Sports / Cordexfun / All-women’s team can inspire – and compete


All-women’s team can inspire – and compete


Adrienne Cahalan, the last female sailor to compete in the Volvo Ocean Race, believes a new generation will be inspired in 2014-15 with the return of an all-women’s team.

Cahalan, a two-time Volvo competitor and Australian sailing icon, said an all-women’s team such as the recently announced SCA is coming at exactly the right time and can “absolutely” be competitive.

“This is a big moment for women in the sport,” said Cahalan, a 47-year-old maritime lawyer from the sailing heartland of Sydney.

“This can’t be tokenism. It’s important that they hold their own on the racecourse. Of course there can only be one winner, but the important thing is that they’re really competing, they’re out there to win – it can’t be a token gesture. It’s really important that they do well so we can move forward in the sport and build women in the sport.”

Cahalan knows better than most just how cut-throat it can be in the world of professional ocean racing, having raced around the world three times, set five world speed records and competed in the Sydney to Hobart race 20 times.

But, in the 2005-06 Volvo Ocean Race, when racing on board Brasil 1, she lost her place after the first leg when skipper Torben Grael opted to make a change.

“Strength was an issue,’’ she said. “The language barrier between skipper and navigator also played a role.”

Since 2005, no woman has competed in this offshore race. That’s about to change. Earlier this year global hygiene and paper company SCA announced they would enter an all women’s team to compete in the 2014-15 race, the inaugural race for the new 65-foot one-design boat.

Cahalan reckons the all women’s team couldn’t have been better timed, with crew positions now limited to just eight instead of 10 for men, and 10 instead of 12 for women.

“With fewer crew positions there is so much competition that the chance of a woman getting a ride is pretty slim,” she said. “This women’s team has now opened up that opportunity, and that’s really fantastic.”

Women have a proud history in the race, starting with the first all-women’s team Maiden in 1989-90.

It is Cahalan’s belief that this will be the first time women will be competing from an even starting block, with one-design boats and the team being the sole focus of a campaign rather than a second boat in a two-boat campaign.

The playing field has been further leveled with race rules permitting the addition of two extra crewmembers on board the women’s boat, Cahalan reckons.

“Crew numbers aren’t an advantage for the women’s team, that just gets them to a level playing field,’’ Cahalan said. “From the strength perspective they are just limited.”

According to Cahalan there are also plenty of advantages to having an all women’s team.

“Women have great attention to detail, and patience,” she said. “They’re good at steering in lighter airs, they have good concentration, are organised and have great endurance skills. What they lack in strength they make up in terms of those abilities.”

Cahalan believes a huge depth of talent in the international sailing pool is sure to give rise to a team capable of not just claiming a podium finish, but the ultimate title of Volvo Ocean Race winner.

“I think with the talent available they can win,’’ she said. “With the extra crew they have that chance. With a fast boat – a proper, well-managed, tested and fast boat  – why can’t they?

“With the way the race is structured now there are many opportunities to just sail a good race, play your positions and, just like any dinghy regatta, get the right score card.”

Though so much is unknown, with the team yet to be selected, Cahalan is sure there will be an incredible trickle-down effect following the race.

The Australian is confident the women will inspire sailors across the globe, right down to grass-roots sailing at regional yacht-clubs where youths race dinghies every weekend.

“The race produces fine sailors,’’ Cahalan said. “When Volvo sailors come back into mainstream international or domestic circuits you can just see what the intensity of nine months at sea does. The moment when that talent filters down into the women’s talent pool is a real opportunity for women’s sailing.

“And, just like boys and men, women need role models in sport, too. You get a Volvo crew and the women coming though can relate to them. It’ll be fantastic to see our women in the sports pages too.”

Posted in Alpinism, Gymnastic, Leisure, Nautical, Playground, Rope for Climbing, Rope for Cruising, Rope for Decor, Rope for Racing, Rope for Regatta, Rope for Sailing, Rope for Yachting, Sports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sports / Cordexfun / Siegrist Completes 5.14d in Idaho’s Fins

Siegrist Completes 5.14d in Idaho’s Fins

Jonathan Siegrist has completed his latest project with Algorithm (5.14d) in Idaho’s Fins, in the southern part of the Lost River Range, giving Idaho its hardest sport climb.

After sampling the majority of the established lines at The Fins, a limestone crag with soaring vertical and slightly overhanging, pocketed walls, Siegrist set his sights on bolting and climbing this ca. 45-meter-long pitch at the Discovery Wall. (He needed an 80-meter rope, which was barely long enough.)

“The cruxes are not at all straightforward, and I found myself breaking up each hold and each individual movement into its own problem to best find a method through the entire route,” Siegrist said in an email. “It required more work just to figure out the sequences than I usually expect. I thought the problem-solving method I used was somewhat algorithmic.”

After starting up Son of Discovery (5.13a),Algorithm ventures right into sharp, sequential, thin, and powerful climbing before the 5.14, 60-foot headwall.

“It’s a huge pitch,” Siegrist said. “There’s a lot of climbing variety on it, but the meat of the climbing is in the two cruxes: one mid-height and one way up there [at the top]. Both are very thin, with long moves and horrible feet. The upper crux is pumpy, thrilling, and amazing! The overall route is definitely sharp; the skin takes a beating.”

Date of ascent: September 8, 2012

Posted in Alpinism, Gymnastic, Leisure, Nautical, Playground, Rope for Climbing, Rope for Cruising, Rope for Decor, Rope for Racing, Rope for Regatta, Rope for Sailing, Rope for Yachting, Sports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sports / Cordexfun / Voice of Experience: Building a Trimaran

Ropes for Sports

Voice of Experience: Building a Trimaran

It all started with losing my job. Like many people in recent years, I found myself unemployed, and the lack of activity made for restless hands. I figured since I couldn’t find work, I might as well build a boat. I had fond memories of sailing a simple dugout trimaran off the north coast of Bali and decided a small tri would suit both my budget and Hawaii’s unforgiving windward shores.

I wanted something that could break apart into pieces, so I could store it in my carport and launch it from the beaches on the Big Island’s famously anchorage-free east coast. With such a boat, any spot I could reach with my 4×4 truck would become a new weekend sailing destination.

I settled on modifying a design by Gary Dierking and pored over his excellent book, Building Outrigger Sailing Canoes. Local boatbuilders and friends generously supported my project, and I press-ganged my wife, Joy, into the role of assistant. She patiently put up with all my demands for help, and our carport became a dust-filled boatyard. It was one of the most satisfying things I have ever done.

After 11 months and more sanding than I ever thought I would do in a lifetime, I launched my modified 16ft Wa’apa design, Ehu Girl, from the black sand beach of Hilo Bay. Propelled by light winds, Ehu Girl and I shuttled groups of friends on and off the beach without mishap. My reputation as a boatbuilder seemed assured.

A few months later I used the proceeds from my last story in SAIL (“A Bay Too Far,” Sept. 2011) to invest in a 30-year-old 6hp Evinrude outboard I’d found on Craigslist. I cleaned up the old beast, threw on a new starter cord, and mounted it next to the rudder on Ehu Girl’s iako, or crossbeam. My paddling days were over!

The following Saturday, Joy and I set out for a sail under a sparkling blue sky. We drove our old Chevy truck, loaded with 20 bits of boat, into Hilo, looking a bit like the Beverly Hillbillies with bizarre pipes and poles jutting high above the lumber rack. The wind rose steadily as we assembled the boat and chatted with inquisitive beach-goers and fellow sailors pushing off in their sleek Hobie Cats. It was blowing a steady 15 knots when we finally jumped into Ehu Girl and sailed off the beach.

I quickly organized the mess of line running back to the small cockpit. Then we enjoyed some lovely breeze that shot us past the shallow coral reefs off Coconut Island. A quick gybe and the full tropical splendor of Hilo Bay swung into view. Soon the wind was pushing 20 knots and our amas were flying as Joy sunbathed on the trampoline. Even as we reveled in the glory of smooth, fast sailing, I looked down fondly at my new outboard, almost eager for the wind to die so I could fire it up.

The problem was when I tried to head back upwind, we seemed incapable of pointing higher than a beam reach. The boat was also making quite a bit of leeway. I sheeted the sails in hard and raked the mast, but still we headed off at the wrong angle. Our slow, unintentional progress downwind was at first annoying, then disconcerting. I gybed again to see if we could do any better on the other tack. Nothing. I watched in frustration as Sunfish, Corsairs and Hobies streamed across the bay, seemingly in any direction they pleased.

Over the next few hours we tried to improve our heading as we watched our truck and the beach creep farther into the distance. Finally it dawned on us that we would soon be pushed out into the open ocean. The swells grew in size and water began splashing into the open bow compartment. The helm felt increasingly heavy as the wind continued to rise. To add to my frustration, I couldn’t swing the rudder hard to the left, because the outboard leg was in the way.

Aha! Now, of course, was the perfect time to try out the Evinrude. I pumped up the fuel bulb and gave the starter cord a few pulls. Not much happened. Joy gave it a try from the trampoline, where she could get a clean pull. The engine spluttered, but would not fire.

Damn, could it be flooded already? I kicked myself for not running the engine on the hard and making sure the sticky throttle lever was better lubed. We waited five minutes and tried again. By now the wind was 25 knots, gusting over 8-foot swells. In a moment of absentmindedness, while helping Joy as she leaned over to pull on the cord again, I swung to leeward as a wave caught us broadside. Joy barely managed to dive back to the windward ama in time to save us from capsizing. After 20 hard pulls, the motor still wouldn’t start, and we were both visibly shaken. We now hauled the motor into the main hull, hoping the decrease in drag would improve our sailing performance, but it made no difference.

It seemed we had no choice but to head onto the rocks or out into open water. Joy and I disagreed on what to do next, and she seemed on the verge of mutiny. Finally, we decided to call the Coast Guard to let them know our situation.

“Wait, I thought you had the cell phone?”

“No, you must have left it in the truck.”

“You were supposed to bring it.”

By now it was evening and we could see all the boats in the distance heading in. We were in real trouble, and Joy’s state of mind took a sudden nosedive. I shouted over the wind for her to calm down and told her to get a flare out of the dry bag. My plan was to heave-to in the wide channel that leads into the massive bay and hope that a boat would spot us before dark.

A tense half hour later, we saw the tip of a sail in the distance, so I shot off a flare and waved them down. The captain calmly dropped sail, made a few passes under power, negotiated the swells with precision, and soon had us in tow. We were cold and scared and very grateful. The crew on our rescue vessel seemed to be laughing and took endless photos of us huddled in our disheveled craft. The humiliation! But in the hour it took us to get back to the beach, we saw no other boats coming in or out of the bay. What luck! We made it ashore, took a few minutes to eat and warm up, and then began taking the boat apart in somber silence.

At first I’d been pleased that it was a fellow sailor who rescued us. But it turned out he was a local charter skipper on a sunset trip with paying guests. Oh, the horror of it all! Just as the sun finally set we watched from the beach as a massive cruise ship set out into the channel. I truly believe I would never have lived down the shame if I’d had to flag down that monolith for help.

Now that I am in my carport again, it is back to the drawing board. My hunch is that Ehu Girl’s undersized leeboard can’t create enough lift to take the boat to windward. Only trial and error will tell. I’m also thinking of redesigning the engine and rudder mounts. For now I’m letting the whole experience settle in, so when I do finally convince my wife to push off the beach with me again, I’ll be able to guarantee her a nice day of relaxed sailing.


What I Did Right

I stayed calm throughout. In the end I made a rational decision and was able to come up with a sensible plan.

I stepped up as captain. Sometimes it’s necessary to give detailed instructions in a loud, firm voice to keep order.

I was able to get the boat to heave-to (sort of) so we could stop and seek help.

What I Did Wrong

Taking an untested homemade boat out in strong winds was a bad idea. I should have stayed closer to the beach until I knew the boat’s limits.

I should have fully serviced the engine and run it for a good long time before relying on it.

I should have stopped the boat as soon as I realized we could not sail to weather. We weren’t in any real danger until we were exposed to more extreme open-water conditions.

As captain, I alone was responsible for seeing that we had communications equipment (a phone or, better, a radio) aboard the boat.

Posted in Alpinism, Gymnastic, Leisure, Nautical, Playground, Rope for Climbing, Rope for Cruising, Rope for Decor, Rope for Racing, Rope for Regatta, Rope for Sailing, Rope for Yachting, Sports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sports / Cordexfun / JUST CAN’T GET ENOUGH

Just can’t get enough

So you’re the principal race officer for the 34th America’s Cup. What do you do for a holiday? That was the question posed to John Craig last week.

It turns out he relaxes by marshalling dozens of kiteboarders around a race track on San Francisco Bay as the race officer for their North American Championship.

“I’ve been heavily involved in kiteboard racing from running some of the early regattas back about six years ago to the first sanctioned World Championships for the kites in 2009,” Craig says.

“There are a lot of similarites between what we do with the AC45s and the kites. Obviously the speed factor is there in both classes… And a lot of the race track is in the same area where we’ll be racing the AC45s in August and October.”

One difference is the number of ‘boats’ on the race track. While the AC45s have just broken into double digits on the start ilne, there are 66 kiteboards racing this weekend.

“We divide them into two groups and we make the starting line relatively long,” Craig says. “They’re pretty amazing at keeping the kites from tangling, but they are very competitive – it’s like a regular sailboat race start.”

Posted in Alpinism, Gymnastic, Leisure, Nautical, Playground, Rope for Climbing, Rope for Cruising, Rope for Decor, Rope for Racing, Rope for Regatta, Rope for Sailing, Rope for Yachting, Sports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sports / Cordexfun /Access Fund and American Alpine Club Partner to Continue Legacy of Hueco Rock Ranch

Ropes for Sports

Access Fund and American Alpine Club Partner to Continue Legacy of Hueco Rock Ranch

The Access Fund and American Alpine Club (AAC) are pleased to announce that the iconic Hueco Rock Ranch will stay in climber-friendly hands with new ownership by the AAC. The Ranch is the primary lodging facility and guiding headquarters for climbers visiting the stunning bouldering and climbing of Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site outside of El Paso, TX.


The Hueco Rock Ranch has a long history—it was originally built as a personal residence by Todd Skinner in the mid-nineties with friends John and Carol Gogas and climbing stars such as Scott Milton and Fred Nicole. Rob Rice took ownership of the Ranch in 2000 and became the first commercial guide under the new set of climbing requirements, beckoning in a new generation of climbers to enjoy this historic climbing mecca. “The place was built by climbers—for climbers—and has been a hub for the climbing community since day one,” says Rob Rice.

Last fall Rice, now living in Arkansas full-time, reached out to Access Fund for assistance in finding a climber-friendly buyer who could manage the Ranch onsite. Working with Rice and fellow landowner Scott Rohde, Access Fund reached out to the AAC whose vision of supporting the climbing way of life by providing lodging facilities and logistical support seemed a perfect fit for the Rock Ranch.

“Not only is the Hueco Rock Ranch important historically, it has played an important role in climbing access to Hueco Tanks,” says Access Fund Executive Director Brady Robinson. “Through the Ranch, climbers have fostered and maintained a positive relationship with Texas State Parks. Maintaining strong climber management of the Ranch is important for all climbers, even those who choose to stay elsewhere during their visit.”

Staff from the Access Fund and AAC worked closely together to make the purchase of the Rock Ranch possible. The Access Fund provided leadership and acquisition expertise, as well short-term funding from the Access Fund Land Conservation Campaign. Access Fund went under contract to purchase the Ranch in May, and at closing, assigned the properties to the AAC for long-term ownership and management.

“Lodging options within walking distance from great climbing supports the climbing lifestyle we all enjoy—and this purchase of the Hueco Rock Ranch can only expand the types of climbing that we’re able to support,” says AAC Executive Director Phil Powers. “We hope to create a facility that meets climbers’ needs and adds opportunities for climbers to gather and share their stories.”

This project has been a great partnership between the Access Fund and American Alpine Club. “Preservation of the Hueco Rock Ranch uniquely fits the missions of both organizations and we are glad to share this victory with the local, national, and international climbing community,” says Joe Sambataro, Access Director at the Access Fund.

The AAC is undertaking improvements to the Ranch this summer—committing over $15,000 to completely clean and renovate the structures and tent camping facilities. An AAC staff member will be onsite overseeing these improvements. Future plans include additional renovations and new structures like a shower house and community cooking pavilion in the style of the Grand Teton Climbers’ Ranch (GTCR) and New River Gorge Campground (NRGC). The AAC will also hire an onsite Hueco Rock Ranch Manager. The hiring process will begin this summer with the Job Description posted on the AAC’s Jobs page.

The Rock Ranch is also closely tied to Route Fitters (RF) guiding operation, which holds a concession to operate trips in the park. For the foreseeable future, Rob Rice and RF are prepared to continue operations out of the Ranch. The AAC plans to complete its improvements by early autumn of 2012. Campers will be able to make reservations online, and walk-in campers will always be welcome at the Rock Ranch. Both AAC and Access Fund members will receive discounted rates.

About The American Alpine Club
The American Alpine Club is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that provides knowledge and inspiration, conservation and advocacy, and logistical support for the climbing community. The AAC advocates for American climbers domestically and around the world; provides grants and volunteer opportunities to protect and conserve the places we climb; hosts local and national climbing festivals and events; publishes two of the world’s most sought-after climbing annuals, The American Alpine Journal and Accidents in North American Mountaineering; cares for the world’s leading climbing library and country’s leading mountaineering museum; manages the Grand Teton Climbers’ Ranch as part of a larger lodging network for climbers; and annually gives $80,000+ toward climbing, conservation, and research grants to adventurers who travel the world. Learn about additional programs and become a member at Join the AAC’s online community at,, or follow all the latest press on the Club’s Press Room RSS feed at

About the Access Fund
Having just celebrated its 20th anniversary, the Access Fund is the national advocacy organization that keeps climbing areas open and conserves the climbing environment. The Access Fund supports and represents over 2.3 million climbers nationwide in all forms of climbing: rock climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering, and bouldering. Five core programs support the mission on national and local levels: climbing management policy, stewardship and conservation, local support and mobilization, land acquisition and protection, and education. For more information, visit

Posted in Alpinism, Gymnastic, Leisure, Nautical, Playground, Rope for Climbing, Rope for Cruising, Rope for Decor, Rope for Racing, Rope for Regatta, Rope for Sailing, Rope for Yachting, Sports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sports / Cordexfun / Lisbon Embraces International Tall Ships

Ropes for Sports

Lisbon Embraces International Tall Ships

Lisbon has been buzzing with excitement today as The Tall Ships Races 2012 officially opened its gates inviting everyone to enjoy the celebrations.

Lisbon Embraces International Tall Ships

The Opening Ceremony was attended by Assunção Cristas, Minister of Agriculture, Sea, Environment and Spacial Planning;  António Costa, Mayor of Lisbon and António Guimarães Lobato, President of Aporvela.

Robin Snouck-Hurgronje, Chairman of The Tall Ships Races 2012 represented Sail Training International and spoke very highly of local organiser, Aporvela, for staging what promises to be a fantastic few days for the return of the Tall Ships to Lisbon.

A core aim of The Tall Ships Races is to promote international understanding and friendship which was fully supported by Lisbon today when all VIP guests, trainees and crews, stood for the hoisting of national flags representing countries of participating Tall Ships.

Tonight the trainees and crew have several activities planned including an Olympic themed party on Rona II, a EuropaVision song contest and a dramatic fire show staged by trainees from the city of Szczecin.

The Tall Ships Races 2012, Presented by Szczecin and organised by Sail Training International is taking place in the following host ports:

St Malo – Thursday 5 to Sunday 8 July (race start Monday 9 July)
– Thursday 19 to Sunday 22 July
Cadiz – Thursday 26 to Sunday 29 July
A Coruña – Friday 10 to Monday 13 August
Dublin – Thursday 23 to Sunday 26 August

Posted in Alpinism, Gymnastic, Leisure, Nautical, Playground, Rope for Climbing, Rope for Cruising, Rope for Decor, Rope for Racing, Rope for Regatta, Rope for Sailing, Rope for Yachting, Sports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sports / Cordexfun / How to Climb a Rope

How to Climb a Rope

Do you need to do the rope climb in gym? Or do you just want to get better at climbing a rope for fun or exercise? Follow these instructions and with some care and concentration, you’ll be making your way up the rope in no time.

Wrap the rope around one leg and pinch it between your feet

1 – Grab the rope with both hands above your head.

2 – Pull down on the rope while jumping a bit and you will be lifted into the air.

3 – Wrap the rope around one leg, and use your feet to pinch the rope, thus anchoring yourself.

4 – Reach up as high as possible with your arms (some say no higher than your nose), and grip the rope tightly.

5 – Release the rope from your feet. Using your abdominals, bring your knees up to your chest. Re-secure your feet on the rope.

6 – Stand up with your legs, and re-reach as high as possible with your arms.

7 – Repeat the inch-worm process until the top of the rope has been reached.

8 – Loosen the grip of your feet on the rope when coming down. Support your weight evenly between your feet and hands, slide your feet down and place hand-over-hand on the way down.

Posted in Alpinism, Gymnastic, Leisure, Nautical, Playground, Rope for Climbing, Rope for Cruising, Rope for Decor, Rope for Racing, Rope for Regatta, Rope for Sailing, Rope for Yachting, Sports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment