The best advice available on the constantly developing Covoid-19 pandemic - the current status of ports - regulations and bio.security - can be found on Noonsite - https://www.noonsite.com/news/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-special-procedures-being-introduced-in-ports-of-entry-worldwide/
You can check in on this and be sure of the latest information available.
Panama Yachting Services can supply rigging and Selden hardware and arrange delivery. Repairs are rated as an essential service so they can be undertaken where needed. But there are hurdles due to the quarantine regulations that limit travel and have closed the marinas and ports. Special authorisation needs to be obtained for our people to travel and for a location for work to be undertaken,
If you need help contact us and we will advise you on what can be done - and what has to go on hold until the quarantine restrictions are lifted
The Lure of the Supermaxis
Maxi and now supermaxi yachts that compete in the Sydney-Hobart, the Whitbread and the Volvo ocean races have more freedom to incorporate new innovative technology and designs. Unrestricted by class limits they enable their billionaire owners a freedom that competitions such as the Americas Cup impose. They are unique custom built boats of 90ft to 100ft capable of impressive speeds.
Freedom from quirky class rules permits the energy and effort to go into winning the race and the race is won on the water - not in a courtroom.
Wild Oats XI is a state-of-the-art IRC supermaxi yacht designed by Reichel/Pugh with a Carbon/Nomex composite hull. As a distinctively narrow sloop at 5.1 m (17 ft) beam, she originally featured "canting ballast twin foil" appendages enabling her to carry a large sail plan without compromising stability.
Her underbody has been updated continuously and now features a bow centerboard, twin dagger boards amidships, a canting keel with vertical winglets on the torpedo bulb and a centreline single aft balanced spade rudder.
In 2013 Wild Oats XI was equipped with a Dynamic Stability System (DSS) which is a retractable horizontal foil deployed on the leeward side of the boat.
All mechanical systems onboard are powered by a continually running Diesel engine. The design decision was made to exclude manual backup systems and the boat is entirely dependent on the auxiliary. This severely limits the boat's endurance as it cannot be sailed once the diesel fuel is exhausted. This design compromise was seen as worthwhile as it allowed a large amount of additional weight to be avoided and allowed a higher ballast ratio for a given displacement.
Comanche is a $100 million supermaxi yacht built ‘to be a record breaker’. The 100-foot long cutting edge vessel has a wide, shallow hull that is extremely light and strong. Constructed of pre-preg carbon fiber, it features a 38° canting keel, dagger boards, water ballast, a 154’ mast and a large sail area. It has a 25 ft beam, 19’ draft, and displaces 35M tons. Designed by VPLP and Guillaume Verdier, it was built in the biggest marine oven in the United States, by Hodgdon Yachts in Maine.
Intended to be the fastest monohull ever built, it is capable of sailing at 40mph and it was designed with speed in mind, using the design skills available to its owner, Jim Clark – a co-founder of Netscape. Jim Clark has high hopes of not just winning events such as Transatlantic, Transpac, Fastnet, and Middle Sea, but breaking records as he takes the top spot. He came very close this time.
WILD OATS XI the top Australian ocean racing yacht has just won the Sydney Hobart race for the eighth time. It came in ahead of the new American racing yacht Comanche in a close race.
What makes this race so fascinating is the sailing skills and the boats that race in challenging conditions. It is all about the boats, the skippers and crews - and the challenges of sea and weather! Sailing!
By comparison the Americas Cup is just a Hi Tech freak show - a bit like the circus coming to town. The Aussies are shunning it on a cost basis. Hamilton Island Yacht Club - home of Wild Oates XI - officially withdrew its challenge on July 18 2014.
And even though the tech know how of the last event in San Francisco was from the universities in New Zealand, the Kiwis are now questioning the value of continuing to chase the Cup as well. The New Zealand government saw no value in continuing to back Team New Zealand but finally gave their support under pressure. It will be interesting to see if this lasts.
Will the sailors from Down Under go back to sailing? Or will the Americas Cup move back to ocean racing? The 2017 Americas Cup is still promoting catamarans on foils.
Forbes magazine says that the owner of Wild Oates XI Robert Oatley plans to challenge the US team for the 'ocean racing' Americas Cup in 2016! Curiouser and curiouser! I think they need to check their facts! The Americas Cup is in 2017. And ocean racing on foils?
It will be interesting to see whether the Bermuda venue produces the intense interest the Americas Cup used to generate.
Credit where it's due ...
The survival of the El Salvadoran, who drifted across the Pacific to the Marshall Islands, was greeted with incredulity and amazement. Many doubted it happened. A Mexican official deemed it nigh impossible and speculated whether it was connected to the national problem of drugs!
Experts stepped in and credited the Pacific currents, his ability to eat anything and his sea savvy. An oceanographer, Eric Van Sebille, said that he was incredibly lucky to come ashore on the remote atoll of Ebon in the Marshall Islands. The current could have swept him on toward the Phillipines and then back into the Pacific garbage patch where he would remain forever - going around and around.
So was it sea savvy, luck - or something greater? A miracle and the Hand of God?
Coastal fishermen say that they are in the hands of God when they go to sea. Jose Salvador Alvarenga says that his strong faith helped him keep up hope. He prayed. And his mother prayed to Jesus for a son she had not seen for 8 years. For them their prayers were answered! So. let's give some credit where it is due!
There were the currents, the ability to stomach a strange diet, sea savvy and that bit of luck that can be called the Hand of God. These days, we don't have enough miracles or maybe we just miss them because we are blind. Faith among seafarers goes back over centuries!
The old hymn, Abide With Me implores: Hear us when we cry to thee for those in peril on the sea.
And Jonah from inside the whale said “I called out to the LORD, out of my distress, and he answered me;"
A national sailing program is being launched in Panama to bring the simple art of sailing and the sailing culture within reach of all Panamanians.
The sea knowledge in this program will benefit those who plan a maritime career - and - the very poor who go out in small pangas to earn a living. Fishermen through the centuries have gone out and got home under sail. It is a simple art that has been forgotten as the outboard took over.
It is an art that must be revived!
Fishing in pungas or cayucos along Latin America's Pacific and Atlantic coasts is hazardous. The poor go to sea to earn a living and eat. The survival of the Salvadoran fisherman Jose Alvarenga has brought into the spotlight the perilous and primitive fishing equipment and practices still used in Mexico, and the rest of Latin America.
Fishermen typically take to the sea in small open boats with no cover, no life jackets, primitive communications gear, with only a cloth wrapped around their heads for protection from the sun. For many fishermen, the only thing that stands between them and death on the high sea is an aging outboard motor, a wooden oar, a machete, a few plastic jugs of water and their faith.
"When one is at sea, one is in the hands of God," said Manuel de Jesus Diaz, 39, who has fished from Alvarenga's hometown of Garita Palmera for 25 years. "We go out almost without anything, our clothes to cover us from the sun and water for the voyage."
While fishermen often depend on God as much as safety equipment, they also rely on sea skills picked up over a lifetime. Relatives say Alvarenga was unusually strong and resilient, and an experienced sailor. However, not all are that strong and resiliant.
In Panama, a fishing panga set out to catch fish for Easter. The outboard failed and the boat drifted to Ecuador. There was only one survivor.
Though these fisherman are tough and canny, they would have a better chance of survival when their outboard dies if they knew how to use a sail and the currents to make their way back to land. Just a simple pole and sail would make the difference between life and death, when the outboard fails.
Learning to sail will give them an age old skill that will not only get them home. It will save fuel and reduce their dependence on the outboard notor.
Survivor's Story Checks Out
A Salvadoran fisherman's account of his survival after more than 13 months adrifting across the Pacific in an open 7 meter boat is checking out.
Mexican authorities have two reports of a boat going missing around that time and the names of the crew match those of Jose and his companion Ezequiel. Jose was known at home by the nickname "Cirilo". There is a discrepancy in dates, but they are very close and the names of those aboard match the nicknames of Jose.
Journalists found the parents of Jose Salvador Alvarenga in the coastal town La Garita Palmera. where his 65 year old father, Jose Ricardo Orellana, owns a store and flour mill. They said:
Disbelief in the survival tale continue, but, José's tale rings true with us for the simple reason that the currents would have taken him across the Pacific to the Marshall Islands and he could have survived if he was an experienced seaman by living on a catch of birds, turtles and blood. He says he drank rain water, blood and his own urine. The young crew member could not stomach the diet, and that led to his death.
Another factor would be mental strength and determination to live. José said he prayed and was afraid to take his own life. He kept going dreaming of real food and reaching land once again.
Comments by Jose Salvador Alvarenga's joyful, sometimes tearful parents about their son may help explain how he survived, but they did little to dispel continued doubts about his tale.
Note: James delivered a catamaran Suzy Q to the Marshall Islands in the mid 1990's. The trip took 84 days under sail. They made 75 miles a day and caught enough rain water for the captain and two crew to manage without using the water in their tanks. The hardest part of survival in a small craft would be shelter from the sun.
The sole survivor of 16 months drifting across the Pacific has been taken from Ebon Atoll to Majuro in the Marshall Islands. He made the 22 hour journey from Ebon Atoll to Majuro in a police patrol boat under the care of a male nurse. A crowd of 1000 gathered to see him step ashore.
His name is Jose Salvador Albarengo. A 37 yearold, originally from El Salvador, he had been living in Mexiso for some years. Jose set off to hunt sharks with a young lad aged 15 to 18 in late 2012. Winds blew them off course and they became lost. The lad survived only a few weeks because he could not eat raw bird meat.
Sixteen Months after setting off from Mexico for El Salvador, Jose Ivan came ashore on Ebon Atoll - a remote atoll that is part of the 22 small islands that make up the Marshall Islands.
Spanish speaking Jose Ivan came ashore from a 24 foot (7.3 meter) fibreglass boat. Clad only in underpants, he was weak and thin - a sole survivor of a short journey that began in September 2012.
He told the Norwegian anthropolgy students who found him that he had survived by eating turtles, fish and birds. His companion had died some months earlier. NZ Herald report.
Survival at sea over long periods maybe a harrowing experience but it does highlight the fact that survival is possible and that raises the question. When is a boat lost with no survivors? And how long should an official search last?
The NZ Herald lists several cases:
Emirates Team New Zealand tactician Ray Davies explains the big difference in the pre-start and weather information required in the new America’s Cup form of AC72 racing…
“For the last America’s Cup, there’s so much preparation before the start with the weather team’s information. But this time around the course is quite different. You start at the top of the course, you reach and then go downwind, so you are going into breeze you have already seen. It is not all in the future, like sailing upwind you are sailing into a new playing field the whole time whereas this style of racing, with only a two minute pre-start and then you are off downwind.
“So for the weather team, the type of information from the past is quite irrelevant, especially with the boundaries that we now have on the sides of the course. What will be critical this time around, and for all the teams this is now obvious, is configuring your boat for the weather conditions.
“These boats are going to be geared toward different conditions, with varying foils and sails put on the boat, and it takes time to change these things. So a lot of these calls are basically going to be made the day before. Everyone is in the same boat – if it is going to be 25 knots, it’s a different configuration than if it’s going to be 5 knots, so the weather team is very much geared for the 24 hours forecast.”
The world has been stunned by the bounce back of the Oracle Team. Obviously, they have a better boat than they did before. The addition of a world champion tactician no doubt helped, but behind the scenes, there is more.
When this started out, the Oracle team obviously didn't stand a chance. Then they used their cancel option and spent some time on their boat. The whole team came back with a smirk and a swagger that has increased with every race, as they licked a winning team within one win of taking the Americas Cup back to NZ.
The confidence shown by the cocky Australian, Jimmy Spithill, at the outset and his smug assurance that the public would see the greatest comeback in racing history, indicates that he knew the changes to his boat would make the difference. The source of his confidence. He has behind him technology and money. .
The answer is in the foils and Team Oracle seems to have solved a tech problem that has given them an unanticpated advantage.
The New Zealand company that built both foils and wings is owned by Larry Ellison. So technical knowledge was accessible, and from the outset, these boats have been a learning curve for all involved. Most likely, the secret of better performance came up from NZ. - with a price tag. And that would explain how Oracle started winning and a winning team of sailors started losing.
As catamarans these boats fly - without foils. When they are on their foils, they achieve even more stunning speeds. However, when they drop speed and are not on the foils, the foils add a drag to the hull, that slows the boat.
If Team Oracle has solved that problem and improved the foils to retract them into the hull, the advantage would be theirs. This could explain the smirk and swagger as Oracle has headed out to compete against Team NZ in the final races.
What they probably did:
Note: I think now the foils are here to stay we will see fully retractable foils & possibly changing the rudder foil angle under way instead of at the dock, where it's fixed at present.