In This Issue
Yachtsman and Young Sailor of the Year Awards | ACO 9th MUSTO Skiff World Championship | MPX Sets The Standard. You Set The Pace. | Hard, hot, and slow work in the Doldrums | Allen Endurance Series | Etchells 2018 Australian Championships | Tether Clip Update | Herreshoff Lecture Series: Pedigree, Provenance, and Program | Featured Brokerage
Yachtsman and Young Sailor of the Year Awards
British round the world sailor Alex Thomson has been named the 2017 Yachtsman of the Year winner for his remarkable performance in last year's Vendee Globe solo round the world race. Joining an elite group of yachtsman that includes Sir Francis Chichester, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Dame Ellen MacArthur and Sir Ben Ainslie, the 43-year-old Welshman from Hampshire, not only set the fastest times from the start at Les Sables d'Olonne, France to the Equator (9 days 7hrs 2mins) and the Cape of Good Hope (17 days 22hrs 58 mins) but a 24 hour solo monohull record of 537 nautical miles - an average of 22.4 knots.
Thomson's tenacity shone through on Day 13 of the race in overcoming a near-terminal setback when his Open 60 yacht Hugo Boss hit an unidentified object, snapping off the yacht's starboard foil. The damage severely hampered his progress over the rest of the 27,000 mile course, but despite this and continued problems with his autopilot, Thomson still finished the race with the second fastest time on record - 74 days 19 h 35 min 15 sec - just 16 hours behind French winner Armel Le Cleac'h, setting a new British record for an East/west solo circumnavigation.
The 2017 YJA Young Sailor of the Year Award goes to 17-year-old Montel Fagan-Jordan from Tottenham, London in recognition of his leadership in first raising the money to restore the 1980s classic American Admiral's Cup yacht Scaramouche, then leading a crew of fellow students from the Greig Academy in Tottenham to compete in last year's 605 mile Fastnet Race.
Nominated by his school teacher, Jon Holt says of Montel: "This was unique yachting project in which a multi-cultural crew spent three years undertaking more than 50 fund-raising talks to buy and restore the famous German Frers designed yacht. Montel is able to helm almost any yacht. Not only was he the driving force behind Scaramouche - raising most of the money himself, but then developed as the helmsman, after receiving tuition from David Beford and Lawrie Smith. In 2017 he entered the Etchells 22 class Gertrude Cup and finished 4th overall before steering the Lloyds X55 class yacht Lutine during Cowes Week. He steered Scaramouche for most of the Fastnet Race
Given that Scaramaouche is an old yacht, which rolls madly, his ability to hold a course for four hours in the dark, surfing down wind without broaching was amazing. Scaramouche may have finished 142 out of 368, but as a school team in an old yacht, they more than proved their point."
ACO 9th MUSTO Skiff World Championship
Winds gusting up to 30 knots meant no racing for day one of the ACO Musto Skiff World Championship in Blairgowrie, Australia. At least, not grown-up racing.
The fleet of international sailors was suited and booted and just beginning to hoist mainsails when the postponement flag went up. Local competitor Richie Robertson is famed for his big breeze prowess but even he felt it was the right decision to hold off on launching into the white horses. "It's full on out there, we've got lots of days ahead of us to get this championship done, so it's the right call."
Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron is a beautiful place for whiling away the day, but of course there was some disappointment when racing was finally cancelled at 5pm. Instead there was a Le Mans race in club Optimists, with 10 Musto Skiff competitors pitted against each other in kids' boats. Some of the leading lights in the Skiff were surprisingly out of their depth in the lightweight Oppie, with some of the 90kg-plus competitors almost sinking their plastic bath tubs. It was Australian competitor Matthias Houvenagel who came out in front, ran ashore, beached his boat, sculled his schooner of beer, and lapped up the cheers and applause from the crowd on the clubhouse balcony.
The forecast for Wednesday is for strong winds, but about 5 knots lower than Tuesday, which should bring the breeze into range for the Musto Skiff. -- Andy Rice
MPX Sets The Standard. You Set The Pace.
New for 2018, Musto have reinvented an icon. First created in 1995 after the development of the pioneering HPX the previous year, MPX first incorporated GORE-TEX® fabric in 1998. The range broke new ground on the way to becoming popular in the yachting world amongst racing and cruising sailors alike. MPX now takes another significant step in its journey as it is refined further to meet the demands of the modern-day sailor.
Categorised into Offshore, Race and Coastal, the collection offers comprehensive and reliable protection across the spectrum, with specific details designed to benefit each type of sailor.
Hard, hot, and slow work in the Doldrums
As Leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race neared its halfway point on Tuesday, any memories of the freezing cold Southern Ocean had long been banished.
With every mile that the fleet climbs further north through the South Pacific, so the temperature of both the air and water rise too.
Gone are the days of wearing countless layers of weather-proof clothing in a desperate attempt to stay warm and dry.
Instead, seven days into the 6,000 mile leg from Melbourne to Hong Kong, the Volvo Ocean Race sailors are battling extreme heat as they close in on the Equator.
The lack of breeze in the Doldrums only compounds the problem, slowing their progress through one of the most notorious climate zones for sailors.
Usually lighter airs give sailors a chance to rest ahead of the next big blow but there's no respite from the heat - it's hotter down below than it is on deck.
"It's probably a really nice, comfortable 50 degrees celsius downstairs and about 47.8 degrees up on deck," said Vestas 11th Hour Racing's Phil Harmer with a wry smile. "The sea temperature is 32 degrees - it's just a pleasure. Even the off-watch guys don't want to be down below."
Although Hong Kong lies some 3,000 miles to the north west of the fleet, the short-term goal is to get north as quickly as possible to reach the trade winds.
Once into this stable breeze the teams will be able to swing their bows left, open up the throttles and start knocking off the miles to the Leg 4 finish. But this respite is still some 36 hours away.
Positions at 1300 UTC January 9:
1. Turn the Tide on Plastic, 3294.84 nm to leg finish
2. Vestas 11th Hour Racing, 4.24 nm to leader
3. Team Brunel, 5.98
4. Team AkzoNobel, 6.93
5. Dongfeng Race Team,10.13
6. MAPFRE, 10.14
7. Team Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag, 30.10
Allen Endurance Series
UK performance sailing hardware manufacturer Allen Brothers has announced the creation of a new sailing series designed to test crews and equipment in extreme contests of skill and endurance. The new Series combines established events into a format which Allen Brothers believes will increase participation and competition, enhancing the endurance element of small boat racing in the UK.
The Allen Endurance Series combines the East Coast Piers Race, the Round Sheppey Race and the Solent Towers Race into a series with overall winner(s), who will receive an Allen Voucher worth £100 (retail including VAT). The overall Series prize fund will comprise:
- First Prize Allen voucher worth £500 (retail including VAT)
- Second Prize Allen voucher worth £200 (retail including VAT)
- Third Prize Allen voucher worth £100 (retail including VAT)
By the nature of Endurance racing, the new series is most likely to include Skiffs, Foilers and Fast Catamarans. The ECPR, for example, is only open to dinghies with a high performance rating. Most boats will be trapezing classes. Once again, the Series is intended to appeal to sailors looking for recognition for "extreme" sensations. You can register interest on-line for the series with SailRacer and combine entries for the qualifying events to save money.
Etchells 2018 Australian Championships
Tension is high as the Etchells fleet cranes in to moor up on the pontoons in Fremantle ahead of an incredibly competitive Etchells Australian Championship. The reason why this event is so significant is the fact that the Etchells fleet will be coming to Australia on a regular basis over the next couple of years. Later this year in October, the Etchells World Championship takes place in Brisbane, Queensland and two years later in November, 2020 the Etchells Worlds will be held on the infamous waters of Fremantle, the very same waters that this regatta will be sailed.
The 2018 Etchells Australian Championship is hosted by Royal Perth YC in conjunction with Royal Freshwater Bay YC and the International Etchells Class Association Swan River Fleet from Tuesday 9 - Friday 12 January.
The significance of the regatta is the reason it has attracted over 30 entries with the majority (21) boats represented by the two WA host clubs however competitors have made the long journey from Sydney, NSW, Melbourne, Victoria and Brisbane, Queensland, (around 3 days across the country by road)!
Another reason competitors are attracted to race in the ocean off Fremantle is the weather conditions. Guaranteed blue skies, warm summer temperatures (Avg 30 degrees this week), and strong winds. The advance forecast for the week is for some moderate to strong early morning breeze, building to some strong afternoon blasts with the infamous 'Fremantle Doctor' sea breeze, making regular appearances. The waves can also get quite boisterous providing some great downwind surfing. -- Jonny Fullerton on behalf of Swan River Etchells Fleet
Tether Clip Update
As promised, here's an update of what we know about the recent failure of a safety tether during the Clipper Round the World Race. This is latest in several accidents in which the use, misuse, or failure of tethers have been linked to fatalities.
Ten days after our first report on the tether failure, the race founder and noted offshore sailor Robin Knox Johnston has revealed more details about the accident, and is cautioning Clipper sailors regarding the proper use of certain tether clips. Although we are not in full agreement with all that has been reported, we are glad to see the race organizers are recognizing the importance of sharing this information with the sailing public. This month, the Marine Accident Investigation Board issued a Safety Bulletin on the topic. Certainly, when the full Marine Accident Investigation Board report (likely to to take months) is released we will have more answers to the many questions that still remain.
One of the videos posted on Facebook demonstrates the risk using a Wichard original double-action locking clip, which as we understand was NOT the clip being used by Simon Speirs at the time of his fatal accident. Based on what we've been told, the snap-hook was a Spinlock Deckware Race Safety Clip (# DWSTRCLIP), a double-action, locking snap-hook used in Spinlock Deckware Safety Tethers (# DWSTR). Introduced in 2009, the Deckware snap-hook is based on the Gibb safety snap-hook-a design that has been used in a variety of sailing tethers for more than three decades. In past tests, Practical Sailor has noted it is one of the easiest locking snap hooks for people with weak hands to operate. The chief difference between the Deckware clip and the original Gibb version is that Deckware clip is lighter and has a black plastic locking latch, while the locking latch in the original Gibb snap-hook is made of stainless steel.
We've completed a fairly comprehensive round of testing on various tether snap-hooks. Although some of our findings conflict with public statements regarding the accident ("it could have happened to any tether," for example), we are generally on the same page regarding the need for a closer look at safety tether snap-hooks. For some background on the accident and several links to related Practical Sailor tests, please read my first post on this topic as well: www.practical-sailor.com/blog/Check-Your-Safety-Tethers-12344-1.html
Full report from Drew Frye and Darrell Nicholson in Practical Sailor: www.practical-sailor.com/blog/Tether-Clip-Update-12345-1.html
Herreshoff Lecture Series: Pedigree, Provenance, and Program
Searching for the Elusive History of the Restorable Wreck as Launch Day Looms
In the yacht restoration business it is an understatement to say there can be a great deal of interest in the pedigree of the boat to be restored. Though the vessel may arrive looking more like a pancake than a runabout a glance at the engine or the paint behind the speedometer can set the Chris Craft aficionado into throws of ecstasy. The name Garwood can drive the recreation of a splendid mahogany speedboat from a mere pile of sticks. The loyalty of the Lawley fans can be limitless. L. Francis? - fanatical. And then there are the Herreshoffs of Bristol whose admirers seem never satisfied with "a" boat built by Herreshoff but "which" boat. If the "which" becomes "that" through the presence of a small brass plate the floodgates open to the entire provenance of the vessel with model, drawings, dates, build time, cost, and owners; the rich fabric that makes up the vessel's story. However, as with the morning commute, there can be some murky times before getting underway if that key is missing and, with time or the boss, delay can be costly.
Warren Barker, Senior Instructor of Boatbuilding and Restoration at IYRS, remarked to a friend at Williams College that after graduation he was going home to build a boat with his father. Little did he know that over thirty-five years later he would still be building boats. During that interval he took his degree from college and further training in furniture design and construction to Maine to enter the revitalized wooden boatbuilding field, to Rhode Island to build cold molded and composite boats for sail and power, and to Massachusetts to build custom boats with his own name on the letterhead. Having taught at IYRS for well over a decade, he has realized what he saw as an opportunity to build or rebuild a myriad of boats by a multitude of designers while instilling in a new generation the passion and enthusiasm for the trade and its teachers that have carried him throughout his career.
Reception begins at 6 PM. Lecture at 7 PM. Register online: form.jotformpro.com/HerreshoffMarineMuseum/LectureTickets
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The Last Word
Printers ink is the greater explosive. -- Lawrence Ferlinghetti