Thursday, 6 August 2009

ISAF Womens World Match Racing - Final Day Images

Above and below: Nikki Souter and crew celebrate their victory at the ISAF Womens World Match Racing Championships. Image copyright Dan Ljungsvik/LWM.

Image copyright Dan Ljungsvik/LWM.

Nicole Souter (AUS) and crew on their way to victory in the Womens World Match Racing Championships in Sweden. Image copyright Dan Ljungsvik/LWM.

Marie Björling (SWE) finished second overall: an excellent achievement after her long break from match racing. Image copyright Dan Ljungsvik/LWM.

Above and below: Crowds line the shore to watch on finals day. Image copyright Dan Ljungsvik/LWM.

Image copyright Dan Ljungsvik/LWM.

Anna Kjellberg (SWE) beat Claire Leroy (FRA) for third place. Image copyright Dan Ljungsvik/LWM.

ISAF Womens World Match Racing Championships/Lysekil Womens Match

Star Worlds in Sweden: Images from Juerg Kaufmann/Go4Image

The Swiss Star boat (Flavio Marazzi and Enrico De Maria) against the light at the Worlds in Sweden. Image copyright Juerg Kaufmann/Go4Image

The Swiss lead into the top mark at the Worlds in Sweden. Image copyright Juerg Kaufmann/Go4Image

A mix of nationalities at the Star boat Worlds in Sweden. Image copyright Juerg Kaufmann/Go4Image

Danes sailing upwind at the Star Worlds in Sweden. Image copyright Juerg Kaufmann/Go4Image

Close racing between the Swiss and Brazilian teams in Sweden. Image copyright Juerg Kaufmann/Go4Image

Two German boats crossing tacks at the Worlds in Sweden. Image copyright Juerg Kaufmann/Go4Image

The Star boat fleet at the Worlds in Sweden. Image copyright Juerg Kaufmann/Go4Image

The Star boat fleet at the Worlds in Sweden. Image copyright Juerg Kaufmann/Go4Image

The Star boat fleet at the Worlds in Sweden. Image copyright Juerg Kaufmann/Go4Image


Sunday, 2 August 2009

Cowes Week Day One - Daily Round-Up

by Mary Scott-Jackson

2009 is set to be a classic year for the regatta, with strong support for the older classes that have formed the backbone of the event for many years and the 98-year-old XOD regaining its old position as the most numerous class, mustering 80 entries.

A weak but wide occluded front which moved over the Solent from 0900 onwards gave rain for competitors and spectators alike, while a shifty Force 3-4 forecast to veer erratically by 90 degrees over the day promised to be challenging for course setters and competitors.

All classes starting on the Royal Yacht Squadron line were sent to the west, with an ebb tide sweeping the fleets towards the course side of the start. The first start, for the Laser SB3 class at 1005, saw the wind in the mid Solent settling into a southerly at 11-13 knots, although in the lee of the island the breeze was more fitful.

A testing startTen minutes later, boats in the wind shadow off the Squadron were struggling to return to the correct side of the line in a fitful wind. Among them was last year's class winner, Stephen and Graham Bailey's Etchells Arbitrator. As the start time clicked closer Bailey moved further offshore in an effort to gain more wind, but remained OCS until a puff of stronger wind two minutes before the start propelled Arbitrator to the correct side of the line.

With less than a minute to go at least half the fleet was still heading east, away from the start. Judging the approach to the start in these conditions is always a tough call, but two boats - Robert Tyrwhitt-Drake's Desperate and Hugh Evans' / Roger Reynolds' Shamal - immediately drew clear ahead of the fleet, followed closely by Mark Downer's Moonlight. At the end of the 21-mile course Arbitrator had a 26 second lead on Moonlight, with Marco Cimarosti's Lady D taking third place, just 25 seconds later.

By the time the Daring class started at 1035, the first Laser SB3s could just be seen through the murk close to the north shore on a spinnaker reach, the fleet soon coming into full view as the sky brightened and the visibility rapidly improved.
Despite the west-going tide and light wind, White Group starts remained clean until the fourth start, when four J/80s - including Rob and Jon Fox's Jevan and Sam Atkins' Exwuss - were OCS. On hearing the second gun Jevan immediately found a gap in the fleet and executed a deft manoeuvre to return to the right side of the line.

The others, however, carried on, presumably unaware of their infringement. Atkins continued to pull away from the rest of the fleet, with Exwuss finishing more than three minutes clear of Henry Bomby's Team Baltic. Jevan skillfully picked her way back through the fleet to take second place, just six seconds ahead of John Cooper's Oi!!

The Hunter 707 class started closely bunched, but last year's class winner, Jon Powell and Sarah Norbury's Betty moved up to second at the first mark. They subsequently took the lead, gradually extending it to win by almost seven minutes over Andrew Hughes and Anthony Cooper's Sharky, with Paul and Bronwyn Curtis' Sparkle finishing third, just 19 seconds later.

A class for allThe XOD may be the oldest class in the regatta, but the boats have a strong appeal to sailors of all ages. 17-year-old Anna Bailey, for instance, is racing an XOD for the third year in succession. Interviewed before the start she said: "I love the class because It's really fun, competitive, one design, and is a relatively cheap class to get into which makes it very attractive class for young sailors."

At the other end of age the spectrum are twins Stuart and Adrian Jardine, who've been racing XODs for more than 65 years. Both competed in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico, with Ado winning a bronze medal in the 5.5 Metre class. Today it was Stuart's turn to be out of the blocks first, making a near-perfect start towards the leeward end of the line. A few minutes after the start his Lone Star started to slip back into the following pack, but he quickly found a spurt of speed to pull ahead of the pack, close on the heels of James Markby's Xpeditious, who was OCS at the start. In a tight finish Stuart took first gun, with brother Adrian's Lucrezia in fifth place, little more than two minutes after the winning gun.

The Queen's CupThe first Black Group start was for the 16 diverse yachts in IRC Class 1 who were competing in a 41-mile challenge for the Queen's Cup, one of the most prestigious prizes awarded during the week, having been first presented by Queen Victoria in 1897. Competitors racked up on the start line ranged from Natalie Jobling's state-of-the-art Class 40 Orca, through four Farr 45s and two TP52s to Italia, Richard Rankin's 65ft America's Cup challenger from 1967.

The highest-rated boat in the fleet, Charles Dunstone's TP52 Rio, led the class around the course, extending her lead throughout and finishing eight minutes clear of the other TP52, Johnny Vincent's Pace, which took second place both on the water and on corrected time. Dutch veteran offshore racer Piet Vroon's took third place in his new Ker 46 Tonnerre de Breskens.

"It was difficult conditions in which to set a good course, because the breeze was very much out the south," said Rio's strategist, Peter Morton. "With the Solent being quite narrow there was a lot of zig-zagging with 15 different marks to go round so it was quite challenging for the crew. On the penultimate leg we went from Lymington out to Needles and then had a fantastic run back to Cowes."

iShares Cup at Cowes WeekOlympians, world champions and America's Cup sailors spent the day in close combat aboard Extreme 40 catamarans on short, demanding courses a stone's throw from the shore at Egypt Point, just to the west of Cowes harbour. There was intense, spectacular action throughout the afternoon, with the boats crossing within inches of each other, regularly flying their weather hulls, to the delight of the crowds onshore.

Going into the event, only two points separated the four top teams at the start of the day. Today event favourites, Oman Sail Masirah, took all but one of the six races, the other going to Groupama 40 skipper Franck Cammas. Local skipper, double Olympic gold medalist Shirley Robertson, had her best day in the series to date, and is now second on the leaderboard.

Cowes Week

UK Round of the iShares Cup Could Not Get Any Closer!

by Emily Caroe

The UK round of the 2009 iShares Cup circuit kicks off tomorrow, with Day 1 of the iShares Cup at Cowes Week. Today’s practice races saw three different victors over 3 races with Jean-Christophe Mourniac (LUNA), Yann Guichard (Gitana Extreme – Groupe LCF Rothschild) and Nick Moloney (BT) winning the final practice race today. Tricky conditions in the light and shifty breeze, and some over-zealous starts, has not provided a clear form guide but a good shakedown for the Extreme 40 crews ahead of the serious business that starts tomorrow at 2.00pm.

After two rounds on the six-stage European circuit the iShares Cup leaderboard is still wide open, especially now current overall leaders BMW ORACLE Racing have been forced to miss the Cowes event due to commitments testing their new America’s Cup boat in San Diego, USA. Of the nine racing teams, this puts Oman Sail’s Masirah in pole position after their win at the second round in Hyères, France last month. However, Masirah are on equal points with Gitana Extreme-Groupe LCF Rothschild, winners of the season opener in Venice.

Pete Cumming, skipper of Masirah: “We’re in an ideal position, and obviously after Hyères we’re going into this event pretty confident but at every event different teams come back stronger and stronger so you’d be a fool to count anyone else out of the game. The only time we ever really look at the results is going into the final double points race because you can’t do anything about everyone else, so we’ll just keep our heads down and try and sail clean and not pick up any stupid penalties – which I think will be pretty tricky here!”

BMW ORACLE Racing are planning to rejoin the iShares Cup circuit at the next venue in Kiel, Germany, later this month – with up to 24 races at each venue, James Spithill and crew can still be in contention for the title at the halfway stage of the series.

Just behind Gitana Extreme, Oman Sail’s stable mate Renaissance, skippered by Loick Peyron, is one point behind in fourth overall, whilst the French multihull squad on Groupama 40 are just four points further adrift in fifth. Groupama 40 has a new skipper for the iShares Cup at Cowes Week, as Franck Cammas this week set off on a transatlantic record attempt on the giant multihull Groupama 3. He will be replaced by Olympic catamaran sailor and former 470 class world champion Gildas Philippe. Meanwhile, on Team iShares crew Winston McFarlane steps in for fellow Kiwi Jonathan Macbeth. McFarlane has sailed with Team New Zealand in several America's Cups. Extreme 40 class creator Mitch Booth is, once again, the helmsman for BT standing in for an injured Darren Bundock.

The iShares Cup racing will take place on a short shore-side course set just off Egypt Point, on Cowes Espalanade. The third venue will bring new challenges to the crews, including the Solent’s strong tides and rocky coastline to avoid, and some strong breezes. Tim Hancock, Race Director, confirmed: “Tomorrow the forecast wind is going to be southerly, about 12-15 knots. Saturday’s current forecast is south-westerly 10-12, Sunday it’s going lighter but the wind will swing around to the north-west, and Monday will be the windiest day, on a north-westerly currently forecast around 16 knots, although there’ll be gusts of more than that I’m sure.”

The iShares Cup sailors will be joined by some celebrity sportsmen and women… On Monday Arctic adventurer Ben Fogle will be sailing with fellow Champagne G.H.Mumm Cordon Rouge Club member Mike Golding on Ecover; record-breaking offshore sailor Dee Caffari will join Shirley Robertson on Team iShares on Sunday; while Iwan Thomas, Olympic and Commonwealth 400m medallist, will be sailing on Ecover on Friday.

Racing kicks off on Saturday, 1st August at 2pm, with a full afternoon of up to eight short, sharp races planned. The iShares Cup racing continues on Sunday, 2nd and Monday, 3rd August – all the racing can be viewed from the iShares Cup Race Village at Egypt Point, Cowes, with live commentary from Cowes Radio. The all-new Extreme Bar is open to the public all week and provides a perfect spectator spot to watch all the iShares Cup and Cowes Week action - open daily from 11am until 8pm (11pm on Monday, 3rd August and Friday, 7th August).

iShares Cup

Alinghi 5 celebrated on Lake Geneva during Swiss National Day

Alinghi's giant catamaran was a major element of Switzerland's 1 August National Day celebrations

by Daphne Morgan Barnicoat

Alinghi 5, the America's Cup Defender's giant catamaran, was the star of the show on Lake Geneva for the 1 August Swiss National Day celebrations which started in Lausanne where the multihull was on public display along with the America's Cup and culminated in Geneva at the head of a parade of over 1,000 boats.

Upwards of 10,000 people gathered in Lausanne to meet the team which was presented on stage along with 20 Alinghi Junior Crew selected from yacht clubs throughout Switzerland. “It is fantastic to see so many people today,” said team president Ernesto Bertarelli, talking to the public gathered for the celebrations. “It is extremely important for our team to share moments like this one with you all – it is not just about sharing the victories but also about sharing the new beginnings and this is one. I thank everyone for their support.”

After the festivities ashore, Alinghi 5 led over a 1,000 boats the length of the Lake, by way of Morges, Rolle, Nyon and Versoix, to its home yacht club: Société Nautique de Genève where the team was welcomed by Federal Counselor Micheline Calmy-Rey for a short ceremony. The counselor hoisted the Swiss flag on the catamaran to the National Anthem before making a brief speech that touched on the technological feat that the team has achieved and her pride in the spirit of the multi-national Swiss team.

“Today was a fantastic day,” said Bertarelli. “The last time I saw so many people follow a boat was at the Cowes Jubilee in 2001. Coming down from Lausanne on the day of the National Swiss Holiday with thousands of boats and thousands and thousands of people on the shore cheering; it was just fantastic. There were as many people following us here today as when we won the America's Cup in 2007 in Valencia.”

Next on the team agenda is to prepare Alinghi 5 for the flight over the Alps into Italy to continue the training programme out of the Mediterranean port of Genoa.

Alinghi 5 was launched on 8 July on Lake Geneva and started sailing on 20 July.

The venue of the 33rd America's Cup will be announced next week.

Boat type: Catamaran of carbon composite construction
Where built: Alinghi Villeneuve + Décision Corsier, Switzerland
Length waterline: 90ft
Hours to build: 100,000 man-hours
Square metres of carbon fibre used: 30,000m2


Tough break for BlackMatch in France

by David Swete

Miserable conditions today in Pornichet set the scene for a disappointing result that saw us bow out of the International de France 3 Nil, against Pierre Antoine Morvan. The former world number 8 sailed out of his skin today while we were just a little below par and he took a well deserved victory, to set up an all French semi final.

Our first race really reflected how things went for us today, we got an awesome start and held a nice lead at the first top mark, only to lose our advantage when the French team surfed down in nice pressure and managed to roll over us to take the lead which they held to the finish. From here it all went Pierre’s way and although we were definitely competitive, he didn’t make any mistakes, sailing smart to win his way through.

It is disappointing to not make it through to the semi finals, however we still have some work ahead of us tomorrow as we take on Australian Keith Swinton for 5th position. Keith won a tight match up against Philippe Presti 2 nil while we also defeated Peter Wibroe 2 nil to set up the match for 5th and 6th.

BlackMatch would like to once again thank their loyal sponsors Fedex Express and Ross Munro from Line 7 New Zealand, without their support none of this would be possible. We would also like to thank our yacht club the Royal New Zealand Yacht quadron and Emirates Team New Zealand for their support.

French Match Racing

Australia's Nicole Souter Takes Gold in Women’s Match Racing 2009

Sensational racing with two podium finishes for Sweden

by Josefine Ås

The last day of the ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship 2009 was full of surprises. The big sensation of the day was Australian Nicole Souter’s impressive dominance, beating the former World Champion Claire Leroy in the semi finals and taking three straight victories against Marie Björling of Sweden in the final. Swedish Anna Kjellberg beat Claire Leroy in the battle for third in two straight victories.

The ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship 2009 was concluded in perfect conditions today in Lysekil, off the west coast of Sweden. With clear blue skies and a nice breeze of 15 knots of wind, the many spectators witnessed outstanding racing with tough tacking duels and excellent boat handling in the intense matches between the world’s best skippers.

The young Australian Nicole Souter surprised the crowd when starting the day by winning three out of four semi final races against the hard beat Claire Leroy of France, and then beating veteran Marie Björling of Sweden in three straight wins in the final. Souter, ranked eighth on the ISAF women’s match racing world ranking list, sailed perfectly all day, sticking every manoeuvre and taking all the right tactical decisions. The 25-year old Australian has already competed in three previous World Championships but never finished on the podium. She has never competed in Lysekil before and did definitely not belong to the favourites of the regatta.

"Our expectations were quite low coming here. We have very little experience in this boat and we would be more than happy making it to the top six. When we then made it to the semi finals, meeting Claire Leroy, all the odds were against us. We were not nervous and sailed without pressure", said an elated Nicole Souter, World Champion 2009. Souter’s main goal after the World Championship is training towards the Olympics 2012 in a serious campaign together with her fellow competitor Katie Spithill.

Wild card and underdog, Marie Björling of Sweden, has had a two-year break and no one really expected her to make such a stable performance. But Björling has a long experience of match racing, with four previous silver medals and topping the world ranking lists for a long time.

"We are of course disappointed after loosing the final but we are still very happy with our performance. We started sailing again in May after a two-year brake. With that short training time and the fact that the competition was tougher than ever this year we are even prouder, said Marie Björling, who will shoot up the world ranking list after her impressive achievement (now ranked 43!)", said Bjorling.

One of the day’s many surprises was not seeing the former World Champion and number one Claire Leroy on the podium. Leroy had the best result in the first round robin but finished fourth after Anna Kjellberg of Sweden beat her in two straight victories in the fight for third.

The 50 000 Euro prize purse will be distributed tonight at the prize giving ceremony and a new ISAF women’s match racing world ranking list will be released later on in August.

Final Result ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship 2009 (with ISAF women's match racing world ranking number in brackets)

1. Nicole Souter (8) AUS
2. Marie Björling (43) SWE
3. Anna Kjellberg (10) SWE
4. Claire Leroy (1) FRA
5. Katie Spithill (2) AUS
6. Camille Ulrikkeholm (13) DEN
7. Sally Barkow (7) USA
8. Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen (5) DEN
9. Lucy Macgregor (3) GBR
10. Linda Rahm (4) SWE
11. Silke Hahlbrock (6) GER
12. Christelle Philippe (19) FRA

ISAF Womens World Match Racing Championships/Lysekil Womens Match

Groupama 3 - Supersonic!

by Vincent Borde

Groupama 3 was the first yacht to smash the barrier of 800 miles in 24 hours and less than 850 miles from the finish off Lizard Point, Franck Cammas and his crew are still within the reference time to beat her own Transatlantic record. However, her rival that set out just moments later is also in the process of achieving a fantastic time...

The duel is well and truly on in the Atlantic Ocean: Groupama 3 and Banque Populaire V set out from New York on Wednesday evening and are on target to devour the 2,925 miles to the UK in under four days, with an ETA for the middle of Sunday afternoon! Indeed the weather conditions have been particularly favourable since Newfoundland, to the extent that the two giant trimarans are displaying `supersonic' speeds, with an average speed of over 38 knots! In fact both boats have broken the symbolic barrier of 800 miles in 24 hours by a considerable margin, with Franck Cammas and his nine crew the first to crack the reference time at 2100 hours UT on Friday, gradually increasing the pressure to 857 miles this noon to an average speed of 35.7 knots (65 km/hr). In the meantime, Pascal Bidégorry and his crew benefited from the power of their larger machine to crush this same 800 mile barrier at around 2200 hours on Friday, and had racked up a distance of 907.9 miles at 1000 hours UT this Saturday!

"We didn't expect to reach these kinds of speeds! The weather conditions were exceptional in enabling us to achieve such averages... We were able to attack speeds we're not used to making, but we have a rival alongside us! We didn't imagine we'd gain 2.7 knots on our previous record... A step has been crossed. However, we must remain concentrated and wise all the way to the end of the Atlantic record attempt. The change of floats have been a positive one as they're a lot stiffer in the waves: the passage through the sea is better and Groupama 3 is using her full potential without any risks being taken. We're getting better and better and faster and faster at performing manoeuvres, which is positive for the Jules Verne Trophy..." indicated Franck Cammas when contacted by telephone at 0930 hours UT this morning.

A day from the goal!
Although this incredible distance covered in 24 hours is an exceptional performance, the primary aim for Franck Cammas and his crew remains the Transatlantic record, which has been held by Groupama 3 since July 2007 in 4d 03h 57' 54''. With less than 850 miles to go, they're certainly in with a shot as, at the steady average speed of the past few hours, the green trimaran has just one long day to reach the tip of England, which amounts to an ETA of around 1400 hours UT! Of course the same is true for Pascal Bidégorry and his men: whilst there is less than a third of the course to go, the two boats are approximately the same distance from the finish, though the blue multihull has the advantage after setting out from New York two and a half hours later.

Franck Cammas at the 0930 hour UT radio link-up with Shore HQ in Lorient: "We're still on starboard tack sailing 120° off the wind and we're powering along as the seas have become flatter. We've been moving a little faster than the low, which has been pushing us along since Newfoundland, and the wind is also easing off slightly. We hoisted more sail aloft at around midnight last night on a direct route towards the goal and we're just where we wanted to be in relation to the low."

The last three hundred miles may yet see the battle on the water restart as the breeze is set to ease progressively as it approaches the European continental shelf: a more or less Northern position to enter the English Channel is essential if they wish to conserve an optimal attacking angle in relation to the wind. This is especially true with the wind set to switch down a gear from thirty knots of SW'ly this lunchtime to around twenty knots of S'ly off Ireland on Sunday morning... However, the two crews haven't chosen the same trajectory for the finish: indeed Groupama 3 is around forty miles further South than her rival, which may have an impact on the deficit of around 70 miles that Franck Cammas and his nine crew had conceded at noon this Saturday...

"Groupama 3 is threading her way directly towards Lizard Point whilst Banque Populaire has selected a more N'ly option. This 50 mile separation may leave some way clear for opportunity. The wind is likely to ease off a little and back round to the South: we're trying to stay ahead of the low so it remains to be seen how it pans out..." concludes the skipper of Groupama 3.

Record for distance covered in 24 hours
Friday 31st July at 2100 hours UT (Groupama 3): 801.8 miles
Friday 31st July at 2200 hours UT (Groupama 3): 829.9 miles
Saturday 1st August at 02 hours UT (Banque Populaire V): 856.1 miles
Saturday 1st August at 1000 hours UT (Banque Populaire V): 907.9 miles

Cammas - Groupama

BlackMatch through to quarterfinals in France

by David Swete

On completion of our five remaining round robin races today, we found ourselves with a scorecard of 7 wins and 4 losses. Narrow defeats today against Mathieu Richard and Damien Iehl meant we finished tied on points in 4th position, however we lost out on ‘count back’ to yet another Frenchman Pierre Antoine Morvan, which sealed a top 4 total French domination.

The reward for the teams in the top four was a direct path to the quarterfinals, while all other teams were to race in a repechage series to decide the four remaining semi final berths. Our match up in the repechage was against Henrique Haddad and although the up and coming Brazilian put up a good fight, we won through 2 nil.

Our closest match of the day was against Australian rival Keith Swinton. Keith and his multi-national team held the early advantage in the race and it was not until we picked up a nice wind-shift nearing the top mark that we were able to snatch a narrow lead which we held to the finish.

Although we haven’t had it all our own way it was great to get through to the quarterfinals. With such a high level of competition anyone can win if they are on top of their game and a great example of this today was between the two Danish skippers Peter Wibroe and Mads Ebler. Ebler had shown great form throughout the event managing 7 wins while countryman Wibroe could only manage a single win at the completion of the round robin. However in a dramatic turnaround it was the bottom qualifier Wibroe who snatched a last gasp win in a dramatic deciding race to advance over a stunned Ebler.

We are yet to find out who our quarterfinal opponent will be tomorrow as the top four teams will have the choice of who they race, but we are looking forward to the challenge and are hoping to put a spanner in the works for the French teams.

BlackMatch would like to once again thank their loyal sponsors Fedex Express and Ross Munro from Line 7 New Zealand, without their support none of this would be possible. We would also like to thank our yacht club the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and Emirates Team New Zealand for their support.

French Match Racing

Groupama 3 - The 800 mile barrier surpassed!!!

by Vincent Borde

Propelled along by a disturbed system coming across from Canada and heading towards Great Britain, Groupama 3 has benefited from some ideal conditions to break the 24 hour distance record. Franck Cammas and his nine crew are the first to break the symbolic 800 mile limit by covering 841 miles at an average of over 35 knots!

The acceleration in time is incredible! In less than ten years, the gain in speed under sail over 24 hours has increased by over 250 miles, which is an average of over ten knots (17 km/h), a bonus of nearly 30%! Indeed Groupama 3 racked up 841 miles in 24 hours this Saturday morning and their pace is such that Franck Cammas and his nine crew are likely to improve on that still further over the next few hours... It is a record which has been a reference to sailors around the world for a long time: the first sailboats to break the 300 mile barrier in a day were the American clippers (1846), equipped to make the journey to San Francisco from New York or Boston in the quest for Canadian gold. With the construction of the maxi-multihulls for great oceanic racing, the 500 mile barrier was exceeded by the Canadian Mike Birch in 1984. Six years later it was the New Zealand sailor Grant Dalton who racked up over 600 miles, then in 2004 Bruno Peyron pushed the barrier beyond 700 miles...

From record to record
During her victorious campaign across the Atlantic in 2007, Groupama 3 bagged the Discovery Route record (Cadiz-San Salvador), then that between Miami and New York. Following on from this, during her Transatlantic attempt where she set the reference time which still holds today (4d 03h 57' 54'' between New York and Lizard Point, on 24th July 2007), Franck Cammas and his crew also snatched the record for the greatest distance covered in 24 hours, with an average of 794 miles at an average speed of 33.08 knots! Today this new distance of over 800 miles by Groupama 3 marks the exceptional potential of this trimaran designed for the Jules Verne Trophy circumnavigation of the globe and oceanic records. Furthermore, in light of the average speeds recorded over the past few hours, the number of miles covered in one day are set to climb still further...

However, the primary objective of the crew remains the Transatlantic record: this Saturday morning at 0100 UT, there were just 1,182 miles to devour and as the weather conditions are still highly favourable this weekend, it is increasingly likely that the four day barrier for traversing the ocean will tumble... At 0100 UT Groupama 3 had a 146 mile lead over the reference time, which amounts to around five hours! And in relation to the chasing trimaran, which set out from New York two and a half hours later, the separation remains stable at around ten miles...

The best distances covered in 24 hours
• 1854: Champion of the Sea (USA) monohull 67.50 metres = 467 miles
• 1984: Formule Tag (CAN), catamaran 24.40 metres (Mike Birch) = 512.5 miles
• 1987: Fleury Michon 8 (FRA), trimaran 22.80 metres (Philippe Poupon) = 517 miles
• 1990: Jet Services V (FRA), catamaran 22.80 metres (Serge Madec) = 522.73 miles
• 1994: Lyonnaise des Eaux (FRA), trimaran 22.50 metres (Olivier de Kersauson) = 524.63 miles
• 1994: Primagaz (FRA), trimaran 18.24 metres (Laurent Bourgnon) = 540 miles
• 1994: Explorer (FRA), catamaran 25.65 metres (Bruno Peyron) = 547.3 miles
• 1999: PlayStation (USA), catamaran 32.90 metres (Steve Fossett) = 580.23 miles
• 2000: Club Med (NZL), catamaran 33.50 metres (Grant Dalton) = 625.7 miles
• 2001: Club Med (NZL), catamaran 33.50 metres (Grant Dalton) = 655.2 miles
• 2001: PlayStation (USA), catamaran 37.90 metres (Steve Fossett) = 687.17 miles
• 2002: Maiden 2 (GBR), catamaran 33.50 metres (Cahalan-Darvelid-Thompson) = 694.78 miles
• 2004: Orange II (FRA), catamaran 36.60 metres (Bruno Peyron) = 706.2 miles
• 2006: Orange II (FRA), catamaran 36.60 metres (Bruno Peyron) = 766.8 miles
• 2007: Groupama 3 (FRA), trimaran 31.50 metres (Franck Cammas) = 794 miles
• 2009: Groupama 3 (FRA), trimaran 31.50 metres (Franck Cammas) = 841 miles (35.04 knots)

Cammas - Groupama

ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship 2009: Racing Cancelled Today Due to Strong Wind

Quarter finals cancelled, tomorrow the semi finals start directly

by Josefine Ås

In Lysekil the winds reached storm forces today, blowing more than 50 knots in the worst gusts. In the extreme conditions no racing was possible. As tomorrow Saturday is the last race day, the race committee decided to cancel the quarterfinals and start directly with the semi finals tomorrow morning, with the four best placed teams of the first round robin.

Reigning World Champion Claire Leroy of France topped the first round robin and will therefore meet fourth placed Australian Nicole Souter in the semi finals. Second and third placed Marie Björling and Anna Kjellberg, both local favourites, will have an internal Swedish battle for the second finalist place.
Local Swedes can already now look forward to seeing a Swedish contestant in the final of the ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship 2009!

The semi finals will start tomorrow Saturday 1 August at 9 am local time followed by the final. The race format is first score three points in both the semi finals and the final.

The wind forecast for tomorrow is 12 – 18 knots.

No sailing today. Result day 3 Thursday 30 July: ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship (with ISAF women's match racing world ranking number):
First Round Robin completed. Top four to semi finals

1. Claire Leroy (1) FRA 10-1 meets Nicole Souter in semi-finals
2. Marie Björling (43) SWE 9-2 meets Anna Kjellberg in semi-finals
3. Anna Kjellberg (10) SWE 8-3
4. Nicole Souter (8) AUS 6-5

5. Katie Spithill (2) AUS 6-5
6. Camille Ulrikkeholm (13) DEN 6-5
7. Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen (5) DEN 5-6
8. Sally Barkow (7) USA 5-6
9. Lucy Macgregor (3) GBR 5-6
10. Linda Rahm (4) SWE 4-7
11. Silke Hahlbrock (6) GER 2-9
12. Christelle Philippe (19) FRA 0-11

ISAF Womens World Match Racing Championships/Lysekil Womens Match

Statement from Tom Ehman, Spokesperson, Golden Gate Yacht Club

by Jane Eagleson

"We are very pleased that today’s Court decision gives us clarity regarding the design rules that will govern AC33. It is now crystal clear that racing rules 49 through 54 will not apply.

"However, without racing rules 49-54, SNG is breaking with the longstanding history and tradition in yacht racing that prohibited the use of non-manual power. For the first time in the Cup’s history, engines will be permitted to trim the sails, and computers can be used to control and steer the yachts. This, we believe, is a sad day for the America’s Cup.

"While we are pleased with the design-rule certainty, we are disappointed that the Court has said that SNG can change the other racing rules at any time up to the start of the Match. We do not believe this is what the Deed says, nor what the donors intended, and are currently reviewing our options in this regard.

"We are pleased that Justice Kornreich has ordered SNG to provide us the secret agreement SNG entered into with ISAF.

"We look forward to the hearing on August 10th to clear the air on the CHR matter. We
are confident we can demonstrate to the Court when it “would be practicable for [GGYC] to provide a CHR.”


Statement from Fred Meyer, Société Nautique de Genève Vice-Commodore

by Alinghi media

Statement from Fred Meyer, 33rd America's Cup defending yacht club, Société Nautique de Genève Vice-Commodore, following the New York Supreme Court decision published today: “We are very pleased with today's ruling by Justice Kornreich. This decision reflects her clear understanding of the Defender's rights under the Deed of Gift, which makes it the duty of Société Nautique de Genève (SNG) to set the rules for the upcoming 33rd America's Cup. The judge's order also validates the agreement entered into by SNG with the International Sailing Federation (ISAF), demonstrating that SNG is committed to returning the competition to the water where it belongs. We look forward to the 10 August hearing and to receiving the Golden Gate Yacht Club's Custom House Registry, which will enable Alinghi to properly prepare for its defence.”


Positive start for BlackMatch in France

by David Swete

After a 3 week break from the match racing scene, we were back in action today, competing in the International de France Grade 1 event. This event is held in the Brittany region in the town Pornichet and has a very impressive line up, which of course includes the four French teams that are ranked in the ISAF top 10.

We are glad to be back in the J-80 boats which we sailed to victory in Marseille earlier this year, however this feels like a long time ago and it was great to get off to a positive start today with 4 wins from our 6 races.

While our 4 wins today were pretty convincing, our losses came against Sebastian Col and World number 12 Mads Ebler from Denmark, in extremely close fashion. The wind was very shifty today which made it tactically very difficult and although we arguably had the better start against Col, he got the better of us up the first beat and never looked back to take a narrow win. Our closest race was against Ebler
who won the start after a wind shift when the start gun went meant we started at the un-favored ‘boat end’ of the line. The Danish sailor did a great job throughout the race and although we felt like we were always gaining on him, he defended very well to take a well deserved victory. We threw everything we had at him on the final run to the finish, ‘tossing’ the boats around in a fierce gybing duel, but they hung on well and won by a boat length.

BlackMatch would like to once again thank their loyal sponsors Fedex Express and Ross Munro from Line 7 New Zealand, without their support none of this would be possible. We would also like to thank our yacht club the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and Emirates Team New Zealand for their support.

French Match Racing

Groupama 3 - Onward to the Front!

by Vincent Borde

Franck Cammas and his nine crew are perfectly positioned on the transatlantic record route. At noon this Thursday after fourteen hours at sea, Groupama 3 was situated between Halifax (Nova Scotia) and Sable Island, maintaining an average speed since the start of over 32 knots. To reach Lizard Point in under 4 days 03 hours 57 minutes 54 seconds remains totally within their grasp...

Franck Cammas was in fine fettle this Thursday noon for the first radio link-up organised with the shore-based HQ in Lorient, at which point the green trimaran had already covered over 450 miles since setting out from New York on Wednesday at 20h 12' 16'' UT. "We're sailing downwind on flat seas with 20 to 25 knots of breeze. We've had to make a few sail changes since leaving the Ambrose Light, hoisting more sail aloft this morning as we set the gennaker. We're trying to go fast by heading up to accelerate. The crew is well aware of the score during such record attempts and the conditions aren't overly difficult: we've been able to rest whilst maintaining a high average speed. Our watch system is in place at the moment (0930 hours UT) Fred Le Peutrec, Lionel Lemonchois and Ronan Le Goff are on deck; Steve Ravussin, Bernard Stamm and Olivier Mainguy are on stand-by; myself, Loïc Le Mignon and Bruno Jeanjean are resting. As for Stan Honey, he is off-watch so he can take up position at the chart table and help us on deck during manoeuvres.

The trajectory as far as Lizard Point isn't as clear as all that: after Newfoundland we're going to have to choose between a route which sees us heading up a bit or bearing away a little, which has repercussions on the sail configuration. We're going to take that decision after Cap Race... The crux of the matter still centres on the end of the course as the front looks to want to drag its heels as we approach the goal."

Sylvain Mondon from Météo France, Groupama 3's onshore router, also explained the reasoning behind this start time, as Pascal Bidégorry and his crew opted to set out from the Ambrose Light two and a half hours later (Wednesday 29th July at 22h 47' 42'' UT): "Last night, a line of squalls passed over New York generating fairly strong S'ly winds (25-30 knots), which enabled us to set off a little earlier than planned. This decision is supported by the fact that within a few hours of the departure time, the course time was the same: taking the start a little earlier enables us to have a little room for manoeuvre in relation to the depression system which will accompany the trimaran after Newfoundland. A cold front has formed over Canada and will traverse the Atlantic as far as the British mainland: Groupama 3 will catch up with it as she approaches the Labrador current and keep slightly away from the front. As such it will be easier to control the trajectory by staying a little closer to the great circle route (direct route). It's a very good weather window as it prevents us from extending the course whilst remaining on the same tack."

Newfoundland, the nerve centre
As such Groupama 3's trajectory promises to be very rectilinear as far as Lizard Point and the passage permitting a more or less direct route towards the goal is less than 20 hours ahead of the giant trimaran. It is worth recalling that the warm current associated with the Gulf Stream is helping the multihull's progress, but as they approach the Grand Banks the temperatures will drop right off as they come face to face with the cold Labrador current, which runs along the East coast of Newfoundland. Fog, damp, shipping, fishermen... there are any number of obstacles dotted about this stretch of the course, but from noon on Friday, the path across the Atlantic will be clear with relatively calm seas because as the multihull catches up with the Canadian low, this system will push the Azores High southwards, leaving a soothed ocean in its wake.

Last night, Franck Cammas and his nine crew initially had to deal with sandbanks scattered around the start of the course off Nantucket. Compelled to sail twenty or so miles to the South of the direct route, Groupama 3 was able to slip along this Thursday morning and improve her attacking angle in relation to the wind (25 knots of SW'ly, sailing 130° off the true wind). As such, she has repositioned herself this noon onto the shortest route by stealing a lead over a cold front associated with a low coming across from Canada. The aim is to stay ahead of the front so as to hook onto the same stable SW'ly wind all the way to the area surrounding the English coast. In order to achieve this the average speed will have to be very consistent throughout the course and sailed on a single tack (contrary to the record set on 24th July 2007 by Groupama 3). Their improvement on the reference time of 4d 03h 57' 54'', should therefore be appreciable by Friday evening, as the green trimaran had to put in three gybes a long way South of the direct route two years ago...

The `hunter' Pascal Bidégorry, who set out from New York a little over two and a half hours after Groupama, was maintaining the same pace as Franck Cammas: it remains to be seen if the separation at the start will cause their trajectories to diverge off Newfoundland tonight!

Cammas - Groupama