Friday, 3 July 2009

WMRT: Six Go Home as MRT Takes on Col


Mirsky and Gilmour in Sweden. Image copyright Dan Ljungsvik.

by Kyle Langford

With the quarter finals of Match Cup Sweden planned for tomorrow, Mirsky Racing Team will face Sebastian Col’s French Match Racing team who Thursday won their way through the repechage round to make up the last quarterfinalist.

By fast tracking their way to the next stage by a solid first round, MRT has spent the past two days maintaining their fitness and watching the other competitors race to stay in tune with the race course and conditions.

“Having a day off mid-event is quite different but we have enjoyed maintaining our fitness and keeping an eye on the competition. We also competed in a corporate Pro-Am race with the Santa Maria Company who are big supporters of Match Cup Sweden which got us out on the water” said a relaxed Torvar Mirsky who is clearly enjoying the Swedish summer.

Tomorrow MRT will aim to continue their form in their quest for the 2009 Match Cup Sweden title, and with ETNZ/ BlackMatch Racing and Bahrain Team Pindar out of the running, it is an opportunity to gain some valuable World Tour points.

Quarterfinals

Mirsky Racing Team (Torvar Mirsky) AUS vs. French Match Racing Team (Seb Col) FRA
Yanmar Racing (Peter Gilmour) AUS vs. Berntsson Sailing Team (Johnnie Berntsson) SWE
French Match Racing Team (Matteui Richard) FRA vs. French Match Racing Team (Phillip Presti) FRA
Victory Challenge (Magnus Holmberg) SWE vs. French Match Racing Team (Damien Iehl) FRA

9th Wibroe Sailing Team (Peter Wibroe) DEN
10th ETNZ Blackmatch (Adam Minoprio) NZL
11th Bahrain Team Pindar (Ian Williams) GBR
12th Stena Bulk Sailing Team (Mattias Rahm) SWE
13th Team Onboard (Bjorn Hansen) SWE
14th Joe Fly Racing (Francesco Bruni) ITA

Mirsky Racing Team
World Match Racing Tour

WMRT: BlackMatch Miss Out on Quaterfinals in Sweden


Johnnie Berntsson was the lucky one on home waters in the repechage in Sweden. Image copyright Dan Ljungsvik.

by David Swete

The end of the repecharge series was the end of the road for BlackMatch in Sweden and although other results went our way, we failed to win our way through losing to local Johnnie Berntsson in perhaps one of the most exciting races of the year.

We felt very hard done by in our race against Johnnie, never the less it was action packed from the outset as the Swede was given a penalty on the first beat for tacking too close. By the top mark we were ‘neck and neck’ and Johnnie tried to cross us on port tack, we had the right of way on starboard and had to avoid him however the umpires ‘green flagged’ the incident. We were overlapped as we approached the bottom mark and although we felt we were inside two boat lengths and entitled to round the mark, Johnnie did a great job of luffing us hard and undertaking his penalty.

As we went to round the mark they held a slim lead and tacked straight in front of us, they were then handed another penalty from the umpires to be undertaken immediately. After they had completed their penalty we held a slim lead and a fierce tacking duel ensued with us on the right of way starboard side, the Swede then tacked in our water again and we had to avoid, but again it was green flagged. By the top mark we were still ‘neck and neck’ and on the downwind we gybed at them on starboard, they failed to keep clear and to our surprise we were handed a penalty. The final downwind run to the finish was extremely edgy as we attempted to offset our penalty, but they managed to keep clear and take the victory to put us out of the 2009 Match Cup Sweden.

It was an unfortunate way to end our regatta, however we know that poor form early on, ultimately cost us at this event. Perhaps it is because we are not used to the DS 37 boats or the tricky sailing conditions here in Sweden, but we have slowly improved throughout the week and cannot wait to come back next year.

BlackMatch would like to thank their sponsors FedEx Express and Line 7 New Zealand. We would also like to thank the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and Emirates Team New Zealand for all of their support.

BlackMatch Racing
World Match Racing Tour

Transpac: Picture Perfect Transpac Send-Off and Start


Thursday's start to the Transpac. Supplied image.

by Lynn Fitzpatrick

Thursday's Aloha Send-off from Transpac Pier at Rainbow Harbor in Long Beach was picture perfect.

Tachyon III, Kanzunori Komatu's Santa Cruz 52, with members of the Japanese Olympic Sailing Team on board, led the parade out of the basin. Like each of the 18 Transpac 09 race boats that followed, Tachyon III was escorted out of Rainbow Harbor's entrance by paddlers from the Kahakai Canoe Club. Free Range Chicken, Bruce Anderson's deluxe Perry 59, was the final Transpac race boat to leave the pier. As she streamed away from the dock, the crew showered their escorts with fresh fuschia-colored leis. Long Beach added more pageantry to the send-off by having Navy seals sky dive from a blimp and splash down in between the end of the pier and the Queen Mary.

Glassy waters rippled over as the morning passed. Beyond the Port of Long Beach and Los Angeles breakwater and off of Point Fermin, the ripples turned to white caps as the wind built to 10-12 knots. It clocked right from about 220º to 280º for the 1300 start. The picture perfect send-off was no match for the adrenaline-charged photographer's fantasy starting sequence.

The 19-boat fleet of 45 to 60-foorters rushed the starting line. They were amped up with anticipation and testosterone and shot out of the blocks on their way to Ala Wai and Transpac Row. The pin was the coveted spot and Criminal Mischief, the grey-hulled boat with a crimson-shirted team roared past the pin. They were a bit too early and had to restart. Just up off of their starboard hip was Wasabi, one of the Mexican entries, and Bengal 7, one of three Japanese entries. Chipango, Relentless and Passion, all US boats, were just to weather of the pack at the pin. The rest of the fleet was spread out evenly across the starting line all the way up to the committee boat.

The fleet dashed off toward Catalina Island and a Pacific High that is growing larger and is slowly morphing its way south. It is being pushed down by a series of lows pushing across the Pacific from the west. Light winds prevail across the Los Angeles to Hawaii racetrack. So far, all of the starters have headed south. Tomorrow morning's peak at Ionearth will give us a clear indication as to whether any boats are breaking with traditional wisdom.

In the meantime, the two-man southern Californian crew aboard Relentless continues to lead the Division 6 fleet. They are further south and west than the second place contender, J World and they are in the vicinity of 29º 36" N and 122º 30 W moving at 5.5 knots.

Charisma continues to sail well north of the rest of Divisions 5 and 6. She has stretched her lead to over 35 nautical miles over her closest competitor, Between the Sheets. That's quite a distance when you are moving at less than five knots.

The final Transpac 09 start takes place on Sunday, July 5th at 1300. Seventeen of the largest, sleekest and fastest racing machines entered in Transpac 09 will put on an Aloha Send-off parade that will rival Long Beach's July 4th fire works display. Alfa Romeo, Neville Crichton's Reichel/Pugh 100; Philippe Khan's Pegasus 50, Disney's Pyewacket, Houla, Alchemy, Akela, Medicine Man and Ragtime are just some of the legendary yachts that are slipping into the berths vacated on Monday and Thursday. All are looking to add a Transpac victory to their lengthy records.

Preparing for the Transpacific Yacht Race is no small matter. Getting the boat into offshore racing condition and finding a competent crew that has the time, desire, chemistry, will and other resources to make it happen is no small matter. Sunday's start list is a testament to the teams' accomplishments in making it to the starting line. It wasn't until a couple of weeks before the start that it became clear that Pendragon VI, a brand new Davidson 69, and Rapid Transit, an Antrim 49, came to the heart-wrenching conclusion that no matter what they did, they could not meet the safety requirements and have their boats ready to start on July 5th.

Ragtime, the 45-year-old Spencer 65, that will be sailing her 15th Los Angeles to Hawaii Transpac, was splashed at about the same time as the smallest boats in the Transpac 09 fleet were leaving for Hawaii. Ragtime, won the 2008 Tahiti Race, won her division in the Sydney Hobart Race, sailed to her native Auckland, New Zealand and completed her return Pacific crossing in late. Upon arriving in Newport Beach, she was hauled so that structural damage to her bulkheads could be repaired and she could be measured for her Transpac rating.

Pegasus 50, Philippe Kahn's Open 50, has been being overhauled. Running rigging has been led to the cockpit so that Kahn and co-skipper, Mark Christiansen, will not have to leave the cockpit in the event that they need to reef. While the wind predictions look light all the way to Hawaii, it will be important for them to be able to reef and load up their aft water ballast tanks when they fly their kite in front of the squalls that mark the presence of those volcanic islands in the middle of the Pacific that all of our Transpac 09 sailors are aiming for.

Transpac Race '09

WMRT: Berntsson and Col Through to Quarters in Sweden


Seb Col got the upper hand over Ian Williams Thursday to progress through to the quarterfinals in Sweden. Image copyright Dan Ljunsvik.

Minoprio and Williams crash out

by Tour media

Fantastic racing conditions allowed the organizers of Match Cup Sweden, Stage 5 of the World Match Racing Tour, to complete the repechage round which saw Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team and Sebastien Col (FRA) French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge emerge as the final two skippers that will join Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team, Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing, Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team, Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team, Magnus Holmberg (SWE) Victory Challenge and Philippe Presti (FRA) French Match Racing Team in the Quarterfinal Round, scheduled for tomorrow.

The repechage round was full of excitement. Johnie Berntsson was on fire winning all three matches including a nail biter against Adam Minoprio. It started badly for Berntsson as he was awarded a penalty just after the start for tacking too close to Minoprio. It didn’t deter Berntsson and he was hot on the heels of Minoprio after rounding the first mark even managing to roll him down the run. As they approached the leeward mark outside the zone Berntsson managed to hook Minoprio on port tack subsequently luffing him tacking inside him then bearing away to offload the penalty. Berntsson then luffed on starboard tack to take Minoprio away from the leeward mark before turning back to lead around the buoy.

The Swedish crowd went ballistic egged on by on-water commentator Martin Sohtel who sounded like he was about to explode. The action wasn’t over as Berntsson tacked right in front of Minoprio infringing him and earning a red flag immediate penalty due to the controlling position that Berntsson gained. Minoprio held the lead to the top mark and had to take Berntsson way above it in order to stay ahead. As the boats headed downwind Minoprio threw in a gybe too close to Berntsson and was awarded a penalty for his trouble but Minoprio remained ahead and as the teams approached the restricted zone on the left hand side of the course Minoprio hoisted his jib, dropped his kite and started attacking Berntsson. Berntsson followed suit and both boats played cat and mouse as Minoprio tried to offload his penalty.

Berntsson stayed calm and parried every attack whilst slowly pushing Minoprio towards the finish. Berntsson’s plan won out and he crossed the line as Minoprio desperately tried to throw in his penalty turn. A pleased Johnie Berntsson said “We didn’t perform well in the first stage clearly needing some time to play catch up. We made many mistakes but now we are getting into our stride. My crew were brilliant and today I just hung out at the back and they got me round the course. It’s when I do my own thing that it all goes wrong.”

The final Flight of the repechage left Peter Wibroe needing a win and for Berntsson and Col to loose in order to get into a three way tie on 5 points and an increasingly complex count back depending on the results of the other matches in the flight. But today nothing could stop either Berntsson or Col who both blitzed their final matches against Bjorn Hansen (SWE) and World Champion Ian Williams (GBR) respectively to dive into the quarter final.

It was a disappointing day for Tour leader Adam Minoprio (NZL) ETNZ/BlackMatch and second placed Ian Williams (GBR) and his Bahrain Team Pindar. Both were swept out of the repechage and out the World Championship point scoring zone. Once again Williams has failed to make the quarter final round at Match Cup Sweden. Having competed at the event four times he might start to think there is a curse on him.

With all the intense action going on it was easy to forget that the event is only at the half way stage and all the quarter finalists were invited to the press conference to find out who would choose who. It was Mathieu Richard (FRA) who started the ball rolling pointing out that he hates the choosing rule as the trend at the recent events has shown that the picker has lost. Richard stepped up and chose fellow countryman Philippe Presti and assured a French Team member will make the semi’s. Next up was Peter Gilmour (AUS) who shied away from a home country match against Torvar Mirsky (AUS) saying that Mirsky was too hot to handle. He picked Berntsson which he felt could be popular because if he won then the crowd may forgive the Match Cup Sweden hall of fame inductee but if he lost then he would have been pushed aside by the young Swede taking a local one step further to the title. Due to Presti already being picked next up was Damien Iehl who wasted no time or talk on singling out Magnus Holmberg and giving no reason for the choice. Holmberg was just happy that he didn’t need to be the one to make the choice. That left the on form Torvar Mirsky up against a resurgent Sebastien Col. Col said of Mirsky “Torvar is on fire. He looks very comfortable here this week with all the beautiful girls around him.” Mirsky’s response was to assure everyone that he’d been in bed early every night and was ready for action.

With the women taking to the water this morning it was local hero Anna Kjellberg and Lucy Macgregor who emerged as the leaders from the round robin after both winning five matches to go on to secure their places in the semi final along with Katie Spithill (AUS) and Linda Rahm (SWE). Current World Champion and defending Match Cup Sweden Champion Claire Leroy struggled today surprising many by failing to make the cut. The ladies semi finals and finals are on Saturday and Lucy Macgregor will reveal who she will choose to race tomorrow night.

Tomorrows forecast promises more exciting racing with a steady breeze predicted all day. The pairs will compete in a first to the three point round to then go on and qualify for the semi finals. With it all to play for there will be some guaranteed action here in Marstrand.

Repechage Results from Day 3
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team 6-1
Sebastien Col (FRA) French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge 6-1
Peter Wibroe (DEN) Wibroe Racing Team 5-2
Adam Minoprio (NZL) ETNZ/BlackMatch 3-3
Ian Williams (GBR) Bahrain Team Pindar 3-3
Mattias Rahm (SWE) Stena Bulk Sailing Team 3-3
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Team Onico 1-6
Francesco Bruni (ITA) Team Joe Fly Match Racing 1-6

Match Cup Sweden Women
Lucy MacGregor (GBR) 5-2
Anna Kjellberg (SWE) 5-2
Katie Spithill (AUS) 4-3
Linda Rahm (SWE) 4-3
Claire Leroy (FRA) 3-4
Nicky Souter (AUS) 3-4
Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen (DEN) 3-4
Sally Barkow (USA) 1-6

World Match Racing Tour

Groupama 3 in New York and Groupama 40 in Hyères


Groupama 40 in training. Image copyright Yvan Zedda.

by Vincent Borde and Caroline Muller

Once again Groupama team is everywhere at once. Arriving in New York last night where she is being switched to the necessary configuration for an attempt at the Transatlantic record, the crew of Groupama 3 will have to follow the performance of Groupama 40 via the internet as she competes at Hyères, in France's Var region, where Franck Cammas is helming in the second stage of the iShares Cup.

Today was a training day for the second stage of the iShares Cup in Hyères; with two coastal courses on the menu, followed by a short race just off the port's jetties. Suffice to say that the spectacle of 12 metre catamarans sailing beam to beam was a fabulous one, particularly when they're helmed by renowned champions such as James Spithill, Loïck Peyron, Yann Guichard, Mike Golding and of course Franck Cammas.

Though the two coastal courses were beautifully won by Eric Maris and his crew on Luna Rossa, it is worth mentioning the great consistency of the winner of the first stage of the iShares Cup TPM, Gitana Extreme. Decidedly very quick, the Tornado champion has visibly relocated the automatic reflexes gained during numerous Olympic preparations carried out over recent years.

As for Groupama 40, the day was far from gloomy. Incisive during the starting procedures, tactically prudent as they favoured the middle ground, Franck Cammas and his crew have been highly consistent and always made it into the top four today. Will this be enough to stand out and earn themselves a podium place?

"The general level is high. More than the performance though it's the cohesion of the crew, the quality of the manoeuvres and a touch of opportunism which will make the difference. It's up to us to be in the action, to make as few errors as possible and be able to make the most of those mistakes the others make. We have a fine crew for that with Tanguy Cariou on tactics, Fred Le Maistre on the bow and Thierry Fouchier trimming the headsails. We get on well and we're highly motivated" analyses Franck Cammas, who concludes by asking for news of the crew on Groupama 3 who have just reached New York: "I monitored their crossing and did their routing for the first two thirds of the delivery. They've sailed well. Crossing the Atlantic in that direction in seven days is a fine performance".


Groupama 3 arrives in New York. Loïc Dorez/Team Groupama.

On the East Coast of the United States, the Boat Manager on Groupama 3 also enquired as to the ambitions of Groupama 40 in Hyères; a race zone he knows well through having often sailed there in a Tornado: "So, are the guys doing well?".

Getting back down to business the skipper looks back at the crossing: "The boat is faultless. Even though she was heavy, due notably to the engine, and we didn't power her up too hard, she perfectly fulfilled our expectations. She was back to her old self, easy to handle and still as responsive as ever, particular in a medium breeze. These are important characteristics which will enable us to be efficient over a fifty day period next winter".

As to the crew and newcomers like Bernard Stamm and Lionel Lemonchois, Fred Le Peutrec doesn't need to dwell on the matter for long: "They have years of collective skills and experience. Their presence aboard is obvious. It's straightforward. It's noteworthy but not exceptional, so obvious is it".

It's the same scenario for Olivier Mainguy, a member of the shore crew in charge of the rig, who will be a bowman during the next Atlantic record attempt: "He's working flat out; always precise and very committed. It's also down to him and his splicing that we're in a position to trim Groupama 3 precisely. He knows her like the back of his hand".

In Gateway Marina, the shore crew are preparing the boat, dismantling the engine, and removing anything that no longer has a place. As dusk closes in, Groupama 3 pulls at her warps. The same is true of her crew.

Cammas - Groupama

Barcelona World Race 2010: Jean - Pierre Dick Confirms Entry



Winner of the first edition will be on the start line aboard the next Paprec Virbac at Barcelona on 31 December, 2010

by Isabel Genis

French sailor Jean-Pierre Dick, winner of the inaugural around-the-world Barcelona World Race, has confirmed his participation in the second edition. Jean-Pierre Dick is among the elite of skippers with wins in several of the world’s great oceanic races. The start of the next Barcelona World Race will be on 31 December, 2010.

Jean-Pierre Dick will be at the helm of the next Paprec-Virbac , which is presently under construction in New Zealand. It was aboard Paprec Virbac 2 that he secured his sensational victory at Barcelona, establishing the record the skippers will be aiming to beat in eighteen months time: 92 days, 8 hours, 49 minutes and 49 seconds.

Last winter Jean-Pierre Dick took part in the Vendée Globe, once again sailing aboard Paprec Virbac 2. On this occasion he was forced to retire from the race after hitting an unidentified floating object in the Southern Ocean, at which time he was leading the fleet.

Since registration for entries opened on 18th June last, the Barcelona World Race organizers have been working closely with those skippers who have expressed an interest in racing in the next edition. Nine boats took part in the first race, and it is expected that there will be between 10 and 12 on the start line on the last day of 2010, of which at least three should be Spanish entries.

Barcelona World Race

iShares Cup: Practice Day Delivers the Goods at iShares Cup Hyères-TPM

Thursday’s practice races certainly delivered the goods ahead of the official start of the iShares Cup Hyères-TPM event tomorrow. The sea breeze built up to a steady 10-12 knots - more than enough to get the Extreme 40s hulls flying. The iShares Cup Raid – a 10-mile sprint to the island of Porquerolles – saw a French victory as Erik Maris skipper of LUNA snatched victory from James Spithill’s BMW ORACLE Racing after just 36 minutes of racing. Maris suffered a broken wrist playing football but his arm encased in a plaster cast does not seem to be an impediment! It was a tight finish to the line for the remainder of the 8 teams and iShares Cup inside reporter, Jocelyn Blériot, rode shotgun on BMW ORACLE Racing – see his report below. And English rugby stars, Tom May and Joe El-Abd, who now both play for Toulon, also came along for a ride...


iShares Cup racing off Hyeres. Image copyright Thierry Martinez/Sea&Co/OC Events.

by Emily Caroe

Round 2 of the iShares Cup Hyères-TPM is all set to go – official racing starts tomorrow (Friday, 3rd July) at 14h00 local time through to Sunday, 5th July. Today saw a series of practice races for the ten Extreme 40s including the iShares Cup Raid – a 10-mile sprint to the island of Porquerolles and back. The beauty of the iShares Cup is the adaptability of the Extreme 40 fleet to race on open sea or on inland waters; racing short courses close to shore, trying speed runs or stretching their legs in a ‘raid’ format as they did today.

Following the official opening iShares Cup press conference at which Jacques Politi, Mayor of Hyères and Vice-President of TPM (Toulon Provence Mediterranée) welcomed the skippers to the region, the skippers were keen to get going. Franck Cammas, skipper Groupama: “I am impatient to race! The Extreme 40s are great to sail and Hyères should be more windy than Venice hopefully. I hope we're not going to race too close to shore if it's really windy as it might be a bit more 'extreme' than we like!”

Although the weather forecast predicted light conditions for the next few days, the temperatures in Hyères results in the land heating up through the morning to create a good and consistent sea breeze for the afternoon. Shirley Robertson, skipper Team iShares, remembers the conditions last year: “Last year we had some big wind - I ended up on a stretcher with stitches! Going downwind with the big gennaker up and both rudders out the water - there's not much you can do at the back except hang on - this is Hyères! I think this weekend we could have a few surprises...”

Well, perhaps the first surprise of Round 2 has been the victory of Erik Maris and his crew onboard LUNA, in the iShares Cup Raid and the second practice race.

As Loick Peyron, skipper Oman Sail Renaissance commented: “This iShares Cup is a very exciting game... Sailing in open water can change many things.”

iShares Cup Raid results (non-scoring race):
1 LUNA (Erik Maris)
2 BMW ORACLE Racing (James Spithill)
3 Gitana (Yann Guichard)
4 Groupama (Franck Cammas)
5 Oman Sail Renaissance (Loick Peyron)
6 BT (Nick Moloney)
7 Holmatro (Carolijn Brouwer)
8 Oman Sail Masirah (Pete Cumming)
9 iShares (Shirley Robertson)
10 Ecover (Mike Golding)

5th man aboard BMW Oracle during the iShares Raid

by Jocelyn Blériot

When an opportunity to jump onboard the BMW Oracle Extreme 40 arises, what can one do apart from dropping notebooks and mobile phone on the dock, grabbing a lifejacket, and jumping on one of the ribs shuttling from the race village to the race course?

The sea breeze promises hull-flying conditions, the run to the Porquerolles island and back leaves plenty of space for the boats to show their full potential... and to put things simply, you just don't get the chance to hitch a ride with an America's Cup crew everyday, so even if the conditions were not ideal it still would be a treat!

James Spithill, John Kostecki, Joe Newton and Dirk de Ridder welcome me aboard 10 minutes before the start, and we gently sail around the start line, the guys discussing placement on the line and possible wind shifts around Porquerolles, less than 5 miles away. My guess is that it's going to be a very quick five miles, and the sailing geek in me is thrilled to be about to live a starting sequence aboard a boat crewed by America's Cup legends, Volvo Ocean Race winners and Match Racing World Champions. I feel like a train-obsessed kid who was given a chance to sit next to the driver during a TGV speed test!

The gun is about to go, we're obviously off to a very good start and it's going to be a straight line, sheer speed race, to the first mark. Erik Maris's Luna leads, we're in second place and Joe Newton, trimming the jib, impresses me with his very accurate "reading" of the wind variations on the water. The windward hull is above the surface, whenever a little gust kicks in the daggerboard is taken out of the water and the sudden silence reinforces that bird-like impression - we're doing roughly 18 knots, preparing the first mark rounding and monitoring Gitana Extreme's whereabouts: sailing lower, they're trying to build more speed and claim second place. It might be a training race with no points at stake but what difference does that make? No way Spithill and his gang are going let that one pass. We're coming on the buoy at full speed, Dirk de Ridder and Joe Newton are already starting to hoist the gennaker, we're now 3 metres away from Yann Guichard's boat and decide to continue towards the shore.

On a regular (slow?) monohull, you'd be admiring the scenery, as the Porquerolles rocks sunk in deep blue water are a fantastic sight. Fortunately, I'd been there already (on a slow boat) and enjoyed the view, because today it was not an option. That part of the race is probably the only real tactical moment, and Dirk de Ridder pants heavily as he sits down next to me after a couple of gybes. The speed at which these guys perform the manoeuvres is staggering, especially considering the effort they require! Luna does a great job of holding on to her leading position, and we're already heading back towards Hyères and the finish line. To leeward, a pack of three Extreme 40 all skippered by French legends - Cammas, Peyron and Guichard - seem pretty quick and need to be controlled. Not a problem, John Kostecki is on the case and we're seeing the line getting closer, it's only a matter of holding on to our position. One last little gust to salute the race committee with the windward hull cleanly up in the air, and that's it job done.

Kostecki turns to the Luna crew and shouts "Well done guys" with a big smile... while it seems to me like mine is going to stay stuck on my face for another two hours! But what's that absurd business about having to go back to my computer?

iShares Cup

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Relentless Leads First Group of Starters on Transpac '09

by Lynn Fitzpatrick

After sailing through wind ranges of 8 to 15 knots immediately following Monday's start and making a number of headsail changes, Divisions 6 and 7 Transpac crews went over the top of Catalina Island and settled into steadier conditions. Relentless leads and is 2,100 nautical miles from the finish line off Diamond Head and Lynx, the 114-ton tall ship, is finding difficult to get the momentum going. Lynx has 2,165 nautical miles left to go on the 2,225 nautical mile racecourse.

In Division 6, Relentless, the One-Design 35 being doublehanded by Tim Fuller and Erik Shampain, has a ten-mile lead over the crew on Narrow Escape. This is the second time that Fuller and Shampain have sailed double-handed from Los Angeles to Hawaii. During the 2007 Transpac, they were 4th in their division. Before leaving the Transpac Pier at Rainbow Harbor, when asked about their watch system, Shampain looked at Fuller and said, "He said he'd take the first three days on so that I could take the first three off." As for Narrow Escape, two of the crew were aboard her during the 2007 Transpac. The entire crew was supposed to sail the Santa Cruz 50, Lawndart, to Hawaii this year, but when it was clear that the SC 50 would not be ready in time, they looked for their Plan B, as they have been referring to Narrow Escape.

Charisma, one of nine foreign yachts in this year's Transpacific Yacht Race, is off to an early lead in Division 7. Alejandro Perez Calzada and his crew of 11 are racing this 57-foot Sparkman & Stephens design. Aside from one German, the entire Charisma crew is Spanish. All crew members are sailing their first Transpac. Their goal is to have a good time and have a respectable finish within their division.

While Charisma is taking a high track, Between the Sheets is splitting the middle among all of the Division 6 and Division 7 boats. Between the Sheets, Ross Peralman's, Jeanneau 50, which won the Aloha A division in the 2007 Transpac, is approximately 15 miles behind Charisma.

Nineteen boats comprising Divisions 3,4 and 5 start on Thursday, July 2nd at 1300 off of Point Fermin. Five Santa Cruz 50's, including hull #1, Roy's Chasch Mer, constitute Division 5. Half of the boats in Division 4 are Santa Cruz 52's. Reinrag2, the overall winner on corrected time for the 2007 Transpac, is also in Division 4. Division 3's entries include two Japanese and one Mexican boat and Bruce Anderson's comfortable and fast, Free Range Chicken.

Transpac Race

Feast or Famine on Transpac '09 Boats


Absolutely no freeze dried food on Wasabi for this year's Transpac! Supplied image.

by Lynn Fitzpatrick

Boats in Divisions 3, 4 & 5 start their Transpac 09 race tomorrow. Before they head out for the most enduring and greatest ocean race in the world they have a lot of decisions to make. Crews from each of the 19 boats are looking toward their navigators to determine what route they are going to take initially, so that they can decide which sails to take and which to leave behind. While the navigators work through their strategy, the rest of the crews are out purchasing odds and ends and loading food onto their boats for the passage.

These Santa Cruz 50's and 52's, Andrews 53 and 56's and a smattering of other designs that rate between 106 and 159, are not in contention to break course records, but they are looking to win or do well in their divisions, have a safe race and maybe even win overall on corrected time, as did Reinrag 2, Tom Garnier's J-125 did in 2007. Reinrag 2 not only won Division IV, but also beat the entire fleet on corrected time to become the overall 2007 Transpac winner.

On Wednesday afternoon in Long Beach, everyone was stocking their iceboxes and storage bins under the crystal clear skies and light winds. Food philosophy varies widely among these crews. Here is a sampling of what is being passed from the dock, over the lifelines and across cockpits to be stowed down below:

Wasabi - Jorge Ripstein's Farr 46 from Acapulco, Mexico - This is the first Transpac for the boat and for the owner. They are planning on a 10-day crossing. All of the meals are pre-made and frozen. They'll have a variety and nothing will be duplicated. As far as they are concerned, there will be absolutely no freeze-dried food on board.

Criminal Mischief - Chip Megeath's Reichel Pugh 45, that was formerly known as Kokopelli 2, won the 50/52 Division and was second overall behind Pyewacket in 2007. Their navigator Jeff Thorpe won the best navigator's award for the entire race in 2007. This crew of veterans will be gobbling up freeze dried food, cereal, lunch meats, cheese bread, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and odd & ends for snacks.

Passion - A Santa Cruz 50 that raced the Transpac in the 1980's under the name Racy and later became Delicate Balance, was 4th in the 50/52 Division in the 2007 Transpac. This group of great sailors and friends, that also includes two sets of fathers and sons, are going to "Eat like kings," according to Steve Hastings, the owner. Suzy Hubbard, the chef, cooked up all of the food in Corpus Christi, froze it and shipped all 115 pounds of casseroles and marinated rib eyes to Gladstone's freezers. The crew was waiting for Gladstone's lunch rush to subside before heading into the Transpac Pier restaurant host's freezers and reclaiming their sustenance. The rib eyes constitute just a bit of the seven pounds of meat being brought aboard for each of the eight crew members.

Horizon - Jack Taylor's Santa Cruz 50 team will be heating up a different homemade meal every day. Lasagna, beef stew, enchiladas, quiche, pot roast - there will be no repeats. Taylor, a veteran of three Transpac, says his team's performance has improved with each race. They were second in their division and third in the fleet for the 2007 Transpac. By far the most popular dish, and the midway celebratory dinner, is the Silver Palate meatloaf. "They love it," beamed Jack Taylor as he transferred the contents of their first cooler of food from the dock to Horizon's cockpit.

Tachyon III - is one of the three Japanese boats competing in Transpac 09. Kazunori Komatsu and some of his crew have been indulging themselves while they have been in Long Beach by "Eating big American hamburgers everywhere," said Komatsu.

It's Komatsu's third Transpac and he has Nishioka Kazumasa, the Japanese Olympic Sailing Team Director, on board as the navigator. Harada Ryunosuke and Yoshida Yugo, who just beat 81 other teams to claim the 2009 470 European Championship title are sailing an offshore race for their first time in this Transpac. The team will have to satiate themselves of American hamburgers on Wednesday night, because from the time they leave Transpac Pier at Rainbow Harbor through the time they reach Hawaii, they'll be eating Japanese food that has been shipped to them straight from Japan. Their diet will be Japanese dried food, noodles, fish, rice and miso soup.

Transpac Race

VOR: Exclusive - PUMA's Big Cat Revealed


Skipper Kenny Read with the PUMA cat (aka Casey Smith). Image copyright Rick Tomlinson/Volvo Ocean Race.

by SailRaceWin

SailRaceWin can reveal, exclusively, that PUMA's big cat was a human in disguise: race crewman Casey Smith.

PUMA Ocean Racing
Volvo Ocean Race

VOR: PUMA - Rookie of the Race


Michael Muller onboard PUMA Ocean Racing. Image copyright Rick Deppe/PUMA Ocean Racing.

by Kenny Read (skipper)

PUMA's Michi Mueller won the first ever Hans Hans Horrevoets Rookie Trophy, which was created in memory of Hans, who was lost at sea during the last edition of the race. Here is the nomination that Ken Read wrote for Michi. It is quite long, but there was just too much about Michi that Volvo needed to know!

Michael “Michi” Mueller came to PUMA as a complete rookie and in my mind, personifies exactly the type of sailor that your criteria specifies.

Michi Mueller joined the PUMA Ocean Racing team in the late summer of 2007. He is what you call a “non-roster invite” in baseball terms, someone who you would not normally invite for a tryout. He was the only real wild card on the PUMA boat. I had been looking for an “under 30” who fit the following criteria; big, strong, unflappable; a jack of all trades. When talking to a sailing friend of mine who has sailed on the German America’s Cup team, he flat out said that I had to give this kid Michi Mueller a look. I gave him a late summer tryout and quickly decided to take a chance on him, and this chance that has worked out in more ways than I could ever imagine.

Michi is the quiet man on this boat. In fact, early on in the campaign, he did an interview with Rick Deppe and answered each question with one word answers. It was clear that self promotion was not one of his strong points. What was clear is that this kid was extremely shy, but that didn’t matter on the boat. A boat can be full of egos and Michi could just sat back and not only work hard but over-perform from the very start. With no preconceived notion as to his position on the boat, he started off in the pit and grinding. The pit is very complicated on this boat without hydraulics. Michi handled it flawlessly and without any fanfare. He did his job and did it well.

Over the winter of 2007-2008, Michi arrived two months early to help with the final stages of the boat construction. The rigging department aimed to pre-make all the rigging for the boat and Michi told us he could ‘help out’. And help he did, pretty much assisting on every piece of rope made for the boat. I thought to myself “I didn’t know he could be a rigger”, but that was just the beginning.

Once the deck was on the hull, the winch system was getting put down. Michi essentially said, (in his German accent of course) and I quote, “don’t worry about the winches. I will take care of them.” From original assembly up to today, the winches have been looked after without anyone on the team ever having to ask. Michi works on them, and as a result, il mostro has no breakages to date. They have been proactively maintained by him alone and it is attention to detail in this manner that wins races.

Once the boat began sailing, it quickly became clear that this young German kid was special. He was always looking at things and you could see the wheels turning in his head. The way in which Michi is able to take in a situation and use what he sees is as good as I have ever seen on a boat, which is why he became a great bowman.

When Jerry Kirby made the decision that he could only do part of the race, PUMA needed a second bowman. Michi became the logical choice. I didn’t choose him because he had a great bow pedigree but because there was nothing we had asked of Michi thus far that he couldn’t do. The bow was absolutely no exception. I asked the entire crew the other day if Michi had made a ‘real mistake’ on the bow yet and no one could think of a single example. That is after approximately 30,000 miles of bow work - flawless execution. When Jerry came back to do a couple of the longer legs, Michi stepped right back into the pit role in which he started with absolutely no questions at all. The words ‘team player’ instantly comes to mind when I am asked about Michi. Never a question or a sly comment, he is always there to help get the job done, and done exceptionally well.

On a Volvo team you always hope that you can fill the boat with trimmers and helmsmen. Fast helmsmen. Again, once Michi got his shot, it was clear that there were a few points of sail where he was the best driver on the boat. Tell him to average a 103 true wind angle, Michi averages 103. Not 104, not 103.5, he averages 103 with as high a polar percentage as anyone on the boat. What a luxury. This kid can drive too!!!

On leg one our water maker went down outside of Rio and we still had to cross the Atlantic to get to Cape Town. Again, Michi surprised us all. He began to read all the water maker diagrams and instructions. He and Casey Smith came up with a plan to re-wire a bilge pump motor into the water maker to get the desalination process working again. They were looking at intricate detailed drawings and I asked him how he knew what he was looking at. “I went to engineering school for two years” was his response. Oh, ‘funny’, I thought, ‘how come you never told me that before Michi?!’ From that day on he pitched in with every complex problem on the boat. This became especially necessary when Chris Nicholson, the team’s electrician went down with a knee injury. Michi stepped up to assist or lead every situation with Casey to help keep the boat up and running. He has an engineers mind. You could have fooled me.

His team skills were highlighted on two separate occasions. First, Michi’s first equator crossing. He had been getting ribbed by all the ‘veterans’ that they were going to cut off his ponytail as part of the rookie hazing. Never a word from Michi, but if anything was clear to me, it was the fact that he really liked his ponytail. I asked him prior to the race starting if he really planned to go around the world with a ponytail and he simply shrugged his shoulders and said “sure, why not?” ‘Okay kid…’ I thought.

Anyway, as the hazing began Casey Smith and I got covered with food and ridiculed. Then came the anticipated moment that we had all feared; the scissors came out for Michi. I wasn’t sure if he would turn into a quiet mass murderer at that moment but I remember looking around wondering if the vets had any idea what they were possibly unleashing. Michi, sitting on the side of the cockpit got up and looked around and just said “stop!” He reached over and grabbed the scissors and cut a huge hunk of his own ponytail off and threw it in the sea for his offering to Neptune. To a howling of laughter, Michi just smiled, turned around and started trimming the mainsail again. Taking one for the team brought the entire program closer in that one moment. He was just doing what came naturally.

Finally, Michi became a father during this race. He and his partner Meike were expecting during the long leg to Rio. I sat down with him and asked him if he wanted out for that leg and he said, “I committed to this race and you before we ever decided to have a child and I will not break that commitment.” Besides being the longest sentence I ever heard him utter, I also understood that this was the essence of Michi. Get the job done. He surprises us all with his knowledge and never blows his own horn.

This award is a fantastic addition to the race, awarded in honor of a person who was lost too soon, the type of person who got the job done under the most trying of situations. Michi Mueller is the perfect first recipient of this award. He is the epitome of what this award is all about.

PUMA Ocean Racing
Volvo Ocean Race

WMRT: Six Teams Still in the Hunt


Gilmour leads downwind at Match Cup Sweden. Image copyright Dan Ljungsvik.

Battle for the final two places in the quarter final is still on

by Tour Media

The warm and sunny weather continued here in Marstrand, which brought spectators out in force today to watch the repechage round robin at Match Cup Sweden. As the crowd lounged in swim suits on the rocks overlooking the race area, 8 teams fought hard to determine who would make it to the next stage, the Quarter Final round, where eight will be competing for their share of the 1,000,000 SEK total prize purse in this fifth stage of the World Match Racing Tour.

With only two quarter final spots left the eight teams were focused on securing points towards their place in the next round. Racing ended today with four of the seven flight repechage completed. Sebastien Col (FRA) French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge, Ian Williams (GBR) Bahrain Team Pindar, Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team and Peter Wibroe (DEN) Wibroe Racing Team all ended the day with three wins.

Ian Williams was happy with his day “It’s our 4th year here and it takes time to get used to the peculiarities of the racing area but we think we’re getting a grip on things. We love the boats and at this event you really need to work hard on sailing the boat right."

Johnie Berntsson finished the day with a close victory over his countryman Mattias Rahm “It was close all the way with Mattias and on the final run we managed to close up on him with some great trimming from the team and a little luck with the breeze rolling in from behind. I could see Mattias getting edgy and when he turned into the gybe we mirrored his course and made sure we were in a position so that he couldn’t luff us. All the odds were stacked in our favour and we managed to roll him.”

For Sebastien Col things are looking a little better than in the preceding Tour events but he still feels on the back foot. “We are finding it harder than last year. We’re not capitalising on the opportunities to win matches and we’re feeling down in defeat and finding it hard to re-group and come back. It’s hard to pin point what is wrong, it’s just a little bit here and a little bit there. We hope that this is the bottom of the performance curve and we can build up from here and get better.”

Peter Wibroe received a late invite to Match Cup Sweden so has had less preparation time that some of the other teams. “I am satisfied with how we are going. We know the boats well and our boat handling and tactics have been good. We love being here having followed the event for many years from back home in Denmark. The venue is just perfect. Tomorrow will be a really tough day as 6 teams could still get through. It will probably be light in the morning when we race but we’re comfortable with light and shifty. It is all still to play for.”

On two wins apiece are reining champion Mattias Rahm (SWE) Stena Bulk Sailing and Adam Minoprio (NZL) ETNZ/BlackMatch. Unable to secure any points for the day were Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Team Onico and Francesco Bruni (ITA) Team Joe Fly Match Racing.

Alongside the Tour event this week Match Cup Sweden is also playing host to a women’s match race event. The women took to the water this morning with Claire Leroy (FRA) and local favourite Anna Kjellberg (SWE) leading the pack of eight entries. Both women won all three of their matches today and are looking forward to more racing tomorrow.

Clare Leroy is the defending champion here and also the current women’s world champion. “This year the goal is the World Championship and this event is a great indicator of who is going to be the best. We have done a lot of practice in Sweden and Denmark so that we can know the boats. We have improved our speed and are getting better at getting the best out of the boat. We feel we are more of a match against the Danes and Swede’s.”

Anna Kjellberg was the surprise performer at this event last year but with more experience under her belt she is here to prove that she can be one of the best. “I feel more nervous here at the press conference than out there on the water. We have been sailing the DS37 a lot and are very comfortable in the boat. We’ve been changing crews a lot over the last year and now I have a great team that has prepared a lot which has really helped. Match Cup Sweden is our preparation for the World Championship in Lysekil and we’re working hard to figure out what everyone else is doing right and wrong. Doing well here would give us a great psychological boost.”

Racing continues at 9am Thursday with the remaining three flights of the repechage round followed by the last four flights of the women’s round.

Repechage Results from Day 3
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team 3-1
Peter Wibroe (DEN) Wibroe Racing Team 3-1
Sebastien Col (FRA) French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge 3-1
Ian Williams (GBR) Bahrain Team Pindar 3-1
Mattias Rahm (SWE) Stena Bulk Sailing Team 2-2
Adam Minoprio (NZL) ETNZ/BlackMatch 2-2
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Team Onico 0-4
Francesco Bruni (ITA) Team Joe Fly Match Racing 0-4

Match Cup Sweden Women
Lucy MacGregor (GBR) 1-2
Nicky Souter (AUS) 2-1
Claire Leroy (FRA) 3-0
Katie Spithill (AUS) 1-2
Anna Kjellberg (SWE) 3-0
Sally Barkow (USA) 0-3
Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen (DEN) 1-2
Linda Rahm (SWE) 1-2

World Match Racing Tour

iShares Cup: Practice Session and Speed Run Ahead of the iShares Cup Round 2

Ideal racing conditions look to be in place with consistent sea breeze in Hyeres - TPM for the second round of the iShares Cup. Warm-up races are planned tomorrow, including a 10-mile speed run to the beautiful island of Porquerolles and back. Mr Politi, Mayor of Hyeres, will welcome the iShares Cup and the sailors back to the town, during the press conference due to be held tomorrow at 12:00 local time. The official racing starts on Friday at 14:30.


Extreme 40 fleet practising ahead of the racing in Venice. Image copyright Thierry Martinez/Sea & Co/OC Events.

by Emily Caroe

Although the weather forecasters are predicting predominantly light winds ahead of Round 2 of the iShares Cup Hyères-TPM, the 10 international teams have been enjoying pleasant sea breezes to train in all week, thanks to the sunny weather heating up the land and creating a thermal effect, which is expected to continue for the iShares Cup race days between 3rd to 5th July. Event Director Gilles Chiorri explained, “The synoptic wind is quite light but in fact the sea breeze is very active. In the morning we are seeing around 6-7 knots from the south-west, but in the afternoon it’s been building to 10-12 knots thanks to the thermal.” With bright sunshine and steady breezes conditions for Round 2 of the iShares Cup 2009 look set to be a great 'hull-flying' spectacle.

Many of the teams have taken the opportunity to put in some hard training ahead of the second round of racing. Event Director Gilles Chiorri said,“Every day the Extreme 40s have been training, alone or in pairs, around marks, and with coaches. It’s impressive to see how compared to last year the teams are ahead of schedule and practicing hard at things like start sequences. It’s quite intense, they’re out at 10.00 and not back until about 4.00.”

Leading after his first victory in Venice, Gitana Extreme - Groupe LCF Rothschild skipper Yann Guichard is almost in home waters in Hyeres: "I know the race zone well, as does Pierre Pennec, because we’ve often sailed here during the French Olympic Sailing Week (SOF). This time though it will be different as we’re going to be racing right next to the harbour wall, which will be a big first. This can change a lot of things so we’re going to have to get our bearings again.”

Tomorrow's practice racing will begin at 2.30 with the first ever 'iShares Cup Raid' a 10-mile time trial to the island of Porquerolles which will give the Extreme 40 teams a chance to really stretch their legs along a longer track. The course will set off from Hyères Port up to Porquerolles, run along the northern tip of the island, and then turn for home. This will be followed by two practice races, first racing along the beach towards Pres qui’ile de Giens and back, and the third race will be a windward/leeward off the breakwater.

Before racing there will be a press conference, where Mr Politi, Mayor of Hyères, will welcome the iShares Cup and sailors back to Hyères-TPM for Round 2 of the European circuit.

In Quotes

Mike Golding, Ecover: “In training we set up in a series of race starts and short races with BMW Oracle Racing, Groupama, Holmatro and Oman Masirah – a high level group of boats who really gave us an excellent opportunity to improve our game."

Yann Guichard, Gitana Extreme - Groupe LCF Rothschild:“Each event has its own specific characteristics and Hyères is another race entirely so we’ll be setting out from scratch again!”

iShares Cup

Rolex Fastnet Race Fast Approaching


Start of the 2007 Rolex Fastnet race. Image copyright Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi.

by Trish Jenkins

With just under forty days to the start of the Rolex Fastnet on Sunday, 9 August, the 300 registered crews are hard at work completing their qualification miles and other prerequisites. The 608 nautical-mile offshore classic has a fearsome reputation - not always lived up to - but one which deserves respect by all involved; especially in the year marking the thirtieth anniversary of the saddest chapter in the race's illustrious history.

The fleet is in excellent shape. With participants from sixteen different nations on the start-line, it will be an international gathering of the yacht-racing fraternity. The British and French make up the bulk of the fleet, but entries have been received from Hong Kong, Australia and the USA too, proving the lure of the Rolex Fastnet still crosses the oceans as it did in its earliest days.

The Americans are fielding half-dozen entries, including 2005 Rolex Sydney Hobart winner, Rosebud, owned and campaigned by Roger Sturgeon. The STP65 is an out-and-out racing machine with a pro-crew onboard, a far cry from Australia's most famous entry this time around: Alex Whitworth achieved notoriety in the sailing world for undertaking a circumnavigation of the globe with Peter Crozier that coincidentally started with the 2005 Rolex Sydney Hobart and ended at the finish of the 2006 edition of the race, after taking in the 2005 Rolex Fastnet en-route. All this in the tiny, but robust, Brolga 33, Berrimilla, a different proposition to the carbon machine that Sturgeon has at his command, but certainly an indication of the diverse nature of the competing boats.

Hong Kong's flagship is under the ownership of Karl Kwok. Kwok is one of the region's top owners and has launched a series of yachts under the name Beau Geste. 2009 sees that latest addition to the fold, an 80-foot (24-metre) Farr designed racer that steps a 38-metre, "5 spreader, cathedral in-line rig, built from high modulus carbon fibre mast, stayed with the same continuous carbon rigging as the Volvo Ocean 70s". Hong Kong's second set of representatives will be sailing something quite different to Beau Geste. Frenchman, Denis Lazat who lives and works in Hong Kong will compete in his Pogo 40, Jumpa Lagi, half the size and around a quarter of the crew, since the Class 40s are typically sailing with five. Lazat is a member of the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club and all his crew are from the territory.

Italy's challenge also comes in large and small versions. Another yachting dynasty, Luna Rossa, will be part of the battle for mini-maxi supremacy alongside Rosebud and Niklas Zennstrom's Ran (GBR). The Luna Rossa name is associated most commonly with the America's Cup. Whilst Patrizio Bertelli's latest racing yacht is an STP65 and an offshore boat, expect to see many sailors from the Cup world in the pro line-up. Sadly, regular crew and Olympian Robert Scheidt will not be on board. We dip back into the Class 40s for the second Italian representative - solo round the world sailor, Giovanni Soldini, who became a hero in France when he rescued Isabelle Autissier from her upturned hull in the 1998/99 Around Alone Race. Soldini will be racing Telecom Italia.

Britain, too, has its fair share of stark contrasts. ICAP Leopard will be the biggest and fastest boat in the race, aiming to lop more time off the existing course record if conditions suit, as owner Mike Slade remarks, "we are really looking forward to the Rolex Fastnet Race this year. It is always special and we will definitely be out to beat our 2007 record. The improvements to ICAP Leopard that have been made since the '07 race have put an average of 7% onto the boat's speed, but we were exceptionally quick coming back from the Rock to Plymouth last time in 24-25 knots of breeze, so it will be very much dependent on the weather." Slade views the Rolex Fastnet as part one in a two-part offshore classic being attempted this year, as he heads to Australia for a Christmas rendezvous with the Rolex Sydney Hobart.


Rambler leads ICAP Leopard around the Fastnet Rock in the 2007 race. Image copyright Rolex/Daniel Forster.

At the other end of the design spectrum, the 45-foot (or 60-foot if you include the bowsprit) Morwenna, may be brand-spanking new, but she is built from ash and larch rather than carbon-fibre. In fact, she is a Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter - just as the 1925 race winner, Jolie Brise. Morwenna is based upon the 1906 design, Mischief, once owned by the boy's own adventurer Bill Tillman. According to her skipper, Stuart Jenkins, "we want to show that traditionally built boats are strong, reliable and safe and to encourage people to learn traditional way of sailing."

With other crews and competing boats drawn from Austria, Belgium, Bermuda, Chile, Germany, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands it would not be unreasonable to expect a feeling of an international convention when the yachts start finishing in Plymouth.

The main trophy for overall victory in the Rolex Fastnet is the Fastnet Challenge Cup. In addition, there are more than thirty additional trophies that will be awarded at the prizegiving on Friday, 14 August at the historic Royal Citadel, home of the 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, overlooking Plymouth Harbour.

The first signal for the start of the 2009 Rolex Fastnet Race sounds at 11.50 BST on Sunday, 9 August.

Rolex Fastnet Race

WMRT: Eight Left to Fight as MRT Go Through in Sweden

Mirsky Racing Team has qualified for the quarter finals of Match Cup Sweden


Mirsky Racing Team leads Bjorn Hansen's Team OnBoard in Sweden. Image copyright Dan Ljungsvik.

by Kyle Langford

In an important day of racing Mirsky Racing Team proved once more that they can stand up to the pressure, and finished third in the Group A round robin.

A cutthroat format here in Marstrand, Sweden sees the top three teams from both Group A and B automatically qualify for the quarter finals, while the remaining 8 teams go to a repechage round where only the top 2 will make it through – putting a lot of pressure on the teams to perform in each race.

The final race of the Group A round robin saw MRT face Sebastien Col’s French Match Racing Team. In a do or die race to decide who would automatically qualify for the quarter finals, MRT gained the advantage off the start line after an intense prestart which saw spinnakers set and a few close manoeuvres.

MRT held and extended their lead to comfortably defeat the French Match Racing Team and continue their current form on from the Portugal Match Cup.

Quarter Final qualifiers
Mirsky Racing Team (Torvar Mirsky) AUS
Yanmar Racing (Peter Gilmour) AUS
French Match Racing Team (Phillipe Presti) FRA
Victory Challenge (Magnus Holmberg) SWE
French Match Racing Team (Damien Iehl) FRA
French Match Racing Team (Mathieu Richard) FRA

Repechage Round
Bahrain Team Pindar (Ian Williams) GBR
ETNZ Blackmatch (Adam Minoprio) NZL
Team Onboard (Bjorn Hansen) SWE
French Match Racing Team (Seb Col) FRA
Berntsson Sailing Team (Johnnie Berntsson) SWE
Wibroe Sailing Team (Peter Wibroe) DEN
Puma Sailing Team (Mattias Rahm) SWE

Mirsky Racing Team
World Match Racing Tour

ISAF Announces New ISAF Athletes' Commission Line Up

by Jodie Bakewell-White

The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) yesterday announced the 10 sailors who have been elected to the ISAF Athletes' Commission. New Zealander Dan Slater has been re-elected as the Finn representative.

The Athletes' Commission members each represent one of the 10 sailing events chosen for the 2012 London Olympic Games. They were elected by sailors in the Athletes' Commission elections which concluded on Sunday 28 June 2009. The new Commission members will serve a four-year term until 2013 and will report directly to the ISAF Executive Committee.

The members of the ISAF Athletes' Commission for 2009-2013 are:
Laser - Men's One Person Dinghy
Rasmus Myrgren (SWE)
Laser Radial - Women's One Person Dinghy
Laura Baldwin (AUS)
Finn - Men's One Person Dinghy Heavy
Dan Slater (NZL)
RS:X - Men's Windsurfer
Ben Barger (USA)
RS:X - Women's Windsurfer
Olga Maslivets (UKR)
470 - Men's Two Person Dinghy
Malcolm Page (AUS)
470 - Women's Two Person Dinghy
Marcelien De Koning (NED)
49er - Men's Two Person Dinghy High Performance
Peter Kruger Andersen (DEN)
Star - Men's Keelboat
Mark Reynolds (USA)
Elliott 6m - Women's Match Racing
Claire Leroy (FRA)

The first task of the new Commission members will be to elect their chairman. The first meeting of the newly elected representatives is provisionally scheduled be held at the ISAF Secretariat in October 2009.

ISAF

NZL Yachting Trust Youth Team Training Regatta

by Jodie Bakewell-White

The forecast for poor weather did not deter sailors from travelling from as far away as Nelson, Christchurch, Wellington and Northland to attend the recent training regatta hosted by the Murray’s Bay Sailing Club at the weekend.

“Interest in the event really exceeded our expectations. In total around 55 sailors entered the regatta, from clubs from all around New Zealand,” reported Yachting New Zealand’s Regional Support Officer Kim Admore.

As forecasted, conditions for the weekend were far from ideal. On Saturday a blanket of thick fog coated the Hauraki Gulf this weekend, which combined with light to non-existent breeze, thwarted racing for the day. Given the likelihood of no breeze, organisers provided a selection of host speakers to ensure that shore time remained productive, in a development sense at least.

Guest speakers included experienced International Judge and on water Umpire, John Bullot, who gave a great lecture on the new rules, and implications of these changes to sailors in the respective classes.

Also, ETNZ weather team member Grant Beck was on hand to discuss the unique weather conditions of the weekend, and what things would need to happen to see a better chance of sailing that day.

2008 Olympian, Andrew Murdoch also spoke to the group about his approach to succeeding in the sport of sailing. Sailors at the event had the opportunity to tap into Andrew’s years of experience in team racing, youth classes and now his success in open Olympic classes.

On arrival at the club the following day participants were greeted with a moist easterly flow that continued to build throughout the day. King tides combined with a moderate chop and building breeze provided plenty of challenges for some of the young sailors, and some spectacular action and tight racing for some of the more experienced fleets. Three heats where raced on Sunday before conditions worsened, forcing abandonment of remaining racing and a retreat to the clubhouse.

Results
Laser Radial
1st Andy Maloney (MBSC)
2nd Sam Meech (MBSC)
3rd Rawiri Geddes (KCC)
Int. 420
1st Logan Dunning Beck & Ben Goodwin (WBC)
2nd Tomer Simhony & Brad Moss (MBSC)
3rd Francisco Lardies & Finn Drummond (GSC/WBC)
RS:X
1st Richard Elis (TBC)
2nd Steffanie Williams (TBC)
3rd Alice Monk (TBC)
Laser 4.7
1st Tane Leilua (TSC)
2nd Ben Whiteside (CYC)
3rd Steve Roberts (TYPBC)

Yachting New Zealand and the 2009 NZL Yachting Trust Youth Team, would like to thank all sailors for attending the event, particularly those who travelled great distances to be a part of the team’s final preparations.

Thanks also to Cadbury for supplying wonderful prizes for the event.

Yachting New Zealand

NZL Yachting Trust Youth Team meet sponsors


NAL Yachting Trust Youth Team. Supplied image.

by Jodie Bakewell-White

Sailors, their families, coaches, support crew and team sponsors of the 2009 NZL Yachting Trust Youth Team gathered together last week ahead of their departure for Buzios, Brazil and the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championships.

Representatives from NZL Yachting Trust, NZAS, ASB and Line 7 were introduced to the sailors who have been selected to represent New Zealand at this year’s event. The 2009 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship, the 39th edition of the event, will be held from 9-18 July 2009 at the the Iate Clube de Armação de Buzios (ICAB) in the city of Armação de Búzios, Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil.

The team also learned more about their principal sponsor, the NZL Yachting Trust, from trustee Royden Hindle, who along with other sponsors went on to wish the sailors all the very best for their upcoming trip.

The New Zealand International Yachting Trust (now generally referred to as the NZL Yachting Trust) is an independent trust established in 1988 by well known yachtsmen Mr Don St Clair Brown MBE and Sir Tom Clark KB. Its objective is to assist in funding New Zealanders competing in Olympic and other top level international yachting competitions. The founders believed that if New Zealand is to maintain its place as one of the top yachting nations in the world it is essential that our sailors have adequate opportunity to compete successfully in international championships.

The Event
The 2009 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship, the 39th edition of the event, will be held from 9-18 July 2009 at the the Iate Clube de Armação de Buzios (ICAB) in the city of Armação de Búzios, Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil. The event will be organized by the Rio de Janeiro State Sailing Federation together with the Federação Brasileira de Vela e Motor (FBVM) and ISAF.

The Team
Boys One Person Dinghy - Sam Meech (Murrays Bay Sailing Club)
Girls One Person Dinghy - Rachel Basevi (Pupuke Boating Club)
Boys Two Person Dinghy - Logan Dunning-Beck (Wakatere Boating Club) & Ben Goodwin (Napier Sailing Club)
Girls Two Person Dinghy - Alexandra Maloney & Bianca Barbarich-Bacher (Murrays Bay Sailing Club)
Boy's Windsurfer - Ben Mackay - (Takapuna Boating Club)
Girl's Windsurfer - Lucy Driver - (Takapuna Boating Club)
Open Multihull - Marcus Hansen - (Murrays Bay Sailing Club) & James Turner (Lake Taupo Yacht Club)

NZL Yachting Trust
Yachting New Zealand

Youth Match Racing Nationals Invitation


Youth Match Racing. Supplied image.

by Jodie Bakewell-White

The Notice of Race for the 2009 New Zealand Youth Match Racing National Championship has been published and organizers are asking for registrations of interest. The regatta, organized by host club Royal Port Nicholson in Wellington, runs from September 3rd – 6th.

“This is the premium youth match event for New Zealand under 21 year old sailors each year with the winning team being awarded the Warren 'Wolfie' Williams trophy,” says Dean Stanley from the Club. “RPNYC organises billets for out of town teams if required. Come to the capital city and experience the thrill that is sailing on Wellington Harbour.”

“As with previous years there are four of the eight spots reserved for teams North of Taupo and a further four spots for teams from South of Taupo.”

Registrations of interest are due by Friday 7 August and confirmation of invited entrants will be made on Monday 10 August. View event information and the Notice of Race on YNZ’s online calendar.

Yachting New Zealand

The First Youth Olympic Games

by Jodie Bakewell-White

YNZ is seeking expressions of interest from sailors who are interested in competing at this event. The first Youth Olympic Games will be hosted by Singapore from 14-24 August, 2010 and will feature all the sports on the programme for the 2012 Olympic Games, but with a more limited number of disciplines and events.

The Youth Olympic Games will gather approximately 3,200 athletes and 800 officials. The sailing competition will feature 100 young sailors aged between 15-16 years in four sailing events: one person dinghy men; one person dinghy women; windsurfing men; and windsurfing women.

Alongside the competition and sporting aspect of the Games, there will be compulsory educational programmes on the Olympic values, the benefits of sport for a healthy lifestyle, the social values sport can deliver and the dangers of doping and of training to excess and/or of inactivity.

Youth Olympic Games Events Equipment
One person dinghy girls - Byte CII
One person dinghy boys - Byte CII
Windsurfing girls - Techno 293
Windsurfing boys - Techno 293

Please note:
Sailors must be 15-16 years of age, (born between 1 January 1994 & 31 December 1995)
The event is “user pays”. NZOC is seeking commercial sponsorship but there is no guarantee that sponsorship will be forthcoming. YNZ has no funding allocated for this event.

There is a country qualification process that sailors will need to excel in to qualify the country and be selected. Sailors have to be “medal capable” to be nominated by YNZ.

If you are interested in competing in this event and you fit within the age limits please contact Leslie Egnot leslie@yachtingnz.org.nz or mobile 0274 388 246 for more details and to register your interest.

Yachting New Zealand

WMRT: Tough day at the office for BlackMatch in Sweden


BlackMatch racing against Seb Col in Sweden. Image copyright Dan Ljungsvik.

by David Swete

Day two of Match Cup Sweden was one to forget for BlackMatch, it has
been a long while since we went a day without out a win but today was
a disaster and we had 4 straight defeats to finish last in our group.
All is not lost however as we still have the chance to win our way
through in a repecharge series which will start tomorrow for the
bottom 8 teams.

With only a single win from our 6 matches, we have failed to put
things together so far in this event and it would appear we are
struggling, but the truth is that we are very much in the game and
will come out fighting tomorrow for the two remaining quarterfinal
berths. All of our matches today were very close and there are just
key moments we can pinpoint that contributed to all of our losses, it
is these mistakes that we need to eliminate if we are progress further
in this event.

Perhaps a good example of this was in our match up against 6 times
Match Cup Sweden Champion Peter Gilmour. We absolutely nailed the
veteran in the pre-start, managing to lock him out above the committee
boat end of the start-line, however the crafty Australian forced his
way in between us and the boat end and although he was given a red
flag penalty to be taken immediately, he still was only half a boat
length behind after undertaking it. ‘Gilly’ then showed his class to
stay in touch up the first beat and was hot on our heals going into
the first downwind. He did a great job of initiating the gybe to the
bottom mark whereas we held for too long and the following luffing
situation saw them roll over the top of us to gain the lead, from here
he defended well and took the victory.

We are in very good company in the bottom 8 repecharge series which
includes the two previous Match Cup Sweden Champions Mattias Rahm and
Bjorn Hansen, World number 1 Sebastian Col and current World Champion
Ian Williams. Although we have an uphill battle from here, we are
looking forward to the challenge ahead.

BlackMatch would like to thank their sponsors FedEx Express and Line 7
New Zealand. We would also like to thank the Royal New Zealand Yacht
Squadron and Emirates Team New Zealand for all of their support.

BlackMatch Racing
World Match Racing Tour

WMRT: Richard Tops the Round in Match Cup Sweden

Six quarterfinalists determined at Match Cup Sweden


Damien Iehl chases Bjorn Hansen in the pre-start at Match Cup Sweden 2009. Image copyright Dan Ljungsvik.

by Tour Media

Day Two of Match Cup Sweden, stage 5 of the World Match Racing Tour saw more beautiful weather, more spectators and of course more great match racing. Marstrand turned on the weather and entertainment for spectators and sailors alike. With interactive games, boat trips and numerous hospitality stands it was easy to get distracted from the on-water action. But one look out on to Marstrand Fijord and the calibre of world class sailors easily reminded you there is some top class sailing happening.

Today saw Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing, Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team and Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team finish first, second and third respectively from Group A. They were joined by French Match Racing Team members Mathieu Richard (FRA) Philippe Presti (FRA) and Magnus Holmberg (SWE) of Victory Challenge from Group B. All six now qualify for the quarterfinal round which will start on Friday. The remaining teams from both groups will now go through to the repechage which will be a full round robin where each skipper will race against each other team. The top two skippers from the repechage will then go through to join the other quarter finalists.

Day Two was once again dominated by the French with three members of the French Match Racing Team all through to the quarterfinals. Leading the way in Group B with 5 wins was Mathieu Richard, his only loss coming at the hands of countryman Philippe Presti. Richard said “We are very pleased with winning the Round Robin but it is just one part of the regatta, there is much more to go yet. We had a good day and we managed our strategy very well, there was no set thing to do and flexibility was the key. We sailed well in the light and also managed the gear changes as the wind came up. It will be tricky now to have two days off, I think the guys winning the repechage will be in a strong position having have more racing practice.”

In Group A Peter Gilmour showed why he has won this event six times, losing only to the last two winners of Match Cup Sweden, Bjorn Hansen and Mattias Rahm. When asked if he had been particularly aggressive during the round Gilmour said “Not really, that’s just normal,” then he added “Everyone out there was working really hard and there was no easy win. The Round Robin is really just practice for the quarter final and when we get there we’ll see some people under pressure.”

Joining Gilmour direct into the quarter finals was his old rival and local hero Magnus Holmberg, still looking for that elusive victory at the event that he started 15 years ago. “I was very happy with the team today, we haven’t spent much time together as a crew but it seemed to click very well. There was a nice mode on the boat. We’re learning in each race and really enjoying the racing. My kids love this week and with some time off now I get the chance to spend time with my family so everybody is happy.”

At the opening ceremony yesterday there was a fitting tribute to two of the Tour veterans. In its 15th year the organizers of one of the Tours most successful events have created the Match Cup Sweden Hall of Fame in order to honor the great skippers of professional sailing. The first two inductees were Magnus Holmberg and Peter Gilmour who were both very gracious of this recognition and vowed to continue to keep the younger generation coming through the match racing ranks on their toes. “Magnus and I still have some fuel in the tank to stay ahead of the younger guys that we see making their way on the World Match Racing Tour,” said Peter Gilmour “it is genuinely a real honour and I am sure that more will join, there is plenty of potential out there.”

Results from Day 2
Group A
Peter Gilmour, AUS, YANMAR Racing, 4-2
Damien Iehl, FRA, French Match Racing Racing Team, 4-2
Torvar Mirsky, AUS, Mirsky Racing, 4-2
Sebastien Col, FRA, French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge, 3-3
Mattias Rahm, SWE, Stena Bulk Sailing Team, 3-3
Bjorn Hansen, SWE, Team Onico, 2-4
Adam Minoprio, NZL, ETNZ/BlackMatch, 1-5

Group B
Mathieu Richard, FRA, French Match Racing Team, 5-1
Philippe Presti, FRA, French Match Racing Team, 4-2
Magnus Holmburg, SWE, Victory Challenge, 4-2
Ian Williams, GBR, Bahrain Team Pindar, 3-3
Peter Wibroe, DEN, Wibroe Racing Team, 3-3
Johnie Berntsson, SWE, Berntsson Sailing Team, 1-5
Francesco Bruni, Team Joe Fly Match Racing, 1-5

World Match Racing Tour

Alinghi: Be one of the 10 lucky people to preview the new Alinghi multihull

This is your chance to see inside the Alinghi base in Villeneuve!


Alinghi. Supplied image.

by Alinghi media

We will be launching our giant multihull on Lake Geneva in early July and until then the boat will remain shrouded in secrecy. Having said that, we would like to give you the chance to see the new boat before the rest of the world!

On Saturday 4 July, we are offering 10 people the chance to visit our base in Villeneuve. We will welcome you to our VIP area where you will be given an exclusive preview of the boat.

To be in with a chance to be one of the 10 lucky guests, simply send us your name, telephone number, email address and address to friends@alinghi.com. Names will go into a hat and a draw will be made. The winners will be notified by 12:00 CET, Thursday 2 July.

Further information: Your visit will take approximately one hour and you will need to make your own travel and, if necessary, accommodation arrangements. Full details of the visit regarding timing, etc will be given to the winners upon notification.
Cameras, mobile phones, recording and other electronic devices will not be permitted.

Alinghi

VOR: Clean Sweep for PUMA at Volvo Ocean Race Awards Ceremony


PUMA Ocean Racing take 2nd place overall in the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09. Image copyright Sally Collison/PUMA Ocean Racing.

by Kate Fairclough

In addition to accepting their trophy for second place overall in the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09, the PUMA Ocean Racing team swept the board at the awards ceremony in St Petersburg, Russia on Sunday night. Winning not one but three further trophies, each in categories voted for by a selection panel according to guidelines set out by the race committee, the PUMA team excelled. Rick Deppe (GBR), PUMA Media Crew Member won the Inmarsat Media Prize, recognised for his outstanding work throughout the entire race. The inaugural Hans Horrevoets Rookie Trophy was presented to Michi Mueller (GER) for his contribution to the PUMA team and the Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics Seamanship Award was given to the PUMA Ocean Racing team shore crew (Neil Cox (AUS), Sean Healey (AUS), Will Oxley (AUS) and Kimo Worthington (USA)) for rending assistance to Telefonica Blue, after they ran aground at the start of leg nine in Marstrand.


Rick Deppe wins overall MCM award for VOR 2008-09. Image copyright Sally Collison/PUMA Ocean Racing.

In winning the Inmarsat Leg Media Prize for leg ten, his fourth win, Deppe secured the overall race prize, which included a cheque for €10,000. Deppe’s consistently high quality of work in all mediums throughout the race, earned him the title of best Media Crew Member. Presenting the leg ten Inmarsat Media Award Chris McLaughlin, Vice President, External Affairs, Inmarsat, said: “Rick performed very consistently throughout the race. His confidence with a camera and talent for putting together a story produced consistently captivating images that embodied the personality of the race.”


PUMA Ocean Racing's Michi Muller receives the Hans Horrevoets Rookie trophy, presented by Hans wife Petra. Image copyright Sally Collison/PUMA Ocean Racing.

The Hans Horrevoets Rookie Trophy was created in memory of Hans, who was lost at sea during the last edition of the Volvo Ocean Race. He played a key role in ABN AMRO TWO’s entry in the race, to bring young talent to top level offshore sailing, with their under 30 crew. Hans’ widow Petra was in St Petersburg to present the award to Mueller, and gave an emotional speech. PUMA Ocean Racing Skipper Ken Read nominated Mueller for the prize, stating “Michael “Michi” Mueller came to PUMA as a complete rookie and in my mind, personifies exactly the type of sailor that your criteria specifies. I had been looking for an “under 30” who fit the following criteria; big, strong, unflappable; a jack of all trades. Michi not only worked hard but over-performed from the very start. This award is a fantastic addition to the race, awarded in honor of a person who was lost too soon, the type of person who got the job done under the most trying of situations. Michi Mueller is the perfect first recipient of this award. He is the epitome of what this award is all about.”


Shore crew win overall Seamanship Award for VOR08-09. Image copyright Sally Collison/PUMA Ocean Racing.

A Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics Seamanship Award was awarded to a sailor or team in each leg of the race, for acts of seamanship and courage displayed during each leg. At the leg nine prizegiving in Stockholm, Sweden, the award was for the first time presented to a shore crew team. Bouwe Bekking, Skipper of stricken yacht Telefonica Blue, nominated the PUMA Ocean Racing team shore crew of Neil Cox, Sean Healy, Will Oxley and Kimo Worthington for their assistance to the Telefonica Blue team after they ran aground at the start of leg nine in Marstrand. This group was presented the overall race Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics Seamanship Award in recognition of this deed.

PUMA Ocean Racing
Volvo Ocean Racing

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Let the Cameras Roll - the 45th Transpacific Yacht Race Starts

by Lynn Fitzpatrick

The 45th running of the Transpacific Yacht Race from Los Angeles to Hawaii got underway for Division 6 and 7 boats. With the Hollywood hills a short commute over the LA Basin’s freeways, there were a number of different scripts, grips and presenters at Transpac Pier at Rainbow Harbor.

The first crew to arrive was the media crew from KTLA’s morning show. The next, at 0630, was the most popular guy on campus, Neville Crichton. Crichton and his 100-foot Reichel/Pugh-designed super maxi, Alfa Romeo, were introduced to the 700,000-viewer audience throughout the morning with host, Gayle Anderson. Crichton’s supporting cast was Murray Spence, Alfa’s Captain, and Stan Honey, Alfa’s guest navigator with 12 Transpac wins under his belt.

As the first morning news segment wrapped up, the crew of the tall ship, Lynx, popped their heads up on deck, coffee mugs in hand. Docked stern to Lynx was one of the smallest boats in the fleet, Relentless, a One-Design 35, being double-handed by Tim Fuller and Erik Shampain. Both crews went right to work on their pre-start preparations they wished out loud for heavy winds. At 114 tons, Lynx sails at her best in a heavy breeze from the beam whereas Relentless loves to hoist its chute and take off.

In the bright sun and 3 to 4 knot breeze at the dock, Shampain looked up after fastening a shackle to a spinnaker block, “It doesn’t look promising right now.”

After the running rigging was set, a crew filming a documentary on the Lynx arrived. They were followed by Ron Kilgore, of KNX fame. Kilgore is the sendoff MC for the starts. Transpac Pier then filled with friends, family and well-wishers. After the hugs and kisses, farewell photos were taken, the boats shoved off. Each was wished a safe passage and “Aloha” from the shoreside fans while they were escorted by paddlers from the Kahaki and Lokahi Outrigger Canoe clubs toward the showers of the Long Beach Harbor fire boats. Once clear of the basin, they headed northwest toward the starting line under Point Fermin.

The weather outside of the basin was quite different from that ashore. Overcast skies and 7 to 9 knots of wind out of the SSW prevailed through the 1300 start. The cloud cover burned off at about 1400.

The big decision for Transpac navigators heading for Hawaii today, is whether they should head north or head toward the rhumbline. A high front to the north, a cutoff low that runs through the racetrack and a trough are what this group of starters face immediately. Some may decide to go right over the top of the low, and others may head right into the light and confused air, hoping that it will clear out before they get there. Said Stan Honey, who will be faced to make critical decisions about what sail inventory Alfa Romeo will in her attempt to set a new course record, later this week, “It is similar to the last race, but opposite. Last time it was clear cut for the first starters and difficult for the boats that started later.”

Ionearth, the Iridium-based tracking provider, will be live for the first few hours of the race and then will go to a four-hour delay for the remainder of the race. Perhaps the fleet will make it far enough in the light to moderate breeze for all of us who are watching the initial developments in this great ocean race, to see a split develop in the fleet between those who have decided to go high and those who have set off on a reach hoping that offshore weather conditions will become less confused.

Transpac racers, families, friends and all those tuning into TV, radio, blogs and websites, wish those aboard Relentless, Narrow Escape, Bloodhound, Addiction, Lynx, Between the Sheets, Far Niente, Silent Running, Hassel and Alaska Eagle a safe passage and Aloha.

Transpac Race

WMRT: Match Cup Sweden Opening Day for BlackMatch Racing

by David Swete

Match Cup Sweden is the 5th leg of the 2009 World Match Racing Tour and is held on the beautiful island of Marstrand, an hour North-west of Gothenburg. It has been busy times here in Marstrand, playing host to a Volvo Ocean Race stopover a fortnight ago, while this week over 140,000 people are expected to stop by and check out the action on the water.

It is our debut here at one of the most renowned events on the World Tour and it is not hard to see why it has such a good reputation. The volunteer support is unbelievable, combined with the amazing scenery and massive spectator turnout this event is one to be rivaled with.

We were only involved in two matches today managing a win over the World number 1 Sebastian Col, but lost to last years runner up Torvar Mirsky. Torvar has a lot of confidence coming into this regatta following his victory last week in Portugal and sailed extremely well today to yet again get the edge over us, this is something we are not planning on making a habit and will be looking to step up our game tomorrow.

BlackMatch would like to thank their sponsors FedEx Express and Line 7 New Zealand. We would also like to thank the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and Emirates Team New Zealand for all of their support.

BlackMatch Racing
World Match Racing Tour

WMRT: MRT in Fine Form after Day One in Sweden

by Kinley Fowler

Coming off their win in Portugal last week, MRT got off to a steady start today in Sweden, with 2 wins and 1 loss in glamorous conditions. Holding true to its reputation, the 15th edition of Match Cup Sweden brought in crowds of sailing enthusiasts who lined the rocks to lap up the sunshine and watch the action packed racing.

In a rematch of the Troia Portugal Match Cup finals, MRT faced off against BlackMatch Racing in the last match of the day. The two teams came out firing, with an intensive prestart which saw the Australian team come out on top with a penalty over BlackMatch Racing. Mirsky managed to pin the Kiwis out of the box, and in an attempt to get back to the line, Minoprio tacked right into MRT, earning himself a penalty.

“I was sure there was going to be fibreglass flying everywhere!” said Tudur Owen, “I had to brace myself, but these boats are so quick to turn, so we just managed to avoid them. From there we managed to maintain our lead to finish the day on a high note.”

Tomorrow’s racing kicks off early, with the teams starting at 9.

MRT is proudly supported by Line7, Harken and the Royal Perth Yacht Club.

RESULTS:
Group A
Torvar Mirsky, AUS, Mirsky Racing, 2-1
Sebastien Col, FRA, French Team/K-Challenge, 2-1
Adam Minoprio, NZL, ETNZ/BlackMatch, 1-1
Damien Iehl, FRA, French Team, 2-1
Bjorn Hansen, SWE, Team Onico, 1-1
Mattias Rahm, SWE, Stena Bulk Sailing Team, 0-1
Peter Gilmour, AUS, YANMAR Racing, 0-1

Group B
Mathieu Richard, FRA, French Team, 2-1
Ian Williams, GBR, Bahrain Team Pindar, 2-1
Philippe Presti, FRA, French Team, 2-0
Johnie Berntsson, SWE, Berntsson Sailing Team, 0-2
Peter Wibroe, DEN, Wibroe Racing Team, 0-1
Magnus Holmburg, SWE, Victory Challenge, 1-0
Francesco Bruni, Team Joe Fly Match Racing, 0-1

Mirsky Racing Team
World Match Racing Tour