James Boyd, of England, is a longtime sailing scribe who’s made the switch from freelance journalist to “content generator” with Sailing Intelligence, producing for many of today’s grand-prix circuits, including the GC32S, the RC44S and maxis. With vast connections, Boyd has his finger pressed firmly to the pulse of the European yachting scene, where the Fast40+ Rán VII is a high-profile program. The radical 40-footer has been virtually unbeatable, but will it kill the class before long? “I think [ Niklas] Zennström allowing anyone to build a new boat using his mold will help, and he’s good at getting other people in the class, but it’s hard to know. I’m not sure people at the bottom of the class appreciate it, but it does happen in every open rule class, inevitably.”
Andy Horton grew up in Vermont, but now lives in the Southern sailing hotbed of Birmingham, Alabama. While he sails nearly 130 days out of
a typical year, most of those at international locals and with grand- prix programs, he recently joined the Birmingham Sailing Club to put his Thistle into action. “The more I sail, the more I’m reminded that, if you do the fundamentals right, you will be successful,” says Horton, who explains the essentials of spinnaker staysail trim (page 110). “There are no silver bullets; it’s just about doing simple things well, especially under pressure.” From the upper ranks of the TP52 Super Series with Alegre, Horton will travel to Spain to race with Team Artemis on the RC44, but then it’s back to Birmingham for the Great Pumpkin Regatta in October.
Suzanne Mcfadden, a sports editor at Newsroom NZ and former senior editor at the
New Zealand Herald, has covered America’s Cup matches since the late 1980s, feeding the country’s rabid sailing fans. Highly regarded, she’s received within Kiwi team compounds with open arms. Assigning her our profile on America’s Cup and Olympic champion Blair Tuke was a no-brainer. “I followed him around the Volvo Ocean Race Village [in Auckland] for a few hours, but I wasn’t permitted to follow him outside of there,” she says. “Nevertheless, he gave me a really good rundown of what he did during his break — going north to his old family home (now owned by him and his four brothers) and going spearfishing. He’s a bloody good bloke.”
Dave Powlison has been a Sailing World contributor for decades, and now, as a retired high-school English teacher, he’s available for assignments that take him far and wide from his home base in Vermont. This year, his “work” has taken him to California, where he joined San Diego’s J/ World team for a jaunt to Puerto Vallarta, to Fontana, Wisconsin, for the Melges 14 U.S. Nationals, and Cheboygan, Michigan, for the J/ 35 North Americans. When he’s not on assignment, he’s home racing in the local PHRF fleet on an Etchells, and mastering his Musto Skiff.
Amory Ross, of Newport, Rhode Island, has been around the planet two times as an onboard reporter with the Volvo Ocean Race; with Puma Ocean Racing and Alvimedica. Filling gaps between laps, he’s also done tours as a multimedia wizard with the past two winning America’s Cup teams, Oracle Team USA and Emirates Team New Zealand. He’s now with the content-creation crew of New York YC’S American Magic challenge. It didn’t require much arm wringing for him to agree to document an overnight training run with the Mudratz offshore sailing team (page 60) because, as he says, “It’s a great way to give back to the sport and help young sailors get more visibility.”
Erik Shampain, a true Socal waterman, once ran onedesign efforts at Ullman Sails Newport Beach, but over the past few years has earned a reputation as a lightweight go-to guy for quality boat work and experience. Teaming up with top- ranked match racer Taylor Canfield’s squad for the Argo Group Gold Cup in Bermuda, however, was a gig he hadn’t expected. “They approached me out of the blue before Congressional Cup,” he says. “I’ve known Taylor and Mike [Buckley] for a long time and have sailed against them plenty, but never sailed with them,” says Shampain, who shares his Gold Cup experience in this issue (page 22). Gum, he reveals, is a key element of the Canfield program. “Nearly any gum will do, but the small Chiclets type seems fastest.” In September, Shampain will join Bruce Golison, Jeff Reynolds and Steve Hunt in Marblehead for the 100-boat J/70 World Championship. “There is nothing left on the to-do list other then look at some new sails,” he says. “We are very prepared and ready to go.” Q