Vendee Globe: From France to France

BanquePop

Let’s be clear, there is a big difference between winning and getting first place. Every entry that gets to the starting line of the 2017 Vendee Globe race is an amazing competitor. And every skipper who crosses the finish line, regardless of placement, is a winner. Yes – there is only one first place and that belongs to Armel Le Cleac’h on Banque Populaire. Second place finisher, Alex Thomson aboard Hugo Boss, however is also a major winner… ratcheting up his collection of Vendee Globe hardware, adding this second place finish to the third place trophy he earned last time around. Leaving only the first place trophy remaining for his bookshelves. Continue reading

Closing in on La France, Quickly!

HugoBoss Record

With the Vendee Globe solo ocean racers closing in on day 70, both the predictable and the unpredictable has happened. Quite predictably, 11 skippers and yachts have retired from racing with only 18 left to race to the finish line off Les Sables D’Olonne, France. And quite unpredictably, Alex Thomson, who is not far off the pace, pushing hard behind the leader, Armel Le Cleac’h on “Banque Populaire VII,” has set a new 24-hour for distance and speed covered in 24 hours on a monohull with a blistering average speed of 22 knots!  Continue reading

World Sailing Show – November 2016

 

safran

So maybe you’re not a sailor, but if you like being on the water or just reading about it, and you have a healthy respect for the ocean – then this wrap up of recent sailing news has lots to offer.  From Olympic sailing news (they added foiling to the next Olympics!) to updates on the Vendee Globe (they are rounding Cape of Good Hope right about now) – there is exciting news from oceans around the world delivered to you via You Tube. And of course, thanks to TotalBoat Show!  Continue reading

Vendee Globe: Dock Walk, Race Tracker & Videos from the Race

greatamericaniv_wilsonw

If you read our recent blog post on the amazingly radical and extreme race around the world that is the Vendee Globe,  then you need to check out this dock walk video below featuring an inside look at every boat doing the race (Thank you Sailing Anarchy). And since they are all still at it, with no breakage and no drop outs to date, each of these boats is making it happen, with the current leaders screaming towards the equator at speeds of about 20 knots. On a sailboat. Alone. And often times on autopilot.  Continue reading

NonStop & Alone – Racing Around the World

2016-10-03_6-55-47

Follow This: Singlehanded Race Around the World – The Vendee Globe – Starts Sunday

When the rate of attrition for a sailing race is more than 50% of the fleet, you can bet on being entertained, even glued to, following these sailors as they circumnavigate the globe. 29 sailors are planning to make it all the way, but only a portion of them will reach the finish line. We have blogged here about British sailor, Alex Thomson and his foiling 60-foot IMOCA monohull, Hugo Boss. Thomson has been training hard and pulling off some pretty cool publicity stunts along the way for suit-maker, Hugo Boss. We have high hopes for this English speaking sailor in a sea of dominant, ocean-going Frenchmen, for whom this race was dreamed up. Continue reading

Chaos and Champagne in the 50th Newport-Bermuda Race

comanche bda

In this 50th edition of the famous ocean race, an early forecast threatened the fleet with nasty wind and waves in the Gulf Stream, but it didn’t stop ‘Comanche’ from setting a new course record. The rest of the racers now battle light air instead of gales, with most only halfway to Bermuda.

Comanche, the super fast 100-footer built by Hodgdon Yachts of Boothbay, Maine was built to shatter records and she has done just that with a new course record for the Newport – Bermuda Race. In this 50th anniversary running of the race, Comanche finished the 635 race in 34hrs 42min 53sec, almost five hours ahead of the previous record of 39:39:18 set in 2012 by George David in Rambler. Continue reading

‘Hugo Boss’ Skippers Abandon Ship and are Rescued off Spain

What a huge bummer for Alex Thomson and Team Hugo Boss. In a “shakedown” of sorts – and a rather aggressive one, at that – Thomson and his co-skipper for the 2 man Transat Jacques Vabre Race, Guillermo Altadill, started the 5400 mile Transat Jacque Vabres race from Le Havre, France to Itajai, Brazil on Sunday the 25th of October.  On October 31, a scary day indeed for the 2 sailors, they set off their EPIRB requiring a rescue from their brand new, sinking IMOCA 60 monohull, Hugo Boss.

The entire fleet who set off from France on the 5,400 mile double-handed race to Itajai, Brazil, confronted seriously damaging winds and huge seas and many of the boats were forced to retire from the race. Thomson and Altadill had turned Hugo Boss around to head back to Spain to look into repairs needed to repair “structural issues” to the new boat, and in the 36 hours heading back to shore, the boat continued to break and it became obvious that it was starting to sink forcing the rescue some 82 miles off the coast of Spain.

Once the 2 men arrived safely back on land, the team began the effort to recover the damaged boat and tow it safely back to make further repairs in hopes to get the boat in shape to race in Alex’s goal: the Vendee Globe which starts on 6 November, 2016. Plenty of time, we would hope, to get the boat in proper ocean going shape for a round-the-world adventure. Thomson hopes to become the first non-French skipper to win the Vendee Globe, a crazy solo, non-stop race around the world.

Check out the rescue video from the Spanish Coast Guard. They must have been very busy with all the retired boats off the coast of Spain. It is great news that Thomson’s boat has been recovered and is alongside in A Coruna, Spain.

Maybe they should have brought along some (lots) of THIXO? It’s boat repair magic…

Follow the team’s rebuild and news updates on their website: http://www.alexthomsonracing.com/news

 

The Fastnet Race Starts Today!

fastnetneedles

The Rolex Fastnet Race 2015 will start for the first class – the multihulls – at midday today, Sunday 16th August. The course is unchanging; 603 miles along the south coast of England to Lizard Point, and then turning north-west into the Irish Sea and heading for the Fastnet Rock off the southern tip of Ireland. Once around, it’s south-east back to the Isles of Scilly, before turning back east to the finish in Plymouth.

Of the entry list of 400 boats, many raced across the Atlantic from Newport in the Transat and stuck around to compete in the Fastnet Race, like the speed machine, Comanche and the storied race course classic, DoradeDorade has won the legendary 603-mile race twice before: in 1931 and again in 1933 and part of her mission with these big ocean races is to again capture the silver at the finish line.

After the start full coverage of the Rolex Fastnet Race will continue with pictures and video on the multimedia page, the latest news and the Competitors’ Blog to keep race fans up to date. All of the yachts in the Rolex Fastnet Race will have YB Trackers so the worldwide audience can track their progress in real time – 24 hours a day.

Visit the official Rolex Fastnet website: www.rolexfastnetrace.com/

 

Transatlantic Race Records & Finishes

The Transatlantic Race 2015 is nearly done as some of the slower boats continue to finish off the Lizard, UK, some 2+ weeks after the first start. There were many notable finishes with some fun video footage and we will look at a few here! A running commentary of the finishes and race news can be found here on the Transatlantic Race’s website.
Also from their website is this wrap up which was too thorough to attempt to rewrite. The Chicago based Reichel/Pugh 63 Lucky has been confirmed as the winner of the Transatlantic Race 2015 by the event’s four organizers: the Royal Yacht Squadron, the New York Yacht Club, the Royal Ocean Racing Club and the Storm Trysail Club.

This almost closes the latest chapter in what is the world’s oldest trans-oceanic yacht race. In 1866, just 15 years after they famously won off the British what would become the America’s Cup, the New York Yacht Club ran its first Transatlantic Race. Since then it has been held irregularly, the most famous occasion being in 1905 when it was of political consequence in the build up to the First World War. Intended by Kaiser Wilhelm II as a means of illustrating German supremacy at sea at a time when ‘Britannia ruled the waves’, he presented the solid gold ‘Kaiser’s Cup’ as the trophy for which the 1905 event would be raced. Ultimately the Kaiser’s yacht Hamburg was roundly dispatched by American Wilson Marshall’s Atlantic with Charlie Barr, the Russell Coutts of his day, driving the 227’ three-masted schooner from New York to The Lizard in just 12 days, 4 hours, 1 minute and 19 seconds.

The Transatlantic Race 2015 has once again proven that America rules the waves, with Chicagoan Bryon Ehrhart’s Lucky claiming the overall victory under IRC along with a Rolex timepiece. Jim Clark and Kristy Hinze-Clark’s 100’ maxi Comanche recorded the fastest monohull crossing in 7 days 11 hours and 35 minutes (outside of the course record of 6 days 22 hours 8 minutes and 2 seconds set by George David’s Rambler 100 in 2011), and Lloyd Thornburg’s MOD70 trimaran Phaedo³ the fastest multihull in a time of 7 days 2 hours and 4 minutes.

Towards the end of the race Phaedo³, at one point, recorded a peak speed of 41.2 knots when navigator Miles Seddon was driving. As Thornburg recounted: “The sea opened up before him. It was the biggest wave you have ever seen and we were pointing down it!” But it was the consistently big daily runs that were most impressive – four days at 610 miles/day and this was despite a generally short wavelength that required them to stack everything hard aft and have appendages and rig raked back to the maximum setting.
Matt Brooks and his team aboard the classic S&S, Dorade arrived in Cowes after finishing the 2015 Transatlantic Race. The team shaved over a day off Rod and Olin Stephen’s 1931 time in the race, covering 3,220 nautical miles in 14 days, 22 hours, 55 minutes and 57 seconds.
Dorade,Finishing the Transatlantic Race 2015, Photo Credit: Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com

Dorade,Finishing the Transatlantic Race 2015, Photo Credit: Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com

Here are some videos from a few of the finishers. It’s been fun tracking the fleet and impressive to watch these teams prepare, get out there and of course to finish with little or no damage or drama. Kudos to Lucky for the overall win, to Comanche for the new speed record and to Dorade for another great trip across the big pond! Onward for many to more ocean racing – like the crew of Phaedo3 who is heading to the west coast for the TransPac!