THE CAT IS BACK

“Il Monstro” arrived back in Newport yesterday evening, with Ken’s brother Brad having completed his first transatlantic race; on a boat we would all love to have sailed. Docked at  Charlie Dana’s Newport Shipyard, next to “Leopard of London” and “Speedboat”. A sort of trinity of sailboat racing, formula ones of the water.
     “Il Monstro” will set up training here in Newport in preparation for the next Volvo Ocean Race.
   The bottom photo is a panorama of Shields racing last night on Narragansett Bay, comprised of 10 photos stitched together. Spring is coming to the Northeast.

WHAT IS BIG?

I had trouble fitting “Mirabella V” in the frame. That is” Leopard of London” which is 100 feet long on the outside of “Mirabella” The dark mast through the rigging of “Mirabella” is “Speedboat” also 100 feet long. Both of the 100 foot boat have power assisted winches and canting keels, which means that the engine must be running pretty much all the time in order to sail the boat. They sail with 18-25 people as they are all needed to make sail changes or any other big changes, like a jibe.
   Both “Speedboat” and “Leopard” are in Newport waiting for a weather window to make an attempt on the monohull transatlantic record. Because they have power assisted winches they can never own the outright record held by “Maria Cha” set in 2003
   “Speedboat” is also entered in the Bermuda Race starting June 18th, where I am certain they would like to set a course record as well.
    “Mirabella V” is, I believe ,still the largest sloop in the world. Despite to fact that everything is done by a computer and power, I have trouble conceiving of managing anything aboard her. Just the sheer size of the gear and the loads generated are mind boggling. The photo of people standing next to the headstay turnbuckle should be proof enough. This photo is courtesy of Bill Coleman.
   I am thrilled to see these boats and glad of their existence I am anxious to get back to the thread of the 12 meters and the America’s Cup.

BAZZINI’S

The photo at the right is of the Bazzini’s. Regrettably it is out of focus. For those of us (the crew of Weald) a swan 48 in the 1975 trans-atlantic race, it is a fond memory. Bazzini’s is really a specialty store; the link will get you there. We had their peanut butter aboard for the race. The poster of the girls somehow got labeled.

VIRGIN MONEY aka SPEEDBOAT

Speedboat left today from New York in an attempt to break the monohull powered winch trans-atlantic record. Aboard is an all star crew headed by Mike Sanderson.

I freely confess that I am envious. Six days across the Atlantic is exciting and not so hard. In my opinion the hard part on this boat, will be not breaking it. In other words press as hard as you can without reaching the limits of the boat.;ie. never redlining.Speedboat is much larger than a Volvo 70 used in the Round the World race, however she is more fragile, not built for the punishment the Volvo 70’s are.
I will be following their progress with interest and envy.

SPEEDBOAT

Speedboat aka Virgin Money is an exciting boat,an engineering marvel, elegant, extreme, powerful, fragile. Not particularly useful as its purpose can only really be to set or break distance records. Yet she requires a great deal of attention.

Below she reminds me of Windward Passage the 72 foot 1968 design by Alan Gurney, a practical sensible layout. Both were ahead of their time. Once again, if only today’s materials had been available to Alan; who knows what he might have created. the thought process was similar; go fast.
There is a difference in that Passage was built on the beach, There were limits to what someone would spend for a yacht. From that comparison the owners of Passage got a lot of bang for their buck. She was durable, still sailing, looking better than ever. In today’s world she is heavy and under canvased. I expect she will still be sailing after Speedboat is only a memory.
That said, Speedboat will soon leave to make an attempt on the Trans-atlantic record for a monohull. I would love to be part of that. After all it will only be six days; hardly time to establish a rhythm.



Swan 42 "Mustang"


September 2007 found me joining Gary Jobson on his new Swan 42 “Mustang” for the Stamford-Vineyard Race. The first time we had ever sailed together on the same boat; having competed against each other in college and on twelve meters for the America’s Cup.

A few weeks later I was again aboard “Mustang” for the first ever Swan 42 North American Championships in Newport, hosted by the New York Yacht Club. Gary had assembled a fine crew, each bringing some strength to the group. The racing was keen and close. Gary did an outstanding job steering the boat. All the starts were great. We ended the series in second place.

2006 Stamford-Vineyard Race

This race, in stark contrast to the Bermuda race earlier in the year, has become a legend of sorts. 35 knots at the start; 53 boats entered, three boats finished in a race that saw the wind build to 60 plus knots. The wind direction was very steady out of the East, Making the course a windward-leeward race. We hit 26 knots with a storm jib and two reefs.

We finished second to Blue Yankee, our confidence in the boat having received an enormous boost after this thrashing.
the photo shows the crew stacked aft behind Jack Cummiskey, as we surf downwind.

RIMA Ida Lewis Long Distance Race





I was invited to sail on John Brim’s 55 foot R/P “Rima” for the 177 mile Ida Lewis Yacht Club Long Distance Race over the weekend.As a helmsman,teaming up with my old shipmate Ed Cesare, who Navigated, his brother Ben, Jack Orr from North Sails and a score of other great sailors.

In this first photo showing “Rima” there is also the stern of “Charisma”, the same boat I have written so much about in earlier entries, now belonging to a Spanish owner.

The boat is very nicely set up and well built. a treat to sail. The weather forecast for the weekend was, if you can think of it, it might happen, making any strategy other than staying near the rhumb line impossible to formulate.
The only treat was the last four hours of the race beam reaching from Montauk to Newport at 16 knots. One could not help but smile, the boat is so well behaved.