Friday 31 December 2010

BWR: Livestream Video of the Barcelona World Race Start

The second edition of the Barcelona World Race starts from Spain at 1300 CET (1200 GMT, 0100 NZ) on 31st December 2010 in Europe.

The fourteen entrants in the double-handed race around the world in IMOCA 60s will race for about three months before returning to the Mediterranean. Light airs are predicted for the start.

Click here for Livestream Video of the start of the Barcelona World Race at 1200 GMT 31st December 2010
The video is streaming in Spanish, but there will be an option to change to English commentary 1130-1230 GMT. The livestream finishes at 1230 GMT.

New Zealand interest centres on Kiwi Andy Meiklejohn, on HUGO BOSS, which will start the race with a replacement skipper for Alex Thomson (still in hospital after an appendectomy earlier this week). Top Dutch sailor, "Wouter the Router" Wouter Verbraak will start the race on HUGO BOSS with Meiklejohn, with a stop to exchange Verbraak for Thomson 10 days to 2 weeks into the race.

Barcelona World Race

Downwind start predicted for 30th Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Race

The Cookson 12 'About Time'will be in contention for handicap honours in the 30th Pittwater Coffs Race. Image copyright Damian Devine.

by Damian Devine

A fleet of 50 yachts will start the 30th Anniversary Pittwater to Coffs Harbour race, the first offshore race of the New Year commencing on Sunday 2 January with downwind sailing conditions forecast for the start.

Predict and BOM forecast a 10-15 knot South Easter for the 1pm start, building into a stronger southerly expected to pass through Sydney’s north later in the evening. It will be a question of when the southerly hits, how fast it travels North and where the front runners are.

The Southerly will be battling to break through a weaker East North East system further up the coast and seaward during the afternoon and well into the next morning.

If the forecast rings true, the bigger boats may well be sailing in front of the system and will gain little benefit of the stronger downwind conditions that the back end of the fleet should enjoy. This should make for a small boat race as long as they manage to stay in the system with the bigger boats looking over their shoulder.

However, if the converse rings true and the southerly hits earlier then the race record could be under threat and the bigger boats will enjoy a fast race north. Whatever the case, at this stage it looks like sticking close to the coast could be the fastest course North.

There will be a number of interesting battles within the race with multiple Cookson 12s, TP52s, Farr 40s, Beneteau 40 and 35 footers fighting it out.

In terms of IRC handicap honours, there's a bunch of boats in contention including the 2009 winner ‘About Time’, Julian Farren-Price’s Cookson 12, who has podiumed consistently over the past few years. Others in the frame include Bob Steel’s ‘Quest’, a TP52 with a proven track record and previous handicap winner of Sydney to Hobart race (2008). She will be hard to beat, as will Bob Oatley’s RP 66 ‘Wild Oats X’ who has been there before, ‘Close Halled’, a Beneteau First 40 skippered by Graham Hall from the LMYC and Bob Cox’s ‘Nine Dragons’ a Northshore 369 sailed out of Middle Harbour YC, with a fourth on handicap in their inaugural race last year.

Add to that ‘Hussy’, a Sydney 39CR, ‘Pretty Woman’, a Farr45, the A40 ‘One for the Road’, ‘Mr Beaks Ribs’, the Beneteau 44.7 and there is a cracking fleet prepared for this race.

There was plenty of activity dockside today at the host Club, The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, with skippers and crew putting final preparations to their paperwork and boats in readiness for the race.

Julian Farren-Price ‘About Time’ commented, “With the current forecast it will no doubt suit the smaller boats and bring them a little closer to the bigger boys. The current could be an issue with the charts looking hot so we’ll probably stick to a course close to the beaches and hope the Southerly hangs in. We’re certainly looking forward to the 30th Anniversary race, the boat and crew are in good shape and we’ll see what magic we can weave.”

“It’s a shame our good friend Bill Ebsary’s ‘Le Billet’ isn’t racing this year as to, ‘Dark & Stormy Witch’ as we’ve had a good rivalry over the past three years. We’ll certainly miss them but we still have ‘Mr. Beaks Ribs’ and ‘Pretty Woman’ to keep us honest. We’ll give it our best shot.”

Richard Hudson, 25 year race veteran, skipper and co-owner of ‘Pretty Woman’ said, “We are looking to an exciting and hopefully fast race. The boat and crew are in good shape and we’re ready to go. We are fortunate enough to have the experience and knowledge of Angus Gordon on board to help navigate. In fact, after I read his book “Racing to Coffs” I called him up and said you’ve just got to come with us. Fortunately, he said yes!”

'Future Shock', sailing in the shorthanded Division, will be amongst the front runners. Image copyright Damian Devine.

Bruce Staples is another 25 year Coffs veteran. He will be defending his IRC handicap crown with his relatively new Farr 40 ‘Witchcraft’ after putting ‘Dark & Stormy Witch’ on the market. He should gain benefit during the lighter air conditions early in the race. Staples said, “We’ll just take it as it comes and see what the weather Gods deliver on the day. Our first goal is to beat the other Farr 40s in the race and get there in one piece. We’re all looking forward to it.”

John Bacon’s owner / skipper of the Sydney 39CR ‘Hussy’ is hoping for the downwind conditions to prevail. “The forecast looks good for us. As it long as it doesn’t get too heavy, the boat relishes these downwind conditions as this boat likes to sail square. So hopefully we’ll be in good shape and I can’t wait for the race,” said Bacon.

It was no fluke last year when MHYC’s Bob Cox’s Northshore 369 finished 4th on handicap in his first ever ocean race. His boat ‘ Nine Dragons’, is the former “AFR Midnight Rambler’ having competing in a number of Hobart races and is no slouch for its size. With the same crew of eight on board this year including Mitch and Morgan White and son Christian Cox, his mastman and grinder, they will fight hard all the way.

A very modest Cox said, “We don’t expect to do as well as last year, that was an exceptional result. Our IRC rating is quite high for a 36 footer and we’ve paid the price for the two big kites we carry. The boats in great nick so our approach to the race is to enjoy it, do our best, push the boat to its limit and get there in one piece. We’re not cocky at all and we’ll be keeping a keen eye on the other 36s, the Sydney 39 and the First 40s.”

“We’ll be hoping for the Southerly to hit 25 knots, that would suit us perfectly. With the large masthead kite we have, she runs well in those conditions or even those directly on the nose. We’ll be hoping to sail to her rating and hopefully we don’t wind up in the drink.”

In terms of PHS, the ID 35 ‘The Real Thing’, the Beneteau 36.7 ‘First Light’ , the MBD40 ‘Dream Lover’ and the J35 ‘Jayhawk’ will all be up there. Rob Alder, skipper of ‘Jayhawk’ in his 10th race along with his experienced crew is very competitive. “Wouldn’t miss it for the world,” Alder said. “The race itself is an extremely tactical race bringing you right in close to the coast, land and sea breezes to pick and currents to contend with so there are many decisions to be made along the way. What a great way to start the New Year.”

Line honors favourite will be Bob Oatley’s RP66 ‘Wild Oats X’ little sister to the 2010 winner ‘Wild Oats XI’ skippered by Mark Richards. Having won this race twice before in 2005 and 2006 and picking up the double with a handicap victory in 2005 she will be clear favourite to take home the coveted Coffs Harbour Bell Trophy. Richards vowed he would be back to celebrate the 30th Anniversary. He’ll be hoping the Southerly comes earlier than forecast to give his own race record of 18 hours 29 minutes 14 seconds a shake.

Those ready to pounce and keep ‘Wild Oats X’ honest will be the Elliot 57, ‘Future Shock’ who will be sailing shorthanded with just three crew on board and with little weight on board, Bruce Absolon’s Volvo 60 ‘Spirit of the Maid’, and ‘Belle’ the LY 60.

The four boats contesting the shorthanded Division should see a great battle particularly between the three Queenslanders the MBD40 ‘ Dream Lover’, the Young 11 ‘Outsideedge’ and the Sayer 10.6 ‘ Soothsayer’ with Future Shock, at 57 feet sure to set the pace.

Each boat has been fitted with a satellite GPS tracker and positions will be updated on the event website every 15 minutes during the race.

For the list of entries and to follow all the action on the event website at

A special commemorative 30th Anniversary magazine has been compiled for the race and is available from the RPAYC and CHYC.

Keith Le Compte, winner of the inaugural race back in 1981 with his boat ‘White Pointer’ will be there to watch the start with a couple of the original crew so will be looking the start with some nostalgia. Acknowledging the 30th Anniversary race, he had the final word, “In my time it was all about the current and back then all we had were thermometers, now its internet and maps. The current can be the trickiest thing about the race. With such a picturesque coastline, it makes it a beautiful race so I say to the competitors in this 30th race beware of the currents, appreciate the scenery, enjoy the reception at the other end where there’s always a great atmosphere and camaraderie and I wish you all good and safe sailing. Congratulations to whoever wins the 30th Coffs race.”

Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Race

Review of Blake: Leader - Leadership Lessons from a Great New Zealander

Essential reading about a legendary man who inspired, and continues to inspire, generations of New Zealanders. What made Sir Peter Blake so special, and such a great leader?

Review by Anne Hinton

Mark Oramsʼ seminal book on Sir Peter Blake’s leadership skills might also be subtitled “How to ‘do’ team”. The writing stemmed from Professor Orams speaking about the man affectionately known to his friends and fellow Kiwis as “Blakey”, in his capacity of initially heading the Sir Peter Blake Trust (a post he was invited to take up by Pippa, Lady Blake), and frequently being asked questions, not so much about his helming ability, but about what made Sir Peter Blake such a great leader.

Orams realized that he was in a uniquely privileged position to have known Blakey in the context of both his Round the World and America’s Cup campaigns, and also his environmental work with Blake Xpeditions. He felt a calling to share this with others and write a tribute to the leadership abilities of the man whom he so greatly admired. The funds raised from sale of the book have gone towards establishing a tribute to Sir Peter Blake at Voyager, the New Zealand Maritime Museum in Auckland.

The book's author, Mark Orams, in his Blake Xpeditions T-shirt. Supplied image.

In addition to the book itself, there is a DVD of Sir Peter Blake speaking on leadership topics covered in the book. As Mark Orams is quick to point out, his words in the book are an interpretation of how he saw Blakey, from knowing him in many contexts across the years, but the words on the DVD, made informally by Orams and his father, are spoken directly by the leader himself.

The stories and reflections in Blake: Leader have a yachting focus, but this is used to bring out the broader principles. Blakey was very inclusive, as the stories from Linda Rae (wife of Tony Rae, known to all as Trae) and Michelle Heron, who were not sailors, but were included in the teams, illustrate. Joey Allen’s story of Blakey showing his love for Joey and his wife by his admiration for their child is another great example of this.

Sir Peter Blake humbly acknowledges the adulation of the crowds at the America's Cup parade in Wellington in 2000. Image copyright Anne Hinton, all rights reserved.

Some aspects of leadership are universal – making people feel valued, or ‘loved’. is one such - as with the example given above with Joey Allen and his child. (This was also a major influence of Herbert Fechner, who stood over the highly successful DDR Olympic sailing programme.) Other examples include Blake providing confidence to a Watch Leader to carry out his task, in laconic style, without leaving his own bunk, during rough conditions while ocean racing. Orams also provides an instance of his own inspiration from Blake's leadership by example, as he joined the crew, while off watch, for a sail change when Orams was feeling at a low ebb on board the boat.

However, there are specific Kiwi aspects to the leadership styles of Sir Peter Blake and others who are/have been noted leaders from New Zealand. While New Zealand may not have the resources, experience or expertise of many of its competitors, Kiwis use things available, uniquely, to them, and this is what leads to success. Trying to take on the competition with the same resources would often not work, as others are often able to draw from a much larger pool. Sir Peter Blake had a creative and synergistic approach that is distinctively ‘Kiwi’; getting stuck in and getting things done, while being humble and self-effacing. The idea is that everyone contributes and is valued. Orams pointed out that it is this attitude that makes Kiwis so well respected in the sport of yachting; in the case of a crisis, there is invariably a Kiwi in there first to help sort it out.

Mark Orams sailing his Laser internationally. Supplied image.

The New Zealand attitude of getting in there and getting things done is required, in particular, for offshore yachting, rugby, rowing, and adventurous pursuits, at all of which New Zealanders excel. The Sir Peter Blake regatta at Torbay SC, now one of the largest sailing regattas in New Zealand, is another instance of this synergy and pulling together in sailing terms, others being the graduates of sailing programmes in New Zealand who aspire to winning the America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race. Mark Orams is also one of the selectors for the Yachting New Zealand Youth Programme, from where many also go on to Olympic campaigns.

For those who knew Blakey, the book provides great memories of a much-loved New Zealander, while illustrating his Kiwi style of leadership; for those who know him only by name, the book explains how Sir Peter Blake obtained legendary status and continues to inspire youngsters now, and into the future. As Mark Orams put it, “the ultimate tribute is that someone picks up something that they learned from a person and incorporates that into their own lives”. Blake: Leader enables New Zealanders, and others, now and in the future, to draw such inspiration from a great Kiwi leader: Sir Peter Blake.

The America's Cup on parade through the streets of Wellington, with Sir Peter Blake in earnest discussion with the RNZYS Commodore. Image copyright Anne Hinton, all rights reserved.

Blake: Leader - Leadership lessons from a great New Zealander, written by Mark Orams, and published by Random House in Auckland, is available for purchase through book stores in New Zealand, or online via:



Please note the currency in which you are making the purchase to avoid any confusion at a later date!

This is a personal review of the book, Blake: Leader, by Anne Hinton, who wishes to thank the author, Mark Orams, for his time in discussion of the background to writing the book and provision of some of the images above.

Note from SailRaceWin: It is our understanding that Sir Peter Blake's interest in developing a national team with the specific aim of bringing the America's Cup, the pinnacle of achievement in sailing, to New Zealand, extended beyond the yachting aspect. We believe that Team New Zealand was set up as a charity to promote national and international understanding and good will through the sport of sailboat racing, and bring the America's Cup, an event the size of the Winter Olympics in scale, to little old New Zealand, to the benefit of the economy of the country as a whole.

Interview with Laurie Jury, Team KiwiMatch: match racer and coach

Laurie Jury (NZL) at the Detroit Match Cup 2010. Image copyright Meredith Block.

Laurie Jury is a product of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron's youth training programme, which he commenced at the age of 15. He has persisted in match racing, rising through the ranks to become Telecom New Zealand National Match Racing Champion in 2009, and winning the Mumbai International Match Race in 2010, competing, and passing on his skills and experience through coaching, nationally and internationally.

Anne Hinton caught up with Laurie Jury earlier this year between his coaching and match racing.

Laurie Jury and crew: 2009 Telecom New Zealand Match Race Champions. Image copyright RNZYS.

AH: How, in what, and at what age, did you start sailing?

LJ: I started sailing at about 7 in an Opti out of Sandspit Yacht Club. Both my parents sail and they got me into it.

AH: What was your progression (e.g. P class/Starlings) through boats/events?

LJ: I sailed an Opti but never really raced it then had a Flying Ant - again never really racing just sailing around Kawau Bay with friends. I only started racing in high school with the Mahurangi College school team. I sailed in the team from form 2 to form 6 and we finished 5th,´4th, 3rd, 2nd, and 3rd in the nationals. I was team captain for 3 years. I also raced in a Starling but not very competitively. I joined the RNZYS youth training programme in the 5th form, when I was 15.

Laurie Jury and SLAM Kiwi Match competing at the Chicago Match Race Cup 2010. Image copyright CMRC.

AH: When did you do the RNZYS youth programme and get into match racing?

LJ: When I was 15 in 1999 I started on the chase boat then I skippered for 3 years after that. My first international match race was the Harken Cup in Sydney in 2000 I was 17, doing mainsheet for Carl Peters.

AH: Which people/teams have you competed against a lot?

LJ: Most of the New Zealand teams; Graeme Sutherland who is now doing tactics with me - we have been racing each other since we were 7. I have also sailed with most of the other NZ teams at some point.

Laurie Jury and his KiwiMatch team win the Mumbai International Match Race 2010. Supplied image.

AH: Please could you mention key results throughout your sailing career?

LJ: 1st 2002 Harken Cup,
1st 2003 Hardy Cup,
2nd 2003 RNZYS Squadron youth international,
3rd 2007 Teams racing world championships,
3rd in 2007 and 2008 NZ Match Racing National Championships,
2nd 2006 Auckland Cup (tactics for Ian Williams),
1st 2007 and 2008(crew) NZ Keelboat Nationals,
1st 2008 Young 88 Nationals (crew),
1st 2009 Telecom NZ Match Racing Nationals,
1st 2010 international Mumbai Match race

AH: What university/career have you had alongside the sailing?

LJ: I studied Engineering at Massey University but didn’t finish. I have also have done a lot of boat building for my step dad at Blair Boats. More recently I hav been coaching for Yachting New Zealand, Buckland’s Beach Yacht Club, and the Korean and Japanese national teams.

AH: What made you decide to take on match racing internationally?

LJ: I started at a young age and was quite good at it. I really enjoy the team aspect and the intense sailing.

AH: What made you decide to take on coaching sailing in NZ and internationally?

LJ: It was a way that I could keep sailing, and I also enjoy passing knowledge on.

Jury competing at the Chicago Match Race Cup 2010. Image copyright CMRC.

AH: How do you see your sailing progressing into the future?

LJ: We have got to a stage where it really depends on funding to how much and well we can compete. This year we did 5 events, funding them ourselves, with different crews at most events. To get to the next level we need to do about 10-15 events with the same team at each event.

AH: Of the major events – Olympics/Volvo/America’s Cup – which do you want to do (and why)?

LJ: Given the opportunity I would like to do all of them, but the main one would be the America's Cup, because I like match racing.

AH: What support have you had in your sailing?

LJ: My parents have always been really supportive, buying boats and helping me with flights. More lately RNZYS has given us some help and SLAM has helped us with some gear.

Farr MRX match racing on the Waitemata in Auckland. Image copyright RNZYS.

AH: What sponsors have you had in your sailing?

LJ: First mobile (Peter Taylor), Dorlon, Davis and Langdon, skyeye, line 7, SLAM, Hermes Capital.

AH: Who have been the most influential people in your sailing?

LJ: My youth programme coaches, Kevin Peet and Harold Bennett. More recently I have been sailing with Ian Williams and coaching with Rod Davis.

AH: Who do you most look up to in sailing in NZ/internationally, and why?

LJ: Russell Coutts and Chris Dickson; they really paved the way for NZ sailing.

Laurie Jury and crew following in the footsteps of NZ's top match racers by winning the Telecom New Zealand Match Racing championships 2009. Image copyright RNZYS.

AH: How did you develop the sailing programme of training/events to compete in for 2010?

LJ: It was just a matter of what events we could get entry into, and find funding and crew for.

AH: What have been the highlights of racing over the past year for you?

LJ: Winning in Mumbai and 3rd in Detroit, match racing. Also finishing 3rd crewing/coaching a Japanese team in the Asian nationals was a highlight in 2010.

AH: What plans do you have for racing in 2011?

LJ: That really depends on sponsorship at this stage.

Team Kiwi Match match racing in La Rochelle. Supplied image.

AH: What developments in the sport of sailing would you like to see in the future – in NZ and internationally?

LJ: It would be really good to see more match racing events in NZ. We have so many good teams but very few open events. We spend so much money to fly to the other side of the world to race against other Kiwis!

Team KiwiMatch

BWR: Une solution alternative pour Hugo Boss

Wouter Verbraak (NED) et Andy Meiklejohn (NZL): HUGO BOSS. Image copyright Jean Marie Liot/DPPI.

- Hugo Boss partira demain en même temps que le reste de la flotte
- Wouter Verbraak remplacera momentanément Alex Thomson avant que celui-ci ne reprenne sa place une fois rétabli
- Une situation inédite pour le jury

par Aline Bourgeois

Il a fallu vingt-quatre heures pour répondre à la situation inédite provoquée par l’opération d’Alex Thomson. Vingt-quatre heures pour recueillir les avis des différents protagonistes concernés, trouver une solution consensuelle qui devrait faire jurisprudence...

La situation inédite déclenchée par l’appendicectomie d’Alex Thompson a obligé organisateurs, coureurs et membres du jury à travailler ensemble à une solution concertée.

Une démarche initiale auprès du jury

Le format d’une course au large peut donc se retrouver bouleversé par quelques centimètres de boyaux. Il était en effet difficilement concevable que le bateau d’Alex reste à quai à l’issue d’un chantier considérable effectué depuis le début de l’année 2010. En vertu de quoi, l’équipe d’Hugo Boss engageait une démarche auprès du jury international de l’épreuve. Objectif : obtenir l’accord des juges pour que le bateau parte avec le remplaçant d’Alex Thomson et que celui-ci puisse reprendre sa place quand il sera rétabli. Seule difficulté : autant le cas inverse (remplacement d’un skipper en cas de problème physique) était prévu dans les règles, autant ce cas de figure n’était pas évoqué. Dès lors, le jury ne pouvait statuer sur une règle qui n’existait pas.

Un vote pour créer une règle

Il devenait donc de la responsabilité de l’organisation de travailler à la création d’une règle spécifique. A l’initiative de la direction de l’épreuve, un vote était donc organisé auprès des skippers pour autoriser l’adjonction de cette nouvelle règle, vote qui recueillait une très large majorité. Dès lors, le jury pouvait statuer et autoriser Andy Meiklejohn à partir avec un nouvel équipier en attendant l’accord médical pour qu’Alex Thomson rejoigne la course. Le Néo-Zélandais prendra donc le départ demain, 31 décembre à 13h, en compagnie du navigateur Hollandais Wouter Verbraak, âgé de 35 ans.

Liste des 14 équipages engagés
Central Lechera Asturiana : Juan Merediz (ESP) – Fran Palacio (ESP)
Mapfre : Iker Martínez (ESP) – Xabi Fernández(ESP)
Estrella Damm Sailing Team : Alex Pella (ESP) – Pepe Ribes (ESP)
Foncia : Michel Desjoyeaux (FRA) – François Gabart (FRA)
Fòrum Marítim Català : Gerard Marín (ESP) – Ludovic Aglaor (FRA)
GAES Centros Auditivos : Dee Caffari (GBR) – Anna Corbella (ESP)
Groupe Bel : Kito De Pavant (FRA) – Sébastien Audigane (FRA)
Hugo Boss : Alex Thomson* (GBR) – Andrew Meiklejohn (NZL).
Mirabaud : Dominique Wavre* (SUI) – Michèle Paret* (FRA)
Neutrogena : Boris Herrmann (GER) – Ryan Breymaier (USA)
Président : Jean Le Cam (FRA) – Bruno García (ESP)
Renault : Pachi Rivero* (ESP) – Antonio Piris (ESP)
Virbac-Paprec 3 : Jean-Pierre Dick* (FRA) – Loïck Peyron (FRA)
We Are Water : Jaume Mumbrú (ESP) – Cali Sanmartí (ESP)
* deuxième participation

Barcelona World Race

BWR: Alex Thomson to Compete in Barcelona World Race

Alex Thomson (HUGO BOSS) in hospital and in bed on the eve of the race start. Image copyright Barcelona World Race.

by Alex Thomson Racing media

Record-breaking British skipper Alex Thomson is to fulfil his dream to compete again in the 80 day round the world epic Barcelona World Race after his entry was thrown into doubt following emergency surgery for acute appendicitis just two days before the race start on New Year’s Eve.

Today his team announced that substitute skipper Wouter Verbraak will sail yacht HUGO BOSS alongside Andy Meiklejohn for the first several days of the race until Alex Thomson has recovered enough to join the boat. Alex, who is expected to have made a full recovery within two weeks, is due to take the helm alongside Andy at the first opportunity once he has been passed fit.

This decision allowing Alex to join the race after the start on December 31st was agreed by the Race Organisation (FNOB) after consultation with independent adjudicators and The IMOCA Class. The Notice of Race allows for a replacement skipper to be nominated in the event that either of the skippers must retire from the race for certain exceptional medical circumstances. No provision existed within the current race regulations in the unlikely event that the skipper is unable to begin the race so close to the start. After careful consideration and with the full backing of the other IMOCA skippers, the Race Organisation will issue an amendment to the race rules for this one unique circumstance relating to Alex Thomson and his team’s entry in the Barcelona World Race.

Alex Thomson said: “I am absolutely thrilled to be taking part in the race after such a devastating setback so close to the start and would like to thank everyone who has made this possible from the Race Organisation to the excellent Barcelona World Race medical team. I am lucky to have a talented skipper such as Wouter on standby and I’m confident in his abilities to see HUGO BOSS through the first phase of the journey alongside Andy.”

Wouter Verbaak is one of Holland’s most talented sailors and an expert navigator with over 10 years experience in offshore racing, including the 2008/09 Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) for Team Russia and Navigator in 2009 VOR for Delta Lloyd.

Stewart Hosford, Alex Thomson Racing Director, said: “We are delighted the team is able to start the race as planned, and we are very fortunate to have substitute skipper Wouter Verbaak stepping in for Alex. Wouter has worked with our team for some time and is well known and trusted by both Alex and Andy.

The setback has of course been a huge disappointment for Alex but the team have every confidence in Wouter taking on the challenge and working with Andy to complete a successful first phase of the journey. Throughout this Alex has remained determined to take part so the news that this is now possible is fantastic. Our focus is now on his swift recovery as we cheer on Andy and Wouter as they set off tomorrow.”

It is thanks to Alex’s fast acting team and medical staff for ensuring his symptoms were diagnosed so quickly and an operation performed immediately. Had it not been detected and Alex had started the race, the consequences of this could well have been fatal. He is now recovering and whilst bitterly disappointed about not being at the start he is in good spirits as he looks forward to joining Andy as soon as possible.

Alex Thomson

Alex Thomson set a new 24hr monohull World Speed Record in December 2008 covering 501.3 nm in 24 hours during the Barcelona World Race. At 25, Alex Thomson became the youngest skipper ever to win a round the world race - the Clipper Race 1998/99.

During the solo VELUX 5 Oceans in 2006 Alex's yacht HUGO BOSS suffered keel failure, forcing him to abandon ship in the Southern Ocean and retire from the race. However, sailing with co skipper Andrew Cape, Alex finished second in the Barcelona World Race in 2007. In 2008 Alex competed in the Vendée Globe as one of the race favourites. However, only 3 weeks before the Vendée was due to commence, a French fishing vessel dramatically struck Alex on his delivery to Les Sables D’Olonne. His team fought against the clock to finish the repairs in record time to achieve the impossible - and get Alex to the start line.

Alex’s dreams to become the first Briton to win the much coveted title were shattered after only 3 days racing; when he discovered HUGO BOSS was letting in water. Devastated, Alex announced his retirement from the Vendée. Alex is determined to return and compete in the 2012 Vendée, and achieve his dream to become the first Briton to win the Vendée Globe.

In preparation for this Alex will compete in the 2010 edition of The Barcelona World Race, alongside his New Zealand co-skipper Andy Meiklejohn.

Alex Thomson World Record details:
Record: 60ft Monohull 24 Hour World Record
Yacht: HUGO BOSS Open 60.
Names: Alex Thomson and Andrew Cape
Start position: 42deg 04.83'S; 5deg 58.56'W at15.30 on 06/12/07
Finish position: 43deg 58.82'S; 5deg 09.80' E at 15.30 on 07/12/07
Dates: 6th to 7th December 2007
Distance sailed: 501.3 nm
Average speed: 20.9 kts

Alex Thomson Racing

BWR: Wouter Verbraak will be temporary replacement for Alex Thomson allowing Hugo Boss to start the Barcelona World Race

Wouter Verbraak (NED) and Andy Meiklejohn (NZL): HUGO BOSS. Image copyright Jean Marie Liot/DPPI.

by Andi Robertson, Emily Caroe and Maria Bertrand

Following the emergency appendectomy of skipper Alex Thomson The Hugo Boss Sailing Team have been given permission to start the Barcelona World RACE with a temporary replacement co-skipper as partner to Andy Meiklejohn (NZL).

The temporary substitute will be professional navigator and meteor routing expert Wouter Verbraak (NED), who has worked with the team for many months helping in the preparation of Hugo Boss, particularly with the navigation systems and helping the duo with their weather studies.

Vebraak, known in crewed racing as ‘Wouter the Router’ has considerable experience in weather routing for IMOCA Open 60 teams and has raced in crews with Meiklejohn. He competed in the crew of the IMOCA Open 60 Estrella Damm on the last Istanbul Europa Race, but has very few actual hours sailing on the Juan Kouyoumdjian designed Hugo Boss.

The decision to allow the replacement co-skipper to form a temporary crew with Meikeljohn was given the unanimous backing of the other competing skippers.

Wouter Verbraak(NED)

“ I have very little experience physically sailing on the boat, but I’ve been involved with Alex Thomson racing and Alex for a long time because we’ve been working together on weather and routing strategies. So I’ve been always into the systems and know the specifics of the boat so you know we’ve had a good run through months ago.”

But actual hours on the boat?

"Very few."

You’re qualified as a replacement skipper having done the Volvo race ?

“Yes, correct.”

How are you going to operate for the first few hours or days?

“ One of the choices for me as a substitute skipper was that I have a very complimentary set of skills to Andy, and Alex, so we’re ready and I think the key o the race, which is endurance, will be preparation. All those things are still in place. I’m amazed by the preparation of all the team and how well organized the boat is, so I’m pretty confident.”

Are you excited about it?

“ It’s a fantastic boat to sail and I’ve worked a lot in the Open 60 class before. I did the Round Europe Race last year and I was involved from a router’s point of view for almost 10 years with this class. So I know a lot about the developments, sail developments, the way to sail these boats, I’ve always had a lot of interaction with the guys on the boats, so I have a considerable knowledge in that way.”

Will you be keen to get off when the time comes for Alex to take over?

“ Yes and no. I haven’t prepared fully to do a round the world race, so with my family it will be good to just do these 10-14 days and be done with it. But really the focus is to do a good job.”

Do you feel confident you could do a good job?

“ Obviously the forecast is looking favourable for me to get into it all. There’s not a 40 knot front coming through in the first two nights so we have some time to get into the system, and there’s some difficult decisions to be made in the first 24 hours to 4 days, but these are mainly tactical.

Andy Meiklejohn(NZL)

How are you feeling?

“ To be honest I’m feeling relieved now it’s official, we’ve got the confirmation from the race committee. The waiting’s been really hard, so many decisions to be made and it’s easy to listen to speculation.”

Presumably there’s a time you were thinking you wouldn’t go?

“ Yes, that was realistic and that was one of the possible options. Nobody wanted that, and fortunately everybody’s worked together to find a suitable solution”

How confident are you of sailing the boat at something close to potential?

“ Oh definitely we can push the boat to its potential, but there is the lack of knowledge on the boat – you know Alex’s experience on the boat is being replaced by Wouter, who’s an incredibly experienced sailor but not experienced on this boat. We’re going to be selective with our times when we sail to the maximum.”

What will be your key strategies for the first part of the race?

“ The key strategies will be to get each other into a routine, it’s going to be a little different because I know the boat so I’m going to have to be around a lot more for everything. So were going to split the roles a little bit differently, you know Wouter will do a lot just of navigation, I’ll do a lot more of just sailing, whereas with Alex we’d share it more. So the focus is just going to be to get this routine going and get Wouter more confident with the boat. And not panic. He’s a fantastic navigator, a Volvo navigator and America’s Cup navigator so we’re not losing anything in the technical side, it’s just us developing a routine and keeping the boat in one piece.”

Wouter Verbraak Fact File

Date of birth: 16th November 1975
Place of birth: Eindhoven, Netherlands
Lives: Norway
Sailing: Over 10 years experience
2009 Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) as Navigator of ‘Delta Lloyd’
2009 1st in the Halifax Ocean Race as Navigator of ‘Rambler’
2009 1st in Cape Town – Bahia as Navigator of ‘Rambler’
2009 3rd in Istanbul Europa Race as Navigator of IMOCA 60 ‘Estrella Damm’
2008 Volvo Ocean Race as Navigator of ‘Team Russia’
2008 Buenos Aires as Navigator of ‘Rambler’
2007 1st in Middle Sea Race as Navigator of ‘Rambler’
2006 1st in the Maxi Worlds as Navigator of ‘Alpha Romeo’
2005 1st in the Transat Jacques Vabre, weather routing the IMOCA 60 ‘Virbac, Sill’ ORMA 60 ‘Geant’
2000 Line honours Sydney to Hobart

Wouter Verbraak is a highly experienced offshore racer, having raced the VOR several times, as well as many other prestigious races such as: The Oryx Quest, The Middle Sea Race, Cape Town to Bahia Race and The Sydney to Hobart. He has advised sailors on strategy and weather in many ‘grand prix’ races such as: The Vendee Globe, The Route du Rhum, The Jaques Vabre and The Olympics. Having worked with the IMOCA class for eight years he has gained a strong understanding of the technical aspects, and coupled with his knowledge as a leading navigator and educated meteorologist, he is an impressive substitute skipper for the 2010 double handed Barcelona World Race. After the Barcelona World Race his next ambition is to mount his own IMOCA 60 campaign.

• Competed in America’s Cup (K-Challenge in the 32nd AC)
• Other events: Oryx Quest, Tour de France à la Voile, won the Admirals Cup, TP52 MedCup, Middle Sea Race, Cape Town to Bahia Race and the Sydney to Hobart, co-skippered the Elanders and Avant boats in the Volvo Baltic Race.
• Has advised sailors on strategy and weather in the Vendée, Route du Rhum, Transat Jaques Vabre and the Olympics.
• Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09
First three legs on board on Team Russia (who retired due to lack of funds). Then signed Delta Lloyd, but when Delta Lloyd withdrew from leg 5 of the race due to damage, he stepped in to replace Ian Moore as navigator on the Irish entry Green Dragon, before rejoining Delta Lloyd.
Previously navigator for Djuice Dragons in 2001/02.
• Open 60 experience includes sailing with Spanish sailor Guillermo Altadill on Estrella Damm in the 2009 Istanbul Round Europe Race (3rd overall)
• Maxi sailor (Cape Town – Salvador Race on Rambler)

Barcelona World Race

BWR: The Big Barcelona Test

Barcelona World Race skippers. Image copyright Jean-Marie Liot/DPPI.

by Andi Robertson, Emily Caroe and Maria Bertrand

It will be the biggest and most competitive fleet yet which will start the second edition of the Barcelona World Race at 1300hrs on the final day of 2010.

Planning, preparation, choices big and small, hard training sea miles – which range from the smallest possible qualification distance of 2,800, to the equivalent of the theoretical course mileage, 25,000, duos whose relationships are forged in sailing battles for over a decade alongside teams whose relationship is more of a convenient, short-term marriage... all these variables come under the most intense scrutiny as soon as the start gun goes, potentially to continue round the world for more than 90 days.

Light winds and a relatively benign Mediterranean stretch to the Straits of Gibraltar are expected to add to the early stress, putting the duos under immediate pressure. Potentially small tactical decisions and sail choices, which would otherwise be insignificant, are likely to define the typical gains to be made by the leader or leading group which breaks out into stronger winds of the Atlantic. Meanwhile any teams left behind on the departure from the Mediterranean might spend a long time trying to make good their early deficit.

The exit from and the return into the Mediterranean are just two of the key challenges of this unique race.

Damian Foxall (IRL), who speaks with experience of winning the first Barcelona World Race with Jean-Pierre Dick, and is a veteran of crewed Volvo Round the World races as well as multihull records, is simple in his reminder:

“It’s a long way. It’s three months at sea, and unlike the Vendée Globe you’re going to sea with somebody else. It’s not like the Volvo where you’ve got a larger group of people. You’re going to sea with one other person and that’s probably the most important aspect in terms of the race.”

“On the one hand it’s the biggest attribute you’ve got, your buddy, your co-skipper. And it’s really important to make that relationship work well and to understand what they need, and to maintain a single objective in common that you both agree on and to basically cross the line having achieved that goal.”

“For some it might be winning, for some it might be just finishing the race, but that common objective is probably the single most important thing that the skippers need to agree on before the start.”

Making it work as a duo over the entire duration of the course is fundamental. Just as some of the duos favour an organic approach – relying on developed, sympathetic powers of common sense human communication – others have reached for valued advice from psychologists, just as they have armies of sports scientists, nutritionists and physical trainers looking after their bodies.

That scientific, empirical approach may increasingly prevail, but so too this second edition contains a cross-section of hard bitten veteran skippers whose long experience racing round the world will render making the IMOCA Open 60’s go fast for days on end sheer intuition.Such is the potent cocktail of different factors which will play out around the course that picking a most likely race winner has challenged even the most seasoned observers.

Top picks

Foncia and Virbac-Paprec 3 rank among most top picks. Foncia’s Michel Desjoyeaux (FRA) and Francois Gabart (FRA) have the greatest age difference and have done only a basic mileage together but Desjoyeaux is a formidable force in his own right, while Jean-Pierre Dick (FRA) and Loïck Peyron (FRA) represent considerable aggregate experience and have already won the 2005 Transat Jacques Vabre together. Both are new 2010 boats.

Mixed experience

Jean Le Cam (FRA) and Bruno Garcia (ESP) have sailed few miles together, Garcia has minimal IMOCA Open 60 experience and has never raced in the Southern Ocean but Le Cam’s experience is second to none in this fleet and they have a boat which is now well proven as competitive and relatively reliable in Président, the former Ecover 3.

Time on the water

In terms of hours on the water together in their IMOCA Open 60 and preparation time the Barcelona duo of Alex Pella (ESP) and Pepe Ribes (ESP) have been building up to this for 18 months with their FNOB backed and managed programme for Estrella Damm. Their 2007 boat is not of the latest generation but they know it well and it is well optimised. But in terms of time no one exceeds Dominique Wavre (ESP) and Michéle Paret (ESP) who finished third in the first Barcelona World Race.

An Olympic transition

In April they had not set foot in an IMOCA Open 60 but since then Spain’s double Olympic medallists Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez have been through the most rigorous learning programme armed with Mapfre, formerly the Vendée Globe winning Foncia. They have sailed together for 11 years and possibly only the race’s only real life couple Wavre and Paret know each other better!

Weather: tricky transitions

The Mediterranean looks set to provide its customary tactical challenge for the start and opening few days of the Barcelona World RACE.

At this evening’s weather briefing, meteorologists Marcel Van Triest (NED) and Chris Bedford (USA) compared the European and American weather models, which show marked differences in their forecast.

On the European model a north-westerly breeze of 10-15 knots is forecast for the first few hours of the race, whereas very light airs are showing on the GFS model. “The meteorological situation of the western Mediterranean at this moment is very atypical,” Marcel Van Trieste commented, meteorologist of Barcelona World RACE.

Things are no clearer once they approach the Straits of Gibraltar, with a large low pressure system mid-Atlantic. Looking ahead, if the low pressure system tracks north it could pay for the skippers to hug the coast of Africa as they sail south, whereas if it moves south it could bring with it a south-westerly windshift which would see a more offshore route paying.

In either case, the waters between the Canary Islands and African coast may also feature local effects, with potentially strong sea breezes mid-afternoon as well as land breezes created by the low night-time temperatures of the desert.

Barcelona World Race

BWR: Livestream of HUGO BOSS Press Conference re. substitute for Alex Thomson for start

Click here for Livestream of press conference of Barcelona World Race re. HUGO BOSS 1915 GMT 30th December 2010

Wouter Verbraak (NED) is the substitute skipper for the start of the 2010 Barcelona World Race for HUGO BOSS. He will sail with Andy Meiklejohn (NZL) until Alex Thomson (GBR) has recovered from appendicitis. This is likely to be for the first 10 days to 2 weeks of the race. The boat will have to re-route for the transfer of skippers to take place. No other penalty has yet been given.

Barcelona World Race

Thursday 16 December 2010

VOR: Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand Reveal 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race Team Members

by Lucy Harwood

Chris Nicholson, skipper of the CAMPER campaign for the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race has today confirmed the line up of the sailing team and key shore team members.

Collectively the CAMPER team, which is being run by Emirates Team New Zealand, brings a wealth of experience to the race. Team members have between them no less than three Olympic campaigns, 17 America’s Cups, 22 Volvo/Whitbread races and numerous world championship titles.

Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand in the Volvo Ocean Race

Alongside the initial crew announcements the team features America’s Cup and Volvo/Whitbread Race veterans Stuart Bannatyne, Tony Rae and Rob Salthouse, renowned offshore navigator Will Oxley and up and coming young talent. Nicholson also announced two key shore team roles: Neil Cox as CAMPER shore manager and world respected meteorologist Roger Badham as the team’s weather expert.

CAMPER Sailing Team

Skipper: Chris Nicholson (AUS)
Watch Captain: Stuart Bannatyne (NZL)
Navigator: Will Oxley (AUS)
Driver/Trimmer: Roberto Bermudez de Castro (ESP)
Driver/Trimmer: Adam Minoprio (NZL)
Driver/Trimmer: Rob Salthouse (NZL)
Driver/Trimmer: Tony Rae (NZL)
Bow/Boat Captain: Mike Pammenter (RSA)
Bow/Sailmaker: Daryl Wislang (NZL)
Pit/Trimmer: Andrew McLean (NZL)
Media Crew Member: Hamish Hooper (NZL)

Just six months ago Camper, the Spanish footwear brand, announced that it would take part in this historic race, with Emirates Team New Zealand to manage the campaign. Camper is a family-owned company that started making shoes on the island of Mallorca in 1877. This is the company’s first entry in the Volvo Ocean Race and a big step onto the international sports sponsorship stage.

Dalia Saliamonas, Project Director, CAMPER in the Volvo Ocean Race, says: “Six months after announcing our participation, it is fantastic to announce this exciting team. We are incredibly proud to be working with such a talented, experienced and passionate crew, and we are looking forward to the journey ahead.”

Who is Skipper, Chris Nicholson?

Skipper Chris Nicholson said of his crew: “This is one of the hardest events to win in sailing and we set out to bring together the best sailing team possible.

“We have a great mixture of experience and youth; I have been lucky enough to sail with most of them over the years and we have a team that will work really well together.

“The spirit within the CAMPER team, and by that I mean everyone, from the design, office, management, build, sponsors, reflects a real genuine passion to achieve. I believe that we have created a team that can win the Volvo Ocean Race. We have a great sponsor in Camper and we are looking forward to sharing this race with them.”

Since announcing the entry, CAMPER and Emirates Team New Zealand’s principal designer Marcelino Botin and the build team at Cookson Boats have begun construction of the CAMPER yacht in Auckland. The build is currently well underway with the hull now complete. The team plan to have the boat in the water by late April 2011 where it will undergo sea trials before being shipped to Spain.


Chris Nicholson
Age: 41
Nationality: Australian
Position: Skipper
Overview: An electrician by trade, Nicholson has been sailing professionally for over 20 years. He has represented Australia at two Olympic Games (2000 & 2004), and has won no less than six world championships across the 49er and 505 classes. Nicholson is a veteran of three Volvo Ocean Races, his first as a watch captain in 2001-02 on Amer Sports 1, which was skippered by Grant Dalton. In 2005-06 he was a watch captain on board Spanish entry Movistar and in 2008-09 he was watch captain onboard Puma, which finished second.

Chris Nicholson (AUS) Skipper (left) and Roberto Bermudez de Castro (Driver/Trimmer) right. Image copyright CAMPER.

Stuart Bannatyne
Age: 39
Nationality: New Zealand
Position: Watch Captain
Overview: Stuart Bannatyne has been a professional yachtsman for 16 years, specialising in ocean racing. In addition to five circumnavigations he has competed on the Grand Prix regatta circuit for 15 years, winning numerous inshore championships and ocean races. He has sailed on yachts that have broken the 24-hour world record distance for a monohull on five separate occasions (the most by any person). He is the only person to have won the Volvo Ocean Race, previously the Whitbread, on three different classes of yacht – maxi ketch (New Zealand Endeavour), Volvo Ocean 60 (illbruck) and VO70 (Ericsson 4). He was named New Zealand Sailor of the Year in 2009.

Will Oxley
Age: 45
Nationality: Australian
Position: Navigator
Overview: A marine scientist by trade, Will spent 18 years working on the Great Barrier Reef, and other coral reefs of the world. He is respected offshore sailor with more than 200,000 nautical miles of ocean racing on his CV, including the BT Global Challenge (2000-01)skipper Compaq NonStop finishing second overall Oryx Quest Non Stop RTW (Doha 2005/6), Brunel Synergy as navigator (Volvo Ocean Race 2005-06), and Puma as the team’s land based navigation consultant (Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09).

Will Oxley (AUS): navigator. Image copyright CAMPER.

Roberto Bermudez de Castro
Nationality: Spanish
Position: Driver/trimmer
Overview: An industrial engineer, Roberto (Chuny) has a wealth of sailing experience on his CV, including two America’s Cup Campaigns (1995 & 2000) and representing Spain at the Athens Olympics in 2004. He has notched up four circumnavigations of the planet, most recently as skipper of Delta Lloyd in the 2008/09 Volvo Ocean Race, and also as watch captain on Brazil 1 (2004/05) and onboard the Spanish entry GaliciaPescanova in the 1993/94 Whitbread race. This will be his fifth Volvo Ocean Race.

Adam Minoprio
Age: 25
Nationality: New Zealand
Position: Driver/trimmer
Overview: Minoprio has been a rising star in yachting. In 2009 he made his mark by winning the World Match Racing Tour as skipper and helm of the BlackMatch team. He led the young team to victory after only two years on the professional circuit. Minoprio and his team were recently named 2010 Singapore Airlines Sailor of the Year, this will be his first Volvo Ocean Race.

Rob Salthouse
Age: 45
Nationality: New Zealand
Position: Driver/Trimmer
Overview: Rob, a sailmaker by trade, has a sailing career spanning more than 25 years. He has taken part in no less that eight Sydney Hobart races, five Admiral’s Cups, and four America’s Cups as part of Emirates Team New Zealand. This will be his third Volvo Ocean Race; his first was with Tyco in 2000/01 and most recently with Puma in 2008/09.

Tony Rae
Age: 49
Nationality: New Zealand
Position: Driver/Trimmer
Overview: Tony Rae brings a wealth of experience to the CAMPER team, he has a professional sailing career spanning over 20 years. He was onboard Steinlager 2 during the 1989 Whitbread where the crew won every leg of the race, in 1993-94 he raced on board the winning maxi New Zealand Endeavour. A core team member of New Zealand America’s Cup campaigns since 1987, he was part of the winning team in 1995 and 2000.

Michael Pammenter
Age: 27
Nationality: South African
Position: Bowman
Overview: A finance and economics graduate, his first experience of the Volvo Ocean Race was in 2008 when he joined Telefonica Blue as one of the new “under-30s” and was the youngest sailor in the race. Mike has sailed on a range of big boats and holds several records including smashing the round the Isle of Wight record at Cowes Week aboard the 98ft super maxi Maximus. He was also crew onboard the Groupama Volvo 70 setting a new Round Britain and Ireland Course and Race record in 2010.

Daryl Wislang
Age: 29
Nationality: New Zealand
Position: Bowman
Overview: A sail maker by trade, Daryl started sailing when he was ten and it is a passion that has turned into a career. His previous race history includes being sailmaker and part-time in-port racer with Movistar in 2005-06, and as bowman alongside fellow CAMPER crew member Mike Pammeter on board Telefonica Blue in 2008-09. In 2006 he won the Rolex Middle Sea Race onboard Morning Glory and in the same year also became world champion in the maxi class with the Wally 95 Magic Carpet. He was also a key member of the sail management team in the 32nd America’s Cup with United Internet Team Germany.

Andrew McLean
Age: 31
Nationality: New Zealand
Position: Pit/Trimmer
Overview: A qualified mechanical engineer, Andrew was part of the winning Emirates Team New Zealand team during the Louis Vuitton Cup challenger elimination series in 2007. He took part in his first round the world race onboard Green Dragon in the last edition of the Volvo Ocean Race. Since completing the race, he has competed in the Louis Vuitton Trophy regattas, sailed on board ECOVER Extreme 40, and on big boats such as Leopard and Ran during 2010. When he isn’t sailing professionally he works as an engineer for Southern Spars New Zealand.

Hamish Hooper
Age: 32
Nationality: New Zealand’
Position: Media Crew Member
Overview: Hamish had a background in TV commercials and advertising but a slight turn of fate one day found Hamish being involved in sailing television work. This was to change the direction of his professional career and he has been involved in filming sailing events and working alongside teams ever since.

Update on Camper Build

Neil Cox
Age: 41
Nationality: Australian
Position: Shore Manager
Overview: Coxy has three Volvo Ocean Races to his name, he was boat captain of the winning entry ABN AMRO ONE in the Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006, and most recently Shore Manager for PUMA Ocean. He participated in the 1995 America’s Cup with One Australia and was build manager and shore crew team member on Aloha Racing in 2000. He is an accomplished sailor having served as boat captain for the Maxi Z86 Windquest and has competed in many offshore and inshore regattas around the world.

Roger Badham
Nationality: Australian
Position: Weather consultant
Overview: Roger Badham, or ‘Clouds’ as he is more commonly known, is a world respected meteorologist who specializes in sailing projects. He has been involved in numerous Whitbread Round the World Races and Volvo Ocean Races, four BOC races, as well as many major international ocean races, including the Admiral's Cup, Kenwood Cup, Sydney-Hobart, Transpac, Bermuda, Capetown-to-Rio, Melbourne-to-Osaka and the Global Challenge. He has been the Australian and New Zealand Olympic Yachting Team meteorologist and worked on many America’s Cup campaigns. He has been with Emirates Team New Zealand since 2001.

The Volvo Ocean Race starts at Alicante, Spain, in October 2011 and will finish at Galway, Ireland, in June 2012.

Stopover ports are Cape Town (South Africa), Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates), Sanya (China), Auckland (New Zealand), Itajai (Brazil), Miami (USA), Lisbon (Portugal) and Lorient (France).

Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand

Global Extreme Sailing Series™ 2011

An 11 month, 9 Event, Global Circuit that Continues to Change the Way in which Sailing is Seen

In Numbers:

- 9 events confirmed for 2011 circuit spanning North America, Europe, Arabia and Asia.
- Mix of venues from iconic cities and unconventional ‘stadiums’, to established sailing destinations and emerging sailing markets.
- 10 top class teams representing 8 nations, and a dozen different nationalities of sailors.
- 5-day events offering a unique mix of ‘open-water’ racing and with high octane ‘stadium’ racing – high sporting integrity, but entertaining non-sailors and sailors alike too.
- Fleet racing, figure of 8 duels, time trials, match racing and other formats of racing will continue to be used – but always short, sharp and punchy!
- 8-hour programme of entertainment (on and off the water) on every public-facing day.
- 12 x Optimists, 8 x 49ers, and at least 3 other classes of ‘support act’ over the season including windsurfers, kiteboarders,…
- 5-year vision and key developments planned for 2011

Video preview of Extreme Sailing Series 2011

“We continue to maintain the mix of sporting integrity and entertainment. We have shown inshore sailing can actually be fun to watch for the non-sailor as well as the sailor! Part of the DNA of the circuit since the beginning, our 5th man spot remains one of the sport’s greatest assets – be it for sponsors clients, media, TV cameramen, or prizewinners drawn from the general public,” he concluded.

The 2011 global circuit, which kicks off in Muscat in February 2011 and concludes in Singapore in December, is entering a new phase of development as part of a five-year vision. In addition to the host venue partnerships, and local sponsors for each event, OMEGA returns as Official Timekeeper, Marinepool join as Official Technical Clothing Supplier, and Pol Roger as the Official Champagne Supplier for the series. Further partners at both series and local level to be announced in the New Year.

A circuit spanning North America, Europe, Arabia and Asia

The 2011 Extreme Sailing Series™ kicks off in the Sultanate of Oman in February, as part of the annual Muscat Festival, before heading to China for Act 2 (location to be announced separately). The gateway between Europe and Asia, and European City of Sport for 2012, Istanbul, will host the third Act before the Extreme 40 fleet travels to the United States of America for the first time, to Boston’s waterfront in time for the July 4th celebrations.

Cowes Week welcomes the Extreme 40s for the fifth consecutive year for Act 5, ahead of a return to the Sicilian port of Trapani, for the second consecutive year. The French round will be staged on Mediterranean waters of Nice before Almería, in Andalucia, Spain hosts the penultimate event and the 2011 circuit will be decided in Singapore in mid-December.

10 Teams Representing 8 Nations, with sailors from more than 12 countries

From diverse backgrounds (Volvo Ocean Race, America’s Cup, Olympic Gold medalists, World Match Racing Tour etc) - diversity and quality are once again hallmarks of the Extreme Sailing Series line up.

Two-times runner-up Groupe Edmond de Rothschild returns (skipper to be confirmed); new entry Luna Rossa has snapped up last year’s winning skipper Paul Campbell-James as helm, with the boat skippered by America’s Cup winning sailor, Max Sirena. Oman Air Masirah, returns, skippered by French Volvo Ocean Race veteran Sidney Gavignet; double Olympic Gold Medallist Roman Hagara enters for the second season with his Red Bull Extreme Sailing team. Britain’s Ian Williams, two times winner of the World Match Racing Tour joins Team GAC Pindar; another new Italian entry, Team Nice, led by Alberto Barovier and 2010 winners, The Wave, Muscat return to defend their title, this time skippered by emerging star Torvar Mirsky. Alinghi returns to the fleet after winning in 2008, skippered by experienced Extreme 40 tactician Tanguy Cariou; Paul Cayard’s Artemis Racing is skippered by American Terry Hutchinson and finally, new to the 2011 circuit will be Emirates Team New Zealand, skippered by Kiwi America’s Cup winner, Dean Barker, who experienced Extreme 40 racing for the first time at the final event in Almería this year.

Celebrities and Sailors Shout Out!

In Detail: Changing the way sailing is seen

On the eve of the World Yacht Racing Forum in Estoril (Portugal), the Extreme Sailing Series™ unveiled a great package of interesting and varied host venues, and top level professional sailing teams and skippers for 2011. The award-winning and ‘ISAF Special Event’ circuit is going truly global as it enters its fifth year, with 9 events spanning 3 continents, over 11 months and 10 teams representing 8 nations. “The circuit has come a long way since 2007 when we had just 4 European events and 5 teams,” commented Mark Turner, Executive Chairman of organisers OC ThirdPole. “We continue to attract new top sponsored teams, sailors and, importantly, major new venues where we can showcase the sport with our game-changing ‘stadium’ format. We are getting closer to the perfect mix of established iconic cities, premium venues, great sailing destinations and emerging (sailing) markets.

Event Format and new Class Rules

In 2011, each Act will generally consist of five days of racing as opposed to four days in 2010, and three in 2009. Each Act will be true to the core aspirations of the Extreme Sailing Series™ ethos - mixing ‘open-water’ racing with ‘stadium’ short-course racing in front of the public, including all the various disciplines and courses used already from fleet racing to match racing, straight line duels and speed trials. A large investment will be made again in the on-water umpiring – essential for ensuring the fans know the results as they watch, rather than wait for post-event protests.

Developing further the public events side, the organiser has committed to providing an eight-hour mix of entertainment on ‘public’ days. On the water a number of support acts, like the Olympic 49er class, windsurfing and kite boarding, will build up to the main Extreme 40 headline act. A strong local community and charity campaign in each venue will see children given the chance to get on the water each morning. Wrapped around the on-water competition will be a comprehensive on-shore entertainment programme within the race village from interactive entertainment to music, alongside bars and food outlets. Music acts will also take centre stage under the Extreme Sailing Series ‘Sailing Remixed™’ banner at a number of the venues.

A global event such as this has a significant ‘footprint’. The environmental audit of the 2010 event is nearing completion, and will be used as the benchmark to improve all aspects of the event’s energy, waste and water footprint going forward. Initiatives from 2010, such as minimizing bottled water, are being analysed and evolved for 2011. This particular challenge has no finish line, but the race has begun.

And for the fans off-site, live commentary and audio from the boats will be streamed online, with possibility of live TV in some venues still under consideration. A new iPhone ‘app’ will also be launched during in the second quarter of next year, complementing a wide range of communication channels used by the event. Video online will continue to feature strongly, via YouTube and syndicated channels – especially for the short action clips the event is best known for. The current global TV programming platform will continue to be developed, but now also in HD format.

2011 Calendar & Host Venues:

Act 1: 22-24 February, Muscat, Oman (20-21 ‘open-water’ racing*)

Act 2: 15-17 April, China (13-14 ‘open-water’ racing)
Act 3: 27-29 May, Istanbul, Turkey (25-26 ‘open-water’ racing)

Act 4: 30 June – 4 July, Boston, USA (all days public event)

Act 5: 6-12 August, Cowes, UK (all days public event)

Act 6: 16-18 September, Trapani, Italy (14-15 ‘open-water’ racing)

Act 7: 30 September – 2 October, Nice, France (28-29 ‘open-water’ racing)

Act 8: 12-16 October, Almeria, Spain (all days public event)

Act 9: 9-11 December, Singapore (7-8 ‘open-water’ racing)
* ‘Open-water’ racing means that the Race Manager can use whatever part of the arena is best for racing – once the public village is open in ‘stadium’ mode there are sometimes constraints in this respect in order to ensure the fans can see all the action.

2011 Confirmed* Teams & Skippers:

Team Name/ Nat Skipper Name (Nat.)
Alinghi/ SUI - Tanguy Cariou (FRA)
Artemis Racing/ SWE - Terry Hutchinson (USA)
Emirates Team New Zealand/ NZL - Dean Barker (NZL)
Groupe Edmond de Rothschild/ FRA (As Yet Unknown)
Luna Rossa/ ITA - Max Sirena (ITA)
Oman Air Masirah/ OMA - Sidney Gavignet (FRA)
Red Bull Extreme Sailing/ AUT - Roman Hagara (AUT)
Team GAC Pindar/ GBR - Ian Williams (GBR)
Team Nice/ ITA - Alberto Barovier (ITA)
The Wave, Muscat/ OMA - Torvar Mirsky (AUS)

*Note from SailRaceWin: Organisers expect 12 or 13 teams to enter in 2011. There are 11 entry slots, with up to four wild cards from OC ThirdPole. The aim is to have at least 8 competitive teams annually.

Extreme Sailing Series™

Wednesday 1 December 2010

Barcelona World Race: Barcelona World Race entries Virbac-Paprec 3 and Foncia launched after arrival by ship from Caribbean

* Nearly half the Barcelona World Race fleet now in Barcelona.

* Work starts for the Virbac-Paprec 3 and Foncia shore teams.

* Barcelona World Race title holder Jean-Pierre Dick goes on a sailing holiday to relax pre-start!

Foncia and Virbac-Paprec 3 arrive in Barcelona, © Manuel Medir / Barcelona World Race

by Isabel Genís

At a little after 1000hrs (CET) on an uncharacteristically damp and cold Barcelona morning the cargo ship Olivia offloaded her precious cargo, the duo of IMOCA Open 60’s Foncia and Virbac Paprec 3, on schedule without a hitch.

This morning’s arrival of Jean-Pierre Dick’s Virbac-Paprec 3 and Michel Desjoyeaux’s Foncia directly from Martinique by ship brings the complement of IMOCA Open 60’s in Barcelona to seven.

That means almost half of the 15 boat fleet, which will take to the start line on 31st December for the Barcelona World Race, are making final preparations in the start city, and despite the chill, damp weather the atmosphere is definitely building.

Virbac-Paprec 3 and Foncia’s 10 day transatlantic delivery directly from the recent Route du Rhum solo transatlantic race saw them transferred immediately to the FNOB’s offshore sailing base where they will undergo various levels of work against a tight deadline to be ready for the two pairs of co-skippers, Dick and Loïck Peyron and Desjoyeaux and Francois Gabbart to be sailing as soon as possible.

“We have a few little modifications to do, nothing very big, just little changes to make.” Summarised Foncia’s Boat Captain Marc Liardet today, “But our key objective now is to have the boat sailing so that Michel and Francois can go sailing as soon as possible.”

Foncia’s objective is to be ready for the co-skippers to be sailing by 10th December

Foncia and Virbac-Paprec 3 arrive in Barcelona, © Miquel Casanelles / Barcelona World Race

Virbac-Paprec 3’s project manager Romain Ménard explained:

“There is no big refit considering the lack of time we have. Everything is fine. We will do some ultrasound inspections and we will change some sails because they have done quite a lot of miles, we change some of the standing rigging.”

Of the electrical problem which compromised some of Dick’s race he confirmed:
“ Actually we identified that there was some leaking which was letting some water into the battery box: and water electrical stuff is not good! What we have identified is that we need to keep it dry. We are not going to change the system at all. We sailed the boat from New Zealand for eight weeks to France. We were very happy with the system so there is no reason to change everything now. We won’t waste the work we have done or the advantages it gives.”

“For sure the Route du Rhum has been a very good training session for the Barcelona World Race, it was very important for us to do it as we prepare our title defence, for the battery for one thing, and also getting two weeks solid offshore is invaluable where you can improve.”

Dick, who won the first edition of the Barcelona World Race and recently finished fourth in the Route du Rhum, went straight from the finish in Guadeloupe to enjoy some recovery time prior to the start of the round the world race. The Barcelona Race race champion’s choice of holiday break? Seemingly he can’t keep away from the water and had been cruising in the Caribbean.

Barcelona World Race

Sunday 21 November 2010

Interview with Will Tiller, FMJ (Full Metal Jacket) Racing's Skipper (NZL)

Will Tiller, of FMJ Racing. Image copyright Loris von Siebenthal/

On finals day at the Telecom New Zealand Match Racing Championships, hosted by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, today, we have an interview from Anne Hinton who recently caught up with petite-finalist, and latest young Kiwi match racing skipper to take part in the World Match Racing Tour, Will Tiller, of FMJ Racing.

Tiller took part in the Danish Open on the World Match Racing Tour this year, beat Phil Robertson of Waka Racing to win the Warren Jones Regatta 2010, was (without his regular crew) runner-up to Josh Junior at the New Zealand Youth Match Racing Championships, RPNYC, Wellington, 2010. He has also won the Governor's Cup twice, and the Harken International Youth Match Racing on Sydney Harbour in 2010. Tiller is a graduate of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron's Lion Foundation Youth Scheme.

AH: How, in what, and at what age, did you start sailing?

WT: I started sailing crewing for my dad in a Sunburst at the age of 6.

AH: What was your progression (e.g. P class/Starlings) through boats/events?

WT: After sailing in the Sunburst for a few years I moved into the Optimist and then progressed through P class, Starling.

Will Tiller leads fellow Kiwi, Phil Robertson, in the finals of the Warren Jones Regatta, Perth, 2010. Image copyright John Roberson.

AH: When did you do the RNZYS youth programme and get into match racing?

WT: I joined the youth programme at 16 and graduated after four years. In my first year I was on mainsheet before helming for three years.

AH: Which people/teams have you competed against a lot?

WT: I have most consistently raced Josh Junior, but other rivals would have to be Reuben Corbett and Phil Robertson.

Will Tiller leads Reuben Corbett across the finishing line at the Telecom New Zealand Match Racing Championships 2009. Image copyright RNZYS.

AH: Please could you mention key results throughout your sailing career?

WT: 1st 2009 & 2010 Governor’s Cup
1st CYCA Bavaria
1st Harken International Youth Match Racing 2010
1st Warren Jones Regatta 2010

AH: What university/career have you had alongside the sailing?

WT: I have completed my first year of engineering at Auckland University, but have put that on hold for now to sail as much as possible.

AH: What made you decide to take on match racing internationally?

WT: After getting a real feel for match racing from the youth programme, a few of us graduating got together and decided to form the team ‘FMJ’ and take on the world match racing scene.

Will Tiller, Harry Thurston and Shaun Mason with the Governor's Cup in 2010 - their second time of winning it. Image copyright Balboa Yacht Club.

AH: How do you see your sailing progressing into the future?

WT: For my sailing going into the future it’s all about working hard with our ‘FMJ’ team to get onto the world tour. I’m also really keen to do other racing off the match racing scene to make sure I don’t get to one dimensional.

AH: Of the major events – Olympics/Volvo/America’s Cup – which do you want to do (and why)?

WT: To race in the America’s Cup or the Volvo would be an awesome achievement and a huge challenge; either of these would be the pinnacle for me.

AH: What support have you had in your sailing?

WT: I have received a lot of support from my family all the way through my sailing which has been awesome.

Handshakes as Will Tiller, Harry Thurston and Shaun Mason celebrate winning the Governor's Cup for the second year in a row in 2010. They had decorated the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron label on the mainsail with heart stickers! Image copyright Balboa Yacht Club.

AH: Who have been the most influential people in your sailing?

WT: I would have to say my father, he got me into the sport and has been giving me advice from then on.

AH: Who do you most look up to in sailing in NZ/internationally, and why?

WT: Gavin Brady, I really look up to him because he came through the youth programme and has gone on to do great things with his yachting.

AH: What sponsors have you had in your sailing?

WT: Our main Sponsor has been Chris Meads who owns the yacht ‘Full Metal Jacket’ without him our match racing wouldn’t be possible so we are extremely grateful for his support.

Will Tiller (NZL) to windward of Bjorn Hansen (SWE) at the World Match Racing Tour's Danish Open 2010. Image copyright Loris von Siebenthal/

AH: How did you develop the sailing programme of training/events to compete in for 2010?

WT: This year was our first hit out on the international match racing scene, we learnt a lot and are looking forward to developing our team into the future. As a team at the beginning of the season we sat down and planned the regattas we wanted to compete in. From this we worked out what sort of training we were going to need to do, that being out on the water and in the gym.

AH: What have been the highlights of racing over the past year for you?

WT: Winning the Warren Jones at the start of this year would be the top highlight, but others would be 2nd at Young 88 Nats and defending our Governor’s Cup title.

AH: Who do you see as your main opposition in the NZ Match Racing Nationals 2010?

WT: Every race is going to be tough but Reuben, Phil and Josh will be hard to beat. [Note from SailRaceWin: Will was spot on here! Correct prediction of the semi-finalists prior to the event]

Will Tiller (NZL) versus Bjorn Hansen (SWE) in the World Match Racing Tour's Danish Open 2010. Image copyright Loris von Siebenthal/

AH: What plans do you have for racing in 2011?

WT: We are looking at continuing our match racing into 2011 with the goal of getting our ranking inside the top 20.

AH: What developments in the sport of sailing would you like to see in the future – in NZ and internationally?

WT: It would be awesome if the sport could develop more of a following from the public and was more media friendly.

AH: Many thanks for your time and all the best for your future sailing career

NB Interviews with Reuben Corbett of Black Sheep Racing, and Phil Robertson of Waka Racing - both also in the semi-finals of the Telecom New Zealand Match Racing Championships 2010 - are also available on the SailRaceWin website, by clicking on their names.