Sunday, February 28, 2010

Etchells Jaguar Seriers – Florida State Championship Final

By Paige Brooks, Etchells Class North America Correspondent

The third in a series of four race weekends of the Etchells Jaguar Series is now a wrap, leaving triumphant victories and devastating losses. Tony Rey, sailing for George Andreadis on Etchells 1368 sailed on the water like a gold medal figure skater: gaining points with every turn and making the whole competition look like a cinch. With a 7,1,1, 2, DNF Rey, sailing with Bill Bennett and Chris Busch, didn’t have to finish his last race after his closest competitor, Bill Hardesty, missed the first shift on the upwind beat. A bit of a risk, but it paid off for Rey, as long as Hardesty didn’t claw back for the win. Unfortunately for Bill, it didn’t play out that way: he had insult added to injury when he got into a collision at the finish line, earning a ding on his bow. “Nothing I can’t fix myself,” he said resolutely.

The Florida State Championship is also a run for a trophy among the local fleet members. Saturday’s race 2 ended part-time resident Bryon Erhart’s run for his second Florida State trophy, when he fouled Scott Piper, of Coconut Grove, at the top mark, putting a game-ending hole in his own boat. Ultimately, it was George Andreadis, another part-time local, who won the sought-after trophy.

Overall the racing conditions made for superior competition. According to PRO Dave Brennan, Saturday’s race was “fantastic big consistent breeze.” It started at 15 knots from the south and built over the course of the day to 20 knots. The consistent direction made for tight, close finishes and crowded mark roundings.
From Chris Bush, sailing on the winning 1368: For the first start –there was a - pile up at the leeward end and a lot of boats, including us, were over early and several boats were late to go back. We heard our number and were able to get around the pin fast on the leeward end. After that they were right back in it – a 7th place made for our best race considering how we started.

“On the runs it was better to be kind of East (the wind was from the South)- on a starboard jibe – we did better by not jibing right away. That's what got us into the lead on the 2nd race – Billy (Hardesty) was ahead and a bunch of guys jibed. We found more pressure and actually laid the mark by staying on starboard. We rounded the right gate looking downwind and Billy went the other way. We were right there together again at the top mark - and then were just a little bit faster downwind. We found Saturday that if we stayed outside a bit on starboard and a late jibe really worked for us. “

From Tony Rey: “For the practice race George skippered and got us warmed up nicely.” As to what he attributes to their speed: “We've refined the rig tune and we're much more confident in making our changes now. “

Sunday’s racing was a bit trickier, opening with a 15-knot breeze from the North West then shifting and laying down during the 2nd race. Hardesty won the first race of the day before the wind lightened up. The shifty breeze and more current made for a few false starts in Race 2, causing Brennan to hoist up the black flag for the final race. “Suddenly, everyone knew where the starting line was,” he said and the race got off all clear. Jud Smith, sailing with Dirk Kneulman, Jud’s daughter, Darby and her friend Tim, won the last race.

Next up is the Etchells Midwinters at the end of March, with some interesting competition for the Series trophy – several teams are very close in series points: Hardesty 4; Siegal, 5; Beckman, 5; Rey / Andreadis, 6; Vessella, 6; and Smith / Kuneulman 7.

Top teams for the weekend:
1. George Anreadis, Tony Rey, Bill Bennett, Chris Bush
2. Jud Smith, Dirk Kneulman, Darby Smith, Tim King
3. Jeffrey Siegal, Jeff Madrigali, Becky Nygren, Willem Van Waay,
4. Peter Vessella, John Callahan, Tracey Usher
5. Michael Gavin / Bill Abbott, Ed Fury, Peter Nye

Saturday, February 27, 2010

RC 44 Maktoum Trophy

© Nico Martinez / RC44 Class Association
Report by Paul Cayard
Saturday, February 27, 2010

This is going to sounds like a broken record....we sailed badly again today.

The short story is that we ended up 6th overall.

The sob story is that while having a great first race today, sailing down the final run in third place, the wind shifted 120 degrees...that's right...120 degrees. The whole fleet had to put jibs up on the run and we even had to tack. We finished last.

Second race, going well, third after the first lap, big shift, a mistake by us in droping the spinnaker, and were 7th.

Anyway, I'm thinking we got it out of our system. All the bad stuff in the same week.

With 40 years of racing under my belt, I can say that "it happens". I can also say that we will go on and win many more races.

Artemis, who finished up second in the fleet racing and combined with their third place in the match racing, ended up winning the overall. That is great for Torbjorn Tornqvist and Terry Hutchinson.

And it is good for the whole Artemis team as we head down to Auckland next week for the Louis Vuitton Trophy. I will start writing updates from New Zealand around March 5.

That's is from Dubai. Thank you to the DIMC, Sid Bensalah and Saeed Herab and the whole staff here. We will be back in November for the Louis Vuitton Trophy. - Cayard Sailing Website

Friday, February 26, 2010

RC44 - Al Maktoum Sailing Trophy RC44 2010 - Fleet Race Day 5

Artemis masters the wind of the desert and closes in on Team Aqua

Chris Bake and his Team Aqua still lead the fleet race ranking of the Al Maktoum Sailing Trophy RC 44; however Torbjorn Tornqvists Artemis is now only two points behind ahead of the last day. Igor Lahs Ceeref isnt far either, currently third overall and eight points behind. The last day will be intense!

More on

Peaceful and Pacific

Jules Verne Trophy
Sixty miles better in 24 hours: Groupama 3 is continuing to extend her lead in relation to Orange 2's course in 2005. The weather conditions remain excellent for making fast and effortless headway towards Cape Horn, around 3,000 miles ahead on the same latitude...

This is beginning to become a habit. Indeed it's been a week now that Groupama 3 has been accumulating 650 to 750 mile days! 5,650 miles in eight days, that is almost twice the distance of an Atlantic crossing... It just goes to show then that the situation is also favourable for devouring the Pacific, since Franck Cammas and his crew are now ahead of a front, which is pursuing them, as was the case in the Indian Ocean. And should the phenomenon continue as far as the tip of South America, this will give them an added bonus to the 430 miles that the giant trimaran has already amassed since Tasmania!

The days follow on...
"It's dark but there is a beautiful moon. There's a clear sky and it's nice to be able to see the stars... We hope to see the reflection of Antarctica in the early hours as the moon falls below the horizon. We may even see the aurora australis! We have between 22 and 25 knots of NW'ly wind and we're sailing under one reef mainsail and medium gennaker. It's not overly cold, we're not wet and the water is still at 8°C: all's well! The weather's superb... And we still have a rather pleasant sea state which is easy to negotiate. We're not going crazy!" said Ronan Le Goff at the 1130 UTC radio session with Groupama's Race HQ in Paris.

This is certainly the case but looking at their progress from land, this pace seems incredibly fast along what has been an amazingly straight course over the past eight days! Tracking along at 55° South, Groupama 3 is ensuring that she's keeping a long way away from the ice and, at that same time, is able to reduce the distance to make Cape Horn. After Auckland Island, which they just skirted on Thursday, there is no more land before Drake's Passage... similar fashion
"We saw another island yesterday so we don't really feel all alone in the world. In addition, it's not taking as long as all that! In five days time we're going to see land again... As regards icebergs, our navigator Stan Honey has told us that we're not going to pass through any zones of `ill repute'. Of course the sky will soon become overcast since the front is catching up with us, but that will enable us to stay in a stable NW'ly breeze for a good while... There will be one to three gybes in store, but after that we'll be on a straight track towards Cape Horn."

Life goes on and the ten men on Groupama 3 are punctuating their days with hours spent on watch, sleeping or on stand-by, eating or talking in the "gas corner"... Indeed the kitchen is the place to be for all the different communities onboard who want to exchange thoughts and discuss all manner of topics that are a far cry from the preoccupations of landlubbers. After 26 days at sea, the separation between those on the water and those on land is perceptible and the day's questions are more geared around the composition of lunch or the recognition of seabirds than paying the electric bill...

"Life onboard is different on Groupama 3 in relation to Orange 2: for sure there were two habitable hulls and it was more spacious and more comfortable on Orange. However, despite there being less privacy on the trimaran, it's going very well. It really is a fine voyage, but we've seen fewer birds like petrels, cape petrels and albatrosses over the past few days..." -

Artemis masters the wind of the desert and closes in on Team Aqua

Photo: Copyright Nico Martinez / RC 44 – A great start for Artemis during today’s last regatta, whilst team Aqua struggles at the Committee end of the line.
Chris Bake and his Team Aqua still lead the fleet race ranking of the Al Maktoum Sailing Trophy RC 44; however Torbjorn Tornqvist’s Artemis is now only two points behind ahead of the last day. Igor Lah’s Ceeref isn’t far either, currently third overall and eight points behind. The last day will be intense!

February 26, 2010 – It was another very interesting day off Dubai, with a very hot wind blowing up to 25 knots and the sky covered with sand and dust from the desert. Torbjorn Tornqvist and his team enjoyed those tough conditions: they got the best results today with a second, a third and a first place and are now only two points away from the leader Team Aqua.

The first regatta of the day was the closest one, with the top five boats crossing the arrival line in less than fifteen seconds. Leading during most of the regatta, Team Aqua had to avoid Katusha – who broached brutally in front of them – at the windward mark, by crash-tacking and heading to the less favoured right hand side of the course. Ceeref, Artemis and No Way Back benefited from this incident to take the lead and cross the arrival line in this order. “We were not far from seeing two RC 44’s sink", explained Chris Bake at the end of the day. “It was a really close one and we were all quite shaked by this incident!"

Team Aqua recovered well during the second regatta of the day, sailing to the left of the course before tacking at the first big left shift and extending its lead throughout the race. The second beat saw a different – and rare – scenario, with Team Sea Dubai recovering from a fairly big deficit by sailing on their own to the right and climbing up to the second place, just ahead of Artemis.

The third race gave Torbjorn Tornqvist the opportunity to close in on Team Aqua. Artemis took an excellent start whilst his main opponent struggled at the Race Committee end of the line, suffering during the beat as the wind was slowly shifting left. The boats then started heading for the windward mark, tacking one after the other over Team Aqua. “That’s the game", commented Bake. “I would have done the same." As a consequence, Artemis, Katusha and Team Austria started extending their lead, finally crossing the arrival line in this order after a fabulous fight. “I just can’t tell you how much I have enjoyed today", said Torbjorn Tornqvist a few minutes later. “Those boats are really something special in those conditions. It’s just fantastic."

Three to four more races are scheduled tomorrow weather permitting it. A bad storm is announced over Dubai tonight, and even rain is expected. A rarity in Dubai!

The results so far show that all the teams have managed to finish races in the top five whilst seven of them have achieved top threes. As for the leaders, their worse result is a sixth for Team Aqua and a fifth for Artemis. Last but not least, four different teams have managed to win races. The consistency in the top five definitely seems to be the key to victory!

They said:

Torbjorn Tornqvist, helmsman, Artemis: “The wind was strong but we were within the limits of this boat and I never worried. We had no failures and could concentrate entirely on our racing."

Chris Bake, helmsman, Team Aqua: “We had a very good day and we sailed well. However, there were some little details that cost us a lot."

Bob Little, helmsman, Katusha: “The level is very high and it is tough for me. I have made several mistakes that have cost us a lot. But it got better in our last race. It’s the first time I steer this boat with so much wind, so I need to adapt. Luckily the team was great and they helped me a lot."

Raimondo Tonelli, helmsman, Team Sea Dubai: “I usually steer foiling Moths and I am a bowman on bigger boats, so it isn’t easy for me here, especially with this wind: the competition is very tough. But it is great and I enjoy it a lot. I am impressed how precise and sensitive the helm is."

Fleet race, provisional results after seven races:

(Ranking, name of team, helmsman, results, points)

1) Team Aqua (Chris Bake), 1, 2, 1, 2, 4, 1, 6 – 17 points
2) Artemis (Torbjorn Tornqvist), 3, 4, 5, 1, 2, 3, 1 - 19 points
3) CEEREF (Igor Lah), 2, 7, 3, 3, 1, 5, 4 - 25 points
4) Team No Way Back (Pieter Heerema), 4, 1, 7, 7, 3, 4, 5 - 31 points
5) Katusha (Bob Little), 5, 5, 2, 8, 8, 7, 2 - 37 points
6) Team Sea Dubai (Raimondo Tonelli), 6, 6, 8, 4, 6, 2, 7 - 39 points
7) Team Austria (René Mangold), 8, 3, 9, 5, 9, 8, 3 - 45 points
8) Team Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (Daniel Calero), 7, 8, 4, 9, 5, 6, 9 - 50 points
9) BMW ORACLE Racing (Mike Perris), 9, 9, 6, 6, 7, 9, 8 - 52 points

Heineken Regatta: Commitment to Protect Local Waters

Commitment to Protect Local Waters Leads St. Maarten Heineken Regatta to its Second Year as a Clean

Simpson Bay, St. Maarten – After 30 years of "Serious Fun" the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta still holds great aspiration towards the future, both short - and long - term. Introduced in last year’s event, the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta again commits to the Sailors for the Sea Clean Regatta program as it strives to achieve Bronze level certification. In cooperation with the Sailors for the Sea, the only ocean conservation nonprofit focused on the sailing and boating community, the Regatta Organization tries to reduce our impact on our oceans and coastal waters. The St. Maarten Heineken Regatta has tried to operate as environmentally friendly as possible. The use of reusable bow numbers, paperless registration, biodegradable products in the office and with the help of sponsors creates environmental awareness to all of those involved with the biggest sailing event in the Caribbean.

After being awarded with the Bronze certificate last year, the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta will do its best to improve on last year. With the help of three 100% dedicated sponsors the aim is to maintain the environmental awareness on our island. Title sponsor Heineken has ordered biodegradable cups that will be used at the parties during the event. Furthermore they decided not to issue straws which will help reduce a significant amount of waste. And with the success of last year, the bracelets will be sold in order to raise money to protect the natural environment of both the French and Dutch marine parks on the island. Sol, the official supplier of motorized support during the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, will provide all the boats with marine absorbing pads that will prevent our waters from oil spill. Sol has proven through the years to be very aware of the impact that this event has to their island, and they have taken responsibility to maintain the beauty that our Friendly Island still represents.

The new title sponsor of the Commodores Cup (Thursday March 4th) and worldwide leader in marine technical clothing Gill produce their Race Tech Collection shirts that are fully made from 100% recycled plastic bottles. These shirts offer 50 plus UPF sun protection as well as excellent wicking attributes. Made with a dual purpose use in mind. Ideal for base layer use under gear or as a standalone tech t shirt. The fact that these styles are made from recycled materials is a win for the customer and the environment.

The Regatta Office itself is as well very aware of their responsibility to set an example. In cooperation with the company Good 2 Go the organization will use several biodegradable products, such as cups, coffee cups, household towels, toilet tissues and garbage bags. In order to reduce the paper usage, the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta aims towards a paperless registration for their participants and all the attending press will be issued with a press package with all the press releases on CD-ROM rather than the paper versions. At registration all the skippers without sail numbers will place a deposit and receive a reusable bow number for their boats, and the regatta organization requests that these bow numbers be returned for use in future years. Finally the Regatta Organization will thank their volunteers for their help by handing out an aluminum reusable Thermal Mug to them!

The Organization feels that everyone involved is ready to celebrate 30 years of “Serious Fun” will all the participants. The largest sailing event in the Caribbean will take place on March 4 to 7!

About Sailors for the Sea
Founded in 2004, Sailors for the Sea is a nonprofit organization that educates and empowers the boating community to protect and restore our oceans and coastal waters. For more information on or to participate in any of the Sailors for the Sea programs, or to become a member and support the organization, visit A full list of Clean Regatta certification requirements is also available online.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

2010 Etchells Jaguar Series

Photo by John Payne

Florida State Championship Races of the 2010 Etchells Jaguar Series (Feb 26-27)

The Florida State Championship is the third of four weekends in the Etchells Jaguar Series. With record snow and record lows around the country, chilled sailors hopping on planes tonight (Thursday) and tomorrow will find upon landing in Miami that it has finally reverted back to warmer winter weather.

The forecast for the weekend looks to be a great test of boat preparation and crew skill with a big gusty breeze expected for Saturday and Chamber of Commerce weather on Sunday on Miami’s Biscayne Bay. Sixty boats are expected and much to the relief of many sailors, there are no plans for windward gates this time around.

Now halfway through the series, we start to see the cream rise to the top with many of the series regular winners in contention for the overall trophy. At the moment the order of potential overall series winners are: Bill Hardesty, Jeff Siegal, Marvin Beckman, Dirk Kneulman, and Tony Rey (Tony and Dirk are tied). Of the boats listed here, each boat has at least one professional sailor aboard, and of those, at least two (Hardesty and Kneulman) are funding their own programs. Because of the boat and the outstanding competition, professional sailors will forgo their regular fees and instead spend their hard earned dollars to get their own boats and crew to Miami and race against the best amateurs and professionals (not to mention the added benefit of warm water and 70 degree temps!).

“How are you getting ready for the weekend?” was a question posed to a few of the regular participants of the Jaguar Series.

From Chris Lanza, in Miami: “The scenario goes something like this: I will head down Friday afternoon to scrape off the bird [droppings] and assorted dead bugs, and fix a few things before we throw the boat back out onto the racecourse. I heard back from Brian Kamilar (bow & tactics) who sailed with us last regatta and he has confirmed. North Sails Anson Mulder (speed man) will return for another shot at glory.

My crew tells me that we will have big breeze again on Saturday. Good thing we have been practicing...Not! The good news is that the settings will be right since I never unloaded the rig from the last blustery regatta. I hope it will be like riding a bicycle....and I don't fall off.”

Ethan Doyle, of NYC, sailing on “Cougar”: “The Cougar is getting a fresh round of botox and a slight breast enhancement, then a little bit of red lipstick and she will be ready for weekend action. Seriously, we'll be racing this weekend.”

Bill Hardesty from San Diego: “After today, I am once again cold. It looks like another windy one on Saturday.” (Did he ever warm up from the early January racing?)

And from John Callahan, of Sausalito, CA who sails as crew on Peter Vessella’s 1168: “I'm fending off pneumonia and hoping not to see a repeat of Jan Jag weather. How is that for preparation?”

Sounds like cabin fever has set in. A little time in the warm weather should help that. Stay tuned for race updates on Sunday night.

-Paige Brooks

Etchells North America Class Correspondent

New Lutra 80 Singularity

Singularity a Lutra 80 Canting keel racer cruiser built in Sydney by McConaghy Boats.
Images taken during her first test sail in Sydney Harbour, Australia. by Christophe Launay

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

RORC 600: Sunset and sunrise

Photos by Carlo Borlenghi
Day three of the RORC Caribbean 600 and Richard Bamford's Swan 38, Dolfijn is the new overall leader. The elegant Swan 38 has classical lines but Dolfijn has some excellent racing pedigree including; the 2008 Rolex Middle Sea Race and the 2009 ARC.

The majority of the fleet, including Dolfijn, is unusually on the wind, heading towards Guadeloupe. This morning they had a southerly headwind of about 14 knots but the wind is forecast to fall later today and rounding Guadeloupe may well prove to be a critical part of this race.

At 0800 local time, Region Guadeloupe had rounded La Desirade on the South East tip of Guadeloupe and was heading back towards Antigua at speeds of over 20 knots. They were135 miles from finishing the RORC Caribbean 600 and are conserving both food and water for the extra time at sea. The giant multihull should be back in Antigua by tonight.

Karl Kwok's Beau Geste lead the mono-hulls around the Iles des Saintes on the SW tip of Guadeloupe and is now reaching at 20 knots across the bottom of Guadeloupe on their way to La Desirade before turning North to head back to Antigua. Close on their heels was Danilo Salsi's DSK Pioneer Investments but her speed has slowed considerably this morning, allowing Beau Geste to get away and James Grundy's Bella Pita to catch up. Richard Oland's Vela Veloce with Volvo Ocean Race winner Stu Bannatyne on board is also close to turning the all-important corner at Les Saints and is closing in on DSK and Bella Pita. The next 8 hours are going to be nerve wracking for the fleet as the wind is forecast to lighten and shift to the South West.

The two Cookson 50s, Lee Overlay Partners and Privateer were also close to the turning point at Les Saintes.

"We are close to turning the corner at Guadeloupe," reported Adrian Lee from the boat. "We are on the wind and to be honest, nobody expected the breeze to turn south. However, all is good with Lee Overlay Partners, we even had a sip of champagne last night to celebrate a birthday on board. At the moment, we can see AAG Big One and also Privateer and we hope to catch them up. Lee Overlay Partners should average 10 knots after we come off the breeze and our ETA is lunchtime tomorrow."

There are five boats from IRC One in the top ten on corrected time. Global Yacht Racing's First 47.7, Caspian Services EH01, Marc Glimcher's J 122, Catapult and RORC member Peter Hopps' First 40.7, Coyote. These boats in particular will be keeping their fingers crossed that the breeze lasts to avoid the pendulum swinging towards the bigger boats in the RORC Caribbean 600.

You can track the yachts and read the messages that are coming in by accessing the Tracker Page or the Boat Blogs page on the official RORC Caribbean 600 web site.

3rd Generation IRC 52 Turbocharged

Botin Carkeek / Cookson IRC 52 - Fernando Leon & Kiko Sanchez New Mediterranean Racer

The new flush deck Cookson 52 has been designed to do well in light / medium conditions, which are expected in most venues of the Spanish circuit. Winning the Copa del Rey is the team’s main goal and we have optimized the boat’s deck, sailplan and appendages to suit their requirements. Overall displacement will be lighter than a TP52, and we have fitted a taller mast and deeper draft. The new flush deck is a preview of what the TP52 class will look like in 2011, and a thorough CFD-FEA analysis has been carried out to minimize aero windage and achieve high longitudinal stiffness. The internal structure has been upgraded by Giovanni Belgrano (Pure Engineering). The boat is expect to be launched in May 2010. -

Rippin to PV

Photo posted by Nicole Means
Day 3 of the PV race on Alchemy. Top boatspeed 31 kts.

It's 3:30 in the morning and Akela's crew is at the bar at Vallarta Yacht Club after their record breaking race down to PV. Margaritas & cervezas tide them over as they discuss the 30 kt speeds they sailed and waves they plowed through, awaiting the arrival of their main competition of Div 1, Peligroso, who will arrive at Paradise Village early Wednesday AM.

With a few days to recooperate from the Vallarta Race and prepare for MEXORC, the crew is looking forward to a day of leisure mixed in with boat clean up and prep.

Pete Heck praised the course run by Navigator Ernie Richau. Looking back to 2008, Ernie guided Magnitude 80 to the previous fastest time down the 1000 nm course only to break it this year with Akela. Akela's early decision to break out west after Division 1 boats had passed Ensenada proved to be a strong move as other boats caught one of the few flat points of the race.

The big news on Tuesday was the withdrawal from the race by Pendragon VI due to a boat issue (undisclosed at this time). The crew is safe in Cabo. It is undecided if they will make the trip under motor to PV to join the festivities. Escort Vessel Coley D spent the night in Cabo as well, and will be looking at a Thursday arrival in PV.

Back to the racers, the wind has been strong and consistent through the night and has allowed all boats to maintain speed near or above 10 kts at every ping by the Race Tracker. Some boats have hit readings of 17+ kts and likely went higher during the race. The possibility of a record breaking race by Akela or Peligroso is still in play. While we can't see their progress via the tracker, they are approx 150 nm from the finish.

Sea Dubai Sailing Team Report

Photographs: Niico Martinez
Ambitious Sea Dubai turn their fortunes around

24th February 2010. Al Maktoum Sailing Trophy, Dubai. Sea Dubai scooped the top match-racing prize today for the first time in their third season of racing in the class. The win was made particularly sweet by being the season opener, on home ground and so convincing after taking top place in seven out of their eight matches. Last season the team had mixed fortunes where they performed some stunning racing and amazing tactics but were let down by inconstancy and lack of confidence made them unreliable but ambitious.

They had two matches today the first against Puerto Calero Islas Canarias where Sea Dubai managed to come from behind to win and the second against BMW Oracle, which didn’t go so well, and Sea Dubai lost their only match to Adam Minoprios Black Match team on the American boat.

‘To start the season on such a high like this is amazing,’ said Markus Wieser, the match-racing skipper of Sea Dubai. ‘We knew we could do it and thought we may be able to come 4th or 5th and now we are all a little bit surprised at how well we’ve performed this time. In the races today we were very conscious not to make any mistakes or cause any damage where we could lose precious points. We are absolutely knocked out with a first place result,’ he said.

Tomorrow it is the turn of Raimondo Tonelli at the helm for the fleet racing. He is new to the team and only stepped on the boat just over a week ago. Whether he feels more pressure after todays win or less he is not sure but either way there is pressure. Hailing from Lake Garda in Italy where the wind can blow hard early in the morning he might find the conditions suit him this weekend, but as he’s more used to the foil sailing of a moth we will have to wait and see.

The rest of the team are on good form and completely focused to go in to the fleet race looking for more good results. Racing starts at 11:30 for the next three days ending on Saturday 27th February when the boats will be packed up quickly and moved to Jebel Ali port to be shipped back to Europe for the next round in Lake Traunsee in Austria in April.

Halfway point for the Class40s

RORC Caribbean 600 Race Tracker - courtesy of the RORC Caribbean 600 and Geovoile

Halfway point for the Class40s in the RORC Caribbean 600
by Oliver Dewar

Having rounded the southern tip of Nevis pre-dawn on Tuesday, the three Class40s in the RORC Caribbean 600 gybed north-west towards the island of Saba with the Irish duo Michael Boyd and Niall Dowling racing with Miranda Merron and John Patrick Cunningham on 40 Degrees leaving Saba to starboard at 11:00 GMT as the leading monohull, Karl Kwok’s carbon fibre 80 footer, Beau Geste, rounded St Maarten – the northern turning mark in the race - 66 miles further along the race track. “We continued our downwind run to Saba, arriving just after dawn, and rounded quite close to the spectacular, steep-sided island,” reports Merron this morning. “The peak, Mount Scenery, is over 900 metres high, which creates quite a wind shadow. We were allowed to pass without slowing down too much,” she adds.

“The next leg to St Barts was a fast reach,” continues Merron. “Once past the southeast corner, we were treated to some exhilarating downwind sailing with the wind gusting to 25 knots from time to time, flying along at 15 knots.” As 40 Degrees set-off north-east on a starboard reach to the southern tip of St. Barts with Boyd and his crew harassing the two Farr 65 sisterships Spirit of Isis and Spirit of Minerva, Joe Harris and Ocean Warrior rounded Saba just under one hour behind 40 Degrees with the two Class40s separated by approximately four miles. Harris and his team were followed closely round the mark by Willy Bissainte and his crew on Class40 Tradition Guadeloupe with the Beneteau 47.7, Caspian Services and J122 Catapult in pursuit. “We’re currently match racing the Pogo [Tradition Guadeloupe] who has been 20 metres from our hip for last two hours,” commented Josh Hall at midday yesterday.

By mid-afternoon GMT, 40 Degrees was around Grande Pointe, the south-eastern tip of St. Barts, with a lead of three miles over Willy Bissainte on Tradition Guadeloupe and four miles over Joe Harris and Ocean Warrior. By 16:30 GMT, after 24 hours and around 200 miles of racing, all three boats entered Saint-Barthélemy Channel. “We are four miles behind 40 Degrees, running up the west side of St. Maarten,” confirmed Hall as the boat’s tracker briefly began transmitting confusing data. “We held the huge kite tight-ish, reaching for the 30 mile run from St. Barts to St. Maarten, but someone moved the island left at the last minute,” he explains. “So we did a slick down-spinnaker-unroll-headsail, dog it to weather for 20 minutes, then re-hoist.” The team on Ocean Warrior are very pleased with the manoeuvre. “Ellison has been following us and emails constantly with AC job offers, but does not seem to understand that we are easy, but not cheap!” Read more...

Louis Vuitton Trophy Auckland

Louis Vuitton Trophy Auckland Attracts America's Cup Challenger of Record

AUCKLAND - Mascalzone Latino Audi Team, the recently-annointed Italian Challenger of Record for the 34th America's Cup, joins seven other Cup contenders in Auckland next month to race on New Zealand's Waitemata Harbor for the Louis Vuitton Trophy Auckland.

Photo © Franck SOCHA Louis Vuitton Trophy
Inspired by last year’s Louis Vuitton Pacific Series and sailed in former America’s Cup boats, the Louis Vuitton Trophy Auckland is the second of five match race regattas. In France last November the Italian team Azzurra led by Francesco Bruni won the Louis Vuitton Trophy Nice Côte d’Azur, defeating the favorite Emirates Team New Zealand and its skipper Dean Barker 2-0. Both teams are part of the eight-syndicate entry for Auckland.

The only syndicate from last year, other than Emirates Team New Zealand, is Great Britain’s TEAMORIGIN, skippered by four-time Olympic medalist Ben Ainslie.

Four new teams are coming, all with familiar faces and powerful credentials. All four teams made their debuts in Nice. The French ALEPH Sailing Team is skippered by Bertrand Pacé. All4One is a combined French/German team with skipper Jochen Schümann. Artemis, from Sweden, has Paul Cayard as skipper. Russia’s Synergy Russian Sailing Team is skippered by Karol Jablonski.

Part of the Auckland Festival of Sail organized by Emirates Team New Zealand, the Louis Vuitton event will overlap with the Auckland International Boat Show. The two Cup boats will dock in the heart of the Viaduct Basin on the quayside adjacent to Aucklanders’ favourite restaurants and wine bars, providing an unprecedented opportunity for spectators to view boat preparation and the departures and arrivals of the teams each day.

Racing will follow the format established in Auckland last year and adopted for competition in Nice last November. Racing starts Tuesday, 9th March. Teams will take turns racing the two boats in four matches a day to complete a round robin seeding series before a ladder elimination culminating in the finals on Sunday, 21st March.

Preparations are well under way to host the top tier professional sailors. The two Emirates Team New Zealand yachts NZL 84 And NZL 92 have been fitted out, optimized and rigged after a year in storage. They set out yesterday on their first shake-down sail.

The Louis Vuitton Trophy Auckland is organised in association with the New Zealand Government, Auckland City, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, New Zealand Tourism, New Zealand Trade & Enterprise, TVNZ, Audi New Zealand and Emirates Team New Zealand.

The event web site has content in English, French and Italian that includes race reports, press reports, features and photographs.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

From one ocean to another...

Jules Verne Trophy

Still maintaining the high speeds that have coloured the past five days, Franck Cammas and his nine crew should make their entry into the Pacific Ocean tonight. In so doing Groupama 3 is set to pocket the record for the passage from Cape Agulhas to Tasmania in a time of under nine days. Furthermore, with the favourable weather conditions set to last, the coming days are likely to be just as fast.

Groupama 3 is on the point of collecting her first trophy of this Jules Verne! Indeed this round the world sprint has also provided the crew with the opportunity to beat three other records recognised by the WSSRC (World Sailing Speed Record Council), the official body in charge of validating the best times under sail. It is also hoped that the prize haul will include the record passage across the Indian Ocean (Orange 2: 9d 11h 04'), that of the passage across the Pacific Ocean (Orange 2: 8d 18h 08') and that from the equator back to the equator (Orange 2: 33d 16h 06').

"We're monitoring our progress in relation to Orange 2 and even though she's not a direct opponent, we're looking at her virtual wake. We knew that under Australia we were going to make up our deficit as Bruno Peyron and his crew had to put in several gybes with some slower phases. However, they traversed the Pacific very quickly... It will be difficult to maintain the same average speed as far as Cape Horn. If we have a bit of a lead at that stage that wouldn't be bad: theoretically the climb up the Atlantic should enable us to claw back the time!" said Fred Le Peutrec at the 1130 UTC radio link-up with Groupama's Race HQ in Paris.

At the end of 23 days at sea then, Groupama 3 has been tracking ahead of the reference time for some ten days and lamenting a deficit for thirteen days... Right now Franck Cammas' aim is to commit to the Pacific with a lead of several hours over the record pace. - Find all the latest news from the Groupama trimarans at:

RC 44 Championship

Photo: Copyright Nico Martinez / RC 44 - Terry Hutchinson, at the helm of Artemis, tried hard to cover Team Sea Dubai and get the precious point that would have made the difference. But Sea Dubai didn’t do any mistake.

Team Sea Dubai takes a serious option on the Al Maktoum Sailing Trophy RC 44 match race

Only two flights could be completed today due to the lack of wind. Two teams conclude the day undefeated: Markus Wieser’s Team Sea Dubai - who hasn’t lost a single match in this event - and Paul Cayard’s Katusha, who recovers well after a bad day yesterday.

February 23, 2010 – The wind was very light and fluky today for the second half of the match race event. Despite Peter "Luigi" Reggio’s attempts to close the contest, the last two flights will take place tomorrow, before the fleet race practice.

Unbeaten after seven flights, Team Sea Dubai is almost certain to win the title. Indeed, the local team’s closest rival, Artemis, sits two points behind whilst the team from the Emirates won the direct confrontation this afternoon. All they have to do is cross the line and avoid any penalising collision.

The match of the day, between Team Sea Dubai and Terry Hutchinson’s Artemis, delivered all its promises. The two boats started on split tacks at full speed and immediately engaged in a tacking dual. Just ahead of its opponent after the first cross, Hutchinson made a slight error of appreciation that allowed Team Sea Dubai to close the gap. The two teams then engaged in a dial up as they were nearing the windward mark. Markus Wieser came out of it better than Artemis and rounded the mark two boat lengths ahead. Hutchinson tried hard to come back during the rest of the race, but Wieser and his crewmembers held on tight and won the race.

"We focused on the basics", commented Hartwell Jordan, Team Sea Dubai’s mainsail trimmer and strategist. "Last night, we debriefed our first day and decided not to change anything and to carry on sailing for fun, without putting any unnecessary pressure on our shoulders. We felt comfortable with our course management and boat speed, so we didn’t feel the need to put a specific strategy in place. We just went for it as relaxed and focused as we could."

Disappointed by his results today (two losses against TSD and No Way Back), Terry Hutchinson remained as positive as he could. "The day was good", he said. "We won our two starts and managed to keep the pressure all along. Unfortunately, we did some mistakes. In the first race, we went to the wrong side of the course and our timing was slightly wrong in the second one. I have the feeling that we bet ourselves more than anything else."

Whilst Team Sea Dubai is almost certain to win the title, the rest of the podium remains open. Artemis is currently second with four points, followed by five teams on a tie in third with three points.

Despite the winner being almost certainly known, the last two flights will definitely not be for the gallery!

They said:

Hartwell Jordan, mainsail trimmer and strategist, Team Sea Dubai: “We have changed the set up of our boat over the winter and we can feel the difference. We have also changed our mental approach: in the past, we sometimes felt intimidated by the level of our competitors. We are now more relaxed about this, and we try to manage the pressure more efficiently. We’ve also trained hard over the winter, which has allowed us to remember all the moves almost instinctively. As a consequence, we can now look out of the boat and concentrate on the regattas."

Cameron Appleton, helmsman, Team Aqua: “This hasn’t been the most rewarding event for us so far and we’ve had a tough couple of days… We didn’t train like the others over the winter, but I don’t think it would have made a difference in this light wind. Our problem was mainly linked with timing; we didn’t take good starts and weren’t in the right rhythm."

Rod Davis, helmsman, Ceeref: “It was good to win a race by one second against Team Aqua after having lost two matches by one second yesterday… It’s very strange, we are loosing against teams that we should beat (on the paper) and we are winning the toughest matches. It shows how tight the Class is. Any small team can challenge the best ones. The consequence is that we need to train harder in order to improve."

Paul Cayard, helmsman, Katusha: “We were quite unhappy with our result yesterday, but the good thing is that the team stayed well together, and focused. We all knew that we could do a better job. We spoke about our races and decided to keep it as simple as possible and focus on getting a better result without changing anything fundamental in the way we sail. It’s just tough; the races are very close and difficult."

Match-race, provisional results after seven flights:

(Ranking, name of team, helmsman, No of victories / defeats, points)

1) Team Sea Dubai (Markus Wieser), 6/0, 6 points
2) Artemis (Terry Hutchinson), 4/2, 4 points
3) CEEREF (Rod Davis), 3/3, 3 points
3) BMW ORACLE Racing (Adam Minoprio), 3/3, 3 points
3) Team Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (José Maria Ponce), 3/3, 3 points
3) Team No Way Back (Pieter Heerema / Ray Davies), 3/3, 3 points
3) Katusha (Paul Cayard), 3/3, 3 points
8) Team Aqua (Cameron Appleton), 2/4, 2 points
9) Team Austria (Christian Binder), 1/6, 1 point

Swan Yachts Gather

Swan Yachts Gather to Cruise the BVI for the 7th ClubSwan Caribbean Rendezvous

The annual ClubSwan Caribbean Rendezvous is set to take place at the Bitter End Yacht Club (BEYC), British Virgin Islands, 15 – 20 March 2010. The seventh edition of the esteemed Nautor’s Swan cruising event, well known for its distinctive camaraderie between owners and excellent sailing, emulates the true spirit of Swan.

The Bitter End Yacht Club will host the opening of the ClubSwan Rendezvous, where guests will enjoy an opening cocktail reception and seafood dinner. The BEYC is set on the turquoise waters of North Sound, Virgin Gorda and boasts excellent hospitality in a typically relaxed Caribbean atmosphere, a perfect setting for the ClubSwan Caribbean Rendezvous.

The Rendezvous fleet will sail around the spectacular British Virgin Islands taking in the outstanding scenery and natural ambience the area is famous for. During the event participants will be able to enjoy cruising around Jost Van Dyke, Peter Island and Copper Island before heading back to the BEYC. On the final day’s sailing sailors can compete in a hotly contested race around Virgin Gorda Island, before the final prize giving.

Entries this year are anticipated to include over twenty international yachts, ranging in size from Swan 82RS, Capo Giro, owned by Dick Weismann to Swan 44 MKII, Laughing Lady, owned by Andrew Lippman. Joe Huber, onboard Swan 78 Valkyrie, will be back to defend his winning title for the Round Virgin Gorda race. The Swan Owners’ Association of America will once again be presenting an award for the Best Maintained Swan of the event.

Participants will also be able to enjoy a Laser Dinghy Regatta; Boules Tournament; ClubSwan Boat Show; Hors D’oeurve Contest; Scuba Diving and daily evening drinks receptions in a different picturesque anchorage every night during the ClubSwan Caribbean Rendezvous.

Cruising events are a focal point in the Nautor’s Swan calendar due to the high popularity of these events with Swan owners. Nautor’s Swan yachts have been treasured, for more than 40 years by the yachting fraternity for their unrivalled build quality, combined with the ultimate luxury making them the ultimate all round yacht.

Due to the high popularity of this event it is highly recommended that interested parties register as soon as possible. Please email the Nautor’s Swan Racing Office at or phone +44 (0)207 593 5244.

Monday, February 22, 2010

RC 44 Maktoum Trophy

Copyright: Nico Martinez / RC44 Class Association
Paul Cayard
Monday, February 22, 2010

Tough day onboard Katusha. We had 5 match races today and only managed one win. I haven't had that bad of a win percentage in a long time.

The winds were lighter and later to fill than forecast. The wind peaked at 10 knots from 285.

We started very well in all of the races except for the one against Artemis where we were over early by a second, all alone at the left end. We had to go back to restart and that gave them that race.

In the other four we had more than a fighting chance and something just ended up going against us. As an example, in race number two, we were even off the line against the Dutch and we had the right which gave us right of way at each intersection. After two intersections, we went back at them a third time.

Then BMW Oracle, which was in another match, tacked on us blocking our wind. We could do nothing other than tack away to clear our air but that meant three tacks to the one for the Dutch and that gave them a strong lead in the light winds.

Anyway, not to whine too much. We just had a bad one today. The good news is that through all the frustration of the day we stayed tight as a crew, not getting down on each other but rather staying positive.

The local team, Sea Dubai is having a great regatta so far having won all 5 of their matches. Our Louis Vuitton Trophy teamates on Artemis also had an excellent day winning all 4 of their matches.

The forecast for tomorrow is light offshore in the morning, shifting to light onshore as the land heats up.

We're going for a good night's sleep and a good one tomorrow!

Cayard Sailing Website

Sunday, February 21, 2010

BMW ORACLE Racing Celebration in San Diego

- 13 to 16 Challengers already have shown interest
- Louis Vuitton to return to the America’s Cup
- BOR top speed 42 knots in 18 knots of wind – “We still can go faster…”
- Down to San Diego or San Francisco for the venue of the 2013 America’s Cup
- America’s Cup 33 documentary to be released soon with stunning HD footage!

Ecklund Goes On To Win

Photos by Joy/Megles 20
Post sponsored by CAMET Clothing

Ecklund Goes On To Win The Audi Melges 20 Winter Series Event No. 2, Continues To Lead Overall Series

February 21, 2010 (Miami, Fla.) - Congratulations to Jeff Ecklund (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) on STAR with Harry Melges and Barr Batzer as crew. They are 2010 Audi Melges 20 Miami Winter Series Event No. 2 Champions. In second overall is Eric Wynsma (East Grand Rapids, Mich.) on Superfly, and in third was Michael Kiss (Holland, Mich.) on Bacio.

Four more races were added to Saturday’s two, completing an incredible six race series at the second of three Audi Melges 20 Miami Winter Series events, hosted by Coconut Grove Sailing Club, supported by Shake-A-Leg Miami and Melges Performance Sailboats. The day started out under beautiful, sunny conditions that gradually turned overcast as the event drew to a close. Breeze conditions were light to moderate all day at 125, providing plenty of opportunity for some really great racing.

Ecklund came on strong from the very start, ending the day with a 1-1-4-1 scoreline for a total of 6 points to win. Barr Batzer, who calls Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. home, was privileged to sail with Ecklund and Melges. "This boat is pretty awesome, even in the light air. I’d love to sail it again in a little bit more breeze,” said Batzer after racing.

Wynsma did his best to contend with Ecklund. "All day was great. We had a blast. The last race was the most fun. We had a little jibing dual going on with Ecklund," he commented after racing. Race three of the day was Wynsma's best race. A tough start equaled a clear lane on the right, placing him out front of the fleet with speed. He held his own, taking the win.

In third overall, Kiss was thrilled with his finish. "I had a great team between my brother Stephen and Jamie Kimball. After we figured out the boat speed everything was great," commented Kiss. "We'll be back for the March event for sure."

Thank you to all the participants. Without you these events would not be the great success that they are. A very special thanks to Regatta Chair Ron Rostorfer who once more did an outstanding job of organizing the event and Coconut Grove Sailing Club was the absolute perfect host. Enough praise cannot be given to Bruce Golison and his hard-working race committee who clearly worked their magic to make this event the best yet.

Many kind thanks to Melges Performance Sailboats as both Harry Melges and Andy Burdick were right there assisting and supporting racers with anything and everything they needed! Thank you MELGES!

The final event of the Audi Melges 20 Miami Winter Series is Bacardi Miami Sailing Week on March 10-13. If you have not registered, please do so now. Register Online.

1.) Jeff Ecklund, STAR; 2-1-1-1-[4]-1 = 6
2.) Eric Wynsma, Superfly; 1-[7]-3-3-1-2 = 10
3.) Michael Kiss, Bacio; 9-2-[11]-5-2-3 = 21
4.) Erwyn Naidoo, Bohica; 5-[13]-2-11-3-6 = 27
5.) Mary Anne Ward, M&M Sailing Team; 7-5-5-2-[12]-11 = 30
6.) Robert Wilber, Cinghiale; 3-[11]-10-4-10-4 = 31
7.) Chris Dold/Peter Kozicz, CAN-142; 6-[12]-12-6-5-5 = 34
8.) Joel Ronning, USA-148; 10-4-6-8-[13]-10 = 38
9.) Erik Post, Vaya Con Dios; 11-3-8-[14]-9-8 = 39
10.) John Arendhorst, Blink; 12-6-4-[12]-8-12 = 42

View Full Results

Photos of the week

Christophe Launay
Gotta Love It 7 are the JJ Giltinan 2010 Champion

DSK Training today off Mont Serrat Vulcano (CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE!)


RC 44 Maktoum Trophy

Report by Paul Cayard
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Photo by Sander van der Borch

Today was a practice day here in Dubai and we had 15-17 knots of wind with 1-2 meter seas. A breeze known as a "Shamal" blew in increasing the wind strength from the normal 8-10 knot thermal breezes we usually experience here.

While all the teams went out training today, there wasn't a lot of aggressive match racing practice going on as the conditions were a bit much for that and tomorrow is the first race day.

The format for 2010 has changed just a bit in that the first two days of the RC 44 events will comprise match racing, the third day will be a make up day for match racing and/or the fleet racing practice race. Then the final three days will be the fleet race portion. This new format gives the organizers a better chance to get a good match racing event in, even if faced with difficult conditions such as what we experienced here last November.

Last week the Artemis Louis Vuitton Trophy team....17 crew members....trained on two RC 44s, Katusha and Artemis for five days. The conditions were excellent with 8-11 knot winds almost every day and plenty of sun. We had an excellent organization with two top umpires, a coach and a race committee. By setting up drills that put the boats into critical race situations, as well as running real races, we got into more race situations each day than we would normally get into over an entire regatta. Having the umpires and coaches allowed us to debrief the situations, with video, and really learn the best way to manage these situations on the race course and the rules that apply. It was also a nice team building exercise for team Artemis.

Next stop for the Louis Vuitton Trophy team is Auckland from March 9-21.

For now, Katusha and Artemis are concentrating on the Maktoum Trophy here in Dubai through Saturday.

Cayard Sailing Website

Groupama 3: On track

Jules Verne Trophy
Groupama 3 is almost back inside the Jules Verne Trophy reference time as she approaches the longitude of Cape Leeuwin, just seven days after passing Cape Agulhas! The final stage of the Indian Ocean seems all set to see the giant trimaran get back in the saddle...

124 miles separate the two boats on this 21st day at sea. Since the Crozet Islands the situation has reversed and Groupama 3 has constantly proven to be faster (at times ten knots quicker) than Orange 2 in 2005... With a W to NW'ly wind of around twenty knots, Franck Cammas and his men are sailing safely, without putting too much pressure on the machine and without demanding excessive amounts of effort from the crew. The past 24 hours have been more active in terms of manoeuvres however.

"Everything's going very smoothly: we're being dealt weather conditions which aren't particularly difficult for an Indian Ocean. We're still chasing after Orange 2 but we've greatly reduced our deficit. On Saturday there was even some sunshine and we had a magical night with an extraordinarily starry sky. It's my first adventure offshore and you simply can't tire of it: time just flies by! I'm excited at the idea of passing Cape Leeuwin on Monday morning and after that it will be the Pacific and the Horn: it's fantastic! Added to that I'm on watch with Thomas Coville and Steve Ravussin and we get on very well" said Bruno Jeanjean at the 1130 UTC radio link-up with Groupama's Race HQ in Paris.

Leeuwin ahoy
Under large gennaker, staysail and full mainsail, Groupama 3 is still making headway at an average of nearly thirty knots and tonight's menu promises more of the same. As such Franck Cammas and his nine crew should cross the longitude of Cape Leeuwin late tonight or in the early hours with a deficit of less than five hours in relation to the reference time. Above all they are set to achieve the best time over this section of the course between Cape Agulhas and the SW tip of Australia...

"We're really not feeling fatigued because we've never had to draw on our reserves! Of course above thirty-five knots of speed, you get shaken about quite a lot and you have to hang on whilst you're in your bunk, but we're sleeping well. Thomas told me that this particular crossing of the Indian has gone fairly smoothly in relation to what he's experienced here in the past... We're still sailing on relatively well organised seas and for the time being, we've only had one 40 knot gust. Furthermore, it's not cold and the sea temperature is still 10°C. Today we've had a good day of manoeuvring, switching between the large and small gennaker, with two gybes: that livens things up on deck!"

The crew has also had the time to perform several check-ups and all's well aside from the natural wear on the sheets. The `sailing instructions' are still the same: go fast effortlessly! And from this perspective, Groupama 3 is right on track to complete her passage across the Indian Ocean. - Find all the latest news from the Groupama trimarans at:

Ecklund Leads Audi Melges 20 Winter Series Event No. 2

Joy Dunigan
February 20, 2010 (Miami, Fla.) - It was a day of racing that almost wasn’t. Just before three o’clock today, PRO Bruce Golison and his very skilled race committee fired off 2 races to commence the 2010 Audi Melges 20 Miami Winter Series Event No. 2, hosted by Coconut Grove Sailing Club, supported by Shake-A-Leg Miami and Melges Performance Sailboats. Around 2:30 p.m., the breeze just didn’t appear to be filling in, Golison then registered 4.4 knots (meeting the class minimum breeze limit) at the weather boat. Abundant sunshine accompanied the very light, fickle breeze with seventy-degree temperatures.

The fleet was just itching to go and becoming impatient. With the sound of Golison’s air horn the fleet assembled for the first start. A Course 4 and bearing of 155, the start was clean with series leader Jeff Ecklund (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) on STAR, Eric Wynsma (East Grand Rapids, Mich.) on Superfly and Rob Wilber (Stony Creek, Conn.) on Cinghiale heading left for pressure. Wynsma was strong rounding the weathermark in first, Ecklund in second and fleet newcomer John Lucas (Charleston, S.C.) on I-14 in third. By the final downwind leg of the race, Wynsma was ahead by a substantial margin with Ecklund jibing out for clean air and pressure in hopes of taking the win. Wynsma beat him to the line by a couple of boat lengths despite Ecklund making good progress taking a firm second place. Wilber was third.

Race 2 of the day was started almost immediately with Ecklund hammering the fleet with some nice speed and smooth boat handling for the win. Onboard with Ecklund is tactician Harry Melges and Bar Batzer of Morning Light fame. "I really pay attention to the angle of heel. It's everything. Keeping the boat flat is key. By doing so, I can feel the energy of the boat going forward. I watch the front end of the kite too for indications of what to do before it even happens. All this is especially important in conditions like today," said Ecklund during the post-race press conference/tech-talk. Out front early, off the start and around the mark in first was Erik Post (Winnetka, Ill.) on Via Con Dios. Post had a spectacular race, edging Ecklund for the lead up until the last upwind leg. The two rounded almost simultaneously, going to opposite gates. Ecklund looked right for and advantage and took the lead. Michael Kiss (Macatawa Bay, Mich.) on Bacio had a great race place coming from behind to take the second place position from Post who eventually settled for third. Well-known A Scow sailor Joel 'Rock Star' Ronning (Excelsior, Minn.) on Catapult took fourth and Mary Anne Ward (Cocoa Beach, Fla.) on M&M Sailing rounded out the top five.

On the way in, Audi Melges 20 manufacturer Melges Performance Sailboats made sure the fleet had plenty of beer in hand for the drive back AND more waiting at the docks when they arrived.

Melges’ Andy Burdick also conducted a very informative question and answer session. The conversation involved the only lady helm in the fleet, Ward and her tactician Sam Rogers, Ecklund, Melges and Wally Cross, tactician for Wynsma. For almost an hour the fleet listened closely as Melges and Cross divulged their rig and tune set-up secrets of the day, while the helms discussed where their comfort levels were while racing in conditions as tough and challenging as the ones witnessed today.

For Sunday, the fleet will be on its feet bright and early as the on-the-water excitement will start an hour earlier than previously scheduled.

TOP TEN RESULTS (After two races)
1.) Jeff Ecklund, STAR; 2-1 = 3
2.) Eric Wynsma, Superfly; 1-7 = 8
3.) Michael Kiss, Bacio; 9-2 = 11
4.) Mary Anne Ward, M&M Sailing Team; 7-5 = 12
5.) Erik Post, Via Con Dios; 11-3 = 14
6.) Robert Wilber, Cinghiale; 3-11 = 14
7.) Joel Ronning, USA-148; 10-4 = 14
8.) John Lucas, I-14; 4-10 = 14
9.) David Hammett, Simplified Sophistication; 8-8 = 16
10.) John Arendhorst, Blink; 12-6 = 18

Vallarta Race 2010

Divisions 1 and 2 set sail with 12-14 kts of wind a great way to begin the 1,000 nm race south.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Groupama 3: Shooting across the Indian

Aboard Groupama 3 - 16/02/2010 - © Team Groupama

The miles have been streaming by since Thursday lunchtime: 763.4 miles across the water in 24 hours at an average of 31.8 knots! The stable W to NW’ly wind is enabling Groupama 3 to maintain a constant speed thanks to a sea, which remains manageable for a thirty metre long trimaran. The deficit in relation to the reference time has shrunk away to less than 240 miles…

Time is ticking by! After amassing a deficit of over 430 miles following 18 days at sea at 1400 UTC on Thursday, the time spent in the Indian Ocean was beginning to drag for Franck Cammas and his nine crew. However, having now succeeded in getting ahead of the front circulating around the Roaring Forties as it shifts quickly across towards Tasmania, Groupama 3 has finally clawed back some miles this Friday. And as this wind-fuelled boost of speed is set to continue as far as the Pacific, the deficit on Orange 2 will be recovered over the course of the weekend, transforming into a lead at the start of the third ocean… However the sailing conditions are particularly wet for now…

“We’re going to unfurl the heavy gennaker as the NW’ly wind is easing off a little. In fact we’re switching between the solent jib when there’s 30-35 knots and the small gennaker when there’s no more than 27-32 knots of breeze. We’re really copping it at the helm… It’s raining a lot and there are big seas. That’s why we’re avoiding sending anyone up to the foredeck. I prefer a helmet but some of the others are wearing ski masks to stand up to the spray as it slaps against your face. Fortunately the water isn’t cold…” stated Fréd Le Peutrec, at the 1130 UTC radio link-up with Groupama’s Race HQ in Paris.

Constant speed

The current script for this round the world sprint began at midday on Thursday and is continuing to record some incredible average speeds for a ‘normal’ sailor: 32, 33, 34, or even 36, 37 knots. Such a pace doesn’t seem to be unsettling the crew of Groupama 3 who are confident in the boat’s structure, which isn’t suffering impact from the sea. Furthermore this tempo with over 700 mile days across the water should last the whole weekend, or even longer! Indeed from Sunday evening, the giant trimaran should pass the longitude of Cape Leeuwin (SW Australia), and by Tuesday Tasmania will already be in their wake… A crossing of the Indian Ocean in a little more than eight days in prospect then! Should this prove to be the case, the crew will have a good handful of miles on the reference time and look set to explode the WSSRC record between Cape Agulhas and Southern Tasmania, set by Orange 2 in a time of 9d 11h 04'…

“We look to be on target to maintain this pace as far as Tasmania, or even as far as New Zealand. We may have to put in a few gybes to reposition ourselves, but the trajectory will remain very straight, in contrast to Orange 2 in 2005… For 48 hours, we’re still going to be pushed along by this thirty knot wind, then it will ease a little but the W’ly breeze will accompany us as far as the Pacific. Furthermore, if the depression stagnating over Auckland Island evacuates, we won’t have any real transition to negotiate at that point, which would be quite good!”

By passing over 200 miles to the North of the Kerguelen Islands, the continental shelf hasn’t altered the sea state, which has remained orientated in the direction of the wind. This has enabled Groupama 3’s helmsmen, currently taking turns at the helm every half hour, to benefit from the waves to power up. Franck Cammas and his men still haven’t seen any landfall since leaving Ushant as the giant trimaran’s course hasn’t taken them close to the austral islands. However there are numerous seabirds around…

“It’s soaking both outdoors and in, both on the inside and the outside of our foulies! The levels of humidity have reached 100% and the heating doesn’t work… As such there isn’t a little corner by the ‘fireplace’, despite Ronan’s best efforts to fix the problem. Fortunately it’s fairly mild since we’re on the southern edge of a zone of high pressure, with wind dropping down off Africa. We’re being tailed by petrels and albatrosses…” -

RC44: Rock Stars!

Young guns versus rock stars at the Al Maktoum Sailing Trophy RC 44

Invited by Russell Coutts to skipper BMW ORACLE Racing in Dubai next week, the World Match Race Tour champion 2009 Adam Minoprio gets a fantastic opportunity to test his skills against the world’s best match racers.

February 19, 2010 – The first regatta of the RC 44 Championship Tour 2010 will take place next week in the United Arab Emirates. Organised by Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC), the Al Maktoum Sailing Trophy RC 44 will reassemble nine world Class teams and sailors including Ray Davies, Terry Hutchinson, Cameron Appleton, Rod Davis and many more.

Unable to attend the event due to their America’s Cup post-victory commitments, Russell Coutts and Larry Ellison have decided to give the opportunity to an up & coming team to test its skills at the world’s top level. Adam Minoprio and his Black Match Racing team - the winners of the World Match Race Tour 2009 - have been chosen; they will sail onboard BMW ORACLE Racing for this event.

"The boys and I are really looking forward to sailing on an RC 44 yacht" said Adam Minoprio. "I have heard so many great things about the class, so it’s going to be really exciting to finally venture into the class with my core team from the match racing circuit. Even though it’s just for one regatta, we are still going to go out there to win. Sailing in the RC 44 class is an amazing opportunity for us as we will be racing some of the best teams in the world. We feel very fortunate to be given this opportunity from BMW Oracle and very humbled to be asked by Russell to take over and get them a good result while they are busy."

Adam Minoprio will be steering BMW ORACLE Racing during the match races on Monday and Tuesday, whilst will Mike Perris will be at the helm during the fleet regatta (Thursday – Saturday). Other members of the team include David Swete (main), Collin Orsini (grinder), Tom Powrie and Lorenzo Deflice (trim) as well as Revelin Minihane (pit) and Nick Blackman (bow). As for Russell Coutts, he will be back on his boat for the next regatta: “I will be re-joining the RC 44 circuit at the following event in Austria", he said. "After the demands of the AC, I am very much looking forward to it."

Other new faces in the circuit include Terry Hutchinson, who joins the RC 44 Class for the first time on board Artemis and Raimondo Tonelli, who will steer Team Sea Dubai in the fleet races.

The teams involved in the Al Maktoum Sailing Trophy RC 44:

Team No Way Back (Pieter Heerema / Ray Davies)
Artemis (Torbjorn Tornqvist / Terry Hutchinson)
CEEREF (Igor Lah / Rod Davis)
BMW ORACLE Racing (Mike Perris / Adam Minoprio),
Team Aqua (Chris Bake / Cameron Appleton)
Team Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (Daniel Calero / José Maria Ponce)
Katusha (Paul Cayard)
Team Sea Dubai (Raimondo Tonelli / Markus Wieser)
Team Austria (René Mangold / Christian Binder)

Photo: Copyright Raffaello Bastiani / RC 44 - Adam Minoprio and his Black Match Racing team will be sailing on board BMW ORACLE Racing next week, during the Al Maktoum sailing Trophy RC 44.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Round Two — Audi Melges 20 Miami Winter Series

February 17, 2010 (Miami, Fla.) - The Audi Melges 20 fleet gathers once more this weekend in Miami, Fla. for number two of three 2010 Miami Winter Series events hosted by Coconut Grove Sailing Club, supported by Shake-A-Leg Miami and Melges Performance Sailboats. Fourteen teams have assembled for yet another beautiful regatta filled with warm weather and some of the hottest sportboat competition around.

"We are really looking forward to the return of the Audi Melges 20 racers,' said Regatta Chair Ron Rostorfer. "We had a really great time hosting the fleet in December and hope to have another great event. Both sailors and Melges officials alike have been outstanding to work with. This fleet has generated a lot of interest around Biscayne Bay. Once again, we’ll provide a spectator boat for both days of racing and expect that a number of locals will be out in their own boats to watch the racing unfold."

Obvious fleet favorites most likely to do well are series leader (after one event) Jeff Ecklund (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) on STAR and reigning National Champion Eric Wynsma (East Grand Rapids, Mich.) on Superfly. Ecklund won the first event over Wynsma on countback. "I'll be sailing with a completely different crew this time. I've never sailed the boat in light air before so, we're just going to try and sail the best we can,' says Ecklund. His crew will consist of long-time friend and tactician Harry Melges and fleet newbie Bar Batzer. Sure to add in a little extra excitement is Robert Wilber (Stoney Creek, Conn.) on Cinghiale seated in third overall.

The vast majority of the fleet has traveled from the Midwest. Michael Kiss (Macatawa, Mich.) on Bacio, John Arendshorst (Holland, Mich.) on Blink, and Jim Hilgard (Godfrey, Ill.) on Crystal Spirit have all returned for more Miami action. New to the series, but not to the fierce Audi Melges 20 competition is Chuck Holzman (Farmington Hills, Mich.) on Flyer. Traveling from further north of the border are Canada’s Erwyn Naidoo (Toronto, Ontario) on Bohica, Peter Kozicz (Oakville, Ontario) with Chris Dold at the helm on CAN-142. Other representation comes from lady helm Mary Anne Ward (Cocoa Beach, Fla.) on M&M Sailing and David Hammett (Annapolis, Md.) on Simplified Sophistocation.

Competing for the very first time is brand new owner John Lucas (Charleston, S.C) on Fu and commonplace scow sailor Joel Ronning (Excelsior, Minn.) will give the Audi Melges 20 a try at the helm of USA-148. Welcome to the fleet!

A very cool practice and tune-up session with Melges’ Andy Burdick will warm up the fleet on Friday, February 19 kick-starting the planned pre-race activities. Racing takes place on Saturday and Sunday. Burdick will lead a tech talk session and post-race press conference on Saturday, February 20.

1.) Michael Kiss, Bacio
2.) John Arendhorst, Blink
3.) Erwyn Naidoo, Bohica
4.) Peter Kozicz, CAN-142
5.) Robert Wilber, Cinghiale
6.) Jim Hilgard, Crystal Spirit
7.) John Lucas, Fu
8.) Joel Ronning, USA-148
9.) Mary Anne Ward, M&M Sailing Team
10.) David Hammett, Simplified Sophistication
11.) Jeff Ecklund, STAR
12.) Eric Wynsma, Superfly
13.) Erik Post, Vaya Con Dios
14.) Chuck Holzman, Flyer

Official Event Website

Coming to America

America’s Cup Victory Tour.
Valencia, Spain (February 18, 2010) – Following Sunday’s race victory, which resulted in a 2-0 sweep of the 33rd America’s Cup Match, the BMW ORACLE Racing team is preparing to bring the Cup home to the United States.

The America’s Cup Victory Tour presented by ORACLE and BMW EfficientDynamics will begin tomorrow afternoon February 19, when the trophy touches down in San Francisco following a flight in a first-class seat to SFO from Valencia via Frankfurt. After being welcomed at the airport, the trophy and team will proceed to the Golden Gate Yacht Club – the team’s patron and the Cup’s new home – for a reception with club members and special guests.

Saturday morning, a public viewing is planned at the San Francisco City Hall Rotunda. At 11:30 am Mayor Gavin Newsom will formally welcome the Cup and team, including team owner Larry Ellison, back to the United States in a City Hall ceremony open to the public. A press conference will follow.

On Sunday afternoon, the America’s Cup will head south to San Diego, where the team operated a training base for 16 months in 2008 and 2009. At 4:00 pm the America’s Cup will be on public display at the USS Midway museum on the city’s waterfront.

Following a 5:00 pm ceremony with Mayor Jerry Sanders, the trophy and team will head to the San Diego Yacht Club on the replica of the yacht America, for which the trophy is named. A flotilla of San Diego boats will parade along with America for a sunset sail across San Diego Bay to former Cup holder San Diego Yacht Club.

The homecoming tour may be extended to the East Coast of the United States the following week – details to come.

In addition to the main team website,, friends of the team can follow our blog at, our YouTube page at, or on Twitter at: You can see great images of the team at

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Stemming the haemorrhage of miles

Jules Verne Trophy
The time spent dipping into the red seems to be over now: Groupama 3 is making supersonic average speeds again, a situation which should last throughout her crossing of the Indian Ocean, as long as the front maintains the same eastward pace. With Orange 2 not being particularly quick over this section of the Jules Verne Trophy, Franck Cammas and his men are beginning to claw back their deficit...

Relative worry has given way to moderate optimism now... Such is life at sea with its share of stresses and up and downs at the mercy of the barometric yo-yoing. The situation for Groupama 3 hasn't been very favourable for nearly 48 hours now, with a front dictating the every changing pace, leading to a succession of course changes to try to break through it. Attempts proved to be in vain, but in return a steadier breeze has finally kicked in prior to another shift to the NW...

"We're lacking a bit of wind, but we're very hopeful for a change in situation tonight. The boat hasn't been under pressure, despite the fairly lively conditions yesterday, and the crew know the region well! This Wednesday lunchtime we have a moderate S'ly wind, due to being at the back of the front; a front we're not managing to traverse. We've had to gybe and as we've become separated from the front, a 14-15 knot breeze has been pushing us along due East. If everything goes to plan the front is likely to come to a standstill this evening, at which point we should finally hook onto a NW'ly wind! As such we'll be able to make good speed again on course to Cape Leeuwin..." explained Franck Cammas at the 1130 UTC radio link-up with Groupama's Race HQ in Paris, in the presence of Norbert Métairie, mayor of the giant trimaran's home port of Lorient. Also on the line was Thierry Fouchier, crew on BMW Oracle, the recent winner of the 33rd America's Cup and loyal crew to Franck on Groupama 2 and Groupama 40.

A favourable system
Indeed the wind will shift round to the NW from Thursday morning, a breeze which could push Groupama 3 all the way to the exit from the Indian Ocean! However, given that this particular phenomenon is moving very swiftly, Franck Cammas and his nine crew will have to keep up an average speed bordering on 32 knots for several days... The separation in relation to the reference time, which had dipped to an all time low of around 400 miles over the course of Tuesday night, is now beginning to shrink again: Orange 2 wasn't very quick at this stage of the Jules Verne Trophy, even having to deal with a very slow transition phase...

"The weather systems are leading us on a fairly N'ly trajectory, but that's not such a bad thing if we are to avoid the icebergs situated next to the Kerguelen Islands. We didn't take the risk of plunging further South because we might have found ourselves getting mixed up in a depression to port (and hence headwinds), which really wouldn't be great! However, our decision to remain here means that we will have to maintain a high average speed in order to stay with this favourable system."

And though the race record is the key objective for the crew of Groupama 3, the length of time on the water is enabling them to make the most of the very special atmosphere in the Indian Ocean. Of course the latter is sometimes synonymous with seascapes coloured by fog, grey skies, rain and nights without a moon, as is the case right now. However, the Deep South also has the ability to change very quickly...

"We've got a little time to admire the décor, with the colours and light which are unique to this area! The flight of the albatrosses is really majestic too... There wingspan is impressive when they're flying in front of the bows! There haven't been a lot of marine mammals though, just two little sharks which got caught up in the foil. With the swell hitting us bow on, we're not really getting wet, though it is getting colder with the Antarctic wind. We haven't fired up the heating down below to dry our clothes yet..." -

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

America's Cup 34 in San Diego?

Rumors fly as to which city will hold the next America’s Cup. In the last few hours San Diego, CA has shown up on the radar as having a high chance to be the host with the help of one of the most influential men in the America’s Cup, Malin Burnham. Burnham was behind the scenes in the successful campaign of Dennis Conner winning the cup back from Australia. He has strong beliefs in how the America’s Cup needs to be run and managed.

Should to Cup come to the US or stay in Europe?

America's Cup Mutiny

[Source] Photo NZ yachting official Harold Bennett. AP
New Zealand yachting official Harold Bennett faced extreme pressure as principal race officer in the America's Cup this week, as former Cup holders Alinghi tried to exert their influence.

It is understood the race committee, comprising members of Alinghi's representative yacht club, the Societe Nautique de Geneve, staged a mutiny before the start of the second race to prevent it from going ahead.

The start was delayed for four hours while officials waited for the wind to pick up. With the cut-off for the start looming, Bennett ordered the postponement flag down around 4pm local time, but the race committee refused.

It is believed SNG's race committee did not want to start the race, claiming the waves were in excess of 1m - Alinghi's sea state tolerance.

In an email to yachting colleagues yesterday, Bennett described the behaviour.

"I have never seen such disgraceful behaviour on a committee boat, trying to influence the PRO [principal race officer] to the point of ordering me to stop the [start] sequence," wrote Bennett.

Unwilling to back down, Bennett called on the help of Oracle's representative on his committee boat, Tom Ehman, plus a support boat driver who is also a qualified umpire, to run the start sequence. The race eventually began just five minutes before the deadline.

Oracle went on to claim their second straight win to snatch the Cup from the Swiss.

Monday was the last day a race could be run before several days of strong wind and dirty weather struck Valencia. Had the race failed to get under way it is likely the America's Cup would still be on hold.

Bennett, a highly experienced yachting official, was clearly furious about the attempted interference from the SNG and said he would have made a lot more of the situation had Oracle not wrapped up the best-of-three series on Monday.

"I can tell you if we had further races to do, those guys would have been left ashore and I would have picked up some more of my Spanish mates to do the start."

Before the regatta, both Alinghi and BMW Oracle Racing lobbied strongly to ensure the 33rd America's Cup would be raced in conditions that favoured their respective monster multihulls.

By Dana Johannsen