How to stop an out-of-control speedboat

It’s a story we’ve covered before, but it bears repeating: always wear your killcord. But if you’ve ever wondered what you might do in the event that someone goes overboard leaving an out-of-control speedboat turning circles in the water, then saddle up, cowboys, and watch the Royal National Lifeboat Institute volunteers in action in this video.


According to the report accompanying this Youtube clip: “A man who fell overboard from his speedboat knocked the throttle as he went, leaving the speedboat to spin out of control.

See our full report on the Teignmouth powerboat rescue here.

RNLI lassoes out-of-control speedboat in Teignmouth

RNLI lassoes out of control boat with throttle stuck open in Teignmouth.

“He had been wearing a kill cord, but had taken it off to moor the boat when the accident happened. The volunteer crew of Teignmouth lifeboat raced to the scene and managed to stop the out of control boat.

“The man, who was wearing a lifejacket, was rescued and taken to hospital as a precaution.”

Accidents such as this are fairly rare but can be deadly. In May 2013, TV executive Nick Milligan and his eight-year-old daughter, Emily were killed when they were run over by their RIB after falling overboard. The MAIB report into the accident revealed that Mr Milligan, 51, had not been wearing a killcord when the accident happened.

Time For Legislation: The Case for Mandatory Kill Cords

Use a Kill Cord: Its Use Can Prevent Injury or Death

Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust: sailing at its best

Every day in the UK, seven families are told their child has cancer. It’s a statistic that puts most people’s everyday concerns in the shade. But what does it have to do with going sailing? Take a look at the video below to find out:


The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust was set up by the record-breaking round-the-world racer to help young people recover from all types of cancer and the ravaging effects that the various treatments can have on them.

Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust appeal

Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust appeal.

This latest appeal video features a young cancer patient and her family who benefitted enormously from a simple three-day cruise aboard one of the trust’s yachts based in Cowes, Isle of Wight. Daisy recalls returning home with a huge smile on her face having made new friends and experienced new things and believes the effect on her parents of seeing her enjoying life again after their three year ordeal with the disease and its treatments was even more profound.

At the end is an appeal for donations, but when you consider that for every family like Daisy’s that the Trust can support, there are nine families in similar circumstances that are unable to take part, it’s hard not to be moved. editor, Gael Pawson, joined the EMCT to race around the island: Sailing Round the Island with Ellen MacArthur.

Team Vestas Wind reef strike video

Video footage of the moment Volvo Ocean Race yacht Vestas Wind struck a reef off the island of Mauritius has been shared on Youtube. If you’ve ever wondered what it might sound or look like to hit a rock at 19 knots in the dark, then the wait is over. The video shows the entire wreck and rescue with some very frank comments by the boat’s skipper, Chris Nicholson at the very end. Warning: bad language – amazing footage!


The Volvo 65, Team Vestas Wind was sailing in a northerly direction at around 19 knots when the keel struck the reef known as the Cargados Carajos Shoals in the Indian Ocean on Saturday night, November 29. None of the crew were injured and all have now been safely returned to Mauritius. There has been no decision on whether salvage of the vessel will be possible, or whether Team Vestas Wind will be able to continue in the race after the next stop over in Abu Dhabi.

Team Vestas Wind - Volvo Ocean Race

Video footage of the moment Team Vestas Wind ran aground.

The boat was in fifth place out of seven in the race. Ian Walker, skipper of lead boat at the time, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, said: “When we went past there we actually said how easy it would be to hit it at night. Fortunately we went through there in the daylight. It is very difficult to see it with the electronic charts, and of course at night you wouldn’t see it at all.”

Chris Nicholson, the Australian skipper of Team Vestas Wind stated: “It’s clear that human error is responsible for the shipwreck, there’s no avoiding that.

“As skipper you end up with ultimate responsibility, but below that you have different sections where different people take control of those areas. One of these areas was the breakdown that let this happen. As the skipper you cannot be 100 per cent on top of every role – you have to trust the individuals [in the team]. It’s no different to any business or any other team, you have to place that trust in the individuals to do their role.”

Navigator, Wouter Verbraak, posted on Facebook:  “I am totally devastated and still in shock as the gravity of our grounding is slowly sinking in. I made a big mistake. I did check the area on the electronic chart before putting my head down for a rest after a very long day negotiating the tropical storm and what I saw was depths of 42 and 80m indicated.

“I can assure you that before every leg we diligently look at our route before we leave and I use both Google Earth, paper charts and other tools. However, our planned route changed just before we left, and with the focus on the start and the tricky conditions, I erroneously thought I would have enough information with me to look at the changes in our route as we went along. I was wrong. I am not trying to make any excuses – just trying to offer up some form of explanation and answer to some of your questions.”

Volvo Ocean 65: the world’s toughest one-design.

Freestyle watersports as performance art

The Waterbird Aquaskipper Cup – Freestyle round is almost certainly the silliest thing that has ever been posted on (although the US version of hosts the never-less-than-informative feature: The top 5 boat dogs for your kids and cultural enlightenment piece Ouzo: Drink like a Greek.)

So as the festive season approaches, take a break from staring at the calendar and trying to figure out how it’s all possibly going to work…. and watch the Waterbird Aquaskipper Cup – Freestyle round.


What appears to be low-quality video of a group of possibly drunk Eastern Europeans pratting about on a lake in fancy dress, is in fact high comedy. Farce, even.

Waterbird Aquaskipper cup - freestyle round

Waterbird Aquaskipper cup – freestyle round.

There is no wild laughter in the background – there is appreciative discussion and critical appraisal. Those cheers from the shore are not all ironic. In short, this is not a game. This is a sport – and as such it deserves our respect.

It may look as though any fool in a wetsuit could ride a waterbike with one hand behind his back, but until you’ve tried it – watch and learn. Or, you could enjoy a few of our other light-hearted videos: How to fly a spinnaker swing or Sailing dog: amazing trapezing Collie.


8 fabulous sailing photos from 2014

It’s hard to sum up the year in just eight photographs, but here we’ll have a stab at it! Sailing’s blessed with some very talented photographers, and while the sport is hardly camera-friendly, there are some stunning sailing photos produced every year. As they dodge the salty spray, and balance themselves against the waves that threaten that perfect shot, their skills are tested to the limit. There can’t be many more challenging sports to photograph.

DK43 ‘Minerva’ being joined by a pod of dolphins while battling upwind in the Sydney Hobart race. Photo by Daniel Forster/Rolex

Photo by Daniel Forster/Rolex.

(1) Sydney Hobart Race

In this image by Daniel Forster, the DK43 Minerva is joined by a pod of dolphins while battling upwind in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race.

Alex Thomson during his mast walking stunt about Hugo Boss (yes he did jump!). Photo by Mark Lloyd

Photo by Mark Lloyd.

(2) Stunt time

This photograph by Mark Lloyd captures Alex Thomson during his mast walking stunt aboard Hugo Boss (yes he did jump!).

Final day of MARSEILLE ONE DESIGN 2014 GC32. The boat is helmed by Flavio Marazzi and the team is Armin Strom Sailing Team. Photo by Sander van der Borch

Photo by Sander van der Borch.

(3) Marseille One-Design 2014

Sander van der Borch captures the final day of the Marseille One Design 2014 GC32 event. The boat starring in the photograph is helmed by Flavio Marazzi and the team is Armin Strom Sailing Team.

Sailing photos: island of Strombolicchio in the Rolex Middle Sea Race. Photo by Kurt Arrigo/Rolex

Photo by Kurt Arrigo/Rolex.

(4) Beautiful islands

Perhaps more of a stunning location than sailing photo, Kurt Arrigo captured this shot of the amazing island of Strombolicchio, just as the 100ft Esimit Europa 2 was sailing past during the Rolex Middle Sea Race.

Stunning Sailing Photos: Moth worlds photo Tom Gruitt

Photo Tom Gruitt.

(5) Moth World Championships

The 2014 International Moth worlds was held in Hayling Island, this fabulous shot by Tom Gruitt captures one of the amazing foiling boats (see also 10 Fantastic Foiling Boats) mid gybe.

Team Alvimedia starting Leg 2 in Cape Town of the Volvo Ocean Race. Photo by Gilles Martin-Raget/Team Alvimedica

Photo by Gilles Martin-Raget/Team Alvimedica.

(6) Volvo Ocean Race

The 2014 Volvo Ocean Race (see Racing the virtual Volvo Ocean Race) is proving a wonderful source of amazing sailing images. Gilles Martin-Raget captured this stunning image of Team Alvimedia as they starting Leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race in Cape Town.

Alicia Clifford and Thomas Bruton going for a pitch pole in their Nacra 17 at the Sail for Gold regatta in Weymouth. Photo by Paul Wyeth/RYA

Photo by Paul Wyeth/RYA.

(7) Sail for Gold Regatta

Some images are about being in the right place at the right time. Paul Wyeth captured this shot Alicia Clifford and Thomas Bruton going for a pitch pole in their Nacra 17 at the Sail for Gold regatta in Weymouth.

The Cookson 50 ‘Cantankerous’ pushing hard downwind to Malta in the Rolex Middle Sea race. Photo by Kurt Arrigo/Rolex

Photo by Kurt Arrigo/Rolex.

(8) Rolex Middle Sea Race

This image of the Cookson 50 Cantankerous pushing hard downwind to Malta in the Rolex Middle Sea Race was taken by Kurt Arrigo.


10 creative ways to trash a spinnaker

Anyone who has ever raced a yacht in anything above a Force 2 will appreciate that the spinnaker has a mind of its own – especially when it’s time to pull it down and head upwind again. Take a look for yourself in this compilation of mostly-spinnaker-related disasters filmed at an industry regatta in the Solent.



The Little Britain Challenge Cup is organised by – and for – the Construction and Property Industry with racing overseen by the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes. Typically attended by around 100 boats, the fleet completes four races over two days and is divided into numerous classes. According to the event website ( “All of the major architects and contractors send teams to the event and most participants are high-level industry professionals and big decision makers.”

How not to fly a spinnaker video

How not to fly a spinnaker video.

The relaxed atmosphere of an event such as this, with inexperienced crew on large boats explains why there were quite so many sail handling errors. Larger boats can squeeze more people aboard, however the sails – and spinnakers in particular – are, of course, that much bigger.

This year’s event was an extremely light-wind affair in early September when only one out of four races was successfully completed. Next year is scheduled for 10-13 September.

For more unusual sailing footage from, see: Sailing dog: amazing trapezing Collie or Video of the Week: Guitar Goes Sailing.

Endeavour Trophy 2014 winners

Pipping their nearest rivals to the post in the final race of the series was just enough for Matt Burge and Toby Lewis representing the Osprey class to secure the 2014 Topper Sailboats-supported Endeavour Championship.

Endeavour Trophy 2014

Endeavour Trophy 2014 winners.

With just two point separating the leading two boats (Osprey), and Matt Mee and Tom Pygall (Merlin Rocket) going into today’s final two races, the situations was always going to be close, and indeed, it went right down to the wire.

The penultimate race was sailed in lively conditions that reached 20 knots in the gusts. Charlie Roome and Jeremy Stephens (Lark) sailed well and managed the win from Tom Gillard and Sam Brearey (Streaker) by just one second on the finish line.

A sixth place however, for the Osprey team and a third for the Merlin Rocket boys, meant there was just one place between the leading contenders going into the final race. For the Osprey team to win, they had to finish ahead of the Merlin Rocket team.

The final race showdown was exciting with Ian Dobson and Holly Scott (GP14) establishing an impressive one-minute lead over Mee and Pygall (Merlin Rocket). Dobson and Scott maintained their position to the finish but in the closing stages of the race, Burge and Lewis (Osprey) were back in contention after being buried at the start and were able to take advantage of a favourable shift at the final leeward mark and just managed to beat Mee and Pygall across the line.

Matt Burge chatting about the gripping, final race finish, said: “The Merlin boys were beating us all the way round the race course, but we had a phenomenal last run. We then opted for the opposite leeward gate mark to them, found a nice bit of breeze, tacked on a shift, then slogged our guts out to the finish line. I’ve never hiked so hard and my legs were trembling. We beat them across the line by half a boat length.”

Commenting on his win, Burge added: “Winning the Endeavour Trophy is quite emotional. It has always been the event of all events I’ve wanted to win, so now I feel I can die happy having won it. “

Toby Lewis – four times Endeavour Champion crew – added. “It is great to win it with Matt. We had a tough day today, and a real fight on our hands. It was just an excellent last race. Today was a real case of not giving up. In both races we were buried at times but through sheer determination we pulled through.”

Endeavour Trophy 2014

The Topper Argo made its debut at this year’s event.

Second placed Matt Mee and Tom Pygall (Merlin Rocket) certainly didn’t make it easy for the eventual winners. Pygall commented: “Yes it was disappointing not to have won but we had a fantastic event. It was the first time I’ve sailed with Matt, and what a great guy he is to sail with. He is a legend really. We worked well together and I think the Argo is the type of boat that rewards teamwork, so yes, we really enjoyed it.”

At 16 years old, Rachel Grayson (Mirror class national champion) is not only one of the youngest helmsmen at this year’s event but according available records, she is also the highest placed female helmsman ever at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club-hosted Endeavour Championship.

Grayson sailing with Nigel Wakefield, who finished the event in sixth place overall, was noted for her extreme skill, professional composure and her consistent performance throughout the weekend. Commenting on her impressive result, a modest Grayson concluded: “It was really fun and I cannot believe where we finished. My biggest fear was potentially finishing last in every race, and I really didn’t expect to be any good, particularly as it was also my first time sailing with an asymmetric spinnaker. I did have an amazing crew, so that helped and I probably owe our success to him.”

Endeavour Trophy 2014 overall results

(eight races, 1 discard)
1st Osprey, Matt Burge and Toby Lewis (21pts)
2nd Merlin Rocket, Matt Mee and Tom Pygall (22pts)
3rd GP 14, Ian Dobson and Holly Scott (23pts)
4th Lark, Charlie Roome and Jeremy Stephens (33pts)
5th Streaker, Tom Gillard and Sam Brearey (33pts)
6th Mirror, Rachel Grayson and Nigel Wakefield (37pts)

For full results go to the Royal Corinthian YC.

How to trash a spinnaker!

This has to be the ultimate ‘must not do’ list for anyone who has a spinnaker! Unless you want to trash a spinnaker (perhaps it’s getting a bit past it, but you’re struggling to justify the cost of a new one!), in which case go ahead!

Sailing is often portrayed as the ultimate serene activity – no engine noise, just the breeze tugging at the sails and the hull bobbing gently across the waves. But when it comes to sailing footage on Youtube, the most popular clips show nothing of the sort!

Spinnakers are the ultimate racing sail – as light as a parachute and just as effective at filling with wind. So when it comes to racing with the wind blowing from behind the boat, the one with the biggest spinnaker, usually goes fastest.

But controlling the boat downwind is a much more difficult exercise than it is when going into the wind. With the sails pulled in tight, it’s simple to ease the sheet and reduce the power. But with the sheets already eased and the wind gusting from behind you… what options do you have?

How to destroy a spinnaker!

How to destroy a spinnaker!

In the first broach, the crew should have released the boom vang (or kicking strap) and also the halyard at the top of the spinnaker. Often this is the only way to dump the power from the huge out-of-control sail off the bow of the boat.

But as long as the rig stays upright and nobody goes overboard, these sorts of events usually sort themselves out and the crew is improved as a result.

Here’s a few more favourite hardcore racing and sailing video clips, including: Rogue Wave Smothers Clipper Yacht or Extreme offshore sailing or Extreme dinghy sailing: caught on camera.

Britain’s deadliest storms remembered

As October weather sweeps across the Atlantic, the deadliest storms with winds of hurricane force typically pass to the far north, hammering the Western Isles and the Shetlands and leaving the majority of the UK mainland soggy, but out of danger. However, extreme wind storms do affect the whole country every few years and remind us that there is little that can stand up to a 100mph gust.

Every year new extreme weather footage adds to the hours of Youtube videos featuring weather phenomena such as Waves crashing on lighthouses, Dramatic ocean waves videos and Biggest wave ever surfed. But Youtube also hosts full-length documentaries on freak storms and weather disasters, including the three deadliest storms in recent UK history.


1. Britain’s Biggest Storm – 1987: ITV Productions

Deadliest storm

Michael Fish: “There will be no hurricane tonight.”

Of course, when you raise the topic of weather and TV broadcasting – in the UK anyway – the first clip that comes to mind is poor old Michael Fish on the eve of the biggest, deadliest storm in the UK for three centuries that took 19 lives and caused billions of pounds worth of damage telling viewers: “A woman rang the BBC and said she’d heard there was a hurricane on the way. Don’t worry. There isn’t.”

Of course, technically he was correct, however hurricane-force winds pummelled the UK for most of the night and the poor forecasting on national TV and radio left most people totally unprepared for the ferocity of the storm.


2. The Greatest Storm 1953: Timewatch for BBC

In January of 1953, unusual weather conditions caused Britain’s worst national peacetime disaster of the 20th century. A storm surge flooded the eastern coast of England, killing more than 300 people and leaving thousands homeless. The disaster also affected the Netherlands and led to an enormous program of flood defences to protect the coast. Fifty years later, ‘Timewatch’ re-examines a calamity which is largely forgotten today.


3. The Fastnet Yacht Race Tragedy of 1979

The story of the Force 10 gale – sailing’s deadliest storm – which decimated the 1979 Fastnet race, the last of the Admiral’s Cup events in that year. A massive search and rescue operation was begun as half of the 300 yachts competing went missing in a 20,000 square-mile area of the Irish Sea. The death toll was 15, and the ramifications are still felt today with the increased safety requirements introduced in the aftermath

Bart’s Bash breaks Guinness World Record

Bart’s Bash, the global sailing race organised by the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation which took place on 21stSeptember, has set the new Guinness World Record for the Largest Sailing Race (24 hours).

BArt's Bash sailors - Weymouth

Competitors at this weekend’s Bart’s Bash event from the Andrew Simpson Sailing Centre, Weymouth.

While the Bart’s Bash technical team are still processing the data submitted by some of the 768 venues who took part, the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation is delighted to announce that the threshold of 2,500 boats sailing in regattas including at least 25 boats, the key criteria to meet the record, has been reached.

This announcement comes after processing the results of 3,600 boats, who have sailed over 10,000,000 metres in total, which equals 13% of the data the organisation expects to receive in the coming days.

“The event has proved a huge success and we are delighted to announce that, subject to ratification, we have set the new Guinness World Record. And we have done it in style with 87 % of the results still to be processed,” said Richard Percy, CEO of the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation. “The turnout on 21st September exceeded our expectations and we are very happy that we provided a truly global opportunity for people to come together and enjoy sailing. We hope this event will become a regular feature in the global sailing calendar.”

The event was a world-wide celebration of sailing attracting over 18,000 participants of all ages and abilities, taking part in 68 different countries. For many people it was their first time sailing. Races were held between 0.00 and 23.59 GMT on 21st September 2014 globally.

Bart’s Bash was set up to remember Olympic gold medallist Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson, to inspire the next generation of sailors, to encourage clubs to open their doors and to fundraise in support of the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation’s charitable programmes.

The Bart’s Bash technical team have created a system capable of handicapping several thousands of boats across hundreds of classes. The provisional results are expected to be announced in the coming weeks. The processed data will be ratified by Guinness World Records before the end of the year.

The Guinness World Record criteria is explained here.


Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson Remembered

Bart Simpson: Special Memorial to a Special Man