SAILING WORLD 2018 BOAT OF THE YEAR AWARDS
A FIRST-CLASS CARBON CAT, A MINI FOILER, A GRAND-PRIX ONE-DESIGN AND A BUCKET-LIST RACER RISE TO THE TOP
SHAPE SHIFTERS A 6 METRE RESURGENCE IS UNDERWAY
JOBSON ALL-STAR JUNIORS EIGHT OF THE BEST TEENS IN SAILING
The legend continues.
Hi n c k l e y Yac ht s . c om / B e r m ud a 5 0
SAN DIEGO, CA March 16-18 San Diego Yacht Club Coronado Yacht Club ANNAPOLIS, MD May 4-6 Annapolis Yacht Club CHICAGO, IL June 8-10 Chicago Yacht Club MARBLEHEAD, MA July 26-29 Eastern Yacht Club CARIBBEAN NOOD CHAMPIONSHIP October 21-26 British Virgin Islands
EXPERIENCE THE NOOD BRINGING SAILORS TOGETHER FOR 30 YEARS
The NOOD Regattas were born of an ambitious regatta scheme in 1988: three days of racing off Newport, Rhode Island, for one-design and level classes, and an onshore spectacle the likes of which no one had ever seen. Fast forward to today and only the location has changed, to include six stops at spectacular yacht clubs across the country. Enter today to help celebrate our 30th at sailingworld.com/ nood-regattas or email email@example.com
PAUL TODD/OUTSIDE IMAGES
2 0 1 8 R E G AT TA S
ST. PETERSBURG, FL February 16-18 St. Petersburg Yacht Club
A N N I V ER SA RY
20 18 ORGA NIZED BY
CONTENTS JA N UA RY/ F E B RUA RY
2 0 18
030 CENTER OF EFFORT As new foiling giants of the sea embark to rewrite the record book, there’s a new respect for sea state.
034 JOBSON REPORT What do these eight Jobson Junior All-Stars have in common? Results, and the drive to succeed. FROM THE EXPERTS
066 S T R AT E G Y Olympic 470 campaigner David Hughes lays out a pathway to get you to your next “Big Event.”
068 RULES World Sailing redeﬁnes its rules and ramiﬁcations regarding support persons, and the practice of playing tactical offense. DEPARTMENTS
BOAT OF THE YEAR
VALLE OF DREAMS
From a ﬂeet of 10 new boats, four emerge as ﬁnalists during our annual testing session. For 2018, our independent judges peg a reﬁned carbon catamaran as the best of the best.
More than a century of design and evolution in the 6 Metre class is on display at this remarkable world championship gathering in Vancouver — a regatta ﬁt for a king.
The International Women’s Keelboat Championship brings competitors to a high mountain lake in the middle of Mexico to elevate the regatta’s status and provide an open forum.
By Dave Reed Photos by Walter Cooper
By Dave Reed Photos by Neil Rabinowitz
By Ellinor Walters Photos by Mauricio Arregui Castro
ON THE COVER Sailing World’s 2018 Boat of the Year judging team tests the ClubSwan 50 One Design in Annapolis, Maryland. Photo by Walter Cooper
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It’s not for everybody, but that’s the beauty of it. Don’t let life inhibit your adventure potential. Break free from uninspiring daily routines to reconnect with the open-water, where the sweet sound of buzzing lines and the irresistible scent of salty ocean breezes captivate your seafaring soul. With the helm in your hands and the world at your feet, you’re free to play by your own rules and frolic between uncommon coordinates. Come aboard, embrace the exotic, and let Sunsail whisk you away one nautical mile at a time.
Bareboat | Skippered | Flotillas | Sailing Schools Call 800.437.7880 or visit sunsail.com
E DITO R DAVE REED
Dryland Training Competitive sailing enters the digital age with the launch of the eSailing World Championship. Virtual Regatta Inshore places up to 10 competitors on a short racecourse, inviting plenty of boat-on-boat interaction. Judgments are swift in this game, with instantaneous penalties and rule citations. You’re DSQ’d after two penalties. P HOTO : DAV E R E E D
O“Hon? Are you staying up?”
“Um ... er ... no. Hold on. Just … uh … ﬁnishing something,” I yell up to my wife as I’m closing gauge with a starboard tacker. What the? I can’t believe that guy just hunted me like that! What a jerk. There I sit, alone in my living room in the soft glow of a small lamp, mumbling to myself and cursing someone I don’t even
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BY DAV E R E E D
know, someone who has just suckered me into fouling them mere seconds into the ﬁrst leg of the race. Whoever he or she is, they’re ruthless on this virtual racecourse. Because of my penalty turn, I lose another race — granted, a race that has zero consequences. But I hate to lose, even if it is a silly video game, a game I’m playing on my iPhone, against nine other people with avatars. At this late hour, it’s me and the gamers. Me? A gamer? No way. Games are for my teenagers. After crossing the checkered ﬁnish line, I tell myself, “One more.” Five minutes later, I do it again. And again. And again. Forty-ﬁve minutes pass before I ﬁnally close the app and open another, to check in on my Volvo Ocean Race Virtual Regatta yacht (I’m registered as “Sailing World,” for those of you who are also playing) to make sure I have the right sail and best VMG before going off-watch until 3 a.m., when I will wake up and check my boat again. I admit it, Virtual Regatta has me hooked
Creative Director Dave Weaver Associate Editor Ellinor Walters Digital Editor Benjamin Meyers Copy Chief Cindy Martin Junior Designer Tanya Loranca Editors at Large Peter Isler, Gary Jobson, Dave Powlison Racing Editors Ed Baird, Andy Horton, Steve Hunt, Terry Hutchinson, Mike Ingham, Jonathan McKee, Tony Rey Contributing Editors Kimball Livingston, Angus Phillips, Dick Rose, David Schmidt, Dr. Stuart Walker SAILING WORLD EDITORIAL OFFICE 55 Hammarlund Way, Middletown, RI 02842 401-845-5100; fax 401-845-5180 sailingworld.com, firstname.lastname@example.org Reprints: Email email@example.com WRITER/PHOTOGRAPHER GUIDELINES: Send stories and photos to Sailing World (address above) or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org). FREE EMAIL NEWSLETTER: Sign up to receive our weekly SW e-newsletter at sailingworld.com. Editorial Director Shawn Bean Creative Director Dave Weaver Group Marketing Director Haley Bischof Senior Marketing Manager Kelly MacDonald Public Relations Manager Evily Giannopoulos
Chairman Tomas Franzén Head of Business Area, Magazines Lars Dahmén Chief Executive Officer Eric Zinczenko Chief Financial Officer Joachim Jaginder Chief Operating Officer David Ritchie Chief Marketing Officer Elizabeth Burnham Murphy Chief Digital Revenue Officer Sean Holzman Vice President, Integrated Sales John Graney Vice President, Digital Operations David Butler Vice President, Public Relations Perri Dorset General Counsel Jeremy Thompson
Volume LVII, Number 1 SAILING WORLD (ISSN 0889-4094) is published six times a year, in Jan./Feb., March/April, May/June, July/Aug., Sept./Oct., Nov./Dec. by Bonnier Corp., 460 N. Orlando Ave., Suite 200, Winter Park, FL 32789. Copyright 2017 by Bonnier Corp. All rights reserved. Reprinting in whole or part forbidden except by permission of the publisher. Occasionally, we make portions of our subscriber list available to carefully screened companies that offer products and services we think might be of interest to you. If you do not want to receive these offers, please advise us at 515-237-3697. The title Sailing World is a registered trademark. Editorial contributions should be accompanied by a selfaddressed, stamped envelope. Editorial offices are at 55 Hammarlund Way, Middletown, RI 02842. Manuscripts, art and photographs are handled with care, but no liability is accepted. Periodicals postage paid at Winter Park, FL, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to P.O. Box 6364, Harlan, IA 51593-1864. Subscription rates. For one year (6 issues) $40.00; Canada $52.00; other international $64.00. Orders outside the U.S. must be prepaid in U.S. funds. Publication Agreement Number 40612608. Canada Return Mail: IMEX Global Solutions P.O. Box 25542, London, ON N6C 6B2 Canada.
Billy Black and Outside Images/Paul Todd © 2018 J/Boats Inc.
The NEW 40' Offshore Speedster for Five The new J/121 is a 40’ offshore speedster that can be day-raced or distance sailed by just 5 or fewer crew…. the best short-handed J ever…. capable of winning on any race track while also excelling as the family weekender. Here’s a boat, class and program that redeﬁnes sailboat racing as shared adventure with friends, on a boat that’s pure magic to sail. Newport-Bermuda, Middle Sea, Caribbean 600, Chicago-Mac, and Transpac are just a few of the signature events J/121 owners are entering in 2018/2019.
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“Virtual Regatta has me hooked — me and apparently about a million other digital sailors, who are now brushing up their keyboard skills for the start of World Sailing’s eSailing World Championship.” Championships, it further states, will be held in Sarasota, Florida, in November 2018 (the site of World Sailing’s annual meetings). Competitive gaming, or “eSports,” is a massive industry. Even ESPN added eSports to its X Games Summer lineup in Austin, Texas, in 2016, calling it “the next big thing.” Today, there’s Major League Gaming, just like Major League Baseball, the PGA and the NHL, with teams, competitions and players. MLG claims to have “one of the fastest-growing digital networks worldwide,” which connects to its diverse fan base through streaming competitions and packed venues, where audiences in the thousands stare wideeyed at jumbotrons, rooting for players with headsets, controllers and tall cans of energy drinks. According to Virtual Regatta — which develops the Inshore and Virtual Volvo Ocean Race games, as well as numerous other eSailing competitions — most of its current players are young, and not traditional sailors
like you and me. This strange new world of competitive gaming, says World Sailing, “connects fans without access to sailing equipment or facilities to become engaged in the excitement of the sport.” “The unique qualities of sailing — combining sport, nature and technology — lend themselves to a virtual gaming environment,” says World Sailing. “The multiplicity of variables, with the combination of equipment and the forces of nature, make virtual sailing every bit as challenging and strategic as the real thing.” On that last point, I beg to differ. Tacking from the comfort of a recliner will never be as challenging as going wire to wire on a foiling catamaran or grinding in a 150 percent genoa in a high-wind tacking duel. Still, speaking from my own experiences, Virtual Regatta Inshore is highly addictive and quite useful for understanding how the Racing Rules of Sailing work. The games are especially good at reinforcing tactical tenets, such as tacking in the zone is a high-risk move. Once logged in to Virtual Regatta (as a guest or registered player), you ﬁnd yourself with an overhead view of your boat and the racecourse while you wait for other players to join. Once that happens, with a maximum of 10 players, a one-minute pre-start countdown begins. It’s a scramble to determine the favored end avoiding other boats. Control the boat using left and right arrow icons on the screen (or a keyboard). Tap one of three other icons to tack (or jibe), ease sails, and set or douse a spinnaker for races that use spinnaker boats. The upper right corner of the screen displays windspeed, boatspeed and VMG, and apparent wind angle, which reveals the subtle windshifts. One tricky element of the game, particularly when playing on a mobile device, is when boats pile up at a mark rounding; it’s impossible to determine who’s who. Red exclamation points that pop up when penalties are applied only make the chaos more confusing, so a laptop or monitor is best for viewing. The graphics and interface are good for what you pay (it is free, at the moment), and the game is simple enough for any sailor to understand and get around the track. The races themselves, however, can be extremely challenging to win, so much so that once I start, I can’t stop playing. Virtual Regatta claims more than 1 million active players, myself now included, and while I don’t have any aspirations of gaming myself to the eSailing World Championship in November, or winning a leg of the Virtual Volvo Ocean Race, I do intend to give my thumbs a serious workout this winter. Q
BY DAV E R E E D
— me and apparently about a million other digital sailors, who are now brushing up their keyboard skills for the start of World Sailing’s eSailing World Championship. What’s this “eSailing” you ask? The same question comes to me after reading a recent press release from sailing’s governing body, which announced from its annual meeting in November 2017 that it was launching its “revolutionary” regatta. “A new set of World Sailing regulations will be used to allow the sport’s Racing Rules of Sailing to be adapted to the virtual world,” read the release, before explaining that “inshore regattas” would be held throughout the year, with players accumulating points that will establish their standings in the eSailing World Rankings. Those in the rankings will “have the opportunity to qualify for global playoffs, and ultimately participation in the live final.” The ﬁnal of the inaugural eSailing World
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For 25 years, Gary Jobson has served as the National Chairman of the Leukemia Cup Regatta campaign. During that time, the series has grown from two events in 1993 raising $30,000 to over 45 regattas throughout 1RUWK$PHULFDWKDWKDYHUDLVHGRYHUPLOOLRQRYHUDOO*DU\·VOHDGHUVKLSLQPRWLYDWLQJWKHVDLOLQJFRPPXQLW\ to support The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) have resulted in incredible research and treatment strides LQDFFHOHUDWLQJFDQFHUFXUHVDQGLPSURYLQJWKHTXDOLW\RIOLIHIRUSDWLHQWVDQGWKHLUIDPLOLHV2QEHKDOIRI//6·V volunteers, friends and staff, thank you, Gary, for your incredible vision and efforts.
Photo of Gary Jobson: Dan Nerney; Third photo down on left: Ellen Hoke Photography
THANK YOU, GARY JOBSON!
UPCOMING EVENTS Arizona Yacht Club • February 16-18, 2018 • Tempe, AZ • www.leukemiacup.org/az Isles Yacht Club • March 24, 2018 • Punta Gorda, FL • www.leukemiacup.org/sun Southern Yacht Club • April 7-8, 2018 • Porsche of New Orleans Leukemia Cup Regatta • New Orleans, LA www.leukemiacup.org/msla
sailing to make someday today
JOIN US: LEUKEMIACUP.ORG
Laurence Belkins Chris Bellone Bill Bolas John Boyle Guy Brierre Jeff Burch Holly Callia Brenda Cheney Dan Dagit John Doerr Burt Benrud Ruth Emblin Dave Erwin Pam Gaffigan Sameer Gandhi Frank Giampoli Lori Giampoli Nancy Hagood Stanley Hales Ted Hannig Joel Honea Marcel Houtzager Tracy Howard Dominic Irpino John Kilroy Schley Knight Torin Knorr Chris Kostanecki Robert Kottler Carl Krawitt Lisa Liles Chris McGraw Gary McGraw Mike McGuire
Bill McKenzie Mark McLaughlin John McNeill J. Miles Reidy Scotty Murray &RQQLH2·&RQQRU 7HG2·&RQQRU Nelson Pemberton Frank Plourde Brad Polivka Debbie Polivka Tom Purdy Rob Ralston J. Miles Reidy Chris Robertson Doug Robinson Diane Simon Donald Steiner Susan Stevens Lisa Thorndike Michael Tubre George Umberger Clare Vanderbeek Johnny Wacker Jim Wade Larry Weinhoff Bill Wildner Travis Wilhite Jim Wilson Judy Wilson Myra Wolper Honore Woodside Linda Zager
CONGRATULATIONS to the top 2017 national fundraising teams: Zephyr, Southern Yacht Club: Holly Callia, Dave Erwin, Robert Kottler and J. Miles Reidy, $147,410 Team Tartan, Washington Sailing Marina: Chris McGraw, Gary McGraw and Faith Rodell, $104,893 Team EYC, Eastport Yacht Club: Rob Greve, Carol McGillin, Dick McSeveney, Jack Morkan, Carly Piel, Ken Piel, Bill Pieklik, Hunter Pieklik, Pam Ray, George Seigle, Clare Vanderbeek, $68,400 Compass Self Storage, Cleveland Yachting Club: $62,426 Team Wilson, American Yacht Club:, Jim and Judy Wilson, $54,226
CONGRATULATIONS to the top 2017 national fundraising individuals: Chris Kostanecki, San Francisco Yacht Club, $151,414 John Doerr, San Francisco Yacht Club, $100,000 Tracy Howard, Columbia Yacht Club, $87,146 Robert Kottler, Southern Yacht Club, $85,195 Donald Steiner, New York Yacht Club, $82,801
CONGRATULATIONS to the San Francisco Yacht Club, winners of the Jobson Cup for the 11th consecutive year as the top 2017 fundraising campaign. Photo: Ellen Hoke Photography
CONGRATULATIONS to the following participants who qualified for the 2017 Fantasy Sail with Gary Jobson, held in Annapolis, MD:
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The Chuny Eﬀect He doesn’t say much because his experience says it all.
do when one of his starters is put on the injured reserve before the start of a crucial 7,000-mile leg from Lisbon to Cape Town? Simple: Find the guy who can practically do it in his sleep. For Vestas 11th Hour Racing’s Mark Towill, the search to temporarily ﬁll teammate Phil Harmer’s sea boots led to Spaniard Roberto Bermúdez de Castro, a six-time veteran and two-time winner of the race who happened to be looking for a ride to Cape Town. Weeks earlier, before the race start in Alicante, Bermúdez de Castro parted ways with Team Akzo Nobel and was hanging around Lisbon as an eager free agent. “He was very keen to do the leg,” says Towill. “To get a guy with his experience was a nobrainer.” Vestas 11th Hour navigator Simon Fisher won the previous edition with Bermúdez de Castro on Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, but the rest of the team had yet to experience the quiet efficiency of the guy nicknamed Chuny. “He’s very focused on the performance but able to keep things light,” says Towill. There were many moments in the 19-day oceanic sprint when Bermúdez de Castro’s experience helped his teammates maintain pace with leg winners Mapfre and runner-up Dongfeng. “He has fantastic feel for the boat — when to change sails and when to shift the stack,” says Towill. “At the beginning of the leg, he kept saying, in his Spanish accent, ‘It can even happen in the best families,’ when he was talking about overtrimming the sails. At ﬁrst, I didn’t quite understand, but I caught on, and it became a little joke. We’d ask, ‘Best families?’ meaning, ‘Is the sail overtrimmed?’” A little levity on board goes a long way, says Towill, and in this department Bermúdez de Castro’s contributions were noticeable. “No matter what the conditions were, there was an abundance of smiles, and that has an impact on the speed,” he says. “We saw a lot of downwind and reaching, and he was solid on the wheel. He always had the polar percentage with triple digits.” —Dave Reed
Vestas 11th Hour’s Mark Towill (left) was happy to have Volvo Ocean Race six-timer and ﬁll-in Roberto Bermúdez de Castro on the helm in the early, high-speed days of Leg Two. P H O T O : M A R T I N K E R U Z O R É / V O LV O O C E A N R A C E
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OWhat’s a Volvo Ocean Race team director to
BY E L L I N O R WA LT E R S
A video game provides virtual access to the water for anyone with an internet connection.
Sailing programs in Australia have invested in virtual reality to engage juniors on a different level. PHOTO: COURTESY GREG DZIEMIDOWICZ
O I tighten the headset around my head and pull
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S TA R T I N G L I N E
Adding Another Dimension
the goggles over my eyes. No, I’m not stepping on a high-performance race boat, I’m going sailing, virtually in VR Regatta: The Sailing Game. The owner of Base Station VR in Providence, Rhode Island, ﬂips a switch, and I’m transported to a tropical bungalow surrounded by crystal-clear water. Looking around the room, I see a number of wall hangings — one features high scores of other players. I walk outside where two boats are tied to the dock: a keelboat and a Laser. I select the latter and opt for a sunset sail to ﬁgure out the controls. I press the ignition and start motoring away from the dock. I bring in the mainsail using the pedestal in the middle of the boat and trim the jib with a winch. Trimming the sails correctly and steering the boat at the right angle directly translates to the boat’s VMG. While VR Regatta is a video game, it’s incredible how much technique from real-life sailing carries over. Attention and ﬁnetuning is key to sailing in VR. The smallest adjustment in steering or trim results in instant changes in speed. Sails luff when I go head-to wind, and water gurgles when speed increases. It’s realistic, says sailmaker Tristian Sinaju, of Annapolis, Maryland, who plays the game. “I’m very impressed with the game. It’s not very complex, but the controls respond well, and you can shift your body weight around the dinghy to ﬂatten the boat when you’re heeling.” Players can sail a generic keelboat, racing a downwind course, or race a Laser on a short course. The Laser requires sailors to grip
the virtual mainsheet tight and use the handheld controller as a tiller extension. The only obvious downside to sailing the boat in VR is that players can’t physically feel the heel of the boat, so when a puff hits, there’s a natural instinct to hike out despite no real counterforce. When first released, VR headsets and controllers weren’t cost-effective, but now a virtual-reality gaming setup costs $2,000 or less. Greg Dziemidowicz, the CEO of MarineVerse and creator of VR Regatta, tells me that several clubs in Australia have integrated the game into their junior sailing programs. Instead of watching a movie or playing unrelated games during bad weather, VR Regatta helps keep kids focused on the sport, challenging each other around the virtual racecourse, reviewing rules and tactics, and just refreshing parts of the boats. The application of VR Regatta is something the creators of the game don’t even have a grip on themselves. For now, MarineVerse’s focus is education, but there’s a possibility the game could evolve to have implications for serious Corinthians and professionals, and MarineVerse is always taking user suggestions on how to ﬁne-tune the game so players get the most out of it. Q
OFFICIAL VOLVO OCE AN R ACE SUPPLIE R VO65â€™s carry an inventory of eight North 3Di sails to withstand 45,000 nautical miles around the world. Performance and reliability are qualities of Volvo Ocean racers, their boats and the sails that power them from start to finish.
nor ths ails .com
BY E L L I N O R WA LT E R S
A pair of experienced racers are making a habit of bringing ﬂeets back from the grave and invigorating local sailing communities. J A N U A R Y / F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 8 S W 020
S TA R T I N G L I N E
Sparking the Fleets
The Vanguard 15 ﬂeet didn’t exist in Nashville until six sailors agreed to buy six boats all at once and commit to a schedule. Today, it’s ﬂourishing with a mix of new and veteran sailors. PHOTO: ANDY GRISWOLD
O The Nashville sailing scene was dying
before Chris LaBorde’s eyes. Immediate action was required to stop the bleeding. Nashville’s older racers were on their way out, and behind them was nobody. Over glasses of bourbon one evening at Harbor Island YC in Old Hickory, Tennessee, LaBorde, Robert Mattix and Tim Fitzgerald assembled a ragtag group of racers and hatched a plan: They would commit to buying six boats and to sail eight weekends. By process of elimination, the doublehanded Vanguard 15 made it to the top of their list. It’s self-bailing, self-rescuing, fast and exciting in breeze, and there were plenty of used boats and parts available. They then built a six-boat trailer from donated parts, drove to Chicago and returned with their starter ﬂeet in tow. One year later, Nashville’s V15 fleet grew to 19. Some fleet members had never owned a boat or learned to race, but knowledge ﬂowed freely from the top down. The less-experienced sailors went from comfortable in 10 knots to conﬁdent in 25. “A successful ﬂeet-building environment means there’s a culture of sharing information,” says LaBorde. LaBorde and Fitzgerald credit Ted Lischer, known in Midwest sailing circles as “the godfather of ﬂeet building,” for their blueprint. Lischer built the Kansas City, Kansas, Thistle ﬂeet into one of the nation’s largest. “Camaraderie is the key ingredient in the success of our ﬂeet,” says LaBorde. “It’s culture that will grow the group the quickest.
We established a core group of racers who ﬁt the proﬁle of who we thought would be ideal participants in the ﬂeet, convinced them to write checks, and got them to commit to events.” Today, it’s “a sailing family,” adds LaBorde, who has been involved with growing ﬂeets elsewhere. In each successive fleet-building endeavor, he’s stuck to what he says is a formula that works — focusing on family, fun and learning. Social opportunities and a welcoming attitude into the ﬂeet are essential because not everyone wants to win a pickle dish. “Hoist the ﬂag on a happy hour, meet at the club after work, get together for holiday ﬂeet parties,” says Fitzgerald, who has also helped grow ﬂeets of Hobie 20s in Charleston, South Carolina and Lasers and Thistles in Kansas. “Borrowing boats, crews and skippers is easy when everyone knows each other,” he says. “Invite new friends and bring nonsailors to the mix. When they’re not worried about being the outsider, the group grows.” The racing should be about quality, not quantity. “If sailing is every weekend, you have to pick and choose, and causes the ‘who can make it?’ syndrome,” says LaBorde. Instead, LaBorde suggests designating one Saturday per month. “Take a poll early in the season to set the calendar and focus on getting everyone there for those days. Think of your schedule as a boxing match. Jabs are tiring and unimpressive. Focus instead on landing one big hit that gets people’s attention and provides the great memories until the next one.” Q
NEXT GENERATION CORINTHIAN COMPETITION For more information about the IC37 by melges, call melges performance sailboats in zenda, wi at (262) 275-1110. or visit:
more than 40 miles per hour is usually met with excited and amazed curiosity from bystanders: “Wow, how does that work?” they ask. “I’d love to experience that, but I don’t know how to sail” or most commonly, it’s, “Dang that’s cool, but I know I’ll never experience it.” I grew up racing sailboats in the Midwest and competed on both coasts of the United States. However, from an early age, I knew I wanted to live and raise my family on a Midwestern lake: Weatherby Lake in Missouri is perfect mid-America, where I could raise my family surrounded by similar people, who would be my friends for life. I accomplished my first goal when I married my wife, Lyn, in 1985. I found a house on Weatherby, knocking off goal No. 2. I was contemplating goal No. 3, having kids, when I stumbled upon a garage sale in the neighborhood. Bingo! I had always wanted an ice boat, and there sat an old, dust-covered light-blue DN needing repairs. Michael and Jan Gunn, who had purchased it used from Weatherby residents who built several in the 1960s, were excited to pass it on, as long as they made sure I knew what I was getting into. You know, the dangers and all. I brought home the boat, stripped it down, made repairs and painted it white, knowing I could choose an appropriate color scheme and name later. Ice-boat season was upon us, and ice boating at Weatherby is very inconsistent. Competitors wait for thick ice, wind and no snow. We can go through a season without a single opportunity to race, so it’s paramount our boats are ready, day or night, workday or weekend. “The wind waits for no man,” my good friend Augie Grasis would always say.
During summer, we race and beat up on each other in other craft. But as soon as winter arrives, ice boating is the premier social event, with all different types of ice boats: homemades, DNs and Nites, usually surrounded by miscellaneous activities like ice bocce, ice golf, ice skating, ice campouts, ice ﬁshing and even ice horseshoes. In 1988, my white boat had its thrilling maiden voyage, and I was a welcome newcomer to the club. It left me wanting to share the experience with others. As luck would have it, some nonsailing friends, Faye and Dave Southard, from Knoxville, Tennessee, were considering a visit the following weekend. I’d just ﬁnished another moonlit ice-boat run with Augie, and called Dave. “You’ve got to get here and try this!” He agreed under one condition: “Don’t tell anyone it’s my ﬁrst time.” True to my word, I didn’t tell anyone, but proudly cut and applied the name in black vinyl across the boat, 1st Time Dave. Dave was a sport that day, grinning ear to ear, run after run, among our ice-born
Signature Edition No one forgets their ﬁrst time, especially on Lake Weatherby.
neighbors. After a successful day, I asked him to autograph the hull. He did so proudly, sparking an amazing tradition that would live on for more than 25 years. Even my wife, who once considered it “a barbaric sport,” wanted her name on the boat after Dave’s experience. She made her maiden voyage and signed 1st Time Dave. By the time our sons Seth and Blake were old enough to sail and sign, there were at least 50 signatures already. When newbies see the signature-covered boat, fears subside. Sailing an ice boat is easy. Because it goes so fast, the wind is always on the nose. The instructions are simple: Sail between two spots (reach, reach), pull in the sheet to go fast, let it out to slow down. To stop, drag your feet and release the sail. The signatures, now in the hundreds, reﬂect countless 1st Time Dave stories: “I fell in the water” wrote Adam Stulman at age 8. Elderly Floyd Adams, a retired sailor, once took off down a cove, scaring all of us. Bob Mulhall forgot the feet-down stopping technique. Ron Knop wished we’d pulled the racing marks before the freeze. Eventually, the Seth and Blake years — ﬁlled with their friends sailing 1st Time Dave — put wear on the aging pine boat, while adding to its legacy. It became a challenge to repair and retain as many signatures with comments as possible. I only wish a “permanent” marker were actually permanent. Our beloved DN is now mostly retired. We’ve had several ice boats, including the two-seater Nite, but 1st Time Dave was the one with a line, wanting to sail and sign. Most everyone in our community of 800 families has their own 1st Time Dave story, but whenever Dave Southard visits, he’s a folk hero. He’s the original 1st Time Dave. Q
I L L U S T R AT I O N : C A R L O G I A M B A R R E S I / M O R G A N G AY N I N
BY P E T E P I E R C E
S TA R T I N G L I N E
MY CLASS, MY STORY
J A N U A R Y / F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 8 S W 022
O Seeing an ice boat ﬂy across the ice at
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BY PAU L T O D D
S TA R T I N G L I N E
J A N U A R Y / F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 8 S W 024
In Control Their yachts might be diminutive, but the energy on the racecourse is anything but.
OIt’s early on a Saturday morning in October,
and the parking lot is already jam-packed at Lake Somerset within the gated community of Sun City, in Beaufort, South Carolina. From trucks and SUVs, men and women unload boats and lay sails neatly on the grass. It has the bustle of any other regatta, but in this case, the boats are small. Really small. It’s the Sun City Model Yacht Club Regatta, and the sailors are here to practice for the upcoming East Coast 12 Meter National Championship, hosted by Turtle Pond Model YC in Peachtree City, Georgia, on the outskirts of Atlanta. Fran DiTommaso, the regatta coordinator and a competitor himself, says competitors have traveled from the Carolinas, Florida and Georgia for the two-day gathering. The EC 12 Meter class is an active group with a national ranking system and a keen
following up and down the U.S. East Coast, as well as Australia, Canada and New Zealand. A new boat costs $3,500, but good secondhand boats can be found for half. Despite their competitive spirit on the water, these radio-control helmsmen and -women are a welcoming group. They’re excited to talk shop and fraternize among themselves, comparing modes and setups of different rigs and how each baby 12 Meter is tuned. Some of the rigs are aluminum, and others are carbon twigs; all are built and cared for with the precision of an America’s Cup shore team. Launching an EC 12 is not as simple as removing it from its cradle and placing it into the water. Each 24-pound boat measures 59 inches in length, and the mast stands 72 inches above the deck, holding up 1,300 square inches of sail. To ease
meeting, practicing tactical maneuvers before the ﬁrst race of the day. Racing commences with a booming prerecorded countdown from a handcrafted wooden cassette player. “Three … two … one …” Then the hollering begins: “Don’t come down!” “You can’t go in there!” “You have no room!” Sound familiar? It’s amusing to watch the sailors, shoulder to shoulder, elbowing each other to get ahead. Caught up in the excitement of the races, not a single competitor worries about disturbing the resident gator. Conditions range from light to gusty, depending on what cloud rolls over the racecourse. Reichard Kahle, of Charleston, South Carolina, manages the venue best and is crowned the Sun City Regatta champion. Q
The EC 12 is a serious class, with 22 regattas up and down the East Coast and sailors who come from as far as Vermont and Michigan to race the Sun City Championship in Beaufort, South Carolina. P HO T O S : PAU L T O D D / OUTSIDE IMAGES
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the task, Bob Dudinsky, an EC 12 sailor and owner of RMD Marine, a EC 12 supplier in St. Petersburg, Florida, has developed an ingenious boat lift for transporting the boats to and from the water. This apparatus, with powder-coated tubular aluminum and foam wrapped around both ends, hooks perfectly under the EC 12’s bow and stern. The design allows a boat to be lifted using the medically recommended lifting method — from the side of the body and a straight back — when the boat is fully rigged. On the racecourse, orange foam buoys are placed strategically to allow for changing wind directions. On the water level of the tree-rimmed lake, especially, winds change often. Gusts are unpredictable and erratic. The most eager of the remotecontrol yachtsmen have their model boats on the water long before the 0930 skippers’
BY E L L I N O R WA LT E R S
S TA R T I N G L I N E
Fast Times at Willie High The U.S. Sailing Development Coach of the Year on Tony Hawk, international shenanigans, and being a black belt. You know, the things that matter.
O Willie McBride is riding the Barcelona
An afternoon workout with Willie McBride reveals his explosive energy bleeds into everything he does, from coaching to karate. P HOTO : DAV Y K E S E Y
Metro with 29er sailor Judge Ryan. Today’s mission has nothing to do with his Olympic campaign, or even sailing. Today McBride and his charge are in search of a real-life prop in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater video game. Their quest leads the pair to the Gaudi House Museum gift shop, where Ryan spots a postcard with a picture of a skate park. He identiﬁes the benches as the same ones he grinds on in the game, leading them on a hunt throughout the city. The adventure is just one component of McBride’s coaching style. “Being vulnerable, goofy and silly is so important, especially when you are working with high-caliber teams,” says McBride. “It can be really serious, but I think that being willing to laugh at yourself and have fun brings it back to the love of the sport.” McBride, 26, is one of the youngest sailing professionals to reach the top level of coaching. Since joining the U.S. Sailing Team staff, his sailors have brought home three medals from the World Sailing Youth Worlds in Auckland, New Zealand, as well as Paris Henken and Helena Scutt’s medalﬂeet in Rio. His approach with the young athletes is simple. “Regardless of how complicated a skill is, you can always break it into smaller pieces that sets up a sailor for success,” says McBride. “When we gave them the tools to learn in an effective way, they grabbed it and ran with it. “I think I’ve learned more from the teams I’ve worked with than they have learned from me.” Well, let’s learn more about Coach Willie.
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You can be in any sailing movie ever made; which one do you choose? White Squall — I love the quote: “The ship beneath you is not a toy. And sailing is not a game.” Best sailing quote ever. You and your team are battling for the aux cord in the van; what song wins? As far as the playlist goes, I think it would probably be a battle between the girls’ pop and my ’90s country, but I think Team USA should rock up to regattas playing “Pink Houses” or “Born in the USA.” Pet peeve? Loose gear in the coach boat: Put it in a dry bag so I don’t break my ankle on your water bottle sloshing around in the bottom of the boat. Also, a plastic bag is not a dry bag. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve eaten in another country? Couldn’t say what it was, but it looked like little slimy beans, where the slime dripped and oozed off your chopsticks. Tried it once, and that was more than enough. Someone is making a movie about your life; who plays the lead? I’m not good with actors, but I would go with Owen Wilson because I hear I look like him quite a bit and connect with him on the big-nose level.
Best advice you’ve ever given a sailor? “Respect your coach.” Just kidding. Probably: “Don’t do it unless you can be proud of your work and personal growth regardless of the outcome. Great results are what you get if you put together a campaign that allows you to constantly push yourself to be better every day.” You wake up in the body of Jimmy Spithill; what do you do that day? Oh, man — the access to all the toys that guy has is insane. Go Moth sailing probably. Who looks better with a bowl cut, you or Simple Jack from Tropic Thunder? Come on, have you seen my haircut? Many a Facebook group has been dedicated to my locks throughout the years, including the Willie McB’s Bowl Cut Fan Club. Last three searches on your phone? Vegan food in Coconut Grove, lightweight torque wrenches, and 1776 by David McCullough. You’re the editor of this magazine; who is on the cover and what’s the headline? It would be youth kite boarders! Maybe Riley Gibbs? The title would be something about the next generation of sailing.
You never learned to sail. Describe your life today. That’s such a far-fetched idea. I would be doing some kind of martial arts. I started when I was in second grade, and I got my black belt in college. The practice and discipline helped shape everything I did, from sailing and beyond. But sailing is a part of everything I do every day. Q
FALL RANKINGS NO. 5, ISSUED NOV. 16, 2017
COLLEGE RANKINGS P R E S E N T E D
01 02 03 04 05 06
01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09
07 08 09 10
CHARLESTON DARTMOUTH YALE GEORGETOWN MIT HOBART & WM. SMITH ROGER WILLIAMS BOSTON UNIV. BROWN GEORGE WASHINGTON
YALE BOSTON COLLEGE COAST GUARD CHARLESTON BROWN CONNECTICUT GEORGETOWN DARTMOUTH HOBART & WM. SMITH 10 MIT *complete rankings at sailingworld.com/rankings
ALL-IN SAILOR GRACE PAPP, ST. MARY’S COLLEGE OF MARYLAND
Grace Papp started sailing at Annisquam YC in Gloucester, Massachusetts, at the age of 8. She was a busy kid: sailing, playing the piano and lacrosse, and practicing mixed martial arts. She won Miss Massachusetts High School and competed in the National Miss High School pageant in 2015, experiences that she says gave her conﬁdence and helped set her up to be a role model. She found herself right at home on the St. Mary’s College of Maryland Sailing Team, where she’s currently a junior and co-captain. “She is a good team leader and an impressive captain,” says head coach Adam Werblow. “She turns over every stone and is driven to be a success.” “We all have each other’s backs and try to build each other up with constructive criticism or positive comments,” says Papp. “We are a family at St. Mary’s.”
Her love of competing in college inspired her to make personal changes. “Something that has stuck with me is what our coach, Connor Blouin, says: ‘You can’t control the wind, water or other parts of a race, but you can control your own body.’ That is one thing I have focused on as a captain, and I think our team has followed my example. I’m proud of how much we’ve been grinding this season.” Papp also attributes sailing to helping her in the classroom. She has made the Dean’s List several times, and her goal is to graduate summa cum laude. “My focus from sailing is apparent on and oﬀ the water,” she says. “The world of college sailing has not only made me a better athlete, but also a better student, friend, captain, sibling and daughter.” Papp hopes to continue sailing after she graduates, and even incorporate it into her career. She is applying to the masters of education program at St. Mary’s, with the goal of earning her doctorate in special education. “I love kids, teaching and sailing,” she says, “and hope to combine those things.” There are plenty of semesters in front of her, so in the meantime, she’s focusing on always being in the mindset that she is about to compete. “I want to be ready to give it all that I have physically and mentally,” she says. “I want to continue to be a positive force, and a good friend, teammate and captain.” —Jen Mitchell
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BY K I M B A L L L I V I N G S T O N
S TA R T I N G L I N E
CENTER OF EFFORT
J A N U A R Y / F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 8 S W 030
O Foiling expert Gino Morrelli wants to
apologize to anyone developing tooling for foils. There is so much learning going on, he says, that the best designs we have today will be obsolete in eight months. And if design and engineering are moving that fast, so too is the foiling scene. Blink and you’ll ﬁnd that while you were away, open-ocean “ﬂying” became almost normal. Routing strategies are changing with the arrival of a new generation of long-distance record hunters, Gitana 17 being a prime example, the ﬁrst 100-foot Ultime designed from the get-go as a full-foiling boat for the ocean. While mortals marvel at what a few of our brethren, mostly French, accomplish with their gigantic, volatile, wind-carving contraptions, the ante is raised again. Forget about tacticians looking for more and more wind. For the new order that Morrelli foresees, think sea-state sailing. Smooth water. Foiling water. Morrelli, president of Morrelli & Melvin Design, says, “If you can ﬂy on foils at 2 or 2.5 times the windspeed, you’re looking for 10 to 20 knots of breeze, because most of the time that’s where you’ll ﬁnd the optimum sea state.” As record hunters transition from C-foils and partial lift, the percentage of full-foiling time looms as critical among factors that can be controlled, or sometimes controlled. Racing around the world, transitioning between systems and trade winds on the “vertical” transits of the Atlantic — southbound to the Cape of Good Hope, northbound from Cape Horn — luck will
Fifteen Minutes Beyond Flight As French gunslingers unleash their foil-borne craft upon the blue planet’s passage records, we’re all in a sea state of mind.
In search of vast stretches of ﬂat water and big breeze, Francois Gabart set off in November on his solo round the world attempt with the 100-foot foiler Macif. PHOTO: JEAN-MARIE LIOT/ ALEA/MACIF
continue to play a role in ﬁnding the best conditions. Record-setting navigator Stan Honey points out, departing from Europe: “You can pick your weather as far as the equator. After that, you’re into long-range forecasts, and you play the hand you’re dealt. But those vertical legs are the most interesting racing there is.” For the high latitudes of the Southern Ocean, Morrelli predicts that, with foilingspeed capability, “you will no longer have to go all the way to the extremes of 60 degrees south.” And we’ll come back to that. This is a unique moment, placing seastate issues front and center, but the fundamental notions have been around. They apply to anything very big and very fast. Honey relates: “When I circumnavigated in 2010 with Franck Cammas, I saw that the French are far along in this kind of thinking. For Groupama 3 [whose C-foils did not make it ‘ﬂy’], I created a matrix of empirical tables that accounted for the degradation in speed from waves depending on direction, height and interval. An additional factor is the angle between wave and swell. If wave and swell trains come at right angles to each other, they throw up columns of water.” Think “slow.” Slow doesn’t make for records. When Francois Gabart set out on November 4, 2017, for his solo round-theworld record attempt with Macif, he was sailing a 2016 weapon ﬁtted with lateral foils on all three of the trimaran’s rudders, and angled, L-shaped retractable foils in the ﬂoats. Those foils, deployed, present a V-proﬁle to the water. They echo the foils that enabled self-leveling stable foiling on New Zealand’s 2013 America’s Cup challenger, are likewise adjustable for pitch, and are capable of occasional “ﬂight.” At press time, Macif was doing just ﬁne careening across the Southern Ocean with 700 miles of cushion in the 49-day record. And if you’ve been wondering how long it would take to leave off the gee-whiz cheerleading and get down to the yes-things-can-go-wrong stuff, we’re here. But so far, nothing has gone terribly wrong. The key is to engineer a foiler that can become a nonfoiler as needed. This is what makes that ﬁrst full-foiling Ultime, Gitana 17, a fascinating case. A second-place ﬁnish in the 2017 Transat Jacque Vabre can’t be bad when it’s your debut race, but this is a complex beast. Both port and starboard foils failed. They worked for Sébastien Josse and Thomas Rouxel for only one-fourth of
Photo courtesy Acrona Yachts
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the Atlantic crossing. Designer Guillaume Verdier — a veteran of Emirates Team New Zealand’s efforts from early foil development to success in 2017 — views that early result with big-picture optimism: “To go offshore, we make sure that whatever happens to the foils (collisions, damage) and whatever the weather, whatever the wave height, the boat is ﬁne. That’s the game — that and being able to take off on foils whenever we can in waves of reasonable size. We have shown that it is doable in spite of small technical problems on our very new boat.” Gitana 17’s outer-hull T-foil rudders incorporate “fuses” that allow them to kick up in a collision and, if need be, the rudders can be lifted clear for inspection. Or, in a reaching condition where the windward foil takes a beating, it can be raised, locked into the ama, and disconnected to free the rest of the steering system to operate. The rudder elevators are designed to be trimmed via softwaremonitored hydraulics, but the software was not yet integrated for the boat’s ﬁrst race. Every added system increases weight, but when the foils are deployed and lifting, weight all but disappears from the equation. The next barrier is cavitation, somewhere in the range of 50 knots, and once a concern only to exotica challenging the 500-meter record. Welcome to a new world. With higher speeds come higher structural loads, also higher impact loads, and our oceans are burdened with more debris than ever before. Morrelli says, with a tinge of impatience: “Right now, as designers, we’re working on keeping the foils in the boat, period. We can’t be distracted by tasty concepts like twisting foils, warping foils, deﬂecting tips that soften shock loads. Collision survival is the call. We know how to build foils that are OK hitting a two-by-four. We can survive hitting a four-by-four. If you’re talking 12-inch tree trunks, it’s game over.” As he prepared for a January record-hunting departure, 13,000 miles from Hong Kong to London, Giovanni Soldini decided that his 70-foot Maserati would sail without its ﬂight-capable Verdier foils. The boat can beat the existing 41-day record without them, he says, and “we’ve lost two rudders in the past six months, each to a UFO. We’re developing a system of Guillaume’s fuses that will probably be ready in the spring. Until then we are not adding risks.” For any record hunter, the key to competing successfully is to maintain high average speeds in moderate latitudes. The book is still out on what higher potential speeds will mean when other endeavors take the boats to the Southern Ocean. (Gabart on Macif at one point crossed 56 degrees south and was on alert for ice.) Honey likens the passage between the capes, Good Hope to Horn, to a conveyor belt. With storms circulating unobstructed around the bottom of the world, the strategic game has been to cover the distance by riding the leading edge of each of two systems. As storm No. 1 inevitably spins away to the south, the game is to disengage and hook into the next. Groupama 3’s 2010 Jules Verne record, Honey relates, almost did not happen. System No. 1 “got ahead of us,” he says, and only because a different system out yonder stalled the weather they were riding, “this became the one and only time I was able to sail through a front and get ahead of it. I don’t know whether we’ll ever see a foiler go from way behind to way ahead on its own.” And that raises a question: Hey, Gino, are there more surprises coming in ﬂying boats? “We’re 15 minutes beyond the Wright brothers.” Q
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BY GA RY J O B S O N
The Magniﬁcent Eight J A N U A R Y / F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 8 S W 034
S TA R T I N G L I N E
These eight talented sailors stand out from the thousands of juniors who are competing at a much higher level than our past Junior All-Stars. American sailing’s future is in good hands.
O Since compiling my annual Jobson Junior All-Star lists since 2001,
I’ve been combing through results of hundreds of junior championship regattas and speaking with parents, coaches and young sailors about their astounding performances. The All-Stars from that ﬁrst class are now in their 30s, and many who followed have gone on to become collegiate champions, world champions, America’s Cup sailors, Olympic medalists, and Rolex yachtsmen and yachtswomen of the year. A few names you should recognize include Andrew Campbell, Paige and Zach Railey, Briana Provancha, Caleb Paine, Charlie Buckingham, Clay Johnson, Stephanie Roble and Molly Carapiet. As I have with my All-Star ﬁnalists in the past, I’ve discovered a common thread with this year’s class: They each have a strong desire to excel, appreciate the support of their parents, and work closely with coaches to improve their skills. Stephen Baker, 13, of Coconut Grove, Florida, was the ﬁrst to cross my radar thanks to recommendations from professional sailors Steve Benjamin and Mike Toppa. This superstar Optimist sailor is only in the eighth grade at Ransom Everglades School and has been sailing for only four years. Baker won the 35th Lake Garda Optimist Meeting in April 2017 against 770 boats, and at the Optimist World Championship in Thailand, in July, he ﬁnished fourth of 281 boats. “I wish I had been a bit more aggressive on the ﬁrst days,” says Baker, who also defended his Optimist North American title in Canada. And if that isn’t enough to impress, he won the 2017 U.S. Optimist Nationals, topping 307 competitors. When not sailing, he plays golf and is on a club swimming team.
S TA R T I N G L I N E
“Golf and sailing both test my patience and focus,” he says. “You have to take one race at a time, like one hole at a time. Swimming prepares me physically and mentally for the long hours on the water.” Chase Carraway, 17, of Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, started sailing Optimists at the age of 6 and now races a Laser Radial. In 2017, Carraway won the Radial Laser Nationals and the Cressy Trophy (Interscholastic Sailing Association Singlehanded Championship) and placed ﬁfth at the U.S. Youth Champs in the Radial. When Carraway is not racing with the Cape Fear sailing team, he travels to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to practice on many weekends. Carraway hopes to be accepted to Hobart and William Smith Colleges to join its sailing team before considering an Olympic campaign after college. When asked if he ever had an embarrassing moment in sailing, he recalls an incident at an Optimist regatta several years ago, one he’d perhaps soon rather forget. “We were being towed through a sewage spill on Long Island Sound,” he says, “and somehow I capsized when the coach let go of my tow rope. I was in my drysuit, but I still needed to be completely cleaned up.” Carmen and Emma Cowles, 17, Larchmont, New York, are twin sisters who race for the Mamaroneck High School sailing team. They both started sailing at the age of 9 in Optimists. Today they race the International 420, Interclubs and occasionally Flying Juniors. Emma and Carmen both spend time as skipper and crew. They won the 2016 International 420 Nationals at the Orange Bowl and placed third at the International 420 North Americans. Both sailors
are considering graduating to either the International 470 or 49erFX in the near future. They credit their Optimist coach, Pepe Bettini and, more recently, their coach Steve Keen for rapid improvements in recent years. While it’s yet to be determined whether they’ll attend the same college, they do share a common desire to attend a school that is highly competitive academically and with a strong varsity sailing program. “Sailing has given me the opportunity to learn critical life lessons such as dealing with stress, performing under pressure and learning to be successful,” says Emma. Carmen adds, “Being conﬁdent with who and where you are as a sailor is crucial to becoming a successful athlete.” Studious as well, they recently read Wind Strategy by David Houghton and Fiona Campbell, and the book gave them a better understanding of wind. Cameron Feves, 17, of Long Beach, California, started sailing as a 1-year-old, riding along with his father on the family Olson 30 in Southern California. Four years later, Feves was skippering a Lido 14. This past summer, along with his teammates Tristan Richmond and Brock Paquin, Feves won the Sears Cup in Flying Scots on Barnegat Bay, New Jersey. The trio won ﬁve of 10 races. In addition to racing FJs, 420s and Lasers, Feves enjoys the J/22 and plans to race with his Sears Cup crew in the J/22 World Championships in Annapolis in 2018. He has also raced Nacra 15s and 17s with Nico Martin. Feves gleans sailing information from the online resource portal of the Southern California Youth Yacht Racing Association every day. “I ﬁnd it to be my biggest resource for organizing my time,” says Feves, who placed third in the Laser Midwinters West and seventh in the U.S. Sailing Singlehanded
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Championship for the O’Day Trophy. He is currently the captain of the Long Beach Polytechnic High School sailing team and plans to race in college.
Maddie Hawkins, 15, of Annapolis, Maryland, races out of the Annapolis YC and is a member of the Severn School sailing team. As a sophomore, Hawkins hasn’t yet focused on a speciﬁc college, but she plans to join a good sailing team after high school. In their ﬁrst year of racing together, Hawkins and her regular crew, Kimmie Leonard, 17, also of Annapolis, won the 2017 Chubb U.S. Junior Championship for the Bemis Trophy in the Club 420, the Club 420 North Americans and the U.S. Sailing Junior Women’s Championship. Leonard, who is considering attending the Naval Academy, or perhaps St. Mary’s College of Maryland or the College of Charleston, credits Naval Academy sailing coach, Dillon Paiva, for helping to improve their skills. “Last summer, Dillon saw how much potential Maddie and I had before we could even realize it ourselves,” says Leonard. “He helped us with the technical aspects as well as the mental part. Dillon was our biggest fan — besides our parents, of course.” Hawkins intends to race International 420s in 2018, and admits that she he doesn’t have much spare time for other sports. She does, however, proudly claim to have performed in her school’s winter musical. Jamie Paul, 16, of Fairﬁeld, Connecticut, is like the other AllStars on our list this year in that he started his sailing career in the Optimist. Today, he races both International and Club 420s, Flying Juniors and Lasers. In 2017, Paul won the U.S.
“I’ve discovered a thread with this year’s class: They each have a strong desire to excel, appreciate the support of their parents, and work closely with coaches to improve their skills.” Junior Championship for the Smythe Trophy in Lasers. While he ﬁnds the Laser to be physically demanding and the I420 to be technically complex, it’s team racing that gets his competitive juices ﬂowing. “What I love most about high school sailing is team racing,” says Paul. “I was lucky to represent the United States in team racing regattas in Berlin and Venice. For me and my teammates, it was the highlight of our sailing careers, and I look forward to more team racing in college.” During the winter offseason Paul transitions to skiing, a sport with which he sees parallels. “They both require constant effort and focus. On both racecourses, I work every second to be the fastest I can be. In skiing, like sailing, you need to be fast and go the least distance possible around gates, like having a high VMG.” In college, he says, he’s aiming to be All American and All Academic, saying, “I do not know where sailing will take me, but I plan on making it a lifetime sport.” His most memorable sailing moment was at an Optimist regatta in Mar del Plata, Argentina. “A submarine surfaced by the top mark, drifted down into it and pulled the mark away,” he says. “The ﬂeet was shocked, and racing was canceled for the day.” Q
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BOAT OF THE YEAR 2018
Twenty knots of wind will make any good boat fun to sail, but to fully appreciate it, a taste of light air is required. When a boat is right, you can feel it, hear it and see the performance. It was with this understanding that our judges dived into our annual Boat of the Year sailing trials. Sailmaker Chuck Allen, naval architect Greg Stewart and boatbuilder Tom Rich powered their way through 10 new race boats over ﬁve days in Annapolis, Maryland, delving into the boats on land and drilling builders for details. Two hours (or more) on the water with each entry fueled long nightly discussions. The winners had to deliver on three basic criteria: design purpose, quality and performance. Four boats produced on all three counts, with one ultimately sailing away with the overall title. BY DAV E
R E E D, P H OTO S
BY WA LT E R
C O O P E R
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Chuck Allen transfers from the Highﬁeld Boats Deluxe 500 aluminum-hulled RIB, official RIB of Sailing World’s Boat of the Year. The RIB handled ﬂawlessly in the Chesapeake Bay’s steep chop, providing smooth rides and a dry, stable workspace for photographer Walter Cooper.
2 0 1 8 B O AT O F T H E Y E A R + B E S T M U LT I H U L L
HH66 D E S I G N E D
F O R
Distance racing Globe-trotting T H E
J U D G E S
L I K E D
Design sophistication Build quality Performance R E Q U I R E D
C R E W
Eight to 10 to race; boat captain/engineer required P R I C E
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W With the HH66 catamaran’s sharp reversed bows pointing into a light northerly, the electric halyard winch winds a square-headed mainsail swiftly skyward. A single crew member assists while standing atop the carbon boom while the rest of the sailing team stands elbow to elbow in the pit, observing the thick halyard tail snaking into its rope well beneath the mast. At their backs, watching through the catamaran’s large glass windshield, is the solitary helmsman, his hands resting upon the polished carbon steering wheel, anticipating the moment he can bear away, unfurl the Code Zero, and watch the boatspeed race to 10 knots in a blink. The speed build is ﬂuid and easy. There’s no chaos, no clamor of crew grinding the headsail home before scurrying to the rail. Instead, there’s
T E S T E D
“ The performance is really there with this boat. It’s not just a step beyond what we’ve sailed in the past; it’s steps ahead. TOM
a fine-tune button press or two, and when the Boat of the Year judges — Chuck Allen, Tom Rich and Greg Stewart — ﬁnally look up from all the controls and displays at their ﬁngertips, the distant Chesapeake Bay shoreline is blurring past. It’s said that a big boat dulls any sensation of speed, but with the H66, the judges are feeling quite the opposite. “The boat immediately comes alive,” says Stewart, who eventually abandons the boat’s inside helm station and takes the best seat in the house: the white carbon helmsman’s chair
mounted alongside the tiller. For experienced sailors, the short carbon tillers are perhaps the one simple and distinct detail that immediately separates the HH66 from other cruiser/racer catamarans of this ilk. “When you’re racing, you’ll be out at the tiller,” says Stewart. “It makes a big difference being where you can better feel the wind and the heel angle. The sight lines through the window and under the jib are good.” For long passages, or in bad weather, he adds, you can simply duck inside to the big, cushy leather chair.
Even with the inherent friction associated with having two tillers and two wheels connected to the steering system, the feel on the HH66 helm is light and engaging, says Stewart, and that’s partly due to a combination of hull shape and the boat’s deep C-shaped carbon daggerboards. The boat, says Stewart, drives like a well-balanced big boat, not a big rig. Acknowledging the inﬂuence of pioneering Gunboat Catamarans of the past, designs that propelled the high-performance crossover catamaran genre to
where it is today, yacht designer Gino Morrelli says the HH Catamarans line — which spans from 66 to a 48-footer in the pipeline — benefits from 15 years of make-and-break development. The HH66’s hull proﬁle is full forward, ﬂatter in the midsection, and bigger in the transoms, says Morrelli, which, when coupled with less rocker than his Gunboat designs, results in better handling in a seaway. Less pitching, he says, is fast. “Daggerboards have changed dramatically over the years as well,” adds Morrelli. In the old days, boards were short,
straight, wide and thick, but as owners and race teams added more horsepower to the sail plan, the boards and platforms weren’t up to increased loads. “C-daggerboards increase vertical lift and lateral resistance, which dampens pitching,” says Morrelli, “which makes for better all-around performance.” The HH66 is lightweight for its size, scale and complexity. Teak soles, deck hardware and everything including the galley sink, eventually tip the scale to 46,000 pounds. Weight savings, says Morrelli, is due to the lower cost for carbon today, and
The owner of Flash, the ﬁrst U.S.-owned HH66 from the HH Catamarans in China, has intentions of hitting the 2018 Caribbean winter racing circuit before setting off an extended surf safari with his family.
HH isn’t afraid to cook the black stuff into the boat wherever they can. “We’re racing these boats on one hull now,” adds Morelli, “so when we started, we knew it had to be a full carbon boat. The glass windows too can now take the horsepower that’s being put
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into these platforms.” It’s easy to become enamored with the luxury-level construction and cabinetry, but all the bells and whistles that will allow an owner to play off-grid are equally impressive. “This is the ﬁrst boat we’ve seen in a long time where it was as good-looking at the dock as it sails,” says Rich, a custom race-boat builder himself who can spot a shortcut or shoddy workmanship with one eye closed. “With the construction of this boat, I couldn’t ﬁnd a single thing to complain about,” he says. “It’s really impressive what they’ve done with so many man-hours.” The judges agree that a boat of this size and complexity demands a full-time boat captain, ideally one that’s involved in the build, the sailing and the upkeep. To race it will
The interior layout of each HH66 is customized to the owner’s tastes and demands — in this case, a small piano is hidden in the forward nav station to starboard.
A well-organized forward pit area at the mast base, with proper steps leading to the foredeck, is the operations center of the HH66. Furling headsails simplify sail handling.
also require a few paid hands to get it around the track, and eight to 10 experienced hands, especially for races involving overnight action. “We’ve made sure this design is race-ready,” says Morrelli. “The 66 is for an owner who wants to race and cruise, but it’s a big boat, and unless an owner has signiﬁcant experience, they will need a pro or two to help.” At Stewart’s fingertips in the tiller seat are push-button controls that deliver instant adjustment to the traveler, sheets and daggerboards. Flash has the racing hardware package with upgraded winches, but there is also a turbo-rig version for those who desire ever more power in the sail plan. There’s no doubt about it, says Allen. “This boat is racy, and you feel it right away in the helm, even without the turbo package.”
While the HH66 carries an allpurpose A5 spinnaker, the judges deploy everything else in the fruit basket — a Code Zero, an inner jib and a J1 — as they zigzag up and down the bay. “Everything is on halyard locks, and it’s easy to get everything up and down,” says Allen. “The rigging and the leads are really clean.” “Clean” and “sophisticated” are the two traits that come up most often in post-sailing discussions. There is sail-control redundancy throughout the boat and enough technology designed into the systems to keep an owner out of trouble, including Ocean Data System’s UpsideUp anti-capsize system, which monitors capshroud loads and automatically triggers an alarm, eases sheets or adjusts the autopilot to prevent the boat from exceeding preset parameters. “I hear it all the time from
guys who are sailing all these types of boats; they say it’s the way of the future,” says Rich. “I can see why because the performance is really there with this boat. It’s not just a step beyond what we’ve sailed in the past; it’s steps ahead. It’s going to be a great boat for long-distance point-to-point racing, where you’ve got four or ﬁve experienced guys, a navigator and a few passengers who aren’t sitting on the rail the whole time.” With such sophistication, however, comes the $4 million price tag, but even that, the judges say, is a selling point. To build this same boat domestically, with the same man-hours, says Rich, it would easily be well over $6 million. You get a lot of boat per dollar, he adds, with the potential for a lot of miles and a lot of fast, fun sailing along the way.
Designer Gino Morrelli says the HH66â€™s hull shape delivers a smoother ride in a seaway, allowing him to put plenty of power into the sails. From the helmsmanâ€™s steering pod, the judges say, the boatâ€™s peformance is more tangible and visibility is excellent.
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B 0 T Y
CLUB SWAN 50 D E S I G N E D
F O R
One-design class racing T H E
J U D G E S
L I K E D
Design Build quality All-around performance R E Q U I R E D
C R E W
Eight to 10 P R I C E
T E S T E D
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“ It’s a bitchin’ looking boat on and oﬀ the dock, and the class racing will be a lot of fun when you get to ﬂeets of 15 or 20 boats. GREG
S T E WA R T
H Heel — 18 degrees of it — is something to get used to with the ClubSwan 50. Flat is not fast. This Juan Kouyoumdjian creation is the ﬁrst one-design of Nautor’s Swan new direction. Where similarly sized Swans of yore were laden with cruising interiors, this one is not. It’s a furniture-free 50-foot onedesign race boat to be sailed hard and put away wet (with a dehumidiﬁer, of course). For an owner looking to get into TP52-style boat-on-boat racing without the new-boat arms race, the ClubSwan 50, the judges say, is one way to go, here and now. “It’s definitely more of a one-design-class racer than an offshore racer,” says Stewart. “With the big cockpit and the clean Euro styling, it’s a bitchin’ looking boat on and off the dock, and the class racing will be a lot of fun when you get to ﬂeets of 15 or 20 boats.” Considering two dozen owners ordered boats within the ﬁrst year of the ClubSwan 50’s launch, and a robust regatta circuit is already underway in the Mediterranean, Nautor’s Swan is delivering to a demand in Europe for big-boat class racing — that’s where the
one-design action is at. The challenge for faraway American owners, however, is the designer’s intentional disregard for any and all measurement rules. Handicap racing is not the point of the ClubSwan 50, nor its selling point. “The development of a one-design class in North America will be the ultimate success,” says Nautor’s Swan’s Tom Lihan, who is tasked with recruiting U.S. owners, “and that’s the goal.” Roughly $1.3 million will put the boat on the racecourse, with 10 to 12 crew members to feed and dress. According to the judges, it’s a boat
that demands a professional bowman and two good sail trimmers. The one-design sail inventory is robust — mainsail, four upwind and four downwind sails, as well as two storm sails — will require proper management on the boat and of the morning sail shuffle to and from the container. As a wide, high-volume planing hull with twin rudders (scalloped trailing edges to make them unique), the ClubSwan 50 is also a yacht that requires the owner’s/driver’s undivided attention directed toward the instruments. With only six winches and the use of
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constrictors to free up winches at times, there’s a lot of dancing through maneuvers. There’s a lot to get right and a lot that can go wrong, but that’s the appeal of big-boat racing, right? Clean mark roundings and precision boathandling are what get you to the podium. A year of development with ﬁrst-generation hulls resulted in a 700-pound diet, which puts the class minimum weight at 18,086 pounds (“or somewhere around there,” says Lihan). The biggest weight savings were accomplished by upgrading to a carbon keel fin and trimming materials where overbuilt. Exploring
Hull No. 3’s deepest recesses, Tom Rich found no ﬂaws with the construction, and overall, the judges gave the build high marks. Back at Nautor’s yard in Finland, CNC machines cut pre-preg carbon cloth before vacuum-bagging and pressure-cooking the hull with all the interior components and structural bulkheads in place. The deck-stepped rig sits atop a solid carbon interior structure (Lihan calls it the “phone booth”), which creates a clear centerline runway for sails going to and fro. The interior ﬁnish, while minimalist and easy to strip for regattas, says Stewart,
is appropriate for the boat’s purpose while retaining just enough touch of Swan luxury. There’s modern minimalism with the deck hardware as well, says Rich, pointing out that the boat has fewer winches than he’d expect on a boat this size. Two cabin-top winches are in high demand, especially during jibes. The big challenge is jibing in 20 knots of wind without a pedestal, Lihan admits. Consequently, ClubSwan 50 class management is exploring an electric option for the cabin tops, or a pedestal. “There is an option for a pedestal, but nobody has ordered one yet,”
he says. “You can’t do reachto-reach blow-through jibes, so you just do proper outside jibes, come out low to get that last bit of sheet, and then point it up again. It’s one-design, so as long as everyone is doing the same thing, does it really matter?” In strong winds, the ClubSwan 50 will be a powered-up machine, says Allen, one that will be fun and forgiving to drive but demand solid crew work. With class rules in place, owners already taking charge, and sanctioned regattas scheduled in the U.S. in 2019, there’s now a turnkey platform into big-boat, big-boy, one-design racing.
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As the most aggressivelooking one-design yet from Nautor’s Swan, the strict one-design ClubSwan 50 piles grand-prix concepts into a straightforward boat that will challenge amateur crews but reward them with speed, especially when the breeze turns on.
UF0 FOILER D E S I G N E D
F O R
Recreational foiling Class racing T H E
J U D G E S
L I K E D
Innovation Concept and accessibility R E Q U I R E D
C R E W
One P R I C E
T E S T E D
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“ It’s innovative, creative and inexpensive. I can see a lot people getting their ﬁrst taste of foiling with this thing. CHUCK
As a unique foiling object, indeed the UFO’s most appealing aspect is the ability to sail it in conditions that have other foilers on the beach. Sailors new to foiling will be quickly rewarded with minimal effort.
A L L EN
D Dave Clark is the UFO’s cocreator, builder, tweaker and apostle. When he explains the construction of his 10-foot catamaran contraption (“we use this apocalyptically thick triaxial fiberglass layup”) and its handling (“as you ask the boat to challenge you, it will continue to challenge you, but only when it’s asked”), his enthusiasm is as animated as the UFO’s behavior on the water, especially in ﬂight. The UFO is otherworldly, the judges agree, with the potential to disrupt the dinghy-sailing scene as an all-access low-cost foiler. Nowadays at Clark’s Fulcrum Speedworks factory in Bristol, Rhode Island, he’s cranking out these pint-size craft, shipping batches in cardboard boxes and containers with international shipping manifests. He’s taking orders over the phone, on credit cards, from impulse buyers dropping $7,600 for an “all-inclusive” sailing experience. How’s the UFO built? It’s vacuum-infused, with carbonreinforced vinylester for an all-up weight of 110 pounds. The wishbone spar assembly is a mix of carbon and ﬁberglass
components; the foil struts are extruded aluminum; and the elevators are a mix of carbon, glass, foam core and stainlesssteel parts. “Complexity is the enemy,” says Clark, who developed the UFO with his father, Steve Clark. “I need it to be robust, and I can’t have parts go missing.” That might be true of the UFO’s big pieces, says Allen, but there are still quite a few little pins and parts required for
assembly and ﬂight. “You’ll have to take good care of it, especially if you’re in and out of the water, and moving it around all the time.” The carbon windsurﬁng mast tube that Clark uses is bendy, so he added a jumper strut system to stiffen it. The wishbone arrangement is then the most effective way to provide high leech tension and power in the sail, which is essential to the entire rig package.
The judges’ testing session in sub-10-knot conditions doesn’t allow flight for Tom Rich nor Greg Stewart, both of whom exceed 200 pounds. But Clark, at 170 pounds and with two years in the boat, has it foiling in a heartbeat, using an explosive kinetic technique he’s perfected to get liftoff. Allen is initially unable to get it foil-borne, but 2 knots more of windspeed and a little extra effort on the mainsheet is all it
takes to get him ﬂying. The UFO’s tunnel hull is a simple and defining platform that allows it to be sailed home when the breeze gets to be too little or too much. Its T-Foils lift nearly ﬂush with the bottom of the boat, for launching it from a shoreline or a dock. The rideheight wand is easily adjustable to the desired challenge of the day. “Low to start and learn,” says Clark. “Higher as you get better and faster.”
At the end of your UFO session, break it down and leave it on a dolly, or stuff the whole lot into your family wagon. “That’s what makes this boat so cool,” says Allen. “It’s innovative, creative and inexpensive. I can see a lot people getting their ﬁrst taste of foiling with this thing.” Or as Clark pontiﬁcates, “You can use it across your entire sailing career — from your Opti until you’re old and dead.”
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B 0 T Y
J/121 D E S I G N E D
F O R
Distance racing Short-handed racing T H E
J U D G E S
L I K E D
Overall performance Design and versitility R E Q U I R E D
C R E W
Two to ﬁve P R I C E
T E S T E D
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“ In 15 to 20 knots, the boat is really fast and stable, with or without the ballast. The rudder never loses its grip. CHUCK
A L L EN
A As if on cue, in the midst of our BOTY dockside brieﬁng with J/ Boats’ Jeff Johnstone, a middleaged gentleman appears in the companionway, out of the blue. Johnstone introduces him as an owner, from Portland, Oregon, who is trading in his J/46 for a yet-to-be-built J/121. He climbs down the companionway stairs, interrupts the judging team’s Q&A session, and then promptly cites all the races he intends to enter when he takes ownership of Hull No. 14: the Swiftsure, the Oregon Offshore, the Van Isle 360, and even the Paciﬁc Cup from San Francisco to Hawaii. Moments earlier, Johnstone had explained this very concept: The J/121 is a bucketlist boat. This guy is Exhibit A. “We saw that signature events were attracting record fleets — the Fastnet Race, the Three-Bridge Fiasco in San Francisco, the Chicago-Mac, for example — all these types of short-handed, adventure-style races where it’s more about the experience than winning,” says Johnstone. “We thought that if we could eliminate half the crew on a 40-footer that’s
purpose-built for point-to-point racing but still pass the beercan and daysail test, we’d have people interested.” Their research led Johnstone and his brother, Alan, to a design concept built around a crew of ﬁve. As for rail meat? No need. That’s what the water ballast tanks are for. Extra hands to get sails up and down? No need there either. There’s an impressive quiver of headsails, most on roller furlers. With the entire inventory hanging from the rig on halyard locks, and sheets and furling lines spilling into the cockpit, the
boat could be easily mistaken for a Class 40 — albeit, one that actually goes upwind. “This is your classic J Boat in that everything is well-thoughtout and works well, and it sails really nicely,” says Rich. “You can race the boat with ﬁve people, no problem, although I’m sure you’ll end up with more people who want to go.” While an owner might have to leave a few friends on the dock in order to reap the beneﬁts of 800 pounds of water ballast, Stewart was unsure the rating hit would be worth the trade-off at times. “ORR hits you on water
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ballast, at least a little,” he says, “so the question will be whether the water-ballast effect on the displacement will outweigh the rating impact. We’ll have to wait and see.” Regardless, the point of the boat, the judges all agreed, is not windward/leeward racing but point to point where the tanks remain full for long stretches. The water doesn’t have to leave the rail to get a sandwich or relieve itself. The 121 isn’t configured for cruising, and Johnstone says no one had yet ordered the optional V-berth package.
“The interior is function versus form,” he says. There are proper passage-making berths, synthetic ﬂooring, molded furniture and mahogany trim to make it homey enough while taking day-to-day race abuse. The Johnstones labored long and hard over the deckhardware mock-ups in order to accommodate the many leads, deﬂections and loads of the headsail sheets. There isn’t enough side-deck area for athwartships tracks, so the J/121 uses hybrid ﬂoating jib leads that allow in-hauling or barber hauling. On a long
offshore leg, you can tweak all day long. While cockpit ergonomics are excellent, says Stewart, and all the winches are wellpositioned and easy to work at, the traveler system needs to be rethought. “With the 4-to-1 mainsheet, we couldn’t get the traveler to centerline. Changing it to 2-to-1 might solve that. The winches are plenty strong to allow it.” The common phrase among the judges was, “There’s a lot going on,” when all the sails are on deck and ready to deploy. “It’ll deﬁnitely be a
new sort of learning curve for owners in terms of when to use the water ballast and ﬁguring out the sail crossovers. A couple of days of training with a sailmaker, and a good bowman, will be necessary.” But any good sailor enjoys a good challenge, says Allen, who has sailed the boat in winds far stronger than those experienced during the BOTY test sail. “In 15 to 20 knots, the boat is really fast and stable, with or without the ballast. The rudder never loses its grip. It’s rock-solid in a breeze, a great boat all around.” Q
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The J/121’s ﬁve-sail inventory is designed for racing with a crew of ﬁve. The main has a 10 percent ﬁrst reef, then a deeper second reef. The primary jib is 105 percent, and a heavyweather inner jib is about 85 percent. For off-the-wind sailing, there’s a Code Zero and an A2 all-purpose runner. Water-ballast tanks (cockpit controls shown above) put the equivalent of 800 pounds on the rail, outboard and near the forward end of the cockpit.
Peter Wealick’s Max’inux, a 1985 build, was the hometown newcomer to Vancouver’s 6 Metre ﬂeet. Max’inux dismasted during pre-Worlds racing, but a replacement spar was locally sourced in time for the ﬁrst race of the Worlds. To weather is Henrik Andersin’s Evelina (’95), from Finland, and Steve Kinsey’s Blade (’87), from Vancouver.
D A V E
R E E D
P H O T O G R A P H S N E I L
R A B I N O W I T Z
E A C H I N T E R N AT I O N A L 6 M E T R E YA C H T POSSESSES A UNIQUE PERSONA, GLEANED FROM A C E N T U R Y O F D E S I G N E V O L U T I O N , I N N O VAT I O N S A N D R E S U LT S , W H I C H M A K E S T H E M P E R F E C T F O R
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COLLECTORS AND TWEAKERS ALIKE.
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Peter Hoﬀman, of Bainbridge, Washington, inherited Goose from his father, who restored the 1938 vintage 6 Metre to racing trim. Hoﬀman and his crew won the ﬁnal race of the Worlds to ﬁnish second overall in the classic division.
ith the push of a tiller, Greg Stewart can easily force His Majesty over the starting line early. But Stewart, the kind-eyed skipper standing at the helm of his baby-blue 6 Metre, Sprig, isn’t the type to stick it to the 79-yearold former King of Spain. Juan Carlos Alfonso Victor María de Borbón y Borbón, on Bribón Gallant, is exposed and vulnerable, and as the seconds wind down before the start, his sails are ﬂapping and his crew is jawing in terse Spanish commands. “Go ahead, King. Go across,” Stewart shouts, waving the king across his bow and allowing the Spaniards to dip below the starting line to get away clean to the racecourse’s favored left side. It’s good to be king, of course, but on this particular
day at the 6 Metre World Championship in Vancouver, British Columbia, it’s just ﬁne to be Greg Stewart. The autumn sun is radiant, a westerly is whistling in from the Paciﬁc, and a cold spray pelts the deck. Señor Borbón is to his left, Lars and Torben Grael — two of the best keelboat sailors to ever come out of Brazil — are to his immediate right. For Stewart, a naval architect, 6 Metre enthusiast, and 57-year-old San Diego bachelor, this very moment on English Bay is everything he imagined as he towed his 9,000-pound boat 1,400 miles up the West Coast. As he sails upwind with white laminated polyester sails sheeted hard, Sprig’s spruce spar and boom ﬂex naturally with each gust, the mast panting and spilling wind from the top of the mainsail. The leeward rail dips and
genoa, and the race is on. It’s a race to beat the king out of the left corner. ere at the Royal Vancouver YC, Stewart is in 6 Metre heaven. It’s extremely rare to have 45 of these classic race boats in one place, especially in North America. While technically one class, explains Tim Russell, the International Six Metre Association executive secretary, the boats are categorized into four different eras of the 101-year-old measurement rule. A 6 Metre is not 6 meters in length, but rather derived by a formula and a whole lot of measurements. Rule 1 boats, which date from 1907 to 1918, were narrower full-keeled beasts prone to ﬁlling with water. Rule 2 boats, favored from 1919 to 1933, were longer, more seaworthy, and introduced overlapping genoas. Rule 3 yachts that followed embraced deeper keels, and were used for three successive Olympic regattas from 1936 to 1952. Then came a rebirth with the Moderns of the 1970s onward, embracing winged keels, trim tabs, aluminum spars, ﬁberglass hulls, and exotic ﬁbers in the sails. While there are four distinct eras, Vancouver world championship organizers pit them into two ﬂeets, Open and Classic, with all sorts of perpetual trophies at play. Within the Classics, however, there’s a subset of ﬁve traditional woodies like Sprig, boats with white sails, wooden spars and bronze hardware. There’s nothing one-design about a 6 Metre, and each and every boat has its known sweet spot. Sprig, built in 1930, for example, likes light air. King Juan Carlos’ Gallant, built in 1947, is exceptionally fast in stronger winds. One guided tour through the boats in Vancouver is all it takes to understand there’s a rich history of yacht racing ﬂoating in the slips. There’s also a lot of tinkering before, during and after the racing, and plenty of opinions on sailcontrol setups. Yet one thing everyone agrees on is that all 6 Metres present at this world championship are deserving of preservation. “Every boat we have here has done something — has won a world championship, a major regatta or an Olympic medal,” says Nigel Ashman, who oversees the care and maintenance of many of the Vancouver ﬂeet. “They’re each fast in their own right, and you know why? Because all the slow 6 Metres of the past have either been cut up or left to rot in the mud. What’s left today are the best of them.” Every Modern, he adds, has potential. With a pile of money or innovation, any design can come to life, and there’s more speed for keen designers to explore in keel and rudder shapes, as well as rig and sail controls and cockpit conﬁguration. The king’s new boat, for example, is the ﬁrst 6 Metre built since 1995. It’s a product of radical and outlier designer Juan Kouyoumdjian and is rumored to be a weapon. Launched after nearly 10 years of design and development, it is also said to be complex to sail, and wasn’t ready enough for Vancouver. It isn’t perfect, says
METRE HAS A S E N S AT I O N , TO BE SO NEAR T H E WAT E R A N D R E A L LY FEELING THE B O AT. A F T E R TWO YEARS, I AM LEARNING T H AT E A C H B O AT H A S A S T O R Y.” — KING JUAN CARLOS
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the boat surges forward. Stewart’s feet are pressed against glossy varnished mahogany ribs and planks. Sprig’s tiller tugs at his left hand, and his right grips the mainsheet, which is wrapped twice around a small bronze winch nearby. The slight grin between his round, wind-reddened cheeks is genuine. Stewart steals an occasional glance over his right shoulder, toward the ﬂeet on his weather quarter, and whenever he does so, his bow wanders off-course. “Pay attention, Stewie!” barks his tactician, Chuck Allen, who paces like a tank commander in Sprig’s middle cockpit, his sailing sneakers squeaking on the varnished ﬂoorboards. “You’re all over the place!” Stewart corrects his course, trains his attention on the yarns twitching on the luff of the big overlapping
“TO HAVE SOMETHING T H AT N O B O D Y H A S , T H AT I S FA N TA S T I C . THE THING ABOUT 6 METRES IS T H AT E A C H B O AT H A S A LIFE, A H I S T O R Y, A N D M AY B E E V E N A D A R K S I D E .”
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the king, so instead he shipped Gallant to Vancouver, a standout 1947 vintage with its appointed leather seat and coaming. While the Classic and Open ﬂeets start separately, it’s all one big happy family, says Russell, an astute historian of the class. For the better part of an hour, Russell delves into the intricacies and permutations of the rule and the algorithms that deﬁne a 6 Metre. It’s all about displacement, volume and stability, and each yacht is unique, but given the right light-air conditions, says Russell, a classic can beat a modern, and does so regularly. “I’m convinced the perfect 6 Metre has never been built,” Russell confesses. Nor, perhaps, will it ever be, and that’s the attraction for collectors like Peter Hoffman, the skipper and owner of Goose, which is considered one of the best of the Classics, and certainly one of the prettiest. “You can’t buy the best boat,” says Hoffman, of Bainbridge Island, Washington. “It’s the sails and the trimmers. If you get those two things right, you can get a 6 Metre to do what you want it to do. Half-inch differences in trim are a big deal. If you put a lousy crew on Goose, you’d be in the back of the ﬂeet pretty quick.” Hoffman, a genteel and seasoned sailor with snow-white hair and trimmed beard, is always happy to talk 6 Metres; they’ve consumed him for decades. In the 1970s, Hoffman’s father, a naval architect and self-made shipwright, relocated to Seattle and sailed with the active 6 Metre ﬂeet. But in the 1980s, says Hoffman, owners there were bailing out of the class, and the boats were suffering from neglect: “My old man ran around and offered everyone $2,500 for the lead — and took the boat.” Hoffman Sr. eventually owned seven and undertook substantial rebuilds of three. When his father passed, Hoffman kept his personal favorites: Llanoria and Goose, two of the most immaculately restored Classic 6 Metres racing today. Hoffman fondly refers to them as his daughters, and admits to doting upon them more than he does his wife. He’s owned Goose since 1982, and the going concern of Hoffman, at age 74, is who will take care of her when he’s gone. As he pauses to ponder this matter again, he suddenly breaks his thought: “Dennis wants to buy the boat, but I’m not selling it to Dennis.” By Dennis, of course, he means Dennis Conner, Mr. America’s Cup. “He’s offered me a lot of money for Goose, but he’s not in it for the long term.” The 6 Metre group is a fraternity that tends to look out for one another’s prized possessions, says Hoffman. “By and large it’s a generous group that’s willing to help one another,” he says, “but on the racecourse, there are some that are a bit pushy.” A petty protest that got Hoffman tossed out of one race and cost him the previous worldchampionship title in Finland still stings two years later. He prefers not to talk about the incident, but says: “If you’re going to be in a collision,
you’d better bail out, even if it costs you the race. These boats are too special, and the amount of money it’s going to cost you to ﬁx the damned thing isn’t worth it. Plus, you’re going to take some character out of the boat because what you ﬁx it with is not original wood.” The marina at “Royal Van” during the worlds is a yacht collector’s show, and Hoffman has a few on display. Robert and Molly Cadranell, of Seattle and San Diego, orchestrated the charter of May Be VII from owner Joth Davis to America’s Cup legend Dennis Conner for the regatta (although he sailed only four races before retiring her with a cracked mast). There’s a ﬁve-boat syndicate from San Francisco’s St. Francis YC, which includes Cadranell’s Arunga and the wood-sparred Classic Lucie, owned by class president Matt Brooks, who is an unmistakable presence in his signature black-rimmed and embossed skipper’s cap. The other three St. Francis boats are the three moderns: Sting, Scoundrel and
Scallywag. And then there’s Rainer Müller’s personal armada of 10 at the regatta. It’s anyone’s guess how many 6 Metres Müller actually owns, but at one point, it was upwards of 20. This world championship is also Müller’s party, and the companies he’s founded or is associated with serve as the regatta’s sponsors. Whenever he arrives in the venue, he’s a celebrity to the locals who know him and an enigma for out-of-towners. “Who is this guy Rainer?” I hear people ask. Come to ﬁnd out, Müller is an architect who splits his time between Vancouver and Zurich, Switzerland, and he’s obsessed with 6 Metres. When he gives a guided tour of the ﬂeet with VIPs and guests on several occasions, he’s a walking encyclopedia. Müller’s story is a common one in the class. He grew up crewing on 6 Metres in Europe in the early 1980s, went off and made his fortune, eventually reconnected
World champion Phillippe Durr, of Switzerland (left), has campaigned Junior (’89) for 20 years, and the team’s consistency earned them the title over Ben Mumford’s New Sweden (CAN 129), which was modiﬁed for the Worlds. Bob Cadranell’s Arunga (’82) is from Seattle, and Reinhard Suhner’s Courage IX (’88) hails from Switzerland.
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The battle of the classics pitted King Juan Carlos’ Bribón Gallant (’47) against Saskia (’34), chartered to Brazilian brothers Lars and Torben Grael. The king’s men triumphed by 5 points despite grounding in the ﬁnal race. No one 6 Metre is the same then and now: Bribón Gallant’s “keyhole” cockpit and New Sweden’s modern approach.
with the class, and in 2010 went all in. “He’s got a mix of classics and moderns, and he’s plowed a lot of money into them,” says Hoffman. Müller is also part owner of Llanoria, which is the beneﬁciary of a recent $200,000 restoration. “That’s what it costs, but now it’s a stronger boat.” Müller is adamant that the Rule 2 boats are still competitive, and without too much money, can be brought into racing form. “We brought Saleema [circa 1928] for $20,000 and invested another $5,000, and the boat is very good,” says Müller in a thick German accent. “People say 6 Metres are a lot of money, but I disagree.” Müller is credited with helping spur the 6 Metre revival of the past few years, and he sees the class’s future in competitive moderns. There are a number of good boats held hostage in barns and boatyards in Europe, he says, and if he has his way, it’s conceivable to have a West Coast circuit with regattas in
San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and Vancouver. “If we can create such a thing, we have a chance of continuing this revival,” says Müller. “There is a lot of possibility to come into the class, especially with the modern. There is always intrigue: Why is one boat fast? Why is it not fast? Here, you discuss a new rudder, or perhaps change the wings. It adds another level of complexity, but for people who like to ﬁgure something out, this is the place to be.” The fastest Modern at the moment, says Müller, is Junior, the 2015 world champion and 1980s-era 6 Metre, owned by Philippe Durr, of Switzerland, who has sailed the boat for nearly 20 years. Junior, commissioned by the wealthy Swiss Edmond de Rothschild family, once fell off its trailer during transport and was severely damaged, but Durr completely rebuilt it, says Müller, “and because of this, he knows his boat inside and out.”
“A L L T H E SLOW 6 METRES OF THE PAST HAVE EITHER BEEN CUT UP OR LEFT TO ROT IN THE M U D . W H AT ’ S L E F T T O D AY ARE THE BEST O F T H E M .”
As an architect, Müller eschews today’s cookiecutter residential homes and compares 6 Metres to the eclectic houses that dot the neighborhoods surrounding Royal Vancouver YC. “To have something that nobody has, that is fantastic,” he says. “The thing about 6 Metres is that each boat has a life, a history, and maybe even a dark side.” As an example, he calls out the Modern blue-hulled New Sweden, a 1988 Peter Norlin design raced by Royal Vancouver’s young match-racing star, Ben Mumford. Mumford didn’t want the boat for the Worlds because of its reputation for “not getting to the top mark,” says Müller, but they turned to local yacht designer and builder Don Martin to exorcise New Sweden’s demons. “The Norlin hull of this era is a ﬁne-body boat that is good for Vancouver,” says Martin, “but we changed it considerably, cutting the boat in half — literally into two pieces — in order to lengthen it.”
They lopped 3 feet off the bow as well, and when they put all the pieces back together, it was an entirely new boat: longer, lighter, faster, and teaming with bells and whistles. With the addition of a new keel, trim tab, rudder and rig, it was essentially a new boat. “We knew the courses were going to be three-lap courses in Vancouver, putting a premium on boathandling,” says Martin. “It doesn’t look like any other 6 Metre here, but it does look contemporary.” There are plenty of other Moderns such as
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Greg Stewart’s Sprig (‘30), from San Diego, is one of the few remaining classics still competing with wooden spars (mast, boom and spinnaker pole). Sprig ﬁnished 10th in the 21-boat classic ﬂeet.
“YOU CAN’T BUY THE BEST B O AT. I T ’ S THE SAILS AND THE TRIMMERS. IF YOU GET THOSE TWO T H I N G S R I G H T, YOU CAN GET A 6 METRE T O D O W H AT YOU WANT IT T O D O .” —PETER HOFFMAN
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New Sweden that could beneﬁt from a face-lift or two, he adds, but rebuilds are not for the faint of heart, confessing that they were “into this boat for what a new boat would cost.” While there are mixed opinions about which is better: Modern or Classic, Russell, the executive secretary, also
believes the class’s future is in the Moderns. Hoffman does too. “What’s neat is there are guys like Rainer who are into this whole thing, and I’m hoping it’s an incentive to not write off existing boats, but just redo them instead.” King Juan Carlos, who cut his teeth in the International Dragon class long ago, had been racing grand-prix TP52s before hip surgeries prevented him from sailing for seven years. When he was able to return, his search for an appropriate boat led him to a 1929-built Classic 6 Metre. “I said, ‘This is the boat I need, a lovely sailing boat,’” says the king, whose grandfather King Alfonso also raced 6 Metres in the 1920s. He bought his ﬁrst boat in Finland and then bought Gallant in Switzerland soon after. The king’s home ﬂeet now counts seven boats, three Classics and four Moderns, including his latest Kouyoumdjian model. “I have sailed many boats, but the 6 Metre has such a nice sensation,” he says. “The sensation to be so near the water and really feeling the boat. After two years of sailing them, I am learning that each boat has a story.” Ironically, before the Vancouver Worlds comes to a close, the king will unwittingly add his own chapter to Gallant’s story. Among his men for the championship is hometown Star Class Olympic silver and bronze medalist Ross MacDonald, whose local knowledge helps keep Gallant in the top three in the ﬁrst six of eight races. With a marginal lead on the scoreboard over Hoffman’s Goose going into the final race, MacDonald guides his team to the favored left side of the racecourse to escape a strong ﬂood tide. All is well until Gallant comes to an abrupt stop as its long keel plows into the mud on — of all places — Spanish Banks. Having happily waved the king across at the start 10 minutes earlier, Stewart enjoys the beneﬁt of witnessing Gallant’s grounding before suffering a similar fate. A quick tack away from the shallow hazard springs Sprig to a ﬁfth-place ﬁnish and a 10th overall standing among the Classics. The king and his crew, meanwhile, manage to sail off the bottom and ﬁnish eighth in the race to win the championship by only three points over Goose. After ﬁve long days of racing in drifting to near-gale conditions, it is an impressive result for a helmsman of his age, especially one who walks the docks gingerly with the help of a cane. Philippe Dunn’s Junior is victorious over Mumford’s New Sweden in the Moderns and now stands as the ruling 6 Metre of the day. Dunn and his team are highly respected in the class but intensely competitive on the racecourse, which leaves one to wonder whether when, or if, the king competes in La Trinite, France, at the 2019 World Championship with his state-of-the-art Juan K design, might Junior allow His Majesty a little leniency on the starting line as Stewart did? Si, señor. Q
VA L L E
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WHILE BRINGING THE ONCE PRESTIGIOUS INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S REGATTA FROM THE DEAD IN AN EXOTIC LOCALE, A GROUP OF SAILORS LOOK OUT TO THE HORIZON FOR WHAT’S NEXT. BY ELLINOR WALTERS
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A rain squall rolls through Valle de Bravo, Mexico, halting racing for the day at the International Womenâ€™s Keelboat Championship. PHOTO: MAURICIO ARREGUI CASTRO
NINETY-THREE MILES SOUTH OF MEXICO CITY SITS
Valle de Bravo and Lake Aventura, a watery gem between mountains in the countryside. This pueblo is nothing like Mexico’s coastal resorts. There’s a quiet lake and a quaint village, on the edge of which is Club de Vela la Peña, named for the dramatic cliff that towers above it. The club’s lawn and gardens are lush and manicured, and a bright-blue pool and open-air porch look out over the racecourse dotted with orange tetrahedrons. Here, on the ﬁrst afternoon of the International Women’s Keelboat Championship, an impromptu gathering is underway on the porch as women of different ages and backgrounds devour rice and beans and squash blossoms covered in cheese. The rained-out afternoon race has brought them together, sparking conversation that explores what brought each of them to Valle. As rain clouds drape nearby mountainsides and ﬁll the lake, the sailors trade stories. Beka Schiff, an animated 23-year-old sailing coach at San Diego YC, jaws about her all-women team beating a group of pros at a major regatta earlier in the year. “When you’re sailing past coed boats upwind, pinching them off and giggling and having fun with your friends in their face, other teams seem to get real pissed off,” she says, “especially when they are all pros.” Molly Noble, age 30,
who is married to a professional sailor, laughs at Schiff’s scathing imitation of the guys. “It’s funny because it’s true,” says Schiff. This prompts Betty Sherman, age 58, to recall her experiences racing offshore with a team that was largely male. “I’ve sailed offshore a lot; there’s no difference,” says Sherman. “There are guys with bad attitudes, there are ladies with bad attitudes. There are guys who work hard and girls who work hard. When I’m offshore, I’m one of the guys, or they are one of the girls.” As lighthearted as the conversation is, the gist of it remains about females in the sport, and the reason they have gathered in Valle. The previous day, sailors mostly from the United States arrive at Benito Juarez Airport in Mexico City, weaving through crowds with life jackets tethered to bags before converging at the home of regatta chairman Roberto Escalante. Pollo, as he’s called, is the reason why the International Women’s Keelboat Championship is in Mexico for the ﬁrst time. With a magnetic smile and boundless energy, Pollo is the most popular guy at the regatta. He mingles with the women as if he has known them for years. This is Pollo’s pueblo, and he’s the one who cobbled together a dozen J/70s,
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The IWKC served as a forum for candid conversations about high-level women’s sailing. The champions league format of short, intense races mirrors that of college sailing, which organizers say levels the playing ﬁeld for young teams. PHOTO: MAURICIO ARREGUI CASTRO
including his own boat, for the event. His American counterpart is sailing hall-of-famer Betsy Alison, of Newport, Rhode Island, the regatta’s only ﬁve-time winner. You wouldn’t know it from talking to her, but Alison is a legitimate hero of women’s sailing. She won the ﬁrst IWKC in Newport in 1985. The IWKC, when it began, enjoyed Rolex as its title sponsor, bringing prestige to the regatta. It was a time when women were hungry for an international event that would highlight and showcase the highest level of women’s sailing. At the time, Newport boasted a ﬂeet of more than 50 J/24s, making charters easy. It was also the ideal place to host the regatta, which had a 26-year run before it was shelved in 2011. Today, Alison wonders if the championship’s repetition made it monotonous and unappealing. After the J/24 ﬂeet dwindled in Newport, the event moved to Annapolis and used J/22s. As Women’s Olympic sailing and the international women’s match race circuit grew, the keelboat championship fell out of favor, mainly due to travel costs for European teams, and the Julian Bengt Trophy sat uncontested for ﬁve years. In 2016, the regatta was reinstated, along with dramatic changes to its format. A “champions league” format seemed like the best
approach to attract sailors from dinghy racing, keelboats and the match-race circuit. The champions-league model uses shorter, faster races, which would be more appealing to younger female sailors more familiar with college sailing and short-course racing. The new format, because of its pacing, says Alison, also levels the playing ﬁeld for competitors. A small and remote venue like Valle de Bravo provides an environment that’s more conducive to competitors getting to know each other better. While relaxing after battling strong winds that arrive with a storm one afternoon, the women chatter and laugh about the unfamiliarity of the regatta. The exclusive nature of the event and its own history allows for candid conversations about the state of women’s sailing. Allie Blecher, a regatta committee member and proponent of the champions-league format, tells one group of women about a program she created after graduating from the College of Charleston. Using her alumna network, the program helps women secure crewing positions on keelboats. Blecher, a four-time All-American skipper and female College Sailor of the Year, uses social media as her primary tool to get sailing gigs for grads. Noble, her teammate, and college crew, support the initiative. “Allie has done a really good job of creating an environment where
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The young Mexican team, skippered by Camila Flores, celebrates a top ﬁnish during the championship round. PHOTO: MAURICIO ARREGUI CASTRO
college grads, especially women, can come get out on the water with her,” says Noble. “I believe sailing on an all-women’s team creates opportunity for women who aren’t as good to try something new in a competitive setting, whether it’s trimming or something else. To learn hands-on, girls will let you try.” This regatta in Mexico transcends racing around the buoys. Many of the women use it as a networking opportunity to share their methods for growing engagement in the sport for girls beyond high school and college sailing. On the water, the event is a championship, but off the racecourse, it’s a conference. It was through Blecher’s program that Ali Blumenthal, age 23, got her spot in Mexico. Blumenthal sailed at Charleston and is now the assistant coach at Dartmouth. All of her teammates live in different parts of the country, so putting together a crew and training together has been difficult. Blumenthal bursts out laughing when asked about how competitive she has been with her team in the J/70 gearing up for the event. Team BAAM, formed through Blecher’s networking, raced the event previously. The women use their downtime onshore to share stories, and listen to others, about building opportunities for women in sailing.
“It’s inspiring to see women making their sailing lives work with their family lives throughout their entire careers,” says Blumenthal, after listening to Sherman, a silver-haired Transpac Race veteran and past commodore of San Diego YC, recount how she made her family life balance with her intensely competitive sailing career. “We can sit across the table enjoying a meal and hear about these other women’s careers and then head out on the water to compete against them tomorrow.” While cordial and academic onshore, the racing in Valle is as spirited as any other international trophy, and after days of battling different sailing conditions, four American and two Mexican teams advance to the ﬁnals. With consistent results during the qualiﬁers, Megan Ploch, an 18-year-old skipper from Rye, New York’s American YC team, secures third place behind two ﬁerce Mexican squads. Ploch, who grew up racing J/70s with her father, is a standout in her club’s junior program, and when the skipper of the defending American YC team became pregnant, Ploch found herself in the perfect position to travel, with no obligations before starting her freshman year at Georgia Tech in fall 2017. The top Mexican team, skippered by Camilla Flores, dominates the ﬁrst pair of races of the day, but Ploch’s team keeps itself in
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With only six boats on the course at once, the IWKC’s format is much diﬀerent than the regatta’s early J/24 ﬂeets. PHOTO: MAURICIO ARREGUI CASTRO
contention. In the third and fourth races of the day, Ploch comes through with two race wins, boosting her conﬁdence and bringing the Bengt Trophy into focus. After recording a trio of top-three ﬁnishes for Ploch and her crew, a storm blows in, canceling the last race of the championship round. The scores are so close that Ploch isn’t even aware she won. While sailing to the dock, notepad in hand, Ploch furiously computes the results to determine her overall ﬁnish. Consistency pays off and, once again, the American YC team will be inscribed on the storied trophy. The tall, athletic teenager sporting a long blond ponytail looks as though she just stepped off the page of a J.Crew catalog; in all aspects, she is the ideal spokesperson for the future of women’s sailing: She’s a young and fresh face to the arena, but her age doesn’t match her experience. She has a resume any racer would be envious of, as well as a drive for success. When asked about the importance of her win, however, she seems genuinely surprised at her accomplishment, but she knows she has more hours in the J/70 than any other skipper in Valle; she’s been trading the helm at regattas with her sister, under her dad’s direction, since she was 12. Yet, winning an all-women’s event holds
extra weight for Ploch. “I think it’s important the women’s events are kept around because the sport is so male-dominated,” she says. “It feels like everyone is on the same team, so you get to know them on a deeper level.” Revived from certain death, the success of the Valle de Bravo women’s championship prompts bids from clubs offering to host the regatta in 2018. The committee decides on Santa Barbara YC in August 2018, at which Ploch says she will return to defend her title. “Megan winning is a testament to youth sailing, which is strong in the United States, and the competitiveness of youth sailing in the world,” says Alison. “It also shows that the short-course format of the champions league levels the playing ﬁeld for all competitors, regardless of age or venue.” Blecher conﬁrms that her team will challenge again, and Schiff anticipates more women’s-only racing at the local level. “Everyone who didn’t make it here wants to be here,” she says. “As long as there are yacht clubs that want to open their doors to women’s sailing, it will continue. The pathways are opening more as we move forward, for women to be sailing, even professionally. As this next generation grows up,” she adds, “it’s getting better and better. The more they sail, the more they do, the better it gets.” Q
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Ali Blecher (second from left) recruited fellow College of Charleston Cougars Molly Noble, Ali Blumenthal and Beka Schiﬀ for the women’s championship. Blecher uses her social-media network to help connect female sailors with sailing teams. P H O T O : E L L I N O R W A LT E R S
FROM THE EXPERTS
BY DAV I D H U G H E S
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O Sure, we all enjoy reading about the long-
haul campaigns of the America’s Cup or top-level Olympic athletes: many years of training with a no-stone-unturned approach; coaches, physical preparations, months upon months on the water, and equipment testing. But let’s be honest, that’s not the reality most of us can mimic. It’s simply not practical. But there are some lessons we can steal from even the most robust Olympic or world-championship campaigns. From them, we can learn the best path up the proverbial mountain that balances the limited time we all face. Let’s break it down. Deal with logistics well ahead of time. Nothing distracts like lack of preparation, so create a clear calendar. If your calendar says August 2 to 10 for the Worlds, what does that really mean for you and your crew? Arrive on the 1st to sail on the 2nd? Arrive the 2nd and not sail? Be speciﬁc. A day here or there makes a big difference. It also allows your team to know what sort of arrival and departure day they are likely to face. Plan, share, discuss and compromise. Set clear goals. Be speciﬁc about your objectives for the regatta result and team goals. Discuss these goals with the entire team in an honest fashion. It’s all well and good to dream about winning a Worlds, but if you’re putting in only ﬁve days of training in a boat you haven’t sailed in 10 years, then a bit of reality needs to sink in. Setting false objectives feels good at ﬁrst, but that can be destructive in the end. Choose the right team. That means selecting a team, not individuals. It might sound like a brilliant idea to reunite a group of your college buddies, but personalities matter, and how people mesh is pivotal. If two crew members fancy themselves the top-dog tactician, then you will surely have troubles at some inopportune moment. The ideal team construction is one in which each member is perfectly capable of doing every other job on the boat at a high level, and yet they are 100 percent committed to their speciﬁc position. No one-upmanship, just
Master Your Short-Term Campaign Your “big event” is on the horizon. Here’s how to plot your path to the podium.
Along the path to your personal pinnacle event, it’s good to sweat the details such as marking settings and staying on top of your boat work, but don’t let it get in the way of important steps such as practice, team building and personal training. P H O T O : R I C H E D WA R D S / V O LV O O C E A N R AC E , S A N D E R VA N D E R BORCH/ARTEMIS RACING
total attention to doing their job and being a solid player working toward the team’s vision. If your boat requires a weigh-in, be honest about your weights and who can ﬁt that. The worst hand you can deal yourself is a bit of hope and fudging on target weights, only to set up your team for a massive weight dive the days before the big event. The body is priority No. 1. When your body isn’t working, nothing else really matters. This is true in life and in sailing, so take care of it. Sleep early during events. Hydrate more than you think, speciﬁcally between
races and during practice breaks. Dehydration is a slippery slope. Also, stretch at the beginning and end of each day. Use this as a scheduled 10-minute downtime with you and your team. Talk about the plans for the day or review what happened. This can prevent physical issues, and it’s a great trick for re-centering a group who wants to scatter in various directions once you hit the dock. Establish a practice ratio. Practice time to competition time is a critical piece of math. Work backward from Day One of the big event and think about the percentage of practice hours you can (and should) hold yourself to. Training-to-racing ratios should be 1-to-1 at the very minimum. Ideally, strive for a 2-to-1 ratio, or more. You’ll ﬁnd that keeping to ratios of more practice than racing is a challenge. Make an exercise of counting the hours. You will be surprised, and I guarantee it will inform not just this campaign, but campaigns to come. Find a training partner. You don’t need some world-champion, glamorous training partner. Instead, ﬁnd the person or team that properly matches your schedule, attitude, energy levels and objectives. Being productive on the water always trumps everything else. On the ﬂip side, don’t gravitate to the team that’s ﬁrst to the beer tent and really won’t push you. The proper partnership should feel like you’re trying to climb the same mountain together, all the while with matching enthusiasm. There will be a turning point of your campaign when your training partner will deliver you that muchneeded emotional booster shot. Pick the person or team that can do that. Get the monkey off your back. Train at times you don’t want to. Is it raining? Good, then go. Is it a little too windy for your normal comfort zone? Go — it’s never as bad as you think. Of course, safety comes ﬁrst, but a little water over the bow can only build conﬁdence when the conditions get hairy. Trust me, there will always be that one race at the championship that tests the unexpected. Be a student of the boat. Focus on
boathandling, accelerations and downwind speed. That’s the low-hanging fruit. Upwind speed is obviously critical, but resist the temptation to spend endless hours on upwind tuning and minutia. Try various modes both upwind and down. Understand the amount of time, postjibe and post-tack, it takes to get back to speed. Count the seconds. Round the buoys multiple times and experiment with different approaches and exits. Get used to downspeed maneuvers. Quiz the good guys. Again, this doesn’t have to be about tuning or the latest jib design. Rather, chat with the top teams about the basics. Where do they sit in heavy-air jibes? What’s the best heel angle after the set? The basics will see you forward, not the idiosyncrasies of the latest mainsail design. If, however, sail design is irresistible to you, then change your questions to what repeated lessons the good guys keep circling back to over the years. I guarantee some good stories. Control the controllables. There is no excuse for anything but the best boat you can possibly prepare. Don’t say, “I’m not a boat-work person.” That’s a cop-out. You don’t need to replace every block and line, but everything must run smoothly. Get rid of the “friction factory.” Spend some quality time with the boat. Solve the nagging
issues. Ask others how they’ve rigged such-and-such. That said, always walk away from the boat with it in a state of “ready to race.” While some of us actually love doing boat work, you must never miss practice because of some not truly critical project. Time on the water is more valuable. If thoughts about ﬁnishing that perfect splice on the vang keeps you up at night, then get down to the boat early the next morning and deal with it. Simplify the numbers. Know the tuning, but keep it simple. Never, never, never look to tuning to solve a technique problem. Don’t get wrapped up in onshore talk about tuning and suddenly present some left-ﬁeld idea to your crew you happened to hear at the regatta before. Tuning is science, but it’s also experience, and everyone’s experience might be slightly different. Keep your tuning steps simple until you’re presented with an experience yourself that twists your arm in another direction. Remember, the real tuning power comes from your soft controls (sheets, vang, cunningham, etc.). Don’t fall of the equipment cliff. Thinking about testing mains? If so, ask yourself two questions. First, what problem are you trying to solve? Second, when will you be done with your test? The cliff comes when you opt to do more experimentation at the loss of sticking to the basics. Things
get further clouded when deadlines aren’t respected. Take in the advice given and understand your equipment limitations, but don’t sacriﬁce attention to the fundamentals. Ask yourself, “What should I take on?” and “When should I stop experimenting?” New equipment — or “shiny objects” — are tempting. Be measured and recognize that there is no magic bullet. Log time at the venue. If you haven’t sailed there before, can you do so before the big event? Does it ﬁt to create a training camp there? Are there any lead-up events? Beyond the sailing, there are plenty of boxes to tick. Discover where the best supermarket is; ﬁnd the go-to coffee shop; ﬁgure out if your accommodations are adequate; learn the idiosyncrasies of the club’s hoist — the list goes on. The goal is simple: When game day arrives, everything feels familiar. Create daily checklists. Be a slave to your checklists — boat work, weather, lunches, everything. This will create an efficient daily schedule, which equals time savings. Remember, rest and energy levels are the two potent items of ownership. At major regattas, little issues have a devilish way of becoming major problems. Assign tasks, delegate and, even though it might sound silly to build rules like the same person starts the engine every day, trust me, it works. Q
BY D I C K R O S E
World Sailing adopts a fair process for deciding when to penalize a boat if the coach breaks a rule.
World Sailing has changed the criterion for deciding whether extended close covering violates Rule 2. PHOTO: WILL RICKETSON U.S. SAILING TEAM
O World Sailing held its annual conference in Mexico in November 2017 with a week of meetings involving several hundred delegates from all prominent sailing countries. There were many proposals to modify the racing rules discussed and voted upon, and for the most part, proposals that were
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FROM THE EXPERTS
Rule Changes Regarding Support and Fair Play
accepted will not take effect until January 1, 2021, when the next revision of The Racing Rules of Sailing is published. However, there is a process for making “urgent” changes effective at an earlier date, and this year that process resulted in urgent changes to one deﬁnition and three rules. All of these changes become effective January 1, 2018. The primary reason for the changes was to provide a fair method for handling incidents in which a coach, parent or other support person breaks a rule. Rule 64.4(b), which came into effect in January 2017, permitted the protest committee to penalize a boat — without a hearing — when the boat’s support person broke a rule (see Sailing World September/October 2017). Many sailors and race officials argued that penalizing a boat without a hearing was not acceptable. U.S. Sailing wrote to all U.S. Sailing judges strongly urging them to never penalize a boat under Rule 64.4(b) for a rules breach by her support person and, later, supported proposals to World Sailing to change the rules that permitted such a penalty. Four changes for 2018 clearly ﬁx the problem U.S. Sailing identiﬁed. The changes also establish a clear process to be followed whenever the protest committee receives a report alleging a support person has broken a rule. Here’s a summary of the four changes World Sailing made: QA new rule, Rule 63.9, has been added, which speciﬁes a process the protest committee must follow when it receives, under Rule 60.3(d), a report alleging that a support person has broken a rule. The committee must ﬁrst decide whether the report is sufﬁciently convincing that a hearing should be called. If so, the committee must conduct
the hearing following the procedures speciﬁed in Rules 63.2, 63.3, 63.4 and 63.6. This is the same procedure that is followed in a protest or redress hearing, but with one difference. For a hearing involving a support person, the protest committee may appoint a “prosecutor” — a person who will present the case against the support person. In the case of a protest or a request for redress, the role of prosecutor is played by the protestor or the boat requesting redress. QSection (e) of the deﬁnition Party has been expanded. For any hearing involving a support person, the parties to the hearing are: the support person alleged to have broken a rule, any boat that support person supports, and the prosecutor. This change means that if a hearing is held because a coach, a parent or any other support person may have broken a rule, every boat that that person supports is entitled to be represented during the hearing, and will have all the rights a protestee would have in a protest hearing. Boats can no longer be penalized without having the chance to defend DEFINITION Support Person Any person who (a) provides or may provide, physical or advisory support to a competitor, including any coach, trainer, manager, team staff, medic, paramedic or any other person working with, treating or assisting a competitor in or preparing for the competition, or (b) is the parent or guardian of a competitor.
themselves. The change to the deﬁnition Party addresses U.S. Sailing’s primary complaint that under the previous rule a boat could be penalized without a hearing if her support person broke a rule. Q Previously, Rule 64.4(b) referred to a penalty given to a competitor as a result of a breach of a rule by a support person. That did not make sense. A regatta is a contest between boats, and each boat entered is scored and can be penalized. When a competitor breaks a rule, his or her boat receives the penalty. Rule 64.4(b) has been reworded so that only boats, and not competitors, receive penalized. In addition, revised Rule 64.4(b)(2) states that the warning described in that rule must be given in writing. Q There are now four types of hearings: protest hearings, redress hearings, hearings following reports under Rule 69 alleging misconduct, and hearings following a report under Rule 60.3(d) alleging that a support person has broken a rule. Because protest hearings and hearings under rule 60.3(d) are not the same, a technical change was nec-
The World Sailing Racing Rules Committee publishes The Case Book, which contains authoritative interpretations of the racing rules. Every year new cases are added to it, and occasionally an old case is revised. During 2017 meetings in Mexico, World Sailing made changes in an old case, Case 78, which will affect the tactics that can be used in major races for Olympic classes, as well as in some local races. Case 78 concerns tactics, usually applied near the end of a series, in which one boat, without breaking any rule of Part 2, closely covers another for an extended period of time in order to drive the other boat well back in the ﬂeet. The case addresses the question: When are such tactics “in compliance with recognized principles of sportsmanship and fair play” and, therefore, consistent with Rule 2, Fair Sailing? From 2013 to 2017, Case 78 stated that such tactics do not break Rule 2 provided “there is a sporting reason” for using them. At recent major regattas for Olympic classes, that test has caused problems. For example, some national authorities use their sailors’ scores at a continental championship to select members of their national team or to select a boat that will qualify to represent their nation at a future event. Often, the details of such a selection procedure are conﬁdential, and as a result, it is not possible for the protest committee at the continental championship to decide whether a boat that used close covering tactics had a sporting reason for doing so. Another problematic situation happened at a recent event in which Boat A had clinched ﬁrst place before the last race of the series. After the start of the ﬁnal race, Boat A drove Boat B, at the time second in the standings, way back in the ﬂeet, with the result that B ended up in fourth after the last race. Boat B then protested A for breaking Rule 2, and the helmsman of A gave as his sporting reason for using the tactics: “I wanted to practice those tactics.” The protest committee accepted A’s reason as a sporting reason and did not ﬁnd that A broke Rule 2, but many people thought A’s tactics were not fair play. Because of these issues, World Sailing has changed the criterion for deciding whether extended close covering violates Rule 2. Effective January 1, 2018, the criterion will be whether the covering tactics
“beneﬁt [the boat’s] ﬁnal ranking in the event.” Clearly, Boat A’s close covering of Boat B in the example above would break Rule 2 because there was nothing she could have done in the last race to beneﬁt or improve her ﬁnal ranking in the event. Also, boats will no longer be able to point to procedures for national team selection or qualiﬁcation for a future event to justify extended interference with another boat. This could affect you in your local sailing series. Many clubs combine the standings of boats in several weekend events to create a season or to pick a seasonal club champion. The implication of
the change in Case 78 will be that a boat sailing in a particular weekend event may use extended close covering only when it will beneﬁt her standing in that weekend event. Extended close covering that does not beneﬁt her standing in the weekend event can no longer be justiﬁed on the grounds that it improves her standing in the season series. The full text of revised Case 78 is, or will soon be, available on the World Sailing website (go to: sailing.org/racingrules/documents and click on the link to The Case Book). Q E-mail for Dick Rose may be sent to email@example.com
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essary — Rule 64.4(b) was added to the list of rules in Rule 63.1. The full text of these changes to the racing rules is available now on the World Sailing website (go to: sailing.org/racingrules/documents and click on the link to Changes and Corrections).
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Some days you’re probably wishing your sails are still made of inexpensive and reliable cotton. By the time these guys manhandle their 1,000-thread-count carbon bedsheet back on deck, they’ll need more than the $15 special at the local nail salon. Although they didn’t mention it in medical school, I’ve heard that soaking one’s cuticles in beer helps speed one’s recovery after such trauma. —Dr. Crash
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