Groupama Extreme 40 Photo by Lloyd Images

Groupama Extreme 40 and Team Aberdeen Asset Management crash in Singapore , (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Biggest gust of the day sees Team Aberdeen Singapore plough into the back of Groupama sailing team !
Alinghi dominates the racing in a way rarely seen on this event, but The Wave, Muscat win half the days races, chasing them hard in second.
Groupama expecting to be back on the racetrack tomorrow – update on Team Aberdeen Singapore to follow in the next two hours.

The penultimate days racing in Singapore delivered possibly one of the most dramatic moments in the eight-year history of Extreme Sailing Series™. In winds that were varying from 5 to 23 knots across the racecourse, Team Aberdeen Singapore caught one of the biggest gusts of the day as they came into the finish line struggling to hold off the pace and ploughing into the back of France’s Groupama sailing team. The Extreme 40 pitlane, built on part of Singapore’s F1 track, is busy tonight with Groupama fully expecting to be back on the racetrack with a new mast. However, the damage assessment is not yet complete on Team Aberdeen Singapore. A full update will be available within the next two hours.

Groupama sailing team skipper, Franck Cammas, explained what happened: “We had big gusts and as we were finishing a gybe we saw Aberdeen come really fast from behind and that’s the moment when they came over us breaking the mast. Besides the broken mast the damage is not too serious and it is mainly on the mast, the mainsail, the jib and a hole on the trampoline so I think we will be able to race tomorrow with another mast. Tanguy Cariou is the only crew member hurt but it’s only superficial injuries. He was in the middle of the trampoline where the boat fell, which was the worst spot. Three crew members jumped off the boat. It’s the risk of racing. What is tricky here is that the wind is quite strong and very gusty which is difficult to anticipate. It’s not easy.”

Groupama Extreme 40  and Team Aberdeen Asset Management crash in Singapore , (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Groupama Extreme 40 and Team Aberdeen Asset Management crash in Singapore , (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Six races were sailed that saw Leigh McMillan’s team The Wave, Muscat up their game, winning 50% of the days races, and locking their sights on current event leaders, Alinghi.  “Everything is going so fast, as you can see from the shore with the few clashes out there, and it’s all about improving communication,” commented McMillan. “The dynamics on the boat every race, every day, is coming together very nicely. It’s a great performance and we’re happy that we’re putting in good results. We’re fighting for podium spot, which is exactly where we want to be. We want to keep doing the same thing, finding how to work as a team. Overall great performance from everyone today and we’ll keep going to get that spot.”

Alinghi will lead the fleet going into the final day, having sat in pole position since race nine, but despite a 31-point cushion at the top of the leaderboard, helm Morgan Larson is all to aware how quickly things can change on the Stadium Racecourse. “We’re never fully confident with sailors of this calibre! But we’re happy with the way we’re sailing right now. It was a magical day. We put ourselves in a few risky situations and nearly collided with Emirates Team New Zealand but the guys did an amazing job on our boat and let the sails out to try and keep behind, flying our hull right over. That is the kind of teamwork that has gotten us where we are and we hope that tomorrow we can keep sailing this way and stay out of trouble.”

Team Aberdeen Singapore are currently assessing the damage, and a full update as to whether they will be back on the racetrack tomorrow will be available at approximately 2200 local time in Singapore.

Extreme Sailing Series™ 2014 Act 1, Singapore standings after Day 3, 21 races (22.02.14)
Position / Team / Points
1st Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, Stuart Pollard, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 163 points.
2nd The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Kinley Fowler, Nasser Al Mashari 132 points.
3rd Realstone (SUI) Jérôme Clerc, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Bruno Barbarin, Thierry Wassem, Sebastien Stephant 130 points.
4th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans-Peter Steinacher, Mark Bulkeley, Nick Blackman, Haylee Outteridge 117 points.
5th Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) Dean Barker, Glenn Ashby, James Dagg, Jeremy Lomas, Edwin Delaat 117 points.
6th Groupama sailing team (FRA) Franck Cammas, Sophie de Turckheim, Tanguy Cariou, Thierry Fouchier, Devan Le Bihan 104 points.
7th J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) Ben Ainslie, Nick Hutton, Paul Goodison, Pippa Wilson, Matt Cornwell 103 points.
8th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Peter Wibroe, Nicolai Sehested 95 points.
9th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Paul Campbell-James, Alister Richardson, Pete Cumming, Aleksey Kulakov 89 points.
10th Oman Air (OMA) Rob Greenhalgh, Tom Johnson, Will Howden, Hashim Al Rashdi, Musab Al Hadi 88 points.
11th GAC Pindar (AUS) Seve Jarvin, Troy Tindill, Ed Smyth, Sam Newton, Alexandra South 49 points.
12th Team Aberdeen Singapore (SIN) Nick Moloney, Adam Beashel, Scott Glen Sydney, Tom Dawson, Justin Wong 47 points.

Groupama Extreme 40  and Team Aberdeen Asset Management crash in Singapore , (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Groupama Extreme 40 and Team Aberdeen Asset Management crash in Singapore , (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Alinghi , Extreme Sailing Series Act 2 , Singapore 2013 Winners

 

– Alinghi victorious with more race wins on the world-famous Marina Bay Reservoir than any other team including the deciding final double-pointer
– Danish-duo on fire as SAP Extreme Sailing Team secure first ever podium finish
– Red Bull Sailing Team hold nerve to finish in second and now share spoils at the top of the Series leader board with Alinghi
– Watch how today’s Act changing final race played out here 

Morgan Larson and his Swiss team Alinghi sailed a faultless regatta at Act 2 of the Extreme Sailing Series™ in Singapore on one of the most memorable stadium race courses the Extreme 40 fleet have ever sailed on to claim overall victory in this truly spectacular Asian city. Only one race was sailed on the final day in typical light wind Singaporean conditions but it was one of the most-tense final races ever in the seven-year history of the Series with any of the teams capable of a podium position going into the race.

Shortly after the fleet left the dock and due to the lack of breeze, Race Committee made the call to run non-points scoring exhibition races, and as the racing was all but abandoned the wind filled in, and the committee were able to complete one more race which changed the face of the Act results. According to the SAP analytics, at different stages during the final race, four teams including Alinghi (SUI), Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT), SAP Extreme Sailing (DEN) and Realteam (SUI) were all in podium positions with the constant shuffling of the leader board making it anyone’s game. Morgan Larson, who has led the pack since race six, was unflappable and his Swiss team claim a deserved win, their first win since Almeria in 2011. “We’re ecstatic! It’s just been a great week for the team. We had a great time here in Singapore which really helped us to perform. It’s a great city, with tough sailing conditions, but that’s the same for everybody and we just had that little bit of luck along the way and we also did a great job.”

Roman Hagara’s Red Bull Sailing Team posed the biggest threat to Larson today, but Hagara knew it was a big ask to overhaul the Swiss in a single race and did well to hold his nerve to finish second, equalling his result from Act 1 in Muscat. “It’s always tough when you don’t know when the last race is going to happen, but it worked out well for us and it’s great for the team. They did a great job on the boat. I think they really deserved it and it’s great for the overall standing now.” Red Bull Sailing Team are now tied on points with Alinghi at the top of the overall Series leader board.

Four days of challenging, light winds on Marina Bay required patience, nerves of steel and a cool head from the Extreme 40 sailors, which SAP Extreme Sailing Team had by the bucket load. The Danish squad came into the final day tied on points with The Wave, Muscat in third place after their best performance on the Series to date yesterday, and a third place in today’s race saw the team secure their first ever podium position in third. Co-Skipper and tactician Rasmus Kostner was beaming after racing. “It’s fantastic, I think it is a real milestone for SAP Extreme Sailing Team and we’re really happy with a podium finish here. We’ve been looking for that for a long time.” The icing on the cake for the Danish team is to upgrade from seventh to fourth on the overall Series leader board.

Jérome Clerc, in what is only his second Extreme 40 Act at the helm of Realteam, may have had a hard start to the regatta finishing the second day in seventh place, but over the last two days the 2012 D35 champion hit the accelerate button and a second place in today’s race ultimately led his team to a fourth place finish overall. “We really didn’t expect to see these kind of results so early on in the season but it’s really great! We’ve made a lot of improvements since Oman, the crew did a great job the last two days and I think after today we can confirm we are really improving as a team! We can play against the best for the podium position in the light wind conditions, so now we will have to see if we can manage this in Qingdao.”

The biggest surprise of the day perhaps came from The Wave, Muscat. Known for their ability to fight back on the final day, today’s single race just wasn’t enough for skipper Leigh McMillan and a poor start ultimately cost them the podium as a deflated McMillan explained, “That race was all decided on the start. We thought we had a good strategy, it just didn’t quite pan-out for us. The fleet got away and there were no options to come back into the race so it was decided there and then.”

The invitational entry Team Aberdeen Singapore, supported by Local Event main partner Aberdeen Asset Management, were the local stars of the show, with the Singaporeans coming out to support them in their thousands, as well as the fans watching the racing live from home on national broadcaster Starhub Sports Arena. The entertainment was non-stop in Singapore with the NeilPryde Windsurf Racing Series and a public Race Village which over the course of the event had live music and performances from local acts. Helm of the local team Robert Greenhalgh, who returned to the Series this year after a five-year hiatus, summed up the feeling amongst the fleet. “It’s been great being in Singapore, it’s a great venue for this format of racing. There’s been lots of locals watching the racing and I’m sure next year will be bigger and better!” Watch a video as Team Aberdeen Singapore take a ride on the world famous Singapore Flyer here.

Next, the global road show moves on to Qingdao, China’s Olympic sailing city, a regular on the Extreme Sailing Series as the fleet return for the third consecutive year, 2nd-5th May 2013.

Extreme Sailing Series 2013 Act 2, Singapore standings after Day 4, 23 races (14.04.13)
Position / Team / Points
1st Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, Stuart Pollard, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 198 points.
2nd Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans Peter Steinacher, Matthew Adams, Pierre Le Clainche, Graeme Spence 163 points.
3rd SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Kostner, Pete Cumming, Mikkel Røssberg, Nicolai Sehested 161 points.
4th Realteam (SUI) Jérome Clerc, Bruno Barbarin, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Cédric Schmidt, Bryan Mettraux 159 points.
5th The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Ed Smyth, Pete Greenhalgh, Musab Al Hadi, Hashim Al Rashdi 153 points.
6th Team Korea (KOR) Peter Burling, Blair Tuke, Mark Bulkeley, Sungwok Kim, Sung Ahn Jung 144 points.
7th GAC Pindar (NZL) Will Tiller, Brad Farrand, Stewart Dodson, Harry Thurston, Matt Steven 143 points.
8th Team Aberdeen Singapore (SIN) Scott Glen Sydney, Robert Greenhalgh, Andrew Walsh, Justin Wong, Rick Peacock 127 points.

Extreme Sailing Series 2013 overall standings after Act 2, Singapore
Position / Team / Points
1st Alinghi (SUI) 18 points.
2nd Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 18 points.
3rd The Wave, Muscat (OMA) 16 points.
4th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 12 points.
5th Team Korea (KOR) 11 points.
6th Team X Invitational 10 points.
7th Realteam (SUI) 10 points.
8th GAC Pindar (NZL) 9 points.

The Extreme Sailing Series 2013. Act2. Singapore. (Photo by Lloyd Images)

 

Oman Sail’s The Wave, Muscat is finding it tough in the very light conditions in Singapore, but remains upbeat with an eye on the overall season results. The mixed European and Omani crew received special support today from Oman’s Consul General in Singapore, a dignitary that was heavily involved in a joint project called the Jewel of Muscat, a hand-stitched traditional dhow.

Oman Sail’s The Wave,  Muscat is finding it tough in the very light conditions in Singapore, but remains upbeat with an eye on the overall season results. The mixed European and Omani crew received special support today from Oman’s Consul General in Singapore, a dignitary that was heavily involved in a joint project called the Jewel of Muscat, a hand-stitched traditional dhow.

 

The Extreme Sailing Series 2013. Act2. Singapore. The Wave Muscat skippered by Leigh McMillan with crewmates: Pete Greenhalgh (GBR), Hashim Al Rashdi (OMA),Ed Smyth (NZL) and Musab Al Hadi (OMA) in action during day 3 of racing. (Photo by Lloyd Images)

The focus remained firmly fixed on the overall series title for the crew of The Wave, Muscat despite another testing day in light shifty breezes in Act 2 of the Extreme Sailing Series in Singapore.

After three days of racing in Marina Bay, Oman Sail’s Extreme 40 team is lying in third place overall but a place on the podium in any of the seven races completed eluded them for the first time in two seasons.

Once again it was Alinghi, helmed by Morgan Larsen who dominated the third day extending their lead to 27 points.

“We have a long term view,” said 2012 season champion Leigh McMillan, skipper of The Wave, Muscat, who has his eyes firmly on the overall series. “We hope to be in the top three by the close of racing on Sunday and if not, we know we can still bounce back from the situation and be in contention. It is a long season and there are six more events to go.

“It is fair to say that we have struggled with the conditions in Singapore, the Lake sailing experience of some of the guys in the fleet is really paying off this week. Most of the Extreme Sailing venues are difficult but Singapore takes it to another level,” he said.

The Extreme Sailing Series 2013. Act2. Singapore. The Wave Muscat skippered by Leigh McMillan with crewmates: Pete Greenhalgh (GBR), Hashim Al Rashdi (OMA),Ed Smyth (NZL) and Musab Al Hadi (OMA) in action during day 3 of racing. (Photo by Lloyd Images)

The progress of the Omani team is being closely watched; both at home in Oman where the racing is broadcast live on Oman’s Sport Channel, and in Singapore where the team received support from Oman’s Consul General in Singapore Mr Zakariya bin Hamed Al Sadi.

Mr Zakariya was involved in the Jewel of Muscat, a remarkable joint project between Oman and Singapore that saw the recreation of a 9th century hand stitched dhow (70,000 stitches!).

It sailed the Silk Route from Oman to Singapore to be gifted to the government of Singapore by the Sultan of Oman in celebration of the historic friendship between Oman and the Indian Ocean nations, and Singapore in particular.

“I am delighted to see the Omani team The Wave, Muscat taking part in such a big international event at this fantastic venue in Singapore,” said Mr Zakariya.

“The team carries a message introducing Oman and its capital Muscat to the world at large. I met the crew back in 2011 and today I am proud to see more Omanis racing and am also proud of what the team has achieved in the series especially winning the title last year!

“Having two Omanis as part of the team is evidence of the skills and expertise our sailors have had to develop to win selection in such a competitive event. It is also evidence of the success of our national project Oman Sail in its vision and objectives in developing the young Omanis in this sport.”

Zakariya’s visit gave Hashim al Rashdi and Musab al Hadi a boost; they are on a steep learning curve and after another tough day hopes remain high as the The Wave, Muscat goes into the final day tomorrow.

“We had a big issue with the start line so hopefully tomorrow we can get that right and we will need to stay out of trouble because we had too many penalties,” said Hashim. “We had very light winds today again which made it difficult for everyone. We are sailing well as a team but things are not going our way but we have one more day, we are going to learn from some mistakes and try to avoid any in the finals.”

Final racing is scheduled from 1500-1830 (SGT) and the finale from Singapore will be broadcast live on Oman TV’s Sport Channel from 1700-1830 (SGT) (1300-1430 Muscat time).

Muscat , The Wave in Singapore (Photo by Lloyd Images)

 

Gold Coast Australia at the start of Race 5 from Geraldton, Western Australia to Tauranga, NZ,  (Photo by Karl Monaghan/onEdition)

Gold Coast Australia at the start of Race 5 from Geraldton, Western Australia to Tauranga, NZ, (Photo by Karl Monaghan/onEdition)

At first light this morning in Queenscliff, Australia, Singapore’s crew slipped lines and headed back out through the Port Philip heads and into the Great Australian Bight after successfully repairing their steering quadrant. Happy to be helming with a wheel again and not a tiller, skipper Ben Bowley has sent a note of appreciation at today’s 0600 position report.

“I would like to extend a hearty thanks to all those who presented a wonderful reception committee for us in Queenscliff yesterday afternoon,” he says. “Especial thanks to Kate Parbury and family for proving such wonderful hosts. A delicious barbecue and some cool refreshing beverages were served to us almost as soon as lines hit the dock!”

Kate is the mother of round the world crew member and Singapore watch leader, Will Parbury, who lives a stone’s throw from Queenscliff in Victoria and regularly sails and dives in the area.

Ben continues, “Many of Will’s former colleagues, friends and ex-crewmates were on hand with an array of tools and advice. It really served to remind me how many supporters we have and how far they are willing to go out of their way to help us. Once again, we were truly grateful to see so many welcoming, supportive faces waiting for us on that small dockside. Many thanks also to Queenscliff Harbour Marina and pilot station for accommodating us at such short notice and allowing us full use of their excellent facilities.”

Now back at sea and making best speed towards New Zealand, Ben and the Singapore crew are determined to turn around their run of bad luck and make the most of the time they have together on board.

“Reading the other boats’ updates I fear that we are missing out on a bit of a sleigh ride down south! Much is the shame as we are having to nose our way out of the Bass Straits under iron top-sail [engine]. We did have an excellent hour’s close fetching under full main and Yankee 1 after leaving Queenscliff this morning.  However, as we rounded Cape Schanck, the wind veered to almost exactly our desired course, forcing us to motor at a conservative RPM for probably the first 24 hours of our training/passage sail to Tauranga. Things look a little rosier for the following 72 hours though; we should have a nice fast fetch across to New Zealand, assuming we can keep pace with the weak front sweeping across the Tasman Sea. We intend to use this period as an opportunity to ensure that the knowledge base of all members of the crew is improved by concentrated coaching sessions not just delivered by myself. We have some key (halfway round the world) crew members leaving in Gold Coast and we want to ensure that the knowledge they have gained in the last four months is passed on to new and remaining crew members. We intend to be as well trained and focused as possible for the short sprint leg back to Gold Coast. Time to gain back some cruelly snatched points I think.”

Edinburgh Inspiring Capital looks set to claim the bonus point on offer for the Race 5 Ocean Sprint between the longitudes of 150 and 154 degrees east. The Ocean Sprint is a time trial rather than a first past the post contest, which means every team, no matter their position in the fleet, has the chance to pick up an extra point if they cover the distance in the quickest time.

Welcome to Yorkshire had been the yacht to beat, with a time of 21 hours and 22 minutes for the sprint of approximately 240 miles. But the team representing Scotland’s capital city have declared a time of 19 hours and 10 minutes to complete the trial, meaning Qingdao needed to finish by 0820 UTC today to beat them. The results are provisional until the Race Committee verifies them in New Zealand but it looks like they’ll be celebrating on the deck of the Purple Beastie at happy hour tonight.

Gordon Reid, Edinburgh Inspiring Capital’s skipper, says, “The Purple Beastie is doing some fierce 12-hour runs in these strong winds she thrives and carries a lot of momentum (kinetic energy), so for now we stay the furthest south, closing on the fleet and pushing ourselves and the yacht as hard and fast as we dare, ensuring we keep a little in reserve for when it all gets fruity again.

“After our wild, crazy ride in 60 knots plus, 40 to 45 knots seems a bit pedestrian. The sea is still wild, with some of the swells as big as a two-storey building, but it is amazing how quickly you become used to conditions which are, to be fair, pretty extreme. The crew are loving it and so am I. We spent the day surfing monster wave after wave to see who could top the highest speed of 26 knots. We initiated a squall watch and a few of us took turns at seeing who could ride the wave mid-squall for the longest. A few months ago that would have seemed like a totally crazy thing to aspire to, but on Edinburgh Inspiring Capital, sailing in the beautiful fury of the Southern Ocean, it’s just another day at the office.

“With New Zealand approaching fast I’ve got a feeling we are about to face our biggest challenge yet with the forecast predicting up to 60 knots as we surf all the way on to the continental shelf of New Zealand.”

The conditions are certainly challenging all of the teams – they are further south than on the previous leg and the Southern Ocean is making sure they have something to remember her by.

Mark Light, Derry-Londonderry’s skipper describes the “fantastic sailing conditions” his team has been experiencing.

“We are flying along with some really excellent boat speeds: averaging 12 knots and surfing between 15 and 23 knots,” he explains. “The swells are huge with a lot of power behind them; things are very physically demanding and it takes a lot of skill and nerve to helm one of these Clipper 68s powered up in these conditions. My crew have done exceptionally well. We have managed to look after our boat and equipment very well.”

Just the second and third reefing lines have broken. These are the ropes attached to the mainsail which allow the sail area to be reduced or increased according to the conditions.

Describing how it happened, Mark says, “We were reefing down the main just before a series of dark clouds arrived over us and unfortunately one of the mainsail cars jammed on the mast track between the first and second spreaders. While we tried numerous ways to free it, the second and third reefing lines managed to flog, snap and tangle with each other and the existing first reefing line. This resulted in a huge bundle of very tightly knotted line right at the end of the boom which prevented us from grinding in reef one – the whole purpose of the operation in the first place!”

A heave-to and 25 minutes of hard work later and the team was back on track, holding on to third place. Could Tauranga be where the ‘LegenDerrys’ claim their first podium place?

While the Northern Ireland team has been lucky to avoid any worse breakages than a few snapped and tangled lines, second placed New York has not escaped so lightly.

“Just over 12 hours ago, I was thinking it was ‘race over’ for New York,” reveals the US team’s skipper, Gareth Glover.

“While we were putting a second reef in the main as the wind was building and an unseen squall hit us with gusts of over 50 knots, the mainsail got pushed though the rig, breaking three battens and putting three rips along the batten reinforcements.

“The first was about half a metre above the second reef and the two others about 30cm above the third reef.  We quickly went to three reefs to make sure the biggest rip did not get bigger and called all hands on deck. As we do on New York, we got on with the job of taking down the Yankee 3 and putting up the Yankee 2, taking the mainsail down on the deck and our storm sail went up in its place. We have been racing under this sail plan now for over 12 hours and have only lost a few miles to De Lage Landen and Derry-Londonderry.

“We have had all the crew working in teams on different parts of the mainsail. The hard bit is that you’re hand sewing though four pieces of sail cloth in 30-knot winds and breaking seas. We’ve got about four more hours of work to be done, taking the full repair to about 13 hours.  And then we will put the main back up and chase down Gold Coast Australia.”

With New York in second place, De Lage Landen is running neck and neck with Derry-Londonderry, jostling for third place. After two and a half thousand miles of racing, just a couple of miles separate them but although the racing is red hot, the weather is decidedly not.

“It doesn’t look like the weather is going to give us any reprieve until we are past the southern point of New Zealand,” comments De Lage Landen’s skipper, Stuart Jackson, this morning. “It has also got a lot colder with the south westerly winds bringing cold air up from the Antarctic, so everyone is looking forward to the conditions improving as we make our way up the New Zealand coastline. It’s just all a bit repetitive, putting reefs in and out as the squalls come through.”

Rupert Dean, skipper of Welcome to Yorkshire, echoes Stuart’s comments about the cold, explaining, “These 30-knot winds have been accompanied by enormous, vicious squalls, demanding rapid evolutions to shorten sail and/or bear away. Consequently the crew are working hard in some arduous sailing conditions.

“Race 4 has, for us, been a far truer reflection of what the Southern Ocean should be than Leg 3. Since leaving Geraldton there has hardly been a day when we haven’t been sailing in gale force conditions. To perform day in, day out in winds ranging from Force 8 to 10, in mountainous seas under racing conditions, is no small feat. It demands courage, determination and teamwork of the highest order and I thank my crew for it. In particular, I wish to praise my watch leaders, Hannah Richards (Management Consultant) and Jim Stamp (Plant Operator), along with their deputies, James Charlesworth (farmer) and Richard Williams (accountant), for their sterling efforts in keeping our boat and crew motivated, happy and safe.

“As we near the southernmost point in our round the world adventure, we look forward to turning north again, towards warmer climes (and cold beer). The crew has come a long way since their training days in the English Channel, in more ways than one. They are doing themselves proud.”

Clipper 11-12 is raced by people like you – people from all walks of life who put their everyday lives on hold to fulfil a long-held ambition or take on the challenge of a lifetime. Hannah, a management consultant, Jim, a plant operator, James, a farmer, and Richard, an accountant will have completed the sailing equivalent of climbing Mount Everest when they return to the UK in July 2012 – a circumnavigation under sail. There are presentations taking place in New Zealand and Australia in the next few weeks – go to www.clipperroundtheworld.com for more details.

Geraldton Western Australia’s having a pretty good day as well, according to skipper, Juan Coetzer, whose team will be more refreshed after being allowed to shower instead of the standard wet wipe wash during the rough weather of the last two days.

“For the first time since leaving Geraldton, we have got our Yankee 2 up and a first reef in the mainsail. Being short numbered one has to take seamanship into consideration and choose the best sail plan for the long term.”

The team does appear to have an extra body on board – but not a helpful one, says Juan. “It looks like the electrical gremlin is back again, as our instruments have gone bonkers. Even our deep water anchor alarm has been going off.”

On board mid-fleet Visit Finland, Olly Osborne is in reflective mood as they prepare to head north and begin the first stage of their climb back towards the northern hemisphere.

“With a little more than two days to run to the Stewart Island waypoint our time in the Southern Ocean is drawing to a close. It has not been without its adventures and over the last few days we have seen some of the most challenging conditions yet. Indeed for the first time this year we made good use of our storm trysail which allowed us to weather gusts of up to 60 knots through the night, and the sea state would at times certainly be referred to as ‘high’ if it were given over the shipping forecast,” he says.

“But we are making good speeds none the less and, despite the frustrations of living in a constantly pitching environment, everyone is well rested and in good spirits. The sun shines between towering cumulus clouds and when the boat is lifted onto the crest of a wave you can see for what seems like miles over the surf streaked glittering surface.”

While the rest of the fleet has been experiencing winds of up to 60 knots and more of the same is predicted in the next 72 hours, Qingdao has been slowed down by the high pressure system that they were hoping to avoid.

“It is amazing to watch the barometer down here,” says Ian Conchie, ‘down here’ being right below ‘Down Under’.  “In the UK it is rare to get a change of more than one millibar per hour unless there is a strong weather system around. But here, due to the stream of low pressure systems that revolve around the bottom of the globe the pressure goes up and down all the time like a yoyo!”

Currently racing at between seven and eight knots, the team is hoping to stay ahead of the weather to avoid being becalmed as they were on the way in to Geraldton. The crew is anxious to push as hard as they can to arrive in Tauranga in time to enjoy a longer than expected stopover and fully recharge their batteries.

“In the meantime we have been using the gentler conditions today to inspect and repair sails, do our routine maintenance and tidy and clean up the boat,” says Ian. “In rough weather it is hard to keep everything spick and span due to the motion of the boat, so we have to use these days when we can to keep our beloved purple dragon in top shape.”

At the head of the fleet Gold Coast Australia is having a wild and windy ride.

“Some would say it is a bit breezy down here,” comments skipper Richard Hewson. “Yesterday conditions were nearly perfect as we ran downwind towards Stewart Island. Today we have throttled back a bit as the wind has increased to a steady 32 knots, gusting 50 knots. This may sound a little extreme to some, however to make it even more interesting the gusts sometimes last for up to an hour. Gold Coast Australia is handling like an absolute dream and there is not a day that goes by that I don’t acknowledge these yachts as being the most seaworthy I have ever sailed.”

If you think the conditions are hairy, you should see the faces of the crew – the men, at any rate.
They are growing moustaches for Movember – the charity movement that raises funds and awareness for male cancers and mental health issues – and there are some fine sets of whiskers being cultivated on board many of the boats. Styles range from Errol Flynn to Tom Selleck as well as hommages to the facial stylings of Chopper Read and Merv Hughes on the Australian yachts.

“Today we took our half time photos for Movember. No doubt it will be one of the most extreme Movember photos in history as at the time it was blowing over 50 knots and with five-metre swells and two-metre seas,” writes Richard.

As the teams approach the waypoint to the south of New Zealand, all ten are preparing for a change in conditions – and perhaps a shake-up in the rankings. Meteorologist, Simon Rowell, a former winning Clipper Race skipper and Assistant Race Director who sends wind and weather forecasts to the yachts each day, has been looking ahead and has today told the skippers and navigators, “There’s a big spread in wind strength locally as you get further north.”

The depth of the ocean floor will also have an impact on the sea state.

“What is going to be very interesting is the increase in sea and swell in the shallow water to the south of Stewart Island where the depth decreases from 1,000 to 140 metres as we go over the continental shelf,” explains Richard. “I gather that the sea is going to be quite treacherous and we will be battened down and ready to rumble when we go over the shelf.”

Positions at 1200 UTC, Thursday 17 November

Boat                                DTF*
1 Gold Coast Australia 1,052nm
2 New York 1,130nm (+78nm DTL*)
3 Derry-Londonderry 1,153nm (+102nm)
4 De Lage Landen 1,161nm (+109nm)
5 Welcome to Yorkshire 1,179nm (+127nm)
6 Visit Finland 1,238nm (+186nm)
7 Edinburgh Inspiring Capital 1,305nm (+254nm)
8 Geraldton Western Australia 1,330nm (+278nm)
9 Qingdao 1,507nm (+455nm)
10 Singapore 1,975nm (Retired)

 

Clipper Round The World Race Start (Photo by onEdition)

 

* Slow progress as wind drops for first night at sea
* Qingdao caught on foul tide
* Crews thank HMS Illustrious for support in parade of sail and
flotilla for stunning turn out on the water

After the magnificent send off from Southampton yesterday the ten teams
taking part in the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race have spent
their first night at sea, settling into new routines that will become
second nature during the course of the next year.

Crowds See Off The Clipper Round The World Fleet (Photo by onEdition)

As the sun set on race start day, the wind died and by the early hours
there was barely a breath of air to fill the huge windseeker sails.

 

Gold Coast Australia was first out of the starting blocks, first around
the mark in Stokes Bay and pulled out a good lead over the rest of the
fleet but as skipper, Richard Hewson, explains, light winds overnight
have thrown a bit of a spanner in the works.

“After a cracking start Gold Coast Australia led the fleet out of the
Solent and we hoisted the medium weight spinnaker beautifully as we
rounded Bembridge Ledge. We carried the spinnaker throughout the first
part of the night but then suffered big losses stuck without wind as the
fleet caught up and now draws abeam. The crew is now working hard in
light and fickle winds to maintain boat speed and get through shipping
lanes in the Channel. All is well and buzzing on board as we settle into
the watch system and first day of an epic 12-month journey around the
world.”

“Good morning from the mid channel mill pond,” says Singapore skipper,
Ben Bowley. “It’s been a long time coming but finally we’re off! Our
procession down Southampton Water yesterday was quite awe inspiring; a
huge thanks to the Captain and crew of Lusty for providing such a great
send off. Seeing such a large flotilla of spectator boats really
brought home to us the enormity of what it is we are about to undertake,
huge thanks and a fond farewells to those who came to show their
support.

“We had good (albeit very cautious) start aboard Singapore with only
Gold Coast ahead of us on the line. I was initially lamenting my choice
of headsail (Yankee 2) as we seemed a little underpowered compared to
the majority of the fleet. However, as the Yankee 2 is non-overlapping
we were able to climb higher than those carrying the Yankee 1 and
subsequently held good position making it round the first mark still in
second place. As we approached the forts with the wind easing we
changed up to the Yankee 1, a flawless change (quite surprising for the
first one!) all credit to the crew and watch leaders. The headsail
change cost us only one place and some close cross tacking ensued, the
yachts all feeling different tidal effects from one side of the Solent
to the other.

“The last 12 hours have been quite frustrating with a distinct lack of
breeze. We elected not to fly a spinnaker last night for two good
reasons: firstly, I’m keen to sail the rhumb line and it was too tight
for the kite as several of the other yachts have proved by having to
sail almost due west. Secondly, the idea of wrapping the kite on the
first night at sea in fluky wind conditions with heavy wash from
shipping was not my idea of fun. On refection, the Yankee 1 and main
alone have set us fairly well and although it is hard to judge positions
at present, I believe we are in the front group, still fairly on the
rhumb line, exactly where we wish to be.

“Now it is time for some strong coffee, porridge and a look at whether
the light kite would be advantageous now the sun is up and we are all
well rested and alert…”

After all the excitement and emotion of yesterday’s spectacular send
off, sunrise on a new day has also brought some a new emotional
atmosphere to Visit Finland, which didn’t have the best of starts in the
Solent but whose crew have worked hard overnight to pull into the lead
by the 0600 UCT report this morning. Skipper, Olly Osborne, sums up what
a difference a day makes, saying, “A night of little or no breeze has
kept us busy trimming and trying to keep the boat on the move. The dawn
is hazy and the sea appears glassy in the morning light, and the quiet
stands in sharp contrast to the noise and emotion of yesterday.”

A lot of that noise came from the flotilla of more than 300 spectator
boats which turned out to give the fleet a fantastic send off. Gareth
Glover, skipper of New York, says, “The boats of the flotilla gave us
great support. Individual cheers from friends and family had the crew
jumping from their hike-out seats to identify themselves and shout back
fond farewells.”

New York was up with the leading pack at the start and has maintained
pressure at the front despite the lack of wind.

“The wind started slowing down and died completely around 0230 just as
the second watch came on deck. All that our attempts to coax some boat
speed with the wind-seeker would get us was a bit of bobbing around and
just the tide speed. It is morning again and we are moving along at
about four knots with the mid weight spinnaker flying, Welcome to
Yorkshire for company and Visit Finland south of us,” Gareth continues.

Edinburgh Inspiring Capital’s skipper, Gordon Reid, says, “After an
amazing but emotional race start the team is working hard to keep the
boat moving in the very light breeze and strong tides of the English
Channel. Tactically Edinburgh Inspiring Capital is in a strong position
having already crossed the northern shipping lane and heading towards
Casquets. At this early stage in the race, it is very much all to play
for.”

That is a fact that will be reassuring to the Qingdao crew who, as you
will see from their track on the race viewer, appear to be heading back
to Southampton, so good was the welcome there this weekend.

In fact they were in the wrong place when the tide turned and are being
pulled east, in the opposite direction to the one they wish to travel
in. They have two knots of breeze but the speed of the tide against them
is more and therefore they are effectively moving backwards. They are
trying to use their sea anchor – known as a kedge – to hold them in
position off Portland until the tide turns and they can shake loose.

Juan Coetzer, Geraldton Western Australia’s skipper, says “Today it is a
drift-a-thon. It has been sail change after sail change – Yankee 1 up,
then down, spinnaker up and down. The crew are settling in well and
giving it their best. Yesterday was an amazing start, so many boats,
supporting us all on the start line.”

Derry-Londonderry’s crew is also settling in and, according to skipper,
Mark Light, they’re all relaxed, settling in to the watch system, even
enjoying a chicken curry and home-made fruit cake for dinner.

“It was a great start to the race with beautiful conditions. We need
some more wind now though – it dropped overnight and we’re making slow
progress under full main and spinnaker.”
Positions at 0600 UTC, Monday 1 August

Boat DTF*
1 Visit Finland 1249nm
2 Welcome to Yorkshire 1250nm (+2nm DTL*)
3 New York 1251nm (+2nm)
4 Singapore 1254nm (+5nm)
5 De Lage Landen 1257nm (+8nm)
6 Gold Coast Australia 1257nm (+8nm)
7 Edinburgh Inspiring Capital 1257nm (+8nm)
8 Derry-Londonderry 1257nm (+9nm)
9 Geraldton Western Australia 1258nm (+9nm)
10 Qingdao 1260nm (+12nm)

Geraldton Western Australia crew onboard before starting the race at Ocean Village, Southampton  (Photo by onEdition)
Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race
The Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race started on 31 July 2011
from Southampton on the UK’s south coast and will return to the Solent
in July 2012 after 40,000 miles of ocean racing – the world’s longest
ocean race. The event was established by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston to give
everyone, regardless of sailing experience, the opportunity to
experience the exhilaration of ocean racing. More than 500 people
representing more than 40 nations will compete in Clipper 11-12. They
can sign up for the whole circumnavigation or one or more of eight legs.
The only qualification for the race is the minimum age of 18 – there is
no upper age limit. The overall race is divided into individual stages
and points are accumulated in a Formula 1-style scoring system. The
yacht with the highest total at the finish wins the Clipper Trophy.

Red Bull (Photo by Paul Wyeth)

Red Bull (Photo by Paul Wyeth)

In Numbers:

–  9 events confirmed for 2011 circuit spanning North America, Europe, Arabia and Asia.
–   Mix of venues from iconic cities and unconventional ‘stadiums’, to established sailing destinations and emerging sailing markets.
–  10 top class teams representing 8 nations, and a dozen different nationalities of sailors.
–   5-day events offering a unique mix of ‘open-water’ racing and with high octane ‘stadium’ racing – high sporting integrity, but entertaining non-sailors and sailors alike too.
–  Fleet racing, figure of 8 duels, time trials, match racing and other formats of racing will continue to be used – but always short, sharp and punchy!
–  ‘Money can’t buy’ VIP experiences on and off the water – pioneering 5th man spots remain a key value of the event.
–  8-hour programme of entertainment (on and off the water) on every public-facing day.
–   12 x Optimists, 8 x 49ers, and at least 3 other classes of ‘support act’ over the season including windsurfers, kiteboarders,…
–  5-year vision and key developments planned for 2011

2011 Videos

In Detail: Changing the way sailing is seen

On the eve of the World Yacht Racing Forum in Estoril (Portugal), the Extreme Sailing Series™ unveiled a great package of interesting and varied host venues, and top level professional sailing teams and skippers for 2011. The award-winning and ‘ISAF Special Event’ circuit is going truly global as it enters its fifth year, with 9 events spanning 3 continents, over 11 months and 10 teams representing 8 nations. A core objective of the event remains to be the most commercially sound way for brands and host venues to benefit from the great offer that professional sailing can present. This philosophy has been at the heart of the product since its inception in 2006, with the vast majority of teams since 2007 being sponsorship funded. The 2011 package provides a global sponsorship platform, at a very accessible budget level, and with a queue of sailors keen to compete.

“The circuit has come a long way since 2007 when we had just 4 European events and 5 teams,” commented Mark Turner, Executive Chairman of organisers OC ThirdPole.  “We continue to attract new top sponsored teams, sailors and, importantly, major new venues where we can showcase the sport with our game-changing ‘stadium’ format.  The choice of venues for 2011 has been our core commercial team focus since the end of 2009. We are getting closer to the perfect mix of established iconic cities, premium venues, great sailing destinations and emerging (sailing) markets.

“We continue to maintain the mix of sporting integrity and entertainment. We have shown inshore sailing can actually be fun to watch for the non-sailor as well as the sailor! Part of the DNA of the circuit since the beginning, our 5th man spot remains one of the sport’s greatest assets – be it for sponsors clients, media, TV cameramen, or prizewinners drawn from the general public,” he concluded.

The 2011 global circuit, which kicks off in Muscat in February 2011 and concludes in Singapore in December, is entering a new phase of development as part of a five year vision, after a challenging but successful 2010. Turner explains, “iShares was acquired by BlackRock at the end of 2009, which meant an end to the founding partnership of the event. We committed to running a test event in Asia and what was another successful European season in 2010 without a main partner. That was a big investment for our OC ThirdPole business, but one we believed in,” said Turner.

“Going forward we now have some meaningful host venue partnerships, strong teams, and a long term business plan with funding in place which will allow us to continue to develop the Extreme Sailing Series™ across all areas over the next five years – on the water, the shore-side public entertainment package and the media platforms,” he promised.

In addition to the host venue partnerships, and local sponsors for each event, OMEGA returns as Official Timekeeper, Marinepool join as Official Technical Clothing Supplier, and Pol Roger as the Official Champagne Supplier for the series. Further partners at both series and local level to be announced in the New Year.

A circuit spanning North America, Europe, Arabia and Asia

The 2011 Extreme Sailing Series™ kicks off in the Sultanate of Oman in February, as part of the annual Muscat Festival, before heading to China for Act 2 (location to be announced separately). The gateway between Europe and Asia, and European City of Sport for 2012, Istanbul, will host the third Act before the Extreme 40 fleet travels to the United States of America for the first time, to Boston’s waterfront in time for the July 4th celebrations.

Cowes Week welcomes the Extreme 40s for the fifth consecutive year for Act 5, ahead of a return to the Sicilian port of Trapani, for the second consecutive year. The French round will be staged on Mediterranean waters in Nice before Almería, in Andalucia, Spain hosts the penultimate event and the 2011 circuit will be decided in Singapore in mid-December.

10 Teams Representing 8 Nations, with sailors from more than 12 countries, and from diverse backgrounds (Volvo Ocean Race, America’s Cup, Olympic Gold medalists, World Match Racing Tour etc..)

Diversity and quality are once again hallmarks of the Extreme Sailing Series line upTwo-times runner-up Groupe Edmond de Rothschild returns (skipper as yet unknown); new entry Luna Rossa has snapped up last year’s winning skipper Paul Campbell-James as helm, with the boat skippered by America’s Cup winning sailor, Max Sirena. Oman Air Masirah, returns, skippered by French Volvo Ocean Race veteran Sidney Gavignet; double Olympic Gold Medallist Roman Hagara enters for the second season with his Red Bull Extreme Sailing team.

Britain’s Ian Williams, two times winner of the World Match Racing Tour joins Team GAC Pindar; another new Italian entry, Team Nice, led by Alberto Barovier and 2010 winners, The Wave, Muscat return to defend their title, this time skippered by emerging star Torvar Mirsky.

Alinghi returns to the fleet after winning in 2008, skippered by experienced Extreme 40 tactician Tanguy Cariou; Paul Cayard’s Artemis Racing is skippered by American Terry Hutchinson and finally, new to the 2011 circuit will be Emirates Team New Zealand, skippered by Kiwi America’s Cup winner, Dean Barker, who experienced Extreme 40 racing for the first time at the final event in Almería this year.

Event Format and new Class Rules

In 2011, each Act will generally consist of five days of racing as opposed to four days in 2010, and three in 2009. Each Act will be true to the core aspirations of the Extreme Sailing Series™ ethos – mixing ‘open-water’ racing with ‘stadium’ short-course racing in front of the public, including all the various disciplines and courses used already from fleet racing to match racing, straight line duels and speed trials. A large investment will be made again in the on-water umpiring – essential for ensuring the fans know the results as they watch, rather than wait for post-event protests.

Turner confirmed, “We are committed to maintaining the highest sporting integrity, as we have done since 2007. Recently taking control of the Extreme 40 Class from the creators, TornadoSport, has allowed us to also develop the rules of both event and boats in unison, to ensure a more equal chance to win, and also drive down many of the costs for the teams. We’ve limited sails (and dropped the price), decreased support costs with a central Tech Zone and team, and are managing all shipping logistics centrally as well as a host of other detail changes that all affect both return on investment for team sponsors, and ensure sporting equality regardless of budget size.”

The new Class rules are published this week. A typical full budget for a competitive year long campaign will range between 450k and 650k Euros, plus a boat at c.100k Euros per year (charter or depreciated purchased cost over 4 years).

Developing further the public events side, the organiser has committed to providing an eight-hour mix of entertainment on ‘public’ days. On the water a number of support acts, like the Olympic 49er class, windsurfing and kiteboarding, will build up to the main Extreme 40 headline act. A strong local community and charity campaign in each venue will see children given the chance to get on the water each morning. Wrapped around the on-water competition will be a comprehensive on-shore entertainment programme within the race village from interactive entertainment to music, alongside bars and food outlets.  Music acts will also take centre stage under the Extreme Sailing Series ‘Sailing Remixed™’ banner at a number of the venues.

A global event such as this has a significant ‘footprint’. The environmental audit of the 2010 event is nearing completion, and will be used as the benchmark to improve all aspects of the event’s energy, waste and water footprint going forward. Initiatives from 2010, such as minimizing bottled water, are being analysed and evolved for 2011. This particular challenge has no finish line, but the race has begun.

And for the fans off-site, live commentary and audio from the boats will be streamed online, with possibility of live TV in some venues still under consideration. A new iPhone ‘app’ will also be launched during Q2, complementing a wide range of communication channels used by the event. Video online will continue to feature strongly, via YouTube and syndicated channels – especially for the short action clips the event is best known for. The current global TV programming platform will continue to be developed, but now also in HD format.

In 2010 Extreme Sailing Series has attracted coverage in over 120 countries in 13 languages including on CNN (Intl), UK Terrestrial station Channel 4, Bloomberg (Intl), Sky Sports (UK, NZ), Fox Sport (Australia), Sport+ (France) and ESPN (Brazil), with over 60hours of airtime for each programme in the five part series.

2011 Calendar & Host Venues:
Act 1: 22-24 February, Muscat, Oman (20-21 ‘open-water’ racing*)
?Act 2: 15-17 April, China (13-14 ‘open-water’ racing)
Act 3: 27-29 May, Istanbul, Turkey (25-26 ‘open-water’ racing)
?Act 4: 30 June – 4 July, Boston, USA (all days public event)
?Act 5: 6-12 August, Cowes, UK (all days public event)?
Act 6: 16-18 September, Trapani, Italy (14-15 ‘open-water’ racing)?
Act 7: 30 September – 2 October, Nice, France (28-29 ‘open-water’ racing)
?Act 8: 12-16 October, Almeria, Spain (all days public event)?
Act 9: 9-11 December, Singapore (7-8 ‘open-water’ racing)
* ‘open-water’ racing means that the Race Manager can use whatever part of the arena is best for racing – once the public village is open in ‘stadium’ mode there are sometimes constraints in this respect in order to ensure the fans can see all the action.

2011 Confirmed* Teams & Skippers:

Team Name/ Nat Skipper Name (Nat.)
Alinghi/ SUI – Tanguy Cariou (FRA)
Artemis Racing/ SWE – Terry Hutchinson (USA)
Emirates Team New Zealand/ NZL – Dean Barker (NZL)
Groupe Edmond de Rothschild/ FRA (As Yet Unknown)
Luna Rossa/ ITA – Max Sirena (ITA)
Oman Air Masirah/ OMA – Sidney Gavignet (FRA)
Red Bull Extreme Sailing/ AUT – Roman Hagara (AUT)
Team GAC Pindar/ GBR – Ian Williams (GBR)
Team Nice/ ITA – Alberto Barovier (ITA)
The Wave, Muscat/ OMA – Torvar Mirsky (AUS)
*initial entry period closed today, 13 December, however late entries may be permitted under the Notice of Race, up to a maximum of 11 boats, plus three wildcards for use by the organisation. The annual objective of Extreme Sailing Series™ is 8 quality teams.

majancontainer_boat_medium_4

Majan (Photo Courtesy of Oman Sail)

For the crew on board Oman Sail’s A100 trimaran ‘Majan’ the departure from the penultimate stopover in Singapore, proved a poignant moment as they set out on the final leg to cover the final 3,200 miles (5,900km) of this new Indian Ocean 5 Capes Race course. Eager to reach their homeport of Muscat, Oman, but at the same time knowing this was the last stopover of the tour. The Oman Sail team, who have been promoting the Indian Ocean 5 Capes Race ahead of the first official planned edition in 2012 as well as the new A100 class of boat, have been warmly received at every stopover from the Maldives, Cape Town to Fremantle and, lastly, Singapore.
 
‘Majan’ spent just over a week in Singapore showcasing Majan to the local media and VIP guests and left Keppel Bay Marina on Tuesday, 27th April to cross the start line of leg 5 south of Cape Piai: “On a beautiful day with 6 knots from a westerly direction we crossed the line to the south of Cape Piai at 04:00 UCT, midday local time,” reported media crew, Mark Covell. “Now, as we pick our way northwards up the course, we enter the Malacca Straits. With Malaysia to the East and Sumatra to the west, the straits get slowly wider, starting at 35nm and opening out to 145nm.” From an economic and strategic perspective the Strait of Malacca is one of the most important shipping lanes in the world, being the main shipping channel between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, linking major Asian economies such as India, China, Japan and South Korea. Over 50,000 vessels pass through the strait per year.

 Mark further explains the route to Muscat: “In about 600 miles we can turn to port and round Banda Aceh, northern Indonesia and head out to Sri Lanka. After passing Sri Lanka, we will carve around the bottom of Cape Cormorin [the final Cape on the Indian Ocean 5 Capes Race course], the southern most tip of India, which will be the last sight of land before seeing Oman. We will then race as fast as we can to the finish line off Cape Ras Al Hadd to enter the Gulf of Oman and home to Muscat. By then we will have raced over 16,000 sailing miles.”

The international crew led by skipper Paul Standbridge includes Frenchman Sidney Gavignet, Mark Covell, Mohsin Al Busaidi, Mohammed al Ghailani and they will now be joined by fellow Omani and Oman Sail’s academy instructor, Ali Hamad Ambusaidi: “I wished that one day I could sail on Majan, now I have the chance to do it. It’s an honour to be one of the crew. I look forward to learning a lot and seeing things I have only dreamed of before.”

Majan Crew Start Out On Leg 5 (Photo Courtesy of Oman Sail)

Majan Crew Start Out On Leg 5 (Photo Courtesy of Oman Sail)

 

The Oman Sail Majan crew will be eager to reach home having left Muscat nearly three months ago on the 16th February. “We are all looking forward to reaching Muscat. Mohsin and Mohammed have not seen their family and friends since we left. Mohsin’s wife is expecting a new baby very soon after we get back, so the homecoming will be very special indeed,” said Mark. The final leg of the Indian Ocean 5 Capes Race is expected to arrive in the first week of May.

About Cape Comorin:

Today known under the name of Kanyakumari, that tip of the Tamil Nadu State is the southernmost one of the Indian Peninsula and sits at the confluence of the Gulf of Mannar, the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. Taking its name from the Kumari Amman Temple, this cape has been widely documented and is at the heart of numerous mythical episodes. Mentions of Comorin can be found in the works of Claudius Ptolemaeus (Ptolemy), the famous Greek geographer and mathematician, who notably produced a detailed – if not completely accurate – world description in his Geographia. Among the numerous legends linked with the place, one has it that the rocks scattered around the cape are grains that remained uncooked when the wedding between Hindu deity Shiva and Kanya Devi failed to happen: the husband-to-be never showed up, and the rice gradually turned to stone… But perhaps the most interesting story is that of Kumari Kandar, a mythical continent (or sunken landmass) which has long been believed to face the cape, its triangular shape pointing northwards taking up almost all of the Indian Ocean! Kanyakumari (Comorin) has always been an important commercial, cultural and spiritual centre, famous for its pearl fishing and beautiful temples which grant it today a special attraction power when it comes to tourism.
Coordinates: 8°07’ N – 77°54’ E

More on The Strait of Malacca:

From an economic and strategic perspective the Strait of Malacca is one of the most important shipping lanes in the world, being the main shipping channel between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, linking major Asian economies such as India, China, Japan and South Korea. Over 50,000 vessels pass through the strait per year, carrying about one-quarter of the world’s traded goods including oil, Chinese manufactures, and Indonesian coffee.
At Phillips Channel close to the south of Singapore, the Strait of Malacca narrows to 2.8 km (1.5 nautical miles) wide, creating one of the world’s most significant traffic choke points. There are 34 shipwrecks, some dating to the 1880s, in the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS), the channel for commercial ships. These pose a collision hazard in the narrow and shallow parts of the Straits.

The Strait of Malacca is a narrow, 805 km (500 mile) stretch of water between Peninsular Malaysia (West Malaysia) and the Indonesian island of Sumatra. It is named after the Empire of Melaka that ruled over the archipelago between 1414 to 1511.

Sunrise from Majan  (Photo Courtesy of Majan Crew)

Sunrise from Majan (Photo Courtesy of Majan Crew)

 

The crew of Leg 4 Marc Lagesse, Mohammed al Ghailani, Mohsin Al Busaidi, Paul Standbridge, Sidney Gavignet, Yann Regniau (Photo by Mark Covell / Majan / Indian Ocean 5 Capes Race)

The crew of Leg 4 Marc Lagesse, Mohammed al Ghailani, Mohsin Al Busaidi, Paul Standbridge, Sidney Gavignet, Yann Regniau (Photo by Mark Covell / Majan / Indian Ocean 5 Capes Race)

 

  

Majan .

The international crew on board Oman Sail’s A100 trimaran ‘Majan’ have celebrated their arrival in Singapore on the penultimate leg of the Indian Ocean 5 Capes Race. Majan left Fremantle (Australia) on the 9th April for the 2,700-mile leg to Singapore which has proved to be a ‘mild affair’ compared to the storm-fuelled leg from Cape Town to Fremantle with Majan surviving 70-knot winds in the Southern Ocean. The high-performance A100 trimaran crossed the finish line off Cape Piai, the fourth great Cape of the course, at 14:47 GMT on Sunday (18th April) completing the fourth leg that started from the Fremantle ‘city’ start line in 9 days and 10 hours and a Cape Leeuwin-Cape Piai reference time of 8 days, 15 hours, 12 minutes, then reached Keppel Bay Marina late evening.

As Majan has traced out this inaugural Indian Ocean 5 Capes Race course via the Maldives, Cape Town, Fremantle and now Singapore – the first race to link together the Middle East, Africa, Australia and Asia – the 105-ft multihull has generated a huge amount of interest. Every effort has been made by the crew to share the stopover and promote this new race, ahead of the official edition in spring 2012, with the media, VIPs, school children and local government. The Majan crew have engaged with the locals at every stopover giving talks at the local yacht club, opening up Majan to the public with some enjoying the privilege of sailing on board.

Singapore in particular has close maritime ties with Oman and shortly after Majan departs, a second Oman ship will be arriving. The Jewel of Muscat is a recreation of a 9th century AD 60-ft trading vessel that was hand-built with 70,000 stitches and without one nail on a beach near Oman’s capital Muscat. Launched into the Oman Sea for the first time last November, the ship was named at a special ceremony in Muscat attended by an official delegation from the Republic of Singapore before setting sail on 16th February. The Jewel of Muscat has already stopped in India and will now stop in Sri Lanka and Malaysia before arriving in Singapore in July. As part of Oman’s programme to reignite its maritime eminence, the Sultanate will be giving the Jewel of Muscat to the People of Singapore as a gift to heighten the awareness of the old trading routes between the two countries.

 

Back on the high speed trimaran, Majan’s crew got off to good, albeit upwind, start to Leg 4 as they headed south to Cape Leeuwin – not easy when you’re next destination lies to the north! Omani crew, Mohammed al Ghailani, wrote: “I always find the first 48 hours at sea very hard. As soon as my body and sleep clock has become accustomed to the timing, I am happy again. When you have your sea legs you have stopped feeling sick. We had an upwind start again, and yes I was very ill!” After Cape Leeuwin the ride got easier as Majan pushed northwards, however, four days into the leg drama struck.

 

Media crew, Mark Covell, takes up the story: “Mohsin [Al Busaidi] was steering in around 15 knots of breeze and we were sailing downwind off the north-west corner of Australia, under our huge cuban-fibre gennaker, the G1. Suddenly, the halyard snapped about a foot below the top of the mast sending the sail tumbling over the side in the dark. Mohsin, Marc [Lagesse] and Sidney [Gavignet] were on watch at the time. Quick thinking by Mohsin, meant little damage was done as he turned the boat down, slowing us right down, and shouted for Paul to come up on deck. This was quickly followed by a call for ‘all hands on deck’. It took about twenty minutes to haul the sail back on board.”

Thankfully no lasting damage was done and two days later the cry of ‘Land Ahoy’ went out as Majan came within sight of Jawa and Sumatra: “We have sailed in open ocean most of the time since we left Oman so this feels a bit strange for us,” wrote Mohsin. “Now we are having to navigate round obstacles, instead of sailing for days on one heading. No more long and open ocean swells and weather systems. This is flat water, island-hopping, coastal racing!”

 

Close to land and getting ever closer to the Equator, the wind dissipated in the soaring temperatures but with the bad comes the good: “A multihull can handle very big waves but give Majan flat water and she purrs along like a happy cat stretched out in the sun.

So far, we have made better progress than expected. The forecast has been for very little wind by day and a touch more by night. We did have a hot and painful 4 hour stretch of under 3 knots – but last night we fed off the updraft of a large thunderstorm about 10 miles away. As the hot are was sucked up into the system, it drew air past us giving us a solid 15 knots for most of the night,” reported Ghailani.

Now the Majan crew can relax for a while ahead of their scheduled departure from Singapore on the 27th April on the final leg of the Indian Ocean 5 Capes Race, homeward bound to Oman.

About Cape Piai:

Marking the southernmost point of mainland Asia, Tanjung Piai (or Cape Piai) is located in the Johor district of Malaysia, that opens on the eponymous Strait, and across which the Singapore skyline is visible. The Cape itself, set in the preserved environment of the Johor Regional Park, is surrounded by spectacular mangrove forests and has become a touristic destination. Piai is also the point at which the Johor Strait joins the famous Strait of Malacca, which has made the headlines over the past decade due to piracy. Coordinates: 1°15’ N – 103°30’ E.

 Article Photos Courtesy Mark Covell / Majan / Oman Sail