Monday, 10 August 2009

EUROSAF European Match Racing Championships: Light winds force a late start in Middlefart


Racing in the EUROSAF European Match Racing Championships, Denmark. Image copyright Mick Anderson.

by Jess Anderson

Patience is a virtue, as any sailor knows, and as the 160 competitors were reminded as they tried to start the EUROSAF European Match Racing Championship 2009 in Denmark today.

It was hot and sunny in Middelfart, but wind was in very short supply and the race officers for the two courses had to postpone racing for nearly six hours before a Force 1-2 arrived. Fortunately the DS37 Match Racers, being used by the 16 men’s teams, and the “match 28” keelboats being used by the 16 women’s teams don’t require much wind to get them moving.

If you were going to sail aggressively in the pre-start, you had to do so without losing too much of your own momentum, as accelerating these boats from a standing start takes time, particularly when there is barely enough wind to race.


Slow going in Denmark. Image copyright Mick Anderson.

When the teams weren’t racing, they could relax by the shore, just a few metres from the start line of the men’s course. So there was plenty to see and to learn from even when the sailors weren’t racing. Having only recently returned to match racing after a two-year break, Maxim Toranov and his Russian team were watching the other races with interest. As part-time sailors doing it for fun, they were taking notes, trying to soak up as much knowledge and experience from the other teams, not least Philippe Presti’s French crew, the World No.8th ranked team who beat them in their match.

“We are learning as quickly as possible,” said Toranov. “This is only our third regatta this year, but we have been preparing for this regatta for two months.” While the Russians were using this as a learning exercise, both when racing and spectating, the French were to be found playing a tournament of table football right next to the water’s edge. It didn’t seem to do Presti’s team any harm, playing football rather than watching sailing. However there were some bruised egos from the football, with Presti’s young pitman Clement Salzes admitting : “The older guys are better at table football than the younger ones.”

Karlo Hmeljek sails on Jure Orel’s Slovenian team, who won both of their races today. Like the French, Hmeljek prefers to tune out between heats. “It’s not easy to have a late race when you’ve not been racing for a few hours. For me it’s best to try not to think too much about other matches, until it’s time to go and you switch into race mode. It’s a shame about the wind today, but that’s not the organisation’s fault. That’s sailing. Everything else is working perfectly, the boats are in good condition, the race committee is doing a good job, and the hospitality from the Danish is excellent.” Yesterday evening Hmeljek went for a run in the woods that surround the castle, Hindsgavl Slot, where most of the competitors and organisers are staying. “I got lost in the woods, but it was a nice way to get lost, and in the end I found the way back, so no problem.”

The beautiful, woodland surroundings are slightly more familiar to Susanne Ward, one of the Danish skippers competing here. “I’m not from around here, but it’s still nice to be this close to home,” said the four-time Olympian. “We’ve been here before, we know the boats, it’s good fun.” Whether she is thinking of going to the Olympic Games a fifth time she would not say though. “We’re just focusing on this regatta, not the Games. A gold here in Middelfart would be great. I think anyone can win it in these conditions. We had two good races, and won both of them. Our chances are as good as anyone else’s.”

Rita Goncalves and her Portuguese crew have never been to the Olympics. They all have full-time jobs in Lisbon, but they still take their racing seriously. Today they won both of their heats, but the full-time civil engineer is beginning to notice the rise in standard in women’s match racing since the announcement last November that it was to be the new Olympic sailing discipline. “It is getting more difficult, and we changed crew this year, so this is our first year sailing together as a team. But we are getting better and we had a good day today.”

EUROSAF European Match Racing Championships

Star Worlds 2009: A Pressure Cooker for Sailors and Committee Alike

by Lynn Fitzpatrick

H.P. Hylander was under more pressure today than each of the six teams that have a shot at winning the 2009 Star World Championship. There were zephyrs on the water in the morning when the Star fleet left the harbor and they danced around for hours.

Hylander, the PRO and Regatta Chairman, stood on the Race Committee boat with a Bluetooth phone in his ear, a radio in his hand, binoculars and a hockey puck draped around his neck. He had lots of helpers aboard the RC boat and wind scouts two miles to the south and to the west; the logical directions from which the wind would fill.

Sailors began to shed their neoprene as they baked in the hot Swedish sun.

Occasionally, Hylander's dialogue with his local weather scouts was broken up by calls to meteorologists.

Powerboats cut their engines and drifted.

Sailors took turns snoozing. No cloud formations took shape on any horizon.

When there was wind enough in the starting areas for the Stars to move, Hylander would hail the weather mark boat. Nothing.

Sailors started to hedge their bets and drift toward the Varberg shoreline.

Nothing.

One by one sails were taken down and rolled on decks.

Nothing.

Finally at 1600 the sailors were sent home for the day.

Said Exalted Grand Master, Pelle Petterson, when the racing was cancelled for the day, "This is wonderful. I get to sail a Star for another day."

A prize giving dinner is scheduled for 18:30 this evening and the final race of the 2009 Star World Championship will be sailed on Saturday or Sunday, whenever Hylander is satisfied that the 86-boat fleet can sail a fair race.

Results after 5 races and one discard in the six race regatta. Five races constitute a series. The race scheduled for Friday, August 7, 2009 was not sailed due to lack of wind. The race is scheduled to be sailed on Saturday or Sunday, the reserve days for the regatta.

1. Pepper/ Monk (NZL) - (11) , 9, 1, 11, 5 - 26
2. Szabo/Peters (USA) - (54) 1, 3, 20, 3 - 27
3. Marazzi/De Maria (SUI) - 3, 3, (35), 1, 20 - 27
4. Loof/ Tillander (SWE) - 2, 5, 15, (23) 7 - 29
5. Campbell/ Liljedahl (USA) - (14) 14, 4, 8, 8 - 34
6. Polgar/Kroeger (GER) - (31), 22, 7, 4, 2 - 35
7. Kusznierewicz/Zycki (POL) - 1, 12, (50), 18, 6 - 37
8. Mendelblatt/Strube (USA) - 8, 4, 2, 26, (35) - 40
9. Schlonski/Kleen (GER) - 9, 17, 11, 5, (32) - 42
10. Grael/Seifert (BRA) - (30), 6, 14, 14, 12 - 46

Star Worlds

Cowes Week: Light Airs on Day Six, Thursday



by Mary Scott-Jackson

Day six of Cowes Week saw mixed conditions that provided challenging racing across the 37 classes, despite an unpromising weather forecast.

"It's going to be another tricky day," said regatta CEO Stuart Quarrie as competitors were getting ready to go afloat.

The front that killed the wind on Wednesday afternoon was forecast to remain almost stationary over the race area, with sporadic shower activity moving erratically north-eastwards along the line of the front. Overnight this brought spectacular thunderstorms, with torrential rain in the early hours of the morning, which cleared before dawn to reveal a fresher day with a north-north-westerly wind of 7-9 knots, enabling starts to get away on schedule.

However, the forecast for the rest of the day was less promising. If the skies cleared up then there was a chance of some sea breeze activity in the afternoon, but this would be preceded by a calm period. On the other hand if the front produced more showers, these were again likely to kill the wind.

By 09:00 the weather radar was already showing a band of scattered showers to the south-west of the race area and an hour later these had merged and strengthened into a number of heavy downpours. But the light north-westerly was still holding firm in the central Solent.

As the start in sequence got underway the wind speed stayed up, but clicked further round towards the north, at 350 degrees. In the Daring class, Giles Peckham and Milo Carver's Dauntless has an almost unassailable lead, but Anthony Balme's Dynamite and Messrs Bilbo, Marwood and Miller's Audax have been enjoying a close battle for second place and were both on 23 points.

Starting going east, with the last of the flood tide pushing the fleet over the line, the class played safe, with even the front-runners comfortably behind the line. Kim Orchard's Dancer was closest to the line at the gun, but was unable to accelerate fast enough to match the speed of the boats coming in from behind. Division Belle led away from the line, pulling two lengths ahead of Dauntless, with Audax close behind in third. But the first leg saw plenty of place changing, and Audax was soon taken by Mike Fox's Diamond to leeward and James Tew's Darius to windward.

A number of Darings tried kites although some of these clearly figured it was a bad idea and dropped them almost immediately, although three boats held on to them as the fleet headed east towards their first mark, Sunsail Events. At the finish, Division Belle took her first win of the week, ahead of Dauntless and David Gower's Dolphin.


Victory class: Zest (Z76, Kim Taylor), Zelia (Z54, Geoff Dixon) and Simba (Z29, Duncan Evans)

Starting in the sun
By 1045 there were already showers at the Needles and the wind had backed to the north-north-east in the western-most part of the Solent. In the central Solent its strength was only marginally down, at 6-8 knots, with the direction remaining consistent, and the temperature rising as the sun broke through the clouds.
Although the Darings had struggled with their conventional spinnakers, it was a different story when the 1720s started 10 minutes later. Michael Wilson's Yknot was best-placed for the start, hoisting her huge masthead asymmetric moments before the gun. Wilson's boat flew away from the pack to take an early lead of nearly 10 boat lengths.

The two boats carrying Inflexion branding were next away from the line, with both boats hoisting as quickly as possible. The class leader after five races, Neil Angel's All Talk was lying seventh two minutes into the race, but played the puffs skilfully to pass James Flynn's Crescendo with an impressive speed advantage. It was also a bad start to the day for young skipper Richard Clay and his team on Finn M'Coul, who were well back from the front. This order was not, however, reflected at the end of the three-hour race, when the familiar trio of All Talk, Yknot and Finn M'Coul took the top three places.

By 11:30 the wind had dropped further and veered to 310 degrees. At the same time, the tide had started to run to the west so when the Sonars started, the fleet struggled to fill their spinnakers and were slow to clear the line.

The front of the Sunbeam fleet has seen one of the regatta's most intense battles develop as the week has progressed. After five races Roger Wicken's Danny and Tim Hill's Query were tied on points at the front of the class. Today most of the fleet was racing to the line well before the start, with the tide sweeping west and a relentless hole in the breeze there was barely enough wind to make ground against it.
Graham Colbourne and Bill Dickson's Honey started nearest the line, with their kite just filling with wind at the gun. Danny was next, but Query was lying further back in the pack - a mistake that may cost dearly in the overall results.

As the fleet made its way to the east, Honey split away from the other Sunbeams heading closer inshore and looking to be making good progress. But it was Jonathan Money's Penny that took her first win of the week, while Wickens took second to consolidate his overall lead.


Seaview Mermaids Sirena and Miranda. Supplied image.

Tide beats wind
The Swallow fleet had struggled valiantly to clear the line after their start - the back markers were only a few lengths clear five minutes after the start - Principal Race Officer of the White Group, Ian Lallow decided to postpone the Redwing start. These Charles Nicholson design keelboats are only allowed 200 square fleet of sail, so don't carry spinnakers.

Initially Lallow had intended to re-set the line, with classes starting to the west. But within 10 minutes of the AP breaking out, the wind had freshened by a couple of knots and by 12:20 it was back up to 7-8 knots from 325 degrees.

The breeze reduced for Squib's start, 20 minutes after the Redwings, which prompted a postponement for the Seaview Mermaids and subsequent classes, as Squibs hadn't cleared the line.

When the 80 boats in the XOD class started at 13:25, different elements of the fleet could be seen moving in different directions - those with a clear wind were moving ahead steadily, but others were being swept backwards by the tide, and it took more than seven minutes for the bulk of the fleet to clear the line.

Wind fights back
By 14:30 the front had become very active, but fortuitously at this time was centred just to the west of Cowes, with the town and central Solent remaining dry and wind keeping up, with occasional stronger gusts reaching up to 15 knots.

IRC Class 1 got away from the Black Group committee vessel in Thorness Bay on schedule at 11:00 in a light north-easterly wind, but subsequent starts were postponed for over an hour. "Just before our start it went very light, and swung 90 degrees into the north-west," explained Peter Scholfield of SeaTrack in IRC Class 3. Once it did fill in, there was a good sailing wind of 10-12 knots from the north-west, but it was very shifty."


IRC Class 2 and Daring. Supplied image.

In contrast, Black Group starts got away off the RYS line on schedule. In IRC Class 2 on the RYS line, Stewart Hawthorn's new Santa Cruz 37 was closest to the line at the start, and one of few boats to be hoisting a kite at this stage. Unfortunately her asymmetric went up with a giant twist, allowing Andy Middleton's First 47.7 Caspian Services to get away first.

John and Jill Patterson's J/122 Panacea was first of the front runners to hoist and accelerated quickly, but Michael Bartholomew's King 40 Tokoloshe was able to pull ahead into a clear lead. These two led the fleet past East Cowes on the way to West Ryde Middle at the start of a short 13.6-mile course in the East Solent.

A few minutes after the start, the only front-runner under white sails was Richard Loftus' big Swan 65 ketch Desperado, with the 32-tonne yacht maintaining a very respectable turn of speed in the light conditions.

At the finish Bernard Gouy's Ker 39 Inis Mor, was first across the line in a time just inside two hours five minutes, three seconds before the Swallow and Flying 15 fleets started on the same line. Tokoloshe was next to finish 50 seconds later, to win on corrected time by 27 seconds ahead of Gouy, with Panacea third on handicap, a further minute behind.

Cowes Week

All on for Final Race at Star Worlds

by Jodie Bakewell-White

Hamish Pepper and Craig Monk have retained their top spot at the 2009 Star World Championships in Sweden. But extremely close points at the top of the table and the nature of this event, means that it all comes down to tonight’s final deciding race.

The kiwis returned a 4th place in last night’s race which was just enough to keep them at the top of the table on a total of 26 points. Both Szabo and Peters (USA) as well as Marazzi and DeMaria (SUI) are on equal points just one point adrift of Pepper and Monk on 27 points. Loof and Tillander (SWE) sit a further two points back on 29 points in 4th.

“Pepper and Monk go into the final race with the most consistent scores and the lowest discard (11 points) and are assured of a finish of seventh or better overall,” states the official regatta report.

The entire 86 boat fleet will sail tonight’s sixth and final race of the series, with another day of light wind and sunshine forecast in Varberg, Sweden.

The Star is the Olympic keelboat discipline and the list of Olympic and World Champions in the Star class features some of the biggest names in the history yachting.

See below for a profile of the New Zealand pair. Visit the regatta website for full results, images and news.

2009 Star World Championships
Top Ten Standings after five races

1st Pepper/ Monk (NZL) – 26 points
2nd Szabo/Peters (USA) – 27 points
3rd Marazzi/De Maria (SUI) – 27 points
4th Loof/ Tillander (SWE) – 29 points
5th Campbell/ Liljedahl (USA) – 34 points
6th Polgar/Kroeger (GER) – 35 points
7th Kusznierewicz/Zycki (POL) – 37 points
8th Mendelblatt/Strube (USA) – 40 points
9th Schlonski/Kleen (GER) - 42 points
10th Grael/Seifert (BRA) – 46 points

More on Pepper and Monk

from Lynn Fitzpatrick of World Regattas

Hamish Pepper and Craig Monk (NZL) should need no introduction. They are the quintessential representatives of top Star crews of the past and the present. The skipper and crew both have substantial dinghy, big boat and America's Cup experience. Still active with the America's Cup, they can use their Star program to stay fit, keep their fleet management skills sharp and experiment with equipment and techniques.

Pepper had a formidable Laser career and represented New Zealand in the Olympics in the Laser in 1996 and 2004. He started his Star career in 2006 and won the Star World Championship in San Francisco, CA that year with Carl Williams. Williams also crewed for Pepper in the Star in the 2008 Olympics in Qingdao.

Pepper has been best mates with Dean Barker, Team Emirates New Zealand's America's Cup skipper, since they were 10 and 11 years old. Both Kiwis were young and rising stars with the Team New Zealand America's Cup squad. Barker eventually took the helm of Emirates Team New Zealand and Pepper was involved with Malcazone Latino for a little while and has been a strategist for BMW Oracle Racing for some time.

Monk has a Finn career that is lengthier than most of the Star sailors that are sailing at an elite level. Monk won an Olympic Bronze Medal in the Finn in 1992 and went on to beat Barker in the 1996 Finn Trials. Following the Olympics, Monk returned to his position as a grinder with Team New Zealand. During his 13 years as an America's Cup grinder, the 9-time winner of the New Zealand Finn nationals has worked for Team New Zealand, One World and BMW Oracle Racing.

As BMW Oracle Racing focuses on its multihull challenge for the America's Cup, Pepper is on retainer and Monk has taken a two-year sabbatical from AC racing to mend his body. He underwent surgery on his shoulder and his knees this winter and was recuperating when Pepper called him out of the blue with a proposal.

The two sailed their first Star regatta together at this year's Delta Lloyd Regatta in Medemblik and as Monk puts it, "I've been flying to Europe as if I were taking a taxi."

Monk was a little disappointed with the Swedish weather earlier this week. The heavy winds, rain and lack of sunshine were "not what I signed up for," joked Monk. The sunshine of the past two days has cast a new smile on Monk's face. "This is a lot better. I'm beginning to like winter in New Zealand and summer in Europe," said Monk after hopping off the boat in first place overall with one more race remaining in the 2009 Star World Championship. The two are up for the challenge of the final race. Another day of light wind and sunshine is forecast.

Yachting New Zealand

Measurement Procedures for the 33rd America's Cup published

The Société Nautique de Genève issued the Measurement Procedures for the 33rd America's Cup, 6th August 2009



by Alinghi media

Following the suggestion of New York Supreme Court's Justice Kornreich, the America's Cup defending yacht club, Société Nautique de Genève (SNG), has published the measurement procedures for the 33rd America's Cup Match scheduled to start on 8 February 2010 in Ras al-Khaimah, United Arab Emirates.

The document published by the SNG includes simple and straight forward measurement procedures that have been issued in order to provide certainty for both teams in their preparations for the 33rd America's Cup.

“The purpose of measurement is to check the waterline length of both boats and to confirm that the GGYC challenging vessel conforms to the dimensions supplied with their notice of challenge,” said Fred Meyer, Vice-Commodore of the SNG.

Alinghi

Audi MedCup: The Audi MedCup Circuit through the eyes of the sponsor


Lothar Korn is the Head of Marketing Communications, AUDI AG. He is the direct contact for the German brand in sponsorship, and therefore, with the Audi MedCup Circuit. Image copyright Stefano Gattini_Studio Borlenghi/Audi MedCup.

by Sabina Mollart-Rogerson

Some might say that being a car manufacturer and sponsoring sailing doesn’t make a lot of sense, but Korn knows the huge potential of this relationship between Audi and the world’s leading regatta Circuit.
Audi MedCup- How did the relationship between Audi and the MedCup Circuit start?
Lothar Korn- “The relationship between Audi and the MedCup started for us with a ‘training’ year when it was still the Breitling MedCup, when Audi supported as co-sponsor. Then we stepped in as the main sponsor, and made from the MedCup the Audi MedCup, which is now celebrating its second year.”

AM- What does sailing add to the image of Audi?
LK- “Sailing has a lot in parallel with the image of Audi. It can strengthen some aspects of our brand: if you look at the dynamism, at the elegance and the design of the boats, if you look at the technology... Audi is ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ –‘Lead through Technology’-, and technology is also very important for the MedCup too, it is a high-tech sports environment. Light weight plays an important role for the boats, they make good use of carbon, and so light weight is also one of Audi’s main strengths, so there are a lot of parallel elements.”

AM- Are you a sailor yourself?
LK- “I'm not a sailor, but I used to be a windsurfer, so I know a lot about the wind, the power of wind, the dynamism, about tactics a little bit, and I am very keen on sailing too.”

AM- Which aspects of sailing attract you the most, apart from speed?

LK- “Well, it's the elegance and technology, in parallel with the design and technology approach of Audi, and of course it is the competition itself. We are a sporty brand and therefore we like sports where you have the competitive aspect as well.”

AM- As a sponsor, do you take part in the process of choosing the venues?

LK- “We take part in the process of choosing the venues, and we would love to be more involved in that, because the venues are really important; how the MedCup is executed at the venue, where it takes place, and also how people are being involved and participating, since it is not just about the sailors but also the spectators are particpants engaged with the event. And for us it is also important, of course, the kind of dealer we have, where the events are held; a large city, where there are more people, is of more interest that a remote area. Therefore, the involvement is there, but we would love to have an even stronger one.”

AM- Some sailors miss a venue in the North of Europe?...

LK- “In the Atlantic ocean? Well I have never actually thought about the ocean, I think about venues. But yes, of course, any coast where we have markets with a strong sailing community are interesting for the Audi MedCup, and if we would have an event, for instance, in Kiel, Germany, around the Kieler Woche, or in the UK which is our second biggest market in Europe, that would be great.”

AM- Which improvements have you noticed in this two years?

LK- “I think the Audi MedCup Village is a very good addition to the event itself, also the Virtual Eye, it's very important that we transmit the action back directly to the land. One of the disadvantages of sailing is that the sport is off-shore and, in the end, it's only possible for a small crowd to be out there with a catamaran or with some other support boats, so it is very important to relay the action directly, and the Virtual Eye is something which helps a lot.”

AM- What are your expectations for next year?

LK- “I would really like to see the events grow, , to see more spectators; whenever we have a big crowd on land, if people are interested in that, it also becomes more interesting for the media. And also for us as a title sponsor it is important that the media be interested in the sport, because otherwise the return in our investment would not be as good as it should be.”

AM- Which differences do you find between sailing competitors and the ones of other sports you sponsor, like motor sport?

LK- “Motor sport is a different thing; we are not sponsoring motor sport because we are a car manufacturer, and we actually compete in motor sport, so that is part of our core business. If you are a sports brand you have to be active in motor sport, so we basically have three areas where we practice this: Le Mans, the long distance race - the toughest race in motor sport -, where we use TDI technology, which everybody can buy in our usual Audi models; we do have the DTM - the German Touring Masters -, where we have the A4 running; and finally we have our customers sports car, the R8 LMS, which participates in several races as well.”

AM- Do you see any differences between sailors and racers in this case, any particularity about sailors?

LK- “First of all, sailors go on the water, the drivers go on asphalt which is a major difference (laughs). In terms of sports and dynamism and tactics, the technology in the car and in boats can be similar. Last year I learnt that, on one of the Audi MedCup Circuit boats, the telemetry computer is the same as the one of Formula 1, so in terms of technology, there are lots of similarities.”

Audi MedCup

BlackMatch on top of the World


Adam Minoprio protesting during a match race. Supplied image.

by David Swete

After 18 months of our World Match Racing campaign, BlackMatch skipper Adam Minoprio has jumped up two places in the lastest ISAF ranking release, to hit the world #1 spot for the first time. A very successful year last year and mixed results so far this year which include winning the opening World Tour event, have seen us elevated
into the top spot. Following in the footsteps of other famous Kiwis Dean Barker, Russell Coutts and Chris Dickson who have all held the top spot in their careers, at the age of 24 Adam and the team are ecstatic to have reached one of our long term goals in such a short time.

Now with a month off from match racing Adam will be doing tactics on the IRC 52 Racer Scarlett Runner for the Airlie Beach and Hamilton Island Race Weeks downunder, while Dave will compete in the Fastnet race on the TP52 Lucky, from the USA.

Having reached number one in the World Rankings, we are now looking forward to the upcoming World Tour Events in Switzerland and Denmark, where we are hoping to regain some form and hopefully the World Tour lead, as we are currently lying in second.


Team Fedex in their new Line 7 gear. Supplied image.

BlackMatch would like to thank their sponsors FedEx Express and Line 7 New Zealand. It is these two companies that have stuck by us and given us the support we needed to make all of this happen. We would also like to thank the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadran and Emirates Teams New Zealand for their fantastic support throughout the years.

BlackMatch Racing

Cowes Week: Light Winds and Challenging Conditions on Day Five



by Mary Scott-Jackson

In contrast to yesterday's excitement this was a day of light winds and challenging conditions for competitors and race officers alike.

The day started with a gentle southerly breeze, but a slow-moving and weak cold front just to the west of the Solent, threatened to reduce the wind to nearly zero in its wake. The nine Open 60s competing in the Artemis Challenge got away at 10:00 as scheduled, but the initial plan for a round the island race was changed to a round-the-cans course outside the forts. At the suggestion of Sam Davies the skippers agreed to take their times at each mark, to enable the course to be shortened easily if necessary.

When the front-runners hit a hole off Portsmouth at around 15:30 this looked like a smart move and the race office confirmed that the results would be based on the timings at Bembridge Ledge which meant that BT, who was leading at the time, was deemed the overall winner, and Pindar was second. Simon Clay on Artemis The Profit Hunter with celebrity guest Bryan Adams, were third. Stable mates - Artemis Ocean Racing, with Sam Davies and special guest Zara Phillips, finished fourth.


It's anchors down for the Sunsail fleet. Supplied image.

Waiting for the wind
Subsequent starts on all lines were postponed as the wind dropped to a zephyr and started to clock round to the west. Speaking during the postponement, Ed Peel, who was leading in the Redwing class, said: "This year the racing and the courses have been awesome. I'm really looking forward to getting out there again today - it looks like we can start going west on a beat, although I'm fully expecting to need the kedge when we get to the top mark."

The race officers took the first opportunity to get the starting sequence under way, with Laser SB3s starting on the Royal Yacht Squadron line at 11:25. The spring ebb tide was already flowing strongly, pushing fleets over as they headed west towards the more reliable winds in the west Solent. After a general recall, the class restarted cleanly 20 minutes later, with the entire fleet a comfortable distance behind the line in a westerly wind that had built rapidly to 8-12 knots. At 12:45 it had increased further to a consistent west-south-westerly of 14-16 knots, giving ideal sailing conditions and the prospect of another great day's racing.

However, by the time of the Flying 15 start at 13:35 the wind was down to 8-10 knots. With the tide building, competitors were finding it harder to stay on the correct side of the line, and with 20 seconds to go six boats were still pointing away from the course.

First away was Nick Clarke's Black, followed by Ffreefire 20, who was just to windward of Rupert Mander's Men Behaving Badly. However, Mander, who has a legendary winning record in this class at Cowes, took the lead when Clarke had to duck the stern of a Swallow after tacking onto port. Mander retained a narrow lead in a super-tight finish that saw the first five boats - Men Behaving Badly, Ffuraha, Black and Fflux - finishing in little more than 80 seconds.


Beneteau First 40.7 Lancelot (GBR9481R, Sam Archer) and IRC Class 4 Mongoose (GBR847R, Patrick Snowball). Supplied image.

His worst nightmare?
Just after the Flying 15s were away, the front moved over Cowes, bringing with it one of regatta CEO Stuart Quarrie's worst nightmares - rain and next to no wind. The next start, for the Victory class, saw so many boats swept over the line by the tide that a general recall was needed. But it took so long for competitors to return against the tide, the start had to be abandoned, together with the final start of the day, for the XOD class.

With little prospect of a reliable wind later in the day, race officers made preparations to shorten numerous courses. Contessa 32s, Quarter Tonners, Sonatas, and Multihulls were finished at Berthon. Ray Rouse's Contessa 32 Blanco was first to finish at 13:57, just 63 seconds ahead of Simon and Kay Porter's Equator. A local Cowes boat, Eldred Himsworth's Drumbeat took third place two and a half minutes later.


Contessa 32, Corafin, and Flashlight, competing in IRC Class 6. Supplied image.

Ten White Group Classes - RS Elite, Artemis 20, Sonar, Redwing, Sunbeam, Flying 15, Swallow, Squib, H707, Mermaid - were finished at Quinnell, less than three miles into their planned 12.7 mile course.

The RS Elite fleet saw a tight pack of six boats at the outer end of the line starting abreast. It was Mike Tong's Ciao Bella and Mike Dawe's Duel that pulled ahead of the pack at the start of the fleet. Following the lead of two successful Dragons in the previous start, Paul Jenkins' Activ Freebie tried a port tack start but crossed well astern of the leaders.

The RS Elite fleet had a close finish, with more than half the fleet finishing within two and a half minutes. Ciao Bella took her first bullet of the week, 17 seconds ahead of Paul Woodman and Ray Mitchell's Fuzzy Duck Vll. Jono Brown's Aeolus was third. After five races, the front of this fleet is wide open, with just one point separating the first four places.

In the Redwing class Hugo Cuddigan's Capella ll was first away at the start, leading a close pack including Nick Wakefield's Bizarre, while Ed Peel, who notched up three wins in his first four races this week was in sixth place a couple of minutes into the race.


IRC Class 3 Esprit and IRC Class 4 Winsome on the road to nowhere at NE Ryde Middle. Supplied image.

By the finish, however, it was Peter Romer Lee and Colin Samuelson's Toucan who took first blood, nearly two minutes ahead of Peel. It was another 18 minutes before the next boat, Andrew Eddy's Plover, finished but only two of the 25 starters retired. It was, however, a frustratingly slow race for the back markers, with the last boat finishing nearly an hour and a half after Toucan.

Despite the difficult conditions for yacht racing, overall fewer than 100 retirements had been logged by 19:00. In Black Group the J/109 fleet took over five and a half hours to cover their 21-mile course. Running in light airs against the spring tide racing past Hampstead Ledge was a challenge for many in this fleet and IRC Class 2, with boats gybing as close as they dared to the shore, yet still failing to make any distance towards Cowes. A number of boats pushed their luck on the depth, getting stuck on the falling tide.

Despite these challenges, at least 30 of the 32 starters in the J/109 fleet finished, with Matthew Boyle's Shiva winning ahead of Gillian Ross and Richard Sainsbury's Jambhala by a margin of 35 seconds, followed by William Edwards' Juno in third place.

Cowes Week

Stars out in Force for the Artemis Challenge during Cowes Week


BT IMOCA 60 and the Ellen MacArthur Trust won the Artemis Challenge during Cowes Week. Supplied image.

by Camilla Green

A fleet of star names from the worlds of sport, film and television took to the water in the Solent today for the third annual Artemis Challenge at Cowes Week. Zara Phillips, joined by her partner Mike Tindall, climbed onboard the powerful Artemis Ocean Racing IMOCA 60 to compete for the £10,000 charity prizefund on offer to the winning boat.

The famous couple sailed against eight other high speed offshore racing yachts, skippered by some of the world’s leading ocean sailors and featuring celebrity guests such as Canadian rocker Bryan Adams, James Phelps who plays Fred Weasley in the Harry Potter Films and his twin brother Oliver Phelps who plays George Weasley in the Harry Potter Films, and television actress, Denise Black.

Light winds for the 10 AM start off Cowes meant that instead of sprinting around the Isle of Wight as in previous years, the fleet took a route East out past the Solent forts before rounding the Nab Tower. As the wind strengthened through the morning, the race became a close battle between five of the leading yachts, including Artemis Ocean Racing, skippered by British yachtswoman Sam Davies, and BT IMOCA 60, skippered by Frenchman Seb Josse, who had pulled in the help of Dame Ellen MacArthur as crew.

Artemis The Profit Hunter, skippered by Simon Clay and assisted by Bryan Adams, put in a strong performance amongst the newer, faster generation IMOCA 60s, which also included well known yachtswoman Dee Caffari on Aviva and Volvo Ocean Race winner Mike Sanderson at the helm of Pindar.

However, by mid-afternoon, the wind had died again and the course was shortened to finish at ‘No Man’s Fort’ which meant that Seb Josse and BT IMOCA 60 took first place, ahead of Pindar in second and Artemis The Profit Hunter in third. The win for BT means that they have scooped £10,000 for their nominated charity, the Ellen MacArthur Trust. The Ellen MacArthur Trust takes young people aged between 8-18 sailing to help them regain their confidence, on their way to recovery from cancer, leukaemia and other serious illness.

Zara Phillips commented: “It was great to take part in the Artemis Challenge at Cowes Week today and I’m very happy to have joined Sam Davies and the Artemis Ocean Racing team - seeing how everyone works together as a team is impressive. Sam and Sidney seem so cool and did an amazing job in hard weather conditions - at the end the wind went completely. They got us all involved in what was going on and we had a really good day.”

The Artemis Challenge welcomed the largest fleet of IMOCA 60s since the race’s inception in 2007. Commenting on the race, Artemis Investment Management CEO Mark Tyndall, who sailed onboard Artemis Ocean Racing, concluded, “The light winds and shortened course made for a very tactical and interesting race, which resulted in a precise game of cat and mouse and delivered a wonderful spectacle; the Artemis Challenge has gone from strength to strength each year.

We had a great bunch of really talented sailors in British waters today with a fantastic fleet of IMOCA 60s charging up the Solent. We were delighted to host such guests as Zara Phillips, Mike Tindall, Bryan Adams and Dame Ellen MacArthur to name but a few, and I would like to congratulate BT on a great win in testing circumstances, which will see the Ellen MacArthur Trust benefit from the £10,000 prizefund.”

Artemis Challenge 2009 Results:
1. BT IMOCA 60
2. Pindar
3. Artemis The Profit Hunter
4. Artemis Ocean Racing
5. Aviva
6. Akena Verandas
7. Grey Power
8. Toe in the Water
8. Pakea Bizkaia

Artemis Ocean Racing

Star Worlds 2009: Kiwis on Top, American and German Teams have Good Days


Hamish Pepper and Craig Monk on the way to leading the scoreboard at the Star Worlds after four races. Image copyright Fried Elliott/www.friedbits.com

by Lynn Fitzpatrick

Hamish Pepper and Craig Monk have been teamed up since the Delta Lloyd Regatta earlier this spring and much of the time Pepper has been under the weather and Monk has been in wonderment about being back on the Olympic sailing circuit since competing in the Finn for New Zealand in the 1996 Olympics. Yesterday's day off from sailing meant rest and relaxation and they resuscitated the Kiwi Magic of 2006 and 2007 when Pepper won the San Francisco Star World Championship and was in the hunt at every regatta.

Pepper and Monk not only won today's first race, they also came out of the day atop the leaderboard following the completion of four races. They popped off the boat end of the starting line and took the express lane up the right hand side of the course with the current propelling them forward in flat (and shallower) water. Others, in the middle of the course, struggled against the current in the light air. The Kiwis followed Mark Mendelblatt and Mark Strube (USA) around the weather mark and overcame the Americans' 40-second lead on the run after Mendelblatt and Strube gybed toward the inside for what looked like more pressure. It was just the break that the Kiwis needed to take the lead and stay in a controlling position for the remainder of the race.


Hamish Pepper and Craig Monk on the way to leading the scoreboard at the Star Worlds after four races. Image copyright Fried Elliott/www.friedbits.com

Following the race, Pepper said, "We sailed pretty conservatively today. It's easy to lose boats in this fleet and in these conditions."

The American team was quite pleased with their performance during the first race. Mendelblatt/Strube took second. George Szabo and Rick Peters were third and Andrew Campbell and Magnus Liljedahl were fourth. J

The Germans had their day in the sunshine too. During the second race of the day, Race 4 of the series, the Germans had four boats in the top ten. Johannes Polgar and Tim Kroeger were fourth, Alex Schlonski and Frihjof Kleen were fifth, Matthias Miller and Benedikt Wenk were seventh and Johannes Babandererde and Timo Jacobs pulled out a ninth place finish in a race in which the pressure was up and down and the current continued to be a factor, albeit the breeze had filled to 8-10 knots in the afternoon sun.

Polgar/Kroeger were low point for the day with a 7, 4. Said Polgar, "We had a clear picture in our minds before we went out today. We also had two good starts." Polgar, who spent years sailing Tornados at an Olympic level and transferred into the Star this spring, said, "it is nice to finally be sailing with the leaders after being in another class for so long. I hope that Tim and I and the rest of the Germans can keep the good sailing alive through the remainder of the week."


Hamish Pepper and Craig Monk on the way to leading the scoreboard at the Star Worlds after four races. Image copyright Fried Elliott/www.friedbits.com

The lead in Race 4 was passed from Xavier Rohart and Pierre Alexis Ponsot (FRA) to Flavio Marazzi and Enrico De Maria (SUI) during the second beat, and Marazzi/De Maria held on for the bullet. Marazzi/De Maria are in fourth place overall after four races, but are likely to be sitting pretty when teams are able to discard their worst race following the completion of five races. The Swiss have three finishes in the top three and one deep score.

Despite ending the day on a low note, Mendelblatt/Strube are in second overall and Andrew Campbell and Magnus Liljedahl are in third. Campbell, a rookie in the Star Class, is sailing with Liljedahl, an Olympic Gold Medalist and Star World Champion. Said Liljedahl earlier in the week, "I've sailed with fifteen Olympic medalists and I've already learned things from Andrew. He is incredibly calm and level-headed in a boat." Campbell agreed saying, "We're learning a lot from each other and every race is an improvement. It's a pleasure to sail with someone with so much experience and enthusiasm."

Race 5 of the 2009 Star World Championship in Varberg, Sweden is scheduled for Thursday, August 6, 2009.

Official Results of the 2009 Star World Champinship following completion of four races. Two races were held today, August 5, 2006. Upon the completion of 5 races, teams will be able to discard their worst score.
1. Pepper/Monk (NZL) - 11, 9 , 1, 11 - 32
2. Mendelblatt/Strube (USA) - 8, 4, 2, 26 - 40
3. Campbell/Liljedahl (USA) - 14, 14, 4, 8 - 40
4. Marazzi/DeMaria (SUI) - 3, 3, 35, 1 - 42
5. Schlonski/Kleen (GER) - 9, 17, 11, 5 - 42
6. 2. Loof/Tillander (SWE) - 2, 5, 15, 23 - 45
7. Celon/Natucci (ITA) - 7, 21, 8, 25 - 61
8. Polgar/Kroeger (GER) - 31, 22, 7, 4 - 64
9. Grael/Seifert (BRA) - 30, 6, 14, 14 - 64
10. Domingos, Melo (POR) - 38, 7, 10, 10 - 65

Star Worlds 2009

Berntsson to Defend Argo Group Gold Cup

Swedish team faces nine of top eleven on World Match Racing Tour


Johan Bäckman, Johnie Berntsson, Daniel Wallberg and Björn Lundgren celebrate winning the King Edward VII Gold Cup in 2008 with RBYC Commodore Ralph Richardson. Image copyright Charles Anderson/World Match Racing Tour.

by Talbot Wilson

Johnie Berntsson (SWE) returns to Bermuda October 6th to defend his 2008 title in the Argo Group Gold Cup. He will be sailing to put his name on the King Edward VII Gold Cup Trophy for a second time in a row. Three other previous champions also return in 2009, Mathieu Richard (FRA), Ian Williams (GBR) and three-time winner Peter Gilmour (AUS). Match Racing begins October 6th on Hamilton Harbour at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club and continues through Sunday October 11th.

Berntsson, who finished sixth in 2007 and first in 2008, commented on his title defence. “I have a good feeling coming back to Bermuda. It will be a great challenge to defend the Gold Cup knowing the abilities the other teams have. We look forward to racing here again and seeing just how we handle the pressure.”

“We like the match racing arena in the colorful harbour in Hamilton. The historical story about the Gold Cup event that now has lasted for over 100 years is something that the other events on the World Match Racing Tour can’t come close to. Not many other sailing events at all and not many other worldwide sports events in general can compare with the Gold Cup tradition.’

“I also think that this tradition makes a positive impact for businesses to join an event like this and be able to have some really good opportunities enjoying sharing the experience together with business partners in a nice environment.”

“The entry list is impressive and almost all the top teams are represented, Berntsson continued, “This will make the event very interesting and I expect that we will have some really spectacular racing. “

“The other three previous Gold Cup champions have proven their skills in the Bermuda conditions and in the IOD [International One Design] and will all be strong opponents. I think it will all come down to who is having fun and sailing well on the water. These teams have all proved they can win in Bermuda.”

“There are also other good competitors like last year’s runner up Adam Minoprio (NZL) and Ben Ainslie (GBR) who was third or the other Swedes Mattias Rahm (SWE) (fourth in 2008) and Bjorn Hansen (SWE) and a lot of others that have the capabilities to win. I think all these teams will make it a tough competition.”

“With such an impressive entry list,” Berntsson concluded, “it will be interesting to see who will be the winner of the Argo Group Gold Cup and the famous King Edward VII Gold Cup trophy this year. Believe me, we will try our best.”

Twenty-two of the teams for this years event have now been selected and confirmed. They include ten of the top eleven teams on the 2009 World Match Racing Tour (WMRT).

The two other teams will be the winners of the New York Knickerbocker Cup and the Bermuda National Match Racing Championship. Sixteen teams will be eliminated in the first three days of racing leaving the top eight teams to battle for a finals slot and a shot at the $50,000 first place prize. The second through eighth place teams divide the rest of the $100,000 total purse.
Mathieu Richard, sailing for the French Match Racing Team, now ranks first on both the Tour and ISAF rankings. He won the King Edward VII Gold Cup Trophy in 2007. Richard placed eighth in 2008 and has a real comeback to make to take first in Bermuda again.

When asked what he would have to do to win again in 2008, Richard said, “Just try to sail at our best level. If we sail well, we know that we can achieve very good results like in 2006 (2nd) and 2007 (1st). I am the leader [on the World Tour] at this point. But we have felt some frustration at some events by not reaching the finals, and we have not won any event so far. Hopefully, we will win one or two this year, so why not the Argo Group Gold Cup.”

Ian Williams (GBR), sailing for Bahrain Team Pindar, won in 2006 but finished out of the top eight in 2007. In 2008 he had an excellent start but faded to fifth in the end. He is ranked fifth on the tour and second by ISAF.

Peter Gilmour, sailing for YANMAR Racing, has won the most Gold Cups out of all of this year’s skippers. He took the coveted cup in 1995, 1997 and 2003 and returns this year after a multi-year absence from Bermuda. Gilmour has returned to the World Tour with a vengeance and now ranks third after winning Match Cup Sweden. His 2009 Tour performance is 3-6-6-1.

The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club hosts the event, the ninth stage of the World Match Racing Tour. Argo Group, international underwriter of specialty insurance and reinsurance products in niche areas of the property and casualty market based in Bermuda, sponsors the Gold Cup for the second year.

Ralph Richardson, the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Commodore, speaking for his fellow club members and volunteers said, “I am pleased that the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club will once again be hosting such an illustrious line-up of skippers and crews this year.

“The 2009 Argo Group Gold Cup promises to be a spectacular event as Bermuda celebrates our 400th anniversary of permanent settlement. We welcome everyone in Bermuda during Argo Group Gold Cup week, both residents and Island visitors are invited to come to Hamilton and enjoy the facilities at the club. Argo Group Gold Cup match racing in Bermuda is truly a spectator sport.”

“The fact that so many top match racing teams choose to sail in Bermuda each year,” Richardson added, “is a testament to the quality of the event and the great location. We continue the tradition of putting on world class sailing events of which the Argo Group Gold Cup is a key feature on our annual sailing calendar.”

The Argo Group Gold Cup is unique on the WMRT. The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club invites twenty-four teams to compete. In addition to the eight World Match Racing Tour Card holders, two teams are selected from a pair of qualifying events, the Knickerbocker Cup and the Bermuda National Match Race Championship. The remaining fourteen teams are selected by application and invitation from the top international match-racing sailors on the ISAF ranking list.

The extra number of teams compared to other Tour events gives more opportunities for up and coming competitors to take on the world’s best, fighting it out for the $100,000 prize purse.

In addition to Argo Group, key sponsors of the Argo Group Gold Cup include The Bermuda Department of Tourism as official host, Guy Carpenter, Renaissance Re and Bacardi. Of note, Renaissance Re will once again sponsor the Renaissance Re Junior Gold Cup International Optimist Dinghy regatta sailed in Bermuda’s Great Sound and Hamilton Harbour on October 8-11th.

The finals Sunday of the Argo Group Gold Cup will also be the date for Bermuda’s second annual Festival of Sail. Activities to celebrate Bermuda’s sailing heritage will be offered to all Bermuda and island guests at Barrs Park on October eleventh. The Argo Gold Cup, sailed in Hamilton Harbour just off of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club marina and the Festival of Sail adjacent to the club are open to the public as are all international events at RBYC.

World Match Racing Tour

Alfa Romeo Makes it Four out of Four in Spain


Alfa Romeo III continues her winning ways at the Copa del Rey. Supplied image.

by Edward Rowe

New Zealand Mini Maxi Alfa Romeo and her Kiwi skipper, Neville Crichton, have maintained their perfect score on the second day (4 August 2009) of the Copa del Ray Regatta in Spain, adding another two race wins to her score and putting Alfa Romeo ten points ahead of her nearest rival.

“Alfa Romeo is continuing to perform exactly as we had hoped,” said Neville Crichton at the end of the second day in the five day event. “With such a new yacht, we are still learning how she performs and I am in no doubt that we still have a great deal more performance to extract from her.”

The second day's light conditions favoured the big boats of the IRC group enabling Alfa Romeo to remain undefeated after comfortably winning, by an even larger margin than day one, both races.

The Reichel&Pugh 70 footer won the first race after choosing the left-hand side of the area on the first beat, and repeated tactics, and victory, in the second race. Neville Crichton's Mini Maxi seems to be working perfectly, despite being only recently out of the shipyard where it was rebuilt. The fantastic skills of the crew include British skipper, three times gold and silver Olympic medallist Ben Ainslie, who makes his debut in this, the most important regatta in the Mediterranean.

The results from the first two days confirm that Alfa Romeo is currently the fastest boat in the IRC fleet, as well as possessing a crew with the best understanding of the conditions the Gulf of Palma.


Alfa Romeo III continues her winning ways at the Copa del Rey. Supplied image.

Overall Positions (yacht/skipper/owner/club/class/race results/points - top 6 of 16 boats)
1 ALFA ROMEO NEVILLE CRICHTON NEVILLE CRICHTON N.Z.Y.CLUB MINI MAXI 1-1-1-1 4pts
2 CONTAINER UDO SCHUETZ MARKUS WIESER R.C.N. PALMA SLOOP STP65 3-3-5-3 14pts
3 BELLA MENTE HAP FAUTH HAP FAUTH NEW YORK Y.C. MINI MAXI 2-2-4-8 16pts
4 CAM F.LEON/F. SANCHEZ LUNA SAR DON FELIPE DE BORBON RCNA/RCNGC TP52 4-5-2-5 16pts
5 ALEGRE ALEGRE YACHTING LT DANDY SORIANO Y.C. MONACO MILLS68 6-7-3-2 18pts
6 JETHOU SIR PETER OGDEN SIR PETER OGDEN R.Y.S. MINI MAXI 7-4-6-9 26pts

ALFA ROMEO III RESULTS

Skipper: Neville Crichton
August 2009 Copa del Rey 4 x Line Honours

Alfa Romeo

Cowes Week: Gusty Winds up to 30 Knots



by Mary Scott-Jackson

Gusty winds, with puffs of up to 30 knots, provided the regatta's most exciting day so far, with the thousands of competitors wearing huge grins as they blasted around the courses.

Rob Gray, owner of the Quarter Tonner Aguila said, "Today was some of the best racing I've ever had - and the first time I've sailed a Quarter Tonner in 30 knots! It was an absolute blast. Gybing was a bit like a roulette wheel, but we did get lucky occasionally."

Britannia Cup

Rio (GBR93R) a TP52 competing in IRC Class 1, and winning every day so far, owned by Charles Dunstone.

The big boats in IRC Class 1 raced for one of the regatta's biggest trophies - the Britannia Cup, first presented by King George Vl in 1951. The fleet started from the committee boat line off Browndown near the north shore just to the west of Gilkicker Point, on a 34.4 mile course that took them out the Solent and into Hayling Bay. The early stages of the race saw winds of 14-15 knots, but when the fleet returned to the central Solent area this increased, with gusts in the mid to upper 20s.

This class has been dominated so far by Charles Dunstone's TP52 Rio, which won the first three races. Simon le Bon joined her crew today, working the grinders and backstays. "We had a fantastic and very exciting race today, with a great course, great wind and everyone onboard working together really well," he said.


Rio (GBR93R) a TP52 owned by Charles Dunstone. (Simon Le Bon is fourth from right on the rail.) Supplied image.

Rio led off the start line, gradually pulling out a comfortable lead on Johnny Vincent's Pace, the other TP in the class. Talking after the race Rio's strategist Peter Morton said: "We really didn't put a foot wrong all day - we had a great start, nailed all the laylines and made no mistakes."

The final leg, from Gurnard Ledge to the RYS finish line, saw Dunstone's boat clocking speeds of up to 20 knots, as her crew skilfully picked their way through throngs of smaller competitors. Rio took line honours by an impressive 20 minutes to win the Cup with a six-minute margin on corrected time from Piet Vroon's new Ker 46 Tonnere de Breskens, with David Aisher's Rogers 46 Yeoman XXXll third.

Off the record
The four large yachts in IRC Class Zero - Niklas Zennstrom's mini maxi Ran, Karl Kwok's 80ft Beau Geste, and two STP 65s - Flavio Favini's Luna Rossa and Roger Sturgeon's Rosebud/Team DYT - raced in a round the island challenge today. At the start Ran was a nose ahead and to leeward of Luna Rossa and Rosebud, and soon pulled clear ahead as the fleet headed towards the Needles.

As the fleet powered back up the eastern Solent, however, Beau Geste was well ahead of her rivals and tantalizingly close to the record time set by Mike Slade's 100ft supermaxi ICAP Leopard last year. Finishing just before 14:30 she was just 2 minutes 10 seconds outside the record, but also failed to save her time on Luna Rossa and Ran.


Quarter tonners racing in Cowes Week. Supplied image.

Hiring a winner
At the Royal Yacht Squadron, Black and White Group classes were, unusually, starting in opposite directions and on different lines, with the larger Black Group yachts heading west from Line 1.

Sunsail's fleet of Sunfast 37 charter yachts are always one of the most numerous classes in Black Group, but they have never before produced an overall winner of the Group. This, however, could change this year, with Neville Upton and his Listening Company team having an unbroken run of first places in the initial three races. Sailing with a mix of clients and friends the crew so far has included people who've never raced a yacht.

Talking before today's race, he said: "The key point [for us] is the team playing - everyone plays a big part. You can't win purely by having a couple of good people on board, everyone needs to gel and it's more important to have a cohesive unit rather than a few good individuals."

Today his team consolidated their position, with another win, finishing a very comfortable three minutes ahead of Cazenove Diversity. Further down the fleet there was very tight racing, with four boats tying in photo finishes and barely more than three minutes separating places 13 to 28.

Flying hulls
The gusty conditions suited the multihull fleet, with Phil Cotton's Seacart 30 Buzz completing her 27.8 mile course in just two hours and 14 minutes - more than one-third faster than predicted by the course setters. This performance, however, was not sufficient to take a win on corrected time - an accolade that went to Ben Goodland's Roo, with Messrs Haynes, Bliss, Harvey and Preston's F33r Carbon Tiger 2 taking second.

In White Group Robert Walters' J/80 Wild Wally was the first J/80 off the line, followed by Tom Cload's JellyBean and yesterday's class winner, the injured servicemen sailing Toe in the Water Too.

Starting near the middle of the main pack, Neil Stevenson's J Caramba was the only boat to set her asymmetric spinnaker at the start, but she broached almost immediately and was in last place when she dropped it three and a half minutes into the race.

Gordon Craigen's Juicy took a different strategy to the majority of the fleet, sailing much higher and closer inshore after the start, to gain relief from the strong adverse tide, before bearing away and hoisting her kite to reach across the tide to the first mark. Craigen had a good day, finishing second to Sam Sam Atkins' Exwuss, and seven seconds in front of Steve Sault's Hoolingkazan.


XOD Excalibur X87 (Adrian Summers). Supplied image.

The Swallow class enjoyed the closest competition of the day in White Group, with the strong winds giving this 60-year-old design ideal planing conditions. The entire fleet finished in 5 minutes 43 seconds, after a tight battle among the top five boats. "It was a great course with plenty of beating and excellent downwind legs," according to Anthony Lunch, owner of Solitude.

"The starting conditions were very difficult, trying to judge whether to go inshore out of the tide, at the risk of losing the wind, or staying out in good wind but the strong [adverse] tide," he continued.

Migrant, Skua, Blue Phantom, Cockersootie and Solitude all reached West Ryde Middle - the first mark - at the same time. Initially last year's winner, Harry Roome's Skua, took the lead but was overhauled first by Charles Fisher and Richard Thompson's Migrant and then Solitude. Lunch held onto his lead by a margin of nearly one minute despite the very shifty and gusty conditions around Gales HSB on the way to the finish.

In the Dragon fleet Julia Bailey's Aimee was the only boat to set a spinnaker before the start. As soon as it was clear that she was holding it comfortably, half a dozen others, including Len Jones' Rumours, hoisted. The fleet quickly split into two, with those carrying spinnakers staying in deep water, making a direct line for the first mark. A second group, including Eric Williams' Ecstatic and Richard Cullen's Supremacy, worked towards the island shore before bearing away for the mark.

At the finish Aimee led Rumours by a margin of almost one minute, with Owen Pay's Njord third. Ecstatic's sixth position cost her the overall lead of the class, which now goes to Rumours, with Aimee just a single point behind.

Cowes Week

Star Worlds 2009: No Racing on Day Three

by Lynn Fitzpatrick

Racing Canceled on August 4th due to lack of wind. Race 3 is scheduled for Wednesday, August 5th.

The warning signal for Race 3 is scheduled for 10:55 and the warning signal for Race 4 will be given as soon as possible after the completion of Race 3.

There is no changed to the schedule for the Mid-week Trophy Presentation and Dinner on Tuesday evening.

Youth and Enthusiasm in the Star Class
ISAF President, Göran Petersson commented during his welcome address at the 2009 Star World Championship Opening Ceremonies, "When I look at the competitors' list, I can say that sailing is a lifelong sport."

Petersson comments go to the essence of the Star Class and sailors' affinity for the boat design, the tradition, the friendships, the competitive nature of the class and the way that the Class and it's members facilitate participation at all levels.

Junior teams from Argentina, Germany and Sweden are racing in the 2009 Star World Championships. How cool is that? Imagine being good enough to qualify for a world championship at your own fleet and district level and creating the opportunity to sail against the likes of sailors who have collected multiple world championships and Olympic medals in classes ranging from the Lasers and Finns, to Solings, FD's, Tornados and 5.5 Meters. These juniors are also lining up against America's Cup and Volvo Ocean Race skippers and crews.

As skipper and crew, Alejo Rigoni and Juan Pablo Percossi (ARG), Dominik Fallais and Simon Fallais (GER) and Philip Carlson and Benjamin Peterson (SWE) have combined ages that are less than the individual ages of some skippers and crews. At a young age, Rigoni and Percossi already have a Blue Star, which means that not only have they done well in their fleet as rookies, have won events and the fleet feels they show promise. Chevrons and colorful stars on sails are badges that every Star sailor covets throughout their lifetimes.

Philip Carlson and Benjamin Peterson, the youngest team here, are 19 and 20, respectively. They competed against each other in Europe dinghies and when they heard that the 2009 Star World Championship would be in nearby Varberg, the pair decided to make the most of their growth spurts and try to qualify for the Star Worlds rather than diet and sail 470's together. Still 30 kilos below max weight, they sailed the five Swedish qualifier events and finished third in their fleet and fourth in Sweden, excluding Freddy Lööf and Johan Tillander. Later, the young team went down to Lake Gaarda to practice with Lööf/Tillander, Nicola Celon and Eduardo Natucci (ITA), Lars Grael (BRA) with various crews. "The experience has given us a great advantage over other people our age," said Carlson while young Swedes waited for Race 2 of the 2009 Star World Championships.

There are plenty of other young teams at the Star World Championships who are in their mid-late 20's and early 30's who can never be ruled out of being in contention for a top 10 finish. Peter O'Leary and Tim Goodbody (IRL) are now 26, John Gimson and Ed Greig (GBR) and most of the strong German teams fall into the same category. Even 25-year-old Andrew Campbell, the USA's 2008 Olympic Laser representative has qualified for USTag in the Star. He is sailing with the legendary Star crew and Olympic Gold medalist and World Champion in the Star, 55-year-old Magnus Liljedahl. Of course, there is always a place for strong, physically fit and enthusiastic crew. Portuguese Star sailor, Afonso Domingos is sailing with 21-year-old Frederico Melo, who raced in the Finn Gold Cup in Denmark. Campbell is currently the youngest skipper and Melo is currently the youngest crew in the top 10 at the 2009 Star World Championship.

Whether they are confident of their Star sailing abilities or not, juniors can join the class. First time experiences are often as crew, but some hop in and take the helm. One of the next events on the Star Class calendar that includes over 220 organized regattas annually is the Western Hemisphere Youth Championship in Lake Sunapee, New Hampshire on August 14th. It is open to any skipper who has not reached his or her 25th birthday prior to the first race, and there is no - no limit the age of the crew. Past events have been great opportunities for the likes of Brad Nichol, current member of US Team Alpha Graphics to learn from accomplished New England sailors. At this stage in his life, the regatta represents an opportunity for those with accomplished Star careers to give back to the class and to scout for talent. The Lake Sunapee Open follows the Western Hemisphere Youth Championship on August 15 - 16 and Star sailors of all ages are welcome to attend.

Experience in the Star Class
On the other range of the spectrum at the 2009 Star World Championships, over twenty masters teams (50-59 years of age) six grand masters (60 to 69) and four exalted grand masters (70 +) teams are competing. The youngest combined age goes to Philip Carlson and Benjamin Peterson of Sweden with a combined age of 39 and the oldest combined age goes to Sune Carlsson and Dan Anders Carlsson. The 78-year-old Carlsson tops Pelle Petterson by about six months, and his crew (not related) is 51 years old.

Carlsson started sailing Stars when he was 14 years old and competed in his first Swedish championship in 1954. He built his first Star boat in 1958. It was hull # 3342. Carlsson loves to tell the story about being reunited with his first Star. Working in the boat business, he was asked by someone to take a look at an old hulk that was sitting in a yard. "It was in such bad condition that you couldn't tell that it was a Star," recounts Carlsson. He took a look at the stringers and the mast step and recognized his handiwork. Carlsson bought the hull and restored it to mint condition. Of course, the energetic sailor painted it its original Ferrari red.

The two men who have been in the boat the longest and have a combined age that is close to the top of the list are Jochen Diereks and Hirbert Braasom. Diercks founded the Star fleet in Lubek, Germany. Both 62 year olds have noticeable crowns of thick platinum hair and they have been sailing Pirates, 470's, big boats and Stars together for 50 years. Their Star sailing careers started back in 1980.

There must be a lot of merit to a design and a class that can maintain the interest of juniors and exalted grand masters alike.

Star Worlds Current Overall Results
1. Marazzi/DeMaria (SUI) - 3, 3 - 6
2. Loof/Tillander (SWE) - 2, 5 - 7
3. Mendelblatt/Strube (USA) - 8, 4 - 12
4. Kusznierewicz/Zycki (POL)- 1, 13 - 13
5. Pepper/Monk (NZL) - 11, 9 -20
6. O'Leary/ Goodbody - 15, 10 - 25
7. Schlonski/Kleen (GER) - 9, 17 - 26
8. Scheidt/Prada (BRA) 26, 2 - 28
9. Celon/Natucci (ITA) - 7, 21 - 28
10. Campbell/Liljedahl (USA) - 14, 14 - 28

Star Worlds 2009

Big or Small, Alfa Romeo Just Keeps on Winning


Alfa Romeo III competing at the Copa Del Rey. Supplied image.

by Edward Rowe

Big or small, Alfa Romeo just keeps on winning with Kiwi yachtsman Neville Crichton at the helm, with the new small 71 foot Mini Maxi ‘Alfa Romeo’ winning its two first ever races just weeks after the big 100 foot maxi ‘Alfa Romeo’ won the TransPac race en route to the 2009 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race in December.

Competing in the 2009 Copa del Rey in Majorca, Neville Crichton and the new ‘Alfa Romeo’ fulfilled expectations by winning the first two races (3 August 2009) in the 10 race/six day event and, like her big brother, has established itself as the yacht to beat

The start of the first race for the IRC class was postponed by 1 hour and 20 minutes, until the sea breeze built in the Bravo sailing area, the most central of the three courses for the windward-leeward races.


Alfa Romeo III competing at the Copa Del Rey. Supplied image.

Alfa Romeo took no risks and started to the left-hand side of the area, and was able to round the first top mark at the head of the group, maintaining this position till the end of the race. Bellamente was second and Container was third. A 17 knot wind, known locally as the Embat Wind, provided a fantastic show of Mini Maxis on the water during the second race, which was much tighter. Alfa Romeo was first again, followed by Bellamente just 17 seconds behind, and Container, again, was third. Overall Neville Crichton’s Alfa Romeo leads the event, with Hap Fauth's American Bellamente second in the overall classification, and Udo Schuetz's Container remains third, confirming the leadership of the Mini Maxis in the group. CAM with H.R.H The Prince of Asturias Don Felipe de Borbón as helmsman is fourth.

Last year's winner Aifos with Jaime Rodríguez Toubes at the helm could only manage an eighth, demonstrating Alfa Romeo’s dominance of the event.


Alfa Romeo III competing at the Copa Del Rey. Supplied image.

“With the new Alfa Romeo just in the water weeks before the Copa del Rey, we are treating this event as a training event and an opportunity to get to know the new yacht,” said Neville Crichton, Skipper and owner of Alfa Romeo, after the races. “So to score two wins straight out of the box is a very welcome result and points to good results for this yacht in coming events. It also means that the third generation of yachts top wear the Alfa Romeo name can also lay claim to the titles of proven winner and the yacht to beat!”

ALFA ROMEO III RESULTS

Skipper: Neville Crichton
August 2009 Copa del Rey 2 x Line Honours


Alfa Romeo III competing at the Copa Del Rey. Supplied image.

ALFA ROMEO II RESULTS

Skipper: Neville Crichton

July 2009 TransPac Line Honours, Race Record

Oct 2008 Barcolana Race Line Honours
Sept 2008 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 4 x Line Honours, 2 x Corrected time wins
June 2008 Boat International SuperYacht Regatta 3 x Line Honours, class & event wins
June 2008 Rolex Giraglia Race Line Honours, new race record
June 2008 Rolex Giraglia Cup 3 x Line Honours, 2 x Handicap win
May 2008 Rolex Capri Race Week Maxi Class Event Win, 2 x Line Honours
May 2008 Pirelli Cup Maxi Class Event Win, 4 x Line Honours

Oct 2007 Barcolana Line Honours, race record
Sept 2007 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 5 x Line Hons, 1 x Handicap
August 2007 Rolex Fastnet Retired
August 2007 RYS Trophy, Scandia Race Week Line Honours, Class win
June 2007 Superyacht Cup 1 Line Honours Win
June 2007 Rolex Giraglia Cup Offshore Race Line Honours
June 2007 Rolex Giraglia Cup Regatta 2 x Line Honours to take event
April 2007 Hublot Palmavela Regatta 5 x Line Honours to take event

October 2006 Rolex Middle Sea Race – offshore race Line Honours
October 2006 Barcolana Race Line Honours
Sept 2006 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 4 Line Honours, event win
June 2006 Rolex Giraglia Cup Offshore Race Line Honours
June 2006 Rolex Giraglia Cup Regatta 2 Line Honours, 1 Handicap win
April 2006 Hublot Palmavela 4 x Line Honours wins

Dec 2005 Rolex Sydney to Hobart 2nd Overall
Dec 2005 Rolex Trophy Regatta Win
Dec 2005 CYCA Big Boat Trophy Line Honours
Dec 2005 Savills Short Ocean Championship Line Honours/Handicap win
Nov 2005 Cabbage Tree Island Race Line Honours
August 2005 South Molle/Daydream Islands Race Line Honours/Handicap win
August 2005 Edward Island Race Line Honours
August 2005 Lindeman Island Race Line Honours/Handicap win

Alfa Romeo

iShares Cup Cowes: Oman Sail Clinch UK iShares Cup


The Oman Masirah winning team. From left: Chris Draper (helmsman), Pete Cumming (skipper), David ('Freddie') Carr and Mark Bulkeley. Image copyright Th. Martinez/Sea&Co/OC Events.

by Emily Caroe

An ecstatic Oman Sail Masirah have won the UK round of the iShares Cup at Cowes Week and now take the overall lead in the iShares Cup 2009 series at the halfway stage of the six-round European circuit. It was a battle to the end for Yann Guichard and Loick Peyron with Gitana Extreme – Groupe LCF Rothschild clinching the final double points race to take 2nd place on the UK podium.

Celebrities from the world of music, Formula 1 and TV joined the iShares Cup to ride shotgun on an Extreme 40. TV presenter and extreme adventurer, Ben Fogle, captured the mood perfectly: "This is the Formula 1 of sailing - I can't remember the last time I saw so many people along the shoreline watching - I loved it!" Thousands of spectators have watched this ‘grandstand’ event over the last 3 days that has without doubt been the opening headline act of Cowes Week. Duran Duran lead singer, Simon Le Bon, said: “I'm really not used to sailing in front of a grandstand but it's been great."


Ellen MacArthur with Simon Le Bon. Image copyright Th. Martinez/Sea&Co/OC Events.

Oman Sail Masirah had done enough by race 17 to secure the UK round – it was an emphatic performance by skipper Pete Cumming, helmsman Chris Draper, Mark Bulkley and Freddie Carr winning 10 of the 20 races over three days. Going into the final double points race Oman Sail’s stablemate, Renaissance helmed by French multihull legend Loick Peyron was fighting for 2nd on the podium - just 1 point ahead of Yann Guichard’s Gitana Extreme – Groupe LCF Rothschild. Guichard led off the start line of the final race, Peyron hunted him down and got close, then too close – contact resulting in a penalty for Peyron giving Guichard and his crew the coveted 2nd place at the UK round of the iShares Cup.

There was a similar head to head for 4th place between Nick Moloney’s BT and Shirley Robertson on Team iShares. Robertson had been awarded average points for the races Team iShares had to sit out on Day 2 due to a collision and this redress lifted her rapidly up the leaderboard on the final day. Mitch Booth, co-creator of the Extreme 40 class and helming BT in place of Darren Bundock, made the BT crew sweat it out – last place at the start and Robertson a few places ahead, Booth did a great job to ahead of Robertson to secure 4th overall.


Gitana beat Oman Renaissance in the last race to finish second overall to Oman Renaissance's third place. Image copyright Th. Martinez/Sea&Co/OC Events.

From the skippers:
Winner, Oman Sail Masirah, skipper Pete Cumming: “We’ve had some fantastic training in Oman for 6 months and the Oman Sail set up has given us a platform and ability to train over the winter. All credit to the guys – Chris, Mark, Freddie and Khamis. Last year Cowes was a lot of fun but this year the set up now with iShares and OC Events putting on a grandstand event and all these people here is amazing. There isn’t really another event like that offers so much reward to the sailors.”

2nd placed, Gitana Extreme – Groupe LCF Rothschild, Yann Guichard: “Yes, it was the perfect event for us and a big fight with Renaissance in the last race, a big match race and I know Loick wanted to beat us but we beat him so it was perfect!”

3rd placed, Oman Sail Renaissance, Loick Peyron: “I made a little mistake – never hit another boat! It was so great to sail in front of everybody here and bravo to Oman ‘red’.”

4th placed, BT skipper, Nick Moloney: “We did pretty well and getting ourselves into a few spots of bother but for me with 22 years as a professional sailor – this is the greatest event I have sailed in. The iShares Cup is on a huge lift and all the crowds coming down here and cheering for us, we really feed off it and the atmosphere has been fantastic.”

5th placed, Shirley Robertson, Team iShares: “I don’t often sail in this tiny little square – it was challenging and pretty hard work, and feel like it’s been more than a weekend!”

Groupama helmsman, Gildas Philippe: “We need, for sure, more training and not to make too many mistakes but we have a good team .”

Overall iShares Cup Extreme 40 Sailing Series 2009:
With the absence of BMW ORACLE Racing at the UK round, Oman Sail Masirah with two consecutive event wins now top the overall iShares Cup Extreme 40 Sailing Series for 2009. Next round of the iShares Cup takes place in Kiel, Germany over the 28th-30th August.

iShares Cup 2009 Overall Results to date
1st Oman Sail Masirah (27 points)
2nd Gitana Extreme – Groupe LCF Rothschild (26 points)
3rd Oman Sail Renaissance (24 points)
4th BMW ORACLE Racing (18 points)
5th BT (17 points)
6th Groupama (17 points)
7th Team iShares (12 points)
8th LUNA (10 points)
9th Holmatro (9 points)
10th Ecover (4 points)

iShares Cup

Cowes Week: More Good Conditions on Day Three



by Mary Scott-Jackson

The 8,500 competitors at this year's Cowes Week enjoyed another day of sun with a southerly wind of 10-15 knots that increased to 15-20 during the afternoon.

The Laser SB3 fleet started first, going east on Line 2 from the Royal Yacht Squadron. Martin Jones' Seamarknunn.com was closest to the line, but just astern and to leeward, Geoff Carveth's Pro-Vela.com had hoisted the kite with 15 seconds to go and hit the line at full speed moments after the gun, even so this was not enough to pull clear of Chris Darling's Darling Associates who was just to windward of Carveth. These three, who all started towards the inshore end of the line, led the fleet away, the bulk of boats having opted for the outer end of the line.


Team Solent/Helly Hansen (Guy Jackson) in the ultra-competitive Laser SB3 fleet. Supplied image.

The boats collectively made another spectacular sight as the fleet split around both ends of the Trinity House ship Galatea, facing south towards the river Medina. The dozen most windward boats made it round her bow, gaining a clear advantage over the rest of the fleet as they sped towards Fastnet Insurance, the first mark.

"We were quite clear what we wanted to do at the start and it unfolded perfectly," Carveth said after the race. "Most of the fleet did the other extreme so we were in a nice position half-way along the line. We knew we could just get round the nose of the Galatea with the kite up - that's what we did and at that stage we led the pack from the windward side."

However, the wind then eased and shifted aft, handing an advantage to the boats to the north, leaving Carveth sixth round the first mark. "We were happy with that because at Cowes if you just start working the boat speed and tactics it all comes good." By the final downwind leg, from Flying Fish to Royal Southern, Carveth's team was second to Guy Jackson's young crew on Team Solent/Helly Hansen. "We completely split angles from them", Carveth continues, "catching them a lot... before picking up some good pressure that helped us to nail them."

Black Group
All the Black Group classes starting on the Royal Yacht Squadron line were sent on a marginal spinnaker reaching course to Burgess Salmon. With the first mark a quarter of a mile closer to the offshore end of the line than to the south, the northern end was strongly favoured. Competitors starting here were also well placed to move into the shallow water of East Knoll to avoid the strengthening adverse tide in the eastern Solent.


Premier Flair 8410R (Jim Macgregor) racing in IRC Class 3. Supplied image.

In the 51-strong IRC Class 3 Jim Macgregor's Elan 410 Premier Flair, Peter Scholfield's HOD35 Seatrack, and John Howell's Dehler 36 Alaris were best placed at the start, leading the fleet from the northern-most extremity of the line. All three set spinnakers just before the gun, arguably leaving the hoist a little late - although all three kites were drawing, none were fully hoisted.

Premier Flair, the highest rated yacht in the fleet, was first over the line, more than five minutes ahead of the J/90 Joe 90. She was able to save her time on handicap to take the overall class lead from Jonty Layfield's J/39 Sleeper by a margin of just one point.

Serious play
In the First 40.7 class Peter Robson's Playing Around, started neck and neck with Paul McNamara & Tony Lowe's Incognito, followed by Richard Oswald's Little Emily and Pete Newlands' Anticipation. Despite the bias on the start line and the clear evidence from earlier starts showing the favoured end, the fleet was spread well across the Solent, with those starting mid line having no hope of catching those who made the right call. It was no surprise that this was reflected in the final results, with Playing Around taking first blood ahead of Incognito and Anticipation.

With the inner distance mark a few boat lengths behind the start line the overwhelming majority of competitors were very line shy - almost every start in the sequence saw some competitors still crossing the line two minutes after the gun. But there was no risk of Jo Richards, skipper of Stephen Fein's Full Pelt in Class 4, being among them. Starting alongside the committee vessel he was the only boat on the line - a full three lengths ahead of his nearest rival - and had the kite perfectly trimmed with the boat at full speed. Just one minute into the race he had an impressive 20-length advantage on Robert Martin's First 34.7 Kratos. Steve Dyke's Jeanneau Sunfast 3200 Ingwe was third off the line, 15 lengths behind Martin, with the trailing pack a similar distance astern.

Full Pelt's skilful start paid off - as well as taking line honours, more than three minutes ahead of Peter Morton's First 34.7 Salvo, she saved her time on Adam Gosling's Corby 30 Yes! to win on corrected time by just four seconds.

The bulk of Class 5 started closer to the line than competitors in earlier starts, but was slower to hoist spinnakers. Ian Braham's MG346 Enigma, last year's overall Black Group winner, sneaked her kite up outside the genoa 10 seconds before the gun and was first away, followed five lengths astern by Paul and Marie-Claude Heys' new J/97 Jenga V. Rory Fitzwilliams' 33-year-old Three-Quarter Tonner Simplicity was third off the line.

Jenga V led the fleet home to finish in three hours 13 minutes, an impressive 13 minutes ahead of Engima, the second boat on the water. It was a big enough lead for Jenga to save her time on Simon Cory's Cory Yachts 290 Cool Blue by six minutes, but Cory beat Braham into second place by just 39 seconds on corrected time.

Tons of fun
There's huge enthusiasm for the revived Quarter Ton class which consistently offers very close racing and attracts some of the UK's best sailors.

Mike Dixon, sailing Roger Swinney's Ayanami, made the best start of the fleet right next to the committee boat and a good three lengths clear ahead of Louise Morton's Espada. Morton already had her spinnaker set, but did not have enough of a speed advantage to overhaul Ayanami before she hoisted her kite. Paul Kelsey and Peter Williams' Runaway Bus was third off the line, but stayed with white sails for longer than others, allowing Howard Sellars and Mike Till's Bullet to overtake.

Four minutes into the race Espada had pulled clear ahead of Ayanami, so when Dixon broached in the increasingly gusty breeze his boat rounded up clear astern of Morton, allowing Espada to consolidate her lead on the water at this stage of the race.

However, in a nail-biting finish it was Rob Gray's Aguila that took line honours, just five seconds ahead of Bullet, with Espada crossing the line 17 seconds later. Aquila's narrow lead was insufficient to save her time on Bullet, who won on corrected time, 16 seconds ahead of Runaway Bus.


Fortis Excel GBR 1445R (Agne V Nilsson) and Sea Wolf GBR 574R (Henri Tinchant) competing in IRC Class 1 at Cowes. Supplied image.

Perfect coordination
A huge container ship, the MOL Competence, passed through the line at 10:30, forcing the start of Class 6 to be postponed by 10 minutes. To minimise disruption to the starting sequence her pilot was in close consultation with the Trinity House pilot on the RYS starting platform, and she made a perfectly timed approach to the start area at a sedate 12.5 knots.

When Class 6 got away, George Thomson's Dehler 29 Chablis of Wight led away from the line, several lengths ahead of one of the lowest rating boats in the class, Ed Donald's hugely successful Folkboat Madeline, with her diminutive spinnaker drawing strongly. Next was Gareth Morris' Hunter Impala Curved Air.

Mikado, Sir Michael Briggs' 105-year-old William Fife designed classic, had a second-row start, but she revelled in the conditions. Heeled just enough to extend her effective waterline length to the full, and, with her towering rig setting a 1,200 square foot spinnaker, she quickly powered through to leeward of the leader pack.
At the end of the 16.4 mile course Mikado took line honours, nearly a minute ahead of Richard Hollis' X-95 Crakajax, and second place on corrected time. First prize on handicap went to another Impala, Robert Leggett's Monkey Business.

iShares Cup final result
Oman Sail Masirah has won the UK round of the iShares Cup at Cowes Week to take the overall lead in the series at the halfway stage of the six-round European circuit.

Yann Guichard and Loick Peyron battled hard to the end, clinching the final race to take second overall on the UK podium. Watching the racing TV presenter and extreme adventurer, Ben Fogle, said "This is the Formula 1 of sailing - I can't remember the last time I saw so many people along the shoreline watching - I loved it!"

Cowes Week