(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.
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.
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
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.”
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.
by Rupert Holmes / CWP
A gusty and reassuringly warm south-westerly airflow averaging 16-22 knots, provided a perfect day of racing on the opening day of Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week, with the wind against tide conditions giving lively downwind sailing on predominately windward-leeward courses.
The first starts, heading east against a building ebb tide, were for the J/70 and SB20 classes, both of which completed two races today, marking a significant break with the event’s long-standing traditions.
In the J/70 class, Jack Davies’ Jugador was enthusiastic in approaching the line, crossing it 50 seconds before the start, but returning to the correct side with time in hand. At the gun Ruairidh Scott’s North Sails led the fleet at the outer end of line, half a length ahead of the pack. The bulk of the fleet gybed offshore as soon as possible, although a couple of boats – Simon Ling’s RAFBF Spitfire and Ian Atkin’s Boats.com among them – stayed inshore for longer. Before long the fleet was therefore split laterally across the course as they sped downwind.
Once they reached the long layline leading into the first mark, an inflatable buoy near Hill Head, Scott was ahead by a good margin. However, Django, sailed by Malcolm Jaques, Tristan Jaques, Naomi Rowbotham and Nix Brook, crossed the line 10 seconds ahead of Scott, in a nail-biting finish that saw Atkins take third place just 13 seconds later. Scott took the second race by a margin of over two minutes to lead overall, two points ahead of the Jaques family at the end of the first day, with Ling a further two points behind in third overall.
The next start, for the SB20 class, saw an impossibly large bunch of boats approaching the outer limit buoy from offshore on starboard tack. With many running out of space, several crossed the line prematurely, although all but one was able to quickly re-round the pin and start correctly.
For the rest of the fleet it was an incredibly close start from which it was impossible to pick a clear early leader. At one stage Tich Summers’ Chill Pill Plus and Phil Plumtree’s PP Projects, who both managed to get into clean air to leeward of the main pack, appeared to be well placed. However, by the time they crossed gybes it was Tim Saxton’s Slam, Jerry Hill’s Sportsboatworld.com, and Paralympic gold medallist Helena Lucas’s Volvo that took an early lead.
By the finish of the 75-minute race Joe Llewellyn’s Henri Lloyd/Forellheld a 52 second advantage over Hill, with Saxton in third place more than a minute later. In the second race Hill was first to finish, almost two minutes ahead of Llewellyn, with Saxton taking another third place.
A different approach
The Etchells fleet opted for a different strategy to the SB20s at the start of their closely-fought race. The bulk of the fleet stayed well to the west of the line, with all but one boat holding well back until less than 20 seconds before the gun. Rob Elliott’s Esprit was first to hoist the spinnaker, but crossed four seconds early – an expensive mistake, especially as she did not return following the recall. Andrew and Donna Cooper’s Ice looked well placed a few minutes after the start, followed by Elvis, skippered by Tim Daughton, with both boats on a tight spinnaker reach towards West Ryde Middle buoy.
By the finish it was Mark Downer’s Moonlight, who stayed further offshore after the start, trading a tidal disadvantage for a steadier wind, who came out on top, finishing 23 seconds ahead of Esprit. With the latter scored OCS, Rob Goddard’s Stampede took second place, crossing the line 45 seconds after Moonlight, and Shaun Frolich’sExabyte V third. It was a close race, with the first half of the fleet finishing in little more than three minutes.
On a morning that saw many boats over the line at the start, but few responding to the recall signal, the J/80 class was more cautious than most. The first boat, Johanna Asplund, Meg Backhouse, Jamie Diamond and Kieren Hill’s Rascal, didn’t cross the line until 10 seconds after the start gun, and the second, Colin Simonds and family’sDoolalli, was a further 15 seconds back. Almost two and a half hours later it was Chris Taylor’s J.A.T. that finished first, followed byDoolalli and then Rascal.
Not long after 1400 there was a rapid string of Black Group yachts finishing close to shore and under spinnaker on the RYS line. One of the highest-rated boats in IRC Class 4, Adam Gosling’s newly refurbished 18-year-old Corby 36 Yes!, took line honours in that class. However, the lowest-rated boat in the fleet, last year’s overall class winner, David Franks’ Strait Dealer, finished less than 10 minutes later to win by a margin of just 18 seconds on corrected time.
“The stronger winds were ideal for us today and, as the smallest boat in a big class, we were very pleased with the result – you always struggle to find clean air and have fewer tactical choices than the faster boats,” said campaign manager and mainsheet trimmer Graham Sunderland.
The Sigma 33 class proved once again that this 34-year-old one design cruiser-racer is capable of providing extremely close competition. After almost three hours of racing, Jeff Worboys’ Workout crossed the line just eight seconds ahead of Richard Puddifoot’s Whippa Snappa, with T Claridge and J Fox’s Excelle taking third place a shade over two minutes later.
IRC Class 1 1, 5 Degrees West (Keith Mills) 2, Pace (Johnny Vincent) 3, Bronenosec (Igor Frolov) IRC Class 2 1, Tonnerre De Breskens 3 (P.W. Vroon) 2, Magnum3 (Andrew Pearce) 3, Toe In The Water Too (Capt Lloyd Hamilton MBE) 4, Oystercatcher XXX (Richard Matthews) 5, Chaos (Mark Lloyd) 6, Italia (Richard Rankin) 7, Aberdeen London (Ash Holmes) 8, Rebel (Stewart Whitehead) 9, Vondeling (Anthony Ward) 10, Jolt 2 (Peter Harrison) IRC Class 3 1, Tokoloshe (David Bartholomew) 2, La Reponse (Andrew McIrvine) 3, Premier Flair (Jim Macgregor) 4, Zero II Localletterbox (James Gair) 5, Hurrycane (Kenny Bruneflod) 6, Trustmarque Quokka (Philippe Falle) 7, Cyberark (Alex & Andy Moore) 8, Aberdeen Sailplane (Gordon Ketelbey) 9, Cobra Gill Race Team (Michael Blair) 10, Britannia Lancelot II (Britannia Lancelot II) IRC Class 4 1, Strait Dealer (David Franks) 2, Yes! (Adam Gosling) 3, Rhapsodie V (JJ Godet) 4, Dunkerque Plaisance (Dunkerque - Gill Race Team) 5, Xinska (Bernard Olesinski) 6, Bengal Magic (Knight Build Ltd) 7, Bonexemple (Jochem Visser) 8, Saffier Nitro (Dennis Hennevanger) 9, Salvo (Mr & Mrs Peter Morton) 10, Tanit (Richard Harris) IRC Class 5 1, Zarafa (Major Peter Scholfield) 2, Raging Bee (Dussere Louis-Marie) 3, Xcitable (Peter Hodgkinson and Sarah Bailey) 4, King Louie (Fiona & Malcolm Thorpe) 5, Elaine (Mike Bridges) 6, Winsome (Harry Heijst) 7, Extra Djinn (Neville Hodkin) 8, Jos Of Hamble (Professor Roger Williams) 9, Induljence (Nick Munday) 10, Alaris (John Howell) IRC Class 6 1, Etb Tyres Jiggery Pokery (Chaz Ivill) 2, Brightwork (Bob and Jon Baker) 3, Black Diamond (Justin Leese and Mark Brown) 4, J'Ronimo (David Greenhalgh) 5, Simplicity (Rory Fitzwilliams) 6, Buccaneer (Peter Pearson and Mike Lilwall) 7, Insatiable (Tim Cunliffe) 8, Clarionet (Sam Laidlaw and Rob Gray) 9, Icom Cool Blue (Simon Cory) 10, Sheevra (Jonathan Wallis) IRC Class 7A 1, Woof (Jo Richards) 2, Fianchetto (Ed Brand) 3, Vinyl Solutions (William Lack) 4, Two Frank (Oliver Love and Samantha Flint) 5, Google-Eye (Pat Stables and Nigel Hunter) IRC Class 7B 1, Madelaine (Madelaine and Isobella Donald) 2, Mandarin (Paul Dunstan) 3, Mw Dream On (Nathan Cordy) 4, Jiminy Cricket (Mike & Barbara Harrison) 5, Tudor Rose (Ian Cooke) 6, Meow (Chris Charlesworth) 7, Connie (Ian Stow) 8, Merganser (Catherine Munro Kerr) 9, Rosaire (Michael Squire) 10, Hannah J (Richard & Sarah Johnson) Contessa 32 1, Blanco (Ray Rouse) 2, Drumbeat (Eldred Himsworth) 3, Blue Shark (Ken Mizen and Don Laing) 4, Gualin (Rob Duke) 5, Nimbus (Michael Hill) 6, Mary Rose Tudor (Ed Bell) 7, Corafin (Jess Hoggarth) 8, Jemma Of Bosham (Keith Hardy and Tim Hardy) 9, Coh Karek (Tim Devlin) Cork 1720 1, Crescendo (James W Flynn O.B.E) 2, Midnight Cowboy (Steph Merry) Cruiser (Div A) 1, Sky Hunter II (Peter Bainbridge) 2, Brevity (Mark Devereux) 3, Thunder Squall (Julian James) 4, Alamara B II (Ole Bettum) 5, White Heather (Janet, Lionel and David Miller) 6, Annarchy Of Wight (Anne Noon) 7, Alexirblue (Robert Davison) 8, The Packhouse (Alison Hougham) 9, Dotty Dot (Clive Cutler) 10, Phizz Of Caen (Trevor Hardaker) Cruiser (Div B) 1, Haggis (Andrew Buchanan, Rebecca Taylor and Stuart Buchanan) 2, Skai (Andrew Yates) 3, Gazelle (Minka Armitage) 4, Sunbow II (Andrew Quicke) 5, Little Spirit (Brian Cooper) 6, Forrader (David Hall) 7, Monkey Business (Grant Woodall) Daring 1, Dolphin (David N Gower) 2, Dauntless (Giles Peckham, Milo Carver and Richard Romer-Lee) 3, Dynamite (Anthony Balme) 4, Double Knot (John Hackman) 5, Damsel (Jamie Scrimgeour, Daniel Stephenson, Jamie Campbell and Mich) 6, Ding Dong (Larry Lugg) 7, Decoy (Andrew Norton, Richard Ottaway, David Chaplin, Julian Goodwi) 8, Defiant (C A G Perry, R A Aisher OBE, P Blackwell, P Buckley, P L F F) 9, Division Belle (C Hill, B Green, C Sillars, I Rawlinson, Bear Grylls, A Spea) 10, Diamond (Mike Fox) Dragon 1, Aimee (Graham Bailey) 2, Bertie (Simon Barter) 3, Jerboa (Gavia Wilkinson-Cox) 3, Furious (Owen Pay) 5, Ecstatic (Eric Williams) 6, Ganador (Martin Makey) 7, The Old Bailey (Chris Brittain) 8, Virago (Tim Blackwell and Lisa Guy) 9, Chime (Michael Issaias) Etchells 1, Moonlight (Mark Downer) 2, Stampede (Rob & Ashley Goddard) 3, Exabyte V (Shaun Frohlich) 3, Ziggy (Kevin Downer, Timothy Eccles and Josh Downer) 4, Murray Martini (Ian Dobson, Thomas Brennan and Murray Chapples) 5, Ice (Andrew, Donna and Freddie Cooper) 6, Elvis (Tim Daughton) 7, Shamal (Hugh Evans and Roger Reynolds) 8, Darling S (Tarra Gill-Taylor) 9, Idea (Jack Wilson) First 40.7 1, Incognito (Paul McNamara and Tony Lowe) 2, Mitchellson Interceptor (James Wilkie) 3, Anticipation (Peter Newlands) 4, Fandango (Brendan McMahon and Adam Ridett) 5, Playing Around (Francis Carr) 6, Britannia Lancelot (Britannia Lancelot) 7, Edigital Research (eDigital Research) 8, Cheeki Rafiki (Ifan James) 9, Britannia Parallel Blue (Britannia Parallel Blue) 10, Flying Fish Hot Stuff (Flying Fish) Flying 15 1, Men Behaving Badly (Rupert and John Mander) 2, Black (Nick Clarke) 3, Ffreefire 20 (Sam Chan) 4, Affore The Weak (Mike & Alex Tatlow) 5, Ffuraha (Mike Boll & Gil McCutcheon) 6, Triffs (Richard Triffitt) J/70 (Race 1) 1, Django (Malcolm Jaques, Tristan Jaques, Naomi Rowbotham and Nix Broo) 2, North Sails (Ruairidh Scott) 3, Boats.Com (Ian Atkins) 4, Jugador (Jack Davies) 5, Team Rafbf Spitfire (Wing Commander Simon Ling RAF) 6, Wilson Covers (Ian Wilson) 7, Pheebs (Simon Cavey) J/70 (Race 2) 1, North Sails (Ruairidh Scott) 2, Team Rafbf Spitfire (Wing Commander Simon Ling RAF) 3, Wilson Covers (Ian Wilson) 4, Django (Malcolm Jaques, Tristan Jaques, Naomi Rowbotham and Nix Broo) 5, Boats.Com (Ian Atkins) 6, Jugador (Jack Davies) 7, Pheebs (Simon Cavey) J/80 1, J.A.T (Chris Taylor) 2, Doolalli (Colin Simonds and Family) 3, Rascal (Johanna Asplund, Meg Backhouse, Jamie Diamond, Kieren Hill a) 4, Swallow (Chris Body) 5, Seafire (Ben Richards and Andrew Dallas) 6, Peloton (Mark Greenaway) 7, Jumblesail (Rachel Woods and Rob Hunt) 8, Wild Wally (Robert Walters, David Walters and James O'Neill) 9, Juicy (Donald Suter, Tom Samuels, Russell Hearn, Peter Carroll) 10, Jasmine (Flora Greville) J/109 1, Harlequin (Jonathan Calascione and Jonnie Goodwin) 2, Juno (Stanley,Walker and Williams) 3, Designstar 2 (Roger Phillips) 4, Sardonyx IX (William Edwards) 5, Joule (Arjen van Leeuwen) 6, Tigh Soluis II (Rich Hinde Smith) 7, Inspara (Tor Mclaren) 8, Jumunu (Jamie Sheldon) 9, Jet (Christopher Sharples and Richard Acland) 10, Basic Instinct (Mr Patrick Seely) J/111 1, Jeez Louise (James Arnell) 2, Shmokin Joe (McDonald/Thomas) 3, McFly (Tony Mack) 4, J-Dream (David & Kirsty Apthorp) 5, Sweeny (Sweeny Sailing Team) 6, Icarus (Andrew Christie and John Scott) 7, Jitterbug (Cornel Riklin) 8, Toe In The Water (Capt Lloyd Hamilton MBE) 9, Djinn (S de Liedekerke) Mermaid 1, Dragonfly (Richard Prest) 2, Bluebell (Charles Tilley & Michael Smith) 3, Zara (Will Caws) 4, Jade (Helen Birchenough) 5, Mimosa (Jamie Nimmo) 6, Sirena (Max Baines) 7, Amethyst (Charles Glanville) 8, Scuttle (Kate Broxham) 9, Halluf (Tom Holbrook) 10, Cynthia (Clare Simonds) Multihull 1, Buzz (Phil Cotton) 2, Wandering Glider (Matthew West) Quarter Ton 1, Bullit (Morty) 2, Whiskers (Cat Southworth, Liz Rushall and Lincoln Redding) 3, Magnum Evolution (Eric Reynolds) 4, Espada (Louise Morton) 5, Bullet (Howard Sellars) 6, Phoenix (Welch, Fulford, Flemming and Manser) 7, Catch (Olivia Dowling) 8, Cri-Cri (Paul Colton) 9, Blackfun (Tony Hayward) 10, Joker (Ed White) Redwing 1, Quail (B Huber, C Blackburn, A Greene) 2, Harlequin (John Raymond and Matt Alexander) 3, Goose (Major Nick Woolgar and Olav Cole Esq) 4, Toucan (Colin & Becky Samuelson) 5, Capercaillie (Mary Luxmoore-Styles and Jonathan Nainby-Luxmoore) 6, Gosling (Serena Gosling) 7, Siskin (Thomas Montagu Douglas Scott) 8, Banzai II (Mr & Mrs Nick Rowton-Lee and Mr & Mrs Rory Morrison) 9, Avocet (Rupert and Michael MacInnes) 10, Plover (Andrew, Sabrina and Edward Eddy) RS Elite 1, Kandoo III (Crauford) 2, Aeolus (Jono Brown) 3, Usain Boat (Peter Dudgeon) 4, Escapade (Mark Allerston) 5, Wombat (Jonathon Proctor) 6, E'Tu (Steve Powell) 7, Limelite (Andrew Christie) 8, Soak Therapy (Egerton-Warburton Family) 9, Flying A (Anthony & Alice Duggan) 10, Swan Song (M Charles Platt) SB20 (Race 1) 1, Henri Lloyd / Forelle (Joe Llewellyn) 2, Sportsboatworld.Com (Jerry Hill) 3, Slam (Tim Saxton) 4, Melston Team (Kirill Frolov, Alexey Murashkin and Egor Ignatenko) 5, Volvo (Helena Lucas) 6, 3-Some (Duncan Pryde) 7, Chill Pill Plus (Scott Graham and Nick Elder) 8, Gill (Sarah Allan) 9, Trouble & Strife (Ian Armstrong) 10, Bcg Sailing Team (Konstantin Lukoyanov) SB20 (Race 2) 1, Sportsboatworld.Com (Jerry Hill) 2, Henri Lloyd / Forelle (Joe Llewellyn) 3, Slam (Tim Saxton) 4, Volvo (Helena Lucas) 5, Melston Team (Kirill Frolov, Alexey Murashkin and Egor Ignatenko) 6, Whyaduck (Tom and Richard Clay) 7, 3-Some (Duncan Pryde) 8, Darling Associates (Chris Darling) 9, Pp Projects (Phil Plumtree) 10, Chill Pill Plus (Scott Graham and Nick Elder) Sigma 33 1, Workout (Jeff Worboys) 2, Whippa Snappa (Richard J Puddifoot) 3, Excelle (T Claridge and J Fox) 4, Spirit Of Kudu (Mark Watkins) 5, Chaser (David Cheney) 6, Muskoka (Ed Smith) 7, Polished Manx (Kuba Szymanski) Sigma 38 1, With Alacrity (Chris & Vanessa Choules) 2, Mefisto (Kevin Sussmilch) 3, Light (John & Susan Rainger) 4, Pavlova III (Max Walker) 5, Vitesse (Peter Hopps and Hilary Cook) 6, Sigmagician (Sigmagician's) 7, Gambit (Cees Schrauwers) 8, Rho (Equinox Sailing) 9, Flying Formula (David McCarthy) Sonar 1, Bertie (Alistair Barter and Ed Suckling) 2, Miscreant (David Peerless) 3, Periscope (Peter Collins) 4, Paralympic Girls Team (Hannah Stodel, Megan Pascoe, Carol Dugdale, Bella Walsh and) 5, Wisconsin (James Holman) 6, Pisces (Greg Driver and Penny Carter) 7, Discovery (Brian Malone) 8, Fiscal (Steve Hargreaves) 9, Biscuit (Rosy Jones) 10, Hibiscus (Keith Gibbons) Sportsboat 1, Betty (Jon Powell) 2, Crescendo (James W Flynn O.B.E) 3, Clipper Marine B/One (Richard Root) 4, Royal 3 (Christopher Daniel) 5, Midnight Cowboy (Steph Merry) 6, Officer Cadet (OCdt George Jorgensen) 7, Royal 4 (Sarah Fraser) Squib 1, Lady Penelope (Malcolm Hutchings and Andy Ramsey) 2, Surprise (Duncan Grindley) 3, Squib (Dick Batt) 4, Osprey (Chris Gear, Andy Foulks and Miss Alex Porteous) 5, Polyphagus (Stephen Porter) 6, Firecracker Too (Andrew Porteous, David Coombes and Jerry Westbrook) 7, Lizz Whiz (Ray Prime) 8, Aldebaran (Iain Jones and Peter Jackson) 9, Satu (Kev Gibson and Marney Gibson) 10, Panther III (Amy Gaskin and George Downer) Sunbeam 1, Firefly (Stewart Reed) 2, Melody (Commander John Ford) 3, Fay (Richard Pearson) 4, Alchemy (Mark & Nicola Harvey) 5, Penny (Julian Money) 6, Emily (Malcolm Glaister) 7, Dainty (Peter Nicholson and Mike Hollis) Sunsail F40 1, Cardiovascular Health (The Cardiovascular Health Clinic) 2, First Sailing (First Sailing) 3, Schroders Alpha (Schroders Alpha) 4, Powell Systems (Powell Systems) 5, Panik (Panik) 6, London Business School (London Business School) 7, Aberdeen Edinburgh (Aberdeen Edinburgh) 8, Casenove Diversity (Casenove Diversity) 9, Deloitte 2 (Deloitte 2) 10, The Collinson Group (The Collinson Group) Swallow 1, Marengo (Oliver Sloper) 2, Solitude (Anthony Lunch and Andrew Reid) 3, Cockersootie (Paul Ward) 4, Curlew (CUCrC: Fiona Hampshire, Arthur Henderson and Honor Fell) 5, Whimbrel (Peter Snell) 6, Migrant (Charles Fisher and Richard & Carol Thompson) 7, Avocet (John Houghton) 8, Kingfisher (Graham Barnes and Tim Wood) 9, Harrier (Charles Prescot) 10, Archon (Sir Malcolm Green) Victory 1, Pelican (Hugh Pringle) 2, Zircon (Gareth Penn) 3, Variety (Janet Dee and Shaun Hopkins) 4, Ziva (Mark Dennington, Jo Dennington and Jim Downing) 5, Peregrine (Duncan Evans) 6, Shearwater (Russell Mead) 7, Zelia (Geoff & Sarah Dixon, Maxine Reeves and Hugh Winter) 8, Zinnia (John Scammell) 9, Zarena (Bill Arnold and John Hartley) 10, Zest (KF and SA Taylor) X One Design 1, Lass (John Tremlett, Jeremy Lear, Richard Jordan and Richard Bullo) 2, Silhouette (Tom Vernon) 3, Felix (Peter Taylor) 4, Lara (Willy McNeill and Ted Tredrea) 5, Princess Jalina (David Palmer) 6, Phoenix (Alastair Shaw) 7, Foxglove (Al & Jackie Ashford and Richard Neall) 8, Excalibur (Adrian Summers, Ian Paton and Philip Lawrence) 9, Gleam (James Meaning) 10, Zephyr (Jonathan Clark)
With winter weather persisting in northern parts of the U.S. and Europe, sailors could be envied for heading to the Caribbean to extend their racing calendars. As it is, over 60 yachts and crew are currently on the island of St Barths, in the French West Indies, preparing for tomorrow’s start of Les Voiles de St. Barth. The fourth edition of this regatta will offer up four days of racing on a mix of courses and a social schedule equally as demanding, with dockside entertainment each evening and a lay day (Thursday) full of activities at Nikki Beach on St. Jean Bay.
As it has for its prior three editions, Les Voiles de St. Barth again has drawn a competitive mix of international yachts and crews from the UK, USA, France, Italy, Ireland, The Netherlands, Belgium, and South Africa, as well as a strong Caribbean contingent from Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, Anguilla, Antigua, and Trinidad.
The inaugural event in 2010 drew 27 boats, and since then, entries have steadily grown as the media and sailing’s coconut telegraph helped spread the word. Event Director François Paul Tolède was enthusiastic as yachts tied up stern-to at the Quai General de Gaulle in Gustavia. “The atmosphere is great on shore and the weather looks perfect,” he said. “With 62 boats entered so far (registration closes at 5 p.m. today) and considering the current economic climate, the turnout shows what great regard the yacht owners have for the Voiles de Saint Barth.”
Tolède continued: “Luc Poupon (Course Director) has come up with some new courses, slightly longer in some cases, as many of the sailors wanted to spend more time on the water, and so racing will start a little earlier. We expect anywhere between 15 to 20+ knots of wind this week — ideal conditions for the fleet, which ranges from 24 feet (Melges) to 100 feet (the Swan 100 Varsovie).”
The fleet is divided into eight classes: Maxis; Spinnaker 1, 2, and 3; Melges 24; Non-Spinnaker; Classics; and Multi-hulls. Organizers can chose between 28 course variations, from 11 to 40 nautical miles. Racing begins tomorrow, Tuesday April 9, with the first signal at 1100.
Jim Swartz, owner/skipper of the TP52 Vesper, is the anointed “godfather” of this year’s regatta. An enthusiastic competitor, he has participated in all four editions. For Swartz it is a do-not-miss event. “The conditions are fabulous,” he said. “Sailing around this island is beautiful — the winds are always predictable, they are always a lot of fun, particularly when we get a good breeze on the back (windward) side of the island.” Sailing onboard Vesper will be former America’s Cup sailors Gavin Brady (tactician), Rob Salthouse (jib trim), Kazuhiko Sofuku (mid bow), and Jamie Gale (navigator), past Volvo Ocean Race crew.
After Vesper competed in the TP52 Worlds in Miami last month, the boat was shipped to St. Thomas to get it race ready and then delivered to St. Barths this week. “Les Voiles is always on our calendar,” Swartz said, “It’s the atmosphere — the racing is great, the people are great, as is the organization. It all runs very well. And the dining and shopping (for the ladies)…all that St. Barths is about, we enjoy the same thing!”
Over half the boats and skippers are return competitors. Notable new editions this year include Jens Kellinghusen’s Ker 51 Varuna, which has raced in the year since its launch at Kiel Week and Les Voiles de St. Tropez; the Volvo 60 Cuba Libre (ex-Heineken) in Non-Spinnaker (while the V60 Ambersail will be in Spinnaker 1); Phil Lotz’ Swan 42 Arethusa, which is fresh off winning the Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean; Jolt 2, a Baltic 45 that has already stretched its legs on the recent RORC Caribbean 600; in the Classic class, Heroina, a 74’ cold molded Frers design build in the ‘90s; and the 51’ Aage Nielsen-designed ketch Saphaedra, a seasoned ocean racer.
At this morning’s media briefing at Hotel Carl Gustaf on the hill overlooking the harbor of Gustavia, Nils Dufau, Vice President of the Collectivity of St. Barth’s and president for the Tourism Committee, said, “Les Voiles de St. Barth has become a formidable communication tool for our island as an up-market destination. This event conveys to all the “state of mind” of an island that has built up over time and which today has become a haven of peace and stability — the very basis of its reputation.”
In a further nod to this relatively new event, the Caribbean Sailing Association named Les Voiles de St. Barth and the BVI Spring Regatta “Best Events of 2012.”
This evening is the Skipper’s Briefing after which event organizers will kick off the week with the Opening Ceremony and party in the Race Village on the Quai General de Gaulle.
The event enjoys the continued support of watchmaker Richard Mille as well as sportswear brand Gaastra. Other event partners include leading St. Barth villa rental agency WIMCO, which offers a gorgeous portfolio of private villas for rent on St. Barth. WIMCO’s sponsorship includes presenting eight Les Voiles class winners with a complimentary week in one of their top villas, inclusive of a concierge ready to attend to every request.
MAXI Racing – MAXI Racing Cruising
Design : MAXI 80
Skipper: Tony McBRIDE
Design : Souther Wind 78
Skipper: Mark DICKER
Design : FARR
Skipper: Jose DIEGO-AROZAMENA
Design : Swan 100
Skipper: Tomek ULATOWSKI
Design : Swan 80
Skipper: Benjamin DAVITT
Design : TP 52
Skipper: Jim SWARTZ
Design : KER 51
Skipper: Jens KELLINGHUSEN
Design: VOLVO 60
Owner: Benedikt Clauberg
Owner: Patrick DEMARCHELIER- Skipper: Karl Spijker
Owner: James BLAKEMORE
Design: Swan 45
Skipper/Owner: Gideon MESSINK
Design: Farr Vo 60
Skipper: Simonas STEPONAVICIUS
Design: Beneteau First 40
Skipper: Christian ZUGEL
Design : J 125
Skipper: Greg SLYNGSTAD
Design: MELGES 24
Skipper: Antoine LEFORT
Design : MELGES 24
Skipper: Mowgli FOX
TEAM ISLAND WATER WORLD
Design : MELGES 24
Skipper: Frits BUS
Design : MELGES 24
Loa: 24 ‘
Skipper: Andrea SCARABELLI
Design : MELGES 24
Loa: 24 ‘
Skipper: John GIFFORD
Design : MELGES 24
Skipper: Didier Roulault/Bernard Sillem
Design: J 122
Skipper: Sergio SAGRAMOSO
VOILES au FEMININ
Design: J 109
Skipper: Sophie OLIVAUD
Design : A40
Skipper: Alain CHARLOT
Design: BALTIC 45
Skipper: Peter HARRISON
Design : X 34
Skipper: Raphael MAGRAS
Design : First 31,7
Skipper: Serge MAZEIRO
Design : BORDEAUX 60
Skipper: Nicolas CHALAPHY
Skipper: Alexis GUILLAUME
Design : DUFOUR 34
Skipper: Raymond MAGRAS
Design : SWAN 42
Skipper: Philip LOTZ
Design : JPK 9,60
Skipper: J-L LEFEBVRE
Design : DUFOUR 45
Skipper: Jean Michel MARZIOU
Design : FIRST 40,7
Skipper: John “Jack” WATSON
Performance Yacht Charter-Northern Child
Design : Swan 51
Skipper: Christian REYNOLDS
Design : B 28
Skipper: Jean-Michel FIGUERES
Ptits Filous Lipton
Design : A 40
Skipper: Philippe CHARRET
White Rhino Holdings
Design : Swan 56
Loa: 56 ‘
Skipper: Jack DESMOND
Design : Reichel Pugh 37
Loa: 37 ‘
Skipper: Peter PEAKE
MARTINIQUE PREMIERE – CREDIT MUTUEL
Design : SUNFAST 3200
Loa: 32 ‘
Skipper: Andrzej KOCHANSKI
Kick ‘em Jenny 2
Design : MELGES 32
Loa: 32 ‘
Skipper: Ian HOPE-ROSS
Design : J-105
Loa: 35 ‘
Skipper: Peter LEWIS
VOILES 44 CAVA
Design : POGO CLASS 40
Loa: 40 ‘
Skipper: Rodolphe SEPHO
Design : Beneteau 47
Loa: 47 ‘
Skipper: Alain CHARLOT
Design : Swan 57
Loa: 57 ‘
Skipper: Joan Navarro Guiu
Design : HANSE 47
Loa: 47 ‘
Skipper: Han de Bruyn Kops
Design : MARTEN 49
Loa: 49 ‘
Skipper: Steve CUCCHIARO
GIRLS for SAIL
Design : ELAN 37
Skipper: Annie O SULLIVAN
Design : X-612
Skipper: Nico CORTLEVER
Jaguar Island Water World
Design : J 120
Skipper: Ben JELIC
Design : Beneteau Sense 50
Skipper: Alexandria KILMON
Design : SWAN 57
Loa : 57′
Skipper: Bruno CHARDON
HOTEL CALIFORNIA TOO
Design : SANTA CRUZ 70
Loa : 70′
Skipper: Stephen C SCHMIDT
Design : MUMM 36
Loa : 36′
Skipper: Bernie EVAN-WONG
Design : DUFOUR 425 GL
Loa : 45′
Skipper: Pascal REY
Design : J/95
Loa : 31′
Skipper: Thomas MULLEN
Design : Beneteau 45 f
Loa : 45′
Skipper: Sir Robert VELASQUEZ
Design : JEANNEAU 44
Loa: 44 ‘
Skipper: Eduardo LENTZ
Design : First 300
Loa: 30 ‘
Skipper: Garth STEYN
Design : Swan 65
Loa: 65 ‘
Skipper: Alan EDWARDS
Skipper: Erik CLEMENT
Design: F 40
Skipper: Stéphane CATTONI
Design: Irens 63′ Trimaran
Skipper: Olivier VIGOUREUX
Design: Trimaran F40 Montesinos
Skipper: Bruno ESCALES
Design: W Class
Skipper: Donald TOFIAS
The Blue Peter
Design: Alfred MYLNE
Skipper: Mathew BARKER
Design: Classic wood ketch
Skipper: Jamie ENOS
Design : Frers
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.
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.”
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.
The 4th RORC Caribbean 600, starts at 1100 on Monday 20th February. There isn’t a single hotel room left near Antigua Yacht Club, as competitors fly in to the magical island of Antigua from all four corners of the world – Falmouth Harbour is filled to the brim with astounding yachts.
Niklas Zennström’s JV72, Rán, and George David’s RP90, Rambler, are the hot favourites for the RORC Caribbean Trophy, but the two highly impressive yachts are almost hidden in Falmouth Harbour. Rán were out practicing today and Navigator Steve Hayles reports that conditions were a bit lighter than usual, but he expects 15-20 knots of trade winds for the race with their weather routing predicting that they could finish the race in 48 hours, may be less.
RORC member, Stan Pearson has lived and sailed the sublime waters around Antigua for over 20 years. He was one of the creators of the RORC Caribbean 600 and will be racing this year on Adela, the 181′ twin masted schooner:
“I can’t remember ever seeing Nelson’s Dockyard and Falmouth Harbour with so many impressive yachts but I know why they are here; there is nowhere in the world quite like Antigua and the ‘600 is a real celebration of all that the Caribbean has to offer. The sailing is just fantastic; constant trade winds, warm water and air temperature in the high 20’s provides brilliant sailing, but this is a tough race. The course has a lot of corners and there is a lot of activity for the crews. Looking at the fleet, there are going to be some great duels going on, it is going to be a very competitive race.”
For the first time, a Volvo Open 70 will be competing in the RORC Caribbean 600. Some might suggest that the canting keel carbon fibre flyer could have been designed for this course. Ernesto Cortina’s Gran Jotiti has a highly talented Spanish crew and could well be a contender for line honours and an overall win.
IRC Zero has 16 entries and may well be the class to watch for the overall winner. George David’s Rambler 100 is the trophy holder and George David’s all-star crew will not be giving it up without a fight.
With a combined water line length that would soar 500ft above the Eiffel Tower, there are some truly amazing yachts in IRC Zero. The 214′ ketch Hetairos is an impressive sight. The crew of 36 have been out practicing all this week and on board there are enough sails to cover a full size football pitch. Sojana is expected to have a Superyacht duel with 124′ Pernini Navi, P2, owned by businessman and philanthropist, Gerhard Andlinger. Sojana was on mark laying duty today. The only laid mark of the course is the North Sails mark, off Barbuda. No doubt the crew, will be using the exercise to practice the first 45 miles of racing.
In the Spirit of Tradition class Adela will line up against Windrose. This will be the first time these magnificent yachts have raced against each other offshore, however Adela did get the better of Windrose in The Superyacht Challenge inshore regatta. A close battle with these two powerful yachts fully off the leash is a mouth-watering prospect. Past RORC Commodore, Andrew McIrvine and a team of 11 RORC members including current Commodore, Mike Greville, have chartered the 145ft Windrose.
The multihull record for the RORC Caribbean 600 has not been beaten since the inaugural race in 2009. The 63′ Trimaran, Paradox, skippered by Olivier Vigoureux says the six crew on board are out to ‘beat the current record’. The American, French and British crew members have raced in the Figaro Race, Transat Jacques Vabres, America’s Cup and Mini Transat.
Anders Nordquist’s Swan 90, Nefertiti, has an international crew including Rolex Middle Sea Race winner, Christian Ripard from Malta. They should have a close battle with Wendy Schmidt’s Swan 80, Selene, and Irish entry, RP78, Whisper.
There are a huge variety of yachts racing in IRC One, including Hound, skippered by Hound from Maine USA. The 60′ classic will be competing in the Caribbean 600 for the first time with a family crew of avid racers. Hound has competed in the last 8 Newport-Bermuda races, winning her class twice.
Ondeck’s 40.7 Spirit of Venus is chartered to the Royal Armoured Corp Offshore Racing Team. The majority of the 11 strong crew are part of the Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank Regiment which returned from Afghanistan last spring.
Lt Col Paul Macro RTR: “Soldiers have to work together as a team, under time pressure, when cold, wet and tired, in difficult and even dangerous conditions. The adventurous team spirit required by a successful offshore racing crew is the same as that required by the crew of a tank or any other armoured vehicle.”
There are four Class40s competing. Close duels are expected right through the fleet, but a hard fought and close encounter is expected in this class. Trade wind sailing provides perfect conditions for Class40s, with long reaches and downwind legs, these pocket rockets are capable of surfing at speeds of up to 25 knots. Class40s from America, Austria, France and Great Britain are taking on the 600 mile Caribbean odyssey; Tim Fetch’s Icarus Racing, Christophe Coatnoan’s Partouche, Andreas Hanakamp’s Vaquita and Peter Harding’s 40 Degrees, co-skippered by Hannah Jenner. The Class40s will be level-racing under their own rules. First to finish will claim the Concise Trophy; a full barrel of English Harbour rum.
IRC Two includes the smallest yacht in the fleet, Bernie Evan-Wong’s Mumm 36, High Tension. Antiguan dentist, Bernie has competed in all four RORC Caribbean 600 races, however last year, High Tension did not finish the race.
“It is definitely a case of unfinished business,” said Bernie. “We have actually used our downfall to modify the rig, so we have made something good out of the incident. Like many Antiguans, I am amazed how this race has developed since 2009, I have been sailing in the Caribbean for over 50 years and what has been really missing is a well-run, exciting offshore race. The RORC Caribbean 600 has provided that and made my dreams come true.”
The eight maxi and super yachts participating in the Transatlantic Superyacht Regatta – Transatlantic Maxi Yacht Cup crossed the starting line off Santa Cruz de Tenerife at 1 p.m. (GMT) today. The fourth edition of the event, this year organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and the International Maxi Association, will see the fleet of sailing giants navigating approximately 2700 miles to reach the finish line in Virgin Gorda where the YCCS is putting the finishing touches to its new Clubhouse, set to complement the Club’s existing superyacht marina on the island. Depending on weather conditions during the Atlantic crossing, the yachts may be expected to complete the course in approximately 8 to 10 days. Live tracking on the websites www.yccs.it and www.internationalmaxiassociation.com will show each yacht’s progress in real time.
Racing got underway today in 10 to 12 knots of north north-easterly breeze and only the Wally 107 Kenora chose to head south of the Island of Tenerife while the remainder of the fleet left the island to port. The race start, set against the backdrop of the Santiago de Calatrava Auditorium and the island’s volcanic peak Pico de La Teide, was a sight to behold thanks to the dimensions of some of the competing yachts such as the 66 metre Hetairos and the 50 metre Zefira, both recently launched. The remainder of the fleet is composed of two Wally yachts (Indio and Kenora ), two Swans (the Swan 60 Emma and the Swan 82 Grey Goose of Rorc); the Farr Sojana and the X-Yachts Karuba 5 .
“We are pleased that this regatta is bringing new life to the idea we had in 2007 when we chose Tenerife as the starting point of the first edition of the Transatlantic Maxi Yacht Cup. The finish line has been moved from Sint Maarten to Virgin Gorda thanks to the collaboration with the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, which is inaugurating its new Clubhouse in the British Virgin Islands.” Commented Gianfranco Alberini, Secretary General of the International Maxi Association.
“Having eight such magnificent maxi and super yachts on the starting line for the first crossing from Tenerife to Virgin Gorda is fantastic,” underlined Edoardo Recchi, Sports Director of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda. “Despite the difficult economic situation we have an exceptional fleet here, including the new Hetairos which is making its racing debut. We hope that our new Clubhouse and Marina in Virgin Gorda will fast become a reference point for maxi and super yachts in the Caribbean in the way that our base in Porto Cerva has been for many years.”
Since 1866, the cornerstone of offshore yacht racing has been transatlantic races, due, in part, to legendary yachts sailed by icons of the sport. Few, however, would disagree that the impending showdown between Rambler 100 and ICAP Leopard ranks right up there with the best battles of all time.
Sunday, July 3, the third and final start for the Transatlantic Race 2011 will commence at 1350 Eastern Daylight Time, when the warning signal is fired at Castle Hill Lighthouse. Six yachts will then begin this historic and epic race across the wilds of the Atlantic Ocean. The following day as 4th of July celebrations are underway ashore, the action out on the race course is sure to be every bit as explosive.
While Rambler 100 and ICAP Leopard, sailed by George David (Hartford, Conn.) and Clarke Murphy (New York, N.Y.), respectively, are likely to contest for line honors in the Transatlantic Race 2011, the other combatants are not just filling out the numbers. The conditions will play a big part in deciding the overall class winner in IRC Class One and the victor will claim the Cape May Trophy, which James Gordon Bennett – winner of the first-ever Transatlantic Race in 1866 — presented to the New York Yacht Club in 1872.
For Sojana, whose owner Peter Harrison (London, U.K.) is a member of New York Yacht Club, the Transatlantic Race 2011 is an opportunity to resolve unanswered questions.
“When they announced they were doing it again we were delighted to enter, because, for Sojana, it is unfinished business,” said skipper Marc Fitzgerald (Gurnard, U.K.). “We had a dramatic race in 2005. We had a medical evacuation when one of the crew broke his arm and we diverted to drop him off for surgery. We were leading our class at the time and lost 36 hours in the race. At that time we were on for the course record. Obviously we had no hesitation in getting treatment for the injured crew, but this race is unfinished business. That race was wet, windy and cold, which is not a problem on Sojana. We have hot showers, comfortable beds and proper food. If we have an advantage it will be in heavy air reaching and horrible conditions, simply because the conditions onboard the high performance race boats will be uncomfortable for their crew. We are a superyacht in with the racing yachts. We like playing with the big boys, but we are under no illusions, we are not even thinking about giving them a hard time. However, we did beat Leopard on corrected time in the RORC Caribbean 600, so it’s not impossible.”
Mark Thomas (Perth, Australia), watch captain on ICAP Leopard, gave an overview of the 100’ canting keel super maxi as final preparations were being made dockside.
“ICAP Leopard has a 47m cathedral rig,” said Thomas. “All of our mast locks are rated for 16 tons, which means the tack of the sail loads can take up to 14 tons. Leopard has got to have locking halyards – they take compression out of the rig and without them you would need to have massive halyards.”
Thomas added that the rigging is made from an exotic material called PBO and solid thermoset carbon fiber from Future Fibres. The running backstays cost roughly $8,000 each and are an essential part of trimming the sails, “however, the most important piece of equipment we have onboard is the toasted cheese sandwich machine. It will be a dark day when we run out of bread, as the rest of our rations are freeze dried.”
The young sailors on the Oakcliff All-American Offshore Team are absolutely thrilled to be taking part in this race and are reveling in the thought of crossing the start line with some of the legends of the sport. Vanquish, the Reichel Pugh 65, has two young women in crew — Kaity Storck and Molly Robinson – who are both in their twenties.
“Although I am just 65kg there is little I can’t do on the boat,” said Storck (Huntington, N.Y.), an Inter-collegiate Sailing Association All-American. “These sails are heavy and need a group of people to drag them into place. Weight distribution is also very important. The pedestal grinders onboard are very efficient and most of the time fitness is more important than brute strength. Also, when we need the weight off the rail, if one of the lighter crew comes down to trim the main, the boat doesn’t heel over as much. I have done a lot of match racing and 470 sailing before and the basic principles are just the same. One of the big differences is that when you race inshore, if you fall out with someone you can just walk away and resolve it later. In the middle of the Atlantic that is not an option, everybody has to get along, all the time. We all take part in many different roles onboard and for me to drive a 65’ racing yacht is fantastic.”
Prior to joining the Vanquish crew Robinson (San Francisco, Calif.) was primarily crewing on 29ers. “This is a big step up for me and very different. We might be bathing in sunshine now, but we could well be heading up into the northern latitudes where it will be cold and the weather can be pretty bad. We all realize how lucky we are to be part of this program and we hope that the team will be able to carry on after this race and compete in others such as the Rolex Fastnet Race.”
The Farr 80 Beau Geste, skippered by Karl Kwok (Hong Kong), was in fine form in the Annapolis Newport Race, beating both Rambler 100 and ICAP Leopard overall after time correction. Watch captain Gavin Brady (Auckland, New Zealand) is an America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race veteran who has been sailing with Kwok for many years: “The ideal conditions for us will be a variety of wind angles and wind speeds. The other yachts will prefer one type of condition the whole way across. Puma, for example, is half the weight of Beau Geste and will go better in light conditions. All of the canting keel boats have dagger boards that give zero leeway and in heavy upwind conditions, that is a big advantage. Virtually all of our competitors are extreme boats, but Beau Geste was designed for a variety of wind angles and if we get upwind, downwind and reaching conditions that would be our perfect scenario. I also think that it is important to stress that this race rewards good seamanship, handling the boat well and pre-empting changes will be rewarded and that’s a good thing. The overall winner will probably be the boat that is sailed the best; we should all get the result that our performance deserves.”
George David, skipper of Rambler 100, explained that his maxi yacht is a very complicated machine, and it takes a very high level of skill to sail it. “It has been a lot of fun to take a boat like this and modify it to improve it,” said David. “One of the biggest changes was to the sail plan. The forestay is now out on a bowsprit, which has increased the foot of the headsails by over four feet making the headsails 30% larger. The mainsail was reduced in size and these changes have allowed us to rebalance the boat, especially to get the bow out of the water to promote the boat onto the plane. The sprit is also designed to deflect water off the deck. In extreme conditions several tons of water can come down the deck; this affects performance and also can cause some serious problems for the crew. Green water smashing down the deck at 30 knots is not easy to work with.”
According to Tony Mutter (Auckland NZ) watch captain on PUMA Ocean Racing’s Mar Mostro, “this is a very important race for us. We will be racing with the full PUMA team and in full race mode. Time on the water is very important, as the rules for the next Volvo Ocean Race do not allow us to test with two boats, so this race will be part of our learning process with the boat. So far we have sailed about 3,000 miles in the new boat. The Transatlantic Race 2011, followed by the trip to our training camp in The Canaries will double our time on the water. We hope to get a variety of conditions to test the systems onboard and especially to look at a variety of sails. This is all extremely valuable training, but so is racing. Also with so many boats getting a head start it will give us something to go for. I don’t think we can catch them all but it will be a good motivation to push as hard as we can.”
Sponsors of the TR 2011 are Rolex, Thomson Reuters, Newport Shipyard, Perini Navi and Peters & May, with additional support by apparel sponsor Atlantis Weathergear.
For more information, visit http://www.transatlanticrace.org/.
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More about the Transatlantic Race 2011
The Transatlantic Race 2011 charts a 2,975 nautical mile course from Newport, R.I., to Lizard Point, South Cornwall, England. Pre-start activities will take place at the New York Yacht Club’s Harbour Court clubhouse in Newport, while awards will be presented at the Royal Yacht Squadron’s Cowes Castle clubhouse on the Isle of Wight. Three separate starts – June 26, June 29 and July 3 – will feature 30 boats ranging from 40 to 289 feet in length. In addition to winners in seven classes (IRC Class 1 Racer, IRC Class 2 Racer, IRC Class 3 Racer/Cruiser, IRC Class 4 Racer/Cruiser, Classic, Class 40, and Open), whichever yacht finishes the course with the fastest elapsed time will set the benchmark for a new racing record from Newport to Lizard Point, to be ratified by the World Speed Sailing Council. Rolex watches will be awarded to the record holder and the overall winner (on corrected time) under IRC.
The Transatlantic Race 2011 is also the centerpiece of the Atlantic Ocean Racing Series (AORS), which includes the Pineapple Cup – Montego Bay Race, RORC Caribbean 600, the Annapolis to Newport Race, Rolex Fastnet Race, Biscay Race and the Rolex Middle Sea Race. Of the seven races in the AORS, three races, including the TR 2011 must be completed to qualify for a series victory. Each race is weighted equally in overall series scoring with the exception of TR 2011, which is weighted 1.5 times. All entered yachts are scored using their two best finishes in addition to the TR 2011. Awards for the AORS will be presented in November, 2011, at the New York Yacht Club’s Annual Awards Dinner in Manhattan.
Having cheered on the first six yachts when they departed on the Transatlantic Race 2011 two days ago, the 14-strong group of yachts that will take the second of the three staggered starts now have less than 24 hours until they begin the race across the North Atlantic for themselves. The warning signal at 13:50 Eastern Daylight Time on Wednesday, June 29, will cue the largest group of yachts to depart, including the show-stopping Maltese Falcon, and spectators are guaranteed to see a unique sailing spectacle when the cannon is fired at Castle Hill Light.
Without doubt, tomorrow’s start will feature the most diverse battle of the race. The Open Class has just two yachts, but they are two of the showiest yachts in the race. Maltese Falcon, at 289’, is the largest yacht competing and is up against the only multihull entered in the race, Phaedo, the Gunboat 66 owned by Lloyd Thornburg (St. Barthelemy). The Lamborghini-orange catamaran and the futuristic Perini Navi will be a spectacular sight as they head off into the Atlantic.
In IRC Class Two, Jazz, a Cookson 50, has a star-studded crew including the highly experienced navigator, Mike Broughton (Hamble, U.K.), and skipper, Nigel King (Lymington, U.K.). Unfortunately, due to family commitments, owner Chris Bull is unable to make the trip. Two German teams on nearly identical yachts will also go head-to-head in the class: Christoph Avenarius and Gorm Gondesen’s Shakti and Jens Kellinghusen’s Varuna should virtually match race across the North Atlantic.
IRC Class Three will feature six yachts, including Snow Lion, the Ker 50 owned by former NYYC Commodore Lawrence Huntington (New York, N.Y.). Snow Lion is a proven winner, having won her class in the Newport Bermuda Race, and should be highly competitive on corrected time. There are, however, some real fliers in this class, not the least of which is Zaraffa, the Reichel Pugh 65 owned by Huntington Sheldon (Shelburne, Vt.), whose crew includes several veterans of the last edition of the Volvo Ocean Race. The Volvo 60 Ambersail, skippered by Simonas Steponavicius (Vilnius, Lithuania), is a much-travelled yacht having logged over 100,000 miles since being purchased in 2008 to celebrate a thousand years of Lithuanian history. After sailing around the world, Ambersail took part in the 2010 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race, winning class honors and placing second overall.
The youth entry from Germany, Norddeutsche Vermoegen Hamburg, will be helmed by Eike Holst whose third Transatlantic Race will be his first as skipper. And while the majority of the team aboard the Andrews 57 are university students in their 20s, two of the crew are just 18 years old. Many of sailors in the race were introduced to the sport as a family activity, which means the parents of these sailors, in particular, have a degree of understanding and ease with the undertaking at hand. That was not the case for Jerome Vigne, the Parisian-born mechanical engineering student who will have a very relieved mother welcoming him home to Germany.
Blending a comfortable interior with the performance of an Open 60 is Ourson Rapide, the Finot-Conq 60 owned by Paolo Roasenda (Vedano al Lambro, Italy). This is a special boat that should have a dream-like ride downwind. Scho-ka-kola, named for the German chocolate confection, is a Reichel Pugh 56 owned by Uwe Lebens (Hamburg) that has completed two previous Atlantic crossings.
Prodigy, a Simonis/Voog 54, is a proven winner. Owner Chris Frost (Durban, South Africa) took line honors in the 2011 Heineken Cape to Rio Race and will compete in the Rolex Fastnet Race, as well as the Rolex Middle Sea Race, as part of a year-long campaign. Of the 10 crew on Prodigy, two – including Aaron Gillespie (Butler, N.J.) and John Fryer (New York, N.Y.) – were recruited by Frost using the “Crew Finder” feature on the event’s website. It will be Gillespie’s first Transatlantic crossing.
The two smallest yachts in start two are both Class 40s: Dragon and Concise 2, the latter skippered by Ned Collier-Wakefield (Oxford, U.K.). Tony Lawson (Haslemere, Surrey, U.K.) assembled a crew of young aspiring sailors from Great Britain to make up Team Concise. The team has become a force to be reckoned with having won the 2009 Class 40 World Championship, set a world record for the Round Britain and Ireland course and taken class honors at the RORC Caribbean 600 for the last three years.
Dragon is the only boat racing across the Atlantic double-handed. Owner Michael Hennessy (Mystic, Conn.) has been an avid sailor ever since introduced to the sport by his father at the age of four on San Francisco Bay. Following college, Hennessy logged thousands of miles cruising along the New England coast before he started to focus on short-handed distance racing in 2002. Since then he has competed in four Newport Bermuda Races, as well as dozens of other races across New England. In 2008 he took notice of the fast growing Class 40 fleet and took delivery of his Owen Clarke-designed boat. In just two short years, Dragon has become a fixture on the ocean racing circuit. Joining Hennessy will be co-skippered Rob Windsor (East Northport, N.Y.) who grew up sailing with his family on Long Island Sound.
Sponsors of the TR 2011 are Rolex, Thomson Reuters, Newport Shipyard, Perini Navi and Peters & May, with additional support by apparel sponsor Atlantis Weathergear.
For more information, visit http://www.transatlanticrace.org/.