Last Call for the Newport Volvo Ocean Race Stopover (GO!)

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So what if you’re not a sailor… If you are a mariner of any form – or a beachgoer who wishes our oceans were less filled with debris and plastic – then hurry down to the Newport Stopover of the Volvo Ocean Race. The Newport Race Village is set up at Fort Adams and is open daily until this coming Sunday afternoon when they pack it all up again and the whole dog and pony show is onto Europe.  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

 

Across the Atlantic in my Folkboat

Leo Goolden tells the story of his voyage from Falmouth, England to the Caribbean, much of it solo and without GPS, in his rebuilt 25-footer.
(Article of Courtesy Classic Boat Magazine) 

clas15-1544 I hoist the mainsail with the mooring lines still tied. A few curious faces peer over the railings. “Is that a Folkboat?” says an old fella’ with a bag of chips. “Where you off to?” “France!” I say. He gives me an odd look and wanders off down the stone quay. I hoist the jib, untie the spring, and flick the bow line over the bollard.

I back the jib, holding the clew to leeward on the foredeck until the bow falls off a little, and then give the wall a good kick from the stern. I take up the slack in the main sheet as Lorema bears away and the sails fill, the wake widens, and I hear the sound of the water accelerating over the clinker planks.

As I pass Trefusis point, I turn and wave goodbye to Falmouth and Cornwall and all the friends I have made there – until next time. After two years it feels like home, but I am finally embarking on the trip I have planned for so long, and I can barely contain my excitement and nerves. I am heading south, destination unknown, and it feels good.clas15-2234
Continue reading

The Fastnet Race Starts Today!

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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!

Transatlantic Race – First Boats Leave Newport on Sunday

Sunday is the start of the second iteration of this particular Transatlantic Race (First one was in 2011) and the line up of yachts at all 3 of the starts is sure to be a sight.  The race starts at Castle Hill in Newport and stretches some 2,975 miles to the Lizard in England. Historically, there have been many Transatlantic races since the very first one in 1866, with massive schooners taking part, placing wagers for winning and setting records. The Schooner ‘Atlantic’, seen in the painting below, built of steel in 1903 with no hydraulics and just ten crew, set the record for the transatlantic crossing at 12 days, 4 hours and 1 minute. A mono-hull record that would stand for 100 years. Since The Great Race in 1866, there have been 27 transatlantic races. In 2011, Rambler 100 (Video above) set a new with an elapsed time of 6d 22h 08m 2s. (Rambler went on to compete in the Fastnet Race in 2011 where she lost her keel and miraculously everyone survived).

Dorade, the 52′ Sparkman & Stephens yawl, won the race in 1931 and was treated to a champions ticker tape parade down Broadway in NYC. Dorade returns again to seek another ocean crossing victory, and with a spectacular fleet of varied boats preparing to cross the Atlantic Ocean, the competition will be fierce. Continue reading

Dorade’s Transatlantic Quest

Dorade’s Quest to Repeat her 1931 Transatlantic Race Victory

Personally, I think Dorade is one of the coolest older wooden racing sailboats afloat. The Sparkman & Stephens yawl is a beauty in every way, in every harbor, to every yacht designer. It’s certain.

She was once a record wrecker, winning many of the big ocean races, like the TransPac, the Fastnet, and Newport-Bermuda amongst others. She became known and feared as a serious blue water racer and her latest owner has vowed to snatch back the trophies again – with 2 of 3 down and one to go: The TransAtlantic Race.

On June 28th, Dorade and her 40 fellow competitors, will head out of Newport, bows pointed towards the Lizard, the most southerly point on mainland Great Britain, some 2,800 nautical miles from the Newport start.

Follow along at the Dorade blog – Excerpt below:  SO COOL! GO Dorade.

10-Day Countdown to Transatlantic: How to Follow Dorade

Dorade in Newport in 2010. (Photo Credit Billy Black)

The Transatlantic Race is the third in a series of four major ocean races in the “Return to Blue Water Campaign.” Conceived shortly after Brooks and his wife Pam Rorke Levy bought Dorade in 2010, the campaign was initially called “Matt’s Crazy Idea,” but soon after the completion of a year-long refit Dorade began winning races, both offshore and in coastal regattas in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean and on the West Coast, proving that she could once again be competitive. The team silenced the campaign’s critics once and for all in 2013, when Dorade was the overall winner (on corrected time) in the 2013 Transpacific Yacht Race, 77 years after its first victory with the race. That was followed by an IRC class win in the 2014 Newport Bermuda Race. The campaign wraps up this August with the Rolex Fastnet Race, which Dorade won overall in 1931 and 1933.

HOW TO FOLLOW:

  • For frequent updates between events and during racing, follow Dorade on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Hashtag: #DoradeSailing #ReturnToBlueWater
  • For full race reports and updates from the team, visit http://Dorade.org/blog/
  • Real-time tracking of Dorade will be available during the 2015 Transatlantic Race through the event’s YellowBrick system (link will be available next week)
  • For updates on the entire 2015 Transatlantic Fleet, follow the event on Facebook and at http://transatlanticrace.org/

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And because we love a good video – take a ride on Dorade to Bermuda…