Eight days ago I received the following in an email:
Despite the big wind and waves, anchored ships and no protection from the elements, your description is without any hint of fear. You assess and react without drama. I was wondering if you experience the fear emotion but leave it out as you write? Does your vast sailing experience allow you to avoid the fear I feel even as I read your passage notes? Any advice on how to deal with fear provoking conditions I may find myself in while sailing?
I’ve waited to respond because the questions deserve thought.
I have written about fear before.
Mostly we are afraid of the unknown. Fear for me at sea is not common because I have been alone at sea for a total of probably nine years or ten years and most of the experience is familiar.
When something unexpected happens, a wave slams into the hull, or when a boat is out of control, being carried sideways in a breaking wave or thrown onto her beam or turned even more upside down, the animal inside tenses. That may be fear, but it doesn’t last long.
Often on a boat things happen too fast to be afraid at the time, but only in retrospect. The two times GANNET has been heeled 90° or more, I observed the situations with detached curiosity as to what would happen next. Would she keep going over? Would the ocean rush in? Or would she come back up? Continue reading
Under glowering skies but in perfect racing conditions, Land Rover BAR defended their Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Portsmouth title. The victory – in front of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – took the team into a series lead going into the final two events of the season.
Huge crowds watched a big win in the challenge to bring the Cup home to Britain. The second victory in Portsmouth follows on from the team’s success on home waters in 2015, and their second event win in Oman in February. The top two teams at the end of the World Series take a points advantage into the next stage of the competition in Bermuda in May 2017.
Land Rover BAR on stage at the official prize giving | Lloyd Images
Phil Robertson has been crowned World Match Racing Champion after beating Taylor Canfield in an epic, high-wind duel today in the Final of the World Match Racing Tour.
WORLD MATCH RACING TOUR
The 29-year-old and his Robertson Racing crew also banked US $33,000 for winning in Marstrand, Sweden, plus a World Champion’s bonus of $1,000,000. It’s the largest prize money ever awarded in the sport of sailing, but Robertson’s whoops of joy and celebration were more about winning the title of Match Racing World Champion. “It’s a dream come true and the goal we’ve been striving for since 2009,” he told the crowd that he just done his best to drench with champagne. ” To do it here in Marstrand, I couldn’t think of a better place. Thank you all for watching, I hope it was entertaining because we sure had fun.”
There were so many twists and turns to the Final. Robertson was fast out of the blocks in the gusty wind which was bulleting through the fjord at up to 25 knots, with a nasty lumpy chop making it very difficult to maintain the speed on the light, 500kg M32 catamarans through the tacks. Canfield was handicapped by losing his tactician and mainsheet man, Chris Main, who took himself off the boat this morning due to a long-term shoulder injury flaring up. “It wouldn’t have been fair of me to go out there and hold the boys back,” said Main, close to tears at missing his shot at defending the title he won last year with Ian Williams. Continue reading
Oman Air were today crowned kings of Act 3 of the Extreme Sailing Series™ following a tense finale that saw them only just manage to hold off a late charge from rivals Red Bull Sailing Team.
Morgan Larson’s men went into the fourth and final day of racing in Cardiff Bay with a commanding 17-point lead following a string of top results executed with trademark consistency throughout the Act. When they finished second in the first four races it looked like they would breeze to glory, but just as it looked like victory was sewn up Red Bull Sailing Team mounted a spirited comeback.
With the bit firmly between their teeth, Roman Hagara’s men turned on the afterburners winning one of the final four races and finishing second in the other three. Clearly rattled, Oman Air recorded their worst result of the regatta in the final race of the day when they finished last in the seven-boat fleet. However they had done just enough earlier on in the day to guarantee victory, sneaking the overall win by just six points after 29 races. Continue reading
The perfect winter weather will compliment this year’s Flying Fifteen and Hobie 16 KZN Provincial Championships with warm waters and blue skies greeting the competitive sailors over the long weekend in June.
Hosted by Point Yacht Club, racing is scheduled for four days from 16 – 19 June. The Flying Fifteen class will be able to sneak in an extra two races on Youth Day with racing commencing in the bay to open up the regatta for them. Both classes will then take to the waters offshore for three days.
Chasing each other as they mount the swells offshore, the front of the Flying Fifteen fleet head up to the top mark during the Flying Fifteen KZN Provincial Championships held offshore last year | Sophie Thompson
“With the majority of the Flying Fifteen sailors being based in and around Durban, we can get in the extra day of racing. For the Hobie guys, the interest spills outside of the city, so they opted to leave the public holiday as a travelling day for the sailors who will be travelling down to the coast for racing.” enthused Point Yacht Club’s Rear Commodore for Dinghies, Myles White. Continue reading
British sailor Alex Thomson today embarked upon The Ocean Masters New York to Vendée Race, a 3,100 mile, single-handed sprint from downtown New York across the Atlantic to Les Sables D’Olonne, France.
The challenge marks Thomson’s first single-handed offshore race on board his new IMOCA 60 race yacht, HUGO BOSS, which – after more than two years in the making – was unveiled by the Alex Thomson Racing team just last year.
Hudson River. Pictures of the In Port ‘ Charity Race’. | Lloyd Images
The New York to Vendée Race sees Thomson compete against 13 other IMOCA 60 boats in the hope of securing victory. This is Thomson’s final offshore solo race before the all-important Vendée Globe, which begins in November. Continue reading
After wowing the spectators in Copenhagen last week, Sally Barkow and her all-female team on Team Magenta 32 are looking forward to a big reception on home waters for the World Match Racing Tour Newport.
Newport, Rhode Island, boasts a long history of match racing like no other venue in the world, so it’s fitting that 20 of the highest-calibre skippers are flying in from every corner of the globe to compete in this six-day battle for match racing supremacy in the USA’s most celebrated sailing city. Continue reading
Gaastra PalamVela, the warm up regatta for the Mediterranean season that took place last weekend on the Bay of Palma, proved the perfect dress-rehearsal for the 2016 52 SUPER SERIES, which starts in just over one week’s time in Scarlino, Italy.
Quantum Racing laid down a marker for the now imminent five-regatta season by winning the very evenly matched record entry, nine boat fleet in Palma. With Terry Hutchinson back cracking the whip as tactician and Ed Baird set to steer three events this season, the team that won the 52 SUPER SERIES in 2013 and 2014 and two regattas last season – the Copa del Rey and Cascais Cup – have set the benchmark extremely high.
But who are the teams most likely to challenge Quantum Racing for the 2016 52 SUPER SERIES title? Rán Racing
Niklas and Catherine Zennström’s 2013 world championship team returns from something of an enforced sabbatical during 2015; ready to write a new chapter in Rán Racing history. Last year they raced only Valencia, which they won, and the World Championships, which were much less successful. In Palma last weekend they showed some flashes of brilliance but are still playing catch up for time lost last season and from missing out on March’s training week in Valencia. Continue reading
Pictured at the start, Al Mount Gay Rum skippered by Rob van Rooyen and Bellatrix skippered by Gregg Hurter, shortly after the start of the 45th edition of the Vasco da Gama Ocean Race hosted by Point Yacht in Durban | Sophie Thompson
Al Mount Gay Rum skippered by Rob van Rooyen goes one better this year, taking line honours in record time and claiming the handicap win in the 45th edition of the Vasco da Gama Ocean Race hosted by Point Yacht Club.
The defending champ on handicap sailed a flawless race in a time of 2 days 6 hours 1min 22 sec, smashing the record by 56mintues and claiming the double when she arrived in Port Elizabeth yesterday (Monday) evening at 06:01pm. The team of eight from Cape Town were delighted with their victory, “We knew going into the race that getting the double was a possibility, we knew it would be a challenge but anything is possible. A double whammy, it really is wonderful.” an elated van Rooyen said as soon as he reached the moorings. Continue reading
The Race Committee made considerable efforts to get the Port Authorities to allow spectators access to the North Breakwater so that they could watch the start of the race. Written permission was provided by way of an email so a huge contingent of race supporters made their way to the breakwater. Initially we were barred from entering the access gates due to a ‘communication’ breakdown between various Transnet Departments. This was eventually resolved and the crowd started walking towards the end of the breakwater. As entrants transited the channel there was much waving and hollering of support. For the crews facing a stonking south westerly, this must have been somewhat heartening. Continue reading
Is there an offshore passage or tropical cruising in your future? If so you may want to give your sail inventory a bit of thought. For cruisers it’s a constant give and take between wanting the right sail inventory and having the space to store the sails. Luckily, these days with modern sail materials and well proven equipment, your sails can cover a broader wind range and changing gears as the wind fluctuates is easier than ever. With that in mind let’s take a look at what sails will work for you and since hopefully there will be a lot of downwind sailing in your future, let’s start by looking at spinnakers and other sails that you can use when the wind is at your back and the horizon ahead is like open arms just waiting for you.
There are a number of options for downwind sailing starting with a traditional symmetrical spinnaker, the increasingly popular asymmetrical spinnaker, and a variety of headsails that can be poled out on a spinnaker or whisker pole. It’s easy to think that the days of conventional spinnakers are numbered given that the asymmetrical is so much less work and less complicated to set and douse, but let’s not count it out just yet. I have talked to a number of sailors who have undertaken extended voyages and they love their spinnakers, especially in the tropics and trade winds. Racing sailors like to“heat” things up and sail downwind angles, but for cruisers, especially those lugging heavy displacement boats around, sailing deep downwind angles is the way to go. In addition to many cruising boats being on the heavy side, they are often laden with food, fuel and water so sailing as far off the wind as possible is preferable. In order to do so you need to be able to get the spinnaker as far out from the lee of the mainsail as possible. The best way to accomplish this of course is with a spinnaker pole rotated well aft. Cruisers will tell you that yes it’s a bit of a grind rigging up the topping lift, foreguy, after-guy and the rest, but once the sail is set it requires very little attention. Their only concern is a sudden squall and for that reason many will lower the spinnaker at night and sail with a poled out headsail.
We are deeply saddened to report the death of crew member Sarah Young (40), a company owner from London. Sarah was one of the crew aboard the IchorCoal boat (CV21). Next of kin have been informed and all our thoughts are now with Sarah’s family, teammates, and loved ones on and off the race.
Skipper Darren Ladd reports that Sarah was tidying the cockpit after reefing the mainsail in 35 – 40 knots of wind, when she was knocked from her position by a wave. She fell back toward the guard wire and was swept under it by another wave at 1127 UTC/2227 local time. She was not tethered onto the yacht at this time and was swept away in strong winds.
The boat immediately applied its man overboard drill but was hampered by the conditions and lack of direct visual. Her body was recovered on board using her AIS signal at 1244 UTC/2344 local time, and although resuscitation was attempted and telephone assistance provided by the Praxes Medical Group Doctors, the Clipper Race’s remote telemedicine support service, she never regained consciousness. Continue reading
Morgan Larson stormed home to an extraordinary win in the opening Act of the 2016 Extreme Sailing Series™ in Muscat on Oman Air, alongside the team, which includes Pete Greenhalgh, James Wierzbowski, Ed Smyth and Omani national Nasser Al Mashari. Together the team won over 50% of the races sailed, more than any other team in Series history, as the Extreme Sailing Series officially completes the biggest transition of the last ten years. The flying GC32s have well and truly arrived.
Oman Air winning Act 1. skippered by Morgan Larson (USA) | Lloyd Images
Larson summed up the week: “It was a phenomenal week for the whole team and obviously great to do that here on home waters. We sailed at the highest level we have, so it’s going to take a lot of work for us to improve on from here. We know that a few of the other teams have some things to do and when they get that right, they’re going to be right there with us. We know they’re going to push and we have to keep on getting better.” Continue reading
British round-the-world sailor, Alex Thomson, has unveiled yet another death-defying stunt.
Having established himself as a daredevil of the sport of sailing, this latest stunt involves Thomson, on a kiteboard, chasing his IMOCA open 60 HUGO BOSS boat upwind and attaching himself via a rope to the top of the boat’s mast. The skipper then utilises the speed of the race boat to propel himself 280ft into the air, sending him surfing above the vast HUGO BOSS yacht. When Thomson reaches the peak of his flight, he detaches himself from the boat and expertly controls his descent back down, landing the kiteboard on the water in true Alex Thomson style, all whilst wearing a stylish BOSS suit. Continue reading
– Watch the Stadium Racing live on the official event website from Friday 18 March
Eight GC32s will race in Muscat, Oman for the 2016 Series opener from 16-19 March | Lloyd Images
For the first time in its 10-year history the Extreme Sailing Series™ is set to go foiling as the 2016 season kicks off in Muscat in one week’s time.
Eight teams of the world’s finest sailors, from 14 different nations, return to the stunning Almouj Golf Course in the heat of Oman from the 16-19 March for four days of intense battle.
The new season marks not just the introduction of super-fast foiling on GC32 catamarans, but also innovations in race format including a new coastal race and match racing, that complement the core proposition of the Series, its unique Stadium Racing format. Continue reading
There are still 15 weeks until the first start gun is fired off the Tuscan coast to open the 2016 52 SUPER SERIES but many of the top teams are ramping up their preparations imminently to ensure they are ready to unleash their optimum performance from Day 1, Race 1.
Two 52 SUPER SERIES teams enjoyed a great work out at Key West regatta in January where Doug DeVos steered Quantum Racing to a good win in IRC Class 1. After finishing second overall on the 2015 52 SUPER SERIES behind rivals Azzurra, who also won the 2015 World Championships, the winter has maybe felt a little longer and darker for the Quantum Racing crew, back to back winners of the 52 SUPER SERIES in 2013 and 2014. Continue reading