Ryan O'Grady gets ready for the Atlantic Cup as the media crewmember aboard the Class 40 Mare with Ryan Breymaier and Jörg Riechers.
Shorthanded ocean racing has a split personality. In most places around North America, the shorthanders are the eccentrics placed at the bottom of the scratch sheet, where we question the sanity of those willing to sail a J/120 or Express 37 doublehanded. In Europe, however, the shorthanded sailors are the sport’s biggest rock stars. A once French world, dominated by the likes of Franck Cammas, Roland Jourdain, and the Peyrons has recently grown to include Brits like Mike Golding and Ellen MacArthur, as well as Spaniards like Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez.
Ryan O'Grady gets ready to depart on another great ocean race up the East Coast.
On May 11, a great ocean race will be departing from Charleston, S.C., and no, I’m not talking about the Volvo Ocean Race. The Atlantic Cup will soon be here, and 14 Class 40s are set to do battle in a doublehanded series up the U.S. East Coast. Departing Charleston on Friday, May 11, the fleet will speed northeast, finding the Gulf Stream Current to help propel them towards the first leg finish in New York City. After a short break and Pro-Am Race in New York Harbor, the fleet will depart on Leg 2 from New York to Newport, R.I.
Ocean racing tragedies during the Farallones Race and the Newport-Ensenada Race test our understanding of risk and reward.
To racing sailors everywhere, and particularly to California racing sailors, it must feel as if the sport is suddenly cursed, or suddenly more dangerous. It’s an understandable reaction. Just weeks after losing five sailors in the Crewed Farallones Race, word came this weekend that three sailors (and a fourth is still missing and presumed dead) were lost during the Newport-Ensenada Race. It wasn’t rough weather or navigational error.
Max Bulger heads back to school for finals and reflects on Act 2 of the Extreme Sailing Series.
Act 2 in Qingdao was a whirlwind, by any competitor’s account. In Oman, most teams (including all of us on Oman Air) had a week or two to get settled on the boat, overcome jetlag, and let our bodies adjust to the new atmosphere. We had more than enough time to establish a daily rhythm. China was a whole different ballgame. Due to league rules, no program had access to their boats until two days before the event. This gave everyone 48 hours to empty their containers, set up shop, and build their boats.
The first day of Act 2 in Qingdao didn't go as Oman Air had planned, but the team is ready to do some climbing.
The first day of Act 2 brought some of the closest racing I’ve seen so far in the Extreme Sailing Series; a trend that I’m sure will continue in Qingdao. Light air, current, and geographic shifts kept things incredibly tight. Just when it appeared obvious that coming off the pin and hugging the seawall on the left side of the course was a surefire recipe for success, someone would get bounced off the line and come out of the right in the lead. A boat penalized at the weather mark would split from the fleet on the run, catch a puff, lift a hull, and take off.
Proud parents: Dad and I pause our Easter Egg hunt to admire our handiwork.
With sailing season rapidly approaching, the pressure to finish work on the Sled intensifies.
For all the hard work we put in varnishing the Sled this winter, I expected to feel more relieved after we applied the final coat—which we finally did the other day. Instead, I'm feeling annoyed and overwhelmed.
Tim Zimmermann reflects on the tragedy at this past weekend's Farallones Race in San Francisco.
You never really get used to it. And you can never not feel empathy, sadness, and regret when sailors die at sea. It doesn’t matter whether you know them, or know their families. Everyone who sails boats on the oceans is part of a community that is bound together by a love of water and adventure, but also by the quiet knowledge that the oceans can kill. That’s why this past weekend’s tragedy during the San Francisco YC's Farallones Race, in which the Sydney 38 Low Speed Chase lost crew overboard and then was thrown by heavy seas upon the rocks, hits so hard.
I will say that, if it wasn't for these posters (which are plastered all over the airport and city) I might still be sitting on the curb at the airport, failing to give directions in incredibly broken Mandarin to a confused looking cab driver.
Oman Air's Max Bulger reports back on the fast first day in Qingdao, China, for Act 2 of the Extreme Sailing Series.
I learned a lot of valuable lessons during Act 1, but apparently few of them had to do with departure. While I did manage to pack a little further in advance this time (not much of a feat considering most of my gear was shipped with the boat from Oman to China), I still found myself escaping to the airport in a flurry of mid-term exams, dissertations and papers. I guess that’s what happens when you’re an undergraduate moonlighting as a bartender to pay rent moonlighting as an international sailor moonlighting as a… you get the point.
As PUMA Ocean Racing's mar mostro slides through the final miles of Leg 5 from Auckland to Itajai, Brazil, its 3Di sail inventory looks plenty fresh.
PUMA Ocean Racing's Ken Read gives us the low down on this "bullet proof" inventory, and why his onboard sewing machine is gathering cobwebs.
With much discussion of late regarding equipment and hull failures in the Volvo Ocean Race’s fleet of VO70s, one point of discussion not making the rounds is the sails. Whereas in the previous edition it seemed sewing machines were clattering away across the fleet the entire race, mending delaminating mainsails and piecing together shredded reaching sails. For the most part, onboard sail lofts have been quiet this time around.