The last year of the old millennium or the first year of the new one, no matter how you look at 2000, was a year for the ages in sailing. In order to put the last 12 months in perspective, we at SailNet are offering you our take on the highlights and low points of a year in which the Kiwis triumphed on their home waters in the America’s Cup, one paraplegic sailor completed a historic solo circumnavigation, and a 23-year-old woman won the single-handed transatlantic race. On the downside, an America’s Cup boat lost its keel unexpectedly, the Panama Canal faced a crippling water shortage, and the 600-foot Levoli Sun sank in the English Channel, along with 6,000 tons of toxic chemicals. What a year it was.
Highlight: The America's Cup in Auckland, New Zealand, brought widespread participation from many corners of the world.
Low point: Sailing fans in the US stay up late into the night only to find reruns broadcast when races are postponed.
Christopher Patterson and Patrick Rynne received US Sailing’s Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal for saving Christopher Pine during an Interscholastic Sailing Association team race in Manchester Harbor, MA.
Low point: It took nearly six months for these heroic sailors to be officially recognized for their unselfish efforts.
Highlight: The US Coast Guard celebrated its 210th birthday.
Low point: The US Coast Guard endured a very public court battle for allegedly bungling a Mayday call from the Morning Dew, the sloop whose crew of four tragically drowned near Charleston, SC, in 1997.Highlight:
OpSail 2000 brought over 80 of the world’s classic sailing vessels to eight ports on the East Coast of the US.
Low point: Almost no tall-ship activity on the West Coast during 2000.
Highlight: The 2000 Paralympic Games in Sydney brought attention to sailing for the physically challenged with a record number of countries participating.
Low point: The Paralympic Games were plagued with fraudulent competitors in several sports.
Highlight: America’s Cup veteran Dennis Conner reconciled with the New York Yacht Club and got on track for the 2003 Cup match.
Low point: The core of Team New Zealand defected to new or rival syndicates around the world.
Highlight: Eric Abbott navigates the Irish Sea aboard his homemade boat.
Low point: Abbott is dubbed Captain Calamity by UK coastguards when they have to rescue him 12 times after he persists in sailing with only a 1997 road atlas for navigation. Highlight:
Philippe Monnet uped the ante with a new record for a wrong-way, solo circumnavigation—151d, 19h, 54m, and 36s.
Low point: Monnet sailed perilously close to an erupting volcano and runs low on food near the end of his trip.
Highlight: The Worrell 1000 matures in terms of entries and drama as Randy Smyth wins for an unprecedented sixth time.
Low point: Few people beyond the core sailing audience get the opportunity to witness the compelling action despite the event stopping in 13 cities.
Highlight: The long-standing North Sails vs. Sobstad lawsuit was finally settled.
Low point: Appeals and injunctions drag North Sails vs. Sobstad lawsuit out for most of 2000.
Highlight: American mainstream finally forgets about Kevin Costner's fictionalization of sailing in Water World.
Low point: The Perfect Storm casts sailors as incompetent and a burden on USCG Search and Rescue resources. Highlight:
Vinny Lauwers became the first known paraplegic single-hander to circumnavigate the globe alone and unaided.
Low point: Lauwers' feat went largely unnoticed when Sailor of the Year honors were awarded to racing sailors.
Highlight: The 49er made its Olympic debut, touted as a class that would win fans for the sport given its high speeds and high-drama characteristics.
Low point: Special spinnakers displaying the nations flags disintegrated during the first day of 49er racing at the Sydney Games.
Highlight: French rower Jo Le Guen took on the Pacific Ocean in a bid to heighten awareness of the world's ailing marine ecosystems.
Low point: Le Guen suffered infections in his toes and abandoned his effort being rescued by a container ship.
Highlight: A record 24 entrants start the 2000 Vendée Globe nonstop, single-handed race around the world in November.
Low point: Midway through the race, only 17 competitors were still racing.
Highlight: GPS gets more accurate when the US government removes selective availability.
Low point: It took the US government until mid-2000 to remove selective availability.
Highlight: Sailing hits the front pages when the innovative Adrian Thomson-designed multihull marvel for The Race—the 120-foot Team Philips—is launched and christened by Queen Elizabeth.
Low point: Plagued by setbacks, Team Philips is finally abandoned at sea just eight months later.
Highlight: ISAF gives women an additional Olympic sailing discipline for 2004.
Low point: The not-so-popular Yngling is chosen as the new women’s Olympic boat for the 2004 Games in Athens.
Highlight: Solo-sailing adventurer Mike Horn completes his 16-month, non-stop trip traversing the globe along the equator by way of an F-27 trimaran, bicycle, foot, and waterboard.
Low point: Horn's incredible feat goes largely unnoticed.
In memoriam Sailing lost a number of important participants and supporters during the course of 2000; we remember them here:
Patrick O’Brian, Mary Pera, Gay Lynn, Sam Merrick, Gaither Scott, Didier Gainette, and Peter Barrett.
SailNet's 2000 Highlights
We've had a bang-up year at SailNet too, and we just couldn't resist offering you a rundown on a few of our own highlights:
January — SailNet acquires JSI, the St. Petersburg, FLbased manufacturing and retail company, and expands its services to include custom manufacturing for sailors.
March — SailNet launches a new line of sails—AirForce Sails—designed specifically for performance sailors.
April — SailNet sponsors US Men's Olympic 470 Silver Medalists Paul Foerster and Bob Merrick’s Team 2000.
May — SailNet becomes title sponsor for Beneteau's 2000 Owner Rendesvouz.
June — SailNet acquires Boatscape.com and creates a sister site targeting the retail powerboat market.
July —SailNet hosts Chicago-Mackinac Race tracking website, which proves superbly popular with well over 100,000 visits over a four-day period..
August —SailNet sponsors Etchells 22 World Championship in San Diego.
September — BoatSearch.com debuts at SailNet—a free, online, multiple-listing service for boat owners and brokers.
October — SailNet launches The Sailing Source, a monthly catalogue featuring sale specials.
November — Sailnet lauches wholesale website http://wholesale.sailnet.com.
November — SailNet sponsors Pro-Am Regatta at The Bitter End Yacht Club.
December — BoatSearch.com tops $500,000,000 in listings.