AMERICA'S CUP TAKE 35: In Defense of Larry Ellison

Larry Ellison

No, I was not rooting for Oracle Team USA in this just-concluded edition of the America’s Cup. And yes, like many others, I am quite happy to see the Cup go back to Auckland with Emirates Team New Zealand, and I am looking forward to seeing a new chapter open in the ever-evolving story of the oldest competition in sports. But I do not understand why everyone is now trashing Larry Ellison. Most of the post-event commentary I’ve seen would have it that Ellison is almost the devil incarnate, and that but for ETNZ he would have destroyed modern-day Cup competition.

How ungrateful can we be? I’ve never been a huge fan of Ellison’s, as loyal WaveTrain riders will attest, but I do think we need to give credit where credit is due.

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NEW LUNACY TRANSAT: Phase Four to Newport; Phase Five to Portsmouth; All Done Now!

Self in new shorts

It’s over… at long last! My seventh transat done and dusted. This has been true for nearly a week now and still I’m waking up in a bed in a house every morning in a confused wobbly-footed fuzzy-headed daze feeling like I just stepped ashore.

I must be getting old or something.

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AMERICA'S CUP 2017: Catching Some Live Action in Bermuda

AC race village

It’s only a coincidence that I happen to be here while AC35 is going down, but it is a happy one. Yesterday I took full advantage of it and hopped on the special weekend ferry ($10 round trip) that runs direct from Ordinance Island in St. Georges out to the America’s Cup race village in the Dockyard. It’s a 45-minute run, all the way from the eastern to the western tip of the island. As we were pulling into the race village I could see the Defender Oracle’s boat was out on Great Sound, running through her paces in a light 8-knot breeze, and soon after I actually stepped ashore I saw she’d been quickly hoisted out on to the hard.

One of the impressive, and I assume expensive, features of these boats is that enormous cranes must be deployed every time you want to go for a sail in one.

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NEW LUNACY TRANSAT: Phase Three, Big Jump to Bermuda

Lunacy sailing

This was a hard one this. For one thing it was a bigger jump than I had sketched out in my head. For some reason I had fixated on 2000 as the rough mileage between Porto Santo and Bermuda (see last blog post), but in fact it is 2,400 and change, even via a great circle route, as the chartplotter dourly informed me once I plugged in the distant waypoint. In all, due both to contrary winds and aggravating technical problems (more on that coming up), it took us 23 days and about nine hours to transit the gap, which via the meandering route we followed involved moving much more than just 2,400 miles.

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NEW LUNACY TRANSAT: Phases One and Two Complete

Shiny boat

Talk about shiny new. (It’s a camera defect, actually, that makes the boat sparkle so.) This is us on Lunacy crossing the Bay of Biscay, en route from Treguier, France, to La Coruña, Spain, late last month. (I would have posted something about this earlier, but finding a reliable Wifi signal in La Coruña proved challenging.) This passage, a distance of 400-plus miles, took three days. Highlights included the comfortable deep broad reach you see here (a wing-on-wing-on-wing configuration, as I call it, with the staysail splayed out opposite the poled-out jib), some vivid phosphorescent water filled with spiraling dolphins one very magical night, and one very sporty night with wind howling straight on to our beam at 27-33 knots true for hours on end. The boat, flying a double-reefed main and the staysail, was much more comfortable doing this than we were.

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EASTER SUNDAY MASSACRE: First Solo Sail on New Lunacy

JFD on deck

It went pretty well actually, except for one part at the very end. The weather at least was fabulous. Bright and sunny with a moderate 15-17 knot breeze out of the west. I motored down the river, Le Jaudy they call it, against the dregs of the flood tide, and raised sail just before reaching the entrance. There followed a few hours of experimentation in open water. Took a reef in the main. Played with the Windpilot windvane for a while. Diddled with the electronics. Reveled in the moments and all. One of the highlights was when I turned back in and saw the creator of the Boréal, Jean-François Delvoye, heading out on his own new boat (that’s him on the foredeck trying to take photos of me) for a bit of an Easter Sunday jaunt.

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BOREAL 47: New Lunacy Afloat and Lying (Also Flying) en France

New Lunacy under sail

In fact I have been in Treguier here in France for a week now, grappling with the project of getting to know the new Lunacy while simultaneously studying printer’s proofs for the new book. The book now has been irretrievably committed to the press, and just yesterday Jean-Francois Eeman of Boreal Yachts joined me for a maiden sail on Lunacy. We had a broad range of wind to work in, from 8 to 25 knots apparent at various angles, and exercised all the sails, including the spinnaker, which has, as you can see, quite the modest color scheme.

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LADDER BAY: Eater of Yachts!

RM 1350 in slings

Late-breaking news from the W’Indies! Not one but two yachts have broken off moorings on the west coast of Saba in the past several days and both have ground ashore in Ladder Bay, a most inhospitable shore. The first was a sailboat, a French RM 1350, which reportedly was left on a mooring unattended while the family crew went ashore for a three-day holiday. The boat was refloated and towed to St. Martin, where it was hauled for repairs (see photo up top). An ugly bit of damage for sure.

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Subcategories

  • Boats & Gear

    Evaluations of both new and older sailboats (primarily cruising sailboats) and of boat gear.

  • The Lunacy Report

    Updates on what’s going on aboard my own sailboat Lunacy: breakdowns, maintenance jobs, upgrades, cruises and passages undertaken, etc.

  • News & Views

    Updates on what’s going on in the sport of sailing generally (most usually, but not always, relating to cruising under sail) and in the sailing industry, plus news nuggets and personal views on all manner of nautical subjects.

  • Lit Bits

    Longer articles by me that treat sailing and the sea in a more literary manner, short reviews of nautical books I think readers might enjoy reading, plus occasional excerpts from nautical books that I’d like to share with readers.

  • Techniques & Tactics

    Tips and diatribes regarding boathandling, sailhandling, seamanship, navigation, and other realms of nautical expertise.

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