Wednesday, December 7, 2016


Stormy weather took their tool on the boats, more than on the racers. The 3rd, Sebastien josse, that was risking a lot on the routing, trying to take advantage of the bad weather to go faster and win miles on the leaders, saw is race finished  when surfing a big wave, at 30k, had a rough landing.

The foil itself did not broke, but the linkage of the foil broke.That was far worse than losing a foil since it cannot be repaired in a way that don't compromise the boat solidity while racing. The box can break and I suspect the hull too, given the forces applied there by the damaged foil. He had to retire from the race, but he is sailing his boat to Australia.

It was worst for the 10th, Kito De Pavant, on his 3rd Vendee Globe and trying to finish the first one. Kito, now with 55 years of age, had to abandon not only the race but his boat too and that was a first time for him. His IMOCA had hit hard with a keel something, so hard that the keel went out of the housing and was just there hanging on by a link.

Much worse than losing only the keel. On the last edition two sailors that lost the keel brought the boats to safety, one of them racing till the end and finishing among the first. The problem here is that the keel attachment is ripping the hull apart with the pendular movements, aggravated by being  on a gale with huge waves. Luckily for him a research French boat was at only 110nm and he is already safe aboard. With a bit of luck his boat would not sink (theoretically is unsinkable) and he will be able to recover it later.

Romain Attanasio damaged the two rudders!!!! hitting something. He is going to the South African coats looking for a place to anchor to see if he can solve the problem. He has a spare rudder and maybe he can make one, from the other two broken ones.

Conrad Colman had a fire aboard. He could stop it quickly and it seems he had repaired the damage.

Thomas Ruyant, one of the more talented sailors of the new generation, sailing on the 8th place on an older boat, had already problems, broken most of the mainsail battens. He had to bring the mainsail down to take the battens out and repair them. Now he has a much more serious problem, an unusual one due to some breakage on the system to fill the ballast tanks with sea water.

He had open water and had a lot of water coming inside the boat. He had to tack to the other side, to put the hole out of water. I don't know if he can repair it while sailing or if he has to go to the South African coast, or Australian coast, to repair that. He is on the middle of nowhere, with land at thousands of miles. Maybe he can repair it sailing but he certainly needs to get out of stormy weather.

Eric Bellion was sailing in huge seas when  gust of well over 50k lead to a big knockdown. It was so violent that he damaged a rudder. Another one that is going to the South African coats to find a sheltered bay, where he would try to repair the damage. 

Talking about stormy weather, that's what the two on the front will get in 24 hours. Alex is now  at 1143nm from the leader Armel, that seems to continue to push hard, even if he has not to do so to win the race. Maybe he doesn't want only to win the race but to get an outstanding monohull circumnavigation record, one that will be hard to break...and he has already a big advantage over last year's best time, regarding the place where he is.

And for last but not least, Didac Costa, the Catalan firefighter, that departed 4 days after the others, has finally starting to catch them. One is already overtaken and I really wish he will be able to take the next one, Pieter Heerema. There it is a lot of justice on that. Didac is sailing an old boat while Pieter is sailing a brand new boat with foils, very similar to the ones that are, or have been, on the head of the race. Cheers to Didac, a miniracer sailor that is showing that he can sail a big solo racer fast too!!!! Pieter is 900nm ahead. That is a lot, but Didac is recovering mile after mile.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

A 35R

I thought that the A35 was gone forever, when Archambault went bankrupt, some years ago, but it turned out that the boat molds and the company were bought (in 2013) by BG race, a very small company that makes a racing 40class boat, the Tizh 40.
A small shipyard owned by two racing sailors, Louis Burton, that is making the Vendee Globe and Servane Escoffier. They seem a lot better racing than in promoting their boats. The quantity of information and photos regarding their production is very small and apparently very few sailboats were made, but those have been made have been winning a lot of races.

That's really odd. How it is possible that several great boats, among them the A35 and the A13, well built, with the same technology and materials they use to built race boats, winning races and proposed at a very attractive price don't find a place on the market?  It is only me that like that boat? In fact if I sailed alone, without my wife, that would be among the very short list of boats I would consider having for cruising.

Besides the more recent victories on this year's Pornic-Baiona or the victory on the 2014 Spy Ouest this boat has a great record of wins, among them victories and podium places on the Transquadra, the famous solo or duo French transat for small boats and amateurs.

The design has already some years but Joubert-Nivelt has here one of their best designs and one that continues to look and perform in a contemporary way. The A35 is very light, specially if we consider that from the 4360kg, 2100kg are ballast. The keel is a long foil made of lead with a very low drag. The boat has a draft of 2.20m, and a sail area of 67.5m2

This new version has a new designed cabin, a better looking one, a much better interior and a surprisingly good price for a high tech boat, around 130 000 euros (without vat). The A 35 can come with a rudder or two wheels, being slightly more expensive with two wheels.

Curiously one is making the ARC, sailed by a Spanish couple. They chose a South course that proved, for them and many, to be a very bad choice. They got pissed staying without wind, made a 24 hour stop on Cabo Verde for refueling, to see the views and waiting for the wind and are now sailing again, near a Discovery 55, a OVNI 455, a Tayana 55 and a Sweden 50, that did not stop at Cabo Verde. My kind of boat😉

Sunday, December 4, 2016


Here it is the third video by that helicopter from the French navy, on the southern Indian Ocean, the opposite of the one I posted on the last post:

He is the one in 3rd place and the one that took the bigger regarding routing and bad weather. It seems that it turned out well, for now, he is just ahead of a big depression with huge winds and "all" he has to do is stay ahead of it, to go like a rocket on the next 24 hours. If he is caught by it he will be subjected to very nasty weather. He needed this boost to win miles over the two that are ahead of him. Look at this "weather" tracker, it is clear what he is trying to do. 
I wish him good luck, he is going already faster than the two ahead of him. Big balls anyway. Meanwile Colman, the New Zelander had to sort this one out. LOL:

Unfourtunately the Japonise Kojiro broke the mast and retired. He solved the mess alone and is going to Cape Town without needing help. A pity since Kojiro is not only quite a character as he was one of the best among the semi professionals on this race and putting on a big fight on that groupe, always with a smile on his face.

Portrait de Kojiro Shiraishi / Vendée Globe por VendeeGlobeTV

Friday, December 2, 2016


Just look at this, or better look here with everything moving: Besides being beautiful it is also frightening for the ones that know how to read it and it is not difficult. On the right side near the bottom you have a column with a a legend for the colors. Dark blue is 52K and this is not what we normally would call 52k, it is wind that blows for 10 minutes with at least 52k force. During that time  one would have experienced gusts of 70k or more.

This tracker. based on Windy, gives another reality to what these guys are passing through and also to the routing they made to get always a lot of wind, but not that kind of wind, neither the blue neither the violet. Yes, if those boats were on that position with that wind and the correspondent sea, they would be in trouble, but it is not the case. That picture gives the prevision in 44 hours and that doted line shows the position were the boats would be in 44 hours, if they continue at the same speed and with the same course. Great feature!!!

We can see that  some will pass the storm by North and that the one that appears to be in the middle of it is playing strong and in a way that implies some risks: He is going to try to win over that storm in speed and we can see that Sebastien Josse, the third on the classification, will be just a  bit out of it in 44 hours...if he can maintain the speed and if the storm does not advance faster then what is previewed. Big balls that will allow him to gain many miles over the two ahead of him....if everything goes according to the plan 😉

Here we have Josse, that was also filmed by that French Navy helicopter, here on an inverse view, the helicopter being filmed by the boat. Soon we will have the opposite movie. and some days ago going at 24k

Thursday, December 1, 2016


Incredible video taken by an helicopter from a French Destroyer on the Indian Ocean, showing the fight between Alex and Armel. We can see Armel's boat, Banque Populaire, going very well and very fast and Hugo Boss, Alex's boat, going overpowered limping, with too much sail, without the foil that on that tack would make a diference, on a desperate attempt to keep pace....and the most surprisingly is that he is managing that. Chapeau to Alex.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016


Many, including me, thought that when Alex boat lost a foil, that his race would be finished, at least for the first places. Well, I was wrong and this time I am happy for being wrong😉. Alex, that was caught some days after breaking the foil by Armel, instead of continuing to lose time, put on a huge fight and for several days the two boats race almost side by side, like if the finish line was in sight.

Quite incredibly, yesterday they made more 100nm than anyone on the fleet (near 500nm) and I don't think they have better sailing conditions than some others. Kind of a psychological and physical battle to the limit those two are fighting. It would be interesting to see who is going to break first, or what is the boat that is going to break first (I hope not) since they are pushing them to the limit too.

Another point of interest is  a huge storm that is coming from the West and it has the possibility of catching the second group of boats, the one where the American Rich Wilson, the Japonese Kojiro and the New Zealander Colman are. If they are not able to make over 300nm a day they will get caught by the storm, with mountainous seas and winds over 50k. Yesterday most of them has made between 225 and 305nm a day.

You can follow the weather evolution and the boats here: Orange is rock'roll sailing, red is already too much and violet and blue...well nobody will want to be there, not even these great sailors in very seaworthy boats:

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


Ok, this is going to be a short post: If you want an all around cruiser with 33ft and have only 150 000 euros, buy this one. I know magazines cannot say this but I don't care, this is not a magazine and I don't have publicity concerns.

This design is an old one, I mean the hull, it is a 7 year old design by Ceccarelli and it was a remarkably advanced design at that time, so advanced that it seems brand new. The little Azuree has been given proves, again and again, that it is a fast and very seaworthy boat. It had a ugly cabin and a good interior, a big one due to hull design, and the boat beam. 

It has now a nicely designed cabin, that made the boat beautiful, and the interior was bettered with the possibility of choosing different elements according to different needs and personal taste. The quality and the design are also good, being the quality a bit over the  usual on boats of this price.

It was tested recently by "Sailing Today" that said, not surprisingly:
"At the performance end of the market, a well-designed chine has more impact, giving the 33C superb balance and poise, even in challenging conditions. Her twin rudders and moderate, high-aspect rig combined with almost full-length single chines mean that she heels over, sits in the chine, and simply flies.... Sailing in 13-15kt the 33C was close winded, playful on the helm and genuinely quick. She rarely sailed below seven knots and was often hitting eight. Heeled over she sat in the chine and she was superbly balanced, but still playful on the helm...The quality of the finish is a notch above the standard production yacht, too."

It is lighter (and probably stronger), using now vacuum infused lamination techniques and vinilester resins, very rare or unheard on boats with this price. The weight is just a bit over 5T , with 1.9m draft a highly efficient torpedo keel and a ballast ratio of 30%. That and the big beam (3.66m) gives him a lot of power and stability that is used to rig 66m2 of sail area.

A very cute boat, with a great big cruising interior, fast, seaworthy, well built and not expensive? What do you want more.😉