Saturday 13 February 2010

America's Cup: Race One Image Selection

Many more images to come...!

Image copyright Gilles Martin-Raget/BMW ORACLE Racing.

Image copyright Guilain Grenier/BMW ORACLE Racing.

Image copyright Guido Trombetta/Alinghi.

Image copyright Carlo Borlenghi/Alinghi.

Image copyright Guilain Grenier/BMW ORACLE Racing.

Image copyright Carlo Borlenghi/Alinghi.

Image copyright Gilles Martin-Raget/BMW ORACLE Racing.


America's Cup: Quotes of the Day After Race One

The best of what was said by both sides after Race 1, 33rd America's Cup

Image © Consorcio Valencia.

by America's Cup media

BMW ORACLE Racing Team

James Spithill (AUS) skipper/helm BMW ORACLE Racing Team (USA):
“Obviously it was quite exciting at the start. We were able to get a piece of them in the entry and that is something we had been thinking about for quite some time, and it started to set up to look like we might be able to get a penalty on them, so I pushed it pretty hard in there. Obviously that left us pretty close to them and we then we had a hard time slowing the boat down. We were in a pretty controlling position then, as time went on through we got ourselves stuck in irons, but also I want to say well done to Alinghi, they did a good job getting out from there.

“We still have a lot to learn. It kind of showed today that we aren’t at race level preparation that we are kind of used to in these campaigns. But it was an exciting start with plenty of action.”

Larry Ellison (USA) team founder and afterguard BMW ORACLE Racing Team (USA):
“ I think my emotions started when it looked like we were going to race in three and a half knots of breeze. Russell and I were on the boat and we were told that we might be sailing in 20 minutes then we had the call to get as many people off the boat and as much stuff as possible off the boat to sail as light as possible, because there was a very, very light breeze. I had to get off the boat and so did Russell. And so we sailed with a minimum crew. So I think it is more stressful to watch than to sail.”

Russell Coutts (NZL) CEO and afterguard BMW ORACLE Racing Team (USA):
“ I think it is early days. I said before the series that you wont be able to draw conclusions from the first few minutes of these races..." but how about that win...??

"It looked pretty good from where I was sitting today. I think the team did a good job. The guys on board sailed a really nice race, pretty much faultless. They had a few problems at the start, that can happen in these boats, but we are very, very happy with where we are, but we are only a tiny way into this series now. There is so much more work to do. We know we are up against the best team out there and we are certainly not going to take our foot off the throttle. We are going to try and improve our performance further.”

Larry Ellison (USA) team founder and afterguard BMW ORACLE Racing Team (USA):
“ The piece of kit we are most proud is the wing.

“Today I did say that sailing is a lot harder than running a software company!”

Russell Coutts (NZL) CEO and afterguard BMW ORACLE Racing Team (USA):
“I think it is just way too early to draw too many conclusions. We are only one race into the series. We will see at the end of the series in terms of the relative values of the wing.”

James Spithill (AUS) skipper/helm BMW ORACLE Racing Team (USA):
“To be honest I think we carried a bit of pressure down, I think we carried it down the lane. It was one of those things, I think, where the boat in the lead was always gaining. Having said that I think that JK (tactician John Kostecki) did a really nice job, he absolutely nailed it on the downwind leg. Full credit to him and the weather team.

“It was very very shifty, very very puffy.

“It was certainly good to see the guys under pressure like that because it did not really phase them one bit. They all just got straight back into what they were supposed to do and that is sailing the boat fast.”

Alinghi (SUI)

Brad Butterworth (NZL) skipper/tactician Alinghi (SUI):
“We tried to keep the boats apart with having the bottom pin offset but it was not actually set up that well, and we thought we had just done enough but obviously not. But that really did not have any reflection on who won the race. It made some interesting stop and start, in irons and going backwards, something we’d never done on multihulls.”

Ernesto Bertarelli (SUI), helmsman and team president Alinghi (SUI):
"For sure at the start after the penalty it felt good they were stopped we could gybe and start. The wind changed quite rapidly. We had six or seven knots during the pre start and right off the start we were surprised with the wind coming in so strong, so quickly, 12 knots, but we thought we were doing good. But they caught up. We had to make a sail change which slowed us, but they were fast today and the wing seems to be quite a weapon. "

Brad Butterworth (NZL) skipper/tactician Alinghi (SUI):
"They certainly showed how fast they can get their boat going. They could not have come off the line in a worse position and they ended up in a very strong position. When you are sitting in front of them and they sail up and around you, that is speed."

Ernesto Bertarelli (SUI), helmsman and team president Alinghi (SUI):
"Actually we had too much sail area for the most part of the race. We did not have the set up we would have liked to have had. There was a bit more wind than we expected, so I don’t think sail area would have made much of a difference. It does, I think, show that the wing is quite versatile in many different conditions, but I am not sure sail area would have made much of a difference."

Ernesto Bertarelli (SUI), helmsman and team president Alinghi (SUI):
"I have absolutely no regrets and no frustration. Actually I quite enjoyed myself on the water today. It’s racing, you win, you lose that is part of the game. We gave everything we have got over the last two and a half years. So there there is nothing to be frustrated about or ashamed about. Again, the Cup is not over. We still have one race to go. They have to cross the line, finish the race and score two points."

Ernesto Bertarelli (SUI), helmsman and team president Alinghi (SUI):
“ I tell you, when you are in my position with the ten years that are behind and the team I have and the opportunity to race one more, or maybe two more races in the America’s Cup, you can’t call any day a hard day in the America’s Cup. They are all good days. Today it just happened they were faster, they sailed a good race.

“ We lost and I learned over the years that losing is part of enjoying sailing and going racing.”

33rd America's Cup

America's Cup: First Blood for USA

Challenger BMW ORACLE Racing Team (USA) scored the vital first win in the best-of-three race series that is the 33rd America’s Cup off Valencia, Spain

Image © Consorcio Valencia.

by America's Cup media

The American team, sailing under the flag of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Yacht Club, were quickly able to overturn an early mistake when they were caught flat footed on the wrong side of the start line.

Despite an initial deficit when they crossed the start line of 1 minute and 27 seconds, the trimaran USA, with its massive 68 metres wing sail were able to pass the Defender’s catamaran Alinghi 5 after around 15 minutes of the 20 miles windward leg.

BMW ORACLE Racing Team’s final Race 1 winning margin of 15 minutes and 28 seconds is the biggest in the history of the America’s Cup since the 27th edition in 1988, the last Deed of Gift match, when the USA’s catamaran Stars & Stripes won successive matches against New Zealand’s KZ 1 monohull by 18 mins 15 secs and 21 mins 10 secs.

It is the first time that double America’s Cup winners Alinghi have lost an America’s Cup match race since they were defeated by Emirates Team New Zealand on Monday 25th June 2007.

Then Alinghi went on to win three successive matches to retain the America’s Cup, but now Sunday’s scheduled second race, around the 39 miles Deed of Gift triangle course, of three 13 miles legs, becomes a ‘must win’ for the Defender’s crew.

USA lead at the first mark

By the windward turn of today’s race USA were 3 minutes and 21 seconds ahead and the black and white hulled trimaran broke the finish line in the growing dusk, to record a winning delta of 15 minutes and 28 seconds.

USA, with James Spithill (AUS) steering, managed to immediately inflict a penalty on the Swiss crew when Alinghi 5 entering with no right of way, could not cross ahead of the Challengers just after the entry into the start arena.

Starting at 1435hrs (local) in around 6-7 knots of southerly breeze, the heart stopping opening manoeuvres proved some of the best and worst of match-racing the giant multihulls. Conditions throughout were ideal for the historic first head to head match between the cutting edge, giant multihulls.

While USA were able to catch Alinghi out for tacking in their water, when both were on the wrong side of the start line, USA could not then capitalise.

When the Swiss catamaran was able to peel away with speed to cross within ten or 15 seconds of the start gun, USA were stalled out, unable to get moving back towards the start.

USA showed superior speed and height through much of the upwind leg, their edge to windward appearing to be greatest when they sailed ‘wing only’ with no jib but just the giant solid wing mainsail, but it was on the long downwind leg that USA were able to extend most over the catamaran.

A lead of three minutes and 21 seconds at the only turn of the historic Deed of Gift course was increased to somewhere around 10 minutes and 8 seconds when Alinghi 5 closed the finish.

The Defender Alinghi did not initially complete their penalty turn correctly, and it took them an additional five minutes to finally unload their penalty.
The second race is scheduled Sunday, warning signal time 1000hrs.

Provisional Result:
33rd America’s Cup, Race 1

USA (BMW ORACLE Racing, USA) defeat Alinghi 5 (Alinghi, SUI)

Provisional deltas
Alinghi - 1:27 (start)
BMW ORACLE Racing - 3:21 (windward mark); 15:28 (finish)

33rd America's Cup

America's Cup: Alinghi Looks to Race 2 of the 33rd America's Cup on Sunday

by Daphne Morgan Barnicoat

Alinghi lost Race 1 of the 33rd America's Cup, a best-of-three series, today after a hard fought pre-start and a 40nm race. The Defender from the Société Nautique de Genève took an early lead onto the course, but didn't hold on to it.

"The crew work went well. The difference was the speed of the boats. The solution they have come up with on Oracle is very fast. It's pretty hard to beat them on a day like today," said Brad Butterworth, team skipper and tactician.

The race started at 14:35 in a southerly wind between 6 and 8 knots and flat sea, good conditions for the 90ft load waterline multihulls. The top mark was set at a bearing of 180 degrees, due south, 20nm to windward.

Alinghi, the port-tack yacht entering the start box, was penalised in the pre-start by the on-water umpires for failing to keep clear. But the Alinghi crew took the lead off the start line after BMW Oracle Racing got into “irons”, a predicament where the boat looses steerage.

"We never had a chance to cross them, so it was just one of those things. We tried to get across them but couldn't. When we realised that was the case we came up and tacked over and got a penalty. That was a bit surprising, but it didn't have an impact on the race in the end," said Butterworth.

Alinghi 5, with team president Ernesto Bertarelli at the helm, circled around the pin end and onto the race course for an early 1m27s lead, or approximately 660m. The catamaran held pace with the trimaran early, but eventually was overtaken. Alinghi was behind by 3m21s at the windward mark and 15m28s at the finish after performing a penalty turn for the pre-start infraction.

Looking forward to Sunday, Butterworth said: "As long as you've got a life you've got a chance. We will regroup and think about race two. Sunday's race will be a different sort of race. We'll see what conditions lend themselves. They looked pretty awesome upwind, and it was hard for us to hold them back. We'll have our work cut out."

Tomorrow is an off day as per the Deed of Gift, the America's Cup governing document, so racing will resume on Sunday 14 February weather permitting.


America's Cup: Quotes from on board USA - skipper and helmsman, James Spithill

USA Skipper James Spithill on coming off the water on 12th February after racing. Image copyright Gilles Martin-Raget/BMW ORACLE Racing.

by Jane Eagleson

On the pre-start: "We did a pretty nice job we were able to get the penalty and really had them on the ropes. But we got locked in to windward and tried to tack out but had a bit of a fumble and got stuck in the breeze. It didn't turn out the way I wanted it to! But leading up to that, the guys did a great job of putting us in a very powerful position."

On the boat speed: "I always thought if we were able to fly a hull we'd be faster upwind, but I was genuinely surprised downwind."

On the second half of the race: "For the downwind sail combination, the trimmers and weather guys made a good call. We decided to run with the Code 0 downwind anjd it was definitely the sail JK (tactician John Kostecki) and Matteo (Navigator Matteo Plazzi) did a great job of getting us on the layline."

On his feelings on the day: "This was one of the hardest days I've had on the boat with the pressure and direction changes. But all in all it was a good day. I'm sure there are some improvements we can make, but obviously it was great."

On needing one more win: "We're taking each race as it comes... There is stuff we can do to improve. Obviously downspeed we need some practics! We're excited to get this one in. It's full credit to the guys. For the shore guys and the guys who got it ready for us, today was a day where everything was great on the boat and that was really key for us as well."


America's Cup: BMW ORACLE Racing wins Race One of 33rd America's Cup

by Jane Eagleson

BMW ORACLE Racing has started the 33rd America's Cup Match with a convincing victory over the defender, Alinghi.

Racing was postponed for four and a half hours before Principal Race Officer Harold Bennett gave the start signal in a gentle 4 to 5 knot southerly wind.

After both boats entered the start box, skipper James Spithill (AUS) was able to speed deep into the box on starboard tack, preventing Alinghi 5 - the give way boat - from crossing ahead. As the boats dialled-up into the wind, the Umpires judged Alinghi hadn't done enough to keep clear and penalised the Swiss team.

Alinghi, however, made a good recovery. With both teams to windward of the start line, the Swiss made a quick return to start ahead. In fact, by the time USA crossed the starting line, it was over 600 metres behind A5.

But then USA started to simply outpace A5 by sailing higher (closer to the wind) and slightly faster. The 600 metre deficit was soon erased, and USA went on to lead by 3:21 around the top mark.

Downwind, the advantage to the American boat was even more pronounced. USA continued to add to its lead all the way to the finish line.

The final delat at the finish, after Alinghi completed its penalty turn and finished correctly, was 15:28.


JVT: The Forties at Last for Groupama 3

Groupama 3 in the Forties. Image copyright Team Groupama.

by Vincent Borde and Caroline Muller

Groupama 3 reached 40° South at around midnight UTC on Thursday, but didn't start to extract herself from the Saint Helena High until midday this Friday. The average speeds will increase throughout the afternoon, reaching a `cruising' speed in excess of thirty knots! The Cape of Good Hope is in her sights...

It promises to be a lively weekend aboard the giant trimaran: the albatrosses will find it difficult to keep up with Groupama 3, which is finally on track again powering across the Southern Atlantic. The high speed train is a little behind schedule and the crew stayed at the platform a bit too long. However, the deficit in relation to the reference time should initially stabilise, before they come back to within striking distance over the remaining 2,000 miles left to cover to reach the longitude of the Cape of Good Hope! The current routing is even suggesting a passage time of under fifteen days, which would be just a few hours behind Orange 2 (between 6 and 15 hrs). Once the first cape of this Jules Verne Trophy is rounded, it's the Indian Ocean which will open up before the giant trimaran's bows...

"It wasn't an easy night: a lot of wind shifts, light breeze and calms... All of which was coloured by an atmosphere of intense fog and very wet conditions! However, things are clearing ahead of us: there's a slight SW'ly swell with a NW'ly wind and we're making headway under full mainsail and solent jib at nearly twenty-five knots. Everything is grey, as you might expect from the Southern Ocean. Conditions are pretty gentle right now though... For once, the Indian Ocean appears to be manageable so it shouldn't be too laborious a crossing" explained Lionel Lemonchois at the 1130 UTC radio link-up with Groupama's Race HQ in Paris.

High Speed Trimaran...

Jacques Caraës on board Groupama 3 points to the wispy cirrus, a sign of wind, in the sky. Image copyright Team Groupama.

As such conditions are very good for the coming days since the sea state is favourable with little residual swell. Franck Cammas and his men are now aiming to stay ahead of a cold front, which will pursue them, generating over twenty knots of N to NW'ly wind. By conserving a fairly N'ly trajectory (remaining between 39° South and 45° South as far as the Kerguelen Islands), Groupama 3 could well benefit from these consistent conditions to make an extremely fast crossing of the Indian Ocean!

"We're expecting to stay with a NW'ly for a long while, which will mean that it shouldn't get too cold. On the other hand, the route will be a little longer as we won't drop down very far South in terms of latitude. It should be a fairly comfortable and quite a quick ride, a fair distance away from the ice! We'll be able to round offshore of the Cape of Good Hope with a N'ly wind, since another more violent front will drop down from Africa. At that point we'll finally be able to lengthen our stride... This comes as great news after a week of light conditions. Added to that it will be good to sail in the Southern Ocean again as it is always fascinating and a little agonizing. Out there we are all alone in the world, without boats and with only little land..."

The experience of the crew of Groupama 3 is an asset on this long journey towards Cape Horn as, with the exception of Bruno Jeanjean, everyone has already experienced the very special conditions associated with the Deep South, where the weather phenomena are often a lot more violent than in the North Atlantic... In any case, with this fairly organised sea forecast for several days, it'll be a pure glide in prospect for this rather mild introduction.

Groupama 3's log (departure on 31st January at 13h 55' 53'' UTC)
Day 1 (1st February 1400 UTC): 500 miles (deficit = 94 miles)
Day 2 (2nd February 1400 UTC): 560 miles (lead = 3.5 miles)
Day 3 (3rd February 1400 UTC): 535 miles (lead = 170 miles)
Day 4 (4th February 1400 UTC): 565 miles (lead = 245 miles)
Day 5 (5th February 1400 UTC): 656 miles (lead = 562 miles)
Day 6 (6th February 1400 UTC): 456 miles (lead = 620 miles)
Day 7 (7th February 1400 UTC): 430 miles (lead = 539 miles)
Day 8 (8th February 1400 UTC): 305 miles (lead = 456 miles)
Day 9 (9th February 1400 UTC): 436 miles (lead = 393 miles)
Day 10 (10th February 1400 UTC): 355 miles (lead = 272 miles)
Day 11 (11th February 1400 UTC): 267 miles (deficit = 30 miles)
Day 12 (12th February 1400 UTC): 247 miles (deficit = 385 miles)

Best passage time to the equator from Ushant
Groupama 3: 5d 15h 23' (November 2009)

Jules Verne Trophy reference time to the equator
Orange 2: 7d 02h 56' (January 2005)

Cammas - Groupama

Inaugural Extreme Sailing Series Asia exceeds expectations

Six Extreme 40 catamarans, three countries, 24 sailors: all on a whistle-stop tour of Asia. The inaugural Extreme Sailing Series Asia finished on Friday 5 February with the 2009 European Champions Oman Sail Masirah being presented the new Series trophy by royalty in the Sultanate of Oman

Oman Sail's Masirah night-sailing in Singapore during the Extreme Sailing Series Asia. Image copyright Th. Martinez/Sea&Co/OC Events.

by Emily Caroe

OC Events took the award-winning circuit to the region to demonstrate what a future full-scale circuit with shoreside entertainment, VIP hospitality and, of course, the on-water sailing, could deliver to the region. For this first Asian series, the objective was to engage with the media and commercial sectors, whilst at the third and final event in Muscat, a two-day 'Extreme Beach Event' took it up a level engaging the public as well.

Red Bull racing off Muscat. Image copyright Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events.

"This first Extreme Sailing Series Asia exceeded all our expectations. The spectacular sailing conditions in all three locations brought us tight racing by some of the very best sailors and demonstrated the potential to venue partners, key opinion formers, government officials and the media what a full-scale series could bring to their region in future years," commented Mark Turner, CEO OC Group, owners of the organising company OC Events. "We developed the European circuit in exactly the same way, starting small with a focus on the VIP and media side and four years later here we are with a multi-stop European tour that saw over 200,000 people watch the action in person in 2009. We made the call to go for this first opening series in pretty tough economic times, but we believe our investment will be successful and are already in discussion with potential new venue and series partners for the 2010/2011 tour," he concluded.

The Wave, Muscat, racing off Muscat. Image copyright Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events.

The Extreme Sailing Series Asia circuit received widespread media attention, not only in the countries it visited, but internationally as the media were entertained by the personalities as well as the action on the water. World Sport (formerly Gillette World of Sport), the internationally distributed sports programming, will include Muscat in this week's show which will go out on UK Terrestrial broadcaster Channel 4 this Saturday (7:30am) and the following Tuesday (01:30am) and across Europe. There has been regular coverage from the series on TV channels including a daily live feed on Oman TV, ITV Meridian and Sky Sports (UK), Eurosport and Euronews (FRA), ATV, ORF 1 & 2 (AUT), Media Corp (SNG) and Mediaset (ITA).

The reach will increase from March 2010 when a 26-minute programme will be distributed and air on channels including Sky Sports (UK), Sport + (FRA), ESPN (Pan-Asia) and Fox Sport (pan-USA & South America).

The circuit began in Hong Kong (20-24 November), racing out of the prestigious Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club for five days including a day with the 200-plus fleet for the annual Around the Island Race, where the Extreme 40s took line honours.

The six catamarans were then packed up and transported to Marina Reservoir, right underneath the World's tallest observation tower in Singapore (11-15 December), the first time the stretch of water had been used for a professional sport event.

Rumbo Almeria and BT on day 1 of Racing at the Extreme Sailing Series Asia: Muscat. Image copyright Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events.

The series concluded last week in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman, where the home team Masirah lifted the inaugural championship trophy. Three days of racing in front of a VIP setup, was followed by an 'Extreme Beach Party' with over 2,000 people gathering at Al Hail beach for a five-a-side football competition, volleyball matches, the Muscat round of the Red Bull Street Style competition as well as watching the racing, which took place in front of government statesmen and royalty for the Omani weekend.

"It's been exciting introducing new people to the circuit," commented Emily Caroe, PR Director of OC Events Extreme Sailing Series. "There's nothing better than welcoming a non-sailor to the circuit, be it World record-breaker Assafa Powell in Singapore or a female journalist in her traditional dress who has never even stepped on a boat before. Persuading them to conquer their fears and step onto an Extreme 40 was not easy, but by the time your back is turned, they are on the helm, or trimming and shouting for the hull to fly even higher. It's such a great experience and provides them with a unique story."

The Wave, Muscat. Image copyright Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events.

Seventy journalists attended the three, five-day events, and when conditions allowed stepping onboard and racing in the fifth man positions onboard the six Extreme 40s. Andreas Tzortzis, from international magazine, Red Bulletin, raced with double Olympic Gold Medallist Shirley Robertson onboard Rumbo Almeria. "That was absolutely fantastic. You are absolutely in the thick of it and that is an experience you don't normally have in sailboat racing unless you are racing yourself. As a spectator, or even as a journalist you don't nearly get so close so it gives you an understanding of the amount of pressure they are under. It is absolutely astonishing."

There have been over 180 pieces of quality coverage from the three events, with press junkets at each venue to experience Extreme racing first hand. Journalists attended from, China's leading online portal which ran daily reports, China Boating, The Business Times and Today Newspaper all visited the opening event in Hong Kong. An international visit of GCC media attended the final event in Muscat including journalists from Men's Passion, Ahlan and Al Rai in Kuwait, the Qatar Tribune, Ohlala Magazine, Bahrain Confidential and Areej Magazines in Bahrain, Business Traveller and City Times in the United Arab Emirates.

"Our goal was to bring a select group of journalists who could experience first hand an Extreme Sailing Series event. Thanks to the support of the Muscat Municipality, they had the chance to see a public facing event with all the activities on Al Hail beach as well as the racing," commented Caroe.

Extreme 40s at the end of the day's racing in Hong Kong. Image copyright Marco Hong/OC Events.

Thierry Barot, skipper of China Team was impressed with his first venture into Extreme 40 sailing: "It was very impressive, right in front of the public but still this sport is very intense, delivery is very high in terms of tactics and strategies. I really believe it is the future of sailing. This is what sailing needs in term of development - the Extreme Sailing Series is a sport in itself."

And as the Asian tour comes to an end, the next begins. The Extreme Sailing Series Europe starts in earnest in May 2010 with the first venues being announced shortly. Watch this space for more Extreme action...

Extreme Sailing Series Asia

JVT: Code Orange for the Maxi Banque Populaire V

The Maxi Banque Populaire V moved today to code orange, with a view to departing on Sunday. After 3 months of waiting, the weather seems at last to have opened a window of opportunity to Pascal Bidégorry and his team of twelve men to launch themselves on the conquest of the Jules Verne Trophy

Banque Populaire V. Image copyright B. Stichelbaut/BPCE.

by Virginie Bouchet (in translation)

Pascal Bidégorry, skipper of the maxi multihull reflects on the change to code organge: "For several days things have seemed to evolve in a good way in the forecast. We decided to change to code orange today, more on account of the fact that we are reaching the maturity date of our stand by, and we have finally the opportunity to have correct perspectives of what wil happen in the North or South Atlantic. We should leave during the day on Sunday, with certainly strong weather conditions from Cape Finisterre. We know that that will be athletic, but we rejoice at last to be able to cast off and attempt the Jules Verne Trophy record."

If previously the conditions in the South Atlantic had never been favorable to a departure, it would seem that the position is evolving, and even if within 48H of a possible departure it is still too early to be adamant, it seems as though the end of the waiting time is imminent.

Banque Populaire V

America's Cup: BMW ORACLE Racing Take First Match Race

by SailRaceWin

Racing finally got under way off Valencia Friday afternoon - leading to a race one victory for USA. Further postponements on the water followed the initial two-hour delay signalled onshore, but this was just for the breeze to settle. It's extremely tricky to set a fair 20nm beat course, and Harold Bennett and his team did a super job in the light winds (less than 10 knots), which varied in direction, but settled as roughly southerly, before the start.

The start commenced (and finished) with a classic match-race dial-up between the two boats. USA entered on starboard, coming in on a 2-sail reach at speed around the bow of the committee boat, flying two hulls. Alinghi 5 had a slower entry from the offset at the port end of the line. Spithill initially headed down below the line and then up a bit, pointing directly at Alinghi 5 and holding his course. Alinghi 5 didn't take avoiding action soon enough, so USA had to do so to avoid a collision, turning into the dial-up. When USA flagged, the umpires penalised Alinghi 5.

Subsequent to this, USA remained head to wind above the line, and took her headsail down. Meanwhile Alinghi 5 circled around to port and came up beneath the pin to start on time, with USA still stalled above the line. As Alinghi 5 passed beneath USA and carried on out to the right, USA turned back to the starting line and crossed the starting line about 1 minute 45 seconds late, giving Alinghi 5 a head start of about 660 metres. Distances are, however, of a very different order when vessels are as nippy as these two!

About 12-15 minutes later, USA, sailing higher and a bit faster (both boats are in the high teens in knots, speed-wise), had made up all the initial deficit on Alinghi 5. USA then overtook Alinghi 5, took her headsail down, pointed yet higher with just the wing, and continued to out-pace Alinghi 5 too, while taking care to stay between a beaten boat and the mark. By the windward mark the deficit was some 3 and a third minutes.

Downwind - and as these boats sail in apparent wind, the actual angle isn't that different from upwind - USA sailed faster and deeper than Alinghi 5, reaching speeds of up to 25 knots. As the speed went up, the apparent wind took the headed forward, making it easier to put the bow down. On this leg USA extended to lead by over 2km. Alinghi 5 shed water ballast downwind, but could not make inroads on USA.

After USA crossed the finishing line, Alinghi 5 sailed to the line and then went into a long sequence to take the outstanding penalty, ending with not finishing correctly and having to sail back to the line to re-cross it, so extending the winning delta of USA by more than 5 minutes to 15 minutes and 28 seconds.

P.S. BMW ORACLE Racing's crew was the same as listed for Monday, 8th February. Others accompanied the crew to the boat on her mooring, including one person who had distinct resemblance to the Michelin Man, given the number of layers he was wearing to offset the cold: the CEO, Russell Coutts.

Friday 12 February 2010

America's Cup Live Video Player on SailRaceWin

Image copyright Guilain Grenier/BMW ORACLE Racing.

by SailRaceWin

Courtesy of BMW ORACLE Racing, clicking on either the link at the top of the right-hand column on the SailRaceWin site, or here, will put you through to a live video player for the 33rd America's Cup racing.

Live coverage, including both BMW ORACLE Racing team preparations and the official America's Cup race footage, will commence at 8pm New Zealand time on Wednesday, 10th February 2010: the first race day of the 33rd America's Cup in Valencia, Spain.

N.B. The start of racing on Friday, 12th February, 2010, has been postponed until 12.06 CET (i.e. by two hours), due to weather conditions off Valencia, especially the sea state.

Assuming that the boats were to cover each leg at a direct-line speed of 20 knots per hour, the first race would take 4 hours. Due to its being winter in the northern hemisphere, the disappearance of daylight for racing occurs by about 5pm CET. Therefore, racing cannot commence much after 1am New Zealand time in order for the boats to complete the race in daylight.

It looks hopeful for a race, at long last

The wind is reported to be at about 350 degrees, around 10 knots, rising to around 12 knots at times.

"Hopefully we can get a race off today," said team BMW ORACLE Racing CEO Russell Coutts. "It's quite a complicated weather forecast but hopefully there will be a window in there where we get some breeze. We'd love to get a race going."

Brad Butterworth, Alinghi team skipper and tactician said: “Hopefully there will be good conditions out there. I think it’s lightening off. The big breeze is going away. I think if we go to a good spot we’ll get good conditions and we’ll be able to have a good race that’ll suit both boats.

“It’s a bit frustrating for all of us being postponed, I want to get out there and race and see how fast these boats are. Today looks like a good day.”

33rd America's Cup

Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy Shortlisted for Sport Venue of the Year

by Cailah Leask

The Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA) has been shortlisted for a prestigious 2010 Sport Industry Award. The Awards are Europe’s largest and most prestigious commercial sports awards that recognize the best the sport business has to offer in marketing, PR, sponsorship, new media, publishing, advertising and design. After a rigorous selection process and competition from a high volume of entries, the Academy is now in the running to win the ‘Sport Venue of the Year’ Award and faces competition from the likes of Twickenham and Wembley Stadiums as well as the O2 and the Brit Oval. The WPNSA previously won the esteemed
‘Environmental Concern in Sport’ Award back in 2008 and was the first 2012 venue to be formally completed, demonstrating the importance this forward thinking venue has had on not only the South West but the whole of the UK.

The 16 strong judging panel selected the WPNSA for the shortlist through offering a flexible and meticulous approach to event services, the commitment it has as a venue to serving the needs of its visitors, a distinct improvement in all aspects of the venue from the previous 12 months of activity, demonstrable financial growth and proof of creative innovation in the approach to hosting and marketing sporting events. Judges include; BBC Broadcast Journalist John Inverdale - Former Chief Press Secretary to the Prime Minster Alastair Campbell - Paralympic Athlete Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson and Chief Executive Officer of LOCOG Paul Deighton. The final results will not be announced until May 13th at a star studded ceremony.

The Academy was selected through submission of case studies detailing how the venue hosts a successful calendar of international mass participant water sports events as well as instigating activities accessible to the local Weymouth and Portland communities. Being nominated for this award highlights the calibre of the venue and the facilities it has to offer for yacht racing to dinghy sailing, triathlons to corporate functions and weddings.

John Tweed, Chief Executive of the Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy commented:
‘Everyone at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy is delighted to have been shortlisted for this prestigious Sport Industry, Sport Venue of the Year 2010 Award. We work tirelessly to improve the quality of services and events and it is incredibly rewarding to be recognised for this commitment’.

Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy

Aussie 18 Foot Skiffs: Giltinan Championship - Invitation Race Won by Brits

Rob Greenhalgh steered Benny to victory in the Invitation Race. Image copyright Frank Quealey.

by Frank Quealey

Former Giltinan champion Rob Greenhalgh and his crew Dan Johnson and Phil Harmer were the masters of terrible conditions on Sydney Harbour when they brought their skiff, Benny, home a clear winner of the Giltinan Championship Invitation Race today.

Extreme heat and totally unpredictable wind (at times none) made the racing very difficult for competitors.

Andy Budgen's Project Racing finished second. Image copyright Frank Quealey.

It was a double for the UK teams when Andy Budgen, James Barker and Matt Mc Govern finished in second place with their skiff Project Racing.

First of the local boats to complete the course was the third placed Yandoo skippered by John Inning, with crewmen Andrew Hay and Dave Gibson.

Yandoo was third in the invitation race. Image copyright Frank Quealey.

The start was delayed due to threatening weather and finally the starter sent the fleet over the windward return course of three laps.

At the windward mark the first time there was a mass of boats going in all directions.

Asko Appliances (Archie Massey) then became the leader on the second lap before the breeze switched totally and spinnakers were set for the second ‘windward’ leg.

The prospect of strong winds coming from the south as heavy clouds circled the course sent many boats heading home to avoid possible gear damage before tomorrow’s Race 1 of the championship.

Aussie 18 Footers League

Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club Regatta - Day One News in Brief

Carnage on the water...

by Mandy Burt

Race 1... Drinks Trolley nearly ran aground at Evans Bay

Race 2... Collision between Nedax and Monkey Business. Man overboard. Jammed rudder. Two boats towed.

Race 3... Gucci and Floating Free collided at mark 8.

Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club

OK Worlds: The Morning After...

by Mandy Burt

The celebrations began last night with 2010 OK Dinghy World Champion Karl Purdie being carried off the water by his fellow sailors. Champagne, hugs and interviews followed with rum and a friendly ‘dunk’ in the drink off the jetty back at the yacht club. The evening was rounded off by curry for 120+ in Little India and then a ‘club crawl’. Once again, the last man standing got home in time for breakfast.

Today... ‘dusty’ sailors, dismantling the boat park and OKDIA AGM.

This evening – farewell bbq and prizegiving at ICON, Te Papa.

Tomorrow... ‘Au Revoir’

OK Dinghy International Association
OK Worlds 2010

America's Cup: Alinghi looks forward to Race 1 of 33rd America's Cup

Alinghi looks forward to Race 1 of 33rd America's Cup

by Daphne Morgan Barnicoat

Today marks the third attempt to commence the 33rd America's Cup, a Deed of Gift match between Alinghi 5 as the Defender from the Société Nautique de Genève and USA representing the Golden Gate Yacht Club. The first attempt on Monday was abandoned due to unstable wind conditions associated with a passing cold front, and Wednesday's second attempt was postponed shore side due to waves measuring up to 2m.

As per the Deed of Gift, the 19th century document governing the America's Cup, today's race shall be 20nm to windward and return.

Quote from the race boat
Brad Butterworth, team skipper and tactician

“Hopefully there will be good conditions out there. I think it's lightening off. The big breeze is going away. I think if we go to a good spot we'll get good conditions and we'll be able to have a good race that'll suit both boats.

“It's a bit frustrating for all of us being postponed, I want to get out there and race and see how fast these boats are. Today looks like a good day.”

Defender vs. Challenger

Alinghi 5, Société Nautique de Genève (SUI) vs. BMW Oracle Racing, Golden Gate Yacht Club (USA)
Alinghi, the defender of the America's Cup, will enter the start box on port tack, signified with a blue flag on the stern.


NW 20knots decreasing to a light to moderate southerly in the afternoon
8 degrees
Waves of a metre in the morning with a decreasing trend during the day

Crew List

Bow 1: Piet van Nieuwenhuijzen (NED)
Bow 2: Curtis Blewett (CAN)
Bow 3: Jan Dekker (RSA/FRA)
Pitman: Rodney Ardern (NZL)
Trimmer upwind: Simon Daubney (NZL)
Trimmer downwind: Nils Frei (SUI)
Mainsail trimmer: Warwick Fleury (NZL)
Traveller: Pierre-Yves Jorand (SUI)
Helmsman: Ernesto Bertarelli (SUI)
Tactician: Brad Butterworth (NZL)
Strategist: Murray Jones (NZL)
Navigator: Juan Vila (ESP)
Floater: Loïck Peyron (FRA)
Pre-start: Peter Evans (NZL)

Did you know?

As a team Alinghi counts more than 130 members representing 20 nationalities in seven different departments (sailing, design, shore, weather, media, marketing, administration).

The race area covers 450 square miles, or 1165 square kilometres.

It took 100,000 man hours to construct Alinghi 5.

The 1100sqm Code 0 gennaker is one of the three largest in the world.
The mast is 17 storeys tall and there are 534m of carbon-fibre standing rigging (shrouds, forestays and backstays).

On this day in America's Cup history

1970 – Challenger Gretel II is launched in Sydney, Australia, to be the representative of the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, the third and last challenge of Australian media magnate Sir Frank Packer. Gretel II introduced several innovations including dual wheels to give the helmsman a better view and to have his weight better positioned to windward, as well as collapsible spreaders to enable the genoa to be sheeted closer to the mast, enhancing her ability to sail to windward. Gretel II was the first challenger to be selected in a Challenger Selection Series defeating Baron Bich's France to proceed to the match. Gretel II, named after Packer's wife (as well as his first challenger Gretel in 1962) was defeated by Intrepid 4-0. It was Intrepid's second America's Cup win, becoming only the second yacht to do so in the history of the Cup. Gretel II was restored in 2009 in New Zealand and is now racing once again on Sydney Harbour.

2009 – Alinghi defeats BMW Oracle Racing in the Challenger Final of the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series, 2-0, the last time Alinghi and BMW Oracle met in a match race before the 33rd America's Cup.


America's Cup: Update #8 from Valencia by Paul Cayard

by Paul Cayard

Just more of the same around here. Lots of energy being put in by the teams and the media to fill time and editorial space. Interviews with security guards and bottle washers now.

We did do one feature on the fact that the BMWOR trimaran has the "sail" 24/7 since they keep the wing up all the time now. There is a small army of people on a watch system, taking turns babysitting the boat on her mooring. We also did a nice interview with James Spithill. We asked Alinghi if we could interview their trainer to get an idea of what type of physical training the guys do during the regatta but we got turned down.

The start for Friday has already been postponed until noon. There are big waves on the course from the 30 knots that have been blowing through the area over the past 24 hours.

Tomorrow, Friday, is the last day of coverage from Valencia for us, the Eurosport on site team. Hard to believe we have been here for 8 days and have seen nothing. The world feed will still be carried on Eurosport whenever it happens. One more update from me tomorrow.

Cayard Sailing

America's Cup: BMW ORACLE Racing Eager to Race Friday

by Jane Eagleson

Strong winds kept both America's Cup boats in port on Thursday. It was much colder in Valencia this morning and much windier as well. BMW ORACLE Racing's trimaran, USA, remained on its mooring throughout the day.

"The boat is moored at the buoy with the wing sail vertical and we've seen more than 30 knots," said Max Sirena (ITA) who is in charge of the wing sail logistics. "It looks scary, but all is good so far."

The team remains eager to race. The main reason for leaving the wing sail up is so that the boat is ready to go racing early Friday morning.

"Over the last couple of weeks we've built up heaps of confidence," mast man and boat director Matthew Mason (NZL) told the media in a Q+A session.

"We're very satisfied. Logistically this thing (the wing sail) is hard. At one stage we thought we'd be lowering it down all the time, but as of today, we've got it up in nearly 35 knots."

The forecast is for the strong winds to persist into Thursday night. Friday morning brings a significant easing trend. Cold temperatures are expected for several days.

Friday, the Race Committee will make a third attempt at starting race one of the 33rd America's Cup Match. Monday's try was thwarted by a lck of wind. On Wednesday, the Race Committee elected to abandon racing due to the sea state. Friday's race is scheduled to start at 10:06 CET (22:06 New Zealand time).

Note from SailRaceWin: A postponement of two hours beyond this time has, however, already been signalled by the race committee.


America's Cup: Race 1 scheduled again for Friday

Friday should see a third attempt to get Race 1 of the 33rd America’s Cup away. The prospect of a window of suitable weather to allow the windward-leeward course comprising two 20-miles legs is anticipated tomorrow although Valencia has been subjected to some brisk, chilly northerly winds through today Thursday

Image © Consorcio Valencia.

by America's Cup media

A postponement was signalled in the early evening which means no start sequence will be before 1154hrs (LOCAL)

Even around the Marina Juan Carlos 1 the flags were stiffened by the wind through most of the day. The cool February breezes reached more than 30 knots at times.

Hopes are high that Race 1 will start tomorrow, but for all of the waiting that has already been part of what promises to be an historic 33rd America’s Cup match, neither the premium placed on patience nor the bracing temperatures have cooled the sense of anticipation, nor made any clearer what might happen when the two giant multihulls finally meet up.

Debate ebbs and flows about every aspect of the Race 1, from the simple binary answer – who will win, right through to the detail of changes to the match racing rules to accommodate these giant speedsters.

The hiatus has allowed crew members from both the defender Alinghi (SUI) and the challenger BMW ORACLE Racing Team to drip feed technological information as well as their perception of how Race 1 might develop.

In an instructive media seminar Ed Baird (USA), helmsman when Alinghi won the America’s Cup in 2007 for the second time, said today that a close race in these multihulls might be one with somewhere between three or four minutes at the first mark, and such a margin could be easily won or lost on the downwind leg.

Factor in the fact that so much ground is lost in manoeuvres, that conventional covering (blanketing your opponent with the wind shadow from your sails) is not really possible, all-in-all a ‘whole new mentality’ he warned.

Baird in effect said that, downwind is the new upwind.

Downwind these giant multihulls are sailing so quick that the apparent wind they generate is only 5-6 degrees different to that when they are racing upwind.

Dirk De Ridder (NED) who is in charge of the trim of BMW ORACLE Racing Team’s huge 223 ft (68m) wing which took 150,00 man hours to build, explained some of the differences between his job with the solid foil and the equivalent soft sail. He controls the wing with a conventional traveller system which is lead to a winch, and a hydraulic systems powered by a small engine which controls the shape of the wing. The two element wing is comparatively straightforward, he explained, with nine hinges between the main wing element and the aft flap.

The construction of the wing itself is especially high tech, but De Ridder revealed that his controlling key pad system is nothing more or less than an ‘idiot proof’ off-the-shelf garage door remote operating system.

Sir Richard Branson, the British entrepreneur who last year made an attempt at the Transatlantic Record was a visitor to the America’s Cup site, touring the Alinghi base, meeting up with Mike Sanderson CEO of Britain’s TeamOrigin America’s Cup syndicate.

Quotes of the day:

Harold Bennett (NZL) Race Director and Principal Race Officer:

“There is a strong wind overnight which the models are saying will probably drop during the early morning. There may be a window for us in the afternoon. We may see the seas flatten out a lot earlier, but we will be out early to have a look and we will give it a fair chance tomorrow.”

Ed Baird (USA) sailing team member Alinghi:

“We have met with the umpires. They are amazingly impressed with the equipment and they recognise the limitations on being able to manoeuvre the boats in close quarters situations. They don’t want to see close situations, like we saw before, where the boats were two metres apart. They don’t want to see that.

“Honestly we expect that the boats will not be together very much. The important part is the start, that the umpires can see what is going on but on the open course it would be a real surprise to see engagement. It is a different mentality of sailing because the boats slow down so much when they tack. Your covering option is not effective like it is in monohulls.

“The teams have agreed that it a team member accidentally falls off the boat they can be picked up, the umpires are there, the security boats are there, our own chase boats are there. And any of them can pick him up. The sailboat communicates with the chase boat and the committee boat and decides if they want that person put back on to the sail boat. He is put back on by the team’s chase boat and there is no penalty.”

Matthew Mason (NZL) mast BMW ORACLE Racing:

“There are probably going to be two different philosophies about it pre start. I know that Jimmy (Spithill) is pretty fired up about it. The five minutes is going to go very fast. They have the offset entry for the port entry boat. But there is a chance that starboard entry boat could catch the port entry even though they have that offset. And using a downwind sail on the entry is an option. And I know that if we have the chance we will be entering with a downwind sail and trying to get a piece of them and engaging pre-start. That’s our plan.”

Dirk De Ridder (NED) wing trimmer BMW ORACLE Racing:

“I have four functions on hydraulics to operate the wing and the traveller which is on a winch. We started off high tech with a high tech with a remote wireless fittings, but there is so much carbon between me and the receiver that it did not quite work. So we ended up Mark Sheffield (GBR) went in and bought a stock standard garage door opener which is now hard wired to the computer and is now pretty idiot proof. It has eight buttons, four on and four off and so far so good. It was an example of something where we could spend an enormous amount of time and money, say, flicking on a fancy screen but this is idiot proof and it works really well.

“I think if you ask every designer of ours that has worked on the wing they will tell you the same thing, in theory. The wing we have built is basically a very simple two element wing, although the way they have built it and the materials are very high tech. The actual concept is relatively simple.

“It has a front element which also holds the structural mast and we have the flap element and by offsetting those two you get an angle of attack on the front element and camber over the whole wing which gives you the driving force and lift coefficient that you need to go forwards.

“I think, is it more high tech than Alinghi? I don’t think it is more high tech than Alinghi. It is a different way of achieving the same goal. We took a gamble going with the wing and it has come out extremely well. We put it up and two hours later we were flying a hull in San Diego.”

Richard Branson (GBR), British entrepreneur, founder of the Virgin brand:

“I love all kinds of sport and the America’s Cup is one of the greatest sporting spectacles. There are two giants going to be battling it out over the next few days and obviously it is great to see the boats, incredible boats. And it is great the courts are behind them and we will finally have a battle at sea.”

Asked if the thought there would be racing tomorrow he said:

“If not tomorrow definitely Sunday. With these kind of boats, very fragile high speed boats then the weather is very important because they could break up.”

Asked if he would be seeing both, he smiled:

“Ernesto for lunch and Larry for dinner…it is great to see them both.

“I love sailing, sailing small boats. We did try to break the transantlantic sailing record last year with my children and on that occasion we hit big bad winds and the mainsail broke and we had to limp home.

“I have just had lunch with Mike Sanderson who is team captain for the British team and he is a great friend. And fortunately they seem to have funding for a British attempt. And so hopefully after this we will see eight nine ten teams particiapating and we will get the America’s Cup team back to how it should be with lots of different nations participating.

“We are not at this moment planning to be involved in the America’s Cup. We are here as interested bystanders. It would be good, of course it would. But the British team have got funding drops out who’s to know?”

33rd America's Cup

America's Cup: 2 Hour Postponement Friday 12th Feb

by America's Cup media

The Warning Signal for Race 1 on Friday 12th February 2010 will not be made before 11:54 hrs CET (23:54 hrs New Zealand time).

From SailRaceWin: With tongue firmly in cheek - we are wondering if the race committee are having a hard time getting out of bed in the mornings. Maybe they don't like the cold European winters...

33rd America's Cup

America's Cup: Scarlet Turned Black-and-White for Alinghi

Image copyright Carlo Borlenghi/Alinghi.

Image copyright Carlo Borlenghi/Alinghi.

Image copyright Carlo Borlenghi/Alinghi.

Image copyright Carlo Borlenghi/Alinghi.

Image copyright Carlo Borlenghi/Alinghi.


America's Cup: BMW ORACLE Racing Images from Gilles Martin-Raget

Image copyright Gilles Martin-Raget/BMW ORACLE Racing.

Image copyright Gilles Martin-Raget/BMW ORACLE Racing.

Image copyright Gilles Martin-Raget/BMW ORACLE Racing.

Image copyright Gilles Martin-Raget/BMW ORACLE Racing.

Image copyright Gilles Martin-Raget/BMW ORACLE Racing.

Image copyright Gilles Martin-Raget/BMW ORACLE Racing.

Image copyright Gilles Martin-Raget/BMW ORACLE Racing.

Gilles Martin-Raget

America's Cup: Alinghi Dockside Images from Carlo Borlenghi

Image copyright Carlo Borlenghi/Alinghi.

Image copyright Carlo Borlenghi/Alinghi.

Alinghi 5

Image copyright Carlo Borlenghi/Alinghi.

Image copyright Carlo Borlenghi/Alinghi.

Image copyright Carlo Borlenghi/Alinghi.


America's Cup: BMW ORACLE Racing's Brad Webb (NZL)

Man in Motion


America's Cup: Comments from the second postponed day of racing

by America's Cup media

Includes comments on getting racing going from Harold Bennett and the feel of Alinghi 5 from Loïck Peyron:

Harold Bennett (NZL), Regatta Director and Principal Race Officer:

“These are different boats from what we have been used to. And the understanding of them is still a learning curve. Conditions like today? That is interesting. I am not sure they would have done too well with it.

“The last thing you want to do is see one of these boats break, that is going to hurt someone or even maybe not finish.

“There was a lot of seaway and so the prudent thing to do was not too go out too early. Having got to that, around 0830, I thought it was more prudent to go and have a look for ourselves. We went approximately 23.5 to 24 miles off the coast here and that would have given us a windward mark somewhere not too far off the port here. As we got 10 miles off the coast it was getting rather lumpy. We were surfing down some of the waves with the power cat. Once we turned around in the area, starting to have a look at it, there were some pretty big seas. We had the swell from the NE and the wind blowing off the west and that was throwing up some pretty big waves.

"I would have not had a problem with the wind conditions. We were looking at 17-18 knots, I wouldn’t have had a problem with that.

“This is not the best time of year to be doing this. When it was announced that we were coming to here I said that everyone, the sailors, the public, the press everyone was going to have to be patient, because we had little information about the conditions outside of five or six miles and on Monday we found out about that breeze off the land which will go half way out but not right our. That was a point I made when I was asked. It will be a matter of being patient until we get it right.”

James Spithill (AUS), skipper-helm USA:

“We were keen to go. We think probably at 10 o’clock there was a window, but having that said that it is very easy to look from the outside. I think Harold Bennett is the right man for the job. I have full trust in Harold. He has a good track record and I would much rather be sailing that running racing.”

“We would be more than happy with conditions this morning, with those waves. We sailed in San Diego with two, two and a half metres. But obviously there are some variables with waves, the period, the direction etc but I think we would have been more than happy this morning. As I said it is not an easy job and I have full faith in Harold and I respect his decisions.”

Loïck Peyron (France), floater Alinghi 5:

“The best conditions are those in which you don’t risk the boat. We are both (teams) agreed on that. There are big waves coming all the way down from France. The conditions were possibly boat breaking. These boats are for Formula 1 racing and you do not take them off to do the Paris-Dakar.

“We did a few training races a week ago 20 miles to windward and back and it was perfect. But everyone knew before that this is not exactly the best place to do this.

“We did a very nice 20 mile course up and down and also a triangle but that was one time in a month, and it was in S’ly or SE’ly wind, maybe a lot before a low is coming. We had a little right shifts but it was within the official range plus or minus 30 degrees, definitely in the range for both teams.

“I have the chance to learn something every day. I love to jump from one boat to another. A year ago I was sailing around the world on my own and here I am sharing with tremendous guys with a lot of different sailing areas, from the Volvo race, from the Cup. For me it is the first time that I have felt the acceleration of a small multihull, like I love to do on the Swiss lakes, like the D35 or the small really light ones, but Alinghi 5 has the power of a big offshore multi and the acceleration of a small multihull. It is the first time I have felt both these two feelings.

“It is quite interesting to be at the helm of a boat like this having behind me Mr Butterworth, and in front of me Mr Warwick (Fleury) and Simon (Daubney), stars I have seen in the papers for so many years, and I have to say: “OK guys and now we have to do that...” And so for me that is quite interesting.”

33rd America's Cup

JVT: Exit from Highs Imminent for Groupama 3

Bruno Jeanjean and Thomas Coville on board Groupama 3. Image copyright Team Groupama.

by Vincent Borde and Caroline Muller

Snaking between cells of high pressure, Groupama 3 is seeking to avoid being caught up in the anticyclones, which are positioned way down South... Franck Cammas and his men know that they have to endure another 24 difficult hours before they can hook onto a steadier, powerful W'ly breeze.

In the atmosphere there are plateaus and craters, anticyclones and depressions... Between the two are cols and valleys. Currently approaching the Roaring Forties, from Friday morning Franck Cammas and his nine crew are likely to reach some very light, problematic conditions, however the analysis remains very positive. Indeed Groupama 3 always manages to maintain sufficient speed to get through the tricky zones before the small zones of high pressure succeed in catching up with her.

"We should find wind ahead of our bows! I hope we've escaped the lightest breezes now... This Thursday morning, we weren't even making an average of six knots, with less than three knots of breeze. Fortunately we're in the process of leaving these zones, which are closing up behind us. The end of the tunnel lies at 37° South!

However, in a few days time, we'll have enough wind to get the boat making good headway... And it's beginning to cool off. There are already some albatrosses in the sky, the sun is shining and the sea is the purest of blues. However, we're constantly having to trim the sails in order to escape these zones of high pressure" explained Franck Cammas to French celebrity Yann Queffélec, during the 1130 UTC videoconference at Groupama's Race HQ in Paris.

Hamlet or Othello?

To be or not to be? This is a question Franck Cammas is asking right now. This is not in metaphysical terms but rather geographical ones, as current sailing in the calms of the Forties is proving worthy of the surrealism of the Doldrums... However, the Southern summer can also be temperamental and the extension of this high pressure across the whole of the Southern Atlantic is nothing unusual. The difficulty for navigator Stan Honey and onshore router Sylvain Mondon, lies in locating a coherent route, keeping the risk of coming to a complete standstill at a minimum.

"We had to make a decision two days ago: we opted for the riskier route, that's to say traversing zones of flat calm, and we're doing better than if we'd taken a big detour to get around them! We're fairly happy with our decision because we've gone faster than the wind holes, which are forming behind us..."

As such remaining on a trajectory close to that of the round the world record holder was quite logical, and on a Jules Verne Trophy, it is an established fact that leads or deficits fluctuate according to the weather data: the main thing is to maintain your trust in your boat, in your crew and in the weather forecasts, which run for another month, on as far as Ushant!

Ronan Le Goff and Thomas Coville aboard Groupama 3. Image copyright Team Groupama.

Balancing out time

"We knew that our start was good and that the next stage wasn't easy: ultimately we'll have less of a deficit on rounding the Cape of Good Hope than we envisaged in Ushant! This only represents a quarter of the Jules Verne Trophy. Even though we're not in a good position for this entry into the Indian Ocean, the latter is shaping up to be favourable... The boat hasn't suffered and we should only have a deficit of between five and eight hours on the reference time."

To follow, as soon as the giant trimaran has caught up with the low moving along 60° South (sic!), the tempo will dramatically increase and Franck Cammas and his men are likely to be just as fast as Bruno Peyron and his crew along this section of the course. As such the deficit amassed over the past few hours will stabilise and the passage around the Cape of Good Hope just a few hours behind the reference time won't prove too disadvantageous!

Video of weather conditions analysis by Stan Honey (in English) + (in French) ITW from Franck Cammas at the helm, Loïc Le Mignon inspects the vessel's arms and structure, ITW from Fred Le Peutrec, 10th February 2010:

Groupama 3's log (departure on 31st January at 13h 55' 53'' UTC)

Day 1 (1st February 1400 UTC): 500 miles (deficit = 94 miles)
Day 2 (2nd February 1400 UTC): 560 miles (lead = 3.5 miles)
Day 3 (3rd February 1400 UTC): 535 miles (lead = 170 miles)
Day 4 (4th February 1400 UTC): 565 miles (lead = 245 miles)
Day 5 (5th February 1400 UTC): 656 miles (lead = 562 miles)
Day 6 (6th February 1400 UTC): 456 miles (lead = 620 miles)
Day 7 (7th February 1400 UTC): 430 miles (lead = 539 miles)
Day 8 (8th February 1400 UTC): 305 miles (lead = 456 miles)
Day 9 (9th February 1400 UTC): 436 miles (lead = 393 miles)
Day 10 (10th February 1400 UTC): 355 miles (lead = 272 miles)
Day 11 (11th February 1400 UTC): 267 miles (deficit = 30 miles)

Best passage time to the equator from Ushant

Groupama 3: 5d 15h 23' (November 2009)

Jules Verne Trophy reference time to the equator

Orange 2: 7d 02h 56' (January 2005)

The crew and organisation aboard Groupama 3

• Watch No.1: Franck Cammas / Loïc Le Mignon / Jacques Caraës
• Watch No.2: Stève Ravussin / Thomas Coville / Bruno Jeanjean
• Watch No.3: Fred Le Peutrec / Lionel Lemonchois / Ronan Le Goff
• Off watch navigator: Stan Honey goes up on deck for manoeuvres
• One watch system on deck, one watch on stand-by ready to help manoeuvre, one watch totally resting

The record to beat

Currently held by Bruno Peyron on Orange 2 since 2005 with a time of 50 days 16 hours 20 minutes at an average of 17.89 knots. Lionel Lemonchois, Ronan Le Goff and Jacques Caraës were aboard at the time.

Cammas - Groupama

The Longtze: takes off on another European Tour!

15 Longtze Premiers expected at the Primo Cup 14 to 17 February

Image copyright Longtze Yachts.

by Catherine Ecarlat

The 2nd Longtze European Tour kicks off on the 14th February, in Monaco, with the Primo Cup – Trophée Crédit Suisse! With more nationalities represented and more boats, the Longtze European Tour looks set to enjoy the great success it experienced last year during its ‘warm-up tour’. Fifteen crews are expected at the Primo Cup, and 5 to 10 extra boats will join the Longtze European Tour in May for the Grand Prix de l’Ecole Navale.

In 2009, the Longtze European Tour 2009 attracted lots of attention and sparked great interest…Skippers, sailors, race organisers, club officials : so many experts expressed their interest in this very unique sportboat. Buoyed by this success, the Longtze Premier heads off on a new tour of Europe with two new destinations and a packed fleet.

Image copyright Longtze Yachts.

20 to 25 confirmed crews are expected to take part throughout the 2010 season, of which most are newcomers: the Longtze European Tour is becoming bigger, but it remains open to all and maintains its high level of professionalism, performance and conviviality...

Primo, the Primo Cup!

As per last year, the Longtze European Tour debuts the season amidst the sparkle and prestige of the Primo Cup- Trophée Crédit Suisse. Three Swiss teams, two Russian, one Dutch, one German and eight French teams will meet on the water in Monaco this Friday.

We will see sailors already accustomed to the subtleties of the Longtze Premier with the likes of the Germans led by Eckard Kaller, Nicolas Bérenger’s French team, and the Dutchman Koos van den Heuvel... but a good proportion of the crews in the line-up will discover the Longtze Premier and the circuit for the first time.

This Monaco leg, particularly technical last year, will allow each person to set their mark...

Primo Cup 2009, Monaco. Image copyright Longtze Yachts.

In May, a regatta you will enjoy

In May the Longtze Premier will discover, for the third time and with again great pleasure, the subtleties of the waters at Lanvéoc during the Grand Prix de l’Ecole Navale. 20 to 25 crews are expected to be there and this year, and for the next two years, the event has the added dimension of being the French Monotype Championship. A major meet where the Longtze Premier will be proudly represented.

Wight is the Longtze...

Great new addition to the 2010 circuit : the « fils du dragon » cross the Channel in July to race in the legendary Cowes Week and its Tour of the Isle of Wight. A mythical event in the heart of sailing’s mecca, but also heralding a new competitive format for the Longtze Premier, as for the first time, they will race not between two buoys but on this fabulous coastal course...

Image copyright Longtze Yachts.

Italian Sojourn

Another destination, another body of water, another course format: in September, the European circuit touches down in Italy on Lake Garda for the Trofeo Gorla, a 50 mile race at the foot of the Dolomites. There the crews will have to juggle with the very special effects created by this big Italian lake !

Swiss Final

As per last year the Longtze European Tour will conclude with a Swiss event. The greatest number of teams will get together for a very festive and challenging competition. In 2009, this grand final was explosive and spectacular…watch out for it in 2010 !

Image copyright Longtze Yachts.

Hervé Gautier, skipper of the Longtze Premier «Ecole Navale HEC sailing team», a newcomer to the Longtze European Tour as well as the new student circuit, the Longtze Student Cup : “ I have watched the Longtze and its circuit very closely since last year. L’Ecole Navale’s involvement in this circuit since its inception has confirmed to me the solid foundations of the overall concept. The creation of the Longtze Student Cup finally convinced me. The boat is very powerful, agile and aesthetically pleasing, all of which represents a great asset for the sponsors. And behind this well thought-out boat, is an organisation that gives its all to create a coherent circuit : it just cannot fail ! To be able to bring together 15 boats for the Primo Cup in a new series and at the beginning of the season is more than encouraging !”

With a great mix of experience, age, skills, contrasting and tactical waters, this second Longtze European Tour promises new exciting challenges. Kick-off this weekend in Monaco!

Primo Cup 2009, Monaco. Image copyright Longtze Yachts.

Longtze European Tour 2010

Primo Cup-Trophée Crédit Suisse – Monaco (11 - 14 February)
Grand Prix de l'Ecole Navale - Lanvéoc (13 - 16 May)
Cowes Week – Isle of Wight (31 July - 7 August)
Trofeo Gorla – Lac de Garde (3 - 4 September bananes et 5 September le Trofeo Gorla : 50 milles)
Longtze Final – Switzerland (end October)

Created by Steve Thompson, a New Zealand designer, the Longtze Premier was developed by the America’s Cup Team, Le Défi.

Technical Specifications

Length (LOA): 6.8 m
Beam: 2.57 m (without removing wings: 2.35 m)
Draft: 1.8 m
Mast height: 11.4 m
Mainsail Racing: 20.6 sqm
Code 1 Jib Racing: 13.4 sqm
Code 1 Asymmetrical Spinnaker Racing: 58.5 sqm
Weight of hull: 260 kg
Weight of keel and bulb: 300 kg