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CoastWaterSports 2014

What is sailing? - Newsletter


What is sailing?

Lizard 2020 - LEADERBOARD

Zhik 2020 Vendee competition - LEADERBOARD

Start 2018 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - photo © Rolex / Studio Borlenghi

Dear Recipient Name

A simple question one would think, but there are several events, innovations, trends and decisions which have brought up this fundamental question for us sailors, particularly yachtsmen.

The question has arisen in discussions within the and team in many a Skype, Whatsapp and Zoom conversation lately, mainly due to the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's decision to exclude double-handers from being eligible to win the Tattersall's Cup, which is awarded to the open handicap winner in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. To understand their reasoning, we need to look at both technological development and trends in offshore sailing.

WASZP 2020 - Win the 1000th boat - MPU Animated   B&G 2020 Nemesis 600x500

First up, let's look at the Vendée Globe. This race is gripping the world and has already led to a massive uplift in readership on our sailing websites, approaching a combined 500,000 unique users per month.

Kevin Escoffier on PRB during the Vendée Globe - photo © Jean-Marie Liot / Alea #VG2020
Kevin Escoffier on PRB during the Vendée Globe - photo © Jean-Marie Liot / Alea #VG2020

The 60-foot racing machines in which the solo skippers are sailing around the world are fitted with some of the most technologically advanced electronics in sailing, and the autopilots are one of the tools which the sailors rely on. We've mentioned before in our editorials just how advanced these systems are getting and how they can perform as well as, if not better, than a human helmsman. They don't get tired, they don't need sleep, needing only a diet of electricity and hydraulic oil, combined with data from an array of sensors, and they'll keep a foiling IMOCA yacht performing at close to its maximum through day and night.

Barton Marine 2019 600x500   FFI - Try a fifteen - 2020 600x500

Autopilots revolutionising solo racing - photo © Lloyd Images
Autopilots revolutionising solo racing - photo © Lloyd Images

Does this make the Vendée any less of a challenge? Does this make each skipper any less of a sailor? The overwhelming opinion is that the Vendée Globe is currently the pinnacle of ocean racing and the ultimate test of endurance in sailing. Managing an IMOCA yacht singlehanded is a Herculean task, and offshore sailing combines so many aspects: weather routing, boat maintenance, sail configurations, choosing when to push it and when to back off. This is offshore sailing at its very best, but the Vendée is certainly not a helming contest.

LinkedOut during the Vendée Globe  - photo © Pierre Bouras
LinkedOut during the Vendée Globe - photo © Pierre Bouras

Harken Reflex Furler   Lennon Thermalite 300x250 1

Electronics and mechanical aids have been available for years in sailing. Navigators have moved from paper charts, the shipping forecast, sextants and a good barometer to high resolution displays, GRIB files, GPS and routing software calculating multiple options, tied to the polars for a particular yacht, in the blink of an eye. Lay lines are updated in real time, taking tides and forecasts into account. The navigation revolution has happened and continues to be refined.

B&G course options with Predictwind - photo © B&G
B&G course options with Predictwind - photo © B&G

In dinghies and sports boats, small devices such as the Velocitek ProStart allow us to 'ping' each end of a start line, showing us instantly exactly how far we are from the line. Electronic compasses allow us to set up our tacking angles, showing us when we're on a lift or a header. Yes, some classes limit what electronics we can use, but in offshore sailing very little is restricted.

Velocitek ProStart on a foiling Moth - photo © Velocitek
Velocitek ProStart on a foiling Moth - photo © Velocitek

Lizard 2020 - MPU   Marlow 2020 Bio-Baser Dyneema - 600x500

The latest autopilots may well be revolutionary in how they steer a yacht, but they are an evolution of a concept that has been around for over 100 years. Wind vanes were used to keep model yachts steering a straight line before the advent of radio control. Indeed, these are still in use in model yachting classes such as the Vane 36R.

Vane 36R Forester Shield at Fleetwood - photo © Tony Wilson
Vane 36R Forester Shield at Fleetwood - photo © Tony Wilson

Recent trends have seen the popularity of short-handed sailing take off. Having a mixed double-handed offshore event in the Paris 2024 Olympics has seen a slew of new designs hit the water from the major yacht manufacturers, which John Curnow,'s Australian Editor, has covered extensively in previous editorials. 2020, the year of social distancing, has accelerated the take-up.

Giddy Up! Beam reach and the A-Bag on the J/99 - photo © J Composites
Giddy Up! Beam reach and the A-Bag on the J/99 - photo © J Composites

Musto 2017 300x250 Superhuman   RYA Membership - Associate 2017

In the UK, JOG racing has had a bumper year, with a record entry for the Lonely Tower Race in July. 86 of the entries were in the double-handed division with 68 starters and 59 finishers.

The French have led the way in shorthanded sailing with events such as La Solitaire du Figaro, the Mini Transat 6.50, the Transat Jacques Vabre, and of course the Vendée Globe itself, being established fixtures on their offshore racing calendar. Many of the offshore sailing stars in France are household names and sponsors flock to the big events, even in these times.

La Solitaire du Figaro Stage 3 start - photo © Alexis Courcoux
La Solitaire du Figaro Stage 3 start - photo © Alexis Courcoux

Which brings us back to the Rolex Sydney-Hobart and trying to understand the reasoning for excluding the double-handers from the Tattersall's Cup. The chances of a short-handed yacht winning the Sydney Hobart on corrected time is remote. History shows that larger yachts dominate this race and, with the number of transitions and manoeuvres needed, this comes as no surprise.

A top round-the-world racer recently stated, "If a double-hander wins on corrected, they should be given the Tattersall Cup for life!" and, in my opinion, they've got a valid point. Excluding double-handers from the top prize due to their use of autopilots seems unnecessary and belittles the many diverse roles which crew must perform in sailing.

There were 33 nominated double-handers for the 2020 Sydney Hobart, reducing to 22 by close of entry after we flagged the exclusion as likely back in August. The full decision was only made public by the CYCA after the close of entries, so it'll be interesting to see how many double-handed yachts take to the start line.

Start 2018 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - photo © Rolex / Studio Borlenghi
Start 2018 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - photo © Rolex / Studio Borlenghi

Selden 2020 - E40i electric winch - MPU   Zhik 2020 Vendee competition - MPU

Returning to our fundamental question of what is sailing, I believe it is so much more than a helming contest. Crew work, navigation, seamanship and so many other factors come into our great sport, so growing sectors should be embraced and included, rather than side-lined into a separate category. The likelihood of a double-hander winning on corrected time is remote, but if they do then whoever wins the Tattersall's Cup will be left feeling slightly hollow about their victory, and that is a situation which should never be for this great trophy.

Mark Jardine and Managing Editor

The Tattersalls Cup - photo © /AUS
The Tattersalls Cup - photo © /AUS

Allen 2020 - A2031XHL - 600x500   TMS 2020 October - Hamma Snaps - 600x500

Barton hosts International Virtual METSTRADE 2020 Event from HQ in England
Barton Marine will present their own Virtual METSTRADE 2020 event from the 16th to the 20th November. METSTRADE is hugely important in the marine industry calendar, and the cancellation this year required prompt action to create a new exhibition plan.

Vendée Globe Day 9: Jérémie Beyou will restart Tuesday, Thomson leads into the doldrums
Jérémie Beyou has confirmed that he will re-start the race on Tuesday afternoon despite the leaders being around 2,500 nautical miles south, approaching the Doldrums tomorrow.

Waksman inspired by offshore sailing vision at Paris 2024
The addition of the Mixed Two Person Offshore Keelboat Event to the slate at Paris 2024 will make it the longest-running event at the Olympic Games.

Highfield Boats - Sailing - MPU   Sailingfast 2018 600x500
Long awaited return to RS:X action for Wilson and Squires
Team GB selected windsurfers Emma Wilson and Tom Squires will return to RS:X action this week at the European Championships in Vilamoura, Portugal, from 22-28 November following an eight-month break in major competition for the class.

Hong Kong Flying Fifteen Class Championship 2020
You can only plan so much and this year's Hong Kong Flying Fifteen Championship, like the rest of 2020, presented a number of challenges.

WIN a signed Alex Thomson Zhik Aroshell Smock
With Alex Thomson embarking on the Vendée Globe 2020 in the radical HUGO BOSS, his 5th shot at the world's toughest sporting challenge, you have the chance to WIN a one-of-a-kind Zhik Aroshell Smock, autographed by Alex.

MS Amlin 2020 600x500   Vaikobi 2020 - MPU 2
Vendée Globe: Nicolas Troussel (CORUM L'Épargne) dismasts NW of the Cape Verde Islands
French skipper Nicolas Troussel who was lying in seventh place in the Vendée Globe has dismasted on CORUM L'Épargne this morning. He was racing south in brisk NE'ly trade wind conditions some 260 nautical miles NW of the Cape Verde islands.

Vendée Globe Day 8: Hugo Boss hits its stride
As he leads onto the trade winds motorway down the Atlantic, between the Canary Islands and the Cape Verdes, British skipper Alex Thomson is expected to increase his lead at the head of the fleet as his foiling Hugo Boss hits its stride.

18ft Skiff Spring Championship on Sydney Harbour - Race 7
A great all-the-way win to the Smeg 18ft Skiff team in today's final race of the Australian 18 Footer League's Spring Championship series wasn't enough to take the overall title from today's second placed Yandoo team.

Icom IC-M423GE 300x250   Henri-Lloyd 2020 Nov MPU YY
Armel Tripon succeeds in vital repair following mast climb
Armel Tripon climbed the fifteen metres up the mast on board L'Occitane en Provence on Friday to re-fix his J3 sail and secure the rig. The dangerous operation is now carried out and he is able to use his mainsail

Vendée Globe Day 7: Beyou's emotional return to Les Sables
On a chill, grey November afternoon a drawn and disappointed Jérémie Beyou was touched by the size and warmth of the welcome afforded to the French skipper on his premature return to Les Sables d'Olonne with his damaged Charal.

Competitive philosophy of an America's Cup challenger
Each America's Cup Challenger has a few key tools to work with: The AC75 class rule, fresh talent, proven experience and a finite amount of time.

Noble Marine 2020 - MPU   RS Sailing 2020 - RSSS - MPU
Vendée Globe: Miranda Merron: "The Black Art of Electricity"
It's a beautiful starlit night. Wind speed 3 - 4 knots, gusting 5... (measured at the masthead 30+ metres above sea level - not quite as windy down here!).

Rooster Christmas Gift Ideas & Offers
At a loss of what to get your watersports fanatic friend, child or partner? Need to fill a stocking? Run out of ideas? Need to get them excited for the time we can all hit the water together again?

Look Ahead with Michael McNamara - Sail From Home Session
In the video Michael talks about sailing on small lakes surrounded by trees - dealing with variable wind and the advantages of looking ahead.

Craftinsure 2018 Retina MPU   Upffront 2020 Foredeck Club MPU
Hot Wood - Dougal Henshall charts the success of Fairey Marine's moulded dinghies
The name of Fairey Marine, and their incredible range of hot moulded wooden dinghies, is central to the growth that marked that golden era of dinghy sailing in the UK. There was nothing like success to help sales.

Henri-Lloyd: Why we love synthetic down...
Synthetic down has become very sophisticated over the last few years, with some coming close to down in terms of warmth to weight ratio. There are many reasons why we love synthetic down, here are just a few...

Royal Temple Yacht Club 2020 Season Recap
As I sit and write this article, the mainstream news is for once, somewhat positive, with the promising developments in the deployment of a COVID-19 vaccine.

J Composites 2020 - MPU   Allspars December 2019 MPU
Maidenhead Laser Championship
Twelve Laser Standard sailors took their place on the start line for some intense and heated racing in the afternoon on 31st October.

RYA Sailability: From Lockdown and Beyond
From closing completely to re-opening under strict restrictions, Sailability clubs and centres, like so many sports organisations, have gone through eight months of upheaval.

Club Zone: Why Attend the Affiliated Clubs Conference?
The Affiliated Clubs Conference is taking place next weekend (21st November) so in this week's Club Zone, Adam McGovern chats to Gareth Brookes to find out why clubs should attend the virtual event.

Pro-Set 300x250   GJW Direct 2020 MPU
Musto: This season's best-sellers
The results are in. Here are some of this season's best sellers so far!

HRSC Foxer fleet enjoys a final fling
Single-handed dinghies are a perfect solution for socially distanced exercise, and as the first fleet out racing after the early season COVID-19 lockdown the Foxer dinghy group at Hamble River Sailing Club has the set the pace for club sailing.

Straight Talking - Mast and Standing Rigging Terminology is all about performance sailing hardware and rigging systems. The heart, and driving force, of any sailing yacht is its mast and standing rigging which support the sails. In this article we outline the key terminology.

Grapefruit Graphics 2019 - MPU   Rooster 2020 - Impact BA - MPU
Olympic gold medallist Jo Aleh elected Chair of the Athletes' Commission
Jo Aleh (NZL), a London 2012 gold and Rio 2016 silver medallist in the Women's 470, has been elected as Chair of World Sailing's Athletes' Commission.

Great gift ideas for sailors at CoastWaterSports
CoastWaterSports have some superb sailing gifts, including Musto T-shirts, fast dry caps, fleeces, jackets and beanies.

RORC Time over Distance Special Edition with Alex Thomson
A special edition of the Royal Ocean Racing Club Time Over Distance series with Louay Habib talking to Alex Thomson just days before Alex and HUGO BOSS started the 2020 Vendée Globe.

Cruise Village 2020 - MPU   Gul 2020 Tri-Laminate Spraytop MPU
Haven Knox-Johnston Insurance is back
Haven Knox-Johnston, the well-loved and trusted boat insurance brand, is set to make a triumphant return. The revival comes under the new ownership of the renowned Aston Lark group, following their purchase of MS Amlin's Kent-based yacht operation.

WASZP hits 1000 - Win a new WASZP!
The WASZP Class is celebrating their 1000th WASZP out the door, as well as the launch of the Class Administration system RaceHub. This is a huge achievement from humble beginnings and the WASZP has continued to push infrastructure and innovation.

Vendée Globe Day 3: Wild west or safer south?
Heading west this afternoon and encountering building winds, skippers of the many of the faster foiling IMOCAs are preparing themselves for an overnight pounding, set to last five or six hours, when they punch through an active weather front.

Crewsaver Ergofit MPU   Red Paddle 2020 - MPU
Certified LED Navigation Lights from Mantagua
Building on their experience working with world renowned racing teams, Mantagua design and manufacture a broad range of navigation lights which you could say are the "fastest" navigation lights in the sailboat world.

Set Sail in 2021 aboard the Golden Horizon
Leave 2020 in your wake and escape to new horizons in 2021 on board the brand-new Golden Horizon, the world's largest square-rigged sailing ship.

B&G proud to support award winning disabled sailor Natasha Lambert
B&G®, the world's leading sailing navigation and instrument specialist, is proud to be supporting Natasha Lambert, BEM multi award-winning disabled sailor and adventurer in her latest challenge, the ARC 2020.

Crewsaver Limited Edition Lifejacket Competition
Crewsaver have one of their special edition ultimate Crewfit 180N Pro lifejackets to give away!

Belgian Equinox Trophy for Flying Fifteens at Sports Nautiques de l'Eau d'Heure
The second weekend of October is the traditional date of the Belgian Flying Fifteen Class Championship. 2020 was to be a big celebration since it was the twentieth edition of the regatta!

Virtual events to fill the gap from a postponed Draycote Dash and cancelled Bloody Mary
The Fernhurst Books Draycote Dash was set to be the opening event of the Seldén SailJuice Winter Series 2020/21 but the Covid lockdown now sees the Dash move to the weekend of 6 & 7 March 2021.

The new Stealth Black VXP is here...
The super popular VXP race vest is now available in stealth black.

Highfield Boats - Sailing - FOOTER

WASZP 2020 - Win the 1000th boat - FOOTER

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