Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Ex-Numbers dawns a new name

Click on image to enlarge.
Click on image to enlarge.
The new Stars & Stripes owned by Dennis Conner get its final touch on its keel kelp stick for this weekends Hot Rum Series in San Diego.

Life or Death

McKee embarks on sea survival course
In order to participate in the Barcelona World Race, all skippers are required to complete a sea survival course, with Estrella Damm skippers Guillermo Altadill and Jonathan McKee being no exception to these rules. Sea survival certificates are valid for five years, so Guillermo, who revised his certificate before the start of the 2006 Volvo Ocean Race is already qualified. Jonathan however was recently embarked on a day long course, held at the University of Barcelona.
As part of his qualification for the Barcelona World Race, Jonathan McKee completes a course on sea survival.
Combining classroom and practical exercises, the course provides sailors with the skills they need to cope with all types of emergency situations that may occur when offshore racing including: long range weather forecasts, hypothermia, resuscitation and first aid, safety equipment (including care and maintenance of life-raft, life vests, flares and beacons), using communication equipment, prevention and procedures for man overboard situations, coming to the aid of another boat, methods of search and rescue, prevention and extinguishing of on board fires as well as instruction on how to use a life raft and survival suit.
Jonathan McKee tests out his survival suit during a course on Sea Survival.
For Jonathan, the experience has been enriching. “Although I am already familiar with most of the procedures that the course covered, it’s always nice to refresh these skills, extend my knowledge and learn the details again. You can never know enough when it comes to safety on board. Hopefully we won’t have to use any of these skills during the race!” - Estrella Damm 2007

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

San Diego Yacht Club Wins Offshore Champs

Photographs by Jahn Tihansky
Annapolis, Md. - After three days of intense racing on Chesapeake Bay where the leadership board changed several times, Chuck Nichols (San Diego, Calif.) led his team of San Diego Yacht Club to victory at the U.S. Offshore Championship.
Going into the final day, the top four teams were within five points of each other and anyone could have returned home the new U.S. Offshore Champion. But Nichols and his seven crew members (San Diegans Kyle Clark, Earl Terry, James Sakasegawa, Matthew Brown, Kelly McKeown, as well as John Reiter of Carlsbad, Calif., and Bruce Buddenhagen of La Quinta, Calif.) were prepared and quick out of the gates for the day's first race to take a bullet.
The pressure was on for the final race and the U.S. Naval Academy team led by Chris Hamilton took an insurmountable lead, or so it seemed. However, at the second weather mark, Hamilton misjudged the layline and strong ebb and was forced to tack twice at the mark and ended up hitting the mark too. Nichols’ team capitalized on the mistake and surged into the lead while Navy spun. John Hoag’s team from Seattle, one point ahead of Hamilton going into this final race, appeared in the picture and set their chute simultaneously with Navy. A spirited battle erupted down the final run with both crews recognizing that the stakes for second overall were on the line.
At the end, Nichols won the race securing the regatta while Hamilton held off Hoag by half a length to tie on points but earn second on the tiebreaker while Hoag graciously settled for third. Defending champion Robert Hobbs of Davis Island Yacht Club put up a good fight but ended finishing fourth overall.
The last time a Californian team won the U.S. Offshore Championship was in 1998. This is the first time in the history of the regatta that a team from San Diego Yacht Club takes home the Lloyd Phoenix Trophy.
For complete results, daily reports and photos from the U.S. Offshore Championship, please visit the event website at

The Guardian

McKinleyville, Calif. - A Coast Guard HH-65C helicopter hoisted two people from the water approximately forty miles west-southwest of Shelter Cove, CA.

Coast Guard Group Humboldt Bay was notified of a 406MHz Emergency Positioning Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) alert from the 38 foot sailing vessel Passing Wind II at approximately 10:15 a.m.. A HH-65C helicopter was launched from Coast Guard Air Station Humboldt Bay and a C-130 fixed wing aircraft from Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento to locate the EPIRB. At approximately 12:30 p.m, the helicopter located the EPIRB and commenced its search.

At approximately 1:20 p.m, the helicopter located the Passing Wind II which had lost its mast and was foundering in seas estimated to be 10 - 12 feet. Both passengers of the Passing Wind II had abandoned their vessel and jumped into the water. A Coast Guard rescue swimmer was deployed and recovered the two persons in the water. Both survivors and the rescue swimmer were hoisted and taken by helicopter to Point Arena. The helicopter was met by Coast Guard Auxiliarists and an ambulance where both survivors were evaluated for hypothermia.

Monday, October 29, 2007

New Foils for Estrella Damm

With time rolling on, the number of days left to work on Estrella Damm before the start of the Barcelona World Race are becoming few and the activity around the boat continues to pick up pace. In spite of a visit from fashion designer Custo, the team has continued to prepare the boat for the approaching round the world race.

Recent changes have seen a new set of daggerboards fitted for Estrella Damm. After several months of training these replacements will give skippers Guillermo Altadill and Jonathan McKee increased reliability during the journey. These pieces of laminated carbon help the boat maintain its course and act as a complement to the canting keel. When sailing, the windward daggerboard is lifted and the leeward daggerboard lowered in order to reduce drag and maintain the direction of the boat.

Estrella Damm’s newly fitted daggerboards are expected to be stronger and more reliable than the former pair but remain similar in design and construction. This replacement equipment will give the sailors slight peace of mind that they have strong foils in place as they enter the Southern Ocean. -

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The multihulls remain moored up

There is not a lot you can do when Météo France issues a special weather bulletin. The conditions off Le Havre are expected to worsen with a force 6 to 7 southwesterly flow forecast for lunchtime.
You can feel the disappointment, but there was no way the fleet of 13 multihulls could takepart in the scheduled Transat Jacques Vabre-Laguna Trophy prologue thisafternoon (Sunday). It was a simple decision to take, even if it was nopleasure, explained Jean Maurel, the race director. The skippers understoodfull well the situation. When the wind gets up like that, no one is verykeen on setting sail, especially with the big race starting so soon. -

Friday, October 26, 2007

Star Euro Champs Photos

Fried Bits - the website of Fried Elliott -
A few great photos from the Star Europeans that took place in September.

Pindar drops rig again

'Open 60 Pindar dismasted prior to TJV' Pindar Group
Pindar, the Open 60 built and owned by print and electronic media company Pindar, last night dismasted off the coast of Le Havre, France. Skippered by Brian Thompson, the Open 60 racing yacht was en route to Le Havre, prior to the start of the transatlantic race, the Transat Jacques Vabre, in which she was due to compete in eight days time.
The mast fell backwards and then to windward onto the boat and the crew, however there were no injuries and the crew are all safe and well. The mast, rigging and sails were cut free from the hull, which suffered minimal damage, to allow the crew to motor safely into Le Havre.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

RC 44 Video Barcolona Race

Great video of the Barcolana Regatta shot from the RC44's! Crank up the speakers and sit back and enjoy! 1,831 boats on the starting line!

Groupama 2 ready

Transat Jacques Vabre
Eight edition of the unique double-handed race on the 60' multihull program. Same course as previous editions: starting from Le Havre, crossing the Equator, and 4,500 miles later, a finishing under the tropical colours of Salvador de Bahia.
Franck Cammas and Stève Ravussin reunited for their 3rd Transat Jacques Vabre.Franck's crew member from 1998 to 2003, Stève Ravussin is back in Team Groupama. Watch captain and helmsman on board Groupama 3, the Swiss Stève Ravussin was also chosen by Franck Cammas to be his co-skipper for the Transat Jacques Vabre, main event of the 2007 ORMA season.
It is a great opportunity for the two men to get together again. Their first participation goes back to 1999, when the finishing line was in Cartagena (Columbia). They finished 2nd, behind Loïck Peyron and Frank Proffit. Two years later, in 2001, they left Le Havre once again, heading that time to Salvador de Bahia (Brazil). They finished first.
Very close onshore, complementary offshore... On November 4th, Franck and Stève will be one of the favourite duos for the 8th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre. -

If you have the means...

Wally will exhibit at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show 2007 with the stand # 695 in the Super Yacht Builders and Designers tent to introduce several novelties.
They willing be presenting the latest sailing yachts launched, Y3K, and those under construction at the WallyEurope facility in Fano, Italy: the Wally 50m, the Wally 148, the Wally 130, the Wally 101 and the Wally 100.3.
For the motorboat market, They will introduce the first unit of the 70 WallyPower new model, Lau Lau as well as the latest 47 WallyPower and WallyTender, and the new mega yacht project, the 85m WallyPower.

Just foil it

Spirt of Canada heading south

Thanks to Alan Cyr for the photo.
SKIPPER DEREK Hatfield got a windy welcome to Halifax this week, but the weather barely registered with the solo sailor, who is used to extreme conditions.

"This is not a storm; this is just windy," Hatfield said Friday as his sleek red Spirit of Canada Open 60 racing boat bucked and strained against the sturdy lines that held her fast to the dock at the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron.

"This is just another sailing day," Hatfield said.

The kind of weather systems that sends most sailors racing for shelter is the type that Hatfield, 55, will seek out when he embarks on a solo race across the Atlantic late next month.
"Thirty to 35 per cent of sailing around the world is weather like today," said Hatfield, raising his voice to be heard over the humming of the rigging and the slapping of the waves against the hull.
Hatfield made headlines across Canada after he suffered a near-fatal dismasting while rounding Cape Horn during the 2002 Around Alone single-handed race. Since then, the New Brunswick native has dedicated himself full time to his next campaign, the 2008 Vendee Globe, a solo, non-stop, around-the-world race starting and ending in Les Sables d’Olonne, France.

His upcoming race, the Transat B2B from Salvador Bahia, Brazil, to Port la Foret, France, is necessary to qualify for the Vendee Globe, which begins a year from now. -

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Onboard Video: Volvo Race

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So great video from on board cameras during the last Volvo Race! Video from

69 and still counting

As of today there are 69 J105's registered for the 2007 North Americans Championship to take place November 1-4 at Annapolis Yacht Club. So far the favorites are Masquerade, Savasana, Kinscem, Gumption and some local dude that no one knows about!

Out of the storm

LOKI, AUS, abandoned in the Golfo di Castallammare after losing her rudder. We have heard that see has gone up on the rocks and is in pieces and we have also heard that she is still floating!
We will have to wait and see what has happen! The crew is safe!

RAMBLER emerges from the storm

Photo by: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo/ Carlo Borlenghi
As three more yachts crossed the finish line of the Rolex Middle Sea Race 2007 to rapturous applause from the crowd gathered at the Royal Yacht Club, the big news is that George David's Rambler (USA) has added Overall Winner on handicap to the Line Honours trophy and Course Record secured yesterday. The treble was last achieved in 2000 by Zephyrus IV, whose Course Record has been so emphatically crushed by Rambler.The first of the three boats to finish today was the 66-foot Rubino (GBR) at 11.51 this morning, over 24-hours after Rambler slid through the line in Marsamxett Harbour. Rubino was followed 15-minutes later by Roaring Forty - a forty-foot yacht sailed by four Belgians. Rubino and Roaring Forty have enjoyed a close race for much of the course rarely separated by more than a few miles over the whole 607 nautical mile course. Vineta (GER) was fourth boat home at 2.16pm. Full story @

Monday, October 22, 2007


Photo by: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

The 28th Rolex Middle Sea Race looked to be mirroring almost exactly its British cousin, the Rolex Fastnet, as retirement after retirement is phoned into the Royal Malta Yacht Club Race Control, whilst the front-runner makes record-breaking progress towards the finish. After a relatively benign start yesterday, the trouble began as yachts began to reach to the Sicilian coast. At 1600 today some twenty-two yachts had retired including four of the big ones - Titan 12 (USA), Valkyrie (CAN), Whisper (IRL) and Ourdream (GBR) - leaving thirty-five still racing.

Race leader Rambler (USA) has been eating up the miles over the 24-hours since reaching Capo Passero shortly after 1700 on Saturday evening. George David's 90-foot supermaxi with Ken Read as skipper belied her name and strode up the eastern seaboard of Sicily, springing out of the Strait of Messina at 0100 on Sunday morning. Rounding Stromboli at 0435, she has made reasonable progress across the top of Sicily and was just north of Favignana at 1600, making 19-knots. The forecast frontal system looks set to blow the big white supermaxi home at speed with winds from the northwest topping out at 40-45-knots. There is the probability of a confused sea state that may slow her up a little, but short of gear failure or breakage she could reach the finish at around 0900 on Monday. If so she would have smashed the existing course record. But she needs to finish before such predictions become meaningful.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Hutchinson brings it!

Annapolis, Md.; Eastport Yacht Club - Terry Hutchinson on Quantum Racing with his crew of Scott Nixon, Morgan Trubovich, Brian Janney and Tara Thomas are the 2007 Melges 24 Northeast District Champions!

Hutchinson put some distance between himself and the fleet, at least a two minute lead. With a course change at the gate, Hutchinson headed right looking for pressure. Norris hung on in second, Junge stayed third with Carleton in fourth. The breeze was on the increase. It was another big win for Hutchinson, Norris closed the gap a little to comfortably take second. The real battle though was between Carlton, Field making up ground challenging for fourth, Sean Scarborough on 'Rhino' and Blumencron are also in the mix.

There was just enough time to get another race in before the two o'clock cut off. With the breeze reaching into the 7-10 knot range, Hutchinson launched off the pin end in race two with Simon Strauss on Gill, Jim Golden on Chillout, Carleton, Blumencron and Norris in full chase. Blumencron commanded the lead at the windward mark followed by corinthians Strauss and Al Girard helming for JC Raby on No Decorm. They fought for position from the mark to the offset, Strauss on the inside taking an ever so slight lead. - 2007 JOY U.S. Melges 24 Class Association

Katie Spithill takes womens match race event

Katie Spithill wins the Rolex Osprey Cup, Grade 1 women’s match racing event sailed in St. Petersburg, FL.
Final standings:
1st Katie Spithill - 2nd Giulia Conti - 3rd Sally Barkow - 4th Liz Baylis - 5th Katy Lovell - 6th Anna Tunnicliffe - 7th Sabrina Gurioli - 8th Caroline Béhar -9th Rachael Silverstein - 10th Sandy Hayes

All screwed up

The 2009 America's Cup may be in jeopardy after Alinghi refused to settle a row with rival BMW Oracle yesterday, sending the case into a potentially drawn-out court battle.

The standoff between the teams and their billionaire owners has dragged on since Alinghi won the America's Cup in July and set rules for the next one which BMW Oracle argued were unfairly slanted in the Swiss team's favour.

Both sides have taken conciliatory steps but Alinghi eventually rejected BMW Oracle's proposal to resolve the wrangle and to publish the rules governing the design of the new high-tech boats.
"This is a simple question of transparency," said Tom Ehman, a spokesman for BMW Oracle, bankrolled by software mogul Larry Ellison.

"In this light it lacks credibility for [Alinghi] to blame anyone other than themselves for the ongoing delay and any decision to postpone the next event."

If you really care to read the rest you can at

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Peter Isler on Titan

Someone doing his first ever Rolex Middle Sea Race, but undoubtedly one of the most experienced sailors in the fleet, is Peter Isler racing as part of the afterguard on Tom and Dottie Hill's Titan XII.

Isler has Transpacs, Rolex Fastnets, Transatlantics and Newport-Bermuda races under his belt, along with successful Cup campaigns and a couple of legs of the Volvo. He will not expect to see much of Jammin, given the difference in waterline length - the Maltese boat is a veritable minnow at 35-feet against the shark-like 76-foot American boat that hails from Puerto Rico.

Isler knows the Titan XII inside out having been part of the crew that smashed the 811-mile Montego Bay course record, but that all said he is frank in admitting his shortcomings on the Rolex Middle Sea Race and that it could be a steep curve for Titan. “I have been doing my homework and it looks like the course has a lot of opportunities for tactical decisions and local knowledge. It seems like the race is set up for someone who has done it before.

You could build up a lot of local knowledge and I, of course, have none so I am all ears! I'll take any chance I have to talk to someone who has done the race before about how to get up through the Straits, playing the currents there and the winds at the various turning marks. It'll be fun though. I love a highly tactical race with a lot of challenges,” commented Isler. And, recognising the benefits of prior knowledge of the course, the Hills have enlisted a couple of crew from the current Rolex Middle Sea Race course record-holder Zephyrus IV, another 76-foot sled design from Reichel-Pugh, albeit an earlier generation.

Despite the apparent challenge, Isler is clearly excited to be here and by the complexity of the course, and, he feels that even Rambler the biggest yacht in the fleet at around 15-feet longer than Titan XII will be looking over her shoulder as she approaches some of the more treacherous tidal gates and possible wind holes, “I'm thrilled to be doing one of the great ocean races of the world in a place I've never been before.

I sailed on Titan extensively in 2004/5 before the America's Cup programme started with BMW Oracle. We're looking forward to hopefully a fast race and another shot at a record,” added Isler.
The Rolex Middle Sea Race 2007 starts from Marsamxett Harbour, Malta, on Saturday 20th October 2007 at 1100. -

The count down nears

As additional Open 60’s begin to arrive in Barcelona, Estrella Damm Sailing Team Manager, Charles Darbyshire explains that there is a pulse of excitement in the air. Charlie gives us his take on what’s happening on the ground and about the boat’s weekend plans.“In the last few days Veolia, Delta Dore and Paprec have all arrived in Barcelona. Their presence has caused much excitement amoung the Estrella Damm shore team and for some of us, it's the first time that we have had a chance to see our near sister-ships close up. Delta Dore, and Paprec are both from the same designer as Estrella Damm and have similar hull forms, although are quite different on deck."

The Holly Grael joins Ericsson

Ericsson have turned to the mercurial talents of Torben Grael to skipper their ‘international’ crew in the 2008-09 race.
The 47-year-old Brazilian, who led Brasil 1 to third place overall in an eventful 2005-06 campaign, replaces John Kostecki who left the Ericsson two-boat project in August.

Grael’s achievements make impressive reading. Gold medals in the Star class at the Olympic Games in Atlanta (1996) and Athens (2004), silver in the Soling in Los Angeles (1984) and Star bronze in Seoul (1988) and Sydney (2000). He also boasts a string of world and international titles.

He has been involved in three America’s Cups campaigns including the role of tactician for Luna Rossa Challenge in Valencia at this year’s event. Prior to the 2005-06 Volvo, Grael was a member of the Innovation Kvaerner crew in the 1997-98 Whitbread.

This time he is back to lead a stellar line-up assembled for Ericsson’s international boat with his sights fixed on overall honours. “Sailing around the world is one of the most difficult things you can do in the sport,” he said. “Having done the Volvo Ocean Race last time and getting a good result, and having a good possibility of doing even better this time is what drove me to do the race again. More @ Volvo Ocean Race

Its official signs on with Puma Ocean Racing: Sailkarma is proud to be part of the Puma Ocean Racing and we look forward to bring you all the news and action from the Volvo Race. So stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Got balls? Check out this sailing video

Corentin Douguet à bloc

Figaro 2007 - Corentin Douguet in 40 - 50 knots. Nice!

Got comments, lets hear them! Feel free to tell us what you think in the comments below! You can be anonymous...

Dennis Connor; It's all about Numbers!

Click on image to enlarge
Click on image to enlarge - Thanks to Peter Jones for the photos
Dennis Connor's new toy, Ex-Numbers showed, up in San Diego just in time to for a little tune up and maybe a name change for the annual Hot Rum Series starting November 4th. It will be interesting to see how she goes against Stark Raving Mad (SRM) that is also based in SD! What's that I see on the stern?!?!?


Photo by: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi / Kurt Arrigo
Rolex Middle Sea Race
Malta has been famed for demonstrable acts of bravery over the centuries and none more so than when she is under siege. Whilst the aggressor today was only the wind, gusting up to 45 knots, there was a definite sense on the bridge of the Royal Malta Yacht Club this morning that the competitors in today's coastal race forerunner to the Rolex Middle Sea Race were under assault. In keeping with the bravery exhibited by this island in the past, five yachts chose not to be put off by the conditions and to take on the sea and wind. More @

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

XII Semana de Buenos Aires 2007

The Semana de Buenos Aires is one the biggest sailing events is South America sailed off the city front at the Yacht Club Argentino on the Rio de la Plata.