(February 4, 2013; Day 87) – The Vendee Globe welcome afforded to fourth
placed Jean-Pierre Dick by a huge and passionate crowd was one worthy of a
race winner. Having sailed more than 2500 miles with no keel, having lead
the race – his third participation – and having been among the top three
for most of the course, all clearly inspired a big, partisan crowd to take
to the channel into the heart of Les Sables d’Olonne this afternoon to
welcome ‘ JP’.

As one of the pre-race favourites, JP took his disappointments in his
stride but they ultimately took their toll on his overall performance.

First was the loss of a key small gennaker – one which would have been his
reaching workhorse in the South which forced him to re-think his strategy
at times. Then he struggled with a jammed halyard hook which left him
unable to set the optimum headsail for some time. He eventually climbed the
mast of Virbac-Paprec 3 several times to free it but lost more miles. His
problems were capped when he lost his keel on the evening of January 21.

“The welcome here has been extraordinary. That transition between being
alone and arriving here makes me so proud to be here. You are a racer at
heart. I left trying to win this race, but it changed course and became an
adventure. In sporting terms, the goal was not achieved, but in human
terms, it is much more than I could have hoped for. I think that it will be
easier for me to get over the loss of my third place, because there is this
glorifying side to the end of the race. I am proud to have brought back my
Virbac-Paprec 3 to Les Sables d’Olonne.”


I do not want to make a statement that might influence your judgement after watching this video. I must thank Sailing Anarchy for alerting me to it.
What I will add is that the Volvo 70 and many modern designs can sail fast enough to choose where they might wish to be in relationship to a system. A boat like the “Bounty” simply cannot sail fast enough to position itself.


Given the magnitude of the carnage left in the wake of hurricane “Sandy”.  The loss of the “Bounty” will likely not get much ink. For those of us who go to sea, we are left shaking our heads in disbelief. The facts are not all in and so far the story is that the skipper left New London, Ct in route toSt. Petersburg, Florida intending to make enough easting to get around “Sandy” . He would have had to leave the Azores to starboard to leave enough room in a boat like the “Bounty.”  we can only wonder what was he thinking.

I cannot say with certainty, but I would guess this boat leaked at the dock and that was fine as long as the pumps were running, which in turn depended on the engine running. She was built as a prop for one movie in 1962. She was never built for a long life. I know that Fall River, Ma heritage festival committee who owned her after Ted Turner finally could no longer keep up with the repairs and sold her.

Seamanship translates roughly into common sense. We all have an idea of what it is. Perhaps that’s the problem. What we know is always framed by what we know, not what we don’t know.

A boat like this probably worked all the time, by that I mean any loading, from the rig or simply rolling in a seaway would cause the boat to twist and the planking to move.

As I said “What was he thinking?”



Rob comes from a legacy of prudent seamanship; the “Carina” family. I liken the sentiments to the idea that there was an assumption that when we left the dock, we were on our own.

His remarks have prompted responses on scuttlebutt, where his initial posting appeared.
By Rob Nye, nearly 50 years old
I believe that to understand the recent tragedies in California, we need to
look at the entire sport of sailing and how the competitive side is managed
and promoted.

As harsh as it may sound, both events are the result of a lack of good
seamanship. Webster’s defines Seamanship as: the art or skill of handling,
working, and navigating a ship. In modern times it appears that it is
possible to be a professional sailor and not be a good seaman; it used to be
that seamanship was a requirement to get invited in the first place. Now
it’s what do you weigh, or how hard you can you hike. To navigate, it is to
have superior computer skills.

Following these accidents, Gary Jobson, president of the U.S. Sailing, has
said “we need to take a step back and take a deep breath with what we’re
doing. Something is going wrong here.”

On one hand, I take offense at Gary’s use of “we” as if all sailors bear
some responsibility for a boat being caught inside the breaking surf or
another apparently running into an island while motoring at night. Yet on
the other, speaking as President of the governing body of our sport, perhaps
US Sailing does share some blame for the lack of basic seamanship exhibited
today. I hope the “what we’re doing” he refers to isn’t simply holding
races; as if the event itself is to blame. It isn’t.

When I was growing up, the summer calendar was full of short, medium and
long distance races that included sailing to fixed marks. Even day races
used fixed marks, and once in a while, we’d put the kite up to get to the
windward mark after drifting off the starting line. Once in a while, we even
anchored. Navigation was more than “putting the pin in the box” and entering
a range and bearing to the windward mark. On any given leg we might drift,
beat to windward, reach, change sails and if we were lucky, even broach or
at least enjoy a good knockdown.

It was during this era we learned to use harnesses, sail in the fog, keep an
eye on each other and stay sharp when drifting around at 3am on Long Island
Sound. Day races were sometimes another opportunity to practice seamanship
as the decision to race was left with the skipper, not some government

I remember leaving the dock for a fall series race with two reefs, the #4
jib and harnesses on for a “casual” race. Now race committees postpone if
the line isn’t perfectly square, or the inflatable mark isn’t directly to
windward, or they cancel the race if it’s blowing over 25 at the dock or
worse, forecast to blow later in the day. Why get a crew that’s seen heavy
weather when we don’t sail when it blows, and if we do all we’re going to do
is sausages? — Read on:


I have written in an earlier post after listening to several of the crew from “Rambler” speak about their experience during the Fastent Race last August. If you can make it, it is a fascinating tale that has a happy ending through a series of “lucky ifs”.

Herreshoff Marine Museum


Tomorrow – Thursday, January 19th.
Sponsored by Points East Magazine.


RAMBLER overturned
Photograph from theguardian.  Read the full article here.


The wait is almost over!  Come to the Museum tomorrow night to hear the full story.

Doors open at 6 for socializing and refreshments provided by

Cisco Brewers and Triple Eight Distillery.


Lecture starts at 7pm with crew members from RAMBLER and Dan O’Connor from

Life Raft and Survival Equiptment.



ALL SEATS HAVE BEEN SOLD.  We are currenlty selling tickets as STANDING ROOM ONLY



Call the Museum for more information or email Maggie 

 $5 for members/ $10 for non members.



This is another one of those subjects on which I spend way to much time pondering. As far as a racing boat seaworthiness and seamanship are tied. There is more than one boat I have refused to sail on either because of the boat or it’s crew. A well found boat can compensate for a less competent crew and vise  versa.

Should the Fastnet race have in recent years the number of withdrawals we have seen? The Middle Sea race? The Stamford-Vineyard race?

Here the question being asked is specifically about seaworthiness. Regardless of my opinion the horse has escaped the barn, as the saying goes. I will add that I have sailed some very sea kindly boats in recent years; far better than many years ago.

PRACTICALITIES OF SEAWORTHINESSWhen mistral conditions cancelled the first day of racing this week at theMaxi Yacht Rolex Cup in Porto Cervo, Italy, a cry of ‘What The F#@K’ camefrom the sidelines. Was this another instance of offshore race boats beingunsuitable to go offshore? Hugh Welbourn, Principal at Hugh Welbourn Designin Southampton, United Kingdom, joins the conversation:———————————————————————-Pitiful indeed to be cancelling because of 25 knots, when I can wellremember frequently starting and racing in Sardinia in full Mistralconditions and having some of the best racing and fun days ever. One ofthose days was the first of many occasions racing with Bruce (NavalArchitect Bruce Nelson) in fact, and rolling the good old IOR boatsdownhill in seriously interesting conditions around the many rocks offPorto Cervo!
But how have we got to this stage?
You have to lay some of the blame on currently having rules and raceorganisers that on the whole take no interest in the actual practicalitiesof seaworthiness. That’s something that is totally separate from basicissues of stability and structures which have mostly been dealt with, butis more along the lines of ensuring that it is possible to work the boatboth above and below decks in severe conditions if necessary.
Ever increasing pressure on short course racing results has created superefficient sail handling and deck layouts for sure, but ‘conveniently’brushed under the table are such basic seaworthiness points of no deckpenetrations that allow water below, or indeed as with current TP52’s thenthe sheer mass of string running all through the internals of the boat. Andwatertight integrity? Got to be joking!
Of course the TP52’s and some others in current guise would run a mile fromdoing any real offshore event and even deliveries between events are causefor looking for benign weather windows.
But yachts of this ilk shouldn’t be sailing in events such as Sardiniawhere challenging conditions are so often encountered and also should be somuch of the fun.
Yes, the modern boats are harder on the crew, the motions are more violent,but sanitising the racing because some of the boats can’t deal with theconditions is plain crazy.
So surely its time that the rules and race organisers recognise that thisstate of affairs must not be allowed to continue – racing boat numbers areshrinking everywhere and part of the issue is for sure that they arebecoming less and less suitable for the general mix of offshore/inshoreracing.
Killing off the races in such great waters as Sardinia just because some ofthe fleet can’t deal with it?