By Steve Clark
There are good days and bad days. Then there are days that are truly dreadful, when all the optimism and progress you have nurtured is broken and lost. When this is compounded by the death of a beloved comrade, the loss seems unbearable and will test the limits of faith and endurance. Artemis Racing is at a time that will tax their characters to the limit. We wish them all the strength and sprit to endure, recover and overcome.
Too much is said about the choice, about how the decision to put oneself in harms way, is optional. I don’t think that is a particularly true or useful way to think about it. Talent isn’t optional. Doing what you are best at isn’t a choice; at least it isn’t to the truly gifted. Genius is an appetite that demands satisfaction. Andrew Simpson was sailing on Artemis because his talent demanded he be there. He would not have been “Bart” anywhere else.
If there is any comfort in this, his death wasn’t the result of random chance, but pursuing the highest goals in his field of genius. He wasn’t struck down crossing the street, or by an infection, or any of the other simple mortalities of the day to day. He didn’t lose his leg waiting for his sister to finish the Boston Marathon. If there is an honorable way to die, and if that matters, Andrew Simpson died well.
One of the things that sport enables is the chance to aspire to be the best people we can be. The test for Artemis Racing is now not the one they envisioned when they started their campaign for the America’s Cup. To carry on, to prepare the new boat, and compete in the Louis Vuiton Series after yesterday is now far greater and ultimately far more noble challenge. We wish them all the best.
Per Ross Tibbits
SAN FRANCISCO, California April 15, 2013 – The American Youth Sailing Force (The Force) is pleased to announce that Zhik is now our official clothing sponsor. Zhik’s Pat Langley is very enthusiastic, “The team has a great amount of energy and have proven to be winners not only on the water but also on land. They have been extremely professional in how they have handled themselves as they prepare for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup and Zhik is proud to support their challenge.”
Team Manager Ian Andrewes explains, “We are really excited to have a company like Zhik providing us such high-performance clothing for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup. This is just another example of the kind of support we appreciate so much. Without it, we couldn’t make this happen.”
“Zhik has a strong involvement in the America’s Cup at both senior level and within the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup arena,” continues Langley. “Our custom made products designed specifically for America’s Cup sailing, are clearly providing on water performance gains. Zhik is extremely excited to be partnering with the American Youth Sailing Force team as they challenge for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup. This team is ‘on brand’ for Zhik – young, energetic and professional. They are prepared to take on the ultimate challenges and this is what Zhik is all about as a business.”
By Vince Casalaina
Cogito with wing up at Guck Inc. Photo courtesy of Lars Guck and Prescott Cronin
The wing to USA 104 “Cogito,” the spar famously destroyed at the 2010 International C-Class Catamaran Challenge Cup after the start of race one, has been reanimated. Over the past few months Steve Clark and the Cogito Project stitched the old spar back together and outfitted it with all new surfaces using materials from Swedish composite company Oxeon. The wing was detailed and finished at Guck Inc. of Bristol, Rhode Island, and on Tuesday went up for the first time in three years. The design is essentially the same as the one first conceived by Duncan MacLane in 1993, but the wing weighed in at 148 lbs, down from 178 at last weigh in before the 2010 crash. Clark attributes the weight loss primarily the stiffer and lighter TeXtreme composites provided by Oxeon, and a few changes to the geometry that this afforded.
“The wing went up with no real drama,” said Clark on Tuesday. “We will see how it behaves when it’s really loaded up, but most everything worked as expected. We need a little more clearance between the the number two and number three elements but that’s not a big deal. I’m really happy with the lighter weight.”
The Cogito Project plan to enter the Cogito with its remade wing in the 2013 International C-Class Catamaran Challenge Cup. The team has not revealed who will be at the helm.
ClarkSail reporter Willy Clark recently got his first shot at iceboating when he followed the New England Ice Yachting Association to Squam Lake, New Hampshire for the 2013 Doc Fellows regatta. After a day spent watch the runners go by one thing is clear – it takes a special type to be an iceboater. Below are some of Willy’s thoughts on the matter.
I have seen iceboats race a number of times before, but I never really thought much about it until my cousin and close sailing buddy Oliver Moore got hooked into the NEIYA a few winters back. I knew that they were absurdly fast, and I obviously thought they were extremely cool and exciting. However I must admit that I never really thought much about iceboating. This is the way it is for a lot of “soft water” sailors; they are aware of iceboating and that it’s very special in its own way. But that is about the extent of it, and after a day spent in and around the things I think I can explain why – it isn’t really like sailing.
After a few scratch races Oliver gave me the chance to take his DN for a spin. It was a new experience in every sense of the word. The first thing that jumped out to me as odd was that you can’t see the puffs coming. Ice doesn’t ripple the way that water does, so you have no warning of the puff. It’s just there all at once and you had better react fast. This makes it an even more intuitive sport than “conventional” sailing already is. You can’t see what is happening. Even your tell tails aren’t all that helpful. You just have to feel it.
The other thing that really got to me is that you can just stop. When you go for a sail even when you let out your sails and are just waiting around luffing you are still sailing. You don’t stop sailing until you are back on land. Ice boating isn’t like that. You can just get out whenever you want. If the wind gets to high or too low once can simply take the sail down and walk home, and the idea of doing that really gets in your head. Going for a sail in an ice boat really isn’t like spending an afternoon sailing. Yes that is the activity, but the fact that you can just stop for 15 minutes in the middle makes it very very different. It’s a hard thing to wrap ones head around.
During my brief spin in the DN I got hit by two very large puffs. The wind was extremely spotty that day at Squam Lake, with 15 knot gusts oscillating up to 45 degrees. The first one hit me and the boat took off so fast that I simply had to wuss out. I dropped the sheet and headed up until I felt under control again. However when I felt the second one hit I knew I had to put the bow down and see what it could do, so I gripped the sheet, held the tiller rock steady, and just hung on for 30 seconds of pure terror. It was very clear, after my heart had descended out of my throat, why people get into this – the speed is something else. Nothing can really compare to it. However it wasn’t just the speed that was different, the whole experience was totally unrelated to anything I had done in my whole life of sailing.
In the end iceboating is really more like surfing than sailing. That is the mentality that these guys seem to come at it with. Surfers get a call that the waves are good at a beach three hours away and they drop everything and are off. That’s the way it is with iceboaters. The regatta was supposed to be in Vermont but the ice is good in Green Bay? They’re off to Green Bay. That’s how it works. It is a water sport unlike any other. You just kind of go with it. The added variable of ice on top of wind makes it a difficult thing to organize, but that is just part of iceboating. You do it for the love of the sport and the love of the speed. It’s different and that’s all there is to it. Everything about it is individual. It’s not like the sailing you are used to.
Photo © Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi
Sailing is as old as time itself. It is impossible to know when the first guy stuck a sail on his log canoe, but suffice it to say that it was a very long time ago. The sport has come a long way since the first sail went up and modern day sail boats currently exhibit some of the very best technology available in the world. However the rich history attached to the sport is something that has never stopped driving it. The Sydney-Hobart race is a perfect example of this.
The sport of sailing is a weird one. While composed primarily of amateurs there is an incredible amount of diversity within the sport when it comes to the level of competition and commitment. For many sailing is simply a leisure activity. Cruising and the occasional beer can race make a nice hobby if you live in an area conducive to it. However for those of us with competitive souls sailing is a chance to measure yourself. To see how you matchup with the best in the business and, occasionally, it’s a chance to make your mark on history. That is what Sydney-Hobart is to those who sail in it.
Photo © Robert Muller
I remember when I was young watching my father sail for the New York Cup following the 2002 International Canoe World Championships in Bristol, RI. They didn’t win it – the British defended the cup thanks to an excellent performance by John Ellis – but seeing that race was one of the biggest factors in my decision to first jump in a canoe. Certainly there were other factors – the boats were as fast and exciting as anything I had ever seen, and the rush I got from sailing them was unlike any other. But I also wanted to get my name on that trophy. I wanted to make my mark on the history of the class and do something memorable, even if it were only remembered by a few for a short while. The Sydney-Hobart race is such an opportunity for others. The chance to get your name on that list of winners. The chance to cross the Bass Straight faster than ever before. These are the things that drive us as competitors – the opportunity to be remembered for something positive.
These opportunities are not all that common. Not every race has that, for lack of a better word, mystique, and it is hard to define why some do and some don’t. Perhaps it’s simply a question of time. I know that I desperately wanted to get my name on some of the canoe trophies that are still raced for at Sugar Island primarily because they were old and had a lot of other great names on them. However the Sydney-Hobart race is comparatively young (first sailed in 1945) and doesn’t have a well known perpetual trophy attached to it, but it has that same feel. It’s hard to explain why some races have that luster, but the Sydney-Hobart race is one of them. The chance to get your name on that list of winners and make your mark is something that will drive sailors for decades to come. There is something special about certain races. Winning the New York Cup in 2011 was a dream come true for me. A dream will be realized for someone else when the results of the 2012 Sydney-Hobart come in.