Monday, January 16, 2017

Alex Thomson sets solo 24 hour distance record // Vendee Globe

After 21,000 miles and 71 days only 75.96 miles separates the two leaders.  With 700 nm to go in light air. A Thursday January 19 finish is expected in Les Sables D'Ologne, France.
Alex Thomson sets Solo 24 hour distance record
Thomson has been playing catch-up since Le Cléac'h took the lead on December 2 but as the race enters its final few days he has transformed from the chaser into the hunter, ruthlessly stalking his French rival in the hope of being able to deliver the killer blow before the race is up. 
The British skipper delivered a timely warning to French skipper Le Cléac'h today when he smashed the world record for the greatest distance sailed solo in 24 hours. Hugo Boss skipper Thomson maintained a staggering average speed of 22.4 knots in the 24 hours leading up to the 0800 UTC position update to notch up 536.8nm. The distance breaks the 534.48nm record set by François Gabart in the 2012-13 Vendée Globe that he went on to win, beating Le Cléac'h by just three hours. In that respect the new record could be considered a good omen by Thomson, who is aiming to become the first Brit in the race's 27-year history to win it. He actually beat Gabart's record two weeks into the race, sailing 535.34nm in 24 hours, but the rules of the record state it must be superseded by one whole mile. Thomson previously held the record between 2003 and 2012 with a distance of 468.72nm. The new record will now be ratified by the World Sailing Speed Record Council.
p.s. Rich Wilson on Great  American IV is making 12 kts. 150 miles from Cape Horn and 7,100 from the finish

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Approaching the Horn // Rich Wilson // Great American

Great American IV, skipper Rich Wilson (US) at start of the Vendee Globe, in Les Sables d'Olonne, France, on November 6th, 2016 - Photo Jean-Marie Liot / DPPI / Vendee GlobeGreat American IV, skipper Rich Wilson (US) au départ du Vendée Globe, aux Sable
Rich Wilson's Great Americcan IV

These are the harshest conditions that the singlehanded fleet have experienced at Cape Horn! Indeed, a depression in the Southern Ocean is generating a NW’ly wind, which is really packing a punch as it hits the Andes cordillera. The situation is expected to last throughout Sunday with a temporary lull tonight before another unsettled system rolls over the top of Patagonia on Monday. The sea state is particularly dangerous as it funnels through the Drake Passage (just over 400 miles wide), further complicated by the fact that the Vendée Globe competitors have to respect the Antarctic Exclusion Zone (AEZ) which is only 80 miles south of Cape Horn.

The four sailors involved have already taken steps to prepare for the storm: Fabrice Amedeo (Newrest-Matmut), Arnaud Boissières (La Mie Câline), Alan Roura (La Fabrique) and Rich Wilson (Great American IV) have really slowed up since Saturday, whilst trying to get in as much southing as possible to skirt the AEZ where the wind is lighter. However, some 250 miles from Tierra del Fuego, the wind is already reaching more than twenty knots and the foursome is expected to make their entrance into the Atlantic with 35 to 40 knots of breeze, peaking at 50 knots in the squalls.
Rich Wilson (Great American IV): “We rocketed through the night in a manner that is not at all my style. Yet there seemed an opening to get to Cape Horn if we went very fast and the wind gave us the chance, so we did. It was shocking and noisy and bouncy and noisy and big seas and the boat ricocheting and noisy and fast, fast, fast. And yet, when all was said and done, our little boat icon on the position reports showed 14.9 knots. So for the leaders of this race, who routinely would have little boat icons showing 19 knots, or 21 knots, what must that be like on board other than petrifying. It’s the one aspect of this I do not understand: how can those sailors tolerate that stress? When we do a tack gybe, the first part is to roll up the fractional gennaker. This is a long, hard, grind on the pedestal winch at high speed, or as fast as you can muster. For me, my asthma becomes problematic, not that I have an asthma attack or an anaphylactic episode, but just the fatigue of breathing at a level of 70-80%, when I clearly need 100%. These boats are monsters to manoeuvre singlehanded. Maybe if the storm delays a little bit it will be better. But hope has little role at sea. We await the next weather report forecast and will continue making our plans.”

Friday, January 13, 2017

Hot and sour fish soup

Port Clyde Fresh Catch

Recipe type: Appetiser
Cuisine: Maine
Prep time:  
Cook time:  
Total time:  
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 bunch scallions; whites cut into ¼ inch pieces, greens cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled ginger
  • 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces shitake mushrooms, stemmed, and sliced ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 2 plum tomatoes, cored, cut into large chunks
  • 12 ounces firm white fish (pollock) cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 6 ounces bay scallops
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the scallion whites and cook until slightly tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the ginger and cook about 1 minute. Add 7 cups water, the soy sauce, sugar, salt to taste, ¾ teaspoon pepper and the mushrooms. Cover and bring the broth to a simmer. Mix the cornstarch with ¼ cup cold water and gradually stir into the broth. Bring to a gentle boil, stirring; the broth will thicken slightly.
  2. Add the scallion greens, tomatoes and white fish to the broth, and simmer until the fish is opaque, about 3 minutes. Add the scallops, vinegar, and salt and pepper to ta(the scallops will cook instantly from the heat of the soup). ladle into bowls.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Two leaders cross the equator - Vendee Globe

Sailing aerial images of the IMOCA boat Hugo Boss, skipper Alex Thomson (GBR), during training solo for the Vendee Globe 2016, off England, on September 16, 2016 - Photo Cleo Barnham / Hugo Boss / Vendée GlobeImages aériennes de Hugo Boss, skipper Alex

News - Thomson joins Le Cléac'h in the north after record-breaking run - Vendée Globe 2016-2017

Sunday, January 8, 2016

Alex Thomson has become the second Vendée Globe skipper to pass the Equator back into the northern hemisphere, setting a new race record in the process. The British skipper of Hugo Boss passed zero degrees latitude at 1712 UTC yesterday, 16 hours and 49 minutes behind leader Le Cléac'h. Thomson's passage from Cape Horn has taken 13 days, five hours and 30 minutes, smashing 2012-13 Vendée Globe winner François Gabart's existing record for the passage by 14 hours.

The 42-year-old Brit took 62 days, five hours and 10 minutes to cross the Equator heading north after starting the solo round the world race from Les Sables d'Olonne in France on November 6 – more than three days ahead of Gabart's record-breaking run. Incredibly Thomson rounded Cape Horn on Christmas Day lagging behind Le Cléac'h by almost 500 nautical miles, but favourable conditions in the South Atlantic saw him reel in his French rival, at one point getting to within 50nm of Le Cléac'h's Banque Populaire. The delta separating the pair was this morning fixed at 146nm as both skippers tried to wiggle their way through a very active Doldrums located just north of the Equator. Le Cléac'h had a slim advantage at the 0400 UTC rankings with speeds of seven knots compared to a painful four knots for Thomson. The unstable, light winds currently stretch around 600 miles to the north of the duelling pair, hampering their progress towards the finish line.

Meanwhile American Rich Wilson is in 14th position.  At 128 west he is still 3,000 miles from Cape Horn at 66 west.  He is 6,000 nm behind the leaders with 9,000 nm to finish.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Northern shrimp study: Maine trawlers, trappers selected

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Vendee Globe: fleet stretches from Falklands to western Australia

Sailing aerial images of the IMOCA boat Hugo Boss, skipper Alex Thomson (GBR), during training solo for the Vendee Globe 2016, off England, on September 16, 2016 - Photo Cleo Barnham / Hugo Boss / Vendée GlobeImages aériennes de Hugo Boss, skipper Alex
The hazards of single-handed ocean racing are many.  On December 21 Sebastien Destremau was sailing in 30 knots with three reefs in the main when his boat was "knocked down like a dinghy".
A glance at the race tracker shows that 51 days out the fleet is strung out along a line from the Falkland Islands east of Argentina to Cape Leeuwin - western Australia.  Nineteen of the twenty nine boats are still racing.  In fifteenth position is Rich Wilson aboard Great American.  Leading is Armel Le'Cleac'h aboard Banc Populaire, making 16.9 knots with Brit Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) 281 nm behind and 5,900 nm to the finish line.  On Christmas Thomson rounded Cape Horn just a mile or two south in variable southerly and southwesterly winds of 16 - 40 kts. He still managed some Christmas cake.
Wilson is at 55 S, 97 E - south of New Zealand.  He trails Le Cleac'h by 5,900 nm and has 11,650 nm to finish.  Another 2,000 nm behind is Pieter Heerema aboard No Way Back.  He is limping along at 3 knots.  Is there a way forward?

Weather Analysis December 24th 2016 - Leaders

S. Newman Darby, Inventor of the Sailboard, Dies at 88 - The New York Times

Related image

It's a long way from 1963 and the first sailboard to today's kite surfing.

S. Newman Darby, Inventor of the Sailboard, Dies at 88 - The New York Times

S. Newman Darby, a sign painter whose passion for boating led him to invent a sailboard that is widely acknowledged as the first windsurfing craft, died on Dec. 3 at his home in St. Johns, Fla. He was 88.
His daughter Wendy Darby Brown confirmed the death.
Mr. Darby created his sailboard in 1964 out of frustration because the waves on lakes, like the one near his home in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., were not big enough to surf on.
His solution was to attach a sail to a surfboard, and the combination worked. But it was flawed: It could not turn sharply or go well against the wind. So he created a universal joint using a nylon rope to link the sail to the board. This enhanced his control of steering and speed.
Mr. Darby’s enthusiasm spilled over into an article he wrote for Popular Science magazine in 1965 about his invention.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Joel White, 66, Designer of Wooden Boats - The New York Times

Image result for haven 12 1/2

Today was a special day.  I visited my buddy Arthur-  up and about 9 days after a successful heart transplant - his second.  The first - as a young man - held up for 25 years +/-.   I brought him a copy of the 2017 Calendar of Wooden Boats by Benjamin Mendlowitz - the house photographer of the wooden boat community in tiny Brooklin, Maine - a center of superb craftsmanship.  I introduced him to the great sailboat designer Joel White who died 19 years ago.

The great essayist E.B. White wrote about the Maine lake where Arthur's family has a cottage - and On Golden Pond was filmed. - gwc

Joel White, 66, Designer of Wooden Boats - The New York Times

by Richard Goldstein

'There's a certain amount of dewy-eyed enthusiasm about wood that gets a little sticky sometimes,'' Joel White once said. ''People can get so caught up in the Zen of the thing, they sometimes forget what a boat is really for.''

Mr. White was born in Mount Vernon, N.Y., the son of the essayist and author E. B. White and his wife, Katharine, who was fiction editor of The New Yorker. The family moved to a farm in North Brooklin, Me., in the mid-1930's, and the son became immersed in a lifelong love of sailing Maine's coastal waters. He built a 19-foot boat named Martha, in honor of his daughter, that his father sailed after adding his own touch -- carved dolphins, four on each side of the bow, decorated in gold.

One of E. B. White's most enduring essays, ''Once More to the Lake,'' written in 1941, tells of a trip with his son back to the freshwater lake where the father spent vacations as a boy.

Mr. White attended Cornell University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, from which he obtained a bachelor's degree in naval architecture in 1953. After working on boat building in Newport News, Va., and serving in the Army, he returned to Maine and assumed ownership of the Brooklin boating facility in 1960. His son Steven has been owner and president of the boatyard since 1986.

He was the author of ''Wood, Water & Light: Classic Wooden Boats'' (Norton, 1988) with photographs by Benjamin Mendlowitz. Reviewing the book for The New York Times, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt called it a ''lovely work'' that was ''untainted by snobbery.'' Mr. White read from his father's essays, poems and short stories in a recent audio cassette, ''White on White.''

The editor and writer Roger Angell, Mr. White's half-brother, said that ''he really was a Down Easter. He was reserved in his emotions and instinctively modest.''

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Vendee Globe - 42 days out - 22 still racing, Great America IV in 17th place

Weather Analysis Indian Ocean December 17th 2016

The Vendee GlobeTracker  shows the fleet spread out across the Indian Ocean the trailers are approaching western Australia while the leaders are half way across te Pacific. the Pacific.  Leader Armel Le Cleach has 8,800 miles to go.  Brit Alex Thomson trails him by 484 nm.  The two leaders are more than half way across the Pacific. A few weeks ago Thomson lost one of the foils, but has been on a favorable tack.

Making 11 knots at the moment, the sole American entry Rich Wilson is 5,300 miles behind the leader in 17th position.  22 of the 29 starters are still racing.  The others abandoned the race due to equipment failures,
Photo sent from the boat La Fabrique, on December 16th, 2016 - Photo Alan RouraPhoto envoyée depuis le bateau La Fabrique le 16 Décembre 2016 - Photo Alan Roura

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Ellen's scallops

As for the scallops,  I kind of “wung” it but here are the basics:  bread crumbs, lemon zest (1 lemon),  fresh herbs (parsley, thyme), parmesan cheese (tablespoonish or more), some shallot, salt and pepper, paprika,  red pepper.  Mix it all together.  Dredge the scallops, put in hot oil (I added a little butter too but probably not necessary) and brown quickly on both sides (crispy surface is good). Serve with lemon. - Ellen