Extreme offshore sailing: what’s not to love?

Ocean racing (for owners) has been likened to standing in a cold shower tearing up large-denomination cash notes of the currency of your choice. And in every clip shown in the compilation below, it’s really not hard to see how that description came into being.

Extreme offshore sailing video

Flying off ocean waves at double-digit speeds… what’s not to love?

But of course that description makes it sound like there’s no fun involved at all, when as the clip demonstrates, the fun is never-ending… as long as doing double-figure speeds down into the trough of an ocean swell is your idea of fun!

And who wouldn’t love it? Well, insurance companies, for one – they hate extreme offshore sailing for some reason. Also, those who suffer from motion sickness, agoraphobia, claustrophobia; anyone who doesn’t like having latex neck and wrist seals on for days at a time; anyone with a fear of flying, since most of the boats in these clips seem to spend a quite a lot of their time out of the water preparing for a hard landing on the next wave. Anyone with back problems, heart problems, delicate skin, intolerance for extremes of temperature, who needs a varied diet and regular sleep… Anyone attached to notions of routine, order, privacy, cleanliness or health and safety also need not apply.

Offshore sailing news and features for all – www.boats.com

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Surfing pig Kama loves the waves

A surfing pig? Have you ever heard of such a thing! Nope we hadn’t either (but we only recently realised that there are so many surfing dogs that there are actually special competitions organised for them!). We enjoy a good, fun novelty video here at boats.com and this one is a cracker.

This surf-loving pig, named Kama, was filmed with his owner Kai Holt on Sandy Beach, Oahu where he joined the locals for a surf session with a Go-Pro to film the fun.

“He came into our lives at maybe a week old. He is the cutest thing ever,” says proud owner, Kai. “He fell into the pool one day and just started swimming. He followed me into the water, jumped on the board, paddled out and got his first wave. Everyone was tripping!

“It’s pretty funny to watch – like he knows what he’s doing!”

And his technique? Kai explains: “His hooves just lock right in on the board – if you look at his board you can see all the hoof prints!”

What’s his favourite surfing spot? “All he knows is he likes it big: three to four!”

surfing pig

Kama the surfing pig.

Fresh to frightening: sailing on the edge

Ferries running over skiffs, Il Mostro Puma wipeout at over 30 knots, Extreme 40 capsizes, Ocean racers, helicopter rescues… It’s all here in this action packed video of sailing scenes when the conditions are fresh to frightening, from www.boatson.tv.

Fresh to frightening video

Fresh to frightening sailing footage.

The compilation of clips includes an 18ft skiff out-running the chase rib at over 25 knots practically foiling on its rudder and centreboard alone.

Some of the episodes are home-video or handheld quality and the strength of the wind combined with the speed of travel and the size of the waves might make you seasick just watching it.

However, many of the clips include commentary, which indicates that the footage has been, or was intended to be, broadcast. One commentator observes: “If it was any windier than this it really would blow the toppings off your pizza.”

The brave and daring helicopter rescue teams get their due as the crew of a broken ocean racer get retrieved safely from the sea. At times like these, the debate can rage on the marine forums over whether skippers are being daring or irresponsible; whether it’s right for ordinary tax payers to fund the rescues of those at sea deliberately pushing their equipment to the limit in search of extra speed with no thought for the consequences.

But more often than not, it’s the crew that gives in rather than the boat – as the first 18ft skiff clip shows. When conditions are fresh to frightening and the boat’s built to last, it’s important to remember that we’re only human, after all…

#Gillmostwanted: Cowes Week selfie competition

Gill Marine has launched a social media campaign and competition to support Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week 2014. During the week, the ‘Gill man’, dressed in full sailing gear including a distinctive sailing hood that disguises his face, will be amongst the crew and spectators in and around the Yacht Haven.


#Gillmostwanted : Cowes week 2014 – take a selfie with #Gillmostwanted man in full waterproofs and upload it to enter competition.

For a chance to win the Ocean Racer jacket and trousers he is wearing, worth up to £800, when you spot the Gill man, don’t just stand and stare. Go up to him and take a selfie with him. Then post that selfie on lnstagram or Twitter using the hashtag #gillmostwanted to be entered into the draw to win.

For anyone not at the event, follow Gill’s Facebook updates from the event 2-9 August and try to spot ‘Gill man’ in event photos that are posted each day. To enter the draw, just identify where he is in the comments box of the photo.


Summer fun on the water with www.boats.com

Summer fun: Silly Boat Race footage

6 Crazy Ways to Have Fun on a Boat

Fareast 18 review: Speedy day-sailer

Founded 12 years ago and now based in Jiangsu Province, China, Fareast is a manufacturer of sailing craft ranging in size from small Optimist dinghies to 36-foot sailing catamarans, writes Martin-Sebastian Kreplin.

Fareast 18 under sail

The Fareast 18 is a capable cruiser-racer built in Jiangsu Province, China.

The Fareast 18 is a Simonis/Voogd design with conservative good looks, a retractable keel with ballast bulb, enclosed cabin, and a powerful rig. The design is narrow, with a closed stern, which is rare on sailboats this size, as is an enclosed cabin. There’s nearly 22 square metres of sail area between the main and jib. Add in the almost 28 square-metre gennaker (there’s a retractable bowsprit, too) and you’re talking serious sail power for an 18-footer.

We [the boats.com Germany test team] sailed the boat on Flensburg Fjord and discovered that it’s delectable to sail. Leaving the marina, it felt like a super-sized dinghy with a lively helm. There’s beautiful North Sail canvas that catches every breath of the breeze. The boat converts those breaths into speed without much intervention by the crew, which made it hard for us to turn the helm over to other crew members. In four knots of breeze upwind, the Fareast 18 managed 3.8 knots, tacking through about 90 degrees. As is usual on small boats, the motion through the water felt faster than it really was and Ann Kristin, who normally sails a 49er FX, was enthusiastic about the performance: “You really don’t need more boat,” she said.


Dinghy sailor’s delight

Fareast 18 - plan views

Interior, deck, and landscape views of the Fareast 18 reveal a sporty racer-cruiser.

Even though the wind was very light during the test, the boat felt so agile, and accelerated so nimbly, that it’s safe to expect little change in the level of fun when the breeze is up. Above 15 knots of true wind speed, the Fareast 18 should exceed hull speed on a reach, planing along at 10 to 12 knots without problems. That’s nice for dinghy sailors who might have a tough time getting used to the often ponderous feeling of small cruising boats. These sailors also know to appreciate the Fareast’s deck hardware consisting of quality products from Seldén and Harken. The only shortcoming on the test boat was the diameter of the mainsheet, which was too small. The line easily handles the load, but requires gloves to be gripped and held with any measure of comfort.

On deck it all seems to be fine for novices and those with experience of smaller classes. But what kind of interior can be realistically expected for less than £15,000? Despite the sizable cabin, the moulded liner feels as if it needs some bunk cushions, and indeed, you can check them on the options list. Some moulded cubbies and two seat lockers in the cockpit swallow the necessities; the rest is up to your creativity. Types like Ann Kristin are absolutely happy with this kind of fit-out, while others might want to add canvas lockers and maybe a portable pantry for added comfort.

Fareast 18 - performance, accommodation, build quality

The German boats.com team liked the Fareast 18′s performance, accommodations, and build quality.

With the proper gear, this little keelboat has enough space for two to survive a two-week trip. The headroom of 1.2m (4ft) under the companionway hatch is sufficient to don your waterproofs. The sitting headroom of 91cm (3ft) in the forepeak is reasonably comfortable. Ditto with the size of the berth: 2.3m by 1.4m (92in x 55in) offers more than enough space. What’s missing is a foredeck hatch or a secondary opening for venting the interior. The rounded and forward-reaching cabin trunk makes it difficult to retrofit an aftermarket product, which is irksome. The cabin is completely sealed off aft and parts of the interior are used for buoyancy, hence there is no access.

Nevertheless, there is enough total stowage volume to load down this boat and ruin its stellar sailing performance, so consider going without additional lockers and compartments, which will only tempt you to burden the boat with household kit. The lifting keel can be cranked up for the road with a small crane that is inserted laterally, but it’s not a solution for daily use. In venues where the slender T-shaped keel might cause problems (i.e. by snagging kelp), a more sensible choice might be the traditionally shaped fixed keel, which also has a 1.2m (4ft) draught.

Every component in the Fareast 18 is produced with vacuum-infusion technology, including the hull, deck, rudder blade, and keel fin. The ballast bulb is lead, the curved tiller is made of carbon fiber, and the core material for the hull and deck sandwich is PVC foam. Everything is finished in near-industrial quality, which goes to show the advances that have been made by the yard. A few years ago, some interior components of the Fareast 26 could be categorized as below average. Today, not one manufacturing detail on the Fareast 18 was cause for alarm. Especially well done is the hull-to-deck joint.

While the Fareast 18 has its limitations (though not many), we found it to be very capable, well thought out, and extremely well built – all qualities you might not have expected from a Chinese yard a decade ago.


Fareast 18 Review: Specifications

LOA: 5.61m

Beam: 2.20m

Draught: 1.20m

Displacement: 650kg

Sail area main: 13.10 sq m

Sail area jib: 8.80 sq m

View Fareast listings on www.boats.com.



More day sailers and performance cruisers on www.boats.com:

Arbor 26 Boat Test: Dream Daysailer Built in Britain

Varianta 18 video: first look

How to Choose the Right Weekend Cruiser

The boat that runs on ice cream

A lake in Virginia, USA is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the boat that runs on ice cream.

Two brothers, Travis and Ryan Burke, came up with the idea of selling ice cream from a floating platform when they were 12 and 13 years old, and 10 years later, they still ply the waters of Smith Mountain Lake every summer.

Watch the pair’s moment in the sun as Associated Press filmed a short news segment on the business.

Ice cream afloat

Ice cream afloat.

The Burke brothers admit that there is no profit from the enterprise, but maintain that as long as they aren’t losing money, they will continue to sell their range of frozen treats to adults and children enjoying the water.

It’s hard work selling ice cream in the summer, too. On a good day, according to the report, the boat can hit 20 docks before lunch time.

Keep cool this summer with boats.com: Summer fun: Silly Boat Race footage and Devoti and Volvo announce summer sailing roadshows.

Musical work inspired by the Grand Union Canal

Award-winning sound artist and composer Kaffe Matthews has created The lock shift songs, a new sonic installation commissioned by the Canal & River Trust and IF: Milton Keynes International Festival 2014.

The installation will premiere at the Festival and run for the entire 10 days (18 – 27 July), located within a shopping unit in centre:mk.

Click on the video link below for an introduction to the work by the artist.


Kaffe Matthews: The Lock Shift Songs

Artist Kaffe Matthews presents: The Lock Shift Songs

Inspired by the Grand Union Canal – which connects London and Milton Keynes – the development of The lock shift songs has engaged waterway communities and canal users, as well as workers and volunteers based in the Canal & River Trust’s Milton Keynes head office.

Having collected sounds (including from under the water in the canal) and stories in her 80-mile walk along the Grand Union from London to Milton Keynes, Kaffe has written songs – recorded by singers from the Milton Keynes area – and created a 36-channel composition that will emanate though a series of large ‘sonic beds’ that people can lie in.

Lock shift songs bed

Lock shift songs bed in which audience will lie and listen to the sounds.

These sonic beds will vibrate and pulse to the surrounding soundscape thereby creating a sense of flowing and moving water, providing a fully immersive and sensory experience for the visitor to the installation.

For more news and reviews on life on the UK’s inland waterways network, see: Narrowboat or barge? Canal boats explained or First ever Canal Laureate Appointed.

RC boat video: all in miniature except the speed

What’s not to love about RC boats? Granted, the noise resembles an angry, giant mosquito trapped in a car on a hot day – and that’s without the rest of the fleet chiming in.

However, no doubt once you’re at the controls, the noise disappears and the sensation of driving such a tiny boat with absolute precision at high speed must be exhilarating.

See for yourself by clicking on the RC boat video image below:

RC boat video

Watch RC boat video : some high-speed wave jumping.

Of course, in practical terms, as the headline suggests, everything is miniaturised – the boat, the engine, the controls, the weight, the cost, the risk factor (to yourself and others) – yet the speeds some of these machines can achieve is ridiculous: over 100mph in some cases!

And as this promotional video for the sport demonstrates, you can even get in a real boat and drive the RC boat along behind and jump the wake, like you would in a real “boy racer boat“.

Do you drive an RC or other boy racer boat? Have you got any RC boat video to share? See more here: Frauscher 858 Fantom review: Fearless flamboyance, or World’s Fastest Powerboats: 5 Famous Record Breakers



Monte Carlo Cup: fossil-fuel free powerboat race

A city usually associated with the well-heeled on their superyachts and in their Formula 1 supercars is pioneering a new type of racing: a powerboat race fueled by solar energy, called The Monte Carlo Cup.

Sea trials before Monte Carlo Cup 2014

A solar-powered electric raceboat completing sea trials in the harbour at Monte Carlo, the site of the Solar1 Monte Carlo Cup July 10-12.

Taking place on July 10-12th 2014, this is a first of kind race with electric boats powered by the sun. Competitors from all over the planet will gather to fight it out in a series of races designed to demonstrate the full capabilities of these boats in terms of solar power, maneuverability, their technical performance.


Solar1 Monte Carlo Cup: event format

Each day will be punctuated by three races: “Slalom”, “Fleet” and “One-on-one sprint”. With the winner receiving the first ever ‘green’ crown in powerboat racing.

Participants will be divided into three classes. The first is the simplest: “Challenge A-class.” The second, “Open Class” does not limit the size of the boat, allowing teams to innovate on their designs, both in the form of solar panels that propulsion etc. And finally, the “V20″ which is more of a one-design idea with ‘stock’ electric boat, for those without the deep pockets to develop a custom boat.



Boats have lithium-ion batteries and solar cells can charge the batteries or provide direct power to the propeller.

Not only is this ground breaking in terms of energy source, but also that the boats are being designed to be as light weight and with little water resistance as possible. The Vripack solar engineering team has accomplished this by adding wings or foils, to the hull of the V20 so it can ‘fly’ like the America’s Cup boats. By creating lift (upward pressure), the foils raise the complete hull out of the water, thus reducing drag as much as possible as drag costs energy. By trimming the tip of the wing, the optimal mode of the boat can be set. The more energy left for making speed, the sooner the boat lifts on to her foils and the faster she goes.

V20 sea trials - Monte Carlo Cup

V20 solar-powered foiling electric raceboat in Monaco in preparation for the Monte Carlo Cup.

As well as raising awareness and educating the world in the latest innovations of solar power and green technology, the regatta organisers, Solar1 are also aiming to be a Sailors for the Sea gold level clean regatta. This means committing to best practices including no trash overboard, no discharge, recycling, biodegradable or reusable products for events (such as cups, plates, cutlery etc.).

For more information on Solar1 Monte Carlo Cup go to www.solar1races.com.

For more news and reviews relating to alternative nautical propulsion, see: Greenline 40: Still an Attractive Hybrid Concept, 5 alternatives to petrol-powered outboard engines and Code X: the 47ft renewable energy speed machine.

Summer fun: Silly Boat Race footage

There is definitely a risk that boating can get a little too serious, a little too expensive and a little too competitive – which is where boat races like this one filmed at a summer camp in Nanaimo, British Columbia come into their own.

Repeated all over the world under numerous different guises, the Silly Boat Race never ceases to get the crowds going.

Watch for yourself by watching the video below, and see what you (may) have been missing all this time.

Silly boat race

Just one of many Silly Boat Races taking place each summer around the world.

As usual for a race like this, there’s one team that leaves the others in its wake. Here, the six-paddle-front-runner has either taken part before and realised the secret formula, or else they’ve misunderstood the ‘silly’ part of the race.

Competition is, of course part of the fun, but over-elaborate decoration is also key. The second-placed boat in yellow and black flying a selection of bumble bee balloons is no slouch around the course, especially since there is only a crew of three, but still looks very silly indeed!

And then there’s the tail-enders: no shortage of effort from the huge crews attempting to drag their rafts around the course but progress is extremely slow. Yet they appear to be having the most fun – and that’s the point: winning and losing… whatever. Just get out there, get soaking wet: come ashore, dry off and try again!

Enjoy the summer with boats.com: 6 Crazy Ways to Have Fun on a Boat, Devoti and Volvo announce summer sailing roadshows and 5 new powerboats under £5,000.