Historical Sprog Dinghy Restoration

The Restoration of ‘Stroppy’ – the prototype Sprog Plus An Appeal for A Permanent Place to Display Her by Frans Loots I could clearly recall seeing a sailing dinghy on display at the Port Elizabeth Museum when we went there on primary school museum day outings. And I especially remember how we would shove the tiller backwards and forwards despite the “no touching” signs. I also remembered that the tiller extension was made out of cane – just like the ... Read More »

Sailing Superstitions: Friday 13th April

Considered to be an unlucky day for some, 2018 sees Friday the 13 occurring twice, the first one today and the next in July. In a number of sporting codes, superstitions are rife! Sailors also fall into the superstitious bunch. Traditionally, sailors believed that having bananas on board, aside from their peels causing many a comedic moment of tripping and falling, bananas have long been thought to bring bad luck. Having ladies on board was said to bring bad luck ... Read More »

Clipper Fleet Fends Off Hurricane Force Winds

Very few professional sailors can say they have sailed in hurricane force winds and a phenomenal sea state with waves greater than 14 metres, but at 1800 yesterday this was the official situation facing the Clipper Race fleet in the North Pacific Ocean. The low-pressure system that arrived close to the north of the fleet yesterday delivered a heavy weather blow which resulted in record-breaking surfing speeds and awe-struck observations of the full power and beauty of Mother Nature in ... Read More »

Sailing Won’t Get You Into College

by Richard Crockett In the Scuttlebutt Sailing News #5058 which I read this morning I was struck by the headline and comments made by its author Lou Sandoval. This is what was said, verbatim: SAILING WON’T GET YOU INTO COLLEGE (#5057) I can’t tell you how many parent’s I’ve run into that want their child to become the next Jimmy Spithill. As much as we’d like this to be the case, it seldom works out that way and often imposing ... Read More »

New Coastal Current Discovered Off Madagascar

South African, Malagasy and French researchers have discovered the existence of a coastal current off Madagascar. The newly-described current, the South-west Madagascar Coastal Current, flows poleward off the south-west coast of Madagascar. Knowledge about and a thorough understanding of it will help scientists understand ocean circulation in the region and have direct implications for the management of local fisheries south of Madagascar. “Revealing the existence of the new coastal current is an important discovery for South Africa as it adds ... Read More »

Copernicus Enters Legends Race

Polish yacht Copernicus, the smallest yacht to complete the very first Whitbread Round the World Race in 1973-74, will compete in the Legends Race starting on 21 June from Gothenburg and finishing in The Hague. Copernicus was built especially for the first Whitbread by the Gdanska Stocznia Jachtowa ‘Stogi’ boatyard in Poland, with a lot of help from the members of the Yacht Klub ‘Stal’ Gdynia on the Baltic Sea coast, who has owned her ever since. She is their ... Read More »

Volvo Ocean Race. It’s Been A Very Tough 7th Leg

This was always a leg billed as the toughest, yet the one crew were most looking forward to. It was also the leg in which a man was lost overboard and in which Vestas was dismasted. Plus, MAPFRE had mast damage which she chose to affect temporary repairs too just shy of Cape Horn, and having suspended racing for 13 hours, she ruled herself out of the running for the leg. And then, after the leading two finished within 15 ... Read More »

36th America’s Cup Class Rule Published

The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and Circolo della Vela Sicilia, together with their respective teams Emirates Team New Zealand and the Challenger of Record – Luna Rossa, have published the AC75 Class Rule for the 36th America’s Cup. The AC75 Class Rule defines the parameters within which teams can design a yacht eligible to compete in the 36th America’s Cup. It regulates all aspects of the boat to ensure fair and exciting racing, whilst leaving plenty of freedom for ... Read More »

US Virgin Islands Defy Hurricane Wrath

Just six months after the devastation caused by Irma and Maria, two category 5 hurricanes that swept through Caribbean last year, life in some areas, including on the US Virgin Island of St Thomas, St Croix and St John, is beginning to return to some sort of normality writes Sue Pelling. I use the word normality fairly loosely because following a visit to the US Virgin Islands during the three-day 45th St Thomas International Regatta (STIR) the week before last ... Read More »

Volvo Ocean Race. Brunel Win Toughest Stage

by Richard Crockett Watching the final stages of this leg unfold on the tracker and later the livestream, it was tense stuff, even for viewer and must have been thousands of times tougher for those aboard Brunel and Dongfeng. It was slow, intense and enthralling as one watched the distances change, and Dongfeng at times close the gap to under 1nm, and for Brunel to counter that and extend her slender lead. But with world class sailors aboard Brunel, and ... Read More »

Volvo Ocean Race. Vestas Dismasted & MAPFRE Injured!

By Richard Crockett The Easter weekend was anything but peaceful for the Volvo Ocean Race fleet, and in fact was drama filled. Vestas lost her mast, MAPFRE stopped just short of Cape Horn for repairs, and Brunel has been reeled in at the head of the fleet by Dongfeng. So while Brunel and Dongfeng go hammer and tongs at each other, the rest of the fleet plays catch-up as they have simply fallen off the back of the leaders in ... Read More »

Volvo Ocean Race. Brunel 1st to Cape Horn

by Richard Crockett This is the leg all crew have been waiting for, and which many armchair sailors dream about doing. The Southern Ocean holds a mysterious allure – as it is just that – mysterious. Yet it’s the toughest leg in the race by far, and so far the most dramatic – and regrettably tragic too. Earlier in the week John Fisher was lost overboard from Scallywag, and never found. Just west of Cape Horn MAPFRE suspended racing to ... Read More »

Volvo Ocean Race. How John Fisher Was Lost Overboard

by Richard Crockett The questions many have been asking since John Fisher was lost overboard earlier in the week have now been answered by Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag. The important thing to remember here is that experienced sailors go to sea because they love it for many different reasons. More importantly experienced sailors will only sail with people they trust and know, and on boats they deem to be seaworthy and ‘fit for purpose’. And, accidents do happen at sea ... Read More »

ECDIS*: What Happens When the GPS Signal Goes Away?

* Electronic Chart Display and Information System This editorial from ‘The Maritime Executive’ was written by by Captain Richard Madden and should be of interest to all those who rely on GPS when going to sea. While common practice is to have multiple GPS units as backup if one fails, failure of the GPS system itself will require the need for alternative navigation – probably celestial navigation if out of sight of land. The U.S. Maritime Administration issued U.S. Maritime ... Read More »

Lost at sea in the Volvo Ocean Race

The Great Circle Sails blog is written by Brian Hancock who has a wealth of experience in major ocean races, including the Whitbread Race. His latest Blog airs his forthright views on the recent man overboard tragedy in the Volvo Ocean Race. Subscribe to his Blog, or see what else he writes HERE I will deal with the pleasantries first then get into the meat of the matter. I wish to extend my condolences to the family and friends of ... Read More »