Friday 24 September 2010

Audi MedCup: Soto 40 joins for the 2011 Circuit

Starting from the 2011 season the exciting new Soto 40 (S40) will become a key part of the Audi MedCup Circuit. At least eight of these one design grand prix racers are confirmed as entrants next season including three South American teams, two Spanish teams and one French team


by Sabina Mollart-Rogerson

The Soto 40 has experienced an impressive growth curve since it was purpose designed by Javier Soto Acebal to meet the demand for an exciting, fast and technically advanced 40 footer. The new boat fits the brief for a grand prix boat which can be built and campaigned to a tightly controlled, reasonable budget in order to ensure that success can be achieved on the strength of sailing talent and skills, not simply by the crew with the biggest budget.

The 12.3 metres (40feet) one design has a 3.75 metres beam and draws 2.6 metres, displacing 4200kgs. It is built in Argentina by M Boats and by the start of the 2011 season at 20 boats will already have been built.

The boat has a 1.43 metres bowsprit to set large asymmetric spinnakers. Input into the deck layout was given by leading Audi MedCup 52 Series sailors and has resulted in a very clean deck area. The choice was made to forego the use of pedestal winches in order to save weight, keep the cockpit clear and to increase crew activity. An open stern and pronounced wing style deck overhangs to increase crew righting moment are immediately identifiable characteristic, along with a tall all-carbon rig setting a powerful square top mainsail.


Being to a strict one design rule ensures costs are tightly controlled. Only the choice of sailmaker and the electronics packages are open to choice. The sail inventory is limited. The S40 allows for the choice of either a tiller or wheel steering option.

One design requires the boats to be identical in design and construction to very tight tolerances. No alterations or modifications are permitted making the boats very closely matched. The sail package crew weight limit of 700 kgs, plus one guest, is likely to be imposed for the 2011 Circuit. The decision not to use carbon in the hull and deck lay up loses between one and two tenths of a knot upwind, according to the designer and builder, but the costs savings are of the order of €200,000. And with One Design eliminating any design evolution, resale values remain high and demand for used boats also remains high.

One Design fits tightly to the Audi MedCup Circuit ethos of easily understood, exciting accessible grand prix racing: first across the finish line wins.

Rolex Ilhabela Sailing Week 2010 © Carlo Borlenghi.

The first S40 was launched in 2008. Presently ten boats are competing regularly in South American championships.

At least three South American owners have already committed to join the Audi MedCup Circuit in 2011. Audi MedCup have confirmed they have committed to five new boats of which three are already allocated to teams from Spain and France. While eight teams are expected to be on the start line of the first regatta of 2011, it is anticipated that more will join the Circuit as their new boats are completed and delivered. An advantage of One Design is that optimising and tuning up time is minimal, the boat can be raced to top level ‘off the shelf.’ There will also still be economic charter opportunities for teams who wish to reach an agreement to charter an existing boat from South America to sail on the 2011 Circuit.

Javier Soto Acebal (ARG), designer S40:
“This is a very exciting advance for the Soto 40 taking our design on to the world stage. I am totally happy about this and very proud of the team that have worked together to get us here. My biggest desire is to see the very even, open level of competition which we are seeing now in South America spread to the Audi MedCup Circuit. Each sailor that is racing a Soto 40 when he comes back to the dock has become a better sailor.”

Rolex Ilhabela Sailing Week 2010 © Carlo Borlenghi

Norberto Alvarez Vitale, owner Soto 40 #2 'Patagonia' and class manager:
“ The initial idea was to forget about rating systems, forget about IMS, design us a boat which is fun. We want to have fun in light winds, we want to have fun in strong winds we want to surf.

“The other thing that we had very clear is to bring costs down. For that it had to be one design. In order
to be competitive from the very beginning with the boat it has to be a one design. There has to be no development to the boat.

“In our case that has turned out we raced in Rio two weeks ago and we had a great Chilean boat which won even after he had only got the boat one month ago. All these factors make it fun, make owners want to come to our class and really enjoy racing which is what it is all about. For us it is about the owners and the crew. For us it has been more than what we imagined. We started out with two boats, match racing, and now we have 20 in a year by this December. If that happened in South America where the economy is the way it is I can’t imagine what will happen in Europe once the boat lands in these waters.”

© Guido Trombetta_Studio Borlenghi/Audi MedCup.

Nacho Postigo technical director Audi MedCup:
"It is a big change to a philosophy for the Audi MedCup. It was a big step forward two years ago to a box rule for the smaller boat class and now we are moving to a one design class. One of the most important reasons is cost, cost of buying the boat, running the boat and resale value. When you exclude development from the equation apart it is also important that when you resell the boat it is still competitive and it has not become outdated. So the value remains.

“For a newcomer he will have the same tool, the same weapon as all the other boats around. In fact it is more about the sailing skills of the team, not about choosing a designer and how you run the project.”

Audi MedCup

Extreme 40: Video highlights of Racing in Trapani on Day One

Extreme Sailing Series Europe

Audi MedCup: Can Matador rain on the Quantum parade?

The Region of Sardinia Trophy leaders have themselves a good shot at second overall on the Audi MedCup Circuit

21 09 2010, Region of Sardinia Trophy © Ainhoa Sanchez/Audi MedCup.

by Sabina Mollart-Rogerson


It’s an unusual phenomenon on the Audi MedCup Circuit, but that is the prevailing weather feature this morning, puddles already forming around the Region of Sardinia Trophy regatta dockside in Cagaliari.

It might dampen the mood slightly for visitors, many of whom have beaten the air traffic control strikes to be here at the season's crunch time, but the precipitation is purely incidental for the 52 Series and 42 Series teams who know what is at stake on this penultimate day of the 2010 Audi MedCup season.

Matador lead the regatta by 11 points, winning three of the last four races. But their attack has brought them to within six points of Quantum Racing on the overall Audi MedCup Circuit standings, with only up to four races left. And Matador now have a gap of 20 points back to TeamOrigin so they have something of a dilemma, whether to go all out for the regatta win and/or to ensure they consistently beat Quantum to land second for the season.

“In fact we have three goals: be on the podium, be second overall and to win the regatta. To win the regatta would be purely a bonus. First we watch behind, then after maybe two or three races we see how we are placed.” Says Vasco Vascotto (ITA), Matador’s strategist.

The forecast for wind strength is promising but far less encouraging for stability of direction. And rain is almost certain.

Around start time the breeze could be as much as 10-16 kts but backing from around 110-130 degrees to between 070 and 110 degrees during the early afternoon, and continuing to build and, clocking back to 020 degrees.

So it looks like a really testing day with the breeze always on the move, shifty, gusty and puffy.

All the action will be available live on as from 1250hrs CET.

Audi MedCup

San Francisco Delivers, Lalli Takes The Melges 32 Worlds Lead

Alcatraz backdrop for the Worlds sailors. Image copyright Sharon Green/Ultimate Sailing.

by Joy Dunigan

It was another incredible day of racing at the 2010 Melges 32 World Championship, hosted by the St. Francis Yacht Club. Three heats delivered three different winners under absolutely stunning conditions. Overnight leader Andy Lovell on Rougarou was toppled by Luca Lalli's B-Lin Sailing now in first place overall, while Alex Jackson's Leenabaca remains in third.

Wet upwind sailing in breeze. Image copyright Sharon Green/Ultimate Sailing.

An early postponement led to getting started about an hour later than scheduled with the breeze beginning to settle in for the first race start. The third attempt was the charm with Doug Douglas' Goombay Smash stepping out front of the fleet and Martin Knetig's Black Mamba pouring on the speed as they rounded the top mark in first and second. "There was a little more pressure on the left, and a little line bias. We were fast off the line in that first race for sure." said Marco Constant, on board with Douglas. "No matter what, we are having heaps of fun." Douglas was simply lit downwind as he passed through the gate in first, this time followed by Jason Carroll on Argo. The two finished respectively with France's Jean Francois Cruette on Teasing Machine finishing third.

Melges 32s downwind in San Francisco Bay. Image copyright Sharon Green/Ultimate Sailing.

Race two witnessed the speed of Jeff Ecklund's STAR. Taking to left side early as the breeze filled in further, Ecklund rounded the weathermark in first, followed by John Porter on Full Throttle in second and Lalli's B-Lin Sailing. Ecklund pulled away from the fleet leg-by-leg to take the win. Reigning World Champion Pieter Taselaar on Bliksem got in on the mix to take second. Finishing third, Steve Pugh on Taboo had an incredible race.

Samba Pa Ti. Image copyright Sharon Green/Ultimate Sailing.

The last and final race of the day took place around 4:30 p.m., yet brought on the best breeze of the day with another five-legged upwind finish. First around was Steve Howe on Warpath with a solid set taking him to the gate firmly in the lead. "Today was great." said Warpath tactician Morgan Larson. "We finally got around the course quite well." Howe dominated that late afternoon racing scene with Lalli grabbing on for second place position, chasing for the top spot. Kip Meadows and his roXanne Melges 32 had a much better day taking third. All finished in respective order.

Wet upwind sailing in breeze. Image copyright Sharon Green/Ultimate Sailing.

After six races and a discard, Lalli now leads the Melges 32 fleet in San Francisco, moving him up a full three notches to take first place, sliding overnight leader Andy Lovell into second. Alex Jackson remains in third, Porter moves up five slots for fourth and Jeff Ecklund's outstanding performance today edged him up three places to finish fifth overall.

Melges 32s downwind in San Francisco Bay. Image copyright Sharon Green/Ultimate Sailing.

Special thanks to everyone who tuned in to Watch LIVE from the course, presented by Velocitek. Sail Groove's Chris Love and commentator, St. Francis Yacht Club Junior Director Mike Kalin kept everyone entertained. Everyone is encouraged to tune in as the racing in San Francisco is by far, the most incredible Melges 32 competition ever seen. Updates will also be made available on the official Melges 32 Facebook and Twitter pages. Live Tracking is also available by Kattack.

Melges 32s downwind in San Francisco Bay. Image copyright Sharon Green/Ultimate Sailing.

Top Ten Results (After 6 Races 1 discard)
1.) Luca Lalli/Lorenzo Bressani, B-lin Sailing; [15]-6-1-8-8-2 = 25
2.) Andy Lovell/Johnny Lovell, Rougarou; 2-4-3-[25]-13-6 = 28
3.) Alex Jackson/Rob Greenhalgh, Leenabarca; 10-5-4-[21]-6-5 = 23
4.) John Porter/Jonathan McKee, Full Throttle; 3-[23]-10-4-4-11 = 32
5.) Jeff Ecklund/Harry Melges III, STAR; 6-[19]-9-13-1-8 = 37
6.) Doug Douglas/Russell Coutts, Goombay Smash; 13-1-14-1-[25]-9 = 38
7.) Pieter Taselaar/Jeremy Wilmot, Bliksem; [23]-12-2-14-2-23 = 43
8.) Steve Howe/Morgan Larson, Warpath; [33/DSQ]-9-17-5-12-1 = 44
9.) Kip Meadows/Andy Horton, roXanne; 17-7-13-6-[19]-3 = 46
10.) Jean Francois Cruette/Christian Ponthieu, Teasing Machine; [22]-17-6-3-16-7 = 49
Melges 32

Women's Match Racers set up all-Australian Quarterfinal at World Championship

Gybing. Image copyright Fried Elliott/

by Craig Heydon

The Australian Women’s Match Racing Team has set up an all-Australian quarterfinal following seeding in the Gold fleet at the 2010 ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship in Newport, USA.

Day three of racing had the top six teams compete in a round robin to determine the seedings for Friday’s quarterfinals with the Australian crew of Nicky Souter, Nina Curtis, Olivia Price and Laura Baldwin finishing the day third while Katie Spithill, Jessica Eastwell, Angela Farrell and Stacey Jackson were sixth.

The results mean that the two Australian crews will line up against each other in the quarterfinals, ensuring that an Australian will be in the top four yet again at the ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship.

“Racing against Nicky and crew in the quarters isn’t our first choice but it was decided by the results, is out of our control and we’ll deal with it,” said Spithill. “On the bright side it means we’ll have one Australian crew in the semi finals.”

Souter was also positive about taking on her compatriots in the knockout stage of the competition.

“With all of the regattas we’ve competed in and all the World Cup rounds this year we haven’t come up against each other in the quarterfinals yet,” said defending World Champion Souter. “It’s been on the cards a few times but hasn’t panned out so we’re actually all looking forward to the challenge tomorrow.”

Souter, Curtis, Price and Baldwin finished the day with three wins from their five races, in a four way tie for first position, with the Australian seeded third on a count back.

“While today wasn’t as stressful a day on the water as it wasn’t sudden death there was still plenty of close races,” said Souter. “At the end of the round robin there was only two points between first and six so there was no standout team, almost every race went right down to the wire.”

While Spithill, Eastwell, Farrell and Jackson were sixth in the group the skipper said that they still took plenty out of the day.

“We had a mixed day today,” said Spithill. “We made some mistakes but at the same time learnt some lessons to take through to tomorrow.”

“We had some really close races, against Nicky and crew it was a photo finish, even after crossing the line we weren’t entirely sure who had won, both crews had the spinnaker out as far as it would go,” she said.

When asked if there would be any gamesmanship going on before the all-Australian quarterfinal Spithill was quick to point out that it would all come down to the action on the water tomorrow.

“Let’s put it this way, we all went out to dinner together tonight and now I’m hanging out with Nicky in her room,” she said. “We’re just looking forward to going racing again tomorrow.”

Australian Sailing Team
Women's World Match Racing Championships

Melges 32 Worlds: Images from Day One by Joy Dunigan

Image copyright Joy Dunigan/Melges32 Class Association.

Image copyright Joy Dunigan/Melges32 Class Association.

Image copyright Joy Dunigan/Melges32 Class Association.

Image copyright Joy Dunigan/Melges32 Class Association.

Image copyright Joy Dunigan/Melges32 Class Association.

Image copyright Joy Dunigan/Melges32 Class Association.

Image copyright Joy Dunigan/Melges32 Class Association.

Image copyright Joy Dunigan/Melges32 Class Association.

Image copyright Joy Dunigan/Melges32 Class Association.

Melges 32

Women's Match Racing Worlds Images on Day 3 from Fried Elliott

Sam Osborne (NZL). Image copyright Fried Elliott/

The Aussies

Image copyright Fried Elliott/

Image copyright Fried Elliott/

Image copyright Fried Elliott/

Image copyright Fried Elliott/

Image copyright Fried Elliott/

Image copyright Fried Elliott/

Image copyright Fried Elliott/

Image copyright Fried Elliott/

Image copyright Fried Elliott/

Image copyright Fried Elliott/

... and Americans

Image copyright Fried Elliott/

12 metre sails by. Image copyright Fried Elliott/

Fried Elliott
Women's Match Racing Worlds

Women's Match Racing Worlds: Last Two Quarterfinal Spots...

Liz (right) Hands The Spinnaker Pole While Molly (left) Prepares To Recover The Spinnaker. Image copyright Fried Elliott/

by Anna Tunnicliffe

It was a long, but successful day for us today at the ISAF World Match Racing Championships. After failing to advance to the gold round yesterday, we had to battle today in the repecharge to win our way into the knockout series for the last two spots for the quater finals. We managed to win our group with a 5-1 record; tied for first, but won the tie against Netherlands' Renee Groeneveld.

Our first race of the day was a bye, so we sat out and watched what was happening on the course. In our first actual race, we led off the line, but let our opponent get to the left of us and she gained back a good deal of the distance she had been behind. We were still ahead at the second top mark, but decided to gybe/set, whereas she just went round the mark, set and held. As it turned out, she ended up in more breeze and got just ahead of us at the finish line. After that, we knew that we had to win our next two races to stay alive. We had great starts in the next two races and held the lead all around the course to secure our place in the repecharge knockout.

Tomorrow morning, we will race against the second place finisher in the other repecharge group, Ekatarina Skudina from Russia. The knock out series is a first-to-two points series, with the winner advancing to the quater finals. These will take place immediately after our knockout series.

We are very happy with how we sailed today in the lighter breeze. Since all of our practice had been in bigger breeze, we knew that we had to be very precise with everything in the boat and our timing; the team did a great job.

Tonight is the regatta dinner at the New York Yacht Club. It is a formal dinner, which I know will be fantastic. We are looking forward to lots of great racing tomorrow, and the forecast is for good sailing breeze again. You can check out the results at the regatta website and also follow along with live tracking and an updating blog.

We would like to thank Carmeuse and Trinity Yachts for their continued support of our campaign for the 2012 Olympics in London. We would also like to thank US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics (USSTAG) and its sponsors for their support.

Team Tunnicliffe
Women's World Match Racing Championships

Groupama New Caledonia Race: Team La Réunion Pacifique Lagon Voyages corrected time winner

La Réunion Pacifique Lagon Voyages, winner on corrected time. Image copyright

by Florence Dhie

It’s with 2 hours advance that La Réunion Pacifique Lagon Voyages wins this second Groupama Race. On board, 5 crew members from Réunion Island – experienced and motivated - and 3 from New Caledonia – used to stand on the podium - in this best crew of this race around New-Caledonia. The skipper François Martin does his training in the Sailing Training Center at La Réunion. He participated at different races around France, La Réunion, Maurice Island. In 2009, for the Tour de France à la Voile, the boat La Réunion finished 3rd in the amateur group and won one leg. The owner of the boat, Philippe Mazard, is well known in the caledonien sailing world. In 2009 for example he was New Caledonia Monohull champion, 1st for the Noumea / Isles of Pines Race, 1st for the Noumea / Vanuatu Race, 1st for the real time Challenge.

For this race, their objective was clear : “1st in corrected time”. Mission accomplished !!

The crew had 2h 22 mn 10s advance of Mumm skipped by Patrick Baldi. Mumm had on board the young and talented Tahitian Yann Rigal. The 3rd , following 3 hours 3 mn 36 seconds is ODM.NC skipped by Cédric Bouchet and real time winner of the race.

The crew of La Réunion Pacifique Lagon Voyage :
François Martin
Laurent Rivière
Grégory Theate
Jérôme Gontier
Philippe Galais
Christophe Gallien
Laurent Tourette
Philippe Mazard

The corrected time :
The 1st place in corrected time rewards the best sailors. The participants are classified as follows : real time multiplied by a coefficient (calculated according to the handicap). The time handicap (x seconds/nautical miles) is affected to each boat depending on her features (size, year, equipment, sails, ...).

The corrected time classification doesn’t reward the boat, but the crew members who did their best to sail the fastest depending on the boat’s equipment.

Line honors go to the fastest boat. In the real time classification Team La Réunion Pacifique Lagon Voyages is at the 6th position arriving 1h 59 mn et 23 seconds after the first.

Provisional corrected time classification :
1 Team La Réunion – Pacifique Lagon Voyages
2 Mumm
4 Ramada Plaza – Team New Zealand
5 Lagoon
6 Province Nord
7 Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes – Team Australia
8 Mange mieux, Bouge plus
8 Nautile
10 Optic 2000

11 or 12 . Trophée des Jeunes Marins or Les eaux du Mont Dore, Geant Casino
The 2 last positions depend on Eaux du Mont Dore Géant Casino’s arrival. Her arrival is expected on Friday afternoon.

Groupama Race

Women's World Match Racing Championships: Day 3 report

Julie Bossard (FRA) and Ekaterina Skudina (RUS). The two teams finished first and second in Repechage B Stage 2. Image copyright Fried Elliott/

by Michael Levitt

Today was do or die at the ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship. In the third day, the fleet, split into gold and two repechage groups, saw its first taste of qualifying action as sailors struggled to gain better seeding and the coveted seven and eight slot for tomorrow’s quarter finals.

“We have everything to win and nothing to lose,” said Julie Bossard, the Repechage B group winner. The three fleets raced in a fading northerly that led to a 180-degree shift for some racers, then a steadying southeast breeze of around eight knots.

It was a heart breaking day for the twelve teams not able to advance in the regatta. As the teams sailed into the docks in a fading light, coaches were there to evaluate and help unrig the boats, but there was always the optimistic smile on the crew’s faces that will carry them to the next event with more experience.

Anne-Claire Le Berre's (FRA) team just missed out on qualifying from the Repechage. Image copyright Fried Elliott/

Bossard and Ekaterina Skudina were the top two teams of the B group, finishing at sunset today. They will have a first-to-two wins knock-out series tomorrow morning at 9:30 a.m. against the winners of Repechage A. The pairings will be Bossard versus group A runner up Groeneveld, and Skudina versus group A winner Anna Tunnicliffe.

The winners of these knockout series will go right into the quarterfinals where number one seed from the gold fleet, Lucy Macgregor, will meet the number eight seed. Sally Barkow, seeded second, will meet the seventh seed. The known quarterfinal matches are between the two Australians, Nicky Souter, seeded third, versus Katie Spithill, sixth seed, and Genny Tulloch, fourth, versus Claire Le Roy, fifth seed.

The forecast for Friday and Saturday is vintage fall sailing here with bright sunshine and building southerlies in the mid teens.

Today the cream certainly rose to the top as four teams battled within feet of each other for every point to have just one more chance at advancing. “Yesterday we said, ‘Tomorrow’s another day,’” said Bossard as she made her way to the gala dinner at New York Yacht Club’s Harbour Court tonight. “Now we have to beat just one person. We will take it one match at a time and see where we go.”

Stage Two results with points
Gold Group

1 Macgregor (3)
2 Barkow (3)
3 Souter (3)
4 Tulloch (3)
5 Leroy (2)
6 Spithill (1)

Repechage A
1 Tunnicliffe (5)
2 Groeneveld (5)
3 Le Berre (4)
4 Meldgaard (3)
5 Senfft (2)
6 Bekatorou (2)
7 Goncalves (0)

Repechage B
1 Bossard (5)
2 Skudina (5)
3 Ulrikkeholm (3)
4 Lehtinen (3)
5 Osborne (3)
6 Roca (2)
7 Kliba (0)

Women's Match Racing Worlds

Audi MedCup: Images and Video from the Coastal Race off Cagliari

Image copyright Nico Martinez/Audi MedCup.

Image copyright Nico Martinez/Audi MedCup.

Image copyright Stefano Gattini_Studio Borlenghi/Audi MedCup.

Image copyright Ian Roman/Audi MedCup.

Image copyright Ian Roman/Audi MedCup.

Image copyright Ian Roman/Audi MedCup.

Image copyright Ian Roman/Audi MedCup.

Image copyright Guido Trombetta_Studio Borlenghi/Audi MedCup.

Image copyright Guido Trombetta_Studio Borlenghi/Audi MedCup.

Image copyright Guido Trombetta_Studio Borlenghi/Audi MedCup.

Image copyright Guido Trombetta_Studio Borlenghi/Audi MedCup.

Video Highlights of the Coastal Race on Day 3 of the Sardinia Trophy off Cagliari:

Audi MedCup