Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

2010 is at the door…
Remember life is short,
break the rules,
forgive quickly,
love truly,
laugh uncontrollably,
and never regret anything that made you smile.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I14 Teams Racing Underway

Teams racing is under way at the CST Composites International 14 World Championship on Sydney Harbour.

Day One was staged in near perfect conditions in North Harbour adjacent to the host venue of the Manly 16ft Skiff Sailing Club. The teams racing is being held over a compact windward leeward course, with back to back races. Australia, Germany and Great Britain all put in strong performances throughout the day held in a 12-18kt sou’easter.

Australia B team skipper Ben Austin and crew Peter Nicholson were strong performers in their Beebe hull Dimension Polyant. Ben has a background in sailmaking and built a new set of sails for himself and made numerous modifications to a boat that is showing good speed.

“We were working until 2am this morning and got going again at 8am,” Austin said. “But, yeah, the boat is going ok.” Of the German boats Axel Reinsch of Goldfinger was another good performer who said the breezes today were perfect and “ideal for us”. Reinsch and his crew Felix Weidling certainly reveled in the conditions and were looking forward to Day Two of Teams Racing.

Other standouts for the day were defending champion Archie Massey and Dan Wisldon inGeorge 1st (GBR), Lindsay Irwin and Andrew Perry in Ronstan Irwin Sails (Aus) and Ron Scherwinski and James Lanati in Ray White Flaunt It (Aus).

Day Two of the Teams Racing is to be held on 30 December with good conditions expected.

Day One Summary: Perfect conditions, 12 to 18 knots! 6 teams, 24 races completed, involving 8 flights of 3 races per flight.

Team Wins Round 1 Round 2 Totals
AUS 5 2 7
GBR 4 3 7
AUS2 3 3 6
GER 2 1 3
JPN 1 0 1
CAN 0 0 0

2 flights remaining today.
More images @

Monday, December 28, 2009


Photo credit: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo YUUZOO, Sail Number: AUS11111, Skipper: Ludde Ingvall, State: NSW, Division: IRC, Design: Maxi , LOA
The 2009 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race line honours podium filled this morning when Bob Oatley's Wild Oats XI and Mike Slade's ICAP Leopard finished in second and third positions.

Wild Oats XI finished at five minutes after midnight, two hours and three minutes behind her Reichel/Pugh 100 near-sister yacht Neville Crichton's Alfa Romeo. Leopard, a Farr 100, finished at 0545, five hours and 40 minutes behind Wild Oats XI.

Next to finish, at 0734, was another 100ft maxi, the Greg Elliott-designed Investec Loyal (Sean Langman), which previously raced for New Zealand owners as Maximus.

Fifth home, at 0927, was Niklas Zennstrom's Ran from the UK, a Judel/Volijk-designed 72-footer that was overall handicap winner in the 2009 Rolex Fastnet Race.

RAN, Niklas Zennstrom, sailing off Tasman Island
Ran has a chance of winning the race's major trophy, the Tattersall's Cup, for the first yacht on IRC corrected time. She has certainly beaten Alfa Romeo, which led the IRC overall standings for a time yesterday, denying Crichton the rare handicap/line honours double.

Wild Oats' Mark Richards was gracious in defeat. "It was a tactical race and we never got a look in really," Richards said. "They had a little edge on us on the first night and the next morning we were in a big parking lot together. They got out first and put 30 miles on us before we knew what had happened."

Mike Slade had an historical perspective of the close three-way battle of the maxis: "When Napoleon turned up at Waterloo he knew he was in for a bad day, he had a bad day at the office didn't he? I've been a bit like that. It was a fantastic race and well done Alfa, bloody marvellous."

Slade said that Leopard had gambled by sailing farther offshore than Alfa and Oats down the east coast of Australia rather than sailing in Alfa's wake. "We went offshore because there was no point in covering Alfa's tracks; she had about 20 miles on us and we just got locked out. We had about four shut-downs and it was as frustrating as hell. We sat there for hours, watching them go away. That cost us. We got punished."

Rounding Tasman Island was the worst Slade had experienced. "There was no wind and appalling seas; really nasty because it's a lee shore, you've got no steerage because there's no wind, but the seas were huge and that took us a couple of hours.

"Alfa and Oats had already gone round. The rich get rich and the poor get poorer, that's what the game's all about. So it was a shocker but we loved every minute of it. We will be back to do another one I think - the boat's a glutton for punishment."

Ran, after performing well in the fresh upwind work on the first night, parked in calms before zooming back into handicap contention with a blistering run on the new nor'-west breeze off Flinders Island.

Ran's owner/skipper Niklas Zennstrom said: "The race at times was frustrating, we got parked up. Yesterday afternoon we had a fantastic run, we were reaching at up to 24 knots of boat speed, averaging 18 and 19 knots. It was excellent sailing.

"This morning was also very good; last night we had a few stops and goes. But we are happy with how the boat performed on corrected time and we will have to wait and see how the other boats are going on handicap.

"At times it looked really, really bad for us and really good for the small boats, but that's how it is. All you can do is sail as good as you can and avoid making as many mistakes as possible. I don't think we made too many mistakes."

Ran's tactician Adrian Stead said that after riding the nor'-wester fast, Ran hit a light spot last evening, 20 miles northeast of Maria Island. "We got through that and sailed the last bit up here pretty well, very conscious that 10:20 was our deadline to beat Alfa," he said.

With six yachts finished, and five yachts retired, there are 89 yachts still racing.

The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race fleet has crews representing the USA, UK, New Zealand, Spain, the Netherlands, and New Caledonia as well as every Australian state.

Listen to audio of Ran owner/skipper Niklas Zennstrom and navigator Steve Hayles talk about the race and their prospects for a handicap win.

Official race website
For more information about the Rolex Sydney Hobart 2009 including the entry list, yacht tracker and standings, please visit the event website at

Fans of social networking can follow the race via Twitter at

Media Information & Photos
To receive daily reports and to download high-resolution images, copyright free for editorial purposes, register online at

New Year new gear!

2010 already! We just received our new 2010 sailing calender in the mail for the office wall from nautical photographer Leighton O'Connor. Great photos and nice layout... Check it out at


ALFA ROMEO, Neville Crichton, crosses the finish line off Hobart Photos credit: Rolex / Daniel Forster
Post sponsored by

December 28, 2009

After sailing a near perfect tactical race in extremely difficult conditions, with extremes from a testing 25-knot southerly, with a bumpy seaway through the first night, to a calm in the notoriously rough and windy Bass Strait, Neville Crichton's Alfa Romeo was first to finish in the 2009 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, with an elapsed time of two days, 9hrs, 2mins, 10secs for the 628nm course.

The line honours win, with a Reichel-Pugh designed canting keel 100-footer, was Sydney-based New Zealander Crichton's second in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race. His previous win, in 2002, was with his first Alfa Romeo maxi, a water-ballasted Reichel/Pugh 90.

Alfa, with good speed and crew work, as well as tactics, led from the start, holding off all challenges from her arch-rival Bob Oatley's R/P 100 Wild Oats XI, a very similar design from the same builder, McConaghy Boats in Sydney, launched only a few months apart in 2005, and Mike Slade's (UK) Farr 100, ICAP Leopard.

Wild Oats XI won their first line honours battle with Alfa in the 2005 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race by an hour and 16 minutes. Crichton then took Alfa Romeo to the northern hemisphere for the Mediterranean regattas in 2006 and 2007 where Alfa and Oats swapped line honours wins until Wild Oats XI broke her mast in the 2007 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup in Porto Cervo and was shipped back to Australia. This year's Rolex Sydney Hobart was their first encounter since in a major offshore race.

Crichton's fears of slowing in a southwest headwind in calms in the River Derwent over the last 11 nautical miles to the finish were unfounded. She stalled only once in a light patch and finally steamed home to get the finishing gun at Battery Point just after 2200, with Wild Oats XI 17nm behind (Wild Oats eventually finished just over two hours later.)

A crowd of several hundred people crowded the Constitution Wharf marina to watch the finish and cheer Alfa in to the dock. Asked, as Alfa Romeo berthed, how he was feeling, Crichton said: "It's fantastic and the welcome here in Tasmania is unbelievable."

He praised his crew, half of them New Zealanders and half Australian: "The 22 guys I have are the best crew in the world. The two days coming down the coast was hard work and it was good; the boys did a helluva job on the boat and it was very, very close racing."

Was the lack of wind frustrating? "Oh no, we were very busy the whole race."

Did he see the win as sweet revenge for the 2005 defeat by Wild Oats XI? "Every win is a good win. It has taken me four years to come back and do it, so it was even nicer. He added, "Winning the Rolex Sydney Hobart is the ultimate in ocean racing."
- read more

BMW Oracle Racing intends to meet with Société Nautique de Genève

Post sponsored by SLAM BMW Oracle Racing Clothing

Statement by Tom Ehman, Golden Gate Yacht Club Spokesperson

Valencia, December 28, 2009 – The Golden Gate Yacht Club and BMW Oracle Racing intends to meet with Société Nautique de Genève as soon as possible in an attempt to remove the question mark hanging over the legality of Alinghi’s yacht they will use to defend the forthcoming 33rd America’s Cup. Foremost is the nationality clause in the America’s Cup Deed of Gift document which governs the event and requires the yachts of the Challenger of Record and the Defender to be constructed in the country of the yacht club they represent (“CIC”).

Last week SNG was informed by GGYC of the obvious illegality of its yacht’s USA-built sails. Yesterday SNG responded and agreed to meet on the matter. “With racing scheduled to start in Valencia in just six weeks, we want this serious issue dealt with before the boats come to the starting line,” said GGYC spokesman Tom Ehman.

The 33rd Match starts in Valencia, Spain, on February 8th. “We don’t think the sailing world would tolerate the two teams failing to sort this out, especially given that GGYC first put SNG on notice concerning CIC in July 2008,” Ehman said.

“Virtually every racing sailor in the world knows North Sails’ moldedconstruction is proprietary and unique to its Minden plant in the USA. It is the only place in the world where such sails are constructed. Nevada is not Switzerland.”

When the two sides meet, GGYC is prepared to give the defender reasonable time to manufacture sails in Switzerland and take other remedial measures. “Alinghi’s sails are not their only CIC problem, only the most obvious,” Ehman said.

Failing a satisfactory outcome, GGYC will take the CIC issue to the International Jury.

“What no one wants is the question mark hanging over Alinghi to turn into a question mark hanging over the result of the Match. The time to sort this matter out is right now, not during or after the Match, said Ehman.”
# # #

Q & A

What does the Deed of Gift require of the Challenging and Defending Yachts?
“…a yacht or vessel propelled by sails only and constructed in the country to which the Challenging Club belongs, against any one yacht or vessel constructed in the country of the Club holding the Cup.”

What does a yacht or vessel include?
Historically, “yacht or vessel” has always included the hull, appendages, rig and sails.

What does this mean?
Exactly what it says. Constructed does not permit parts made in Switzerland to be added to Alinghi 5 in Italy or Ras Al Khaimah, or sails manufactured in the USA to go to Switzerland for “finishing” and then be called Swiss-made.

Are sails the only issue?
Unfortunately, no. The Nevada sails are the most visible violation. However Alinghi will need to clarify where other major components have been manufactured and/or fitted to its yacht. Does Alinghi skipper Brad Butterworth believe the Jury should sort out such problems before the Match?

Yes. At the recent World Yacht Racing Forum both Russell Coutts, BMW ORACLE Racing’s CEO, and Brad Butterworth agreed that the result on the water should be free from litigation. Coutts said: “Put the Jury in place now and use that Jury to answer open questions that, perhaps, still need to be resolved.” Butterworth was asked if this made sense. “Yes it does,” the Alinghi skipper replied.

Why is GGYC raising the question now?
We want all issues resolved before racing begins for the 33rd America’s Cup. Complying with the Deed of Gift’s CIC requirement was first highlighted by GGYC in July 2008. It is much better to get all remaining rules-issues resolved now, to avoid protests or litigation during and after the Match as well as causing possible delay to the 34th America’s Cup. GGYC has waited for more than a year for SNG to allow ISAF to establish the International Jury. The five person panel was named three weeks ago, but the legal sign-off to enable the Jury to sit is still being held-up by SNG.

SNG said GGYC only wants to litigate?
On the contrary, GGYC is trying to avoid litigation by resolving this issue before racing begins. CIC is a central requirement in the Deed and GGYC will not allow SNG to recklessly disregard the rules. SNG must realize this, especially given that 13 of 14 decisions made by the New York courts have found the Swiss defender’s interpretations of the rules to be wrong.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Not much wind... Sydney Hobart

- Passing Eden on YuuZoo on the way to Hobart.

40 footer leads...

Photo Noel Cornish's Sydney 47 St Jude, IRC Overall leader 2030hrs on 27 December 2009
ROLEX/Kurt Arrigo. High Res versions for media use can be downloaded at

2030hrs, 27 December 2009

A little known yacht named St Jude is leading the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race on handicap late this afternoon; the Sydney 47 owned by Noel Cornish contested the race for the first time last year and was not expected to be at the front end of the star studded fleet.

While last year’s overall winner Quest, a TP 52 owned and skippered by Bob Steel, who was recently awarded the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Ocean Racer of the Year title, is struggling in 57th place and famous names such as Syd Fischer and his Ragamuffin (NSW) are in 53rd overall. The smaller and lesser known yachts are making the best of the light and fickle conditions the weather gods have dished up – and they are basking in the glory.

The two year-old Sydney 47, owned by CYCA member Noel Cornish, first contested the 628 nautical mile race last year finishing 60th overall from 69 boats in the IRC class. This evening Cornish and his yacht have found themselves in the limelight.

The Bureau of Meteorology told crews to expect mixed weather throughout the 65th edition of Australia’s summer ocean classic. Owners, tacticians and navigators agreed on Boxing Day it was one of the most confusing weather reports they had ever received. It was welcome news for many though, as it meant every yacht in the fleet would have the opportunity of shining, as is being witnessed tonight.

Kingsley Piesse, a 26 Rolex Sydney Hobart race veteran, is sailing aboard Bruce Taylor’s Melbourne entry Chutzpah, which is only seven miles behind St Jude. Both are east of Green Cape on the NSW south coast, Piesse describing the conditions they were in late this afternoon: It’s light and fluky; we’ve got five knots from 080 (just north of east).

“We are a bit sticky in the light,” said Piesse, the newly crowned Ocean Racing Crew Person of the Year. “Hope tomorrow's expected reaching conditions will suit us more,” said Piesse from Chutzpah which is currently 13th overall on progressive IRC standings.

Tony Kirby’s Patrice Six is presently holding down second place overall. Kirby, who has sailed the race 27 times, knows the intricacies of the race well. The light and fluky conditions will be water off a duck’s back for the CYCA yachtsman, whose Jeppesen X41 was designed for all-round conditions.

A Rolex Sydney Hobart novice is in third place overall. Mike Welsh’s Wicked, a Beneteau First 40, was only launched this year, so her offshore form is unknown, but Welsh is an experienced ocean racer whose previous yacht Alien was well known in Victorian offshore events with divisional wins in various series.

The big 100 footers in the race were expected to flourish in the mixed conditions, but that has not been the case today. The BOM’s Rob Webb expected the 100 footers would get away from the rest of the fleet in moderate downwind conditions, but north-easterly winds have been too light for Alfa Romeo, ICAP Leopard and Wild Oats XI to take any real advantage of so far.

As is often the case in this race, all could change tomorrow and once again, the fleet will be in different conditions depending where they are on the course. While the leaders can expect fluky 5-15 knot winds, those still in Victorian waters can look forward to west to north-west winds at 15-25 knots which will mean fast downwind sailing.

Positions for each of the 95-strong fleet are now available via Yacht Tracker at:

By Di Pearson, Rolex Sydney Hobart media team

Saturday, December 26, 2009


Photo credit: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
December 26, 2009

Neville Crichton's Alfa Romeo took round one of the battle of the maxis at the head of the 2009 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race with smart downwind tactics in Sydney Harbour.

After a two nautical-mile spinnaker run from the start off Shark Island, before a 10-knot south-southwesterly breeze, Alfa Romeo rounded the first clearing mark at Sydney Heads 30 seconds ahead of her near-sister Reichel/Pugh 100 design Wild Oats XI (Bob Oatley), with another 20 seconds to the British Farr 100-footer ICAP Leopard (Mike Slade).

These three strongly-sailed, professionally-managed maxis are favoured to lead the fleet into Hobart, 628n miles from the start.

Manoeuvring these giants for a downwind start among the smaller boats in the 100-boat fleet was challenging. With a minute to go, Alfa Romeo was caught ahead of the line and had to re-round to start on the gun.

Wild Oats XI, with speed and a smart spinnaker set, showed out as the early leader from a clear start near the middle of the long starting line spanning nearly the width of the harbour, followed closely by ICAP Leopard.

Alfa Romeo, starting nearer to the line's pin end, sharpened up with pace to gain an overlap to leeward on Leopard. Off Watsons Bay on the harbour's eastern shore, Alfa gybed away first on a patch of good pressure breeze; Wild Oats XI and Leopard followed. But as Alfa Romeo gybed again and came back fast on starboard gybe, she cleared them both to round the mark between the Heads clear ahead.

From there Alfa comfortably held her lead in a procession over the one nautical mile reach to the second clearing mark, another mile to seaward.

As the fleet then sheeted on to head south, another procession developed. Starboard tack on about 155 degrees was by far the gaining leg towards not only Hobart, but the favourable flow of the Eastern Australian current, so tacking away on to port and heading inshore was not an option for the boats behind Alfa.

Next to round the seaward mark was another 100 ft maxi, Investec Loyal (Sean Langman), followed by the UK Judel/Vrolijk 72 Ran (Niklas Zennstrom), which is one of the favourites to take the race's major prize, the Tattersall's Cup, for the overall winner on IRC corrected time.

RAN, Niklas Zennstrom Photo credit: Rolex / Daniel Forster
She was followed by Lahana (Peter Millard/John Horan), the Brett Bakewell-White 98, ex-Konica Minolta; Rapture, Brook Lenfest's 100ft Farr performance cruiser from the USA; Limit, the Reichel/Pugh 62 (Alan Brierty); Ludde Ingvall's Simonis Voogd 90 YuuZoo, which took line honours in 2004; the R/P 63 Loki (Stephen Ainsworth); R/P 55 Yendys (Geoff Ross) and the Farr 55 Living Doll (Michael Hiatt).

Grant Wharington's Jones 98 Etihad Stadium (ex-Wild Thing) retired with rig problems soon after starting. It was a near-miracle that Etihad Stadium even made the start after a two-week around-the-clock effort by crew members, mast-makers, and riggers to replace the mast broken on the delivery voyage from Melbourne.

The mast, a rebuild of a spare acquired from Neville Crichton, had to be cut in two for air-freighting from France to Sydney and re-rigged just in time for Etihad Stadium to get to the start line today without time for any testing under sail.

Wharington explained that ten minutes before the start, the crew discovered that the finely-tuned mast could not be kept in column. Misalignment of the runner blocks from the old rig meant that the runner tension of up to 15 tons could not be maintained.

"It was an incredibly tight set of circumstances and we needed everything to fall into place with 100 per cent agreement on everything to go to Hobart," Wharington said. It's an amazing feat to get to where we got, obviously disappointing just to miss out by the last one or two percent.

"I am enormously disappointed obviously and for my team more than anything because we've had probably 50 people working on this for the past two weeks and an enormous amount of input from every single person."

Another sad retirement was the Inglis 39 She's the Culprit (Todd Leary) from Hobart, seriously holed on the long journey home in a collision with another competitor (as yet unidentified) soon after the start.

Untypically for Sydney at this time of year, Boxing Day was wet and cold, which greatly reduced the size of the spectator fleet. Though with this came the benefit of also reducing the crush of powerboaters that often disrupt the fleet with their wakes once past the outer sea mark, which is beyond the spectator control areas inside the harbour.

Five hours after the start, with the sou'-wester freshening to 25 knots and a difficult short chop developing offshore, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's satellite yacht tracker system showed Alfa Romeo still leading by a mile from Wild Oats XI, which was just 0.2nm ahead of ICAP Leopard.

The 100-boat Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race fleet (including two yachts officially retired) has crews representing the USA, UK, New Zealand, Spain, the Netherlands, and New Caledonia as well as every Australian state.

Official race website
To view the list of yachts applied to enter go to

Watch the start of the 65th edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart To see a webcast of the start of the 65th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, go to Seven Network and Yahoo!7 at:

Fans of social networking can follow the race via Twitter at

Media Information & Photos
To receive daily reports and to download high-resolution images, copyright free for editorial purposes, register online at

Friday, December 25, 2009

LIVE! Click below Hobat race


Oskar Kihlborg/Ericsson Racing Team
A phalanx of Whitbread/Volvo sailors will be scattered among the crew lists when the Rolex Sydney-Hobart starts on Boxing Day. Among them will be Guy Salter who has swapped his Media Crew Member role on Ericsson 4 in the 2008-09 race for a position on the bow of ICAP Leopard, one of seven super-maxis which will be on the start line for the 65th running of the blue water classic.

In a 12-year career, Salter has competed in two America's Cups and prior to his media duties for Ericsson 4, sailed aboard Tyco in the 2001-02 Volvo. Salter, who has a degree in film and photography, will bring both his sailing and media and skills to bear on Leopard.

"Onboard I perform my sailing duties and try and get a bit of filming in as well - the role is definitely a compromise on the media side but there is no room for a dedicated media person on this boat," he says.

As for the crew, it reads like a Whitbread/Volvo who's who. "The Leopard crew is full of guys at the top of their game," he says. The list includes his brother Jules (Pirates of the Caribbean 2005-06, Ericsson 4 2008-09), Brad Jackson (New Zealand Endeavour 1993-94, Merit Cup 1997-98, Tyco 2001-02, ABN AMRO ONE 2005-06, Ericsson 4 2008-09), Ray Davies (Merit Cup 1997-98, illbruck 2001-02), Justin Slattery (News Corp 2001-02, ABN AMRO ONE, Green Dragon 2008-09), Jason Carrington (Fortuna 1993-94, Silk Cut 1997-98, Assa Abloy 2001-02, Ericsson 2005-06) and Rob Greenhalgh (ABN AMRO ONE, PUMA 2008-09).

Salter reckons they have a legitimate shot at line honours. "I wouldn't have given up Christmas Day with my family and flown halfway round the planet if I didn't think we had a very strong chance of getting line honours in this race. We are here to fight," he says.

Leopard will face stiff opposition from the likes of Wild Oats XI, with the 2005-06 Volvo-winning skipper Mike Sanderson (ABN AMRO ONE) and Adrienne Cahalan (Brasil 1 2005-06) among the crew. Sanderson and the18-member crew will be chasing their fifth consecutive line honours victory.

Alfa Romeo, which boasts Noel Drennan (illbruck, movistar 2005-06), Craig Satterthwaite (Swedish Match 1997-98, Pirates of the Caribbean, PUMA), Stu Bannatyne (New Zealand Endeavour 1993-94, Silk Cut, illbruck, movistar, Ericsson 4) and Erle Williams (Flyer 1981-82, Swedish Match, djuice, Pirates of the Caribbean, PUMA).

Former Ericsson team-mates in 2005-06 Tim Powell and Steve Hayles join forces on Ran, the Judel-Vrolijk 72. Both share the same Volvo CV - Dolphin and Youth/Reebok 1997-98, Silk Cut, Tyco, Ericsson.

Etihad Stadium, with Grant Wharington (djuice, Brunel 2005-06) at the controls, also have strong line honours claims.

Meanwhile, Wharington's modified first generation Volvo Open 70 - Ichi Ban, has Tom Braidwood (Team SEB 2001-02, Ericsson, Green Dragon) and Andy Meiklejohn (Brasil 1) among its ranks. There is further representation in the race with Merit, the Volvo 60 and Lion New Zealand, the Whitbread maxi from 1985-86. Read more...

Live Sydney Hobart links

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Etihad Stadium Maxi mast comes together...

Etihad Stadium mast coming together
Jody O'Brien/Etihad Stadium
For the rest of the country not involved in the Rolex Sydney Hobart, there’s probably some cooking to do done to get ready for Christmas, but for the Etihad Stadium maxi crew, there’s no plum pudding and turkey – just the vital ingredients to put their mast back together.

And back together it is, thanks to an incredible job done by the boys from Hart Marine and Southern Spars, who have worked around the clock since its arrival at around 1:30am Tuesday morning on a Qantas flight from Singapore.

UBI Logistics has been heavily involved in the whole process of getting the mast to Australia, and at a time of the year when freight companies are under crazy pressure to get things of all shapes and sizes (though possibly not too many things like a tonne of carbon fibre !!!) to destinations for Christmas, the UBI Logistics team really pulled out every stop to help.

"To Peter Giufre and his team at UBI Logistics Australia, a very very big thanks for going above and beyond – we really appreciate the massive effort you’ve made” said owner and skipper Grant Wharington.

The feeling amongst Wharington and his crew continues to grow in confidence as every hour passes and another milestone is reached.

”There were plenty of people who have been saying it couldn’t be done, but I am delighted to say that – yes, it can be done, and more the point –we’ve done it !! “ said Grant this morning.

“The whole crew are coming together today with the boys flying in from Melbourne – the Sydney based guys who’ve been able to work on the boat with us all week have also been working around the clock – everyone has done and continues to do an incredible job” he said.

But the big job is still to be completed, and all things going to plan, a big crane will kick into action this evening at 6pm and the process of lowering the mast into the boat will begin at Sydney City Marine.

By Jody O'Brien/Etihad Stadium

Wild Oats XI to repair keel damage

Robert Oatley’s Wild Oats XI emerging from the shed after being lengthened to 100 feetRobert Oatley’s Reichel Pugh designed Wild Oats XI emerging from the shed after being lengthened to the maximum length overall limit of 100 feet and undergoing other modifications -
Andrea Francolini,
Midnight manoeuvres for Wild Oats XI to repair keel damage

There was plenty of unscheduled activity at Woolwich Dock, on Sydney Harbour, around midnight last night when Bob Oatley’s Rolex Sydney-Hobart race record holder, Wild Oats XI, was lifted from the water so repairs could be made to the yacht’s keel.

An underwater inspection of the 30.48 metre long supermaxi’s hull yesterday revealed that the streamlined steel fin keel had been damaged when it hooked onto a buoy and line attached to a fish trap off Sydney Heads the previous day.

Wild Oats XI was doing around 20 knots at the time of the incident. When the line attached to the trap ripped across the surface of the keel it serrated some of the fine leading edge.

While the damage was not structural it was considered to be serious enough to cause speed-sapping turbulence in the water flowing over the keel when the yacht was racing.

“We had to lift the yacht out of the water at midnight because that was when the tide was most favourable,” said Wild Oats XI skipper, Mark Richards. “The damage is only superficial, but we need absolutely everything going for us in this year’s Hobart race, so it was imperative that we fixed it.”

The yacht was due to be relaunched at 11am today.

Wild Oats XI, which is the course record holder for the Rolex Sydney Hobart race, will be going for an unprecedented fifth consecutive line honours in the classic this year.

By Rob Mundle -

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Yuuzoo on Seven News

Ludde Ingvall returns to the Sydney to Hobart race sailing the technologically advanced 90-footer YuuZoo

Live stream Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia is pleased to announce that the Seven Network and Yahoo!7, will provide a live 90 minute webcast of the start of the 65th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race to a global audience. This is the second year that Yahoo!7 has live streamed the race.

In addition to Seven Network's live television broadcast in Australia, anyone, in any country around the world will be able to watch the start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race provided they have a computer and broadband internet access from 12.30pm AEST until 2:00pm AEST.

With spectator numbers on Sydney Harbour and the Sydney Harbour foreshore expected to reach around 500,000 people, together with Seven Network’s Australia wide television audience of 500,000 viewers, and the addition of Yahoo!7’s national and international audience reach, it is predicted that the start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race will be one of the most viewed sporting events in the world in the month of December.

In addition to the live 90 minute broadcast and webcast, Seven Network and Yahoo!7 will be presenting up to 4 race updates per day until the overall winner of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is determined.

To see all the colour and action of the start of the 65th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race tune into the Seven Network or the official race website and follow the links to from 12.30pm AEST on 26 December 2009.

Sail evolution

North Sails Australia CEO Michael Coxon (Cocko) has been campaigning with Neville Crichton’s Alfa Romeo's for some years but his Sydney team have built the sails for both Alfa and its strong rival, Bob Oatley’s Wild Oats XI, the four times Hobart winner.

Just a few days before the 2009 Rolex Sydney to Hobart, 'Cocko' provides this insight into the Supermaxi scene.

'The sail optimisation that Wild Oats XI and Alfa Romeo have done totally ignores IRC ratings - they are all about speed. The sails that both boats are putting in their inventory but may not use is driving their IRC rating through the roof, however for them it’s about line honours and chasing line honours, as both boats are hammered on IRC handicap.

‘Both boats have got an R1, which is going to drive their rating. The R1 is a spinnaker that’s going to measure as a headsail. It’s a furling, reaching sail from the end of the prod to the masthead so its a spinnaker area but like what you would call a Code 0 on the IRC boats.

‘We haven’t built it to IRC rules so instead of being measured as a spinnaker it’s going to be measured as a headsail. It's a more efficient sail from a shape point of view but it’s going to blow ratings out of the water because the headsail ratings are now driven by that, rather than the short footed, non overlapping headsails we have previously used.

‘The R1’s are made of 3DL so basically they are replacing the 3DL IRC Code 0s.

'Technology drives progress; as well as Alfa Romeo, Wild Oats and Mike Slade's Leopard have all got Cuben spinnakers. The North Sails Cuben development has gone forward a lot in the last couple of years. The Cuben bias has added incredibly to the tear strength.

'On Alfa Romeo we used a Cuben spinnaker right across the Pacific in the Transpac, for four days not stop. We put it up again today and we’re going to use it for the Hobart.

‘This is going to be a fascinating battle. Alfa Romeo last lined up against Wild Oats XI at the Maxi Worlds two years ago and we beat Wild Oats XI in the first race and we were ahead of her in the second race when she dropped her rig. Both boats have undergone modifications: both have gone to 100 feet long and they’ve both got different rigs.

‘Wild Oats XI received a new rig when she broke her mast and we got a new rig because Neville decided that he wanted to upgrade the boat. We could save windage and weight by going a stiffer rig and we have gone for a four spreader rig (from a five spreader rig) so it’s quite different. Because the rigs are stiffer it has allowed us to put more furling sails on it, which are pretty fast.

The new four spreader rig - Alfa Romeo - Richard Gladwell

‘Both boats have undergone modifications and both boats worked on what their 'perceived weaknesses' were. From day one when the boats were launched, my gut feeling has been that Alfa has had an edge upwind and that Oats has had an edge downwind. I think that Oats has made modifications that she thinks will help her upwind performance and Alfa has made some modifications that will help her downwind performance.

'However while the competition for Line Honours will likely between those to boats, there is a BUT. I think Leopard will be the boat to beat if the weather is on the nose.

'If we have heavy weather sailing I would say she’s the boat; I would put my money on. With anything greater than 20 knots upwind, I would say that Leopard would be the quickest boat on the water.

'I would suggest with power crack sheet reaching; not necessarily spinnaker reaching, but power reaching I think she’ll be the boat to beat too. Leopard is by comparison a heavy boat, so when it goes light she could probably lose a lot of ground quickly too.

'Still, if these boats finish as the top three we won’t mind, they all have the latest North Sails!!

While the big boats clash at the head of the fleet, the battle for overall victory promises to be even more intense.

Looking through the North Sails fleet, Sales and Marketing Manager, Julian Plante, sees a number of potential winners. 'In the Mini Maxi size, Ran and Loki are both strong contenders. They are both using North's Cuben spinnakers. Its only a few years ago it was the STP65 Rosebud that was the overall winner in a boat of similar size category.'

As a regular tactician on Quest, Julian of course has a special interest in Bob Steel’s defending overall winner, but he says 'Quest will have to beat off the hungry pack including the mid size 50’s Yendy’s which has added a new square top main, and Living Doll, plus the TP52 gang of Cougar II, Ragamuffin, Shogun and Calm all part of the super-competitive 50 foot fleet.'

We will know soon enough... and we wish all the boats fair winds.

by Media Services


Some snow does not stop Santa from sailing in Sweden. Thanks to Oskar Kihlborg

Is Alinghi Legal?

Tom Ehman, Golden Gate Yacht Club Spokesperson

Valencia, December 22, 2009 – America’s Cup defender Société Nautique de
Genève has been asked if Alinghi 5 will meet the event’s nationality rules.
In a letter today to SNG, GGYC Commodore Marcus Young wrote, “We find the
Deed to be clear and unambiguous. It requires that the yacht, including its hull,
appendages, mast and sails, be constructed in the country of the club it
represents. We have gone to great lengths to comply with the Deed in all
respects, including ‘constructed-in-country,’ and expect that your Club will do so
as well.”

Alinghi 5 has been sailing continually with sails made at Minden, Nevada in the

Absent agreement on the constructed-in-country interpretation, the five-member
International Jury recently appointed by the International Sailing Federation
would be asked to rule on the matter.

Both yachts should come to the start “street-legal.” The sailing world expects this,
and wants to know before the Match is sailed, not after. Having the Jury in place
allows sailing matters to be dealt with by sailing experts.

GGYC’s objective is that the on-the-water result of the 33rd Match be conclusive.
Any remaining contentious issues should be dealt with properly before the Match
is sailed. No one wants the outcome of the Match to have a question mark
hanging over it.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sydney-Hobart live video...

Team YuuZoo Aims For 500,000 Virtual Crew Members

Maxi-Yacht YuuZoo is this year aiming for a team of 500,000 crew members when it sails on Boxing Day for the 2009 Rolex Sydney-Hobart yacht race, making it the most watched boat in the field of seven maxi-yachts competing for line honors in Australia’s most prestigious yachting event.

YuuZoo will stream live video via the internet and mobile devices to its crew of 500,000 at and aims to set the record for the world’s largest crew in a sailing event by bringing a non-spectator sport into the palm of your hand and to living rooms around the world.

Working with technology companies including; Dell, HTC and Logitech, the YuuZoo boat will set a new benchmark for interactive sports and the use of digital media to enable online and mobile users worldwide to follow the event as if they were onboard the yacht. The YuuZoo vessel will feature a dedicated YouTube channel located at with live video feed from the YuuZoo boat, while users of Facebook, Twitter and Bloggers will carry live text feeds from the crew.

Ron Creevey, technical chief of the YuuZoo vessel says, “The crew on-board YuuZoo are extremely excited about the technology innovations we have installed into the boat.

“We will be bringing their stories about the race to the virtual crew in real time with live video updates and updates to social networking sites for the entire race.

“Only a select few in the sport of sailing actually ever get to experience what it is like to sail in Australia’s most famous sailing regatta and we want to share that experience with as many people as possible.” he concluded

To join the worlds largest crew for the Sydney to Hobart log on to

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Heading South

By Peter Rusch
All looks good aboard the Oceanlady as she heads south towards the Panama Canal en route to Valencia and the 33rd America's Cup Match.
Thanks to Mathieu Feron and Michel Mingardon who are on board the Oceanlady to keep an eye on the BOR 90 and the rest of our precious America's Cup cargo.

You can try tracking the Oceanlady at but she has disappeared!?!

LOYAL and Ran Rolex Trophy 2009

Last day of the Rolex Trophy Rating Series 2009 in Sydney.

Images from UK based Niklas Zennstromís Ran a 72-footer from the design board of the noted German-based naval architects Judel-Vrolijk and onboard LOYAL Sean Langman has returned to big boat racing this year, chartering the 100 foot Greg Elliott design, LOYAL, formerly Maximus.

Following its arrival from Auckland the boat underwent an extensive modification program, including lengthening from 98 to 100 feet, new 6.2m keel and new lighter weight and taller conventional mast to replace the wing mast. Joining the experienced crew aboard LOYAL, and raising money for the LOYAL Foundation, will be boxer Danny Green, Olympic swimming sensation Grant Hackett, captain of the HSBC Waratahs Phil Waugh, Phil Kearns, who led the Wallabies in 10 Tests, and Channel 7 ís Larry Emdur.

The Rolex Trophy, formerly the British Trophy, is sailed out of Sydney in December each year. It is not only a significant lead-up event to the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, but a prestigious regatta in its own right.

For Rolex Trophy Rating Series list of entries log on to:

Christophe Launay


LOKI Stephen Ainsworth Rolex Trophy Passage Series 2009

LIMIT, Alan Brierty Rolex Trophy 2009
The two near sister Reichel/Pugh designs Alan Brierty's Limit and Stephen Ainsworth's Loki, finished first and second, just one point apart, in the Rolex Trophy Rating Series regatta, the major warm-up for the Rolex Sydney Hobart race which starts this Saturday, December 26.

The close competition between these year-old, well-settled, professionally-campaigned yachts, establishes them as among the top contenders for the Hobart race's major prize, the Tattersall's Cup for the overall winner on IRC handicap.

Both are Sydney-based, from the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race's host club, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia. Limit is 63ft in length overall, Loki is 62ft, by virtue of a more plumb bow profile.

Limit's crew includes Volvo race and America's Cup veterans Ian ("Barney") Walker as principal helmsman and Rodney Keenan as tactician. Loki has Irish-born international sailor Gordon Maguire as sailing master. Maguire, who lives in Sydney, has sailed in 15 Hobart races.

The Rolex Trophy Rating Series, over four days of racing, tested boats and crews in broad spectrum of conditions. The first two days of short windward-leeward course racing, were gear-busting and body-bruising, with winds of 25-28 knots and rough, confused seas off the Sydney coastline.

The small fleet of grand-prix racers contesting the rating series were joined for the last two days by a fleet of 26 more yachts, ranging in size from the maxis Alfa Romeo (Neville Crichton) and Investec Loyal (Sean Langman) down to 30-footers, in the Rolex Trophy Passage Series of two races over 27nm and 19nm offshore courses.

Also emerging with Tattersall's Cup-winning prospects from this mix were the Judel/Vrolijk TP 52 Shogun (Rob Hanna), which placed third in the Rolex Rating Series and the three place-getters in the Rolex Trophy Passage Series: Geoff Ross' Reichel/Pugh 55 Yendys beat the UK-based Judel/Vrolijk 72 Ran (Niklas Zennstrom), with veteran Sydney racer Syd Fischer's Farr designed TP52 Ragamuffin in third.

Neville Crichton's Reichel/Pugh 100, Alfa Romeo won the first race of the passage series by more than 12 minutes on corrected time. As the maxis can do in the Rolex Sydney Hobart, Alfa Romeo got a huge jump on the smaller boats in a changing light air wind pattern. She reached all the way on one leg to the seaward mark and back before the wind shifted from west to south-southeast, giving the rest of the fleet a much slower dead downwind ride back to the harbour. Alfa Romeo did not compete in the second passage race, preferring to spend the time on sail evaluation and crew training.

In the Rolex Rating Series, Limit and Loki, went into the last race tied on equal points. Limit, badly beaten the previous day after a crew error jammed the furling system on its Code Zero reacher, made no mistakes this time.

"We went out an hour and a half early at the owner's orders and we trained, and we trained until we got it right and we fixed the problem," said principal helmsman Walker.

Limit had a good start and led Loki, who was boxed in by a bunch of boats congregated at the committee boat end of the starting line, on the outward leg to the seaward mark, and rounded seven minutes ahead.

Loki, gained on the light-air run back to Sydney Harbour to finish just over two minutes behind Limit. They finished second and third on corrected time behind Michael Hiatt's Farr 55 Living Doll, sailing the perfect race with UK-based Australian Volvo Ocean racer, Andrew Cape, navigating.

Despite the last-race win and a third in the first race, Living Doll, another Tattersall's Cup prospect, did not make the podium - retirements due to sail mishaps from two races on the rugged first two days of the Rolex Rating Series stuffed her chances.

Limit's owner Alan Brierty, puffing a cigar as he sat on the rail said after the last race: "A little bit nerve wracking. We got a good start and it's the old story when you get in front you've got to stay in front. Barney was sensational".

Barney Walker is pleased with the way Limit's campaign has come together, sharpened by the boat-on-boat competition with Loki. "When you've got two boats that are so close you really get the best out of them, and having that second yacht there does really keeps you honest," he said.

Loki's owner Stephen Ainsworth has a similar perspective: "We enjoy racing against each other because it's closely contested and we've learned to sail our boat better by racing against them."

Third-place Rolex Rating Series skipper Rob Hanna, from the strong Victorian offshore fleet, was competing on his Judel/Vrolijk TP52 Wot Now, a boat he had only purchased last month. But Wot Now has a good track record in the upcoming Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, finishing third overall in IRC in the 2008 edition.

His crew, including Sydneysiders tactician Steve McConaghy and helmsman Sean Kirkjian, added to Hanna's Victorian regulars, had not raced the boat before the opening day of the Rolex Rating Series. "The boat's fantastic and this has been a great learning curve so far," said Hanna.

A fleet of 100 yachts will compete in this year's race, which starts at 1300 AEDT, 26 December 2009. The Rolex Sydney Hobart fleet will have crews representing the USA, UK, New Zealand, Spain, the Netherlands, and New Caledonia as well as every Australian state.

Official race website
To view the list of yachts applied to enter go to

Media Information
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Friday, December 18, 2009


The next four Louis Vuitton Trophy regattas announced
The World Sailing Teams Association (WSTA) and Louis Vuitton today announced more Louis Vuitton Trophy for 2010 and early 2011.

© Paul Todd/ Louis Vuitton Trophy Nice Côte d'Azur

Paris, December 18th 2009, The World Sailing Teams Association (WSTA) and Louis Vuitton today announced more Louis Vuitton Trophy regattas for 2010 and early 2011. These new international events follow the successful regatta held in Nice, France, last month.

Each Louis Vuitton Trophy regatta is a stand-alone regatta sailed in event-supplied 85-foot long AC Class yachts that require a crew of 17 top sailors to sail. The regatta concept is designed to transform a port venue, regardless of its previous sailing culture, into the capital of professional yacht racing for two weeks, along with all the associated activities and excitement, on and off the water.

The concept of the Louis Vuitton Trophy regattas was inspired by the acclaimed Louis Vuitton Pacific Series raced in Auckland, NZ, last February.

The schedule for the next events covers four distinctly different parts of the world:

Louis Vuitton Trophy Auckland: 9 - 21 March 2010
Louis Vuitton Trophy La Maddalena, Sardinia: 22 May - 6 June 2010
Louis Vuitton Trophy Middle East: 13 - 28 November 2010
Louis Vuitton Trophy Hong Kong: 9 - 24 January 2011 (To be confirmed)

* The venue in The Middle East is embargoed until January 15th 2010

Newly-elected WSTA board Chairman Paul Cayard commented: “The Louis Vuitton Trophy is gaining momentum following the great regattas held in Auckland and Nice in 2009 and I really believe 2010 is going to be an even better year for our teams, their crews and supporters.”

Apart from being a cost-effective way for teams to match race impressively large yachts close to crowds, the Louis Vuitton Trophy regattas also represent one of the most interesting media/marketing opportunities in yacht racing today.

The innovative low-cost solution to live TV and tracking coupled with live expert commentary from on board the yachts pioneered in Nice last November, allows spectators, hospitality guests and sailing fans around the world to watch live races in a hybrid virtual and real video show on internet (

The use of AC Class yachts from the last two America’s Cups now scattered about the world allows the existing boats to be shared regionally without the necessity to constantly ship equipment back and forth; only the crews travel, making for cost- effective and easily organised events.

The Louis Vuitton Trophy Auckland will again bring some of the best racing teams back to ‘’Kiwiland’’. Emirates Team New Zealand managing director Grant Dalton said the team welcomed Louis Vuitton’s return to Auckland: “Last February we tested the concept. Its success far exceeded everyone’s expectations.”

“The Louis Vuitton Trophy has emerged from that experiment as a viable, top-level regatta. It’s good for the teams, it’s good for the sport, it’s good for host cities and we’ve given the fans something to watch.”

The caliber of teams competing is second to none. Most sailors are either world champions, Olympic medalists, round-the-world sailors or past America’s Cup players. All teams competing at the Nice regatta came with either America’s Cup experience or future ambitions.

Emirates Team New Zealand has been both Challenger and Defender in the past, BMW ORACLE Racing (USA) is the current Challenger of Record, while other teams such as Azzurra (Italy), TEAMORIGIN (Great Britain), Mascalzone Latino (Italy), Synergy (Russia), All4One (France/Germany), Aleph Sailing Team previously known as Team French Spirit (France), Artemis (Sweden) all have future plans.

The Louis Vuitton Trophy regattas provide an opportunity to compete at the highest level using similar yachts, with only the crew’s sailing ability as the deciding factor. The cost to teams is also a fraction of an America’s Cup or an offshore campaign budget, something that has already attracted several new teams to taste the waters at this level of competition.

Yves Carcelle, Chairman and CEO of Louis Vuitton, is pleased to be associated with the event: “Nice a few weeks ago again proved the viability of the concept, which reflects current concerns: easy, friendly, accessible and environmentally responsible. It is a great way to bring the best teams back on the water.”

BMW ORACLE Racing 2009 Slide Show

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Rolex Trophy Rating Series 2009 - Drama

Photos by Christophe Launay -

Two of the major players did not make the start line and two other highly fancied entries did enough damage to warrant pulling out of Race 2 of the Rolex Trophy Rating Series which started today on the Manly Circle just north of Sydney Heads.

A touch of start day nerves, some crew changes and lumpy seas all added to an interesting day of windward/leeward racing in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia organised series.

Listed as starters, Alfa Romeo and RÁN did not turn up at the race course area. Neville Crichton, the owner of the New Zealand line honours challenger, instead decided to undertake crew training. The 100ft maxi was seen sharing Sydney Harbour with her main adversary for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, Bob Oatley’s Wild Oats XI, prior to racing this morning

RÁN’s late Sydney arrival in the early hours of this morning after being off-loaded at Port Kembla following transportation from the UK by ship, meant there was too little time to prepare the 2009 Rolex Fastnet Race overall winner for racing today. The good news is, fellow competitors and spectators can expect to see Niklas Zennstrom’s JV 72 in action for the remaining three days of racing.

Meanwhile, out on the course area, the 12 remaining yachts sailed in two divisions on a lumpy sea that got rougher throughout the day in a 10-20 knot north to nor-easterly wind that gusted to 25 knots at times with the odd shift thrown in.

Rolex Sydney Hobart pre-race favourites Stephen Ainsworth’s RP 63 Loki (CYCA) and Michael Hiatt’s Farr 55 Living Doll from Victoria, were casualties of Race 2.

Loki, which finished Race 1 in second, was looking well placed when disaster struck. According to crew member Adam Barnes, they were at the top mark when they heard a loud bang. “We went below to check and found the shaft drive system had dropped – we don’t know how it happened yet.”

The yacht was taken immediately to Sydney City Marine where it will be hauled out of the water to reveal just how much damage has been done to the engine, propeller, gear box and bearings in the hull of the yacht. At this stage it is not known if the yacht will be race-ready for tomorrow’s two windward/leewards.

On Living Doll, owner/skipper Michael Hiatt told of their own spinnaker woes. “We had a mishap with the kite. It got a bit messy and we lost some time. It wasn’t worth continuing on in the race.”

However, Hiatt was at pains to point out that although it was a hard day’s sailing with big lumpy seas, “We’re very happy with the boat’s performance – the boat is going really well.”

The businessman, who owns the Living Doll clothing label, said he had brought in four young guys from Australia and New Zealand and renowned ocean racing navigator, Andrew Cape, to compliment an already solid crew that includes tactician Ross Lloyd.

Peter Sorensen's The Philosopher's Club, Leader, Day 1, Division 2 Rolex Trophy Rating Series
Daniel Forster/ROLEX

Leading the series following Races 1 and 2, Alan Brierty’s RP 62 Limit was not without dramas either.

Winning Race 1, things were not so simple in Race 2; losing control of their heavy spinnaker at the first leeward gate, forcing the Limit crew to cut it away from the boat. It was rescued by Principal Race Officer Denis Thompson and his on-water race management crew. Limit still managed to finish third in the diminished fleet.

Limit’s Kiwi tactician Rodney Keenan told how: “We were left with the lighter kite and in the big breeze and the seas up, it was out-ranged and blew up.”

Owner, Alan Brierty, was thrilled to be the leader on Day 1. “Considering we have a pretty new crew from all over the world, I think we did a great job.” Like Hiatt, Brierty has some of his regulars, such as Keenan, but others, including Gavin Brady, could not make it this year for various reasons.

“We’ve got guys from Spain, England, New Zealand, America and Australia; it’s a boat of all nations,” said Limit’s eccentric owner who is currently sporting dreadlocks.

Rob Hanna’s Shogun, the JV 52 formerly known as Wot Now, is second overall in the series. Now based in Victoria, Hanna has also added some world champions in various classes to his crew of local sailors, in the shape of Steve McConaghy and Sean Kirkjian. “Yep, we’re pretty happy with our day,” McConaghy said.

Geoff Ross’ RP 55 Yendys (CYCA) was third overall. “Today was a good workout and reminds us what to expect in the race to Hobart,” was his synopsis of the day.

However, Ross subsequently retired from both races, telling officials: “Due to circumstances beyond our control, we elected to withdraw, but we’ll be back on the race track tomorrow.” Ross would not elaborate, instead opting to explain his reasons tomorrow.

Middle Harbour Yacht Club’s Peter Sorensen is leading Division 2 on The Philosopher’s Club after coming home with a pair of second places this afternoon. “They were the lumpiest seas I’ve ever sailed in off Sydney Heads,” the retired solicitor maintained, “the hardest sailing I’ve done in a while. We think we can do better than today’s two second places; we are quietly confident of winning the series.”

“Sorro”, who has Andrew Buckland aboard for the series, another famed skiff and yacht sailor, had the most consistent day. He has a two-point lead over Paul Clitheroe’s Beneteau 45, Balance (CYCA) and Chris Dare’s Audi Centre Melbourne, from Melbourne.

The 1999 Rolex Sydney Hobart winner, Knee Deep (formerly Yendys), owned by West Australian winery operator Phillip Childs and Frank Van Ruth, left the course during Race 1 after jamming a spinnaker halyard. A crew member sent up the mast so the spinnaker could be dropped. It took some time, so boat and owners elected to pull out of racing today.

For Rolex Trophy Rating Series list of entries log on to:

By Di Pearson, CYCA media

Roy E. Disney leaves mark on sailing

By JOHN ANTCZAK Associated Press Writer Photo by Rich Roberts

LOS ANGELES—Roy E. Disney, who died Wednesday at 79, was an avid ocean sailor who won the California-to-Hawaii Transpacific Yacht Race in record time a decade ago and backed programs to bring youth to the sport.

"He was very competitive, but we always had a lot of fun on the boat," said Gregg Hedrick, who managed Disney's boats and sailed 100,000 miles with him over 24 years. "We always had the best sailors on the boat and that was what made it fun 'cause he was such a good sailor and he could hold his own with any of them."

The nephew of Walt Disney competed 15 times in the Transpac, a 2,225-mile race that begins off Los Angeles and ends off Oahu's Diamond Head.

Hedrick said Disney was a sportsman "but you knew when it was a competitive moment on the boat ... and we all worked really hard, you'd all work a lot harder for Roy because you wanted to see him win."
In 1999, his 74-foot Pyewacket III was first to finish, completing the voyage in seven days, 11 hours, 41 minutes and 27 seconds. That broke the record of 7:15:24:40 set in 1997 by his son, Roy Pat Disney, who took over the job of skippering Pyewacket II after his father broke a leg and was unable to sail.

"Sheer pandemonium," Hedrick said of the 1999 victory. "We were coming down that Molokai Channel doing 25 knots in that boat and we had a big puff hit right at the buoy and the (speedometer) was reading like 28, and everybody was screaming and the cameras were flashing." -

Liz Wardley has dismasted

This morning at dawn, in a Force 7 wind with gusts and a stormy sea, Liz Wardley aboard the SolOceans One-design suffered two knock downs due to successive failures of the NKE autopilot. The SolOceans One-design has dismasted 158 miles west of Madeira and 619 miles south west of Lisbon (Portugal). Liz Wardley is not hurt and there is no damage to the SolOceans One-design. Liz Wardley quickly cleared the deck of the mast pieces to avoid damaging the hull or the deck. She will set a jury rig and sail for Lisbon without assistance. -

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Replacement mast...

'Etihad Stadium Supermaxi replacement mast close to Liege Freight Terminal' Wild Thing Yachting
- It is now a race to get the replacement mast out of Europe for the Etihad Stadium the 45 meter mast has been cut in two and will flown to Singapore where it will hopfully get a connecting flight to Sydney.

Day three of Sail Melbourne

Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page on day three of Sail Melbourne

Shifting winds dominated the afternoon racing on day three of Sail Melbourne, with the conditions keeping sailors on their toes and forcing them to work hard for every position gained.

The Australian Sailing Team’s Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page kept their 100 per cent record intact, moving out to a seven point lead from American’s Stuart McNay and Graham Biehl with local sailors Sam Kivell and Will Ryan moving into third position after a strong day.

“The racing was very win orientated today, instead of the fleet based racing we had in the opening two days,” said Belcher. “It was all about risk management on the course, you had to be very careful and weigh up all the consequences before making any decisions, and then after all of that sometimes you can’t always get it right.”

“But in saying all of that we still had two wins and have a comfortable lead so we can’t complain too much,” he said.

New Zealanders Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie continue to lead the 470 women’s class but they suffered their first race loss today, to West Australian’s Stacey Omay and Chelsea Hall. Aleh and Powrie now have a five point lead over the Australian crew with Singapore’s Dawn Liu and Siobhan Tam third.

Canadian Michael Leigh has taken the lead in the Laser class, moving two points ahead of American counterpart Clayton Johnson. Both Leigh and Johnson had a mixed day with a 20th and 11th respectively in race one followed by a one and six in race two.

“It was very shifty out there today,” said Johnson. “It seemed like the left was very good on the first beat of each race but then the right came on in a huge way.”

“These shifty and puffy conditions are a bit of fun as long as you stay calm and don’t get frustrated by what the wind is doing. At one stage it was blowing about 20 knots in the first race and then died down to about five so transitioning well was really important,” he said.

In the Laser Radial women’s fleet American Paige Railey continues to lead the class, with a win and seventh today leaving her two points clear of Marit Bouwmeester from the Netherlands in second with German sailor Franziska Goltz third.

“Pretty much wherever I went today the wind didn’t,” said Railey. “In the first race I managed to start at the wrong end but fought back well to win, at one stage there were less boats behind me than in front. Then in the second I managed to bang the wrong corner each time and slipped back a bit.”

“It was a bit weird out there today, one side was favoured on one beat and then the next one it was the other side, at one stage I headed out by myself and got a huge shift and ended up reaching into the winward mark,” she said.

The Australian Sailing Development Squad’s James Paterson continues to lead the Finn class, having a first and a fifth today to move eight points clear of Henry Bagnall, Tim Castles and Warick Hill, all tied on 14 points.

Leonard Ong has a one point lead over Columbian Nicolas Lozano in the RS:X men’s class with Australian Tim Gourlay third. While in the women’s class Australian Jessica Crisp overcame a tough opening race to hit back with a win to open up a five point buffer over Norway’s Jannicke Stalstrom with Angeliki Skarlatou third.

Singapore’s Seng Leong Koh is in control in the Laser Radial men’s class, ten points clear of Elliott Noye with Christopher Jones one point further back. -

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Focus is on Valencia

#1 Yacht Road, San Francisco, California USA 94123

Tom Ehman, Golden Gate Yacht Club Spokesperson

Valencia, December 15, 2009 – The focus for the 33rd America’s Cup is now squarely on Valencia, Spain. Today, the Appellate Division rejected the defender’s second attempt to have Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, host the February match.

“This is a big stride forward,” commented Tom Ehman, Golden Gate Yacht Club spokesperson. “In place of doubt and delay, the sailing world wants certainty. It wants to see this contest to go-ahead soon and be contested under fair rules.”
The New York Supreme Court ruled on October 30th that Ras al Khaimah did not comply with the Deed of Gift, a decision upheld by the Appellate Division in a unanimous verdict.

The Court also turned down SNG’s second attempt to have rudders included in the crucial Load Water-Line measurement calculation. This has never occurred in the 32 previous America’s Cup matches and won’t happen in the 33rd.

“With the International Sailing Federation re-drafting the previously unbalanced and unfair agreement it struck with Société Nautique de Geneve, and discussions continuing to normalize the Notice of Race, the common-sense approach to the remaining issues in this America’s Cup is prevailing,” added Ehman. -

World Yacht Racing Forum exclusive video

Brad Butterworth and Russell Coutts explain where and when - according to them - the next Cup will take place. They also discuss their views about the possibility of getting back to Court after the regatta...

What type of boat will be sailed in AC 34? Monohulls or multihulls? Both Brad Butterworth, Russell Coutts and some potential challengers share their point of view.

Paul Cayard proposes that the Challengers start working together on a Protocol for AC 34. Russell Coutts and Brad Butterworth say what they think about it. Click here

SOLAS Big Boat 2009

Photos by Christophe Launay

Neville Crichton’s 100 foot Alfa Romeo has sounded the warning bell for this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart, capitalising on a costly mistake aboard Wild Oats XI to take a resounding victory in the SOLAS Big Boat Challenge.
"The difference was Ricko getting a twisted sail. Today’s race was a bit of fun, but it’s more fun to win,” said Crichton.

Crichton’s prediction for the upcoming blue water classic is the crew who makes the least mistakes will win.

If today’s 14 nautical mile sprint around the southern end of iconic Sydney Harbour is anything to go by, Bob Oatley’s Wild Oats XI crew have been given a rude reminder that they’ll only beat Crichton by sailing a perfect race. The Mark Richards skippered Wild Oats XI was leading Alfa Romeo around the track until the final downwind run when a nasty wrap in their spinnaker, referred to as a ‘wine glass’, cost them the silverware.

"We were very happy with our performance today,” said Richards. “The boats have always been very evenly matched and always will be, I’d say. [Wild Oats XI wine maker owner] Bob said it’s not very often a wine glass gets on top of him, but it got on top of us today.

"It’s good to give the team a kick in the pants and to realise you’ve really got to dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s otherwise you are going to get beaten,” added Richards.

The biggest spectator fleet in the event’s 16 year history wasn’t disappointed as the 19 starters set off up the harbour under grey skies in a nor’easterly breeze that fluctuated between 12 and 16 knots during the afternoon.

Wild Oats XI and Alfa Romeo, both Reichel Pughs, shot out of the starting gate off Steele Point, the two boat-for-boat up the first beat in an America’s Cup style match race.

Crichton was aggressive on the helm, calling starboard on Wild Oats XI’s skipper on the first windward beat and forcing him to tack off, the two boats so close the crews could have shaken hands.

Wild Oats XI led Alfa Romeo around the course, rarely more than two boat lengths apart as the skippers sailed their own races, only meeting to cross tacks and at rounding marks. Then, when it looked like Richards had the supposedly “fun race” sewn up, a spinnaker malfunction allowed Crichton to pounce.

Third over the line was Bob Oatley’s Wild Oats X, skippered by Iain Murray, and fourth was Sean Langman’s 100 foot Investec LOYAL with its A-list sporting line up including Grant Hackett, Phil Waugh and Phil Kearns.

Last year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart overall winner, Bob Steel’s TP52 Quest, skippered by Mike Green, was named today’s overall winner from Geoff Ross’ RP55 Yendys and Stephen Ainsworth’s RP63 Loki.

The next event on the Rolex Sydney Hobart lead up calendar is the Rolex Trophy Rating Series which starts Thursday 17 December and runs through to Sunday 20 December before the climax, the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race starts at 1pm on 26 December.

Source : Lisa Ratcliff