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.