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Like riding a bicycle - re-engaging the sport we all love best - USA Newsletter


Like riding a bicycle - re-engaging the sport we all love best

McConaghy Boats 2021 - LEADERBOARD

Reverso Air 2021 LEADERBOARD

Mist and Light during Hamble River Wednesday Night Series - Early Bird Series race 5 - photo © Bertrand Malas

Dear Recipient Name

Relief. That's the single best word to describe how it felt last week when we crossed the starting line and settled into the first (and, as it turned out, penultimate) beat of the race during a casual Thursday night of sailing on Bellingham Bay. Relief not because we got a great start (we did), but because I was actually on a sailboat again, in racing conditions, for the first time since the bloody pandemic threw all of our lives into the collective blender.

The reasons for my long hiatus are somewhat complicated and involved a move (great time to relocate!) from Seattle to Bellingham last year, the "fun" of a house sale, the search purchase of a new domicile, and of course the pandemic. My regular Seattle-based boat swung into doublehanded mode, and I found myself skiing a lot. Yes, Mount Baker Ski Area received a bumper crop of powder last winter, but even on days of skiing knee-deep pow (often with sailing friends), I couldn't stop thinking about sailing.

Marskeel 2019 600x500   Aquaventures 2021 - Sea Angel MOB - MPU

Spencers Estate Agents Royal Lymington Yacht Club Thursday Night Late Series Day 7 - photo © Mark Jardine
Spencers Estate Agents Royal Lymington Yacht Club Thursday Night Late Series Day 7 - photo © Mark Jardine

Fortunately, an interview for Sail-World linked me in with a great skipper, crew, and boat here in Bellingham, and last Thursday I found myself donning my bibs, sailing gloves and deck shoes for the first time in ages. This was the longest that I've been away from sailing in my entire life, and—as anyone else who might have had a similar pandemic experience can maybe relate to—there was plenty of accumulated rust on the gears.

I discovered this during our first and only gybe of the night. The boat carries a spinnaker pole and both asymmetric and symmetrical spinnakers. Having spent the last decade plus sailing only on boats with A-sails, it was a bit daunting to find myself tending the inboard end of pole. It was even more daunting when I accidentally got the lazy jib sheet stuck in the jaw, but the skipper and crew played things super cool and gave me the time I needed to sort out the kerfuffle.

Fortunately, the takedown went better than the gybe and we were soon on our way back upwind. A small misunderstanding took root as half the crew (myself included) thought that the course was a twice-around affair, but we received a single air-horn blast from the RC when we passed through the starting/finishing line on our way back towards the windward mark, signifying the end of the race.

Colligo 2021 MPU   Savvy Navvy 2021 SW MPU v2

Boomerang during Spencers Estate Agents Royal Lymington Yacht Club Thursday Night Early Series day 7 - photo © Roger Wilson
Boomerang during Spencers Estate Agents Royal Lymington Yacht Club Thursday Night Early Series day 7 - photo © Roger Wilson

Given that we were enjoying flat waters, maybe 8-12 knots of air, and a gloriously long evening (Bellingham is situated at 48.75 degrees north latitude), it's fair to say that our whole crew would have been more than happy keep sailing all night. But post-racing libations were soon being passed around, and damn didn't it feel fine to be on a well-equipped and properly prepared raceboat, surrounded by a highly capable (and fully Pfizered) crew on a beautiful body of water.

The wait was long, but the dividends were certainly handsome.

If you find yourself in a situation similar to mine involving a lengthy hiatus from the sport we all love, the best advise that I can lend is to ensure that you're fully vaccinated and get back on the horse and ride. Yes, there will be a few rusty gybes (and there are likely a few more of those in my future, although hopefully not as many as I fear), but there's zero question that you will be a richer person for getting back out on the water. And, if your experience is anything like mine, aside from negotiating some accumulated rust, you can look forward to that feeling of riding a bicycle...or getting back on a pair of skis after a summer of trading tacks with your mates.

Vaikobi 2021 FlexForce - MPU   Highfield Boats - SW - MPU

Spencers Estate Agents Royal Lymington Yacht Club Thursday Night Late Series - photo © Mark Jardine
Spencers Estate Agents Royal Lymington Yacht Club Thursday Night Late Series - photo © Mark Jardine

Much like getting the vaccine itself, the long-term gains far outweigh any short-term hiccups.

Meanwhile, on sailing's bigger stage, this coming Memorial Day weekend promises some good sailing. True, some big events such as the Swiftsure International Yacht Race, which starts and ends in nearby Victoria, British Columbia, have been cancelled due to the pandemic. But others, such as the Storm Trysail Club's annual Block Island Race, are proceeding as planned. Be sure to check out Sail-World's interview with Ray Redniss, vice commodore of the Storm Trysail Club, about this year's race.

Sea Sure 2021 - RED - MPU   Selden 2020 - E40i electric winch - MPU

Ray Redniss in action at the the 2019 Block Island Race - photo © 2021, Courtesy of Storm Trysail Club & Rick Bannerot,
Ray Redniss in action at the the 2019 Block Island Race - photo © 2021, Courtesy of Storm Trysail Club & Rick Bannerot,

And, if you have ever sailed this classic, 186-nautical mile course, which commonly serves as a season opener for East Coast-based distance racers, be sure to raise a glass to Redniss, who is officiating his 25th—and final—Block Island Race this year.

On the West Coast, the California Offshore Race Week is set to begin on May 29, and involves three classic events, namely the Spinnaker Cup (May 29-30), the Coast Cup (May 31 to June 1), and the SoCal 300 (June 3-5).

Zhik 2021 New Season MPU   Cyclops 2020 - Dec2020 - MPU

Fifth Annual SoCal 300 - California Offshore Race Week - photo © Taggart Lee
Fifth Annual SoCal 300 - California Offshore Race Week - photo © Taggart Lee

Don’t miss Sail-World’s upcoming interview on this exciting series with Jens Jensen, commodore of the Encinal Yacht Club. (

Europe might feel far removed given the last year's worth of closed borders, but May 29 marks the start of The Ocean Race Europe. This stage-race event will see seven VO65s and five IMOCA 60s (all operating in fully crewed mode) race from Lorient, France to Cascais, Portugal. After a rest, the fleet will continue on to Alicante, Spain, and then on again to the finishing line in Genoa, Italy.

Rooster 2020 - Impact BA - MPU   Upffront 2020 Foredeck Club SW MPU

11th Hour Racing Team crossing the North Atlantic. - photo © Amory Ross / 11th Hour Racing
11th Hour Racing Team crossing the North Atlantic. - photo © Amory Ross / 11th Hour Racing

North American interests are being represented by skipper Charlie Enright and his 11th Hour Racing crew, who are competing in the IMOCA 60 class.

Sail-World wishes Enright and company, as well as all teams participating in this exciting event, the best of luck as they ply some truly gorgeous and historic waters.

Fully crewed VO65s and IMOCAs will take part in The Ocean Race Europe - photo © Ainhoa Sanchez / Volvo Ocean Race
Fully crewed VO65s and IMOCAs will take part in The Ocean Race Europe - photo © Ainhoa Sanchez / Volvo Ocean Race

Speaking of The Ocean Race Europe, the event will host a virtual ocean summit on June 16, with the intention of helping to raise the profile of ocean health.

"We have one ocean, but the way it is protected and governed is splintered," said Richard Brisius, The Ocean Race's chairman, in an official release. "When you add to this the impact of climate change, it is a recipe for disaster for our marine world. We urgently need to create a better system, with collaboration at the heart of it.

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Richard Brisius, Race Chairman, The Ocean Race and Minna Epps, Director of IUCN's Global Marine and Polar Programme. - photo © Minna Epps
Richard Brisius, Race Chairman, The Ocean Race and Minna Epps, Director of IUCN's Global Marine and Polar Programme. - photo © Minna Epps

"Sailors in The Ocean Race have seen more of the ocean, and its decline, than most people on the planet," continued Brisius. "Our race is all about teamwork, overcoming challenges, and achieving the extraordinary. We can apply this through our [Ocean] Summits, to help drive change for the ocean. Sport has the power to make a real difference for the planet and we are going to do all we can to make the most of this opportunity."

Interested readers can watch a live stream of the Ocean Summit on The Ocean Race's YouTube channel (

Sarah Douglas - 2020 Laser Senior European Championship - photo © Thom Touw Photography
Sarah Douglas - 2020 Laser Senior European Championship - photo © Thom Touw Photography

Finally, for fans of Olympic class and One Design racing, don't miss Sail-World upcoming interview with Canadian Laser Radial phenom Sarah Douglas, who is preparing for her first Olympic Games this summer. (

May the four winds blow you safely home.

David Schmidt North American Editor

North Sails 2019 - Helix Top-Down Furling 600x500   Barton Marine 2019 600x500

Explore Sweden by Boat with savvy navvy
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Tokyo 2020 U.S. Olympic Sailing Team roster finalized
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75th Storm Trysail Club Block Island Race preview
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Allen 2020 - A.597 - 600x500   J Composites 2020 - MPU
Top tier international fleet assembles in Lorient for The Ocean Race Europe start
International ocean racing teams from around the world are assembling in Lorient, France this week ahead of the start of the inaugural edition of The Ocean Race Europe.

Nic Douglass On Deck with Stan Honey
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Home team shines in inaugural New York Yacht Club Women's 2v2 Team Race
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Race Yachts 2021 600x500 v2   Henri-Lloyd 2021 M-PRO PURE BLACK - MPU
44Cup Portorož Overall - Team CEEREF retains her golden wheels in last gasp win
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Leading America's Cup broadcaster PJ Montgomery on 50 years of sailing commentary
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Heather Lidgard, top offshore navigator and shorthanded sailor passes away
Heather Lidgard who passed away in mid-May was one of New Zealand's foremost navigators, and shorthanded offshore sailors. In conjunction with her husband John - a noted designer, builder and sailor - they competed in most races in the SW Pacific.

C-Tech 2021 America's Cup 300x250   KZRaceFurlers
Cruising altitude…
We looked a lot at the Jeanneau Sun Fast 3300 during the course of 2020. Back in July with the world's airline fleet effectively grounded, we used the aviation parlance to reflect on how well the Sun Fast 3300 was doing...

39th Lake Garda Meeting Optimist - Overall
This year, the trophy of the Garda Optimist Meeting remains at Fraglia Vela Riva. The winner of the 39th edition, just concluded in the waters of Riva del Garda, is the local sailor Alex Demurtas.

Lashings for your rig?
A good lashing system forms a critical hourglass shape that gets tighter as the shroud tension gets tighter. It is very secure, but it also allows for easy unlashing.

McConaghy Boats 2021 - MPU   Reverso Air 2021 MPU
Champions All, the Vendée Globe prize-giving takes place in Les Sables d'Olonne
Thirty one of the 33 skippers who competed in the 9th Vendée Globe mustered in Les Sables-d'Olonne on Saturday for the official prize-giving and closing ceremony which saw Yannick Bestaven (Maître-CoQ) receive top award as the overall winner.

Race to Bermuda, 2021 Spirit of Bermuda Charity Rally/Race announced
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11th Hour Racing and the Ocean Agency collaborate to inspire with stunning ocean content
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Mackay 250   SW Newsletter Sign-Up
SailGP teams up with GoPro to bring fans ever closer to the high-speed action and drama in Season 2
GoPro will join SailGP - the sport's pinnacle league - as its official on-board action camera provider for Season 2, which kicked off in Bermuda last month.

B&G® returns for another race around the world with The Ocean Race
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Letter from the Antipodes: Youth sailors need to rethink options after World Sailing drops Finn
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Gulf Wars   Hella Dual Colour Floodlights - 300x250px - 002 gif
Rain Ready & Back In Stock
When it rains it pours, whatever temperature you're facing, the wet is always a given. Layer up with Aquafleece® with a PU coated fleece that is fully waterproof, durable and flexible, whilst the brushed fleece inner surface makes it very comfortable.

Highs and Lows action for an 18ft Skiff Champion
Current JJ Giltinan world champion, Michael Coxon has been sailing 18s for around 20 seasons, but even the world's best can have good and bad days when you are racing an 18ft Skiff around Sydney Harbour.

SailGP: Burling and Tuke step off NZSailGP entry - three replacements named
Three new sailors have been named by NZsailGP as replacement crew for Burling and Tuke. They include Australian and Swiss sailors, along with former Olympian Jason Saunders (NZL).

Doyle Sails 2020 - Redefining Boundaries 300x250   USA Fusion SG3_Classic_300x250px
Tokyo 2020 enters operational delivery mode
The 11th and final meeting of the IOC's Coordination Commission for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 concluded today, and it has become clearer than ever that these Games will be safe for everyone participating and the Japanese people.

Steering the Course, World Sailing's global women's sailing festival, starts today
The Northern Hemisphere edition of Steering the Course, World Sailing's global women's sailing festival, will run from today [Friday 21 May] to Sunday 30 May.

The Block Island Race Week Times - Going back to where it all began (and a bit of normalcy)
For those sailors old enough to remember, Block Island Race Week participants typically both raced and slept on their boats all week-long, which created a fun atmosphere right on the docks.

Predictwind - Iridium 250   Road to Gold - Russell Coutts MPU
Precision Performance Consultancy: Cyclops Marine's Global Performance Team
Cyclops has partnered with world-leading sailors and coaches to assemble a 'Global Performance Team' of expert consultants that use Cyclops data as part of their process.

The IMOCA Globe Series Championship set to fire up again for four seasons on 29 May
Devised in 2017, the IMOCA Globe Series Championship, which combines the world's superlative offshore races, enjoyed its first great success with its inaugural cycle from June 2018 to March 2021.

The Ocean Race Summit Europe to tackle urgent threats to the seas
The Ocean Race, the world's toughest test of a team in sport, will host a high-level Summit on 16th June to help drive new and improved policies to tackle some of the most urgent issues facing our blue planet.

Coast Guard Foundation MPU 3   Gul 2020 Tri-Laminate Spraytop MPU
Catalina 22's now arriving at Pensacola Yacht Club for 50th Anniversary National Championships
Next Week, Pensacola YC member volunteers and staff and the Catalina 22 National Sailing Association will roll out the red carpet for sailors from all over the nation.

Official opening of the Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image 2021 international photo competition
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World Sailing and Virtual Regatta join first ever Olympic Virtual Series
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SOUTHERNSPARS_MAST-&-BOOMS_SW_300X250-MISSY   Lloyd Stevenson Catalyst 45 300x250px1
Rolex Fastnet Race: The largest, most diverse offshore yacht race by far
With 450+ yachts entered in this year's 49th edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race, the Royal Ocean Racing Club's biennial flagship event has consolidated its position as the biggest offshore yacht race in the world.

Graham Mander, designer, engineer and sailing champion dies in his 90th year
Graham Mander who passed away in early May was one of the last of a generation of New Zealand sailors capable of designing their own boat, and building it, engineering the fittings, and then racing their creation to a national championship win.

Henri-Lloyd Summer Sailing Essentials
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Olympic Gold medallist & 3-time Moth World Champion Paul Goodison joins Great Britain SailGP Team
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The unique challenge of The Ocean Race Europe with Annie Lush and Clarisse Crémer
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How the 470 Euros was won in a borrowed boat
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Tech Journal: North 3Di for the 49er and 49erFX classes
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A message from Alan Ostfield, CEO of US Sailing
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When Flares Were in Fashion - the story of the Magnum design of International Moth
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International 5O5 World Championship 2021 update
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Cyclops 2020 - SmartlinkNano - FOOTER

Henri-Lloyd 2021 M-PRO PURE BLACK - FOOTER

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