No Water Maker Is A Big Problem
    Twenty-four hours into Leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race and Dongfeng Race Team suffered another set back. Not as immediately devastating as breaking the mast, but with potential serious consequences. Dongfeng OBR, Sam Greenfield, tweeted from the boat: “Broken water maker. No more fresh onboard. Thirsty crew. Bad.”

    The VO65 is fitted with an electric water maker turning the salt water they are sailing through into drinkable water, as a back-up they have a manual one but the effort required to produce adequate supplies to not only to rehydrate but to prep the freeze-dried foot, is mind-boggling, a needless distraction from racing, but essential as our Boat Captain put it into perspective “The crew will need to pump approximately 8-9 hours a day to make enough water.”

    “They know what the problem is,” said Neil Graham, Technical Director. (Watch video from onboard as Charles explains). “We’re waiting for confirmation form the boat but Kevin should have attempted a repair on the Membrane Pressure Vessel. The plan was to apply some glue and then wrap the end of the vessel, where the leak is, in carbon fibre laminate, to seal it.” We’re hoping our Mr Fixit, Kevin Escoffier, can work his magic once again.

    In the meantime, the determined men on board have to keep pumping.



    Lending Club 2 shatters record

    • The crew of Lending Club 2 after their successful record attempt from Newport to Bermuda (Photos courtesy of Lending Club 2)

      The crew of Lending Club 2 after their successful record attempt from Newport to Bermuda (Photos courtesy of Lending Club 2)


    Lending Club 2 successfully completed an attempt to break the Newport to Bermuda course record with plenty of time to spare.

    The 105ft trimaran simply obliterated the previous record that had stood for 15 years, taking less than 24 hrs to complete the 635-nautical mile ocean crossing from Castle Hill Lighthouse in Newport to Kitchen Shoal Beacon in Bermuda.

    The new record, subject to ratification by the World Sailing Speed Record Council, is 23hr 9min 52sec at an average speed of 27 knots.

    The trimaran, believed to be valued at about $3 million, completed its record attempt at 1:44.32am — shaving a staggering 15 hours off the previous mark set by the late Steve Fossett aboard the catamaran PlayStation.

    After tying up at the dock at the St George’s Dinghy and Sports Club, Lending Club 2’s eight-man crew, led by Renaud Laplanche, the Lending Club CEO, and Ryan Breymaier, his co-skipper, celebrated their successful campaign over beer and pizza.

    “To beat a record like this you really need a great boat, great weather conditions and more importantly a great crew, and that’s what we really had,” Mr Laplanche told The Royal Gazette. “Everyone was almost 100 per cent almost all the time and that’s what it takes to get from Newport to Bermuda in under 24 hours.”

    Mr Breymaier added: “It’s always amazing every time you have an opportunity to sail on a boat like this. You just feel like you’re privileged because it’s unbelievable the feeling that you get; you’re almost like an airplane trying to take off all the time. It was faster than we expected as well and we were happy.”

    After waiting for a cold front to pass through the Newport area, the impressive trimaran started its journey at 2.34am yesterday, crawling along at 5.5 knots in gentle breezes before eventually getting up to speed in open seas.

    “We knew the start would be light breeze and it took us 15-20 minutes to get out of the harbour and then we started getting some breeze,” Mr Laplanche said. “We had faith in the model and the weather forecast.”

    Three-and-a-half hours into the passage, Lending Club 2 had reached speeds of 30 knots and by the 12-hour mark was halfway to her destination.

    The trimaran made her approach to Bermuda on a beam reach the entire way sailing straight down the rhumb line.

    “We did everything on port tack,” Boris Herrmann, the navigator, said. “We didn’t do a single gybe or tack; just a reach in and out all the time straight down the rhumb line.”

    Mr Breymaier added: “That’s what allowed us to make good time; being able to go straight down the rhumb line because we had wind on the beam so we could control our course perfectly and we came straight here, which is ideal conditions for record-breaking.”

    The most challenging part of the passage was racing along at 40 knots through the Gulf Stream, which made for an uncomfortable ride.

    “The Gulf Stream was a little bit bumpy for a while, but we just took things easy and got through it as quickly as we could so we could wind back up to full speed,” Mr Breymaier said. “There were some big waves and we just tried not to break anything.”

    Mr Laplanche, a two-times Laser national champion in France, chartered the offshore racing trimaran for the 2015 season with the aim of conquering three speed sailing records: from Cowes on the Isle of Wight to Dinard, France; Newport to Bermuda; and the 2,215-nautical mile Transpac (Los Angeles to Honolulu).

    The 45-year-old entrepreneur had already achieved one of his objectives, having set a world speed record on the English Channel from Cowes to France two weeks ago.

    Lending Club 2 completed the 138-nautical mile passage in 5:15 at an average speed of 26.36 knots, shaving eight minutes off the previous record that had stood since 2002.

    With two records under their belts, the crew of Lending Club 2 will now turn their focus to the Transpac Race, which is tentatively scheduled to begin on July 18.

    “The first two went great but I think the third one will be hard because it’s a race, so we are not choosing our start,” Mr Laplanche said. “We are going to have to start the same time as everybody else.”


    Wind & Water – the Invention of Windsurfing (2007) from Joseph Schuster on Vimeo.

    I believe I first met Hoyle and Diane in 1970 at a boat show. We stayed in touch. I ended up in San Diego rebuilding a boat for the next Olympics; spending almost every weekend with Hoyle and Diane.
    I returned from the 1972 Transatlantic to compete in the first world championships of Windsurfing held in Mission Bay.
    I ended up taking sail number 48 to France.



    Even Bob Fisher, who as a journalist has always loved being an iconoclast is disturbed by the events leading up to the next America’s Cup to be held in Bermuda in 2017. Below are the words he penned for scuttlebutt:

    Bob Fisher: Disgracing the America’s Cup
    Published on April 11, 2015 |
    by Editor

    Bob Fisher knows the America’s Cup, perhaps better than anyone. His books and articles have covered the event since 1851, and he considers the event unmatched in its history and intrigue. But what Bob sees now occurring for the 2017 edition gives him grave concern. Here are his words to the current trustee, Golden Gate Yacht Club…

    I cannot escape notice of what you are doing to the America’s Cup – it has been nothing short of a disgrace to the premier event in the sport of Sailing. You have abused it, misused it and reduced it to no more than an average regatta, losing on the way its prestige and at the same time driven away the most serious competitors.

    In the last America’s Cup event, held on the waters of the Golden Gate Yacht Club, for whom you act in a management role, the two challengers that came up to the mark were those from the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and the Circolo della Vela Sicilia – Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) and Luna Rossa. In the course of the past week you have made it virtually impossible for ETNZ to raise the necessary funds to continue by removing any chance of a major regatta in Auckland, and, by a huge change in the size of boat, caused the Italian team to withdraw. Is this what you really want?

    Gone is all semblance of stability and adherence to rules unanimously agreed at the outset and in their place an undercurrent of commercial misunderstanding and constantly changing rules without the unanimity of the challengers as initially agreed. Both of these are a disgrace to the Cup and to yourselves.

    It was brought to my notice by you, in Auckland, that it was important for a part of the Challenger Final Selection Series to be held in the City of Sails in order to generate publicity for the America’s Cup in Asia and the reason for that was a Japanese team would shortly emerge, and that this would encourage television networks to purchase the rights.

    Subsequently, the America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA) has made it clear that ALL Challenger Selection races will be held in Bermuda, effectively slapping ETNZ in the face and reducing the Kiwis’ chances of Government sponsorship (which hung on a major AC regatta in Auckland), possibly even eliminating this team from AC35

    It is unnecessary for the America’s Cup to have a television audience. For many years there was no television coverage, and later only inserts into News programmes. Televising the event began in 1983 and was carried to a new height by ESPN in 1987 in Fremantle. Even then it didn’t need catamarans on hydrofoils sailing at 40 knots to be attractive – just 12-Metre yachts in boisterous conditions with some live sound from the boats.

    Now, thanks to the wizardry of Stan Honey and his colleagues, full details of the speed and direction of each of the competitors is overlaid on the live pictures of the racing. The technology of other sports has improved television for even the non-sailor, but this does not drive the America’s Cup. Money does. And there will certainly not be enough from television rights to pay for the somewhat unnecessary regattas that take place using the name of the event that has, over 164 years, taken place only 34 times.

    The America’s Cup is a one-off event. It does not need promoting with pseudo regattas in the intervening years, which use its name. The Challenger Selection Trials, together with the long lost Defender Selection Trials, are adequate and the responsibility for their expense is down to the individual teams. Now there is a state of affairs in which the Defender trials have been eliminated. In the Protocol, Item 17 clearly states:

    “Defender means GGYC and the sailing team that represents GGYC in AC35;”

    You have excluded any chance of another US Yacht Club from competing for the Cup, maybe even giving GGYC the type of competition it needs to retain the Cup. Not even the New York Yacht Club (NYYC) felt sufficiently confident to resort to that.

    Neither did the NYYC resort to changing the boats at a late date – the move from the AC-62 to the AC-48 has been very last minute and particularly hard on the teams that had set up their design groups well in advance to produce the smaller AC-62, as announced soon after the last AC match. It is hardly surprising that you have put Patrizio Bertelli’s feelings in disarray to the extent he has withdrawn Luna Rossa from AC35. His team had been working since early January 2014 at its headquarters in Cagliari with a Design Office of 40, all working on the design of a 62-footer. I suppose your comment will be: “Silly him,” but you have lost one of the biggest commercial sponsors of the Cup – just look where the Prada advertisements for Luna Rossa appear.

    To throw fat on the fire, you are offering to give design and financial support to the French team, which has made little progress, and what is worse attempting to justify this with the terms of the Deed of Gift, where it indicates that the event is to be: “a friendly competition between foreign nations.” But you may well counter this with the quote from the judge of the New York Court of Appeals in the case between the Mercury Bay Boating Club and San Diego Yacht Club, who queried: “Where in the Deed of Gift does it say the America’s Cup is supposed to be fair?”

    The loss of Louis Vuitton, after 30 years, is another huge loss of commercial sponsorship, but the writing for that was on the wall in San Francisco.

    Everything this time around has been late, and bringing in new entries at this stage is another breach of the Protocol. I implore you to get your act together, remember the event with which you are dealing, with its glorious past, and begin to act in a proper manner.


    I, like many people were skeptical of the story as first reported. there may be still more to come. Here are some corrections to the original story.

    Louis Jordan — Drifting Sailor Update : Media Misreports Story, Now Reports that Skeptics Doubt Sailor

    jordanmontageThis would be funny, if it weren’t sad.  Last week the German container ship, Houston Express, picked up Louis Jordan, who had been drifting off Cape Hatteras for a reported 66 days in his dis-masted Alberg 35 sailboat, Angel.  The media managed to completely garble the story, to the extent that anyone who took the reporting at face value might not believe what they were reading. Some have suggested that Jordan lied about the whole affair.  Last Friday we attempted the untangle the various accounts.  See our post: Louis Jordan, Sixty Six Days Adrift — What Really Happened?

    Here is where it gets at least slightly funny. This morning the Washington Post published an article with the headline: Why skeptics think a South Carolina sailor lied about being lost at sea for 66 days. The short answer about why anyone might think such a thing could be that they read nonsense in the Washington Post. (To be fair, many, many other news sources didn’t do any better.)

    Even three days after the initial reports came in, the Washington Post is still reporting the same false information. In this morning’s article they reported:

    Jordan’s saga began Jan. 23, when he set sail from the marina in Conway, S.C., on a short fishing trip. He was reported missing six days later. A German tanker spotted him sitting atop his 35-foot-boat’s overturned hull 200 miles off the North Carolina coast on Thursday, a full 66 days after his disappearance.

    There are several things wrong with these statements. First, even though some reporters think all ships are “tankers,” Jordan was picked up by a container ship. This is not an important point, but it does suggest that the writer is either uninformed or sloppy.

    The larger point is the claim that Jordan was “spotted … sitting atop his 35-foot-boat’s overturned hull.”  The statement is simply wrong. Both the ship’s captain and representatives of the Coast Guard say that the boat was floating upright when found. Beyond that, the claim itself is also impossible.

    Jordan’s boat, Angel, was an Alberg 35, a fiberglass cruising sailboat built in the 1960s.  It has 5300 lbs. of ballast, a heavy weight in the keel to help keep the boat upright. In fact, over 40% of the entire weight of the boat is ballast. If an Alberg 35 is rolled over, one of two things can happen. If the hatches are open, it can fill with water and sink. If the hatches are closed and the boat doesn’t fill with water, it will right itself. It will roll back up. The boat cannot float upside down. The 5,300 lbs. of ballast in the very bottom of the boat prevents that from happening.  So, it was absolutely impossible that Jordan was found “sitting atop his 35-foot-boat’s overturned hull,” as reported by many sources, including the Washington Post. The New York Times version was even more dramatic. They report that Jordan was “clinging to the hull of his overturned sailboat, surviving on raw fish and rainwater.”

    Where did this story come from?  It appears that a Coast Guard rescue technician, Petty Officer Kyle McCollum, who helped retrieve Jordan the container ship may have misunderstood what he was told by the Germans on the ship. The Coast Guard did not rescue Jordan from his boat. They only picked him off the deck of container ship. It is unclear whether or not the Coast Guard ever saw Jordan’s boat.

    Jordan never said that he was “clinging to the hull of his overturned sailboat.”  He says that when the boat capsized, he was sleeping below deck. When the boat righted itself, he had to bail out water that had made its way below.

    Likewise the captain of the container ship Houston ExpressThomas Grenz, reports that the boat was floating upright when found. The same was said by Coast Guard spokesperson Lt. Krystyn Pecora.

    The Washington Post goes on to write:

    Even stranger, doubters pointed out, was his skin, which looked pale and unblemished, with only the slightest hint of sunburn, according to the Daily Mail.

    “We were expecting worse with blisters and severe sunburn and dehydration,” Petty Officer 3rd Class Kyle McCollum, who had the first contact with the sailor, told the AP.

    Once again, it appears that the petty officer’s misunderstanding of the situation was taken at face value.  If he believed that Jordan had been “clinging to the hull of his overturned sailboat, surviving on raw fish and rainwater,” then his expectations made sense. As his assumptions were wrong, so were his expectations.

    It is also worth noting that Jordan lived on the sailboat before making his ill-advised advised winter fishing trip. The boat was literally his home. As such, it is likely to have had a certain amount of food and water aboard, as well as clothes, tools and other equipment. Jordan was not sitting exposed to the sun and wind for 66 days. He had the shelter of the cabin and at least some some supplies. When his food and water ran low he caught fish and rain water to sustain him. This is not to say that Jordan had it easy. Depending on which news source you read, Jordan lost between 50 and 90 pounds during the 66 day ordeal.

    That Jordan had some supplies and shelter was confirmed by the Coast Guard’s Lt. Pecora, who said that he survived eating the food he had on his boat, by collecting rain water and using a net to catch fish. She said Jordan managed to stay hydrated by going inside his boat’s cabin a lot. A report by the LA Times mentions Jordan cooking pancakes on a propane stove.

    The Washington Post also questioned Jordan’s injuries. They quoted Erik Kulik of the True North Wilderness Survival School : “He says he broke his right shoulder, and yet he didn’t even seem to be guarding that shoulder in the pictures I saw after the rescue. There is a lot that doesn’t add up.”

    Jordan said that he broke his right shoulder, then later corrected himself and said he broke his collar bone. (In an online video, he shows the mark from the break which is on his collarbone near his right shoulder.) A collarbone fracture typically takes two to four weeks to heal. Jordan was missing for 9 weeks so it is not surprising that he had regained mobility in his right arm and shoulder.

    There are many questions to be answered about what happened to Louis Jordan. His decision to go fishing in the Gulf Stream in the winter despite hearing the prediction on oncoming storms, suggests that he is “an inexperienced sailor,” as even he describes himself.  Reckless and foolhardy are other adjectives which also come to mind.  Nevertheless, so far we have seen no evidence that he is a liar.

    On the other hand, the reporting on Louis Jordan by the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Guardian, the Daily Mail and seemingly countless others has been a bad joke.