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BE GOOD TOO RETURNS: My Favorite Abandoned Catamaran Appears On a Beach in Scotland

Be Good beached

How the worm turns! I posted my account of how I and three others abandoned the Alpha 42 catamaran Be Good Too 300 miles off North Carolina exactly three years ago today. And now here I am come to report she has just washed up on a beach in the Outer Hebrides in Scotland. I couldn’t believe it at first. A guy named Jef on the island of South Uist sent me the photo you see above just yesterday, plus a few others, and asserted he thought it must be Be Good Too. The only similarity I saw was in the reverse destroyer bows. Other than that it was impossible to say if it was the same boat or not.

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2016 VENDEE GLOBE: Battle of the Foils Denouement

Armel on Banque Pop

Last we discussed this the race leaders, Alex Thomson on Hugo Boss and Armel Le Cleac’h on Banque Populaire (seen above, celebrating the New Year), had just been in sight of each other as Armel passed Alex and then opened up a slim 15-mile lead. It seemed my remarking on this was a jinx for Alex, as Armel’s lead steadily increased from there, to over 800 miles, and it was starting to look like Game Over for Alex. After the duo rounded Cape Horn, however, Armel fell into light air while Alex powered on and in a matter of days that lead magically evaporated. At one point it shrank to about 20 miles(!) and as of today Alex is only about 130 miles behind, still with a serious shot of winning this thing as the duo, who are both now in the North Atlantic again, pick their way through a complex weather system to the finish line in Les Sables d’Olonne.

But wait! We also can’t entirely rule out the third-place skipper, Jérémie Beyou on Maître CoQ, who has been staging his own Furious Comeback since rounding the Horn and has whittled a deficit of well over 1,000 miles to 650… and shrinking… by the hour… maintaining speeds of around 12 knots as I write, while Armel and Alex diddle around at sub-5-knots speeds in the Doldrums.

As Yogi Berra would say: It ain’t over, etc.

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ASIAN MISFORTUNES: Cruisers Killed, Kidnapped & Gone Missing in Malaysia and the Philippines

Atlantis on beach

This is actually about two different incidents that recently occurred, and I shall defy expectations and tell the story with the happy ending first. This concerning a veteran Australian cruiser, David Lenton, age 74, who was reported missing by Malaysian authorities and was believed to have drowned after his yacht, Atlantis, was reportedly “found adrift and abandoned” in Malaysian waters, off the town of Miri on the island of Borneo, this past Sunday morning. Appearing with the news snippet announcing this was the photo above, in which the yacht in question is notably unadrift, and is instead aground on a beach, evidently with an anchor set.

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2016 VENDEE GLOBE: Southern Ocean Match Race

What a nail-biter! Alex Thomson on Hugo Boss and Armel Le Cleac’h on Banque Populaire have been swapping places at the front of the Vendée Globe fleet for some time now and are deep in the Southern Ocean, not too far west of the longitude of Cape Leeuwin at the southwestern tip of Australia. Le Cleac’h is the French heir apparent favored to win the race at the outset; Thomson is the Great Anglophone Hope, the only non-French competitor to have any chance of winning the race since Ellen MacArthur came a close second to Michel Desjoyeaux way back in 2001.

The ugly twist: Thomson has broken off his starboard J-foil (just as Ellen MacArthur lost one daggerboard after rounding Cape Horn in the 2000-01 race) and is essentially fighting with one hand tied behind his back. As the image up top suggests, when sailing on port tack Hugo Boss is a bit tender.

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ATLANTIC 57 CAPSIZE: More Details on the Fate of Leopard

Leopard upright

Inspired in part by disparaging critiques made on the relevant forum thread at Sailing Anarchy, Leopard’s skipper Charles Nethersole got back to me earlier than I expected to discuss details of the catamaran’s capsize last week. We had a long conversation this morning, and I also had a long conversation yesterday afternoon with Leopard’s designer Chris White.

The main critique on the SA thread has been that the crew was negligent, given the unsettled weather conditions, in not having someone constantly stationed in the outside cockpit ready to cast off sheets in the event of a sudden squall or something similar. After debriefing Nethersole, as well as studying written statements prepared by him and his two crew, Carolyn Bailey and Bert Jno Lewis, it seems pretty clear to me however that the event was so instantaneous, with so little warning, there was nothing anyone on deck could have done to prevent the capsize. Indeed, it seems the crew was in fact lucky to have all been inside at the time, as I should think anyone outside might easily have been lost.

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ATLANTIC 57 CAPSIZE: Crew of Leopard Saved 400 Miles North of the Dominican Republic

After some initial confusion over the vessel’s identity, it has been confirmed that a Chris White-designed Atlantic 57 catamaran named Leopard (as opposed to a production Leopard catamaran built by Robertson & Caine) was capsized last week well north of the DR while on a delivery from Virginia to St. Martin. All three crew onboard, led by skipper Charles Nethersole, were rescued from the overturned hull by MV Aloe, as documented in the video above, taken from a Coast Guard C-130 search plane that monitored the evacuation.

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2016 VENDEE GLOBE: And Away They Go!

Race start

I’m back in the States now, having endured the indignity of the presidential election results while in France, and finally have a moment to drop a word or two about the actual start of the Vendée Globe. This was almost a week ago now, and I’m still sort of buzzing from the experience. There really is nothing that compares to this in the sport of sailing.

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2016 VENDEE GLOBE: A Mob Scene and Then Some

Vendee dock

About 16 years ago I wrote a story for SAIL Magazine about sailing in the Sydney-Hobart Race and dropped a line about having died and gone to heaven, as at last I’d found a place where ocean sailing was considered a top-tier sport. Well, this week it’s like I’ve died all over again and heaven is even grander than before. It's also very French. Before I left to travel here to Les Sables d’Olonne I told some non-sailing friends of mine I was going to the start of the world’s most popular sailboat race. “Like the America’s Cup?” they asked. “No, this is much bigger than that,” I answered. And it is, and it’s a shame the French get it mostly to themselves.

I hope I don’t really have to explain this to anyone who reads this blog, but just in case: these guys are racing non-stop around the world all alone. It's a very simple concept, but also a very large one.

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SINGLEHANDER BILL SHAW LOSES HIS BOAT: A Very Different Sort of Ordeal

Galena under sail

The relevant thread at Cruisers Forum is titled Abandoned Westsail 32 Free For Taking, and it’s not just a salvage hyperbole. The gent who abandoned the boat, Galena (seen above), less than 200 miles northwest of Fiji, has declared he will make no claim on it if it is recovered. He just wants someone to get it. Which shouldn’t be too hard, as its position when abandoned is known, wasn't too far from shore, and its AIS transceiver, as of three days ago, was still transmitting.

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