Into the Blue
Offshore passages all have their very own unique qualities and for Bruce, this particular trip is one he will not soon forget. Bruce had been working for The Moorings, a yacht charter company with a base in Miami Beach Marina while also working on his captain’s license and generally keeping busy as a mate in South Florida. When the opportunity arose to make the near thousand mile journey along the eastern edge of the Bermuda Triangle, the answer was. . . YES!
The Moorings had partnered with America’s Cup as the official yacht charter supplier during their 35th event. The race sees the most technologically advanced sailing catamarans one could ever imagine with superhuman teams navigating each course.
With little notice, Bruce hopped on a plane to meet his crew in Road Town Marina on the British Virgin Islands. We like to say that he completed a Bermuda Triangle integration of sorts as he made all the points; Miami, San Juan, Bermuda and Back to Miami. No sightings were reported and the fleet, five leopard catamarans, made it safely to their destination.
Back on shore, I had little communication regarding vessel location with the exception of AIS when the fleet were in range. I am the type that loves technology. Just to give you an example, seven years ago I sat in on a talk given by Chris Parker and asked when I would be able to have satellite internet access on my 27ft Catalina. He asked me to wait about ten years as the technology was not going to fit on my small sailboat. So here I was, nearly ten years later, wondering about latest technology in cruising communications. Luckily, Sailing Totem came out with a super helpful post while Bruce was gone, Offshore Communications, satellite or SSB? It more than satisfied my curious mind and I also learned about the Predict Wind app.
In addition, I found a very interesting event running parallel with Bruce’s fleet; The inaugural Antigua to Bermuda Race! Using their YB tracking system I enjoyed six days of beautiful racing yachts, cruising/racers, super yachts and multihulls. YB tracking also supports The Transpac, Oyster World Rally and the World ARC. Often I would try and imagine where Bruce and his fleet were in relationship to the Antigua to Bermuda race. They left the same day, really just hours after The Moorings departed Anegada. It was fascinating to read the reports over coffee in the morning which included amazing night sky descriptions, delicious dinners, exercise regimens, searching for wind, suspicious fishing/offloading activity, rescues, kindness, teamwork and finally reaching Bermuda.
The next generation in catamaran Design
When Bruce appeared back on the grid, I found that he spotted the Nigel Irens designed APC78 catamaran! How awesome as Bruce really had no idea how closely I was following their race from Antigua. Nigel Irens had designed some of the Gunboats too and Bruce was fortunate enough to run into one of those as well, The Zenyatta. The APC78 was the only catamaran racing this year! Get out there Riley and Elayna of La Vagabonde! Paul Gelder of Sail Magazine describes Nigel’s boats in the most beautiful way.
celebrated as a kind of fusion of art and science. Irens’ designs, built for speed and endurance, have been called poems of flowing function, and for decades have been sought after by the hottest sailors on the race circuits.
It’s no wonder that Alexander Simonis, the naval architect behind Leopard, met Nigel Irens at the age of 18 and was quite inspired. The Leopard Catamarans are nice cruising boats not racers. They have a huge charter presence in the British Virgin Islands. Here on Miami Beach our now closed base had only 3 Leopards; mainly for trips over Biscayne Bay and to The Keys compared to the BVI’s 300 or more vessels! You wouldn’t think it but The Leopard catamaran is blue water capable. The firm, Simonis Voogd is known for some pretty interesting race designs. Today, designers are definitely being challenged as sailors dream of both comfort and performance. The Gunboats and Outremers are excellent examples of just that and are very much in a class of their own. Bruce and I are working towards the Outremer 5X. Although Grand Large Yachting paints a pretty awesome picture of the new Gunboat 68ft.
Sail Magazine talked with Alexander Simonis recently about the new Leopard 45 and I am interested to try this one out on charter. Bruce was headed to the Keys with a family on The Moorings 39 recently and came across some nasty weather that I think the 45 would have been well suited for.
Simonis explained that while the hull entry is fine, the hulls flare rapidly above the chine to provide plenty of reserve buoyancy to raise the bows as they enter a wave. This combination gives good speed in wave-piercing mode while keeping the foredeck well clear of heavier seas. He said he also designed the Leopard line with ample bridgedeck clearance and a subtle hull configuration that takes the bow wave smoothly between the hulls. Makes sense to me. Again, it’s hard to argue with a boat that just made it on its hulls from the south Atlantic. (Find the entire article here here. )
A beautiful video of the new boat.
Our New Video!
So the crew from Bermuda makes there way back to the British Virgin Islands this week. Sadly, Bruce was unable to go along on this particular trip. Though I imagine we will have plenty more amazing sailing opportunities ahead. We are so grateful that he was asked on the first crossing! Enjoy the video of Bruce’s first journey on the Leopard 48ft below and follow our You Tube Channel for more adventure this summer.