Friday 29 May 2009

WMRT: BlackMatch face big challenge after a mixed first day at Match Race Germany

Trailing Bjorn Hansen off the Start line, a race we eventually fought back to win. Image copyright Rosaly Magg/Match Race Germany.

by David Swete

Thursday was the opening day of the Germany Match Cup World Match Racing Tour Event which is held in the town of Langenargan, on the picturesque Lake Contance. The lake is bordered not only by Germany, but also Austria and Switzerland with the Swiss Alps providing a magnificent backdrop to the action on the water and like a lot of lake sailing, conditions were extremely light and shifty today.

We had a mixed day today managing wins over Ben Ainslie and Bjorn Hansen, however, with a ‘who’s who’ of match racing line up here in Germany, we lost out to Mathieu Richard, Peter Gilmour and Ian Williams, in our other three matches. Both our wins today were ‘come from behind’ victories, with gybes executed on the final run to the finish, where we managed to out-manoeuvre our competitors and roll over the top of them. In fact we really struggled in the starting department today, finding it difficult to come to terms with the light conditions and slow heavy boats, we trailed in every race off the start line.

BlackMatch Racing team in Germany. Supplied image.

Although we have gained two valuable wins, we are confident we can improve on our starts tomorrow and gain some more much needed victories. After a full round robin only 6 of the 12 teams will proceed through to the next knockout round and with the level of competition combined with the tricky conditions, this is a very tough ask.

BlackMatch would like to again thank their sponsors FedEx Express and Line 7 New Zealand, two world renowned companies that have stood by us and made this possible. We would also like to thank our yacht club the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and Emirates Team New Zealand, as without their support we would not have this opportunity.

Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Team 4-1
Ian Williams (GBR) Bahrain Team Pindar 3-2
Peter Gilmour (AUS) Yanmar Racing Team 3-2
Adam Minoprio (NZL) ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing 2-3
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Team Onboard 2-3
Francesco Bruni (ITA) Team Joe Fly 3-0
Sebastien Col (FRA) French Team/K-Challenge 2-1
Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team 2-1
Damien Iehl (FRA) French Team 1-2
Eric Monnin (SUI) Team 1-2
Ben Ainslie (GBR) Team Origin 1-4
Carsten Kemmling (GER) 0-3

BlackMatch Racing
Match Race Germany
World Match Racing Tour

WMRT: Mirksy Racing Team - Scores close at end of day one of Match Race Germany

Rounding the top mark on day one. Supplied image.

by Kyle Langford

Day one of Match Race Germany brought fickle winds to Langenargen as forecasted and a 2-1 scorecard for Mirsky Racing Team after a long day of waiting for wind.

Our first race against Team Joe Fly resulted in a loss, skipper Francesco Bruni and his crew managed to start slightly advanced and defend their lead to take the race. Race two and three saw us start at the favoured end of the line and with the benefit of the first shift sail comfortably to secure the race against local Carsten Kemmling and Eric Monnin, respectively.

Mirsky Racing Team leads downwind. Supplied image.

Group 2 hit the water and managed to complete 5 races before the breeze died out and racing was cancelled for the remainder of the day. Tomorrow we will be back on the water early for the completion of the remainder of the round robin.

A special thanks to Line7, Harken and the Royal Perth Yacht Club for their support


Group 2
(After 5 races)
French Match Racing Team – Mathieu Richard (4 wins)
Team Yanmar – Peter Gilmour (3 wins)
Bahrain Team Pindar – Ian Williams (3 wins)
Alandia Sailing Team – Bjorn Hansen (2 wins)
BlackMatch Racing/ETNZ – Adam Minoprio (2 wins)
TEAMORIGIN – Ben Ainslie (1 win)

Group 1
(After 3 races)
Team Joe Fly – Francesco Bruni (3 wins)
Mirsky Racing Team – Torvar Mirsky (2 wins)
French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge – Sebastian Col (2 wins)
French Match Racing Team – Damien Iehl (1 win) – Eric Monnin (1 win)
Carsten Kemmling (0 wins)

Mirsky Racing Team
Match Race Germany
World Match Racing Tour

VOR: Casey and co. Save the Day

PUMA Ocean Racing's leward rudder breaks on leg 7 from Boston to Galway. Image copyright Rick Deppe/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race.

by Riath Al-Samarrai

It had been exciting but uneventful sailing that evening in the Atlantic on May 21.

The wind was strong, blowing about 28 knots and gusting to 35, torrents of water repeatedly pelting the chests and faces of the five men on deck as PUMA closed within 1,100 miles of Galway. That boat revels in such conditions and had just taken the lead in leg seven, but then, as Craig Satterthwaite drove over and through the three-metre waves, the boat suddenly skidded off course.

The wipe out was not severe, but it had been accompanied by one of those noises that sailors instinctively recognise as something bad.

"We heard a big clunk," says Casey Smith, who was grinding the main sheet and joined on the watch by Satterthwaite, Rob Salthouse, Erle Williams and Ken Read, their skipper.

Down below, among the usual booming of the hull against waves and the groaning of strained ropes, the noise was clearer and louder.

"They thought we had broken the boom or the mast or something," Casey continues. "They reckoned they could hear a solid bang."

All resting hands dressed and came on deck and got the boat stabilised again, but it quickly became apparent that something serious was preventing it from fully regaining its balance.

It didn't take long to work out that the port rudder had broken and was most likely the cause of the wipe out. But, as the rest of the crew dropped the mainsail and A-zero, Rob Greenhalgh went into the aft-compartment and put an endoscope through a valve in the bottom of the boat, discovering that barely six inches of the rudder remained.

A decision had to be made. They could have continued because a wind shift at almost that exact moment meant they could turn and sail on port gybe for almost a day, thus keeping the destroyed rudder out of the water and them in the race. But that was balanced against the risk of sailing a badly wounded boat in the Atlantic in spring.

PUMA Ocean Racing, skippered by Ken Read (USA), celebrate rounding Cape Horn in third place, as a naked Casey steers il mostro! Image copyright Rick Deppe/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race.

"We thought it would be a bit unsafe," Casey explains. "We were still in a low and it was not going to get any better. What is the prudent thing to do?"

They untied the spare rudder from under the navigation station and began a mission that would remove the remnants of the old rudder before somehow getting a man under the boat to insert the spare.

It was a procedure they had practiced in Newport back in the early days of the campaign, but then, unlike now, it had been in calm water. This time, in the open ocean, the seas were big, up to three metres high, and the wind was blowing at approximately 30 knots.

Casey was always going to take a leading a leading role in the operation.

He grew up on Australia's Sunshine Coast, born into a sail making family. After turning professional about 10 years ago, he rose through the offshore ranks, sailing the Sydney-Hobart race nine times before getting "a bit lucky" when the Volvo Ocean Race introduced an "under 30" rule. It meant each team must carry two sailors aged younger than 30 on the day of the first in-port race and Casey was eligible by just eight days.

He had worked with Read while sailing on Philippe Kahn's Pegasus 52 and got in contact with the American as soon as he heard a rumour Read was involved in this race. "This is the race I wanted to do," he says. His enthusiasm has survived until this point. As a bowman, and a young guy trying to get the respect of the older sailors, he is the person sent up the mast in extreme weather, and spends a lot of his remaining time getting battered at the bow. It helps that "the adventure, overcoming the hard bits" shape part of his love for offshore sailing, but he has taken enough collisions to leave fluid in both his knees and tendonitis elsewhere. "It's all part of it," he says. "I love the challenge of the whole thing." But he is more to the team than just young brawn.

It was his ingenuity that fixed the water maker on leg one, resolving a situation that had Read considering a diversion to Brazil to make a repair. Ultimately they finished second. Then, on the second leg, the team's longitudinal frames cracked and Casey was at the forefront of the repair.

"Plenty of other things too," Read says. "When we break something, Casey fixes it. A bit of a MacGyver. He's great to have onboard. He brings a lot to the team.

"When the rudder broke, he just took over, assigned everyone positions and we got on with it."

Removing the old rudder post was hard work. "We are sitting there banging on hammers, jumping up and down and the thing won't move," Casey explains. "We couldn't apply enough pressure. Then Shannon (Falcone) has this idea."

They dismantled one of their anchors, placing the shaft on the top of the rudder post, and used a complex network or winches and ropes to apply the downward pressure necessary to force out the post. "We had the post tied to a line so we could salvage it and test it to see what went wrong," Casey adds.

Then came the clutch moment. Before the race started Casey volunteered to be one of the crew's two designated "swimmers on watch", meaning in this case that it would be his responsibility to go over the side and insert the spare rudder with the precision timing needed to avoid severe damage to the boat. He put on his survival suit as the keel canted fully to lift the affected side of the boat out of the water.

"It was a bit of a worry," he says. "It was 30 knots and quite big seas. If you got the rudder only slightly in and then the boat crashes down off a wave you are going to do worse damage; you'll risk tearing a hole in the bottom of the boat or hurting somebody.

"I'm going over the side, thinking ‘don't go under the boat', just get the thing in quickly'."

All the while Salthouse was thinking "this will either win us the seamanship award or the stupidity award".

Casey continues: "With boat lurching up as it was you are going to get one shot. As soon as you line that thing up to pull it in, it has to go in. Not easy."

It wasn't. Television footage of the manoeuvre shows him dunked into the cold water numerous times and at one point he appears to slip under the boat as it comes down onto a rising wave. He laughs. "All good fun.

"It's what I love about this race. One minute you can be on cloud nine and loving life, sailing along in first, and the next you have a broken rudder, you are going over the side with a spare. The extremes you go through are pretty cool."

Casey Smith up the mast, onboard PUMA Ocean Racing, on leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Rio de Janeiro to Boston. Image copyright Rick Deppe/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race.

The mission was a success and two hours, 17 minutes after breaking their rudder they were racing again. Their lead had gone, replaced by a 26-mile deficit in fifth. But they fought on and ultimately came second, prompting Read to fire off an email to the race committee.

"The only nudging he needed from me was to change from his foul weather gear into a survival suit for the inevitable dunking while hanging over the side and helping slip the rudder stock into the bearings," it read. "No fear, no hesitation - his help putting this system in place and implementing the replacement saved our race and got us safely home at the same time."

Needless to say, Casey is Read's nomination for the seamanship award.

Volvo Ocean Race

VOR: Green Dragon - 'We Have Done Something Important'

Green Dragon, skippered by Ian Walker (GBR) (pictured), finished third on leg 7 from Boston to Galway. Image copyright Rick Tomlinson/Volvo Ocean Race.

Riath Al-Samarrai interviews Green Dragon's skipper, Ian Walker:

The best word I can use to describe the last few days since we got in is "fun".

People have been stopping me in the streets, saying "well done" and even asking for autographs, which still embarrasses me slightly. It has really brought home what our project was supposed to be about: bringing the Volvo Ocean Race to Ireland and attracting people to sailing.

To that end I can't help but feel it's been a big success. The stopover committee has done a fantastic job; you only have to walk around here to see just how involved the local community has become with the race. They love it. Even if you go into the race village week, when it has been pouring with rain, there are crowds of people.

That reception when we came in will stay with me for a long time. There have been some hard moments for Green Dragon on this race and to reach our home port in third, with that reaction, at that time of night, has been great.

Someone asked me "how does it compare getting on the podium here to winning an Olympic medal?" In some respects it is very similar because in both cases you put in a lot of hard work, make sacrifices and have some bad times along the way. When you stand up there getting recognition, be it an Olympic medal or 8,000 people at 0400 cheering for your team, then I guess it makes it all worthwhile.

It is a nice reward for everyone involved in the team. We have got a good team and people have been well looked after - it's not like people have been asked to chop their right arm off - but we have people like Justin Slattery, Neal McDonald, Damian Foxall and the rest who are all capable of being on the winning boat. But they chose to sail with our team for a number of reasons, be it patriotism from the Irish lads or other factors.

It has not been easy for them. We have not always been competitive because we were so late to the party and our financial situation means we have not been able to afford any new sails since China. In dealing with this the guys have been brilliant; they have all made personal sacrifices to get the boat around the world and they always give their best effort. I hope the guys feel vindicated by what we achieved in reaching Galway in third place because it was a result we all so desperately wanted.

In all, the race has been a big challenge. We set out hoping we might get on the podium, and in hindsight it is probably not that surprising that we haven't, given the time and money we had. But there is no real harm in having a dream. For us now the goal is to do as well as we can. It is important that we do not relax, but knowing the people on the boat I don't think that will happen. We want to hold off the boats behind us and, you never know, Ericsson 3 are not that far ahead of us. Anything could happen.

Whatever happens, this stopover has been great. I have taken a group of school kids around the boat this morning and you see just how many people have been touched by the race and our team. We haven't won the race but we have done something really important here and you don't get many chances to do that.

Volvo Ocean Race

VOR: Seb Josse on a possible French team for 2011-12

ABN AMRO TWO, at the start of leg 2 from Cape Town. Image copyright Oskar Kihlborg/Volvo Ocean Race 2005-6.

by Riath Al-Samarrai

There's a smile stretched across Seb Josse's face. "It was great fun," he says. "I do miss it."

His memories of the ABN AMRO TWO campaign are vivid, like the first day out of Vigo when his largely rookie team led the fleet. And the 24-hour period in which they sailed 562.96 miles, a monohull world record that would not be broken until Ericsson 4 blazed through leg one in this race.

"We had a really great time," Josse adds. "I think everyone was so excited to be given the chance that there was a positive energy the whole campaign. We all lived together for two years and I do not think we fought once."

Seb Josse. Image copyright Oskar Kihlborg/Volvo Ocean Race 2005-6.

For Josse, the skipper of the fourth-placed campaign, it was another line on a crammed CV. He has now skippered or raced in the Barcelona World race, the Vendee Globe twice, the Trophee Jules Verne and the Volvo Ocean Race, a collection of circumnavigation events believed to be unmatched in sailing.

It is the latter of those marathons that has led Josse to Galway today.

"I am interested in coming back," he says. "I am here to see what is going on with the race, all the big changes that are being talked about. I would like very much to come back and do the race again, but this is a very early stage and I am looking at the options. There are a few races I like and I am making decisions and seeing what is possible.

"I spoke with Knut (Frostad, the race CEO) yesterday about that and I think he has some really good ideas. They want to reduce the costs and I think that is essential at the moment. It is not easy to find money for campaigns so it is appealing to me that they are looking at ways to make it easier."

If Josse is to come back, there is one project that would have a particular appeal for him.

"I met yesterday with Si Fi (Simon Fisher from Telefonica Blue), Johnny Poortman and Nick Bice (both Delta Lloyd) and it was nice," he says.

"I would love to do it again with the same guys. We had a really good time and I think we would all like to sail together again.

"It would be an amazing story to try and rebuild this team and come back. But that is a long way away. First thing is try to get enough money. When you have the money you can start to contact people and think about who is in your team. Today I am not at this stage, but it would be nice to be back in this race."

That said, he never fully detached himself from it.

"I have been following the race when I have some time," he says. "It is a big fight, close racing. It is not so easy for the leader as last time when one boat was a long way ahead. I have enjoyed watching when I can."

ABN AMRO TWO. Image copyright Oskar Kihlborg/Volvo Ocean Race 2005-6.

He almost got even closer to the action.

"There was a chance that I might have done the leg from Qingdao to Rio," he reveals. "It was a bit too soon to do the long leg after the Vendee Globe."

Now, his thoughts are tuned in fully to the future and the potential for French involvement in the next race. His homeland, a country with an enormous passion for offshore sailing, has been noticeable by its absence in recent races, with the current edition featuring no French port and just one sailor. However, legends including Michel Desjoyeaux and Roland Jourdain showed interest by attending the race village in Boston, while Josse is all but certain there will be a team in the next event.

ABN AMRO ONE - Making More Possible. Image copyright Oskar Kihlborg/Volvo Ocean Race 2005-6.

"I think in the next edition there will be one team, but maybe if the budget comes down it might be possible to see two or three French teams," he says. "No one wanted to look before, because it was too expensive, like the America's Cup. We don't have the big sponsors like that. Now, with the cost limitation and this type of boat with a swing keel and daggerboards, which we know in France, the sponsors think it is possible to come and have a result.

"We have a lot of people who follow the sport and they understand it: at the prize giving in France after the Vendee Globe there was 100,000 people. For sure in a stopover in this race you can have the same.

"It is an appealing race to me. I enjoyed the last one a lot and one day it would be nice to come back."

Time will tell.

Volvo Ocean Race

RC44s: Very talented and a bit lucky, Team Aqua grabs the match race title in the RC 44 Austria Cup

Despite leading the tournament since the onset, Cameron Appleton and his team remained under threat until the very last race. Karol Jablonski’s Organika finished a magnificent second ahead of Dean Barker’s Artemis and Paul Cayard’s Ceeref.

Paul Cayard's CEEREF momentarily leads Cameron Appleton's Team Aqua in the RC 44 Austria Cup match racing. Image copyright GEPA pictures/Marie Rambauske/RC44 Class Association.

by Bernard Schopfer

When asked what the key to his success was, Team Aqua’s pro skipper Cameron Appleton was humble enough to answer “a huge amount of luck”. But luck doesn’t explain all and it is fair to say that Team Aqua sailed very well and that the team grabbed all the opportunities available – and there were many.

Following a successful ride against Team No Way Back, Aqua won the match that would be the decisive one in Flight 8, against Paul Cayard’s Ceeref. Despite loosing the start and incurring a penalty, Aqua managed to come back during the first downwind leg, taking advantage of a massive right shift to grab the lead. Appleton and his team then perfectly executed their penalty on the arrival line, finishing a couple of seconds ahead of Ceeref.

Two teams were still in a position to beat Aqua at this stage: BMW ORACLE Racing and Organika. The Americans blew their last opportunity during the pre-start of Flight 9 against Organika, incurring a penalty and crossing the line prematurely.

With one last race to go, Karol Jablonski’s Polish team was the only one still in a position to beat Aqua. In order to achieve this, Jablonski had to win its last race against No Way Back and Team Aqua to be beaten by BMW ORACLE Racing. Cameron Appleton made it very clear in the pre-start sequence that the event was his, taking an early lead over the Americans and extending throughout the race to win the match and the event. No Way Back, with Ray Davies at the helm for the starting sequence and owner Pieter Heerema taking over for the rest of the race managed to beat Organika “for the honour”, as the result had no influence on the final outcome. The two teams had an interesting windward mark rounding, carrying on for at least two hundred meters after the mark, looking at each other like cat and dog and waiting for the opportunity to make the break. A fantastic match racing moment.

There were many other exciting matches today, including a superb dual between Team Sea Dubai and BMW ORACLE Racing in the seventh flight. The team from the UAE had successfully inflicted a penalty to its opponent and dominated most of the match but could not prevent one of those come backs that only Lake Traunsee seems to allow.

Not used to sail on a lake, the Spanish team Puerto Calero had some good moments too, beating Organika, BMW ORACLE Racing and Team Austria but this was not enough to finish any better than eighth overall.

As for Team Austria, still learning the subtleties of match racing, they had some very good and close matches but haven’t managed to win a race. A tough result that certainly doesn’t reflect their talent.

The fleet racing event starts tomorrow. The strict one-design concept of the RC 44 Class and the shifty weather will open up more opportunities to the less experienced teams. It will with no doubt be a very interesting regatta.

They said:

Cameron Appleton, helmsman, Team Aqua: “We’ve had a huge amount of luck. We sailed very well in those races that we won fair & square. But I confess that we were lucky at times. I don’t know any other place that offers such opportunities to come back. The qualities that were necessary to win today are: patience, focus and belief.”

Dean Barker, helmsman, Artemis: “I am not very happy with our day. The conditions don’t make for great matches. You think you are doing things right and five minutes later you’ve been overtaken by your opponent without having done any mistake. This lake is really hard to read.”

René Mangold, owner, Team Austria: “I am not surprised by the result and we are not unhappy. These guys sail match races 200 days / year; it’s just normal that they beat us. But I have the feeling that we are getting closer and closer. Hopefully we will be able to win some races next time, in Malcesine.”

Karol Jablonski, helmsman, Organika: “It was complicated, exciting and intense. We’ve had lots of ups and downs throughout the day, but the crew has done a fantastic job and I am very happy. Rod Dawson, from New Zealand, is our new mainsail trimmer and he is doing a great job; it is very helpful. I didn’t know that we could have won the event when we started the last race. But it wouldn’t have changed anything.”

Match-race, final results after nine flights:
(Name of team, helmsman, No of victories / defeats, points)

1) Team Aqua, Cameron Appleton 7/1, 7 points
2) Team Organika, Karol Jablonski 5/3, 5 points
3) Artemis, Dean Barker, 5/3, 5 points
4) Ceeref, Paul Cayard, 5/3, 5 points
5) BMW ORACLE Racing, Rod Davis, 4/4, 4 points
6) No Way Back, Pieter heerema, 4/4, 4 points
7) Team Sea Dubai, Markus Wieser, 3/5, 3 points
8) Puerto Calero Islas Canarias, José Maria Ponce, 3/5, 3 points
9) Team Austria, Christian Binder, 0/8, 0 point


WMRT: Langenargen at its Best

Bruni positioned well without a loss on day one

Richard vs. Gilmour. Image copyright Tobias Störkle/Match Race Germany.

by Yvonne Reid

The teams competing in the 12th annual Match Race Germany, stage 2 of the World Match Racing Tour, were greeted with glorious conditions today as Lake Constance delivered a beautiful 12 knot north westerly morning breeze for racing to get underway.

Although the breeze steadily eased throughout the day, all 12 of the competing teams at this years event saw action on the water as 24 match races were completed in all.

Making his debut on the Tour was Italy’s Francesco Bruni who was keen to make an impression against the well polished Tour regulars but with an undefeated scorecard and a smile on his face it was clear the first day had made a good impression on him.

“We are very happy and surprised after day one to do so well. However, we appreciate there is a long way to go in the round robin and our feet are firmly on the ground. We will take each match as it happens. This is a very positive period in my life at the moment. I have had a succession of good results. I have just come from the Med Cup where I was tactician on Matador and we won, coming second at the Congressional Cup and fourth at the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series with Team Italia. In addition to this I was blessed with a baby girl five days ago and I am a very proud father. Life is good.”

Bruni was able to extend his lead against two of his competitors today which secured him the wins, however a tight race with the current world number one ISAF ranked match racer, Seb Col, put his skills to the test and he didn’t disappoint, using a combination of good strategy and boat on boat tactics to over come his opponent.

Mathieu Richard and crew in front of Schloss Montfort. Image copyright Tobias Störkle/Match Race Germany.

Mathieu Richard currently number two on the Tour standings and ISAF rankings also faired exceptionally well in today’s conditions, winning four of his five matches. The tenacious Frenchman, who looked solid on the race course all day, will no doubt be looking forward to seeing what tomorrow brings for the racing on Lake Constance.

It was a tough day for Sweden’s Bjorn Hansen, who after winning four of his five starts, no mean feat in the assembled fleet, could only convert two of these in to wins. “It was a frustrating and disappointing day and we need to be more switched on for tomorrow” said Hansen.

After the days racing was finished, an upbeat chief umpire Philippe Gomez was pleased with the successful start to the regatta. “Today was a good day and we are expecting similar conditions for tomorrows racing,” he stated.

Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Team 4-1
Ian Williams (GBR) Bahrain Team Pindar 3-2
Peter Gilmour (AUS) Yanmar Racing Team 3-2
Adam Minoprio (NZL) ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing 2-3
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Team Onboard 2-3
Francesco Bruni (ITA) Team Joe Fly 3-0
Sebastien Col (FRA) French Team/K-Challenge 2-1
Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team 2-1
Damien Iehl (FRA) French Team 1-2
Eric Monnin (SUI) Team 1-2
Ben Ainslie (GBR) Team Origin 1-4
Carsten Kemmling (GER) 0-3

Tour Standings
(After 1 0f 10 events)
1. Adam Minoprio (NZL) ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing 25 points
2. Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team 20 points
3. Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team 15 points
4. Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team 12 points
5. Ed Baird (USA) Alinghi 10 points
6. Sebastien Col (FRA) French Match Racing Team 8 points
7. Paolo Cian (ITA) Team Shosholoza 6 points
8. Ian Williams (GBR) Bahrain Team Pindar 4 points

Match Race Germany
World Match Racing Tour

Audi MedCup: El Desafio is the new Cristabella

John Cook's Cristabella (GBR) crew competing in the Audi MedCup Breitling Regatta. Image copyright Th.Martinez/Sea&Co.

After being unable to race in Alicante, John Cook's Cristabella (GBR) team will return to compete on the 2009 Audi MedCup Circuit with their new boat and some additional key crew members.

by Sabina Mollart-Rogerson

The British team will race in the City of Marseille Trophy (June 9-14) with the 2008 TP52 of El Desafío.

Cristabella have recently secured the TP52 which was previously El Desafío which finished seventh on the 2008 Audi MedCup Circuit and raced her final regatta in Spanish colours at the 2009 City of Alicante Trophy, finishing seventh.

The new Cristabella is a 2007-8 Judel Vrolijk design built in Valencia by the Spanish America's Cup Challenge.

The hull sister to Bribón is now being prepared to be raced in Marseille as Cristabella.

"Now we have a bit on to be ready, to get the boat sorted and on our way to Marseille”, explains Brendan Darrer (IRL), Cristabella's boat captain. “Now we just want to get there and to enjoy our sailing again. It was very disappointing to miss out in Alicante. We have only missed four MedCup regattas since we started in 2005 so we really are looking forward to being back."

Limited time means that the boat will be green and silver, with the sponsors' logos removed. "It looks pretty good in green and silver," Darrer notes. "I am not remotely superstitious and green, of course, is my national colour!"

The British team is happy about racing again with a Judel/Vrolijk design, as Barren highlights: "I'm really happy with the boat. The thing about the Judel Vrolijk boats is they are all so similar, just very small differences, and we are great believers in it being the way you sail them. We had already bought some new sails for this season and have some good, later ones from the 'old boat' so I feel we'll be OK in that area to start with."

Cristabella’s crew will include El Desafio's Olympic Finn bronze medal winning John Cutler (NZL). The Manchester, England born Kiwi sailed as tactician last year when the El Desafío team finished seventh overall, including a third overall in Cartagena, Murcia. World No 1 match racer Ian Williams (GBR) joins the crew, which is otherwise largely unchanged from the usual core including navigator Nat Ives (GBR) and owner/skipper John Cook (GBR).

Audi MedCup

Farr 40s: Rolex Farr 40 World Championships

Focus and Passion

Mean Machine ahead of Alinghi and Warpath. Image copyright Rolex/Daniel Forster.

by Giles Pearman

Veni, Vidi, Vici. Three-times in a row Vincenzo Onorato and Mascalzone Latino, the current champions, have taken the sword to all other opposition at the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship. Whether in a month's time he will have done so again, is in the lap of the gods and the hands of his fellow competitors, all of who have their eyes set on one of the pre-eminent trophies in the yachting calendar. The 2009 Rolex Farr 40 Worlds runs from 24 - 27 June, Porto Cervo, Sardinia, and the burning question is, as ever, over recent seasons: who has the mettle to beat Onorato at what is seemingly his own game.

With 26 boats from 10 nations, including the USA, Australia, Greece, Denmark, France, Germany, Switzerland, the Ukraine, the United Kingdom and, of course, Italy, slated to compete, the event will be a truly international affair. The Farr 40 Class is justifiably pleased in these difficult economic times to maintain not just a high number of entrants, but also a high level of competition. Geoff Stagg, of the Farr 40 Class Management Committee, expressed the feelings of the organisation, "it's just fantastic. Frankly, I'm astonished. We've got ten countries competing, at least 26 boats. When one sees that number of forty-footers on a start-line or at a mark rounding, one realises just how many boats that is. It's a lot of action."

Stagg is also impressed with the level of preparation he has seen at the regattas leading up to the Worlds and believes it is wide open despite the dominance of Mascalzone Latino over the past three championships, "everyone is ramping up for a great, great event. It is remarkable to think that Vincenzo has a shot at his fourth title in a row, but for certain he will not feel safe. There are a lot of people lurking that could spoil the moment. This year already, Alessandro Barnaba and Fiamma won a tight battle in Porto Rotondo; Massimo Mezzaroma and Nerone were clear winners in Miami."

"We've seen at Rolex Capri Sailing Week that Marco Rodolfi and TWT along with Carlo Alberini and Calvi Network are up for the challenge and look at the Americans - Doug Douglas and Goombay Smash, Helmut Jahn and Flash Gordon, Jim Richardson and Barking Mad - they've shown too that they can do well in these waters," Stagg continues. "There are ten races and no discards, so that puts on a lot of pressure. You cannot afford too many mistakes. Everybody will have one bad race, but you cannot have two. To win this you are going to have to work really hard, whoever you are."

Peter Nicholson, Rolex USA, presents 2008 winner Vincenzo Onorato owner/helmsman of MASCALZONE LATINO (ITA) with a Rolex Yacht-Master timepiece in Rolesium. Image copyright Rolex/Daniel Forster.

A quick look at the tacticians list also gives a flavour of the level of competition in store. The field is full of Olympians, America's Cuppers and others from the world of grand prix racing, ready to test their ability to guide these one-design racing craft around the course, and, to put their reputation on the line. With an owner/driver rule in place, the pros are not allowed to touch the wheel during racing. The guidance comes in the form of advice, picking the shifts, determining the strategy and tactics, and, timing the manoeuvres.

For the likes of Ross MacDonald (two-time Olympic medallist) sailing with Crown Prince Frederik on Nanoq (DEN), Adrian Stead (two-time Olympian/Mascalzone Latino), Tom Slingsby (Olympian/Transfusion, AUS), Colin Beashel (six time Olympian & America's Cup winner/Kokomo, AUS), Terry Hutchinson (America's Cup challenger/Barking Mad, USA), Tomasso Chieffi (Olympian/Fiamma, ITA), Bertrand Pace (Match-Racing World Champion/Aleph, FRA), Morgan Larson (three-time Olympian/Goombay Smash, USA) and the host of others, it is a "heck of a challenge" according to Stagg, who firmly believes in the team concept and that however good a sailor the professional might be it takes a great deal more to hit the high notes regularly and consistently. "If you can stay calm, get the crew working as one with the helmsman, anything can happen. But these boats are so close that if you lose a quarter of inch here, a quarter of an inch there, all of a sudden you are dipping transoms and you're in for a long day. One guy does not make the difference," he explains.

Stagg is clear on a couple more things, "winning this event requires absolute focus and absolute passion. You have to want it enough." Time will tell who meets all the criteria.

Racing for the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship is organised by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and the Farr 40 Class Association. Racing will be held in the waters off Porto Cervo, Sardinia and starts on Wednesday, 24 June.

Yacht Club Costa Smeralda

The Queen Accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh to visit The Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy

by Cailah Leask

Her Majesty The Queen, accompanied by His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, will visit the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA) on 11th June. The Academy provides access to the best small boat sailing waters in the world and is the first venue to be completed for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Royal Party will meet both Olympic hopefuls in training and local people who are learning to sail as part of WPNSA’s programme with the Chesil Trust - which offers subsidised Royal Yachting Association sailing courses many of which are run in conjunction with SailLaser for children and young people who are disabled or at a social disadvantage. The scheme is just one of the WPNSA’s and SailLaser’s many community involvement initiatives including the opportunity for individuals to ‘Sail for £5’,or for family groups of up to four people to have a sail for £10 and which will be available to the public again on July 11th as part of the ‘Spirit of the Sea’ Festival.

John Tweed, Chief Executive of the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, said: “It is an enormous honour for the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy that both Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh will be coming to see the completed Olympic Delivery Authority works and the Chesil Trust ‘Sail for a Fiver’ programme. On the 11th June there will be a number of young people learning to sail and we hope to give a real flavour of how important this facility is for the whole community, not just the competitive sailors”.

The Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy

RC44s: Image Collage from Match Racing in Austria

Ceeref (Paul Cayard) versus Islas Canarias - Puerto Calero (José Juan Calero). Image copyright GEPA pictures/Marie Rambauske/RC 44 Class Association.

Artemis (Dean Barker) versus BMW ORACLE Racing (Rod Davis). Image copyright GEPA pictures/Marie Rambauske/RC 44 Class Association.

Aqua (Cameron Appleton). Image copyright GEPA pictures/Marie Rambauske/RC 44 Class Association.

Sea Dubai (Markus Wieser) leads Team Upper Austria (Christian Binder). Image copyright GEPA pictures/Marie Rambauske/RC 44 Class Association.

Ceeref (Paul Cayard) leads Team Upper Austria (Christian Binder). Image copyright GEPA pictures/Marie Rambauske/RC 44 Class Association.

Islas Canarias - Puerto Calero (José Juan Calero). Image copyright GEPA pictures/Marie Rambauske/RC 44 Class Association.

Islas Canarias - Puerto Calero (José Juan Calero) versus Artemis (Dean Barker). Image copyright GEPA pictures/Marie Rambauske/RC 44 Class Association.

Aqua (Cameron Appleton) versus Team Upper Austria (Christian Binder). Image copyright GEPA pictures/Marie Rambauske/RC 44 Class Association.


Thursday 28 May 2009

RC44s: Update from Paul Cayard in Gmunden, Austria

Team Ceeref, with whom Paul Cayard is sailing, as a replacement for Sebastien Col (Seb is third from the right in the picture above). Ceeref's owner, Igor Lah, is fourth from the right in the image above. Image copyright Anne Hinton. All rights reserved.

by Paul Cayard

We had a good day onboard Ceeref today (Wednesday) winning three races and losing just one. The conditions were tricky as seems to be the norm here and this caused more than a few lead changes.

Before things got going, our boat captain Josh did a great job getting down to the boat at 0700 to check her out. He even dove on the boat and found that the trim tab had been damaged by one of the mooring lines the night before in the storm. He and a couple of the crew took the boat down to the end of the lake, about 10 miles away, hauled it and tried to put in the spare tab. It did not fit so they put the damaged one back in, sanded it a bit and we raced like that. Luckily we had a bye in the first flight of racing so we did not miss anything.

We actually led around every mark of every race we were in. In our first race, we lost the lead on the final run to the finish when the boat behind gybe set and got a puff of wind we never saw. Other than that, we never crossed behind anyone. I could not have hoped for much more than that. Most importantly, my friend and fellow team member from the 1983 America's Cup, Rod Davis, kindly let me beat him so I could win the master division.

So tomorrow (Thursday) we have the last four matches. We start out with Artemis where Dean Barker is the helmsman. The forecast for tomorrow isn't great but I think we just have to reset our idea of good wind down to about 4 knots with 40 degree shifts and then it will all be normal.

We had a nice party tonight in an old palace half way down the west side of the Lake. There was a church in this place from the 12th century. Most places we go are very international really. If you go to Palma or St. Tropez or San Francisco, you can find anything. This place is very old and very Austrian.

Standings after today:
1) Team Aqua, Cameron Appleton 4/1, 4 points
2) CEEREF, Paul Cayard, 3/1, 3 points
2) Artemis, Dean Barker, 3/2, 3 points
2) Team Organika, Karol Jablonski 3/2, 3 points
5) BMW ORACLE Racing, Rod Davis, 2/2, 2 points
5) No Way Back, Pieter Heerema, 2/2, 2 points
5) Puerto Calero Islas Canarias, Jose Juan Calero, 2/3, 2 points
8) Team Sea Dubai, Markus Wieser, 1/3, 1 point
9) Team Austria, Christian Binder, 0/4, 0 point

Cayard Sailing

WMRT: Match Race Germany - Langenargen is Ready

Twelve teams are ready to battle for the German title.

Match Race Germany 2008 from the air. Image copyright Richard Walch/World Match Racing Tour.

by Yvonne Reid

The picturesque town of Langenargen on the shores of Lake Constance will be flooded with sailors and spectators this week as Match Race Germany opens its doors.

As well as hosting the German leg of the World Match Racing Tour a week long festival has been planned. Live bands will take to the stage and food and entertainment will be on offer. Children will also have the opportunity to get out on the water in Optimist dinghies.

Amongst the competitors lined up for the Tour event are reigning World Champion Ian Williams (GBR) and Bahrain Team Pindar, number 1 ranked ISAF sailor Seb Col (FRA) with the French Team/K-Challenge, current Tour leader Adam Minoprio (NZL) of ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing and four time Match Racing World Champion Peter Gilmour (AUS) backed up by Yanmar Racing. The list of talent doesn’t stop there with Triple Olympic Gold Ben Ainslie and Team Origin starting their assault on the World Championship. Defending Match Race Germany Champion Damien Ihel with his French Match Racing Team is also back to try and retain his crown, a pretty tall order some might think.

Racing will take place a stones throw from the shoreline in Langenargen which is sure to see its share of visitors keen to watch the action and listen to the lively commentary throughout the day. The boat of choice is the Bavaria Match 35.

Match Race Germany is the second stop on the 2009 Tour and has $50,000 in prize money on offer. The next six weeks will see four Tour events tightly packed and by the end of the first week of July half the Tour will be completed. Teams will need to stay focused and fight for every World Championship point.

The full line up is:
SebastienCol, FRA, French Team/K-Challenge
Mathieu Richard, FRA, French Team
Ian Williams, GBR, Bahrain Team PIndar
Ben Ainslie, GBR, Team Origin
Adam Minoprio, ETNZ/BlackMatch
Torvar Mirsky, AUS, Mirsky Racing Team
Eric Monnin, SUI, Team Search.Ch
Francesco Bruni, ITA, Joe Fly Match Racing Team
Damien Iehl, FRA, French Match Racing Team
Peter Gilmour, AUS, Yanmar Racing
Carsten Kemmling, GER
Bjorn Hansen, SWE, Team Onboard

Tour Standings
(After 1 0f 10 events)
1. Adam Minoprio (NZL) ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing 25 points
2. Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team 20 points
3. Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team 15 points
4. Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team 12 points
5. Ed Baird (USA) Alinghi 10 points
6. Sebastien Col (FRA) French Match Racing Team 8 points
7. Paolo Cian (ITA) Team Shosholoza 6 points
8. Ian Williams (GBR) Bahrain Team Pindar 4 points

Match Race Germany
World Match Racing Tour

WMRT: Light Winds Set to Test Top Sailors in Germany

Mirsky Racing Team concentrating hard during practice at Match Race Germany. Supplied image.

by Kinley Fowler, Mirsky Racing Team

With contrasting weather to the previous few days in Langenargen, we completed our training session in very light and variable winds, which in addition to the new boats has added another challenge to overcome as racing starts tomorrow.

The event will be sailed in Bavaria 35s, which are designed as a cruising yacht with all the luxurious extras. The Bavaria’s will prove to be quite a challenging boat as they are somewhat different to the other more conventional racing yachts sailed on the World Match Racing Tour.

Fortunately we were able to dedicate today’s training session solely to our boat work as we recently completed a 3 day training camp in Sweden to hone in our match racing tactics.

The experience gained at our training camp with current world champion Ian Williams and Victory Challenge skippers Magnus Holmberg and Mattias Rahm will hopefully be the decisive factor for us in Match Race Germany.

Tomorrow racing gets underway at 9am where the race committee will try to take advantage of the early morning land breeze.

Skippers List:

Adam Minoprio (NZL) Blackmatch / ETNZ
Matteui Richard (FRA) French Sailing Team
Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team
Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team
Sebastian Col (FRA) French Match Racing Team
Ian Williams (GBR) Bahrain Team Pindar
Francesco Bruni (ITA) Joe Fly
Ben Ainslie (GBR) Team Origin
Peter Gilmour (AUS) Team Yanmar
Eric Monnin (SUI) Team
Carsten Kemmling (GER)

A special thanks to Line7, Harken and the Royal Perth Yacht Club for their support.

Mirsky Racing Team
World Match Racing Tour

RC44s: Tricky Conditions on Day One of the RC44 Austria Cup

Team Aqua, leader of the match race contest after 5 flights. Image copyright GEPA pictures/Marie Rambauske/RC44 Class Association.

The RC 44 Austria Cup match race event started today in light to moderate and very shifty conditions. Team Aqua leads the contest after five flights, ahead of Organika, Artemis and Ceeref.

by Bernard Schopfer

The teams involved in the RC 44 Austria Cup faced difficult conditions on day one of the Austria Cup, with shifty and irregular winds that tested the tactician’s nerves and generated some unexpected come backs and upsets. At the end of the day, the most popular words that could be heard on the pontoons were “we should” and “we could”.

The first flight of the day immediately set the tone, with an unexpected come back from Team Puerto Calero against Organika in a situation that would have been desperate in normal conditions.

The same fate hit Paul Cayard’s Ceeref on flight two: the American was fairly easily controlling the situation against Team No Way Back - with owner Pieter Heerema at the helm – when the dutch boat executed a complicated – and pretty poorly executed - jibe set at the last windward mark, catching a nice puff right after to grab the lead.

The second flight also coincided with Dean Barker and Artemis’ first defeat since March in a tense match against Karol Jablonski’s Organika.

The local Austrian team fought with all its heart throughout the day, putting up a good show and gaining valuable experience despite missing victories through the accumulation of little mistakes; the often mentioned lack of experience. The closest call was in flight three when Christian Binder and his team managed to sail in Ceeref’s wake throughout the match, crossing the arrival line just behind Paul Cayard. Equally unlucky, Team Sea Dubai only managed to grab a point against Puerto Calero in the second flight and had a painful incident in their third match when they ripped their spinnaker and had to take their mainsail down to untangle bits of tissue wrapped around the battens.

The “match of the day” took place in the fourth flight, between Organika and Ceeref. The two teams reached the starboard layline together and engaged a brutal luffing dual. Surprised by the action, Organika’s bowman fell in the water and the jury raised a first penalty flag against the Polish team for responding too late. The second flag came up seconds later, during the mark rounding, when Karol Jablonski tried to squeeze in between the mark and his opponent in a forbidden way. The Polish executed a perfect penalty turn and bravely carried on chasing Cayard until the arrival line, loosing a great regatta by a few boat lengths.

The last flight of the day took place in a dying breeze that didn’t deliver much action, except for a very close match between Ceeref and BMW ORACLE Racing. Cayard just managed to cross the arrival line ahead of Davis before the breeze completely disappeared.

Team Aqua leads the contest with 4 points, ahead of Ceeref, Artemis and Organika (3 points). The last three flights (or four for some boats) will take place tomorrow.

They said:

Cameron Appleton, helmsman, Team Aqua: “We’ve had our share of bad luck on lakes until now but it’s over and today was our day. We sailed well and the combination with Andy (Estcourt) and I worked well. The conditions are certainly difficult but you need to create luck and opportunities; that’s what we did.”

Dean Barker, helmsman, Artemis: “I don’t think we were very lucky today. For example in our match against Aqua, we had a huge lead but they came back from behind with a gust and passed us. The conditions were quite typical of lake sailing and I sometimes had the feeling that we were not really match racing. We often had to play the weather rather than the opponent. But it was good fun.”

Rod Davis, helmsman, BMW ORACLE Racing: “It was definitely a difficult day wind wise and sometimes a bit of a lottery but we had a lot of fun. I just had one hour to practice before the start, so I am still learning a lot. I think most of our races were good, except the one against Paul Cayard. We should have won that one.”

Karol Jablonski, helmsman, Organika: “I am happy with our day but I really believe that we could have finished with the perfect score. It was very close all along. We should never have lost the first race against the Spaniards; they were a long way behind a came back with a puff. Then we had a close situation against Cayard and my bowman fell in the water; I didn’t really agree with the Jury but that’s match racing!”

Match-race, provisional results after 4 or 5 flights depending on the teams (out of 9):
(Name of team, helmsman, No of victories / defeats, points)

1) Team Aqua, Cameron Appleton 4/1, 4 points
2) CEEREF, Paul Cayard, 3/1, 3 points
2) Artemis, Dean Barker, 3/2, 3 points
2) Team Organika, Karol Jablonski 3/2, 3 points
5) BMW ORACLE Racing, Rod Davis, 2/2, 2 points
5) No Way Back, Pieter Heerema, 2/2, 2 points
5) Puerto Calero Islas Canarias, José Juan Calero, 2/3, 2 points
8) Team Sea Dubai, Markus Wieser, 1/3, 1 point
9) Team Austria, Christian Binder, 0/4, 0 point


VOR: Team Delta Lloyd - Two Temporary In-Port Crew Changes

Delta Lloyd, on leg 7 from Boston to Galway. Image copyright Sander Pluijm/Team Delta Lloyd/Volvo Ocean Race.

by Diana Bogaards

On Wednesday May 27, Team Delta Lloyd (NED) announced two temporary crew changes for the In-Port Race in Galway/Ireland. Skipper Roberto Bermúdez de Castro (ESP) had no choice, as trimmer Marcelo Ferreira (BRA) needs to stay home for personal reasons and Dave Miller (NZL) cannot be missed in the sail loft. The Spaniards Juan Meseguer and Marcos Iglesias will replace them.

"I prefer to race with the same crew, but unfortunately that is impossible", emphasizes Bermúdez de Castro. "We need Dave to finish the sail inventory in time for the next leg. He just returned from the North Sailis factory in Nevada/USA, where our new main sail is built. So, we were looking for good sailors at a very short notice. I know Juan and Marcos very well, which makes it easier for all of us."

Juan Meseguer
Juan Meseguer has a respectable reputation as sail designer and analyst. He worked and sailed for BMW Oracle and Prada in the America's Cup. More recently, he designed the sails for TP52 Team Caixa Galicia, skippered by Bermúdez de Castro. "Juan also worked for Telefonica in the current and Ericsson in the last edition of the Volvo Ocean Race", continues Bermúdez de Castro.

Marcos Iglesias
Marcos Iglesias and Roberto Bermúdez de Castro spent many hours together on a boat. They finished third with Team Galicia 93 Pescanova in the 1993-94 Whitbread Round the World Race. In 2003, they won the Barcelona Olympic Week in the Star class. In the late nineties, Iglesias competed in the Soling (still Olympic by then). In addition, he participated three times in the America's Cup as member of the Spanish syndicates in 1992, 1995 and 2007.

Team Delta Lloyd finished third in the last two In-Port Races.

Team Delta Lloyd
Volvo Ocean Race

Wednesday 27 May 2009

RC44s: Paul Cayard reports from Gmunden, Austria

RC44 Ceeref sailing in Italy. Image copyright Anne Hinton. All rights reserved.

by Paul Cayard

Tomorrow (Wednesday) will be the first day of racing for the RC44 fleet here in Gmunden. The RC44 is a relatively new class of boat designed by Russell Coutts and Andrej Justin. It looks like a 1/2 scale of the America's Cup boats from 2007. But it is relatively lighter and very high performing. It planes downwind in 16 knots of wind and it is fully powered up in 7 knots upwind. It is a one design class and the boats are very high tech being built out of carbon fiber and even having a trim tab on the keel fin.

The RC 44 fleet has a circuit around Europe and the Middle East.

So far this year, the fleet has competed two events, one in Lanzarote and one Cagliari, Sardinia.

I have been asked to sail onboard Ceeref for just this regatta as the tactician, Sebastian Col is off doing one of the World Match Race Tour regattas.

The format for racing in this class is: Wednesday and Thursday Match Racing where a professional can steer the boat and Friday-Sunday is Fleet Racing and an amateur must steer the boat, which is usually the owner.

So we will race each other team once in a round robin over the next two days. There are some very good match racers here and I haven't match raced in a while so it will be a good challenge for me.

Gmunden is on Lake Traun. This lake is nestled at the bottom of some very high mountains. So far, two of the three days, the wind had trouble getting down to the lake with any kind of steadiness. Yesterday was a fantastic day with the wind blowing down the length of the lake due to thermal convection in the mountains at the far end of the lake. The lake is about 8 miles long and 2 miles wide. It makes for a beautiful setting. There are many summer homes here as Gmunden is just 40 minutes from Salzburg.

A big wind just blew through the town and knocked a couple of the boats off their mooring. I am told there was a bit of damage to one of them when another drifted into it. We'll see in the morning.

It has been about 33C for the past two days but the temp is supposed to drop to 15C tomorrow.

Cayard Sailing

WMRT: Match Race Germany Kicks into Action

Match Race Germany 2008. Image copyright Richard Walch/World Match Racing Tour.

by Kinley Fowler, Mirsky Racing Team

The weather took a sudden turn for the worse today as the teams began arriving for the start of the 2009 edition of Match Race Germany in the small town of Langenargen.

12 teams from across the globe are gathering for the second event of the year in the battle for the World Match Racing Championship title. This year’s line up is exceptionally strong, with Ben Ainslie, Peter Gilmour and Francesco Bruni stepping in for the first time this season to stir things up and test the new talent that has been dominating the Tour.

After 3 days' training in Gothenburg with Matthias Rahm, Magnus Holmburg and Ian Williams, the Mirsky Racing Team will be arriving on the water well prepared. The first race begins on Thursday; however, practise day and the opening ceremonies begin Wednesday morning in southern Germany.

A special thanks to Line7, Harken and the Royal Perth Yacht Club for their support.

Mirsky Racing Team
World Match Racing Tour

RC44s: Time for action for the RC 44 Class on Lake Traunsee, Austria

The third event of the RC 44 Championship Tour 2009 starts Wednesday in Austria on the picturesque Lake Traunsee. A fairly strong wind is forecast, with temperatures dropping after today’s record temperatures.

Start of a practice race on Lake Traunsee. Image copyright Nico Martinez/RC44 Class Association.

by Bernard Schopfer

Representing eight nations, the nine RC 44s involved in the RC 44 Austria Cup did two practice starts in a very light breeze today, preparing for the beginning of the competition scheduled Wednesday at 11:30 AM.

Last year Gmunden (Austria) hosted the Championship Tour for the first time and it proved one of the Circuit’s most memorable regattas. The world’s best sailors involved in the Tour were unanimously impressed by the scenery, the greenness of the forests that overlook the lake and the highness of the surrounding mountains.

One year later the RC 44 fleet is back with a highly competitive fleet that includes some new names such as Paul Cayard (Ceeref), Ray Davies (No Way Back) and Rod Davis (BMW ORACLE Racing). The Class’ other “usual suspects” such as Dean Barker, Cameron Appleton, Daniel Calero or Markus Wieser have also been spotted walking up & down the pontoons over the past few days, preparing for another exciting regatta in this challenging circuit.

Speaking this morning during the event’s opening press conference - held at the stunning Seeschloss Orth (Lake Traunsee’s emblematic castle) - both Dean Barker and Ray Davies mentioned how refreshing it is for them to sail on a mountain lake. “Usually when I go to this sort of resort it is in New Zealand’s southern Island and I am going skiing”, said Barker. “It is a nice change.” Paul Cayard went as far as saying that “this is such a beautiful place that I could very well consider living here”.

Unbeaten in match race in Cagliari last month, Dean Barker and Artemis are the favourites of the series although Ceeref still leads the overall ranking. Paul Cayard replaces Sébastien Col for this event, and he clearly hopes to maintain his team on top of the leader board. “I haven’t competed in a match since almost two years, and this is a welcome “refreshing course” for me. The fleet is obviously highly competitive, but I am definitely here to try to win.”

Christian Binder, skipper of the local team Austria, explained that his team is still fairly new. “We are learning every day”, he said. “But we have been working hard and we had some good training sessions over the past weeks. We definitely hope to get a good result”.

The weather forecast for the coming days is not good and a low pressure from the West is expected.

The teams involved:
(Name of team, owner, pro sailor)

Team Aqua, Chris Bake / Cameron Appleton
Team Ceeref, Igor Lah / Paul Cayard
Sea Dubai, DIMC, Markus Wieser
BMW ORACLE Racing, Russell Coutts / Rod Davis
Team Organika, Maciej Nawrocki / Karol Jablonski
Islas Canarias Puerto Calero, Daniel Calero / Jose Maria Ponce
Artemis, Torbjorn Tornqvist / Dean Barker
No Way Back, Pieter Heerema / Ray Davies
Team Austria, René Mangold / Christian Binder


WMRT: Seb Col is Back for Next World Match Racing Tour Events

Sébastien Col (FRA) French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge. Image copyright Gilles Martin-Raget/World Match Racing Tour.

by Stephanie Nadin

After the first event of the season which took place in Marseille in March, the 2009 World Match Racing Tour is ready to gather again the world's best match racers who will carry on the fight leading to the World Match Racing Champion's crown. But from now on, the competitions will follow one another with an intensive rhythm, and the key to success will be to manage the effort over the duration.

Indeed, not less than four events will be run the ones behind the others in one month: Match Race Germany, taking place this week from May 27 till June 1st, then Korea Match Cup straight after, from June 2 to 7. The Troia Portugal Match Cup will follow from June 16 to 21, and last but not least, Match Cup Sweden from June 29 till July 5.

The summer break will then be very welcome until early September, where the last part of the season will start from St Moritz Match Race.

Since Marseille International Match Race and the Congressional Cup that followed right after in the US, Seb Col and his team kept on working hard: they took part to two intensive training sessions with the French match racing team. The first session took place in Valencia from the K-Challenge base in the America's Cup village beginning of May, then the second one took place in St Quay Portrieux last week.

On the other hand, Seb Col took part to other competitions: Farr30, RC44 (3rd place at Cagliari RC44 Cup), before winning the Melges 24 Volvo Cup event in Lerici, Italy, with Flavio Favini, on May 17.

So Seb is now starting the following events of the World Match Racing Tour peacefully, having more sailing and training hours to back him up.


Sebastien Col: “we've trained last week in Saint Quay Portrieux in light conditions, which is good as it is the same in Germany.

"It is a new start for us in a way, as we felt the need for sailing a lot after Marseille, and that is what we did by sailing for two trainings with the French match racing team since that.

"Personally, I feel better on the starts and the close game, but of course we have to transfer that to the competition situations. It will come with a few wins. Our level came back because we sailed a lot, now we need some good reference races with wins to start again ourselves over this season.

"Looking at the calendar, it will be quite tough, mainly between Germany and Korea, as they couldn't change their schedules. 50% of the teams taking part to the Match Race Germany will also sail the Korea Match Cup. The main issue that we will have to manage will be the jet lag, along with the event's format in Korea, as you need to play hard early in the competition, and the wind conditions are a bit tricky.

"The course is very short, we have to be up to speed. We will do our best to sleep well during the flights.

"Our crew will be the same for Germany and Korea: Gilles Favennec, Christophe André, Erwan Israël and Christian Scherrer, which is the same crew with whom we won the Korea Match Cup last year.

"The last trainings confirmed that this crew goes well along together, the goal will then to do the same with the regatta´s tension.”

Also, Sebastien will take part in a Melges 24 competition in Cagliari from June 11 to 14, between the Korea Match Cup and the Troia Portugal Match Cup. The targets on this circuit are the Europeans and Worlds Championships.

The 2009 season's heart beat will be thrilling and full of Adrenalin!

Sebastien Col
World Match Racing Tour

VOR: Bouwe Bekking - One Month to Go

Telefonica Blue, skippered by Bouwe Bekking (NED) (pictured) finish fourth on leg 7 from Boston to Galway, crossing the line at 02:42:25 GMT 24/05/09. Image copyright Rick Tomlinson/Volvo Ocean Race.

by Javier Sobrino

In just one month, on June 27, the Volvo Ocean Race 2008/09 finishes in St. Petersburg, Russia. Bouwe Bekking and the crew on board TELEFONICA BLUE have just arrived in Galway, Ireland, after seven months and two weeks of sailing seven Legs and 35,150 nautical miles around the globe. After adding the maximum number of points at the scoring waypoint of St. Johns, Newfoundland (Canada), Bouwe Bekking's boat finished Leg 7 in fourth place, not the result they were fighting for, but enough to maintain their second place position on the overall leaderboard of the race.

Leg 7 was 2,550 nautical miles from Boston (USA) to Galway (Ireland), including the scoring waypoint and the ice gate to avoid any risk of sailing too far North. In the words of Bouwe, the Leg could be divided into two parts: "The beginning part was as expected in terms of wind conditions, while in the second part we had more breeze than we had hoped for." That first part was where TELEFONICA BLUE showed her true potential, crossing the scoring waypoint first, just 40 seconds ahead Puma after 1,000 miles of racing from Boston. Bouwe described the situation on May 19 in one of his exclusive reports for "It was a nail-biter right until the end. The last two hours I was on the helm, and the regular trimmers were in their positions while the rest of the crew was hiking. When we crossed the line, I let out a breath of air as it had been some intense hours."

For TELEFONICA BLUE that crossing was the key moment of Leg 7, and in the words of Bouwe: "I think for us the key moment was winning the scoring gate, as we knew we would sail in conditions where all the boats would be close in performance, so it was important to win that part."

That was the second consecutive scoring waypoint won by TELEFONICA BLUE in this race and the seventh partial win since the start of the race in October 2008 (Leg 3, Leg 4; the scoring waypoints of Leg 5 and Leg 7; the in-port races in Alicante, Rio de Janeiro and Boston). For Bouwe, these results show the strength of the team and the boat, which has improved her performance in this last leg after receiving some changes during the Boston stopover: "In heavy downwind conditions we were moving better than ever before, and we have managed to hang in there. Compared to the previous legs in similar conditions, we were hanging in better than expected. The best comparison we have is against our sister ship, and we have hugely improved in that sense."

Telefonica Blue encounters rough weather in the north Atlantic Ocean. The spray makes it look like a snowstorm! Image copyright Gabriele Olivo/Telefonica Blue/Volvo Ocean Race.

What about the best and worst moments of Leg 7, Bouwe? "The best was the win at the scoring gate. We didn't actually have any moments where you thought 'this is really bad,' so in that sense maybe the worst was getting to Galway in 4th." But one thing that Bouwe is always proud of is his crew: "The mood has been incredible, always positive and believing in ourselves." Two days before getting to Ireland, Bouwe wrote: "The guys are giving everything they have, pushing, pushing all the time, wanting a good result on his leg. The word sleep is not a real word in our vocabulary right now, that is only a thing everybody dreams about." Enough said.

Next Saturday, May 30, TELEFONICA BLUE will face off with the fleet in Galway for the sixth and penultimate in-port race of the Volvo Ocean Race 2008/09. Until that moment, Bouwe is enjoying a couple of days with his family back home in Denmark while the shore crew is "doing some work on the boat to get it at 100% for the in-port race. No big changes are planned, we plan to go sailing on Thursday."

It is just one month, three legs and 1,845 nautical miles to go before the finish in St. Petersburg. There are 32 points left to fight for (8 per each of the three legs, plus 4 per each of the two in-port races left) before it's over, and Bouwe is realistic but positive about their chances to catch up to Ericsson 4, curr ent leader of the race: "We'll keep on trying to win each leg, as usual; that never changes. On the other hand, I have to be realistic, it will be getting harder and harder, but we are not giving up until it is over. I've said it before: very strange things can happen in sailing..."

Bouwe Bekking
Volvo Ocean Race

Vendée Globe: The official 2008-2009 Vendée Globe book has just been published

by Vendée Globe media

The sixth edition of the non-stop single-handed round the world race, the 2008-2009 Vendée Globe, will be remembered for its many twists and turns. From the Atlantic to the voyage in the southern ocean, you can relive the incredible story of the thirty sailors venturing into the extreme.

A top class sporting event and a shining example of human endeavour, this edition of the Vendée Globe will not easily be forgotten, with Yann Eliès's accident in the Indian Ocean, Jean Le Cam capsizing off Cape Horn and the relentless persistence of Michel Desjoyeaux, who after returning to port, made his way back up through the whole fleet, grabbed the lead and ended up winning the race in Les Sables-d’Olonne.

Co-written by Pierre-François Bonneau, Dominic Bourgeois, Camille El Bèze and Loïc Le Bras, four journalists, who worked for the Mer & Média agency and followed the race on a daily basis for the organisers and the official website. After taking part in the daily radio link-ups with the skippers and keeping track of everything that was happening in this legendary event, they have now analysed what lies behind the joys and the tears of the solo heroes. They offer here their account of this sixth Vendée Globe, conveying to us all its emotions and occasional heartbreak. A book you will not be able to put down!

240 pages – 400 photos
Price: 29.90 €
Can be ordered online from

Vendée Globe

Vendée Globe: 120,000 people on the beach in Les Sables for the prize-giving ceremony

Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia) and Marc Guillemot (Safran) in a Mumm champagne battle. Image copyright Olivier Blanchet/DPPI/Vendée Globe.

by Véronique Teurlay

At 10.30 in the evening on Saturday, the 2008-2009 Vendée Globe skippers climbed one after the other onto the huge podium erected on the beach for the official prize-giving ceremony for this sixth Vendée Globe. No fewer than 120,000 people turned up for this show that was entirely free and packed with emotion. One final opportunity to applaud the sailors, but also an occasion to look back at this historic race. During the evening, the date of the start of the next Vendée Globe was revealed. It will begin on 21st October 2012.

As night fell over Les Sables, the show began. A highly emotional atmosphere with a joyful crowd watching the large stage set up on the beach in Sables d'Olonne. One by one the skippers, who kept millions of fans so excited, would make their appearance. On the giant screens on either side of the stage, the audience was able to watch the highlights of the race. There would be all the emotion of the start, footage of the storms, the moments of stress and anguish, the skippers being forced to retire, the rescues. Then, all the joyful moments: Michel Desjoyeaux's amazing comeback, the ecstasy of each finish. To conclude, there was a giant fireworks display over the beach and sea to close the evening a quarter of an hour after midnight.

Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia) - winner, on stage. Image copyright Olivier Blanchet/DPPI/Vendée Globe.

Start of the 2012 Vendée Globe: Sunday 21st October at 13h02
Shortly before the end of the prize-giving ceremony, when Philippe de Villiers congratulated Michel Desjoyeaux, the winner of the 2008-2009 edition, the President of the SEM Vendée, the race organizer, officially revealed the date of the next Vendée Globe: 21st October 2012 at 13h02 (local time). A seventh Vendée Globe, which 29 competitors have already declared their intention to compete in.

The Vendée Globe trophy. Image copyright Jean Marie Liot/DPPI/Vendée Globe.

What they said:
- Kito de Pavant: It all ended much too soon for me, so I hope to be back again in three and a half years' time.
- Yannick Bestaven: I'm just overawed to be her tonight in front of such a large crowd.
- Jérémie Beyou: The Vendée Globe was really a special moment in my life.
- Unai Basurko: I'd like to say well done to all those thousands of supporters, who make sailing what it is in France.
- Bernard Stamm: I'm someone you might call stubborn, so you'll be seeing me again in 2012.
- Dominique Wavre: Along with Bernard Stamm, we tried to carry out a Swiss invasion of New Zealand.... What I will remember from this Vendée is the amazing solidarity associated with this race.
- Jean-Baptiste Dejeanty: in spite of being forced to retire, this Vendée remains the greatest sailing of my life.
- Mike Golding: The problems that I encountered in this race all fell into perspective, when Yann Eliès was in distress. I hope to return in 2012.
- Yann Eliès: I still remain just as determined to take part in the next Vendée Globe.
- Sébastien Josse: This race teaches you how important it is to manage and look after your boat.
- Derek Hatfield: I was determined to complete the race, but, unfortunately.... I'd like to thank everyone in Canada for their support, as they enabled me to line up for the start.
- Jean-Pierre Dick: I'm very privileged to do this job. I really enjoyed myself at sea. I'll be here in 2012.
- Jonny Malbon: I was fairly stressed at the start and the race was very tough. The Vendée Globe is a really difficult race.
- Jean Le Cam: I'd like to thank everyone, as without you, we wouldn't be here. Sorry if I made you worry a bit!

Fireworks ambiance. Image copyright Jean Marie Liot/DPPI/Vendée Globe.

- Roland Jourdain: I don't know whether I'll be back on the water 4 years from now, as it's quite nice too to stay in port and have a few pints when the race is starting
- Norbert Sedlacek: The preparation for this Vendée Globe will have represented 8 years of my life. Thanks to everyone in Vendée.
- Raphael Dinelli: I managed to finish the race and achieve my sporting and eco-friendly goals.
- Rich Wilson: I agree with Thomas Jefferson, who said that "everyone has two countries, their own and France." I shall always remember this Vendée Globe here with you.
- Steve White: This race is the finest test of human endurance.

Dee Caffari (Aviva). Image copyright Jean Marie Liot/DPPI/Vendée Globe.

- Dee Caffari: This Vendée Globe was just great for me. The three months just went by.
- Brian Thompson: I experienced some incredible moments, which are really impossible to describe, during this Vendée Globe.

Sam Davies (Roxy) with Jean Pierre Champion (PDT FFV). Image copyright Jean Marie Liot/DPPI/Vendée Globe.

- Samantha Davies: The race was incredible, but I also keep remembering the three weeks spent here before the start. I'd like to thank my whole team, the Roxy boys, who did so well preparing this project.
- Vincent Riou: I try not to think too much about rescuing Jean Le Cam, even if it was a highly charged emotional moment.
- Marc Guillemot: Thanks to Yann Eliès, my race became something else.
- Armel Le Cléac'h: Finishing just after Michel Desjoyeaux was something I could not have hoped for, but was really the icing on the cake!
- Michel Desjoyeaux: From the outset, I couldn't wait to get going. I don't know what the future will be like, but tonight, I can't wait to celebrate with everyone here in Vendée.

Fireworks over the beach in Les Sables d'Olonne. The dark area in the foreground is populated entirely by people. Image copyright Jean Marie Liot/DPPI/Vendée Globe.

Vendée Globe