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Quokka Sailing is shutting down

by Sean McNeill on 15 Feb 2001
Sailing into the sunset Quokka Sailing
sailing into the sunset

Current economic winds are against dot-coms like Quokka Sports - and we at must say goodbye.

I'm very sorry to say that is shutting down today. Quokka Sports is going
through a massive restructuring that's seeing many staff members let go.

We leave you at a great time in the world of sailing. Many larger-than-life personalities are
bringing wonderful stories to life just now.

Take the Rolex winners. Winners like Mark Reynolds, who has pictures of himself in a Star boat
when he was an infant. (Talk about born to sail a class!) His crew, Magnus Liljedahl, turned the
death of his wife into a positive force in his life, throwing himself into sailing when the mourning
wouldn't end. JJ Isler will forever remember the Olympics through her children's eyes. Her crew,
Pease Glaser, the longest tenured member of the US Sailing Team (13 years), has a silver
medal to show for her years of dedication.

Over the weekend, Michel Desjoyeaux completed a faultless circumnavigation to win the
Vendée Globe single-handed race around the world in his first attempt. He took it from Yves
Parlier early in the race, although the veteran had led for the first month. And in the last month
he fended off a relentless attack from Ellen MacArthur, the 24-year-old Englishwoman whose
stellar ability is just beginning to be felt in the sailing world.

Then there are the fantastic catamarans competing in The Race. It may not prove to be much of
a race, but Club Med's performance is nothing less than awesome. The crew members shook
the hell out of their boat last summer, trying to break it. They did. Now they have a vessel so
reliable they're not afraid to let the reins out.

Last week they proved the potential of the 110-footers by sailing 655 miles in 24 hours. The
astonishing average of 27.3 knots means sustained periods at 35 knots -- in the fearsome
Southern Ocean, no less, where they were forced to dodge bergy bits of ice as if weaving
through an obstacle course.

Overall, the performance of today's grand-prix boats is astonishing. Consider the record-breaking
run of Bernard Stamm's Open 60 last week. Stamm and three others broke the crewed
monohull trans-Atlantic record from New York to England, bettering the mark set by a boat more
than twice its size.

Like the athletes and adventurers Quokka has covered over the years, we tried to achieve
something different at With this Web site, we worked to create an online
magazine featuring robust writing and spectacular photos. We tried to bring you close to the
boats and the sailors who race them. Sometimes, we hit the mark. We hope we gave you
something worthy, informative and fun ... all the scoop on sailing, with the immediacy of the
Web that magazines can't match. Something that couldn't be found anywhere else.

There are many people who made this site successful. Led by general manager Susan Daly and
producer Emily Robertson, the crew includes production gurus Shawn Connally and Pete Dakin,
media mavens Josh Peerless and Robin de la Fuente, designer extraordinaire John McConnico,
technical manager Mark Dwyer, sales manager Mike Litter, marketer Ricardo Balzas and
forums managers Kristin Huntley and Chuck Lantz.

Then there are our contributors, without whose help wouldn't have been as
interesting or controversial.

Special thanks go out to writers Andrea Falcon, Cynthia Goss, Tim Jeffery and Ivor Wilkins, as
well as regular commentators and contributors Peter Isler, Brad Van Liew and Tom Weaver. Two
teams in particular, Club Med and illbruck Challenge, deserve thanks for working with us. A
particular thanks goes to copy editor Emily Schilling, whose attention to detail reminds me
every day that I should be so diligent.

We'd also like to thank Mark Chisnell, who gave up the relatively easy life of navigator/tactician
to be editor of I'm sure Mark's still wondering why he did it, but his expert
commentaries and stories on The Race have been a boost to our site.

Personally, I'll miss the daily buzz of working on a Web site. I'll miss the charges of muckraking
and lying. I'll miss being accused of having a slant or digging for an angle. I'll miss the rush of
waking up and wondering what to feed our voracious beast every day. Most of all, I'll miss the
thoughtful letters from you, our readers.

We worked hard on, and we all loved every minute of it. Last week named QuokkaSailing one of its favorite Web sites. Judging by the number of
visitors to the site, it's evident that we're one of your favorites also.

We loved it, too, and we'll miss the site as much as we'll miss working on it. Sadly, we have to
go. Thank you so much for your support!

Best regards,
Sean McNeill

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