On July 28, Hodgdon’s 100-foot (30.5-meter) racing yacht Comanche and crew passed Lizard Point in the United Kindom after 2,880 nautical miles and 5 days, 14 hours, 21 minutes and 25 seconds besting the previous record set in 2003 by Mari Cha IV by over a day.
It was, with a nod to Red Sox fans, the sports comeback of all time. Emirates Team New Zealand, the clear leader early in the America’s Cup, was unable to stave off a late charge by Larry Ellison’s Oracle Team USA that suddenly found legs to sweep the final eight races and win the Auld Mug. In each race, the Kiwis were on match point and, for eight races, they lost to a steadily improving Oracle.
As the chase for the America’s Cup continues in San Francisco Bay, a buildup of bad news could make for an ugly finish to the fabled yacht regatta. On the heels of troubles from a series plagued by soaring boat costs, a scarcity of challengers, a crash that killed a crewmember, intense rules disagreements and one-sided races comes a cheating scandal.
South African builder Southern Wind is hard at work on the third hull of the SW102, a raised-salon version of this sailing-yacht line. This yacht will have a slightly longer hull (it is expected to finish at 104 feet/31.7 meters), in part to make room for a garage capable of holding a 13-foot (4-meter) tender.
“Yar: Easy to handle and moves along smoothly.” This witty archaic word to describe a “proper yacht” in “The Philadelphia Story”—the memorable Hollywood film from 1940—is a fitting one-word designation for the 123-foot (37.3-meter) cutter-rigged sloop Pumula from Royal Huisman.
Vertigo (with that capital “V”) is a 220-foot (67.2-meter) ketch that was built right here in Auckland by Alloy Yachts, which had just launched Encore, a smaller, much more traditional 144-footer (43.9-meter) that was docked at the Viaduct Events Centre for her final fit-out and commissioning.
Designers and builders of sailing yachts greater than 100 feet (30.4 meters) are being tasked with creating vessels that not only are beautiful, comfortable and safe, but also achieve a high level of sailing performance. The proliferation of international superyacht regattas has upped the ante for owners who not only like their yachts luxurious, but also like to best their competition on the race course.
The 2013 Bucket marked the first time in 76 years that five J-Class yachts were in the same place at the same time to compete with one another. The J’s on hand were Hanuman, Lionheart, Ranger, Velsheda and Rainbow. And it is a true testament to a handful of owners’ love of tradition, coupled with insanity, that has led to a resurgence of the J-Class.
When Sunreef introduced the 82 Double Deck as a more fuel-efficient alternative to a motoryacht, little did the company executives imagine the first buyers would be a couple dissatisfied with their own powerboat—or that they would take the catamaran, christened Houbara, around the world.
Charity programs like Sail for a Fiver work to give special needs children from the local Westfield Arts College time out on the waves. Run by the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA) on the Isle of Portland in Dorset, England, Sail for a Fiver was founded in 2004 and has helped more than 1,600 children a year.