Kitesurfing in high heels: harder than it looks!

Hannah Whiteley is a professional kitesurfer and model from the UK who appears to have taken a leaf out of Alex Thomson’s book of ‘stunts to please your sponsors’ for this unusual kitesurfing in high heels stunt video on


Filmed in what looks like kitesurfing heaven – probably Brazil judging by the location of a few of her other amazing kitesurfing aerial tricks videos – this might be a brilliant idea for an advert or as a scene in a film. How funny would it be to see this stunt with a comic ending in the style of the great Boddington’s Beer adverts of the 1990s?

kitesurfing in high heels video

kitesurfing in high heels video.

Commenting on Youtube herself, Hannah wrote: “Kitesurfing in high heels was a lot harder than I thought it would be.” But she makes it look easy! In fact there’s only one awkward-looking moment at about 22 seconds in to the video, but there was no kiteboard or beach in sight at that point. We reckon one of the comments underneath the video sums it up best: “…it seems it was easier to stay on the board with these heels than getting down the stairway…”.

For more sailing stunts, see: Alex Thomson does the mast walk

Watch Ben Ainslie Racing pitchpole Nacra F20

Sailing can sometimes be slow and sedate, but so can horse-riding or cycling. However, all three sports can also get the blood pumping and the push the needle on the safety guage well into the red zone, as this Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR) video demonstrates.


Pitchpoling is not an uncommon way to end up in the water while sailing a catamaran, although it’s much less common on multihulls. When sailing downwind on a normal cat, the crew’s main job is to release the foresail whenever the bows threaten to dig in. Often, at high speeds, that’s easier said than done: as the speed picks up the tension on the sail can make it nearly impossible to release… Game over!

BAR Nacra F20 pitchpole video

BAR crew swings wildly as Nacra F20 pitchpoles during training.

However, on foiling catamarans there is an extra dimension to the difficulty as the boat is 50cm or more above the water. If the front foils lose their lift, the nose dive is spectacular and often dangerous.

One new foiling design that claims to be able to combat this is the Solent Whisper launched to the public at Southampton Boat show in 2014. It uses four foils that all remain in the water at all times, which are designed to provide a much more stable, slightly slower ride.

Watch more amazing catamaran footage of this spectacular Spindrift capsize here.

Alex Thomson out of Barcelona World Race

British boat, Hugo Boss, being sailed by Alex Thomson and Pepe Ribes of Spain has been dismasted off the coast of Brazil and is out of the Barcelona World Race.

The pair were leading the race and were favourites to win the 23,000-mile three-month non-stop round-the-world event, having broken several speed records since the start on New Year’s Day.

Alex, who has repeatedly suffered from gear and boat failure during his racing career, recorded a video explaining exactly what caused the mast to fall down, which he posted on his Facebook page and his Youtube channel.


Alex reports: “I was looking backwards as Pepe was bringing a sail to me to plug in behind me and all of a sudden I saw this [the furling drum] just break. The drum just blew up in the air and the sail with it. I looked up and instinctively I knew the mast was going to fall down. It kind of hovered there for a few seconds and then fell backwards into the water. Within a couple of minutes the mast broke in two where it was hinged over the boat.

Alex Thomson out of the Barcelona World Race

Alex Thomson explains what went wrong aboard Hugo Boss in the Barcelona World Race.

“Pepe did a great job with the grinder cutting it away before the mast made a hole inside the boat in the big waves we had. It is extremely disappointing. We were leading the race by 60 miles, and had broken the record to Gibraltar. We felt we were in control of the race. Yes we had made a couple of minor mistakes, but really we were performing brilliantly. I am disappointed for our team, for Pepe, for all of us. It is heart wrenching when these things happen.”


For more ocean racing excitement…

Transat Jaques Vabre: Virbac-Paprec Wins, Hugo Boss is Second

Team Vestas Wind reef strike video

Ainslie accepts official world record for Bart’s Bash

Sir Ben Ainslie was in front of the cameras for the third time in a week at the CWM FX London Boat Show on Wednesday – this time to accept the official certificate of the Guinness World Record for Bart’s Bash, the charity global sailing race that took place on 21 September last year.

Swedish cat sailor wins Bart’s Bash

Sir Ben is one of the founding members of the charity behind the race, the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation (ASSF), and also raced himself in an RS400 at Queen Mary SC, finishing 1,374th overall.

Sir Ben Ainslie accepts the Guinness World Record for Bart's Bash

Sir Ben Ainslie accepts the Guinness World Record from certificate from Guinness World Record adjudicator, Elizabeth Smith, on behalf of the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation.


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.

Tragic Loss of British Sailing Legend Andrew Simpson

The Bart’s Bash technical team created a system capable of handicapping several thousands of boats across hundreds of classes.

More than 16,000 competitors aboard 9,484 boats were counted towards the record on the water in more than 60 countries on the day. Although many more took part, organisers were required to submit video evidence and witness statements for the Guinness record award. The inaugural event raised £366,391.95.

This year’s event takes place on 20 September, 2015.

How to dispose of an old fibreglass boat

The fibreglass boatbuilding revolution has changed the leisure-boat industry beyond all recognition over the last 50 years, but what effect is a glut of old hulls having on the sale of new boats? And how do you dispose of an old fibreglass boat?

Fibreglass waste: how to properly dispose of an old fibreglass boat

Old scrap fibreglass boats are most often pulverised and buried in landfills.


Fibreglass is tough, durable, and long lasting – a wonderful material for building boats. Many boats built in the 1960s and 70s are still with us but most eventually reach a point where the time, effort, or money to refit them just runs out. Unfortunately, many of the associated costs and labour requirements don’t just go away, so illegally abandoning fibreglass vessels is not uncommon. However there are other solutions.

For more advice articles from, see: How to deal with fibreglass deck leaks or Boat valuations: how to price a boat for sale


Donate your boat to charity

In the USA, most owners who can’t sell turn first to boat donation programmes as there are tax breaks associated with donating an asset to charity. In the UK, Portsmouth-based company, boatbreakers has set up a scheme to prevent boats that are still sellable from attracting inheritance tax. By signing over your boat to the scheme in your Will, your estate may benefit overall and any running costs will be taken out of the sale price. Boatbreakers sells the boat at zero per cent commission, then donates the profit to a charity of your choice. The charity Sail 4 Cancer has set up a similar scheme.

Of course, the obvious caveat is that in the case of a wreck or sunken boat, or even a very old or decrepit boat with no resale value, it will cost money to dispose of properly and is likely to be rejected from such a scheme.


Scrapping a fibreglass boat

So if you can’t give the boat away, what happens to it? According to Stella Job, Knowledge Exchange Expert for the Materials Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN): “The European Composites Industry Association (EuCIA) states that GRP is recyclable and compliant with EU legislation, however at present facilities exist only in Germany to recycle, which is prohibitively expensive for UK scrap companies and not environmentally friendly due to the effect of transport. This leaves landfill as the only option.” (See full article here).

So if you are able, contact your local Council and discuss where and how to take your boat for disposal. There are reports of dinghies costing £50 – £100 to dispose of – yachts are likely to cost more – but costs will vary. Again, businesses like boatbreakers are on hand to help and the more sellable equipment and material there is on board the more likely you are to get away without paying for the boat’s removal.

For marinas and boatyards unable to trace an abandoned boat’s owner, boatbreakers also attempts to track them down.



Ben Ainslie honeymoon cruise drama

Honeymooners Sir Ben Ainslie and Georgie Thompson had to be rescued off Necker Island in the Caribbean by the staff of Sir Richard Branson’s private island and resort.

Branson tweeted several photos and updates after the rescue and then hosted the couple on the island.

Ben Ainslie and Georgie Thompson rescued by Richard Branson on Necker Island during their honeymoon

Ben Ainslie and Georgie Thompson rescued by Richard Branson on Necker Island during their honeymoon.


Writing on his blog, Sir Richard said Sir Ben “obviously he knows exactly what he is doing” at sea, adding: “However, his boat had a serious mechanical problem, in no way Ben’s fault, and he put a message out asking for help.”

He said: Three of our wonderful watersports team heard the call and raced over to their aid.

“The furling system broke on the main sail and the sail became so twisted that it couldn’t go up, down, in or out.

“The only way to avoid going onto the reefs was for Marco to go to the top to cut the sail to pieces, whilst George and Ben were winching Marco up and down and Georgie was helping in the boat.

“Unsurprisingly, Ben kept an amazingly cool head whilst directing operations – he just needed more hands to sort out the mess.”


London boat show attractions: sail and power

This year’s CWM FX London Boat Show runs from Friday January 9 until Sunday January 18, promising at least 77 debut boats and numerous other attractions for families and serious marine shoppers alike.

Sunseeker Predator 57

Sunseeker Predator 57: CWM FX London Boat Show debut boat.


The Show will host world firsts from across the marine industry. The Ribeye PRIME, Bavaria Sport 400, Williams Sportjet 520 and Haines 360 will dazzle power enthusiasts whilst the sailing industry will witness the launch of the Dauntless Oyster 500. For those looking for the latest in luxury yachts there will be the world launch of the Sunseeker Predator 57 and Fairline’s unveiling of the Shadow S, the first of its eight new models to be launched over the next three years.

10 new powerboats at London Boat Show 2015

Classic powerboat enthusiasts will also be able to feast their eyes and even bid on a Vintage Riva Junior for sale at London Boat Show.


Ben Ainslie Racing

Sir Ben Ainslie at London Boat Show

Sir Ben Ainslie (right) answers questions with sailing commentator Andy Green during the live Q&A on the J.P. Morgan BAR stand at the London Boat Show 2014, ExCel, London.


The highlight for racing sailors this year will be the Ben Ainslie Racing team on stand F002, displaying one of the team’s foiling Nacra F20 multihulls as well as a range of branded merchandise. The team’s brand-new high powered Scorpion support RIB will also be on display at the stand alongside a special presentation by the organisers of the 2015 and 2016 AC World Series events in Portsmouth. A range of talks from the sailors and team members is promised, and if you buy a team shirt from the stand you can get it personalised, just like the real team members with your name printed on the back.


6 new yachts at London Boat Show 2015

For cruisers, new technology displays include Garmin’s new software to better integrate plotters and DSC radios, and the Hydromax fuel cell, which runs on saline solution and malic acid (stored in powder form). Torqeedo’s Deep Blue Hybrid exhibit should be one to look out for as well, featuring an entire propulsion and power system design for large performance cruising catamarans that makes use of rotating propellers for regeneration and extensive solar panels.

Torqeedo Deep Blue Hybrid system

The Torqeedo Deep Blue hybrid system will be on display at stand B073.


Solent Whisper Foiling Catamaran – watch the production Live at the Show!

The first ever production model of the Solent Whisper foiling catamaran will be produced and built live in The Lab, a new high-tech feature arena sponsored by Datatag. From Friday 9th to Sunday 12th January, visitors will be able watch experts from White Formula go through all the stages of production from the preparation of the moulds, to the final presentation of the completed boat.

Solent Whisper makes world debut at Southampton Boat Show 2014

Solent Whisper foiling cat: easily launched

The retractable foils and super lightweight design make Solent Whisper easy to launch off a slipway.

Also at the Lab, the UK Met Office will be showing off its marine history, science and services and offering you a glimpse of what could be possible in the future.

See a life-size model of the 1,000mph Bloodhound SuperSonic Car, which aims to set a new World Land Speed Record and inspire a generation of scientist and engineers.

Raymarine will be displaying its Navigation Simulator with a bridge system fitted to a custom Sunseeker Predator console. It displays professional training software on large screens to provide a fully interactive experience. This is your chance to you to take the “helm” on a variety of vessels in sunny calm conditions through to phenomenal Hurricane Force 12 seas.

For tickets and info, see:

Mothapalooza: moth worlds goes freestyle

The 2015 McDougall–McConaghy Moth World Championship is set to be even more of a spectacle this year, with the return of the Zhik-sponsored ‘Mothapalooza’ – a fun, freestyle event, which promises a potential head to head with teams of America’s Cup and Olympic sailors. The event will take place alongside the Moth worlds in Sorrento, on the Mornington Penninsula in Victoria, Australia between 10-16 January 2015.

Zebra moth wins Mothapalooza 2012

The last Mothapalooza event was held at Lake Garda 2012 and the moth design award was won by German sailor, Carlo Mäge.

This year, the Zhik Mothapalooza has evolved into a unique two-event series for individuals and teams, all devised to test the competitors’ innovative foiling skills and boat handling to the extreme.

The individual event ‘How Slow Can You Go’ is a test to find the ‘slowest foiler’ sailing between two points. You read that right – the slowest! Competitors will sail at 90 degrees to the wind over a straight 100 metre course. The sailor who takes the longest time whilst still keeping their boat foiling at all times, without tacking or gybing, will be the winner! Anyone who has tried foiling for themselves, will quickly recognise just how difficult this test will be.

Mothapalooza t-shirt

Prizes on offer include vouchers for Zhik dinghy sailing gear and these excellent T-Shirts.

The team event will be the World’s first foiling ‘Sailing Relay Race’. Teams of four, many of whom are Olympic and AC sailors, will have to pick up, carry and deliver a baton to a floating bucket, and get out of the way so the next team mate can grab the baton and head back in the opposite direction.

Catch up brief: 2012 Mothapalooza event

This is set to be an exciting event that will test the sailors’ ability to work as a team, and we expect there will be some very close calls! Any Moth Worlds entrants can team up together to battle it out for overall honours and generous prizes awarded by ZHIK.

The current entry list for the Moth Worlds reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ of sailing and is littered with Olympic medallists and America’s Cup sailors, all who are captivated by the Moth foiling bug.

With names including Tom Slingsby, Rome Kirby, Kyle Langford, as well as Dean Barker, Glenn Ashby, Ray Davies and Peter Burling it will be fascinating to see if the sailors form their relay teams under the banners of Oracle Team USA or Emirates Team New Zealand, or whether some national teams will emerge. Either promises to be a fabulous spectacle!

moth world championship logo

moth world championship logo.

Other well known names include Bora Gulari, Nathan Outteridge, Paul Goodison and Chris Draper. Will we see the Aussie Olympic medallists team up versus the British medallists too? With $5000 worth of Zhik prizes up for grabs, this is an event not to be missed by competitors and public alike! Mothapooloza promises some serious fun on the water and off!

Brian Connolly, founder and CEO of Zhik, said “The Zhik Mothapolooza is an outstanding test of the sailors skills, and enormous fun for the spectators to watch too. We are delighted to be involved with this event. The Moth class is right at the forefront of dinghy sailing technology, and Zhik is right there with the sailors all the way.”

Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race: Wild Oats XI first finisher

Wild Oats XI has taken line honours for the eighth Rolex Sydney Hobart yacht race in 10 years beating the 100-foot Comanche from designers Guillaume Verdier and VPLP Architects in her first race. Despite taking an impressive lead off the start, Comanche, skippered by Volvo Ocean Race veteran Ken Read, with Jimmy Spithill aboard as one of six helmsmen, struggled in a patch of light air and finished 49 minutes behind the race leader in Hobart. But Comanche‘s achievement is worth celebrating nonetheless, as this video shows.


Completing the 628-mile race in 2 days, 2 hours, 3 minutes and 26 seconds, Wild Oats XI finished eight hours shy of the race record she set in 2012. Following the retirement of last year’s runners-up, Perpetual Loyal during the first evening, the battle for line honours became a two-horse race. When Comanche arrived in Hobart, the third boat on the water – Manouch Moshayedi’s RIO 100 (USA) – was still some 100 nautical miles behind.

Crew at work aboard Comanche during Sydney Hobart 2014

Crew at work aboard Comanche during Sydney Hobart 2014.

Overall winner on handicap was Roger Hickman’s Farr 43 Wild Rose, a boat he acquired from Roger Oatley, the owner of Wild Oats XI back in 1991.

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