Saturday 22 January 2011

NEWSFLASH - TJV: Banque Populaire V Sets Off 0700 UTC at boat in Brest

by SailRaceWin

Analysis of the changes to the weather systems over night has led to Pascal Bidégorry calling for an immediate departure. The crew will be at the boat, alongside in Brest, at 08h00 French time (0700 UTC), to set off on their Trophée Jules Verne record attempt.

Banque Populaire V

Goombay Smash Seals the Deal in Melges 32s in Key West

Doug Douglas | Goombay Smash, ©2011 JOY | International Melges 32 Class Association.

by Joy Dunigan

A round of special congrats are in order for 2011 Key West Race Week Melges 32 Champion Doug Douglas and his colorful Goombay Smash team. Douglas and tactician, Chris Larson along with crew members Marco Constant, Andy Escourt, Stu Pollard, Travis Wilson, Chris Welch and Chelsea Davison sported day-glo-flamingo pink duds for the final showdown. They beat out top, fellow competitors Steve Howe on Warpath (Morgan Larson, tactician) in second overall and Alex Jackson on Leenabarca (Rob Greenhalgh, tactician) in third.

Fleet action at start of race one on the final day, ©2011 JOY | International Melges 32 Class Association.

"These are such fun boats." said Douglas after receiving his award. "The racing this week was so close. Obviously, I would have had more fun if it would have been a little more windy, but we had kind of a bad day the other day. So, that's why we wore the pink. It was our punishment."

(Left to right) Yukihiro Ishida | Yasha Samurai & Lanfranco Cirillo | Fantastica, ©2011 JOY | International Melges 32 Class Association.

Larson is perhaps now one of the most sought after tacticians in the Melges 32 class. During December 2010, he led Rod Jabin's Ramrod to his second consecutive Gold Cup Championship. Just a little more than a month later, he's back in victory circle with a completely different team. "Both events were really a lot of fun, but the other thing to note is that both programs are already very, very good. They are organized and realize what it takes to win. That is very true with the Goombay Smash program."

Alex Jackson | Leenabarca, ©2011 JOY | International Melges 32 Class Association.

Guaranteed, the last day of Key West was bound to be eventful from a competitive standpoint, but no one predicted the electric, Floridaesque Goombay Smash fashion ensemble that illuminated the Melges 32 course. The race committee squeezed in another three races under sunny blue skies with some nice breeze arriving at the start. Three high-contention teams - Warpath, Goombay Smash and Leenabarca were clearly ready to go head-to-head for the win, and that's just what they did.

Steve Howe | Warpath, ©2011 JOY | International Melges 32 Class Association.

Race one revealed Douglas rallying hard to win the start, then forced to dip behind Howe, enabling Warpath and Jackson to get off the line well. This effected Goombay very little as Douglas was aggressive upwind rounding the top in first with Jackson closing in fast for second, Howe in third. Douglas was quick downwind passing through the gate and blistering the course for an almost one minute lead, leaving Jackson and Howe to battle it out for position. Goombay easily took the win, Jackson won second place over Howe only moments before crossing the line.

Joel Ronning | Catapult, ©2011 JOY | International Melges 32 Class Association.

Race two was a Course 4, at 195 degrees and a distance of 1.4 nm with the breeze beginning to build ever so slightly, skies becoming overcast as rain off to the west moved east. Great Britain's Peter Rogers on Highlife (Ruairdah Scott, tactician), Joe Woods on Red (Paul Goodison, tactician) and Joel Ronning on Catapult (Bill Hardesty, tactician) took charge of the fleet. Rogers held his own as Douglas struggled to get ahead, Jackson was right behind trying to close the points gap. Rogers won, Woods was second and Ronning finished third. Howe suffered a major blow being called OCS at the start, yet only getting back up to finish 13th.

John Kilroy | Samba Pa Ti, ©2011 JOY | International Melges 32 Class Association.

With thunderstorms approaching, the breeze shifted further right for the final race of the day. Howe got back in the groove taking an immediate lead, launched off the pin end. He led the fleet around the marks with Alexis Michas aboard Zetiana (Mark Mendleblatt, tactician) chasing right behind. Further back, the battle continued between Douglas, testing the right for pressure and Jackson, on the left looking for speed. Things just worked out for Douglas as he gained three positions, not only beating Jackson in the final race, but beating Howe for the regatta title. Howe won the last race of the day. Michas led his team around the course and across the line for second place. Martin Knetig's Black Mamba came across in third.


Melges 32s downwind, ©2011 JOY | International Melges 32 Class Association.

Melges rocks like nothing else! This year both the Melges 24s and Melges 32s enjoyed some of the best racing ever as well as some great parties. A very special thank you to Guy Mossman and his Battle Rhythm team for inviting everyone over for a wonderful Keg Party on Thursday night. The story and focus of the evening went well beyond the racing. Prior to the start of Thursday's races, the host team found themselves anywhere but where they needed to be (the PHRF Course to be exact) in the very foggy conditions and without a GPS. Obviously embarrassed, they had to get the assistance of the race committee over the radio to find the correct course. Just prior to the party, Battle Rhythm sent out the appropriate GPS coordinates to ensure everyone would arrive at the party on time and no one got lost. For further kicks, just before racing on Friday, Battle Rhythm reassured the Race Committee that they no longer needed assistance in finding the starting line.

It's been another great year for the Melges fleets at Key West Race Week. Special thanks to Peter Craig and his entire staff at Premiere Racing for delivering yet another amazing event.

TOP TEN RESULTS (After 10 Races)
1.) William Douglas/Chris Larson, Goombay Smash; 4-1-2-15-1-[19]-3-1-5-6 = 38
2.) Steve Howe/Morgan Larson, Warpath; 2-6-5-1-12-8-3-[14]-1 = 40
3.) Alex Jackson/Rob Greenhalgh, Leenabarca; 3-2-3-7-9-7-5-2-6-12 = 44
4.) John Kilroy, Jr./Nathan Wilmot, Samba Pa Ti; 5-10-6-11-3-4-[20]-6-7-9 = 61
5.) Joe Woods/Paul Goodison, Red; 8-9-4-10-14-6-9-9-2-[16] = 71
6.) Lanfranco Cirillo/Michelle Paoletti, Fantastica; [20]-16-7-6-6-3-4-14-9-8 = 73
7.) Yukihiro Ishida/Hamish Pepper, Yasha Samurai; 13-7-14-4-4-2-13-12-[21] = 76
8.) Bob Hughes/Chris Rast, Heartbreaker; 7-[21]-1-8-12-9-12-5-4-19 = 77
9.) Mark Plaxton/Anthony Kotoun, INTAC; 15-[19]-9-3-19-5-1-11-15-11 = 89
10.) Joel Ronning/Bill Hardesty; Catapult; 9-8-8-19-16-8-18-4-3-15 = 89

Melges 32
Key West 2011

Thrilling Finish at Key West 2011

RC44s. Image copyright Andy Newman/Florida Keys New Bureau.

Multiple Grand Prix Classes Come Down to Last Leg of Last Race

by Bill Wagner

Victory literally came down to the last leg of the last race for many of the grand prix classes at Key West 2011, presented by Nautica.

No class was more exciting than the RC44, which Mascalzone Latino captured via tiebreaker over Team Aqua by winning the final race. Skipper Vincenzo Onorato and crew not only got the gun in Race 10, but also managed to put a boat between themselves and Team Aqua to forge the tie with 22 total points apiece. The Italian team was declared the victor by virtue of having more first place finishes than the American syndicate.

“This is wonderful! It’s like a date with a beautiful woman,” an elated Onorato said upon returning to the dock at Historic Seaport. “It’s always a pleasure to win in Key West. This is one of my favorite places in the world to sail.”

ORACLE Racing RC44. Image copyright Steve Lapkin/

Mascalzone Latino has been selected as Challenger of Record for the 34th America’s Cup. In an interesting twist, the RC44 was co-designed by Russell Coutts, skipper and CEO of current America’s Cup holder Oracle Racing.

Coutts was skippering his own entry in RC44 class at Key West 2011 and placed third overall. The New Zealand native was the first to congratulate Onorato, smiling and jokingly stating “You got lucky you son of a gun.”

Close racing in the RC44s. Image copyright Steve Lapkin/

Mascalzone Latino went from the agony of defeat to the thrill of victory after placing last in Race 9. Tactician Francesco Bruni quickly realized the Italian team had to win Race 10 and have Team Aqua finish third or lower.

“We knew it was a difficult situation and it didn’t help that we got a bad start (in Race 10),” Bruni said. “Everyone went right so we decided to try the middle and had a little luck that enabled us to get back into the race.”

Mascalzone Latino was leading on the second upwind beat when it pulled the move that ultimately won the regatta. Oracle Racing was struggling to free itself from a crab pot and that allowed Team Aqua to briefly move into second. Bruni wisely dropped back and engaged Team Aqua in a tacking duel, which gave Oracle time to get back to speed and regain second place.

“We decided to slow down and help Oracle. We made a few tacks on Aqua,” Bruni said. “Anyone would have done the same. That is just part of racing tactics.”

Ironbound RC44. Image copyright Steve Lapkin/

Over the docks in front of the Westin Hotel, Vela Veloce skipper Richard Oland sported a Cheshire Cat grin after snatching victory away from Anema & Core in the last race. The Canadian-based Southern Cross 52 trailed the Annapolis-based Judel Vrolijk 52 by two points going into Race 10, but wound up winning by one point after posting a bullet and watching Anema & Core place fourth.

“We knew we had to win the last race and put two boats between us and Anema & Core. We just kept our cool and didn’t make any mistakes in that last race,” said Oland, who resides in Saint John, New Brunswick. “It was a very close, competitive class and we are very happy to come out on top.”

Richard Clarke served as helmsman while fellow professional Stu Bannatyne called tactics aboard Vela Veloce, which closed the regatta with back-to-back bullets. Vela Veloce made its debut at Key West 2010 and placed last in IRC 1 so to come back a year later and win IRC 2 was quite satisfying.

Image copyright Andy Newman/Florida Keys New Bureau.

“The boat was brand new last year and we were still learning how to sail her. Since then we have made a lot of improvements in the boat and put together a much better crew,” Oland said. “It involved a lot of hard work, but winning a regatta such as this makes it well worth it.”

Boston resident Dan Meyers was equally exuberant after skippering Numbers to victory in IRC 1 class. The JV 66 won Friday’s initial race then held on for a one-point victory over Shockwave (George Sakellaris, Newport, R.I.) after placing fourth in the last two races.

“This is a fantastic regatta, without question the best in the United States. Any time you win here you have accomplished something special,” Meyers said. “We had picture-perfect conditions this week and the race committee work was terrific. The way they snapped off three races today was very impressive.”

Four-time America’s Cup winner Brad Butterworth called tactics for Meyers, whose all-star crew also included recent America’s Cup Hall of Fame inductees Simon Daubney, Warwick Fleury and Dean Phipps as trimmers. In a unique twist, renowned 54-year-old bowman Jerry Kirby was setting and dousing the spinnaker while his 21-year-old son Rome steered Numbers downwind.

“All the boats in this class are remarkably close in performance. This could easily have gone another way and I’d have to say that our crew work was the difference,” Meyers said.

Melges 32 was another grand prix class that came down to the wire with skipper William Douglass and the Goombay Smash registering a narrow two-point victory over Warpath. Three boats – Goombay Smash, Warpath (Steve Howe, Portland, Ore.) and Leenabarca (Alex Jackson, Riverside, Conn.) – were tied atop the standings with two races to go. Goombay Smash closed with strong finishes of fifth and sixth while Warpath and Leenabarca both endured double-digit results that had to be discarded.

Leenabarca, Melges 32 (with British tactician and skiff sailor Rob Greenhalgh on board). Image copyright Steve Lapkin/

“Warpath was over early in the second race and that changed the story with them. We then turned our sights to Leenabarca, and fortunately we were able to sail better than them in the last race,” Goombay Smash tactician Chris Larson said. “All in all it was a tough regatta and I’m super proud of the team for pulling it out under pressure.”

Douglass, a resident of Stamford, Conn., was competing in just his second Melges 32 regatta. He has been to Key West seven times before as skipper of a Swan 45 and Farr 40, but had never captured class honors.

“It was a battle the whole way and we feel very good to come away with the win,” Douglass said. “Chris Larson did a great job. He was patient and allowed our boat speed to take over.”

There was much less suspense in the Melges 24 class as Blu Moon, owned by Franco Rossini of Switzerland, clinched victory by winning Race 8 then placing fourth in Race 9. Helmsman Flavio Favini wound up winning three races and placing fourth or better in four others and that consistency enabled Blu Moon to sit out the final race. That commanding performance in a very competitive class earned Blu Moon the prestigious Boat of the Week honor.

Jim Richardson and the Barking Mad team completed an impressive wire-to-wire win in Farr 30 class by posting a strong line of 2-2-3 on Friday. Amateur Marty Kullman called tactics while pros Skip Baxter and Morgan Trubovich trimmed the sails for Richardson, who placed first or second in eight of 10 races in the five-day series.

“Marty did a terrific job of putting us in the right place throughout the regatta while Morgan and Skip always know how to make the boat go fast. We also have an outstanding bowman in Curtis Florence,” Richardson said. “Our crew work was top-notch the whole week and that made my job easy.”

Image copyright Steve Lapkin/

Skipper Brian Keane and his team aboard Savasana put forth a powerful performance in winning the always competitive J/105 class by 15 points. Savasana wound up winning six of 10 races, including all three that were held on Friday.

“We are pretty fired up. Sweeping the day is a great way to close out the event,” Keane said. “I think our speed was competitive, but the real key was that we made smart decisions and didn’t make many mistakes.”

Tonnerre de Breskens 3, a Ker 46 owned by Peter Vroon of The Netherlands, won nine of 10 races in running away with victory in IRC 2 class. British pro Kevin George called tactics aboard Tonnerre, which finished with a whopping 18-point advantage over runner-up Antilope (Grand Soleil 43, Willem Wester, Great Britain).

Key West local Steve Burns and his team aboard the Capo 26 You Bad Girl notched an equally dominant victory in PHRF 3, winning nine races and placing second in the other. Tom Reese Youngstown, Ohio) sailed his Corsair 28 to first or second place in all 10 races to win the Multihull division by three points over sister ship Evolution (Kathryn Garlick, Terra Ceia, Fla.).

Finally, Glenn Darden and his Texas team aboard Le Tigre placed first or second place in nine of 10 races en route to winning the 16-boat J/80 class for the second straight year. Darden also took home The Marlow Trophy for capturing the class Midwinter Championship.

Key West 2011

Rolex Miami OCR: Sailors at Top of Their Games to Compete

Amanda Clark and Sarah Chin (USA) and Ingrid Petitjean and Nadege Douroux (FRA): Womens 470. Image copyright Rolex/Dan Nerney.

by Barby MacGowan

Nothing says elite-level competition like US SAILING’s Rolex Miami OCR, which returns to Coconut Grove, Fla., for its 22nd time on Monday, January 24 through Saturday, January 29, bringing together the world’s top sailing athletes for competition in the classes selected for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Held on Biscayne Bay, this prestigious event is the second stop on the International Sailing Federation’s (ISAF) Sailing World Cup 2010-2011 circuit, and as such has already registered over 800 sailors from 52 countries.

“Most athletes training for the 2012 Olympics or Paralympics will say they don’t want to peak just yet,” said US SAILING High Performance Director Kenneth Andreasen (Tampa, Fla.), “but you can bet the sailors here will be very serious about being in the top five, if not winning, in their classes and accumulating points toward their standings in the ISAF Sailing World Cup circuit, which affects their world rankings.” Andreasen added that no less than 30 US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics members are competing, while other U.S. sailors will be named to the team based on their finishes here. “From all over the world, there will be athletes who are either already on their national teams or aspiring to be named to them,” said Andreasen, “and there will be dozens upon dozens of national team coaches and private coaches attending.”

Not to mention a slew of Olympic and Paralympic medalists and world champions.

Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page (AUS), sailing in the Men’s 470 class, are 2010 ISAF Sailing World Cup and 470 class world champions who are ranked #1 in the world, with Page having crewed for an Olympic Gold medal (with Nathan Wilmot) in Beijing (2008).

“It certainly is a nice feeling to know that you are on the right track; however, sport is sport, and there are a lot of top guys right there also,” said Belcher. “This year at the Rolex Miami OCR, I think we have everyone in the top 10 in the world here from the 470 men’s class.”

If it is by resume that Belcher and Page are favorites in the Men’s 470 class, then Ben Ainslie (GBR) is the favorite in Finn class. He won a silver medal at the 1996 Olympic Games and gold in the 2000 Games in the Laser class. He put on 40 pounds and moved to the larger Finn boat for the 2004 Olympics, where he won gold, repeating the feat in the 2008 competition.

Having “stepped away” from the class for nearly three years to pursue an America’s Cup campaign, he is humble nevertheless. “In the Finn, there are lots of favorites; I’d say I’m one of 10 who can sail well and win races,” he said. Ainslie has launched a full-on Olympic campaign and says all the right players are here, save for Ed Wright, a fellow Skandia Team GBR member who is the current Finn World Champion. “It’s a pretty tight battle in the UK for an Olympic spot,” said Ainslie. “That’s the first hurdle, working through that.”

Ainslie won Sail Melbourne (the first of the ISAF Sailing World Cup events) and has been named ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year three times.

Blanca Manchón (ESP), the current ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year, is competing in the RS:X Women’s (windsurfing) class, while other past recipients competing are: Claire Leroy (FRA) and Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.), each skippering in Elliott 6m (women’s match racing); Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla., USA), skippering in Laser Radial; and Torben Grael (BRA), Robert Scheidt (BRA) and Mark Reynolds (San Diego, Calif., USA), each skippering in Stars. The ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award is the highest award a sailor can receive in recognition of his/her outstanding achievements.

“Actually I’m number one in the ISAF world rankings, so I'm very motivated for this season that starts here in Miami,” said Manchón. “This regatta will be the first one for me where I'm working with my own coach, and the water and the climate are perfect for training and testing equipment.”

The Rolex Miami OCR is open to boats competing in events chosen for the 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition and the 2012 Paralympic Sailing Competition. The 10 Olympic classes are: Laser Radial (women), Laser (men), Finn (men), Men’s RS:X, Women’s RS:X, 49er (men), Men’s 470, Women’s 470, Star (men) and Elliott 6m (women). The three Paralympic classes are: 2.4mR (open, able and disabled), SKUD18 (mixed, disabled) and Sonar (open, disabled). In addition to being a world-ranking event, it is also a US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics qualifier.

For fleet racing in the Olympic classes, the regatta will consist of a five-day opening series (Monday – Friday) and a double-point medal race (Saturday). The top 10 finishers in the opening series of each class will advance to the medal race. For match racing (Elliot 6m), which makes its debut in the 2012 Olympic Games, the regatta will consist of an opening series, a knockout series, and a sail-off for boats not advancing to the knockout series. Competitors in the Paralympic classes will have five days of fleet racing (Monday-Friday) and no medal race. Medals will be awarded to the top three boats in each Olympic and Paralympic class on Saturday, January 29.

Regatta Headquarters will be located at the US Sailing Center Miami, an official Olympic training center, in the Coconut Grove section of Miami, Fla. Event organizers have partnered with the city of Miami to provide world-class venues for competition. Additional hosts for the event include Coral Reef Yacht Club, Key Biscayne Yacht Club, Coconut Grove Sailing Club, Miami Rowing Club and Shake-a-Leg Miami. These sailing organizations host classes onshore, as well as help run the on-the-water racing. The Coral Reef Yacht Club also hosts the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

In addition to title sponsor Rolex Watch U.S.A., the 2011 Rolex Miami OCR is also sponsored by AlphaGraphics, Gowrie Group, Chubb Insurance, Sperry Top-Sider, Harken McLube, Trinity Yachts, University of Miami Hospital and Kattack.

About US Sailing's Rolex Miami OCR

Established in 1990 by US SAILING, the Rolex Miami OCR annually draws elite sailors, including Olympic and Paralympic medalists and hopefuls from around the world. In non-Olympic/Paralympic years, the regatta is especially important as a ranking regatta for sailors hoping to qualify for the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics, which annually distinguishes the top sailors in each Olympic and Paralympic class.

Rolex Miami OCR

Rolex Miami OCR: Australian sailors set to line up against world's best in Miami

Belcher and Page at the 2010 Rolex Miami OCR. Image copyright Victor Kovalenko.

by Craig Heydon

Australian sailors are busy making final preparations ahead of the second round of the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Miami, with racing set to begin on Monday morning.

10 Australian Sailing Team, Australian Women’s Match Racing Team and Australian Sailing Development Squad crews have made their way to the United States for their first World Cup hit-out of 2011.

Reigning 470 World Champions Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page come into the event off the back of a win in last week’s North American 470 Championships, an important hit out against the world’s leading 470 crews.

“We’re racing well at the moment and while we’re not top of the game speed wise just yet we’re fast enough,” said Page. “Mat and I are going downwind well and when the opportunities are there we’re able to grab them with both hands.”

“We’re back in our European boat which feels a little different after racing and training for the last few months with our Australian equipment but we’re getting in tune and getting ready for racing on Monday.”

“All of the top 10 crews are here and it’s a real who’s who of 470 sailing so it’s going to be a really good week of racing,” he said.

The pair are joined in the 470 fleet by the Australian Sailing Development Squad crew of Sam Kivell and Will Ryan who have had a strong finish in the North American Championships, finishing 10th and winning the medal race, following their Bronze medal at the opening round of the ISAF Sailing World Cup, Sail Melbourne, in December.

“Sam and Will are coming along really well,” said Page. “They’ve got really good speed in light breeze, which we could see a bit of during the week here, and it’s great to have them as a benchmark.”

The Australian Women’s Match Racing Team has two crews in action in Miami for their first event of the new ISAF Sailing World Cup season, having not raced at a major international event since the ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship in September last year.

The six Australian sailors have shuffled their crew make ups around and after training at home over Christmas are ready to debut their new crews against 22 competitors on Miami’s Biscayne Bay.

Nicky Souter and Olivia Price, who won Gold at the final round of last year’s ISAF Sailing World Cup and then Bronze at the World Championship alongside Nina Curtis, are now sailing with Jessica Eastwell, while Curtis will compete with Katie Spithill and Angela Farrell.

In the Skud 18 class Daniel Fitzgibbon will be sailing in Miami with a new crew with three-time Wheelchair Basketball Paralympic medalist Liesl Tesch trying her hand at Paralympic class sailing.

Tesch, who has won two Silvers and a Bronze at the Paralympic Games is a keen sailor and is taking this opportunity to get a taste of another sport at an elite level. The pair got off to a great start together, winning a lead in regatta at the same venue last week.

“Last week’s win was a real positive for us as all of the top crews were racing,” said skipper Fitzgibbon. “It was our first regatta together and the first time that Liesl had raced in an event like this so it couldn’t have gone any better.”

Fitzgibbon first came across Tesch in a television documentary following the Sailors with Disabilities crew as they prepared for the Rolex Sydney to Hobart and after chasing her down the pair hit the water aboard the Skud 18 and have been training almost full time since then.

“I’m having the time of my life on the water,” said Tesch. “I first spoke with Dan on December 23rd last year, we went sailing on Boxing Day and the next thing here I am in Miami. Once I got my head into the game last week I had a ball and you couldn’t wipe the smile off my face, it was pouring down with rain in the last race and I was loving every minute of it.”

Three time Olympian Jessica Crisp will hit the water in the RS:X women’s class with the top six sailors in the world set to line up for racing in Miami.

Australia will have its largest concentration of crews in the Laser Radial class, with three sailors in the 59 strong fleet. The Australian Sailing Team’s Krystal Weir will be joined by ASDS members Gabrielle King and Ashley Stoddart with all three backing up from the 2011 Australian Laser Championship which finished in Sydney on January 4.

Stoddart then competed at the OAMPS Insurance Brokers Australian Youth Championship where she won selection in the Australian team to contest the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship to be held in Croatia in July.

Both Stoddart and King are back in action after being off the water for much of the last year due to illness or injury and will be keen to take on the best Laser Radial sailors in the world in Miami.

Brendan Casey, who qualified for the 2011 Australian Sailing Team following his 10th place finish at the 2010 Finn Gold Cup, will be racing in a very strong Finn fleet next week.

Casey missed out on a place in the medal race at Sail Melbourne by just one point and has been training hard in the US for the last few weeks prior to racing getting underway in Miami on Monday.

Racing in Miami runs through to Saturday January 29, when the final medal races will be held.

Australian Sailing Team
Rolex Miami OCR

TJV: Veillée d'armes pour le Team Banque Populaire

Banque Populaire V. Image copyright Benoit Sichelbaut/BPCE.

par Viriginie Bouchet

La situation météo ne cesse d'évoluer sur l'Atlantique, rendant le choix d'un créneau de départ cornélien pour Pascal Bidégorry et ses équipiers. Les modèles américains et européens divergent depuis 24 heures et contraignent le Team Banque Populaire à se réserver deux possibilités pour la journée de samedi.

Après réception et étude des premiers fichiers de demain, Pascal Bidégorry et sa cellule météo décideront au petit matin d'un départ immédiat pour rallier la zone de départ. Si cette "option" n'était pas retenue, le Maxi Banque Populaire V larguerait les amarres quelques heures plus tard, dans l'après-midi. Mais qui peut savoir à cette heure de quelle manière la situation météo évoluera dans la nuit ?

Audio: Pascal Bidégorry vendredri soir, en Brest (in French)"It is certain that we will leave this weekend..."

Note from SailRaceWin: We understand, from an update from the team, that a departure will occur early Saturday morning, French time.

Banque Populaire V

Sodeb'O départ possible dès samedi matin

Sodeb'O training off Brest two days ago. Image copyright Yvan Zedda/Sodeb'O Voile.

par Sodeb'O Voile media

L'analyse des derniers fichiers météo a convaincu le skipper de Sodebo de modifier son planning et d'envisager en départ dès samedi matin.

La prévision météo a encore évolué ces dernières heures. La dépression surveillée attentivement depuis le début de la semaine par les routeurs de Sodebo comme par ceux de Banque Populaire continue à faire des siennes. C’est peu dire que les marins en stand-by à Brest sont préoccupés par les modèles qui divergent depuis 24 heures.

Ce soir, si l’un des modèles ne prévoit pas de vent après les Canaries, archipel que Sodebo devrait atteindre en un peu plus de deux jours, le second modèle montre des alizés bien réactivés sur la zone avec la dépression qui s’évacue vers l’Afrique.

Thomas Coville et ses routeurs se décideront demain matin à 9H00 après avoir reçu les nouveaux fichiers.

Si les modèles sont d’accord, le bateau quittera le quai à 9H30 pour franchir la ligne au phare du Petit Minou vers 10H30 ou 11H00 à la fin du descendant.

Sodeb'O Voile

Audi Victoria Week: Fast Conditions Predicted for Audi Victoria Week Passage Race

by Di Pearson

Over 400 boats will be on the start line for Audi Victoria Week’s Passage Race which for the first time will start off St Kilda Pier in Melbourne and sail past bayside suburbs such as Sandringham, giving holidaymakers and locals a spectacular sight along the waterfront.

Following a big line honours win and overall victory in the Audi Dockland’s Invitational yesterday, Loki’s owner/skipper Stephen Ainsworth, is hoping his RP63 will be first over the line on Corio Bay at Geelong

This morning the forecast was for 14 knot east-sou-easterly for the start, increasing to 22 knots throughout the race.

Conditions for the race are not for record breaking, so Skandia’s record of 1 hour 40 minutes 7 seconds, set by Grant Wharington in 2006, looks safe for another year.

The 30 metre super maxi will not be on tomorrow’s start line, leaving the line honours victory open to a number of boats.

Due to start at 9.30am, when the Victorian Minister for Sport & Recreation, Hugh Delahunty, fires the start signal, the 34.3 nautical mile race is a tricky one. Competitors have the breeze, tide and not running aground on their busy agendas.

The Passage Race is the opening race of the Audi IRC Series.

Follow Audi Victoria Week at:

BWR: A wild ride from the west

Virbac Paprec 3. Image copyright Yvan Zedda/Virbac Paprec 3.

Three weeks since they set off, the Barcelona World RACE fleet has taken a new shape. Yesterday evening Foncia surged into first place, and this morning Virbac Paprec 3 joined them at the head of the race in second place

by Barcelona World Race media

Together the pair, which each stopped in Recife, Brazil have maintained a samba pace since leaving the South American coast. Today they have been enjoying a fast ride on their journey back from the western frontiers of the course, both averaging over 20 knots of boat speed in solid northerlies. In the past 24 hours the French duo covered over 400 miles – on average 150 miles more than the boats on the east of the course.

Michel Desjoyeaux and François Gabart (FRA) were first to reclaim their place at the front of the leaderboard, arriving in first place yesterday evening ahead of Estrella Damm, who had led the fleet for the previous six days. Alex Pella and Pepe Ribes (ESP) exited the light winds zone yesterday, but in moderate easterly breezes their speed has leveled out at around 11 knots. This has allowed the other western rebels on Virbac Paprec 3, riding ahead of the same low pressure system as Foncia, through into second place overall this morning.

In fourth place Kito de Pavant and Sebastien Audigane (FRA) on Groupe Bel have stuck close to Estrella Damm. However, the next potential threat to the status quo could come from MAPFRE, who also struck out on an independent course and are currently the most westerly boat on the track in fifth. Some 200 miles further north than Virbac Paprec 3, the 49er pairing of Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez (ESP) don’t have quite the same white-knuckle conditions as the new leaders, but at the edge of the low pressure system they are still making 16 knots average speed and may well be able to maintain this momentum into third place.

Although the low pressure system seems to be moving more rapidly south-east than previously predicted, if the westerly boats are able to stay ahead of the front their advantage will continue to extend to Gough Island, with the first boat likely to reach this remote Atlantic waypoint on Sunday. Meanwhile, with two high pressure zones set to merge across the southern Atlantic over the next two days, the boats on the easterly side of the track will need to find a route south if they are to remain in contention.

As Michel Desjoyeaux (FRA) explained: “We are sailing with two digits of boatspeed and the first digit is a ‘two’ so it’s good news, but on board it is a little shaky. Fortunately we’re under the coach roof so we can be protected. With the weather that is set to arrive it’s better to be in front because you have more options.”

On board Neutrogena. Image copyright Neutrogena.

Seventh-placed Renault Z.E. and Neutrogena in eighth have pulled away from GAES Centros Auditivos over the course of the day by maintaining a steady 11-12 knots. Meanwhile Dee Caffari (GBR) and Anna Corbella (ESP) on GAES Centros Auditivos have once again been lassoed by a light winds zone, with their average speed dropping to under 5 knots this afternoon.

Hugo Boss is now in fact more southerly than GAES, but at just over 100 miles further west is still ranked one place behind them in 10th. Behind them Central Lechera Asturiana and We Are Water have each held their easterly line, with Forum Maritim Catala in 13th, now some 630 miles behind the first boat.

There was news too of the 14th boat to start the race, as Bruno Garcia (ESP) and Jean Le Cam (FRA) of the dismasted Président paid a visit to Barcelona World RACE headquarters and spoke to some of the competing skippers in this morning’s live video conference.

Standings at Friday 21 January at 1400hrs UTC

1 FONCIA at 20057 miles from the finish
2 VIRBAC-PAPREC 3 at 49 miles from the leader
3 ESTRELLA DAMM at 130 miles
4 GROUPE BEL at 164 miles
5 MAPFRE at 198 miles
6 MIRABAUD at 234 miles
7 RENAULT Z.E. at 283 miles
8 NEUTROGENA at 296 miles
10 HUGO BOSS at 430 miles
12 WE ARE WATER at 499 miles
13 FORUM MARITIM CATALA at 633 miles

Skipper Quotes Friday January 21, 2011

Michel Desjoyeaux (FRA), Foncia:

"What will happen in the coming days, I do not know. The meteorologist on board is currently only interested in making a snack! We are pursued by a small depression, if it goes fast enough it will take us at least until Gough Island and we will be first through the door to the Atlantic, but before that there is a little uncertainty, so for the moment we’re going full speed with these conditions.

“We are sailing with two digits of boatspeed and the first digit is a ‘two’ so it’s good news, but on board it is a little shaky. Fortunately we’re under the coach roof so we can be protected. With the weather that is set to arrive it’s better to be in front because you have more options.

“Sometimes there are big waves over the deck so to go for a wander outsider you need some good wet weather gear. We’re going very fast at 20 knots of speed so it’s normal that it’s so wet outside!

“I think this boat is less comfortable than the boat I had two years ago because the volume is more generous and there is less at the front so the waves come over. But at this rate we are faster than the former version, which is now MAPFRE. If you look at the speeds that Xabi and Iker are getting to stay near us, they’re sailing MAPFRE really well. Had those two not been caught in the windless patch, they would be serious contenders!”

Pepe Ribes (ESP) Estrella Damm:

Estrella Damm. Image copyright Jorge Andreu/Estrella Damm.

“Right now we have some steady wind of about 15-20 knots, an east-north-east direction, at about 90 degrees. We’re going well, but later the situation will get a bit complicated.

“We are sailing as hard as we can, it will be very exciting because we are all going to arrive in the south all together. We are going at maximum pace – we don’t have a middle option.

“Bruno Garcia is a partner, a friend, and so we’re very sorry [for the dismasting]. For Alex and I it was a huge shame. It could happen to us tomorrow, you just never know.

[To Alberto Prous, winner of the first leg of the Virtual Barcelona World RACE online game] “Last year when I injured my finger and could not participate in a leg of the Volvo Ocean Race, I joined the virtual game. The first leg was an ordeal for me – and my wife! I ended up being banned from the computer, because I was playing it everywhere, even taking it to the supermarket!

“But it’s better to play from here. If you get something wrong the penalties are also more severe, but when we get it right we know about it.

“Foncia are the best. We were lucky to sail close to them in the Mediterranean and I have to say we were very impressed with Foncia. The always choose the best option. Desjoyeaux is an exceptional sailor.

“In about six days we’ll be at Gough Island, at 42 degrees latitude. But before we get south into more wind, we’ll have to gybe and head up.

“We are really looking forward to picking up the pace, because these calms have been really long for us. After that we had some rain showers and it has also been hard to deal with everything. We are looking for a change because our boils are getting infected and we smell pretty bad. At least with the winter weather we’ll put some more clothes on and won’t smell so much!”

Iker Martinez (ESP), MAPFRE:

“Hello to everyone, we’re now heading south. We just crossed the St Helena high pressure, that was pretty difficult. It was big, huge! So we had little wind and it was very shifty, so all of us were just fighting to cross that. We are a little bit more west than most of the guys, so we’re all good in the centre. The other two guys, the French boats went even more west than us and they were crossing better, so now we have more wind which is good. We’ve been sailing with almost 20 knots, 18 knots that was great after being just floating for a couple of days.

“Now we’re heading for the first ice gate so in two or three days it’s going to get cold, it’s going to be very windy and we’ll be in the Southern Ocean. So we’re really looking forward to that and at the same time it’s looking at the boats in front to try to make sure they don’t get too far away when we’ll be in the Forties.

Everything’s going well on board, we’re great and the boat is 100 per cent which is good. We’ve already been sailing for 22 days so to have the boat 100 per cent is difficult at this stage of the boat, so we realise we’re good shape, we’re enjoying it a lot, we’re very happy.”

In French:

Périphérique extérieur

Foncia. Image copyright Benoit Stichelbaut/Team Foncia.

* Foncia et Virbac-Paprec 3 mènent désormais le bal à des vitesses hallucinantes
* MAPFRE va aussi réussir à faire l’extérieur alors que le peloton est bloqué au centre
* La dépression orageuse va pousser les deux leaders jusqu’à l’île Gough

Après trois semaines de mer, la deuxième édition de la Barcelona World Race commence à dessiner une hiérarchie à l’horizon du passage de la première marque de parcours de ce tour du monde de 24 600 milles : Foncia et Virbac-Paprec 3 sont bien installés en tête et MAPFRE est en passe de prendre la troisième place quand le peloton progresse modérément au centre de l’Atlantique Sud...

Trois semaines de mer et seulement 4 600 milles parcourus sur la route optimale : 9,12 nœuds de moyenne sur l’orthodromie… Cela paraît peu mais en fait, le leader (depuis un peu moins de 24h) a en réalité couvert plus de 5 800 milles, ce qui monte la moyenne réelle de Michel Desjoyeaux et François Gabart à 11,5 nœuds. Mais c’est surtout depuis une journée que Foncia allonge des distances quotidiennes impressionnantes : ces dernières 24 heures, le plan VPLP-Verdier a cumulé plus de 460 milles (19,16 nœuds), tout comme Virbac-Paprec 3 qui a même rajouté 15 milles au compteur (19,58 nœuds) ! Et pendant ce temps, les Espagnols Iker Martinez et Xabi Fernandez ont réussi à maintenir 16,6 nœuds de moyenne par jour, mais du côté du centre du plan d’eau, Estrella Damm qui mène désormais la chasse aux « Sudistes », n’a parcouru que 330 milles sur l’eau (13,75 nœuds)... Et cette configuration va s’aggraver ce week-end !

Devancer le front

Car pendant que le gros de la flotte longe la bordure occidentale de l’anticyclone de Sainte-Hélène qui vient de se remettre en place, et profite d’un alizé modéré de 12 à 18 nœuds de secteur Est, les trois bateaux à 300 milles (MAPFRE) et à 500 milles (Foncia, Virbac-Paprec 3) plus dans le Sud-Ouest, progressent dans un flux de Nord d’une bonne vingtaine de nœuds pour le voilier espagnol, de près de 30 nœuds pour les deux bateaux français… Michel Desjoyeaux et François Gabart alignent des moyennes supérieures à vingt nœuds, travers au vent pour gagner dans le Sud-Est. En compagnie de Jean-Pierre Dick et de Loïck Peyron, ils devraient atteindre les Quarantièmes Rugissants avant minuit ce vendredi. Car les deux duos doivent encore patienter avant de piquer directement sur l’île Gough (40°15S-10°W) et ils pourraient même descendre sous la latitude de rocher volcanique isolé de 90 km² de superficie, pour remonter au dernier moment et raser ce relief escarpé de 910 mètres d’altitude.

En effet, les deux équipages doivent aller vite pour rester devant le front froid qui se déplace rapidement vers le Grand Sud afin de profiter de ce flux puissant qui va légèrement tourner vers le secteur Nord-Ouest samedi. Lorsque les deux bateaux seront dépassés par la masse nuageuse, le vent va franchement basculer au Sud-Ouest en mollissant, puis va passer au Sud d’une douzaine de nœuds seulement… Atterrir travers dans un vent modéré est donc le meilleur choix, même si Michel Desjoyeaux et François Gabart devront faire attention de ne pas trop serrer l’île au Nord dans ce régime de vent… Et probablement à peine trois à six heures plus tard, ce sera au tour de Jean-Pierre Dick et Loïck Peyron de contourner cette première marque de parcours.

Chasseurs espagnols

Iker Martinez et Xabi Fernandez tirent finalement leurs marrons du feu avec leur option intermédiaire puisqu’eux aussi vont toucher le flux de secteur Nord, un peu moins musclé, mais presque aussi longtemps. Ces brises portantes ne pousseront pas MAPFRE jusqu’à Gough, mais lui permettront normalement de dépasser Estrella Damm avant dimanche midi : la marge pourrait même atteindre cent milles au passage de l’île ! Car le centre de l’Atlantique Sud va redevenir mou, voire même franchement délicat à traverser… En effet, derrière le front froid qui va passer devant les étraves du peloton sans lui apporter de gradient supplémentaire, c’est un nouvel anticyclone venu d’Argentine qui va une nouvelle fois engluer le gros de la flotte ! Vents faibles, brises pouvant même tourner à l’Ouest voire au Sud-Est, mer assez tourmentée : les conditions de navigation vont être très irrégulières dimanche avec l’installation d’une dorsale en plein sur la route des centristes...

Embouteillages aux travaux anticycloniques

On board Renault ZE. Image copyright Renault ZE.

Et il n’y aura donc pas que l’ancien leader espagnol à souffrir dans cette molle proche des Quarantièmes Rugissants ! De Groupe Bel à Hugo Boss, la traversée de cette nouvelle bulle anticyclonique va être redoutable et il n’y a peut-être que les trois retardataires qui la verront passer devant leur nez sans être perturbés : une opportunité pour Central Lechera Asturiana et We are Water les plus à l’Est, comme pour Forum Maritim Catala très à l’Ouest, de retrouver le contact avec le peloton...

La route logique entre l’équateur et le cap de Bonne-Espérance cumule les embûches : après un alizé plutôt mou entre l’équateur et le tropique du Capricorne, puis des « travaux de reconstruction » de la voie anticyclonique aux abords de l’archipel de Martin Vaz i Trindade, le chemin va encore « s’ébouler » ! Tandis que ceux qui ont pris le « périphérique extérieur » circulent à fond les ballons sans se préoccuper des radars : Virbac-Paprec 3amême été flashé à plus de 21 nœuds de moyenne...

Classement du 21 janvier à 15 heures :

1 FONCIA à 20 057 milles de l’arrivée
2 VIRBAC-PAPREC 3 à 49 milles du leader
3 ESTRELLA DAMM Sailing Team à 130 milles
4 GROUPE BEL à 164 milles
5 MAPFRE à 198 milles
6 MIRABAUD à 234 milles
7 RENAULT Z.E à 283 milles
8 NEUTROGENA à 297 milles
10 HUGO BOSS à 430 milles
12 WE ARE WATER à 499 milles
13 FORUM MARITIM CATALA à 633 milles

Ils ont dit :

Jean Le Cam, Président, de passage au PC Course de Barcelona : « Cela fait partie du métier : si on ne voulait pas prendre de risques et si on voulait une vie peinard, on ne ferait pas du bateau à voile... Il n’y a rien d’écrit dans ce métier, rien de fait et on le voit bien que ce soit sur le classement ou que ce soit sur la casse éventuelle. C’est la vie de tous les jours : chez tout le monde, il y a des emmerdes qui arrivent, qui vous tombent dessus. Nous, c’est pareil donc après il faut gérer au mieux. On a démâté, on a emmené le bateau à Mindelo, il n’y a pas eu de soucis particuliers. Je regarde la course : je me suis connecté au dernier aéroport où j’étais, à Mindelo. Michel Desjoyeaux était au Sud avec Virbac. Forcément, ils étaient à droite parce qu’ils se sont arrêtés à Recife. Le premier qui attrape le train, il finit par prendre la tête de la course. Cette fois, le train était au Sud : il ne faut juste pas rester sur le quai. Il faut regarder si le Président repart ou pas, et moi j’ai toujours l’objectif du Vendée Globe..»

Michel Desjoyeaux, Foncia : « Nous sommes poursuivis par une petite dépression : si elle va assez vite, elle va nous amener au moins jusqu’à l’île de Gough et peut être jusqu’à la première porte Atlantique… Sinon, ça va être le bazar ! Il y a un peu d’incertitude, mais on bombarde avec ce que nous avons ! On atteint des vitesses à deux chiffres qui commencent par le chiffre 2 : c’est une bonne nouvelle. Avec ce qui nous attend, il vaut mieux être devant, car ça nous laisse plus d’opportunités. Mais c’est accompagné d’un peu de shaker à bord. Heureusement, nous sommes suffisamment abrités par la casquette. Parfois il y a des bons paquets de mer qui recouvrent le bateau : pour aller se promener dehors, il faut un bon ciré. En ce moment, ça bombarde à 20 nœuds de moyenne ! Dehors ce n’est pas pluvieux, nous sommes juste en avant de la pluie ou en bordure. »

Pepe Ribes, Estrella Damm : « En ce moment, nous avons un peu de vent constant d’environ 15/20 nœuds d’Est-Nord-Est. Nous filons au travers, toutes voiles dehors ! En revanche, devant nous, la situation devient plus compliquée... »

Barcelona World Race

BWR: Virbac Paprec 3 the fastest in the fleet

Virbac Paprec 3. Image copyright Yvan Zedda/Virbac Paprec 3.

by Jean-Pierre Dick

Virbac-Paprec 3, le plus rapide de la flotte à 20h21/01/2011 : J+21. 20h30. Au classement de 20h, JP et Loïck naviguent à 44,5 milles du leader Foncia. Virbac-Paprec 3 est le plus rapide de la flotte. Depuis une heure le duo avance à 21,5 noeuds. Les vitesses sont hallucinantes aujourd'hui !

A l'approche des Quarantièmes Rugissants 21/01/2011 : J+21. 16h. Que d'événements en une semaine ! Vendredi dernier, Virbac-Paprec 3 mettait le clignotant à droite vers Recife pour une escale technique. Repartis 15 heures plus tard avec 270 milles de retard, JP et Loïck ont cravaché pour revenir dans le match. Le duo a relevé ce challenge avec brio en bénéficiant de vents favorables le long du Brésil qui propulsent désormais Virbac-Paprec 3 à grande vitesse vers les Quarantièmes Rugissants. A plus de 20 nœuds, JP et Loïck sont deuxième de la Barcelona World Race à 49 milles du leader Foncia. Un renversement de situation hallucinant en un...

Virbac-Paprec 3 flashé à 25 noeuds ! 21/01/2011 : J+21. 11h. Sur les "position report"reçues par l'équipe à 10h, Virbac-Paprec 3 a été flashé à 25 noeuds. Au classement de 10h, JP et Loïck se hissent à la deuxième position de la Barcelona World Race et naviguent à 50,8 milles du leader Foncia. La course dans la course continue avec Foncia !

Jean-Pierre Dick
Barcelona World Race

BWR: Foncia leading the way at break neck speed

* Five days after her pit stop, FONCIA takes the lead
* Very fast pace for the leaders at the front of a low
* Heading for Gough Island and the Roaring Forties

Michel Desjoyeaux points his thumb at the sleeping Francois Gabart. Image copyright Michel Desjoyeaux/Foncia.

by Team Foncia media

Position: 38 04.72' S /26 48.93' W
1st at the 1400 hrs GMT position report
Wind: 25 to 35 knots of NNW’ly
Sea: rough
Sails: 1 reef mainsail and ORC
Speed: 20 knots
Heading: SE

“The fact that we made a pit stop and are now leading again is incredible”, confessed Michel Desjoyeaux early this morning, after a rather full-on night watch. Sailing flat out towards Gough Island, the crew of FONCIA gained control of the Barcelona World Race fleet on Thursday evening (yesterday)... an almost perfect scenario after their pit stop in Brazil five days earlier.

On 15 January, Michel Desjoyeaux and François Gabart left the Brazilian port of Recife after an 18 hour pit stop to repair the sacrificial bow on their monohull. When they took up where they left off in the competition, their deficit in relation to the new leaders of the Barcelona World Race, Spaniards Alex Pella and Pepe Ribes, had risen to a little over 300 miles. However, their decision to stay to the West and go right around the outside of a rather disorganised Saint Helena High reshuffled the cards. Hurtling along downwind two or three times quicker than their adversaries to the East, who by that point were trapped in light airs (the W’ly separation reached 700 miles), they ended up taking the head of the fleet on Thursday afternoon, a position they hadn’t enjoyed since 8 January offshore of Cape Verde...

No respite from the work

This great comeback is the fruit of a strategy evoked by Michel and François on crossing the equator. It is also the result of constant teamwork on deck, at the helm, in the sail choices and the configuration of the appendages to get the boat making as much headway as she can. The latter caused Michel to reflect that double-handed sailing is a lot more tiring than sailing single-handed! And it is now all the more tiring given that Virbac-Paprec 3 (affectionately nicknamed the “Schtroumpfette” or Smurphette in English!), after experiencing a similarly eventful journey thus far, has also made a dazzling comeback in the ranking and is once again casting her blue shadow over FONCIA’s transom...

At 38 degrees South, this duelling pair are having a real rollercoaster ride at the front of a low, which is generating NNW’ly winds of 25 to 35 knots and a difficult sea. These lively conditions are enabling them to maintain very high average speeds, in excess of 20 knots, as they tear southwards towards Gough Island.

Gough, the new star

Up till now, neither the general public nor the sailors had ever heard of this volcanic island spanning 65 km2 and situated at 40 degrees South, midway between the coasts of Argentina and South Africa. As such this British Island belonging to the Tristan da Cunha archipelago was totally unknown until the Race Management transformed it, on 11 January, into a course mark to be left to starboard as a precaution to avoid drifting ice. Since that time, Gough Island has become the subject of everyone’s attention as the whole fleet make it their latest mission. To succeed in passing to the North of this island, FONCIA’s crew will have to endure a few rather intense watches. Indeed the rhythm of speeds in excess of 400 miles in 24 hours is set to continue for the next two days, with the wind due to shift round from the NW to the SW as the low rolls over the top of them. At that point, lighter, shiftier conditions will be the order of the day. Will they be sufficiently favourable to enable François Gabart to be lucky enough to make his first entry into the Roaring Forties in pole position? We’ll know the answer shortly...

The ranking on 21st January at 1400 hours GMT :

1. Michel Desjoyeaux - Francois Gabart / FONCIA 20057.1 miles from the finish
2. Jean Pierre Dick - Loick Peyron / VIRBAC-PAPREC 3 49.3 miles astern
3. Alex Pella - Pepe Ribes / ESTRELLA DAMM 130.4 miles astern
4. Kito de Pavant – Seb Audigane / GROUPE BEL 164 miles astern
5. Iker Martinez - Xabi Fernandez / MAPFRE 198.2 miles astern
6. Dominique Wavre - Michele Paret / MIRABAUD 234.6 miles astern
7. Pachi Rivero - Antonio Piris / RENAULT Z.E 283.3 miles astern
8. Boris Herrmann - Ryan Breymaier / NEUTROGENA 296.9 miles astern
9. Dee Caffari - Anna Corbella / GAES CENTROS AUDITIVO 350.6 miles astern
10. Wouter Verbraak - Andy Meiklejohn / HUGO BOSS 430.7 miles astern
11. Juan Merediz - Fran Palacio / CENTRAL LECHERA ASTURIANA 451.8 miles astern
12. Jaume Mumbru - Cali Sanmarti / WE ARE WATER 499.3 miles astern
13. Gerard Marin - Ludovic Aglaor / FMC 633.5 miles astern
Abd Jean le Cam - Bruno Garcia / PRESIDENT

Quotes from the boat :

Michel contacted by telephone this morning

About the paying option: “Some may think that we took this option because we stopped off in Brazil. However, we’d already decided on it when we crossed the equator. We didn’t wait until we were in the Saint Helena tradewinds before we told ourselves that it was highly likely the way through was to the right. Saint Helena wasn’t a very well organised zone of high pressure. It was a windless shambles, without a gradient, and going through it was dangerous.”

About double-handed sailing being harder than solo sailing sometimes: “François and I are doing a good job and we’re pretty much in agreement the whole time. Sometimes I wind myself up but I’m never angry with my friend. As such, getting back into the lead… This is pretty much why we’re working. I thought it might be easier sailing double-handed than solo and that we’d have a bit more time for ourselves. But that’s not how it is at all. We’re working the whole time and still that’s not always enough, as the other crews aren’t sparing their efforts either. You’re always compelled to be firing on all cylinders the whole time so it’s hard. We have our “schtroumpfette” on our tail making life difficult for us but it’s a good thing as it’s motivating.”

The blunder of the week

“That’s down to me! Shortly after leaving Recife, before we headed off definitively on our S’ly option, I hesitated and we were on a SE’ly course for three hours, not really knowing if it was the right option. However, receipt of the latest wind files confirmed that it was indeed working below us. For three hours there was a bit of hesitation and tension...”

The success of the week

“Everyday life is a success. Getting on well with François. Everything linking together rather well. We’re into the pace, battling to be where we are, whilst continuing to have great fun”.

FONCIA mène le bal à un train d’enfer

* Cinq jours après son escale technique, FONCIA prend la tête
* Cadences très élevées pour les leaders à l’avant d’une dépression
* Cap sur l’Ile de Gough et les 40e Rugissants

On board Foncia. Image copyright Michel Desjoyeaux/Foncia.

Position : 38°04.72' S / 26°48.93' W
1e au pointage de 15hFRA
Vent : 25 à 35 nœuds de secteur NNW
Mer : agitée
Voiles : grand-voile 1 ris et ORC
Vitesse : 20 nœuds
Cap : au sud-est

" Le fait d’avoir fait escale et de reprendre la tête maintenant, c’est incroyable ", confesse Michel Desjoyeaux au petit matin, après un quart de nuit musclé. Lancé à toute berzingue en direction de l’Ile de Gough, l’équipage de FONCIA a pris les commandes de la Barcelona World Race jeudi (hier) soir… un scénario presque idéal après leur arrêt technique au Brésil cinq jours plus tôt.

Le 15 janvier, Michel Desjoyeaux et François Gabart quittaient le port brésilien de Recife après 18 heures d’escale pour réparer la crash box de leur monocoque. Lorsqu’ils reprennent le fil de la compétition, leur handicap sur les nouveaux " tauliers " de la Barcelona World Race, les Espagnols Alex Pella et Pepe Ribes, se monte jusqu’à plus de 300 milles. Mais leur choix de rester à l’ouest et de prendre le grand virage extérieur pour contourner un anticyclone de Sainte Hélène totalement désorganisé, va bouleverser la donne. Déboulant au portant deux à trois fois plus vite que leurs adversaires orientaux, alors bloqués dans les petits airs (le décalage ouest-est atteint les 700 milles), ils finissent par prendre la tête de la course hier soir, une position qu’ils n’avaient plus occupée depuis le 8 janvier au large du Cap Vert...

Au turbin, sans relâche

Cette belle remontée est le fruit d’une stratégie évoquée par Michel et François dès le passage de l’équateur. Elle est aussi le résultat d’un travail d’équipe permanent sur le pont, à la barre, dans le choix des voiles et de configuration des appendices pour faire avancer le bateau au maximum de son potentiel, ce qui fait dire à Michel que tout bien réfléchi, le double est beaucoup plus fatiguant que le solo ! D’autant plus fatiguant que Virbac-Paprec 3 (affectueusement surnommé la Schtroumpfette) qui a connu les mêmes péripéties, a lui aussi réalisé un retour fulgurant au classement et projette à nouveau son ombre bleue sur le tableau arrière de FONCIA...

Par 38 degrés Sud, ces duellistes vivent en ce moment des heures mouvementées à l’avant d’une dépression, qui génère des vents de nord-nord-ouest de 25 à 35 nœuds et une mer difficile. Ces conditions musclées leur permettent de tenir des moyennes très élevées, supérieures à 20 nœuds et de cavaler vers le sud-est en direction de l’Ile de Gough.

Gough, la nouvelle star

Jusqu’à présent, ni le grand public ni les marins n’avaient jamais entendu parler de ce rocher volcanique de 65 km2 situé par 40 degrés sud, à mi-chemin entre les côtes argentines et celles de l’Afrique du Sud. Cette île britannique appartenant à l’archipel de Tristan da Cunha était donc totalement inconnue jusqu’à ce que la Direction de Course ne la transforme, le 11 janvier dernier, en marque de parcours à laisser à tribord. Une précaution pour éviter les glaces dérivantes. Depuis, l’Ile de Gough est devenue l’objet de toutes les attentions, le nouvel objectif pour la flotte entière qui devra passer en son nord. Pour y parvenir, l’équipage de FONCIA va vivre encore quelques quarts intenses. Les cadences, supérieures à 400 milles en 24h, seront encore très rapides pendant les deux prochains jours, avec un vent qui basculera du nord-ouest au sud-ouest au passage de la dépression. Ensuite, des conditions plus molles et instables sont à prévoir. Seront-elles assez favorables pour que François Gabart ait la chance de faire sa première entrée dans les Quarantièmes Rugissants en pôle position ? Réponse d’ici peu...

Le classement du 21 janvier à 15hFRA :

1. Michel Desjoyeaux - Francois Gabart / FONCIA à 20057,1 milles de l’arrivée
2. Jean Pierre Dick - Loick Peyron / VIRBAC-PAPREC 3 à 49,3 milles des leaders
3. Alex Pella - Pepe Ribes / ESTRELLA DAMM à 130,4 milles
4. Kito de Pavant – Seb Audigane / GROUPE BEL à 164 milles
5. Iker Martinez - Xabi Fernandez / MAPFRE à 198,2 milles
6. Dominique Wavre - Michele Paret / MIRABAUD à 234,6 milles
7. Pachi Rivero - Antonio Piris / RENAULT Z.E à 283,3 milles
8. Boris Herrmann - Ryan Breymaier / NEUTROGENA à 296,9 milles
9. Dee Caffari - Anna Corbella / GAES CENTROS AUDITIVO à 350,6 milles
10. Wouter Verbraak - Andy Meiklejohn / HUGO BOSS à 430,7 milles
11. Juan Merediz - Fran Palacio / CENTRAL LECHERA ASTURIANA à 451,8 milles
12. Jaume Mumbru - Cali Sanmarti / WE ARE WATER à 499,3 milles
13. Gerard Marin - Ludovic Aglaor / FMC à 633,5 milles
Abd Jean le Cam - Bruno Garcia / PRESIDENT

Ils ont dit :

Michel joint au téléphone ce matin

Audio: Michel Desjoyeaux on the "paying" option

A propos de l’option payante : " Certains peuvent penser que c’est parce qu’on s’est arrêté au Brésil que nous avons pris cette option-là. Mais elle était déjà décidée quand nous avons passé l’équateur. On n’a pas attendu d’être dans les alizés de Sainte Hélène pour se dire qu’il y avait de fortes chances pour que cela passe à droite. Sainte Hélène n’était pas une cellule anticyclonique bien organisée, c’était un bazar sans vent, sans gradient, et passer à travers était dangereux. "

Audio: Michel Desjoyeaux on the current situation for Team Foncia

A propos du double, parfois plus dur que le solitaire : " Avec François, nous faisons du bon boulot, on est à peu près d’accord tout le temps. Parfois, je m’énerve tout seul mais jamais contre mon camarade. Alors se retrouver en tête ...En même temps, c’est un peu pour ça qu’on bosse. En double, je pensais que ce serait peut-être plus facile qu’en solo, qu’on aurait un peu plus de temps pour nous. Et ben pas du tout. On est au turbin tout le temps et encore ça ne suffit pas toujours, car les autres équipages ne chôment pas non plus. Tu es toujours obligé de mettre du charbon en permanence, donc c’est dur. On a notre schtroumpfette qui nous donne un peu de fil à retordre mais c’est bien, ça motive ".

La bourde de la semaine

" Je la prends pour moi ! Peu après notre départ de Recife, avant qu’on ne parte définitivement sur l’option sud, j’ai hésité et on a mis pendant trois heures le cap vers le sud-est, ne sachant pas bien si c’était la bonne option. Mais la réception des derniers fichiers de vent nous a confirmé que ça passait bien par en dessous. Pendant trois heures, il y a eu un peu d’hésitation et de tension..."

La réussite de la semaine

" C’est la vie de tous les jours. La bonne entente avec François. Tout s’enchaîne plutôt bien. On est dans le rythme, on se bat pour être là où nous sommes, tout en continuant à bien se marrer ".

Barcelona World Race

BWR: Mapfre in Pursuit of the Podium

Mapfre. Image copyright Maria Muina/Barcelona World Race.

by Mapfre media

Iker and Xabi are currently holding the best pace on the leaders and are now waiting for the opportunity to pounce on the Barcelona World Race podium once again
“The situation has changed for the better. Now we are sailing South, at 15 knots, with the breeze behind us. We've got water on deck once more and everything's a bit more uncomfortable as we are jostled around, but morale is definitely up as we can see that we are getting back in the race”. With these words Xabi opened the videoconference this Friday morning, on a day where the Spanish duo made up of Iker Martínez and Xabi Fernández are yet again keeping “MAPFRE”s speed above the 16 knot mark.

Right now, the boat with the Olympic champions onboard is the entry best holding the powerful pace that the French fleet leaders “Foncia” and “Virbac Paprec 3” are setting for the regatta, They are also the boat adding fewest miles to the gap with the top two yachts.

“I think we are going to get out of here quite well in a couple of days, but the French entries are likely to do so some 300 miles ahead of us. It's not a case of who has the better boat here, but who is stronger and who sails better”, admits Xabi.

Double Olympic medallist Iker Martínez warned: “The last 24 hours have been very fast, with northeasterly breeze, but now things are calming down somewhat and we may have to suffer again, because it is likely that “Foncia” and Virbac Paprec 3” will continue like this all day with more wind on the beam and faster, whilst we will be getting wind from behind, but lighter... so this is a real struggle!”, he joked. “You have to push to the maximum the whole way!”.

Iker and Xabi are therefore waiting for the ideal opportunity to pounce on the podium once again and to position themselves as the fastest Spanish entry in the fleet. “Let's see if we can move in and position ourselves in third place shortly, as we are to the leeward side of everyone and we should be able to push forward into third”, explained Martínez.

New obligatory waypoint on the course

Iker also reminded us in today's videoconference that above all, it is important to remain calm and to go “steadily, although we are itching to get further down. Soon we'll hit the first ice gate”.

Before passing through the ice waypoint, the fleet will also have to put the Island of Gough to starboard, which is also known as the Island of Gonçalo Alvares, and is located in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean, some 2,700 km from Cape Town (South Africa). The Barcelona World Race Directors set the safety waypoint on the 12th of January 2011 due to this year's movement North of floating ice. Just a few miles South of the gate there is a zone of icebergs which is very dangerous for sailing. The position of the waypoint will therefore mean that entries won't be able to choose a route to the South of the Atlantic Gate to then climb back up from South to North.

“Foncia” and “Virbac Paprec 3” set the pace

The progress of “Foncia” and “Virbac Paprec 3” hasn't left anyone cold, with their tactics proving themselves for all to see.

Both entries have positioned themselves back at the front of the fleet. “Foncia” with Michel Desjoyeaux and François Gabart has been leading since yesterday at 19:00 GMT whilst the previous Barcelona World Race winner Jean Pierre Dick and fellow skipper Loïck Peyron pounced on second place this morning, as the 09:00 GMT position reports revealed.

From onboard “MAPFRE” the skippers gave recognition to the great progress made by their rivals: “The two leading entries are doing very well, both in terms of the boat and crew. The main differences lie in navigation. They were where they needed to be and that is where they have really pushed ahead of us”, admitted Iker, from Hondarribia, northern Spain. He also took the opportunity to greet his friends from the Basque town who “came to see us off, and we could only see them for a minute. Hello guys!”.

“We are feeling more at ease every day, but this is a very long race and you have to tread carefully”, he continued. “The boats ahead aren't very far away from us. If they don't spread further apart we will be in the same southern system, which would be a really success for us, considering that the first part of the regatta was the hardest bit for us, both in terms of the boat and strategy. If we can salvage things here it would mean that we will have sailed a really good first third of the regatta”.

Day 21 - 14:00 GMT

1. FONCIA (Michel Desjoyeaux - François Gabart) FRA, 20,057.1 miles from finish
2. . VIRBAC-PAPREC 3 (Jean Pierre Dick - Loïck Peyron) FRA, +49.3 miles
3. ESTRELLA DAMM SAILING TEAM (Alex Pella - Pepe Ribes) ESP, +130.4 miles
4. GROUPE BEL (Kito de Pavant - Sebastien Audigane) FRA, +164 miles
5. MAPFRE (Iker Martínez - Xabi Fernández) ESP, +198.2 miles
6. MIRABAUD (Dominique Wavre - Michéle Paret) SUI, + 234.6 miles
7. RENAULT Z. E. (Pachi Rivero - Antonio Piris) ESP, +283.3 miles
8. NEUTROGENA FÓRMULA NORUEGA (Boris Herrmann - Ryan Breymaier) NOR, +296.9 miles
9. GAES CENTROS AUDITIVOS (Dee Caffari - Anna Corbella) GBR/ESP, +350.6 miles
10. HUGO BOSS (Wouter Verbraak - Andy Meiklejohn) GBR, +430.7 miles
11. CENTRAL LECHERA ASTURIANA (Juan Merediz - Fran Palacio) ESP, +451.8 miles
12. WE ARE WATER (Jaume Mumbrú - Cali Sanmartí) ESP, +499.3 miles
13. FÒRUM MARÍTIM CATALÀ (Gerard Marín - Ludovic Aglaor) ESP, +633.5 miles
** PRÉSIDENT (Jean le Cam - Bruno García) FRA/ESP, ABANDONED RACE

Barcelona World Race

VOR: Video of Groupama Training in Lanzarote (in French)

Cammas - Groupama
Volvo Ocean Race

RdR: Franck Cammas reprise sa victoire en la Route du Rhum

Franck Cammas raconte sa Route du Rhum:

Arrivée victorieuse de Franck Cammas à bord de Groupama 3:

Cammas - Groupama
La Route de Rhum - La Banque Postale

Audi MedCup: New build TP52 Container to compete on 2011 Audi MedCup Circuit

Mr. Udo Schütz - armador de CONTAINER © Schtz GmbH & Co. KGaA / team CONTAINER.

by Sabina Mollart-Rogerson

The new Container, owned by Udo Schütz from Germany, will debut in the world’s leading monohull class, the TP52 Series on the Audi MedCup in 2011. She will compete with an experienced, professional crew led by Markus Wieser, a European Champion and World Championship runner-up in the Dragon Class. Wieser is also experienced match racer and has frequently sailed in the afterguard aboard TP52s.

Udo Schütz’ Container, known for its campaigns recently in the Mini Maxi class and further back as a winner of the Admiral’s Cup as part of the German team, will campaign in the TP52 class of the 2011 Audi MedCup with a new Judel & Vrolijk design. The team will make its debut at the first event of the circuit in May.

“It is a great opportunity to lead the Container team into a new era – a highly skilled group of people, some of whom already have experience in the TP52 class,” said Wieser. “We remain realistic and we know that competition is very strong but anything can happen during the short windward-leeward races.”

“It was a logical step for us, based on our experiences from the Mini Maxi class”, explained Team Owner, Udo Schütz. “There is no higher professional way of sailing on monohulls in the world – the perfect environment to showcase and develop our products.”

Schütz is a successful businessman who’s state of the art technology is used in the construction of lightweight components for principally the aerospace and automotive industries.

The new TP52 Container is being built by Green Marine in Lymington, UK and is expected to be delivered in a record time of just four months. Container is the sistership to another new TP52 under construction at Green Marine, Niklas Zennström’s Ràn.

This is the first of a number of team announcements expected for the coming season.

Boat Specifications

Class: TP52
Length: 15.85 m (52 feet)
Width: 4.42 m
Draft: 4.35 m
Weight: 7,300 kg
Mast Height: 23:80 m
Upwind Sail Area: 93,5 m² (main sail) and 65 m² (foresail)
Gennaker: 260 m²
Capacity: 13 crew
Design: Judel / Vrolijk & Co
Builder: Green Marine Ltd., Lymington/UK

Audi MedCup

America's Cup: ORACLE Racing video with some AC45 from the air shots and interview with Jimmy Spithill


Melges 32 Action at Key West 2011: Images by Joy Dunigan

Melges 32 fleet action, ©2011 JOY | International Melges 32 Class Association

Mark Plaxton | INTAC, ©2011 JOY | International Melges 32 Class Association.

Keisuke Suzuki | SWING, ©2011 JOY | International Melges 32 Class Association

Steve Howe | Warpath, ©2011 JOY | International Melges 32 Class Association

Mark Plaxton | INTAC, ©2011 JOY | International Melges 32 Class Association

Yukihiro Ishida | Yasha Samurai, ©2011 JOY | International Melges 32 Class Association.

Yukihiro Ishida | Yasha Samurai, ©2011 JOY | International Melges 32 Class Association

Keisuke Suzuki | SWING, ©2011 JOY | International Melges 32 Class Association.

Mark Plaxton | INTAC, ©2011 JOY | International Melges 32 Class Association.

Melges 32
Key West 2011