Monthly Archives: January 2015

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Four Gold medals already in the bag

 

Finn D5 GBR oi Giles Scott’s winning streak continues – Photo c Ocean Images

 

ISAF Sailing World Cup at Biscayne Bay, Miami

 

 

What could be sweeter than to wrap an Olympic-style event with a medal guaranteed before the Medal Race even starts?

At ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, there’s an answer for that. Having the gold medal itself wrapped up, and extending an 18-month winning streak.

In the Finn class, Giles Scott has 23 points. Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) has 46. Scott could finish 10th out of ten qualifiers in Saturday’s Medal Race, with his closest competitor in first, and still win with points in his pocket.

There have been 599 boats racing on Biscayne these last five days. Scott’s Finn, GBR 41, is not the only one guaranteed to finish in a gold medal position tomorrow. Nacra 17 team Vittorio Bissaro and Silvia Sicouri (ITA), Women’s RS:X dominator Bryony Shaw (GBR) and the breakaway 49erFX Kiwis, Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) join him with gold in the bag.

Seven of ten Olympic classes completed at least one race on Friday in winds varying from very light to dead calm. Days like that are a trial for race officials too—and then there was Yuseila Gonzalez Luis, who fought red tape and time and frustration to be the first Cuban sailor racing under the Cuban flag on Biscayne Bay since long before she was born. The morning began with a cascade of troubles and stumbling blocks, but Gonzalez was suited up and on the water in time to start the only RS:X windsurfing race of the day. She didn’t finish, but she was there. Some victories have to be measured on a personal scale.

The good news for Friday. The wind is coming back.

 

Finn

The story of a gold medal for Britain’s Giles Scott is already written, even if the story of the Medals Race is not. And the battle for silver and bronze will be hot.

Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic of Croatia lifted himself from fourth to second on Friday. “It was not so nice a day for sailing, but it was nice for me,” he said. Gaspic now has 46 points to 47 points for Ioannic Mitakis of Greece. The podium spots are their battle, with only Jake Lilley to watch out for. This rising star is another 11 points back after having his worst day of the week, but still potentially a threat.

It’s remarkable that the Finn class, identified in Olympic-speak as Men’s Heavy, completed two races. A morning start helped. From a booming 7-8 knots at the start of the first race, the breeze dropped to 3-4 knots by the end of the second.

 

 

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Bryony Shaw in dominent form again – Photo c Ocean Images

Women’s RS:X

Across 13 fleet races Bryony Shaw (GBR) finished out of the top five just once, resulting in an early defence of her ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami title.

Shaw has been dominant across the week, mustering such consistency that has been lacking from many sailors score lines in the ten Olympic and three Paralympic events on show in Miami. Shaw is 33 points clear of Lilian de Geus (NED) and a further 14 ahead of Flavia Tartaglini (ITA).

“It’s a great start to the year,” commented Shaw. “Miami has had a really high quality fleet here. It’s been very popular, with the new World Cup format and it was a target event for me. I wanted to start the year on a high.

“We’ve had 30 knot gusts down to some marginal and then today was 5 or 6 knots. It was a range of conditions this week and that really played to my strengths. My downwinds have been exceptional this week. I’ve made some big gains and some big comebacks so I am really pleased.”

Shaw’s victory qualifies her to the 2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup Final set to be held in Abu Dhabi, UAE from 27 October to 1 November. After winning the inaugural edition at the back end of 2014, Shaw likes where the World Cup is heading, “It’s a change for the scene, but it’s a change for the better so we’ll always get some world class racing.

Silver and bronze is yet to be decided. Hayley Chan (HKG) and Olga Maslivets (RUS) are two points off Tartaglini so it’s all on the Medal Race.

 

 

ISAF SAILING WORLD CUP, Miami 2015

Vittorio Bissaro and Silvia Sicouri defend their title – Photo c Walter Cooper

 

Nacra 17

A professional penultimate day performance from Vittorio Bissaro and Silvia Sicouri (ITA) ensure they go into the Medal Race with gold in the bag.

The defending champions ventured into Miami with one aim, to defend their title. Hard graft had been done over the first four days of the regatta, leaving them in a handy position going into the penultimate day.

Bissaro and Sicouri notched up a 2-1 whilst their nearest rivals, Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves (GBR) missed their opportunity to hold on, only managing a ninth and a discarded 21. The Italians ended the day with an unassailable 26 point lead to take the title once again.

Saxton and Groves have a 17 point advantage over Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders (NZL). Not untouchable by any means but Jones and Saunders will more likely have their eyes on Mandy Mulder and Coen de Koning (NED) and Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA) who are within striking distance of the final podium spot.

 

ISAF SAILING WORLD CUP, Miami 2015

Consistency is the key for Alex Maloney and Molly Meech – Photo c Walter Cooper

 

49erFX

Consistent days have been few and far between for the 49erFX fleet. No one has truly grasped the Miami race track and after 15 fleet races, every team counts a triple digit net score.

A 110 point net score isn’t usually one which wins regattas, but for Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) it has proven to be, surprisingly.

They hold an unassailable 50 point lead heading into the Medal Race but will no doubt want to finish strong after a 10-10-20 score line on the penultimate day.

There have been 14 race winners across the five day, 15 race series. Only the Kiwis have picked up a duo of wins. A sign showing that when you read the Miami racing area well, it pays dividends and when you do not, you flounder.

Nonetheless, lessons will be taken away from Miami on the journey to the 2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup Final, which the Kiwis qualify for as event winners.

Although gold is settled, the battle for silver is an intriguing one with one point separating Giulia Conti and Francesca Clapcich (ITA) and Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA). Jena Hansen and Katja Salskov-Iversen (DEN) are 12 points off the podium and in with a shout.

 

Men’s RS:X

Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED) is ten points better off than Thomas Goyard (FRA) heading into the Men’s RS:X Medal Race.

The Dutchman has been his relaxed yet internally focused self in Miami and is primed for victory if he finishes in the top five.

For Goyard, his performance has come as a bit of a surprise for him. Not for vigilant observers, however, who have seen fervent improvements in Goyard across the last 12 months that resulted in a bronze at the Santander 2014 ISAF Worlds.

He holds a good points margin over the fourth placed sailor and bronze is guaranteed, but he is poised to improve on that, “It’s been a really good week for me. I did not expect to be in second but it is a really good result for me,” commented Goyard. “The wind was crazy today. Tricky and shifty. It was tough racing and still, really interesting.

“Everybody has a lot of points currently, even the leader. It’s not usual but it’s been a good regatta.”

The next ISAF Sailing World Cup regatta is a significant one for the French RS:X team, not only because it’s a World Cup regatta as Goyard explained, “The World Cup in Hyères will be really important because it’s part of the selection process for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. It’s important to do good results all throughout the year.”

For now Goyard is concentrating fully on solidifying silver and potentially overthrowing the Dutchman but he’ll have to keep a close eye on Byron Kokkalanis (GRE) who trails him by three.

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Nick Thompson gunning for gold in the Laser – Photo c Ocean Images

 

 

Laser

Nick Thompson of Great Britain is in a lay-up for gold or silver, and so is Philipp Buhl of Germany, only one point behind. Either of them could place 10th in Saturday’s double-points contest and still lead third-place Matthew Wearn of Australia, if only by a squeaker.

Wearn has more to play for. Brazil’s formidable five-time Olympic medalist, Robert Scheidt, is 13 points back. Add one more point, and there is New Zealander Andy Maloney.

Wearn was smarting from his results in the Friday races. A 16th and a 30th meant that he has to keep the 20th place finish in race six that used to be his throwout. That was the context as he said, speaking for a lot of people, probably “It was extremely tricky racing. You think you’re doing well and then the next minute you’re not.

“Usually you go to a regatta and it’s all about boat speed,” he said. “This week was definitely about being smart as well as getting to the right place quickly. Mentally, it’s one of the hardest regattas I’ve ever done.”

 

 

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Marit Bouwmeester back in contention at the top – Photo c Ocean Images

Laser Radial

This Medal Race will be one to watch. Marit Bouwmeester (NED), Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN), and Evi Van Acker (BEL), in that order are separated by only three points.

With such a tight threesome, Van Acker said, “It’s going to be an interesting day.”

The only other Radial sailor with a mathematical chance at a medal is Paige Railey, USA. If she can win the race, she can beat any or all of the top three—if their day turns into a bottom of the pack nightmare.

Railey, a Florida native, called this week of sailing in extremely shifty and unstable winds “probably the most difficult conditions I’ve seen in ten years of sailing here.” With the breeze dropping out of the teens to single digits on Friday, it was close to gruesome, and only a fraction of the scheduled races were completed—and only one Radial race.

“We set up expecting to start in one set of conditions,” Railey said, “and then the race started and we found ourselves in something completely different. All through that race, if you weren’t on the right end of the shift, you couldn’t get to the next one.”

 

 

Women’s 470

What can you say about a race day with no racing?

Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie of New Zealand were the Olympic gold medal winners at the 2012 Games, They’ve been solid since, and they have a handy lead now. Today, that lead did not grow, or shrink.

“We went out and waited for breeze,” Aleh said. “It looked promising a couple of times, and then it didn’t. But the race committee has done a good job through the week, and I think they were right today to not send us off in a race that would have turned into a lottery.”

Only the 2012 silver medalists, Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark, could take the gold medal spot away from Aleh and Powrie, and then, given a 19-point difference, only if the Kiwis stumble badly in a way that they just have not done yet.

The battle for bronze? There are six boats within a 10-point range.

 

Men’s 470

Luke Patience and Elliott Willis of Great Britain are in a position very much like that of the Women’s 470 leaders. Like them, they drifted around for a long day with no result but time lost. They too have a nice lead. They’re ahead by 15 points, and second place is the only team with a shot at them. It could happen, but it would buck the trend. Again, it’s all about the colour of the medal.

That second-place team would be Australians Mat Belcher and Will Ryan, who have a 13-point lead over third and a 15-point lead over fourth. In a dream scenario for those two boats, a nightmare scenario for Belcher and Ryan, they could knock the Kiwis out of silver, or even out of the medals.

Onan Barreiros and Juan Curbelo Cabrera of Spain are in third, two points ahead of a pair of New Zealanders, Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Wilcox, with another points gap behind them.

A striking fact about the top ten boats in the Men’s 470 fleet: Ten countries are represented. In order: Great Britain, New Zealand, Spain, New Zealand Sweden, Greece, South Africa, Russia, France, Japan.

49er

No racing was possible in the 49er with the light breeze playing havoc. The overnight results stand and Nico Delle Karth and Nikolaus Resch (AUT) will take a one point lead over Joel Turner and Iain Jensen (AUS) into the Medal Race.

Spanish brothers Carlos and Anton Paz are 14 points off the leaderboard with John Pink and Stuart Bithell (GBR) two points off of them and Jonas Warrer and Anders Thomsen (DEN) three off.

In all likelihood, it’ll be a duel between the top two with the Spaniards fending off the medal chasers.

 

Paralympic Events

The Paralympic events came to a light wind conclusion in Miami with no racing possible.

Results from overnight stand with the medals confirmed.

Norway’s Bjornar Erikstad claimed only his second ISAF Sailing World Cup gold medal in Miami, remaining in control across the seven 2.4mR races. Erikstad’s rivals were either inconsistent or picked up penalties that affected their scores.

Megan Pascoe (GBR) and Allan Leibel (CAN) were on the course side in what turned out to be the final race of the regatta the day prior. Discarding that score ensured they counted their next big score, thus promoting Erikstad and leaving them in silver and bronze medal position respectively.

Dan Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch (AUS) made it two ISAF Sailing World Cup SKUD18 victories in a row in Miami. The pair won the Melbourne edition in December and facing new foes, they claimed another scalp.

Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell (GBR) take silver whilst bronze goes to Marco Gualandris and Marta Zanetti (ITA).

A double bullet penultimate day advanced Aleksander Wang-Hansen, Per Eugen Kristiansen and Marie Solberg (NOR) to the top of the leader board. With no racing on the final day, those victories proved crucial as they took Miami gold for the fourth time.

Alphonsus Doerr, Brad Kendell and Hugh Freund (USA) pick up silver whilst Paul Tingley, Logan Campbell and Scott Lutes (CAN) take bronze.

Racing is scheduled to commence at 11:00 local time on Saturday 31 January as the Medal Races bring the regatta to a close.

 

Full results can be found here.

 

 

Joining up the gusts

 

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Vittorio Bissaro & Silvia Sicouri (ITA) held firm – Photo c Walter Cooper / US Sailing

 

 

ISAF Sailing World Cup at Biscayne Bay, Miami

 

 

Once again, it was a case of joining up the shifts on all six racecourses in the Bay of Biscayne on the fourth day of the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Miami.

 

Nacra 17

Vittorio Bissaro and Silvia Sicouri (ITA) held firm in the Nacra 17 to maintain their lead over Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves (GBR) and Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA).

The Italians celebrated their first ISAF Sailing World Cup gold medal in Miami 12 months ago and returned with the one aim – to defend.

They are on track to achieve their goal and were full of smiles after racing, “We are happy because it’s been a very tricky week,” commented Bissaro. “We’ve been consistent in most races and that’s why we’re still leading. There are three races and a Medal Race left so we don’t want to lose our good mood and we’ll look to stay consistent until the end of the regatta.”

Sicouri added, “We won our first ISAF event here last year. We want to do the same again this year. This event is very important because the Olympic Games are in just one and a half years. This Miami fleet is very strong and everybody wants to beat everybody so from now on each race is going to be very important.”

Two points clear of Saxton and Groves, the job is far from a given. Three vital races remain and then it’s down to Saturday’s deciding Medal Race.

 

FX D4 NZL fb

Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) hold a mammoth 56 point lead in the 49erFX

49erFX

Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) hold a mammoth 56 point lead in the 49erFX. It’s still mathematically possible for them to lose their lead – but it’s hard to bet against the 2013 World Champions losing such an advantage.

Below the breakaway Kiwis, there’s a real ding dong battle forming for the remaining podium positions. Nine points separate second to sixth. Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth (GBR) sit second whilst Giulia Conti and Francesca Clapcich (ITA) occupy third.

The Italians finished runners up at the 2014 edition and are battling for a medal once again. Conti and Clapcich were first ashore after racing – helped by being the first across the finish line in the final race of the day. A fourth and a seventh preceded their bullet which won them the day and Conti was in a buoyant mood after racing, “Miami is nice and warm, it’s good and it was to escape a European winter,” she joked.

Three further races will be decide the Medal Race places, in which a real dogfight will be on the cards if the points remain similar at this stage on Friday.

 

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A game of snakes & ladders in the 49ers – Photo c Ocean Images

 

49er

It’s a good old fashion game of snakes and ladders in the 49er with a new leader at the end of the fourth day.

Nico Delle Karth and Nikolaus Resch (AUT) were the only team to finish in the top ten three times in a row. A 7-8-2 has enabled them to advance to the leading position.

Australia’s Joel Turner and Iain Jensen are just one point behind the Austrians, in contention, waiting patiently to pounce. Spanish brothers Carlos and Anton Paz are in third, 14 points off the top.

Early leaders Diego Botin and Iago Lopez (ESP) have dropped further down the leader board following another day at the back of the pack.

 

470 Women

The rich got richer in the Women’s 470 fleet, where the familiar series leaders had a 1-3 day to further tighten their grip on first. That would be the 2012 Olympic gold medalists from New Zealand, Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie, who are sitting on the enviable scoreline of 2-2-1-(7)-1-1-3. Pressure outweighed direction shifts, in Powrie’s thinking, but shifts were nothing to ignore, Aleh said, “Get both right and you were really looking good.

“There was a lot of close racing,” Aleh said. “We had downwind legs where the whole fleet was right there.”

Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark of Great Britain, silver medalists at the 2012 Games, are 13 points back, with a 10-point margin over Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntire. Also from the UK, Weguelin and McIntire have the Japanese duo of Ai Kondo Yoshida and Miho Yoshioka breathing down their necks.

 

470 Men

Men’s 470 results echoed Women’s 470 results, with the rich getting richer. In this case, it was 2012 silver medalist Luke Patience and crew Elliot Willis (GBR) sailing a throw-out 18th and keeping a race eight first.

Patience won his 2012 silver medal with Stuart Bithell. The new team of Patience and Willis wrapped up the European 470 Championship in 2014 with races to spare, and this pair from the UK are in form again.

Australians Mat Belcher and Will Ryan are 9 points back and still in touch. Then it’s an 18-point jump to Onan Barreiros and Juan Curbelo Cabrera of Spain.

 

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 Giles Scott in command in the Finn class – Photo c Ocean Images

Finn

On a 3-1 day, Giles Scott, the Finn class leader who hasn’t lost a regatta in 18 months, doubled his lead. The way he saw the racecourse, he said, “The right was stronger than the left, but there were routes out of the left. It was an oscillating day with bands of pressure, a shift and position day.”

It was, he said, about “joining up the gusts.”

Scott is 18 points ahead of Australian Jake Lilley and 18 points ahead of Ioannis Mitakis of Greece, with one more day of racing before the double-points Medals Race on Saturday.

Scott’s fellow Briton, Ed Wright, had a 5-12 day and took it a bit harder. “If I was left,” he said, “it went right. If I was right, it went left. It’s a shame I picked up an RTD [Retired] earlier in the week or I’d be looking good now.”

Race seven started the day and went to Croatia’s Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic, who “got a clear lane after the start and kept on the right hand side. At some moments it didn’t look so nice, but patience paid and I rounded the top mark just ahead of the fleet. On the downwind I got a bit of distance and then just controlled to the finish.”

The cut to make the top 10 is tight in the Finn fleet, with four boats close on points and another group not to be ruled out.

 

 Las D4 GBR wcNick Thompson takes the lead in the Lasers – Photo c Walter Cooper

 

Laser

Britain’s Nick Thompson, who says that his favourite boat is the foiling Moth, is doing nicely here in a Laser, in contact with the surface of the water. The former youth world champion leads the 106-boat fleet with an eight-point margin going into the final day of racing ahead of Saturday’s double points Medal Race. In second place, Philipp Buhl of Germany has burned his throw-out race of a 34th, so he has more to lose than Thompson (a 12th to throw out) if the wheels fall off on Friday. Behind them are serious threats still within range and it remains a difficult racecourse.

 

 Rad D4 DEN wcDenmark’s Anne-Marie Rindon remains in the lead in the Radials – Photo c Walter Cooper

 

Laser Radial

Denmark’s Anne-Marie Rindon had the lowest finishes of the top three Radial sailors today, but that didn’t knock her off the top of the leaderboard. An 11-14 day means that she is now eating an 11th and discarding the 14th.

The day’s results tightened things up, with second and third both in striking range. Evi Van Acker of Belgium is only five points back. Marit Bouwmeester is only two points behind that.

The hard-luck story of the day was Annalise Murphy from Ireland, who was amongst the leaders until a 35th in race eight. “It was hard to know where you had to be,” she said, and left it at that.

 

Men’s RS:X

It was mixed days all around for the Men’s RS:X fleet with high scores afoot for many of the fleet.

London 2012 Olympic gold medallist Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED) grabbed the lead from Thomas Goyard (FRA) in spite of an up and down day. When he was up, he was up – securing an opening race bullet ahead of Byron Kokkalanis (GRE) which was then backed up by a sixth. When he was down, he was down – finishing back in 22nd, which he now discards.

Although his day was somewhat back and forth, his competitors experienced similar results, thus leaving the Dutchman with a three point advantage over Goyard. Kokkalanis’ daily string of 2-1-15 leaves him seven points off the top.

Italy’s Daniele Benedetti had something to prove to himself in the final race of the day after he was black flagged and scored over the line in the first two races. Perhaps it was his freshness on a warm Miami day that gave him an advantage but Benedetti grasped the lead early on and never looked back, taking the gun. Benedetti sits in 12th.

 

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Bryony Shaw in control in the Women’s RS:X – Photo c Walter Cooper

 

Women’s RS:X

Bryony Shaw (GBR) has solidified her position at the top of the Women’s RS:X leader board, adding another race win to her impressive tally of four. Shaw is 21 points clear of Lilian de Geus (NED) and firmly in control, ready to defend the title she won one year ago.

Flavia Tartaglini (ITA) occupies third overall with Hayley Chan (HKG) two points behind.

 

 

Paralympic Events

Bjornar Erikstad (NOR) is now leading the way in the 2.4mR after his three main rivals were all on the course side in the final race of the day. He leads on 16 points with Megan Pascoe (GBR) second on 17 points.

ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne winners Dan Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch (AUS) remain in the lead in the SKUD18. Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell (GBR) are second whilst Marco Gualandris and Marta Zanetti (ITA) are third.

Aleksander Wang-Hansen, Per Eugen Kristiansen and Marie Solberg (NOR) grabbed the Sonar lead with both hands after a double bullet day. They are a point clear of Alphonsus Doerr, Brad Kendell and Hugh Freund (USA).

 

Racing is scheduled to resume at 10:00 on Friday 30 January as the Medal Race places will be decided.

 

Results are available at www.sailing.org/worldcup/results/index.php

 

 

More shifts and gusts make for testing sailing

 

N17 D3 fleet

 

ISAF Sailing World Cup in Miami

 

 

Three classes produced back-to-back race winners on a day of multiple shifts and cold winds on Biscayne Bay.

Wednesday was the third of six days of racing for ten Olympic classes. Top qualifiers will sail a Medal Race on Saturday. Competitors in three Paralympic classes will conclude their racing on Friday.

 

Men’s 470

A second win in six races settled Luke Patience and Elliot Willis of Great Britain into a six-point lead in their 44-boat fleet. With four more races scheduled before Saturday’s Medals Race, Patience and Willis have scores of 1-2-(5)-4-3-1 to a count of 5-1-2-(12)-2-7 for second placed Mat Belcher and crew Will Ryan (AUS). The six-point delta allows for discarding worst scores. Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis (GRE) dropped out of their leadership position (two firsts on Tuesday) and now are looking at (25)-4-1-1-8-10 for third place.

 

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Luke Patience and Elliot Willis hold the lead – Photo c Ocean Images

 

Women’s 470

The London 2012 gold medalists Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL), aka Team Jolly, tightened their grip on the lead in the Women’s 470 with a pair of firsts, demonstrating that there must be an answer to the dilemma of a dicey racecourse. “We’re sort of getting used to the wind being up and down and shifty,” Aleh said.

She offered, “If you can’t pick the right place to be on the racecourse, try to not pick the wrong place. We didn’t always have the best start or the best first leg, but we would keep chipping away until we could look around and say, Oh, we’re in front. We’ll take it.”

Team Jolly, sailing out of Auckland, New Zealand, has placings of 2-2-1-(7)-1-1. The London 2012 silver medalists, Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark of Great Britain, are nine points back at 6-1-(7)-1-3-5.

Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntire, also of Great Britain, are in third, another ten points back.

 

49er

Diego Botin and Iago Lopez’s (ESP) overnight 14 point lead was shattered by a culmination of bad results and tight performances from their rivals.

John Pink and Stuart Bithell (GBR) and Joel Turner and Iain Jensen (AUS) kept things together, remaining at the front of the pack and now share the lead on 42 points. But for Botin and Lopez, a U flag penalty, a tenth and an 18th allowed the British and Australian teams to advance, leaving them one point behind.

For Turner and Jensen, their short term partnership, is a one off for Miami with Jensen’s usual helm Nathan Outteridge missing out for personal reasons.

“It’s the first time I’ve sailed the 49er without Nathan for a long time,” said Jensen. “Joel’s doing great and he’s picking some clever shifts out there and we’re doing a lot better than we expected considering we only had three days in the boat together before this.”

Routine, rhythm and reliability are three buzz words for Outteridge and Jensen. The pair sailed together as teenagers, winning the ISAF Youth Worlds, and a partnership in the 49er was inevitable.

 

49erFX

When those around you all discard 41 points from a DNF or a DNC, the odds will always be stacked in your favour. That’s the case for Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) who have opened up a 25 point lead in the 49erFX.

The Kiwis were just one of eight teams to complete the single race on the first day and they are reaping the rewards. Their discard is a 21 and they hold a comfortable advantage after nine races.

Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) are second overall on 62 points whilst Nina Keijzer and Claire Blom (NED) sit third on 90 points.

Maloney and Meech certainly won’t be resting on their laurels with six fleet races and Saturday’s Medal Race ahead of them but things are certainly going their way.

 

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Testing day for the 49er FX fleet – Photo c Ingrid Abery

Finn

It was Ioannis Mitakis day in the Finn fleet on Biscayne Bay today.

Mitakis, who represented Greece in the 2012 Olympic Games and won the European Finn Championship the same year—leading the Medal Race start to finish—today took back-to-back firsts. Fleet leader Giles Scott of Great Britain faded.

Faded, but not far enough to cost Scott the lead that he hopes will keep an 18-month winning streak intact.

With a worst score of sixth to discard, Scott now has finishes of 1-1-1-5-4-(6). Computing throw-out races, he has a five-point lead over Jake Lilley of Australia and a 12-point lead over Mitakis. Anything can happen, but Lilley is carrying a 22nd as his discard. Another bad race would probably sink him below the podium. It’s game faces all around.

 

Laser

If others demonstrated that it is possible to win two race back-to-back on a wacky race course, five-time Olympic medalist Robert Scheidt of Brazil demonstrated that the best can stumble. He won his first race of the day, then burned his throw-out race on a 27th.

Scheidt’s closest competition, Australian Matthew Wearn, went with him and burned his throw-out on a 20th.

Neither of the two leaders can afford another bad race. Scheidt has a seven-point cushion over Wearn, but Germany’s Philipp Buhl is only one point behind Wearn, and only four points separate him from Julio Alsogaray of Argentina and Nick Thompson of Great Britain.

 

Laser Radial

Denmark’s Anne-Marie Rindom took two bullets today. She was 13th at the 2012 Olympics and seventh at the 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championship in Santander.

Allowing for a throw-out race apiece, Rindom is now in first with a four-point lead over Annalise Murphy of Ireland and a 12-point lead over the Santander winner from the Netherlands, Marit Bouwmeester.

Murphy, known for liking a big breeze, took advantage of a big-breeze day at the Worlds in Santander to qualify Ireland for the Laser Radial class in the Rio de Janeiro Olympiad of 2016.

 

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A wave of gold – Photo c Walter Cooper / US Sailing

Men’s RS:X

Consistency was at a premium for the first day of gold fleet racing in what was an up and down day for all.

Only the second placed Nick Dempsey (GBR) put together a trio of top ten finishes, 8-8-3, whilst those around him finished out of the top ten at least once.

It’s still France atop of the leader board, but with a new face lighting the path ahead. Overnight leader Louis Giard (FRA) has dropped to fourth whilst Thomas Goyard (FRA) claimed a 12-4-2 which is enough for a slender one point lead over Dempsey.

Dorian Van Rijsselberge (NED) took out the first bullet of the day and is third overall. The remaining victories went the way of Byron Kokkalanis (GRE) who is in seventh and the 14th placed Mattia Camboni (ITA).

 

Women’s RS:X

Two wins and a second is a perfect day for some but not for 2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup Final gold medallist Bryony Shaw (GBR).

On the face of it, the Briton dominated the day but in her words, “It’s strange, it didn’t feel like a perfect day out there. I made a lot of mistakes actually. It was really shifty and puffy and I think it was my awareness, especially on the downwinds that really pulled me through.”

Shaw, the defending champion, is firmly in control. She is 17 points clear of the second placed Olga Maslivets (RUS) and is carrying a superb 2014 conclusion forward into the New Year, “I feel like this [leading in Miami] is momentum from winning in Abu Dhabi at the end of last year and the event we had in Rio. It’s nice to come out here and put on a good show.

 

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Kiwis Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders lose ground – Photo c Ingrid Abery

 

Nacra 17

It’s a high scoring affair in the Nacra 17 with consistency a rarity in a highly competitive fleet.

Defending Miami champions Vittorio Bissaro and Silvia Sicouri (ITA) and Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves (GBR) share the lead on 50 points. The teams recorded two scores outside the top ten with one top ten finish.

Anything can happen in the 49-boat fleet and early front runners Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders (NZL) fell victim to a 29-14-28 day that sees them drop to seventh. Not helped by a late night disqualification after a jury hearing the pair count all three scores and are 36 points off the top.

 

Paralympic Events

There’s a tussle at the top in the 2.4mR between Megan Pascoe (GBR), Helena Lucas (GBR) and Bjornar Erikstad (NOR) with one point of separation. An intriguing two days is ahead with four more races to decide the winner.

Dan Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch (AUS) are on track to make it two ISAF Sailing World Cup Regatta wins in a row with a two point lead over Marco Gualandris and Marta Zanetti (ITA) in the SKUD18. Defending champions Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell (GBR) complete the podium after six races.

In the Sonar, Alphonsus Doerr, Brad Kendell and Hugh Freund (USA) and John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas (GBR) are tied atop on 11 points.

 

Results are available at www.sailing.org/worldcup/results/index.php

Shifts, Pressure and Finding Rhythm

 

ISAF SAILING WORLD CUP, Miami 2015

Nacra 17 fleet – Photo Walter Cooper / US Sailing

 

ISAF Sailing World Cup at Miami

The second day offered a steady diet of breeze in the teens, the allure of a sun-drenched Biscayne Bay, and the kinetic beauty of boats in ten Olympic and three Paralympic sailing classes being put to their best and highest purpose.

We’re still early in a regatta scheduled for six days of racing, including a Medal Race on Saturday for top-ten qualifiers.

 

Nacra 17

In their first trip to Miami, Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders (NZL) have brought their game faces.

The masters of control in the opening day’s big breeze backed up their bright start with a 1-2-7 to solidify their position at the top of the fleet.

Their secret in Monday’s madness, “Our advantage was to have a much taller and bigger crew on the wire as it was single trapezing,” explained Jones. “That was our advantage downwind but we sailed well upwind as well.”

With Jones at the helm and the 6’1” Saunders in front of her, it proved to be a winning formula as she continued, “Yesterday we had pretty good speed, we didn’t have good starts but we took some pretty huge shifts upwind and that put us in a pretty good position round the top mark and then chipped away for the rest of the racing.”

The Kiwis have always been in the top group at Nacra 17 competitions but are yet to back it up with a podium finish. Whilst that may be in the back of their mind, with nine fleet races remaining ahead of Saturday’s Medal Race the Kiwis will be sticking to their usual pre-sail routine for Wednesday’s trio of races, “We’ll just start again, get a nice sleep in, cruise on down, check the boat is good and then launch an hour before racing. It’s a really high level fleet and the racing is really good.”

The day’s other race wins went the way of Renee Groeneveld and Steven Krol (NED) who are 11th overall and Ben Saxton and Hannah Diamond (GBR) who are seven points off the Kiwi leaders.

ISAF SAILING WORLD CUP, Miami 2015

Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders (NZL) – Photo c Walter Cooper / US Sailing

 

Laser Radial

With first starts in the afternoon, in decreasing winds, the two divisions of women sailing Laser Radials “hoped to get in three races,” said Ireland’s Annalise Murphy, “but we just ran out of time.”

Long shadows were spreading over the boat park at the Olympic Training Site as Murphy de-rigged. She described the day’s competition as, “Pretty difficult. Winds 5 to 15 and really shifty. We saw some 60-degree shifts, and that is rather stressful racing. If you’re leading, you can easily drop a lot of the fleet. If you’re behind, the lottery just might go your way.”

Murphy at 2-2-(5)-3 is presently second in the standings to Denmark’s Anne-Marie Rindom, 3-(5)-1-1. Belgium’s Evi Van Acker is third with scores of (7)-3-3-5. There are 79 Laser Radials, broken into two divisions.

“On a tricky day,” Murphy said, it feels good to get consistent, high finishes. A sixth and a fourth today qualify, and the fact is, the breeze is tricky but slightly predictable. If it goes hard left, it’s most likely to go back hard right. The question, is how long do you wait? “The thing is to go up the middle and don’t get locked out on either side.”

 

 

ISAF SAILING WORLD CUP, Miami 2015

Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie out in front in the 470 – Photo c Walter Cooper

 

Women’s 470

Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie came to Miami as favorites, and so far, they’re living the role. You have to love a pair who meld into Team Jolly. 420 class world champions and gold medalists for New Zealand in the 470 at the London Games in 2012, they are “on track for Rio” as either of them will tell you.

After two days in a fleet of 29, Team Jolly is sitting on scores of 2-2-1-(7) and a three-point lead over Great Britain’s Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark. Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntire, also GBR, are another seven points back in a tight grouping with boats from Russia, Japan and Slovenia.

Mills and Clark are a case in point of what it takes to compete at this level, beyond the relentless physical training and hours and days and weeks in the boat. “I would guess almost a fourth of our time is spent making up ropes, preparing and polishing the boat before any big regatta. And it’s not just our boat that needs the love. We make sure we have a spares bag made up with almost anything we can think of that we would be able to change or fix on the water, just in case. If we didn’t have spares on the water in the coach boat, we would have to go ashore to sort out problems, and miss races.” explains Mills

Men’s 470

Panagiotis Mantis and crew Pavlos Kaglias of Greece lead the Men’s 470 standings, but the banana peel under their heel takes the form of a throw-out used in the opening race. They look good on scores of (25)-4-1-1 but cannot afford another bad result.

Two hungry teams are only one and two points back, respectively, and they could better afford a bad race in the coming days. Britain’s Luke Patience and Elliot Willis wrapped Tuesday with scores of 1-2-(5)-4 followed by Australian’s Mat Belcher and Will Ryan at 5-1-2-(12). Behind them, it’s an eight-point jump to fourth.

 

49erFX

New Zealand’s Alex Maloney and Molly Meech were left somewhat disappointed as they returned ashore after four 49erFX races with a handy advantage at the top of the leader board.

For many a 2-2-5-9 scoreline would be a day of work well done. But for Maloney, the ninth, which they discard, left her visibly frustrated, “We had a good downwind, gybing in pressure,” explained Maloney, “but I probably took it a little bit too far and gybed a bit too many times near the finish and we lost a few boats.

“It was a tricky out there, a head out of the boat type of day. We’ll learn from the mistakes we made today. Hopefully we’ll improve on that but all in all it was a pretty consistent day.”

The day prior the Kiwis were one of eight boats to complete the single 49erFX race in the big Miami breeze. With their nearest rivals counting hefty scores, the Kiwis are the only team with single digit scores and subsequently lead Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) by 17 points.

The day’s victories were spread four ways. Third placed Leonie Meyer and Elena Christine Stoffers (GER) claimed the opening win with Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth (GBR), Jena Hansen and Katja Salskov-Iversen (DEN) and Ida Marie Nielsen and Marie Thusgaard Olsen (DEN) all claiming bullets.

49er

Consistency is king in sailing and after two days of racing, Diego Botin and Iago Lopez (ESP) are a fine example.

From six races they hold a trio of race wins, a pair of twos and a discarded eighth. Their score of seven points leaves them 14 clear of David Gilmour and Rhys Mara (AUS).

With six races down, 49er qualification is done and dusted. The top 29 teams now advance to gold fleet racing where the competition and fight for points will heat up.

Botin and Lopez’s advantage is a healthy one but as shown at the 2014 editions of World Cup Mallorca and Hyères, Botin struggles when it comes down to gold fleet racing. Only time will tell.

At the cut off mark Julien d’Ortoli and Noe Delpech (FRA), Yago Lange and Nicolas Aragones (ARG) and Canada’s Michael Brodeur and Daniel Inkpen all sneaked in to the gold fleet by a narrow two points.

Men’s RS:X

After the conclusion of the six race qualification series, there is very little separating the top Men’s RS:X sailors.

France’s Louis Giard holds on to his overnight lead but with three days of gold fleet racing ahead of him, he will be under no false pretences that the work is done. Eleven points split places first to eighth with Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED), defending Miami Champion Byron Kokkalanis (GRE) and Nick Dempsey (GBR) breathing down Giard’s neck.

One of the biggest smiles of the day on the race course came from youngster Mattia Camboni (ITA). The 2013 RS:X Youth World Champion put in a hard fought performance in the fifth race of the yellow fleet. Working his sail hard on the run to the finish the Italian stormed to the race victory ahead of Ricardo Santos (BRA) and Nimrod Mashich (GBR).

 
RSXW D2 GBR oi

Bryony Shaw back in the lead – Photo c Ocean Images

Women’s RS:X

Defending Miami Champion Bryony Shaw (GBR) showcased her skillset once again in the Miami sun, advancing to top spot following three top results. A fourth, a bullet and a fifth give her a one point advantage over Russia’s Olga Maslivets and a two point advantage over Lilian de Geus (NED).

The leading trio shared the race wins between them but it’s Shaw’s consistency that ultimately sees her top the billing.

Finn

Giles Scott stumbled all the way to fifth in race four, but that did not alter the Finn class story line. Britain’s gold medal hope, who has not lost a regatta in eighteen months, now has scores of 1-1-1-(5) and a lead of three points over Australian Jake Lilley—and Lilley has already used his throw-out.

Having come in as the obvious favourite, Scott is inevitably in the spotlight. But he’s a realist. “People ask me about my form,” he says. “It was great to go last year unbeaten, but, ultimately is kind of means nothing.”

Not when, really, it’s all about Rio, 2016.

The World Junior Champion is also faring well in his first year in senior competition. Anders Pedersen of Norway is fourth overall after a 4-9 day. He said, “Today’s racing was tough. It was very shifty and up and down in pressure. The first race for me was good. I had a good start and got the flow. The second was difficult. I lost the wind half way up the first beat, and got knocked out of rhythm. The rest of the race was a struggle to hang onto the fleet.”

As for the shift from Junior to a Senior, “The perspective hasn’t changed that much, really. My goal is to do well in the Olympics. It’s good to feel that I am fighting with ‘the big guys.’ ”

At 2-3-(26)-1, Lilley is, yes, three points out of first, but those are a big three points, and another bad race would really hurt. Great Britain’s Ed Wright has been consistent at 3-(7)-6-6, but this is a unique fleet where, for the last 18 months, consistent high place finishes have not been enough.

Forty boats. It’s lonely at the top.

 
ISAF SAILING WORLD CUP MIAMI 2015

Finn fleet led by Giles Scott (GBR) – Photo c Walter Cooper

Laser

Brazil’s five-time Olympic medalist, Robert Scheidt, owned the course today along with Western Australian Matthew Wearn. Sailing in separate divisions of the 107-boat fleet, each won a race. After five races, Scheidt leads the standings with scores of 2-(4)-2-3-1. Wearn looks good to go the distance at (7)-7-1-1-2

Nick Thompson of Great Britain likewise looks good at 6-4-2-(10)-1, and behind Thompson comes Jean Baptiste-Bernaz, who has burned his throw-out with 37 points in race five.
Racing is scheduled to commence at 10:00 hrs local time on Wednesday 28 January as the regatta nears the midway point.

 

Results are available here – www.sailing.org/worldcup/results/index.php

 

 

Fleet stream into Sanya to complete leg 3

 

L3 Fin DF vf
Photo © Victor Fraile / Volvo Ocean Race

 

Volvo Ocean Race Leg finish in Sanya

 

At just past 0731 local time (2331 UTC), Dongfeng crossed the finish on a glorious Sanya morning just after daybreak, some 45nm clear of second-placed Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR).

Walker went on to guide Azzam to a comfortable runners-up spot to follow their third place in Abu Dhabi from Leg 2 and pronounced himself very satisfied with a performance which keeps his team firmly on track, only one point adrift of the new leaders.

“We learned an awful lot in this leg,” he told a news conference. “And that will serve us well in the future of the race.”

 

L3 2nd AD rt

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing crosses in 2nd – Photo c Rick Tomlinson

 

Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA) also had plenty of positives to pull from their first podium place in a leg after they had started their entire campaign with victory in the Alicante in-port race.

The Rhode Islander concedes his young crew are still on a learning curve, especially compared with old hands like Walker and Bekking, who boast crews that have sailed many, many more miles together.

“We simply gelled a lot better on this leg,” he told reporters, before explaining: “We’re developing our relationships and finding efficiencies and starting to click more and more as we go along.”

 

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Team Alvimedica finishes on the podium for the first time – Photo c Amoury Ross

 

 

Little consolation

For Bekking there was no such consolation to find after being pipped by Mapfre (Xabi Fernández) into fifth spot; not the follow-up he was looking for after winning the previous leg into Abu Dhabi in such fine style.

Asked by a local reporter to describe his performance in three words, he could only find two that did the job adequately: “Bloody hopeless.”

Fernández, in contrast, had every reason to be quietly satisfied with his job as stand-in for Iker Martínez who skipped the leg to concentrate on pre-Rio Olympic training in Miami, but will be back at the helm for the next stage to Auckland from February 8.

“We sailed the boat better and better and I hope we’re going to make more opportunities (to get on the podium in a leg) in the future,” he said.

Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR) brought the eventful leg to a conclusion later on Tuesday.

For the British skipper and her crew, it has been a stage full of promise and rising impatience to build on the daily experience they are gaining in future legs.

“We know that we still need to improve, but we feel that even in this second half of the leg we have moved forward and we are confident that we can keep gaining on our performance in Leg 4,” she said in a message to her team from the boat.

 

The fourth leg, from Sanya to Auckland, New Zealand (5,264 nm), begins Feb. 8 with an ETA of Feb. 25-Mar. 5.

Leg 3 Results

1. Dongfeng Race Team, Charles Caudrelier (FRA), finished, 23d 13h 31m 38s
2. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR), finished, 23d 16h 50m 30s
3. Team Alvimedica, Charlie Enright (USA), finished, 23d 17h 51m 15s
4. Mapfre, Iker Martinez (ESP), finished, 23d 18h 23m 20s
5. Team Brunel, Bouwe Bekking (NED), finished, 23d 18h 25m 10s
6. Team SCA, Sam Davies (GBR), finished, 24d 02h 41m 45s
7. Team Vestas Wind, Chris Nicholson (AUS), Did not start

 

Overall Standings

1. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), 2-2-1 = 5 points
2. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (UAE), 1-3-2 = 6
3. Team Brunel (NED), 3-1-5 = 9
4. Team Alvimedica (TUR/USA), 5-4-3 = 12
5. Mapfre (ESP), 7-4-4 = 15
6. Team SCA (SWE), 6-6-6 = 18
7. Team Vestas Wind (DNK), 4-8-8 = 20

 

www.volvooceanrace.com

 

 

Mark Chisnell reviews the fourth and final week of action in Leg 3 as Dongfeng Race Team recorded a famous victory. The first Chinese boat to win a leg of the race did it in style, leading by an impressive margin into their home port, and taking the overall lead. This is how the final moves unfolded.

Read Mark Chisnell’s full blog post here…

 

 

All seasons in one day 

 

ISAF SAILING WORLD CUP, Miami 2015

 

 

ISAF Sailing World Cup in Miami

 

 

It’s easy to explain the opening day of racing at ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, presented by Sunbrella. It was sunny and bright then It was storming and raining sideways.

Numerous challenges were posed to the competitors in wet and windy day of action. Racing commenced shortly after 10:00 hrs local time with a confirmed number of 856 sailors from 63 nations competing across the ten Olympic and three Paralympic events.

 

Men’s 470

Perennial threats Luke Patience and crew Elliot Willis (GBR) comfortably topped a fleet of 45 entries in the 470 class, on a challenging day, with scores of first and second.

As in other fleets, the people at or near the top of the leaderboard were grateful to be just that. Australian 470 skipper Mat Belcher figured, “The job was to get around the course. We were happy with a first and a fifth and a boat that was still working. We have the whole week to make points.” Perhaps it is fair to add, Belcher was busy gluing and screwing new parts onto his “still working” mast as he spoke.

And Belcher has earned whatever confidence he can muster. A five time world champion – all in a row – he and crew Will Ryan won the inaugural ISAF Sailing World Cup Final title in Abu Dhabi, UAE, in November.

Asenathi Jim and Roger Hudson of the Republic of South Africa stand second off a 4-6 day, followed by the French threat of Sofian Bouvet and Jeremie Mion, 3-8. They’re the defending champions. At this regatta one year ago, Bouvet and Mion broke a seventeen-regatta winning streak that Belcher and Ryan had been riding

 

 

Women’s 470

In the Women’s 470 racing, London 2012 gold medalists Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie of New Zealand, had just made it around the gybe mark of race one, Aleh said, when the squall hit.

“We looked back and the blast was fairly flattening the fleet. You wanted to ask, where did everybody go? But we got the kite down, we stayed on our feet and we made some nice gains.”

The day wrapped up with Aleh and Powrie leading the standings off a pair of seconds.

Two top British teams, Hannah Mills/Saskia Clark and Sophie Weguelin/Elidh McIntyre, won a race apiece and stand second and third, respectively.

“The team of the moment,” in the words of a close series observer, fared less well. That would be Austria’s Lara Vadlau and crew Jolanta Ogar The 2014 World and World Cup champions presently stand ninth off finishes of 15th and 16th – remarkably consistent, but down the fleet.

 

Nacra 17

Taming the Nacra 17 beast came as a challenge to many of the 49-boat mixed Multihull fleet. With gusts hitting the 30 knot mark, thrills and spills were inevitable and that was certainly the case with as many as 26 boats either unable to finish the second race or deciding enough was enough in advance of the start.

A night of boat work and maintenance will be in order for several of the competitors whilst leaders Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders (NZL), Vittorio Bissaro and Silvia Sicouri (ITA) and Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA) will all rest easy after a job well done from three races.

 

49erFX

Like the Nacra 17 sailors, the Women’s Skiff competitors in the 49erFX also found the Miami breeze extremely tough to handle.

Of the 40 teams, just eight of them successfully worked their way around the course to complete the single race of the day.

Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) are two of the most experienced 49erFX competitors around, with well over two years of boat experience behind them. With a range of knowledge behind them they comprehensively claimed the day’s race win by more than a minute.

Nina Keijzer and Claire Blom (NED) came through in second with ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne winners Tess Lloyd and Caitlin Elks (AUS) in third.
 

ISAF SAILING WORLD CUP, Miami 2015

 

 

49er

Spain’s Diego Botin and Iago Lopez got off to a flying start in the 49er, controlling the proceedings in the blue fleet. Right from the off they put in a composed performance in a competitive pack to take the opening race bullet.

They remained at the front for the next bout, coming through in second behind John Pink and Stuart Bithell (GBR) before they rounded off a superb day by taking the final race victory

Being at the top of the 49er leader board, after the opening day, is not uncommon ground for Botin. The young Spaniard had an outstanding start at the 2014 editions of World Cup Mallorca and Hyères. However, he was unable to convert that into consistent results over a gruelling six day ISAF Sailing World Cup regatta.

For now, Botin and Lopez lead, but with five days and 13 races remaining, time will tell if Botin can continue his form.

Results were mixed in the yellow fleet with no team taking the bull by the horns. Federico and Arturo Alonso (ESP) sit second after they recorded a discarded 20th and a second and a third. David Gilmour and Rhys Mara (AUS) occupy the final podium sport at the early stages.

 

Finn

Hand it to hardy Briton Giles Scott, who has taken over the throne of the longest-serving dinghy class in Olympic sailing. The Finn has been raced in 16 Olympiads. It is known as the boat in which Paul Elvstrom redefined the racing sailor as an athlete. And it is known as the boat that tests athletes as no other.

Scott has not lost in 15 months, and he didn’t do it through cherry-picking the easy stuff. He won seven ranked regattas in that time, and on Monday Scott won both races. His countryman, Ed Wright, has often come closest to unseating him, but following the opening day of racing here Wright stands fourth on scores of 3-7.

In second is Australia’s Jake Lilley, 2-3, with Croatia’s Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic third, 8-2. American hope Caleb Payne retired from the second race.

 

ISAF SAILING WORLD CUP, Miami 2015

 

Laser

Robert Scheidt, winner of five medals in five Olympiads, two of them gold, described the series opener as, “Windy and tough. What you have to do this early in the regatta is avoid the big problems.”

Which is not so easy when a squall is the takeaway.

“In the first race there was a time on the second weather leg where we couldn’t see through the rain, couldn’t find the marks,” Scheidt said. “Finally Bruno (Fontes) saw a bit of colour out there in the grey stuff, and we both went for it, and we made big gains.”

Figure the breeze at the moment was high 20s or perhaps even 30 knots, so a boat aimed the right direction – and on its feet – had a lot going for it. “After that,” Scheidt said “I didn’t have a special second race, but I didn’t need to. I was happy with a second and a fourth.” Those finishes left Scheidt second to Fontes, first, and New Zealand’s Andy Maloney, second at 4-1 in the other division of the split fleet.

The other piece of Laser class news happened in the other division of the split fleet, where the Aussie, Tom Burton, who has been on a winning streak, dug himself a hole with finishes of 18th and 20th.

 

 

Men’s RS:X

Louis Giard (FRA), conqueror of the inaugural ISAF Sailing World Cup Final title, resumed in Miami from where he left off in Abu Dhabi – leading the way.

Although he sits pretty on two points at the top, he discards an 11th, which could prove deadly to his points total if he finishes lower than that as the week pans out. A scoreline of 3-1-2 is more of a solid foundation to build upon and second placed Byron Kokkalanis (GRE) is the proud owner of that run.

“All the races were good with lots of shifts and a lot of ups and downs,” commented Kokkalanis. “I managed to do well by finishing third, first and second. I had to catch up in the first and third race but the second race was really good. I had a good start and was fighting hard with Nick Dempsey, it was really fun and a good day.”

Solid foundations are key for a week long RS:X competition. Races are short, frequent, intense and compelling. Thirteen more are scheduled for the week with gold fleet racing commencing on Wednesday and Kokkalanis knows he has to be in top shape to defend his title, “Tomorrow I will take the same approach and try to do my best as always. That’s what everybody is trying to do.

Tom Squires (GBR) laid an equally impressive foundation, a 1-3-3, rounding off the top three after day one.

 

Women’s RS:X

In a field that features Olympic medallists, World Champions and an ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year, home nation sailor Marion Lepert had a dream start.

From two races Lepert notched up a fourth and a bullet to top the pack of 37. She holds off Flavia Tartaglini (ITA) and Olga Maslivets (RUS), who are second and third respectively.

A recent graduate from youth competition, Lepert made in-roads in the Techno 293 where she claimed a silver medal at the 2011 World Championship. She moved up to the RS:X and a fourth at the 2013 Sail First ISAF Youth Worlds confirmed her promise. Albeit a dream start, Lepert will have her work cut out to maintain such a performance it in amongst a field of seasoned professionals.
 

 

Paralympic Events

It was a double bullet day for John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas (GBR) the Sonar. They dominant Brits top the leader board and are followed by Paul Tingley, Logan Campbell and Scott Lutes (CAN) who saw the back of the British boat on two occasions with a pair of seconds.

John McRoberts and Jackie Gay (CAN) started well in the SKUD18 with a second and a first. They lead on three points with Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell (GBR) second on five points.

A Laser Radial report will follow on the ISAF Sailing World Cup website here – http://www.sailing.org/worldcup/home.php

 

Results are available here www.sailing.org/worldcup/results/index.php
Racing is scheduled to resume at 10:00 hrs local time on Tuesday 27 January.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dongfeng breaks records for China

 

Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 - Leg 3 arrivals

Photo c Victor Fraile / Volvo Ocean Race

 

Volvo Ocean Race Leg 3 finish in Sanya

 

 

Dongfeng Race Team claimed a key landmark in the 41-year history of the Volvo Ocean Race on Tuesday when they emphatically won Leg 3 in their home port of Sanya to take the overall lead with six stages to go.

No Chinese team has won a leg in the race before despite two previous entries – Green Dragon in 2008-09 and Team Sanya in 2011-12 – but Charles Caudrelier’s (FRA) crew put that right in style.

“It’s the most stressful leg I’ve ever done in my life,” said a mightily relieved Caudrelier, minutes after crossing the line. “But the result is fantastic!”

After finishing narrow runners-up to Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR) and Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED) respectively in Legs 1 and 2, Dongfeng took a firm grip of the 4,670-nautical mile stage from Abu Dhabi to China virtually from the start on January 3.

At one stage, entering the treacherous Malacca Strait, they stretched their advantage over the fleet to more than 106nm but the fleet never gave up their chase and as they skirted along the wind-shielded Vietnamese coast, Caudrelier found his team’s lead cut to under 10nm.

But the 40-year-old and his crew of experienced French sailors mixed with rookie Chinese Cheng Ying Kit (‘Kit’) and Liu Xue (‘Black’) plus young Australian Jack Bouttell, stuck grimly to their game plan and slowly but surely stretched their lead once more as they entered the final day’s sailing.

An infuriating – for Caudrelier and his crew – lack of wind in the South China Sea kept the tension up into the small hours of Tuesday morning and once more the fleet led by Walker’s Azzam closed the gap a little but Dongfeng had come too far for too long to relinquish their advantage now.

At just past 0731 hrs local time (2331 UTC), they crossed the finish on a glorious Sanya morning just after daybreak, some 45nm clear of second-placed Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR) with Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA) 13.5nm further behind.

They are expected to scrap all the way to the finish with MAPFRE (Xabi Fernández/ESP) and Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED) hot on their heels.

Those boats are expected to finish within short order of each other later on Tuesday with Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR) due to complete the leg later into the evening.

 

For current positions see: www.volvooceanrace.com

Key West Race Week finishes with a blow

 

KW BM S Benton

Photos © Ingrid Abery / www.ingridabery.com

 

 

Quantum Key West Race Week 2015

 

 

Most of the marquee classes at Quantum Key West Race Week 2015 came down to the last day of the regatta, which delivered the toughest conditions of the week. Howling winds and rough seas challenging the competitors on Friday, forcing the top contenders to raise their game in order to claim overall victory.

That was certainly the case aboard Bella Mente, the mini maxi skippered by Hap Fauth of Minneapolis. Fauth steered the Judel-Vrolijk 72-footer to first place in both races on Friday to hold off a stiff challenge from skipper Gunther Buerman and his team on Numbers.

“Our plan was to be in position to win going into the last day and that is what happened. The wind Gods cooperated today and gave us great racing. We rose to the occasion and were able to win both races,” Fauth said. “I thought the whole crew did an impeccable job. We sailed hard in both races.”

Bella Mente wound up winning six of 10 races in posting a low score of 19 points, two better than Numbers, which had four-time America’s Cup winner Brad Butterworth aboard as tactician. Fauth captured his fourth victory in Key West despite a grounding incident on Wednesday that caused the team to absorb seven points in two races. Bella Mente was unable to finish Race 5 then limped to third in Race 6 due to a damaged keel bulb.

“We basically tanked two races and that was very hard to overcome, especially against this caliber of competition,” Fauth said. “Numbers is very quick and very well sailed. Gunther, Brad and their guys did a terrific job and really pushed us the whole way.”

Veteran professional Terry Hutchinson, who was recently named Rolex Yachtsman of the Year for the second time in his career, praised the performance of Fauth and the rest of the crew. Hutchinson, an executive with Quantum Sail Design Group, is a relative newcomer to the Bella Mente program.

“Hap has a lot of experience racing this boat and does an outstanding job on the helm,” Hutchinson said. “The one constant we had all week was superb starting and tremendous boat-handling. Every member of the crew really did a great job.”

 

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Race committee personnel reported wind gusts of nearly 30 knots during the second race on Friday and that made for some spectacular racing. Sailors aboard the GC32 catamarans were hanging on for dear life all day as the high-tech speedsters were bouncing off waves and coming completely out of the water. Ken Legler, principal race officer on Division 1, said the foiling catamarans completed a downwind leg in just six minutes.

Skipper Flavio Marazzi led the Swiss entry Armin Strom Sailing to a one-point victory over ZouLou, the French entry skippered by Erik Maris. Keith Swinton served as tactician while Diego Stefani was headsail trimmer aboard Armin Strom, which finished first or second in eight of 10 races. Argo and Leenabarca were unable to compete in the last race after sustaining rudder damage in the rough conditions.

“The last two days were really fun. These are very cool boats and they were absolutely flying,” Marazzi said. “Today was a bit tricky because of the swell. It’s hard to find the fine line between pushing and backing off. It is very exciting, but also very dangerous.”

 

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Alec Cutler and his crew on Hedgehog carried a three-point lead into the final day and decided to cover the second place boat in Race 9. Cutler finished fourth, but forced Dalton DeVos and the Delta team to absorb a fifth. That gave Hedgehog the breathing room it needed and Cutler repeated as class champ by a two-point margin over Argo, skippered College Sailor of the Year Graham Lundy of Yale.

“All five boats were very good so the competition was real tough,” Cutler said. “Every boat won a race and we were the only boat that didn’t finish last. It was real close racing and you could lose two or three boats in a hurry with the slightest mistake.”

Richard Clarke, who has represented Canada in the Olympics several times, called tactics for Cutler. Adrian Stead, a veteran professional from Great Britain, was aboard as strategist.

 

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Quantum Key West Race Week 2015 was the first regatta for Tonnerre 4 under the ownership of Peter Vroon of The Netherlands. It didn’t take the crew very long to figure out how to make the Ker 51 go fast as the Dutch entry led IRC 1 class for the final four days.

“We are very pleased to win such a strong class. I have an excellent bunch of sailors on the boat and they do all the work. My contributions are ballast and writing the checks,” Vroon joked. “Obviously, the bigger breeze of the last two days was good for our boat.”

Kevin George served as tactician for the 84-year-old Vroon, who won Key West for the second time. “It was just a case of putting the building blocks together and gaining momentum. We focused on getting good starts and just tried to sail a clean regatta,” George said.

Tonnere also won the High Performance Rule sub-class, which consisted of five of the IRC 1 entries. Tonnere edged the Ker 43 Otra Vez (William Coates) in IRC 1 and the Carkeek 40 Spookie (Steve and Heidi Benjamin) in HPR. Impetuous, skippered by Paul Zabetakis of Stuart, Florida, topped the Swan 42 sub-class.

 

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Photo c Sharon Green

 

J/70 was the largest class of the regatta with 54 boats and featured a slew of top professionals. It was a week-long dog fight that saw constant changes at the top end of the standings. Skipper Carlo Alberini and his Italian team on Calvi Network emerged as overall winner thanks to single-digit finishes in nine of 11 races.

Branko Brcin served as tactician while Sergio Blosi and Karlo Hmeljak handled the trimming aboard Calvi Network, which closed the regatta with a second after posting a steady string of fourths and fifths. That remarkable consistency in such a competitive class earned Calvi Network the ultimate prize at Quantum Key West Race Week – Boat of the Week.

“The talent level in this class is very high. We came to Key West because we are very excited about the J/70 fleet and want to race against the best boats,” said Alberini, who won the European Championship last year. “To win here is the best feeling. This might be the most important win of my career because we beat the world champion on the water.”

Calvi Network totaled 49 points, eight better than the Mexican entry Flojito y Cooperando that is skippered by Julian Fernandez Neckelmann. Italian pro Vasco Vascotto called tactics on Flojito, which closed the regatta strong with a first and second on Friday. Tim Healy, the reigning J/70 World Champion and two-time winner here in Key West, finished third after pushing the line and being ruled on-course side (OCS) in the last race.

Gannon Troutman, the 12-year-old skipper of Pied Piper, was the talk of the regatta after finishing fifth in the talent-laden J/70 class – winning a race while also posting a second and third. San Francisco skipper Jim Cunningham captured the Corinthian Division of J/70 class, which had 20 boats.

Irish skipper Conor Clarke competed in Key West for the first time and came away with an impressive victory in Melges 24 class, winning eight of 11 races and beating the second place boat by 23 points. Stuart McNay and Dave Hughes, who are mounting a 470 Olympic campaign together, were helmsman and tactician aboard Embarr.

“It’s a fantastic feeling to win in Key West,” said Clarke, a Dublin resident who’s had the regatta on his bucket list. “Today’s sailing was just amazing. We had perfect conditions… just what the brochure said it would be like.”

J/88 class was decided on Friday with Rob & Sandy Butler sailing Touch2Play Racing to victory in both races. That clutch performance gave the Canadian entry the same amount of points as Deviation, skippered by Iris Vogel of New Rochelle, N.Y. Touch2Play won the tiebreaker by virtue of more first place finishes.

“We kind of put the pressure on (Deviation) by winning the last race on Thursday. We still trailed by two points so we knew we had to come out and win both races today,” Rob Butler said. “Our crew was really dialed in and we had very good boat speed. I’m proud of the team for doing what we had to do in order to win the regatta.”

J/111 also had a one-design class and Florida skipper George Gamble steered My Sharona to a wire-to-wire victory. Quantum pro Scott Nixon called tactics on My Sharona, which displayed superb boat speed in all conditions in winning five races and placing second or third in four others.

British skipper Joe Woods and his crew on Red set the pace in PHRF 1 from the outset and led at the end of each day’s racing. Dave Lenz served as tactician aboard the Farr 280, which won five races and placed second or third in four others.

“Joe has sailed a Melges 24 and a Melges 32 so he’s used to being on sport boats,” Lenz said. “This entire crew has sailed with Joe on the 32 and that familiarity seemed to give us a slight edge from day one. We just had a little extra click of speed than everybody else.”

Red closed the regatta with a pair of bullets and received the Quantum Sail Boat of the Day award. Woods was also the runaway winner of the Farr 280 sub-class, which had four boats.

Gerry Taylor secured his third class victory in Key West, steering Tangent to a wire-to-wire victory in PHRF 2. Veteran sailmaker Chuck O’Malley called tactics while headsail trimmer Jay Corcoran anchored a strong crew aboard the Cape Fear 38, which won every race but one.

 

By Bill Wagner, www.premiere-racing.com

 

 

Woody clean sweeps to reclaim title

 

 

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Aberdare – three wins from three races – Photos © Andrea Francolini

 

 

Historical 18ft Skiffs Australian Championship on Sydney Harbour

 

 

John ‘Woody’ Winning sailed Aberdare to a win on Sarturday, clean sweeping the three-race Historical 18s Australian Championship he won last year.

With his two main rivals Yendys (Harold Cudmore) and Australia IV (Terry McDell) retiring from yesterday’s race, it paved the way for Winning, who grew up on the Harbour he knows like the back of his hand.

However, Yendys looked to be the one controlling the race today. After a general recall, Irish yachtsman Harold Cudmore made a quick getaway off the start near Clark Island in a lovely north easterly, leading Aberdare and Scot (James Watt).

Up the work, Yendys led Aberdare a merry dance, the two leaving the rest to fight it out, although The Mistake, skippered by Jeremy Sharp was a clear third and never seriously challenged. It gave Sharp a series second overall after starting the day on equal points with Ian Smith’s Britannia which finished the series third on equal points with Yendys.

 

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Harold Cudmore skippered Yendys came close to a win in the final race – Photos © Andrea Francolini

 

 

As the top three cleared out on the downwind leg to Clark Island, Top Weight, under spinnaker, came a cropper near Nielsen Park. Her eight-man crew battled the boat for control, but over she went and they found themselves swimming.

While the top three charged for the finish, the rest were swapping places. Australia (Pakhtun Shah) overtook Myra Too (Phil Barnett) running to Shark Island, but as they reached the YA mark, Australia was unable to gybe under kite and overstood. Myra Too, without spinnaker, had no such trouble and hoisted after gybing and regained her place.

 

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Pakhtun Shah’s Australia crew hiking to windward – Photos © Andrea Francolini

 

On the run home, Winning overtook Cudmore and that was the end of what had been a solid lead for the Irishman.

Always sparing with words, Winning said of Aberdare’s victory, “It’s always nice to win. We let Yendys gybe inside us and we sailed through her. Aberdare’s a bit quicker downwind.

“We sail these things regularly. It’s not easy to come to Australia and sail something you’ve never sailed before, or just come once a year and sail them. They all did a good job to do as well as they did,” he said of Cudmore, Shah (from the USA) and the McDell brothers, Terry and Kim, from New Zealand.

“You’ve got to hand it to John, he was always going to win, he’s just too good,” a magnanimous Cudmore said. “We weren’t quite sharp enough. We should have hit our spinnaker quicker. We just weren’t aggressive enough.

“They’re wonderful boats – a lot of fun. I love to come here every January and chill out and sail these boats,” said Cudmore who gave up professional sailing 20 years ago, but still remains competitive via sailing superyachts and other boats.

Terry and Kim McDell agree. “It was a lot of fun, a new experience. It takes a while to learn to sail these boats. If I’d realised, Terry and I would have thought about coming out here sooner and come to grips with the boat,” Kim said.

“It’s an experience I would never miss. You need to know what you’re doing. You need time to tune and get a routine going. Like we should never have taken on all that water yesterday, so you learn how to avoid things like that,” he said.

 

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Robin Tickner’s Alruth – Photo c Christophe Favreau

 

 

Former two-time 18ft skiff champion Phil ‘Cub’ Barnett helmed Myra Too to fourth place today, his best result. It was a nostalgic event for him. “My dad (Don) passed away last year. His cousin Bill is getting on and I skippered the replica of his boat. I also raced with my son Daniel for the first time in a while,” he said.

“I sure would come back,” he said. “Bill said to me recently, ‘I’d just like to sail it to the Beashel Buoy once…’ and I wish he could too.”

“There’s a lot of mateship and good old fashioned values in the 18s. I’ve had a great time and I’d like to try it again soon. I didn’t come in with any high expectations. I’ve never sailed one before and I knew it would be hard. It’s harder than sailing a modern 18,” he conceded.

“I haven’t sailed an 18 since the Xerox days – maybe 1990,” he says of his last 18ft skiff escapades. “I was offered the opportunity to sail Myra Too, and I’m on holidays, so I thought I’d give it a go.”

Eighteen year-old Daniel Barnett has enjoyed sailing the boat with his dad. “We sailed in Mirror dinghies a while back. This is very different, the old style boat. It’s good fun and interesting to sail on. It’s a whole lot different to sailing a 29er,” said Daniel, who coaches kids programs at Woollahra Sailing Club.

 

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The scow bow – Photo c Christophe Favreau

 

No matter the conditions, Winning, who will again contest the modern 18s J.J. Giltinan Championship in February, was the benchmark. His name and that of Aberdare will be carved for a second time on the Galloping Ghost trophy, coincidentally donated in 2002 by Robert Hart, brother of Fred Hart who owned the original Aberdare.

The entire fleet of 11 took part in the Sydney Flying Squadron hosted three-race Historical 18s Australian Championship. The SFS is home to this classic class which races on Saturday afternoons in summer. If you would like to give it a try, there are always positions available for willing hands.

 

By Di Pearson, www.sydneyflyingsquadron.com.au

 

 

Cudmore in the drink

 

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John Winning’s Aberdale leads again – Photo © Bruce Kerridge

 

 

Historical 18ft Skiffs Australian Championship on Sydney Harbour

 

 

While match racing Aberdare (John Winning) for the second day running, Harold Cudmore’s chances for the Historical 18s Australian Championship title were dashed when Yendys capsized off Nielsen Park on the run to Shark Island this afternoon.

The highly fancied Yendys, with Cudmore, one of Ireland’s finest at the helm, had been leading Aberdare in a big 20 knot plus nor’ easter. The two crossed tacks going to windward up the Harbour, Cudmore favouring the western shore, while Winning played the breeze to the east and middle of the Harbour.

When the pair met, Yendys had the advantage, leading Aberdare until just before the YA mark at Watsons Bay, when Winning overtook, his crew quickly hoisting the spinnaker, leaving Cudmore to play catch up.

All was well until Nielsen Park when Yendys tiller broke off and over she went in the gusty winds that produced white caps and swell on the Harbour. Ironically, it was Winning’s Rippleside that took on rescue duties.

Yendys crew member and Sydney Flying Squadron Vice Commodore Michael Van Stom jumped aboard Rippleside and oversaw the rescue, which involved attaching a tow line to Yendys which was almost underwater and taking her under tow to a sheltered beach at Vaucluse.

“The tiller just snapped off and we capsized,” Van Stom said. “That’s the end of our chances, such a shame. But you can’t get angry, these things happen.”

 

 

 

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It left the way open for Winning to take a second bullet after opening up a big lead on the rest of the fleet. It has also paved the way for the defending champion to redeem the title.

However, the David Swales skippered Top Weight was the first casualty of the day, retiring 10 minutes after the start. The original Top Weight and her replica were built more for Queensland’s flat water conditions and that was not what was on offer today.

The second retirement was Australia IV, skippered by Terry McDell from New Zealand. Another of the highly fancied boats for the title, the boat took on too much water off Shark Island and retired.

“We weren’t paying attention. We were busy looking at some good looking women on the Island and the boat just became awash with water,” the jovial McDell said.

 

 

Australia IV before she was deluged with water and retired - Bruce Kerridge pic

Crew of Australia IV before she was deluged – Photo © Bruce Kerridge

 

 

Six time Australian 18 foot skiff champions Andrew ‘Bucko’ Buckland and Don ‘Admiral’ Buckley were casualties of Yendys and Australia IV’s retirements respectively. The two crewed for Iain Murray during his modern day 18’s rein. They remain the only trio to claim six consecutive titles.

“We sailed together all those years and now we’re sailing against each other,” Buckley said, laughing before heading out to the race course today. “May the best one win,” he said.

 

By Di Pearson

 

 

 

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