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Sailing World

Sailing World September - October 2016

Sailing World connects the community of racing sailors through words, images and shared experiences. Across many mediums, it explores the sailor’s passion and showcases the lifestyle, destinations and technology. It links knowledge-hungry participants to the sport’s top experts, providing unrivaled instructional content.

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United States
Bonnier Corporation
R 87,76
R 219,32
4 Issues

in this issue

6 min.
embracing better

WE’RE SITTING ON THE GRASS, a dozen or so middle-aged sailors encircling Marc Jacobi, a four-time Laser Olympic campaigner, whose role today is a combination of New Age sage, counselor and promoter. At his back are the double-axle wheels of a box trailer wrapped in flashy images of a dinghy sailor veiled in spray. Before Jacobi are 17 white Aero dinghies, nestled in dollies. We, a ragtag bunch of mainly Laser converts, have convened for the first official RS Aero sailing clinic in Rhode Island. Jacobi addresses the unfamiliar group by first inviting each of us to offer a brief personal background. It feels like a therapy session. There’s Derek, a devout Laser sailor from Rhode Island and a prolific blogger of the Laser lifestyle. He ordered his Aero in May…

4 min.
the jackal

THE WAY IT IS WHEN FRANÇOIS GABART reached Les Sables-d’Olonne on January 27, 2013, thousands of fans had braved the drizzle for hours to greet him. It was late at night and much colder by the time Armel Le Cléac’h arrived. Three hours after the victor was crowned, the crowd at the dock had thinned out. Adding to 39-year-old Le Cléac’h’s misery was how his second-place finish was in many ways a repeat of the same scenario four years before, behind Michel Desjoyeaux. Le Cléac’h has had more than three years to think about what he could have done differently. Understandably, it has been of little consolation to know that he lost the race by a hairline margin to Gabart. He has already begun to apply his very Cartesian analysis to how…

2 min.
battle of the foils

As of mid-July, 30 boats were registered for the 2016-17 Vendée Globe. With six of those boats outfitted with foils, the race will be a showdown between innovation and tried-and-true methods of circumnavigation. In theory, the L-shaped foils provide an advantage in certain conditions, such as a 10 percent speed bump in reaching wind conditions of over 15 knots. The foils bear enough force to counter leeway and increased righting moment. Armel Le Cléac’h says the IMOCAs with foils could sail up to 5 percent faster on average over the entire around-the-world course. The teams will seek fronts that allow the boats to sail at angles of 85 to 125 degrees, in the “sweet spot.” “You can be sure that the navigation software will guide the boats to where they can take…

3 min.
headless helmsmen

IN IMOCA 60 RACING, singlehanded sailors often rely on their autopilots to drive, and in the Vendée Globe, they can be the singlehander’s best friend or worst enemy. “The pilot needs to drive the boat reliably through a full range of conditions,” says naval architect Jesse Naimark-Rowse, electronics engineer for Osprey Technical, which outfits Vendée Globe contenders such as Alex Thomson’s Hugo Boss. “On a grand-prix boat, the instruments measure heel, trim, pitch and roll rates, and have very fast GPS and compasses on top of your standard wind and boatspeed [instrumentation]. This information is calculated to allow the autopilot to steer while surfing and respond to whatever else is influencing the [boat’s] behavior.” There are many capable autopilots on the market for recreational racers, but B&G and NKE dominate the shorthanded…

1 min.
autopilot anatomy

3 min.
repowering the engines

WHILE MUCH OF THE Vendée Globe’s prerace hype has been focused on the lateral foils, there have been four years of tandem development in what is arguably the most important equipment on the boats — the sails. The sail inventory is one of the most closely guarded secrets of the race, says North Sails sail designer Gautier Sergent, for inside the quiver lies each skipper’s round-the-world strategy. “The sail inventory is ultimately influenced by the skipper’s experience and how they handle the transitions,” says Sergent. “Some prefer to go around the high-pressure systems, and some go through them. Some guys want to go fast in the Southern Ocean, for example, and believe that is where they will make the most gains, while others prefer to get to the bottom of the…