Friday 28 January 2011

Aussie 18 Foot Skiffs: Race 4 sees Championship Win for Thurlow Fisher Lawyers

First spinnaker run. Image copyright Frank Quealey.

by Frank Quealey

Thurlow Fisher Lawyers took out today’s Race 4 of the Australian Championship on Sydney Harbour to clinch the title with one more race still to be sailed.

Skippered by Michael Coxon and crewed by Aaron Links and Trent Barnabas, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers trailed early but grabbed the lead on the second windward leg and went on to take the victory by15s from arch rivals Seve Jarvin, Sam Newton and Scott Babbage in Gotta Love It 7.

Thurlow Fisher Lawyers, winners of the Aussie 18 Foot Skiff Championships 2011: Michael Coxon, Aaron Links and Trent Barnabas. Image copyright Frank Quealey.

Third place went John Winning, Andrew Hay and Dave Gibson in Yandoo, which finished a further 1m13s back.

Thurlow Fisher Lawyers has an unbeatable points lead (after discarding her worst result) on 4 points, followed by Yandoo and Red Claw Wines (Matt Searle, Archie Massey and Mike McKenzie) on 11, Smeg (Nick Press) on 13, defending champion Gotta Love It 7 on 14 and Project Racing (Andy Budgen) 15.

Today’s race was also part of the Australia Day Regatta and produced extremely testing conditions for all teams.

Start of the race. Image copyright Frank Quealey.

High temperature over the cool water produced a fog haze and the lack of a decent breeze didn’t help on a crowded Sydney Harbour.

A light (5-8 knots) North-East breeze then settled and after two general recalls the race finally got under way more than 40m later than scheduled.

Light wind. Image copyright Frank Quealey.

It was a slow ride across from the start at Double Bay to the first tack off Bradleys Head where Kenwood-Rabbitohs narrowly led from Thurlow Fisher Lawyers.

Several skiffs, including Gotta Love It 7, Asko Appliances, Smeg and Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney) tacked early and the fleet was soon spread across the course.

Project Racing led a tightly bunched fleet at the first windward mark and continued to lead by 20s at the bottom mark.

Rag & Famish. Image copyright Frank Quealey.

Thurlow Fisher Lawyers was in second place, followed by (Jeremy Wilmot), Gotta Love It 7, Asko Appliances (John Harris), Red Claw Wines, Smeg and Yandoo.

On the next windward leg Thurlow Fisher Lawyers overhauled Project Racing and from that point her victory look assured as the team opened up a break of 1m10s at the bottom mark for the second time.

The last race of the championship will be sailed next Sunday, 30 January, with the usual spectator ferry leaving Double Bay Wharf at 2.10pm.

Aussie 18 Foot Skiffs

BWR: Leaders’ Luxury

Foncia. Image copyright B. Stichelbaut/Foncia.

by Barcelona World Race media

As the first depression of the ‘big south’ spins off south eastwards towards the depths of the Indian Ocean, there is a certain temporary stability visited on the positions of the leading trio of the Barcelona World Race this afternoon, but no such luxury for the chasing pack.

The fast moving front which has presented leaders Virbac-Paprec 3 and Foncia with a slingshot move south east, today allowing them to satisfy the requirements of passing the first security gate, but it has spirited the leading duo even further from the third placed MAPFRE and even more from the main body of the 13 boat fleet, which may still have a further encounter with the persistent high pressure system spreading again across the South Atlantic.

Since they returned from ‘invisible’ mode this morning, Foncia have been consistently around 27-28 miles behind leader Virbac-Paprec 3, running a nearly parallel course some 25 miles to the north of the blue and white hulled IMOCA Open 60 of Jean-Pierre Dick and Loïck Peyron. As the front moves away from this afternoon and evening they will gybe in succession for the SW’ly winds behind the front and focus on the quickest course to the second gate on a fairly direct course.

Though they are now some 517 miles behind the leaders MAPFRE have strengthened their position in third place. Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez have 160 miles in hand over fourth placed Estrella Damm, and the top Spanish duo will likely continue with brisk SW’ly breezes for a further 24 hours, allowing them to move still further ahead of those behind and give them a fighting chance to keep pace with the runaway leaders.

But behind them the high pressure in the South Atlantic will try and snare three quarters of the fleet, as the window of opportunity presented by the westerly breezes of the last 36 hours closes on the fingers of these chasing duos. In the wake of the depression, light winds will return, even headwinds for some in the north which are still trying to break into the 40’s latitudes.

On board Estrella Damm. Image copyright Estrella Damm.

For them it has become increasingly important to keep spirits up, to roll with the punches which come their way this early in the race. Such was the reminder of Boris Herrmann (GER) who was linked up live by video today from Neutrogena in eighth place to Europe’s biggest, and one of the world’s largest boat shows, the annual BOOT boat show in Dusseldorf:
“It’s always hard to keep smiling when you lose. But on the other hand you need to have fun onboard on a trip like this. And we’re still having a lot of fun.” Remarked Herrmann, “We had some issues but managed everything okay. No temporary chewing gum solutions, quite sophisticated work. We do use the chewing gum to have something to bite on because we’re both hungry all day.”

But finding it hard to put on a brave face this afternoon are the Central Lechera Asturiana duo Juan Merediz and Fran Palacio. Though they are no strangers to adversity, having fought a tough battle to be ready for the race start after losing their mast of the Owen Clarke designed former Ecover 2/Mutua Madrileña four weeks before the start whilst off Lisbon, the duo took a hard decision to go for a technical stop in Cape Town to make a repair to their keel ram hydraulics. The duo, on their first round the world race, have sailed a solid and often astute race down the Atlantic, but will have to divert from their present duel with Hugo Boss.

Juan Merediz explained:
“We’re disappointed, annoyed but still our spirits are OK. What I’ve worried about from the first day was to start and make it back to Barcelona. This is just something unfortunate along the way but we have to do it for safety. It’s another hurdle in the way and it’s on our way to the Southern Ocean. Afterwards we will keep going the same, redoubling our efforts. Unfortunately we will lose more time getting to Cape Town than with the actual repair. The keel gives the power to the boat and right now the power is compromised. The most important thing is to keep fighting.”
The stopover will cost them miles on their near rivals, but the actual repair should only take a matter of two to three hours.

Ranking at 1400hrs UTC Tuesday 25th January

1 VIRBAC-PAPREC 3 at 18 708 miles to the finish
2 FONCIA at 27 miles from leader
3 MAPFRE at 517 miles
4 ESTRELLA DAMM Sailing Team at 672 miles
5 GROUPE BEL at 689 miles
6 RENAULT Z.E at 743 miles
7 MIRABAUD at 850 miles
8 NEUTROGENA at 914 miles
11 HUGO BOSS at 1190 miles
12 WE ARE WATER at 1317 miles
13 FORUM MARITIM CATALA at 1394 miles


Michel Desjoyeaux (FRA) Foncia:
“Here we are, visible again. We have removed the white cloak of secrecy. We were about ten miles to the NW of the west point of Gate 1, so we have fulfilled our requirements there and now we are free to do what we want. Anyway down to the south there is an iceberg so we stay more in the north this time. For the moment the weather is favorable to take a fairly direct route and the next gate is pretty close.”

“We are in a NW’ly which is not very strong, the sea is not very organized but we have a blue sky so it is really nice. We will gybe this evening. I am not so focused on the weather today but I know a little about what is happening.”

“ Virbac-Paprec 3 has been further south since before Gough Island and the difference between us stays the same. They will have to go through the gate while we have already done this. Since they are a little ahead they will gybe a little later.”
“ We saw a lot of birds around us when we passed near Gough Island. There are some little Albatross but not many and they are not very big.”

“ What has changed a lot in the southern seas is the sea temperature, it is still 17C. When you maneuver, handling ropes and sails you would not believe you are in the Roaring Forties. We have a big sun. It’s like August in Ireland.”

Kito de Pavant (FRA), Groupe Bel:“Last night was a bit rough after we got into the wind. There was a lot of work, strong winds and a lot of sail changes because we need to change gears to adapt for the changes in wind.”

The sea is quite organized but its not very comfortable for us because we are now sailing to try and get through a fairly tight weather window. Given the conditions now we have broken out the dry suits again and hats, which is a change from our bad habits of being near naked on the boat.

So much can happen, so we try to sail the boat both fast and safe, but that is a difficulty we have at the moment, getting the balance between the work we do, going fast and saving the boat.

Stealth mode, we think, is of little interest to us just now. We all have the same tools to choose our course so I don’t think really we have options to stray from it. We have to keep up the rate but of course with different conditions we don’t have exactly the same timings.

It is going well at the moment, but I feel like we should really not hang around here because there is a risk of being caught again by the high pressure ridge’s area of light breeze, but we can’t go faster than the music!

Yesterday when we were under spinnaker it is was good, sliding along. It was nice with no gusts. The temperatures are lower now so it is cooler and wetter on deck.
I talk to Seb a lot about the Roaring Forties because he is very knowledgeable. We have not yet seen any Albatross. Seb has a lot to tell me about the birds, and his experiences with big voyages like those of De Kersauson, Bruno Peyron and Franck Cammas. It is good to see how he prepares and sets things up, and that is reassuring for me.

Seb still has the beard and wants it to stay. The seals around our necks irritate with the beard so it is not that great.

We are now almost two days behind the first two. Pachi and Toño have come back very hard since they were behind at the Equator, they have found some shortcuts to take and we have been slower on the road.

"Estrella Damm had a slightly better position and so they had the chance to escape. But it is always a good challenge and we often go faster when there is a boat just in front.”

Juan Merediz (ESP):Central Lechera Asturiana: “We’re disappointed, annoyed but still our spirits are OK. What I’ve worried about from the first day was to start and make it back to Barcelona. This is just something unfortunate along the way but we have to do it for safety. It’s another hurdle in the way and it’s on our way to the Southern Ocean. Afterwards we will keep going the same, redoubling our efforts. Unfortunately we will lose more time getting to Cape Town than with the actual repair. The keel gives the power to the boat and right now the power is compromised. The most important thing is that the boat is secure and safe and that we are both well. We will keep fighting on.

We have plenty of spares onboard and Fran and I did ask the team what has happened because is something that usually never fails. And this part which is essential and never fails it actually failed. We are perfectly fine, the boat has a sprained ankle and limps a bit.Once in Cape Town we don’t have to haul out the boat and we’ll have the best help to fix it. And if we can do it in 2 hours and 45 minutes then that’s better than 3 hours and 15 minutes. It all helps.

We are quite lucky on the positive side. We dismasted one month before the start, and not five minutes before the start, otherwise it would have been too late to be ready for the start. And of course this has happened before getting to Wellington so we don’t have to take the 48 hours penalty, just break from the optimum route a bit. We hope that the high pressure systems let us through.”

Boris Herrmann (GER) Neutrogena: “We have only 14 knots of breeze right now, and it looks like we missed the edge of the deep pressure system just by a couple of miles. We thought we would make it and get the fast lane. But with the distance lost to Mirabaud in the last skeds it seems they are but we not. We acted quite unlucky so far with parking wherever there was a hole. This is pretty frustrating. But we’ll continue fighting as hard as we can and hope to catch up in the Southern Ocean. This will be our time to come.

”The temperature came down rapidly in the last 24 hours from 30 to only 15 degrees Celsius. After sunburned a lot with hardly any shadow onboard during the day we feel better now. We had a brilliant night before with moon shine and 20+ knots of wind, but it’s gone by now. We are desperately missing stronger breezes. We’ve just changed from the genoa to the smaller jib to point higher, but it looks like we’ll re-change soon. The wind is not stable anymore.

“We’re wondering what the advantage could be for us to change into ghost mode. But for now there is no passing lane in sight. We need to catch up on ‘Mirabaud’ to maybe continue undercover and have a chance on overtaking them.

“It would have been smart to choose the ghost mode at Gibraltar to not shown everybody we were sailing backwards for 24 hours.

“We had some issues but managed okay on everything. No chewing gum solutions, quite sophisticated work. We use the chewing gum to have something to bite on because we’re both hungry all day.

“It’s always hard to keep smiling when you lose. But on the other hand you need to have fun onboard on a trip like this. And we’re still having a lot of fun.”

La mer aux trousses

* Virbac-Paprec 3 et Foncia ont passé la première porte des glaces
* La grosse dépression qui a poussé la flotte va laisser place à une zone de transition
* Central Lechera Asturiana a annoncé une escale technique à Cape Town

On board Central Lechera Asturiana. Image copyright Central Lechera Asturiana.

La tempête subtropicale qui a accéléré le rythme ces dernières heures s’enfuit vers l’océan Indien, laissant derrière elle une flotte de plus en plus dispersée. Les duos ne sont désormais plus dans les mêmes systèmes météorologiques et la situation s’aggrave encore avec le retour des hautes pressions près de l’Afrique du Sud…
Scénario hitchcockien sur la Barcelona World Race : pendant que les deux voiliers leaders visent déjà la seconde porte des glaces dans le Sud-Est de l’Afrique, leurs poursuivants doivent cravacher pour ne pas se faire rattraper par la pieuvre anticyclonique qui déploie de nouvelles ventouses sur l’Atlantique Sud ! Car derrière la dépression très creuse qui a poussé les trois quarts de la flotte ces dernières heures, se pointe une dorsale de vents faibles, voire de brises contraires au-dessus du 35°S… La « psychose » d’un arrêt brutal à l’entrée des Quarantièmes Rugissants règne pour les retardataires qui voient « l’étau » se reformer sans qu’ils puissent éviter cette « main au collet » des hautes pressions telles une « cinquième colonne » infiltrant les plus lointains recoins de l’océan.

« Fenêtre sur cour »

En avant de la course, « l’inconnu du Sud-Express » est réapparu ce mardi matin : Foncia avait pendant 36h utilisé le mode furtif pour cacher ses intentions à son partenaire du grand détour atlantique. Virbac-Paprec 3 n’a pas été inquiété même si Jean-Pierre Dick et Loïck Peyron ont eu quelques « soupçons » quant à une trajectoire légèrement différente de la leur. Et de fait, Michel Desjoyeaux et François Gabart ont préféré accomplir leur devoir au plus tôt en remontant vers le Nord pour passer la porte des glaces en premiers afin de garder plus de marge de manœuvres pour la suite du programme. En avant du front froid associé à la tempête subpolaire qui glisse vers les Kerguelen, les deux bateaux poussés par plus de vingt-cinq nœuds de Nord-Ouest attendaient la bascule au Sud-Ouest juste au moment où la porte des glaces pointait à l’horizon. Virbac-Paprec 3achoisi de descendre sous cette marque de parcours pour remonter dessus après l’empannage. L’idée était de privilégier la vitesse même si la distance à parcourir était supérieure, puis de raser l’extrémité Est de cette première porte des glaces, par 40°30S et 6°E : le résultat est convaincant, sans « l’ombre d’un doute » !

« L’ombre blanche »

Avec 27 milles de marge pour aller chercher la prochaine porte des glaces située par 42°S entre le 23°E et le 28°E, Jean-Pierre Dick et Loïck Peyron ne devraient toutefois pas faire « le plongeon » vers le Sud-Est pour deux raisons : d’abord parce que la route optimale reste relativement Nord à cause d’un flux de secteur Sud attendu derrière la grosse dépression fuyant vers les îles australes indiennes ; ensuite parce que « l’ombre blanche » d’un iceberg s’étale en travers de la voie ! Pas besoin de se faire des « sueurs froides » quand le chemin le plus court est aussi le plus sûr… En tout cas à ce rythme, les deux premiers vont passer la longitude du cap de Bonne-Espérance au milieu de l’après-midi mercredi.

« Pris au piège »

A 500 milles derrière, la situation n’est déjà plus du tout la même ! MAPFRE a certes réussi à décrocher franchement le peloton et s’installe (inconfortablement au vu de l’état de la mer) de facto à une troisième place qu’il devient difficile de mettre en ballottage dans les jours qui viennent. Car Iker Martinez et Xabi Fernandez vont encore profiter du flux de Sud-Ouest musclé pendant près d’une journée quand leurs poursuivants vont constater un net affaiblissement de la brise. Les Espagnols qui ont dépassé l’île Gough à 2H10 TU (3h10 heure française) ce mercredi peuvent faire route directe vers la première porte des glaces dans un régime de Sud d’une vingtaine de nœuds, leur permettant de maintenir une moyenne supérieure à quinze nœuds : s’ils ne devraient ni perdre ni gagner de milles par rapport aux leaders, ils vont augmenter leur avance sur le peloton...

Car la nature n’aime pas le vide : quand une dépression s’en va, un anticyclone la remplace. Et Sainte-Hélène va donc encore étendre son influence presque jusqu’à l’’entrée du chenal de Cape Town (à 70 kms au Nord-Ouest du cap de Bonne-Espérance)! D’abord, il faut absolument être le plus proche possible du 40°S ; ensuite il faut dépasser le 10°W avant le coucher du soleil pour avoir une chance d’échapper au pire. Estrella Damm etGroupe Bel sont dans les temps s’ils maintiennent leur rythme endiablé, Renault ZE et surtout Mirabaud sont « border line »… Alors que pour Neutrogena et Gaes Centros Auditivos, c’est quasiment mission impossible ! Que dire pour le groupe de queue : ce sont « les enchaînés ». Déjà encalaminés, Central Lechera Asturiana, Hugo Boss, We Are Water et FMC vont tout simplement être enferrés dans une dorsale qui se plaît à s’épandre devant leur route… Ayant la contrainte de respecter des marques de parcours situées sur le 40°S, ils ne peuvent descendre plus bas pour aller chercher le vent au-delà ! Dans ces conditions, on ne voit pas bien qui pourrait sortir son joker furtif pour appliquer « la loi du silence » : les voies sont presque toutes déjà tracées.

« Incident de parcours »

Une mauvaise nouvelle est tombée ce mercredi midi quand Juan Merediz et Fran Palacio, qui avaient fort bien négocié l’anticyclone de Sainte-Hélène, ont annoncé qu’ils se détournaient vers Cape Town : l’hydraulique de Central Lechera Asturiana présente une fuite qui rend le basculement de leur quille pendulaire aléatoire dans le temps. Mieux vaut réparer avant que le système ne se détériore plus alors que l’océan Indien ne propose aucune escale technique. La décision a dû être difficile à prendre car le port d’Afrique du Sud est fort mal placé avec les conditions météorologiques programmées : faire route directe les plongerait au cœur de l’anticyclone... Ils devront glisser vers le 40°S avant de remonter vers le continent noir.

Renault Z.E. Image copyright Maria Muina/Barcelona World Race.

La Barcelona World Race prend donc une tournure inattendue depuis le passage de l’équateur, mais « le passé ne meurt pas » ! Le détour par le Brésil des deux leaders actuels a finalement été un énorme bonus en leur ouvrant un couloir qui n’avait pas lieu d’être quelques jours plus tôt... La mer est-elle un enchaînement de paradoxes ?

Classement du 25 janvier à 15 heures :

1 VIRBAC-PAPREC 3 à 18 708 milles de l’arrivée
2 FONCIA à 27 milles du leader
3 MAPFRE à 517 milles
4 ESTRELLA DAMM Sailing Team à 672 milles
5 GROUPE BEL à 689 milles
6 RENAULT Z.E à 743 milles
7 MIRABAUD à 850 milles
8 NEUTROGENA à 914 milles
11 HUGO BOSS à 1190 milles
12 WE ARE WATER à 1317 milles
13 FORUM MARITIM CATALA à 1394 milles

Ils ont dit :

Michel Desjoyeaux, Foncia
: « Nous avons dû passer à une dizaine de milles dans le Nord du point Ouest de la porte 1, donc nous avons rempli nos obligations à ce niveau là et maintenant ça nous laisse toute liberté. De toute façon, du côté Sud, il y a un iceberg... Pour le moment, la météo est assez favorable pour prendre une route directe et puis la prochaine porte est assez proche. Nous sommes dans un vent de Nord-Ouest pas très fort, la mer n’est pas très organisée et nous avons un grand ciel bleu : c’est vraiment sympa. Nous allons empanner dans la soirée. Je ne me suis pas trop occupé de la météo aujourd’hui mais je sais un peu près ce qui se passe. Virbac-Paprec 3 est plus Sud depuis la sortie du thalweg avant l’île de Gough et ce décalage s’est maintenu. Ils vont être obligés de monter pour passer la porte alors que nous, nous avons réglé ce problème. Comme ils sont en avance sur nous, ils empanneront un peu plus tard… Nous avons vu de la population ailée autour de nous quand nous sommes passés près de l’ile de Gough. Il y a quelques albatros qui viennent nous narguer mais ils ne sont pas nombreux. Je n’en ai pas vu de gros encore, ceux qui te regardent de travers dès que tu veux les prendre en photo. Ce qui change pas mal dans les mers du Sud, c’est surtout la température de l’eau mais là elle est encore à 17°C. Quand tu manœuvres et que tu as les mains mouillées par les cordages et les voiles que tu manipules, on ne croirait pas que nous sommes dans les Quarantièmes Rugissants. Nous avons un grand soleil, on se croirait au mois d’août en Irlande ! »

Kito de Pavant, Groupe Bel : « La nuit était un peu agitée car nous avons retrouvé du vent. Ça bouge ! Beaucoup de vagues, beaucoup de vent et beaucoup de changements de voile car il faut adapter la vitesse du bateau aux changements du vent. La mer est organisée mais ce n’est pas confortable car nous naviguons dans une fenêtre assez serrée. Vu les conditions, nous avons sorti les combinaisons étanches, les bonnets… Ça nous change des mauvaises habitudes que nous avions pris ces derniers jours : être « à poil » sur le bateau ! Il peut encore se passer pleins de choses donc nous essayons de naviguer vite et « safe » et c’est la difficulté que l’on a en ce moment, en dosant les efforts que nous faisons : aller vite mais essayer de sauvegarder le bateau et les bonhommes ! Le mode furtif, selon nous, n’a pas grand intérêt car nous avons tous les mêmes outils pour choisir notre route donc nous n’avons pas tellement d’options. Nous devrons tous suivre le rythme de l’anticyclone, mais c’est sûr, avec des conditions différentes étant donné que nous n’avons pas les mêmes timings ! Il ne faut pas trop trainer dans le coin car le risque est de se faire prendre par une dorsale : zone de vent très faible. Donc, nous appuyons sur le champignon mais nous ne pouvons pas aller plus vite que la musique ! »

Barcelona World Race

BWR: Dominique Wavre and Michèle Paret are now into the Southern Ocean

Mirabaud’s co-skippers are about to embark on a forty-day marathon across the most hostile seas on the planet

Dominique Wavre and Michele Paret on board Mirabaud. Image copyright Mirabaud.

by Bernard Schopfer

Dominique Wavre and Michèle Paret on board Mirabaud will pass Gough Island: the gateway to the Southern Ocean. The island lies on the 40th parallel and marks an important turning point in their race around the world, as the pair prepares to face the wildest and most violent conditions the Southern Ocean has to offer.

Dominique and Michèle have covered approximately 5,000 nautical miles, or 8,000 kilometres, over their first three and a half weeks of racing. But with around 19,000 more miles to cover, they are not even a quarter of the way round yet!

With a respectable position amongst the leaders as the boats sailed south through the Atlantic, Mirabaud suffered a major set-back over the last few days that has seen them drop from third to seventh place. At this point in the race however, the running remains very open. “We got firmly stuck for hours, even days, in the clutches of Saint Helena’s High,” explains Dominique. “Within a few miles of our position, the boats in front of us stretched out their lead, whilst those behind us caught up and even passed us. It’s been an extremely frustrating time but we’ve had no alternative.”

Over the next few hours, Mirabaud will suddenly hit building seas, thrown up by a strong depression to the south. The leading boats have reaped the benefits of this low pressure system, but unfortunately the following boats haven’t managed to gain from it. The sea that has been flat up until now will rapidly become heavy and chaotic, with the wind going to the South-West. Welcome to the Roaring Forties!

“We’ve been passionately following this race and we’re full of admiration for the team,” comments Antonio Palma, Associate and CEO of Mirabaud. “Tough conditions really separate the weak from the strong, and we’re in awe at the way Dominique and Michèle have handled the set-backs over the last few days; stuck firmly in a high pressure system and losing ground despite their excellent start to the race. In spite of their understandable disappointment, they’ve handled this situation with real dignity. This edition of the Barcelona World Race is certainly shaping up to be a fascinating competition and we’re extremely proud to be Dominique and Michèle’s partner in this challenge. They have been fighting tooth and nail since the start in exceedingly unpredictable conditions.”

Ranking after 26 days of racing:

1) VIRBAC PAPREC 3 (+0.0)
2) FONCIA (+28.3)
3) MAPFRE (+514.6)
4) ESTRELLA DAMM (+672.5)
5) GROUPE BEL (+687.6)
6) RENAULT Z.E. (+735.0)
7) MIRABAUD (+830.0)
8) NEUTROGENA (+892.4)
9) GAES (+926.9)
11) HUGO BOSS (+1144.0)
12) WE ARE WATER (+1260.1)

Dominique Wavre
Barcelona World Race

BWR: Caffari and Corbella Fight to Stay with the Middle Pack

Anna Corbella on GAES. Image copyright Dee Caffari/Gaes Centros Auditivos.

by Jo Uffendell

Despite concerns from British skipper Dee Caffari that GAES Centros Auditivos may yet be plagued by lighter winds later tomorrow, the all female duo continue their battle to stay with the middle pack as they head towards the roaring forties.

Reporting early this morning, the ‘GAES girls’ said:
“After days of winds between 5 and 10 knots to be sailing now in winds of 15 to 20 knots makes it feel as if we are sailing in a gale. The contrast is remarkable. But we have to use the wind while we can as we will fall foul of light winds again by tomorrow afternoon. Will we ever get free of the hold the South Atlantic has over us? The daytime sun is still scorching but the nighttime temperatures have already started to drop dramatically. The cold is calling; can someone let the high pressure know?!”

With the fleet spacing out as it heads south, Caffari and Corbella know that they must push hard now to stay close to their fellow competitors in the middle group if they are to remain within striking distance when they reach the conveyor belt Southern Ocean. However, the all female duo continue to be mindful of striking the balance between pushing hard and ensuring GAES Centros Auditivos remains in good shape in advance of the onslaught in the south.

Illustrating the strain hard racing has on the IMOCA Open 60’s, Central Lechera Asturiana skippered by Juan Merediz and Fran Palacio have announced that they will be making a technical pit stop in Cape Town to repair a leak which is ultimately affecting their canting keel. At the front of the fleet Foncia and Virbac-Paprec 3 are fast approaching the first security gate on the course with a comfortable lead of around 500 miles on their closest race rival Mapfre. At the 0900hrs ranking today, Caffari and Corbella onboard GAES Centros Auditivos were in 9th place, thirty four miles behind closest rivals Boris Herrmann & Ryan Breymaier on Neutrogena. There is currently a separation of 1340 miles between first and last in the fleet.

Aviva has been a longstanding supporter of Dee Caffari and her inspirational record breaking sailing achievements, assisting her to three world records including becoming the first woman to sail solo, non stop, around the world in both directions. As Founding Partner of Caffari’s sailing campaign, Aviva is pleased to extend this support to Corbella and GAES for the Barcelona World Race.

Gaes Centros Auditivos
Barcelona World Race

VOR: IWC Schaffhausen Official Timekeeper of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12

(l-r) Georges Kern, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen and Knut Frostad, CEO of Volvo Ocean Race. Image copyright Florian Kalotay.

by Sophie Luther

The Volvo Ocean Race is proud to announce IWC Schaffhausen, the International Watch Company, as race sponsor and Official Timekeeper for the next edition of the Volvo Ocean Race starting in October 2011.

"It is my pleasure to welcome IWC Schaffhausen as the Official Timekeeper of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12", said Knut Frostad, CEO Volvo Ocean Race. “IWC Schaffhausen will also sponsor the prestigious 24-Hour record competition in the race. With its pioneering and innovative attitude, the celebrated watch brand IWC Schaffhausen is a perfect match for the Volvo Ocean Race."

The partnership between IWC Schaffhausen and Volvo Ocean Race will provide another opportunity for the Swiss watch manufacturer to demonstrate its expertise in terms of engineering, technology and quality. “We are looking forward to an exciting and successful Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12”, said Georges Kern, CEO IWC Schaffhausen.

IWC Schaffhausen will present the 24-hour record prize per race leg, which will be awarded during the prize-giving ceremony at each Host Port. They will also award a special prize for the fastest team over 24-hours in the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12. This prize will be presented at the end of the race in Galway, July 2012. The lucky fastest crewmembers will all be awarded an exclusive IWC timepiece.

In the past two editions of the race, Volvo Open 70s have broken the 24-hour world monohull record. Ericsson 4 the overall winner of the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 sailed an impressive 596.6 nautical miles in one day. There is every chance that this achievement will be surpassed in the forthcoming race and every Volvo Ocean Race team will be striving to reach this goal.

Volvo Ocean Race

Audi Victoria Week: Ikon and Executive Decision strong in Audi IRC Series

Marcus Blackmore is thrilled to win at his first Audi Victoria Week. Image copyright Andrea Francolini/Audi.

by Di Pearson

Marcus Blackmore and his TP52 Hooligan (NSW) have won Class A of the Audi IRC Series at Geelong today after victory in Race 7 cemented the deal – and the win came at his introduction to Audi Victoria Week.

Despite there being one race remaining tomorrow, Hooligan cannot be beaten. Her nearest rival, Living Doll (Michael Hiatt) from Melbourne, is nine points behind with a drop in place. Even with the drop reinstated, the Pittwater based boat is in the box seat.

“I know we don’t need to sail tomorrow, but don’t worry, we’ll be on the start line anyway. I’m here to race, not to swan around,” a visibly happy Blackmore said aboard his boat.

Getting off the start cleanly. Image copyright Andrea Francolini/Audi.

The Blackmore’s vitamin king paid tribute to his crew. “Tom Slingsby (his tactician and a four-time world champion in two separate classes) did a good job today. Actually the whole crew has sailed well,” Blackmore said of his highbrow crew.

“The last work got us to the line first in the last race; our boat speed was good. The results could have gone anyway today, it was that sort of day,” he said.

Asked would he come back to Audi Victoria Week, the affable yachtsman said: “Yes, I got this boat to race regattas and apart from the first two days, I really enjoyed myself here.”

The race is now on for second and third places overall. The Farr 55 Living Doll reclaimed second place overall today by winning Race 6, pushing Stephen Ainsworth’s RP63 Loki back down to third place.

Living Doll notched up a win in Race 6. Image copyright Andrea Francolini/Audi.

Loki, from NSW, finished second behind Living Doll in Race 6, but dropped to fifth place in Race 7. She is now one and a half points behind Hiatt’s boat with just one race remaining in the Audi IRC Series.

The pair’s nearest competitor is the Melbourne based Cookson 50, Terra Firma (Nick Bartels), which is 10 points behind Loki.

Conditions were difficult and required 100 percent attention from tacticians in particular. Light 8 knot winds flicked from north around to an easterly direction and were patchy.

The Audi IRC Series concludes tomorrow with Race 8 of the Royal Geelong Yacht Club hosted series, to be sailed on a windward/leeward course, starting from 11.00am, weather permitting.

Audi Victoria Week

Sailing at a Turning Point on a New Digital Wave

The live streaming team. Image copyright Mick Anderson.

by Lars Lundov

Sailing is at the beginning of a spectator revolution that could save its place in the Olympics thanks to the rapid development of technology, key figures in Danish sailing believe.

The struggle for sailing’s soul has often focused on which classes should be favoured above the more fundamental issue of who can see what is happening on the water and the choices skippers are making.

At the end of last year at the World Yacht Racing Forum in Portugal any remnants of complacency were swept away by Pierre Ducrey. Ducrey, Head of Sports Operations at the International Olympic Committee, warned that: “all the disciplines are being reviewed every four years. You need to constantly reinvent yourselves, and create a product that is appealing to the media, the sport and the sponsors. There is always a threat and it is your responsibility to carry on growing. The key word is “added value”. That’s what sailing needs to provide to the Olympic Games.”

Much of sailing’s reinvention and ‘added value’ in the last few years has been made in Denmark and its role as a leader of this new digital world will be highlighted this year as it hosts seven world championships in ISAF classes.

“Sailing in the Olympic programme especially is jeopardised by the fact it has not had a huge television audience and it will never be a sport where you can have a stadium of 80,000 fans following it, so you have to bring sailing to the audience rather than bringing the audience to the sailing.” Thomas Capitani, executive director of Sailing Aarhus, says.

Image copyright Dank Sejlunion.

The A-Cat World Championships in Aarhus in August will provide a glimpse of the future,. A progressive team at Aarhus University and the social enterprise body, the Active Institute, will continue to drive forward the innovations in combining relatively affordable GPS tracking, live streaming, 3D and social media, that made waves at the 2008 Youth World Championships and 2010 505 World Championships in Aarhus . Also, Denmark has helped transform the expectations of both organisers and spectators for both the RS:X Worlds and PWA windsurfing events.

Denmark has been concentrating on building popularity by making sailing more viewable, understandable and sharable, but in 2011 it will seek to make it affordable too with proven digital platforms that even small races around the world can use. The A-Cat World Championships 2011 will be an important testing ground. “We see our digital plans as the new way of appreciating and promoting sailing and The A-Cat Worlds 2011 in Denmark will be another stage in that progress” Lars Lundov, the CEO of Sport Event Denmark, says. “The opportunity is there to reach out to existing supporters and win new ones. We believe that this is a turning point for sailing – which was our key message last week, when we presented our bid for the ISAF Worlds 2014 in Southampton.”

Sailing sceptics from every class that has been to Denmark seem to have been completely won over. “When we started talking to the 505 people in 2009, a year before the event, even about the mere tracking of the boats which today is often standard, they were not against it, but neutral,” Capitani recalls cheerfully. “I think they were concerned about talking about electronics more than sailing and that skippers would not want wires hanging around their boats. But when they saw it working they realised how the integrated technology brings the racing to the public. During the World Championships we actually took Pip Pearson, the 505 President, out on the water to do a live internet commentary and he was just thrilled, he said it was his best moment in 505 sailing.”

Dansk Sejlunion

Audi Victoria Week: Pacemaker claims the J24 prize at Audi Victoria Week

David Suda and his aptly named Pacemaker in today's final race. Image copyright Teri Dodds.

by Di Pearson

David Suda and his Pacemaker crew proved too good for all the Sandringham Yacht Club entries they faced in the J24 competition at Audi Victoria Week, winning the week of sailing with a score card that included five wins in the nine race series.

With the pressure well and truly off, Suda finished a great week of sailing on Corio Bay with a pair of second places today to win the series from Hugo Ottoway’s Vice Versa by a handy six points.

“I thought on Sunday ‘we’re not going to win this’, but then we turned the corner and got three wins, so that helped us a lot,” an incredibly happy David Suda said on realising he’d won.

Suda told how he and Ottoway could not make it to the J24 Nationals, so both were determined not to miss Audi Victoria Week. “I really wanted to win against him (Ottoway) in Geelong, so it’s pleasing for my crew to do that,” he said.

Suda, who has been at Audi Victoria Week for the past eight years, said today, “we’ll definitely be back and we’ll be encouraging a few more J’s to come.”

Simon Grain (Make My Jay) finished third overall with a win in Race 8, four points behind Ottoway, while Kirsty Harris steered Hyperactive to a win in the final race for fourth overall.

The competition was always going to be rife, but it was not unexpected to find David Suda (Pacemaker) and Hugo Ottoway (Vice Versa) at the top end of the fleet.

Today’s conditions on flat-water Corio Bay emulated those of two days ago; light and shifty 7-9 knot breezes initially from the north, but moving more around to the east throughout the day in the Royal Geelong Yacht Club series.

Beating Suda’s five wins from seven races, with a worst score of third place coming into today’s races, was always going to be a big ask. Suda set a high bar with his well-named Pacemaker, even for Ottoway, who has had to play bridesmaid all week, apart from taking out the opening race.

Audi Victoria Week

TJV: " C'est du pur bonheur ! "

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

par Virginie Bouchet

Après une deuxième nuit en mer un peu moins agitée, le Maxi Banque Populaire V glisse toujours à grande vitesse. A 16h, il marque toujours une avance de 169,2 milles sur le temps de référence mais le vent va progressivement mollir dans quelques heures et ralentir légèrement le Maxi.

D’ici mercredi, l’équipage aura un passage délicat à négocier au niveau du Cap Vert. En attendant, à bord, Pascal Bidégorry et ses hommes prennent leurs marques malgré des conditions de vie un peu difficiles compte tenu de l’état de la mer et de l’humidité ambiante.

Depuis qu’ils ont franchi la ligne de départ samedi 22 janvier à 12h11 (heure de Paris), Pascal Bidégorry et ses équipiers n’ont eu aucun répit. Les conditions dans les premières 24h ont été très musclées malgré une deuxième nuit un peu plus clémente. Joint lors de la vacation de 12h, Pascal Bidégorry se disait satisfait de la position du bateau et de la stratégie adoptée par rapport au contournement de la dépression. "On a empanné hier soir et une autre fois ce matin pour rester dans ce flux actif. Ca glisse bien. Ce matin, nous avons eu entre 35 et 36 nœuds de vitesse.

Au niveau stratégie, on a fait exactement ce qu’on voulait. On essaie de se rapprocher un maximum du centre pour avoir le vent qui tourne de manière adéquate. Mais il faut aussi faire attention à ne pas aller trop près pour ne pas avoir des vents irréguliers".

S’amariner, se déshabiller et aérer

Si la première nuit avait malmené l'équipage du Maxi Trimaran Banque Populaire V, les conditions de mer aujourd’hui sont plus maniables « Le passage du Cap Finisterre a vraiment été sportif. Aujourd’hui c’est plus facile même si nous avons encore une mer formée et que le bateau fait des petits plantages réguliers. La température de l’air est plus clémente, on commence à enlever des couches lorsqu’on sort sur le pont faire des manœuvres. Mais l’humidité reste là, avec ces bateaux on est un peu sous l’eau à ces vitesses. Il va bientôt falloir aérer (rires) ! Le bateau arrive cependant à aller à 38 nœuds sans que ça ne bouge pas trop quand ont est à la barre. », commentait Pascal Bidégorry.

Un passage délicat à négocier

A moyen terme, l’équipage du Maxi Banque Populaire V va devoir négocier un passage plus délicat au niveau du Cap Vert, comme l’explique son skipper, « ça va un peu mollir en début de soirée mais nous devrions garder 18 nœuds de vent. On va avoir un premier empannage à faire dans le contournement de la dépression et une fois que le vent aura bien basculé, nous aurons un nouvel empannage. La transition au niveau du Cap Vert va être délicate. On va avoir des vents assez faibles ». Malgré ce nouveau passage à bien négocier, le skipper basque ne cache pas son optimisme sur l’ETA* prévue à l’Équateur « je suis plus optimiste qu’il y a 24h avec des fichiers qui étaient alarmants. Pour l’heure, à mon avis l’ETA à l’Équateur va tourner autour de 6 jours ».

*Estimate time arrival

Vigilance, présence et concentration extrême : les 3 commandements !

Joint également à la vacation de 12h, Jérémie Beyou, chef de quart, décrivait les conditions de vie pour les 14 hommes du bord du Maxi Banque Populaire V : « Depuis le départ, le quart en stand-by est plutôt actif car la première nuit a été très sport et il a fallu aider sur le pont. Il faut être dessus car cela va très vite. Il faut bien anticiper les réductions de toiles car c’est très puissant. A la barre il faut être très concentré. On a mal aux bras et des ampoules aux mains. On ne tient pas debout sur le pont, on est assis ou à quatre pattes. Il faut réapprendre à vivre avec les petits réflexes de marin. Juan Vila, notre navigateur, passe beaucoup de temps à l’intérieur, il n’a toujours pas enlevé son ciré et ses bottes depuis le départ. Il est à l’arrière du bateau là où ça bouge le plus ! »

« Pas beaucoup d’appétit »

« Depuis ce matin, c’est la première fois qu’on s’occupe un peu de nous depuis le départ. On se repose et on mange aux heures convenues, les gamelles sont chaudes et prêtes à l’heure dite. Xavier Revil, régleur, nous a fait du bon boulot ce matin mais on a du mal à manger, on est stressés, alors pour dormir ce n’est pas évident. On a tout ce qu’il faut pour manger mais pour l’instant on n’a pas trop d’appétit », concluait Jérémie Beyou.

Record à battre
Pour devenir nouveau détenteur du record, le Maxi Banque Populaire V devra être de retour au plus tard le 11 mars 2011 à 19 heures 55 minutes 37 secondes (heure de Paris).

Temps de référence
Groupama 3 (Franck Cammas) : 48j 7h 44min 52s

Avance/Retard à 16h00
169,2 milles d'avance par rapport au temps de référence

Banque Populaire V

Extreme 40: Qingdao, the City of Sailing, Confirmed as Chinese Host Venue

Qingdao signs up for the China stage of the Extreme Sailing Series 2011. Supplied image.

by Lou Newlands

At the official launch of the 2011 Extreme Sailing Series™ in Estoril (Portugal) in December 2010, China was confirmed as one of nine the host countries – a new territory for this year’s circuit and a significant step into the burgeoning Asian market. Today [27th January, 2011] it can now be revealed that Qingdao, the fourth largest manufacturing port in the country and known as the City of Sailing, will be the official host Chinese venue to Act 2 to be staged between 13th to 17th April.

The Extreme Sailing Series Race Village will be located in Fushan Bay, which was also the home of the Olympic Village in 2008, and will be open to the public between the 15th to 17th April when the 11-boat Extreme 40 fleet will race inside the bay right in front of the spectators [13th-14th April are ‘open water’ days when the fleet will be racing outside of Fushan Bay].

“The Extreme Sailing Series will be staged at nine iconic venues this year, a mix of international cities and coastal resorts,” said Mark Turner, Executive Chairman of the circuit organisers, OC ThirdPole. “The circuit has already established a footprint in Asia with our events in Hong Kong and Singapore, and to confirm Qingdao as the host venue to Act 2 cements our vision to be a truly ‘global’ circuit that strives to reach new international destinations and take the Extreme Sailing Series to new audiences that have a strong appeal to our stakeholders.”

An official ceremony in Qingdao today, attended by Vice Mayor of Qingdao, Mr Xiu-Lin Wang, along with the President of Qingdao Yacht Association, Mdm Zhi-Wei Lin, and Mark Turner, sealed the agreement with the city as a host venue to the Extreme Sailing Series in 2011.

“I feel proud that Qingdao becomes the first city in China to host the ESS event,” stated Vice Mayor of Qingdao, Mr. Wang. “The competitive and exciting Extreme Sailing Series event will provide the city of Qingdao another opportunity to play on the international stage and reinforce its image as the sailing capital of China."

“Qingdao will benefit from this event by learning from the experience of the organiser, OC ThirdPole, in race and event management which in the long run will help the sailing development in Qingdao. The people of Qingdao will be able to enjoy another grand prix sailing event after the Olympic Sailing and Volvo Ocean Race. I am expecting to see the Olympic Sailing Center, the venue for the Extreme Sailing Series Qingdao event, turn into a festive mood when the racing is on. The Qingdao people will enjoy both the racing and entertainment activities taking place in the race village. 
By hosting the Extreme Sailing Series event, we also hope to attract the younger generation to get interested in sailing. Children will have chance to meet the crew and I am confident that the Extreme Sailing Series Qingdao event will be of a great success.”

In addition to securing a Chinese venue, the search is on to find a Chinese sailor to race during Act 2 on board ‘Team Extreme!’ as part of the crew, skippered by experienced Olympic multihull sailor Roland Gaebler from Germany. As Turner explains: “Team Extreme is being led by Roland with international sailing stars Bruno Dubois and Sebbe Godefroid as his regular crew. However, the objective for Team Extreme is to have a sailor from the country of each host venue to take the fourth crew spot to provide an opportunity for that country to showcase their best national or local sailing talent.”

Qingdao, China
Act 2, 15th – 17th April (13th-14th ‘open-water’ racing)

Now known as the City of Sailing, Qingdao’s became the host venue for sailing for Beijing’s 2008 Olympic Games boosting its profile to an international audience. Perfectly located on the Southeast peninsula surrounded on three sides by the Yellow Sea, Qingdao is now China’s premier sailing destination with first class facilities at its International Sailing Center.

Originally opened to tourism in 1984 the city now attracts 15 million visitors a year and is the fourth largest manufacturing port in the country. Framed by miles of golden sandy beaches, combined with steady winds that make it a perfect racing location.

Qingdao is a city steeped in China's 20th century history. Now a tourism hotspot in China, the sprawling city has a population of 7.5 million and a vibrant economy. The Downtown skyline can rival that of any major city with an impressive array of cultures, cuisines, and lively nightlife. Tsingato, the most popular beer in China operates their headquarters and main brewery in Qingdao. The brewery is open to visitors who can take a tour around the oldest working brewery in China, whilst the brewery can be observed in action and guests can enjoy the beer tasting afterwards!

2011 Calendar & Host Venues:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Act 9: 9-11 December, Singapore (7-8 ‘open-water’ racing)

2011 Confirmed Teams & Skippers:
Team Name - Nat. - Skipper Name - Nat.

Alinghi - SUI - Tanguy Cariou - FRA
Artemis Racing - SWE - Terry Hutchinson - USA
Groupe Edmond de Rothschild - FRA - Pierre Pennec - FRA
Luna Rossa - ITA - Max Sirena - ITA
NiceForYou - ITA - Alberto Barovier - ITA
Oman Air - OMA - Sidney Gavignet - FRA
Red Bull Extreme Sailing - AUT - Roman Hagara - AUT
Team GAC Pindar - GBR - Ian Williams - GBR
Team Extreme! - EUR - Roland Gaebler - GER
Team New Zealand - NZL - Dean Barker - NZL
The Wave, Muscat - OMA - Torvar Mirsky - AUS

Extreme Sailing Series

VELUX5OCEANS: Chris Stanmore-Major Takes Fourth in Epic Second Sprint into Wellington

British skipper arrives in Wellington to complete VELUX 5 OCEANS fleet

Chris Stanmore-Major arrives into Wellington. Image copyright Ainhoa Sanchez/VELUX5OCEANS.

by Sarah Hames

BRITISH yachtsman Chris Stanmore-Major today sailed across the finish line of the second sprint of the VELUX 5 OCEANS ending an epic 39-day voyage from Cape Town, South Africa, to Wellington in New Zealand. With the sun still rising, the 33-year-old solo sailor from Cowes, Isle of Wight, crossed the finish line at 7.25am and sailed into Wellington Harbour on his Eco 60 Spartan.

Dozens of people flocked to the dockside at Queens Wharf in the centre of the city to give the fourth and final VELUX 5 OCEANS skipper the welcome he deserved after being at sea for a gruelling 39 days, nine hours and 25 minutes. During ocean sprint two CSM overcame numerous challenges, not only having to battling horrendous Southern Ocean weather conditions but also contending with battery failure onboard Spartan.

Once safely tied up on the dock next to the other three Eco 60s, CSM celebrated his arrival with a glass of champagne and raised a toast to Belgian sailor Christophe Bullens who was forced to pull out of the VELUX 5 OCEANS in Cape Town due to boat breakages.

“I feel fantastic for being here,” CSM said. “The process of getting into Wellington has been so complicated and convoluted that getting here really feels special. It’s been a really tough leg with a lot of challenges but now I am here, it’s a glorious day, the sun is shining and already it’s like all the stuff that has happened in the last week didn’t occur.”

In the later stages of the sprint CSM chose to follow a route close to the coast of Australia through the Bass Strait between the mainland and Tasmania so that if his batteries – and subsequently his autopilots – failed, he could reach land without too much difficulty. Determined not to stop, CSM made a quick passage through the Tasman Sea and into the Cook Strait. But that was where his luck ran out – after several frustrating days becalmed off the northwest tip of New Zealand’s South Island CSM then had to face 45-50 knot headwinds as he tried to punch his way towards Wellington.

“The issues I had with the batteries were a real low point,” CSM added. “It was tough making the decision to head north away from the racing line and though the Bass Strait but it was what I needed to do. The other big challenge was the Cook Strait. I knew I was going to get wind but the weather forecast just kept increasing. It was pretty angry out there. The flipside of that was that the boat performed brilliantly which will ease my nerves for the next leg.”

Ocean sprint two was won by and overall race leader Brad Van Liew from the USA, with Polish skipper Zbigniew Gutkowski taking second and Canadian Derek Hatfield completing the podium in third.

CSM and his fellow racers now have less than two weeks to prepare their Eco 60s for the third ocean sprint which starts on February 6. The third leg sees the fleet head back into the Southern Ocean then around Cape Horn, the most feared of all capes, as they race to Punta del Este in Uruguay.

Brad Van Liew, Le Pingouin: finished January 16, 30 days, nine hours, 49 mins
Zbigniew Gutkowski, Operon Racing: finished January 17, 31 days 8 hours and 27 mins
Derek Hatfield, Active House: finished January 18, 32 Days 17 Hours
Chris Stanmore-Major, Spartan: finished January 25, 39 days, nine hours 25 mins


RMOCR: Double Win for Giles Scott in the Finns on Day One

by Robert Deaves

British Finn hopeful Giles Scott (GBR) took both Finn race wins on day one of the 2011 Rolex Miami OCR to lead the series after day one from the 2008 Olympic Silver medalist Zach Railey (USA) and the double Olympic Finn champion Ben Ainslie (GBR).

Sailed under warm cloudy skies and in a shifty but useful 10-15 knot breeze, Giles Scott took the first race after a delayed start from Railey and Brendan Casey (AUS) and was going fast enough around the course to take the second race from Ben Ainslie (GBR) and Railey to end the day on a perfect score.

Zach Railey (USA) had the next best day with a 2-3, coming back from mid fleet at the first top mark in the second race to place an excellent third. Meanwhile Ainslie started his series steadily with a 5-2 to round out the top three after day one.

Casey is on equal points with Ainslie after a 3-4 today, while last year's bronze medalist in Miami, Gasper Vincec (SLO), sits in fifth after a 4-7.

After winning Skandia Sail for Gold at the Olympic venue in Weymouth last year and picking up a bronze at the World Championship, Giles Scott is one of the main challengers trying to stop Ainslie from sailing at a fifth consecutive Olympic Games. Even though the British team in Miami is missing the current World Champion, Ed Wright (GBR) who chose to skip the event he has won for the past two years, it still has three sailors in the top ten with Andrew Mills (GBR) in sixth.

Railey commented on the day's racing, “There were shifts of 10 to 20 degrees all day and most lasted for a long time so there were big losses if you were not on correct side of course. Giles was very fast around the course and downwind was going very well. Overall, I'm happy with the day as I came back from 12th at the first weather mark in the second race to finish third. The conditions were very nice with a good breeze of more than 10 knots all day.”

Fleet racing continues until Friday with the medal race for the top 10 on Saturday 29 January.

Results after two races:

1 GBR 41 Giles Scott 2
2 USA 4 Zach Railey 5
3 GBR 3 Ben Ainslie 7
4 AUS 1 Brendan Casey 7
5 SLO 5 Gasper Vincec 11
6 GBR 85 Andrew Mills 13
7 USA 619 Caleb Paine 16
8 SLO 573 Vasilij Zbogar 16
9 SWE 736 Johan Tillander 17
10 ITA 146 Michele Paoletti 23

Finn class

RMOCR: Anna Tunnicliffe on Day One - Late Finish, 3-0, Good Day

by Anna Tunnicliffe

We have just gotten home from a late day of sailing, finishing up day 1 of US SAILING’s Rolex Miami OCR. Group C completed three races this afternoon hitting the dock at 6pm. We had a good day finishing with three wins in our three races. It was a beautiful day, cloudy, but the wind was up around 12-15kts and mostly flat water. The temperature was in the high 60's/low 70's which made it very pleasant.

The day had a very relaxed start for us. We were not scheduled to race until the other two groups had completed three races each, which meant that we didn't have to leave the house until 12:30pm. We left and got to the club in time, changed and headed out to watch two of group B's races. We wanted to head out so we could see what the wind was doing on the race course to help get us clued in for when it was our turn.

We finally got into our boats, and after a bit of time to get ready we started racing. Our closest match was the last race against Sweden's Anna Kjelberg. In the prestart, we gave her a penalty, we maintained control and led her off the line. Up the first beat we were within half a boat length for a while and then we correctly hit a couple of shifts at the top to extend to a two length lead. Downwind, we sailed the shifts but coming into the leeward mark, Kjelberg rode a puff into us and rounded half a length behind us. Upwind again, we extended on the shifts and continued to increase our lead downwind to cross the line to take the win. At this point the sun was about 30 minutes from setting so the race committee sent us in for the day.

Tomorrow's racing starts at 9:30 for the match racers. Group B will start the day, and we will race second. The plan is for the RC to wrap up the round robins which means four flights for each group. Luckily the forecast is for 10-20kts tomorrow so there should be no problem in getting the races in.

Team Tunnicliffe

RMOCR: Good days for Aussies as racing gets underway at Sailing World Cup in Miami

Katie Spithill and crew in Miami. Image copyright Rolex/Daniel Forster.

by Craig Heydon

Australian crews have had a solid opening day of the second round of the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Miami, with two crews sitting on top of their leader boards.

The Skud 18 crew of Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch had a great day on the water, finishing with two wins from two starts to end the day three points ahead of second place.

“Today was a really good day with two good wins,” said Fitzgibbon. “We won both races by a good margin and are sailing really well as a team at the moment.”

Fitzgibbon and Tesch are sailing in just their second regatta together, with Tesch, a three-time Paralympic medalist in Wheelchair Basketball, having her first taste of elite level sailing.

“Liesl is a gun out there, a real natural sailor,” said Fitzgibbon. “She’s seeing things that need to be seen and is sailing exceptionally well.”

“We’ve got a high quality fleet here, these are the guys who will be going to the Games and we’re enjoying having the chance to race against them this week,” he said. “Liesl and I are sailing confidently and we’ll just keep chipping away for the rest of the week.”

In the Women’s Match Racing competition the Australian Women’s Match Racing Team crew of Nicky Souter, Jessica Eastwell and Olivia Price sit at the top of Group A following three wins from three races.

Fellow Australian’s Katie Spithill, Nina Curtis and Angela Farrell ended the day tied for second in the group, one win behind Souter and crew.

This week is the first ISAF Sailing World Cup event that the crews have raced at in their new combinations and both have a further four races on day two to finish the opening round robin.

Reigning 470 World Champions Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page ended the opening day in fourth position, just six points off the lead following a second and an eighth in the first two races.

“Today was a good solid start to the regatta,” said Page. “Every regatta is a marathon and this one will be no different, so we’re happy with where we sit after the opening two races.”

“In the first race we round the top mark in fourth and got ourselves through to second on the downwind and stayed there, the leaders had gotten a great start and we couldn’t catch them,” he said. “Then in race two we were in the top six at the first mark but were caught up in a fight with the group around us which allowed the guys ahead to pull away and the guys behind to catch up. We dropped back to about 14th but fought back well to cross the line in eighth.”

The Australian Sailing Development Squad crew of Sam Kivell and Will Ryan also began their regatta well in the 470 fleet, ending the day in 10th following a 17th and a fifth.

Brendan Casey had a great opening day in the Finn fleet, with a third and a fourth leaving him fourth overall. Casey, who qualified for the 2011 Australian Sailing Team following his 10th overall at the 2010 Finn Gold Cup, ended the day tied on points with Great Britain’s Ben Ainslie, and just five points off the lead.

Jessica Crisp sits in sixth in a highly competitive RS:X women’s fleet after picking up a 10th and a third from the first two races.

In the Laser Radial fleet Krystal Weir is the best placed Australian in 11th, two places ahead of ASDS athlete Ashley Stoddart, with fellow ASDS member Gabrielle King in 18th.

Racing continues in Miami on Tuesday with the regatta running through until Saturday, 29 January.

Rolex Miami Olympic Classes Regatta
Australian Sailing Team

RMOCR: Early Leaders Put Money in the Bank

Star class. Image copyright Rolex/Daniel Forster.

by Barby MacGowan

There was plenty of action on opening day of US SAILING’s Rolex Miami OCR, with all 13 Olympic and Paralympic classes completing multiple races in 12-14 knot breezes. On seven different courses on Biscayne Bay, 716 sailors from 53 countries worked as if there were no tomorrow to get to the top of the scoreboard, but tomorrow, as well as the following four days of racing (through Friday for Paralympic classes and Saturday for Olympic classes) will determine if early leaders are meant to be champions in the end.

Held on Biscayne Bay annually since 1990, the Rolex Miami OCR is the second stop on the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Sailing World Cup 2010-2011 circuit and is a key regatta in the lead-up to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. For many, including the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics (USSTAG), it is a qualifier for positions on national teams.

In the 104-boat Laser class, the largest here, Olympian Michael Leigh (CAN) made an early deposit, winning the first of two races today in Blue fleet, then finishing sixth in race two to wind up fifth overall when scores were merged with the class’s Yellow fleet. “I’ll be in the hunt,” he said, explaining that the class is so large it must be split into two fleets, which also splits some of the top players from each other, but reunites them each day in a new mix. In today’s Yellow fleet, Clay Johnson (Toms River, N.J., USA) finished 2-1 to secure his spot at the top of the overall leader board and regatta favorite Paul Goodison (GBR), an Olympic Gold medalist and the current leader in the world rankings, finished 1-2 to take the second-place slot. (Argentina’s Julio Alsogaray, who also won one race today, and Croatia’s Ivan Taritas are in third and fourth, respectively)

“The phases were quite long (for shifts to come back) and the pressure was up and down,” Leigh explained about the conditions, adding that he is nursing a bad back. “I haven’t raced since the Worlds in September, so I’m here to get back in phase. I’m not targeting any one person to beat; there are 10 good guys in each fleet who could win, so that’s a few too many to watch.”

In Finn class, with 40 boats, USSTAG member and 2008 Olympic Silver Medalist Zach Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) battled it out with two Brits, Giles Scott and Ben Ainslie. Scott won both races to top the scoreboard while Railey secured second overall with a 2-3. Ainslie, who is twice an Olympic medalist (in the Finn) and three-times an ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year, finished third with a 5-2.

“It’s only the first two races,” said Railey, “so you can’t read too much into it. Certainly Giles and Ben are going really fast, but I feel pretty confident in my boat speed. I had a big confidence booster in the second race, when I was in 12th at the first mark and had a good comeback for the third. Trying to stay top-five is always what you’re looking to do--trying to stay consistent at the beginning of a regatta--and I had two of those races here today.

“It is a great test for me to be out on the racecourse and sail against the Brits, the Slovenians and the Swedish sailors. It’s great to see the improvements that we’ve made this winter in our training and identify the areas where we need to improve before the European season this year.”
Consistency showed in the scoreline of Evi Van Acker (BEL) when she topped the 58-boat Laser Radial fleet with finish scores of 2-2 today. USSTAG member Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) won the opener, while eventual second-place (overall) finisher Marit Bouwneester (NED) won the second race, but it was Nathalie Brugger (SUI) who filled the third-place slot when Railey and six others were black-flagged at the start of the second race and suffered extra points because of it.

“I am very happy, since last year I had a shocker regatta here--nothing seemed to go right,” said Van Acker, an Olympian and the 2006 and ’07 European Laser Radial Champion. “I made a couple of small mistakes today, but twice I had good starts and I hit the left corner twice to get out front. Downwind was difficult, as it was quite gusty and the fleet was spread out. At this point in the regatta, I try to be in front, and whoever is around I try to control them or catch up from behind. I won’t be concentrating on individuals until later in the regatta or during the medal races (Saturday).”

In the balance of the Olympic classes:

Star: Robert Scheidt and crew Bruno Prada (BRA) had a pay day with a 1-2 to lead 58 boats.

49er: The 49ers, with 30 boats, completed three races today, bringing Paul Brotherton/Mark Asquith (GBR) to the lead after posting a 1-3-2.

Men’s and Women's RS:X: Marina Alabau (ESP) won both races today to top a 31-boat fleet, while Nick Dempsey (GBR), with two seconds today, topped 37 competitors.

Men’s and Women's 470: Ingrid Petijean/ Nadege Douroux (FRA) are leading 24 boats after two races and finish scores of 1-2, while Nic Asher/Elliot Willis (GBR) lead 42 boats with a 1-3

Elliott 6m (women’s match racing): The 24 competing teams were divided into three groups: A, B and C. Three flights of round robin matches were completed today in all three groups, and in all three there were two teams that went undefeated.
In Group A, Nicky Souter/Jessica Eastwell/Olivia Price (AUS) and Ekaterina Skudina/Elena Syuzeva/Irina Lotsmanova (RUS) are tied with 3 wins, 0 losses.
Group B’s undefeated teams are Ekaterina Skudina/Elena Syuzeva/Irina Lotsmanova (RUS) and Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen/Christina Refn/Susanne Boidin (DEN)
And in Group C, the two undefeated teams are Lucy Macgregor/Annie Lush/ Kate Macgregor (GBR) and Anna Tunnicliffe(/Molly Vandemoer/Debbie Capozzi (Plantation, Fla., USA/Redwood City, Calif., USA/(Bayport, N.Y., USA)
In the three Paralympic classes:

2.4mR: Thierry Schmitter (NED) won both races today to lead 30 boats.
SKUD-18: Daniel Fitzgibbon/Liesl Tesch (AUS) won both races today to claim first overall in the seven-boat fleet.
In the three Paralympic classes:

2.4mR: Thierry Schmitter (NED) won both races today to lead 30 boats
SKUD-18: Daniel Fitzgibbon/Liesl Tesch won both races today to claim first overall in the seven-boat fleet.

Sonar: In a 12-boat fleet, Udo Hessels/ Mischa Rossen/Marcel van de Veen (NED) are leading after posting a 2-1 today.

470 fleet. Image copyright Rolex/Daniel Forster.

For fleet racing in the Olympic classes, the regatta consists 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 consists 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.

US SAILING has 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.

A complete roster of competitors can be viewed at the event website,, where real-time racecourse blogging, commentary and fan interaction, regatta results, photos and news updates will be integrated into a live coverage platform once racing begins. Video highlights produced by Gary Jobson and presented by Rolex air daily and are available on-demand on the event website. Fans can also follow the event on Facebook/RMOCR and Twitter/RMOCR.

US SAILING’s 2011 Rolex Miami OCR
Top-three Finishes
Day 1

49er (30 boats) – 3 races
1. Paul Brotherton/Mark Asquith (GBR) 1, 3, 2 (6)
2. Dave Evans/Edward Powys (GBR) 2, 6, 1 (9)
3. John Pink/ Rick Peacock (GBR) 4, 1, 5 (10)

Laser Radial (59 boats) – 2 races
1. Evi Van Acker (BEL) 2, 2 (4)
2. Marit Bouwmeester (NED) 4, 1 (5)
3. Nathalie Brugger (SUI) 8, 3 (11)

Laser (107 boats)-2 races
1. Clay Johnson (USA) 2, 1 (3)
2. Paul Goodison (GBR) 1, 2 (3)
3. Julio Alsogaray (ARG) 5, 1 (6)

Finn (40 boats) – 2 races
1. Giles Scott (GBR) 1, 1 (2)
2. Zach Railey (USA) 2, 3 (5)
3. Ben Ainslie (GBR) 5, 2 (7)

470 Men (42 boats) – 2 races
1. Nic Asher/Elliot Willis (GBR) 1, 3 (4)
2. Luke Patience/Stuart Bithell (GBR) 3, 2 (5)
3. Sime Fantela/ Igor Marenic (CRO) 5, 4 (9)

470 Women (24 boats) – 2 races
1. Ingrid Petijean/ Nadege Douroux (FRA) 1, 2 (3)
2. Camille Lecointre/Mathilde Geron (FRA) 3, 1 (4)
3. Penny Clark/ Katrina Hughes (GBR) 4, 4 (8)

Skud-18 (7 boats) – 2 races
1. Daniel Fitzgibbon/Liesl Tesch (AUS) 1, 1 (2)
2. Scott Whitman/ Julia Dorsett(USA) 3, 2 (5)
3. Alexandra Rickham/Niki Birrell (GBR) 2, 4 (6)

Star (58 boats) – 2 races
1. Robert Scheidt/ Bruno Prada (BRA) 1, 2 (3)
2. Fredrik Loof/Max Salminen (SWE) 5, 3 (8)
3. Mark Mendelblatt/Brian Fatih (USA) 4, 4 (8)

RS: X Men (37 boats) – 2 races
1. Nick Dempsey (GBR) 2, 2 (4)
2. Ivan Pastor (ESP) 4, 1 (5)
3. Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED) 1, 4 (5)

RS: X Women (31 boats) – 2 races
1. Marina Alabau (ESP) 1, 1 (2)
2. Charline Picon (FRA) 2, 6 (8)
3. Blanca Manchon (ESP) 4, 4 (8)

2.4mR (30 boats) – 2 races
1. Thierry Schmitter (NED) 1, 1 (2)
2. Allan Leibel (CAN) 3, 2 (5)
3. Damien Seguin (FRA) 2, 5 (7)

Sonar (12 boats) – 2 races
1. Udo Hessels/ Mischa Rossen/Marcel van de Veen (NED) 2, 1 (3)
2. John Roberston/ Hannah Stodel/ Steve Thomas (GBR) 3, 2 (5)
3. Paul Callahan/ Tom Brown/ Bradley Johnson (USA) 5, 5 (10)

Elliott 6m (women’s match racing)

Group A
Nicky Souter/Jessica Eastwell/Olivia Price (AUS); 3-0
Ekaterina Skudina/Elena Syuzeva/Irina Lotsmanova (RUS);3-0
Katie Spithill/Nina Curtis/Angela Farrell (AUS);2-1
Julie Bossard/Pauline Chalaux/ Nolwenn Combeaux (FRA);2-1
Silke Hahlbrock/ Kerstin Schult / Maren Hahlbrock GER);2-1
Rita Goncalves/Mariana Lobato/Diana Neves (POR); 0-3
Vesna Dekleva Paoli/ Katarina Kersevan/ Lena Koter (SLO); 0-3
Jinny Gordon/Crystle Numan/ Laurel Gordon-Taylor (CAN);0-3

Group B
Claire Leroy/ Elodie Bertrand/Marie Riou (FRA); 3-0
Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen/Christina Refn/Susanne Boidin (DEN); 3-0
Genny Tulloch/Alice Leanoard/Jennifer Chamberlin (Sausalito, CA.,USA/East Haven, CT., USA/Washington, DC., USA); 1-2
Renee Groeneveld/Mandy Mulder/Merel Witteveen(NED);2-1
Silja Lehtinen/Silja Kanerva/Mikaela Wulff(FIN);1-2
Juliana Senfft/Gabriela Sa/Daniela Adler (BRA);1-2
Renata Decnop/Fernanda Decnop/Tatiana Ribeiro (BRA)0-3
Annemiek Bekkering/ Brechtje van der Werf/ Annemiek Bes(NED)1-2

Group C
Lucy Macgregor/Annie Lush/ Kate Macgregor (GBR);3-0
Anna Tunnicliffe(/Molly Vandemoer/Debbie Capozzi (Plantation, Fla., USA/Palo Alto, Calif., USA/(Bayport, N.Y., USA);3-0
Anne-Claire Le Berre/ Alice Ponsar/ Myrtille Ponge (FRA);2-1
Sally Barkow (Nashotah, WI., USA)/ Alana O’Reilly (Charleston SC, USA)/ Elizabeth Kratzig-Burnham (Miami Beach FL, USA) 2-1
Anna Kjellberg/ Malin Kallstrom/ Lotta Harrysson (SWE);0-3
Stephanie Hazard/ Susannah Pyatt/ Jenna Hansen (NZL) 2-1
Rebecca Dellenbaugh (Easton CT, USA)/ Maggie Shea (Wilmette, IL USA)/ Janel Zarkowsky (Annapolis, MD USA); 0-3
Katie Abbott/ Joanne Prokop/ Caroline Kaars Sijpesteijn (CAN); 0-3

For full results, go to

America's Cup: America's Cup Winning Trimaran USA 17 Bound for San Francisco

The giant trimaran that won the 33rd America’s Cup for Larry Ellison’s ORACLE Racing team is heading home to San Francisco

USA 17. Image copyright Gilles Martin-Raget/ORACLE Racing.

by Tim Jeffery

USA 17 has only ever competed twice, but she sailed the races of her life to dominate the Swiss defender, Alinghi, off Valencia, Spain, last year and win the 33rd America’s Cup.

The extraordinary carbon-fibre machine is being loaded onto the freighter M.V. Star Isfjord this week for the long delivery trip to San Francisco via the Panama Canal. The freighter carrying both USA 17 and her extraordinary 223ft wingsail is scheduled to leave Valencia on January 29 or 30 for the 7,900-nautical-mile passage to the Bay Area.

The estimated arrival in San Francisco, dependent upon on-time loading, sea conditions en-route and transit time in the Panama Canal, is March 1.

The trimaran’s arrival will mark the first time that USA 17 visits the city that ORACLE Racing calls home. She was launched in Anacortes, WA, in August 2008, and after initial testing there moved to San Diego, CA, for a further period of training before being moved to Valencia for the 33rd Cup Match last February.

Measuring more than 100 feet long and 90 feet wide and powered by a 20-storey tall wingsail, USA 17 is the fastest yacht to ever win the America’s Cup. It has been in storage in Valencia since winning the Cup on Feb. 14, 2010.

With the ORACLE Racing team fully focused on laying the groundwork for its 34th America’s Cup campaign in 2013, the provisional plan is to continue to keep USA 17 in storage after unloading. An announcement about the vessel’s sailing plans will be made later this year.

“The handful of us privileged to sail on USA 17 would love to sail her again in an instant. I dare say all those who never had this chance would like to as well,” said ORACLE Racing skipper James Spithill.

“But the stark reality is that every aspect of the boat, every component, was built right to the limit so that for every hour’s sailing USA 17 required 20 hours of painstaking and rigorous maintenance. For the time being the team’s focus will be on the America’s Cup ahead.”

America's Cup