TP52 Super Series Miami  (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

TP52 Super Series Miami (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

(Tuesday 7th March, Miami) – Just as they led after the first day of racing in Key West in January, Harm Müller-Spreer’s Platoon crew top the early leaderboard at the 52 SUPER SERIES Miami Royal Cup for after a dramatic first day of TP52 racing in brisk SE’ly winds and big, disorderly waves off Miami Beach.Platoon’s victory in the second race, gained in the closing stages of a fast final run, credits them with the overall lead on tie break from the Roemmers family’s Azzurra, which posted two consistent second places.

“It was a really good start for us. We had good speed and we made some nice comebacks and in that last race on the last downwind it was down to just a few metres, so that was good. It was really great racing. But of course tomorrow is all different, new situations and new challenges, but it is good to start well.” owner-helm Müller-Spreer smiled on the dock of the Miami Beach Marina where the 52 SUPER SERIES fleet is hosted.

The 16-20kts winds and the unruly swell kicked up by the strong winds of the last few days punished small errors and placed a real premium on well-coordinated crew work. Azzurra in second place lead Quantum Racing who are one point behind in third. With Bora Gulari steering his first 52 SUPER SERIES races Quantum Racing won the first race but did not get the start they wanted in the second contest, taking fourth.

TP52 Super Series Miami (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

TP52 Super Series Miami (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

But the toughest challenge at this second regatta of the 52 SUPER SERIES is that facing the Gladiator crew. Their new boat was hit by Sled during the second beat of Race 2, only the second race for Tony Langley’s team with their latest Gladiator, suffering a significant gash to their port topsides which eliminates the boat from further competition at the regatta.

The shore team and crew now aim to re-dress and step the mast on their previous Gladiator, which they aim to bring from West Palm Beach which is some 70 miles away, aiming to be ready for racing on Thursday. Sled suffered damage to the forefoot of their bow but hope to be back in action Wednesday.

TP52 Super Series Miami (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

TP52 Super Series Miami (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

Race 1: Gulari Shows His Mettle As Quantum Racing Opens With A Win
There may have been a new hand on the helm, but Quantum Racing carried forward the momentum from their impressive 2017 52 SUPER SERIES opening win at Quantum Key West Race Week six weeks ago.Bora Gulari, the team’s newest addition, moved from the strategist role to the helm for this event and showed that all his time sailing foiling moths and Olympic cataramans has prepared him well for driving these 52-foot thoroughbreds in some challenging conditions off Miami Beach.Quantum Racing was among a handful of boats, including Harm Müller-Spreer’s Platoon and Tony Langley’s new Gladiator, which controlled the front row off the starting line.
Azzurra, with Guillermo Parada at the helm and Vasco Vascotto calling tactics, didn’t have quite the same freedom early in that first leg, but made the critical call to hit the left side on the top third of beat and so squeaked past Quantum Racing around the first mark.
Those two boats battled nip and tuck down the first run with Azzurra holding the lead and choosing the left side of the next leg. It was the right which paid better for Quantum Racing which was able to take over the lead when the boats converged again midway up the second beat.

Azzurra pushed Quantum Racing hard on the final run, closing to within a boat length, but the American team held on for the win. Platoon was third with Rán Racing fourth and Provezza rounding out the top five.

Race 2: Platoon Steals A March With Win, Leads Overall
With John Kostecki calling tactics and Olympic gold medallist and America’s Cup winner Jordi Calafat on strategy the Platoon team displayed poise under pressure to win Race 2 of the 2017 52 SUPER SERIES Miami Royal Cup and grab the overall lead.From a four way final sprint to the finish line, the outcome of the second race was in the balance until the final metres. Platoon edged out Azzurra by only four second and were only six seconds ahead of Provezza.Miami Royal Cup. 52 SUPER SERIES. 
After Day 1, Two Races.
1 Platoon (GER) (Harm Müller-Spreer, GER) 3,1 4pts
2 Azzurra (ITA) (Roemmers Family, ARG) 2,2 4pts
3 Quantum Racing (USA) (Doug DeVos, USA) 1,4 5pts
4 Provezza (TUR) (Ergin Imre, TUR) 5,3 8pts
5 Rán Racing (SWE) (Niklas Zennström, SWE) 4,8 12pts
6 Alegre (GBR) (Andy Soriano, USA) 8,6 14pts
7 Gladiator (GBR) (Tony Langley, GBR) 7, RDG (7), 14pts
8 Bronenosec (RUS) (Vladimir Liubomirov, RUS) 10,5 15pts
9 Sorcha (GBR) (Peter Harrison, GBR) 9,7 16pts
10 Sled (USA) (Takashi Okura, USA) 6, 12 (DSQ) 18pts
11 Paprec (FRA) (Jean Luc Petithuguenin, FRA) DNC 12, DNC 12 24pts

Quotes:
John Kostecki (USA) tactician Platoon (GER):

“[There were] some really big shifts and if you missed it you were out the back. In that second race, first beat, at times we looked like we were in last place. Sometimes we were in first place. It was quite shifty. We learned in the first race we really needed to attack the shifts and be a little more aggressive. We did that in that second race and it seemed to pay off. The waves made the crew work a challenge. You can definitely get thrown around and get your timing off because of the waves. So you play it a little conservatively at times, at least we did. The last race, it was close. On the final run we were pinned and we couldn’t jibe. Azzurra pinned us out all the way to the layline. Then they jibed away and we all of the sudden got a little header, so we kept going and extended away from them. That seemed to help us a little bit on the final jibe in. We were a minute or so separated [from Azzurra and Provezza] and they had to do an extra jibe and we were able to sail straight through the finish. It was close racing.”

Vasco Vascotto (ITA) tactician Azzurra (ITA):

“I think we still made a couple of small mistakes. They are little, stupid mistakes but in the end they are what cost us a point and the lead. But we have to be happy. In the second race we were better, but still we gybed twenty second too late and so lost the chance to win that race. And so, overall, we have to be happy with two second and a share of the lead with Platoon. But on the other we need to clean up our way of sailing and not lose these kind of points. The level is so high every point is so important. The breeze was oscillating a lot. You work to what you think is the average for the day, still I think the right was generally better, with current and other things. It was exciting and I feel we positioned the boat quite nicely.

I am getting older and so don’t remember too much about different venues. I remember little things but I try to go out each day with a clear mind. I think we have sailed a lot here with the wind and 90 and 100 degrees but not so much 120 which we saw today. I clean all past from my head and just work with what I see and I go on the water with a plan, knowing how I want to sail.”

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

The 52 SUPER SERIES Miami Royal Cup will take place from 7-11 March. Live commentary and boat tracking via the Virtual Eye is available Tuesday and Wednesday. 52 SUPER SERIES TV powered by Quantum Sails goes live THURSDAY, FRIDAY, SATURDAY with live action streamed from the race course supported by tracking, commentary and comment from 15-minutes before racing starts each day. All available at www.52SUPERSERIES.com/LIVE and the the app.

TP52 Super Series Miami (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

TP52 Super Series Miami (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

TP52 Super Series Miami (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

TP52 Super Series Miami (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

TP52 Super Series Miami (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

TP52 Super Series Miami (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

 

TP52 Super Series Miami (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

TP52 Super Series Miami (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com 

 

TP52 Super Series Miami (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

TP52 Super Series Miami (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

 

TP52 Super Series Miami (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

TP52 Super Series Miami (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

 

TP52 Super Series Miami (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

TP52 Super Series Miami (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

 

TP52 Super Series Miami (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

TP52 Super Series Miami (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

 

TP52 Super Series Miami (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

TP52 Super Series Miami (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

 

TP52 Super Series Miami (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

TP52 Super Series Miami (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

 

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

(Thursday 26th May, Scarlino) – Broad smiles around the Marina di Scarlino told the story of Races 3 and 4 for the 52 SUPER SERIES’ Scarlino Cup and without doubt the most contented crew were that of Ergin Imre’s Provezza. Not only did the Turkish flagged team win both races but they led at every mark, even the margins at times were mere metres. It was a nice early season payback to the hugely supportive and enthusiastic owner Imre who invested heavily through this last winter, ordering a new, stiffer rig and new foils and enhanced their sail programme in a clearly defined quest to stand on the podium at the end of this season.

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

With the 9-13kts breeze round more to the south than Day 1 there was an acknowledged advantage on the left side of the upwind, closer to the beneficial influence of the land. Provezza executed their game plan to the letter, staking an early claim to the pin end of the start line and fighting to maintain that key spot.

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

Their lead at the top mark in the first race was more conclusive, in the second it was down to a matter of a half a boat length on Azzurra and Quantum Racing. But the Provezza team stayed cool through the day and enjoyed their success, well knowing that they had been fortunate to make it to the start line.

They broke a deflector during the pre-race warm up and had to send a crew member aloft for nearly 30 minutes to make a fix. In fact this mishap rather cleared their heads, admitted tactician Tony Rey later, and they could do little more than focus on fighting for the pin and delivering on their game plan.

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

Andy Beadsworth, the GBR Olympian who steers Provezza commented:

“We have done a lot of work over the winter. Ergin has committed a lot of resources to try and improve the boat with a new rig, new foils, a few changes to the positions of the foils. We have made a few sail design changes and hopefully these things are coming together and we will see a general trend of improvement. A day like to today makes everything worthwhile.”

The two race wins promote Provezza to second overall after four races of this opening regatta of the 52 SUPER SERIES season four points behind Quantum Racing. If Provezza’s starts were pin sharp today Quantum Racing’s were not up to their usual high standards. They were fouled in the final minute of the second race and had to compromise on what they wanted to do. Second to last off the line they still battled to third by the windward mark. The first start was the better but they held fourth all the way around the track. Overall it was another consistent day for the Ed Baird skippered Quantum Racing, 4,3 giving them a lead of four points now, improved by one point on the morning’s standings.

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

Azzurra came back to the dock with smiles much more evident than their “nightmare” start to the season yesterday. A good second in the second race of the day finally ignited their grins. They had their best start of the series so far, next boat to windward of Provezza and held second all the way around. This contrasted sharply with their first start of the day when they were ejected from the pin end sandwich and had to take a penalty. The Azzurra team were fully 40 seconds late in starting as a consequence but pulled through to sixth, what Vasco Vascotto, the Azzurra tactician, later described as “a little miracle”.

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

Consistency has been the Quantum Racing metier so far, Terry Hutchinson so far proving the fleet’s professor of risk management. This is especially evident on the start line where, as Hutchinson points out, they will not compromise the security of the big picture game plan by pressing for a high risk start. Don’t mistake this playoff between prudence and high stakes gambling as not pushing hard at the start:

“When I open the door in the morning I start pushing!” Hutchinson says emphatically.

Meantime rival Vasco Vascotto reaffirmed that nothing changed in the way they sailed the Azzurra, the 2015 52 SUPER SERIES championship winners, from yesterday’s high scoring opening to today’s very obvious improvement:

“I said to the guys on the boat ‘we change nothing’ we sail how we know we can sail and just remember there will be many ups and downs this season, that is how close this fleet is.”

Racing continues Friday with the coastal race planned.

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

52 Super Series – Scarlino Cup
Standings after four races:
1 Quantum Racing, USA (Doug DeVos USA) (1,3,4,3) 11 pts
2 Provezza, TUR (Ergin Imre TUR) (4,9,1,1) 15 pts
3 Platoon, GER (Harm Müller-Spreer GER) (5,2,3,6) 16 pts
4 Rán Racing, SWE (Niklas Zennström SWE) (3,4,7,4) 18 pts
5 Alegre, GBR (Andres Soriano USA) (2,5,8,5) 20 pts
6 Azzurra, ITA (Pablo/Alberto Roemmers ARG) (7,8,6,2) 23 pts
7 Sled, USA (Takashi Okura JPN) (6,1,9,8) 24 pts
8 Bronenosec, RUS (Vladimir Liubomirov RUS) (9,6,2,7) 24 pts
9 Xio/Hurakan, ITA (Guiseppe Parodi ITA) (8,7,5,9) 29 pts
10 Gladiator, GBR (Tony Langley GBR) (10,10,10,10) 40 pts
11 Paprec FRA (Jean-Luc Petithuguenin FRA) (11,11,11,11) 44 pts

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

Quotes:
Andy Beadsworth GBR, helm Provezza TUR:

“We recognised in the pre race line ups that the left was pretty strong. We had a panic before the start because we broke a deflector and so I say the shore crew did a greta job getting up there and lashing a new one in. They got us on the start. We worked hard on both starts to win the pin. The left came good and we were just half a length forward, and I mean only half a length. It was only that and that is that half boat length you are always looking for in tuning and training . That was what it was at the top mark.

We have done a lot of work over the winter. Ergin has committed a lot of resources to try and improve the boat with a new rig, new foils, a few changes to the positions of the foils. We have made a few sail design changes and hopefully these things are coming together and we will see a general trend of improvement. A day like to today makes everything worthwhile.”

 

Terry Hutchinson (USA), tactician Quantum Racing (USA):

“The first race we did not get a great start and had to clear and take some transoms and so to get back from that and get fourth was good. And in the second race at 50 seconds we got fouled and that really put us on the back foot and forced us away from where we wanted to go and so there to battle back to third was a solid day.

There are a lot of things still we can improve upon. The endgame is on Sunday and so we just try to keep ourselves in the hunt.

Everyone I think had the same strategy wanting to go left. Provezza I think footed off a little to leeward it was very subtle. The left came in strong at the top of the beat. I would have picked Azzurra winning the second race. We sailed in about 45 seconds of fluffiness and Provezza was rumbling on layline the whole time. They were just in the spot they needed to be to pin Azzurra from tacking. Certainly that was higher risk higher reward (for them). But in the big picture world I am plenty happy with how we sailed. Our executions of our starts were not to our standards and so there are a lot of things there we can make gains on, there are good things communication wise that I will get better on which will Ed get us away cleanly.

I am pushing the minute I get out the door in the morning. I think it is risk/reward, you are balancing the percentages. Yesterday first race of the year we came off the pin clean, it was high risk but it was open. We are never going to compromise our start to execute the big picture strategy. It is only one part of the race.”

Vasco Vascotto ITA, tactician Azzurra (ITA/ARG):

“I am happier for sure. Yesterday was a bit of a nightmare for sure. And then in the first race we had a penalty and so were last by a long way. Left was so strong that it was then hard to come back from there, but really we did a nice job from there. We made a little miracle. We had a nice start in the second race. Who won the pin won the race but it was very close. At the top mark it was just down to a few metres. Now we need to slow ourselves down a little, prepare well and relax. We are doing a good job, speed is good, crew work is good, the worst thing is the tactician. We are happy today because we know that we don’t have to change much. I said to the guys this morning ‘we don’t have to change anything, be ready to have some ups and some downs this season because the fleet is so competitive.”

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

(Wednesday 25th May – Scarlino, Tuscany) – There were few surprises on the long awaited first day of the new 2016 52 SUPER SERIES season. Along the race dock of Tuscan’s showcase Marina di Scarlino the nervous tension bubbled from early morning right through until dockout time. But the two light winds races adhered to the letter the widely expected plot line when Quantum Racing emerged with a small three points lead – smart, patient, percentage sailing being their Day 1 watchwords – and no fewer than four boats all log-jammed into a share of the same 7 points tally between second and sixth in the 11 boat fleet.

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

Quantum Racing’s tenacious tactician Terry Hutchinson may have expressed his concerns that their team was not quite at the high level of readiness he would have wanted, but the American flagged crew made key crucial gains, going forwards in both windward leeward races to score a first and third and so lie three points ahead of the four boat cluster.

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

When they lost Alegre on the first run of the first race they fought hard to get back into the lead on the second run, so taking first blood for the season, leaving Andy Soriano’s team to second place. And in the second contest Quantum Racing showed their mettle when they chipped away to convert a fifth at the top of the first beat to a third on the finish line.

“It’s two down 48 to go” smiled Hutchinson ashore after racing. He considers they sailed little different today to how they did in yesterday’s practice race when they made a sixth.

“We had a great session this morning talking about the mistakes we made yesterday, and how we are continuing to do the high percentage things that we think are going to work. Yesterday [practice race], we felt like we did that, but we got absolutely nothing for it. But overall the boat is going quite well. We have quite a good setup.

 

tp52 superseries scarlino ph m ranchi (4)

Just as every team has expressed their pre-season belief that this will be an incredibly close season, the level being almost universally high, so there is an immediate, ringing endorsement with four boats – all you would consider as podium contenders for a regatta or at the end of the season – unerringly finishing Day 1 on the same points. Takashi Okura’s Sled won the second race and matched that to a sixth and are credited with second overall.

Platoon’s fifth in the first race is bolted to an excellent second behind Sled in the second race. Alegre showed great potential but might rue small losses for a 2,5 when it could have been a 1,3 had they converted their best positions in both races. Rán Racing, with Morgan Larson and Adam Beashel combining on tactics and strategy, proved to be one other team along with Quantum Racing which made important successive gains. They transformed an early fifth to a third in Race 1 and then a Mark 1 sixth to a finish line fourth in Race 2. Gains down the last run were a notable aspect of the Rán game.

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

Of course there is little of real solid substance to be extrapolated from Day 1 of a season which is likely to comprise somewhere around 25 days and perhaps 45 or 50 races which all count. In essence it just sets the ball rolling, buries the first day nerves – which were very evident in the way some teams sailed – and sets the 52 SUPER SERIES down to business in this fifth year of is existence.

The Scarlino race arena – new to this 52 SUPER SERIES circuit – delivered light, shifty breezes which were hard to read. Staying in the best strands of wind pressure and changing gears was vital.

Now with a full year of racing under their belts since the newest generation of boats were launched and prepped hurriedly for the Valencia opener 12months ago, suffice to say that Day 1 may not have yielded any big, toys out the pram upsets, no high octane drama but instead it served only to whet the appetite further for what promises to be a truly mouth watering 52 SUPER SERIES season.

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

52 SUPER SERIES

Scarlino Cup, Standings after Day 1, 2 Races
1 Quantum Racing, USA (Doug DeVos USA) (1,3) 4 pts
2 Sled, USA (Takashi Okura USA) (6,1) 7 pts
3 Platoon, GER (Harm Müller-Spreer GER) (5,2) 7 pts
4 Alegre, GBR (Andres Soriano USA) (2,5) 7 pts
5 Rán Racing, SWE (Niklas Zennström SWE) (3,4) 7 pts
6 Provezza, TUR (Ergin Imre TUR) (4,9) 13 pts
7 Bronenosec, RUS (Vladimir Liubomirov RUS) (9,6) 15 pts
8 Xio/Hurakan, ITA (Guiseppe Parodi ITA) (8,7) 15 pts
9 Azzurra, ITA (Pablo/Alberto Roemmers ARG) (7,8) 15 pts
10 Gladiator, GBR (Tony Langley GBR) (10,10) 20 pts
11 Paprec FRA (Jean-Luc Petithuguenin FRA) (11,11) 22 pts

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

Terry Hutchinson (USA), tactician Quantum Racing (USA):

“It’s two down, 48 to go. It was a good day. We had a great session this morning talking about the mistakes we made yesterday, and how we are continuing to do the high percentage things that we think are going to work. Yesterday [practice race], we felt like we did that, but we got absolutely nothing for it. The boat was going quite well. We have quite a good setup. I think there was that and then there being a little bit of better pressure up the leeward left hand side going up the beat made for a good gain up the second beat where we were hanging on and defending.

Yes we were making gains but yesterday we went backwards. That’s the difference, but we didn’t sail any differently today than we did yesterday [practice race]. I think that we’re scratching the surface as a team about how we’re going to evolve. We had a great session on the boat this morning as well, on our way out, about things that we can go better. I’m very optimistic. The other unique feature is that now, we have a great training partner in Platoon, which is making for our ability to get faster through the water. We’re faster, as well, on shore. We debrief every morning and talk to those guys, I mean, they’re a great sailing team so there’s a lot of evolution that’s happening. It’s simply a matter of keeping it all pointing in the right direction.

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

Hamish Pepper (NZL) strategist Sled (USA):

“We’re reasonably happy. It’s going to be a long season, so to start the first day with two ‘keepers’, we’ve got to be happy with that. It’s more important for us to be consistent overall than to win races, but it’s nice to win a race this early in the regatta. It just shows the work we’ve done over the winter to the boat, the boat’s going well, and the team’s going well. But it is certainly going to be a tight series, and that’s why we’re here sailing TP52s!”

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

Jean-Charles Decaux's J ONE  leading the Wally fleet (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

Jean-Charles Decaux’s J ONE leading the Wally fleet (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

 

Dramatic showdowns have been set up for the final races at the 2014 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. Verdicts in three classes will be decided during tomorrow’s decisive day: true proof of the close nature of the racing. All classes sailed a coastal course today with around seven knots from the north at the start, building to a 12-15 knot north-easterly midway through the race.

The Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship is living up to its pre-event billing as the tightest and most competitive in its five-year history. Heading into today’s critical coastal race, just two points separated the leading three teams.

Consistency, sound decision-making and taking only calculated risks are credited as the determining factors in such a tight championship. Andres Soriano’s Alegre, three-time runner-up, is proving the most reliable performer. “It’s going to be a very competitive week. One mistake and that’s that,” promised Soriano ahead of the competition. Today Alegre assumed impressive control of the 25-nm long coastal race after rounding the first mark well ahead of her rivals. Her lead remained unthreatened for the remainder of the race, which took yachts south to Mortoriotto, back up the coast into the Maddalena Archipelago and a brief glimpse of Bomb Alley, before turning north to Monaci and the run home.

ROBERTISSIMA III  trying to catch up with leader ALEGRE (Photo  by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

ROBERTISSIMA III trying to catch up with leader ALEGRE (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

Robertissima III, the Italian-crewed boat (and former Rán 2, last year’s winning yacht), has enjoyed a terrific week and today claimed second place. She trails Alegre by three points ahead of tomorrow’s two scheduled windward/leeward races, and Alegre’s crew know from bitter experience that such a margin is vulnerable. “We’ve been playing averages. It would have been nice to have put more points between ourselves and Robertissima ahead of the final day, but these two boats now have a jump on the fleet,” said Alegre’s Olly Cameron. “We can’t let them [Robertissima] get away. We need to be cautious [tomorrow] and keep it close.”

The learning curve for Robertissima owner Roberto Tomasini Grinover and his crew has been steep but one they are mounting at impressive velocity. “We are an inexperienced team in this class. Less than a year ago, we were here looking at the 72-ft boats and said how wonderful they were,” explains tactician Vasco Vascotto. “It’s a dream to be part of this class – it is not only about great boats but top class teams. We want to be very competitive.”

Niklas Zennström’s Rán crew started the week as the defending champion and have experience in making dramatic comebacks in Porto Cervo, but today’s sixth place on his new Rán 5 has all but ended the crew’s chances of a fourth title in five years. A new champion is all but guaranteed after 2012 victor Bella Mente also struggled in today’s coastal race, leaving Hap Fauth’s crew in fourth.

Wally Form
Engaging competition and a dramatic final day is also offered by the Wally class. Four-time winner, Claus-Peter Offen and Y3K are tied on points with defending champion Jean-Charles Decaux and his J One crew. And one point behind lies Magic Carpet 3. Y3K performed better of the three teams today, finishing in third while J One claimed fourth and Owen-Jones’s Magic Carpet 3 had to settle for sixth.

“The Wally class is very strong,” explains Offen, President of the International Maxi Association, “with the two Wally Centos (Magic Carpet 3 and Open Season) and many other well-sailed yachts, it will not be easy for Y3K to win the Wally title back, but we are working on it.”

J-Class report
The only certainty in the J-Class is that a new champion will be crowned. Velsheda has failed to finish higher than third all week, leaving a three-way battle between Rainbow, Lionheart and Ranger for the title. The week’s largest boat, the 43.7m Lionheart holds a slender one-point advantage over Rainbow, three-time winner Ranger is a further point adrift.

Elsewhere, bullets today have handed Firefly (Supermaxi), Lupa of London (Mini Maxi Racing/Cruising) and Highland Fling (Maxi) insurmountable leads in their respective classes.

Racing ends tomorrow. Up to two windward/leeward races are scheduled for the Mini Maxi Rolex Worlds fleet, the J-Class and Wally, while the remaining classes will sail a coastal course.

A full review of the 25th edition of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup will be available tomorrow.

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup
The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup is organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) and the International Maxi Association (IMA). Rolex has been title sponsor since 1985.

 

Mini Maxi Bowmen Calling the start (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

Mini Maxi Bowmen Calling the start (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

2014 MAXI YACHT ROLEX CUP – PROVISIONAL RESULTS DAY 4
Place, Boat Name, Boat Owner, Races; Total Points

Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship
1. ALEGRE (GBR), Alegre Yachting Ltd., 1.5-1-3-4-(5)-1.5; 11
2. ROBERTISSIMA (CAY), Roberto Tomasini, 6-2-1-(5)-2-3; 14
3. RÁN 5 (GBR), Niklas Zennstrom 4.5-3-2-2-(7)-9; 20.5

Mini Maxi R/C
1. LUPA OF LONDON (GBR), Jeremy Pilkington, 1-1-2-1; 5
2. BRONENOSEC (RUS), Alpenberg S.A., 4-2-1-2; 9
3. AROBAS (FRA), Gerard Logel, 2-4-3-3; 12

Maxi Racing
1. HIGHLAND FLING XI (MON), Irvine Laidlaw, 1-1-1-1; 4
2. ODIN (CAY), Tom Siebel, 2-2-2-2; 8
3. BRISTOLIAN (GBR), Bristolian Marine Ltd., 4-4-3-3; 14

J-Class
1. LIONHEART (GBR), Stichting Lionheart Syndicate, (4)-1-2-2-1; 6
2. RAINBOW (NED), SPF JH2, 2-3-1-1-(4); 7
3. RANGER (CAY), R.S.V. Ltd., 1-2-(4)-3-2; 8

Supermaxi
1. FIREFLY (NED), Eric Bijlsma, 1-1-2-1; 5
2. INOUI (SUI), Marco Vögele, 2-2-1-2; 7
3. VIRIELLA (ITA), Vittorio Moretti, 3-3-3-3; 12

Wally
1. Y3K (GER), Claus Peter Offen, (3)-2-1-3-2; 8
2. J ONE (GBR), Jean Charles Decaux, 1-(3)-2-2-3; 8
3. MAGIC CARPET 3 (GBR), Sir Lindsey Owen Jones, 2-1-(5)-1-5; 9

Complete results may be found here

The fleet getting to Mortoriotto rock under spinnaker (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

The fleet getting to Mortoriotto rock under spinnaker (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

 

A Sea of Sails in Saint-Tropez (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

A Sea of Sails in Saint-Tropez (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

SANREMO, ITA – SAINT-TROPEZ, FRA – MONTE-CARLO, MON – June 13 – 21, 2014

The 2014 Giraglia Rolex Cup enters its final phase tomorrow, Wednesday, with the start of the 241-nm offshore race. Some 213 yachts are expected to take part – a new record fleet. The mythical course which, in a normal year, takes crews from France to Italy, via the Giraglia rock off the northern tip of Corsica, offers something exceptional this year: a finish in Monte-Carlo. The unique opportunity to combine the finish of this celebrated race with the inauguration of the new Yacht Club de Monaco clubhouse has been embraced by the organizing clubs, race sponsor Rolex and, most significantly, the competitors.

The 62nd Giraglia Rolex Cup fleet ranges in size from 100-feet down to 30-feet. If conditions permit, Esimit Europa 2 – the largest and fastest yacht – will seek to dent its record time of 14 hours, 56 minutes and 16 seconds set in 2012 over a similar distance albeit with a finish in Sanremo just up the coast from Monte-Carlo. The yacht’s owner, Igor Simcic, is a member of the Yacht Club de Monaco so there is particular significance in his yacht’s quest to add a fourth line honours to her victory roll.

RÁN 5 (SWE) close to the shore as she leaves Saint-Tropez RAN 5, Sail n: SWE72, Owner: NIKLAS ZENNSTROM,  (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

RÁN 5 (SWE) close to the shore as she leaves Saint-Tropez
RAN 5, Sail n: SWE72, Owner: NIKLAS ZENNSTROM, (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

Cautious Optimism
Skipper Jochen Schümann understands the added importance of doing well, especially given the presence of a special crewmember onboard for the race: Pierre Casiraghi, younger son of Caroline, Princess of Hannover, and member of the YCM Management Committee. “The Giraglia Rolex Cup is one of the classic races in Europe alongside the Rolex Fastnet and Middle Sea Races,” he explains. “The start and finish are always spectacular. Saint-Tropez is one of the most scenic places in the Med, and this time we have a special finish in Monaco.”

 

Schümann is cautious when discussing prospects for the race record. According to the German Olympian the unsettled weather of the past few days looks set to continue with light airs across the racecourse: “If we get good steady breeze, there’s a chance for the record. Otherwise it will probably be slow.”

Intriguing Contest
Behind the Slovenian Maxi, an intriguing battle is shaping up among four highly competitive 72-ft Racing Mini Maxis. Andres Soriano, owner of Alegre and another member of the Yacht Club de Monaco, is excited by the prospect of finishing in Monte-Carlo. He has tasted success in this race before with a Line Honours victory in 2010 with his previous yacht. Soriano has enjoyed the competition of the Inshore Series over the past three days: “The Mini Maxis are very even, there is not much in it. Some are better in different conditions and a little luck with a wind shift can make the difference in getting one’s nose ahead.” He thinks this bodes well for a tight contest in the offshore race even if the larger yachts are not favoured by the forecast: “Ideally we’d be hoping for more wind at the beginning of the long race to take us down to the rock. The approach there early in the morning is always difficult.”

Another Olympian, this time Frenchman Thierry Peponnet, who has been coaching Niklas Zennström’s Ran 5 crew ahead of the offshore race, has also assessed the challenge this year: “It is special with the finish in Monaco. Normally the leg after the rock to Genoa is very smooth, dominated by light winds. This new course will make things a bit different, as the wind angles will change on the leg from the Giraglia to Monaco. We are waiting for the latest weather information to develop an appropriate strategy, but the team is very motivated; it is a race they want to win.”

Even though a professional yachtsman, Peponnet recognizes the Giraglia Rolex Cup delivers a distinctive flavour: “It is such a mythical race. Similar to the Rolex Sydney Hobart, enthusiastic and passionate amateurs come together and challenge themselves against the most professional of boats like Ran, Alegre etc… It unites sailors from all over the planet, Corinthians or professionals all together on the same starting line.” Peponnet has done the race a number of times and finds it an attractive challenge even if sometimes long. “You have to be patient,” he advises.

Saint-Tropez bids farewell to the 62nd Giraglia Rolex Cup fleet Gulf of Saint Tropez (Photo  by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

Saint-Tropez bids farewell to the 62nd Giraglia Rolex Cup fleet Gulf of Saint Tropez (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

Daring to Dream
Patience may be virtue further down the fleet. The current forecasts suggest a hole in the wind over Monaco on Thursday that may favour the smaller yachts if they bring the wind from the Giraglia. Last year’s winner Laurent Camprubi, the owner of French yacht Alizée, was thinking of only a class win in 2013. He ended up taking the overall trophy and the Rolex timepiece. What does he think about his prospects in 2014? “We came last year to win our division, we never imagined winning overall.  We are here again to win our division and funnily we have started thinking that we really could have a chance to win again.  It is a crazy dream but we have analysed the conditions and… yes, … may be.”

Camprubi would not be first to secure back-to-back victories, but he knows he needs favourable conditions, for his crew to work together, and good decision-making. That was achieved last year and: “It was really a perfect race.” If he had to give an advice to a crew doing the race for a first time it would be to never forget you are racing for fun: “You should come because of your passion for sailing and if the results go with you then of course it is magic. If you have given everything and the result is not so good, it should not be a drama.”

In encouraging those who have never done the race, Camprubi is a persuasive salesman summing up the virtues of an event that captures the imagination of all who participate: “For someone who has yet to discover the Giraglia Rolex Cup I would let them know that the race is just magic. The ambience here in Saint-Tropez, the small picturesque town, the huge numbers of competitors, the beautiful yachts, the quality of the crew, the course, the passage at the Giraglia Rock… the great welcome you get at the arrival, it is all quite extraordinary.”

ROBERTISSIMA III (ITA) leaving the Gulf of St Tropez after the start of the offshore race ROBERTISSIMA III, Sail n: GBR7236R, Owner: ROBERTO TOMASINI GRINOVER, Group 0 (IRC >18.05mt)  (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

ROBERTISSIMA III (ITA) leaving the Gulf of St Tropez after the start of the offshore race ROBERTISSIMA III, Sail n: GBR7236R, Owner: ROBERTO TOMASINI GRINOVER, Group 0 (IRC >18.05mt) (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

Spirited Support
According to Carlo Croce, President of the International Sailing Federation, President of the Yacht Club Italiano and, therefore, another passionate advocate for the race the opportunity to finish the 62nd Giraglia Rolex Cup in Monte-Carlo was too great to be missed: “The arrival in Monte-Carlo was decided upon because the Yacht Club de Monaco opens its new base this year and the inauguration of this new clubhouse will be exactly the same day when the most of the boats are crossing the finish line.” Croce emphasizes that the decision was made easy on other grounds: “The participants liked the idea; they are really enthusiastic about joining the opening party on Friday night. Furthermore, the Yacht Club de Monaco is twinned with the Yacht Club Italiano and we are pleased to share this special moment, even more so since Rolex is a partner of both clubs and has been fully supportive of the idea.”

The 62nd Giraglia Rolex Cup race gets underway tomorrow at noon CEST. Rolex has been a partner of the event since 1997.

For more detailed information about the 2014 Giraglia Rolex Cup including results and race tracking please visit the Yacht Club Italiano website.

Big boat start of the offshore race in the Gulf of Saint-Tropez Race Start (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

Big boat start of the offshore race in the Gulf of Saint-Tropez Race Start (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi) photo id: 30789 Photo By: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi Get Hi-Res related

 

 

CAOL ILA AND STIG CROSS TACKING (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

Enthusiasm was in abundance at the 2013 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup as a gathering of the finest sailors, most passionate owners, and inspiring yachts met in Porto Cervo, Sardinia for the pinnacle rendezvous of the annual Maxi yacht racing calendar.

Velsheda's Classic Low Freeboard Awash (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

“The two things which make the event unique are the racecourses and the participants,” explained Riccardo Bonadeo, Commodore of event organizers Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS). “The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup from the very beginning has always been the event of excellence for ocean-going boats. And the environment is perhaps the most spectacular and technical in the world.”

“This is the pre-eminent regatta. Everyone is training for it for the whole season. It’s where everyone comes together,” explained Niklas Zennström, owner of the highly successful Mini Maxi Rán 2. “It’s the one we all want to win.”

Inoui Spinnaker flys (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

37 yachts, divided into six classes, contested a myriad of challenging racecourses organized during the weeklong event on the Costa Smeralda. While conditions throughout the 24th edition of this pre-eminent competition were light, the Race Committee was able to successfully organize a gripping week of racing.

Fast and fascinating

The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, sponsored by Rolex since 1985, has always been the showcase and proving ground for a fleet of contrasting yachts, and a chance for designers and owners to meet and draw inspiration for future projects. “I’m always looking for the latest, newest technology and something that’s a bit different to what other people are doing,” admitted Lord Irvine Laidlaw, owner of the 82-ft Highland Fling. A sentiment and quest echoed by many in attendance.

Many owners are using advances in technology to drive the design of faster boats; an idea at the forefront of Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones’s mind when he commissioned Magic Carpet 3, a 100-ft yacht designed to answer his quest for a boat that would be comfortable and sail fast whether cruising or racing. Line honours success at the Giraglia Rolex Cup was an early indication of the boat’s speed potential compared to his previous yacht. “It’s much faster. It is much more fun, much more exciting. It feels like a racing boat and that’s what we wanted,” explained Owen-Jones. “Paradoxically, it is a much better cruising boat because of its extra width, which gives people air and space and makes it a very stable cruising platform.

Magic Carpet 3 on Day 3 (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

Owen-Jones had firm ambitions for Magic Carpet 3. “We’ve written our name five times on the wall next to the door to the Yacht Club (Costa Smeralda), the idea of putting it there a sixth time, which I think would be a record for any name, is a terribly exciting idea.”

Jean Charles Decaux – J-ONE Despite the presence of Magic Carpet 3 and Sir Charles Dunstone’s Hamilton, whose crew included both British Olympian Ian Walker and Simon Le Bon of Duran Duran fame, the Wally Class was dominated by Jean Charles Decaux’s J-One, which won four of the seven races. “Consistency, focus and great teamwork is the magic combination and we are very happy to be the winner again after six years,” explained Decaux. “We are the oldest boat in the fleet and smaller compared to the new ones. We really had to make no mistakes, or at least fewer mistakes than our competitors.”

 

Spinnaker Drop on the J Class Rainbow (Photo by Rolex.Carlo Borlenghi)

Elegance Personified

While eyes feasted on some of the newer boats, the J-Class offered purists with an eye-catching reminder of yesteryear. Of the four J-Class yachts entered at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, Shamrock and Velsheda are restorations of yachts launched over 80 years ago, while Rainbow and Ranger are design replicas of original boats destroyed for metal during the Second World War.

Those competing in the J-Class were not intent on solely distracting photographers. “We enjoy close racing and have to be very mindful dealing with equipment that is incredibly valuable and doesn’t respond that quickly. However, none of us want to simply nurse the boats around the course. We want to push it in the gap, that’s the challenge,” revealed Velsheda’ s Tom Dodson.

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

 

 

 

 

 

Wally Fleet Start 2011 (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

Wally Fleet Start 2011 (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

A fleet of 34 international Maxi yachts are braced for tomorrow’s start to competitive action at the 2012 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, held in Porto Cervo, Sardinia. Five days of racing are scheduled for the 23rd edition of this annual contest, open to Maxi yachts upwards of 18.29 metres. Boats representing fourteen different countries make up the entry list from the smallest competitor – the 18.30m Mini Maxi @robas  (FRA) – to the gigantic 66m Supermaxi  Hetairos (CY). A stunning spectacle is always guaranteed when the world’s most technologically impressive Maxis lock horns in the challenging and scenic racecourses offered by the Costa Smeralda and the Maddalena Archipelago.

Ever since its inception in 1980, the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup has represented a rare for opportunity for Maxi yachts to engage exclusively in direct competition. It has also been synonymous with the latest developments in yacht design and technology. 2012 is no exception as three eagerly-anticipated new launches prepare to make their bow: Charles Dunstone’s 30.47m Wally Hamilton(GBR) and two new entries in the intriguing Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship: Hap Fauth’s 21.94m Bella Mente (USA) and the similarly sized Stig (ITA), owned by Alessandro Rombelli.
Edoardo Recchi, Sporting Director of event organizer the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS), believes a vintage edition is in store, revealing: “We are very happy to have a fleet of 34 boats with a number sailing here for the first time. The Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship, in particular, will be very competitive because all the Mini Maxis are, from a certain point of view, as good as new, with many having changed keels or rigs.” As Recchi confirms, the week will be a test of each crew’s resolve and endurance: “For the Maxis and Supermaxis five coastal races are planned and for the Mini Maxis and Wallys there will be three coastal races and four windward/leeward races.” Tomorrow, coastal races are scheduled for the event’s five classes (Maxi Racing, Maxi Racing/Cruising, Mini Maxi, Supermaxi and Wally).
A number of this season’s most successful boats are in attendance. Sir Peter Ogden’s 18.90m Mini Maxi Jethou (GBR) triumphed in May’s Rolex Volcano Race; Filip Balcaen’s 34.13m Nilaya (GBR) won line honours at that same event and returns to Porto Cervo to defend her Supermaxi class title. Igor Simcic’s 30.48m Esimit Europa 2 (SLO) has enjoyed a stellar year, smashing the race record at the recent Giraglia Rolex Cup before arriving in Sardinia in style, setting a new fastest time between Monte Carlo and Porto Cervo.

The third running of the Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship is likely to be one of the week’s most eye-catching contests. The previous two editions have been claimed by the 21.91m Rán 2 (GBR). Niklas Zennström’s fully professional crew start off as favourites, but the competition will be determined and races decided by the merest fractions. Strength in depth across the Championship is provided by the revamped Jethou, George Sakellaris’ 21.80m Shockwave (USA), Stig and the 21.01m Caol Ila R (USA), the former Alegre – second place finishers in 2010 and 2011 – as Alex Schärer and his crew make the transition from their racer/cruiser of the same name.

Ran 2  (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

Ran 2 (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

Brand-new Bella Mente (USA), counting on the expertise of 2006 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Mike Sanderson, concedes nothing to Rán 2 in terms of length although the crew have the challenge of tackling the competition for the first time. “We’re really excited,” remarks Sanderson. “The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup is one of the great events on the calendar, where the fascination is seeing all of the hardware together – a collection of amazing boats in terms of power and sail.” Sanderson is expecting a baptism of fire: “In the Mini Maxi class, the level is very high. The other guys currently have a bit more refinement and finesse including Rán who are a very polished act with a very consistent crew.”

Navigators are facing a difficult time predicting what the week’s weather will provide: “The forecast is really tricky,” confirms Sanderson. “There is a low settling off to the west of Sardinia. Some forecasts are saying 50 knots and others five! So we are in for a pretty changeable week.”

The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup is organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and the International Maxi Association, prestigious organizations with close ties to Rolex. A first-class social programme is in store, including the Rolex Crew Party and the final Prize-Giving Ceremony, where the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cups and Rolex timepieces will be presented to the winners.

EVENT PROGRAMME

Sunday, 2 September
Inspections, registration and briefing
Welcome Reception

Monday, 3 September
Race(s)

Tuesday, 4 September
Race(s)

Wednesday, 5 September
Race(s)

Thursday, 6 September
Lay day or resail

Friday, 7 September
Race (s)
Rolex Crew Party

Saturday, 8 September
Race(s)
Final Prize-Giving

 

SHOCKWAVE (USA) AND RÁN (GBR), APPROACH THE LIGHTHOUSE AT MONACI (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

SHOCKWAVE (USA) AND RÁN (GBR), APPROACH THE LIGHTHOUSE AT MONACI (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

 

 

Niklas Zennstrom's Rán. (Photo: by  RORC/Tim Wright photoaction.com)

Niklas Zennstrom's Rán. (Photo: by RORC/Tim Wright photoaction.com)

 

It has been a busy 24 hours at the Antigua Yacht Club. At dawn on the fifth day of the RORC Caribbean 600, only three yachts were still at sea vying to complete the course before tonight’s Prizegiving celebrations and all of the class winners are now provisionally decided. The bar at the Antigua Yacht Club has been in full swing, buzzing with stories between the crews and songs in a myriad of different languages.

Team Selene skippered by Benjamin Davitt finished yesterday morning. The Swan 80 sailed an excellent race to claim third place overall and will lift the prestigious Swan Caribbean Challenge Trophy later this evening.

Without doubt, the closest racing for this year’s event was in IRC One. Colin Buffin’s Swan 62, Uxorious IV, was first to finish, but the team did not celebrate a class win. Buffin and his young team knew that Amanda Hartley’s Swan 56, Clem, was extremely close to eclipsing their corrected time. Just over three and half hours passed before Clem crossed the finish line to win the class by just 21 seconds on corrected time. There were ecstatic scenes dockside as the Spanish crew of Clem celebrated their class win. The entire crew of Uxorious IV including Colin Buffin sportingly applauded their rivals. Amanda Hartley spoke of their win.

“‘We had no idea until we crossed the line and turned on our phones which went crazy with people calling in from Spain. By our calculation we thought we had lost out by five minutes. We got stuck at Guadeloupe for four hours and we could only sit and watch Uxorious get away. We are obviously extremely delighted and really appreciate Colin and his team coming over to give us such a lovely welcome back to Antigua.”

Jaime Torres’ Puerto Rican First 40, Smile And Wave, finished shortly after midnight last night to claim third in IRC One.

Scarlet Logic, co-skippered by Ross Applebey and Tim Thubron, finished the RORC Caribbean 600 shortly after 2300 last night. The Oyster 48 has been vying for the overall win for the last two days. In the end Scarlet Logic missed out, but the team had put in an incredible effort and have been rewarded with a convincing win in IRC Two. Scarlet Logic has the best corrected time in IRC One, Two and Three and as a result will be awarded the fantastic prize of a week’s accommodation at the luxurious Inn at English Harbour.

“Fantastic, elated but bloody tired,” admitted Tim Thubron, co-skipper of Scarlet Logic. The weather lined up nicely for us and we were aware that we were in with a chance of beating the big, well funded professional teams and that really spurred us on and made us push even harder. A lot of credit must go to the whole team, especially Ross Applebey. Scarlet was immaculately prepared and we hardly had a single breakage, however we did need to drop the main to replace a sail slide. The job was done and the main back up in eight minutes, that to me says it all.”

There was joy and pain for both IRC Canting Keel and the Class40s. Ernesto Cortina’s Volvo 70 Gran Jotiti finished the race in just over two days. The Spanish team is racing the yacht formerly known as Telefonica Black in the last Volvo Ocean Race. Ernesto spoke about his team shortly after finishing. “This has been a great experience, even though our result was badly affected by a lot of sail damage. Many of the sails are tired from thousands of miles of racing. However, the crew have been a joy to sail with and this race is helping us build for the future. Gran Jotiti’s aim is to create a world class amateur Spanish offshore sailing team and we have learnt a lot through this race.

Ron O’Hanley’s Cookson 50, Privateer, showed exceptional pace and boat handling throughout. Unfortunately the American team failed to start correctly and accepted a 10% penalty from the race organisers resulting in Gran Jotiti being declared winner of IRC Canting Keel.

IRC One, Two, Three and Class40 Start. Smile and Wave, Scarlet Logic, Clem and Uxorious IV (Photo by Tim Wright)

IRC One, Two, Three and Class40 Start. Smile and Wave, Scarlet Logic, Clem and Uxorious IV (Photo by Tim Wright)

 

The Class40s turned into a battle royale between Christophe Coatnoan’s Partouche and Christof Petter’s Vaquita. The two Class40s were locked in a heroic tacking duel for the final push to the finish line, a 40-mile beat from Redonda to the finish in Antigua.

Vaquita crossed the line just after sunset beating Partouche by a slender margin, just 15 minutes in a race lasting over 3 days. However, Vaquita failed to start the race correctly and to the Austrian crew’s disappointment, the class win was awarded to Partouche: “It was a tough race and we had a couple of moments that really slowed us down,” commented Christophe Coatnoan who raced two-handed with Eric Calmard. “We picked up a fishing float after Nevis without realising and we probably lost 8 miles before we knew it was there. Later at Guadeloupe, I had to dive into the water to free Partouche from yet another fishing buoy. The race was an excellent test for our new design especially for our sails as I think we used every one of them during the race.”

Superyacht Start. Windrose, Adela, Hetairos, Sojana and P2 line up for the start. (Photo by Tim Wright)

Superyacht Start. Windrose, Adela, Hetairos, Sojana and P2 line up for the start. (Photo by Tim Wright)

Vaquita’s Andreas Hanakamp commented: “Obviously we are disappointed to have been penalised but we were delighted with our performance. Partouche is a brand new Finot design, whilst Vaquita is a 2006 Akilaria. The RORC Caribbean 600 is a testing race course and a very tough race, exactly what we needed to prepare for our main competition of the season, The Atlantic Cup later this year.”

The latest competitor to finish the RORC Caribbean 600 is Bernie Evan-Wong’s Mumm 36, High Tension. Falmouth Harbour exploded with noise as the smallest yacht in the race tied up right outside the Antigua Yacht Club. Thunderous blasts from megayachts, superyachts and foghorns literally shook the dock as the whole of the sailing community in Falmouth heralded the arrival of local hero Bernie and his crew.

“I said we would be here tonight but I always like to be early for appointments,” joked the Antiguan dentist. “It was a hard but satisfying race and the beat from Redonda to the finish seemed to take forever. We could see Antigua but it just didn’t seem to be getting any bigger, however a few miles out a massive rain squall hit and veered the wind favourably for us to speed our way to Antigua. After last year’s dismasting, I think maybe someone was looking out for us!”

Tonight the RORC Caribbean 600 Prizegiving Ceremony will take place at the Antigua Yacht Club. The two yachts still racing are Igor Zaretskiy’s, First 40.7 Coyote II and the RACYC Offshore Racing Team – White Knight’s Spirit of Venus. Both are expected to make tonight’s party, which should be a momentous occasion.

IRC OVERALL RESULTS

 

Rayon Vert Pulsar 50  (Photo by Tim Wright )

Rayon Vert Pulsar 50 (Photo by Tim Wright )