AC NEWS – The Commodore of the San Diego Yacht Club, appeared on local TV, commenting on the apparent decision to award the 35th America’s Cup to British Overseas Territory of Bermuda. See what he has to say.
VOR – Looks as though four boats have found pressure and have created a big gap between the first four and the trailing three. Who are the boats that escaped? CLICK HERE to find out.
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ISAF – The opening day of racing at the inaugural ISAF Sailing World Cup Final has been described as spectacular, fantastic and perfect. Enjoy opening day highlights, part one AND part two!
COOL VIDEOS – Here is a nice collection of heavy weather sailing footage with the skilled sailors that cling onboard as they sail on, through and below the water. Enjoy!
HAPPY HOUR FRIDAY – Even after eating turkey, mash potatoes and pumpkin pie yesterday on Thanksgiving, there is always room for more pumpkin pie… especially when you have pumpkin pie shots! Enjoy and eat responsibly.
XS WORLD NEWS – Stay updated! Go to our XS World News page for sailing news from 40 different Sailing News websites. We keep adding links, RSS feeds and forums so you can get sailing news and events from around the world. The page is constantly being updated everyday and every hour thru RSS feeds. Check back a couple of times daily for up to minute news. XS Sailing -Where Sailing Lives!
VOR – At this time, four boats are neck and neck and within 5 miles of each other with the lead switching back and forth between Abu Dhabi and MAPFRE. To follow the fleet CLICK HERE! Reports from the Boats is below!
OBR, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing
On the horizon at dusk, four sets of sails became clearer and clearer as the fleet compressed and our separation for the past three days came to a close. We’ve been very pleased that the wider route we accidentally dealt ourselves earlier has paid dividends as we now are fighting for the lead with Brunel, Dongfeng, and MAPFRE hot on our tail.
For Ian, there’s a relief to have other boats nearby to race against, “We’re quite pleased this time because we were a long way behind these guys. It’s quite nice to be in touch and see how we’re going.”
Last night as we gybed north towards a predicted Tropical Storm that might cross our path, the forecast was for decent trade wind conditions all day. However, as dawn is breaking the Indian Ocean is glass and we’re floating amongst the lead group looking for wind.
As if the unpredictability of this leg wasn’t enough already, now this un-forcasted high-pressure ridge is rolling the dice again. Anyone could get a puff from a squall right now and come out miles ahead, arrive at the Tropical Storm first, and then see decisive gains.
There’s no question that storm is in the back of everyone’s mind. When asked if he knows how Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing will prepare for those conditions, Ian is weighing the options.
“The Tropical Storm is coming towards us and that can become a question of how close to the center do we dare go: racing benefits versus potential risk scenario.”
With a laugh he adds, “I’m sure when push comes to shove we’re all going to send it in there and egg each other on.”
Amory Ross OBR, Team Alvimedica
Today is a great day in the USA—it is Thanksgiving, a day for spending time with family, for eating food and for giving thanks. While there are only four of us Americans onboard, it’s realistic to say we are a family of nine for the next year and I thought we might take the time to hand out some thanks of our own:
Thanks to Inmarsat and Cobham for connecting us to the world! It makes us all feel a little closer to our families and friends and this race would be a lot harder without either of them.
Thanks to the nice clouds in our FUTURE, and not those of our past. We have not exactly won the Thanksgiving Day lottery—it has been a tough morning of getting bounced around underneath clouds. Five tacks in six hours—uggggh.
Thanks to whoever invented deodorant, as this is one absurdly smelllly bunch.
Thanks to Friends Academy for their awesome Thanksgiving Day cards! Bella—I appreciate the nice note and glad you enjoy the pictures. I really like taking them!
Thanks to Mountain House food for supplying a disgustingly delightful dosage of Thanksgiving freeze-dried: Roast Chicken to be exact. Poultry is poultry and we’ll just have to pretend it is Turkey, though we were given some special cranberry spread to help the cause!
Thanks to the Cyclone in our path for getting downgraded, and for being “disorganized”—very much like we feel at the moment, actually. Five tacks makes a mess of the stack and life onboard is somewhat scattered. Like the cyclone. A relief!
Thanks to all of you for your endless support. It helps to know you’re pulling for us, wherever you may be.
Thanks to Alvimedica for making all of this possible. We’re truly excited to be here, with this group, and it’s an opportunity we never forget—every day. And thank you for all the work that went into our Thanksgiving care package. Amazing stuff.
Most importantly, Thanks to our families for understanding our absence from the dinner table! We know what we are sacrificing to be here but we are doing what we love and that will have to suffice for now!
A very Happy Thanksgiving to all of you from those of us at sea on Alvimedica!
OBR, Dongfeng Race Team
DIY, instability, and frustration. It happened yesterday during a day when nothing much was happening. As well as being quite boring, it was also uncomfortable. But honestly we would have preferred to stay a bit bored to what happened instead.
I don’t even know who noticed it, but who cares – the result is the same. Our mast track has come unstuck. For the moment, over a 70cm or so area. It’s not going to pull off straight away, but considering there are still 3,500 miles to Abu Dhabi, we cannot just sit there and do nothing.
So Kevin went up the mast, and put in place two webbing strops, tensioned with ratchets to stop it peeling off further. That works. It can’t move. The only problem is that with two strops across the track, it’s impossible to take the mainsail down, or most importantly, take a reef. And that won’t be possible to avoid between here and Abu Dhabi! So we need to find a solution.
“Climb, sand down the carbon, clean up the track, and re-glue it” explains Kevin. When? As soon as the conditions allow it. That should be this morning. But not this morning, because for a few hours now there is a big fight going on. Fight between the teams – we can see five with our own eyes – and fight with the elements – squalls, gusts, rain, wind holes, clouds, big wind shifts, and all the sail changes that go with that. It hasn’t stopped. Not the time to climb the mast for some DIY and repairs in any case.
So on we go. As if everything is fine. On we go stacking the little spoons whilst trying to forget that we have two big webbing strops that weigh a kilogramme each half way up the mast. On we go trimming every detail to try and gain a metre here and there, forgetting that we have to send someone up the mast to glue the track back on, and that could take some time. On we sail with the full mainsail up, without thinking about the big tropical depression that we will find soon right on our route.
On we go as if nothing has changed.
On we go!
Today has been a great day. We did the right calls and that helped us take the lead. The fleet compressed again and we can clearly see Abu Dhabi, Dongfeng, Brunel and Alvimedica. We sailed upwind all day, and all night. After sunset, we tacked because of a wind shift. The squalls arrived and with them the wind dropped. We had rain four times so far in this leg, but we weren’t in the mood for a shower – that’s the last think you can think about when sailing in such a tight fleet.
Jean Luc says it’s important for us to arrive to La Réunion well positioned. Afterwards we could make some good gains if we do the right calls and if the boat sails fast.
On deck there’s been chitchat about the tropical storm we are about to cross. It could get serious – or not. The best thing is to be ready in case the 40 knots kick in and help us sail faster than the rest of the fleet. Otherwise we’ll keep sailing at 10 or 12 knots.
It’s 5:21 UTC and as I write we find ourselves in a small wind hole, under the rain, with Abu Dhabi to windward, and Brunel behind. Everybody is on deck and all the weight is at the bow.
Phases without wind are quite tense because you never know who’s going to gain from it, and you just hope to be that boat. Yesterday night we had pasta and tuna, our favorite food onboard MAPFRE. Everybody smiles when we’re having it.
Rob and Jean Luc won the quiz contest by correctly answering my question: “What’s the largest body organ?” It’s the skin!!
OBR, Team Brunel
Bouwe Bekking is chewing a gum between his teeth. He grabs it with his thumb and forefinger, and stretches it 30 inches from his mouth.
Then he eats the piece of gum again, until it disappeared into his unshaven mouth.
“That’s us and the rest of the fleet. One moment you’re ahead and after a while we’re all together again.”
This morning, the first six boats are literally within sight. The Indian Ocean is silent. Flat water, no wind. Somewhere the sun rises with on the horizon thick with rain clouds. But these stormy clouds don’t affect the crew temperature.
The boat has tacked three times during the past hour. Three times, the entire stock has moved from one side to the other side: it’s a hell of a job but nobody complains. At most, a weary sigh. “Volvo Stacking Race,” jokes Louis Balcaen.
The men throw the last food bag on the high side (15 bags of 25 kilos each) and they’re already called on deck for another sail change. The skipper orders a sail change from a fractional sail to the Code zero. And back to fractional one.
For each wind, another sail. And the problem is that the wind is absolutely shifty, it comes from every direction.
“I will teach you something,” says Johnny Poortman. “You see all those big rain clouds?” Thick black clouds are hanging on the horizon indeed. Streaks of rain hit the sea surface.
“The rain is falling straight down there. That means there is no wind. But rain clouds are creating air that rises. Do you get it yet? So that air in the clouds is sucked up from everywhere. That’s what creates all the weird weather; these wind holes and twists.
“The trick? To sail exactly between the downpours.”
A gust of wind takes the yellow race boat from 0 to 11 knots in no time.
“And have a little luck,” grins Poortman.
OBR, Team SCA
Sail repairs don’t slow us down! What a day! Before 0800 UTC the team was well into a proper sail repair below decks and, above deck, the team was sailing fast and hard.
In the early morning hours, one of the sailors shone her light on to the front sail, our J1, and noticed a few torn holes in the sail per result of the staysail’s clew flapping hard against the J1. The team rode it out with the torn sail for a little while longer, until they had a weather window sufficient enough to sail on the smaller (and incorrect) sail, the J2.
After luging the sail down the deck and into the boat, Stacey and Abby started to prepare the sail for repair. Both sailors were off watch and began using their vital off watch hours to repair the sail, a job projected to take at least two hours. First, the sail needed to be dried, so the girls used the engine and acetone to dry off the sail. Next, Stacey cut new pieces of 3Di sail for the repair and used 5200 to glue the patches to the sail. Finally, the sewing machine was brought out to put the final touches on the repair. Two-hours and twenty minutes later the sail was hoisted and SCA was on the correct sail again.
“The most important thing is to measure twice and cut once. You also want to make sure you do it right the first time so ou don’t have to do it twice,” Stacey explained.
While the girls below deck fixed one of the more important sails for the leg, the girls above deck were sailing incredibly well and fast. (Not saying they normally don’t!) But the deck team’s performance was so on target that we were the fastest boat in the fleet for the next position report. Furthermore, we made gains fleet wide, miles that later in the day became essential for us. The important thing to note here is that we were sailing on the smaller, incorrect sail.
What this morning proved was how Team SCA works as a team. Both Stacey and Abby worked straight through their off watch time in order to better the team’s overall performance. Both women did it without batting an eye; in fact they both had smiles on their faces despite working straight for nearly 12 hours once they finished their second watch.
Sam said she was really impressed with the team’s performance as it really proved how dedicated the team is and how well we can sail the boat in any condition.
OBR, Team Vestas Wind
Tech Talk. We use it everyday without consideration. We rely on it everyday without consideration. We would struggle to exist without. It’s technology.
The simple fact that I can send images, text and video to you from one of the most remote places on the planet is remarkable but made possible by Inmarsat technology.
So here’s a little tech talk on some gadgets we have onboard to help us sail, navigate, live etc… I will have to break this up into a two-part section, as there is so we much use it’s impossible to talk about it all.
To start with I guess even receiving this from me requires a lot of systems. I’ll be transmitting my video footage this evening from the boat using an Inmarsat’s Fleet Broadband 500. That’s the big dome you see on the back of these boats, there’s a smaller one for a slower connection used for emails and photos transmissions on top of that. So my video gets broken up into tiny packets then gets sent on an 80,000-mile journey to space and back to earth to end up in Volvo Ocean Race HQ. The packets are all reassembled to end up as the video I sent from the boat. The time is takes depends on the size of the video but roughly a four-minute video will be sent to HQ in anything between 35-50mins, not bad for a 3 GB file and no cables….!
Any pleasure or half serious offshore sailors should consider looking into Inmarsat’s new IsatPhone 2, it does all you need really, SMS, emails and also has very useful tracking abilities. Alternatively the more powerful Fleet One gives you access to internet also and is more broadband orientated.
Advances in technology means we can send more news and stories to share with you the viewers at home. The advances in technology expand past media to the boats themselves. When I asked what do you think has been the big advances in technology in sailing, I was surprised when most of the crew today mentioned carbon fibre. I almost forgot that the entire shell I live in, rig, parts of the sails and almost every other part are constructed of carbon fibre. This material allows both strength and lends itself to be super light, which the end result means fast for us when it comes to speeds.
Weather modeling received on the boat is an ever-evolving technology, a constant variable that affects not just us as sailors and competitors but the entire human race. “Wind. It means the world to us” is our company slogan for this race and you can see how it impacts each and every one of you. We must keep technology moving and finding alternatives to improve our world for the coming generations.
One item that hasn’t changed in the face of the ever-advancing technology is the toilet! Now of course it’s made of carbon but it’s the same thing than 200 years ago. Think about that! We can send men to space, do open heart surgery and sail around the world single-handed but the toilet is still a toilet!!!! Honestly you would have thought we would have moved on a bit…
Anyway I must get back to the race, we have one going on right now. Just above me I have eight sailors all looking port and starboard at boats, YES boats… and guess what we are back to the accountant’s office too, I see Brunel 39, gauge closed, ADOR 53, lost 2 in the past 20, we need gains of 2 and 6 on these to increase gauge… honestly what!!! I mean what!!!! The way I see it, there’s a boat over there and over there, simple right!
I’m back to listen to numbers again and the Vestas Stock Exchange floor just opened for business in the last couple of hours. It’s amazing how sailors go nuts when they see other boats. The past week, it was so nice to only get the scheds every 6 hours. Now I’m living through a live sched understanding some of it but amused by most of it. Seriously though, we have the fleet all within miles and throwing distance again, we are back in the pack and most of all we are fast right now..
Bye for now Land People
HAPPY THANKSGIVING – We know this video is old, dated and has nothing to do with sailing… but whenever you can watch De Nero in a Pilgrim suit and have him banter with Billy Crystal in a turkey outfit, we thought it may bring a smile to some of you sailors who are land locked on this 2014 Thanksgiving. From all of us at XS Sailing we hope you have a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving.
VOR – It’s like taking a run-up, and pausing, before bungee jumping. Opening the door of the plane, and looking around, before your first attempt at skydiving.
A tropical depression is sitting smack-bang in the middle of the route to Abu Dhabi.
Ah, and it’s turning into a tropical storm.
La Réunion’s tropical cyclone centre raised a tropical storm warning last night, and Race Control immediately relayed the notice to the fleet.
And just like these last minutes right before a jump, there is a certain, stark mood of anticipation onboard the seven boats.
There is anticipation in Bouwe Bekking’s voice, as the skipper points at the map, crouched down inside Team Brunel boat.
“You can see that the storm is going towards the track that we’re on. It looks like it’s intensifying a little bit. The more red there is on the map, the more breeze there is.
“But it’s not the breeze that is the big problem,” adds the Dutchman.
“The biggest issue will be the sea state. In 30 knots of breeze, you probably get six or seven-metre waves. With a boat speed of 25 knots downwind, and a sea state coming from the front, you can imagine what happen if you sail straight into it.”
There is anticipation in his eyes, as he looks straight at the camera.
“Something will bust. It will be a balance between sailing fast, and keeping the boat in one piece.”
It’s all about the balance indeed. The fleet must now decide whether to play the storm on its west side, or sail further east to avoid it all together. But there are risks to both strategies.
If they decide to use this system, they must leave enough room to be able to manage its unpredictability, and avoid its stronger winds.
If they decide to swerve it, they run the risk of sailing further, only to be stranded in the void of no wind left behind it. That could add days to the leg – if not a week.
The first option is brave, and, most of all – faster. The storm winds will average 30 to 50 knots and blow from the south: they could propel the boats downwind in the right direction.
The second option is safer, but much slower – extending further east and battling upwind for a couple of days, rounding the storm.
There is one guy amongst the 66 sailors who’d pick downwind over upwind sailing anytime. Black, the Chinese sailor who jumped onboard Dongfeng in Cape Town.
It’s his very first offshore race, he is 21, and he imitates the slamming of the boat in the waves with his hands.
“Bam, bam, bam! I don’t fear upwind, but I worry. You see, I took the medicine. But now I’m not sick.”
His French teammate Kevin Escoffier teases him. “You ate too much Chinese food! It’s too spicy.”
“No, no!” Black laughs out loud. “I didn’t eat much. But it’s good practice.”
That fleet won’t lack practice, that’s for sure. By tonight, all seven navigators need to have a plan in place to tackle the storm, Dvorak. They will be riding the storm – or avoiding it – by tomorrow morning.
And as it gets closer, anticipation becomes expectation… for some, at least.
“I like breeze instead of no breeze,” smiles Jens Dolmer, the one they call the Great Dane onboard Brunel.
VOR – When Alvimedica skipper Charlie Enright received a live video call from his wife’s class of 5th-graders in the US, the kids delivered a special message. Cool video above.
VOR UPDATE – MAPFRE has just moved into the lead ahead of Abu Dhabi – It looks like it’s anyones race in Leg #2 – To follow the fleet CLICK HERE!
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AC NEWS – Artemis Racing and the City of Gothenburg are set to host an America’s Cup World Series event during the last weekend of August (28th – 30th) 2015.
The America’s Cup is the oldest trophy in sport, pre-dating the modern day Olympics by 45 years, and the America’s Cup World Series is the first stage of competition in the 35th America’s Cup.
Beginning in the summer of 2015, the circuit will feature all of the America’s Cup teams racing in one design AC45 catamarans, providing an early opportunity to win points that will carry forward into the next stage of the competition.
The overall ranking position in the America’s Cup World Series will determine the starting points score of the teams in the America’s Cup Qualifiers in 2017.
“It’s super exciting to announce that the America’s Cup World Series is coming to Sweden next year. It will provide a great opportunity for Artemis Racing to showcase our sport and our America’s Cup program” said Iain Percy, Artemis Racing’s Team Manager.
“There is an incredible momentum within the group right now, and we hope that the Swedish public will be out in force to cheers us on. We’re really looking forward to showing them what we can do next August”, said Fredrik Lööf, 3 time Olympic medallist and tactician for Artemis Racing.
Max Markusson, Event Manager at Göteborg and Co, commented “Gothenburg is a city with a proud maritime history and next year will see a summer of global sailing events. It’s a historic occasion with not only Volvo Ocean Race in June, but also America’s Cup World Series in August. Artemis Racing are taking on an incredible challenge and for us the races will provide a global platform to showcase the city by the water, and it will be a spectacular event for the people of Gothenburg”.
Max Salminen, Olympic Champion and grinder for Artemis Racing, said “It’s amazing what’s happening in sailing right now with the move to foiling boats. The AC45 is definitely the most exciting boat I’ve ever sailed, it’s just an incredible feeling when it lifts up and takes off.”
“Having a fleet of foiling AC45s racing in Gothenburg will be a spectacular sight and one not to miss”.
Racing will take place either on the Gota River close to the city centre, or at Långedrag, and the race village will be located in Frihamnen.
“One of the goals of the America’s Cup World Series is to connect our teams with their fans,” said Harvey Schiller, Commercial Commissioner of the America’s Cup. “This event in Gothenburg will bring the racing close to shore. and allow Swedish America’s Cup fans an opportunity to experience the speed, power and excitement of America’s Cup racing in person.”
VOR – The sides pay as Abu Dhabi and Mapfre come out on top, but it’s Dongfeng flying high as Kevin Escoffier checks the rig ahead of stronger winds in the coming days. Checking out the rig is no big deal for Kevin. ENJOY EPISODE #5 OF LEG #2 BY VOR.
AC NEWS – Today, 25 November 2014, Sir Keith Mills GBE announced that America’s Cup Racing is to return to British waters when the America’s Cup World Series (ACWS) takes place in Portsmouth 23-26 July 2015 and 21–24 July 2016.
Sir Keith has been central to the delivery of some of the UK’s greatest sporting events, most recently as Deputy Chairman of London 2012 and Chairman of ‘Invictus Games’. The ACWS Portsmouth will be managed by TEAMORIGIN Events, a company set up by Sir Keith Mills in 2007.
Speaking during this morning’s launch event at London’s OXO Tower, Sir Keith said:
“I’m passionate about bringing world-class sporting events to Great Britain, and delighted that America’s Cup World Series racing will be coming to Portsmouth. This will not just be a spectacular sporting event, it will also showcase Portsmouth, the South Coast and Great Britain on a global stage, delivering economic benefit to the City and the sponsors involved. The series will attract huge crowds to watch the exhilarating racing and we plan to give the event a festival feel bringing activities and entertainment for all.
“Our plans are for more than two action packed long week-ends. We are also putting together a three year activation programme running right up until the end of the 35th America’s Cup in 2017.
We look forward to delivering a world class sporting event for Great Britain.”
The ACWS is the preliminary race series of the 35th America’s Cup, consisting of eight to ten regattas taking place around the world during 2015 and 2016. All America’s Cup teams will compete in the series and their overall placement will affect the seeding and starting score they take into the America’s Cup Qualifier events in 2017.
“The America’s Cup World Series events in Portsmouth in 2015 and 2016 are an opportunity for British fans to watch world class America’s Cup teams compete and of course support Ben Ainslie Racing as they compete on home waters,” said Harvey Schiller, the Commercial Commissioner of the America’s Cup. “I know Ben joins all the competitors in their goal to bring, the America’s Cup back to their home country and racing in the America’s Cup World Series is a first step towards that end.”
Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR) is the British challenger for the 35th America’s Cup, and have their home base in Portsmouth. Team Principal and four-time Olympic gold medallist, Sir Ben Ainslie said:
“A key part of BAR’s plans was to bring America’s Cup racing to Great Britain and I would like to thank Sir Keith and his team for making those plans become a reality. The last ACWS was a game changer for the sport of sailing, the racing was entertaining and brought in the crowds. The new foiling AC45s are going to be faster and even more exciting than the previous generation and we promise to provide an event experience like you have never seen before – come and cheer us on!”
The City of Portsmouth has a significant role to play and the event will encompass most of the City’s existing visitor destinations including HMS Warrior and Victory, the Mary Rose Museum, the Spinnaker Tower, Gunwharf Quays and Southsea Common. Spectators will enjoy three days of racing, including practice racing on the Friday and then two races on Saturday and two races on ‘Super Sunday Final’.
Speaking at the launch, The Leader of Portsmouth Council Cllr Donna Jones said:
“We’re delighted to welcome America’s Cup World Series Racing to Portsmouth for the next two years. Portsmouth enjoys its esteemed maritime history and BAR bringing their base to the City has already brought a great sense of anticipation. The ACWS has a proven record of attracting huge spectator numbers to competing venues, and it will provide a massive boost to our marine and maritime industry and bring economic benefit to Portsmouth. We welcome visitors from everywhere to watch the world-class sailing, and support Ben Ainslie Racing on home waters.”
The events will be funded by a combination of private investment, sponsorship, suppliers and media partnerships. Previous ACWS events have been commercially successful and the ambition is to grow the value of the events by offering sponsors branding and visibility, media impact, hospitality for clients and employees, and tickets for public entertainment.
Speaking at the launch, BAR Chairman Sir Charles Dunstone outlined the commercial opportunities of the ACWS in Portsmouth:
“Sport is big business. The last America’s Cup saw more than 150 companies involved in significant sponsorships or supplier partnerships with the event or competing teams. The last time the ACWS came to Britain was Plymouth in 2011 and we saw 150,000 live spectators and the economic value and media impact of the event was estimated at £60m. By securing the commercial and marketing rights of these events we can offer a wider and more diverse range of opportunities to businesses and media to get involved, generate value and gain benefit from what will be an incredible sporting spectacle. “
One of the key objectives of the organisers of ACWS Portsmouth will be to bring the action to the public with ‘free-to-view’ areas in the Race Village where spectators can enjoy the atmosphere, and watch the racing. There will also be additional opportunities to buy tickets for specific attractions, prime seating areas, exhibitions and hospitality. Further ticketing information will be released in the New Year.
The count down to the 2015 ACWS Portsmouth has started, for more information: visit www.teamorigin.com
ICE BOATING – 35+knots on ice – Matthew Sheahan visits the 2014 DN Ice Yachting World Championships in Estonia and finds out what Sir Ben Ainslie’s former coach gets up to on his days off. Check out what a ‘bendy’ rig really looks like.
DESTOPNEWS – Sailing Update #48
1. Discovering Cape of Good Hope and Volvo Ocean Race Leg2 Restart
2. RC44 2014 Championships – Oman #RC44