Vendee Globe 2016-2017

The Vendee Globe 2016-2017.  This sailing race is ongoing at the time of writing.  Those that are ‘in the know’ have been glued to the internet.  The current race is fast, very exciting and in its closing stages.  It has been brilliantly covered by the internet and the Vendee Globe organizers.  The author is going to encourage you to get involved and to explain what the Vendee Globe is all about.

Lots of people have asked what is the Vendee Globe 2016-2017?  Simply put, the race is one of the toughest sailing endurance races for single-handed sailors.  It goes around the world and requires the participants to sail non-stop and without assistance.  This is a real feat of seamanship and navigation since the rules prevent helping the skipper with customised weather or routing information.  The boats are large racing monohulls – the Ocean 60 class and the current race has 29 competitors from 10 nations.

vendee globe 2016-2017

The race starts at Les Sables d’Olonne in Vendee, France and goes South through the Atlantic.  Competitors then turn left below Africa’s tip (the Cape of Good Hope) and travels through the tempestuous Southern Ocean circumnavigating Antarctica whilst remaining South of Australia and New Zealand.  The participants then round Cape Horn on the Southern Tip of Chile and race back up the Atlantic to the start point.  Every race there is a high attrition rate and boats are forced to retire due to the extreme conditions that break equipment and test the participants and their craft to the limit.  Boat speeds can routinely exceed 20 knots and needless to say the race soon spreads out.  The current distance between first and last is over 9,000 miles.

Alex Thompson

Through its history the race has been heavily dominated by France.  Every winner of the race has been French.  The Brits have also been challenging competitors with well-known sailing names Ellen McArthur (2nd in 2001), Mike Golding (3rd in 2005), Dee Caffari, and Tony Bullimore amongst others.  In this years race and currently in second place we have Alex Thomson.  This plucky Brit is sailing in his 3rd Vendee Globe he came 3rd in 2013 but did not finish in the preceding two races.  The current race is led by Armel Le Cléac’h who has just crossed the equator and is ahead of Alex by a little over 130 miles at time of writing.  With only 2,500 miles to go as they charge northwards up the Atlantic its close – very close.

Foiling Monohulls

This edition of the race is also the first to feature foiling boats, monohulls equipped with hydrofoils. The foils are shaped like an upturned wing that project from the side of the hull allowing them to maintain speed without heeling at too great an angle.  The speeds achieved with foils are significantly faster than boats without them when the wind is on the beam.  This race is being closely watched to see the durability of foils in such circumstances.  Alex Thomson lost his starboard foil in a collision with an unknown object in the first half of the race.  Despite this, he has led for the first half of the race and is currently a nail-biting second.vendee globe 2016-2017

The first Vendee Globe race was in 1989 and since 1992 it takes place every 4 years.  The current 2016-17 race started on Sunday 6th November 2016.  It is due to finish in a matter of days.  The best guess of a finish date, subject to weather conditions, is estimated between 16th -19th January.  Just over 90% of the race is over.  So with a nail-biting finish in sight now is the time to get behind the race and check out Vendee Globe and the race tracker on Alex Thomson Racing.

Acknowledgements:

  1. “Vendee Globe”. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 2 January 2017. Web 07 January 2017.

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Extreme Sailing Series Singapore

Some of the world’s best sailors are preparing to meet up for the first, opening act of the 2015 Extreme Sailing Series Singapore.  Act one is due to start on 5th February and will run through until 8th February, at the world famous Marina Bay, Singapore.  Race Director Phil Lawrence thinks it is a fantastic venue to open the series with: “……..right in the middle of the city that really does epitomize our stadium concept. Light and tricky winds are the norm, but it can get very gusty as we saw last year, especially if the frequent thunderstorms are nearby. It’s a tricky venue, which will test the teams both old and new. With such a talented and diverse fleet, I think the established form guide could be thrown out of the window.”

The Extreme Sailing Series Singapore will see 9 teams from 10 nations and 45 world-class sailors competing, here is a list of all the teams:

GAC Pindar (GBR)

Gazprom Team Russia (RUS)

Lino Sonego Team Italia (ITA)

Oman Air (OMA)

Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT)

SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN)

Team Aberdeen (SIN)

Team Turx (TUR)

The Wave, Muscat (OMA)

And the other venues and dates for the Extreme Sailing Series 2015 are as follows:

Act 1 – Singapore  5 – 8 February

Act 2 – Muscat, Oman 11 – 14 March

Act 3 – Qingdao, China 1 – 4 May

Act 4 – Cardiff, UK 18 – 21 June

Act 5 – Hamburg, Germany 2 – 5 July

Act 6 – St Petersburg, Russia 20 – 23 August

Act 7 – Istanbal, Turkey 1 – 4 October

Act 8 – Australia 10 – 13 December

The Extreme Sailing Series 2015 is now in its ninth year.  The series has given sailing a kick up the butt and introduced the public to Stadium Sailing, putting spectators at the heart of the racing, increased the speed and performance on the water and set new standards in competition and sailing entertainment.

For more information on the Extreme Sailing Series Singapore, visit the Extreme Sailing Series portal.

extreme sailing series singapore

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The Pineapple Cup

The Pineapple Cup Race

A premier selection of worthy craft and crew are once again preparing to test their seafaring mettle against anything that nature and man can throw at them during an 811 nautical mile race from Port Everglades, Florida to Montego Bay, Jamaica. The battle of skill and endurance set to begin on February 6 will pit newcomers against veterans, and both against the ocean. For the victors, the honour of holding aloft the prized Pineapple Cup, and for all, the warmth and hospitality of the very festive Jamaicans.

Established in 1961, the Pineapple Cup race has been eagerly and hotly contested by participants with some very impressive credentials. Return contenders Ted Turner, Sir Peter Blake and Roy Disney are just three illustrious names to have appeared on previous winners boards, with Ted Turner having accomplished the feat on three occasions with three different boats. According to Ken Batzer, the chairman of the Pineapple Cup race, part of what keeps the big names from returning is the fact that land can be sighted for almost the entire contest, offering some magnificent scenery. There is also the record of 2 days, 10 hours, 24 minutes and 42 seconds set in 2005 by Titan 12 just begging to be broken.

The Pineapple Cup race is open to various divisions and classes of ocean racing boats that are skippered by a member of a recognised yacht club or national authority. The largest competitor in the 2015 race will be the 72-foot Shockwave that previously won the overall honours, as well as coming top in her division. With many of the other boats measuring a mere 40 feet, the Pineapple Cup race will certainly provide the measure of the men in charge of plotting their course to the finish line.

One contender who is more than willing to get into the ring with the bigger boys is Michael Hennessey who lost both of his ‘kites’ with 300 miles still to go in 2013. As a lover of boxing analogies, he has prepared the same boat for, what he hopes, will be a triumphant rematch against heavy hitters like the Donnybrook this year. At the very least, competitors will be vying for the Jamaica Tourist Board Log Award, which will go to the boat that has the most interesting entries in its log. Should no laurels be won, there are the post-race week-long celebrations as solace.

 

the pineapple cup

 

 

Baja HaHa Cruisers Rally

Baja HaHa Cruisers Rally

baja haha cruisers rally

The Baja HaHa Cruisers Rally is an exciting sailing event that takes place every year in the month of October. The race runs from San Diego all the way to Cabo San Lucas and there are stops at both Turtle Bay and Bahia Santa Maria. Consequently, the race has three legs, with the first being approximately 360 miles, the second 240 miles and the third 180 miles. The event is specially timed so that even the slowest boats will be able to pause for around a day and a half at each stop, allowing the crew members plenty of time to sleep and refresh themselves before continuing the next stage of the rally.

This year 2019 XXVI edition), the Baja HaHa Cruisers Rally will be held on November 3rd through until 16th November 2019. This will be the 26th annual race, as the first-ever event was held back in 1994. Since the Baja HaHa Cruisers Rally was established nearly three thousand boasts have taken part in the race, with a combined total of around ten thousand crew members. In order to qualify to take part in the Baja HaHa Cruisers Rally, boats have to be between twenty-seven and one hundred and twenty-five feet long and have been specially designed and maintained for strenuous offshore sailing. These boasts must be capable of maintaining an average speed of four and a half knots either under sail or engine. Each boat must have a crew of at least two people, and all crew members need to be in good physical condition and experienced sailors. Unlike traditional races where the main purpose is to be the first to reach the finish line, with this rally the pace is much more relaxed and the emphasis is on the fun. Although some crews work hard to beat the other boats in their class, most take the opportunity to enjoy a pleasant sail down the coast. In addition, crews are allowed to use their engines if they wish instead of relying simply on wind power, and crews can even choose to anchor for the night at Isla Cedros or Isla Guadaloupe to make the trip even more enjoyable.

The sailing conditions during the rally are typically light to moderate following winds accompanied by small to moderate seas. This makes it possible for most sailors to take part in the rally, even if they only have a little experience. however, it is worth bearing in mind that conditions can vary in the Pacific Ocean and it is best to be vigilant at all times.

For information about joining the race visit Baja HaHa Race
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Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015

Volvo Ocean Race

History

The Volvo Ocean Race is held every 3 or 4 years and has been through many a name change.  This sailing race around the world was originally known as the Whitbread Round the World Race and started in 1973.  It is currently known as the Ocean Race.  The race consists of 9 to 10 legs with stops at various countries, the stop-offs change for each race with new venues being introduced and old ones being revisited.  Typically it starts in October in Europe and finishes back in Europe around 9 months later.

Boats

The design of boats for the race has also changed over the years.  In the 1973 race there were a variety of designs but to create a level playfield one design was introduced in 1993, the Whitbread 60.  For the next race in 2021-22 two designs will be allowed.  The Volvo Ocean 65 and the IMOCA 60.  The IMOCA 60 design is a foiling yacht which should provide great racing action.

Teams

The number of teams entering does vary.  Most recently around 6 to 7 teams have taken part.

Ecology

The race organisers require all yacht to use renewable sources to generate a proportion of the energy used whilst racing.

2021-22 Race

This race will start in Alicante in October 2021 and will stop off in Cabo Verde, Cape Town, Shenzhen, Auckland, Itajai, Newport, Aarhus, The Hague and finish in Genoa in the summer of 2022.  For the first time, the boats will navigate the Java Sea.

Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15

The Volvo Ocean Race is underway with the crews setting off from Alicante on 4 October 2014.  The race will see seven teams sail to eleven ports over nine months and clock up some 38,739 nautical miles when they cross the finish line in Gothenburg, Sweden next year.

All teams will be using the Volvo Ocean 65 thus making the race more competitive.  The race will be won or lost on the skill of the teams, no excuses!

The eleven ports are as follow:

Alicante, Spain; Cape Town, South Africa; Abu Dhabi, UAE; Sanya, China; Auckland, New Zealand; Itajai, Brazil; Newport, USA; Lisbon, Portugal; Lorient, France; Gothenburg, Sweden

For more information on the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015 visit the official site.

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Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race 2012 – Get ready for the spills and thrills

Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race 2012

Considered to be one of the greatest offshore races in the world, the 68th Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race 2012 takes competitors on the annual challenge of 628 nautical miles through some of the most turbulent seas and difficult conditions crews will ever have to face.  Only those with a true passion for sailing in the most adverse weather, plus a totally fearless disposition can handle this bluewater classic.

sydney to hobart yacht race 2012Leaving from the spectacular setting of Sydney Harbour on Boxing Day, and accompanied by numerous well-wishers, both landside and afloat, the race crews start their epic journey to Hobart, Tasmania. To date, four super maxis and six previous overall winners, including defending champion, Loki, are among the 78 lining up for the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race 2012 all aiming to scoop the coveted  J.H. Illingworth Trophy.

 

The route follows the south-eastern coast of mainland Australia before crossing the notorious Bass Strait, renowned for its dangerous personality, as it can be either be dead calm or dramatically challenging.  The water is relatively shallow and the winds can be strong, with these two elements often creating a steep and difficult sea for the yachts.  It then follows the eastern coast of Tasmania southwards to Tasman Island and across into Storm Bay for the final sail up the Derwent River to the historic port of Hobart.

At Hobart, the end of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race  2012 will mark a return to warm summer weather for the sailors.  The Nokia made this trip in less than two days in 1999, while in the inaugural 1945 race the winner Rani took over six days.   Typically arrivals now reach Hobart in plenty of time to celebrate or commiserate, swap yarns about the race with other crews over a few beers before joining in the New Year’s Eve celebrations.

In 2005 Wild Oats XI shortened the time to drinks at the Customs House Hotel in Hobart, breaking Nokia‘s record by about an hour. High-tech “Maxi” boats are aiming to consistently come in under 40 hours in the Sydney to Hobart Race Yacht 2012.

Weekend sailor participants and other yachtsmen and yachtswomen may not achieve “Line Honours” finishes against such advanced vessels.  They still have a chance, however, for an overall win.  They can prevail through the handicap rating system, especially if the weather changes after the fastest boats finish.

For some sailors, the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race 2012 is a life-changing experience.  For other participants, it is a career.  Skippers, crew, and designers have returned year after year to test themselves in one of the most challenging races in the world.  Skipper Tony Cable has participated in 45 races.

The Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race 2012 will continue to be populated by a wide variety of sailors.  Over 1,000 women already have participated in past races.  Many skippers in the latter half of their lives participate, using their extensive experience in the challenging race.

On departure from Sydney, the majestic fleet of yachts is covered by news media afloat and in helicopters.  In a tight race in 2011, the Investec Loyal beat three-time winner Wild Oats XI by only a few minutes.  A protest involving a recording of a conversation between the Investec Loyal and an ABC news helicopter was reviewed, as a crew member had apparently been asking about the Wild Oats XI‘s sail plan.

In September and October 2013, only a few months before the Sydney Hobart Race 2013, will see Tall Ships events in Sydney and Hobart. The events will conclude with a race to Auckland, New Zealand towards the end of October.  It’s the first Sail Training International event in this area, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Royal Australian Navy first entering into Sydney.

New Zealand will be launching a competing race late in 2014 called the A2B race, from Auckland to Bluff, hoping to draw some of the competitors from Sydney to Hobart Race 2013 and later races.

Even from a distance, fans can participate in the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2012 excitement by following the official Twitter stream (@rshyr) and monitoring live webcams in Sydney and Hobart.

Main Image Courtesy of S Baker Syndey to Hobart Yacht Race 2012

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Vendee Globe

The Vendee Globe Race

The Vendee Globe is the world’s greatest single-handed, non-stop, round the world yacht race and is regarded as probably the most challenging sporting event in the world.

It takes place every four years, leaving from the famous port of  Les Sables d’Olonne in the Vendee area of France.   A test of human endurance the Vendee Globe takes approximately 3 months to complete.  The current holder for the fastest circumnavigation is Michael Desjoyeaux, a Frenchman who completed the 2008-09 Vendee Globe in 84 days and is also the only competitor to win the Vendee Globe twice, in 2000-01 and 2008-09.

The Dates:

The Vendee Globe race starts on 10 November 2012.

vendee globe

Image Courtesy of Raphael Toussaint

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