Armchair sailing

With the off season setting in, some of us will be sailing less and spectating more.  There is now some excellent web coverage of large events. 

Personally I will be watching several interesting sailing events that are taking place this winter.  The first is the Velux 5 oceans.  This event is raced in open 60's that were built before 2003 and are designed to minimize their environmental impact.  As I have previously mentioned Derek Hatfield, racing "Active House" is the Canadian entry.  As I type this the two leading boats have entered the trade winds on the southern side of the doldrums and are powering away from Derek, who is stuck still stuck in light air.  Two other boats are behind Derek, further North in the Atlantic.  Here's the link for the race viewer:
http://www.velux5oceans.com/

 Another interesting race that is taking place this winter is the Barcelona World Race.  This one is in Open 60’s, but with double handed crews.  The advantages and disadvantages are explained in the magazine section of the website.  The end result is that the boat can be pushed harder with two crew than with one.  In fact, in the last race in Alex Thompson and Andrew Cape set the 24 hr speed record for open 60’s, Including those raced with full crews.  It was an interesting race last time, and probably will be again this time out.  Here’s the link:
http://www.barcelonaworldrace.org/en/

Down in Australia the 18 footer season has just started.  This is an annual tradition in Australia.  The boats race every Sunday on Sydney harbor, dodging ferry traffic pleasure boats, and the occasional freighter.   They are 18 feet long and have three trapezes and an enormous spinnaker.  There is excellent video shot from the 18 footer .tv website’s dedicated camera cat.  They have completed two races already, and more to come.  Check it out at:
http://www.18footerstv.com/

Good video coverage of the Extreme 40 catamaran series that finished in September is available on the class website.  The class is quite possibly the most exciting, spectator friendly sailing event around.  The boats are fast, the courses are short and wipeouts, crashes, and close racing abound.  With both on boat and multiple off boat camera’s the action is always well documented.  Check it out at:
http://www.extremesailingseries.com/video/almeria/

Hopefully that will keep your sailing itch scratched without having to get cold and wet.