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Displaying items by tag: Offshore

#julesvernetrophy – As the only British crew member on-board, Brian Thompson, today clocked up two major records as the maxi trimaran, Banque Populaire V, crossed the Jules Verne Trophy finish line near Brest, France this evening.

Thompson is part of the crew that has just smashed the world speed record for a lap of the planet on-board a yacht and has simultaneously become the first Briton to circumnavigate the globe non-stop for a fourth time.  Skippered by Frenchman Loïck Peyron with a crew of 13, Banque Populaire V, beat the existing record set by Groupama 3 by over two and a half days when they crossed the finish at  22hrs 14 minutes 35 seconds GMT Friday 6th January. The Banque Populaire V crew sailed non-stop around the world in an incredible 45 days 13 hrs 42 minutes and 53 seconds.

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Having spent over six weeks at sea, the crew were thrilled to see a flotilla of boats and crowds on the dock ready to welcome them home and are looking forward to celebrating their success with friends and family.

A triumphant Thompson said:

"This has been an incredible trip around the planet, almost a dream ride. And that is because of the quality of the boat, of the preparation and most of all to the incredible crew on board. I am very fortunate to have sailed with Loïck, the best all round multihull sailor there is, and the rest of the team that are so talented, industrious, dedicated, fun and welcoming to an English guy with schoolboy French! To achieve my dream of finally holding the Trophée Jules Verne, and of setting the most prestigious record in sailing for the second time, feels absolutely fantastic. At the same time, to become the first Briton to sail around the world non-stop 4 times, is just amazing and feels very special"

Despite having just completed an epic voyage, Thompson is already looking to the future as he hopes to be on the start line of the Vendée Globe in November 2012. Commenting on his next goal he said:

"I have so enjoyed sailing round the world on Banque Populaire V, a trip on fast forward. And the whole way around I have been thinking about every detail on how to do another solo lap of the planet - faster, safer and more environmentally efficient than ever before. What better place to test that experience, than in the Vendee Globe 2012?"

In addition to the overall speed record, the crew aboard Banque Populaire V have already broken two other world records on this amazing sprint around the globe; one across the Indian Ocean* and one from equator to equator**. Last year this formidable yacht set two further world speed records; the first for sailing around Britain and Ireland in June 2011 and the second when the crew were the fastest the classic Fastnet course in August 2011. Although this latest world speed record relates specifically to a yacht, the lap of the planet has actually been completed faster than any other vessel ever, be that under power or sail.

Published in Offshore

#SYDNEYHOBART – Dublin Sailor Gordon Maguire won the Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race, a high point in his career as a leading international professional sailor based in Australia writes W M Nixon in the Irish Independent.

Twenty years ago, the young Howth helmsman was one of the key players in the Irish team which won the Southern Cross Trophy, the international offshore series which culminated in the Hobart Race.

For someone with Maguire's remarkable talents, Australia offered the perfect arena and base, and he increasingly focused on the active scene down under. But he also continues to sail worldwide, his most recent high profile appearance in Ireland being three years ago when he was lead helm on Mike Slade's 100ft Leopard establishing the course record in the Round Ireland Race.

lokicrew

The winning Loki crew included Howth's Gordon Maguire. Photo: Daniel Forster/Rolex

Since then, his career path has been as sailing master with Stephen Ainsworth's Australian team. Ainsworth acquired some note in Europe back in 2007 when his mini-maxi Loki, powering along in the stormiest Middle Sea Race yet experienced, broke the rudder and became a total loss on the northwest coast of Sicily. That iron shore would rank high on any world listing of least desirable places to be shipwrecked, and some advanced yacht racing equipment subsequently turned up in unlikely mountain sales.

But at least no-one was hurt. And a new Loki, a 63ft Reichel Pugh design, was already on the drawing board. To get the best from the new boat, Ainsworth and his ace navigator Michael Bellingham signed Gordon Maguire (48) onto what became a dream team. Since 2008, Loki has won just about everything of significance in the Australian eastern seaboard offshore racing scene except the annual thrash to Hobart, which Ainsworth has been trying to win for more than a dozen years.

loki

The winning mini-Maxi Loki. Photo: Daniel Forster/Rolex

The 628-mile classic – staged annually since 1945 – can be a tricky one. You go like the hammers of hell on rough ocean for upwards of 550 miles, and then the final approach to Hobart up the narrowing 60-mile ria of the Derwent River sees the winds all over the place, and often non-existent at night.

The new Loki (named for the Norse god of mischief and trickery) invariably finished among the leaders, but then saw her corrected time win for the Tattersall's Cup – Australia's premier offshore trophy – being snatched away by some smaller boat which came creaming up the Derwent on the afternoon breeze.

But Ainsworth and Maguire have been very close to the cup for the last two years, and this year they struck gold. It was the turn of the smaller boats to be becalmed in the small hours. After hours of the clock ticking painfully slow, Loki was declared winner of the Tattersall's Cup. The biggest box of all had been firmly ticked in gold.

Published in Offshore

#OFFSHORE – Over its sixty-seven year history, the race record at the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race has only been broken ten times, an average of once every six and a half years. Given that the current fastest elapsed time of one day, eighteen hours, forty minutes and ten seconds was set in 2005, statistics suggest that the feat is due to be surpassed again.

That time was set by Bob Oatley's Wild Oats XI, a 100-ft Maxi yacht that has come to dominate the Rolex Sydney Hobart, claiming five of the last six line honours titles. She is the standout favourite for this year's title. The yacht, launched in 2005, has undergone regular and expensive enhancements throughout the past six years, yet has been unable to improve upon her record. Wild Oats XI finished within two hours of her record in 2008, the closest she has come, whilst the time set during her most recent victory saw her finish over 13 hours shy. Proof that in offshore racing, the elements dictate almost everything.

As is form in ocean sailing, the fastest time was broken frequently in the race's infant years. The inaugural winner was Captain John Illingworth's 35-ft Bermudan Cutter Rani, who finished, to her surprise, 17 hours ahead of second-placed Winston Churchill. The event evolved quickly, interest grew and entry numbers rose. There were four records set in the first six years alone. Claude Plowman's Morna achieved the feat twice. Her first triumph arrived in 1946 when the William Fife-designed 65-footer led the race from start to finish, finishing the 628-nautical mile challenge bereft of her main sail. Eerily similar to Wild Oats XI's famous finish in 2005 when the crew cruised through the last stretch of the Derwent River with only their headsail in tact. The crew reported arriving to a hospitable welcome in Hobart, having the sensation that they had been granted freedom of the city.

Two years later and with a crew of 16, Morna claimed her third consecutive line honours win, almost smashing her own record by a day, courtesy of champagne sailing conditions. She became the first boat in the race's four-year history to complete the race before the arrival of the New Year. Plowman received a knighthood just hours after crossing the finish line. Under the guise of Kurrewa IV, and new ownership, Morna was to take four subsequent line honours titles and one further race record.

After Margaret Rintoul set a benchmark of four days, two hours and twenty-nine minutes in 1951, the four-day barrier was broken in 1957 by the aforementioned Kurrewa IV, now owned by the Livingstone brothers. Ever since the end of the 1950s, surpassing the fastest time has become a much more irregular feat. In 1962, New Yorker Sumner A. 'Huey' Long steered one of two American record-breakers helming his lovingly-maintained 57-ft Ondine home in just under three days and four hours. This was the first of Long's three line honours triumphs at the event, the record attempt achieved following a tight battle with Astor in the Derwent River.

Ondine's record stood for an imperious nine years, when the 73-ft Helsal, owned by Dr Tony Fisher, the only purely Australian crewed and built race record holder, shaved barely two hours off the target.  She marked a trend: at the top end of the fleet, the faster boats were getting bigger. A ferro-cement yacht, Helsal was nicknamed the Flying Footpath. Her victory is seen as something of a miracle given the problems encountered in rendering her race-ready and that her array of sails was relatively sparse and out-dated compared to her rivals.

The second United States success was achieved by Kialoa III in 1975. She shattered Helsal's 1973 time by just under eleven hours, the Sparkman & Stephens 79–footer taking advantage of ideal conditions and a fantastically consistent race, sailing at 15-20 knots throughout the second day. Overall, she averaged a speed of over 10 knots, not outstanding when compared to today's Maxis, but significant at the time. Californian Jim Kilroy had already helmed his Kialoa II to line honours four years earlier. When the crew arrived in Hobart at 03:36, the sky was so dark that the shoreline was barely visible. Kialoa III dominated Maxi racing during the mid-1970s – she was also the fastest on the water in the Transatlantic and Fastnet Races in 1975. Quite a year.

Where others had tried and failed, Hasso Plattner's 80-ft Reichel-Pugh Morning Glory succeeded, breaking Kialoa III's record by a meagre 29 minutes in 1996. It is almost startling that in an era of outstanding developments in the design and construction of yachts, and the onboard apparatus, that the record remained unsurpassed for so long. Indeed: almost a minute for every year that had passed. The 1996 race was renowned for a particularly harsh start with winds hitting 40 knots and steep sea state building up. Morning Glory enjoyed a stretch of cruising at 30 knots before the gusts abated near Tasman Island. But for the softening of conditions, she would have beaten the record by a much greater margin.

Following the tragic events of 1998, when six sailors lost their lives in harrowing conditions, 1999's race was characterised by the arrival of the forecast strong gusts and record-breaking conditions once more. The Volvo 60 Nokia sliced a massive 18 hours off the short-lived1996 figure, cruising down the South Wales Coast and into the Bass Strait, in winds of 30-40 knots. The race was a spinnaker extravaganza. The water-ballasted Nokia, led by Stefan Myralf and Michael Spies, one of an incredible seventeen yachts to break the record that year!

In 2005, the most recent race record went to Oatley's Wild Oats XI, another Reichel-Pugh design. Led by skipper Mark Richards, Wild Oats' commanding lead over the pack, set with an average speed of 15 knots, gave her an overall handicap win ensuring she was the first boat since the inaugural year to claim all three of the race's main prizes: line honours, race record and Tattersall's Cup. Wild Oats XI starts as favourite this year to beat her own record. Only one yacht has ever achieved that. Has the time come?

Published in Offshore

#SAILINGWicklow Sailing Club's Round Ireland Yacht Race departs from Wicklow Bay at 12 noon on Sunday 24th June 2012, leaving Ireland and all its islands to starboard.

2012 mark's the 32nd anniversary of Ireland's premier off-shore sailing event, organised by Wicklow Sailing Club in association with Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC).

It is the longest race in the Royal Ocean Racing Club calendar, comparable to similar Offshore races such as the Fastnet, Malta Middle Sea, Sydney-Hobart and China Sea races.

The first race took place in 1980 with only thirteen boats. Since then, held biennially, the fleet has grown steadily, and up to 60 yachts have competed in some past editions of the race.

The backbone for the 2008 race was Tonnerre de Breskens III, owned by Dutchman Piet Vroon. The crew arrived in Wicklow with a brace of RORC victories, leading RORC's offshore table, and went into the race as favourites. The first twist in Tonnerre's plot came before the starter's gun, when Vroon ended up in hospital, from where he would follow the race as his crew sailed on without him.

However, that would be the only bump in their road. Tonnerre led from start to finish, both on the water and on handicap. Vroon's crew brought home the trophy for their ailing skipper in the race's happy ending.

Sailing around Ireland poses many challenges for boats and crew, with open ocean on the south and west coasts, tidal challenges on north and east coasts apart from all the off lying rocks and sandbanks to keep navigators on their toes and not forgetting the vagaries of the Atlantic weather systems.

This is very much a sailors race but armchair spectators can follow the race on their computers, thanks to our modern race tracker technology.

A Round Ireland Sail Fest (Thur 21 - Sun 24 June) will complement the race preparations and add a welcome level of fun and entertainment for all coming down to Wicklow for the Race start.

ROUND IRELAND YACHT RACE 2012 on SUNDAY 24TH JUNE

NOTICE OF RACE

ORGANISATION

The Race is organised by Wicklow Sailing Club in association with the Royal Ocean Racing Club.

CONDITIONS The race will be sailed under the Racing Rules of Sailing 2009-2012, the ISAF Offshore Special Regulations, the Irish Sailing Association (ISA) and RORC Prescriptions and amendments and the additions detailed below:

1. This Notice of Race, the Entry Form and the Sailing Instructions.
2. The Race is ISAF Offshore Special Regulations Category 2.
3. IRC Rules Parts A, B, & C – 2012 Rules.

In the event of conflict the Sailing Instructions shall prevail.

START The start will be at Wicklow on Sunday, 24th June 2012.

COURSE Leave Ireland and all its islands excluding Rockall to starboard. The distance is approximately 704 nm.

ENTRIES To: Wicklow Sailing Club, C/o. Dennis Noonan, "Dunmore", Sea Road, Newcastle, Co. Wicklow. The closing date for entries is 8th June 2012. Exceptionally late entries may be accepted, for which there will be a late entry fee. Entries will be from IRC (Endorsed) rated yachts of LOA 9.15m/30 feet and over, with a minimum SSS of 28 or STIX of 32 combined with an AVS minimum of 130-0.002 x M (where M is minimum sailing weight in kg). STIX and AVS data is required for boats with a series date of 1995 and later.

ENTRY FEE LOA: 30-39.9 feet €400  40-49.9 feet €450  50-59.9 feet €500  60 feet and over €550.

LATE ENTRY Late entries will be subject to the relevant fee above +50%. No entry will be accepted after Thursday, 22nd June 2012.

CANCELLATION POLICY Cancellations can be accepted either:
(1) before the closing date, when a refund minus €50 may be claimed or
(2) between the closing date and the start, when 50% of the fee may be claimed.

ENTRY The Race Committee reserves the right to decline an entry.

ENTRY LIMIT The number of starters shall not exceed 75.

CLASSES Racing will take place under IRC. Classes will be allocated according to the number and type of entry. Classes for classic and one design yachts will be subject to the number of entries. Yachts may enter as a team, but RRS Appendix D, Team Racing Rules, will not apply. Details will be provided on application.

Classes will be as follows:

IRC Class CK – 0.850 and greater
IRC Class Z - 1.276 and greater Class 5 – Cruisers, Hull factor 7.5 or less
IRC Class 1 - 1.275 – 1.101 Class 6 – Classics Class (pre 1987)
IRC Class 2 - 1.100 – 1.051 Class 7 – Sigma 38 to Class Rules
IRC Class 3 - 1.050 – 1.007 Class 8 – Two-handed Class
IRC Class 4 – 1.006 - 0.850 Class 9 – TBA

RULES ALTERATION

The Race Committee reserves the right to alter the rules and conditions of the race at any time. Changes will be posted on the WSC website at www.wicklowsailingclub.com. Yachts whose entries have been accepted will be advised directly.

EXPERIENCE QUALIFICATION
The Round Ireland Yacht Race is not a race for novices. Every crew member must have experience of sailing a yacht offshore and be prepared to encounter heavy weather. Competitors may be required to provide evidence of offshore experience.

The skipper and at least half the crew must have completed, in the yacht in which they will race the Round Ireland Race, in the 13 months preceding the start, either:-

1. 300 miles of offshore racing * or
2. Non-stop passage of at least 300 miles.
3. Other qualifications similar to 2. above to be proposed to and agreed by WSC/RORC by 31st May 2012.

* To qualify as offshore racing a race must be at least 75 miles duration and include at least one night at sea.

TRAINING It is the skipper's responsibility to ensure that the following criteria are met and that a certificate or letter of attendance from an establishment recognised by the ISA/RORC should be provided on completion of the following:

1. At least 30% of the crew, including the Skipper, shall have undertaken training to Section 6, (Appendix G) of the ISAF Offshore Special Regulations.

2. In the case of two-handed entries, both crew members must complete training to Section 6, (Appendix G) of the ISAF Offshore Special Regulations.

3. In addition at least one member of the crew shall hold a current Senior First Aid Certificate or equivalent (in accordance with OSR 6.05.2) and should be familiar with the management of medical emergencies that may occur at sea, including hypothermia, and radio communications operations for obtaining medical advice by radio.

4. The above training must have taken place after January 2007. Copies of these certificates should be lodged with WSC prior to the start of the race.

CREW LIST A full crew list with names, addresses and telephone numbers of competitors and their next of kin to be lodged with the Race Office on Registration at Wicklow Sailing Club.

INSPECTIONS Yachts shall assemble at Wicklow Harbour no later than 1200 hours on Friday, 22nd June 2012 for Special Regulations inspections. Deep draught yachts may be inspected at Dun Laoghaire, by agreement with the race organisers.

RORC SPECIAL REGULATIONS CHECK-LIST
Each entrant must complete an ISAF Offshore Special Regulations Check List. The completed Check List must be submitted to Wicklow Sailing Club prior to the start of the race and a copy must also be retained onboard the yacht.

ADVERTISING Advertising will be acceptable under conditions to be provided on application. Yachts may carry advertising according to the Racing Rules of Sailing and their class or rating authority. Yachts will be required to fly a race flag and may be required to apply a race sticker to each side of the hull.

TRACKING It will be mandatory for yachts to carry a Tracker Unit for the duration of the race. A refundable deposit, which may be set against a credit card, may be required.

AIS TRANSPONDER All yachts must be equipped with an operational AIS Transponder, which must be switched on and transmitting and receiving for the entire duration of the race.

TIDES Wicklow Harbour, Sunday 24th June 2012. Times are local and are approximate.
HW - 1432hrs

RATING CERTIFICATES
All competitors must apply to the RORC Rating Office as early as possible prior to the race, in order to obtain their current Endorsed Certificates in good time. Please note, STIX and AVS data is required for boats with a series date of 1995 and later. The cut-off date for amended Rating Certificates shall be Thursday the 21st June 2012.

PUBLICITY Entrants should include, with their entry, two recent photographs of the yacht for the programme and for publicity purposes.

Published in Round Ireland
Matt Davis is the Irish Independent/Afloat.ie "Sailor of the Month" for September. The youthful Skerries skipper and his crew of all the talents from Fingal successfully defended the Irish Sea Offshore Championship with a dedicated season-long campaign in their Sigma 400 Raging Bull.

The welcome revival of the offshore racing programme in the Irish Sea has been steered by Peter Ryan of the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire, but without the enthusiastic crew like the Skerries squad, it just wouldn't happen.

Apart from the continuous effort of keeping a frontline offshore racer and all her equipment in sound working order, the demands on personnel for time in this crowded era can be quite exceptional. The logistics are formidable, as the regular cross channel ISORA programme is based on a willingness to alternate between starting points on the Welsh and Irish coast.

DL2D_-_Raging_Bull-14

Matt Davis and crew on board Raging Bull in one of this year's ISORA races. Photo: Brian Carlin

For boats heading for an away start, it often involves an overnight passage beforehand. In the case of Raging Bull, all starts are away events, as the programme does not as yet take in Skerries. But we can hope that this will change in the future, as the nucleus of a Fingal offshore racing group develops around the Davis success.

With the summer of 2011's uneven weather, Raging Bull's crew had to be fit and ready to take full advantage of their boat's proven ability in rugged weather, while at the same time managing to turn in a respectable performance in light airs.

For the first time, the biennial Dun Laoghaire-Dingle race was recognized as an ISORA event, and Davis and his crew revelled in it. For much of the race they were the only boat mounting a significant challenge to the pace setter, Martin Breen's Reflex 38 Galway Harbour. Though the Skerries boat had to be content with the runner-up slot to the Galway boat in Dingle, they were first of all the ISORA participants, a top score which stood well to them when they continued with the Irish Sea programme right up until mid-September. Despite the limited size of the harbour, the maritime spirit of Skerries is manifesting itself in many areas of sailing, and Matt Davis's achievement is typical of the special Fingal fervour.

More on Matt's 2011 victory in Autumn Afloat magazine out next week!

More ISORA News here
Ireland must do more to develop its port and shipping services or risk missing out on the benefits of the growning renewable energy sector.
That was the message from a new analysis compiled by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland and the Irish Maritime Development Office, as reported by Renewable Energy Magazine.
The current lack of supply services and equipment for renewables in Irish ports could threaten the country's promise in the fields of offshore wind, tidal and wave energy, the report states.
It is estimated that the total value of such renewable energy sectors could be as much as €16 billion.
The east coast has been identified as the best location for offshore wind and tidal projects, while the south and west coasts were best for wave power and wind farms.
“We now need to look at the investment in infrastructure required if we are to properly capitalise on the current opportunities in this area," said the report.
Renewable Energy Magazine has more on the story HERE.

Ireland must do more to develop its port and shipping services or risk missing out on the benefits of the growning renewable energy sector.

That was the message from a new analysis compiled by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland and the Irish Maritime Development Office, as reported by Renewable Energy Magazine.

The current lack of supply services and equipment for renewables in Irish ports could threaten the country's promise in the fields of offshore wind, tidal and wave energy, the report states.

It is estimated that the total value of such renewable energy sectors could be as much as €16 billion. 

The east coast has been identified as the best location for offshore wind and tidal projects, while the south and west coasts were best for wave power and wind farms.

“We now need to look at the investment in infrastructure required if we are to properly capitalise on the current opportunities in this area," said the report.

Renewable Energy Magazine has more on the story HERE.

Published in Power From the Sea
Wicklow Sailing Club is comtemplating a mid-day start for the 2012 Round Ireland yacht race on Sunday, June 24th. Plans for the 31st offshore race are underway and will follow the successful pre-start 'Wicklow Sailfest' formula held in the town in 2008 and 2010.
Published in Round Ireland

Irish Offshore Sailing, a new yacht training centre based in Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin is now launching its autumn winter calendar, having had a very busy first season, despite the current economic climate.

The school is an RYA and ISA recognised yacht training centre and was set up by Corkman Rónán Ó Siochrú in January 2011. The school runs liveaboard sailing courses onboard a 2002 Jeanneau Sunfast 37 called "Desert Star".

Sailing school Principal, Ronan O Siochru attributes much of the schools success to date to holding onto a set of core values throughout each course: A commitment to professional, affordable sail training in a 'warm friendly Irish atmosphere'. "We have come into the market under no illusion as to the difficulties in the tourism and leisure sector in a recession, but we have priced our courses in a way that reflects realistically what people can afford to pay for a sailing course.

The most important key to our success, has been a driven campaign to bridge the gap between the large number of people who have never set foot on a sailing boat, and a liveaboard sailing course! We offer evening and afternoon 2 and a half hour sails at €30 per person on the days when the yacht is not working on a practical course. This has worked extremely well for us in getting clients to take that leap of faith in booking onto a weekend liveaboard sailing course, and in spreading the word that we are a new training centre and are here to stay!

I have always had a personal commitment, to help break down this notion that sailing is a sport for the elite, having spent two years living in France, I saw how the French promote sailing in their country in the same way the GAA promote hurling and football."

Irish Offshore Sailing also offer sailing courses through Irish and French. This is a niche in the market and is certainly likely to take off over the coming year. Despite running a few very successful courses, it has had to sit on the back burner this summer, due to the business of the summer season and a lack of time to generate an effective marketing campaign. Irish Offshore Sailing are also looking forward to next season in getting an offshore racing campaign off the ground.

O' Siochru skippered a Sunfast 37 in the Round Ireland Yacht Race to a 23rd place overall with a crew of novice sailors.

When asked, how do you handle skippering a yacht offshore with the kite up in the dark with a bunch of beginner sailors he smiles......" its amazing what yacht crews can do when they just do some training, and iron out problems with each manoeuvre!" "We come across quite a lot of sailors in this country who become so eager to be boat owners that they miss out on that important learning process of being onboard yachts with experienced sailors to learn from. It was amazing even during the boom, how some people could fork out over €100,000 for a yacht and yet, be unwilling to part with €650 to learn how to use it!

The height of the summer season is starting to come to an end, but it looks like Irish Offshore Sailing has become established as a sailing school on the East Coast, with bookings filled into the end of October and over 1,000 hits per month on their website.

"I cannot believe it has worked out so well for us, I sailed Desert Star into Dun Laoghaire on the 22nd of April, maxed out on all credit, without a penny in the bank, but with a lovely yacht ready for work, a good website and a burning ambition to see it succeed...... and I think we have done okay! Most importantly, I've made a job for myself that I like.... I love sailing, I like working outdoors, I love teaching and (despite its headaches) I like working for myself!

Published in Offshore
Most people are content to board a plane or jump in the car to go somewhere nice on holiday. But for three Orkney Islanders only a jet ski will do.

Colin Gregg, Dugy Ward and Gary Forber have just completed an amazing jet ski adventure covering some 4570 miles at sea from Orkney to Monaco aboard their Yamaha FX HO Cruiser Jet Skis. They called it the European Jet Ski Challenge.

Setting off on 1 May 2011 and arriving in Monaco 26 days later, the three adventurers raised over £21,000 (excluding Gift Aid) for two charities: Macmillan Cancer Support and Make A Wish Foundation.

In order to reach Monaco this summer, they needed the toughest and most reliable marine navigator around. So they chose the Garmin GPSMAP 451 a compact chartplotter featuring an ultra-bright 4" colour display. Colin says: "I chose the best navigator on the market to give me the greatest chance of completing the challenge. During the voyage it endured waves up to 8 metres and withstood 4570 miles in all weathers. It is however, still in perfect condition and ready for our next adventure!"

Previously, Colin and Dugy successfully circumnavigated the UK mainland in a record time of 11 days 8 hours and 45 minutes, raising nearly £25,500 for Macmillan Cancer Support and establishing a new world record.

For more information please visit http://www.europeanjetskichallenge.co.uk/

Published in Offshore
Tagged under
Every offshore racing team faces the same dilemma at some point: sail a greater distance in the hope you'll get more favourable wind or sail the most direct route and take the risk of becoming more or less becalmed.

This question and the decisions taken are behind today's shake up at the top of the Race 1 leader board as Gold Coast Australia, which was at the head of the fleet 24 hours ago, plumps for the first option, while Visit Finland is sticking to the rhumb line in their quest to be the first to fly a yellow winner's pennant in Clipper 11-12.

"Who would have thought that yesterday morning we were smashing into 25 knots of wind with rain and not a glimpse of sun and this morning we are sailing downwind with 20 knots behind us in glorious sunshine... it's almost as good as being on the Gold Coast of Australia!" says skipper, Richard Hewson.

"Yesterday the tactical decision was made to gybe east towards land in a direction away from Madeira and head towards the Portuguese coast towards a developing wind belt between two pressure systems. The benefit of this is also to pick up stronger currents flowing south down the Portuguese coast.

"During the evening the decision was made to change from the heavy weight spinnaker to the medium weight. Alas, during the change some extensive chafing was noticed on the spinnaker halyards. After hoisting the medium spinnaker on the starboard halyard, the crew worked hard to re-splice cover onto the port halyard to prevent further chafing.

"At 0400 the wind backed to the north northwest and co-incidentally it was change of watch time and a perfect time to gybe back onto starboard and resume our course for Madeira.

"At the moment we are just off Lisbon on the west coast of Portugal and making good speed towards our destination.  We will not know if our decision to cover the extra miles and head inshore has paid off until this morning's, or even this evening's sched (a sched is communication between the race fleet and the race office to notify them of our position).  My guess is that at the moment the rest of the fleet are a lot further west to and closer Madeira as the crow flies.  We will have to wait and see if our 'flyer' has paid off."

Have a look at the wind forecast on the race viewer on www.clipperroundtheworld.com, clicking through the next 12, 24 and 36 hours to see whether you think Gold Coast Australia's tactic is the correct one. The arrows show the direction and strength of the forecast wind.

Visit Finland is back in the lead and the team's navigator, Tomi Lintonen, also remarks on the difference in the conditions they now have. "What a contrast to the previous couple of nights!" he says. "Now we know that racing can sometimes feel luxurious. For a while it seemed that we would not be able to see the half-moon or the stars due to a band of clouds closing in from the west but after midnight we were treated to a friendly sight of hundreds (sorry, just hundreds, not millions) of stars. We were fortunate to have enough breeze to keep the lightweight spinnaker up all through the night - and it aided our fine ship in eating up the miles separating us from the pleasures of Madeira."

New York is maintaining pressure on Visit Finland and Gold Coast Australia and they, too, are enjoying the respite from the battering of the last two days.

Gareth Glover, skipper of the US entry, says, "The sea is still rolling a bit in the swells that the storm churned up and with the kite up, the helm and the trimmers were doing their best to squeeze out some low single digit knots. Talk turned to where the boats that sped down the coast were. They seem to have gained some distance but perhaps not that much towards the finish.

"The breeze was slightly better by evening and the crew settled down for a starry night of helming and trimming. Scorpio was just setting as the 10pm watch came on and Sirius appearing in the east was bright enough to throw a reflecting stream on the gentle seas... The dreads of last night seem so far away."

The podium places in this race are all there for the taking and Derry-Londonderry, Singapore and Welcome to Yorkshire are all in with a chance of claiming one - and they're all working hard to get there.

Mark Light, skipper of Derry-Londonderry, reports a night full of headsail changes. "We have gone from a beautiful sail with our medium weight spinnaker to poled-out Yankee 2, to windseeker and now to Yankee 1 as the breeze is now building from the west northwest.

"My crew are very proficient at most evolutions and are showing great confidence even at this early stage. I do give my watch leaders and assistants lots of responsibility and they have responded with lots of intelligent and pro-active answers. I'm no Einstein but my theory is: Crew Responsibility + Coaching + Confidence = (Fast Boat + Happy Boat) x Extra Sleep! I was never good at maths but I'm liking simultaneous equations more and more!"

While Mark has discovered a new skill for maths, on Welcome to Yorkshire it's gymnastics, according to skipper, Rupert Dean.

"Our lives have been transformed from being thrown around at 20 degrees to trying to coax life into lifeless sails on a flat deck - very difficult when the residual wind is overcome by confused, sloppy seas from the day before," he tells the race office this morning.

"Moving around the boat in these conditions is every bit as much of a challenge as in rough weather. For with lack of wind to induce a constant angle of heel, the boat moves unpredictably in the sloppy seas, making us all stumble around like drunken men. Some can cope with this better than others. Keith Pickering, for example, has found a unique way of getting across the boat quickly, which involves unannounced backflips. His latent gift for gymnastics was spotted when doing a back-flip across the deck, which impressed us all. No harm done, fortunately, but it does demonstrate the point that working on boats has its hazards. Needless to say, all on Welcome to Yorkshire send their condolences to Russell Sandbach on Geraldton Western Australia. It could have happened to anyone."

"It's been a calmer night in many ways for the crew on Geraldton Western Australia," says Juan Coetzer, skipper of the Western Australian yacht. "After our pit stop in Vigo we have enjoyed lighter winds on our journey south west to re-join the fleet. Below decks things are back to normal with everyone catching up on a bit of rest and adapting to our new watches following Russell's, hopefully brief, departure. He's planning to re-join us with Madeira cake and beer!"

He'll be heartened by all the messages of support on the Clipper Race Facebook page!

Reports from across the fleet this morning have an air of relief about them - none more so than from Singapore, whose skipper, Ben Bowley says, "We have seen a marked improvement in the weather and therefore the general mood aboard Singapore.  The sun has been out, people are dry, the boat is stable and things can finally get clean and tidy.  I feel that part of the joy of yachting is pulling through the really rough times when one really is at one's wits end and emerging the other side with a greater appreciation of life's simple pleasures.  Such things as dry, clean clothes we tend to take for granted in everyday life whereas on a yacht they can be the greatest of luxuries.  Having these deprivations at sea tends to change one's attitude to life when back ashore.

"In terms of our sailing performance over the last 24 hours, we started off very well, managing to hoist our heavy kite early in the day yesterday.  The conditions were not ideal as there was a failing wind combined with a confused heavy sea, throwing the boat violently from side to side as if she were a child's toy in the bath, hence the choice of the heavy, more robust spinnaker.  We were able to hold the kite well through the day until around mid-afternoon the halyard parted approximately ten metres from the top.  The kite was recovered with no further damage and the Yankee 2 swiftly raised and poled out to allow us to still make good progress downwind.

"This is how we have been running for the last 12 hours, slowly, almost dead down wind, whilst we endeavour to put more chafe protection on the forward inboard end of the spreaders.  Chafe is going to become the bane of our lives on these yachts with a lot of areas yet to be discovered the hard way and protected against.  The wind has just backed round and come forward of the beam so currently Rotary watch are rigging for a change to the Yankee 1.  Hopefully a day of close reaching toward Madeira in light, flat conditions will give the guys a chance to have a taste of how life aboard is to work for extended periods.  Thermals and underwear are to be washed today, as are bodies, as we have finally dug out the solar showers purchased pre-departure.  Hopefully we can finish the chafe protection on the spreaders before the wind comes aft again requiring the kite."

Chafing - where a rope rubs constantly against a piece of the metal rigging and wears through if you don't pick it up quickly enough - is also on the minds of the team on board Edinburgh Inspiring Capital.

Skipper, Gordon Reid, writes this morning, "The old saying that 'chafe is the enemy' was proven to be correct following our previous night flying towards Madeira. The crew are proving to be quite skilled at recognising as well as resolving any potential problems before they become problems and spent a large part of the day whipping lines and applying chafe protection to every surface of the boat that might give us a problem.

"They are all now in the solutions business... 'No problems, only solutions'. Sometimes solutions arrive without problems, it's great to watch! The standard and quality of the workmanship was very impressive and they whipped and spliced their way around the entire race yacht.

"Whilst all of this activity was underway we continued to tease every knot out of the yacht under spinnaker in sometimes light and fickle winds. Our patience paid out as the wind backed and filled once again we were rocking along under conventional headsails. The crew have found their inner tigers and want to roar!"

While, at the back of the fleet, Qingdao's dragon may not be roaring, the fire in her belly is not extinguished either. There are still more than 38,000 miles and 14 more races in Clipper 11-12 and, as is often said, it is a marathon not a sprint. Skills learned in difficult times will stand the team in good stead for the rest of their campaign.

Ian Conchie, skipper of Qingdao, says, "It's been a quiet-ish night; no reefing, no rain, no shipping.  For once the only excitement we had was a broken strop on a spinnaker sheet! And a toast related fire alarm - all causing me interrupted sleep but no major drama. It's been a good 24 hours as we have kept the boat moving in pretty much the same direction, just praying for more wind to speed us on our way!  If the forecast is right the wind should start to veer today and build to speed us down for the final push to Madeira!"

The first yachts are expected to arrive at Quinta do Lorde Marina on Tuesday 9 August.

Positions at 0900 UTC, Sunday 7 August

Boat                                DTF*
1 Visit Finland 459nm
2 New York 474nm (+15nm DTL*)
3 Gold Coast Australia 477nm (+18nm)
4 Derry-Londonderry 485nm (+26nm)
5 Welcome to Yorkshire 493nm (+34nm)
6 Singapore 497nm (+38nm)
7 De Lage Landen 520nm (+61nm)
8 Geraldton Western Australia 558nm (+99nm)
9 Edinburgh Inspiring Capital 567nm (+107nm)
10 Qingdao 607nm (+148nm)

*DTF = Distance to Finish, DTL = Distance to Leader
Full positions are updated every three hours and can be found at www.clipperroundtheworld.com.

Published in Clipper Race
Tagged under
Page 31 of 35

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