Friday 11 December 2009

Great success for second edition of World Yacht Racing Forum

The second edition of the World Yacht Racing Forum closed its doors tonight following eight debates and several presentations held over two days at Monaco’s Grimaldi Forum. The highlights of the day were the America’s Cup session - with the exceptional presence of both Russell Coutts and Brad Butterworth - as well as the contributions by double Vendée Globe winner Michel Desjoyeaux and Brown GP F1 team CEO Nick Fry

by Bernard Schopfer

Over 350 key figures from the yacht racing industry attended the second edition of the World Yacht Racing Forum. Their feedback was a positive one, everyone recognising the quality of the debates and the importance of such an international Forum to debate the key issues our sport faces.

Today’s keynote speaker Michel Desjoyeaux, double winner of the Vendée Globe, reminded the audience that the sport of sailing looks clean from outside but needs to better its carbon footprint. “We have a responsibility”, he commented; a wise reminder following the Copenhagen climate conference. Desjoyeaux went on to say that the sport of sailing is a great platform of integration for the younger generation, and especially for the ones who encounter problems in suburban areas. “It is wrong to consider our sport as an activity for the rich people. The access to our sport is easy and cheap. We have several projects that demonstrate this clearly in France.” Desjoyeaux concluded by talking about the business model of our sport and the direction it should take. “We don’t need to reduce our costs; what we need to do is increase the return we provide to our partners.”

A message that provided a perfect introduction to the next session, entitled “Cutting racing costs – how can we meet the challenges of today’s economy?” Knut Frostad, CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race, made it clear from the onset that reducing costs was a matter of survival. “Our sport is small and we need to work collectively at growing it. We can achieve this by reducing costs in several areas, and particularly in the technical side of the sport: there is money wasted in this area. I am also in favour of salary caps”, he said. “On the other hand, I am not in favour of subsidising teams like some events do. It is the wrong approach.”

Also involved in this panel of experts, Dominique Wavre, President of the IMOCA, explained that the Open 60 Class was facing – and trying to address – fundamental issues of reliability, safety and budget control. “We had 30 boats at the start of the last Vendée Globe but only 11 made it to the arrival. We want to have 30 boats again in the next edition and we will achieve this if we manage to develop boats that are more reliable whilst protecting the existing platforms.”

Other speakers such as Josh Hall – President of the Portimao Global Race – presented a cheaper alternative whilst the Audi MedCup Director Ignacio Triay confessed that it was difficult to trim down the costs “because we risk to reduce as a consequence the level of services provided to the teams and the partners.”

The debate moved on to the governance of yacht racing – How does sailing compare to other sports? The presence of the Secretary General of ISAF Jerome Pels made it both interesting and controversial, with the panellists as well as the floor putting a strong pressure on the Sports governing body’s spokesman. CEO of the Brawn GP Formula One team, Nick Fry followed with amusement before observing that “this looks like a bogus model!” Fry then took some distance and suggested that the sports’ main actors look at the broad picture: “Rather than focusing on the details, ask yourselves: What are your goals? What is your global strategy? I don’t know your sport but it doesn’t seem to be managed professionally and for the benefits of its participants.” Nick Fry concluded by an advice: “Look at what the main corporations want. Observe the level of return they receive in other sports such as Football or Formula One. Your competition should be us!” He finally reminded the audience that his team was small – 450 employees, a budget of 100 million Euros / year, 18 events per year followed by 400 journalists: statistics that clearly illustrate the massive gap that our sport needs to fill.

The afternoon session began with a debate about the future of multihull racing. Being former Olympic racers and multihull experts, all panellists agreed that it was an absolute shame that the Tornados had been taken away from the Olympic program; nobody in the 350 strong audience said the contrary… The reasons were more interesting to understand. Mitch Booth, a double Olympic medallist, explained that “multihulls have always struggled with acceptance within the institutions, the yacht clubs or federations. They have been banned for years. There is unfortunately a cultural issue still to resolve.” Cam Lewis, who is one of the best promoters of multihull racing in the US, considers that “this issue will be resolved. There are currently several successful projects – including the forthcoming America’s Cup – that need to be used to the benefit of multihull racing.”

Founder of the Extreme 40 concept, Herbert Dercksen confirmed that the platform he successfully developed has “helped overcome this stigma.” Other promising projects such as the MOD – Multi One Design trimarans – are on their way, and could well become tomorrow’s most successful in and offshore multihull project. “There should also be some individual projects in parallel”, commented Desjoyeaux. “This is how the sport and the technology can evolve.”

More than 500 delegates - including the ones involved in the adjacent Superyachts Coating Conference and the Yacht Racing Design & Technology Symposium - then walked into the Grimaldi Forum auditorium for the events Grand Finale, the long expected America’s Cup session.

CEO of BMW ORACLE Racing, Russell Coutts was first on the podium, speaking with enthusiasm about his trimaran’s wing – “bigger than any wing ever built including airplanes.” Coutts spoke at lengths about his passion for the America’s Cup, and the characteristics that made it so dear to him. “Some of the lessons for the future lie in the past”, he claimed. “Freemantle was one of the most exciting America’s Cups ever. Auckland showed the benefits of a custom built harbour, and the importance of a strong local support. Finally, Valencia illustrated the benefits of a global management for both the Challengers series and the America’s Cup. All those events were very successful in their way. I have one question”, he concluded: “why change such a successful format?”

Brad Butterworth, President of Alinghi, followed on stage and reminded the audience about the ground rules of the event. “The founding document of the America’s Cup is the Deed of Gift. We can amend the rules if we agree to do it by mutual consent. However, in this case, there was no mutual consent.” Butterworth also spoke with enthusiasm about the Alinghi 5 catamaran, telling the audience how exciting it was to sail on such a platform. “In the future, he said, we should seriously consider a multi-challenge America’s Cup on multihulls.” After confirming that his team would be ready to race on February 8, he expressed a wish: “Whoever looses the dual should be graceful and abandon any lawsuit.”

Nicolo Bastianini, Paul Cayard, Magnus Holmberg, Stephan Kandler, Sotiris Buseas and Marcus Hutchinson then joined Coutts and Butterworth on stage for a debate about the future of the event after AC 33. Talking on behalf of their respective teams, all panellists expressed clear – yet solvable - differences regarding the format, dates and type of boat to use for the next edition of the regatta. On the other hand all panellists agreed that an independent management was necessary, Brad Butterworth reminding his colleagues that its establishment would be difficult due to the complexity of the event.

Led by Paul Cayard, the speakers then unanimously endorsed the idea to rapidly create an official group of challengers and to start working concretely, together, on a Protocol for the next America’s Cup. A promising achievement in the current context and after two years of legal battles.

The second edition of the World Yacht Racing Forum ended up on this positive note. Officially closing the event, the Forum’s Chairman Peter Gilmour highlighted the great quality of the debates held during two days in Monaco. “To be honest, I am not really surprised by this,” he said. “I just wonder why we haven’t started a long time ago. This is an exceptional reunion of the most influential people in our industry. Next year’s third edition of the Forum will be built on this event’s success.”

World Yacht Racing Forum

Thursday 10 December 2009

TJV: Pascal Bidégorry and his men sail the maxi Banque Populaire V to Brest

On Friday, 11th December, the crew of the Maxi Banque Populaire V will leave the pontoons of Lorient for a delivery trip to Brest, where they will continue their stand-by for the record of the Trophée Jules Verne. Image copyright B.Stichelbaut/BPCE.

by Virginie Bouchet (in translation)

The crew of the Maxi Banque Populaire V will leave the pontoons of Lorient to head for the port of Brest, where they will continue their stand-by for an attempt on the record of the Trophée Jules Verne.

At 9h00 on Friday, the Maxi Banque Populaire V will leave with the complete team for the Trophée Jules Verne. The multihull, which was not able to leave Lorient recentla due to the bad weather and sea conditions, was at last able to take the opportunity of a weather window to sail with her thirteen crew.

Pascal Bidégorry, skipper of the maxi trimaran reflected on the departure: « We have finally decided to rallier le port de Brest because that enables us to sail with the copmlete crew and on the other hand to get us nearer to Ushant. For more than a month the conditions at Lorient have been very difficult and we have been kept on land. We should have good weather on Friday and not bad wind, 25 knots from the southeast, for leaving. We will arrive in Brest in the middle of the afternoon where we shall continue the stand-by. »

If the departure for the delivery on Friday is certain, it is not so for the « big departure » as Pascal says « for the moment there is no weather window on the horizon for which we would be able to leave for the record, so we still need to be patient for a while. »

Crew for the Trophée Jules Verne

Pascal Bidégorry, Ronan Lucas, Kévin Escoffier, Yvan Ravussin, Pierre-Yves Moreau, Xavier Revil, Emmanuel Le Borgne, Florent Chastel, Ewen le Clech, Thierry Chabagny, Erwan Tabarly, Yann Eliès et Jérémie Beyou

Banque Populaire V

Sail Sydney Winners Announced

Mat Belcher & Malcolm Page won the 470 class. Image copyright

by Di Pearson

Expected light south-south-westerly winds did not eventuate on Sydney Harbour today, instead a lovely nor-easter, mirroring yesterday’s conditions, eventually filled in, allowing Sail Sydney Principal Race Officer, Tony Denham, to officially get racing started just before 1.00pm, instead of the planned 10.00am.

Racing was cut short in the Yachting NSW organised event, because racing started later than anticipated and breezes lightened off and swung during the afternoon. Eventually it was all over and winners of this annual Grade 1 event were announced at Woollahra Sailing Club, which hosted the event with assistance from Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron and Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club.

Hannah Nattrass, who had gold taken from her in a protest situation on the last day of the regatta last year, was the easy winner this time round, her boyfriend, 470 Olympian Graham Biehl, crewing for her before leaving to resume 470 racing at Sail Melbourne, the first round of the ISAF World Sailing Cup, due to start in a week.

The Woollahra SC skipper last raced seriously at the Worlds and commented: “We just enjoyed ourselves here – it was fun.” Her next competition will be a change of pace; the Etchells Nationals when she will sail with Julian Plante.

Former double world champion and Beijing Olympian Tom Slingsby’s third in the shortened Laser series was enough for the overall win by three points over New Zealand’s Sam Meech.

“I couldn’t even see where I finished today; heaps of us hit the finish line together, so I’ll have to wait and see the results. The Central Coast 25 year-old said he was rusty in some areas and good in others, “I’ve still got a bit of work to do, but I’m getting better all the time.”

Andy Maloney (NZL) did not have the last race results he wished for and dropped from second overall to third, behind his team mate. “I finished well back – it wasn’t a good day for me,” he said.

In finishing fourth overall, last year’s third placegetter, Daniel Mihelic from Croatia, broke up the Kiwi push, Josh Junior (NZL) ending the regatta in fifth place overall. The New Zealanders performed strongly at Sail Sydney this year.

Nathan Outteridge/Iain Jensen (AUS) stayed focussed in spite of their huge lead in the 49er class – the mark of true professionals. A bullet and a second place just increased their finish points over second placed Peter Burling/Blair Tuke (NZL) and Euan McNicol/Tim Austin (AUS).

Beijing Olympian Javier Hernandez came from Spain. Image copyright

“The first race was much better than the second – the breeze really died out after the first one,” said Outteridge adding, “It’ll be good to go to Sail Melbourne now and get some different conditions in preparation for the Worlds (in the Bahamas in January) – Melbourne will be a speed test.”

Coach, Emmett Lazich, said he hoped they would also get some very light conditions. “We tend to cancel races in Australia in the really light 0-5 knot stuff and we need practice in that, because they hold races overseas in that light stuff.”

Triple Olympian Jessica Crisp (AUS) maintained her performance of yesterday to win the RS:X Open Sailboard event from fellow Olympian Yasuko Kosuge (JPN) who had led the regatta until yesterday. Crisp won both races today, sailing in her preferred lighter conditions. Crisp’s sailing partner and Olympian Jannicke,

Brendan Casey’s third place was enough for him to win the Finn class from triple Olympian Anthony ‘Nossiter. “We’re just trying to get numbers up in the class in Australia and get into enjoying some sailing,” the Queenslander said.

Casey was on the receiving end of a pumping flag and did an incredible job to get back into the race and finish second in a dying north-easterly wind that oscillated between 5-12 knots.

Third overall was talented South Australian sailor James Paterson. “A fifth in our only race today was enough to keep me in third place,” a happy Paterson.

Considering an Olympic campaign, but finding funding is a major issue, along with training partners in his neck of the woods, Paterson said “I didn’t win a race here this time, but you don’t have to win races to win a regatta.”

Alex South - a promising Youth sailor in the Radial. Image copyright

He and another talent, Warwick Hill (Vic), who finished fifth overall behind experienced Kiwi Olympian Nick Burfoot, felt they were making inroads in the class. “Last year Nocka and Brendan were pulling out on us, but not this year,” Hill said.

“I was able to beat Brendan and Nocka a couple of times this regatta – I’d just like to do it more often,” he said.

Beijing Olympic gold medallist in the 470 dinghy class, Malcolm Page, sailing with his new skipper Mat Belcher, won the 470 class cleanly. Two of their training partners, Sam Kivell/Will Ryan (Vic) and Stacey Omay/Chelsea Hall (WA) finished second and third overall respectively in a mixed Men’s and Women’s fleet.

Coached by Victor Kovalenko, who has now helped win gold medals for four Australian 470 teams (Sydney 2000 and Beijing), the three teams are on track for their Olympic and world championship goals.

The best international place in the 470 was the Women’s pairing of Jo Aleh/Olivia Powrie (NZL). The two, who previously campaigned in the Laser Radial, led the Women’s for a time, but finished fourth
overall and second Women’s.

Tasmanian talent Chris ‘George’ Jones scored a huge 30 point win in the Laser Radial and the next two places were filled by Women; Australian Development Squad member Laura Baldwin and Ireland’s Annalise Murphy who led the Women’s Olympic class Radial until today. Baldwin just quietly moved up the leaderboard over the four days.

Sail Sydney

“Yacht Racing has a massive – yet largely unexploited potential”, say World Yacht Racing Forum speakers

The commercial return of yacht racing sponsorship and the tools used to promote and evaluate the sport’s commercial return were at the heart of today’s debates at the World Yacht Racing Forum

by Bernard Schopfer

The second edition of the World Yacht Racing Forum started this morning with an introduction by the event’s chairman Peter Gilmour. “We are here to build the platform for young sailors”, he said. “This is a unique opportunity for us all to steer the business of yacht racing. The people gathered in this auditorium represent roughly projects worth over one billion dollars.”

Over 350 delegates including 60 media representatives were listening! Most sessions focused on the commercial value of the sport, and gave the opportunity to the speakers to describe the most efficient methods to provide a strong return to the discipline’s partners. “The economy aside, our sport has never been that strong”’, observed keynote speaker Tom Whidden, the President of North Sails. “The number of boats and events is increasing, and their management is often extremely well executed. Any business can learn from a well run sailing campaign.”

One of the highlights of the day was the presentation by sports marketing expert Richard Moore (CEO; Capitalize), who confirmed that the global Sports business has been less affected than other industries by the worldwide economic crisis. “The sport industry has increased by 0,4% this year and the predictions for next year are for an increase of 11,2%. However”, he added, “the sport of sailing represents only a marginal percentage of this pie.”

Indeed, the sport faces several fundamental issues. “In most disciplines, the revenue is split in three equal thirds that come from hospitality, gate revenues and sponsorship. However sponsorship represents most of the revenue in sailing, and this situation is potentially dangerous.”

Managing Director of IFM Sports, Ulrich Lacher confirmed that the yacht racing industry doesn’t sit in still waters. “Your sport is difficult to understand”, he told the audience. “There are too many series, too many events, different types of boats… What sponsors want nowadays is to know exactly what return they can expect. You need to tell them precisely what your potential is, and what return you can offer them. The potential of sailing is massive yet largely unexploited. The strengths of the sport are the business opportunities it provides, the emotions it generates and the hospitality platform it offers.”

Mark Turner, who is one of the industry’s most creative event organisers, said the same when he claimed that “our job is not to have fun sailing: it is to sell the passion and the emotions that are unique to sailing. What sponsors want is to entertain. We need to develop strong hospitality programs because sailing provides a platform that is absolutely unique. It is our strongest asset.”

The debate entitled “How can sailing deliver benefits to host cities and ports” put a light on the fact that the venues unanimously praise the commercial return they get through hosting sailing events. Interestingly, the panel included host cities of major events such as the Volvo Ocean Race as well as smaller events and venues such as Lake Traunsee, in Austria, or Puerto Calero on the Canaries Islands. The panellists explained that the key to success is to set clear and realistic objectives. Some figures speak by themselves: 650’000 people visited Galway during the Volvo Ocean Race stopover; 80’000 people came to Almeria for the Extreme Series and the sailing events held on the mountain lake Traunsee generated 10’000 overnights in the area. “It took us three years to turn the event from a regatta to a business”, commented the Austrian event organiser Christian Feichtinger. “It generated a value of over 1,4 million Euros.”

The last session of the day saw an interesting debate on new media technologies. Ian Taylor (CEO, Virtual Eye), reminded the audience how much the technology has evolved in the past fifteen years. “Not long ago, we used some virtual images to illustrate the television footage. During the last event held on America’s Cup yachts in Nice, we added some television footage to the live virtual race.” Joint CEO of the TV production company APP Sunset & Vine, Richard Simmonds didn’t quite agree: “There is nothing like the live emotions provided by real footage. Just imagine a live coverage of a sailing boat sailing in the roaring forties when a storm is about to hit!” At the end of the day, all panellists agreed that virtual and live coverage had to be used together, providing both the emotions and the precision.

Other panellists such as Philippe Guigné (CEO, Many Players), insisted on the fact that virtual sailing (events coverage or games) opens the sport to a whole new audience. “Until now, people were watching sailing. Now they are actively participating: they have their own (virtual) boat and they choose their route. In reality, and thanks to the new technologies, 350’000 people took part in the last Vendée Globe.”

Held in parallel to the Forum, the inaugural Yacht Racing Design & Technology Symposium gave the industry’s more technically oriented participants the opportunity to discuss a proposal by designer Juan Kouyoumdjian to fine tune the ISO standards applied to yacht racing by the International Sailing Federation. “The current norm is not appropriate”, he said. “I would like to walk out of this Symposium tomorrow with an agreement by the industry to work together on a norm that is better adapted to our needs and constraints.”

The Symposium’s auditorium was packed with 100 delegates comprising boat owners, project managers, builders, engineers and suppliers. “We tried hard not to be too technical”, commented Juan K. “At the end of the day, everybody learned something. We would need a one week long session to debate our key issues, but this is a great start.”

The second part of the Forum will begin tomorrow Thursday with a keynote speech by double Vendée Globe winner Michel Desjoyeaux. Discussions on cost reduction measures, what sailing can learn from other sports and the place of multihull in the international sailing calendar will follow, whilst the exclusive America’s Cup presentations by Russell Coutts and Brad Butterworth and the subsequent panel discussion with many America’s Cup potential Challengers will close the day and the event.

World Yacht Racing Forum

Wednesday 9 December 2009

Sail Sydney Final Day: Racing postponed

All dressed up and nowhere to go - not much breeze on a beautiful summer's day on Szydney Harbour. Image copyright

by Di Pearson

The old familiar refrain of sailing “Racing postponed,” due to unstable light to non-existent breeze on Sydney Harbour which is looking like a patch work quilt this morning with light lines of breeze crisscrossing the harbour and a lot of nothing in between.

Principal Race Officer of Yachting NSW’s Sail Sydney Regatta, Tony Denham, made the announcement at 9.00am this morning from Woollahra Sailing Club that he would be raising the AP Flag and would be keeping an eye on the weather.

So the sailors relax ashore on their final day of the Olympic and Youth class annual regatta, chatting and some contemplating what they need to do to make the podium this afternoon as they wait for the predicted light south-westerly breeze to fill in.

Mostly, the scores are close across the board, however, Hannah Nattrass/Graham Biehl (NSW) have sailed an exceptional series in the 29er class and are 16 points clear of their nearest competitors and Mat Belcher/Malcolm Page (AUS) are eight points ahead of their team mates in the 470 and would have to have a disastrous day to topple from the top.

The Queensland pairing of Angus Galloway/Alexander Gough have outsailed the rest of the competition, not pulling any punches as they aim to win the 420 Nationals and then gain selection to the Australian Team for the Youth Worlds. It will take a bulldozer to move them from first place, with their 11 point lead to second place.

World champions NathanOutteridge/Iain Jensen (AUS) also looked settled at the top of the pile in the 49er, their six straight wins giving them a six point lead, holds them in good stead.

The same can be said for Joanna Stirling from Queensland in the Bic Techno sailboard class. She has an eight point buffer to fellow Queenslander Reece Baillie. Either way, Queensland is looking best in this fleet.

The rest, as they say, is in the lap of the Gods, so close are the points in the remaining classes. On a day that is forecast to produce light patchy winds similar to Day 1, look to those who performed well then, to find your winners.

When racing does get underway, first off are the Laser Full Rig and Finn (two races each are planned) and 49er, 29er, RS:X and Moth (3 races each).

There are changes to the Moth and Laser results after protests and disqualifications, the turnaround completely affecting the top five in the Moth, but not affecting the top five in the Laser.

Sail Sydney

Tuesday 8 December 2009

Pascal Bidegorry and Thomas Coville World Champions of Oceanic Records in 2009

Banque Populaire. Image copyright B. Stichelbaut/BPCE.

by Mer et Media (in translation)

The 2009 awards of the World Championship of the Oceanic Records is known. In the crew section, Pascal Bidégorry is the new champion thanks to the exploits this summer of the crew of the trimaran Banque Populaire V on the Atlantic. In the solitary class, after Francis Joyon in 2008, this time it is Thomas Coville who obtains a deserved title after his around the world trip in 59 days.

The World Championship of the Oceanic Records, that groups together the biggest historic records of the planet by sea – 20 journeys altogether - delivered its 2009 verdict. At the end of this classification that associates a coefficient of 1 to 10with every record, according to its length and difficulty, the big winners in 2009 are Pascal Bidégorry in the crewed section and Thomas Coville in the solitary class.

The North Atlantic and 24 Hour Records Pulverized

Pascal Bidégorry and his men are sacred Champions of the World thanks to the records on the Atlantic gleaned by the maxi trimaran Banque Populaire V. For the record, they succeeded in making a crossing at 32.94 knots on average in 3 days, 15 hours, 25 minutes and 48 seconds... They equally pulverized the 24 hour record while crossing two symbolic bars: the one of 800 miles then the one of 900 miles... And finally, 908 miles in a single day by the gigantic trimaran Banque Populaire V.

In the solo sailors' category, after Francis Joyon in 2008 and around the world record of 57 days, it is Thomas Coville who earns the title of Champion of the World 2009, thanks to his solitary circumnavigation without stopping in 59 days, 20 hours, 47 minutes and 43 seconds, the second fastest of all time. Thomas Coville did not succeed in improving on the record of Francis Joyon, but nevertheless signaled an exceptional, strong performance logically rewarded by this title of World Champion 2009. This is the second title won by Thomas Coville, who was already World Champion in 2006.

Reactions of the Winners

Pascal Bidégorry: "To receive this distinction of World Champions as early as the first year of sailing the boat provides very great pleasure. This is a great honour for the crew of the Maxi Banque Populaire V... I hope that this will not be the last one! I hope also that there will be more teams to dispute this championship with in the years to come. For next year, we will see, but if we can obtain the titel again thanks to the Jules Verne Trophy this time, I shall not be against it!"

Thomas Coville: "My main true objective is to attempt a new solo around the world records next year - it is nice to obtain this form of recognition. The point system permits promotion of attempts made. When an attempt is made, one always expects the boat to beat the existing world record and one forgets that even if it does not do this itself, it may still be the best performance of the year..."

Winners since the creation of the World Championship of Oceanic Records:

2008: Lionel Lemonchois
2007: Franck Cammas
2006: Bruno Peyron
2005: Bruno Peyron
2004: Steve Fossett

2008: Francis Joyon
2007: Francis Joyon
2006: Thomas Coville
2005: Ellen MacArthur
2004: Francis Joyon

Grands Records

Sail Sydney Day 3: Light to start – fabulous to finish

The 29er's enjoy close racing in the shifty nor-easter. Image copyright

by Di Pearson

Sometimes even the experts get it wrong and that was the case today when a beautiful nor-easter filled in on Sydney Harbour just after lunch, turning aside the earlier shifty light nor-westerly, which made a brief appearance on Day 3 of the Sail Sydney regatta, organised by Yachting NSW.

Due to unstable and at times non-existent breeze, Principal Race Officer Tony Denham held sailors ashore until a light north-westerly prevailed, the first classes getting away at 11.20am, instead of the planned 10.00am.

General recalls in some classes held up racing further, but the increasing nor-easter made sure the pace was kept relatively fast and all enjoyed a much better sail on the Harbour minus all the weekend traffic.

“Our first race was shifty and unstable and only around 5 knots, but by the second one we got a nice 12-13 knot north-easterly, similar to yesterday,” said leading 470 skipper Mat Belcher.

The Queenslander and his Sydney crew Malcolm Page continue to lead the 470 Open fleet after scoring 2-1 results today, beaten in the earlier race by Youth training partners Stacey Omay/Chelsea Hall. “The girls sailed really well,” said Belcher of the West Australian based crew.

After three days of racing, the top three places in the class are now filled out by Australian Olympic campaigners. Belcher/Page will not be beaten here. Their male training partners, Sam Kivell/Will Ryan (Vic) are in a good second place, with Omay/Hall eight points behind them, the girls overtaking New Zealand’s Jo Aleh/Olivia Powrie after today’s races.

The entire 470 Aussie squad, under the guidance of Victor Kovalenko, are looking in good shape, prompting their coach to comment: “I am proud of all of them. They are all honest and they work very hard.”

Aleh and Powrie are contented with their progress so far, the two only joining for a 470 campaign around a year ago. Aleh revealed this afternoon: “the best fun so far was beating the Aussie guys (Belcher and Beijing gold medallist Page), that was great,” she laughed. “We’re happy with our campaign so far,” she added.

Powrie said she and Aleh had sailed together in the 420 Youth class: “We grew up at the same yacht club, sailed a 420 together and sailed a Laser Radial against each other. Now we’re back together and I think we make a pretty good team.”

In what has been a closely contested regatta so far, the lead has changed again in the Laser Radial class, with Sydney Scott (second yesterday) taking over the lead from Chris ‘George’ Jones (Tas) and Ben Franklin (Qld) is third.

James Paterson (AUS) is a natural talent. Image copyright

The smiles on Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen’s face when they came ashore this afternoon gave the game away. “We got three more wins,” Outteridge confirmed. Jensen said that while they led the first two races from early on, they still had to keep a close cover on their main rivals, especially the fairly new Kiwi crew of Peter Burling/Blair Tuke who have kept the Australian pair honest throughout.

“The third race was a lot closer. We had north-east on the left side of the course and east on the right; it was hard to pick, shifty, so it was a lot closer,” Outteridge confirmed. The pair is very happy. Six straight wins gives them a handy 16 point lead over the New Zealand pair.

Burling and Tuke have only sailed together for around a year and a half. Burling competed at Beijing in the 470 and made the switch after returning from China, while Tuke comes out of the feeder 29er class.

“We’re pretty happy with how we’re going so far,” said Burling this afternoon, confirming he’d made the class switch due to weight. “We’d like to beat Nathan (Outteridge) again though,” Tuke interjected.

“It was pretty shifty – you needed a bit of luck today – it was a bit like the first day. We’re up there with the Aussie guys, but little things happen at the end…..”

Laura Baldwin (NSW) is in fourth overall and first in the Women’s, with 31 year-old mother, Megan De Lange (Vic), fifth and second woman following the two winning a race each in the two races sailed today. The remaining three races will be sailed tomorrow.

Triple Olympian Jessica Crisp (AUS) has taken over the RS:X Sailboard lead held by Yasuko Kosuge (JPN) since Day 1. Crisp cites coach from ex sailboarder, Sean O’Brien, as the reason for her improved performance in higher winds.

Crisp, who has finished just outside the medals at the last two games, racked up three wins from three races to take a two point lead from the petite Japanese sailor who admitted yesterday she struggled in conditions over 15 knots, and although conditions did not go over, it was quite gusty on the Harbour.

“I finally got my act together,” Crisp laughed. “Everything went well; it couldn’t have gone better. I’m getting better in the higher end of the wind scale – it’s all about technique, rather than strength,” she said.

Crisp’s long-term training partner, Jannicke Stalstrom (NOR), has taken over third overall, a second and third place holding her in good stead this afternoon, with only three races remaining.

Hannah Nattrass (NSW) and her ring-in crew and boyfriend, Graham Biehl, have been like a runaway train at Sail Sydney. So far the two have won six of the nine races contested, and this despite the fact that Biehl climbed into the boat with Nattrass for the first time in Saturday’s first races!

They are 15 points clear of the nearest competition, Youth supremo’s Byron White/Thomas Koerner (NSW) with a further six points up on Adam Lahey/Troy Rushton (Qld).

Hanna Nattrass & Graham Biehl (AUS) are streets ahead of the rest. Image copyright

Biehl, who sailed at the Games in China in the 470, is in Australia to compete in that class at Sail Melbourne, but agreed to sail with Nattrass at Sail Sydney. Obviously the chemistry works. Asked what they had that the other entries didn’t, Nattrass answered: “I don’t know – I guess we’ve just got good team work!”

Biehl doesn’t see it that way “She’s a really good skipper, she saved our butts a few times, especially downwind.”

Unusually, Nattrass has no great sailing ambitions. “I just love sailing; I do it for the enjoyment and fun,” the refreshing 19 year-old said.

The Laser Full Rigs were one of the last classes of the water and in his usual style, Tom come-back-kid” Slingsby used the pressured situation he was in to claim the lead of the series. However, he has last week’s International Youth Match Racing champion, Josh Junior (NZL) right on his knocker, just one point off the leader.

A second Kiwi sailor, Andy Maloney, has also move back up the board and into third overall, three points behind Junior. Maloney only said yesterday that Junior would be his biggest threat among his team mates.

Javier Hernandez has broken the Kiwi stranglehold, his win in Race 8 moving the Spaniard up into fourth place, but on equal points with Sam Meech (NZL).

The ISAF Grade 1 Sail Sydney regatta is hosted by Woollahra Sailing Club with assistance from the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron and Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club.

Tomorrow (Tuesday local time) is the last day of the regatta, with racing due to start from 10.00am.

Provisional top five results after Day 3

Laser Radial Men & Women after seven races and one drop:
1 SYDNEY, Scott SIN 2 1 7 2 (9) 3 3 18
2 JONES, Christopher AUS TAS 6 3 1 1 3 (9) 6 20
3 FRANKLIN, Benjamin AUS QLD 16 (53)
BFD 5 5 1 4 5 36
4 BALDWIN, Laura AUS NSW (21) 15 3 8 4 6 1 37 Women
5 DE LANGE, Megan AUS VIC 8 2 13 12 7 1 (33) 43 Women

Laser 4.7 after seven races and one drop:
1 VINCENT, Thomas AUS VIC 2 7 5 3 3 3 (8) 23
2 SPEARMAN, Mark AUS WA 10 2 2 2 4 (17) 6 26
3 THOMSON, Keats AUS NSW 5 8 3 4 (10) 10 1 31
4 HITCHEN-HAW, Melissa AUS VIC 1 1 6 14 (17) 1 9 32
5 NARBOROUGH, Timothy AUS NSW 3 (9) 7 7 6 5 4 32

470 Men & Women after seven races and one drop:
1 BELCHER, Mathew/PAGE, Malcolm AUS QLD (2) 1 1 1 1 2 1 7 Men
2 KIVELL, Sam/RYAN, Will AUS VIC 3 2 (5) 2 2 4 2 15 Men
3 OMAY, Stacey/HALL, Chelsea AUS WA (6) 5 2 3 6 1 5 22 Women
4 ALEH, Jo/POWRIE Olivia NZL 1 (20) OCS 6 6 3 3 4 23 Women
5 LARDIES, Francisco/DRUMMOND, Finn NZL 5 4 3 5 4 (7) 3 24 Men

420 after seven races and one drop:
1 GALLOWAY, Angus/GOUGH, Alexander AUS QLD 1 2 2 1 1 (3) 1 8
2 DAVIES, George AUS VIC (10) 5 1 3 2 5 3 19
3 KO, Chuan Yang/CHAN, Andrew Paul Li Jian SIN 7 1 (16) DNC 2 4 2 4 20
4 RYAN, Sasha/RYAN, Jaime AUS QLD 4 3 5 8 (15) 6 7 33
5 KLEMENS, Thomas/BAIRD, Stuart AUS VIC (15) 4 8 7 9 4 2 34

RS:X Men & Women after nine races and one drop:
1 CRISP, Jessica AUS NSW 2 (4) 3 2 1 4 1 1 1 15 Women
2 KOSUGE, Yasuko JPN 1 3 2 1 2 3 2 (5) 3 17 Women
3 STALSTROM, Jannicke NOR 5 2 5 3 4 2 3 2 (6) 26 Women
4 ONG, Leonard SIN 3 1 1 5 3 (7) 7 6 4 30
5 SKARLATOU, Angeliki GRE 4 5 4 4 5 5 5 3 (8) 35 Women

49er skiffs after nine races and one drop:
1 OUTTERIDGE, Nathan/JENSEN, Iain AUS NSW 3 3 (4) 1 1 1 1 1 1 12
2 BURLING, Peter/TUKE Blair NZL 2 1 2 2 (4) 3 3 3 2 18
3 PHILLIPS, William/PHILLIPS, Samuel AUS VIC (8) 7 1 3 2 2 7 2 4 28
4 MCNICOL, Euan/AUSTIN, Timothy AUS NSW 1 4 3 6 6 4 (8) 8 3 35
5 SEATON, Ryan/MC GOVERN, Matt IRL VIC 5 5 5 4 3 6 6 5 (10) 39

29er skiff after nine races and one drop:
1 NATTRASS, Hannah/BIEHL, Graham AUS NSW 3 1 1 1 1 1 3 (4) 1 12
2 WHITE, Byron/KOERNER, Thomas AUS NSW 5 4 3 (8) 7 2 1 1 4 27
3 LAHEY, Adam/RUSTON, Troy AUS QLD 6 3 6 4 4 3 2 (8) 3 31
4 GRIFFIN, Jay/CHAPMAN, William AUS NSW 2 5 (11) 2 6 6 8 2 2 33
5 SLY, James/GILLIES, Andrew AUS VIC 4 (9) 4 9 2 4 4 3 7 37

Bic Techo after nine races and one drop:
1 STERLING, Joanna AUS QLD (4) 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 9
2 BAILLIE, Reece AUS QLD 1 2 3 2 2 1 3 (4) 3 17
3 JENKINS, Brendan AUS NSW 2 5 2 (6) 3 3 5 2 2 24
4 WYATT, Rebecca AUS NSW 3 3 4 3 5 5 (6) 3 5 31
5 MIDDLETON, Kaitlyn AUS NSW 5 4 5 5 (6) 4 4 5 4 36

Moth after nine races and one drop:
1 MCDOUGALL, Andrew AUS VIC 3 3 (10) 1 2 1 1 2 1 14
2 LISTER, David AUS NSW 1 2 1 (3) 3 2 2 1 2 14
3 GOUGH, Robert AUS TAS 4 1 3 4 (5) 3 4 4 4 27
4 GRAVARE, Martin AUS VIC (13) 8 5 5 6 4 6 6 6 46
5 BABBAGE, Scott AUS NSW 2 (20) DNC 20 DNC 2 1 20 DNC 3 3 3 54

Laser Full Rig after nine races and one drop:
1 SLINGSBY, Thomas AUS NSW (10) 6 2 4 4 5 6 6 33
2 JUNIOR, Josh NZL 2 5 9 8 (15) 2 5 3 34
3 MALONEY, Andy NZL 1 8 5 (9) 7 3 9 4 37
4 HERNANDEZ CEBRIAN, Javier ESP 6 4 8 1 (16) 16 2 1 38
5 MEECH, Sam NZL 3 7 (13) 5 2 12 4 5 38

Finn after eight races and one drop:
1 CASEY, Brendan AUS QLD 2 (7) 4 2 1 1 1 1 12
2 NOSSITER, Anthony AUS NSW 1 2 1 3 2 (10) 3 4 16
3 PATERSON, James AUS SA 5 4 2 4 3 2 2 (8) 22
4 BURFOOT, Nikolas AUS NSW 3 3 (18) DNF 5 4 3 4 5 27
5 BAGNALL, Henry GBR NSW 6 1 5 6 (8) 5 5 3 31

Sail Sydney

Chocolates Nestle Brazil Match Cup - Final Results

by Paul Cayard

Well we wound up 1 spot off the top but still pretty good result.

We won the round robin and then had a one race final against the second place team. In the one final race, things were tight and close the whole way but we could not get past Daniel Glomb and his team. The field was pretty talented with Robert Scheidt, Torben Grael, and Xavier Rohart all competing.

I had a great 4 days down here. The people are very friendly and there is a special spirit around competitions in Brasil. They are obviously winners, Torben Grael and Robert Scheidt have a few Gold medals to prove that. But there is a relaxed happy spirit here that overlays everything. The other thing is that you are almost never late here. It is just a matter of figuring out how late is going to be on time.

I am staying here most of the day tomorrow (Monday) before my flight to Monaco tomorrow night where I will participate in the World Yacht Racing Forum.

I am going to hit the outdoor gym on Ipanema Beach tomorrow morning. I know it will be cold in Europe and in SF when I get home next weekend so I am going to soak up the sun!

Final Results (Men):
Place - Skipper - Total pts - Match Race Win/Loss
1) Paul CAYARD 6.25pts 6/1
2) Daniel GLOMB 5pts 4/3
3) Robert SCHEIDT 4.5pts 4/3
4) Torben GRAEL 4.5pts 4/3
5) Xavier ROHART 4.25pts 4/3
6) João SIGNORINI 4pts 3/4
7) André FONSECA 3pts 3/4
8) Marco GRAEL 0pts 0/7

Note from SailRaceWin: There was some fleet racing in the mix too, which accrued some points. However, the official results record Paul Cayard as the overall winner, with a loss in the match racing only to Robert Scheidt.

Cayard Sailing
Chocolates Nestle Brazil Match Cup

Monday 7 December 2009

New Zealanders sit pretty at Sail Sydney Regatta

Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie at Sail Sydney 2009. Image copyright

by Zoe Hawkins

After two days of racing and halfway through the Sail Sydney regatta, the New Zealand contingent racing in Sydney are showing excellent potential for strong podium finishes.

Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie (pictured) won their first race against Australian Olympic Gold Medallist duo Malcolm Page and Mathew Belcher and now sit in third place in the Open 470 Class, and are second in the Women’s Class. Francisco Lardies and Finn Drummond are running fifth in the Open event, and third in the Men’s. This is their first Grade One event in the 470.

After a win and two second places, new combination Peter Burling and Blair Tuke are placing second in the challenging 49er skiff division.

Four Kiwis are in the top ten in the hotly contested Laser class: Sam Meech is fourth, Andy Maloney sixth, Josh Junior seventh, and Andrew Murdoch ninth. James Sandall is 15th in the same class, and Rawiri Geddes 31st, in a fleet of 41 entrants.

Sunday's racing was held in light and shifty conditions on a busy harbour, but today provided a steady 15 knot sea breeze.

230 entrants are participating in Sail Sydney, including a large international contingent there to amass points towards their Olympic campaigns for London 2012. International entries have come from: Great Britain, Ireland, the USA, Chile, Spain, Singapore, Greece, Canada, Japan, Finland, Hungary, Switzerland, Norway, India, Korea, Norway, Croatia, Poland and Italy. Racing finishes on Tuesday.

The Sail Sydney Regatta, the only ISAF Grade 1 event in NSW, is the second event of the Sail Down Under series. The third and final event is Sail Melbourne, the first round of the ISAF Sailing World Cup.

Yachting New Zealand
Sail Sydney

Sail Sydney Day 3: Light nor-westers set to test all

Mat Belcher and Malcolm Page work hard in the shifty light airs. Image copyright

by Di Pearson

Forecast 5-6 knot shifty north and north-westerly winds, with no breeze at all at times, on a day when temperatures are set to soar to 30 degrees, is sure to test the 233 entries (292 sailors) and officials at the Sail Sydney regatta on Sydney Harbour.

Hosted by Woollahra Sailing Club, with assistance from the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron and Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club, the predominantly Olympic and Youth classes regatta is into its third day and for competitors it is basically make-or-break time, as tomorrow is the final day of the four day event.

Not surprisingly, there are only two classes where the leaders have taken off on the rest of the fleet at this ISAF Grade 1 Olympic point-scoring event; Hannah Nattrass and Graham Biehl (AUS) have amassed a whopping 14 point lead over their nearest rivals in the Youth 29er skiff class, having won five of the six races sailed so far (with a third in the remaining race).

Mat Belcher and his Beijing Olympic gold medallist crew, Malcolm Page (AUS), whose three wins yesterday lift them to five points clear of their closest competition and training partners, Sam Kivell and Will Ryan (AUS). Every other pointscore is exceptionally close, making today’s performances even more important.

Principal Race Officer, Tony Denham, said that the race schedule is back on track, due to the beautiful 12-15 north-east sea breeze that met competitors yesterday. Those same competitors will have to switch gears and ready themselves for a ‘thinking’ day on Sydney Harbour, where tactics will be all-important.

At 8.30am this morning, sailors were looking at a lovely nor-easter on the Harbour – will it still be there when they hit the water?

Racing is due to get underway from 10.00am, with the 470, Laser Radial, Laser 4.7 and 420 classes, while the Laser, Finn, 49er, 29er, RS:X and Moth classes are due for a 12.30pm kick-off – but the conditions may decided differently.

Sail Sydney

Chocolates Nestle Brazil Match Cup - Penultimate Day of Racing

by Paul Cayard

Unfortunately the wind did not cooperate Saturday. No wind and no racing. Seems like I have been experiencing a lot of this lately.

We did manage to have the Pro Am race at the end of the day. We took four boats out, loaded with Nestle guests, and had a race that started and finished right in the inner harbor in front of the Yacht Club de Rio. It was about as exciting as we could make it in 5 knots of wind. They seemed to enjoy it so that's what matters.

Sunday is the last day of the racing so we are hoping for wind. It looks like the bad weather is clearing out so I am optimistic.

Cayard Sailing
Chocolates Nestle Brazil Match Cup

WMRT: Monsoon Cup - World Champion Minoprio Wins Over Ainslie

Adam Minoprio (NZL) and ETNZ/Black Match Racing win the Monsoon Cup 2009. Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia. 6 December 2009. Image copyright Sander van der Borch/Subzero Images.

Monsoon Cup Final between Ben Ainslie (TeamOrigin) and Adam Minoprio (BlackMatch) pre-start Match 1 in the 2009 Monsoon Cup Final. Image copyright

by Rob Kothe

The Monsoon Cup, the final event of the World Match Racing Tour, with MYR 1.57 millon (approx US$454,000) prize money was sailed on the Pulau Duyong basin in Kuala Terengganu in Malaysia this week.

Yesterday Adam Minoprio and his ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing crew of Tom Powrie, David Swete, Nick Blackman and Dan McLean won the ISAF World Match Racing Championship on the way to the Monsoon Cup finals.

Sunday the new World Champion sailed against the legendary Ben Ainslie, 32 year old British sailor, three-time Olympic gold medallist and ISAF World Sailor of the Year in 1998, 2002 and 2008. Ainslie’s mainsheet hand is double Olympic Gold medallist Iain Percy and the balance of his crew Matt Cornwell, Christian Kamp and Mike Mottl are considered amongst the best in the world.

Ainslie and Minoprio pre-start Match 1 Monsoon Cup Final. Image copyright /AUS.

The drama started even before the pre-start when the New Zealand skipper Minoprio sailed out of the sailing area and ran aground. Crew member Dave Swete stripped to his shorts and went into the water to check the keel for damage and to clean off any of the river mud that may have stuck.

In the first match of the final, Minoprio entered on port but headed to the starboard end of the box and had the pre-start advantage.

Ainslie was over early and was penalized for failing to keep clear. Minoprio too was over early but was able to duck back while Ainslie almost stalled and was slow to get back.

Minoprio had a massive advantage; he was in the current and steaming around the top mark while Ainslie was 18 seconds behind. In a risky attempt to close the gap, at the bottom of the course Ainslie went right and sailed into softer air.

Minoprio extended on the left and headed for home with a massive ten boat length lead and crossed the finish line first.

Now all the pressure was on Ainslie and TeamOrigin.

Ben Ainslie (GBR) and Adam Minoprio (NZL) shake hands after the Boat draw for the final. Monsoon Cup 2009. Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia. 6 December 2009. Image copyright Sander van der Borch/Subzero Images.

Across the line Minoprio commented ‘A good race. We wanted the pin and we got it. We won’t be happy until its 3-0.’

Ainslie could only say ‘Adam and his guys sailed a good race. Now we have to try and turn it round.’

But it got worse in the second match as Minoprio timed his start perfectly and headed left, leaving Ainslie staggering.

Ainslie’s summary of the situation ‘Sorry guys.’ He headed right but bailed and flopped left. The Olympic master was struggling against his young rivals who were now two lengths ahead at the top mark.

Adam Minoprio (NZL) and ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing win the Monsoon Cup 2009. Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia. 6 December 2009. Image copyright Sander van der Borch/Subzero Images.

As Minoprio crossed the line to go two up in the first to three, he said to his crew ‘one more.’

Ainslie said ‘We were on the ropes initially in the pre-start, but we escaped and led on the right. We need to win the next three races; its not going well for us at the moment we have to regroup.’

Regroup was what TeamOrigin certainly needed to do but the young World Champions were not about to help them.

Just seconds before the third race start, Minoprio saw pressure coming in from the right and did not contest the previously favoured left hand side. Ainslie hit the current on the left but it was not enough, Minoprio was around the mark two lengths ahead.

The elation in the voices on the BlackMatch boat could be heard. ‘Is this a reversal of the last Bermuda?’ ‘Come on concentrate’ replied Minoprio.

Twenty seconds ahead at the bottom mark, the Kiwis headed left and the Brits followed. With breeze up, Minoprio extended his lead.

On the third lap and on the right, Minoprio had private current and the best breeze.

Sebastian Col crosses ahead of Ben Ainslie in their semi final at the Monsoon Cup 2009. Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia. 5 December 2009. Image copyright Gareth Cooke/Subzero Images.

During the week Ainslie either won easily or lost narrowly. So for him the final was a giant turn around.

There was anguish on Ainslie’s boat as a halyard came unclipped and the spinnaker fell down. Ainslie threw his sailing hat down in despair.

Adam Minoprio and his BlackMatch Racing team had won the Monsoon Cup.

Adam Minoprio (NZL) and ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing win the Monsoon Cup 2009. Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia. 6 December 2009. Image copyright Sander van der Borch/Subzero Images.

The clearly elated Minoprio said ‘That last breeze call was the defining moment. It’s been a very intense event for us. We came in thinking that if we focussed on winning the Monsoon Cup, the ISAF World Match Racing Championship result would look after itself.

‘We just scraped into the quarter finals, but it went pretty well after that.

‘We were always keen to meet Ben and his great crew in the final. We’ve done it twice before in Bermuda. We beat them to win through to the final of the Bermuda Gold Cup in 2008 and they beat us in the same event in 2009.

‘They are a great team and considering how many other sailing events they are involved in, their ability to switch focus to match racing is very impressive.

‘Ben and his team don’t generally get caught up in trying to tangle people up in the pre-start. He’s very focussed on getting to the line fast. He doesn’t smash the other guy at the start; he just has a little bit more speed.

‘He’s a fast sailor and its tricky to counter that and that’s how he got us in Bermuda, so today we concentrated on trying to tie him up at the start and that worked for us.’

Adam Minoprio (NZL) and ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing win the Monsoon Cup 2009. Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia. 6 December 2009. Image copyright Sander van der Borch/Subzero Images.

Ben Ainslie related ‘A pretty disappointing day. Everything we did was wrong and the spinnaker coming down on the last run really capped it off.

‘We are pleased for Adam and his boys... they gave us a lesson today. We have more work to do as a team.

‘It’s great to make the final in this last Tour event of the year. For us, the focus of the World Match Racing Tour has been around trying to build ourselves up; mainly the relationship between Iain Percy and myself in terms of an after guard relationship based around the Cup.

‘It’s been a little bit frustrating that we haven’t been able to do more World Tour events and we feel we have a good crack at winning the Tour outright and we are keen to do just that in the future. For us it’s been a great opportunity to up our skill level in terms of match racing.

‘Kuala Terengganu has provided some really fascinating racing, especially the tactical challenges of the last couple of days with the race course being split (by the river flows).

‘In more classic match racing venues generally there aren’t that many passing lanes and it’s relatively easy to defend a four boat length lead, whereas here even a ten boat lead isn’t enough at times.

‘This has been a great event. We watched the television coverage for the first time last night and we were trying to analyse some of the manoeuvres. I was amazed at the television - it’s fantastic. There is the bow cam and the mast cam and Andy Green cam; it’s really good and I’m really impressed. It’s far better than the coverage of the last America’s Cup and something which should be incorporated in the Cup in the future.’

YANMAR Racing team at the at the Monsoon Cup 2009. Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia. 5 December 2009. Photo: Brendon O'Hagan/Subzero Images.

2009 Monsoon Cup Results

1st – Adam Minoprio (NZL) ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing
2nd – Ben Ainslie (GBR) TeamOrigin
3rd – Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing
4th – Sebastien Col (FRA) French Match Racing Team ALL4ONE
5th - Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team
6th - Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing
7th - Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team
8th - Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team
9th - Magnus Holmberg (SWE) Victory Challenge
10th - Francesco Bruni (ITA) Team Azzurra
11th - Ian Williams (GBR) Team Pindar
12th - Hazwan Hazim Dermawan (MAS) Taring Pelangi Team

2009 World Match Racing Tour Results

1. Adam Minoprio (NZL) ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing 138 Points
2. Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team 97 Points
3. Ben Ainslie, (GBR) Team Origin 95 Points
4. Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR 93 Points
5. Mathieu Richard (FRA), French Match Racing Team Racing 79 Points
6. Ian Williams (GBR) Team Pindar 75 Points
7. Sebastien Col, (FRA) French Match Racing Team 55 Points
8. Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team 48 Points

Adam Minoprio (NZL) and ETNZ/Black Match Racing win the Monsoon Cup 2009. Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia. 6 December 2009. Image copyright Sander van der Borch/Subzero Images.

Adam Minoprio (NZL) and ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing win the Monsoon Cup 2009. Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia. 6 December 2009. Image copyright Sander van der Borch/Subzero Images.

Monsoon Cup
World Match Racing Tour

Sunday 6 December 2009

Sail Sydney Day 2: Cream rises to the top in ideal conditions

Daniel Mihelic (CRO) keeps Robert Goodwin (GBR) at bay. Image copyright

by Di Pearson

Racing got away a little late in all classes today at the Sail Sydney regatta on Sydney Harbour, but it was worth the wait as competitors raced in ideal north-easterly winds and all but the lightest of crews appreciating typical Sydney summer conditions.

Away just before 11.00am, the Laser fleet contested two races. Yesterday’s top two overall, Mike Leigh (CAN) and last year’s third placegetter, Daniel Mihelic (CRO) have switched places, with Mihelic now in the No. 1 spot and Tom Slingsby (AUS) having a much better day to claim third place overall with a pair of fourth places.

“I could have done better,” Slingsby conceded. “At least I was better than yesterday – I was making gains all day.”

New Zealand sailors are making big inroads in the Laser; Sam Meech has moved up to fourth place, Andy Maloney has dropped from third to sixth overall, and Youth sailor, Josh Junior, who won a match racing championship on Sydney Harbour last week, is seventh. Andrew Murdoch, who finished fifth at the Beijing Games, is in ninth overall with five races away.

“I had an alright sort of day – I took a year off after the Games, so I’ve not been sailing as well this week,” commented Murdoch, who went on to say, “there’s a lot of depth in the New Zealand team right now, this next Olympic cycle will be interesting.”

Andy Maloney agreed: “We’ve got good support from Yachting New Zealand, so there’s a few of us here and we’re pretty close in performance. My big thing here is to practice my starts. It helps having a few Olympians in the fleet – good to practice against.”

The 19 year-old who was born in California, but moved to NZ “seven or eight years ago,” would not be drawn on who is the best of the younger Kiwis, although he did concede that Josh Junior is worth keeping an eye on. “He’s maybe got a bit of an edge.”

The 49ers were also first up this morning and world championship crew, Nathan Outteridge/Iain Jensen have taken the lead after winning all three races today. “It was closer than the results show; we had really close racing,” Outteridge said.

“It’s good to have such good competition from the other Aussies; Euan (McNicol and Tim Austin, NSW), the three Perth teams and Will and Sam (Phillips) from Victoria.”

Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS). Image copyright

Outteridge, who represented Australia at the Beijing Games, had a heart-stopping moment when a capsized 29er put their mast through Outteridge’s sail when they recovered, tearing a one and half centimetre piece in the sail. Even with the tear, he managed to win the next two races.

Yesterday’s leaders, Peter Burling/Blair Tuke (NZL) are now second placed, keeping their chances alive at the top of the board with 2-4-3 results.

The young Victorian Phillips brothers are currently third overall with McNicol/Austin fourth. McNicol commenting after racing: “it was a bit of a pure speed track out there today.”

In the RS:X sailboards, 2008 Olympian Yasuko Kosuge (JPN) is giving the rest of the fleet something to think about. “I haven’t done much since the Olympics; I’ve just started training again in the last month,” the tiny 52 kilo sailor said this afternoon.

Kosuge has not strayed outside a top three finish so far and despite her small frame, revelled in the 12-15 knot nor-easter earlier in the day. “I like the conditions so far. Up to 15 is good for me. I like the shifts and gusts here – I don’t like straight speed sailing – this is nice and tactical, how I like it,” Kosuge confessed.

“I am very happy to do so well here before I go to Sail Melbourne next week,” said Kosuge who is hoping to rack up some ISAF Sailing World Cup points in Melbourne.

29ers and a 49er head towards a ferry on the western side of the Harbour today. Image copyright

Triple Olympian Jessica Crisp’s 2-1-4 finishes today move her up into second overall. The Australian sailboarder is rejuvenating courtesy of new coach Sean O’Brien, an ex pro-formula one sailor. “Sean’s helping me with my high-wind stuff and I’m better already after only a couple of sessions,” Crisp enthused.

“I enjoyed the typical Harbour stuff today – you know – the typical sea breeze with ferries everywhere,” she laughed.

Annalise Murphy (IRE) has taken the lead in the Women’s Laser Radial and is third overall in the Open. Australian Youth sailor, Alex South is second in the Women’s sailing on her home turf, while Victorian mother, Megan De Lange, is third in the Women’s.

The 31 year-old gave birth to her first child, daughter Taylor, just six months ago, and is thrilled at how her fitness is building and that she is competitive against international competition and the top Youth sailors from around the country.

“I’m keeping fairly consistent - I can’t complain about my results – I’m just getting fit again after having a baby. Yesterday I was absolutely stoked with my results, I got a second overall in the second race,” said De Lange who is coached by Australian Olympian Sarah Blanck.

“Sarah’s been fantastic; she’s been in my shoes, so she knows exactly what I’m going through. My mum and partner have been very supportive too.”

Sail Sydney is hosted by Woollahra Sailing Club with assistance from the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron and Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club.

Racing continues from 10.00am on Monday morning.

Sail Sydney

Aussie 18ft Skiffs: Race 5, NSW Championship

The Thurlow Fisher-City team of Michael Coxon, Aaron Links and Trent Barnabas - the 2009 Champions. Image copyright Frank Quealey.

by Frank Quealey

The Thurlow Fisher-City team of Michael Coxon, Aaron Links and Trent Barnabas became the 2009-2010 NSW 18 Footer champions when they completed the series with a perfect score of four points after discarding a sixth placing in today’s last race on Sydney Harbour.

Gotta Love it 7. Image copyright Frank Quealey.

Current Australian champions Seve Jarvin, Sam Newton and Tom Clout produced their best form of the championship in Gotta Love It 7 to take out today’s race by 2m30s in a 2nd sail nor’easter wind.

Smeg, skippered by Hugh Stodart – standing in for regular skipper Nick Press, and crewed by Dan Phillips and Jim Beck finished second with Yandoo (John Winning, Andrew Hay and Dave Gibson) just 16s further back in third place.

Smeg. Image copyright Frank Quealey.

Gotta Love It 7’s win today out them into second place overall on 9 points, with Smeg third on 16 points.

Fourth place overall went to the consistent (John Winning Jr.) on 20 points, ahead of his father John Winning in Yandoo on 26 points.

Fisher and Paykel. Image copyright Frank Quealey.

After a number of races sailed in poor conditions so far this season, today’s race was sailed in a 15-18 knot north east wind against a run out tide which produced action packed spinnaker runs as the skiffs took off over the chop.

Panasonic. Image copyright Frank Quealey.

Thurlow Fisher-City, Gotta Love It 7, Pure Blonde (James Francis), Smeg and appliancesonline were well served at the start, while defending champion Rag & Famish Hotel (John Harris) was forced out with a broken mast prior to the start.

Gotta Love It 7 soon showed an upwind edge over her opposition to take a narrow lead over Thurlow Fisher-City, with Smeg, Pure Blonde, Fisher & Paykel (Andrew Cuddihy) and Kinder Caring Home Nursing (Brett Van Munster) heading the rest of the fleet.

Yandoo. Image copyright Frank Quealey.

Gotta Love It 7 was a 10s leader over Smeg at the Beashel Buoy windward mark with Thurloe Fisher-City in third place and Fisher & Paykel fourth.

Smeg turned the tables on Gotta Love It 7 downwind and grabbed a narrow lead at the wing mark then held her lead at the bottom mark the first time.

Appliances Online. Image copyright Frank Quealey.

Thurlow Fisher-City was still third ahead of Fisher & Paykel, Kinder Caring Home Nursing, Yandoo and appliancesonline.

De’Longhi (Simon Nearn), Pure Blonde and Panasonic (Jonathan Whitty) were close behind this group but all capsized on the gybe to the mark.

Michael Coxon, Aaron Links and Trent Barnabas - the 2009 Champions. Image copyright Frank Quealey.

On the following windward leg Gotta Love It 7 continued to impress upwind and was a clear leader at the Beashel Buoy the second time.

From that point the ‘7’ team were never really challenged although the winning margin could have been less but for the spectacular capsize by Thurlow Fisher-City off Nielsen Park on the final spinnaker run to the wing mark.

Aussie 18 Footers League

And Now for Something Completely Different: Dhow Racing in Dubai

Atlas ends winning streak of Maqasas

Close racing on the Dhows off Dubai. Image copyright Ashraf Al Amra.

by Sharon Allison

Dubai Traditional 43ft Dhow Sailing Championships Heat 3, 5th December 09. A win for Atlas scuppered the winning streak of Maqasas today. In a race, which saw shifting, temperamental wind conditions and a trip around the World Islands, Atlas skipper Ahmed R. Al Suwaidi gave much of the credit for his first place to his new sail but added ‘my crew worked really well together, they are good team, we were lucky and made the right choices.

The wind was up and down, around ten knots, at the top of the World Islands the wind was really fickle and we had to concentrate hard and make no mistakes.’ The race took two hours for the winners to complete and the first three boats crossed the line within three minutes of each other. In second place was Barraq, sailed by Rashid M. R Al Rumaithi, winner of the last seasons Championships, who was happy to beat his brother Khalid, skipper of Maqasas who has dominated the last two heats. ‘I’m looking forward to give back some of the round the dinner table teasing,’ he joked.

A large fleet of dhows racing. Image copyright Ashraf Al Amra.

In third place was Ahmed Saeed Salim Al Rumaithi on Toufan, who was much happier with this result than his thirteenth place in the last heat. The start was delayed by half an hour while marks were moved to accommodate inconsistent conditions but it made a treat for observant aircraft passengers arriving on their way to Dubai International Airport with over a hundred 43ft dhows spread out directly under the flight path. The start was magnificent and truly breathtaking producing a huge sea of billowing white sails pulling away from the coast heading towards the outer ring of the World Islands.

Some boats went far out to sea looking for wind and clean air as the promising air of the start began to wane while others hugged the breakwater making it was impossible to see who was in the lead. Even at the finish line with boats descending from all directions it was difficult to predict the winner until they were quite close. There were some scuffles, notably between Maqasas and Seda’a who were neck and neck with Seda’a covering Maqasas and pushing her to the breakwater.

Maqasas was forced to tack away with Seda’a coming out on top but a near collision between Seda’a and Ra’ad sent crewmembers from Seda’a overboard with the incident ending their hopes of a top place. The crewmembers were unharmed and even refreshed by the warm water. The winter though has arrived in Dubai bringing perfect temperatures and languid evenings with beautiful sun sets every night at five thirty and in calm conditions such as today a few of the slower dhows relied on their support boats to tow them home giving the crew time to concentrate on their singing.

Dhow racing as the sun sets. Image copyright Ashraf Al Amra.

The finish line was set in front of the Burj Al Arab and Mohammed Harib, from the UAE Marine Sports Federation Board used it as a backdrop to present the winners with their trophies. This round of the Championship was run as part of the 38th UAE National Day celebrations and the Sea Dubai Watersports Festival organised by Dubai International Marine Club which runs until December 12th and concludes with the Emirates/Dubai Duty Free Class One Powerboat Race. The next heat of the Traditional 43ft Dhow Sailing Championships is the final on March 20th 2010.

Provisional Results
Pos No. Name Skipper/Owner
1st 12 Atlas Ahmed Rashid Al Suwaidi Faraj bin Buti Muhairbi
2nd 33 Barraq Rashid Mohd/ Rashid Al Rumaithi Ahmed Rashid Mohd/ Al Rumaithi
3rd 80 Toufan Ahmed Saeed Salim Al Rumaithi
4th 159 Wafi Khalaf Buti M. Al Ghasheesh/ Buti Musabbeh Al Ghasheesh
5th 71 Al IZ Sultan Ahmed Khadim Al Muhairi

Sea Dubai

BlackMatch Racing storm through to final of Monsoon Cup

by David Swete (after the penultimate day of racing)

After an amazing morning yesterday for the team it was only a brief celebration on finding out we had won the World Title, before heading back out to the racecourse to take on Peter Gilmour in the semi final. In a pulsating affair which saw us stage an amazing comeback in race three with the scores locked at 1-1, we took out the semi final 3-1 and cemented our spot in the 2009 Monsoon Cup final. Ben Ainslie won his semi final match up against Sebastian Col in a very close battle to seal his spot in the final and has been looking impressive all week so with it all still do do here, we are keen to top off a great year with a victory at the Monsoon Cup.

After fully controlling Gilly in the first match by forcing a red flag penalty on him in the pre-start and then sailing well to extend throughout the race and take the victory, he went one better in race two, forcing two penalties on us in the pre-start and totally dominating the match. Race 3 again saw us out gunned in the pre start, Peter did a good job of stalling us at the committee boat end of the start line and we drifted onto the boat, very close to snagging the anchor chain on our keel. Dave and Dan had to fend the boat off and by then not only had the Australian sailed away to a comfortable lead, but we had also incurred an early penalty.

Now the scene was set for an incredible comeback and as we chipped away at Gilmours lead, we were slowly making inroads in the tricky conditions. Gybe sets at the top mark to gain a little tide relief and picking the right bottom mark to round were allowing us to get back in the game and by the final downwind we were hot on his heals, abeit with a penalty to our name. On the final gybe to the finish we went for the roll, the Yanmar Racing team luffed us in a defensive move but it was too late and we rolled over his bow to take the lead. We were very close to the finish line, still with a penalty outstanding so our only option was to slow down and try to force one back on him before we finished. Tom and Dan (whos jobs are usually to make the boat go fast), did a great job of slowing the boat down and litterally right on the finish line Peter and his team made a fatal mistake, crashing into the back of us which offset our penalty and handed us the win.

The third race went all our way and in a press conference afterwards, Gilly stated that we 'Punched his lights out' in the deciding match, totally dominating the start and winning the side we wanted to get an unasailable lead. We now have an exciting opportunity to get the double and it would be great to finish the year with a win over Ben Ainslie and his formidable Team Origin.

BlackMatch would like to thank their sponsor Fedex Express and a very special thank you to David Ross for coming to Terengganu to support us this week. We would also like to make a special mention to Ross Munro for all of his incrediable support throughout the years, his help in getting us started on the tour and getting the boys looking like pros has been absolutely invaluable. Emirates Team New Zealand and the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadrons support has also been incredible and a massive thank you has to go out to all our Mums and Dads and Friends back home.

BlackMatch Racing
World Match Racing Tour