The most westerly team in the Antigua Bermuda Race is Arnt Bruhn's German Class40 Iskareen © Ted Martin

The most westerly team in the Antigua Bermuda Race is Arnt Bruhn’s German Class40 Iskareen © Ted Martin

After the first night at sea for the international fleet in the Antigua Bermuda Race the pace is relentless. The leading teams Warrior and Varuna are now over 300 miles offshore, blast reaching through two metre swell in the Atlantic Ocean. Warrior was observed to be hitting a top speed of 25 knots last night. At 1200 UTC on Day Two, the turbo-charged Volvo 70 Warrior, sailed by Stephen Murray Jr. had averaged 18 knots since the start of the race and will achieve a 24 hour run of about 450 miles; well inside record pace. Jens Kellinghusen’s German Ker 56 Varuna is also set for a 400 mile run in 24 hours. Varuna is 30 miles behind Warrior but is estimated to be leading the fleet after IRC time correction.The most easterly of the chasing pack is Giles Redpath’s British Lombard 46 Pata Negra, skippered by Oliver Heer. Pata Negra’s crew include Gareth Glover, two-time skipper in the Clipper Round the World Race and the rest of the crew are all Oliver’s friends from Switzerland, and will be celebrating his 30th birthday today: “I love to sail, but it does take me away from my friends and family, so when I knew I would be at sea for my 30th, what better way to celebrate than with friends racing to Bermuda!” commented Oliver before the race.

The most westerly team is Arnt Bruhn’s German Class40 Iskareen. Arnt has competed in over five transatlantic races, winning his division on numerous occasions. After the Antigua Bermuda Race, Iskareen will compete in the Atlantic Anniversary Regatta, racing 3,900 miles from Bermuda to Hamburg, organised by the Norddeutscher Regatta Verein (NRV) of which Arnt Bruhns is a member. Arnt will then take part in the solo Route du Rhum Race this November. Of the six German teams racing to Bermuda, Iskareen is second on the water behind Varuna. Sebastian Ropohl’s JV52 Haspa Hamburg and Joachim Brünner’s Andrews 56 Broader View Hamburg are locked into a match race, as are two German Swans; Hanns Ostmeier’s Swan 45 High Yield and Michael Orgzey’s Swan 48 Dantes.

The vast majority of the fleet are to the west of the rhumb line, putting in additional miles to avoid an area of high pressure that is expected to arrive from the northeast tomorrow (Friday 11th May). At the moment, the strategic decision is to decide how far west to go to achieve the best performance. Eric de Turckheim’s French Nivelt-Muratet 54 Teasing Machine, skippered by Laurent Pages has positioned closer to the rhumb line than the leaders; they will be hoping to stay in good breeze and sail less miles than the leading boats.

For more information visit: https://www.antiguabermuda.com/

Follow the fleet via YB Tracking: http://yb.tl/a2b2018
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Organised by the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club in association with Antigua Sailing Week and supported 
by the Bermuda Tourism Authority and Goslings Rum
The turbo-charged American Volvo 70 Warrior, USMMA Sailing Foundation © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com

The turbo-charged American Volvo 70 Warrior, USMMA Sailing Foundation © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com

Skipper Oliver Heer is celebrating his 30th birthday on board Giles Redpath’s British Lombard 46 Pata Negra © Ted Martin
The RORC Caribbean 600 fleet on the windward side of Antigua - Credit: RORC/Tim Wright

The RORC Caribbean 600 fleet on the windward side of Antigua – Credit: RORC/Tim Wright

 

The 8th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 started in spectacular style with the record 70 yacht fleet gathering in the starting area outside English Harbour, Antigua. Under the Pillars of Hercules, the magnificent collection of yachts started the 600 nmile race in a sublime 14 knot south-easterly breeze with brilliant sunshine. The conditions were enough to have the fleet fully ramped up and a not insignificant swell added to the excitement. Five highly competitive starts thrilled hundreds of spectators lining the cliffs at Shirley Heights and Fort Charlotte. Not only was this a record fleet for the RORC Caribbean 600, it was undoubtedly the highest quality of participants since the inaugural race in 2009.
CSA, IRC 2 & IRC 3 Start
24 yachts engaged in a pre-start peloton resulting in a tremendous battle for the line. The all-girl Sirens’ Tigress; IRC 2 champion, Scarlet Oyster and Polish team, Por Favor executed text book starts. However, winning the pin was American Swan 48, Isbjorn. Jua Kali also got away well which was marvellous for the British team who badly damaged their rig in the Atlantic en route to the start.
First to start the 2016 RORC Caribbean 600: CSA, IRC 2 and IRC 3 – Credit: RORC/Tim Wright
IRC 1 & CLASS40
17 yachts started the race with American Sydney 43, Christopher Dragon winning the pin ahead of Canadian Farr 45, Spitfire. Spanish Tales II was the first Class40 to cross the line with Antiguan entry Taz also starting well. Belladonna, skippered by RORC Admiral, Andrew McIrvine had a great start controlling the favoured coastal side of the course.
IRC 1 and Class40 fleet at the start of the 8th RORC Caribbean 600 Race  – Credit: RORC/Tim Wright
IRC Zero & IRC Canting Keel
The most impressive start in the eight-year history of the race featured 23 head-turning yachts. 115ft Baltic, Nikata tried to use her might to win the pin but encountered severe congestion, forcing the superyacht to round the wrong side of the pin. Lithuanian Volvo 60, Ambersail were overeager and with no room to bear away, sailed around the pin end buoy. Irish Cookson 50, Lee Overlay Partners was adjudged OCS and had to restart. Dutch Ker 51, Tonnerre 4 with octogenarian owner Piet Vroon on board had a cracking start, as did Hap Fauth’s Maxi72, Bella Mente going for speed and heading for the lift off the cliffs. Jim Clark and Kristy Hinze Clark’s, 100ft Maxi had a slightly conservative run-up to the line before the big winches growled in a dial-down and Comanche powered up, accelerating into the lead.
The IRC Zero and IRC Canting Keel fleet made an impression at the start of the RORC Caribbean 600 – Credit: RORC/Emma Louise Wyn Jones
Superyacht
The penultimate start featured two of the largest yachts competing in the RORC Caribbean 600. Southernwind 102 Farfalla executed a textbook start to begin the 600-nmile race, assisted by a crew including Steve Hayles as navigator, winner of the race with Niklas Zennstrom’s RAN in 2012. The magnificent sight of 178ft schooner Adix crossing the line under full sail drew gasps from the crowd ashore. Adix is the first three-masted schooner to take part in the race.
The magnificent three-masted schooner Adix at the start – Credit: RORC/Tim Wright
MOCRA Multihull
Six Multihulls including MOD70s Phaedo3 & Concise 10 lined up for the last start of the day. Phaedo3 and Concise 10 locked horns in the pre-start as expected, with Phaedo3 co-skippered by Lloyd Thornburg and Brian Thompson gaining a small but significant advantage at the start. Concise 10 had to tack offshore to escape bad air and ploughed through several spectator boats that had gathered close to the exclusion zone. The two MOD70s are expected to have a titanic battle over the next two days. Belgian Zed 6 reported a broken daggerboard before the start but managed a repair in time to begin the race.
With a south-easterly breeze the fleet took a long starboard tack to Green Island where they bore away for Barbuda hoisting downwind sails. The sleigh ride has already begun for Comanche, Phaedo3 and Concise 10 with the YB tracker already showing the trio hitting close to 30 knots of boat speed. The wind is expected to return to the east before morning and freshen to a possible 20 knots when many more of this magnificent fleet will be enjoying the magic carpet ride of strong trade winds.
Phaedo3 flying two hulls past Willoughby Bay, Antigua – Credit: RORC/Tim Wright
Watching the start from the cliffs at Shirley Heights was RORC Chief Executive Eddie Warden Owen who could not help but marvel at the quality of the fleet: “This is an amazing collection of boats sailed by the best offshore sailors in the world and was shown by the intensity of the start. Each fleet battled for the outer favoured end of the line, caused by the wind being south of its normal easterly direction. No one held back,” said Warden Owen “And I am surprised we only had one boat over the line at the start. The lighter wind increasing as the week goes on, could favour a small boat for an overall win under the IRC rating rule. It will be fun to watch, but I’d much prefer to be out there racing.”
Hundreds of spectators watched the start of the 8th RORC Caribbean 600 from ashore and on the water Credit: RORC/Tim Wright
For more information visit the RORC Caribbean 600 mini-site: www.caribbean600.rorc.org
High resolution images will be available from the race for editorial use and requests for specific interviews/photographs/video should be made to: press@rorc.org
RACE MINISITE: Follow the race on the minisite: http://caribbean600.rorc.org
Keep up to date with all the news. There will be blogs from the boats themselves on the race course, images, video and daily race reports. Follow the action as it unfolds on the RORC Caribbean 600 website.
SOCIAL MEDIA:
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Twitter: #rorcrc600  – Follow @rorcracing
TRACK THE FLEET:
Every yacht is fitted with a race tracker and their progress can be followed on the race website: http://caribbean600.rorc.org/Tracking/2016-fleet-tracking.html
Join the Virtual Regatta HERE: http://click.virtualregatta.com/?li=4559
Overall winner under IRC - Varuna, Ker 51, Jens Kellinghusen (GER) - 2014 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race - Rick Tomlinson/RORC

Overall winner under IRC – Varuna, Ker 51, Jens Kellinghusen (GER) – 2014 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race – Rick Tomlinson/RORC

The Royal Ocean Racing Club has declared Jens Kellinghusen’s Ker 51, Varuna (GER), as the overall winner under IRC of the 2014 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race.
Sevenstar Yacht Transport have also awarded Jens Kellinghusen with a $20,000 voucher to ship Varuna to their selected destination worldwide, which will be used to transport Varuna to Malta to take part in the Rolex Middle Sea Race, the final race of the RORC Season’s Points Championship.

Although six yachts are still racing, none of them can better Varuna’s corrected time racing under IRC. Jens Kellinghusen was quick to praise his crew for their performance, Varuna has no powered winches and the tough conditions required tremendous physical exertion and long hours hiking out on the rail:

“The weather conditions really suited Varuna. Our biggest competition was with the canting keel boats, which would have preferred reaching, but the downwind conditions towards the end were ideal for us. I am so happy for the crew as they all did a great job and the boat held together in some testing conditions. I am very pleased, this is the first time we have participated and we really enjoyed the race. We already use Sevenstar for transporting Varuna, so the $20,000 from the sponsors is very much appreciated.”

Celebrations for Varuna on the dock after crossing the finish of the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race - Credit: Patrick Eden/RORC

Celebrations for Varuna on the dock after crossing the finish of the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race – Credit: Patrick Eden/RORC

 

Varuna’s Winning Crew:

Jens Kellinghusen, Owner, Hamburg, Germany
Tim Daase, Pit/Boat Captain, Wewelsfleth, Germany
Guenter Alajmo, Runner, Hamburg, Germany
Guillermo Altadill, Navigator, Barcelona, Spain
Luke Molloy, Trimmer, Brisbane, Australia
David Blass, Trimmer, Braunschweig, Germany
Fynn Terveer, Pit, Kiel, Germany
Jan Hilbert, Driver, Kiel Germany
Gunnar Knierim, Driver, Kiel, Germany
Peter Knight, Bow, Guernsey, UK
Christian Stoffers, Bow, Kiel, Germany
Alastair Sayers, Bow, Hobart, Tasmania

At 0900 BST Friday 22 August, the remaining six yachts racing in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race are experiencing downwind conditions in plenty of breeze. J/122, Relentless on Jellyfish, skippered by James George, was just 38 miles from the finish holding off a strong challenge from the Army Sailing Association’s J/111, British Soldier, which is six miles behind the on-the-water leader. Both yachts are expected to finish this afternoon.

Hanse 531, Saga, skippered by Peter Hopps, passed The Lizard at midnight. At 0900 BST, Saga was 30 miles from Portland Bill with 100 miles to go. Saga is expected to finish the race around midnight on Saturday 23rd August.

Rare Leads the Two-Handers

Just after midnight last night, Ian Hoddle’s Figaro II, Rare, passed Liam Coyne’s First 36.7, Lula Belle, as the Two-Handed teams approached the Scilly Isles. At 0900 BST Rare had extended their lead by 11 miles to lead on the water as the two yachts passed The Lizard. However, after time correction, Lula Belle is still the leading the Two-Handed Class by a considerable margin. Werner Landwehr’s Figaro II, Dessert D’Alcyone, was 70 miles from the Scilly Isles, 300 miles from the finish.
Liam Coyne’s First 36.7, Lula Belle – Credit: Paul Wyeth/RORC

Liam Coyne, skipper of Lula Belle, contacted the Royal Ocean Racing Club in the early hours of this morning. The Irish pair of Liam Coyne and Brian Flahive have been racing for 11 days surviving gale force winds, but fatigue and gear failure is taking its toll. Lula Belle’s engine has failed to start, essential to charge their batteries, and the sails are showing signs of the battering they have received.

Without access to the fleet tracking player on the RORC website, Liam was unaware that Rare was passing them, as Liam Coyne wrote this from Lula Belle, while at sea:

“Day 10 (I think). Winds filled in quicker at Mizen Head than we expected. Thank God we still have the A5 kite and she was great today. With no electronics on board we don’t know speeds, but we are flying. We expected Rare to rocket past us today, so we were going fast to hold him off. We are now 10 nm from the Scillys and we took the A5 down as it was getting to hard to hold. Lucky we decided to, as there were two more areas needed sewing which our “MacGyver” on board Brian duly did. Handy to have such a multi tasker. We hope when we round the next mark we might get one more spin out of the A5. It’s literally hanging on by a thread.

“On a lighter side the other night we had a show to remember. As anyone who sails knows there is an algae in the water, which when disturbed by the boat’s wake causes it to light up. On a really frustrating watch where the sky was pure black it was almost impossible to helm. At night we usually pick a cloud or star to follow. A night with black clouds and little wind is exhausting. I was nearly in tears with frustration when the dolphins showed up. We see them every day but this night I presume it was the black sky but they were lit up white (from the Algae) and not only were they illuminated they left a 20′ trail of illuminated water after them. It looked like the Red Arrows doing synchronized swimming. For 30 minutes I forgot about the Boat went and sat at the mast and watched the show of a lifetime. All day we see them break water but here you could see them underwater darting here and there. Sometimes 3 abreast going left, right left right over and over in perfect harmony leaving the illuminated trails in their wakes. It was an unbelievable sight. Nice of them to cheer a sailor up on a tough night.”

LINE HONOURS WINNER WILD OATS XI  Crew on the rail (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

LINE HONOURS WINNER WILD OATS XI Crew on the rail (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

ONE MORE TIME
While not the record-setting pace, Wild Oats XI still made her indelible mark in the record books, taking the line honours win at the 2013 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race. Close reaching up the Derwent River, the 100-footer crossed the finish line off Battery Point in Hobart, at 7:07pm local time (AEDT). Wild Oats’ elapsed time of 2 days, 6 hours, 7 minutes, 27 seconds gave sWild Oats XIkipper Mark Richards and crew their seventh line honours win, which ties the record held by the yacht Morna/Kurrewa IV.

Thousands of spectators lined the shore and docks of Constitution Dock and neighboring piers on a beautiful summer’s evening to cheer Wild Oats XI as their crew tied up to the dock. Stepping ashore, a tired looking Mark Richards said, “It was all hard…a lot of testing conditions, a lot of light air and mentally very draining. We had a bit of everything that was the great thing about it.

BOB OATLEY, OWNER OF WILD OATS XI AND SKIPPER MARK RICHARDS RECEIVE THE ROLEX YACHTMASTER TIMEPIECE

BOB OATLEY, OWNER OF WILD OATS XI AND SKIPPER MARK RICHARDS RECEIVE THE ROLEX YACHTMASTER TIMEPIECE Photo By: Rolex / Carlo Borlengh

Greatest thrill of my
life…seven!
Bob Oatley – Wild Oats XI owner

“This is one of the best wins you could probably have. There’s a lot of new competition and a lot of anxiety, no one hadany idea how we were going to go against each other. To sail away from these guys throughout the race was pretty amazing.” Wild Oats XI owner, Australian winemaker Bob Oatley, joined Richards ashore and exclaimed, “Greatest thrill of my life…seven!”

Following was a dockside presentation where skipper Mark Richards and owner Bob Oatley were presented with the JJ Illingworth Trophy and a Rolex timepiece as the first yacht to finish.

WILD OATS XI, Sail No: 10001, Bow No: XI, Owner: Robert Oatley, Skipper: Mark Richards, Design: Reichel Pugh 30 Mtr, LOA (m): 30.5, State: NSW off Tasman Island

WILD OATS XI, Sail No: 10001, Bow No: XI, Owner: Robert Oatley, Skipper: Mark Richards, Design: Reichel Pugh 30 Mtr, LOA (m): 30.5, State: NSW off Tasman Island

The Reichel/Pugh-designed boat, built in 2005, showed itself as still competitive in this year’s race, up against the toughest fleet ever assembled – which included 100-footers Perpetual Loyal and Ragamuffin 100, Volvo 70s Giacomo and Black Jack, and the newly launched 80-footer, Beau Geste. Richards said “To see a nearly nine-year old boat like this perform against the greatest and latest ocean racing boats in the world is pretty impressive.”

Ian Burns, Wild Oats’ strategist recalled a key part of the race, “The first night proved to be a huge parking lot for us and a lot of boats cleverly maneuvered through that, and really gave us quite a hard time to catch up. Luckily we had quite light conditions, which I don’t think suits them (Perpetual Loyal) anywhere near as well as us. We were able to chip away slowly, you know a 1/10th of a mile at a time.  Just after we got past them we came into a really light zone of wind and we managed to keep going – and they got parked up in the same zone and lost a huge amount of distance there.

“It started off (first day) if you were in front, you sort of lost to the guys behind you; but the second half of the race, once you got in front you got richer and richer, the wind got stronger, and more shift to you. We were able to leverage that pretty heavily and make some steady gains right through the whole race right down to Tasman.”

Perpetual LOYAL (Photo by Rolex /  Daniel Forster)

Perpetual LOYAL (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)

Anthony Bell’s Perpetual Loyal was second across the finish line with a time of 2 days, 9 hours, 19 minutes, 56 seconds. Bell is familiar with the front of the fleet – the skipper took line honours in the 2011 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race on his previous boat Investec Loyal. That boat, now in the hands of Syd Fischer as Ragamuffin 100, was on track to be third over the finish line, givingWild Oats and Loyal a run for their money.

Ragamuffin 100  ( Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)

Ragamuffin 100 ( Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)

When the bulk of the race fleet reached Bass Strait earlier today, the notorious body of water proved somewhat benign, with a 20 – 25 knot northeasterly providing perfect downwind sailing conditions. But the threat of the approaching low pressure that is forecast to bring a 30 – 40 knot southwesterly has the boats pushing to get as far south, as fast as possible.

Overnight tonight, a closely grouped pack of bigger boats are due to finish including Black Jack, Beau Geste, Giacomo, and Wild Thing.

The race for overall handicap winner is still up for play. With the changing weather conditions, competitor’s chances have been reshuffled. At 10pm local time AEDT, Bruce Taylor’s Caprice 40, Chutzpah was leading IRC overall on handicap.

Ninety boats are still racing – today Wilparina retired for unknown reasons, while Canute retired with rudder bearing problems.

 

Leg 4, Race 6, Day 1 During the Sydney Hobart 2013

Leg 4, Race 6, Day 1 During the Sydney Hobart 2013 (Photo courtesy Clipper Round the World Race)

With just four miles separating the top five Clipper Race teams as they pass the halfway mark, tensions are reaching summer boiling point. The race leader and fleet positions change frequently and podium positions are anything but predictable as Race 6 continues its thrilling progress.
In a dramatic morning’s racing, GREAT Britain (44th overall in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race)moved up four fleet positions to take over the Race 6 lead momentarily from Henri Lloyd (42ndoverall) who has just now regained its front spot.
Derry~Londonderry~Doire (45th overall) has made terrific gains this morning and whilst writing this report has now moved into third (50th overall) with Old Pulteney (51st overall) who had led the fleet for the previous 36 hours, now fourth.
Providing his take on the race so far, Deputy Race Director Mark Light said: “The fleet has left the sunshine shores of South East Australia and passed Cape Green, entering the notorious Bass Strait. This stretch of water can be ferocious, like a raging animal baring its teeth. At the moment it is more akin to a small kitten asleep in the sunshine, but the latest weather forecasts are showing things are going to change.
“Coming up to the approximately the halfway mark in this iconic race is where things will start to get very tactical as the yachts race to get across Bass Strait as quickly as possible to avoid the worst of the conditions and begin to negotiate the tricky East Tasmanian Coast while at the same time trying not to wake the weather animal asleep in the corner.
“The fleet is incredibly compact still so the next 36 hours are going to make for some very nail biting watching. Race Tracker viewers following at home will be glued to their screens I am sure.”
Clipper Race founder Sir Robin Knox-Johnston who is racing aboard Clipper 68, CV10 is keeping up with the Clipper 70s which he helped to design, currently sitting in 55th place overall in approximately the middle of the Clipper Race fleet.All positions reported as at the time of writing and are changing frequently. Check the Clipper Race tracker for the latest positions. It is updating every 10 minutes during this race.
To read all the skipper reports, CLICK HERE

To follow the Clipper Race 6 tracker, CLICK HERE

To follow the Clipper Race yachts in the overall Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race standings, CLICK HERE.

FROM SYDNEY, INTO THE FRAY

Rolex Sydney Hobart Start 2013 by Daniel Forster

Rolex Sydney Hobart Start 2013 (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)

The low pressure system that brought rain to the Sydney area yesterday moved out to sea, providing picture perfect conditions today – a 15-18 knot southeasterly, sunshine and blue skies – for the 94-boat fleet starting the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race.

Boxing Day spectators lined the Sydney shoreline, and pleasure boats, ferries and all manner of craft jockeyed for a place outside the harbour’s exclusion zone, to watch the 94-boat fleet, go off at the 1:00pm (AEDT) starter’s cannon. The size and speed of the top end of this year’s fleet required a change to three staggered start lines.

The bigger boats, on the forward-most line, set their giant code zero headsails and were quickly off on a starboard reach: while 100-footers Wild Oats XI and Perpetual Loyal were drag-racing in front, just behind were Beau Geste, Ragamuffin, and Wild Thing along with the Volvo 70s, Black Jack and Giacomo. The 80-foot Beau Geste, with the pedal down, rounded the turning mark second, behind Wild Oats XI.

Maxis at Sydney Hobart Start by Carlo Borlenghi

Maxis at Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2013 Start (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

The south-southeasterly breeze, combined with the spectator fleet wash, outside of the race exclusion zone, caused a washing machine-like chop, but that will pale with what is predicted for the fleet further down the 628-nautical mile race track.

The forecast is for lighter winds tonight and tomorrow, before a north-northeasterly fills in, providing ideal downwind conditions. For tacticians on the bigger, faster boats how they manage this transition will be key. For now they will endeavour to get as far south, as fast as they can.

Behind them, the smaller boats will be facing westerly gale-force winds predicted for late Saturday night (60 hours after the start) in Bass Strait and down to Tasman Island. Adding to these punishing conditions will be a westerly swell upwards of ten meters.

But the race more often than not, serves up tough conditions. Prior to the start, many of the skippers and crews, chalked up the forecast as fairly typical. Roger Hickman, skipper of Wild Rose, is a race veteran, having started in 35 races, and completed 33 of them.  Hickman said, “It is what it is. Tonight should be quiet, tomorrow quiet and then I believe we’re going to get a real pasting in Bass Strait, fresh to frightening, gale-force winds, but that’s the way it is.

The experience, the talent and the sea
miles that are in this race are astounding
Roger Hickman, skipper of Wild Rose

Hickman acknowledged that the boats and crew were up to the task, adding, “There’s a great fleet of boats here, but what’s more important is the crew. Every one of these magnificent boats is full of competitive, competent, solid yachtsmen. The experience, the talent and the sea miles that are in this race are astounding.”

Brendan Garner, on the Beneteau 45, Senna, will be racing for the first time as skipper, having done the race five races before. Garner said, “It’s going to be a complicated race; there’s going to be a lot of gear changes. We’ve done a fair bit of work with our sail systems and set-ups, so we’re quite comfortable with that. Overall we’re not too fussed with the forecast, we’re quite happy with it.”

A successful Etchells-class sailor, Garner commented on the change up from one-design to offshore and said, “You’re out there for a long time, you have to be mentally and physically prepared. It’s a race of endurance.”

Crowds at Sydney Hobaret 2013 (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

Crowds at Sydney Hobaret 2013 (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

By late afternoon, many of the bigger boats had headed offshore looking for more favorable breeze; the front-runners were 15-25 nautical miles east of Kiama, making 15-16 knots of speed upwind.

Tracker

Current status of the race will be available on the online tracker at: http://rolexsydneyhobart.com/tracker/

EVENT PROGRAMME

From Saturday, 28 December

Arrival of the first boats in Hobart

Wednesday, 1 January
11:00 Final prize giving, Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania (RYCT)

Sydney Hobart Start by Daniel Forster

Sydney Hobart Start (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)

Les Voiles de Saint Barth 2012 fleet (Photo by Tim Wright)

With winter weather persisting in northern parts of the U.S. and Europe, sailors could be envied for heading to the Caribbean to extend their racing calendars. As it is, over 60 yachts and crew are currently on the island of St Barths, in the French West Indies, preparing for tomorrow’s start of Les Voiles de St. Barth. The fourth edition of this regatta will offer up four days of racing on a mix of courses and a social schedule equally as demanding, with dockside entertainment each evening and a lay day (Thursday) full of activities at Nikki Beach on St. Jean Bay.

As it has for its prior three editions, Les Voiles de St. Barth again has drawn a competitive mix of international yachts and crews from the UK, USA, France, Italy, Ireland, The Netherlands, Belgium, and South Africa, as well as a strong Caribbean contingent from Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, Anguilla, Antigua, and Trinidad.

The inaugural event in 2010 drew 27 boats, and since then, entries have steadily grown as the media and sailing’s coconut telegraph helped spread the word. Event Director François Paul Tolède was enthusiastic as yachts tied up stern-to at the Quai General de Gaulle in Gustavia. “The atmosphere is great on shore and the weather looks perfect,” he said. “With 62 boats entered so far (registration closes at 5 p.m. today) and considering the current economic climate, the turnout shows what great regard the yacht owners have for the Voiles de Saint Barth.”

Tolède continued: “Luc Poupon (Course Director) has come up with some new courses, slightly longer in some cases, as many of the sailors wanted to spend more time on the water, and so racing will start a little earlier. We expect anywhere between 15 to 20+ knots of wind this week — ideal conditions for the fleet, which ranges from 24 feet (Melges) to 100 feet (the Swan 100 Varsovie).”

The fleet is divided into eight classes: Maxis; Spinnaker 1, 2, and 3; Melges 24; Non-Spinnaker; Classics; and Multi-hulls. Organizers can chose between 28 course variations, from 11 to 40 nautical miles. Racing begins tomorrow, Tuesday April 9, with the first signal at 1100.

Jim Swartz, owner/skipper of the TP52 Vesper, is the anointed “godfather” of this year’s regatta. An enthusiastic competitor, he has participated in all four editions. For Swartz it is a do-not-miss event. “The conditions are fabulous,” he said.  “Sailing around this island is beautiful — the winds are always predictable, they are always a lot of fun, particularly when we get a good breeze on the back (windward) side of the island.” Sailing onboard Vesper will be former America’s Cup sailors Gavin Brady (tactician), Rob Salthouse (jib trim), Kazuhiko Sofuku (mid bow), and Jamie Gale (navigator), past Volvo Ocean Race crew.

After Vesper competed in the TP52 Worlds in Miami last month, the boat was shipped to St. Thomas to get it race ready and then delivered to St. Barths this week. “Les Voiles is always on our calendar,” Swartz said,  “It’s the atmosphere — the racing is great, the people are great, as is the organization.  It all runs very well. And the dining and shopping (for the ladies)…all that St. Barths is about, we enjoy the same thing!”

Over half the boats and skippers are return competitors. Notable new editions this year include Jens Kellinghusen’s Ker 51 Varuna, which has raced in the year since its launch at Kiel Week and Les Voiles de St. Tropez; the Volvo 60 Cuba Libre (ex-Heineken) in Non-Spinnaker (while the V60 Ambersail will be in Spinnaker 1); Phil Lotz’ Swan 42 Arethusa, which is fresh off winning the Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean; Jolt 2, a Baltic 45 that has already stretched its legs on the recent RORC Caribbean 600; in the Classic class, Heroina, a 74’ cold molded Frers design build in the ‘90s; and the 51’ Aage Nielsen-designed ketch Saphaedra, a seasoned ocean racer.

At this morning’s media briefing at Hotel Carl Gustaf on the hill overlooking the harbor of Gustavia, Nils Dufau, Vice President of the Collectivity of St. Barth’s and president for the Tourism Committee, said, “Les Voiles de St. Barth has become a formidable communication tool for our island as an up-market destination. This event conveys to all the “state of mind” of an island that has built up over time and which today has become a haven of peace and stability — the very basis of its reputation.”

In a further nod to this relatively new event, the Caribbean Sailing Association named Les Voiles de St. Barth and the BVI Spring Regatta “Best Events of 2012.”

This evening is the Skipper’s Briefing after which event organizers will kick off the week with the Opening Ceremony and party in the Race Village on the Quai General de Gaulle.

The event enjoys the continued support of watchmaker Richard Mille as well as sportswear brand Gaastra. Other event partners include leading St. Barth villa rental agency WIMCO, which offers a gorgeous portfolio of private villas for rent on St. Barth. WIMCO’s sponsorship includes presenting eight Les Voiles class winners with a complimentary week in one of their top villas, inclusive of a concierge ready to attend to every request.
 

Rambler in 2012 (Photo by Tim Wright)

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2013 ENTRIES

MAXI Racing – MAXI Racing Cruising
DYNAMITE IDEA
Design : MAXI 80
Loa: 80′
Skipper: Tony McBRIDE

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WHISPER
Design : Souther Wind 78
Loa: 78′
Skipper: Mark DICKER

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MAXIMISER
Design : FARR
Loa: 73′
Skipper: Jose DIEGO-AROZAMENA

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VARSOVIE
Design : Swan 100
Loa: 100′
Skipper: Tomek ULATOWSKI

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SELENE
Design : Swan 80
Loa: 80′
Skipper: Benjamin DAVITT

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IRC 52
VESPER
Design : TP 52
Loa: 52′
Skipper: Jim SWARTZ

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VARUNA
Design : KER 51
Loa: 51′
Skipper: Jens KELLINGHUSEN

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Spinnaker
CUBA LIBRE
Design: VOLVO 60
Loa: 60′
Owner: Benedikt Clauberg

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PUFFY
Design: Swan
Loa: 53′
Owner: Patrick DEMARCHELIER- Skipper: Karl Spijker

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MUSIC
Design: Swan
Loa: 53′
Owner: James BLAKEMORE

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AEZ OPTIMIX
Design: Swan 45
Loa: 45′
Skipper/Owner: Gideon MESSINK

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AMBERSAIL
Design: Farr Vo 60
Loa: 60′
Skipper: Simonas STEPONAVICIUS

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RAMANESSIN
Design: Beneteau First 40
Loa: 40′
Skipper: Christian ZUGEL

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HAMACHI
Design : J 125
Loa: 41′
Skipper: Greg SLYNGSTAD

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LEFORT CLIM
Design: MELGES 24
Loa: 24′
Skipper: Antoine LEFORT

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Boost’n Sail
Design : MELGES 24
Loa: 24′
Skipper: Mowgli FOX

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TEAM ISLAND WATER WORLD
Design : MELGES 24
Loa: 24′
Skipper: Frits BUS

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Budget Marine/Gill
Design : MELGES 24
Loa: 24 ‘
Skipper: Andrea SCARABELLI

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AMCON Express
Design : MELGES 24
Loa: 24 ‘
Skipper: John GIFFORD

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FRENCH CONNECTION
Design : MELGES 24
Loa: 24′
Skipper: Didier Roulault/Bernard Sillem

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LAZY DOG
Design: J 122
Loa: 40′
Skipper: Sergio SAGRAMOSO

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VOILES au FEMININ
Design: J 109
Loa: 35′
Skipper: Sophie OLIVAUD

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StBarthSailRacing
Design : A40
Loa: 40′
Skipper: Alain CHARLOT

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JOLT 2
Design: BALTIC 45
Loa: 45′
Skipper: Peter HARRISON

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MAELIA
Design : X 34
Loa: 34′
Skipper: Raphael MAGRAS

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LANCELOT SBH
Design : First 31,7
Loa: 31,7′
Skipper: Serge MAZEIRO

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NINA
Design : BORDEAUX 60
Loa: 60′
Skipper: Nicolas CHALAPHY

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MERENA
Design :
Loa: 40′
Skipper: Alexis GUILLAUME

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SPEEDY NEMO
Design : DUFOUR 34
Loa: 34′
Skipper: Raymond MAGRAS

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ARETHUSA
Design : SWAN 42
Loa: 42′
Skipper: Philip LOTZ

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ANATOLE
Design : JPK 9,60
Loa: 31′
Skipper: J-L LEFEBVRE

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TRISKELL
Design : DUFOUR 45
Loa: 45′
Skipper: Jean Michel MARZIOU

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TEAM BOSTON
Design : FIRST 40,7
Loa: 40,7′
Skipper: John “Jack” WATSON

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Performance Yacht Charter-Northern Child
Design : Swan 51
Loa: 51′
Skipper: Christian REYNOLDS

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FISER
Design : B 28
Loa: 28′
Skipper: Jean-Michel FIGUERES

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Ptits Filous Lipton
Design : A 40
Loa: 40′
Skipper: Philippe CHARRET

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White Rhino Holdings
Design : Swan 56
Loa: 56 ‘
Skipper: Jack DESMOND

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SLIPPERY
Design : Reichel Pugh 37
Loa: 37 ‘
Skipper: Peter PEAKE

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MARTINIQUE PREMIERE – CREDIT MUTUEL
Design : SUNFAST 3200
Loa: 32 ‘
Skipper: Andrzej KOCHANSKI

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Kick ‘em Jenny 2
Design : MELGES 32
Loa: 32 ‘
Skipper: Ian HOPE-ROSS

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WHISTLER
Design : J-105
Loa: 35 ‘
Skipper: Peter LEWIS

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VOILES 44 CAVA
Design : POGO CLASS 40
Loa: 40 ‘
Skipper: Rodolphe SEPHO

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ORMEAU
Design : Beneteau 47
Loa: 47 ‘
Skipper: Alain CHARLOT

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BACHATELLE
Design : Swan 57
Loa: 57 ‘
Skipper: Joan Navarro Guiu

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TEAM HAN
Design : HANSE 47
Loa: 47 ‘
Skipper: Han de Bruyn Kops

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DEFIANCE
Design : MARTEN 49
Loa: 49 ‘
Skipper: Steve CUCCHIARO

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Non-Spinnaker
GIRLS for SAIL
Design : ELAN 37
Loa: 37′
Skipper: Annie O SULLIVAN

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NIX
Design : X-612
Loa: 60′
Skipper: Nico CORTLEVER

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Jaguar Island Water World
Design : J 120
Loa: 40′
Skipper: Ben JELIC

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FRENCH KISS
Design : Beneteau Sense 50
Loa :50′
Skipper: Alexandria KILMON

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ALPHA CENTAURI
Design : SWAN 57
Loa : 57′
Skipper: Bruno CHARDON

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HOTEL CALIFORNIA TOO
Design : SANTA CRUZ 70
Loa : 70′
Skipper: Stephen C SCHMIDT

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HIGH TENSION
Design : MUMM 36
Loa : 36′
Skipper: Bernie EVAN-WONG

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COSTA MESA
Design : DUFOUR 425 GL
Loa : 45′
Skipper: Pascal REY

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SHAMROCK VII
Design : J/95
Loa : 31′
Skipper: Thomas MULLEN

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L’ESPERANCE
Design : Beneteau 45 f
Loa : 45′
Skipper: Sir Robert VELASQUEZ

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VOILACTUS
Design : JEANNEAU 44
Loa: 44 ‘
Skipper: Eduardo LENTZ

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VANILLE
Design : First 300
Loa: 30 ‘
Skipper: Garth STEYN

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SPIRIT
Design : Swan 65
Loa: 65 ‘
Skipper: Alan EDWARDS

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Racing Multihull
DAUPHIN TELECOM
Design:
Loa: 50′
Skipper: Erik CLEMENT

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FILDOU
Design: F 40
Loa: 40′
Skipper: Stéphane CATTONI

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PARADOX
Design: Irens 63′ Trimaran
Loa: 63′
Skipper: Olivier VIGOUREUX

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PLAN D’ENFER
Design: Trimaran F40 Montesinos
Loa: 40′
Skipper: Bruno ESCALES

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CLASSIC
WILD HORSES
Design: W Class
Loa: 76′
Skipper: Donald TOFIAS

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The Blue Peter
Design: Alfred MYLNE
Loa: 65′
Skipper: Mathew BARKER

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SAPHAEDRA
Design: Classic wood ketch
Loa: 51′
Skipper: Jamie ENOS

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S/Y HEROINA
Design : Frers
Loa: 74′

 

 

Nordseewoche  at 2010 Rund Skagen (Photo courtesy of Rund Skagen)

Nordseewoche at 2010 Rund Skagen (Photo courtesy of Rund Skagen)

The 28th of May 2012 heralds the start of the Pantaenius Rund Skagen race, part of the North Sea Week 2012, the only German race series that takes place on the open sea and is so testing that it attracts international participation. Each yacht will set off with a Yellowbrick aboard, a satellite-based tracking system that has already proven its worth in many regattas and rallies.
Approximately 80 yachts are expected to participate in this year’s Pantaenius Rund Skagen regatta, and each yacht will be fitted with a race tracker system from Yellowbrick, enabling live, real-time race coverage on the Internet.  All that viewers need to follow the fleet online is Adobe Flash.  The Yellowbrick race tracker provides positional data, yacht names, yacht information, crew details, course and route, waypoints and much, much more.

The Pantaenius Rund Skagen is held every two years as a part of the international North Sea Week yacht racing event and is considered to be one of the most challenging open-sea regattas. The route crosses through three very different areas of sea: the North Sea from Heligoland to Hanstholm which is a shelf sea, with heavy sea and ground swells accompanied by prevailing westerly winds, then comes the Skagerrak, an Atlantic strait with water depths of up to 1000 metres and flat bays on Jutland’s coast, such as the Jammerbugten (loosely translated as the “Bay of Lamentation” for good reason), and finally, after rounding the Skaw buoy, the yachts enter the Baltic Sea, a body of water that is temperamental but never boring, with many opportunities to employ clever tactics before finally reaching the finishing line in Kiel.
The demanding regatta lived up to its expectations in every respect in 2010: of the 87 registered yachts, only 54 crossed the start line due to a forecast of inclement weather.  Of these 54, only 30 reached Kiel.  With Beaufort Force 7 gales gusting to Force 8 from the North, an air temperature of around 12 degrees Celsius and water temperatures of between 4 and 6 degrees, Mother Nature was harsh and uncompromising as she separated the wheat from the chaff.  It remains to be seen what the Pantaenius Rund Skagen 2012 has in store for its participants, but whether it be storm or calm, it will definitely be exciting. 

Follow the action live at http://www.pantaenius.de/tracking

Every year at Whitsun around 1500 yachtsmen and several tourists gather at Heligoland to be part of the “Nordseewoche“ event. The North Sea Week is the biggest offshore yacht racing event in Germany. The Nordseewoche also offers the less experienced yacht’sman a fantastic opportunity to get into the race scene. Next to the ORC races the “Family-Cruiser-Cup” offers a relaxed atmosphere – sailing and winning without a rating certificate and without spinnaker or gennaker. And all sailors will catch up at the “boot Regattaparty” afterwards to celebrate together. The main sponsors are the international boat exhibition “boot Duesseldorf” and the SE Spezial Electronic AG. In 2012, the Nordseewoche is again organizer for the International German Championships for offshore sailing!