Monthly Archives: March 2015

Pinnell wins a race but Holt still on top


Worlds Day3 fleet cf

Photos © SAP / Christophe Favreau /



SAP 505 World Championships in Port Elizabeth, South Africa



Day 3 of the SAP 505 World Championships saw the return of stronger breezes to Algoa Bay in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Mike Holt and Carl Smit were the pathfinder boat for the first race of the day, but the reigning World Champions found no benefit in having to sail to the right-hand side of the course, while early-out-of-the-gate Ian Pinnell was pleased that his hunch about the left proved correct.

Crewed by Johannes Tellen from Germany, Great Britain’s Pinnell led the fleet around the first mark and after the first lap was never seriously challenged by Sandy Higgins and Paul Marsh, with the Australians finishing 2nd behind the 2008 World Champion. Meanwhile, Holt had made a great recovery to cross the line in 3rd place.

In race 2, former World Champions Howie Hamlin and Jeff Nelson opened the gate, but it was those other Californians – Holt and Smit – who just couldn’t be stopped in the building breeze. Malcolm Higgins and Nick Johnston were incredibly fast on the upwind legs, but struggled to hold back the reigning World Champions and the Australians eventually came in 4th place. Ted Conrads and Brian Haines are turning in a consistent set of scores, and the Californians came 3rd across the line behind 2nd placed Pinnell, who was the most consistent performer of the day.

Both Holt and Pinnell have been racing the 505 for more than 25 years, but both veterans reckoned today’s sailing conditions – blue skies, warm water, 18 knots breeze and big waves – were among the very best they have ever experienced. “It was really hard work, but great fun,” said Holt. “It really doesn’t get any better, and the team that didn’t show up for these Worlds will be kicking themselves for not coming.”

Tuesday is a day off from competition, and while Holt will spend a relaxed day in Port Elizabeth just doing a few boat checks, others are off on safari or going on road trips along the beautiful South African coastline. Then it’s back to the action on Wednesday, when the live TV coverage also kicks in for the final three days of competition.

Catch up on all the news, results, interviews photos and videos at

By Andy Rice


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Neutrogena finishes 2nd in Barcelona


Neutrogena deck gmr

Photo c Gilles-Martin Raget



Barcelona World Race 2014 – 2015



  • Altadill and Muñoz crossed the finish line off Barcelona’s W-Hotel at 23:47:00 hrs UTC on Monday night completing the 23, 321 mles course in 89d 11hrs 47mins
  • Homecoming hero Altadill is the first Spanish and first Catalan skipper to finish this edition of the Barcelona World Race, Chilean co-skipper José Muñoz the first ever sailor from South America to finish the course.
  • Ocean racing legend Altadill completes his seventh round the world circumnavigtion, one of the most accomplished records in sailing, Muñoz finishes his second, his first on an IMOCA 60.
  • Barcelona’s Altadill finishes third in the IMOCA Ocean Masters World Championship.


Ghosting across the line in the inky blackness of a Mediterranean spring night, finally slicing through the finish line set on the very waters where some 40 odd years ago he cut his teeth as a young, aspiring sailor harbouring great dreams, at 01:47:00hrs local time Guillermo Altadill and his talented, ever reliable Chilean co-skipper Jose Muñoz secured second placed in this third edition of the Barcelona World Race, the round the world race for two crew which left the Catalan capital on December 31st 2014.

After pressing the eventual race winners hard until New Zealand, where Altadill and Muñoz had to take the tough decision to make a 24 hours pit-stop to repair their engine generator, they finished 5d 5h 56 min 36 secs behind Cheminées Poujoulat’s Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam.

The winners crossed the line on Wednesday 25th March at 1750hrs UTC, completing the course in 84d 05h 50m 25s.

The Spanish-Chilean partnership, which was only competing in their second major IMOCA race as a duo, finished the theoretical 23,321 Nms course in 89 days 11hrs 47mins at an average of 10.86kts.

Altadill and Muñoz were honoured on the finish pontoon, at the base of Barcelona’s iconic Columbus statue, by recently crowned winners Bernard Stamm (SUI) and Jean Le Cam (FRA) and Hugo Boss skipper Alex Thomson (GBR) who lead the early stages of the race until their mast tumbled down.

By making their technical stop into Bluff, South Island New Zealand, the duo are reckoned to have lost 930 miles, or close to the 90 hours which was Altadill’s prediction as they as they diverted om 11th February. Afterwards, until their return to the North Atlantic, they maintained a very similar margin behind Cheminées Poujoulat. But despite their losses Altadill still paid a rich tribute to the winners, saying “they sailed an awesome race, did not make mistakes and probably would have won anyway even if we had not had to stop.”

Their actual distance sailed is 27,788.34 miles at a computed average of 12.94 kts. By comparison Cheminées Poujoulat sailed 27,953.43 Nms at an average of 13,8 kts.


The duo

Barcelona’s Altadill, 52, who has one of the most storied, varied and successful careers in global ocean racing becomes the first Catalan ever to stand on the podium of the Barcelona World Race. As well as his ocean racing career, Altadill has served as a successful coach in Spanish Olympic sailing, coaching the gold medal winning Tornado crew in 1996. He sailed in the 2007 America’s Cup with Team Germany.

Completing his seventh circumnavigation, he already has two round the world race podiums to date in the Volvo and Whitbread races and won The Race, the maxi multihull race around the world, in 2000-1 on Club Med with skipper Grant Dalton.

Chilean José Muñoz, 42, is one of South America’s best known ocean racers, and in finishing second today has made a very successful step up from the Class 40 Portimao Global Ocean Race. With his close friend, mentor and co-skipper on Felippe Cubillos on Desafío Cabo de Hornos (Class 40), he took second place in the 2008-9 two handed race, with stops, around the world. Off Cape Horn on 28th February past, Muñoz paid a very warm tribute to the inspirational Cubillos who died in a plane crash in 2010.

After second place in the Transat Jacques Vabre, second in the New York-Barcelona Race and second today, Altadill finishes third overall on the podium of the IMOCA Ocean Masters World Championship, behind Jean Le Cam and Bernard Stamm.

For Altadill, this is one of the high points of his career, finishing runner up in the two-handed round the world race which was originally conceived to promote his home city. He was one of the pioneering skippers to take the start line in the inaugural edition in 2008-9 but rudder problems meant he and American double Olympic medal winning co-skipper Jonathan McKee were the first duo to have to retire from the race, before they had even reached the Indian Ocean. Success today completes a measure of unfinished business for Altadill. They raced the final 26 days of the course with almost no communication tools after losing their antennae as a result of a crash gybe.


The boat

Second place maintains the very successful record for the IMOCA 60 which was designed by Farr Yacht Design, and built in Cowes, England by Offshore Challenges Sailing Team originally as the Estrella Damm for Altadill and McKee. It lead the 2008-9 Vendée Globe in the hands of French skipper Sébastien Josse as BT before he had to retire into New Zealand. In 2010 Roland Jourdain sailed this boat to win the legendary Route du Rhum against many newer generation boats. Altadill’s passion for the boat helped him to influence British skipper Alex Thomson into buying it for the 2011-12 Vendée Globe. As a precursor to this, he helped develop and optimise the boat which he and Thomson then sailed to second in the Transat Jacques Vabre two handed race to Costa Rica. And with the same boat, Thomson then broke his Vendée Globe hoodoo to finish third in 2012-13.

Although the combination of Altadill’s rich and varied experience, Munoz’s vigour and reliability matched to the well proven, highly optimised IMOCA 60 clearly marked them out as one of the pre-race favourites, Altadill always refused to acknowledge this, saying that ‘it is down to the ocean to decide’. But since the very first hours of the race, Neutrogena have been among the vanguard of four, pressing hard early leaders Alex Thomson and Pepe Ribes on the newer, theoretically faster Hugo Boss before a dismasting. Altadill and Muñoz proved well able to not just match the pace of the leaders, but frequently exceed it. They lead the race four times, most recently on 17th January and after an initial tactical loss on the entrance into the Indian Ocean, they certainly matched Cheminées Poujoulat’s speed. Had they not had to stop in to New Zealand, perhaps the final outcome of the race might have been different!

GAES Centros Auditivos are due to complete the podium, looking set to finish third in to Barcelona on April 1st.


Key dates and times for Neutrogena:

  • Gibraltar: January 2 at 19:33 UTC, after 2d 7h 33m racing, crossing in second position after the Hugo Boss
  • Equator: 12 January at 03:00 UTC, after 11d 15h racing, crossing in second position after Hugo Boss
  • Cape of Good Hope: January 25 at 21:10 UTC, after 25d 09h 10m racing, crossing in second position after Cheminées Poujoulat
  • Cape Leeuwin: February 7 at 05:00 UTC, after 37d 17h crossing in second position after Cheminées Poujoulat
  • Cape Horn: 28 February at 02:12 UTC, after 58d 14h 12m crossing in second position after Cheminées Poujoulat
  • Equator: 14 March at 22:18 UTC, after 73d 10h 18m crossing in second position after the Cheminées Poujoulat
  • Gibraltar: 27 March at 07:40 UTC, after 86d 5h 40m in second position, the tras Cheminées Poujoulat
  • Equator to Barcelona: 16 days 1hr 29 mins


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Crazy day on the Bay of Palma


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Photo © Jesus Renedo – Sailing Energy / Trofeo Sofia



Trofeo Princesa Sofia Iberostar in Palma de Mallorca



The wind played dirty tricks all day in Palma on sailors and race committees who had to juggle with big shifts and different pressure. From 4 to 20 knots, and reaching 40 in some gusts, the wind turned around the bay playing with everybody’s nerves! However, the show was on with the bay covered with white caps and 800 boats that raced their first day in the event.

The Finns were the first fleet to return ashore with two races completed. World Champion Giles Scott (GBR) took the first race, managing the shifts to his advantage. A huge shift upset the outcome of the second race which was cancelled while the front pack lead by PJ Potsma where ten boat lengths from the finish line. In the second attempt, the wind died while the fleet was rounding the bottom mark and a few unlucky boats like the Canadian Martin Robitaille or Josh Junior (NZL) who went from 5th to 60th! Jonathan Lobert (FRA) successfully avoided the local ‘doldrums’ to win the race. The French 2012 Bronze medallist takes the lead in the Finn overall.


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Finns mass start – Photo c Tom Touw


The wind played havoc in the first womens 470 race with two thirds of the fleet in the blue group failing to finish within the time limit! Last year Trofeo Sofia champions Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL) took a race to lead the 470 fleet on equal points with French Camille Lecointre / Helene Defrance and Afroditi Kyranakou / Annelies Van Veen (NED).

“It was a good day for us but very tough for the race committee out there!” admitted Aleh. “The wind ranged from 4 to 20 knots and shifted all the time! It is good to be back in Palma, all the top teams are here and it is a good warm up regatta for us.”

Palma is the first Olympic selection regatta for the Dutch 470 teams who have already set the pace with good performances. Afroditi Kyranakou and Annelies Van Veen are placed third while Michelle Broekhuizen and Marieke Jongens take the last race to end the day in eighth position.

The only race sailed in the 470 mens division was a French affair with teams of Guilbaud / Guillarm and Pirouelle / Sipan taking the bullet in their respective groups. For Vianney Guilbaud and Vincent Guillarm, the objective in Palma is to qualify for one of the ten spots available for the French SWC in Hyeres.

Sailing the Nacra today proved to be quite an athletic performance with gusts reaching well over 30 knots in a squall. Only ten boats managed to finish the first race in both groups where capsizes and broken equipment was a common sight.

The Puerto Rican pair of Enrique Figueroa and Franchesca Valdes mastered the beastly conditions with two second places to lead the strong Nacra 17 fleet. Current World Champions Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA) shared the race victorys in the yellow group with the Swiss team of Matias Buhler and Nathalie Brugger.


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Drama on the Nacra course – Photo c Jesus Renedo / Sailing Energy


The Trofeo Sofia marks the come back to racing for Nathalie Brugger after her knee ligament injury in Miami. The conditions today were far from ideal when sailing with a knee in a bracket however the Swiss pair displayed good technique to stay in control of their boat.


D1 N17 tt

Faceplants a plenty – Photo c Tom Thow


Olympic medallists and World champions Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) took a perfect start in the 49er event with two victories. Tamara Echegoyen and Berta Betanzos (ESP) proved just as good with a clean score in the FX.


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Photo © Barbara Sanchez / Trofeo Sofia


“It was really a difficult day, especially for the race committee” declared Echegoyen. “We were lucky to race in the end of the afternoon with less wind. We sailed well but not perfectly and will need to analyse our mistakes. This is just the first day and what counts more in an event is the regularity so we will take tomorrow as if it is the first day!”

Jesper Stalheim (SWE), Tom Burton (AUS) and Lorenzo Chiavarini (GBR) have claimed the only race sailed in the three Laser groups. In the Radial, experienced sailors Tatiana Drozdovskaya (BLR), Alison Young (GBR) and Annalise Murphy (IRL) are top three after two races in the Radial.



Alison Young likes it rough! – Photo c Jesus Renedo / Sailing Energy


Only eight out of 45 windsurfers crossed the finish line in the Mens RS:X yellow group. Todays windy race was won by world champion Julien Bontemps (FRA) and Samuel Sills (GBR) in the mens and by Maayan Davidovich (ISR) and Sofia Keplacka (POL) in the womens.

For the second day in a row, the kites didn’t race. The wind was either too strong or too gusty to allow for proper racing.

Racing continues on Tuesday for all classes and all hope for less challenging conditions.

For all results see:

By 46 Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofía


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Contrast in fortunes – drama and delight – round the Horn


Alvi round Horn rt

Team Alvimedica round the Horn first – Photo © Rick Tomlinson / Volvo Ocean Race



Volvo Ocean Race Leg 5 – Auckland to Itajai



Team Alvimedica has honour of passing key landmark first


Four boats in the Volvo Ocean Race celebrated rounding the venerated landmark of Cape Horn on Monday, a pleasure cruelly denied Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA) after the Chinese boat’s mast was broken early in a dramatic day on Leg 5.

Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA) had the considerable honour of leading the battered fleet past the fabled point at 1407 hrs GMT, just 15 minutes clear of overall race leaders Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR).

Mapfre (Iker Martínez/ESP) and Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED) were hot on their heels as the fleet prepared to head north at last and back in to the Atlantic for the first time since November.

They still have quite a challenge in store, navigating up the Brazilian coast towards the final Leg 5 destination of Itajaí, which they will reach after 6,770 nautical miles (nm) of the most testing sailing in the nine-month offshore marathon around April 5-6.

For Team Alvimedica’s 30-year-old skipper Enright, it was the culmination of an eight-year dream, which first took shape on the film set of Disney movie, Morning Light, when he hatched the idea of entering a team in sailing’s leading challenge.

There are no points on offer for leading the Volvo Ocean Race fleet around Cape Horn, but so much kudos.

“For me, most of this race is about competition, but this leg is a little bit different. This is pretty special for us,” said Enright of Bristol, Rhode Island, by far the youngest skipper in the fleet.

But this was no time for lengthy celebrations.

“We can see Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing behind. The match racing continues. Keep the focus!”

Walker, who has so far carried out his pre-race battle plan of earning podium places on every leg, was equally buoyant.

“I’m just happy to get here safely. That’s the main thing. There is still a long way to go, but it’s a big relief. And it’s an even bigger relief because we’re in good shape,” he said.

The Emirati boat had just set the fastest 24 hours’ sailing in the race, travelling 551nm. That is the third fastest ever recorded in the 41-year-old race behind ABN Amro 2 (2006 – 562.96nm) and Ericsson 4 (2008 – 596.6nm).


L5 ABR Matt Knighton

Abu Dhabi round 2nd – Photo Matt Knighton


For Dongfeng Race Team, who had started Leg 5 locked on eight points (lowest overall wins) it was a case of ‘what might have been’ as well as ‘what next?’.

At 0315 hrs UTC, the crew were startled by a sickening crack that sent all of them scrambling to deck to check out the damage. The boat’s mast had broken above the third spreader, which robbed it of much of its manoeuvrability.

The plan is now to nurse Dongfeng to Ushuaia, Argentina, under sail.

Reached via Inmarsat, a bitterly disappointed Caudrelier said: “I’m gutted. As you’ve seen from the position reports we have been, on purpose, backing off a bit, not attacking in any way.


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Dongfeng limping to Ushuaia – Photo Yann Riou


“The mast broke without warning in about 30 knots of wind. We are unable to sail safely on starboard tack, but we are able to make reasonable speed on port tack. We will head towards Ushuaia and assess our options for getting to Itajaí.”

He could retire from the leg, but if a patched-up boat can be returned to the Leg 5 track and complete the stage to Itajaí, Caudrelier will earn an extra two points – six for sixth and last place instead of eight for not finishing at all.

That could make all the difference come the end of the 38,739nm race in Gothenburg, Sweden, on June 27, especially with Dongfeng Race Team currently so close to the lead.

Meanwhile, Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR) were continuing to battle their way through heinous conditions in the Southern Ocean, some 550nm behind the pack still racing.


L5 SCA Anna-Lena Elled

SCA still going hampered by damage – Photo c Anna-Lena Elled


They have been considerably hampered by damage to their fractional code zero sail after a Chinese gybe last week sent the boat crashing on its side.

Davies’s crew are expected to round Cape Horn in the early hours (GMT) on Wednesday. “We can’t take any more risk with the sails that are left because we need them on the way from Cape Horn to Itajaí,” she said.

Caudrelier will understand her caution, completely.

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Golden Wheels go to Nico Poon’s Charisma

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Nico Poon and his tactician Ray Davies lead Charisma to victory  – Photos ©



RC44 Valletta Cup – Fleet Racing Overall



Conditions came good for the final races of the RC44 Valletta Cup in Malta with the wind well into the 20’s and substantial waves once again, but on the final day with the welcome addition of Mediterranean sunshine.

After Saturday’s single race, Principal Race Officer Peter Reggio coaxed the fleet out an hour earlier and succeeded in getting three races completed before returning to the Royal Malta Yacht Club’s clubhouse early in the afternoon. The races saw crews severely challenged once again with almost all making costly errors, particularly with their gennaker handling, with a variety of hour glass wraps, broaches and costly trawling of sails.

Nico Poons and his Charisma team put in another consistent day to win the RC44 Valletta Cup comfortably. Yesterday’s leader Katusha did not race on the final day, having retired due to a discrepancy with their crew classification.

“It feels great,” said Poons after dowsing his crew in victor’s champagne. This is his first victory since joining the Class at the beginning of 2014. “Today was not that easy!” admitted the Monaco-based Dutchman. “There was quite a lot of wind, but it was fun, especially downwind. You had to concentrate so that you didn’t flip which was difficult. Even upwind, going through the waves needed concentration.”

Poons’ new tactician, Ray Davies, described the day: “It was fantastic yachting, but pretty ugly, especially on port tack offshore.” To avoid the worst of the waves, all the boats typically took the left side of the race track all day. “It was a bit hairy at times in the gybes and a lot of boats were wiping out. It is very easy to broach these boats,” continued Davies.

Charisma’s success, Davies confided, was due to them making less mistakes than their rivals. “Just aim for top fives and let people make mistakes around us. We have a fantastic team. We made two crew work mistakes the whole regatta. Other teams were making two each day. And Nico did a good job too.”

Davies beat his former Emirates Team New Zealand skipper into second place, Dean Barker calling the shots on board Vladimir Prosikhin’s Team Nika, ending the regatta ten points adrift of Charisma.

“It is a very good position, second in this fleet. When the fleet is so strong, it is an honour,” said an ever modest Prosikhin. “The conditions were quite challenging this week, but the boat was fast and the crew solid. Today our boat handling was perfect until the last race, which was pity.”


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Team Nika take second – Photos ©



After winning Sunday’s second race, Team Nika led into the leeward gate on race three only to trawl her kite. “I don’t know what happened,” admitted Prosikhin. “We lost positions, but fortunately we made a nice recovery.” Team Nika was still able to salvage fifth.

Vladimir Liubomirov and Bronenosec completed the RC44 Valletta Cup podium, finishing two points behind Team Nika. Liubomirov was pleased with his team’s third place but admitted making mistakes. A broken steering system had caused them to broach during the first race. In Russia Liubomirov is Commodore of the St Petersburg Yacht Club and was pleased that two yachts from his club – (Bronenosec and Team Nika) had made it to the podium. He added that they look forward to the RC44s returning to Malta. “We have to come back next year. It is one of the best places we have been to. The people are so friendly. The hospitality is at a very high level.”

If consistency was the key to the RC44 Valletta Cup, one team that suffered from a lack of this respect was Igor Lah’s Team Ceeref. She won the final day’s first race (adding to her two bullets on day one, but also scored several deep results over the four days, leaving the Slovenian RC44 fifth overall.

Sweden’s Richard Gorannson, taking over the helm of Chris Bake’s Team Aqua made progressive improvement and earned his first two podium finishes, leaving Team Aqua fourth overall, just two points from third.

This regatta has been quite an initiation for Gorannson, sailing his first RC44 regatta but ably assisted by Kiwi tactician Cameron Appleton and the crew that is the current RC44 Tour Champion, Team Aqua was one of the few not to broach today. “We had well over 20 knots for quite some time but we kept the boat upright, which is not something everyone did,” said Gorannson. “It is one of the first regattas I have been to where we have big conditions every day. These boats go really well downwind and it is so much fun to steer, especially when you have the small kite on because you are really on the edge. I was apprehensive about it at first, but now I am really hooked on it.”

The RC44s now decamp north ready for the Audi Porto Cervo Cup over 17th-21st June.


RC44 Valletta Cup



RC44 Valletta Cup Fleet Racing Results:

1. Charisma – 29pts
2. Team Nika – 39pts
3. Bronenosec Sailing Team – 41pts
4. Team Aqua – 43pts
5. Team Ceeref – 50pts
6. Katusha – 53pts
7. Peninsula Petroleum – 57pts
8. RUS 7 – Anywayanyday – 61pts
9. Artemis Racing – 64pts
10. Artemis Racing Youth – 72pts
11. MAG Racing – 98pts


By RC44 Class Association media:


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Quirk & Payne revel in lighter South African breezes


Worlds Day2 cf

Photos © SAP / Christophe Favreau /



SAP 505 World Championships in Port Elizabeth, South Africa



Michael Quirk and Luke Payne moved to within a point of the overall lead after winning race 3 of the SAP 505 World Championships in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

Algoa Bay brought lighter conditions on Sunday, and after a postponement waiting for the wind to settle, the race got underway in 7 knots of breeze from the south-east. Ted Conrads and Brian Haines from the USA were the pathfinders, and opened up the gate for the fleet as they sailed out to the right-hand side of the course

There were many leaders up the first leg, as the breeze pulsed gently from one side of the course to the other. But by the first turning mark, Quirk and Payne had eked out a small lead, with Conrad and Haines not far behind.

While Quirk extended his lead, fellow Australians Sandy Higgins and Paul Marsh were enjoying a good race in third place. However, with the British/German team of Ian Pinnell/Johannes Tellen closing in at the final leeward gate, the Aussies were forced off to the unfavoured right-hand gate and lost out to Pinnell on the final beat to the finish.

With a slight increase in the breeze by the final lap, Holt and Smit were making small gains and started to threaten Higgins from the left-hand side of the course. The defending World Champion tacked to leeward of the Australians and it was neck and neck across the finish. While the SAP Sailing Analytics revealed that Higgins had held on to 4th place by a whisker, neither the Aussies nor Americans were sure who had gained the upper hand until they came ashore. Smit commented: “I like to think we got it at the end, but not sure. Those points can count for a lot at the end of the week. I made a couple of errors at the top of the first leg which put us back from the front pack and then we had some catching up to do after that.”

Higgins was pleased to see that Holt and Smit looked a bit more vulnerable in the lighter airs. “It tends to be a bit of a leveller, sailing in the light winds,” said the Adelaide competitor. “But Mike came back strong towards the end of the race, which seems to be a trait of his. Hopefully he gets a couple of bad spots and we get a couple of good ones, and we’ll see what we can do for the rest of the week.”

Closing to just a point of the overall lead after winning today’s race were Michael Quirk and Luke Payne, who only teamed up for the first time this week. “With the Pre-Worlds and the Worlds, we done five races together so far,” said Payne, who finished 2nd at last year’s Worlds with Pete Nicholas. “We’ve been working hard on our downwind speed and it seemed better today, and that could be crucial as we get to the back end of the week.”

Monday’s schedule has the international fleet competing in two races, which will take the SAP 505 World Championships up to the halfway point. With great weather and good winds on the forecast, the real-time tracking and live expert commentary will be following all the day’s action on


By Andy Rice


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Dongfeng Race Team breaks mast 


Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 - Leg 5 to ItajaiPhoto c Amory Ross / Team Alvimedica



Volvo Ocean Race Leg 5 – Auckland to Itajai



Volvo Ocean Race can confirm that Dongfeng Race Team broke its mast early on Monday (GMT, March 30) but fortunately nobody has been injured and there is no immediate danger to the crew.

The incident happened 240 nautical miles west of Cape Horn at 0315 hrs UTC on Monday, in the final hours of the night onboard Dongfeng.

The crew reported that the mast broke above the third spreader. They are not planning to continue racing on this leg and are heading towards Ushuaia, Argentina, under their own sail.

Reached via Inmarsat, a disappointed Caudrelier said “I’m gutted. As you’ve seen from the position reports we have been on purpose backed off a bit, not attacking in any way. The mast broke without warning, in about 30 knots of wind. We are unable to sail safely on starboard tack, but we are able to make reasonable speed on port tack. We will head towards Ushuaia and assess our options for getting to Itajai”

The Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) is aware of the situation and is on standby to help if necessary.

We are in constant contact with skipper Charles Caudrelier and are establishing the full extent of the damage to ensure we give him the support he needs to deal with the situation.



Heavy conditions as the fleet gets bashed around the Horn


Team Alvimedica lead fleet towards Cape Horn

The Volvo Ocean Race fleet in the wild Southern Ocean was fighting two battles on Sunday – for bragging rights to lead the fleet round Cape Horn, and the race to win Leg 5.

The first will be decided between Monday afternoon and evening and the other around April 5-6 in Itajaí, south-east Brazil, after three weeks of unprecedented, close-quarter racing.

The outcome of both contests is impossible to predict although the Turkey/USA crew of Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA) are currently narrow favourites as they led a group of five boats at 1240 UTC on Sunday.

Should Enright’s crew achieve either, it would be a major achievement for a team that is the youngest in the race and led by a 30-year-old Volvo Ocean Race first-timer who first dreamed of entering a team on the film set of the Disney movie, Morning Light some eight years ago.

They certainly can take neither achievement for granted. Early on Sunday, they led by just 4.1nm from Mapfre (Iker Martínez/ESP), with the Dutch crew Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED) and overall race leaders, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR), up to 8.2nm further adrift.


It is anyone’s to win.


To add to the plot, conditions in the Southern Ocean continue to be super testing with winds of some 45 miles an hour (73 kilometres an hour) and waves likely to approach 10 metres (30 feet).

And the latest forecast promises no let up once the fleet has rounded the Horn and moved into the final stage of a thrilling leg up the Brazilian coast through the south Atlantic to Itajaí.

Enright gave a taste of the relentless pressure on board as his crew battled to stay ahead of the fleet and also steer through the worst of the weather.

“I think everyone will remember today for the rest of their lives,” he reported in a message to shore after crossing ahead of Spanish rival Mapfre, during a skirmish for the lead on Saturday.

“It was completely insane – very little sleep, moving sails every hour. All the boats knew where you had to be to be ahead, but the problem is not everybody can be there at once. So it was a real fight.”

Enright will not be alone in remembering this leg for the rest of his life.

The boats have avoided some huge icebergs on the route so far after Cyclone Pam kept them waiting three extra days in Auckland at the start and three of them crashed to their sides mid-week in so-called ‘Chinese gybes’.

Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR), suffered the most serious damage with a broken fractional code zero (FRO) sail, which has hampered them significantly in such challenging conditions.

At 1240 UTC, they trailed the main pack by just under 300nm. Navigator Libby Greenhalgh (GBR) described their experience on board in a blog from the boat on Sunday.

“Life on board is like being in a cold, damp car with no windows while someone is learning to drive, bunny-hopping down the road or practising their emergency stops,” she wrote.

“When we hit a wave and the water ploughs over the top, it does so with such force that the water finds its way into the boat through every little nook and cranny. So much so that it felt like it was raining on us one day in the galley!”

The fleet has just passed the halfway mark of the race in terms of legs completed. In all, they will sail nine legs, visit 11 ports, and every continent. The event, staged once every three years, will conclude in Gothenburg, Sweden, on June 27.


For current positions see:



European Olympic classes season kicks off in Palma 


PSR 49ers preview jr

Photo © Jesus Reneda / Sailing Energy / Trofeo Sofia


Trofeo Princesa Sofia Iberostar in Palma de Mallorca


The Trofeo Princesa Sofia Iberostar is marks the start of the European season and will be used by many sailors to assess their progress preparing for the Rio test event. For some countries like Spain and Holland the regatta will be used for Olympic selection and is one of the most important events of the year. For others, the Trofeo Sofia is the last chance to select for the last ten places for the SWC in Hyeres.

Current world champions competing include: 49er (Peter Burling/Blair Tuke), 49er FX (Martine Grael/Kahena Kunze), Nacra 17 (Billy Besson/Marie Riou), Finn (Giles Scott), Laser Radial (Marit Bouwmeester), Laser Standard (Nicolas Heiner), RS:X M (Julien Bontemps), RS:X W (Charline Picon), and many Olympic medalists will spice up the contest!

Over 1200 sailors from 65 countries are in Palma de Mallorca to compete in the 46th edition of the Trofeo Princesa Sofia. This international regatta has become a regular feature for worldwide sailors who will race in the 10 Olympic events, with the invited classes, the Formula Kites, the Dragon and the 2.4 Paralympic class, until 4th of April.


Racing is split between 8 race courses in the Bay of Palma. 


Clubs and classes:

Club Nàutic S’Arenal: 470 M, 470 W, 49er, 49er FX, Finn

Club Marítimo San Antonio de la Playa: Laser, Laser Radial, RS:X M, RS:X W Nacra 17

Real Club Náutico de Palma: 2.4mR and Dragón

Playa del Portixol: Kite Surf



PSR Kites bs

Photo © Barbara Sanchez / Sofia



Kiteboarders first out of the blocks


The kiteboarders were the first to compete on Saturday with three races dominated by Spanish rider Florián Trittel and Elena Kalinina (RUS) in Es Portitxol.

Meanwhile in the other clubs the Olympic classes were starting their preparations for the practice race on Sunday and the start of the competition Monday.

It was a first today in Palma with the Kites making their first appearance in the Sofia alongside the Olympic classes. Three races were completed in a breeze weakening throughout the day until the abandonment of the fourth. The favourites came out on top with European Champion and vice world champion Elena Kalinina claiming the day with three wins. A fautless performance as well for Florian Trittel (ESP) who stole the day with an incredible margin over his opponents. Racing was cancelled during the fourth race when the kites started to hit the water in the dying wind.

“I really enjoy these conditions, the wind was light but stable” claimed Kalinina, her small frame suited for the lighter winds. “This is pretty similar to the conditions in St Petersburg where I train.”

At the age of 17 she is already experienced with four years of kiteboarding under her belt! “I sailed the optimist and the Zoom 8 when I was a kid, and also tried a bit of windsurfing but I was attracted to kitesurfing. I felt I could really make quick gains with a fast learning curve. As a new discipline kiteboarding is always evolving and is opening many possibilities. We are part of its history! What I really love is that I have the feeling of flying!”

About her opponents and racing with the men, Elena adds, “The level is really high both in the men and the women. Today these lighter conditions suited the lighter riders like me. In Kiteboarding you don’t need power so much but a good technic and the right choice of equipment; this makes it possible for boys and girls to race together.”

Racing continues Sunday for the Kiteboarding with up to six races planned.

Racing can be followed live on the Event website, Facebook:



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Maxed out in Malta


RC44 Valletta Cup

Artemis maxed out – All Photos ©



RC44 Valletta Cup – Day 3 of Fleet Racing



If the Mediterranean conjures up images of balmy sun drenched days and wearing shorts and t-shirts, today it was at the opposite end of the meteorological spectrum, challenging RC44 Valletta Cup competitors to the maximum.

A gale passed across Malta last night and while conditions had abated it wasn’t until 1400 hrs local that the wind momentarily dipped below the statutory 25 knots allowing Principal Race Officer Peter Reggio to fire the start gun. Even then a mighty seaway was still running and with the wind piping up mid-race, the penultimate day of competition here was one that the 11 crews will remember for some time, coming ashore soaked to the bone, but with cheshire cat grins.

Torbjörn Törnqvist’s Artemis Racing, with British two time Olympic gold medallist Iain Percy calling tactics, led after a bouncy first beat. The Swedish crew kept its cool, hoisting the spinnaker without incident in the big conditions; a feat that some crews further back in the fleet didn’t manage.

Even Artemis Racing didn’t come away unscathed. Törnqvist explained: “Unfortunately just after the hoist, we slammed into a huge wave and the bow came off – slowing us down. Obviously that affected our sailing.” (The RC44s are fitted with a sacrificial bow – that is removed for shipping, and isn’t integral to the boat’s structure).

Artemis Racing led into the leeward gate, but Nico Poons’ Charisma had caught up. Tactician Ray Davies recounted: “We had a good first run and we got a nice layline into the bottom mark where we had a really good rounding. We dropped [the kite] while we were surfing down a wave, gybed, rounded up and gained a lot.”

Charisma had overhauled the compromised Artemis Racing on a second lively upwind leg to lead at the weather mark and managed to hang on for a final downhill sleighride to take her first win of the 2015 RC44 Championship Tour. Going into the final day Charisma is up to second having podiumed in five out of the six races to date leaving her five points off Katusha in the lead.


RC44 Valletta Cup

Charisma’s day – Photos ©



Charisma’s owner Nico Poons described his day: “You start a race like this, you survive. It may have looked scary on the downwinds, but I did feel like I had it perfectly under control. As the breeze started picking up more, we were a bit uncomfortable, but only because we were getting so wet.”

His Emirates Team New Zealand navigator Ray Davies added: “It was epic, cool sailing in the nice big waves. We’d been looking forward to it all day. We are excited to sail in that stuff. Our set-up was fantastic, we boned everything up and Nico kept it in the groove.”

Unfortunately even some of the top teams suffered. Team Ceeref scored a DNF due to an issue with her steering, while John Bassadone’s Peninsula Petroleum broached on the first run.

“When we wiped out one of the guys fell in the water. We picked him back up, but he had also hurt himself but he is alright now which is good news,” recounted the Gibraltar-based skipper, adding that he had been hoping for more races to allow Peninsula Petroleum to improve on the eighth place where she stands overall at present. “We’ve raced in tougher conditions and performed quite well, but today we didn’t,” continued Bassadone. “We were a little bit hesitant. Normally we thrive in these conditions.”

The overwhelming memory of the day will certainly be the conditions that verged on ‘survival’, but proved how robust the RC44s are even in big wind and waves. “They are fantastic – that is the beauty of these boats. They are not easy, but even today they were very sailable,” said Bassadone.

“They were great conditions and very challenging,” agreed Torbjörn Törnqvist. “It was on the edge but Luigi [PRO Peter Reggio] made a good call and there were no issues around the course and no blow outs. All the boats handled it very well. It was pretty hairy out there, we couldn’t sail downwind as we wanted because of our bow problem, but we had moments of 22 knots of boat speed.”


RC44 Valletta Cup

Team Aqua downwind –  Photos ©


Only one race was sailed today before the wind picked up and the fleet was sent home. The aim is to get three races in tomorrow (Sunday), the final day of the RC44 Valletta Cup, with the first start at 10:30 hrs CET.


Fleet Racing Results after Day 3:

1. Katusha – 17pts
2. Charisma – 22pts
3. Bronenosec Sailing Team – 28pts
4. Team Nika – 29pts
5. RUS – 7 Anywayanyday – 31pts
6. Team Aqua – 34pts
7. Team Ceeref – 36pts
8. Peninsula Petroleum – 41pts
9. Artemis Racing – 45pts
10. Artemis Racing Youth – 52pts
11. MAG Racing – 62pts


By RC44 Class media:


Highlights of day 3 of fleet racing:


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Mike Holt & Carl Smit put the hammer down


Worlds D1 cf

Photos © SAP / Christophe Favreau /



SAP 505 World Championships in Port Elizabeth, South Africa



Mike Holt and Carl Smit put the hammer down on day one of the SAP 505 World Championships to nail the first two races in sunny Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

The first race, held in steady, 15-knot easterly winds on a lumpy Algoa Bay, saw a four-way battle develop between some of the hot favourites. Australians Sandy Higgins/Paul Marsh and Michael Quirk/ Luke Payne were up at the front from early on, with double 505 World Champion from Denmark, Jan Saugmann/ Jakob Karbo and Holt/Smit not far back.

Holt and Smit seemed to be able to sail slightly higher upwind, but their real advantage was on the downwind legs when they could take chunks out of the opposition as they steered through the big waves with more power than their rivals. Higgins and Marsh still held a 70-metre lead going around the final windward mark, but the chasing Americans were too fast, out-gybing the Aussies and surging into the lead to win the first race just a few hundred metres before the finish.

Race 2, and with a slight increase in breeze, Holt and Smit were even more dominant as they took an early lead by the first turning mark. The Californians then extended their advantage as a close tussle developed between the chasing pack. This time it was the German crew of Stefan Boehm and Gerard Roos who took second place after emerging on top of a duel with 2008 World Champion, Great Britain’s Ian Pinnell sailing with Germany’s Johannes Tellen.

Former World Champions Howie Hamlin and Jeff Nelson managed to get on to the water in time for today’s racing after five hectic days getting their brand new boat ready for action. However, Hamlin and Nelson will be disappointed to be lying in 10th place after day one. Top of the South Africans are 8th placed brothers, Peter and Thomas Funke, who came 5th in race one and will be looking to secure a place in the top 10 by the end of the regatta next Friday. The brothers have been part of a massive local effort by the members of Algoa Bay Yacht Club and of Port Elizabeth residents generally to make this a World Championship to remember. “P.E. is the watersports capital of South Africa, and the sailing conditions are fantastic,” said Thomas, who is pleased to have the relatively simple task of going racing after three years of preparation and long days making sure that the regatta would run smoothly.


Worlds D1 fleet cf


As for the racing itself, there’s no doubt who is the clear favourite for the 2015 title. Mike Holt was relieved to have come out on top today, and was a little surprised to have been so dominant. “Our downwind speed got us out of trouble in race one,” he said, an observation backed up by the SAP Sailing Analytics being used by the live commentary team working at the event. “It all came together for race two,” Holt continued. “But yesterday I ate something that upset my stomach and I’ve been feeling a little bit washed out today. Hopefully get a good night’s sleep and we’ll be fit and ready for tomorrow’s race.”

A late charge into 4th place just before the finish line of race 2 sees Michael Quirk and Luke Payne of Australia sitting in 2nd overall on 7 points, just one point ahead of fellow Aussies Higgins and Marsh. Higgins was disappointed to have been outmanoeuvred by Holt for victory in race one, but believes he can still beat the American this week.

The SAP 505 World Championships are being fully covered by SAP Sailing Analytics. The first three days have real-time tracking and expert commentary, with the live streaming TV coverage coming in for the final three days of competition, starting next Wednesday.

For news, results, video highlights and live coverage of racing, go to:


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