Snowfall, AC72s and OD action—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond

Jolly Harbour Valentine’s Regatta and Rum Festival
While local Pacific Northwest sailors spent their weekend dodging rain clouds, recent reports from the right side of the country involve two words, 'snow' and 'lots'. According to friends throughout New England, the snow hammer fell heavy, clogging-up roads, taking down power lines and filling cockpits and coating uncovered decks with plenty of frozen precipitation. 'Power generators' emerged as a weekend buzz phrase, as did 'snow blowers', 'snow shovels' and 'melting salt', leaving PNW sailors to eye their 'dark curtain' (our nearly constant cloud cover) with an all-new sense of appreciation (read: non-frozen precipitation).

Art And Or-9 - Oracle Team USA - San Francisco - February 8, 2013

Meanwhile, on sailing’s grander stage, San Francisco Bay has been neither beleaguered with snowfall or excessive rain, yielding great training opportunities for both the Defender of the 34th America’s Cup, Oracle Team USA, and the Challenger of Record, Artemis Racing. According to Bay-area reports, both boats have been logging plenty of training time, including a bit of one-on-one speed training.

While reports containing absolute comparisons between the two AC72s don’t exist (yet), the rumor mill has been abuzz that Oracle Team USA’s foil-bound boat is the faster of the two 72s. Be sure to check out the great image galleries of the two boat’s lined up on San Francisco Bay and rest assured that by the end of September there will be no doubt as to what team built the fastest 'horse for the course'.

Hooligan and Calm 2 approach the bottom mark together. - TP52 Southern Cross Cup
John Curnow ©

And in high-end monohull racing, the TP52 Southern Cross Cup recently concluded at the Sandringham Yacht Club in Melbourne, Australia. Here, eight fully kitted-out TP52s gathered for some tactically engaging on-the-water fisticuffs, delivering huge smiles to sailors and spectators alike.

Shogun ducks Calm 2. - TP52 Southern Cross Cup

'What a tremendous job my on water team has done and it has worked well,' said Denis Thompson, event PRO for the TP52 Southern Cross Cup, who was obviously pleased with how the regatta turned out. 'The shorter courses has meant we have kept them to about 50 minutes and so we got all three races in today and had [the fleet] back at the clubhouse before 3pm.'

47 Audi Melges 20s, 2013 Miami Winter Regatta
Joy Dunigan

Meanwhile, back on the right side of the U.S., but situated suitably south of New England’s latest blizzard, the second event of the 2013 Audi Melges 20 Miami Winter Series unfurled this weekend at the Coconut Grove Sailing Club. Here, sailors had to contend with the 'hardships' of sunny, 80-degree temperatures 10-15 knot winds and plenty of great racing. Be sure to get the full report, inside.

And in offshore sailing news, work is well underway on the rigs for the new Volvo Ocean 65s, the new class of One Designs that will be used to contest the next two editions of the fully crewed, around-the-world Volvo Ocean Race. 'Making sure everything is one design from mast to mast was a big job in the beginning,' said Kevin Batten, Southern Spars’ Project Manager. 'We have a process here: we pick fiber for each mast and check the resin content to make sure each mast is the same weight for the mast section. Once the masts come out of lamination, we weigh them all to make sure they meet the designed weight.’
Laser Picos provided by Antigua National Sailing Academy competed off Jolly Harbour’s south beach as part of the Jolly Harbour Valentine’s Regatta and Rum Festival

And finally, be sure to check out the latest reports from the Jolly Harbour Valentine's Regatta 2013, the Youth America’s Cup and the around-the-world-alone-and-unassisted Vendee Globe (N.B., snow shovels not required).

May the four winds blow you safely home,