Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Virtual Volvo Ocean Race the Game

Armchair experts now have the chance to test their skills against the best offshore sailors in the world with the launch of Virtual Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 – the race’s official game.

The virtual race will mirror the 37,000 nautical miles of the world’s premier ocean race and there’s a Volvo C30 up for grabs for the winner along with a number of other prizes.

Just like the crews aboard the Volvo Open 70s, virtual racers will compete in real time and real weather conditions on the same race track against the Volvo fleet. They get to use the weather data available to choose their headings and sail plan.

Developed in partnership with UnitedGames, the game is free to play but players can also purchase additional information with a share of the proceeds going to The Save the Albatross Campaign.

According to Marijn Harinck, CEO of UnitedGames, the game has been designed to be as close as possible to the real thing. “We built the game together with our partners from Virtual Regatta who are sailors too,” he said.

“Their knowledge about virtual sailing and our knowledge about gaming makes this game unique. It is a game by sailors for sailors.”

Andrew Ferguson, head of Technology and New Media, added: “We launched the new look website, online TV channel, and most recently our mobile channel.

"To enhance the package further we are now giving race fans the opportunity to take part in their race, with our virtual game – the competitors can create their own nine-month, 37,000 mile ocean marathon, without the salt spray and freeze-dried food. Click here to begin...

Don't forget to join the Sailkarma Group once you sign up!

18 ft Skiff in heavy wind - just awesome sailing!

Great wipeout about 2 minutes into the video!

Watch the Volvo Ocean Race 24/7

With a total of seven cameras monitoring each of the boats in the Volvo Ocean Race, sailing fans all over the world will be able to follow the most dramatic moments of the regatta live and direct. Ericsson has enabled a seamless convergent multimedia solution, available for all viewers who want to follow the action either via their mobile phone, the web, or via IPTV in Ericsson's customer pavilion at each port stop in the race.

The 2008-09 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race will feature the best multimedia coverage of any offshore sailing event to date. Video available includes an edited package describing the mobile portal and the multimedia solution built by Ericsson for the Volvo Ocean Race, b-roll of the portal, as well as soundbites with Volvo Ocean Race and Ericsson executives. - www.volvooceanrace.org/

Monday, September 29, 2008

Les Voiles de St. Tropez

By Paul Cayard - Today was the first race day here in St. Tropez. It is an amazing collection of boats here from classics like the J-boat Velsheda to super modern Wally's like Essence with her 170 foot mast. I am sailing on Moneypenny with Jim Schwartz and the rest of his team. Moneypenny is a new boat in the STP 65 Class. The other STP 65 here is Container, owned by Udo Shutz of Germany. Numbers, owned by Dan Meyers of the USA and chartered by Ernesto Bertarelli, is a bit bigger at 66 feet and has been the boat to beat in our range this year.

The racing today was delayed for about an hour and a half as we waited for the wind to fill in. A nice breeze from the East and then the South filled in and we set off at 1230 on a 22 miles course. It was a big loop in the counter clockwise direction. Since the wind was marking right all day, we spent three-quarters of the race on the wind.

After a very tricky start with the line 30 degrees favored at the committee boat and the black flag displayed (automatic DSQ if you are over the line early) Container got out in front early. Numbers managed to just squeeze over the top of us on the long fetch to the first mark. Up the second leg which was to windward, both Moneypenny and Numbers passed container. Numbers again just managed to squeeze past us when both boats set up near the starboard lay line.

The third leg again turned into a beat to windward. Mind you, every one of these legs was a 50-60 degree turn to the right. Container passed us on this leg and was two lengths ahead of us at the next mark. Numbers had stretched out to a one minute lead.

We set spinnakers at this mark but ours tore immediately. We had to change to a heavier sail which was not the right sail for the leg. There was along procession to the finish back in front of the city of St. Tropez. A very picturesque scene, but frustrating racing for us.

In corrected time we finished 6th in our class which has 35 boats. Numbers won and Container was 5th.

The results for this regatta can be found at http://www.snst.org/

Tomorrow's forecast is moderate winds again and the start time is 1100.-
Cayard Sailing Website Photos byRolex / Carlo Borlenghi

Safety News...

The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) is supporting the European Boating Association (EBA) in their commitment to complete the ISO standard for keel and rig attachments in small craft construction.

Following the finalization of the ISO-12215-9 small craft construction standard for scantlings earlier this year, urgent steps are now being taken by the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) Working Group responsible for structures to complete the further part of the standard dealing with the all important keel and rig attachment.

Over recent years, a number of small sailing vessels have lost their keels at sea; tragically occasionally involving loss of life. As a direct result, the European Boating Association (EBA), supported by the ISAF and the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Technical Department, have committed their organizations to ensuring that keel attachment and hence the finalization of ISO-12215-9, the new part of the standard, are seen as extremely high priorities. - http://www.sailing.org/25460.php

Custom Baltic 43 Daysailor

A few shoots of the new Baltic 43 being built in Finland. The
Hull & Deck are Carbon Epoxy vacuum bagged sandwich laminates. http://www.balticyachts.com/Yacht-projects.html

X-Treme 25 - pocket rocket

Thanks to blur.se for the heads up...
The concept
A new racer - a new approach to sailing! With a retractable keel and rudder this 25 racer is holding its own against the best. With an estimated weight of just 850 kg this sportsboat will be easy to transport and can be easily launched and rigged without the use of a crane. In addition, the X-Treme 25 is designed with value for money in mind! The new X-Treme 25 is the ideal combination between a flat-out racer and a fast and easy to sail daysailer.

The design
Designed by the renowned Lutra studio in close co-operation with G-Force Yachts, top performance and easy handling were the ultimate goal whilst creating this sportsboat. The boat can be easily trailed and launched and even short-crewed sailing is not a problem.With a symmetrical spinnaker, 105% jib, a furling code 0 on a fixed bowsprit and spectacular specifications this boat is a high performance racer and at the same time an easy and fun daysailer.With a weight of only 850 kg (excluding sails) this sportsboat is easy to handle and does not require a 4x4 vehicle for transportation. - http://www.g-forceyachts.com/

U.S. Championship of Champions

Photographs by Ken Boyle
Kaukeinen Wins U.S. Championship of Champions In Final Race

(US Sailing)
Sayville, N.Y. - It all came down to the final race of sailing's U.S. Championship of Champions - sponsored by Rolex Watch U.S.A. and Dry Creek Vineyard - to find out who would take home the crown in this battle of the best in one-design racing.

Sailed in Sunfish on Great South Bay out of host club Sayville Yacht Club (N.Y.), the battle was on between Sunfish North American Champion Doug Kaukeinen (Rochester, N.Y.) and Thistle National Champion and 2005 Champion of Champions Mike Ingham (also from Rochester, N.Y.), both sailing out of Rochester Canoe Club. Going into the final race, Kaukeinen was one point ahead of Ingham. In the first leg of the final race, Ingham was ahead of Kaukeinen but Kaukeinen passed him at the gate at the leeward mark. Ingham nearly caught up with the Sunfish champion when the wind lightened but Kaukeinen managed to stay ahead and finished second in the final race, securing his win, while Ingham finished fifth.

After returning to the docks, Kaukeinen said he was a "nervous wreck" going into the final race. Having sailed against Ingham before since they come from the same yacht club, he knew it was going to be a tough one. “It wasn’t over until the very last beat." Kaukeinen and Ingham both sailed consistent regattas, finishing a total nine and eight races in the top three, respectively.
Bill Lynn (Marblehead, Mass.), who qualified for the regatta though the Sonar class, took third place.

Complete results, daily reports, and photos from the event are available on the event website at www.ussailing.org/championships/adult/CofC. The U.S. Championship of Champions for the Jack Brown Trophy is part of US SAILING’s National Championships series.

For more information about these events, visit www.ussailing.org/championships.

the neverending story....

San Francisco's Golden Gate Yacht Club began its last-chance appeal to become the Challenger of Record today and help set the rules for the next America's Cup.

The GGYC met the deadline for filing its brief with the New York State Court of Appeals in Albany. The San Francisco club, which backs Larry Ellison's BMW Oracle Racing, wants the court to overturn a ruling by the New York Supreme Court's Appellate Division that Spain's Club Nautico Espanol de Vela, not GGYC, should be the Challenger of Record for the 33rd America's Cup.

This is the latest step in the legal battle between the GGYC and Societe Nautique de Geneve, which backs two-time defending America's Cup champion Alinghi of Switzerland.

GGYC filed its appellate brief two days after Ellison and Alinghi's boss, Swiss tycoon Ernesto Bertarelli, met in San Francisco in an attempt to get sailing's premier event out of legal gridlock and back on the water in its traditional format.

The Swiss group must file its brief by Nov. 13. - AP

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Morning Light - World Premier

An epic adventure it was indeed! We just got back from the world premier of the Morning Light movie at the San Diego Film Festival. It was star-studded night with Roy Disney, crew member Piet Van Os, and many of the film’s producers on hand. The night started out with a VIP party in the lobby with Roy Disney giving interviews to the media. After a short while we were escorted into the theater as Disney, Van Os, and producers took their seats.

I’m not going to give away the whole movie, but in short it was awesome! A full-on sailing movie made for the big screen. Built in with drama and emotion you quickly became one of the crew. Feeling every emotion they experienced, you begin to understand the time and energy that has gone into being a crew member. You get wrapped up in the highs and lows of racing across the Pacific with your teammates. Morning Light brings it all together in an epic story about yacht racing.

Baby steps... Ellison & Bertarelli

Press release from Golden Gate Yacht Club:

Ellison Reiterates Offer for Conventional Multi-Challenger Regatta
Larry Ellison and Ernesto Bertarelli held a cordial meeting on Saturday, Sept. 27 in San Francisco to discuss the issues surrounding the 33rd America’s Cup.

GGYC spokesman Tom Ehman said, "Larry Ellison reiterated the GGYC offer – if we return to a multi-challenger event for AC33 with fair and competitive rules similar to those used for AC32, GGYC will withdraw its appeal to the New York Court of Appeals."

Messrs. Ellison and Bertarelli have agreed to further meetings to continue those discussions, but no dates have been set. In the meantime, GGYC will file its appellate brief with the New York State Court of Appeals as planned on Monday, Sept. 29 in order to meet the Court’s deadline.

Sailing... from behind the lens

By Amory Ross http://amoryross.blogspot.com/ - Photos by Amory Ross

The risk of getting burnt out doing what you love runs very high, as it does with any full time profession. Things get repetitive, you become disinterested and lose motivation, and this in turn impacts your enthusiasm and subsequently your success. Fortunately sailing is incredibly diverse and I can honestly say Cannes, the classics, and the Regatés Royales have been therapeutic.

Classic yachts demand an entirely different kind of photography, mostly due to the sheer beauty of the boats. With modern raceboats we tend to focus on the areas of action. The deck, the bow, the people hanging over the windward side. The action at the marks, the starting sequences... It is all extremely predictable and somewhat monotonous. Classic yachts on the other hand don't require anything more than an appreciative eye and attention to detail.

There is no right or wrong picture of a classic yacht (so long as the horizon is straight!). The boats look good from just about every angle, everyone is smiling, and the scene is completely casual; it makes the whole process much more enjoyable. The professional environment that surrounds much of the current racing scene is longgg gone. There is no weigh in or measuring, and certainly no fairing...

Another major difference is that classic yachts never expire; they do not have a limited life-span. There is no branding splashed on the sails or sides, and you don't have to worry about a change in sponsors or design. A picture I take tomorrow I could sell for 25 years. That is most likely not the case for a photo from the TP52 MedCup.

Now it is off to Les Voiles de St. Tropez for what is arguably the largest regatta of the Mediterranean season. The vast majority of the classics fleet from Cannes will come down the coast and join an equally talented pool of modern racing classes. While I should be paying close attention to the moderns, it will prove very difficult to leave the classics. I am not so sure I am capable of making that switch just yet... - Amory

Buy Amory Ross Calendar

Pro sailors going broke...

Source By GREG FORD - Sunday Star Times
Team NZ crew member forced to flog his uniform...
The ugly side of yachting's becalmed America's Cup has reared its head. "Cash-strapped" Team New Zealand crew member Nick Heron was forced this week to sell the uniform he proudly wore in the regatta in Valencia last year.

Heron was made redundant when the cup was plunged into limbo by billionaires Larry Ellison and Ernesto Bertarelli scrapping for control of the cup in the courts.
To make ends meet Heron took the drastic action of flogging his team issue shorts and shirt on TradeMe, where he's asking for about $200.

"I've been out of work for months and I'm basically pretty broke as a result," Heron told the Sunday Star- Times.

"I had a heap of uniforms, some of them still in their wrappers, just sitting in a box in my wardrobe and thought: 'why not?'.

"I've been holding on in the hope this thing would sort itself out. But it hasn't and I needed the money. I'm cash-strapped"

Heron joined Team New Zealand in 1988 and hasn't missed a campaign since. But last year's regatta in Spain now looks as if it will be his last.

"I tried my best to hold on and even turned down several job offers in the hope the whole thing would get going again," he said.

"But it just dragged on too long. There's no telling when it will end so I've taken a normal fulltime job [with Southern Spars] on the condition I stay put for a while and don't take off [to another America's Cup]. So that's ended my [America's Cup] career."

Heron isn't sure how his other Team New Zealand team-mates were faring. Several have picked up jobs on the European sailing circuit.

However, Heron tried unsuccessfully.

"I rang everyone I knew but there's just so many sailors out of work at the moment that there were no jobs going."

Several Team New Zealand sailors and designers were put on retainers but most of those have now run out and Team New Zealand has only a handful of staff left on their payroll.

"As long as their sponsors hang in there they will be OK," said Heron.

"But it would be nice if there was a little light at the end of the tunnel, for everyone."

Team New Zealand provided some light last week when they invited all factions to sail in a regatta in Auckland next year. Team boss Grant Dalton hoped it might help teams bury the hatchet.

Not long after that announcement, Ellison applauded Dalton's initiative and offered to withdraw his legal action against Alinghi if they would reciprocate. It was reported in the United States yesterday that Alinghi and Oracle had agreed to meet in a last ditch bid to thrash out their differences.

It's all too little too late for Heron.

Ellison and Bertarelli's belligerence sunk his career, and nearly Team New Zealand with it but there's renewed optimism others will be spared that fate.

"We look forward to productive discussions and hope the situation can be resolved soon," said a spokesman for Alinghi. - http://www.stuff.co.nz

Maltese Falcon enters San Francisco

Photo by Erik Simonson: h2oshots.com
The Maltese Falcon, the biggest privately owned yacht in the world, sailed into the San Francisco bay on Saturday. Considered the most technologically advanced yacht in the world, the 289-foot ship arrived as the tide was low enough to allow its 191-foot masts to clear the bridge by a mere 20 feet. The ship is owned by Belvedere billionaire, Tom Perkins.

Its arrival is part of a gala fundraiser in Tiburon for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Fundraising events include a dinner on October 4, with guest speaker Rupert Murdoch, and the Leukemia Cup Regatta on October 5, when 100 other ships will join the Maltese Falcon.

The super yacht boasts a 3-deck atrium with a circular staircase with clear glass floors, 5 staterooms, a passenger cabin, as well as a dining room and art studios. It will be anchored off of Belvedere.

Click here to see video.

Farr 55 foot IRC racer

Annapolis, MD - Farr Yacht Design’s latest offering, design #642, is a 55 foot IRC racing design with boats currently under construction in New Zealand and Turkey. With a large presence of TP52’s optimized for competing in many IRC fleets, our goal was to design a boat that could race in the same class; faster with a relatively better handicap. The 55 foot length produces the desired performance leap and moderate increases in displacement, draft and sail area limit the increase in handicap. The hull was developed using the knowledge gained from our recent extensive CFD research on Volvo 70s and GP42s.

A unique feature with a large impact on the hull design is the twin rudder steering arrangement. The twin rudders generate much less stern up force allowing the bow to be finer forward for less drag in waves and chop. Because the stern lifts less at high speeds the effective sailing length can be maximized over more of the speed range without incurring handling problems in extreme conditions. Ease of handling in reaching and running conditions was a prime driver in our design process as we worked to ensure that this boat can be just as dynamic as the smaller and marginally lighter TP52’s that it will compete against. Read more...

Friday, September 26, 2008


Video by Sailkarma.com
Click on the play button to start video!
BMW ORACLE Racing - Video of the off load of the trimaran in San Diego, CA.
This Post Sponsored by SLAM-SHOPS.COM


Bottom of one of the mast.

10 million dollars on the boat and a seagull still lands on it!

Photos by Sailkarma.com
THIS POST BROUGHT TO YOU BY SLAM-SHOPS.COM - http://www.slam-shops.com/

A day in history!

Australia II wins America’s Cup - 26th September 1983 - Alan Bond handed a gold plated spanner to be used to undo the nuts bolting 'The Cup' to its place at the New York Yacht Club.

The 1983 America's Cup was the occasion of the first successful challenge to the New York Yacht Club's 132-year defence of a sailing trophy. An Australian syndicate representing the Royal Perth Yacht Club won the regatta and match race, gaining the America's Cup and ending the longest winning streak in sporting history.

Alan Bond arrived at Newport with Australia II, already billed as one of the biggest threats to American 12 Metre dominance. The vessel was designed by Ben Lexcen and skippered by John Bertrand. The revolutionary "winged" keel sported by the Australian yacht was a subject of controversy and legal action which failed to disqualify the Australian challenge.
The trials in the courtroom and at sea intensified international media attention to the series. Australia II suffered equipment failure in the first two races against the American defender Liberty but came back from 3-1 down to win the last three races and the America’s Cup. In winning the seventh and deciding race on 26 September 1983, Australia II became the first successful challenger in 132 years.

The victory was televised and celebrated in public venues across Australia. Prime Minister Bob Hawke was interviewed at the late night celebration in Claremont and said, "Any boss who sacks anyone for not turning up today is a bum".

The America's Cup was transferred from the New York Yacht Club to the Royal Perth Yacht Club in Western Australia. In 1987-88, It was unsuccessfully defended in Fremantle, Western Australia, and Dennis Conner delivered the trophy to the San Diego Yacht Club in the United States of America.

The countdown is on...

Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race

The first points of this year’s race are still 10 days away from being won, but PUMA Ocean Racing will be ready for action in two.

Ken Read’s team is yet to put their sail collection against the measurer’s yard-stick, but, barring a handful of other minor alterations, they are in race shape.

Shore manager Neil Cox said: “We have sailing tomorrow that will change things a bit, but we have all the materials in place so we think that by Friday night we will be able to let the measurers go through it all and see that we have done everything we said we would do.”

“The sails need to be measured, but that’s about it. All the sails that are on the loft floor will be laid out and measured: everything from the mid-girths and all the other aspects of sail making.

“The actual boat itself, with the Ts that you have to cross and the Is you have to dot, is pretty much done.”

“From then on, we can just concentrate on sailing and preparing for the in-port race.”

It is the culmination of an eight-month shore operation to prepare a boat capable of conquering a 37,000-nautical mile race track.

Kimo Worthington, the team’s general manager, said the project has run to schedule.

“We laid this all out and things have gone to plan,” he said. “We are almost in race mode where we can concentrate on sailing and getting ready for the in-port race (on October 4).”

Cox explained that the set-up of the boat for the in-port race and the first offshore leg to Cape Town would only go through minor changes.

He said: “The actual configuration of the boat is just the same except for a couple floating jammers and stuff to help control sails coming up and down at the mark. Other than that the boat is pretty much as you take them offshore.”

Thursday, September 25, 2008


A big crane has been brought in for the off loading of the trimaran that should take place around noon, San Diego time, on Friday, September 26th. Rumor has it that the team will stay here for 2 years! Sources have said that James Spithill has purchased a condo in San Diego…maybe the rumor is true. It’s kind of ironic that the base camp is at the same location that Dennis Connor had his catamaran. Who says history doesn’t repeat itself?

STP65 Container

Photo © Jens Mack, team Container
STP65 Container has been launched in Kiel, Germany. Container is the third boat of this class.

The industry had been speculating, the experts were certain and now she is here: Udo Schütz, founder of Schütz GmbH & Co. KGaA and pioneer of honeycomb technologies prevalent in aircraft construction, is ready to show off a brand new boat.

The new sailing yacht CONTAINER, one of the successors to the legendary yachts of the eighties and nineties of the same name, will be presented to owner and crew in the first week in September. After 11 months of construction at the Knierim-Werft dockyard, the first test runs are being conducted in the Kiel Fjord putting the yacht through its paces.

Fastest Chick on the water...

Sjoukje Brendenkamp Breaks Women’s Speed Sailing World Record
Sjoukje Bredenkamp already was the Women’s Outright Speed Sailing World Record Holder going into the Lüderitz Speed Challenge 2008, and was expecting to better her old record. As it turned out, on Day 4 of the event she smoked it and bettered her previous best speed of 42.35 knots by almost three knots, hitting 45.20 knots.

“I’m really stoked,” she glows, “I didn’t expect it to achieve it this early in the event. My goal was to break 45 knots, but to do it so early is absolutely insane. It just shows what can be done. I can’t wait to try and push it even further this afternoon.”
She has been doing a lot of preparation for this event with her dad, Hennie Bredenkamp, who also smashed the old 44.62 knot African Record which he set last year with a run yesterday of 47.59 knots. Hennie does the design of the boards with the Goose - Angus Welch of Cape Doctor boards - to shape them. Fins come from Microfin in France.

She is also very happy with the kites: “The new (Naish) Helixes have a bit more power. I’m absolutely loving them. Dad and I have a similar board and kite setup, and we both absolutely killed it yesterday on the 2009 Helix, so we seem to have a winning recipe.”

Bredenkamp spent a lot of time training over the Cape Town winter with Hennie and Sebastien Catellan. “I spent a lot of time on the water doing winter speed sessions, getting my head right and my stance perfected.”

She is currently in the Top 20 outright world record holders, both men and women, and looks like she has the potential to even move into the outright Top Ten, which now sits around the 46.5 knot threshold. Can she pull out another knot and a half? “I was planning on taking baby steps, but it looks like it’s going to be quantum leaps.”
Photos Credit: Kolesky/SanDisk

Tróia Portugal Match Cup Heats Up

Photo credit: Bild / Roberto Wander
The second day of competition of Tróia Portugal Match Cup is about to start. At noon sharp, the flag D, which indicates that the boats may head toward the race course, will be hoisted. The British Ian Williams and Italian Paolo Cian, numbers 2 and 3 of the ISAF World Ranking, are the strongest candidates who will be in action. Today the wind is blowing from SW at 6 knots of intensity - http://www.portugalmatchcup.com

Life At The Extreme...

Photo & Article By Jennifer Langille - Sailtrim.org
Life At The Extreme Demands An Extreme Personality!
My pick for an extremely positive sailing/life role model is Jerry Kirby, crew member of Puma Ocean Racing. Oddly enough, being a sailing fitness enthusiast, caught him on his way to the gym this afternoon. He still indulged me with a lovely conversation about Puma’s pleasure in being apart of the event, having received more exposure than anticipated and some encouraging words for those dismayed with impact the America’s Cup drama has had on the perception of sailing.

For starters, the Volvo Ocean Race is NOT the America’s cup. Jerry reminded me there is not and should not be any comparison. In case folks considered such a though, stop. So for those who only know about sailing through the America’s Cup venue, what are they to expect from this sailing venue. Passion for sailing at its rawest form and an ocean full of personality!

As scenes from last Volvo played on a screen over head, Jerry watched with earnest and huge grin on his face, the passion Jerry carries for this race is infectious. We paused in conversation while he relived the moment and I realized one of the clips was my “pick-up video” for when you have “one of those days.” Jerry Kirby has the perfect attitude and personality for this level of sailing, but for the sport as a whole. One knows he tackles life the same way and it was a treat to catch him today. To be reminded that in the shadows of sailing is this incredible race around the world, with participants possessing incredible personalities and a passion for one thing. The purest sailing experience possible.

So while Alinghi and BMW Oracle duke it out, why get caught up in the negative drama? Right now, here in Alicante the start of a new story is getting ready, think of the next two weeks like reading a Prelude to a great novel. Chapter one starts on October 13th but till then, there is much to be sorted! Including an import race on the 4th. I broke the ice with a familiar face today, but Jerry Kirby is not the only positively spirited sailor here packed with personality. No time to be shy in Alicante...

Media, media, media.... - Jenn

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ernesto and Larry face to face...

America's Cup future at stake as summit agreed...
By Stuart Alexander in Cannes - The Independent.co.uk
California dreaming could turn to America's Cup reality this weekend as the warring factions of Swiss holder Ernesto Bertarelli's Alinghi and would-be challenger BMW Oracle's Larry Ellison meet face to face after circling each other for over 12 months.

Bertarelli is in the golden state on business, Ellison is addressing 40,000 delegates to an Oracle jamboree, but they are expected to sit down and try to thrash out a resolution to a dispute which is imprisoned in the New York legal system.

At stake is the immediate future of what claims to be sport's oldest trophy - though the Doggett's Coat and Badge rowing race was first staged on the Thames in 1715 - and the careers of hundreds of top rank sailors, builders and designers, not least in Britain's stalled Origin challenge.
Unusually, this will not be a rubber stamp meeting of number ones. The officials further down the line have not drawn up a blueprint which is already largely agreed. "There has been no contact between the teams and there is nothing new on the table from them," said Alinghi skipper Brad Butterworth.

It is quite possible that the billionaire bosses, whose mutual passion is for yacht racing have, for separate reasons, decided that it may be better to cut the Gordian knot of public intransigence. Oracle's challenging vehicle, the Golden Gate Yacht Club, repeated this week its offer to abandon the legal route forcing its way into the Challenger of Record slot.

At the moment, the legal cards are in Bertarelli's hand. The latest court decision on the viability of his chosen Challenger of Record, with whom the rules for the next Cup were drawn up, went his way.

But some of the 3-2 majority thinking by the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court was baffling and Ellison immediately appealed. The case is not expected to be heard before early January and could drag on.

Speaking from his team's base in Valencia today, Russell Coutts, Ellison's ceo and skipper, Bertarelli's discarded skipper, said that Oracle simply wanted a return to the multi-challenger rules that were in place prior to the last, 32nd, Cup in Valencia last year. "We don't want the defender to have total control over the challenger race series and practice races," he said. "The fundamental rules were there and worked pretty well. We have still had no explanation of why they had to be changed."

He has been pre-occupied with building a 90-foot trimaran at a cost of up to $100m and has no status even as an official challenger, does not know when any race may take place, and knows that Alinghi could choose a track that is entirely unsuitable for the style of boat he has built.

Bertarelli is fed up of being denigrated around the world and largely blamed for the whole situation. He feels he has been ready to compromise with the other potential challengers and has many good commercial as well as sporting reasons for putting the show back on the road.
Into the vacuum has stepped the former sponsor of the challenger series, the French luxury goods firm Louis Vuitton, which is trying to set up the first of what could be many rival regattas in Auckland next January/February.

For everyone, there is a problem of timing. The plan for a 2009 event in Valencia, Spain, has already been binned and many teams have had to lay everyone off until the way forward for them, and any potential funding from sponsors, is clear. It will take some time for such a long and heavy freight train to regain momentum.

Alinghi is clear that it wants to kick start America's Cup 33 as soon as possible and says it is ready to reconvene with potential challengers over the design of a new 90-foot boat that could compete in other arenas and would, as the event has done for the last 20 years, contract with the sport's world governing body, the International Sailing Federation, over the appointment of officials.

But the Swiss group still wants to move forward in terms of a single entity, something that the maverick tendency which permeates sailboat racing from top to bottom, will always try to resist. The first requirement could also be the most fragile, and that is trust. Website

Mirabaud LX foiler

Click on image to zoom in!
The flying boat Mirabaud LX foiler designed by the Swiss engineer Thomas Jundt, images taken in Versoix during the press day, the boat start to fly on the foils with 9 knots of wind and hit a speed of 23.1 knots!

The 30 feet boat’s weight is 150 KG with 32 / 96 sqm sail surface. The boat will be in display at the at WORLD YACHT RACING FORUM in Monaco in December 2008.

The project is sponsored by Mirabaud the Swiss bank who also sponsors the Bol d’or on lake the Geneva.

Here are a bunch more photos taken by Jürg Kaufmann.

Morning Light: Making the Cut

If you can't make it out for one of the premieres of Disney's Morning Light, check out the behind-the-scenes special produced by Roy E. Disney and Leslie DeMeuse about the film for ESPN. It is a 60-minute program focusing on the tryouts and selection of the team leading up to the race. It will air on ESPN2 HD on October 8 at 8 p.m. ESTand on October 9 at 9 p.m. PST. (Please check you local listings.)



SOURCE WORLD YACHT RACING FORUM (WYRF): While the America’s Cup community awaits it’s next chapter, we caught up with America’s Cup veteran and Alinghi tactician Brad Butterworth on his views about the current state of the sport of sailing.

Brad, what do you consider as the key issues the sport of sailing faces at the moment?
BB: There are too many conflicts with the race calendar. Many yachtsmen would like to compete more, but they can’t because the regattas take place at the same time.

The sport of sailing is also far too complicated and it just can’t be properly televised and understood. It definitely needs a good shake up in order to become more user-friendly.

WYRF: Where do you think the complications are specifically?
BB: Well, there are many reasons but to start with, the rules are far too complex. The problem behind this is that sailing’s governing body, ISAF, has a long history of making rules. Every time we want to change something, it ends up in a Committee. The sport is not run by the sportsmen, but by Committees.

WYRF: What about other issues?
BB: Sailing is not a TV friendly sport and a good example is the last Olympic Games, where it was just impossible to properly follow a regatta.There are also far too many classes and this is diluting the sport. Finally, there is a serious problem with the racing calendar. In order to avoid overlaps, there should be an independent governing body. The ISAF could do this, but it is very difficult to find a body of truly independent people.

WYRF: Do you think junior & Olympic sailing programs prepare young sailors well for a professional career?
BB: There are a lot of very good yacht clubs that help young people to get into the sport. However the problems arise when they reach their late teens and loose the parental support they had until then. They usually go from single handed dinghies such as Optimists or Lasers to double-handed or crewed boats. The transition is not easy and it is hard to keep people into the sport.

WYRF: What advice would you give to young sailors?
BB: They should not be shy; they should dare to ask the good teams in their clubs for a ride, and they should be available to jump on the opportunities. Because the opportunities are there.

WYRF: What's your feeling towards the current Olympic classes?
BB: It is disappointing to see the Olympic classes evolving towards slower boats. The races are boring to watch, whereas they should be fun & exciting and more athletic for the competitors.

WYRF: The World Yacht Racing Forum will obviously be a good opportunity to debate these issues?
BB: It certainly won't hurt. Monaco is a great venue, and it is also great that the Yacht Club Monaco is encouraging this initiative. Meeting and talking will certainly be a good start.

Brad Butterworth will be a speaker at the World Yacht Racing Forum in December. He will debate the future of the America’s Cup alongside Bruno Troublé, Sir Keith Mills, Salvatore Sarno, Alessandra Pandarese and Paul Cayard.
Photo by © Ivo Rovira / Alinghi

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Kimo on VOR

PUMA general manager Kimo Worthington anticipates tough competition for overall race honours from the Ericsson Racing Team, but he expects another blast from the past to steal a few of the headlines along the way.

“After seeing that ABN AMRO ONE boat in the last race I would think Delta Lloyd is more than capable, first generation boat or whatever, of scoring some good points in this race,” he said.
Ger O’Rourke has already admitted his team is underdog, considering it has just eight shore crew, a three-year-old boat and an entry that was not confirmed until last week.

But Worthington, the general manager of Pirates of the Caribbean in 2005-06, thinks it can win at least a leg. He added: “In boat terms, there is not a lot wrong. There have been developments in a lot of areas since the last race, but not huge changes.

“When I was at Pirates, there was a bigger gap in terms of performance between us and ABN AMRO ONE than there is now between that boat and the current fleet.

“Given the spread of conditions on this race track, I think every boat has a chance of winning a leg or picking up some good points.”

Cumulatively, though, Worthington thinks the international crew on Ericsson 4 will be the tough out of the gate.

He said: “They have huge resources, a good backer and the benefits of two-boat testing. I think you’d have to say, at this point before anyone has raced anyone, that they are favourites.
The Swedish syndicate, which also had an entrant in the last race, confirmed its participation within days of the 2005-06 finish and has since had its pick of available talent for its two boats.
Juan Kouyoumdjian, who designed ABN AMRO ONE, drew the lines and the boats have had more time on the water, while their shore crew of 65 is the biggest in the yard. It could, according to Worthington, pay off.

“I’m not writing anyone off, though, because this could be a close race.”
- Photo Sally Collison / PUMA Ocean Racing - http://www.volvooceanrace.org

Laser SB3 2008 World Championships

Photo credit: www.sb3worlds2008.com
137 Laser SB3 have gathered in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland for the inaugural Laser SB3 World Championships, hosted by the National Yacht Club. 11 Nations are represented at the event.

Spin Art

Photos by http://www.sommerwerck.de German Classics Laboe 2008
This is one way to keep your trimmer’s eyes on spinnaker!

BMW Oracle's New Base Camp

Photos: Mike Williams
Here's a few shots of Oracle's new base camp in San Diego, CA. Construction teams are driving pilings into the sea floor and setting up new docks for the arrival of the trimaran later this week.

X-35 Worlds

Photos by: http://www.sommerwerck.de/
ROLEX X-35 World Championship 2008 in Italy
A total of 54 entries from 10 nations makes the X-35 Worlds the largest international one-design race for these exciting craft since the X-35 Class was launched and recognized in 2006. With ROLEX as the Official Partner and the prestigious Yacht Club Italiano as organizer, the second X-35 World Championship will be held in the beautiful surroundings of Cala Galera in Tuscany from 22 to 28 September, 2008.

The X-35s will arrive by sea or truck from across Italy as well as from France, Spain, Greece, Turkey, Holland, Germany, Great Britain, Estonia and Russia. Almost 25% of all X-35s built will be present for the 2nd World Championship – an indication that this is an extremely active one-design class that is continuing to grow. http://www.yachtclubitaliano.it/