Saturday 10 January 2009

A-Cat Worlds 2009: Interview with the Champion - Glenn Ashby

Six-times A-Cat World Champion, Glenn Ashby. Image copyright

by Rob Kothe

At Belmont 16 Foot Sailing Club overlooking Lake Macquarie on the final day of the 2009 titles, the newly crowned A-Class Catamaran (A-Cat) World Champion Glenn Ashby was as modest as ever.

Ashby always wanted to sail catamarans.

He can remember looking at A-Cats when he was eight years old and wanting to get his hands on one.

'I was going, wow, look at that! I’d love to sail one of those one day! When I was 18 I had the opportunity to get one myself and it went from there. I’ve enjoyed the feeling of sailing something that’s basically an extension of your body. You become part of the boat when you’re sailing (it) because they’re so efficient. I love it; it’s really good fun.

'I enjoy the freedom of sailing on your own. I’ve enjoyed sailing double-handed boats as well, but I think growing up sailing single-handed is where my initial sailing was. It’s like freestyle sailing.'

The A-Cats are not made for big offshore conditions as much, but they do handle the big stuff, although it’s more difficult on the gear. The boats are light, stiff and strong and have a lot of water line length for their width.

Sailing in good, flat water with a solid, steady sea breeze on Lake Macquarie is ideal for the A-Cats.

According to Ashby, the European sailors are having a fantastic time sailing here, and Ashby himself would love to sail on the Lake again.

'They are all having a ball. It’s a great spot for sailing; if you get into trouble you’re going to wash back onto the shore eventually.

'The fact that there are a few little shifts coming through that you can take advantage of, and the fact that you can tack and jibe regularly on the A-Class in comparison to the bigger multihulls – it really is ideal.

'You’re sailing the boats as fast as they’ll go upwind in the flat water, and downwind too. The infrastructure at the Belmont 16 Foot Sailing Club is fantastic, and as far as a venue to hold a major regatta it’s (Lake Macquarie) excellent.'

'I’m planning to come back and learn to sail a Moth in 2011, if I can get here. It is a great spot and I don’t know how I’d go hiking, but it’s one of those great venues for any regatta.'

On the first day of the 2009 A-Cat Worlds, after racing was blown out and the day cancelled by the Committee, Ashby went out windsurfing with fellow Olympians, and local Lake Macquarie sailors, Tom Slingsby and Nathan Outteridge. With some gusts coming through at around 30 knots, Ashby commented 'That wind would have caused carnage on the A-Cats.’

Sailing the A-Cats is fantastic experience for other top Australian sailors.

Ashby continued, ‘It’s great for sailors like James Spithill, Slingsby and Outteridge to step across into another class. Talking to all of them they’ve all learnt a huge amount out of sailing the A-Class catamarans, and the skills that they’ve learnt here they’ll take back across to their own disciplines; Nathan in the 49er, Tom in the Laser and James with the bigger multihulls.'

Ashby appreciates the manoeuvrability of the A-Cats and the ability of the sailor to make fast decisions; the boats tack extremely well.

'You can give yourself a few more options tactically than what you may have on a Tornado for example, which costs you a lot more in attack. I think the guys like Tom and Nathan and James are used to doing more tacks, which is why they’re doing really well. You can sail the A-Class very much like a dinghy,' Ashby said.

Slingsby, Outteridge and Spithill have all been talking about doing the A-Class regattas and the Worlds. Ashby hopes that his mates will be around for a long time in the class.

Ashby expressed his admiration for the performances of his fellow sailors, particularly Steve Brewin.

'Steve Brewin has come second overall. He has been one of the most consistent of the A-Class fleet over the last ten years. He’s grown up in a family of sailors and he’s one of Australia’s best catamaran sailors.

'To have someone like Steve in the class for the others to look up to is fantastic. He’s very good with all the European guys; he helped a lot of people out with coming over to Australia and that sort of thing. In return, they do the same thing for him when he goes over there.

'There are some top sailors amongst the Europeans who will provide challenges in 2010. Luc Du Bois (SUI) is certainly on the pace and Bob Baier (GER) who is relatively new to the A-Class, is a world-class hang glider pilot. Manolo (Spain’s Manuel Calavia), continues to impress; he has sailed Tornados and that experience shows.’

In the meantime, Glenn Ashby is the undisputed A-Class Catamaran king.

A-Cat Worlds 2009

Vendée Globe: Redress for Vincent Riou

Vincent Riou on board PRB. Image copyright Vincent Curutchet/DPPI/Vendée Globe.

by Véronique Teurlay

Following a request from the Vendée Globe Race Directors, Vincent Riou changed course and, as laid down in rule 1.1 of the Race Rules ( «A boat or competitor shall give all possible help to any person or vessel»), helped Jean Le Cam.

After sustaining damage to his rigging during Jean Le Cam's rescue operation Vincent Riou informed the Chairman of the International Jury, Bernard Bonneau, in writing that he was requesting redress.

Riou considered that he could in no way be held responsible for the damage that occurred to his monohull, PRB during Le Cam's rescue. He added that «This damage requires a lot of work that cannot be carried out alone at sea.»

After PRB was completely dismasted on 7th January 2009 after the temporary repair they had made failed, Riou confirmed to the Jury in writing that he was still seeking that redress be awarded.

The skipper of PRB stated that these recent “events were directly linked to and indeed caused by the rescue operation” and noted that it was now entirely impossible for him to "continue the race back the finishing port of Les Sables d’Olonne."

Within a reasonable time frame it would be impossible for Riou to find a replacement mast nor could one be sourced and delivered within reasonable time period.

Consequently, Riou has therefore requested that his boat continues to be scored, as is regularly the case in international racing, when a skipper falls victim to damage and/or is materially prejudiced by something beyond his or her control.

As chief representative of the International Jury, Bernard Bonneau has indicated that this subsequent incident in no way affects the jury's decision to agree to listen to this case and meanwhile has asked the race directors to indicate that PRB and her skipper are RDG (Redress Granted).

In simple terms this means that, in theory, Redress is Granted, but that the precise details have not yet been considered.

Until the decision of the jury is known PRB will remain ranked in the official race standings.

PRB, Riou and Le Cam still in Puerto Williams

Vincent Riou and Jean Le Cam are still in Puerto Williams. They spent the day yesterday with the Chilean customs officials sorting out the administrative details, which were complicated by the fact that Jean Le Cam did not have any papers on him. He is due to recover his passport later today, which will mean they will be able to leave the Chilean zone. Riou's goal is to have PRB towed to Ushuaia, some twenty miles along the coast in Argentina. It is unlikely that the tow can get underway today, but will probably take place this weekend or early next week depending on the weather conditions. Riou and his shore team are attempting to find a solution to transport the boat back from Ushuaia by cargo ship.

Vendée Globe

Friday 9 January 2009

VOR: All Systems Go for Singapore In-Port Race

Race Village opening ceremony in Singapore. Image copyright David Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

by Volvo Ocean Race media

On Saturday afternoon in Singapore, for the second time in this edition of the Volvo Ocean Race, the teams will take to the race course for the short, sharp, intense action of an in-port race day.

The schedule for the UBS Challenge for the In-Port Race in the Volvo Ocean Race comprises of up to two races on Saturday afternoon, with the first start gun scheduled to fire at 13:00 local time (05:00 GMT).

Race fans in Singapore can watch the racing from along the shoreline at East Coast Beach Park.

For those further afield, the racing will be streamed live in video at and in audio (English and Spanish) at Both streams will begin at 04:45 GMT. The video coverage will also be archived and available for viewing following the races.

‘A short course, for big, fast boats’

The only other in-port racing to this point came ahead of the leg one start in Alicante, when Telefonica Blue won both races to claim top points on the day. The co-skipper that day, Iker Martinez, will be at the helm of the Blue boat again on Saturday, but he’s not expecting the day to be easy.

“It’s going to be a very difficult race,” he said. “We saw this today in practice. It also looks like there’s going to be much more wind. So for us, and I guess all the other boats, it feels difficult to focus on in-port racing after the long legs of the last few months. We have to adjust.”

Images of il mostro (PUMA Ocean Racing), all copyright Rick Deppe/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race:

PUMA’s skipper, Ken Read agreed: “The difference in mindset (between the offshore and inshore) is quite dramatic; different communication, different positions on board and more structure. And it takes some practice. The first couple of spinnaker sets and drops we did a couple of days ago were embarrassing...We just forgot how to do it. But it’s amazing though how quickly it comes back and today was a phenomenal day of sailing. Hopefully we all stay sharp as a group because it can get pretty scary pretty quick.”

Ericsson 4 skipper Torben Grael said the compressed race course, and a forecast for moderate to strong offshore winds, means the racing will be spectacular to watch.

“It’s a very short course for very big, fast boats,” he said. “When you put a gate in the middle and everyone has to go through at the same time, that doesn’t make it any easier. And with the wind off the land it’s going to be shifty. So it’s going to be hard for us and good for you guys to watch.”

Raffles Hotel in Singapore, dressed for Christmas. Image copyright Rick Tomlinson/Volvo Ocean Race.


The winner of each race on Saturday will earn 4 points, the second placed boat 3.5 points and so on. If two races are sailed, the winner of the UBS Challenge for the In-Port Race in the Volvo Ocean Race is the team with the highest accumulated point score. If there are two races and two teams end up on equal points, the team with the highest score in the second race of the day is placed higher.

For the overall score in the Volvo Ocean Race, the winner of the in-port race day (whether it comprises one or two races) is awarded 4 points, second place 3.5 points and so on, towards their race overall race ranking.

Thus each in-port race counts half as much as an offshore leg. In total the in-port races make up for 20% of the total points you can score in the Volvo Ocean Race.

Volvo Ocean Race

Ten Teams to Contest Louis Vuitton Pacific Series

by Keith Taylor, with additional material from SailRaceWin

The organizers of the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series confirmed today that ten international teams from nine countries will match race on Auckland's Waitemata Harbour for a special trophy created by Louis Vuitton. Racing starts on 30th January and will continue for the next two weeks.

Crews will take turns in racing one-on-one in New Zealand's NZL 92 and NZL 84 and BMW Oracle Racing's USA 87 and USA 98. The two American boats were offloaded from their transport ship just before Christmas and a team of 30 Kiwi and American shore crew members worked throughout the holiday period to prepare the boats for racing. The work included changes to the rigs and sail plans to make each pair of boats as equal as possible.

There will be six races each day on the Waitemata off North Head, readily visible to spectators ashore and afloat. There will be a daily draw to decide which yacht competing teams will sail that day. Renowned international race officer Peter "Luigi" Reggio will fly to Auckland to head the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron's race committee.

Representing New Zealand, America's Cup and Louis Vuitton Cup winner Dean Barker will skipper and take the helm for the home team. The only change to the Emirates Team New Zealand sailing team from 2007 is that Peter Merrington replaces Jono Macbeth as a grinder on the boat.

Italy's Luna Rossa, winner of the 2000 Louis Vuitton Cup in Auckland and semi-finalist in Valencia, will have Virgin Island native Peter Holmberg as its skipper and helmsman.

Auckland's Russell Coutts, three-time America's Cup winner, has never lost a race between 1995 and 2003. Coutts, who has not raced at this level of competition since then, will return to skipper and steer for the USA's BMW Oracle Racing.

France will be represented by K-Challenge. The team's young skipper, Sebastien Col, was helmsman for the team in Valencia in 2007 and was runner-up Match Racing World Champion in 2008. He is currently ranked as the top match racer in the world.

From Great Britain, TEAMORIGIN is a new bid for America's Cup success by the Royal Thames Yacht Club. Ben Ainslie, Great Britain's most successful Olympic sailor, with three Gold medals and one Silver, is the skipper and helmsman. British Olympic Star gold medallist Iain Percy in China last year, is tactician.

For the China Team, British two-time World Match Racing Tour champion Ian Williams has signed on as skipper and will take the helm in Auckland. The team was a first-time Louis Vuitton Cup competitor in Valencia in 2007. It's home is the Qingdao International Yacht Club.

South Africa's Team Shosholoza also made its debut in Valencia in 2007 as the first-ever challenger from the African continent. Italy's Paolo Cian, who until recently was third in the ISAF Match Racing world rankings, is skipper and helmsman.

Damiani Italia is a new team from Circolo Canottieri Aniene and Club Canottieri Roggero di Lauria, two of Italy's oldest yacht clubs. Vasco Vascotto, runner-up in the 2008 TP52 worlds is skipper and tactician while Francesco Bruni is helmsman.

The most recently-formed team is the Greek Challenge, currently training on borrowed boats in Valencia. The team was started by courageous Greek and Canadian businessman Sotiris Buseas who is still finalizing negotiations with an international skipper and helmsman.

Auckland's Brad Butterworth is skipper and tactician for Alinghi, the race-winning team from Switzerland that is the two-time winner and current holder of the America's Cup. American Ed Baird will again take the helm for the Swiss.

The Louis Vuitton Pacific Series is being organised in association with the New Zealand Government, Emirates Team New Zealand, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, Auckland City and Sky City Entertainment Group.

Louis Vuitton Pacific Series

A-Cat Worlds 2009: Ashby, Brewin and Landenberger on the Podium

Glenn Ashby: A-Cat World Champion. Image copyright

by Rob Kothe

Six time A-Cat World Champion Glenn Ashby was a relaxed spectator for the final race, race nine, in the 2009 A-Cat World Championship today, after his convincing Championship win.

The conditions were challenging today as they had been all week.

On the left hand side of course, a small rain cell was bending the wind left and up the first beat Germany's Bob Baier had stepped out on the fleet.

Australian 1996 Olympic Tornado bronze medalist Andrew Landenberger was second, just ahead of Thomas Paasch (Den), followed by dual Laser World Champion Tom Slingsby, then four more Australian's Wayne Mercer, Brad Collett, Dave Brewer, Dave McKenzie and Mike Drummond (NZL).

Down the first run Landenberger sailed through Baier. At the top mark the second time he was still leading Baier, with Queenslander Brad Collett in third place ahead of Tom Slingsby, New Zealander Mike Drummond and Dave Brewer.

But the lead changes continued as the eventual winner Brad Collett explained ashore.

'Downwind my medium wind battens paid off. I climbed to third then downwind I was doing very well. I got to the lead on the second downwind; fell back to fourth again on the upwind then flew home for a win. Overall it was a very good regatta. I had a bit of bad luck in a few races which put me back in the points, but nice to win the last race.'

BMW ORACLE Racing's America's Cup helmsman, James Spithill, finished sixth overall. Image copyright

Second across the line was Baier, then Australian Tom Slingsby with Andrew Landenberger.

Ashore Slingsby had a big grin. 'I can do the upwind thing; it's just like Lasers, big fleet start. Still a lot of work to do on downwind technique, but it's a lot of fun.'

Landenberger finished third overall in the regatta. He led twice but fell back to fourth but was still pleased with the results.

'Today there were big oscillations in the course. Two boats would go one way and one would go the other. At the end I was set up for heavy wind and the breeze softened so I lost my lead. Then Port starboard on the finish line, so Slingsby just got me,' Landenberger said.

Wandering through the boat park, shaking hands with sailors, Glenn Ashby commented: 'It's been a busy week. It's been a fantastic event; we've had some excellent conditions. We've had a lot of great sailing and we've got in every race of the series on schedule.

'To get through the races in the National's bar one and a whole series of the World's I think they've certainly got the bang for their buck. They should be happy,' Slingsby said.

The World's will be held in Italy in 2010 and possibly Germany in 2011.

'There's a couple of good venues to look forward to and with the European Championships in the middle. The A-Class is going very strong,' Slingsby said.

Swiss sailor Luc Du Bois summed up: 'It's a great venue with good organisation, so I'm very happy that I came here. The next two World's are in Europe, so I don't know if that will put the balance back on our side; it's always the same guy who wins anyway.

'It's a difficult time to be racing with Glenn Ashby out there. He's a tough guy and tough competition, and he's proving year after year that sailing well is the most important thing.'

Overall Results (given in full for overseas interests)

Place Sail No. Bow No. Skipper Origin Race 1 Race 2 Race 3 Race 4 Race 5 Race 6 Race 7 Race 8 Race 9 Points
1 AUS 1 1 Glenn Ashby VIC 3 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 dns 8
2 AUS 4 11 Steve Brewin NSW 1 8 5 4 3 6 2 5 dns 26
3 AUS 24 35 Andrew Landenberger NSW 13 7 6 3 10 21 3 2 4 35
4 ESP 11 87 Manuel Calavia ESP 2 11 11 8 4 5 6 3 7 35
5 GER 14 70 Bob Baier GER 17 5 9 27 2 1 11 7 2 37
6 AUS 938 53 James Spithill NSW 4 9 2 6 16 10 9 4 8 42
7 SUI 202 89 Luc Du Bois SUI 8 2 7 23 9 4 8 8 5 42
8 AUS 902 2 Scott Anderson NSW 23 6 3 2 5 9 5 17 15 45
9 AUS 908 10 Dave Brewer VIC 6 10 4 10 6 3 32 11 9 48
10 AUS 10 17 Brad Collett QLD 35 4 OCS 9 18 8 4 9 1 53
11 AUS 822 45 Nathan Outteridge NSW 11 16 10 7 8 13 16 12 11 72
12 DEN 1 64 Thomas Paasch DEN 9 12 14 13 32 19 13 33 12 92
13 AUS 321 58 Andrew Williams NSW 24 15 24 11 11 11 14 15 19 96
14 AUS 832 52 Tom Slingsby NSW 28 3 dnf 22 7 38 7 29 3 99
15 NZL 245 82 Mike Drummond NZL 18 55 20 18 13 OCS 18 6 6 99
16 AUS 924 18 Ben Deed VIC 7 23 22 5 37 15 12 23 28 107
17 AUS 13 5 Jack Benson NT 14 27 16 33 12 20 15 21 17 115
18 AUS 889 47 Graeme Parker VIC 15 13 12 14 30 14 26 30 26 120
19 AUS 900 42 Wayne Mercer VIC 12 20 15 49 15 26 31 24 10 122
20 GBR 007 67 Chris Field GBR 10 24 8 30 36 32 21 16 18 127
21 NZL 1 83 Murray Philpott NZL 16 14 18 20 17 25 20 28 dnf 130
22 AUS 893 22 Dave Ellis VIC 36 19 19 29 19 dnf 17 20 13 136
23 NED 28 79 Pieter Jan Dwarshuis NED 33 29 21 24 14 7 29 14 32 138
24 AUS 907 40 Dave McKenzie VIC 20 17 25 25 38 12 19 26 dnf 144
25 AUS 865 50 Stuart Scott VIC 29 25 13 17 29 28 22 18 22 145
26 AUS 37 37 Bruce McArthur NSW 38 22 29 19 31 22 30 19 20 161
27 NED 3 80 Sjoerd Hoekstra NED 61 35 17 15 dnf dnf 10 13 14 165
28 AUS 936 7 Stephen Brayshaw VIC 39 31 36 DSQ 24 18 43 10 16 174
29 GER 599 72 Matthias Dietz GER 5 28 30 12 26 dnf 41 39 36 176
30 AUS 923 41 Simon McKeon VIC 21 21 23 RDG 35 30 24 31 35 176
31 ITA2 91 Eugenio Calabria ITA 40 30 dnf 28 27 23 23 25 21 177
32 AUS 8 8 Graeme Harbour VIC 22 18 27 46 28 34 33 34 40 196
33 AUS 844 30 Richie Howells VIC 64 58 28 39 20 17 40 27 39 210
34 BRA5 62 Clinio Swan de Freitis BRA 31 32 39 21 43 36 50 37 29 225
35 GER 79 74 Klaus Raab GER 75 64 43 40 23 16 RDG 40 31 225.4
36 GER 12 71 Donald Beike GER OCS 44 56 45 21 24 28 35 34 231
37 GER 76 76 Helmut Stumhofer GER 30 26 32 36 51 50 RDG 51 23 235.5
38 FRA 7 65 Jean Louis Le Coq FRA 19 56 33 37 40 41 34 48 38 242
39 AUS 922 31 Mark Johnston NSW 49 43 34 dnf 39 47 36 22 24 245
40 AUS 7 51 Hamish Sinclair VIC OCS 41 26 32 60 54 37 32 27 249
41 AUS 19 19 Russell Denholm VIC 48 45 31 34 34 35 39 44 37 254
42 AUS 880 56 Gavin Vize NSW 37 37 35 40 dnf 58 35 36 42 262
43 AUS 916 54 Andrew Steenhuis VIC 57 52 37 59 22 29 58 41 25 263
44 ITA1 94 Guido Longhi ITA 70 36 41 26 47 44 38 50 47 279
45 ITA31 90 Luigi Blancato ITA 50 33 52 16 49 42 47 55 dnf 289
46 AUS 864 23 Matt Firth VIC 62 38 47 42 52 59 42 38 33 292
47 AUS 021 24 Ben Geisker NSW 56 42 51 58 50 27 27 42 dnf 295
48 GBR 33 68 Nigel Lovett GBR 25 49 65 57 45 31 44 52 58 303
49 AUS 831 46 David Parker VIC 47 46 38 52 46 49 48 62 30 304
50 ESP 42 86 Mariano Martinez Pina ESP 34 dnf 46 50 42 40 56 47 51 310
51 SUI 216 88 Sergio Vela SUI 44 57 dnf 56 41 53 25 52 41 312
52 AUS 9 20 John Dowling QLD 63 48 53 47 44 33 45 54 56 324
53 AUS 913 29 Brian Hooper QLD 58 34 42 dnf 59 45 54 46 46 325
54 GER57 69 Andras John GER 27 47 75 53 57 46 61 58 43 331
55 ITA64 93 Roberto Casadei ITA 26 53 44 43 33 37 dns dnf dns 331
56 NZL 233 84 Ken Urquhart NZL 55 54 40 69 65 52 52 43 48 344
57 AUS 836 28 Zac Breaden NSW 71 51 48 74 54 39 RDG RDG 53 357.3
58 GER 21 73 Marco Goetz GER 53 50 50 54 48 51 59 dnf 52 358
59 AUS 824 55 Ken Symonds QLD 67 62 49 48 61 43 53 56 49 359
60 AUS 914 36 Dave Loutit VIC 43 59 dnf 55 53 61 51 45 dnf 367
61 AUS 935 9 Steve Breaden NSW 68 60 59 63 58 57 49 58 59 400
62 ESP 9 85 Juan Antonio Ladron de Guevara ESP 52 78 66 38 55 dnf 66 69 55 401
63 AUS 934 12 Peter Bradbury QLD 72 61 45 60 64 60 70 RDG RDG 413.4
64 AUT 1 60 Klaus Schober AUT 54 63 58 61 76 68 67 63 54 420
65 GER 56 75 George Reutter GER 32 71 73 51 69 75 62 65 dnf 423
66 AUS 911 33 Michael Kopp VIC 77 70 68 66 63 63 57 57 50 424
67 ITA946 92 Rosario Cangemi ITA 41 77 71 dnf dnf 56 55 68 61 429
68 AUS 883 3 Christopher Batenburg NT 78 76 63 dnf 77 72 60 49 45 442
69 NED 1 81 Piet Saarberg NED 46 dnf 55 dnf 56 55 dns dnf 44 446
70 AUS 788 95 Julian Jenkins NSW 91 74 70 71 67 48 75 61 65 456
71 BRA 6 63 Roger Wright BRA 42 72 57 68 62 62 dnf dnf dnf 458
72 AUS 857 38 Lucas McDonald QLD 87 39 dnf 31 25 dnf dnf dnf dns 467
73 AUS 939 43 Campbell Miller VIC 83 66 61 64 75 79 65 dnf 63 473
74 GER 95 77 Ekke Von Selzam GER 74 73 64 dnf 78 71 72 64 57 475
75 AUS 912 16 Vic Collett QLD 51 69 69 65 70 67 dns dnf dnf 486
76 AUS 862 4 David Beeby NT 76 85 62 dnf 74 66 63 60 dnf 486
77 AUS 524 15 Roger Coleman NSW 59 79 78 62 81 73 74 74 67 487
78 AUS 828 14 Andrew Chaney QLD 65 82 82 dnf 71 70 64 67 68 487
79 BRA3 61 Claudia Swan de Freitis BRA 66 81 74 67 79 74 71 71 66 489
80 AUS 6 6 Glenn Brown NSW 69 68 67 dnf 68 64 dns dnf 64 495
81 AUS 839 57 Tom Watson VIC 80 65 72 dnf 66 65 dns dnf 62 505
82 AUS 837 44 Claire Neeskens QLD 73 86 76 73 72 dnf 73 73 70 510
83 AUS 5 34 Horst Kopp VIC 79 83 77 dnf 80 69 69 72 71 517
84 AUS 869 25 John Goldsmith NSW 82 75 60 76 73 dnf dns dnf 60 521
85 AUS 802 49 Konrad Schultz NT 85 dnf dns dnf 82 76 68 66 69 541
86 AUS 800 59 Steve Wright VIC 89 80 79 dnf 86 80 77 70 72 544
87 IRL 5 66 Yvonne Sheehan IRL 60 dnf 81 dnf 84 82 76 78 dnf 556
88 AUS 661 32 Michelle Jones NT 84 87 80 75 85 78 79 77 dnf 558
89 AUS 868 26 Andrew Grant QLD 81 67 54 72 dnf dnf dns dnf dns 559
90 AUS 101 48 John Richards VIC 45 40 dnf dns dnf dnf dns dnf dns 560
91 AUS 765 27 Robert Griffits NSW 88 dns dns 70 83 77 80 75 dns 568
92 AUS 849 21 Pat Drover QLD 90 84 dnf dnf 87 81 78 76 73 569
93 AUS 863 39 Russ McDonald QLD 86 dns dns 44 dnf dnf dns dnf dns 605
94 NED 8 78 Theo Van Hilton NED dns dns dns dns dnf dnf dns dnf dns 665

A-Cat Worlds 2009

World Match Racing Tour Announces 2009 Schedule

Johnie Berntsson (SWE) and Adam Minoprio (NZL) bow to bow in the finals of the Bermuda Gold Cup 2008. Image copyright Charles Anderson.

by Yvonne Reid

The World Match Racing Tour has announced its schedule of events for 2009, the total prize purse for the 2009 Tour season now stands at over $1.5 million, the largest in the sport. The overall winner of the Tour will be crowned 2009 ISAF Match Racing World Champion. The schedule of events is as follows:


May 27 - 31, 2009 / Match Race Germany / Langenargen, Germany
June 2 - 7, 2009 / Korea Match Cup / Gyeonggi, Korea
June 16 - 21, 2009 / Portugal Match Cup / Troia, Portugal
June 29 - July 5, 2009 / Match Cup Sweden / Marstrand, Sweden
September 1 - 6, 2009 / St Moritz Match Race / St Moritz, Switzerland
September 9 - 13, 2009 / Danish Open / Denmark
September 22 - 27, 2009 / Brasil Sailing Cup / Brazil
October 5 - 11, 2009 / King Edward VII Gold Cup / Hamilton, Bermuda
December 1 - 6, 2009 / Monsoon Cup / K.Teregganu, Malaysia

100 points will be awarded to the top 8 positions at each World Tour stage with 25 points to the stage winner. Teams will count their best five events plus the final stage, the Monsoon Cup in Malaysia worth 150 points. In 2008 three teams had the opportunity to win the World Championship going into the final event creating an exciting finish. The competition was intense for those looking to secure one of the 8 World Tour cards for this season.

The World Championship will again receive worldwide television coverage with 10 shows broadcast to over 15 international networks reaching over 600 million homes in 90 countries. The Monsoon Cup in Malaysia and Korea Match Cup are also expecting to broadcast LIVE following the success of 2008 where the events generated over eight hours of live coverage on Eurosport and ESPN. In addition, broadband viewers will be able to follow highlights of the World Championship via the website ( and at

“2009 will be a very exciting series for the World Championship”, commented Tour Director, Craig Mitchell “We are truly the only global sailing series at this level of competition. At the end of the year the World Champion will have had to master 7 different types of yacht in 9 different venues against the best skippers in the world”

Returning to defend his 2008 title is current Match Racing World Champion Ian Williams and his Bahrain Team Pindar. However, competition will be stiff from a world class line up including America’s Cup talent Sébastien Col French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge, Ben Ainslie from Team Origin, Paolo Cian from Team Shosholoza, Magnus Holmberg from Victory Challenge and Mathieu Richard from French Match Racing Team/French Spirit. Also in the running will be young guns and future Cup skippers Adam Minoprio and Torvar Mirsky. But it’s not enough to deter Williams winning drive, ”We look forward to defending our title and the increased competition from the Cup teams that will utilise the World Tour as they wait for the fate of the 33rd America’s Cup to be decided”.

While many of the teams and skippers await the outcome of the America’s Cup decisions, the World Match Racing Tour provides an ideal platform to hone their skills as Mitchell points out;

“Despite the current uncertainty with the America’s Cup, we are seeing strong participation for next years Tour from hopeful 33rd America’s Cup teams. This highlights the strength and credibility of the Tour and the training ground it provides for skippers and their crews. The Tour also offers a great economical platform for the teams and excellent sponsor exposure in new markets. It’s still the place where Cup dreams are made”

The list of past World Champions reads like a who’s who of America’s Cup stars and veterans which include the talents of Russell Coutts, Peter Gilmour, Chris Dickson and Ed Baird, making the World Tour crown a must credential in any successful modern America’s Cup campaign.

In addition to the nine events that make up the World Championship, the tour will also be announcing the schedule for 18 tour qualifying events and the final 8 World Tour Cards in the coming weeks. Each Tour stage will have two qualifying events from which the winning teams will earn an entry into the main Tour event.

About the World Match Racing Tour:
• The World Match Racing Tour is the leading professional sailing series featuring 9 World Championship events across the globe
• The World Tour is sanctioned by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) with “Special Event” status
• The World Tour awards over US$1.5million in prize money
• Points are awarded at each event culminating in the crowning of the ‘ISAF Match Racing World Champion’
• Events utilize the same “match race” format used in the America’s Cup with racing taking place in identically supplied racing yachts which places a focuses on team work and skill. Racing takes place close to the shore for the general public to follow the races as virtual on-the-water stadiums.
• Media and television highlights coverage reaches over 600 million households in excess of 90 countries around the world.
• World Match Racing Tour sponsors include Line 7, Pindar, Custom House, Travel Places, Wedgwood and Sail.TV

World Match Racing Tour

Thursday 8 January 2009

A-Cat Worlds 2009: Ashby Wins Another Race After Taking World Title!

A-Cats lining up for the start on Lake Macquarie, NSW. Image copyright

by Rob Kothe

Glenn Ashby just could not help himself today; he won race seven in the nine race series and claimed the A-Cat World Title for the sixth time. He then lined up again for race eight of the series.

Ashby was close behind Australian America's Cup skipper James Spithill at the top mark, but did not manage to catch the BMW Oracle mono and multihull sailor as they headed down the run. At the bottom mark Ashby hit the left hand mark and did an efficient 360 penalty turn; he dropped back to fourth place.

But a lap latter the six time World Champion was back in the lead. With his low trapping style he was sailing flatter and climbing inside his rivals.

He crossed the line in an impressive minute and 27 seconds ahead of Andrew Landenberger. Third was the European 2007 and 2008 Champion Manuel Calavia, followed by James Spithill.

In the boat park Ashby was smiling. 'Being World Champion for the sixth time is unreal. I had a great couple of races. I managed to sail well and so did the other guys. It turned out quite well.

'It's been a great regatta and I've enjoyed sailing here. The conditions were very nice today in both races and I managed to use that to my advantage,' he said.

Steve Brewin now has a gap on his rivals for second place overall and today he was blunt about the series

'Glenn has smashed us again. I'm happy with how I went and hopefully I'll do better next time, but now there is one more race to decide the podium places.'

Manuel Calavia commented, 'I'm happy with how I went today. The other guys did well too and the conditions were good for the racing. Tomorrow will be interesting.'

James Spithill is looking forward to the last race, and hopes to sail A-Cats again in the future.

'The conditions were fresh and shifty. Glenn was great and Manolo (Manuel Calavia) did very well as well. Tomorrow the last race will be interesting because that brings another drop in.

'I'll sail in this class again; I'll have to lose a bit of weight first though, because most of the guys are about ten kilos lighter than me.'

The final race in the 2009 A-Cat World Championship is scheduled for 10.30 am on Friday, 9th January.

Progressive totals after one drop (top five places):

1. Glenn Ashby 8pts
2. Steve Brewin 26pts
3. Manuel Calavia 39pts
4. James Spithill 44pts
5. Andrew Landenberger 44pts

A-Cat Worlds 2009

A-Cat Worlds 2009: Ashby Wins World Championships

Glenn Ashby, 2009 A-Cat World Champion. Image copyright Andrea Francolini.

by Rob Kothe

Five times A-Class Catamaran World Champion Australian Glenn Ashby this morning, 8th January, won the 2009 A-Cat World Championship for a sixth time, when he streeted the fleet in Race 7 of the nine race series.

Ashby started the series slowly by his standards, with a third in the light weather first race in the series; he then won five of the next six races. There are two more races that can still be sailed but with the two worst results able to be dropped, the Beijing Tornado class Olympic Silver medallist cannot be beaten in this series.

Ashby gave the fleet a clinical sailing lesson. He started immediately next to the Committee boat, swinging around its stern just three seconds before the gun. Ashby's start was perfectly timed and he was away one second after the gun, heading starboard for 300 metres, he then tacked right.

Ashby was followed by 1996 Olympic Tornado Bronze medallist Andrew Landenberger.

At the bottom mark after one lap, Landenberger was ahead by 20 metres and had gone further to the right. Landenberger headed left back up the course, while Ashby went right, followed by 2001 A-Cat World Champion Steve Brewin.

By the next lap Ashby was well clear of Landenberger. Brewin was next, followed by Scott Anderson, Manuel Calavia and then Brad Collett and Tom Slingsby.

Down the final run Ashby cleared right away to take a very convincing 1 minute and 56 second win.

The modest Victorian just grinned as he crossed the line; he then lined up for race eight of the series.

The focus now shifts to the battle for the minor podium places with 2001 A-Cat World Champion Steve Brewin looking like the bridesmaid again.

With another 'worst result' race drop tomorrow, Australian 1984 Olympic Tornado Silver medallist Scott Anderson is fighting to hold off a solid group, which includes Swiss sailor Luc du Bois, Spain's Manuel Calavia and BMW Oracle match racer, Australia's James Spithill.

A-Cat Worlds 2009

Vendée Globe 2008-9: ...and now PRB is Dismasted

Vincent Riou's PRB. Image copyright Jean Marie Liot/DPPI/Vendée Globe.

by Véronique Teurlay and SailRaceWin

At 2020 GMT on 7th January, Vincent Riou phoned his team to say that PRB had been dismasted. The incident occurred about an hour and a half after passing Cape Horn. Both the skipper and Jean Le Cam are safe. PRB is at 55°55' S 66° 59'W, 7.8 miles northeast of Cape Horn. A Chilean naval vessel, the 32.7m Alacalufe, is en route to recover them. It should have reached the area by 0200 GMT.

The breakage occurred in a 25 knot nor'westerly wind. The dismasting was due to the earlier breakage of the port outrigger of PRB during the rescue of Le Cam.

PRB is about 55 miles from Puerto Williams, with increasing nor'westerly winds and a swell of 4 to 5 metres developing. At 2200 GMT, Vincent Riou indicated that the boat was heading towards the entrance to the Beagle Channel.

Vendée Globe 2008-9

A-Cat Worlds 2009: Image Collage

Race start. Image copyright Andrea Francolini.

James Spithill (AUS). Image copyright Andrea Francolini.

Start of another race. Image copyright Andrea Francolini.

Mariano Martinez Pina (ESP). Image copyright Andrea Francolini.

Tom Slingsby (AUS). Image copyright Andrea Francolini.

Results after 6 races (top ten places)

1. G. Ashby AUS 1 6pts
2. S. Brewin AUS 4 19pts
3. S. Anderson AUS 902 25 pts
4. D. Brewer AUS 908 29pts
5= L. Du Bois SUI 202 30pts
5= M. Calavia ESP 11 30pts
7. J. Spithill AUS 938 31pts
8. B. Baier GER 14 34pts
9. A. Landenberger AUS 24 39pts
10. N. Outteridge AUS 822 49pts

Kiwi placings to date

16. M. Philpott NZL 1 85pts
27. M. Drummond NZL 245 124pts
59. K. Urquhart NZL 233 266pts

A-Cat Worlds 2009

Vendée Globe 2008-9: Le Cam is Safe; Desjoyeaux Leads

Top: Jean Le Cam (left) and Vincent Riou, safe and sound aboard PRB. Image copyright Vincent Riou/PRB/Vendée Globe.
Bottom: Jean Le Cam's boat, as seen from PRB. Image copyright Vincent Riou/PRB/Vendée Globe.

by Véronique Teurlay and SailRaceWin

Le Cam, whose boat overturned yesterday, explained that he thought he had hit a container when the bulb separated from the keel. He grabbed some things, and his survival suit and headed for the only dry place left, towards the front of the boat. He was cold, and concerned about sufficient reserves of air, but knew he must not leave the boat in the absence of help.

Riou arrived on the scene at Tuesday at 1521, concerned about Le Cam's ability to survive withe the likelihood of hypothermia in water of only 5°C. The opportunity for Le Cam to get out came about 1900, when a wave lifted the stern of the boat so that he could escape through one of the (normally submerged) escape hatches, and then clung to one of the rudders. The rest has already been explained (see articles below).

Isabelle Autissier (the former skipper of PRB) will take Jean Le Cam off PRB at the entrance to the Beagle Channel (Tierra del Fuego). This is likely to occur on Thursday morning.

Michel Desjoyeaux in the Southern Ocean. Image copyright Michel Desjoyeaux/Foncia/Vendée Globe.

Foncia still has all the other competitors in her wake. Image copyright Michel Desjoyeaux/Foncia/Vendée Globe.

Roland Jourdain passes Cape Horn. Image copyright Roland Jourdain/Veolia Environnement/Vendée Globe.

Armel Le Cléac’h passes Cape Horn. Image copyright Armel Le Cléac’h/Brit Air/Vendée Globe.

Sam Davies' chart table aboard Roxy. Image copyright Samantha Davies/Roxy/Vendée Globe.

Vincent Riou is keen to re-join the race and finish the Vendée Globe 2008-9. Meanwhile the other boat that went to the assistance of Le Cam, Brit Air (Le Cléac’h), has re-joined the race, and is currently lying in third place, behind Michel Desjoyeaux in Foncia and Roland Jourdain in Veolia Environnement.

Leaders (1500 GMT 7th January)

1 Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia) 6,312.5 miles from the finish
2 Roland Jourdain (Veolia Environnement) 108,9 miles from the leader
3 Armel Le Cléac’h (Brit Air) 659.7 miles
4 Vincent Riou (PRB) 742.5 miles
5 Samantha Davies (Roxy) 1,860.4 miles

Vendée Globe 2008-9

Wednesday 7 January 2009

Vendée Globe 2008-9: More Drama as Riou Rescues Le Cam

The scene of VM Matériaux’s capsize, showing the missing keel bulb. Image copyright Marine Chilienne/Vendée Globe.

by Véronique Teurlay and SailRaceWin

At 1421 (GMT) Vincent Riou on PRB arrived at the scene of VM Matériaux’s capsize. Riou reported that he found the yacht floating upside down, missing its keel bulb, but a small ‘flag’ was visible at one of the through-hull fittings on the bow of the upturned yacht. Riou shouted for Le Cam and heard a response from the French skipper inside the capsized boat.

The stern of VM Matériaux, where there is an emergency escape hatch, is underwater.

VM Matériaux is down at the stern, upside down. Image copyright Marine Chilienne/Vendée Globe.

While the Chilean navy was on the way to the scene, with a RIB and divers, Vincent Riou communicated that he had recovered Jean Le Cam on board PRB at 1910 GMT.

Jean, dressed in his survival suit, left the upside down VM Matériaux all by himself. At the fourth attempt to pick up Le Cam on passing, an outrigger on PRB caught in the remaining part of the keel of VM Matériaux and broke. In the mess, Jean Le Cam managed to climb aboard PRB, but the two men had to get clear of the upturned hull and tack quickly to ensure that PRB's mast did not fall down! (It was leaning at 30° initially.) They are currently sailing on starboard tack on a course of 110° with three reefs in the main and no headsail, while making a repair. Armel Le Cléac’h, who had also reached the place, is following in their wake on board Brit Air.

"It's an incredible story that has finished well", according to Alain Gautier, the safety consultant of the Vendée Globe.

Vendée Globe 2008-9

A-Cat Worlds 2009: Glenn Ashby has one hand on sixth A-Cat Crown

A-Cats after the start. Image copyright

by Rob Kothe

Australia's Glenn Ashby performed brilliantly today in Races 4, 5 and 6 of the A-Cat Worlds at Belmont, on Lake Macquarie.

All three races for the 94-boat fleet were sailed in similar 10-12 knots conditions, perfect for these high performance catamarans.

The fourth race of the 2009 A-Cat Worlds was one for the history books with three Australian Tornado (multihull) Olympic champions competing. Ashby, the Beijing Olympic Tornado Silver medallist (with Darren Bundock) won the race from Gosford's Scott Anderson, the Australian 1984 Olympic Tornado Silver medallist and the Australian 1996 Olympic Tornado Bronze medallist Andrew Landenberger.

Ashby won the second race of the day, Race 5 of the series, from Bob Baier, the top German A-Cat sailor and Steve Brewin, the second ranked Australian.

In the third race (Race 6) Baier won from Ashby with Dave Brewer in third.

With racing back on schedule after the first day was blown out due to high winds and with six races in the series now completed, tomorrow marked as the reserve day, has been declared a lay day.

One drop has been taken into consideration in the progressive scores. In the case of Glenn Ashby this is a lowly third.

With one further drop coming into play after the next three races, at this point in the regatta it appears that Glenn Ashby only has to get another 'keeper' to become unbeatable and claim the A-Cat World Championship title for the sixth time.

Here is how the day unfolded.

At the start of Race 4 Glenn Ashby and Steve Brewin started right, near the Committee boat.

Andrew Landenberger was first to the bottom mark, followed by Ashby and Brewin, who had come in from the right hand side of the course. James Spithill picked up 30 seconds around the right hand mark, zipping across from the left to avoid gas from the oncoming fleet.

The wind shifted fifteen degrees to the right, causing Principal Race Officer Moor to shorten the race at the bottom mark after two laps.

First across the line was Glenn Ashby, followed by Scott Anderson, Andrew Landenberger, Steve Brewin, Ben Deed, and James Spithill.

As Race 5 began there was a 10-degree wind shift to the left, to 080 degrees, as the fleet came down the run; Brewin was first to the bottom mark ahead of Bob Baier. Next came Manuel Calavia (ESP), then Ashby, Tom Slingsby (AUS), Brad Collett (AUS) and Nathan Outteridge (AUS).

At the second bottom mark Baier lead the fleet, followed by Ashby and Calavia.

A big finish from Ashby produced another win for the champion sailor. Next came Baier followed by Brewin, Calavia, Anderson, Brewer and Outteridge.

In Race 6 there was, in the last minute, a stack up of boats above the Committee boat.

The Spaniard Manuel Calavia started above Glenn Ashby. Below him was Steve Brewin and this group won the start.

Early in the first beat there was a shift to the right and on the run the breeze shifted back again. Germany's Bob Baier was the major beneficiary; Brewin the big loser as he lost eight places in the lap. Baier led Ashby round the bottom mark with Brewer in third place.

By the next lap around, these three boats had cleared away from the fleet and stayed in the same order until the finish.

Bob Baier had a convincing win finishing about 100 metres ahead of Glenn Ashby. Dave Brewer came a very solid third ahead of Luc Du Bois (SUI) and Manuel Calavia (ESP).

A-Cat Worlds 2009

Vendée Globe 2008-9: Le Cam Update

by SailRaceWin

It is understood that a tanker is now alongside the upturned hull of Jean Le Cam's boat, VM Matériaux, while two other race competitors should arrive in the vicinity within the next few hours. The keel of VM Matériaux is reported as missing, which appears to be the cause of the boat's capsize.

The boat's position locating beacons were set off several hours apart, which suggests that Le Cam is inside the hull, awaiting rescue. Conditions in the area do not permit going alongside the upturned hull at present, with 25-30+ knot winds and a 3-4 metre swell.

Vendée Globe

Tuesday 6 January 2009

Vendée Globe 2008-9: Two round the Horn; Le Cam in Distress

Michel Desjoyeaux waves as Foncia rounds Cape Horn in the lead. Image copyright Jean-Marie Liot/DPPI/Vendée Globe.

by Véronique Teurlay and SailRaceWin

Leaders Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia) and Roland Jourdain (Veolia Environnement) have rounded Cape Horn and are now back in the Atlantic Ocean.

Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia) rounds Cape Horn. Image copyright Jean-Marie Liot/DPPI/Vendée Globe.

Meanwhile, Jean Le Cam (VM Matériaux), who had been in third place in the Vendée Globe, notified his shore crew of a problem at 56° 17’S 73° 46’W, 200 miles west of Cape Horn. The distress beacon was activated shortly afterwards, and assistance was sent from land.

Competitors Vincent Riou (PRB) and Armel Le Cléac’h (Brit Air) were diverted towards the position of VM Matériaux. The conditions in the area of VM Matériaux at the time of the incident were southwesterly winds of 25 knots with gusts.

An earlier retiree, Seb Josse (BT), arrived in the Viaduct Basin in Auckland, New Zealand, at 2345GMT on 5th January.

Vendée Globe

A-Cat Worlds 2009: The Cats are Purring

Start of race 2 of the A-Cat Worlds. Image copyright

by Rob Kothe

Light winds for the A-Cat Worlds Race One, on Australia's Lake Macquarie today.

Spain's Manuel Calavia claimed first place. Calavia was the first ranked European behind five times A-Cat World Champion Glenn Ashby and Scott Anderson in the 2007 European Championships and was placed second behind Steve Brewin in the 2008 Europeans. 'I was the third boat up from the pin. I went left, found clean air and was good after that,' Calavia said.

Glenn Ashby talks dockside after racing. Image copyright

Ashby, who came second, described his approach to the challenging conditions. 'The secret was to go hard left until your nose bled or you almost bricked, and then come away,' he said.

For the start of Race 2 it was A-Cat Heaven - Winds were gusting 15 to 18, possibly 19, World Champion A-Cat brochure conditions on Lake Macquarie.

It was sensational first leg for Tom Slingsby, the duel Laser World Champion who is definitely a multihull talent. Off the start line, the entire fleet went left. Although the line was pin end favoured Slingsby had started 50 metres down from the boat end, went hard left and tacked on the port lay line, while others overlaid.

He came in on the port tack, fast ahead of the five times A-Cat World Champion, Glen Ashby for the third time in the last week, with Brad Collett and Andrew Landenberger close, followed by Luc Du Bois (SUI).

The young red headed Laser sailor says 'I haven't really figured out how to sail these things downwind. Well he is not too bad the second time at the top mark he was third behind the five time World Champion, just behind Brad Collett, who hit the bottom mark and fell back.

Slingsby. I'm, going well upwind, first to the top mark again. I was happy to get third. In my view I feel like I'm dog slow down-wind.'

After a late lunch the A-Cat fleet was back on the water for the third race in the series. Conditions had changed little from Race 2, again perfect A-Cat conditions, 15-18 knots from the north east.

At the top mark BMW Oracle mono and multihull racer James Spithill came in on starboard tack to lead, with Tom Slingsby speeding in on port, slotting into second ahead of Brad Collett and Hamish Sinclair. Fifth was Glen Ashby, who flew down the run, quickly over taking Collett and Sinclair.

At the top mark for the third time, World Champion Glenn Ashby has sailed through Spithill. Third on the water was veteran Scott Anderson ahead of Dave Brewer, Steve Brewin. Slingsby was nowhere to be seen, and then the green and gold trampoline appeared, about 15th on the starboard lay line, struggling for boat speed, after a gear failure.

A disappointed Slingsby had to retire from the race. 'One of my lines snapped. While I tied it up, I couldn't put any load on it so I had to come ashore.'

Ashby won again, from Spithill, Scott Anderson, Dave Brewer, Steve Brewin and Andrew Landerberger.

Light winds on Lake Macquarie for day two of the A-Cat Worlds. Image copyright

In the series overall after the first three races Ashby, with five A-Cat World Championships under his belt is certainly looking good for number six with a 2,1,1 result. Behind him is Spithill 3, 9, 2 and Switzerland's Luc Dubois has 7, 2, 7 is third. Dave Brewer, the unlucky sailor who was struck by lightning on the first day of the Pre-Worlds event is fourth with 5.10,4

Ashby commented dockside - 'Pleased to be 2, 1, 1 against this quality fleet. It's been great racing. James is surprising everyone with his boat handling, race tactics and race management. I'm sure we'll have some classic races down the track. '

Spithill commented. 'There is a long way to go in the series, but it was certainly fun out there today.'

Brewer, who spent the night in the regional base hospital after being the only A Cat sailor holding onto his carbon mast when lightning struck the water has sailed into contention in this top quality fleet.

He was smiling in the boat park 'You've got to start well and sail consistently. The last race was beautiful; about 15 to 16 knots.

'All the Olympic guys have been doing well, so I am just pleased to up there.'

A-Cat Worlds 2009

Monday 5 January 2009

Vendée Globe 2008-9: Cape Horn for the Leaders; a third competitor heads for New Zealand

Roxy, the fastest in the last 24 hours, reaching along in the Southern Ocean. Image copyright Sam Davies/Roxy/Vendée Globe.

by Véronique Teurlay and SailRaceWin

Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia), who has been in the lead for 19 days now, will reach Cape Horn within the next 24 hours. He has one last day in the Pacific Ocean, where the winds are blowing 40 knots and the waves are a permanent menace.

Desjoyeaux is 73 miles ahead of Roland Jourdain (Veolia Environnement), and has a lead of 452 miles over Jean Le Cam (VM Matériaux). Sixth placed Samantha Davies (Roxy), who has been the fastest over the last 24 hours, is 2,000 miles from the leader.

Sam Davies is happy with the wind, while Chuck (the autopilot) sails Roxy. Image copyright Sam Davies/Roxy/Vendée Globe.

Jonny Malbon (Artemis II) has decided to head for New Zealand as he has significant delamination issues with his mainsail. Following a succession of technical issues since leaving les Sables d’Olonne, the British skipper and his sponsor prefer to throw in the towel before engaging completely in the Pacific Ocean.

Shadow over the moon. Image copyright Sam Davies/Roxy/Vendée Globe.

Leaderboard at 0500 GMT 4th January 2009

1 Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia) 7375 miles to the finish
2 Roland Jourdain (Veolia Environnement) 73 miles from the leader
3 Jean Le Cam (VM Matériaux) 452 miles
4 Vincent Riou (PRB) 701 miles
5 Armel Le Cléac’h (Brit Air) 724 miles
6 Sam Davies (Roxy)

Vendée Globe

A-Cat Worlds 2009: Day One Blown Out

Wave action on Lake Macquarie for the A-Cats. Image copyright

by Rob Kothe

The north easterly sea breeze came in early on Day One at Lake Macquarie. By 10am there were pressure patterns the length of the lake; Lake Macquarie is a big open space four times the size of Sydney Harbour.

There were some exciting pre-start rides from the fleet, which was out there enjoying the time.

49er World Champion Nathan Outteridge was running the start line with enthusiasm, whereas the old fox Glenn Ashby was sitting back conserving energy with his boat hove to in the breeze.

Unfortunately 22 knots is the top racing limit for the A-Cats and with winds speeds gusting to 25 knots out on Lake Macquarie, Principal Race Officer Peter Moor brought the fleet ashore half an hour after the scheduled 1300 start time.

At that stage it was a classic brochure nor'easter such as you get on Lake Macquarie, but just a tad too heavy for the lightly rigged A-Cats.

Once ashore the wind began to increase and by 3pm it had swung to north and was building into the high 20's.

Glenn Ashby, the Australian Champion, wins the race back to the dock. Image copyright

Five times world champion Glenn Ashby commented,'Safety is always an issue with the fleet.

'The more experienced guys could handle it no problems, but survival on the first day might have been a bit tricky. I think there were a lot of guys keen to sail, including myself, but at the end of the day I'm happy that most of the fleet has come back in one piece,' he said.

James Spithill commented, 'it probably would have been one of the best sea breezes of the year. If there's a class limit there's a class limit.

'But we all had a good little blast on the way in at least - a race to the dock,' he said.

Tom Slingsby sails his A-Cat on Lake Macquarie. Image copyright

According to Tom Slingsby, 'It would have been good to have a race to the top mark. But going down wind would have been an adventure.'

Principal Race Officer Peter Moor said: 'It's just too windy. The boats are pretty highly geared up. If it was the last race of the series you might think more positively about running the race, but as the first race in the series we don't want to have broken boats on the beach.

'We're going to come back tomorrow at 9.30. There are some boats out there today loving it like sailboards and kite surfers and 16 foot skiffs.

'We'll try and get two first off tomorrow. With a bit of luck we'll have a lunch break and maybe another two races in the afternoon.

'The forecast for the week is four days is fresh north east sea breezes every afternoon. I saw a forecast for Wednesday afternoon of 25 to 30 knots as the anticipated wind strength. It's not going to get lighter, so we will be starting early each day', he said.

A-Cat Worlds 2009

Sunday 4 January 2009

Some Highlights of 2008: A Golden Year for Kiwi Sailing

Tom Ashley wins Olympic Gold on the waters off Qingdao. Image copyright Juerg Kaufmann/Go4Image. All Rights Reserved.

by SailRaceWin

Olympic Gold

The highlight of 2008 for Kiwi sailors was, without doubt, Tom Ashley's Gold medal in the Men's RS:X windsurfer at the Olympics.

The 'wise head on young shoulders', as Ashley, still only in his early twenties, has been called, worked out that an average placing of fifth would get him what he wanted - and so it was. Roll on a repeat performance in Weymouth in 2012!

Ashley's achievement was backed up by solid performances by other sailors, such as Andrew Murdoch (Laser, 5th), Barbara Kendall (RS:X Women, 6th), Jo Aleh (Laser Radial, 7th) and Hamish Pepper/Carl Williams (Star, 9th) in both getting into the medal races and coming close to the gongs. New Zealand finished equal sixth in the overall Olympic sailing rankings. This promises that Ashley's medal can lead to a resurgence in New Zealand Olympic sailing achievement in years to come.

Pepper and Williams upwind in the Star at Qingdao. Image copyright Juerg Kaufmann/Go4Image. All Rights Reserved.

Special mention also goes to 'honorary Kiwi' Ben Ainslie CBE, former member of Team New Zealand, for his achievement in Olympic sailing in making his tally now three Golds and a Silver in single-handed classes.

International Match Racing

The up-coming team of the year was the BlackMatch Racing boys. Their achievements of a win in the Toyota Sopot Grade One Match Race in Poland and no less than four semi-final placings on the World Match Racing Tour, including two runner-up finishes, show that Kiwi match racing is as alive and well as ever.

BlackMatch Racing win the Toyota Sopot Grade One Match Race in Poland. Image copyright Juerg Kaufmann/Go4Image. All Rights Reserved.

The overall position of Adam Minoprio and the BlackMatch crew in fourth position, but level on points with ISAF #1 Mathieu Richard, at the end of the World Match Racing Tour 2008 at the Monsoon Cup in December, was a big pay-back for the sponsors, FedEx and Line 7, and supporters, Emirates Team New Zealand. This has gained them entry to all events on the World Match Racing Tour for 2009, enabling New Zealand to retain its involvement at the highest level of international match racing.

New Zealand achievement: Emirates Team New Zealand

Within New Zealand, Dean Barker and the Team New Zealand crew again proved that they are the ones to beat, taking out both the National Keelboat Championships and the National Match Racing Championships.

It was very pleasing to see the likes of Peter Burling from Takapuna (470 Olympic rep. 2008) and Josh Junior (World Universities Match Racing Champion 2008), from the Harbour City, up-and-coming youngsters, take the second and third places on the National Keelboat Championships podium, especially as the competition included old-hand international sailors in addition to Barker and co.

Dean Barker (right) with Ben Ainslie on Ainslie's recruitment to Emirates Team New Zealand in 2004. Image copyright Anne Hinton/ All Rights Reserved.

In the match racing, competition was international, with Ben Ainslie, this time representing Team Origin, once more finishing as runner-up to Dean Barker and his Emirates Team New Zealand crew. As new boy to Team NZ in 2004, Ainslie was also runner-up at the event, with a 2-3 scoreline against Barker in the finals. This time Barker asserted his dominance and, despite Ainslie's efforts, the winning scoreline was 3-0 to Barker.

Ben Ainslie and Team Origin congratulate Adam Minoprio and the BlackMatch Racing boys who defeated them in the semi-finals of the 2008 Bermuda Gold Cup. Image copyright Charles Anderson. All Rights Reserved.

Ainslie was previously beaten in the semi-finals to the Bermuda Gold Cup by Adam Minoprio and the BlackMatch boys, who finished as runners-up at that event.

A Very Special Thanks to Emirates Team New Zealand

Having won the Louis Vuitton Cup to a nil scoreline in 2007, it is appropriate that Emirates Team New Zealand and Louis Vuitton have combined to bring the America's Cup teams back not only to the race track but to compete out of the City of Sails at the beginning of 2009.

Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL 82) ahead of Alinghi (SUI 64) at Louis Vuitton Act One in Marseille. Image copyright Anne Hinton/ All Rights Reserved.

Further significance for the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series is that, within financial constraints, all the strongest teams will be competing. These include many top Kiwis who have not been seen on home waters in a while, bringing a reminder of the well-known song New Zealand - Kainga Tuturu.

This promises to be a fabulous event, not only for New Zealand sailing, but for the whole country. Bring it on!

Looking to the Future

Yachting New Zealand has put out a call for women interested in the Olympic match racing event to contact them. A programme will be developed for this new Olympic event to fast-track interested crews into high-level competition.

Kylie Jameson (2004 Yngling Olympian) sails an Elliott 6m, with Sara Roberts and Gretchen White, in the finals of the New Zealand Womens National Match Racing championships 2003, against Katie Spithill. Image copyright Anne Hinton/ All Rights Reserved.

Jessica Smyth has already given notice of her interest in Olympic match racing and has been building her skills against the men. The Elliott 6 metre, a New Zealand design and familiar to women match racers in Auckland, is the boat that has been chosen for this new Olympic competition.

SailRaceWin is sure that if Sir Peter Blake could look down on us he would be delighted with the vibrancy of the sailboat scene in little ol' New Zealand.

Thanks to all concerned - from the mums, dads and clubs, to the boat-builders, riggers and sailmakers.

New Zealand is the place to be for sailing in 2009!

SailRaceWin is grateful to Juerg Kaufmann and Go4Image for exclusive provision of images of the 2008 Olympic Sailing Regatta.