This has to be one of the coolest videos circling the internet right now. Jean Baptiste Chandelier redefines what is possible as a pilot of a paraglider. I can't say that my Paragliding experience was quite as extreme as this and I think I would have tossed my cookies if it had been.
With the Pacific lighting up with winter swell its no surprise that two incredible videos have come out of Maui. The first is just a free ride session with some incredible athletes, the second is from the Pe'ahi Challenge. Both show the incredible power of this wave and the incredible skill that these athletes and watermen have for being able to interact with such a beast.
I suppose that Autumn is meant to be my slow period but for some reason I have trouble saying no. After 5 weeks in Europe with Team Moneypenny sailing Vesper to 3rd Place in the Cascais Cup and then a First place in Les Voiles de Saint Tropez one would think I might take a little time to chill. But with worklists to accomplish on Moneypenny 601, Vesper to unload in Florida, 11th Hour Racing's CONNECT in San Francisco, the North American Speed Sailing Championships on MVY and a Sunsail trip with my oldest son to the BVI's the Autumn has flown by at a rapid rate.
The Sunsail trip would certainly be the highlight of the fall for me. I have worked with Sunsail on a few different projects over the last year but to be involved with them on this photo and video project was definitely a different beast. Especially since I had my son with me. My son has only gone down to the Caribbean once before and he was only three years old at the time so the opportunity to take him back at age 7 and to spend some direct time with him on the Ocean was very special. He is a total water rat so the idea of spending a week on a boat snorkeling and exploring was a dream come true for him. I guess it was a dream come true for both of us actually. I probably average two trips a year to the Virgin Islands but I realized that I hadn't been down to just explore and enjoy it in almost 10 years - which is crazy. Its easy to see why it is such a popular cruising destination with short sails between the islands and great anchorages and swimming spots. Not to mention watering holes like Willy T's and Potters up at Anegada. Towards the end of the trip I started prying into him to see what his highlights were. Without question he answered snorkeling at the Indians, pretty great choice in my opinion as the Reef is still more alive there than anywhere. My snorkeling highlight would be at the Baths with the perfect sandy bottom and crystal clear water and to watch my son drop down 14 feet with ease. It wasn't so much about the venue but more about watching my son progress and gain a new sense of comfort in the Ocean.
It will be interesting to see the media that comes out from the trip as Tony Demin was there shooting still photography and AeroVest was there with multiple drones buzzing overhead. Their involvement was exceedingly interesting as I had not fully grasped their level of production or their ability to capture this moment in my life with my son. Its something that I will forever be grateful for and certainly there are captured moments that he and I will have a very big laugh about when he is a bit older.
Moving a bit further back into October I was fortunate enough to once again compete in the North American Speed Sailing Invitational. This year was a bit different in that I hadn't competed in over two years and I was going to miss a number of days in order to go to Florida and unload Vesper and participate in CONNECT with the other 11th Hour Racing Ambassadors. This meant that I had to shelve my ego and look at the event as an opportunity to develop my own skills and to see what the top guys were doing. I have to say it was amazing to see the level of guys like Nico Parlier, Max Nocher and Brian Kender were doing. Pushing the new Giant Speed Boards into the upper 40 knot range and riding them like wild men right on the edge of control. For me personally it was great to learn to ride the newly built Temo Vento Razzo 555. It is an absolute beast of a board and takes total commitment to push it above 41 Knots. The first few days I really struggled with trusting the board and myself to push it but by the end I was feeling very comfortable and really enjoying the feeling of pushing it. The other really interesting side of the development which I have just barely scratched the surface of is my new Delta Hydrofoil Speed Foil. Its a mini wing, mini strut little weapon that has the potential for some great speeds as all it wants to do is go fast and its so steady at speed. Without even really pushing it I hit 31 knots and I know it has so much more in it. The one thing that I had a purposely forgotten about the even and that I am going to do try really hard to remember for next time are the crashes. It really hurts to do be going over 40 knots one second on top of the board to going 40 knots on the top of your head. I think my chiropractor is going to have his work cut out for him over the next few months.
So now with all the hectic bits of travel and adventure over and done with for a few weeks its time to keep plugging away at the maintenance on Moneypenny which never stops. Besides its only 7 months until she is back in the water and sailing again and you never know what adventure might pop up between now and then.
Leading up to the Cascais Cup we as a team had realistic expectations. We knew the 52 Super Series fleet had evolved considerably during the 2015 Season and we knew that the new boats were exceptionally fast in the breeze. We also knew that Cascais tends to be a very windy place and since we had the oldest boat in the fleet and certainly the most narrow we were realistically cautious about our results
But occasionally a bit of luck falls your way and in the first race of the event we won the pin in the moderate 12 knot breeze hit the first left shift and were launched into first place. Certainly this was not quite what we expected but we would certainly take it. The next race brought us back to reality with a few mistakes and a 6th place. Still at the end of the first day we were sitting in third behind Spookie and Quantum. The rest of the event was a fight from top to bottom all of the teams battling at the first top mark in some very close racing and then the more refined teams stepping out from there on. Certainly Azzurra and Quantum Racing were in a league of their own in both consistency and speed. For us the two windy days were difficult both in downwind speed as well as maneuvers. We struggled with the newer wider boats whenever it was necessary to heat it up and sail higher angles. With that said we mitigate disaster and only blew up one of our A4 Kites on the windy day. As the event continued and the breeze and enormous seas moderated we again found our rhythm and were able to finish strong ahead of the blazing fast Provezza.
One of the new additions to the Super Series is the partnership with 11th Hour Racing. In my work with 11th Hour I head heard a lot about the partnership and some of the ideas but it was grew to see first hand the steps the Series is taking to increase their focus on Sustainability. We as a team were able to test out a new filtration system by MAGIC a company out of Spain and while it wasn't exactly what we wanted it was great to compare it with the custom setup by Quantum Racing. Overall I think there is a lot of progress that can be made within the Series but I think it will happen and from that the trickle down to other events and classes will continue.
Cascais is definitely a dream spot to sail in and it is obvious why so many great teams and sailors choose to train there. The food is excellent, the prices reasonable and there is constantly great wind and swell only minutes from the harbor entrance. I look forward to going back in the coming years and exploring a bit more of the coastline north up past Guincho Beach. Next time I am bringing kite gear too!
After a quick stop off at the Monaco Yacht Show its now on to Les Voiles de Saint Tropez where we will be Racing under IRC. It should be good fun with two other IRC modified 52's as well as the new swing keel 56' Varuna. Boat is launched and rig goes in today so it should be a great event in another gorgeous venue.
Beautiful first two days is Cascais with the 52 Super Series. Currently Vesper is sitting in 3rd place with Azzura in 2nd and Quantum Racing in the lead. So far the racing has been very tricky with a very large swell and only moderate breeze but that should change for day 3 with a more normal NorthWest wind kicking in around 20knots.
Check out the videos from the two first days.
It was bound to happen, it had been discussed for years but finally the top tier teams in the IMOCA 60 Class have made the jump to Foils.
Check out the most intense video to date of Team Gitana sending it in 30 Knots of wind. You have to think the Vendee Globe records are about to fall.
Could this Foiling MOD 70 take down the Jules Verne???
After watching Dame Ellen's Ted Talk I thought I would have a peak around to see what other interesting Ted Talks were out there about the Ocean.
The surprising thing I learned sailing solo around the world
It's been a long time since I have sailed one of the Leukemia Cup Regatta's. Its a great event raising money for a great cause. This year was a definite highlight in that I got to sail with some great friends onboard Bronco the M32. Owner Michael Dominguez is one of the nicest guys out there and he has an outstanding group. I was more than happy to jump in for the weekend and sail with these guys.
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