Sailing Yachts Luxury Yacht & Superyacht News

Newly refitted charter yacht ICAP Leopard back in action

July 30, 2012

Following a substantial refit, Mike Slade’s Supermaxi charter yacht ICAP Leopard has returned to competitive racing. Providing the record breaking sailing yacht ICAP Leopard with a new lease of life, her refit included a new super-light composite interior design, conceived by styling specialists, Design Unlimited.

Luxury charter yacht ICAP Leopard

Luxury charter yacht ICAP Leopard Photo Credit: Richard Langdon/Ocean Images

Taking line honours in the JP Morgan Round the Island Race, just 3 minutes shy of their own course record, Mike Slades’ Supermaxi showed that it has lost none of its devastating pace and last week, ICAP Leopard superyacht returned to regatta racing for The Special Edition Superyacht Cup in Cowes, attended by Her Majesty the Queen.

‘We have been to many ‘bucket’ events around the world and I have really admired the superyachts that have attended those events.” Explained Mike Slade. “However, prior to our refit, Leopard didn’t qualify for Superyacht Cup events, so the regatta in Cowes was something of a new experience. The Royal Yacht Squadron is a magnificent place to host a regatta and being able to stay in comfort on board, moored up right outside The Castle was a pleasure that I have been missing for some time.”

Of the eleven magnificent yachts entered for the regatta, Charles Dunstone brand new Wally 100 sailing yacht Hamilton was matched with luxury yacht ICAP Leopard in the performance class. However, The Superyacht Cup has a staggered start, according to the speed of the yachts. ICAP Leopard was determined to be the fastest yacht giving as much as 10 minutes to Hamilton but that in itself was not the only issue, to win each race, ICAP Leopard would need to pass some truly magnificent yachts such as the mighty schooners, the 204’ megayacht Athos and 180’ superyacht Adela.

The historic venue and heavenly weather provided a magnificent setting for the three-day regatta featuring a dazzling array of some of the world’s finest superyachts and a special visit by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II drew a crowd of ten thousand people on The Esplanade outside The Royal Yacht Squadron.

Newly refitted ICAP Leopard superyacht - front view

Newly refitted ICAP Leopard superyacht - front view Photo Credit: Richard Langdon/Ocean Images

In the performance class, ICAP Leopard and Hamilton superyachts enjoyed some outstanding racing. ICAP Leopard took the first race by some margin but Hamilton came back strongly to defend their one minute head start in the second race. The two hundred-foot Supermaxis swapped at least a dozen gybes, as they contested the lead but ICAP Leopard couldn’t pass Hamilton. The class winner was decided on the last race, as ICAP Leopard could not overhaul Hamilton’s 5-minute advantage, Charles Dunstone’s team won the encounter by a single point.

“Without a shadow of a doubt that was one of the most enjoyable regattas I have competed in. Leopard has undergone major changes including a full interior to qualify for Superyacht events and my first impression is that of an extraordinary environment with a variety of stunning yachts. It was a great pleasure to be up against Charles with his new yacht and I offer him and his crew my sincere congratulations. As far as Leopard is concerned, I think that after our substantial refit, we can be very happy that we are able to compete with a superb yacht such as Hamilton but I have come to understand that Superyacht events are about the enjoyment and the ambience rather than a win at all cost atmosphere – Brilliant fun and highly enjoyable.”

ICAP Leopard superyacht - Interior by Design Unlimited

ICAP Leopard superyacht - Interior by Design Unlimited

Charter yacht ICAP Leopard will next be on duty at Weymouth for the London 2012 Olympics sailing competitions and is fully sold out on corporate charter. ICAP Leopard then returns to the Solent for Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week.

Superyacht Cup Cowes 2012 won by the WallyCento luxury yacht HAMILTON

July 27, 2012

Running from July 22 to 25, the Special Edition of the Superyacht Cup Cowes was hosted by the Royal Yacht Squadron. As part of her Diamond Jubilee’s celebrations, the final day of the regatta saw Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, aboard the 75 metre luxury charter yacht Leander, make a Parade of Sail. As the Queen passed each of the racing yachts, three cheers rang out from the crew and the Yacht Squadron lawn. Much to the pleasure of 10,000 well-wishers gathered on The Esplanade, Her Majesty alighted at Trinity landing to inspect the spectacular sailing yacht Athos.

75m charter yacht Leander in Cowes hosting HM The Queen

75m charter yacht Leander in Cowes hosting HM The Queen escorted by Royal Navy

The historic venue and heavenly weather provided a magnificent setting for the three-day regatta featuring a dazzling array of some of the world’s finest superyachts. The winners of both classes were not decided until the final race and, after three days of light airs racing in glorious sunshine, The Superyacht Cup Cowes drew to a close with a prize-giving reception on the lawn of The Royal Yacht Squadron.

The last race was started from the RYS committee boat in the western Solent as the breeze started to build in the mid afternoon. Before the race, in Class 1, the 34m superyacht Unfurled was tied for first place with the 62 metre Schooner Athos. However, the 55 metre luxury yacht Adela won the last race of the regatta to claim second overall with Athos scoring a third to class victory by a single point. Unfurled finished the race in 6th place just 3 seconds behind Savannah superyacht in 5th place.

Tony Brooks, Skipper of megayacht Athos described the regatta as one to cherish for many years: “There is a great spirit of competition but also camaraderie between Adela and Athos, we race to win but we also have great respect for one another. During the last race, we were converging on the bottom mark. We felt that we could just cross Adela’s bow. However, obeying the 40-metre rule, we ducked Adela and let her through. Adela went on to win the race but our overall results gave Athos the prize. Athos’ owner made this his red-letter event of the season especially as The Royal Yacht Squadron is such a prestigious venue to experience. So much so that the crew of 46 crew aboard include a significant number of the owner’s guests. Having Athos presented to Her Majesty the Queen was a moment we will all treasure. The memory of thousands of spectators waving flags, as the Queen inspected Athos was a momentous occasion.”

Superyacht Cup Cowes 2012

Superyacht Cup Cowes 2012 - Photo credit: Claire Matches

Greg Perkins, Skipper of Adela echoed the fellowship shared with the crew of rival Athos and is looking forward to their next encounter with some relish: “Racing a 280 ton schooner in the Solent is extremely challenging, especially with a ripping tide and little breeze but Adela had another epic encounter with Athos. The Superyacht Cup events are always well managed and the Royal Yacht Squadron’s race officers did a great job getting all of the races in. However, the sunshine was very welcome and Adela’s owner enjoyed the sailing immensely, even though this time out we had to take second place to Athos. However, I would like it known that as Her Majesty passed Adela, the crew gave the biggest cheer of all, we even had several American’s in full voice! I am sure Adela will have further encounters with Athos, perhaps in the Caribbean where charter yacht Windrose might join in, to have three schooners battling it out would be a great occasion.”

Sir Charles Dunstone’s sleek, powerful Wally Cento Hamilton superyacht was making her regatta debut and celebrated a fine win. The 30 metre high performance racer-cruiser won not only Class Two but also took the overall win for the Superyacht Cup Cowes 2012. Dunstone was understandably elated to win with Hamilton at their first ever regatta.

WallyCento superyacht Hamilton - the overall winner of the 2012 Superyacht Cup Cowes

WallyCento superyacht Hamilton - the overall winner of the 2012 Superyacht Cup Cowes

As Hamilton crew and veteran round the world yachtsman, Jason Carrington explained. “Charles runs a highly professional programme and he really enjoys sailing and this regatta was one that I know he thoroughly relished. For a crew who have had so little time on the water, their performance was exceptional and a big part of the success but we have had little time to sailing Hamilton and we feel there is a lot more performance to unlock.”

Mike Slade’s 30 metre Supermaxi charter yacht ICAP Leopard holds multiple world records but was competing at a Superyacht Regatta for the first time. ICAP Leopard was level on points with Hamilton going into the last race but had to settle for second in Class by just a single point. However, Mike Slade clearly enjoyed his first Superyacht outing:

“Without a shadow of a doubt that was one of the most enjoyable regattas I have competed in. Leopard has undergone major changes including a full interior to qualify for Superyacht events and my first impression is that of an extraordinary environment with a variety of stunning yachts. It was a great pleasure to be up against Charles with his new yacht and I offer him and his crew my sincere congratulations. As far as Leopard is concerned, I think that after our substantial refit, we can be very happy that we are able to compete with a superb yacht such as Hamilton but I have come to understand that Superyacht events are about the enjoyment and the ambience rather than a win at all cost atmosphere – Brilliant fun and highly enjoyable.”

Hoek designed luxury yacht LIONHEART wins the historic Kings Hundred Guinea Cup

July 27, 2012

Designed by Andre Hoek and his team of naval architects in the Netherlands, the J-class sailing yacht Lionheart has won the historic Kings Hundred Guinea Cup and came within a whisker of winning the Corinthian Kings Cup during the J-Class Regatta in the Solent around the Isle of Wight. It was an amazing performance for Lionheart superyacht, going through her first racing season.

Superyacht Lionheart designed by Andre Hoek

Superyacht Lionheart designed by Andre Hoek

The third weekend of July 2012 will go down as one of the greatest in yachting history. For the first time ever, four J-class assembled on the starting line to compete in a spectacle the likes of which has not been seen since the golden days of the America’s Cup races decades ago.

Luxury yacht Lionheart was joined by superyacht Velsheda, charter yacht Ranger and sailing yacht Rainbow for a series of hugely exciting races that showed how competitive the new generation of J-class yachts are. With her owner at the helm as the J-class Association encourages, and with Bouwe Bekking as tactician, Lionheart sailed exceptionally well and won the two-feet tall solid silver cup for the Kings Hundred Guinea race (first presented in 1937 by King George VI).

The historic Kings Hundred Guinea Cup for Lionheart superyacht

The historic Kings Hundred Guinea Cup for Lionheart superyacht

Lionheart superyacht also came first on line honours in the Corinthian Kings Cup for amateur helmsman, only losing pole position – and therefore overall champion status – by just five seconds on handicap. “These phenomenal results are a testament to the owner and his crew,” says Andre Hoek, who was also onboard.

“It also proves beyond doubt that the designers can make a difference in optimising a J-class yacht within the parameters of the handicap system. We spent three years preparing this project before she was built by Claasen, and invested a year of research into her hull lines. Further analysis optimised the mast position, sail area, displacement, ballast ratios, rig design and structural design of the hull.

“Now, all this hard work has paid off in terms of boat speed and overall performance. Lionheart has proven that she is very fast and a real winner in both light and heavy winds. Moreover, the competitive nature of the next generation of J’s has been clearly demonstrated. We would like to also congratulate our friendly rivals on the course and look further to seeing whether the other two J-class yachts on which Hoek Design is currently working will also be able to achieve such sensational performance.”

The realignment of Sinnex – interior company of the 88m Perini Navi superyacht Maltese Falcon

July 26, 2012

With offices in Steinheim (Germany), The Hague (The Netherlands) and Moscow (Russia) as well as own production facility in Griffen (Austria), Sinnex is dedicated to exclusive and purely individual architectural woodwork of luxury yachts, private residences, opera houses and concert halls, representation areas as well as luxury hotels and private jets. Sinnex is also well known as the company involved with the interior of the 88m Perini Navi sailing yacht Maltese Falcon.

88m megayacht Maltese Falcon by Perini Navi

88m megayacht Maltese Falcon by Perini Navi

Now that Mr. Walter Puschl and Mr. Johannes Buschhaus, the co-founders of the company, retired on account of age, the right moment has come to make an important step in the realignment of the company. Both deliver an internationally well-positioned enterprise with a production in a traditional cabinet maker sphere and well-filled order books to managers experienced in the yacht interior and architectural woodwork domain.

In order to comply with the strong internationalization, the core competences in the project management were particularly reinforced. The top-performing team in Carinthia will be managed by the new commercial director, Dipl.-Ing. Alexander Höfling (46 years of age, married, three children).

After graduating as an engineer in the field of shipbuilding, Mr. Höfling managed for the last ten years the purchase of high-quality components for the renowned Fr. Lürssen Shipyard in Bremen. Already since 1995 he gained experience at several shipyards located in North Germany, inter alia, as project engineer at HDW Nobiskrug GmbH, head of the materials management at P+S Werften and as project manager at Intering – Rolls Royce. The combination of generating the most modern IT solutions for purchase and project management at ec4ec GmbH round off his profile.

Alexander Hoefling

Alexander Hoefling

Mr. Wolfgang Walzl (40 years of age, married, two children) will assume responsibility as technical director. He entered the company in 2004.

Because of his extraordinary commitment as head of production, Sinnex, Griffen became one of the most innovative interior finishers. In 2011 Mr. Walzl was appointed authorized representative with additional responsibility for many business questions. 24 years of experience in different furnishing companies underline his career.

In order to respond also in the future to stringent demands for high-end interiors, a modernization agenda for machinery was implemented. This summer the production facilities in Carinthia, Griffen will be brought up to the state of the art.

Wolfgang Walzl

Wolfgang Walzl

An automated storage system with connected nesting facility will be installed. Room and air temperature will be automatically monitored in order to store and process the high-grade materials under the correct climatic conditions.

Based on such a technical equipment and organizational skill, it will be possible to involve also small traditional enterprises of high quality in the interior work. This leads to an extensive capacity expansion and the capability to respond flexibly to market changes.

An exclusive unique copy is created by perfection, which Sinnex wants to further perfect with the necessary know-how and the ultimate technology. This goal can be achieved by strengthening the strengths and the objective to remain one of the most competent companies in the field of most exclusive architectural woodwork.

“Attention to detail, dexterity, mastery of modern techniques and compliance with dimensional and calculatory requirements – no contradictions – but a perfect blend of superior craftsmanship and sophisticated technology.“

Secretary of the J Class Association retires

July 25, 2012

Following a 12-year career as Secretary of the J Class Association, as well as the huge success of the two UK J Class events this year, David Pitman is retiring from the role.

David Pitman (second from left) with Jan Hart  (right) who together secured two unique trophies for the J Class: The Kings Corinthian Cup  and the Hundred Guinea Cup

David Pitman (second from left) with Jan Hart (right) who together secured two unique trophies for the J Class: The Kings Corinthian Cup and the Hundred Guinea Cup

This has been a fascinating era for the J Class, starting with the inaugural meeting of the Association in 2000. David created the constitution and a set of rules that would defend the historic original yachts, including charter yacht Shamrock V, sailing yacht Velsheda, charter yacht Endeavour, but would allow for the building of new yachts, to original hull lines plans. This led to interest in new projects.

David is extremely proud of his role in assisting the development, build and launch of four new J’s – charter yacht Ranger in 2002, luxury yacht Hanuman in 2009, Lionheart superyacht in 2010 and superyacht Rainbow in 2012. One more yacht is nearing completion at Holland Jachtbouw Shipyard, whilst two more have plans approved and are scheduled to start shortly. Few people can have such a lasting, visible legacy of their work with four new J Class yachts on the water and three more on the way.

The two major UK regattas were a culmination of many years of planning, and he is delighted to have completed these events with such success, bringing four J Class yachts to the UK for the first time in over 70 years and putting on racing to rival the glory years of the 1930’s. Regatta organisation is a complex task, encompassing container movements, berthing for yachts and support ships, awareness of large crew requirements, plus all the onshore activities that make a successful event.

In his last two years as J Class Secretary, David laid the foundations for future events at top sailing destinations around the world. His superyacht knowledge and contacts were invaluable in the formulation of these long-term plans. David leaves a legacy of a strong class association, comprehensive rules, accurate handicap and measuring systems, unique event trophies and seven J Class Yachts on the water, with more in construction and planning.

Luxury yacht HANUMAN - Photo Credit: George Bekris

Luxury yacht HANUMAN - Photo Credit: George Bekris

David stated: “It has been my pleasure to work and sail with the J class fleet for more than 15 years, creating an environment where the Class can grow and flourish.”

David is looking forward to continuing the growth of Strawberry Marketing, his very successful design and marketing agency, established in 1989, and focusing on increasing the strength of Strawberry Yacht Management – which offers superyacht support services.

Superyacht Wild Oats XI to test a new underwater configuration at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2012

July 25, 2012

The Rolex Sydney Hobart Race‘s five-time line honours winner as well as race record holder, the 30m sailing yacht Wild Oats XI will be testing a new underwater configuration while competing in the IRC Grand Prix division at the 2012 Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, starting next month.

Wild Oats XI superyacht under spinnaker

Wild Oats XI superyacht under spinnaker

The Wild Oats XI yacht’s owner, Bob Oatley, decided that the seven-year-old, 30-metre long sloop needed a ‘makeover’ after being narrowly beaten in the battle for line honours in last year’s Hobart classic. Wild Oats XI could not match Anthony Bell’s superyacht Investec Loyal in light winds approaching the finish and was beaten into Hobart by just three minutes and eight seconds after racing for 627 nautical miles.

Wild Oats XI superyacht had been fitted with new, retractable daggerboards prior to that race, and after the finish Bob Oatley left Hobart convinced they slowed the boat in light weather.

Now, after three months of surgery which was carried out at Sydney’s Woolwich Dock, luxury yacht Wild Oats XI will appear at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week still carrying the same daggerboards, but with another retractable centreboard fitted on the centreline just three metres aft of the bow.

Wild Oats XI yacht’s first test will come this weekend when she starts in the 384 nautical mile Audi Sydney Gold Coast Race, but the current weather forecast for the race from yachting meteorologist Roger Badham is for strong winds and a probable race record for Wild Oats XI. If that is the case then the race testing of the new light weather configuration will have to wait until Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, which starts on August 17.

Wild Oats XI yacht’s skipper, Mark Richards, said the modifications to Wild Oats XI were made after exhaustive trials and analysis earlier this year.

‘We weren’t able to trial the two new daggerboards prior to the Hobart race, so it was only then that we found out that we had a speed problem in light winds’, Richards said. ‘When the yacht returned to Sydney we did a series of tests using extremely accurate GPS readings so we could analyse the yacht’s performance, and that led to us designing a symmetrical and retractable centreboard to be fitted near the bow.

30m luxury yacht Wild Oats XI - bowman

30m luxury yacht Wild Oats XI - bowman

‘We now expect to use that centreboard when sailing in winds of up to seven knots, then go through a transition phase as the wind increases in strength to a point where the centreboard is eventually fully retracted and the leeward daggerboard completely down.’

Richards said he was looking forward to being able to test superyacht Wild Oats XI over the full range of wind strengths usually experienced on the island courses at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week.

Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2012, which will be staged from August 17 to 25, is open to a wide spectrum of sailboats – from sport boats to cruising yachts, cruiser-racers and Grand Prix level keelboats, plus high-performance multihulls. The fleet is now approaching 150 in number, so it is likely between 180 and 200 yachts will be competing.

All information relating to Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2012 is on the regatta website. The Notice of Race and Entry Form are also available online.

Luxury carmaker, Audi, returns as the title sponsor of Hamilton Island Race Week in 2012. The German premium brand will host a range of special events on the island for yacht owners and guests to enjoy during the week.

Perini Navi to partner with Future Fibres on two 60 metre superyachts

July 25, 2012

Future Fibres is proud to announce the recent signing of two 60 metre superyachts with prestigious Italian luxury yacht manufacturer Perini Navi. The shipyard chose to collaborate with Future Fibres, sending a clear message: trust Perini Navi – trust Future Fibres. The contract won in April this year for two amazing 60m sailing yachts demonstrates the arrival of the Future Fibres spar division on the superyacht scene.

Future Fibres to work on two 60m superyachts by Perini Navi

Future Fibres to work on two 60m superyachts by Perini Navi

Both luxury yachts, one a sloop and the other a ketch, come from a new generation of 60m sailing yachts sold by Perini Navi. For the sloop, Future Fibres will be supplying a full mast, furling boom and rigging package which will be completed by 2014. The mast tube will measure a massive 72.2m and the boat will become one of an elite few yachts that cannot transit the Panama Canal due to rig height.

The client’s desire for performance will see the sloop’s rig built with race-bred features throughout: locking mechanisms on halyards to reduce mast compression and save weight, a stowable staysail system, high modulus fibre for a lighter stiffer mast and an innovative batten slide solution to increase sail life.The clear finish carbon mast will leave nothing to hide – show-casing precision tooling and the build accuracy of the product.

The sloop will also have a Future Fibres female moulded carbon pre-preg boom with electronic furling motors. The new furling system will be fully tunable, using state-of-the-art software and torque feedback to optimise furling performance.

Once complete, the boom will have an overall length of 22.2m. This project comes off the back of a series of massive 25m+ furling booms currently in production, and will put Future Fibres behind the four biggest furling booms ever built. A set of Future Fibres solid carbon rigging will complete the fully optimised mast and rigging package.

For the ketch, Future Fibres has already started building almost a kilometre of TSC solid carbon rigging. The V1 for the main mast will have an impressive -750 equivalent cable (the 46m sloop Pink Gin has a -540 equivalent V1 span).

The signing of the two 60m projects follows a comprehensive discussion and negotiation process. Tom Hutchinson, founder of Future Fibres: “Perini Navi have built a reputation based on quality and reliability. The depth behind their decision making reflects their incredibly high standards. We are honored that they have chosen to partner with Future Fibres.”

Moreno Di Giusto, Head of Perini Navi Mast Division explains their decision: “With Future Fibres, we’re confident we have the right people designing and building our rigs. Between the two companies there is a massive skill-set, and we believe that together we can make big advancements.”

It was during a visit to Valencia in January that Perini Navi saw the scale of the Future Fibres facilities first hand. “We were hugely impressed with the purpose built facility and the amount of investment that has gone into it,” says Vittorio Blengini, Sales Executive at Perini Navi. “Plus, their European location means customers no longer have to go to the other side of the world for a rig build.”

In its first two years of business, the Future Fibres spar division has already delivered two Volvo 70s, an America’s Cup wing, an Open 60 and a 72′ Mini Maxi. Now, with the signing of the two 60m projects, their mission to build the biggest and fastest spars in the world is reaffirmed. In an industry historically dominated by only one or two players, the arrival of Future Fibres onto the superyacht spar scene finally gives customers a choice – a choice in how a rig gets built and who builds it.

33rd Rolex Middle Sea Race, October 20 – 27, 2012

July 24, 2012

Running from October 20 to 27, Malta will once again host the challenging, enchanting as well as historic Rolex Middle Sea Race, supported by Rolex since 2002. One of Europe’s most popular and respected offshore races, the 33rd editon of the event provides a 606-nautical-mile racecourse – a rigorous and scenic anticlockwise loop around Sicily, including plenty of “corners” that represent changing and complex meteorological shifts.

72ft mini maxi yacht Ran Photo Credit: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

72ft mini maxi yacht Ran Photo Credit: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

Last year’s event proved to be an emotional affair and one that the passionate Maltese sailing community cherished. Lee Satariano’s J/122 sailing yacht Artie ended a near decade-long run without a local victory by claiming the overall prize on handicap, following a dogged performance. Although it retains a strong Maltese and Italian presence, which is natural given the geography of the course, the event always attracts strong crews from across the globe. Last year, half the 70-strong fleet was drawn from outside these two countries.

Although the start of the event is still some three months away, a competitive fleet is forecast. A heavyweight in Niklas Zennström’s 72-foot Mini Maxi yacht Rán 2 (GBR) – a two-time Rolex Fastnet Race and twice Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship winner – was one of the first yachts to confirm her participation. Another Maxi entry – the 78-ft Reichel/Pugh luxury yacht Idea, now owned by Darren Wright – twice won the Giraglia Rolex Cup on line honours in the early 2000s.

100ft maxi superyacht Esimit Europa 2 rounding Stromboli Photo Credit: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

100ft maxi superyacht Esimit Europa 2 rounding Stromboli Photo Credit: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

The current race record was set by George David’s 90-ft Maxi yacht Rambler (USA) in 2007 and has not been threatened since. Her winning time was 47 hours, 55 minutes and 3 seconds. Line honours for the last two years have been the privilege of Igor Simčič’s 100-ft Maxi superyacht Esimit Europa 2 (SLO), which recently smashed the race record at the Giraglia Rolex Cup. Last year, she finished some 14 hours outside Rambler’s time – a measure of how difficult the record is to beat.

The Rolex Middle Sea Race is organized by the Royal Malta Yacht Club, whose members were instrumental in the foundation of the event back in 1968, when their desire was to map a demanding and exciting racecourse. They fully succeeded – navigators and tacticians are drawn to the event each year precisely due to the unique obstacles posed.

Superyacht Cup Cowes: Day 1 won by sailing yacht Unfurled

July 23, 2012

Despite the Unfurled superyacht was the last vessel to cross the start line of today’s Pantaenius sponsored Race 1 of the Superyacht Cup Cowes, the crew of the 34m Royal Huisman constructed sailing yacht Unfurled found their way through difficult light air conditions to take first place on a shortened course.

34m superyacht Unfurled by Royal Huisman Photo Credit: Claire Matches

34m superyacht Unfurled by Royal Huisman Photo Credit: Claire Matches

As the early morning mist lifted with blue skies above, the fleet were started from the Royal Yacht Squadron line  at 1105 with the 45m Briand charter yacht Mari Cha III crossing the start first headed to the Eastern Solent on the longer course toward the NAB tower. As the rest of the fleet followed with Unfurled last over the start line, the yachts progressed slowly up the course helped by the flood tide towards the first mark at North Sturbridge.

Due to the lack of consistent wind and the imminent tidal change, the decision was however taken by the race committee to shorten the course. Unfurled were finished between Warner and the committee boat at 1415. They were followed by charter yacht Leopard 3 four minutes later and Hamilton finishing at 1504. Athos superyacht, who had to put in an extra tack to lay the finish line, finished fourth at 1512. The remaining fleet retired from the race or were unable to reach the finish.

Crew aboard Athos superyacht Photo Credit: Claire Matches

Crew aboard Athos superyacht Photo Credit: Claire Matches

The forecast for tomorrow is also for light winds but as the temperature increases throughout the week, it is hoped the sea breeze will fill in to provide some better wind conditions for the fleet.

2012 J Class Solent Regatta – Hundred Guinea Cup won by luxury yacht Lionheart

July 23, 2012

Saturday morning in the Solent brought the warm as well as sunny weather conditions for the J Class Solent Regatta – Hundred Guinea Cup race. This popular event is based on the original America’s Cup course, heading east around the Isle of Wight.

2012 J Class Solent Regatta - Hundrer Guinea Cup Photo courtesy of Rick Tomlinson

2012 J Class Solent Regatta: Hundrer Guinea Cup - Photo courtesy of Rick Tomlinson

Light Easterly wind was due to give way to just a whisper of Southerly breeze in the day, and the prospect of a shortened course looked likely. Nothing could have dampened the enthusiasm of the spectator fleet though, as hundreds of them joined the Js at the start line, anticipating a race to rival the glory days of the 1930′s America’s Cups.

Luxury yacht Rainbow sensibly withdrew from Saturday’s racing for safety reasons after a small technical issue. The remaining three, superyacht Velsheda, charter yacht Ranger, and luxury yacht Lionheart were a fantastic spectacle as they hoisted their 16,000 square feet of mainsail and genoa, and began circling on the RYS line area, North of Cowes.

As if sensing the importance of the occasion, as the start time approached, the Easterly wind unexpectedly picked up strength. With hundreds of boats and thousands of spectators watching, the three boats crossed the line on Starboard, benefiting from the last of the flood tide. After the start, the sea erupted with the acceleration of hundreds of powerboats and RIBs following the three boat fleet.

The yachts pressed on in the light wind out to the Nab Tower. Lionheart rounded first, setting her 10,000 square foot spinnaker.

Lionheart superyacht held the lead at St Catherine’s Point with sailing yacht Velsheda a short distance behind, and Ranger close by. Even after three quarters of the course, only seconds split the fleet.

Luxury yacht Lionheart held her lead and rounded the Needles first, to the delight of hundreds of spectators on beaches and headlands from Hurst Castle to Christchurch.

By the time the boats reached Fort Albert, it had become apparent that the strong adverse tide through Hurst and patchy winds up the Solent were going to make finishing the round the island almost impossible, and the Race Committee took the decision to shorten the course retrospectively, as agreed in the sailing instructions. The course was finished at the Needles, where times had been taken. The results (including Time Correction Factors) were calculated but kept a secret from the Js until the prizegiving, where all the crew and owners assembled that evening.

Lionheart’s position at The Needles won her the King’s Hundred Guinea Cup. This was a fantastic achievement for Lionheart superyacht and her owner, competing in their first J Class regatta, and well-deserved as Lionheart has performed consistently well at each regatta and taken line-honours twice, narrowly losing out on first place each race on corrected time.

Superyacht Velsheda rounded about two minutes behind, and charter yacht Ranger a further five minutes behind.

Because of her great results in the Solent, two wins and one second, Velsheda was awarded the Corinthian King’s Cup for the regatta’s best amateur helmsman. Originally presented by King George V, the Corinthian King’s Cup, dating from 1914, will be presented each year as a perpetual trophy “for friendly competition between J Class yachts, each sailed by an amateur owner”.

The Kings Hundred Guinea Cup was originally presented by King George VI at the Royal Northern and Clyde Yacht Club in 1937. Both trophies were kindly donated by Jan Hart; associate member of the JCA, keen supporter of the fleet, and owner of the building copyright for JS1 Svea.

Saturday was a great day for those watching from the mainland, as the Js were seen by thousands of spectators around the island from every possible vantage point; from Cowes, Lee-on-Solent, Hayling Island, Bembridge, Ventnor, Christchurch Bay, and Hurst.

The Hundred Guinea Cup was another great race by the competitive J Class yachts, providing a spectacle that will live in yachting memory for a very long time.

On Saturday night, crew, owners, and organisers enjoyed a prize-giving party at the Royal Southampton Yacht Club, jointly sponsored by Pantaenius, and Dykstra and Partners Naval Architects. Everybody attended the event in great spirits, still buzzing from four days of wonderful sailing.

Superyachts Lionheart and Velsheda’s prize-winning owners made speeches enthusiastically thanking the Royal Southampton Yacht Club for their excellent race-management, as they received their cups.

Both the Falmouth and Solent Regattas were the inspiration of David Pitman, who has been class secretary for more than twelve years. He worked hard, together with Mike Beggs, the class measurer, to bring these two wonderful regattas to the UK this year. He was significantly responsible for the growth of the class from the original three yachts to a fleet of seven on the water, with three more projects underway. David says “It has been my pleasure to work and sail with the J Class fleet for more than fifteen years, creating an environment where the class can grow and flourish.”