About Joe Cooper

Australian-born, Rhode Island-based sailing coach and consultant.

Candy Store Cup and high school sailing

The Candy Store Cup, staged out of the Newport Shipyard, in RI was held over 3 days, the last weekend of July. The Candy Store Cup is a dedicated regatta for Super Yachts, with the minimum LOA for entry of nominally 30 meters, around 100 feet. Such yachts are generally not the kind of boats high school sailors get the opportunity to sail on, outside of the owner’s family and friends. Fortunately I have a lot of mates in the area who know of my interest in, work with and passion for, having local high school sailors have the kinds of experiences I had as a teenager, well sort of. NOT too many 56 meter Perini Navi Ketches in Sydney town in the 1960s and 1970s.

Sarah taking it all in during the Candy Store Cup on Zenji


A couple of weeks before the regatta I had an email from Murray Lord, principal at Wellington Yacht Partners and former yacht captain of small ships of this size. The note asked me if I was interested in sailing on Zenji for the Candy Sore Cup, and if so to contact the captain. Murray was to be the ‘race’ skipper.


One thing led to another and after meeting with Matt, the very pleasant and easy going British skipper, I got the nod. At the end of our discussions I raised one point of interest to me, ‘can I bring some HS sailors? After some more talking on this subject, Matt was gracious enough to let me bring up to three young sailors per day. Hot Dog, I thought.

Crossing tacks with Meteor

I sent out the Bat Signal for another Cooper Kaper to the Prout School Sailing team email list on this topic. Short version? I was able to have 5 of the sailors, all young ladies, (80% of the 2017 team was ladies) rotate through the four days of sailing, one practice and three race days with me.

Well, ‘sailing’ on a 56 meter Perini is a rather different bag o’ sail ties than almost any other sailing. There is barely anything one person alone can do on deck, the kite sheets are probably 350 feet of 25 mm spectra, the dock lines not as long but twice as thick and even the fenders, light though they are being inflatable, are more easily managed by two. And the kite? I did not get the actual area of the sail but it lives, on the foredeck, in a bag that would be hard to get into the average sailmakers Ford 350 Econovan.

Payton, Isabella and Lucy, hamming it up before the start on Saturday, breeze on.

So just where does one start with ‘sailing with young sailors’ at this level? The same way one does it with any other boat, how to get off the dock. At 183 feet and 550 tons more or less Zenji is not simply pushed off the dock by a collective crew heave. It is an example of the kind of teamwork that is the hallmark of good, nay great, teams. On the first day, I took my charge to a convenient watching place, out of the way and discussed the co-ordination, teamwork, communications and calm required to move this ship. The mate, another pleasant young Brit, James, was at the stern with a hand held radio, another crew member was at the bow, with radio speaking to Matt, on the bridge coordinating which line was to be cast off, in what order, the distance off the dock, distance to the pier astern of us and so on. Zenji has bow and stern thrusters, so they supplied the collective heave, to perhaps 15 feet of the dock at which point Matt engaged the (two) engines and we started to idle south. This particular process was duplicated daily over the course of the regatta. All the time we were motoring out to sea, to hoist sails, there was a look out on the bow offering a running commentary on other traffic and lobster pots.

Friday was quite a bust with very little air making spinnaker work exasperating. Here, Sarah, Isabella and Mikaela seem to be managing the stress with aplomb during lunch. Two of my aft deck crew, Owen and Bill, are seen in the background, discussing tactics, one hopes.

At the first gathering for the race crew, the Monday prior to the regatta, Matt ran through the housekeeping issues, safety, where the day head was, where to stow our kit and so on. He also handed out ‘The playbook’ for the crew, ship and regatta.

The ‘play book’ was an interesting read I shared with Sarah, the Prout sailor on Tuesday, our second practice day. Multiple copies of this ‘book,’ secured in waterproof sleeves and bound in yellow plastic binders held all the information anyone on the crew would need during any evolution to do with sail’s and sail handling. The crew numbered about 20 ‘race crew,’ plus James, the mate and 3,4 deck hands. The binders were labeled, and mine had Aft Deck Boss written across the top.

Literally, the Zenji Play Book for sail and ship handling evolutions.

The discussion with Sarah was on the idea that sailing something like this required multiple people to do even the simplest task, and given the bulk of the race crew had not sailed together and in some cases, like me, not on the boat at all anything that could be done to get every one, literally, on the same page was good, sound and prudent seamanship. A discussion of just what Seamanship is, was a constant theme during the four days with the ladies.

To give one a sense of the size of Zenji, this is a picture of bowman, Juggy, going aloft to check in something. He is between the second and third spreaders.

The five main pages in the book were spread sheets of the crew dispositions and tasks for each maneuver. OK, this might not be critical in a 420, a J-70 or a 50-foot handicap offshore yacht. But the idea I discussed with Sarah was that each position on the ship has a role that varies by what evolution is about to happen.

The procedure aboard Zenji, for gybing including the 5 minute warning, then a one minute, then the action: GYBE and the post action activities.

I was honored to have three really skilled sailors as ‘my team’ on the aft deck where the kite trimming was to happen and introduced Sarah to them and we discussed the sequence and timing of setting, gybing and dousing the kite. Outside gybes were, by the way, great entertainment with about 250 feet of sheet moving around the bow in pretty short order…

The two headsail were on furlers, vast monstrosities, hydraulically driven from the bridge, that we wrapped in towels lashed up with light line and covered with multiple passes, mummy like of a 12 inch wide roll of a self-adhesive version of a shrink-wrap like plastic to protect the blinding stainless steel finish and the 30 mm diameter hydraulic cables.

The genoa furler on Zenji is like everything else on the ship, BIG. The light line on the deck is the lashings we had securing the towels, under the instant shrink wrap. The black line is one of the forward dock lines.

During Sarah’s, and on subsequent days, the other ladies, pre-departure tour of the bridge, they were introduced to the control panels for managing the loads on this ship. Everything from the centerboard up & down controls, the sail hydraulics, (the main and mizzen were in-boom furling arrangements) headsails in & out, headsail sheet controls-they were led to under deck captive winches. The crew was admonished to stand out of the way of the genoa sheets, at full crank there is roughly 10 tons of load on the 25 mm spectra sheets, and so on. The headsail sheet warning led to a discussion of ‘standing in the bight’ and a couple of quick tales, that almost all the crew had, of someone getting hurt when standing in the bight and a block let go. All of this hydraulic power was under the command of the Toggle Master, one David Dawes, formerly the master of the Oliver Hazard Perry, the RI tall ship.

The ladies on the bridge getting some tips from Safety Officer, Ted Hood

My take on all this to the ladies was along the lines of ‘anytime you have a team of any number of souls doing anything, it is important to break the tasks up into bite size and manageable pieces, to have competent managers in each area, to make sure that every team member knows what the goal is and when and how to do their task. This example happened to be on a sailing boat, but such principals are very handy in the non-sailing world’.

Handling the kite is, in essence, the same as any other kite evolution, except it takes longer and requires a lot more coordination. To this end the bowman, Newport local, Justin Juggy Clougher had a radio, as did I, and also Dale Tremain, aka Crusty, the overall Deck Boss, so co-ordination between the bow and stern teams was thus rendered about as straightforward as on any Weekend Warrior 40 footer, may be better.

I had plenty of opportunities to reinforce one of my common memes that the physics of sailing do not change with the size of the boat, merely that the boats get more complicated to handle. The handling of the sail(s) and the required coordination with the helmsman are all the same, regardless of the LOA.

The very beautiful schooner,Naema, roaring past us in conditions perfect for her.

The primary difference in spinnaker handling was in the amount of line (sheet) moving and the speed with which it needed to move particularly during gybes. This speed required that the kite sheets be ready to run and with no kinks in them. The sheets were flaked out on the aft deck, which was fortunately big enough, in long, perhaps 10 feet per pass, all neatly nested next to each other. This action gave me the opportunity to discuss the problems that arise if the sheets fouled on something. The action of preparing for the next evolution is another theme of seamanship I try and constantly bring to the attention of the ladies regardless of what we are sailing on. The ‘what will happen next and what will we do if it goes south’ mind set being a pretty good working definition of seamanship.

Speaking of seamanship, this 30 second video is of Billy Black out doing his thing. The red line, secured to the rail, next to the Zenji crew, is the coiled spinnaker sheet


Five of the ladies had the opportunity to sail with me on this Kaper. They all enjoyed themselves, even if sailing was not strictly what they were doing. The trio on the last day did however get to experience that full effect of sailing on a Super-yacht, the ancient art of Wash-down and Shammy. The ladies took it all seriously, even while smiling and laughing, their signature trademarks as far as Prout sailors are concerned and worked just as hard as though they were a regular part of a big boat crew.

If sailing incorporates the idea of seamanship, even in an Opti, then a day or two on a small ship like Zenji is, while not strictly sailing, an eye opener into the larger (literally) world of sailing and seamanship, where everything needs planning and forethought, two key hallmarks of good and sound seamanship.

After the last race, the work of cleaning up begins. Here Isabella working is on the tidying up the kite sheets, which probably weight more then her.

My last job of the last day was to present Matt with a Prout Sailing shirt as a gesture of our appreciation of his willingness to help give young sailors a look at another card in the vast deck of this activity we do called sailing.

The last job of the day, for the ladies: shammy down the metal.

sail cloth, sail fibers, sail making


I am presenting a lecture seminar on the subject topic this Thursday, tomorrow, 16 Feb 2017 at Newport Yacht Club, Long Wharf in Newport. All are welcome.

This is the presentation overview and the things I will be discussing.

Fiber, fabric, film and fabrication

  • What does a sail have to do?
  • What is required to do this?
  • Background on fibers and their properties
  • Weaving 101
  • Mylar properties
  • Laminates
  • Laminated method
  • “String sails”
  • What’s next?
  • What does the weekend sailor make of this?

And thanks to Hood Sailmakers and Dimension Polyant for the cloth samples.

Hood Sailmakers is paving the way by sponsoring the drinks to the tune of the first $150 of drinks served.

This is the email flier that Roy Guay, my host for the evening and the Chairman of the Bermuda 1-2 distributed to the club’s membership.

On 16 February at 1830 the Newport Yacht Club is trying to start a Winter Lecture Series. Our own Joe Cooper will be giving a talk on Sailcloth and Sails: “Separating marketing from facts to get to Value: A discussion of Sailcloth and things to look for and why for various types of sailing. What does “Premium Dacron” really mean? Why every sail maker has “The world’s best sails” What’s the difference? Woven, Laminates, fibers, molded, not molded, a glossary and guide to sail-maker speak.”

If you are in the neighborhood drop on by. All are welcome.

Roy Guay
Offshore Chairman

Cooper in action at a seminar in California last year.

Cooper in action at a seminar in California last year.

Hope to see you there.




Hall Spars Carbon mast for a Gunboat 90

One of the great aspects of my life is I get to wander around boat yards and so see lots of really interesting and innovative things to do with boats. Very kid in a candy store stuff. A couple of days ago I was at the Hinckley/Hunt marina complex in Portsmouth RI when I came across two Hall technicians prepping a Carbon mast to be returned to its boat, a 90 foot Gunboat catamaran.

Hall Spars has long been a leader in the construction of Carbon fiber masts. Brothers Ben and Eric Hall have been building spars for pushing 40 years and carbon masts, booms, kite poles and other carbon bits for probably 25 plus years. This brief post shows some pictures of parts of the mast and some commentary from me. Enjoy.

This first image, below, is of the bottom of the mast. The rig is a partial wing mast (NOT a wing sail), which means that it is perhaps 700 mm long (fore and aft-Compare with the ladder or my coffee cup on the ladder) and is much more wing shaped, albeit thicker, as wings go, than a conventional spar.


There are a number of reasons for using a wing shaped mast on a fast boat, not the least of which is to reduce drag as the airflow begins to pass over the sail. The drag from conventional shaped, (roughly oval in cross section) adds up when you do the math to sum the cross sectional frontal area exposed to the wind. An additional benefit of wing masts is there is a lot less standing rigging required to hold the mast up-This has long been a benefit of multihulls because of the wide staying base.

A wide staying base reduces the loads on the mast, and also the amount of rigging needed to keep it up. With the elimination of multiple sets of spreaders, and intricate standing rigging, the mast can be this wing shape.

Today, composite standing rigging is certainly lighter and stronger than any metal rigging, but composite standing rigging is thicker in cross section, so having less of it is a big plus. The image below is of the ‘bobstay’ securing the top of the deck spreaders to the hull on No way out, the latest IMOCA 60 from VPLP/Verdier. The acute angle demands stronger, so thicker material, but  you get the idea.


The bobstay, is secured to the hull in some invisible fashion, below. Notice that all of this is so the boat can have its own partial wing mast, or vice versa…


Finally the drag goes up exponentially with the speed, so a cat or tri (Like Spindrift, shown in the featured image) is incorporated into the sail area and sail shape for considerations of sail shape.

The facility of wide shroud base has transitioned into the IMOCA 60 boats, (seen below is ‘No way out’) such as those in the Vendee Globe presently underway.

This latest generation IMOCA 60 has the now common deck spreaders and wing shection mast. The spreaders are to get a wide shroud base, to minize the compression on the spar so it can be a but lighter. Many many Excel spreadsheet Cells were sacrificed in figuring out the cost benefit of this arrangemebt.

This latest generation IMOCA 60 has the now common deck spreaders and wing section mast. The spreaders are to get a wide shroud base, to minimize the compression on the spar so it can be a bit lighter. Many, many Excel spreadsheet Cells were sacrificed in figuring out the cost benefit of this arrangement.

The variations in the size of wing masts are as varied as the boats themselves, as this picture below, of Spindrift, shows. (Spindrift Racing was kind enough to let me have some of the Prout Sailing Team visit Spindrift a couple of years ago.) On the forward side of the mast, at the base, you can see the rotating quadrant with tackle attached. See too, the knife in the yellow sheath, just next to Julia’s left calf…..


Back to the Gunboat mast.

Because it is a wing mast, it is deck stepped so it can be rotated. (Or perhaps it is the other way around. It is stepped on deck so it CAN BE a wing mast). To achieve this rotational ability, there are two unique details. The bronze colored circle in the middle is the fitting, slightly concave, which lands on top of its mate on the mast step, on the boat. It is basically a bearing surface for the mast to sit on, so it can rotate.


The half circle looking part is on the forward side of the mast. It is, and so acts like, a quadrant, in a wheel steering system providing a lever arm to move the spar. There are control lines mounted to it and when actuated, these lines can turn the mast thru, what looks like 90 degrees, but is probably only 45 degrees, either side of fore and aft, in practice. You can see these more clearly in the Spindrift images, above.

This closer detail shows a remarkable piece of carbon detailing and finish work. Smooth, shiny and undoubtedly strong. It is as much a work of artisan craftsmanship as an engineering part for a 90-foot high-speed sailboat.


Built into the base of the mast is a detail to accept the halyard turning blocks. This design is necessary because the (aft side of the) mast moves thru, perhaps 12-18 inches when being rotated, so incorporating the blocks mounted onto the mast eliminates the traditional idea of mounting them to the deck with big pad eyes thru bolted.


This traditional method would not be very successful in any event because the halyard’s lead out of the mast would be moving all over the place as the mast rotates. In keeping with the proliferation of using cordage in lieu of metal for securing things to the boat, these Harken blocks are looped onto the mast with large diameter spectra. The Harken Velcro straps stop the loop from separating when there is no load on the block. The little piece of light line is probably to keep the Velcro attached to the boat when working on the block

At the loads the sails on these boats generate the engineers must consider the transfer of this load thru the (main) sail’s leech to the mast track.  In this picture, a section of track is the pewter colored piece on the aft side, the bottom, of the of the mast in the image. The loads on this boat, when sailing full speed, close to the wind, with a fully hoisted main are considerable. Bear in mind that a 90 foot cat, particularly a light fast one, generates the kinds of sail loads roughly equal to a 140-150 foot monohull


And just as much load is generated when reefed. This next image shows the beefy metal (I did not ask what) at the reefs too. The luff track/batten car slider system is suitably large Ronstan ball bearing equipment. This construction detailing on the spar of course requires considerable communications between the Sailmakers and the mast builders as to where the head of the sail will land when the sail is reefed.


Another detail to do with the huge loads on this (these) boat (s) is that they do not use ‘conventional’ jib halyards & furlers but rather the foresails are on ‘free luff’ furlers. These furlers have become pretty commonplace on high test boats from Class 40’s to Ultimate trimarans, like Spindrift, above.The dead weight of the sail and furler combination is lighter than a conventional aluminum section (or Carbon sections on bigger boats) and can offer the option, quite often exercised of removing the sail and stay completely. The benefit to this of course is to, again, reduce drag and weight aloft and, incidentally, improve stability. The concept and equipment for this kind of free luff furler comes from the reaching Genoas used on furlers for the solo offshore race boats for perhaps the past 20 plus years that has now trickled down to all manner of boats. In order for the loads to be accommodated, the sails/stays are secured by halyard locks. The idea of halyard locks has been around for a while–many smaller boats, Finns, Etchells, and so on have halyard locks, for the mainsail at least, and have had for years.


The contemporary high-load halyard lock is a bit more sophisticated though. The rigging of this halyard lock and free luff sail arrangement involves a ‘stay’of a lightweight composite fiber manufactured for the purpose, being captured inside a luff tape on the jib and secured to the head and tack of the sail.This idea is basically like the luff-wire in the jib of a 420-dinghy jib for instance. The rolled up sail is hoisted on a ‘halyard’ that is really just a length of line, robust enough, to hoist the sail and, when hoisted, the top of the stay is introduced into this metal lock and is thus held in place with no load on the ‘halyard’. The lock is held to the suitably reinforced part of the mast with Spectra loops, seen below.


This reduces weight in the mast because the sheave area does not have to be so strong as to resist the halyard tension, rotating over the sheave at about a 160 degree turn and the (hoisting) sheave itself can be much smaller, just big enough to sustain the loads of pulling the sail up. This absence of halyard load reduces the compression on the spar,(cf halyard loads in previous sentence) another element contributing to the weight (savings) in the mast. No (conventional) halyard means fewer blocks at the base of the mast, or winches and clutches on the mast and so on. The lock is probably one of the few metal parts on this mast. The lock hardware thus has a padded jacket around it to protect the (beautiful) carbon work the mast represents.


The above view is up through the tunnel which the part to be locked, the top of the stay, fits.

The stay is tensioned by some combination of tackle, winch or hydraulics as seen on, again, the IMOCA 60, No Way Out.

Stay tensioning system on IMOCA 60 No way out

As noted, wing masts have a lot less standing rigging that a conventional mast, but they are not without some rigging. The picture below shows the additional layers of carbon laminated in  and around where the spreaders pass thru the mast. The technique the Hall folks use is a layup over a mandrel, so the outside of the mast shows all the effort put into the work by the technicians actually laying the fibers onto the  spar. Truly, art meets science. The shiny-ness of the mast is probably due to a clear coat paint job.



The engineering of these masts is pretty complex and must take into account all manner of multi-directional loads, both static AND dynamic and peak loads, as when sailing into the back-side of a wave at 30-35 knots and slowing down rapidly to 20 knots or less. The composite lay up for the boat’s gooseneck must withstand this loading and have a suitable safety factor to boot. This probably accounts for the size of the gooseneck. My thumb is at 21 inches.


A proper seagoing mast ought to have a tunnel inside the spar to run the cabling for all the electronic and electric stuff. An innovative variation on the typical round tube held to the inside of the mast is this sheath fabricated from some light sailcloth. All the cabling is captive inside this sheath. It is held in place and tensioned by, at the bottom, the piece of  lightweight Spectra, the blue colored one. The reddish piece of Spectra is probably mouse line for installing and removing cabling.


Certainly not all of us have the means to own and operate a gunboat 90, but as noted above, hanging around in boat yards is, for many water rats, a fine thing to do.

Feature image Spindrift Racing, 30 meter Trimaran.

Picture courtesy Spindrift racing



Vendee Globe the pace slows but the race gets tighter at the front

Picture copyright Vendee Globe Banque Populaire Armel le Cleac’h aboard Banque Populaire in the Vendee Globe 2016/17

The Vendee Globe is a sailing race like no other for various reasons. This years edition has pushed the edges of performance probably a couple of hurdles further than normal boat evolution with the new foiling boats. Foiling leapt to the sailing limelight in the America’s Cup in 2013. Foiling sailing boats have been around for at least, today, close to 100 years. The most prominent recent example of a foiling sailing boat, this side of the foiling AC 72’s, is the French program L’Hydroptère. This remarkable vessel is the life’s goal of Frenchman (of course) Alain Thebault who has dedicated the past 30 years to foiling sailing.

Photo sent from the boat Hugo Boss, on November 15th, 2016 - Photo Alex Thomson Photo envoyée depuis le bateau Hugo Boss le 15 Novembre 2016 - Photo Alex Thomson

Photo sent from the boat Hugo Boss, on November 15th, 2016 – Photo Alex Thomson
Photo envoyée depuis le bateau Hugo Boss le 15 Novembre 2016 – Photo Alex Thomson

Fast forward to the 2016/16 Vendee Globe, seven of the entries are the latest generation designs by VPLP/Verdier. Three of them have been on a cracking pace led by Brit Alex Thompson who as of this writing, (Saturday 26 November) remains in the lead over Frenchman Armel Le Cleac’h who has, however, run down the tenacious Brit from 120 or so miles behind two days ago to 12 miles as of 1500 race time today. And five of the top seven are latest generation foilers

One of the interesting details in a race full of interesting details is the spread between the foiling boats even within themselves. Thompson and le Cleac’h are alongside each relatively speaking but they have broken away from the remaining pack. In third, now over 300 miles astern is Seb Josse in Edmund De Rothschild, fourth is a non-foiling boat, (albeit the 2012/13 winner under the command of then wunderkind Francois Gabart), skippered this year by Paul Meilhat at almost 900 miles astern with fifth, six and seventh at 900, 1200 and 1700 (roughly) miles behind respectively. The last remaining foiler is under the command of Dutchman Pieter Heerema at almost 3,000 miles astern. So what accounts for this huge spread?

This latest generation IMOCA 60 has the now common deck spreaders and wing shection mast. The spreaders are to get a wide shroud base, to minize the compression on the spar so it can be a but lighter. Many many Excel spreadsheet Cells were sacrificed in figuring out the cost benefit of this arrangemebt.

This latest generation IMOCA 60, this one belonging to Dutchman Pieter Heerema, has the now common deck spreaders and wing section mast. The spreaders are to get a wide shroud base, to minimize the compression on the spar so it can be a but lighter. Many, many Excel spreadsheet Cells were sacrificed in figuring out the cost benefit of this arrangement. Joe Cooper Sailing photo

The top three skippers are all within a couple of years of the same age, at around 40, They are underway in their fourth, fourth and third Vendee globes respectively. These three are sponsored by, and have possibly the best funded and organized teams-Thompson has 13 people working for Alex Thompson Racing and is sponsored by the German clothing company, Hugo Boss. Second and third are funded by two banks and all three are long term sponsors, with Thompson serving Hugo Boss for 16 or so years while the two banks, Banque Populaire and Edmond De Rothschild, have been in the sailing game for at least that long, albeit with different skippers.

It is reported that Thompson’s boat while being from the same design office is ‘different’. Obvious differences are the dreadnought bow and sloping foredeck, a reportedly narrower boat and wider foils. Thompson is using Doyle sails, something of a departure from the ‘standard’ North France that the other two are using. Can it be ‘just sails? Hardly, but perhaps it is one of those situations where a lot of small details add up to a greater whole? Even more remarkable in the case of Thompson is the 6 months his boat was out of action after breaking in the last TJV and being abandoned, recovered and rebuilt. And on top of this he has already broken his starboard foil in a collision with something in the water. Thompson is considered a tough nut, which is saying something in a world of tough nuts.

Picture of Pieter Heerema’s boat ‘No Way Back’ (the yellow boat) by Joe Cooper

Pictures via Vendee Globe Press office except where noted.

Banque Populaire feature picture via Armel Le Cleac’h aboard Banque Populaire Vendee Globe

Reuse of pictures is prohibited.


Vendee Globe-Solo record still possible

The foiling IMOCA 60’s are giving a good impression of multihull speed over the course of the first 19 days of this edition of the Vendee Globe, solo circumnavigation. As of 1700 EST, Brit Alex Thompson aboard Hugo Boss has had the pedal down despite breaking a foil on something in the water a few days ago. (It is worth noting that at the moment four boats have hit something and broken the boat obliging three of them to abandon the race).

The VG tracker has a number indicating the percentage of the race the leader has completed. After 16 days Hugo Boss had completed 25% of the calculated great circle length of the race. Extrapolating on this data brings one of course gets to a 64 day circumnavigation. Will this be the end result? Too soon to say fo course. BUT I just did it again for 19 days at 30% which is 62 and some days, so they are not backing off at all.

Thompson has been able to get back up to full foiling speed having gybed to starboard for a while today allowing him to deploy the ‘good’ foil for a while. But sail boat racing regardless of what the boat or the course is needs wind and they appear to be light on for such at the momenet, light being the operative word.

The biggest hurdle the two front runners, now 25 miles apart (at 1700 Race time) is the wind petering out and becoming confused and light. Thompson reports basically sailing into the back of the front.

Oops- pays to pay attention. The 2200 race time position updates places The Boss stretching again over Armel LeCleac’h, (aka The Jackal in French solo terms) at 31 miles over his earlier 25 miles. AND the Boss has the juice again at 22 knots versus 18 of The Jackal.

British Bull Dog lives to fight another day.

The following link/news update courtsy of the VG press office.