Dylan Fletcher – photo © Beau Outteridge / MS Amlin International Moth Regatta
MS Amlin International Moth Regatta in Bermuda
British Olympian survives battles with countrymen on day punctuated by wild weather
Dylan Fletcher-Scott, Britain’s representative in the 49er Class at last summer’s Rio Olympics, grabbed the overall lead at the MS Amlin International Moth Regatta after posting a pair of first-place finishes in the regatta hosted by Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.
Fletcher-Scott, who placed 6th in the 49er Class, holds the overall lead with the low score of 13 points. “It was wicked fun. I’m really happy to come away with two bullets and to be going faster than yesterday,” said the 28-year-old who placed 7-4 in the first two races. “I’m keeping it clean and sailing smart.”
Fletcher-Scott holds a 2-point lead over Rob Greenhalgh, who last year won this event hosted by the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. Greenhalgh placed 8-3 today to go with yesterday’s 3-1. “He (Fletcher-Scott) was going well today,” said Greenhalgh. “But there’s a lot of racing to do.”
With four races complete out of a possible nine, the weather has been the biggest topic of discussion. Today began with a two-hour postponement as Principal Race Officer David Campbell-James waited for the wind strength to soften a bit. Recordings from the racecourse were showing the wind between 20 and 25 knots.
Ben Paton – photo © Beau Outteridge / MS Amlin International Moth Regatta
But when the decision finally came to send the fleet to the racecourse, a squall line moved in that bumped the wind up towards 30 knots.
“When we first started sailing it was full on, proper top-end conditions. At least 25 knots,” said Richard Mason of the U.K. who holds 37th overall. “But by the time we got to the windward mark a lot of people were low riding (off the foils). I was thinking, ‘Hang on a minute, what’s going on here?’ The wind just dropped out completely.”
Mason finished 15th in today’s first race but didn’t compete in the second because of a broken push rod that controls the flap on the t-foil on his daggerboard. “I was approaching the finish line and then crashed. These boats are too tricky sometimes.”
Italian Stefano Rizzi, who holds 6th overall with 28 points, found the conditions right at the top end if not over for the lightweight, hydrofoiling dinghy.
“When I got out there it was very windy. It must’ve been 30 knots,” Rizzi said in his Italian accent. “I came around the jury boat and started sailing upwind, but couldn’t turn downwind. Every time I tried I crashed. One moment was very scary when I got washed off the back of the wing and the boat spun around. The rudder just missed my face.”
The trailing edges of the vertical foils on the Moth are very sharp. “It could’ve been a bad situation,” said Rizzi. “But then the wind softened and I enjoyed the second race very much.”
Fleet on day 2 – photo © Beau Outteridge / MS Amlin International Moth Regatta
Fletcher-Scott enjoyed the second race, too.
“It was really close between me, Greenhalgh and Goody,” said Fletcher-Scott. “I don’t think there’s any difference between us speed-wise. We were all going very similar. Sometimes one of us was faster than others. I was just able to edge out a bit more, had little nicer starts and kept my nose ahead the whole way round.”
Fletcher-Scott is sailing a Rocket-built Moth from Aardvark Technologies in the U.K. His boat is different from the others in the fleet in that it has solid wings instead of a carbon frame with a wing mat. Rocket calls it a “solid state deck” and says the benefits are “improved aerodynamics from smoother shapes, more righting moment from higher wings and improved ergonomics.”
Fletcher-Scott said he’s testing a new sail from Lennon Sails. “It seems to be working nicely,” he said. “But we’ve only done four races so there’s a long way to go.”
After the completion of the next race, Race 5 in the series, each competitor will be allowed to discard their worst finish. That could bring Paul Goodison of the U.K. into the mix. Goodison, the reigning Moth World Champion, has a trio of 2nd place finishes along with a DNC, which counts for 52 points. He was forced to miss yesterday’s second race when Artemis Racing, a challenger for the 35th America’s Cup, went practising.
Racing tomorrow looks like it could be postponed. The weather forecast is calling for southwesterly winds 20 to 30 knots with gusts to 45 knots with the chance for showers and thunder in the morning.
Results after Day 2: (top ten)
1. Dylan Fletcher-Scott (GBR) 7-4-1-1 – 13pts
2. Rob Greenhalgh (GBR) 3-1-8-3 – 15pts
3. Rory Fitzpatrick (IRL) 1-2-13-8 – 24pts
4. David Hivey (GBR) 13-6-3-4 – 26pts
5. James McMillan (GBR) 6-7-9-5 – 27pts
6. Stefano Rizzi (ITA) 4-5-5-14 – 28pts
7. John Clifton (GBR) 12-8-6-10 – 36pts
8. Jonathan Heathcote (GBR) 5-11-12-9 – 37pts
9. Simon Hiscocks (GBR) 9-9-10-12 – 40pts
10. Dan Ward (GBR) 8-13-19-13 – 21pts
Days video highlights
by Sean McNeill
© Beau Outteridge / MS Amlin International Moth Regatta
MS Amlin International Moth Regatta in Bermuda
Irishman Rory Fitzpatrick sets the pace with a 1-2 in patchy, marginal foiling conditions to hold the early lead at the 2nd annual MS Amlin International Moth Regatta, hosted by the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.
Fitzpatrick finished 1st and 2nd in the opening day’s two races and leads second-placed Rob Greenhalgh of Great Britain by 1 point. Italy’s Stefano Rizzi is third with 9 points after placing 4th and 5th.
“It was marginal conditions today for foiling, but it went well,” said Fitzpatrick, who placed 12th last year. “The wind was so patchy that it really paid to stay in the puffs because you could stay on your foils.”
Greenhalgh, last year’s winner, had similar thoughts. “I could’ve won the first race, was leading in it, but then fell off the foils,” said the Briton. “The conditions were really patchy.”
Last year’s winner Rob Greenhalgh © Beau Outteridge / MS Amlin International Moth Regatta
For the sailors who had an option on equipment, the large foils were the choice because of the light winds, 4 to 8 knots from the north/northwest. After a weekend of howling conditions that forced the postponement of yesterday’s scheduled first day, the lighter winds were welcomed by some.
“I sat around all weekend playing with my boat because it was too windy,” said Giovanni Galeotti of Belgium, who holds 19th after finishing 21-22. “It seemed like there were a lot of random puffs on both sides of the racecourse. I’m using intermediate foils because my large foils are being used for something else, but I still had somewhat of an edge. If I’d practiced more I might’ve been able to hang in there and do better.”
Dylan Fletcher & Ben Paton © Beau Outteridge / MS Amlin International Moth Regatta
James Doughty is the top Bermudian after the first day. He finished 19-28 and holds 20th overall, 4 points behind Galeotti.
“I’ve only been sailing the boat for a year now but was mostly pleased with today,” said Doughty, who’s one of the lightest sailors in the fleet. “I got off the start line well but had trouble staying on the foils in the patchy winds.”
For Doughty, the regatta is about learning the intricacies of the Moth ahead of the World Championship, which will be held in Bermuda in May 2018.
“The Worlds is the candy at the end of the stick for sailors like me and Christian Luthi and Ben Paton. We’re all looking forward to it,” said Doughty. “We don’t have a big fleet here so a regatta like this is good for us to improve our skill. If I can improve my boat handling in windy conditions, then this will be a good regatta for me.”
Stu Bithel amused to find Dylan Fletcher has dropped off his foils! © Beau Outteridge / MS Amlin International Moth Regatta
Among the two women in the fleet, Josie Gliddon of England is 22nd with 51 points and Annalise Murphy of Ireland is 30th with 61 points. Gliddon has sailed the Moth for only one year but liked the light conditions because she’s easily the lightest sailor in the fleet. Murphy, who won the Silver Medal in the Laser Radial at the Rio Olympics and has sailed the Moth on and off for three years, is at the other end of the spectrum from Gliddon, tall and strong. But she wasn’t thrilled with the marginal foiling conditions.
“I don’t like it when I have to work hard to get on the foils,” said Murphy. “I sail the Laser to stay on the hull.”
Results after Day 1: (top ten)
1. Rory Fitzpatrick (IRL) 1-2 – 3pts
2. Rob Greenhalgh (GBR) 3-1 – 4pts
3. Stefano Rizzi (ITA) 4-5 – 9pts
4. Dylan Fletcher-Scott (GBR) 7-4 – 11pts
5. James McMillan (GBR) 6-7 – 13pts
6. Jonathan Heathcote (GBR) 5-11 – 16pts
7. Simon Hiscocks (GBR) 9-9 – 18pts
8. David Hivey (GBR) 13-6 – 19pts
9. John Clifton (GBR) 12-8 – 20pts
10. Dan Ward (GBR) 8-13 – 21pts
video of the day
by Sean McNeill
Iain Jensen, wins the MS Amlin ‘Dash for Cash’ © Beau Outteridge / MS Amlin International Moth Regatta
Australian Mothist takes down Outteridge & Bithell in final heat
Australian Iain Jensen pocketed $500 and a bottle of Gosling’s Black Seal Rum when he won the MS Amlin “Dash for Cash,” an exhibition prelude to the 2nd annual MS Amlin International Moth Regatta hosted by the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.
The Dash for Cash was sailed on a windy Hamilton Harbour, where the northwesterly breeze was recorded at 23 to 26 knots with gusts into the 30s on the race committee boat. The wind was so strong that the sailors had trouble turning downwind. There were many wipeouts as the strong gusts would blow the lightweight hydrofoiler over its bow. Some crashes were spectacular, with the skipper being launched from the boat in a cloud of spray.
Rory Fitzpatrick (43) and Ben Paton get tangled up at the first mark rounding – photo © Beau Outteridge / MS Amlin International Moth Regatta
“I saw a top boatspeed over 30 knots,” said Jensen, who’s the wing trimmer for Artemis Racing, a team entered in the 35th America’s Cup scheduled next year in Bermuda.
“I switched over to an Exocet boat about a year ago and it worked out really well today. It was nice to get one up on my skipper.”
Jensen is the long-time crew for Nathan Outteridge, the helmsman for Artemis Racing. As a team they won the Olympic Gold medal in the 49er Class at the 2012 London Olympics. He was presented $500 in cash from Charles Penruddocke, a Senior Class Underwriter at Amlin Bermuda, who literally took the money from his wallet and handed it to Jensen.
Annalise Murphy (IRL 4380) & Nathan Outteridge (AUS1) sprint down Hamilton Harbour – photo c Beau Outteridge / MS Amlin International Moth Regatta
“I’m spent,” said Outteridge, the two-time Moth World Champion, as he lay on the grass catching his breath.
“Iain was rock solid, but if there’d been 10 knots less breeze the racing would’ve been a lot more competitive.”
Third place was won by Stuart Bithel of Great Britain. “It was intense, awesome racing. Very windy,” said Bithel. “I survived and so did the boat, which is a bonus.”
MS Amlin ‘Dash for Cash’ podium (l-r) Stuart Bithell (3rd), Iain “Goobs” Jensen (1st), Nathan Outteridge (2nd) – photo © Beau Outteridge / MS Amlin International Moth Regatta
The MS Amlin International Moth Regatta is scheduled to run from Wednesday – Friday with 52 skippers entered. Up to three races per day are scheduled.
by Sean McNeill
Britons Greenhalgh, Goodison set to take on a slew of Aussies in Bermuda
A fleet of 52 sailors, including two of the top three finishers from last year’s regatta, are set to contest the second annual MS Amlin International Moth Regatta on Bermuda’s Great Sound. Hosted by the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, the $10,000 regatta begins Saturday, Dec 3, and runs through Friday, Dec 9.
Last year Rob Greenhalgh and Paul Goodison made British sailing proud when they finished first and third. Greenhalgh trailed by 1 point heading into the final day and then went out and won all three races in dominant fashion to stamp an 8-point victory. Goodison, a member of Artemis Racing for the America’s Cup, placed third.
At the 2016 Moth World Championship in Japan last May, however, it was Goodison, the 2008 Olympic Gold medalist in the Laser class, who turned the tables. Goodison won his first Moth World Championship with Greenhalgh third.
The two Moth diehards headline a world championship caliber field that also includes the 2011 and 2014 Moth World Champion Nathan Outteridge of Australia, the helmsman for Artemis Racing, as well as his longtime crew member and friend, Iain Jensen, the wing trimmer for Artemis Racing. Outteridge and Jensen won the 2012 Olympic Gold medal in the 49er Class.
“This regatta was a great success last year and we’re pleased to welcome MS Amlin back as title sponsor,” said regatta chairman Andy Cox. “We have a very competitive fleet this year and the racing should be very exciting. Besides the top guys, there are other good sailors in the fleet who could give them a run for their money.”
Included in the mix is a third Australian, Scott Babbage of SoftBank Team Japan. He didn’t race last year in Bermuda but he’s got Moth pedigree, having finished 2nd, 3rd or 4th in five of the past six world championship regattas. There’s also Simon Hiscocks and Ben Paton, both of the U.K. Hiscocks and Paton have valuable experience racing on Great Sound after placing fifth and sixth, respectively, at last year’s MS Amlin International Regatta. Paton also placed fifth at the 2016 Worlds.
“Being the second time racing in Bermuda we all have a bit more knowledge of the venue and how the wind works,” said Greenhalgh. “It should be easier, but the good guys are all going fast so we’ll just go out there and give it our best.”
The fleet also includes a pair of women sailors, Annalise Murphy of Ireland and Josie Gliddon of the U.K. Murphy won the Silver medal in the Laser Radial class at the Rio Olympics, following up a 4th place finish at the 2012 London Games. Gliddon is an experienced one-design sailor whose husband, Paul, is also entered.
Locals in the mix include Nathan Bailey, James Doughty, Richard Graham-Enoch, Josh Greenslade, Christian Luthi and Brett Wright.
A prize purse of $10,000 is up for grabs, with $5,000 earmarked for the winner. Up to three races per day are scheduled beginning Sunday, Dec 4. Wednesday, Dec 7, is a scheduled lay day but will be used as a race day if one of the previous days is lost due to weather. Racing concludes on Friday, Dec 9.
The MS Amlin Dash for Cash is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 3, at 1100 hours local time and will feature groups of Moth sailors racing in the confines of Hamilton Harbour in a shoot-out format. Races will be short, fast and furious. The winner of each group will advance to a final grouping, and the winner of that group will receive $500 and a bottle of Goslings Rum.
“The Dash for Cash was a great success in 2015 and we have last year’s winner Nathan Outteridge back to defend his title,” said Cox. “We encourage all locals to come down to the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club to view the racing right off the dock. The Moth is so fast that you have to see it to believe it.”
The Moth is an 11-foot hydrofoiling dinghy that is sailed by one person and is capable of sailing on hydrofoils in winds as light as 7 to 9 knots. The class allows for great latitude in development and attracts sailors who enjoy tinkering with their boats. It’s not uncommon for the top sailors to have different sails, rudders, daggerboard and t-foils optimized for light and strong conditions.
Racing last year on Great Sound saw a mix of conditions, from very light winds that cancelled a day of racing to gear-busting conditions that forced 20 boats to either retire or elect not to participate in Race 5. The Moth is a fragile boat so when the breeze is on a solid performance is about keeping the boat in one piece while flying around the racecourse.
The MS Amlin International Moth Regatta is sponsored by Amlin plc, a FTSE 250-listed independent global insurer and reinsurer with operations in the Lloyd’s, UK, continental European and Bermudian markets. Additional sponsors include the Bermuda Tourism Authority, Gosling’s, the Official Rum of the Regatta, and Kaenon Polarized.
MS Amlin International Moth Regatta Entrants: (subject to change)
•Scott Babbage (AUS/SoftBank Team Japan)
•Nathan Bailey (SCO/BER)
•Michael Barnes (GBR)
•Duncan Barr (GBR)
•Stuart Bithell (GBR)
•Andrew Budgen (GBR)
•Craig Burlton (GBR)
•John Clifton (GBR)
•James Doughty (BER)
•Rory Fitzpatrick (IRL)
•Dylan Fletcher-Scott (GBR)
•Giovanni Galeotti (BEL)
•Josie Gliddon (GBR)
•Paul Gliddon (GBR)
•Paul Goodison (GBR/Artemis Racing)
•Richard Graham-Enoch (BER)
•Hiroki Goto (JPN)
•Rob Greenhalgh (GBR)
•Josh Greenslade (BER)
•Chris Grube (GBR)
•Johnathan Heathcote (RSA)
•Simon Hiscocks (GBR)
•David Hivey (GBR)
•Stefan Jarudd (SWE)
•Chris Jeeves (GBR)
•Iain Jensen (AUS/Artemis Racing)
•David Kenefick (IRL)
•Alistair Kissane (IRL)
•Matthew Lea (GBR)
•Michael Lennon (GBR)
•Christian Luthi (BER)
•Max Maege (GER)
•Richard Mason (GBR)
•Steve McLean (GBR)
•James McMillan (GBR)
•Annalise Murphy (IRL)
•Nathan Outteridge (AUS/Artemis Racing)
•Ben Paton (GBR)
•Tim Penfold (GBR)
•Tom Powrie (NZL)
•Philippe Presti (FRA/Oracle Team USA)
•Hans Rasmussen (DEN)
•Stefano Rizzi (ITA)
•James Ross (GBR)
•James Sainsbury (GBR)
•Benn Smith (BER)
•Dave Smithwhite (GBR)
•Matthew Stark (GBR)
•Kyle Stoneham (GBR)
•Ian Southworth (GBR)
•Dan Ward (GBR)
•Brett Wright (BER)
Watch the preview video here:
by Sean McNeill
For his rivals it was an ominous warning. France’s Nico Parlier grabbed the inaugural Hydrofoil Pro Tour crown winning every race of the climactic final stop at Rockingham, Western Australia, despite conditions that ranged from light airs to ballistic breezes at the close.
The 21-year-old’s perfect performance, in the face of intense competition, even bettered his stellar record at the tour’s two earlier stops where he competed, and he is already looking forward to next year with relish.
“For sure it’s a great honour for me to win the first Hydrofoil Pro Tour,” he said. “During the whole year we saw that all the fastest riders were at the events. The Hydrofoil Pro Tour has been a really great series with great conditions. We’ve been to awesome venues specially-picked for the riders.”
Nico Parlier (FRA)
His delight was matched by his San Francisco training partner, the US’s Daniela Moroz, just 15, who never put a foot wrong. She, too, won every one of her 17 races in the women’s division, in the process pushing many of the leading men racing in the same spectacular 56-strong fleet and also securing the overall Pro Tour crown.
“I’m very happy to win the first Hydrofoil Pro Tour title,” said a beaming Moroz. “It’s so exciting and I’m sure it’s going to be a great step for the tour next year. Hopefully, we’ll get more girls on the start line racing at some of the best venues in the world.”
The final day of four at the stop hosted by The Cruising Yacht Club of WA delivered memorable conditions at the close as the fabled Fremantle Doctor breeze kicked in early and hit gusts of 31kts blowing over Rockingham bay’s flat waters.
Parlier at one point between races clocked his speed at 41kts while testing his pace and angles on his 9m Ozone R1V2 kite and Mike’s Lab foil, a measure of the perfect combination of wind and flat turquoise water Rockingham habitually serves up.
Olly Bridge (GBR)
But even with such scorching speed the Frenchman did not have it all his own way. Britain’s Olly Bridge, 19, who took the second podium place at the stop and overall, harried Parlier at every turn and again in the day’s four races thought he would finally get the better of him.
On the first 0.95 nautical miles upwind leg of the two-and-a-half lap course Bridge rounded the top mark in the lead in every race, only frustratingly to see the tables turned by the second leg’s leeward mark, and then have to watch helplessly as Parlier eased away.
Even an unusual crash by Parlier in the gusty conditions as he approached the final windward mark on the penultimate race failed to break the spell. Bridge, riding a Levitaz Bionic foil and 9m Ozone R1V2 kite, was too far behind, and Parlier gathered his board and still squeezed over the line comfortably ahead.
“It was really good racing today, though the last race was a bit crazy in the gusty winds,” said Bridge. “I was ahead in every race at the top mark, but going down wind Parlier was just locked in and gone. In the end I’m pretty happy with the second spot.”
Italian-Colombian Riccardo Leccese pushed the leading pair hard — so hard exploded spectacularly on one downwind leg — but recovered to finish and maintain his high-placed finishes to cement the tour stop’s third podium spot.
Leccese has been a fervent supporter of the tour, but suffered an injury at the San Francisco stop and withdrew, missing the Mauritius leg shortly after, despite a promising start in La Ventana, Mexico, at the beginning of the year.
Frenchwoman, Alexia Fancelli, brought her Pro Tour year to a close with a similarly successful outing, pushing up the order to take the women’s second podium spot, ahead of Russia’s Elena Kalinina. It was an order that was reversed in the year’s overall rankings.
For the the home-grown racers who made the tour’s final stop possible, their chance to share in the glory came with the awarding of the prizes for the Australian Kitefoil Nationals, a division of the Pro Tour aggregating their results from the event’s four days.
source: Hydrofoil Pro Tour Media
Overall standings after 17 races (3 discards) Rockingham:
1 Nico Parlier (FRA) — 14pts
2 Oliver Bridge (GBR) — 28pts
3 Ricci Leccese (ITA) — 47pts
4 Florian Trittel (ESP) — 57pts
5 Florian Gruber (GER) — 75pts
6 Nico Landauer (URG) — 93pts
7 Guy Bridge (GBR) — 97pts
8 Martin Dolenc (CRO) — 102pts
9 Matt Taggart (NZL) — 111pts
10 Adrian Geislinger (AUT) — 132pts
1 Daniela Moroz (USA) — 14pts
2 Alexia Fancelli (FRA) — 36pts
3 Elena Kalinina (RUS) — 37pts
4 Steph Bridge (GBR)— 41pts
5 Gina Hewson (AUS) — 61pts
6 Natalie Flintrop-Clark—85pts
Hydrofoil Pro Tour Overall Winners:
1 Nico Parlier (FRA) — 3pts
2 Olly Bridge (GBR) — 10pts
3 Nico Landauer (URG) — 14pts
1 Daniela Moroz (USA) — 54pts
2 Elena Kalinina (RUS) —71pts
3 Alexia Fancelli (FRA) —81pts
More Images available @ Facebook Photos Day 4
Event Results: http://hydrofoilprotour.info/results/rockingham/
For further information contact Media Team: email@example.com
Web News: http://hydrofoilprotour.info/tour-news/
Team Ceeref wins Championship by a point
Again a RC44 season has concluded with impossibly close results: Chris Bake’s Team Aqua won the RC44 Valletta Cup by a point from Igor Lah’s Team Ceeref, but with a two point advantage going into this final event, Team Ceeref claimed the overall RC44 Fleet Racing Championship title for 2016 by a point from Team Aqua.
The final day of the RC44 Valletta Cup brought sun, but the wind off Malta never filled in sufficiently to allow the final races to be sailed, despite the 10 boat fleet venturing out on to the water. As a result Saturday’s positions stand.
“This is a great event,” said the RC44 Valletta Cup’s victor, Chris Bake. “Conditions were tough, but we did really well and Friday obviously was a huge day.” On day two of fleet racing, Team Aqua won three out of three races. “Yesterday was challenging and today unfortunately there was no wind,” he continued.
Team Aqua – photo c Martinez Studio
Team Aqua tactician, New Zealander Cameron Appleton added: “We started strong and finished strong. We had to come here and win this to have a chance and hope that Ceeref – maybe – made some mistakes. But they didn’t.”
Being the longest-standing teams in the RC44 class, it is appropriate that Team Aqua and Team Ceeref should dominate the fleet racing in this 10th anniversary season for the Russell Coutts one designs. As Team Nika managed in 2015, so this year Team Ceeref scored the coveted ‘double’: Victory in the season’s championship as well as the World Championship, this year held in Sotogrande, Spain.
On the dockside, Team Ceeref’s Igor Lah was encouraged to take a victor’s plunge into the water of the Excelsior Marina by his competitor Chris Bake. Of his reaction to winning, Lah said: “Wet! It was a fantastic season and all the other teams are also really great. It was hard, but our team work was excellent. All the guys were brilliant – they did their jobs and this is the result. We didn’t expect it – our goal was only the Worlds, so this is the cream on the cake.”
Team Ceeref – photo c Martinez Studio
Of Team Ceeref’s strengths, tactician Adrian Stead observed: “This is Igor’s tenth season in the RC44 class and he knows the boat really well. He steers the boat very well. This week has been painful for him in the waves, because he has a knee operation in two weeks, but he has coped really well with it.
“The boat is going really well with Jon Gundersen and Dirk de Ridder on the speed side and our coaching has been excellent. We feel like we are getting the best out of the boat. We are not the team with the biggest budget, but we make sure we spend it wisely.”
Relative newcomer Alexander Novoselov finished third in the RC44 Valletta Cup on his Katusha with American Andy Horton calling tactics. “I am very happy with the result,” said Novoselov. “We have been fighting well and working hard. We were very close to the leaders.”
However this was not enough to get Katusha on to the 2016 championship podium. This was taken by Torbjörn Törnqvist’s Artemis Racing, which also claimed the 2016 RC44 Match Racing Championship title earlier in the week.
Torbjörn Törnqvist commented: “We performed when it mattered, which was good to see and we’ve definitely made a step forward from the previous season. It’s always sad when the season comes to an end, but I’m looking forward to the event in Marstrand next year.” Sadly the Russian teams, Vladimir Liubomirov’s Bronenosec Sailing Team and Vladimir Prosikhin’s Team Nika didn’t manage to repeat the impressive consistency they demonstrated in 2015, when they won the RC44 Match Racing and Fleet Racing titles respectively, although Team Nika claimed this season’s RC44 Portsmouth Cup.
This was also true of John Bassadone’s usually impeccable Peninsula Petroleum, which only reached the podium once this year, finishing second at their home regatta in Sotogrande.
Just four points separated the fourth to seven placed boats at the final season’s tally, demonstrating how close the racing was even in the mid-fleet and how vital it was to achieve a good result here in Malta.
Nico Poons’ Charisma was unable to repeat its success from last season here in Malta, while Hugues Lepic’s Aleph Racing, showed better consistency and finished within 10 points of fifth place.
At to the end of the RC44’s 10th anniversary year, Chris Bake observed: “The boats and the way we are sailing is nothing like 10 years ago. We have all stepped up our programs hugely. The skill level on board all the boats is huge and if you look at the points separations, both in the match racing and the fleet racing, it is a very competitive environment. That said, it comes down to the team, the set-up and consistency. Not all the owners have huge experience, but with the right boat and the right set-up you can really have a lot of fun.”
RC44 Valletta Cup – Fleet Racing Results
1 Team Aqua – 35pts
2 Team Ceeref – 36pts
3 Katusha – 38pts
4 Artemis Racing – 43pts
5 Bronenosec Sailing Team – 51pts
6 Artemis Racing Youth – 55pts
7 Perninsula Petroleum – 57pts
8 Team Nika – 58pts
9 Charisma – 60pts
9 Aleph Racing – 63pts
RC44 Fleet Racing Championship Results (5 regattas – 1 discard)
1 Team Ceeref – 9pts
2 Team Aqua – 10pts
3 Artemis Racing – 14pts
4 Katusha – 17pts
5 Bronenosec Sailing Team – 18pts
6 Peninsula Petroleum – 19pts
7 Team Nika – 20pts
8 Artemis Racing Youth – 28pts
9 Charisma – 34pts
10 Aleph Racing – 38pts
11 Black Water – 40pts
In its tensest conclusion ever, the RC44 Match Racing Championship today came down to the very last race of the very last flight, victory ultimately falling the way of Torbjörn Törnqvist’s Artemis Racing.
Match racing at the RC44 Valletta Cup took place in a 10-14 knot southeasterly in the magnificent setting of the Maltese capital’s Grand Harbour, surrounded by the ancient fortified city’s towering ramparts.
All RC44 events begin with a day of match racing, points from which are accumulated across the season. Going into this final match racing day of 2016, it also couldn’t have been tighter on points, with Vladimir Prosikhin’s Team Nika tied in the lead with Artemis Racing.
Bronenosec Sailing Team, Team Ceeref and Team Aqua were all tied, three points behind the frontrunners.
Team Nika, the 2015 RC44 World Champion and Fleet Racing Champion, got off to a strong start today dispatching Aleph Racing and Katusha, before picking up an easy win against Team Ceeref which suffered a terminal spinnaker halyard tangle while rounding the leeward gate. However the Russian team’s winning streak came to an end when it lost its flight four match against Chris Bake’s Team Aqua.
Meanwhile after being on a bye for race one, Artemis Racing dispatched Bronenosec Sailing Team, Peninsula Petroleum and Charisima. Going into the final match race of the season, this left the Swedes tied with Team Nika. The final race would decide the 2016 Championship.
In this Artemis Racing led off the start line, maintained her advantage through a tacking duel up the first beat and rounded the top mark ahead, before a spinnaker sheet issue on the downwind allowed Team Nika to gain the upper hand.
Artemis Racing helmsman, Francesco Bruni explained: “We had a problem with the old spinnaker sheet having a knot in it. Then we overcomplicated things at the gate and made a bad drop, so we were a little bit on the back foot.”
The two boats split at the gate and Artemis Racing picked up a favourable shift that had brought them back into the game by the next cross. Here the experience of the Swedish crew paid, as Team Nika tactician Ed Baird explained:
“We went to lee bow them and it was a little slow. They did a nice job of keeping their speed and then ducked us at the last moment to become the leeward boat. Under the new rules we had to tack away and that put them into the lead again.”
From there Artemis Racing defended well to finish narrowly ahead of Team Nika and to claim the 2016 RC44 Match Racing Championship title. Bruni commented:
“It was great to have such a close match with Team Nika in the last race. It was really intense, like how match racing should be: Very close, lead changes all the time, really good fun. Vladimir and the Team Nika crew did a really good job. They sailed well until the end.”
Having hoped to follow up his success in 2015 with the Match Racing Championship title this year, Team Nika’s owner Vladimir Proshikin came ashore not in the best of spirits.
“I am so depressed, feeling pain,” he admitted. “We made one quite basic mistake when we were ahead. I had to tack lee bow and I didn’t. It was stupid and it could have changed the outcome. It was one mistake and he [Bruni] didn’t allow me to make any mistakes.” He added: “Had I not wanted to win so badly, I would have had a lot of fun…”
With Team Nika second overall, an outstanding day for Team Aqua – joint top scorer today with Artemis Racing – allowed Chris Bake’s team to claim the third spot on the 2016 RC44 Match Racing Championship podium.
With the wind blowing more across Grand Harbour than down it, the start box was shallow and required teams to reappraise their pre-start manoeuvres, perhaps benefitting the more experienced crews. As Cameron Appleton, who helmed Team Aqua today observed:
“There was a lot more reverse circling and picking your time and a lot more shut outs at the committee boat just due to the limited space. So it was a whole different pre-start mind-set and strategy, but we always had a good game plan and were able to execute.”
Today was not only the last day of match racing in the 2016 for the RC44s. Going forward the decision has been made to change to an entirely fleet racing regatta format from next season on.
RC44 Valletta Cup – Match Race Results:
Artemis Racing 4-0
Team Aqua 4-0
Team Nika 3-2
Bronenosec Sailing Team 3-2
Artemis Racing Youth 2-2
Team Ceeref 2-2
Peninsula Petroleum 2-3
Aleph Racing 0-5
photo © Sam Kurtul
Land Rover BAR – the British challenge headed by Olympic legend Ben Ainslie – has won the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series with a first place finish at the ultimate event in Japan this weekend.
Ainslie’s team sailed extremely well to secure the overall title with a race to spare. With the overall series win, Land Rover BAR earns two bonus points for the next stage of the America’s Cup (see below).
Oracle Team USA and skipper Jimmy Spithill pushed hard, finishing ahead of BAR in the first race of the day, but Ainslie was able to sail with controlled aggression to a 4, 2, 3 scoreline, and into the overall series win.
“This has been a goal for us for the whole season and for this event. The guys have done an incredible job,” Ainslie said from the water following the second race of the day.
“For us as a new team it sends out a strong message for all our supporters that we can do it.”
For the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Fukuoka, it came down to a tie-break with Land Rover BAR clawing into a tie with Artemis Racing in the final contest, and taking the regatta by virtue of a better result in the last race.
But with attention shifting to Bermuda and the America’s Cup racing next year, the focus was on the overall title and bonus points it confers.
By taking first place on the overall Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series leaderboard, Land Rover BAR has collected two bonus points to carry forward into next year’s Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers in Bermuda.
With a second place finish on the overall leaderboard, Oracle Team USA secured one bonus point for the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers next year.
photo © Carlo Borlenghi © http://www.carloborlenghi.com
Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Worlds Series Fukuoka Results:
Land Rover BAR, 75 points
Artemis Racing, 75 points
Oracle Team USA, 70 points
Emirates Team New Zealand, 65 points
SoftBank Team Japan, 61 points
Groupama Team France, 59 points
Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Overall:
1. Land Rover BAR — 512pts
2. Oracle Team USA — 493pts
3. Emirates Team New Zealand — 485pts
4. Artemis Racing — 466pts
5. SoftBank Team Japan — 460pts
6. Groupama Team France — 419pts
Super Sunday will be the decider in Fukuoka
Hakata Bay in Fukuoka was the scene for the historic first ever day of America’s Cup racing in Japan and it was Land Rover BAR who finished day one of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Fukuoka racing on top, adding one more point to their overall Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series lead.
The event village was full of Japanese fans and despite a light wind the six America’s Cup teams put on a show of America’s Cup racing for the first time ever in Japan, and with a win for SoftBank Team Japan among the day’s highlights, it could not have been a better start to America’s Cup action in Japan.
In race one the start was tightly contested but it was series leaders Land Rover BAR who were quickly into the lead. Groupama Team France crossed the line early, leaving them with a startline penalty and putting them back into sixth, but as the boats headed to gate two it was the British team who were stamping their authority on the pack with only Emirates Team New Zealand giving close chase.
The fight at the front grew closer as the boats headed to mark three, Emirates Team New Zealand closed the gap to Land Rover BAR and then edged ahead as they set off on leg four. That lead was short lived, however, as an unexplained and somewhat dramatic move by the Kiwis halfway down leg four gave the advantage to Land Rover BAR, leaving the New Zealanders in second, Artemis Racing in third, Groupama Team France fourth, having clawed their way back after their startline penalty, and Oracle Team USA and home favourites SoftBank Team Japan in fifth and sixth respectively.
In the end, even a late penalty on leg six could not slow up the British team too much, and they duly won the first race of the day ahead of Emirates Team New Zealand, Artemis Racing, Oracle Team USA, SoftBank Team Japan and Groupama Team France in that order.
Saturday’s second race saw SoftBank Team Japan take the early advantage, streaking into a lead with the boat up on its foils as they headed Oracle Team USA and the rest of the pack to gate two. This time, Land Rover BAR were at the back of the pack, perfectly demonstrating the sheer unpredictability of America’s Cup racing in its modern guise.
Another penalty for Groupama Team France pushed them back behind the British team, but at the front of the pack Oracle Team USA had a brief glimpse of the lead at gate 3 before SoftBank Team Japan regained their advantage as they foiled down leg four. From that point they never looked like losing and as the hometown favourites crossed the line in first place the cheers from the crowd could be heard in Tokyo!
Oracle Team USA finished race two in second, Land Rover BAR, having staged a mighty comeback, were third, Artemis Racing were third and Emirates Team New Zealand and Groupama Team France again brought up the rear.
The final race of the day was race three and even though SoftBank Team Japan had a good start it was Oracle Team USA who rounded the first mark in the lead. Behind them the Japanese and British teams were fighting for second and third and it was Ben Ainslie’s team who took the advantage, moving ahead of Dean Barker’s SoftBank Team Japan crew in third, but only for a short time as the Japanese team pushed themselves back into second on the fourth leg. Halfway towards mark four Land Rover BAR moved back ahead of SoftBank Team Japan who had a halyard failure slow them down and from that point the battle for second place was where the real action took place.
Emirates Team New Zealand had moved up and suddenly Groupama Team France were also in the mix with the Kiwis and the Brits, the race towards second place at the line seeing the advantage change constantly, but in the last race of Saturday it was Oracle Team USA who were celebrating, Land Rover BAR in second, Emirates Team New Zealand in third, Groupama Team France in fourth and Artemis Racing just nudging ahead of SoftBank Team Japan in a photo finish at the finish line in a drag race on the foils for fifth.
The results mean Land Rover BAR heads Oracle Team USA on both the Fukuoka and overall Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series leaderboards.
With bonus points for next year’s Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers in play for the top two finishers in the overall series, it’s still all to play for with four teams in with a shot at earning a head start in Bermuda.
Selected team quotes:
Kazuhiro “Fuku” Sofuku, Bowman and General Manager, SoftBank Team Japan: ““It was amazing this morning to walk through the streets and see so many people coming down to watch the event. It was great! It’s such a good opportunity for us to introduce the Japanese people to great sport and also to show people all around the world how beautiful our country is. We had mixed results today but we will work harder tomorrow and with the great support we have here I’m sure it will be a great day.”
Giles Scott, Tactician, Land Rover BAR: “We’re in a really great place. I think we’ve put one point on Oracle Team USA today, we’ve held the lead we came into this regatta with, but it’s double points tomorrow so I don’t think we can rest on our laurels. The way I look at it, you ask any of these guys where they want to be coming into the final regatta, they’d be lying if they said they didn’t want to be in the lead. We’re certainly no different, we’re happy with our lead and I think we’d take that pressure any day.
Jimmy Spithill, Skipper, Oracle Team USA: “I thought we sailed pretty well today. We were on the back foot in the first race, but the boys rallied and you have to be able to come back from those tough situations and we did a good job of that today. I think we have to come out tomorrow and go as hard as we can. It’s so difficult to push one boat back but if there are any opportunities we’ll take them. We’re fighting for the win. We’re not shooting for second place. At the end of the day all we have to focus on tomorrow is winning races.”
Franck Cammas, Skipper, Groupama Team France: “Throughout the day the wind was increasing and in the last race that meant we were able to foil and that was good for the show and for our team as the rest of the day was not really like that. In race three we had improved but we lost places at the last mark. We know the mistake we made but otherwise we were in the game in the middle of the fleet in the final race, the boat speed was good down wind, but there were too many mistakes and we have to avoid that tomorrow.”
Peter Burling, Helmsman, Emirates Team New Zealand: “It was a really tough day. It’s been a while since we sailed in those kind of conditions, I think the last time was Chicago, and to finally get the boats foiling, that’s what they’re designed for and it’s good that the crowd got to see that sort of spectacle. For us, we had a fair bit of rust on, as I say, we hadn’t sailed the boats in those sorts of conditions since Chicago, so there was a fair bit to chip away on and I think that’s why we were sailing better in the last race.”
Nathan Outteridge, Skipper, Artemis Racing: “It wasn’t the greatest of days for us and it progressively got worse I guess, looking at the points, but today was probably about as hard as these boats are to sail. We were pretty happy with our first two races, it was a bit disappointing to lose Ben right at the final mark, and in that last one we probably just pushed a bit too hard at the start, a bit too aggressive trying to get round that first mark in the first two, and got a bunch of penalties because of that. However, we fought hard to get back into it and beat SoftBank Team Japan right there at the end, and got that final point and that point will probably mean a lot tomorrow.
Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Fukuoka Leaderboard
(Team Name — Finish Position — Points)
Land Rover BAR — 1, 3, 2 — 27 points
Oracle Team USA — 4, 2, 1 — 26
Emirates Team New Zealand — 2, 5, 3 — 23
Artemis Racing — 3, 4, 5 — 21
SoftBank Team Japan — 5, 2, 6 — 21
Groupama Team France — 6, 6, 4 — 17
Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Overall Leaderboard
Land Rover BAR — 464 points
Oracle Team USA — 449
Emirates Team New Zealand — 443
SoftBank Team Japan — 420
Artemis Racing — 412
Groupama Team France — 377
The stage is set for the final weekend of racing in the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series.
The ultimate event is taking place in Fukuoka, Japan this weekend, the first America’s Cup racing in Asia, and showcase event for SoftBank Team Japan, the first Japanese Cup challenger in 15 years.
Land Rover BAR has a 14 point lead over Oracle Team USA going into the final races in the two-year series.
But with 90 points on offer over the six races scheduled on Saturday and Sunday, the fight for the title is still open.
“It is very close in terms of the overall points. We have a bit of a gap to the other two boats, but in reality we’re going to have to sail really well this weekend if we want to end up on top in the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series,” said Ben Ainslie. “We have to do the absolute best we can.”
While second placed Oracle Team USA has their sights set on the top of the leaderboard, the team could be forgiven for looking over its shoulder at Emirates Team New Zealand, who are just three points back. But skipper Jimmy Spithill says the focus is on taking a win.
“We never think about looking after second place,” Spithill said. “We are here for the win. No question, it’s Ben’s to lose but stranger things have happened. We’ll be giving everything we can to try and reach the top.”
The spotlight this weekend won’t only be on the leaderboard. For SoftBank Team Japan, this weekend marks an opportunity to bring America’s Cup racing to Asia and Japan for the very first time.
SoftBank Team Japan sailor and general manager Kazuhiko Sofuku sailed with previous Japanese challenges, but this is the first time he’s been able to race in his homeland.
“I’m very excited to be here and already I feel like this is going to be a really big event,” he says. “There is so much enthusiasm from the media and the fans and I know ticket sales have gone very well. I am looking forward to seeing everybody who is going to come out to see us this weekend.
“For us as a team this could be the perfect way to keep building up our performance. We were third in Chicago and Portsmouth, then second in Toulon and we keep improving so as long as we do that the results will follow.”
On Friday, the teams took to the water for Official Practice racing, with SoftBank Team Japan taking a popular first race win.
Four races were completed in light to moderate conditions. The final race of the day was the designated substitute race, which may be scored over the weekend should conditions not be suitable for racing. Series leader Land Rover BAR took the win, with Oracle Team USA in second place.
Six races are scheduled over the next two days – three on Saturday, and three more worth double points on Super Sunday.
Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series – Overall Leaderboard
Land Rover BAR — 437
Oracle Team USA — 423
Emirates Team New Zealand — 420
SoftBank Team Japan — 399
Artemis Racing — 391
Groupama Team France — 360