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Too Windy: No Classics Racing in Cannes

Sail Feed - Tue, 2014-09-23 10:14

The official word:

The weather forecast unfortunately arrived and following long consideration, the Race Committee opted for abandoning today’s racing, as the wind was too strong to allow for safe sailing. It was confirmation of what had been hoped for by many spectators and fans who had the chance to admire from just inches away the stunning beauty of the old yachts, their hulls, booms, teak decks and the posters outlining each boat’s history and features.

The weather forecast unfortunately arrived and following long consideration, the Race Committee opted for abandoning today’s racing, as the wind was too strong to allow for safe sailing. It was confirmation of what had been hoped for by many spectators and fans who had the chance to admire from just inches away the stunning beauty of the old yachts, their hulls, booms, teak decks and the posters outlining each boat’s history and features.

The weather forecast unfortunately arrived and following long consideration, the Race Committee opted for abandoning today’s racing, as the wind was too strong to allow for safe sailing. It was confirmation of what had been hoped for by many spectators and fans who had the chance to admire from just inches away the stunning beauty of the old yachts, their hulls, booms, teak decks and the posters outlining each boat’s history and features.

On the subject of sailboats, there are so many details and numbers to consider. The classic yachts taking part in the Régates Royales de Cannes – Trophée Panerai may be considered the quintessence of complexity. Waterline length, hull length, overall length, maximum beam, mast height, draft, downwind and upwind sail area, sail plan, rig, displacement, build year, etc. Each boat has a number of features that make them a unique piece of craftsmanship. In this whirl of wood and canvas some data can help figure out the diversity of the fleet.

Facts and figures

The smallest boat: Cabrufa, a Bermudan sloop from 1970 only 7.67 metres long

The biggest boat: Elena of London, with an overall length of 50.71 metres

The oldest boat: Marigold, a gaff cutter from 1892

The youngest boat: in the Esprit de Tradition category, which includes replicas built in recent years but respecting in full the original characteristics, the most recent yacht is Alcyon 1871, that came out of the shed in 2013.

The tallest mast: With her 48 metre-tall mast, Shamrock V, has the highest rig of the fleet.

Bart’s Bash: A New Record

Sail Feed - Tue, 2014-09-23 08:52

From the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation

Bart’s Bash, the global sailing race organised by the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation which took place on 21st September, has set the new Guinness World Record for the Largest Sailing Race (24 hours).

While the Bart’s Bash technical team are still processing the data submitted by some of the 768 venues who took part, the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation is delighted to announce that the threshold of 2,500 boats sailing in regattas including at least 25 boats, the key criteria to meet the record, has been reached.

This announcement comes after processing the results of 3,600 boats, who have sailed over 10,000,000 metres in total, which equals 18% of the data the organisation expects to receive in the coming days.

“The event has proved a huge success and we are delighted to announce that, subject to ratification, we have set the new Guinness World Record. And we have done it in style with 82% of the results still to be processed,” said Richard Percy, CEO of the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation. “The turnout on 21st September exceeded our expectations and we are very happy that we provided a truly global opportunity for people to come together and enjoy sailing. We hope this event will become a regular feature in the global sailing calendar.”

The event was a world-wide celebration of sailing attracting over 18,000 participants of all ages and abilities, taking part in 68 different countries. For many people it was their first time sailing. Races were held between 0.00 and 23.59 GMT on 21st September 2014 globally.

Bart’s Bash was set up to remember Olympic gold medalist Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson, to inspire the next generation of sailors, to encourage clubs to open their doors and to fundraise in support of the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation’s charitable programmes.

The Bart’s Bash technical team have created a system capable of handicapping several thousands of boats across hundreds of classes. The provisional results are expected to be announced in the coming weeks. The processed data will be validated by Guinness World Records before the end of the year.

Get Packed and Get Going

Sail Feed - Mon, 2014-09-22 17:43

I am the proud possessor of a big yellow sticker in my passport that declares I am allowed to live in Papua New Guinea. Our flights are booked. Tomorrow is Moving Day. So why am I writing instead of prepping? Because, dear reader, I am avoiding packing. I know, I know – it should be an easy process. There are no choices to be made; if it is in this apartment and belongs to us, I have to pack it. And we only have four bags, after all. No, I mainly don’t want to pack because a) it means a morning of rejigging heavy bags such that all of them kiss but do not exceed the airline’s weight limit, and b) I have to do it on my own. Because, once again, Erik has performed his famous I-Suddenly-Need-To-Take-A-Different-Flight-Than-You-Guys-Sorry-Byeee magic trick.

Back when Stylish was a year old, we took her Germany and Switzerland for a few weeks to visit relatives. I shake my head when I look at the photo above. It looks like we toted our entire household with us. (Even though that top bag is just a car seat, I think we could have cut out the duffel entirely and still have been fine.)

About six hours before we flew out of Zurich, Erik got a call.
“Uh huh. Uh huh. Yep. Okay.” He turned to me and took a deep breath.
I almost never want to hear what comes after a deep breath. I prepared my eyebrows for battle.
“Sorry, hon. I’ve got to make a small detour. But I’ll be home in a couple of days.” Erik tried giving me a winning smile.
I drew my eyebrows together. Erik flinched a little. “So. You’re telling me that I am flying home alone.”
“Yes.”
“With a baby.”
“Yes.”
“And all of our luggage.”
“Well, yes. I’ll just take carry-on.”
Of course you will.

We made it home, of course. And I fully admit this was a minor irritation rather than a full-blown problem. But it was the first of more Dadless flights than I care to count.

As time went by, things got easier. The kids got bigger, and I packed less. Much less.  Much, much less. I haven’t reached the high water mark set by my father, who once spent a weekend in Washington DC armed only with the clothing he could stuff into his video camera bag (around said video camera), but still. When the time came to prep for PNG, we only had six bags between the four of us. Those bags hold our clothes, school books, actual books, toys, games, stuffed animals and snorkelling gear. We even have a small telescope in there. The kids gave me some grief about not bringing all of their stuffies, but that would have meant six more bags

When our visas for PNG finally arrived, we scrambled to book travel. In what could qualify for a post on its own, the best we could do was secure seats six days out. Erik was, by this time, almost out of his mind from being away from site for so long. He put himself on every waitlist he could find, and the two of us tried to remember that waiting a few extra days wouldn’t kill us.

On Friday, his phone lit up.
“Uh huh. Uh huh. Yep. Okay.” He turned to me and took a deep breath. “The waitlist cleared. I’m flying out on Sunday,”
I couldn’t even bring myself to give him the Evil Eye. “So. You’re telling me that I am flying to Papua New Guinea alone.”
“Yes.”
“With two kids.”
“Yes.”
“And all of our luggage.”
“No, I’ll take a couple of bags. You can manage the rest, right?”
“Sure.”

And I can. When I look at it, it isn’t so much.

The kids are ambulatory. No one has rotavirus this time. It’ll be a walk in the park.

And, just because writing this post has made me see just how silly my complaint is, I leave you with Weird Al’s take on the issue.

Classics Can-do in Cannes

Sail Feed - Mon, 2014-09-22 15:36

The tenth edition of Régates Royales kicks off Tuesday in Cannes, better known for its annual film festival, though Trophée Panerai is catching up. Would you believe, 150 boats, including hard-traveling American yawl Dorade, now home-ported in San Francisco, CA.

This moves a bit slow, but 2013 was lovely, just lovely—

Leukemia Cups, Ocean Health and Collective Outrage

Sail Feed - Mon, 2014-09-22 15:12

By Kimball Livingston Posted September 22, 2014

I’m a fan of Wendy Schmidt. She and her husband, Eric, have made a significant investment in oceans conservation.

I’m a fan of the Leukemia Cup. All across the country, these regattas raise research funds that change the game.

And I’m a fan of The San Francisco Yacht Club’s Leukemia Cup, because, it’s my local.

What I got out of the 2014 edition was a real nice boat ride and, at dinner the night before, a bit of time to listen to someone—Wendy Schmidt—singing my song about oceans conservation through what the Schmidt Family Foundation calls “restorative operating systems.”

Bring it on. How could I resist anyone who would declare, “When I discovered sailing, I found my tribe.”

Photo by Ellen Hoke

Here is Wendy Schmidt with Honorary Skipper Rhett Krawitt, who probably will be with us for a long, long time, but still faces treatments (“treaments,” honestly, you don’t want the details) to “get the bad guys out.”

Blood cancer research has moved the ball. Three decades ago, an acute lymphoblastic leukemia diagnosis like Rhett’s meant that a kid would probably be dead in six weeks or so, kids who would now be adults in the prime of life. Today there is a good prospect for a normal life, after they get the bad guys out. Without research, and the donations that fund the research, we wouldn’t have Rhett in this picture.

BTW, your local blood center gratefully gratefully gratefully accepts platelet donations from qualified donors. Platelets are the cells within blood that bind together when they recognize damaged blood vessels. Basically, they support clotting. But blood cancers cut the platelet count, and cancer therapies deplete the count further.

Platelet donations are not fun.

Platelet donations take time.

Platelets are extracted and the rest of your blood returned to you.

Platelet donations keep people alive.

The equation is simple, much simpler than what the Schmidts achieved by offering a prize, after the Gulf oil spill, for a faster clean-up method, and achieved 4X. Now, among projects ongoing, there is a challenge to create better methods, and faster methods, to measure the sleeping terror, ocean acidification. “As sailors,” Schmidt said, “we know the sea in ways that others cannot. We can and we must become active voices. The forces that are now killing the ocean began innocently, but we know too much now to continue as we are. It’s time to share some collective outrage.”

So, tell us how you really feel.

For anyone who missed it, Eric Schmidt is the Chairman of Google. You may have heard of Google. It’s an internet services company with headquarters in Mountain View, California. Google stock is performing well.

NEAR THE FINISH

I grabbed a camera to snap a few quick shots. We crossed tracks with Zhenya Kirueshken-Stepanoff’s Insolent Minx . . .

We traveled in company with Stan Hales’ Chance . . .

We could see the sunshine yonder in Marin . . .

We waved a thank you to the Race Committee aboard Victory . . .

We sailed through a passle of Optis on our way to the dock at The San Francisco Yacht Club . . .

And met the Optis again as they ended their day. Kate II, at the end of the dock, built quite a reputation in the Pacific Northwest before finding her way to San Francisco Bay . . .

Future senator?

The tent that had been bright and lush for dinner the night before would do for Sunday’s awards, but first the action was outside, in the sunshine . . .

Some things are just pretty . . .

The results of the fundraising matter much more than the results of the racing, which you can find here. And this continues to be the top fundraiser among Leukemia Cup Regattas nationwide.

My problem is, how can I get my ducks in a row when there aren’t any ducks?

Maritime Robotx Challenge & the WAM-V USV, head’s up!

Sail Feed - Mon, 2014-09-22 09:00

Written by Ben Ellison on Sep 22, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Right now it’s possible to come upon an unmanned surface vessel (USV) like this trying to navigate waterways all over the world, though rest assured that there will be a boat load of attentive geeks nearby. That’s because fifteen student/professor engineering teams from five countries have been given a basic 16-foot WAM-V articulating catamaran to which they are adding propulsion and control systems for the upcoming Maritime RobotX Challenge in Singapore. The contest strikes me as a great way to accelerate robotics development, but of course one eventuality is unmanned vessels roaming the coasts. In fact, that may already be happening…

The Team QUT USV in the top photo is being prepared in Queensland, Australia, while the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University team above is in Daytona Beach, Florida. I have no idea what those wooden “outdrives” are about, but I have learned that the big red kill switches on the cross beams are required so that a manned support vessel can come alongside and disable an unruly USV. A redundant, and more elegant, wireless kill switch is also required, suggesting that unruliness is to be expected.

One reason the team websites are fun to browse is that they are one element in the Challenge judging, though the big points get earned for robotically reporting location, accurate depth, buoy colors and more while negotiating a course. 600 points also go to a USV that can manuever to the “CORRECT dock” though teams get 50 points for making “any dock” (kind of like cruising ;-).

Incidentally, the AUVSI Foundation organizing this first ever event already runs annual RoboBoat and RoboSub contests. What’s noteworthy about Maritime RobotX — besides the focus on electric propulsion and robotic control — is that the U.S. Office of Naval Research stepped up with the “boats” and grant money. Go Navy!

Marine Advanced Research — developers of Wave Adaptive Modular Vessels (WAM-V) — is based near San Francisco. In fact, the company and chief designer Ugo Conti got some Panbo attention in 2007 with a large, wild-looking manned WAM-V called Proteus. The 16-foot unmanned WAM-V looks tame by comparison but also seems practical for many tasks. And, yes, that is a Google “street view” camera mounted on one above…

The Google Maps WAM-V footage is pretty limited so far but still a neat way to see some of the SF waterfront. (It also pairs well with the “street view” of a research vessel once docked here). But I’m pretty sure that the odd RIB I screen-captured above is making sure that the USV doesn’t get itself into unmanned trouble. How, for instance, does a USV handle right-of-way situations? Maybe that will be part of another Maritime RobotX Challenge in 2015? Meanwhile it will be interesting to see how things go in Singapore starting on October 20. They even have a cool logo.

Click here to read comments about this Panbo entry, or add your own.

Giles Scott Wins Finn Gold Cup

Sail Feed - Sun, 2014-09-21 22:12

As released September 21 by the Finn Class

By Robert Deaves

Giles Scott (GBR) has won the 2014 Finn Gold Cup at the ISAF Sailing World Championships in Santander. Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) started the day in second overall and a win in the medal race comfortably gave him the silver medal. Ed Wright (GBR) eventually took bronze after a close battle with Jonathan Lobert (FRA).

The day started windless and racing was postponed, though a light sea breeze was expected later in the day. A light, fickle breeze duly arrived and the Finn medal race was characterised by big shifts and pressure changes across the course that ultimately decided the bronze medal.

Josh Junior (NZL) led out of the right side of the start from Giles Scott (GBR) and rounded the top mark first. Scott took the lead on the first downwind, but on the second upwind the left side proved heavily favoured. Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) found the best route to take the lead and he never looked like relinquishing it.

Jonathan Lobert (FRA) just had to beat Ed Wright (GBR) to take the bronze, and had led him through the gate. However Wright chose the opposite gate and sailed straight into a pressure zone and moved quickly from ninth to third, leaving Lobert stuck in much less wind. From there Wright held on up the third beat while Lobert was helpless to recover. Lobert finished fourth overall again and it still looking for his first major championship medal.

Junior sailed a great race to finish second and moved up to fifth overall, passing his team mate Andrew Murdoch (NZL), who had been ahead going into the medal race.

Giles Scott’s only job today was to finish the race cleanly to wrap up his second world title in the Finn. Fourth place gave him a winning margin of 14 points.

He said, “It’s a been a great season for me and I can’t really think of a better way to round it off than with the world title. It’s been a great event and I am really pleased with the way I have sailed, and there’s always a lot to learn from it, but I’m over the moon about it.”

Did he expect to be so dominant throughout the event? “I never really let myself think like that. But the event has gone really well. I have sailed well from day one and managed to keep it going through the regatta.”

“It’s a big milestone. I try to stay realistic, but my big goal is in two years time. But this is a very big step towards that so I am really looking forward to the next two years.”

Of course he last won the Finn Gold Cup in Perth at the last ISAF Sailing World Championships. “The Perth win was an odd one with the other issues going on, so it’s great to come out here and feel I have fully won this event outright. It’s nice to be able to say I am now a double World and European champion.”

On the race, “I just went out and sailed my own race and kind of forgot what was going on with the other guys. You can try and get out of their way but I was racing as much as they were. I wanted to go out on a high and I managed to almost do that.”

Next for Scott? “A bit of time off I think. I will be back in the Finn in January, and will do a full season next year but will take it easy for a while.”

The silver medal for Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) is his best ever world championship result and proves he is on course for Rio. It concludes a great season for the double Olympian, who is arguably one of the best, and most successful, sailors in the fleet never to win an Olympic medal. This is clearly something he is planning to put right in Rio and this medal is a great boost at the half way stage in his campaign.

He said, “The week has been great for me, a really excellent performance. Today I knew I had to be relaxed and keep calm and I did exactly that and it put me right into the lead. Then I had really clear lanes through the race and really good moments. I sailed pretty consistently today, as I did all week, and it it turned out to be a winning combination for me.”

“It’s an important event for me because after a couple of years of some general setbacks, I really made a great performance here, with all my team behind me. This really makes me happy and all of this proves that we are working in the right way and the progress is just going forwards and I hope in Rio it is going to be even better.”

On his consistent performance he said,”All my life I was always struggling in the breeze but this week was three days of pretty strong, shifty and breezy conditions which proved I can perform in any kind of wind. That’s what I have been focussing on the last couple of years, trying to get myself in shape to sail in all conditions. So I am pretty happy I have succeeded in this and it makes me quite me quite confident and sure about the future.”

Wright’s bronze is his fifth successive world championship medal and perhaps an indication that Scott needs to keep pushing to maintain his advantage.

He said, “On the second beat I got a gust on the left hand side and moved up to third and held that all the way. It was a nail biting race and I really enjoyed sailing in it. It means a lot to me to get a medal at the worlds and I needed this medal, so I’m really happy with that.”

On his tactics, “There were people nipping on our heels, and there was a chance of getting the silver, so to be honest I just wanted to go out and win the race. That was my tactic, and if I had the chance to push Jonathan back I would have done.”

“It’s been a hard week after I had a OCS early on and I’ve been struggling a bit with that. But it was all to play for today and it was a real fun race to be part of. I now just need to wind it up a bit more and try to catch Giles. I am putting together some big winter plans, with training in Rio and then Miami, so it should be fun.”

The ISAF Sailing World Championship closed tonight in Santander. It has been an interesting week in many ways with a number of favourites failing to secure their Olympic spot this time around. They now have to wait until the 2015 Finn Gold Cup in Takapuna, New Zealand next November which is the next qualification regatta.

Results after medal race (medal race results in brackets)
1 GBR 41 Giles Scott 18 (4)
2 CRO 524 Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic 32 (1)
3 GBR 11 Edward Wright 50 (3)
4 FRA 112 Jonathan Lobert 61 (9)
5 NZL 24 Josh Junior 68 (2)
6 NZL 16 Andrew Murdoch 72 (6)
7 USA 6 Caleb Paine 75 (5)
8 NOR 1 Anders Pedersen 75 (7)
9 FRA 29 Thomas Le Breton 76 (8)
10 SWE 33 Max Salminen 91 (10)

The Wreckage from Odile

Sail Feed - Sat, 2014-09-20 18:33

Posted September 20 by KL

Mark Drewelow of YachtAid Global sends this word:

Many of you may be following the news about the damage that hurricane Odile left behind as she passed across the Baja Peninsula. As refugees continue streaming out of the area aboard flights out of La Paz and San Jose Del Cabo, the stories are getting out.

Make no mistake, the area is devastated. The two main city areas are Cabo San Lucas and San Jose Del Cabo. These cities are about 18 miles apart. Between them is the area called The Corridor. The two cities and The Corridor are ground zero of this tragic unfolding natural disaster and humanitarian crisis.

For three decades now this part of Mexico has played host to yachts of all sizes and shapes, one of the key areas for yachting in the country.

YachtAid Global is doing everything possible to move aid into the area and provide whatever assistance we can to our friends, business partners and neighbors to the south.

Here is what we need from you:

1. Funds. With natural disasters, funding during the first days is critical. Click here to go to our donation page. It is easy to make a donation by credit card and we are a registered non profit organization.

2. Like Kind Donations. Donate the critical immediate needs items outlined on our home page YachtAid Global.

3. Volunteers. We need to get in contact with every private boat large or small that is leaving any port from Juneau Alaska on down to Ensenada that has plans to move south into or past Mexico in the coming weeks and months. Same with any private boats intending to transit the Panama Canal into the Pacific and head north or boats currently in Central America and Mexico that are planning to go north. Every boat can be part of the recovery support and have a meaningful impact. Contact YachtAid Global for more info on how to get involved.

4. Forward This Info. The reach of our collective network is vast. The yachting industry can and will play a major role in helping our friends and neighbors to the south stabilize and slowly recover. Please take a few seconds and forward this info to people you know.

Looking back a little further:

Sailing Yacht M5

“On September 14 YAG founder Mark Drewelow pitched relief assistance to the Captain of M5 sitting in safe harbor of Puerto Vallarta. September 15 Captain agrees and he and his crew head out and purchase urgent needs items like canned food, first aid supplies, tarps rope, portable generator, water containers and more. At 2100 same evening they cast off as hurricane Odile is working over La Paz.

At 0900 September 17 M5 drops anchor off La Paz, seems they were the first on scene with disaster relief. It took some hours to get safety assessments completed and to determine where to tie up to move aid ashore. September 18 at 0900 they tie up, move aid ashore and start pumping fresh drinking water into tanker trucks.

Trucks depart and take water out to two key facilities, the hospitals in both San Jose Del Cabo and in Cabo San Lucas. M5 has now been making water continuously into the 3rd day and three more to go. They are providing the most critically needed commodity after any devastating natural disaster, DRINKING WATER. There is a lot of planning and hour by hour logistical coordination involved to pull this off and it is not an entirely safe operation due to the nature of being in a natural disaster zone.”

Checking in at Puteri Harbour Marina

Sail Feed - Fri, 2014-09-19 19:56

When engine issues took priority over adventuring, we needed a place at the southern end of the Malay peninsula to park Totem for a while. Puteri Harbour Marina, in Johor (just west of Singapore), made sense for a variety of reasons. It was a rigging job for Jamie that initially brought us there in June, and the friends that made coming back instead of looking elsewhere an easy decision.

weaving ketupat- little boxes to cook rice- from palm fronds for a hari raya celebration

Isn’t it always the people that make the place? During the weeks we spent there, we met a host of cruisers who are now cemented into great memories. Half a dozen other boats with kids came through, including Momo. Kid boats in the region tend to be on the lookout for each other, so we had been in touch by email for some time, but thought their plans to head to South Africa this year (and ours to be tooling around Borneo and the Philippines) might scuttle a meetup. Happily, they warmed to the idea of exploring Southeast Asia for a few months and we hope to share many anchorages in the Indian Ocean next year. And we met Bill, single handing on Solstice, who had a series of delays shifting his plans in a similar fashion and has since been providing excellent company as we work up the peninsula together.

It wasn’t just the other cruisers: staff in the office and the marina had ready smiles, and were helpful when we needed them. In the front office, they provided raw (recycled) materials and an enthusiastic audience for a wearable-art project jointly undertaken by our girls and Jana from Momo.

The downside to Puteri Harbour Marina is that you’re stuck in the outer reaches of Nusajaya, a planned city that’s under construction and mostly uninhabited. Other than the (swank, Shangri-La owned) Trader’s Hotel complex that backs the marina, there’s nothing around but mad construction. Well, unless Hello Kitty World or Legoland are a draw for you! Looking down from higher floors at the landscape being carved up into future neighborhoods it looks like a crazy life size sim. We’ve seen similar developments all over Malaysia, but none on quite as grand a scale. It means you can’t find a neighborhood and shops and interesting peeks into local culture when you go for a walk just empty roads and construction sites. Well- that’s not entirely true. There is a series of three government buildings that are mostly completed, called Kota Iskandar.

Diorama in the marina office: almost none of this is actually completed; maybe 25% is under construction

Stunning moorish architecture in Kota Iskandar’s government offices. They’re almost completely devoid of people, except the gardeners who give me grumpy sideways glances.

On the other hand, marina guests now have access to fitness center, steam room, and pool facilities at Trader’s. It’s somewhat limited (sign up in advance for your time slot), but they’re first rate.

One of the idiosyncrasies of Puteri Harbour that takes some adjustment stem from being situated across the river from a Singaporean military zone. We got used to the F16s, Chinooks, Apaches, and more overhead. It’s the machine gun fire that’s a little unsettling, along with the occasional large artillery fire that echoes in your eardrums or tracers streaking through the night.

Tracers give a visual to the crack of weapons some nights. Not recommended for anyone with PTSD

Since you need a ride to get to, well, anything, the marina graciously organizes a few different shuttles. Once a week, they run a service to the nearest fancypants mall, Aeon. With three levels crammed full of unnecessary consumer goods (and a few handy ones), it’s anchored by a large grocery store that caters to the expat population. We generally like keeping things local, but it was great to buy decidedly non-local treats like fresh rosemary or tarragon, not to mention baguettes. Mall shops include upscale retailers for the burgeoning Malaysian middle class, and come complete with an alley of franchise fast food outlets. It’s a little strange, the cachet that KFC and Pizza Hut (and Kenny Rogers Roasters- huh?) have locally. I’d rather have a nice bowl of char kwey tiao or laksa.

…or kacang ful, a.k.a. foul beans- served with chilies, onion, and egg and pita bread. YUM. Lousy phone pic…

On request (with a bit of notice), the marina can also organize a shuttle out to a strip mall about fifteen minutes away where more local-style grocery shopping was available. Mydin was the place we did most of our weekly shopping, although the aroma of dried fish and durian put off some. But I love the fact they have a huge fresh (whole and ground) spice selection, that their prices are reasonable, and you can get a better feel for what’s happening locally with their displays and special offers (like the piles of dates and gift envelopes during ramadan). I developed a tandoori chicken and cheese naan habit at the 24 hour Indian restaurant at one end; at the other, there’s a typical Malaysian food court, where stalls from a variety of cuisines (typically a mix of Malaysian, Indian, Indonesian, and Chinese but also often with Thai, Middle Eastern, “Western,” and sometimes Korean or Japanese) range around open seating. The family was hooked on shawarma from a middle eastern stall and I risked getting in trouble if a couple of them didn’t come back to Totem after a grocery run, although my favorite is the Kacang Ful above.

At top: just like a strip mall just about anywhere, right? Bottom: local fashion on sale, and a surprising number of durian varieties

On Tuesday nights, there’s a shuttle to the nearest weekly night market. We made this a family event many weeks, but Jamie and I liked it for a date night away too. After picking up fresh vegetables (the freshest around, and delicious seasonal fruit from the area), we’d sequester ourselves among the Chinese stalls at one end and eat barbecued pork belly washed down with beer alongside our fellow infidels.

Very fresh chicken, refrigeration optional

We were regulars here…

…but had to try many others. My favorite laksa stand at left.

For more upscale or deep provisioning, it’s cheap and easy to bus into Johor Bahru to find Cold Storage; it just takes time. Or grab a cab from central JB to buy in bulk at Pok Brothers. It’s cheap, and pretty easy (buses leave from the Trader’s hotel complex), but time consuming. The bus loop from JB Sentral (the main transportation hub, near the causeway to Singapore) is basically a mall-to-mall tour. It’s a kind of country cousin to the flashier insanity across the river.

The harbour is trashed, with styrofoam and plastic floating in and out every day…but at least no medical waste or dead animals, a feature of the marina in Danga

There isn’t much in the way of facilities for boats onsite, but the dock staff help as they can. Handling the formalities for clearance often involves dusty walks to destinations unknown looking for officials, making Puteri’s golf cart shuttle to a shiny new ferry terminal feel like white glove service. It was the staff who connected us with a service center to get our life raft serviced. The marina’s fuel dock always seems to be out of order, but again, dock staff can hook you up … or you can rent a car and fill your jerry cans at subsidized prices in a gas station. It’s kind of a wash between the cost of the rental to DIY, or the markup to the guys on the dock.

Oh, and easy access to cheap DIY laundry… HUGE.

Thanks to another round of shingles, I went to a health clinic in the strip mall. That doesn’t sound impressive, but it turns out the physician there was terrific. We ended up going back to her for basic physicals and blood work and I could get a should-be-annual-but-never-is exam, and Jamie could check his cholesterol levels. Convenient, friendly, excellent value.

The alternatives for moorage in Johor are a changing mix. Danga bay was popular for a few years, mainly because it was outrageously cheap: Puteri is around $20/night, depending on boat size and duration. But Danga has closed down, their space usurped by a development (at least, if it doesn’t lose funding- the last rumor, after most boats were evicted). Senibong Cove, new marina on the other side of the causeway seems to be stepping in where Danga left off by offering cheap rates to fill berths, but having a somewhat inconvenient location. We didn’t even consider Singapore, with the sky-high costs and guaranteed dock lockdown without AIS and other (surprise!) super rulesy oversight, and there’s really not an option for anything more than short term anchoring.

This area has a LOT of lightning. Won’t miss that!

What turned Puteri Harbour Marina from a fine place to park to the host spot for some great memories was the celebration at the end of Hari Raya, the month following Ramadan. Marina residents were invited to an unforgettable evening of delicious food, music and dancing, silly contests (Bill, from Zephyr, Jamie, and  Izam model “Carmen Miranda does batik” headgear along), and just really great camaraderie with all the dock and back office staff. It was an unforgettable evening that went beyond our expectations, just like our surprise stay in Puteri.

Checked in folks know we love it when you read this on the Sailfeed website.

CRUISING BOAT EVOLUTION: The Golden Age of the Cruiser-Racer

Sail Feed - Fri, 2014-09-19 15:44

Last we reveled in this topic we examined how early cruising boats sailed by more middle-class yachtsmen in the late 19th and early 20th centuries were often working boats that had been repurposed. This marked the beginning of a trend in which the nexus of mainstream yachting shifted inexorably away from the upper crust of society, which mostly viewed yachting as a social activity, toward less affluent, more Corinthian sailors, who practiced it as a sport. Interestingly, one thing that helped precipitate and accelerate this was a growing interest on the part of small-boat cruising sailors in the sport of ocean racing.

This interest was largely created and then fueled by Tom Day and his evangelist magazine The Rudder. Ocean racing between large “gold-plated” yachts dated back as far as 1866, when a group of flamboyant American tycoons–James Gordon Bennett, Pierre Lorillard, and the brothers George and Franklin Osgood–pitted three vessels against each other in a spontaneous midwinter transatlantic gambit for an enormous wager of $90,000. Subsequent ocean races were occasionally held under similar circumstances, but what Day managed to do was transform ocean racing into an organized sport featuring much smaller boats.

Thomas Fleming Day–the man who thumbed his nose at the yachting establishment and almost singlehandedly created the modern sport of ocean racing

The first such long-distance race, sponsored by The Rudder in 1904, was contested by six boats, none with a waterline longer than 30 feet, on a course from Brooklyn, New York, to Marblehead, Massachusetts. In 1905 Day organized another such race, this time from Brooklyn to Hampton Roads, Virginia, and attracted 12 participants. The following year he ran the first race to Bermuda, which was contested by just three boats. Day not only conceived these events, he also participated in them, first in his diminutive Sea Bird, then aboard a larger 38-foot yawl, Tamerlane, in which he won the first Bermuda race. He also, of course, vociferously promoted this sort of competition in his magazine, presenting it as an “in-your-face” challenge to members of the upper-class yachting establishment, whom he described as “a lot of grey-headed, rum-soaked piazza scows… who spend their days swigging booze on the front stoop of a clubhouse.”

Day staged more Bermuda races in the years 1907 through 1910, then abandoned the effort in 1911 to take Sea Bird transatlantic (as noted in our last installment). Competition of this sort died out for several years, thanks largely to the advent of World War I, but was revived in 1923 by members of the fledgling Cruising Club of America (CCA), which assumed custody of the Bermuda Race the following year and has maintained it ever since.

Meanwhile, in Britain, the first Fastnet Race was organized in 1925 by members of the Royal Cruising Club who wished to emulate their adventurous American counterparts. What became known as the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) was formed during the awards dinner. In taking the torch from the controversial and incendiary Day, these more genteel organizations helped legitimize small-boat ocean racing in the eyes of the yachting establishment, yet did so without alienating less aristocratic enthusiasts–Day’s core constituents–who were entering the sport in ever-growing numbers.

This blending of the ethos of cruising and racing led to some serendipitous boat designs. One of the most successful American ocean-racing types immediately after World War I proved to be seamanlike schooners designed by men such as John Alden and William Hand. These boats were heavily constructed, moderately beamy, and of moderate to deep draft, with ballast both in their bilges and low in their keels. They also featured short to moderate overhangs and full keels with forefoots that were gently cut away. Their hull form is still considered by many to be one of the most beautiful ever conceived.

These “fisherman” schooners, as they were known, were nearly perfect dual-purpose vessels for their time–they had enough space below for comfortable accommodations, were heavy enough to feel safe and solid in a seaway, and were just fast enough to win races. They were the result of an interesting cross-pollination between yachts and working boats. The Grand Banks fishing schooners on which they were based had themselves been refined by yacht designers, including B.B. Crowninshield (a descendant of our famous proto-cruiser, George Crowninshield), who were commissioned to improve on older 19th-century fishing boat designs that had proved unseaworthy.

Design drawing of the Alden schooner Mohawk

Competing with the fisherman schooners for dominance in early ocean races were a few New York 40 class boats. Designed and built by Nat Herreshoff as strict one-design racers pursuant to a commission from the New York Yacht Club, these boats were 59 feet long with 40-foot waterlines. Because the New York 40s were intended for inshore use, many shivered at the thought of their competing offshore in distance races. They were narrower and deeper than the schooners, much more lightly constructed, with much longer overhangs, and carried all their ballast as low as possible. They also featured the new gaff-less “Marconi” rig, so-called because it was the fruit of the same structural engineering that produced Marconi radio towers.

A New York 40 under sail

Compromises between the two types soon appeared. First came the 59-foot schooner Nina, designed by Starling Burgess, which made a splash in 1928 by winning a transatlantic race to Spain and the Fastnet Race later that same summer. Nina carried a huge Marconi main aft and small staysails forward and was narrower, deeper, and lighter than the fisherman schooners, but less so than the New York 40s. (Tragically, you’ll recall, she disappeared at sea just last year, while on passage between New Zealand and Australia, and is now presumed lost.)

Nina was followed soon after by the famous 52-foot yawl Dorade, designed by a 20-year-old upstart named Olin Stephens, which in 1931 repeated Nina‘s feat of winning both a transatlantic race and the Fastnet in the same season. (She also is still sailing and, amazingly, won last year’s Transpac Race on corrected time.) Dorade and her immediate successor, another Stephens design called Stormy Weather, were the first truly modern ocean racers and featured inboard Marconi rigs with no bowsprits or long overhanging booms. These ultimately proved both more efficient and safer than the old gaff rig. With their improved rigs, narrower beam, longer overhangs, lighter construction, and deeper ballast these new boats were consistently faster and more weatherly than the more traditional fisherman schooners.

The schooner Nina under sail

The yawl Dorade under sail in light conditions

Dorade‘s profile and interior

Though the fisherman schooners were ultimately supplanted (by 1938 only seven of the 38 boats starting the Bermuda Race were schooners), the ideal of a boat that could be both successfully raced and comfortably cruised was not forsaken. Indeed, the CCA’s stated rationale for sponsoring ocean racing events (a practice some members strongly disavowed) was that it believed such races were an effective venue for developing “suitable” cruising boats. And there was a great deal of logic in this. Unlike inshore racing boats that are manned by their crews for only hours at a time in protected water, offshore racing boats must be inhabited by their crews for days on end in the open ocean. Hence the factors of comfort and safety–always of great interest to cruisers–should (theoretically, at least) be carefully considered and treated in any successful offshore racing design.

For many years this was the case. Through roughly half of the 20th century, from about 1920 until 1970, American cruiser-racers flourished as a type and no new design ever became so extreme as to totally eclipse its predecessors. The tendencies of yacht designers and ambitious racing sailors to ignore comfort and safety in their pursuit of trophies were held in check by the CCA rating rule (adopted in the mid-1930s), which incorporated boundaries on dimensional proportions that prevented dramatic exaggerations of form in any given boat.

The CCA rule, in effect, defined an ideal cruiser-racer and punished variations from the ideal that increased a boat’s speed while rewarding those that decreased it. This inhibited innovation, but the rule, often tweaked and amended, proved remarkably supple over time. It successfully accommodated a fundamental design advance–the advent of fin keels and separated rudders, which started becoming popular in 1963–and also accommodated a revolutionary change in the way boats were built–the advent of fiberglass construction in the late 1950s. Yet it was generous enough to older designs that boats from the 1920s and ’30s could still place well in top races on corrected time. Two examples are the schooner Nina, which won the Bermuda Race in 1963, and an old Alden fisherman schooner, Constellation (ex-La Reine), built in 1932, which twice took first place in Class A of the Transpac Race during the 1950s.

It was in the years following World War II that CCA cruiser-racers really came into their own. One of the most successful boats of the era–a fat, heavy, 38-foot centerboard yawl called Finisterre–leaned markedly toward the cruising side of the equation. Finisterre was designed by Olin Stephens in 1954 for Carleton Mitchell, an active sailor/author who wanted a relatively small shoal-draft boat packed with creature comforts, including heavy refrigeration and heating units and a large battery bank. The design’s core concept, that of a ballast keel with a centerboard descending from it, harkened back to the “compromise” designs that Edward Burgess had pioneered some 80 years earlier. With her board up, Finisterre drew just 3 feet, 11 inches (perfect for sailing the Bahamas, one of Mitchell’s favorite cruising grounds), and her wide beam (over 11 feet) and heavy displacement (over 22,000 pounds, much of it arrayed in the bilge as either house systems or bronze structural members supporting the centerboard trunk) gave her a smooth, easy motion in a seaway.

Design drawing of Finisterre

Finisterre under sail

Mitchell cruised Finisterre much more than he raced her (his own estimate was 10-to-1, mileage-wise, in favor of cruising), but when he did race her, he did extremely well. His crowning achievement was three straight wins in the Bermuda Race (1956, 1958, and 1960), one of the few records in all of sport that seems truly unassailable to this day. It has been argued that this success, at least initially, was a function of Finisterre‘s very low rating under the CCA rule (“almost too good to be true,” Olin Stephens once described it). Mitchell’s ability as a sailor was also an important factor. He was known for preparing his boats meticulously prior to a race and for driving them without mercy once across a starting line. But several of the many keel/centerboard boats that followed in Finisterre‘s wake, including fiberglass boats, likewise did well on the race course, even after the CCA adjusted its method of quantifying a boat’s ballast to obviate the rating advantage that Finisterre had enjoyed early in her career.

The 37-foot Pearson Invicta, the first fiberglass boat to win the Bermuda Race (1964)

Of course, many boats that raced successfully under the CCA rule in the postwar years were not as cruising-oriented as Finisterre. Most had less beam, less weight, and deeper keels and were more evenly poised between their dual functions. Several heavily favored the racer side of the equation and featured spartan accommodations. For decades, however, all variations under the CCA rule, from Finisterre, to the most racing-oriented designs, shared a distinctive hull form featuring a full keel with a slightly cut-away forefoot, an attached rudder, and moderately long overhangs forward and aft. Dimensions could be tweaked and weight could be increased or decreased and spatially distributed to favor cruising or racing, but the range of variation was limited. On the whole, considered today, the form was oriented much more toward cruising than racing.

All this changed in 1963 when C. William Lapworth designed the fin-keeled Cal 40 for Jensen Marine, a California-based fiberglass production boatbuilder. The Cal 40 was not the first boat to sport a fin keel and a separated rudder. Nat Herreshoff had designed and built such a boat, Dilemma, in 1891, having borrowed the idea of a fin keel from a boat built in Michigan 10 years earlier. Dilemma and her sisters, precisely because they were radically fast, were banned by the rating rules then in effect, though the concept of the fin keel survived in much smaller boats, most notably the 22-foot one-design Star class skiff, which first appeared in 1911 and is still actively raced today.

Design drawing of the Cal 40

A Cal 40 under sail. They surf much more readily than classic CCA boats

But the Cal 40 was the first boat of any size built in the 20th century to sport a fin keel and as such represented a significant breakthrough. With its relatively light displacement, short overhangs, flat bilges, and radically cut-away underbody, the Cal 40 had an unfavorable rating under the CCA rule (indeed, Lapworth more or less ignored the rule when conceiving the boat), but still was fast enough to perform well in races. It won the Transpac Race three years in a row (1965 – 67), the 1966 Southern Ocean Racing Circuit (SORC), and the 1966 Bermuda Race (in which five of the top 15 boats were Cal 40s). The Cal 40 did not kill the CCA rule (Bill Lapworth in fact later argued the rule should be retained), but it did put an end to any notion that a full-keel boat could be a cutting-edge racer.

CRUISING BOAT EVOLUTION: The Golden Age of the Cruiser-Racer

Sail Feed - Fri, 2014-09-19 15:44

Last we reveled in this topic we examined how early cruising boats sailed by more middle-class yachtsmen in the late 19th and early 20th centuries were often working boats that had been repurposed. This marked the beginning of a trend in which the nexus of mainstream yachting shifted inexorably away from the upper crust of society, which mostly viewed yachting as a social activity, toward less affluent, more Corinthian sailors, who practiced it as a sport. Interestingly, one thing that helped precipitate and accelerate this was a growing interest on the part of small-boat cruising sailors in the sport of ocean racing.

This interest was largely created and then fueled by Tom Day and his evangelist magazine The Rudder. Ocean racing between large “gold-plated” yachts dated back as far as 1866, when a group of flamboyant American tycoons–James Gordon Bennett, Pierre Lorillard, and the brothers George and Franklin Osgood–pitted three vessels against each other in a spontaneous midwinter transatlantic gambit for an enormous wager of $90,000. Subsequent ocean races were occasionally held under similar circumstances, but what Day managed to do was transform ocean racing into an organized sport featuring much smaller boats.

Thomas Fleming Day–the man who thumbed his nose at the yachting establishment and almost singlehandedly created the modern sport of ocean racing

The first such long-distance race, sponsored by The Rudder in 1904, was contested by six boats, none with a waterline longer than 30 feet, on a course from Brooklyn, New York, to Marblehead, Massachusetts. In 1905 Day organized another such race, this time from Brooklyn to Hampton Roads, Virginia, and attracted 12 participants. The following year he ran the first race to Bermuda, which was contested by just three boats. Day not only conceived these events, he also participated in them, first in his diminutive Sea Bird, then aboard a larger 38-foot yawl, Tamerlane, in which he won the first Bermuda race. He also, of course, vociferously promoted this sort of competition in his magazine, presenting it as an “in-your-face” challenge to members of the upper-class yachting establishment, whom he described as “a lot of grey-headed, rum-soaked piazza scows… who spend their days swigging booze on the front stoop of a clubhouse.”

Day staged more Bermuda races in the years 1907 through 1910, then abandoned the effort in 1911 to take Sea Bird transatlantic (as noted in our last installment). Competition of this sort died out for several years, thanks largely to the advent of World War I, but was revived in 1923 by members of the fledgling Cruising Club of America (CCA), which assumed custody of the Bermuda Race the following year and has maintained it ever since.

Meanwhile, in Britain, the first Fastnet Race was organized in 1925 by members of the Royal Cruising Club who wished to emulate their adventurous American counterparts. What became known as the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) was formed during the awards dinner. In taking the torch from the controversial and incendiary Day, these more genteel organizations helped legitimize small-boat ocean racing in the eyes of the yachting establishment, yet did so without alienating less aristocratic enthusiasts–Day’s core constituents–who were entering the sport in ever-growing numbers.

This blending of the ethos of cruising and racing led to some serendipitous boat designs. One of the most successful American ocean-racing types immediately after World War I proved to be seamanlike schooners designed by men such as John Alden and William Hand. These boats were heavily constructed, moderately beamy, and of moderate to deep draft, with ballast both in their bilges and low in their keels. They also featured short to moderate overhangs and full keels with forefoots that were gently cut away. Their hull form is still considered by many to be one of the most beautiful ever conceived.

These “fisherman” schooners, as they were known, were nearly perfect dual-purpose vessels for their time–they had enough space below for comfortable accommodations, were heavy enough to feel safe and solid in a seaway, and were just fast enough to win races. They were the result of an interesting cross-pollination between yachts and working boats. The Grand Banks fishing schooners on which they were based had themselves been refined by yacht designers, including B.B. Crowninshield (a descendant of our famous proto-cruiser, George Crowninshield), who were commissioned to improve on older 19th-century fishing boat designs that had proved unseaworthy.

Design drawing of the Alden schooner Mohawk

Competing with the fisherman schooners for dominance in early ocean races were a few New York 40 class boats. Designed and built by Nat Herreshoff as strict one-design racers pursuant to a commission from the New York Yacht Club, these boats were 59 feet long with 40-foot waterlines. Because the New York 40s were intended for inshore use, many shivered at the thought of their competing offshore in distance races. They were narrower and deeper than the schooners, much more lightly constructed, with much longer overhangs, and carried all their ballast as low as possible. They also featured the new gaff-less “Marconi” rig, so-called because it was the fruit of the same structural engineering that produced Marconi radio towers.

A New York 40 under sail

Compromises between the two types soon appeared. First came the 59-foot schooner Nina, designed by Starling Burgess, which made a splash in 1928 by winning a transatlantic race to Spain and the Fastnet Race later that same summer. Nina carried a huge Marconi main aft and small staysails forward and was narrower, deeper, and lighter than the fisherman schooners, but less so than the New York 40s. (Tragically, you’ll recall, she disappeared at sea just last year, while on passage between New Zealand and Australia, and is now presumed lost.)

Nina was followed soon after by the famous 52-foot yawl Dorade, designed by a 20-year-old upstart named Olin Stephens, which in 1931 repeated Nina‘s feat of winning both a transatlantic race and the Fastnet in the same season. (She also is still sailing and, amazingly, won last year’s Transpac Race on corrected time.) Dorade and her immediate successor, another Stephens design called Stormy Weather, were the first truly modern ocean racers and featured inboard Marconi rigs with no bowsprits or long overhanging booms. These ultimately proved both more efficient and safer than the old gaff rig. With their improved rigs, narrower beam, longer overhangs, lighter construction, and deeper ballast these new boats were consistently faster and more weatherly than the more traditional fisherman schooners.

The schooner Nina under sail

The yawl Dorade under sail in light conditions

Dorade‘s profile and interior

Though the fisherman schooners were ultimately supplanted (by 1938 only seven of the 38 boats starting the Bermuda Race were schooners), the ideal of a boat that could be both successfully raced and comfortably cruised was not forsaken. Indeed, the CCA’s stated rationale for sponsoring ocean racing events (a practice some members strongly disavowed) was that it believed such races were an effective venue for developing “suitable” cruising boats. And there was a great deal of logic in this. Unlike inshore racing boats that are manned by their crews for only hours at a time in protected water, offshore racing boats must be inhabited by their crews for days on end in the open ocean. Hence the factors of comfort and safety–always of great interest to cruisers–should (theoretically, at least) be carefully considered and treated in any successful offshore racing design.

For many years this was the case. Through roughly half of the 20th century, from about 1920 until 1970, American cruiser-racers flourished as a type and no new design ever became so extreme as to totally eclipse its predecessors. The tendencies of yacht designers and ambitious racing sailors to ignore comfort and safety in their pursuit of trophies were held in check by the CCA rating rule (adopted in the mid-1930s), which incorporated boundaries on dimensional proportions that prevented dramatic exaggerations of form in any given boat.

The CCA rule, in effect, defined an ideal cruiser-racer and punished variations from the ideal that increased a boat’s speed while rewarding those that decreased it. This inhibited innovation, but the rule, often tweaked and amended, proved remarkably supple over time. It successfully accommodated a fundamental design advance–the advent of fin keels and separated rudders, which started becoming popular in 1963–and also accommodated a revolutionary change in the way boats were built–the advent of fiberglass construction in the late 1950s. Yet it was generous enough to older designs that boats from the 1920s and ’30s could still place well in top races on corrected time. Two examples are the schooner Nina, which won the Bermuda Race in 1963, and an old Alden fisherman schooner, Constellation (ex-La Reine), built in 1932, which twice took first place in Class A of the Transpac Race during the 1950s.

It was in the years following World War II that CCA cruiser-racers really came into their own. One of the most successful boats of the era–a fat, heavy, 38-foot centerboard yawl called Finisterre–leaned markedly toward the cruising side of the equation. Finisterre was designed by Olin Stephens in 1954 for Carleton Mitchell, an active sailor/author who wanted a relatively small shoal-draft boat packed with creature comforts, including heavy refrigeration and heating units and a large battery bank. The design’s core concept, that of a ballast keel with a centerboard descending from it, harkened back to the “compromise” designs that Edward Burgess had pioneered some 80 years earlier. With her board up, Finisterre drew just 3 feet, 11 inches (perfect for sailing the Bahamas, one of Mitchell’s favorite cruising grounds), and her wide beam (over 11 feet) and heavy displacement (over 22,000 pounds, much of it arrayed in the bilge as either house systems or bronze structural members supporting the centerboard trunk) gave her a smooth, easy motion in a seaway.

Design drawing of Finisterre

Finisterre under sail

Mitchell cruised Finisterre much more than he raced her (his own estimate was 10-to-1, mileage-wise, in favor of cruising), but when he did race her, he did extremely well. His crowning achievement was three straight wins in the Bermuda Race (1956, 1958, and 1960), one of the few records in all of sport that seems truly unassailable to this day. It has been argued that this success, at least initially, was a function of Finisterre‘s very low rating under the CCA rule (“almost too good to be true,” Olin Stephens once described it). Mitchell’s ability as a sailor was also an important factor. He was known for preparing his boats meticulously prior to a race and for driving them without mercy once across a starting line. But several of the many keel/centerboard boats that followed in Finisterre‘s wake, including fiberglass boats, likewise did well on the race course, even after the CCA adjusted its method of quantifying a boat’s ballast to obviate the rating advantage that Finisterre had enjoyed early in her career.

The 37-foot Pearson Invicta, the first fiberglass boat to win the Bermuda Race (1964)

Of course, many boats that raced successfully under the CCA rule in the postwar years were not as cruising-oriented as Finisterre. Most had less beam, less weight, and deeper keels and were more evenly poised between their dual functions. Several heavily favored the racer side of the equation and featured spartan accommodations. For decades, however, all variations under the CCA rule, from Finisterre, to the most racing-oriented designs, shared a distinctive hull form featuring a full keel with a slightly cut-away forefoot, an attached rudder, and moderately long overhangs forward and aft. Dimensions could be tweaked and weight could be increased or decreased and spatially distributed to favor cruising or racing, but the range of variation was limited. On the whole, considered today, the form was oriented much more toward cruising than racing.

All this changed in 1963 when C. William Lapworth designed the fin-keeled Cal 40 for Jensen Marine, a California-based fiberglass production boatbuilder. The Cal 40 was not the first boat to sport a fin keel and a separated rudder. Nat Herreshoff had designed and built such a boat, Dilemma, in 1891, having borrowed the idea of a fin keel from a boat built in Michigan 10 years earlier. Dilemma and her sisters, precisely because they were radically fast, were banned by the rating rules then in effect, though the concept of the fin keel survived in much smaller boats, most notably the 22-foot one-design Star class skiff, which first appeared in 1911 and is still actively raced today.

Design drawing of the Cal 40

A Cal 40 under sail. They surf much more readily than classic CCA boats

But the Cal 40 was the first boat of any size built in the 20th century to sport a fin keel and as such represented a significant breakthrough. With its relatively light displacement, short overhangs, flat bilges, and radically cut-away underbody, the Cal 40 had an unfavorable rating under the CCA rule (indeed, Lapworth more or less ignored the rule when conceiving the boat), but still was fast enough to perform well in races. It won the Transpac Race three years in a row (1965 – 67), the 1966 Southern Ocean Racing Circuit (SORC), and the 1966 Bermuda Race (in which five of the top 15 boats were Cal 40s). The Cal 40 did not kill the CCA rule (Bill Lapworth in fact later argued the rule should be retained), but it did put an end to any notion that a full-keel boat could be a cutting-edge racer.

Podcast: Travel on a Human Scale

Sail Feed - Thu, 2014-09-18 23:00

This week I read an essay I wrote for Broadreach’s blog about how sailing brings you back to the world as it was meant to be for humans. It’s more philosophical than practical, but hopefully is inspiring! What did you think?

Match and Point

Sail Feed - Thu, 2014-09-18 18:04

By Kimball Livingston Posted September 18, 2014

Shall we contemplate this thing called match racing?

The Alpari World Match Racing Tour is in Chicago this week, one of seven stops on the year, and compared to (almost, but not quite, ancient) history, the list of skippers is conspicuously not skewed toward America’s Cup boat drivers. Hopefuls, maybe . . .

Which gave us an excuse to catch up with Britain’s Ian Williams, winner of multiple world match race titles, to take the temperature. Williams noted, “The World Tour used to be sold as the road to the America’s Cup. Now, commercially, it has to stand on its own feet, and it does that. What it also does is give people an opportunity to break into pro sailing and to sail cheaply. Around the world there are these pools of boats maintained equally but not expensively. At the Chicago Match Race Center, it’s a fleet of Tom 28’s, and without this kind of setup you wouldn’t have the Taylor Canfields emerging at the top of the game.”

Canfield being the young 2013 winner of the Chicago Match Cup, Williams being the 2012 winner.

Williams and team in action in Sweden

In Williams’ view, “The match race tour is no longer relevant to the America’s Cup, or vice versa. There was a time when it bore a strong resemblance. But 99 percent of sailing is done in monohulls, so what we do in monohull match racing is still very relevant to the sport that most people know.”

The Ian Williams show has been worth watching. Once a practicing attorney, he quit his day job in 2005 for the life of a sailing pro. “When I stepped out onto the Tour,” he says, “I hoped that success would lead me to the America’s Cup. I still have that hope, but it’s become a lot more difficult since 2007. There are fewer teams, and each team needs fewer sailors. The physical component has been amped up too. On the IACC monohulls [sailed 1992-2007] a third of the people were there for their cerebral contribution. There’s less tactical work now.”

Williams was briefly part of a China Team effort to get a foothold in AC racing post-Valencia, but that was while events were spinning out of control and into the courts and on to the present impasse or, at the least, choke point, where we have Bermuda bidding for an AC35 match and wondering if they’re being played as a stalkinghorse for their competition in San Diego, and we have San Diego bidding for an AC35 match and wondering if they’re being played as a stalkinghorse for Bermuda—or even San Francisco—and one year ago today, on September 18, 2013 Emirates Team New Zealand scored a 17-second win and went up 8-1, needing just one more race to take the Cup, and today Larry Ellision announced that he is stepping aside as chief of Oracle, the software company, not the racing team and . . .

Whew.

But, back to our point: Match racing, apparently, doesn’t need the America’s Cup to thrive in pro and amateur forms, and Williams since 2006 has been sponsored by GAC Pindar, “since the same week that I won the Bermuda Gold Cup. GAC Pindar has been a huge support, and I think we give them a good return. The cost of a match racing team is lower than for teams on comparable circuits, but there is good television distribution, and that is the value.

“It’s still very competitive to get onto the tour,” Williams says of the system that allots eight tour cards per year, and it’s the only place where you have the chance to make more money than your costs. What’s interesting now, with a new crop of young guys like Canfield, is to see who comes out on top. The sailors with more experience, or the younger types who can put more time into it. When the boats are supplied, winning is not about developing better equipment. You’re only as good as your last race, or your next.”

And now I have to close this and get on down the road while racing continues on Lake Michigan, but I note that in today’s competition on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour, Williams, Canfield, Phil Robertson and Mathieu Richard all look good for advancing to the semifinals with no further fuss.

Chicago, it’s a hell of a town—Kimball

Hurricane Odile Update

Sail Feed - Thu, 2014-09-18 13:34

Mainstream media is still down, as power and communications haven’t been restored to southern Baja. However, current information about boats sunk and salvaged, and the tragic loss of at least one member of our cruising community can be found on the Charlie’s Charts Facebook page and on Sailnet.

Island Seeker, the boat I sailed back from Clipperton Island on, has been found on the beach, intact, and appears to be salvageable…hooray!:

Appreciating fuel management, wanting more

Sail Feed - Thu, 2014-09-18 12:00

Written by Ben Ellison on Sep 18, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Gizmo is fenders down, awning up, in bustling Baltimore Harbor, and I have tales to tell. This old powerboat sails! That’s no surprise given her windage, but now I have precise data about how much wind (and current) can help her along thanks to a fuel management system. In this photo, for instance, we were making around 10 knots over the ground at 1,350 RPM but still getting over three miles to a gallon thanks to a stiff easterly wind pushing us down Long Island Sound. That’s a wake-pulling, inefficient RPM when running on flat summer water in Maine, but is much easier on crew and autopilot when in following seas like these. While I’m usually willing to spend more fuel money to shoulder through conditions like this, I was pleased to learn that the dollar difference wasn’t great…

I failed to get a photo of this underway (and may never learn to dust before snapping), but this was our default fly bridge engine screen. In the scene I described, the Fuel Economy value — nautical miles per hour divided by realtime gallons of diesel per hour burned by engine(s) — was wavering around 3.1 nm/gal. As explained when I installed the Maretron fuel flow system, measuring instantaneous flow accurately is very hard, especially when a diesel is being run at a relatively small percentage of its maximum power. I’ve learned from the flow meters that my 450 hp Volvo Penta was sucking in about 36 gallons of fuel per hour during that 1350 RPM run but sending about 33 gallons back to the tank. Set your sink faucet to fill a gallon jug in 20 minutes and you’ll see what a small flow the Maretron gear was trying to measure in realtime, then consider the accuracy difficulty when that flow is actually the differential of two flows ten times greater.

So I’ve gotten used to seeing jiggelty fuel economy numbers, but find them valuable nonetheless. The fuel burn at different RPMs in still conditions is generally consistent, and all summer I noticed how I could see the effect of fair or foul winds and currents. Besides, the difficulty of measuring instaneous flow doesn’t mean these meters aren’t extremely accurate over longer periods…

I have reasons to believe that Gizmo did indeed use 238 gallons of fuel steaming from Rockland to Baltimore. For one thing, this Garmin GMI20 totals fuel flow independently but is within a (rounding error) gallon of the count kept by the Maretron system itself. Moreover, the Garmin calculates Fuel Onboard by subtracting flow from the total you told it was onboard when the trip started plus what you record as added later. So a full 280 gallon load (at a nice price thanks to Journey’s End Marina’s fuel key program) plus 115 gallons added at fabulously funky Miss Chris Marina in Cape May equals 395 gallons, less 238 used equals (rounding error) 157 remaining.

Ah, but you skeptics out there are wisely thinking, “Wait, the counting may be independent but isn’t it all based on a single source of fuel flow data.” Which is why I was pleased to learn that Maretron does not calculate remaining fuel using flow, but instead does it based on tank capacity and level. Right now it reads 159 gallons remaining, which is darn close for an entirely different way to measure fuel volume. Skeptics must conclude that either the Maretron flow system and the tank calibration I did using a CZone Signal Interface (using existing Wema senders) are both quite accurate…or they err in a currently copacetic way.

There are many aspects to fuel management, and potentially many sensors, and confusions, involved. This screen shows how Raymarine let’s you choose to display gallons used and remaining by either counting the flow rate like Garmin does — the Ray a77 warns that it must always be on when the engine is running — or by referencing NMEA 2000 PGN 127497. That set of data fields is called “Trip Parameters, Engine” and the Maretron FFM100 module is always transmitting a current “Trip Fuel Used” count.

I don’t know why but you can only start the Ray fuel manager when you’ve done a fill up (and already set up the tank capacity). I did all that in Rockland but somehow the manager got reset somewhere along the road; it may have been operator error, but I won’t be able to get it right again until I do a full fill. However, my extensive paper records indicate that Raymarine can count fuel flow well and, like other displays, their MFDs can also calculate range and/or running hours at a given RPM. My records are revealing some oddities too, like the way the Actisense EMU-1 (discussed here) adds engine hours when it’s on but the engine isn’t running.

There will definitely be another entry on fuel management as I learn more about it and try other data displays. But I should mention the unfortunate fact that at least one of my Maretron flow sensors is weeping about a gallon of fuel per month into Gizmo’s engine pan. I don’t know if it’s because I didn’t screw an NPT fitting tight enough into a meter’s resin body, or so tight that it caused a crack. Maretron says that either is possible and admits that the tolerance either way is slim, but also says they’ve never seen a catastrophic failure (sensor blows apart, bad things ensue). Plus most of their current sensors — they’ve added models for really large flows — now have aluminum bodies.

I look forward to switching flow sensors so I don’t have to mess with spilt fuel, and I also look forward to displays that make even better use of flow information. For instance, none that I know of can collect an average nm/gal figure for a trip. And I haven’t yet seen the “money meter” I’ve joked about (and that Maretron is purportedly working on). A display system just needs to be able to accept the per gallon price when you input a fill and it could then give you realtime and trip time cost per mile…if you want to know.

I can crunch a spreadsheet, though, and have enough data to tell you that Gizmo averaged 3.1 nm/gal over the 740 mile trip at a fuel cost of $0.87 per mile. Most of those miles were at more than penny-pinching RPMs, but very few at mile-per-gallon 17 knots. Plus we got more than our share of tail winds and also tried hard to time the currents, even leaving Atlantic Hightlands at 4 am. Sailors can justifiably scoff at my fuel “efficiency” but then again we enjoyed briefly catching up with a couple of big 20k+ yachts because they apparently had to refuel in Atlantic City (or play a few hands). Yet then again, those guys might enjoy seeing a big number on their “money meter”; we’re not all the same and I’m OK with that.

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Add Foils, Add a Theoretical Future, Stir

Sail Feed - Wed, 2014-09-17 13:21

By Kimball Livingston Posted September 17, 2014

Want to host a foiling AC45 regatta in 2018, the year after America’s Cup 35?

Bidding is now open, but you needn’t sharpen your elbows. The real goal for America’s Cup developers (notice my phrasing) at the moment is setting venues for a racing circuit between now and 2017, the year of the next Cup match, which will be sailed in some kind of boat or other and not an AC45, presumably, In today’s announcement that existing AC45 one designs will be retooled to foil with the intent to continue a circuit beyond 2017, we can read an attempt to “normalize” the game by looking beyond the next match for the Cup. Again, presumably, there is more going on below the surface, or behind closed doors, but that’s been the trick, hasn’t it?

The Russell Coutts game plan to professionalize America’s Cup competition and put it on a footing with other pro sports was on the table going into 2013, and one year ago today there was all to play for. Emirates Team New Zealand needed two more race wins to take the Cup, and the Oracle Racing comeback story was reeling from its most recent 17-second loss. There was no racing on Tuesday, September 17, 2013, but the Cup was seriously up for grabs and with the outcome, The Plan.

Who could have foreseen the heady comeback win for Oracle Racing, with so many San Franciscans pouring down to the finish line that the fire marshal would close the gates to Pier 17? And who in that heady moment (certainly not I) would have imagined that one year later we would not know the venue of America’s Cup 35 (even if I think I can guess) and The Voices are telling me that the vaunted AC62 concept derived in great detail with great study from the AC72 may be shelved.

Who would have foreseen this moment for The Plan?

Announcing an intent to continue a 2015-16 foiling AC45 circuit into 2018 makes sense, but without a calendar for a 2015-16 circuit, I’m afraid it has about as much news value (do I sound excited?) as the blacked-out September 9 “press conference” in London.

London?

The America’s Cup, the signature event in our sport, has had identity crises before. But not, I believe, so vividly under the direction of people whose avowed purpose was to set it on course.

What’s that dratted sound?

Oh, sorry, it was my foot tapping.

Today’s word from America’s Cup central:

The six America’s Cup teams have agreed to a project that will see the existing fleet of AC45 catamarans modified into fully foiling catamarans for racing in the America’s Cup World Series (ACWS).

Importantly, the teams have also committed to continue to race the foiling AC45s on the America’s Cup World Series circuit in 2018, following the conclusion of the 35th America’s Cup in 2017.

“I’m pleased all of the competitors have agreed on a way forward, beyond the current America’s Cup cycle,” said Harvey Schiller, the Commercial Commissioner for the 35th America’s Cup.

“To have the teams give certainty to all stakeholders as to what will happen following the racing in 2017, regardless of who wins, is a huge step forward for all involved.”

The teams have undertaken the project to modify the one-design AC45s into fully foiling catamarans with a view to racing the foiling versions as early as the 2015 ACWS season.

A feasibility study has been commissioned to determine whether the mods will need to wait until the 2016 season as the timeline to make changes to the entire fleet ahead of racing in 2015 is extremely tight.

The competitors have also appointed a working group to select a Regatta Director, as required by the Protocol.

MY SHIP IS SO SMALL: High-Latitude Micro-Cruisers

Sail Feed - Tue, 2014-09-16 18:13

This is fantastic stuff. I know nothing about these people, except that the fellow’s name (see photo up top) seems to be Euan, and he and his partner don’t seem to be shy about neglecting the kids for a while so they can knock around the North Sea on their tiny little 19-foot Hunter Europa sloop. Though I’m pretty sure he’s only kidding about having left them in the shed with the heat turned off.

Whatever. The kids certainly don’t seem to mind. All in all this was a 2-week cruise, from the Shetland Islands to Norway and back, that took place this summer:

As impressive (and fun!) as this seems, it’s an exploit that pales in comparison to the sort of sailing that Roger Taylor routinely engages in. He’s a bit older, with no kids to worry about presumably, and has been exploring northerly latitudes for several years now in two micro-cruisers named Mingming (the first was a 21-foot Corribee, the current one is a 24-foot Achilles) both seriously modified with junk rigs.

Mingming II, the Achilles 24, under sail

This summer Taylor, who won the Ocean Cruising Club’s Jester Medal in 2009, sailed 55 days non-stop singlehanded from northern Scotland to Svalbard and back.

Furthest north for the summer. On a 24-foot boat, no less. Not too shabby

Sailing past Jan Mayen on the way home, with a clear view of Mount Beerenberg

Mingming II‘s summer jaunt. Taylor seems to enjoy sailing past places without actually stopping at them

I urge you to check out Taylor’s website and explore his sailing career in more detail. Typical for a Brit, he’s pretty low-key and undramatic about what he’s up to. For example, in this viddy here, created aboard the first Mingming, he talks us through a two-day gale, complete with knockdown and broken ribs, in the Labrador Sea west of Greenland in 2012:

There are a lot more viddies on the website, including, among many others, an extended series on the creation of Mingming II and some fascinating stuff on whipstaffs.

MY SHIP IS SO SMALL: High-Latitude Micro-Cruisers

Sail Feed - Tue, 2014-09-16 18:13

This is fantastic stuff. I know nothing about these people, except that the fellow’s name (see photo up top) seems to be Euan, and he and his partner don’t seem to be shy about neglecting the kids for a while so they can knock around the North Sea on their tiny little 19-foot Hunter Europa sloop. Though I’m pretty sure he’s only kidding about having left them in the shed with the heat turned off.

Whatever. The kids certainly don’t seem to mind. All in all this was a 2-week cruise, from the Shetland Islands to Norway and back, that took place this summer:

As impressive (and fun!) as this seems, it’s an exploit that pales in comparison to the sort of sailing that Roger Taylor routinely engages in. He’s a bit older, with no kids to worry about presumably, and has been exploring northerly latitudes for several years now in two micro-cruisers named Mingming (the first was a 21-foot Corribee, the current one is a 24-foot Achilles) both seriously modified with junk rigs.

Mingming II, the Achilles 24, under sail

This summer Taylor, who won the Ocean Cruising Club’s Jester Medal in 2009, sailed 55 days non-stop singlehanded from northern Scotland to Svalbard and back.

Furthest north for the summer. On a 24-foot boat, no less. Not too shabby

Sailing past Jan Mayen on the way home, with a clear view of Mount Beerenberg

Mingming II‘s summer jaunt. Taylor seems to enjoy sailing past places without actually stopping at them

I urge you to check out Taylor’s website and explore his sailing career in more detail. Typical for a Brit, he’s pretty low-key and undramatic about what he’s up to. For example, in this viddy here, created aboard the first Mingming, he talks us through a two-day gale, complete with knockdown and broken ribs, in the Labrador Sea west of Greenland in 2012:

There are a lot more viddies on the website, including, among many others, an extended series on the creation of Mingming II and some fascinating stuff on whipstaffs.

Podcast: David & Isabelle Hayes and Cruising with Kids

Sail Feed - Tue, 2014-09-16 12:01

David & Isabelle share their classic story of a ten-year dream-turned-reality to take their kids cruising. A French-Canadian couple from Quebec, David & Isabelle describe how after a bad ATV accident, David had an epiphany in his hospital bed, and their dream began. Ten years, two daughters, and three boats later, and their realizing it, halfway through an Atlantic circuit that took them to the Bahamas, down the Thorny Path to the BVI, across the Atlantic to Morocco and the Saraha desert, and now to Las Palmas where they’re staging for the return. Get inspired!

Hurricane Odile: Carnage in La Paz

Sail Feed - Tue, 2014-09-16 11:28

There is frustratingly little news coming from La Paz, Baja California, but the little I’ve received is disheartening. There’s lots of coverage about Cabo San Lucas, which you can see here.

La Paz is a major sailing center, with hundreds of cruising boats anchored off and moored in marinas at any given time. Apparently when Odile hit the wind was roughly out of the south, somewhat diminished from when it made landfall in Cabo, but with winds still around 100 MPH. On this map you’ll see La Paz, and just northwest of La Paz, across the bay, is a low-lying sand spit called El Mogote:

Apparently most of the boats at anchor dragged onto El Mogote. I have one friend who’s boat ended up on El Mogote and is most likely a total loss. He wasn’t aboard. Another friend stayed aboard (shiver me timbers), rode it out onto El Mogote, and her boat is fine: it just needs to be pulled off the beach.

All of the marinas are on the La Paz waterfront, so there theoretically wouldn’t have been any fetch to build up waves, but with winds strong enough to blow out windows and blow down power poles, there must be serious damage.

The best news, and the only photos I can find, are on our friends the Kaufman’s blog

If anyone has more information, please pass it on.

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