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Patriotism puts puff into Team Shosholoza's sails

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TRAPANI - When captain Salvatore Sarno went to Geneva to enter Team Shosholoza in the America's Cup he took a South African flag with him.

After signing the necessary documentation he posed for photos with the flag held high.

Although the cup is no longer country against country, that hasn't stopped Team Shosholoza beaming with nationalistic pride.

"In the past five or six months more South Africans have come to know about Shosholoza," Sarno said in Trapani yesterday.

"They know that Shosholoza is overseas and fighting for their country."

The diminutive Sarno is the driving force behind South Africa's maiden cup challenge.

The Italian-born sailor has lived in South Africa for 14 years, arriving as a ship's officer on a freighter picking up granite in Durban.    more...



 



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Veil of secrecy surrounds Alinghi mast

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Alinghi is taking America's Cup intrigue to new heights with secrecy over its mast.

When the slick racing yacht pulls into the dock there are sails cleverly packed to hide the lower section of the mast underneath the deck.

While it may appear everything is open for show during the lead up events to the 2007 America's Cup, there are some things teams are trying to kept under wraps.

Whatever the secret is, the Swiss are protecting it fiercely.

During the last cup they were the innovators of the twisting rig, a concept designed to help reduce the wind resistance of the mast.

It is possible that what they are hiding is in relation to that or they may be trying to stop their opposition figuring out what structure they have inside the boat.

Then again, this is the America's Cup and they may be hiding nothing and are simply creating speculation as to what they might have.    more...


 



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A Reader Responds....

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As a USCG licensed captain and active in the passenger/charter industry on the Great Lakes, I implore lawmakers not to require that life jackets be worn. Aside from issues based in political philosophy, ie, the loss of still more personal freedoms and ability to assess and protect oneself from obvious risk, the real issue is that the statistics for boating fatalities, when weighed against the number of persons that go boating in any given season, lead even the most politically liberal or most cautious in all matters nautical to conclude that life jackets are not the problem. Other ideas rasised, such as higher standards for stability, additional crew and drug testing are all helpful; standards the Coast Guard already meet on the the Great Lakes. The regulations for inland lakes should be made more stringent, but wearing life jackets is simply overkill - a measure that would dramatically reduce the numbers of passengers desirous of enjoying a short excursion on what should be a safe vessel with a licensed, straight captain and competent crew.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE...

State boating issues need to be addressed N.Y. tragedy may serve as wake-up call

The boating tragedy in Lake George, N.Y., that killed 20 people on Sunday, including two Whitmore Lake-area residents, raises important questions in its aftermath that lawmakers and regulators in states throughout the nation should speedily address.

In Michigan, for example, as in New York and 45 other states, adults are not required to wear life preservers when their vessel is in motion.

Certainly for the elderly, the infirm and others who can't swim, requiring that they be worn seems reasonable in craft that can quickly capsize or sink. Just having life preservers readily available isn't good enough.

"Readily available'' is the safety standard now in effect in Michigan.    more...

 



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A Reader Responds...

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Matt Ciesicki,
I wish to tell you that your write up of this article "Heavy Air Gybing
-Timing and Teamwork" is absolutely the best I have ever read on the subject.  
 
With my 67 years and starting on penquins when I was 7 thru college sailing club on Highlanders on Lake Cowan SW Ohio, thru Lightening, and Star Classes thru the J Class I have never read anything that puts you right on deck as well as this article.
Thanks so much Matt.  It reminds me of Bruce Catton's descriptions
of the battles of the Civil War. (You can smell the heat, burning flesh, horses, cannon, cries and death.  )  Matt, I would put you in a class with Catton.  I can feel the wind, the salt air, and the calling of the helmsman.    THANKS SO MUCH FOR A GREAT ARTICLE AND KEEP THEM COMING.   James C. Landon III  Bellevue,Kentucky

 http://www.wcsailing.com/index2.asp?NGuid=50B4F9D7AB81409BA0B4A50CEBE719B8

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Changing Headsails

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The call of “change the headsail “has resonated with teams since the inception of competitive sailing. It is one of the ultimate calls to action for a team as the crew hurriedly goes about their tasks, very often under the pressure of time, tactical needs and weather concerns.

 

I recently had the pleasure of sailing with S20 veterans Tim Dunton and Guy Lindsey at Dillon YC’s excellent Dillon Open regatta in Colorado on Tim’s S20 “Chubasco”.

It was another normal pre start of a race – the routine lay line checks to the starting line, head to wind readings and pre start maneuvering. We were the first class to start.

 

At about roughly 4 minutes and 30 seconds to go – Tim eyed a wall of new wind approaching from the top of the lake and made the decision of the day, of the regatta – change to the Jib! This proved to be a race and regatta winning decision.

Guy and I looked at each other for a second and as he was scrambling forward to lower the Genoa I started to pull the jib out from down below. As I brought the jib on deck it started to blow 25 to 30 knots and the lake was white capping all around us.

As Guy changed the Genoa he reminded me of our own Bow person on “Disaster Area” – Bill Ramacciotti  - confident, quick and getting the job done – plain & simple.   more...

 

 



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Spinnaker Pole Height For Good Downwind Speed

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One of the many aspects of good downwind speed is attaining the correct height for the spinnaker pole in the wide variety of wind and sea conditions that your team can encounter over the course of a race or series.

In my role as a coach I spend quite a lot of time watching teams sail from out side of the boat; Very often I am video taping them or taking pictures for later  review and critique.  This perspective is a unique one and has helped with a lot of the sail shape visualizations that are more difficult to see when actually on board.

Every photograph of a boat with a spinnaker up reveals something about pole height and the shape of the sail. A casual flip through a sailing magazine can illustrate all the differences and pluses and minuses of spinnaker shapes.

Let’s look at the different conditions that your team will encounter and what to look for with pole height and the overall spinnaker shape that it creates.   more...

 



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J/105 Tuning Guide - Downwind Sailing Tips

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The J/105 has a relatively small asymmetric spinnaker set on a centerline sprit. The goal in downwind sailing is to maximize downwind VMG. This is achieved by sailing a wind angle tight enough to keep speed, but sailing lower towards the mark whenever possible. The North Sails asymmetric has been designed as a running spinnaker for optimum downwind performance at the apparent wind angles that produce the best VMG for the J/105. The sail has been designed to rotate out to windward to project the maximum sail area out from behind the mainsail. Always hoist the sail all the way to the top. Due to the luff length restriction in the rules, the tack of the sail is never set all the way down to the pole. Raising the tack helps the sail to rotate to windward.   more...


 



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Talkative tactician good foil for reserved Barker

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TRAPANI - Team New Zealand tactician Terry Hutchinson is a chatty kind of guy.

Ask him a question and you get a more than adequate answer.

Ask him how his relationship with Dean Barker at the back of the boat is going, and he natters away non-stop.

It is no secret that a strong relationship between the helmsman and his tactician is crucial. New Zealanders Russell Coutts and Brad Butterworth have shown how it is done over the past 10 years, and before that it was the Dennis Conner and Tom Whidden show.

But with single-nation teams now a thing of the past, developing afterguards has become a matter of merging people from different countries in a matter of months.

Before joining Emirates Team New Zealand, Hutchinson knew little about Barker. Apart from one Congressional Cup regatta, Hutchinson can't recall sailing against Barker, let alone with him.    more...


 



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Back at the Helm

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It was with a great deal of pleasure that we welcomed Gary Jobson’s visit to Seattle to speak at the Boat’s Afloat Show. Of course we wanted to hear what this sailing icon had to say about the sailing world and view the wonderful images he captures in his sailing shows and movies, but even more we wanted to express our joy at his being back in action following his bout with cancer. It’s an ongoing battle which he winning with his verve, focus, modern medicine, and the support of thousands of sailing friends world-wide.
      Gary received over 3000 emails when the sailing community learned of his condition shortly after the last America’s Cup. Now, two years after the stem cell transplant, he conservatively describes his condition as “well”. He tires more easily but still manages to do things like climb the mainmast on a square-rigger in the middle of the Atlantic, do a film in the British Virgin Islands, cruise his Sabre 402, race his Etchells and produce a new book. Amazing what a “nice nap” can do.    more...


 



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JOE FLY, Giovanni Maspero, Farr 40

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Porto Cervo, Italy 16 09 2005 ROLEX SETTIMANA DELLE BOCCHE 2005
JOE FLY Rolex2005©/ Photo: Carlo Borlenghi

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Heavy Air Gybing – Timing and Teamwork

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by Matt Ciesicki...      Photo credit: Daniel Forster / Rolex

Matt Ciesicki is a six year team member of Farr 40 "Samba Pa Ti", where they have recorded 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place World championship finishes, and multiple wins in SORC, Big Boat Series, National and North American regattas. Matt has supplied us with these trimming tips for improving your spinnaker trim ...

Timing and Teamwork are the keys to successful heavy air gybes in the Farr 40. Here are a few things to help perfect your heavy air gibing technique in winds from 9 – 12 m/s (18 – 24 knots) in strength:

Think ahead, so that there is plenty of time to communicate the maneuver to everyone and for everyone to understand what is going to happen. There should never be an instance of ‘we HAVE to gybe now’ – it should happen slowly and under control.

There are four principle reasons why boats wipe out in this condition: the boat was not at full speed when the gybe started, the main trimmer did not get the main over properly, the helmsman did not turn smoothly, or the spinnaker trimmer did not have the kite trimmed correctly.

1) THE BOAT IS AT MAX SPEED. It is important that the boat is accelerating down a wave when the gybe commences – this will reduce the apparent wind to the absolute minimum, which reduces the loads on the spinnaker and main sheets, as well as reduces load on the helm.

Wait for a good wave – some waves are moving the wrong way or are too short, or there isn’t enough wind to ride it properly. If the boat slows down too much – STOP THE GYBE – wait for the next good wave, and gybe when the boat is up to speed. If you were thinking ahead, you should have plenty of room to allow for this.

If the spinnaker should collapse right before the gybe, again – WAIT – refill the spinnaker and get back to speed, catch a wave and then gybe. If the spinnaker is not full, the boat will need to turn too far to get the main over. The chances of a wrap in the spinnaker are very high.

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Future of the Cup?

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About halfway through each Cup cycle, talk begins to turn to the next one. The Challenger Commission website is posting interesting notes and commentary on possible future scenarios. Here is one from match racer and commentator, Andy Green (GBR) as interviewed by Michelle Slade (USA) earlier this week:

'I really think that the Acts have been a great success, It has been a first effort for the America's Cup to bring the sport into the modern age, as in my view, it was in the dark ages on previous occasions as it took a large amount of money to undertake a challenge every four years.

'The return on this used to be three months of action and of that only about two or three weeks of semi-finals and finals. For the sponsors to cough up huge amounts of money for what virtually amounted to 2 ½ years of secrecy was clearly unsustainable. I think the Cup would have struggled to move anywhere if the Acts had not been introduced, and in my view, this is just a first effort and it has been a huge success.    more...



 



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Racing for the wheel

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One of Alinghi’s big problems, if you can call it a problem, is that it has three helmsman who all appear capable of doing the job at the very highest level. The 2005 season has offered the chance to try out different combinations in the afterguard, with Peter Holmberg taking the wheel in Valencia, Jochen Schuemann in Malmö, and now Ed Baird here in Trapani.

Baird is the ‘new boy’ to the team, in the sense that he had been out of America’s Cup competition for some time. Like much of the Alinghi afterguard, he’s no spring chicken, but experience counts for an awful lot in this game.
 
Asked what he sees to be the ideal age for a Cup helmsman, Baird replies with a twinkle in his eye: “Hopefully it’s 47 or 48! Buddy Melges won the America’s Cup well into his 50s.” He certainly feels his best is yet to come. “I can tell you I’m getting better right now, every minute, because I’m well behind these guys (in experience). It’s almost five or six years since I did a lot of America’s Cup sailing, and right now every day is a benefit to my abilities. Every day I do out there is a real pleasure.”   more...
 


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Looking Down

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View of Michigan from spaceby Mark Smith

Michigan, surrounded as it is by the great lakes, stands out from all the arbitrary squares drawn on maps by men. I don't suppose any schoolchild, anywhere, learning the names of the fifty states, ever had trouble remembering the mitten shaped state. Taken in isolation, as a piece of a jigsaw puzzle, it is patently obvious what the shape represents - unlike, say, one of those square states out west. Michiganians like to dwell on their uniqueness.

There is a great demand for the aerial views of the local peninsulas in the tourist shops in Traverse City - so literal yet so beautiful. Upmarket orthodontists place elegant steel-framed aerial photographs in their waiting rooms, next to expensive indoor palms. The combination of blue and green excites the eye and soothes the mind. An aerial photograph helps to explain the fascination of the area - so clean and well defined. We live in a peninsula state, in a county which is itself a peninsula. By definition, peninsulas are more inaccessible, more out of the way than the rest of the mainland. Once you venture up a peninsula you have nowhere to go, so you must turn around and come back the way you came. We are not on the way to anywhere. We are, literally and figuratively, geographically and ideally, a place set apart.    more...


 



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Snowfall, Snowdevil, etc. by Davin Granroth

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snowfall, snowdevil, etc. by Davin Granroth391.9 inches of snow fell on Delaware, Michigan during the winter of 1978-79, according to the Climatogical Atlas of Michigan. It occurs to me that 391.9 inches is a lot of snow; it calculates out to just over 32 and a half feet, which is my wife's height six times over. That is, incidentally, the record snowfall for Michigan. I grew up about half an hour's drive south of Delaware, and we thankfully were not in as severe a snowbelt as that little town is. Still, we were far enough into that same range that we probably weren't more than sixty inches behind.

I remember some very severe winters from when I was a young child, but I'm not sure if what I am remembering is the winter of 1978-79 or not. I remember walking on top of the snow until finding a high spot, and then tunneling down into the snow to make a little cavern. My siblings and I sat down there in our snow-fort, complete with snow chairs and shelves for snowballs to throw at the enemy (our neighbors down the road who then built a snow fort of their own). It was very comfortable down in the snow.    more...

 



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