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Sailing Anarchy

breaking it down

2 days 9 hours ago

Perhaps no race says ‘Sailing Anarchy’ more than the infamous Mini Transat. Solo sailing across a big and oftentimes unforgiving stretch of Atlantic Ocean on radical little ocean racing steeds that measure in shorter than most day sailers, everything about the race pulls at our heart strings. With cutting edge technology, the exploration of new ideas and the champions of tomorrow sailing boats that are oftentimes home built one-offs, the race is as iconic and legendary as it is fascinating. Despite all of the challenges imposed by the current state of the world, the 23rd edition of the Mini Transat begins this Sunday in the famed port of Les Sables d’Olonne; home of the Vendée Globe. 

Again showing how much pent-up demand there is to go sailing right now, an oversold fleet of more than 125 sailors reportedly applied for the coveted 90 available spots which make up this very deep and talented fleet for the 23rd edition. With around 66 Series and 24 Prototype boats expected to start, this year’s fleet is again a [...]


young and old

2 days 10 hours ago

If the average age of the Mini Transat competitors has remained between 30 and 35 years since the creation of the race in 1977, the difference between the youngest and the oldest varies slightly from year to year.

This 23 rd edition is undoubtedly one where the gap between the youngest and the oldest is the greatest with, on the one hand, Basile Bourgnon and Melwin Fink, aged 19, then, on the other hand, Georges Kick and Pierre Meilhat, who will both celebrate their 67th birthday in October and then in November. In total, therefore, three generations come together in the race. The key: a real transmission of experiences and knowledge, a beautiful group cohesion, and extraordinary solidarity. In short, everything that makes the Mini Class 6.50 a class apart. More on the race here. Photo by Vincent Olivaud.


a mouthful

3 days 10 hours ago

Offshore racing yacht owners in south-east Queensland looking to qualify for major events, including the Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race, have had their task made much easier via a new event organised by Southport Yacht Club.

Titled the South-East Queensland Ocean Racing Qualifier, the 220-nautical-mile passage race will start on Moreton Bay on November 12. The course is designed to test sailing and navigation skills in smooth water and rough plus varying tidal conditions by day and night.

“The need for this race became apparent at the recent South-East Queensland Offshore Yacht Owners Forum hosted by Southport Yacht Club,” said the club’s Vice Commodore, Drew Jones.

“We worked closely with officials from Queensland Cruising Yacht Club in the planning stage and It was decided that we should have a single streamlined event that will qualify yachts for all major events on the Queensland coast, plus passage races like the Rolex Sydney-Hobart race. It will also give yacht owners and crews the chance to hone their skills in readiness for Southport Yacht Club’s Quoin Sail Paradise Series which will be staged from January 3-6, 2022.

NOTE: The first entry for the Southeast Queensland Ocean Racing Qualifier came from [...]


presumption of entitlement

3 days 10 hours ago

My colleague, Shanghai Sailor, has offered a characteristically optimistic take on the chaotic negotiations over which city might host the next America’s Cup. But his analysis misses a fundamental point: the assumption that the Cup must proceed in its current form is false. 

Grant Dalton and Team New Zealand are in a difficult position of their own making. They have enjoyed their privileged little AC bubble of elite professional sailing for so long that they can see no other way. From the outside looking in, asking for more and more millions to fund a few weeks of extreme sailing seems like the presumption of entitlement. 

The city authorities and politicians who’ve been funding the excesses of the America’s Cup for so long are finally crunching the hard numbers. The old extravagant estimates of economic benefits and TV audiences are being re-assessed. Sponsors and governments are now making cool-headed calculations as to how much real bang they are likely to get for their bucks.

At the core, the problem is that AC campaigns have become far too large and expensive. The [...]


change is good

3 days 11 hours ago

The MC52 might be the smallest multihull in the McConaghy range, but this cat is no kitten.  The design of the MC52 has benefitted from further design refinements of late, and the new version features a fantastic foredeck lounge and a larger aft deck, which provides a desirable al fresco dining space.

The spacious saloon offers a versatile living area that is exceptionally light, and there’s direct access to the aft deck via full-height glass doors.  The galley is arranged open-plan and the arrangement is particularly well suited to socializing and family living.

The MC52 has dual helm positions on the flybridge, allowing for unencumbered sightlines and an elevated operational position – making her an ideal choice for those new to multihull cruising.  Clients can opt for an even larger flybridge setup – just one example of the many customization options offered by McConaghy.

There are two accommodation layouts to choose from; a four-cabin layout (all en suite) or a three-cabin layout that features a large master suite, complete with private study, in the starboard hull

Carbon rig, furler running rigging, hydraulic aft platform, [...]


poker star

4 days 11 hours ago

One thing I have learned is that if I ever played poker other than I wouldn’t have a clue as to the rules is don’t play against Grant Dalton. 

The delay over the venue decision is not only sensible but the fact an overseas defense was being considered has brought a home defense, if not quite onto the table closer to a possibility.

As the other potential venues appear to have had challenges, the Irish concerns about affordability or financial return exacerbated by political moves, the Valencia site becoming a ‘Spanish National Effort’ and the reported human rights concerns of a Saudi Arabian Cup venue the demands by Mark Dunphy that any funding from him and his mates would be dependent on the removal of ‘Dalts’ from his team leader position appear to have been removed from the ‘condition list’.

Such an idea would have been, let’s just say, idiotic. “I’ll give the team money if you sack the driver behind the Bermuda victory and the AC36 defense.” Can you imagine the reaction if, having just won the Rugby World Cup there had been a demand to sack the All Blacks manager?

It would be just another factor that would make an AC37 a [...]


in house

4 days 11 hours ago

Forty-five years ago Royal Huisman went looking for a new spar building partner, ideally one also able to supply the latest superyacht sail handling and hydraulic systems… In the end they did not have to travel very far…

How do you source the rig and sail-handling systems optimized for that particular superyacht? It boils down to a binary choice between two very different approaches. You can commission it piecemeal from a dozen suppliers or more and then knit it all together as a full custom rigging project. Or, if you want the convenience, performance and reliability of a high-end sophisticated, fully integrated, sail-handling package with the interface to the yacht, you can give the whole job to Rondal.

Until quite recently, most of the top sailing superyacht shipyards made their own masts and built their own winches. Over the last 15 years or so, the speed of innovation has led to leading experts in spar making, rigging, deck hardware, hydraulics and various other specialisms migrating from major shipyards, where they used to work in house, to specialist suppliers that serve the whole industry. Read on.


bad sign

4 days 12 hours ago

Given that we all know that windmills cause cancer, this comes as no surprise…

After reporting mixed financial results in the second quarter, with rising revenue but slim margins, wind turbine manufacturer Vestas has announced that it is closing three of its factories in Europe, including a facility that makes power components for one of its largest offshore models.

Vestas is the leading manufacturer in the onshore wind turbine market, and it has a portfolio of offshore turbine models as well, including a new 15 GW giant with the largest swept area in the industry. Scale is key in offshore wind project developments, and Vestas’ leap forward from 9.5 to 15 GW at the high end of its range will help it to keep pace with competitor Siemens Gamesa and GE, which have recently boosted the top end of their respective lineups to 14 GW.

Vestas’ factory in Esbjerg, Denmark makes power conversion modules for two previous generations of offshore wind turbine, the V164 and the 9.5 GW V174. The factory employs about 75 people, and it is on the list for closure. “As demand for these modules will gradually shift to markets [...]


it was a good day

5 days 3 hours ago

Another good race for Charlie Dalin and Paul Meilhat on the IMOCA 60 Apivia, who displayed utter dominance over the rest of the fleet on the 500-mile offshore tune-up race that is the crown jewel of the Defi Azimut regatta.

Showing superior boat speed upwind in the light at the start, the duo would only continue to build their lead throughout the race as they won by the substantial margin of 2 hours in a race that took the leaders only 1 day and around 16 hours to complete. With a course that consisted of upwind, downwind and hard reaching – with conditions from very light to the passage of a front with its associated big breeze – this Defi Azimut 48 hour race was a complete test of both man and machine.

Behind them was the constantly improving, and impressive, duo of Justine Mettraux and Simon Fisher on 11th Hour’s ‘B’ boat Alaka’i. Locked into a fascinating battle with the other podium contenders, we’ve gotta give props to ‘Si-Fi’ and Justine’s tactical and navigational prowess for taking a flyer to the south to gain more breeze and a better angle on the VMG run and [...]


the wrong way completely

5 days 11 hours ago

From our Fabulous Forums, brought to you by Marlow Ropes.

This really happened in today’s race.  The SI (for reasons that made sense to nobody but the RC) specified a starboard rounding.  WTF?  Unfortunately, one boat didn’t read the SI carefully enough and thought they were doing a port rounding.

As far as I can tell, rule 18 applies; both boats are required to leave the mark on the same side (regardless of the fact that one of them doesn’t know that) and they’re both in the zone.  None of the exceptions in 18.1(a)-(d) apply.  They’re clearly overlapped, so 18.2 applies but beats me which boat is inside or outside.  The next mark was upwind, so proper course to the next mark for S would be to harden up to close-hauled on starboard, not that I think that matters to the rule.

Any idea what rules actually apply here?  In reality, S hailed to P that this was a starboard rounding and P headed up to round the proper way, several boat-lengths behind P, and got to chat about it back at the bar.  I was the skipper of S.  Last I saw, the [...]


it broke

5 days 11 hours ago

From the G32 Alinghi…

Every year, at the start of the season, we do NDT (non-destructive testing), an ultrasound of all the carbon parts – the hulls, foils, beams and mast. This scanner allows us to check the state of wear of the boat, to identify and repair any initial cracks. We did not observe anything during the last scan and no signs of wear have been visible to the naked eye since, unlike a rope or block, which show weaknesses visually. More here.


in bloom

5 days 12 hours ago

In 2019 and 2020, bushfires razed more than 18 million hectares of land in Australia. For weeks, smoke-choked major cities, leading to almost 450 deaths, and even circumnavigated the southern hemisphere.

As the aerosols billowed across the oceans many thousands of kilometers away from the fires, microscopic marine algae called phytoplankton had an unexpected windfall: they received a boost of iron.

Our research, published September 15 in Nature, found this caused phytoplankton concentrations to double between New Zealand and South America until the bloom area became bigger than Australia. And it lasted for four months.

This enormous, unprecedented algal bloom could have profound implications for carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere and for the marine ecosystem. But so far, the impact is still unclear. Read on.


frisco fest!

1 week 1 day ago

Now that the no longer “Big Boat” Series is underway, we thought to suggest a new name – one that the local yokels will surely love, and one that will delight and amuse others – “Frisco Fest”!

There are no longer “Big Boats” in this series, save the aged Lee 68 Merlin. The next largest boat appears to be a Santa Cruz 52,  and a “Big Boat” series they do not make.

But whatever, times change and we’d guess the sphincter clutched at StFYC have not helped much, but there is no denying the series ain’t what it once was. But, for the 79 mostly one-design boats and scattered others, it looks like a typical frisco fest. Good times!

Photo by Sharon Green. Note USA 7676, the very well sailed Melges 32 Kuai looking good among a gaggle of larger boats and currently tied for first in ORR B.



needs a blooper

1 week 1 day ago

It’s January 2019, and despite it being the middle of the summer in the Southern Hemisphere, Antarctica’s freezing winds are blowing 80 mph and producing 50-foot waves.

The world’s first wind- and solar-powered autonomous sailing vessel, the 23-foot Saildrone Explorer, endured the extreme weather while surviving collisions with giant icebergs on its 196-day, 12,000-nautical-mile mission to circumnavigate Antarctica. It deployed a total of four drones on a scientific mission to survey krill abundance, track tagged penguins and seals, and measure the rate of CO2 absorption in the Southern Ocean for the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA.

Read on.


cross over

1 week 1 day ago

We thought y’all might enjoy this look at sail crossover…

Sail crossover is a term used to refer to a boat’s combination of sails for all conditions. Each sail has a range of use, beyond which a smaller sail will replace it.

The points where the first sail needs to be replaced for the second indicate sail changes. The crossover diagram shows us the overlap points between the sails and the appropriate moments for sail changes.

At the crossover point of the sails, we will have situations where two alternative sail combinations are valid. Changes must be made if we expect conditions to vary in favor of one combination or the other. Read on.

45 minutes 11 seconds ago
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