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Zhik 2022 Choice of Champions LEADERBOARD

Not just another...

by John Curnow, Editor, Sail-World AUS 20 Jun 07:00 BST
Ah the promise. The expectation that eventually the corner will come and we can take the kite out of the bag and use it. 2022 Beneteau Pittwater Cup © John Curnow

…case of miscellaneous ramblings. I mean, yes, you might say that, but you could well have missed the point right there.

Truth is, this notion had certainly been brewing around for a little while, but that is not to say that it is a new theorem at all. In fact, it is probably the most important thing I have learned from sailing so far. You see, I often get to think of some of the people I have done a few nautical miles with.

Now some you might get to catch up with a fair bit. Others it is much less so. Much. Yet the overarching thing is that sailing clearly lets you work out whom you would go to war with, and the enduring nature of it all means that no matter the time frame, the bond is as clear and distinct as it ever was. The body gets older, and the stories bolder, and the trust and camaraderie are stronger by the day.

By way of examples, I probably have not sailed with one person who comes to mind right now for nigh on 30 years, and not seen him for 20 either, but I know if I showed up at his office today I would be ushered in most welcomingly, and he would be there no matter who the meeting he was just in was with. A big tip of the hat to Mr McKinna at that…

I helped her learn how to sail way back when, and now see Dani probably three times a year. Her warm hug, enthusiastic smile, and hilarious laughter are enough to end this sentence right here, but they go nowhere near to comparing with the care she affords me, and the attention to looking after my wellbeing that she ensures is as thorough and capable as the blocks under a keel in the dry dock. Yes. She is special.

Recently, Andy came to see us, have lunch and stay the night. It was wonderful to return some hospitality, and I am still both amazed and grateful that he put four hours behind the wheel, both to get here and then again back to where he was, just to connect up again after a few years. Every inshore mile we had enjoyed is savoured, and the offshore ones might be far, far smaller in number, but just as huge in meaning. Many thanks to a great pal…

I just spoke with the offshore legend that is the Great Jimbo. Mumbles, as he may well better known as, is a delight, and a bit like orbiting the Earth in a capsule filled with PhDs in Physics, Philosophy, and History. You’ll go places without even leaving your seat. I do hope we get to catch up in person tomorrow.

Then throughout all of this recent meandering, I have also been fortunate enough to speak with several RTW, World Champion, Olympic, AC, and SailGP sailors, and it dawned on me that they too have a roster of those they’d go to war with, just like us mere mortals. Of course their contact lists are filled with names that are bling this, and hero that, with even the odd deity thrown in there as well. So there will be no namedropping here, but thank you each and everyone one of you for the calls, emails and chats face-to-face.

Ahead of the Vendée Atlantique, Conrad Colman sent in a link to his brilliant video in English talking about the fleet, the boats, the course, and the sailors. A North Atlantic gale makes you think of WWII Destroyers shepherding supplies over Europe in some of the darkest hours, and just what was the name of that book, for the author elucidates the way your hands would freeze to the rail as you went on deck in the most colourful and scary way. Bet the Skippers in the shortened race have a tale or two, and well done to Charlie Dalin on Apivia for getting to the gate first.

Nine boats on the track in Chicago made for a sight and a half. Naturally, as an Aussie I am thrilled that no one tries to make them the Hawthorn Football Club of the seas, and just let them the sheer brilliance that they are. Chicago had endured a tornado earlier that week, and the circuit was well and truly tight, with variable conditions, so congratulations to Race Director, Iain Murray AM, for getting the event away.

The Star Sailors League Gold Cup had its gala launch in Switzerland recently. There are now 56 nations involved in this Round Robin OD format masterpiece. Our own Team Captain, John Bertrand AO, was there, and commented, “This thing is a big deal. It’s a big vision. The facilities at Grandson on Lake Neuchâtel (SUI) are great and there are good people involved. The organisers are making everyone very welcome.”

SSL Team Australia recently appointed Ben Durham as coach, which is excellent news. Ben is the coach for the Aussies in SailGP, and also with Tom Slingsby in the RC44s for the last two years. These craft are the forebears of the SSL47 that are being used for the event.

A new race record has been set in the famed Newport to Bermuda event, with Jason Carroll and the crew of the MOD70, Argo putting down an elapsed time of 33 hours, 0 minutes and 09 seconds. This is 1h:42m:42s faster than the 100-foot monohull Comanche’s Open Division mark of 34h:42m:53s, set in the 2016 race. Unfortunately, the race also endured one death, and we feel very much for Colin Golder’s family, Crew, and race management, and extend our deepest condolences to all.

Now the very well thought out, and equally exceptionally made Comanche arrived back in Australia after just 36 days on her own hull from Antigua. Through the canal, over the Equator and all makes it look like 300nm a day, with many of them over 400nm, and this is in delivery mode. Would have taken a few less days too, if it were not for the headwinds just before reaching Sydney.

All in all it is happening, every hour of every day, and are we just the lucky ones to be able to get a piece of it, building those bonds all the way...

Ok. There it is. Short, but there is heaps more on the group’s sites for you, just use the search field, or ‘edition’ pull-down menu up the top on the right of the masthead to find it all. Please enjoy your yachting, stay safe, and thanks for tuning into

John Curnow
Editor, Sail-World AUS

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