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A Rippin' Race Around Britain

August 13, 2014 – British Isles

 Sidney Gavignet's MOD 70, Musandam-Oman Sail
(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

 Sidney Gavignet's MOD70, Musandam-Oman Sail, at the start of the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race

© 2018 Rick Tomlinson / RORC

With all of the pre-race hype about incoming hurricanes, potential course reversals and broken course records, it would have been easy for this year’s Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race to disappoint. Fortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. With the downgraded Hurricane Bertha’s eastward progression moving slower than predicted, race organizers opted to delay the start by 21 hours in addition to confirming that the course would be reversed as it was in 2010, to run counterclockwise around the British Isles. 

The 28 competing yachts had no time to settle into the marathon 1,802-mile ocean sprint, as their crews were sending it downwind in 30 knots of breeze from the get-go. The fleet’s scratch boat and sole multihull, Musandam-Oman Sail, set an astonishing pace out of the gate, and the Omani MOD70 is currently routed to complete the course in around three days. This would be just a couple of precious hours ahead of Banque Populaire V’s 2011 reference time of 3d, 3h and 49m. If skipper Sidney Gavignet and his half-Anglo/half-Omani crew can hold on to set a new course record, the achievement will be made even more impressive by the fact that BP V was twice as long as the 70-ft Musandam-Oman Sail and left on a specific weather window, not on an organized race start.

Abu Dhabi's Azzam

Azzam, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's Volvo Ocean 65, is skippered by Brit Ian Walker.

© 2018 RORC Race Team

Behind the blazing tri, a half-dozen Volvo boats are settling into position on the race course in a clearly defined A fleet and B fleet. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s Volvo 65 Azzam has opened up a 30-mile lead over the Spanish Team Campos with the Chinese entry Team Dongfeng a further 10 miles back. The American/Turkish youth entry Team Alvimedica and the all-female Team SCA have fallen off the pace and are battling closer with the old Russian Volvo 70 than they are their one-design brethren. There’s a lot of carnage to report through the fleet, including four out of five Class 40s and the legendary Sir Robin Knox-Johnston retiring. The globetrotting Ker 51 Varuna currently leads IRC overall, with the ex-Russian VO 70 Monster Project putting in a stellar showing in second.

- ronnie simpson

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Fall Crew List Party

Classy Deadline the 15th

See the current magazine here

See the current magazine here.

Nightmare With a Happy Ending

August 13, 2014 – Oahu, HI

Looking like a ghost ship out of a Disney movie, Walkabout is seen here before she dismasted, but badly battered nonetheless. In the Coast Guard footage you can just make out the train of huge swells that swept beneath the boat from the top of the screen to the bottom. But as every storm survivor knows, film can never capture the true severity of the on-scene situation. 

Photo Courtesy US Coast Guard
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

We haven't had a chance to speak directly with captain Ben Neely, 61, his son Lee, 22, or crewman Mike Vanway, also 22, but we're sure they must be elated beyond description to have been rescued from their Stockton-based double-ender Walkabout Monday, after spending 24 hours in the roiling cauldron of Hurricane Julio, north of the Hawaiian islands. 

As the skipper explained in an interview with Honolulu's KITV, the three men had been aware of the approaching Category Two storm, and had tried to slow their progress toward its path, or sail away from it, but to no avail. "We were being drawn along the storm," said Nealy. "The storm was passing, and it was also sucking us with it, so we weren’t getting out of it nearly as quick as I had hoped... We finally just ended up in front of it." At 7:15 Sunday morning, they put out a mayday signal via their DeLorme tracking unit, and rescue efforts were soon begun.

We have reported on countless offshore rescues but it never ceases to impress us how professional rescue personnel, such as Coast Guardsmen and PJs, will selflessly put their own lives in great danger while coming to the aid of mariners in peril. In this case, as reported Monday, a hurricane-hunter aircraft, Teal 76, flew through hurricane winds of 100 knots in order to make VHF contact with the 42-footer, which was taking on water after a hatch was blown off. Next, a succession of two Coast Guard C-130s continued recon of Walkabout, flying close to the water to avoid being sucked into its deadly winds. The second stayed on station until the 661-ft Matson container ship Manukai arrived Sunday night to rescue the three battered sailors. After several failed attempts, they were eventually successful in rescuing them — unharmed — early Monday morning.

courtesy US Coast Guard

"We arrived on scene; the situation was dire," said 1st Capt. John Bloomingdale. But winds had subsided substantially since the height of the storm the previous day, and seas were no longer the 30-ft-high monsters that had previously tossed Walkabout around like a bathtub toy. According to KITV, the massive ship's skipper was able to maneuver close enough to the sailboat so that his crew could drop a tow line, pull the dismasted sloop alongside, and retrieve the Stockton sailors via a boarding ladder. A pretty slick trick indeed. 

- latitude / andy

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Ad: Events at Passage Yachts

August 13, 2014 – Pt. Richmond and Alameda, CA


Saturday, August 16: Try Before You Buy Oceanis 45 Sail / Pt. Richmond office

Saturday, August 23: Try Before You Buy Sense 43 Sail / Pt. Richmond office

Friday-Sunday, September 5-7: Annual Beneteau Rendezvous / Cruise in to Benicia Yacht Club

Passage Yachts logo

© 2018 Passage Yachts /

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Weekend Racing Wrap-Up

August 13, 2014 – San Francisco Bay and Beyond

Wuvulu round-up

John New's Islander Bahama 30 Wuvulu, racing in the Interclub Series on the South Bay, rounds up as a gust hits during a jibe. Easing the spinnaker halyard brought the boat back up.

Photo Latitude / Chris
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Although she spares us the hurricanes, sometimes Mother Nature likes to play a little rough on San Francisco Bay in the summer. Such was the case last weekend.

Moonlight Marathon start

At the windy start of Saturday's Moonlight Marathon, the J/29 Smokin' J slides to leeward of a reefed Catalina 27.

© 2018 Fabian Pease

Sequoia YC's Moonlight Marathon sailed from Redwood City to Alcatraz and back on Saturday. "It was an exciting day, with consistently strong winds and currents. We had steady 20-knot breezes at the start, with very heavy chop in the channel, fed by the strong ebb current in opposition to the breeze," said Mark Bettis of the Coyote Point-based J/29 Smokin' J. "We had been looking forward to the long spinnaker run all the way down the Bay, but the wind had clocked so far to the west that it was actually a close reach back to Hunters Point – oh well, trim the sails and hang on! We reached down the Bay at 8+ knots sustained speed, spray flying and the rig humming as dusk approached." They were able to set the spinnaker just before the San Mateo Bridge, but about 200 yards before the finish, a big gust of wind blew up the kite. We'll have more from the Moonlight Marathon, as well as the previous weekend's Midnight Moonlight Maritime Marathon, hosted by SFYC, in September's Racing Sheet.

Punctured bow

The bow of the Express 27 Levitation II was a casualty in the Albert T. Simpson Regatta.

Photo Latitude / Chris
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Ten Express 27s, which are gearing up for their Nationals at the end of the month, and eight IODs raced on the Cityfront in St. Francis YC's three-race Albert T. Simpson Regatta on August 9. With eight points, the 'Cyclers on Motorcycle Irene squeaked out a one-point lead to take the top spot, while Dan Thielman on Shenanigans, Dan Pruzan on Wile E Coyote, and Brendan Busch on Get Happy!! all tied with nine points. Jeffrey Lawson's Bolero placed 2-1-2 in the IOD divison; taking second and third, Richard and Mark Pearce's Fjaer and Paul Zupan's One Hundred tied at eight points.

Hole in Meliki's bow

Meliki was doing a shark impression when she was hauled out after returning from YRA's Summer #2.

Photo Latitude / Chris
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The blustery, choppy conditions in the Southampton Shoal racing area may have been a contributing factor in a collision between two Santana 22s shortly after starting in YRA's Summer #2. Both boats suffered substantial damage, and one crewmember went halfway in the drink, but no serious injuries were reported.

- latitude / chris

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Ad: Sale Boat of the Day

August 13, 2014 – San Francisco, CA

1996 Sabre 402  •  $189,000

Sabre 402
Click on the photo for further information.
© 2018 Swiftsure Yachts

WICKED is an exceptional Sabre 402 built with care and attention to detail by the long standing Maine boatyard. Beautiful cherry interior, two comfortable staterooms, great performance and good looks. $10,000 price reduction in July, 2014. Owner wants her sold!

Ryan Helling  l  Swiftsure Yachts
2500 Westlake Ave. N., Suite F, Seattle, WA 98109
Office: (206) 378-1110 |

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© 2018 Swiftsure Yachts

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