Congratulations to Nico Cortlever who won the Maxi Class 2 at the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta sailing is X-612 NIX powered by nine-year-old UK sails. NIX scored three firsts and a second in a class of 60-footers. NIX’s UK Spectra/Carbon sails have stood up to years of racing and cruising. In fact, Nico now lives on his boat and crosses the Atlantic every two years.

Nine-year-old UK sails kept their shape and power X-612 to class win

“I bought these sails in 2010 and, for the first five years, the boat was in charter service,” said Nico. “We raced the Caribbean 600 a few times, the Heineken Regatta, and the Voiles de St. Barth. These UK Tape-Drive® sails are excellent because they’ve lasted a long time and haven’t torn when damaged. Also, they have kept their shape during all these years. These sails are half the weight of my delivery sails.”

And Nico did not baby his sails. “Although I know it’s the right thing to do, I never had the sails serviced or washed. I did put some protective taffeta on the leech of the jib to keep in good condition. Often, the sails got wet in the sail locker; but it did not have any influence on the condition of the sails. During the time that I sailed with them I’ve never had the feeling that any wind was too strong for them. If I ever buy racing sails again, I definitely will choose UK Sailmakers sails because they are light, very reliable, and long lasting.”

Tape-Drive evolved into X-Drive® for even stronger sails

NIX’s sails are so old that UK Sailmakers no longer uses the Tape-Drive construction method. Five years ago, Tape-Drive evolved into X-Drive®. X-Drive sails are even stronger and smoother than Tape-Drive because the surface of the sail is almost completely covered with continuous loadpath tapes. With hundreds of closely-spaced yarns bonded to the sail’s surface, an X-Drive sail has incredible strength and stretch resistance, which results in a smooth sail without distortion. When you want to own one suit of sails that can be used to cruise and win races for years and years, call your local UK Sailmakers loft.


We’ve all been there, a tug, tanker, ferry or some ship trying to cross our “proper course” while we’re racing. The overwhelming perception is that sailing vessels have right of way over power vessels. As seen in this photo, one would expect the ferry to alter course to avoid the sailboat under spinnaker. Great shot, great stories, memorable experience...BUT.

Yup, there’s always a “but.” In this case, it’s the fine print found within the maritime Right of Way Rules...Collision Regulation 12 in particular. Sorry, Jack Sparrow, these are hard rules...not guidelines!

Collision Reg 12 Rule 12 states that a sailboat that is under sail without the engine going generallyhas the right of way over motorboats. The “But” comes into play with the adjective generallyas there are some exceptions:

  1. Large motor vessels are given the right of way in channels where it is difficult for them to maneuver. In the case of ships, the whole San Francisco Bay is considered to be channeled so that ships always have right of way in the Bay.

  2. In narrow channels, motor vessels as small as 65 feet may be limited in maneuverability enough to make them the "stand on" (privileged) vessel.

  3. Motor vessels that are restricted in maneuverability due to the special job they are doing are stand on. This could be anything from towing nets or barges to dredging, pile driving, or tending buoys.

  4. Motor vessels don't have to give way to sail boats that are motoring when the rules for motorboats give the motor vessel right of way. (When motoring, a sailboat is treated like any other motorboat.)

  5. If a motor vessel is experiencing some kind of difficulty restricting its maneuverability, it is given right of way.

  6. If a sailboat is overtaking a power boat, the power boat has the right of way.

Back to our photo. There are at least three schools of thought regarding the sail/power crossing situation being depicted. 1) They appear to be in a harbor, so would situation #1 apply whereby the sailboat has to keep clear? 2) Is this a straight sail over power situation where the sloop can “sail on?” 3) And here’s the reality check, is it really worth risking your crew and your boat to get over the ferry’s bow regardless of who is technically right? Hummm, something to consider. When in doubt, however, bail out.

Regardless of the answer, think about teaching a teenage child to drive. Your car may have the right of way and the teenager feels empowered and entitled, but (there’s that but again) that doesn’t mean the other driver knows and will obey the rules. Better safe than sorry. And, hey, there’s always Channel 16 on which you can communicate with the power vessel to establish and agree to a safe crossing arrangement regardless of the Regulation.


Ocean Racers’ Pogo 12.5 HERMES racing at the St. Marten Heineken Cup. Laurens Morel/saltycolours.com

Ocean Racers’ Pogo 12.5 HERMES racing at the St. Marten Heineken Cup. Laurens Morel/saltycolours.com

The Pogo 12.5 HERMES is a performance sailboat used for teaching offshore racing and ocean passagemaking. Ocean Racers is an international sailing team that provides a chance for sailors to experience racing at the highest level in the biggest-name races around the world. They also have spots for those who want to learn about ocean crossing when they move HERMES from event to event. Being a teaching platform that is constantly in use, HERMES needs sails that can win races, cross oceans, and last for years. That’s why she is currently using a set of X-Drive carbon sails with Liteskin protection on both sides. Since the sails were delivered last year, they have done two trans-Atlantic crossings, the storm battered Rolex Middle Sea Race, the windy Caribbean 600, and the St. Marten Heineken Regatta. To get more information about Ocean Racers, go to www.oceanracers.net.


UK Sailmakers-powered boats won both IRC classes 1 and 2 and finished first overall in IRC in the 170-mile Bunbury and Return Ocean Race on Australia's southwest coast. The race starts in the Indian Ocean off Fremantle, Western Australia, goes south 85 miles to Bunbury, and then turns back to Fremantle. Normally, boats would expect a 16-25 knot sea breeze that would swing easterly at 15-20 knots to Bunbury and then another strong sea breeze to bring them home. Not this year; the race was mostly light air.

UK Sailmakers Fremantle’s Geoff Bishop’s Summit 40 CHECKMATE got off to a good start and, after an upwind first leg, was first around the turning mark. The leg down to Bunbury was sailed in very light air, which shifted throughout the night. Both CHECKMATE and Phil Somerville-Ryan’s S&S 34 HUCKLEBERRY choose the inshore route, hoping for an easterly shift, whereas most of the fleet went offshore looking for a westerly shift. Place-changes happened all night as boats temporarily found the breeze they where looking for. The inshore course ended up paying off by allowing those boats to set Code Zeros and head straight at the turning mark. As the wind swung through to the north, spinnakers were set for the rest of the slow trip to Bunbury. The GP 42 rounded first and the next three boats rounded the turning mark within minutes of each other. Once around Bunbury, the fleet faced a light air beat to Fremantle. About 20nm north of Bunbury, the wind shifted west and then southwest allowing the boats again to set Code Zeros and then spinnakers for the trip home. While CHECKMATE crossed the finish line third after 32 hours and 49 minutes of racing, she corrected out to first in IRC 1. History books will show this year's Bunbury and Return to be the slowest in the last 29 years.

HUCKLEBERRY sailed smartly winning IRC 2 and also corrected to first overall. She had the benefit of the strong southeasterly wind that came up too late in the race to help the faster boats -- so she had that breeze longer pushing her back to the finish. HUCKLEBERRY sails with a full inventory of UK Sailmakers X-Drive upwind sails.

At the start of the race, there was a ceremony with classic aircraft, classic powerboats, and boats that were not racing as a remembrance to Rob Thomas and Paul Owens who lost their lives in last year’s Bunbury Race when their Davidson 50 FINISTERE lost its keel and capsized. HUCKLEBERRY’s crew was awarded the CYCA SOLAS Trusts Bravery award for rescuing four of the crew from FINISTERE. HUCKLEBERRY and her crew where a very popular winners due to their rescue efforts last year.


Andrew Berdon pushing his Marten 49 SUMMER STORM through the Caribbean’s azure waters to second place in IRC 1 in the 2019 RORC Caribbean 600.

Congratulations to the crew of the Marten 49 SUMMER STORM for finishing second in IRC Class 1 in the 2019 RORC Caribbean 600. For most of the 625-mile race around 11 islands in the Caribbean's Leeward Islands, the easterly tradewinds blew 18-22 knots making it a fast and physically exhausting race. SUMMER STORM had a handful of new sails for the race and her new UK Sailmakers Fractional Code Zero was a standout. "I was impressed by the sail's range," said SUMMER STORM's owner and skipper Andrew Berdon. "At one point, we were using it to power reach in 20 knots at 120 degrees true wind angle. But it was equally useful when we were ghosting along the lee of the 5000 foot volcanic island of Guadeloupe. There we got the sail drawing in light and variable winds between 90 and 140 degrees true wind angle. It really defied the crossover chart."

The Marten 49 SUMMER STORM just head of the Santa Cruz 52 SIN DUDA! just after the start of the 2019 Caribbean 600.

UK Sailmakers chief sail designer, who designed SUMMER STORM's, Code Zero, sailed the Caribbean 600 Lindsay Duda's Santa Cruz 52 SIN DUDA! and was in the same class as SUMMER STORM. SIN DUDA! kept close to SUMMER STORM until rounding Guadeloupe. Both boats chose to stay close to the island, but SIN DUDA! was a mere third of mile outside of SUMMER STORM and that made a huge difference. SUMMER STORM got around the tall island three hours ahead of SIN DUDA!, which cost the Santa Cruz 52 two places in the race.


Crewmembers on deck should be tethered to the boat when recovering a MOB.

This is not a commercial; rather it’s a lesson learned the hard way.

Those of us that work at UK Sailmakers are keenly aware of the importance of safety-at-sea, and particularly the need to understand, practice, and prefect the art of man overboard recovery.

The Chicago Yacht Club just released a 60-page report with its findings and recommendations following the death of a sailor who fell overboard in the 2018 Chicago Mackinac race. As a Safety At Sea instructor for the Storm Trysail Club, I would like to give you my takeaway from the report.

On July 21, 2018, about a half hour after the start of the 330-mile Chicago Mackinac Race, Jon Santarelli, an excellent swimmer, slipped overboard from the cockpit of the TP 52 IMEDI. The wind was blowing 18-25 knots and the waves were 6-8 feet in height. There was an all-hands effort to get Jon back on board; unfortunately, after three passes, Jon slipped under the water.

His inflatable PFD was set to auto-inflate...but it didn’t, and he didn’t manually inflate it. The boat executed a Quick Stop maneuver, and then circled around but the boat had too much speed to stop near Jon. On the second attempt as they got close to Jon, a wave forced the boat up and over Jon and he went under the boat from starboard to port. IMEDI circled a third time, and this time they were able to stop the boat very close to Jon, but as they tossed Jon a line and he raised his arms, he slipped below the water and was not seen again.

To read the full Chicago Yacht Club incident report, click here.

Rewind to the headline and the opening paragraphs about how the STC helps teach and train MOB recovery with a Lifesling. The Lifesling, with its floating collar at the end of a 150-foot floating yellow polypropylene line, removes the need for pin-point accuracy in returning to a MOB and helps recover the person on the first attempt. There’s no argument that it’s hard to stop a sailboat at a specific place in ideal conditions, let alone hitting a specific mark in high winds and waves. It’s even harder...nearly impossible...to do so when adrenaline is pumping and the crew is anxious because a friend is in peril.

The Lifesling, used by circling the victim as if you were picking up a downed water skier, doesn’t require that you to sail so close to the swimmer that you risk hitting the MOB. And, once the MOB puts the collar under their shoulders, they are mechanically attached to the boat and you are not depending on someone’s grip to hold on. Also you have the advantage of a powerful halyard winch to bring them back aboard. Even a small person can lift a soaking wet 250-pound person out of the water using a winch.

Had the Lifesling been deployed when Jon still had the strength to swim to it, there may not have been no need for a third attempt or perhaps even a second attempt. Once the person in the water gets hold of any part of the line, the boat can be stopped by luffing into the wind or by using the engine.

It’s easy for us to sit here in our office and proclaim these concepts, but we do speak from experience. I was on Andrew Weiss's Sydney 43 CHRISTOPHER DRAGON in 2014 when a crewman went overboard on a cold spring day just after the five-minute warning for a race. The story about the recovery was published in November 2014 and it is reprinted in the next article. Thanks to crew practice and training exercises, Weiss was able to maneuver his boat to effectively and efficiently recover the MOB with the Lifesling, and still start the race on time.

Weiss had learned through his training exercises that, like the TP 52 IMEDI, having a small profile fin keel makes the boat handle differently than a more traditionally designed boat, because they go into "irons" at slow speeds if the jib is lowered.

So, what does all mean? Simply that you can’t practice MOB recoveries enough. The most instructive practice sessions are when you can put a person in the water, so use those warm summer days. You should not be afraid to use all your MOB gear: Lifesling, MOM, Dan Buoy, Man Overboard Pole, etc. And don’t be afraid to throw anything over the side that will float. Give the person in the water every chance possible to grab one. Another benefit of a lot of floating items is that it is easier to see the person in the water marked with a "debris field." And, finally, make sure your inflatable PFDs work.

We, like the rest of the sailing community, were deeply saddened by the loss of Jon Santarelli; yet we know that such tragedies are possible regardless of how much training we all undergo. That said, we must all continue diligently to be aware of conditions around us. We must anticipate the worst-case scenario. We must do whatever we can to prevent this from happening again. In reality, that is a tall order from the "wish doctor;" but take the time to read this report from the Chicago Yacht Club. Share it, digest it, practice its recommendations. Most of all, sail safely. To read the full Chicago Yacht Club incident report, click here.

To make it safer to lift a victim from the water with a Lifesling, make sure there is loop tied in the Lifesling line 6-10 feet from the floating collar. This way the person on the deck can attach the halyard to the Lifesling without leaning out over the side of the boat.


The lead video of the February 14, 2019 issue Scuttlebutt Newsletter shows a man overboard situation in a lot of wind on Dublin Bay. Luckily the crew was out with a coach who kept calm and controlled the situation. The good news is that the sailor was recovered safely, but had this been in the open ocean, let alone at night, the outcome could have been different.

This crew kept sailing away from the MOB until they got their sails down and could power back. I do believe that they could have recovered the person in less than the 5 minutes they took if they had used a different return and recovery method such as the Quick Stop method.

In any case, I know from experience that all sailors need to practice MOB return and recovery on their own boats to find out what works and, more importantly, what doesn’t work for their particular boat. As in instructor at the Storm Trysail Club’s Hands-On Safety at Sea Seminars for both adults and juniors, I stress that MOB recovery practice needs to be done more than once a year if you are going to be prepared for an actual MOB in windy, wavy conditions when adrenaline levels are high. The following is an article I wrote in 2014 about a successful MOB recovery during the prep period of an early spring race.

SUCCESSFUL CREW OVERBOARD RECOVERIES REQUIRE PRACTICE, PRACTICE, AND PRACTICE - Lessons learned by Adam Loory, General Manager, UK Sailmakers International

For more than 10 years I have been teaching sailors about how to rescue a man overboard. It was not until this spring, however, that I was actually on a boat where we had to rescue a real person; that experience proved that practice does matter.

I teach the Quick Stop method, which keeps the boat close to the person in the water because staying close is necessary in order to keep visual contact with the person in the water. Staying close also keeps the person in the water from panicking. Every time I teach new groups I finish by saying, “Go out on your boat and learn how to maneuver it in tight quarters.”

The Syndey 43 CHRISTOPHER DRAGON’s successful rescue happened in late April 2014 during the starting sequence of the third race of the American Yacht Club’s Spring Series and it is a perfect illustration of why you need to learn about your own boat’s handling characteristics. DRAGON is a modern design with a deep, skinny keel strut supporting a big torpedo bulb at the bottom. Luckily for our cold, wet team member, the boat was part of the Storm Trysail Club’s Hands-On Safety At Sea seminar at New York Maritime a month earlier. While at the seminar, participants tried to follow the textbook procedure of picking-up a person in the water and found that once the boat slowed with the jib dropped, the boat lost steerage. At the seminar they learned that they needed to sail past the person in the water while trailing the Lifesling so that the MOB could grab hold it’s 150-foot line instead of trying to sail up to the person and stop. This way the boat did not slow down enough to lose steerage until they were pulling the person aboard.

This knowledge came in handy when, four minutes and twenty seconds before the start of the third race of the day, CHRISTOPHER DRAGON tacked quickly from starboard to port near the pin end of the line. An unprepared crewman sitting on the deck simply slid out under the lifelines as the boat heeled over on port. In seconds the person went from being on the deck thinking about the start to bobbing in 50-degree water.

As soon as “Man Overboard!” was yelled, the boat tacked, one person took on the role of spotter who pointed at the fellow in the water, and another dropped the Lifesling into the water. As we sailed past the person while getting downwind of the MOB, our swimming crewmate weakly said, “Please get me.” He was very cold. Once we could return on a close reach, we jibed and towed the Lifesling to the MOB. When he had the Lifesling line in his hands, all sails were luffed and the boat headed-up to slow down whereby he could be pulled to the boat and then in over the open transom.

Knowing how to rescue a MOB without losing time making multiple attempts allowed us to recover our cold crewmember in two minutes and still have two minutes left to get a clean start and go on to finish second.

This experience shows that by practicing man overboard recoveries you will be better able to save someone’s life. As we have all learned, the more you practice, the better you get; so don’t just practice this once a year. Surprise your crew every now and then by throwing your hat or a cushion overboard and see how they respond.

Remember, what is the first thing most successful crews do each day when they get out on the race course? They sail upwind to get a feel for the wind shifts and practice a few tacks. If you have to practice tacking every day to be crisp, just think how rusty you’ll be in a real MOB situation if you only practice once a year.


Leeward Mark 12 Meters.jpg

That was the title and concept of a 70s Carly Simon song—and the concept of anticipation plays a key role in sailboat racing. Take a look at this photo or two 12-meters rounding a leeward mark. Now, admittedly, these are chartered 12s most likely crewed by workmates on a team-building excursion and not by their former, well trained, AC teams. Yet, there still a lesson to be taught here.

Consider this: you know there’s a leeward mark coming up shortly. You also know there’s (probably) a spinnaker to be doused, a pole to be stored, as well as a lot of strings and wires to be pulled and reset BEFORE you arrive at and round the mark. And you know that you really can’t sail upwind without doing all of this.

Here the crews were probably listening to “You’re So Vain” instead of “Anticipation.” The lead boat had their backstay and runners reset and their jib trimmed...but even they missed the mark in terms of pre-trimming the huge main of a 12 Meter. The trailing boat? Well, from the look of their headstay sag, their backstay and runners were still too slack and don’t even ask about them pre-trimming the main.

Admittedly, it’s easy to poke fun at others’ problems on the race course. Frankly, there’s probably nobody reading this post that hasn’t botched a mark rounding or two...windward and leeward...and don’t even think that you’ve never had a gybe go pear-shaped.

So, what do you do? First, the crew boss or tactician should give everyone a heads-up of the coming maneuver and its approximate timing. It’s also a best practice for that person to quickly run through the key, high-risk elements of the maneuver and the sequence or actions “just in case.” Think belt and suspenders...better safe than sorry. And then give a countdown to the start of the actual maneuver so that everyone’s on the same page of the play book.

“Anticipation” got Simon a Grammy nomination in 1973 and maybe it can get you on the Podium in 2019!


SIN DUDA! crossing the finish line off Montego Bay, Jamaica. Photo courtesy The Pineapple Cup.

Congratulations to Lindsey Duda's Santa Cruz 52 SIN DUDA! taking PHRF line honors in the 811-mile Pineapple Cup, which goes from Miami to Montego Bay, Jamaica. After leading the race for most of the way, the wind gods scrambled the results a bit by placing a wind hole in the middle of the course.

Course of the Pineapple Cup.

“We saw a wide array of conditions on our on our run Montego Bay,” said boat owner and skipper Lindsey Duda. “We started in a strong southerly with big waves as we crossed the Gulf Stream on our easterly first leg. Once we got closer to Long Island, things calmed down and we saw light, shifty (NW/NE) winds and a lot of rain. The winds picked back up to about 25 knots as we worked our way around Cuba and through the Windward Passage (between Cuba and Hispaniola) only to have the wind shut off again on the final leg toward Jamaica.

“It’s always frustrating to be in a situation on the course where you're hoping for something to happen (and that’s never a good strategy) -- but in this case we were trying to stay as close to rhumbline as possible and hoping for the typical trades to come in strong before the rest of the fleet could eat too much into our lead. Unfortunately the wind didn't come soon enough. However we were pretty stoked to get ‘brochure’ conditions (ie: no rain, sunny, windy, lots of surfing) Thursday morning coming into Jamaica under the A4.”

SIN DUDA! flying with her A4, spinnaker staysail and Uni-Titanium main. Photo courtesy The Pineapple Cup

Lindsey was thrilled with the team’s finish. The Chicago-based team was especially delighted to be out of the frigid polar vortex that froze their hometown and Lake Michigan.

SIN DUDA! is powered by a complete UK Sailmakers inventory including Uni-Titanium upwind sails and Matrix spinnakers. Lindsey said, “It’s nice to know that our sails were the least of our worries when sailing in 30-35 knots of wind. We saw a little bit of everything in this race. We literally went through our entire sail inventory and there isn’t one that we don’t like.”

This race is part of a season of great races. In 2018 SIN DUDA! raced the TransPac from Los Angeles to Honolulu and in the middle of February they will compete in the Caribbean 600, a 630-mile race that starts and finishes in Antigua.


ESCAPADE with her reefed Tape-Drive Silver main, jib and fractional asymmetrical chute on the day she set the new speed record for a Seascape 27. All of her sails are original from 2013.

No, not TV’s Family Guy, we’re talking about Martin Oleson. A father and husband, Martin is an experienced sailor...but not a pro. He has offshore and singlehanded experience but on September 22, 2018, Martin took the opportunity to step outside his comfort zone and go for a ride the Seascape 27 ESCAPADE that he’ll never forget.

It all started at the 134 km Silverrudder Challenge 2018 sailed out of Svenborg, Denmark on the Baltic, the largest singlehanded regatta in the world. Due to severe weather, many of the skippers opted not to sail and, wisely, save their boats and themselves to race again another day. However, that didn’t mean it wasn’t safe to go out with a full crew and that’s what a few boats did.


Having opted not to race, Martin was asked to join four others aboard Philipp Lenzinger’s Swiss Seascape 27 ESCAPADE for a run at setting the speed record for this sporty monohull. On that blustery, grey and cold day with winds blowing 26-28 with gusts up to 35 knots, Philipp, Martin, Susann Buecke and Jure Jerman set off for a sail with, dare we say, one of the world’s top offshore racers, Phil Sharp on the helm. The five of them set-out to beat the previous Seascape speed record of 15.52 knots over 500 meters.

Martin spent most of the day at the cabin top grinding the spin sheet as Phil and the rest huddled in the stern with the 27’s bow soaring out of the water. Bouncing off wave after wave, often going through the waves with green water pouring over the deck, the quintet enjoyed quite a sail as they roared downwind on the knife edge between being under control and...well...not! In fact, as Sharp noted in his post sail comments, they went for a swim a few times as the rig “got wet.”

What a ride. Gybing back ad forth, holding on for life and safety, making the very most of this amazing day on the water. In the end they did it! The instruments told the story and Phil, Philipp, Martin and the others pegged the speedo at 16.57 knots over 500 meters, more than a full knot faster than a Seascape 27 had ever gone before. Well done!

So what should you take away from this story? First, sailing fast is really fun...albeit a bit scary at times. And, if you’re on a good boat with a good (in this case excellent) crew, you can afford to stretch your comfort zone and grow into a better sailor. Martin did just that. With his family at home, he spent a few hours with one of the world’s best offshore sailors and, just by sitting there and watching how Phil worked the boat through the wind and waves, learned a lifetime’s worth of lessons that you just can’t learn sitting around the bar or in the boat park.

So, find a fast boat. Find some good mates. Wait for the wind to blow up. Go for a ride. And, Sail with Confidence.

Photos ©Ana Šutej, Seascape d.d.o.