Bequia - Candy Store Cup 2017 Overall and Class B winner (Photo © George Bekris)

Bequia – Candy Store Cup 2017 Overall and Class B winner (Photo © George Bekris)

 

 NEWPORT, R.I. (July 31, 2017) – Sailors couldn’t have asked for a sweeter experience at the 2017 Candy Store Cup Superyacht Edition. The event showcased some of the world’s most spectacular and technologically sophisticated luxury sailing yachts racing off Newport, R.I. on Thursday through Saturday (July 27-29) and provided three days of wildly varied conditions, courtesy of Mother Nature, as well as a full slate of colorful social events, courtesy of co-hosts Bannister’s Wharf and Newport Shipyard, the latter of which was headquarters for the event and home to most of the fleet while not racing.
 

 

At Saturday night’s prize giving at a Newport estate on Ocean Drive, the 92-foot yawl Bequia was declared overall winner and awarded the silver Candy Store Cup Trophy in addition to its Class B victory prize of a glass vase filled with penny candy. Until then, no one was quite sure who would take the overall honors, due to the close racing that had taken place over three races, held one-per-day and covering from 12 to 26 miles each.

 

 

Thursday, in a 23.7-mile race that started off Castle Hill and featured Brenton Point and the Cliff Walk as scenic backdrops, the enormous superyachts struck imposing silhouettes against an overcast sky that every so often allowed the sun to peek through. The mid-range southwesterly winds allowed Bequia to set the pace with a 58-second win over Freya at the finish line, which was set just off Fort Adams as a “first” for the regatta, which debuted last year as a combination of two individual regattas previously known as Newport Bucket Regatta and Candy Store Cup.

 

Freya (Photo © George Bekris)

Freya (Photo © George Bekris)

When the wind switched to an ever-so-light northerly on Friday, Freya returned the favor by beating Bequia by a mere 43 seconds at the traditional finish line off Castle Hill. With the two boats now tied, it meant that Class B’s winner would be determined with Saturday’s final race. This was the case, also, in Class A, where Action and Sunleigh had three and four overall points, respectively, and Class C, where MeteorWhitehawk and Naema were tied with four points each.

Sunleigh (Photo © George Bekris)

Sunleigh (Photo © George Bekris)

 

On Saturday, a dogs-off-chains nor’easter demanded that the Candy Store Cup winners be especially deserving…and they were. Bequia handled the 25 knots like it was 15 and won the race after Freya was forced to retire with a split mainsail.

 

 

“We had a wonderful week sailing against Freya,” said Bequia‘s tactician Tom Whidden at the awards party. “We’re quite different boats, but obviously the handicap rule is doing a good job, and we had some really close racing. We felt badly they had a breakdown on the last day; we were looking forward to seeing how we’d do, and I think we would have been very close.”

Ranger (Photo © George Bekris)

Ranger (Photo © George Bekris)

Bequia‘s overall victory was contingent first on class victory, next by lowest point score among class victors (Action and Bequia both had four points each), and then by traditional sailing tiebreaker rules, but when the latter failed to clarify the winner, the race committee deferred to the regatta provision of “starting prowess” as the final determinant. That trait, it turns out, the extraordinarily well-sailed Bequia possessed in spades.

Meteor (Photo © George Bekris)

“How spectacular to have a medium-air, a light-air and a heavy-air race,” said Whidden, noting that despite the whipped-up seas on Saturday, the course allowed them to sail in relatively flat water. “They couldn’t have planned it better.”

Dan Meyers, the Newport/Boston resident who won Class C, skippering his 170′ schooner Meteor to finish positions of 1-3-1, agreed: “The first day was a perfectly moderate day, so nobody could complain. Friday, much to our detriment, it was light and a struggle for us but kind of fun to try to keep Meteor going on the track. And Saturday was full-on. A kite up in 30 knots keeps your attention, but it was fun. We had it all!
Wild Horses (Photo © George Bekris )

Wild Horses (Photo © George Bekris )

“This is different than any other superyacht regatta in the world,” added Meyers. “It’s run by a team of people who know how this is supposed to go; the courses were really well conceived, the classes were really well conceived…They made everything better: the social events are better, the racing is better, the new Thursday-through-Saturday format is better. It’s more fun…more friendly, but they don’t sacrifice on the sailing.”

NAEMA G Schooner (Photo © George Bekris)

NAEMA G Schooner (Photo © George Bekris)

 

Ian Walker, tactician aboard Class A winner Action, a 121′ sloop, said that for a boat that was built for cruising, Action was raced pretty hard. Action had to beat Sunleigh on Saturday to win, but Sunleigh chose not to sail in the conditions. Ranger had a problem with its mast track and had to retire, leaving Action as the default winner.

“I’ve really enjoyed this regatta,” said Walker. “I love that the boats are so close together on the docks here; it’s well supported by sponsors; there is lots of hospitality in a relaxed atmosphere; and obviously Newport is a beautiful place to be this time of year. You couldn’t wish for a better superyacht regatta, and in a way the fact that the Candy Store Cup is smaller and more intimate is its unique selling point.”

Shore-side parties included an owner’s dinner at the famous Clarke Cooke House on Bannister’s Wharf; a “yacht hop” on Friday at the Shipyard where hundreds of sailors milled around the M. GEMI pop-up store selling Italian leather shoes and sharing gelato in addition to a food truck that provided a hearty dinner for the hungry sailors.

Candy Store Cup headquarters ( Photo © Robert W. Kranz )

Candy Store Cup headquarters ( Photo © Robert W. Kranz )

 

 

Saturday’s prize giving hosted 400 people who got their last thrills of the regatta dancing to an Eagles cover band that could have easily been mistaken for the real thing.

Royal Huisman, Perini Navi, Vitters and Rybovich, which are major players in the superyacht industry and were all stewards of the Newport Bucket, are presenting partners of the Candy Store Cup. Supporting partners of the event are KVH Industries, North Sails, Sentient Jet, Southern Spars / Future Fibres, Willis Towers Watson, The Marshall Islands Registry, and M. Gemi.

Candy Store Cup Newport Results  
July 27-29, 2017

Class A Winner - Action at start crossing the start line Thursday's race. ( Photo © George Bekris )

Class A Winner – Action at start line Thursday’s race. ( Photo © George Bekris )

Class A
1. ACTION, 121′ (37m) Royal Huisman/Dykstra Sloop, 1-2-1, 4
2. SUNLEIGH, 105′ (32m) Jongert/Tony Castro Sloop, 3-1-4/DNS, 8
3. RANGER, 138′ (42m) Danish Yachts/S&S Dykstra Sloop, 2-3-4/RET, 9
Class B Winner - Bequia at race start on Thursday ( Photo © George Bekris )

Class B Winner – Bequia at race start on Thursday ( Photo © George Bekris )

Class B
1. BEQUIA, 92′ (28m) Brooklin Boat Yard/Stephens Yawl, 1-2-1, 4
2. FREYA, 88′ (27m) Nautor’s Swan/Frers Sloop, 2-1-5/RET, 8
3. WILD HORSES, 75′ (23m) W-Class Yachts/White, 3-3-2, 8
4. AUDREY II, 89′ (27m) Jongert Ketch, 4-4-5/RET, 13
Class C Winner - Meteor at the Breakers ( Photo © George Bekris )

Class C Winner – Meteor at the Breakers ( Photo © George Bekris )

Class C
1. METEOR, 170′ (52m) Royal Huisman/Dykstra Schooner, 1-3-1, 5
2. WHITEHAWK, 104′ (32m) Lie-Nielsen/Bruce King Ketch, 2-2-2, 6
3. NAEMA, 118′ (42m) Graafship/Hodgdon Yachts G Schooner, 3-1-4, 8
4. ZENJI, 184′ (56m) Perini Navi/Ron Holland 4-4-3, 11

More George Bekris Candy Store Cup Photos

More photos will be added to the gallery in coming week.

Follow Candy Store Cup on Facebook and Instagram.

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George Bekris Photography

Meteor © George Bekris

For the second year running, the Candy Store Cup Superyacht Edition will showcase some of the world’s most spectacular yachts racing in a regatta designed specifically for them. The event, scheduled for Thursday through Saturday, July 27-29, is organized and hosted by Newport Shipyard and Bannister’s Wharf, which partnered last year to consolidate the Newport Bucket and Candy Store Cup regattas.

The largest yacht entered thus far is the 184’ (56m) Perini Navi ketch Zenji, which will join the other entries at Newport Shipyard’s newly expanded docks alongside dozens of other megayachts, both sail and power. The working shipyard has become the epicenter of the megayacht industry in New England and is uniquely positioned on the Newport waterfront to allow the public to view the yachts that are berthed there.

 

The Candy Store Cup is all about sportsmanship and camaraderie, as the pristine superyachts must race to rules specially formulated to keep them safe distances from each other. The format calls for pursuit-style (staggered start) racing on Rhode Island Sound, with one race planned for each of the three days, leaving plenty of time in the afternoons and evenings for socializing. Racing begins at 1 p.m. off Castle Hill and will provide a stunning visual for those watching from vantage points along the shore of Narragansett Bay’s East Passage, south of the Pell Bridge. The Candy Store Cup Party and Awards are on Saturday at 7 p.m.

Royal HuismanPerini NaviVitters and Rybovich, which are major players in the superyacht industry and were all stewards of the Newport Bucket, are presenting partners of the Candy Store Cup Newport. Supporting partners of the event are KVHNorth SailsSentient JetSouthern Spars / Future FibresWillis Towers WatsonThe Marshall Islands Registry, and M. Gemi.

Newport Shipyard, one of the most popular and recommended shipyards in the U.S., is a full-service marina and shipyard with over 3,500 linear feet of dock space that can accommodate yachts up to 300+ feet. Its amenities include a dockside café, ship store, fitness center, courtesy vehicles and crew housing. Bannister’s Wharf, founder of the original Candy Store Cup in 1977, is situated in downtown Newport and attracts visitors and locals alike with 20 shops and galleries that offer a diverse selection of life’s niceties. The social center of the Wharf is the Clarke Cooke House, home of the original Candy Store Cup.

 

PRELIMINARY CLASS BREAKS (UPDATED JULY 13, 2017)

CLASS A:

Action – Sloop – 37m – Royal Huisman – Dykstra
Ranger (J) – Sloop – 42m – Danish Yacht – S&S / Dykstra NA
Sunleigh – Sloop – 32m – Jongert – Tony Castro

CLASS B:

Audrey II – Ketch – 27m – Jongert – Jongert
Bequia – Yawl – 28m – Brooklin Boat Yard – Stephens
Freya – Sloop – 27m – Nautor’s Swan – Frers
Wild Horses – Sloop – 23m – W-Class™ Yachts – White

CLASS C:

Meteor – Schooner – 52m – Royal Huisman – Dykstra NA
Naema – 42m – G Schooner – Graafship – Hodgdon Yachts
Whitehawk – 32m – Ketch – Lie-Nielsen – Bruce King
Zenji – Ketch – 56m – Perini-Navi – Ron Holland

 

Newport Shipyard Candy Store Cup aerial view ( Photo © Billy Black )

 

 

Volvos in Newport 14 May 2015 Photo © Dan Nerney

Volvos in Newport 14 May 2015  (Photo © Dan Nerney)

NEWPORT, RI (17 March 2017) – The public is invited to attend the Sail Newport Volvo Ocean Race press conference and Pep Rally on Tuesday, March 21 starting at 10:00 a.m.   The major announcement will feature speakers from the Volvo Ocean Race and Sail Newport.

The press conference will be held at Belle Mer, 2 Goat Island, Newport, RI, USA. The public is invited to attend as space permits and coffee will be served starting at 9:30 a.m. at Belle Mer.
“We’re encouraging sailing fans to come and help us show Newport’s excitement about the Volvo Ocean Race coming back to Rhode Island,” says Brad Read, executive director of Sail Newport.
Also, Sail Newport will host a reception to celebrate the announcement at the Clarke Cooke House, at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday.  Complimentary hors d’oeuvres and cash bar will be available.
The Volvo Ocean Race Newport Stopover in 2015 was a huge success as over 130,000 people attended and enjoyed the racing, entertainment and hospitality of the public shore side festival. The Race starts October 22, 2017 from Alicante, Spain and will make its only North American stop in Newport, RI, May 8-20, 2018.
LIVE STREAMING:
The event will be live streamed for those who can’t make the event. Check the home page at sailnewport.org on Monday for information.
The Volvo Ocean Race
The Volvo Ocean Race is the ultimate ocean marathon, pitting sport’s best sailors against each other across the world’s toughest oceans.  The legendary race that began in 1973 will start from Alicante, Spain in October 2017 and finish in The Hague, Netherlands in June 2018.  Featuring almost three times as much Southern Ocean sailing as in the previous edition, the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18 will be contested over the longest distance in the race’s history at around 45,000 nautical miles, crossing four oceans and taking in 12 major cities on six continents.
The Volvo Ocean Race has been the global sponsorship flagship of Volvo Group and Volvo Car Group since taking ownership of the race in 1999.  The Volvo Ocean Race is operated as a non-profit organization.
ABOUT THE VOLVO OCEAN RACE NEWPORT STOPOVER
The only North American Stopover of the Volvo Ocean Race will be hosted by Sail Newport, Rhode Island’s Public Sailing Center, the State of Rhode Island Dept. of Environmental Management (DEM), Discover Newport, and the City of Newport.  This two-week stopover celebration and festival will be open to the public for free and will include a Race Village (opens May 8, 2018) with entertainment, a marine Exploration Zone (opens May 12, 2018), kids activities, a food court, team compounds, sponsor pavilions and a theater.  On-the-water activities and sailing events are scheduled for each day such as Try Sailing for families, M32 and other sailboat racing, up-close viewing of the race boats at dock and racing during the Pro-Am Race, the In-Port Races, and the boat parade and Leg Start to Cardiff, Wales (May 20, 2018)  All sailing will take place within yards of the Race Village on the shoreline at Fort Adams State Park.

 

SSV Oliver Hazard Perry: Tall Ship Passes Final Tests (photo © George Bekris)

SSV Oliver Hazard Perry shows its stature next to jet skis and a 12-Metre on Narragansett Bay last week. (Photo © George Bekris)

NEWPORT, R.I. (July 26, 2016) – The 200-foot Tall Ship SSV Oliver Hazard Perry caused heads to turn last week while she completed drills on Narragansett Bay under full sail and in brisk breezes. The drills, as well as inspections, have been required by the US Coast Guard in order for the ship to qualify as a Sailing School Vessel under USCG regulations. The three-masted, full rigged ship is Rhode Island’s official “Sailing Education Vessel” and carries 14,000 sq. ft. of sail area and seven miles of running rigging. Her tallest mast is 13 ½ stories high.

“We are very pleased with the way the crew has come together and that Oliver Hazard Perry has made it through all the complexities of Coast Guard certification to receive her USCG Certificate of Inspection,” said Captain David Dawes, who joined the ship three months ago. “The ship is performing as expected, and we’re confident we’ll be able to give trainees an excellent experience this summer.”

Crew on deck in 2014 (Photo © Jill Schneider)

Crew on deck in 2014 (Photo © Jill Schneider)

Teen and Adult Voyages

SSV Oliver Hazard Perry’s first trainees will board this weekend (July 31) in Boston during the first of this year’s two scheduled Teen Summer Voyages. The ship will sail with its students to several ports along the coast on its way to Portsmouth, N.H., where it will arrive on August 10. The second teen voyage is scheduled to depart Portsmouth on August 14 and arrive at Fort Adams State Park in Newport, R.I. (where the ship is based) on August 20. (Limited openings are still available for both sessions.)

SSV Oliver Hazard Perry also has just announced its first 2016 Adult and Family Voyage for Labor Day Weekend. It leaves from Fort Adams on Saturday morning, September 3, and returns the afternoon of Monday, September 5. The ship will sail in and around Narragansett Bay, with overnight anchorages that may include (depending on wind and weather) Dutch Harbor, the Sakonnet River, and Block Island. (Each participant under 18 must be accompanied by at least one adult; no prior experience is necessary, and no extraordinary fitness is required.)

SSV Oliver Hazard Perry under sail. (Photo © Onne van der Wal)

Although SSV Oliver Hazard Perry is a new 21st Century Tall Ship, participants of all ages who sail aboard her will connect with a long history of education-at-sea adventures, living aboard and working side-by-side with professional crew to learn square-rig seamanship – including bracing the yards, steering the ship and going aloft – on the first ocean-going full-rigged ship to be built in America in over a hundred years.

For more information on SSV Oliver Hazard Perry and its programs, visit www.ohpri.org or contact gretchen@ohpri.org. Follow OHPRI on Facebook and Twitter for current news and developments.

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IYRS and Museum of Yachting 36th Annual Classic Yacht Regatta, NY 12 “Rowdy” passes behind the Committee boat “Carinia” (Photo by George Bekris)

Panerai North American President Rafael Alvarez and a host of others awarded the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge North American Circuit’s top classic racing prizes this past weekend, as well as naming the Best Overall Winner for the Museum of Yachting (MoY) 36th Annual Classic Yacht Regatta. The two day regatta took place September 5th – 6th in America’s famed racing capitol Newport, RI. Fifty-two classic sailing vessels entered the final segment of the sixth annual Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge (PCYC) North American Circuit; of which nearly 20 were eligible to win the Panerai Circuit Prizes, having competed in their respective classes in two of the three Regattas and participated in a minimum of three of the five Circuit racing days.

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The North American Circuit of the PCYC is comprised of the Corinthian Classic Yacht Regatta (held August 8th – 9th in Marblehead, MA), the Opera House Cup (held August 16th in Nantucket, MA) and culminates with the MoY Classic Yacht Regatta, which is held annually over Labor Day weekend at historic Fort Adams State Park. While the PCYC North American Circuit is celebrating six years of spirited competition under Panerai’s sponsorship, it has been 11 years since Officine Panerai, the Italian high-end watch brand, first launched their global classic yachting regatta series in 2005 and 10 years since they began hosting some of the country’s most prestigious classic yachting events in ports around New England.

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The MoY Classic Yacht Regatta Race

Saturday brought pleasant temperatures, blue skies and plenty of sunshine with early afternoon winds light out of the north at 5 knots, which delayed the race start by over two hours. While the Race Committee determined which wind direction would win out, a situation Newport sailors are accustomed to, the captains and crews patiently waited for the winds to increasingly blow from the south northward. The competitors got their wish when just after 2 p.m. the Race Committee, under the stewardship of Organizing Authority Sail Newport, announced a shortened 5.5 mile course to the north and started the race, allowing the sailors to have an afternoon of competition on Narragansett Bay before they returned to Fort Adams State Park and the Panerai Hospitality Lounge for the annual MoY CYR Cocktail Party.

"When And If" (Photo by George Bekris)

“When And If” (Photo by George Bekris)

Sunday’s more robust winds out of the southwest reached upwards of 18 knots and created perfect conditions for the entire fleet, which chartered an almost 20 mile course from the middle of Narragansett Bay, south to Rhode Island Sound and then north to circumnavigate Conanicut Island and round the island’s northern tip. The fleet finally returned south under the Newport-Pell Bridge toward Newport Harbor, followed by dozens of spectator boats cheering them on.

"The Blue Peter and "Rugosa" (Photo by George Bekris)

“The Blue Peter and “Rugosa” (Photo by George Bekris)

Prior to the race start on Sunday morning, many of the participating yachts took part in the Newport tradition of proudly hoisting their yacht club pennants and PCYC flags to circle Newport’s inner harbour for the Annual Classic Yacht Parade. From land and sea, spectators could appreciate the beauty and spirit of the wide range of classic boats, from grande dame yachts (one of which boasted a crew serenading spectators with a jolly rendition of “You Are My Sunshine”), to classic motor yachts, and a small Bantry Bay gig enthusiastically crewed by 12 uniformed rowers.

"Angelita" passes the New York Yacht Club during the parade prior to race start. (Photo by George Bekris)

“Angelita” passes the New York Yacht Club during the parade prior to race start. (Photo by George Bekris)

The MoY Prize Giving Ceremony and Special Mentions

Ahead of the MoY Regatta Dinner and the evening’s finale presentation of the Panerai North American Circuit Awards, members of the Board of Trustees representing IYRS School of Technology & Trades/Museum of Yachting presented dozens of awards recognizing spirit and classic yachting design. Of special note, MINK, a 32′ Buzzards Bay 1925 (1914), was recognized as the winner of the Tom Benson Award for Restoration, in addition to winning best performance within the Herreshoff-designed fleet and best performance of a gaff-rigged vessel.

The famous Clingstone Cannon – the award for “Best Corinthian Spirit” – was fired off for SUMMER WIND, a 37′ Carriacou Sloop Day Racer and its skipper Dennis Dowling and crew.

PCYC Regatta Committee Chair Bill Doyle took the podium midway through the dinner to pay a tribute to recently passed Newport classic sailing enthusiasts and visionaries Jack Brown and Jim Cassidy and to begin announcing the Panerai Awards.

"Valiant" US 24 (Photo by George Bekris)

“Valiant” US 24 (Photo by George Bekris)

The Official Panerai Prize-Winners

Mr. Doyle explained the distinction between the “starting classes” and the “scoring classes” and proceeded to announce that this year the Panerai 1st Place Class Winners would receive a beautifully engraved Silver Plate, presented by Mr. Alvarez, in addition to the traditional trophy winners for the Best Overall in the Vintage and Grand Prix Divisions.

For Best Overall Performance in the MoY Classic Yacht Regatta, Rafael Alvarez presented a Radiomir 1940 3 Days Acciaio – 47mm (PAM00514) to Newporter George Hill of WEATHERLY. The celebrated 12-Metre was the only boat to have won the America’s Cup on its second attempt, after losing to COLUMBIA in the 1958 Defender trials. Mr. Hill, who rescued and restored the racing yacht, was stunned and delighted to accept the Panerai top prize for his yacht’s performance.

Nashua, Dagger and Galavant (Photo by George Bekris)

Nashua, Dagger and Galavant (Photo by George Bekris)

Walking away with the replica Vintage Class trophy was SIREN and DAGGER took home the Grand Prix Class trophy for the Circuit. The perpetual trophies will be engraved with the winning boats’ names and placed on display at the Museum of Yachting at IYRS until next year’s competition.

PCYC NA Circuit Division Class Winners:

Grand Prix Class
Day Racer – DAGGER – A 35′ Hunt International 225 (1940), skippered by Ted Boynton
Yacht – NASHUA – A 47′ W-46, skippered by Wendy Schmidt

Vintage Class
Day Racer – ADAMANT – A 24′ Adams Interclub (1937) skippered by Mark Pincus
Corinthian Classic – SIREN – A 45′ S&S designed NY-32 skippered by Peter Cassidy
Grand Classic – WEATHERLY – A 1962 America’s Cup defender 12-Metre (1958) that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places; owned and skippered by George Hill

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Among the fleet competing for the Vintage Class prizes were three 1905 Herreshoff NY-30s, as well as their successors, the NY-32 fleet designed by esteemed naval architects Sparkman and Stephens, of which SIREN was a part of this special reunion of New York Yacht Club classic yacht racers.

Among the many noteworthy competitors, a few stand outs which competed in multiple regattas comprising the 2015 PCYC North American Circuit, included WHEN AND IF, THE BLUE PETER, GALAVANT, TICONDEROGA and BLACK WATCH.

"When And If" (Photo by George Bekris)

“When And If” (Photo by George Bekris)

Panerai and Healing Sails

Panerai has dedicated at least one day of classic sailing, before or after each regatta during the PCYC North American Circuit, to sponsoring patient and caregiver sails for the community residents who live in the vicinity of the racing. Again this year, Panerai partnered with Sailing Heals, a Massachusetts-based non-profit sailing organization, along with their dedicated Host Captains to host more than 20 local ‘VIP Guests’ for a beautiful Italian-inspired lunch followed by a rejuvenating sail on five separate classic boating vessels: THE BLUE PETER, WILD HORSES, WINDIGO, GALAVANT and TOBIAS on beautiful Narragansett Bay.

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Ya​nn Riou​ Dongfen​g Race T​eam

Charles Caudrelier deep in thought (Photo by Yann Riou / Dongfeng Race Team

 200 miles to go. After 9 months and nearly 40,000 miles
Dongfeng slenderest of leads over main rivals Brunel and Mapfre, but seems like it will not mean much this evening.

Caudrelier: “For us its easy to go from 3rd place to 5th place (overall), and also to come back to second. Everything can happen still”

The podium of the Volvo Ocean Race might just come down to a total lottery tonight as wind forecasts predict a difficult transition as Charles Caudrelier describes “from the current strong southerly winds that have carried Dongfeng up the North Sea, to some light easterly winds that will should get us to the finish line. Its going to be stressful”.In between potentially little or no wind at all – during the early evening tonight in theory. The battleground will probably be between Hanstholm and Skagen, the two towns with a bay between them, that mark the northern tip of Denmark. But even now the compression is starting, from Yanndirect this morning “Still coming back from behind. Less than 4 miles, now. Nothing we can do about it. Not a nice feeling”. More often than not in ocean racing, the rich get richer – but this time its not going to work like that. The guys (and girls) behind are going to sail on in pressure as the boats in front that worked so hard to grind out their leads, will stop in the transition zone between the old and new winds.The warm front moving from the UK east, that has been chasing the fleet since they left, is going to slow down and stall before it gets to them, at least at surface level. Higher up in the atmosphere its forecast to continue east – this differential between up high and at the surface, will provide the conditions for a new low to form, bringing new winds – but the transition could be long – and in the meantime somehow the boats have to get from the old to the new. This in effect should allow almost all, if not all, the backmarkers to sail straight to the front, with the leaders helpless.

It will be tragic if the entire race comes down to luck, but then this is part of ocean racing. Since Dong Feng means ’winds from the east bringing freshness and energy’ and Aeolus being the Guardian of the Winds – on land we can only hope and pray to whatever Gods we believe in, that luck will be on our side, and that we will get the podium finish we deserve!

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June 11, 2015. Team SCA wins Leg 8 from Lisbon to Lorient (Photo by Ricardo Pinto / Volvo Ocean Race)

June 11, 2015. Team SCA wins Leg 8 from Lisbon to Lorient (Photo by Ricardo Pinto / Volvo Ocean Race)

Skipper Sam Davies (GBR) and her Team SCA crew struck a resounding blow for women’s offshore sailing in the early hours of Thursday morning when they gloriously clinched Leg 8 of the Volvo Ocean Race

June 11, 2015. Team SCA wins Leg 8 from Lisbon to Lorient (Photo by Ricardo Pinto / Volvo Ocean Race)

June 11, 2015. Team SCA wins Leg 8 from Lisbon to Lorient (Photo by Ricardo Pinto / Volvo Ocean Race)

Leg 8
DTL

(NM)

GAIN/LOSS

(NM)

DTF

(NM)

Speed

(kt)

SCA1
SCA1 FIN – 03d 13h 11m 11s
VEST
VEST FIN – 03d 13h 59m 38s
ADOR
ADOR 0.3 10.9 3 11.1
MAPF
MAPF 0.8 11.3 4 11.7
TBRU
TBRU 1.8 11.5 5 12.4
ALVI
ALVI 2.3 11.7 5 12.9
DFRT
DFRT 5.5 11.7 8 13.2

Latest positions may be downloaded
from the race dashboard hereº MAPFRE given 2-point penalty Leg 5
Dongfeng Race Team, Team SCA & MAPFRE penalised Leg 7

– A resounding blow for women’s offshore sailing
– Team Vestas Wind bounce back for second place
– Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing nearing overall trophy win

June 11, 2015. Team SCA wins Leg 8 from Lisbon to Lorient (Photo by Ricardo Pinto / Volvo Ocean Race)

June 11, 2015. Team SCA wins Leg 8 from Lisbon to Lorient (Photo by Ricardo Pinto / Volvo Ocean Race)

LORIENT, France, June 11 – Skipper Sam Davies (GBR) and her Team SCA crew struck a resounding blow for women’s offshore sailing in the early hours of Thursday morning when they gloriously clinched Leg 8 of the Volvo Ocean Race.

The comfortable victory was the first leg win in offshore sailing’s toughest challenge since Tracy Edwards’ Maidenclinched two stage wins in Class D of the 1989-90 race, won overall by Sir Peter Blake’s famous Steinlager2.

At least as satisfying for the first all-women’s crew to enter the race in 12 years will be the opportunity to silence critics who suggested that they were looking outclassed in the current 12th edition by their experienced male rivals.

True, the Swedish entry had yet to win a podium place until now, but the crew has clearly improved leg after leg and many observers felt that a breakthrough performance was just around the corner.

The win was certainly no fluke in an upwind leg that tested seamanship to the full with an often heinous sea state and strong winds virtually throughout.

June 11, 2015. Team SCA wins Leg 8 from Lisbon to Lorient. (Photo by Ricardo Pinto / Volvo Ocean Race)

June 11, 2015. Team SCA wins Leg 8 from Lisbon to Lorient. (Photo by Ricardo Pinto / Volvo Ocean Race)

They grabbed the 647-nautical mile leg from Lisbon by the scruff of the neck on Monday, and strengthened that grip on Tuesday after taking an offshore course while most of their rivals hugged the Spanish and French coast approaching the Bay of Biscay.

It took them three days 13 hours 11 minutes and 11 seconds to grab their share of Race history.

“Thanks to everybody for all your support. It’s not really sunk in yet,” said a jubilant Davies. “It probably won’t hit us until we hit the dock and we see there aren’t any other boats there.

“It’s a reward for all the hard work we have done. It’s a great confidence booster. It’s going to be huge for us. We’ve had a mountain to climb to get here.”

June 11, 2015. Team Vestas Wind arrives in second position for Leg 8 from Lisbon to Lorient (Photo by Ricardo Pinto / Volvo Ocean Race)

June 11, 2015. Team Vestas Wind arrives in second position for Leg 8 from Lisbon to Lorient (Photo by Ricardo Pinto / Volvo Ocean Race)

Behind them, another fairy-tale was unfolding as Team Vestas Wind (Chris Nicholson/AUS) closed to a remarkable second-placed finish in their return to the race after six months out following a collision with an Indian Ocean reef on November 29 during Leg 2.

Nicholson had every reason for the huge smile on his face as he approached the port of Lorient following a near perfect race from Lisbon starting on Sunday.

He had simply hoped that his boat could negotiate the leg without mishap and be competitive – a high podium finish is almost beyond his wildest dreams.

June 11, 2015. Team Vestas Wind arrives in second position for Leg 8 from Lisbon to Lorient (Photo by Ricardo Pinto / Volvo Ocean Race)

June 11, 2015. Team Vestas Wind arrives in second position for Leg 8 from Lisbon to Lorient (Photo by Ricardo Pinto / Volvo Ocean Race)

“It’s a very special moment,” said the team’s Onboard Reporter, Brian Carlin (IRL), simply.

Astern of the leading pair, third-placed Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR) were nearing an ever bigger prize than the handsome silver leg trophy claimed by Team SCA.

They needed simply to finish ahead of their nearest overall pursuers in the standings,Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED) and Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA), with a boat in between, to be all but be sure of winning the 12th edition of the Volvo Ocean Race.

As Team SCA passed the finish at 0211 UTC/0411 local time on Thursday, that prospect looked very much on with MAPFRE (Xabi Fernández/ESP) in fourth, Team Brunel fifth, and Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA) keeping Dongfeng Race Team at bay in the fight for sixth.

The boats will have a short maintenance period before Sunday’s SCA In-Port Race here in Lorient, before the fleet set sail for Gothenburg via a much-awaited pit-stop in The Hague, on Tuesday, June 16.

It promises to be a period of considerable celebration for at least three crews of very, very happy sailors.

June 11, 2015. Team SCA wins Leg 8 from Lisbon to Lorient (Photo by Ricardo Pinto / Volvo Ocean Race)

June 11, 2015. Team SCA wins Leg 8 from Lisbon to Lorient (Photo by Ricardo Pinto / Volvo Ocean Race)

May 27, 2015. Team Brunel arrives to Lisbon in first position after Leg 7 from Newport. (Photo by Ricardo Pinto / Volvo Ocean Race)

May 27, 2015. Team Brunel arrives to Lisbon in first position after Leg 7 from Newport. (Photo by Ricardo Pinto / Volvo Ocean Race)

 

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

. MAPFRE arrives to Lisbon in second position after Leg 7 from Newport. MAPFRE Skipper Iker Martinez and Team Brunel Skipper Bouwe Bekking congratulate each other on stage. (Photo by Ricardo Pinto / Volvo Ocean Race )

May 27, 2015. MAPFRE arrives to Lisbon in second position after Leg 7 from Newport. MAPFRE Skipper Iker Martinez and Team Brunel Skipper Bouwe Bekking congratulate each other on stage. (Photo by Ricardo Pinto / Volvo Ocean Race )

Leg 7
DTL

(NM)

GAIN/LOSS

(NM)

DTF

(NM)

Speed

(kt)

TBRU
TBRU FIN – 09d 11h 09m 49s
MAPF
MAPF FIN – 09d 11h 31m 39s
ALVI
ALVI FIN – 09d 12h 50m 49s
DFRT
DFRT FIN – 09d 12h 51m 44s
ADOR
ADOR FIN – 09d 13h 24m 34s
SCA1
SCA1 FIN – 09d 15h 32m 38s
VEST
VEST Did Not Start

Latest positions may be downloaded
from the race dashboard here º MAPFRE given two-point penalty – read more

– Team Brunel edge home ahead in transatlantic leg
– MAPFRE chase them all the way into Lisbon
– Team Alvimedica beat Dongfeng in thrilling dogfight
– Team Vestas Wind are reunited with rest of the fleet

Team Brunel arrives to Lisbon in first position after Leg 7 from Newport. (Photo by Ricardo Pinto / Volvo Ocean Race)

May 27, 2015. Team Brunel arrives to Lisbon in first position after Leg 7 from Newport. (Photo by Ricardo Pinto / Volvo Ocean Race)

LISBON, Portugal, May 27 – Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED) completed a triumphant Leg 7 early on Wednesday to bolster their hopes of finishing with a podium place in the Volvo Ocean Race and also keep alive the possibility of overall victory.

Team Brunel arrives to Lisbon in first position after Leg 7 from Newport. (Ricardo Pinto / Volvo Ocean Race)

May 27, 2015. Team Brunel arrives to Lisbon in first position after Leg 7 from Newport. (Ricardo Pinto / Volvo Ocean Race)

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

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

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

Leg 7 arrivals in Lisbon; Team Alvimedica and Dongfeng Race Team take the fight right to the finish line. (Photo by  Ainhoa Sanchez / Volvo Ocean Race)

May 27, 2015. Leg 7 arrivals in Lisbon; Team Alvimedica and Dongfeng Race Team take the fight right to the finish line. (Photo by Ainhoa Sanchez / Volvo Ocean Race)

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

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

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

Leg 7 arrivals in Lisbon; MAPFRE come in to Lisbon in second place. (Photo by Ainhoa Sanchez / Volvo Ocean Race)

May 27, 2015. Leg 7 arrivals in Lisbon; MAPFRE come in to Lisbon in second place. (Photo by Ainhoa Sanchez / Volvo Ocean Race)

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

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

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

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

 Team Brunel arrives to Lisbon in first position after Leg 7 from Newport. (Photo by Ricardo Pinto / Volvo Ocean Race )

May 27, 2015. Team Brunel arrives to Lisbon in first position after Leg 7 from Newport. (Photo by Ricardo Pinto / Volvo Ocean Race )

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 27, 2015. Leg 7 to Lisbon onboard Team SCA. Day 10. The team sit 8 miles out from the finish line in Lisbon with little to no wind.

May 27, 2015. Leg 7 to Lisbon onboard Team SCA. Day 10. The team sit 8 miles out from the finish line in Lisbon with little to no wind. (Photo by Anna-Lena Elled / Team SCA / Volvo Ocean Race )

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

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

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

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

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

Current latest standings (low points wins, In-Port Race Series splits ties): 1) Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing 16 pts, 2) Dongfeng Race Team 21, 3) Team Brunel 22, 4) MAPFRE 26, 5) Team Alvimedica 27, 6) Team SCA 41, 7) Team Vestas Wind (Denmark) 52 (DNS).