Monthly Archives: May 2017
Land Rover BAR beat Artemis Racing – photo © Lloyd Images
Sir Ben Ainslie and Land Rover BAR arrested the run of losses the British team suffered in the first Round Robin stage of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers, kicking off round two with a second win of the competition, again beating Artemis Racing who had a tough day in Bermuda.
There was to be no redemption for the Swedish team from their Round Robin 1 loss to Emirates Team New Zealand at the start of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers Round Robin 2 stage, falling to a second defeat in as many days to the Kiwis.
Tuesday, in what was the most thrilling and contentious day of racing in the 35th America’s Cup so far, the Swedish team were denied a victory over their Kiwi rivals following a dramatic late penalty in the final race of the day in Round Robin 1.
That penalty was the subject of much discussion overnight after Richard Slater, ACRM’s Chief Umpire said that, on reflection, the umpires would have made a different decision. However, the race result stood so it was back to the action on the Great Sound for the start of the Round Robin 2.
Picking up where the competition left off, day four started with a mouth-watering rematch between the two nations as the Swedish team looked for revenge for their loss in Round Robin 1.
The Swedes looked odds on to achieve just that in the early stages of the race as they led from the start, building up a 20-second lead following a big nosedive from Emirates Team New Zealand in the lead up to gate 2.
Emirates Team New Zealand beat Artemis Racing – photo © Richard Hoddder
However, the Kiwis, helmed by Peter Burling, recovered spectacularly from the setback, chasing down the Swedes and cutting their lead to just three seconds at gate 3 before wiping out the lead altogether at gate 5.
In what appeared to be déjà vu from Tuesday’s match, the two boats closed in quickly to the bottom mark on opposite tacks. Artemis Racing as the give-way boat on port did not keep clear of the Kiwis and earned a penalty, since Burling had to slightly duck to avoid potential contact.
The Artemis Racing late match penalty allowed Emirates Team New Zealand to coast to the finish line, winning by one minute and 31 seconds over the Swedish team.
The triumph saw Emirates Team New Zealand secure their fifth victory out of six races in the qualifying stages, equalling Oracle Team USA’s points tally in the standings ahead of the American team’s race against Groupama Team France in race 2, albeit briefly.
“We had a little scare when our rudders came out of the water but we made sure we didn’t crash down,” said Emirates Team New Zealand helmsman Peter Burling on his team’s early nosedive.
“From there we fought back really hard in what was a massive effort and we are all really happy to have got another win.
“Everyone worked really hard and it was a really pleasing effort. We are all massively excited about the improvements in our boat.”
Meanwhile, Artemis Racing helmsman Nathan Outteridge was left to rue poor decisions in their defeat to New Zealand, on a day which also saw them suffer a second successive defeat to Land Rover BAR.
“We have had some pretty disappointing races so far in the America’s Cup,” said Outteridge on his team’s lack of current form, having claimed just two victories to date.
“It was a pretty tight race against New Zealand until we misjudged the top mark and ran out of steam allowing them to pass us and win.
“We then had a really poor start against Ben (Sir Ben Ainslie) and Land Rover BAR and that ultimately put us out of contention.”
Ultimately, the Kiwis were not level at the top of the standings for long as Jimmy Spithill’s Oracle Team USA restored their point advantage with a comfortable and impressive victory over Franck Cammas’ team.
Oracle Team USA beat Groupama Team France – photo © ACEA 2017 / Gilles Martin-Raget
Having successfully hooked the French boat in the pre-start and crossing the start line seven seconds in front, Oracle Team USA set about building their lead in the early stages of the race.
Groupama Team France’s task was made even harder following a penalty for crossing the boundary mark on leg two, forcing them even further behind the American team who raced well clear.
However, the Americans did not have it all their own way. Late in the race Tactician Tom Slingsby reported over the team radio that, “We have an issue,” leading to Kyle Langford having to make running repairs to their boat’s wingsail on leg five.
However, despite the issue, Oracle Team USA continued to sail smoothly, meaning there was to be no late drama or shock and the Defenders of the ‘Auld Mug’ finished the race one minute and 56 seconds ahead of their opponents.
“We had a good race and a good day,” said helmsman Jimmy Spithill.
“We had a slight fracture to the wing but there was a great reaction from the guys and everything was resolved. We had a nice lead so we just took our foot off of the accelerator and eased home.
“The shore team are looking at things now and I’m sure there will be no issues.
“The bigger thing for us going into tomorrow is the scheduled lighter winds. The forecasts are looking un-raceable but who knows, hopefully that will change overnight.”
For French helmsman Franck Cammas, he believes Groupama Team France need to race more smartly after being punished by a slight mistake in their pre-start against Oracle Team USA.
“For me it is not about being more aggressive in the pre-start it’s about being more smart,” said Cammas, whose team remains bottom of the standings on two points despite their improved form.
“We made a mistake in the pre-start and that put us behind early on. Our positioning was bad and that was a big mistake to make.
“Going forward we need to avoid those type of mistakes.”
Meanwhile, Land Rover BAR secured a much-needed victory in the final race of the afternoon (race 3) as they overcame Artemis Racing with a 30 second advantage at the finish line.
Having won just one race in the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers Robin 1, also over Artemis Racing, the pressure was on Sir Ben and his team heading into the encounter.
However, that pressure was not evident out on the water as the British team made a better start than their Swedish rivals, who were racing for the second time on the day.
In a much improved performance over the previous two days, Land Rover BAR, who hit the highest speed of the competition so far at just over 43 knots, maintained a comfortable advantage throughout the race as they kept the Swedes at bay.
Despite a slight touch down by the British team at mark 4, they recovered quickly to ease over the finish line 30 seconds ahead of Nathan Outteridge’s team to seal a much-needed victory. That win moves Land Rover BAR onto four points in the standings, and more importantly, two points clear of bottom-placed Groupama team France.
“We had some pretty frank discussions about our sailing last night and how we needed to rectify that,” said Ainslie, whose team clinched only a second victory in the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers.
“We’ve been disappointed in our performances so far but our boat speed was significantly better and I’m really proud of the team for the way they set up the boat.
“We’ve had a few tough days so to go and beat Artemis Racing, who are a tough team, is a really big win for us.
“We are developing all of the time, and hopefully we can continue to have good races.”
Results Round Robin 2
Race 1: Emirates Team New Zealand bt Artemis Racing by 1min and 31secs
Race 2: Oracle Team USA bt Groupama Team France by 1min 56secs
Race 3: Land Rover BAR bt Artemis Racing by 30 secs
Click here for the full results of day one of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers Round Robin 2
Day three of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers was a day of drama with Artemis Racing seeing victory in the second race of the day, against Emirates Team New Zealand disappear with an umpire call and in which the five challenging teams; Land Rover BAR, Artemis Racing, SoftBank Team Japan, Groupama Team France and Emirates Team New Zealand, had their chance to enhance their positions on the leaderboard.
Oracle Team USA, defenders of the ‘Auld Mug’ and table-toppers, sat out of the action, having raced three times on day two.
After claiming a maiden victory by beating Artemis Racing yesterday, Groupama Team France took another win in the opening race of the day by beating Land Rover BAR comfortably in race 13.
Despite a poor pre-start, which saw them fall 10 seconds behind the British team at mark 1, Franck Cammas’ team recovered brilliantly to stay in hot pursuit, closing the gap ahead of gate 3.
When Land Rover BAR suffered a poor turn at the gate, Groupama Team France were perfectly placed to pounce, seizing on the mistake and taking the lead.
It was a moment that would prove pivotal and costly for Sir Ben Ainslie’s team as they had no response in the remainder of the race.
With their new-found confidence, Groupama Team France, who kept up on their foils for 95% of the race, kept their cool, despite a slight nosedive at gate 5, and raced home to win with a 53 second advantage over the Brits.
“It was another very good result for us and to beat the British is always good for the French,” joked Groupama Team France helmsman Franck Cammas, whose team suffered a defeat in their second race of the day against SoftBank Team Japan.
“We were quick, particularly upwind and to finish with a good gap to the other team is very pleasing.
“We made a number of mistakes in the second race and we made it hard for ourselves to be able to recover.
“However, compared to the start of the beginning of the week we are all very happy.”
Meanwhile, for Land Rover BAR, the defeat sees them continue to struggle for form having lost to Oracle Team USA and Emirates Team New Zealand on day two.
Their latest setback means that Sir Ben Ainslie’s team have only won one race out of five in the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers so far, the least of all six teams.
“It was a very frustrating race but credit to France, they had better speed than us and took the win,” said British helmsman Sir Ben Ainslie.
“We will have to go away in the coming days and make some big improvements.
“Everyone knows the America’s Cup is all about development and we will be pushing to improve our performance in specific areas.
“We are all working hard and are reasonably happy but we have to keep improving and focus on getting up to speed.”
There was high drama in race 14 as the duel between Artemis Racing and Emirates Team New Zealand proved the most exciting, and most contentious contest of the 35th America’s Cup so far.
Having put themselves ahead at the start, the Swedish team were forced to drop two-boat lengths behind their rivals after being handed a penalty for crossing the start fractionally early.
They managed to catch up with the Kiwis and then swapped the lead with them multiple times throughout the race, but at the final mark there was a dramatic penalty called against the Swedes for not leaving the Kiwis enough room. Artemis Racing continued towards the finish line, but had to take their penalty, allowing Emirates Team New Zealand to take the win at the line.
Outteridge, Iain Percy and their crew looked devastated at the end of the race and finished day three on two points, equal with Groupama Team France and SoftBank Team Japan.
“We are still shocked by what happened,” said Nathan Outteridge.
“As soon as I saw the light I knew what had happened and we were already at the line by the time the decision was made. We all thought we gave them enough room and I still stand by that opinion.
“However the umpires obviously didn’t agree. That’s racing, sometimes you get the decisions and sometimes you don’t.”
Meanwhile, for Emirates Team New Zealand, the decision gifted them a fourth win out of five in the qualifying stages, equalling the record of Oracle Team USA.
“Like in all sport you have to play to the whistle and respect the umpires,” said Kiwi helmsman Peter Burling on the late drama.
“We thought it was definitely a penalty and, at the end of the day, it comes down to the umpires to make the decision. We were just happy to stay upright and even more happy to take the point.
“For us our first goal was to get through the qualifying series and, bar one defeat, it has gone as good as it could have done so far.
“We are confident of beating anyone, including Oracle Team USA, but because they are already in the final, we just have to beat the others first.”
With the pressure on Dean Barker and SoftBank Team Japan, having only won one race before the final day of Round Robin 1, The Japanese team clinched a welcome win in the final race of the day (race 15) comfortably beating the in-form Groupama Team France.
Getting out of the start box 10 knots faster than the French team, SoftBank Team Japan controlled the race from start to finish, gradually building their lead throughout.
With the French team struggling to make a real challenge, SoftBank team Japan eased to the finish line a whole 2 two minutes and 34 seconds ahead of their rivals, capping off a magnificent performance.
“It isn’t a feeling of relief for me because I didn’t feel under pressure,” said helmsman Dean Barker after the race.
“The best thing for me is that we executed a great race and claimed the victory.
“After a frustrating day yesterday, losing two races, today was a great turnaround by everyone in the team and we are really pleased with that.
“For me it is amazing to see some of the results out on the water. It has been really unpredictable and there will be more of that as we go forward.
“The big thing for us is that we need to take opportunities when they come in our races. If we can do that, then hopefully we will see some more wins in the same manner as today.”
Results from Day 3
Race 13: Groupama Team France bt Land Rover BAR by 53 secs
Race 14: Emirates Team New Zealand bt Artemis Racing by 13 secs
Race 15: SoftBank Team Japan bt Groupama Team France by 2 mins 34 secs
photo c Groupama Team France
1st win on the board for Groupama Team France
Six races were scheduled and the day started perfectly for Groupama Team France who clinched their first win of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers with a thrilling and morale-boosting three second victory over Artemis Racing in the first race of the day, race 7 of Round Robin 1.
Having suffered back-to-back defeats on the opening day of the competition, Franck Cammas’ team enjoyed the sweet taste of victory with a vastly improved performance over the hotly tipped Swedes.
Getting out of the start box ahead, the French team then looked to have thrown away their advantage, following a poor manoeuvre in the second leg which gifted the Swedish team the lead. However, refusing to let their heads drop, Groupama Team France responded in spectacular fashion, foiling smoothly to gain a 22 second lead at gate 3, then staying ahead at the next two gates.
However, a nosedive by the French team in the penultimate leg lead to a nervy conclusion as both teams raced for the finish line. However, despite Nathan Outteridge’s team chasing down their French rivals, Groupama Team France kept their nerve and clinched an impressive victory.
“It is a very good feeling for the whole team, we have been waiting two years for that feeling,” said Franck Cammas after his team’s victory in their only race of the day.
Race 8 proved an intriguing battle between former team mates Jimmy Spithill and Sir Ben Ainslie as Oracle Team USA sealed a third successive win by beating Land Rover BAR.
It was the British team who started the stronger. Seizing the advantage out of the start box, they stayed ahead of their rivals until gate 3 when a big nosedive after the turn proved the decisive moment of the race, allowing Oracle Team USA to seize the advantage.
It was a costly mistake that Land Rover BAR failed to recover from and the American team built up a 32 second lead by Gate 5 before heading home to cross the line 39 seconds ahead of their British rivals.
“We saw today how the conditions can make it easy to make mistakes out there,” said Oracle Team USA helmsman Jimmy Spithill, who wasn’t completely content despite claiming two victories from three races.
“We made too many mistakes really and you could see throughout the day that it’s about who could get off the line the quickest and get around with the least amount of mistakes.
“We set pretty high standards so we’re not satisfied. We’ll take the lessons we’ve learnt and move forward.”
Meanwhile, Land Rover BAR helmsman Sir Ben Ainslie took the opportunity to praise his shore team for getting Rita to the start line after their collision with SoftBank Team Japan on the opening day.
“It was an incredible effort from the shore team who worked tirelessly through the night to repair the damage and get us ready for today,” said Ainslie whose team suffered back-to-back defeats on day two.
“It is just a shame we couldn’t repay them in the races today. We just didn’t get it right and made too many mistakes but we’ll learn from it and move on.
“We’ll look at doing a bit more work on the boat tonight but I don’t think the damage affected our performance too much at all.”
Having endured mixed fortunes on the opening day, in which they won one race and lost the other, Emirates Team New Zealand started day two in spectacular fashion with a high-quality display to beat SoftBank Team Japan by 33 seconds in race 9.
However, they did not have it all their own way as they had to battle back from behind against Dean Barker’s team as SoftBank Team Japan gained the better momentum out of the start box, leading going into mark 1.
The Japanese team lost some of that momentum with a nosedive going into the third gate but they managed to recover brilliantly to build a 13 second advantage at gate 4.
However, the tides turned on the fifth leg, as Emirates Team New Zealand demonstrated the full speed of their pedal-powered grinding systems. Tacking and jibing incredibly smoothly, the Kiwis chased down their rivals before overhauling them heading for gate 5.
In the latter stages of the race they found themselves 11 seconds ahead, before racing for the finish line to claim a second victory in the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers.
The variable winds over the Great Sound racecourse came to the fore in race 10, as Artemis Racing prevailed in a topsy-turvy battle against Oracle Team USA.
Having suffered a somewhat shock defeat to Groupama Team France in the first race of the day, the Swedish team enjoyed a flying start and maintained a healthy lead for the first three gates.
However, from leg five, the unpredictable nature of the conditions played a major role in the remainder of the race and the lead switched hands multiple times between the two teams.
But by the sixth and final gate, Artemis Racing enjoyed the advantage in the changing conditions finding themselves ahead before racing for the line and taking a welcome 39-second win.
“Today showed just how hard racing can be out there,” said Artemis Racing helmsman Nathan Outteridge.
“We had too many mistakes against the French team in our first race and made life hard for ourselves.
“However, I’m extremely proud of the way the whole team regrouped from that defeat and fixed everything in an almost perfect race against Oracle Team USA.”
Emirates Team New Zealand again demonstrated their speed in race 11, as they sealed a second successive victory on the day, brushing aside Land Rover BAR in devastating fashion.
The race had the worst possible start for helmsman Peter Burling, as the Kiwis were handed a penalty in the pre-start after they crossed the racecourse boundary mark. However, despite the lapse in concentration and having to start two boat lengths behind the British team, the incident didn’t prove disastrous as they bounced back spectacularly.
Cutting the deficit by just the second leg, Emirates Team New Zealand breezed past Land Rover BAR and were ahead by nine seconds at the third gate.
Sir Ben Ainslie’s team continued to struggle for pace and had no answer for the Kiwis’ speed as their lead reached 49 seconds by Gate 4.
Refusing to rest on their laurels, Emirates Team New Zealand eased over the finish line, one minute and 28 seconds ahead of Land Rover BAR to cap an impressive day on the water.
“We had a few tiny issues onboard and I misjudged the entry, but that happens,” said Burling on his pre-start error which led to a penalty.
“However, I see it as good practice on how how to shake off a mistake and show how fast you can be when chasing.
“Obviously starting from behind is not ideal but overall I think we’re all happy with today’s results.”
Having suffered their first defeat of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers earlier in the day, Oracle Team USA responded brilliantly in the twelfth and final race of the afternoon, cruising to a comfortable win over SoftBank Team Japan.
Leading from the outset, Jimmy Spithill’s team controlled the race, maintaining a healthy lead throughout proceedings, before eventually crossing the finish line 54 seconds ahead of their rivals, capping off the day’s action in sensational style.
“We had a tough day out there today,” conceded SoftBank Team Japan helmsman Dean Barker. “The boat seemed quick and I think we sailed okay but we got caught out by some needless mistakes which we need to address.
“We’ll look at those areas closely and come back fighting tomorrow.”
Sunday 28th May race results:
Race 7: Groupama Team France bt Artemis Racing by 3 secs
Race 8: Oracle Team USA bt Land Rover BAR by 39 secs
Race 9: Emirates Team New Zealand bt SoftBank Team Japan by 33 secs
Race 10: Artemis Racing bt Oracle Team USA by 39 secs
Race 11: Emirates Team New Zealand bt Land Rover BAR by 1 min 28 secs
Race 12: Oracle Team USA bt SoftBank Team Japan by 54 secs
A smashing start to the 35th America’s Cup in Bermuda
Sir Ben Ainslie was forced to explain a highly dramatic collision in the first day of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers on Bermuda’s Great Sound.
Having already seen some thrilling and action-packed racing in the first five of the six races that were run on day one, particularly from Oracle Team USA who claimed back-to-back wins, the drama really unfolded in the final race of the day between Land Rover BAR and SoftBank Team Japan.
In what proved the biggest flashpoint of the afternoon, both teams were looking for the advantage going into the start box, before the two boats collided at speed, resulting in a penalty being given to Sir Ben Ainslie and the British team. Damage was sustained to both boats, with the Olympic legend’s boat taking on water after the incident.
Land Rover BAR collide with SoftBank Team Japan – photo © Lloyd Images
In scenes similar to the final week of practice racing, in which Land Rover BAR hit Emirates Team New Zealand, Ainslie again found himself having to defend his actions when questioned after racing.
“To be honest, to me it appeared six of one and half a dozen of the other,”
said the Land Rover BAR helmsman, whose team suffered defeat in their second race of the day having enjoyed a morale-boosting win over Artemis Racing earlier in the day in race four.
“The collision was obviously unfortunate but these things happen when you are racing these boats.
“You don’t go out there intending to cause damage and so on that front it is was unfortunate to see both boats with damage.
“Unfortunately I’m not a boat builder so I’m not sure about the extent of the damage just yet, but no doubt both shore teams will be working incredibly hard to make sure we are both ready for tomorrow.
“However, for me it was fantastic just to see us competing and up to speed with all of the others. I believe we have silenced a lot of our doubters and I am just incredibly proud of all of our team.”
Meanwhile, SoftBank Team Japan helmsman Dean Barker, whose team suffered defeat to Artemis Racing in their first race of the day, bounced back with victory in race six and was relieved that none of his team had sustained any injuries in the collision with Land Rover BAR.
“We were incredibly lucky that there were no injuries sustained by the guys,” said the New Zealand native. “Maybe they were still in a bit of shock when we started racing but the way they regrouped and got back into things was fantastic.
“Ben has apologised. Clearly it was their mistake because they caused it but it doesn’t stop the guys in the shore team having to have a big workload tonight to put things right.
“You know what is about to happen. You can see it coming in slow motion but there is nothing you can do to stop it.
“What would have been worse is if their boat came a little bit higher over our hull, that would have been really dangerous.
“Fortunately we were able to carry on with the race and limp our way home. The guys did brilliantly to regroup in reply to what happened and get on with the race.
“The first race against Artemis Racing was disappointing. We had good pace and obviously tried hard to keep ahead but ultimately we couldn’t.
“However, what was pleasing was how we bounced back and got that victory in the final race.”
Meanwhile, it proved a highly positive day for the Defenders of the ‘Auld Mug’, Oracle Team USA, who comfortably beat Groupama Team France in the opening race of the afternoon, before coming from behind to overcome Emirates Team New Zealand in what proved the highlight race of the day.
However, despite seeing Oracle Team USA sit joint top of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers standings with three points, alongside Land Rover BAR, skipper Jimmy Spithill was left far from content as he refused to rest on his laurels ahead of day two tomorrow.
“The lads aren’t happy tonight. We can definitely sharpen up a lot ahead of tomorrow,” said the two-time America’s Cup winner.
“Of course it is good to end the first day with two wins from two races but we have got to sharpen up on what we do out there.
“Consistency is the key in a competition like this and so there is a lot for us to improve on.
“However, as I said, it is pleasing that we managed to finish this first day of competition and come away with two race wins.”
Another helmsman who was left with mixed feelings was Artemis Racing’s Nathan Outteridge, having seen his side claim a victory against SoftBank Team Japan, before somewhat surprisingly losing out to Land Rover BAR in race 4.
“It proved a very tiring first day of racing,” said Outteridge.
“Our first race we started slowly but you could see how hard we pushed to get back into the race and when the opportunity came, we took full advantage.
“The second race against Land Rover BAR, we just didn’t get any opportunity to pass them. It was disappointing to lose the race but we will look at ourselves and see what we can do to improve.
“However to get that first win on the board is really important. We had some strong performances in practice racing and so it was great to be able to bring that forward to today and get a first point banked.
“It was also pleasing to win in in the manner in which we did. We kept chipping away, put pressure on SoftBank Team Japan, and then, to get something, that feeling was really good.”
Emirates Team New Zealand helmsman Peter Burling was left satisfied with his team’s showing on the first day, having also taken one win from the day, overcoming Groupama Team France, before losing out to Oracle Team USA in their second race of the day.
“It is really great for us to have got a win on the board,” said the youngest helmsman competing. “Having taken that win, we always knew it was going to be tough taking on Oracle Team USA. We put up a strong challenge and matched them throughout the race but they just edged us in the end.
“Having lost it late on was a little frustrating but I’m really happy with our first day on the water.
“We’re now excited to get back into action tomorrow and no doubt we’ll be racing hard again.”
Meanwhile, it proved a difficult day for Groupama Team France, who suffered defeats in both their encounters, losing to both Oracle Team USA and Emirates Team New Zealand.
However, having faced two of the highly-fancied teams on the first day, helmsman Franck Cammas is remaining hopeful of an improved showing from the French team in the days to come.
“Today to have our first two matches against teams like Oracle Team USA and Emirates Team New Zealand was a hard way to start the America’s Cup,” said Cammas.
“We knew those teams were among the best teams but we wanted to be closer to them than we were in the end.
“We have to work hard and try and understand why we weren’t fast today. We also need some big improvements in the manoeuvers and so there is a lot to work on for us.
“We will try for sure to improve as quickly as possible. Every day is different and so we will see what tomorrow brings.”
Day 1 Race Results:
Race 1: Oracle Team USA beat Groupama Team France
Race 2: Artemis Racing beat SoftBank Team Japan
Race 3: Emirates Team New Zealand beat Groupama Team France
Race 4: Land Rover BAR beat Artemis Racing
Race 5: Oracle Team USA beat Emirates Team New Zealand
Race 6: SoftBank Team Japan beat Land Rover BAR
Foiling Bay ©Tiger Productions
King of The Bay
The god of wind was in a tricky mood for last day of racing but International Moth sailor Julien Villon did not get held up and went on to be crowned as the first King of The Bay 2017. The idea behind this event, is to gather all types of foiling boats and get them racing on the same race course.
In order to qualify, Kitesurf, windsurf, Flying Phantom and Moth classes each lined up on the starting line one by one to complete the course. Then, each winner competed together in the big final.
In quite a light breeze it was the Moth that took the lead. This type of boat is fully carbon built and only 30 kilos and so logically it was Julien Villon who went on to take a comfortable win.
Class leaders remained in top spot
After formal validation, Kieran Leborgne (Kitesurf), Julien Villon (International Moth), Julien Bontemps (Windsurf), Tim Mourniac and Pierre-Yves Durand on Cup Legend (Flying Phantom) took the top spots.
A new state of mind
The first edition of the Foiling Bay has been a great success both in terms of the event itself and the ideal conditions, allowing 45 races to be held across all the disciplines. It was the perfect opportunity for the competitors to share and show their expertise, passion and to showcase the amazing foiling and flying boards and boats to the public. Foiling is exciting and there will be lots more fun and surprises to come in the future of the sport!
Reigning KiteFoil GoldCup champion Maxime Nocher sealed victory in the year’s first event with a perfect final day, racking up four bullets from four races in light breezes that threatened to die at any moment.
But even the fickle airs that shifted and barely topped 8kts were a welcome relief after three windless days that made for a stop-start competition, the first international kite competition in Korea, staged off Boryeong’s stunning Daecheon Beach.
While the breezes toyed with riders and race officials alike, Nocher (MON) was flawless on the final fifth day on the Yellow Sea’s flat waters, controlling each of the races even as Italian Riccardo Leccese snapped at his heels hoping for an error or mishap that never came.
Nocher, on his unmarked 19m Enata foil kite and Enata hydrofoil, proved unbeatable in the whole regatta marked by a lack of wind, adding the closing day’s four bullets to two he secured on the competition’s opening exchanges.
Riding a Mike’s Lab foil and Ozone R1 prototype kite, Leccese managed a good run of second spots that earned him the podium runners-up slot. Yet in the penultimate race he came momentarily unstuck when he struggled to leave the beach in the failing breeze close to shore and failed to make the start, a result he was fortunately able to discard.
Poland’s Maks Zakowski took the chance to grab a second spot in that race to the peerless Nocher, an opportunism that built on consistent placings throughout the event and won him the third podium spot, his best placing in an International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) KiteFoil GoldCup.
The IKA KiteFoil GoldCup, hosted and sponsored by the Korea Windsurfing Kitesurfing Federation, is the first of four slated globe-trotting stops for 2017, with back-to-back events in China in mid-September next on the cards.
But the wind that refused to play ball during the Korean event played havoc with the Kiteboard Tour Asia Twin-Tip slalom race open due to be staged simultaneously. It proved impossible to get away any races despite interest provoked by the format to be used in next year’s Youth Olympic Games in Argentina.
And while the final day proved tricky at times even for the foilers, they were still able to display scintillatingly-quick pace with their largest 18m and 19m kites in patchy breezes that occasionally dipped below 4kts.
In those zephyrs there is little margin for rider error with every tack and gybe requiring balletic precision. Yet the foilers still clocked almost more than 20kts on the two-lap windward-leeward track off Daecheon Beach.
None did it better than Nocher. But even he—like every other rider—caught debris and seaweed on his foil that threatened to derail his bid.
“In the day’s second race I was leading by far, but I caught a plastic bag and just couldn’t remove it and keep moving,” he said. “Leccese passed me and I still had the bag on my fin. I did that whole leg with the plastic bag, but past the gate it came off. Then I got the lead again.
“So, overall I’m very happy to have won this event. It’s been hard to deal with these conditions, but I’m near perfect in these light winds and Leccese could do nothing.”
Leccese remained happy with his second podium spot, nonetheless, sure it showed he still had pace even in the lighter breezes that favoured neither his physique nor his equipment.
“Overall I’m pleased with second spot,” he said. “It’s solid. I’m attacking the front of the field again. That puts me in a good frame of mind. I felt I was controlling the races at or near the front. Most of the others were on 19m kites, except for me on an 18m, yet I was still competitive.”
For Zakowski, on a Moses Comet foil and Ozone R1V2 kite, the decision to swim and body-drag off the beach just as Leccese came unstuck in the penultimate race’s dropping breeze proved fortuitous.
“I swam 200m to catch the wind to get out and it allowed me to finish that race second,” he said. “But my results have been very consistent, so I’m glad about that. Not up and down. This has been my best result, so I’m pretty happy.”
In the women’s group racing among the men, the novice 16-year-old Anais Mai Desjardins (FRA) caused an upset when she overhauled Alexia Fancelli (FRA) with a good run of results on the final day, with Korea’s Bitna Kim taking the third podium spot.
The next stop of the 2017 KiteFoil GoldCup will be in China with two events back to back between 8 and 23 of September, for a total prize purse of more than 100.000 USD
Overall standings after six races (1 discard):
1 Maxime Nocher (MON, Enata/Enata) 5 pts
2 Riccardo Leccese (ITA, Ozone/Mike’s Lab) 13 pts
3 Maks Zakowski (POL, Ozone/Moses) 20 pts
4 Florian Gruber (GER, Flysurfer/Levitaz) 20 pts
5 Theo Lhostis (FRA, Enata/Enata) 22 pts
1 Anais Desjardins (FRA, Flysurfer/Spotz) 53 pts
2 Alexia Fancelli (FRA, Ozone/Taaroa) 62 pts
3 Bitna Kim (KOR, Ozone/Levitaz) 76 pts
Flat water, sun, wind and 18 more races completed on day 3 of the Foiling Bay competition. Julien Bontemps (Windsurf), Kieran Leborgne (Kitesurf), Julien Villon (International Moth) and Cup Legend Crew (Flying Phantom) stay in the lead!
All races were tighter than the day before between Cup Legend and Redbull. Tactics were key today and one wrong manoeuvre could be the difference between winning and losing. Even though the wind was blowing all day long, it was constantly varying in intensity. Sometimes, it was stronger at the top of the race zone, and sometimes further down the zone, so the teams had to take the best option as soon as they passed the first mark. Since all crews were on equal footing with their manoeuvres, Redbull took the lead thanks to their speed and strategic choices. Oman Sail finished in third place which they just missed out on yesterday. Kook, the boat skippered by local sailor, Sébastien Rogues, remained in sixth position and crossed the finish line in first position in the second race.
The Moths flew over the racing zone at higher speed thanks to a strong wind and flatter water that helped riders to balance their boat easily so they could focus more on speed. Julien Villon gave no hope to the rest of the fleet to finish on top of the podium. Eric Rotteleur was less regular than yesterday, and remains in second. Lauri Lehtinin is the only one who could maintain the pace and won the second race. Even though the Finnish sailor didn’t race yesterday, he still has every chance to finish on the podium tomorrow.
Windsurf Foil (RS:X)
During the first part of the day, windsurfers competed in some very technical racing and for the last three rounds, the Race Director set up a Super 8. It’s a simple race course between two buoys at a right angle to the wind, and was a chance for the windsurfers to show the best of their gliding skills. Olympic Silver Medallist Julien Bontemps repeated the scenario from yesterday and finished six races in first place with a big lead. Benjamin Longy and William Godon, finishing respectively in second and third, also repeated yesterday’s performance.
Kitesurf Foil (CR:X)
Kieran Le Borgne perfectly combined his technical ability with his understanding of the waters at La Baule. Sébastien Cou tried everything to sneak ahead but there was no way to take over the winner from Brittany. Mathieu Simonnet, like the day before, finished third in all the races and so completed the podium.
King of The Bay
This race has all flying sailing craft on the same course, which will conclude the very successful first edition of the Foiling Bay. Each Race Director will run qualification rounds and the two best riders will advance to the final and ride for the title of ‘King of The Bay’.
Programme, Sunday 21st May 2017
– Skipper meeting 10 am
– First races start at 11 am
– King of The Bay starts from 2 pm
– South west wind, 10 to 13 knots (3 Beaufort)
Photo c Emeline Roussel
Conditions were perfect on the first official day of racing with 15 races for all entries. With 14 boats having entered, the Flying Phantom races have been really intensive right up until the last leg. The Race Directors of each class have made the most of the sailing area by setting up short and technical races suitable for each craft, offering an outstanding show.
“This day couldn’t be better! It was really close between Redbull and Cup Legend. The fleet was spread out but everyone had someone else to compete with.” declared Anne Malledant, Flying Phantom Race Director, just after the racing. Thomas Zajac and Jason Saunders from Redbull were on fire all day long and still had hope to grab the top spot until they capsized in the 5th race. Despite this little stunt, the crew still finished second. Cup Legend, skippered by Tim Mourniac and Pierre-Yves Durand finished first almost three times in a row. At the end of the day the scores are so tight that we can expect two days of highly contested racing.
There were only six entries on the start line but what a race! Julien Villon, winner of the three races, didn’t give the others a chance. He handled his boat extremely well and almost overlapped the last boat twice. The starts were impressive with the fleet speeding like bullets at 15 knots going upwind while remaining really close to each other. It took only three minutes for the winner to reach the first buoy around one kilometre upwind. Downwind, they had to jibe at 20 knots, some managed to without even touching the water.
Windsurf Foil (RS:X)
The RS:X Convertible is a new class that we we may see on stage at the next Olympic Games. The goal is to modernise the actual RS:X by adapting it to have an attached foil, with an option to ride with a normal fin.
The choice will depend on the weather conditions. Julien Bontemps, from La Baule, who won an Olympic silver medal in London lead the fleet from the start to the finish of the race. The performance of the two girls in the race was admirable and resulted in Lucie Hervoche winning her first national windsurf championship.
Kitesurf Foil (CR:X)
CR:X Kite Surfing is the same idea as windsurfing, with the aim to be in the Olympics. As in windsurfing, everyone has exactly the same kit so that they are racing on equal terms.
In this way, it comes down to the sailors pure performance, tactics and strategy skills. Over the five races that were held, Kierian Le Borgne dominated leaving his rivals behind. In second place was Sébastien Cou, who despite being an excellent competitor had to content with watching his rival steam ahead.
Programme, Saturday 20th May 2017
– Skipper meeting 10 am
– Racing starts 11 am
– West to north-westerly wind, 12 to 17 knots (3 to 5 Beaufort)
For results and the latest information, check out the Foiling Bay Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/foilingbay/
Day three of the final round of practice racing before the 35th America’s Cup saw five of the six America’s Cup teams out on the Great Sound ready to race, but only one race took place as light winds hampered the afternoon’s action.
Oracle Team USA, SoftBank Team Japan, Artemis Racing, Land Rover BAR and Groupama Team France were all set to feature in the afternoon’s planned races, but only one race was possible, between SoftBank Team Japan and Groupama Team France, due to light wind conditions.
Following a collision between Land Rover BAR and Emirates Team New Zealand in the final practice race of the day two action (Tuesday 16th May), the Kiwi team were not out on the water on day three as they continue repairs to their yacht.
In contrast to the first two days of the final round of practice racing, which enjoyed near perfect race conditions on the Great Sound, the conditions on day three did not reach the required 6-24 knots of windspeed (measured between eight and three minutes before the race start time), resulting in a curtailed race program.
Despite the lack of ideal conditions on the water, one race was completed with SoftBank Team Japan continuing their strong week of practice racing with another victory, this time overcoming Groupama Team France.
“Challenging conditions on the Great Sound did not meet the requirements to race,” said America’s Cup Race Management Race Director Iain Murray, “However, the teams made the most of the opportunity to practice pre-starts and light air tuning.”
Reflecting on his team’s outing Groupama Team France wing trimmer Thierry Fouchier conceded it was difficult sailing in low wind but believes the experience could prove invaluable come proper racing.
“We started the race with below the wind limit but it was good to try anyway,” he said. “It was tough because if you can get up on the foils then you can put alot of distance between you and your competitor, but without that it is difficult. During the race the wind dropped below 5 knots and so there was no flying. In those conditions it is just not possible.”
“We learn things every day, we always learn in all conditions, even when it is tough like that. Next time we get the same we will better for sure. If it is breezy historically we are below the others but I guess when it is light the race is more open and gives us more of a chance of winning.”
With very light winds forecast again, America’s Cup Race Managment (ACRM) and the teams have made the decision not to race. Practice racing will resume on Friday, conditions permitting.
The Volvo Ocean Race has unveiled a series of radical initiatives that aims to create the toughest all-round test in professional sailing and strengthen the appeal of the 44-year-old round-the-world race to pro sailors, team owners and their sponsors, race partners, host cities and fans.
While the final preparations are being made for the 2017-18 edition, starting 22 October, race organisers used a live event at the Volvo Museum in Gothenburg, the home of the race’s owners and title sponsors, to present a bold vision for the next decade and beyond.
Highlights include the choice of a new 60-foot (18.29 metre) foil-assisted One Design ocean racing monohull, designed by France’s Guillaume Verdier, plus the introduction of a challenging 32-50 foot (10-15m) One Design ‘flying’ catamaran for In-Port Races, for which a new design and build tender process was launched today.
The offshore legs will remain the key to winning the Volvo Ocean Race, but the inshore racing will count more than the current situation, where it acts only as a tiebreaker. That means winning the race in future will demand expertise in both monohull racing offshore and multihull racing in the In-Port Series, as both platforms will be raced by essentially the same crew.
Key announcements from the Gothenburg event:
Sailing’s ultimate test: From the edition after 2017-18, the Volvo Ocean Race will be contested in a combination of a 60-foot foil-assisted monohull for the ocean legs and a 32-50 foot ‘flying’ catamaran for use in the In-Port Race Series. Together, they will establish the Volvo Ocean Race as sailing’s ultimate all-round test and strengthen its reputation as the ultimate test of a team in professional sport.
Foil-assisted monohull: The One Design monohull from the in-demand French naval architect Guillaume Verdier will use the latest generation foiling technology to make it incredibly fast to sail and spectacular to watch. Crew numbers are likely to be between 5 and 7, with incentives continuing for mixed male-female crews and youth sailors. The race will build eight of the new monohulls and deliver them from January 2019 onwards. They will be available to lease by teams to reduce campaign start-up costs, with sponsors involved in the current 2017-18 race to be given first option when Notice of Race and Commercial Participation Agreements are published this October.
IMOCA compatibility: Uniquely, the design brief retains an option to allow the boat platform to be converted, inexpensively and quickly, to a fully rules-compliant short-handed IMOCA boat. The 60-foot IMOCA class boats, used in iconic races such as the solo Vendée Globe, have been the drivers of some incredible technical innovation over the past few decades.
‘Flying’ in-shore catamaran: Additionally, the race is launching a tender process for a new One Design 32-50 foot ‘flying’ catamaran for use inshore – a boat that will use some of the technology familiar from the America’s Cup and other new multihulls, albeit in a non-development One Design mode.
A sustainable future: The race has three pillars of action on sustainability – reduce its own footprint, maximise its impact using its global communications platform, and leave a positive legacy wherever it goes. Centred on a partnership with the United Nations Environment Clean Seas campaign, the focus will be on the call to action ‘Turn the Tide on Plastic’. A founding partnership with 11th Hour Racing is providing the resource to permit significant amplification across all Science, Education and Ocean Summit programmes. AkzoNobel will further boost the education and awareness programme. The Volvo Ocean Race’s long term ambition is to reduce and then eliminate the use of fossil fuels on future boats, while maintaining safety and communication performance, as well as developing new construction methods and operational strategies for the race overall.
New racecourse and stopover formats: The race is planning big changes to the racecourse and stopover formats over the next decade – moves that will strengthen commercial appeal while preserving its sporting integrity.
While the race is committed to two more starts from its home, and important partner, in Alicante, some future races could start and finish outside Europe, and potentially feature a non-stop leg around Antarctica or even a non-stop lap of the planet. But while routes may vary, the race will commit to visiting North America, South America, Australasia, Greater China, and at least 5 major European markets at least once every two editions, providing commercial clarity for any two-cycle plans even without the precise route being known. In addition, Host Cities will be able to choose from a range of flexible stopover formats – from the 24-48 hour pit-stop, to shorter form stopovers of five days, through to traditional ‘two weekend’ stopovers with full activation. The bidding process for the next three editions is launched today.
Race activity every year/Potential shift to two-year cycle: The Volvo Ocean Race Board has asked race management to look into the feasibility of shifting the race to a two-year cycle. That process is still ongoing but what is already certain is that in future there will be race activity of some kind in every calendar year – a clear evolution from the current situation, with a gap of over two years between editions.
A pathway to the Volvo Ocean Race: The race and its co-owners Volvo Car Group and Volvo Group will become official partners of World Sailing, as part of a long term strategic plan to develop the next generation of offshore sailors and their sponsors by providing a clear developmental pathway. The race will establish Volvo Ocean Race Academies as part of future Host Venue partnerships and will also provide a stepping stone for future offshore sailors into the Olympics, if and when offshore sailing is included, which could be a showcase event as early at Tokyo 2020.
Leadership Development and Team Performance Programme / Global Team Challenge: Organisers will introduce a new Leadership Development and Team Performance Programme for businesses, focusing on learnings from the race in areas such as leadership and teamwork. The programme will feature a ‘shadow’ ocean race called the Global Team Challenge, designed for sponsors to give their employees a unique experience of the sport under near identical conditions to those faced by the professionals. The Global Team Challenge will be safety focused, raced along part of the Volvo Ocean Race route, in detuned versions of the current generation Volvo Ocean 65s and with a ratio of 3 professional sailors to 8 amateurs. The basic package will be included in the commercial offering for team sponsors, with activation opportunities to support employee development HR programmes, Employer Branding (recruitment and talent acquisition) as well as additional opportunities for B2B and media activation. This programme will also act as a new entry point for future sponsors of teams in the race.
50th anniversary celebration: The Volvo Ocean Race began life in 1973 as the Whitbread Round the World Race and 2023 marks its half-century. The race is considering plans for a special 50th anniversary race that will honour the sailing legends who have taken part.
The next edition of the Volvo Ocean Race starts from Alicante on 22 October 2017 and will visit a total of 12 Host Cities on six continents. The teams will compete over 46,000 nautical miles (83,000 kms) to the finish line in The Hague at the end of June 2018.