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Displaying items by tag: America's cup

#americascup – HRH Princess Anne, The Princess Royal, visited the America's Cup World Series Portsmouth (ACWS Portsmouth) display at the London Boat Show, to support Ben Ainslie Racing and the America's Cup World Series events planned between 23 – 26 July 2015.

The ACWS Portsmouth events will be managed and delivered by 'TEAMORIGIN Events', a company set up and chaired by Sir Keith Mills, the man central to the delivery of some of the UK's greatest sporting events, most recently as Deputy Chairman of London 2012 and Chairman of 'Invictus Games'.

During HRH Princess Anne's visit, Sir Keith Mills outlined details of the Portsmouth event:

"The ACWS Portsmouth will be a spectacular event for Britain. One of our main aims is to provide a sporting event that will benefit Portsmouth by bringing huge visitor numbers into the city to experience the racing. To bring in the masses, we have to provide cost effective entertainment for all budgets and we have been working hard to firm up the event schedule and ticketing structure."

Mills continued, "Portsmouth will become a hive of activity with its key locations such as the Spinnaker Tower and Historic Dockyard incorporated within the event to showcase the city in all its glory. The event officially starts on Thursday 23rd July with the teams taking part in a F1 style paddock day. All ACWS teams will set up their boats in a publicly visible area inside the Historic Dockyard and Royal Navy Base. This is a fascinating visible process and a fantastic opportunity to see the amazing race boats, teams and sailors close-up. Friday 24th July, is the official race training day and the first opportunity for the teams to test their skills on Portsmouth waters. Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th July is when the points scoring action begins with the official race days. Both days will count and be vitally important for the teams in their quest for glory in the 35th America's Cup. This will be a unique opportunity for the British public, Portsmouth is truly opening its doors to local and visiting public and all sporting fans."

Sir Ben ​Ainslie,​ HRH The​ Princes​s Royal ​and Sir ​Keith Mi​lls at t​he Londo​n Boat S​how

A key ethos for the ACWS Portsmouth team is bringing the action closer to the fans. This includes a full entertainment programme which will run throughout the event days alongside live broadcasting of the racing. For those that really want to come and immerse themselves in the sailing and racing action and everything that goes on in the world of America's Cup, there will be a dedicated and ticketed 'fan zone' and a world class 'hospitality pavilion' where visitors, sponsors and guests can get truly involved and watch the racing close up with live expert commentary.

During the London Boat Show, ACWS Portsmouth Event Director, Leslie Greenhalgh outlined the ticketing, hospitality and commercial plans:

"The best possible viewing and engagement experience will be watching the racing from the 'race village' on Southsea Common and the dedicated 'fan zone' and 'hospitality pavilion'. This is all about "America's Cup racing coming to shore". There will be giant screens, live commentary and the racing will be literally metres off the Common. Racing will take place in the main shipping channel in an area of water carefully managed by the Queen's Harbour Master. For safety and traffic management reasons, there will be a tightly controlled exclusion zone around the race course and so we will be designating various levels of 'spectator boat' zones. The spectator boat packages, access flags and options will be published alongside the land based ticket and hospitality options. We urge any visitors not commit to any packages that are not endorsed by TEAMORIGIN/ACWS Portsmouth. All details and tickets will go live in February 2015."

Greenhalgh added: "An event of this magnitude offers numerous opportunities for brands and businesses to become commercially involved and we are currently in discussion with a number of partners interested in the event sponsorship and supplier partnerships. This is an amazing opportunity for UK brands and businesses to associate their brand with this exciting event. We urge attracted parties to get into touch with our commercial team."

Sir Keit​h Mills ​and Sir ​Ben Ains​lie at t​he Londo​n Boat S​how

Rob Andrews, the London 2012 Sailing Venue Manager, has taken on the role of Race Director for the ACWS Portsmouth and will work alongside the America's Cup Event Authority to deliver the racing. Rob provided a preview of the exciting racing coming to Portsmouth:

"The first difference people will notice, since the last ACWS events, is that the AC45 boats will now be foiling – literally flying above the water. The vulnerability of the foils makes margins between getting it right and wrong on the race course very small. This means numerous position changes during racing which creates lots of excitement. My role is to deliver good, solid races for the sailors whilst also giving the viewing public action-packed entertainment 50-100 meters from the shore. We learned a lot from the London 2012 Olympic Sailing medal races and how close we could get the racing to people on shore without being detrimental to the standard of racing for the sailors. The Portsmouth course and proximity of the race village on Southsea Common is the perfect solution for this type of racing and we cannot wait to deliver it to the fans and spectators. Whether you are a sailing fan or just coming down to join in the festival atmosphere and to take a look at these boats, it will be exciting and you do not want to miss it."

Over 500,000 visitors are expected to visit Portsmouth during the event and TEAMORIGIN are looking to secure volunteers to ensure they deliver a tremendous experience for all involved. The Event Volunteer Engagement Programme will be launched in February 2015. TEAMORIGIN will be looking to engage around 60 people in 'on water' delivery and a further 300 volunteers to ensure local people get involved and help to deliver this spectacular event. Anyone who would like to express interest in volunteering can email: [email protected]

The count down to the 2015 ACWS Portsmouth (23-26 July 2015) has begun. For more information: visit www.teamorigin.com

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#SirBenAinslie - America's Cup team head Sir Ben Ainslie had a bit of a slip-up during his Caribbean honeymoon recently when his yacht broke down near Richard Branson's private island.

As Yachting & Boat World reports, the Olympic sailor and America's Cup hero had to be rescued by Branson's watersports team after a malfunction of the mainsail on his yacht Rita - putting it on a deadly course with a jagged reef.

But the team's quick action avoided disaster and Sir Ben was able to enjoy the rest of his island getaway with new wife, TV presenter Georgie Thompson.

Once the honeymoon is over, though, Sir Ben will be hard at work preparing for the next America's Cup in 2017 with his namesake team BAR – which recently announced a long-term partnership with renewable energy asset management firm Low Carbon Investment.

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#bar – The Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR) team says Britain's sailing superstar is leading the sporting world in sustainability, in its bid to bring the 35th America's Cup to the UK.

The sailing team, formed by Olympic multi-gold medallist Ben Ainslie, is announcing a long-term partnership with renewables investor Low Carbon. The partnership will provide the team with clean energy as it develops its 2017 bid for the world's oldest international sporting trophy.

Low Carbon will ensure the team's headquarters – currently under construction on the Camber in Portsmouth – is powered by the very latest, high efficiency solar photovoltaic (PV) technology. The initial target is to supply 90% of the team's electricity power needs, with this improving to 100% once energy monitoring is implemented.

Low Carbon is committed to mitigating climate change by encouraging, wherever possible, the reduction of carbon emissions. Investing capital into renewable energy, the firm's investment model embraces solar PV, concentrated solar power, wind and bio-waste technologies. Within less than four years, Low Carbon has developed more than 270MW of UK solar power. A broader international portfolio exceeding 2GW is in the pipeline.

The partnership will greatly support BAR's efforts to run a sustainable business with clean energy. It will also see the team's HQ accorded BREEAM 'Excellent' status – the hallmark of excellence in sustainable building. The BAR HQ is expected to be completed in the summer of 2015.

Commenting on the partnership, Low Carbon's Founder and Chief Executive Roy Bedlow said: "I'm very excited by this long-term partnership, and with the prospect of making a key contribution to a true British success story. With Low Carbon and BAR sharing an ethos of sustainability, responsibility and mitigating the effects of climate change, I believe that together we can continue to make a difference for the better, long into the future."

BAR's Team Principal, four-time Olympic medallist and America's Cup winner, Ben Ainslie commented, "We're delighted to be onboard with Low Carbon, and this new partnership takes us a long way towards our goal of sustainable, clean energy for our new base."

Bedlow adds: "This project has exciting implications for renewable energy. Because the BAR philosophy is about educating and engaging locally, the project will be a fantastic showcase for how large buildings can be almost entirely sustainable."

In a separate initiative, Roy Bedlow is joining the board of the team's charity as a Trustee. Launched in October 2014, the 1851 Trust seeks to inspire and engage a new generation through sailing and the marine industry, providing young people with the education, skills and training required to become innovators of the future, and stewards of the marine environment.

Published in America's Cup

#AmericasCup - America's Cup holders Oracle Team USA are being sued by a New Zealand sailor over accusations that he illegally altered a catamaran used in a warm-up race.

Matt Mitchell was suspended for the first four races of last summer's series in San Francisco amid a cheating scandal that rocked Larry Ellison's team and led to an "unprecedented" raft of penalties levelled against the eventual race winners.

But as Stuff.co.nz reports, Mitchell has filed suit in San Francisco Superior Court seeking his legal fees plus special damages for what he argued was his team's failure to indemnify under the California Legal Code.

Mitchell says he "sustained and continues to sustain substantial economic damages" as a result of the penalties, which also saw crewman Dirk de Ridder banned from the America's Cup and suspended by the ISAF for five years - lately reduced to 18 months by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Stuff.co.nz has more on the story HERE.

Published in America's Cup

#AmericasCup - Though the official announcement is still a week away, speculation is growing that Bermuda will be chosen as host for the 2017 America's Cup.

But as Stuff.co.nz reports, the rumour comes as a major blow to San Diego's hopes of welcoming the event.

It seems the issue is simply down to the matter of money, with a tourism chief from the Southern Californian city quoted as saying that "when it came down to it, Bermuda was the destination Larry [Ellison] needed to choose."

Ellison - head of software giant Oracle - was the backer of the current cup holders Oracle Team USA, which won in spectacular fashion last year.

And the financial incentives of hosting the event in the Caribbean tax haven are hard to ignore, even in spite of San Diego's storied legacy in sailing.

Stuff.co.nz has more on the story HERE.

Published in America's Cup

#AmericasCup - Olympic sailing legend Sir Ben Ainslie confirmed his backing of a British contingent among the six entries in the next America's Cup, as announced at a press conference today.

But it's not yet confirmed if he will be one of the crew on board, as he was when he helped Oracle Team USA to the 'Auld Mug' almost a year ago.

Bloomberg has more on the press gathering in London, at which Ainslie spoke of his wish to "bring the America's Cup home" when the yachts get racing in 2017 at a venue still to be decided after Team Australia pulled out over the summer.

Indeed, next time out 'Sir Ben' will go head to head with the team he led to a remarkable comeback victory last year in San Francisco.

However, as the Western Morning News reports, the Olympian is was tight-lipped about his own involvement on the team, only commenting that it would be "predominantly British" and would comprise "experienced guys who have been successful in the cup and some younger talent coming through, particularly British talent."

He added: "If we were going racing tomorrow I would be steering the boat but that might not be the answer in a couple of years’ time."

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#AmericasCup - An inquest into the death of Andrew 'Bart' Simpson while training for the America's Cup last summer has ruled the tragic incident as an accident, as the Bournemouth Echo reports.

The sailing world was shocked a year ago by the loss of the British double Olympic medallist, who became trapped underneath the capsized Artemis Racing AC72 catamaran he was crewing with 10 others in San Francisco Bay.

Last October the official medical examiner's report found Simpson's death was caused by "blunt trauma and drowning" after the vessel capsized and broke apart, dealing him multiple blows to the head.

Statements read out at Bournemouth Coroner’s Court described the scene as Simpson's teammates and emergency workers made desperate attempts to free him from under the wreckage, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

In his conclusion of accidental death, Dorset assistant coroner Richard Middleton said that he was satisfied the cause of death "arose directly as a consequence of some deliberate human act which had unexpectedly and unintentionally taken a turn which had led to his death."

The Bournemouth Echo has more on the story HERE.

Published in America's Cup

#AmericasCup - Having already mastered the seas, now British Olympic and America's Cup hero Sir Ben Ainslie wants to conquer the skies.

The Bournemouth Echo reports on his recent appearance on BBC Radio's Desert Island Discs, where he expressed his desire for his very own flight simulator to practice with, as he lacks the time to properly pursue the flying lessons he's already started.

Sir Ben also spoke of scaring himself by his competitive nature and dark moods after race losses, but at the same time confirmed he's driven by "one burning desire" - to win the America's Cup with a British team and repeat last summer's leading of Oracle Team USA to an amazing against-all-odds comeback victory.

With organisers proposing a 'nationality rule' for the next America's Cup, Ainslie's dream may come sooner than later - and he's got at least one major supporter in superstar Formula 1 car designer Adrian Newey.

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#AmericasCup - Sir Ben Ainslie's historic contribution to Oracle Team USA's astonishing turnaround victory in this year's America's Cup may prompt a future rule change for the yachting classic - one that would prevent its likes from happening again.

The British Olympic hero's last-minute addition to the faltering American team saw their fortunes change almost instantly as they battled against the formidable Emirates Team NZ on San Francisco Bay, fighting back from an eight-to-one deficit in the first-to-nine contest to clinch dramatic victory from the jaws of defeat.

But as a new Yachting World interview with Oracle Team USA's chief executive Russell Coutts reveals, a 'nationality rule' - that would restrict teams to sourcing their crew from the country they represent - could be on the cards for future editions of the 'Auld Mug' challenge.

According to Coutts, both Oracle Team USA and the Challenger of Record (Hamilton Island Yacht Club in Queensland, Australia) are "considering options there".

That's one of many changes proposed for the America's Cup, aside from moves to reduce costs of competing and encourage more nations to be represented at what Coutts describes as "the pinnacle of our sport".

Meanwhile, San Francisco's SFGate.com reports that the latest edition of the America's Cup did not bring as much economic benefit to the Bay Area as has been expected.

Figures apparently show that the races and associated developments generated up to $550 million, which falls far short of the $900 million forecasted two years ago.

And that's in addition to costing the city's taxpayers some $5 million, funding that some city officials believe could have been better spent elsewhere.

SFGate.com has more on the story HERE.

Published in America's Cup

Bob Fisher, leading sailing writer and the supreme authority on the America's Cup, brought an inspiring vision of the highest peaks of the sport to the Royal St George YC's 175th Anniversary Champions Celebration last weekend. W M Nixon delves into the backstory of one of global sailing's true greats.

#americascup – There's a dilemma underlying the remarkable career of Bob Fisher. He is one of the best sailing writers in the world. He is probably the very best writer about yacht racing in the world. And he is the undisputed global authority on everything to do with the America's Cup – its history since the first race in 1851, its litany of extraordinary characters with their many wrangles, its technical advances, and its remarkable and sudden ultimate rise to become an event of truly global status during the 34th Series in September 2013 in San Francisco.

The dilemma? Well, The Fish is a true sailing polymath. For sure, he writes vividly about our sport. Yet he is also a talented racing dinghy builder – his own-built boats have won championships to international level. But he is also an extremely good sailor himself. Thus in his long career of writing about sailing, he has probably been a better natural racing sailor than about 98% of the people whose sailing achievement he happens to write about.

All of which explains his "absorbing interest" in the America's Cup, and his ability to produce the defining stories about it. For it is only at the America's Cup that Bob Fisher is best deployed as the reporter, commentator and historian while others do the sailing.

At other events during his long and varied career - he is now 77 - he has often been an active and successful participant in addition to being the man who files the stories at the end of the day's racing. And with this frequent personal involvement in the racing afloat and the apres sailing ashore, sailors see him as one of their own rather than a media person of whom they should be wary. Thus he can come up with the true inside stories which bring his words to life, raising them above reportage to become the vivid defining narrative of sailing as it really is.

Quite how he manages to do it is beyond most folk's imagination. He is doing enough to provide about half a dozen people of more ordinary energy levels with full time careers. Yet although there must have been times when the pace verged on being too hectic to handle, when you meet him participating and reporting in sailing events, or at a special sailing social gathering like the 175th Anniversary Champions Party at the Royal St George YC, it is to find you are undoubtedly in the presence of a great man, but also a man who enjoys it all to the full, with wide and civilised interests in many aspects of human life.

The notion of the 175th Anniversary of the Champions of the George originally came from Johnny Ross Murphy, and when he got friends and fellow members like the master-delegator Brian Craig, plus Derek Jago and Paul Maguire on side, the thing just grew and grew until with a group chaired by Craig, with the efficient Ciara Dowling making sure the nuts and bolts were in place, they worked at a list of who was eligible to be there.

winkienixonbobfisher1
At the Royal St George YC 175th Anniversary Champions Night were (left to right) Don O'Dowd (Rear Commodore (Sailing) R StGYC), Bob Fisher, Winkie Nixon, and Commodore Liam O'Rourke. Photo: Gareth Craig

They managed to go back 62 years, and the final total was 597 major winners of one sort or another, from Dublin Bay champions right up to ten Olympic sailors. On the night, the target figure of 250 attendees had been long since surpassed, and with diligent research they had unearthed some top performers from a very long time ago. Yet it was also very much of today, for even as we reviewed the achievements of 175 years, we were also thinking of RStGYC member Adrian Lee already on his way to establishing the new course record with his Cookson 50 in the 360-mile mile Dubai to Muscat Race, which had started that morning – his success raised the RStGYC major achievement tally to 598 almost before the party was over. At the same time, fellow member Damian Foxall was in Le Havre awaiting the start of the Transat Jacques Vabre 2013 as co-skipper on the MOD 70 Musandam-Oman, but Foxall had to go through frustrating days of waiting as the raced wasn't to start until Thursday November 7th.

leeoverlayindianocean

Even as the RStGYC 175th Anniversary Champions Party was under way, club member Adrian Lee was bringing the major achievements list up to 598 with his success in the Dubai-Muscat Race 2013 with his Cookson 50 Lee Overlay Partners. Boat and owner were already in the list with their overall win in the inaugural RORC Caribbean 600 Race in 2009. Photo: Tim Wright

It was quite a night in Dun Laoghaire, and with some crews reunited after more than three decades, there was a lot of catching-up to be done and news to be exchanged. So it says everything about Bob Fisher's ability to convey the new excitement of the current America's Cup that he was able to get the full attention of people in their sea of nostalgia, with his presentation provided an excellent spicing for an evening which would otherwise have been just too totally club-focused.

Sharing the round table at the inter-speeches supper with The Fish, we found topics covered were wide ranging and not necessarily entirely about boats and sailing. But nevertheless it is Bob's boat-owning history, and his uses of his boats, with which the ordinary sailing Joe can most readily identify.

The word is that just about all the Fisher myths are gloriously true. He did indeed absolutely have to sell his own-built championship-winning Fireball at a major event in Switzerland in the 1960s immediately after winning and before departing the hotel, as he and his crew had neither the money to pay the hotel bill (which was enormous, this was Switzerland after all), nor the funds to get themselves home.

He did indeed win his first race at his birthplace of Brightlingsea in Essex at the ripe old age of two years and three months (he was skipper, working mid-cockpit, while his father was detailed off to be the helmsman). And currently at his adopted home port of Lymington on the western Solent, he does indeed co-own with Barry Dunning the 1895-built 40ft Solent One Design Rosenn, the sole survivor of what was probably the world's first one design keelboat class.

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The Solent One Designs in their prime in 1895. They were probably the world's first proper one design keelboat.

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The survivor – Rosenn (Bob Fisher and Barry Dunning) is the sacred relic of the Solent OD.

Thus it's likely that Bob and I were the only two members of the Old Gaffers Association at the 175th anniversary party in the George, as he now owns two gaffers, having given in to his crew's demand that while they can go along with gaff rig, sometimes they'd like to sail a newer boat. So he has obliged them by getting a boat three years younger than Rosenn, a lovely little Fife boat built 1898 which he has in Scotland in readiness for next year's 40th Anniversary Scottish Series, an event with which Bob has been closely associated since its inception.

It's the Scottish Series of 1992 which provides me with the most vivid image of Bob Fisher. Back in the 1980s, he was sailing consultant to the BBC soap Howard's Way, which was about the people – some good, some less so – running an expanding boatyard on the Hamble. To keep the series alive, the producers were looking for a new storyline which would take things in a believable direction, yet provide fresh excitement and business and technical problems with which a wider audience could identify.

Bob suggested that they should get the "yard" to start developing the building of a new-style Ultra Light Displacement Boat, a boat which would be big enough to provide accommodation of family cruising appeal, yet allied to a performance which would, in the ideal ULDB conditions, attract flat out racing types keen for sheer speed. The theory was that the human challenge in a project so far removed from the orthodox European boat type would create its own dynamic and drama.

He was given 48 hours to put the idea in a more concrete form. Now it so happened that some time earlier, he and Tony Castro had been doing a China Sea Race on a Castro-designed 40ft ketch, and though they could get her above ten knots on a good reach, hitting 11 seemed to be an insurmountable barrier. So in their frustration some very rough ideas were sketched out for a ULDB which would simply keep on increasing speed as the breeze built off the wind.

The rough drawings had been put away in a drawer and forgotten about, but after this script conference, Bob immediately phoned Tony Castro and asked him if he could find those drawings, and if so could he develop them up into a workable proposition for the day after tomorrow. More than a little midnight oil was burnt, but Castro came up with the goods, and the result was Barracuda, the 45ft prototype of the ULDB which in production went through various name changes, and was finally series built by Sadler Yachts as the Sadler Barracuda 45, with 19 being produced between 1985 and 1989.

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The above-water profile of the Sadler Barracuda 45 looked so normal it was a wolf in sheep's clothing, with the rig as shown only hinting at the fact that enormous masthead kites could be flown when conditions suited.

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The hull profile gave a clearer indication of the boat's true character as a ULDB. The production boats had a hydraulically-raised keel, but Bob Fisher's prototype had a fairly straightforward heavily ballasted and very deep centreboard which was raised by a 3:1 tackle inside the centreboard case which was led to a winch on the cabintop. Two members of the crew were selected for the end-of-day centreboard-lifting grind with a double grip handle, and timed. The all-time record of 63 seconds was achieved by Bob and his exact contemporary Steve Lemon at Tarbert – "we wanted to get into the Islay Frigate asap"

fish8
The accommodation layout of the production Sadler Barracuda 45 suggests that the builders were unable to resist filling every corner, whereas a true ULDB will have minimalist accommodation, kept strictly admidships. Although few if any of the buyers of the 19 production boats went for the bath option, their boats all came out at least a ton heavier than Bob Fisher's own Barracuda of Tarrant.

They were a complex build project, with a hydraulically lifting bulb keel which in theory came up far enough for the boat to dry out level, tri-podded on her keel and twin rudders. And with so much space in the roomy hull around the keel housing, they even suggested fiilling an under-utilised gap on the starboard side with a miniature bath, but it's thought that few if any owners availed of this option.

But the timber-built prototype Barracuda of Tarrant herself certainly did the business in developing the storyline for Howard's Way, and she also provided Bob and his wife Dee with ten extraordinary and hugely enjoyable years of active ownership in which they covered tens of thousands of miles thanks in no small part to Dee's exceptional organisational abilities, and her willingness to ensure personally that the boat was at the desired venue and race-ready when Bob arrived in from covering some major sailing event elsewhere in the world.

It says much about the boat's versatility that in 1989 she proved ideal for the two-handed Round Britain and Ireland Race. Sailed by Bob with Robin Knox-Johnston, she scorched round the 2000 mile course to such good effect that she won her class without recourse to handicap, and finished ahead boat-for-boat of the boats in the next two classes above. It made for a change from a previous participation by Bob in this race, when he and Les Williams raced an 80-foot maxi whose sails were so heavy that in each stopover port, they'd to organise a farewell party so that guests could be spirited aboard the big boat in order to help with raising the mainsail.

But Barracuda by contrast provided the perfect combination of long-legged performance with manageable handling loads on both sheets and helm. Thus she frequently made the annual trek round Land's End and north to the Clyde for the Scottish series, and 1992 was a classic example. The main start for the feeder race to Tarbert was from Gourock, and I was crewing for my brother in his Belfast Lough-based Sigma 33. Back in 1992, the Sigma 33s were superbly fulfilling the Offshore One Design ideal, and heading south for Ailsa Craig on a beam reach in a brisk westerly, as the sun set we were streaking out past the Garrock Heads with at least 16 Sigma 33s in line abreast under spinnaker to leeward, and a dozen or so others in close attendance.

Offshore racing gets interesting when the sun sets, particularly so in one designs, for once the sun is gone, you're not allowed to luff. With 16 boats in line and competition intense in the Sigma 33s, there was more than a bit of mighty roaring (our skipper, my own brother, amazed me with his invective towards the boat next to us), leading in turn to shouted debates above the roar of the bow-waves as to how you define sunset on sailing water surrounded by mountains.

But then a great silver wraith came sweeping past as though the Sigma 33s were standing still, and all were briefly silent in admiration. It was Barracuda. Having started quite some time after us, she was zooming south in conditions she loved under an unbelievably large masthead gennaker, with the other boats in her class – some quite substantially larger – left many miles astern.

It was a magic vision in the special light of a long Scottish evening of late Spring. And it was made even more remarkable in that it seemed as though The Fish was sailing her single-handed. For there he was, unmistakable at the helm, his wonderboat perfectly under control with her twin rudders and sails beautifully trimmed, yet set up in such a way that the crew could retreat below for a mug of something hot as the cold Scottish night set in.

Bob and Dee's crews on Barracuda always seemed to be recruited from central casting to have strong characters to match their skipper. So it was entirely in keeping with the boat's style to imagine that they should have decided the skipper could be left on his own to steer the boat to match the setup of sails which briefly had the sheets made fast.

And in Barracuda's rapid passing, it left us the abiding image of Bob Fisher, stately at the wheel, monarch of all he surveyed, happily guiding his beloved dreamship as she swept onwards into the gathering night, with the glorious prospect of yet another wonderful sailing season stretching into the months ahead.

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The mighty machine – Barracuda of Tarrant at the Scottish Series 1986. Twenty years before twin rudders became mainstream for large broad-sterned boats in Europe, Tony Castro incorporated them on Bob Fisher's new ULDB. In these squally conditions, a standard broad-sterned yacht of 1986 would have been spinning round to look at herself at frequent intervals. But with the skipper comfortably ensconced at the wheel under his famous black sou'wester, Barracuda tracks as though on rails, with her weather rudder completely clear of the water while her lee rudder is doing the business in a vertical position of maximum efficiency. This design of 29 years ago is still ahead of the game, and it's reckoned a boat built to the same lines and concept, but using the latest construction methods, would be one very potent machine today, Photo: www.patrickroach.com

Published in W M Nixon
Page 11 of 14
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