Thursday, November 16, 2017


After having lost the battle for leadership to Erwan, Clarisse was since the middle of the race a solid 2nd but on the final part of the race she made a routing error and had suddenly 3 other boats practically side by side. She fought to the end to beat them and do you now what her reaction was when she had them under control going some miles ahead? :" I cried for the last three hours of the race ", on her own words.

That's not the first time I was very surprised with the reaction of another great woman in what regards sailing: I remember one time when Ellen MacArthur (on a racing solo circumnavigation) had to go to the top of the mast in very nasty whether, bouncing around with the boat movements. She had managed to do the repair and come safely to the deck....where she started crying complaining about how difficult it had been!!!

Of course I have the utmost respect for what both of them have done but on both situations, after having accomplished a very difficult task, a man's reaction would be very different. On Ellen's case I am quite sure a man would have kicked the mast mast said yeahhh!!!! while doing some enthusiastic movements with the hands.

Well, different but not slower and less efficient and what fun would it be if men and women were alike in what regards reactions?

About Clarisse they posted this on the race site : "Clarisse Crémer, big heart - Thinner, tears of emotion at the time of crossing the finish line, Clarisse Crémer has held strong until the end resisting to attacks from her pursuers to the finish line at Marin. The young woman, who had almost no experience in offshore racing  (even less solo) demonstrated that  by sheer willpower, hard work and a very big motivation, it is possible to move mountains.

To better understand why all this is extraordinaire, not only the sail exploit from a woman on a sports dominated by men, but the incredible way how it was done. Clarisse came from nowhere, in what regards solo sail racing, to beat very experienced sailors not only the ones from the production boats (55) but most of the ones that raced on much more evoluted prototypes, made of carbon with canting keels and daggerboards. If she was racing with her production boat on the prototype class she would have been 5th, leaving 20 prototypes behind.
On the presentation page they say nice words about Clarisse but I don't think that anybody thought that she would be able to do such an astounding performance on her first Transat: "Clarisse Crémer story with the Mini-Transat begins as a vulgarity: the story of a nice and funny girl who wants to cross the Atlantic on a nice little boat. The nice girl, dubbed by a good friend, gratifies us with videos not devoid of humor, tells us her financing research in a slightly crazy mode, avoids taking herself seriously ..."

"In short! We would say that Clarisse on the Atlantic is a nice story that will fall into anonymity once the sport has recovered its rights. Except that we had forgotten a parameter: Clarisse Crémer is a hard worker, the kind to never let go, spent hours on the water training, listened to the advice of the elders, to ensure that day after day she would eliminate her weak points..."

And after this spectacular result we are all thinking what is coming next? well it seems that she does not know: "What I want to do ? I was hoping that the race would bring a revelation but eventually no. It's a disaster, I do not know what I want to do. It was a great project that took me two years of my life, now I have to find something else."

I really hope something else has to do with sailing, if not..... I am quite sure she will do great in anything she really wants to do.

The incredible Clarisse story  left a bit in the shadow the great victory of Erwan Le Draoulec and it is unfair. Erwan was the only one that managed to beat Clarisse and has done so in a clear way, with a 100nm advantage and he is just a 21 year old kid!!! On other sports 21 is a normal age to be a champion, not so on Solo offshore racing where the learning curve is not fast. He and Clarisse have that in common, that and also the fact that they have won together the last mini Fastnet, a duo race).

Two sailors with a huge potential that we hope don't give up sailing. Already great sailors but from here to be great at the top racing solo classes goes a lot of work and years of training. I believe both have the talent to accomplish that if they have the motivation (and sponsors).

Wednesday, November 15, 2017


All these great races at the same time and with the ARC starting in a few days, make this November a very special month for the ones that like sail racing. It has been good fun to follow all those crews and sailors racing and battling with the sea, the wind an with other racers.

And there are many very interesting battles going on, starting with the VOR that reached a fulcral point. Till now it has been a bit boring with the French/New Zealanders from the Chinese boat LOL maintaining the lead and all the others following the same routing, without being able to catch them, but staying close.

But things are going to change since they are heading for a storm that will get them from Brazil to the cape of Boa Esperança (Good Hope) really fast and I don't believe that under those conditions they will stay close. Finally some boats stopped following Dongfeng and while they keep going to the West, approaching the Brazilian coast, others are sailing more to the East betting on a shorter course.

They point as leader of the race one of those more to the East, Vestas, in my opinion quite wrongly since it seems to me that the best passage with the best winds is all to the West, very near the Brazilian coast to where Dongfeng is going doing over 16k. The others are slower over the water but many have a better VMG since they are pointing more to the East.

Finally the VOR became really interesting: different routings, a storm approaching and the crews giving their best on the last part of this leg. Make your bets and post them on the comments. It would be nice to have some discussion about the different routings 😏

You can follow here:

On the Transat Jacques Vabre the Ultimate have already finished with an imperial Coville/Nelias
dominating Josse/Roussel, that I suspect have the fastest boat. On the last part of the race, near Brasil they had a difference of less than 15nm but then Josse/Roussel did not follow Coville/Nelias when they went very near to the brazilian coast....and they lost the race there because it was the best routing. When they went for the same routing again, following Coville, they had already lost 25nm.

On Multi 50 race  the two fastest boats are very near the finish and after a big fight between them, on the last phase of the race Rocaryol/Pella have been much faster than Leroux /Riou, catching them and going away quickly. For sure Leroux/Riou have problems on the boat (probably one sail out of service).A pity since that battle was being great.

Of them all the Class 40 has been the most interesting race, with three boats in an incredible fight for a long time and they are closer now than before: Sharp/Santurde are still leading but Sorel/Carpentier are only one mile away while Chappellier/Vaillant are at 7, but closing. They are not following the same routing but parallel courses. Difficult to say who will have advantage. They are entering the doldrums and sailing with very light winds, maybe Sharp that is more to the West, but with so light winds it is very difficult to say.

These are the conditions that are more tiring for the crews, the more demanding and where many miles can be lost or won. It will be very interesting to see who will come first out of the Doldrums.

Finally on the IMOCA race the favorites, Dick/Elies, have justified their favoritism and are leading almost from the beginning. The surprise comes from Meilhat/Gahinet that with a boat without the new foils are the ones that give them some fight, being 2nd at 71nm, but losing miles and in a worse position regarding the route and the wind.

On the Mini Transat the great winner, with 90nm advantage over the 2nd, is Ian Lipinsky that made a fantastic race not giving anybody a chance. The 2nd was Riechers, the one that I said on the last update that was making a very interesting move,going all to the South and yes, it paid off: he won 50 nm to the leader and was able to overtake Koster that finished 3rd.

On the serie class (production boat) Erwan is another great winner (he is finishing) and has now an advance of more than 90nm over the 2nd that is Borroulec. He has on his tail Clarisse and Sineau. Very interesting the fight over the finish line. I will bet in Clarisse or Sineau (that is old enough to be her father). Stay tuned on this fight. I believe they will finish in sight of each other and with some luck doing match racing over the finish line😏.

You can follow the mini transat here:

Tuesday, November 14, 2017


I have already posted about this boat when it was on project stage. All  relevant information about the boat's design and stability characteristics are here:

This 45ft is the biggest boat produced by the shipyard Fora Marine that has all its models designed by Marc Lombard. The RM (all with the same concept) won several times the European boat of the year award that is attributed by journalists of many European countries, after having tested all the nominated sailboats.

It may seem odd but this shipyard and this concept, including design and building methods, started 28 years ago. Nothing new now and a very tested concept that has resisted time and longevity very well, having used boats on the market a very good resale value.

Besides its building technique (marine plywood saturated with epoxy and an optional kevlar skin for shock resistance) the RM concept longevity has to do with a very early and long association with what was then a very young NA, Marc Lombard, fresh from Southampton University. At the time he had already experience with racing boat's but the RM was his first cruising design.

The RM, 22 years ago, was then a kind of pet project for Marc, a boat designed like he thought cruiser boats should be, a design that was already strongly influenced by offshore solo racers, from the mini to the Open 60's. Marc would later contribute to develop those solo racer's design, with many winning boats in his career (mini, class40, Open 60's). A very talented NA that would become one of the best and more innovative of his generation.

Most cruising designs on his portfolio, those not made under command of a main shipyard (that impose the type of boat they want), have a considerable similitude with the RM line, meaning that Marc thinks that type of design is the best suited in what regards offshore cruising and Marc has not only a huge designing experience, with all types of sailboats, as it is one of the best NA around.

No surprise solo offshore racers hulls have strongly influenced modern cruising boats. Today the vast majority has that influence, making them more stable boats, easier boats to sail, boats that heel less and most of all, easier boats to be sailed on autopilot. No wonder that now they are the main influence on cruising designs but it was not so 22 years ago. Then main design drive on cruising boats used to come from crewed racers, IMS and IRC designs, boats that need a crew to be exploited.

The RM 1370 is the last of a long line of boats, boats that pointed the way to the design of contemporary cruisers, boats that without changing the concept have been continuously improved in what regards hull design and building methods, always by the same NA, taking also into account the information given by the owners, many of them long range cruisers.

The result could not be other than a great offshore sailing boat, one of the best around, one that may not be the best for the Med or the Baltic (due to predominant upwind sailing and steep short period waves) but it is certainly one of the best boats to voyage, far, fast and extensively on the trade winds, while maintaining a decent performance upwind one that can equal or even better  most mass production boats and better the one of most old designs.

The RM 1370 is on the water and this year in the Dusseldorf boat show it had already a 18 month waiting list. That is quite impressive for a boat that is not main market and is pointed clearly to oceanic sailing. It shows the success the RM are having on the sailing community.

They have increased the shipyard and will have to increase it again due to the the high demand. A success history one that is not based on publicity but on the boat and concept reputation built over the years by their owners that on most cases were sailors above the average.

Talking about those owners one of them is François Gabart one of the best professional solo sailors on the planet, winner of the Vendee Globe and that is right now alone on a huge Maxi trimaran trying to beat the circum-navigation record time. He has a RM for sailing and cruising with the family.

Saturday, November 11, 2017


The first time I looked at this boat I thought it was all about looks with little substance but then I saw the way it was built, the quality of the hull design and interior design and my curiosity was aroused.

This is a very unusual boat, if it was a car it would be a Ferrari and a Ferrari certainly is not the most adequate car for touring extensively even if some would disagree and say that a Ferrari holds better to a road than a sedan, breaks better, accelerates faster and it is much more fun to drive and therefore it would be for them much better than a sedan for cruising around, if it can carry the luggage and offer a suitable comfort.

That's in that spirit that this boat is designed, like a Ferrari but with a luxurious and practical interior and a dinghy garage that can take a 2.7 meter dinghy. A boat that can not only cruise but also race, far from being ridiculous, even on real time.

Like it is proposed the Eleva is a boat for being sailed from port to port. The absence of a bimini or a spraywood would make life difficult for the typical cruiser even if I am quite sure that they can study a set up regarding those needs. It is a pity that it is not included in the basic design, at least as an option. If that it was the case the design could have been as elegant as the boat design.

Curiously one of the most interesting things about the boat has nothing to do with looks but with the technical characteristics, building techniques and materials. The design is from Ceccarelli, a reference in what regards fast boats, the hull is beamy, comparable to a 50ft Oceanis or Hanse, but with finer entries and less beam on the forward part of the hull.

It is remarkably light (10 500 kg) and it has a big B/D (37%), considering that it has a torpedo keel and a 2.87 meter draft. It can have an optional 2.45 mdraft but in this case it will have more ballast and a bigger B/D ratio.

As you have probably already understood this is a boat with a huge stability and very powerful, being able to carry a big sail area. With a jib, as front sail, it carries upwind 154m2 and that gives a SA/D of 32!!!! That means the Eleva will be able to sail very well with very light wind as we can see on the movie. The 75hp engine would have no difficulty in handling the boat due to its light weight and small wet area.

The deck and cabin are made in carbon to bring the weight down and the hull is infused on the two sides of the core using epoxy resins. The boat structure is also infused on the hull becoming a part of it. Carbon is used on the more stressed areas to increase strength.

All interior structure (bulkheads) is assembled together using infusion and then as a monolithic structure, glued and glassed to the hull, increasing its stiffness.

The interior is comfortable and functional, it has a good tankage  with 270 liter diesel and 510 liter water and in what regards storage it has besides the big central locker a big sail locker. A very interesting cruiser that for the ones that like to stay at anchor misses an integrated spraywood and a bimini. It would be nice too if on that big and flat deck an option of integrated solar panels was offered.

Then we would be talking about a perfect dream cruiser, if the winches were not too far away from the helmsman and if their operation would not necessarily interfere with the comfort of eventual passengers. Of course, all winches are electric and can be controlled from the steering position but even so I would prefer to be near the winch, controlling it, even when it is power operated. 

Nothing that cannot be changed or modified. The price for such a boat does not seem excessively high, being similar to the one of other comparable Italian Yachts  like Ice. It will go from 650 000 euros to a million, including taxes.

Thursday, November 9, 2017


Starting with the Volvo Ocean Race with this incredible movie: that's what I call sailing a bit over the limit LOL. The race has been interesting with 5 boats inside 13nm, even if all the boats have been following about the same routing and that is a bit boring.

Maybe now that they are arriving to the doldrums they will opt for different approaches. Not surprisingly Dongfeng has been a bit better than the others and with a bold move to the west won  a lot of miles to everybody and is now leading, with a 5nm advance. All are following now its routing. Maybe if he can keep the distance the others are forced to look at different routing options?

On the Transat Jacques Vabre the 4 different races are very interesting. I will start with the smaller boats, the 40 class racers, with a video from the ones that are 2nd now (they were 3rd when the movie was made). The leading boats have been going at an amazing speed, for 40ft boats. The first passed the heavy weather with the foot down. They are making close to 340nm a day and that is IMOCA (Open 60's) territory.  At that speed no wonder that Phil Sharp/Pablo Santurde (the leaders) have overtaken the last of the IMOCA and are not far from others. Quite incredible!!!

On the Imoca (open 60's) the fight has been fierce and those on the video, even going at that speed, are only 5th, at 111nm from the first boat crewed by Jean-Pierre Dick/Yann Elies, but because among the first there are many different routing options, the distance between them has not the same meaning as if they had all gone for the same routing, like on the Volvo. Here, due to different routing options it is easy to win or lose many miles.

On the video above Lagraviere/Peron, that are 3rd, are experiencing some heavy weather. They are the ones more to the East, with many miles of lateral separation from Dick/Elies but I don't think it is going to be a good option. It seems that the way to go is all to the west. We will see and that is half the fun of it, trying to understand routing and the different options and seeing the results.

The fastest Imocas have been able to sail at about the same speed of the Multi50 and only on the last day the two fastest Multi 50 went away. And went away because they have been on an huge fight and are sailing really on the limit. They have exchanged positions several time and it is one of the hottest fights on this transat. First now is Roucayrol/Pella (on the video) but Leroux/Riou are at only 12nm and much more to the West. I would say that they are going to be much closer tomorrow.

On the Ultime class there are only 3 boats and one of them has already been overtaken by the two Multi 50 and also by the fastest IMOCA. They probably have problems but the other two are batlling hard and going very fast. For most of the race Josse/Rouxel led but some days ago Coville Nelias, going much more to the West were able to overtake them. Since then, on about the same routing, Josse/Rouxel have being able to recover, bit by bit and are now at 42nm. They are now the ones more to the West and they are approaching the Doldrums where routing is paramount and where many miles can be won or lost. Great races going on on this Transat!

And at last the Mini Transat that is far from being the less interesting race, even if on the Proto class (Prototypes) Ian Lipinsky, that has won already the first leg (video above) went away and has a big advantage over everybody (over 100nm). Riechers, the 3rd, has made a bold routing move, going all to the South. I think he has a good probability of being successful but not to the point to catch Ian. Another story is catching the 2nd, Kostner, and regarding that I believe it is going to be a very interesting fight.

But in what regards fights the one that has been great on this race is the one for the leadership on the serie class (production) where Clarisse keeps on pursuing Erwan even if she has been losing some miles. For catching him she needs to outclass him in routing. We will see what she can do about that. Both are making a fantastic race and are among the first Protos!!!

And just to remember that these little 22ft boats can reach fantastic speeds, a look at an already old movie, but still a favorite of mine:

Tuesday, November 7, 2017


On winter months, most of the time, there is not much sail racing going on, out of the Sydney Hobart, Transaquadra and on some years the Vendee Globe or the VOR, but this year in November there are many great ones that are on the water. Not that I am complaining but they don't do a favor to each other to be racing at the same time and the effect is already visible in what regards sponsorship.

Let's start by the Mini Transat, a solo race with few rules in what regards boats allowed being the main the max length, 6.5m (21.4ft). There are two classes: prototypes (proto) and production boats (serie). A great race limited to 84 entries (that were all taken long before the race date) with racers from 15 nationalities and 10 women racing.

The race was decided in two legs, one from La Rochelle (France) to Las Palmas (Canary Islands) and other from there to Martinique ( Caribbean). On the first leg we saw the production boats going at almost the same pace of the prototypes, amazing stuff since the series are pretty basic boats while the protos are canting keelers with daggerboard or foils.

The race on proto was won by Ian Lipinski after a great battle with Arthur Léopold-Léger, both boats finishing in sight of each other!!! after several days at sea. On production boats the faster was Valentin Gautier that made a fantastic race beating all the protos except the two first. On 3rd, almost catching the 2nd and not far from the first arrived Clarisse Crémer the one that the French are already calling "La princesse de l'Atlantique".

Clarisse is relatively new to Solo racing and has been making an incredible race being the 1st on the serie till very close to Las Palmas, where she made a routing error and stayed without wind a lot of time. They are doing now the 2nd and final leg, having passed already Cabo Verde, pointing now to the west Indies and Martinique.

On protos the first is Lipinski, Léger had a rudder problem, lost much time and is stopped at Cabo Verde doing repairs, the second is Kostner, the third Riechers  and the 4th a lady, Charlotte that has as sponsor "les femmes de Bretagne" (Bretagne's women) that should be proud of her. Doing a great race. You can follow the mini transat almost in real time here:

Justine Mettraux
The Jacques Favre Transat, raced in duo, has 4 different classes with separate classifications: the biggest number of boats race on the smaller class, the 40 class (40ft), 15 boats with 30 sailors among them two women, both great sailors, Miranda Merron and Justine Mettraux.

On the 40 class Chappellier/Vaillant are leading but the fight has been huge. Right now there are 5 boats at less than 15nm from the first, among them the two teams with mixed crews.
Miranda Merron

Then there is the IMOCA class (60ft) with 13 boats racing and a bit unexpectedly it has been also  a great race with several boats leading. Right now and quite surprisingly, Meilhat/Gahinet are leading on a boat without the new foils, but here also the fight is fierce and there are 7 boats at less than 15nm from the first.

On this class are the 3 women racing, Isabelle Joschke, Samantha Davies and Servane Escoffier. Isabelle is the only one that is the skipper and among this particular fight between mixed crews, she is the first going in 5th place at only 8.8nm from the first.
Isabelle Joschke

There are two multihull classes, all with trimarans, the Muli50 (50ft) with 6 boats racing and the Ultime class (105ft max length) with only 3 boats and one of them less competitive because smaller. On the Multi 50 the fight has been between two boats, with Roucayrol/Pella leading but I would not dismiss yet the 3rd boat (at 21nm) with Leroux/Riou. Riou is a master in routing.

On the Ultime class the fight is only between two boats and Josse and Ruxel have been able to maintain always some advance over Coville/Nelies (22nm).

All in all a very interesting race with lots of battles on the different classes. You can follow it here, almost in direct:

A first note, this post was written mostly last night so there have been some alterations on the classification and that just makes it all more interesting. You can check on that.

A second note regarding the conditions and the boats, terrible conditions during the night and today. As usual with bad weather the multihulls have to slow down more than the monohulls and you can see the IMOCA boats catching the Multi50.

A final note about those women on the images, let's say that it is my homage to those ladies that I respect enormously and that show that on this sport they can be as good as men. For those who wonder why I  will not post photos of the women racing on the Volvo, among whom there are great sailors, that's because they are on a bit of a degrading situation: Contrary to this ones on the solo and duo classes they are not there because they are as good as men but because the crews have advantages if they have women on the crew (that allows a bigger crew). I don't find that positive in what regards women and sailing and certainly gives them a 2nd rate qualification as sailors, even if it is not the case for all.

The Volvo Ocean Race departed from Lisboa for the 2nd leg, the first big one that will finish at Cape Town. The in port race in Lisbon, on the Tejo river, was magnificent with a huge fight between Team Brunel and Mapfre that made a huge recovery and almost caught Brunel over the finish line. Till now several winners on the port races and a very competitive race with Vestas leading this leg but with all boats inside 20nm.

This is the first true Ocean leg and till now routing has not been very important but it will be from now on. My bet is on Dongfeng that has some very good routers aboard, but you never know and on other teams there are also some very experienced sailors. One thing is for sure, VOR has improved greatly the video coverage of the race and we have some great images. That's fundamental for making sailing a major sport. Congratulations to the VOR organization in what regards that. Much better that the one on Jacques Vabre Transat. You can follow the race here:

We have one of the best sailors on the world, François Gabart, attempting to beat the world's circumnavigation sail record, alone on a huge trimaran (99ft) going at times over 40k. He tells about a close encounter with a cargo out of Canary Islands with the cargo asking repetitively if he was a sailing boat (and not believing it): He was doing about 40k at the time!!!

So far so good and Gabart is ahead of the time Coville managed last year on his circumnavigation record. You can follow the attempt here:

Finally we have Yves Le Blévec that on another Maxi trimaran is trying to beat the world circumnavigation record but the other way around, against winds and currents. No doubt he will make it since the record is already an old one made by a smaller monohull but the problem here is to take the boat and the sailor to the finish line in one piece and that is not an easy task because those huge trimarans are not comfortable neither easy to sail upwind. Big balls Le Blévec and also a bit of masochism LOL.

He was not far (cape Finisterra) when he had to come back with some breakage on the boat after a storm on the Biscay golf. He is now waiting for conditions for a new start. I would say that he can leave when he wants since the problem here is to make it, not to beat any particular record. If he makes it, it will be for sure much faster than the actual record that belongs to Van Den Heede (2004 - 122d) on his 4th attempt.!!!This circumnavigation record makes  the one with the dominant winds look easy. You can follow it here:

Sunday, November 5, 2017


For a race where almost two thirds of the participants had to retire I would have expected a lot more interesting movies but I guess that they were too occupied to make them LOL. Also a pity not having, as in past years, an extensive air coverage, right on the storm. I guess we will have to be satisfied with what we have and it is not bad at all: probably one of the most beautiful sailing movies ever (racing highlights) not only in what concerns the race but in what regards the scenery. Truly beautiful.