Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Auckland completes the set

Photos courtesy of Auckland City Council
(l-r) Councillor Greg Moyle, Auckland City Mayor John Banks and Minister of Parliament Maurice Williamson, with a Volvo XC60

Wednesday 31 March 2010, 03:00 GMT

The final piece of the puzzle was revealed today when Auckland was announced as a stopover port for the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race. It will be the eighth time the City of Sails has featured in the event.

Auckland last hosted the event in 2001-02. This time it will stage the leg four finish from Sanya in China and the start of leg five, which will take the fleet into the Southern Ocean once again, round Cape Horn and onto Itajaí, Brazil.

With the confirmation of Auckland, the route for 2011-12 is now set and includes: start port of Alicante (Spain), Cape Town (South Africa), Abu Dhabi (UAE), Sanya (China), Auckland (New Zealand), Itajaí (Brazil), Miami (US), Lisbon (Portugal), Lorient (France) and the finish port of Galway (Ireland).

"Our host port programme around the world is now complete and I can confirm that Auckland has won its bid to become our stopover port in New Zealand," said Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad.

"This announcement completes the route and our goal of contracting all the ports before the end of March 2010, significantly earlier than in previous race cycles. The preliminary course will be published during April. Read more...


MULTI 50: A new race reserved for Multi 50s has been created: the Vendée Saint-Petersburg. The first edition of the race is due to start from Saint Gilles Croix-de-Vie on 16th May with a total distance there and back of 3790 miles. Eight crews will be lining up at the start, including two of the latest racing machines in the class: Actual and Crêpes Whaou !

While most races see the competitors heading off to the west to cross the Atlantic, Vendée has come up with something new offering a brand new route to the Multi 50s, (50-foot trimarans), with the Atlantic, the English Channel, the North Sea and the Baltic ahead of them. In all, the race will cover the territorial waters of 14 countries before they finish in Saint-Petersburg in Russia on around 20th May 2010. The best boats like Franck-Yves Escoffier’s new Crêpes Whaou ! and Yves le Blevec’s Actual could complete the first stage of the race in less than five days at an average speed of 16 knots. The race will be holding a stopover for around ten days in Russia, before the start of the return leg on 31st May 2010, with the finish forecast in the port of Saint-Gilles Croix de Vie on around 4th June 2010. Sunday 30th May is a date to remember: It marks the anniversary of the founding of Saint-

Petersburg by Tsar Peter 1st, and the Multi 50s will carry out a parade on the Neva, under the windows of the famous Hermitage museum.

With a crew of three

The other original feature of this race between Vendée/Saint-Petersburg is that it will be raced with a crew of three sailors, and the members of the crew can switch over between the two legs. Mathias Lallemand has been appointed as Race Director, after serving as Assistant Director for the last two editions of the Vendée Globe and the Solitaire du Figaro. He will be able to count on the expertise of Alain Gautier, who will be the safety consultant for the event. It should be noted that the official race website will be updated in French and English, but also in Russian.

8 crews registered

For the moment, eight Multi 50 crews have already signed up for this very first edition of the Vendée/Saint-Petersburg. Alongside Yves Le Blevec (Actual) and Franck-Yves Escoffier (Crêpes Whaou !), there will be Hervé Cléris (CLM), Erwan Leroux (Fenêtréa-Cardinal), Anne Caseneuve (Croisières Anne Caseneuve), Etienne Hochédé (PIR2), Philippe Laperche (Gamin) and Lalou Roucayrol (Région Aquitaine-Port Médoc).

For the locals in Vendée

We can note also that his race, which is due to take place every four years alternating with the Vendée Globe, is an initiative from the Vendée Council, which – as with the Vendée

Globe – has created a public-private partnership for the event. Around fifteen famous firms based in Vendée are joining with the Vendée Council and have invested in this partnership taking up 17% of the share capital. According to its founders, the Vendée/Saint-Petersburg race fulfils three requirements: “Creating a sporting event, widening the reputation of Vendée as a tourist destination and encouraging economic development.” Around forty business leaders from Vendée will be taking part in a business mission to Russia, and an organisation will be receiving the Russian visitors at the foot of the Peter and Paul Fortress.

- Number taking part: 8 crews, FY Escoffier, Y Le Blévec, E Le Roux, H Cléris, A Caseneuve, L Roucayrol, P Laperche, E Hochédé.

- Crewed race for three, with the possibility of changing crew in Saint-Petersburg.

- Start on 16th May 2010 from Saint Gilles Croix-de-Vie: finish expected in Saint-Petersburg around 23rd-24th May 2010.

- Start from Saint-Petersburg on 31st May 2010: finish expected in Saint Gilles Croix-de-Vie around 6th – 7th June 2010.

What they said:

Philippe de Villiers, President of the Vendée Council: “Just as with the Vendée Globe, this is a race for the general public. It is aimed at the public, sailors and their teams, and is for all those, who love the oceans. I’m increasingly convinced that this is the start of a big adventure. If the Multi50 class has a bright future, this race too will also have a great future.”

Franck Yves Escoffier, President of the Multi50 class: “This is going to be a very technical and tactical race. It is an extremely interesting route, as it takes the fleet northwards. The skipper and his crew of two will have to be very vigilant in these waters, with their strong currents, and with boats, fishermen and cargo vessels everywhere. But we can look forward to having a great time.”

Philippe Laperche, skipper: “If I had to choose between a transatlantic race and the Vendée

Saint-Petersburg, I would have chosen the Vendée Saint-Petersburg without the slightest hesitation!”

For more information, log on to (website up and running in mid-April).

Race crews ready for Rolex China Sea Race start

EVOLUTION RACING in Causeway Bay the day before the Race start EVOLUTION RACING AUS 8898 TP52 Ray Roberts

More than a few boats took to Victoria Harbour today to practice in advance of Thursday’s start of the 25th edition of the Rolex China Sea Race. Winds permitting, the 30-boat fleet will start at 1210 off the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, with the cityfront providing a dramatic backdrop and tactically challenging conditions, with the seagoing traffic providing obstacles to avoid.

At tonight’s Skipper’s Briefing, RHKYC Race Manager Alex Johnston gave last minute instructions to the crews on race course, safety and weather. Daniel Yeung from the Hong Kong Observatory reviewed the forecast for the race area over the next several days. The general forecast for tomorrow’s race start calls for southeasterly winds, 7 – 10 knots. The monsoon that is currently dominating the South China Sea is going to moderate, which will create a ridge of high pressure, though it is possible that there will be significant breeze well east of the rhumbline.

The fleet is divided into five divisions including IRC A, B, C, IRC Premier Cruising, and IRC Cruising. Last year’s overall winner, Ernesto Echauz’ Subic Centennial (PHI) and Line Honours winner Neil Pryde on Hi Fi (HKG) are both back to defend their titles. Hi Fi, with Will Oxley on as navigator, is sporting a new bulb, mast and modified cabin top.

There are quite a few boats with an eye on the prize this year including three TP52s, Ray Roberts’ Evolution Racing (AUS), Sam Chan’s Ffreefire 52 (HKG) and Geoff Hill’s Strewth (AUS), as well as two of the highly-regarded French-built Archambault sport boats, Avant Garde (HKG), an A40RC, and American Anthony Root’s Red Kite II (HKG), an A35.

Strewth is back after a dramatic retirement in the 2008 race, when both keel bolts sheered off and the keel and bulb dropped away, 150 miles from the start. Displaying impressive sailing skills, the skipper and crew kept the boat upright, turned around, and motored safely back to Hong Kong, escorted by Olivier Decamps’ on Cloud.

Hill recalled, “We were really, really lucky. We had a good helmsman on the boat, who naturally steered the boat up into the breeze, basically depowering the boat. We put a guy over the side and did all the safety stuff. We learned a few things out of that, as a few weeks before I had done my Sea Safety and Survival course and so we did all the proper sea safety stuff and it was relatively automatic. That, I think, contributed to the fact we didn’t have any loss of life, and the boat didn’t sink. We filled the water tanks and centre lined everything (to help stabilize the boat)…I figure I’ve lost eight of my nine sailing lives.”

Since then, Strewth has had a few modifications including an escape hatch in the stern, and installation of a new, similar keel though with 12 bolts (instead of two). Hill said it took 12 months to get the boat back in shape, and since then they have competed in several races on the Asian circuit. Hill says it’s been a learning curve getting the boat back up to speed, though he has hardly been idle, also competing on his MKL49 in this past Rolex Sydney Hobart Race. For this race he’s brought on Australian Lindsay May as tactician (winning skipper of 2006 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race on Love & War), as well as a strong group of Australian sailors.

While Strewth is the scratch boat in the fleet, the biggest boat is Ffreefire, the 71-foot sled (ex-Pyewacket), skippered by sailing legend Sir Robin Knox-Johnston. In the late 1960’s, Knox-Johnston became the first person to sail single-handed and non-stop around the world, aboard the 32-foot yacht Suhaili, after 312 days at sea. The 72-year old Knox-Johnston has received numerous awards over a long and illustrious career, including ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year in 1994 and inauguration into the ISAF Hall of Fame in 2008.

Knox-Johnston’s reason for coming to Hong Kong to compete in the Rolex China Sea was pretty simple: “A friend chartered the boat and asked if I’d like to join him, and I thought, ‘I could do with a break’. It’s irresistible, it’s a nice race to do. There is a lot of luck (in the race) and the previous two times I’ve done it we’ve had quite good boats, but not won, because you just go into holes. The skill is trying to avoid the holes.” As a former around-the-world solo sailor it’s interesting to hear him say, “I’m doing it because I enjoy good company, I enjoy a good race, and this gives me both. I like sprints, I like these short races.”

Knox-Johnston has a keen interest in youth sailing and he reflected on the growth of the sport in China, “What we’re seeing in Asia are small pockets of enthusiastic sailors. What needs to happen for sailing to grow, as it has in the West, is from the bottom up. You almost have to put sailing in the school curriculum and let the youngsters get the pleasure that we get. Once that starts to happen you’ll build up a cadre of good young sailors and those ones will start to lead the others into it.”

Ffreefire 70 has only two results from the China Sea Race, a Line Honours win in 1998 and 1st in IRC in 2004. The boat has a better record in the San Fernando Race, winning Line Honours, Overall Handicap, and set a course record in 1997, and then went on to repeat this treble in 2001, breaking her own record; in the 2005 SFR, Ffreefire 70 claimed Line Honours and Overall Handicap, once again.

Knox-Johnston said, “She is not a young lady any longer and there are newer, larger and faster boats in the fleet, and others who have a better handicap. But the boat has raced across the China Sea eight times and won four of those races!”

Geoff Hill was quick to praise the assistance he had from Roger Eastham, Marine Services Manager for the RHKYC, who was the point person for the recovery effort of Strewth in the 2008 edition of the race. Roger is the man to know if you have a boat in Hong Kong, having been in the marine industry for 30 years.

The Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club is unique in that in incorporates on its’ grounds a full-service boat yard, the only one within the confines of Victoria Harbour. However, it wasn’t always this good. Prior to 1997, the Yacht Clubs’ facilities were really quite small, and all of the service work was sub-contracted out. When the cross-harbour tunnel was built, the area adjacent to the club was part of the reclamation project. The membership Recognizing an opportunity to expand the yard services, the membership had a travel hoist built, more yard-based work was taken on, and the yard grew organically over time as the Yacht Club assumed management themselves.

The yard provides hard standing for the club’s one-design fleets: Flying Fifteen’s, Etchells, Impalas, Dragons and averages 100 class boats on the hard. The boat yard area is for haul-out, repair and maintenance, and depending on the size of yachts can manage 14 - 18 boats hauled out at any one time. There’s full services including a rigging shop, fiberglass, carpentry, engineering, TIG/MIG welding, and painting. Though a few services are sub-contracted (ie, electronics, stainless steel fabrication, canvas work), the yard is pretty much a one-stop shop for yachtsmen.

Pole Star and SkyWave have joined forces to provide a web-based tracking facility for the event. Shore-based fans can follow the racing online at

The China Sea Race was first run in 1962, and it has been held every two years since then. In 1972, it was officially recognised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club, and is now run under their prescriptions. Since then the race has continued to attract increased interest and serves to draw the international yachting fraternity to Hong Kong and Southeast Asia.

The Rolex China Sea Race joins other prestigious Rolex sponsored events including the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship, Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, Rolex Swan Cup, Rolex Middle Sea Race and the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

For more information about the Rolex China Sea Race 2010, including the entry list and divisional splits, please visit

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

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Fort Lauderdale to Charleston Race Looks Like a Tough One

By Paige Brooks, SORC PR

With a high-pressure system sitting over the ocean path between Ft. Lauderdale and Charleston, it is anyone’s guess where the best spot in the Gulf Stream will be.

Wednesday morning, the teams from seven ocean racing sail boats will make their final preparations, eat their Wheaties, and shove off for an early afternoon start off of Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida for the 2nd running of the reincarnated SORC race.

Chris Woolsey, the winning navigator last year, has been following the path of the Gulf Stream closely, but today said, “I have no idea how we’re going to get through the roadblock across the entire course.” He will try to chat this evening at the Lauderdale Yacht Club with Peter Bowker, considered locally as the best navigator around, who he expects will say it’s a crap shoot. Bowker simply said to this reporter, “You have to stay in the stream as long as you can but you have to get out of it to turn off for Charleston. At about 100nm away, you must turn, but you have to decide when exactly to do it.” Based on weather, the current, and most off all the opposition, even though you might not see them, he said.

Woolsey will be sailing aboard Jasmine a Little Harbor 54, and his keeping his eye on his old sailing buddy, Frank Junkin, navigating for Bandana, an Oyster 48. And vice versa. The two have sailed together on and off for the past 20 years and have spent the last two weeks testing each other’s research on the stream. Wednesday morning will begin the true test, as they sail east to catch the escalator up, along with the rest of the fleet.

You’ll be able to watch the sailors’ course via GPS tracking devices, updates from the race committee and results on the race website:

Extreme wind conditions in the bay of Palma

Palma, 30 March.- Finally, after a morning with up to 30 knots of wind and big waves, only the Women Match Race and the RS:X men and women sailed in the afternoon. The remaining classes participating at the 41 Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofía Mapfre, event of the ISAF Sailing World Cup, could not sail and after being postponed ashore, the Race Committee cancelled the races of the day around 15:00hrs. The weather forecast for tomorrow looks better.

In women RS:X Alessandra Sensini takes the lead in the overall standings with two wins today. British sailor Bryony Shaw is down to second place followed in third place by French competitor Charline Picon.

Sahar Zubari keeps the lead in RS:X men tied with Tom Ashley from New Zealand and third place overall is for Greek sailor Byron Kokkalanis.

In women match racing, 3 flights of Repechage, 3 flights of Gold group and 2 flights of the Silver group were sailed. The plan for tomorrow is to finish Stage 2-3-4-5. (Repechage, then Gold, then Silver.) Flight 25, 26 (Repechage); 30, 31 (Gold); 34, 35, 36 (Silver) then the leftover match 4 from flight 33 to finish.

Anna Lush, crew from the GBR1 of the Women Match Race, said that “it was a slightly frustrating day for us, losing two and winning one in the gold group”. The British girl commented that she hope “they’ll be up there in the medals at the end of the week, but we need to stay out of trouble a bit more”. Lush noted that “sailing in Palma is a good experience because “Palma has thrown every condition at us so far, and as a result, the good thing is that no-one is really dominating – the results have shown that.”

Stevie Morrison, skipper of 49er GBR 7, and second overall pointed out that this was unusual weather. For Morrison and his crew, Ben Rhodes, “Palma is one of the best sailing venues in Europe” so he looks forward to tomorrow to go out sailing.

Tomorrow classes sailing in groups will sail divided in Gold and Silver groups.

Complete results and further information on


When it's 42 days to go for the launch of the Portugal Trophy, Cascais, the first stage of the 2010 Audi MedCup Circuit, we spoke to Javier Goizueta (ESP), the new GP42 Class President, to learn about the latest news on the teams participating in this year's GP42 Series.

“Today, we have five pre-registered five teams commited to complete their entries within the next few weeks: three are Spanish, one is British and one from Italy,” Goizueta says. He faces the presidency of the GP42 Class with an interesting season ahead, where he will combine his new role along with the co-ownership of the GP42 Madrid - Caser Seguros (ESP) together with José María van der Ploeg (ESP). Their 2009 Botin & Carkeek design will face this new season after finishing third overall last year, including their victory of the GP42 Series at the Portugal Trophy.

All the pre-registered teams are in their final stages of preparing for the season, with two committed to compete in the Palma Vela regatta (April 14-18) in order to check sails and the changes made to their boats during the winter. One of these is John Bassadone’s (GBR) Peninsula Petroleum (GBR), new into the GP42 Series this year. The British owner bought the Botin & Carkeek ex-Turismo Madrid after competing for the first time on a GP42 during last October’s Puerto Calero GP42 Global Cup in Lanzarote.

The other team racing in the Palma Vela regatta will be Roberto Monti’s (ITA) AIRISESSENTIAL (ITA), after making some slight changes to their deck layout, and with some new team members and new sails.

Joining these three will be two other boats which have confirmed their participation in the 2010 Audi MedCup Circuit. Both are Botín & Carkeek designs, with one racing last year in Alicante and Cartagena as Iberdrola (ESP), and the other none other than the 2009 Audi MedCup Circuit GP42 Series Champion, Daniel Calero’s (ESP) Puerto Calero (ESP).

Schedule and guests
“I think that this year’s calendar is superb,” Javier Goizueta remarks. “Including Barcelona as a venue is just fantastic all around: the race course, the notoriety, the infrastructures,... I think that is an absolute good idea in terms of development of the Circuit.”

Together with the two new venues (Cascais and Barcelona), the President of the GP42 Class highlights another novelty which, in his opinion, will help in the promotion of the Audi MedCup Circuit and the two Series participating, GP42 and TP52. This year, one guest will be sailing onboard each GP42 and TP52, both during racing and during the official training days. “This year we have an innovation which I think is fundamental: the onboard guest,” said Goizueta. “Thinking of the non-specialised media, an owner’s business-to-business contacts and potential new owners, this is a very powerful tool that we want to take full advantage of.”

This new rule is not the only one to be a good promotional tool, according to Goizueta: “We want to take advantage of the great facilities developed by Audi MedCup in order to provide a better service for our guests. I think that the elements available are extraordinary, and our goal is to make the most of them. I also think that the Public Village is a great idea to show the visitors the real excitement of this sport.”

Sailing program
The Notice of Race for the Audi MedCup Circuit 2010 says that there will be a maximum of 45 Windward/Leeward races for the GP42 Series. The Portugal Trophy, Cascais is the first event of the season, with the official training day scheduled for Wednesday, 12 May, with racing held Thursday 13 May, through Sunday 16 May. On that day we’ll know the name of the first event winner of the 2010 GP42 Series. -

Racing Postponed : Waiting For The Wind

Palma, Spain - Team Tunnicliffe completed the first round robin 5-2 to finish third overall in group B, at the Princess Sophia Trophy regatta. With this result, we will advance to the repecharge where we will battle with five other teams for the top two spots in order to advance to the Quarter finals.

Racing Postponed : Waiting For The Wind
Photo: (c) Deb Capozzi, March 2010

We sat around again today waiting for the breeze to fill in. The first group finally started racing just before 1pm, and we got sailing around 2:30pm. The wind was light and the seas were choppy which made the game about boat speed. Our first race was against Germany's Silke Hahlbrock. We controlled the start, and started to leeward which was necessary in all the races today. Unfortunately, we did one down-speed tack half way up the first leg and she managed to get over the top of us, which gave her control for the rest of the way around. At one point, we were down by about 4 boat lengths but caught up to within one boat length by the finish. But it wasn't quite enough.

The next race was against France's Claire Leroy. We had a good pre-start sequence with her, but she just got to the left of us at the gun and controlled the race from there. We couldn't pull her back in, given the wind's shiftiness. However, we learned plenty from the race.

Our final race was against Renee Groveneveld from The Netherlands. Our team was pretty fired up about our two losses earlier, so we were quite ready to win a race this time around. We controlled her the whole time, and drew a penalty on her. We led her off the line, and held her off the whole race to take the win and put our record at 5-2.

It was a tough day, in the fact that we lost two races, but we are here to learn as much as we can and we learned so much from these two losses. We are excited about racing tomorrow. We have a forecast for big breezes so the racing will be exciting. We ate a big dinner, and now we are fueled up and ready to go. You can check the results at the regatta website here (follow the link and then download the pdf file).

We would like to thank Carmeuse for their continued support of our campaign for the 2012 Olympics in London. We would also to thank USSTAG for their support.

Sail Hard,

Team Tunnicliffe

International Finn Association Press Release
Finn Focus at Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia MAPFRE - Day one Monday 29 March
Rafa Trujillo leads Finns after first races in Palma

Rafael Trujillo (ESP) the Spanish sliver medalist from 2004 and the 2007 World Champion sits on top of the 53 boat Finn fleet after day one at the Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia MAPFRE in Palma, the third stage of the 2009-2010 ISAF Sailing World Cup.
After yesterday's abandonment for the Finn class, light winds again plagued the race course early on. After a slight delay, the Finns finally got two races in, with a third and a second enough for Trujillo to lead the field on
5 points.

The first race started at 12:30 with the wind at 8-10 knots. It was won by Gasper Vincec (SLO), followed by Trujillo and then Giles Scott (GBR) in third. The conditions worsened for the second race with a very shifty breeze that decreased substantially during the race. The second race was won by the2009 European Champion Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO). Second placed Giorgio Poggi (ITA) had a shock after the finish as he was scored OCS, which elevated Peer Moberg (NOR) to second and Trujillo to third.

Trujillo said, "This is only the first day of racing and I am pleased to have started well, but what matters is the result at the end of the week. I have a lot to work on this week. I did make some mistakes today and I have learnt from them and I will keep focusing on improving."

Though expecting to sail three races today, Monday, the Finn class still only got two in as the AP was again raised at 16.12 to send the fleet shore.

After a 12th and a sixth today, Deniss Karpak (EST) lies in 8th overall. He summed up the conditions on the last two days. "There was actually no wind yesterday and we were waiting for RS-X to finish their races and clear the racing area....but when they did that, the wind totally died. Today was the same story, but RS-X were waiting us to come back to shore. Until 12.00 there was no wind and then the sea breeze starts working...but up to 14 knots in the first race and up to 7 in the second one...and then wind starts shifting too much and goes to the west. Now it's already 20 knots and I think tomorrow there will be no races again...according to the forecast."

Caleb Paine (USA), had a great second race to place fifth. He is part of the US Sailing Development Team, a new youth pipeline team. He said, "In the second race I started well with Rafael and went out to the left. I tacked with Rafael and then had the opportunity to go back left with Ivan. I tacked back left and then once near lay line I tacked back ducking Ivan. I was fast going to the starboard lay line and then tacked to round the first mark in the lead. I lost two boats on the downwind but made them back on the second beat. The third beat also went well for me after dropping to sixth after the second run. The downwind was really challenging and close. It all came down to the finish where the speed and boat handling of the other competitors beat me out at the end."

So after two races, Trujillo leads with 5 points ahead of Moberg on 10 points and Kljakovic Gaspic on 11. Racing on Tuesday again looks doubtful with strong winds forecast, but the regatta continues until Friday when the medal races will be held.

Results after 2 races:
1 ESP 100 Rafael TRUJILLO 5
2 NOR 1 Peer MOBERG 10
4 SLO 5 Gasper VINCEC 12
5 FRA 115 Thomas Le BRETON 13
6 GBR 11 Ed WRIGHT 13
7 GBR 88 Mark ANDREWS 18
8 EST 2 Deniss KARPAK 18
9 POL 7 Rafa SZUKIEL 18
10 CZE 1 Michael MAIER 26
Event website:
Photos: Nico Martínez / Princesa Sofía MAPFRE Class website:

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Princess Sophia Trophy Day 1: Making It Hard For Ourselves

Team Tunnicliffe ends day one of the Princess Sophia Trophy regatta 4-0 after some close, but good racing. After about a two hour delay this morning as we waited for the breeze to fill in, group A finally went out and did their three races. We headed out during their second race and watched our teammates , skippered by Sally Barkow, win their last race to finish with 100% wins for the day as well.

Rigging The Elliott 6m
Photo: (c) Nico Martinez, March 2010

After we got in the boat, we warmed up and got used to the conditions. It didn't take long for the race committee to get started and we were the first race of the flight so we had to be game-on immediately. This was fine though, because it gave us no time to get nervous, and just focused us on the racing. Our first race was against Mary Rook from GBR. We had a great start against her and led her around the whole course. She was right on our tail at the leeward mark, but she had a bit of spinnaker trouble and we extended our lead to take the win.

Our second race was a similar story against a Spanish team. The girls sailed very fast which meant we had to sail pretty much perfectly to hold them off. The next race was again against a Spanish team, but this time, we made a mistake on the downwind leg, and got passed. We were able to sail smart and fast on the second upwind leg, gain back the lead and just hold them off to the finish.

The last race of the day was against the Greek team. We beat them off the line, but then immediately made a mistake and it put us behind by about 2.5 boat lengths at the top mark. Downwind, we sailed very well and fast and managed to pass by getting over the top of them coming into the bottom mark. Although we got over them, however, they were still pinning us out past the layline. Because we had passed them and reestablished the overlap on them, they had to sail to the mark. They drew a penalty because they didn't do this, and then a second one because they didn't give us mark room. With two penalties in hand, the rules say that they have to spin one of them immediately. They didn't see the second flag so didn't and after the umpires had given them plenty of time to take their penalty, they gave them a black flag which disqualified them from that race.

The wind was dying at this point so we were happy to hand the boats over to group C to race. At the time of writing, they are trying to complete their races in very light winds. Tomorrow we are again the second group to race, with group C starting the day. The forecast is for a bit more wind which is good, because it makes for slightly better match racing. We have three races left in our round against the other top seeded sailors.

The results are posted on the regatta website here (follow the link and then download the pdf file), and live reports are posted on the regatta Twitter page.

We would like to thank Carmeuse for their continued support of our campaign for the 2012 Olympics in London. We would also to thank USSTAG for their support.

Sail Hard, Anna - Team Tunnicliffe

St Barths Bucket: 2010

Some images from day 2 of St Barth´s Bucket. A day with a few spinnaker issues.
Oskar Kihlborg -

Prep Day: Lose An Hour (Again); But Ready To Race

Palma, Spain - For the second time in one year, we will experience losing an hour through Daylight Saving Time. Seems a bit unfair really, but that's the way it is on the eve of the Trofeo Princess Sophia Regatta here in Palma, Spain.
Team Tunnicliffe in Palma, Spain
Photo: Deb Capozzi, March 2010

After a week of training, and the official practice day today, we are ready to start racing tomorrow morning. There are 24 teams here for the event from 11 nations. To give you an idea of the calibre of the event, all 10 of the top 10 in the ISAF World Rankings are competing, so it will be a fantastic event. The 24 teams have been divided up into three groups. We are in group B. The intended plan for the first round robin is that each group will race each day, doing half of the round. Tomorrow, we are scheduled to race after group A, and will be doing our first four races.

During our week of training, we were coached by USSTAG Luther Carpenter. It was great to spend time with him again. He worked with us on our boat handling, and our boat speed. We learned plenty and are much more excited about our speed now going into tomorrow.

Besides training, we didn't get to do too much. We have been putting in long hours on the water, and been rather tired at the end of the day. We did take a bike ride down to the other side of the bay yesterday to debrief with Luther, since it was our day off. We didn't want to pay for a cab ride down there and we figured that since the sun was out, we should take advantage of the weather and of doing some different exercise. We got our bikes and headed out.

On The Way To Debrief
Photo: Deb Capozzi, March 2010

The ride down was very pleasant. We found a group of three bikers who were all kitted out in the gear on fast bikes. We tucked in behind them and they dragged us the second half of the ride. It also helped that the wind was from behind, pushing us. The wind didn't seem as though it was blowing too much, but was probably a nice 12kts when we rode down. Two hours later though, when we finished our debrief, it had doubled in strength and now it was in our faces on the way back. Molly and Deb had to go to a chiropractor appointment just after the debrief, so they headed back with their bikes in a cab, but I chose to ride home. What took me just over 35 mins on the way out, took me about an hour to get home. It turned from a nice leisurely ride into an intense workout. And it didn't help that my bike didn't really change gears, so I was pretty much stuck with what I had. It was good, though, to get out and get some fresh air that wasn't mixed with salt water and sailing.

Tomorrow is an early morning, so it's off to dinner and bed. You can follow the regatta on the regatta website here. We will also post nightly updates.

We would like to thank Carmeuse for their continued support of our campaign for the 2012 Olympics in London. We would also to thank USSTAG for their support.

Sail Hard, Anna Team Tunnicliffe

Cirillo's 'Fantastica' Officially The Boat To Beat In Lerici

Photo Gallery - Guido Trombetta
Lerici, 27 March 2010 - Lanfranco Cirillo’s Fantastica is officially the boat to beat after two days of racing at the 2010 Audi Melges 32 Sailing Series Event, No. 1 in Lerici, Italy.

Cirillo’s crew, comprised of tactician Michele Paoletti made not one wrong call and above all, confirmed they are like an unstoppable train. Of the three races performed on Saturday, Cirillo won the first two and finished sixth (his worst yet) in the third heat only due to suffering a penalty for not allowing enough room for Luca Lalli’s B Lin at the first windward mark.

Dominating races one and two, Cirillo remained in front of the fleet, increasing his lead, on each beat and run. It appeared that no other team could match their speed. The real battle though was for the second thru fifth positions as it was a constant shift in placement. Defending Audi Melges 32 Sailing Series Champion Carlo Alberini on Calvi Network with Gabriele Benussi on tactics worked his way up for second overall. Lalli, with Melges 24 World Champion Lorenzo Bressani as tactician has had a smashing debut at the Series placed third overall, tied in points with Alberini.

Thumbs up for Mauro Mocchegiani on Rush Diletta, assisted by the phenomenal Italian sensation Matteo Ivaldi, he remains on point away from the second place finishers in fourth overall. The fantastic Peter Rogers on Highlife from the UK, has worked hard over the last two days to hold steady in fifth.

And, thrilled we are certain, congratulations to Edoardo Pavesio on his Maserati Melges 32. He came came from behind to win his very first race on the Audi Sailing Series circuit. Obviously they’ve made great leaps forward in terms of progress after a long winter break.

Top Five Results
1.) Lanfranco Cirillo/Michele Paoletti, Fantastica; 1-1-5-1-1-(6) = 9
2.) Carlo Alberini/Gabriele Benussi, Calvi Network; 4-2-1-7-4-(11) = 18
3.) Luca Lalli/Lorenzo Bressani, B Lin; 2-3-3-(12)-5-4 = 18
4.) Mauro Mocchegiani/Matteo Ivaldi, Rush Diletta; 3-4-9-3-(7)-2 = 19
5.) Peter Rogers/Ruaridh Scott, Highlife; 8-8-4.2-(17.2)-3 = 25

Full ResultsFull Crew List Photo Gallery - Stefano GattiniPhoto Gallery - Guido TrombettaPhoto Gallery - Emanuele Pennisi

You can't afford it!

These photos were snagged by Caradisiac and show off the Carbon roof and buttresses, more aggressive hood and other 599XX-inspired cues. This limited edition will cost approximately $426,000 (pre-VAT) in addition to the insane option prices listed on the 599 GTO official order sheet, so sell your kidneys and place your orders now.

The ISAF Sailing World Cup sets sail in the bay of Palma

The around 1,000 sailors participating in the 41 Trofeo Princesa Sofía MAPFRE have trained and worked on their equipment for the racing

Palma, 27 March.- Starting gun for a top level 41 Trofeo Princesa Sofia MAPFRE. This new edition of the event gathers together in Palma around 20 Olympic medallists of all classes. Besides, record figures have been reached with over 1,000 sailors from 40 nations.

Today was registration and measurement day at the four venues of the event, Club Nàutic S’Arenal, Real Club Náutico de Palma, Club Marítimo San Antonio de la Playa and Escuela de Vela Calanova and sailors worked on last preparations to start racing tomorrow in the best conditions possible.

British RS:X woman competitor Bryony Shaw said she was happy to participate in an edition of the regatta with a really high level in the women’s fleet. Following several days of training in the bay she said she feels well and hopes that the good wind conditions of the past days will continue throughout the event. Italian sailor Alessanda Sensini, silver medallist at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, also returns with enthusiasm to the circuit.

French 470 women Ingrid Petitjean, silver medallist at the Mediterranean Games and the Class World Championship, faces the Trofeo Princesa Sofía MAPFRE aware of the high level of the participating teams. She also trusts competitors will enjoy the good weather conditions usual in the bay of Pama. -

2010 Rolex International Regatta in St. Thomas

Photo by
Readying for the Grand Finale

ST. THOMAS, USVI (March 27, 2010) – Typically, a reference to “battle of the Melges” conjures up images of a sail-off among like one-design boats, but tomorrow at the International Rolex Regatta, it will mean that Chris Stanton’s (Christiansted, St. Croix, USVI) Melges 24 Devil 3 will have to fend off a Melges that is eight feet longer to win. Going into today, Dave West’s (Road Town, Tortola, BVI) Melges 32 Jurakan was leading in the CSA-handicapped Spinnaker Racing 2 Class but tied with Devil 3 on points. When Devil 3 added finish positions of 1-2 to its score line today, it not only broke the stalemate with Jurakan, which posted a 4-1, but also established a two-point margin on the leader board.

“They (Jurakan) are a much faster boat,” said Stanton, thinking about tomorrow. “Bigger sails, more people, and they give us about seven minutes every hour, and today we had a two-hour race, so it’s not like it will be a boat-for-boat race. They’ll round the first mark, then we’ll take a stopwatch and time ourselves around the same mark.”

Some teams farther down in the standings had talked about yesterday’s perfect conditions for the planing sport boats in Stanton’s class (among them two more Melges 24s and an Olson 30, currently in third), but Stanton was quick to point out that the fair balance is that making the high-performance boats go fast means “you have to work really, really, really hard.”

“We have a guy onboard who normally sails on a bigger boat, and he’s really getting an appreciation for the fact that it’s a lot of work. On some boats you don’t have to hike in lighter wind, but with these boats you have to. Upwind it’s a tactical battle and downwind it’s always a tactical battle with the asymmetrical chutes. Yesterday, it was more sport-boat conditions, but today we were just like the others. We weren’t planing in the 12-15 knots this morning, or the lighter 10-12 knots this afternoon.”

The course for Stanton’s second race today took him to the southern coast of St. Thomas’s neighboring island of St. John where his team enjoyed long reaches that required lots of navigational decisions, local knowledge and consideration of current. It was likewise for the IRC class, where Richard Oland’s (Rothesay, NB, CAN) Vela Veloce is now tied on points with Austin and Gwen Fragomen’s (New York, N.Y.) Interlodge for the lead.

“It was beautiful and let us see some country we would not have gone to see,” said Oland. As for tomorrow, Oland’s situation is indeed more boat-for-boat than Stanton’s, since Vela Veloce and Interlodge are the same size. “The question is how well will each of the teams sail,” he said, adding that he thinks his team is primed for rising again to the occasion, continuing its good starts and tight teamwork.

The IC 24s, which had snuck in an extra buoy race yesterday after the rest of the fleet headed home from the races to Charlotte Amalie and back, managed eight races today. Leading the 15-boat fleet is Puerto Rico’s Fraito Lugo aboard Orion, but with as many races likely for tomorrow, it’s anyone’s guess whether Lugo can hold out against the great depth of talent in this class.

Elizabeth Brookes’ Farr 65 Spirit of Isis (Antigua) leads CSA Spinnaker Racing 1, while Antonio Sanpere’s (Christiansted, VI) J/36 Cayennita Grande has maintained his lead from yesterday in the CSA Non-Spinnaker Racing Class. John Holmberg’s (St. Thomas) Hobie 16 Time Out now leads the Beach Cats while James Dobbs’ (Antigua) J/122 Lost Horizon is leading Spinnaker Racing/Cruising Class.

Before racing this morning, a moment of silence was observed in honor of well-known island sailor and long-time International Rolex Regatta competitor Guy Eldridge (Road Town, Tortola, BVI), who died yesterday after racing. He had skippered Luxury Girl to fourth in Spinnaker Racing/Cruising Class. -

Friday, March 26, 2010

Princesa Sofia: The Best of the Best

Around 20 Olympic medallists will battle for the 41 Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia Mapfre

Amazing figures: 680 boats, 1,000 sailors and 40 nations

Palma, 26 March.- The 41 Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofía Mapfre will welcome around 680 boats and 1,000 sailors from 40 nations in the bay of Palma. In this second year of the ISAF Sailing World Cup, the Sofía Mapfre opens the sailing season in Europe and will be the debut of the Women’s Match Racing as Olympic class on board Elliot 6m in Spain. Races start on Sunday.

This edition will see the debut of the Women’s Match Racing on board the Elliot 6m. This new discipline joins the other Olympic classes, all of them present this year in the event: 470 men and women, RS:X men and women, Laser Standard, Laser Radial, Star, Finn and 49er. The fleet of 2.4mR Paralympics class is also back after their first participation last year as well as the Dragons, as invited class

The ISAF Sailing World Cup arrives in Europe with the 41 Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofía Mapfre following the SWC events in Melbourne, December and Miami, in January and opening the European sailing season.

In this edition, the RS:X move from CMSAP to Club Nàutic S’Arenal that will be the venue of six Olympic classes with an impressive 15,000sqm area on the beach next to the Club.

The event’s general manager, Jaume Carbonell, highlights the increase in the number of entries and pointes out “the “countdown to the London 2012 Olympics starts now for many nations and the Princesa Sofia Mapfre is a selection event for many national Olympic teams so we are guaranteed a great sailing competition”.

Some of the top world sailors will participate in the 41 Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia Mapfre, third event of the ISAF Sailing World Cup for Olympic and Paralympic classes. Among them, around 20 Olympic medallists!

A long list of top names and nationalities, as the Princesa Sofia Mapfre is a selection event for many national Olympic teams. In 470 men, British team Nick Rogers and Pom Green, silver medallists in Qingdao 2008 will battle with Olympic bronze medallists Nicolas Charbonnier and Baptiste Meyer Dieu from France. Croatian sailors Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic, current leaders of the ISAF standings will also be present as well as Onán Barreiros and Aarón Sarmiento (Toyota Canarias), members of the pre-Olympic team of the Real Federación Española de Vela.

The Qingdao medallists will all be at the starting line in 470 women: Dutch sailor Lobke Berkhout, Olympic bronze medallist, now sailing with Lisa Westerhof, with whom she’s already won the World championship and Brazilian sailor Fernanda Oliveira, silver medallist, sailing now with Ana Luisa Barbechan. Spanish young team Tara Pacheco and Berta Betanzos, the current World and European silver medallists will also join the battle in the women’s fleet.

In 49er the top ranked teams in the ISAF sailing ranking list are on the entry lists of the 41 Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia Mapfre. Italian brothers Pietro and Gianfranco Sibello, last years winners will be joined by French team Emmanuel Dyen and Stéphane Christidis and by Austrian sailors Nico Delle Karth and Nikolaus Resch, among others.

US Finn sailor Zach Railey, Olympic silver medallist, will be joined in the Finn class by the top sailors in the ISAF rankings, Ivan Gospic from Croatia and Ed Wright from Great Britain. Spanish sailor Rafa Trujillo (Puerto Deportivo Alcaidesa/Andalucía), silver medallist in Athens 2004 and 2007 class world champion has also confirmed his participation in the regatta.

In the Laser class, British sailor Nick Thompson, second in the ISAF raking list as well as Spanish competitor Javier Hernández (Caja Canarias/Plátano de Canarias/USP La Colina/RCNT), in third place have confirmed their participation.

Laser Radial world champion Sari Multala from Finland is one of the favourite competitors to win the 41 Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia Mapfre. Evi Van Acker from Belgium and Dutch sailor Marit Bouwmeester, second and third respectively on the ISAF ranking list, will also fight for victory.

A tough battle is expected in RS:X Men. Tom Ashley, Gold medallist in Qingdao will face silver medallist Shahar Zubari, as well as Brazilian sailor Ricardo Santos and Spanish competitor Iván Pastor (Movistar), second and third respectively on the ISAF ranking list.

Major interest also in RS:X Women in which the two class top world sailors from Spain Marina Alabau (Movistar/Andalucía) and Blanca Manchón (Andalucía/Roxy) will try to beat Italian sailor Alessandra Sensini, silver medallist in Qingdao and British sailor Bryony Shaw, Olympic bronze medallist. Manchón won last year absolute trophy, so all the eyes are on this young sailor.

This edition of the Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia Mapfre will see the debut of the Women’s Match racing, on board the Elliott 6 m. In fact, some of the top world sailors are now sailing in this class such as Dutch sailor Mandy Mulder, silver medallist in Qingdao and bronze medallist Sofia Bekatorou from Greece. World leaders Claire Leroy, Elodie Bertrand and Marie Riou will also put up a strong fight for victory.

The 41 Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia Mapfre will be held in Mallorca from 27 March to 2 April, organised by four clubs of the bay of Palma (Club Nàutic S’Arenal, Real Club Náutico de Palma, Club Marítimo San Antonio de la Playa and Escuela Nacional de Vela Calanova), as well as the Real Federación Española de Vela and the Federación Balear de Vela, together with the Govern de les Illes Balears, the Consell de Mallorca and Palma and Llucmajor city councils. The collaborators of the Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia Mapfre are the Consejo Superior de Deportes, the Federación Española de Deportes de Personas con Discapacidad Física, the Ports Authority, Ports de les Illes Balears, the coastal department of the Ministry of Environment and companies Ultramar Express and Acciona.

10th Singapore National Catamaran Championships

What a great event 8 races in 2 days. Competitors aging from early teens to “80 years young”. Yes “80” this is not a typing error Dr Michael Chia is still sailing F16 Catamarans, which is well worth taking your hats off too, as for us young bodied mortals we now have no excuses. Michael may not have finished all the races but he still pushes his F16 Viper to the limit in every race he competes in. Twenty four cats signed up and hit the waters off Changi Sailing Club for what has to be one of the most successful regattas in recent memory.

Thanks go to the sponsors, as without them regattas would be a whole lot harder to organise. Those who "do what werkz," Brewerkz Singapore sponsored the good brew for all the sailors, those who "do what hurtz," Pro Sail Asia came up with some prizes along with Evolution Sails... so a big round of thanks to all these companies.
On Saturday it looked as our NE Monsoon winds had disappeared as a low-level haze created a grey backdrop - not a good sign! At least the departing aircraft from Changi International where still taking off to the North which was a good sign!
A new bunch of race courses were drawn up for the event with varying degrees of 'difficulty' so that the differences between the Sport and Race Divisions could be accounted for. As Changi sits right on the side of a busy shipping lane, the Club is not allowed to anchor any temporary marks to the seabed. As such, the courses consist of using combinations of navigation marks. Each of the six different courses was enjoyed by all competitors.

Entrants and the overall winners in the Sport Cats (platforms without dagger boards) were the Singapore National Sailors on their Hobie 16's. The Race Cats also had a special entrant of it’s own in the form of Wearn Haw, who has recently returned to Singapore after a successful Extreme 40 Campaign aboard Team China. Wearn Haw is one of Singapore's Olympians and he adapted quickly to the Taipan F16 with a great result in the first race. Unfortunately, the Taipan is rather shorter and narrower than the X40 and so Wearn Haw had a little bit of a nose dip! Naturally, if you give a platform to a skilled sailor they'll settle in rapidly... We're now looking forward to having Wearn Haw jump onto a Viper in two weeks time for Changi Sailing Clubs 2010 “ACCLAIM” Monsoon Regatta.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Congressional Cup: Berntsson, Brady a race short but 1-2 in Con Cup

by Rich Roberts
A jolt of intensity, a runaway mark and some unsettled business in the jury room left the 46th Congressional Cup in overnight anxiety after competition lurched through Day 2 Wednesday.

Johnie Berntsson, the defending champion from Sweden, remained unbeaten at 10-0 even though 11 of the 18 round-robin flights had been sailed. Whether he and Italy's Francesco Bruni will have to resail Wednesday's match, which Berntsson thinks he won legitimately, was to be determined at a special hearing before Thursday's racing.

Four-time winner Gavin Brady, in second place at 9-1, will have to resail his match against France's Damien Iehl, which he didn't finish.

The problem developed when, in brisk breeze building from 3 to 12 knots through the afternoon, broke the windward mark loose from its ground tackle in the ninth flight of racing. The yellow inflatable drifted downwind as the two matches approached, led by Berntsson over Bruni. The mark was chased down by the attending mark boat, which quickly pulled it onboard and held its position to serve as the new mark---an acceptable practice in such situations.

Berntsson and Bruni then rounded the mark boat, but Brady and Iehl were waved off the course by an on-water umpire signaling with a hand across his throat that their race was over because of the displaced mark.

A hearing Wednesday night ruled that they would try again Thursday before the scheduled races commence, but Berntsson and Bruni remained unsettled, even though Berntsson finished the race.

After returning to the dock, Berntsson said of the incident, "It didn't affect the result. Bruni [already] had a penalty and we had a good lead."

Bruni, asked at the evening's press conference, if he'd like a resail, said, "Of course, I'd be happy."

Otherwise, he'll stand with 6 wins and 5 losses starting the day, with Berntsson at 11-0. Brady is currently 9-1 and Iehl 5-5.

Amid all the uproar, Bill Hardesty, a Con Cup rookie skipper from San Diego, quietly climbed into third place Wednesday by winning five of his six races, including a battle with Evgeniy Neugodnikov marked by a couple of collisions that cost the Russian disqualifying penalties.

"We're feeling more confident," Hardesty said, "and I'm feeling better about driving with a wheel."

Other smaller boats he races successfully, such as winning Etchells world championship in 2008 and the Rolex U.S. Prince of Wales Bowl match racing title in 2009, are steered with tillers, not wheels.

Sally Barkow, the event's first woman skipper since 1999, seized her first win, beating still winless Simone Ferrarese of Italy, but she also fought to some close finishes, including a one-second loss to Dave Perry.

Racing will continue through Saturday, starting at 11:30 each day, conditions permitting. Each boat will race every other boat twice in a double round robin. The top four will advance to best-of-three semifinals and finals Saturday. The non-qualifiers will run a fleet race.

The racing is in the Long Beach outer harbor off Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, with free grandstand seating and parking for spectators. Snacks and refreshments are available.


Kyle Blair, 11, came from far behind to win the post-race Junior Con Cup fleet race pitting Long Beach YC youth sailors against the pros in singlehanded Naples Sabots in the channels around the club.

Miami will make a return to the Volvo Ocean Race...

Miami will make a return to the Volvo Ocean Race by hosting the start of the transatlantic leg to Lisbon for the 2011-12 edition of the event.

In the formal bidding process, introduced by race organisers for the first time, Miami fought off tough competition from a number of North American rivals in its quest to win back the stopover previously staged in 2001-02.

The fleet will arrive in Miami after their charge north from the Brazilian port of Itajaí which was confirmed yesterday.

Florida has a long association with the Whitbread/Volvo - this will be the fifth time the sunshine state has welcomed the world's premier offshore race. Besides Miami, Fort Lauderdale played host in 1989-90, 1993-94 and 1997-98.

At the official announcement today, Volvo Ocean Race CEO, Knut Frostad, said: "We are very confident Miami will deliver a first-class event for us in the spring of 2012 and the people of Florida will welcome us to their shores once again."

The race village will be located at Bicentennial Park, on the Biscayne Bay, in the heart of downtown Miami. It is a 29-acre, open park which is suited for major events where the likes of Cirque Du Soleil has pitched its tent in the past.

"The Volvo Ocean Race is by far the world's premier global race. It's a great honour to have Miami selected as a featured stopover," said commission chairman Marc Sarnoff.

City of Miami Mayor Thomas Regalado commented, "The city will be welcoming the race. For us, this is like the superbowl of sailing. 2012 will be the biggest and best year and Miami will feature on the global map."

Knut Frostad noted that the race had grown a great deal over the years. "I first heard about the race in 1973 when I was very small and there were a 100 people on the dock in Portsmouth. Last race, we had close to 4 million visitors throughout the event.

"It's a very special day here for me to announce Miami as the successful North American stopover port," he added. "I was here in 2001-2002 and it looks very different today.

"This waterfront looks to be one of the best locations around the planet and I'm sure Miami will give us a wonderful stopover."

The United States has figured prominently in the race's record books. American skippers Paul Cayard (EF Language, 1997-98) and John Kostecki (illbruck, 2001-02) have been race winners. Cayard was second again in 2005-06 on Pirates of the Caribbean while Ken Read took PUMA to the runners-up spot to Torben Grael's Ericsson 4 in the 2008-09 race.

In all, the US has fielded 10 entries in the race and 94 American sailors have been among the crew lists. Among them, America's Cup veteran Dennis Conner, was the co-skipper of Winston in 1993-94 and Toshiba in 1997-98.

The remaining host ports will be revealed before the end of March.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

RC 44 Class: Coming to America

by Bernard Schopfe
The RC 44 Class Association announces today its project to expand to North America. Twenty-two One Design RC 44’s have been built to date. The latest one is currently being finalised, and will be shipped to Newport (Rhode Island) this spring, allowing pro sailors and potential owners to test-sail the boat.

Dee Smith, a professional sailor and project manager involved in top level yacht racing events, has been named RC 44 agent for North America. 'This is a great opportunity to start a very exciting new One Design Class here in North America', he commented. 'The RC 44 has proven to be a huge success in Europe and we feel there is a need for a boat that is both exciting to sail and cost effective to run here in the States. We already have many established teams looking to acquire an RC 44 and get this party going.'

The RC 44 is a light displacement high performance One Design sailing boat. It was designed by four-time America’s Cup winner Russell Coutts, together with naval architect Andrej Justin. The RC 44 was created for top level racing in international regattas under strictly controlled Class Rules. The concept and the design features of the RC 44 are dedicated to the amateur helmsmen racing in fleet racing sailing events.

'The North American circuit will be adapted to the owners’ desires', explains the RC 44 Class manager Bertrand Favre. 'Some characteristics of the Class are fundamental, such as the One Design aspect, the amateur owner driver and direct umpiring. However we are also open to new ideas regarding the format of racing. One thing is sure: thanks to the easy logistics of the Class, it will be possible to sail in great locations in the US, both on the East and West coast and even on lakes.'

When they started designing the RC 44, Andrej Justin and Russell Coutts immediately included the transportation and storage issues in their thoughts. As a consequence, the stern of the boat is removable to allow the transportation length to be less than 40 feet. The keel fin attachment is also easily removable whilst the carbon mast is assembled in two parts. Therefore all equipment can be stored and transported on a flat deck container which can be transported in a cost effective way.

The RC 44 will be displayed and test sailed in Newport in the middle of June (dates tbc).

Etchells Jaguar Series MidWinters nail-biter

Etchells Jaguar Series Mid Winters - John Payne -copyright
by Paige Brooks
Another Etchells Jaguar Series wrapped up for the winter season in Miami Florida, with Greenwich, CT based Jeff Siegal taking home all the silver. And it was a nail-biter. Going into the final day of the regatta and the series, three boats were nearly tied for the regatta, and also for the series: Jeff Siegal, Tony Rey, and Marvin Beckman. Jeff Madragalli,, sailing with Siegal said, 'How cool is it when it all comes down to the last day?'

The Jaguar Series score combines the rankings of the four weekends with one dropped result. For many years, Siegal sailing with his regular crew of Madragalli, Willem Van Waay and Becky Nygren, has been in the top 5, but never won it all. This was their year, and Siegal was on cloud nine.

The racing this weekend was truly up and down. Mother nature barely blew any wind over the south part of Biscayne Bay on Friday, causing the RC to shorten the only race of the day to two legs. With the odd shifts, the results were scrambled. Siegal finished in 13th while Marvin Beckman took first in a race that was finished at the Leeward Gates. Beckman said that win really helped them keep their standings up for the rest of the weekend.

Saturday was another light day, but the RC managed to get in three hotly contested races, with more mix-ups happening. Usually it is consistent finishes that win the regatta, this time, it was persistence and teamwork, even when the chips were down. The top contenders this weekend have all worked together as a team on a regular basis.

According to Bill Barton, a psychiatrist from San Francisco, who sails regularly on Etchells 1327 with skipper Peter Duncan and Tom Blackwell: 'I fully believe that if you stick with racing as a unit that has fun and complements each other that you can sharpen many small things in the way you race and communicate on the boat and thus the team can continue to grow and improve.'

Sunday was the day to test the teams’ mettle in the 2 race shoot out. At the dock the wind was piping up to 20 knots, causing many to change to their heavy jibs and tighten their shrouds, but by the time competitors got to the windward mark, the wind had lightened to a pleasant 10 knots. Siegal and team must have seen the change coming, because they went decidedly right for both races and really shut down their closest competitors who worked up the middle and left.

Chris Busch, who finished fourth sailing with Tony Rey and Bill Bennett and doesn’t usually spend too much time out of the lead pack, was frustrated. He said they just couldn’t find their fast gear to keep Siegal in check. 'The silver lining in all of this is that Jeff has been close a number of times, but never won it all. This year they did it. They sailed clean, really well, and certainly deserve it.' -

BMW Sailing Cup World Final 2010: Semi-Finals underway.

Rough weather on the Waitemata for the match racing section of the BMW Sailing Cup Final - Ivor Wilkins

The wind gods in Auckland, New Zealand continued to raise the challenge for the seven international crews competing in the BMW Sailing Cup World Final 2010 today, with winds gusting over 30 knots testing their skills to the limit.

Today saw the beginning of the match race section of the regatta, starting with the teams who placed 4th to 7th in the fleet racing competing in a sudden death round robin. This was to establish the fourth semi-finalist, as the top three teams – New Zealand, Italy and Malta – had progressed directly from the fleet racing to the match race semi-final.

Germany and Hong Kong were first eliminated, leaving European neighbours Spain and Portugal to do battle for that sought-after semi-final slot. Portugal won the match and, as a big squall raced down the harbour, the yachts were sent ashore for the semi-final boat draw, presided over the BMW New Zealand CEO Mark Gilbert.

As teams sheltered in the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, Lauro Perfectua, skipper of the Hong Kong team reflected on the regatta. "We have enjoyed the experience," he said. "This was the first time we sailed in New Zealand. "We really needed less wind. Our crew weight was too light for these conditions. We are all small guys and these are bigger boats than we are used to."

Also wishing the conditions had been lighter were the German team, who do most of their sailing on inland lakes. The German team was selected after the winners of 19 regional regattas sailed off against each other at a lake south of Munich, surrounded by snow-capped mountains.

"In both the Berlin finals and the German finals, we sailed in winds of zero to two knots," said skipper Jörn Pietsch. "It was a bit of a shock to come here, but we have enjoyed the racing very much."

Back out on the water, Team New Zealand, as top place-getters in the fleet racing had the right to choose their semi-final opponents and elected to race against Team Malta, leaving the Italian and Portuguese teams to do battle.

Portugal was penalized in a pre-start incident, but came from behind to win the first match when the Italian team dropped their spinnaker in the water and sailed over the top of it. They failed to finish the race, leaving the Portuguese to sail around the rest of the course on their own. "It was not bad luck, it was a big mistake," said Italian skipper Jacopo Pasini."

In the other match, Team Malta received a penalty for failing to keep clear of Team New Zealand in a pre-start duel. However, Team Malta sailed strongly up the first beat in strong winds to narrowly lead around the first windward mark. On the downwind leg, however, with the two boats close alongside each other, the Malta team lost control and broached, allowing Team New Zealand to jump clear and lead around the course by a comfortable margin.

Race Director Russell Green said that because of the weather conditions, the semi-finals had been reduced to the first to win two matches. Because of the squalls today, the racing was cut short, but Green said: "We will try to complete the semi-finals tomorrow if there is enough time and then we will proceed to the match race final."

Standings Semi-Finals

Team New Zealand vs. Team Malta 1-0
Team Portugal vs. Team Italy 1-0

Berntsson all alone at 5-0 after Day 1 of Con Cup

by Rich Roberts

The Long Beach breeze would seldom be called fickle, but it took a freak turn Tuesday that settled a battle of unbeatens and left defending champion Johnie Berntsson of Sweden in first place after Day 1 of the 46th Congressional Cup.

Late in the fourth of five flights, the wind shifted 70 degrees to northwest directly out of downtown Long Beach and dropped from a peak of 16 knots to 3, sending Berntsson home free.

Then, with the course re-set in the new direction, Berntsson (5-0) made all the right plays to beat four-time winner Gavin Brady (4-1) by 1 minute 25 seconds in the last flight of the day.

"We were lucky to have the right shift," Berntsson said. "It was a matter of timing the wind and not doing more tacking than you needed to do."

Halfway up the first beat he broke off a tacking duel and went toward the beach as Brady went the opposite way. When Berntsson returned to round the windward mark he had an unbeatable led in the drifting breeze.

"All the tacking was very expensive," he said.

Not so lucky was Bill Hardesty, a first-time Congressional Cup skipper who in the previous flight was swapping leads with Berntsson in a bow to bow battle near the end of their race.

"We were two boats left of him, and that was enough to put 20 boat lengths on us," Hardesty (2-3) said.

At day's end, then, Brady shared second place with Italy's Francesco Bruni, last year's runnerup, and two-time winner Dave Perry, whose only stumble was against Berntsson, who made the noted rules guru pay hard with penalties for two tactical miscues to win by 1 minute 24 seconds.

It was not so nice a day for Sally Barkow, a two-time Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year and the event's first woman skipper since 1996 who sits at 0-5 after what she described as a learning experience.

"We had a tough day," she said, "but racing against some of the best professionals here is fun. It takes some time to get used to the boats, and that's what today was about."

Brady offered the same tone that "first you get a feel for the conditions and try to get faster every day so at the end of the week you're ready for the semifinals."

Racing will continue starting at 11:30 each day, conditions permitting. Each boat will race every other boat twice in a double round robin. The top four will advance to best-of-three semifinals and finals Saturday. The non-qualifiers will run a fleet race.

The racing is in the Long Beach outer harbor off Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, with free grandstand seating and parking for spectators.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Not a good day

Photo : Clipper Ventures PLC
The Yacht "California" skippered by Londoner Pete Rollason limps across the Pacific Ocean after being dismasted by during violent storm, whist racing from Qingdao to San Francisco. The yacht was hit side on by a vast wave causing it to roll, breaking the mast in the process.

California crew safely medevaced
23 March 2010
Following the incident which took place on Sunday afternoon GMT in which the California entry in the Clipper 09-10 Round the World Yacht Race was rolled in a fierce Pacific storm, the Danish registered tanker, Nord Nightingale, is now at the scene.

The 180-metre tanker was on passage from Yokohama to Los Angeles and diverted by US Coastguard last night. It's a standard rule of the sea that vessels divert when another is in distress and the intention was to transfer injured crew member Clive Cockram on board.

Clive was sitting in the saloon when the boat rolled and was thrown across the cabin, ending up with cuts to his head. He responded well to treatment but it is prudent to ensure that he swiftly gets the best medical care.

While the winds have dropped from the 60 knots experienced over the last few days, the sea state is still confused and to make the transfer required excellent seamanship from both the crew of California and the Nord Nightingale. After several attempts, Clive was safely transferred and the launch was recovered to the merchant vessel.

Once on board, the first thing he asked for was to make a phone call to his Mum! The 53-year-old company director informed her that he requires some stitches to his wounds but that he was feeling OK and was being very well looked after. He promised to call her again when the vessel docks in LA on 31 March.

Fellow crew member, Dennis Flynn, was also taken on board. Dennis had signed up to sail Leg five of the Clipper Race and since the start in Qingdao, he has experienced more than most sailors will ever go through.

As an American citizen, the captain of the Nord Nightingale considered it helpful to have him on board to assist with immigration and medical issues as the vessel nears Los Angeles.

On board California, the clean up operation continues as they continue to motor due east towards their destination in San Francisco. Jamaica Lightning Bolt remains on station shadowing the yacht and relaying messages back to the Clipper Race Office. Read more...

2010 Audi MedCup: five trophies, five names

The 2010 Audi MedCup Circuit is due to start in Cascais on May 11th, the first event of the new season. The official names for the five trophies of the year have just been announced.

The Audi MedCup Circuit reaches its sixth season with an itinerary comprising five events between May and September in four countries of Southern Europe: Portugal, France, Spain and Italy, in that order.

The official titles of the five trophies which the TP52 Series and GP42 Series fleets will compete for have been announced by World Sailing Management, the Circuit’s organiser, as follows:
1. Portugal Trophy
Cascais (Portugal), May 11-16
2. Marseille Trophy
Marseille (France), June 15-20
3. Conde de Godó City of Barcelona Trophy
Barcelona (Spain), July 20-25
4. Caja Mediterráneo Region of Murcia Trophy
Cartagena (Spain), August 24-29
5. Region of Sardinia Trophy
Cagliari (Sardinia, Italy), September 20-25