Monthly Archives: May 2015

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Spindrift racing wins the day – Sultanate of Oman the regatta

 

BULLITT GC32 RACING TOUR - Austria Cup - Racing Day 4 - 31st May 2015 - Gmunden (AUS)

Photos © Guilain Grenier / Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour

 

Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour – Austria Cup at Lake Traunsee

 

 

Despite the rapid improvement shown over the last two days by Spindrift racing, it was Sultanate of Oman that came out on top to claim the Austria Cup, the opening event of the 2015 Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour.

Crews arrived in the race centre in Gmunden this morning to a glassy Lake Traunsee. In an attempt to find wind, the race area was transported 12km to the southern end of the lake at Ebensee. Fortunately this proved a success with 8-10 knot winds that were stable, albeit inadequate to get the GC32s foiling. Nonetheless six races were sailed in swift succession.

With Sultanate of Oman out in front, the fight was intense for the remaining podium places between Alinghi, Spindrift racing and Team Engie. This at one point caused a monumental three way match race with boats putting in eight tacks up the 700m long beat.

Alinghi had an up and down day, with two wins and two lower results, but, as on Saturday, it was Spindrift racing that excelled – the only team never finishing off the podium today, a performance that caused them to finish second overall, three points ahead of Alinghi.

“We have been the best for the last two days – which was a nice result,” said a beaming Spindrift racing skipper, Yann Guichard. “The first two days were hard for us, but we improved day after day and climbed the leaderboard to second place. I am really proud of the team – they did a fantastic job.”

 

LT Armin gg

 

 

Guichard, a multihull specialist who this year is campaigning boats ranging from the 40m Spindrift 2 to the 7.3m Diam trimaran, is enthusiastic about the GC32 after completing his first regatta in it. “It is easy when you start, but after if you want to progress you need to spend time training. But it is a really nice boat – you can feel its potential in only eight knots – you can fly.”

Morgan Larson, helmsman on Alinghi, came ashore pleased after a day sailing in better conditions, but unhappy to have been beaten by Spindrift racing. “It was nice to finally work on things that we were struggling with within our team, eg: communication and where to position ourselves. Unfortunately Spindrift had a fantastic day and overtook us, but hats off to them for doing that.” Larson paid tribute to his arch rival from the Extreme Sailing Series, Sultanate of Oman, predicting that the Omani team has set a new benchmark in the class.

The ‘benchmark’ here, despite two deep results today, finished the Bullitt GC32 Austria Cup with an eight point lead. Skipper Leigh McMillan said he enjoyed today’s steadier breeze that made for more ‘normal’ racing and expressed surprise at his team’s victory: “It’s quite unexpected! We hadn’t even used the spinnaker before we came here. We had one day to try and figure out how to gybe, to do the boards, etc. In lighter winds for sure it is easier, a bit more like an Extreme 40 rather than when you are up and fully foiling, so that probably played into our hands.”

 

BULLITT GC32 RACING TOUR - Austria Cup - Racing Day 2 - 29th May 2015 - Gmunden (AUS)

 

 

McMillan is looking forward to the Cowes Cup for the GC32s, taking place over 24-27th June, when he hopes for more wind and the possibility of breaking Alinghi’s new record of 39.2 knots in a GC32. “Getting up on the foils and getting it absolutely rippin’ is great…”

Team Engie put in a sterling effort, finishing off the podium, just four points off Alinghi. Skipper Sebastien Rogues was very satisfied with their performance: “We proved we can match Alinghi and Oman who’ve won the Extreme Sailing Series, so yes, we are happy. I began multihull sailing just four months ago and I’ve been up against guys who’ve been sailing them for 20 years or more. For that I thank my team.”

Having won the GC32 last events in Key West and in Marseille, Flavio Marazzi’s Armin Strom Sailing Team had a disappointing regatta, finishing last which their Swiss three time Olympic Star sailor skipper attributed to the influx of Extreme Sailing Series teams and America’s Cup sailors to the class and their greater experience. “We still have to learn a lot about how to handle this boat and where to put it at the start and how to get off the line in clear air.”

As GC32 International Class Association President, Marazzi commented: “Lake Traunsee is a great location, but we need better wind conditions to show off potential of these boats on foils when they can sail at 30+ knots. This event is always really well organised. I look forward to the GC32s returning in 2016.”

Next up for the Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour is the Cowes Cup over 24-27th June that will culminate in the JP Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race.

 

By Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour

 

 

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Open Season & Momo are kings of the Menorca Maxi Regatta

 

MM fleet jr

Photos c Jesus Renedo

 

The final day of the regatta was marked by a coastal race and the beauty of the Menorcan coastline. After four days of competition and six races sailed, (4 windward/leeward and 2 coastal races) Menorca crowned its winners.

In the Wally class, with 12 boats on the starting line, victory went to Thomas Bscher’s Open Season and in the five boat Maxi 72 fleet, honours went to Dieter Schon’s team onboard Momo.

 

Menorca Maxi Regatta finishes with a Coastal Race

 

The 24 nm coastal race in the vicinity of Mahón, showcased the stunning beauty of the Isle of Colom (the biggest islet of the area with the most paradisiacal beaches of Menorca). This islet has for centuries been the biggest shelter when the Tramontana wind blows.

All teams docked out knowing how important this 24 mile coastal race was. The race, which couldn’t be discarded, started with 6 knots of wind from the south-west which increased as the race went on.

Victory in the Wally fleet went to Magic Blue with Luca Bassani onboard and for Sir Peter Ogden’s Jethou in a tough battle with Momo in the Maxi 72 class.

 

 

MenorcaMaxi 2015. Wally and Maxi 72 regatta in Menorca, Spain, May 2015. All images ©Jesus Renedo / Consell Insular de Menorca

 

 

Open Season crowned overall winner in the Wally Class

 

Thomas Bscher’s Open Season, with Jochen Shumann calling tactics, scored a very well worked victory helped by a bad start from Tango G in the final race  in the Wally Class.

With a tie between Open Season and Magic Blue with 14 points each, final victory went to Open Season to the detriment of Magic Blue. The third step of the podium went to Sir Lindsay Owen Jones’ Magic Carpet Cubed.

Pepe Ribes, crew boss onboard Open Season: “We sailed a great regatta and we can see every day we worked much better together and this shows in the results. The Menorca Maxi Regatta has been a great event, really tight and we’ve really enjoyed some real match-racing with boats such as Magic Carpet. Today, the bad start from Tango G worked in our favour, but the podium was really tight.”

 

 

Momo 1st Maxi72

 

Maxi 72 Class honours go to Momo

 

Dieter Schon’s team sailing Momo, with Markus Wieser and Ross Halcrow onboard, docked out the port of Mahón ready to win everything on the last day of racing, despite having won the regatta already by the end of racing on Saturday,

The coastal race was a tight battle between the final overall winner of the Menorca Maxi Regatta and Sir Peter Ogden’s Jethou with Brad Butterworth as tactician, who finished their regatta with a victory.

The overall results placed Momo on top of the podium, 3 points ahead of second placed Jethou and 7 points over Shockwave. Fourth place went to Alexander Schaerer’s Caol Ila R and fifth to Roberto Tomasini’s Robertissima III.

Markus Wieser, tactician onboard Momo, returned to shore happy after work was done: “This is the first time we have come to Menorca and both the port and the island are super-cool. Also the people are really hospitable. The races have been impressive. In this Maxi 72 class all the boats are very similar and you can’t blink for a second; a small mistake can make you lose too many meters that are very difficult to win back. The level of all the crews that are here has been really high. We would really like to be back next year”.

 

 

MenorcaMaxi 2015. Wally and Maxi 72 regatta in Menorca, Spain, May 2015. All images ©Jesus Renedo / Consell Insular de Menorca

 

Ambassadors Menorca Trophy

 

Once the finish line for the coastal races was crossed, both fleets raced for the honours for the Ambassador Trophy. The fleet sailed towards a new finishing line located in Mahón Bay, in front of the Club Marítimo de Mahón. The race didn’t score any points, after the coastal races, but they did bring the amazing sight of 17 maxi boats sailing into the Mahón waters for all the public to watch in the port. The Ambassadors Menorca Trophy went to Inti (Wally Class) and to Robertissima III (Maxi 72 Class).

 

For full results see: www.menorcamaxi.com

 

 

 

Nacra 17 cat fight concludes dramatic day in Medemblik

 

N17 fleet Sat sdb

Photo © Sander van der Borch

 

Delta Lloyd Regatta at Medemblik, Holland

 

 

The Medal Race format in Olympic sailing is designed to create drama and uncertainty, especially when the wind is blowing hard – which it did on the final day of Delta Lloyd Regatta.

Based on previous form, Marcus Hansen and Josh Porebski would have been expected to hold on to gold in the men’s 49er, but an uncharacteristic capsize put them to the back of the fleet. Diego Botin and Iago Lopez seized the moment, won the race, and won Spanish gold.

The top two nations, with three golds apiece, were Australia and the Netherlands. So often the bridesmaid on home waters, PJ Postma finally sealed the deal in the Finn this year. Marit Bouwmeester was dominant in the Laser Radial, and 49er FX team Annemieke Bekkering and Annette Duetz clinched a third gold for the host nation.

 

Medal Races Delta Lloyd Regatta  2015 (26/30 May 2015). Medemblik - the Netherlands.

Medal Races Delta Lloyd Regatta 2015 (26/30 May 2015). Medemblik – the Netherlands.

 

Two of Australia’s golds came in the Paralympic classes, the SKUD and the Sonar, with Matt Wearn seeing off his Dutch rival to win the Laser class.

The Polish squad dominated the RS-X windsurfers, with men’s and women’s golds going to Pawel Tarnowski and Maja Dziarnowska respectively. Sweden and Great Britain took their only golds the previous evening in the men’s and women’s 470 Medal Races, and France took its sole gold thanks to Damien Seguin’s comfortable victory in the 2.4mR Paralympic singlehander.

 

Medal Races Delta Lloyd Regatta  2015 (26/30 May 2015). Medemblik - the Netherlands.

Medal Races Delta Lloyd Regatta 2015 (26/30 May 2015). Medemblik – the Netherlands.

 

 

The very last Medal Race of the day proved to be the most dramatic, with two Danes and a Kiwi team locked in a three-way fight for the Nacra 17 medals. While the Swiss led the race from start to finish, the medal battle was taking place at the back of the fleet. Denmark’s Lin Ea Cenholt and Christian Peter Lubeck did just enough to clinch gold.

Just a few metres behind, the other Danish boat of Allan Norregaard and Anette Viborg was about to cross the finish line when they pitchpoled and capsized. Fortunately for them, the Danes crossed the line upside down to cling on to silver, the Kiwis settling for bronze.

It has been a tough, windy week for the 707 teams from 74 nations. The Ijselmeer – with its shifty, gusty breeze and short, sharp, unsympathetic chop – always asks the hardest questions of these accomplished sailors. Which is why they keep on coming back, year after year, for more high-quality competition. Next year’s event takes place 24-28 May 2016.

 

For full results see:  www.deltalloydregatta.org

 

For videos of the day go to youtube channel here.

 

By Delta Lloyd Regatta media, www.deltalloydregatta.org

 

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Unstoppable Sultanate of Oman!

 

BULLITT GC32 RACING TOUR - Austria Cup - Racing Day 3 - 29th May 2015 - Gmunden (AUS)

BULLITT GC32 RACING TOUR – Austria Cup – Racing Day 3 – 29th May 2015 – Gmunden (AUS)

 

Photos © Guilain Grenier / Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour

 

 

Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour – Austria Cup at Lake Traunsee

 

 

On Lake Traunsee, another severely testing day at the Austria Cup, the opening event of the 2015 Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour, allowed just two races to be competed, but not for want of trying by PRO Anne Mallédant-Vadré.

The opening race – race 10 of the series – took place in the most stable conditions we have seen here – a S/SWerly peaking at 9-10 knots, blowing up the length of the lake. Apart from one tense moment at the top of the first beat, this was led from almost start to finish by the immaculately sailed Sultanate of Oman, skippered by Leigh McMillan.

After a short postponement, a second race saw more of the fluky, unpredictable conditions that have marked this regatta. A big right hand shift soon after the start made the first run heavily port gybe-favoured and it was Spindrift racing that led from the start, until they were overtaken by the Omanis approaching the leeward gate. Going into the leeward gate for a second time, the leaders sailing into less pressure caused a compression. Rounding in fourth place, Armin Strom Sailing Team was the only boat to stay on the starboard side of the beat where she was first to pick up pressure, enabling them to not only lay the final mark of the course but to come in at speed. This fast track enabled Armin Strom to pick off three boats, motoring home to her first ‘bullet’ of the 2015 Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour. All five boats competing have now won races.

Marazzi, who represented Switzerland three times at the Olympic Games in the Star keelboat, admitted that his crew don’t like light airs, particularly when it redefines ‘fickle’ as it has done to date on Lake Traunsee. “In these short, light air races, it is a big advantage for the teams that have sailed in the Extreme Sailing Series,” he says. “We have slowly figured out how it works and our communication is improving, but we still have to learn. It is good to finally achieve what we’ve been fighting for.”

 

BULLITT GC32 RACING TOUR - Austria Cup - Racing Day 3 - 29th May 2015 - Gmunden (AUS)

BULLITT GC32 RACING TOUR – Austria Cup – Racing Day 3 – 29th May 2015 – Gmunden (AUS)

 

 

As President of the GC32 International Class Association, Marazzi says he is pleased that here the class has an unprecedented heights in terms of its competition. “We haven’t even been close to this in the last two years.” But he is craving a day with winds of 15+ knots when the one design foiling catamarans can really show themselves off.

Top scoring boat of the day was Yann Guichard and Dona Bertarelli’s Spindrift racing, posting a 2-2. This was enough to leave them level with Alinghi, the team of Bertarelli’s brother Ernesto, but ahead according to the GC32’s tiebreak rules where the boat with the better result in the last race prevails.

“I am happy, but today it was really difficult conditions – really tricky and unpredictable,” said Guichard. “Saying that – our starts and our tactics were very good.”

Key to success on Lake Traunsee is staying in the breeze, but this challenge reached a new level in the two unsuccessful attempts to complete race 12. As Guichard described one moment: “It was bizarre: two lengths behind us there was a southerly wind and one length ahead it was northerly. You just had to try to manage with the wind you had. Sometimes there would be only 10m between the boats, but they would be in completely different winds.” In one particularly extraordinary race both Spindrift racing and Team Engie ended up sailing several hundred metres beyond the leeward gate before they could work their way back to it.

Going into the final day of the Bullitt GC32 Austria Cup, Sultanate of Oman holds a commanding nine point lead, despite posting their first result here off the podium today (a fourth in race 11). So is their secret their two America’s Cup sailors: Emirates Team New Zealand wing trimmer and ten time A-Class catamaran World Champion Glenn Ashby and ex-Luna Rossa crewman Alister Richardson?

“I think we are sailing the boat fairly relaxed and keeping our heads out of the boat,” said Ashby.  “There is obviously a lot of experience with Leigh [McMillan], Pete [Greenalgh] and Nasser [al Mashari] sailing together and Alister and I coming in and looking at the same sort of things. It feels like we are on the same page and its working nicely.”

Ashby is a fan of the GC32: “The boat is great – they are really good fun to sail. They are a bit of a slave ship in 10 knots – having to use the full-sized gennikers, make it a boat handling issue at times, but it forces you to prioritise the important things and put your fireman’s hat on and put out the right fire at the right time in the manoeuvres! But the boats sails really well.”

 

Follow the racing live at www.gc32racing.com

 

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Weguelin wins the battle of British 470 teams

 

Weguelin and McIntyre

Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntyre – Photo © Sander van der Borch

 

 

Delta Lloyd Regatta at Medemblik, Holland

 

 

Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntyre won gold in the 470 women’s class at Delta Lloyd Regatta after heading off a strong challenge from their Great Britain team mates, Amy Seabright and Anna Carpenter.

The breeze was highly variable and gusty, ranging from 7 – 18 knots, with rain clouds sweeping across the Medal Race course in front of the sailing centre at Medemblik. The two British boats went into the Medal Race on equal points, with the Polish team Agnieszka Skrzypulec and Mrozek Gliszczynska not far behind. But Weguelin got an excellent start that enabled her to start covering her fellow Brits. These two team crossed the line in 1st and 2nd, taking gold and silver for Team GBR, with the Poles securing bronze.

 

In the 470 men’s Medal Race, it was a formality for the dominant Swedes, Johan Molund and Sebastian Ostling, who have been the class act in Medemblik this week. “It’s never easy,” said Molund, “but we got a good start and we just wanted to keep an eye on the Greek guys. We love the weather in Medemblik. It’s great to win here again.” Panagiotis Kampdouris and Papadopoulos Efstathios took silver, with the Russians in bronze.

Earlier in the day it had been much breezier, so much so that the 49er men were sent back in without holding a race. The windy weather always suits the Poles in the RS-X windsurfers, and they hold the top spot in both the men’s and women’s fleets.

 

The Laser men looks set to be a match race between Australia’s Matt Wearn and the Netherland’s Rutger van Schaardenburg. The same could be said of the Laser Radial women, with local favourite Marit Bouwmeester holding a 2 point advantage over Annalise Murphy, which in a double-points Medal Race means the Dutch and Irish rivals effectively go in all square.

 

In the Nacra 17, young Kiwis Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders put the hammer down again to score a 1,2 and now go into a three-way fight for the medals with two Danish teams, although two French crews also have an outside shot at the podium.

 

There was no change to the lead of the Finns, 2.4mRs or men’s and women’s skiff classes, with all the leaders going into their Medal Races with a reasonable points buffer.

 

With the breeze set to blow strongly once again for what has already been a typically windy week in Medemblik, the teams at the top of the leaderboard should be looking forward to a breezy finale. However in short course Medal Racing, anything can happen, and you can never take victory for granted – especially on the choppy, treacherous waters of the IJselmeer.

 

Schedule: The rest of the medal races start on Saturday from 10.30 hrs onwards.

For full results see:  www.deltalloydregatta.org

For videos of the day go to youtube channel here.

 

By Delta Lloyd Regatta media, www.deltalloydsregatta.org

 

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Omani newbies pull ahead on tricky day

 

 

LT D2 gg

Photos © Guilain Grenier / Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour

 

 

Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour – Austria Cup at Lake Traunsee

 

 

Downtown Gmunden was graced with a bird’s eye view of competition on day two of the Austria Cup, the opening event of the 2015 Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour.

Compared to yesterday, the immaculate Austrian lake, nestled among the snow-capped Salzkammergut mountains, today had warmed up with the wind shifting into the northeast, allowing the course to be set up off the model Austrian town. Sadly the wind was even more marginal today, momentarily touching 10 knots, enough for the one design foilers, that resemble mini-America’s Cup catamarans, to fully fly. Despite the challenging, fickle breeze, the race management got five races completed before competitors returned ashore to recover and ready themselves for a Bullitt Group party in Gmunden’s waterside square.

At the start of the day the two old Extreme Sailing Series foes, Alinghi and Sultanate of Oman, were tied in the top spot. But through today’s lengthy bout, Leigh McMillan’s team maintained the best consistency and, with no results off the podium after nine races sailed, at the halfway point of the regatta, holds a six point lead over its Swiss rivals. On a course where it often didn’t pay to lead (showing those behind where not to go), Alinghi regularly was the best starter, but was unable to hang on around the whole course.

“For once we were starting well,” explained Alinghi skipper Morgan Larson. “Sometimes with this lake you find yourself doing the right thing, then the wind evaporates and fills in from somewhere else. It is a ‘lake of opportunity’ and the other guys took a few better opportunities than we did. But Traunsee is always tricky – sometimes you get in rhythm with the conditions and sometimes you don’t. Tonight maybe we’ll have a few more foamy ones. It’s about giving the lake respect and we need to do a little more of that. You just have to chip away, learn from your mistakes, and don’t take it too seriously, because it is impossible to predict here.”

It remains uncertain if Alinghi’s injured mainsheet trimmer Pierre Yves Jorand will return before Sunday. At present highly capable Austrian two time Olympic Tornado gold medallist Hans Peter Steinacher is standing in for him.

After the immaculate Omanis, today Spindrift racing finally came good, scoring the second best result of the day. Dona Bertarelli and Yann Guichard’s team became the fourth different race winner after claiming race six, (today’s second), showing how competitive this fleet is.

“It was a good day for us, but it was difficult to stay in the wind,” said Guichard. “The game was to find the puffs and to stay in them. Yesterday it was difficult for us to manoeuvre, but now I am happy because today my team did a great job: We were starting well and our tactics were good.

“It is difficult to keep foiling here because the wind is not steady – the puffs come down the mountains, so they are strong, but really short too. For the helmsman it is difficult to keep the boat going fast. ”

French skipper of Team Engie, Sebastien Rogues is earning himself the title of the ‘comeback kid’ making some spectacular recoveries to come home second in today’s third and fourth races.

“We did some good things and some bad things, but the challenge is getting easier,” said Rogues, the 2013 Class 40 champion. Half way through the regatta the mid-fleet in particular is close with Team Engie having dropped to fourth, but is just four points adrift of Alinghi in second, their position not helped by coming home last in today’s final race. On board leading Moth, catamaran and lake sailor Arnaud Psarofaghis, is calling tactics in place of former America’s Cup helmsman Sébastien Col, however Rogues points out: “The tactics are very difficult here because of the gusts. It is very difficult for all the tacticians.”

Like all the crew here, Rogues is crossing his fingers that conditions pick up for the last two days allowing the GC32s to get foiling with greater regularity.

Struggling at present is the Armin Strom Sailing Team of GC32 International Class Association President Flavio Marazzi, which has yet to finish on the podium and has its work cut out to make its impression on the front runners this weekend.

 

Follow the racing live at www.gc32racing.com

 

By Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour

 

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Slow start to close opening day

 

LT D1 Team Engie gg

 Photos © Guilain Grenier / Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour

 

 

Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour – Austria Cup at Lake Traunsee

 

 

When it looked like no racing would be possible, in fact four races were held on Lake Traunsee, Austria on the opening day of the Austria Cup, the first event on the 2015 Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour. Conditions were light, but enough to allow the one design GC32s at times to foil fully-airborne, occasionally sailing at speeds approaching three times that of the wind.

After a delay ashore in Gmunden, a westerly filled in a quarter of the way down the lake, strong enough for the race committee to get competition underway for the five GC32s. However conditions were challenging, with significant wind shifts and substantial holes in the breeze that caught out even the most experienced crews.

The stand-out performance early on was not one of the established multihull teams, but former shorthanded offshore sailor Sebastien Rogues and his crew on Team Engie (ex-GDF Suez). While he was OCS on the first start, Team Engie fought back into first place to win the opening race of the season.

In race two it was Alinghi’s turn, scoring the day’s only start to finish win – no mean feat in the conditions. But It was not easy with Team Engie hounding the Swiss team around the race course.

Sultanate of Oman claimed the third bout – the third winner in as many races – a strong performance by Leigh McMillan’s team that had only had four days training prior to this their first GC32 regatta.

“It was a fantastic first day for us,” commented McMillan. “It was quite unexpected to win a race and have a really consistent day. It is nice to be on a steep learning curve and learning something every time you go out racing. Our improvement rate is pretty dramatic at the moment.”

The British skipper observed that while it was a ‘snakes and ladders’ day, this was further accentuated when conditions at times allowed some boats to foil and others not. “It is dramatic the difference that makes, but it is swings and roundabouts – you have to keep finding the good bits of breeze and keep pushing hard.”

Yann Guichard and Spindrift racing led race four by an entire leg and were on track to make it four different winners in four races, until the wind disappeared altogether, forcing PRO Anne Malledant Vadre to cancel it.

As the wind re-established, the fourth race was resailed culminating in a match race for the lead between the Bertarelli siblings’ teams: Alinghi prevailed with Spindrift racing second, a small redemption for skipper Yann Guichard after their domination of race four.

 

LT D1 Spindrift gg

 

Alinghi ends this first day tied on points with Sultanate of Oman, but, with two wins, leads on countback. “It was fun to get some real serious racing in,” commented Nils Frei, trimmer on board. “It is very challenging and we are new to Traunsee with its shifty breeze. Sometimes we were foiling which is always nice in these boats, so it was a good day. It is very new for us and there are a lot of things we still have to learn.”

There was drama for the Swiss team prior to the start today when main sheet trimmer Pierre-Yves Jorand had to stand down with an injury. He was replaced on board Alinghi by Austrian two time Olympic Tornado gold medallist Hans-Peter Steinacher, now of the Red Bull Sailing Team.

“I feel proud the guys called me,” said Steinacher, who lives nearby and has sailed on Lake Traunsee since childhood. “It is nice when you normally sail against these boys and now you get to sail with them.” As to the GC32 and his debut on it, he added: “It was hard to sail it on a lake today, but the boat looks good and the competition is going up and up. It is already full-on racing.”

Today was the first occasion that corporate guests have been able to compete in a yacht race on board a foiling catamaran. Conditions allowed occasional foiling and this was enough to leave a marked impression on top Austrian Freeride skier, Mario Gattinger.

“It was my first time on a cat, a great experience,” said Gattinger who has taken part in some of the most extreme skiing, just as jumping off cliffs in the Himalayas and who is best known for his Freeriding films. “I have never been on a boat like this before and it was a great feeling – the sound is amazing!”

 

Racing kicks off at 1100hrs local on Friday. Follow it live at www.gc32racing.com

 

By Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour

 

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Louis Vuitton strengthens ties with the America’s Cup

 

Louis Vuitton

© Koto Bolofo / Louis Vuitton Malletier

 

 

Louis Vuitton’s longest standing partnership is one that over the years, has become synonymous with daring endeavors and a quest for excellence. Today, Louis Vuitton is renewing its commitment to the America’s Cup by becoming the title partner of the America’s Cup World Series, the America’s Cup Qualifiers and Challenger Playoffs as well as the presenting partner of the 35th America’s Cup Match.

“Since 1983, Louis Vuitton has continued to play a major role in the America’s Cup, but this agreement is the widest-ranging yet,” said Harvey Schiller, the Commercial Commissioner of the America’s Cup. “Over time we have built a partnership that is quite unique in sports in terms of its longevity and our relationship is strengthened by more than 30 years of shared history. But now is the right time to take a major step forward. Under this agreement, Louis Vuitton is extending its involvement throughout the entire event.”

“Louis Vuitton has been proud to partner with the America’s Cup over the years. Today we are making a more comprehensive commitment, one that will allow us to work together on this mythical race.

“The America’s Cup, the holy grail of yachting, that sees challengers racing across the oceans becomes a life long quest. The freedom, courage, skill and competence that it requires reflect the true spirit of Louis Vuitton. Sailing, exploration, technology and design are part of our heritage that continues to push boundaries further.

“It is a great honour for us to be able to renew our partnership with the America’s Cup. Together, we are about to write a new chapter of our shared history,” said Michael Burke, CEO of Louis Vuitton.

For Louis Vuitton, this partnership represents more than simply supporting a great sporting event, it also reflects the trailblazing spirit that has characterized Louis Vuitton from its beginnings and still holds true today.

Louis Vuitton will assume a prominent role in all aspects of the event, ashore, on the water, in international television broadcasts and on online platforms.

The Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series begins in Portsmouth, UK, from July 23rd to 26th 2015.

The Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers and Playoffs and the America’s Cup Match presented by Louis Vuitton will take place in Bermuda in June 2017.

 

For more info see: www.americascup.com

 

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Lisbon lights up for flying Dutchmen

 

 

Brunel win L7 fb

Photo © Team Brunel / Volvo Ocean Race

 

 

Volvo Ocean Race Leg 7 Finish in Lisbon

 

 

Team Brunel edge home ahead in transatlantic leg

 

Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED) completed a triumphant Leg 7 early on Wednesday morning to bolster their hopes of finishing with a podium place in the Volvo Ocean Race and also keep alive the possibility of overall victory.

The Dutch boat sailed a near faultless transatlantic stage, edging Mapfre (Iker Martínez/ESP) into second, just under 22 minutes behind.

Behind them, Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA) edged out long-time leg leaders, Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA), after an enthralling dogfight over the final miles.

The Chinese-backed boat was caught by Enright’s crew in the early hours of Wednesday, but battled their way back and looked sure to overtake them again before a botched tack ruined their chances.

They lost out by just 55 seconds after nearly nine days and 13 hours of sailing across 2,800 nautical miles (nm).

With overall leaders Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR) finishing fifth ahead of Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR), the overall race standings are left finely poised.

The Emirati crew now have a five-point lead over Dongfeng Race Team with two short legs to sail, while Team Brunel are a point further adrift of Charles Caudrelier’s crew.

 

Map 2nd in Lisbon rp

Mapfre edged out for 2nd – Photo Ricardo Pinto

 

 

Caudrelier made no attempt to hide his disappointment after leading the leg for so long and seeing a podium place disappear in the final miles.

“I’m feeling very bad, very upset and very sad,” he summed up. “We deserved better, but I guess that’s life.

“Most of all, I’m upset with myself because my crew did a great job and I made a huge mistake – and I don’t accept mistakes. We really missed a chance in this leg with Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing finishing fifth.”

Few sailors in the fleet will savour a win over one of the race’s trademark legs more than Team Brunel’s 51-year-old skipper, Bouwe Bekking, in his record-equalling seventh appearance.

He has certainly experienced the ups and downs of racing across the Atlantic. Few will forget the agonising position he faced in 2006 before he was finally forced to abandon his sinking movistar boat during the same stage of that Volvo Ocean Race.

Bekking insisted last week that he had not lost ‘a single night’s sleep’ over the incident and the confident way that Team Brunel sailed the leg would bear that out.

Team Brunel were harried all the way over the past 24 hours by both Mapfre and Dongfeng Race Team, especially over the final few miles when the breeze dropped to almost zero in the Tagus River as they approached the Lisbon finish.

“We sailed a tremendous leg but just at the end when there was no wind, it was getting a bit gnarly,” said Bekking. “But we pulled it off.”

The victory was achieved with two newcomers on board, Adam Minoprio (NZL) and Timo Hagoort (NED), the latter replacing the injured Gerd-Jan Poortman (NED).

“It was good to have those young guys on board, they did a fantastic job,” added Bekking.

Team SCA crossed the line, some four hours and 22 minutes behind Team Brunel, after an action-packed transatlantic leg in which they sailed within the pack for much of the nine days and at one stage threatened a podium finish after taking a bold strategic choice around the Azores High.

The final two stages, to Lorient (France) and then Gothenburg (Sweden) via a pit-stop in The Hague (Netherlands), will once again be contested by seven boats.

Team Vestas Wind (Chris Nicholson/AUS) rejoin the fleet for the first time since November 29 when the boat was grounded on a reef in the Indian Ocean.

After a four-month rebuild in the Persico boatyard in Bergamo, Italy, the boat was transported by sea and road to Lisbon, arriving a few hours before the rest of the fleet in the small hours of Wednesday morning.

Over the next few days, the rig will be stepped ahead of the Danish-backed team’s competitive comeback on June 6 in the Lisbon In-Port Race. Leg 8 to Lorient, a relative sprint at 647nm, begins a day later.

The race concludes on June 27 with the In-Port Race in Gothenburg after nine months and 38,739nm of sailing, visiting 11 ports and every continent.

 

Alv 3rd as

Alvimedica just pip Dongfeng for 3rd – Photo c Ainhoa Sanchez

 

Fly in the ointment

International jury to hear four cases during Lisbon stopover

 

The ISAF-appointed independent international jury will be hearing four cases during the Lisbon stopover after alleged breaches of sailing rules during Leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race.

Team SCA are to answer two cases: that they sailed against the traffic flow in a Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS), and, additionally, into a Rhode Island Sound exclusion zone.

Dongfeng Race Team and Mapfre are also facing protests that they sailed against the traffic flow in a TSS.

The Race Committee has brought all the cases to the jury, If a penalty is to be given, the jury has discretion on what it will be.

No date has yet been set for the hearings although race organisers say they want to have them settled as soon as possible following the fleet’s expected arrival in Lisbon on Wednesday (May 27).

 

Full details of the cases are available on the Race Noticeboard.

 

By Volvo Ocean Race, www.volvooceanrace.com

 

 

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Piling on the pressure

 

L7 SCA al

Photo © Anna-Lena Elled / Team SCA / Volvo Ocean Race

 

Volvo Ocean Race Leg 7 – Newport to Lisbon

 

 

Team SCA surge leaves race leaders trailing last on Leg 7

 

A powerful 24-hour surge by Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR) piled the pressure on overall race leaders Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR) in Leg 7 on Monday, as the battle to finish first in Lisbon gathered pace.

Team SCA navigator Libby Greenhalgh (GBR) had decided on a northern course to skirt the Azores High in the mid-Atlantic where there was more wind, and by early on Monday, they had all but wiped out an earlier 100-nautical mile (nm) deficit on the leaders to bring them right into play.

By 0942 UTC on Monday, they had overtaken Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and were challenging other boats in the pack, which was being led by Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED), just over 17nm ahead in the 2,800nm stage from Newport, Rhode Island, USA, to Lisbon, with Mapfre (Iker Martínez/ESP) hard on their heels.

The push by Team SCA left Azzam in an unaccustomed position at the back of the fleet, with their six-point advantage at the top of the overall standings under real threat.

Before the race started last October, their British skipper Ian Walker had targeted a top-three podium finish on each leg to secure overall victory.

Until this point, that plan has been carried out to perfection and has included two leg wins, leaving Walker’s crew with what looked like a firm grip at the top of the standings with two stages to go after this leg.

The Chinese entry, Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA), are currently third, just 1nm astern of Team Brunel.

In the overall standings, they trail Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing by six points in second place and have the opportunity to make big inroads into that lead with a strong finish in this transatlantic leg.

Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA), chasing a first leg victory, are right in the mix of the action too, just 10.7nm adrift and holding fourth place.

The six boats are now heading for a ‘drag race’ – straight-line racing in good winds and sea state – for Lisbon. They are expected to arrive on Wednesday (May 27) morning between 0500-1200 hrs UTC.

After an 11-day stopover in Lisbon for boat maintenance, the fleet will restart on June 7 for the final two legs to France (Lorient) and Sweden (Gothenburg), the latter via a pit-stop in The Hague.

The race concludes in Gothenburg on June 27 after covering 38,739nm in nine months and visiting 11 ports and every continent.

 

Current latest standings: (low points wins, In-Port Race Series splits ties)

1) Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing 11pts
2) Dongfeng Race Team 17pts
3) Team Brunel 21pts
4) Team Alvimedica 24pts
5) Mapfre 24pts
6) Team SCA 35pts
7) Team Vestas Wind (Denmark) 44pts

 

By Volvo Ocean Race, www.volvooceanrace.com

 

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