Tag Archives: racing

Clipper Round The World Race

From ASA 101 to Unforgettable Adventures Crossing Oceans

ASA Certified Sailor Scott Elles is Living Life

There are some truly amazing circle-the-globe races out there. There’s the Volvo Ocean Race, the Vendee Globe, the Barcelona (doublehanded) World Race and the upcoming Golden Globe Race that will recreate the first solo unassisted round the world contest that happened in 1968, to name a few. But let’s face it, most of us are not going to be surfing down a building-sized wave doing 29-knots in a Volvo 65 or negotiating icebergs while blasting through the Southern Ocean in an Open 60 any time soon, so we watch and live vicariously through the lives of professional sailors.

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8 Tips For the First Time Sailboat Racer

Once you get through the ASA 101 course and are beginning to experience sailing in a more second nature sort of way, you may want to challenge yourself to a sailboat race. Racing is a great way to accelerate the learning curve. It mandates all of the lessons into a short amount of time, with the power of consequence as a motivating factor. On a normal round the buoy race sailors are forced to make sail changes, tack, assess the conditions and maximize performance every step of the way. Some don’t care for the pressure it can bring about, but a few sailboat races is great for learning the ropes quickly. Here are eight tips for the first time sailboat racer that will make the challenge a bit more manageable and a little less daunting:

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Racing Sailboats by Pat Reynolds

I Don’t Want To Race!

We know you don’t. BUT, let’s talk about it. We’ve found racing sailboats is one of those things that can be slightly controversial. Odd as it sounds there are some sailors who not only don’t like to race in a sailboat, they resent it – it bothers them. “Why would I ever want to sail around a triangle, stressing out, trying to go a half knot faster than someone else who is also white-knuckled and experiencing a bunch of his own stress? I want to relax when I sail – that’s why I sail!” Yes, we get it. You left out the part about intentionally trying to cut each other off and scream at one another.

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Upcoming ASA events at the America’s Cup

ac logo
The America’s Cup, one of the world’s greatest sporting spectacles, and the biggest event in competitive sailing, is underway right now in San Francisco! Check the schedule below to see the upcoming events ASA has going on, and watch this space for updates!

(Are you an ASA school hosting a Bay Area America’s Cup event? Contact us to get it on the schedule.)

To get more information and join any of the events listed below, click here.
ac racing
America’s Cup/ Louis Vuitton Cup Spectator Cruise Dates:

Louis Vuitton Finals
Sunday August 18, 2013

11:30 am – 3:30 pm
$145 per ticket.
Includes California Continental Brunch. Beer, Wine, and Soft Drinks may be purchased aboard.

Red Bull Youth Cup
Sunday September 1, 2013

11:00 am – 2:00 pm
$75 per ticket.
Includes California Continental Brunch. Beer, Wine, and Soft Drinks may be purchased aboard.

America’s Cup
Sunday September 8, 2013
11:30 am 3:30 pm
$195 per ticket.
Includes California Continental Brunch. Beer, Wine, and Soft Drinks may be purchased aboard.

Click here for more info and reservations!

Anatomy of a Rescue: How ASA Sailors Saved Lives in the Open Ocean

liela b bow going underOn May 16th in the Bay of Florida, 80 miles out of Key West and the finish line of the 2013 Bone Island Regatta, Captain Roy Rogers saw something unusual – a boat on the horizon drifting with its sails down. A few other vessels could be seen in the distance, but this one stood aimlessly alone, a strange sight in the middle of a racecourse. Up in the cockpit, with the sound of the wind and the boat’s stereo playing, it was difficult to know what to make of it, but below in the cabin was a different story: two short, garbled mayday calls came through on the VHF radio, and then silence.

It was day two of the annual race, which starts from Tampa Bay and follows the southwest edge of Florida’s gulf coast to the Keys. Captain Roy, a career sailor who spent decades as a charter and delivery captain in the Caribbean before becoming an ASA sailing instructor, was in the race for the first time, skippering a 50-foot Jenneau with three of his former students, whom he had trained in ASA 101, 103, and 104 at Sailing Florida in St. Petersburg. They were not expecting to win, only to have fun, gain experience, and post a strong finishing time. It was so far, so good with 80 miles to go, but that’s when everything changed.

Captain Roy, having heard the mayday hails and seen the boat on the horizon, put two and two together and made a decision. “The race was over us,” he says, as they fired up the auxiliary power, disqualifying themselves, and set off to investigate.
men in raft
They tried several times to establish contact over the radio, with no luck. But sure enough, as they approached they saw that the vessel was low in the water, and with the binoculars, something even more alarming: 5 men in a hopelessly overburdened 10-foot dinghy that was, itself, sinking.

Captain Roy gathered his ASA-trained sailors and instructed them that they were going to get hold of the dinghy’s painter. They then snapped into action, closing the distance and bringing the dinghy alongside. “I’m not letting anybody up,” he advised his crew, “until I’ve had a conversation with them.”

Even, or perhaps especially, in an emergency situation, prudence is necessary. In these waters it is not unheard of to encounter refugees from the Caribbean, and even criminals up to what Captain Roy calls “shenanigans.” He explains that they would have rescued them no matter who they were, as long as they weren’t dangerous, but the procedure for taking on board U.S. citizens and foreign nationals is dramatically different. It also occurred to him that there were “five of them, and four of us.”
roy with liela b in background
“This was not the reception they were expecting,” he says, “but I felt obliged to do due diligence.” After a brief conversation, it was established that the men were Americans, not carrying any weapons, and also racing in the Bone Island Regatta. Within a few minutes of making contact, all 5 were safely on board.

Then it was time to watch the other boat sink. She was a 42-foot Tartan called Liela B, and her crew were an experienced, seasoned lot who had won their class in previous years. Once the foredeck was awash it took less than two minutes for the entire boat to go down.

Around that time a Coast Guard C130 aircraft swooped by low and fast, having responded to Liela B’s EPIRB distress beacon. The pilot made radio contact with Captain Roy, who confirmed that they had taken all crew onboard, there were no injuries, and that they would proceed to Key West. With that, the C130, diverted from another mission and low on fuel, was gone.

In Key West word of the sinking and rescue had already filtered from the race offices into the docks and bars. As far as anyone knew it was the first time a vessel had been lost in the race, and the first time anyone had conducted an emergency rescue. Captain Roy motored in and that evening they were met with equal parts admiration and curiosity from their fellow sailors. “Every bar that me and my crew went to, we could not buy a drink.”

What caused the boat to go down has been the subject of much speculation. The night before had seen strong winds, and Liela B had blown out her spinnaker and genoa. They had given up on the race and were motoring in to Key West when they became aware that something was wrapped around the propeller. Crab traps are numerous in the gulf, but this turned out to be something heavier that they could never identify. Someone went overboard and cleared the prop, and the engine started fine. However, when they put it into gear they heard a loud thunk in the hull. Presently they realized that water was rushing into the bilge from a leak whose source they never found, but in retrospect was most likely the prop shaft. Now, with the boat in 90 feet of water, 80 miles from shore, the mystery will probably never be solved.
awards ceremony
At the awards banquet on Saturday night, Captain Roy and his crew were given a special commendation, even though they didn’t qualify as finishers. The award was for Seamanship and Good Sportsmanship, as well as free entry into next year’s race, which they plan to use. While they say they wouldn’t trade the experience and adventure of this year for anything, they are hoping to finish next time. (Unsurprisingly, Captain Roy is no stranger to awards. He was named an ASA Outstanding Instructor in 2012.)
capt roy with certificate
Another skipper, who had listened to the entire thing on his radio, expressed wonder that Captain Roy had “sounded so professional, like [he] knew exactly what to ask for.” This captain admitted that he had heard the mayday call, but didn’t know how to respond.

Luckily for the crew of Liela B, Captain Roy and his students did know how to respond, and while other boats passed by, it was the ASA sailors who answered the call.

Captain Roy’s tips on how to be prepared for an emergency at sea:

1. Make sure your VHF radio is on at all times.
2. Know your radio protocol, how to make a call and how to respond to one. It could save your life, or someone else’s.
3. The best education is to have the VHF on and listen to the Coast Guard. They know what they’re doing, so copying them is a good idea!
4. Four pieces of information to ask for whenever you’re in contact with a ship in distress:

  • Name of vessel
  • Location
  • How many people on board/any injuries
  • Nature of emergency

rescued crew

Video Highlights from the America’s Cup World Series San Diego

cindy shabes asaWhether you love racing, or prefer the relaxed lifestyle of the cruiser, there’s no denying the excitement and glamor that accompanies sailing’s biggest competition, the America’s Cup. The actual cup finals will take place in San Francisco in 2013, but this is preceded by several match racing events around the world. Following events earlier this year in Cascais, Portugal and Plymouth, UK, this past week San Diego, CA played host to the spectacular AC45 “super-catamarans.”

ASA was represented in San Diego by founder Lenny Shabes, President Cindy Shabes, and former America’s Cup winner, ASA Board Member, and sailing commentator Peter Isler. (That’s Cindy on the left, posing in front of the entry from Spain.) Oh, and let’s not forget all of the ASA instructors who came to watch!

If you missed the action, or just want to relive it, this video highlight package will have you covered. It features very classy camerawork and all the best action. It’s good for newcomers too, as they explain the rules and everyone’s job on the boats. Enjoy!

The AC World Series will continue next year with racing in Naples and Venice, Italy, followed by another trip stateside to Newport, Rhode Island. All the dates can be found here.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates!

America’s Cup Live Coverage, Sailing News, and Your Moment of Zen

sunset sailboatsSeptember is here and while it’s still high summer at ASA’s headquarters in Marina del Rey, CA, in many places the sailing season is winding down. But that doesn’t mean the good times have to come to an end–and you don’t have to stop living the sailing lifestyle. Here are some cool items to keep you in tune with the world of sailing.

For those who have an interest in the intense, fast, and wild world of America’s Cup racing, it’s easier than ever to keep track of the AC34 World Series. Racing action from Plymouth, England from Sept. 10-18 will be streaming live on the America’s Cup World Series.

Click here to follow.

If you’re wondering how the America’s Cup started and got it’s name, by the way, here’s the dramatic story.
moored boat sunset
In other news, a blogger going by the name Hodgepodgereel has a run-down, with some very artful photographs, of what it’s like to take ASA 101, Basic Keelboating.

A legally blind man is planning to sail solo around the world. His boat is set-up to work with his needs. What do you think? Inspiring, brave, or foolish? Maybe all three? Story.

On the lighter side, Practical Sailor on the art of blue water “cursing.”

Finally, sit back and get into the properly relaxed frame of mind for the weekend with this serene video of the waters at Key West, Florida.