12 Metre fleet at start of racing ( Photo © George Bekris )

12 Metre fleet at start of racing ( Photo © George Bekris )

NEWPORT, R.I. (Sept. 24, 2018) – An eight-race series held Friday through Sunday (September 21-23) on Rhode Island Sound and Narragansett Bay determined title holders for the 2018 12 Metre North American Championship. The event, hosted by Ida Lewis Yacht Club and including divisions for historic 12 Metres from the Modern and Traditional eras (1974-1983 and 1958-1970, respectively), was especially competitive this year due to teams ramping up for the 2019 12 Metre World Championship, which also will be hosted by Ida Lewis Yacht Club on these same waters off Newport, R.I. next July.

Challenge XII passing Castle Hill Lighthouse ( Photo © George Bekris )

Challenge XII passing Castle Hill Lighthouse ( Photo © George Bekris )


Action aboard winners Challenge XII and American Eagle at the 2018 12 Metre North American Championship held in Newport, R.I.

12 Metre American Eagle ( Photo © George Bekris )

12 Metre American Eagle ( Photo © George Bekris )

“The boats that prevailed had to perform in all wind ranges and sailing conditions,” said Event Chairman Peter Gerard, explaining that the fleet of nine boats had three races on Friday that were held in ideal 12-15 knot winds “outside” on the open water where the America’s Cup 12 Metre races were held from 1958-1983. Saturday’s three races saw 15-18 knots at the racecourse “inside” the Bay (north of Pell Bridge), and Sunday’s last two races were held in challengingly light and variable breezes, also inside. “It was a true test for the championship and a great example of the 12 Metres committed to and prepping for the Worlds here next year.”

12 Metre American Eagle ( Photo © George Bekris )

12 Metre American Eagle ( Photo © George Bekris )

Topping five boats in the Traditional Division was American Eagle, which has been chartered by the American Eagle 2019 Syndicate for this year and next. The team is comprised of regional sailors mostly from Rhode Island and Massachusetts, including Bob Morton (Newport) who skippers and leads the syndicate jointly with team member Cindy DeLotto (Newport/Edgartown, Mass.).

“This really showed that both our team and boat are tuned up,” said Morton after racing on Sunday. “I don’t know if we’ll do anything else to the boat; we’ll just continue to improve on what we are doing in preparation for the Worlds.”

 


The 2019 12 Metre North American Championship was hosted by Ida Lewis Yacht Club in Newport, R.I., where the 2019 12 Metre World Championship is scheduled to take place.

 

 

Giving American Eagle its best run for the money was Weatherly, chartered by Jay Schachne (Barrington, R.I.) who plans to compete in the Worlds. Weatherly finished with 18 points to American Eagle’s 14; however, only two points separated the two boats going into Sunday. “We were working one-on-one with Weatherly because mathematically we only had to beat them to win,” said Morton, who took second in both races Sunday while Weatherly finished third in both. “It was crazy out there, all the back and forth, close racing all the time. We don’t have any real strengths…for instance, Columbia excels in heavy air, Weatherly is good in light air.  We just average out; we’re always there. You can see that in our scoreline; we were never worse than second.”

 

Weatherly ( Photo ©George Bekris )

Weatherly ( Photo ©George Bekris )

According to American Eagle’s tactician Dave Vietor (Edgartown, Mass.), Sunday’s races were “character building.” He knows a thing or two about 12 Metres, as he skippered Courageous in the Defender Trials for the 1983 America’s Cup. (Courageous, a veteran of five America’s Cup campaigns and twice a successful defender, finished third in the Modern Division with a new face, Arthur Santry of Arlington, Va./Newport, R.I., at the helm.)


Historic 12 Metres competing in the 12 Metre North American Championship participated in an exhibition race back to Newport Harbor on Friday (Sept. 21). The nine-boat fleet had just completed three races on Rhode Island Sound, where 12 Metres contended for the America’s Cup from 1958-1983.

Victory '83 ( Photo © George Bekris )

Victory ’83 ( Photo © George Bekris )

Going into Sunday, Victory ’83, skippered by owner Dennis Williams (Hobe Sound, Fla./Newport, R.I.), was leading the four-boat Modern Division by one point, but it was Challenge XII with owner Jack LeFort (Jamestown, R.I.) at the helm that ultimately won – by one point. “We were really concerned about Victory ’83, because it’s a very good boat and team, and we knew whoever won today was going to be the champion,” said LeFort, who sailed with America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race veteran Ken Read aboard as tactician. “It was fluky, it was hard and we ended up 1-2 and they posted a 2-3. All regatta, it was anybody’s game at any time. The 12 Metre racing is great competition, we love it. It will be nice when there are more boats at the Worlds.”

Easterner ( Photo © George Bekris )

Easterner ( Photo © George Bekris )

According to Peter Gerard, who is also heading up the Worlds, as any as 10 Modern 12 Metres are expected at that event, while five Traditional, six Grand Prix (built for the 1987 America’s Cup) and three Vintage 12 Metres (built before the America’s Cup 12 Metre era) are also expected, making it the largest gathering of 12 Metres ever in North America.

Ted Hood and Ted Turner Trophies

At Sunday’s afternoon Awards Ceremony at Ida Lewis Yacht Club, the Ted Hood Trophy was awarded to the teams in each division with the highest points overall for the season. Those teams were American Eagle and Challenge XII.

American Eagle is currently the top America’s Fleet contender in the Waypoint Series leading up to the 2019 Worlds.

 

Clockwise from left: Ted Turner Trophy photographed at 12 Metre Yacht Club/Clarke Cooke House; American Eagle team with the 12 Metre North American Trophy; Event Chair Peter Gerard, Alec LeFort and his father Jack LeFort with the Ted Hood Trophy.  (Photo credits: SallyAnne Santos)

Clockwise from left: Ted Turner Trophy photographed at 12 Metre Yacht Club/Clarke Cooke House; American Eagle team with the 12 Metre North American Trophy; Event Chair Peter Gerard, Alec LeFort and his father Jack LeFort with the Ted Hood Trophy.
(Photo credits: SallyAnne Santos)


Clockwise from left: Ted Turner Trophy photographed at 12 Metre Yacht Club/Clarke Cooke House; American Eagle team with the 12 Metre North American Trophy; Event Chair Peter Gerard, Alec LeFort and his father Jack LeFort with the Ted Hood Trophy.

At the 12 Metre Yacht Club’s Annual Dinner, held at the Clarke Cooke House on Thursday evening (Sept. 20), the Ted Turner Trophy was awarded (in absentia) to James Patrick Howaldt (Copenhagen, DK), Vice President of the International Twelve Metre Association (ITMA). Gary Jobson made the presentation noting that Howaldt’s love of 12 Metres combined with his determination and dedication are largely responsible for the thriving Baltic fleet of Vintage 12 Metres, now 20 boats strong. ITMA’s Treasurer, Dr. Robin Wallace, read remarks of acceptance and thanks from Howaldt, while ITMA’s President, Dyer Jones, relayed additional words of praise from his Baltic fleet colleagues.

The Ted Turner Trophy is awarded annually to individuals(s) who have made an outstanding contribution to the 12 Metre Class on or off the water.

Nefertiti ( Photo © George Bekris )

Nefertiti ( Photo © George Bekris )

For more information, visit http://www.12mrclass.com/https://12mrworlds.com/ or contact Peter Gerard at pgerard53@gmail.com, +1 214-244-4955.

Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/12mR.Class

12 Metre North American Championship Results
Sept. 21-23, 2018
Modern (4 Boats)
1. Challenge XII, 12 Metre 67, Jack LeFort , Jamestown, RI, USA – 3 -1 -2 -1 -3 -2 -1 -2 ; 15
2. Victory 83, 12 Metre 65, Dennis Williams , Hobe Sound, FL, USA – 2 -4 -1 -2 -1 -1 -2 -3 ; 16
3. Courageous, 12 Metre 65, Ralph Isham /Alexander Auersperg , Newport, RI, USA – 1 -2 -3 -3 -2 -3 -3 -1 ; 18
4. Freedom, 12 Metre 63’5, Charles Robertson , Guilford, CT, USA – 4 -3 -4 -4 -5 -5 -4 -4 ; 33
Traditional (5 Boats)
1. American Eagle, 12 Metre 67, Eagle 2019 Syndicate , Middletown, RI, USA – 1 -2 -2 -1 -2 -2 -2 -2 ; 14
2. Weatherly, 12 Metre 69, Jay Schachne , Barrington, RI, USA – 3 -1 -1 -3 -1 -3 -3 -3 ; 18
3. Columbia, 12 Metre 69’8, Kevin Hegarty / Anthony Chiurco , Newport, RI, USA – 2 -4 -4 -3 -3 -1 -1 -1 ; 19
4. Nefertiti, 12 Metre 68′, Jon Wullschleger , Sarasota, FL, USA – 4 -3 -3 -4 -4 -4 -4 -4 ; 30
5. Easterner, 12 Metre 65, Scott Bernard , Annapolis, MD, USA – 6 -6 -6 -6 -6 -6 -6 -6 ; 48

 

12 Metres ( Photo © George Bekris )

The Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe 2018 starts on November 4, 2018 from Saint Malo, France.

The Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe – one of the classic races in solo ocean sailing – is set for a record entry this year as it celebrates its 40th anniversary.

Charting a 3,542-nautical mile course from Saint-Malo in Brittany to Point-à-Pitre on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, the Route du Rhum was first held in 1978 and has since established itself as one of the big targets for the world’s top solo ocean racers.

This year’s race starts on November 4th and will be contested by 125 male and female skippers in six classes, headlined by the super-fast and spectacular giant Ultime trimarans, four of which will be flying for the first time on their foils.

There is also a very strong line-up in the IMOCA fleet, and a highly competitive Class40 division which accounts for almost half of the total entry. The remainder of the fleet is made up of the Multi-50 multihull class and a “Rhum” class of amateur entrants divided into multihulls and monohulls.

Race organiser Hervé Favre, Co-Chief Executive Officer of OC Sport, the Anglo-French event creation and management company which owns and runs the four-yearly race, said this is going to be a very special year.

“We are delighted to see such an incredible turn-out across the six classes to mark the anniversary,” said Favre. “This is the eleventh race in Route du Rhum history and the sheer size of the fleet in monohulls and multihulls will make for a unique spectacle both at the start and for fans to follow online.

“The course has become a classic of its kind and we expect – if the weather co-operates – that the outright record held by French sailor Loïck Peyron of seven days and 15 hours may well come under threat,” added Favre.

The race often begins with rough conditions in the English Channel and as the fleet crosses the northern fringes of the Bay of Biscay where many competitors have experienced boat-breaking seas in the past. Then, as the skippers head further west, they come under the influence of the northeast trade winds that can offer a fast downwind passage to the Caribbean.

The majority of the sailors entered this year are from France but there is a sizeable contingent from elsewhere including skippers from Britain, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Finland, Sweden, Italy, South Africa and the United States.

Undoubtedly much attention will focus on the Ultime category – an astonishing collection of fully flying trimarans that can travel more than 850 miles in a day. The line-up of six skippers in this division reads like a who’s who of the greatest solo sailors racing today.

The favourite will be the golden boy of French sailing Francois Gabart, fresh from his 42-day solo round-the-world record in 2017. Gabart won the Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe in 2014 on an IMOCA monohull.

I have a very strong memory of my only participation in 2014, including the arrival in Guadeloupe,” said Gabart. “It was just magic: first an olfactory memory with all the smells of the earth arriving early in the morning; then the victory that I really went looking for despite the loss of my spinnaker – I was exhausted.”

Among the favourites in the 22-strong IMOCA fleet will be Britain’s Alex Thomson on Hugo Boss who finished in second place in the last Vendée Globe race and is currently awaiting delivery of a new boat for the next Vendée in two years’ time.

Thomson has never competed in the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe and he will be looking to try to repeat the feat of fellow countrywoman, Dame Ellen MacArthur, who won the race in the IMOCA fleet in 2002.

“Up until now it’s always been complicated to do the Route du Rhum, which didn’t fit into our programme. This year, there’s a space in our schedule and it’s time for me to compete in it,” said Thomson.

Among his rivals for glory will be the French skipper Jérémie Beyou who has just won the Volvo Ocean Race as part of the crew of Dongfeng Race Team. Beyou will be trying out the very latest foiling IMOCA design – his new boat named Charal – and his performance in the Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe will be watched carefully as a form guide for the Vendée Globe.

The aim is to discover what the boat can do, but not in delivery mode,” said Beyou. “I need numbers, to see what she’s made of and to compare my performance with the others. As such, the idea is to put her through her paces.”

In the Class40 monohull division there will be stiff competition in a massive 53-boat fleet with the French sailors Maxim Sorel and Nicolas Troussel likely to start among the favourites. Giving them a run for their money will be two British skippers in this super-competitive fleet Phil Sharp, Sam Goodchild.

The race village at St Malo opens on October 24th with the race starting on November 4th. You can also follow our new English Twitter channel dedicated to the Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe here.

 

Denis Van Weynbergh (Photo © Bernard Gergaud / EyeSea)

 

The new owner of Nandor Fa’s IMOCA, the Belgian skipper, Denis Van Weynbergh hopes to be able to compete in the Globe Series and reach a climax by taking part in the 2020 Vendée Globe. While for a long time, he has divided up his life between being head of a company and ocean racing, he is now dedicating all his time to his IMOCA project with the aim of becoming the first Belgian sailor to complete the Vendée Globe. He recently launched a highly original, artistic crowd-funding campaign. We met up with him to find out more

Denis, when did you first feel that you wanted to take part in the Vendée Globe?
“It suddenly came to me in 2001, when I was preparing for the Mini Transat. During a delivery trip, I moored up in Bénodet alongside Michel Desjoyeaux’s PRB, which had just won the Vendée Globe. My Pogo 6.50 looked a bit like that IMOCA, but on a much smaller scale of course. That’s when I started to imagine competing in the Vendée Globe. At the same time, it seemed to me to be a crazy idea and beyond my reach. Before thinking seriously about it, I needed to complete my first solo offshore race, the Mini Transat. I managed to do that. That race was a milestone for me and the Vendée Globe remained in the back of my mind. I then continued to gain experience on various types of boat, in particular on Class40s. I completed the Route du Rhum in 2010, the Quebec Saint-Malo in 2012, the Transat Jacques Vabre in 2013, the Fastnet Race in 2015…”
Denis Van Weynbergh

Denis Van Weynbergh (Photo © B. Gergaud / EyeSea )

What really led you to move to the IMOCA class?
“In Belgium, ocean racing is not as popular as in France. We only have 40 miles of coast and no real sailing culture. I tried to find some help in the market in Belgium for the 2016 Vendée Globe, but firms were not that keen. In fact, I understood that I needed to find a strong concept, an original idea, something creative. Last year, I met the photographer, Edouard Janssens, who has specialised in the creation of works of art based on photos of the iris, the coloured part of the eye. One thing led to another and the project, ‘Eye Sea’ was born? The aim is to offer partners the opportunity to acquire one of the 250 personalised iris photos that will form one single giant iris on the sails of my IMOCA. We’ll therefore be creating a work of art while working together in this crowd-funding project. A work of art that will go all the way around the world.”

Once you had defined the concept and set up the crowd-funding campaign, you had to find an IMOCA that was available. Why did you choose Nandor Fa’s former Spirit of Hungary?
“In late 2017, I was strolling around Les Sables d’Olonne on the Vendée Globe pontoon and I noticed that boat. From the outset, she seemed to me to be simple, solid and reliable. Exactly what I was looking for in my project, she suits my personality and my goals. I wanted a boat that had already completed the Vendée Globe without any major problems and that was the case for Nandor Fa’s boat, which finished in an honourable eighth place in the last race. I quickly got in contact with the boat captain, then Nandor. The deal was signed last June.”

Did your first sailing trips on her live up to your expectations?
“Yes. I had never sailed an IMOCA, but I knew everything was huge on these boats. That was confirmed during the first trips I was able to carry out. Everything is faster and is more physical on an IMOCA. You can’t carry out the slightest manoeuvre without planning ahead. You have to be methodical. Nandor Fa really thought about this boat with details that simplify life aboard her.”

For a long time, you managed to reconcile your professional life and ocean racing. Was that too complicated when dealing with a project as big as an IMOCA?
“Exactly. Preparing for the Vendée Globe is a full time job, when you look for the funding and do all the preparation on land and out at sea… particularly as for the moment, I’m taking care of the project alone. To dedicate myself entirely to the IMOCA project, I sold my delivery business PN Express World, in November 2017.”

What is your programme for the months ahead? Do you intend to compete in all of the races in the IMOCA Globe Series?
“Yes. The boat will be going into the yard in early November and is due to be relaunched in late January. In 2019 and 2020, I want to clock up as many miles of racing as I can. I can’t see myself taking part in the Vendée Globe and sailing in the Roaring Forties without having sailed fifteen to twenty thousand miles on my IMOCA. On the other hand, I won’t be competing in the Route du Rhum this year. My job for the moment is to find sponsors.”

So where are you in terms of the funding?
“My first partner has entered the adventure, the Belgian company, Pranarôm (which specialises in essential oils). They have brought around 15 % of the total budget that I estimate to be 2.5 million euros. The goal now is to start to sell the iris photos to individuals and companies. Ideally, I should have a headline partner, who would give their name to the boat, associating it with the name of the concept: ‘Eye-Sea… X or Y’.”

You can find out more about Denis Van Weynbergh’s project here:

Puerto Portals 52 SUPER SERIES (Photo © Max Ranchi)

Sled won the second race of the day at the Puerto Portals 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week while regatta and circuit leaders Quantum Racing completed a disappointing day scoring a sixth then eighth. But over a day that saw more ups and downs for the majority of the teams, Doug DeVos’s crew still leads the regatta by four points just as they did this morning.

Puerto Portals 52 SUPER SERIES (Photo © Max Ranchi)

Sled, Azzurra and Onda all started from the committee boat end of the line but Sled had enough speed to work the middle left before crossing to the right. Their key move was finding a nice lift on the right to bring them up towards the starboard layline. A short hitch and Takashi Okura’s team led around the top mark ahead of Azzurra, with Platoon second and Onda third.

Sled hung on to win comfortably with Azzurra second but once more Platoon just pipped Onda at the finish line to make it a better day for last year’s world champions, Platoon going 3,3 for the day, Onda 4,4. Quantum Racing lead on 29pts, Azzurra are second on 33pts, and three boats, Platoon, Phoenix and Luna Rossa, are all on 34pts.

Puerto Portals 52 SUPER SERIES (Photo © Max Ranchi)

For full results, visit: http://bit.ly/2MznlZR
To watch the race again, visit http://bit.ly/2e6o3tR.

State-of-the-art boat tracking technology will allow 52 SUPER SERIES fans to follow their favourite teams at the Puerto Portals 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week. Streaming is available via the 52 SUPER SERIES App, and is paired with expert commentary both on and off the water. All shows start 15-minutes before racing is due to start.

Puerto Portals 52 SUPER SERIES (Photo © Max Ranchi)

Sled won the second race of the day at the Puerto Portals 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week while regatta and circuit leaders Quantum Racing completed a disappointing day scoring a sixth then eighth. But over a day that saw more ups and downs for the majority of the teams, Doug DeVos’s crew still leads the regatta by four points just as they did this morning.

Puerto Portals 52 SUPER SERIES (Photo © Max Ranchi)

Sled, Azzurra and Onda all started from the committee boat end of the line but Sled had enough speed to work the middle left before crossing to the right. Their key move was finding a nice lift on the right to bring them up towards the starboard layline. A short hitch and Takashi Okura’s team led around the top mark ahead of Azzurra, with Platoon second and Onda third.

Sled hung on to win comfortably with Azzurra second but once more Platoon just pipped Onda at the finish line to make it a better day for last year’s world champions, Platoon going 3,3 for the day, Onda 4,4. Quantum Racing lead on 29pts, Azzurra are second on 33pts, and three boats, Platoon, Phoenix and Luna Rossa, are all on 34pts.

Puerto Portals 52 SUPER SERIES (Photo © Max Ranchi)

For full results, visit: http://bit.ly/2MznlZR
To watch the race again, visit http://bit.ly/2e6o3tR.

State-of-the-art boat tracking technology will allow 52 SUPER SERIES fans to follow their favourite teams at the Puerto Portals 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week. Streaming is available via the 52 SUPER SERIES App, and is paired with expert commentary both on and off the water. All shows start 15-minutes before racing is due to start.

 

Puerto Portals 52 SUPER SERIES (Photo © Max Ranchi)

Puerto Portals 52 SUPER SERIES (Photo © Max Ranchi)

 

August 24, 2018 – Newport Rhode Island – The inaugural Narragansett Bay Classic Yacht Rendezvous started on Thursday afternoon with the Newport to Bristol Feeder Race Sponsored by Gowrie Group and PURE Insurance. A total of 28 Classic Yachts raced up Narragansett Bay in champagne sailing conditions before enjoying the Herreshoff Marine Museum’s ‘Living Boat Show and welcome cocktail party’.  

( Photo © George Bekris )

The Panerai Herreshoff Classic Yacht Regatta concluded in Bristol today with the 12 Metre Columbia named as the overall winner. The points collected by the teams will add to the overall series standings in the five Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge regattas which concludes this weekend at the 39th Annual Panerai Newport Classic Yacht Regatta.

The Panerai Herreshoff Classic Yacht Regatta is a two-day regatta of classic yachts that had 42 Classics competing against one another on upper Narragansett Bay. The course comprised of a middle distance buoy race. The 12 Metre Columbia was both first across the line and was first overall on corrected time.

Bill Lynn, President and Executive Director of the Herreshoff Marine Museum said “The Panerai Classic Yacht Challenge speaks to everything we do here at the Herreshoff Marine Museum. To be able to provide a world class classic yachting regatta here in a venue steeped in history is truly fantastic. The conditions here were perfect and it’s great to see boats such as the 12 Metre Columbia both first across the line and taking the overall win in the Grand Prix Spinnaker Class. My thanks goes to Panerai and our many supporting sponsors.”

 

 

Tomorrow sees the start of the second half of the Narragansett Bay Classic Yacht Rendezvous begin as the 39th Annual Panerai Newport Classic Yacht Regatta begins with a distance race from Bristol to Newport. Jamie Hilton, Executive Chairman of the event said “We have so many exquisite classic yachts of all shapes and sizes in New England and along the Atlantic coast , where better to have them congregate every year than in the sailing capital of the USA, Newport Rhode Island!”. The distance race is followed by the highly popular Classic Yacht Parade where members of the public have the opportunity to watch and learn about the numerous classic yachts competing at an event hosted at Gurney’s Resort and Marina. After the parade competitors will race a bouy race in lower Narragansett Bay before the winner of the overall North American Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge is crowned in Newport, Rhode Island.

Results: Panerai Herreshoff Classic Yacht Regatta:

1st Grand Prix: Columbia


1st Vintage Corinthian Classic Spinnaker: Sonny


1st Vintage Day Racer Spinnaker: Leaf


1st Vintage Corinthian Classic Non Spinnaker: Neith 

 

1st Vintage Grand Classic Spinnaker: Black Watch 

Blackwatch (Photo © George Bekris)


1st Vintage Grand Classic Spinnaker: Black Watch 


1st Grand Prix Non Spinnaker: Wild Horses 


1st Vintage Grand Classic Non Spinnaker: Eros

Full results to follow…

 

 

Azzura (Photo © Max Ranchi )

Azzurra won the third race of the Puerto Portals 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week after executing an excellent pin end start and leading around the top mark. Making a seemingly brave gybe set – the only boat to do so – they lead by over 100 metres through the leeward gate ahead of Alegre.

Alegre got back to within 40 metres of Azzurra on the second upwind, but while Azzurra hold on to win, Quantum Racing again steal second place on the final stages of the last run.
That second place leaves Quantum Racing leading overall on eight points, four points ahead of a four way tie for second to fifth places between Provezza, Azzurra, Alegre and Phoenix.

Photo © Max Ranchi

For full results, visit: http://bit.ly/2MznlZR
To watch the race again, visit http://bit.ly/2e6o3tR.

State-of-the-art boat tracking technology will allow 52 SUPER SERIES fans to follow their favourite teams at the Puerto Portals 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week. Streaming is available via the 52 SUPER SERIES App, and is paired with expert commentary both on and off the water. All shows start 15-minutes before racing is due to start.

Photo © Max Ranchi

Alex Thomson brought his IMOCA 60 HUGO BOSS to New York for his final stop of a North American Tour.  This was his first stop in New York since the 2016 New York Vendée race.

Having previously set the monohull singlehanded 24 hour distance record of 536.8 miles in just 24 hours in 2017 Thomson has set his eyes on the prize again with a new upcoming new boat for the next Vendée Globe Race.

Challenge and Adventure’s photographer George Bekris was onboard for an afternoon of sailing with Thomson on the Hudson beneath the New York City skyline. They put the foiling IMOCA 60 through her paces sailing from  North Cove Marina in Battery Park down past the Statue of Liberty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The commuters on the Staten Island Ferry got a bird’s eye view of the race boat as she sped past them down the harbor.

 

 

Once returning to the UK Alex Thomson Racing will be proceeding with plans for a new IMOCA 60 race boat. The new HUGO BOSS will be constructed by Carrington Boats.

For more information and to keep up with ongoing racing visit Alex Thomson Racing

Dongfeng Race Team (Photo © George Bekris)

Dongfeng Race Team (Photo © George Bekris)

The Chinese-flagged Dongfeng Race Team has won the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18…
Dongfeng Race Team has won the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18 in the closest finish in race history.
Skipper Charles Caudrelier led his team to victory on the final leg of the race, a 970-mile sprint from Gothenburg, Sweden to The Hague.
Incredibly, it marked the first leg win for the team — it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Three teams started Leg 11 of the race on Thursday in a dead heat on the overall leaderboard. The finishing order between MAPFRE, Team Brunel and Dongfeng Race Team at The Hague would determine their place on the overall race podium.

Each of those three teams led at various points on the leg and had their opportunities to grab the prize.

But it was Caudrelier and his crew who made a bold call on Saturday evening to take a coastal route to the finish, which squeezed them tight against the shoreline and separated from the other leaders by a series of Exclusion Zones.

“We were not in such a good position, but we trusted our choice and we pushed,” Caudrelier said. “The others didn’t follow us, but we believed and we won…”

The decision hurt the team in the short term as they tumbled down the leaderboard. But by Sunday morning, with less than 100 miles left to race, weather routing projections had the top boats finishing within minutes of each other. None had been able to break away overnight, despite the significant splits on the race course.

“We knew that we would fall behind initially and that if it came good it would only be at the end. The last position report (1300 UTC on Sunday) we were 27-miles from the finish and they were 20-miles and we thought it was over. But then I did a small weather routing and it showed we could end up one-mile ahead so I woke everyone up and said, ‘let’s push!’”

As the teams finally converged again on Sunday afternoon, just a few miles from the finish, it was Dongfeng Race Team, flying down the coast from the north sliding in front of the offshore group, to earn their first leg win, propelling Caudrelier’s team to overall victory.

“We always trusted each other. Nobody thought we were going to win this last leg, but I had a good feeling,” an emotional Caudrelier said, after thanking his supporters and team. “I said ‘we can’t lose, we can’t lose, we can’t lose’… and we won!”

The overall results make this the closest finish in the 45-year history of the race and marks the first win for a Chinese-flagged team. It also means Carolijn Brouwer and Marie Riou were on board as the first women sailors to win the Volvo Ocean Race.

Xabi Fernández’s MAPFRE was third on the leg, which put the team into second overall.

“It has been tough,” Fernández admitted. “We sailed very well the whole way around the world and on this leg as well, so naturally we’re a bit disappointed. We were very, very close this time, but it was not quite enough. So we have to say congratulations to Dongfeng who sailed a little bit better than us.”

Team Brunel skipper Bouwe Bekking would have liked nothing more than to win the race for the first time in eight tries with a home finish in The Netherlands. But it wasn’t to be. His fourth place leg finish left the team in third place overall.

“Third place, still on the podium, I think we can be pretty proud of that as a team,” he said. “We thought we had made the right choice (to go further offshore) and we expected a windshift. It came 90-minutes too late and that was the race. But that’s yacht racing. And of course we have to congratulate Dongfeng and MAPFRE for their results.”

Second place on the final leg into The Hague was Dutch skipper Simeon Tienpont and his team AkzoNobel, who had previously secured fourth place on the overall leaderboard.

“It’s incredible to finish on the podium in our hometown,” Tienpont said. “We would have loved to have been fighting into The Hague for the final podium but to have set the 24-hour speed record and to get six podium finishes in the race is a testament to the job everyone on our team – on the boat and on shore – have done.”

Vestas 11th Hour Racing had already been locked into fifth place on the scoreboard and after a promising start to Leg 11, had a disappointing seventh place finish on the leg.

“We have a great group of folks on this team,” skipper Charlie Enright said. “We’ve been through a lot and I’m not sure any other group could have dealt with the challenges we have faced the way we did. It’s something special and we’re going to continue to work together moving forward. This was a tough way to go out certainly, but we have one more opportunity with the In-Port Race this weekend.”

That In-Port Race, scheduled for Saturday afternoon, will determine the sixth and seventh place positions in this edition of the Volvo Ocean Race. Both SHK/Scallywag and Turn the Tide on Plastic finished the Volvo Ocean Race on equal points.

The tie-break mechanism is the In-Port Race Series, where David Witt’s Scallywag team currently holds the lead. But Dee Caffari’s Turn the Tide on Plastic is just three points behind and a strong finish on Saturday could lift them off the bottom of the leaderboard.

“We can’t help but smile today. We’ve done it,” said Caffari. “This leg was like the longest In-Port Race ever. A lot of corners to go around, and we gave it 100 per cent and left nothing in the tank.”

For David Witt, the finish was bittersweet the loss of John Fisher overboard in the Southern Ocean top of mind.

“I have very mixed emotions right now,” Witt said dockside immediately after finishing. “I’m incredibly proud of our team both on and off the water. We’re very tight and we have gone through a lot… But I’m also sad of course. I didn’t finish it with my best mate (John Fisher) who we started with. So very mixed emotions, but I’m glad we finished it.”

The teams will celebrate their accomplishments and take well-earned rest on Monday. The rest of the week will see activities in The Hague building towards the final In-Port Race and Awards Night on June 30.

Volvo Ocean Race Leg 11 Final Leaderboard — Saturday 23 June
1. Dongfeng Race Team – 3 days, 3 hours, 22 minutes, 32 seconds
2. team AkzoNobel – 3 days, 3 hours, 38 minutes, 31 seconds
3. MAPFRE – 3 days, 3 hours, 39 minutes, 25 seconds
4. Team Brunel – 3 days, 3 hours, 45 minutes, 52 seconds
5. Turn the Tide on Plastic – 3 days, 3 hours, 56 minutes, 56 seconds
6. SHK / Scallywag – 3 days, 4 hours, 01 minutes, 32 seconds
7. Vestas 11th Hour Racing – 3 days, 4 hours, 05 minutes, 36 seconds

Volvo Ocean Race Overall Points Leaderboard after Leg 11
1. Dongfeng Race Team – 73 points
2. MAPFRE – 70 points
3. Team Brunel – 69 points
4. team AkzoNobel – 59 points
5. Vestas 11th Hour Racing – 39 points
6. SHK / Scallywag – 32 points *
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic – 32 points *

* Should there be a tie on the overall race leaderboard at the end of the offshore legs, the In-Port Race Series standings will be used to break the tie.