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The Golden Pillow Award

By Joe Cooper

How did it get to be Autumn already? Seems like just last week I was drifting around in the Block Island Race. Then there was the NYYC Annual Regatta or Race Week, I forget which, wherein I sailed on a mate’s boat with symmetrical spinnakers. Boy, THAT tested the memory. In mid-July, the Marblehead to Halifax was ALL downwind. We had the kite up at the start and the same kite came down at the finish. Breeze SW, 6-17 for 50-odd hours. At the end of July there was the Candy Store Cup, during which, thanks to the hospitality of the captain, Matt Hearsum, I was able to rotate through some of the Prout Sailing Team. Over to the CJ Buckley Regatta a day or so later, only to discover the remarkable story of CJ Buckley that led to meeting his parents and an article (A Pebble in a Pond) in September's edition.

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Ramblin’ Musings

By Joe Cooper

Consumer warning: This month’s column is all over the lot. There’s a lot of sailing going on here in the Ocean State, and it’s hard to keep it all in order.

The returned volley from my mates in Annapolis after last month’s “Sailing Capital of the World” column was surprisingly light. I had some traffic with Bill Sandberg, who veteran WindCheck’ers will remember was the Contributing Editor who, on his decamping to Annapolis, I had the honor to take over from and become the freethinking voice of WindCheck. Bill’s remarks were soothing: Maintaining that Annapolis is the Sailing Capital, he conceded that Newport’s the Yachting Capital of the World. Well, I was still not convinced. Newport has its fair share of Yachts (definition to come), but it’s hard to get “yacht,” Spindrift, IMOCA 60s and Class40s in the same sentence.

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Sailing Capital of the World

By Joe Cooper

Congratulations to the entire team of lads and ladies from The Land of the Long White Cloud, aka Kiwis. Much has been said about Kiwi innovation with respect to bikes (although Pelle Petterson must be laughing his stern post off), X-box controls, the new generation of young’uns and all the other stuff. What I have not seen remarked on anywhere is the social and historical context behind this success, the almost inbuilt ability to innovate. New Zealand is a tiny nation of a few islands and a lot of sheep at what was, before the internet afforded ‘easy’ access to the outside world, pretty close to the end of the world, on the very edge of the windswept wastes of the Southern Ocean. Consequently, Kiwis have a long history of making things and fixing their own stuff. “DIY” could be the Kiwi national motto and nowhere is this cultural vein more obvious than in their recent win. Bloody good job, you lot.

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Summer Reading

By Joe Cooper

July_17_web_page56_image1.pngEarly June: Summer is here, pretty much, for sure, I’m certain, I think. If it is here, it is a great time to stretch out on the cockpit seats and catch up on all the bestsellers you’ve been missing out on. Or if you’re like me (and yes, that phrase did give me pause), you might dig back into some of your favorite books…on sailing of course. Some of mine are discussed this month.

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America’s Cup, for kids

By Joe Cooper

Gretel and WeatherlyThe America’s Cup is, as most sailors remember, about to happen in Bermuda. There are many opinions (hey, we’re sailors) on the current state of the AC, and they range across the spectrum from “Great!” to “Bring back the 12s!”

Listening to a shortwave radio broadcast of the 1962 America’s Cup at his home on the other side of the world from Newport, Rhode Island, little Joey Cooper was late for school the day Gretel (KA1) surfed past Weatherly to win Race 2.   © unikatoo.com

There is one thing about the America’s Cup that, even if held in bathtubs on an obscure body of water in Mongolia, would not change: the experience of the guys and, way too infrequently, the women, who sail in this most storied sailing event. Win, lose or…well, there are no draws, sailing in, and the larger America’s Cup experience is one of the most profound experiences in sailing, or at least it was for me.

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Sailing by the Numbers

By Joe Cooper

Chase MulvaneyLast month, I attended a yacht design contest at the Paul Cuffee School in Providence, Rhode Island. The Cuffee School is named for one of the early successful black businessmen in the New Bedford whaling industry. As befits most inner city populations today, a vast swath, the bulk I’d guess, of the middle school population in Providence are not Anglo Saxon by ancestry.

Chase Mulvaney, a senior at Rocky Hill School in East Greenwich, RI, rigs up at a recent Friday Night Lights regatta at Sail Newport. © Matthew Cohen Photography
 
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Clancy, of the paperwork

By Joe Cooper

safety at sea marion bermudaLate February found me flying west to visit my mates in the Marin Marine Mafia in San Francisco, the nominal reason being to share the celebrations of one of our number in his 85th year. I also saw some of the other blokes and girls, went for a sail on SF Bay, introduced one of the former Prout sailors, now at university out there, to said mafia, and generally kicked back in the warm sun pouring in through the south windows of the hillside aerie in Mill Valley owned by my host, the birthday boy.

Every sailor contemplating an offshore passage should attend a safety at sea seminar…and make sure your electronic rescue beacons are properly registered. © Spectrum Photo/Fran Grenon
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Trains, Boats and Automobiles

By Joe Cooper

Volvo Ocean RaceI was reminded recently that four of the five boroughs of New York City are on islands. This came about as I rode Amtrak into Manhattan to attend a Volvo Ocean Race press round table in midtown. The event’s save-the-date email was rather neutral in tone, but nonetheless I persuaded myself something was afoot.

Teamwork is everything in the Volvo Ocean Race, all the time. © Sam Greenfield/Dongfeng Race Team/Volvo Ocean Race
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Sailing around the world: A brief history

By Joe Cooper

vendeeMost of us probably get a variety of sailing info in our mailboxes on a daily, if not hourly, basis, from the America’s Cup on down the celebrity chain. Some of us get info on the Vendée Globe. Fewer, in the U.S., would know that at Christmas, Frenchman Thomas Colville blitzed the solo circumnavigation record by eight and a half days, finishing his solo circumnavigation aboard a 102-foot trimaran in 49 days.

© Jean-Marie Liot/DPPI/Vendee Globe

And as I write, (30 Dec), Francis Joyon and five of his mates are blasting across the southern Indian Ocean on their 102-foot trimaran, having a crack at the outright record of some 45 and a half days set in 2012. So at one point a couple of weeks ago there were the remaining, at the time, 25 (of 29 starters) or so Vendée boats, Colville and Joyon all in various parts of the Atlantic and Southern oceans and half a dozen of them travelling at speeds approaching those of the AC cats, viz. 30 knots.

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Sailing – A different kind of tough

By Joe Cooper

Rich WilsonFall appears to finally be upon us. As I write, the temperature is not in the 80s, the sky is overcast and the trees are shedding their leaves, finally. I am still buzzing after sailing the foiling cats at the Red Bull Foiling Generation ‘go for a sail’ event last Monday. That was a great way to blast out of this season. But what’s next? What are we all doing for the next three months or so until we can start thinking about 2017 sailing?

A professional educator, a sailor and an adventurer, Rich Wilson founded sitesALIVE! In 1990 to engage students in science, geography, math and history by connecting them to live, real world adventures. © B. Gergaud/courtesy of sitesalive.com
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