DOUBLE-HANDED OCEAN RACING LESSONS LEARNED

The J/109 WHISKEY JACK crossing the finish line in Subic Bay after a windy China Sea Race.

Nick Southward and UK Sailmakers' Barry Hayes have become the first team to race the 590-mile Hong Kong to Manilla race double-handed, and they did it on a 36-foot J/109 named WHISKEY JACK. Most of the race for WHISKEY JACK was sailed in 30 knots of wind -- with 40-45 knots for almost the whole second day of race. Sailing against fully-crewed teams, the duo finished third in IRC 2. They broke and fixed a lot of gear, but their sails were not on the "to repair" list. Click here to read Nick's article about the race that all doublehanded racers and doublehanded wannabees should read. Nick has a lot of good observations including this one after Barry was flung across the cockpit during a knockdown.

Off the wind, the boat went well with the genoa rolled to half-size and the main double reefed.

"At this point we realised that all the talk of MOB training and all the plans we had made would have been a rather different story in reality. Image this: It was pitch dark, big waves, strong wind, boat going at 10 kts. What would have happened if one of us had gone over? With the exhaustion from lack of sleep how would the other have reacted? By the time one had turned the boat round it would have been very hard to find him. With the AIS being on the laptop down below, how could one of us have monitored this and driven the boat at the same time? How to see him with 5m waves? I now think it essential to have a dedicated marine chart plotter integrated with the AIS up on deck by the wheel. Something that I have never thought necessary for inshore racing, but essential when short-handed. We had planned to rely on iPad repeaters on deck, but the wifi connection always proved to be too unstable and they were too fiddly to use."  

The article ended with: "What was strange about this race was that it was only the slower boats at the back of the fleet that were caught in the really spicy weather -- the rest further ahead seemed to have a relatively pleasant sail, with the front runners always ahead of the weather."

"What summarised this race for me was the realisation that no matter how well prepared you think the boat is, it never is prepared enough. The race proved to be a series of challenges, one after the other, of how to fix broken stuff without the relevant spare parts you never thought you would need." 

Congratulations to the A40 SEAWOLF, which took first in IRC 2, shown above sailing with you Uni-Titanium sails just after the start of the 2016 China Sea Race.

CONRAD COLMAN CROSSES THE ATLANTIC

Conrad Colman is preparing to be the first to finish the grueling Vendee Globe Singlehanded Around the World Race without the use of any fossil fuels. With no time to spare, he sailed his IMOCA 60 100% NATURAL ENERGY from France to Newport, R.I., to begin the shakedown process. On Sunday, May 29, his boat will be one of the 14 IMOCA 60s racing in the New York – Vendée (Les Sables d’Olonne) Race. In that race he will fly his new UK Sailmakers Titanium mainsail with enough solar panels to generate 2.2 kilowatts per hour of electricity.

To get an idea of the efforts he has gone through to get his program this far, click here to watch a CNN Mainsail segment about his efforts. 

ANTIGUA SAILING WEEK CHAMP POWERED BY UK SAILMAKERS

Sir Hugh Bailey (in front of the mast) with his crew who took the Lord Nelson Trophy at ASW 2016.

For the second year in a row, Sir Hugh Bailey's CS40 GYPSY-UGO has won the overall trophy at Antigua Sailing Week. Last year the boat was under charter when she won the Lord Nelson Trophy for best performance in the regatta and this year Sir Hugh sailed the boat with a crew of Antiguan junior sailors.

GYPSY-UGO is powered by carbon Tape-Drive sails, none of which were new this year. She is also easily seen downwind with her "Antiguan Flag" spinnaker.

Sir Bailey was knighted for his services to yachting  and is the ‘grandfather’ of sailing in Antigua. GYPSY-UGO scored straight bullets until the final race to win CSA 7, but a 2nd in the last race nearly dashed Sir Hugh’s hopes of lifting the Lord Nelson Trophy. However this fairy tale victory came true at the Final Awards Ceremony.

"I am the only skipper left who took part in the first Antigua Sailing Week. I have never won the Lord Nelson Trophy before, but this win is all about Antiguan youth. There are many young Antiguans taking part these days, like Shannoy Malone, who has sailed with us this week. He is only eight and he rigs his own Optimist, looks after it and sails it whenever he can. This was his second Antigua Sailing Week. Youth is our future, they will keep the fires burning.”

This year was Sir Hugh's 49th consecutive ASW and he is looking forward to next year that will make an even 50.

Click to see a video with shots from ASW 2016 and Sir Hugh commenting about being the only skipper to sail in all 49 Antigua Sailing Weeks.

Jim Hightower's King 40 HOT TICKET, flying Uni-Titanium sails won CSA 4

Jim Hightower's King 40 HOT TICKET, flying Uni-Titanium sails won CSA 4

HOT TICKET flying over the waves.

PREDICTING THE NEXT WIND SHIFT

The one wind instrument that never lies is the masthead fly -- the wind vane on the top of your mast. Yet sometimes, especially in the spring, you might think this normally reliable friend has gone wacky. Erratic behavior can happen as the result of the difference between the cold water and warm air, which creates a difference in the wind direction on the water compared the wind direction at your masthead. Therefore, your sails see different wind directions at different heights.

This difference is called "wind shear." Once you can recognize wind sheer, you can improve your race results in several ways. First, the direction of the wind up high is the direction the wind will be blowing shortly on the water. The masthead wind indicator will be pointing out the next wind shift. This happened twice in three days on Long Island Sound recently. A recent Thursday night race started in an easterly and the course was set up to be a square two-mile beat. After trimming in on starboard tack at the start of the race, I noticed the masthead wind vane indicated the wind practically on our beam. This told me to sail to the right side of the course in order to get the impending right shift. When we tacked to port in order to move to the right side of the course, the lower telltales on the jib were flowing straight back on both sides of the sail, while the masthead wind vane showed the wind coming from straight ahead and our boatspeed was a knot less than it was on starboard tack.

When we did tack to port, we had to take the stern our closest competitor in the race.  They kept going to the left side of the course on starboard as we sailed to the right side on port. When we tacked to starboard on the layline, we kept getting lifted and ended-up overstanding. The boat we ducked was more than 20 lengths behind us once she rounded the windward mark.

Secondly, once you know that there is wind shear, you can trim your sails differently on each tack. When the wind up high is more from the side than the wind down low, you need to twist the tops of your main and jib to keep them from being trimmed too tight. To add more twist to the jib or genoa, move the sheet lead block aft; to add twist to the main, move the traveler to windward some and ease the mainsheet (make sure the vang is also eased). On the tack that the wind up high is further forward than it is down low, there is nothing you can do. Trim the sails in as tight as possible and know that you will be sailing slower than normal since the top of your sail plan is pointed too close to the wind.

Thirdly, once you know that there is wind shear, stop paying attention to your wind instruments. The apparent wind angle will be different tack to tack, your target boat speeds will not be attainable, etc. You'll have to sail a bit by the seat of your pants until the wind shifts and blows in a uniform direction for your whole sail plan.

In the Thursday night race mentioned above, there is a second part to the story. Unfortunately, our competitor learned from their mistake all too well.  After jibe-setting around the mark, we put up a spinnaker feeling rather smug that we called the beat so well. But...as the wind continued to shift south, we peeled to our brand new code zero that had never been used in a race. But as the wind shifted to the southwest, we had to change from the code zero to a jib. Seeing us struggle, our trailing friend rounded the mark and reached up with his jib. As the wind shifted from the south to the southwest, they were able to lay the finish while we had to do two tacks. 

EASY AND QUICK ON-THE-WATER SAIL REPAIRS

A Volvo 70 mainsail being patched with Dr. Sails while underway.

Dr. Sails is the best "on-the-water" sail repair system currently available. The two-part epoxy comes out of its tube properly mixed and ready to apply thanks to a special mixing nozzle. The epoxy dries in 22 minutes and it even sticks to wet sails. In fact, during the recent Volvo Ocean race, some mainsails were fixed while the sails remained flying.  Every sail repair kit should have one or more tubes of this stuff, especially since you'll find non-sail repair uses for it.

UK Sailmakers is offering a special UK Sailmakers/Dr. Sails repair kit for $68, which includes a 25 ml tube of Dr. Sails (their medium size), four mixing nozzles, two plastic spreaders, and four 4"x8" pieces of patch material made from the same material as you main or jib. Just tell us which material you would like.

 

  DR SAILS ATTRIBUTES:
• No Mixing
• 8 Minute Working Life
• 22 Minute Tack Free Cure
• Remains Flexible
• Works Wet/Underwater
• Multiple Use
• Re-Useable Air-Tight Cap
• 36 Month Shelf Life
• Adheres to Most Sail Cloths

 Visit www.drsails.com for video tutorials, instructions and FAQs. 

UNI-TITANIUM POWERS TURKISH NAVY YACHTS

Shown above are Uni-Titanium sails on one of the Turkish Navy's three new MAT 1180s.  Before the sails reached their finished state, UK Sailmakers expertise from around the world came together for this high profile order. To study the boats and figure out  the sail designs, they flew in UK Sailmakers' Design Committee Chairman Pat Considine from Chicago to sail on a sistership and make detailed measurements. UK Sailmakers Hong Kong built the Uni-Titanium sails while UK Sailmakers Turkey will service them. The first inventory of sails was thoroughly tested by the navy before ordering the remaining two sets of sails. The new Uni-Titanium sails fit the rig perfectly and the boat sailed beyond its target speeds, which sealed the deal along with the top quality finishing touches. 

LOOKING GOOD, SAILING FAST

NautOnCallAsym.jpg

NAUTONCALL, Eddie Evans' Beneteau Oceanis 381, has pounced on the 2016 season. He and his crew finished first OVERALL in the Conch Republic Cup (Key West to Cuba) and finished third in Pursuit Class 2 at Charleston Race Week.

"Much of this success can be attributed to two custom built spinnakers provided by Tripp Fellabom of UK Sailmakers Charleston," said Evans. "One is a bright orange asymmetrical with a white tiger paw inlay that is perfect for reaching when the breeze comes on. We have had this sail since 2006 and, despite the years of abuse and heavy air usage, it still performs at an extremely high level without any repairs in over 10 years! The second is a symmetrical spinnaker with an inlay of Captain America's shield that is perfect for the deep downwind runs necessary to pull away from the fleet." The Captain America spinnaker was new in 2015, but its major unveiling was the race to Cuba where the results spoke volumes.

At the time of this writing, NAUTONCALL is preparing for the 2016 Gulfstreamer Race from Daytona Beach, Florida to Charleston, South Carolina. This race goes fast as the winds are typically astern and the north-flowing Gulf Stream give a 3-5 knot push. "Captain and crew are excited and optimistic anytime conditions are favorable for these spinnakers!!" said Evans.

FARR 9.2 VICTORY WITH OLD AND NEW SAILS COMBINED WITH CUNNING AND SOLID CREW WORK

Mark Hansen's ITINERANT sailing with second place finisher SEAHAWK.

Mark Hansen, won the Western Australian Farr 9.2 State Championship with a combination of old and new sails as well as strong yet conservative tactics. Mark wrote about the regatta and noting, "A number of other boats had been spending up big on sail wardrobes and were expecting to do well. We were pretty happy with the sails we had with a reasonably new (X-Drive) No.1 genoa, and a fully battened Tape-Drive main that was a couple of seasons old, but still in great shape. We also had a brand new kite that we had been saving up for the occasion. Therefore our preparations went into the boat itself, and having the boat cleaned and new antifoul applied earlier in the week, the hull was going to be as fast as it could be.

"We made a very conscious and concerted effort to make sure that we had clear air and speed at each start so that we could get in control of where we wanted to be. This Farr fleet is very competitive and makes for close racing. They don’t want to give an inch! We used that to our advantage even if it meant not being at the absolute favoured end of the line, knowing that we could punch out in front and get to the side of the course we wanted. That strategy proved very successful in all six races. The wind direction does vary quite a bit at Rockingham, so the rest of each race still was a challenge. Our scorecard was 4, 1, 3, 6, 1, 2, with a number of those being just pipped on the line.

"The crew worked superbly during the regatta, and I am grateful to them, and the good ship ITINERANT. Winners were certainly grinners at the prize night when we accepted our award under the UK Sailmakers banner! Our thanks to Geoff Bishop and UK Sailmakers Fremantle."

The crew of ITINERANT hauling away the trophies at the Farr 9.2 WA State Championship.

COLD VICTORY

Congratulations to Morten Christensen and the crew of his Bavaria 35 Match BETTY BOOP II for winning the 23-boat Class F in the 110-mile Skagen Race. The race course heads due south from Åsgårdstrand, Norway, to the northern most tip of Denmark. Christensen thanked UK Sailmakers' Mehmet Taylan for the "exceptional gennaker" and Tape-Drive No. 3 genoa that he made for the race, which helped his team prevail.  This was Christensen's seventh time doing the race and his first win, which was well earned as the temperature dropped to 0° C during the race. Editor's Note: No ice was needed for that celebratory drink!