Saturday, January 23, 2010

A-Class Cats: Speed and Innovation

Take a look inside one of the fastest and most cutting-edge racing classes in the world: The International A-class catamaran.


The international A-class catamaran is a boat class that boasts one of the fastest single-handed racing boats in the world, and they keep getting faster. Unlike one-design racing classes, the A-class catamarans, or A-cats, are a development class. This means that the boats have only a few design constraints (class rules) and anything else goes, so the sailors can continue to develop their boats to get a leg-up on the competition.  

Usually built from carbon fibre, these boats are 18 feet long by 7 feet 6 inches wide, and weigh only 165 lbs. Coupled with a sail area of 150 square feet, these boats reach very high speeds. While explaining these boats, the West River Sailing Club stated:

"Sailors go upwind on the trapeze as fast as 14 knots, they fly a hull in 8-10 knots and by 12 knots they are 'wild-thinging' downwind at speeds up to 22 knots."

The A-cats have been very popular in the international sailing circuit because of their high speeds and lack of developmental restrictions. Though old, check out this article published in Seahorse Magazine, where they spoke with many of the leading A-cat developers. Also take a look at this video, it shows the A-class German Championship in 2009 in Arco, Italy.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

High Wind Capsizes

This video shows many different capsizes in high winds. Test your knowledge of how to plan for and avoid these situations.


Look at these capsizes. Can you identify the cause of each capsize, and what could have been done to avoid it? Being able to recognize and adjust for these factors will help you earn your skipper rating, and improve your high wind sailing in general.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Pictures from the Past

Take a look at these pictures from the 70s and 80s of members still in the club.


Recognize any people or boats?


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Jessica Watson and the History of Her Undertaking

An ambitious 16 year-old looks to add her name to a long line of solo-circumnavigators.


A 16-year-old girl is single-handing a pink yacht non-stop around the world. Little more than a century ago, there weren’t many people who would believe you if you told them something like this would ever happen. But there is one person who would believe you: Capt’n Joshua Slocum, the skipper of the sloop Spray, which he sailed around the world alone.

Though he probably wasn’t the first sailor to complete a single-handed ocean voyage, Slocum was the first to go all the way around, in three years, and the first to write about it in his famous book “Sailing alone around the world”. The book entered the idea of solo circumnavigation into the fancy of each and every sailor not to leave again.

Some 70 years later, another Joshua, a 39-foot ketch with crimson hull, was rounding the Horn, again with only one soul onboard, the Frenchman Bernard Moitessier. Moitessier was racing in the first non-stop single-handed around the world yacht race, the Golden Globe Race, commissioned by a newspaper in Britain. For him, “globe” turned out to be more important than the “gold”.

After rounding the Horn and crossing his outbound track in the Atlantic, he turned Joshua due south again to round the Cape of Good Hope one more time, dropping anchor in Tahiti after 10 months at sea. Sir Robin Knox-Johnston went on to finish the race, thus claiming the title of “the first sailor to circumnavigate the world non-stop, single-handed.

Fast forward 40 years and scores of single-handed circumnavigations, we see a 16-year-old Australian, Jessica Watson on a pink 34-footer, Ella’s Pink Lady. Her website explains her ambition as becoming “the youngest person to sail solo, non-stop and unassisted around the world”. Of course ambition alone will not carry you all the way around. Fortunately, Jessica has more; she’s a capable skipper who has already completed the first leg of the race, rounding the Horn and entering the Atlantic. No, not your average teenager.

Her route took her first to the Northern Hemisphere (which she needs to enter in order for the circumnavigation to be complete). From there it was due South into the roaring fourties, and then to the first major step in her voyage: Cape Horn (where her parents will be watching her pass by- how the world has changed!). From the Horn, she’s headed for the Cape of Good Hope and to the Southern Ocean and back to Australia. She’s planning to complete the trip in 8 months.

As is common these days, she has a website, a blog, and videos (she has Skype on board), where you can follow her voyage. Check the sidebar for a link to her blog!

Fair winds, Jessica!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Mini Sailors Tell Their Story

Attend a discussion headed by two Seattle sailors on Jan 22nd, as they relay their experience sailing in the Transat 6.50.

If you have ever wondered what it would be like to sail a 21 foot boat 4200 miles in a race from one continent to another, then this is an opportunity you might not want to miss.  On January 22nd, at the Corinthian Yacht Club, Chris Tutmark and Craig Horsfield will discuss their harrowing experiences in one of the world’s most demanding races:  the Transat 6.50.  
Commonly known as the Mini Transat, it is held every two years and is limited to boats 6.5 meters in length, or 21 feet.  Additionally, it turns out that Chris Tutmark was a member of the UW Sailing team and Craig Horsfield cut his teeth sailing Olson 30's.

If you’re interested in hearing what it takes to become a world class sailor then this is talk you would not want to miss.

From the CYC website:
The program will be open to the public and held at the CYC clubhouse on U Dock at Shilshole Bay Marina. The bar will be open at 6:30 and the program will begin at 7. Admission is free, but a $5 donation for the CYC Sea Scout Ship junior program is requested. For more information, call (206) 789-1919.
More Information From Three Sheets Northwest and the Corinthian Yacht Club:

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Money in the New Boat Fund Raises the Question: “Which boats should we buy?”

One member’s opinion on the Laser Vago, and why it would be the best fit for our club.


If you have been attending meetings or reading the list, you have probably heard that we have a substantial sum of money in our new boat fund. I propose we spend this money, and add a new type of boat to our fleet. Come on, who out there doesn't enjoy getting something new to play around with? 

So then the question becomes: What kind of boat would we like the club to get? I’d like to share my thought process that leads me to choose the Laser Vago as the perfect addition to the WYC dinghy fleet.

After sailing for a quarter, I have found that I enjoy single-handed sailing. This is mostly because I like to go sailing as much as possible, but I don’t like waiting to find a sailing partner. Now, Lasers are a fun boat to sail, and still somewhat challenging for me in higher winds, but I would eventually like to try a bigger challenge. Unfortunately, beyond the Laser there is no real single-handed performance boat in the club.

At the same time, I know that our double-handed dinghy fleet is insufficient. When I look at the Flying Juniors (FJs) I don't think, “Wow that looks fun to sail.” The club FJs are heavy and underpowered. (Seriously, who thought that the FJ would make a good racing boat?) 

So where does that leave me? Our single-handed fleet is the most used, but with nicer boats I am sure we could get a lot more double-handed sailors. Sure enough, there is a decent compromise: The Vago.

Now, I am not going to talk about all the features, but this boat works fairly well as a single- or double-handed boat. The Vago can fly a gennaker and it has a single trapeze which, to me, makes it an accessible performance boat. Oh, and did I mention that the suggested price is $8,395?

There are advantages and disadvantages to every boat design, but the fact that the Vago can be single- or double-handed seems like the way to expand our fleet. This is a boat that all members can benefit from, and with a reasonable price, the club doesn’t have to break the bank.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

When There is No Water...

Check out this video of windskating.


A very bad idea...

Monday, January 4, 2010

High Tides Throughout the Holiday Season

Rising sea levels caused high tides on the Washington coast this past week, with more to come in February.


This region experienced extreme high tides starting the 30th of December and lasting until Jan 4th, which will return again in early February. The WA State Dept of Ecology is asking people to take pictures of the Washington shorelines during these tides, so that they can document the impacts of higher sea levels.  Check your local tide table for details, and read the Department of Ecology's blog for more information.