Thursday 31 March 2011

SAP 505 Worlds: USA and Aussie raid closes gap on Germans

A picture tells a thousand words.... Image copyright Christophe Favreau. [Note from SailRaceWin: The wave actually looks like a powerboat wake... a technique we have used ourselves in sailing photography!]

by Di Pearson

Finally, two more races sailed at the 2011 SAP 505 World Championship as the wind god of Hamilton Island played ball, offering up superb 15-20 knot winds, some great surfing waves and brilliant action that has bought a few competitors much closer to the leading Germans.

An excellent but by no means easy win for Mike Holt and Carl Smit (USA) in Race 3, and a double celebration for Californian Holt, who celebrated his 43rd birthday yesterday, but as he explained: “It’s today in California – so I’m taking that with our win.”

Race 4 winners, Sandy Higgins/Paul Marsh, along with American’s Howie Hamilin/Andy Zinn and Luke Molloy/Jim Turner (GBR) were the last three boats Holt and Smit had to wear down to cross the line in first, surfing big waves and overcoming shifty unstable winds along the way.

“It was a tough race,” admitted Smit who with Holt finished World’s runners-up in 2009. “Crews kept swapping places back and forth in the top eight or so. The pressure kept changing and we just tried to keep grinding the opposition down.

“Mike had to hike so hard going up the last beat where we got ahead of a couple of boats when we picked the right hand shift, then coming down the run we got the last of them and got away a bit,” Smit said.

“It (the pointscore) is so much closer now, because Ted (Conrads) and Brian (Haines) came second in the second race and Sandy Higgins won the second race, so it moves everyone up closer to Wolfgang (Hunger) and Julien (Kleiner), the German series leaders.

Cameron McDonald (AUS) cops some spray. Image copyright Christophe Favreau.

In fact, only three points separates the top three, with Hunger/Kleiner leading Holt/Smit by two points and Higgins Marsh by a further point. The Germans had an ordinary 15th in Race 4, which has been used as their drop, a far cry from the two bullets they scored on Day 1.

South Australians Sandy Higgins and Andrew Chisholm looked set to win Race 3, but as Chisholm explained, “we stuffed up the third beat, were trying to get leverage, but we went the wrong way and finished third.”

Not to be deterred, the two, whose World’s best was a third on home turf in Adelaide in 2007, led Race 4 from go to whoa.

Nigel Lott and Bob Franks (AUS) launch off a wave. Image copyright Christophe Favreau.

“We handled the conditions nicely in that one. The breeze had dropped a little, but we did well to hang on in a decent swell and reasonably confused seas,” Chisholm said of the residual effects left from the past few days’ bad weather.

“We had a fairly good hold on the rest of the fleet, but it was close racing all the same,” he allowed.

Like Holt, Chisholm was pleased to be able to close the gap on Hunger and Kleiner. “It’ll be a much closer series now,” he said smiling.

Howie Hamlin/Andy Zinn, Molloy/Turner and Nathan Outteridge/Iain Jensen (AUS) did enough today to stay in touch with the leaders.

Start boat crew acknowledge Sandy Higgins and Paul Marsh's win. Image copyright Christophe Favreau.

Current results after 4 races, 1 discard (top 10):
Rank Country SailNo HelmName CrewName Boat R1 R2 R3 R4 Total Nett

1st GER 9027 Wolfgang Hunger Julien Kleiner 1.0 1.0 3.0 (15.0) 20.0 5.0
2nd USA 9002 Mike Holt Carl Smit 3.0 (6.0) 1.0 3.0 13.0 7.0
3rd AUS 8946 Sandy Higgins Paul Marsh 2.0 (7.0) 5.0 1.0 15.0 8.0
4th USA 8878 Ted Conrads Brian Haines 7.0 2.0 (10.0) 2.0 21.0 11.0
5th USA 8762 Howie Hamlin Andy Zinn 4.0 (10.0) 6.0 4.0 24.0 14.0
6th GBR 9056 Luke Molloy Jim Turner (14.0) 11.0 2.0 5.0 32.0 18.0
7th AUS 8626 Nathan Outteridge Iain Jensen (9.0) 3.0 7.0 8.0 27.0 18.0
8th GER 8875 Jens Findel Johannes Tellen 5.0 5.0 16.0 (25.0) 51.0 26.0
9th GBR 9032 Ian Pinnell Charles Dwyer 8.0 (13.0) 8.0 10.0 39.0 26.0
10th USA 8714 Mike Martin Geoff Ewenson (23.0) 4.0 22.0 9.0 58.0 35.0

Racing is expected to resume from 10.00am tomorrow morning local time, weather permitting, with two further races planned.

Family and fans can follow racing live via the tracker with SAP analysis, video and more on the 2011 SAP 505 World’s official site at:

High Stakes for first European Sailing World Cup Event

- Olympic Games and test event selections start in Palma
- 710 entries, 53 countries
- Top sailors back to defend titles

by Corinne Rolland-McKenzie

The Princesa Sofia MAPFRE trophy, the first European Sailing World Cup event will bring fierce competition to Palma with many teams in contention for Olympic test event and Olympic Games selections.

The Italian team who has chosen Palma to select its representatives for London; has entered 63 teams across all Olympic events. « The Princesa Sofia regatta is the first of three selection events for the Olympic Games. » explains, Italian team manager, Valentin Mankin.

Many other countries will also use the Spanish regatta to select their athletes for the Olympic test event next August in Weymouth.

All 10 Olympic classes and the 2.4 Paralympic event have attracted a very high level of competition with all the best sailors and most of last year defending champions present.

“This year, the Princesa Sofia Mapfre Trophy has reached the unprecedented record of 710 boats from 53 countries. There is little doubt that any other sporting event in Spain has ever reached such a level of international competition.” explains Event Director, Jaume Carbonell.

In seven of the 10 Olympic classes, the top three will be back to defend their medals.

For Alessandra Sensini (ITA), the Princesa Sofia Mapfre trophy will be a regatta with multiple objectives: Olympic selection, event title and Ultimate winner Trophy at stake in the women RS:X class. She will face the talented Spanish windsurfers Marina Alabau (ESP), strong from her victory in the Rolex Miami OCR and ISAF Sailor of the Year and SWC winner and World Champion Blanca Manchon (ESP).

In the Men's division, Byron Kokalanis (GRE) will be back trying to add another victory in a competitive fleet including 2011 Sailing World Cup leader Dorian van Rissejlberge (NED) who started the year with a win in Miami, King Yin Chan (HGK) winner of Sail Melbourne or Julien Bontemps (FRA) 2010 SWC champion.

Reigning World champions and 2010 SWC circuit winners Belcher and Page from Australia are expected to take the lead in a strong 470 fleet. Continuing on with their good form, the pair won Sail Melbourne and placed second in the Rolex Miami OCR and will be one of the main threats for last year's winners Leboucher/Garos (FRA).

If they succeed in keeping the Princesa Sofia trophy title, Julia Conti and Giovanna Micol (ITA) will also score valuable points towards their Olympic quest. But it will not come easy for the 2010 vice European champions, who will firstly have to beat a very talented field. French pair Petitjean/Douroux took first place in Miami at the start of the year. Another SWC circuit title is not excluded and they come to Palma as hot favourites. The German team of Kadelbach/Belcher won Sail Melbourne and is aiming for another title.

The Star event sailed with the Women Match racing from the Real Club Nautico de Palma has attracted a talent packed fleet. Last year medal winners are back with some crew changes in two teams. Fredrik Loof (SWE) will defend the title with Max Salminen, while Johan Tillander has returned to the Finn. Alexander Schlonski (GER) 2010 Bronze medalist in Palma, with Frithjof Kleen, will return this year with Matthias Bohn. After successfully pairing over the last few months with O'Leary (IRL) in Weymouth, Georg Szabo (USA) at the North American and Scheidt (BRA) at the Eastern Hemisphere championship, Frithjof Kleen will race in Palma with Robert Stanjeck (2009 Princesa Sofia Mapfre winner). The Star competition will be interesting to follow with many renowned sailors like Roy Heiner (NED), Robert Scheidt (BRA); Torben Grael(BRA), Marazzi(SUI), Kusznierewicz(POL) and many more.

The 24 teams engaged in the Women Match racing will represent 18 countries including Peru. All the favorites will be on the starting line and last year winner Groeneveld(NED) back with a different team. After winning the 2010 SWC, Claire Leroy(FRA) and her team will be back as favourite. The french trio has started the year by winning convincingly the Rolex Miami OCR against Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) in the finale.

2010 Princesa Sofia regatta winners Manu Dyen and Stéphane Christidis (FRA) will face a strong 70 fleet including some strong opponents like the Austrians Nico delle Karth and Nikolau Resch(AUT), Sail Melbourne winners or the british pair of John Pink and Richard Peacock(GBR) victorious in Miami..

The main absentees in Palma will be the Croatian sailors in the dinghy classes. For Tina Mihelic, Ivan Gaspic and Tonci Stipanovic, the Sailing World Cup circuit will start for them at the next SWC event in Hyères.

Tina Mihelic who won the Laser Radial last year, will leave the floor to Marit Bouwemeester (NED) who leads the Sailing World Cup series after two events or Paige Railey (USA) confident after her victory at home in Miami.

In the Laser men, Tonci Stipanovic, second last year will miss the 2011 event. Javier Hernandez (ESP), SWC winner and second in the 2011 standings, will be among the favourites to retain the title won last year, along with Rasmus Myrgren (SWE) winner in Miami, or Nick Thompson (GBR) leading the series.

Meanwhile the Finns will not miss competition with an all time record fleet of 85 boats. After a brilliant start of the year, the British team will try to continue claiming the top spots. Ben Ainslie (GBR) winner in Sail Melbourne, Giles Scott (GBR) in Miami or Ed Wright (GBR), Palma defending champion, World champion, and SWC winner will set the pace. Olympic Silver medalists Rafa Trujillo (ESP) and Zach Railey (USA), or french Lobert and Lebreton will provide a tough challenge. With the free pumping rule lowered to 10 knots, the athletic level required will reward the fittest.
The Women Match racing competition will start on Sunday, one day ahead of the other classes, scheduled to commence on Monday.

Princesa Sofia Trofeo 2011

HEBTRO: "Sailing: A Sport for Life" with 3 Generations of the Dickson Family, 3rd April, 20th Anniversary


Invited guest in 2008, Kevin Shoebridge, on board an Elliott 6m. Supplied image.

by Mandy Burt

The Worser Bay Boating Club is hosting its annual Hebtro Trophy celebrity yacht race on Sunday 3rd April. Commodore Andrew Paterson said that “the aim of the day is to raise funds for junior sailing, and in doing so, to have great fun day for all involved”.

This year’s celebrity is the whole Dickson Family. ”It very appropriate for Worser Bay to have the Dickson Family as this year’s celebrities. Sailing is a Sport for life” and 78 year old Grandfather Roy is still sailing. Father Chris is still enjoying his sailing and his two girls Grace 11 and Rose 9 are Optimist sailors. The Dickson family illustrates what we all know, sailing is a “Sport of Life. Hebtro Trophy fund raising is one of the ways we get our children to start that wonderful life long adventure.” said Andrew Paterson.

The Hebtro Trophy celebrity yacht race will take place in the waters off Worser Bay, with around 20 Port Nic keelboats, each carrying a sponsor and junior sailors. The Hebtro Trophy fundraising day is in its 20th year and continues to raise the funds needed to enable many Wellington children to get out on the water. Each year these funds give around 250 school children an opportunity to have a go at sailing, and a further 60 take part in subsided Lean to Sail Courses. The Club also uses the funds for coaching for junior sailors over summer weekends. “Our aim is for children and young people to experience and enjoy sailing, whether in future years they aspire to go to the Olympics or join Team New Zealand or to simply go for a cruise around the harbour” said Andrew. Several graduates of our programs supported by Hebtro funds are now making names for themselves on the national and international level, and at least one recent graduate from the Worser Bay program has set his sights on the 2012 Olympic games. These you people will be back helping with Hebtro again this season.

Terry Steven shows young Worser Bay sailors how to hike keeler style. Supplied image.

To find out more about this year’s Hebtro Trophy, on 3rd April, the Worser Bay Boating Club or junior sailing opportunities, visit

Biographies of Roy and Chris Dickson:

Roy Dickson

Built Tuahine A with his father Jim Dickson 1957. Took 3 years to build.
Was a Territorial Officer with brother Frank in 1st Locating Battery North Head.
Navigator Helmsman with Chris Bouzaid Rainbow III Winner One Ton Cup Germany 1969
Co Skipper 45 South Farr737 Quarter Ton World Championships 1975 France
(Note that Black Fun by Laurie Davidson was the top ¼ Ton Cup in 1977, Black Fun is now a Worser Bay project and is being shipped back to Europe shortly)
Tactician & Downwind Helm One Ton Cup 1978
Was winner of the inaugural Citizen International Match Racing Series in Auckland ( in Stewart 34s ) 1978, over Harold Cudmore. ( in 1982 Roy son Chris ( them 20 ) won this event again over Cudmore, then Chris won it again in 1988 with 9 straight wins and Chris again in 1989 )
Deeply involved in the very early work to bring the America's Cup to Auckland.
Owner Stewart 34, Playbuoy, Winner HSBC Premier Coastal Classic Media Race 2008. (Stewart 34 design was 50 Year old in 2009 )
In 2008 lent Playbuoy to the Lion Foundation Youth Training Scheme , Hauraki Trifecta Teams Race.
In 2008 won the IRC National Champs in Playbuoy with members of the RNZYC Youth Scheme as crew.
Won the 2010 Stewart 34 Monday Night Championships in Playbuoy 136
Skippered Coutts ¼ Ton Enigma at 2010 Cowes Isle of Wight
Coached the RNZYS Team in CentrePort International Youth Match Racing 2011 at RPNYC recently. His team came 5th. Our WBBC teams Coltman 3rd and Porebski 4th.
Member of Tutukaka South Pacific Yacht Club

Chris Dickson

Chris Dickson. Supplied image.

Information re. Chris Dickson is on Wikipedia


HEBTRO Trophy Radio NZ Yachting

1976 J Pearse, J Smith O.B.Section
1978 Alan Warner Kidnapper
1979 Keith Miller Iconoclast
1980 Grant Nisbett Azrec
1982 John Mcgregor Kinetic
1983 Mark Holmes N.I.Z.A.M
1984 John Tokin Out to Lunch
1986 Desire Keowm Sports
1988 In recess
1989 In recess
1990 In recess
1991 In recess
1991 Barry Christopherson got hold of Trophy and restarted it out of WBBC
RadioNZ Lost the trophy in 90s.
1992 Nick Tansley Rex Heberley made a replacement paid for by RNZ $500
1993 Then RNZ found it again.
1994 Hence we have 2 HebTro Trophies.
1996 Craig Monk Celeb had to win fair and square up to 1996
1997 Russell Couts After 1996 handicapper supported the Celeb!
1998 Chris Dickson Chris. Came as Villan but left Worser Bay as a hero. Was very popular! ( Chris move to another AmCaup team away from TeamNZ )
1999 Murray Jones
2000 Roy Dickson Celeb Simon Daubney Simon Daubney was invited Celeb. But Roy Dickson Won! Handicapper let it stand!
2001 Cameron Appleton
2002 Barbara Kendall Came with her new baby!
2003 Joey Allen
2004 Gavin Brady
2005 Tom Schnackenberg No sailing at all. Tom sat and talked all day! Now "snack's chair" is a club taonga.
2006 Martin Tasker
2007 Owen Rutter
2008 Kevin Shoebridge Was plucked off losing boat "Andiamo" and on to "Paul Hastings"E6 on last leg to win!
2009 Jon Bilger Bid at auction for "Time". So won easily! Came with his wife and 2 little girls.
2010 Hamish Pepper No sailing at All. Very bad weather.
2011 Roy & Chris & Sue & Daughters (Grace 11 & Rose 9). Also Mayor Celia Wade-Brown. 36 Years since 1st Hebtro. Whole Family to celebrate "sailing: A Sport for Life". Chris was atHebtro 1998 ( 13 years ago). Roy was at Hebtro 2000 ( 11 years ago )

Hebtro Trophy

Videos from the 505 SAP Worlds 2011, Hamilton Island

Live race coverage, including video, tracking and commentary on the Social Mashup here
[The Social Mashup sailing event page is an idea originating in Denmark. It does have system requirements, with so many simultaneous live updates!]

Championship Day One:

Championship Day Two - Weathering the Storm:

Paradise Lost:

A Stream Come True!

Current results after 4 races, 1 discard (top 10):
Rank Country SailNo HelmName CrewName Boat R1 R2 R3 R4 Total Nett

1st GER 9027 Wolfgang Hunger Julien Kleiner 1.0 1.0 3.0 (15.0) 20.0 5.0
2nd USA 9002 Mike Holt Carl Smit 3.0 (6.0) 1.0 3.0 13.0 7.0
3rd AUS 8946 Sandy Higgins Paul Marsh 2.0 (7.0) 5.0 1.0 15.0 8.0
4th USA 8878 Ted Conrads Brian Haines 7.0 2.0 (10.0) 2.0 21.0 11.0
5th USA 8762 Howie Hamlin Andy Zinn 4.0 (10.0) 6.0 4.0 24.0 14.0
6th GBR 9056 Luke Molloy Jim Turner (14.0) 11.0 2.0 5.0 32.0 18.0
7th AUS 8626 Nathan Outteridge Iain Jensen (9.0) 3.0 7.0 8.0 27.0 18.0
8th GER 8875 Jens Findel Johannes Tellen 5.0 5.0 16.0 (25.0) 51.0 26.0
9th GBR 9032 Ian Pinnell Charles Dwyer 8.0 (13.0) 8.0 10.0 39.0 26.0
10th USA 8714 Mike Martin Geoff Ewenson (23.0) 4.0 22.0 9.0 58.0 35.0

505 SAP Worlds 2011

Wednesday 30 March 2011

VELUX5OCEANS: Champagne Sailing for the Fleet after 48 Hours of Ocean Sprint 4

Brad Van Liew leading the fleet on his sprint home to Charleston

Brad Van Liew's Le Pingouin. Image copyright Ainhoa Sanchez/onEdition.

by Sarah Hames

AFTER two days at sea in ocean sprint four, the VELUX 5 OCEANS fleet have been relishing champagne sailing conditions – a stark contrast to the grey, cold and wet Southern Ocean environment of the previous two sprints. Since leaving The Uruguayan resort of Punta del Este on Sunday on the penultimate leg of The Ultimate Solo Challenge, the fleet have made good progress, blessed with bright sunshine, calm seas and a steady breeze.

At the 1200 UTC position report just 40 miles separate the four skippers as they made their way north close to the coast of Brazil, bound for Charleston in South Carolina. American ocean racer and overall race leader Brad Van Liew was today out in front in Le Pingouin, with Canada’s Derek Hatfield chasing hard just ten miles behind. Operon Racing’s Polish skipper Zbigniew ‘Gutek’ Gutkowski, first over the start line, was today 40 miles behind Brad.

Having led the fleet for several hours following the start, British skipper Chris Stanmore-Major has dropped back to fourth place today 42 miles behind Brad after choosing a slightly more westerly course closer to land. However, in the 60 minutes prior to the last position report CSM’s Spartan was the quickest boat in the fleet, averaging 13.6 knots.

“It’s been a brilliant sail so far and an absolute revelation after the Southern Ocean which was dark, dreary and cold,” CSM told the VELUX 5 OCEANS race team today. “In the last 24 hours it has been flat waters, a decent breeze and I’m really enjoying it. I’m just settling back down into life on the boat, going over a few things that have come up, and really enjoying being back at sea. I’m very much looking forward to more of this as we head north.

“The boats are very closely packed at the moment and I think we’re going to see a lot of changing back and forward of positions. We have had very stable conditions since leaving Punta. I tacked at the top mark and haven’t had to alter my course much since then. It’s about to get a lot more tactical as we get into the lighter breezes off Cabo Frio and then the Doldrums. Brad has built up a little bit of a lead but it’s no major concern right now. It will still be another 24 or 48 hours before I feel I am properly back in the saddle but there is a long way ahead of us yet so I’m not too concerned.”

The 5,700 nautical mile sprint to Charleston will see tactics become more important than ever as the skippers battle their way north through the St Helena High before facing the Doldrums for the second time since the race started in La Rochelle back in October. Once across the Equator the fleet will then pick up the north easterly tradewinds allowing the skippers to take a relatively direct course towards Charleston.


Skipper / distance to finish (nm) / distance to leader (nm) / distance covered in last 24 hours (nm) / average speed in last 24 hours (kts)

Brad Van Liew, Le Pingouin: 5053.2/ 0/ 301.8 / 12.6
Derek Hatfield, Active House: 5063.5 / 10.3 / 300.1 / 12.5
Zbigniew Gutkowski, Operon Racing: 5093.7 / 40.5 / 291.3 / 12.1
Chris Stanmore-Major, Spartan: 5095.5 / 42.3 / 272.9 / 11.4


American Crew Hit the Surf at SAP 505 Worlds

Mike Martine and Geoff Ewenson get a big downhill ride! Image copyright Christophe Favreau.

by Di Pearson

American skipper Mike Martin and his crew Geoff Ewenson could not take the sitting around at the 2011 SAP 505 World Championship any longer; Martin, apart from being the 2009 world champion, is also a lover of heavy weather sailing.

Itchy feet and irresistible big seas got the better of the two when it became clear that this would be the third day in a row they would have to sit it out on the beach at Hamilton Island.

Racing was abandoned once again due to foul weather, so bad even the planes have been unable to land or take off.

Martin and Ewenson surf down a wave. Image copyright Christophe Favreau.

So down the sands to their boat the Americans went, and into the surf beating into Catseye Beach, while the rest of the 86 boat fleet and assorted others watched and waited...

As the saying goes: “Warning - do not try this at home – it is dangerous”

Mike Martin and Geoff Ewenson half hidden by waves. Image copyright Christophe Favreau.

But it was worth every minute of viewing. The surf was running - the waves and swell were big – just right for some serious action for the masters of big weather.

Event photographer Christophe Favreau decided the opportunity was too good to miss and events should be recorded. Former 505 world champion, Darren Nicholson, took Favreau aboard his rib and the two braved the conditions to record the sail – as is evidenced in these photos.

Mike Martin and Geoff Ewenson launch off a wave. Image copyright Christophe Favreau.

Watching the Americans’ enjoying themselves, a handful of other competitors were tempted onto the water too. It just wasn’t a day to safely run a race with 87 boats, but it was good for the pros who can handle themselves in big 25-33 knot winds that beset Catseye Bay.

Family and fans can follow racing live via the tracker with SAP analysis, video and more on the official site at:

WSSR: Ratification of New 24 Hour Monohull Record to Virbac Paprec 3

Virbac Paprec 3. Image copyright Yvan Zedda/Sea&Co/Virbac Paprec 3.

by John Reed

The WSSR Council announces the ratification of a new World Record

Record: 60 ft Monohull 24 Hour Distance Record
Yacht: Virbac-Paprec Name: Jean Pierre Dick FRA / Loick Peyron FRA.Dates: 21st January to the 22nd January 2011. At 1100 hrs on both days.
Start position: 36 43.51’S; 28 29.83’W
Finish position: 39 15.79’S; 18 16.63’W
Distance: 506.333 NM
Average speed: 21.1 kts

Comments: This record was established during the Barcelona double handed Race.
Previous record: 2007 "Hugo Boss" Alex Thompson/Andrew Cape, GBR, 501.3nm, 20.9kts.

World Sailing Speed Records

Audi MedCup: Estimated Media Impact Value of the 2010 Audi MedCup grows by 65,6% year on year since 2009

Caja Mediterráneo Region of Murcia Trophy - Audi MedCup Circuit © Guido Trombetta_Studio Borlenghi/Audi MedCup.

by Sabina Mollart-Rogerson

Sport+Markt, one of the leading sports research and consultancy companies, have concluded their research and evaluation of the 2010 Audi MedCup Circuit with a result that ascertains the world's leading regatta circuit returned 41,1 million euros in terms of media impact over the course of the year.

The study was focused primarily in six countries, United Kingdom, Spain, France, Italy, Germany and Portugal, which are considered key target markets by World Sailing Management, the marine division of Grupo Santa Mónica Sports.

Even giving consideration to the economic uncertainty, the Audi MedCup Circuit improved on the estimated media impact value of 24,9 million euros in 2009, 2010 still showing significant growth; Sport+Markt´s most recent study details a 65,6% upturn over the equivalent time-span of 2009.

The Audi Med Cup circuit´s constant desire to improve the overall product, as well as the continuous effort to keep developing and refining the communication strategies and technology-driven package for the global audience, has spurred the increased media return.

Region of Sardinia Trophy © Stefano Gattini/Audi MedCup

The Advertisement Value Equivalent (AVE) from TV exposure increased by three million euros, to a total of 19,3 million euros, compared with the 16,2 million mark reached in 2009.

The figure has virtually doubled since the AVE audit of 2008, which returned 10,2 million euros, exceeding the event´s own expectations, as Fernando Íñigo, Marketing and Communication Director of Grupo Santa Mónica Sports, comments: “Our goal last year was to increase our media impact by 10% globally and by 30% in some specific markets. Having grown by 65% on the previous year´s campaign is the result of our drive to be in the vanguard of technology, especially when talking about the audio-visual field, where we have aimed to bring new communication tools to the wider public”.

The countries which offered more TV coverage of the Audi MedCup Circuit in 2010 were, in order of importance, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, United Kingdom and Portugal. Also, the study shows supplementary returns in countries that are not considered as much target markets for the Circuit.

“Last year, we had a great impact in Argentina and New Zealand, in no small way due to teams such Matador and Emirates Team New Zealand being successful on the Circuit”, notes Ignaci Triay, Audi MedCup Circuit Director, “ and the fact that we had well-known stars of the sailing world such as Dean Barker or Ray Davies, great skippers and sailors, who come from these countries”.

Media presence

Media content regarding the Audi MedCup Circuit has also increased across the different platforms. The 2009 campaign registered a total of 1.201 published articles, and 2010 reached a higher number: 1.437, with an equivalent value of 7,3 million euros.

Some of the most important international written press publications -both general and specialized- such as Le Figaro and L´Equipe (Francia), The Sunday Telegraph and The Times (United Kingdom), ABC, MARCA, La Vanguardia and El Mundo Deportivo (Spain), published articles about the circuit on their pages.

Image © Virtual Eye/ Audi MedCup.

A total of 546 international journalists from 11 different countries were accredited to work over the regattas, a clear reflection of the circuit´s international reach over recent years.

Live TV

Live transmission of the circuit´s regattas through the new Audi MedCup TV platform, built in, started out in 2010 among some of the innovations that developed such a significant media impact. With this initiative, the circuit has become a prime example of the use of the latest technologies for the transmission of this type of racing, an initiative that was also supported by an improved Virtual Eye technology that allows viewers to follow the regatta in 3D with a level of realism that has never seen before.

Image © Virtual Eye/ Audi MedCup.

Another innovation which brought great success from the media, teams, guests and sponsors was the addition of the Crew+ initiative, a project that allowed one person to be on board in each and one of the boats during the regatta, experiencing the race in person, something that few other sports can claim to offer.

Also, the Audi MedCup Circuit consolidated its complete on-shore programme of activities which make the public´s involvement with the events so successful. In 2010 this included the Public Village, a free entrance zone with a wide range of activities designed to make the event even more exciting and engaging for the local visitor, registering a total attendance of over half a million people. Interactive games and infotainment -information - entertainment-, sailing-related games, a huge TV screen or live music shows were some of the attractiont that its visitors enjoyed in 2010.

Audi MedCup

Les Voiles de St Barth 2011: Exceptional Crews

White Wings © Christophe Jouany.

by Sabina Mollart-Rogerson

There will be more than fifty of them: yachts of every size and class from all over the Caribbean, competing at Les Voiles de St. Barth. For the second year, the St. Barth Yacht Club and their partners have come up with a spectacular program for this international yachting event that runs from April 4 – 9. Some of the most notable yachts with their experienced crew will be on hand for a week of racing on the fantastic sailing waters of the Caribbean. Maxi yachts, multihulls, and classic yachts have answered the call to compete at Les Voiles de St. Barth, where competitors can look forward to challenging sailing among the surrounding islands and where, back ashore, they can be certain of a friendly welcome.

While the island of St. Barth is a tranquil place for a quiet holiday, the waters around it guarantee that even the most reserved yachtsman will be thrilled. In any case, the yachts registered for the second edition of the Les Voiles are not going to have a quiet time of it. This is proven by the crew lists, which note the presence of some of the top skippers and crew from the international yachting world.
The 97-foot canting keel maxi Genuine Risk, a Dubois-designed boat that recently won the Pineapple Cup Montego Bay Race will have the Swede Hugo Stenbeck at her helm. A successful ice hockey player, Stenbeck led the Swedish America’s Cup team, Victory Challenge, in Valencia in 2007. He will head an international all-star crew with a wealth of experience, including the American Ralf Steitz, who crewed for Dennis Conner during his America’s Cup campaigns. The Frenchman, Laurent Delage, who was the sail designer for Victory Challenge, has two Olympic medals in the 470 class and will be offering a French touch to the Swedish team, though it also includes Danish tactician Rasmus Kostner, who previously sailed with Mascalzone Latino in the 2007 America’s Cup.

Former America’s Cup helmsman, New Zealander Gavin Brady will be onboard the TP52 Vesper/Team Moneypenny (ex-Quantum Racing). Brady will be co-helming with owner Jim Swartz (Park City, Utah), and will be relying on the skills of Ben Beer, Jamie Gale, Brett Jones, Ken Keefe and Matt Wakowicz.

Another American competitor that everyone will be watching is the 2010 Les Voile de St. Barth Maxi class winner George David, who will be onboard the Juan Kouyoumdjian-designed Rambler 100 (ex-Speedboat), which recently won the RORC Caribbean 600. Short daily races will provide a change for the crew which is made up almost entirely of members of the Puma Ocean Racing team led by American Ken Read (Newport, RI). At Les Voiles, they will have to deal with close quarters buoy racing, where strategy is often more important than sheer speed. For their second go at Les Voiles, Read and his crew, from six different nations, are taking this event very seriously and see it as part of their preparation for the upcoming Volvo Ocean Race. “After all,” Read explained, "Rambler 100 is just a more powerful version of a Volvo 70."

Image © Christophe Jouany.

As for French sailors, Lionel Péan has been enlisted by the British owner, Peter Harrison, to race onboard the 115-foot Sojana. The Farr-designed ketch is a perfect example of first-class yachting and was designed for cruising and speed. The well-known French fashion photographer – and last year’s godfather of Les Voiles – Patrick Demarchelier will be racing again aboard his impeccable Swan 45, Puffy, in the Racing class. There he will come up against some other Frenchmen including Régis Guillemot and his Pogo 40, in what is likely to be a closely fought contest in the Racing class, 50 feet and over.

All of these world-class sailors will come together on Monday, April 4 at Les Voiles de St. Barth’s official registration and the opening ceremony, to mark the start of a week of exciting racing. The event will offer spectators an amazing sight with a great fleet of boats enjoying the tail end of the sailing season on the blue-green waters off Saint Barth.

Key information:

Les Voiles de St. Barth will be hosted from April 4 – 9 2011 by the St. Barth Yacht Club, which is affiliated with the French Sailing Federation and the Caribbean Sailing Association.

"More than 50 yachts have registered for Les Voiles de St. Barth 2011 (complete entry list is online at: and they will be split into five classes:

SUPER / MAXI YACHT: a prototype or boat produced in limited numbers measuring at least 21 metres (69’) in length.

CLASSIC: referred to as classic or traditional yachts, these boats must be at least 35 years old.

RACING: racing monohulls, designed specifically for coastal or offshore racing.

RACING/CRUISING: mostly series boats, which are designed for cruising and for racing.

RACING-MULTIHULLS: Racing multihulls, including trimarans and catamarans, between 30 - 60 feet in length, which are very light and fast.

Les Voiles de St. Barth will officially begin on Monday April 4, 2011 with the registration and the official opening of the Race Village on Quai du Général De Gaulle in Gustavia.

The Race Committee, led once again by principal race officer, Luc Poupon, will signal the start of the first race at 1300 (local time) on Tuesday, April 5. Racing for the rest of the week (Wednesday – Saturday) will begin at 1100. Thursday, April 7 will be a lay day, which will give the crews a chance to relax and enjoy themselves with a full and varied program of events planned at St Jean Beach. The closing ceremony and fireworks will follow the awards ceremony on Saturday, April 9.

For more information, visit

Veteran Takes on the Pros at SAP 505 Worlds

Earle Alexander giving the young blokes a run for their money. Image copyright Christophe Favreau.

by Di Pearson

Sailing is one of those sports where even at the elite level, age can a benefit rather than a barrier, and that is the case with 67 year-old Brisbane skipper Earle Alexander, who is competing at the 2011 SAP 505 World Championship at Hamilton Island this week.

Alexander, who will turn 68 in June, and is a survivor of prostate cancer, reckons big boat yacht racing “is for old blokes – and I’m not old enough.” That line has insulted some big name yacht racers, but Alexander doesn’t care. He wants to keep sailing the highly technical and fast 505 double-handed trapeze dinghy.

Not only is the dinghy a hard one to sail, Alexander has pitted himself against some of the world’s finest sailors, including Olympic medallists, Volvo Ocean Race crews, America’s Cup sailors and quite a few world champions from various classes, including the 505. He is currently 37th in the 85-boat fleet.

Age has not wearied this competitive sailor who “mucked around in Moth’s at Balmoral in Sydney where I was born.” However, university study, then his career as a mining engineer took precedence over everything else when the sailor moved to the bush.

Eventually, he married, had children and moved his family to Mt Isa in Queensland. While living there, he bought a Corsair and sailed it with his sons on the dam. A few years later, his sons grew and pursued sailing with friends.

Both Kim and his younger brother Nick won 420 double-handed sailing national titles – both with recognised Olympic campaigners of the future, Adrian Finglas and Teague Czislowski. It tells plenty about their ‘old man’s’ sailing talent.

Alexander moved to Brisbane and in 1985, purchased his first 505 as a member of the Humpybong Yacht Club. Dave Porter and Dean Blatchford were just two of the famous names who came to help set the class up.

There were half a dozen or so 505 dinghies at the Club, which prompted the veteran sailor to buy one. He hasn’t looked back and still relishes every opportunity to sail. “Everything in moderation though. You have to make time for your family, work and other things too,” Alexander says.

He and crew and friend of 25 years, Australian 505 president Ian Gregg, have sailed together for six years now. “I was very ordinary for a long time. I didn’t really get it (how to sail the boat) until Ian came along,” Alexander says.

Now sailing at Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, Alexander admits: “We took a quantum leap from there, because we started calibrating the rig and settings. We got a lot of help from people like Howie Hamlin (USA), Ian Pinnell (GBR) and Holger Jess (the German 505 builder and competitor).

“Those guys are the best and they’re happy to share their knowledge. Why reinvent the wheel when you can get what you need from these guys,” he asks.

An exponent of the class, Alexander says: “I love the 505’s. They’re good in all conditions. I once sailed at Hayling Island (UK) and we got a 42 knot gust and we were still sailing along OK.

He still remembers his and Gregg’s best result, a sixth at the 2008 Nationals, also sailed at Hamilton Island. “We won on the windiest day, and backed up for second the next day, which was also windy. I love the big weather best.”

There are some, but not so many guys still sailing dinghies and skiffs into their sixties. Alexander puts some of his fitness down to, “eating properly and sailing as much as I can.

When questioned, rival competitors confirm Alexander is competitive, and not just there to make up the numbers and they find him inspirational – and why wouldn’t they? These are not easy boats to sail.

“I got prostate cancer five years ago and luckily I recovered. From that, I’ve learned to be more relaxed and to stay fit; and that’s a good thing, because I travel the world as a consultant now, and I sail at different venues around the world, so relaxing and staying fit are necessary,” Alexander confides.

When does the Queenslander see himself giving 505 sailing away? “I don’t. I’ll do it till I fall off my perch. I’ll just take each year as it comes,” he says.

Family and fans can follow racing live via the tracker with SAP analysis, video and more on the official site at:

Tuesday 29 March 2011

Weather gods dictate no play again at SAP 505 Worlds

Conditions today. Image copyright Christophe Favreau/505 SAP Worlds.

by Di Pearson

The weather gods are not playing ball with the 2011 SAP 505 World Championship at Hamilton Island this week; for the third day running, Race Officer Kevin Wilson has had to announce that gusty winds and big seas have dictated no racing.

Wilson and his crew made a number of trips to the course area, but came back with the same answer each time, “It’s just not safe.”

Mike Martin (USA) the 2009 505 world champion, and his crew Geoff Ewenson, decided to test the waters for themselves, so took their boat for a sail. While the heavy weather specialists were able to keep the boat afloat, it became blatantly obvious that it was not a day for the fleet to race.

Everyone else watched from the safety and warmth of shore as the Americans mastered the waves and big gusts, which reached 40 knots at times.

Ian Pinnell, the 2008 world champion from Britain, along with some others, chose to take a dip in the pool in the teeming rain as all waited for news of what tomorrow would bring.

Carter Jackson gets the no racing news on the phone from Kevin Wilson. Image copyright Christophe Favreau/505 SAP Worlds.

Kevin Wilson said, “We’ll try to hold two races tomorrow and may move the course to the Whitsunday Passage.” That decision would be made tomorrow morning, but Wilson plans to get racing underway from 10.00am.

Family and fans can follow racing live via the tracker with SAP analysis, video and more on the official site at:

America's Cup: Santiago Lange on the America’s Cup in multihulls and the AC45

Artemis Racing training on the AC45 in Auckland. Image copyright Gilles Martin-Raget/

by Artemis Racing team

Santiago Lange is one of Argentina’s most famous sailors. He has competed in five editions of the Olympic Games across dinghy, keelboat and multihull events, winning bronze medals in the Tornado with Carlos Espinola in Athens in 2004 and in Beijing in 2008.

Lange’s sailing experience however, extends far beyond the Games. He has competed in two editions of the Volvo Ocean Race, first onboard Team SEB on Leg one of the 2001-2002 edition and as Watch Captain on Telefonica Black in 2009. He holds four World Championship titles, in the Tornado (2004) and Snipe (1985, 1993 & 1995) and was part of the Swedish Victory Challenge syndicate during the 2007 America’s Cup.

Lange gave the following interview regarding multihulls in the America’s Cup.

Tell us why it’s better to race the America’s Cup with catamarans and not monohulls?

In my opinion, the America’s Cup has to be the pinnacle of our sport in terms of design and sailors. The Version 5 boats (NR: America’s Cup boats, 2007) clearly were not. I am convinced that the catamarans meet these requirements very well for the America’s Cup. The AC72 will sail upwind at close to 20 knots and 30 knots downwind. With 11 crew this will be very demanding and everything will have to be very smooth. The design challenges will be very interesting as well.

Why catamarans?

The radical difference between catamarans and monohulls is when the cat has two hulls in the water. The AC72 will be flying a hull with 6 knots of wind. With one hull in the water, the boat acts as a monohull, but has stability without needing lead and it is very sensitive to the trim of sails because she loses stability with the heel (opposite to a monohull). The feel is very similar except that the catamaran is much more efficient. I think a lot of people are against catamarans without actually knowing much about them.

I also see no reason why match racing has to be sailed in slow boats. My recent experience, sailing with people who never have been match racing on catamarans, was that everyone was amazed by how great they are to sail.

Tell us about the AC45?

The AC45 sails very well and is well balanced. I was personally concerned with the handling and logistics of the wing. At the moment for the AC45 it does not seem to be serious, however I still think we have to work on the AC72 in this regard.

Full article at: Artemis Racing Team

America's Cup: Cup Field Swells to Ten Entries

The America's Cup, San Francisco Bay. Image copyright Gilles Martin-Raget/

by Tim Jeffery

The field of entries for the 34th America’s Cup increased to 10 last week with two additional entries, which at the time were both private.

After this morning’s announcement revealing China Team as Challenger No. 8, seven of the nine challengers are public: Mascalzone Latino (Italy, Challenger of Record), Aleph-Équipe de France, Artemis Racing (Sweden), China Team, Emirates Team New Zealand, Energy Team (France) and Team Australia.

The field also includes ORACLE Racing, the defense team candidate.

“We are very pleased to welcome our eighth challenger, China Team, to the 34th America’s Cup,” said Richard Worth, Chairman of the America’s Cup Event Authority. “China Team makes a wonderful addition, bringing another continent of athletes into our international field of strong competitors, as well as a very powerful market to add to the commercial strength of the 34th America’s Cup.”

With the initial entry deadline just three days away, Thursday, March 31, the field for the 34th Cup is shaping up nicely. The 10 entries are equivalent to the recent history of the America’s Cup, which averaged 11 entries for the three events between 2000 and 2007.

34th America’s Cup Entries

ALEPH sailing team mock-up. Image copyright Team Aleph.

There are currently eight teams (the defender and seven challengers) entered in the 34th America’s Cup:

Defender: ORACLE Racing/USA
Challengers: Aleph-Équipe de France
Artemis Racing (Sweden)
China Team
Emirates Team New Zealand
Energy Challenge (France)
Mascalzone Latino (Italy, Challenger of Record)
Team Australia
Challenger #7 – Confirmed/Confidential
Challenger #9 – Confirmed/Confidential

America's Cup

America's Cup: Slick cats enjoy day on the gulf

AC45s on the Hauraki Gulf. Image copyright Gilles Martin-Raget/

by Tim Jeffery

The sight was one to behold: Four AC45s flying around the Hauraki Gulf.

The four yachts took part in an informal video session last week and it left many salivating at what’s to come, a fleet of 10 (or perhaps 12, depending on the number of entries) AC45s jockeying for positions as part of the America’s Cup World Series.
“It’s going to be exciting to watch,” said Terry Hutchinson, skipper of Artemis Racing. “What will make it exciting is you’ll hear the adrenaline on the boat. It’s going to provide a lot of entertainment for everyone involved, spectators and sailors alike.”

AC45s on the Hauraki Gulf. Image copyright Gilles Martin-Raget/

Hutchinson’s tactician, Iain Percy, concurred: “I really enjoy the boats. I enjoy the fact you have to work hard to get the manoeuvres done. You don’t have so much time to think, there’s a lot more doing. It’s going to be good fun.”

The four yachts featured Artemis Racing, two from ORACLE Racing and the AC45 prototype. Already a difference in headsails was noted, with Artemis Racing flying one with a longer luff than those on the two ORACLE Racing yachts.

AC45s on the Hauraki Gulf. Image copyright Gilles Martin-Raget/

“The fact you have some other teams out there, next to you, with different sails, different ideas, it’s a steep learning curve,” said James Spithill, ORACLE Racing skipper. “We’re looking to line up at least once a week to do some practice racing and stuff like that. Everyone’s getting something out of it. It’s a lot of fun.”

The first ACWS is scheduled July 16-24 at a venue to be announced.

America's Cup

BWR: Flashback or Slow Motion?

- Virbac-Paprec 3 upwind past the Canaries, possibly Gibraltar Thursday night
- GAES Centros Auditivos sixth across the Equator
- We Are Water hoping to pass Cape Horn this evening
- Central Lechera Asturiana on hold in Wellington

Anna Corbella (left) and Dee Caffari getting in one of your five a day. Image copyright GAES Centrois Auditivos.

by Barcelona World Race media

The routing may be slower and slightly more frustrating than when he was off the Azores counting down the miles to victory in 2008, but Jean-Pierre Dick is hoping the net result will be the same, as the French skipper, along with Loïck Peyron remains firmly in control of the second edition of the Barcelona World Race.

With just over 1200 miles to the finish, this afternoon the lead of Virbac-Paprec 3 is computed to be 267 miles over Spanish rivals MAPFRE.

On a continued long beat which is currently almost devoid of tactical opportunities, Dick and Peyron’s confidence must grow with each mile towards the finish, but both know very well the pitfalls and slowdowns which can happen in the fickle Spring winds of the Mediterranean, especially overnight. And memories of the problematic exits from the Straits of Gibraltar 84 days ago are not exactly dead and buried.
Three years ago in the first edition of the Barcelona World Race Dick had Ireland’s Damian Foxall at his side and on the 87th day of racing on Paprec-Virbac 2 they were sailing on an almost direct easterly course at 14-15 knots of boat speed, having passed to the west of the Azores high and heading directly for Gibraltar which they passed on Day 90.

This time it is an uphill struggle, climbing past the Canaries today toward the Moroccan coast which they will scale this week, expecting to pass Gibraltar Thursday night, on the night of Day 91. In 2008 Dick had a lead of 678 miles over Hugo Boss 2, with Dominique Wavre and Michèle Paret third at 1507 miles behind the leader.

And in third place in today’s race it is the Barcelona World Race’s only remaining ‘second-timer’ Pachi Rivero, racing with Toño Piris. On Renault Z.E Sailing Team, the former Gitana 80, they are still holding off the 2007-8 race winning former Paprec-Virbac 2, now Estrella Damm. Rivero and Piris have nicely strengthened their hand by another five miles today to 160 miles.

Dee Caffari and Anna Corbella passed the Equator this morning at between 0930hrs and 0945hrs UTC, ready to celebrate not just for their return into their ‘home’ hemisphere, but because they have been blessed with favourable 10-12 knots of easterly breezes for their ‘Doldrums’ so far, and because they have also completed their composite repair to the forward ballast tank, Caffari said:
“ The first repair I did on the outside of the tank, which we thought would be sufficient did not really take very well, and Joff (Brown, boat captain) told us we were moving too much and that the flexing of the hull ring frame was too much so the resin did not take and have a chance to cure, so we went for kill or cure, and we have gone inside the bow tank and so I had two jobs to do (the repair and close the tank again) and that is why we really slowed down to reduce the movement. The worst job was doing all the sanding, preparing the surfaces, there was carbon dust everywhere which was horrible in this heat.

We have given it 48 hours, doing 24 hours very slowly and sailed really easily for another 24 hours and as Joff said that is as good as it is going to get.”

After a difficult 24 hours is very big and confused seas during which they were largely unable to get upwind into the 40 knots NNE’ly winds due to their lack of mainsail and the fact that the steep waves were coming at them side-on, Jaume Mumbru and Cali Sanmarti had got to within 35 miles of passing the longitude of Cape Horn on We Are Water, finally making 11 knots after the winds had clocked to a more favourable NW’ly direction.

Juan Merediz and Fran Palacio, Central Lechera Asturiana. Image copyright Central Lechera Asturiana.

Central Lechera Asturiana have remained on hold in Wellington due to an adverse weather forecast, partly to see how Tropical Storm Bune develops.

Standings of Monday 28th March at 1400hrs UTC

1 VIRBAC-PAPREC 3 1211 miles to finish
2 MAPFRE + 267 miles to leader
3 RENAULT Z.E at + 1069 miles to leader
4 ESTRELLA DAMM Sailing Team at + 1229 miles to leader
5 NEUTROGENA at + 1269 miles to leader
6 GAES CENTROS AUDITIVOS at + 1798 miles to leader
7 HUGO BOSS at + 3286 miles to leader
8 FORUM MARITIM CATALA at + 4497 miles to leader
9 WE ARE WATER at + 5126 miles to leader
10 CENTRAL LECHERA ASTURIANA at + 10339 miles to leader

Dee Caffari (GBR) Gaes Centros Auditivos:“ I think that’s my tenth equator. It is outrageous when I think about it. I feel very lucky because some people do it once in a lifetime. It is frustrating in a way thought because we have had really good weather, we have made gains but had the boat been at 100% I am confident I would have been a couple of hundred miles up the course, closer to the boats in front, so it is a little frustrating but we all have got issues, including the keel on Neutrogena for example, but we have done the repair, we still have breeze and have not stopped, we have not stopped, so we are in the right place and we are heading home. I feel positive.
"It was alright. The first repair I did on the outside of the tank, which we thought would be sufficient did not really take very well, and Joff (Brown, boat captain) told us we were moving too much and that the flexing of the hull ring frame was too much so the resin did not take and have a chance to cure, so we went for kill or cure, and we have gone inside the bow tank and so I had two jobs to don’t, and that is why we really slowed down to reduce the movement. The worst job was doing all the sanding, preparing the surfaces, there was carbon dust everywhere which was horrible in this heat.
"We have given it 48 hours, doing 24 hours very slowly and sailed really easily for another 24 hours and as Joff said that is as good as it is going to get. So now we need to keep an eye on it. The worst thing for it is, of course, upwind on starboard tack, which is what we have for the next week to ten days. We will have to be quite careful and sail for the sea state, and try not to slam too much. We are in right hemisphere, we are on countdown and it is all more positive now.”

Wouter Verbraak. Image copyright Wouter Verbraak/Alex Thomson Racing.

Andy Meiklejohn (NZL) and Wouter Verbraak (NED) Hugo Boss:

Wouter: "Boots are off, retired, and shoes are on. That means the end of the south and the cold southerlies, and we are making the transition into the warmer trade winds off the Brazil coast. It has been an amazing relief to get into warmer climates, the fascinating fact is that everything starts to grow again, your nails, your hair, after six weeks in the southern ocean everything starts growing, so it looks like the body finally has some energy again for more than just looking after itself. I don’t know how the first bike ride is going to feel, but for sure I want to do a triathlon this summer I will need to put in some solid hours on the bike."

Andy: "Wouter normally does the bow when we do manoeuvres and so he gets to walk further than I do each day, so I am probably in worse shape than him.
"The upper body gets a good work out all the time, grinding and lifting sails and so on, but that side of it returns pretty quickly but you don’t walk more than 60 feet a day, so there is not a lot of exercise going on.
"We have a list of ideas or things which we think to help Alex and that is one of them (Cammas bicycle winch)."

Andy: "At this stage we just do all we can to keep some air going through the boat.
"I think a little more comfort is always helpful, but after 85 days we are pretty used to what we see, we would get a shock if we got on another boat."

Andy: "It is an exciting summer for both of us, with the IMOCA 60’s on the Europa Race, with the Fastnet, Transtlantic races at the start of the summer and the end of the summer, there is J Class regatta in Newport, a lot of exciting events on the calendar, and the Volvo Ocean Race. We will be looking at our calendars and seeing if anyone is still phoning us up for more work."

Wouter: "We have had an amazing sleigh ride since the Falklands, now we have to make the transition into the Trade Winds, unfortunately the Trade Winds in front of us are pretty weak, so there is quite a big transition are we have to go through, at the moment we have 9 knots, and we expect to have quite light winds for the next two to three days to get to trades and make way to the Doldrums.”

In French:

La lente échappée de Virbac-Pap​rec 3

- Jean-Pierre Dick et Loïck Peyron attendus à Gibraltar le 31 mars
- Dee Caffari et Anna Corbella dans l’hémisphère nord
- We are Water ce soir au Cap Horn ?
- Une dépression tropicale retarde le départ de Central Lechera Asturiana de Wellington

Andy Meiklejohn. Image copyright Gustav Morin.

En tête entre les Canaries et Madère, Jean-Pierre Dick et Loïck Peyron gagnent tous les jours une ou deux poignées de milles. Suffisamment pour semer peu à peu leurs fidèles compagnons espagnols. Jusqu’à Gaes Centros Auditivos, tout le monde sera soumis à un régime de près jusqu’à Gibraltar.

Cette nuit, sous un faible croissant de lune, Jean-Pierre Dick et Loïck Peyron ont aperçu le « phare de la pointe nord de l'île de La Palma aux Canaries; première terre depuis le Cap Horn ». Pour ne pas se faire prendre dans les dévents des îles, Virbac-Paprec 3 a tiré un bord vers le nord, et est passé à 20 milles dans l’ouest de La Palma, laissant tout l’archipel à tribord. Le chemin vers Gibraltar (ETA au détroit dans la journée du 31 mars) devrait logiquement les mener vers les côtes marocaines où sévit un bon vent de nord-est, loin des calmes de l’anticyclone.

Il y a trois ans, à ce stade de la course, Jean-Pierre Dick était aussi en tête de la Barcelona World Race. Après 87 jours de mer, il se trouvait alors aux Açores, résultat d’une route opposée à la stratégie actuelle, puisqu’il avait pu contourner l’anticyclone par l’ouest...

Aujourd’hui au près, escortés par des dauphins joueurs, Jean-Pierre et Loïck font marcher leur bateau bleu à merveille et chaque journée de navigation est synonyme de gain sur les Espagnols de MAPFRE. Iker Martinez et Xabi Fernandez n’ont d’autres choix que d’encaisser le coup. Ils n’ont, à court terme, aucune occasion de se démarquer stratégiquement.

Même constat d’impuissance à bord d’Estrella Damm et de Neutrogena qui voient Renault Z.E leur échapper doucement au large du Cap Vert. Pachi Rivero et Antonio Piris, toujours un poil plus rapides que leurs poursuivants, semblent apprécier la navigation dans les solides alizés de nord-est.

L’équateur au féminin

Naviguer penché sur un seul bord bâbord, ce sera bientôt le sort du tandem féminin de Gaes Centros Auditivos. En milieu de matinée, sous une chaleur torride, Dee Caffari et Anna Corbella ont pris leur petit déjeuner avec Neptune pour célébrer leur passage de l’équateur. Les voici dans les eaux familières de l’hémisphère nord. Comme leur cinq prédécesseurs, elles devront se coltiner de longues journées de près jusqu’au détroit de Gibraltar, dans la moiteur tropicale.

Le retour de la chaleur a en général des effets immédiats sur le moral des troupes. « On dirait que tout l’organisme reprend vie, commente Wouter Verbraak. Les ongles, les cheveux. Tout le corps retrouve de l’énergie ». Les visages, eux, retrouvent le sourire. A bord d’Hugo Boss, Wouter et Andy, pieds nus et en t-shirt paraissaient en pleine forme, heureux de naviguer dans des prémices d’alizés, au large du Brésil. A 628 milles du bateau noir et blanc, la situation était plus compliquée pour FMC qui ferraille face au vent dans des conditions inconfortables. « Deux fois la route, trois fois le temps, quatre fois la misère et cinq fois l’ennui » déplore Ludovic Aglaor. Ludo et son compère catalan Gerard Marin devront prendre leur mal en patience.

Cruel Pacifique

Idem pour l’équipage de We are Water qui s’est retrouvé aujourd’hui dans une situation bien scabreuse. Avec 30 à 40 nœuds de vent et une grosse mer de travers, leur progression vers le cap Horn avec une seule voile d’avant s’est avérée quasi impossible. Pendant plusieurs heures, ils se sont laissés dériver vers le sud, à sec de toile, dans l’attente d’une bascule salvatrice à l’Ouest-Nord Ouest. Du coup, ils ont rasé le sud des îles Diego Ramirez. Mais depuis cet après midi, ils ont remis le cap vers le Horn. Plus que 37 milles avant le fameux rocher qu’ils pourraient doubler ce soir.

Central Lechera Asturiana. Image copyright Central Lechera Asturiana.

Enfin, Central Lechera Asturiana a renoncé provisoirement à quitter les quais de Wellington. Un retard de quelques jours pris volontairement à cause de l’arrivée d’une grosse dépression tropicale nommé « Bune ».

Classement du 28 mars à 16 heures (TU+2) :

1 VIRBAC-PAPREC 3 à 1211,6 milles de l’arrivée
2 MAPFRE à 267,3 milles
3 RENAULT Z.E à 1069,9 milles
4 ESTRELLA DAMM Sailing Team à 1229,4 milles
5 NEUTROGENA à 1269,5 milles
6 GAES CENTROS AUDITIVOS à 1798,1 milles
7HUGO BOSS à 3286 milles
8 FORUM MARITIM CATALA à 3914,5 milles
9 WE ARE WATER à 5713 milles

Ils ont dit :

Ludovic Aglaor (FRA), FMC
: « Nous sommes au près et nous tirons des bords. Le vent vient de là où nous voulons aller. La mer était un peu dure ce week-end avec pas mal de vent. Deux fois la route, trois fois le temps, quatre fois la misère et cinq fois l’ennui. Nous n’avons pas réussi à nous décaler dans l’ouest et nous avons gardé de la mer longtemps. Ca ne s’est calmé qu’hier soir. L’équateur est à 2000 milles, ça peut être assez long. Cette course reste une sacrée balade même si nous partons un peu tardivement en terme de saison. Le manque de vent est peut être dû à ça. C’est un peu longuet, ça change du multicoque. En tout cas, le printemps revient et c’est sympa. Ca donne envie de s’évader du bateau surtout que nous ne sommes pas loin des 90 jours de mer. Le bateau va bien mais je suis un peu inquiet. Je le trouve moins rigide qu’avant au près. Je n’ose pas trop tirer sur le gréement, il semble un petit peu fatigué. Je fais un check quotidien sur le pont. Mais là c’est plus l’histoire de tension de gréement qui me chagrine un peu. Il va falloir faire attention à bien contrôler le mât. »

Anna Corbella (left) and Dee Caffari celebrating the equator crossing. Image copyright GAES Centrois Auditivos.

Andy Meiklejohn (NZL) et Wouter Verbraak (NED) Hugo Boss : « Nous avons enlevé les bottes, à la remise, place aux chaussures ! Cela signifie donc la fin du sud et des froids polaires, nous sommes en pleine transition avec les alizés chauds le long de la côte brésilienne. Ca a été un soulagement incroyable de revenir dans des climats chauds. C’est fascinant que tout recommence à pousser ! Les ongles, les cheveux... après six semaines dans les mers du Sud, c’est comme si le corps avait retrouvé une nouvelle énergie ! »

Anna Corbella (ESP) GAES Centros Auditivos : « Ca y est, nous sommes dans l’hémisphère Nord. Nous avons franchi l’équateur il y a 20 minutes environ, c’est signe que nous nous approchons de la maison. On commence à remettre de la toile après notre réparation qui semble tenir. Et petit à petit on va retrouver un rythme normal de course. Actuellement nous avons un vent d’Est qui souffle à 10 nœuds, la mer est plate et il fait très chaud : l’eau est à 32° C. Même les seaux d’eau n’arrangent rien car ça sèche tout de suite, en nous laissant une couche de sel sur la peau ce qui est pire encore ! On aimerait bien quelques grains pour pouvoir nous rincer avec de l’eau douce. Mais aujourd’hui c’est une journée complètement claire, et on se prépare à la chaleur. On se met de la crème solaire toute la journée en cherchant de l’ombre ! L’intérieur du bateau s’est transformé en un véritable four ! Il n’y a pas du tout d’ombre c’est incroyable, le soleil tape verticalement et brûle beaucoup. C’est hallucinant. »

Barcelona World Race

BWR: « Première terre depuis le Cap Horn »

Loick Peyron and Jean-Pierre Dick on board Virbac Paprec 3. Image copyright Yvan Zedda/Sea&Co./Virbac Paprec 3.

par Anne-Charlotte Meyer

J+87. JP et Loïck naviguent à l'Ouest de l'île de La Palma aux Canaries, à 700 milles de Gibraltar. Virbac-Paprec 3 a évité les dévents de l'île montagneuse, « un soulagement » précise JP dans un mot du bord envoyé ce matin. Cette nuit le duo a creusé l'écart sur son poursuivant. Au classement de 11h, Mapfré est à 269 milles de Virbac-Paprec 3. Le skipper niçois revient sur cette nuit au large de l'archipel espagnol.

Mot du bord de JP :
Vu cette nuit
Croissant de lune qui décroit, ce sont les derniers éclairages de lune de la course ; bye bye la luna et merci du soutien pendant la course ! Phare de la pointe nord de l'île de La Palma aux Canaries ; première terre depuis le Cap Horn! et bonjour l'Europe ! Un soulagement d'avoir évité les dévents de l'archipel des Canaries qui est particulièrement dangereux et connu pour cela.
Dauphins très joueurs, Ils sautent près de l'étrave. Lever de soleil somptueux : un dégradé subtil du orange au bleu.

Fait cette nuit :
Changements de voile d'avant ; virements de bord ; on n'a pas chaumé :
Matossage et remplissage de ballast au programme... Loïck a un physique de jeune premier !
Le vent forcit quand on va à l'est et mollit quand on va au nord près de l'anticyclone d'ou des changements fréquents.

Passé la barrière des 700 NM pour Gibraltar et 1300 NM pour Barcelone, tout au près jusqu'à Gib au moins et avec des vents et vagues très forts près des côtes marocaines.

Classement à 11h :
1.Virbac-Paprec 3 à 1249 milles de l'arrivée
2.Mapfre à 269,2 milles du leader
3.Renault à 1077,1 milles du leader

Virbac Paprec 3
Barcelona World Race