Skeel and Storkman Honored by US Sailing

Skeel and Storkman Honored by US Sailing

It’s that time of the year when US Sailing hands out awards and honors. This time around, two of our own PNW sailors received acknowledgment from the governing body. Here’s US Sailing’s announcement and the specifics on the community sailing work done by these two!


Community Sailing and National One-Design Award Winners
Announced by US Sailing

BRISTOL, R.I. (January 29, 2018) – US Sailing is proud to announce the 2017 Community Sailing and National One-Design Award winners for their contributions to the sport of sailing in the United States. To celebrate the accomplishments of these individuals and organizations responsible for advancing sailing forward in their respective areas of focus and within their communities, US Sailing will recognize them on Thursday, February 1, 2018 at the Awards Celebration to be held at the Sailing Leadership Forum in St. Pete Beach, Florida, hosted by the TradeWinds Island Grand Resort.

US Sailing will issue a second announcement following the Awards Celebration for the award winners who will be recognized live at the awards celebration.

The following 2017 Community Sailing and One-Design Award winners are:

  • Andrew Alletag (Tewksbury, Mass.) of Community Boating, Inc. in Boston, Mass. received the Jim Kilroy Outstanding Outreach & Inclusion Award.
  • Erik Skeel (Woodinville, Wash.) of Sail Sand Point in Seattle, Wash. received the award for Excellence in Instruction.
  • Jamie Jones (Westerville, Ohio) of the Hoover Sailing Club received the award for Outstanding Organizational Leader.
  • Joan Storkman (Gig Harbor, Wash.) was named Volunteer of the Year for her ongoing dedication as a volunteer at Gig Harbor Junior Sail Program.
  • Wayzata Community Sailing Center (Wayzata, Minn.) received the award for More than Ten Years of Hallmark Performance for their continued commitment to community sailing.
  • Sail Nauticus (Norfolk, Va.) received the award for Creative Innovations in Programming.
  • Delavan Lake Yacht Club (Delavan, Wis.) received a the National One-Design Regatta Award for excellence in development, promotion and management of the year’s most outstanding one-design regatta.
  • Jon VanderMolen (Richland, Mich.) and Don Parfet (Richland, Mich.) received the National One-Design Creativity Award for their inaugural Vintage Gold Cup.
  • San Diego Yacht Club (Calif.) received the National One-Design Club Award recognizing administrative excellence, fleet growth, creative programming, regatta support and member contributions.



Erik Skeel (with Laura Smit) at the singlehanded college nationals.

Erik Skeel – Excellence in Instruction

Erik Skeel (Woodinville, Wash.) of Sail Sand Point in Seattle, Wash. has been recognized for his superb leadership and extraordinary instruction. Providing highly technical feedback to sailors, his greatest strength is his leadership in group settings.

As a sophomore member of the University of Washington Sailing Team, Skeel’s enthusiasm and knowledge, regardless of his role on the boat, has made a positive impact on his teammates. As a summer camp instructor, he shares his love of sailing and amicable personality with everyone around him.

He is a truly remarkable instructor and valued member of Sail Sand Point.

Joan Storkman – Volunteer of the Year

Joan Storkman (Gig Harbor, Wash.) is a tireless volunteer with the Gig Harbor Junior Sail Program in Washington. She has been there since its inception and, in less than 10 years, this program has grown from a very small all-volunteer operation, to a fully-fledged program employing seasonal staff, while operating eight months a year. This year, the Gig Harbor Yacht Club (GHYC) Junior Sail “Learn to Sail” summer program recorded its highest enrollment ever, with 160 local youth participating in their weekly sailing camps, thanks to Storkman’s hard work.

She recruited and leads the 12-member Board of Directors, and works countless hours to ensure that the GHYC Junior Sail a well-run, organized and high-morale community asset.

Storkman’s high-energy leadership, attention to detail, as well as her endless team motivation and expressions of gratitude to all the volunteers and instructors has positioned the GHYC Junior Sail to be a successful program with a fantastic future.

ORC Scoring/Informational Meeting Wrapup

ORC Scoring/Informational Meeting Wrapup

Last Saturday Seattle YC hosted an informational meeting on ORC scoring, led by Ian Lloyd of ORC-Canada. It’s great to see the racing community gathering and spreading information. First off there’s a summary by organizer Sue Weiss, who is a scorer with SYC. Then we have impressions from attendee William Bonner. While it appears this was fairy focused on scoring, this kind of meeting certainly expands the community’s familiarity with the system. Let’s keep the conversation going about how to get more butts in boats, whether it’s ORC, PHRF, one-design or just “hey, I’ll meet you on the water!” Send your thoughts, and we’ll try to get it posted. A reader is even undertaking the task of explaining in plain terms what ORC and PHRF are really about. Stay tuned!

Ian Lloyd is to the left of the TV screen in the background.

Summary from Sue Weiss to the attendees:

First – a huge thank you to Ian Lloyd for preparing a 16 page hand that will help us review major concepts. It was a lot of absorb in 2 hours and I hope participants review it in the following months. I appreciate everyone’s workshop comments.

My observations and takeaways – and everyone is encouraged to enter into the discussion, agree and/or disagree with them.

Sailwave is a favorite scoring program locally.  Racers are used to the one PHRF number and can easily figure out how they did in comparison to another boat.  

ORC has more ratings depending on what rating system the YC (aka Organizing Authority) has said they would use  – one rating or triple ratings.  The number and kind of ratings (TOT and/or TOD, Windward/Leeward or Coastal Long Distance) need to be explicitly stated in the NOR and SIs and that the wind speed decided by the Race Committee is not subject to redress. 

ORC Scorer does not have the sail number entry system that Sailwave has (great observation) (Sail Number Wizard), however time results could be entered by boat name, similar to a check in sheet.  

Racers can see potential result changes that different wind conditions and type of race would make with a simple ORC drop down menu change.  

ORC Ratings are also available online and can be updated online.  

Most Puget Sound boats have been getting their ORC certificates from Canada, but that will change as US Sailing is setting up its own ORC certificate system.

I want to thank 48 North, Kurt Hoehne and all the yacht clubs for publicizing this event.  Hoehne runs a sailing blog and I suspect he’d like to continue the conversation.

And this from William Bonner, who attended the meeting:

Thanks for the information in the Saturday seminar. I gained a huge amount of knowledge. 

Experience racing under PHRF and ORC in the past year left me seriously questioning ORC. 

What I really liked from this weekend was the discussion related to the methods of scoring used by race committee’s which will likely be the deciding factor on how much any handicapping system is used. 

I like the quantitative measurement rating of ORC. It’s use in buoy racing where conditions of a particular race are likely consistent makes plenty of sense to me. 

Its use in a longer coastal race with variable conditions, such as Swiftsure, VanIsle360, or Round the County are more problematic when the wind may vary from nothing to gale in a single segment.  While no handicapping system will work for every boat, the fact that racers can’t know the handicap variables till after the race, and knowing what the race committed decided to call the wind, makes things much less satisfying. 

The primary question I was asked was if there’s a larger push to move more boats to ORC from PHRF. I wasn’t able to confidently answer that, but based on the consensus that the sailflow interface is what people are familiar with and it doesn’t natively use ORC ratings, there will likely be more splits in the fleet through the next couple of years, with some boats competing under the ORC rating, and some competing under PHRF, and some switching between individual events. 

Is there a general movement one way or another?

(I’m just crew that’s interested in all of this for the geek factor)

Wet Wednesday – Icebergs and Olympic Classes

Back to a PNW Wet Wednesday, specifically Sloop Tavern’s Iceberg Series. This video comes courtesy of Marc-Andrea Klimaschewski (thanks!) from onboard the J/80 Reckless. Some fun footage of a flying reach to Skiff Point including losing the chute a couple times. Reckless ended up winning Class 4. Send those videos in. Now’s a good time to get your video gear sussed out for the season. You want to save it for posterity, right?

STYC Iceberg Race 2018 on SV Reckless from Marc-Andrea Klimaschewski on Vimeo.


And for you dinghy sailors, all those Olympic and up-and-comer types were in Miami for the World Cup Series a week ago. And while all the final races were broadcast live online over the weekend, I’m thinking not many of us spent our days doing that. Here’s a 50 minute recap of the series, with some great heavy air sailing in all the Olympic classes. Check out the boat handling, and check out Caleb Paine coming from behind to grab the silver in the Finn. You can skip around to enjoy the classes you find most interesting.

Helena Scutt Reports from the Windy World Sailing Series Miami

Helena Scutt Reports from the Windy World Sailing Series Miami
Gulari and Scutt sending it in the Nacra 17. Jesus Renedo photos.

Helena Scutt (of Kirkland, WA) and skipper Bora Gulari are currently the top U.S. Nacra 17 team at the World Cup Series Miami. Despite what must be exhausting days, she wrote the following to to share:

After three days of racing, with one more day of normal racing plus a medal race day, we are in 9th place. However, this regatta is so much more than the result for us. It is our first regatta together, and my first Nacra 17 regatta, and it’s Bora’s first regatta since the horrific accident we had on Aug 30, in which he lost parts of 3 fingers. So for us to be here competing in the thick of it is something to be grateful for. This newly foiling Olympic class is new to everyone, and since we lost some training time, every day is a steep learning curve. We are really enjoying working together and I’m amazed by the progress we’ve made in the last three weeks of sailing here in Miami. We’ve improved our boatspeed in all conditions, boathandling, race communication, starts, catamaran-style tactics… you name it, we’ve gotten better at it. I couldn’t ask for a better teammate. What’s also very cool is Seattleite Jonathan McKee is coaching us and the other three USA Nacras. Right now we are in 9,10,11, and 17 as a group. We brief and debrief daily together and look forward to being pushed by the other teams in training, that’s a great asset. 

Bora and I are very self-critical so we’re never satisfied, but given our situation, we’re making the best of it and happy with progress. Ten days after this regatta we are going to Buenos Aires, ARG and then Punta del este, URU to train with the Rio 2016 Gold medallists Santi Lange and Ceci Carranza, and Riley and Louisa will join us too. Lots more in store for us! 

We should all be excited for Helena. She’s an Olympic veteran (2016 Rio with Paris Henken in the 48erFX) and Bora is a multi-class champion. Their Facebook page is Gulari Scutt Racing, and Helena posts to Instagram as @helenas9.

The Racing

Thursday the conditions were definitely “breeze-on.” As far as our other heroes Hanne Weaver and Kate Shaner, we haven’t heard from them yet, but I’m guessing they’re pretty tired right now. Sailing a Laser Radial in those conditions is brutal and the 49erFXs had a whole lot of DNSs and DNFs in the results. This experience is invaluable for their aspirations.

There’s a good recap of racing here.

The medal races will be televised:

Saturday Medal Races – RS:X, 49er, 49erFX, Nacra 17: URL –

Sunday Medal Races – 470, Finn, Laser, Laser Radial: URL –

Read on for Stuart Streuli’s racing recap:

After 18 months away from a physically demanding sailboat such as the Laser Radial, a windy day like Day 3 of the 2018 World Cup Series Miami, USA, can be a rude awakening. But if two-time Olympian Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla., above) is going to get back into world-class sailing shape in time to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, there’s no time to waste.

“I haven’t sailed since the [Rio Olympic] Games, and coming into this event we’re extremely underweight and obviously not in the best of shape,” she said. “So, what [a windy day] does for the long-term goal is that it really shows you how hard you can push yourself. It also forces you to be really good with all of your boat handling. I think events like this, too, when they’re windy day after day, it’s good mentally. The Games is always a tough mental event. If you can start early on in the quad where you start pushing yourself mentally, I think it’s good training for the big events.”

World Sailing Recap: Change of Conditions Shifts the Leaderboard on Day 3

Railey’s first day back was workmanlike, two 10ths and a 13th. Today was less successful with a mid-fleet finish and a black-flag disqualification for being over the starting line early. She’s 15th overall, but within striking distance of the top 10, and Sunday’s Medal Race. Emma Plasschaert (BEL) is walking away with the competition. Her 20-point total is 22 points less than Manami Doi (JPN) who is second. But Plasschaert has a large number for her throwout, which means this regatta just one mistake from being completely wide open again.

With more than a decade of campaign experience under her belt, Railey is pragmatic about the path to her third Olympic team. The key to campaigning as a veteran is to be as efficient as possible with your time and energy. That means embracing whatever conditions come her way.

“I have a bucket list [of things to work on this event],” she said. “But honestly it’s getting off the line, and since it’s so windy—and I’m sitting under 135 pounds—it’s really getting off the start and then just focusing on trying to hike as hard as I can. I’m literally in the phase right now where I’m just trying to get my legs and everything back which is obviously brutal, but whatever, it’s life.”

While many might find that level of physical exertion unappetizing, for Railey it’s a welcome change after a year and a half in the business world.

“There’s nothing like going out and physically pushing yourself,” she said. “You know, you go to the brink of ‘I don’t even know if I can continue doing this.’ It starts turning into mind over matter. In the working world, a lot of it’s just mental, mental, mental, and then you’re lacking the physical exertion. What’s fun for me is being out on the water and actually feeling the fatigue. People would say that’s crazy, but I actually like to be able to push myself physically.”

Railey is the top-placed American in the fleet by a 18-points. But with the strong winds expected to continue through the weekend, a good result will require her to push herself back into the pain cave time and time again. And while rising stars Erika Reineke, Haddon Hughes and Christina Sakellaris, among others, are not having great regattas, each has shown the potential to place in this very competitive fleet. The race for the U.S. Laser Radial berth in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics has only just begun.

It was a wild and woolly day for the 49er fleet with a number of teams not finishing or even not starting races. Day 2 leaders Dylan Fletcher-Scott and Stuart Bithell (GBR) kept themselves in the pole position with a solid day, including a win and a third. In second and third, after nine races, are a pair of Spanish teams, Diego Botín le Chever and Iago López Marra (ESP) and brothers Federico and Arturo Alonso Tellechea (ESP).

Judge Ryan (San Diego, Calif.) continued his consistent sailing with fill-in crew Alain Sighn (GBR). They are eighth in the overall standings. The full-fleet portion of the regatta will wrap up tomorrow with three more races, with the top 10 moving on to Saturday’s Medal Race.

“Today, we had some pretty epic breeze on the 49er course, about 18 to 20 knots with some gusts in the 23 range,” said Ryan (at left). “The goal of the day, and actually the goal of our regatta, has been to just try and keep getting around the top mark in the top 15 and pick away from there. Sort of our scoreline reflects that from today. It wasn’t really a superb day, but we did what we needed to do and actually, because of our consistency, we moved up a spot. That’s always pretty rewarding on the big breeze days.”

Capsizes were plentiful today and Ryan noted that they can have a lasting impact.

“As our coach says, ‘You’ve got to use the K.I.S.S approach. Keep it simple, stupid,’” Ryan said. “Basically, minimize maneuvers, don’t capsize, and make your life easy. On a four-race day, if you have a few capsizes, your energy gets zapped. It just gets worse and worse, and obviously your performance suffers.”

With nine full-fleet races in the books, and just three remaining, for the Nacra 17 class at the 2018 World Cup Series Miami, USA, this much is clear: anyone hoping for a place on the podium in this coed class is going to have to knock a defending Olympic medalist down a peg. Five of the six sailors that won medals in the 2016 Rio Olympics are sailing in the class this week, and showing little willingness to share the wealth, so to speak.

Rio 2016 silver medalists Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AUS) have done their homework when it comes to the lifting foils that were introduced to the class less than a year ago. Whether in near-drifting conditions on Day 1 and Day 2 or the full-on breeze of Day 3, they have been extremely hard to beat, winning five races and posting just one finish outside the top four.

“Today was great, quite fresh, which is tricky on a foiling boat,” said Waterhouse. “We scored a three, two, one but we threw away a few points in the first race due an equipment malfunction, which was quite disappointing.”

With a 17-point lead, Waterhouse and Darmanin have a few points to burn. And, he added, there is an upside to the malfunction.

“We are trialing a lot of new systems and we had an issue where something got caught and we couldn’t get the spinnaker up,” he said. “We are actually pleased that happened because we can learn from it. Imagine if that happened at the World Championships or the Olympics.”

The reigning gold medalists in the class, Santiago Lange and Cecilia Carranza Saroli (ARG) are second, though they have nearly matched the Australian team over the last five races. The bronze medal skipper from 2016, Thomas Zajac (AUT) is sailing with a new crew in this Olympic cycle, Barbara Matz (AUT).

The top three American teams are grouped within six points of one another, between ninth and 11th place. Bora Gulari (Detroit, Mich.) and Helena Scutt (Kirkland, Wash.) (at right) lead the trio, with Ravi Parent and Christina Persson in 10th and Sarah Newberry and David Liebenberg in 11th. All three teams are new partnerships for this Olympic cycle and face the double challenge of learning a new boat and meshing with a new teammate.

Giles Scott (GBR) and Caleb Paine (San Diego, Calif.), both whom who won medals in the Finn class in the Rio 2016 Olympics, are in familiar territory after six races, with Paine in third and Scott tied on points for the lead with Alican Kaynar (TUR). The top 10 is tightly packed, however, with 13 points separating fourth from 10th, which should make for an exciting conclusion to the full-fleet portion of the regatta.

For a team that had not sailed together for five-plus years before reuniting during the lead-up to this regatta, Stu McNay (Providence, R.I.) and Graham Biehl (San Francisco, Calif.) have shown a remarkable ability to pick up where they left off. A sixth and a ninth today, in the sort of punchy conditions that would expose any rust or lack of cohesion, puts them in sixth place overall, with four races remaining before Sunday’s Medal Race. Getting onto the podium, which is currently occupied by Luke Patience and Chris Grube (GBR) in first with 16 points, Kevin Peponnet and Jeremie Mion (FRA) in second with 22 points, and Anton Dahlberg and Fredrik Bergström (SWE) in third with 26 points, will likely require some help. But getting as high as fourth is very realistic for the American team. Young guns Wiley Rogers and Jack Parkin, who won the 2016 Youth World Championships in the International 420, are 26th.

Afrodite Zeggers and Anneloes Van Veen (NED) showed their skill in the wind and waves today, scoring a first and a second in two races in the Women’s 470 division. That moved them up to second place. Ai Kondo Yoshida and Miho Yoshikoa (JPN) hung on to the overall lead despite a 17th in today’s final race. But the margin between first and sixth is just 10 points, with four full-fleet races remaining before Sunday’s Medal Race. Atlantic and Nora Brugman (Miami, Fla.) are the top-ranked American team in 24th.

The dramatic shift in the wind conditions, from 6 to 8 knots for races 1 through 4 of the RS:X Women’s regatta to 18 to 25 knots for races 4 through 8, did a number on the results. Noga Geller (ISR) who was so dominant in the light air, struggled to break into the top 20 in the breeze and dropped from first to sixth. Hélène Noesmoen (FRA) on the other hand, sparkled in the fresh breeze, picking up two firsts and a third and vaulting up to fourth place. Consistency across a range of conditions is the key to long-term success and Stefania Elfutina (RUS) showed today that she can handle high winds almost as well as the lightest edges of the wind window. She leads the regatta with 33 points. Blanca Mancon (ESP) is second. Farrah Hall (Annapolis, Md.), is 25th.

After a tough start to the regatta, Louis Giard (FRA) has been nearly unbeatable, with two first and two thirds in his last four races in the Men’s RS:X division. With no one else in the fleet able to match that level of consistency, Giard has staked himself to a 12-point lead after six races. Teammate Pierre Le Coq (FRA), the bronze medalist in the class from the Rio 2016 Olympics is second with Kiran Badloe (NED) in third. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the regatta has been the performance of double gold medalist Dorian Van Rijsselberghe, who is returning to competition after a long layoff. He’s in 10th place, with just one single-digit result to this point in the regatta. The class has just three full-fleet races remaining before Saturday’s Medal Race. 2016 Rio Olympian Pedro Pascual (West Palm Beach, Fla.) struggled in today’s windy conditions and dropped to 35th overall.

For the Women’s 49erFX fleet, which didn’t start a race until 2:40 p.m., the conditions proved to be too much for most of the 21-boat fleet. Many of those who survived the windward mark found turning back upwind to be too great of a challenge and only seven boats finished the race, after which the race committee sent them in for the day. Victoria Jurczok and Anika Lorenz (GER) extended their win streak to four races and pushed their lead to 10 points over Ragna and Maia Agerup (NOR) who are in turn 10 points ahead of Tanja Frank and Lorena Abicht (AUT). No American teams finished the race. Stephanie Roble (East Troy, Wis.) and Maggie Shea (Wilmette, Ill.) are the best-placed U.S. team in ninth place in the overall standings while Paris Henken (Coronado, Calif.) and Anna Tunnicliffe Tobias (Pittsburgh, Pa.) are 13th in their first regatta together.

In the 70-boat Laser fleet, anything in the top 10 is a very good result. String together a few of them and you could well find yourself in the lead. That’s been Tom Burton’s (AUS) experience so far in this regatta. He’s had one bad race, and five no worse than seventh, and is currently leading by 10 points from Philipp Buhl (GER). Nick Thompson (GBR) is third, three points further back. 2016 Rio Olympian Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, Calif.) hasn’t been able to replicate his first race, a second, but he’s sailed well enough to be inside the top 10 with four races to go before the fleet is thinned out for the Medal Race. Given how quickly points can add up in this fleet, Christopher Barnard, currently 17th, is within striking distance of the top 10. Erik Bowers (above, left) is 58th.

Wet Wednesday – Olympic Classes Training

Wet Wednesday – Olympic Classes Training

World Cup Series Miami is happening this week, and it’s where all the Olympic hopefuls congregate to start racking up wins and gaining experience in all the relevant classes. I’ve gathered some training videos – a couple of them VERY short clips – of PNW women that are there competing. Looks challenging for 4 seconds. Imagine a whole day of racing. First up is Kate Shaner and Charlotte Mack doing some heavy air training in her 49erFX. Then comes a video of Helena Scutt (with skipper Bora Gulari) in a polished pr video sailing a Nacra 19 on foils. Finally, we have a few seconds of Hanne Weaver working the waves in her Laser Radial in some big wind. I’m hoping to get some first-hand accounts of how the series is going. And for the young sailors at home, here are some hometown heroes to root for and learn from!

Yesterday was the first day of racing, and I posted a little report earlier today.


First Day at World Series Cup Miami

First Day at World Series Cup Miami
Gulari and Scutt in the Nacra 17. Photo by Jesus Renedo.

Well, this is going to be an interesting class to watch as the World Cup Series in Miami evolves. Six Nacra 17s are within two points after three races! In that mix is “our” Helena Scutt, who with Bora Gulari, racked up a 2nd and 5th (and a 16 throwout) to reassert themselves on the international scene. They definitely have medal potential for the upcoming Olympics. I’ll try to get some insight from Helena. After a 17th and 10th Northwesterner Kate Shaner and crew Charlotte Mack are in 14th place in the 49erFX. The Laser Radials never got a race off so chances are Hanne Weaver’s chomping at the bit somewhere.

Here’s Stuart Streuli’s recap for World Sailing. 

The international regatta debut for Bora Gulari (Detroit, Mich.) and Helena Scutt (Kirkland, Wash.) came nearly a half-year after it was initially scheduled. Not surprisingly, the Nacra 17 duo (above) was chomping at the bit to get going on Day 1 of the 2018 World Cup Series Miami, USA, which is taking place on Florida’s Biscayne Bay through Sunday, January 28. The regatta is the second of four stops on World Sailing’s 2018 World Cup Series tour.

A lack of wind this morning made them wait just a little bit longer, but it eventually filled in enough for three light-air races. Of the 10 classes competing on Biscayne Bay in the 2018 World Cup Series Miami, USA, the Nacra 17 fleet was one of just two to get in the scheduled number of races, with four classes getting completely shut out.

Global Recap: Miami Breeze Plays Hide and Seek on Day 1

“Today was our first international regatta together ever, so we were very excited about that,” said Scutt, who finished 10th in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in the 49erFX class before switching the coed Nacra 17 catamaran. “We were postponed on shore for a while because it was very light, but it ended up getting sailable. I thought the committee did a great job of getting off three races with the conditions that we had.”

While the breeze never built into the double digits, it was enough for the catamarans to utilize their lifting foils—a new addition for this Olympic cycle—on the downwind legs, hitting speeds in the low to mid-teens. 

“It was definitely too light to foil upwind, and honestly sometimes we were just trying to even fly one hull,” said Scutt. “But except for the last race, we could foil downwind. These boats can get foiling downwind in very light air. Then it’s a game of looking for the puffs and just trying to stay on the foils as long as possible, which is not easy when it gets that light.”

A pair of Italian Radial sailors launching in Miami. Richard Langdon photo.

The difference in speed between a boat up on the foils and one still dragging a hull through the water is dramatic.

 “Downwind most people pop up [on the foils] at the same time, after the offset mark,” said Scutt. “The real game is coming out of a gybe—how good is your gybe, and how soon can you get back foiling because you can’t foil-to-foil gybe—so there’s definitely some focus demanded there.”

As for Gulari and Scutt’s overall results, it was a bit of a mixed bag: a second in Race 1, followed by a 16th in Race 2 and a fifth to close out the day. But that was the case for most of the fleet, with all but one of the 19 teams recording a double-digit result. With their lowest score dropped from the results, Gulari and Scutt currently sit sixth, two points off the lead.

“It was a fun day for us,” she said. “Our middle race was not great, but our other two were really solid. We’re happy and we’re excited for more.”

The highest-placed American after Day 1 is Laser sailor Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, Calif., at left), who started off strongly with a second in the first race and then had to grind out of the cheap seats in Race 2 to score a 21st. He is fifth in the 70-boat fleet, the largest of the regatta. 

Stu McNay (Providence, R.I.) and Graham Biehl (San Francisco, Calif.), who sailed in two Olympic Games together and have reunited for this event while McNay’s regular crew, David Hughes (Miami, Fla.) recovers from a knee injury, finished ninth in the single Men’s 470 Race.

In the Women’s 49erFX, Stephanie Roble (Easy Troy, Wis.) and Maggie Shea (Wilmiette, Ill.) are sixth after two solid races, while in the 49er class, Judge Ryan (San Diego, Calif.) and Alain Sign, who is substituting for Ryan’s normal crew Hans Henken (Coronado, Calif.), are 13th of 38.

A young group of U.S. women’s 470 teams struggled in today’s lone race, with Madeleine Rice and Laura Slovensky leading the way in 25th.

Ed. Note: A previous version mistakenly had Caroline Atwood as Kate Shaner’s crew, when in fact it is Charlotte Mack. I regret the error.



ORC Interactive Workshop on Saturday at Seattle Yacht Club

ORC Interactive Workshop on Saturday at Seattle Yacht Club
Photo by Max Ranchi from the ORC World Championships.

As we all start digging out our foulies, finding the diver’s phone number and dragging the sails back onboard, race organizers are hard at work as well. With the growing interest in the ORC handicapping system, Seattle Yacht Club is hosting a scoring workshop on Saturday to help race organizers get their rudders in row. No doubt there will be a lot of basic information on the system as well, Everyone’s welcome. No matter your stand on handicap systems, it’s good to know the systems. Personally, I think there’s a future for a measurement-based system in the Pacific Northwest, particularly as an option for the more “serious” among us.

Here are the particulars:

Ian Lloyd of ORC Canada will lead a two-hour interactive workshop on ORC scoring and the ORC Scorer Software including:

  • Importing of boat’s performance files
  • Race set up
  • Scoring options including Time on Time, Time on Distance and Performance Curve scoring
  • Exporting results and scratch sheets.

 Who should attend? 

  • Race Officers
  • Boat Owners
  • Racers

Participants should download the ORC Scorer software to their (Windows X) laptop in advance of the workshop.

When? Saturday January 27, 2018 from 2 – 4 p.m.

Where? Seattle Yacht Club

To register call the Seattle Yacht Club (206-325-1000) or e-mail your registration to Include “ORC Workshop Registration” in the subject line and in the body include:

  • your name
  • your yacht club
  • whether you are a scorer, boatowner or racer)
  • email address


Sue Weiss, Event Chair

Cruising (and lecturing) Under Four Masts

Cruising (and lecturing) Under Four Masts

Northwest sailors Chris and Randy Shuman are putting another spin on cruising into retirement. They wrote the following from their trailer en route or in Mexico. It’s an appealing form of cruising for sure.

About a month ago, in one of their first post retirement adventures, Chris and Randy took to the high seas for two voyages in one of the Star Clippers Sailing tall ship fleet, first a 22-day transatlantic crossing and then a 6-day Caribbean passage. Far from having to climb the yardarms, they were the onboard honored academics. Randy is an oceanographer, and was asked to give some lectures along the way. Chris taught a potpourri of creative classes. Not bad work, especially since Randy’s enthusiasm for the waters haven’t waned since entering retirement.

So, for those who could do with a little learning, relaxation and warm waters , give it a read and close your eyes. And no worries about the yardarms. The furlers up there are push-button.

The Particulars

The ship: 4-masted barquentine Star Flyer

Built 1992,Belgium

Length: 366 ft

Beam: 50 ft

170 passengers, about 70 crew

She has a sister ship, the Star Clipper, and the company has a larger full rigged square rigger, the Royal Clipper and a new ship the Flyer Clipper that is under construction.

The Star Flyer and the Star Clipper are barquentines: square rigged on forward mast, fore aft rigged on other 3 masts. 5 jibs, 5 square sails on forward mast. Square sailed are set and struck by horizontal furlers in the yards, controlled from the deck by a push button remote. The two middle masts have a staysail and a fisherman, aft mast has a triangular jigger or spanker. These are controlled from the deck by hand by the sailing crew of about 8 sailors. There is a full time rigger/sailmaker who mends sails on deck with his machine. Sails are Dacron, many built by Doyle Sails. 

Life on Board

The ship almost always has sails up but also often has the main engine running. The ship needs to meet tight schedules at ports for the guests but also wants to sail for economy and pleasure of the passengers. Most of the passengers chose this ship to experience sailing on a big square rigger.

Passengers are often longtime sailers with many Americans, Germans, Brits.  French, English and German are the official ship languages and announcements and printed materials in all three. 

The food is generally upscale, served in one dining room in one sitting. Excellent table service for dinner, great breakfast and lunch buffets.

Activities: there are basic exercise classes, shore excursions when in port, talks by the captain, mast climbing, lots of book reading, cards, beer and cocktails, lying in the sun……  The ship has on board paddle boards, a small sailboat, snorkeling gear and inflatables to take passengers to isolated beaches for water activities and barbecues.

When the weather is good passengers are able to climb out on the bowsprit netting and go aloft on the forward mast. When you go aloft you have a climbing harness and are belayed by a crew member. 

Chris and Randy

We did two cruises. Our job was to provide entertainment on sea days when there are no port visits.

The first:  22 day TransAtlantic in November 2011, starting in Malaga Spain and ending in Barbados. There were 16 sea days, including 12 days on the crossing. Ports included Malaga, Tangier, Madeira, Cadiz, Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Bridgetown. In the afternoons Randy taught oceanography and marine biology every sea day, topics such as waves, tides, currents, winds, birds, plankton, and plate tectonics.

Chris taught arts and crafts in the mornings, including drawing, paper bead making, card making and digital photography.

Second:  6 day Caribbean transit, Panama to Grand Cayman, December 2017. We were scheduled to stop at San Andres and Providencia, two Columbian island off the Nicaraguan coast. However strong wind and seas from the north slowed our progress making our course a dead beat and compromising the island anchorages. So we spent 4 days beating and finally reaching as the trades reestablished. 

On this trip Randy taught coral reef geology and ecology, waves and tides. These were relevant topics as many of the guests planned to snorkel on the trip, the large waves that we faced for days, and the contrast between the large tide range on the Pacific side of the Canal and the very small tide range on the Caribbean side.

From Chris…..

Chris at the helm.

On the transatlantic crossing the sails stabilized the ship but it still rolled a lot.  It generally was a comfortable motion and lulled us to sleep but at times we would be in the dining room and feel a big roll coming.  It was entertaining.  Everyone at the table would pick up their wine glass in one hand and water glass in another and wait until the roll subsided.  Conversation would hardly pause and then we would all put them back down.

People ask how we felt being so far from land in the middle of the Atlantic.  You don’t feel the vast space of the whole ocean because all that you can see is a 5-6 mile radius around the ship.

My favorite thing was being out on the bowsprit netting, 20 feet ahead of the ship, watching dolphins play in the bow wave. 

I also liked the early mornings when no one was on deck and as we neared the Caribbean, the occasional squalls.  We would sail into one, the wind would blow hard, the rigging would strain and the warm rain gave everything a fresh water rinse.

From Randy. . .

Randy roughing it on a square rigger.

I enjoyed being on deck and watching the crew handle the sails and rigging. Trimming the sails or setting a new sail took several crew between 5 and 20 minutes. The deck crew were mostly from the southern Indian state of Goa. I also enjoyed spending long stretches in the bowsprit netting, suspended over the waves and watching the whole ship charging ahead behind me.

One added benefit of being the lecturer was that most people knew who I was and were always stopping me with questions on deck and at meals about what they had seen on the ocean that day.


Fair winds in your land cruising, friends. We’ll have nice cold Puget Sound water waiting for you when you get back.  

VOR Race Director’s Statement on the Vestas Collision

Damage to Vestas 11th Hour Racing

The folks at the Volvo Ocean Race came up with an update, quoting Race Director Phil Lawrence a couple hours ago. There’s not a lot of new news there, but at least it’s something.

Vestas pulled the fisherman from the water who ultimately died. A commercial vessel pulled the other nine victims from the water. The Volvo Race organizers asked Akzonobel to stand by Vestas, but at that point there was nothing to be done. The fishing boat sank.

Chances are there will be tons of speculation but no real information to come out in the next few days as things get sorted out. If any sailish readers hear of any solid news, please share – I’ll post it.

Thanks to those who commented on yesterday’s post.

Here’s Volvo’s web site post:

Phil, what do we know about what happened on the night of Friday 19 January between Vestas 11th Hour Racing and a Chinese fishing boat? 

First of all, we know a man lost his life, tragically, after an incident with one of our race boats. We offer our deepest condolences to his loved ones and family. We are relieved that the nine other mariners on board were rescued and initial reports have them in good condition.

In terms of what happened, we know a collision occurred shortly before 1723 UTC (which is when Race Control received the first message from Vestas 11th Hour Racing) between Vestas 11th Hour Racing and a Chinese fishing vessel. The incident took place around 30 miles from the Leg 4 finish line in Hong Kong.

Vestas 11th Hour Racing immediately stopped racing, informed us at Race Control of the incident (at 1736 UTC), sent a Mayday distress signal on behalf of the other vessel and aided in the search and rescue mission.

What happened then?

Hong Kong Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre informed Race Control that a nearby commercial vessel had rescued nine of the crew from the other boat, and a tenth was taken to hospital by helicopter after he had been rescued from the water by the Vestas 11th Hour Racing crew. We’re deeply saddened to report that Hong Kong MRCC confirmed the death of that airlifted crewmember later on Saturday morning.

What happened to the Vestas 11th Hour Racing crew and boat?

All Vestas 11th Hour Racing crewmembers are safe and uninjured but the boat suffered some damage to its hull. After participating in the rescue, the team was able to return to port without assistance and under its own power despite the damage. At no time did Vestas 11th Hour Racing request assistance for themselves.

What caused the collision? Was the other boat showing navigation lights, or using the AIS (Automatic Identification System)?

Infrared image during rescue made available by Hong Kong authorities.

We don’t have answers to those questions yet but of course those are central question to the on-going investigation. Both Vestas 11th Hour Racing and the Volvo Ocean Race will cooperate with the relevant authorities to establish what happened.

Could Race Control have prevented this accident by informing Vestas 11th Hour Racing of an imminent collision?

No. While Race Control does monitor the position of the race boats for safety reasons, Race Control does not have access to the position of every other vessel at sea.

What do we know about the other vessel involved in the collision and its crew?

We are trying to find out more. We know the other boat was damaged significantly and understand that it sank as a result of the incident. We know that 10 crew were on board and that all 10 were recovered but tragically, one was later pronounced dead at the hospital. We at Volvo Ocean Race, along with Vestas 11th Hour Racing are working with the local authorities to learn more about the crew of the boat involved in the incident. In fact, that is our main priority.

Can you release the name of the casualty?

We are seeking confirmation of identity from authorities as well as the appropriate information to release as per local custom.

What happened with Dongfeng Race Team and team AkzoNobel in terms of them assisting with the rescue?

Dongfeng Race Team were the first race boat to be near the scene and they immediately offered to divert to assist. At 1821 UTC Vestas 11th Hour Racing confirmed by email to Dongfeng Race Team that additional assistance was not required, so Dongfeng Race Team continued on to the finish.

Later, when team AkzoNobel arrived near the area on its route to the finish line, Race Control requested they stand by to support Vestas 11th Hour Racing as a precaution. Neither Vestas 11th Hour Racing nor the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre requested this assistance and once it was clear they were not required, Race Control released team AkzoNobel to finish the leg.

How is the crew of Vestas 11th Hour Racing?

As you would imagine they are very shaken and deeply saddened by the incident. They are being supported by the rest of their team as well the Volvo Ocean Race organisation and have access to professional support should they request it.

What happens next?

Along with Vestas 11th Hour Racing, we are actively working with the Hong Kong Police and the Maritime Authority to support the on-going investigation.

Vestas 11th Hour Racing Collision Results in Fisherman Fatality

Vestas 11th Hour Racing Collision Results in Fisherman Fatality
Vestas 11th Hour Racing motoring into Hong Kong after the collision.

In a tragic sequence of events Friday, the Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) entry Vestas 11th Hour Racing collided with a fishing boat about 30 miles from the finish in Hong Kong, east of Waglan Island. The fishermen were pulled from the water, apparently by the crew of Vestas. Nine fishermen were rescued and one died of his injuries.

Vestas skipper Charlie Enright was not onboard, handing the reigns over to his longtime sailing partner Mark Towill while he had some pressing issues ashore. 

Vestas was reaching along at about 20 knots at about 2 a.m. local time, in a strong second place for the leg. Details are unknown and will likely remain so as an investigation is conducted. Vestas motored in to Hong Kong with the boat heeled to starboard apparently to keep the holed port bow out of the water.

Little is known and not much is forthcoming from VOR headquarters. In fact, while the online sailing community scoured the world’s servers for information, the VOR media team virtually ignored the calamity on air while it was happening.

While explaining the situation to my favorite newbie sailor (my wife Abby) I heard myself saying that flying into crowded waters at 20 knots at night is just not seamanlike. It’s not. If a vessel is dimly or not lighted, there’s not much time to react at 20 knots. Radar cannot easily pick up some low-slung vessels and AIS is not universally used. When you think about it, for the unsuspecting fisherman even trying to avoid a Volvo 65 flying at 20 knots isn’t at all easy. Without a doubt, these Volvo crews are the world’s greatest offshore sailors. But they can’t be expected to be the most seamanlike when racing into crowded waters at night on a boat capable of those speeds and so much at stake.

One thing about our sport is that no matter how risky we make it, we’re generally only endangering ourselves. The fact that a mariner not competing in the sport died is simply tragic. I’m sure the crews of all the boats, and especially Vestas, are devastated.

Ironically, it was Vestas Wind (crewed by a completely different team) that ran up on the rocks Cargados Carajos Shoals near Mauritius in the last Volvo Race.

I’ll spend way too much time trying to figure out what went on out there, and present it here when significant new confirmed information becomes available.

The rest of the boats finished in this order: Scallywag, Dong Feng, Akzonobel, Mapfre, Team Brunel and Turn the Tide on Plastic.