Monday, November 18, 2013

Canadian ocean racers rock!

I bet you didn't know there were any Canadian ocean racers, much less Ocean racers that rock!

Right now is the season when many many ocean racers depart Europe and head south down the atlantic.  The goal is to get to cape horn in the southern hemisphere summer, when the winds only average 40knots and the waves are only 10 meters high or so.

I have been following Diane Reeds One Girl Ocean Challenge.  She is racing a mini in the mini transat race accross the atlantic.  The reason I think she rocks is that it is very long term challenge to get qualified for the race.  She started hunting for a boat in January 2010, purchased it and started working on the boat and then training for the event.  She sailed several East coast races such as the burmuda 1+2.  Then comes the qualification part.  You have to complete some Mini races which means racing in France.  Also a long single handed qualification sail that Diane sailed out from Florida and around the caribean and back.  Huge miles on a small boat sailed single handed.

Here is her 2012 schedule from her website:

The Schedule

March 2012 – Ship OGOC to France
April 14, 2012 – Demi-Cle 6.50, 150 miles double handed
April 21, 2012 – Pornichet Select, 300 miles single handed
May 13, 2012 – UK Mini Fastnet, 600 miles double handed
Feb / Mar 2013 – Training Bay of Biscay and the Solent
April 2013 – Demi Cle 6,50, 150 miles double handed
April 2013 – Pornichet Select, 300 miles single handed
May 2013 – UK Solent, single handed
May 2013 – UK Mini Fastnet, 600 miles double handed
2013 – The Transat Race, 4000 miles France to Guadeloupe

This October was the start of her race.  There were many weather delays, but finally they got off!
Départ de la Mini Transat - 29 octobre 2013, 09H19 by minitransat

The fleet was beaten up rather badly by the weather and the race was canceled.  The fleet sailed into Gijon Spain and restarted from there.  Diane restarted with the fleet.  After a technical stop for repairs she is once again on the way across the Atlantic to Guadalupe.

Links to follow the fleet in English are here:

Here she is starting for the second time:

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Exciting low tech adventure

Sailing is a sport of extremes.  The opposite end of spectrum from the high tech adventure seekers are the low tec adventure seekers.

My favorite example of this is the recreation of Shackletons Antarctic voyage to get help for the men from his expedition.  The goal of the expedition had been to cross the Antarctic continent over land but turned into an epic voyage to save the men of his expedition.  Shackleton sailed 800 miles across the southern ocean in an open boat and then climbed over a mountain to reach the help he needed. 
The recreation voyage team used a replica boat and period correct gear and equipment.  Check out more at the expidition website at:


There is also a film on discovery channel and other places:

The age of sail was a full of spectacular adventures.  There are many other groups sailing tall ships around the world.  Some are designed as tourist experiences, others as leadership training programs. 

One such group close to my interest in sailing for disabled person is the jubilee trust.  They have three ships rigged for disabled people to sail.  Info here:

and here:

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Extreem high tech adventures

Sailing rocks because our sport includes high tech adventures, pushing the port and expanding the limits.  Because these sailors are contributing to our sport the sport as a whole benefits.  For example America's Cup and Volvo Ocean Race teams developed laminate sail cloth and this technology lead to laminates for cruising use that last longer and hold their shape better than Dacron.

What will the recently completed 34th America's Cup bring to the sport?

Other high tech projects are contributing technology to our sport in there pursuit of speed records over courses ranging from 1 nautical mile to cercomnavigations.  These include:

The outright sail powered speed record is held by Sail rocket

The Jules Vern trophy is held by Bank Populaire for the fastest cercumnavigation of the planet under sail.  This record has no restrictions on the boat or the crew.

Team Hydroptere, a french group run by Alain Thébault are developing two very specialized craft to beat both of these records.  There speed record boat is similar to Sail Rocket, but bigger and hopefully tougher and their round the world boat is a development of there foiling trimaran that can change between displacement mode for storms and foiling mode to go freaking fast.  Check them out here:

All of these teams advance all areas of our sport as they develop their specialized craft.