Oman Air-Musandam takes just under 3 days to win first leg – photo c Mark Lloyd
Route des Princes Leg 1 Valencia to Lisbon
Oman Air-Musandam took 2d 23h 41mn 38secs for the 794 miles first leg which started from Valencia, Spain last Sunday afternoon.
With most of the course being upwind the winners sailed at an average of 11.08kts for the theoretical course but actually sailed 1024 miles on the water, so making a real average of 14.28kts.
Since the six man international crew established a small lead at the only turning mark of the course off Benicarlo, just to the north of Valencia, just before 8pm on Sunday evening, Oman Air-Musandam have been the most regular leaders of the race.
Over yesterday evening and this morning Gavignet’s crew had seen their steady margin of 20 miles shrink until their nearest rivals, Spindrift (Yann Guichard), passed them temporarily this morning. But Oman Air-Musandam found a new, favourable breeze to the west and were able to extend away from Spindrift, the team which won the MOD70′ class 2012 championship last year.
Oman Air-Musandam collect the maximum possible points for the stage, 40 pts for winning the leg as well as all the available bonus points, 2pts for leading at Benicarlo and 2pts for leading out of the Mediterranean at Gibraltar yesterday morning.
The Route des Princes course takes the fleet of grand prix multihulls from Valencia to Morlaix in France stopping in Lisbon, Dun Laoghaire-Dublin and Plymouth, finishing on 30th June in France.
Sidney Gavignet (FRA): “We are happy, we did some good work and made only a couple of small mistakes but it is a good feeling. This just means we are working well together as a team. Last night it was a bit difficult. We had Spindrift and Prince de Bretagne inside us on the coast and they were catching, catching and the wind shift we were looking for was not coming, so that was tricky.”
Neal McDonald (GBR): “It is good. I think the two days of inshore racing in Valencia did not really reflect our level and maybe this proves we are capable. It is a reward for all the hard work that we all put in before, it has paid off a dividend now.”
“Last night was a bit tense. There was no half measures when they were ten or 15 miles behind us because it would not have made sense to go back and try and cover them and you can’t see them so we had to do something different. We were pretty confident in our option.”
MOD70 rankings after Valencia Inshore and Leg 1
1: Oman Air – Musandam (48 pts)
2: Spindrift (44 pts)
3: Edmond de Rothschild (42 pts)
4: Virbac-Paprec 70 (34 pts)
Ultime rankings after Valencia Inshore and Leg 1
1: Maxi 80 Prince de Bretagne (44 pts)
Multi 50 rankings after Valencia Inshore and Leg 1
1: Arkema – Région Aquitaine (42 pts)
2: Actual (36 pts)
3: FenêtréA-Cardinal (32)
4: Rennes Métropole – Saint-Malo Agglomération (28)
By Route des Princes
Photo © Marcel Mochet / Route des Princes
Leg 1 – Route des Princes – Valencia to Lisbon
Before he left Valencia on Sunday for the first leg of the Route des Princes Oman Air – Musandam’s skipper Sidney Gavignet spoke quietly of a ‘rich get richer’ scenario developing where the leading MOD70 might continue to reap a dividend by leading down the course and out of the Mediterranean on Leg 1, the 800 miles passage to Lisbon, Portugal.
With twenty four hours elapsed it is Gavignet’s team which has prospered almost since they rounded the Benicarlo mark north of Valencia on Sunday evening, six hours after the start.
But for a minor blip, as they passed Cabo de Nao early this morning when Sébastien Josse and Edmond de Rothschild managed to squeeze ahead, sailing closer to the coast, the Oman Sail MOD70 team which has Briton Neal McDonald as navigator has managed to steadily increase their lead.
On the mid afternoon rankings, as the leaders passed some 43 miles SW of Cartagena, Oman Air – Musandam had managed to eke out a lead of nearly 29 miles ahead of Yann Guichard’s Spindrift, the MultiOne champions which has Pascal Bidégorry as navigator. In turn Spindrift were five miles up on Jean-Pierre Dick’s Virbac-Paprec 70.
After a tough, sometimes frustrating first night at sea for the MOD70’s, during which they all slowed to a crawl at one time or another, speeds have been more meaningful through the afternoon as they headed towards the Alboran Sea and beyond that the Strait of Gibraltar. They might well enjoy the best of the breeze now for the outlook for the narrow bottleneck stretch between Europe and Africa looks set to offer only very, very light winds.
According to the most recent weather files it will be continuous light headwinds until the fleet managed to escape into the Bay of Cadiz and beyond. Increasingly it looks like whichever team can break into the N’ly winds at the Portuguese coast should have a clear advantage to the finish.
Spindrift’s skipper Yann Guichard was reckoning on one and a half days to Gibraltar when he spoke on this morning’s live radio link up with Race HQ.
“We are now in a SW’ly air stream, so we’re prepared.” Guichard reported, “That means tacking upwind. We’re going to have to look for local effects. We know that there is less wind close to shore. You have to find the right balance. This is all about speed, but at sea it is not easy maintaining a stable speed.”
Oman Air–Musandam were holding firm to their offshore position and appeared to have had some of their lead eroded in the late afternoon by Spindrift as the two groups split more.
Meanwhile Jean-Pierre Dick’s Virbac-Paprec 70 continue to be a threat despite this being his team’s first long offshore race in the class.
In the Multi50 Class, where progress towards the Strait is no doubt helping mark the way for the chasing MOD70’s, the two leading boats were less than one mile apart with Yves Le Blevec and his crew just keeping their advantage with about 140 miles still to make Gibraltar, Oman Air – Musandam about 40 miles astern of them.
MOD70 Rankings at 1700hrs CET
1. Oman Air – Musandam, Sidney Gavignet, 480.38 miles to finish
2. Spindrift, Yann Guichard, +9.73 miles
3. Virbac – Paprec 70,Jean-Pierre Dick, +37.75 miles
4. Edmond de Rothschild, Sébastien Josse, +40.35 miles
Multi 50 Rankings at 1700hrs CET
1. Actual, Yves Le Blevec, 448.46 to finish
2. Arkéma – Region Aquitaine, Lalou Roucayrol, +0.77 miles
3. FenêtréA – Cardinal, Erwan Le Roux, +4.15 miles
Ultime Rankings at 1700hrs CET
1. Maxi 80 Prince de Bretagne, Lionel Lemonchois, 524.57 to finish
By Route des Princes, www.routedesprinces.com
Route des Princes – Leg 1 start
Though the first offshore leg for the Route des Princes multihull race around Europe is set to cover some 800 miles from Valencia to Lisbon – Portugal, the stage winner might well be decided before the fleet even leaves the Mediterranean.
With up to four successive transition zones predicted, the consensus among the skippers of the four MOD70’s prior to docking out from Valencia’s America’s Cup marina, the Marina Real Juan Carlos, was that this opening leg could well be decided in the Alboran Sea. Whichever crew then manages to escape to Gibraltar and beyond into the Atlantic could earn the biggest rewards.
From a spectacular start Sunday afternoon in 18-20kts of SW’ly wind, watched by thousands on the Malvarossa beach, it was Sidney Gavignet’s team on Oman Air – Musandam who built a significant margin around the six-mile circuit before leading away on the leg up to Benicarló with Edmond de Rothschild chasing in second.
In view of the forecast for a diminishing breeze the course for the Multi50’s has been reduced, missing out the short hook 60 miles NE to a turning buoy off Benicarló. This short first step to a laid buoy which was due to be set just 500 metres off the entrance to the port, amidst a messy area of confused light winds, may well prove to be the first chance for big gains and losses. Thereafter each of the capes on the descent of the Spanish coastline, De Le Nau, Palos and finally Gata can offer a new wind strength and direction. Strategic options are likely to be limited with most staying close to the coast looking for any advantage from thermal sea breeze activity by day.
For the MOD70’s there are two marks where one bonus point (effectively 2 as the offshore points count double the four first offshore legs) is awarded – at Benicarló and Gibraltar. The common cliché is that every point is vital, but many MOD70 crews still have fresh memories of the finale of last year’s European Tour, that Foncia won by only two points.
The vagaries of racing in the Mediterranean are legendary.”In the Mediterranean there is no strategy, you look at what is there and go straight!” reminds Charles Caudrelier, navigator on inshore series winner Edmond de Rothschild, who won the European tour navigating on Foncia. “Complicated is normal for the Mediterranean,” Adds Sidney Gavignet, skipper of Oman-Air Musandam.
The first to emerge from Benicarló should gain, extending into better breeze but then a compression is expected later on Monday. With the winds set to drop after the brisk, adrenalin fuelled start, particularly in the Alboran Sea progress is likely to be slow and patience and concentration will be vital attributes. Almost all of the first leg is set to be upwind with the breeze from Cabo de Gata to Gibraltar likely to be less than eight knots for much of the time. And, as the present forecasts stand, after Cape Saint Vincent at the SW corner of Portugal, the climb to Lisbon should be yet more upwind work but relatively straightforward. Only the finish into Lisbon’s Tagus River might offer a final slowdown.
The leg is expected to take between three and a half and four days, perhaps finishing between late on the night of Wednesday and into Thursday.
The MOD70 class established a reputation for very close racing during last season. But this opening leg, with a series of extension, compression, extension might not be the same.
Offshore and ocean racing talent is spread evenly through a star studded MOD70 fleet. Skipper of last year’s Multi One Champions Spindrift Yann Guichard was not shy about describing Edmond de Rothschild as ‘favourites’ when he arrived in Valencia hot foot from Geneva where he was racing the D35 Ladycat. Sébastien Josse’s Edmond de Rothschild team, who won the inshore series in Valencia have added to their team, including Volvo Ocean race winner Caudrelier as navigator this season. Jean-Pierre Dick has both Route du Rhum winner Roland Jourdain and Vendée Globe champion Vincent Riou on board Virbac-Paprec 70, whilst navigator Neal McDonald, Damian Foxall and skipper Sidney Gavignet on Oman Air –Musandam have between them completed 17 racing laps of the planet.
By Route des Princes, www.routedesprinces.com
All photos © Mark Lloyd / www.lloydimages.com
Route des Princes inshore races in Valencia
The Route des Princes has kicked off on a high for Gitana Team. Tied on points at the top of the leaderboard last night after the first three Valencia inshore races, the trimaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild dominated play to take a comfortable win ahead of its rivals. Winners of all three races contested this Saturday, Sébastien Josse and his seven crew ruled supreme to treat Edmond de Rothschild to the first victory in this European Tour for multihulls. However, the men of Gitana XV will only have a short amount of time to savour this first place because tomorrow they’ll be switching exercise and atmosphere with the start of the first of the event’s offshore legs; an 800-mile race from Spain to Portugal, the finish of which has an ETA in Lisbon of 12 June onwards.
For the second day of inshore racing in Valencia, the weather conditions were totally different. Indeed the cloudy, stormy skies of yesterday gave way to glorious sunshine and a fine westerly breeze of 15 to 25 knots. It proved to be a winning scenario for the crew of Edmond de Rothschild, who were especially inspired and at ease in this steadier breeze. With three victories in as many races, Sébastien Josse and his men ruled supreme, putting up a truly faultless performance:
“The wind conditions we were racing in seemed easier to me, as you immediately feel the force of them on the boat. The crew were up for it and everyone knew exactly what they had to do, with Sébastien Col calling tactics, Charles Caudrelier doing the nav and the trimmers sparing no effort. My seven crew did a fantastic job,” admitted the skipper of Gitana XV before going on to discuss their victory:
“We’re really very happy as this result means that the hard work has paid off. We’re spending a lot of time on the water, but when you’re in the learning phase, as is the case for me on the multihull, it can be difficult to get feedback on how you’re doing sometimes. To win this first inshore race has lifted the whole team’s spirits and even though we’re going to have to follow through on this performance for the rest of the event, we’re going to take the time to savour our first place.”
With this Spanish victory, the men of Gitana Team have proved that they are going to be a force to be reckoned with throughout the three weeks of competition that lie ahead. In tonight’s final ranking, after six races, they have outdone Spindrift Racing and Virbac Paprec. In this way, Edmond de Rothschild has been awarded 10 points, whilst second and third place pocket 8 and 6 points respectively: “The points we scored today are obviously important, but you do have to bear in mind the fact that the points for the inshore races for the whole event amount to 40 points out of the total of 190 overall in the Route des Princes, that means the inshores are worth 21% of the points”, Sébastien Josse reminds us.
Tomorrow the Route des Princes fleet will leave Valencia and its Hispanic shores on the first offshore leg bound for Lisbon. This 800-mile course will kick-start this European tour, linking the Mediterranean to the Atlantic coast of Portugal. With a little less than 24 hours from the start, Charles Caudrelier, navigator on Edmond de Rothschild, describes the physiognomy of this first leg: “We’re only certain of one thing right now, we’ll have to contend with headwinds! With regard the strength of the wind, that will depend a bit on timing.
For now, we’re going to have to climb around 60 miles North of Valencia to hunt down a mark off the city of Benicarlo. As there’s very little wind to the North, followed by little air 50 miles to the South of Valencia that night, that section could be very slow. The later we are reaching the weather systems to drop southwards, the lighter the wind will be. It’s pretty tough to come up with any kind of clear plan this evening, as Race Management hasn’t yet made a definitive decision about the course, though this return leg will have an influence on the next stage.
For the time being, we’re watching a westerly breeze, which appears to have settled to the South of Valencia and if we manage to hook onto that before it fades away, we could make headway towards Gibraltar. After this passage, once we’re through into the Atlantic, we should be able to link onto an upwind section again, with a ridge of high pressure to be negotiated. This race promises to be strategically complicated. For now, the routing software is pretty varied and our arrival in Lisbon could be played out this coming Wednesday or Thursday.”
Ranking for the Valencia Inshores
1. Edmond de Rothschild (Sébastien Josse) – 10 points
2. Spindrift Racing (Xavier Revil) – 8 points
3. Virbac Paprec 70 (Jean-Pierre Dick) – 6 points
4. Musandam – Oman Air (Sidney Gavignet) – 4 points
By Route des Princes, www.routedesprinces.com
Photos © Marcel Mochet / Route des Princes
Routes des Princes Valencia In-Port Races
After the first three inshore races for the MOD70 class on the Route des Princes off Valencia, Spindrift have the narrowest possible lead, only topping the first day’s ranking by virtue of a tie break with Edmond de Rothschild.
With three different race winners and each of the teams at least leading at least once through the afternoon of racing, it is clear that there will be no foregone conclusions over the six race inshore regattas which take place at each venue, Valencia, Lisbon, Dun Laoghaire-Dublin and Plymouth. Overall the inshore series account for around 25% of the available race points.
Xavier Revil is deputising for skipper Yann Guichard on the helm of Spindrift and the black and white MOD70 won the first race, was third in the second contest after having to take a penalty for jumping the start gun, and then finished second in the third race behind class debutants Virbac Paprec who won a race on their first day up against a full MOD70 class.
After his first ever day steering on the short, inshore race course, Revil was pleased to come away with a share of the lead: “With Yann not here there is a little pressure on me on me to manage the boat properly. This is the very first time I have done it on a small course like this and so I am quite pleased. It is really close with all the teams. It is certainly nice to finish the first day leading.”
In the 12-15kts of breeze Sébastien Josse’s crew on Edmond de Rothschild were probably the more consistent team round the race course, making fewer errors. After finishing a close second behind Spindrift in the first race, they were well positioned to steal the lead close to the finish when Sidney Gavignet’s crew on Oman Air-Musandam, long time race leaders, made a mistake as they closed the line. Josse’s crew also finished the day on the same points tally, 24.
As the fleet newcomers, Jean-Pierre Dick’s Virbac Paprec did have their own small problems around the race course from time to time, but they were pleased to make an excellent start to the final race of the day, able to hold on to a good lead to the finish.
The Multi50s completed two races with the first won by the crew of FenêtréA-Cardinal led by Erwan Le Roux. Arkema – Aquitaine’s skipper Lalou Roucayrol shrugged off the effects of a minor head wound sustained in the first race when they won the second race
MOD70 standings after three races:
1 Spindrift (Xavier Revil) 24 pts
2 Edmond de Rothschild (Sébastien Josse) 24 pts
3 Virbac-Paprec 70 (Jean-Pierre Dick) 20 pts
4 Oman Air-Musandam (Sidney Gavignet) 16 pts
Multi50 standings after two races:
1 FenêtréA-Cardinal (Erwan Le Roux)
2 Actual (Yves Le Blévec)
3 Arkema – Aquitaine (Lalou Roucayrol)
By Route des Princes, www.routedesprinces.com
All photos © Mark Lloyd / www.lloydimages.com
Routes des Prince Valencia Inshore Race
As the final dress rehearsal for Friday’s first points scoring inshore races of the Routes des Prince, two training races Thursday gave an immediate insight into how close the short, sharp round the buoys course racing will be.
Two days of these inshore races, totaling up to six contests, are scheduled before the fleet leaves Sunday for Leg 1 from Valencia to Lisbon, Portugal.
Honours, little as they may be worth, proved to be pretty even after the Route des Princes fleet took to Valencia’s waters off Malvarossa beach for the first skirmish in perfect conditions, 12-15 knots of sea breeze and sunshine.
Media Day presented the opportunity for the Multi50’s and the MOD70’s to take part in two training races with VIP and media guests on board.
It was the newest MOD70, Jean Pierre Dick’s Virbac Paprec, which made the best start until Sébastien Josse’s crew on Edmond de Rothschild took over the lead. But they could not defend against the advances of Oman Air Musandam and it was Sidney Gavignet’s international crew which took the first winning gun with Spindrift in second and Edmond de Rothschild third. In the Multi 50’s it was Erwan Le Roux’s, FenêtréA-Cardinal which won the training race.
There was little change in the conditions for the second race and after Oman Air Musandam lead early on, this time it was Spindrift which triumphed while FenêtréA-Cardinal completed the double.
Revil will skipper Spindrift in Valencia and Lisbon
Skipper of the MultiOne Championship winning Spindrift will remain in Geneva Switzerland until just before Sunday’s start of Leg 1 as he is taking part in the Geneva Rolle Geneva race on the team’s D35. His place as skipper will be taken by Xavier Revil, who has joined the team this year from Foncia, winners of last year’s MOD70 European Tour. Revil, a past French Tornado Olympic campaigner who finished 15th in the 2008 Games in Qingdao will steer Spindrift on the inshore races in Valencia and also in Lisbon when Guichard will be competing in the Bol d’Or
Seven Nation Army for the Route des Princes
On this first edition of the Route des Princes there will be six nations represented. As might be expected France are the most numerous among the crews. Thereafter there are three Omanis, one Briton, one Irishman, one Italian, one Spanish and one Australian.
Foxall: This is the best racing in the world at the moment
Damian Foxall is Ireland’s most successful ocean racer. After winning the Volvo Ocean Race with Franck Cammas’ successful Groupama crew, his fourth participation in the Whitbread/Volvo Ocean Race, Foxall has returned to grand prix Multihull racing some ten years after he enjoyed a good run on the ORMA 60 Circuit racing with Sergio Tacchini, Foncia and Groupama. He lines up on Oman Air – Musandam along with skipper Sidney Gavignet and Brit Neal McDonald to form a core unit with a remarkable level of round the world and ocean racing experience between them.
Foxall joined the programme in January and says they have done more training miles this year than any of their rivals:
“We started sailing in January so we were the first boat in the water this year. We have been sailing around the western European coast since then. In January we went to Lorient to Portimao in Portugal where we sailed for ten days, inshore mainly sailing six up and so that was a good session. We have done more on the water than any other team. We went to try the Round Ireland but it was just too windy, we saw over 50 knots. And then we have been involved in the smaller races, the ArMen Race and in Douarnenez with Virbac Paprec 70. They confirmed that it will be very close racing for sure. Virbac Paprec are just getting up to speed with the machine, it is new to Jean Pierre but he has a fantastic team and the boat will go in the right direction for sure and once it is up to speed they will be very competitive. I think between the four boats it will be very tight. For example in the ArMen race we were five minutes behind Gitana.”
The Oman Air – Musandam Team are ready to race:
“We are ready. We went out yesterday and did the most complicated manoeuvres possible and made sure we put them to bed with no skeletons in the closet. We pulled them all off and I think we are in a good place to go round the course looking to win. We are fast in most conditions. Last year I think they were less comfortable with their speed tight reaching and maybe in some boat handling but I think we are well up to speed on both counts now.
Inshore we sail with eight and offshore with six. We have a slightly different set up. Giles Favenec completments Thomas on the grinders inshore and helps Neal and Sidney on tactics inshore.”
Foxall is very happy to be in the MOD70 fleet, seeing it as the best racing there is at the moment:
“I am not sure if our career passage is linear, circular or spirals but this certainly feels like where to be. I stepped on the boat for the first time in January and it was like I had stepped off the 60 foot trimarans. In fact these boats are a little bit easier. On the 60 foot trimarans you could cant the rigs fore and aft. I did two Transat Jacques Vabre races, a third and a capsize. We won the Quebec-Saint Malo. I did three years with Sergio Tacchini, Foncia and Groupama. At that time that was the very best sailing circuit in the world, 15 boats on the start line, fully crewed around the buoys, coastal races, ocean races single and double handed. This is the result a few years later, one design is great. The boats are solid and you can sail them with two or three people, and run them shoreside with two or three people.”
“The boats are absolutely rock solid. We did 40 knots on the way down here. Of all the classes these are the best racing boats in the world right now. Yes the America’s Cup boats are maybe faster but you would never take them offshore and do 40 knots. So to do that with between two and six people is just awesome. We race them round the buoys and offshore. They are brilliant. Now hopefully we will see more boats being built and coming into the class.
And most of all he is looking forwards to returning to Ireland:
“I have not been back to Ireland for more than six months. It is fantastic to see the momentum continuing in Ireland and Spain acknowledging that sailing events bring revenue and a lot of activity, they animate towns and cities and ports. Two Irish cities put in bids for this and that is a great endorsement after what the Volvo Ocean Race achieved.”
By Route des Princes media, www.routedesprinces.com
Photo © Route des Princes 2013
The race fleet for the first Route des Princes is now assembled in the Marina Real Juan Carlos I in Valencia where the first leg, to Lisbon, Portugal starts on Sunday 9th June.
The only boat to not have arrived is Rennes-Métropole Saint-Malo Agglomération skippered by Gilles Lamiré. The Multi50 has been struggling with a power problem and has been forced to wait in Lorient for the delivery of a new alternator. They will not make the start on Sunday but instead will join the race in Lisbon and anticipate being ready in the Portuguese city a couple of days before the fleet finish Leg 1.
Josse: “Multiskilled and Capable”
For Sébastien Josse last year’s learning from a first season with the MOD70 has been invaluable. Edmond de Rothschild now have a line up for the Route des Princes which is more multiskilled, with more stronger helmsmen and it includes Volvo Ocean Race winner Charles Caudrelier as navigator.
He explains that, since re-launching the boat in April their early season training has been compact and focused:
“We have not done so much sailing against the other boats. We sailed a little bit against Oman for four days and we did three days with Spindrift and did the ArMen race. So we have done much less training this year but then we know the boat much better with the group. After one season we are much more confident with the boat.”
The Route des Princes Portugal stop officially launched in Lisbon
La Route des Princes was officially presented at Lisbon’s City Hall. The Portuguese capital welcomes the finish of Leg 1 of La Route des Princes, which starts from Valencia on Sunday 9th June.
The first boat should arrive at the start of the massive St Anthony’s Day celebrations.
During the stay in the River Tagus, the multihulls will be berthed at Palace Square and Alcântara during the Saints Day celebrations.
By Route des Princes, www.routedesprinces.fr/en
All photos © Christophe Launay / www.sealaunay.com
The Great Cup GC32 Austria Cup at Lake Traunsee
Hopes for the final day of racing at The Great Cup’s first ever event, the GC32 Austria Cup within Allianz Traunsee Week presented by BMW, were to complete an eight race round robin before a weather front rolled across Lake Traunsee. Sadly half way through the rain arrived, the wind disappeared and any further prospects of racing were quashed.
While Flavio Marazzi and his Marwin crew set a brisk tone of the day port tacking the fleet with a giant hull fly off the line in race one, it was again Kiwi former Match Racing World Champion Adam Minoprio who continued his relentless string of race wins to end the regatta first overall, eight points ahead of Marwin.
“I didn’t have high hopes of winning, but I didn’t have any other goal,” said Minoprio of his success in his first ever multihull regatta. “I am a little surprised I won. I am pretty happy with how quickly we managed to start sailing these boats fast around the track, but the guys I had sailing with me with put in a big effort.” Sailing with Minoprio were Andy Dinsdale (GER/USA), Thomas Tschepen (AUT) and Diego Stefani (ITA).
From here Minoprio sets out this year to reclaim the Alpari World Match Racing Tour title, but hopes to return to The Great Cup. “It is definitely a whole lot of fun. The GC32 is a great boat: It is very nice to sail, it gets up and flies a hull in six knots of wind and you can zoom around a track. It is a great package.”
Flavio Marazzi has taken to his new GC32 catamaran with the same intensity with which he undertook his Star keelboat campaigns for the last three Olympic Games.”It was a really great experience with six teams,” he said. “The boats are very equal. It is hard to be always be on top.”
From Austria, the Great Cup heads to Marazzi’s native Switzerland for the Geneve-Rolle-Geneve on 8th June, followed by the Bol d’Or Mirabaud a week later. Before those Marazzi intends to compete in other ‘long distance’ lake races in Zurich and on Lake Constance. “The idea for this year is to do a lot of promotion and activity to be in the media and to get sponsors,” he says.
The surprise result of the regatta was that of AEZ GC32 Youth Sailing Team, skippered by 22-year-old Max Trippolt. The Austrian youngsters didn’t end the regatta well, but won day one and claimed some major scalps along the way, including Minoprio’s, to end the regatta a worthy third among the six teams.
“We thought that it would be much harder for us, because they are all really professional crews,” said Trippolt. “It was really good, because we weren’t familiar with the boat, but the team did a really good job.”
French businessman, Laurent Lenne, creator of The Great Cup, has much to be pleased with from this first regatta of his brand new catamaran circuit. “I am pretty proud of what we have achieved in the last five days. Everyone worked very hard and every day we were doing things better from the live streaming to pushing out the information, etc. And the sailing got better. Looking back at it, I’m happy.”
Lenne has had the monumental task of not just conceiving the Martin Fischer-designed GC32 catamaran built by Premier Composites in Dubai, but also the circuit for it – the Great Cup circuit. He has been ably assisted by throughout by leading Australian catamaran expert, Andrew Macpherson.
Lenne has also brought some ground breaking technology to the event with a WiFi network spanning most of Lake Traunsee, enabling live TV to be streamed to the internet from on board boats, cameras on the water, etc.
By GC32 Racing, www.thegreatcup.com
Maximum concentration from Leigh McMillan in the final deciding race – photo © Lloyd Images
Act 3 Extreme Sailing Series in Qingdao
Qingdao saved its best for last on the final day of Act 3 of the Extreme Sailing Series™ and the pressure was understandably on from the first start gun with no quarter given on the water as the teams used classic match racing tactics to try and outwit their nearest rivals. The nine races came in thick and fast in the best conditions the fleet have sailed in all week in the heart of Fushan Bay which has once again demonstrated how it became such a successful Olympic sailing venue.
Heading into the final classic Extreme Sailing Series style deciding double-points race, the battle for victory was well and truly on between Alinghi and The Wave, Muscat tracking each other around the course and mirroring each other’s moves. The Swiss America’s Cup winners used their experience to try and outwit Leigh McMillan’s team and although they won the final double pointer, it wasn’t enough to win the Act and an ecstatic, and somewhat relieved McMillan commented: “It’s a massive relief! To actually get the better of Alinghi in the light winds was a big achievement for us. When it comes to the pure boat on boat battle, they (Alinghi) tend to get the better of us. It’s a tough battle, they are a very tough team to beat and tough competitors. The rest of the year is shaping up to be really exciting.”
Morgan Larson, who has taken the tiller from the team’s skipper Ernesto Bertarelli at this Act, was visibly frustrated to lose out in the final seconds, and talked through the tactics on the final race. “We had The Wave, Muscat on starboard so we hunted them a little bit, made them tack back and forth and then we just held them and pinned them out until Red Bull Sailing Team and SAP Extreme Sailing Team got in there. We just managed to get our spinnaker up in time to be ahead of Red Bull and SAP and that was what we needed – two boats between us. But you have to hand it to The Wave, Muscat. Those guys were sailing so sharp all week they didn’t give up, they fought back and passed the two boats to the finish.” The Swiss team still leads the Series after posting third and first places in Acts 1 and 2 respectively.
SAP Extreme Sailing Team were firing on all cylinders from the word go, winning three races including the first of the day and gradually eating into GAC Pindar’s advantage held from the beginning of the day. In the final race, the co-skippers on SAP Extreme Sailing Team, Jes Gram-Hansen and Rasmus Kostner executed the start with precision and never looked back. Helmsman Gram-Hansen said, “We’re very happy! It’s a fantastic result for us, hopefully something we can build on and as a team everyone is doing a great job. The Wave, Muscat and Alinghi are sailing very well, but I think today we proved that we can also sail just as well. We are definitely getting closer to them so we will go away, debrief and see how we can improve.” This is the second Act in a row the Danish outfit has finished on the podium, matching their third place from Singapore just three weeks ago.
Despite slight frustration at losing out on their first ever podium position at the final hurdle, GAC Pindar’s young Kiwi skipper Will Tiller, who is making a real mark on this Series in his debut year, was upbeat dockside. “We’re a little disappointed with the results but overall really happy as a team. Finishing the regatta in fourth is just brilliant for us and we would happily take that any day! We will keep pushing these top teams. We have been battling with SAP Extreme Sailing Team from day one and well done to them, they sailed really well today. Hopefully in Istanbul we can flip the coin and get ahead of them!”
The double Olympic gold medal winning duo Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher on Red Bull Sailing Team sailed an inconsistent regatta by their standards on the Olympic waters they know so well, but did manage to muster fifth place overall after a slow start to the week, and sit third on the overall Series leaderboard.
The local contingent China Team had the support of the home crowds this week, with four of China’s talented young sailors stepping up to the challenge, a clear sign of the successes of China Team in developing their national sailing talent. Aussie sailing legend and skipper Mitch Booth commented: “It’s been great to be with the local team, the local support has been just phenomenal and they’re following these youth Chinese sailors with great interest. It’s really satisfying when you are teaching 20 year old kids that have never raced catamarans before to come and join this high level racing Series, it’s just great. For me it’s just great to be back involved in something that is a real passion of mine.”
Earlier this week, the iconic British brand Land Rover announced a three-year sponsorship of the global sailing series as Series Main Partner, and celebrated the launch of the partnership with the unveiling and naming of their Land Rover branded Extreme 40, which has made its world debut in Qingdao and will be used as a platform to host VIP and media guests.
Co-organised by the Qingdao Yachting Association, China has delivered a festival atmosphere on and off the water including a spectacular opening ceremony, the NeilPryde Windsurf Racing Series, a programme for local schools to meet the sailors and a closing ceremony that finally brought proceedings to a close.
Next the Extreme 40 global roadshows heads to Istanbul, 20-23 June for Act 4 as the Series approaches its halfway stage and we can expect the pressure to turn up another level as the teams look to set themselves up for the second half of the year.
Standings after Day 4: (26 races)
1st The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Ed Smyth, Pete Greenhalgh, Musab Al Hadi, Will Howden 202pts
2nd Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, Stuart Pollard, Pierre Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 200pts
3rd SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Kostner, Pete Cumming, Mikkel Røssberg, Nicolai Sehested 191pts
4th GAC Pindar (NZL) Will Tiller, Shaun Mason, Stewart Dodson, Harry Thurston, Matt Steven 181pts
5th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans Peter Steinacher, Matthew Adams, Simon Cook, Graeme Spence 168pts
6th Team Korea (KOR) Peter Burling, Matt Vincent, Mark Bulkeley, Tom Johnson, Sungwok Kim 163pts
7th Realteam (SUI) Jerome Clerc, Bryan Mettraux, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Cédric Schmidt, Thiery Wassem 154pts
8th China Team (CHN) Mitch Booth, Wen Zijin, Yingkit Cheng, Liu Xue, Zhang Yiran 145pts
Extreme Sailing Series 2013 overall standings after Act 3, Qingdao:
1st Alinghi (SUI) 27pts
2nd The Wave, Muscat (OMA) 26pts
3rd Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 24pts
4th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 20pts
5th Team Korea (KOR) 16pts
6th GAC Pindar (NZL) 16pts
7th Realteam (SUI) 14pts
8th Team X Invitational 13pts
By Extreme Sailing Series, www.extremesailingseries.com
Photo © Jean Marie Liot / DPPI / FFVoile
The last time Franck Cammas (FRA) and Iker Martinez (ESP) sailed against each other they was on Volvo 70’s racing around Galway, Ireland at the Volvo Ocean Race climax on 7 July 2012. Less than one year later they’re back at it, but on the Olympic multihull, the Nacra 17.
Cammas and Martinez are no strangers having fought vigorously over the gruelling 2011-2012 Volvo Ocean Race that saw Martinez take an early advantage only for Cammas to push ahead, take the lead and claim a victory. They sailed together on Luna Rossa in the America’s Cup World Series but their attentions have now turned to reaching the Olympic Games.
“For now my goal is to race at the highest level possible, it’s why I am on the Nacra 17,” said Cammas.
“We didn’t have the opportunity with Groupama to do a new Volvo Ocean Race and the catamaran is back in the Olympic Games so it was an opportunity to try this class. Four years ago I did the F18 World Championship and it was very fun.”
Cammas finished second at the 2008 F18 Worlds but has limited knowledge of the Olympic circuit, an area that Martinez knows very well having won gold in the 49er at Athens 2004 and silver at Beijing 2008.
“I know Iker enjoyed the Olympic class a lot and even in-between two legs of the Volvo Ocean Race he trained in the 49er so I think it’s funny for us to compete again,” added Cammas. “I like him a lot and it’s always very interesting to race against him. We were also, a few months ago, in Luna Rossa in the same team so I know him very well and very happy to compete against him.”
Cammas enjoyed early success at ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères in the light breeze with crew Sophie de Turckheim as they finished second in the qualification stage but had to retire from the competition as de Turckheim sustained a back injury.
The Frenchman added, “I have a lot of work to do on this boat especially in the wind as it’s tough. There is a lot of things to do and manage on this boat because it is very complicated. We have to manage this but it’s hard and interesting.”
Martinez is on the up and with Tara Pacheco they took their first Nacra 17 bullet on the fourth day in Hyères and Martinez is enjoying racing against Cammas again, “It’s always going to be difficult to sail against Franck because he is a very talented sailor but this is something completely different,” exclaimed Martinez, “I am sure that he is going to do a very good campaign because he has the talent, a very good crew and support from sponsors and everything. We will see.”
photo c Jesus Renedo / Sofia Mapfre
The Spaniard teamed up with Pacheco ahead of ISAF Sailing World Cup Palma and believes he has a fantastic team mate, “She is one of the best sailors in Spain right now,” said Martinez. “She’s very competitive and a World Champion. No one gives a World Championship to you and you have to work hard to get it so I’m more than happy. Now we have to keep going.
“We can see now that the power in the boat is very important, the technique is also very important and there are a lot of different points that we have to be focused on. At least we’re here, we’ve already started and now we can only get better and better.”
As for now Martinez is fully committed to the Nacra 17 cause but in Palma he wouldn’t rule out another offshore campaign in the Barcelona World Race, whilst Cammas balances a couple of other projects, “My long term project is to do a team for the America’s Cup,” said the Frenchman. “First we have to find money and create a team. We will also do the Tour de France à la Voile which is very slow compared to this [Nacra 17]. I think next year will be better for us with some training in the winter.”
By Daniel Smith, ISAF