On A Great Mac-Race SoT Racer.

It might be mid-April, but that hasn’t stopped thousands of fresh water sailors from booking up their July-21st weekend. That’s when the Chicago-Mac race — or more precisely, the “Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac”  — fires off for 2018. And true to form, this year’s 333-mile granddaddy of all freshwater distance races will see a full flush of raceboats shaping up at the starting line. So far, we counted 292 vessels in the 2018 scratch sheet. Wednesday night ’round-the-can racing, the Mac is not. Of course, to our twisted-boat design sense of fun, a more rigorous all-around boat test […]

In the Spirit of Fazisi: A Designer’s Notebook.

What is it with Russians and nostalgia? In movies there’s Nostalghia, Andrei Tarkovksy’s brooding 1988’s film masterpiece about the lurid horrors of a collapsing Soviet Union. (Yeah, this is a boat-design newsletter, get over it.) And in raceboats, there is Fazisi. The brooding 82-foot, late 1980’s Whitbread round-the-world speedster, that ran the 32,932 mile event with no sea trials, little funding and lots of stress. The skipper on the first leg, the poor Aleksei Grishenko, hanged himself from a tree in Uruguay. Leaving American, Skip Novak, to take over the fight making his way around the globe and write a […]

Retro Golden Globe One-Design Racer Gets Lost In Design Time.

Hey, Don McIntyre! You’re the organizer of the Golden Globe 2018 single-handed round-the-world race. You know, the one where anybody can grab a select list of old fiberglass boats and go around the world non-stop, with not much more than a sextant. Is there a rule we missed that says the new one-design for your race has to be a slow boat to China and back? It’s not like we’re not big fans of the coming Golden Globe Race 2018. We flat out love how your GGR will send off a mixed fleet of about 30 professional and amateur sailors. […]

Paul Pounds Sails: Why Handicapping Sail Materials Is a Material Mistake.

Sailing is not golf. Handicapping a sailboat race is a silly, silly idea: Length, weight, sail area, wetted surface are difficult to compare fairly. Nothing comes close to a simple “three-stroke handicap” that captures the subtle mix of tools that make a boat fast or slow. But, still, we sailors want to have fun, we don’t want confusing rules and penalties that are faulty in basis.  Mostly we want to collect our friends and all our different boats, together at the same party, and race. It’s what we do. Today, we’re going to rant about the especially gnarly problem of […]

Bequia Wins Again: A Look at the Candy Store Cup 2017 Fleet.

It may be shameless self promotion, but … one of our favorite boats, Bequia, took another decisive win on the race course earlier this summer. She took first overall at this year’s pretty darn competitive Candy Store Cup, in Newport, RI.  When we find luck on the race course, we like to take a moment to compare the boat to the others on the race course. That way we learn where the speed might have come from; and dig into what we can improve in future designs. The very talented marine photographer, Mark Krasnow, was very generous to share his spectacular race photos. […]

The Scuttlebutt on the Camden Classics Cup

One of the upsides of sponsoring the Camden Classics Cup is we get to cozy up to the scratch sheet for this year’s racing. Entries are still coming, but so far there will be some distinguished Spirit-of-Tradition yachts, with great backstories, out there on crystal blue Penobscot Bay. Since any time is a good time to jaw about these lovely boats, here’s a couple of favorite designs you can expect to see racing on July 27th. Marie J: This Tiffany Jayne 34 was the cold-molded wood prototype for a successful fiberglass production run of this boat, designed by Paul Kotzebue, […]

Marine Engineering 106: How to Win a Super Yacht Regatta.

Talking about racing sailboats starts a competitive debate around here. On one hand, we’re still the boat-nerds dreaming of deconstructing a Vendee Globe or America’s Cup racing rule to unlock the hidden speed secrets that take the silver home. All designers dream of sailing glory. But on the other, experience has taught us that real raceboats are a bummer. The dumb things go out of date before they’re even built. And the boat you wind up having to sail is a beast: Rough. Wet. Dangerous. And that’s assuming you know how to sail fast. Most of us live through the […]

A Camden Classic Cup Profile: The Dolphin 24.

If your plan is to roll up to the bar and lay down a Dolphin 24 story, yours better be up to the competition: This Sparkman & Stevens 24-foot racer-cruiser, built for George O’Day back in the heyday of the 1960’s Midget Ocean Racing Club circuit, is long-considered a classic yacht. Yes, the design dates from 1958, and these boats are rated in the Classic Class under Camden Classic Cup notice of race. They were also among the first mass-produced boats to be built of modern materials. In this case, fiberglass. The design spawned a species of something like 300 easy-to-sail, yet fast […]