-hammer argument that this is two unhyphenated words, not one, the 'word' rang true for me.

According to the BBC article, "goblin mode" means "unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy behavior."

Dear reader, I'm guilty, and I owe you an apology. I had to have surgery in mid-November (the result of a poor decision that I made at the beginning of the pandemic to get into an indoor rowing competition with my stronger and fitter former college roommate) and I entered my own goblin mode. Aside from my daily (forced) walks and constant visits to the Route du Rhum webpage, I've done almost nothing but rest.

And this meant a skipped newsletter (I'm sure you all were just waiting on pins and needles, ahem). And not just any skipped newsletter... the one in question would have looked at a stormy and accident-fraught Route du Rhum.

Anyway, we're now back to our regularly scheduled broadcasting. I'm going to make the assumption (and yes, I am familiar with the parental lineage of this fraught word) that Sail-World's readership is up to speed on the Route du Rhum, so, with a tip of the hat to every participant, we are moving on to other sailing news (read: more goblin mode).

The 2022 Moth Worlds just wrapped up on the waters off of the Yacht Club Argentino, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. All told, the RC rifled off 13 races. Great Britain's Dylan Fletcher-Scott took first place, followed by Argentina's Massimo Contessi (who also ranked as the top junior) and Italy's Simone Sava.

North American interests were represented in the top ten by Brad Funk, who finished in fourth place; Richard Didham, who finished astern of Funk, and Harry Melges Jr, who took eighth place.

While these results were all impressive, a scroll deeper into the results caught my attention. American Helena Scutt, who is a former Olympian and an accomplished scholar and professional, finished in 20th place out of 38 boats, to claim the title of Female World Champion.

Scutt left plenty of talented male sailors in her wake, and demonstrated once again that she has speed to burn, irrespective of the fleet that she's sailing in.

Sail-World offers our congratulations to all sailors who competed at this tough one-design foiling regatta, and we offer Scutt a special high-five for a job well done.

Speaking of foiling, there's plenty of news from the America's Cup world, where Emirates Team New Zealand recently discovered the limitations of the bow sections on the new AC40 foiling monohulls, which all teams are required to buy. Additionally, most teams are now logging extensive on-the-water time in their AC75 or LEQ12 foiling monohulls.

While this training included a capsize for the Italians, in their "distinctive-looking" LEQ12, it also included plenty of flight time for American Magic, who has returned to their winter training base off of Pensacola, Florida. Of note for the Americans is the fact that they now have two gold medalists — Tom Slingsby and Paul Goodison — on the steering wheels, and "cyclors" on the boat's stationary bikes to create hydraulic pressure.

Also, word broke last week that the 37th America's Cup will be held from October 12-20, 2024 (with October 21 through October 27 set aside as reserve race days) on the southern waterfront of Barcelona, Spain. In addition, the Women's America's Cup is set to start on October 16, 2024.

This should hopefully equate to great shoreside spectating. And, if you haven't been to Barcelona (easily one of my favorite world cities), I can assure you that the delights will not stop when racing ends each day.

Jumping to offshore racing, The Ocean Race (TOR) 2022-2023 is set to begin on (drumroll please) January 15, 2023. Racing will take place in two classes, IMOCA 60s and VO65s, however fine print is involved.

TOR sent out a press release last week announcing the VO65 Sprint Cup. This effectively involves three sprints (Alicante, Spain to Cabo Verde; Aarhus, Denmark to The Hague, the Netherlands; and The Hague to Genova, Italy), plus inshore racing.

Based on the press release, it appears that the Sprint Cup, which takes place in Mediterranean waters, will be the only VO65 racing to take place in this edition of this around-the-world classic.

As for the IMOCA 60s, there are five confirmed teams entered for the full round-the-world program, including the American-flagged 11th Hour Racing, which is skippered by Charlie Enright.

We at Sail-World wish this race well, and we will certainly provide ample coverage once the starting guns sound, however it's troubling to see so few entrants this close to the start. Then there's the matter of attrition. The last Vendee Globe, which also featured delicate IMOCA 60s, saw 33 boats start, while only 25 solo skippers crossed the finishing line.

This amounts to a 25 percent attrition rate. If these numbers hold in the 2023 edition of TOR, this could mean final legs that are only contested by three or four boats.

Switching gears to Class 40s, the Globe40 fleet is now approaching Point Nemo — the farthest geographical point from dry land — en route to Cape Horn.

While the French-flagged team of Frans Budel and Ysbrand Endt, sailing aboard Sec Hayai, are leading the charge, North American interests are represented by Americans Micah Davis and Brian Harris, sailing aboard Amhas, the British-Canadian team of Melodie Schaffer (CAN) and Paul Stratford (GBR), sailing aboard Whiskey Jack,, and the American-Italian team of Joe Harris (USA) and Roger Junet, sailing aboard Gryphon Solo II.

Sail-World wishes all of these teams fast and safe passage around Cape Horn.

Finally, as a self-proclaimed grinch, I heard the first telltale sounds of Christmas songs on the radio the other day (shudder... thankfully it was only Bing Crosby, not the dreaded Little Drummer Boy). While this was likely calculated to encourage Christmas shopping, it instead made me think of my favorite holiday tradition, namely the Sydney Hobart Race, which starts on Boxing Day (December 26). Be sure to check out the pre-race coverage, plus news from the 18-foot skiffs, on our website.

May the four winds blow you safely home.

David Schmidt North American Editor

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