Tag Archives: offshore sailing

Top 10 Unconventional Tools for Sailors – Gifts for Sailors

 

Hi all,

We’ve made a lot of sea trials on the Aureus XV since its launch in June 2013. More than 10.000 nautical miles for the first year, and much more to come.

Those tests, in all types of conditions have also been the occasion to test a lot of gears and tools, that we wanted to integrate on the boat to make her a really easy boat to sail with, to maintain and to live aboard. We’ve tested a lot, and a few appeared to be really indispensable once you know what they can do to improve your sailing experience. In that way, they also make great gifts for sailors, so think about that next Christmas if you’re having a hard time figuring out what to offer to your sailing enthusiast uncle. Those tools for sailors, or boat owners do not all look like the typical gift type, but they’ll make, at some point, a happy sailor or boat owner.

Of course the basic tools one finds on pretty much every boat are important, but I’d like to share with you the non obvious tools we’ve found to be extremely helpful for offshore sailors, and yet usually not part of their toolbox. Even if it’s not on the list, I assume all sailors have a multimeter, a set of Allen keys, and a basic set of tools (a hammer, a dead blow hammer, pliers, screwdrivers, etc?).

Also, I voluntarily don’t feature any Leatherman in the list, as it is really the basic tool for any outdoor enthusiast, including sailors. A Leatherman is “The” tool any sailor should have, and from what I see most do. Also it would have been difficult to choose which one to feature in this “potential gifts for sailors” list.

If you are looking for a gift idea for a sailor, check first if he has a Leatherman. I use the very simple Leathermans Freestyle (sharp knife and a good plier) or Skeletool cx (knife, screwdriver, plier). They are very easy to wear on the belt and the most compact of the Leatherman range. Leatherman Wave or Surge are excellent alternatives for sailors. They are heavier but have more tools.

This being said, here are, in my mind, the top 10  unconventional (read very rarely included in the typical toolbox)  tools and gears to have on a sailing yacht which has an offshore sailing program. Most of those tools will do great gifts for sailors, in a reasonable price range. If you are looking for (small) gifts ideas for a sailor friend or relative, I hope those ideas will help.

Top 10 (unconventional) tools to have on board:

The room in a sailboat has to be optimized by architects and builders.

Lots of technical gears and equipment have to fit while sparing a constantly increasing room for living.  It means builders try to limit the technical space by optimizing the space. There is very little space between technical hardware, it gets crowded under the floor panels, and cluttered technical accesses make diagnostics, maintenance and repairs harder.

A lot of the sailor’s efficiency will come from having the appropriate tools to cope with tough accessibility constraints:

 

  1. A Claw Pickup tool and a Magnetic Retrieval tool. Very often, the boat owner is confronted to the impossibility to fit his hand where he should. Catch back the bits, screws, coins and other stuffs that fall between the water tank and the boat’s structure, or in any other tiny space. This Claw pick-up tool is very helpful every time some stuff decides to fall in an inaccessible space of the boat (between the hull and a tank, or between two batteries). It makes a real difference when you have it and might allow you not to go crazy trying to catch that piece that went right under your engine block ! Not expensive tools, but indispensable ones. I agree it doesn’t look like a gift, but it makes anyhow a great gift idea for a sailor.
gifts for sailors - claw pick up tool
A claw Pick up tool is a tool you’ll regret not to have on board
  1.  A Telescopic lighted Inspection mirror… Yes, sometimes the problem is you can’t even see what you have to do or what you are doing. With this tool you’ll reach and enlighten most of the previously inaccessible spaces.

Gifts for sailors - Stanley Fatmax Ratchet compact screwdriver

  1. A Multibits Ratchet Stubby Set ! And when you find the screw to unscrew, you can’t fit the screwdriver… Hence the Multibits Ratchet Stubby Set ! Every sailor has a set of screwdrivers on his or her boat’s tool box, but too often it misses a Stubby screwdriver. This compact ratchet screwdriver is immensely helpful when you’ll have to unscrew stuffs in very little place. The Stanley Ratchet Stubby Set is a good product, it comes with 15 bits and will resist heavy uses in tough conditions (salty environment).

Sometimes electrical wires fails and short circuits happens. Sometimes you want to install a new device and not spend the afternoon wiring it:
  1. Wago terminal connectors 5 ways block: If some wiring fails, and it happens on any boat at some point, Wago compact terminal connectors are an perfect solution, the most efficient and fast way to do it, at least in a hurry. They are very easy to use and apply a great pressure on the wire. They are also very useful to add equipments on in an existing installation.  A thoughtful sailor needs Wago, period ! They are fast, safe and easy. You can do junctions, additions, repairs in a blink.  Here is a great video, from the “ultimate handyman”, showing the benefits of those incredible connectors.

  1. An Automatic wire Stripper is a fantastic addition to the basic toolbox. It will allow the boat owner to do a better job, a faster job at stripping wires. An automatic wire stripper reduces the risk of cutting the conductors, thus improving the quality of the wiring. It also reduces the risks of injury. Here is a video I found on youtube  showing how to use an automatic wire stripper, you’ll see how easy it is.

 

Most of the time, sailors care too little pluming inventory. I know you can’t bring all sizes of hoses, seacocks and valves, but here is one thing you can easily have on board, that will solve a lot of problems:
  1. Self Amalgamating Tape. It’s the fastest and easiest way to fix a leaking hose or connection. Self-amalgamating tape is a non-tacky silicone-rubber tape which when stretched and wrapped around cables, electrical joints, hoses and pipes combines or unites itself into a strong, seamless, rubbery, waterproof, and electrically insulating laye (source of this description: Wikipedia). Basically, if there is a leak, try this first !
On a boat, things have a tendency to fly if you let them unattached, and when they fly, they breaks !
  1. Dual Lock Tape, from 3M, is a great way to fix light and medium weight objects to flat surfaces. This velcro tape is an excellent way to prevent tools, boxes and accessories from flying over the saloon in a rough sea. Check out this video to realize how helpful it can be for any boat owner. “Loose the screw” as they says.

  1. Sugru is a really amazing product, really ! Among the best tools to fix and repair. Sugru allows you to do amazing things in a lot of domains . What the F…. is Sugru ? you might ask:

Though of course the boat owners will be more interested in the fixing aspect of Sugru, there is a lot one can do with this remarkable innovation.

  1. Having a set of two “One Handed Clamps“, or “Quick-Jaw Clamps” is a great help, as sometimes you will need to keep heavy things in place, in contact, or apart at a minimum distance, while repairing. Those Wolfcraft One Handed Clamps are good to have on a sailboat for they are both light, quite strong, and remain very easy to use.

Finally, I could not make any list of tools without emphasizing the fact that there are tools and “Tools”.
  1. I’m sure any boat owner has on-board a set of spanners, but the reference has now changed, since the introduction of the flex ratcheting spanners. With those incredibly awesome spanners, you do the job quickly, even when accessibility to the bolt is terrible. This FACOM Metrix Flex Ratcheting Spanner Set is the best addition I’ve made to my toolbox this year and I strongly recommend it. it’s terribly good, easy to store and a pleasure to use.  A must have for any handyman sailor, admire the mechanic !

Gifts for Sailor - FACOM Flex Ratcheting Spanner Set

 

 

I’m confident any of those tools will make a welcome addition to any boat owner’s toolbox, and will make great gifts for sailors !

And since you might read this article as the result for a google search for “Gifts for sailors”, I’ll conclude this article by reminding you of the Handpressoa.k.a the perfect gift for a sailor that likes espresso.

The Handpresso is a wonderful device that allows you to make proper good espressos without electricity. All you need is hot water and two hands to pump. The pumping will provide the proper pressure to make a real espresso. This really makes it an excellent gift, a sure hit, for sailors and any outdoor enthusiast for that matter…providing they love espresso.

handpresso-espresso-machine-gifts-for-sailors
The Handpresso is the ideal gift for sailors who like espresso !

Have fun sailing !

Aurelien

 

Sydney Hobart Rolex Yacht Race

 

The Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is one of the most iconic races in the yachting calendar. This race is a rite of passage that every offshore sailor aspires to, although few take up the challenge. The Boxing Day highlight of the year for all Australian yachtsmen, the 628-mile course takes competitors down the Tasman Sea across one of the most unpredictable stretches of water in the world: Bass Strait. The long, rolling waves of the Southern Ocean roll around the bottom of the world until confronted by the shallow Straits that divide Tasmania from mainland Australia. Then, like surf breaking on a beach, the waves become shorter and steeper, creating conditions that only the toughest sailing yachts and the most experienced sailors can withstand.

The course of the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. Sailing from Sydney to Hobart is a rite for offshore sailors.
The course of the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. Sailing from Sydney to Hobart is a rite for offshore sailors. ©Rolex/Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

The Sydney Hobart Race attracts sailors from many backgrounds. They range from paid professionals to Corinthian enthusiasts, taking time away from their jobs and families for the adventure of a lifetime.

Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. Sailing from Sydney to Hobart is a rite for offshore sailors.
The start of the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. ©Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

 There are two winners of the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. The ‘Line Honours’ winner is the first boat to reach the Hobart, usually won by one of the large 100ft Maxi sailing yachts. The prestigious Tattersalls Cup is awarded to the boat with the best corrected time under the IRC handicap system, although scoring is also carried out under ORCi and PHS.

Safety regulations for the race are among the most stringent in the world, and at least half of every yacht’s crew must have completed a Safety and Sea Survival Course.

 History of the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

The inaugural race took place in 1945, and attracted just nine sailboats. Peter Luke initially planned the passage from Sydney to Hobart as a cruise – albeit across one of the most treacherous stretches of water in the world. However it was a visit from British Royal Navy Officer, Captain John Illingworth, who suggested it be turned into a race, that caused this iconic yachting regatta to be born. Luke, who took part in many Sydney Hobarts, also helped to form the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA), which organises the race in conjunction with the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania to this day.

The winner of the first Sydney Hobart race was Rani, which took 6 days, 14 hours and 22 minutes to complete the passage to Hobart. Over the years as technology and sailing yacht design has developed, so the race record has tumbled, with 100-foot Maxi yachts such as multiple winner Wild Oats XI finishing the 2005 race in a time of just 1 day 18h 40m. The closest finish for line honours was the battle of the Maxis in 1982, when Condor of Bermuda beat Apollo to Hobart to the line by just 7 seconds.

Politicians and media moguls have enjoyed success in the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, considered by many to be pinnacle not just of the Australian yachting calendar, but of offshore racing across the Southern hemisphere. British prime minister Edward Health won in 1969. Founder of CNN, Ted Turner, won three years later, and another media magnate Rupert Murdoch was part of the crew of Larry Ellison’s Sayonara when the American Maxi won in 1995.

Risk and Reward

With the Bass Strait as fierce and unrelenting as it is – with huge waves and fast-moving weather systems barrelling around the bottom of the planet – danger is never far away. In 1998, tragedy struck when a particularly strong low-pressure system developed over southeast Australia. This generated strong storm force winds of up to 70 knots, which shattered the 115 boat fleet that had set out from Sydney. Only 44 of the original starters of this Sydney Hobart edition completed the race, and five boats sank, with the loss of six lives. The Australian authorities mounted an enormous search and rescue mission which involved 35 aircraft and 27 vessels from the Royal Australian Navy. It was the nation’s largest rescue operation in peacetime.

Sailing round Tasmania's iconic Organ Pipes
Sailing round Tasmania’s iconic Organ Pipes. ©Rolex/Daniel Forster

Since then the race’s safety regulations have been increased and they are now among the most stringent anywhere in the yacht racing world. As a result, numbers of participants have dropped because the barriers to entry are higher. However, Australian yachtsmen’s passion for ‘The Hobart’ remains undiminished and indeed, the number of overseas participants suggests the tragedies of past years have not affected the race’s good standing in the sailing world. Sailors are reminded that when the race starts, the responsibility lies with them to make the decision as to whether or not to cross the Bass Strait.

Sydney Hobart. Storm is coming
Conditions can go wild on the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. Here is a storm coming. ©Rolex/Daniel Forster

When the weather is looking particularly nasty, skippers often make the reluctant but sensible decision to retire from the race and seek shelter in the beautiful fishing port of Eden, on the southeast corner of New South Wales, retiring to safety rather than jeopardise boat and crew in the Strait. There is no disgrace for withdrawing from the Sydney Hobart, only respect for having dared to undertake it in the first place.

Some Australian yachtsmen have competed in almost every Sydney Hobart Race of their adult lives, with the most prolific having taken part in nearly 50 editions, such is their obsession with this annual challenge. One thing that experience teaches is that going fast is not always the key to winning. In the boat-breaking seas of the Bass Strait, simply keeping your boat in one piece is a skill in itself. As 2004 line honours winning skipper of the 90ft Maxi Nicorette, Ludde Ingvall, puts it: “To win the race, first you have to finish.” Ingvall imposed an 8-knot speed limit on his young Nicorette crew, for fear that sending the 90-footer any faster through those steep-backed waves would destroy his boat. His conservative tactics paid off, when bad landings off monster waves in a raging Tasman Sea forced his two larger Maxi rivals out of the race. Ingvall’s ‘slow is fast’ approach – ultimately proved correct. It’s a lesson that others have since adopted.

Rough sailing in the Sydney Hobart yacht race
When conditions are tough, skippers have to think about preserving the yachts. ©Rolex/Daniel Forster

But after that battle through hell and high water, the final twist in this race is that the final 20 miles up the majestic Derwent River is often a light wind affair. A welcome respite from the elements for some perhaps, but for others a frustrating, final obstacle that stands in the way of the finish, a few hundred metres off Hobart’s seafront. Completing the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is rarely straightforward, but the reward of finishing is all the sweeter for that.

Twice winner of the Sydney Hobart, Roger Hickman, explains why he can’t get enough of this race…

To finish a Sydney Hobart Yacht Race earns you instant respect in the sailing world. It doesn’t matter whether you’re trying to win it or simply to sail through 628 miles of hell and high water to reach Hobart – completing this race is a major milestone in anyone’s book.

Sailors call it the ultimate challenge, because not only are you pitting yourself against your fellow man, but you’re going head to head with the elements. The conditions in the Bass Strait are consistently among the fiercest anywhere in the world. True, you can get a safe run south to Tasmania – but it doesn’t happen very often. You’re sailing south from a large, hot, arid continent called Australia down to this little island out in the freezing wastes of the Southern Ocean. Next stop Antarctica.

Syndey Hobart offshore sailing
On the way to Hobart ©Rolex/Daniel Forster

These big temperature differences are just what a weather system needs to whip itself up into a frenzy, and quite often you’ll find a storm in your way, daring you to pass. Take that weather, mix it with the strong East Australian Current and some shallow waters, and the Bass Strait is ready to cook up some really short, steep nasty waves.

The conditions in the Sydney Hobart punish boats – and they punish people.

So the secret to winning this race is not always about going as fast as possible. You’ve got to know when to push hard, when to back off; when to ask for 110 per cent from your crew, when to give them a rest, to preserve their energy for the moments that really matter.

Storm Sydney Hobart
Be prepared for a wild experience ! This sequence was shot by Carlo Borlenghi ©Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

Ploughing along in the middle of a stormy Bass Strait, cold, wet and miserable in the dead of night, it’s hard to believe that just a day or two earlier you were surrounded by thousands of people crowding the shores of a warm and sunny Sydney Harbour. No matter how many times you start a Sydney Hobart, the adrenalin kick is unbelievable, with hundreds of spectator boats cheering you on your way as you charge out through Sydney Heads and head south along the stunning coastline of New South Wales.

Of course if you thought the next 628 miles were going to be like that, you’d be in for a rude shock! The middle part of the race is where you can expect it to get rough, that’s when the hard work really begins. But as you close down the final few miles to Hobart, the Tassie coastline really is a sight for sore eyes.

It’s a pretty place at the best of times, but it’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever seen – after what you’ve just been through. Winning the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is one of the greatest things any sailor will do in his career, but for more than 60 years the people of Hobart have been cheering every boat that makes it there – even if you’re last! The Aussies love a battler, and that’s what you are if you make it to Hobart: A battler.

Have fun Sailing…well this time, Have fun Battling !

 Andy for Aureus Yachts

How to participate to the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race ?

To engage your boat in the ‘Sydney Hobart‘:

  • You must register a sailing monohull, between 9,00m and 30,48m, that meet the safety regulation of the Race (righting and stability).
  • The minimum crew number in the ORC and IRC divisions is 6 (the minimum age of all crew on the boat is 18).
  • At least half of your crew must have completed a Safety and Sea Survival Course.
  • At least two crew members on the boat should hold a current senior first help certificate, or equivalent qualification, or be a practising medical practitioner.
  • At least two crew members shall hold a Marine Radio Operators Certificate of Proficiency (MROCP).
  • At least half of the crew shall have completed a category 1 yacht race or an equivalent passage. What is a category 1 yacht race you might ask ? Well categroy 1 yacht races are: Races of long distance and well offshore, where yachts must be completely self-sufficient for extended periods of time, capable of withstanding heavy storms and prepared to meet serious emergencies without the expectation of outside assistance.
  • You should hold a marine legal liability insurance with respect to the boat current when racing, with the boat insured for not less than AUS$5 million (or its equivalent in an other currency). The insurance policy shall state that the boat is covered for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race and it is covered for yacht races of a length greater than 630 Nautical Miles.
  • You should have a valid IRC or ORC certificate for the current year.
  • Your boat should have been weighed on scales by an UNCL or RORC approved measurer.
  • You should have completed a qualifying race of not less than 150 Nautical Miles not more than 6 months before the start of the race. (contact the organization to have the list of the qualifying races).
  • It is recommended that the skipper or sailing master have a recognised Yachting Australia certificate (or equivalent) of at least an Offshore Skipper certificate.
  • Count approximatively AUS$ 1000 for entry fees, with a crew of 6, in one category.

Once you have all this, just “Express your interest in competing in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race“, on the online entry page of the Race’s website: Here is a link to this page: Online Entry for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

The best Composite Repair Kit for Offshore sailing yachts

 

Every offshore sailor has once thought about what it would be like to hit hard a drifting container and get a hole in his hull. Though it’s rare and though sailing yachts tend to become more and more resistant, it’s a situation no one wants to face.

But still, don’t you think you should have a prepared plan to face such an unfortunate and potentially dangerous event? First, signal your situation using your VHF if it’s endangering your boat or your crew. Then, manoeuvre to adapt your speed, heel angle and direction at sea, so that you take the less possible water in. Estimate the damages and get ready to repair…Repair !!?? but with what ?

Good question indeed…do you have anything on-board to make such a repair ? If not, now is the good time to fix it !

AplTecTM has created a really clever solution: the “error proof” composite patch.

AplTec is a company specialized in composite, that had the idea to manufacture different types of “Universal composite repair system” which define themselves as “error proof”.

Those are kits ready to be used with Fiber Glass (or Carbon fiber) and adhesive units.

Apltec Composite Patch - Boat repair kit

In less then 5 minutes after opening the composite boat repair kit‘s tube, you are ready to repair, and the composite repair will have good structural qualities.

Mix the yellow Resin and the blue hardener until it becomes a homogeneous green mix. Then a clever system helps you spread the resin all over the fiber (see the demo video underneath). The fact that there is just the right quantity of resin for the supplied fiber will guaranty you achieve a good result. This “just the right quantity policy” is also very helpful for sailors who won’t have to do maths on very sensitive moments under a lot of stress. It looks like nothing, but I’m pretty sure the chances of making a mixing ratio miscalculation is higher in the minutes following a collision with an un-identified floating object.

Moreover,  you can repair in virtually any condition with the AplTec Composite Patch. The resin hardens fast even is the coldest weather, in high humidity, under the rain, and yes, even underwater !

The resin in those boat repair kits was formulated to bond on virtually any surface.  It bonds quickly and after only a few hours after your repair, you’ll reach more than 90% of the resin strength. In other words, you can quickly assess the structural quality of your boat repair. You don’t believe it: check out this video of an underwater repair:

The Apltec repair kits are widely used in the offshore racing, when repairing fast is a matter of wining or loosing a race… The easy boat repair kits allow racers to fix a broken rudder or daggerboard at sea.

It looks to me like those kits are a basic safety feature for any offshore sailor, as anyone can now repair a crack or a hole in a punctured hole. It doesn’t require a composite specialist any more to repair, at least temporary.

Many different kits exist:

  • Repair kit for Fishing boats: Composite Patch Basic Pack Fishing boats : 1 adhesive unit and 2 fiber glass patches : 21x50cm, and 21x95cm21x95cm. Approximatively 180€ (or $245)
  • Repair Kit for 30 foot boats, Composite Patch Pack 30′ Marine: 1 adhesive unit and 2 fiber glass patches : 21x50cm, and 21x95cm21x95cm. Approximatively 230€ (or $310)
  • Repair Kit for 40 foot boats, Composite Patch Pack 40′ Marine: 2 adhesive units, 2 fiber glass patches 21x50cm, and 21x95cm 2 fiber glass patches 21x50cm. Approximatively 290€ (or $391)
  • Repair Kit for 50 foot boats, Composite Patch Pack 50Marine: 2 adhesive units, 3 fiber glass patches 21x50cm, and 21x95cm 2 fiber glass patches 21x50cm. Approximatively 530€ (or $720)
  • Repair Kit for 60 foot boats, Composite Patch Pack 60′ Carbon: 4 adhesive units, 8 carbon fiber patches 21x50cm, and 6 adhesive patches 21x95cm. Approximatively 1670€ (or $2271)

My advice to any offshore sailor is to get one of those boat repair kits in his or her safety inventory. Some builders, like us at Aureus Yachts, also deliver their boats with a few boards (carbon boards 80cmx80cm in our case) to apply on a wounded area in case of real emergency.

To order your one of those repair kits, here is the link to the website of AplTecTM (note that this is not a sponsored article, and we have no financial interest in “pushing” this product or publishing this post. We want want to share this awesome new product with other sailors).

You should also get some Stay Afloat, a unique mixture that is super adhesive and will create in seconds a water tight plug, to stop leaks. This will give you time to prepare a durable fix for the water intake.

Here is a demo video of this very affordable and easy to use Stay Afloat:

If you want to increase your knowledge about composite, I strongly recommend the book “Introduction to composite materials design” by

Ever J. Barbero. Tough it’s quite a big book (562 pages), It’s easy to read, well illustrated, properly organized and up to date (second edition from 2010, so they include modern pre-pregs, vacuum infusion, aeronautical grades of carbon fibers, etc. ) and covers almost all the subjects you might be interested in:

 

 

Thanks for reading, have fun sailing ! (and sail safe !)

Aurelien

Introducing the Wild Sensations of the Aureus XV Absolute

 

Dear Readers,

We talk a lot about sensational sailing on our blog, and about a special vision of sailing. We built the Aureus XV around the vision of a more hedonist and sensational approach of sailing.

On the Aureus XV, we shot a video in November 2013 and I think this video is helpful to get a better understanding of our vision, so here it is:

 

Do not hesitate if you have question about the Aureus XV, or learn more on www.aureus-yachts.com.

 

Have fun sailing,

Aurelien

Transpac Race – Offshore sailing race

 

The Transpacific Yacht Race (better known as “the Transpac”) is one of the oldest offshore races in the world. The first Transpac took place in 1906 when a Honolulu racing sailor Clarence MacFarlane invited several contemporaries from San Francisco and Los Angeles to race to the Hawaiian Islands. It was inspired by the 19th century Hawaiian leader King Kalakaua, who believed that this kind of event would enhance economic and cultural relations between the island and the mainland.

Transpac Race starts in San Pedro (CA) to finish in Honolulu
Transpac Race starts in San Pedro (CA) to finish in Honolulu

The race was supposed to start from San Francisco, but the great San Francisco earthquake happened only 27 days before the start. When MacFarlane arrived into San Francisco Bay and saw the city in ruins he changed the starting point to Los Angeles.

Ever since (with a few exceptions), the Transpac race runs from the Point Fermin in San Pedro at the southern edge of Los Angeles and finishes at the Diamond Head lighthouse east of Honolulu in Hawaiian Islands.

The race covers 2,225 nautical miles. Since the course is mostly downwind and does not have an overall length limitation for vessels, it is famous for its high speeds attained. The course’s speed record (for monohulls) is 5 days, 14 hours, 36 minutes and 20 seconds; with about 431 nautical miles run on its fastest day. The record was established by Neville Crichton on a carbon fibre racing Super Yacht Alfa Romeo II.

The start of the Transpac race is usually spread over a week to allow the slower boats to arrive in Hawaii about the same time that the larger and faster yachts. During this week spectators can see the fleet in large groups to take their way to Hawaii.  It is a whole different story on the finish line, as boats usually arrive one at a time. With the tradewinds blowing strongly the racing boats speed under spinnaker can be over 20 knots when they pass Diamond Head buoy. The viewing from the Lighthouse on Oahu’s Diamond Head volcano is spectacular!

As for the 2013, the race will start on the 8th of July, with departures on 8th, 11th and 13th of July; the finish is expected on July 21st.

To read more about this race, please see an official site : http://www.transpacrace.com/

Thanks for reading, have fun sailing !

Aurelien

Sail the Rolex Middle Sea Race in Malta

 

The Rolex Middle Sea Race is one of the most thrilling offshore races in the world. It takes place every year in October in La Valletta, Malta. The 2014 edition will start on Sunday 18th October.

RÁN 2 (GBR) approaching the finish line of the Rolex Middle Sea Race in 2012. ©Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
RÁN 2 (GBR) approaching the finish line of the Rolex Middle Sea Race in 2012. ©Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
The course of the Rolex Middle Sea Race is really enjoyable. ©Rolex Middle Sea Race
The course of the Rolex Middle Sea Race is really enjoyable. ©Rolex Middle Sea Race

The Middle Sea Race is a 606 nautical miles long anti-clockwise course around Sicily, Italy. Starting from the Grand Harbour, Valletta, the fleet head north along the eastern coasts of Sicily up towards the Straits of Messina.

Prior to entering the straits of Messina, Mt Etna, the tallest active volcano in Europe, is usually visible on the fleets port side, and at night you can see lava (this volcano is in an almost constant state of activity). Once through the Straits, the course leads north to the Aeolian Islands and the active volcano of Stromboli where the yachts turn west to the Egadi Islands.

Air photo of Catania city in SicilyPassing between Marettimo and Favignana the yachts head south towards the island of Lampedusa leaving Pantelleria to port. Once past Lampedusa the fleet turns northeast on the final leg towards the South Comino Channel and the finish at Marsamxett Harbour. Crews will sail close to numerous beautiful Islands in what is probably the most beautiful race course in the offshore racing world.

Many exceptional yachts enter the race, such as IMOCA’s open 60’s or famous Maxi, but the entries are open to IRC and ORC rated yachts as well. What an occasion to do great offshore sailing, travel to a nice Mediterranean destination and see the very faster sailing monohulls in the world !

The record of the Middle Sea Race has been set in 2007 by “Rambler“, a 100 feet Racing Maxi, in 1day, 23hours, 55 minutes and 3 seconds. In 2012, due to the very light winds, some yachts took 7 days to finish the race.

If you are interested in joining the race, just fill out the entry form on the Rolex Middle Sea Race‘s Website and the organization will contact you. Usually, entries open early in the year.

The Rolex Middle Sea Race is  a great opportunity to discover Malta and its capital: La Valletta. There are many beautiful places to see, nice restaurants and La Valetta is a shopper friendly city.

Valletta Gran Harbour
Valletta Grand Harbour – Where the Rolex Middle Sea Race starts and finishes

I hope we (the team at Aureus) will be able to participate to the Middle Sea race in 2013 or the next edition 2014. Please feel free to comment if you have run a previous edition and want to give feedback.

To know more about exciting races, sailing destinations or great gears, don’t forget to subscribe to our Newsletter (we send a maximum of 2 Newsletter a month).

Have fun Sailing, thanks for reading,

Aurelien

Sources: http://www.rolexmiddlesearace.com, the offical website of the Rolex Middle Sea Race.