Sun shafts, icebergs and knights—Sailing News from the U.S. and Beyond

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01 Jan 2013

Sun shafts, icebergs and knights—Sailing News from the U.S. and Beyond

While other parts of the country are challenged with snow and ice during the winter months, the Pacific Northwest tests its sailors and residents alike with a damp, drizzly cold chill that's perpetuated by the nearly continuous line of clouds that typically succeed in curtaining the sun's warmth. Today, however, the clouds partially parted in the afternoon, allowing for a winter stroll along the shores of Puget Sound. A gentle breeze stirred from the south and the often-choppy waters were millpond still in some areas, rippled in others. Sun shafts illuminated the distant mountains and close-by waters, perfectly setting the scene for the lone cruising boat that was heading north.


While the days are short in Seattle (situated at almost 48 degrees north) this time of year, the thirteen skippers who are racing in the 2012/2013 Vendee Globe Race are experiencing the inverse as they plunge through the icy depths of the Southern Ocean (49 to 56 degrees south, position depending). According to the latest reports, race leaders Armel Le Cleac'h ('Banque Populaire') and Francois Gabart ('Macif') continue their intricate match race around the world and were still lockstep, less than three miles apart.


Ice berg at Cape Horn - 2012 Vendee Globe  Vendee Globe ©



'I'm concerned about the ice in the Cape Horn area,' reported current race leader Le Cléac'h. 'It's not fun to sail close to the coast in such conditions, with icebergs. Francois and I will be very careful and if we do see ice, we'll let each other know. That's another good thing about being so close. If you really want to be as safe as possible, the radar is not enough. We're lucky because when you're at 56° south, nights are very short and that helps when you are looking around, checking for icebergs. Except when there's fog, of course!'


Gabart shared his rival's sentiments aboard his own IMOCA 60. 'Whether François and I can actually see each other or not, we know we're close and it's reassuring, in case something happens,' said Gabart. 'Having François around also makes me even more motivated to work hard and make the boat sail fast and well. It helps me see if I'm doing the right thing and having the right speed.' More, inside.


Francois Gabart, Macif - 2012 Vendee Globe  © Alexis Courcoux / Macif



Meanwhile, in Cup news, Oracle Racing has been dealt a fairly small slap-on-the-wrist penalty from the International Jury for a spying incident that took place in New Zealand shortly after challenger Luna Rossa launched their AC72.

According to Sail-World's New Zealand Editor, Richard Gladwell, Oracle will be prohibited from sailing either of their AC72s for a period of five days at the tail end of an official training window that runs between February 1, 2013 and May 1, 2013. While this doesn't directly cost Oracle any sailing time, it will make things logistically more interesting for the Defender during this period. Additionally, Oracle Racing was presented with a relatively small fine (11,500 euros) and has returned ten still images of the Italian-flagged boat, which were taken from within the prohibited 200-meter zone. Check out Gladwell's full report, inside this issue.


Sir Ben Ainslie (right) with his fourth Olympic Gold   Richard Langdon/Ocean Images



And in Olympic sailing news, four-time Gold medalist Ben Ainslie has been 'knighted in the New Years Honors list', adding an impressive seal to a truly impressive year of sailing. 'This is an incredible honor,' said Sir Ben. 'When I set out Olympic sailing twenty years ago, I never would have dreamt this would happen.'


Wild Oats XI secures historic treble  ROLEX-Carlo Borlenghi



Also inside, get the latest news from the Sydney Hobart Race, the Governor's Cup and the International Cadet World Championships.


And finally, best wishes to everyone for a happy, healthy and peaceful 2013.


May the four winds blow you safely home,


David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor



Vendee Globe - Some kind of deliverance for the skippers + Video
Vendee Globe,
In the Vendee Globe, Cape Horn, and the left turn up the Atlantic has always represented some kind of deliverance for the skippers. Thus far, the Pacific winds and seas may have been relatively gentle on the majority of the fleet, but it also is the relief from the mind and body numbing chill that the Atlantic finally brings which is universally welcomed.... [more]
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Two new windsurfing World Records established in Namibia + Video
John Reed, WSSR Council,
The World Sailing Speed Record Council (WSSR) Council has announced the establishment of two new World Records in the Windsurfer Division by Zara Davis of the UK and Antoine Albeau of France.... [more]
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Vendee Globe - Record setting rookie first to hit Cape Horn
Vendee Globe,
Taking part in his first ever Vendée Globe Francois Gabart, the youngest skipper in the solo nonstop around the world race, passed the longitude of Cape Horn this evening at 1820hrs UTC (1920hrs French time) setting a new record for the passage from the start line in Les Sables d'Olonne of 52 days, six hours and 18 minutes.... [more]
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Vendee Globe - Runaway leaders due to hit Cape Horn + Video
Vendee Globe,
In the Vendee Globe, the two runaway leaders are due at Cape Horn from around 1730hrs UTC (1830hrs French time) this afternoon with the youngest skipper on the course, François Gabart (Macif) expected to be first to pass the longitude of the infamous rock, the most southerly point of the course, on his very first attempt at the solo nonstop around the world race.... [more]
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Vendee Globe - Tough times into the Pacific
Vendee Globe,
In the Vendee Globe, since Alessandro Di Benedetto (Team Plastique) passed into the Pacific Ocean this morning at 0510hrs - all thirteen skippers have been racing in the same ocean.... [more]
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Put us on your iPhone and iPad!
Anna Parker, Sail-World.com,
On the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad you can put bookmarks for any site, creating one-tap shortcuts to your favourite websites. Sail-World, Marine Business World, Powerboat World, and Fishing Boating World now have custom icons for you to save for quick, easy access!... [more]
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Sydney Hobart 2012 – Maluka of Kermandie's arrival formally ends race
Di Pearson,
he Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2012 officially closed its curtain after Sean Langman-skippered Maluka of Kermandie crossed the finish line at 9.40.12pm, ending up last on line in the 628-nautical mile ocean race for the second consecutive year.... [more]
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Vendee Globe - Mean challenges and a fight to the finish + Video
Vendee Globe,
For the Vendee Globe fleet, it is the Southern Oceans, the successive challenges of the Indian Ocean and then the Pacific which might normally exact their toll. But there are also dangerous weather and sea conditions in the South Atlantic. Even winter storms in the North Atlantic on the final stretch to Les Sables d'Olonne can break tired boats.... [more]
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International Cadet World Championship - Ukraine sets pace on day 1
Peter Campbell,
Ukrainian crews set the pace today as the International Cadet Dinghy world sailing championships got under way on Hobart's River Derwent, placing first and second in the opening race and continuing to figure among the top results in the subsequent races.... [more]
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Governor's Cup - Competition intensifies in race to St Helena
Sue Pelling in conjunction with ADPR,
As the 18-strong Governor's Cup fleet make its final approach to St Helena on this 1,750-mile race from Simon's Town, South Africa, competition is really beginning to intensify. The overall line honours trophy is still very much up for grabs with Banjo – Kevin Webb's Farrier F9AX trimaran – now threatened by Sandpiper 2 – Abri Erasmus/Paul Tanner's Simonis Voogd 42ft catamaran.... [more]
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America's Cup: Oracle let off lightly on spying penalty
Richard Gladwell,
Oracle Team USA have been left off lightly by the International Jury, who have announced their penalty for spying within the 200 metre radius permitted in the Protocol governing the 34th America's Cup. Despite some strong words in the Discussion leading to the Penalty, the Int Jury prescribed that Oracle Team USA will be prohibited from sailing either of their boats for a period of five days... [more]
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13th Boxing Day Race - Light weather thriller at Alamitos Bay
Rich Roberts,
The Alamitos Bay Yacht Club' Boxing Day Race 2012 came to a dramatic finish as the tandem of Stu Robertson and Adam Elsharhawy gathered enough wind to steer their Lido 14 past Chris Raab and Kenny Dair on their Cal 20 in the final stretches of Saturday's race.... [more]
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Rolex Sydney Hobart 2012: Occasional Coarse Language Too Wins Div 2
Crosbie Lorimer,
If you were looking for a good news story out of this year's Rolex Sydney Hobart Race it would be hard to go past that of Warwick Sherman, owner and skipper of the Occasional Coarse Language Too. This time last year Warwick was having to relinquish his goal of racing to Hobart on his brand new Sydney GTS43 while he underwent chemotherapy treatment for non-Hodgkins lymphoma.... [more]
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Vendee Globe - Fatigue at seven weeks + Video
Vendee Globe,
The two Vendee Globe leaders, Francois Gabart and Armel Le Cleac'h, expected at Cape Horn on Tuesday January 1st 2013, might be able to look forward to relatively clement, settled weather for their passage but they will have another critical variable set to challenge them as they round the notorious point. Ice has been monitored well to the north and east of Drake's Passage for much of December.... [more]
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Rolex Sydney Hobart 2012 – Storm Bay on Red Bull - IRC Division 2
Rob Kothe and the Sail-World Team,
Rolex Sydney Hobart 2012 - Whilst the Weather Gods shut the gate quite early on this year's race for overall handicap honours for any boat under 60 feet there are some very tight battles in the IRC divisional list. Divisions Zero and One have been ashore for a long time, it's now money time for the Division Two fleet.... [more]
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Vendée Globe Race 2012 - Gabart, Le Cléac'h battling; Dick surging
Vendee Globe,
As the two leaders of the Vendée Globe, François Gabart and Armel Le Cléac'h, set up to pass the eighth and final safety gate of the course, after nearly 50 days at sea they continue to race in visual contact for some of the time, only a few miles apart.... [more]
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Ainslie knighted in New Year Honours, five others recognised
Lindsay Bell,
British sailor and four-time Olympic gold medalist Ben Ainslie has capped a triumphant year of sailing with a Knighthood in the New Year Honours list. British Sailing has more cause for celebration, with honours also going to Paralympic gold medallist Helena Lucas, and to Ainslie's coach David Howlett, who were both named as Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).... [more]
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Offshore Racing Congress announces 2013 event calendar
Offshore Racing Congress (ORC),
In the past few weeks of 2012, rating offices and event organizers around the world have been sending in their dates so that the 2013 ORC Calendar of Events is now available at www.orc.org/calendar. To date, there are 121 national and international regattas listed in sixteen countries, with more expected in the coming weeks as organizers and sailors do their planning for the 2013 season.... [more]
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Vendee Globe - A welcomed tonic for the leading duo + Video
Vendee Globe,
In the Vendee Globe, a spell of more peaceful life in the Pacific is proving something of a welcomed tonic for the two leaders. Despite the fact that they have been forced to concede 300 miles since Boxing Day to the fast moving Jean-Pierre Dick, second placed François Gabart asserted today that the interlude of lighter winds has been good for him to recuperate and to check Macif.... [more]
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