MOD 70 – The State of the Sport

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Just for kicks, lets take a look at the current state of the MOD 70 trimaran fleet.

Spindrift and Paprec never came back after their disastrous capsizes. Paprec is reportedly for sale and Ms Bertarelli is committed to a busy racing schedule that does not include her MOD 70.

Foncia tossed Le Professeur and sold the boat to a Mr Thornburg. She now sails as Phaedo3 – blasting her way joyfully and wonderfully around the Caribbean, setting records and turning heads. She will be racing again this week at Voiles de St Barth. Expect fireworks as she goes head to head against a pair of foiling cats, the Orma 60 cruiser clone Paradox, and assorted other flyers in…get this…a handicap race. Right…

Race for Water cruises the world on a Quixotic, but commendable, scientific exploration to document the current state of pollution mid-ocean. As of this writing, she is in New York after a quick passage from the Azores via Bermuda.

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Veolia kicked Roland Jourdain off MOD 70 #2 and sold the boat to Mr Tom Siebiel. Now known as Orion, she races sporadically on the West Coast of the US, and lives in San Francisco. Mr Siebiel takes her down the coast to crash the Southern California Mexico party, set new records and give poor old Mr Enloe fits.

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Oman is gearing up for a busy season developing Omani sailors and promoting Omani tourism. Takes the money of a sultan to do that.

Edmund de Rothschild (Gitana Team) is undergoing a refit – soon to launch – modified with……fully flying foils (bien sur).

Gitana shed

What started as a replacement class for the edgy Orma 60 fleet with a promising world-wide tour and race schedule has devolved into flashy toys for the super-rich. Multi-million dollar boats and professional crews kept as pets by billionaires for bragging rights and race records.

What has all this got to do with you and me…neither pets, billionaires or professionals?

Everything.

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These boats are the state or our art. They are big and flashy and expensive. They are wild and fast and spectacular. They cross oceans faster than nuclear aircraft carriers. They buck and writhe and scream and you best hang on for dear life or you’ll get tossed sir. Things happen fast and furious when the boat is loaded and flying 30+ knots. Navigation and collision avoidance are more akin to air traffic control than see and avoid.

Fearless ocean-racing sailors developed these boats – experienced men who raced each other around the world and across oceans – this was THEIR class. Their desire to sail fast(er) and safe(er) designed this boat.

We have synthetic rigging, because of them. We have canting, rotating masts because of them. We have lifting foils, because they believed and showed it was possible to fly. We have 40 knot ocean flying sailboats because of them – unthinkable 5 years ago.

And there are the stories.

Oman crushing the Round Britain and Ireland record following a hurricane. Her jump off the start line, heart pounding.

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Phaedo 3 blasting around Antigua in the Caribbean 600 AFTER crossing the Atlantic in 9 days.

Gitana’s quest to make Edmund De Rothschild the first fully flying ocean going sailboat.

Rothschild and Oman’s epic match race across the Atlantic in last years Transat Jacques Vabre. 5 hours separating the boats after 11000 miles and 12 days at sea.

These are tremendous sea stories that inspire and motivate us to get on our boats and put the bows down. And that sea-dogs – is a very good thing.

Inspiration and motivation – MOD70’s are not sport, they are art.

Race for Water

 

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