Monday, 16 November 2009

TJV NEWSFLASH: Hugo Boss Damaged

by Lucy Harwood

At approximately 18:20 GMT on 15/11/09, HUGO BOSS crew Alex Thomson and Ross Daniel, reported a collision with an unidentified object in the water. HUGO BOSS was lying in 4th place when the damage was sustained to the starboard bow and they reported that they were taking on water. They have a pump working and are managing the ingress of water. Skipper Alex Thomson reported that conditions onboard are stable and they are not in any imminent danger. The skippers are in regular contact with Race Director Jean Maurel. Alex and Ross have stopped the boat and are assessing the damage to HUGO BOSS with their shore team and the structural engineer from SP before making any decisions on how to proceed. HUGO BOSS is approximately 400 miles South West of the Azores.

Position at 01:00 GMT 16/11/09: 34 20.50 N, 36 18.93 W

“I am gutted, we have done the hard bit, been through the storms and the way ahead was looking very easy. We will monitor the situation overnight and assess in the morning what our options are," Skipper Alex Thomson.

Alex Thomson Racing
Transat Jacques Vabre

TJV: Bolting for the Caribbean




Safran. Image copyright Jean-Marie Liot/DPPI/Safran.

by Régis Lerat

The breakaway trio, Safran, Mike Golding Yacht Racing and Groupe Bel continue to profit from the excellent conditions through Sunday, all seeing the speed readouts peaking over 20 knots for periods as the they relish wind, sun and high speeds.

Their Sunday has been a time to re-group, catch up on repairs but most of all simply making sure the pace does not drop off.

As the distance remaining of the 4730 miles course from Le Havre to Costa Rica counted down under 3000 today, Marc Guillemot and Charles Caudrelier's Safran has continued to be a little faster than her pursuers, opening up a lead of 53.7 miles on the British-Spanish duo on Mike Golding Yacht Racing, whilst Kito de Pavant and Francois Gabart is just a little more than 12 miles behind.

The threesome are sprinting south with a cushion of 134 miles back to the British crew on Hugo Boss, Alex Thomson and Ross Daniel, and the best part of 300 miles ahead of the best of the southern group, Foncia. Michel Desjoyeaux and Jeremie Beyou lie eighth.

Golding, pointing out that Safran was still no more than three hours ahead of him, remarked that he felt the three runaways have themselves a ‘glamour hand', but that there are no guarantees. The current routings today sees a more northerly course still paying off, with a much more southerly option still bringing that southerly groups in 200 miles behind the leading trio as they enter the Caribbean Sea, but the weather predictions further down the track are changing all the time.

For all that IMOCA Open 60 skippers usually have just about everything paced by or matched to their powerfully computed data collection and analysis, such have been the effects of the recent storms that several are reduced to first principles, setting sail area by what they see with their eyes, judging wind speed and sea state, rather than being able to take the real and predicted windspeeds off the computer and match them to their known sail cross-over charts.

Golding today said that his speedo was simply how they are doing against their rivals: “We are doing our best to hold on to Safran,” said Golding, “But we are struggling a bit in terms of just knowing where we are, particularly going downhill. We kind of forget how reliant we are on our systems to give us advice on our sail plans and all that, and now here we are just trying to judge whether we have enough or not. Sometimes we are right and sometimes we are wrong. It is quite hard to gauge it, and to some extent we are using them to measure it, if they are faster we push harder... and if they are lower... well we push even harder!”

For Sam Davies and Sidney Gavignet on 11th placed Artemis, they have been getting towards the end of their long jobs list, one which has left them exhausted and which Gavignet said this morning has cost them many miles, not least 20 hours or so trying to sort out their mainsail problems.

Quotes:

Mike Golding, GBR, (Mike Golding Yacht Racing):

“ We always sort of had a game plan for this race, where we wanted to be at a certain time and place in the racecourse, and so we are very happy with where we are. We don't like that Safran has pulled away a little bit overnight, but that is just one of those things, but in real terms she is just three hours in front of us and really that is not so bad.

“What we want to do is make sure we are in a good, attacking position going to the Caribbean Sea which will present some different options to make an attack on Safran. I certainly think we can, and I certainly think there may even be some conditions down the race course which could favour our boat, and maybe have a little bit of an edge.

"I think there is some opportunities for compression in the future, but the reality is that we have been dealt a glamour hand, us three boats, Bel, Safran and Mike Golding Yacht Racing, it does look like if the gate does not exactly close behind us, it does make it quite hard for them to keep up, because of the way that the weather is closing the door behind us, but as near as dammit.”

Marc Guillemot (FRA) Safran:

“I would like it to be a bit calmer for the last part of the race: we must meantime build a bigger distance from Kito de Pavant and Mike Golding. We have to remain on guard because they are two excellent competitors! We haven't find a solution for the mainsail but we have decided to continue the race with this little problem and maybe find a solution near the Antilles. The weather conditions are pretty good but we are still wet : we are almost all the time under the cuddy : on the boat it's like being next to a big geyser…Actually we're going faster : I think that we could arrive to Puerto Limon at the end of next week.”

Charles Caudrelier Bénac (FRA), Safran:

“It is not yet the trade winds, but they're not far off. Tomorrow, we should be in them. I must admit that Marc and I are both looking forward to getting some fresh air outside on the deck without getting completely soaked.”

“We had one particularly tricky moment on Thursday night, which really stood out. The leeward rudder kicked up and the boat swung around into the direction of the wind, with the mainsail flapping. It was torn about 50 centimetres along the leech. It was not easy fixing the rudder back with tons of water crashing over the deck, but we managed to get the repair done quickly.” “As we're sailing downwind, the tear isn't really having any effect. What counts for the moment is extending our lead if possible. We're not even halfway through the race yet and everyone knows that the end of the voyage in the Gulf of Mexico can be very difficult to predict”.

“We knew our route was going to be tough. We never did anything silly and when the emergency beacon was triggered on BT, that was a particularly difficult time for us. But this route was clearly the fastest, and it was the only way to go. We made a strategic choice remaining fully confident in our boat,"

“We're already looking at where to go between all the islands. We've got an idea in the back of our mind, but I can't tell you anything more. I can just say that we're going to have to gybe and then after that, it should almost be a straight run.”

Transat Jacques Vabre

Jules Verne Trophy: Schussing Along


Groupama 3 hurries along. Image copyright DR/Groupama.

by Vincent Borde and Caroline Muller

The calm conditions colouring the past 48 hours are definitively over: with the arrival of a Brazilian depression system the acceleration has been instant and is set to last for several days. Evidence of this comes with the 70 miles gained on Orange 2 in the space of seven hours this Sunday morning.

The wait has been long and the change of pace brutal: blocked at times making less than five knots until last night, Groupama 3 has found her wings again and is powering away at an average of thirty knots this Sunday afternoon! This is all thanks to a gust of tropical heat originating in Rio de Janeiro, which is dropping down to the Furious Fifties, passing beneath South Africa, before continuing its voyage at least as far as the Kerguelen archipelago, if not further...


Working on the bow. Image copyright DR/Groupama.

"Before the start we identified the fact that between 14th and 16th November, two depression systems were going to form over Brazil. As such we knew we had to hook onto one or the other because after that there was no possible way through. We had to be on time for the encounter... For the next 24 hours, it's going to be the same wind accompanying them, a N to NE'ly breeze of 15 to 20 knots, which will enable them to power up with open sails. There will just be a small SE'ly swell, which will subside as the skies become more overcast and the bad weather seeks to catch up with them... Some very high speeds will be on the programme over the next two days!" explained Sylvain Mondon from Météo France.

Ahead of the warm front

"We've had a hard time psychologically because five knots of breeze for such a long period wasn't easy to bear... It wasn't easy to escape this zone of calm and then, this morning, things began to accelerate. We're going to have to get our skates on to stay with this breeze though! We're concentrated and above all happy to be making good speed again. We felt totally powerless as we waited for this depression system, but we're going to have to stay with it now as we're not particularly far forward in terms of its position. It's going to be a race against the clock now with the warm front rather than a race against Orange 2!" stated the skipper of Groupama 3.


Groupama 3 at sunrise. Image copyright DR/Groupama.

As this young depression gets bigger by feeding on the cold polar air as it traverses the Southern Atlantic, it is moving fairly quickly (around thirty knots). Franck Cammas and his crew intend to keep just ahead of the cold front, which is generating steady N'ly winds on fairly small seas. Added to this, the current disturbance is also set to fill out over the next few days and will push back the high pressure, which has been stagnating offshore of Cape Town for several days. Its very straight trajectory is good news for Groupama 3, however it will drop quite far South, as far as 50° S! At this time of year, there is still ice around originating in Antarctica, which is drifting quite high up... As such the crew will have to curve out their course after going around the Southern edge of this African anticyclone.

An important meeting

"At the moment, Groupama 3 is making close to thirty knots of boat speed under one reef and solent in beam winds of 17-18 knots, 135° off the true wind, beneath a grey sky with a few patches of blue and cumulus. However, the swell is coming at them head on, which is making things bouncy at times... We're going to have to try to follow the routing, which has us making very high speeds. We're targeting a point quite far to the South in relation to the Cape of Good Hope, as there's a zone of high pressure under South Africa. That will cause us a few problems as regards icebergs, but it's highly favourable in terms of wind. The next 24 hours are important for remaining in a N'ly wind (the ideal point of sail for us), without getting devoured by what is a pretty violent depression! It will be a completely straight trajectory with a few manoeuvres centred around reducing the sail area as the wind is likely to increase. From Tuesday onwards we'll be in the Roaring Forties..."


Life on board Groupama 3. Image copyright DR/Groupama.

After patience comes impatience! Indeed, it's going to be important that the depression system doesn't accelerate too fast leaving Groupama 3 behind the front: a W'ly shift in the wind wouldn't be favourable as Franck Cammas and his men would then be forced into a series of gybes and hence a longer and slower zigzag course. In a beam wind, the giant trimaran can slip along effortlessly, without putting the crew under too much pressure. There will be enough manoeuvres to make in the Indian Ocean! As such, if everything falls into place as forecast, Groupama 3 will once again extend her lead over the reference time and be able to tackle the Deep South with a very positive margin of time.

Cammas - Groupama

LVT: Hard Times for BMW ORACLE Racing


BMW ORACLE Racing and TeamOrigin are even off the start line. Image copyright Bob Grieser/OutsideImages.co.nz

by Peter Rusch

It wasn't a good day for BMW ORACLE Racing in Nice at the Louis Vuitton Trophy on Sunday. Qualifying in the bottom half of the fleet ahead of round two means we only race the top four teams in this second round.

On Sunday the consequence of that became clear with two difficult matches against TeamOrigin and Emirates Team New Zealand.

In the early race against the British team, helmsman Gavin Brady and his afterguard did some nice work early to build a lead on the first lap of the race course.

But on the second beat, a big split developed as we hit the left side of the race course, with Origin out to the right. As both boats tacked to converge again, a shift favoured the British and what had been a three boatlength lead was turned upside down.

The second race against the regatta leading Kiwi team was much closer, but BMW ORACLE trailed from the first cross. Although it was close at the finish, we never really threatened to make the pass on the short race course.

The guys were frustrated coming off the water today but will get right back at it tomorrow with matches against Artemis and Azzurra.

BMW ORACLE Racing
Louis Vuitton Trophy

LVT: Tough Day at the Office for ALL4ONE


Foredeck work on board ALL4ONE. Image copyright Frank Socha.

by Stephanie Nadin

ALL4ONE only had one match to sail on its programme today against Artemis, the Swedish team that ALL4ONE had beaten in the first Round Robin. This time, Artemis won the point.

Artemis won after completing a penalty turn on the finish line in light winds. ALL4ONE had gotten the penalty on the Swedish team on the first windward leg, getting its bow to leeward on port tack and luffing. Artemis, however, led at all three mark roundings and began the run to the finish with a 1:04 advantage. It was going to be tenuous whether Artemis could complete the turn and cross the line in the lead as the wind was dying and only blowing about 4 knots. But ALL4ONE blew a jibe to starboard when the spinnaker twisted. The crew had to lower the sail to remove the twist and Artemis turned its 150-metre lead into more than 600 metres. ALL4ONE was scored DNF when it failed to finish within 5 minutes of Artemis.


ALL4ONE trails Artemis. Image copyright Frank Socha.

Jochen Schümann, Skipper and Strategist: “today was a tough day again. We had flight number 2, which under these conditions is usually the worst one. Meaning that we have some winds from the mountains in the morning, and then during the morning hours it's basically dying, and changing into gradient breeze. So we are sailing in a convergence of breezes.

We had a very good start with a very good execution from Sebastien Col, and after some tacks, Artemis gained control, but ended up with a penalty, which should have been a red flag, meaning they should have done their penalty turn straight away. But it was not the case, so the whole game changed from there. They gained 4 lengths within that situation, sailing on top of us and then stretching. We sailed in the light breeze during the up and down, where the leading boat is a little bit longer in the “old breeze”, and we were a little bit earlier in the “dying breeze”. So that stretched more and more, and in the end Artemis could do their penalty in front of the line before crossing the finish line.

The format we have now doesn't have any effects on the results anyway. But the positive out of our 3 last matches in the Round Robin 2 is that we had 3 perfect starts. Our training develops well at the moment for the whole team, and especially the 3 starts which were all under nice control. Our weakness was the starts in the first round, where we unfortunately had only 2 points on our score board. We're sailing a lot stronger at the moment. So let's see for tomorrow, as we may have a tough match with TeamOrigin.”

ALL4ONE will sail tomorrow its last race of Round Robin 2 against TeamOrigin.

FLEET STANDINGS (Through Round 2: Flight 5)

1) Emirates Team New Zealand, 9-1
2) Team Origin, 7-3
3) Azzurra, 6-3
4) Synergy Russian Sailing Team, 5-4
5) Artemis, 4-5
6) BMW Oracle Racing, 3-6
7) ALL4ONE, 3-7
8) TFS-Pages Jaunes, 1-9

Round Robin 2 Pairing list for 16/11/09:

Flight 6, Flight 8 and first match of Flight 7 (the second match will be sailed on Tuesday 17)

BMW Oracle Racing vs Azzurra
TeamOrigin vs ALL4ONE
Azzurra vs Synergy
Artemis vs TFS PagesJaunes
BMW Oracle Racing vs Artemis

ALL4ONE
Louis Vuitton Trophy

LVT: Russia's Synergy on cusp of semi-finals at Louis Vuitton Trophy Nice Côte d'Azur

Emirates Team New Zealand scores two wins to wrap up round robins




Jero Lomas on the bow for Emirates Team New Zealand. Image copyright Paul Todd/OutsideImages.co.nz

by Chloe Daycard

Synergy skipper Karol Jablonski and tactician Rod Dawson were wearing huge smiles dockside and expressing their pleasure over a job well done when Philippe Mourniac from All4One approached.

“Great job, guys. It was awesome to watch on TV,” said Mourniac, the Franco-German team’s navigator.

Synergy had recently completed a wire-to-wire win over TeamOrigin, restructuring the order at the Louis Vuitton Trophy Nice Côte d’Azur as perestroika revamped Russian politics in the 1980s.

Synergy today won two races and now occupies fourth place on the leaderboard with a 5-4 record, 1 point behind third-placed Azzurra. Synergy has two matches remaining in Round 2 and a victory in at least one would ensure advancement to the semi-finals.

“That would be an accomplishment. But we still have to win it,” said Jablonski, the 47-year-old skipper from Poland. “Today we had a good day and we’re happy with our performance in this event. Before the start, who would’ve counted on us going forward?”


Emirates Team New Zealand heads upwind. Image copyright Chris Cameron/Emirates Team New Zealand.

The semi-finalists took shape today with Emirates Team New Zealand wrapping up the round robins. Kiwi skipper Dean Barker came out victorious over BMW Oracle Racing and TFS – PagesJaunes and leads the event with a 9-1 record.

England’s TeamOrigin holds second at 7-3. Italy’s Azzurra didn’t race today but remains in third place at 6-3. Synergy is fourth followed by Artemis at 4-5. BMW Oracle Racing is sixth (3-6), All4One seventh (3-7) and TFS – PagesJaunes eighth (1-9).


Sebastien Col (helmsman) and Jochen Schuemann (skipper) on ALL4ONE. Image copyright Frank Socha.

“The big deal for us is getting into the top four, and I think we’re comfortable,” said Ben Ainslie, TeamOrigin skipper. “It’s about getting better and trying to get results in the semi-final sail-offs. All the teams are battling a bit with the conditions and boats and trying to get used to it all. Like everyone else, we’re trying to get better.”

If a few breaks had fallen differently in Round 1, Synergy might be placed even higher. The team lost a heartbreaker to Emirates Team New Zealand just five lengths from the finish line. It lost another match that it led when the mainsheet broke. Despite the setbacks, the learning curve has remained vertical.


Artemis' bowman, Andy Feathers (AUS) calls time and distance to the line. Image copyright Frank Socha.

“The important thing for our team is the atmosphere,” Jablonski said. “We went through a difficult time at the beginning. If something goes wrong there are a lot of possibilities for the team to explode or not be happy, but we are holding together. We have good attitudes.”

That attitude was evident when Synergy took down TeamOrigin. Jablonski started to the right of Ainslie, won the first cross on the right side of the course, and opened a lead at the first windward mark that wouldn’t be overcome on the short, two-lap course.

“Both sides wanted the right, but we didn’t want it with a bad start,” Ainslie said. “I thought we were in position to make their start tough, but they did a good job squeezing around the committee boat.

“It’s good to see those guys doing so well,” Ainslie continued. “They’ve got some great sailors. It’s good to see that when they get the boat handling side figured out they’ve got some smart sailors who know what a wind shift is and can figure it out.”


BMW ORACLE Racing leads TeamOrigin. Image copyright Paul Todd/OutsideImages.co.nz

Three flights remain to complete the second round robin over the next two days. And although the semi-finalists are taking shape, the day still belonged to Synergy, even if they have to scream at each other.

“We don’t have a communications system on board, so we have to talk loud to make sure everyone’s on the same page,” Jablonski said. “The communication with the guy up the rig is difficult because he has to scream. But it doesn’t matter. It’s in Russian half the time so no one else can understand!”





Round Robin 2 : Flights 3-5 summaries

Team New Zealand keeps rolling, Synergy making a mark


FLIGHT 3

M1: TeamOrigin d. BMW Oracle Racing

The Union Jack defeated the Stars & Stripes in a come-from-behind performance. BMW Oracle grabbed the lead on the first upwind leg and held a 17-second advantage at the windward mark. BMW Oracle had started to the left of TeamOrigin and then crossed to the right at the first meeting to gain control. BMW Oracle maintained that lead through the leeward gate. Up the second beat, however, the crews split sides with BMW Oracle going left and TeamOrigin going right. The lateral separation surpassed 1,300 meters and when the pair met about two-thirds up the course TeamOrigin held starboard tack and BMW Oracle was forced to tack to leeward. TeamOrigin took BMW Oracle to the port layline and led at the second windward mark by 13 seconds. BMW Oracle made gains on the run to the finish, but ran out of racecourse.

The win increases TeamOrigin’s record to 7-2 while BMW Oracle falls to 3-5.

M2: Synergy d. Artemis – Delta: 41 seconds


Artemis' afterguard. Image copyright Bob Grieser/OutsideImages.co.nz

The upstart Russian crew is becoming a force to be reckoned with after scoring a solid win over Artemis. Synergy and Artemis had a split start, with Artemis on port at the boat. The Swedish-flagged yacht quickly tacked to starboard and both crews sailed to the left side of the course. Synergy was first to tack to port and at the first cross Artemis was forced to tack on the leebow. On the next exchange Synergy was farther to windward and Artemis was forced to tack to port to leeward. Synergy then drove the match to the starboard layline and led at the windward mark by 11 seconds. Synergy steadily increased that lead around the course for the win.

The Russian crew moves to fourth in the standings at 4-4 and relegates Artemis to fifth at 3-5.

FLIGHT 4


ETNZ gather in the kite. Image copyright Chris Cameron/Emirates Team New Zealand.

M1: Emirates Team New Zealand d. BMW ORACLE Racing – Delta: 9 seconds

Team New Zealand used a familiar formula to win its eighth match in nine starts. Skipper Dean Barker started at the pin, won the first cross and controlled up the beat to hold a 23-second lead at the first mark. The two crews took opposite routes through the leeward gate, with Team New Zealand making a port rounding and BMW Oracle going starboard. A left shift up the second beat allowed BMW Oracle to dig back into Team New Zealand, but the Kiwis took starboard tack across by two lengths at the first meeting on the second uphill leg, and the covered for a 14-second advantage beginning the run to the finish. The Kiwis had to sweat out the win as BMW Oracle closed up to overlapped at the finish from three lengths behind.

While Team New Zealand keeps its place at the top of the leaderboard at 8-1, BMW Oracle remained in sixth with a 3-6 record.

M2: Artemis d. ALL4ONE – DNF

Artemis dodged a big bullet in its hopes of advancing to the semi-finals when it completed a penalty turn on the finish line in light winds for the victory. All4One had gotten the penalty on the Swedish-flagged team on the first windward leg, getting its bow to leeward on port tack and luffing. Artemis, however, led at all three mark roundings and began the run to the finish with a 1:04 advantage. It was going to be tenuous whether Artemis could complete the turn and cross the line in the lead as the wind was blowing about 4 knots. But All4One blew a jibe to starboard when the A2 twisted into an hour-glass. The crew had to lower the sail to remove the twist and Artemis turned its 150-metre lead into 600-plus metres. All4One was scored DNF when it failed to finish within 5 minutes of Artemis.

Artemis is now fifth at 4-5, one loss behind Synergy in fourth. All4One drops to 3-7 in seventh place.


Kite takedown for TeamOrigin. Image copyright Ian Roman/TeamOrigin.

FLIGHT 5

M1: Synergy d. TeamOrigin – Delta: 1:34

Synergy Russia Sailing Team is becoming the spoiler of this regatta. The team is now 2-0 in Round 2 and up to fourth on the leaderboard after dispatching of TeamOrigin in perhaps its most impressive race yet. Synergy won the right side of the racecourse off the start line, won the first cross, led by 28 seconds at the first mark and was never threatened. Synergy is also doing it all as a first-time crew. The loss dropped TeamOrigin to 7-3 on the scoreboard but it remains in second place, one win ahead of Azzurra (6-3).

M2: Emirates Team New Zealand d. TFS – PagesJaunes – Delta: 1:55


Emirates Team New Zealand leads TFS - Pages Jaunes. Image copyright Chris Cameron/Emirates Team New Zealand.

Team New Zealand upped its record to 9-1 with a wire-to-wire win over TFS – PagesJaunes. Team New Zealand controlled the match on the first upwind leg from the left side and led by 27 seconds at the first windward mark. Team New Zealand stretched that advantage to 1:07 at the leeward gate, which it held to the second windward mark. The delta became inflated on the run when the A2 gennaker on TFS – PagesJaunes tore in half.

Louis Vuitton Trophy

LVT: Emirates Team New Zealand Win Two More


Emirates Team New Zealand crosses tacks ahead of BMW ORACLE Racing. Image copyright Chris Cameron.

by Warren Douglas

Emirates Team New Zealand won both of its matches on Sunday to further consolidate its position at the top of the leader board of the Louis Vuitton Trophy regatta at Nice.

With nine points, ETNZ is two points clear of TEAMORIGIN (UK) and three points clear of the Italian Team Azzurra.

With a light and shifty breeze from the north that softened as the race progressed, it was not a day for bold moves. The ETNZ after guard sailed a conservative race, staying in phase on the beats and defending tenaciously on the runs,

ETNZ v BMWOracle Racing

The breeze moved across the course, first favouring ETNZ in the left, then BMWOracle in the right. It was close for the first half of the first beat, the teams bow to bow with neither having a clear advantage.

Another shift to the left and ETNZ extended to two boat lengths giving Dean Barker a measure of control. At the first mark ETNZ was 23 seconds ahead and after a nail biting run rounded the first downwind mark with a margin of 20 sec,

The second beat was no more comfortable. Although still in control ETNZ fought to maintain their hard-won advantage and rounded the third mark 14 sec ahead.

On the run ETNZ extended at first, stretching to four boat lengths. As they closed on the finish line, BMW Oracle brought up the breeze and, travelling a good three knots faster, rapidly closed the gap. For a while, it looked like a lead change was possible right on the line but ETNZ survived the charge and cross 9sec ahead.

ETNZ v Team French Spirit - Pages Jaunes

As the breeze filled in from the south, ETNZ went up against Team French Spirit - Pages Jaune for their second race of the day

From the split-tack start, all the way to the finish, New Zealand worked the breeze to advantage and once Barker had established control on the first beat, the trailing yacht was always going to have a difficult race.

At the first mark ETNZ was 27 sec ahead, the margin was extended to 1 min 7sec after the first run and remained the same at the second windward mark.

The French team ripped the gennaker on the hoist as they rounded the third mark and from there it was over, with ETNZ finishing 1min 55 sec ahead.

Emirates Team New Zealand
Louis Vuitton Trophy

LVT: Lose One, Win One for Artemis


Artemis leads ALL4ONE. Image copyright Frank Socha.

by Paul Cayard

One win and one loss for Artemis today. The bad news is that we lost to Synergy who are on a bit of a roll. We beat All4One so they are definitely out of the top four.

Synergy then went on to defeat TeamOrigin in the third flight of the day, so now they are one point ahead of us and our tie breaking advantage has gone away as we both have beaten TeamOrigin.

In the Synergy match, we were just ahead on the first windward leg, not clear ahead, but with starboard tack rights as we came together for the second time. We tacked to leeward of Synergy as there was 4 times as much port to be sailed as starboard. We call that 4 to 1. However, we were not able to close up to them on the long port tack and we ended up following them into the windward mark. Approaching the leeward mark, we had closed a lot and almost crossed ahead of them. However, they were able to gybe inside of us and make the left gate mark. We may have not made the perfect tactical decision here as we could not quite pull off the pass. Once they rounded ahead of us, that was pretty much it.

Against All4One, we had a split tack start with us out to the right. This means that when we come together we have the power of starboard tack. We forced them away once and then the second time, they shot through to leeward of us as we completed out tack onto port. There were many protest flags flown here by both boats. There was a green (no penalty) by the umpires for the first incident, our tack, and then a penalty on us for the second incident, probably windward/leeward. Terry is at the umpire debrief so we will find out exactly what they saw and why we were penalized.

Anyway, we sailed well from there but the wind died considerably. I was up at the top of the rig most of this race and it was a very rough ride because there is a fairly large southwest swell running. Morgan Larson did a nice job calling the shots on the last lap and we stretched enough to comfortably get the penalty turn in at the finish line and take the win.

BMW Oracle lost both of their matches today against Team New Zealand and TeamOrigin so they are not looking good for the semi finals. BMW Oracle were well ahead of TeamOrigin in the first race of the day but lost the lead when they did not cover TeamOrigin and left them on their own going right. TeamOrigin got a big shift over there and passed BMW Oracle to take the win in that race.

There are three flights left. Team New Zealand, and TeamOrigin are very safe in for the semi finals and Team New Zealand will win the Round Robins and therefore chose their opponent for the semis. With Synergy beating us and TeamOrigin, we have our work cut out for us to get into the semis. I think they have to lose both (they face Team NZ and Azzurra) while we have to win both (BMW and French Spirit) If they only lose one and we win both we will tie and I am not sure yet how that gets broken. In any case, all we can control is the races we are in so we have to go out and win two tomorrow.

Artemis
Louis Vuitton Trophy

LVT: A Win and a Loss for TeamOrigin


Close racing: TeamOrigin and BMW ORACLE Racing. Image copyright Ian Roman/TeamOrigin.

by Leslie Ryan

TEAMORIGIN came from behind to beat the America’s Cup Challenger BMW ORACLE Racing in a difficult light airs race, before falling to the Russian Synergy team.

A solid pre-start from TEAMORIGIN saw the British boat lead off the start line in medium Northerly winds and a residual swell with the American BMW ORACLE Racing to leeward and alongside and a boat length separation between them. Ainslie and co managed to sail for a few minutes with this situation before the powerful leeward position of the American team forced the British boat to tack away to the right.

Tactician Iain Percy possessed the right hand side of the course, always a powerful option when approaching the top mark, but the pair were only a third of the way up the course. The light and patchy dropping wind along with the residual swell made the conditions complex and at the following cross the advantage moved to the other boat. The American team lead around the next lap but allowed the British team to sail alone all the way to the right of the course on the second weather leg. When the pair converged again near the top of the leg the advantage had moved back to TEAMORIGIN and in the incredibly difficult conditions the British team managed to sail defensively to win by just 8 seconds.

TEAMORIGIN strategist Andrew Simpson summarised the race as follows: "It was a really close race. Things only went our way on the second beat. We had a really good wind heading at the leeward gate and continued out to the right hand side of the course. We were surprised the Americans did not cover us. But to be fair, it is much harder than it looks to read the wind as it is shifting so much. It would not have been an easy decision for them to make. A good race for us to win and an exciting close race."


TeamOrigin gains victory in a come from behind win against BMW ORACLE Racing. Image copyright Ian Roman/TeamOrigin.

TEAMORIGIN’s second race of the day was against the Russian Synergy team. The wind in the afternoon had moved to the East, similar to Saturday afternoon, with the right hand side being favourable. Half way up the first beat Synergy, who had won the right in the pre-start, crossed ahead of the British team and allowed TEAMORIGIN to swap sides and take up the all powerful right hand side for the approach to the first weather mark. But the better speed and fewer manoeuvres of the Russian team meant that they lead around the first mark by 28 seconds. The light winds and one sided nature of the course made it almost impossible for the British team to get back in touch with the leader, and the team’s losing margin to the fast rising Russian team was 1 minute 36 seconds.

TEAMORIGIN’s Rob Greenhalgh, the wind strategist up the mast all day: "That was a really tricky day for all - shifty and really difficult. Every day here in Nice is completely different so every race for us is all good training, especially when looking ahead to the semi-finals. Every day of sailing counts."

TEAMORIGIN has mathematically qualified for the Louis Vuitton Trophy Nice regatta Semi Finals knock-out stage which start on Thursday. With just one more race for the team to race in this second Round Robin, on Monday against the Franco-German ALL4ONE team, the British team will be looking forward to two days of well earned rest on Tuesday and Wednesday.

TEAMORIGIN skipper Ben Ainslie concluded the day’s racing with the following statement:
"This morning's win was great for the team – it was the first time we have ever come from behind to win a race. It is good to know we are able to achieve that.

“The second race against Synergy was a tough one for us. We wanted to win the start rather than winning the side and they managed to pull off a great start in pretty difficult circumstances and then they got the better side. On top of that we did not really get the best out of the boat in that race."

Louis Vuitton Trophy Nice Côte d’Azur
Current Standings

Competing teams – (Country) - Skipper - Record (Win-Loss)

Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) - Dean Barker, 9-1
TEAMORIGIN (GBR) - Ben Ainslie, 7-3
Azzurra (ITA) - Francesco Bruni, 6-3
Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS) - Karol Jablonski, 5-4
Artemis (SWE) - Paul Cayard, 4-5
BMW ORACLE Racing (USA) - Gavin Brady, 3-6
ALL4ONE (FRA/GER) - Jochen Schuemann, 3-7
Team French Spirit (FRA) - Bertrand Pacé, 1-9

Louis Vuitton Trophy Nice Côte d’Azur
Pairing Schedule for Monday 16th November


Flight 6
Match 1BMW ORACLE Racing (75) vs Azzurra (93)
Match 2 TEAMORIGIN (99) vs ALL4ONE (90)

Flight 7
Match 1BMW ORACLE Racing (75) vs Artemis (93)
Match 2 Synergy (99) vs Emirates Team New Zealand (90)

Flight 8
Match 1 Azzurra (75) vs Synergy (93)
Match 2 Artemis (99) vs Team French Spirit – Pages Jaunes (90)

TeamOrigin
Louis Vuitton Trophy

TJV: Rankings on 15th November 2009 at 1330 CET



IMOCA OPEN 60

1 SAFRAN 2869.0
2 MIKE GOLDING YACHT RACING 2927.4
3 GROUPE BEL 2935.0
4 HUGO BOSS 3071.2
5 1876 3141.2
6 VEOLIA ENVIRONNEMENT 3170.1
7 AVIVA 3220.3
8 FONCIA 3235.7
9 W HOTELS 3298.5
10 AKENA VERANDAS 3360.8
11 ARTEMIS 3463.8
ABD DCNS
ABD BT
ABD BRIT AIR

MULTI 50

1 CRÊPES WHAOU! 3408.6
2 REGION AQUITAINE-PORT MEDOC 3920.3
3 GUYADER POUR URGENCE CLIMATIQUE 3950.1
4 PRINCE DE BRETAGNE 4426.6
ABD FENETREA-CARDINAL
ABD ACTUAL

Transat Jacques Vabre

TJV: Caffari and Thompson head into Phase Two of the Transat Jacques Vabre


Aviva Ocean Racing on the 2009 Transat Jacques Vabre. Image copyright Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images.

by Kelly Russell

As the IMOCA Open 60 fleet of the Transat Jacques Vabre head into the second week of racing, Dee Caffari and Brian Thompson, onboard Aviva are hoping to take advantage of the good conditions to gain some miles on the race leaders.

Having originally split into two distinct tactical groups, favouring either a northerly or southerly route, the Open 60 fleet are now converging as they head into the second third of the 4800 mile race.

The 10h00 race ranking positioned Dee Caffari and Brian Thompson, onboard Aviva, in seventh place, 324 miles behind race leader Safran.

Dee Caffari and Brian Thompson’s latest diary entry received on 15 November 2009 at 0610 GMT:

“Last night Brian and I decided to go out for dinner seeing as it was Saturday night. I wanted to go dancing to get my weekly fix of Strictly Come Dancing, but alas we chose dinner instead in the Azores. For an aperitif we had amazing views close up of the Islands Pico and Faial, this was followed by a starter of thunder and lightning squalls. For main we both chose a big wind shift and increase and then dessert really was the best bit, we had some fast reaching in the right direction. I really feel like we have just started the second phase of our race and one thing is for sure, the water that is buffeting at us endlessly on deck is definitely getting warmer.

“Brian has even decided to remove his boots with a look of pure ecstasy as he did so and has avoided the dreaded trench foot that I think is being rapidly progressed at the bottom of my boots!”

Aviva Ocean Racing
Transat Jacques Vabre

TJV: A well-deserved change in fortunes?




Mike Golding Yacht Racing. Image copyright Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images.

by Régis Lerat

Flat seas, good power-reaching breezes, speeds breaking the 20 knots mark, sunshine and even the prospect of kites up before sunset, life is good aboard the leading IMOCA Open 60 Safran. As the race enters its second week since the fleet left Le Havre on a typically grey nondescript Autumn afternoon, full of anticipation, knowing well what lay between them and days like this, now it is payback time.

Having served their penance through the strong winds and horrendous seas of the last few days, it is time to enjoy the intense competition for the holy trinity, Safran, Mike Golding Yacht Racing and Groupe Bel.

The lightweight, radical chined Safran is clearly in her stride, an IMOCA Open 60 widely admired by the peers and rivals of skipper Marc Guillemot since her launch, making a further 10 miles on Golding and Javier Sanso since yesterday morning, but it is pleasing to see three skippers who no one would deny a measure of good fortune to any of them, spearheading the vanguard as they streak south towards the Caribbean.

Guillemot was the peoples' humanitarian hero of the Vendée Globe, struggling home to a great third making the final 1000 miles with no keel, after having bravely stood by during the rescue of his badly injured friend Yann Elies.
Golding was cruelly robbed of the Vendée race lead when his mast tumbled in the South Indian Ocean in a 65 knot squall and few will forget the emotional images of Bel's tough guy Kito de Pavant in pieces after his race ended so suddenly, less than 48 hours in.

All three leading crews have shown the guts, experience and seamanship to get the balance right on the northerly routing and today can enjoy the fruits of their endeavours, even if they go on to prove transient.

Safran, peaking at 22 knots on this morning's early Sunday schedule, now has 51 miles over Mike Golding and Javier Sanso and has been consistently a knot or so quicker. The British boat in turn had stretched on Groupe Bel but by a smaller margin.

Safran's Charles Caudrelier Bénac reported excellent conditions this morning, anticipating getting a gennaker up later in the day, racing in around 20 knots of breeze.

Alex Thomson and Ross Daniel have lost some miles on Hugo Boss, some of which Thomson attributed this morning to the after effects of something close to a knock down when their IMOCA Open 60 was bodily picked up and thrown by a huge wave. The British skipper was flung across the cabin from the nav station and a daggerboard was smashed. Since they have swapped boards and the duo are in good shape, he confirmed racing at 100% to regain the distance lost to the leading trio.

In fifth Yves Parlier and Pachi Rivero have made steady progress in the north, whilst Roland Jourdain and Jean-Luc Nelias on Veolia Environnement remain ahead of Aviva despite their pit-stop in the Azores yesterday afternoon which cost them about 150 miles.

Of the easterly group Michel Desjoyeaux and Jeremie Beyou on Foncia have recovered 40 miles on the leaders since yesterday as they sail a converging course across the high pressure ridge to break into same weather pattern as the leading trio.

Quotes

Charles Caudrelier Bénac (FRA), Safran:
“It's going fast and the sea is flat. It is very pleasant. The wind is not too strong, about 20 knots, and we hop to be under spinnaker before the end of the day. We need to get things dry. Everything is wet. We spent much of yesterday going over the boat.

"In my opinion the guys in the south will be able to get into the same system as us but they should not succeed in getting past us, except if we break something of course.

"In the north it is similar, and so we do think the battle should be between us, Mike Golding and the Laughing Cow. But, that's OK just now, we are a long way from the finish, we have not even done half the course. It was certainly tough the way we went. Half of the boats had problems, and it would not surprise me.”

Alex Thomson (GBR) Hugo Boss:
“We were near as dammit beam reaching, about 12 knots, and the sea was getting pretty enormous, I was sat at the nav station, Ross was sat in the cuddy, I can only describe it as if you can imagine being, doing 12 knots if you imagine the boat suddenly being hit by a bulldozer. We basically got knocked down by a breaking wave. I got thrown across the boat, I did not know what the hell was going on, bashed my head, it was pretty sacry, I have never experienced anything like it to be honest, and unfortunately because of that episode, with the boat basically being picked up and pushed sideways it broke our daggerboard.”

Transat Jacques Vabre

USWMRC: St Thomas, USVI, Day 3 - 1-0 In The Semi-Finals


Preparing to hoist the kite on Anna Tunnicliffe's boat. Image copyright Dean Barnes.

by Anna Tunncliffe

We entered the first race of the semi finals today and won it, after wrapping up the third round robin. We won six of the seven races today to finish the preliminary rounds 20-1. Our opponent in the semi's is Anne Gardner-Nelson. Ours was the last race of the day and we are leading 1-0 in a first-to-three point series.

With a day that started with slightly lighter conditions than yesterday, things began to get tricky when the afternoon thunderstorms started to fire up. A couple of big storms barrelled through, but then one just sat over the island next to us, throwing down some spectacular lighting bolts and impressive rolls of thunder, but luckily it stayed over the island and we didn't get it too much of it.

Our only loss in the preliminary series was to Katy Lovell. She sailed a very good race and deserved the win. We went left of the line and started at the committee boat about a boat length behind. At our first meeting, she was still only a boat length ahead of us, and couldn't quite cross us. We tacked away and when we came back together we had a lead on her. She went for the duck, and we countered it by bearing away at her, but we didn't do it quite right and although we tacked onto Katy's hip, we couldn't hang and had to tack away. At the top mark, we were right behind her and rolled her towards the bottom of the downwind leg. When Katy gybe back to the mark, she broke the overlap and we had a bit of trouble recovering our spinnaker so didn't have a great rounding. She extended a couple of boat lengths on us and we just couldn't quite pull her back in after that. It was a good race, and got us re-focused for the rest of our day's racing.

In the semi's we got to pick our opponent from the other three who qualified, because we won the round robin series. We picked Anne, and also chose to enter on starboard first. Anne got to choose which boat she wanted. The conditions for the race were quite different from the other races we have had in the event. The storms had swung the breeze around so that it was blowing right off the hill. The wind had dropped to about 4kts and the seas were quite choppy. We had a great start and my team did a fine job finding the breeze to get us around the course the quickest.

Anna Tunncliffe
US Women's Match Racing Championships

18ft Skiffs - NSW Championship, Race 2


Michael Coxon, Aaron Links and Trent Barnabas produced another brilliant performance in Thurlow Fisher–City to win. Image copyright Frank Quealey.

by Frank Quealey

Michael Coxon, Aaron Links and Trent Barnabas produced another brilliant performance in Thurlow Fisher–City to score their second consecutive victory in Race 2 of the NSW 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour today.

The trio had to produce their very best to outlast the strong challenges of Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin, Sam Newton, Tom Clout), Yandoo (John Winning, David Gibson, Andrew Hay) and Rag & Famish Hotel (John Harris, Peter Harris, Scott Babbage).

The four teams had staged a race long battle with only a few secs. separating them at several rounding marks.

Thurlow Fisher–City’s winning margin over Gotta Love It 7 was 45secs. Rag & Famish Hotel was a further 20secs. back in third place, 11secs ahead of Yandoo.

It was also a great result for the sponsor as Thurlow Fisher–City had only come on board this week to support the team which previously raced as Sponsor Wanted.

The leading point scores after the two races sailed to date: Thurlow Fisher–City on 2 points, Gotta Love It 7 on 4, Rag & Famish Hotel 7, De’Longhi (Simon Nearn) and Smeg (Nick Press) equal on 11 and Pure Blonde (James Francis) sixth on 15 points.

Yandoo narrowly won the race from the start in Taylor Bay to the windward mark in Rose Bay, to lead Gotta Love It 7, Project Racing (Andy Budgen), Thurlow Fisher–City and Asko Appliances (Archie Massey), which had sailed to the western side of Shark Island.


Gotta Love It 7 was second. Image copyright Frank Quealey.

De’Longhi, Rag & Famish, Thurlow Fisher–Bankstown (Bruce Savage), Gill (Dave Alexander), Pure Blonde and Smeg were in close pursuit.

The Yandoo team extended their lead to 10secs. over Gotta Love It 7at the bottom mark off Robertson Point with Thurlow Fisher – City in third place.

Yandoo extended it to 20secs at Clark Island but it was now Thurlow Fisher-City in second place and beginning to make a serious challenge.

Rag & Famish Hotel was now third with Gotta Love It 7 falling back to fourth place.


Rag & Famish finished third. Image copyright Frank Quealey.

The three leaders decided to 2-sail reach across the harbour while Jarvin and his team elected to set their spinnaker on Gotta Love It 7 soon after rounding the Clark Island mark.

Thurlow Fisher-City sailed a slightly better course to the Chowder Bay mark and grabbed a narrow lead from Yandoo while Rag & Famish and Gotta Love It 7 retained their positions.

There was less than 10secs separating the foursome at the mark.

From that point, Coxon and his team were never headed despite the pressure from the Gotta Love It 7 team.

Thurlow Fisher-City turned for home with a 25secs lead over Gotta Love It 7.

On the work to the finish, Coxon covered Jarvin’s every move in a classic match race style and eased further away for a great win.

Aussie 18 Footers League

Laurie Jury Wins the Telecom New Zealand National Match Racing Championships

Jury wins, Corbett 2nd, Dickson 3rd & Sutherland 4th


Winners (left to right): Laurie Jury, Logan Fraser, Matty Stuart, Rhys O'Cain & Mike Edmonds. Image copyright RNZYS.

by Barry Davies

Laurie Jury has won the 2009 Telecom New Zealand Match Racing Championships, beating Reuben Corbett 3 – 1 in the first to win three races finals.

Jury won the first race convincingly by 36s but Corbett bounced back in Race Two to gain a penalty on Jury. Jury was in front of Corbett coming into the finish but had to try and slow his boat down and get overlapped with Corbett to have any chance of clearing his penalty and crossing the finish line ahead.

In a fantastic display of boat handling, Corbett and crew slowed their boat down and managed to stay far enough away from Jury so Jury could not attack them. Jury simply ran out of runway and the boats crossed the finish line with Jury still having to complete his turn giving Corbett the win and Jury a DNF (Did not finish).


Laurie Jury and crew during the 2009 Telecom New Zealand Match Racing Championships. Image copyright RNZYS.

The next two races were won by Jury and awarded them the 2009 Telecom National Championships.

Jury and his crew have sailed consistently well through the entire series, qualifying for the semi finals in second position and having to face a daunting competitor in Chris Dickson, whom he beat 3 – 0.


Reuben Corbett's team (left to right): Miles Addy, Adrian Short, Reuben Corbett, Matt Randall, Aaron Reynolds. Image copyright RNZYS.

Jury’s crew is Mike Edmonds (main), Logan Fraser (trim), Matt Stuart (pit) & Rhys O’Cain (bow). Jury, Edmonds, Fraser & Stuart are all graduates of the RNZYS Lion Foundation Youth Training Programme.

In the petit finals Chris Dickson and his crew continued on their winning streak taking the first race by 18s seconds after Graeme Sutherland received a Red Flag Penalty just after the start for being over the start line and the windward boat trying to ‘come down’ on top of Dickson. In the second race Dickson won by 29s giving himself and his young Lion Foundation Youth Training Programme crew third overall for the series.


Tiller leads Corbett over the finishing line during the round robin. Image copyright RNZYS.

Sunday's Results
Petit Final
Dickson beat Sutherland by 18s
Dickson beat Sutherland by 29s

Final
Jury beat Corbett by 36s
Corbett beat Jury DNF
Jury beat Corbett by 32s
Jury beat Corbett by 28s


Youth squad entry. Left to right: Jimmy Maloney, Jono Spurdle, Harry Thurston, Will Tiller & Shaun Mason. Image copyright RNZYS.

2009 Final Placings
1st Laurie Jury Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron
2nd Rebuen Corbett Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron
3rd Chris Dickson Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron
4th Graeme Sutherland Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron
5th Josh Junior Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club
6th William Tiller Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron Lion Foundation Youth Training Programme
7th Mark Kroening Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron
8th Wataru Sakamoto Wakayama Sailing Club, Japan
9th Stephanie Hazard Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron
10th Samantha Osborne Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron
11th Jessica Smyth Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron


Telecom GM Business Victoria Crone receives a Squadron burgee from Commodore Scott Colebrook. Image copyright RNZYS.

Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron

Sunday, 15 November 2009

LVT: Louis Vuitton Trophy TV - Days 6 and 7 of Racing off Nice, Round Robin 1

Penultimate Day of Racing, Round Robin One, 12th November 2009



Final Day of Racing, Round Robin One, 13th November 2009



Louis Vuitton Trophy

LVT: Artemis Report - Round Robin 1 Wraps Up

by Paul Cayard

We had a good day today and we never got on the water! Our Russian friends on Synergy did nice work beating BMW Oracle so we ended Round Robin 1 in fourth place thanks to the fact that we beat TeamOrigin. That was the tie breaker between Artemis, BMW Oracle and Synergy who all had 3 points at the end of RR1.

So, in theory, that should give us a slightly easier schedule in Round Robin 2 which has been shortened to 4 races for each team. However, as we saw today with French Spirit PagesJaune with no wins in Round Robin won beat Azzurra, any team can beat any other team on any given day so nothing is easy about racing here. The wind was again very light and fickle.

In the other matches, Team New Zealand beat All4One while French Spirit PagesJaune beat Azzurra. Then TeamOrigin beat French Spirit PagesJaune, while All4One beat Azzurra. The Italians had a bad day!

We start out in the first flight tomorrow against Synergy and then we race in the second flight of the day against All4One. Both will be tough matches and the weather forecast for the next two days is for very light and tricky conditions. Furthermore, a southwesterly swell is expected to build up to 3 feet so I am thinking about my ride at 100 feet and how that may get a bit uncomfortable. I am getting more body armor.

Artemis Racing
Louis Vuitton Trophy

TJV: Sunday is Sun Day?




Prince de Bretagne. Image copyright Pascal Desroche.

by Régis Lerat

By and large it is back to the business of racing, give or take the chance to tidy up, make running repairs and catch some much needed rest. For the crews on the Transat Jacques Vabre they can look back on a very tough, demanding first week en route from Le Havre to Costa Rica, and forward to a whole new set off challenges as the weather picture suggests there will be rewarding spells of fast sailing in the sunshine.

It is the leading IMOCA Open 60's who will profit most, according to the weather models, but the scenario is still changeable with slightly complex pattern when normally crews might be looking forward to, as double Vendée Globe winner Michel Desjoyeaux put it before the start of this race, ‘putting a heavy rock on the accelerator pedal'.

In fact it is Desjoyeaux-Beyou on Foncia, Boissières-Riou on Akenas Verandas and the group to the south and east who face the more variable weather patterns although their time may come.

The final third of the track, across the Caribbean can be riddled with potholes under certain meteorological influences, as race director Jean Maurel, Mike Golding and W-Hotels's Pepe Ribes, all united to point out at different times during today's radio vacation from Paris Race HQ.

Charles Caudrelier and Marc Guillemot on Safran could scarcely conceal their relief after emerging from the bad weather with a decent lead of over 40 miles on Mike Golding and Javier Sanso on Mike Golding Yacht Racing. Guillemot admitted their problems were minor, a repair to their rudder which had been tricky and some work required on their mainsail, but their position at the head of the IMOCA Open 60 fleet looks strong.


DCNS. Image copyright DPPI.

Mike Golding conceded that he had been happy to be to the south of Safran on Mike Golding Yacht Racing, but their position had weakened marginally as their French rivals were, he believed, getting a little more wind pressure.

Pepe Ribes of W-Hotels reported that they had crash tacked twice with the keel on the wrong side of the boat and waves crashing over them.

Marc Thiercelin and Christopher Pratt took the hard decision to head back to France today, the third IMOCA Open 60 to retire, after discovering a problem with their keel mechanism on DCNS 1000.

The Sabbath may be a day of rest for some, but forecasters predict speeds to rise among the leaders as the weekend progresses, a return to brochure conditions.

Quotes:

Mike Golding (GBR) Mike Golding Yacht Racing:
“We are just dealing with some quite shifty winds and a complete lack of instruments so it is quite tricky to know what we are dealing with.

“Obviously we are very pleased to be out of the bad weather and very pleased to hear that the team on BT are OK. It has obviously been a very bad gale by any standards and so we feel pretty lucky to have got away with a few broken bits of electronics, the boat's fine the sails are fine. Obviously we had plenty of advance notice and so the boat was prepared for the worst, but it was pretty damaging conditions and I think it was a bit of a surprise because it was even worse than we saw on the forecast files. We were expecting 40-45 knots not 65…and periods of a full 50.

"Javier is a very experienced sailor and it has not taken him long to settle in to a rhythm and it is working well, and where we are in the fleet says it is working really well. He is a pretty easy going guy and has a lot of experience with my previous boat Ecover 2. There is a great deal in common between the two boats and so it is quite natural for him to step on board and operate at 100% straight away. He is a tough cookie, no question about it and a good man to have alongside you in a storm, that is for sure.

"Positioned to the left of Safran and we were pretty happy being south of him, but we seemed to have lost our south advantage, or a lot of it which is slightly disappointing, maybe it is less important now. But as the breeze rotates and we get lifted there might be some advantages to being where we are, but at the moment we are in slightly softer pressure, maybe a couple of knots.

"So I am pretty happy with our position, but there is a long way to go and plenty of sections of the course where things can happen, and I know that Safran is equally quick and so is Groupe Bel.

"We will be trying not to get bogged down in that and just concentrate on keeping the boat going at 100% and concentrate on seeing what we can do later on in the week.

"Alex, I looked a few days ago at his routing, and he actually came out on top. But a lot of things have to work out exactly right for that plan to work, so it is still an unknown and we will have to wait and see.“

Pepe Ribes (ESP), W-Hotels:
“We are good, just getting through it and south of the Azores. It was very tough because the forecast was totally right and there was a lot of wind. We had for an hour 50 knots constant and so we went through all the sail combinations and we stuck in the reef four and the storm jib and then we had a problem in that we were not very fast and the waves broke over us. We had two crash tacks with the waves breaking over us and the keel on the wrong side, with water coming in the hatch. It was tough, yes.

"At the moment we don't have too many problems with the boat, we had some electronics problems but today it is all good. We had a spare compass on board and we replaced the compass and the boat is fine and we are ready to go. We are ready to go.

"No the truth is we are very, very tired. This morning we were dealing with a very light wind spot, so we have both been on deck for half the night.

"So we need to start to work on sleep and eating and take it easy a little bit.

"It is so different with two. Here when you have a very little problem it becomes a massive problem in a very short time. With ten people you can fix problems with ten people in heavy winds, with two people it is just dangerous. Crash tacking with two people is just unbelievable. There is not much you can do. One has to hold the helm and the other has to do all the jobs. And the waves are breaking over you, and so a little problem becomes a huge problem.”

Transat Jacques Vabre

LVT: Disappointment in Nice for BMW ORACLE Racing

It was a difficult morning for BMW ORACLE Racing as they fell to the Russian Synergy team at the Louis Vuitton Trophy in Nice


BMW ORACLE Racing loses out to Synergy. Image copyright Bob Grieser/OutsideImages.co.nz

by Peter Rusch

The loss in the final match of the first Round Robin dropped the team into a three-way tie on points with Artemis and Synergy but the tie-breaking mechanism favoured the other two, dropping BMW ORACLE Racing into sixth place at the conclusion of the opening round.

The team will now have an uphill climb. The modified format for the second round will see them race each of the top teams once. After the second round, the top four teams qualify for the Semi Finals, while the bottom four in the fleet race for the minor placings.

"It's not where we want to be," said Andrew Taylor, a veteran of eight America's Cup campaigns. "But at the end of the day, you've got to beat all of those guys (the top teams) if you want to win the regatta. If we win our races, we'll be okay."

In a familiar scenario, Saturday's match was sailed in light, shifty conditions. Following a postponement, the teams split off the starting line, with BMW ORACLE Racing out to the left. The separation between the boats built up quickly and when the wind shifted to the right, the Synergy team took a commanding lead. BMW ORACLE Racing made a push to close the gap later in the race, but couldn't get around the Russians.

The next stage of the regatta started immediately afterwards, but BMW ORACLE Racing won't race it's first match of the second round until Sunday.

The BMW ORACLE guys came off the water just before noon today, and headed for a gym session after their race debrief. They gathered later in the afternoon for a team-bonding session to watch the All Blacks rugby game, and will find out this evening who their race partners are for Sunday's session.

Round Robin 1 Standings

1. Emirates Team New Zealand; 6-1
2. Azzurra; 6-1
3. TeamOrigin; 5-2
4. Artemis; 3-4
5. Synergy; 3-4
6. BMW ORACLE Racing; 3-4
7. ALL4ONE; 2-5
8. TFS - Pages Jaunes; 0-7

BMW ORACLE Racing
Louis Vuitton Trophy

LVT: It's not easy being Luigi

The PRO for the Louis Vuitton Trophy is up against some deep challenges


Principal Race Officer Peter "Luigi" Reggio (left) confers with Michele Ivaldi (right) of BMW Oracle Racing as helmsman Gavin Brady (center) looks on. Image copyright Bob Grieser/OutsideImages.co.nz

by Chloe Daycard

Peter Reggio is an ISAF-certified race officer. He’s conducted races for the America’s Cup, Louis Vuitton Cup and Olympics, as well as a host of one-design and rating classes.

“Luigi” is well known for being communicative and amenable to the competitors’ wishes. But his humour and patience are being put to the test at the Louis Vuitton Trophy Nice Côte d’Azur.

“It’s a challenging venue, for sure,” said Reggio, who recently turned 60. “The wind is an issue, but nobody can control that. What we can control is the course and the way we set things.”

Even the things under his control are a little out of hand. Reggio has to contend with the extreme depths of the Mediterranean Sea when setting the racecourse. The northerly winds of the morning mean he has to be farther offshore to set the starting line. The farther offshore, the deeper the water.

“The depths are 270 metres along the shore,” Reggio said. “But we’ve got a couple of buoys set in depths between 680 and 720 metres. Not feet, metres.”

Those are depths between 2,230 and 2,360 feet. Anchors reportedly take 20 minutes to reach the sea floor. That’s one reason why Reggio isn’t anchoring his committee boat. It simply takes too long for the anchor to reach the bottom. Another reason is the amount of line required. He would swing through too wide an arc.

The windward mark and right-hand leeward gate mark (looking downwind) are set with drogues and typically dropped just before the yachts reach the marks. If a course change is required, a mark boat flies the “M” flag, signalling missing mark and places the mark in the boat.

“The pin is ‘set’ but we’ve seen it move in varying breezes and directions upwards of 280 metres,” Reggio said. “One day the buoy went upwind 185 metres. It’s got probably 950 metres (3,116 feet) of line in 720 meters of water.”


Principal Race Officer Peter "Luigi" Reggio watches ALL4ONE return to the start line after being OCS in its match against Synergy. Image copyright Paul Todd/OutsideImages.co.nz

Reggio does his best to keep the committee boat in one spot, but it invariably drifts backwards a slight bit. Three crews were called OCS in Round 1, and at least one learned a lesson.

“Being called over early was tough for us,” said Synergy skipper Karol Jablonski of his match last Sunday against Emirates Team New Zealand. “The bowman was calling us up with 4 seconds to go. I have to trust my bowman (Bernard Labro), who’s got quote a bit of experience. On the other hand, it’s difficult to make judgements because the committee boat isn’t anchored. It’s difficult to judge the proper position, so you have to be more conservative.”

There are other stories from the racecourse of the leeward gate marks drifting, but Reggio said the competitors have remained largely quiet about issues like that.

“They know we’re doing the best we can,” said Reggio. “We know if things weren’t right they’d tell us.

“It’s not a right or wrong thing,” he continued. “They understand our problems as much as we do. They’re willing to work through it. It’s something that takes a good bit of understanding on their part to make it work, and it’s appreciated a lot.”

Louis Vuitton Trophy

LVT: Unravelling the Weather

Veteran meteorologist Roger 'Clouds' Badham reveals the secrets of Nice's weather


Emirates Team New Zealand Meterologist, Roger "Clouds" Badham. Image copyright Chris Cameron.

by Chloe Daycard

While many of the world class sailors competing at the Louis Vuitton Trophy Nice Côte d’Azur know the conditions well along this magnificent coast line during the summer months, it is rare for them to be competing here this late in the season, when the weather is wholly different. Why, for example, does the wind seem to shut down for a while at 11am each day during this regatta?

The man with the answers is meteorologist, Roger ‘Clouds’ Badham. Working here in Nice with Emirates Team New Zealand, Clouds has been involved with the weather side of the America’s Cup since 1987, along with Whitbreads/Volvo Ocean Races, Olympics, records and countless other regattas.

Having studied the weather in Nice for a couple of weeks now, Clouds reckons he has a reasonable handle on how the weather here works.

Pretty much the whole of the south of France, all the way around to Genoa, Italy, he says is affected by the ‘Mistral’, the fierce northwesterly that is funnelled between the Alps and Pyrenees. “That will give you anything from 30-100 knots,” says Badham. This wind either wraps around the coast from Marseille and the Golfe de Lyon or from the opposite way from Genoa, but, usually, it never quite reaches Nice, tucked away in the lee of the Alps.

What does affect Nice directly is a secondary effect of the Mistral – a small localised depression that forms in the lee of the Alps. Unfortunately this has a tendency to move around and can be hovering over Nice, over Corsica or anywhere between – its positioning vital to determining the wind direction. Hence why a strong Mistral can result in SSEerly or northeasterly wind off Nice.

While this is the ‘big picture’ weather scenario, of a more local nature is the unpleasant-sounding ‘drainage flow’, the cold air that floods down from the at present snow-covered Alps every night and is the reason why the weather mark for the early morning races is usually closest to the coast.

“The cold air drainage at night is quite deep and quite strong, but it doesn’t go offshore a long way,” says Badham. “It flows down from the hills, across the airport and the town but it is channelled more according to the topography.” For example the flow is more consistent and strong on the flatter, western, airport side of the bay in the morning.

Racing early morning is good, but sadly this wind packs up mid-morning as the land begins to heat up – the exact time depends upon how cold the night was and how quickly the land warms up the following morning. Today, due to the cloud cover, the ‘drainage flow’ lasted until around midday.

With the heating of the land, convection occurs and with it a ‘sea breeze’, wind blowing on to the shore, typical of racing in the Mediterranean, only at this time of year the difference in temperatures between land and sea are not great enough for this to be strong. According to Clouds this has been the situation for the last few days and will continue into next week, with the sea breeze typically from the southeast rather than the more robust southwest, typical of what we experienced on Tuesday when the sea breeze peaked at 13 knots and a full afternoon of racing could be held.

“Generally the sea breeze is a pretty minor sort of creature and it will last for 3-4 hours at best and might reach 12 knots or it be struggling at 6-7 knots. So it comes in different disguises.”

And his forecast for next week? A number of fronts are coming across France but they are all quite weak and won’t prompt a Mistral to blow. This is the case, reckons Badham, until Wednesday-Thursday, with the northerly drainage flow in the morning followed by a shut-down until a soft easterly establishes itself in the afternoon. “Friday the flow wanted to go into the east but it was sick trying to do it and it’ll be like that for the next couple of days and gradually it might get more robust,” concluded Badham.

Louis Vuitton Trophy

LVT: New Format for Round Robin 2 of the Louis Vuitton Trophy Nice


Day one of Round Robin 2 off Nice. Image copyright Frank Socha.

by Chloe Daycard

Due to time constraints Round 2 of the Louis Vuitton Trophy Nice Côte d’Azur has been amended. A full round robin requires 14 flights, 28 matches. But with the light winds of the area and the semifinals and knockout round scheduled to start Thursday, 17 November, event organizers have amended Round 2.

Rather than a full second round robin, as originally planned, the eight teams have been divided into two halves based on their placing in Round 1. The top four teams will race each of the bottom four teams once. Wins will be worth 1 point.

The amended sailing instructions read:

“Teams will be ranked based on their points scored in Round Robin 1. Ties will be broken in accordance with RRS Appendix C11.

“Teams ranked in positions 5-8 will race once against each team ranked in positions 1-4, and the Round Robin will be complete at that point under SI 8.8(a). A win will score one point. Other matches in Round Robin 2 will not be sailed.”

In the modified round teams will swap starting line assignments and yachts from the first round.

Louis Vuitton Trophy

LVT: Off Day for Azzurra

After a thrilling rise through the rankings in Round Robin 1, Italian team Azzurra hit a bad patch in today’s first match races of Round Robin 2 in the Louis Vuitton Trophy – Nice (7th to 22nd November 2009)


Azzurra. Image copyright Steffano Gattini/Azzurra.

by Jill Campbell

The crew, led by skipper Francesco Bruni, lost both of their races against TFS – PagesJaunes (FRA) and All4One (FRA-GER). The team sits behind leaders Emirates Team New Zealand in the provisional standings, and are on equal points with Team Origin (GBR). The second Round Robin has been shortened due to time constraints and the eight teams have been divided into two halves based on the Round Robin 1 standings. The top four teams will race each of the bottom four teams once.

Azzurra vs TFS PagesJaunes: The French team skippered by Bertrand Pace gained their first win of the competition opting for the right side of the course from the start and leading Azzurra around the marks to finish 1 minute and 45 seconds ahead.


Azzurra trails TFS - Pages Jaunes. Image copyright Steffano Gattini/Azzurra.

Azzurra vs All4One: The French-German alliance helmed by Sebastien Col took the lead on the first Windward leg to round the top mark 39 seconds ahead. Azzurra was unable to recover and crossed the finish line 46 seconds behind All4One.

“We made a lot of small mistakes over both of the matches, it would have been better to concentrate them in one race but unfortunately it didn’t go that way. We have lost two points but we must remained focused on the next regattas because we are still in the game.” Commented Bruni after racing.

Tactician Tommaso Chieffi agreed: “In the first match the start was better on the right side of the line, the French did well to gain that side and protect it for the entire race. In the second match we didn’t get a great start and All4One protected their position very well. An off day for us but everything is still to decide over the next few days.”

Azzurra has no scheduled races Sunday.


Azzurra trails downwind. Image copyright Steffano Gattini/Azzurra.

Saturday's Races

RR1
Synergy beat Bmw Oracle: 00.14

RR2
Emirates Team New Zealand beat All4One
TFS Pages Jaunes beat Azzurra
TeamOrigin beat TFS Pages Jaunes
All4One beat Azzurra

Provisional Standings Wins/Losses
ETNZ 7/1
TEAMORIGIN, 6/2
AZZURRA, 6/3
ARTEMIS 3/4
SYNERGY, 3/4
BMW ORACLE, 3/4
ALL4ONE, 3/6
TFS PAGES JAUNES, 1/8

Azzurra
Louis Vuitton Trophy