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Extreme Sailing Series yacht race successfully started by Extreme 40 Debut Skipper Morgan Larson

February 29, 2012

New skipper of the sailing yacht Oman Air, American Morgan Larson had an amazing start to his Extreme Sailing Series career on the opening day of Act 1 of this popular yacht race held in Muscat, Oman.

Extreme Sailing Series 2012. Act 1. The Wave Muscat. Oman Credit: Lloyd Images

Extreme Sailing Series 2012. Act 1. The sailing yacht Oman Air Credit: Lloyd Images

The forty-year-old, a passionate surfer, who lives in Oregon, USA, has an outstanding sporting CV including 3 America’s Cup campaigns and 6 World Championship titles but few pundits would have predicted the outcome today which resulted in the Oman Air yacht sharing the top of the leaderboard after 6 races alongside pre-season favourites Groupe Edmond de Rothschild: “I didn’t really know what to expect to be honest. I know there are a lot of talented teams but I think the format of the sailing suits my style.” Modest on the day but when pushed there is an underlying confidence: “I believe we can win this, but we need podium positions at every event.”

Groupe Edmond de Rothschild take victory on the first day of racing in Muscat Credit: Lloyd Images

Groupe Edmond de Rothschild takes victory on the first day of racing in Muscat Credit: Lloyd Images

Tomorrow the 8-yacht Extreme 40 fleet will race in stadium mode inside the breakwater, surrounded by the outstanding residential development known as The Wave and home to Oman Sail. Watch the racing live online from 1130 GMT for the next 3 days.

The question everyone is asking here – who will win this season? The French team skippered by Pierre Pennec is renowned for their form and have been overall runners-up for the past two years. “We won the event last year and it’s always good to ‘mark’ your territory so to be competitive 100% on day one is good,” said trimmer Hervé Cunningham. On paper, this is the team to watch. Daily Sail editor, James Boyd’s, 2012 form guide will be available online tomorrow.

Extreme 40 yachts racing on the first day of racing in Muscat Credit: Lloyd Images

Extreme 40 yachts racing on the first day of racing in Muscat Credit: Lloyd Images

It was Leigh McMillan and his crew on The Wave, Muscat yacht who scored first blood in the first race of the day. The conditions may not have been challenging with the breeze ranging from 6-10 knots throughout the afternoon and it wasn’t long before Pennec’s team took control to win the next 2 races. Race 4 delivered the drama of the day when Oman Air 5th crew member Max Bulger went over the side.

Alinghi on day 1 at Muscat Credit: Lloyd Images

The trimaran yacht Alinghi on day 1 at Muscat Credit: Lloyd Images

“He somehow hung on to the rudder! I have seen a lot of people fall over board but I have never seen anyone hang on the way he hung on, it was quite impressive,” said Larson. He was quickly retrieved and Larson’s team of Will Howden, Charlie Ogletree and Nasser Al Mashari managed to regain their lead to win the race.

Antoine Joubert on board the sailing yacht ZouLou on day 1 at Muscat Credit: Lloyd Images

Antoine Joubert on board the sailing yacht ZouLou on day 1 at Muscat Credit: Lloyd Images

The new team on the Extreme Sailing Series circuit, Team Trifork, had their taste of their first real Extreme 40 competition and the Danish-led team loved it: “Difficult, lot of learning but lot of fun! We finished 3rd in one of the races and we were in the fight all the time,” said co-skipper Jes Gram-Hansen.

GAC Pindar, skippered by match racing supremo Ian Williams, were the new kids on the block last year but a year on and they are now contenders, ending the first day 3rd on the leaderboard.

GAC Pindar finish day 1 on the podium

GAC Pindar finishes day 1 on the podium

Extreme Sailing Series 2012 Act 1, Muscat, Oman standings after Day 1, 6 races (28.2.12)
Position / Team / Points

1st Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA) Pierre Pennec / Jean-Christophe Mourniac / Hervé Cunningham / Bernard Labro / Adeline Chatenet 36 points
2nd Oman Air (OMA) Morgan Larson / Will Howden / Charlie Ogletree, Nasser Al Mashari, Max Bulger 36 points
3rd GAC Pindar (GBR) Ian Williams / Mark Ivey / Mark Bulkeley, Adam Piggot / Andrew Walsh 34 points
4th The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Ed Smyth, Pete Greenhalgh, Hashim Al Rashdi, Rachel Williamson 30 points
5th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans Peter Steinacher, Matthew Adams, Graeme Spence, Pierre Le Clainche 26 points
6th ZouLou (FRA) Loick Peyron, Philippe Mourniac, Jean-Sébastien Ponce, Bruno Jeanjean, Antoine Joubert 22 points
7th Alinghi (SUI), Ernesto Bertarelli, Tanguy Cariou, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey, Pierre-Yves Jorand 17 points
8th Team Trifork (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Kostner, Pete Cumming, Simon Hiscocks, Jonas Hviid 15 points

Ernesto Bertarelli, skipper of the Alinghi yacht on board on the first day of racing in Muscat

Ernesto Bertarelli, skipper of the Alinghi yacht, on board on the first day of racing in Muscat

More skipper quotes:
Ian Williams, skipper, GAC Pindar: “We really targeted trying to get the boat in the top 3 so it’s a great start and we’re in 3rd place not too far behind the leaders. The preparation this year has been much better, the boat is in better condition and the crew have been in training leading up to this so we’re feeling much more settled. The goal is to be inside the top 5 all the time and that’s what we’ve got to do going forward.”

Hervé Cunningham, trimmer, Groupe Edmond de Rothschild: “We’re pretty happy, we didn’t know where we were this morning in terms of performance of the boat and some crew changes so at the end of the day we are tied first with Oman Air so we’re pretty happy. Oman Air did a really, really good job. I know Morgan Larson and his crew and they are really good, so no surprises. We won the event last year and it’s always good to ‘mark’ your territory so to be competitive 100% on day one is good.”

Jes Gram-Hansen, co-skipper, Team Trifork: “Difficult, lot of learning but lot of fun! We finished 3rd in one of the races and we were in the fight all the time. The starting is the hardest point right as it’s quite different from the monohulls I have raced in my life.”

Morgan Larson, skipper, Oman Air: “I didn’t really know what to expect to be honest. I knew there are a lot of talented teams but I think the format of the sailing suits my style so I knew that would help a little but we have a long way to go that’s for sure. The race we won Max slipped off at the bottom mark, and he somehow hung on to the rudder! I have seen a lot of people fall over board but I have never seen anyone hang on the way he hung on, it was quite impressive. That was key to the day really, otherwise we could have been an eight point swing and wouldn’t be in the position we are in at the end of today.”

Morgan Larson at the helm of the sailing yacht Oman Air on day 1 Credit: Lloyd Images

Morgan Larson at the helm of the sailing yacht Oman Air on day 1 Credit: Lloyd Images

Dockwise transports 130´ charter yacht Endeavour to the Caribbean

February 29, 2012

Following the 18-month refit at Yachting Developments and sea trials completed with success, the 130´ sailing yacht Endeavour is now being transported to the Caribbean aboard Dockwise. Coming to Florida, the luxury charter yacht Endeavour will sail to participate at the Antigua St Barths Bucket regatta held in March, together with the 36m charter yacht Bliss and the 29.3m Symmetry superyacht, both built by Yachting Developments.

130´ charter yacht Endeavour leaving for the Caribbean

130´ charter yacht Endeavour heading for the Caribbean

It has been an honor for Yachting Developments to have been able to undertake the superyacht Endeavour’s refit in New Zealand, preserving as much of the vessel as practical while taking advantage of twenty first century sailing systems, enhanced performance and improved functionality. More than 100,000 man hours have gone into the project and in excess of 40 tonnes of material was removed and replaced on the vessel during the refit.

130´ sailing yacht Endeavour aboard Dockwise

130´ sailing yacht Endeavour

Endeavour Superyacht aboard Dockwise

Endeavour Superyacht aboard Dockwise

Sailing Yacht SELENE winner of the Swan Caribbean Challenge Trophy

February 28, 2012

Swan 80 sailing yacht Selene, has won the Swan Caribbean Challenge Trophy following her race in the one-of-a-kind 600 nautical mile race, ‘the RORC Caribbean 600’ in an elapsed time of 2 days, 18 hours and 22 minutes. Having circumnavigated 11 Caribbean Islands along with 4 other competing Swan yachts, superyacht Selene sailed by Benjamin Davitt finished 3rd place in the IRC Overall rankings. The yachts were sailing from Fort Charlotte, English Harbour, Antigua and heading as far north as St Maarten and south to Guadeloupe, taking in Barbuda, Nevis, St Kitts, Saba and St Barths.

Team Selene Winners of the Swan Caribbean Challenge © Photoaction 2012

Team Selene Winners of the Swan Caribbean Challenge © Photoaction 2012

Team Selene, Skipper, Benjamin Davitt:

“Team Selene is delighted to be honoured with the Swan Caribbean Challenge Trophy. We feel that we have really fused as a team in what was a challenging but thoroughly enjoyable race. Selene celebrates her twelfth year in 2012 and it is great to see that she is still competitive in a mixed fleet and we had a few good battles on several of the legs. We would really like to thank everyone involved in the organizing the event and look forward to the next one”.

The closest racing out of all of this year’s RORC Caribbean 600 also went to the Swan fleet, with another two competitive Swans also finishing in the top 10 overall.  Colin Buffin’s Swan 62 Uxorious IV was first to finish, but the team did not celebrate a class win.  Buffin and his young team know that Amanda Hartley’s Swan 56, Clem was extremely close to eclipsing their corrected time.  Just over 3 and a half hours passed before Clem crossed the finish line to win the class by only 21 seconds on corrected time.

There were ecstatic scenes dockside which saw the Spanish crew from Clem celebrate their class win in style, with Clem finishing in 8th and Uxorious IV in 9th overall.  The entire crew of Uxorious IV including Colin Buffin very sportingly applauded their rivals.

Amanda Hartley, Swan 56 Clem:

“We had no idea until we crossed the line and turned on our phones which went crazy with people calling in from Spain.  By our calculation we thought we had lost out by five minutes.  We got stuck at Guadeloupe for four hours and we could only sit and watch Uxorious get away.  We are obviously extremely delighted and really appreciate Colin and his team coming over to give us such a lovely welcome back to Antigua.”

Swan 51, Northern Child, chartered for this event by Merkle, the American IT company, had an interesting start to the race after turning back and giving up over half an hour to the opposition.  Christian Reynolds however, made a remarkable recovery finishing in 13th spot after 3 days and 15 hours regaining places.  Swan 90 charter yacht Nefertiti, then finished the Swan contingent in 17th place, with all Swan entries keeping within the overall top 20.

The stunning Swan Caribbean Challenge Trophy was awarded to Team Selene at the official ceremony held in Antigua.

IRC Overall Results

3          Selene              Swan 80

8          Clem                 Swan 56

9          Uxorious IV       Swan 62

13         Northern Child   Swan 51

17         Nefertiti Swan 90

2012 RORC CARIBBEAN 600 yacht race: A Sensational Success

February 27, 2012

The 2012 RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy and a myriad of trophies, medals as well as prizes for class winners were present at the prizegiving party taking place at Antigua Yacht Club.

The RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy and an array of trophies, medals and prizes Credit Tim Wright Photoaction

The RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy and an array of trophies, medals and prizes Credit: Tim Wright/Photoaction

The fourth edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 hosted by the Antigua Yacht Club was a sensational success. The Caribbean‘s only offshore yacht race attracted some of the world’s most fabulous yachts as well as corinthian entries. 578 sailors from 36 different countries took part in a memorable race. This year, the race attracted a truly international field including a number of world-class Spanish sailors racing on Volvo 70 sailing yacht Gran Jotiti and Swan 56 yacht Clem.

There were also a significant number of Russian sailors, no doubt enjoying getting away from the cold Russian winter. Oscar Konyukhov’s 90ft Maxi yacht Med Spirit crewed by amateur Russian and French sailors, put in a great performance against fully professional competition. Anders Nordquist, owner of Swan 90 yacht Nefertiti was taking part in his first ever offshore race and loved every minute of it.

This year, the sailing conditions were more complex than usual and there were epic battles between competing yachts throughout the fleet. During winter, Antigua is home to some of the world’s most extraordinary yachts and five yachts over 100 ft entered this year’s race. The glorious 214ft Baltic superyacht Hetairos skippered by Vincent Fauquenoy was destined to take line honours, crossing the finish line in Antigua in an elapsed time of 2 days 2 hours 39 minutes and 32 seconds. The monumental ketch was well outside the record time set by Rambler 100 last year, however the international team aboard Hetairos were all smiles as they were greeted by well-wishers and a cacophony of horns from megayachts in Falmouth Harbour.

Dijkstra sailing yacht Adela Credit: Tim Wright/Photoaction

Dijkstra sailing yacht Adela Credit: Tim Wright/Photoaction

Hetairos navigator, South African Marc Lagesse modestly admitted to being somewhat surprised to be the first yacht to finish: “I have to say, I am genuinely surprised. I honestly thought that we wouldn’t take line honours. From a navigators point of view, I got a few calls not quite right. However, we did have a few decisions work out for us by chance and I would always say it is better to be lucky than good! I really enjoyed this race, an illustrious fleet with great people and a big atmosphere.”

The luxury yacht Hetairos were pushed hard all the way by George David’s 90ft maxi superyacht Rambler. It was not until half way through the race that Hetairos managed to pass Rambler. The all star American team put in a fantastic performance but could not match the pace of an opponent over twice their size.

George David spoke candidly shortly after the race: “It was great to get back in the saddle for a 600-mile race after the Fastnet and to hold out so long against Hetairos. Mick (Harvey) is a great project manager and Norm (David Petersen) is a great Boat Captain and all the Rambler team are just so much fun to sail with.”

Niklas Zennstrom’s JV72 yacht Rán was the next yacht home, less than an hour behind Rambler to claim the overall win after time correction. Rán’s owner and principle helmsman, Niklas Zennstrom looked tired but full of joy after completing a race that he has wanted to do for some time: “The whole of Team Rán have been looking forward to this race for a while. A few of the crew have done the race before but it has been somewhat new territory for us, which is always exciting. It is a complex course, more like a series of coastal races. I think the reason I was attracted to the race so much was that we enjoyed Antigua Sailing Week and the idea of an offshore race in the Caribbean is very appealing. Any 600-mile yacht race is hard but the fantastic conditions make this one even more satisfying. The close reach down to Guadeloupe from St. Barths was very memorable, fast reaching conditions in beautiful surroundings, some of the best sailing you can imagine.”

Wendy Schmidt, owner of Swan 80 yacht Team Selene and skipper Benjamin Davitt proudly hold the Swan Caribbean Challenge Trophy for Best Swan in IRC Overall. They were also 3rd in IRC Zero  Credit: Tim Wright/Photoaction

Wendy Schmidt, owner of Swan 80 yacht Team Selene and skipper Benjamin Davitt proudly hold the Swan Caribbean Challenge Trophy for Best Swan in IRC Overall. They were also 3rd in IRC Zero Credit: Tim Wright/Photoaction

The multihull record for the RORC Caribbean 600 has not been beaten since the inaugural race in 2009. The 63′ Trimaran yacht Paradox, skippered by Olivier Vigoureux won this year’s race in the multihull class but failed to better Region Guadeloupe’s course record. However, Paradox did set an unofficial speed record with a ballistic 30 minutes run at night past Montserrat, close to 30 knots of boat speed!

Jules Verne record holder, Brian Thompson was racing with old friends on Spirit of Juno, Ondeck’s Farr 65 but he suggested that giant multihull Banque Populaire V could complete this course in about 30 hours. The MOD 70s would also be able to achieve that and it would be great to see a bigger multihull class next year.

Two Superyachts enjoyed an incredible battle around the course, Peter Harrison’s 115ft charter yacht Sojana and Gerhard Andlinger’s 124ft superyacht Team P2 have never done battle before in an offshore race. The two magnificent superyachts had a 600-mile match race around the entire course. P2 were the first home by just over 13 minutes in a race lasting over two and a half days. However, the charter yacht Sojana was well over an hour quicker than P2 after time correction. The two skippers, Marc Fitzgerald and Jonathan Kline spoke dockside as the two yachts finally came to rest in Falmouth Marina.

“P2 has done lots of bucket racing and superyacht events but what attracted the charter yacht P2’s owner Mr A to the race was that we could sail long legs and let P2 do what she was designed to do,” commented P2’s Kline. “The RORC Caribbean 600 gave P2 a chance to shine and give the owner the experience of long distance sailing offshore but still in the vicinity of great islands and magnificent views.”

“We don’t often have a match race on Sojana, we try an avoid it to be honest, especially when you are up against someone as good as Peter Holmberg who was at the wheel of P2,” admitted Sojana’s Fitzgerald. “P2 got away at the start but we reeled them in on the reach to Barbuda.  All credit to P2, they came back at us at Guadeloupe and we didn’t pass them until after the Barbuda mark. We had our problems on the beat to finish, which slowed us down but P2 sailed extremely well and made it a great race.”

The RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy for the sailing yacht RAN Credit: Tim Wright/Photoaction

The RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy for the sailing yacht RAN Credit: Tim Wright/Photoaction

Both the luxury yacht Adela and the Windrose of Amsterdam superyacht capture the imagination of years gone by. In spectacular surroundings the golden age of the schooners was recreated in an epic battle between two magnificent yachts and just before dawn on the fourth day of the RORC Caribbean 600, the gentlemanly duel was settled.

The wondrous 180ft schooner Adela crossed the finish line to take the gun just 1 hour and 42 minutes ahead of great rival, the 154ft schooner, Windrose of Amsterdam. The two schooners had enjoyed an intense battle around the 600-mile course with the two yachts trading places for the lead on eight separate occasions, Adela counted 51 energy sapping sail changes during the race.

Windrose of Amsterdam was chartered for the second year running by members of the Royal Ocean Racing Club, including past RORC Commodore, Andrew McIrvine and current RORC Commodore, Mike Greville. Windrose skipper, Alex Howard said dockside: “It was a tiring race with only 5 hours sleep and an interesting battle with Adela, but they got away from us and after Desirade. It’s a shame we didn’t do better, but there is always a next time. It was a great race and it is good to get five big Superyachts and Spirit of Tradition boats in this event for sure.”

Adela’s skipper, Greg Perkins spoke after the race: “This season, Adela races Windrose at three regattas and we have a barrel of rum on each event and I am two up at the moment, so I think Alex will be fuming! The boats are evenly matched; we have had tacking duels, luffing matches and all great fun. I would love to say that Adela will do the race next year if there is a schooner class, I say bring them down.”

Without doubt, the closest racing for this year’s event was in IRC One. Colin Buffin’s Swan 62 yacht Uxorious IV, was first to finish, but the team did not celebrate a class win. Buffin and his young team knew that Amanda Hartley’s Swan 56, Clem was extremely close to eclipsing their corrected time. Just over three and a half hours passed before Clem crossed the finish line to win the class by just 21 seconds on corrected time. There were euphoric scenes dockside as the Spanish crew of Clem celebrated. The entire crew of Uxorious IV including Colin Buffin sportingly applauded their rivals. Amanda Hartley spoke of their win.

“We had no idea until we crossed the line and turned on our phones which went crazy. We got stuck at Guadeloupe for four hours and we could only sit and watch Uxorious get away. We are obviously extremely delighted and really appreciate Colin and his team coming over to give us such a lovely welcome back to Antigua.”

Scarlet Logic came close to a fairy tale finish, the Oyster 48, co-skippered by Ross Applebey and Tim Thubron had been vying for the overall. In the end Scarlet Logic missed out, but the team had put in an incredible effort to take a convincing win in IRC Two. Scarlet Logic also recorded best corrected time in IRC One, Two and Three and as a result were awarded the fantastic prize of a week’s accommodation generously donated by race sponsor, The Inn at English Harbour.

“Fantastic, elated but bloody tired,” admitted Tim Thubron, co-skipper of Scarlet Logic. We were aware that we were in with a chance of beating the big, well funded professional teams and that really spurred us on. A lot of credit must go to the whole team, especially Ross Applebey. Scarlet was immaculately prepared, however we did need to drop the main to replace a sail slide. The main back up in eight minutes, that to me says it all about the crew work on board.”

The Class40s division produced a battle royale between Christophe Coatnoan’s French Partouche and Christof Petter’s Austrian Vaquita. The two Class40s were locked in a heroic tacking duel for the final push to the finish line. Vaquita crossed the line just 15 minutes ahead of Partouche. However, Vaquita failed to start the race correctly and to the Austrian crews disappointment, the class win was awarded to Partouche: “It was a tough race and we had a couple of moments that really slowed us down,” commented Christophe Coatnoan who raced two-handed with Eric Calmard. “We picked up a fishing float after Nevis without realising and we probably lost 8 miles before we knew it was there. Later at Guadeloupe, I had to dive into the water to free Partouche from yet another fishing buoy. The race was an excellent test for our new design especially for our sails as I think we used every one of them during the race.”

Without doubt the biggest reception for any of the yachts was reserved for Bernie Evan-Wong’s Mumm 36 yacht High Tension. Falmouth Harbour exploded with noise as the smallest yacht in the race tied up right outside the Antigua Yacht Club. Thunderous blasts from megayachts, superyachts and foghorns literally shook the dock as the whole of the sailing community in Falmouth heralded the arrival of local hero Bernie and his crew.

“I said we would be here by tonight but I always like to be early for appointments,” joked the Antiguan dentist. “It was a hard but satisfying race and the beat from Redonda to the finish seemed to take forever. We could see Antigua but it just didn’t seem to be getting any bigger, however a few miles out a massive rain squall hit and veered the wind favourably. After last year’s dismasting, I think maybe someone was looking out for us!”

The RORC Caribbean 600 now attracts some of the world’s best professional offshore sailors but they are not the only ones. Corinthian crews such as the Lloyd’s of London Yacht Club took on the professionals in Class Zero and the vast majority of the hundreds of sailors were sailing for pleasure not for pay. Probably the most noteworthy entry was the Spirit Of Venus yacht. The First 40.7 was chartered from Ondeck by the Royal Armoured Corps Offshore Racing Team, many of whom were returning from a tour of duty in Afghanistan. A ripped mainsail before the start was heroically replaced by local charter skipper Chris Jackson. The Royal Armoured Corps was late on parade by nearly half an hour however, Spirit of Venus charged out of Falmouth Harbour. The British Army team may have been the last yacht to finish but their valour and determination was nothing short of commendable.

2012 RORC Caribbean 600: Day 5 – Winners revealed

February 27, 2012

It was a busy day at the Antigua Yacht Club last Friday. At dawn on the fifth day of the RORC Caribbean 600 yacht race, only three yachts were still at sea finishing the course before the Prizegiving celebrations and all of the class winners are now provisionally known. The bar at the Antigua Yacht Club was in full swing, buzzing with stories between the crews as well as songs in a wide variety of different languages.

Sailing yacht Scarlet Logic win IRC Two Credit: Tim Wright/Photoaction

Sailing yacht Scarlet Logic win IRC Two Credit: Tim Wright/Photoaction

Team Selene skippered by Benjamin Davitt finished yesterday morning. The Swan 80 yacht Selene sailed an excellent race to claim third place overall and will lift the prestigious Swan Caribbean Challenge Trophy later this evening.

Without doubt, the closest racing for this year’s event was in IRC One. Colin Buffin’s Swan 62 yacht Uxorious IV, was first to finish, but the team did not celebrate a class win. Buffin and his young team knew that Amanda Hartley’s Swan 56 yacht Clem, was extremely close to eclipsing their corrected time. Just over three and half hours passed before Clem crossed the finish line to win the class by just 21 seconds on corrected time. There were ecstatic scenes dockside as the Spanish crew of Clem celebrated their class win. The entire crew of Uxorious IV including Colin Buffin sportingly applauded their rivals. Amanda Hartley spoke of their win.

“We had no idea until we crossed the line and turned on our phones which went crazy with people calling in from Spain. By our calculation we thought we had lost out by five minutes. We got stuck at Guadeloupe for four hours and we could only sit and watch Uxorious get away. We are obviously extremely delighted and really appreciate Colin and his team coming over to give us such a lovely welcome back to Antigua.”

Niklas Zennstrom´s yacht RAN wins 2012 RORC Caribbean 600 Overall Trophy and Class Zero Credit Tim Wright Photoaction

Niklas Zennstrom´s yacht RAN wins 2012 RORC Caribbean 600 Overall Trophy and Class Zero Credit: Tim Wright/Photoaction

Jaime Torres’ Puerto Rican First 40 yacht Smile And Wave, finished shortly after midnight last night to claim third in IRC One.

Scarlet Logic, co-skippered by Ross Applebey and Tim Thubron, finished the RORC Caribbean 600 shortly after 2300 last night. The Oyster 48 yacht Scarlet Logic has been vying for the overall win for the last two days. In the end Scarlet Logic missed out, but the team had put in an incredible effort and have been rewarded with a convincing win in IRC Two. Scarlet Logic has the best corrected time in IRC One, Two and Three and as a result will be awarded the fantastic prize of a week’s accommodation at the luxurious Inn at English Harbour.

“Fantastic, elated but bloody tired,” admitted Tim Thubron, co-skipper of Scarlet Logic. The weather lined up nicely for us and we were aware that we were in with a chance of beating the big, well funded professional teams and that really spurred us on and made us push even harder. A lot of credit must go to the whole team, especially Ross Applebey. Scarlet was immaculately prepared and we hardly had a single breakage, however we did need to drop the main to replace a sail slide. The job was done and the main back up in eight minutes, that to me says it all.”

There was joy and pain for both IRC Canting Keel and the Class40s. Ernesto Cortina’s Volvo 70 Gran Jotiti finished the race in just over two days. The Spanish team is racing the yacht formerly known as Telefonica Black in the last Volvo Ocean Race. Ernesto spoke about his team shortly after finishing. “This has been a great experience, even though our result was badly affected by a lot of sail damage. Many of the sails are tired from thousands of miles of racing. However, the crew have been a joy to sail with and this race is helping us build for the future. Gran Jotiti’s aim is to create a world class amateur Spanish offshore sailing team and we have learnt a lot through this race.

Mumm 36 sailing yacht High Tension crew celebrating arrival Credit Tim Wright Photoaction

Mumm 36 sailing yacht High Tension crew celebrating arrival Credit: Tim Wright/Photoaction

Ron O’Hanley’s Cookson 50 yacht Privateer, showed exceptional pace and boat handling throughout. Unfortunately the American team failed to start correctly and accepted a 10% penalty from the race organisers resulting in Gran Jotiti being declared winner of IRC Canting Keel.

The Class40s turned into a battle royale between Christophe Coatnoan’s Partouche and Christof Petter’s Vaquita. The two Class40s were locked in a heroic tacking duel for the final push to the finish line, a 40-mile beat from Redonda to the finish in Antigua.

Vaquita crossed the line just after sunset beating Partouche by a slender margin, just 15 minutes in a race lasting over 3 days. However, the Vaquita yacht failed to start the race correctly and to the Austrian crew’s disappointment, the class win was awarded to Partouche: “It was a tough race and we had a couple of moments that really slowed us down,” commented Christophe Coatnoan who raced two-handed with Eric Calmard. “We picked up a fishing float after Nevis without realising and we probably lost 8 miles before we knew it was there. Later at Guadeloupe, I had to dive into the water to free Partouche from yet another fishing buoy. The race was an excellent test for our new design especially for our sails as I think we used every one of them during the race.”

Vaquita’s Andreas Hanakamp commented: “Obviously we are disappointed to have been penalised but we were delighted with our performance. Partouche is a brand new Finot design, whilst Vaquita is a 2006 Akilaria. The RORC Caribbean 600 is a testing race course and a very tough race, exactly what we needed to prepare for our main competition of the season, The Atlantic Cup later this year.”

The latest competitor to finish the RORC Caribbean 600 is Bernie Evan-Wong’s Mumm 36 sailing yacht High Tension. Falmouth Harbour exploded with noise as the smallest yacht in the race tied up right outside the Antigua Yacht Club. Thunderous blasts from megayachts, superyachts and foghorns literally shook the dock as the whole of the sailing community in Falmouth heralded the arrival of local hero Bernie and his crew.

“I said we would be here tonight but I always like to be early for appointments,” joked the Antiguan dentist. “It was a hard but satisfying race and the beat from Redonda to the finish seemed to take forever. We could see Antigua but it just didn’t seem to be getting any bigger, however a few miles out a massive rain squall hit and veered the wind favourably for us to speed our way to Antigua. After last year’s dismasting, I think maybe someone was looking out for us!”

Danish Team Trifork Completes Act 1 Line-Up of the Extreme Sailing Series 2012 Starting Tomorrow

February 27, 2012

Danish Team Trifork has been finally presented today as the 8th team in the starting blocks for the first Act of the Extreme Sailing Series™ 2012 in Muscat, Oman. The team will be co-skippered by Jes Gram-Hansen on helm and Rasmus Kostner, tactician, who both come from a World Match Racing Tour and America’s Cup background, together with the youngest member of the team, 26-year-old Jonas Hviid-Nielsen on bow mixed up with the Extreme 40 race experience of Pete Cummings, skipper of the winning Extreme 40 team in 2009 and Simon Hiscocks from the UK.

Act 1 of the Extreme Sailing Series 2011 in Muscat - Day 1 Credit Lloyd Images

Act 1 of the Extreme Sailing Series 2011 in Muscat - Day 1 Credit: Lloyd Images

It has been a long journey for the Danish team that began a year ago as Jes Gram-Hansen explained: “Rasmus and myself went into different sailing programmes like RC44 and Farr 40 after the 32nd America’s Cup in Valencia but all the time our dream was to create our own team. We analysed what kind of circuit would be the one to go with, and with the changes to the America’s Cup and the Extreme Sailing Series being more and more the series to be in, we decided to try and build a team for the Extreme Sailing Series. So we invested all our money into buying a boat a year ago and then we spent most of the year in Denmark taking out business people from companies to show them what we love and what we think would be a good way to be involved in the project. We have long-support from Trifork (a software company) which we have in been a good relationship over the years along with our clothing partner, Simon Spurr, to help get us here to the start line in Muscat.”

The team’s expectations are as you would expect for the ‘newbies’ to the tour: “We have a lot of respect for the guys who have been on the tour and some of them have sailed multihulls for a long time,” continued Jens. “We’re here to learn and I’m sure we will make some mistakes but we’ve got two great English guys with us, Simon Hiscocks and Pete Cummings, so, hopefully, they will keep us out of trouble! Hopefully, we’ll improve over the season with a longer term goal of overall victory in a couple of years time.”

Danish Team Trifolk Credit Extreme Sailing Series

Danish Team Trifork Credit: Extreme Sailing Series

After various stints of team training up the Omani coast at Massanah, the racing starts for real tomorrow, Tuesday, 28th February, in Muscat. The live race coverage will start at 1130 GMT on Wednesday (29th Feb), streaming on Thursday (1st March) and Friday (2nd March). Glamour conditions expected and the sailors are talking it up on the dockside.

Roman Hagara, skipper, Red Bull Sailing Team:
“We’re starting with a new team here with 2 new crew members – new bowman, Graham Spence from Australia and an amateur sailor from France, Pierre, sailing as our 5th sailor for this event – so we’re looking forward it. We did some good training in Massanah and we’re ready for the first Act. We’ve capsized here before on the Asia Tour (09/10) then last year we made it to the podium. Our goal here is to make to the podium again.”

Morgan Larson, skipper, Oman Air:
“We’re looking forward to having some fun with the new team and doing really well. We’ve gelled really well with Will, Charlie, Nasser and Max so I think we’ve got a really good team. The competition is the highest it’s been in a while I think but I think we’ve got some great sailors on board and we’re expecting to be up at the front every race!”

Leigh McMillan, skipper, The Wave, Muscat:
“I think we’re in pretty good shape and we’ve done some good training races but we haven’t raced in anger against any of these guys yet. We hope to get on the podium and start the season well. I think on paper Groupe Edmond de Rothschild maybe favourites but we hope that by the time we get to the end of the season we’ll be challenging for overall victory.”

Loick Peyron, helmsman, ZouLou:
“I’m happy to be back here after a couple of years… We are here with a new team, good friends, good sailors although we have not raced together and we have only trained for 3 days which is not nearly enough. But the game is so interesting and so exciting, and I think it will be more ‘open’ than last year. We will be quite safe – I am fast but not furious!

Tanguy Cariou, Tactician, Alinghi:
“We all know the stadium racing is a very different game and we will have some good races and some bad ones! We made two training sessions with Ernesto in Massanah. I would say it is a new boat for him, a new format but we are used to sailing together on the D35 on the lake. There are new faces, new people and not all the teams have had the same level of training – I’m pretty sure that in Qingdao and Istanbul the strong teams will emerge but for the first event I’m not so sure, it’s a shakedown.”

America’s Cup Teams in San Francisco to see first-hand the vision for the yacht racing

February 27, 2012

America’s Cup teams arrived in San Francisco to see first-hand the vision for the America’s Cup yacht racing in 2012 and 2013.

America´s Cup team ORACLE Credit: G. Grenier/Oracle Racing

America´s Cup team ORACLE Credit: G. Grenier/Oracle Racing

The representatives are sourcing team housing, inspecting the venue sites and planning together for two summers of sailing in San Francisco, the America’s Cup World Series later this year and the pinnacle events of the 34th America’s Cup in 2013: the Louis Vuitton Cup, the America’s Cup Challenger Series (July 4th – September 1st), and the America’s Cup Finals (September 7th – 22nd). Teams are preparing to hit the “go” button as soon as all City approvals are in place.

“Emirates Team New Zealand is here to find 70 to 80 apartments for our team members and their families,” said Kevin Shoebridge, the team’s Chief Operating Officer who arrived today from Auckland. “It is no small task to house our team here. We will start with a core shore team but will ramp up as we prepare to train in two AC72s next year.”

America’s Cup rules allow the teams to begin launching their America’s Cup racing boats in July 2012. The AC72 yachts have 11 race crew, but the logistics to launch and maintain these high-tech racing machines require a shore support crew for each team of dozens of skilled technicians.

“It’s a busy time with an international circuit in the AC45s but we can’t take our eye off the end game which is here in San Francisco. Getting the logistics of where we will live and operate is a critical step in our America’s Cup program,” Shoebridge said. “The local America’s Cup Organizing Committee has been great in welcoming us and helping us jump start this process.”

There are eight Challengers entered from 7 nations. The Defender, Team USA/ORACLE Racing, is based in San Francisco. Four teams are planning to build two AC72 yachts are advanced in the construction of their first boats. But with final entry fees not due until June 1, other teams still have the opportunity to commence construction later this summer.

While the long-term planning for 2013 continues, the international field of teams has sights set on the AC World Series San Francisco event in 2012 to be sailed in the dynamic AC45 yachts.

“We are looking forward to being here later this year for the AC World Series for our first taste of competition on the stunning arena of San Francisco Bay,” said Thierry Barot, CEO China Team. “On this visit, we will check the sites in San Francisco that are being redeveloped for the event, as well as meet with the event organizers, and with all the other challengers,” Barot said.

“Another important aspect of our visit to San Francisco is to meet with select members of the local Chinese community who are active in their support for China Team. We are building our US operations for China Team for a January 2013 move to San Francisco and are hiring locally for our US operations. China Team is committed to leveraging mainly local resources in San Francisco to work with us on the China Team project while in San Francisco, and as such, we have the full support of the local Chinese community,” Barot said.

US Sailing, the national governing body for the sport of sailing, was in San Francisco this week to honor the sport’s top athletes. Gary Jobson, US Sailing President and 1977 America’s Cup winner with Ted Turner said:  “How appropriate to look out the window at the Golden Gate Bridge and see two of the AC45s screaming down at us. Everyone in the room instantly jumped up – these boats are pretty dramatic – and that spoke volumes to me. This is just a sneak preview to the amazing racing we will see during the Louis Vuitton Cup and America’s Cup Finals on San Francisco Bay in 2013 – something we have all dreamed of for many years, and now, here it is.”

Teams represented this week in San Francisco are from China, France, Italy, Korea, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The sterling silver RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy for JV72 yacht Rán

February 24, 2012

At noon on the fourth day of the RORC Caribbean 600, Niklas Zennström’s JV72 sailing yacht Rán seemed to have confirmed the overall win, receiving the sterling silver RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy at tomorrow night’s Prizegiving ceremony. This morning the Oyster 48 yacht Scarlet Logic, co-skippered by Ross Applebey and Tim Thubron, was the only vessel which represented any sort of threat, but realistically the Oyster 48 Scarlet Logic will not cover the last 70 miles of the course by 17:40 local time.

Niklas Zennström's JV72 sailing yacht Rán

Niklas Zennström's JV72 sailing yacht Rán

All of the yachts racing in IRC Zero are now accounted for. The yacht Rán is among the class winners with George David’s RP90 yacht Rambler, in second place. The Swan 80 yacht Selene, skippered by Benjamin Davitt, finished the race this morning to secure third place in class and possibly lay claim to the Swan Caribbean Challenge Trophy.

By noon, none of the yachts racing in IRC One had finished. Colin Buffin’s Swan 62 yacht Uxorious IV is expected to finish the race in a few hours and looks like the strongest contender to win the class after time correction. Amanda Hartley’s Swan 56 yacht Clem is currently correcting out as the leader, but the beat back from Redonda to the finish may see them fall behind Uxorious IV. Jaime Torres’ First 40 yacht Smile and Wave rounded the North Sails mark at Barbuda shortly after noon today and are currently lying third in class.

The Oyster 48 yacht Scarlet Logic Photo by T. Wright/photoaction

The Oyster 48 yacht Scarlet Logic Photo by T. Wright/photoaction

Oyster 48 yacht Scarlet Logic, have put in a sensational performance and look almost certain to win their class. The racing school Sailing Logic chartered the yacht from Ross Applebey which is co-skippered by the highly experienced Tim Thubron. It is unlikely they know exactly how close they have come to winning the ultimate prize. However, if Scarlet Logic continue their fine form, the team could well be a contender for the prize of a week of luxurious accommodation, generously donated by race sponsor, The Inn at English Harbour, Antigua. Christian Reynolds’ Swan 51 Northern Child sailed by Team Merkle are currently second after time correction with Bernie Evan-Wong’s Mumm 36 yacht High Tension in third place.

There is a fantastic battle in the Class40 Division on the water between Christophe Coatnoan’s Partouche and Christof Petter’s Vaquita. However Vaquita will be receiving a penalty after the finish for not starting the race correctly. Both yachts are neck and neck heading for the solitary island of Redonda. Partouche skipper Coatnoan is sailing two-handed with fellow countryman Eric Calmard. Vaquita is fully crewed with six on board. The run to Redonda may well have favoured Partouche as with just two on board, the French yacht will have been significantly lighter than their rivals. However for the 40-mile beat to finish Vaquita will be able to stack the rail and have six crew hiking out, which will surely be an advantage.

The RORC Caribbean 600 attracts a wide variety of people from all over the world to the sparkling conditions in the warm breezy central Caribbean. In January, Brian Thompson became one of Britain’s most famous sailors, winning the Jules Verne Trophy aboard Banque Populaire V, skippered by Loick Peyron. Brian and his French team mates did a lap of the planet in an astonishing 45 days.

Brian is racing Ondeck’s Spirit of Juno for the RORC Caribbean 600 and sent this message from the Farr 65: “I remember passing by Antigua during the Jules Verne attempt and thinking how nice it would be to come and compete in the RORC Caribbean 600. Ondeck very kindly invited me out and here I am! All going well on board Spirit of Juno, really enjoying this great RORC race as we weave our way through the green Caribbean islands. Though this is an all-amateur team, we have had to work hard. The spinnaker was up and down like a yo-yo to get through the calms and fluky breezes. We saw a whale just 30 miles away on our approach to Guadeloupe, a great sight to go with the soaring frigate birds off St Martin and the beautiful and varied landscapes of each island. I am really enjoying seeing some land when sailing after virtually none in my last trip.”

“There is a great group of people on the boat, few of them had met before the start and we are fast forming a solid team. I am so pleased to see how hard everyone worked to press on through to the south side of Guadeloupe. Roll on Antigua.” Spirit of Juno are currently 10nm from the finish at 1400 local.

16 yachts had finished the RORC Caribbean 600 by 1200 on 23rd February 2012.

8 yachts have retired over the last couple of days:
Rayon Vert – steering failure
Blackbird – jib damage
Super Rose – damage to mainsail battens
Hassebas – damaged mainsail
Safara – broken main halyard
40 Degrees – furling gear broken
Lancelot – run out of time
Sleeper VIII – backstay pressure and engine gone

2012 RORC Caribbean 600: Day 4 – an epic battle between 180´ sailing yacht Adela and 154´ Windrose of Amsterdam superyacht

February 24, 2012

Both the 180´ sailing yacht Adela and the 154´ Windrose of Amsterdam superyacht capture the imagination of years gone by. In fantastic surroundings the golden age of the schooners reappeared in an epic battle between two spectacular yachts, finishing their gentlemanly duel just before dawn on the fourth day of the RORC Caribbean 600.

2012 RORC Caribbean 600 Day 4 - an epic battle between 180´ sailing yacht Adela and 154´ Windrose of Amsterdam

2012 RORC Caribbean 600 Day 4 - an epic battle between 180´ sailing yacht Adela and 154´ Windrose of Amsterdam Photo by T. Wright/photoaction

The wondrous 180ft luxury yacht Adela crossed the finish line to take the gun just 1 hour and 42 minutes ahead of great rival, the 154ft superyacht Windrose of Amsterdam. The two schooners had enjoyed an intense battle around the 600-mile course with the two yachts trading places for the lead on eight separate occasions.

Greg Perkins, skipper of the Adela superyacht spoke dockside after the win: “The RORC Caribbean 600 is a race that really suits schooners. There is lots of reaching involved rather than upwind, so I suggested to the boss that this would be great race to do. Unfortunately the owner could not come due to work commitments but one of the owner’s business friends came aboard as a guest and I think he thoroughly enjoyed it and he fitted in really well and enjoyed the experience.”

The Adela yacht’s guest was Erik Hershman a friend and business associate of the owner: “That was a bit different to my usual experience on Adela. When I saw all the cushions packed away and all the creature comforts removed or covered in protective tape, I realised that we were in for a wild ride. I could not believe how wet the boat was and how tough it was on board. I knew I was in for a hard time when I was served my dinner in a plastic bowl, the silver service was nowhere to be seen, but it was such a great time. I would definitely do it again but not in cotton shorts!”

Adela skipper, Greg Perkins continued: “It was a stunning race, we had such a great battle with Windrose, a match race of schooners over 600 miles. I think that it is a race that will grow in the future as it is such a great romp around the Caribbean. Adela was not designed to race, but over the years we have got into new sails and tweaked a few things.”

“The race has been very popular with the crew. I had to turn away a lot of good people. Everybody gelled well together and there was a lot of banter on board with plenty of laughter. All in all it was a great experience. 28 people on board all had the time of their lives, no injuries and we only broke one snap shackle.”

Alex Howard, Skipper of the luxury yacht Windrose of Amsterdam: “It was a tiring race with only 5 hours sleep and an interesting battle with Adela. We were doing alright until we got around the back of Guadeloupe and then they got away from us and after Desirade it was a drag race really so that’s that, they got us. It’s a shame we didn’t do better, but there is always a next time. We’d like to have got Adela but that’s the way it goes. Compared to the race last year it was a bit slower due to the wind, but it was a great race and it is good to get five big superyachts and Spirit of Tradition boats in this event for sure.”

“I think it is important to recognise all of the hard work into making the RORC Caribbean 600 such a great success, especially past RORC Commodore, Andrew McIrvine, RORC CEO, Eddie Warden Owen and Stan Pearson. It has been a very good second year for Windrose and we have been delighted to have so many RORC members sailing for the second year in a row.”

Andrew McIrvine, Past RORC Commodore, the Windrose of Amsterdam yacht: “I think this year was much more fun as we had people to race against. It was cat and mouse all the way to Saba, and we had a fantastic tacking duel in the Aguilla Strait and came out in front, so that was exciting and then on the long reach they just got away. But we had great fun with other yachts including Lloyd’s IDEA and Blackbird. Last year there was nobody to race against, we didn’t see anybody that much. I think that all the crew enjoyed the race, including wife. Deborah hasn’t been on a long race before and she enjoyed the night sky and I haven’t had any complaints from the rest of the crew so that’s all good.”

The ‘meet and greet’ team on shore and crew on board Windrose sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to RORC Commodore, Mike Greville just before he was ceremoniously thrown into the water. A dripping wet Mike commented: “You know who your friends are for sure. I wondered why someone wanted to borrow my phone. The race for us wasn’t too much like hard work. A nice comfortable bunk, air conditioning, good food and lots of young lads to do all the hard work! We had a great race with Adela who unfortunately managed to get in front of us but our watch did manage to get ahead of them more than Andrew’s (McIrvine). I don’t think Andrew’s watch passed Adela once, where as we did at least three times. They also made us get up for ‘all hands on deck’ twice and we never made them do that.”

It is only fair to give the victors the last word: “This season, Adela races Windrose at three regattas and we have a barrel of rum on each event and I am two up at the moment, so I think Alex will be fuming! The boats are evenly matched; we have had tacking duels, luffiing matches, and all great fun. I would love to say that Adela will do the race next year, if there is a schooner class, I say bring them down,” says Greg Perkins, Adela.

Heesen Yachts sponsored Team Synergy 3rd at the RC44 – Puerto Calero Cup

February 23, 2012

World leading company in luxury superyacht design, engineering and construction, HEESEN YACHTS, us proud to announce that Team Synergy won third place in the match races at the RC44 – Puerto Calero Cup, taking place in Lanzarote (Canary Islands) from 8th to 12th February, 2012.

Heesen Yachts Sponsored Team Synergy at the 2012 RC44 Puerto Calero - Photo credit Carlo Borlenghi.jpg

Heesen Yachts Sponsored Team Synergy at the 2012 RC44 Puerto Calero - Photo credit Carlo Borlenghi.jpg

Fourteen teams returned to Puerto Calero to start the 2012 RC44 Championship Tour, three months after the final of the RC44 World Championships. The battle for the Puerto Calero Cup, the first leg in this year’s circuit, was waged in open waters. The challenging racing course makes Lanzarote one of the best sea sailing venues in Southern Europe. A wide range of sailing conditions gave the teams a great challenge at their first appearance after the winter break.

Quinta Essentia Yacht and Team Synergy at the RC44 in Puerto Calero - Photo credit Carlo Borlenghi

Quinta Essentia Yacht and Team Synergy at the RC44 in Puerto Calero - Photo credit Carlo Borlenghi

Synergy sailing team, led by America’s Cup sailor Ed Baird won five out of six match races, placing third in the overall ranking. The team was less fortunate in the fleet races, where they ranked 13th due to a series of major break-downs.

RC44 Puerto Calero - Quinta Essentia superyacht - Photo credit Carlo Borlenghi

RC44 Puerto Calero - Quinta Essentia superyacht - Photo credit Carlo Borlenghi

Valentin Zavadnikov, co-owner and captain of Team Synergy yacht commented: “The team is well-prepared and ready to compete with the best sailors in the world – our performance in match racing proves it. Two days in the beginning of the fleet-racing were tough for us when we had an unprecedented amount of breakdowns. That certainly affected our results in this part of the regatta in a negative way. But our main goal is to have a harmonious and well-working team and we are close to achieving it”.

RC44 Puerto Calero - Photo Credit Carlo Borlenghi

RC44 Puerto Calero - Photo Credit Carlo Borlenghi

Leonid Lebedev, co-owner of Team Synergy said: “Ed Baird is the highest-level professional and he fits into the team perfectly. But in fleet racing, where the owners are at the helm, he calls tactics conservatively to save us from the extreme situations. But there are no wins without risky moves. I’m sure, we’ll find right rhythm in the nearest future and we are going to have better results”.

The RC44 race calendar foresees four more exciting and challenging legs:

28 March – 1 April                      Cascais – Portugal
30 May – 3 June                         Gmunden – Austria
18 – 22 July                                  MarstrandSweden
3 – 7 October                               RovinjCroatia