Saturday 1 August 2009

Groupama 3 at the Atlantic Crossroads

Groupama 3 en route across the Atlantic. Image copyright Yvan Zedda/Studio Zedda.

by Vincent Borde

With the arrival off Newfoundland of the cold front from Canada, the wind has shifted up a gear this Friday morning: after slowing down last night Groupama 3 now has the pedal to the metal and is set to achieve her best day in this Transatlantic record attempt...

The slight deficit on the reference time is the result of two weather sequences, which were less favourable than planned and occurred on Thursday afternoon off Sable Island and on Thursday night off the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. They aren't likely to affect the final outcome however, as around thirty miles represents just an hour's sailing! Indeed Groupama 3 is back on track for Lizard Point with a favourable 30 knot SW'ly, which is set to increase to over 35 knots. As the sea state is manageable, even though it is beginning to build, Groupama 3's average speed remains constant at over 34 knots.

Considerable acceleration
Onboard on standby watch, Frédéric Le Peutrec looked back at the first 36 hours at sea and the `virtual duel' between Groupama 3 and Banque Populaire V (the latter setting out from New York 2h 35 later): "The day broke an hour and a half ago: we're flat out with the wind on the beam, in the process of leaving the Grand Banks of Newfoundland in our wake. The seas are gradually building, but it isn't a nasty sea state and the breeze is increasing progressively: we're regularly making between 35 and 40 knots of boat speed! We're on the attack...

"We had a tricky passage skirting around a zone with less wind, but Pascal Bidégorry also lost a bit of time. We're on a direct route for the Lizard and we know he's right behind us after gaining a bit of ground, but we're not letting up an inch! We've managed to successfully get our teeth into the cold front, which is now pushing us along as we hold on for dear life...

"We can't see much outside due to the fog, but the SW'ly wind isn't cold, even though it's rather damp. We have between 25 and 30 knots of breeze and a few hours ago we dropped the gennaker so we could hoist the staysail and we're ready to reef the mainsail. If all goes to plan the wind is set to fill in, at which point conditions will become increasingly feisty!

"We've got ahead of the disturbance so it's an excellent day for exceeding 800 miles in 24 hours. The air flow is stable and the front is set to carry us along all the way to the finish. Our position to the South of the low is favourable for not having too big a sea state, though we're still going to be shaken about!

"The two helmsmen are sharing the three hour watch and as the wind fills in we're reducing the time spent at the helm in order to stay concentrated. Nevertheless, there are a fair number of manoeuvres to adapt the sail area and make slight adjustments to the trim. Stan Honey, our navigator, is playing a big part keeping us informed and optimising the trajectory. You also have to be vigilant on the water so as not to hit a whale, a floating object or a cargo ship...

"There's no particular strategy with this stable wind: we're keeping an eye on the rear view mirror to watch the difference in potential with Pascal Bidégorry's steed. We're keeping to our own pace as we did in the Mediterranean record. Though Pascal and his crew are slightly faster than us and they don't have any manoeuvring problems, it's going to be tough to make up our slight deficit... We're focussing on our navigation whilst giving our all to the battle: we can't do much more than we've been doing! We're in good humour, relaxed and concentrated, respecting our recovery time..."

To the South of the Great Circle Route
In analysing the distances covered every twelve hours, we can observe that the two trimarans are still totally within the time limit to break the Transatlantic Record (4d 03h 57' 54''). In 2007, Groupama 3 had to bear off to the East and even the South-East for a few hours to sail along the Northern edge of the Azores High, to the extent that she had to gybe three times... As such her second day at sea wasn't very fast and so Groupama 3 lost nearly a hundred miles in 24 hours on the previous record! As a result it is virtually a done deal that Franck Cammas and his nine crew will this Friday evening (after two days at sea) have racked up a lead over the reference time of several tens of miles. Indeed, from this Friday afternoon the virtual trajectories will cross each other and the lead over the reference time of 2007 will be considerable, even prior to reaching the midway point (forecast for around 1900 hours UT). This crossroads in the middle of the Atlantic is highly likely to be the key point in this transatlantic, for both the participating candidates...

Now 120 miles to the South of the Great Circle Route (direct route), Groupama 3 will be able to make a beeline for the tip of England by keeping ahead of the cold front: as such the trajectory promises to be optimal with an average speed nudging 35 knots! As a result the ETA remains Sunday afternoon or early evening, which would be within several hours of the record. It remains to be seen if Pascal Bidégorry and his crew have a real bonus in these stiff weather conditions with their longer (+9m) and more powerful trimaran in big seas. The rhythm forecast this Friday afternoon is set to throw the speedo into turmoil in any case...

Cammas - Groupama

OK Dinghy Worlds: Purdie Loses Title to Hansson-Mild by One Point

Hansson-Mild wins. Image copyright Mary Reddyhoff.

New World Champion, Thomas Hansson-Mild (SWE). Image copyright Mary Reddyhoff.

by Mary Reddyhoff

The final day at the OK Dinghy World Championship in Kalmar, Sweden started with two sailors, current World Champion Karl Purdie (NZL) and Thomas Hansson-Mild (SWE), on 13 points, each in a great position to win the World Championship. A tense final day produced some very close racing in testing conditions and the first Swedish OK Dinghy world champion for 12 years. Sweden has produced more OK Dinghy World Champions than any other nation.

With a fresh breeze forecast, there was much speculation on who would win today's
races and with them the Championship. Hansson-Mild was looking the favourite,
having won four races to Puride's three. With the wind holding steady at 8 m/s, with
gusts of 10m/s, some sailors had decided to call it a day, choosing to
pack up their boats instead.

With so much resting on these two races, the 59 competitors jumped the gun on the first start and a general recall was called. The black flag immediately instilled discipline for the second start at which there were no premature starters. An 18 minute beat to the windward mark saw boats bang both corners but the majority sailed the middle course. One of the leading pack capsized on the first reach, costing him valuable points, but the rest were soon gybing at the leeward mark, to sail the port side of the course. In the lead was Jorgen Lindhardtsen (DEN), closely followed by Oliver Gronholz (GER) and Hannsson-Mild, with Purdie on his transom.

Lindhardtsen increased his lead up the next beat and held it on the run to the leeward gate. Hansson-Mild climbed to second place, with Purdie and Andre Blasse (AUS) a short distance behind. They all continued on starboard tack for much of the beat to the finish, short tacking as the line approached. Lindhardtsen was first to finish, closely followed by Hansson-Mild, but Blasse forced Purdie into fourth place.

Jorgen Lindhartsen wins race 9. Image copyright Mary Reddyhoff.

Race 9
1st Jorgen Lindhardtsen DEN
2nd Thomas Hansson-Mild SWE
3rd Andre Blasse AUS
4th Karl Purdie NZL
5th Oliver Gronholz GER
6th Greg Wilcox NZL
7th Martin Zimmermann GER
8th Terry Curtis GBR
9th Gunter Arndt GER
10th Tomasz Gaj POL

With Hansson-Mild on 15 points and Purdie on 17 points, the Championship was very much in the balance. Once again the first attempt to start race 10 resulted in a general recall, but the second start was quickly underway under the black flag, again with no premature starters.

With the wind still oscillating between 8 and 10 m/s and the waves becoming quite pronounced, the leaders chose the committee boat end to start. It is fair to say they were line-shy, but with so much counting on the last race for many of the top ten places, no-one was taking any chances. Blasse was first to the windward mark, holding his lead on the two reaches, with Martin Zimmermann (GER), Pawel Pawlaczyk (POL) and Gunter Arndt (GER) close behind.

Again Purdie and Hansson-Mild were inseparable in fifth and sixth places. Again the port side of the course was favourite, with Blasse still leading the race. Blasse still led the fleet at the leeward mark, with Arndt second Purdie third and Hansson-Mild in fourth. A nail-biting final beat ensued with Blasse, the new President of the OK Dinghy International Association, taking his first gun of the series. Purdie was second and Hansson-Mild crossed third.

Andre Blasse (AUS), new Class President, wins race 10. Image copyright Mary Reddyhoff.

Race 10
1st Andre Blasse AUS
2nd Karl Purdie NZL
3rd Thomas Hansson-Mild SWE
4th Martin Zimmermann GER
5th Gunter Arndt GER
6th Pawel Pawlaczyk POL
7th Jorgen Lindhardtsen DEN
8th Terry Curtis GBR
9th Greg Wilcox NZL
10th Oliver Gronholz GER

With a full series of ten races completed, all that remained was the assembly of the overall results. A clearly delighted Thomas Hansson-Mild became World Champion for the first time, beating the current World Champion Karl Purdie by just 1 point.

Hansson-Mild has competed in 14 World Championships and this is his seventh appearance in the top ten. His highest position before this year was third in 2001. Third place went to Jorgen Lindhardtsen, sailing his best regatta for several years. In fact the scoreline of any the top four boats would normally be sufficient to take the series, but this week the racing has been extremely close. It has been one of the tightest championships of recent years and has ended with a very popular winner.

In 2010 the class travels down under to New Zealand in February where the world championship will be sailed on Purdie's home patch in Wellington. Who would bet against him reclaiming the title there? Watch this space.

Family support for the victor. Image copyright Mary Reddyhoff.

Overall positions

1st Thomas Hansson-Mild SWE
2nd Karl Purdie NZL
3rd Jorgen Lindhardtsen DEN
4th Andre Blasse AUS
5th Greg Wilcox NZL
6th Nick Craig GBR
7th Terry Curtis GBR
8th Pawel Pawlaczyk POL
9th Martin Zimmermann GER
10th Gunter Arndt GER

Karl Purdie (NAL) second overall and first veteran. Image copyright Mary Reddyhoff.

1st Veteran: Karl Purdie NZL
1st Junior: Bartosz Rakocy POL

1st in host country: Thomas Hansson-Mild SWE

Prizewinners. Image copyright Mary Reddyhoff.

OK Worlds

Friday 31 July 2009

Womens Match Racing Worlds: Day 3 - First Round Robin Completed in Tough Conditions

Claire Leroy (FRA) tops the round robin

Claire Leroy (FRA), Mermaid Sailing Team. Image copyright Dan Ljungsvik/LWM.

by Josefine Ås

The 12 teams in the ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship encountered physical sailing when the first Round Robin was completed today. The quarterfinals did not start today as the racing was interrupted at mid-day when a front came in, bringing gale winds to the race course.

Cascades of rain were pouring down from the main sails during the last matches of the round robin this afternoon. Strong, very shifty, hard read wind, and at times heavy rain showers, made the racing difficult for both competitors and race committee. But the world’s best female match racers sailed superb races with a lot of action and top level boat handling.

Marie Björling (SWE), Team Björling. Image copyright Dan Ljungsvik/LWM.

France's Claire Leroy and the two Swedish teams Marie Björling and Anna Kjellberg were ready for the quarterfinals already yesterday. The three remaining spots were determined in tough duels resulting in a very tight score.

Australia's Katie Spithill sailed aggressively in the physical conditions and won two of her matches today, and therefore making it to the quarterfinals, which also was the case for her fellow country member Nicole Souter. "It is a big benefit for us to have a sparring partner. We are more like a team of 12, having the same coach and pushing each other, said Katie Spithill currently ranked number two on the ISAF women’s match racing world ranking", said Souter.

Camille Ulrikkeholm of Denmark scored the final spot to the quarterfinals, with the same points as the two Australian teams: six victories and five losses.

Reigning World Champion Claire Leroy of France topped the first round robin with 10 victories and only one match lost: "Our objective in the first round robin was to finish top four, so this result is a big surprise and we are very happy. All six teams that have made it to the quarterfinals are sailing really well and every match will be tough racing, said Claire Leroy, who sailed with a brand new crewmember today as the team’s bowman injured her hand when helping trim the gennaker during a difficult tack yesterday afternoon. The new bowman, Camille Lecointre, who has never sailed with the team, was flown in from France late last night. The issue does not seem to have changed Leroy’s success, winning all her matches today."

Madde Magnusson trimming the spinaker on Anna Kjellberg's boat. Image copyright Dan Ljungsvik/LWM.

For the quarterfinals the six competitors will sail another round robin (everyone meeting everyone). The four best teams continue to the semi finals. The points from the first round robin are not counted to the quarterfinals.

Anna Kjellberg (SWE), Carpe Diem Beds Sailing Team. Image copyright Dan Ljungsvik/LWM.

On Saturday the final will be held and the World Champion 2009 will be crowned.

Result day 3: ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship (with ISAF women's match racing world ranking number):
First Round Robin completed. Top six to quarterfinals.

1. Claire Leroy (1) FRA 10-1
2. Marie Björling (43) SWE 9-2
3. Anna Kjellberg (10) SWE 8-3
4. Nicole Souter (8) AUS 6-5
5. Katie Spithill (2) AUS 6-5
6. Camille Ulrikkeholm (13) DEN 6-5

Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen (DEN), Team Marine Pool. Image copyright Dan Ljungsvik/LWM.

7. Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen (5) DEN 5-6
8. Sally Barkow (7) USA 5-6
9. Lucy Macgregor (3) GBR 5-6
10. Linda Rahm (4) SWE 4-7
11. Silke Hahlbrock (6) GER 2-9
12. Christelle Philippe (19) FRA 0-11

ISAF Womens World Match Racing Championships/Lysekil Womens Match

Thursday 30 July 2009

Laser Radial Womens Worlds: Superb Conditions on Day 3

Laser Radial Womens Worlds. Supplied image.

by event media

Karatsu Bay (also being affectionately called Castle Bay as Karatsu Castle is such an impressive landmark over looking the sailing area) in Japan turned on superb sailing conditions for Day 3 of the Laser Radial Women World Championships. Two races were sailed for each fleet in 12 to 15 knots and a constant NNE breeze. There were enough waves and swell for the better sailors to show their skills and stamina. The sailors are commenting that these are challenging and exciting conditions surfing down the waves at great speed. The race management team was pleased to have the first finisher in all races within four minutes of the target time of one hour and to be on schedule with a complete qualifying series.

The sailors were too keen in the first start of the yellow fleet and a general recall was called. It was then a clear start under a black flag. In this race Sari Multala from Finland used the waves to good effect to take the lead on the last reach to finish first. With a second in race 6 Sari has moved into second place. Lijia Xu is showing her skill in these conditions to lead the competition after a fifth in race 5 and a very convincing win in race 6.

Sophie de Turkheim from France was dominant in the blue fleet with two bullets today and is now in 4th place. Anna Tunnicliffe of USA with a third and sixth today drops to third overall but her consistency may well pay off in the end. Charlotte Dobson from Great Britain has sailed very consistently over the last two days to move into 8th position just behind Sarah Steyaert of France and Veronica Fenclova of Czech Republic. Alberte Lindberg of Denmark is also sailing consistently to be in 5th position.

The fleet will now be divided into gold and silver fleets for the last three days of racing. With only 3 points separating the top four we are expecting some very close contests on the water.

Last night the second of the Laser Café Twilight Series was sailed with Brett Breuer taking line honours. Brett is an Australian who coaches the Singapore team. He has won the Apprentice Masters Laser Worlds several times and was able to demonstrate his skills to the spectators lining the racing area.

Tatiana Kulakova from Vladivostok chose to travel to this contest via a two day sea voyage on a passenger ship. She is the only sailor from her region in the women�s fleet. Her yacht club has about 15 laser sailors so the class is widening its representation around the world.

1 CHN 38 Xu Lijia 15.0 6 (30) 2 1 5 1
2 FIN 70 Multala Sari 17.0 (15) 10 1 3 1 2
3 USA 45 Tunnicliffe Anna 17.0 2 4 3 5 3 (6)
4 FRA 26 de Turckheim Sophie 18.0 8 2 (19) 6 1 1
5 DEN 78 Lindberg Alberte 21.0 (16) 3 4 4 6 4
6 CZE 22 Fenclova Veronika 29.0 1 5 10 (17) 11 2
7 FRA 17 Steyaert Sarah 30.0 1 15 (21) 2 3 9
8 GBR 56 Dobson Charlotte 31.0 17 (24) 4 3 4 3
9 USA 71 Railey Paige 32.0 5 5 (13) 10 7 5
10 NZL 46 Winther Sara 34.0 2 7 16 (19) 6 3
Other NZL result
66 NZL 58 Barrell Jessica 153.0 35 (43) 41 25 26 26

Laser Radial Womens Worlds

Farr 40 Europeans: Battle of the Italians in Sardinia

Mascalzone Latino Farr 40. Supplied image.

by SailRaceWin

Eight Farr 40s came to the line for the start of the European Championships in Sardinia. Scirocco winds built from 8 knots on the first day of racing, which saw the vice-World Champion, Nerone, with Vasco Vascotto on tactics, in the lead. Current world champion, Barking Mad, finished down in fifth. It was truly a battle of the Italians, with Vincenzo Onorato's Mascalzone Latino finishing in second place at the end of the first day's racing off Cagliari.

Results after 3 races
1 ITA 1972 NERONE A.Sodo Migliori, M.Mezzaroma 5pts 1 2 2
2 ITA 1 MASCALZONE LATINO Vincenzo Onorato 7pts 3 1 3
3 GER 5055 STRUNTJE LIGHT Wolfgang Schaefer 10pts 4 5 1
4 USA 60059 PLENTY Alex Roepers 11pts 2 3 6
5 USA 50955 BARKING MAD Jim Richardson 15pts 6 4 5
6 ITA 1113 JANAS Roberto Pardini 19pts 7 8 4
7 ITA 4003 MANGUSTA RISK Andrea Canavesio 19pts 5 6 8
8 GBR 7400 HOOLIGAN VI Edward Broadway 22pts 8 7 7

Farr 40 Europeans

Groupama 3: Along past Nova Scotia

Groupama 3 in the morning after setting off from New York on her latest record mission. Image copyright Yvan Zedda/Studio Zedda.

by Vincent Borde

Nine hours after leaving New York, Groupama 3 has kept up an average speed in excess of 32 knots and will be able to pick up the pace still further over the coming hours once she's rounded the latest dangers off Nantucket. The course between New York and England covers nearly 3 000 miles. Once the Newfoundland banks are rounded, the road can be attacked...

The ten crew have already devoured 300 miles and should be sailing off Cap Sable at 0900 UT. Following on from that they will have to traverse the Grand Banks of Newfoundland during the night before hitting the Atlantic.

As regards timing, the giant trimaran is perfectly inside her own record time for the crossing, which she set on 24th July 2007 in 4 days 03 hours 57 minutes 54 seconds. Though she doesn't have a significant lead this Thursday morning, her current progress could nevertheless enable her to close on or even improve on the 24 hour reference time, which she stretched to 794 miles (33.08 knot average) over the first few hours of her victorious record attempt (20th July 2007).

In terms of trajectory, Groupama 3 is positioned 20 miles to the South of the direct route (and her 2007 route) in order to stay ahead of a cold front, which has been generating a SW'ly air flow of over twenty knots since they left New York. Setting off two and a half hours later, Pascal Bidégorry and his crew are also within the record time for the Transatlantic record with a similar average speed.

After bettering the Atlantic crossing for the first time in under a hundred hours in July 2007, Franck Cammas and his crew will this time have the objective of completing the course in under four days. Such an objective will be extremely hard to beat, as the crew will have to combine patience in New York and the ideal weather window for making the crossing at an average of over 30 knots! Besides the record time, Groupama 3 will also have to come to terms with a challenger, Banque Populaire V, currently on stand-by in New York...

Cammas - Groupama

Groupama 3 Attacks the North Atlantic

Groupama 3 at full pelt. Image copyright Yvan Zedda/Studio Zedda.

by Vincent Borde

From this Wednesday 29th July Groupama 3 is attacking the North Atlantic crossing (New York - Lizard Point), the oldest and fastest of all the oceanic records. It is 20h12'16''UT, when the maxi-trimaran passes the Ambrose Light on her way out of New York harbour. As such the race against the clock begins with 2,925 miles ahead of the trimaran. The time to beat - 4 days 3 hours 57 minutes 54 seconds - resounds in everyone's minds. To stand a chance of beating her own reference time set on 24th July 2007, Groupama 3 will have to cross the finish line off Lizard Point, the South-West tip of Britain, prior to Monday 3rd August at 00h 09' 10'' UT.

After three weeks on standby in Gateway Marina to the south of Brooklyn, Franck Cammas and his men have today snatched what is a great opportunity to attack the North Atlantic record. Sylvain Mondon from Météo France, onshore router has this to say: "Groupama 3 set off this Wednesday evening in a 20 to 25 knot S'ly wind. A line of stormy squalls from the SW hit New York during the course of the afternoon and produced a considerable wind increase on its way through. This enabled us to take the start a little earlier than we initially planned."

The weather window opening ahead of Groupama 3 is forecast to see some stiff conditions and a steady rhythm, which will certainly appeal to Franck Cammas and his crew!

The ten men on the North Atlantic record:
Franck Cammas, skipper, watch leader and helm
Stève Ravussin (CH): Watch leader and helm
Frédéric Le Peutrec: Watch leader and helm
Loïc Le Mignon: Second helm
Lionel Lemonchois: Second helm
Bernard Stamm (CH): Second helm
Ronan Le Goff: Bowman
Bruno Jeanjean: Bowman
Olivier Mainguy: Bowman
Stan Honey (USA): Navigator
Not to mention
Sylvain Mondon: onshore weather advisor

Notable figures
• North Atlantic Crossing
• 2,925 miles between New York and Lizard Point
• Time to beat:
4 days 3 hours 57 minutes - Average speed: 29.26 knots
Record held by Franck Cammas, aboard Groupama 3, since 23rd July 2007.


OK Dinghy World Championships: Day Four Sees Purdie Level on Points but Second Overall

Pawel Pawlaczyk sailed into the top ten placings on the penultimate day of racing at the OK Worlds. Image copyright Mary Reddyhoff.

by Mary Reddyhoff

The penultimate day at the OK Dinghy World Championship in Kalmar, Sweden has set up a fascinating final day for Thursday. The top two sailors Thomas Hansson-Mild (SWE) and defending champion Karl Purdie (NZL) are now level on points with two races to sail and both are carrying an OCS from earlier in the week.

The sailors launched in blue skies and light winds, but all this was soon to change. By the time they had sailed across Kalmar Sound to the Oland shore, where the racing has taken place all week, dark clouds were gathering from the south. Open to the south, the waves in the Sound soon began to build.

Race seven started promptly as usual in a light breeze. Today's start was clean away at the first attempt under the blue peter. Although there is always fierce competition on the favoured part of the line, there is sufficient space for all to get a good start. As usual, Bartosz Rakocy (POL) guarded his position at the pin end of the line with good boat handling skills. The majority of the 68 starters sailed the middle part of the course, though there were a few who banged both the left and right corners.

By the windward mark Thomas Hansson-Mild (SWE) had built a good lead and, once again he demonstrated an excellent reaching technique down the building waves. However, Karl Purdie (NZL), who has been overtaken by Hansson-Mild in the leader table today, said "I was catching Hansson-Mild on the reaches today and I am going faster downwind, but he has increased his upwind speed, so everything is equal now!" Lying second in the race as well, Purdie was being chased by Andre Blasse (AUS), Pawel Pawlaczyk (POL) and Greg Wilcox (NZL). Wilcox pulled up to fourth at the finish, otherwise the order remained unchanged.

Race 7
1st Thomas Hansson-Mild SWE
2nd Karl Purdie NZL
3rd Andre Blasse AUS
4th Greg Wilcox NZL
5th Pawel Pawlaczyk POL
6th Jorgen Lindhardtsen DEN
7th Bo Teglers DEN
8th Bo-Staffan Andersson SWE
9th Nick Craig GBR
10th Bartosz Rakocy POL

Hans Elkjaer, President of the Swedish National Association. Image copyright Mary Reddyhoff.

For race eight, a moderate breeze had set in and the waves were quite pronounced, sufficient for the French competitors to say, "We do not get wind and waves like this on the Seine in Paris!" A line-shy fleet had a clean start at the first attempt, the majority choosing the port side of the course. At the windward mark, the leaders had again broken free of the chasing pack, building a substantial lead on the many participating club sailors whose legs were beginning to tire in these demanding conditions.

At the end of the triangle, Hansson-Mild was in the lead again, though Purdie had taken back some of the lead he had at the windward mark. Blasse was again third, with Nick Craig (GBR) in fourth in front of Wilcox. Jorgen Lindhardtsen (DEN) had moved up to fourth place by the time the fleet rounded the leeward mark again. Once again there were no place changes in the top four on the final beat.

Race 8
1st Thomas Hansson-Mild SWE
2nd Karl Purdie NZL
3rd Andre Blasse AUS
4th Jorgen Lindhardtsen DEN
5th Pawel Pawlaczyk POL
6th Nick Craig GBR
7th Greg Wilcox NZL
8th Gunter Arndt GER
9th Christian Olesen DEN
10th Terry Curtis GBR

With two first places today Hansson-Mild has moved to the top of the leader board, with just a greater number of race wins the difference between him and Purdie. While the sailors at the front are not making many mistakes, virtually all have a high score on the board, so any mistakes in Thursday's final races could be very expensive.

The future of the OK Dinghy is in the hands of the youth sailors

Andre Blasse, the new President of the OK Dinghy International Association, is a firm believer in the development of a rig which is suitable for the sailor who weighs less than the 80+kg. His country, Australia, is actively developing a Junior rig, comprising a reduced sail area, whose configuration does not alter the dynamics of the boat or its handling skills. Progress is such that he feels he will be in a position to present final measurements for approval at the next AGM in February 2010. The Junior fleet is already expanding as siblings and friends join in OK Dinghy sailing, preferring the individualism that can be injected into an OK Dinghy rather than the Laser style of sailing.

My first World Championship

Richard Burton (GBR). Image copyright Mary Reddyhoff.

Richard Burton (GBR), at 18 years old, is experiencing his first World Championship, competing for the Junior trophy. "I have been dreaming about going to the Worlds for so long, it was nearly an anticlimax when I started sailing," he said. "I sail on a reservoir near Oxford in the UK, so I needed to learn how to sail in waves; Terry Curtis took me training at Weymouth so I could get in some practice. Since I have been here, I feel my boat tuning and my boat handling have improved, the next step is to improve my equipment - a carbon mast would be nice. I feel I am coping well racing in this big fleet, I look where the leaders are starting and try to find a place near them, it has worked on most occasions.

"I was 20th round the windward mark today, so I have got faster and faster upwind, but there are still a lot of boats in front of me when I finish. At the beginning I was very inconsistent, but now I am finishing in around 40th place, which means I am 46th overall at the moment. It is an amazing experience to go and talk to current and ex-world champions as they are all so helpful at offering tips on how I can improve my speed. I would love to go to New Zealand in 2010, but I may have to wait till 2011 for my next World Championship experience which will be in Largs in Scotland".

Hall of Fame

Bo-Staffan Andersson enters the OK hall of fame. Image copyright Mary Reddyhoff.

Two more names were added to the OK Dinghy Hall of Fame last night at the BBQ supper. Hans Elkjaer, the President of the Swedish national association, hosted the event at which Swedish sailor Bo-Staffan Andersson received his trophy in recognition of being the most successful OK Dinghy sailor ever - he won four World Championship titles in the late 80s and early 90s, as well as one European title and three Swedish titles.

In addition Basil Crosby was awarded a posthumous position in the Hall of Fame for his work for the class. Crosby's role in the establishment and ultimate success of the OK Dinghy as an international class cannot be overstated. He was one of the founders of OKDIA in 1962 and was also secretary of the British OK Dinghy Class Association at the same time

Crosby took on the role of British secretary when the job became too large for Richard Creagh-Osborne, who up to that point had done almost everything in the UK. Crosby was also later elected as the first secretary of the newly formed OK Dinghy International Association and he held this post until his untimely death in an air crash 11 years later in November 1973. Sadly, he died before all his work to secure international status had been realised. The class didn't finally receive international status until 1975.

Without the enthusiasm and dedication of Basil Crosby the OK Dinghy would not be success story it is today. His selfless contribution to the OK story is unquantifiable.

The two final races of the 2009 OK Dinghy World Championship are scheduled to take place Thursday.

Overall Results
1st SWE 100 Umeå Segelsällskap Thomas Hansson-Mild 1.0 5.0 2.0 1.0 2.0 (80.0 BFD) 1.0 1.0 93.0 (total) 13.0 (nett points)
2nd NZL 531 Worser Bay Boating Club Karl Purdie 4.0 1.0 1.0 2.0 (80.0 OCS) 1.0 2.0 2.0 93.0 13.0
3rd DEN 1364 Hvidovre Sejlklub Jørgen Lindhardtsen 2.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 (30.0) 2.0 6.0 4.0 53.0 23.0
4th AUS 729 Black Rock Yacht Club Andre Blasse 7.0 2.0 4.0 5.0 (25.0) 3.0 3.0 3.0 52.0 27.0
5th NZL 522 BSC Greg Wilcox 9.0 6.0 5.0 6.0 1.0 (80.0 BFD) 4.0 7.0 118.0 38.0
6th GBR 2134 Frensham Pond Nick Craig 6.0 4.0 (12.0) 4.0 4.0 6.0 9.0 6.0 51.0 39.0
7th GBR 2118 Upper Thames Terry Curtis 3.0 7.0 8.0 9.0 5.0 (22.0) 13.0 10.0 77.0 55.0
8th POL 14 Pawel Pawlaczyk 5.0 8.0 15.0 10.0 16.0 (18.0) 5.0 5.0 82.0 64.0
9th GER 693 SCOe Martin Zimmermann (17.0) 15.0 13.0 12.0 9.0 4.0 11.0 11.0 92.0 75.0
10th POL 31 Antoni Pawlowski (26.0) 9.0 14.0 11.0 3.0 11.0 14.0 14.0 102.0 76.0

OK Worlds

Womens Match Racing Worlds Day Two: Getting Down to the Wire - Sweden and France on Top

Anna Kjellberg (SWE) wins all of her matches on day two to top the board

Linda Rahm (SWE), Team Stena Bulk vs Sally Barkow (USA) Team7sailing going downwind. Image copyright Dan Ljungsvik/LWM.

by Josefine Ås

The first Round Robin of the ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship has soon come to an end. After nine respectively eight sailed matches Anna Kjellberg of Sweden and Claire Leroy of France are leading the competition with only one loss each. With that score the two leaders as well as Swedish Marie Björling are definitely set for the quarterfinals.

Anna Kjellberg (SWE), Team Carpe Diem Beds Sailing Team, leads upwind against Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen (DEN), Team Marinepool. Image copyright Dan Ljungsvik/LWM.

Anna Kjellberg (SWE), Team Carpe Diem Beds Sailing Team, against Katie Spithill (AUS), Team Wot Chicks. Image copyright Dan Ljungsvik/LWM.

The Swedish local 25 year old ISAF 10th-ranked Anna Kjellberg and France's Claire Leroy won all their matches today putting them on the top of the leaderboard. Three matches remain for the World Champion Leroy and two for Kjellberg in the first Round Robin, but regardless of the result they are sure to make it to the quarterfinals.

Claire Leroy (FRA), Mermaid Sailing Team. Image copyright Dan Ljungsvik/LWM.

Marie Björling (SWE), Team Björling, chasing Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen (DEN), Team Marinepool. Image copyright Dan Ljungsvik/LWM.

Marie Björling from Sweden lost one of four matches today and therefore stays closely behind on the leaderboard. Today was filled with both joy and disappointment for the many Swedish spectators and fans as reigning champion of Lysekil Linda Rahm, ranked four on the ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Ranking, only won one of her matches today and will not make it to the quarterfinals.

Claire Leroy (FRA), Mermaid Sailing Team in a dramtic manouver with Camille Ulrikkeholm (DEN) at the finish line. Image copyright Dan Ljungsvik/LWM.

Five teams will fight for the last three places to the quarterfinals. With today’s scoreboard it looks bright for the two Danish teams Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen and Camille Ulrikkeholm. The Danes are used to the boat type DS37 and have both sailed convincingly these first two days. The Australian teams with skippers Katie Spithill and Nicole Sauter, as well as American Sally Barkow also have a chance to proceed to the quarterfinals.

Katie Spithill (AUS), Team Wot Chicks, in the lead against Nicole Souter (AUS), Team Wild Oats Chardonnay, at the top mark. Image copyright Dan Ljungsvik/LWM.

Katie Spithill (AUS), Team Wot Chicks, rounding the top mark. Image copyright Dan Ljungsvik/LWM.

Result day 2: ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship (with ISAF women's match racing world ranking number):
Nine or eight sailed matches of 11 to sail in the first Round Robin

Claire Leroy (1) FRA 7-1 one match less
Anna Kjellberg (10) SWE 8-1
Marie Björling (43) SWE 7-2
Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen (5) DEN 5-3 one match less
Camilla Ulrikkeholm (13) DEN 5-4
Katie Spithill (2) AUS 4-4 one match less
Sally Barkow (7) USA 4-5
Nicole Souter (8) AUS 4-5
Lucy Macgregor (3) GBR 3-5 one match less
Linda Rahm (4) SWE 2-6 one match less
Silke Hahlbrock (6) GER 2-6 one match less
Christelle Philippe (19) FRA 0-9

Camille Ulrikkeholm (DEN), Team Ulrikkeholm, ahead of Linda Rahm (SWE), Team Stena Bulk. Image copyright Dan Ljungsvik/LWM.

ISAF Womens World Match Racing Championships/Lysekil Womens Match

Laser Radial Womens Worlds: Day Two

Fleet start at the Laser Radial Womens Worlds in Karatsu, Japan. Supplied image.

by event media

It was a tough day on the water today for the sailors. After being kept ashore because of concerns about thunder storms, a clearance was given to head to the water and racing started at 1205 in 11 to 12 knots. Like yesterday a shift to the right caused a postponement for the Blue Fleet and a course change to straighten the outer loop for the yellow fleet. Race 3 for the yellow fleet provided the only OCS of the day. Conditions became very tricky for the sailors in race 3 as the sea built to a two metre swell and a decreasing breeze of only 6 to 7 knots. It was very difficult to catch the enticing waves. Despite some intervention by the race committee to decrease the length of the legs the sailors would have been pleased to see the end of a somewhat longer race.

In contrast race 4 started in the lighter breeze that increased steadily during the race with 20 knot gusts by the end. This gave exciting conditions for the sailors with big gains to be made for those who knew how to catch the waves.

Lijia Xu, bronze medalist from Qingdao is one to watch with a second and first today to lead the competition from Anna Tunnicliffe, gold medallist in the last Olympics, who scored a 3rd and a 5th today. With one drop both are on 9 points. Sari Multala from Finland jumped up the leader with a 1st and 3rd today. She won the Pre Worlds at this venue in May. Two races are scheduled for tomorrow.

Last night the inaugural Laser Café Twilight Race was held in the water close to the boat park. Takao Otani, the Radial Worlds Event Organiser, gave an amazing running commentary for the assembled company that included some local dignitaries. Spectators lined the marina to cheer the sailors on. Veronika Fenclove from the Czech republic took out the race from Watanabe the local hero. Jean Luc Michon, the laser Class Vice President and member of the jury sailed a good race to finish fourth in a fleet of 14 boats. A second race is to be held tonight.

Anna Tunnicliffe-Funk at the Laser Radial Womens Worlds in Japan. Supplied image.

1 CHN Xu Lijia 9.0 6 (30) 2 1
2 USA Tunnicliffe Anna 9.0 2 4 3 (5)
3 DEN Lindberg Alberte 11.0 (16) 3 4 4
4 FIN Multala Sari 14.0 (15) 10 1 3
5 ESP Reyes Lucia 14.0 (dsq) 3 9 2
6 CZE Fenclova Veronika 16.0 1 5 10 (17)
7 FRA de Turckheim Sophie 16.0 8 2 (19) 6
8 ITA Clapcich Francesca 17.0 7 (9) 6 4
9 FRA Steyaert Sarah 18.0 1 15 (21) 2
10 ESP Romero Steensma Susana 19.0 6 1 12 (13)

Kiwi placings
17 NZL Winther Sara 25.0 2 7 16 (19)
75 NZL Barrell Jessica 101.0 35 (43) 41 25

Laser Radial Womens Worlds

Wednesday 29 July 2009

Groupama 3 Update: Images prior to Departure from New York

Franck Cammas is up the mast on board Groupama 3. Image copyright Yvan Zedda/Studio Zedda.

The Groupama 3 sailing team. Image copyright Yvan Zedda/Studio Zedda.

Cammas and Groupama 3 in New York, ready for the off. Image copyright Yvan Zedda/Studio Zedda.


OK Presidential handover from New Zealand to Australia

Greg Wilcox from Wellington: out-going OK international class president. Image copyright Mary Reddyhoff.

by Mary Reddyhoff

Greg Wilcox retired as President of the OK Dinghy International Association last night, handing over to Andre Blasse, who will be in post for four years. He finished in fitting style by winning race 5.

Wilcox reflected upon his success today. "I had a good start and sailed up the middle of the course with Craig. We were equally matched for speed on the first reach, but as inside boat, I had the advantage and managed to sail away from him. On the second beat we again were playing the shifts in the middle of the course, with Craig gaining on me initially. I felt I was faster on the run and pulled away from Craig. I opted to turn on the starboard leeward gate mark and covered Hansson-Mild up the beat. This side paid as Craig, who tacked on the port buoy could only manage 4th at the finish".

"It has been a privilege to be President of OKDIA. During my four year term we have introduced the 'Hall of Fame', which recognises the input of those who developed the class in its early days and celebrates the successes of all the great sailors who have and are still sailing the OK Dinghy today".

"We have seen a significant increase in the number of new boats being built in the last four years, which has stimulated the second hand boat market and encouraged many new faces to experience the joys of sailing an OK Dinghy".

Andre Blasse: new OK international class president from Australia. Image copyright Mary Reddyhoff.

Current World Champion, Karl Purdie, said "It was the reason I moved into OKs, as Wilcox, World Champion in 2002, was the role model I was looking for to improve my sailing."

Wilcox added "The Committee has also undertaken a thorough review of the rules to make sure the OK Dinghy keeps up with modern trends. I am now handing over the Presidency to Andre Blasse, who, I know, will make an excellent President as he is as keen as me to see the continuing success of the OK Dinghy worldwide."

The OK Dinghy World Championship continues to Thursday, with four more races scheduled to complete the series.

OK Dinghy International Class Association

OK Dinghy Worlds Day Three: Kiwis Win the Day

Long-time friends and adversaries at the top of the OK fleet, Nick Craig (GBR) and Greg Wilcox (NZL). Image copyright Mary Reddyhoff.

by Mary Reddyhoff

The flatter water and lighter breeze on day three at the OK Dinghy World Championship in Kalmar, Sweden was a welcome change to the previous two days of racing.

The OK Dinghy races to the triangle, sausage, final beat format which suits this 52 year old design.There was a general recall for the first start, but the second, still under blue peter, was successfully away with three individual recalls. The majority of the fleet started at the committee boat end, but some of the leaders opted for clearer air further along the line. At the windward mark Nick Craig (GBR) and Greg Wilcox (NZL) were clear ahead of Thomas Hansson-Mild (SWE), Jan-Erik Engholm (SWE), Terry Curtis (GBR) and Martin Zimmerman (GER).

At the wing mark Craig had to give water to Wilcox who pulled away from the chasing pack. With a rising breeze, the fleet closed on the leading group up the beat, but Wilcox continued to increase his lead down the run. On the final beat Wilcox was chased by Hansson-Mild on the right side of the course, but the lead remained unchanged, with Wilcox winning his first race in this championship, with Hansson-Mild second and Antoni Pawlowski (POL) third.

Race 5
1st Greg Wilcox NZL
2nd Thomas Hansson-Mild SWE
3rd Antoni Pawlowski POL
4th Nick Craig GBR
5th Terry Curtis GBR
6th Jan-Erik Engholm SWE
7th Mogens Johansen DEN
8th Arne Lindermann GER
9th Martin Zimmermann GER
10th Bo-Staffan Andersson SWE

With a dying wind, race six looked threatened for some time. However, with five already completed, there were sufficient races held for the World Championship series to be assured. As the countdown to the start began the wind increased to ensure a good race would be held, albeit in a shifting wind.

Bo-Staffan Andersson. Image copyright Mary Reddyhoff.

The black flag caught eight sailors from six countries on the second start. Bunched at the pin end in light airs, it took a long time for the competitors to sail into free air. Bo-Staffan Andersson (SWE), the most successful OK Dinghy World Champion ever, led the fleet on the first triangle, but as the wind picked up and veered for the second beat the heavier sailors slowly overhauled him as they sailed to the newly laid windward mark.

With the increasing wind, a wave pattern built up that enabled Karl Purdie (NZL) and Jorgen Lindhardtsen (DEN) to surf into the lead at the leeward mark. Andre Blasse (AUS), the newly elected President of the OK Dinghy International Association, lying 7th at the leeward mark, sailed into third at the finish. Martin Zimmermann (GER), who needed three stitches in his index finger after a washing up accident on Sunday, was able to sail to his potential today, finishing 4th.

Race 6
1st Karl Purdie NZL
2nd Jorgen Lindhardtsen DEN
3rd Andre Blasse AUS
4th Martin Zimmermann GER
5th Bo-Staffan Andersson SWE
6th Nick Craig GBR
7th Soenke Behrens GER
8th Jan-Erik Engholm SWE
9th Ralf Tietje GER
10th Ulf Dagerbrant SWE

On completion of the sixth race, the discard could now take effect. Three of the top ten sailors are carrying an OCS, so the series is still wide open.

Overall positions
1st Karl Purdie NZL
2nd Thomas Hansson-Mild SWE
3rd Jorgen Lindhardtsen DEN
4th Andre Blasse AUS
5th Nick Craig GBR
6th Greg Wilcox NZL
7th Terry Curtis GBR
8th Antoni Pawlowski POL
9th Martin Zimmermann GER
10th Bo-Staffan Andersson SWE

OK Worlds

Perfect Conditions for the First Day of the Womens Match Racing Worlds

Claire Leroy (Fra), Mermaid Sailing Team, reigning World Champion wins four matches out of five sailed today. Image copyright Dan Ljungsvik/LWM.

by Josefine Ås

A very tight start field put on a great show during the first day of the ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship in Lysekil, Sweden.

Five skippers, Claire LEROY (FRA), Katie SPITHILL (AUS), Camilla ULRIKKEHOLM (DEN), Anna KJELLBERG (SWE) and Marie BJORLING (SWE) have taken the lead with four matches won out of five in the first Round Robin.

The World Championship started in perfect conditions. In blue skies and southwesterly winds at around 15 knots, the world’s foremost female match racing teams gave the many spectators action packed sailing with tough manoeuvres pushing the boats to their maximum. The excitement kept on going all day long with tight racing to the last match of the day.

Anna Kjellberg (SWE), Carpe Diem Beds Sailing Team, wins four out of five sailed matches. Image copyright Dan Ljungsvik/LWM.

“Today’s sailing proves even more that many teams are able to win. The competition is closer than previous years,” said defending World Champion LEROY who lost one match today against Swedish local BJÖRLING.

BJÖRLING is having a successful comeback after a two-year break, showing great form.

“We sailed fast, handled the boat well, and made good tactical decisions,” said BJÖRLING, who was happy to start the regatta by beating the World Champion LEROY and Lucy MACGREGOR (GBR), ranked #3 on ISAF Women’s World Ranking list.

Marie Björling (SWE), Team Björling, leads the way against Lucy McGregor (GBR), Skandia Team. Image copyright Dan Ljungsvik/LWM.


Round Robin
(After 5 of 11 flights)

Marie BJORLING (SWE), 4-1
Claire LEROY (FRA), 4-1
Katie SPITHILL (AUS), 4-1
Camilla ULRIKKEHOLM (DEN), 4-1
Silke HAHLBROCK (GER), 2-3
Sally BARKOW (USA), 2-3
Linda RAHM (SWE), 1-4
Nicole SOUTER (AUS), 1-4
Christelle PHILIPPE (FRA), 0-5

ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship 2009/Lysekil Women's Match

Laser Radial Womens Worlds in Japan: Day One

Laser Radial Womens Worlds day one. Supplied image.

by event media

Veronika FENCLOVA of the Czech Republic and US Olympic Champion Anna TUNNICLIFFE are tied at the top of the leaderboard after day one of racing at the 2009 Laser Radial Worlds in Karatsu, Japan.

The 2009 ISAF Grade W Women s Laser Radial World Championships started today with two races being sailed. All 87 registered competitors from 30 countries were on the water today, with the competition split into two fleets.

The Czech Republic s Veronika FENCLOVA got her World Championship off to a perfect start with a win in race one. After following that result with a fifth she sits at the top of the overall standings at the end of day one. Tied on six points with FENCLOVA is Beijing Olympic gold medalist and ISAF Sailing World Cup leader Anna TUNNICLIFFE (USA) who posted 2, 4 scores in her two races. Young Spanish star Susana ROMERO also got off to a flying start with a sixth and a race win putting her third overall.

The anticipated wind was late coming so the fleets were postponed on the water with the first race getting underway 40 minutes after the scheduled starting time. The only starting blemishes were recorded in the first start of the yellow fleet with five sailors being called OCS. The other three starts were all clear. The course was altered for the yellow fleet in the first race to straighten up the first run. Otherwise the wind was relatively consistent from the NNE with a strength of 7-12 knots and as the wind increased there was enough swell for exciting sailing and gains to be made. The beat length was made longer for the second race and all four races were within seven minutes of the target time.

Race two in the blue fleet provided one of the highlights of the day with an exciting dual between ROMERA and Sophie DE TURCKHEIM from France. DE TURCKHEIM showed the value of a very good start to lead the fleet until she was passed on the final reach to mark five by ROMERA who retained the lead through to the finish.

Along with ROMERO, Spanish teammate Lucia REYES also started strongly and is fourth after 4, 3 scores, just ahead of New Zealand skipper Sara WINTHER. DE TURCKHEIM is sixth, with Tina MIHELIC of Croatia, currently second in the World Cup Standings and the 2008 European Champion, seventh overall after a seventh and a race win. Today s other race winner was reigning World Champion Sarah STEYAERT (FRA). Like FENCLOVA she won her opening race of the championship but slipped to 15th in the next, putting her 11th overall.

Other names to look out for are recent winner of Europeans, US skipper Paige RAILEY in eight place, the top placing Japanese Yukiyo SAIKI in 10th and 2007 World Champion Tatiana DROZDOVSKAYA (BLR) in 13th. Evi VAN ACKER of Belgium lies 17th, 2007 and 2008 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship winner Gabrielle KING (AUS) is 19th, Finnish star Sari MULTALA 21st, whilst China's Olympic bronze medalist Lijia XU will be disappointed to lie 34th overall.

The Japanese race management team is to be congratulated on being very well prepared with good systems in place for the smooth running of the races. The large number of volunteers are doing everything they can to make everyone feel welcome and to run an event of a high standard. The Opening Ceremony was held last night and was a very grand event held at the City Hall and gave all participants a taste of Japanese culture and an opportunity to savour the exquisitely presented cuisine.

The forecast for tomorrow is for heavy rain with a further two races scheduled.

Laser Radial Womens Worlds

Groupama Switches to Code Green to Beat her own Transatlantic Record

Groupama 3. Image copyright Loïc Dorez/Team Groupama.

by Vincent Borde and Caroline Muller

On standby since 7th July in New York, the Groupama 3 trimaran skippered by Franck Cammas has just switched to code green. Barring a last minute change in the weather forecast, the fastest sailing boat in the world (WSSRC record), will set off on Wednesday night or Thursday morning (French time) on her bid to break her own Transatlantic Record.

In Lorient, Groupama team's base, the excitement is tangible. Whilst Franck Cammas is in direct contact with Sylvain Mondon at Météo France and Stan Honey, Groupama's navigator, in order to narrow down the departure time from New York, the logistics team is completing the crew's transfer to the United States. "Contrary to what you might think, the crew hasn't been in New York since 7th July. Our standby organisation is such that they must be able to make the transfer to the start zone within 24 hours. Since 7th July, we've been keeping them informed each morning at 1000 hours of the latest weather forecasts provided by Sylvain Mondon. The minute we switched to code yellow (possible departure within 48 to 72 hours), they prepared their gear for sea. They are currently in the plane bound for New York" says Stéphane Guilbaud, team manager.

On their arrival at Gateway marina, the crew will climb aboard a trimaran which has been perfectly prepared by the shore crew as well as two of the crew, Loïc Le Mignon and Olivier Mainguy: "It's great to get together again. We're both excited and concentrated. The challenge awaiting us is a sizeable as well as a complicated one. It's sizeable because driving a trimaran like Groupama 3 to perfection is a real challenge and it's complicated because we're going to have to adapt to wind and sea conditions, which will probably be a bit different to those which are forecast. According to our latest information, the window which is opening up right now is a very good one, with downwind conditions, though we may be forced to drop a bit further South than the shortest route" analyses Franck Cammas.

In his offices in Toulouse, Sylvain Mondon analyses the various weather charts that he seeks out from both the European and American servers. Following that he integrates Groupama 3's performances into this information, taking into account his recent experience of sailing aboard. Ultimately, according to the routes selected, he obtains a time for the crossing: "After being the first sailing boat to cross the Atlantic in under 100 hours at an average speed of 29.2 knots just two years ago, Groupama 3 set a very high standard. To go even faster, we're really going to need a great trajectory and stay as close as possible to the 2,925 miles which make up the direct route (5,265 km)".

It's worth remembering that in 2007, during her victorious record attempt, Groupama 3 also beat the 24 hour distance record by covering 794 miles at the incredible average speed of 33.08 knots: "We achieved this record time very shortly after leaving New York. The conditions were perfect with a well established wind on the beam and flat seas. If we hadn't broken one of the two foils, we would have exceeded the legendary benchmark of 800 miles. This figure is incredible to read, but even more incredible to experience in the flesh at sea aboard Groupama 3. This is another reason why we're here today. The speed, the adrenalin and the challenge that this crossing represents is magical" adds Franck Cammas

To accompany him in this quest for absolute speed, the skipper of Groupama 3 has equipped himself with an entourage of `old faithfuls' as well as new crew. Among the familiar faces onboard are Stève Ravussin and Frédéric Le Peutrec, watch leaders, Ronan Le Goff and Bruno Jeanjean at the bow and Loïc Le Mignon, second helm. As for the newcomers, their track records speak for themselves: Lionel Lemonchois, reigning champion of the Route du Rhum, Bernard Stamm, reigning champion of the Velux Five Oceans, Stan Honey, winning navigator in the Volvo Ocean Race on ABN AMRO and finally Olivier Mainguy, a member of the Groupama team who will take up position at the bow alongside Ronan and Bruno. In the main, the crew is pretty much the same as the one that broke the first record of the 2009 season by crossing the Mediterranean in 17 hours and 8 minutes on 16th May.

Groupama 3. Image copyright Loïc Dorez/Team Groupama.

In Gateway Marina in New York, Groupama 3 is pulling at her warps: "We are experienced at quickly finding the right trim and getting the very best out of Groupama 3; it's the men that make the difference. As such my entourage comprises an exceptional crew, which I'm very proud of. All ten of us are ready to go" concludes Franck Cammas.

The crew:
Franck Cammas, skipper, watch leader and helm
Stève Ravussin (CH): Watch leader and helm
Frédéric Le Peutrec: Watch leader and helm
Loïc Le Mignon: Second helm
Lionel Lemonchois: Second helm
Bernard Stamm (CH): Second helm
Ronan Le Goff: Bowman
Bruno Jeanjean: Bowman
Olivier Mainguy: Bowman
Stan Honey (USA): Navigator
Sylvain Mondon: onshore weather advisor

Course: 2,925 miles from the Ambrose Light in New York to Lizard Point at the south-west tip of England

Two records to beat:
- North Atlantic Crossing held by Groupama 3 of 4 days 3 hours and 57 minutes at an average of 29.26 knots on 23rd July 2007
- Distance covered in 24 hours held by Groupama 3 with 794 miles at an average of 33.08 knots on 20th July 2007

The other records held by Groupama 3:
- Mediterranean record in 17 hours and 8 minutes at an average of 26.72 knots on 16th May 2009
- Miami - New York in 1 day 13 hours at an average of 27 knots on 4th June 2007
- Cadiz - San Salvador in 7 days 10 hours and 58 minutes at an average of 21.7 knots on 1st May 2007


OK Dinghy World Championships: Day 2 - Purdie Still in the Lead

Lining up for the start. Image copyright Mary Reddyhoff.

by Mary Reddyhoff

In sunshine and a light breeze race 3 of the OK Dinghy World Championship in Kalmar, Sweden started promptly at 11:05. However, dark clouds soon appeared, with the wind increasing and backing, necessitating the windward mark to be moved 30 degrees to port for the second beat. The short choppy waves also became more pronounced. Thomas Hansson-Mild (SWE), Jorgen Lindhardtsen (DEN) and Karl Purdie (NZL) chose the pin end to start.

Those that hit the left corner came out well ahead of those on the starboard side of the course, for example Gavin Waldron (GBR) tacked round the windward mark in 15th place, well ahead of many of the front runners. Purdie built an impressive lead on the two reaches, with Hansson-Mild and Lindhardtsen close behind. These three held their positions up the next beat, but Hansson-Mild was impressive on the downwind leg and overtook Purdie, with a boat length separating each at the leeward mark.

Lindhardtsen ahead of Radocy and Hansson-Mild. Image copyright Mary Reddyhoff.

Hansson-Mild and Lindhardtsen remained on the port side of the course, with Purdie tacking to the starboard side. At the finish, it was Purdie who got the gun.

Race 3 Results

1st Karl Purdie NZL
2nd Thomas Hansson-Mild SWE
3rd Jorgen Lindhardtsen DEN
4th Andre Blasse
5th Greg Wilcox NZL
6th Gunter Arndt GER
7th Bartosz Radocy POL
8th Terry Curtis GBR
9th Mogens Johansen DEN
10th Oliver Gronholz GER

The breeze had freshened for the start of the fourth race, with some roguish one metre waves appearing to catch the unwary OK Dinghy sailor. Once again the fleet got away at the first attempt, with individual recalls for a couple of sailors. Whereas port paid on the first beat of race 3, it was the sailors on the starboard side who benefitted in race 4. Hansson-Mild was first to the windward mark, with Lindhardtsen, Purdie and Nick Craig (GBR) close behind. There was little place changing to the finish, by which time Hansson-Mild had built a substantial lead on his competitors. The fresh breeze and waves provided optimal conditions for superb surfing conditions for all the competitors who came off the water exhilarated by the day's racing.

Hanson-Mild finishing race 4. Image copyright Mary Reddyhoff.

Race 4 Results

1st Thomas Hansson-Mild SWE
2nd Karl Purdie NZL
3rd Jorgen Lindhardtsen DEN
4th Nick Craig GBR
5th Andre Blasse AUS
6th Greg Wilcox NZL
7th Christian Olesen DEN
8th Gunter Arndt GER
9th Terry Curtis GBR
10th Pawel Pawlacczyk

Day 2 reflections

Thomas Hansson-Mild. Image copyright Mary Reddyhoff.

Thomas Hansson-Mild commented that he grew up in an OK Dinghy, so he is pleased with his performance to date (two firsts and currently lying second overall) - but there are still six races to go. Living in Umea, 1,100 km and a two day drive north of Kalmar, Thomas explained how he is able to train when so far from the other OK Dinghies. "I do a lot of cross-country skiing in winter as I have to wait for the ice breakers to clear the sea before I can start sailing again, probably a month after most have started to sail. There are plenty of icebergs to dodge, but I just get used to it! I am very fortunate that there is a very narrow stretch of water between Sweden and Finland at Umea. Here there are always big waves created by wind or current so I can practise my reaching and downwind techniques. I am able to increase my lead on Purdie on these legs. Fortunately Anders Widding has been an excellent training partner this year so I can also practise beating, though Purdie slowly reels me in on the beat. I have copied Peter Milne who used a four purchase mainsheet in 1999, to overcome my tennis elbow, it still, however gives me enough control for downwind sailing. We are fortunate to have a coach and a support boat this year, which has improved the confidence of the Swedish sailors, knowing there is spare equipment available should we need it."

OK Worlds