On page 88 of the January Racing Sheet we reported that there was a collision during the December 13 Berkeley YC Midwinter race, with a very serious injury to a crewmember’s toe, between the Newport 30 Achates and the Islander 36 Vivace. The article ended with the sentence "Achates filed a protest."
Vivace owner William O’Connor strongly objects to the last sentence — and with good reason.
"The implication [of the last sentence] is that I had been in the wrong and didn’t file a protest because it [the collision] was my fault. Nothing is further from the truth. I subsequently filed a protest within the proper time limit. Due to the serious injury to my crewmember, we did not fly a protest flag immediately, but left the area to get medical attention for him and never returned to the course."
Latitude sincerely apologizes for the omission that could easily be taken as an inference that Vivace was admitting fault.
Because of the holidays, the protest hearing over the incident will not be held until tomorrow.
Bay Area sailor Tim Dick wrote in this morning about an unusual observation on the Bay yesterday:
"From the 0.001% desk… Sausalito Yacht Club Hot Chili Midwinters race participants might have momentarily thought they were in St. Barth (except for the 50F temperature) when the 17,000-horsepower, jet-powered, 118-ft Wallypower rafted up to its 235-ft mothership Kogo, anchored off Sausalito’s Hurricane Gulch area.
"It’s an astonishing sight when the Wally — which is the world’s fastest superyacht capable of over 60 knots in the ocean — looks as small as a Cigarette boat when rafted up against the larger vessel. The Wally’s immaculate and nearly featureless carbon fiber hull and tempered glass superstructure give little sense of scale — our crew guessed it was 50 feet initially — except when seen against another vessel, or an apparently Lilliputian crew member appears briefly on deck. We can assure you, however, that these "men in black" (because they were men in black) are life size.
"We vote the Wally 118 as ‘best tender of 2015’ but it’s still only January 4 so we’ll see. For a view rarely seen in SF Bay at any time, especially winter, the Wally is now anchored out at the mouth of Richardson Bay (again looking remarkably small) while Kogo remains anchored off Hurricane Gulch.
"Conspiracy theory department: Press reports suggest that these vessels appear to be owned by the CEO of TAG (of wristwatch fame) and McLaren backer Mansour Ojjeh. Could it be Mr. Ellison might be having a re-think about the America’s Cup site?" asks Tim.
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The six remaining Volvo Ocean Race teams ghosted through thick fog in Abu Dhabi to start the 4,642-mile Leg 3 to Sanya, China, on Saturday. The ‘home team,’ Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, led the way, finishing the in-port course in just under an hour with Dongfeng Race Team and Team SCA hot on their heels. Dongfeng is now leading the charge to their homeport of Sanya.
The third leg will be particularly hazardous in the busy shipping lane of Malacca Strait, which separates Sumatra and Malaysia and which narrows to 1.5 miles in some places. "It’s the most challenging part of the whole race," said Team Alvimedica navigator Will Oxley. "The complexity of dealing with a narrow channel and a very large amount of shipping is what causes the problems. Some 300 feet of steel coming at you at 20 knots is always concerning, particularly if you haven’t got much control over your speed if there’s not much wind. Then you have squalls, very violent squalls in the night, and there’s lots of fishermen who are not showing navigation lights and have long nets. You can get tangled in the nets, or worse still, run someone over. So it’s very stressful."
The all-female Swedish Team SCA, skippered by Brit Sam Davies, won the in-port race on January 2.
The seventh team, Vestas Wind, has announced plans to rebuild their badly damaged boat and return to the Volvo Ocean Race by June. The Danish team’s Volvo Ocean 65 was dramatically grounded on a reef in the middle of the Indian Ocean midway through Leg 2 on November 29.
Meanwhile, another around-the-world race has begun. The eight-boat Barcelona World Race started (from Barcelona, of course, in northeast Spain) on New Year’s Eve. The British-Spanish duo of Alex Thomson and Pepe Ribes on the IMOCA 60 Hugo Boss won the charge out of the Med through the Strait of Gibraltar, breaking the course record for that stretch, with a new time for the 528 miles from Barcelona to Gibraltar of 2 days, 5 hours, 50 minutes.
Now the fleet leaders are approaching the Canary Islands, where they hope to pick up the northeasterly trade winds. Unlike the Volvo Ocean Race, the Barcelona Race is nonstop — and doublehanded, the only race of its kind. Hugo Boss and Neutrogena, with Guillermo Altadill and Jose Munoz, are battling for the lead.