Monthly Archives: January 2014

Shifty winds continue to challenge

 

D4 49er US sailing

All photos – c US Sailing

Day 4 – ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami

 

 

 

Sailors were rewarded for their patience and hours of onshore preparation with a full day of inconsistent and challenging conditions on Thursday at the 2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami. The pressure was on, to complete three to four races per fleet on Thursday to catch up to the desired race totals.

Sailors experienced slightly cooler temperatures this morning with considerable breeze ranging from 6 to 8 knots out of the Northwest under overcast skies. The breeze built up to 15 knots in the afternoon on some courses. The afternoon also featured isolated thunderstorms that steadily moved across Biscayne Bay bringing scattered showers.

 

Laser

In the Laser Yellow fleet, Nick Thompson (GBR) came from behind to win Race 4. He was just 12th around the first mark, but was able to diminish his deficit on each leg. Thompson trailed Matthew Ryder (CAN) by six seconds around the last mark, before pulling off the victory in the downwind sprint.

“It was a tricky day in general, as the breeze was light and all over with lots of clouds moving through,” explained Thompson. “I am happy with both races today, as I was able to pull through the fleet and come back. On the first start, I thought most of the fleet was a bit punchy, so I held back and had to fight hard for a first and ninth place. My strategy to get to the top is to stay away from the corners and work my way through the middle of the fleet.”

Race 5 belonged to Pavlos Kontides (CYP), silver medalist in the 2013 Laser World Championship and 2012 Olympics. He outlasted Giovanni Coccoluto (ITA) by 22 seconds at the finish line.

World #2 Tonci Stipanović (CRO) won his second consecutive race to start Thursday’s racing in the Laser Blue fleet. He placed second in Race 5, just three seconds behind winner Alex Mills-Barton (GBR). Stipanovic leads overall by three points over World #1 Tom Burton (AUS).

 

D4 Las CYP us sailing

 

Laser Radial

The 2012 Olympic Silver Medalist Marit Bouwmeester (NED) made the most of Thursday’s early afternoon gusts. She was dominant and won the first two of three races to move into second place behind defending champion Paige Railey (USA).

In Race 4, Bouwmeester was in seventh at the first mark and sixth at the second. Nonetheless, the 2011 World Champion came from behind to win again. Race 5 was a duel between Bouwmeester, Railey and Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN). Bouwmeester had a slight lead around the first three marks, until Railey gained the advantage around the final mark. Bouwmeester bested Railey in the sprint to the finish by four seconds. Rindom was third.

The top four boats finished within 14 seconds of each other. Railey still holds an 11 point lead. Claire Merry (CAN) jumped to fourth place with a first place finish in Race 6.

 

Nacra 17

Training partners Vittorio Bissaro and Silvia Sicouri (ITA) and Thomas Zajac and Tanja Frank (AUT) will go into the penultimate day tied on 36-points after the Italians notched up two race wins.

After light winds blighted the early part of the week the Nacra 17 fleet were playing catch up with four races scheduled.

The Italians came out flying and read every situation with sublime expertise taking the opening race win and backing it up with a second immediately after. A tenth blighted an otherwise perfect day as they took the final bullet.

“Racing was really shifty,” commented Bissaro, “but we were on time with every shift and it was a really good day for us because we’ve grabbed first overall.

“For me and Silvia it’s the first time Olympic campaigning so it’s all new to us. We like everything, the ambience, the people, the spot where we’re sailing and the Nacra 17’s challenges. Every day you discover something new and you really get the feeling your increasing your knowledge day by day.”

Both teams are 12-points clear of Iker Martinez and Tara Pacheco (ESP) in third place and 14 points ahead of fourth place. Even though they hold a strong advantage, Bissaro knows there’s a job to do, “Sailing is like tennis, you cannot say you’re first and that be enough. You start from zero every time so we will approach the races tomorrow the same way we did today. We will keep pushing.”

 

D3 N17 us sailing

 

49er

Just six points separates first to sixth in the 49er after six races.

Leading the way on 30-points is John Pink and Stuart Bithell (GBR). The Brits are sailing at their first regatta together after Bithell and Chris Grube, who is sailing in Miami with Stevie Morrison, parted ways.

Morrison and Grube sit fourth, four points off the leaders, and both sailors enjoy the rivalry they now share, “We’ve always been good mates me and Stuart,” said Grube.

“We’ve come through the 470 together since we started and we’re good mates but there is that rivalry there especially since we started new teams.

“We’re mates on the water and competitors off the water which is kind of how it’s always been since I sailed with Nick [Rogers] and he sailed with Luke [Patience]. It’s always been the case.”

Bithell shared his former crews thoughts, “Myself and Chris stopped sailing together for fairly logical reasons and we both accept that now. It’s almost fun racing against each other and we’re still great mates. As far as we’re concerned now it’s just another boat on the race course so we treat them just like everyone else.”

Nothing has separated the 49er fleet throughout the week with no crew able to record consistent results. With the field wide open the remaining races will make for entertaining viewing.

 

49erFX

Italy’s Giulia Conti and Francesca Clapcich held onto their lead in the 49erFX in another day of tight tetchy racing.

The Italians have only finished out of the top eight on one occasion in the seven race series thus far. Their lead stands at four points over Sarah Steyaert and Julie Bossard (FRA). Juliana Senftt and Gabriela Sa (BRA).

 

D4 49erFX us sailing

 

Finn

Finn leader Oliver Tweddell (AUS) won Race 4 and had a significant advantage for most of the race. Tweddell’s lead extended to 40 seconds around mark two. Jorge João Zarif (BRA) placed second, three seconds ahead of Gregory Douglas (CAN). World #3 Björn Allansson (SWE) captured Race 5 by nearly 40 seconds over Tweddell.

Zarif bounced back with a win in Race 6. The Finn Gold Cup Champion defeated Tweddell and Michele Paoletti (ITA) by 10 seconds. Paoletti had the lead around the first three marks.

Tweddell leads Giles Scott (GBR) by nine points. Scott has won five of his last six major international Finn regattas.

 

470 Men

The competition is heating up despite the chilly weather in the 470 Men’s fleet. Leaders Sofian Bouvet and Jeremie Mion (FRA) retained the momentum they had from earlier in the week by winning Race 4. The win marked their third of the regatta. The World #6 tandem is aiming for their first ISAF Sailing World Cup victory. They crossed the finish line 10 seconds ahead of Anton Dahlberg and Fredrik Bergström (SWE).

However, Thursday belonged to last year’s World Cup Miami champions Stuart McNay and David Hughes (USA). They captured Race 5 and 6 and closed out Thursday with a one point lead over Bouvet and Mion. They won by nearly one minute in Race 5 and by five seconds in Race 6.

 

470 Women

An OCS bumped the former Open 470 European Champion Camille Lecointre and crew Hélène Defrance (FRA) from what appeared to be a convincing win in Race 4. Instead, the victory went to World #3 Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntyre (GBR). World #4 Anne Haeger and Briana Provancha (USA) placed second. Weguelin and McIntyre continued their successes with another win in Race 5. They led nearly from start to finish and defeated World #1 Lara Vadlau and Jolanta Ogar (AUT) by 29 seconds. Weguelin and McIntyre have collected four wins.

In Race 6, they were second behind Mrak Tina and Macarol Veronika (SLO). The Great British team holds an eight point advantage over Lecointre and Defrance atop the leaderboard.

 

Men’s RS:X

Byron Kokkalanis (GRE) remains in control in the Men’s RS:X fleet and holds a seven point lead over Nimrod Mashich (ISR).

Mashich was the stand out racer on the fourth day of racing. Two race wins and a fourth drew him to within touching distance of Kokkalanis. Ricardo Santos (BRA) is third, two points off Mashich.

 

Women’s RS:X

Bryony Shaw (GBR) continues to lead the Women’s RS:X. The British sailor has slowly increased her lead and after seven races the difference is ten between herself and Flavia Tartaglini (ITA) and Laura Linares (ITA).

 

Paralympic Events

It was a big day for John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Stephen Thomas (GBR) who won a pair of races Thursday, and trail leaders Bruno Jourdren, Eric Flageul and Nicolas Vimont Vicary (FRA) by just two points in the Sonars.

World #1 Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell (GBR) had their perfect streak snapped in Race 5 today when they place fourth. They won Race 4 and have a three point lead over John McRoberts and Jackie Gay (CAN) in the SKUD18 event.

World #1 and defending champion Megan Pascoe (GBR) remains on top in the 2.4mR through five races with another solid performance. She won her second race of the regatta in Race 4 and finished third in Race 5. Pascoe holds a two point lead over Allan Leibel (CAN).

 

For all results and information visit the ISAF Sailing World Cup website

 

 

Flavio Favini hits the front as Harry Melges has a shocker

 

yandy103869

 Photos © Teri Dodds

 

 

Gill 2014 Melges 24 World Championship at Geelong, Australia

 

 

Racing began on time at 1330hrs in a SSE breeze 10-12 knots and steady. By the final race of the day it was up to 20 knots, showcasing the one-design fleet on another fine summer’s day.

There has been movement at the top of the leaderboard after three more windward leeward races, Flavio Favini’s Blu Moon (SUI) switching up into first overall and leading Harry Melges’ team Star (USA) by 1.5 points.

The Star crew had a day they need to forget and move on from, an 8th in race seven and a 13th in race eight.

Following a general recall in race eight the race committee flew the I flag, which meant anyone subsequently breaking the start had to go around one end of the gate to restart and would in addition incur a 20% place penalty.

Three Melges 24 teams cut it too fine, including the Star team.

Melges cleverly picked his way back through the fleet from second last and finished in a respectable position, but with the penalty applied Star had to carry their worst result and single drop for the series. Adding insult to injury was the gaping hole in their kite.

Suddenly Star was level pegged with Chris Larson and Cavallino McLube (CAN) in first place with one race before home time.

A bullet to Favini in race nine, third for Melges and a 10th for Larson shuffled the results and gave Favini, one of Italy’s most successful helmsmen, the top spot.

“We didn’t have such a good day,” admitted Melges. “I’ve been in this situation many times and you have to forget about it and start afresh. It was a great day’s sailing all and all, just not for us.”

Cavallino/McLube is now third and Bora Gulari’s West Marine Rigging/New England Ropes (USA) fourth.

Tomorrow’s forecast is for south-east to south-westerly winds 15-20 knots. PRO Hank Stuart intends to run race 10 and 11 tomorrow and race 12 on Sunday the 2nd of February 2014, the final day of competition.

Geelong is set to cook again on Sunday, up to 36 degrees predicted.

 

yandy103871

 

Results after Day 3: (top five, 9 races, 1 discard)

1 – Blu Moon – Flavio Favini (SUI825)
2 – Star –  Harry Melges (USA841)
3 – Cavillino/Mclube – Chris Larson (CAN795)
4 – West Marine Rigging/New England Ropes – Bora Gulari (USA820)
5 – Audi –  Riccardo Simoneschi (ITA840)

Corinthian Results (top three)
1 – Roger That – Cameron Miles (AUS750)
2 – Redmist – Robin Deussen (AUS607)
3 – Amigos –  Geoff Fogarty (AUS816)

 

For full results see: www.melges24worldsaustralia.com

 

By Lisa Ratcliff

 

 

Harry Melges’ Star takes the lead

 

yandy103781

 Star (Harry Melges) takes the overall lead – Photos © Teri Dodds

 

 

Gill 2014 Melges 24 World Championship at Geelong, Australia

 

 

Three races deeper into the 12 race Gill Melges 24 World Championship 2014 and the visitors unsurprisingly continue to dictate terms.

Watches could be almost set with the reliable Corio Bay afternoon sea breeze. Between 1pm and 2pm in the summer the sou’easter floats in from Limeburners Point, filling Stingaree Bay to the east and then Corio Bay proper.

After the completion of race six in the 10-12 knot sou’easter, Harry Melges’ Star and crew Andy Burdick, Jeff Ecklund and Federico Michetti, sailing for New York and Lauderdale yacht clubs, are lead boat and have created some breathing space.

Chris Larson’s Cavallino/McLube (CAN) is five points off Melges on 14, a 10th in race four denting yesterday’s pointscore leader’s chance for an encore.

Third overall at the series midway point is Flavio Favini’s Blu Moon (SUI) with 17 points and fourth is Riccardo Simoneschi’s Audi (ITA) with 19 points.

The top three on the ladder are all past Melges 24 world champions.

Favini and the Blu Moon team are one of the longest running and most successful Melges 24 crews in the world.

On today’s better performance Favini said, “We had a good day, we sailed well.”

Favini has been taught that fifty percent of a race is determined by the start. This is small field compared to class events in the northern hemisphere, but still you could walk across the start line traversing the decks of the tightly packed bunch.

“The start happens very quickly and at times a small difference in the positioning at launching makes a huge difference. It’s the most chaotic moment, and it’s fun,” said Favini.

The second pressure point is the first top mark rounding where the jury, the eyes and ears of the race committee, lie in wait for the chaos to unfold and ready to point the red flag.

 

yandy103791

Blu Moon (Flavio Favini) – Photos © Teri Dodds

 

So far Favini’s crew has avoided a collision. “We try to avoid it but it happens. That’s boat racing,” he laughed.

During this world championship most of the professional international crews head off early after a sausage in bread and cold beer at Royal Geelong Yacht Club. Nights are quiet so the crew is rested.

“We are having dinner at home, we cook for ourselves and we eat anything but mostly Italian… pasta of course… and fish. We like the seafood here,” Favini added.

Nathan Wilmot’s Melges Asia Pacific Kaito heads up the best placed Australian team in seventh overall from 26 starters.

Doing bow for Nathan is his wife Shona, one of a handful of women contesting the world championship in the high-end sports boat class.

She says there are fewer opportunities for women among the Australian keelboat scene because the boats are so physically demanding.

“There’s not as much room in keelboat racing to have a good role on a boat these days. The Melges 24s are good because there are five on the boat and everyone has an important role,” Shona said.

“Being up the front is very task focused. Most of the time I have no idea where we are on the racecourse, where we started and where we finished.”

 

yandy103779

Tightly packed fleet roundings are a feature in Geelong – Photos © Teri Dodds

 

Lucy Simoneschi does the bow on the Italian based Melges 24 Audi and her husband Riccardo helms. Europe offers more openings to professional women sailors, but still she says women have to work twice as hard to be fully accepted at the elite level.

“If you are very passionate and happy to dedicate a lot of time to sailing you can have opportunities,” Lucy said this afternoon after racing. “You have to put twice the time in as a man to be accepted. You have to really train and work a lot.”

Audi is well-positioned in fourth and Lucy says they are problem free, though would like the wind dial turned up.

Robin Deussen’s Red Mist from South Australia put in another fine effort to be ninth overall and again the top placed Corinthian boat, which means there are no professionals among the crew.

The Gill Melges 24 World Championship 2014 wraps up on Sunday, February 2nd 2014.

 

Results after Day 2: (top five, 6 races, 1 discard)

1st Star –  Harry Melges (USA841)
2nd Cavillino/Mclube – Chris Larson (CAN795)
3rd Blu Moon – Flavio Favini (SUI825)
4th Audi –  Riccardo Simoneschi (ITA840)
5th West Marine Rigging – Bora Gulari (USA820)

Corinthian Results (top three)
1st Redmist – Robin Deussen (AUS607)
2nd Roger That – Cameron Miles (AUS750)
3rd Amigos – Geoff Fogarty (AUS816)

 

By Lisa Ratcliff, www.melges24worldsaustralia.com

 

 

North Americans on a charge

 

M24 Worlds D1 Chris Larson tdChris Larson on Cavallino – Photos © Teri Dodds

 

 

Gill 2014 Melges 24 World Championship at Geelong, Australia

 

 

Chris Larson and his Canadian team on Cavallino/McLube are leading the Gill Melges 24 World Championship 2014 after a crackalackin’ opening day on Geelong’s Corio Bay.

There’s little comfort in their early lead however, with Harry Melges’ Star tied on seven points and second on a countback.

North American crews overwhelmed the 26 boat field on day one of the five day, 12 race regatta, filling the top three places.

Larson swept to victory in the first two races, aggressively covering Star as the pair aimed at the finish line in race one, then dropped to fifth in race three.

Harry Melges and tactician Andy Burdick scored two seconds and a third, the same consistency that furnished Star with a win in last week’s Melges 24 Open Australian Nationals on the bay.

 

M24W D1 Harry Melges

Harry Melges’ Star – Photo © Teri Dodds

 

 

Bruce Ayers’ Monsoon (USA) completed the top three thanks to a bullet in the final race of the day.

Larson was the 2009 Melges 24 world champion and he’s reunited with his winning team, including Emirates Team New Zealand and five time Canadian Olympic sailor Richard Clarke, for the first southern hemisphere staging of the title.

“We now have Richard our tactician on the water with us so it’s the same crew as the 2009 worlds,” Larson said. “We haven’t sailed together since then. Today was an encouraging start to our campaign.

“Corio Bay has flat water and it’s super shifty. It’s definitely challenging. The person who ends up on top will be the most consistent, and not have a bad race,” added Larson.

Harry Melges was all smiles at the day’s end, “It felt good out there, a lot of breeze and really shifty; a lot of opportunities to gain and lose. It’s good to be mixing it up at the top.”

Star’s bowman Federico Michetti, a five-time Melges 24 world champion added, “It’s a really tough level. We are having a great time here at the yacht club with the guys”.

 

M24W D1 fleet td

Red Mist sailed by Robin Deussen leading the Corinthian division – Photo © Teri Dodds

A 20 degree temperature drop from yesterday’s scorcher alleviated the discomfort off the track. On the course on the northern side of Corio Bay it was a different story; unrest at the starts, congested mark roundings with up to seven Melges 24s abreast going around the top mark buoys, and some crunching fibreglass.

Brendan Garner’s Melges 24 Team Morris Finance was put together late for the world championship, one of the crew driving nearly 2,000 kilometres to Sydney and back to Geelong last week, including registering the trailer.

Today at 12.30pm the crew stepped aboard for the first time, just an hour before the world’s opening bout.

Team Morris Finance had a clean race one and two then tangled with another boat in race three and was hit. “It gets pretty busy at those marks,” said Garner. “One of the other boats fell onto port and caused a fairly big pile up. We had nowhere to go. Lucky for us there’s no damage.”

On sailing with the world’s best in the class Garner added, “A couple of times we had Harry Melges right next to us then we came around the top mark and said to each other ‘where did he go?'”

Top Corinthian boat was Robin Deussen’s Red Mist from Adelaide Sailing Club. A fifth and a sixth had them best-placed Australian boat overall after race two.

“To have a fifth and a sixth from such a strong fleet is pretty good,” said Deussen. “We are still trying to figure out the boat, it’s an older version but in good nick. It depends how you sail it.

“We came here to fight amongst the big boys,” Deussen warned.

Nathan Wilmot’s Melges Asia Pacific Kaito is the highest ranked Australian team. The Gill Melges 24 World Championship 2014, opened with an average 14-16 knot sou’east breeze, shifty at the top mark and puffs up to 21 knots.

It was text book race management for PRO Hank Stuart for races one and two, a conservative fleet starting on time with just one OCS each time.

Then the fleet pushed hard, forcing two general recalls before race three began cleanly. Tomorrow’s forecast is for afternoon sea breezes up to 20 knots. Racing is scheduled to start with a 1330 hours warning signal.

 

M24W D1 Start td

 

Results after Day 1: (3 races)

Open Results (top five)
1st 19 Cavillino / Mclube – Chris Larson (CAN795)
2nd 17 Star –  Harry Melges (USA841)
3rd 24 Monsoon –  Bruce Ayres (USA747)
4th 21 Blu Moon – Flavio Favini (SUI825)
5th 26 Altea –  Andrea Rachelli (ITA735)

Corinthian Results (top three)
1st 22 Redmist – Robin Deussen (AUS607)
2nd 11 Roger That – Cameron Miles (AUS750)
3rs 07 Amigos – Geoff Fogarty (AUS816)

 

By Lisa Ratcliff, www.melges24worldsaustralia.com

 

 

Second day of light air tactical racing

 

MOCR N17 fleet start rl

 Photos © Richard Langdon / British Sailing Team

 

Day 2 – ISAF Sailing World Cup in Miami 

 

 

Tight tactical racing was the name of the game on the second day of ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami as light breeze tested the patience and nerves of the 580 sailors from 50 nations.

Sailors and their coaches made the most of morning down time for the second consecutive day, as the breeze refused to cooperate early on Biscayne Bay.

The AP flags began to drop around the five sailing venues in Miami between 14:00 hrs and 15:00 hrs local time. Race Committees prepared to fit in one race each during the afternoon session. The local breeze on the bay hit 4 knots by late afternoon, giving the committee hope that racing was possible.

Whilst the sun was out, the breeze came in slowly allowing one race per fleet apart from the RS:X and Nacra 17 fleets that managed to squeeze in two.

 

Nacra 17

Thomas Zajac and Tanja Frank (AUT) continue to show their strength in the Nacra 17 with a steady display. Two second places ensure they open up a five point lead over Ben Saxton and Hannah Diamond (GBR).

Luke Ramsay and Nikola Girke (CAN) secured their first win in Miami in the opening race to move up to third overall. The days other race win went the way of Iker Martinez and Tara Pacheco (ESP). The Spaniards are sixth in the 31-boat fleet.

 

49erFX

Italy’s Giulia Conti and Francesca Clapcich moved into the 49erFX lead after they won the day’s sole race.

The pair led the 34-boat fleet from the off, maintaining a good distance between themselves and overnight leaders Noora Ruskola and Camilla Cedercreutz (FIN). The Finnish pair attempted to chip away at the Italians but it was not to be as Conti and Clapcich maintained their bright start that hasn’t seen them drop out of the top three.

Ruskola and Cedercreutz dropped down to second with Jena Hansen and Katja Salskov-Iversen (DEN) in third.

 

49er

John Pink and Stuart Bithell (GBR) picked up their first race win together in the 49er and with it, the overall lead. Sitting on six points the British pair are three points ahead of Julien D’Ortoli and Noe Delpech (FRA) and Jonathan Bay and Christopher Thorsell (DEN).

 

Women’s 470

Getting off to a great start in Race 3 was Barbara Cornudella and Sara Lopez Ravetllat (ESP). The Spanish duo had a lead through each of the first four marks before Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntyre took over and won the race by three seconds in an exciting dash to the finish line on the downwind stretch. Placing second was Camille Lecointre and Helene Defrance (FRA).

Anne Haeger and Briana Provancha (USA) finished third, while Cornudellas and Ravetllat dropped to fourth.

 

Men’s 470

World #3 Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic (CRO) were dominant in Race 3. They captured first place and enjoyed a lead of nearly 90 meters on the final downwind stretch. It was a three way race throughout. Placing second was Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis (GRE). The team of Anton Dahlberg and Fredrik Bergström (SWE) sailed through the finish line in third.

 

Women’s RS:X

Italy’s Flavia Tartaglini showed great technique and physical prowess to remain consistent in the Women’s RS:X notching up the best score line of the day.

Tartaglini won the third race after a tight battle with Brazil’s Patricia Freitas. The Brazilian worked her way up to the fleet, reducing a 30 second deficit to four seconds. With just metres separating the front pair Tartaglini stayed strong to cross the line ahead of her Brazilian rival.

Bryony Shaw (GBR) picked up the second race victory, finishing well ahead of Tartaglini but the Italian was pleased with how things went, “It was pretty tough with light conditions between 4 and 7 knots. I am pretty happy with the day.

“You need a lot of physical training and just time on the water in these conditions. There’s lots of pumping but you need good technique so it’s a combination between pumping and going out on the water when it’s really light.

“Sometimes you don’t want to go out in the light wind but you need to, to train on your technique.”

The Italian and British sailors are locked on four points apiece at the top of the leader board with plenty of race action to come.

Brazil’s Freitas currently occupies the final podium spot.

 

Men’s RS:X

After two bullets on day one, Byron Kokkalanis (GRE) added another and a third place as he displayed great consistency in the light breeze.

The Greek RS:X racer holds a four point lead over Makoto Tomizawa (JPN) who took the days other race win.

With the light breeze making proceedings tricky, Kokkalanis knows the combination of fitness and reading the situation plays a big part in tricky wind, “It was a good day in the end,” commented the Greek sailor. “The conditions were light, lighter than yesterday and all the athletes had to put a lot of effort in to make these boards go so it was a hard job for everybody.

“I just happen to stay on the right side all the time and make good choices. I have the speed so I try and keep up with the good guys in the fleet and if it’s possible then stay clear and move in front of them.”

2013 RS:X Youth World Champion Mattia Camboni finished both races in second and sits third overall.

 

Laser

In the Blue fleet, 2013 Laser World Champion Robert Scheidt (BRA) won a hard fought battle in Race 3 that propelled him up the leaderboard. Balazs Tomai (HUN) took the lead at the first windward mark and had the lead for most of the race. After several lead changes, Scheidt took a slight advantage at the second windward mark and carried the lead through the final sprint. Tomai took second and Fredrick Vranizan (Shoreline, Wash. USA) took home third.

The London 2012 Olympic Star Bronze Medalist commented about the race and the lengthy delay, “These conditions are very testing as we were never sheeted block to block or sitting out of the boat. I like to sail in all conditions, but I am hoping for more wind for the rest of the week.

“During postponement, I stay focused by being active; I did a little bit of swimming and jogging. During today’s race, it was important to trust the way you were going and stay on the right edge of the course in the pressure.”

In the Yellow fleet, ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao Gold Medalist Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) won Race 3. Stipanovic garnered silver medal honors in Miami last year. He led after the first windward mark, but Pavlos Kontides (CYP) passed him downwind and led at the leeward mark. However, Stipanovic got the inside track at the gate and never relinquished the lead. Stefano Peschiera (PER) finished second and Giovanni Coccoluto (ITA) placed third.

 

Laser Radial

Race 3 in the Laser Radial fleet was dominated by the Peruvians. Paloma Schmidt finished first and Caterina Romero placed third. Current leader Paige Railey (USA) was second. Schmidt was just seventh around the first mark, but she used a strong first leeward run to take the lead for good.

“It was very shifty out there,” said Schmidt. “I had a hard time deciding which way to go before the race, but I knew I had to get to an edge of the course for pressure. During the start sequence, I saw more pressure on the right so I lined up near the boat. Although I had a bad start, I was able to tack out to the right and recover by getting to that side. It was all about boat speed and having a free lane all the time.”

 

MOCR Finn GS rl

 

Finn

Former ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami Champion Giles Scott (GBR) used a late surge to roll over on upstart Luke Lawrence (USA) on the final downwind sprint to win Race 3. The 2011 ISAF Sailing World Champion narrowly defeated Lawrence and Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO).

 

Paralympic Events

Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell (GBR) remain perfect in the Skud18 and hold three race wins out of three races.

The American team of Alphonsus Doerr, Hugh Freund and Timothy Angle lead the way in the Sonar but face pressure from France’s Bruno Jourdren, Eric Flageul and Nicolas Vimont Vicary. The French trio took the one bullet of the day and sit just a point off of the leaders.

Megan Pascoe (GBR) continued her bright start in the 2.4mR and has steadily progressed in the three races. In Race 1 she came through in third, Race 2 in second and Race 3 in third. Canada’s Allan Leibel holds the same scores and is tied on three points with Pascoe at the top of the leader board.

There is some optimism that the breeze will be sufficient on Wednesday and Thursday. Wednesday’s forecast predicts 7 to 9 knots in the morning out of the south. Rain showers are expected to move through in the afternoon and possibly make for unstable breeze. Temperatures are expected to reach the high 70s.

For all results and information visit the ISAF Sailing World Cup website

 

Final day drama at Key West Race Week

 

KW D5 M32 tw

Photos c Tim Wilkes

 

Quantum Key West 2014 – Overall

 

 

There was plenty of final day drama at Quantum Key West 2014 as the winners of several classes were determined during the last race. And conditions could not have been better for those winner-take-all scenarios with the southernmost point of the United States delivering the strongest winds of the regatta.

North-northeasterly breezes in the 18-24 knot range made for some spectacular racing on all three courses and enabled all 10 classes to complete 10 races for the five-day event.

(For full report on IRC2/52 Super Series see seperate report)

An anticipated duel between the top two boats in Melges 32 class never materialized as skipper Dalton DeVos and the Delta team had an on-course-side start and were never able to challenge owner-drive Alec Cutler and the Hedgehog crew.

“We wanted to get a great start and pushed the line. Unfortunately, we were just a tad early and had to turn around,” DeVos said. “Hey, that’s sailboat racing. They don’t let you get a head start.”

Multi-time Canadian Olympian Richard Clarke called tactics for Cutler, who got a great start and led around every mark in winning by more than a minute. Two-time Olympic gold medalist Jonathan McKee was tactician on Delta, which battled back to take second and actually tied Hedgehog with 15 total points. Both boats won four races, but the Bermuda entry won the tiebreaker based on the result of Race 10.

“We knew we had to go out and win the race. That was the only option,” Cutler said. “The committee boat was favored and we won that end of the line. We then put the hammer down and just sailed as fast as we could.”

 

KW D5 J70 broach

 

Tim Healy and his team on Helly Hansen, won the 60-boat J/70 class in convincing fashion by winning two races and placing second or third in five others.

Helly Hansen clinched the regatta by finishing third in Race 9 and therefore did not sail the final race, using that as its throw-out. Geoff Becker and John Mollicone combined on tactics and trimming while Gordon Borges worked the bow for Healy, who is also a standout J/24 sailor.

“Obviously the biggest key to success is having a good team. My guys did an awesome job of boat-handling and tactics,” Healy said. “We sailed here last year so we had a real good feel for the race course. This team has also sailed J/24s together the past few years so we have a comfort level that makes a big difference.”

Healy and Helly Hansen came away with the biggest prize – capturing Quantum Sails Boat of the Week honors. “We had a huge class down here last year with a lot of really good sailors so it’s a great accomplishment to come out on top. Winning Key West is definitely one of the highlights of my career,” said Healy. Eight different boats took first place during the week.

Hot Mess, skippered by Rob Britts of St. Petersburg, Fla., was crowned as Corinthian champion of J/70 class. Britts posted six wins and three seconds within the 14-boat sub-class comprised of all-amateur crews.

Four boats entered the final day of action with a mathematical chance to win IRC 3 class, comprised of a diverse group of designs. Arethusa, a Swan 42 owned by Phil Lotz of Fort Lauderdale, finished fourth in Race 10 to hold the lead for a third straight day. Former Olympic medalist Jeff Madrigali served as tactician aboard Arethusa, which placed seventh out of 10 boats in Race 1, but never finished lower than fourth the rest of the way. Just eight points separated the top three boats in IRC 3 with the Ker 46 Tonnerre de Breskens (Peter Vroon, Netherlands) the runner-up by five points.

“We are very excited about winning our class at such a prestigious regatta,” said Lotz, who had placed at Key West a couple times before. “Our boat was very good in the medium breeze that predominated this week. We tried to start cleanly and had a fairly conservative game-plan. Jeff was outstanding tactically all week and did a good job of keeping us in phase.”

PHRF 1 was also up for grabs going into the last race and Spaceman Spiff, the J/111 owned by Rob Ruhlman of Cleveland, Ohio, seized the moment by winning. This was the 13th trip to Key West and the first class victory for the Spaceman Spiff program.

 

KW D5 J70 start

 

Teamwork, a J/122 skippered by Robin Team of Lexington, came up short in its bid to three-peat in Key West – finishing 4 ½ points behind Spaceman Spiff.

Skipper Bill Sweetser has been bringing his J/109 Rush to Key West for 11 years and been runner-up on four occasions. The Annapolis resident sported a huge smile on Friday morning after clinching the class championship in PHRF 2 on Thursday. Sweetser steered Rush to victory in five races and placed second or third in fourth others in building an insurmountable lead that allowed him to stay ashore on Friday.

Skipper Ron Buzil and his team aboard Vayu2 were wire-to-wire winners in J/80 class, which attracted 12 entries. A pair of highly-regarded professionals, Jahn Tihansky and Andrew Kerr, served as helmsman and tactician aboard the boat chartered from J/World Annapolis. This was the second straight year that Buzil had chartered the boat and the team repeated as class champs.

Little Wing, an Italian entry owned by Nicola Ardito, had the most firsts in the regatta, reeling off nine straight victories in Melges 24 class before sitting out the final race and using that as its throw-out.

For full results: www.Premiere-Racing.com

 

By Bill Wagner

 

 

Quantum Racing seal first win of the season

 

KW D5 fleet ms

 Photo © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series

 

 

US 52 Super Series at Quantum Key West 2014 

 

 

Winning five races from ten for the 52 Super Series at Quantum Key West Doug DeVos and the Quantum Racing team secured the first title of the new 2014 season.

Starting Friday’s one final race of the series the 2013 season champions needed only a solid top four finish to win overall.

A steady third behind Azzurra and Rán Racing in the muscular 19-24kts NE’ly breeze and bouncy, short seas, ensured DeVos’ crew lift the Key West title by three points ahead of Niklas Zennström’s Rán Racing team.

In the strongest breezes of the five day event, the task for Quantum Racing was made easier from the outset when both Sled and Hooligan were called over the start line early. DeVos crew elevated themselves to their strongest possible position as they lead around the top mark and down a fast, exciting downwind but Rán Racing came through at the leeward gate rounding, and were at the front on the second of three beats.

Sailing markedly better in the strong breezes in which they have historically always been at their best, Azzurra sustained their challenge down the second run. Sailing at least as fast and sometimes faster than Rán and Quantum that was a great platform from which to attack Rán Racing.

Working the right early they scored a better shift which saw them go bow to bow with the leaders for a matter of minutes upwind. The power of the right prevailed and by the finish line they had eased ahead to give the Italian flagged team – winners of the final regatta of 2013 – a confidence boost at the end of an event which has been too irregular for them. Strategist Francesco Bruni considers they were slowed badly in the first legs of the race, perhaps with a plastic bag or weed but when they hit their straps they were as fast as any 52 on the water:
“We made some good calls tactically it was a really nice race to win. We got back to Rán Racing metre by metre, to pass Quantum Racing was good and then the last upwind against Rán Racing the boat was going very well. We managed to keep the right and then just before the last lay line we had a piece of them, using starboard advantage to win the race.”

Tactician on the winning Quantum Racing Terry Hutchinson praised the whole team effort, dedicating their win to the fantastic support of their owner-driver DeVos, a key driving force for the 52 Super Series. Having come close last year when they lead into the final day only to suffer a costly jib breakdown winning this team doubtless feels sweeter. But Hutchinson pointed out that converting a fourth to a first in the first light winds race of the regatta was as valuable a contribution to their win there as any of the races:
“Early on in the piece we jagged a few.” Hutchinson smiled, “If you say where was the regatta won it was probably won on the first race where we went from fourth to first up the second beat of the race. And today was a different day. Our plan was to stay close to Rán Racing and not give them any opportunities.”

Quantum Racing won the regatta by three points ahead of Rán Racing who in turn were three points up on Azzurra after the ten races.

Of the six boats racing, half the fleet won individual races. The two new teams to the 52 Super Series, Sled and Hooligan, had their moments of greatness and their really challenging times. But both teams finished with a better handle on their weaknesses and looking forward to the second regatta, in Miami in early March. In this fleet in the strong winds today any small error was heavily punished.

Hooligan’s Tony Rey, tactician and project manager summed up their enthusiasm:
“The results are not what we wanted, but I have just told the guys I have never felt so good about a team and yet finished so poorly. We made the most of the tools we had in the tool box. We managed to hit six crab pots, two in one race. We had a few kite shrimps at the leeward mark. We had a few tough moments but generally we improved enormously over the week. But the key thing is the owner is thrilled and can’t wait to get to Miami to improve the tools in the toolbox and we just can’t wait to get started against the best guys in the world.”

 

Results: (10 races)

1. Quantum Racing (USA) Doug DeVos (USA)1,1,1,6,3,4,1,2,1,3, 23pts
2. Rán Racing (SWE), Niklas Zennström (SWE) 2,2,3,4,1,2,4,1,5,2, 26pts
3. Azzurra (ITA), Guillermo Parada (ARG) 3,3,2,2,4,1,3,6,4,1, 29pts
4. Interlodge (USA), Austin Fragomen (USA) 4,5,6,1,2,3,2,3,3,4, 33pts
5. Sled (USA), Takashi Okura (USA 5,4,5,5,6,5,6,4,2,5, 46pts
6. Hooligan (USA), Gunther Buerman (USA) 6,6,4,3,5,6,5,5,6,6, 53pts‏

 

By 52 Super Series, www.52superseries.com

 

Another action packed day of racing at the Conch Republic

 

KW D4 J70 tim wilkes

60  boat J70 Class – Photos c Tim Wilkes

 

 

Day 4 – Quantum Key West Race Week 2014

 

 

It’s been said the only certain things in life are death and taxes. Oh, and a full week’s worth of racing in Key West. Time has proven the latter is almost as guaranteed as the two more ominous events, and a heck of a lot more fun!

Quantum Key West 2014 got off to an atypically slow start due to difficult conditions the first couple days, but reliably strong winds off the Conch Republic certainly delivered on Wednesday and Thursday. Organizers with Premiere Racing have crammed six races into the last two days and just like that all three divisions are on the threshold of reaching the regatta goal of 10 for the week.

“Over the course of five days down here, you are going to get your money’s worth,” said event director Peter Craig, who has been overseeing the annual race week off Key West for 21 years now.

Northerly winds ranging from 12 to 16 knots allowed for another three-race day on all courses. Hap Fauth, skipper of the 72-foot racing machine Bella Mente, felt exhilarated as he stepped onto the dock following Thursday’s action.

“We had absolutely fabulous conditions out there today,” Fauth declared. “Anybody who complains about any aspect of this regatta has a screw loose. This is just fantastic sailing.”

Fauth had another reason to be jubilant as Bella Mente has pretty much secured overall victory in IRC 1 class on Thursday. The Minneapolis resident has steered his Judel-Vrolijk to first place in five of nine races in totaling 15 points, three better than runner-up Caol Ila R, a 69-footer owned by Alex Schaerer. With only one race scheduled on Division 1 for Friday, Bella Mente needs only to complete the course in order to win the regatta.

“It’s been really close racing and we’ve had a lot of fun. It’s always nice to come out on top and I give all the credit to the crew. We have a bunch of outstanding sailors and they do a terrific job,” said Fauth, reserving particular praise for tactician John Cutler and strategist Mike Sanderson.

 

KW D4 BM tw

Horizon job by Bella Mente in IRC1 – Photo c Tim Wilkes

 

It’s down to the wire in the 52 Class with Quantum Racing and Ran both capable of winning. Skipper Doug DeVos and the Quantum team posted a superb line of 1-2-1 to take the lead away from Ran, which suffered a fifth in Thursday’s last race. Azzurra, the Italian entry owned by Pablo Roemmers, is 9 ½ points off the lead and thus will not defend its Key West title. (See separate race report earlier).

“You always want to be in the hunt going into the last day. We have put ourselves in good position and now we have to finish,” said Terry Hutchinson, tactician aboard Quantum.

Spookie, the Carkeek 40 skippered by North Sails pro Steve Benjamin, has clinched victory in the High Performance Class. Heidi Benjamin is calling tactics for her husband, who has won five races and placed second or third in the other four in totaling 15 points.

“It’s been terrific racing, very close the entire week. We’ve really battled it out with Decision with most of the finishes just seconds apart. Riot has sailed really well and corrected over both of us today,” Benjamin said. “We’re really happy to win a tough class. The crew did a superb job and Heidi has hit so many shifts the last couple days.”

IRC 3, an extremely competitive 10-boat class with a diverse group of designs, is still up for grabs. Arethusa, a Swan 42 skippered by Phil Lotz, maintained the lead for a second straight day by placing second in the last two races on Thursday. Catapult, a Ker 40 owned by Marc Glimcher of New York, is seven points behind in second. Tonnere de Breskens 3, a Ker 46 campaigned by Peter Vroon of The Netherlands, is just one point behind Catapult.

“It’s really, really close racing, which is what we came here for. We’re having a heck of a lot of fun,” Glimcher said. “Arethusa is very fast and very well-sailed. It’s going to be all-on tomorrow and we’re going out there with the intention of winning.”

 

KW D4 M24 tw

Sportsboat heaven on the azure waters of Key West – Photo c Tim Wilkes

 

After holding first place at the end of racing Monday through Wednesday, skipper Alec Cutler and the Hedgehog team have given up the lead in Melges 32 class. Dalton DeVos, a 22-year-old college student, got the gun in two races on Thursday and is now one point up on Hedgehog. Two-time Olympic medalist Jonathan McKee is calling tactics aboard Delta, which has four wins and two seconds over the last two days.

“It feels really good to be winning the regatta going into the last day. The Hedgehog guys are really good so we know it’s going to be a real fight to stay on top,” DeVos said. “We’ve had great upwind speed the whole regatta and our downwind pace is getting better every day. My crew is just tremendous and Jonathan is doing a great job of keeping us in phase.”

Dave Brennan, principal race officer on Division 2, is hoping to complete two races on Friday. That may not be possible with afternoon winds expected to exceed 20 knots, which might be too much for the J/70s and Melges 24s on the course.

North Sails professional Tim Healy has put forth an impressive performance in J/70 class, largest of the regatta with 60 boats. Healy, the defending class champ in Key West, has placed first or second in five races and counts no lower than a fourth in accumulating 15 points. Savasana, the second place entry skippered by Brian Keane, is a whopping 27 points astern.

Healy won two races on Thursday and finished fourth in the other to earn the Industry Partner Boat of the Day honour. He received the beautiful handcrafted Ship’s Bell Clock trophy from Chelsea Clock. Geoff Becker and John Mollicone are teaming to call tactics while Gordon Borges works the bow aboard Helly Hansen.

“The big takeaway today was that you can’t get too focused on one side of the course. We saw big shifts both ways and there was plenty of pressure on both sides,” Healy said. “Our strategy has been to choose a side, but not be the furthest boat out there. You don’t want to get pushed all the way to the edge.”

Little Wing, the Italian entry owned by Nicola Ardito, has wrapped up the six-boat Melges 24 class – having won every single race so far. Hugo Rocha, a three-time Olympian and 1996 bronze medalist in 470 class for Portugal, is calling tactics on Little Wing.

There figures to be some fireworks in PHRF 1 as four boats are still in contention. Spaceman Spiff, sailed by Rob and Ryan Ruhlman of Cleveland, Ohio, held onto the lead for a second straight day, but is just 1½ points ahead of fellow J/111 Team Fireball (Eddie Fredericks). Teamwork, the J/122 skippered by Robin Team, is coming on strong – having won five of the last six races to get within 2½ points of the lead. Stark Raving Mad, a J/125 owned by James Madden, also has a shot to win.

“It’s a strong class with a lot of good boats and it’s not surprising the regatta has come down to the last race,” said Team, who was regretting a seventh place suffered in Race 8. “We’ve got to go out tomorrow and win the race. That’s all there is to it.”

Skipper Bill Sweetser and the crew on Rush have clinched victory in PHRF 2, posting a steady stream of firsts, seconds and thirds in the seven-boat fleet. Veteran pro Tom Babel called tactics on Rush, which has built an insurmountable lead over fellow J/109 Heat Wave (Gary Weisberg). Sweetser, an Annapolis resident who has been class runner-up in Key West four times, announced he will not race on Friday to avoid a breakdown in the big breeze or fouling another competitor.

Vayu2, a J/80 chartered by Ron Buzil of Chicago, is the runaway winner of the 12-boat J/80 class. Professionals Jahn Tihansky and Andrew Kerr are helmsman and tactician, respectively, aboard Vayu2, which has won six races and placed second in three others in totaling 12 points.

News, results and more photos at www.Premiere-Racing.com

 

By Bill Wagner

 

 

Quantum Racing on the cusp of 2014’s first title

 

Quantum Key West Race Week 52 Super Series

 

 

US 52 Super Series at Quantum Key West 2014

 

Quantum Racing, with team owner Doug DeVos on the helm, now need only a solid final race in the US 52 Super Series at Quantum Key West to clinch the first major regatta title of the 2014 season.

While Quantum Racing composed a strong penultimate day of the five day series, posting a 1,2,1 from the three races sailed in fantastic conditions, their main title rivals Rán Racing and Azzurra had some difficult moments, not least when they both were over the start line early in the last contest.

Quantum Racing streaked away to a big early lead whilst their challengers lost a lot of time re-starting. And an incident at the first mark of the second race, when they were first and second certainly unsettled the Italian flagged team who gybed away to the left, into very light winds which dropped them to a costly sixth place.

DeVos’ crew, with Terry Hutchinson calling tactics partnered by Ed Baird as strategist, by contrast navigated a smooth, accomplished trio of races, bouncing right back after a high scoring Wednesday. With only one race scheduled Friday Quantum Racing have a lead of four points ahead of the world champions Rán Racing. Azzurra’s errors leave them vulnerable to the continued advances of Interlodge who continue to impress with their steady, low scoring consistency. Austin Fragomen’s team which were runners-up here last year are just one point from the podium.

In 15-17kts of NNE’ly breeze Quantum Racing benefited from the left shift on the first beat to lead the first race, but Azzurra lead through the leeward gate and appeared to have a controlling position on the American green and black boat on the final leg, but with slightly better speed and a small right shift DeVos crew were able to gently roll over Azzurra to score their fourth win of the regatta. Interlodge came through on the final stages of the last run to take second in a very close finish which saw four boats overlapped on the line, the close racing enhanced by the short, sharp course which lasted just 44 minutes.

 

Quantum Key West Race Week 52 Super Series
Niklas Zennström’s start to the next race was pin sharp and that was what allowed Rán Racing to only just squeeze around the top mark ahead of Azzurra. The Italian crew launched a protest claiming the Swedish boat had tacked too close and they had been forced into avoiding action. And as they were slowed and rolled by Quantum Racing they gybed way out to the left of the downwind which sailed them into very much lighter breeze, Azzurra rounding the leeward gate a distant and disastrous sixth.

The third race was the most dramatic, even if the wind had eased back to 10-12kts. The three top protagonists were side by side on the line which was biased to the committee boat end. All pushing each other, Quantum Racing was slightly to leeward and ducked in the final two or three seconds, whilst the other two were immediately and clearly signalled over.

Both returned, Rán Racing needing a second attempt to exonerate themselves. Finishing fourth and fifth whilst Quantum Racing and Sled took first and second, the 52 Super Series champions are in a strong position, but as ever their focus is as much on the season long title, and the two regattas US 52 Super Series title, more than winning constituent regatta titles:
DeVos concluded with a smile:

“We are just looking at the whole season and we are just out to keep banging in good results and so that will just be the plan tomorrow.”

Azzurra’s Vascotto acknowledged: “What a day…..what a day. It was a pretty bad day for us. We did not sail well at all today. Unfortunately we did not choose the right sides. We had a forecast for something different. And we push a little to the right all day.”

 

Quantum Key West Race Week 52 Super Series
Standings after 9 of 10 scheduled races:
1. Quantum Racing (USA) Doug DeVos (USA)1,1,1,6,3,4,1,2,1 Total 20pts
2. Rán Racing (SWE), Niklas Zennström (SWE) 2,2,3,4,1,2,4,1,5 Total 24
3. Azzurra (ITA), Guillermo Parada (ARG)  3,3,2,2,4,1,3,6,4 Total 28
4. Interlodge (USA), Austin Fragomen (USA)  4,5,6,1,2,3,2,3,3 Total 29
5. Sled (USA), Takashi Okura (USA 5,4,5,5,6,5,6,4,2 Total 42
6. Hooligan (USA), Gunther Buerman (USA) 6,6,4,3,5,6,5,5,6 Total 46‏
By 52 Super Series, www.52superseries.com

 

Tight racing expected in Olympic skiffs at 2014 Oceanbridge Sail Auckland

 

Thermakraft. Photo: Gareth Cooke/Subzero Alex Maloney and Molly Meech at Oceanbridge Sail Auckland – Photo © Gareth Cooke / Subzero Images

 

 

The quality of racing in both the men’s and women’s Olympic skiff events at 2014 Oceanbridge Sail Auckland is guaranteed to be world class with both fleets featuring not only both reigning world champions but the also men’s silver medallists from the 2013 Worlds, and female 49erFX crews from the Netherlands, Japan and Australia.

Hot young kiwi skiff-sailing talents Alexandra Maloney and Molly Meech, (pictured above competing in 2013) who won the inaugural world title in the class last September in France, have enticed Dutch 49erFX helm Annemeik Bekkering to the southern hemisphere along with two compatriots Claire Blom and Annette Deutz who will likely sail on alternate days with Bekkering.

Bekkering and Blom placed 5th at 2013’s most significant regattas; the 49erFX European and World Championships and are anticipated to provide the locals with some stiff competition. Australia’s Haylee Outteridge and Ella Clark are also coming to Auckland fresh from a medal winning performance at ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne Regatta in December 2013.

A Japanese 49erFX entry further highlights the growing international participation at the regatta. Chika Hatae and Noriko Okuma who placed 13th in the silver fleet at the 2013 49erFX World Championships are also coming to Auckland for the event.

Having the top international crews in town for 2014 Oceanbridge Sail Auckland is exciting for not only Maloney and Meech, but also for the other New Zealand crews competing.

Maloney says; “The opportunities to race at home in New Zealand against quality international sailors don’t come along to often. To have the visiting sailors choosing to come down to Oceanbridge Sail Auckland takes it up a notch for the kiwis, and Molly and I are really looking forward to going racing on February 1st.”

Headlining the men’s 49er skiff are Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, Olympic silver medallists and reigning world champions in the class. Yet despite their formidable talent Burling and Tuke have another kiwi crew hot on their heels, and they’ve managed to dodge the spotlight while securing impressive international results.

Marcus Hansen and Josh Porebski earned themselves selection to the NZL Sailing Team with a sixth place world championship finish back in 2012 both just 19 years old at the time. At last year’s Worlds they secured the 49er World Championship silver medal, and the young guns would no doubt enjoy taking a victory from their senior training partners and NZL Sailing team-mates.

Peter Burling says; “With Marcus and Josh in the fleet regattas like the National Champs and Oceanbridge Sail Auckland are no easy win for Blair and I. They’re young, they’re hungry and they go out there with nothing to lose – they definitely keep us on our toes, which is awesome.”

He continues; “Oceanbridge Sail Auckland is a great regatta. With so many of our major international regattas in the northern hemisphere we really like being able to race here at home, and in front of friends, family and the New Zealand public.”

To follow the action head to sailauckland.org.nz – the up-to-the-minute website features a social media feed where competitors, supporters and volunteers posts using #sailakl on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram will paint a real-time picture of what’s happening on the water.

 

About 2014 Oceanbridge Sail Auckland

Oceanbridge Sail Auckland 2014 will take place at the Royal Akarana Yacht Club from the 1st – 4th February 2014.

The NZL Sailing Team are anticipated to feature strongly in what is the biggest Olympic and Paralympic class regatta in New Zealand, and alongside them will be New Zealand’s top developing youth sailors and keen competitors in a range of invited classes such as the OK Dinghy and A-Class catamaran.

All Olympic and Paralympic class boats are invited to take part: The Laser, Laser Radial, Finn, 470 Men, 470 Women, 49er, 49er FX, RS:X 8.5, RS:X 9.5, Nacra 17, Skud 18, 2.4mR and also other classes are encouraged: the OK Dinghy, 29er, 420, Liberty, Hansa 303, Kiteboards, F18 and A Class Catamaran.

Over four days of racing 11-15 races will take place for each fleet, and the format for all classes will be fleet racing with no medal race. All racing will take place in the Waitemata Harbour, in the surrounds of Rangitoto Island, North Head, Mechanics Bay and Browns Island.

Oceanbridge Sail Auckland is made possible only thanks to the contributions from principle sponsor Oceanbridge, and supporters: Sport New Zealand, Yachting New Zealand, Royal Akarana Yacht Club, Danske Mobler, The Landing and Orakei Marina. Equally important is a team of more than 50 volunteers that are behind the success of this regatta every year.

 

By Jodie Bakewell-White, www.sailauckland.org.nz