Saturday, 18 July 2009

Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF Worlds: Prizegiving Images from Brazil

Sam Meech Collects Gold for New Zealand in the Boys Laser Radial Class

Sam Meech wins the Gold medal for New Zealand in the Boys Laser Radial class at the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship 2009 in Buzios, Brazil. Image copyright Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

Sam Meech wins the Gold medal for New Zealand in the Boys Laser Radial class at the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship 2009 in Buzios, Brazil. Image copyright Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

France Wins the Volvo Trophy

French sailors Leonore Bosch (Girls RS:X Windsurfer Bronze medallist) and Mathilde De Kerangat (Girls Laser Radial Bronze medallist) celebrating with the French team for winning the Volvo Trophy for best overall country performance at the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship in Buzios, Brazil. Image copyright Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

The French Team celebrate winning the Volvo Trophy for best overall country performance at the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship in Buzios, Brazil. The trophy was presented by Torben Grael, winning Skipper of Ericsson 4 in the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09. Image copyright Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

Torben Grael presents his daughter, Martine Grael, and her crew, Kahena Kunze, with the Girls 420 Gold Trophy

Volvo Ocean Race Winning Skipper Torben Grael presents his daughter Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze the Gold medal for Brazil in the Girls 420 class at the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship 2009 in Buzios, Brazil. Image copyright Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze representing Brazil celebrate winning the Gold medal in the Girls 420 class at the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship 2009 in Buzios, Brazil. Image copyright Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF Worlds

Governor's Cup Racing: Day 3 - RNZYS Boys Undefeated in First Round Robin

The RNZYS girls crew competing in the 2009 Governor's Cup. Image copyright Mary Longpre/Longpre Photos.

by Nancy Mellon

Friday, July 17 started as a perfect Southern California day for the Gov Cup teams. A few fluffy clouds along with brisk wind meant an early start to the racing. The wind seemed to hold steady between 7 and 9 knots throughout the day, but growing light for the last series. The seas were not as lumpy as yesterday, and the sailing skills of all of the teams have markedly improved. Spinnaker handling has improved, making for smoother mark roundings.

In the first six races of the second round robin, Cruising Yacht Club of Australia is now undefeated. The most exciting race of the third day occurred in the fourth flight of the second round robin, when CYCA gained a considerable lead on the unbeaten Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron's Men's team. At one point the CYCA had a fifteen boat length lead on RNZYS as they approached the weather mark. CYCA was able to win that race, so RNZYS is no longer undefeated.

The top two US teams in the final Governor's Cup standings will be invited to New Zealand in February for the International Youth Match Racing Series at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, the home base of the team in the lead for the Gov Cup. The Gov Cup is an ISAF Grade 3 match race series that features a double round robin format providing that each team will sail against each other team twice.

On the first day, six flights of eleven races each had been held. Four flights were completed on the second day, leaving one to be raced Friday, to complete the first round robin.

At the end of the first round robin, the standings were as follows:
1st - Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron with 11 points.
2nd - Cruising Yacht Club of Australia with 8 points.
3rd - Newport Harbor Yacht Club with 8 points
(but placed third since CYCA beat NHYC in their race in this round robin).
4th - Mission Bay Yacht Club, with 6 points.
5th - Royal Yachting Association with 6 points
6th - Balboa Yacht Club with 5 points
7th - King Harbor Yacht Club also had five wins. (BYC beat KHYC in this series)
8th - Long Beach YC, San Francisco YC and Southern Y C all ended the series with four wins.
11th - Bermuda team with three wins..
12th - Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, Women with two wins.

In the second round robin, the defending champions, Newport Harbor Yacht Club, had four wins with only two losses. They lost to CYCA and RNZYS, the teams with the best records.

At the end of the third day of racing the results for the first six flights in the second round robin are as follows:
Balboa Yacht Club 2 wins 4 losses
Cruising Yacht Club of Australia 6 wins 0 losses
King Harbor Yacht Club 4 wins 2 losses
Long Beach Yacht Club 2 wins 4 losses
Mission Bay Yacht Club 3 wins 3 losses
Newport Harbor Yacht Club 4 wins 2 losses
Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club 4 wins 2 losses
Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, Men 5 wins 1 loss
Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, Women 1 win 5 losses
Royal Yachting Association 3 wins 3 losses
San Francisco Yacht Club 2 wins 4 losses
Southern Yacht Club 0 wins 6 losses

Governor's Cup

Puma Ocean Racing: What Happened After Russia?

Changing of the guard - Salty relieves Neil Cox from steering as the watch changes. Supplied image.

by Bridgid Murphy

The PUMA Ocean Racing team finished the Volvo Ocean Race on June 27th. The arrival into St. Petersburg was amazing and to finish in second place overall was a great accomplishment for our team.

After seven hours of clearing customs, the boys are ready to hit the road. Supplied image.

So what happened after Russia? On Monday, just three days after the arrival, a few sailing crew, mixed with shore team members delivered il mostro back to Stockholm, where she is taking a little rest.

"Cold Leftovers" Russian Cold War submarines decommissioned in St. Petersburg. Supplied image.

Shore team nipper Nick Dana was on the trip and served as our delivery media crew member. There are quite a few photos which document the trip and they'll be posted in a five part series over the next few day.

4:30 am sunrise at customs dock in St. Petersburg while still waiting to be cleared. Supplied image.

Delivery Crew List:

Neil Cox (shore team manager)
Sean Healey (shore team- electronics, delivery navigator)
Will Van Cleef (shore team- chief rigger)
Nick Dana (shore team- nipper, delivery media crew member)
Casey Smith (bowman, boat captain, went around Cape Horn naked...)
Rob Salthouse (trimmer, driver)
Michi Mueller (bowman, went around the world without cutting his ponytail off)

Neil Cox and Sean Healy use the spreader cams from the onboard media desk to watch Russian customs officials talk about us on deck before getting cleared to the the country. Supplied image.

PUMA Ocean Racing

Volvo ISAF Youth Worlds Conclude in Brazil

Alexandra Maloney & Bianca Barbarich-Bacher finished fourth overall in the Girls 420 class. Image copyright Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

by Jodie Bakewell-White

Racing at the 2009 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championships has just concluded in Buzios, Brazil. The NZL Yachting Trust has come away with a Gold medal for Sam Meech, a fourth place in the Girl’s 420 and fifth place overall for team performance.

All members of the NZL Yachting Trust Youth Team finished in the top ten of their respective fleets. Prize-giving is on now in Brazil.

Sam Meech took Gold medal by 31 points in the Boys Laser Radial. Image copyright Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

Sam Meech completely dominated the Laser Radial Boy’s class from start to finish wrapping up the event with a huge 31 point margin over his nearest rival. Meech now has two Youth World Championship medals under his belt adding this year’s gold to a bronze in Denmark in 2008.

“It has been a pretty good event for me. Everything just fell into place nicely,” says Meech. “Buzios is a great venue and the regatta has been fun. I’ve met a lot of great people too.”

Yachting New Zealand’s Marty Watson says that Meech was an inspiration. “Sam won the hearts of the competitors and the coaches, and everyone here in Buzios. He demonstrated great sailing skill and great sportsmanship.”

Other New Zealanders to have won Gold at the Youth World Championships in the Boy’s single-handed class include Russell Coutts in 1981, John Irvine in 1983, Stuart Bannatyne in 1989, Dean Barker in 1990, Dan Slater in 1994 and Simon Small in 1996.

Alexandra Maloney & Bianca Barbarich-Bacher finished fourth overall in the Girls 420 class. Image copyright Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

Just missing out on the medals was Girl’s 420 pair Alexandra Maloney and Bianca Barbarich-Bacher who lifted to fourth place overall after the final race just sailed. Conditions today were much the same as yesterday with an ENE breeze of 15-18 knots.

“Alexandra and Bianca sailed extremely well in the last two days,” says Marty Watson. “They moved up to fourth place but weren’t able to reel in a medal. They excelled in the breeze and they’ll go on now to the 420 World Champs in Lake Garda with a lot of confidence.”

The NZL Yachting Trust Youth Team was fifth in the team standings with the Volvo Trophy for national team performance going this year to France. “We finished fifth overall for the team performance – still a pretty good result after a couple of days that didn’t go so well for us in the very light marginal sailing breeze early in the regatta,” says Watson.

Rachel Basevi finished the event in 9th place in the fleet of 39 competing in the Girl’s Laser Radial, reportedly sailing well in the fleet of 39. In the windsurfing classes Lucy Driver was eighth and Ben Mackay was 10th. “Lucy was a real surprise package for us, lifted to eighth overall exceeding our expectations,” says Marty Watson.

Other double-handed sailors Ben Goodwin and Logan Dunning-Beck finished in eighth with a second place in the final race. And multihull duo James Turner and Marcus Hansen also finished the regatta in eighth place.

Both 420 pairs now travel on to Lake Garda, Italy to compete in the 2009 420 Class World Championships, while much of the remaining team return home to New Zealand.

Sam Meech: first past the post in the Boys Laser Radial. Image copyright Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championships 2009
New Zealand’s Final Results

1st Sam Meech – Laser Radial (Boy’s One Person Dinghy – 53 boats)
9th Rachel Basevi - Laser Radial (Girl’s One Person Dinghy – 39 boats)
10th Ben Mackay – RS:X (Boy’s Windsurfer – 24 boards)
8th Lucy Driver – RS:X (Girl’s Windsurfer – 15 boards)
8th Logan Dunning-Beck & Ben Goodwin – 420 (Boy’s Two-Person Dinghy – 31 boats)
4th Alexandra Maloney & Bianca Barbarich-Bacher – 420 (Girl’s Two-Person Dinghy – 24 boats)
8th Marcus Hansen & James Turner – Hobie 16 (Open Multihull – 17 boats)

Principle sponsor of the NZL Yachting Trust Youth Team is the NZL Yachting Trust. Supporting sponsors include SPARC, ASB and Line 7.

Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF Worlds

Australia, France, Great Britain And Singapore Win Gold On Final Day Of 2009 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship

Ashely Stoddart representing Australia in the Girls Laser Radial class at the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship 2009 in Buzios, Brazil. Image copyright Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

by Sophie Luther

The seven Youth Worlds titles went to seven nations as Australia, France, Great Britain and Singapore join Brazil, Hong Kong and New Zealand as gold medal winners on the final day of the 2009 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship in Buzios, Brazil.

Australian cousins Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin, French windsurfer Joseph Gueguen, British 420 Boys Phil Sparks and Ben Gratton and Singapore Laser Radial star Elizabeth Yin are 2009 Volvo Youth Sailing World Champions after a fantastic final day of racing in Brazil. Brazilian Girls 420 crew Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze, windsurfer Hei Man Chan of Hong Kong and New Zealand’s Sam Meech in the Boys Laser Radial, will also step onto the top of the podium at this evening’s Closing Ceremony having already secured their gold medals yesterday.

The 420 Boys class starts at the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship 2009 in Buzios, Brazil. Image copyright Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

One final race was held for each event on another bright and breezy day in Buzios and whilst seven different nations ended up winning medals, France was undoubtedly the star performer. The French ran out clear winners of the Volvo Trophy, the prize awarded for the top-performing nation, and picked up two silvers and two bronze to add to Gueguen’s gold. Last year’s Volvo Trophy winners Great Britain came in second this time around, ahead of Italy, with Brazil scoring a best-ever result of fourth and New Zealand fifth.

French Team Leader Gildas Philippe is himself a former Youth World Champion, winning gold in the 420 back in 1991, a year in which Robert Scheidt (BRA), Dean Barker (NZL), Carolijn Brouwer (NED) and Gustavo Doreste (ESP) all also won Youth World medals. He’s in doubt as to the potential of the young sailors here in Buzios, “All champions pass through this regatta before coming a real great champions,” he says, adding that this key element of the championship has never changed, “There are more nations now, so the level maybe a bit higher but for the best sailors, they’re almost the same.”

The French windsurfing team led the charge, winning medals in both RS:X fleets today; gold in the Boys and bronze in the Girls. Joseph Gueguen did not have the best of starts in the decisive final boy’s race, but all week long he’s been quickest in the windier, planing conditions and came back strongly to win today’s race ahead of Oliver-Tom Schliemann (GER), clinching the title by three points. “It’s been the perfect regatta,” said Gueguen. “I’ve worked a lot this year so this is my reward.”

“This morning I was a little bit stressed, but spoke with my coach, Faustine MERRET [Athens Olympic windsurfing gold medallist] and knew I just had to focus on my race, because it was too close for tactics. I just tried to keep it simple, just do what I know I could do.”

Last year’s champion Michalis Malekkides of Cyprus secured silver this time around by finishing third in today’s race, whilst Brazil won their second medal of the championship with Buzios local Jorge Amaral just hanging on to bronze thanks to a fourth place finish today.

In Girl’s fleet, Hei Man Chan of Hong Kong already had the gold medal secured, but rounded off a stunning performance this week with her fourth win of the series today. In the British-French battle for the remaining podium spots, Izzy Hamilton (GBR) triumphed, finishing just ahead of Leonore Bosch (FRA) in today’s race to secure silver, with Bosch taking bronze.

Isobel Hamilton wins Silver for Great Britain in the Girls RS:X Windsurfer class at the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship 2009 in Buzios, Brazil. Image copyright Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

The gold medal had also already been secured in the Boy’s Laser Radial fleet, with Sam Meech (NZL) the runaway winner this week. Argentina’s Tomás Pellejero triumphed in the battle for second overall, winning today’s race to take silver in style. Denmark’s Pascal Timshel took the bronze.

Singapore’s Elizabeth Yin won Asia’s second gold medal of this championship with a typically assured performance in today’s final race of the Girl’s Laser Radial event. Yin began the day with a six-point lead over Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN). Heidi Tenkanen (FIN) and Mathilde De Kerangat (FRA) again showed their speed in the breeze to place first and second in today’s race but behind them the focus was on Yin and Rindom, with the Danish skipper needed at five boats between her and the Singaporean to take gold. Yin though was not to be denied, coming in seventh, just two places behind Rindom to secure the title. Denmark wins silver, with De Kerangat’s second place today elevating her up into the bronze medal position.

Close racing at the leeward mark in the boys 420 class. Image copyright Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

On the 420 course, today’s breezy conditions were again just about perfect for the British Boy’s pairing of Phil Sparks and Ben Gratton, who clinched the title with another dominant race win in today’s decider. After being disqualified from race four of the series they’ve been virtually faultless for the second half of the championship.

“We knew we were quick in this wind so we were quite conservative on the start and just went for the space,” Sparks explains, “We speeded off the line and just went full speed upwind and got to the windward mark in first with a bit of a gap.” From there only the Kiwis ever came close to threatening, but by the final run the Brits had victory secure and cruised across the line to take gold. In the battle for silver Chile’s Benjamín Grez and Carlos Vergara were looking good until a problem with their spinnaker hoist on the final reach cost them several places and this was enough for Gabriel Skoczek and Thibaut Soler (FRA) to clinch second overall. Still Grez and Vergara were delighted to claim bro nze, the first-time Chile has won a medal at the Youth Worlds.

Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze representing Brazil in the Girls 420 class at the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship 2009 in Buzios, Brazil. They won Gold with a day to spare. Image copyright Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) already had gold wrapped up in the Girl’s 420 fleet but that didn’t stop them powering to victory in their favoured windy conditions today. Italians Camilla Marino and Claudia Soricelli have also excelled in the breeze this week and followed the Brazilians in to take second place today and the silver medal. Singapore won their second medal of the championship as Griselda Khng and Cecilia Low showed they are not just light wind specialists with a fourth place today giving them the bronze.

The Multihull – Hobie 16 provided the final race of the championship, which also proved to be the closest and one of the most exciting. Australian cousins Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin just held off the challenge from defending champs Romain and Valentin Bellet (FRA) to win gold by a single point.

“At the moment I’m more relieved than happy, but I’m still pretty happy!” Waterhouse said after a stressful day on the water. “We just got out there and tried keep to consistent. It was good breeze and we got off the line well, got up there and just tried to stay there.”

After a shaky start to the regatta 2008 champions, the French Bellet brothers, stormed back in the stronger winds which have typified second half of the series. However, they left their charge just a little too late and although they won today’s race it, the Aussies came in third to claim gold. Silver went to France, with Italians Francesco Porro and Luca Marsaglia completing the podium.

Tonight the Closing Ceremony will be held in Buzios, marking the final act in a fantastic 39th edition of the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship. As well the near-300 young sailors representing 59 nations who have competed in Brazil this year, South American sailing superstars Santi Lange (ARG) and Torben Grael (BRA) will also be in attendance to celebrate the success of this year’s event.

Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championships

Audi MedCup: Cagliari Day 1 from Paul Cayard

Audi MedCup Region of Sardegna Trophy 2008. Image copyright Ian Roman/Audi MedCup.

by Paul Cayard

Got into Cagliari at 2300 last night after 30 hours flying from Honolulu. The flights went well it was just that there were four of them. My bags did not get lost because I did not check any. So all good there.

This morning I woke up at 0430 local time. Just could not get back to sleep. We went sailing for three hours to check some new sails. They all looked good.

I am back at the hotel, took a shower, and am just sitting in the AC. It is 37C out side which is about 98F and it is 1730.

I have to go get a new SIM card but I am waiting for an hour before venturing outside.

Mistral is forecast for tomorrow. If this happens, it could blow 30 knots plus which would probably keep us at the dock for the day.

Dinner is at 2000 and then I will crash pretty hard I am sure.

A domani.

Cayard Sailing
Audi MedCup

Alinghi: Loïck Peyron joins Alinghi for the 33rd America's Cup

Stepping the mast on Alinghi 5 in Le Bouveret. Image copyright Alinghi.

by Daphne Morgan Barnicoat

Alinghi, Defender of the 33rd America's Cup, welcomes one of the world's most renowned multihull sailors to the team for this campaign: Loïck Peyron. The 50 year old Frenchman has crossed the Atlantic 43 times; 18 single-handed. He has raced around the world twice, holds three Transat titles and two Transat Jacques Vabres: “In every sailor's mind, the America's Cup is part of life. I have been following it for many years and now to be working for a team like Alinghi makes me proud," Peyron said, adding: "There is a tremendous amount of work for sure, but it's a big challenge. An interesting strength of Alinghi is that it has a lot of knowledge from a lot of areas of the sport: monohulls, offshore sailing, multihulls; especially here in Switzerland. The way the team works is based on team spirit and the method works really well; they have proved it many times. Now like everybody here, I am impatient to go and sail on the lake to see the potential of this amazing machine.”

Brad Butterworth, Alinghi team skipper and four-time America's Cup winner welcomes Peyron: “We are looking forward to working with Loïck; he brings a lot of multihull experience – from both a design and sailing point of view – to a team that already has quite a bit of depth in this area of our sport. I think he will be an asset to this project and a good addition to the team.”

Sailing career highlights
43 Atlantic crossings; 18 single-handed
2 Round the Worlds
3 Transat 'Anglaise' wins, single-handed
2 Transat Jacques Vabre wins
2 Bol d'Or wins


Meech secures Gold on penultimate day of Youth Worlds

Sam Meech: winner of the boys Laser Radial class at the Youth Worlds in Brazil. Supplied image.

by Jodie Bakewell-White

The NZL Yachting Trust Youth Team has rounded out a top day on the water in Brazil at the 2009 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship with all members improving their overall standings after the three races just sailed. With one day of competition remaining Sam Meech has run away with the Boy’s Laser Radial Gold with an insurmountable margin.

Meech (pictured at left) returned two race wins and a second on the water today adding to his already impressive run at this 2009 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship. He has secured the Gold medal without having to sail the final race planned for tomorrow. Meech won bronze at last year’s Championship and has this year been completely dominant, demonstrating talent too hot for his 52 competitors.

“Sam had devastating speed all day,” says Marty Watson in Brazil with the team. “He was able to keep his nose clean by starting conservatively and sailing smart.”

“Wind today was an ENE gradient 12 knots sea breeze,” says Watson.

Meech, from Mount Maunganui, represents both the Murrays Bay Sailing Club on Auckland’s North Shore and the Tauranga Yacht and Powerboat Club.

“When I was young my family sailed around the world on our boat,” explains Meech on his start in the sport. “On the way I was able to have a go in dinghies - so when we got back to New Zealand in the end of 2003 I started sailing P class on the Hamilton Lake.”

Alexandra Maloney and Bianca Barbarich-Bacher had an excellent day of racing today, like Meech they had two race wins and one second place. Sailing in the Girl’s 420 double-handed class the pair improved their overall standing ten places climbing from 15th at the start of racing up to 5th place overall in the fleet of 24.

Rachel Basevi achieved the same ten point leap up the leader board in the Girl’s Laser Radial fleet. In 18th place at the outset of the day she is now in 8th place going into the final day of the regatta with just one race left to sail. In racing today Basevi was 5th, 6th and 8th.

Ben Goodwin and Logan Dunning-Beck won a heat today which helped see them improve from 15th place up to 9th in the Boy’s 420 double-handed fleet. Hobie 16 multihull pair Marcus Hansen and James Turner are lying 8th. And windsurfers Ben Mackay and Lucy Driver are lying 10th and 9th in their respective fleets.

New Zealand is lying 5th in the race for the prestigious Volvo Trophy awarded for overall best team performance at this event. France leads from Great Britain, with Italy and Brazil also out in front of New Zealand. Click here for more on the Volvo Trophy standings.

All seven fleets will sail just one race tomorrow bringing the 2009 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championships to a close.

Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championships 2009
New Zealand’s standings after seven races

1st Sam Meech – Laser Radial (Boy’s One Person Dinghy – 53 boats)
8th Rachel Basevi - Laser Radial (Girl’s One Person Dinghy – 39 boats)
10th Ben Mackay – RS:X (Boy’s Windsurfer – 24 boards)
9th Lucy Driver – RS:X (Girl’s Windsurfer – 15 boards)
9th Logan Dunning-Beck & Ben Goodwin – 420 (Boy’s Two-Person Dinghy – 31 boats)
5th Alexandra Maloney & Bianca Barbarich-Bacher – 420 (Girl’s Two-Person Dinghy – 24 boats)
8th Marcus Hansen & James Turner – Hobie 16 (Open Multihull – 17 boats)

Principle sponsor of the NZL Yachting Trust Youth Team is the NZL Yachting Trust. Supporting sponsors include SPARC, ASB and Line 7.

Volvo Youth ISAF Worlds

Three Gold Medals And French Volvo Trophy Success Secured On Penultimate Day Of 2009 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship

Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze securing Gold for Brazil in the Girls 420 class at the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship 2009 in Buzios, Brazil. Image copyright Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race. Image copyright Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

by Sophie Luther

The host nation Brazil, along with Hong Kong and New Zealand all secured gold medals whilst France is uncatchable in the Volvo Trophy standings following a bright and breezy day six at the 2009 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship in Buzios.

Brazilian Girl’s 420 crew Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze, Hong Kong windsurfer Hei Mei Chan and Laser Radial star Sam Meech of New Zealand have all established unbeatable leads with one race day remaining in Buzios. In contrast, the battle for gold is set to go down to the wire in four other events, with just one race to go in Buzios tomorrow. Australia, France, Great Britain and Singapore currently hold the top spots. In the contest for the best-nation prize, France has secured the Volvo Trophy for the 10th time.

The first of the three gold medals secured today was the Girl’s Windsurfer – RS:X event, with three races held in bright and breezy conditions, totally in contrast to yesterday’s grey skies and total absence of wind. Hei Mei Chan of Hong Kong is crowned 2009 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Champion after a near-faultless display in Buzios this week.

“I’m overwhelmed,” said Chan, explaining that today’s windy conditions were exactly what she had been hoping for after an intensive spell in Europe this season training and racing with, amongst others, last year’s winner and five-time Youth Worlds medallist Laura Linares (ITA). “I learnt from last year that my board speed in strong winds wasn’t that good so I’ve put a lot of effort in on that this year.”

In today’s first race Chan had a crash early on but took her penalty and fought back strongly to beat Britain’s Izzy Hamilton to the line. It was another Hong Kong, Great Britain one-two in the next race and in the day’s final race, knowing gold was within her grasp, Chan concentrated on staying out of trouble and sailing conservatively, but still came away with second place.

Chan is competing in her fifth and final Youth Worlds and at last has the medal she was so desperately seeking, especially after finishing fourth in Århus last year. “I’ve learned a lot from each year,” she says. “It’s this is the regatta that has motivated me to put more effort into training and never be too proud of myself if I do well in my own nation, because I know there’s the whole world out there to compete against.”

In the battle for the remaining medals, Hamilton of Great Britain is one point ahead of France’s Leonore Bosch, with these two uncatchable by the rest of the fleet.

A single point also separates to the two leaders at the top of the Boy’s Windsurfer fleet. Joseph Gueguen (FRA) holds the top spot after an eighth and two race wins today. Just behind is reigning champion Michalis Malekkides of Cyprus. Buzios local Jorge Renato do Amaral Silva lies in third place, just four points off the lead. It should be a thrilling final race, with just eight points covering the top six.

“All of the guys are close,” says the defending champ Malekkides looking ahead to tomorrow’s final race. “I will give everything. I’ll try my best, give all of my power and if I’m lucky…”

Alexandra Maloney and Bianca Bacher representing New Zealand in the Girls 420 class at the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship 2009 in Buzios, Brazil. Image copyright Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

In the 420 fleets there was delight for the home support and in particular for Volvo Ocean Race winner and Olympic legend Torben Grael (BRA), as his daughter Martine Grael and crew Kahena Kunze (BRA) secured overall victory in the Girl’s fleet. The Brazilians started the day perfectly, converting a great start into a race win in the first race and then following that up with two second place finishes to put them out of reach of the competition.

“It’s a dream,” says Kunze of their gold medal success, with Grael adding, “It’s been my main goal now for the last year and it’s great to have accomplished it.” Along with the New Zealand crew, the two Brazilians excelled in today’s breezier conditions. “We’ve been waiting for this wind for the whole championship and finally it came today!” Grael says. Behind the Brazilians the Italian crew of Camilla Marino and Claudia Soricelli are secure in the silver medal spot, whilst any of the next six crews from the USA, Singapore, New Zealand, Spain, Aust ralia and Great Britain are in with a genuine change of winning bronze.

The 420 Boys class at the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship 2009 in Buzios, Brazil. Image copyright Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

Philip Sparks and Ben Gratton (GBR) had a great day in the Boy’s 420 fleet, with a second and two firsts giving them a 13-point cushion going into the final race tomorrow. However the Brits look like they’ll have to work hard to hold on to their top spot as they’re holding a much higher discard than the chasing teams of Gabriel Skoczek and Thibaut Soler (FRA) and Benjamín Grez and Carlos Vergara (CHI).

Emphatic is the only way to describe New Zealander Sam Meech’s victory in the Boy’s Laser Radial fleet. Principally a Laser Standard sailor, for the past month Meech has been focussing on the Radial to prepare for this championship, training with Kiwi Olympic campaigner Sara Winther. After winning bronze in Århus last year, he has runaway with the competition this year. Today he played the starts very safely, but still came away with two wins and a second place. “Great conditions for me out there today – it was just beautiful,” he says, adding he was looking forward to more of the same in tomorrow’s final race.

Behind him, there was lots of chopping and changing amongst the rest of the fleet. Tomás Pellejero of Argentina jumps up to second overall with 6, 4, 3 scores today, with Francesco Marrai of Italy leading a close battle for third.

Unlike the Boy’s fleet, the Laser Radial Girl’s is heading for a close finish. Elizabeth Yin of Singapore holds on the overall lead on 23 points, but Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) is just six points behind her in second after performing strongly in today’s “really cool conditions”. Isabella Bertold (CAN) completes the top three on 36 points.

Both Mathilde De Kerangat (FRA) and Heidi Tenkanen (FIN) were extremely fast in today’s breezier conditions but suffered a major setback when they were caught over the line early in the second race.

James Turner and Marcus Hansen representing New Zealand in the Hobie 16 Open Multihull class at the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship 2009 in Buzios, Brazil. Image copyright Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

Closest of all seven events is the battle in the Multihull - Hobie 16. Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AUS) returned to the top of the leaderboard after today’s three races, although Francesco Porro and Luca Marsaglia of Italy are tied on points with the Aussies. The defending champions from France, brothers Romain and Valentin Bellet, were the standout performers today and with two wins and a second putting them back in gold medal contention, just three points off first overall. It’s all set to be a nail-biting final race tomorrow.

“I’m bit nervous, but looking forward to it. Hopefully I’ll get some sleep tonight!” says Darmanin. “Today we had a good day but the French had a better day - tomorrow’s going to be a really good competition.”

It wasn’t just a good day for the French Hobie 16 crew, but for the entire team, who posted another strong set of results right across the board to put themselves in an unbeatable position in the Volvo Trophy standings. At tomorrow night’s Closing Ceremony, the French will lift the prize for the best-performing nation at the championship for a record 10th time. Great Britain lies second in the standings, just ahead of Italy, with the host nation Brazil in fourth place.

Tomorrow one final race is schedule for each of the seven events of the 2009 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship. The scheduled start time is 11:00 local (14:00 UTC).

Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championships

Governor's Cup: Gov Cup's Second Day included some good wind

RNZYS boys lead with no losses so far

RNZYS girls leading the boys in match racing for the Governor's Cup. Image copyright Mary Longpre/Longpre Photos.

by Nancy Mellon

On Thursday, July 16, the Gov Cup teams were delighted to find that strong winds appeared as they prepared the boats to go out to race. Quite an improvement for serious racers! At the start of racing, the wind was blowing at twelve knots which is great for the Gov Cup 21 boats. It gusted to 16, but faded to about 10 as the day went on.

The Governor's Cup is an ISAF Grade 3 match race series that features a double round robin format providing that each team will sail against each other team twice. On the first day, six flights of eleven races each had been held. Five flights would need to be completed on the second day to complete the second round robin.

As of the end of the second day, only Royal New Zealand's Men's team remained undefeated. Also from RNZYS, the first all girl team to race in the Gov Cup won two out of their ten races.

Of the two local teams, Newport Harbor Yacht Club has won seven and lost three while Balboa Yacht Club has won five of ten. Royal Yachting Association and King Harbor are also five and five. Cruising Yacht Club of Australia has won three out of ten. The Long Beach Yacht Club team enjoyed the stronger winds and won three races to day.

With one more flight to go in the first round robin, the results for day 2 are as follows:
Yacht Club/Wins-Losses/Spinnaker Stripe Color
Balboa Yacht Club 5-5 Aqua
Cruising Yacht Club of Australia 7-3 Red/yellow
King Harbor Yacht Club 5-5 Blue
Long Beach Yacht Club 3-7 Yellow/green
Mission Bay Yacht Club 6-4 Red/blue
Newport Harbor Yacht Club 7-3 Green
Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club 3-7 Pink
Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron 10-0 Black
Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron(girls) 2-8 Red
Royal Yachting Association 5-5 Light yellow
San Francisco Yacht Club 3-7 Grey
Southern Yacht Club 4-6 Light grey

Governor's Cup

Audi MedCup: Happy 100th Birthday, Audi!

The world's leading sailing regatta circuit, the Audi MedCup Circuit, today joins in celebrating the historic 100th anniversary today of the founding of Circuit's principal sponsor AUDI AG.

Image copyright Ian Roman/Audi MedCup.

by Sabina Mollart-Rogerson

Audi was officially formed on the 16th of July 1909 in Saxony by German automotive pioneer August Horch, setting up a factory in Zwickau. Horch’s name was already in use by the eponymous motor company he had just left arrived at the name of the new company by translating his name, which means "hark!", "listen!", into Latin: Audi.

The continuing tradition of technical innovation has been one of the company’s strengths. Hoch was the first in Germany to use cast aluminium for his cars' engines and gearbox housings, a cardan shaft served as the power transmission element, and the gearwheels were of high-strength steel. Technical advances were of course the key to motor sports successes. A Horch car won the 1906 Herkomer Run, the world's most arduous long-distance race. Audi won the Austrian Alpine rallies in 1912, 1913 and 1914.

The marque’s iconic four rings emblem was adopted in 1932 signifying the union of four brands Audi, DKW, Horch and Wanderer to form Auto Union GmbH. The production plant in Saxony was dismantled by occupying Soviet forces but the company was effectively re-located to Bavaria where a new company was formed in Ingolsdadt, building under the four rings logo.

After the Second World War, Auto Union AG's production plant in Saxony was expropriated and dismantled by the occupying Soviet forces.

Audi have been associated with world class sport for many years joining with the MedCup Circuit last season as one of the company’s flagship sponsorships:

Lothar Korn, Head of Marketing Communications, AUDI AG explains: “Audi’s commitment in international top-class sport has a long and successful tradition in the history of our company. Therefore, it is repeatedly a focal point of the celebrations held on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Audi brand this year. Sailing has a high priority for us in this context. With its combination of high-tech materials, sporting competitions at the highest international level and total commitment to teamwork sailing is a perfect fit for Audi. The Audi MedCup Circuit in particular offers an exciting platform for fans and participants alike – with spectacular top-class sport on water and a thrilling event along the coast.”

Ignacio Triay, one of the founding directors of the Audi MedCup Circuit and joins today in celebrating Audi’s birthday: “Having the support of a great brand like Audi with such experience of so many years on the market, the technology they have and how they always invest high technology, to have them invest as a partner on the MedCup is a reason to be very proud for us on the Audi MedCup Circuit, so happy birthday Audi and here’s to another 100 successful years for their company.”

Audi MedCup

Final Day, Women's European Laser Radial Championship: Paige Railey the Overall Victor, Mihelic the Euro Champ

Start of the final race of the Laser Radial Europeans 2009. Image copyright Per Heegaard.

by Johanne Rosenquist

The outcome of the Women’s European Laser Radial Championship in Denmark hung in the balance until the very end. It has been a shifty and unpredictable regatta every day on the ever-changing waters of The Sound between Denmark and Sweden, but most sailors believed today was the hardest of all.

In the end, Paige Railey held on to her lead to win the Open European Championship. Being American, she did not qualify for the European title, which went to Tina Mihelic of Croatia.

In the first race of the gold fleet finals, Poland’s Ewa Makowska and the early leaders found themselves dumped to the bottom of the pile. Meanwhile, some of the contenders for the European Championship who had been languishing in the back few of the 48-boat gold fleet now found themselves fighting for the front. Among the lucky ones to find new breeze with a massive right-hand wind shift were the reigning World Champion Sarah Steyaert of France, and Marit Bouwemeester of the Netherlands. Bouwemeester led for a while but Steyaert pulled through to win that heat. Railey was 20th, and so at this stage the regatta was wide open.

The first beat of the final race saw the pack on the left doing well early on, and then it swung to the pack on the right before the wind almost completely died just 200 metres before the mark. America’s Sarah Lihan found her own personal gust out of the middle of the course to lead around the mark just ahead of Railey who led the rejuvenated right-hand pack down the reaches.

By the leeward gate, Railey had pulled out to an almighty lead. Despite the wind shifts she played a good defensive game to score a resounding victory, not only in that race but in the overall points score.

Fun downwind. Image copyright Per Heegaard.

Railey was delighted with the win. It’s been a challenging regatta, not least for the American who has also managed to take one of her university exams over the internet during the course of this week. “Today was really hard, the hardest day so far. In the first race, the girls in the back were almost last, the fleet was doing big flip flops,” she said. “After that first race, the door was wide open. It was anyone’s game in the second race. It was definitely 50:50, we had all split to a side, and it was which ever side was going to make it out first.”

The European title was a great reward for Tina Mihelic of Croatia, who won three races this week. She would have run Railey close for the overall title had she not forgotten to sign off after racing on the first day, for which she incurred a 10-point penalty to add on to her score. As it was, Mihelic only beat Steyaert by 2.5 points, and only 10 points separated 2nd place to 9th place overall. So much depended on the outcome of that final race.

Most consistent performer on the final day was Alberte Lindberg with a 10,2 score. This elevated the Dane to 4th overall, just 1 point behind Steyaert. Lindberg is not local to Copenhagen, so she was no more clued up about the local conditions than the international competitors. She won a race the previous day and said she felt more comfortable racing in the gold fleet than in qualifying. “I love to do the final rounds, I hate the qualifying but love the finals.”

Close racing. Image copyright Per Heegaard.

Maiken Schütt was the next most successful Danish sailor in 12th overall. She had scored a 3rd place earlier in the week after her coach gave her an old glove that originally was the property of triple Olympic Champion Ben Ainslie. After scoring a 32nd in today’s first race she decided it was time to bring out the Ainslie magic again, so she stuffed the old glove down the front of her buoyancy aid. She was 5th around the first mark, then up to 4th, but dropped away to 8th at the finish. Even so, Schütt felt the hand of Ainslie had worked again, and said she would be taking the glove with her to Japan, the venue of the Laser Radial World Championships in just over a week’s time.

In the 70-boat Men’s division, Poland’s Zemke Wojciech had led all week, winning race after race. But today his regatta fell apart with scores of 20,26. This left the way clear for Greek sailor Michail Aristeidis to win the Men’s European Championship.

Laser Radial European Championships

WMRT: 49er Gold Medallists Take On The Tour

Danish Beijing Olympic Gold Medal Winners - Warrer and Kirketerp - take up Match Racing at World Match Racing Tour in Århus, Denmark

Jonas Warrer (left) and Martin Kirketerp Ibsen, winners of the Gold medal in the 49er class in Qingdao. Image copyright Clive Mason/Getty Images.

by Yvonne Reid

Denmark’s Olympic sailing gold medalists Jonas Warrer and Martin Kirketerp are exchanging their 49´er dinghy for some serious Match Racing. After a wearing selection process and the ensuing drama in the medal race in China (which happily secured them and Denmark gold) they have decided to switch their attention to Match Racing. They have obtained one of the two wildcards to the Danish round of the World Match Racing Tour.The Danish Open will be sailed on the waters off Århus/Marselisborg from the 9th-13th September 2009.

Danish Open 2009 has issued one of its wild-card entries to two local ’debutantes’ in recognition of their acheivements at the Beijing Olympics. Olympic gold medal winners Jonas Warrer and Martin Kirketerp have been invited to ’jump in at the deep end’ and compete at the oldest event in the professional World Match Racing Tour.

”We needed to find a new motivation, a spark if you will, and Match Racing with its format is known for quick, intense competiveness –crew versus crew – where the ability to think quickly and react agressively earns results” explains Jonas Warrer. Warrer continues ”There are many challenges and we will need to learn quickly – particularly to get a crew of 5 to work together. Luckily Denmark has a very well developed Match Racing environment and so we have all the conditions required to get the job done.”

Martin Kirketerp adds with a wry smile ”We are going to have to get up very early to prepare ourselves to compete with the professionals but we know what we have to do and we will be fighting to the last – and in the time from now until September we will train, train and train up here in Århus. It is fantastic that the World Match Racing Tour -in the form of the Danish Open- is coming to Århus, it is going to bring a lot of extra focus on sail sport in the region.”

This Danish Open is organised by the Royal Danish Yacht Club in partnership with Sailing Aarhus and local government agency Sport Aarhus Events and is a part of the professional World Match Racing Tour – sailed at 10 venues across the World.

”It is fantastic that we have the sailing elite coming to Århus and even more fantastic that we can ourselves contribute with our own world class sailing stars. I am quite sure that we are going to witness a sporting event that is quite out of the ordinary on the bay here at Århus” explained councilor Jacob Bundsgaard Johansen.

The winner of the World Match Racing Tour is also crowned as ISAF´s official Match Racing World Champion. There will be 12 crews competing in Århus of these 8 are from the World ranking list for Match Racing, 2 crews qualify by winning nominated Tour Qualifier Series events and the event organisers have 2 wild card invitaions at their disposal.

Thomas Capitani Nielsen, a director of Sailing Aarhus: ”It is fantastic that we can present World class Match Racing here in Århus. Our strategy in Sailing Aarhus is absolutely to attract large international sailing events to the city, and with the Danish Open comes the World’s elite. Add to that the offering of one of the sought after wild cards to our local heroes -Jonas and Martin - and we are sure that our local spectators are going to enjoy drama and excitement with a sprinkling of Olympic gold. With the establishment of the new Match Racing Aarhus in Århus Marina our local guys will have the best traiing facilities available to them, which given the competition, they may have some use for!”

World Match Racing Tour

OK Dinghy World Ranking List July 2009: World Champion Still on Top

Karl Purdie (NZL) winning the 2008 Worlds. Image copyright

by Robert Deaves

The final OK Dinghy World Ranking List before next week's OK Dinghy World Championships in Kalmar, Sweden, reveals few changes from the previous issue. In fact the top four stay the same with Karl Purdie (NZL), the 2008 World Champion, still holding onto the number one slot over fellow Kiwi Mark Perrow, even though neither have sailed any additional ranking regattas since February.

The European circuit has however been in full swing with events at Medemblik, Kiel, Warnemünde and Steinhude (the German Nationals) counting points towards this release.

Greg Wilcox (NZL) is back into the top ten after wins at Kiel Week and Warnemünde Week, while former world champion Nick Craig (GBR) drops further down the list after a period of inactivity in the class since last year's worlds. However he started his 2009 campaign well with a win at the German nationals over Wilcox. Finally, former double world champion Karsten Hitz (GER) makes his first appearance in the top 5 after good results so far this year, including a win at the Spring Cup in Medemblik.

This issue of the World Ranking List includes 411 sailors from 14 nations and three continents, proof perhaps that OK Dinghy sailing continues to increase, with several new nations joining the class for the first time in the past year.

The next release will be after the Polish nationals in September and will include points from the all important world championship.

Top 20 (out of 411)

1 Karl Purdie NZL 940.33
2 Mark Perrow NZL 920.11
3 Jørgen Lindhardtsen DEN 909.08
4 Gunter Arndt GER 866.67
5 Karsten Hitz GER 848.28
6 Christian Olesen DEN 847.49
7 Martin von Zimmermann GER 845.39
8 Terry Curtis GBR 835.80
9 Greg Wilcox NZL 824.40
10 Nick Craig GBR 804.61
11 Oliver Gronholz GER 799.83
12 Luke O'Connell NZL 790.19
13 Pawel Pawlaczyk POL 766.44
14 Andre Blasse AUS 759.24
15 Steve McDowell NZL 758.58
16 Thomas Glas GER 757.12
17 Thomas Hanson-Mild SWE 753.91
18 Jørgen Holm DEN 707.82
19 Hans Elkjaer SWE 702.43
20 Robert Deaves GBR 674.74

OK Dinghy International Association

Thursday, 16 July 2009

No wind and no racing in Brazil

by Jodie Bakewell-White

A lack of wind caused further disruptions to the racing schedule at the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championships on now in Buzios, Brazil. There is no change to standings for the NZL Yachting Trust Youth Team who have all sailed four races in the series.

No races were sailed on what was to be day four of racing just drawing to a close now. Just two days of racing remain.

“No racing again today,” explains Marty Watson, Yachting New Zealand Youth Development Manager in Brazil with the team. “No wind. The rain cleared by days end, but the breeze was too funky to race.”

“The team are still relatively relaxed but aware of the importance of fair conditions and a good result tomorrow,” says Watson.

Organisers will be hoping for good conditions for the remaining two days of competition. The regatta concludes in Brazil on Saturday.

Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championships 2009
New Zealand’s standings after four races

1st Sam Meech – Laser Radial (Boy’s One Person Dinghy – 53 boats)
18th Rachel Basevi - Laser Radial (Girl’s One Person Dinghy – 39 boats)
12th Ben Mackay – RS:X (Boy’s Windsurfer – 24 boards)
10th Lucy Driver – RS:X (Girl’s Windsurfer – 15 boards)
15th Logan Dunning-Beck & Ben Goodwin – 420 (Boy’s Two-Person Dinghy – 31 boats)
15th Alexandra Maloney & Bianca Barbarich-Bacher – 420 (Girl’s Two-Person Dinghy – 24 boats)
10th Marcus Hansen & James Turner – Hobie 16 (Open Multihull – 17 boats)

Volvo Youth ISAF Worlds

Transpac Results - Travelling Day, from One Island to Another

by Paul Cayard

With about threequarters of the fleet finished, the Transpac results are posted now for the top positions.

Samba Pa Ti had a clean sweep winning our class, the fleet and first to finish among boats without movable ballast. Onboard Flash, we finished second in class and second overall. A very credible placing.

Upon our arrival here early Monday, much was made of the family make up of our team. The Cayard family and the Crum family made up half the crew. There were plenty of questions from the media such as, ?Did the kids get bored out there? How did Allie handle being with all those men for eight days? What did it mean to you to sail here with your kids?? and so on.

Half way across, when we found ourselves surprisingly winning overall, the thought did cross my mind that maybe we should change our fun program into full race mode. But everyone was clearly enjoying themselves, the fast ride, the steering and all were smiling a lot.

As Skipper Tom Akin said at our crew dinner on the eve of the start, the Flash program was about having fun and a great adventure. That is why I had decided to join Tom and to bring Allie and Danny. That is exactly what it was halfway across. It would have been wrong to change that.

And not that it would have made a difference. In the end, Samba beat us by a little over 1.5 hours on corrected time. We ended up narrowly beating Peter Tong's OEX who finished first in the 70 class and third overall.

Samba sailed well but mostly they were well prepared. A lot of thought and planning went into how to sail a TP52 down this track with the weather that we would incur. They had some nice sails with different geometry and design to allow the boat to sail fast on angles in wind speeds where standard sails won't let the boat go.
Their navigator had them bang the right corner harder than anyone and had the wheels to make it work.

I have sailed a lot with Samba Pa Ti in the past and I know how much effort and passion John Kilroy and his ever meticulous boat captain Eric Arndt put into their sailing. My hat is off to them and I am happy for them as well.

As usual, I did lose a few pounds on the race and mostly right off that though mid section. It is very nice from a personal standpoint but you may remember that I will be crewing for Howard Hamlin in the 505 World Championship in just over a month and for that event I will need to be as heavy as I can be. So back to weight lifting and eating copious amounts of food. I started yesterday when Danny and I hit the gym at the Outrigger Canoe Club after surfing for a few hours. The we went out for a nice steak dinner at Chuck's overlooking the beach and Diamond Head. The classic Waikiki scene!

This morning I am leaving Hawaii for Sardinia and the Audi TP52 MedCup event onboard Artemis. This will be my first regatta with Torbijon Tornquist and his team who are very well prepared and take the TP52 racing very seriously.

We will be training for four days before the racing starts next Tuesday in Cagliari on the southern tip of the Island. I am looking forward to getting back into this very competitive fleet after missing the first two events this season.

I will of course be writing updates from Italy. For now, it is time to settle in for the 28 hour travel time trip. I am passing through SFO, but not enough time to get to Kentfield, so I am stopping in to see my mom and dad who live near the airport and change my laundry. Kind of like the old days.

Cayard Sailing
Transpac Race

Women's European Laser Radial Championship: Paige on the Rampage

Close racing on day 5 of the ladies Laser Radial Europeans. Image copyright Per Heegaard.

by Johanne Rosenquist

First day of the Gold Fleet Finals in the European Laser Radial Championship in Denmark, and it was a tough day for nearly everyone. There have been massive changes on the leaderboard in Charlottelund, the only constant being the regatta leader, Paige Railey.

Going into today’s Finals racing, the American held the lead by a slender point. But her closest rivals - Sarah Steyaert of France and Charlotte Dobson of Great Britain - suffered bad two bad races. Steyaert, the reigning World Champion, fell foul of the black flag rule for breaking the start in the first race, and followed up with a 24th in the next. This has relegated her to 10th overall.

Now an impressive 17.5 points ahead, Railey’s new closest rivals are Tina Mihelic of Croatia who won her third race of the week today, followed by Norway’s Cathrine Gjerpen who is currently far exceeding her pre-regatta hopes of scoring inside the top 15 in this high-quality 96-boat fleet.

The first attempted race of the day lasted for almost an hour and a half before the race committee put the sailors out of their go-slow misery. The four different Radial fleets (two women, two men’s divisions, totalling 166 competitors) were barely making progress against the current. Evi van Acker of Belgium was the early leader in the Gold Fleet, but was nowhere to be seen at the second windward mark. None of the early top 10 managed to stay there, as some of the backmarkers found different breeze to move into the front of the pack. Abandoning the race was a wise move.

After moving the race course much closer to Skovshoved Harbour, the race committee found much better breeze in which to hold the two heats, with the sailors now enjoying moderate conditions that gusted up to 12 knots.

Tina Mihelic won the first race, while some of the other leading contenders were having a shocker. Railey was one of them. While the boats that went right towards the shore were having a lovely time, Railey kept on looking for alternatives. Asked what she learned from today, she said: “Bang the right corner. Current was such a big difference. I didn’t think it would matter that much and I kept digging away to the left and it just didn’t work. I started getting a little annoyed. I was so far behind anyway I thought, what can I do? So I’ve finally had a bad one, but it is only one bad race from the eight we’ve done, so I’ll wipe it away from my memory and move on.”

After that harsh lesson in the first race, the fleet was much more clued into the right side of the course. After finishing 3rd from the back of the 48-boat Gold Fleet in the first heat, Railey came 3rd from the front this time. Another American Sarah Lihan led for much of the race until she was given a penalty by the Jury for excessive kinetics on the final run, but she held on for 4th across the line, very close behind Railey. “I had a really, really ugly first race,” said Lihan. “But I was frustrated enough that it fuelled my anger for the second race. There seemed to be a lot less current on the right so I just decided to start at the boat, and tacked. And it worked!”

Marit Bouwmeester had one good one, one bad one, which she agreed was not the right way round to do it. Better to get your bad one out the way early, but she scored 6th followed by a 38. “Yeah, you have a better feeling on the shore,” she laughed ruefully. Still, the Dutch sailor is still in 8th place, with points very close up to 2nd place overall.

Danish sailor Alberte Lindberg had great speed in the breezier conditions this afternoon to win the race, and she moves up to 12th overall. Second across the line this afternoon was Evi Van Acker, who was philosophical about her yo-yo performance this week. Today I continued my rhythm of good-bad-good-bad,” said the Belgian, who scored 28,2. The 28th should have been a lot better, said Van Acker. “I had a really good start at the pin end, I crossed the fleet, but tacked too soon by 100m and lost 25 boats just like that. Very difficult sailing. It’s going to make it interesting for tomorrow. Almost everyone has had a bad race now.”

Even Railey is not immune. The 45th from today’s early race hangs over her, and her apparently comfortable lead is really not as comfortable as it appears. In the Men’s fleet, Zemke Wojciech of Poland continues to string together successive race wins to lead comfortably from Michail Aristeidis of Greece.

Laser Radial Europeans

Governor's Cup: Racing begins in Mild Conditions

Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club take the win in a close finish. Image copyright Mary Longpre/Longpre Photos.

by Nancy Mellon

On Wednesday, July 15, the Gov Cup teams met with the Race Committee and the fifteen Umpires as they prepared for the start of the official competiton. The umpires will be in small boats near each pair of racing teams, making immediate decisions whenever there are infraction of the rules. The umpires are crucial to the smooth completion of Match Racing Competitons.

Match racing upwind. Image copyright Mary Longpre/Longpre Photos.

The teams prepared their boats and were towed out to an area in the ocean between the Newport and Balboa Piers near the Newport Elementary School. The seas were fairly flat and the skies cloudy when they started racing about noon, but by two the skies were clear and the winds mild. Spectator boats maintained polite distances from the race course and added to the busy scene.

Close racing downwind. Image copyright Mary Longpre/Longpre Photos.

The Governor's Cup is an ISAF Grade 3 match race series that features a double round robin format providing that each team will sail against each other team twice. oBy four pm, four flights of six races each had been held. Both Mission Bay Yacht Club and Royal New Zealand's Men's teams were undefeated. Only Long Beach Yacht Club was20winless. The two local teams, Newport Harbor Yacht Club and Balboa Yacht Club have each won two races and lost two. The first all girl team were also two to two, having lost to their team mates from Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron. Royal Yachting Association also split their first four races.

Results after 4 flights on day one:
(Team / Wins-Losses / Spinnaker Stripe Color)

Balboa Yacht Club 2-2 Aqua
Cruising Yacht Club of Australia 3-1 Red/yellow
King Harbor Yacht Club 2-2 Blue
Long Beach Yacht Club 0-4 Yellow/green
Mission Bay Yacht Club 4-0 Red/blue
Newport Harbor Yacht Club 2-2 Green
Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club 1-3 Pink
Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron 4-0 Black
Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron(girls) 2-2 Red
Royal Yachting Association 2-2 Light yellow
San Francisco Yacht Club 1-3 Grey
Southern Yacht Club 1-3 Light grey

Governor's Cup

Volvo Youth ISAF Worlds: Wind Frustrates Competitors Again

by Sophie Luther

For the second time at the 2009 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship competitors were left frustrated as all racing was cancelled with the breeze failing to materialize in Buzios today.

After 30 knot gusts forced the Race Committee to call off all of Sunday’s scheduled races, today it was a total absence of the wind which was the problem. After beautiful weather during the lay day, today started grey, wet and still and whilst the rain soon stopped, the skies never cleared and the breeze never got going. Around midday the forecasters were predicting some improvement in the conditions so all seven fleets were sent out, but the wind never got much above 3 knots and the Race Committee called it a day around 16:00. Everyone in Buzios will be keeping their fingers tightly crossed that tomorrow’s forecast of brighter skies and northerly winds of 12-14 knots materializes.

Brazilian windsurfer Jorge Renato do Amaral Silva is a Buzios local and has been sailing here for years. Still, he’s been as surprised as anyone as to the weather conditions this week, “It’s not normal. Really windy, then light winds, then no wind today. Normally when it’s really windy on one day, then the wind drops a bit, but not really windy, no wind.”

Asked about dealing with a frustrating day like today he says you can’t let the conditions become a distraction. “You’ve just got to take the rest and try and concentrate,” he says. “It’s important to keep your mind focussed on the other races. You can’t let days like today upset you and mess up your approach to the other races.”

One Change Amongst The Leaders

Even without any racing there has been one change at the top of the leaderboard after the British team of Philip Sparks and Ben Gratton were disqualified from race four of the Boy’s 420 event. The Chilean team protested the Brits for not giving room at the mark and the Jury ruled the favour of the former, resulting in a DSQ score of 32 points for Sparks and Gratton, who consequently drop from first to seventh. This promotes the French team of Bernard Gabriel Skoczek and Thibaut Soler into first place overall, Italy’s Davide Vignone and Matteo Ramian into second and the Chileans Benjamín Grez and Carlos Vergara up into third.

In spite of the lack of racing, it’s still set to be a memorable day for near 300 competitors gathered here from 59 nations. At tonight’s post-‘race’ debriefing, ISAF Coach Santi Lange (ARG) will be joined by none other than Torben Grael (BRA), five-time Olympic medallist and winning skipper of the recent edition of the Volvo Ocean Race (amongst countless other sailing achievements). The two South American sailing greats will be reviewing some of their highlights from the recent Volvo Ocean Race plus answering questions on their experiences across the VOR, Olympic Games, America’s Cups and more. The debrief will be preceded by a short presentation on the 2010 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship which will take place Istanbul, Turkey.

Looking Ahead

With just two days of competition remaining, the overall standings are still very evenly balanced, especially with the discard due to kick in after the completion of race five of the series. Amongst the many sailors looking forward to excluding a bad score is Mayumi Roller of the US Virgin Islands, who started her series with two 25s on the opening day but bounced back strongly with a race win and a seventh on Monday.

She was particularly frustrated with today’s cancellations. “I really wanted to race because I really like light winds,” she explained. Roller is one of 23 competitors here in Buzios thanks to funding from ISAF’s Athlete Participation Programme (APP), following in the footsteps of her brother who took part at the 2007 Youth Worlds in Canada. The APP provides sailors with funding support to help them with travel and entry costs to attend the championship, as well as providing coaching at the event with the ISAF Coach, who this year is Santi Lange. “It’s a really good programme,” she says. “I was also on it last year in Denmark. Santi is a really great guy, He’s really knowledgeable about everything and he’s really easy to talk to. It’s been a great experience. And the good thing with the different conditions is I’ve really learnt a lot so far.”

Roller says the competition to date has really given her a lot of confidence. “Now that I know I’m really capable of finishing in the top 10 I really hope I can finish in the top 10 and hopefully the top five. I don’t know if it’s possible to medal, but that would be amazing. Before I came here I knew this was my last time [at the Youth Words] and I really had to give it my all and sail my best.”

Thailand’s Top

One of the surprise performers of the championship so far has been Thailand’s Keerati Bualong, who lies in second place overall in the highly-competitive 53-boat Boy’s Laser Radial fleet. Bualong, still only 17 and aptly nicknamed ‘Top’, is competing at the Youth Worlds for the first time, although he’s an experienced campaigner in the Asian sailing scene having won numerous medals at Optimist, Byte and Laser 4.7 events. In 2007 he won the Byte World Championship title and came in sixth at last year’s Laser 4.7 Worlds in Croatia. “I’m just trying to sail well and do the best I can. If I do the best I can do then maybe I can win a medal,” he says.

This is the fourth edition of the Youth Worlds at which Thailand has competed (the first was in 1997) and the nation has yet to win a medal. However, Thai Team Leader Veerasit Puangnak and coach Gareth Owen are not at all surprised by the success of their star pupil. “We’ve got an ambitious programme to develop sailing in Thailand,” says Owen. “We’ve got a very good group of youngsters who are developing and now we’re trying to expose them to world-class competition. We’ve brought Top here as our top sailor to this regatta and he’s our benchmark to see how we’re doing in our whole programme.”

Top and the rest of the young sailing stars here in Buzios now have two days of competition remaining. A total of four scheduled races remain over the course of which the 2009 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Champions will be decided.

Tomorrow, three races are scheduled for all events, with the first started moved forward to 11:30 local time (14:30). One race is scheduled for the final race of the championship on Friday.

Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championships

PUMA Ocean Racing - Catching up with Kenny Read

PUMA's skipper, Kenny Read. Image copyright Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

by Kenny Read

It is a struggle even turning on this computer right now. My body was run down and the only thing that I am having success in concentrating on is harbor cruising on my power boat and golf.

I can report that a two year around the world sailing campaign is not good for one's golf game!!!

I’m back in Newport and lying low in general. Regattas are going on all around us and there is nothing I would rather not do than sail right now. Casey went out on the Rambler last weekend and reported that it was interesting. Craig Satterthwaite did the Transpac. I think everyone else is laying low too - well deserved, I might add.

il mostro made it back to Stockholm where it is resting as well. A nice power sail back - very low stress. The boat is put away for a bit waiting for the next stage, whatever that may be.

Personally, I used a few frequent flier miles and my family and I went to Moscow for a couple days then flew home to Boston. I caught myself staring out the window of the plane many times looking down at the vast ocean, thinking how nice it was flying at 500 knots sipping a nice glass of red wine versus what we had done for the previous months. I looked hard for our snapped off dagger board from the delivery to Alicante and of course our broken rudder from the leg to Galway. I didn't see either. Nor did I see the fog bank that nearly had us plowing into a whale or the waves that had us surfing to 40 knots. The memories just kept pouring in. I couldn't stop looking out the window. I do have to admit, I almost missed it then I called for the stewardess and asked for another glass of red wine and snapped out of my dream. Delta flight 31 from Moscow was the right place to be at that moment.

For the time being the PUMA Ocean Racing team is in rest and relax mode. Some time soon though we will start back up and either get the band back together for another run or disperse and look into the crystal ball at our futures. Choices to be made, but for now, the main choice is whether to bump and run with a nine iron or flop shot with a 60 degree wedge. The nine iron is usually the safer bet.

But like all choices, it depends on the lie.

PUMA Ocean Racing
Volvo Ocean Race

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Kiwi OK Sailor wins Gold at Kiel Week, Germany

by OK dinghy media

Kiwi Greg Wilcox has won the Gold medal and takes out the International Classes section of Kieler Woche, sailing in the OK Class. Greg joins an elite group of talented Kiwi sailors who have achieved this feat including Dan Salter and Rick Dodson.

Conditions suited Wilcox in the second week of Kiel, with a mix bag with one windy day, similar to Greg's home Wellington, where he learned his experince in the rougher water.

As in most big regatta there was a bit of controversy, where in one race most of the fleet sailed the wrong way around a replacement mark. Greg being well versed with the rules soon put the matter right in the appropriate method.

The OK Class is the most successful International class in New Zealand with 10 World Champions and the current World Champion being Wellington's Karl Purdie.

New Zealand hope to build on this success when they host the 2010 OK World Championships sailed out of RPNYC in Wellington, February 4 to 12th.

Wellington City Council has generously partnered the OK Class in bidding for the Worlds and hosting the regatta in the most beautiful natural harbour, right next to Te Papa and Chaffers Marina.

Note from SailRaceWin: Greg Wilcox (Port Nicholson Sails) is a regular competitor at Kieler Woche, and also won the OK Worlds at Napier a few years ago.

New Zealand OK Dinghy Association

America's Cup: Société Nautique de Genève (SNG) statement in reaction to the latest Golden Gate Yacht Club legal action

by Daphne Morgan Barnicoat

America's Cup Defender, Société Nautique de Genève (SNG), issued the following statement in reaction to the latest Golden Gate Yacht Club legal action:

"It is again a disappointment that the Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC) chooses to pursue its litigious strategy instead of fighting for the America's Cup on the water. It is now the fourth time the American team goes to court, this time in an attempt to prevent the SNG's legitimate right to use its yacht club rules – as prescribed in the Deed of Gift – and the ISAF rules and regulations to their full extent, as it has been the case in previous editions of the America's Cup and in any international regatta in the world. While GGYC continues to put pressure on the SNG through the New York courts, SNG continues to wait for the GGYC to provide their yacht's Custom House Registry as soon as possible, as per the Deed of Gift and the New York court decisions."


America's Cup: Golden Gate Yacht Club Statement 14th July 2009

by Jane Eagleson

At Golden Gate Yacht Club’s request, today the Supreme Court of the State of New York issued an order directing the defender, Société Nautique de Genève (SNG), to show cause why it should not be held in contempt of court for failing to comply with the America’s Cup Deed of Gift by denying GGYC its rights, as the next America’s Cup challenger of record, as detailed in the Order and Judgment.

Specifically, to date SNG has refused to affirm its sailing regulations and rules to GGYC as required by the Deed. To make matters worse, SNG said that it may change the rules in the future without GGYC’s consent, including the rules governing construction of the competing vessels. Further, it has entered into a secret agreement with the International Sailing Federation (“ISAF”), the organization which will have a central role in selecting match officials and sailing jury.

“Once again, Alinghi seems to believe the Deed and other rules do not apply to them,” said GGYC spokesman Tom Ehman. “As we said in our court brief today, the prejudice to GGYC is manifest. For example, SNG has proclaimed the intent and authority to construct its competing vessel with engines to trim sails and movable ballast, each now banned by the ISAF rules, and then announce a change in those rules that permits them. In designing its competing vessel, GGYC was compelled to rely on the ISAF rules which prohibit engines and movable ballast.”

In early April the New York State Court of Appeals, in a unanimous 6-0 ruling, held that GGYC is the rightful challenger, and that the next match would be in early February 2010.

The Deed of Gift provides that the Cup match “shall be sailed subject to [the defender’s] rules and sailing regulations so far as the same do not conflict with the provisions of this deed of gift.” The Deed also explicitly provides that the defender’s “rules and sailing regulations” for the match may only be modified through mutual consent of the defender and challenger.

At the time of GGYC’s challenge on July 11, 2007, SNG’s “rules and sailing regulations” were those of the International Sailing Federation (“ISAF”), including the ISAF Racing Rules of Sailing (“RRS”) that then and now govern major sailing events. These rules apply “so far as the same do not conflict with the provisions” of the Deed.

However, by letter to GGYC dated April 23, 2009, SNG for the first time claimed the right to change the rules for the match at anytime without mutual consent.

But SNG did not stop there. An ISAF Executive Committee member has acknowledged that on June 5, 2009, SNG (or its racing team Alinghi) paid ISAF €150,000 pursuant to a secret agreement making certain arrangements concerning ISAF’s role in, and the “rules and sailing regulations” for, the next Cup match.

Neither ISAF nor SNG/Alinghi will disclose the secret agreement to GGYC. Especially in light of ISAF’s central role in selecting the match officials and sailing jury, such collusive secrecy is unacceptable and violates SNG’s fiduciary duty to GGYC as the challenger of record and trust beneficiary.

The court scheduled a hearing for Tuesday, July 21 at 10 a.m.


Day 4, Women's European Laser Radial Championship: The Mother of all Olympic campaigns

by Johanne Rosenquist

No wind for day four of the European Laser Radial Championship in Denmark, so no racing. A disappointment for the 96 competitors gathered for this event in Charlottenlund, but an opportunity for some competitors to head into Copenhagen enjoy a warm summer’s evening.

With no change to the scores, Paige Railey (USA) continues to head the rankings, just a point ahead of reigning World Champion Sarah Steyaert (FRA) and Charlotte Dobson (GBR) who share equal points.

Further down the rankings, Johanna Gustafsson from Finland was itching to get racing today. She weighs just 56kg, so is 5 to 10kg lighter than most of the fleet. “I bought my boat in May and this is my first big regatta,” she said. “It’s too bad I’m a little bit too small, and maybe I’m too much too small. In light winds I can learn, but in heavy winds maybe it’s too big a problem. But I’m trying. I need lots of practice in the Radial, but I hope to find time for it.”

Finding time to practice is not easy for anyone, but for Gustafsson it is even more challenging. Why? Because this 46-year-old is the mother of seven children, aged between 4 and 16.

Before becoming a full-time mother, Gustafsson was a seasoned Olympic campaigner in the Tornado catamaran. For the 1992 Olympic trials she finished runner-up to her brother, who went on to represent the country in Barcelona. She then did a campaign for the 1996 Games in the USA, but motherhood got in the way and she retired from serious Olympic sailing. So did her crew, who also happened to be her husband.

So what, you might ask, is a 46-year-old mother of seven doing back in an Olympic class against a fleet of full-time sailors, some of whom are younger than her own 16-year-old daughter? “I watched the 49er Medal Race on television last year during the Olympics, and I saw them falling over all over the place, and I thought it was time I gave sailing another go,” she says.

Gustafsson is not just doing this for fun. She is at the start of what she considers to be an Olympic campaign. “I think the other girls in Finland might laugh at me for saying that, but that is what I’m doing.” And what of her husband, at home looking after the kids, the man who used to crew her in the Tornado? How does he feel? “I think he is happy with it. He is happy being with the children and he knows I feel there is some unfinished business from the Tornado.”

Being old enough to be the mother of some of her competitors is “not a problem for me,” says Gustafsson. “But for race organisers it seems a problem. I went to sign on at a regatta in Finland, and they said, ‘Yeah, yeah but where is the sailor, where is Johanna?’ ‘It’s me!’ The same thing happened here in Denmark. I laughed about it.”

While Gustafsson is serious about her Olympic hopes, being a mother has taught her to look at life in a more rounded way. “I’m not so serious now as I was in my Tornado days. Even if I have a bad day on the water, when I call home and hear my kids have done well in their orienteering competition, then it’s been a victory for the family that day.”

Tomorrow, hopefully Gustafsson and her younger rivals will be back on The Sound for some more racing, as the regatta enters its final phase.

Laser Radial Europeans

Rest, Recuperation And Preparation During Lay Day At 2009 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship

by Sophie Luther

Tuesday is the lay day at the 2009 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship and with the competitors take a well deserved break to re-focus their efforts for the remaining races.

After an exhilarating opening ceremony and four races held across all events, today has been the lay day for the young sailing stars competing at the 2009 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship.

The 39th edition of the Youth Worlds is taking place in the coastal town of Buzios, Brazil, in the Rio de Janeiro state which is midway through a bumper year of sailing, hosting the Volvo Ocean Race back in March/April and with the Laser 4.7 and Optimist Worlds still to come. It would be hard to think of a better location to spend a lay day than this charming Brazilian resort town, especially as today is a typical winter’s day – bright sunshine, temperatures hovering a little above the 20˚C mark and not a cloud in the sky – that’s winter Buzios-style. This morning a Brazilian-style carnival was held for all the competitors, whilst this afternoon they are free to explore with most opting to head for one of the multitude of beaches in and around the town.

However, whilst today is a day for rest and recuperation, it’s also a time to focus on the remaining three days of competition which will decide the winners of 2009 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship medals and the prestigious best-nation prize, the Volvo Trophy.

Time To Focus

Four races have been completed across all seven events, with a scheduled seven remaining. As ISAF Coach Santiago Lange reminded everyone in his post-race debriefing last night, it’s still relatively early on in there regatta, “There is still a long, long way to go. Don’t worry about the leaderboard, and where the other teams are. For now, just focus on your own racing.”

Tomorrow there is sure to be plenty of shifting around in the overall positions as the one and only discard of the series comes into play after the fifth race is completed. With very tricky, shifty wind conditions yesterday and during the second race of the opening day, a lot of teams are currently hold one high score which they’ll be looking forward to dropping from their overall points total.

For the second half of the championship, several famous faces have arrived in town to lend their support to the event and in particular the Brazilian team. Sailing legend Torben Grael (BRA) is due in town today, with his daughter Martine Grael currently top of the Girls 420 leaderboard. Isabel Swan (BRA), Beijing bronze medallist in the Women’s 470, arrived yesterday, “I’m here to show my support of this championship and for youth sailing,” she explained. “It’s a great place here in Buzios and it’s wonderful to see so many countries and sailors taking part.”

Looking Ahead

In the battle for the Volvo Trophy, the prize awarded to the top nation, France leads the standings on 142 points. Last year’s winner Great Britain lies in second place on 123 points. Italy is third on 112 points with the host nation Brazil fourth on 91 points. Singapore completes the top five on 64 points. Scores are calculated after each race completed across all four events, with 10 points awarded for a first, 9 for a second etc down to one for a tenth place finish. The top four point scorers for each nation are combined and togethe r they equal the nation’s score for that race. So with 40 points up for grabs in each race, the standings can change rapidly over the course of just one race.

Tomorrow three races are scheduled across all seven events with the first starts at 12:00 local time (15:00 UTC). The discard will kick in after race five, with the total number of discards this year reduced from two to one. Three races are also planned for Thursday, with the final and decisive race of the championship (there’s no Medal Race at the Youth Worlds) for each event held on Friday 17 July.

For the world’s top youth sailors here in Buzios, the fun is just beginning...

Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championships