The most dangerous worldview is the worldview of those who have not viewed the world.

- Alexander von Humboldt



Jun 20, 2017

The Evolution of Yachting at The America’s Cup Finals

From Sir Thomas Lipton’s Shamrock V to the newly launched Svea, the 35th edition of the America’s Cup is bringing together the biggest fleet in the history of the J class to race in the waters off Bermuda.


Press Release

The evolution of yachting will be televised this year—the hydro foiling cats will be bombing around the cans and the J-Class, which competed for the cup throughout the 1930’s, will bring back the spirit of the one design class challenging for the ‘Chart’.

The original winner of The America’s Cup in 1851, “America”, was the boat that gave the trophy its name. It was a 101 foot monohull schooner which carried over 5,400 square feet of sail, and the golden years of the Cup with the J’s.

Sir Thomas Lipton’s Shamrock I and JP Morgan’s yacht Columbia, maneuvering for the start of the America’s Cup race, October, 1899. Photo from Getty Images.

Technology and development has been a big part of the America’s Cup since the beginning—and this year’s cup is no different as teams search for any advantage to get that extra knot of speed.

In terms of evolution, the boats themselves are controversial, yet innovative, changing the AC Class of boat by two-folds.

In contrast is the America’s Cup Class, a 50 foot long carbon fibre catamaran featuring a wingsail and hydrofoiling technology that enables the boats to fly above the water. This is achieved by the boat being lifted above the water by a carbon fibre fin about the size of a 5’2 fish known as a foil. As the boat speeds up, they lift out of the water.

Bermuda (BDA) – 35th America’s Cup 2017 – 35th America’s Cup Match Presented by Louis Vuitton – J Class fleet exhibition

Using the lift generated by the daggerboards and rudders, the game is to keep the hull above the water line, sailing on a set of carbon-fiber foils that give enough lift to have the boat looking at fly time hitting speeds of up to 50 knots, which has come a long way from the Schooner America, the J Class and the monohulls of the 80’s and 90’s.

Bermuda (BDA) – 35th America’s Cup Bermuda 2017 – 35th America’s Cup Match Presented by Louis Vuitton – J Class exhibition

The clear waters of Bermuda will have an evolution that, in design, has changed, but with the tactics remaining the same. From the J’s to the AC’s, we are looking at a month’s sailing that for the spectator, professional and novice alike, will showcase an ocean of history in the water.

With the contest for the cup already begun, the challengers have been fighting it out in a one-on-one knockout series of sailing, with it coming down to the playoffs final with Emirates Team New Zealand and ‘The Swedes’ Artemis racing, with helmsman Peter Burling’s Emirates coming out on top.

Bermuda (BDA) – 35th America’s Cup 2017 – 35th America’s Cup Match Presented by Louis Vuitton – J Class exhibition

The teams are now challenging for the oldest trophy in sport, with the team to beat being cup holders ‘the’ Oracle Team USA.

The next days of sailing are going to be epic!

The next round of races take place June 24th-27th and The Outdoor Journal is on the island and in the sheds to bring you some of the action from the water, with updates on the boats and a bit of behind the scenes beers and discussions of the days racing with the captains and crews. Stay tuned!

35th Americas Cup – The Finals:
Oracle Team USA the holders
Emirates Team New Zealand the challengers

Americas Cup J Class Regatta
The line-up for the J’s is an amazing 7 boats, Being the biggest fleets of boats in the history of the class.

JK3 Shamrock V 1930
JK7 Velsheda 1933
J5 Ranger 2004
JK6 Hanuman 2009
JH1 Lionheart 2010
J8 Topaz 2015
JS1 Svea 2016

For more information, head to the America’s Cup website.

Feature image by Ricardo Pinto / America’s Cup Match

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Jul 10, 2018

The 2018 Whitewater Awards: Nouria Newman and Benny Marr take the spoils.

The Whitewater Awards is a gathering of the world’s best kayakers to show off the biggest and best things that have happened in the sport over the past year.



Brooke Hess

 To be considered for an award, athletes, photographers, and filmmakers submit media taken over the past year that they believe showcases the best progression in the sport.  

There are sixteen different categories for submission, including separate male and female categories within the “Best of” kayaking categories. Categories include Photographer of the Year, Film of the Year, Expedition of the Year, Best Trick, Best Line, River Stewardship, Grom of the Year, Rider of the Year, along with several others.  Awards are decided upon by a voting process done by the Association of Whitewater Professionals.

This year’s Whitewater Awards was held in the Egyptian Theater in downtown Boise, Idaho. It was hosted on June 14th, the same weekend as the North Fork Championships, which takes place on the North Fork of the Payette River just outside of Boise.  The North Fork Championship is regarded as one of the hardest kayaking races in the world.

The race takes place on Jacob’s Ladder rapid, which is a rapid so difficult and consequential that most kayakers feel accomplished simply by surviving the rapid, much less racing the rapid. Nouria Newman, a 3-time NFC racer and winner of this year’s Whitewater Awards Female Rider of the Year describes it well,

“The NFC is the hardest race in whitewater kayaking. [Jacob’s Ladder] is a scary, consequential rapid. Running it is challenging, and it only gets harder to race it and make the gates.”

In order to minimize the risk involved in the race, event organizers have developed a strict qualification process for racers. 30 racers will qualify to race Jacob’s Ladder. Ten of them are pre-qualified from placing top ten at the event the year before. Those ten then read numerous athlete applications and vote on the next ten racers who will join them.  The last ten racers are decided through a qualification race on S-Turn rapid, another one of the North Fork’s infamous class V rapids.

Every year on this same weekend in June, kayakers, photographers, and filmmakers from around the world flock to Idaho to celebrate quality whitewater, progression of the sport, and the community that surrounds it. Both the North Fork Championship and the Whitewater Awards had great turnouts of athletes and spectators this year.

John Webster

The finalists of each category in the Whitewater Awards were presented in film format at the Egyptian Theater for the entire audience to view, with the winner being announced live. Winners were presented with an award and expected to give a short speech at the event. The big winners of the night were Nouria Newman and Benny Marr, who were awarded with Line of the Year and Rider of the Year in the female and male categories. Nouria says that voting for the “best” in each category is a challenging process, “…voting is always tricky, (look at both French and U.S. presidents, not too sure if they are really the best available option). And it is also very hard to compare lines and rapids. What’s bigger? What’s harder? I got voted Best Line of the Year with a good line down Parque Jurassic, a long technical rapid, but Rata’s line down Graceland, which is a huge slide, was equally as good, if not better.”

No matter how tricky the voting process can be, Nouria agrees that the Whitewater Awards plays a large role in the progression of the sport, “I think it’s super cool to see what people can do in their kayak, how they push the limit of the sport and how they open new possibilities.”

For more information about the Whitewater Awards, you can visit whitewaterawards.com, you can also follow them on Facebook and on Instagram.

You can follow Nouria on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

You can follow Benny on Facebook and Instagram.

Cover photo courtesy of Ari Walker

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