Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wishing you all a Happy New Year!

The sunsets on another year! - Amory Ross Photo
We would like to thank all of you for making this one of the best years at Sailkarma and we would also like to thank our sponsors for supporting us! - Point Loma Outfitting, Camet,, J World San Diego, Easy Rigging, Crew Life, APS, EcoSportsBottles and Volvo Ocean Race: The Game. We look forward to two new sponsors signing up soon.

Stay tuned as we create a bigger and better website with more news, videos, and photos of sailing from around the world!
Happy New Year and get out and sail!
Team Sailkarma

Paprec-Virbac 2 loses port rudder... Vendee Globe

Paprec-Virbac 2 loses port rudder in collision with floating object.

At around 1300hrs GMT, Vendee Globe skipper Jean-Pierre Dick suffered a collision with a solid object which is reported to have removed the port rudder and most of its assembly from the stern of Paprec-Virbac 2.

He was sailing at around 15 knots of boat speed, under mainsail and gennaker when incident happened during the hours of darkness.

The skipper reported to his shore team that he has no idea what the object was. He immediately slowed the boat, reduced sail to two reefs and a staysail and turned on to the opposite gybe so that he could steer with his starboard rudder.

His position was approximately 47 deg 49.53 S, 143 deg 08.10 W. That places him about 1700 miles south of the French Polynesian Islands, 2700 miles WNW of Cape Horn, and about 1800 miles from New Zealand.

The Nicois skipper is unharmed, there is no other damage reported to the boat and he is making a compass course of about 350 degrees towards the South Pacific high pressure system which will initially provide calmer winds and seas while he and his team assess the options. -

Dee's mainsail falling apart

"I could do with some sunshine though because I need to get out on deck and patch up my mainsail because it is falling apart. It needs to come down but to do that I need it to be sunny. I have been patching it for the whole of the Southern Ocean but the patches keep falling off so I am trying something different. All the layers are separating so I need to do something and hopefully I will be able to do it tomorrow because the forecast is for it to be easier and the winds to be lighter. Arnaud and I are in email contact and it is nice being so close. He told me had a lot of sunshine today whereas it has been really wet but I'm not sure if these lighter winds will allow me to gain a few miles. They are saying it is the worst weather the Vendée has ever had. I've had worst weather than when I've been down here before but I was in a boat which was designed for that sort of weather. It's very different when you are racing in an Open 60. But I am really enjoying this. I can't believe I am half way round the world in 50 days. It is really cool doing it this fast." Dee Caffari (Aviva) in her daily message -

Monday, December 29, 2008

Orange Bowl International Youth Regatta 2008

Photos by Tim Wilkes
With 700 sailors from 23 nations competing in the Orange Bowl International Youth Regatta, hosted by Coral Reef Yacht Club, With 210 Optimist competing in Red/Blue/White fleet, Spain's Carlos Robles Lorente is in first followed by Arthur Forune from Guadalupe and Puerto Rico's Juanky Perdomo in 3rd after the second day of racing.

Marlena Fauer & Christina Lewis leading the 420 course with Chicago's Stephanie Hudson & Rebecca King in second... Florida's Luke Lawrence continues to lead the Laser Full Rigs, Mateo Vargas leads the Laser Radial and South American Carlo Mazzaferro is winning the Laser 4.7.
Results can be found at

ECOVER 3 : arrival in Fremantle

- 3 : arrival in Fremantle ( Australia ) - Interview with Mike Golding.

Nico Budel issues a MAYDAY call...

by Oliver Dewar and Brian Hancock

Nico Budel, racing Leg 2 of the Portimão Global Ocean Race aboard his Open 40 Hayai, has sustained irreparable damage to the keel of his yacht and has issued a MAYDAY call seeking immediate assistance. The 69 year old veteran of numerous offshore races is one of two solo sailors participating in the race and is currently deep in the Southern Ocean. His position at the time of the distress call was 240 nautical miles NNE of the Crozet Islands, a bleak archipelago deep in the Southern Ocean’s Roaring Forties inhabited by a handful of scientists in a research station. The MAYDAY and subsequent activation of his EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radiobeacon) has launched a full rescue operation with two ships and a fellow competitor diverting to his location to affect a rescue.

“Since early this morning the situation has developed rapidly from some concerns about the keel to a full blown rescue operation,” said Race Director Josh Hall. “Nico is in no immediate danger but it’s clear that his yacht will not survive the approaching gale force winds without further damaging the keel and it is in danger of capsizing. Hayai is the only canting keel boat in our fleet but, more importantly, I believe that the keel has hit something for this to happen. We will not rest easy until Nico is safely aboard another vessel and out of this dangerous situation."
The nearest competitor in the race capable of offering assistance is the highly-experienced Belgian solo sailor, Michel Kleinjans on his Open 40 yacht, Roaring Forty. At the time Kleinjans was just under 500 miles to the east of Budel. At the request of Hall, Kleinjans responded immediately by turning his boat around, sailing into the teeth of an approaching low pressure system. “It’s normal in this kind of situation for a fellow competitor to be diverted to lend assistance,” Hall continued. “Michel did not hesitate when asked and we are grateful to him for his courage.”

The lead torpedo-shaped keel bulb is twisted at a 20 degree angle to the carbon fibre keel fin and the risk of the bulb separating from the keel fin and the yacht inverting in the desolate Southern Ocean is now a stark possibility. Through contact between Alan Green of the Portimão Global Ocean Race and the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC Reunion), two commercial ships have diverted from their original headings and are now steaming towards the damaged yacht. Kleinjans aboard Roaring Forty, is making steady but slow progress toward the stricken yacht. Strong headwinds are hampering his speed but despite the grim conditions the Belgium sailor is determined to help his long-time friend. Read full report...

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Bertarelli on the America's Cup

Ernesto Bertarelli, Alinghi team president (Photo credit: Carlo Borlenghi/Alinghi)
Bertarelli, who still does not rule out a compromise with BMW Oracle, spoke last week with Christopher Clarey of the International Herald Tribune from Switzerland and followed up on Tuesday. Excerpts from those interviews:

IHT: Are you surprised that Larry Ellison and BMW Oracle have declined to drop the lawsuit and refused to meet your Dec. 15 deadline for entering the next Cup?

BERTARELLI: I'm disappointed. Larry Ellison's argument is to say that the event is a phony and not fair and that the rules are not acceptable. Nevertheless, the rules are acceptable to 19 teams, some of which have had a pedigree in the America's Cup much superior to his team. This is the most teams we've ever had, so we must have done something right in promoting the event and going about our vision for the America's Cup and making sure there's a lot of interest. He's a little bit singled out at this stage.

IHT: At this stage, what do you believe are his motivations?
BERTARELLI: I think he wants to win the Cup without having to race the other challengers on the water.

IHT: You are only asking for a €50,000 deposit for the 2010 Cup. Obviously, there's no guarantee that some of these teams that have entered are going to make it to the starting line.

The entry conditions are not substantially different to the previous edition. As for the number of teams, even if a few fall out, it's plenty to have an amazing America's Cup. Last time we had 11 challengers. All these teams this time are carefully considered and pretty serious. The other things we tried to do - and possibly it's something not to the taste of Larry's portfolio - is we tried to reduce the cost of competing significantly and obviously that opens up the competition quite a bit because all of the sudden you don't need a budget north of $70 million to participate. I reckon this time with $20 million to $30 million you can win the America's Cup. Last time when you were asking me the same question, I was saying anything south of $60 million or $70 million would not give you a chance. So obviously if you have all the resources of this world, you want to make the competition as expensive as possible. That's maybe what Larry does not like in the current rules. To qualify for the final of the Cup, he will have to race 18 challengers. This is excellent for the sport to have so many teams from so many countries.

IHT: He has already launched his 90-foot (or 27.4-meter) trimaran in anticipation of a deed-of-gift match next year and has been testing it extensively and training his crew on it. You are still building your big multihull. What's the status of it?

We have done enough to be ready within the time that we would have in case Larry was to win in court, but we don't have a boat that is finished. We just try to spend as little as possible. And so we don't have a boat that could sail tomorrow morning. We would need to spend quite a bit more to get ready. My hope is not to have to launch the multihull. I just don't understand where he's going with his strategy. He can't be arguing that the rules that 19 teams have agreed on are not good enough for him. And wanting to race the defender in a deed of gift match where the rules are dictated by the defender! If you know the history of the America's Cup, the 150 years of the New York Yacht Club's stewardship of the Cup shows that it's very hard for a challenger to win under the deed of gift match rules. So I really don't see his plan if it's not one of stopping the Cup as long as possible or creating as much trouble as possible.
Read more @

There were many tears... Team Russia

Photo Rick Tomlinson/Volvo Ocean Race
Blog entry by Team Russia - Nick Bubb (Watch Captain):
One of the saddest things about suspending Team Russia's participation in the Volvo Ocean Race is not just the lack of frontline action out on the ocean but the break up of one of the most amazing collections of people I've ever spent time with.

At our final team dinner there were many tears. What was shared between us that night will remain private but suffice to say, guys don't like having their toys, boys and girls all taken from them in one fell swoop.

We may not be at the top of the leaderboard but we are not at the bottom either and if you asked anybody on the dock which team was having the best time, both on and off the water, the answer virtually always came back 'Team Russia'.

This may be the Volvo Ocean Race, the most hardcore and professional yacht race in the world and while we worked our butts off, we also partied hard.

Developing a great team spirit can only be achieved by sharing experiences and these can't all come from time on the ocean. Only 30% of the team were out there anyway! We all knew the rules even though they were never written down: party as much as you like but don't miss the morning gym session and ensure your area of responsibility is under control.

Undoubtedly the last six months have been some of the best times of my life. When I joined the team in June I didn't really know any of them and now I feel like I'm leaving 30 life long friends behind. I fly back to the UK today ready to see all my friends and supporters back home and can't help but reflect on how lucky I am, even though it is going to be desperately disappointing not to be leaving Singapore with the rest of the fleet. Maybe I will sign up for the website race and see if I can crack the top 1000 in the virtual skipper competition. Read Full Story

Melges ROCKS ACURA Key West 2009!

Melges Performance Sailboats once again is hosting another competitive bash of fun — another Melges Rocks Party will happen in Key West! On Wednesday, January 21 at 8:30 p.m. - until at the Island Dogs Bar (same location as 2008) is where the fun will be. Traveling all the way from Chicago, Ill. ‘Hello Dave!’ will be back on the stage ready to take the Melges fleet into 2009 in style! Stay tuned to this blog as more announcements will be made as we draw closer to ACURA Key West 2009.

Interview with Mark Richards

Click here to see interview with skipper Mark Richards of Wild Oats

Wild Oats breaks record - Sydney Hobart Race

Photo: © ROLEX/Carlo Borlenghi Richard de Leyser, Rolex Australia, Mark Richards and Bob Oatley, skipper and owner of WILD OATS, at the Line Honours Presentation in Hobart, Tasmania.

Wild Oats XI strode majestically up the Derwent River this morning to beat Skandia by one hour seven minutes and score a record fourth consecutive line honours victory in the Rolex Sydney Hobart after one of the best tactical battles seen at the head of the fleet in the race's 64-year history.Lighter winds off the Tasmanian coast in the last 18 hours of the race robbed Wild Oats XI of the chance of beating the race record she set in 2005 at one day 18 hours 40 minutes and ten seconds. The drop in wind strength did give Mark Richards and crew the opportunity to make use of Wild Oats XI's bigger wardrobe of headsails to catch and pass Skandia, which had led her with better speed and sound tactics for the first 22 hours. -

Friday, December 26, 2008

Cabo de Hornos hits the gas - Portimão Global Ocean

Rooster tail out behind Beluga Racer -
Cabo de Hornos hits the gas by Brian Hancock

With Christmas behind them the sailors racing Leg 2 of the Portimão Global Ocean Race have now turned their sights to the first gate of the course, the Kerguelen Gate now less than 400 miles to their east. The Kerguelen Gate is a line of longitude running due north from the remote Kerguelen Island and is a scoring gate where points are accumulated in the order each competitor passes through the gate.

The points are not as weighty as Leg points, but they can make a big difference to the overall scoring and are therefore coveted. While current race leaders, Jeremy Salvesen and David Thomson aboard Team Mowgli have their eyes firmly on the prize, they are being seriously challenged by the Chileans aboard Desafio Cabo de Hornos. To complicate matters, Team Mowgli may well be the on-the-water leaders, but not receive the most points at the Kerguelen Gate. Let me explain.

The Leaderboard is calculated using a set of waypoints between the current positions of the yachts and the end of each leg. Because the world is round the further south you go, the less distance you have to sail. This is called the Great Circle route and is calculated into the distance-to-go number shown on the Race Tracker. Team Mowgli is leading Leg 2 on a distance-to-go basis although Desafio Cabo de Hornos is actually further to the east than the British yacht.

The Chileans are actually closer to the Kerguelen Gate by about 10 miles, however being 240 miles further north, on a distance-to-go basis they are behind Team Mowgli. The Kerguelen gate runs due north from Kerguelen island and it’s the first boat that passes this line of longitude that garners the most points. In fact to further complicate matters, Team Mowgli is only 7 miles closer to the gate than Beluga Racer and at the last poll they were sailing 3 knots slower than the Germans. It could be that Team Mowgli is the lead boat on the water, but passes through the gate in third place. All interesting stuff with a race this close. Read More...

MayDay issued on Sydney Hobart

Photo credit: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi
Drama this evening in the 64th Rolex Sydney to Hobart race, when Victorian yacht, Georgia, the New Zealand built Farr 52 belonging to two Sydney to Hobart veterans John Williams and Graeme Ainley, who between them have sailed 49 Hobart race this evening issued a MayDay at 21:25 local time, when the vessel was around 14 miles east of Ulladulla. Georgia reported she had broken her rudder stock and was taking water, she was about to lose her electrics, she sent up a red flare and activated her 406 Epirb

Leo Rodriguez' Volvo 60 Telecoinabox Merit, was just a mile away and she went to the aid of the stricken vessel along with Chris Welsh's US flier Ragtime, which at the time was four miles away.
At 22:25 Georgia deployed a life raft to affect a crew transfer to Merit. Traffic between the radio relay vessel JVW and Merit included a request for the Georgia crew to take their EPIRB aboard Merit. 22:41 Merit informed JVW that she now has seven Georgia crew aboard, the raft was returning for the last seven crew. 22:53 All Georgia crew aboard Merit, along with life raft and EpirbTheir position was around 19 miles east south east of Ulladulla. Merit informs JVW that Georgia was floating with water to deck level, with mainsail still up.

A Water Police vessel was on way to the scene to take the Georgia crew off Merit 10:55 Ragtime was advised she could continue racing. 10:56 Fleet was notified that all boats could continue racing. 11:01 Hobart Race control requested that Georgia's Epirb be turned off. Merit is heading towards Bateman's Bay and will rendezvous with the Police Launch Nemesis. All crew safe and well. The Sail-World team are monitoring race frequencies and is only releasing thsi story because it has been adviseds next of kin have been notified.

Up ahead its a neck and neck race between the two 98 footer Skandia and Wild Oats XI now off Montague Island. -

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Merry Christmas to Everyone!

Photo by Mark Maurer

Merry Christmas to everyone and Happy New Year! We are looking forward to the start of the Sydney Hobart race in the next half hour or so! -

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Ragtime to race to Hobart

By Jim Gale/Rolex Sydney Hobart media team
There is only one American entry in the Rolex Sydney Hobart this year, Chris Welsh’ Spencer 65 Ragtime, but it really is a case of quality before quantity. This is one of the most accomplished racing yachts of all time. She is drop dead gorgeous, too.

The history first. Ragtime has covered 150,000 miles of the earth’s watery surface since she was launched in 1964, half of those on the race course. Originally built in New Zealand under the name Infidel, the radically thin skinned plywood lightweight, with her long narrow hull and hard chines was eventually deemed too fragile for the southern hemisphere, and banished to the United States.

In 1974 the renamed Ragtime launched herself into the realms of ocean racing legend. In a nail biting finish to the 2,225 nautical mile TransPacific race from Los Angeles to Hawaii Ragtime sliced across the finish line 4 minutes and 31 seconds ahead of the most famous maxi of her era, the much bigger and more powerful Windward Passage, setting a new record. The following year she finished first again. Ragtime would go on to complete 14 Transpacs, more than any other yacht.

Yet in 2004 Chris Welsh found her at a sheriff’s auction.

“You literally had to go through barbed wire fences, guard dogs, rickety gates,” he recalls. “The boat was chained to a dock surrounded by fishing boats that had been impounded, like she was in goal.”

Welsh has reconfigured Ragtime’s rig and put on a new rudder and keel, and says the boat is even faster now. He raced the boat in another Transpac and he was knocked out by how well Ragtime performed. "When the boat gets going, surfing big waves on the way to Hawaii it just lights up – water shooting out the sides, going really fast – it gets really nice to drive.”
So Welsh decided it was time for Ragtime to venture back into the southern hemisphere, entering her in the 2008 San Pedro to Tahiti race. To his surprise Ragtime completely dominated the race, winning 1st overall.

Discovering that it would cost no more to ship Ragtime back to the States from New Zealand than from Tahiti, Welsh thought he might as well do some sailing there, too, so Ragtime continued on to Auckland. Again Welsh found himself pleasantly surprised at the results. Ragtime won the Coastal Classic Bay of Islands race in conditions that saw just 140 of the 250 starting yachts finish, followed by a second placing in the White Island Race.

Now Ragtime is bound for Hobart. Read full article

Watch the Sydney Hobart start live!

Start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race to be Webcast Live Around the World via Yahoo!7
In what is regarded as a world first for the sport of yachting, the CYCA is pleased to announce that the Seven Network and Yahoo!7, will provide a live 90 minute webcast of the start of the 64th Rolex Sydney Hobart to a global audience.

To see all the colour and action of the start of the 64th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race tune into the Seven Network or the official race website and follow the links to from 12.30pm AEST on 26 December 2008.

Sydney Hobart will be a quick one...

The latest weather forecasts suggest the 64th Rolex Sydney Hobart will be a quick one. Fresh to strong, 20-30 knot northeast following winds for the first two days from the 26 December start will push the 100-boat fleet south at high speed under spinnaker. The predicted west-southwest change of 25-30 knots to follow will allow straight-line reaching courses towards Tasman Island, the last turning mark 41 nautical-miles from the finish.

The sailing will be tough as the yachts speed south at speeds of up to 25 knots for the maxis and the mid-fleet and smaller boats will have to climb big waves in Bass Strait, but the conditions will be manageable for all. Nowhere in the forecasts - government and commercial - is mentioned the dreaded S-word, ‘southerly’, that on this 628 nm course, which crosses the notoriously rough Bass Strait, means strong to gale force headwinds and punishing waves.

In this scenario, the fastest yacht in the race, Bob Oatley’s canting-keeled Reichel/Pugh 98 Wild Oats XI, could cut an extraordinary ten hours off the race record she set at one day, 18 hours, 40 minutes and 10 seconds in 2005 as well as taking line honours for the fourth consecutive year.
But forecaster Roger Badham, who provides specialist services to a number of yachts in the fleet including Wild Oats XI, warns that the pace-setting big boats could be slowed by a lightening of the northerly flow as they close the Tasmanian coast on the afternoon and evening of Saturday, 27 December.

“It’s looking a bit wishy washy,” Badham says. “They look like getting around Tasman Island around 9pm to midnight, still ahead of the race record but facing softer breeze.”

Wild Oats XI’s skipper Mark Richards sees the first six hours and the last six hours of the race deciding her record-breaking chances, “You could get to Tasman Light in 24 hours but it’s a matter of getting from there to the finishing line, which can take 12 hours. You just don’t know.”
Following Wild Oats XI home to Hobart should be Grant Wharington’s Jones designed 98-foot canting-keeled maxi Skandia and the fixed-keel R/P 80 ASM Shockwave 5 (Andrew Short). Next into Constitution Dock should be Matt Allen’s modified Volvo 70 Ichi Ban and Peter Harburg’s well-sailed R/P 66 Black Jack – another two entrants equipped with canting keels. Wharington concedes his older maxi Skandia has little chance of beating Wild Oats XI into Hobart and so has configured her to win the race’s major trophy, the Tattersall’s Cup. Read more @ -

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Insufficient funds...Team Russia suspended racing

Rick Tomlinson/Volvo Ocean Race
Team Russia Suspends Racing in Singapore

Team Russia today announced it has suspended racing upon arrival in Singapore at the end of Leg 3 of the Volvo Ocean Race due to insufficient funds to continue the campaign.

The team has been actively approaching sponsors in recent months to secure enough financial support to continue the Volvo Ocean Race onto Qingdao (China) and beyond. However no sponsorship has been forthcoming and the team has no alternative but to suspend racing until further financial support can be secured.

“From the outset, it was always a goal to bring commercial partners into the project,” explains Oleg Zherebtsov, the Team principal. “Until now, I have financed the team with my own money, in advance of anticipated sponsorship funding. By this stage in the Volvo campaign we had intended to find sponsorship, but this process has been impacted by the global economic situation.”

Cessation of racing also means that Team Russia is unable to continue its partnership with the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS). The team was proud to “Sail For The Whale”, during the first three legs of the Volvo Ocean Race and was instrumental in spreading the call for safe habitats for whales and dolphins around the globe. WDCS is very proud to have been a part of this race and will continue to work for the creation of 12 large marine protection areas by the year 2012 and will find new ways to work with the international sailing community as well as the general public to achieve this goal.

Read more news at Team Russia's web site.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Telefonica Blue first into Singapore

Photo: Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race

Fighting for every inch, Telefónica Blue, skippered by Dutchman Bouwe Bekking, crossed the finish line at the end of leg three of the Volvo Ocean Race to score an emphatic victory in Singapore today at 1451 GMT (2251 localtime). It was among the closest finishes in the race history, with the top four boats finishing within 20 minutes following nearly 10 days of racing.

The Spanish team takes a valuable eight points towards their overall score,which now stands at 30.5 points, putting them into second place overall (subject to protest).

The 1950 nautical mile leg, which started from Cochin, India, on December 13, has been a leg of mental and physical torture for the crew, which tooknine days, four hours, 51 minutes and 22 seconds to complete (09:04:41:22)PUMA, led by Kenny Read/USA claimed second, 17 minutes behind the Spanish team, (finish time 1508 GMT) adding seven points to her tally, giving her atotal of 27.5 points and third place overall. (Elapsed time: 09:05:08:01)

Positions are available every hour, on the hour, at .

Sail Melbourne 2008

Sail Melb - Day 6/wrap up - Team McNay-Biehl -Mens 470
The final day of Sail Melb called for a nice offshore breeze. It was a bit inconsistent and shifty, gusting 8-20+ knots with 40 degree shifts, but we went out.

Learning from a race during the worlds last year, left/offshore was the only option. We took the pin late and forced the Matt/Malc over so they had to restart. We sailed all the way out to the port layline with the fleet pointing at our transom the whole way. We took an early lead and never looked back. Until the next beat. It continued to be extremely variable and we were always pressured from behind. The big shifts and gusty conditions meant some stressful racing in the lead! We defended our position well and took the final race win at the end which is always nice to secure our 2nd place finish overall.

See video report from Melbourne:

Also a big congrats to Anna for taking the Radial win! A nice result for US Sailing Team Alphagraphics down under.

With time to reflect on the plane, im sure we’ll have some good thoughts on what we can take away and how to apply it to our next training/racing. A big thanks to US Sailing for helping us get down here on some plane tickets!

Next up on the sailing calendar is a nice pre OCR training camp to re-familiarize ourselves with our own gear in Miami Jan 3-8. Over and out, time to fly. - Graham

J World San Diego and J World Xiamen!!!

Ready to have some fun in the sun? We've got the ticket for you in sunny and warm San Diego! It's J World San Diego Performance Sailing School. More than just a sailboat racing and cruising school. Each year more men, women, and children from ages 12 to 70 become captivated with sailing. Whether you've never stepped on a boat before, are a beginning sailor, active cruiser, or a racer seeking to improve your fleet standings, J World San Diego has a sailing course to meet your goals.

With six hours on the water sailing everyday. You will learn more in one session at J World San Diego than you would in a full season of trial and error sailing. No sailing school spends more course time on the water than they do. If that is not enough they even offer a guarantee that you will be satisfied with your sailing course. What a deal!

Do you want even a better deal? Checkout their Holiday Special. Save 20% on all classes, charters, and club memberships purchased before December 31st. You just can't go wrong!

If you can't make San Diego, how about J World Asia? That's right; J World has just opened in Asia with 10 brand new J/80's located in beautiful Xiamen, China.

Jeff Brown, President of J/Boats Asia, sees J/World Xiamen as a significant start to the future of sailing in China and the growth of the J/80 Class in Asia. There will be more invitational regattas and certainly more opportunities for people to learn to sail and race in China. -

Video of Hydroptere sailing and the capsize

Click the screen above to start the video! See photos posted below... video by Hydroptere hit 61 knots before she capsized!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Maxi's gear up for Sydney Hobart Race

© ROLEX/Carlo Borlenghi SKANDIA, Owner/Skipper Grant Wharington

It's all about Leverage…

Talk about sailing of the course… Quote from the tacticians on board Sailkarma “we’re just waiting of a left shift!” But don’t worry we are only in 105532 place! We have plenty of time to catch up... Great!! -

Life on a knife edge... Sodeb'O

Life on a knife edge - Translated by Kate Jennings – Expression

Making headway in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, otherwise referred to as the middle of nowhere, Thomas Coville is back on a ‘supersonic’ point of sail thanks to a good NW’ly wind which should remain established at 25/30 knots for the next 3 days.

Slipping along in the pitch black night at over 34 knots, under two reef mainsail and staysail, the skipper of Sodeb’O had this to say this morning: “At these speeds, you live like an animal, you turn into a machine. You become immune to the impact and the resonance; you no longer have the same references as you do on land. In the thick of the action, I have the numbers in my head, along with my reactions and sensations. When the boat stops, the psychological aspect takes the upper hand again. Your mind starts to think once more. It’s rather a special kind of behaviour. Due to the speed and the risk taking, I’ve never been as far as this into the relationship between the psychological and the physical.

When the boat drops into a wave, in the pitch black, you feel like you’re falling into an abyss. Aboard, it’s unbearable as you’re permanently being shaken and tossed about. You hit things and you don’t know what it is; it could be strings of algae which are as hard as tree trunks, or even seals. Life on a multihull at these kinds of speeds is something which is unimaginable for a landlubber and I myself couldn’t even have imagined it.

You can’t get off to sleep. You’re overcome with sleep at times but it’s impossible to control when you actually fall asleep, whatever method you try”. -


Photo Gilles Martin-Raget / Hydroptere - photos taken today off Port saint Louis (South of France) where the "l'Hydroptere' beat its own speed record before capsizing. - The boat had hit 61 knots in an earlier run. Wind speed 35-38 knots with gust to 45!

Team Russia... pedal to the metal!

Photo Sergey Bogdanov Team Russia
Today is known on our boat as D-Day: Do or die, make or break. We will have to punch through and if we do our X-mas ETA is looking pretty good. If we don’t, well, we might spend here a while and have to ring the shore crew to have some x-mas leftovers sent to us.

So right now, we are pedal to the metal in the stronger wind fan that precedes the windless passage. Life is good, and the Malacca straits are giving us some of the best sailing in the world. Sure there is plenty of traffic, but our AIS system is doing a fantastic job. Mandatory for the Singapore Straits, this devise sends our direction and speed to all commercial ships within 20 Nm range. We appear on their screens as a dot with a tag: “Kosatka Racing Yacht, limited maneuverability”. So far, this has worked like a very powerful insect repellent. None of the cargo ships want to have anything to do with us, and whilst we are blasting (or drifting, like last night) along, the armada of cargo ships magically opens up in front of us. Brilliant!

The weather models are far from reliable here, so we are relying heavily on the position reports. They are pretty much our weather forecast for the next 150 NM. A sea-breeze is forecast to develop this afternoon along the Malaysian shore, so we are aiming for that. The exact transition between the NE winds that we are in now and the Westerly sea-breeze however is as crucial as it is difficult to predict. If we can reach the zone in good shape, we will have good breeze for the remainder of the afternoon. So, every report is awaited with even more eagerness than before, and any delay in it coming in via our satellite communication is making us eat our hats.

With X-mas dinner on our minds now almost all the time as we have rationed our food, we are more hungry than ever to get through this next stretch. That is a big up according to some on the boat, quoting: “Hungry wolves hunt the best”. Yeah, “whatever”, I could do with a good steak right now - just fine. Thinking of that, the next position report is due in every minute. Better check it out!

Not a national sport any more... America's Cup

America's Cup 'too much like F1'
Hugh Treharne, part of the Australia II crew during their unforgettable 1983 America's Cup triumph, is sad Australia won't be contesting the famous competition for a fourth straight time.

A list of 18 teams from 12 nations were last week registered as challengers for the 2010 Cup. Australia is not among the competitors.

Treharne, who will soon contest his 29th Sydney to Hobart, lamented it was increasingly difficult to pull together a truly national team for the Cup.

"All the teams are made up of international sailors from every country. It's not a national sport any more," he said. "It's like a Formula One racing car - they just get the brains and the power and the design and the expertise from wherever they can get it."

He acknowledged the cost of contesting the event was "quite incredible. I'm always quite amazed how New Zealand can manage to do it and Australia can't," Treharne said.

"Anyway, it doesn't matter, there's plenty of opportunities for sailors who want to get involved in America's Cup sailing, it's just that it's not local any more.

Australia last fielded a challenger in 1995 and wasn't represented in the 2000, 2003 and 2007 events.

Treharne will sail south to Hobart from Boxing Day aboard the 50-year-old Sanyo Maris, skippered by Ian Kiernan. - AAP

Yann Elies gives a thumbs up...

The boats crew on HMAS Arunta's rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) assist medical personnel onboard the yacht 'Generali' as they help the injured french yachtsman Yann Elies in to the RHIB on a stretcher.

Injured French solo yachtsman, Yann Elies, is lifted out of HMAS Arunta's rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) and on to the ship on a stretcher by Able Seaman Boatswains Mate Tyron Aldrick (the bowman) and Doctor David McIlroy (Royal Flying Doctors Service).

Once safely on board HMAS Arunta, Yann Elies, gives a thumbs up to his rescuers on the ship, showing his appreciation to the crew of HMAS Arunta. - PHOTO COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA 2008" For more information:

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Nobody home... BMW ORACLE

Went down to see if there was anything new going on at the BMW ORACLE Base Camp in San Diego, CA but there was nobody around. All put away for the holidays!

Friday, December 19, 2008

RC44 Podcast Puerto Calero RC44 Gold Cup

RC44 Podcast Puerto Calero RC44 Gold Cup- You may experience a delay in viewing - we believe it to be on their server.

Update from Denis Horeau, Race Director Vendée Globe.

Denis Horeau: “ The Frigate from Australian Royal Navy left Perth around 1800 UTC, it’s a big ship 118 m long with more than a 100 crew on board. It was confirmed that there’s no helicopter on board. The two well known and competent skippers that were due to embark could not get on, so the people on board so the crew are strictly entirely military.

The boat’s ETA is now 1400hrs GMT tomorrow (Saturday) and so it has been able to go quicker than first expected. The Australians are very determined to accomplish this military mission, to save Yann Elies, and in the history of the Vendée Globe they have always been very proven very diligent and competent when it comes to saving lives.

Marc Guillemot arrived late yesterday evening beside Yann Elies. They talked via VHF, and his mission, that of emotional assistance, is working very well.

Marc has tried twice to get close to Yann to throw him packages of water, medication, bread and pate. He really wants to boost the morale of his friend who’s in difficulty, and Marc plans to stay there until the end of this problem. He will not give up. Marc will not stop contacting Yann.”
“Sam Davies is on her way as well, quite fast, with strong winds of near 35 knots, and she will arrive tonight. So we will have two boats to bring morale and psychogical support to Yann Elies. Any physical helps seems to be difficult if not impossible.”

“Meantime we are trying to assess the planning with the Royal Australian Navy, how will they operate and what will happen exactly in coordination with David Adams in Australia and Alain Gautier here with us in Paris and others are trying to work out the best strategy.” -

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Oman Sails Arabian 100

Update on Arabian 100 - Oman Sail's new flagship multihull
Currently being built in Australia and destined to be the first ever modern ocean racing boat to be assembled in the Middle-East, the first Arabian 100' trimaran will, when she hits the water in the winter of 2009, become part of a select group of the longest sailing trimarans ever built! She will join the Oman Sail Racing Team fleet as the largest sailing boat to be based in Middle-East region and, along with Musandam (ex-B&Q), form the embryo of a fleet of ocean racing boats based in the Arabian Peninsula.

As announced recently, Musandam plans to depart for her first big ocean challenge in the new colours of Oman Sail on January 8th – aiming to get the first ever Omani around the world. The heart of Oman Sail is about getting Omanis out on the water, from beginners through the Oman Sail Academy to the highest level of ocean competition, and the new Arabian 100 trimaran will provide the team with unrivalled capacity to develop ocean racing in the Gulf and Indian Ocean.

This new Oman Sail flagship has been been conceived as the first member of a new One-Design class (identical boats), rather than a one-off boat. On purpose, Oman Sail have not opted to simply build a bigger and better boat with records like the Jules Verne in mind – instead the new Arabian 100 will provide a challenging and exciting platform very suitable to the often lighter wind conditions in the region as well as the storms of the Southern Ocean, and within reach of the sailing capabilities of the developing Oman Sail team in the coming years. If, as it is hoped, the Arabian 100 becomes the Class of choice for other developing sailing teams in the region, thereby avoiding the arms race seen in other big unlimited multihull classes, the One Design aspect will create close-combat racing whilst remaining in a context of controlled costs.

Liquid metal...

Photo by CARLO BORLENGHI - Rolex Trophy Day 1

Carbon Structure Damage Delta Llyod

Photo: Sander Pluijm/Team Delta Lloyd/Volvo Ocean Race

The Dutch/Irish entry in the Volvo Ocean Race, Team Delta Lloyd (Roberto Bermudez/ESP) has suffered damage to the port side carbon structure around the keel ram. The boat was half way across the Bay of Bengal when the damage occurred, at 1930 local time, midday GMT. Skipper Roberto Bermudez de Castro and his crew are safe and boat is not taking on water.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Puma Racing: Large Cluster of Squalls

Photo Puma Raciing
Brought to you by Point Loma Outfitting-
Puma Ocean Racing - Blog Entry:
There is an old saying "be careful what you wish for." We have to wonder if that thought is going through the crew's heads right now. The weather for today is another slow day, typical of this leg so far. Light winds in addition to an unfavorable current...there is a good chance we have some grumpy sailors out there. When the wind does begin to increase (it's expected to fill in from the ENE) it will come in the form of a tough headwind.
There will be stronger breeze to the North with lighter conditions in the South. The northern boats will have an advantage because they'll be able to pick the breeze up earlier than the boats to the South of them. And just when the guys were hoping for more wind, they really will get a lot of it. There is a large cluster of squalls to the ENE of the fleet that they will continue to deal with throughout Wednesday. The squalls are expected to carry gusts of 40 -50 plus knots. Here is your wind boys, have fun while it lasts. The squall threat is expected to diminish late in the week, but the ENE headwind will continue.Happy sailing PUMA! -

Onboard video from Ecover 3

- 3 : arrival in Fremantle ( Australia ) - Interview with Mike Golding.

Prada's New Toy STP65

Prada new STP65 Photos by NP and Juanpa Cadario

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

SOLAS Big Boat Challenge in Sydney

The CYCA's SOLAS Big Boat Challenge, one of Sydney’s most spectacular sporting and harbour fixtures, has for 14 consecutive years marked the start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart lead-up events and this year it will again fall in between the Rolex Trophy One Design Series and the Rating Series.
The CYCA has this year decided to dedicate the event to raise awareness and funds for its SOLAS Trusts, which were established following the stormy 1998 Sydney Hobart Yacht Race when six lives were lost. -

Mike Golding on Ecover 3 dismasted...

Having only just taken the overall lead in the Vendée Globe British solo skipper Mike Golding was cruelly dismasted in the Indian Ocean this morning at 0647 hrs GMT reporting to Race HQ shortly afterwards that the rig of Ecover 3 had collapsed when he was caught in winds of over 55 knots. Golding is about 940 miles SW of Perth, Australia

The British skipper had gained a lead of 30 miles over Jean-Pierre Dick, who himself had suffered rudder damage yesterday. Golding and had been sailing under a changed sail configuration when the sudden rise in wind speed forced Ecover 3 over on her side.

“I was just out on deck when a squall came through with winds of 55 knots. I had the main with two reefs and a reacher and had been like that for two hours. Overnight we had winds of up to 45k so I had two reefs and a staysail and then changed to the new configuration in the early morning,”commented a very calm Golding this morning.

High school...

Mark O'Brien/Alinghi