Rolex Cup Sailing

Some of my sailing friends have nothing but disdain for the high-tech America’s Cup boats, so here is some classic sailing.

The Rolex Cup is actually a series of races. There are 2 classes of Maxi yachts, and a regatta of Swan boats. Maybe more. I don’t know if YouTube will complain about these non-music videos, but if it says the embedded videos aren’t available, use the links provided. (Do they even support embedding anymore, or do they just hate privacy?)

The video is of highlights of this year’s maxi racing, which finished up in September. It is a bit long at 8 minutes or so. (It isn’t one of the races I really follow.)

The Swan (a European manufacturer of sailboats) races included 3 classes that I know of: 50s, 42s and 45ft boats. This video is highlights from the 50s regatta.

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Because I Haven’t Had a Sailing Video Up in a While

Some things are too expensive even for the America’s Cup series. In 2013 they were racing 72 foot-long, hydrofoil catamarans. They were expensive to build, hard to control, and it seems they were suppressing the competition. So for the 2017 series, they went to smaller foiling catamarans. (40 or 42 feet, I can’t remember.) For 2021 they will be using foiling monohulls.

But the AC72 was a magnificent machine. (When YouTube freaks out over the privacy extensions in your browser, use that link above.)

Andrew “Bart” Simpson was killed May 9, 2013 during an AC72 training run. He was on Team Artemis.

They Are Holding a 50th Anniversary Edition of the Golden Globe Race

The Golden Globe was a race sponsored by the Sunday Times (London) that was a non-stop, single-handed, around the world race. It was held in 1968-1969. It was controversial because most of the entrants failed to finish. But it did lead to the creation of the Vendée Globe race, and a few others.

They are running the race this year – they started July 1st – from Les Sables-d’Olonne, France. It appears they are having some of the same problems the original race suffered from. Because the boats are not purpose-built, they are having trouble with the Southern Ocean.

Two sailors have had their boats dismasted in one storm. One, an officer in the Indian Navy, may have been severely injured.

Indian Abhilash Tomy, 39, and Irishman Gregor McGuckin, 32, were both rescued Monday. Rescued Indian and Irish sailors head for remote island.

CANBERRA, Australia – An Indian and an Irish sailor rescued from damaged sailboats in the remote southern Indian Ocean will be delivered to land on Tuesday when they reach an island and undergo medical assessments, an official said.

McGuckin was able to jury-rig a mast and sail with remnants of his rigging, and make a very slow 2 knots toward Tomy. Tomy was suffering from a back injury he picked up when his boat rolled through 360 degrees. Both skippers were picked up by the French fisheries patrol boat Osiris. They will be transferred to an Australian island for medical evaluation. They would travel farther by Australian frigate, depending on their need for treatment.

A separate dismasting occurred on August 27th, when the Norwegian, Are Wiig had his boat roll 360 degrees. He was able to put in to Cape Town under his jury-rig. He even declined assistance offered by passing vessel.

The boats have modern communications gear, but otherwise are supposed to be similar to the boats used 50 years ago.

Open ocean sailing is not for the faint-of-heart. The official site for the race is at this link.

Failure To Take Conditions Into Account Results in Sinking

If you are sailing, you should never have a schedule, and you should never disregard current conditions. Drama in the northwest passage. (Yes, the article is in German, but Chrome will translate for you. Or see the link below.)

So the famed Northwest Passage. Sailing from East to West through the Arctic in the summer when there is no ice. Only one problem with that. This summer, the ice was persistent. But someone decided they knew better than the Canadian Coast Guard, and paid a steep price. (They didn’t qualify for the Darwin Award, but they are both young.)

Yesterday night, the French-flagged yacht “Anahita”, an Ovni 345, sank north of the coast of Canada in the Northwest Passage. The disaster occurred in the Depot Bay, east of the Bellot Strait. According to initial information, the ship has been trapped by drift ice from which the crew could no longer free it.

The boat was crushed by the ice, and sank within minutes. The 2 crew took refuge on the ice and eventually were picked up by other boats in the area.

A quick search only turned up one Ovni 345 boat for sale. It is a used 1997 with an asking price of €137,000. The boat that sank had been “specially converted for the journey into the ice.” (Which I take to mean it probably had additional insulation and maybe additional heat sources added.) I’m not sure, but I doubt that any insurance will pay out. Does insurance protect you from being an idiot?

The Canadian Coast Guard had warned people that the ice was not likely to break up this year, and that yachts in the area should head south, or find refuge in ports in Greenland.

The skipper of the “Anahita”, Pablo David Saad, had deliberately ignored the official warning and instead oriented himself to the skipper of another yacht, who has traveled the passage several times and who had been hoping in the last few days still for a withdrawal of the ice , Saad has been on long-distance sailing for several years with changing crews. He as well as his current companion come from San Martín de los Andes, a city in southwestern Argentina near the border with Chile.

Hat tip to Watts Up With That, who has other stories of ships getting stuck in the ice.

Sailing News Roundup: Some Sad, Some Light, Some Political

Since I do this for my enjoyment (and not yours) I will include three bits from the world of sailing.

The serious news is that a British sailor was lost at sea in the Southern Ocean in the Volvo Ocean Race. Sailor lost during Volvo Ocean Race wasn’t tethered when he was knocked overboard

Volvo Ocean Race sailor John Fisher of Britain wasn’t wearing his safety tether when he was knocked off his sloop into the frigid, remote Southern Ocean in gale-force conditions just before sunrise Monday, according to a timeline released by Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag.

Fisher, 47, was lost at sea some 1,400 miles west of Cape Horn, with no other boats within 200 miles.

In the lighter news, the final rules about the next America’s Cup race were published. America’s Cup: AC75 Class Rule Published >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News

That is the design rules for the next class of boats. They are abandoning catamarans for the time being, and going to a foiling monohull. I guess the thinking is it will be less expensive to compete. They are also putting significant limits on the number of hulls, foils, masts etc. that can be built. This should also hold down the total cost. (There are 2 videos at the site, but they are probably only of interest to sailing nerds.)

The political news is a sign of the times. Sailing’s Barcelona World Race abandoned over Catalan uncertainty

The Barcelona Race is an every-four-years regatta of 2-man teams sailing around the world. (26,000 miles) It Starts and ends in Barcelona, the capital city of Catalan, but given political “unrest” in that part of Spain, the 2018-2019 race has been canceled.

Volvo Ocean Race Boat Collision With Fishing Boat 30 Miles from Hong Kong

This is going to be a mess. Volvo Ocean Race Yacht Involved in Fatal Accident Near Hong Kong – The New York Times

A sailboat competing in the Volvo Ocean Race, a marquee around-the-world sailing competition, collided with a Chinese fishing vessel near Hong Kong early Saturday, killing one of the Chinese boat’s crew members, race organizers and Chinese state media said.

The Vestas 11th Hour Racing team managed to hit a Chinese fishing boat. They were in a tight race with the Dongfeng Race Team of China. (Conspiracy theorists, call your office.) The boat was forced to retire from the leg, though not the race. Nine members of the fishing boats crew were rescued. The tenth guy didn’t make it, despite being flown by helicopter to Hong Kong for treatment.

The collision happened at the end of the 5,600-mile segment from Melbourne, Australia, to Hong Kong.

Was the race boat keeping a watch? (The waters around Hong Kong are very congested with all kinds of traffic.) Was the fishing boat lit with proper running lights? Was the race boat for that matter? This was the end of leg 4, of a grueling around-the-world race; did fatigue play a part? These are questions that will have to be answered. Inquests can take a long time.

For some of my thoughts on Colregs (Collision avoidance regulations) see this post from after the series of US Naval vessel collisions last year.

The 2017-2018 race started in Spain on October 22nd and should end at the Hague sometime in June.

Around the World Solo Sailing Speed Record

MACIFA new record was set on Sunday, and I missed it. Francois Gabart Sets New Round-the-World Record

Gabart sailed around the world, covering 52,000 kilometers or more in 42 days, 16 hours, 40 minutes and 35 seconds. (Timing brought to you by the wonders of GPS!)

On Sunday, December 17 at 2:45 (French time), Francois Gabart, onboard the Ultime Trimaran MACIF, crossed the the finish line between Cape Lizard and Ouessant to successfully end his solo world tour. On his first attempt, at the around-the-world record, Gabart smashed the standing time of 49 days, previously set by Thomas Coville, the skipper of the Sodebo Ultim. MACIF sped through the nearly 28,000 nautical mile journey in just 42 days 16 hours 40 minutes and 35 seconds.

The last time I had checked, more people walked on the moon than did the solo race around the world in these giant catamarans. (MACIF is 100ft long.)

If I can find any decent video, I will add it in the comments. (All the interviews are in French. It is a French boat, a French skipper, leaving from and returning to a French port, in sport that Americans don’t usually care about.)