Monday, June 29, 2009

Going for it...

Video by gcammar
While the surfers are dropping in double overhead bombs at Ala Moana Bowls, a small sailboat tries to sail out of a closing out channel of the Ala Wai harbor

Long Beach Race Week - It was so windy...

Day 3/David Bassett-Parkins' Emirage II, shown in an earlier mark rounding, later snagged a mark, fell to last place and lost the PHRF-1 title

Day 3/A spectacular finish to the regatta for Richard Fish's Schock 35, Outlier
Photos Alamitos Bay Yacht Club

Sailors from these parts will tell you that San Diego 100 miles to the south is not the windiest venue on the West Coast."That's why we enjoy coming up here," Chuck Nichols said late Sunday afternoon. And when Acura presents Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week with weather conditions like 132 boats in 18 classes found this past weekend, Nichols and his border-area peers tend to make the most of it.

Nichols, Chris Snow and Mark Surber came on strong in the last two races Sunday to win, respectively, the J/120, J/24 and PHRF-1 classes, reveling in winds of 15 to 20 knots. It was so windy that even the local Alamitos Bay and Long Beach Yacht Clubs that organized the event were impressed by the benevolence of nature that blessed the West Coast's largest keelboat regatta. more+

Sunday, June 28, 2009


After months of preparation, the boats in Divisions 6 and 7 will parade away from Transpac Pier at Rainbow Harbor in Long Beach and head out for the first of three starts in the 45th running of the Transpacific Yacht Race, the most enduring and greatest yacht race in the world. The start will take place off of Point Fermin. Spectators will be able to watch from the water and from the bluffs of Point Fermin Park, the most southerly point in Los Angeles.

The start is scheduled for 1300 on Monday, June 29th. The traditional and spirited Aloha send-off begins when the tall ship, Lynx leaves the dock at 0900.
Boats in Division 6 are:

RELENTLESS (San Diego, CA), a Nelson Marek 35 skippered by Tim Fuller. NARROW ESCAPE (Nanaimo, Canada), Greg Constable's Fast 40. J World's J 120 (Honolulu, HI), skippered by Wayne Zittel. BLOODHOUND (Kaneohe, HI), Reed Bernhard's Hobie 33, the smallest boat in the fleet. ADDICTION (Honolulu, HI), Richard Blackburn's J 35, skippered by his stepdaughter, Lindsey Austin. CHARISMA, (Barcelona, Spain), a Sparkman & Stevens 57 owned by Alejandro Perez Calzada.

Boats in Division 7, the Aloha Division, are of many shapes and sizes and their crews know that they have a long trip ahead of them. Aloha Division boats include:

LYNX, a 78-foot square topsail schooner, designed by Melbourne Smith and launched in 2001. BETWEEN THE SHEETS (Marina del Rey, CA), a Jeanneau 50 skippered by Ross Pearlman. FAR NIENTE (Dana Point, CA), Patrick Hearne's Catalina 42. SILENT RUNNING (Santa Cruz, CA), a Jeanneau 42.5 owned by Bruce and Pam Orisek. HASSEL (Long Beach, CA), Larry Martinberg's Catalina 38. ALASKA EAGLE, (Newport Beach, CA) a Sparkman & Stephens 65, which also serves the communications vessel for the entire 48-boat fleet.

It is hoped that the entire Transpac fleet, including the boats that start on July 2nd and July 5th, will arrive in Hawaii at about the same time. That could be anytime between July 12 and July 15, depending on the weather conditions that the fleet encounters during the 2,225 nautical mile race.

- Follow the Transpac and play the Seahorse International Sailing & World Regattas Transpac Trivia on the official event site. Become a Transpac fan on Facebook.

Transpac TV

Transpac Pier at Rainbow Harbor Long Beach, CA For those of you who live in the L.A.- Orange County television markets, KTLA Channel 5 will be broadcasting part of the morning show from the deck of Alfa Romeo starting at 6 AM. Hope you'll tune in!

Top 3

Rick Tomlinson/Volvo Ocean Race.
Volvo Ocean Race overall public prize giving in St Petersburg
Winners of the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09, Ericsson 4, skippered by Torben Grael (BRA) are presented the Fighting Finish trophy

Barking Mad wins Farr 40 Worlds for a third time


MANGUSTA RISK (ITA) struggles on downwind run ... Photo credit: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo


You cannot ask for much more. Tremendous racing conditions with a building Mistral and a lumpy sea, made worse by the constant attention of the spectator fleet. Porto Cervo laid it on thick and the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds 2009 delivered. None more so than the new World Champions Barking Mad (USA) and runners up, Nerone (ITA).

Two races were sailed in winds from the northwest that gusted to the mid-twenties and stretched the already tired crews on the last day of competition. The scene was fit for a Championship finale and the two leading contenders made sure the curtain did not fall on the regatta without a flourish from those on stage. Nerone put her marker down to win the first race of the day and set up a winner takes all, second and final race - the tenth in this intensely fought series. Mascalzone Latino, the three times World Champions won the race, but the all-too significant result was Jim Richardson and Barking Mad crossing the line ahead of Massimo Mezzaroma's Nerone to secure the title for a third time. The first time an American boat has won outside of their home waters.

The day was all about who would cope best with the pressure. Without question both the two leading teams wanted the win desperately. Even Joe Fly (ITA) - runners-up in 2008 - could not be discounted. A sixteen-point gap to the front could easily be bridged if those ahead failed to keep their heads to the end.

Nerone went out all guns blazing. Once again she took the left side of the course popping out from the pin; tactician Vasco Vascotto relying on his vast experience in these waters to take the initiative early, “I've sailed here for twenty years and usually with these kind of conditions you need to go left.” He could not have been more right. First to the windward mark, Nerone led around the track to win from Giovanni Maspero's Joe Fly and Helmut Jahn's Flash Gordon (USA). Barking Mad, meanwhile, had opted for the centre and according to Richardson, things did not go as well as intended, “the first race today we probably started a little too conservatively and got in a bad spot, in too close to another boat. We had to do a clearing tack, and then got tacked on a few times, and we were deep for a while.” Read more...

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Mark Strube Interview on Kiel

By Kristien Lane: Team

K. Lane: I am here with Mark Strube who’s a member of Team Brick House 539 where he does the bow. He’s fresh off a victory at Kiel in the competitive Olympic Star class. Mark, first off congratulations on a strong win in Kiel. That’s a big time event to win and you did it convincingly. Tell us how you did it?

MS: Thank you Kristen, The biggest thing that contributed to our victory was consistency. We finished with two 3rds and two 4ths. Only getting 4 races in didn't allow for a throw-out. Some of the other top teams had at least one bad race they had to count. Going into the medal race, which counts double, we were two points behind Ian Percy, the current Olympic Gold medalist.

He was sailing very well. On the medal race day, his crew, "Bart" Simpson, had to go meet the Queen, having won the Gold Medal. Well, their coach filled in. Not to take anything away from the coach but they hadn't sailed together and he was about 50 lbs lighter. Needless to say they didn't do so well. We finished second in the Medal race, behind Pepper/Monk who moved into second overall.

K. Lane: On the Star you sail with Mark Mendemblat. How did the two of you come together and describe what that sailing partnership is like.

MS: Mark and I met while sailing for the One World America's Cup team. He was still sailing lasers at the time and went to Athens in "04. He wanted to move into the star class after that and he and I were a good fit (weight wise). I had been sailing the star for 10 years at the time. It is a partnership in that communication is key. There is a lot of idea sharing both on and off the water. Logistics is also important. If one of us is at another regatta, the other has to make sure the boat gets to where it needs to go and gets set up. We agree on a lot of things but when there is a disagreement you need to discuss it and not get upset or take it personal. This is a team effort and both of us have the same goals, to medal at the next Olympics.

K. Lane: Tell us about your Star boat.
MS: We have two right now, a Lillia and a Mader. We have been sailing the Mader which is a little different to what we were use to. Our first regatta in Palma didn't go as well as we hoped but we have made big strides in the setup and sails and are well on our way to maximizing performance in the boat.

K. Lane: Alright. Let’s get into some more personal and interesting information, if you don’t mind. Anyone who has met you knows from simply looking at you that you’re an athlete. What are you, 6’ 5”? (Side note: standing next to Mark on the dock makes me look petite and thin...) In fact, you look more like a football player then a sailor. As it turns out, you and football have a past. Tell us about it: Read the rest of the interview...

Sail Fast!
Kristen Lane

Friday, June 26, 2009

Block by Block: Block Island Race Week

Some photos of Block Island Race Week.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Puma take an early lead...

Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race
The fleet under way at the start of leg 10 from Stockholm to St Petersburg.
A FAST START TO LEG 10 by Lucy Harwood Green Dragon Press Officer
The fleet set sail today for Leg 10 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2008/09. It is the final leg of a 37,000 mile journey around the planet. It was an early start for the crews as they left the dock in Stockholm in front of a large crowd at 0730 local time (GMT +2). The seven boats motored for several hours to reach the start line off Sandhamn a small Island in the Swedish archipelago. Team Russia who arrived late on Tuesday afternoon will sail with the fleet to Russia but not as part of the race, and will just shadow the fleet to St. Petersburg.

Racing kicked off at 1400 with a perfect 10 – 12 knot breeze. PUMA, Telefonica Blue and Ericsson 4 had the best start off the line, with Green Dragon chasing hard behind Ericsson 4 as they approached the first mark. The Dragon made gains on the first run and slipped inside to take third place as they rounded the mark. Flat water and a stable breeze meant prefect conditions for the fleet to stretch their legs and power up over the short start course.

Ken Read and his crew who are now assured a second place overall in the race, took control and charged out into open water after leading the fleet round both buoys before heading to out to sea. Telefonica Blue held second whilst Green Dragon had a strong start rolling Ericsson 4 and taking third. Ericsson 3, Telefónica Black and Delta Lloyd were left playing catch up in the second string. The good conditions for the start are not expected to last for the whole leg, as the fleet face upwind sailing for the 400 miles to Russia. Within 24 hours the breeze is expected to die and light, shifty conditions will see the fleet into the finish. Race rules allow for Race Director, Jack Lloyd, to shorten the 400-mile course if necessary.
The fleet must arrive in St Petersburg on Saturday morning in order to clear customs and pass through two bridges, which will be raised specially in order to let the fleet into the historic city.
You can keep up to date with the latest news from the water through the Volvo Ocean Race twitter feed -

U.S. Youth Sailing Championship 2009

The Nation’s Elite Young Sailors Ready to Compete at U.S. Youth Sailing Championship US SAILING Championship Season Begins Today at Indian Harbor Yacht Club in Greenwich, Conn.

Every sport season has their eagerly anticipated and much celebrated opening day. US SAILING, the national governing body of the sport, presents its version of opening day for the summer and fall seasons with the U.S. Youth Sailing Championship on June 25-30, hosted by the Indian Harbor Yacht Club in Greenwich, Conn. Sponsored by LaserPerformance and Gill North America, the U.S. Youth Sailing Championship is the pinnacle of youth sailing competition in the United States.

The waters of Long Island Sound will be the site for this year’s championship, where 116 of the country’s top single- and doublehanded young sailors, both girls and boys, ranging from 13 to 19 years of age, will race Lasers, Laser Radials, 29ers, and Club 420s. US SAILING has selected this field of sailors from across the country, including the U.S. Virgin Islands, based on their sailing resumes and performance at regional, national, and international competitions.

Among those to watch in the Laser Radial class will be Marissa Lihan (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.). She has been consistently improving over the past year, and in 2008 she finished second at the U.S. Junior Women’s Singlehanded Championship. She won the ISAF Youth Worlds Qualifier this year, and after the championship she will leave to represent the United States in Brazil at the 2009 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championships. Lihan is also a member of the US Sailing Team - U18. She will be rivaled by Boston College standout, Anne Haeger (Lake Forest, Ill.), who won the 2008 College National Singlehanded Championship in Laser Radials.

This year’s Laser class competition should be closely contested. A pair of former U.S. Youth Sailing Champions will square off in this year’s event. Colin Smith (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.), winner of the 2007 Laser division and second place in the Laser Radial division last year; and Ian Heausler (Tampa, Fla.), winner of the 2007 Laser Radial division will be vying for another title. This will be Heausler’s first appearance in the Laser fleet at this championship. Read more...

Golden day for Aussie girls in Germany

The final day of racing in Kiel turned out to be a golden day for the Australian Sailing Development Squad women with Katie Spithill winning an all-Australian Women’s Match Racing final and Stacey Hall and Chelsea Omay claiming victory in the 470 women’s medal race to finish fourth overall.

The Women’s Match Racing semi-finals saw Spithill taking on the French crew while Nicky Souter went up against the Dutch. Spithill wasted no time getting into the final, knocking out the French with three straight wins, while Souter eliminated the Dutch three victories to one.

Nicky Souter and her crew of Jess Eastwell and Olivia Price got off to a great start in the final, taking a two race to nil lead in the best of five series. But not to be outdone Katie Spithill, Nicole Douglass and Nina Curtis fought back to level the series at two-all before winning the final race to clinch the series.

Women’s Match Racing coach Dayne Sharp said that all four Australian crews gained a lot of experience racing in round six of the ISAF Sailing World Cup and the all-Australian final showed that the squad is progressing well.

“I am very pleased with the results,” said Sharp. “We achieved our aim of an All-Australian final and both crews fought hard. Our experience in Elliott 6’s has definitely paid off here, despite the differences between the boats we’ve used before and the new models being used at this regatta and for the Olympic Games.”

From Kiel the Women’s Match Racing Squad travels to Sweden to compete in the Women’s Match Racing tour event, the Swedish Match Cup, in preparation for the ISAF Women’s World Match Racing Championship, also in Sweden, in late July, early August.

The only other Aussies to race today were West Australians Stacey Omay & Chelsea Hall in the women’s 470 medal race. Omay & Hall went into the race in seventh place, knowing they had to perform well to move up the ladder.

The pair started solidly before moving from fourth place to take the lead halfway through the race. Omay & Hall showed good composure to maintain their lead as the next group of five boats was not far behind and included those crews that the Australians needed to beat.

The Australians pushed on and crossed the line first, with the medal race victory seeing them move up to fourth overall, their best ever placing at Kiel Week.

West Australian Institute of Sport coach, Belinda Stowell, who was in Kiel to work with the girls, was very pleased with the result.

“The maturity and composure showed by the girls to gain and then maintain the lead was outstanding,” said Stowell. “It was one of the areas we focused on before the race and I am very happy that they were able to put it into practice and get the result they deserve.” -

The Maxi Trimaran Banque Populaire V in New York!

The French boat MAXI TRIMARAN BANQUE POPULAIRE V, the largest ocean racing trimaran in the world, arrived the 27th of June in New-York! Then it will be on stand-by to establish the North Atlantic record (from New York to the Lizard, England).
The boat will be moored on the gateway marina in Brooklyn and it will be sailing a while in the bay of Manhattan before the departure for the record.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

THE FINAL LEG: Green Dragon Racing

The fleet will set sail from the city of Stockholm for the 400 mile leg to St Petersburg in Russia tomorrow afternoon (25/06/09) at 1400 local time (GMT +2). It will mark the final leg of the Volvo Ocean Race 2008/09 and the final opportunity to claim crucial points for teams wanting to secure their overall place on the leaderboard.

Whilst the 400 miles should be a short leg, current forecasts suggest light and tricky conditions, which will make the final miles of the race a frustratingly slow time for the crews onboard. With Ian Moore back in the UK waiting the impending arrival on his second child, Jean-Luc Nelias who joined the crew for the In Port racing, will remain onboard for Leg 10. “We have someone fresh, new and motivated to do a good job onboard, which I think is what we need right now. It would be very easy to get caught just going through the motions, so I’m hoping Jean-Luc will help to keep us on our toes. The forecast is upwind and for conditions to become increasingly lighter as we get to the finish. Hopefully we won’t park up and we’ll get there in time, we are all looking forward to getting to St Petersburg,” Ian Walker. Also stepping onboard will be Sander Vander Borch who is a guest of Bwin one of Green Dragon’s principal sponsors. Under race rules all teams are allowed to take a guest onboard for every leg, they are prohibited from sailing the boat in anyway, but can live with the crew and ultimately experience life on these extreme racing machines.

Leg 10 will see the fleet sail across the Baltic Sea and then east down the Gulf of Finland to St Petersburg. “The forecast shows good conditions for the start out of Stockholm with a north easterly 8 – 12 knots and this should last for the first couple of hundred miles, but it will be an predominantly upwind leg with conditions become increasingly lighter as we approach St. Petersburg. The leg will see us dealing with shifty conditions and some tactical options such as whether to sail south or north of the Gulf of Finland. It has the potential to be an interesting leg which may throw us some surprises along the way, at present the leg should take approximately 48 hours, with an eta into St. Petersburg on Saturday afternoon,” Green Dragon navigator Jean-luc Nelias.

For the first time since Singapore the fleet is back up to eight boats as Team Russia returns to the race after arriving into Stockholm late yesterday afternoon. This 400 miles will be the culmination of 37,000 miles of ocean racing for the eight Volvo 70’s and their crews. “This next leg will mark the completion of an epic journey for our whole team. It has been three years in the planning and we have had many highs and lows along the way. I am incredibly proud of the whole team both on shore and the crew on the boat and I am sure it will be a special moment when we cross the finish line into Russia” Skipper Ian Walker

Listen to the latest interview with Watch Captain Damian Foxall here

For latest information on the start course, visit the official Stockholm Stopover website -

Groupama 3 : "Route des filiales", Lisbonne, dernière escale

Près de 10.000 milles parcourus depuis le mois de mars, plus de 550 personnes embarquées, cette route des filiales a été un fier succès. Dernière escale : Lisbonne avec la rencontre de la filiale de Groupama au Portugal, Groupama Seguros.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Artemis II Refit

Photos by Lloyd Images Mark Lloyd - Pictures of Artemis Ocean Racing II being worked on by a team of boat builders during her refit at Saxon Wharf. Southampton
Artemis II IMOCA 60 refit – Gringo’s update:

"Artemis II is currently undergoing a refit at Saxon Wharf in Southampton, and is barely recognisable! We have brought in a great team of boat builders led by Paul Quinn to aid in our quest for a lighter boat. The key actions of the refit which we are undertaking have been decided from the results of the testing that was carried out in France alongside BT. Whilst being a well-built and strong boat, Artemis II is significantly above her fighting weight, and we need to do everything we can to close the gap in this refit. In particular this disability will hurt most in the Transat Jacques Vabre, which this year is a predominately light airs downwind race to Costa Rica.”

Technical Director, Neil Graham, summarises the current phase of work: “There were a number of positive points that came from the testing in particular in upwind conditions, but performance downwind is compromised by being overweight at present. Objective for this season, is to get as close to the performance of the leading division of new IMOCA 60’s as we can in the TJV, but without making changes to the major elements of rig and keel. However, we have embarked on studies in this areas for the project in 2010 should it continue after the TJV in November.”
Gringo continues on the detail of the work: “The main modifications underway in the refit are the removal of the entire steering system, and replacement with much lighter tiller arms. The Fleet 77 ‘dome’ satellite antenna needs removing and will be replaced with a smaller unit on the foredeck. The mainsheet track is to be reduced in length and the supporting structure removed. There are a million other jobs or modifications that are taking place, such as the relocation of the nav station, and full review of the electronics systems."

To read Gringo’s and Neil Graham’s technical report in full, go to

Rolex Farr 40 World Championship 2009

Photo credit: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo: Fleet sailing downwind during practice race.
For the 26 crews gathered in Porto Cervo for the twelfth Rolex Farr 40 World Championship, the last few days have been a frenzy of checks and practice, as the main event looms large on the horizon. With ten nations represented, this year's Championship is a truly international affair. Ten races are scheduled, every one of which will count. The margin for error will be unfriendly and small. No one could be accused of trying to talk the talk ahead of this event, but tomorrow we will have a clue as to who is prepared enough to walk the walk.

The nine Italian crews with the reigning and back-to-back three-time champion in their midst, are undoubtedly pre-start favourites to put forward a worthy winner. They will not have it all their own way. The heavy hitters from the USA count a two-time former champion in their ranks and the Australian teams are stacked with top-quality sailors. The French and Germans field immense experience and are capable of the consistency required to win. The Danes and Greeks are not here to make up the numbers. And, whilst the crews from Great Britain and the Ukraine may be outsiders in the Farr 40 Class, with a changeable weather forecast offering a mix of light and strong conditions over the four days of racing, there remains room for even those with the longest odds to dream. Read more...

For more information about the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds including entry and crew lists, tracking, live reporting from the racecourse and results please visit

Harbor Wing Ocean Trimaran

Harbor Wing has now completed the initial design for the production level prototype of our open ocean Trimaran vessel, the HWT X-3. It will incorporate technology proven by rigorous testing of our HWT X-1 prototype. This vessel will integrate our highly developed unmanned guidance and control systems, sophisticated long range communications and powerful radar and telemetry capabilities with the robust tri-hull design.”

Maturing development of our patent pending WingSail design will include advanced features such as a “wing on wing” design which will allow for more finite control by allowing for independent articulation of the top and bottom sections of the WingSail. Click here to see demo on The Harbor Wing Autonomous Unmanned Surface Vessel


Photo Rick Tomlinson/Volvo Ocean Race.
Team Russia, skippered by Stig Westergaard (DEN) arrives into Stockholm for the start of leg 10 to St Petersburg

Monday, June 22, 2009

Volvo Ocean Race 2008 - In-port race in Stockholm

Star District Championship & Coastal Cup

By Paul Cayard
Monday, June 22, 2009
The longest day of the year, Fathers Day, and a win at the Star District Championship. That was June 21 for me. Now I am driving up Highway 5 to San Francisco with my son Danny.
Last Thursday, Danny, Allie and I departed San Francisco onboard the TP 52 Flash (formerly Atalanti) and raced to Catalina Island off Long Beach. It was a windy first 20 hours running under fractional gennaker down the California coast.

With the wind peaking at 30 knots and boat speed in excess of 26 knots, it was 20 hours to Point Conception which is 260 nm from SF. Apart from going fast in the pitch back dark, we had more excitement than we needed with the rudder tried to slip out of the top bearing. The rudder dropped down about 3 of the 3.5 inches that it is captive in the bearing. Had the rudder slipped completely out, I don't think the boat would have been afloat for long. We managed to get it back up to its proper location, and go on to push the boat as normal. We learned a lot about the boat on the trip down and have a fairly long work list for this week. The Trans-Pac starts in two weeks on July 5th for us on Flash.

So after finishing at Catalina at midnight Saturday morning (all day Friday doing the 100 miles from Conception to Catalina), we motored to Long Beach where we got into a hotel room at 0430. Up at 0830 and down to Newport Beach for the first 4 races of the Star District Championship. Luckily my crew Austin Sperry got there on Friday and rigged the boat so it was an "arrive and go" for me. Yesterday the wind was light and it was raining. The Catalina Eddy was in effect and the conditions were squirrely. Today, (after an awesome nights sleep!) we woke up to bright so cal sunshine and a nice westerly wind.

We had three nice races where Austin and I managed to cross the finish line first in each. This gave us the win over Eric Doyle in the second, and Eric Lucidius and Mike Marzahl in third.
So there has been a lot of life taking place in the past four days with not a lot of sleep. That's ok because you can sleep later.

Cayard Sailing Website

WMRT 09 - Troia Portugal Match Cup - Final Day

Mirsky is the winner in Portugal! Minoprio keeps the lead on the overall ranking of the circuit:

With two straight victories in the last matchs of the Final of Troia Portugal Match Cup, the young australian skipper Torvar Mirky, 23 years old, won this stage of the World Match Racing Tour. The New Zelander Adam Mnoprio took 2º place in the podium but keeps the lead in the overall ranking of the international circuit, with 61 points. Mirsky who is now on 4º in the overall received the trophy and a check of 10.000 Euros, from the total prize money of 80.000 Euros, to be divided among the eight best teams.

The start of the Record SNSM

© B.Stichelbaut / Sea&Co
I would report more but it's all in French!

Destruction in Isola d'Elba

Storm hits Isola d'Elba leaving boats sunk, beached and one human life still missing at sea.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

in-port race

Telefonica Blue, skippered by Bouwe Bekking (NED) finish first in the Stockholm.

Photo by Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race
Spinnakers up for the downwind leg of the in-port race in Stockholm.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

In the bag... E4 wins the Volvo Ocean Race!

Photo Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race
Barely one year after Ericsson 4 was launched skipper Torben Grael and the International crew clinched overall victory in the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 when they brought her home to Stockholm in third place on Leg 9. Ericsson 4 has amassed 108 points and has a 13-point cushion over second place with only 12 points left to be won. “Now it’s done. It’s finished. It’s a fantastic feeling,” said Grael. Ericsson 4 finished Leg 9 about 14 minutes behind teammate Ericsson 3, which took second on the leg that began in Marstrand. Skipper Magnus Olsson and the Nordic crew were thwarted in their attempt to win into Olsson’s hometown by a mere 90 seconds. The race village at Skeppsbron is hopping this week, with activities running daily until midnight. Sunday will see the Stockholm In-Port Race, Monday the Pro-Am and next Thursday, June 25, the final leg to St. Petersburg, Russia, begins off Sandhamn.

Warm regards,
Ericsson Racing Team

How to repair your volvo ocean racing boat...

Nothing like taking a sledgehammer to fix your keel.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

book of records

Today, a new chapter begins in the Maxi Banque Populaire V's book of records. In a few days, Pascal Bidégorry and his twelve crewmen will set sail for the United States, their sights set on achieving a new reference time for the North Atlantic crossing. As from June 18th and as soon as the weather permits, the Team Banque Populaire will set sail towards New York on an attempt to reduce the 4 days 3 hours 57 minutes and 53 seconds of the record. The stopwatch will go off on the finish line set between Ushant and Cape Lizard, revealing whether the maxi trimaran built by the Sailing Bank is to write a first line in its race against time, the beginning of a story that will reach the main plot with the Jules Verne Trophy starting next winter…

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Indio sailing along at 20 knots!

Click on image to enlarge. Photo Micky/Wally Yachts
The new Wally 101 Indio slices through the waters of Sardinia. If you have the means I highly suggest picking one up for yourself.


Photos: ROLEX/Carlo Borlenghi

The Giraglia Rolex Cup fleet were greeted this morning by the sound of cannons firing and fife and drum marchers celebrating “La Bravade of Saint-Tropez”, one of oldest traditions of Provence, which celebrates the bravery (“bravade”) of the village's patron saint.Once the smoke literally cleared from the armaments fired, the fleet was underway out to the Bay of St. Tropez for another perfect summer's day.
The breeze filled in a bit more offshore than yesterday, but at 8-10 knots, it was still generally light and tactically challenging - for if you hadn't staked a claim at the head of the fleet on the first windward leg, there were not many passing lanes to be had after. The Mini-Maxi division (boats measuring 60 - 79 feet) features several recent launches, one of which could technically include Bella Mente (USA). The Reichel/Pugh 69 went through extensive modifications last winter and has been performing well since. Bella Mente added to its' 2nd place finish yesterday with a win today. Read more...

The Day After...

It’s now the day after. Our stunning win into Sandham was just brilliant and probably the best race I have ever been involved with. Hopefully the other players on the media team managed to take over coverage of the race in the final few hours as we battled with E3 into the finish. I was too busy to even leave the deck for a moment as I concentrated on shooting video of the fist fight going on between the two boats. Magnus and the boys clearly wanted a win coming into their homeport, and the tacking duel for the last ten miles into the finish was epic. Prior to that on the long reach up the coast, they came at us time after time trying to get by first to leeward then to windward. Erle Williams, fighting a bad cold, spent hours at the helm holding them off. No way would we change drivers while E3 kept coming at us. As Kenny remarked, “Erle has the hot hands when its crunch time.”

A massive effort by the Scandahooligans on E3 but it just wasn't going to happen for them yesterday. No team in the race is more identifiable with its homeport than those guys, but I'm going to stick my neck out here and say that it was fun to spoil the party. There, I said it! PUMA flat out deserved this one. I've been there for every mile that il mostro has sailed and know first hand what this crew has been through. Every man on this team wants to win and a string of seconds is okay, but just not good enough.

Tele Blue...Thankfully no-one was hurt. Once ashore we got to see footage of the dramatic grounding which is simply amazing. As we sailed away from the scene just a few days ago, it looked from our perspective as though they might lose the boat. We play a dangerous game here and when the stakes are high you have to push the limits. When close racing around rocks there is little margin for error- leading the fleet in that situation is the worst place to be.

If this was car racing and one of the top teams wrecked a car, of course there would be some day after finger pointing and blaming, but life goes on and the team will very quickly re-group and come back for the leg race. Like the good team they are, Telefonica and the lads onboard will dust themselves down and come back at us with everything they have. We look forward to seeing them in a day or two and on the start line for the in port race this weekend.

I'm sure Si-Fi feels like hell, and that the weight of the world is on his shoulders. Some perspective. How must John Terry have felt missing that now infamous penalty in last years Champions League Final? My point, life and the game goes on. Dude, you're one of the best in out game- keep you're chin up.

E4...Congrats to them. I think Capey said it the best to me the other day, "anyone can win when they show up well prepared in a really fast boat and sail brilliantly"!

Rick Posted by PUMA Ocean Racing

We made a dreadful, costly mistake...

Bouwe Bekking's worst hangover

After making a superb start on Sunday, leading the fleet away from Marstrand, it all went horribly wrong for Bouwe Bekking and TELEFONICA BLUE. Since the grounding, Bekking has had to watch the rest fleet sail away to the finish in Stockholm and watch as the battle for second place overall slips further from his grasp. Whilst waiting for the repairs to his boat, Bekking takes time-out to reflect on the situation.

"Still suffering from a terrible hangover. Not because of the booze, but due to the mishap on Sunday. I won't go into the details. By now, you all should know what happened.

We made a dreadful, costly mistake and I am the first to admit that it shouldn't have happened at this level. But it did, and that shows that we are still human beings. The fight with Puma was on and in such circumstances you want to gain every metre of advantage. We just cut it too close. You can only guess what went through my mind, not just immediately after we grounded, but the entire afternoon. It was like a very bad dream, which kept recurring every second.

I have said this already, but it is worth repeating. We are extremely grateful to the Swedish pilot, coastguard and local police for their assistance. A special thanks also goes to Kimo, Coxi, Shaun and Will from the Puma team, who were out on a chase boat and did not leave our side until were we back in the harbour, even taking over the towing ropes to the big vessel. Thank you guys. We are in direct competition for 2nd place overall with your team, but you showed great sportsmanship and friendship by helping us. Puma was not the only the only team standing by us. Richard Brisius, of Ericsson, got in contact with our CEO Pedro Campos straightaway and offered the use of their work container, with all its boat building equipment. This has been handy as you can imagine.

Of course, we had created ourselves a logistical nightmare. We were taking on water, so once off the rock our next issue was securing the right size of crane to lift the boat and to keep it suspended until we could get the cradle from Stockholm. Campbell showed initiative in ordering our shore crew to come over from Stockholm as soon as possible, tracking down our spare daggerboard and rudder aswell. A structural engineer from the Farr office in Annapolis jumped on a plane to help with the inspection. Last but not least, we were lucky with accommodation, just managing to snap up the last rooms on the island.

First indications are very good. Actually I'm amazed how little structural damage we have suffered. One daggerboard case is destroyed, along with a bulkhead as result of the daggerboard pushing back after the impact. A winch has gone; torn off the deck during an attempt to pull us of the rock, which actually has a name. A literal translation is Coppernail. Maybe they should it rename it 'Blue Nightmare'.

Well, as I would expect, the guys have got stuck into it and we are receiving huge help from the locals with everything. The racing crew is trying to help the shore team as much as possible, but sometimes it is better just step aside and let the specialists do their job.

The plan is to be in Stockholm in time for the inport race, next Sunday, which means trying to finish the leg as well. The pressure is on. I have confidence in the shore crew; I know they are the best and will pull us through this. And, so despite the most awful hangover, there is light on the horizon. The team spirit, of which I am so proud, has risen above our problems yet again. We all stand or fall by our decisions, yet we are fighters and survivors, and, giving in is not an option.

P.S.- We want to do everything in our power..."

Monday, June 15, 2009

Damage Report

Photo María Muina/Equipo Telefonica
Telefonica shore crews work around the clock to fix the damage sustained when they ran aground at the start of leg 9


Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta 2009.
Adriana Giangrande Photographies

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Blast Off! E 3 & 4 Put the Pedal Down

Good sailing conditions down the west coast of Sweden earlier today.