Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Vendee Globe Press Conference, Paris Boat Show

Rich Wilson was in Paris for the boat show last week when the Vendee Globe race committee released the NOR and held a press conference introducing the 15 skippers (so far) who are planning to be on the starting line in November 2016. (note, this video is in French and if you want to skip ahead to when Rich is introduced, move the slider to 30:42 when the ad is finished)

Of the 15 who plan to enter, 7 are building new boats:

Morgan Lagravière (FRA / Safran)
Armel Le Cléac’h (FRA / Banque Populaire)
Alex Thomson (GB / Hugo Boss)
Sébastien Josse (FRA / Groupe Edmond de Rothschild)
Andrea Mura (ITA / Vento Di Sardegna)
Jean-Pierre Dick (St Michel-Virbac)
Nandor Fa (HG / Spirit of Hungary)

And 8 intend to enter on existing boats are:

Vincent Riou (FRA / PRB)
Yann Eliès (FRA/Groupe Quéguiner)
Jérémie Beyou (FRA / Maître Coq)
Tanguy de Lamotte (FRA / Initiatives Cœur)
Louis Burton (FRA / Bureau Vallée)
Eric Bellion (FRA / Comme 1 seul Homme)
Rich Wilson (USA / Great American IV)
Armel Tripon (FRA / For Humble Heroes)

Monday, December 8, 2014

2015 Bermuda 1-2, NOR & Preliminary Scratch Sheet

The Bermuda 1-2 Race Committee released the Notice of Race for the 19th edition of this fine event. Since 1977, on odd years, skippers have been piloting their boats single handed to Bermuda and double handed back to Newport in the US east coast's premier short handed race. I did this race twice, in 2009 and 2011 on Jeroboam, but missed out in 2013 to participate in another race.

I went through the NOR and didn't see any surprises, but then again the Bermuda 1-2 race committee has always been good about giving participants an early heads up on anticipated changes to safety requirements, unlike some other races I know.

Quite a few have already declared their intent to participate and others have in recent years regularly entered so I compiled a preliminary scratch sheet. Granted, not all these people will make it to the starting line but here's a matter of infinite hope:

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

High Modulus Polyethylene

There have been a lot of changes in the approach to standing and running rigging in recent years with the introduction of high modulus polyethlyene line such as Dyneema and Spectra. There are lots of pros and cons relative to wire and traditional line which I won't go into but in summary, it's lighter and stronger though less chafe resistant.

This summer I began making some changes to Jeroboam to take advantage of the weight savings by using soft shackles as replacements to metal ones, replacing the wire lifelines with dyneema and reconfiguring my backstay with a cascade to replace the hydraulic backstay adjuster which was completely overkill for Jeroboam (not to mention heavy).

Here are some examples of soft shackles:

From the left, the first is made from 2mm FSE Robline MRX dyneema and has a breaking strength of approximately 1,000 pounds. The middle one is made from 1/8" Samson Amsteel AS-78 and has a breaking strength of approximately 3,000 pounds. The right one is made from 3/16" Sampson Amsteel AS-78 and has a breaking strength of approximately 6,500 pounds. With the right tools and a little practice, they're easy to make. This website contains a lot of good information.

I added the hydraulic backstay adjuster in the fall of 2012 when I installed the new mast. It's a Saletec 17LI long stroke adjuster capable of 8,750 pounds of tension.

Low Friction Ring

It's completely overkill for Jeroboam, which isn't a stiff boat to begin with, so I worked up a new design that uses Antal low friction rings in cascade and a single block with becket and cam to tension. I used a single strand of 3/16" Samson Amsteel AS-78 with New England Ropes dyneema chafe sleeve from the mast head to about two thirds of the way to the deck, then split the backstay from there and added the cascade pictured below:

The adjustment takes place at the bock and cam, shown left and the pic on the right shows the the whole set up.

The lifelines are made from 3/16" Samson Amsteel AS-78 with New England Ropes dyneema chafe sleeve used only at the stanchions:

Word on the street is that dyneema lifelines are in the process of being re-reviewed by ISAF. Previously they were allowed under the offshore special regulations (which apply and/or influence rules for OSTAR, Bermuda 1-2, Halifax and others I've entered) but I hear an ISAF working group is reconsidering their stance.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Bermuda 1-2 Fall Skippers Meeting

I was able to get caught up with lots of friends and competitors Saturday evening at Newport Yacht Club where the fall Bermuda 1-2 meeting took place. There were a bunch of new faces there which was very encouraging for the 2015 race which starts June 5th. I gave a brief version of my OSTAR talk which went well and solicited some great questions. Roy also gave us some highlights of the changes to the NOR that should be released toward the end of the month:
  • Skipper must be present for the boat/safety inspection
  • Life raft inspection must conform to manufacturer specs
  • Can openers in ditch bag replaced by multi-tool
  • Ship's bell no longer required
  • Ship's horn must be of compressed gas or electric type
  • Drinking water minimum of 10 gallons in 2 suitable containers
  • Satellite phone or single side band radio required, must be capable of two way communications (Spot Messenger not ok)
  • Online registration, should be up and running by January

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Great American IV Sailing

Just came across this brief video (and article) by my friend Peter Neilson at Sail Magazine from last summer when we went out for the afternoon on Rich Wilson's Open 60, Great American IV.

Bermuda 1-2 Fall Skippers Meeting

I've been asked to give a brief version of my OSTAR presentation at the fall Bermuda 1-2 meeting at Newport Yacht Club on Saturday, November 1 at 3:30pm. Stop by if you're in the neighborhood. The audience is all single and double handed sailors so the conversation will likely trend toward the technical aspects of the race.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Qualifier Accepted

I heard from the Bermuda 1-2 race committee that my qualifier had been accepted so I'm all clear for entry on Eagles Dare. I would expect the NOR to be released soon, possibly this week.