Yacht Racing World Newsletter – Issue 22
Tuesday March 1
World Sailing – Statement concerning the situation in Ukraine
World Sailing is very concerned about the situation in Ukraine and we are troubled about the safety of our friends in the Ukrainian sailing community.
Sport can be a force for good, bringing competitors from around the world together, united by the values of equality, inclusion, respect and fairness.
World Sailing joins many international sports organisations calling for an immediate end to all hostilities and a resumption of dialogue for a peaceful resolution in place of military action.
There are no World Sailing organised regattas planned to be held in Russia or Belarus in 2022, and the Executive Board are supporting the relocation of training and education events in Russia.
We remain in contact with all our Member National Authorities to offer our support at this incredibly difficult time.
Rule 69 Blog – Siberia
A week off. A vital time of digital detoxification and re-connection with family and sport, free of normality whilst doing the extreme in the high mountains of the French Alps – writes Magnus Wheatley.
Returning to Geneva yesterday afternoon and the much-delayed flight home, the world had changed. Geneva was stuffed with diplomats. Missions were flying in for hastily convened meetings. Convoys of blacked-out Mercedes with police out-riders blocked the roads.
The border guards were muscular and menacing with weaponry on display and not a hint of generosity. The mood was darker than I have ever seen. Europe, with the abhorrent spectre of war, is on tenterhooks. The kleptocratic class of the former Soviet Union has resorted to its mean and the world scrambles for an effective response.
Sport is grappling with its morals, desperate to find and strike the right tone. Some, like Judo and Formula 1 acted relatively timely. The murky, dire world of soccer still doesn’t know whether to turn left or right and would rather not make a decision. FIFA is a tainted shambles. UEFA is only slightly better but more on the front foot. National bodies deign to do the right thing and make statements aimed at appeasing their followers whilst supporting the desperate Ukrainian situation.
As the newsflow horrifies, shocks and abhors, the simple unpalatable fact arises that Russia and its sportspeople, whose name this war is not in, are not welcome on the world stage for the foreseeable future and sponsorship riches of millions of roubles are to be denied with contracts summarily annulled right across sport.
Sailing, at the grand prix end (and I’m acutely aware that there’s far more to our sport than just this flavour) has its part to play too but this is not a moment for grandstanding. The great clubs of the world – the likes of the New York Yacht Club, The Royal Yacht Squadron, The Royal Ocean Racing Club, Yacht Club de Monaco, Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and Yacht Club Costa Smeralda plus a host of others need to collectively decide, decisively and meaningfully, that they will no longer lend the respectability of their great races, or even their local races, to Russian participation. A polite: ‘thank you but no thank you’ at the point of entry is the very least we can expect.
World Sailing – Yano Lange fulfils foiling dream to raise awareness of climate change
Argentine sailor Yago Lange has made history by becoming the first person in history to foil in front of the Perito Moreno Glacier. Located within the Los Glaciares National Park in Argentina, part of the Patagonia region, the Perito Moreno Glacier covers an area of 250 square kilometres (97 square miles) and is continuing to grow.
Yago Lange, a 49er sailor at the 2016 Olympic Games with his brother Klaus and member of World Sailing’s Sustainability Commission, set out to fulfill his dream of foiling in the icy waters of Lake Argentino with the aim of carrying a message of awareness about the conservation of glaciers and the value of water.
For two days, Yago and his travel companion and photographer, Marko Magister, toured Los Glaciares National Park with the aim of amplifying his message.
He said, “My desire as an athlete is to take care of the place that I love so much and that gives me so much and to share the message that it is not just for me, but it is for everyone. Those of us who love the water must protect it.”
Emirates Team New Zealand – The Biggest Unknown
In Emirates Team New Zealand’s 30 year history they have designed and built over 20 different race boats but it will come as no surprise that not one of them involved any amount of R&D on tyres.
So obviously this is the main area that is the biggest leap into the unknown for the ETNZ designers that have been working on the team’s attempt at the Wind Powered Land Speed World Record.
The man leading the charge in the area is Mechanical Engineer Tim Meldrum, a mountain biking enthusiast, Tim knows a bit about the value of tyres, traction and turf. He was also one of the key designers behind the legendary Cyclors mechanical system that was so integral to the team’s success winning the America’s Cup back for New Zealand in 2017.
“One of our biggest challenges has been understanding how to get grip on the ground, so to stop the craft slipping sideways, we rely on tires to bite into the salt. So, that's where it differs a lot from a yacht.” He explained. “When you're on water, we just have a foil or a centre board in the water, which resists leeway. We've done as much research as we could possibly do in the time available to figure out what tyres are out there and what may work for us.”
Yacht Racing Life – A chat with British Vendée Globe skipper Pip Hare
British solo skipper and 2020-21 Vendee Globe competitor Pip Hare was my guest on the latest episode of The Yacht Racing Podcast – writes Justin Chisholm.
You can listen to the full podcast episode on Apple Podcasts or Spotify but the story below gives is a taste of what we discussed during the hour long interview.
Growing up in the landlocked English county of Cambridgeshire, Pip Hare’s nearest sailing club was on a large local inland lake.
It’s not necessarily the ideal jumping off point for a career as a professional ocean racer and although Hare dabbled with the sport there, her love affair with sailing began closer to the open sea – sailing with her grandfather on his Folkboat on the River Deben near Felixstowe in Suffolk.
She fondly recalls those outings with her grandad as fun ‘really adventurous’ experiences. “It was Swallows and Amazons – jumping off the boat, making rope swings, that sort of thing,” she says.
Later, as a teenager sailing in south west England she became aware for the first time of the feeling of freedom sailing can give you.
“It's a very powerful thing. Teenagers are desperate to make decisions on their own and to have responsibility – but they're just not allowed to. And yet, you stick a teenager on the helm of a boat and they can make so many decisions.
Hare found the freedom sailing gave her ‘exhilarating’ and she soon recognised the sport’s potential to provide a gateway for international travel. “Seeing the world and adventure – that was it really that was all I wanted to do,” she recalls.
She had been bitten by the sailing bug and Hare now found herself working part time jobs before school and at weekends to pay for the train fares to the coast to go sailing.
Desperate for sea miles but without a boat of her own, she volunteered with sailing charities like the RYA Seamanship Foundation.
“These were mostly charities that provided sailing opportunities for disabled people and they were always looking for able-bodied volunteers. All I had to do was find the train fare and I could go and do that.”
Volunteering became Hare’s first stepping stone into offshore sailing and it’s an approach she still recommends to others with similar goals today.
“I think, as a way of getting into sailing, it's quite underrated by an awful lot of people,” she says. “They don't realise how much they can get out of it by doing it.”
When Hare turned her sights on the racing, however, getting the necessary experience was a tougher problem. Hare’s parents – although keen sailors – were strictly cruisers aboard the family Moody 33.
“There were normally eight of us rammed into it – and it was very waddly, slow cruising. So I did come from a sailing family – but no racing.”
Sur in English – Spanish central government refuses to finance Malaga's America's Cup hopes
The central government's delegate for Malaga, Javier Salas, yesterday put an end to Malaga city mayor Francisco de la Torre's ambitions of securing financing from the State to aid the candidacy to host the Americas Cup.
The decision came as a surprise to the mayor, who had formally requested that the central government take on at least 20 of the 30 million euros that it would cost to expand the pier attached to the Levant dock (ADL) in the port of Malaga, which would serve as a base for the competing teams.
"The government is working towards improving the province's infrastructures at the port, the airport, the train system and the road network, which all depend on the State.
But the government doesn't have the responsibility of financing Malaga city hall's supposed aspirations to host the Americas Cup, because it escapes our area of competence," the delegate said, who assured that the Executive is concentrating on getting the European funds to the province and, through the State budget, "ensure that the province has a just recovery, with financing towards local businesses."
Javier Salas reinforced that the government has a "clear and decisive compromise with [the city's] 2027 Expo", which the council of Ministries has already agreed to; and assumed the responsibility of presenting that candidacy to the organising body, located in Paris.
"There is a clear and serious compromise on the Spanish government's behalf and we are working towards [the Expo]," said Salas.