Monthly Archives: February 2015
Photos c Ainhoa Sanchez / Volvo Ocean Race
Volvo Ocean Race – Leg 4 finish in Auckland
Mapfre (Xabi Fernández/ESP) emerged victorious despite a pair of major setbacks in Leg 4 following one of the tightest-fought finishes in Volvo Ocean Race history on Saturday night.
The victory gives the 2014-15 edition its fourth winner in four legs following successes for Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR), Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED), and Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA).
All those wins in the first three stages have been hard-fought but none more so than this latest leg win for the Spanish boat, claimed at 2131 local time/0931 UTC after 5,264 nautical miles (nm) and 20 days, two hours, 31 minutes and 20 seconds of sailing from Sanya, China to Auckland.
Stand-in skipper Xabi Fernández could not have chosen a better stage to guide his crew to victory with just four minutes 25 seconds to spare from Walker’s men, who had the consolation of becoming overall leaders thanks to a better in-port race series record than Dongfeng Race Team.
“We’re super happy to be here, and of course, it was a very tough leg,” said Xabi. “We had a very hard last day especially, but we’re very happy to be here.
“We have improved a lot over the last two legs. We have a very good team and I hope we can now show to the world what we can do and keep doing it like this.”
Auckland is known as the ‘City of Sails’ and the locals came out in their thousands both on and off the water, fresh from cheering their cricket team to victory over Australia in the World Cup earlier in the day.
For so much of a leg which started in Sanya on February 8, Mapfre had looked the most unlikely of winners.
They lost full communications for three days when a problem emerged with their antennae, which prevented them from receiving full weather data to help them plot the optimum course.
This, with the help of the Race HQ technology staff plus partners Cobham, was eventually fixed, but they also suffered a major injury problem on board when under-30 crew member Guillermo ‘Wily’ Altadill (ESP) badly hurt his hand.
It was put in a splint and Altadill, 22, will see a doctor on Sunday to discover if he has broken it.
“I’m going to the doctors in the morning – after the party,” he said, the pain dulled by the euphoria of victory.
Walker, meanwhile, will be satisfied with his second runners-up spot in a row, and a fourth podium place. His crew skirmished with Mapfre all day on Saturday, but could not quite overhaul the Spanish crew despite reducing the deficit to within 1nm at times.
Equally, they narrowly staved off third-placed Dongfeng Race Team by less than four minutes.
Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA) claimed fourth, just under 1hr 20mins behind Dongfeng, with Team Brunel and Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR) bringing up the rear in ever lighter winds.
Photo c Tim Wright / www.photoaction.com
2015 RORC Caribbean 600 finish in Antigua
After Phaedo3 had blitzed the multihull race record, George David’s Juan K designed Rambler 88 was the next boat to finish, at 06:35:12 AST on 25th February 2015, taking Monohull Line Honours for the RORC Caribbean 600. Rambler 88 was approximately four hours short of the monohull race record, set by George David’s Rambler 100 in 2011.
As with every competing yacht in the RORC Caribbean 600, Rambler 88 was met at the dock with a big cheer and cold beer by the Antigua Yacht Club volunteer team. George David, commented dockside. “Rambler 88 was ahead of the monohull race record for some time, but the wind angle on the long leg to Guadeloupe was tighter than in 2012. Back then in Rambler 100, we were reaching, hitting a speed of over 20 knots, but this year that wasn’t possible due to the wind angle. Rambler 88 is probably faster on every point of sail than the previous Rambler, but the weather really didn’t work for us this year. Rambler 88 is an exciting boat to race, powerful and really wet on deck. We have moved a step closer to harnessing that power and the wet conditions are easily managed with good foul weather gear! A special course and a very well organised race. The RORC should be congratulated once again for producing a great event.”
Multiple America’s Cup winner and Rambler 88 tactician, Brad Butterworth spoke dockside: “This is the first time I have done this race and it is an interesting course from a tactical and navigational point of view. The islands are really beautiful but we didn’t get much time to appreciate the scenery. However, apart from a few minor breakages, the boat has stood up very well and the different wind speeds and wind angles on this course have given us a lot of data and ideas which will go towards improving our performance. We have a big season planned and we have the potential to have a great 2015.”
The crew of Rambler 88: George David (Owner), Rodney Ardern, Silvio Arrivabene Stuart Bannatyne, Scott Beavis, Curtis Blewett, Brad Butterworth, Simon Daubney, Wendy David, Jan Dekker, Brian Giorgio, Nathan Hislop, Brad Jackson, Jerome Kirby, William McCarthy, Artie Means, Robert Naismith, Mark Newbrook, Dean Phipps, Andrea Visintini, Matthew Welling, Stuart Wilson.
Photo c Francisco Vignale / Mapfre
Volvo Ocean Race – Leg 4 Sanya to Auckland
Over the last day, the two lead boats, Dongfeng and Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, who are still in the lead, have slowly turned to port. This is not due to a lift but to less wind. They are sailing VMG (Velocity Made Good) angles, and less wind equals a higher course sailed to maintain the same apparent wind over their sails.
The drop in wind velocity was from 14 down to 9 knots. This affected the leaders with a loss to the pack. The boats at the back are expected to sail through the same light patch. The wind will slowly oscillate on their path to Auckland, affecting the fleet depending how much leverage east to west each boat has on each other.
Mapfre still chases the pack while cautiously looking over their shoulder at Team Alvimedica. Team Brunel and Team SCA have made gains and will most lightly be pushing just as hard as the leaders as they can see each other on AIS. All eyes are on the high-pressure system forming over the North Island of New Zealand, as this might be the last twist in the tail of this leg.
Having sailed over 6,500 nautical miles since Sanya, passing islands and hunting for the trade winds all around the Pacific Ocean, the fleet is aligning and closing in on the leader. The six boats are heading straight towards Auckland, some 600nm away. They’re due to arrive in New Zealand on Saturday.
“This is not a match race,” blogged Matt Knighton from Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing this morning, his team caught in an oceanic duel with Dongfeng. “There are no tactics involved, it’s a pure drag race. Sail as fast as you can in a straight line and show Farr just how quick you can push these boats. We’ll likely be covering each other the entire way now regardless of the routings. If one boat chooses to take a different route, the other one will follow the change to cover.”
There are a couple of options available, but it would be very risky to break from the pack at this stage, it will most likely come down to who sails this given straight line the fastest, not who picks a different one.
Leg 4 (5,264 nm) Position Report (as of 21:55 UTC)
1 Dongfeng Race Team, Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 596.0nm Distance to Finish
2 Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR), 3.2nm DTL
3 Mapfre, Xabi Fernandez (ESP), 12.4 nm DTL
4 Team Alvimedica, Charlie Enright (USA), 40.0 nm DTL
5 Team Brunel, Bouwe Bekking (NED), 53.2 nm DTL
6 Team SCA, Sam Davies (GBR), 57.6 nm DTL
7 Team Vestas Wind, Chris Nicholson (AUS), Did not start
Photo © Gilles Martin-Raget / Barcelona World Race
Barcelona World Race
With Cheminées Poujoulat making good progress up the Atlantic, making close to 18kts, 120 miles SW of the Falklands, Cape Horn marks the frontier between the two different worlds inhabited by skippers on the Barcelona World Race.
All but two pairs, the bookends of the fleet, are still awaiting their release from the big south, the relentless grey, chilly, damp world. For Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam, bows of Cheminées Poujoulat pointed NE, there is the added vigour of knowing every mile north is a mile closer to sunshine and tradewinds, a mile closer to Barcelona, and a mile away from their Southern Oceans escapades. And for seventh placed Nandor Fa and Conrad Colman in Bluff, South Island NZ, there is an unfortunate but not unpleasant technical pitstop as they make repairs to ensure a less troublesome second half of their race.
Cheminées Poujoulat had a reasonable passage across the border last night, under the cover of darkness. They crossed into the Atlantic passing 14 miles south of Rock at 00:53 UTC, after 55 days 12 hours and 53 minutes of racing. This afternoon Stamm and Le Cam passed the Strait of Le Maire, between Tierra del Fu ego and Staten Island, and their next choice is which side to leave the Falklands. So far the windward, west side looks better and a shorter route.
Tensions remain high between second and third. But by virtue of better, stronger breezes Guillermo Altadill and José Muñoz have progressively driven a bigger and bigger wedge between themselves and third placed Anna Corbella and Gerard Marín. The GAES Centros Auditivos pair have found themselves – rather incongruously – upwind in moderate breezes and so losing miles to Neutrogena. From being within five miles at the start of the week, they are now 115 miles astern of second place.
“I think we’ve gone faster [than the Neutrogena] most of the time” Corbella said today, ” But there have been times when they escaped because we slowed down for technical reasons. We just try and hold on for a good fight in the Atlantic, to try and stay relatively close.”
For Renault Captur, now back at 48 deg S and targeting the Furious 50s again, there is finally the prospect of pulling miles back on fifth and fourth, One Planet, One Ocean & Pharmaton, and We Are Water.
The delta between the two Barcelona boats, One Planet, One Ocean & Pharmaton and We Are Water has now shrunk from 600 miles to 160 in a week. And with the possibility of Renault Captur progressively getting back to them both, an interesting three cornered fight might just be on the cards for their ascent of the Atlantic.
Making their pit stop in the country of birth of Conrad Colman, one might have hoped for a more hospitable welcome for Kiwi Colman and his Hungarian counterpart Nandor Fa. But the duo had driving rain, winds over 50kts, and chilly, wet conditions for their final approach. Spirit of Hungary tied up yesterday at 22:50 UTC at the port of Bluff, on the South Island of New Zealand.
Their list of repairs is longer than expected, having discovered on the way in that they needed to replace a couple of keel bolts.
Standings at 1400hrs: (Wednesday 25 February)
1 Cheminées Poujoulat (B Stamm – J Le Cam) at 6695 miles to finish
2 Neutrogena (G Altadill – J Muñoz) + 1096 miles to leader
3 GAES Centros Auditivos (A Corbella – G Marin) + 1211 miles to leader
4 We Are Water (B Garcia – W Garcia) + 3244miles to leader
5 One Planet One Ocean & Pharmaton (A Gelabert – D Costa) + 3405 miles to leader
6 Renault Captur (J Riechers – S Audigane) + 4000.4 miles to leader
7 Spirit of Hungary (N Fa – C Colman) + 4748 miles to leader
ABD: Hugo Boss (A. Thomson – P. Ribes)
Photo c Tim Wright
2015 RORC Caribbean 600 in Antigua
Lloyd Thornburg’s MOD 70 Phaedo³ finished the 600-mile RORC Caribbean 600 in Antigua at 20:35:30 AST in an elapsed time of 33 hours, 35 minutes, 30 seconds, smashing the Multihull record by 6 hours, 35 minutes and 35 seconds which had held since the inaugural race in 2009. For the last six editions the record set by John Burnie and Claude Thelier on ORMA 60 trimaran, Region Guadeloupe (40 hours 11 mins 5 secs) had remained unbeaten.
As forecast, the wind has gone south of east and decreased in strength. George David’s Juan Kouyoumdjian designed Rambler 88 is expected to finish the race in the early hours of Wednesday morning, taking Monohull Line Honours but the American Maxi looks to be outside record pace (40 hours 20 mins 02 secs), unless the breeze picks up significantly.
Giovanni Soldini’s Volvo Open 70 Maserati was forced to pull out after a hydraulic tube fitting for the keel broke, making it impossible to move the keel. “It was a completely unforeseeable and fatal occurrence,” Soldini said. “A fitting on a tube that feeds the hydraulic pump for the keel just exploded and the bilge filled with oil. We can’t move the keel at all now. When the tube burst, we were lying third overall with Bella Mente, just behind Rambler and Leopard. We were second in elapsed time and first in our class. But now we’re going to make our way slowly back to Antigua.”
By Louay Habib
Photo c Richard & Rachel / Team Phaedo
2015 RORC Caribbean 600 start at Antigua
66 yachts started the 7th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600, with hundreds of race fans watching the impressive fleet from Fort Charlotte and Shirley Heights. After a classic start in 15 knots of easterly trade winds, the fleet powered past the Pillars of Hercules, heading for Green Island where they will bear away and accelerate towards Barbuda, the only mark of the 600-mile course around 11 stunning Caribbean islands.
Lloyd Thornburg’s MOD 70 Phaedo3, with Michel Desjoyeaux and Brian Thompson on board, had a conservative start with Petro Jonker’s cruising catamaran, Quality Time crossing the line first. Phaedo3 lit the blue touch paper at Green Island, blasting through the surf at well over 30 knots. The lime-green machine reached Barbuda in less than two hours, well ahead of record pace and eight miles ahead of Peter Aschenbrenner’s Irens 63, Paradox.
Photo © Tim Wright / www.photoaction.com
In the second start, 19 yachts in IRC 2 and 3 started the 600-mile race. For most of the crews racing in the smaller yachts it will be three or four days before they complete the challenge. Ed Fishwick’s Sunfast 3600, Redshift, skippered by Nick Cherry, got a great start at the pin-end with Ross Applebey’s Oyster 48, Scarlet Oyster, judging the inner distance mark to perfection. Andy Middleton’s First 47.7, EH01 and Scarlet Oyster were the first yachts in IRC Two to reach Green Island and it is likely that these two will be neck-and-neck for the duration of the race.
In IRC Three, Peter Scholfield’s HOD 35, Zarafa was leading on the water at Green Island. However the Two Handed team racing Louis-Marie Dussere’s JPK 10.10, Raging Bee was the leader in class after time correction.
Photo © Tim Wright / www.photoaction.com
Jonathan Bamberger’s Canadian J/145, Spitfire and Joseph Robillard’s S&S 68, Black Watch got the best start in the 15 strong fleet racing in IRC One. However, Jose Diego-Arozamena’s Farr 72, Maximizer, revelled in the upwind start to lead on the water at Green Island. Oyster 625, Lady Mariposa, sailed by Daniel Hardy had a great leg to Green Island as did James Blakemore’s Swan 53, Music which was leading after time correction.
The penultimate start featured 21 yachts racing in IRC 0 and Canting Keel, arguably the best fleet of offshore sailing yachts that has ever been seen in the Caribbean. A highly competitive start saw Piet Vroon’s Ker 51, Tonnerre 4, win the pin, while Ron O’Hanley’s Cookson 50, Privateer took the island shore route to perfection. Farr 100, Leopard sailed by Christopher Bake, also had a great start, controlling the boats to leeward heading for the Pillars of Hercules.
Photo © Tim Wright / www.photoaction.com
Hap Fauth’s Maxi 72, Bella Mente had a sensational first leg of the race, rounding Green Island first out of the IRC 0 class, but all eyes were on George David’s Rambler 88, as the powerful sled turned on the after burners. George David’s new speed-machine could well break his own monohull course record; at Barbuda Rambler 88 was almost five miles ahead of the ghost track of the record set by Rambler 100.
Two of the world’s most magnificent schooners were the last class to start. Athos and Adela started their match race in the pre-start and there is no doubt that the battle of the titans will continue throughout the race. Athos won the pre-start in some style, chasing Adela downwind and away from the line, before rounding up onto the breeze and crossing the line over a boat length ahead of her rival. However, Adela was far better suited to the beat up to Green Island and led as the two schooners continued their rivalry towards Barbuda.
Note: Liquid, Pamala C Baldwin’s J/122 and Quality Time, Petro Jonker’s Du Toit 51 catamaran retired at the start following boat damage. All of the crew are well.
For current tracking positions see: caribbean600.rorc.org
Photos © Frank Quealey
2015 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship – Race 7 on Sydney Harbour
Race 7 sponsored by The Kitchen Maker
Gotta Love It 7’s team of Seve Jarvin, Sam Newton and Scott Babbage officially became the 2015 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff champions after the regatta concluded on Sydney Harbour on Sunday afternoon.
The team had already secured the title before the final day’s race and skipper Seve Jarvin had become the most capped skipper and competitor in the championship’s 76-year history.
Jarvin originally crewed with Euan McNicol on Club Marine in 2005 and has since skippered seven championship winning Gotta Love It 7 skiffs to victory.
His record surpasses Andrew Buckland for the most number of wins.
Buckland won five titles with Iain Murray on Color 7 then two more with Peter Sorensen on Tia Maria.
Fittingly, Buckland was on hand to present Jarvin and his team with the championship blue ribbon.
Although the win was already secured, Gotta Love It 7 showed her real championship quality as they dominated the latter half of the course to win by 2m 15s.
New Zealand’s rookie AON team (Will Tiller, Harry Thurston, Tim Snedden) gave some indication of what may happen in future JJ Giltinan Championships when they gave a wonderful performance to finish in second place.
Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney, Peter Harris, Mark Kennedy) was a further 12s back in third place.
With the championship winner already decided, the final day’s race was vital for the next four placings in the regatta as only eight points separated the four teams involved.
Soon after the start Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon) gained a substantial lead over her nearest rival Mojo Wine (Lee Knapton) and the overall result for second place was soon established.
U.S. champion Howie Hamlin produced another good result with a fifth place to finish third overall in the regatta.
By Frank Quealey
Photos © Christophe Favreau / www.christophefavreau.com
2015 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship – Race 6 on Sydney Harbour
Race 6 sponsored by Boards & Benchtops
United States 18ft Skiff champion Howie Hamlin turned the memory clock back 12 years when he skippered Harken to victory in Race 6 of the 2015 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour on Saturday.
Hamlin, who won the Giltinan title in 2002 and 2003, teamed with Dan Phillips and Skip McCormack to score a 24s win over Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon, Trent Barnabas, Dave O’Connor).
New Zealand’s Yamaha (David McDiarmid, Andrew Archibald and Mark Overington) finished in third place, a further 50s behind Thurlow Fisher Lawyers.
Despite finishing a disappointing eight place, the Gotta Love It 7 team of Seve Jarvin, Sam Newton and Scott Babbage became the 2015 JJ Giltinan champions as a result of the brilliant start to the regatta with four consecutive race wins.
Gotta Love It 7 leads the series (after discards) on six points, followed by Thurlow Fisher Lawyers on 20, Mojo Wine (Lee Knapton) on 21, Harken 25, Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones) on 28 and Yamaha on 35.
A very light Easterly breeze saw two distinctive choices made by the fleet on the windward leg from the start at Robertson Point to Rose Bay.
Mojo Wine’s team elected to sail a course past Bradleys Head while Thurlow Fisher Lawyers and Gotta Love It 7 went to the right off Clarke Island.
When the two groups met off the western side of Shark Island Mojo Wine was the leader with Harken close behind.
At the windward mark, Mojo Wine held a 20s margin over Harken, with Compassmarkets.com (Keagan York) in third place just ahead of Yamaha and Gotta Love It 7, which was 1m10s from the lead.
The downwind leg to the mark off Clarke Island, then to the bottom mark back near the start, provided some dramatic changes in the fleet.
Harken got through to the lead while Thurlow Fisher Lawyers was trailing by 10s.
Mojo Wine had dropped back to third ahead of Yamaha then a large bunch headed by Lumix (Jonathan Whitty), Asko Appliances, Knight Frank (Riley Dean) and The Kitchen Maker (John Sweeny).
Gotta Love It 7 had a disastrous leg and was now back in 14th position.
Hamlin and his Harken team took a central line on the next windward leg and retained their lead while Thurlow Fisher Lawyers and Yamaha settled into a good battle for the minor placings.
The trio held these positions over the rest of the course and now go into tomorrow’s final race in a great battle between four boats for second place overall.
The championship concludes Sunday 22 February.
The Facebook site is www.facebook.com/18footers
By Frank Quealey
Photo © Christophe Favreau / www.christophefavreau.com
2015 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship – Race 5 on Sydney Harbour
Race 5 sponsored by De’Longhi
Thurlow Fisher Lawyers broke the previous Gotta Love It 7 domination to win Race 5 of the 2015 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour on Thursday.
Sailing a four lap windward-return course, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon, Trent Barnabas, Dave O’Connor) won the start at the pin end of the line and sailed brilliantly in the light ENE breeze to lead the bunched fleet behind her by 50s.
The lead got out to 2m10s at the halfway mark before a freshening breeze over the final lap of the course saw the margin reduced to 52s at the finish.
Defening champion Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin, Sam Newton, Scott Babbage) crossed in second place, 1m 20s ahead of the third placed USA skiff Harken (Howie Hamlin, Dan Phillips, Skip McCormack), and will retain the title if the team can finish in the first eleven placings in either of the weekend’s races.
With two races still to be sailed, the current points table after each team discards their worst performance to date, is:
Gotta Love It 7 on 4 points, Mojo Wine (Lee Knapton) 17, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers 18, Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones) 23, Harken 24 and De’Longhi (Simon Nearn) 30.
After a series of #2 sail NE races, today saw all teams go with their big rigs.
Thurlow Fisher Lawyers held a big lead at the bottom mark the first time and things could have been disasterous when sheet hand Dave O’Connor went overboard as the skiff rounded the buoy.
Apart from this one incident, the Thurlow team were immaculate and were never in any serious doubt of victory.
For the previously unbeaten Gotta Love It 7 team it was a race they would prefer to forget.
They couldn’t match the Thurlow Fisher Lawyers team’s boat speed up the first windward leg and were buried deep in the pack on the first spinnaker run.
Trailing in eighth place at the bottom mark the first time, Team Seven were still more than 2m behind the leader after two laps.
photo c Frank Quealey
As the breeze freshened, naturally the time margin decreased and Gotta Love It 7 got back to 52s behind the winner but Thurlow Fisher Lawyers was just too good on the day.
The championship continues on Saturday with the last race on Sunday 22 February.
The Facebook site is www.facebook.com/18footers
By Frank Quealey
Photo c Stefan Copper / Team Brunel
Volvo Ocean Race Leg 4 – Sanya to Auckland
After nearly a week of port tack reaching, the Volvo Ocean Race fleet approaches the Doldrums with all bows finally pointing south toward the finish line.
The problem now is how to cross the Intertropical Convergence Zone (Doldrums)? That’s the question as the fleet sails past the Marshall Islands.
The answer – be in the best possible position to enter it. At the moment, three boats have decided to exit the motorway south while the other three have decided to keep going southeast for a while longer.
The leading pack, Team Brunel, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and Team Alvimedica – are heading south while Mapfre, Team SCA and Dongfeng Race Team are heading southeast.
Mapfre is 75 nautical miles north of Brunel, who are still in the lead. The Spaniards have momentarily fixed the issues with one of their antennae and have been able to download weather models after sailing blind for two days.
The plan for the chasing pack right now is to still get east. Team Brunel has managed to get some easterly leverage on Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing by about 32 nm.
Both Team Alvimedica and Abu Dhabi have just tacked in an effort to get east. A pretty painful one too, as they are now pointing 90º away from the leader’s line. Let’s see if the Dutch team tacks as well to protect their easterly leverage.
The chasing pack of Mapfre, Team SCA and Dongfeng had already worked east when the wind clocked right yesterday. Unfortunately as they were on the outside of that shift, they all lost miles to the inside pack.
Dongfeng hit mast track problems again
This is the third time this issue has hampered the team during the race. They have made a temporary fix with lashings to secure the track to the mast, but will want to make a more permanent repair as soon as they reach lighter winds in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
The fleet is due to arrive in Auckland in around a week’s time between February 28 – March 1.
Volvo Ocean Race – Leg 4 – Updated Positions at 09:40 hrs 19 February 2015
1. Team Brunel – Distance to Finish 2497 nm
2. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing – DTL 24 nm
3. Team Alvimedica DTL 33 nm
4. MAPFRE – DTL 52 nm
5. Team SCA – DTL 56 nm
6. Dongfeng Race Team – DTL 60 nm
For current positions see: www.volvooceanrace.com