AZORES RESCUE OPS: 12 Crew Recovered Off 5 Yachts; One Young Girl Dead

Swan 44

Bummer. Here I was looking forward to telling you guys all about the singlehanded passage I just did on Lunacy from St. Martin to Bermuda and instead I think I better go into this first. Details are pretty sketchy, but it seems five different yachts caught in a bad blow about 500 miles south of the Azores all called for help two days ago. A large SAR operation coordinated out of Ponta Delgada on Sao Miguel, which involved five different aircraft and four different ships, resulted in a dozen people being rescued. Tragically, one of these, a 6-year-old French girl who spent seven hours in the water after her family's Lagoon 400 catamaran capsized and sank, died from hypothermia after she was recovered.

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GOLDEN GLOBE RACE 2018: A Highly Regulated Retro Singlehanded Round-the-World Event

Suhaili under sail

We have an announcement this week that ex-BOC Race competitor Don McIntyre is organizing a retro reprise of the famous 1968-69 Golden Globe Race to start June 14, 2018, in Falmouth, UK. This being the 50th anniversary of the date on which Robin Knox-Johnston departed from that same port on the voyage that brought him fame, fortune, and victory in the original event. The tip being that all competitors in this new event must race using only technology that was aboard Knox-Johnston's 32-foot wood ketch Suhaili in the original race (see photo up top), but are prohibited from sailing in a boat identical to Suhaili or in any boat similar to the ones that competed in the first race.

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CRUISER-RACER CONFUSION: Scow Bow Revolution 29 and Gunboat G4 Capsize

Revolution 29

This is something I ask myself quite often: can a modern truly cutting-edge high-performance racing sailboat also be a cruising boat? In certain ways, of course, the old ideal of the true cruiser-racer, per the glory days of the Cruising Club of America rating rule and boats such as Carleton Mitchell's famous yawl Finisterre, evaporated many decades ago. Yet still it is an ideal that both boatbuilders and boat owners incessantly aspire to somehow realize in a modern context, and it is fascinating to watch how these aspirations manifest themselves. Take, for example, the Revolution 29 (see image up top), a new cruising design developed in France that is directly based on David Raison's radical scow-bowed Mini 6.5 in which he won the Mini Transat in 2011.

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SPERM WHALE, UP CLOSE & PERSONAL: Gulf of Mexico ROV Video at 1,962 Feet

Sperm whale close

Time for a little wildlife admiration. Evidently this sort of thing doesn't happen very often. As in a submersible ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) gets closely inspected by a live-action sperm whale at considerable depth. For the whale, though, it's not really that deep, as they can dive down to over 7,000 feet when actively searching for snacks.

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SAILING THE ARCTIC RACE: Through the Northwest Passage in Recyclable "Volcanic Fiber" Yachts

STAR46 image

This is an event I've had an eye on for a little while, but had mentally stashed it in my IBIWISI (I'll Believe It When I See It) file. Well, I think I may be starting to believe it. Since the beginning of the year, organizers of the Sailing the Arctic Race (STAR), to be run in 2017 along a 7,700-mile course that stretches across the top of North America, have announced the enlisting of their first official competitor (a team called STAR Spain, led by Vendee Globe skipper Javier Sanso) and--more importantly for all us boat geeks out here--have also recently released renderings of the one-design STAR46 yacht in which the race will be sailed (see image up top). The most salient feature of these boats is that they are to be constructed of a fully recyclable basalt-fiber balsa-cored laminate developed by an Austrian company Fipofix (a race sponsor, of course) that is trying boot basalt-fiber boatbuilding into the big time.

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GUNBOAT G4: A Cruising Cat That Flies (Literally)

G4 foiling

For those of you who don't happen to follow Gunboat CEO Peter Johnstone on Facebook, here's a hot piece of late-breaking news: the world's first foiling racer-cruiser catamaran has just gone airborne (see photo up top). That would be hull no. 1 of Gunboat's new 40-foot G4, which was recently launched in St. Martin and is now being worked up to compete at Les Voiles de St. Barth (April 13-18) and Antigua Sailing Week (April 25-May 1).

I am sure Nat Herreshoff is dancing a jig in his grave. This is exactly the sort of cutting-edge boat (see, e.g., the catamaran Amaryllis, circa 1876) that he loved to create.

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LOUIS JORDAN IN THE GULF STREAM: Rescued After 66 Days Adrift on an Alberg 35

Jordan and boat

Lots of buzz right now on the InterWeb about this story: Louis Jordan, age 36 (or 7?), who was airlifted to shore by the Coast Guard yesterday off a German-flagged container ship, M/V Houston Express, that found him adrift some 200 miles east of Cape Hatteras. Many of the stories you find online state he was found atop his boat's overturned hull, but this seems highly unlikely. No way could you cling to an upside-down full-keeled Pearson Alberg 35 for two months. No way could such a heavily ballasted boat with so little beam and so much deadrise in its hull stay inverted for very long. And no way could the boat stay inverted for much time without sinking.

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Transit celebration

I'll be honest, folks. When Jimmy Cornell shot me an e-mail after his new Garcia Exploration 45 debuted at the Annapolis show last fall and asked if I could carve two weeks out of my schedule in March to join him on a passage from Florida to Panama and on through the canal, I was skeptical. Not about the bluewater bit. I was sure we could pull that off inside two weeks. But I wasn't so sure about having time to make it through the canal. I'd heard wait times for yachts seeking transits can run from one to six weeks, so when Jimmy assured me he had connections in Panama and could get us through with the quickness, I took all that with the proverbial grain of salt. Worst case, I reckoned, was I'd do the passage and miss the transit, which in the cosmic scheme of things seemed a pretty good worst case.

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