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Wishing that life imitated sailing - USA Newsletter


Wishing that life imitated sailing

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Racecourse action at the 2020 Quaranteam Regatta - photo © Francis George/Oackcliff Sailing

Dear Recipient Name

Summer may have officially started in the USA, but an ill wind - known as the coronavirus - continues to blow across the country, with alarmingly high new-case counts emerging daily from many states. Most recently Florida, Texas and Arizona have been hardest hit, but plenty of other states, including my home state of Washington, are on the uptick.

As someone who has lived in the American West for a large percentage of my adult life, I'm no stranger to wildfires and the fact that a strong wind can quickly shift battle lines as burning embers rise and fall. Sadly, the same is true for the coronavirus, as even states such as New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont, which are seeing their daily new-case counts dropping, are at the mercy of neighboring states as life and commerce slowly come back to (still-restricted) life following this spring's recent lockdowns.

That's the bad news.

The good news is that sailors and the sailing community are proving that racing can still safely take place amidst this scary backdrop, albeit in sometimes reimagined and likely more localized forms.

Starting with the shortest waterlines and working upwards, Laser and RS Aero sailors, as well as kiters and windsurfers, have little to fear when they head out alone for an afternoon or evening sail. Provided there's breeze and that the rest of the fleet takes basic precautions such as wearing facemasks and practicing social distancing ashore, there's also little worry about hosting local races. Plenty of single-handers across the USA are already doing just that, even as bars and other businesses are being ordered to close as transmission rates spike.

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Racecourse action at the 2020 Lake Max Vanguard 15 Series - photo © Image courtesy of the 2020 Lake Max Vanguard 15 Series
Racecourse action at the 2020 Lake Max Vanguard 15 Series - photo © Image courtesy of the 2020 Lake Max Vanguard 15 Series

The same is true for two-person classes. Take, for example, the 2020 Lake Max Vanguard 15 Series, which unfurled on the waters of Ohio's Lake Maxinkuckee in late May and early June. The event wisely required social distancing onshore, and it employed MarkSetBots and virtual skipper's meetings, rather than mark boats and tightly packed pre-race meetings.

Given that sailing is a sport that's closely governed by rules and protocols, some of the most heartening and confidence-inspiring work that I've recently seen towards ensuring a 2020 sailing season comes from the good folks at Oakcliff Sailing, in Oyster Bay, New York. Not only did Oakcliff successfully host their Quaranteam Regatta in early June, but Oakcliff's leadership also published a comprehensive protocol (available here: that other events can adopt to enable sailing while keeping sailors safe.

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Apres sailing at Oakcliff's 2020 Quaranteam Regatta - photo © Francis George/Oakcliff Sailing
Apres sailing at Oakcliff's 2020 Quaranteam Regatta - photo © Francis George/Oakcliff Sailing

The Salish 200 unfurled this past weekend on the Salish Sea (read: the Strait of Georgia, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and Puget Sound) and involved shorthanded crews racing aboard keelboats. Unlike most more formal, yacht club-based regattas, this one was organized by Jason Andrews and Shawn Dougherty, co-skippers of the well-sailed Seattle-based J/125 Hamachi, and relied heavily on the honor system. Teams could sail with up to five crewmembers (total), and they had their choice of three courses, ranging from 100 to 200 nautical mile outings. Here, the emphasis was on adventure sailing rather than cut-throat competition, and it gave participants a chance to sail at night and around some of the region's prettiest islands and bodies of water.

I'd be straight-up lying if I said that I didn't spend my weekend jealous of the sailors who got to participate in the Salish 200.

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Hamachi sailing in light airs on Puget Sound - photo © Image courtesy of Hamachi/Jan Anderson
Hamachi sailing in light airs on Puget Sound - photo © Image courtesy of Hamachi/Jan Anderson

Likewise, the 2020 Lake Michigan Doublehanded Championship (June 11), is another great example of sailors getting out on the water in a responsible and socially distanced way that also delivered a great shorthanded adventure for all participants.

While there are undoubtedly many other great examples of sailors responsibly and safely finding ways to engage the sport that we all love best, the simple fact remains that the entire USA would be in far better shape if all citizens engaged in the kind of responsible approach towards reopening society that I've seen exemplified by the sailing community. Yes, masks suck, but if they dramatically reduce transmission rates, then they need to be worn. Likewise, social distancing also sucks, but if it's a key to resuming life as we know and love it, then it should be mandatory. End of story.

Sadly, I've had a few land-based experiences as of late that offer a glimpse into why the coronavirus' transmission rates are re-spiking in the USA. These range from dodging mask-less patrons in the grocery store to scrambling a dozen feet off-trail in the mountains to avoid mask-less hikers who somehow think that they are immune to this nasty virus. And that's to say nothing of house parties, packed beaches and over-crowded establishments, all of which I've been carefully avoiding like, well, the plague.

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2019 Annual Miami Sailing Week - Protest Committee - photo © Cory Silken
2019 Annual Miami Sailing Week - Protest Committee - photo © Cory Silken

While I doubt we'll be seeing mask-less grocery-store patrons performing penalty turns in the aisles with their grocery carriages anytime soon, I do fear that, unless corrective actions are taken quickly and embraced widely, we could be looking at a return to the latchkey days of April, when the only surfing to be done involved Netflix. Moreover, I also fear that the significant sacrifice and economic pain we all endured this spring - not to mention the (ballpark) 125,000 lost American lives (and counting, rather quickly) - will be for naught unless corrective actions are widely embraced.

It's tempting to wish that life imitated sailing, but during the last six months I find myself wishing that everyone understood and embraced the connection between responsible behavior and the rewards of getting to participate in favorite activities as much as sailors clearly do. But rather than chide the less responsible amongst our ranks, it's far better to celebrate the successes - however small-scale they may be - and to hold these up as examples for others to embrace.

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Sail-World's publisher, Mark Jardine, out for a blast on his Frankenlaser - photo © Mark Jardine
Sail-World's publisher, Mark Jardine, out for a blast on his Frankenlaser - photo © Mark Jardine

Get this right and we can all have a good time; blow it, and the ill winds that we are all feeling will become a truly tragic Category 5 hurricane.

May the four winds blow you safely home.

David Schmidt North American Editor

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Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and Rolex Swan Cup to take place this year
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Nacra 17 star Lisa Darmanin interview
Lisa Darmanin, one of the world's best sailors and 2016 Olympic Silver Medallist in the Nacra 17, talks to Stephen Brayshaw about the Olympic experience and being on the team going to Tokyo.

For when might is right
At an Australian Sailing Team camp currently being conducted off Australia's East coast at Coffs Harbour, 470 Dynamic Duo, Mat Belcher and Will Ryan have been treated to some spectacular times.

Upffront 2020 Foredeck Club SW MPU   SW Newsletter Sign-Up
America's Cup: Auckland's AC75 fleet doubles in a single day
The 36th America's Cup entered a new phase today with the launching of New York Yacht Club's AC75 this morning from the BBC Destiny. Out on the Hauraki Gulf, Emirates Team NZ's AC75, Te Aihe went sailing for the first time in more than four months

Defiant arrives in Auckland
Defiant, the first AC75 racing yacht built for New York Yacht Club American Magic, Challenger for the 36th America's Cup, has arrived in New Zealand.

America's Cup: Informants exited by America's Cup Events and Emirates Team NZ
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Inaugural St. Thomas Yacht Club Invitational Regatta - Overall
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America's Cup: First Challenger arrives in Auckland
The first America's Cup Challenger has arrived in Auckland. The New York Yacht Club's American Magic arrived, aboard a chartered vessel around 1030hrs local time and docked at Fergusson Wharf West before being unloaded tomorrow.

2020 Online Newport Bermuda Race prize-giving, hosted by Goslings
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Racing for the Planet victorious in inaugural Sailing Trophy
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An interesting cluster develops
So Jeanneau's Sun Fast 3600 has certainly been a bit of a giant killer, especially short-handed. Races like the 5500nm Melbourne to Osaka lie as testament to that.

Small steps to normal life: J/70 IGY Marinas finishes second in St Maarten Series 2020
There will be many stories of the challenges of dealing with the global pandemic from the sailing community. Some sad, some hopeful, some inspiring. 250 - 2014   C-Tech Emirates TNZ 250
Edgartown Regatta announcement: Signature Round-the-Island Race to take place
The Edgartown Yacht Club's Big Boat Racing Committee is excited to get started with the 2020 sailing season. The team has been working exceptionally hard over the past nine months to enhance Edgartown Race Weekend for this year

Vendée Globe: Without assistance means... without assistance
'Without Assistance' is the third pillar of the Vendée Globe complementing 'Solo' and 'Non-Stop'. Some would say it is the fundamental principle which is open to most interpretation.

Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez: The new format in detail
Confirmed from Saturday, September 26th to Friday, October 9th, the new format of the Voiles de Saint-Tropez offers an event spread over two weeks, for the modern and classic yachts.

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TraveLodge: A world championship-winning 18 Footer sponsorship
A sponsor who came to the 18 Footers in 1964 was the TraveLodge company which decided to sponsor Bob Holmes, who was a new, young competitor to the class.

North Sails Weekly Debrief: ClubSwan 36 Collaboration, Three Generations of Sailing
The North Sails design team and class experts have been hard at work to optimize a sail inventory for this high performance one design class.

CSA launches Fundraiser to assist with the development of the Caribbean Wide Learn to Sail Programme
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ETNZShop-SUPPORTERRANGE-300x250 HR   KZRaceFurlers
RORC Time Over Distance Volume 13 - Jason Carrington
Jason Carrington, the world-renowned professional yachtsman and boat builder is interviewed by Louay Habib for the 13th edition of the RORC Time Over Distance Series.

The ocean connects us all... even from our computers
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One year to go until the Globe40 start
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Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam crew member visits natural wonder her team represents
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Catch up with the SailGP athletes
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America's Cup: Three years since the win in Bermuda, and not long to go
26th of June in Bermuda and the 27th of June in New Zealand, no matter what year, will always be a day of reflection of winning the 35th America's Cup for many kiwis.

Sir Ben Ainslie Q&A
Have you ever wondered what Sir Ben Ainslie's first boat was or where he loves to sail? We met up with the 4 times Olympic Gold Medallist at the INEOS TEAM UK base for a short Q&A.

Happy Hour with Stretch and Stirfry - Mike 'Moose' Sanderson
This week, the boys catch up with "Moose", talking all things Doyle. Sit back and learn about 'load sharing', The Ocean Race, Cherub sailing and Mari Cha all in fluent Kiwanese...

NEW! Mav Face Coverings from Henri-Lloyd
Made from a soft breathable cotton in our own European factory, this pack of 3 non-medical Face Coverings are reusable and machine washable at 60 degrees.

National Sailing Hall of Fame announces 2020 Inductees
The National Sailing Hall of Fame (NSHOF) announced today nine sailors comprising its 10th anniversary class of inductees.

NYYC American Magic: It's Not About Miracles
Marblehead, Massachusetts has produced a steady stream of America's Cup talent for well over a century, with sailors like Charles Francis Adams, Ted Hood and Jud Smith leading the way.

smartlink - is this the missing link?
Cyclops Marine launch smartlink. A new wireless load sensor designed to help sailors find their groove, record their settings, and most importantly repeat those settings. Sailors win regattas when they get their settings right.

Emirates Team NZ: Te Aihe prepares to go test sailing on the Waitemata
Four months after Emirates Team New Zealand packed up their AC75, shipped her off to Europe for the two ACWS of regattas, she has arrived back in Auckland and is being re-commissioned for testing.

Persico 69F Cup: The circuit kicks off
Plans are set, six crews registered. After the presentation on February 20th, 2020 in Milan, the Persico 69F Cup is ready to go. The first edition of the event will see four Grand Prix events taking place in the second half of 2020.

America's Cup: Govt. loosens restrictions so vessels can enter NZ
The New Zealand Government has announced key changes to New Zealand's border restrictions including a new maritime exception for vessels including yachts and superyachts with a compelling need for the vessel to travel to New Zealand.

Vendée-Arctique-Les Sables d'Olonne: All to play for!
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America's Cup: Youth AC yacht nails foiling gybes - Video
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INEOS Team UK's David 'Freddie' Carr talks us through the Britannia I deck layout
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How Len Heffernan changed the style of Sydney 18 Footers in the 1960s
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Stu McNay and David Hughes earn selection for Tokyo 2020 Games
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Another Quaranteam Regatta in the books
This weekend Oakcliff hosted a Grade 5 Match Race regatta following our established "Quaranteam Regatta" protocol.

Optimism for the future drives major range upgrade at Highfield Boats
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International Classes excluded from World Sailing's closed Mid-Year Meeting
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America's Cup: Summer of 2021 video covers all teams coming to Auckland
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Planet Sail Episode 4: Exclusive interview with double America's Cup winner Ernesto Bertarelli
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What's it like to join the I14 fleet?
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A conversation with Jason Andrews and Shawn Dougherty on the 2020 Salish 200
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Olympic Medalist Caleb Paine steps away from Tokyo 2020 Campaign
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The tradition will continue: New York Yacht Club's 166th Annual Regatta set for August 28 to 30
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