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Sailing Svalbard: a photographic expedition in the Artctic circle

Legendary sailing photographer Rick Tomlinson leads a wildlife expedition sail in Svalbard searching for polar bears and stunning scenery to capture It’s 0600 and I hear movement down below, our guide Marcel going for his shower. I’d woken a couple of hours earlier when I knocked a pillow covering the window and bright, bright, sunlight came streaming in. I couldn’t get back to sleep, we were in an area where polar bears had been recently sighted and I could feel they were out there right now. Marcel came up, took one look around and calmly said, ‘There’s a bear.” Where? I’d been staring at the same area for two hours and seen nothing, in fact I still couldn’t see it! We were aboard the expedition yacht Qilak in the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard on a photographic expedition that was originally planned to mark a 60th birthday two years ago, but got rescheduled due to Covid. Qilak is a 66ft purpose-built high latitude expedition yacht owned and skippered by Belgian Philippe Carlier, whose unique concept came about after he bumped into designer Merf Owen in a pub in Hamble. Built at KM Yacht Builders in Holland in aluminium, and launched in 2016, Qilak incorporates many of the skipper’s own ideas as well as the design teams and KMs input. She is distinctive by her outline, tough and functional, yet with a few more comforts than some of the other expedition yachts I’ve worked on. Qilak spent most of the pandemic in Norway and Iceland and had sailed to Svalbard a few weeks before we joined her in Longyearbyen. At 78° north this is the most northern town in the world with a population of just over 2,000. When you look at a map, first find the top of Norway, then go up another 500 miles – that’s the Svalbard archipelago and Longyearbyen is on the island of Spitsbergen. It’s just over 600 miles to the North Pole. By comparison the cruising area on the Antarctic Peninsula is around 63° south, some 1,600 miles from the South Pole such is the effect of the Gulf Stream on northern climates. Qilak would be

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Yachting World

Best sailing watches: 16 options for racing and cruising

Fox Morgan, Phil Sampson and Roger Hughes trst and review 16 of the best sailing watches available with functions for racing and cruising sailors Just as tablets and even smartphones have revolutionised how sailors use multifunction displays and instruments, so the latest smart watch technology has now firmly filtered into sailing. While we’re now familiar with using our watches to give us directions, make calls and send messages, and act as a repeater screen on our wrists ashore, so the latest sailing watches also make navigation, data and comms technology wearable afloat. However, the cleverest watch is not always the best watch for sailing. For racing an extremely simple and speedy to operate model may suit better. Price is not always an indicator of functionality either; even some of the least expensive sailing watches, like the Casio we showcase below, can be packed with features. At the other end of the scale,  luxury horology brands – including Rolex, Panerai, and Omega among others – have long been closely associated with sailing, seeing it as the perfect sport to demonstrate their style, waterproof and ruggedised qualities, and accuracy. In making our selection of the best sailing watches, we’ve chosen those with features specifically suitable for wearing aboard. That doesn’t mean, however, that they float, so be sure to do the clasp up securely and be wary of pulling off jacket sleeves in a hurry and losing your prized timepiece overboard! Note: We may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site, at no extra cost to you. This doesn’t affect our editorial independence. Best multi-function sailing watches Quatix 6, tested by Fox Morgan Garmin Quatix 6 sailing watch Best smart sailing watch Read our in depth Quatix 6 review and long term test. This watch we tried out at length – it is a very comprehensive design, with functions for every type of pastime on the water, including diving. It is a beautifully crafted and extraordinary wrist computer. Garmin is well known for superior boating instruments and they have now managed to squeeze all the data of a ten-inch chartplotter into a 1.3” inch round sailing watch. Bluetooth functionality means

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Yachting World

Route du Rhum skipper: Thomas Ruyant

As the 2022 Route du Rhum approaches, we take a look at some of the top names set to compete in the race. Toby Heppell looks at Thomas Ruyant’s chances Thomas Ruyant truly made his mark on the IMOCA 60 fleet in the lead up to and during the 2020-21 Vendée Globe Race. The Frenchman took 4th place on the water in the singlehanded solo non-stop race around the world, finishing 6th overall after redress was awarded to competitors involved in Kevin Escoffier’s rescue. Ruyant was duelling for the lead in the Vendée Globe when his port foil suffered major damage just three weeks into the race. Incredibly, he climbed out onto the end of the foil to cut the most badly damaged section away using an electric saw, before resuming racing. Although he was able to make the foil partially functional, his speed was severely compromised on starboard tack for the remaining 19,000 miles of the race. Born in Dunkirk, Ruyant was a dinghy sailor initially. He purchased a Mini 6.50 while at university, which he reconditioned. In 2007 he took on his first big solo offshore test, the Mini Transat, finishing 24th. Two years later Ruyant was back with a new boat and won the transatlantic race, cementing his position as one to watch for the future. In 2010 Ruyant moved into the Class 40, where he again dominated in the class which is seen by many as a feeder to the IMOCA 60. Ruyant won almost everything he entered, including the Transat Jacques Vabre. He also tested himself in the Figaro Beneteau class, and although mid-fleet in the competitive Solitaire du Figaro, with its many short, almost inshore, coastal sprint legs, he won the Transat A2GR La Mondiale in the Figaro in 2018. Ruyant secured the position of skipper on the IMOCA 60 Le Souffle du Nord ahead of the 2016-17 Vendee Globe and cemented the faith placed in him by finishing 4th alongside co-skipper Adrien Hardy in the 2015 Transat Jacques Vabre – his first proper IMOCA 60 race. In his first attempt at the Vendée Globe, Ruyant was performing impressively when disaster struck. Some 260

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Yachting World

Route du Rhum skipper: Sam Davies

As the 2022 Route du Rhum approaches, we take a look at some of the top names set to compete in the race. Helen Fretter looks at Sam Davies’ chances English-born Samantha Davies has the rare status of being loved by both French and British sailing fans. She is now among the most experienced IMOCA 60 skippers in the fleet, and well known for being one of its best communicators, also being bilingual. Sam Davies was born in Portsmouth, on the south coast of the UK, and spent much of her childhood sailing with her parents on their schooner, where she is said to have taken her first steps. After school she studied mechanical engineering at St John’s College, Cambridge, and swiftly moved into competitive sailing, beginning in the Mini 6.50 class. At the age of just 24, she was part of Tracy Edwards’s 1998 round the world Jules Verne record attempt, which was later dismasted. She moved to France, and spent many years in the highly competitive Figaro class. Davies became part of the high profile Offshore Challenges team, securing Figaro sponsorship from Skandia, and also sailing with Nick Moloney on his IMOCA 60. In 2008/09 she competed in her first Vendée Globe on Roxy, crossing the line in 3rd place and finishing 4th after redress was awarded to other competitors (for the rescue of Jean le Cam). For her achievements she was awarded Yachtsman of the Year by the Yachting Journalist Association in 2009, but more significantly she demonstrated that she was a superb story teller, regularly sending engaging videos and blogs from Roxy which demonstrated her love of ocean racing (and the fact that she was also a great asset to sponsors). She was dismasted in the 2012 Vendée Globe, but went straight on to the all-female Team SCA entry in the Volvo Ocean Race, in which she was made skipper. Davies has trained for many years at the prestigious Port La Forêt, and now has more than 25 transatlantic races under her belt as well as three circumnavigations. She missed out on the 2016 Vendée Globe, but returned for 2016 with the 2010 generation IMOCA Initiatives-Coeur,

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Yachting World

Route du Rhum skipper: Charlie Dalin

As the 2022 Route du Rhum approaches, we take a look at some of the top names set to compete in the race. Toby Heppell looks at Charlie Dalin’s chances Charlie Dalin has risen to become one of the stand-out stars of the current generation of IMOCA 60 sailors. His biggest moment in the spotlight so far was crossing the finish line first in the last edition of the Vendée Globe, though his entire career trajectory is one of success after success Despite finishing 1st on the water into Les Sables d’Olonne in January 2021, however, Dalin was not the overall winner of the solo round the world race. Yannick Bestaven, who crossed the line 2nd, was awarded 10 hours and 15 minutes of redress for his part in the rescue of Kevin Escoffier. This meant that Bestaven was declared the overall winner. Leading the fleet in the world’s most celebrated offshore race is something many skippers hope (and fail) to achieve in a lifetime: Dalin crossed the finish of the Vendée Globe in 1st place on his first try. Dalin sailed a near-faultless race during the 2020 Vendee Globe. In addition to demonstrating the speed of his latest generation Apivia, and his tactical nous, he also showed that other highly important skill of the solo offshore racer: a Macgyver-like ability to make repairs on the fly. When his port foil casing failed in the Southern Ocean, the Frenchman was forced to construct a remarkable 18-hour repair that involved climbing out onto the foil and reinforcing it with a complex web of lines. Since the 2020 Vendee Globe, Dalin has maintained his winning momentum. He was 2nd alongside co-skipper Paul Meilhat in the double-handed 2021 Transat Jacques Vabre, and won the solo Vendée Arctique in early 2022. These impressive results will be of little surprise to anyone that has followed Dalin’s career over the years. He’s the epitome of a modern day French offshore racer, combining both technical and sailing skills with a slick professionalism and daunting work ethic. Like so many other talented young French sailors, he began his career in the Mini 6.50 class, taking 2nd place in

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Yachting World

Route du Rhum skipper: Jérémie Beyou

As the 2022 Route du Rhum approaches, we take a look at some of the top names set to compete in the race. Toby Heppell looks at Jeremie Beyou’s chances Jérémie Beyou is one of the most experienced offshore racers in the world and has a daunting record of wins and podium places across a wide variety of classes, in both solo and crewed races. The Frenchman is one of only a handful of sailors to have taken part in four Vendée Globes and is aiming for a fifth entry in the 2024-25 Vendée Globe race. His best position to date in the solo non stop round the world race is a 3rd place that he picked up in the 2016-17 edition. A new boat, launched with plenty of time to develop Charal ahead of the 2020-21 Vendée, combined with Beyou’s impressive skills made him the clear favourite to win ahead of the 2020 race (as much as there can be a clear favourite in a race which regularly sees the a significant proportion of the fleet retire). However, a collision soon after the start put paid to his winning chances, leaving Beyou faced with returning to port for repairs, restarting (allowed in the immediate early stages of the race), and continuing the course. Beyou, who is more accustomed to being at the front of the fleet than chasing the tail-enders, initially struggled with being uncompetitive. Nevertheless, he continued, adding his personal challenge to the legions of Vendée human stories and came home in an impressive 13th place. Beyou has been at the forefront of the offshore shorthanded racing scene since the late 1990s, notching up a swathe of impressive results. He has won the supremely competitive La Solitaire du Figaro – widely considered as the event to cement your name in offshore racing circles – on three separate occasions and finished in the top five seven times. He won the 2017 Transat Jacques Vabre and has finished on the podium on two further occasions, was a part of the Volvo Ocean Race winning crew onboard Dongfeng in 2018, won the IMOCA 60 class in the Rolex Fastnet Race, and

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Yachting World

Best marine binoculars: 8 of the best pairs for keeping a good lookout on board

Even with modern navigational electronics that give your position to within a few metres, you’d still be wise to keep a good pair of marine binoculars on board. We pick out 8 of the best options… Whether for identifying a tricky harbour entrance, taking a closer look at an approaching ship or even looking for the breeze, a decent pair of marine binoculars will repay their purchase price many times over in peace of mind and as a useful aid to pilotage. What to look for in a good pair of marine binoculars Binoculars are available in many different guises online, in varying degrees of magnification, weight, size and waterproofing. At first glance you might assume that the greater the magnification the better, but on a moving boat, it’s long been accepted that 7x is the best compromise between making objects appear larger and keeping them still enough to see. The trusty pair of 7×50 marine binoculars narrows down the search somewhat, but you’re also looking for light weight (to avoid tired arms), an adjustable eyepiece (to suit any eyesight, glasses and contact lenses), and ideally, they will be filled with nitrogen to keep moisture at bay. Weight-wise, marine binoculars seem to fall into two camps – the cheaper ones, minus the bells and whistles come in at around 6-700g, and the better quality ones at around 1kg. Read our other article about three premium marine binoculars tested by Bruce Jacobs. You can buy models with internal compasses, floating bodies and even image stabilisation: luckily there are binoculars for every boat and budget out there, so we rounded up 7 of the best deals.   Best marine binoculars available right now Silva waterproof 7×50 These binoculars have been tried and tested for a good few years now.  They’ve stood up well to the general slinging around and rough stowage that most marine binoculars are subjected to. These were branded as Nexus, but they’re now found in the shops branded as Silva. What they lack in sophistication they make up for in robustness and no nonsense fit for purpose aesthetics. The antiglare coating works well on the water. The model tested

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Yachting World

Flight of the Dragons: a pilgrimage aboard a stunning classic yacht

Sailing a 120-year-old Fife rater, a stunning classic, from Plymouth to Largs was part voyage and part pilgrimage for Dan Houston There came a moment when it felt right to speak to the water, here in the middle of the Bristol Channel. I could hear the tiredness in my voice, “Let us go Eric, let us go north with the others, be at peace.” This is going to sound weird because I was addressing the ghost of Eric Tabarly, France’s legendary sailor, and a unifying national hero who helped make the sport so popular there. He drowned in these waters while taking his beloved 100-year-old Fife rater Pen Duick north to the first Fife regatta in June 1998. Tabarly had been heading to Milford Haven too and the weather conditions had been about the same – Force 6, gusting higher, at night, the sea getting up and a bit confused, occasionally climbing aboard, rain, murk, generally uncomfy. He’d had the wind behind him though, and was knocked overboard by the swinging gaff as the crew dowsed the mains’l while sailing downwind. They never got back to him; his body was found weeks later by a trawler. It was a tragedy for all sailing, as Tabarly was as involved in sailing classics as he was pushing the envelope for speed on the water. I’m sailing on a sister vessel, Sibyl of Cumae, also a Fife 36 Linear Rater, built in 1902, four years after Pen Duick, and converted to a Bermudan cruiser-racing yacht in the 1930s. Seeing lightning and storm clouds north of us we’d reduced our sail earlier in the night, and are now under staysail, with three turns on the roller at that, and bouncing along at eight knots – if we come off the wind a point or so. Sibyl of Cumae back in home Scottish waters. Photo: Den Phillips And that’s it – we’re going to be all day closing the Welsh coast at this rate. It’s still about 60 miles away. We can’t point high enough into the north-north-easter. Sibyl is slamming noisily over the short, confused seas, and it’s begun to feel like we’re in

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Yachting World

INEOS Britannia reveal new T6 America’s Cup test boat

INEOS Britannia has unveiled its new ‘LEQ12’ America’s Cup test boat, T6, while activity among all the teams has ramped up with two years to go until the 37th America’s Cup INEOS Britannia has launched its first America’s Cup test boat. Code-named T6, the test boat is known as an ‘LEQ12’ , a scaled down foiling monohull which may be used for testing design developments, in addition to the one-design AC40 which all Cup teams have to purchase. T6 was built at Carrington Boats in Hythe, then transported to Brackley, UK, the home of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team for its fit out – the biggest design and engineering project so far for the partnership with the motorsports team. It was launched at the team’s new winter training base in Palma, Mallorca. As Challenger of Record, one of the British team’s key inputs into the Protocol for AC37 was that teams retained the option of building their own scaled down development boats in addition to the AC40s. It was agreed that these America’s Cup test boat (or towing platforms), must be between 6-12m in length (hence LEQ12, for ‘less or equal to 12’). Team skipper and CEO Ben Ainslie explained one of the key reasons why the team invested in an additional boat: “We came out of AC36 lacking confidence in our design tools. Ultimately, we made key design decisions in the last Cup using our design tools and our simulation, and they weren’t accurate enough. This was borne out in the end result, across our hull, foil designs and performance. “T6 is a fantastic opportunity for us to be able to validate our design tools and have more confidence in them, as we go into designing the key components for the race boat for Barcelona.” The new INEOS Britannia LEQ12 America’s Cup test boat, T6, launched in Palma, Mallorca in October 2022 The new boat is also a test-run for working with Mercedes-AMG before building their new AC75. “It’s a big deal trying to bring two design groups together and define common working practices and everything else that goes into designing a successful America’s Cup boat,” Ainslie explained. “We had the opportunity to

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Yachting World

First look: WING 100 – one of the world’s largest megayachts

Royal Huisman reveal 100m megayacht. The radical Wing 100 concept is designed to be a true sailing yacht, not ‘sail assisted’ A dream team of superyacht heavyweights have collaborated to produce this ambitious future-proofed megayacht sailing concept, one which, if built, would rank in the top five largest sailing yachts in the world. The famed Dutch yard Royal Huisman worked with big rig specialists Dykstra Naval Architects and British interior designer Mark Whitely to visualise this extraordinary 100m/330ft craft.  Were it to be commissioned, it would be built in aluminium and is designed to be a true sailing yacht rather than a motoryacht with sails (such as Sailing Yacht A, the world’s largest at 142m). It’s also one that the design team predict can be easily handled thanks in part to its innovative airfoil wingmasts.  The WING100 will be one of the top five biggest sailing yachts every built. Images: Royal Huisman The relative simplicity of the push-button controlled sailing systems is also a factor which should help the project appeal to motorboaters wanting to reduce their environmental impact, thinks Royal Huisman. It predicts that the efficiency of the rig means that WING 100 will consume less than 20% of the energy required by an equivalent motoryacht on passage, which equates to over 225,000lt of fuel per year. The twin 73m free standing, rotating wing masts would be built by Royal Huisman’s sister company Rondal. These have airfoil profiles, can be remotely adjusted to help increase or decrease power, and help to minimise deck clutter.   The bow has a 60-degree chamfer The wing masts prioritise the ability to set sails quickly, easily and comfortably and incorporate 480m2 of solar panels that can generate 250kW a day. The experience of Dykstra will be invaluable in the rig development thanks to its work with the ground-breaking and well proven DynaRig projects Maltese Falcon and Black Pearl.  The Vollenhove yard is one of the only few capable of such a formidable project, having previously launched Athena (90m) and Sea Eagle II (81m) and with the 85m Project 410 currently in build. “The emergence of sailing yachts on this scale, with the level of

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Yachting World

Mike Birch, 1931-2022

One of offshore racing’s most celebrated skippers, Mike Birch, who won the first edition of the Route du Rhum on a 36ft trimaran in 1978, has died aged 90 (FILES) In this file photo taken on November 4, 1978, Canadian Mike Birch, skipper of sailboat “Olympus Photo” looks on during his departure from Saint-Malo for the “Route du Rhum” to Pointe-‡-Pitre. – Birch died on October 26, 2022, at his home in Brec’h (Morbihan), northwestern France, at the age of 90, his family announced today. (Photo by JEAN-PIERRE PREVEL / AFP) One of offshore racing’s greatest heroes, Canadian Mike Birch, has died at the age of 90. Legendary Canadian skipper Mike Birch won the first edition of the Route du Rhum in 1978, crossing the finish line on the diminutive yellow trimaran Olympus Photo just 98 seconds ahead of his nearest rival Michel Malinovsky’s mighty 21m yacht Kriter V.  Birch’s win was a catalyst to a revolution in offshore sailing, the reverberations of which are still being felt today: cast iron proof that – in the right hands – multihulls could be as fast, or faster, than monohulls over long ocean crossings. Born in Vancouver, Canada on 1 November 1931, Birch had a varied career which included working as a gold miner, on oil derricks, as a mechanic – where he developed a love of beautiful sports cars, and even as a real-life cowboy competing in rodeos, before he began sailing full-time.  Birch was in his mid-40s when he moved into offshore racing. After working as a delivery skipper in Dartmouth in the 1970s he entered the 1976 OSTAR in the 32ft trimaran Third Turtle and finished 2nd, not far behind Eric Tabarly’s 73ft Pen Duick VI. Two years later, he won the Route du Rhum in the smallest boat in the fleet, the 30ft tri Olympus Photo. The nail-biting finish which was broadcast live, making not only Birch but the new French transatlantic race (set up as an alternative to the English Transat from Plymouth) famous. OlympusPhoto, skippered by Mike Birch overtakes (foreground) the yacht Kriter at the finish in Point-à-Pitre, Guadaloupe, of the 1978 Route du Rhum. Photo

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Yachting World

Rolex Middle Sea Race: line honours winners, but half the fleet retires

Monohull line honours in the 2022 Rolex Middle Sea Race goes to Leopard 3. Light winds have seen 50 of the 118 competing yachts in this year’s 606-mile offshore retire, with the keenest racing in the MOD70 trimaran fleet THE ROLEX MIDDLE SEA RACE START IS CONSIDERED ONE OF THE MOST SPECTACULAR IN OFFSHORE SAILING Patience has been required for competitors on the 118 yachts which set off for this year’s 606-mile Rolex Middle Sea Race, with competitors struggling for double-figure (or indeed single-figure) boat speeds at times. The first boats in both the monohull and multihull fleets have now finished the classic Mediterranean offshore, which started last Saturday, 22 October 2022. After a start in zephyr-light conditions from Valetta’s Grand Harbour, some boats picked up marginal breezes, only for the winds to die on the first night approaching Messina Strait. By day 4, 50 entrants had retired due to the lack of wind. Five MOD70s took parti in this year’s Rolex Middle Sea Race. Photo: Kurt Arrigo/Rolex MOD70s split by 1 minute The keenest racing was in the MOD70 fleet, which this year saw five of the former one-design trimarans taking part, many under new ownership and having undergone optimisation programmes.  First home was Riccardo Pavoncelli’s Mana (formerly Spindrift), with an experienced MOD70 crew that included Paul Larsen, Jonny Malbon and Alexia Barrier, who ghosted across the finish line just after midnight in the early hours of yesterday, Tuesday 25 October. They were chased hard by Erik Maris’s Zoulou (formerly PowerPlay), which finished just 56 seconds behind, with Giovanni Soldini’s Maserati 10 minutes further back. In 4th was the US-owned Snowflake (ex-Foncia/Phaedo 3), which sports a new, taller rig. “We have been trying to get all these boats together for a long time,” explained Pavoncelli after the finish. “Mana is one of the only original ones, so it was particularly satisfying for me to win, because we have maintained the boat in its original state.”   MOD70s round Stromboli within shouting distance of each other in the 2022 Rolex Middle Sea Race. Photo: Kurt Arrigo/Rolex Alexia Barrier, who will be training on Mana as part of her long-term campaign to

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Yachting World

How wingsail technology could revolutionise the shipping industry

Do superyacht designers have the answers to the future of efficient sailing and shipping? Mark Chisnell reports on why variants of wingsail technology could be coming to an ocean near you On a summer weekend there’s always a bustle of activity on the foreshore at Hamble-le-Rice, on England’s south coast. The whirr of electric air compressors has been the soundtrack to the rise and rise of the inflatable paddleboard. And it may be about to initiate another transformation, simplifying sailing to the point where it returns to its birthplace; commercial shipping. Matt Sheahan reviewed the Inflatable Wing Sail (IWS) for Yachting World more than three years ago and was impressed by the invention of Edouard Kessi and Laurent de Kalbermatten. Based on an unstayed, telescopic mast, the IWS inflates via an integrated air compressor to a surprisingly low pressure, just two millibars. It creates a soft, symmetric wingsail with many of the efficiency advantages of a hard wingsail (amply demonstrated in America’s Cup and SailGP racing) but none of the problems – it’s very simple to raise and lower, and just disappears down to the deck when you don’t need it. Matt predicted that the much-simplified handling could mean a significant future for the IWS in superyachts and commercial shipping. The simple to handle Inflatable Wing Sail (IWS) we featured in 2019 Simplifying the way that sailboat rigs work is far from a new idea. The IWS follows in the wake of many of these initiatives with its unstayed mast, an idea that has its origins in the Chinese junk rig. Gary Hoyt’s Freedom Yachts utilised this approach in the mid-1970s. Meanwhile in the 1980s, a building beside the very same River Hamble produced the AeroRig, a free-standing mast with a rotating boom on which both headsail and mainsail were set. The forces were easily balanced and controlled by the mainsheet alone. A descendant of the AeroRig is the Dynarig, developed by Dykstra Naval Architects and built by Magma Structures in the UK for two spectacular superyachts, the Maltese Falcon and Black Pearl. A recent partnership agreement with Southern Spars means that the Dynarig will now be developed with the

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Yachting World

Best cold water swimming gear: 6 essential items for a winter dip

If you want to be able to take to the water all-year-round, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got the best cold water swimming gear. Here’s our pick of the best kit… Choosing the best cold water swimming gear can be an overwhelming experience. With so many options on the market, it’s hard to know what’s essential and what’s overkill. Here at Yachting World, our reviewers have covered all the kit you might need from the best winter wetsuits to the best swim gloves and everything in between. And if you’re still having doubts about taking the plunge, check out our sister title Practical Boat Owner’s guide to cold water swimming for beginners. Best cold water swimming wetsuit Unless you’re lucky enough to live in a region where the water temperature reliably stays above 15C, you’re going to need a wetsuit. Between 3.2–5.3mm neoprene thickness gives the ideal balance of insulation and flexibility, but make sure to pick a full-body wetsuit instead of a shortie wetsuit to keep the warmth in. O’Neill is the world’s largest wetsuit manufacturer, and our pick of their cold water wetsuit range is the Epic 4/3mm Back Zip GBS Wetsuit. PBO editor Alison Wood has been using hers for more than ten years, and reports that it’s excellent value for money. Buy it now on Amazon Note: We may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site, at no extra cost to you. This doesn’t affect our editorial independence. Best cold water swim caps Once you’ve bought a wetsuit, the next essential purchase is a cold water swimming cap – after all, 7% of your body heat is lost from your head. Our resident cold water swimming expert Sian Lewis recommends the Patagonia R3 Yulex cap, which is made from a more environmentally friendly version of neoprene. Made from sustainable plant-based rubber, the R3 Yulex uses 68% recycled materials and includes a soft thermal lining for added warmth. Buy Patagonia R3 Yulex Cap from patagonia.com Best cold water swimming gloves Anyone who’s tried to take off a wetsuit with frozen hands will know how important a decent pair of cold water swimming

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Yachting World

Light wind sailing skills with Pip Hare

Professional sailor, Pip Hare gives us a guide to light wind sailing skills. How to keep your boat moving and how to make the most of light weather Keeping a boat moving in light airs can be more challenging than dealing with big winds and seas. It requires a huge level of attention to detail and a lot of effort that may seemingly reap low rewards. All sailors will eventually end up in a situation where ghosting along is their only choice, whether it’s crossing the doldrums with limited fuel supplies or trying to make your way across a ridge of high pressure to a new weather system ahead of your class. Light airs technique does not solely rely on good sail selection, and it’s important to regard the boat and crew holistically to ensure small puffs of breeze are not wasted. Here are my tips for keeping your mind in the right place and your boat moving in winds of less than 5 knots. Change your mindset It can be easy to get despondent in super-light airs, so the first thing to adjust is your mental approach. It may not feel like the effort you put in is worth it for the distance travelled, but try to think about time instead of distance. If you’re able to get into new breeze just half an hour ahead of your opponent then this time advantage will immediately transfer into miles. That said, flogging sails and constant rolling of the boat can eventually fray anyone’s patience, and if this is the case then be prepared to take some time out. If you have a crew then ask someone else to take over for a bit, if you’re short-handed or alone take a short nap, drink some water, eat some food. A nap on the bow can be a chance to reset. Photo: Brian Carlin/Team Vestas Wind Pilot or hand steering? I find using the pilot is preferable to hand steering in light airs; the pilot will easily adapt to rolling swells and is better able to monitor rate of turn at slow speed and make appropriate adjustments. In very light winds steer

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