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June 13, 2016

Capsizes Steal the Show in Chicago

A pair of spectacular capsizes kicked off the AC World Series event in Chicago.

© Ricardo Pinto / ACEA

The Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series had its second American stop over the weekend, with racing on Saturday and Sunday on the fresh water of Lake Michigan.

Sweden’s Artemis Racing finished second, first and fourth in Chicago’s three AC World Series races.

© 2016 Sander van der Borch / Artemis Racing

Friday’s practice racing was undoubtedly the most exciting for fans, who watched two dramatic capsizes and contact between Groupama Team France and Land Rover BAR. Emirates Team New Zealand was the first to fall, capsizing late in a close match with Oracle Team USA. The Kiwis came off the foils, crashed down hard, and rolled onto their side, with some crew members falling off the boat or jumping off the top hull. All crew were safe and the Kiwis recovered quickly to start the next race just 15 minutes later.

Oracle flipped in the next race. With Artemis Racing approaching with rights, skipper Jimmy Spithill rolled into a quick maneuver to avoid a collision, and the crew didn’t have time to let off one of the lines, pinning the wing sail on the wrong side of the boat, resulting in a capsize. "It was really puffy conditions," said Tom Slingsby, Oracle’s tactician. "Two capsizes a few minutes apart after absolutely no capsizes at all in the entire series so far. The conditions made it tough for everyone with gusts up to 15-20 knots and sometimes people were getting caught out."

Groupama’s shore team manager Ben Wright explained what happened in the brush between the French and British teams: “Just after the start there was a port and starboard incident when BAR ducked our transom, but they didn’t quite make it and we had a little hook-up on the way through. The damage wasn’t particularly bad. It was in the back section of the boat where the rudder is mounted, so it is a little bit of a sensitive area, and even though it was a glancing blow off the back it still made a bit of a mess of it, so it was a bit of a long night for us making the repairs."

Saturday’s breeze was too light and unstable to start racing on time, so officials took Friday’s ‘substitute race’ and scored it as Race One. The victory in that race went to Kiwi skipper Dean Barker and his SoftBank Team Japan. Eventually the wind cooperated and the race window was extended beyond the initial 3 p.m. deadline for one late-afternoon race that could be used as substitute if needed on Sunday.

Oracle Team USA’s foiling AC45 catamaran appears to be leaping over this mark.

© 2016 Ricardo Pinto / ACEA

But the wind was just fine yesterday, and a record-breaking crowd of more than 200,000 fans packed Navy Pier, making Super Sunday indeed super. In the first race on Sunday, Land Rover BAR took the honors after a very strong start, leading throughout the race. In the next race, Groupama Team France won the start, but Artemis Racing grabbed the lead early and crossed the finish line first.

The last race began with five of the six teams crossing the start line together, but, after a slew of penalties was handed out, SoftBank Team Japan got clear air to lead the pack around the course, recording their second race win of the weekend.

SoftBank Team Japan skipper Dean Barker high-fives the fans on Saturday.

© 2016 Sam Greenfield / Oracle Team USA

“I’m absolutely thrilled with the performance of our team here,” said skipper Dean Barker. “It’s a great boost for our team and it’s really good to see that all the hard work we are doing is paying off, especially in front of such a great crowd.”

Artemis Racing tops the Chicago leaderboard, followed by Land Rover BAR and SoftBank Team Japan. Leading the series overall is Emirates Team New Zealand, followed by Land Rover BAR and Oracle Team USA.

With skipper Nathan Outteridge spraying the Moët, Artemis Racing celebrates their victory. Artemis sails for Kungliga Svenska Segel Sällskapet (KSSS, aka the Royal Swedish Yacht Club), the fifth-oldest yacht club in the world.

© 2016 Ricardo Pinto / ACEA

If you missed all the action this weekend, you can take advantage of NBC’s highlights program from the Chicago event on June 19 from 10:30-11:30 a.m. PDT.

The six teams will meet again on:

  • July 22-24 in Portsmouth, UK
  • September 8-10 in Toulon, France
  • November 18-20 in Fukuoka, Japan

 See for much more.

Why Not a Fourth Solo Circumnavigation?

Although in her 70s, Jeanne is revved up to do her fourth singlehanded circumnavigation. The last one was nonstop and unassisted, as she hopes this next one will be. This photo was taken last year in England where she received several prestigious honors.

Jeanne Socrates
©2016Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The amazing Jeanne Socrates has announced that she’ll soon be attempting her fourth solo circumnavigation starting later this year. She is currently the second-oldest person to have ever done an unassisted, solo nonstop circumnavigation. If she is successful with her next attempt, she will, at age 73, be the oldest.

Jeanne posted the following on her website:

 “I expect to be at sea for seven to eight months, hoping to get safely around the Five Great Capes of the Southern Ocean and back to my starting point without any outside help and without using my motor. The motor will be sealed. I’ll post daily blogs to my website, and I’ll be talking to people on land around the world each day using my HF radio. I also use that for emails, so I shan’t be quite alone!

"If any problems arise — and they usually do! — I’ll have to deal with them using whatever tools and spares I’ll be carrying on board. In addition, I’ll be taking all my food with me. Fresh eggs that are turned daily should last several months, onions and potatoes most of the way, and I’ll also have canned and dried foods.

 "Drinking water will come from a watermaker working off my batteries, and I’ll have long-life milk and fruit juices as ballast. My batteries will be mainly powered by the sun and the wind, with a small backup generator to help on windless, overcast days.

"I’ll do my own weather routing using my radio to get the information. ‘GRIB’ weather files will come as email attachments, and weatherfaxes will come direct from onshore transmitters located beside whichever sea area I happen to be in. It’s useful to know when a storm is expected — they’re very frequent over a good part of my route. In planning my route, I’ll try to stay out of both calms and storms, and as far as possible, in favorable wind.

"I’m hoping to use my sextant to practice navigation skills made rusty from frequent use of GPS. The Southern Ocean is often overcast, so taking regular sights won’t always be possible. But when well offshore, it’s not a problem.

"This will be my fourth solo circumnavigation and, I hope, my second successful unassisted nonstop circumnavigation. Support from my friends will mean a lot to me and help me to succeed. Friends can do so by donating to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution in England. The RNLI is independent of government funding, and the crews of the lifeboats are all volunteers. They need our support to keep them well-trained and their equipment up to date if they’re to be able to launch safely and succeed in their lifesaving efforts night and day."

Jeanne has been a great friend of Latitude‘s over the years, but the Wanderer didn’t get a chance to really get to know her until a few months ago in Mexico. At that time we had a unique opportunity in which to interview her — while we drove her from La Cruz to the Costco store in Puerto Vallarta and back. That interview appears in the next issue of Latitude. It was during that time that we first learned Jeanne was contemplating yet another unassisted solo trip around the globe.

"All I’d have to do to get to the starting line again is sail to Hawaii and then up to Victoria," she said. "But that’s nothing." Nothing for Jeanne.

A few days later Jeanne joined us and about 15 other people for a daysail on Banderas Bay aboard Profligate. We found her to be one of the most charming people we’ve ever met. She knocked the socks off everyone else on the boat, too. She’s a very special person. Unlike many other singlehanders, the former math professor doesn’t have that faraway look in her eye, and is very social and charming.

You can follow Jeanne’s dream and adventure on her website. If we’re not mistaken, the way the fundraising works is that she would get a certain percentage of any money donated to the RLNI in her name.

Another Sailor Beheaded in Philippines?

Two months after Canadian cruiser John Ridsdel of the cat Aziza was beheaded in the Philippines by Abu Sayyaf jihadis, the same rebel group has now — apparently — executed his countryman, Robert Hall of Renova. Today was the group’s declared deadline for receiving Hall’s $16-million ransom. Ridsdel’s Filipina partner Teresita Flor and Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad of the vessel Wiskun are still being held captive somewhere in the southern Philippines.

Canadian sailor Robert Hall (left), seen here in a video shot by Abu Sayyaf rebels, may have suffered the same fate as fellow captive John Ridsdel (center).


According to the Philippine Star, at least three sources claim that Hall was killed around 3:15 p.m. today, Philippine time, shortly after the ransom deadline passed. In a CNN interview, a spokesman for the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) said, "We cannot confirm nor deny that report unless we have formal reports coming in from the intel units on the ground." However, reports of Hall’s death were convincing enough that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed his nation about the incident. As a matter of policy, neither Canada nor the US pays ransom for hostages.

The kidnapping of Hall and the others took place September 22 at the upscale Ocean View Resort and marina on Samal Island, which lies off the southern Philippine island of Mindinao. It was reported at the time that at least 11 armed men descended on the marina at about 11:30 p.m., overpowered the guards, and attempted to grab whomever they could, evidently with no particular targets singled out in advance.

Conditions were relatively mild when Rogues’ Scholarship’s call for help reached the Coast Guard, but a storm three days earlier had completely disabled her. 
The SoCal Ta-Ta will be your only chance of the year to start a sailing event by dancing down the Santa Barbara seawall to the sound of reggae music. 
The Ma’s Rover crew tried out their new oars during the postponement of the South Bay InterClub Race on May 14.