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GEAR: Garmin MSC-10 satellite compass (21 Sep 2021, 7:30 am)

The Garmin MSC-10 satellite compass is the latest in a new breed of on board satellite compasses that not only integrates well into existing navigation systems but uses the newest GPS technology to help pinpoint boat location. 

The Garmin MSC-10 satellite compass uses GPS derived data, instead of the earth’s magnetic field, to calculate a boat’s heading and is therefore unaffected by magnetic interference. 

It works across four satellite constellations – GPS, Galileo, GLONASS and BeiDou, with this many data points being collected by the Garmin MSC-10 satellite compass it can offer an extremely precise bearing and position. 

The MSC-10 position updates at a rate of 10Hz. Which is a refresh rate of ten every second. 

Heading accuracy is stated to be within two degrees. The unit also provides precise pitch, roll and heave data, ideal for heading into choppy water.


Testing iPad charting software

Testing iPad charts

We've been out testing iPad charting software. Here's a first impression of the choices

Velocitek Shift tactical compass

The Velocitek Shift is an interesting new product that can help make the decision about when best to tack. It…


Our rating:  


The MSC 10 can be integrated into many systems on your yacht, such as the auto-pilot, which need accurate and up to date steering data.

Garmin’s latest satellite compass uses a mixture of the latest technologies and simpler ones to give you several layers of redundancy when planning your blue water voyages. 

It has a built-in magnetometer for use in the unlikely event of satellite signals being temporarily lost. 

The MSC 10 is also relatively small and easy to install.

While the The Garmin MSC-10 compass might not be the cheapest on the market it is certainly competitive with other brands out there.

It has excellent connectivity and redundancy which give great peace of mind when attempting a long or potentially treacherous voyage where the auto pilot is likely to come into play.  

Price: £900.

Buy Garmin MSC-10 satellite compass here


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Yachting World is the world’s leading magazine for bluewater cruisers and offshore sailors. Every month we have inspirational adventures and practical features to help you realise your sailing dreams.
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The post GEAR: Garmin MSC-10 satellite compass appeared first on Yachting World.

Gear: ATP2 processor – ethernet networking (20 Sep 2021, 7:30 am)

Lymington based A+T’s ATP2 processor and full ethernet networking enables a boat’s entire electronics to be connected via an ultrafast ethernet network.

A+T’s ATP2 processor allows for full ethernet networking using a single wire linking all sensors and displays. This cable also supplies 12V power to low draw items such as sensors.

A+T’s processor suite, along with full ethernet connection, can be installed and integrated into many existing hi-spec systems as well as complete systems for new builds or major refits.

Further advantages are that there’s no limitation to the number of displays that can be networked, and even large yachts have no practical limit on the length of cable.

If you are running a yacht reliant on high tech systems, it is easy to become overwhelmed with a sea of cables and electronics.  A+T’s system seeks to simplify all of this.

Corrosion is always something to take into account when salt is added to the occasion, particularly when we’re talking about electronics and A+T’s ATP2 mitigates that problem as much as possible with extra care taken to waterproof the unit.

In today’s world of bluetooth and wireless connectivity a simple cable is still the most reliable way of sending and receiving data.

With the electronic demands we see now on modern yachts, the connection between electronic systems and sensors on board is only just behind the connection from helm to rudder.

A+T’s systems aren’t cheap and won’t be useful for every situation but a boat that needs quick and accurate readings displayed anywhere aboard may find A+T’s Full ethernet networking to be the right choice.

Price: From £6,300

Buy A+T’s ATP2 processor from A+T Instruments

If you enjoyed this….

Yachting World is the world’s leading magazine for bluewater cruisers and offshore sailors. Every month we have inspirational adventures and practical features to help you realise your sailing dreams.
Build your knowledge with a subscription delivered to your door. See our latest offers and save at least 30% off the cover price.

The post Gear: ATP2 processor – ethernet networking appeared first on Yachting World.

Cape Town to the Azores: The end of an 8-year voyage (20 Sep 2021, 7:00 am)

Sailing the Atlantic from Cape Town to the Azores marked the end of an eight-year circumnavigation for Dutch couple Wietze van der Laan and Janneke Kuysters

“That’s it,” Wietze says, “Not an ounce more of anything is added to the boat. No food, no fuel and no water.” I pause, because I had just grabbed my bag for another quick visit to the supermarket. We have a 6,000-mile trip to go and my fear of running out of food is even bigger than normal. But when I check my little book of supplies, I concede and put the bag away.

The next morning we give each other the customary pre-departure look in the eye and ask: “Ready?”. Then we’re on our way for this monster voyage: Cape Town to the Azores. This will be our final big passage in over 50,000 miles of sailing around the world.

Cape Town’s Table Mountain slips by to stern.

By the time Table Mountain sinks below the horizon, I’m rummaging in lockers for warm clothes. It feels as if the cold Benguela current swoops past the south-west of the African continent, straight from Antarctica.

We sail under bright blue skies, with lots of seals, gannets and albatross around us. A dream comes true when we see a Southern right whale surface close by.

On the desert’s edge

During the pleasant downwind sail to Lüderitz in Namibia, we see many ships with the sign ‘limited manoeuvrability’ on our AIS screen. Initially we are quite puzzled, because they seem to be close to the shore. Wietze then realises they are diamond-ships: alluvial diamonds are spread across the seafloor and across parts of the south-west of Namibia. Dredging boats literally suck the diamonds up.

Exploring the stunning sand dunes of Namibia

When we enter the bay near Lüderitz, an eccentric Brit rows out to us. “You’re just in time to tie up before the afternoon breeze starts,” Andy tells us. We’re directed to use one of the moorings normally used by dredging boats. “It’s best to use this mooring instead of anchoring. The holding is not good,” our new friend says.

An hour later it feels as if a switch has been flicked and we find ourselves in 40-plus knots of wind. Where the hot desert meets the cold current, the ‘afternoon breeze’ as Andy called it, feels like half a hurricane.

We manage to get ashore in our dinghy and, after a quick clearance, go for a wander around this very German-looking town.

A few days later we slip our mooring and head to Walvis Bay. This time we sail closer inshore and enjoy the ‘stop and go’ sailing: nights and early mornings are lovely with light southerly breezes and a gentle push by the current.

At 1300 the afternoon breeze starts and we fly north, close reefed and poled out. Then, 12 hours later, all is calm again.

Walvis Bay has a small craft basin in the south where the Walvis Bay Yacht Club is very welcoming and offers us a sturdy mooring. We’ve learned our lesson and tie up before the afternoon breeze hits again – the same breezes that powered SailRocket to its record breaking 65-knot run.

Article continues below…

Around Cape Horn in big seas

It hasn't been easy for the VOR fleet to round the mighty Cape but now they face another obstacle…a wind…

We travel inland to see the magical sand dunes up close; and we need a safe place to leave the boat.
The Namibian desert doesn’t disappoint, but we must press north, to Saint Helena.

We go from wearing thick thermals to shorts and T-shirts in a matter of days once we are out of the current. It is ocean sailing at its best: very stable 10-15 knots of wind from southerly directions, with a slight swell and a full moon. We don’t touch the sheets or helm for days, ticking off the miles in the most pleasant way.

The biggest issue is working out what to eat next – and what to do with the packaging. Despite all our efforts to reduce the packaging we take on board, it is worrying to see how much plastic waste we still produce.

Anna Caroline has taken Janneke Kuysters and Wietze van der Laan 50,000 miles around the world

We try a new trick: cutting each packet into small pieces and storing it in an empty bottle; compact and odour-free. For the next 5,000 miles there is little chance we’ll get ashore.

After nine days of blissful cruising, an email from a friend brings unexpected good news: Saint Helena has opened its borders. We can’t believe it, but a quick message to Saint Helena’s harbour master Steve Kirk confirms that we’d have to quarantine for 14 days, and take a test, but would be allowed on shore (the island honours seatime as quarantine).

How lucky we are: one of the iconic destinations in the South Atlantic is accessible for us after all.

The next day we tie to one of the mandatory moorings and settle in for four days of quarantine. Some boat jobs and chatting with cruising friends on the VHF make the days fly by.

German colonial buildings in Lüderitz, Namibia

St Helena has a ferry system because there is only a small quay for lifting a dinghy onto. The ferry efficiently takes fishermen and cruisers to and from their boats. We love Jamestown at first sight: a quaint village, steeped in history. The Jacobs Ladder with 699 steps is a challenge with our sealegs, but the views up top are rewarding.

But time is ticking and the season is progressing fast. Back in Steve Kirk’s office, he asks if we have a visa for Ascension Island? “Yes,” Wietze says, “but we’re not sure if we are going there, because of the difficulty to get on land in the massive swell.”

“If you decide to go, you could do us a big favour by taking a box with emergency medicine that is needed there,” Steve says. One glance at Wietze is enough: of course we will go. Steve rushes off to the pharmacy, then we clear out and say goodbye to Saint Helena with our precious cargo on board.

The conditions are the same, but no more lazy downwind sailing for us because we feel the urge to get to Ascension fast. We are on high alert for every windshift or change in wind speed. The current that helped us, has decreased to a trickle. But still we average around 115 miles a day with our 17-tonne boat in 10-12 knots of wind.

When the wind dies further, we switch on the engine. With still many miles to go, we try to minimise the use of the engine. Wietze routinely checks the battery monitor every few hours, one day he notices that one of our three batteries is very hot. “Shut the engine down!” he shouts. He quickly disengages the broken battery and, in the silence that follows, we scratch our heads.

With 3,500 miles still to go this could potentially create a difficult situation if the other two also break down. The chance that we can get another one on Ascension is close to zero.

Circus act

When we arrive at Ascension Island, a large military-looking boat comes out to meet us and to show us where to anchor. Two hours later they are back to bring us, our papers and the precious box of medication ashore.

Ascension has a reputation for difficult shore access and we are about to find out if it is true. The large boat manoeuvres nimbly alongside a concrete quay in 2-3m swell. “Wait until we are on top of the wave and then jump,” the skipper instructs.

The volcanic cone of Cat Hill looms over Georgetown, Ascension Island.

A steel arch is constructed over the landing quay, and ropes with knots are suspended from this arc. “On the top of the wave, you grab a rope and sling yourself ashore,” the mate says. I’m nervous, but we both complete the circus act without getting too wet and run up the stairs before the next wave swamps the quay.

Harbour Master Kitty George calls the doctor, who rushes down from the local hospital to pick up the box. It’s a great feeling to be part of the old traditions between seafarers and remote communities: helping each other out when possible.

When we wander around Georgetown, we marvel at the contrast between the white buildings and the dark volcanic mountains. Everywhere we look we see antennas rising into the air: Ascension is a very strategic location in the middle of the South Atlantic.

Traces of green turtles can be seen everywhere on the beaches, both the wide tracks of the females who come ashore to lay their eggs and the smaller tracks of the hatchlings making their way to the sea.

Water taxi ashore for a visit to Jamestown,
Saint Helena

On our way back to the dreaded quay, we pass by the government stores. We step in and much to our surprise they have a battery available – not exactly what we need, but it’s a good back up.

Launching ourselves back into the ferry boat is just as hard as getting out, especially with a heavy battery, but the crew is very helpful and we reach our yacht without a hitch.

The big one

Three days later, we decide that it’s time to go for the big one: the long passage to the Azores. The start is similar to what we had before: leisurely light winds aft of the beam and clear skies.

It gets warmer every day and each morning we find more and more flying fish on deck: on one day there are 26!

St Helena is more than just a rocky outcrop

On the sixth day, we pass the Equator for the sixth time on this voyage. This inspires Wietze to get all dressed up as Neptune and deliver a thundering speech, to which I obediently listen. We offer a tot of whisky to Neptune and congratulate ourselves on reaching the northern hemisphere.

As if on cue, at 3° 50’ north of the equator, the wind stops. “Welcome to the doldrums,” Wietze muses. We start the engine on a glassy sea, sprinkled with tufts of yellow Sargasso weed.

The monotonous nights are brightened by feathered guests: birds rest on the aft rail. It’s a delight to look at them while they’re trying to keep their balance.

Neptune visits for the sixth time

One night, I’m watching our guests with a torch and I notice something odd: the windvane is moving. It’s not supposed to do that: two very sturdy brackets hold it into place. I scream at Wietze to disengage the engine. Wietze looks at the stern.

“Oh no, it’s come off the bottom bracket.”

We both know there’s only one way to fix this. Wietze puts on his shortie wetsuit, while I get tools ready. Double secured, he steps over the pushpit onto the swimming ladder which heaves up and down in the dark nightly swell. He ends up with his legs around the rudder of the vane, pushing and shoving until it is back on the bracket. Shivering from exhaustion he is back on board half an hour later.

Moored off St Helena

After only two days of motoring, the north-east tradewinds kick in all of a sudden. We hoist the main with a reef, hoist the cutter jib and roll out the yankee.

Anna Caroline loves this wind angle, so we hear the water rushing along her sides. Inside the boat, it is another story: we heel quite a bit and I wonder how long this is going to be enjoyable for.

The rest of the day we experiment with sail configurations and wind angle to find a point of sail that is both fast and comfortable. It’s a delicate balance to keep the pitching motion bearable and to keep the boat in one piece in the 20-plus knot trade winds.

We snap off some chocolate pieces to celebrate crossing our outbound track of many years ago. Since then, 52,460 miles have passed under our keel. We hug and enjoy this special moment.

The next morning we keep looking at our boat speed in puzzlement: with this wind force and angle we should easily be doing 5-6 knots. But we’re doing only 3-4. Wietze is tense with frustration, so while he is taking a nap, I send a message to Lynnath Beckley, our ‘weather friend’. She replies instantly and suggests changes in sail setting and course.

Getting used to the upwind trek

“You’re brave to choose this upwind track,” she writes, “By the time you get to Azores, one leg will be shorter than the other”. She confirms that we have 2 knots of current against us for the next 200 miles, and in a post script adds: “Have you looked over the side?”

When Wietze wakes we joke about dragging a net along. Just to be sure he looks over the side. And there it is: a giant net. Sighing, he gets the diving gear out again, his neoprene suit and the knives.
The days go by smoothly in a routine of watchkeeping, navigating, eating and sleeping.

Sooner than we thought, we get used to the heel and the pitching of the boat. To cook, I have to strap myself to the stove to be able to use both hands. Using the heads becomes an art in itself. But we adapt quickly and both remark on how comfortable we both feel.

We’ve never liked long crossings, but somehow this one feels very manageable despite the 2,000 mile upwind slog in the middle of it. “It’s the food,” I conclude. For this crossing, I decided to go for many small snacks during the day in addition to the three meals we normally eat. Bits of chocolate, nuts, dried fruit, salty crackers and sweets have had more impact than we thought.

Almost every day there is something to celebrate with a special treat. One morning Wietze hands me another generous piece of chocolate. “We have reached the fold in the chart,” he points out.

New tricks

We marvel that we are both still learning new tricks after eight years of sailing. “Like mowing the lawn,” I joke. Once a day we have to remove the Sargasso weed from the foredeck, thrown there by the waves crashing over our bow.

Plenty of fresh produce, which laster fairly well on the long passage

“If we would have to continue this for another week, I wouldn’t mind,” Wietze says. I agree – and it’s the first time we’ve ever felt this way, on all our other crossings we were counting down the days to our arrival.

A week of beating passes, then another week, and then almost another one. The current slackens and the wind turns a bit more to the east, allowing us to steer almost directly to the Azores.

We plot the courses of two fellow boats making the same passage, knowing there is a silent competition who can point highest, enduring it, to sail the fewest miles on this long track.

Anna Caroline sits in the middle between an Oyster 40 and a 36ft steel Rekere. The Oyster takes the westernmost track, holding their light cruising chute until they enter the doldrums, the Rekere is more easterly.

Having stopped in St Helena, we are about a week behind, and also take an easterly route, but are faced with much stronger winds and steeper waves, and so have to veer off a little.

And then the wind peters out; we have found the Azores High. It’s a funny, pear-shaped high, but a high it is. Down come the sails again and the engine takes over the job while we are surrounded by rafts of Portuguese man of war jellyfish.

While the boat slowly rolls in the long swell, we enjoy the change of motion. But there is a nasty low lurking to the west of us; twice a day we look at the weather charts as we need to decide on a strategy.

The front is showing 40-60 knot winds; we need to avoid that at all cost. As soon as we are north of the high and back into lovely south-westerly winds, there is no other option than to slow the boat down and let the front pass north of us.

For 24 hours we potter along with mini sails and just 2 knots boatspeed. As soon as we are in the clear, everything goes back up for a sprint over the last 200 miles.

Mist, drizzle and cold winds make the last miles difficult, and we are only a mile out of Faial when we finally spot the island. There are high fives, hugs and kisses: 3,185 miles in 29 days. Done.

If you enjoyed this….

Yachting World is the world’s leading magazine for bluewater cruisers and offshore sailors. Every month we have inspirational adventures and practical features to help you realise your sailing dreams.
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The post Cape Town to the Azores: The end of an 8-year voyage appeared first on Yachting World.

America’s Cup venue decision delayed: where’s in the frame? (17 Sep 2021, 7:42 am)

Political wrangling and last minute bids have caused a delay to the 37th America's Cup venue announcement. Helen Fretter reports

Photo: ACE / Studio Borlenghi

The much anticipated announcement of venue for the 37th America’s Cup, due to be unveiled today (Friday, September 17), has been postponed.

In a statement made Thursday evening, Cup holders Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (RNZYS) together with Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ), have confirmed that they are extending the selection period for shortlisted venues to provide more information to support their bids to host the next America’s Cup.

RNZYS Commodore Aaron Young said: “For the benefit of both the 37th America’s Cup and the eventual host venue, we would rather allow some more time now so we make the right decision as opposed to a rushed decision.”

The delay has been caused by a number of factors, not least New Zealand’s ongoing strict travel limitations which have made it difficult for key personnel to visit overseas venues bidding to host the Cup.

But there has also been a great deal of political wrangling in Auckland, with New Zealand businessman Mark Dunphy adding more detail to a last minute bid to keep the event in Auckland.

Dunphy, who is CEO and chairman of Greymouth petroleum, recently called for ETNZ boss Grant Dalton to step down, so there is clearly no love lost between the pair. However, the potential for a home defence will appeal to many in New Zealand.

Grant Dalton of Emirates Team New Zealand lifts America’s Cup after win in Bermuda 2017

Grant Dalton, CEO of ETNZ, commented: “The fundamental fact is that we have a number of outstanding potential venues literally going down to the wire and all of them with strong and competitive bids on the table and firmly committed to completing agreements in the coming weeks – that’s a good place to be in for sure.

“It’s frustrating not to have been able to close our agreement with a Host Venue by the planned date of 17 September as previously proposed but we are now giving ourselves more time to work through the final details of the respective venues as the current COVID situation in New Zealand has made the process more difficult.

“As we have always maintained throughout, however unlikely it seemed, Auckland has never been off the table for obvious reasons. So now that we finally have an 11th hour letter from Mr Dunphy, it would be remiss of us not to explore the viability of an Auckland event and if it in fact can be fully and completely funded locally. To date there has been no evidence of this being the case.”

INEOS Team UK commented on social media: “’As Challenger of Record we continue to support the Defender to negotiate a venue decision at the earliest opportunity, as we appreciate how important a decision this is for all teams looking to challenge for the 37th America’s Cup.”

The host venue selection process for AC37 has been both fraught and widely speculated on. Bids are made, and considered, behind closed doors, with little publicly announced until the final decision. However, these are the venues known to have been in contention:

Where will the 37th America’s Cup be held?

Auckland hosted a stunning event in 2020/21


New Zealand was the only nation in the world that could have hosted such a ‘normal’ and successful 36th America’s Cup during Covid times, thanks to their strict border controls. However, those same border controls meant that the vast revenues predicted to have been generated through tourism, visiting superyachts, and other events related to the Cup (like the cancelled Youth America’s Cup) simply never materialised.

Securing public interest in sailing is never an issue in New Zealand, the country is unquestionably the most passionate nation of America’s Cup followers in the world. But securing public funds is another thing altogether.

Auckland had an exclusive period in which to tender for the 37th America’s Cup, but the sums on offer were not enough, and Dalton cast the net wider internationally after rejecting a NZ$99 million (£50 million) offer from the New Zealand government.

“Our view is that we want it to be hosted here. We’ve put our best foot forward, but there’s also limits to what we can do,” New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told local radio station Radio Hauraki in June.

A last minute bid to host the Cup in Auckland in 2024 has been launched – but as yet no venue has been confirmed

Auckland has never been ruled out, however, and New Zealand fans must be hoping that Dunphy’s controversial bid for a home defence will draw out some additional private backers.

From a sporting perspective, defending the America’s Cup on home waters – or attempting to wrest it from the Kiwis in their own harbour – would give the 37th America’s Cup a real heart-and-soul narrative that would be hard to beat.

Might Valencia return as an America’s Cup host venue?


Valencia, host venue of the 2007 America’s Cup and 2010 Deed of Gift Match, was widely tipped to be among the favourites to host the 37th Cup, until representatives confirmed the city was withdrawing its bid last week.

However, this was swiftly followed with the announcement that an all-Spain bid, including events in both Valencia and Barcelona, was still progressing.

In a written statement, the All Spain group said: “We can confirm that our discussions with Team New Zealand and America’s Cup Event Ltd continue to advance forward very positively with the backing of the Prime Minister of Spain and the central Spanish Government continuing to work with us to finalise details and event proposals. These discussions started some months back.”

Cork Week 2010, Day One

Cork Week 2010


A surprising outsider, Cork on the south-west coast of Ireland became one of the front-runners in the host venue bid contest.

However, Ireland has requested extra time to prepare its bid – something that led Marcus Spillane, a vice president of World Sailing who is originally from Cork, to vehemently criticise the Irish government in the Irish Examiner. “Ireland is never going to host an Olympics or a FIFA World Cup,” he said.

“The America’s Cup is a global sporting event. We got right to the finish line and then we decided not to take the extra step. It demonstrates a lack of imagination and ambition.

“I understand the need to get value for money, but let’s be clear – you get an opportunity like this once every 15 to 20 years and when you do, you have to grasp the opportunity.”

This postponement is unlikely to be as lengthy as the Irish bid were hoping for, but may yet put them back in the fray.

From a sailing perspective, the notion of racing the AC75s in the Celtic Sea – let alone the shoreside entertainment of an America’s Cup in Crosshaven – certainly has potential to make for a memorable event.

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

There’s been ominously little publicly announced regarding this bid, though it has been widely considered as one of the most likely scenarios. Moving the America’s Cup to the Middle East could solve the funding issues for New Zealand, and draws a clear line to the defender’s long-time previous backers of the Emirates airline.

A move to Saudi Arabia would be wildly unpopular among many Cup fans, thanks to the country’s position on environmental issues, civil liberties, and women’s rights – especially in light of the recent announcement of an AC40 class for a Women’s and Youth America’s Cup. However, in the unpredictable world of the America’s Cup, nothing can be ruled out.

Cowes, Doha and Singapore

These three bids aren’t expected to be among the four that were still on the table in the final rounds.

The Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes

The Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes

The notion of a Deed of Gift match in the Solent between New Zealand and the Challenger of Record, INEOS Team UK, incited a great deal of interest among British sailing fans, and could have provided a memorable event with fewer logistical challenges than racing in New Zealand during the pandemic. However, neither the UK nor New Zealand backers appear to have the appetite for funding a ‘private’ contest.

Doha was previously being discussed alongside Jeddah as a potential option venue to host the Cup on the Arabian peninsula. However, Qatar’s role in the ongoing political developments in the Middle East must make that increasingly improbable.

It’s all very quiet around Singapore’s bid for AC37 too. Like many Arabian nations, Singapore has positioned itself as a host venue for major international sporting events, such as golf and F1, but with far less controversy attached the south-east Asian country could yet prove a viable option.

If you enjoyed this….

Yachting World is the world’s leading magazine for bluewater cruisers and offshore sailors. Every month we have inspirational adventures and practical features to help you realise your sailing dreams.
Build your knowledge with a subscription delivered to your door. See our latest offers and save at least 30% off the cover price.

The post America’s Cup venue decision delayed: where’s in the frame? appeared first on Yachting World.

GEAR: Calypso portable ultrasonic wind sensor (16 Sep 2021, 7:30 am)

Calypso Instruments brings us this new Calypso portable ultrasonic wind sensor. Small and light enough to fit in your hand and easily mountable on your boat.  

The Calypso portable ultrasonic wind sensor comes at a time when onboard systems are becoming increasingly integrated and fits well in a captain’s electronic instrument arsenal.

Wireless wind sensors have been around for many years, but none are as neatly packaged as this impressively compact ultrasonic unit, which has no moving parts.

Sitting at a tiny 7cm in diameter and only 5.7cm high it can be mounted at the masthead of a yacht, on the arch of a RIB, or even used as a hand-held unit as it only weighs in at 135 grams.

Power is via a solar panel, backed up with an internal battery that will last for a full year in sleep mode.

Velocitek Shift tactical compass

The Velocitek Shift is an interesting new product that can help make the decision about when best to tack. It…


Our rating:  

Inside the body of the portable ultrasonic wind sensor are four ultrasonic transducers that are constantly checking the actual wind speed and direction and the apparent wind down to a resolution of +/- 1º.

In active mode it will hold a charge without sunlight for 29 days so even the worst weather over the course of a long passage shouldn’t impair the wind sensor.

Data communication to the boat’s instrument system, smartphone, or Garmin watch is via Bluetooth with a 50m range.

Price: from €499.

Buy Calypso portable ultrasonic wind sensor from Calypso Instruments

If you enjoyed this….

Yachting World is the world’s leading magazine for bluewater cruisers and offshore sailors. Every month we have inspirational adventures and practical features to help you realise your sailing dreams.
Build your knowledge with a subscription delivered to your door. See our latest offers and save at least 30% off the cover price.

The post GEAR: Calypso portable ultrasonic wind sensor appeared first on Yachting World.

Gear: Loop Boa Base – nifty stacking clutch (15 Sep 2021, 7:30 am)

With every inch of deck at a premium Loop Boa Base have come up with a great way to tidy up even a cluttered deck and maximise available space. 

The Loop Boa Base is an extremely neat idea for adding extra clutches in places where there would otherwise be no convenient deck space.

It allows them to be stacked vertically by adding housings compatible with Cousin Trestec Constrictor textile clutches underneath standard units.

Cousin Trestec Constrictor 10 review

Working on the same principle as the Chinese finger trap, the Cousin Trestec Constrictor 10 is a simple yet effective…


Our rating:  

In this set up the Loop Boa Base would effectively become the base for the original clutch housing.

The Loop Boa Base uses a textile rope clutch design. This has proven very popular in many racing teams recently.

A textile rope clutch uses a hollow, braided textile sock which allows the rope to run freely in one direction, but when running in the opposite direction, can immediately hold it in place – think Chinese finger trap, and you’re not far off how it works.

The cousin constrictor can reduce wear and tear on the line. But they may not be suitable for every job onboard, thus combining this technology with the traditional jawed clutch allow the user to get the benefits of both clutch types.

As another advantage, this system potentially doubles the number of clutches that can be fitted in a given space without having to drill new holes.

The Boa Base uses the same fixings as Spinlock’s double, triple and quadruple format XAS and XTS/XCS series clutches, which simplifies installation.

Price: From €124.

Buy Loop Boa Base from Upffront

If you enjoyed this….

Yachting World is the world’s leading magazine for bluewater cruisers and offshore sailors. Every month we have inspirational adventures and practical features to help you realise your sailing dreams.
Build your knowledge with a subscription delivered to your door. See our latest offers and save at least 30% off the cover price.

The post Gear: Loop Boa Base – nifty stacking clutch appeared first on Yachting World.

First look: Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 380 – roomy 35 footer (14 Sep 2021, 8:25 am)

Rupert Holmes takes a look at the Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 380, which provides plenty of room below for a 'smaller' yacht

Jeanneau’s latest model, the Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 380 incorporates some of the features first rolled out on its larger designs, including the sloping side decks that provide an easy passage forward from the helm stations to the foredeck.

Equally, the contemporary full bow hull shape of the Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 380 increases stability while simultaneously providing more interior volume. This allows for a larger forecabin with an offset, almost rectangular, double bunk, providing plenty of space in a yacht of this size.

The fractional rig has spreaders swept aft so a backstay is not needed – which allows for a square top mainsail. This should provide a decent amount of power without making sail-handing any more complex.

The choice of keels includes deep and shallow fins, as well as an ultra-deep ballasted centreboard that allows the boat to dry out on beaching legs. The boat is expected to be at the Southampton, La Rochelle and Barcelona boat shows.

Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 380 specifications:

Hull length: 10.77m / 35ft 4in
Beam: 3.76m / 12ft 3in
Fixed keel: 1.56 or 2.00m / 5ft 3in or 6ft 6in;
Lifting keel: 1.29-2.70m / 4ft 2in to 8ft 10in
Price: TBA

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World’s coolest yachts: Vestas Sailrocket 2 (14 Sep 2021, 7:30 am)

We ask top sailors and marine industry gurus to choose the coolest and most innovative yachts of our times. Pascal Conq nominates Vestas Sailrocket 2

“With no hesitation, my choice for the world’s coolest yacht is Vestas Sailrocket 2,” says Pascal Conq.

The designer behind two-times Vendée Globe winning IMOCA 60 PRB and the new electro green FC3 53 lightweight cruiser is famous for speed, though he admits: “Sometimes I like to sail slow, very slow, and try to stop everything from moving”.

Paul Larsen’s Vestas Sailrocket 2 is one of the most extraordinary and fascinating pieces of yacht design work ever created and set a new world speed sailing record of 65 knots in 2013.

It catapulted sailing into its very own jet age, and refined a concept yet to be bettered.

“I love this boat because her speed was so high that Paul Larsen could write it on the sand, beginning at the end, and because her ‘pulling down’ foil explored successfully the opposite force [to lift] by keeping a flying object in sufficient contact with the water to generate its speed.”

Make sure you check out our full list of Coolest Yachts.

Vestas Sailrocket 2 stats rating:

Top speed: 68 knots
LOA: 12.1m
Launched: 2011
Berths: 0
Price: Secret
Adrenalin factor: 100%

Pascal Conq

Designer Pascal Conq, 56, is head of design office Finot-Conq.

He is famous for IMOCA 60 designs spanning Vendée Globe winner Alain Gautier’s racer Générali-Concorde in 1989, Team Group 4 for Mike Golding in 1998, Hugo Boss for Alex Thomson in 2007 and two-times Vendée winner PRB for Michel Desjoyeaux then Vincent Riou.

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Saecwen: Queen of the seas (13 Sep 2021, 7:36 am)

From childhood memories to a brand new ketch designed to handle the 21st century, the owner of Saecwen has created a true modern classic, as Nic Compton finds out

“Look at that piece of oak behind you. I first met that tree when I was a kid, growing up in the New Forest. Ten years ago it blew over in a storm but I managed to buy a chunk of it through a forester friend. It’s a 400 or 500-year-old piece of oak – the same wood used to build Nelson’s navy – and now it’s the centrepiece of Saecwen. On the other side, the names of all the people who worked on the boat are carved.”

We are hunkered down in the saloon of Saecwen, the latest design by Nigel Irens launched at the Elephant Boatyard only a few days earlier, while the rain patters on the skylight above.

The boat’s owner, PR consultant Charles Watson, is telling me about the genesis of the boat. It is a very personal and at times emotional story, stretching back not only to his childhood but over three generations of his family.

The 50ft ketch might be a new launch from the drawing board of one of Britain’s most successful racing yacht designers, but even before her maiden sail Saecwen was already steeped in history.

When I turn around to look where Charles is pointing, I’m faced with a massive wooden post between the galley and the saloon. It’s the only piece of oak on the entire boat and it seems to not only carry the weight of the coachroof but to represent a bridge between past and present, new and old. It is, in so many ways, the heart of the vessel.

Saecwen: A family affair

Charles comes from a family of famous sailors, not least his uncle Mike McMullen, the single-handed sailor tragically lost at sea along with his boat Three Cheers in the 1976 OSTAR.

Mike’s father, and Charles’s grandfather, was Colin McMullen, a former Royal Navy captain known for his colourful escapades – including climbing the length of a towing hawser from one boat to another while under way.

The original Saecwen owned by Charles Watson’s family for nearly 30 years. Photo: Ian Roman

When he retired from the navy in 1972, Colin bought the Saxon class Saecwen, a 35ft racer/cruiser designed by Alan Buchanan, which he sailed extensively on both sides of the Atlantic. One of his crew was the young David Barrie, who he taught to use a sextant, earning himself and the boat a prominent place in Barrie’s 2014 book Sextant.

Over three decades the boat was sailed by three generations of the family, with Colin, Charles’s parents, and Charles forming a syndicate.

There were adventures aplenty and Charles and his then wife Fiona were even awarded the Goldsmith Exploration Award by the RCC (of which his grandfather was a ‘sometimes commodore’) for their voyage to Venezuela while on honeymoon in 1989-90.

But, inevitably, as Charles’s career took off he had less and less time to look after the boat and, in the late 1990s, she was sold on. For the next 20 years, Charles travelled the world by plane rather than by boat.

The memories of the family’s beloved family yacht were deeply ingrained, however. By early 2019, Charles was ready to don his yellow anorak once again, and there was only one sort of boat he was interested in.

“Having been brought up on a wooden boat, I couldn’t see myself not owning a wooden boat – it’s an incurable illness which I was infected with,” he says. “But, having grown up with an old boat, I knew that you have to give more time commitment to keeping them alive than actually going sailing. The idea of building a new classic was really exciting, but I had no idea how to go about it.”

Luckily, one of Charles’s old friends was the celebrated maritime author Tom Cunliffe, who knew exactly how to have a new boat built. He recommended Charles contact Nigel Irens who, he assured him, was the man to design “something classic in concept but with a contemporary twist to it”.

A meeting was duly arranged, but when Charles handed Nigel a half-model of Saecwen and said he wanted the same thing but a bit bigger, the designer seemed initially reluctant, saying, “I don’t do replicas.” He agreed, however, to perhaps “be inspired” by the Buchanan design and, after sketching some initial ideas on the back of an envelope, went away to work up the design.

The model from which the new Saecwen was born. Photo: Ian Roman

Charles’s brief was clear: he wanted a boat capable of going anywhere on the planet. “I’m conscious of what’s happening in the world,” he says. “The weather is a lot less predictable and more extreme. If you’re going out there bluewater cruising, you’ve got to be prepared to take whatever the weather throws at you.”

For that same reason, he wanted a ketch or yawl rig with twin foresails, to break the sail area into manageable chunks, rather than have to cope, possibly short-handed, with a vast mainsail and genoa.

Solid form

When Nigel came back a few weeks later, he brought with him not plans and drawings, as Charles expected, but a model of the boat, about the size of a baby, carved out of balsa. Charles was immediately blown away by the new, fully-formed creation he held in his hands.

from the outset, Saecwen was deliberately overbuilt, with hefty laminated frames and bilge stringers. Photo: Ian Roman

“It was a long keeled, sea-kindly, displacement boat, but you could tell it was clearly going to be fast just from the shape of the hull. I loved the feel of it: the way the transom came together had elements of working boats, with the high bulwarks and the lifting keel, there were many different genres in the design. I just looked at the model and thought, ‘Fantastic. Let’s do it!’”

Three yards were asked to quote for the job of building the new boat, but the Elephant Boatyard in Bursledon, where Charles’s family had always taken the original Saecwen for maintenance work, was the natural choice.

As well as a long history building custom racing yachts in the 1970s and ’80s, the yard has more recently developed a solid reputation for building one-off wooden classics, such as the new/old gaff cutters Ivy Green and Zinnia, designed by Ed Burnett.

Having specialised in wood epoxy construction since its development in the 1970s, the yard soon got into the swing, building the boat in the now standard form, with 22mm cedar strips overlaid with two diagonal layers of 6mm khaya mahogany and sheathed with E-glass and epoxy.

The main difference this time was that everything was built just that little bit more heavily than usual.

Unlike the yard’s historic racing clientele, Charles was after maximum strength rather than overall lightness, which meant heavier scantlings all round, including 35 75x75mm laminated mahogany frames. In the end, project manager Damian Byrne estimates the hull ended up 20% stronger than ABS standards.

Launch day on the River Hamble. Photo: Ian Roman

The other big difference was the lifting keel – one of the key elements of Irens’s cruising boat philosophy is shallow draught, to allow greater access to inshore waters. The boat already has a substantial 7,500kg lead keel, however, so the bronze centreboard tucked neatly away in a slot in the keel without impinging on the accommodation at all.

Indeed, the only evidence of the centerboard once the boat was in the water would be a pulley system at the base of the mast leading back to a dedicated winch in the cockpit – Charles was adamant he didn’t want any complicated hydraulics on his boat.

The hull was turned over in December 2019 – a video on the yard’s Facebook page shows two cranes spinning the 15m structure around in the air as if it was the original model – but progress on fitting out the hull was soon brought to a grinding halt by the arrival of Covid-19 and the first national lockdown.

Overnight the workforce went down from 15 to zero, then back up to six, as a small team was allowed to start work again in a socially distanced way.

Creating a wooden boat brought unique conundrums: supplies of the masks they usually used for dusty work dried up and when they were available again had quadrupled in price. To add to their woes, Brexit threw their supply chain into disarray, with chandlery from Italy being particularly badly affected.

Yard manager Matt Richardson estimates the combined effects of the pandemic and Brexit added about six months to the build time.

Freehand design

By summer 2020, work was back in full swing and much of the skilled joiner work was in progress. Rather than churn out endless drawings of each and every part, Charles relied on the boatyard to create something beautiful.

Modern sheets on traditional bronze winches. Photo: Ian Roman

“The craftsmen and shipwrights at the Elephant brought the next dimension of creativity to the project,” he recalls. “So I was able to say: ‘I want a table, I don’t want it to fold up. It’s got to be a permanent feature; it’s got to take Tom Cunliffe being thrown across the cabin and not collapse. I want to be able to sit a seagoing passage crew around it without having to open it, but then be able to sit 10 people around it when I’ve got friends on board.’

“Then a friend of mine who goes hunting for trees came up with this amazing cedar of Lebanon that has this extraordinary grain, so I gave that to Pete [Taylor, the lead shipwright on the project], and he made this beautiful table.”

Evidence of this artisanal approach can be seen throughout the boat, from the simple black Perspex hatches, with flush locks operated from the outside by winch handles, to the wooden compass binnacle with inlaid compass motif, and the dorade boxes with their complex angled dovetail joins on each corner.

Nigel Irens and Tom Cunliffe joined Saecwen on her sea trials. Photo: Ian Roman

Even the stainless steel stanchions were bead-blasted and passivated (a chemical process which removes the shine and protects the metal from corrosion) to give them a more classic look – somewhere between galvanized steel and titanium.

Classic comfort

The boat was finally launched in May 2021 and, of course, named Saecwen – the name being Anglo Saxon for ‘sea queen’.

When I joined her in Lymington two weeks later, she had just completed her sea trials and Charles seemed delighted with Saecwen’s latest incarnation.

saloon and galley combines an open plan feel with traditional joinery. Photo: Ian Roman

“There’s always this big debate in boat design,” he said, as we sheltered in the boat’s cosy saloon. “You’ve got performance in one corner, comfort in another corner, aesthetics in another corner, and seakindliness in the other corner.

“What usually happens is that aesthetics is chucked out by comfort, or performance is at odds with seakindliness. The genius of what Nigel has designed is that it covers everything. Sure, if this was a Beneteau 50 there’d be cabins and en suites everywhere – but I think this is perfectly comfortable. It’s a big enough space and has everything you could possibly want.”

Indeed, while the beam of Saecwen is a mere 12ft 6in (3.8m), compared to about 15ft 6in (4.8m) on a 50ft Beneteau, the interior feels anything but cramped.

The saloon is well proportioned, with ample headroom and seating for 10. The fit-out is a classic mix of white painted tongue-and-groove bulkheads, with varnished wooden trim. And in one corner sits a perfect little wood-burning stove.

The biggest cabin is the foc’s’le, which converts into a double. Photo: Ian Roman

There are many small personal touches, such as custom-made tiles around the stove depicting every sea bird in the British Isles (courtesy of local potter Jules Carpenter), and hand-turned wooden plates, bowls and mugs – several made from the same chunk of cedar as the table.

There are separate sleeping spaces for at least four crew (the ideal number for extended passagemaking), with a double quarter berth aft, a pilot berth in the saloon, a mini cabin opposite the heads and double berth in the foc’sle – all with their own storage areas and USB ports.

On deck, there is a mix of modern and traditional, with black ball-bearing Harken blocks sitting next to a handsome collection of winches from the Classic Winch Company and a very traditional-looking gallows from Daveys.

There are no sail tracks, but instead the angle of the jib sheet can be adjusted with barber hauls – low friction eyes attached to Dyneema lashings – located at strategic points on the bulwarks.

The tender is a nesting dinghy and when not in use, the two halves of it sit stacked and lashed on the foredeck. To assemble the boat, the aft section is wedged against the guard rails and the bow lowered onto it with the help of a halyard. In just a few minutes, you have a 10ft tender, complete with centerboard and a rig.

Muscular performance

During sea trials, both Nigel and Charles have been surprised how well Saecwen has performed in light airs, given that she came out a bit heavier than expected, getting up to 7.5 knots in 10 knots of wind.

Saecwen’s ketch rig breaks the sail area down to into more manageable sizes than a sloop rig. Photo: Ian Roman

“I am genuinely astounded by her sailing performance,” Charles said, on the phone from Cornwall. “What she loves to do is sail with all four sails up, which she carries well into a Force 5. We only reef when it goes over 20 knots.

Saecwen’s record so far is sailing off the Lizard when she clocked up 13.5 knots in 20 knots of wind, with the wind forward of the beam – which isn’t what you expect from a 23-ton traditionally-styled wooden boat. I’m beginning to conclude this Nigel Irens fellow is really very clever!”

Charles may not have got his old Saecwen back, but what he’s got is something better: a new Saecwen more befitting his needs and the current state of the world.

I suspect this boat will have a life every bit as interesting as her predecessor’s and, in time, she too might become a family heirloom.

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How to watch SailGP France (10 Sep 2021, 1:18 pm)

SailGP France will take place this weekend in St Tropez with the teams continuing to fight it out in the high-performance series. Find out all about how to follow the action

Australia and Britain fight it out during SailGP in Plymouth, UK. Photo: Bob Martin / SailGP

The global foiling catamaran series, SailGP returns this weekend with the nine teams taking to the water of St Tropez, France for the fifth event in the 2021 season.

Having won each of the past two SailGP events – in Plymouth and Denmark respectively – Tom Slingsby’s Aussie team currently sits top of the Season Championship, two points ahead of the Brits (skippered by Sir Ben Ainslie) with Nathan Outteridge’s Japan a further three behind.

Slingsby is a man on a mission at the moment, as the Australian returns to SailGP this weekend fresh from a dominant second consecutive International Moth World Championship title in Malcezine Italy last week.

“Obviously we are coming off a high winning the last two events, but we know this sort of high won’t last forever,” said Slingsby at the France Sail Grand Prix press conference. “We will get beaten soon.

“But the team has a really good energy right now and we are sailing confidently, and I’m really proud as skipper and CEO of the team that we are sailing so well.

“But for sure Nathan is licking his lips at the light-air forecast and is very pleased with that, but anyone can win – that is clear to see.

“We’ve had issues with light winds in the past but we’re fixing them and have been quite strong in the last two events.”

SailGP France runs from 11-12 September 2021.

Coverage on Saturday 11 September will be from 12:30-15:00 CEST
Coverage on Sunday 12 September will be from 12:30-15:00 CEST

Slingby’s Australian SailGP team have won both of the last two events

How to watch SailGP France

As for the first season of SailGP, the 2021 season will be streamed live on YouTube and will be available in most territories.

For sailors in the UK, in addition to the live YouTube SailGP racing, it will be available on Sky Sports with both live racing and a highlights package.

For those in the USA, in addition to live YouTube SailGP racing, CBS will be offering a mix of live broadcasting and highlights packages.

There will also be a delayed full race replay put out on the SailGP Facebook page.

A SailGP app is available as a companion app to the broadcaster coverage. The app provides: live data and video feeds; video and race stats side by side; the option to change viewing angle and zoom in on the action; switch teams, and select data feeds.

The app will offer delayed coverage and full race replay 48 hours after race completion.

SailGP Live Stream: How to watch from outside your country

There are loads of easy ways to watch SailGP in 2021 including in the US, UK and almost anywhere else in the world. Anyone away from their home country can still watch the action using VPNs.

VPNs allow you to get around any geo-blocking and and let you watch the same legal, high-quality  stream you would at home.

ExpressVPN is one of the best out there. It’s easy to use, boasts strong security features, is very easy to setup and is compatible with most major streaming devices.

Best of all, ExpressVPN comes with a 30 day money back guarantee. This is the #1 rated VPN in the world right now. You can try it out for a month for free or sign up for an annual plan and get 3 months absolutely free.

Watch SailGP France with ExpressVPN

You can watch SailGP from outside your country by getting ExpressVPN here.

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America’s Cup: Youth, Women’s and Word Series class announced (10 Sep 2021, 9:05 am)

The 37th America's Cup will feature a new boat – the AC40 – to be used for Women’s and Youth America’s Cup regattas as well as World Series style racing

Peter Burling with the America's Cup in the foreground

While we await the full protocol for the 37th America’s Cup, which should contain details of the venue and date of the regatta due on 17th November 2021, the Defender, Emirates Team New Zealand and Challenger of Record, INEOS Team UK have offered a sneak peak into their plans for a new boat to feature in the support series for the oldest trophy in sport.

The announced AC40 will be similar to the America’s Cup yacht, the AC75 but will be a scaled down version and used for both Women’s and Youth America’s Cup regattas as part of the overall event schedule at the Host Venue.

The AC40s are also due to be used by teams in preliminary regattas, in much the same way smaller boats were used in the America’s Cup World Series racing ahead of both the 2013 and 2017 Cup regattas.

The AC75 impressed in the 36th America’s Cup in Auckland, New Zealand

“All of the competing teams must purchase at least one AC40 which will be used in the Preliminary Regattas, and then made available for the respective and independent Women’s and Youth regattas to be held at the venue of the AC37 Match,” said Emirates Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton.

“The yacht clubs of competing AC teams must enter both the Women’s and Youth events, however entries will also be open to other countries and yacht clubs.

“We would certainly anticipate an entry from the Host country if in fact they do not have an America’s Cup team,” Dalton concluded.

This represents one of the first official announcements that have been made about the 37th America’s Cup. That we are seeing some details now implies there has been an agreement on the location and date of the regatta.

Pathway to the America’s Cup?

Before Emirates Team New Zealand won the America’s Cup from Oracle Team USA in Bermuda in 2017, a Youth America’s Cup was already being held alongside the main event.

Theoretically, this offered a pathway into America’s Cup racing for young sailors. Indeed, the 2013 Youth America’s Cup was won by New Zealand with both Peter Burling and Blair Tuke part of the winning crew. The pair went on to form a core part of the team when they won in 2017 and again they were key in the nation’s defence in 2021.

However, such was the rising star of the Kiwi pair, it is hard to make a case that the Youth AC offered a significant boost to their selection as key members of the New Zealand 2017 America’s Cup team.

AC45 sailing trials 12

AC45’s were previously used in the Youth America’s Cup and America’s Cup world Series

The Youth America’s Cup was set to feature in the 2021 America’s Cup in Auckland, New Zealand. However, due to the Covid 19 pandemic the plans had to be shelved. Its reintroduction is a positive, and for fans, more racing can only be a good thing.

The announcement of the AC40 is also an exciting one. Certainly a scaled down version of the spectacular AC75s – presumably incorporating the vast data sets taken from campaigning AC75s in the run up to the 36th America’s Cup –  is a tantalising prospect.

What remains to be seen, however is whether a Youth America’s Cup really can create a successful pathway into America’s Cup racing proper.

As for the Women’s America’s Cup, initiatives intended to create more opportunities for women in what is one of sailing’s most prized events should be welcomed – particularly the America’s Cup, which has offered so few opportunities historically.

Whether a series in a ‘scaled down’ version of the America’s Cup class, and given the same billing as a youth event, is the right way to go about this remains to be seen. And, as with the Youth America’s Cup, whether a true pathway to AC racing can be created is also something of a question mark.

One thing is for certain, with our first proper announcement about 37th America’s Cup racing, we can now start to get excited about AC racing again – wherever and whenever that might be.

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