The MOD70 has attracted interest and spectators, and delivered on being a relatively safe yet fun multihull class. But the problem is that the sponsors are not able to turn the spending spigot tap on again, or at least not just yet.
Economically speaking, things are bad in Europe. The unemployment rate in the European Union member states is at 12 percent, and there is no end in sight to the recession. This is not the best scenario to be in for a fledgling, yet promising, race class of multi-million dollar boats in need of sponsors. But that is the situation that the Europe-based MOD70 class faces, which no longer has a title sponsor and has been forced to shutter what was supposed to be the second European Tour this year.
Gabart becomes the youngest and fastest sailor to circumvent the world alone in the Vendée Globe.
Francois Gabart was just a few hundred yards away from becoming the youngest sailor of all time to the win the Vendée Globe. He was also just about to beat Michel Desjoyeaux’s record by sailing around the world in 78 days and two hours, while averaging 15.3 knots over the 28,647-mile long solo trek. But you would not know that by watching him Sunday afternoon as he grinded the winch one last time and studied how the sail was reacting, as methodically and carefully as if he were still out in the middle of the Indian Ocean alone.
Gabart has a few more sunrises to experience alone at sea.
Francois Gabart on Macif discusses the highs and lows of his epic Vendée Globe journey as he fights to keep his lead ahead of Armel Le Cléac’h on Banque Populaire.
It is hard to know just how much Francois Gabart (Macif) thinks about the possibility that he could be the youngest sailor in history to win the fabled Vendée Globe race in just a few days at the age of 29. When I spoke with him by phone as he approached the doldrums in the Atlantic, he seem more concerned about maintaining his lead of a hundred miles or so ahead of the more experienced and very, very capable Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire) than the not-so-lofty chance that he could be the victor.
Michel Desjoyeaux before the start of the Krys Ocean Race.
Offshore sailing legend Michel Desjoyeaux hopes an American team will soon take part in the MOD70 circuit.
The rocky coastline of Brittany, France, is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful places in the world. But this time of year, in late fall, when it is very wet, the weather can cast a pale of dark over anyone’s soul.
The wreck of Groupe Bel after a fishing boat slammed into it Monday morning.
Two skippers are forced to abandon their dreams of winning the Vendée Globe less than 48 hours after the start. Bruce Gain reflects on the drama of the race and the emotional cord it strikes with the French public.
The Vendée Globe got off to a rough start as two of the favorites were forced to abandon the race less than 48 hours after the start. And yet, the drama is just beginning.
Jean Pierre Dick, often touted a favorite to win the race, will sail the Virbac Paprec, one of the newer boats in the fleet.
Bruce Gain checks in with the Vendée Globe skippers to see how they're sizing up their competition for the solo, around-the-world race.
I would not describe it as NBA-style trash talking, but some past and present Vendée Globe sailors have very opinionated ideas about who will most likely win the Everest of offshore solo races. Most agree on the obvious conclusion that one of the more experienced sailors with a technologically advanced boat (and who is also very lucky) will be the first to arrive back to port at Les Sables d'Olonne after surviving the Vendée Globe’s around-the-world route. The general assumption is also that only about half of the fleet will even finish the race.
The Safran team has had more than eight years under its belt to ready what it says is one of the more technologically advanced boats in the fleet.
Bruce Gain goes for a spin on Marc Guillemot’s IMOCA-class Safran and gets the scoop on Guillemot's hopes for the Vendée Globe, which starts this November.
Sailing on Marc Guillemot’s IMOCA-class Safran was exceptionally calm the other day in the bay near Trinitié-sur-Mer along the Brittany coast of France. With a 10-knot warm wind over water that was as still as a lake, it was easy to forget the harsh conditions Guillemot will face when he sails around the world alone in the Vendée Globe race.
The Etoile Polaire weathered tough conditions with youngsters on board en route to Lisbon, Portugal.
A micro and macro account of this year’s Tall Ships Races shows what lessons beginner sailors can take away from the world’s largest offshore event of its kind.
As anyone who sails knows, almost anything can happen on the water, especially during long-distance stretches of 500 miles or more. The stakes are especially high for the skipper when they are responsible for the well being of an inexperienced crew. These two risks were compounded by the sheer number of participants during Sail Training International’s annual Tall Ships Races that took place in July and August.
The Pro-Am events of the Volvo Ocean Race are meant to be a fun way for passengers to try sailing a Volvo Open 70. Blogger Bruce Gain learns that for PUMA skipper Ken Read, racing is racing.
We were beating up in a nice 20-plus knot wind off the coast of Lorient, France, this weekend when Ken Read, PUMA Ocean Racing’s skipper, asked me if I’d like to steer. I thought, Did he really just ask that? In my head, I responded “hell yeah, I want to steer this thing, what kind of question is that?” But out loud, I accepted the invite as politely and calmly as I could.
Groupama’s Franck Cammas hasn't declared victory in the 2011-'12 Volvo Ocean Race just yet.
Groupama is the likely favorite to win the Volvo Ocean Race in early July with a current 23-point lead over second-place PUMA--but Franck Cammas is hardly ready to declare victory just yet. The French skipper says many things could still go wrong before he and Groupama become the second French skipper and team, respectively, to take the trophy since the first around-the-world race (the Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race) began in 1974.