Amateur sailor Benoit Marie surprises everyone, and himself, by arriving to port ahead of some of the world's best Mini sailors in the Mini Transat.
Just finishing the Mini Transat is a major feat for any sailor who dares brave the hell and fury the Atlantic Ocean can unleash on such a small boat. At the very least, surviving the trek invariably means getting beaten and tossed around for weeks on a 6.50-meter boat that merits its “Mini” name. The singular focus of just making it to the tropical waters of Guadeloupe by way of the Atlantic after leaving gray and cold Brittany, France, behind was certainly amateur sailor Benoit Marie’s goal.
A delayed start for the Transat Jacques Vabre allowed much of the fleet to reach the finish in Brazil in good shape, save for favorites Michel Desjoyeaux and Francois Gabart, who suffered a dismasting.
Michel Desjoyeaux and Francois Gabart were enjoying a comfortable lead in the Transat Jacques Vabre, after their relatively easy and smooth passage across the Atlantic from Le Havre, France. Desjoyeaux was down below getting some much-needed rest while Gabart busied himself on the deck as the IMOCA Class Macif sailed along in a breeze of 15 to 20 knots. They had less than 2,000 miles to go before the finish at Itajai, Brazil, and were virtually assured of what would have been their first victory as a duo.
Tim Zimmermann winterizes his Beneteau 36.7 and looks at back at the sailing season.
The sun has set on another sailing season. That’s Moondust under her winter cover on the right, following a day of fast winterizing in anticipation of the frigid Arctic air that has now enveloped the Atlantic coast. Sometimes a boat gets put away with a sense of a sailing season well done. Last year it was like that. My friend Ivar and I had found a good boat at a good price, and brought it down the Hudson River to the Chesapeake Bay. We took our families cruising. It was new and fun. When we finally put the boat away, it felt right to give it a rest.
The Mini Transat fleet heads for Guadeloupe from Sada, Spain.
Bruce Gain takes a look at the controversy, and the threads of reason, in this year's Mini Transat start.
The insanity was over, at least for now. After beating up and over huge seas in 40 knots of wind on a 6.50-meter Mini Class before a cresting wave knocked down his boat, everything was relatively calm now at the port of Sada, Spain. Sails stored, weather-tracking software checked, toothbrush packed along with just enough provisions needed to survive, he had a few hours to think about the 3,700-mile trek he was about to make across the Atlantic to Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe.
SUPing is catching on in the racing community; here, Jimmy Spithill races in New Zealand.
You've seen Jimmy Spithill and some of the Oracle Team USA guys, among other racing sailors, on stand-up paddleboards. So what's up with SUP? Tim Zimmermann checks out this worthy watersport distraction.
I will be the first to admit that when I became aware of stand-up paddleboarding (SUP), or at least the version that mere mortals indulged in, I thought it looked boring. I thought it was just another fad, perpetuated by marketers who are always looking for a new angle or new wrinkle which can be used to convince the world to buy something new. So I sailed blithely on, cruising, Laser-ing, beach-catting, and basically staying Old(ish) School.
The past year has revolutionized high-speed sailing.
How did a premier speed sailing event suddenly get less interesting?
It’s Luderitz time! That’s the time of the year when kiteboarders and windsurfers gather at a custom-built speed trench down in Namibia, and use the howling winds to try and propel themselves to world record speeds.
Watching the drama of humans hurtling down a narrow, shallow canal at potentially bone-breaking velocity, against a wild African backdrop, is always compelling. And it makes for some great media (even if it is possible to go overboard with the self-important narration):
Tim Zimmermann tells the story of his nearly endless search for the perfect boat for his kids.
For kids to learn how to sail, for kids to learn how to love sailing, it needs to involve a sailboat. Yeah, that’s obvious. But it can be a challenge because it means finding the right sailboat for your family and sorting out what you want in a boat. The exact criteria will depend on your kids and where they sail. But there are certain things that make sense if you want a sailboat to hook your children on the sport. Here are some of the things I thought about:
Close matches have helped AC34 live up to the hype.
Whether Oracle Team USA pulls off a miraculous comeback, or Emirates Team New Zealand finally closes it out, Tim Zimmermann's ready to draw some conclusions about the America’s Cup tech-fantasy that Larry Ellison brought to life.
Throughout the agony of the slow-motion train-wreck that was the lead-up to the 34th America’s Cup (has there ever been a more tragic and carbon-splintered development phase, or a Louis Vuitton series that was less suspenseful or interesting?), there was always one dim hope: that the actual America’s Cup match, which is to say the one match race contest that really matters, would feature two boats and crews that were very close in speed and skill.