Franck Cammas and his men are already the outright champions of the eleventh edition of the Volvo Ocean Race: by finishing second in the final leg between Lorient and Galway behind the New Zealanders, Groupama 4 has racked up a sufficient lead to be assured of first place in the overall standing, whatever the result during the last In-Port race on Saturday. This is the first French success since victory went to Lionel Péan and his crew in 1985-86!
As ever, there was still everything to play for on this ninth and penultimate race between Brittany and Ireland! And as ever, or almost, the expected scenario of a long straight course in a stable breeze wasn’t quite how things panned out in the end. Indeed, as is frequently the case, it was over the final miles that everything changed. And, as is rarely the case, and for the first time since 1986, a French boat has come to the fore in what is the longest and most gruelling of oceanic races after 40,000 miles at sea and nearly nine months on from the race start in Alicante back in November… By finishing just astern of the New Zealanders in Galway on this final offshore leg, Franck Cammas and his men can at last wrap their hands around the Holy Grail of offshore racing, a Volvo Ocean Race win, before Saturday’s In-Port race has even played out.
The puma and the mice
This ninth leg between Lorient and Galway always promised to be a close-fought race since the 550-mile course was framed by the compulsory passages around Belle-Île, the North-West tip of Brittany, the Fastnet Rock lighthouse and the Aran Islands. Indeed the separation between the top four, never exceeded four miles, as they constantly jostled over the top spot according to the (numerous) manoeuvres which had to be performed to adapt to the irregular strength of the breeze. The Spanish led the way as far as Raz de Sein, then the New Zealanders snatched control before being overtaken by the Iberians, then the Americans, as they rounded Fastnet with Groupama 4 permanently on the attack.
As the wind clocked round from 20-25 knots of south-westerly to around fifteen knots of westerly along the Irish coast, things were continually being ramped up again, but after the Blasket Islands, Puma really looked like she had the win in the bag with a lead of a mile and half over Camper and Telefonica. Franck Cammas and his men remained in contact by positioning themselves slightly offshore. However, fifty miles from the finish, it was time to think about gybing in around a dozen knots of breeze, which was backing round to the South: Groupama 4 was the first to launch into the manoeuvre, followed by Camper, whilst the Americans and the Spanish delayed in changing course…
An incredible welcome!
Just as night fell the four leaders made the approach on the Aran Islands beneath the loom of the Eoragh lighthouse: the New Zealanders had a mere 500-metre lead over the French, who themselves were under pressure from the Americans, just 400 metres astern, whilst the Spanish had dropped off the pace slightly, a mile back. As for the other two VOR-70s, Sanya and Abu Dhabi, they were some 35 miles stray of the leaders… A fourth place would have been sufficient for Groupama 4 to secure outright victory in the Volvo Ocean Race, but the French crew didn’t want to ease off the pace one iota in their bid to round things off on as positive a note as their last efforts in Lorient and Lisbon.
However, the Kiwis had a firm grip on the head of this race and they took the win in their first offshore leg since leaving Alicante to finish in a time of 00h 42′ UTC and take the applause of an absolutely incredible crowd! Thousands of Irish supporters enveloped the Galway basin with extraordinary enthusiasm, which reached fever point when the French boat tied up alongside, congratulating the first Irish winner of the Volvo Ocean Race: Damian Foxall, watch leader on Groupama 4!
With this second place ahead of the Americans and the Spanish, Franck Cammas and his crew are assured of outright victory in the overall standing, even before the final `In-Port’ race sets sail this coming Saturday. With a lead of 24 points over Camper, Groupama 4 is now the unassailable, outright winner of the eleventh edition of this crewed round the world race, in what is a first for a French team since victory went to Lionel Péan and his men in 1985-86.
See www.volvooceanrace.com for full details
Monday 2 July, 2010
Spithill makes his mark
The 2011-12 Americas Cup World Series came to a close in Newport RI with the top spoils going to Oracle Team USA Spithill. Chris Draper steered Luna Rossa Piranha to win the fleet racing while Russell Coutts came out on top in the match racing in Newport.
Telefonica led the Volvo Ovean Race fleet out of Lorient on the final leg to Galway on Sunday after Groupama won Saturday’s in port race.
The JP Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race’s Gold Roman Bowl was won by Tony Langley’s TP52 Manroland Sheetfed while first around the course was Yves Le Blevecs Multi 50 Actual. Vincenzo Onorato is the new Audi Melges 32 European Champion.
Bruce Keen comes out on top at the Musto Skiff Worlds at the WPNSA and Finland’s Silja Lehtinen was crowned ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Champion
Oracle Team USA Spithill win the 2011-12 AC World Series Championship
Newport proved to be a statement event for the US defender of the America’s Cup as ORACLE Team USA was prominent in all areas of the leaderboard. Jimmy Spithill’s team earned the overall 2011-12 AC World Series Championship with a strong second place finishes in both the match racing and fleet racing in Newport.
Spithill also claimed the overall season Fleet Racing Championship while Sweden’s Artemis Racing won the inaugural season’s Match Racing Championship.
Groupama close to VOR overall victory
Three teams battle for the lead in the final leg of the 2011-2012 Volvo Ocean Race as the fleet close in on the finish with Groupama sitting comfortably in 4th to remain with one hand on the overall trophy.
Tony Langley’s TP52 Manroland Sheetfeed wins the Gold Roman Bowl
The overall winners of the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race have been confirmed, with the 81st edition of the event bringing triumph for boats both large and small.
The winner of the prestigious Gold Roman Bowl for first boat overall on IRC handicap is Tony Langley’s TP52 Manroland Sheetfed. Competing in IRC 0, Manroland Sheetfed (aka Weapon of Choice) was the second monohull to complete the course, finishing in 4hrs, 42mins and 12secs to win on corrected time by just 3 minutes.
For full results visit: www.roundtheisland.org.uk
Finland’s Silja Lehtinen Crowned ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Champion
The final day of the ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship in Gothenburg, Sweden served up a treat of world class action as Silja Lehtinen (FIN) claimed the title.
After the disappointment of the 2011 Women’s Match Racing Worlds in Perth, Australia that saw Lehtinen finish 14th after a bright start she turned it around in Gothenburg after she defeated World #1 Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) 3-0 in the final.
The day started off as a perfect one for sailing, with a southerly 16-18 knot breeze with the sun shining as the semi finals opened the day.
Lehtinen took on Claire Leroy (FRA) in the first head to head and had no trouble against the French match racer as she came out on top with a comprehensive 3-0 victory.
Tunnicliffe meanwhile took on compatriot Sally Barkow in four very tight and intense matches with the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year coming out on top.
Leroy and Barkow faced off in the Petit Final in a close encounter. Leroy took the first race win before Barkow levelled things up to take it to a decider. In a tough last race with gybe duels all the way to the finish Barkow did enough to take the win, and the bronze medal.
The final followed and Lehtinen did enough in each of the three races to win by a slender margin.
Morton claims record third Quarter Ton Cup win
Peter Morton and his crew claimed a record third Coutts Quarter Ton Cup win by just 4 points from Alice II with Aguila third and Anchor Challenge fourth. This achievement was impressive not only because it was the first time the event has been won by the same person three times but also because Peter and his team have used three different boats for their wins.
By Rick Perkins on 30 June 2012
Bruce Keen wins
The final day of the ACO Musto Skiff World Championship dawned with sun and wind and many happy competitors as the conditions here at Weymouth looked perfect for skiff sailing. The wind was a good 16 – 20 knots and the racing was scheduled to be inside the harbour.
With 6 races on the board 4 were scheduled for the final day and the fleet launched with plenty of drink and energy bars on board to see them through the day.
The first race got away under an individual recall. At the first mark Wright had a good lead followed by Keen & Stenhouse, at the next windward Wright was extending followed by Keen and Newman who had overhauled Stenhouse for third. At the finish these positions stood.
The second race of the day got away with an individual recall; at mark one Keen lead from Martinez and Peake. Wright again was on a charge and pulled through for the win from Keen and Peake.
The conditions were now getting even fresher with white caps everywhere and the fleet bouncing around on the chop. Although 4 races were scheduled it looked likely that this 3rd race would be it, as the conditions were following the forecast and building to 25 knots.
Going into the race Stenhouse still lead on points but it was all to play for. At the first mark Keen lead from Oliver, on the next lap Keen still lead followed by Newman and Oswald; Stenhouse held 6th which was not a winning combination, Stenhouse needed to finish 3rd to take the win.
The conditions on the final run were very rough with boats on the limit as they charged downwind. Keen crossed the line then sat and watched hoping none of the boats between him and Stenhouse would fall victim to a capsize.
As it was the leaders all came streaming over the line with Newman second and Oswald third. Stenhouse could only manage 6th which meant Bruce Keen had taken the title by 2 points, congratulations Bruce!
The skiff fleet also runs Silver and Bronze fleets which gives everyone something to race for. In addition there are age categories for youth, master and grand master.
Overall Results (top 6)
1 GBR 469 Bruce Keen 5,14,(17),4,1,1,2,2,1, 30pts
2 GBR 442 Richard Stenhouse 2, (9),3,1,4,5,6,5,6, 32pts
3 GBR 432 Tom Wright 12, (46),9,5,3,2,1,1,4, 37pts
4 AUS 425 Jon Newman 14,(40),1,6,2,3,3,12,2, 43pts
5 SUI 436 Roger Oswald (30),1,2,8,9,7,10,8,3, 48pts
6 GBR 323 Andrew Peake 18,(20),18,7,5,9,4,3,5, 69pts
By 34rd Americas Cup media
Newport proved to be a statement event for the US defender of the America’s Cup as ORACLE TEAM USA was prominent in all areas of the leaderboard. Jimmy Spithill’s team earned the overall 2011-12 AC World Series Championship with a strong second place finishes in both the match racing and fleet racing in Newport. Spithill also claimed the overall season Fleet Racing Championship while Sweden’s Artemis Racing won the inaugural season’s Match Racing Championship.
“Consistency had been the key,” Spithill said moments before he was handed the newly commissioned AC World Series trophy. “We were the last team to arrive here, but we came out and performed under pressure. For us it was very satisfying to see us step up and the other guys fall back when the pressure came on.”
His veteran stable-mate very nearly stole the day in front of a capacity crowd of spectators at Fort Adams. Russell Coutts won the Newport Match Racing Championship over Spithill and almost took out the fleet race as well, but was denied that honor by Chris Draper’s Luna Rossa Piranha team, who took advantage of a penalty to the Coutts team to grab a lead they would extend to the finish, to grab the Newport Fleet Racing Championship. Coutts was under intense pressure in the latter stages of the race from the Italian Swordfish team, but just held on for second place.
“Today just happened to work out for us. We got some nice breaks, but I wouldn’t give us too much credit for it,” Coutts said. “As a team, we’re really happy. Jimmy and his guys won the World Series and that’s what we came here to do… We’re always out there to win, we’re not there to just sail around the buoys – we want to win.”
For Chris Draper, the fleet racing win was a nice turn around after a difficult week: “We’ve had a tough week, the team’s been pretty down, but I’m pleased that both boats did well today. We needed that result to prove to ourselves that we could do it, so we’re happy.”
Terry Hutchinson’s Artemis Racing placed fourth in the Newport Match Racing Championship this week, which earned his team enough points to win the Match Racing title for the season.
“It’s a nice milestone for the team,” Hutchinson said, his mood tempered somewhat by a poor fleet race on Sunday. “But I think we have a lot of work to do. There are a lot of areas we can do better. But we have 14 months to do it and we’re looking forward to the challenge.”
The Newport event marks the end of the first season of AC World Series racing and follows previous events in Cascais (POR), Plymouth (UK), San Diego (USA), Naples and Venice (ITA). Regatta Director Iain Murray and his team have conducted 130 races over 30 days of racing in the six international venues. Over the time, only one day of races has been postponed due to weather.
Sunday’s racing was broadcast live, coast to coast, in the USA on NBC, marking the return of the Cup to network television for the first time in more than 20 years. The final day of racing in the opening two events of the 2012-13 AC World Series in San Francisco in August and October will likewise be shown on NBC.
Racing will start anew next month with the 2012-13 AC World Series in San Francisco from August 21-26. The new Ben Ainslie Racing will join the circuit as it comes to the host city of the 34th America’s Cup.
2011-12 AC World Series Overall Championship Leaderboard:
(Team, Match Racing Points, Fleet Racing Points, Total Points)
1. ORACLE Team USA Spithill, 47 – 55 – 102pts
2. Emirates Team New Zealand, 41 – 52 – 93pts
3. Artemis Racing, 50 – 32 – 82pts
4. Energy Team, 38 – 36 – 74pts
5. ORACLE Team USA Coutts, 39 – 29 – 68pts
6. Team Korea, 33 – 33 – 66pts
7. Luna Rossa Piranha, 26 – 26 – 52pts
8. Luna Rossa Swordfish, 15 – 16 – 31pts
9. China Team, 15 – 16 – 31pts
For full details see: www.americascup.com