on 8 Jul 2021
Sailing special! With the end of isolation approaching, the big regattas are back. We take a look at the fleet for the upcoming Rolex Fastnet Race, and explore how competitive sailing can play a role in ocean conservation. Also inside: Exclusive interview with America's Cup legend Sir Russell Coutts; an insight into the Schmidt Ocean Institute; a trip to the remote wreck diving haven of Chuuk Lagoon in Micronesia; and much more!
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Sailing has always been regarded as a more noble way of being on the water than motorboating, at least among sailors. True or not, sailing is more reliant on the elements and a more historic way of enjoying the oceans and seas than hitting the throttle. And like any form of yachting, sailing remained a great way to do your social distancing.
But regattas, one of the most sociable aspects of yachting, have gone missing during the Covid lockdowns.
It is good to see them returning. Luckily, this year’s America’s Cup took place in New Zealand, where Covid-19 had been kept under control enough to allow sailing’s most illustrious prize to be defended.
Our cover story this issue is by Kevin Green, a long-time yachting journalist and sailor, who previews this year’s Fastnet Race. The race is one of the oldest and most iconic regattas in the sailing calendar. This year’s event will perhaps be the biggest regatta to take place in 2021.
Historically, the organisers at Royal Ocean Racing Club have been relatively welcoming to trimarans, foilers and anything else that has a captain and crew willing to have a go. The result this year is also a showcase of the very latest in sailing technology. We will see world-beating trimarans slugging it out, along with double handers and the foiling IMOCA 60s. The start at Cowes will be a sight to see, and this 2021 edition of the race is one to watch.
Competitive sailing is also increasingly bound up with sustainability. In this issue, we hear from Todd McGuire, who is leading the team at 11th Hour Racing, a team dedicated to promoting ocean conservation in every yachting event they support. They are now co-lead sponsors of The Ocean Race, and along the way, the event has become a showcase of sustainability.
Then there is the new competitive league, SailGP, founded in part by Sir Russell Coutts, an icon of the sport. Sir Russell spoke to Asia-Pacific Boating about getting SailGP started, its support for conservation causes and the effort behind making sailing a more widely appreciated sport, particularly in Asia.
Achieving that aim would be grand. It is the goal of innumerable race organisers to make competitive sailing more widely watched. Competitive sailing is still a very niche sport. The new focus on tying together racing, sailing and ocean conservation may help reach a wider audience, but in the end, it will be good storytelling that makes the difference. Hopefully, you will find some of those stories in this issue of Asia-Pacific Boating.