Archive for May, 2011

Alinghi spear Team Extreme in a big Cat Crash!

May 31st, 2011 No comments

Team Alinghi showed just how much damage can be done with a small miscalculation in the ferocious Extreme 40 Catamarans when they misjudged a duck around the stern of starboard tack Team Extreme in the recent Istanbul round of the series.

With damage so severe that the Team Extreme boat is a near right-off – the Extreme team can be forgiven for being more than a bit pissed off with the seemingly light sentence handed down in the post race protest meeting. Having said that, it is this author’s opinion that the accident could have been hard to avoid given that Alinghi’s rudders were practically out of the water at the time so steerage would have been tricky!

The really interesting thing will be to see if this classic catamaran nosediving tendency carries forward to the Americas cup boats.  So far they have seemed to be more buoyant in the bow but I am not sure they are really pushing them yet.  For sure what will make for exciting sailing is the speed of these machines – the 45s will be way faster than the extreme 40s and the AC90 will be beyond extreme!

Bring it on!!

Tour de Belle-Ile – France

May 9th, 2011 No comments

With close on 500 boats the Tour de Belle-Ile is the second largest sailing event in France by number of boats.  Here are a few selections of the great photos of this event from Christophe Launay – one of the world’s premier sailing photographers.  To get prints of these or many other fine pictures from this event visit his site at

This year the 77-foot maxi tri Gitana 11 broke the record for the 41 nautical miles round trip journey in 2 hours and 42 minutes with Seb Josse at the helm, although they were  nearly overtaken at the end by Lionel Lemonchois on the Irens Multi 50 trimaran Prince De Bretagne.

First monohull was the VOR 70 Groupama with a journey time of 3 hours and 23 minutes.

Categories: Arthur, Sailing Tags:

Which multihull for the Olympics 2016?

May 5th, 2011 No comments

The following article appeared in the daily Scuttlebutt email this morning.  Very relevant for my pet topic – sailing multihulls – so I have reproduced it here.  I think its probably unlikely but it would be really great to have an 18 foot version of the AC boats (see the pictures in the previous article) for the olympics. It puts this radical new technology into the reach of the average you and me – Yee HA!!!!

With the selection of events to be decided in the next few days in St Petersburg, the multihullers look set to get back in for 2016, with every submission put forward having either one or two multihulls on the slate. Given that the most likely outcome is a mixed multihull, the main topic of discussion in St Petersburg is what to do between now and November 2012 when the decision on the boat to be sailed and which class should be chosen for 2016. Given that there is only one multihull, it is extremely difficult to cover the whole spectrum of multihull sailing, so ISAF needs to decide if they want a simple “Laser equivalent” boat, or a high tech “49er equivalent”. Going the simple route would guarantee a large number of new nations would have a shot at Olympic selection, while the high tech route could catapault sailing into the 21st century.

After each Olympics, the IOC presents their Gold Rings Award to the sport that provided the best TV coverage of the Games, and in 2008, in a huge surprise to everyone, this went to sailing. Given all the negative comments about suitability of sailing for TV, this was a great achievement and a huge coup for ISAF. The way the award is decided is that the IOC Broadcast division put together a highlights package for each sport and these are then judged by an independant panel. The highlights package for sailing was put together exclusively on the Tornado medal race, with a mix of onboard, helicopter, boat level and tracking graphics. So the class that provided ISAF with it’s greatest media coup was immediately dumped from the event lineup. However this then provides the opportunity to upgrade the boat, much the same as the Flying Dutchman being dropped for 1996, and replaced by the much more modern 49er in 2000.

As for classes, the following are the likely candidates and a few fors and againsts for each one. With the multihull likely to be a mixed disciplines, one of the key aspects of choosing the boat will be whether the design dictates that the skipper could be either the male or the female member of the crew.

Everyone in the multihull fraternity agrees the Olympic Mulithull should be a twin trapeze boat, true one design (so no development costs) with spinnaker. The only real discussions have been about whether it should be a 16, 18 or 20 foot boat, with most likely boats being an F16 such as the Viper, an F18 one design such as the Hobie Tiger, or the 20 foot Tornado or Nacra. However, a very recent addition into the mix is a proposal from the design team behind the America’s Cup multihulls to design an AC18 with either a soft sail, or preferably a wing mast. So as of today, the most likely candidates for selection in November 2012 are:

* An F16 design – such as the Viper. Most inexpensive, loads would allow a female to be either skipper or crew. Other manufacturers such as Nacra likely to have an F16 soon.
* An F18 design – such as Hobie Tiger. Well established class and dealer networks for all major F18s, heavy boat, would probably mean skipper has to be female. Would mean instant Olympic fleet by many countries and probably the largest number of boats attempting to qualify.
* Tornado – Well established Olympic boat. Needs to work on one design issues. Longevity of platform keeps costs down, but development costs of rigs made it unpopular with not enough countries willing to campaign. Skipper would almost certainly have to be female.
* Nacra 20 – New kid on the block. Manufacturer class, so race it straight out of the box. Skipper almost certainly female.
* AC18 – New design, with a wing mast. One of the advantages of a wing mast are that the loads are significantly less, so skipper could be male or female.

There will no doubt be more information about the AC18 in the forthcoming months, but this look a very exciting project – on that will provide a very clear career path for sailors from the Olympic Games to America’s Cup and bring the sports two premier events closer together. What does remain to be seen is how many countries are prepared to take the step on campaigning such a high-tech boat.