Sailing

Vendée Globe: “Everest of Endurance Sport on the Seas”

Vendée Globe: “Everest of Endurance Sport on the Seas”

Elite sailing race sends competitors around the world … nonstop and alone By Martha Blanchfield British skipper Alex Thomson during training for the Vendée Globe 2016. Photo: Cleo Barnham / Hugo Boss • Vendée Globe Images. The concept of the Vendée Globe is simple and easy to understand. You sail around the world alone without stopping and without assistance. The Vendée Globe remains the only non-stop solo round the world race without assistance. It’s a voyage to the ends of the sea and deep down into a sailor’s soul. The eighth edition commences from the west coast of France at Les Sables d’Olonne on Sunday, November 6, 2016 at 08:50am local time. Competitor boats hit the start line at 12:02pm local time. Termed the Everest of endurance sport on the seas, only a scant 138 sailors have crossed the start line; merely 71 have crossed the finish. This tally...
Big Boats & Big Wind

Big Boats & Big Wind

Rolex Big Boat Series delivers Words and photos by Martha Blanchfield It’s a colorful run toward the San Francisco city front. The annual seven race Rolex Big Boat Series was held in San Francisco September 15-18 this year. Contrasted to last year, where final day competition was aborted due to no wind and sailors opted for shirtless sun tanning and bottled brews, the final day rounded out things with steady 15+ knot sea breezes. In 1958, Rolex was among the first premier timepiece companies to begin supporting yachting events. Rolex maintains a global alliance with twelve prestige clubs, including the St. Francis, the Royal Ocean Racing Club, Royal Malta Yacht Club, Yacht Club Capri and Kieler Yacht-Club. Among the events the company sponsors are the Fastnet in Cowes/Plymouth, United Kingdom, the Sydney Hobart Race, the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup in Puerto Cervo, Italy, and the Giraglia Rolex Cup. At...
ASJ Announces New Sailing Editor

ASJ Announces New Sailing Editor

California-based racer/reporter Martha Blanchfield is welcomed aboard ASJ is pleased to announce that local racer/reporter and California native Martha Blanchfield has been appointed to head up coverage on all things sailing. A photographer plus writer, her commentary about life on the water will appear in ASJ print and online channels, as well as her website RenegadeSailing.com. Martha is an avid racer who regularly competes in bay, ocean and club competition on San Francisco Bay, plus during annual sail treks along the New England coastline. She is most often aboard 30- to 40-foot boats working the mainsail. In 2011, Blanchfield created the Pink Sail for cancer research, an annual fun and fundraiser regatta. Contact Martha at info@renegadesailing.com....
Our Big Blue Backyard

Our Big Blue Backyard

Racing the Spinnaker Cup from San Francisco to Monterey By Paul Allen Orion competing in the ROLEX Big Boats Series 2014 in San Francisco. A crew of seven to eight is required to manage the vessel (Renegade Sailing/Martha Blanchfield). The sound of the wind fills my ears with a roar interrupted only by the boat slamming into the next wave. The 70-foot trimaran rises nearly completely out of the water, as the speed of this extremely light and powerful racing machine accelerates to speeds over 35 knots. The boat then descends from its apex, violently reuniting with the surface of the ocean and a loud crash. Dispersed water blasts its way upwards, exploding through the trampoline netting we use as our deck. The water has the consistency of pebbles, sometimes rocks, as it impacts my body. This is a glimpse of normal sailing aboard a modern offshore racing...
Hobie Cats

Hobie Cats

The thrill of small catamaran sailing By Chris Barrett • Photos by Deborah Swanson www.Studio101West.com There’s nothing like being on a racing catamaran and flying a hull while out on the trapeze wire. With your body suspended by the eighth inch diameter wire just a few inches above the water balancing the boat’s heeling, knees slightly bent, trimming the sail, keep a steady hand on the tiller and watch the other racers in case it looks like you’re on a collision course. This may seem like a lot of things to do, but after just a few outings on the water, the mental and physical challenges start to become part of the fun. The starting line of a race at Avila. Photo: Deborah Swanson These sublime moments, when it all comes together, is pure bliss in motion. On any given weekend around the state of California, Hobie Cat enthusiasts...
Taking it Sky High

Taking it Sky High

Pushing the boundaries of kite surfing with Erika Heineken By Michelle Slade African Championships, Soma Bay in Egypt, 2013. Photo: Michael Petrikov Kiteboarder Erika Heineken, from Larkspur, Calif., now has two consecutive world championships under her belt, and in 2013 was also nominated one of four finalists in the ISAF (International Sailing Federation) Rolex Sailor of the Year Awards. The 27-year old won her second world champion title in October after winning the International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) course racing world championships at Boao in Hainan, China, putting her on an even footing with younger brother Johnny Heineken who also holds two world kiteboarding course racing titles. World Champion A few kiters out at Crissy Field before racing at the North American Championships. Photo: Erika Heineken Heineken had no idea what to expect going into the 2013 event. She’d had a fairly mellow training year, racing mostly at home on...
Learning the Ropes

Learning the Ropes

A ten-day “final exam” in the British Virgin Islands Story and photos by Kathleen Seccombe Graduating from UC Santa Cruz in spring 2011 wrapped up 17 years of education and left me with a yearning to do something “hands-on,” maybe a back to nature experience. To be honest, I wasn’t totally sure. Some people get their jitters out climbing Half Dome or heli-skiing. I decided to go with a ten-day sailing trip in the Caribbean. In my final year at UCSC, I took a sailing course from Rusty Kingon, the head of the boating program. I found sailing around the Santa Cruz Harbor in a 15-foot dinghy to be exhilarating, so you can only imagine my excitement when I heard Rusty talking about a sailing trip in the British Virgin Islands. The islands are world renowned as a “postcard” sailing destination. For the past four years, Rusty and his wife...
It’s Not Sailing, It’s Flying

It’s Not Sailing, It’s Flying

A windsurfing convert gets his first lessons in kiteboarding Story and photos by Craig Dostie kiteboarding If windsurfing is like sailing, then kiteboarding is like flying. Who can say they’ve never shared the dreams of Iccarus? To be sure, it isn’t really flying, but after finally taking lessons from Bruce Sheldon I found out in short order, the similarity is more true than not. As a die-hard skier, windsurfing became my sport of choice when the snow melted and the warmth of the beach beckoned. Windsurfing was a natural choice. It shares the adrenaline of speed with skiing, requires skill and balance, and harnesses natural elements. Unlike sailing a boat though, windsurfing is primal sailing, where your body is an integral part of the process, fulfilling the roles of shrouds and stays to hold the mast upright, your arms become human sheets to control the sail, and your legs steer...
The Bay and Anywhere the Wind Blows

The Bay and Anywhere the Wind Blows

OCSC Founder Anthony Sandberg has been teaching people to sail — and set sail — for 31 years By Pete Gauvin  •  Photos by Martin Sundberg Sailing on San Francisco Bay is one of the iconic adventures of Northern California, combining a maritime wilderness amid a jewel-like urban setting with a robust natural wind generator that pumps out stiff breezes as reliably as Tim Lincecum unleashes a heater, which is to say nearly all the time — or in the bay’s case, nearly every day. Yet it’s likely many more people have been to a San Francisco Giants game to see “The Freak” pitch than have been sailing on the bay, a freak of nature in its own right. While millions scurry daily along the shores and across the bridges of this 400-square-mile inland sea, far too few ever get out on the water. It may be the defining landmark...
The Crossing

The Crossing

By W.C. Moses The suppository should have been a clue. Crouched in the cramped bathroom of a sailboat docked at a small island in French Polynesia, I was fumbling in the darkness with a cold wax suppository about the size of a .22 caliber bullet. It was an hour before sunrise, and I was hunched over – my face shoved into an old raincoat, my knee braced against the head. One hand held the door knob for support, while the other tried to accomplish the unnatural. I remember hoping that no one else needed the bathroom. I was trying to avoid seasickness, which for me is a brutal irony. I love the ocean, but it does not love me – I had spent most of the previous day’s sail with my head over the railing. When I was asked to sail in the South Pacific, I immediately agreed even...
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