Sunday, November 30, 2008

RC44's Arrive in Puerto Calero

Eight top level teams will participate in the RC 44 Gold Cup in Puerto Calero (Canaries islands) on December 10-14: Team Aqua, Ceeref, BMW ORACLE Racing, Artemis, Banco Espirito Santo, Team Organika, Team Hiroshi – Città di Milano and the local Team Puerto Calero.


2008 Snipe WHO - Uruguay

With one hour left before the final time limit of the regatta, it looked like the fleet would be stuck with 8 races. Postponed on shore, the RC finally sent the fleet out around 2pm just for them to drift in the rain & light winds. Magically around 4 the wind began to fill and settle and the warning gun was off. After 2 restarts and a final start under a z-flag, race 9 began. While the majority of the fleet chose to go right in the 5 knot winds, a short group led by 6 Japanese teams, went left and led at the weather mark. Koji Ida and Hiroumi Yamasuki were first around and extended their lead in the 5 to sometimes 8 knots seen during the race to take the final race win.

The regatta leaders all seemed to sail their 2nd throw-outs, falling back in the pack and unable to climb out during the race.

As the fleet finished the race in off and on-again rain, Bruno Bethlem and Dante Bianchi were able to solidify their stake on the Western Hemisphere & Orient Championship of 2008.

The prizegiving was festive as usual with reports of some sailors making it home at 4am. Yacht Club Punta del Este did another fantastic job of great racing and great hospitality.

Full results & photos on the regatta website.

1. Bethlem/Bianchi BRA 17.25
2. Paradeda/Kieling BRA 22.25
3. Rodriguez/Rios USA 34
4. Diaz/Tocke USA 45
5. Defazio/Finck URU 45


The trial mile!!! - Live Blog Submitted by Paul on Sun, 11/30/2008 - 13:49.

A little bit of wind has popped up so we are going to go and try a mile run to see if it is possible. It would be a good shakedown for a proper attempt on a big day. We have never done a mile run before.

It will be interesting.

Helena should be doing the blog from the timing hut... just in case the wind comes up and something cool happens.

If this works... look out Hydroptere.

Gotta go.

Telefonica Azul Video

Telefonica Blue has finished in second place.

Two For Two - Ericsson 4

Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race
Ericsson 4, Skippered by Torben Grael, arrive in Cochin, India, to win the second leg of the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09. -

Friday, November 28, 2008


Click on images to enlarge!

Photo Gilles Martin-Raget / BMW ORACLE Racing
San Diego (CA, USA) - America's Cup - BMW ORACLE Racing - 90 ft trimaran meet Oracle Team high performance aerobatic plane.

BMW ORACLE to undergo modifications

Photographer: Gilles Martin-Raget James Spithill - Russell Coutts

San Diego, California, - Russell Coutts, CEO and Skipper of BMW ORACLE Racing, today announced that BOR 90, the syndicate's state-of-the-art trimaran, has successfully completed Phase I of its sea trials in San Diego.

The 90 foot high-tech trimaran now will undergo further modifications to improve performance based on the team's experiences with the trimaran on the Pacific Ocean off California since October. Over the next few months, a number of design changes will be implemented in order to make the trimaran an even faster, more responsive boat. In addition, decisions will be made about the optimum crew size and placement.

The boat will return to the water in late January for several additional months of testing in San Diego.

Said Coutts, "We've had some great sailing over the past seven weeks. Our team worked hard and pushed the limits of the boat, identifying its many strengths as well as several areas where it needs improvement. We saw it can consistently sail one-and-a-half to two times the speed of the wind, regardless of sea and wind conditions, and it has remarkable agility. Overall, it's an amazing machine - none of us have ever sailed anything like it. Its extreme engineering enables extreme performance."

Coutts also announced that BMW ORACLE had begun to explore opportunities to race the trimaran. "Our racing options for sailing a multihull are not limited to the America's Cup. Indeed, a Deed of Gift race is only a default option forced on us if Alinghi declines to agree to a multi-challenger event after we win the appeal. It remains our hope that we will reach an agreement with the America's Cup Defender that will enable a traditional, multi-challenger America's Cup in monohulls.

"With that in mind, we are exploring a number of other ways to sail the boat, including match races, regattas or even an attempt at one of the sailing speed records," he said.

Coutts added, "On behalf of all of us at BMW ORACLE Racing, I want to thank the people of San Diego - the reception we've gotten from the sailing community and everyone else has been wonderful." For more information, please go to

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Key West 2009

World Class Racing at Acura Key West 2009
--- International Talent and New Designs are Highlights for Mid-Winter Classic
Key West, Fla – IRC classes will showcase new designs and the competition will be fierce at Acura Key West 2009, presented by Nautica. The quality of the racing will again be world class, with programs hailing from overseas and across the country.

2008 IRC East Coast Champion Mayhem, Ashley Wolfe’s TP52 (Calgary, Canada), faces a rematch with Ennio Staffini’s Anema & Core, Michael Brennan’s Sjambok, and Jim Mitchell & Johnny Vincent’s Vincitore (Georgetown, New Zealand). The Annapolis based Staffini and Brennan also had podium finishes in the recent championship.

The big boat IRC class will also feature Roger Sturgeon’s STP 65 Rosebud. Last year’s Sydney-Hobart winner has recently returned from a busy summer season in Europe. The IRC 2 class will boast an exciting mix of new designs and talented international crews. The updated entry list is posted in the web site:

First Day Jitters @ Snipe Western Hemisphere

2008 Snipe Western Hemisphere &Orient Championships - Uruguay

The first day of racing at the WH&O proved to be beautiful & fickle. With all 49 boats on the line, people were anxious, but not too anxious to push a general recall on the first start. The day began with a beautiful 12 knots of breeze and light green waters. Stevie Dickinson/Martin Finegas of Bermuda in their black hulled boat nailed the pin end and led the fleet storming the left side of the course. But it was Yasushi Kondo/Ginga Kubota of Japan who lead the majority of the race with a samba party of 6 Brazilians breathing down their necks.

As the fleet stretched their legs, the racers relaxed and fell into place. With the left favored most of the race with a few righties here and there, the finish line showed a Brazilian 1-2-3 with Ricky Wanderley/Richard Zietemann, Bruno Bethlem/Dante Bianchi and Alexandre Tinoco/Matheus Goncalves in the top 3 with Kondo/Kubota breaking the dynasty in 4th. 3 more Brazilians were matching finishes with the local host Diego Garcia/Martin Dovat of URU in 8th.

Race 2 began shortly afterwards with a slight increase in wind velocity. Dickinson tried for the pin again, but got spit out the back and took the fleets transoms battling back the entire race. At the first weather mark, double Women's World champion skipper Andrea Foglia with Olympian Laser sailor brother Alejandro crewing rounded first followed by Ernesto Rodrigues/Raul Rios of USA and SCIRA Commodore Pedro Garra/Diego Henon in 3rd.... read more at

Preliminary results have Bethlem/Bianchi of BRA with a 2-1 and Paradeda/Martins with a 6-2.
2 more races are scheduled for tomorrow.

read between the lines...

Cartoon by Alinghi


Jérémie Beyou, the skipper of DELTA DORE, has informed the Race Directors of his decision to retire from the race, believing it is impossible to carry out repairs without without external help;

He was fairly sure that this would be the only possible decision, but needed to check over the rigging once close to land. He wanted to believe it was still possible and put off taking the decision. It was once he was in the port of Recife this morning, that there was no alternative and he had to face reality after 16.5 days of racing. He has identified five problems:

- The spreader roots (attachments) on number 2 and 3 starboard are broken. He cannot manufacture new ones or repair these, as they are made of titanium and need to be very precisely tooled and adjusted.

- The two carbon spreaders are broken. It would be possible to stratify them, but they would not have the same strength after these repairs.

- The standing rigging on the starboard side, in PBO fibre is also affected having been subject to impact from the spreaders: shrouds (vertical 2 and 3), diagonal 3 and 4 cannot be used.

- The starboard runner is also severely damaged.

- The carbon mast tube is also partly delaminated having been hit by the spreaders.
For more information:

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

470 Athlete Tina Lutz

Future 470 Athletes –by 470 E-Times

There are three Girls in the history of the Optimist class to win the World Championship:
Sabrina Landi (ITA) who won Gold on 1987, Lisa Westerhof (NED) who won Gold in 1996 and Tina Lutz (GER) won Gold in 2005 at the age of 14.

Tina, when and where did you start sailing?
I started at my yacht club when I was 8 years old, the Chiemsee Yacht Club in the south of Germany.

What classed did you sail in?
I started sailing an Optimist, and continued in the 420s and 29er with my crew Susann Beucke, Together, we sail 470s now.

When did you start sailing 470 class?
We sail 470s since February 2008, so at the 470 Europeans, were sailing 470s for five months.

What made your decision to choose the 470 class?
Susann and I sailed both the 420s and 29er together. We had to decide weather to continue sailing 29ers or to move to 470s. The 470 class has the Olympic status and we think it’s much more fun to sail than a 29er. The fleets are not that big in 29er, and sailing is not at such a high level like in 470s, so we decide to sail 470s.

What are your biggest achievements in sailing?
The biggest achievement so far was in 2005 when I won the World Championship in the Optimist class, In 2004 I won gold at the Optimist Worlds, but only the girls. I won a lot of German Championships. Last year we became 420 Class Ladies Junior European Champion.

What are your future goals?
We want to sail 470 on professional levels, and some day make it to the Olympics.

"We must have hit something?"

On board video of a snapped daggerboard sees Telefonica Blue come to a halt for repairs.

Strong Winds take toll on Match Race event...

The Argentine Match Race Championships took place in Mar Del Plata with 10 teams competing. Strong winds made the racing intense with a few crashes and a man overboard to contend with.

Team Russia pushes East...

Mark Covell/Team Russia
Buffalo Gals

It’s D-Day this morning as the Volvo Ocean Race fleet sails into the dark shadow of the shape shifting Doldrums. Everyone was still reaching north in the trade winds, except Team Russia – they chose to head out East, in a move that appears to be paying off.

At 10:00 GMT this morning the fleet had scattered – there were a 180 miles of leverage between the two extremes in the east and west. Inside left were PUMA and Green Dragon, while on the right, Team Russia were definitely attack minded.

As the boats enter the Doldrums, the True Wind Speed will drop for everyone, but it’s dropped more for the boats to the north - that includes the Ericsson leaders. While those behind them are still enjoying wind speeds in the teens.

The wind had also started to back (rotate anti-clockwise) and was a little bit north of east for most of the fleet. The tightening True Wind Angle really will not do any favours for Green Dragon (without their boom) or Telefonica Blue (without their daggerboard). So a squeeze box effect will happen.

The real interest this morning lies in the future. Race Forecaster, Jennifer Lilly, has confirmed the arrival of the leaders on the edge of the Doldrums at 9degS. She’s expecting the lightest wind between 5degS and 3degS, with the transition to a west-southwesterly flow over the equator. The worst of the squall activity is also mostly north of the equator, although it’s relatively benign at the moment, while the best of the wind remains to the east.

And that brings us to the eastward drift of the fleet and Team Russia’s track. It’s very clear which side the weather forecast favours – west is not best in this ocean. In fact, the weather routing has the Russians doing the Buffalo Gals (go round the outside) to end all Buffalo Gals – catching PUMA and Telefonica Blue on the run in to battle for third place.

Although Team Russia’s crossing point is a long detour, the prize may well we worth waiting for. And if the unreliability of the Doldrums forecast is in any way reliable, it’s in the fact that the crossing point in the Predicted Route keeps moving further East. Team Russia’s new crossing point is at almost 79degE - it’s a long detour, but the weather forecast now thinks that it’ll only give them six hours or so of really light, sub-five knot wind speed compared with the good 24 hours the Ericssion twins look set to face.

Go Wouter the Routeur ….

Read more news at Team Russia's web site.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Telefónica Blue Damage Photos

onEdition Photography/ Team Telefonica
Just when everything seemed to be going right for Bouwe Bekking and his menon Telefónica Blue, it all went wrong again. The boat was loving the conditions, the crew were pushing hard, and slowly, but surely, climbing back up the leaderboard, when the crew heard a big bang, and everything changed."We snapped one of our daggerboards, the boards which prevent the boat from slipping sideways," explained skipper Bouwe Bekking. We destroyed it and had to stop the boat for 45 minutes," he said. Even worse for the crew, the little speed they were able to do, was on the wrong tack and sailing awayfrom the finish in India and they lost 10 precious miles. -

420 Big Breeze Sailing Footy

San Diego Yacht Club Junior Sailing, featuring Judge Ryan and Chris Segerblum. 420 sailing in 28knots of wind in San Diego, CA. - Video SDYCSailing - See the rest of the videos at

Rolex Farr 40 North American Champs

Yacht: Goombay SmashOwner: William DouglassCrew: Morgan Larson (T), Marco Constant,Brian Fisher, Andy Estcourt, Jim Munks, Brian Keeshan, Jesse Fielding, StuPollard

Photos by
Yacht: Convexity Owner: Donald Wilson, Chicago, Ill. Crew: Bill Hardesty (T), Hanz Pusch, Mel Parker, Jonathan Farrar, Matt Cassidy, Debbie Capozzi, Sarah Renz, Lars Hansen, Krista Paxton

Rolex Farr 40 North American Championships - Miami Beach, Florida
Doug Douglass’s Goombay Smash has won the 2008 Rolex Farr 40 North American Championship. This was Douglass’ regatta to lose as he led former world Champions Nerone and Barking Mad by four and five points respectively going into the final day pf racing. He finished today’s races with scores of 2, 3 & 2 to clinch the championship and be named boat of the day for the second day in a row. Douglass also won the Rolex Farr 40 Pre-Worlds in Miami Beach in April, but this was his first win with new tactician Morgan Larson, who was a last minute substitute for the first day of the 2008 Rolex Farr 40 World Championship for winner Vincenzo Onorato.

Only eight boats turned out for the regatta. See final results.

Delta Dore to make a pit stop to fix spreaders

Jérémie Beyou has been heading towards Brazil since 0800hrs GMT this morning, probably aiming for Recife, in order to make an unaided pit stop to inspect the damage to two spreaders on the starboard side (his leeward side). The skipper of Delta Dore is not retiring and hopes to carry out repairs by himself.

At 9h12 this morning 10th placed Jérémie Beyou phoned the Race Directors to inform them of the damage. At around 7H UTC, Jérémie noticed that two top spreaders on the leeward side (starboard) were no longer attached to the mast, damage which would ultimately prevent him from changing tack. The sailor is in no danger and is sailing at reduced speed towards the nearest land, Brazil. He is currently heading for the city of Recife some 430 mile away (on a bearing of 240°) which he would expect to reach in 2-3 days.

"I was inside the boat and I heard a noise. I went outside and I saw the spreaders hanging on the leeward side with the rigging swinging around. I hove too. I'm going to make sure the rig is as secure as possible by taking the strain off the sails by bearing away. I currently have the wind from astern," Jérémie told his shore team. -Red more @

VOR Blog Entry

Sid getting read for the sun. Photo Puma Racing
Post brought to you by provided all furling cables to PUMA for the Volvo Ocean Race 2008.

Onboard Puma Racing:
Hi there!
The heat is back, it's a good thing. We are doing some good miles toward the finish, that's also a good thing. il mostro is in fifth place, that's a good and bad one. We could be delivering the boat in slow speed instead of being racing, so for this reason we can not complain, but as a "racer" it is always frustrating to have some transom in front of us. To tell the truth, I am looking forward to the Doldrums and a new situation where anything could happen. But once again the Ericsson boats are in the lead and, so far, they deserve it!

Conditions are pretty easy and the team is working well, this is a satisfaction. I'm taking this opportunity with a little text to raise my hat to Casey, our boat captain, Chris Nicholson, Salty (Rob Salthouse) and our German legend Michi Mueller who worked together to repair Il Mostro. "Battler" (Robbie Naismith) has been enjoying the strong conditions, especially this 48 knots gust with a full main, he loved it!

No Pirates around, only few flying fishes. Bring them on! We are looking for action here!!!
Alright, I am going to get some good dreams.... another voyage! See ya!
Sidney -

Onboard Team Russia

Photo by Mark Covella
Fire Hose Reaching
As Team Russia power reaches north towards Cochin, the fire hose conditions onboard are taking their toll on watch leader Stig Westergaard.

Stig is suffering from a severe eye infection triggered by the constant high-pressure water stream being forced up along the side of the hull and into his face. “In the old days the hose of water resembled sticking your head into a toilet bowl and flushing it,” Stig eludes in his blog today. “But this time I think it best resembles going down to the local fire station, borrowing their biggest, meanest high-pressure hose and turning it up to its max and sticking your head into the beam.”

Unfortunately Stig’s self-proclaimed ‘potato head’ means that the XL helmets onboard do not come close to fitting him. “Now I know why most drivers wear some sort of helmet or goggles, he reflects. “But that is not for me, so right now I am paying the price of having open eyes.”
The sorry state of the nurses on board has led Stig to find a set of swimming goggles in the diver bag. “I will now officially create the department of silly looks,” he promises.

In Mark Covell’s blog, ‘Something for the weekend’, his thoughts turn to Rabbits. Not much more we can say about this other than take a read – maybe he’s going down with something too?! -
BIG BANG!!! Telefonica Blue breaks daggerboard -
We were going so nicely, and all of a sudden, A BIG BANG changed everything. We snapped of one of our daggerboards (side boards) which prevent the boat sliding sideways. We destroyed it and had to stop the boat for 45 minutes. Even worse, the little speed we did was on the wrong tack, sailing away from India.
Hammers, chisels, hacksaws, everything was out, and in the end, we lowered Pepe into the water, to get rid of all the bits and pieces, so that we could lift the board up again. We are now underway again, but way slower than we liked.


Photo by Jean Marie Liot/DPPI
A zone of squalls formed without warning yesterday, snuffing out the tradewind and slowing the descent due south by the trimaran Sodeb’O for a few hours.

“It was like an early Doldrums” admitted the former navigator Christian Dumard this afternoon, who now forms part of the routing team on this solo round the world on a multihull. Although the passage of the Cape Verde islands went as planned, that’s to say an easy navigation between the islands without ever suffering the effects of the wind shadow, the next stage was a surprise.

Indeed Thomas Coville rapidly encountered a zone of unexpected squalls characterised by some very active cloud masses. “The wind went from 5 to 28 knots, oscillating up to 90 degrees, to the extent that the boat ended up head to wind!” said Christian Dumard. “This zone literally killed the tradewind temporarily, which up to that point, had been providing Thomas with a calm descent under gennaker” added Thierry Douillard, a fine regatta sailor and ‘performer’ within the routing unit for the round the world. The result of these unsettled hours?

A fifth day which was less perfect than the others. Setting out from Brest last Tuesday, Thomas has covered a total of 2,300 miles in five days, which amounts to a little over 450 miles a day. The next 48 hours are forecast to be unsettled, but the squalls are certain to be less violent. The ‘real’ Doldrums, currently settled between 5 and 7 degrees north isn’t very pronounced and conditions should enable the maxi trimaran Sodeb’O to reach the equator this Tuesday as planned. - by Kate Jennings

Virgin Money Gives Back & So Can U!

Starting today, Virgin is going to donate $1 to “Give a Drop” for each person who visits the Virgin site and simply posts a picture and caption of someone or something they are thankful for.

Donations will go to fund Project Clean Water’s work creating sustainable solutions for villages around the world to access fresh, healthy water.

Here’s a link to “give thanks” on the Virgin site:

Vendee Globe In Short:

© SEM Vendée -Part 1

© SEM Vendée - Part 2

Quick update:
Jérémie Beyou, FRA, (Delta Dore) reported this morning that he has a problem with two spreaders which support his mast and is heading to Brasil.
The lead of Gitana Eighty, skippered by Loïck Peyron, grows very slowly, but steadily in the trade winds conditions.

He now has 29.6 miles over Seb Josse (BT), a five miles gain in 24 hours.
2004 winner Vincent Riou, fourth, still locked to Armel Le Cléac’h, fifth, five miles apart after two weeks of racing.

Mike Golding, GBR, (Ecover 3) is up to sixth place.

American Rich Wilson recalls his Thanksgiving Rescue off Cape Horn 18 years ago.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Team Russia Chinese Gybe Wipeout

Incredible on board video of Team Russia crash jibing and laying the boat on her side!

10 points to the next Cup


The following is a 10-point plan that articulates simple changes to the proposed Protocol for America’s Cup 33 that would address the concerns of many Challengers who want to ensure that the rules of AC33 are fair. With the exception of #10, the plan is based on the points we negotiated with the Challengers in December last year, and reflect further concessions since offered. Agreement to these 10 points by the Challenger community could return AC33 to the water as early as 2010.

1. Once the changes to the Applicable Rules are completed, any further changes to Applicable Rules governing AC33 shall be mutually agreed between Defender and the Challenger of Record (COR) (subject to point #2).

2. All Challenger of Record decisions, including agreeing to the ACC Rules, Event and Competition Regulations, shall be made by majority vote of the Challengers in a Challenger Commission, one vote per team, including the COR who also has one vote, except that material amendments to the Protocol, Event Regulations or Competition Regulations, once agreed and issued, can be made only by unanimous vote of Competitors.


Read them all here.

Green Dragon Boom Break Video

Onboard with E4

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Racing East to Get North

Blog from Ericsson Racing Team: By CHRIS BEDFORD - Position on the team: Meteorologist

The leverage that Puma, Telefonica Blue and Telefonica Black had in the north yesterday appears to have evaporated while sailing in slightly lighter, headed breeze and in very rough conditions. Combine that with some bad luck on Puma and Telefonica Blue and the Ericsson boats are looking good at the moment. The last several days has been as much about keeping the gear and people together as much as it has been about sailing the weather system smartly and maintaining an effective strategy.

But Ericsson Racing Team fans should NOT get cocky! Weather-wise, the boats are not out of the woods with respect to the extreme conditions they have been experiencing over the last few days. The westerlies are still screaming at 25 knots with squalls in excess of 40 knots powering the boats quickly toward the scoring line at 58E. Some easing to 20 knots is expected today through tomorrow, but the seas will remain very rough. E3 and E4 should cross the scoring line around 0100GMT early Thursday morning. At the moment, E4 has the advantage and looks set to win those points with E3 a close second…but keeping the gear and people together is a priority.

Once past the scoring gate, the next tactical problem will be turning north and heading (finally) on a more direct course to Cochin. At present, there is a cold front ahead of the fleet and a cold front behind. E3 and E4 are still sailing eastward in strong SW winds, but these will veer slightly to the W over the next 12-18 hours and eventually around to the NW tomorrow ahead of the next cold front. It is on this veering breeze that the boats are expected to turn north, hopefully getting north of a high pressure that will be chasing them down from the west.
It is a must to go around the eastern side of this high. If they don’t make it, they will be trapped to the south and face a long slow crossing of the high pressure and subsequently upwind conditions on the western periphery of the high. Again, this has been our strategy from the start, but keeping the boats moving ahead of this approaching high pressure and the related weather systems is the key to success. -

Puma takes a hit

Rick Deppe/PUMA Ocean Racing/VolvoOcean Race
PUMA have sustained serious structural damage for the second time in 24 hours and are considering whether to re-route away from the rest of the fleet to Cochin.
The night before last, they crashed off a wave which caused several cracks in the longitudinal frames of the bow section. They bent the bow pulpit and shredded an asymmetric spinnaker in the process. The fix took seven hours but cost PUMA little in time to their rivals at the head of the fleet.

Then at 04:30 GMT this morning, as the fleet blasted along in 25 knots of squally southern ocean, they suffered a further blow when the boat was launched off another wave.
This time the main section of the boat took the brunt of the impact - just behind the keel frame. "This time it's a bit more serious," skipper Ken Read said. "This one may be a bit tougher to work around. Not only is this break in the central structure for the entire boat, but it will take quite a bit longer to put a fix on - maybe as long as 24 hours." -

Crash and Burn: Team Russia reports in...

Gabriele Olivo/Telefonica Blue/Volvo Ocean Race(l-r) Iker Martinez and Pepe Ribes hang on as a huge wave hits Telefonica Blue, on leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Cape Town, South Africa to Cochin, India

Rick Deppe/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean RaceThe deck of PUMA Ocean Racing, covered in water, on leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Cape Town, South Africa to Cochin, India

Guo Chuan/Green Dragon Racing/Volvo Ocean RaceIan Walker's Green Dragon sufferers a broken boom as the fleet continued to wrestle with strong gusts and treacherous seas as the second leg of the race to India turned spiteful.

After experiencing a fairly incident packed first few days on the second leg of the Volvo Ocean Race, Team Russia’s skipper Andreas Hanakamp is fairly philosophical; “We’ve had a tough few days, but no more or less than expected, that is what the Volvo Ocean Race is all about. If you push the boat to its limits, things happen like broaches. It’s a calculated risk, sometimes things go wrong and you have to recover – get on with the job and start pushing again.”

Of course Team Russian is not the only boat that has broached this leg. Unfortunately Green Dragon suffered a full Chinese gybe and reported earlier today a broken boom. Sails are being shredded all over the fleet as sailors and boats have a baptism of fire during the first few days of Leg 2.

Navigator Wouter Verbraak reports of waves roaring over the deck, intense loud slamming and hanging on to your bunk whilst trying to catch some sleep. “What’s up? I thought this was meant to be a nice sub-tropical leg,” ponders Wouter. “Forget the champagne sailing, the only bubbles we are seeing are on the camera lenses. Forget the 80s look with shorts, T-shirts and Ray-Bans, think survival suits and helmets. Forget a nice foie-gras on toast, think how do I get as many calories as possible in without spilling the whole lot on the ceiling?”

In a radio interview with Andreas earlier today, he reported that everyone on board was in good spirits, “For sometime it was very tiring, action packed sailing combined with the frustration of getting trapped in the shadow of Table Mountain just after the start. Everybody needed to get back into the rhythm of the boat, but there was no chance, once we got going we found we had some issues with the canting keel and then an electrical problem. Now we’ve solve these gremlins, the rhythm is established, people are on and off watch getting on with their job – everything is settling down and we are all fine.” Read more...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Video from day 8 onboard Artemis Ocean Racing II from Artemis Ocean Racing on Vimeo.
17th November 2008
POS 21.21.14N 018.50.78W - Wind 15 knots from 26- Boat Speed 14 knots - Heading 12

I have had a pretty busy few days since I last wrote. It has been great on board for most of the time. I am learning a lot about the boat, a lot of it the hard way - trial and error. That makes life exhausting as it involves sail changes, stacking, and manoeuvring.

The night before last, shortly after leaving the Canaries astern, the wind died off as expected. This left a biggish but decreasing sea and 4 knots of wind at times. I had started with 2 reefs, the code 5 gennaker and the staysail. I shook the reefs out (winding the mainsail back up to the top of the mast), furled away and took down the code 5, got the A3 (BIG gennaker) on deck, hoisted it, unfurled it, and the wind filled in and changed direction. So??. After a cup of tea, I then furled the A3, dropped it, got the Genoa on deck hoisted it, unfurled it, and off we went. I then had some of the most amazing sailing imaginable - reaching in flat water, beautiful sunrise at 15 knots!! This was relatively short lived, but very enjoyable - so what next; back to the code 5 and staysail, where I had started! No sleep, sweating literally buckets and no food. In the meantime it's back to square one!! Read full report...

Green Dragon breaks boom

Guo Chuan/Green Dragon Racing/Volvo Ocean Race

Just before 1100 GMT Green Dragon reported that they had broken their boom. The crew are all safe and are in contact with their shore team. They are currently 1500 miles from Mauritius.

Update from onboard
Position: 39,41.17S , 40,28.73E
I am sorry to report that we have just broken our boom in a 50 knot squall. We are in the process of recovering the parts. The situation is under control with no harm or risk to anyone. We are carrying on downwind.

Speak soon,
Ian Walker, Skipper Green Dragon

Carnage in Volvo Ocean Race

Boat email Puma Ocean Racing: Kenny Read

Not to sound like I am whinging, but I think I will anyway.

Last night sucked. OR it was great……if you are a boat builder or a sailmaker looking for work. Yikes. The proverbial "you know what" hit the fan when we got about as vertical in a sailboat as you ever want to be going down a big dark wave that sort of snuck up on us. And when going straight down a big wave the inevitable bow crash is coming into the wave in front. But this time it was different. Not only did the bow crash into the wave but the prod, the bow pulpit and about 15 feet up the Asymmetric Spinnaker we had up at the time. Bang. Spinnaker in many pieces and a long night for Justin Ferris.

Fortunately we had the broken sail down and a new sail up in about 10 minutes. We tweaked our angle and were going faster, so all good right? Wrong. About an hour later after a watch change we found another beauty of a wave, except this one had no face in front of it and ---whoosh. Take off!

The inevitable silence of a boat that feels like it is literally flying, followed up with a massive SMASH into the not very soft Indian Ocean. But this one was different than the other 10,872 smashes that have occurred over the past 48 hours or so. This one had a horrid CRACK along with it. I was working with Justin on the sail at the time and had on my headlamp and ran to the bow to quickly find several cracks in our longitudinal frames in the bow section. For those laymen out there, essentially these frames are the spine of the boat which doesn't allow it to fold in half; they also don't allow the bow to cave in when we hit waves, a kind of important piece to the puzzle.

Well, we are better now. 7 hours later. Bow repaired thanks to Casey (Casey Smith) and Mickey (Michael Muller), and the kite back in one piece thanks to Justin (Justin Ferris). All the rest of the team filling in with sailing duties and helping repair when asked. Big efforts and a feeling of complete exhaustion as well as satisfaction that we are back in the game and going full speed again. Read more...

Clean Start for Sodeb’O

© A.Courcoux /

The maxi-trimaran Sodeb’O crossed the start line of the solo round the world race against the clock in a multihull today, Tuesday 18th November, just minutes before 1400 hours GMT, that is at 13 hours 54 minutes and 14 seconds GMT precisely. There was 15 to 17 knots of N/NW’ly wind and the boat was making headway under one reef mainsail and staysail. To beat Francis Joyon’s record, Thomas Coville will have to pass the Petit Minou lighthouse at the entrance to Brest harbour by 15th January 2009 at 03 hours, 27 minutes and 20 seconds GMT at the latest. - by Kate Jennings -

Monday, November 17, 2008

Vendee Globe Daily Update Day 7 Video

© SEM Vendée

Kenny "like a pair of dice hitting a craps table..."

Sally Collison/PUMA Ocean Racing
Another spectacular send off. Cape Town had some lofty expectations to live up to and not only did the city, the country, and the people live up to them, they blew us away. We can't thank all the folks we met enough- both the locals and the troops at PUMA. It was sad to leave. And as always it was sad to leave our families and friends, not to mention the shore team who did a spectacular job getting the boat in great shape over a tough couple weeks. I bet the shore team wasn't too sad to see us leave!

With that said, we are leaving with avengeance! I am actually struggling to write this note because we're getting thrown around the boat like a pair of dice hitting a craps table. Our start couldn't have been better- gorgeous day and a quick lead for the fine yacht 'il mostro'. But it didn't last long...the infamous wind hole under Table Mountain played her tricks on us and we went from having a large lead to being stuck in a glue pot watching a few others sail by. We had a strategy- expecting the hole, but the strategy to get offshore quickly didn't exactly work to plan. Anyway, after a gorgeous beat down the coast with eight Volvo 70's tacking along the mountains in 20-25 knots of wind, we caught up with the race leader E3 just at sunset right off Cape Point. A great day if you liked to sail.

Also as anticipated, the night brought a shift in the weather and a chance to get across a ridge into the Southern Ocean westerlies being carried by a large low pressure system coming from the west. Well we did it. A morning check in with E4 about a half mile from us (no shocker!) and a building breeze led us to where we are now. Careening down waves in 27 knots of breeze against 2 plus knots of current called the Agulhas Current, trying to write this note. And, it’s a bit moist on deck...nasty right now actually.

One small issue on board is a bit of a flu that has taken hold- not very much fun for a few of us. And the great news for the rest of the group is they can almost be guaranteed to get the cold eventually,based on the unavoidable hygiene on a lovely V-70 petri dish. Which is why this may be one of the more bland notes you will (hopefully) read from il mostro. I need some more Advil! My head is killing me, and it's not just the flu. I just smashed it into a winch structure under deck getting my foul weather gear off. You would think that I would know it was there by now!
- Kenny -

Single-handed attempt by Sodeb'O

Thomas Coville, skipper of Sodeb'O, will start his Single-handed round the world record attempt aboard a multihull tomorrow, Tuesday 18th November as favourable weather window is due to open.

[By Kate Jennings] For the past few days the skipper of the Maxi Trimaran Sodeb'O, accompanied by his routers and team, has been observing the evolution of a highly favourable weather window. A departure is likely to be envisaged tomorrow Tuesday 18th November.

The weather conditions enabling a descent from Brest to the equator in less than 7 days looks possible, but there is still some doubt as regards the strength of the wind between the Canaries and Cape Verde. The team is still allowing itself the day to refine the precise hour of departure, which could take place from Tuesday morning at dawn. The decision will be made this evening, at around 2200 hours, after analysing the final grib files.
The situation at the start of the course is proving to be ideal. After setting out from Brest in a NW’ly air flow, Sodeb’O will go in search of a point to gybe in the Azores High, which is positioned a long way north and will then generate a steady E’ly tradewind enabling Thomas to adopt a direct course towards Cape Verde and the Doldrums. A first team is currently heading towards Brest where the boat has been on standby since 29th October.
Their missions? A final careening session, sail preparation and victualling with fresh products…In order to beat the solo round the world record held since 20th January 2008 by Francis Joyon, Thomas Coville will have to return to Brest in less than 57 days, 13 hours, 34 minutes and 6 seconds. -

Team Mowgli takes third...

Team Mowgli sails into Cape Town under full sail
By Brian Hancock: The British yacht, Team Mowgli, co-skippered by Jeremy Salvesen and David Thomson, finished Leg 1 of the Portimão Global Ocean Race as a stiff southeasterly wind had them scrambling to reduce sail the last mile into Cape Town. After a terrific morning under clear skies and with a Code 5 spinnaker set, the duo ran out of wind in the lee of Table Mountain. Flopping around on a glassy sea Salvesen and Thomson were able to savour the spectacular scenery and relish their accomplishment. “What’s with this no wind?” Jeremy yelled across the water. Moments later the southeasterly kicked in and Team Mowgli took off, charging across the line with the rail buried and grins the size Table Mountain plastered in the faces of the two sailors. Team Mowgli crossed the line at 09:22:45 UTC, 11:22:45 local time in South Africa.
It had been an eventful race for the two sailors. Salvesen, who had not stepped on a boat a few short years ago was thrilled with the sailing and awed by their arrival in Cape Town. “This has been an extraordinary experience for both David and myself,” he said. “It has far exceeded anything I ever thought it would be. I am new to sailing. Now I am racing around the world in a superb yacht race enjoying some amazingly close racing. What else can I say, I am just so please to be here in Cape Town.” Full race report...

Yachting: Oil on Troubled waters

[Excepts form by Paul Lewis] In the end, the inevitable happened. "We [Vuitton] left the America's Cup because of the relationship with ACM - they were too commercial, too interested in money and the budget for 2007 was 10 times what it had been for the regatta here in New Zealand in 2003 [400m euro as opposed 40 million]," he says.

"We were not getting 10 times the return on investment. Valencia was a big local success and you will read stories about the millions of Spanish people who went there - but they went there to lick ice cream and look at the facilities. They were not really interested in the regatta."
But it wasn't just the money, the payback, with Trouble and Louis Vuitton. It never has been. Scratch the surface of the America's Cup and you will readily find people to tell you how both have always had the heart and the tradition of the Cup in mind. Trouble was an Olympic sailor, an America's Cup sailor, the man who conceived and then ran the Louis Vuitton Cup for challengers, and then a sponsor who became an integral part of the event.

Alinghi ramped up the costs and tried to widen the commercial scope of the America's Cup, potentially losing its exclusivity and traditions. He likens the approach, with a Gallic sniff, to "soccer".

So Louis Vuitton had "a lot of big arguments" with ACM but retained a good relationship with the challengers. When Emirates Team New Zealand chief Grant Dalton first raised the idea of the LVPS, Trouble wasn't sure but later went back to ETNZ with a proposal.

"You know, I wanted to call this the Revival Cup," says Trouble, that grin playing again. "Louis Vuitton decided not to go with that name and we chose Pacific Series because it is in the Pacific region and because the word `pacific' also means to do with peace. That's what we wanted to bring."

He says Louis Vuitton is not expecting signiifcant return on investment for the LVPS either - but he says it is about bringing back a positive environment; an investment in the `psychology' of America's Cup-style racing. When the idea was mooted, the America's Cup was marooned in the courts (it still is) and nothing was happening - no racing, no talks, nothing except a lot of syndicates with severely holed bank balances and sponsors gaining no visibility. Read the full article here.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Volvo Ocean Race Start Leg 2

Rick Tomlinson/Volvo Ocean Race
After a short delay, the start of Leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2008/09 kicked off in style in Table Bay, Cape Town today. PUMA screamed off the line breaking free of the chasing pack as they approached the first mark. Green Dragon, found clear air off the line and held their speed against Ericsson 4 and Telefoncia Blue, following PUMA and Ericsson 4 around the first mark in third place.

It was PUMA and Green Dragon who chose port tack, as the remaining fleet tacked to starboard towards the second mark, a move that paid off for the Dragon and the cat as they sailed into a stronger breeze. But it wasn’t to last. Ericsson 4 came storming across the Dragon’s bow slipping ahead of them around the second mark, followed by Telefoncia Blue. Ian Walker and his crew were hot on their heels in fourth, but the 25 knot conditions did not last. Shortly after rounding the second mark the fleet began to line up like ducks in a row as they headed along the coast to Camps Bay.

PUMA, who had dominated the fleet from the start were caught in a hole, Table Bay had swallowed them up as the rest of the fleet crept up from behind. Ericsson 4 took over pole and the big cat was stalled on the water. It was clear that the boats needed to find the wind shift as they hunted out the south westerly breeze that was expected. The crews watched in dismay as they found themselves becalmed. For PUMA it would prove to be a frustrating afternoon. They were soon to find themselves at the back of the fleet overtaken by Delta Lloyd and struggling to hook into the breeze.

But it was the Dragon who made the first move in the chasing pack, edging out of the hole and away from the fleet. They made a strong break, sticking close to the shore taking second place, and chasing hard behind Ercisson 4.

Skipper, Ian Walker, commented before the start, “We have had a few problems over the last few days, I’m incredibly glad that we managed to get some time out on the water. Breaking a spreader so close to the start was hard, but both the shore crew and several members of the sailing team have worked around the clock to replace the broken section. We really can’t wait to get out there and start this leg. It is going to be a tough one for everybody. Conditions over the next few days look tricky as we sail through incredible lights airs and into heavy conditions. It’s certainly going to be an interesting one and I really hope that we can hold our position on the leaderboard”.

Current forecasts show shifty conditions over the first 24 hours. The fleet will face a moderate southerly 10 knot breeze as they head south, with the potential to get caught in a band of high pressure with winds as low as 5 knots. It should be a tricky road to India as the teams face a long tactical battle ahead.

Positions 1400 GMT

1. Ericsson 4
2. Telefoncia Blue
3. Green Dragon
4. Ericsson 3
6 Telefoncia Black
7. Delta Loyd
8. Team Russia

Read more news at -

Friday, November 14, 2008

Vendee Globe video and updates

© SEM Vendée - Here is some great footage from the Vendee Globe along with interviews from onboard a few boats. -

Portimao Race: Tension mounting

The tension is mounting as the Portimao Global Ocean Race Tracker addicts anxiously await each three-hourly poll to see if the gap between the German team, Beluga Racer, and the Chileans aboard Desafio Cabo de Hornos, is closing. And it is closing - fast. At the 12:20 UTC poll on Thursday Beluga Racer led by a comfortable 190 nautical miles. Twenty four hours later the gap is down to just 89 miles as the Chileans storm up from behind on a fresh breeze. Aboard Beluga Racer there is not much co-skippers Boris Herrmann and Felix Oehme can do except sail hard, and pray. And, it seems, write poetry. To ease the tension Felix put pen to paper and sent us this missive.Go Baby, go! Is there anything Boris and I can do for you?
Do you feel comfortable with a heeling angle of 20° and the balance of main and foresail?

You like some more tension on the main sheet? I can put it on.And you prefer some more water in the windward water ballast tank? I can pump some water in.You do not like the Genoa, you’d like the Code 0? I can change sails as you wish.Do you like me to ease the traveller slightly? I do that for you.Your batteries are flat? I can recharge them.Anything you want, but “Go Baby, go”. Catch the wind with you sails. Cut the waves with your bow and swing your rudders through the water. Fly towards Cape Town as fast as you can. -Read more at

More On AC33 Appeals

Nov. 13, 2008

It is important to keep in mind why GGYC is fighting this case. We are fighting an attempt by SNG to circumvent the rules of the America’s Cup by installing a sham yacht club as Challenger of Record in order to create an unfair protocol that gives it unprecedented and lopsided control of the contest.

We are in no way fighting to exclude other challengers from the America's Cup, as today's SNG court brief falsely alleges. In fact, we were compelled to begin preparations for a default match in a multi-hull solely because of Alinghi's refusal to negotiate with us toward an AC 32-type protocol. As we have consistently and publicly stated – and made abundantly clear to Ernesto Bertarelli – it has always been our intent to negotiate a conventional multi-challenger regatta with fair and competitive rules.

To underscore just how unfair and anti-competitive Alinghi’s AC33 rules are:

The Defender, through ACM (the management company controlled by Ernesto Bertarelli), can change any of the rules at any time and can impose any new rule or restriction on the competitors. They only need the agreement of CNEV, the Defender’s compliant Challenger of Record.

None of the Challengers, except CNEV, has any vote on any matter. Moreover, CNEV is specifically exempted from acting on behalf of the other Challengers.

For the first time ever, the Challenger Selection Series is under the complete control of the Defender.

These and other fundamental fairness issues have not been addressed, and as a result several major contenders and a major sponsor have been driven from the event.

Our position remains clear: we will drop our lawsuit if SNG adopts fair and competitive rules for AC33. Otherwise, we will vigorously pursue this case and we are confident we will prevail.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Alex Thomson out of the Vendee Globe

Alex Thomson has officially retired from the Vendee Globe race today. The damage sustained to his IMOCA Open 60 yacht HUGO BOSS on Monday night is not repairable by next Wednesday’s restart deadline. It is thought the damage was sustained by a collision with a submerged object.
There is a transverse crack that runs through the outer and inner skin of the boat. The crack extends 5 metres to almost the centreline. The unidirectional fibres that make up the outside layer of the boat have peeled off from the start of the crack to the back of the boat. There is also a 10cm x 10cm compression to the hull which has pushed the core in and a deflection inside the hull.

Alex Thomson speaking on news that HUGO BOSS cannot be repaired in time for the restart: “They think that the repairs are going take a matter of weeks not a matter of days, so it means I’m out of the race, that that’s, the end. So four years and this is where we get to, it’s very disappointing. But enough’s enough, we’ve looked at it and if there was a possibility of fixing it we’d fix it. But apparently there isn’t a possibility. “

“It’s just awful, not just for me but the team, you know we worked really hard and built a new boat, just to get ready for this one race, and to be out of it just three days in just doesn’t feel right at all, it feels very hard to be back here again.”

Asked if Thomson’s dream of completing the Vendee Globe is over: “We will be back here in 2012 to do it again, we are not going to give up now. We know we’ve got a great team of people and the dream isn’t over for sure, we’re just going to have to put it off for a while .“

“It’s gutting, I feel very sad not only for me, but also my sponsors and the team. These things happen in sailing, you just have to pick yourself up and move forward, my Vendee dreams are not over.” Concluded Thomson.

Speaking to Pascal Conq this morning he explained their thoughts on what could have happened to cause the 5metre long crack. “There is an area of compression on the hull, which has also pushed the core in, plus there is a deflection inside the inside the hull which would signify an impact with something underwater. We have ruled out panel failure from the boat slamming into the waves as the panels run in the wrong direction for the crack.”

Asked if the structural damage was in anyway related to the fishing boat impact last month. “Of course at this stage we can’t say this isn’t anything to do with the fishing boat impact, we will continue to investigate.” Explained Pascal Conq, the designer of HUGO BOSS. -


Fabrizio Prandini / Melges Europe
The new Melges 20 had its eagerly awaited European launch in Italy a few weeks ago and Melges Performance Sailboats CEO, Harry Melges was there to gauge the first hand reaction to the latest addition of an already outstanding family of products. We caught up with him to find out how it felt to launch the Melges 20 in Europe. “It was really incredible introducing the new Melges 20 in Europe and sailing for the first time on Lake Garda. Without a doubt this is one of the most beautiful places in the world to sail and it was just awesome,” said Melges.

It was clearly no accident that Melges Europe chief Federico Michetti chose the Fraglia Vela Malcesine as the base for the first public viewing of the Melges 20 and Harry was particularly impressed with the venue. “The people at the Fraglia Vela Malcesine have been fantastic. And what a location! With twenty-five knots in the morning, and fifteen to eighteen in the afternoon we were able to sail the new Melges 20 in a variety of nice conditions. We were really able to put the new boat through its paces. It was just a blast. Awesome sailing conditions and everyone on board took a turn at the helm. It was great to see all the crews driving and the competition between drivers on each boat was really fun.”

So how does Harry feel about the performance of Melges’s first three-person sportsboat? “The new boat exceeds our expectations in performance both upwind and down and is a pleasure to sail,” he commented, but urged us not to take his word for it. Local sailing hero Daniele Cassinari of North Sails also boasted, “This boat is incredible to sail. I feel young again!”

This sort of comment is typical of those who have sailed the Melges 20. “So far the response has been great. People are impressed with how comfortable the boat is and especially how good the helm feels and how fast it is. It’s really easy to sail and she is very responsive and forgiving.”

Melges was delighted to see such a range of European sailors keen to try the Melges 20. “We're really targeting a very broad market. The boats are easy to sail for both men and women, especially youth. Since the boats are easily driven, the sheets have very little load on them. We are maintaining the ‘category one’ driver status to appeal to Corinthian sailors. We feel this is a great platform for sailors of all ages and genders to learn to sail sportboats at a high level.”

Pleased with the feedback from the sailors after their first taste of the Melges 20, Melges pointed out some key attributes. “The most important aspect of the Melges 20 development is the rig and sail plan. It was great to confirm that the new softer rigs are really sweet in a breeze and further refined sail shapes have improved upwind performance and handling in the higher wind ranges. The message we received in Italy was that these refinements have resulted in the Melges 20 being easy to sail no matter what the conditions.”

The reaction of the European sailing community to the Melges 20 is phenomenal and Melges believes that the new class is in safe hands with Melges Europe. “Federico Michetti, Luisa Bambozzi and Giorgio Tortarolo form an incredible, dedicated team. Their energy level is contagious and most importantly they are passionate about their work. It has been a joy to be with them at the launch of our new twenty-footer.”