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July 27, 2018

AC Prototype Hits the Water

It’s here! It’s the moment that, well, very few of you have been waiting for.

Sir Ben Ainslie’s INEOS Team UK launched a prototype of the new America’s Cup Class, the AC75, sometime last week. The boat has been called an AC36 by Sailing Illustrated.The prototype is reportedly a modified Quant 28, a type of zippy sportboat. The short video, posted by the London Corinthian Sailing Club on its Facebook page, showed the boat foiling – and going quite fast – on calm water.

You can just make out the windward foiling appendage . . . thingy. When we first saw the schematics for these boats, we thought they looked like chariots from Ben-Hur.

© 2018 London Corinthian Sailing Club / Harry Aitchison

In New Zealand, a 1 News reporter gave one of the most shade-throwing-est reports we’ve ever seen, effectively saying, ‘Yeah, whatever, Team UK with all your money. We’ve got our eyes on the prize.’ Here are a few nuggets from that report: "Sir Ben Ainslie’s team has plenty of money to throw at prototypes, but that can sometimes be a distraction; Team UK [are] the first ones to launch, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re leading the charge to the next Cup; Team New Zealand, instead, is working on having an AC75 ready to launch in eight months."

Team New Zealand were famously late to arrive in Bermuda in 2017, which seemed to affect their performance not at all. The Kiwis developed a type of software that allowed them to do extensive computer simulations — a type of virtual tank testing and virtual sea-trialing. Their radical "cycle" grinding system made them more aerodynamic, and seemed to give the Kiwis a solid edge over the competition in 2017.

It looks like some kind of super-cool insect.

© 2018 London Corinthian Sailing Club / Harry Aitchison

At present, there are only three syndicates slated to challenge Team New Zealand for the Cup in 2021: Italy’s Luna Rossa, American Magic and Sir Ben’s INEOS Team UK.

We’ve beaten this dead horse on numerous occasions, but we’d like to know what you think of this news, especially if the first photos and videos of this boat have changed your mind in any way.

Checking in on the Transbac

It’s delivery time for boats that competed in the Singlehanded TransPacific Yacht Race. If you’re not lucky enough to own a small boat that can be shipped back to the Mainland or you want to experience some more ocean miles, this is the only way to get your boat back to the West Coast.

Philippe Jamotte, Double Espresso’s owner, took the easiest route and sold the Olson 30 to some locals at Kauai Sailing Association, based out of Nawiliwili Yacht Club. Here they are in Hanalei prepping her to sail around the island to her new home.

©2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Eight boats are now skirting the Pacific High and are about halfway to the Mainland. Most are still singlehanded; some have crew. After leaving Hanalei or Nawiliwili on Kauai, the boats headed north for a few days before making a hard right east.

It’s hard to say goodbye to beautiful Hanalei Bay, but there is the 2020 SSS Singlehanded TransPacific Yacht Race to look forward to.

© 2018

Reports from the fleet are being relayed via SSB and posted on the SSS site. Most of the sailing has been fine, and everyone seems happy but some have had boat problems.

“Kynntana had adventures up the mast today when the sail track started to peel away from the mast." Kyntanna is Carliane Johnson’s Freedom 38, returning to the Bay Area with crew. "Seems the rivets weren’t holding any longer. The area was maybe 5 to 8 feet up the rig where the problem was; she went up and down repeatedly and has installed ratchet straps to secure the track to the mast.

“Rainbow is plugging along, but seeing lighter winds." Rainbow is Cliff Shaw’s Crowther 10M catamaran, the only multihull in the 2018 edition of the race. "Both Cliff on Rainbow and Carliane on Kyntanna are essentially on a due-north course, which has been that way for the past couple of days. Greg on Nightmare’s email report was not received, but David Herrigel’s SHTP Summary Report email received today at 18:44 UTC says that Greg is listening in and sends his greetings." Greg Ashby had originally thought about selling his Wilderness 30 in Hawaii, but then decided to sail her home to the Bay Area instead.

The tracker, overlaid on Windyty, shows the Pacific High as of July 27. Most of the boats motor when the wind gets too light to sail.


This morning’s report noted “4.3-knot wind; <10-ft gentle seas. Upbeat conversation after position reports were taken. Lengthy discussion about the High, where it is forecast to be over the next four days (exactly where it is now), how to deal with getting east (go north until the High moves).” To see the log entries and get a closer look at the tracker head to

Kids Touched by Multihull Magic

© Peter Nelson

Sometimes an event occurs where everyone realizes something special or magical occurred. Such was the case the weekend of June 29 through July 1 when six (unaware) 11- to 13-year-old boys joined with two (hesitant) adults to form the nucleus of the first-ever three-day clinic at the Corinthian Yacht Club of Seattle.

Using the venerable Hobie 16 as the main platform (and one Hobie Wave), the intrepid sailors would head out of Shilshole Marina every day. Conditions could not have been better.

Double-trapezing on a Hobie 16.

© Peter Nelson

Friday started out so light that several of the kids flipped the Wave on its side and used the upward hull platform for jumping or diving into the Puget Sound waters. When the wind filled in they got a shot at some light-air sailing. Saturday saw a nice medium breeze on flat waters, which gave everyone the opportunity to practice trapezing out over the water on their way to West Point for a picnic on the beach. Sunday came with even stronger breeze and lumpy waters, which really tested the new Hobie sailors with double-trapezing and flying of hulls as they sailed around a mock racecourse. The students got a lot of sailing time in varied conditions. 

© Peter Nelson

In addition to the use of CYC’s downstairs for classroom instruction, boats were stored in the evening on their floating dock. Hobie Division 4 sponsored the regatta, in conjunction with the Multihull Youth SAIL Foundation, a newly formed non-profit dedicated to getting more kids out on multis. Additional clinics have been requested for both youth and women.

A Hobie 16 going for a mark with gorgeous Pacific Northwest scenery in the background.

© 2018 Peter Nelson

Each of the Hobie 16s had a youth mentor on board who had already graduated to the experienced level and has been actively racing. US Sailing instructor Tim Webb was ably assisted by Peter Nelson, Laura Sullivan, Bob Combie, Will Nelson, Jaedon Bott, Jennifer Hoag and a slew of other volunteers.

On July 1, four singlehanded sailors departed Marina del Rey bound for Honolulu in the Pacific Singlehanded Sailing Association’s inaugural Shaka Challenge.
While we seek results we applaud progress. Even with our best intentions and awareness of things like the Texas-sized Pacific garbage patch it remains hard to eliminate our single-use plastic water bottle habit.
Women Sailing of Half Moon Bay Yacht Club offers their first-ever Take the Tiller Women Sailing Regatta this Saturday, July 28.