Newport Bermuda Race Start 2014 (Photo by George Bekris)

Newport Bermuda Race 2014 (Photo by George Bekris)

By John Rousmaniere,

 June 16, 2016 — As nearly 1,700 sailors who will soon race to Bermuda make their preparations, loading food and gear into their boats and lining up to pre-clear Bermuda customs and immigration, all of them have one question in mind: “What will the weather be?” And one answer:  “I just hope it’ll favor my boat.”

Sailors don’t agree on much.  Some prefer big boats, some small. Some like light displacement, others heavy. Yet this question and answer can be counted on whenever two or three of us are gathered together. We all talk about the weather, and talk and talk. The weather is our obsession.

On land, “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it,” to quote Mark Twain (or his friend Charles Dudley Warner — the sources disagree).  But on water, we can do something about it.  We trim or shorten sail, we change course, and we look around for better weather.

Newport Bermuda Race 2014 (Photo by George Bekris)

Weather is the deep concern of the 2016 Bermuda Race fleet of 184 boats. There has been some attrition, some due to boat damage during deliveries and in a race. One withdrawal is the Maxi 72 Bella Mente, a frequent candidate to be first to finish that is not sailing this time out of her owner’s weather concerns.

Over the past three days, conflicting weather forecasts have stirred up concern about the conditions that will confront the fleet after the start on Friday. One forecast seemed to indicate a high wind at the start, another suggested a hard blow down the course, and a third offered the specter of rough going, with a hard north wind.

That last weather alert has attracted a lot of attention because of the Gulf Stream. The body of water running northeast is Benjamin Franklin’s “River in the Ocean.” It’s more like a drifting octopus—a complicated patch of moving water turning in every which direction and greatly affecting the state of the sea.  To quote the race’s Gulf Stream expert (and multi-time navigator), oceanographer Dr. Frank Bohlen, “Wind blowing against the current results in a significantly larger wave amplitude and shorter wavelength than what appears when wind blows with current or when there is no current.”

Click here for Frank Bohlen’s analysis of this year’s Gulf Stream.

Newport Bermuda 2010 Start (Photo by George Bekris)

Newport Bermuda 2010 Start (Photo by George Bekris)

History marks two postponements

Despite more than 100 years of excited sailor talk about the weather in 49 races, only two Bermuda Race starts have been postponed a day or longer. The 1968 start was delayed for one day out of concern about an early-season hurricane.  Then in 1982, the race committee, chaired by James A. McCurdy (father of Selkie skipper Sheila McCurdy), postponed the start for two days because of a storm in the Western Atlantic. Once the weather settled down, the then-record 178 starters got off the line quickly on a spinnaker reach.

Carina (Photo by George Bekris )

Carina (Photo by George Bekris )

There’s another, quite startling weather story about the 1982 race.  Carina (today owned by Rives Potts) was sailing almost directly toward Bermuda when her owner-skipper, Richard Nye, poked his head up through the companionway and took a look upwind around just as a lightning bolt flashed down to the water.  “Tack,” Nye ordered. The crew looked at him incredulously. They were only 10 degrees off the layline to the finish. “Tack! There’s lightning to windward. There’s warm water up there. The Gulf Stream’s up there.”

Carina tacked, sailed on the “wrong” tack for a couple of hours until she was well into hot water, tacked back, and with a 3-knot current on her stern, charged toward Bermuda at 10-plus knots over the bottom. She won her division by a comfortable 34 minutes.

That’s one good reason why we obsess about weather.

Newport Bermuda Race 2016 Entries

Click here for more facts about the Newport Bermuda Race.

Newport Bermuda Race 2014 start (Photo by George Bekris)

Watch the start and follow your favorites to Bermuda

Coming alive for you on BermudaRace.com … join Livestream 2PM-5PM on Friday June 17 for live video and commentary on the start. Commentator Andy Green will be host the program from the Inn at Castle Hill overlooking the starting line. With cameras on the hill and on the water, he’ll get close to the action bringing live sailing directly to you. Audio also airs on Newport radio FM 105.9.

Virtual spectators will watch the story unfold as their favorite yachts, skippers, or crew members in this 635-mile ocean classic tack and gybe their way through the Gulf Stream and hunt for the wind in the ‘happy valley’ north of Bermuda. All boats in the 2016 fleet will be tracked by YB satellite trackers as live as it can be on Pantaenius Race Tracking — www.pantaenius.com/NBRtracking — your link to all the action in the race.

Spirit of Bermuda Starts off the Race for 2014 (Photo By George Bekris)

Spirit of Bermuda Starts off the Race for 2014 (Photo By George Bekris)

 

Fleet racing in 2015 at the Les Voiles de Saint Barth (Photo © Christophe Jouany )

Fleet racing in 2015 at the Les Voiles de Saint Barth (Photo © Christophe Jouany)

 Known throughout the world under the pseudonym of Kongo, street artist Cyril Phan will be in St. Barth in April. His arrival ties in perfectly with the wishes of the organizers of the Les Voiles de St. Barth through the creation of an event that combines sport, lifestyle and friendliness, where art has its rightful place. “Getting artists involved in the event is part of the DNA of Les Voiles de St. Barth, and we’ve entrusted the creation of several posters to artists over previous editions,” explained François Tolède, Organizing Director of Les Voiles de St. Barth. “We’ve offered Kongo the chance to create a piece on the theme of the sea and Les Voiles de St. Barth.”

“Since 1991, I have lived in Guadeloupe for half of each year. The Caribbean is a massive source of inspiration to me,” explained Phan. “My presence at Les Voiles de St. Barth this year is the result of a meeting I had with François Tolède last summer. He suggested I give a performance on a sail, which will subsequently be auctioned off for charity. Painting on a sail is something new for me, even though I’m used to painting pretty much anywhere. It’s going to be intriguing to do my thing within the context of Les Voiles de St. Barth.” Moreover, it’s a work that may well appear on the poster for the 2017 edition of the Caribbean sailing event.

Though he does not sail himself, this traveling enthusiast is delighted at the prospect of coming to St. Barth in the spring. “I’ll paint the sail live in front of a public audience during the regatta,” said Phan. “I love discovering other worlds. Three months ago I discovered the world of aviation, which involved painting a plane, and I’m continuing to explore the world of aeronautics through several collaborations, one of which is with the Fondation St Exupéry, he continues. The world of sailors strikes a logical chord with me and my own journey. It’s a thrilling world, filled with people who are passionate about what they do. Sharing my passion with them and discovering what makes them tick is bound to be an enriching experience.”

Kongo, an artist with multiple influences 

Born in 1969 to a Vietnamese father and a French mother, Cyril “Kongo” Phan arrived in France as a political refugee back in April 1975 after the fall of Saigon. After a childhood spent in the South of France with his grandparents, in the early 80s he headed off to Brazzaville in the Congo, to join his mother. It is here that he discovered a passion for art. “I have friends there who were just back from New York and introduced me to hip hop. I was immediately drawn in by the dance and the music, but more as a spectator rather than an actor,” says the man for whom drawing has always been a primary mode of expression. It was not until he returned to France that he discovered an interest for graffiti. “I was lucky enough to meet the people creating the graffiti and the drawings and they got me into it,” he recalls. Banding together, they created the MAC group. “Graffiti arrived in France with the hip hop movement after the stencilists. Back then we were just a group of kids from Le Faubourg St. Antoine. There were only 100 or 200 street artists who essentially geared themselves towards the microcosm of graffiti. We began by tagging walls, living in the moment. Nothing was planned. Today, there are thousands.” The frescos they painted on big walls meant that the group gained renown across France as well as internationally. “We were invited to paint in Europe and in the United States, which brought us in touch with the entire international graffiti scene at the time. That fuelled my lust for travel, which has always been part and parcel of my life.”

During a trip to Asia, Kongo met the director of the Asian branch of the Hermès fashion label, which was to mark the artist’s first steps in the luxury market. “He gave me the opportunity to paint the window of the Hermès shop at Hong Kong airport. The shop window proved to be a tremendous success, to the extent that the parent company in France invited me to reinterpret its famous silk scarf by creating the ‘graff.’ It was an incredible opportunity to work on such a fashion icon.” In the space of two months, the collection had sold out across the world. “This adventure, that began with a meeting and went on to nourish both our worlds, demonstrated that the luxury environment is not so far removed from that of graffiti as they both reference travel, handwork and singularity.”

Now recognized as one of the world’s key figures on the graffiti scene and a man capable of developing his practice to achieve genuine artistic maturity, Kongo continues to exhibit his works right around the globe, while collaborating with prestigious companies, such as French crystalware manufacturer Daum, for whom he is making a crystal sculpture. “I’m very interested in French expertise, which I’m trying to retranslate through a graphic vocabulary.”

TP52 Ran. winner of FORD VIGNALE VALENCIA SAILING WEEK (Photo by Max Ranchi  www.maxranchi.com)

TP52 Ran. winner of FORD VIGNALE VALENCIA SAILING WEEK (Photo by Max Ranchi www.maxranchi.com)

Photos by Max Ranch  www.maxranchi.com

From the biggest and most competitive fleet yet, Niklas Zennström and the Rán Racing team won the first regatta title of the 2015 SUPER SERIES when they kept their focus under the weight of final day pressure.

With Zennström steering and tactician Morgan Larson and strategist Adam Beashel they achieved the required balance between proactive attack and consolidation to convert this morning’s six points margin to finish ahead of rivals Alegre, Andy Soriano’s series debutants.

Valencia’s Malvarrosa Beach race course delivered perfect conditions for the super Saturday showdown, one light seabreeze contest in 6-8kts and a breezier finale in 14-16kts to complete a maximum possible complement of 11 races.

Rán Racing laid the foundations of their title victory when started with three second places and a race win. Then they had to come right back on form after a wobbly three race Thursday when they added a weighty 22 points to their scorline. Showing considerable composure they made a necessary recovery in the first contest today, rising from ninth to sixth. And in the second race Rán did what they had to do, sticking close to their rivals to clinch their first regatta title since winning the TP52 World Championships in Miami in 2013.

The international team which races under Zennström’s Swedish flag finally broke their 2014 hoodo. Since they joined the circuit in 2011 Rán have won a regatta each year until last year when they won almost all the practice races. They add to regatta titles in 2011 Barcelona in their first year on the MedCup, Palma’s Royal Cup in 2102 the first year of the 52 SUPER SERIES and the world title in 2013. But last year they were the team which won almost all the practice races, often lead regattas but never quite sealed the deal. In is particularly pleasing for the tall Swede to come out on top of this regatta which confirms the 52 SUPER SERIES, of which he is one of the founding, visionary stakeholders, to be in robust health.

Zennström said:

Its fantastic to win this first regatta of the year with this bigger fleet. Its been a really tough week and we have been fighting hard so we are very pleased. We have been working really hard as a team, winning together and we have been learning about the new boat and Morgan Larson, Adam Beashel and Steve Hayles in the afterguard have done a really good job calling the right shots, we had good boat speed and good starts.

We haven’t had so much time to get up to speed with the boat, we just had a few days commissioning the boat so this was the first regatta, but Adam sailed with us at a few regattas last year and Morgan sailed with us in 2011 so we all know each other well.

There are 12 boats here which can win regattas, so the boat which wins this year is going to be a really good victory. All of these boats can win.
Niklas Zennström, owner-driver, Rán Racing

Reflecting on the growth of the circuit he said:

It’s amazing. In 2012 we were basically only four boats and now this is the best monohull racing in the world. We will get more and more boats and owners joining and racing at very high levels. The sailing this week has been amazing. It is such a good fleet.
Niklas Zennström, owner-driver, Rán Racing

Alegre, Andy Soriano’s programme, proved they have all the talent and hardware to win on the 52 SUPER SERIES. They lead after Thursday but then had their own bogey day Friday with an eighth and ninth. With tactician John Kostecki and strategist Kelvin Harrap placing the boat consistently well and no shortage of speed across the wind range, they highlight themselves as 52 SUPER SERIES overall contenders.

Soriano concluded:

I never thought that we would be in second position in this regatta and that we would win the first race of the 52 Super Series. I would be crazy to have thought that. I think we did a good job in the pre-season. We had a very good practice at PalmaVela where we competed with some good teams and gathered valuable information. Finally we had five days hard practice in Valencia before this regatta.

We only really made one mistake it was the fourth day because we weren’t fully focused and when you do something wrong in this fleet it is very expensive.
Andres Soriano, owner-driver, Alegre

The level of racing proved to be above and beyond most expectations. Runners up overall in 2014 Azzurra took time to get firing on all cylinders, finding tiny early mistakes too costly. But today the team of the Roemmers family which sails for the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda finished on the perfect note on which to head to the next regatta on their own Costa Smeralda home waters. Two magical back to back wins brought the biggest smiles back to the Azzurra camp, proving they too are finding their mojo.

Race wins were shared among the top five finishers. Rán Racing, Alegre, Sled and Vladimir Liubomirov’s Bronenosec all won two apiece while Azzurra’s tally included three wins.

Takashi Okura’s quiet consistency on Sled sees them finish in third place, Azzurra finished just one point behind in fourth, tied on 54 points with hull sistership Bronenosec.

As predicted there is very, very little speed differences between the nine newly built and launched TP52s all from the design offices of Botin Partners and Judel/Vrolijk. Rán Racing is from the Vrolijk office, Alegre and third placed Sled from the Spanish Botin team.

A strong fleet is expected for the next regatta of the 2015 season on the Costa Smeralda in two weeks time.

 FORD VIGNALE VALENCIA SAILING WEEK (Photo by Max Ranchi  www.maxranchi.com)

FORD VIGNALE VALENCIA SAILING WEEK (Photo by Max Ranchi www.maxranchi.com)

Ford Vignale Valencia Sailing Week 2015

Event Results & Overall Ranking

TEAM R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 R9 R10 R11 Total
RÁN RACING 2 1 2 2 10 5 7 4 1 6 5 45
ALEGRE 1 3 1 5 2 9 2 8 9 5 3 48
SLED 7 11 3 3 3 1 11 1 3 3 7 53
AZZURRA 6 5 5 9 1 8 5 5 8 1 1 54
BRONENOSEC GAZPROM 8 6 6 1 9 6 1 6 5 4 2 54
QUANTUM RACING 4 7 8 6 6 11 3 3 10 2 8 68
PLATOON 3 8 11 4 7 2 12 7 7 10 4 75
PROVEZZA 5 2 7 8 8 7 6 12 2 7 12 76
INTERLODGE 10 4 4 10 11 12 4 2 4 12 6 79
PAPREC RECYCLAGE 9 10 12 12 4 3 9 11 12 9 10 101
GLADIATOR 11 9 9 7 12 4 10 10 11 8 11 102
XIO HURAKAN 12 12 10 11 5 10 8 9 6 11 9 103

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All Photos by Max Ranchi www.maxranchi.com

tp52 bronenonsec lauch ph max ranchi (10) tp52 bronenonsec lauch ph max ranchi (9) tp52 bronenonsec lauch ph max ranchi (8) tp52 bronenonsec lauch ph max ranchi (7) tp52 bronenonsec lauch ph max ranchi (6) tp52 bronenonsec lauch ph max ranchi (5) tp52 bronenonsec lauch ph max ranchi (4) tp52 bronenonsec lauch ph max ranchi (3) tp52 bronenonsec lauch ph max ranchi (2) tp52 bronenonsec lauch ph max ranchi (1) races 8 & 9 ph max ranchi (12) races 8 & 9 ph max ranchi (11) races 8 & 9 ph max ranchi (10) races 8 & 9 ph max ranchi (9) races 8 & 9 ph max ranchi (8) races 8 & 9 ph max ranchi (7) races 8 & 9 ph max ranchi (6) races 8 & 9 ph max ranchi (5) races 8 & 9 ph max ranchi (4) races 8 & 9 ph max ranchi (3) races 8 & 9 ph max ranchi (2) races 8 & 9 ph max ranchi (1) tp52 superseries races 3 & 4 ph m ranchi (12) tp52 superseries races 3 & 4 ph m ranchi (11)

TP52 Ran. winner of FORD VIGNALE VALENCIA SAILING WEEK (Photo by Max Ranchi  www.maxranchi.com)

TP52 Ran. winner of FORD VIGNALE VALENCIA SAILING WEEK (Photo by Max Ranchi www.maxranchi.com)

tp52 superseries races 3 & 4 ph m ranchi (9)

 FORD VIGNALE VALENCIA SAILING WEEK (Photo by Max Ranchi  www.maxranchi.com)

FORD VIGNALE VALENCIA SAILING WEEK (Photo by Max Ranchi www.maxranchi.com)

tp52 superseries races 3 & 4 ph m ranchi (7) tp52 superseries races 3 & 4 ph m ranchi (6) tp52 superseries races 3 & 4 ph m ranchi (5) tp52 superseries races 3 & 4 ph m ranchi (4) tp52 superseries races 3 & 4 ph m ranchi (3) tp52 superseries races 3 & 4 ph m ranchi (2) tp52 superseries races 3 & 4 ph m ranchi (1) tp52 superseries race 1 & 2 ph m ranchi (16) tp52 superseries race 1 & 2 ph m ranchi (15) tp52 superseries race 1 & 2 ph m ranchi (14) tp52 superseries race 1 & 2 ph m ranchi (13) tp52 superseries race 1 & 2 ph m ranchi (12) tp52 superseries race 1 & 2 ph m ranchi (11) tp52 superseries race 1 & 2 ph m ranchi (10) tp52 superseries race 1 & 2 ph m ranchi (9) tp52 superseries race 1 & 2 ph m ranchi (8) tp52 superseries race 1 & 2 ph m ranchi (7) tp52 superseries race 1 & 2 ph m ranchi (6) tp52 superseries race 1 & 2 ph m ranchi (5) tp52 superseries race 1 & 2 ph m ranchi (3) tp52 superseries race 1 & 2 ph m ranchi (2)

Part of the Les Voiles de St. Barth 2015 the fleet at St. Barth   (Photo © Jouany Christophe)

Part of the Les Voiles de St. Barth 2015 the fleet at St. Barth (Photo © Jouany Christophe)

 

Today’s single race for each of 10 classes sailing at Les Voiles de St. Barth determined overall winners and marked the fourth and final day of the regatta. The event has been growing steadily since its inception in 2010 and hosted 70 boats in this sixth edition, all with their own brand of famous sailors aboard from around the world. Boats competing ranged from speedy multihulls such as Lloyd Thornburg’s Mod 70 Phaedo 3 to technologically sophisticated new-builds such as George David’s Rambler 88 and Jim and Kristy Hinze-Clarke’s Comanche (at 100 feet, one of the largest boats here) to the more traditional grand prix racers in the 50-70 foot range and smaller racing/cruising boats. There was even a one design class for Melges 24s (the smallest boats competing) that are as fun, physical and demanding in teamwork and skill as their larger counterparts.
While teams in six classes had clinched their overall victories yesterday (some did not have to sail today’s last race but chose to do so anyway), four classes went down to the wire in 15-20 knot winds that were stronger than yesterday’s but not as strong as on the first two days of racing (Tuesday and Wednesday, April 14-15).
“It was a very interesting race course,” said Lupa of London’s winning skipper Jeremy Pilkington (UK) about his Maxi 2 class’s 28 nautical mile course. It started off Gustavia and went in the opposite direction from days before, wrapping around the western end of St. Barth before using buoys, rocks and islands as waypoints and turning marks on an oblong windward-leeward course set in the Atlantic Ocean. “There was much more going on today than there was on the courses that were set earlier in the week, so it kept us busy. We had a few little challenges and a few ups and downs going around, but we were very pleased with how we did. We had to finish top-three and were assuming that Selene was going to win on handicap, and we did a little bit better than that.” (On corrected time, Selene indeed won, and Lupa of London placed second today to secure the class victory overall.)
In the Spinnaker 2 class, which sailed a shorter version (23 nautical mile) of the 28 miler, Ramanessin, chartered by Germany’s Christian Zugel, had to watch itself against El Ocaso and Ventarron, since they were all one point apart going into today.
“Today it was very tight. We started with one point up, so if we had finished second today we would not have won,” said Zugel. “Right at the start line we were lined up very nicely, but one boat came from the left on the port side and hit us, so you can see some pretty big scratches on the front of our boat but luckily no further damage. We decided to keep going and managed to win.” This is Zugel’s third time at the event, and he has chartered a different boat each time.  Like many others here, his crew is quite international so it’s hard to really say the boat is a German entrant. “I’m German but live in the U.S., and I am crewing with a team of Irish and English sailors who have sailed all over the world, so it is a great experience for us all to be here.”
Claude Granel’s Martinique entry Martinique Premiere-Credit Mutuel won today’s race in Spinnaker 4 (sailing a 17 nautical mile course) to secure overall class victory after going into today with a slim lead. His closest competitor from yesterday, Maelia, slipped to third in the overall standings while Zarafa wound up second. “It was a very tough race, and at the end we just won the race by one second,” said Granel. “What was very difficult was that two team members could not race today, so we went from seven to five onboard, and it was windy – much windier than we thought it would be – but it turned out to be a great race for us.”
James Blakemore’s South African entry Music, in Spinnaker 3, posted another first today to add to his three others from the three previous racing days. “The race was great today – good steady breeze between 16 to 20 knots and great sea conditions,” said Blakemore. “My guys sailed the boat really well; we got off to a really great start, and from the first weather mark, I don’t think we lost the lead in our class from then on. Every day has been good for us.  Yesterday the conditions were a bit tough because we were dealing with the squalls coming through and very light breezes, but fortunately we got through just in time, before the boats really came to a halt. We’ve really thoroughly enjoyed ourselves this week. It’s fantastic coming here; it’s a fantastic regatta.”
Spinnaker 0’s winner Vesper (Jim Swartz, U.S.) finished the regatta with all first-place finishes in the five races it sailed over the four days of racing. “You go into these regattas where you’re in good shape going into the last day, but there is only one way to sail these boats and that is at 100 percent,” said Vesper‘s tactician Gavin Brady about the fact his team didn’t need to sail today in order to win. “Today we pushed as hard as every other day, which is the best thing for the boat and the best thing for the team.”
It was a different sort of day on the left side of the island, because more time was spent negotiating wind shifts in flat waves, making it more tactical than on the right-hand side where the fleets had sailed for the previous three race days.
Lloyd Thornburg’s U.S. entry in Multihull class, Phaedo 3, spent its regatta leaving the seven other Multihull class entries in its wake and won again today for a fourth time over four races. “It was a great event,” said Thornburg, who on Wednesday established the Multihull record for a newly introduced 43-mile course that will be repeated here each year. (Comanche and Odin established the records for Maxi 1 and Maxi 2 classes, respectively) “Today the wind came back, which was nice, whereas yesterday was a little bit light for us. For our boat, this was the most challenging course, so it was a lot of fun.”
Not so much fun was Gunboat G4 Timbalero III’s dramatic capsize today. No one was injured, and the brand-new foiling catamaran was righted within two hours.
Puerto Rican entrant Lazy Dog, skippered by Sergio Sagramoso, also added another victory to his score line of all firsts to win Spinnaker 1 class. “Racing was a lot of fun today, and the start was incredibly critical. There were four classes (on the line), around 40 boats, so it was probably the hairiest start I’ve ever done. The first start was a general recall; the second start, our main competitor (Hamachi) was hit, so it was pretty dramatic. But we had a great time, and the conditions suited us. It was beautiful like usual. We’ll be back next year; great racing and hands down the best organization we’ve ever seen.”
Bobby Velasquez (St. Martin), winner of Non-Spinnaker class  in L’esperance, agreed: It’s wonderful here in St. Barth, and it’s a wonderful organization. We’ll definitely be back for the regatta again next year.” L’esperance had nothing but bullets in its score line.In Melges 24s, the St. Martin team of Budget Marine GILL topped the leaderboard. Skipper Andrea Scarabelli said, “This is one of the events we love the most. Racing in one-design is always nice because you are racing at a similar pace. The goal is to keep building the Melges 24 class. This year we were only four boats, but we hope to get more.”
The event’s largest, fastest boats sailed in Maxi 1 class, and it was George David’s Rambler 88 that won the four-race series there. All eyes had been on Rambler 88 and the larger Comanche during the first two race days, since no one had yet seen the two boats sail against each other. The powerful Comanche showed blazingly fast speed, taking line honors in every race. It was Rambler 88, however, that prevailed with corrected-time performances that gave the team three first-place finishes in a row. By today, when Rambler 88 took second to Hap Fauth’s U.S. entry Bella Mente, the focus had returned to who was doing the best on ratings. Rambler 88 maintained its place at the top of the scoreboard, but Bella Mente was able to replace Lucky as runnerup. Bella Mente, Lucky and Comanche had all shared the same point score after today’s race, but Bella Mente’s performance handed the tiebreaker to their team.
“I’m very happy,” said David. “I think we sailed very well to rating, and we are just a click off Comanche. Of course, they have the big-boat edge and get in front, and that tends to help a little bit, but I am impressed by how fast we are. In fact, I’m very impressed. This boat is wicked quick and I think we’ll do even better in the future. I don’t count us out for records, including the Transatlantic Race 2015 this summer, which we hold already (with Rambler 100).”
At the prize giving, Principal Event Partner Richard Mille presented George David, who also was the overall winner of the Maxi division, with a Richard Mille Caliber RM 60-01 Regatta watch.FULL RESULTS: https://app.regattaguru.com/lesvoiles/100085/results 
2015 Entry List: www.lesvoilesdesaintbarth.com

Part of the Les Voiles de St. Barth 2015 the fleet at St. Barth   (Photo © Jouany Christophe)

Part of the Les Voiles de St. Barth 2015 the fleet at St. Barth (Photo © Jouany Christophe)

 

 

TP52 Provezza launch and sail testing.  (Photo © Max Ranchi   MaxRanchi.com )

TP52 Provezza launch and sail testing. (Photo © Max Ranchi MaxRanchi.com )

Auckland, New Zealand.

The new Provezza launched and has begun sail testing. Owner Ergin Imre and complete Provezza sailing team in Auckland take delivery of the boat. Andy Beadsworth still to join as he just finished the Caribbean 600 on TP52 Sorcha (2nd place overall in IRC and CSA).

Design Rolf Vrolijk, builder Mick Cookson, on site team project managers Chris Hosking and Tony Evans.

Congratulations to Ergin and team Provezza and good job Mick and the Cookson team, Chris and Tony! Enjoy the sailing.

TP52 Provezza launch and sail testing.  (Photo © Max Ranchi   MaxRanchi.com )

TP52 Provezza launch and sail testing. (Photo © Max Ranchi MaxRanchi.com )

TP52 Provezza launch and sail testing.  (Photo © Max Ranchi   MaxRanchi.com )

TP52 Provezza launch and sail testing. (Photo © Max Ranchi MaxRanchi.com )

TP52 Provezza launch and sail testing.  (Photo © Max Ranchi   MaxRanchi.com )

TP52 Provezza launch and sail testing. (Photo © Max Ranchi MaxRanchi.com )

TP52 Provezza launch and sail testing.  (Photo © Max Ranchi   MaxRanchi.com )

TP52 Provezza launch and sail testing. (Photo © Max Ranchi MaxRanchi.com )

TP52 Provezza launch and sail testing.  (Photo © Max Ranchi   MaxRanchi.com )

TP52 Provezza launch and sail testing. (Photo © Max Ranchi MaxRanchi.com )

TP52 Provezza launch and sail testing.  (Photo © Max Ranchi   MaxRanchi.com )

TP52 Provezza launch and sail testing. (Photo © Max Ranchi MaxRanchi.com )

TP52 Provezza launch and sail testing.  (Photo © Max Ranchi   MaxRanchi.com )

TP52 Provezza launch and sail testing. (Photo © Max Ranchi MaxRanchi.com )

 

TP52 Provezza launch and sail testing.  (Photo © Max Ranchi   MaxRanchi.com )

TP52 Provezza launch and sail testing. (Photo © Max Ranchi MaxRanchi.com )

TP52 Provezza launch and sail testing.  (Photo © Max Ranchi   MaxRanchi.com )

TP52 Provezza launch and sail testing. (Photo © Max Ranchi MaxRanchi.com )

 

 

Wild Oats XI (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

Wild Oats XI (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

Entries for the 70th edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race officially closed on the evening of Friday 31 October. The resulting line-up of 119 yachts – set to be the event’s largest in a decade – is befitting of such a historic occasion. The presence of five 100 foot Maxis will steal the news headlines, but the impressive nature of the fleet stretches far beyond the fastest boats. Adding lustre to the occasion are a host of yachts that have won the race before, ten international entrants, and an array of Australian crews spearheaded by sailors with over 40 editions of the race to their name.

In keeping with tradition the race starts at 13:00 local time on 26 December, Boxing Day, from Sydney Harbour. The destination is Hobart, Tasmania over a famous 628-nautical mile racecourse. The competition has been sponsored by Rolex since 2002 and forms an integral part of its triumvirate of offshore races comprising the Rolex Fastnet Race and the Rolex Middle Sea Race.

Comanche raider

At the front of the fleet, the quest for line honours promises to be open and competitive. Bob Oatley’s 100-ft Wild Oats XI has been the fastest yacht on the water in seven of the last nine race editions. Experience, guile and knowledge of the conditions ensure the Mark Richards-skippered yacht starts as favourite in the race to be first to finish.

Comanche VPLP 100 (Photo © George Bekris)

Comanche VPLP 100 (Photo © George Bekris)

Anthony Bell, line honours winner in 2011, will be one of those hoping to knock Wild Oats XI off her stride. His yacht Perpetual Loyal has strong pedigree in the race and an excellent crew, which includes 2010 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Tom Slingsby.

Comanche VPLP 100 (Photo © George Bekris)

Comanche VPLP 100 (Photo © George Bekris)

A layer of the unknown has been introduced with the entry from the United States of Jim Clark’s Comanche. Clark has made a bold statement – shipping his brand new 100 foot Ken Read-skippered yacht to Sydney immediately following its October launch in New England. This will be the boat’s first race – the ultimate baptism of fire! Clark has sought to dilute expectations, asserting Comanche was not designed with the Rolex Sydney Hobart in mind, and pointing to a lack of preparation time: “The boat and crew will have had only a couple of weeks on the water before we ship it to Australia. There’s a lot of work to do before the race start. In the short term, I don’t have high expectations, but in the long term, I think this boat could really set a mark.”

COMANCHE FIRST SAIL VIDEO 

The fourth 100-ft Maxi to watch is Ragamuffin 100. Owner Syd Fischer, at 87 years of age and with 45 Rolex Sydney Hobarts to his name, has virtually rebuilt  Ragamuffin 100 fitting its original deck to a new hull. The ultimate competitor, including line honours winner at the Rolex China Sea Race last April, he has more knowledge of the race than almost any other entrant. Completing the line up of 100 foot Maxis, is the outsider – American entrant RIO 100 previously competed in the race under the guise of Lahana and counts expert American navigator Peter Isler as part of its crew.

Chasing Victoire

The history of the Rolex Sydney Hobart proves that the overall winner of the race can come from anywhere within the fleet. Prevailing conditions often determine whether the larger or smaller yachts are favoured. In 2013, Darryl Hodgkinson’s 50-ft Victoire claimed victory following in the wake of a diverse range of recent winners Two True (40-ft, 2009), Loki (60-ft, 2011) and Wild Oats XI (100-ft, 2012). Victoire is seeking to become the first boat to successfully retain the Tattersall’s Cup since the mid-1960s.

International influence

In keeping with its international reputation and wide global interest, the Rolex Sydney Hobart always welcomes an array of foreign entrants who have to overcome the added logistical challenge of shipping or sailing their boat to Sydney. Along with American entrants Comanche andRIO 100, yachts from the Cayman Islands, Germany, New Zealand, Poland and the United Kingdom add foreign glamour to the 119-strong fleet.

NIKATA  in heavy seas (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

NIKATA in heavy seas (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

Festive atmosphere

Pre-race celebrations will include a Parade of Sail of historic Rolex Sydney Hobart entrants before hundreds of thousands of spectators ashore and on the water in Sydney. The race start will be broadcast live throughout Australia and also webcast live to a global audience. Given the wide interest in this 70th edition, victory will have an extra coat of fulfilment.

copa del rey race 6 ph m ranchi (3)

HRM King Felipe skippered “Aifos” in the second of the two races held today in the class Gaastra IRC 1. Three classes sailed today a coastal race and five sailed two windward/leeward races. The overall provisional leaders at the end of this third racing day received the Enlace trophies, as winners of the regatta halfway point.

 

Today was the midpoint of the 33rd Copa del Rey MAPFRE, which is being held until Saturday. The classes Gaastra IRC 0, Gazprom Swan 60 and Barclays 52Super Series sailed a 29 nautical miles coastal race around the bay of Palma. All other classes added two more races to their scoring boards. The rankings offer different scenarios: two classes have new leaders (one-designs Nespresso X-35 and Herbalife J80), four have ties between the second and third place, and only three seem to have a clear leader. The best teams of the week received an award today.

The wind was kind again to the fleet, blowing from the south-southwest and speed of between 10 and 13 knots, and peaks up to 15 knots.

Gaastra IRC 0 
The Gaastra IRC 0 fleet completed its coastal race in just over three hours. The fastest was Hap Fauth’s American “Bella Mente”, who fought an intense duel with Andres Soriano’s British “Alegre”. There was only a 36 seconds difference at the finish line. Third was George Sakellaris’ “Shockwave”, who maintains the overall lead in the class with 10 points. In the fight for second place, there is a tie between Roberto Tomasini’s “Robertissima III” (fourth today) and “Bella Mente”, both with 14 points. Tomorrow they will sail again a windward / leeward race.

Gaastra IRC 1
Giuseppe Parodi’s “Hurakan” continues to lead with iron fist the class Gaastra IRC 1. He won both races today and is already seven points ahead of “Team Vision Future” (3-3 today) and ten ahead of René Mangold’s “Aquila” (2-2). In the second race of the day, HRM King Felipe VI joined “Aifos” as skipper, which after three days is in fifth place overall. The King is expected to return tomorrow to skipper the Spanish Army’s TP52 in both races scheduled for the Class Gaastra IRC 1.

(Photo by Max Ranchi www.maxranchi.com )

(Photo by Max Ranchi www.maxranchi.com )

copa del rey race 9 ph m ranchi (4)

Gazprom Swan 60 
In the battle for the Gazprom Swan 60 world championship, “Bronenosec” seems to be catching up and won today’s coastal race, his second consecutive win. Second was Boris Gusev’s “Spirit of Europe”, followed by Lorenzo Bortolotti’s “Windward”. Vladimir Liubomirov’s team leads the overall classification seven points ahead of “Petite Flamme” (fourth today), and 11 ahead of “Tsaar Peter” (sixth today).

Barclays 52 Super Series 
Swedish Niklas Zennström’s “Rán” is recovering today from an irregular start of the week, winning the coastal race 43 seconds ahead of Brazilian Eduardo de Souza’s “Phoenix”. Third was British Tony Langley’s “Gladiator”. “Rán” is the fifth winner out of five races in the Barclays 52 Super Series. Despite its discreet sixth place in today’s race, “Quantum Racing” retains its lead, now five points ahead of the tie between “Rán” and “Azzurra”.

BMW 1 ORC 
Double victory for Manuel Doreste’s “Rats on Fire” in the class BMW ORC 1, who has won five races out of six. Last year’s winner makes up for yesterday’s seventh place, and now leads 14 points ahead of the tie between Christian Plump’s “Elena Nova” (2-2 today) and Hendrik Brandis’ “Earlybird” (3-3). The category is dominated by the Swan 45 teams, which after six races have taken over the top four positions.

BMW ORC 2 
The class BMW ORC 2 seems a replica of the class BMW ORC 1: five out of six victories for the leader and tie on points in the second place. “Movistar” skippered by Pedro Campos is not slowing down, and won both races today. In the fight for the second places, Teo Matheu’s “Airlan Aermec” suffers from his results today (4-5) and is overtaken by Lluis Blanchar’s “Varador 2000” (2-2). Good day also for Felix Comas’ “Pinyol Vermell” (3-3).

Nespresso X-35
In the class Nespresso X-35 today’s victories went to Dani Cuevas’ “Puerto Deportivo Benalmádena” and Alessandro Solerio’s “Lelagain”. Today’s good results allow the Italian boat to stand as the new class leader, one point ahead of his rival. Javier Sanz’s “Red Eléctrica de España”, who docked out at the top of the scoring board, lost its lead due to the eight place in the first race today, but recovered well with a second on the next race and is third overall.

Herbalife J80 
Flawless day for José María Torcida’s “Noticia”. The Spaniard won both races today and snatches the lead to Javier Padrón’s “Herbalife”, who had a rough day (8-5). Third on the podium is the defending champion, Hugo Rocha’s “New Territories”, who finished fourth in both races today.

The social program continues
The Nespresso Brunch this morning received the visit of Spanish actor and top model Andres Velencoso. Former Irish cyclist Stephen Roche, winner of the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia, was also in the RCNP and sailed onboard TP52 “Gladiator” to sail the Barclays 52 Super Series coastal race.

The Sailor’s Tent hosted a new performance by Alex Caro and Sote de Lino, with their musical entertainment at the tastings offered to the sailors at the Real Club Náutico de Palma at the end of the day.

The Enlace Trophies in the midpoint 
Today the Enlace Trophies were awarded to the leaders of each class at the end of the first three days of racing. “Shockwave”, “Hurakan”, “Quantum Racing”, “Bronenosec”, “Rats on Fire”, “Movistar”, “Lelagain” and “Noticia” received the trophy for leading their classes in this halfway point of the regatta.
copa del rey race 6 ph m ranchi (12)
Tomorrow’s racing schedule is a coastal race for the classes Gaastra IRC1, BMW ORC 1 and BMW ORC 2. All other classes will sail windward-leeward races. The one-design classes Nespresso X-35 and Herbalife J80 may discard their worst result if they sail their eighth race tomorrow. The first race of the day will start at 13h00.

The 33rd Copa del Rey MAPFRE is organized by the Real Club Náutico de Palma and will take place from August 2nd to the 9th, 2014.

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copa del rey race 6 ph m ranchi (2)

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ORC  Europeans Day 2 (Photo by Max Ranchi)

ORC Europeans Day 2 (Photo by Max Ranchi)

Clear sunny skies and a hot offshore breeze greeted the fleet today in their mid-afternoon start to inshore racing at the ORC European Championship. The summer weather and later start gave crews a chance to not only dry out from yesterday’s deluge, but also the opportunity to enjoy perfect sailing conditions to start windward-leeward racing in this four-day event.

 

ORC Europeans Day 2 (Photo by Max Ranchi)

ORC Europeans Day 2 (Photo by Max Ranchi)

But the 8-12 knot westerly breeze in the course area off the beach south of Valencia lasted long enough for only one 7-mile race to be held for both classes racing in this event, which is part of the Real Club Nautico Valencia’s annual Trofeo SM La Reina.

Accounting for the small-boat bias to yesterday’s offshore race results, today the cumulative scores became more equalized, allowing the teams with good starts, proper positioning on the 2-mile legs, and flawless execution at their mark roundings to rise through the standings.

ORC Europeans Day 2 (Photo by Max Ranchi)

ORC Europeans Day 2 (Photo by Max Ranchi)

Accordingly, Natalia Brailoiu’s Romanian Swan 42 Natalia has taken the early lead in Class A based on scores of 2-3, where the 2nd earned in the offshore race gets multiplied by the 1.2 points weighting to become 5.4 points overall. It was another Swan – Christian Plump’s Swan 45 Elena Nova – that also did well in today’s moderate, flat-water conditions to take second in the inshore race and stay just 0.2 points ahead of current third-place contender Koyama, Bernd Kammerlander’s British XP-44, helmed by Inaki Castener and winner of yesterday’s offshore race in Class A.

Today’s inshore race winner, Giuseppe Parodi’s TP 52 Hurakan, helmed by Marco Serafini with tactics called by Tommaso Chieffi, led around the 7-mile race track without challenge after their start, but will have further work to do in the series to overcome their 10 overall point deficit earned by finishing yesterday’s offshore race in 14th place.

ORC Europeans Day 2 (Photo by Max Ranchi)

ORC Europeans Day 2 (Photo by Max Ranchi)

In Class B it was Spanish sailing legend Pedro Campos on Movistar that won the race, but reigning ORC European Silver medalist Katarina II, an Arcona 340 owned and helmed by Aivar Tuulberg from Estonia, that took the lead in the standings with a third earned yesterday and a 5th earned today. But their 8.6 points overall is not safe against the class runner-up, newly-crowned ORC Mediterranean Champion Low Noise from Italy, Giuffre Giuseppe’s M37 (modified by Matteo Polli) who is on 12 points at this stage in the series. Yesterday’s Class B offshore race winner, Frederico Linares Garcia’s Spanish Dufour 34 Brujos, was in the middle of the pack today yet still lies third overall on 13.2 points.

ORC Europeans Day 2 (Photo by Max Ranchi)

ORC Europeans Day 2 (Photo by Max Ranchi)

An interesting topic in Spain is the influence the Spanish Royal Family has had on the sport of sailing, so a public round-table discussion will be held tomorrow at RCNV starting at 09:30 among seven prominent Spanish sailing journalists led by ABC reporter Pedro Sardina. This discussion should prove interesting, given this important political influence in the history of sailing in Spain.

After this morning battle of words and opinions, the battle of championship sailing will return to the water with the resumption of inshore racing at 1200 tomorrow and continue through Sunday when two podiums of new ORC European winners will be declared here at RCNV.

Real Club Náutico de Valencia wants to thank Conservas Cuca, Mazda, Heineken, Coca Cola, Plymouth, Café Candelas, NH Ciudad de Valencia, Holiday Inn, Zas Sailing, Navaltec, Varadero Valencia, Surgival and Ascensión Latorre for their contributions in the celebration of this event.
Photos: Max Ranchi  for more of Max’s work go to MaxRanchi.com

ORC Europeans Day 2 (Photo by Max Ranchi)

ORC Europeans Day 2 (Photo by Max Ranchi)

ORC Europeans Day 2 (Photo by Max Ranchi)

ORC Europeans Day 2 (Photo by Max Ranchi)

ORC Europeans Day 2 (Photo by Max Ranchi)

ORC Europeans Day 2 (Photo by Max Ranchi)

ORC Europeans Day 2 (Photo by Max Ranchi)

ORC Europeans Day 2 (Photo by Max Ranchi)

ORC Europeans Day 2 (Photo by Max Ranchi)

ORC Europeans Day 2 (Photo by Max Ranchi)

ORC Europeans Day 2 (Photo by Max Ranchi)

ORC Europeans Day 2 (Photo by Max Ranchi)

ORC Europeans Day 2 (Photo by Max Ranchi)

ORC Europeans Day 2 (Photo by Max Ranchi)

ORC Europeans Day 2 (Photo by Max Ranchi)

ORC Europeans Day 2 (Photo by Max Ranchi)

ORC Europeans Day 2 (Photo by Max Ranchi)

ORC Europeans Day 2 (Photo by Max Ranchi)

ORC Europeans Day 2 (Photo by Max Ranchi)

ORC Europeans Day 2 (Photo by Max Ranchi)

ORC Europeans Day 2 (Photo by Max Ranchi)

ORC Europeans Day 2 (Photo by Max Ranchi)

ORC Europeans Day 2 (Photo by Max Ranchi)

ORC Europeans Day 2 (Photo by Max Ranchi)