Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The VOR-flight round the world

Pirates of the Caribbean beat the other boats to Cape Town when the arrived Sunday November 27. We are not sure if there is a scoring gate for taking a VO 70 over 10.000 feet altitude, but there should definitely be one because this is the first time a boat has taken a flight on the first leg in the history of Whitbread and Volvo Ocean Race. It’s also the first time that a boat that hasn’t completed all the legs actually can win the “premier offshore round the world race”. It’s a strange, strange world.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Not easy being Grant

It can’t be easy being Grant Wharington these days. They have an impossible mission of playing catch up to the rest of the Volvo Ocean Race fleet over 1000 nautical miles in front. On shore they have to hunt down more money and sponsors in an effort to try to stay in the race. Today they finally secured enough money to sail the second leg from Cape Town to Melbourne. At least he has financed his ride back home…

Saturday, November 19, 2005

TJV: The fisherman and his sailboat

This is great storytelling with a strategic goal in mind; support the corinthian Open 50 trimaran class. Read the words from Mary Ambler.

TRANSAT JACQUES VABRE 2005: Crepes Whaou! arrives first boat across the line and winner of Multihull Class 2 on her maiden voyage

The Father-son pair Franck-Yves and Kevin Escoffier onboard their 2005 Van Peteghem / Prévost Open 50 multihull crossed the finish line of the 2005 Transat Jacques Vabre first in the whole fleet and winner of the Multihull Open 50 class at 20:13:59 GMT (17:13:59 local time) gliding along on one hull at 13 knots on starboard tack in the golden sunset light off Salvador followed by a flurry of spectator boats in their wake. They have also set the reference time for the Multihull Class 2 division of 12 days, 6hrs as only Mollymawk in 2003 has completed the race but in 27 days 15 hrs 58 minutes and outside the rankings.

Franck-Yves Escoffier spoke about his pride at being the first across the line ahead of both Open 60 classes: "I announced at the start that this is the boat’s first transat, and it was built to attract people to race in this class. It’s a fun boat, beautiful to look at, and at an affordable price…our aim was to show off the boat, show it can go quickly, hopefully keep up with the Open 60’s, and now our dream is coming true!"

"For Kevin and I to win it’s a really important moment, there was quite an intense feeling for us when we crossed the line. I have three sons and I’ve always wanted to do things with them and my wife as without her we wouldn’t be here. On this Transat, we sailed the boat to 95% of her potential only in the last 4 days. We were more like at 80% and we built up to a crescendo at the end, Kevin and I aren’t pro’s, our life is spent fishing and we adore that, it’s through my job as a fisherman that I can spend all my time on the water. Don’t forget that if we hadn’t had to stop for 6 hours (3hrs 30mins for the mainsail track, 2hrs 30 mins for the daggerboard leak) we would have arrived a lot earlier! It’s a great story, the fishermen who decided to enter a yacht race…

"The Open 50 multihull, a class of the future? I’m not trying to trump the Open 60 class, as they are incredible boats without which we would never have built Crêpes Whaou ! as there are so many lessons learned from Open 60 design which we have benefited from. I’m a sailor from the old school and I wanted to take the best from the Open 60 design and avoid what I don’t like in these boats for transatlantic voyages. So, yes, the Open 50 design will have a good future, as not everyone can pass from a Figaro to an Open 60 trimaran. The moulds belong to Crêpes Whaou ! and the CDK boatyard, but they are available and were built to construct 7 or 8 boats from them. I’d like to see that happen, then there’d be a great class for competition."
The new Open 50 trimaran Crêpes Whaou !, launched this year in April 2005 has proven her winning potential on her maiden transatlantic race. This Mark van Peteghem and Vincent Lauriot Prévost design is the first boat built according to the new rules for the 50ft class brought out last winter. These regulations include a certain number of constraints, including the number of appendages (4 max), no bow sprit, no swing masts allowed and certain construction materials. With only one damage on the mainsail track, which meant that the boat had to be sailed with one reef in the mainsail for several days after the Canaries. The other problem outside their control was the collision with a mammal at the Cape Verde Islands which resulted in a small leak through a crack in the daggerboard casing. Amazingly, the second Open 50 multihull, Gifi (Demachy / Langlois) is 1,800m behind off the Cape Verdes.

After winning the Route du Rhum in Open 50 Multihull class with his old boat, Franck-Yves Escoffier and his son Kevin worked on the plans and followed the construction at CDK Composites boat yard closely.

Crepes Whaou! Race Stats
Arrival Date: Friday 18th November 2005 at 20:13:59 GMT Elapsed time: 12 days 6 hrs 13 minutes 59 seconds Average speed on the theoretical route, 4,340 miles: 14.75 knots Actual distance covered on the water : 4,738 miles Average boat speed over ground (4,738 miles) : 16.10 knots

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Keep it simple sailor

This is our positive spin on the famous, but oh so easy forgettable, KISS: Keep It Simple Sailor.

Meet Dee Caffari. She wants to be the first woman to complete a non-stop westabout circumnavigation. She leaves on the 20th and in record time she and her highly skilled team from Challenge Business has launched the project.

Her website is an impressive example of how things should be done to communicate such an adventure and sailing experience. Here you can watch videos, download voice to your iPod, read the latest news, check her position and much more. It is all presented on a very simple, navigational and understandable website. The masters of flash and all other high tech web solutions has not been able to send their meaningless high invoices to this project – and good riddance. There are enough websites, even in offshore racing, that obviously thinks tech is king and content queen. Wrong.

Websites is about communication and should not be put in the hands of web developers. They know how to put a site together with their html-coding. Communication should be left to the communicators.

Advise: Please Keep It Simple Sailor, and when in doubt you can look to some of the French regattas to get some ideas and inspiration.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Talk of the sailing town

The big talk of the international sailing community these days is the Atlantic disasters; Two Volvo 70s are getting ready for shipping as cargo to Cape Town and four 60 foot trimarans have gone belly up. That’s only good news for reporters that usually don’t write about our sport, and it’s definitely not the kind off happenings that makes potential sponsors see the big value in sailing.

But there is one thing that is very positive at the moment. There are a lot of big movers and quite a few small shakers are out on a hunt for sponsors to the Barcelona World Race. They all see a lot of potential sponsors out there and with all the arguments from Offshore Challenges they have a very good sales pitch to the managements. Hopefully we will see a couple off strong teams go public in the next couple of months. It's important for the event that the good PR continues to spin for this event, and with a little effort from Offshore Challenges I see no reason for why that won’t happen.

This regatta has it all: Adventure, big names, shorthanded, reasonable budgets that secures return on investment, drama, an established and reasonable safe boat class and a technology drive that will get the stories out to the public world wide.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

VOR: A nightmare start

It’s always good to have some boat disasters, not human disasters, in an offshore race to draw media attention. But fragile swing keels neither give dramatic photo opportunities or safe environment for the sailors.

The seven VO 70s didn’t even get 24 hours on the water before over a quarter off the fleet where heading for shelter with damage. We hope that both moviestar and Pirates of the Caribbean will be back in the race fast – very fast. Because five boats in a round the world race is not exactly what the sailing sport needs right now.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The proof of the Open 60’s

There is no doubt that Offshore Challenges has taken the right choice with the IMOCA Open 60 in the Barcelona World Race. The three trimarans turning turtle this week in the Jaques Vabre made headlines all over the world but it’s not the kind of media attention the sponsors, sailors or the sailing community really needs. Well, a little carnage is good in the overall PR perspective because it gives the public the impression that the offshore sailors are living on the edge.

The Open 60’s are trucking along, except two boats where one has retired because of gear failure, through aggressive cold fronts and 7 metre high waves. The boats are fast, high tech, spectacular and just safe enough. The Barcelona World Race is the race to watch out for in the next two years.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

VOR: Lucky Aussies

We are not sure who has the biggest grins in the VOR camp right now. Grant Wharington's Premier Challenge team who got a last minute mystery sponsor to finance to legs, or the mystery Dutch sponsor? My guess is the sailors because it will take a PR and sponsor plan of so far unseen proportions and a giant effort to actually get return on such a last second investment. Unless fun is all you are looking for then.

The still-unnamed sponsor has injected enough money into the team for Wharington to do the first leg from Vigo, Spain, to Cape Town, South Africa and the second leg that stops over in Melbourne in January. The leg starts November 12th and Wharringtons men will have one day of training before they set off. Read all about it in the Herald Sun.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Farr-Juan K 1-0

The Volvo Ocean Race kicked off in a very light breeze Saturday and the Farr boats came out on top. The two Ericsson Racing Teams tactician John Kostecki definitely earned his salary this weekend with a go-left call that gave Neal McDonald and his crew the victory. Next Saturday is the start of the real offshore stuff and we will hopefully have the chance to see if the ABN AMRO twins are better in the heavy winds. The two skippers on the ABN AMRO-team, Mike Sanderson and Seb Josse, didn't get to depressed over ending at the wrong end of the result list, they knew the boats would be sticky in light air.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

TJV underdog preview

Father and sons, old friends and other out of the ordinary keen shorthanded sailors are drawn to the Open 50 class in the Transat Jaques Vabre. The price ticket is cheaper than in the 10 foot bigger class, but the thrills and excitement are just as big for these Corinthians. Transat Jaques Vabre is on of the very few long distance regattas that still has an Open 50 class. There should be more.

Mary Ambler has put together this excellent preview of the class that starts on Saturday, and the same treatment will be given to the other class on the race website. This will be the race to follow the coming weeks. But then again; what else is there to do?

The VOR spin are finally heating up

It is two days to go before the first ever inshore race in the worlds premier fully crewed offshore race takes place and finally the PR heat are upon us. The last couple of days we have seen a massive surge in articles about the seven teams, the Volvo Ocean Race it self and all other aspects of this high tech sprint around the globe. Even Jaques Vabre has been put in the media shadow the last couple of days.

One of the sailing communities best communicators Paul Cayard are making his contributions from the key board, but what strikes us as somewhat odd is that the team that probably has the biggest consumer and entertainment goal in the race doesn’t have it’s own website. The Hollywood project Pirates of the Caribbean is the only team yet to launch its own site. Even the under- to non-funded Premier Challenge has seen the value of communicating to all stakeholders and the public through their own site. Even though Paul Cayard has no problem in getting through in the media with his sharp tongue and fine tuned writing skills, there might be a time when he needs to have his own channel to communicate through. We hope a site is at the end of the pipeline…

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

New format on the Baltic Sprint Cup

All events need to move forward and last years sucess in the Baltic has done exactly that. The last years NORD/LB Baltic Sprint Cup have extended their sponsorship deal and thereby extended the regatta to Norway. Next year the regatta will be named DnB NORD Baltic Sprint Cup and start on the beautiful west coast of Norway. The first stopover will be Oslo after the start from Stavanger in the end of June 2006. This leg will be the longest stretch in the whole regatta with 286 nautical miles and most of it against a strong current.

11 days later the fleet will have visited Sweden, Denmark and will end up in Warnemünde on the German coast.

The hunger for adventure

New record for double handed regatta in Norway

There is a huge hunger for adventure among sailors in the Nordic countries. Sitting on the rail for hour after hour in the big offshore regattas is not the best of kicks, but doing shorthanded regattas are the big thing. This morning on Tuesday 1st November a lot of Norwegians had set their alarm clocks for a sailors wake up call. At 07.00 the registration for the double handed Watski Skagerrak TwoStar 2006 opened and after ten minutes 25 skippers had registered. 20 minutes later there where 75 on the list and only 3 hours and 20 minutes later all the 150 spots where taken. That’s definitely a new record. Last year the list where filled up in 29 hours.

But there’s still room for some foreign competitors. The regatta committee has opened up for a quota of 50 foreign boats.

This third edition of Watski Skagerrak TwoStar starts in Hankø, Norway and takes the sailors to Arendal, Norway for a three hour pitstop before crossing Skagerrak to Marstrand, Sweden. The sailors seldom have the time to enjoy the beautiful island because after another three hours pitstop it’s of again back to Hankø and a completion of the nearly 300 nautical mile long marathon.