Monthly Archives: January 2013
34th Americas Cup update by Richard Gladwell
We are now in the Year of Cup – in fact, in just over five months, the first racing will be under way in the Louis Vuitton Cup.
The end of January also marks the end of the first limited sailing period – where test sailing and racing by the AC72’s is limited to just 30 days.
Only one team, Emirates Team NZ used their full quota of 30 days allowed. Luna Rossa will go close, and the two San Francisco domociled teams will be well short of the mark.
Using this same scale, it will be interesting to see how the two Auckland based Challengers, Luna Rossa and Emirates Team NZ, fare in the next phase – which starts February 1, 2013 and runs through to May 1, 2013. In this period, the Protocol governing the America’s Cup, permits the teams to sail for 45 days per boat.
With just one AC72 commissioned each, Luna Rossa and Emirates Team NZ will not doubt sail all they can. To get through their allowed days, the teams will have to sail, on average, every other day, for the three months. On current sailing rates that is unlikely to be achieved. Then the Auckland teams will have to pack base and head for San Francisco at the end of April, while the San Francisco teams continue uninterrupted – save for Oracle Team USA’s Int Jury imposed time-out.
So both Oracle Team USA and Artemis Racing, have the ability to catch up some time – but will it be enough?
Historically time has been the one commodity you can’t buy in the America’s Cup, and whether the teams are variously ahead or behind, won’t become apparent until July.
The clear theme coming through from Emirates Team NZ is that the time for boat development is fast running out, and the emphasis must turn to achieving day to day racing reliability. At this juncture, the same mantra applies to all teams.
From the beginning of February, the new phase of this year’s America’s Cup begins with the launch in Auckland of Emirates Team NZ’s second AC72. They are expected to be sailing by February 7, 2013, local time or February 6 on the West Coast of USA.
That timeline is expected to be similar for the re-launch of the ill-fated USA-17 for Oracle Team USA. A key question will be the degree of rebuild versus redevelopment of the Defender’s 72ft catamaran. Within the scope allowed by the rules for hull and wingsail modification, Oracle Team USA may have taken the opportunity to jump half a generation, in AC72 design. Or maybe not.
Guessing who is ahead in the America’s Cup game has been one of the fascinations of the aficionados, who examine every photo and video frame to garner that last glimmer of insight. Watch this space!
By Richard Gladwell (sail-world NZ editor) as amended by Grand Prix Sailing
Andy Horton at the helm of Katusha on day one of RC44 Oman Cup – c Martinez Studio
Day 1 – RC44 Oman Cup presented by Oman Shipping Company in Muscat
After a breezy practice race that had blown away the cobwebs after a three month break, conditions were more gentle for the start of the RC44 Oman Cup presented Oman Shipping Company.
With the race course just outside of The Wave Muscat’s marina complex, it was Katusha who relished the conditions at the events only day of match racing, finishing the day unbeaten. New tactician Andy Horton took the helm and held off some tough competition including 2012 RC44 Match Race Champions, Synergy Russian Sailing team.
It wasn’t just the professional sailors who shone on the day where either the pros or owners can opt to helm; Brian Benjamin joined the class at the end of 2012 having purchased the old Oracle Racing and for the first event of the season, class founder Russell Coutts is sailing with Team Aegir. Benjamin is helming both the match and fleet racing. The team finished the day with four wins and just two losses. NB: One of his wins was against match racing guru Ed Baird!
Synergy also finished the day with a 4-2 scoreline, losing two matches to Aegir and Katusha. Out of the 13 boats, half the owners took the helm. Another top performer was Igor Lah at the helm of Team Ceeref with Michele Ivaldi calling the shots. The Slovenian team won three of their five matches.
Ouch – Team Aqua and Ironbound have a big kiss! – c Martinez Studio
Crash bang wallop
The RC44’s crash bows, designed to take an impact and not damage the hull, also came into good effect in Team Aqua’s race against Ironbound. Chris Bake had successfully shut David Murphy’s Ironbound out at the committee boat in the pre-start, Murphy dipped to try and release himself from the situation, but just caught Team Aqua’s stern. Ironbound were deducted two points for the damage, Team Nika were also penalised and deducted 3 points in another incident.
Match Race Results:
1 Katusha 6 pts
2 Aegir Racing 4 pts
3 Lunajets Aleph Racing 4 pts
4 Synergy Russian Sailing Team 4pts
5 Team Aqua 3pts
6 Artemis Racing 3pts
7 RC44 Team Ceeref 3pts
8 Mag Racing 2pts
9 Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team 2pts
10 RUS7 Sail Racing Team 1pt
11 Team Italia 1pt
12 Team Nika -1pts
13 Ironbound -1pts
Thursday sees the start of four days of fleet racing. To follow the racing live see the race blog on www.rc44.com
By RC44 Class ad amended by Grand Prix Sailing
Strong start for the home based teams – photo c US Sailing
Day 3 – ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami from Coconut Grove Yacht Club
The stage is set for mixed multihull racing at Rio 2016. As one of two new Olympic events, the Nacra 17 is making its first appearance in the ISAF Sailing World Cup series this week in Miami.
These mixed doublehanded teams are trying out new strategies and techniques as they become more comfortable with this fast, light catamaran and its featured curved dagger boards. Many of the sailors competing in the Nacra 17 are making the adjustment from another boat or class. In some cases, sailors are getting acquainted with new teammates as well.
Perhaps no team has made a smoother transition than Sarah Newberry and John Casey (USA). The duo has been dominant through three days of racing on Biscayne Bay. They have won five of the six races, including the last five. Sarah Streater and Matthew Whitehead (USA) have four second-place finishes and trail by four points.
“We’ve done a lot of training in the F16 and F18, and we’re finding the Nacra 17 to fit in terms of power, but not in terms of how the boat actually sails,” explained Newberry. “It’s a whole new game with the curved foils.”
“We worked really hard to find good settings for the breeze. The real challenge for the whole fleet has been dealing with the boats in bigger chop, which is more than what we see when training in the inner bay. When going downwind, the lift in the boat with the chop has made it challenging,” she added.
Newberry and Casey have their sights set on the 2013 Nacra 17 World Championship this July in The Netherlands, which will serve as the selection event for US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider.
Puerto Rico’s three-time Olympian, Enrique Figueroa, is ecstatic about the fact that multihull racing is back as an Olympic event. “I think it is one of the most exciting events in the Olympics, so having the catamaran come back was good for everybody especially as the sailing world nowadays has a big focus on catamarans,” he said.
Figueroa is planning an Olympic campaign with wife Carla Malatrasi. He is making the switch from the Tornado to the Nacra 17. “Getting back into a spinnaker boat was a challenge, especially with a new crew and she’s not used to the spinnaker and all it entails. It’s been a learning experience for both of us. The Nacra is very physical. The curved boards and the way the boat is going to be sailed eventually is going to require a lot of balance and strength, so of course you’ve got to hit the gym hard,” explained Figueroa.
Brazil’s Martine Greal and Kahena Kunze flying downwind – photo c Mick Anderson US Sailing
Daily wrap of other fleets
Fred Strammer and Zach Brown (USA) extended their lead on Wednesday. A DNF in race nine halted their win streak at four. They lead the 49er fleet by nine points over Sweden’s Sebastian Oestling and Kalle Torlen and American’s Ryan Pesch and Trevor Burd.
Brazil’s Kahena Kunze and Martine Grael surged into the lead with a tremendous afternoon of racing in the 49er FX event. They finished second in race seven and won races eight and nine to take a four point lead. Anna Tunnicliffe and Molly O’Bryan Vandemoer (USA) also made a run with third and second-place finishes. Tunnicliffe, a 2008 Olympic gold medalist in the Laser is also one of the top Women’s Match Racers in the world.
Stuart McNay and his crew David Hughes continue to challenge in the Men’s 470. The Americans hold an edge over Matthias Schmid and Floran Reichstaedter (AUS). McNay and Hughes won the second of two races to take the lead. These two teams are pulling away from the rest of the fleet.
Another Brazilian team on the move, Olivera and Luisa – photo c US Sailing
In the Women’s 470, Brazil’s Fernanda Oliveira and Ana Luiza Barbachan hold a seven point lead over China’s Xiaomei Xu and Chunyan Yu.
The 2012 Olympic gold medalist Dorian Van Rijssbelberghe of the Netherlands continued his dominant ways in the Men’s RS:X. He captured first place in both races and has tallied four consecutive wins to take a seven point lead over Brazil’s Ricardo Santos.
Defending champion Demita Vega of Mexico held on to the lead with her third place finishes. Top women’s board sailor of the day was Great Britain’s Bryony Shaw. The 2012 Olympian won race five and trails Vega by a point.
Sweden’s Jesper Stalheim pulled into the lead with a pair of wins in the Laser event. He took the lead over Bruno Fontes (BRA). Both Stalheim and Fontes have three wins in six races this week. Stalheim holds a close tie-breaker edge over Fontes. Jean-Baptiste Bernaz (FRA) is just one point behind the leaders. He won race five.
Annalise Murphy (IRL) and Paige Railey (USA) enjoyed a great day on the bay. They each won a race and finished third to take the leaderboard by storm. Murphy has a three point lead over Railey and has won two of the last three.
Caleb Paine (USA) has maintained his lead in the Finn event by six points. He was fourth and second. Paine has won three of the six races. Brendan Casey (AUS) is in second place.
The 2012 Paralympic bronze medalists Aleksander Wang-Hansen, Marie Solberg and Per Eugen Kristiansen of Norway expanded their lead from two to four points on Wednesday in the Sonar event. Their day featured a win in race five.
Canadian Bruce Millar won race six to cap another strong performance in the 2.4 mR event. He leads fellow countryman Alan Leibel (CAN) by four.
Once again, Biscayne Bay was graced with strong winds that reached 20 knots by the afternoon and significant chop. The weather included mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the high 70s to low 80s.
For full results see mocr.ussailing.org/index.php/results/.
Scoring Format Updates
The Lasers and Laser Radials are using experimental scoring this week. Sailors will receive a bonus point for each race they win. Their first fleet series standings will translate into a single race score for each competitor. Five more races will be sailed in a new series Thursday through Friday. Following the five races and six total scores, the top ten will advance to medal race on Saturday. There will be one discount after the second race.
The RS:X fleets have completed six races in the series, to date. These two events feature a new, unique format this week. The fleet series consists of nine races with one discard and the top ten qualify for the quarterfinals after six races. The top two from the fleet series advance to the semifinals. The quarterfinals are a three race series with the top four moving to the finals. The fifth through tenth place teams go into the semifinals. These semifinals consist of one race with eight competitors and the top two advancing to the Final round.
By Jake Fish, US Sailing as amended by Grand Prix Sailing
Day 2 – ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami from Coconut Grove YC
World’s top board sailors clash in Miami
Similar to Monday, breezes were relatively consistent and strong at 13 to 15 knots throughout the day. Sunny skies were accompanied with temperatures in the high 70s.
A strong contingency of the top sailors in the world are in Miami testing themselves against familiar rivals and incoming talent from a new generation of racers. The RS:X Men’s and Women’s events are back in Miami for 2013 ISAF Sailing World Cup and these two fleets feature the best of the best in an early season clash of Olympic medalists and new challengers.
Most elite board sailors enjoyed some much needed time off following their intense Olympic campaigns for London 2012. However, a quick turn around and immediate focus is in order with the RS:X World Championships in Brazil this February. Up and comers are looking to assert themselves in the class this week in Miami, while other more seasoned veterans are trying to re-capture the magic they sustained in their successful performances in Weymouth.
The 2012 Olympic gold medalist Dorian Van Rijssbelberghe of the Netherlands surged ahead of the fleet with two wins to take a two point lead over Brazil’s Ricardo Santos. Great Britain’s Nick Dempsey dropped two spots from Monday, and is in third. The 2012 Olympic silver medalist and 2004 bronze medalist commented on the upcoming schedule and training for Rio 2016. “Following the World Championships in February and March, it will be about focusing on the Olympic campaign for Rio 2016,” said Dempsey. “I’m just trying to get back out on the water now and get as fit as possible for the World Championships.”
Dempsey is intrigued about the venue in Rio. “If you look at Rio as a light wind venue, as windsurfers we’re going to have to be light, strong, fit, and technically good. It’s going to be a difficult venue. There is a lot of current and with it being light winds it’s going to be very physical. I like to mix up my training, because it can be a bit monotonous. Anything you can do to keep it interesting and different to keep you inspired.”
Van Rijssbelberghe, the three-time ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami Champion, was reserved, yet focused on the new challenge. “There is some great build up for these events, but I want to keep it fun,” said Van Rijssbelberghe. “Miami is such a great place to sail. It has always been one of my favorite destinations. We’ve got some breeze going on and it’s quite tricky out there. “I do a lot of cross training and it’s great to get on that mountain bike and start ripping some trails.”
Defending RS:X Women’s Champion Demita Vega of Mexico is out to defend her crown against the world’s best this year. She won race four and finished second in race three to take a one point lead. 2012 Olympic silver medalist Tuuli Petaja-Siren of Finland has won two of four races, including race three. She trails Vega by a point.
Petaja-Siren has had a surreal offseason following her outstanding performance in Weymouth. She was honored as the Finnish Athlete of the Year. “My name and face is now in a lot of newspapers and TV channels,” said Petaja-Siren. “Not many people thought a windsurfer could get that much publicity in Finland, which is more about the winter sports.”
“I didn’t surprise myself that much. I knew from the training I did earlier in the summer in Weymouth I was capable of racing with the very best girls. The first goal this year is to compete in the World Championships, so that’s going to be my first visit there and I don’t know much about Rio yet.”
Spain’s gold medalist and World #5 Marina Alabau, who has won the ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami event in 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2007, is currently in sixth place. “My goal is to qualify for the Olympics, but it’s not easy in my country to qualify,” said Alabau. “So this is really good motivation to keep going. I’ll be spending a lot of time training in Rio.” Spain also features board sailing standout Blanca Manchon.
Alabau prefers participating in other sports and activities as a source of training. “I like to play other sports like kite sailing, cycling, and swimming. I’m not going to the gym much, because it is boring to me. I’m just trying to do fun activities, because when you have fun you don’t realize how much you are pushing yourself and that’s how I enjoy training.”
Other fleet updates
World #13 and 2012 Olympians from Austria, Matthias Schmid and Floran Reichstaedter had a big day in the Men’s 470 event. They evened up with Monday’s leaders Stuart McNay and David Hughes of the U.S. by winning race four and finishing third in race three.
Despite sustaining a Black Flag in race four, Brazil’s Fernanda Oliveira and Ana Luiza Barbachan of the Women’s 470 event hold a two point lead over China’s Xiaomei Xu and Chunyan Yu, who finished sixth and third. Oliveira and Barbachuan won race three.
Giulia Conti and Francesca Clapcich of Italy won two of three races in the 49er FX event are clinging to a one point advantage over Brazil’s Kahena Kunze and Martine Grael. Four teams are within three points of each other atop the leaderboard.
Caleb Paine (USA) has caught fire in the Finn event. He won both races and has come out on top in three of four races. He leads Brendan Casey (AUS) by five points and Star legend Bruno Prada (BRA) by six.
Fred Strammer and Zach Brown (USA) leaped into first place by finishing strong on Tuesday in the 49er event. They won races five and six to take a one point lead over Sebastian Oestling and Kalle Torlen (SWE).
Ireland’s Annalise Murphy returned to her usual form in the Laser Radials. She won race four and finished second in race three to take a tie-breaker edge over World #5 Tuula Tenkanen (FIN). Canada’s Isabella Bertold trails by just a point.
World #3 Bruno Fontes (BRA) won both races in the Laser action to take the lead. He has a slight edge over France’s Jean-Baptiste Bernaz who had a lead after three races. American Charlie Buckingham and Sweden’s Jesper Stalheim are one point behind the leader.
The Lasers and Laser Radials are using experimental scoring this week. Sailors will receive a bonus point for each race they win. For all events, discards are in effect after two races.
Sarah Newberry and John Casey (USA) continued their success from Monday with two more wins in the Nacra 17 event. They have won the last three races, including three of four. Americans Sarah Streater and Matthew Whitehead remain close and just two points back. They were second in both races.
The 2012 Paralympic bronze medalists Aleksander Wang-Hansen, Marie Solberg and Per Eugen Kristiansen of Norway kept their status as the leaders through Tuesday. After winning both races on Monday, they were fourth and third on Tuesday to hold on to a two point lead.
Canadian Bruce Millar moved into the lead by posting a pair of bullets in the 2.4 mR racing today. Millar was seventh at the 2.4 mR World Championship in September. He leads World #4 Byornar Erikstad of Norway by two points and Alan Leibel (CAN) by four.
For full results see: mocr.ussailing.org/index.php/results/.
Visit event website at mocr.ussailing.org for real-time racecourse blogging, commentary and fan interaction with Cover it Live, regatta results, photos and news updates.
By Jake Fish – US Sailing as amended by Grand Prix Sailing – photos © Walter Cooper
AC Youth Team USA team trials in San Francisco – photo c Erik Simonson
5 America’s Cup World Series Teams support own youth teams
The line-up for the Selection Series for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup will include 11 national teams, attending the two qualifying sessions in San Francisco from February 9-24.
The Red Bull Youth America’s Cup, scheduled September 1-4, 2013, begins with the Selection Series in San Francisco in February. With the goal of ensuring the best of the best are on the starting line of the main event, the Selection Series will narrow the field through two rigorous training workshop and regatta sessions from February 9-15 and February 18-24, 2013.
“The goal of the selection process is two-fold,” said Hans-Peter Steinacher, a double Olympic gold medalist who shares the role of Sports Director for the event with Roman Hagara.
“First, we want all of the teams at the selection series to learn and improve and maximize their potential. At the same time, we must evaluate the crews over the course of the week so that we can invite the top teams to race for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup in September. This is such a great chance for these young teams to launch their careers.”
“We will have this one chance to see the youth teams train and compete under high-pressure situations during the selection camp,” agreed Hagara. “It’s a fantastic way to assess who can perform to their best and to select those who deserve to qualify for the main event.”
Emirates Team New Zealand, Artemis Racing, China Team and Energy Team have all indicated they are supporting teams for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup. Youth crews with the support of an America’s Cup World Series team are eligible for direct entry to September’s event via the Regatta Director.
Oracle Team USA, the current holder of the America’s Cup, conducted its own training camp before Christmas to select which American teams it would support. USA 45 Racing (representing the USA), and American Youth Sailing Force (representing San Francisco) will both spend the coming months training for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup under the stewardship of the American Cup defender.
The Selection Series in February will be held on the same AC45 wing sail catamarans the youth crews will race in September. These are also the same boats the America’s Cup teams race in the AC World Series.
Teams participating in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup:
Selection Series Session 1 (February 9-15)
AUS – Objective Australia
AUT – Team Austria
DEN – Danish Vikings
GER – STG-NRV Sailing Team
NZL – Full Metal Jacket Racing
RSA – Team i’KaziKati
Selection Series Session 2 (February 18-24)
ARG – Argentina Youth Team
GBR – GBR Youth Challenge
ITA – Team Italy powered by Stig
POR – ROFF-Cascais
SUI – Team TILT
Youth crews supported by America’s Cup World Series Teams:
CHN – China Team / Name TBC
FRA – Energy Team / Name TBC
NZL – Emirates Team New Zealand / Name TBC
SWE – Artemis Racing / Swedish Youth Challenge
USA – Oracle Team USA / American Youth Sailing Force (SFO)
USA – Oracle Team USA / USA45 Racing (USA)
photo c Gilles Martin-Paget
More details on: www.americascup.com/en/events/red-bull-youth-americas-cup
By 34th America’s Cup media
photo – c Christophe Launay
Alex Thomson, Hugo Boss finishes third in the Vendée Globe 2012-2013
Alex Thomson crossed the Vendée Globe finish line at 07 hrs 25 mins 43 secs (GMT) after 80 days 19 hrs 23 mins 43 secs at sea. He finishes 2 days 18 hrs and 7 mins behind François Gabart.
His final race time is 80 days 19 hrs 25 mins 43 secs. His average speed around the course was 12.6 knots and he actually covered 28,022 miles at the average speed of 14.4 knots. Note: the race’s theoretical distance was 24,393.41 miles.
After Ellen MacArthur’s second place in 2000 and Mike Golding’s third in 2005, Alex Thomson becomes the third British skipper ever to finish on the podium of the Vendee Globe. But his time surpasses that of the Golding’s previous British solo race record from 2005 by 7 days 19 hrs 52 mins. After winner Francois Gabart and second placed Armel Le Cleac’h, Thomson has also smashed the previous race record of 84 days 03 hrs 09 mins set by Michel Desjoyeaux in 2009.
Third Time Lucky Thomson’s Third
The mantra pre start which Alex Thomson never stopped repeating was that his main goal was just to finish this Vendée Globe. By finally completing his first ever non stop circumnavigation in third position, the Hugo Boss skipper broke the run of bad luck that had plagued his two previous Vendée Globe attempts. His podium finish also shows the British skipper is as combative and quick as ever.
Despite the fast rhythm the leaders imposed on the race, Alex Thomson showed he could handle speed and transitions. Never far away from the front runners, he definitely led the race of the “older generation” yachts, sailing his Hugo Boss at a sustained high speed.
One of the signs showing Alex was immediately in full regatta race mode is the claim he filed against some other skippers for not following the official rules of the race regarding the Finisterre Traffic Separation Scheme. Even though the same claim was perfectly justified and filed jointly with the Race Direction, it was met with some misunderstanding. Alex would have to wait to bury his punchy reputation as something of a renegade, but with this result he has been warmly applauded for his great result with a boat, which is not of the latest generation.
Alex Thomson’s race has been nothing short of exemplary. Despite technical problems on his Farr-designed yacht, he managed to hang on to the leaders. Right after the Doldrums, the mounting bracket of one of his hydrogenerators came undone and broke the tie bar that keeps the two rudders connected. It was a key moment for the British skipper – who is not exactly renowned for his boat building skills. But he had to fix it fast or run the risk of letting the fleet leaders break away. He turned his autopilot on and, while the boat was progressing at an average speed of 18 knots, he not only set up a composite material workshop on board and proceeded to repair the bracket, but also made a short, informative video report of the repair. And despite this he therefore stayed in contact with the leaders, entering the Indian Ocean 150 miles – less than half a day – behind them.
A light foot in a lead shoe
The Indian Ocean turned out to be a rite of passage for Alex, whose reputation had always been the one of a sailor who pushes his boats hard, sometimes too hard and beyond their limits. He showed he had learned to curb his impulsiveness. His smart approach and choices allowed him to never get outdistanced by the frontrunners and stay a few miles behind Gabart, Le Cléac’h, Dick and Stamm. He obviously learned from his previous races and stayed in the race until he finished on the podium.
But that did not mean Alex’s troubles were over, as the British sailor had to face hydrogenerator trouble again, forcing him to either repair at all cost or forget about finishing his round-the-world race. The Hugo Boss skipper therefore decided to drastically limit his communication with the outside world, a real sacrifice for a man who is always in need of expressing his feelings and exchanging with his family and friends. He did not give up, though, and after rounding Cape Horn, he finally managed to successfully carry out the necessary repairs. He was still in fourth place and sailed through the Doldrums with his sights set on one thing and one thing only: Coming back on Jean-Pierre Dick, 150 miles ahead of him.
A noble gesture
When Jean-Pierre Dick lost his keel on Monday, January 21, he also put Thomson in the spotlight. The Virbac-Paprec 3 skipper was getting prepared to face terrible weather off the Azores when the Hugo Boss skipper spontaneously and sportingly decided to change his heading and stay close to Dick in case the Nice-based sailor found himself in a dangerous situation. Having lost his keel in the South Indian Ocean in 2006 and been rescued by fellow competitor Mike Golding, Thomson fully empathised with the situation and said later there is no way he would have considered leaving Dick to his own devices. By doing so, the British sailor also let go of the hope of sailing around the world in less than 80 days. But by finishing the Vendée Globe on such a noble note, Thomson achieved something even more important than breaking a record: he won a place in the public’s heart and in the race history.
- Longest distance covered in 24 hours: Thomson 477.14 miles (12/12/12)
545 miles at an average speed of 22.7 knots of François Gabart. (10/12/12)
- Les Sables to Equator: 11 days 02 hours 34 min c/w 11 days 00 hours 20 min
(Jean Le Cam’s 2004-2005 record: 10 days 11 hours 28 min)
- Equator to Good Hope: 12 days 09 hours 59mn
(JP Dick’s record: 12 day 02 hour 40min)
- Good Hope to Cape Leeuwin: 18 days 16 hours 23 min c/w 11 days 06 hours 40 min (record)
- Cape Leeuwin to Cape Horn: 8 days 16 hours 23 min c/w 17 days 18 h 35mn (new record)
- Cape Horn to Equator: 14 days 00 hours 17 min
- Equator to Les Sables: 12 days 4 hours 32 min
Find out more about the race on the official Vendée Globe website, www.vendeeglobe.org
photo – c Olivier Blanchet DPPI
By Vendée Globe media
Nacra 17 makes its debut – photo © Mick Anderson – US Sailing
Day 1 – ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami
The 311 sailors representing 37 countries were greeted with spectacular, yet challenging conditions for the first of six days of racing at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami. Sailors on five racecourses in Biscayne Bay were welcomed by sunny skies with temperatures in the mid-70’s and moderate to strong winds.
Making their second appearance on the ISAF World Cup series is the 49er FX class. Olympians Giulia Conti and Francesca Clapcich of Italy teamed up in the 49er FX and were rejuvenated to be on the racecourse with a new challenge. Conti is making the switch from the 470 and Clapcich is transitioning from the Laser Radial.
“We’ve been training on Lake Garda in this type of wind and probably stronger,” said Conti. They finished first, fifth and second in the first day’s three races. They have a narrow lead over Brazilians Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze in the eight boat fleet.
“After two Olympic campaigns in the 470 we wanted to try something else,” explained Conti. “Francesca and I feel reborn in this class. “We couldn’t get off to a good start in the second race, but we manoeuvered well around the course today in general.”
Swedish 470 Olympian Sebastian Ostling, who is now making a shift to the 49er, has teamed with Kalle Torlen this week and the duo are in first place after three races. They posted 1st, 3rd and 2nd results to take a slight lead over Canadians John Ladha and Daniel Inkpen. Both 49er fleets sailed in 9 -12 knots for most of the day.
The Nacra 17, a mixed multihull event, made their official ISAF Sailing World Cup debut this with seven competitive teams looking to make their mark on the new Olympic class. Two American teams comprised of Sarah Newberry and John Casey are tied atop the leaderboard with Sarah Streater and Matthew Whitehead.
The Men’s and Women’s 470 fleets got the day started in 15 – 18 knots. World #7 and 2012 Olympian Stuart McNay (USA) and David Hughes rushed to an early lead in the 11 team fleet, by finishing 3rd and 1st.
Winning the first race in the nine team Women’s 470 event was China’s Xiaomei Xu and Chunyan Yu. Brazil’s Fernanda Oliveira and Ana Luiza Barbachan were 5th and 2nd. They finished sixth at the Summer Games in Weymouth/Portland. Oliveira won a bronze medal at the 2008 Olympics with Isabel Swan as crew. Swan is racing this week with skipper Renata Decnop and are looking ahead to Rio 2016. After struggling in race one, Decnop and Swan placed third in race two.
Great Britain’s Nick Dempsey made a statement on the Men’s RS:X course. The 2012 Olympic silver medalist and defending ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami Champion recorded a 2nd and 1st to take a one point lead over Brazilian Olympian Ricardo Santos. The 2012 Olympic gold medalist Dorian Van Rijssbelberghe of the Netherlands is currently third in the fleet of 23 boards.
The Women’s RS:X course is also stacked with talent. Finland’s 2012 Olympic silver medalist Tuuli Petäjä won race 2. She will be dueling this week with two standout Spanish board sailors Marina Alabau and Blanca Manchon. The World’s #5 Alabau is a four-time ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami Champion and is in third place. Blanca Manchon, the 2010 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year, won race two.
Charlie Buckingham (USA) came out on top of the 73-boat Laser fleet in race 2 and he placed 4th in race 1 to take early control. He is closely followed by Olympian David Wright (CAN) and World #11 Jesper Stalheim (SWE).
Juan Ignacio Maegli is one of two Guatemalans racing this week. “Sailing isn’t very big right now in Guatemala. There is only about 20 of us that sail back at home right now and I wish it would start growing,” he said. “Hopefully, I can do my part in helping that. Rio 2016 has been the goal since I started sailing Lasers five years ago and I can’t wait. There is so many good guys in the Laser fleet but I’m striving for the Rio podium and hopefully I’ll achieve it.” Maegli is currently in 7th place.
New partnerships in the 49er FX finding their feet – c Mick Anderson – US Sailing
In the 29-boat Laser Radial event, Turkish sailor Cagla Donertas has an early lead, followed by Isabella Bertold (CAN) and World #5 Tuula Tenkanen (FIN).
The Sonar and 2.4 mR events raced in strong winds that diminished throughout the day. Breezes this morning reached 15 knots and dropped below 10 by the end of racing. The 2012 Paralympic bronze medalists Aleksander Wang-Hansen, Marie Solberg and Per Eugen Kristiansen of Norway posted a pair of bullets in the highly competitive 10-boat Sonar Fleet.
World #4 Byornar Erikstad of Norway has asserted himself in the 18-boat 2.4 mR fleet. He finished third in race 1 and was victorious in race 2. He is followed by Allan Leibel of Canada, who won the opening race.
Of the 311 sailors competing this week, 121 are representing the United States. There are 70 Canadians racing and Brazil has the third highest participation total with 19.
To follow all the action in Miami, visit event website at mocr.ussailing.org for real-time racecourse blogging, commentary and fan interaction with Cover it Live, regatta results, photos and news updates.
By Jake Fish as amended by Grand Prix Sailing
Records broken as first two finish the Vendée in Sables d’Olonne
François Gabart, Macif, wins the 2012-2013 Vendée Globe crossing the finish line at 15 hours 18 minutes 40 seconds, French time, setting a new solo round-the-world record of 78 day, 2 hours, 16 minutes and 40 seconds. Beating Michel Desjoyeaux’s record by 6 day 0 hours 53 minutes.His final race time is 78 days 2 hours 16 minutes 40 seconds. His average speed was 15.3 knots and covering 28,646.55 miles.
Note: the race’s theoretical distance is 24,393.41 miles.
Armel Le Cléac’h, Banque Populaire, finishes second
Armel Le Cléac’h crossed the Vendée Globe finish line Sunday 27th January 2013 at 17 hour 35 min 52 seconds GMT. He finishes the race 78 days 5 hours and 33 minutes behind François Gabart. This is the smallest gap between the winner and the second in the Vendée Globe history, a mere 3 hours 17minutes 12 seconds behind Gabart.
His final race time is 78 days 5 hours 35 min 52 seconds. His average speed was 14.9 knots and he actually covered 28,056.55 miles.
Five days of strong winds thrills sailors racing at Quantum Key West Week
photo c Leighton o Connor
It wasn’t hard to figure out who the winners were upon conclusion of Quantum Key West 2013. Andrea Pozzi and the Italian sailors aboard Bombarda were passing around bottles of champagne. Jim Richardson and the boys on Barking Mad were drinking a tray full of mudslides. Hearty handshakes and bear hugs were exchanged in the cockpit of Azzurra.
Celebration and jubilation were the order of the day for those teams that captured championships after a challenging week of intense competition. All agreed that winning Key West this year was a particularly stellar accomplishment since it featured some of the most spectacular conditions in the 26-year history of the annual midwinter regatta.
For all overall results see: www.premiere-racing.com/KWRWLive/
Seventh season of RC44 Championship kicks off in Oman
photo – c Martinez Studio
The seventh season of RC44 Championship Tour is about to kick off with the RC44 Oman Cup presented by Oman Shipping Company and hosted by Oman Sail. Anticipation amongst the 13 competing teams is growing; who can stop Team Aqua taking the Championship for the third year in a row. Who will master the conditions in Oman, a venue that most are unfamiliar with and who will be the most consistent team this season, in a race format where no individual races can be discarded, you have to count four out of the season’s five events and the final event that doubles as the World Championships cannot be discarded.
The event format remains the same in 2013, one day of match racing where the pros or owners can steer followed by four days of fleet racing where only the amateur owner can helm. 50% of the team has to be amateur and with this season spanning 10 months, the teams must continue to improve throughout the season and keep sharp over a long time period to win.
See www.rc44.com for full season schedule
Miami Olympic Classes regatta showcases new Olympic classes
The 24th edition of the Miami Olympic Classes regatta takes place on the emerald waters of Biscayne Bay. This six-day regatta gets underway on Monday, with over 300 of the best sailors in the World representing 35 countries. The regatta marks the second of four stops on the 2012-2013 ISAF Sailing World Cup series. Olympic and Paralympic classes will be joined by the two new Olympic classes, the Nacra 17 catamarans and the women’s skiff the 49er FX. A number of new teams are forming partnerships with an eye on qualification to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Regatta website: http://mocr.ussailing.org
Itajaí confirmed on 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race route
Itajaí will once again be a Host Port for the Volvo Ocean Race in 2014-15 following the huge success of the stopover there in the last edition. Tuesday’s announcement means Brazil will have two stops along the route for the 12th edition of sailing’s most prestigious round-the-world race after Recife was named as a Host Port last week.
Itajaí, in the state of Santa Catarina, staged a memorable stopover in the 2011-12 edition with huge crowds packing the Race Village throughout and the port’s return to the route means the south of Brazil is joining the north east in the Race.
A boat backed by the state of Pernambuco was also confirmed at last week’s announcement which will ensure a distinct Brazilian flavour for the Race’s 12th edition in 2014-15 at a time when the focus of world sport will be on the country.
For full race route see:www.volvooceanrace.org
Photo © Olivier Blanchet / DPPI
François Gabart (Macif) crossed the Vendée Globe finish line at 15 hrs 18 mins 40 secs, French time, setting a new solo round-the-world record of 78 days, 2 hours, 16 minutes and 40 secs (beating Michel Desjoyeaux’s record by 6 days 0 hrs 53 mins). His average speed was 15.3 knots and covering 28,646.55 miles. Note: the race’s theoretical distance is 24,393.41 miles.
François Gabart’s Vendée Globe is a story of transformation. In a little less than 80 days, the young skipper, viewed as a talented outsider, he evolved turned into a race leader, successfully keeping the other competitors at bay.
A spectacular start
From the outset of the race, François Gabart set about upsetting the order. He took the lead in the Bay of Biscay, imposing his fast pace and sailing in a style akin to the French short course solo racing circuit, the Solitaire du Figaro skipper than a long-distance sailor. The weather conditions favoured the front runners, who soon extended their lead. It took them three days to reach the Madeira latitude, where the first strategic choices were made, followed by Armel Le Cléac’h storming into the front.
Sailing down the South Atlantic after a complicated doldrums navigation confirmed the situation, that the race was dominated by a leading quartet featuring Armel Le Cléac’h, Vincent Riou, Jean-Pierre Dick and François Gabart leaving Bernard Stamm and Alex Thomson in their wake. As they reached the Roaring Forties, the skippers ahead picked up the pace, resulting in a series of amazing performances. On Nov 30, François Gabart broke the first 24-hour distance record (482.91 miles). Shortly, after Vincent Riou was forced to abandon and three skippers – Jean-Pierre Dick, Armel le Cléac’h and François Gabart – entered the Indian Ocean together as a tight pack while Bernard Stamm, ranked fourth, lurked behind.
The great escape
On Dec 10, the Macif skipper drove the point home by setting the ultimate solo distance record on a monohull, covering 545 miles in 24 hours. Armel Le Cléac’h was the only one able to hold on and the two Frenchmen, positioned at the front of the fleet, built up an impressive gap in only a few days. On Dec 13, Jean-Pierre Dick was 155 miles behind. 24 hours later, the gap had increased to 300 miles and eventually 500 miles on Dec 15. The Southern Ocean adventure then turned into a spectacular duel in which the two solo sailors were rarely more than twenty miles apart. At one point within visual contact on several occasions. François Gabart returned to the Atlantic on Jan 1, securing the 2012-2013 Vendée Globe edition a place in the history book as the first race in which a rookie rounded Cape Horn as the race leader.
Leaving the Le Maire Straights behind them, the two frontrunners laboured through a windless hole and Gabart managed to slightly widen the gap, sailing forty miles ahead. On Jan 5, Le Cléac’h broke the union for the first time since the Amsterdam gate and tacked west his sights set on a ridge of weather. François Gabart kept sailing along his eastern route, taking him to the edge of the Saint Helena high. Demonstrating his strategic acumen, Gabart extended his lead and positioned himself back in front of the Banque Populaire bow. He crossed the Equator five days ahead of Michel Desjoyeaux’s record. Despite a tricky Doldrums crossing, Gabart kept warding off Le Cléac’h’s attacks throughout his climb back up the North Atlantic. At 29, as he crossed the finish line, he became the youngest Vendée Globe winner ever. Alain Gautier was 30 years old when he won the 1992-1993 edition in 110 days and 2 hrs. What a difference a decade makes.
Longest distance covered in 24 hours: Dec 10, 545 miles at an average speed of 22.7 knots.
Number of rankings with Gabart leading: (5 rankings a day): 234 days spent leading the race: 44 days 20 hours
Les Sables to Equator: 11 days 0 hours 20 min (Jean Le Cam’s 2004-2005 record: 10 days 11 hours 28 min)
Equator to Good Hope: 12 days 03 hours 25 min (JP Dick’s record: 12 day 02 hour 40min)
Good Hope to Cape Leeuwin: 11 days 06 hours 40 min (new record)
Cape Leeuwin to Cape Horn: 17 days 18 h 35 min (new record)
Cape Horn to Equator: 13 days 19 hours
Equator to Les Sables: 12 days 01 hour 37 minutes
Maximum gap between Macif and Banque Populaire:
Banque Populaire to Macif: 263.14 miles on Nov 28
Macif to Banque Populaire: 273.99 miles on Jan 14
Armel Le Cléac’h, Banque Populaire, takes second
Armel Le Cléac’h crossed the Vendée Globe finish line Sunday 27th January 2013 at 17 hrs 35 mins 52 secs GMT. He finishes the race in 78 days 5 hrs and 33 mins. This is the smallest gap between the winner and the second in the Vendée Globe history, a mere 3 hrs 17 mins 12 secs behind Gabart.
His average speed was 14.9 knots and he actually covered 28,056.55 miles.
By Vendee Globe media – more on the Vendée Globe website: www.vendeeglobe.org
Vendée Globe 2012-2013 – Day 78
Finish line almost in site
Separated by a mere 100 miles, François Gabart (Macif) and Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire) are setting a good pace towards the finish line of this incredible race. Propelled along by a 20 knot wind from the west-northwest the two young sailors are making 14 and 17 knots respectively for the last hour.
François Gabart gybed in the early hours of this morning at 1am. Armel Le Cléac’h followed with a gybe four and a half hours later at 5.30am and now sails directly and faster to the finish line. Since last night’s ranking 7pm GMT (Friday), he covered 137.4 miles averaging 15 knots, versus François Gabart who had sailed 107 miles at an 11.7 knots average. This final show of strength is unlikely to be enough to change the outcome.
The weather forecast for the finish is south-west wind freshening to 30 knots, switching to the west-northwest at around 25 knots. This means they will have to put in one last gybe before the line. The sea state is building and they will traverse over 4m waves in the final furlong of the race. The winner is expected between 5am and 10am Sunday morning, 27th January.
Drama in clash for third
At 130 miles south-west of the Azores, Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) has adjusted his course to be closer to Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac Paprec 3) who he has overtaken this morning. Dick is around 40 miles to the east of Thomson, and has succeeded so far, despite the total loss of the keel, to progress without too much difficulty, in weather conditions, which are now building. The wind rise to 25 -30 knots from the southwest could make the effects of this damage much more complicated to manage.
The sportsmanlike gesture of Alex Thomson is welcomed and applauded by many. It demonstrates the true solidarity of the fleet. Solo sailors may endure solitude in the middle of the ocean but learn in the face of adversity that their co-sailors have got their back.
The history of the Vendée Globe is heralded with these heroic moments that shape’s its character. When the opponent falls foul to the vagaries of incident and their competitor gallantly comes to the rescue. Alex Thomson of his own volition is on standby while Jean-Pierre Dick learns how to handle and manage his 60ft boat. He continues to make good progress and has said that he will make his final decision on Sunday.
Top 5 at 0500hrs report: (local French Time)
1 Francois Gabart (Macif) 567.7nm from the finish
2 Armel le Cleac’h (Banque Populaire) 104.2nm to leader
3 Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) 829.1nm dtl
4 Jean Pierre Dick (Virbac Paprec 3) 832.5nm dtl
5 Jean le Cam (SynerCiel) 2369.9nm dtl
For current tracker positions see: www.vendeeglobe.org/en