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.

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New America’s Cup Monohull Design Introduced

America's Cup AC-75 concept for 36th runningThe next America’s Cup will be raced on foiling monohulls. THE AMERICA’S CUP CLASS AC75 BOAT CONCEPT REVEALED

The Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa design teams have spent the last four months evaluating a wide range of monohull concepts. Their goals have been to design a class that will be challenging and demanding to sail, rewarding the top level of skill for the crews; this concept could become the future of racing and even cruising monohulls beyond the America’s Cup.

Emirates Team New Zealand currently holds America’s Cup and will defend at the next running. Luna Rossa is the officially designated challenger, and both have a say in the design.

One of the problems with foiling boats traveling at 40 knots or more, is that things go bad very fast. And if that results in a capsize, a catamaran is in need of help to be righted. The AC-75 boats will be fully foiling, and self-righting in the event of a capsize.

The 36th America’s Cup match race will be held in 2021. (Preceded as always by the Louis Vuitton Regatta to select the challenger.)

Highlights from the America’s Cup Superyacht Regatta

The Main Event at America’s Cup picks up later today, with Emirates Team New Zealand up 3-to-0 over Oracle Team USA. In the meantime, they’ve been running a superyacht regatta. Highlights from the America’s Cup Superyacht Regatta 2017 in Bermuda – 35th America’s Cup

A short video of the highlights of this week’s race.

Lionheart, with round the world racer Bouwe Bekking in charge, won the J Class and with it the top prize for the regatta.

The details of the J-Class are down in the weeds of yacht design, but they can be found at the Wiki. There are currently 8 boats racing that conform to the J-Class rules (as amended in 1937). 10 were built in the 1930-1937 era, but only 3 survived. The rest are recent builds with one boat being launched this year.

America’s Cup – Main Event

Day 2 Highlights video: Emirates Team New Zealand are ahead 3-0 over Oracle Team USA in first to 7 match. (I really love the fact that they have adopted the graphics techniques from NFL Football.)

Going on at the same time is the Superyacht Regatta. These boats are not as super-high-tech as the foiling catamarans in the main event, but they are worth a look

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Superyacht Regatta – America’s Cup Festivities

Some of my sailing friends complain that the America’s Cup boats (The America’s Cup Class – ACC for short – foiling catamarans) are not very practical as boats go. Gunboat has a production foiling cat that is almost (almost) a racer-cruiser. But I haven’t been able to figure out what they cost. (If you have to ask…)

So in addition to the ACC boats in the official races, there is also a regatta of more traditional boats. But they are superyacht sailing vessels. The smallest enrolled to compete in the regatta is Wild Horses, and it is just a bit longer than 76 feet.

Still, they are beautiful boats. And they are sailing this week in Bermuda. (While we wait between the end of Louis Vuitton Cup and the start of the America’s Cup. Here’s a video to whet your appetite.)

Not Sure America’s Cup Handled Man Overboard Correctly

Artemis Team Sweden’s skipper went overboard during a foiling tack. (That’s one type of turn for you land lovers.) America’s Cup: Artemis skipper Nathan Outteridge takes a dive, avoids disaster – NZ Herald

These boats move really fast, and losing your footing is not unheard of. Outteridge said it wasn’t the 1st time someone went overboard, and it probably won’t be the last, while sailing these boats.

But there’s a problem.

As he thrashed around among the waves, Outteridge admitted he panicked, when he saw his rivals bearing down on him.

“I was a bit nervous [Team NZ helmsman Peter Burling] was going to run me over, because they went around the other mark and he was aiming straight for me,” reflected Outteridge.

Seems like there is a simple solution. Orange smoke is a SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) standard emergency flare. West Marine sells a three-pack of hand-held orange-smoke signals for $32 bucks. Hazmat means shipping isn’t free.

That’s just one item that I thought of while reading the results of yesterdays racing. Seems like the guys who designed these super-cats could come up with something. It doesn’t even seem like a radio call was made to alert all boats in the area of a MOB situation. That is just poor management.

The news video of the incident is here.

A Tough Day for The British Team Seeking America’s Cup

Luis Vuitton Cup RacingThe British team Land Rover BAR lost 2 races today to Emirates Team New Zealand, due to equipment failure. Puts them behind in the Louis Vuitton Cup semifinals. Brits retire from America’s Cup trials race with damage – ABC News

These aren’t your summer-camp racing dinghies; they are incredibly complicated foiling catamarans.

Ainslie’s [the British skipper] Land Rover BAR crew pulled up on the third of seven legs after the camber arm in the high-tech wing sail broke. He radioed to the race committee that he was withdrawing. The race was black-flagged, allowing the Kiwis to collect a point without sailing the whole course.

That gives Team New Zealand a 2-0 lead in the best of 9 series.

The Brits and the Kiwis are racing in the challenger semifinals. Whoever wins the Luis Vuitton Cup, will go on to challenge the defending champs, Oracle Team USA, for the America’s Cup.

Here is a highlights video, because these boats are cool – and I love the fact that they stole the graphics capability from NFL broadcasting.

And this is from a year ago, when Oracle Team USA showed up in Bermuda (where these races are taking place), because I love these boats!