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2014-07-18

When friends go offshore


S/V Giulietta in Cascais marina a few days ago.
The first saltwater delivery I crewed on was on the then-new Giulietta off the course of Portugal in 2007, as related here. Giulietta is a custom-built Delmar Conde 1200 (in other words, a 40-footer), and she is not only a strong and well-conceived design, but is still impressively competitive, as her proud owner, who goes by Alex Gman on Facebook, will tell you.
A hot boat, and well-crewed.
He's right to do so. His well-crewed (mostly with youthful, fearless dinghy sailors) boat is very competitive in ORC class sailing in Portugal and in fact took first place in 2013, as in "best ORC boat in Portugal" and may do so again this season. This is pretty impressive given that 40 feet is not a huge race boat and that Giulietta's competitors are a bunch of larger Swans and other big ocean-rated vessels between 50-60 feet LOA. He's sponsored by a number of firms, including our mutual friends at Fortress Anchors, who I daresay are getting their money's worth out of the deal, given the steady improvement and persistant podium appearances of their logos.
Alex with old-man sailor beard and silverware, with his more appealing and charming wife Julieta beside him.
Alex and his crew have a new challenge at the moment: getting the light (12,000 lbs.) and generously canvased Giulietta to the Azores for some more racing. As far as I know, Giulietta has not been on an actual ocean crossing, although the Portuguese coastal waters can be brutal enough, as well as sporting a near-continuous line of cliffs and pointy, hard parts.
Alex doesn't believe in reefing...he says it just slows the boat down.
Giulietta is going to the Azores to participate in the Atlantis Cup Regatta in Horta, also known as "the Autonomy Regatta", perhaps because you have to sail across a quarter of the Atlantic to get there. Regardless, I thought it might be interesting to note that Alex, who was once self-described as "not a computer guy" (which is strange as he's a very successful engineer working worldwide) has gone over to the tech-savvy side of sailing, and is using a DeLorme InReach device (think "Spot Messenger" with Twitter-like text capabilities), and is also visible via AIS when within VHF range from the Marinetraffic.com site and also via Vesselfinder.com here.

A fairly typical outcome: Giulietta is in the lead.
Of course, a lot of this fine tracking technology will be turned off (and probably unplugged) during any actual racing, as Alex's hesitations about using AIS and these fairly recent tracking technologies was, as he said to me, "not wanting to give the competition any clues". Which, if sail racing is your sport, is very understandable.

As of July 18, 2014.
Now, Alex is currently reporting (it's around sunset on July 18th as I post this in the eastern Atlantic) strong winds on the bow, i.e. westerly winds. As he has a fine crew, a strong, well-equipped vessel, and is himself an excellent sailor, I have few worries for his five- to eight-day passage, but I do find it intriguing how easy it has become to actually see, more or less in real time, where a little boat on a great big ocean is...and to have them say something to the world from their deck.
Evidently, closehauled on starboard
Would that I could be there...I was graciously invited, but the timing is wrong for work and airplanes and boat fixing. But I find it encouraging that I can follow along, even from the pilothouse of my own docked boat.  Boa viagem e bons ventos, amigo!

UPDATE 14.07.21:  They've arrived in one piece.


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