Musandam-Oman Sail Picture of Oman Sail - Musandam takes line honours at the 2015 Artemis Challenge (Photo © Mark Lloyd / Lloyd Images)

Musandam-Oman Sail Picture of Oman Sail – Musandam takes line honours at the 2015 Artemis Challenge (Photo © Mark Lloyd / Lloyd Images)

Oman Sail’s crew on flagship MOD70 trimaran Musandam-Oman Sail return to the race track on Saturday with their first big race of the season, the 2016 Myth of Malham off the south coast of England.

This English classic, run by the Royal Ocean Racing Club, is a weekend race starting at the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes with the top mark set at the Eddystone Lighthouse, some 12 miles south-west of Plymouth and the finish back in the Solent.

At 256 nautical miles, it may be a relatively short course but it will test the team, since the Solent and Channel are amongst the busiest shipping channels in the world and a hub of recreational boating and sailing in Britain with thousands of boats taking to the waters on a nice sunny day.

Musandam-Oman Sail (Photo © Mark Lloyd / Lloyd Images)

Musandam-Oman Sail (Photo © Mark Lloyd / Lloyd Images)

For the Musandam-Oman Sail crew which features Omani professionals Fahad Al Hasni, Sami Al Shukaili and Yassir Al Rahbi, plus skipper Sidney Gavignet, Damian Foxall and navigator Jean Luc Nelias, the race marks the transition from training to performance.

“All our preparations here this week have been about working efficiently round the clock, morning and evening, on the dock as well,” said Sidney Gavignet.

Sidney Gavignet, Skipper of Musandam-Oman Sail (Photo © Mark Lloyd / Lloyd Images)

Sidney Gavignet, Skipper of Musandam-Oman Sail (Photo © Mark Lloyd / Lloyd Images)

“We want everyone to perform. On our delivery runs, we have spent a lot of time teaching and experimenting but during the race, there will be no time for any of that. It will be time to perform and that requires a completely different state of mind.”

“It will be good preparation for the Round Ireland race next month.”

Musandam-Oman Sail, an ultra-fast trimaran, will be one of around 40 boats competing in the Myth of Malham but there is only one other contender in the fleet that Gavignet’s team want to beat and that is Team Concise, a rival British-owned MOD70 that recently set a new record in the Round Barbados Race.

“They have done a lot of racing in the Caribbean this year so it will be a very good contest but we have a good crew, and with some intensive training under our belt, we will be trying our best for a win,” added Gavignet.

Known as the mini-Fastnet, since it follows the same course through the Solent down to the 49-metre high Eddystone Lighthouse – which is mentioned in Herman Melville’s epic novel Moby-Dick – the Myth of Malham was named after the yacht of the same name, a 37’6″ sloop built in 1947 that went on to win the Fastnet race that year, and again two years later.

The Myth of Malham race starts on the morning of Saturday May 28 when the fleet will head west out of the Solent en route to the Eddystone Lighthouse before an exhilarating downwind ride back to the Solent under spinnaker.

“We can’t wait to get racing again and are looking forward to getting some speed up on Musandam-Oman Sail,” said Fahad Al Hasni, who is likely to be given helming duties.

“This is the first race of the season and we are keen to make an early impression. She’s a fast boat and because we have a few records under our belt, we know we can get the best out of her but we also know we will have to be at the top of our game to win.”

MOD70 Musandam-Oman Sail Programme

Myth of Malham: Starts Cowes, Isle of Wight – Saturday 28 May
Volvo Round Ireland Yacht Race: Starts Wicklow, Ireland – Saturday 18 June
Quebec – St Malo: Starts Quebec, Canada – Saturday 10 July

Trimaran MOD70 Musandam-Oman Sail (Photo © Mark Lloyd / Lloyd Images)

Trimaran MOD70 Musandam-Oman Sail (Photo © Mark Lloyd / Lloyd Images)

 

J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round The Island Race 2012 (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round The Island Race 2012 (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

Author: Peta Stuart-Hunt

Photos by Barry James Wilson
The  81st J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race set off from the Royal Yacht Squadron line, started by Olympic 470 sailor Hannah Mills, with over 1,600 boats heading in a westerly direction round the Isle of Wight.
The wind conditions are as forecast with most of the fleets starting in a moderate south-westerly breeze.  However, the forecast is for the wind to increase, with the predicted conditions having already put paid to racing for some of the smaller classes including sportsboats, J80s, 707s, SB20s (formerly known as SB3s) and the small MOCRA multihull fleet (LOA less than 9.15m).

(Photo by Barry James Wilson)

There was also a safety call made for all competitors to wear lifejackets.
The likes of Mike Slade’s 100ft Farr-designed superyacht – ICAP Leopard – revelled in the conditions and soon slotted in to her natural position at the head of the fleet. She led the fleet round the Needles but was soon challenged by last year’s line honours winner, Lionel Lemonchois and team on the Multi 50  Prince de Bretagne. However, first across the line at 10.19.57, just over one minute outside the overall record, finishing in 3hrs.09mins and 57secs, was former Mini Transat winner Yves Le Blevec on the Multi 50 trimaran – Actual.

(Photo by Barry James Wilson)

Elsewhere the fleet are battling the strong winds round the south of the island and as the day progresses there are a number of retirements. However, it is great to see the likes of Dame Ellen MacArthur on the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust’s boat Dark Star, which is a 90ft sloop loaned to the Trust for the day. She is currently the leading yacht in the Trust’s four-boat fleet.

(Photo by Barry James Wilson)

Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie at the helm of the 162ft schooner, Eleonora, is now round St Catherine’s Point and enjoying a final blast home to the finish.
The overall winners of the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race have been confirmed, with the 81st edition of the event bringing triumph for boats both large and small.

The winner of the prestigious Gold Roman Bowl for first boat overall on IRC handicap is Tony Langley’s TP52 Manroland Sheetfed. Competing in IRC 0, Manroland Sheetfed (aka Weapon of Choice) was the second monohull to complete the course, finishing in 4hrs, 42mins and 12secs to win on corrected time by just 3 minutes.

(Photo by Barry James Wilson)

Tony Langley’s crew held off a strong challenge by last year’s Gold Roman Bowl winner Sundowner.  Jo Hutchinson’s  Contessa 26 won IRC Division 3D by completing the course in 8hrs, 31mins and 17secs giving them a corrected time of just 3 minutes and 4 seconds slower than the TP52 and awarding them the Silver Roman Bowl for second overall in IRC.

Sundowner also faced a fierce challenge from another previous winner of the race, Ed Donald’s Madelaine, a Nordic Folkboat that won the Gold Roman Bowl in 2007. Racing in the same class, Madelaine finished just two and a half minutes behind Sundowner on the water, to take third overall on corrected time.

Line honours went to the Multi 50 trimaran Actual, which crossed the finish line at 10.19.57 this morning, finishing in a time of 3hrs, 09mins and 57secs to just miss out on the outright record set by Francis Joyon in 2001 by just 1min, 28secs.

Skipper Yves Le Blevec, a Jules Verne record and Mini Transat winner, said: “We had three objectives for this race. Firstly don’t break the boat, secondly don’t arrive behind Prince de Bretagne, and in third it was to arrive in 1st overall across the line. We had those three points but we didn’t think about the fourth point – which was the record, and we missed the record by very little!”
Blevec said they weren’t aware of how close to the record time they were as they neared the finish: “We didn’t check that before, and when we saw the time we realised it was very close. But it was a very nice race, and on the south of the island there was big waves and windy, very nice conditions.”

They were followed home by last year’s line honours winner Prince de Bretagne, while first monohull home was the current course record holder ICAP Leopard, who rounded the Island in 03hrs, 59mins and 04secs.

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J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round The Island Race 2012 (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round The Island Race 2012 (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

Author: Peta Stuart-Hunt

the  81st J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race set off from the Royal Yacht Squadron line, started by Olympic 470 sailor Hannah Mills, with over 1,600 boats heading in a westerly direction round the Isle of Wight.
The wind conditions are as forecast with most of the fleets starting in a moderate south-westerly breeze.  However, the forecast is for the wind to increase, with the predicted conditions having already put paid to racing for some of the smaller classes including sportsboats, J80s, 707s, SB20s (formerly known as SB3s) and the small MOCRA multihull fleet (LOA less than 9.15m).
J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round The Island Race 2012 by Barry James Wilson
There was also a safety call made for all competitors to wear lifejackets.
The likes of Mike Slade’s 100ft Farr-designed superyacht – ICAP Leopard – revelled in the conditions and soon slotted in to her natural position at the head of the fleet. She led the fleet round the Needles but was soon challenged by last year’s line honours winner, Lionel Lemonchois and team on the Multi 50  Prince de Bretagne. However, first across the line at 10.19.57, just over one minute outside the overall record, finishing in 3hrs.09mins and 57secs, was former Mini Transat winner Yves Le Blevec on the Multi 50 trimaran – Actual.
Elsewhere the fleet are battling the strong winds round the south of the island and as the day progresses there are a number of retirements. However, it is great to see the likes of Dame Ellen MacArthur on the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust’s boat Dark Star, which is a 90ft sloop loaned to the Trust for the day. She is currently the leading yacht in the Trust’s four-boat fleet.
J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round The Island Race 2012 (Photo by Barry James Wilson)
Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie at the helm of the 162ft schooner, Eleonora, is now round St Catherine’s Point and enjoying a final blast home to the finish.

The overall winners of the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race have been confirmed, with the 81st edition of the event bringing triumph for boats both large and small.

The winner of the prestigious Gold Roman Bowl for first boat overall on IRC handicap is Tony Langley’s TP52 Manroland Sheetfed. Competing in IRC 0, Manroland Sheetfed (aka Weapon of Choice) was the second monohull to complete the course, finishing in 4hrs, 42mins and 12secs to win on corrected time by just 3 minutes.

Tony Langley’s crew held off a strong challenge by last year’s Gold Roman Bowl winner Sundowner.  Jo Hutchinson’s Contessa 26 won IRC Division 3D by completing the course in 8hrs, 31mins and 17secs giving them a corrected time of just 3 minutes and 4 seconds slower than the TP52 and awarding them the Silver Roman Bowl for second overall in IRC.

Sundowner also faced a fierce challenge from another previous winner of the race, Ed Donald’sMadelaine, a Nordic Folkboat that won the Gold Roman Bowl in 2007. Racing in the same class, Madelaine finished just two and a half minutes behind Sundowner on the water, to take third overall on corrected time.

J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round The Island Race 2012 (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round The Island Race 2012 (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

Line honours went to the Multi 50 trimaran Actual, which crossed the finish line at 10.19.57 this morning, finishing in a time of 3hrs, 09mins and 57secs to just miss out on the outright record set by Francis Joyon in 2001 by just 1min, 28secs.

Skipper Yves Le Blevec, a Jules Verne record and Mini Transat winner, said: “We had three objectives for this race. Firstly don’t break the boat, secondly don’t arrive behind Prince de Bretagne, and in third it was to arrive in 1st overall across the line. We had those three points but we didn’t think about the fourth point – which was the record, and we missed the record by very little!”

Blevec said they weren’t aware of how close to the record time they were as they neared the finish: “We didn’t check that before, and when we saw the time we realised it was very close. But it was a very nice race, and on the south of the island there was big waves and windy, very nice conditions.”They were followed home by last year’s line honours winner Prince de Bretagne, while first monohull home was the current course record holder ICAP Leopard, who rounded the Island in 03hrs, 59mins and 04secs.

Starry Night by Barry James Wilson

Starry Night by Barry James Wilson

 

Mariette ( Photo by Barry James Wilson)

Mariette ( Photo by Barry James Wilson)

by    Peta Stuart-Hunt

The 2nd running of the Westward Cup commenced on the water today at 1100hrs, bringing together the cream of the world’s Big Class yachts in a blaze of excitement and anticipation of some great racing in Solent waters for the owners and their guests. Eleonora, Mariette and Mariquita also created a breathtaking sight for the spectators on Cowes Parade and Princes Green as the yachts prepared for their start on the Royal Yacht Squadron line.

Mariquita  (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

Mariquita (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

The Westward Cup is being run by the Royal Yacht Squadron (RYS), the New York Yacht Club (NYYC) and the Yacht Club de Monaco (YCM). These three prestigious clubs have again joined forces to revive Big Class yachting in Cowes and Mr Zbynek Zak, the originator of the event in 2010 celebrating the 100th anniversary of the launch of the racing schooner Westward in 1910, says he is equally proud and delighted to be back in Cowes.

Eleonora (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

Eleonora (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

As the boats set up for racing they made a stunning sight off the The Castle as they powered up under full sail in a northerly breeze of 15-18 knots heading off into the western Solent with Mariette as the front runner. The course of 29nm saw the fleet experience variable wind speeds with winds decreasing severely as the race progressed and Eleonora fell behind with Mariette and Mariquita enjoying a spot of match racing.

Eleonora (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

Eleonora (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

David Aisher, Principal Race Officer, commenting after racing this afternoon, said, ‘Conditions were terrific first thing, but the wind went left, later abated and was recorded at 5 knots at one point which made it a struggle for the largest boat in the fleet, Eleonora.’

Largest in the fleet Eleonora (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

Largest in the fleet Eleonora (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

The two ‘smaller’ yachts were racing with their full race crew complement today plus their guests whilst Eleonora are also hosting a group of young sailors between the ages of 18 to 23 on board this week. They are novices to this type of racing and have been invited by the RYS and NYYC to introduce some new blood into classic yacht racing.
Mariquita took line honours finishing at 14.31.43, closely followed by Mariette 14.35.16 with Eleonora completing her first day’s racing in Cowes at 15.20.34.

Classic Mariquita (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

Classic Mariquita (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

On corrected time, the final positions after Day One are:
1st Mariette
2nd Mariquita
3rd Eleonora

Mariette in the Westward Cup (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

Mariette in the Westward Cup (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

Mariette  (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

Mariette (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

Mariquita (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

Mariquita (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

Vanquish at start of Newport to Bermuda Race (Photo by George Bekris)

Vanquish (Photo by George Bekris)

 

While the water views from anywhere along Newport Harbor (R.I.) are already magnificent, they will be absolutely breathtaking in late June and early July when 32 ocean-going yachts set sail in the Transatlantic Race 2011, which charts a course that stretches 2,975 nautical miles from Newport to Lizard Point, at the end of a peninsula in South Cornwall (UK).  This history-making event is organized by the Royal Yacht Squadron, New York Yacht Club, Royal Ocean Racing Club and Storm Trysail Club, with pre-start activities taking place at the New York Yacht Club’s Harbour Court clubhouse in Newport and the awards taking place at the Royal Yacht Squadron’s Cowes Castle clubhouse on the Isle of Wight.

 The fleet runs the gamut from sleek traditional designs, such as the 94’ William Fife-designed Sumurun, to sophisticated super yachts, such as the 289’ custom Perini Navi clipper sailing yacht Maltese Falcon, with three masts so tall (190’) they barely clear Newport’s towering Pell Bridge, which serves as a gateway to Rhode Island’s famous City by the Sea.  And as those who are veterans of ocean racing will attest, crossing the Atlantic Ocean is no small feat, especially when storms, testing seas and even icebergs (still a danger in the North Atlantic in June) are included in the mix of challenges encountered.

 “What I find so incredible with open-ocean racing is that there are very few things that you can do these days that are the same as what people did 400 years ago,” said Sumurun’s owner Robert Towbin . “You have such a sense of history when you’re out there and for a couple weeks you get to feel, in effect, the same way Columbus felt.”

 Towbin has sailed Sumurun in two previous transatlantic races, winning the Classic Division in the 2005 Rolex Transatlantic Challenge and taking overall victory in the 1997 Atlantic Challenge Cup presented by Rolex.  He is currently preparing his classic yacht, which was built in 1914, to endure what will be its first challenge of the 2011 sailing season.  “If you have an older boat, a race of this complexity takes a lot out of it, so we are putting a lot of work into it to get it up to date,” said Towbin.

Three separate starts – June 26, June 29, and July 3 – are planned (Sumurun will be in the first start) to “stagger” the yachts of different sizes and ability so that they will arrive in England in proximity to each other. Challenging their crews both mentally and physically, the larger boats hope to finish the race in 8 to 12 days, while the smaller boats may take up to 18 to 22 days to finish. 

 In addition to class winners, 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.

 It’s anyone’s guess which of the true racing thoroughbreds entered might prevail.  Among them, scheduled to depart in the final race group, are the VOR 70 crewed by PUMA Ocean Racing Team, the Newport-based second-place finisher in the 2008-09 Volvo Ocean Race and entrant in the next edition as well; Rambler 100, George David’s  maxi rocket ship that has been tearing up race courses since the beginning of the year, including breaking the record for the RORC Caribbean 600 and taking line honors at the Pineapple Cup-Montego Bay Race; and ICAP Leopard, which holds the current record from Ambrose Light to Lizard Point for monohulls using powered sailing systems. 

 And if that’s not impressive enough, there will be two all-youth teams competing, one from Germany (aboard the Andrews 56 Norddeutsche Vermoegen in race start two) and one from the U.S.A. (the All American Offshore Team’s IRC 65 Vanquish in race start three).  In addition, four Class 40s, high-performance monohulls designed specifically for shorthanded sailing, will have their own class (starting in the second group).

NYYC International Cup (Photo by Dan Nerney / NYYC)

NYYC International Cup (Photo by Dan Nerney / NYYC)

It took the Corinthian sailing world by storm in 2009, and its impact promises to be even greater when it returns again to the shores of Newport, R.I. this September 10-17.  The New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup presented by Rolex will host 19 yacht club teams representing 13 nations from six different continents in the ultimate sailing contest among amateur competitors proudly representing their homelands.

 

“There are many returning as well as new entries,” said Event Chair John Mendez, “and they are coming from as far away as South Africa, Portugal and Argentina.  Just like in the halcyon days of the America’s Cup, competitors must be non-professional (Corinthian) sailors and members of the yacht clubs they represent; they must also be nationals of their countries.”

 

Mendez explained that the top-five finishers from the 2009 New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup received automatic berths for the 2011 event, and all have accepted. They are (in order of finish) the New York Yacht Club (USA); Royal Canadian Yacht Club (CAN); Japan Sailing Federation (JAP); Nyländska Jaktklubben (FIN) and Royal Cork Yacht Club (IRL).

New entries include the Yacht Club Argentino (ARG); Cruising Yacht Club of Australia; Yacht Club Capri (ITA), Yacht Club Punta Ala (ITA), Clube Naval de Cascais (POR); Royal Cape Yacht Club (SA) and Itchenor Sailing Club (GBR). 

Also returning from 2009 are the Royal Yacht Squadron (GBR); Royal Bermuda Yacht Club (BER); Yacht Club Italiano (ITA) and Real Club Nautico de Barcelona (ESP). 

Rounding out the fleet will be three additional U.S. teams that were determined by the outcome of a 24-club U.S. Qualifying Series held at the NYYC in September 2010: Eastern Yacht Club (Marblehead, Mass.); Annapolis Yacht Club (Annapolis, Md.) and Newport Harbor Yacht Club (Newport Beach, Calif.).

 

The event will again be sailed in NYYC Swan 42s on Rhode Island Sound and Narragansett Bay, with the headquarters being the NYYC’s Harbour Court clubhouse overlooking Newport Harbor.  In addition to Rolex, which for 2011 and 2013 is the presenting sponsor, Sperry Top-Sider and Nautor’s Swan have also returned as sponsors to enhance the experience of competitors as well as those who will be following the races.

 

“The inaugural event was tough and demanding, allowing yacht club teams from around the world to display the competitive skills of their best sailors,” said Mendez.  “And with the help of our sponsors and the enthusiasm and patriotism shown by the teams, it was an experience for the contenders that cannot be duplicated by any other event in the world.”

 

Among the high-profile skippers returning to the competition this year are Makoto Uematsu (Japan Sailing Federation); Leonardo Ferragamo (Nyländska Jaktklubben); Anthony O’Leary (Royal Cork Yacht Club); and Mark Watson (Royal Bermuda Yacht Club), who finished third through sixth, respectively.  The NYYC, which won the inaugural event with Phil Lotz (Newport, R.I./New Canaan, Conn.) skippering, will hold a sail-off to determine its 2011 team, as will many of the other clubs that have accepted invitations.

 

In anticipating the challenge for 2011, returning skipper Leonardo Ferragamo said, “It would be difficult to imagine a venue more evocative of the great sailing challenges than Newport, Rhode Island, where the America’s Cup was held from 1930-1983.  The New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup is an innovative event focused on fair and gentlemanly competition, outstanding organization and high-caliber international exposure. It is difficult to find a parallel event in the world of sport, and I believe it has already become a lighthouse in the world of international sailing competitions.”

Day 4 Racing 2009 NYYC Invitational Cup (Photo by Dan Nerney/NYYC)

Day 4 Racing 2009 NYYC Invitational Cup (Photo by Dan Nerney/NYYC)

NYYC International Cup (Photo by Dan Nerney / NYYC)

NYYC International Cup (Photo by Dan Nerney / NYYC)

It took the Corinthian sailing world by storm in 2009, and its impact promises to be even greater when it returns again to the shores of Newport, R.I. this September 10-17.  The New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup presented by Rolex will host 19 yacht club teams representing 13 nations from six different continents in the ultimate sailing contest among amateur competitors proudly representing their homelands.

 “There are many returning as well as new entries,” said Event Chair John Mendez, “and they are coming from as far away as South Africa, Portugal and Argentina.  Just like in the halcyon days of the America’s Cup, competitors must be non-professional (Corinthian) sailors and members of the yacht clubs they represent; they must also be nationals of their countries.”

 Mendez explained that the top-five finishers from the 2009 New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup received automatic berths for the 2011 event, and all have accepted. They are (in order of finish) the New York Yacht Club (USA); Royal Canadian Yacht Club (CAN); Japan Sailing Federation (JAP); Nyländska Jaktklubben (FIN) and Royal Cork Yacht Club (IRL).

New entries include the Yacht Club Argentino (ARG); Cruising Yacht Club of Australia; Yacht Club Capri (ITA), Yacht Club Punta Ala (ITA), Clube Naval de Cascais (POR); Royal Cape Yacht Club (SA) and Itchenor Sailing Club (GBR).

Also returning from 2009 are the Royal Yacht Squadron (GBR); Royal Bermuda Yacht Club (BER); Yacht Club Italiano (ITA) and Real Club Nautico de Barcelona (ESP).

Rounding out the fleet will be three additional U.S. teams that were determined by the outcome of a 24-club U.S. Qualifying Series held at the NYYC in September 2010: Eastern Yacht Club (Marblehead, Mass.); Annapolis Yacht Club (Annapolis, Md.) and Newport Harbor Yacht Club (Newport Beach, Calif.).

 The event will again be sailed in NYYC Swan 42s on Rhode Island Sound and Narragansett Bay, with the headquarters being the NYYC’s Harbour Court clubhouse overlooking Newport Harbor.  In addition to Rolex, which for 2011 and 2013 is the presenting sponsor, Sperry Top-Sider and Nautor’s Swan have also returned as sponsors to enhance the experience of competitors as well as those who will be following the races.

 “The inaugural event was tough and demanding, allowing yacht club teams from around the world to display the competitive skills of their best sailors,” said Mendez.  “And with the help of our sponsors and the enthusiasm and patriotism shown by the teams, it was an experience for the contenders that cannot be duplicated by any other event in the world.”

Among the high-profile skippers returning to the competition this year are Makoto Uematsu (Japan Sailing Federation); Leonardo Ferragamo (Nyländska Jaktklubben); Anthony O’Leary (Royal Cork Yacht Club); and Mark Watson (Royal Bermuda Yacht Club), who finished third through sixth, respectively.  The NYYC, which won the inaugural event with Phil Lotz (Newport, R.I./New Canaan, Conn.) skippering, will hold a sail-off to determine its 2011 team, as will many of the other clubs that have accepted invitations.

 In anticipating the challenge for 2011, returning skipper Leonardo Ferragamo said, “It would be difficult to imagine a venue more evocative of the great sailing challenges than Newport, Rhode Island, where the America’s Cup was held from 1930-1983.  The New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup is an innovative event focused on fair and gentlemanly competition, outstanding organization and high-caliber international exposure. It is difficult to find a parallel event in the world of sport, and I believe it has already become a lighthouse in the world of international sailing competitions.”

 Sailing World magazine agreed when it wrote, “The New York Yacht Club pulled out all the stops for its first Invitational Cup, creating what is sure to become a high-profile Corinthian Classic.”

Day 4 Racing 2009 NYYC Invitational Cup (Photo by Dan Nerney/NYYC)

Day 4 Racing 2009 NYYC Invitational Cup (Photo by Dan Nerney/NYYC)

Paul Campbell-James and Muscat Crew Wins Extreme 40 Cowes (Photo by Mark LLoyd / Lloyd Images / OC Events)

Paul Campbell-James and The Wave, Muscat Crew Wins Extreme 40 Cowes (Photo by Mark LLoyd / Lloyd Images / OC Events)

Paul Campbell-James on The Wave, Muscat has won the UK Round of the Extreme Sailing Series at Cowes Week – the first ever regatta win for the youngest skipper on the circuit – claiming an OMEGA Seamaster Planet Ocean watch as part of the prize as top Skipper for the UK round.  Thirty-six races over six days in front of 60,000+ spectators – the UK round of the five-stop circuit has delivered everything that the Extreme Sailing Series is about. Spectacular, adrenalin-pumping action on the water, enthralling the thousands of spectators who packed into the Extreme Race Village at Egypt Point and along The Esplanade.

The conditions throughout the event have demanded the utmost focus and physical effort from the nine competing teams and today was no exception with 20-25 knots of south-westerly breeze across the short race course and a choppy sea state.  Classic conditions for a potential pitch-pole or capsize and the crews knew it, racing with one reef in the mainsail and an extra fifth pro crew to add a bit of extra weight. The top mark proved a dangerous turning mark as they hoisted their giant gennakers to head downwind at full pelt – the crews ready in a second to ease the sails if the bows dug into the waves too deep.

Going into the fifth and final double points race of the day, Paul Campbell-James and his crew had almost done enough to keep the lead from Britain’s Mike Golding, but they had to finish the race – zero points and Ecover would claim the top spot. As it was the team did enough, scoring a 4th in the final race, to win the UK round of the Extreme Sailing Series on 249 points: “We knew if we capsized it would be the end of the regatta so pretty pleased to get through it,” said a relieved Campbell-James on the podium. 

Extreme 40 Sailing Series Fleet (Photo by Paul Weyth/ OC Events)

Extreme 40 Sailing Series Fleet (Photo by Paul Weyth/ OC Events)

But the Ecover team is ecstatic with their second overall place, their best result to date and appreciated the home crowd support: “It’s been great to have the support from the shore – you can even hear the yells and shouts from on board the boat,” said Golding. Tornado Olympic sailors Leigh McMillan and Will Howden have bought a new performance level to Mike’s team, who stepped back to allow the McMillan take the helm. It was a shrewd move and Golding’s team are really starting to gel, and will certainly be a force to contend with in the future.  Yann Guichard’s men on Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, winners at the first round in France, always excel in light airs but struggle at times in heavy conditions. A final win in the last race would have lifted their spirits to secure third overall on the podium.

A real battle developed mid-leaderboard between Loick Peyron on Oman Sail Masirah, Red Bull Extreme Sailing and Groupama 40. Only a handful of points separated these three going into the final race. Peyron secured fourth overall, although he never really got into his stride here, and Roman Hagara on Red Bull Extreme Sailing claimed 5th and although lacked consistency they, nonetheless, scored six bullets, ahead of the fastest man round the planet Franck Cammas on Groupama 40.  Groupama 40 provided the most dramatic moment of the UK round on the second day when the 40-foot catamaran careered towards the concrete sea wall without steerage. Franck and the crew had no option but to leap to safety.

Team GAC Pindar, who had the satisfaction of claiming some race wins here, proving that when they get it right they are competitive, finished in 7th place ahead of Roland Jourdain’s Veolia Environnement who is competing in the UK round as a one-off experience (for now!).  For the co-creator of the Extreme 40 class, Mitch Booth and the Team Ocean Racing Club, it proved to be a disastrous regatta, breaking their front beam ahead of the penultimate day and then having to sit and watch the other eight boats have some of the best racing this circuit has ever seen.

The Wave, Muscat’s victory here means they now share the top spot on the overall Series leaderboard with 14 points apiece.  Two points behind Oman Sail Masirah on 12 points.

Next stop for the Extreme Sailing Series is Kiel in Germany between 26-29 August.