CJ Bocklet, owner of the Beneteau First 42s7 PERIGEE wrote the following letter of thanks to his UK Sailmakers loft in City Island, New York.
"I just wanted to thank you for all the great sails for PERIGEE. We had a surprising 2016. I just found out we came in first in the Offshore Racing Association's 2016 Offshore Racing Rule East Coast Championship Series. My UK main (Dacron full battens), 155% geona (dacron) and asymmetrical spinnaker were the difference. We had nice finishes in the Edlu, Block Island Race, Newport-Bermuda and the Vineyard Race. Just thought you might like to know."
Charles and CJ Bocklet had an impressive racing season with a young crew that had to convince the Newport Bermuda Race Committee to let them sail in that tough race. They proved their mettle by winning their 10-boat class in the 630-mile Bermuda Race where one third of the fleet didn't start because of a server weather forecast. In their two big races before the Bermuda Race, PERIGEE finished second in class in the 32-mile Edlu Race and third in class in the 180-mile Block Island Race.
The races that were part of the ORR series included: the Block Island Race, New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta, Newport Bermuda Race, Anniversary Regatta at Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, and the Stamford Vineyard Race. Scoring was based on the results of a minimum of two races, with each yacht competing in at least one distance race in order to qualify. Each yacht's score for the Championship Series consisted of the points earned in the qualifying events with the Newport Bermuda Race weighted as one and one half races.
UK Sailmakers France's Alain Janet won the 2016 Pittman Innovation award from Sail Magazine for his PowerSails creation that allows thin film solar panels to be attached or laminated into sails. These panels are bendable allowing the bimini to be stowed normally. His latest invention is a solar panel that can attach to a bimini with velcro. The panels can also be laminated into new sails, which is what Conrad Colman is using on his IMOCA 60 in the Vendee Globe race. Enough panels have been laminated into his UK Titanium mainsail to produce 2.2 kilowatts per hour. Click here to contact Alain Janet for more information on his patented PowerSails innovation.
Racing alone around the world in a 60-foot flyer, Conrad Colman's recent experiences illustrate clearly why the Vendee Globe is called the Everest of ocean racing. In the last two weeks he has dealt with an electrical fire that knocked out his instruments and led to an auto pilot shut down letting the boat jibe broach with the spinnaker up in 30 knots to a near capsize. He has been up and down his mast several times. He has been rewiring his boat to replace burned and shorted out cable, sails through a depression that created monstrous waves and winds over 50 knots. During all that time, he was racing his boat hard which means constant trimming, hand steering when the instruments don't work, reefing, changing head sails, reading the weather and planning routes to catch up to the boats he lost while the boat was on her side, etc. Through all this Conrad has not given up and in his last pod cast he said that he could truthfully answer a French journalist by saying he is enjoying the race.
The following are some snippets from this blog posts going back two weeks while he has been racing across the Southern Ocean.
Day 28 blog
After a fire, crash gybe while he was putting out the electrical fire, a near capsize, a blown sail, a semi flooded boat and hundreds of miles lost to his nearest competitors, Conrad wrote, "Bad days happen, especially at sea! What counts is how you get back up and into the fight. I lost a valuable sail that will handicap my performance for the rest of the race and a couple of hundred miles to my group but they'll have bad days too and I'm now in the position of hunter rather than running scared in front of them. Whenever you are thinking you are having a bad day, click here to read the full account of this horrid experience.
Mich Desj (Michel Desjoyeaux), two time winner of the Vendee Globe, says that you need to be mentally prepared for one major problem per day and so far I'm keeping up with his tempo ... When the wind shifted this afternoon from NW to N, I changed from my bigger reaching sail to my smaller flatter sail, the Solent or J2. When I unrolled it I saw that the pocket that holds the sail onto the cable was damaged and the sail risked to unzip itself completely. As the front of the sail is only exposed when the sail is unrolled I would have to fix it when the sail was working and the boat was fully powered up because I couldn't bear away onto a run because the Ice exclusion zone isn't far to leeward.
So, with the wind blowing at 20 knots and boatspeed sometimes the same, I climbed almost to the top of the mast and then hand stitched the pocket closed and then covered the repair with self adhesive sail cloth...22 meters in the air, one foot hooked around the sail and the other around the mast, bracing to stay stable and then concentrating on the needle I figured the closest possible comparison would be threading a needle on the back of a galloping horse while doing the splits and situps at the same time. I guess you need to have a head for heights!
By living with a tool kit and multimeter in my hands as much as the helm and the sheets I just hope that I can resolve enough of the problems fast enough to keep me in the race and avoid the fall of the executioner's axe!
It's getting windy and cold again, the passage of the cold front just hours away. After getting smacked with a 55 knot gust that could have torn my mainsail and stopped my race, I have taken the second reef earlier this time. Now I'm a little stressed not about the boat, but about the race as the rest of my group are still a little bit faster. They all have newer and faster boats that are more optimized for these reaching angles (my strong points are upwind and downwind) so I guess it's inevitable but still I do my best to walk the line between giving up miles and assuring that I won't wreck the boat before I escape the South.
Also, falling off the train that Stephane (Le Diraison) and Nandor (Fa) are still on has forced me to dive south, close to the Kerguelen Islands andclose to an iceberg detected by satellites four days ago. As I write this I have just crossed over the waypoint for the observed 30 meter iceberg as I figured the best way to avoid a moving target is to sail exactly over the point where it was last seen!
From Day 39
I currently am ripping along with my smallest jib and two reefs in the main sail and even with such small sails I still saw 27kts on the speedo! At such speeds it's dangerous to work on deck or in the cockpit because the waves coming over the boat have so much force that I have been knocked flat by "spray". I am clipped on at all times and limit my time outside to the strictly necessary maneuvers and I still feel like I've been in the ring with Tyson. In that storm his cockpit drain started leaking and flooding the aft compartment. The water got so high that running his pump for five minutes did nothing to lower the water level. "So I had to get creative to get the water out. I clipped my harness on and then climbed over the back of the boat and stood on the little skirt on the transom, just 4 centimeters up from the raging wake of the boat. From there I opened the back emergency escape hatch to release the flood from the inside. I was afraid that the autopilot would be drowned in the aft compartment, but it is mounted high enough that it wasn't touched. Only my nerves were fried this time! How did I stop the leak on this carbon fiber racing yacht full of high tech stuff? With a wooden bung! Sometimes it pays to go back to the basics when it's blowing 40kts!
Independently of Stephane's (Le Diraison) horror (dismasted) I had a tough night that started when the pilot over corrected coming off a wave and spun the boat into a gybe-broach. Imagine the scene from my video with the boat pinned on its side and now imagine it in the dark. This time as I stood on the side of the cockpit to furl up the sail I was illuminated by the navigations light winking hopefully from beneath the waves that lapped at my feet. After much effort I was able to get on my way again without any damage to man or machine.
I was afraid that the autopilot would be drowned but it is mounted high enough that it wasn't touched. Only my nerves were fried this time! How did I stop the leak on this carbon fiber racing yacht full of high tech stuff? With a wooden bung! Sometimes it pays to go back to the basics when it's blowing 40kts!
Escaping (nearby competitors) isn't easy however as I discovered both in the last storm but also last night when I had to gybe around the corner of the exclusion zone. While running down the no go zone, the wind continued to increase until it was gusting 40 and the boat was pitching down the valleys of the swells and sending up walls of spray that made for white-out conditions in the light of my headlamp. Clouds covered the moon so I was on my own for the maneuver with just my headlamp and foredeck light to judge the moment to gybe. I waited until a lull in the wind showed me my moment and I was able to pull the 170 square meter reacher around to the windward side and run downwind like a bird with one sail spread out on each side of the boat. With the big sail through I was able to accelerate the boat on a wave to take the pressure off the mainsail so I could bring it across without shock loading the rig. Like comedy, gybing is all about timing but the pressure is higher as one false move when choosing when to release a barber hauler, swing the keel, swap the backstays or grind on the sheets would result in more than just a joke falling flat!
Shortly after the first, I had to gybe again to take on the new course and again the sky was black and I had to pick a lull when the wind was blowing less than 30kts. Just minutes after my final maneuver for the night the sky cleared to reveal a beautiful starry sky and a powerful moon that would have made my life a lot easier just moments before. Clearly the joke was on me but the thousands of gybes I have done since I started in the Mini Transat in 2009, and the muscle memory I have created, served me well when I needed it and I'm still here, ready to gybe another day.
The following is a synopsis of the changes to Part 2 the Racing Rules for 2017 written by Dave Perry and is excerpted from Understanding the Racing Rules of Sailing through 2020 available from the US Sailing store (www.ussailing.org or 1-800 US SAIL-1)
Rule 18.2(d) (Giving Mark-Room) Rule 18.2(d) provides a “shut off” time for when a boat is no longer entitled to mark-room under rule 18.2(b) or room under rule 18.2(c) and therefore is no longer “protected” by rule 21 (Exoneration). The “shut off” time is when the boat has been given mark-room, which is when she has been given the space she needs to round or pass the mark on the required side as needed to sail the course, and has been able to sail close to the mark when her proper course would bring her close to the mark.
Rule 18.3 (Tacking in the Zone) is significantly different from the previous rule 18.3. First, it only applies at a windward mark being left to port. This means that when the windward mark is to be left to starboard (such as in team racing), there is no special rule about tacking in the zone, such that if a boat tacks onto port tack in the zone, a boat clear astern is only entitled to mark-room if, when she establishes an inside overlap, the outside boat is able to give her mark-room (see rules 18.2(a) and 18.2(f)). Secondly, new rule 18.3 only applies between a port-tack boat that has tacked in the zone and a boat that has been on starboard-tack since entering the zone. So no longer does rule 18.3 apply between two port-tack boats which both tack in the zone.
Rule 19.1(b) (Room to Pass an Obstruction) closes a loophole that few sailors were aware of, and keeps the game being played the way sailors currently play it at marks. The loophole was that, between three port-tack boats rounding a leeward mark to port, the outside-most boat is an “obstruction” to the two inside boats because they each are required to keep clear of her under rule 11 (windward-leeward). So while the middle and the outside boat were required to give the inside boat mark-room under rule 18.2(b), the inside boat was required to give the middle boat room to pass between her and the outside boat (the “obstruction”) under previous rule 19.2(b). That undesirable conflict has now been removed.
Rule 20 (Room to Tack at an Obstruction) The subtle change in rule 20 is that a boat that has been hailed for room to tack must respond by either tacking or replying “You tack,” even when the hailing boat is not approaching an obstruction. The hailing boat breaks rule 20.1(a) if she hails when she is not approaching an obstruction (and possibly rule 2, Fair Sailing, if she does so intentionally); and the hailed boat can certainly protest after giving the hailing boat room to tack. However the rule writers thought it was safer to require the hailed boat to give the hailing boat room to tack whenever she was hailed, as opposed to giving the hailed boat the right to ignore the hail when she thought the hailing boat was not actually approaching an obstruction.
Rule 21 (Exoneration) has been moved from Part 2, Section C (At Marks and Obstructions), where it just applied to incidents at marks and obstructions, to Section D (Other Rules), where it now applies to any incident where the keep-clear boat is entitled to “room” of any kind, including room under rule 15 (Acquiring Right of Way) and rule 16.1 (Changing Course). The significant aspect of rule 21 is that a boat can be exonerated for breaking a rule without the protest committee (PC) needing to decide that she was compelled to break the rule by another boat which was breaking a rule. In other words, she can be exonerated without the PC needing to penalize the other boat. This allows right-of-way boats to change course and acquire the right of way near keep-clear boats without either boat being penalized as long as the right-of-way boat does not cause contact or any unseamanlike maneuvers by the keep-clear boat.
Rule 22.3 (Starting Errors; Taking Penalties; Backing a Sail) now says that if a boat backs her sail and as a result is moving sideways to windward, she shall keep clear of a boat that is not doing so. This is called “crabbing” and is an effective technique in dinghies on the starting line to move the boat away from a boat to leeward.
Rule 24.2 (Interfering with Another Boat) has previously prohibited boats from interfering with boats that are taking a penalty or sailing on another leg. Rule 24.2 has now added to this list boats that are OCS and are returning to start. The rule has also added an “if reasonably possible” clause to give protest committees some flexibility in applying the rule. And the rule has clarified that this rule does not apply to boats sailing their proper course after the starting signal, meaning it always applies before the starting signal.
The UK Sailmakers rules quiz program, complete with animations and interactive text, is being updated to reflect these changes and will be available from the UK Store shortly after New Year’s Day.
Joe Mele, who keeps his Swan 44 Mk II TRIPLE LINDY right across the street from UK Sailmakers New York, is the only American boat registered in the 2016 Sydney Hobart Race. Mele and his crew are in the midst of competing in all the major international ocean races. In 2013, he finished second in class in the Caribbean 600, has competed in a handful of Newport-to-Bermuda Races, and is now off to do the Hobart Race, the Fastnet Race and the Middle Sea Race -- each just over 600 miles long. The Hobart Race has the reputation for being the toughest of the bunch. The race starts the day after Christmas and, most years, the fleet gets hammered by a Southerly Buster, a powerful cold front with winds blowing directly from the frigid waters of the Southern Ocean.
Over the years, Joe has worked closely with Butch Ulmer at UK New York to keep his 2004 vintage Swan up-to-date. Before the 2016 Newport Bermuda Race, TRIPLE LINDY changed from symmetrical spinnakers to asymmetrics flying off a custom five-foot carbon bowsprit. And recently, Mele and Ulmer worked together to produce a full inventory of new Uni-Titanium upwind sails, desigened with the Bermuda, Hobart, Fastnet and Middle Sea races in mind.
When TRIPLE LINDY made the spinnaker switch, Butch Ulmer told Joe not to scrap his spinnaker pole even though the racing rules prohibit flying the asymmetrical spinnakers from it. Ulmer noted that the pole is the perfect size and strength to be used as a whisker pole for smaller jibs when running in too much wind for a chute. Butch has plenty of heavy air experience after decades of ocean racing and, low and behold, a week before the Hobart Race, Joe sent Butch the following e-mail, "The weather systems seem to move through a little faster down here. We're focusing on honing our mainsail reefing skills and will put the practice chute to work today for some MOB drills. We poled out the #4 yesterday and were shocked and thrilled by how fast we sailed! Thanks, Butch, for suggesting we keep the old pole aboard."
Joe was also thankful that the team went out in 30 knots of wind the day before Key West Race Week last January to practice with storm sails. TRIPLE LINDY was the only boat on the water and the team experimented with flying the storm trysail from a sheet led to a block on the rail and they also tried attaching the clew to the boom with a reef line. At Key West they decided that on TRIPLE LINDY it was much better to trim the trysail to the boom and that's how they will rig it in the Hobart Race if the sail is needed.
For a terrific article about TRIPLE LINDY's Hobart Race and the back story about the boat's name, click here for THE AUSTRALIAN newspaper's December 21st article.
Everyone at UK Sailmakers wishes you and your families smooth sailing in 2017.
While you are decommissioning your boat at the end of the season, don't forget to take your sails off the boat. The best place to store them is at our loft in our heated storage lockers after they have been washed and checked over. Howie McMichael photo.
UK Sailmakers New York is your full service loft for sail repairs, sail storage and sail replacements. We offer:
- Free pick up and delivery from local boat yards and yacht clubs
- Free storage for washed sails and canvas when invoice is paid within 14 days
- Quality Repairs on ALL BRANDS OF SAILS
- Sail De-Rigging and Installation
- Careful inspection of all edges, corners, seams, batten pockets, luff tapes and luff hardware, and UV covers. We will call if we find a major repair is needed.
- Professional Sail and Canvas Cleaning
- New Tell Tales
- On-site storage in dry, climate heated lockers
It's been a great summer and unfortunately, old man winter is knocking at the door all too soon. Smooth summer sailing next year depends on proper preventative maintenance this winter. When you put your boat away, don't forget to send your sails and canvas to UK Sailmakers New York for the service that includes washing, inspection, repair and storage in our climate controlled storage facilities.
UK Sailmakers Winter Service is designed to look for the wearing effects of UV sunlight, luffing and flogging, tacking and jibing on your sails. We seek out the small problems before they can turn into big headaches next summer.
We clean, repair and re-cut all brands of sails.
To set the wheels in motion all you need to do is bring your sails and canvas to the loft on City Island or contact us at (718) 885-1700 about having them up picked up. You can even ship your sails to our loft.
With the season drawing to a close, this is a reminder to have your sails serviced over the coming winter so they're ready to go next spring. Instead of leaving your sails exposed to the elements, have them washed, inspected, repaired and stored in our climate-controlled storage facility.
Never leave your sails exposed to the elements on the boom or furled around the headstay all winter. UK Sailmakers Winter Service is much better for your sails than abandoning them to the icy winter winds that will try to rip them to shreds. And if a shredded furling genoa is not bad enough, a flogging genoa has a good chance of blowing a boat off its jack- stands leading to disastrous results.
If you think stuffing your sails below for the winter is a good plan, think again. Sails left in your boat are exposed to mildew and extreme temperature swings from cold to frigid. If you are storing your sails yourself, keep them dry and warm. A dry basement is better than a cold garage.