Van Morrison captured some of the joy of sailing with his lyrics, “Smell the sea and feel the sky, let your soul and spirit fly.” Sailing is one of the ultimate freedoms and can be started at any age. Of course, as with anything else, the sooner you start, the more you learn and the more fun you can start having. If you are new to the sport and would like a head-start, here are some tips and tricks to get you gliding across the waters swiftly.
Making Boats Fly
Race yachts are going to places many would have never dreamed of even a decade ago. Sailing has always been a high-tech sport at the elite level, with designers pouring their time into new keel, hull or sail designs to eke out an advantage over competitors. The pursuit of speed and performance has taken sailing craft designers to new frontiers with hydrofoils. Reducing drag and wetted-area to go faster now involves lifting boats out of the water all together.
Around the World in Less Than 78 days and two hours?
Let's take another glance at the Vendee Globe and see how our skippers are doing. A reminder –the Vendee Globe is the world’s most severe mental and physical test of solo endurance sailing. Solo sailors race around the globe, passing through the most hostile oceans of the world without a crew, medical staff or navigational assistance.
Few sports offer the diversity that sailing does. From ocean to lake, offshore to onshore, every sailing location presents its own unique challenges for sailors. Sailing has strong participation numbers in non-coastal areas of the US, and a new organization in Chicago has some collaborative plans for the sport in the region.
The Chicago Area Sail Racing Association (CASRA) was recently formed to deliver a new style of racing around Chicago’s lakefront. With 18 miles of lakefront to play with, the group intends to launch a variety of events and regattas to boost participation numbers in the area’s boating community.
Solo round the world racing is something that only the hardiest and mentally tough sailors can contemplate. Go a couple of steps further, solo, non-stop, without assistance, and you have the Vendee Globe: a dangerous and demanding race that will take place for the eighth time on November 6th in France. Departing from Les Sables d’Olonn, 29 skippers will race their IMOCA 60s east to west around the world, in a course that takes competitors through the three major capes; Cape Horn, Leeuwin and Good Hope.
The America's Cup Just Keeps Improving
The America's Cup is at the pinnacle of world match racing . It dates back to 1851, when it was first won by the yacht America on the coasts of England. Also known as the Auld Mug, the America's Cup is the oldest trophy in the sport, and the event has the longest winning streak in the sport. The New York Yacht Club (NYCC) held the trophy from 1857 until 1983 when it was finally won by Australia II and the Royal Perth Yacht Club.
Until 1970 there was only ever one challenger, and the New York Club agreed that challengers would compete in a series of races to determine a rightful challenger. This Challenger Series, now known as the Louis Vuitton Cup, has turned into a World Match racing series that is now one of the most competitive, technologically advanced, and financially demanding series in world sports. The Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series has become sailing’s equivalent of Formula One racing.
The Grandfather of Modern Match Racing
The Congressional Cup is one of the main events in the match racing circuit, particularly in the United States. The 52 year old event now attracts the world’s best skippers looking to compete and claim the prestigious title in an action-packed and challenging event. The Long Beach Yacht Club founded the event in 1964 with the aim of encouraging yacht racing in the U.S. at the highest of standards. As a true test of skill, and not resources, they decided that everyone would be on a level playing field by sailing identical yachts. Today, the Congressional Cup is known as a path to the America’s Cup, and many past champions have skippered in the AC, including Dennis Conner, Ted Turner, Ed Baird, James Spithill, and Dean Barker, among others.
Rio Olympics Sailing
In less than a month, we will all turn our attention to Rio to see how the Summer Olympics unfolds. Sailing will be a hotly contested sport at the Games. While there have been some "concerns over the Rio sailing venue", that is out of the athletes' hands. All they can do is focus on the challenge at hand.
Final Preps for Rio 2016: Far from Plain Sailing
The Rio Olympics are just around the corner, and yet in many ways they couldn’t be further away. In six weeks global attention will turn to Rio de Janeiro for the world’s largest sporting event; however, the city and games organizers are a long way from being ready. The hurdles facing Rio are a unique combination of logistical, natural and man-made problems.
Olympic sailing throws up a huge variety of highly competitive events over 10 separate classes, meaning there will be 10 gold medals on offer to successful countries. Events are often decided by seconds or meters, so it’s essential that the course and conditions for athletes are fair.