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Works on the Naples Infrastructure for the America´s Cup in Progress

February 20, 2012

Works on the construction of the necessary infrastructure in Naples, ahead of the first America’s Cup World Series event in 2012, starting on April 7 are well underway. The main project represents the extension of breakwaters in front of the city center which will permit the teams to safely launch and host the AC45 catamaran yachts from flat water behind the protective barrier.

One of the best Mediterranean yacht charter locations - Naples, Italy Photo Credit: ACEA

One of the best Mediterranean yacht charter locations - Naples, Italy Photo Credit: ACEA

“The city has really thrown its weight behind the preparations that need to be done. The big project is to extend the breakwater and that has started now,” said Peter Ansell, Director of On-shore operations for ACRM. “It’s quite a big project to complete in a short time period, so it’s very encouraging to see the work starting on schedule and progressing well.”

The city has embraced the America’s Cup World Series with enthusiasm and is looking forward to April, says the Mayor. “The America’s Cup World Series is the opportunity that Naples has been waiting for to relaunch its international image,” Mayor Luigi de Magistris said. “The construction sites for the interventions necessary to host the regattas have started.”

“The city is getting ready to host the event in the best possible way. There is much enthusiasm and the desire to participate is palpable. I am sure that this event is not going to be only a sporting event, but it will also be a flywheel for real development, from tourism to employment. The AC World Series will provide great visibility to the already exceptional setting of the waterfront of via Caracciolo. This event will allow us all to fully enjoy the beauty of the sea, of the beach and of the landscape (of our city).”

Compagnia della Vela to welcome the 34th America´s Cup in Venice

February 20, 2012

Compagnia della Vela will welcome the America’s Cup World Series in one of the most popular Mediterranean yacht charter destinations – Venice, Italy in May. The yacht club has revealed a program of four conferences, during which some of the best international sailing players will speak about their experience in the America’s Cup world.

Grand Canal in Venice

The Grand Canal in Venice

“It’s in the style of the Compagnia della Vela to work on every opportunity to bring sailing to a wider audience,” says Vice President Piero Pellegrini. “The America’s Cup has always been the most important event for sailing, a place where the development of materials and advanced technologies in the field of boat building is the norm. And for Compagnia della Vela, the America’s Cup takes us back to all the emotions of the Il Moro di Venezia.”

On February 25th, Cino Ricci and Mauro Pelaschier, skipper and helmsman of the sailing yacht Azzurra, the first italian challenge, will remember their adventure in the America’s Cup. They will be joined by Bruno Troublé, skipper of the France 3 yacht in Newport in 1977, 80 and 83, and creator of the Louis Vuitton Cup. The forum will be hosted by Antonio Vettese.

On March 10th Marc Van Peteghem and Vincent Lauriot Prevost, along with Dirk Kramers, Silvio Arrivabene – responsible for the construction of the yacht Alinghi 5 – and Fernando Sena, former director of the Tencara shipyard at the time of Il Moro di Venezia, will take the stage. The conference will be hosed by Sebastiano Morassutti.

The third meeting, scheduled in the first half of April, will be dedicated to remembering the dream of the sailing yacht Il Moro di Venezia. In the new location of San Giorgio will gather some of the protagonists of the team: the helmsman and skipper Paul Cayard, the tactician Tommaso Chieffi, the designer German Frers and the team’s official photographer Carlo Borlenghi, who will remember the experience of Il Moro through a series of video images.

Just few day before the beginning of the America’s Cup World Series, on Friday May 11th, the last conference will focus on what happens next. Through the words of Russell Coutts, CEO of ORACLE Racing, John Craig, chairman of the Race Committee of the America’s Cup World Series, and Tom Ehman, Vice Commodore of the Golden Gate Yacht Club, the focus will be on the 34th America’s Cup.

All conferences will be held in Venice, at the Centro Sportivo d’Eccellenza on the island of San Giorgio, starting from 18.30 and will be open to all, with registration, until the hall is full.

34th America´s Cup: Sustainability Plan Revealed

February 20, 2012

The AC34 Sustainability Plan represents an effort of the sailors to deliver a sustainable 34th America’s Cup. This plan, shaped by comments from the AC partners, city departments and commissioners, San Franciscans and local businesses, provides the AC with the perfect opportunity to become a model sporting event and leave a positive legacy in the community as well as on the sport of sailing.

The 34th America´s Cup Credit: Gilles Martin-Raget/ACEA

The 34th America´s Cup held in San Francisco in 2013 - Photo Credit: Gilles Martin-Raget/ACEA

For example, the 34th America’s Cup will be the first major sporting event in San Francisco to prohibit the sale or distribution of single-use plastic bags and plastic water bottles at our event sites along the waterfront and throughout the City.

Efforts to minimize discarded materials and maximize recycling and composting at the event support the already very high levels of landfill diversion in San Francisco – 77% of the materials discarded in the City (over 1,367,000 tons) are diverted away each year. San Francisco leads the way on sustainability measures, recognized as the “greenest” city in North America in the Green City Index.

“We share a commitment to sustainability with the City of San Francisco, and are focused on delivering the 34th America’s Cup as a model sustainable event,” said Jill Savery, Head of Sustainability, America’s Cup Event Authority. “We’re very proud to have introduced a Sustainability Plan that will help set the model for future events in San Francisco, and we hope will influence sporting events around the globe.”

2012 RORC Caribbean 600: Tips and tricks about the course with John Burnie competing on the 35m charter yacht Sojana

February 20, 2012

One of the creators of the first and only Caribbean 600-mile offshore race, John Burnie has been cruising and competing in one of the best yacht charter locations – Caribbean for decades. A long-standing RORC member, John set the multihull course record standing to date, while on board the ORMA 60 sailing yacht Region Guadeloupe, which flew around the course in 40 hours 11 mins 5 secs in 2009. This year, John will be racing on Sir Peter Harrison’s charter yacht Sojana.

The 35m charter yacht Sojana at the Voiles de Saint Barth 2010 Photo Credit Didier Rouxel

The 35m charter yacht Sojana at the Voiles de Saint Barth 2010 Photo Credit: Didier Rouxel

However John is so enthusiastic about the race that he could not resist offering up some precious tips and tricks about the course, “An early look at the weather and it looks like we are going to get normal trade wind conditions with a wind direction just slightly north of east, classic ‘600 conditions provided the weather pattern holds as it is.”

“This year, the start line will need to be significantly longer because of the size of the superyachts that have entered. It will be a magnificent sight from Shirley Heights. The yachts will tend to tack as close into the cliffs as they can to get a huge lift off the headland and there is a lot of current inshore. The yachts will want to get out of that adverse current. Once around Shirley Heights a close-fetching yacht can almost lay Green Island in one tack.

The leg up to Barbuda could well be a powerful reach but a good tip is that many yachts tend to over-stand the North Sails mark at Barbuda. After Codrington Point the wind can free off enormously as you run down the side of the island. The wind also tends to accelerate there and it is usually a monster reach-to-reach gybe.

RORC Caribbean 600 Course

RORC Caribbean 600 Course

The downwind leg to Nevis is usually not too tactical but it is especially worth looking out for squalls. I remember on Region Guadeloupe we overtook ICAP Leopard there because we got the right side of a squall and they didn’t. Significant gains and losses can be made in squalls. Look at the cloud formations as you approach Nevis. If the clouds are moving briskly that is a good sign of breeze, but if they are static the signs are there is a big wind shadow and it is probably best to head further west before turning the corner. In general, the best policy is to stay a bit offshore around the back of Nevis and St.Kitts, then try and lay Saba in one tack.

Although Saba is a small island it does have a fairly large wind shadow but it is usually a tough beat afterwards and you would tend to try to keep as much height as possible. The sea state can really pick up there due to a significant current. It is the first real taste of harsh ocean sailing for the crew and yachts. After making St.Maartin there are still 18 miles of short tacking. It is a hard-hitting part of the course, especially at night for the smaller yachts. What’s more, there are a lot of rocks that the fleet will need to be especially careful of.

The reach down to Guadeloupe is the first real chance for crews to get their heads down in the race but the start is a significant point tactically, getting the right angle after St.Barths can be crucial. In my opinion, you should stay slightly high on your course, as if the wind does go south of east, you could end up beating. Montserrat is on the layline and there is talk of leaving Montserrat to port, but in my opinion when there are normal trade wind conditions you shouldn’t benefit from going west of Montserrat, especially as in doing so you would have to sail a lot more miles and in foul current.

The approach to Guadeloupe is a key area of the race. There is  typically a significant wind shadow on the north west corner of Guadeloupe, especially at night. Having said that, during the day you can actually experience a westerly sea breeze there. It is so variable that it is best to look at the clouds over the island and also keep a watchful eye. I always get my binoculars out before approaching Guadeloupe to see how other yachts are sailing up ahead. I have been trapped in an area of no wind, north west of Guadeloupe and watched as 30 knots was blowing through the channel, just two miles away. Many yachts may choose to put someone aloft to take a good look, but a good overall strategy is to stay well off, keep your distance maybe five miles offshore, sail a quarter of the way to Dominica so that you can lay Les Saintes.

Îles des Saintes marks the most southerly point of the course but I would really advocate turning back towards Guadeloupe after rounding Les Saintes, if the wind is in the northeast. Beat back towards Cappisterre but watch out, there are thousands of fishing floats. I wouldn’t go in any further than a depth of 50-100 metres. However, there is a massive lift inshore because the wind cascades down to the `north of Soufriere with the wind going to the south. Once inshore, stay there is my advice, don’t go out towards Marie-Galante or you will lose out.

Les Desirade is the most easterly part of the course and that is always a place with a rough sea state. Very confused seas with a lot of current, smaller yachts need to be mindful of the conditions that can be expected. After rounding, the yachts will come off the breeze, a big bare away and another time when crews can get there heads down, as it is 90 miles to Barbuda and there are no real tactics coming into play there, other than avoiding over standing the North Sails mark, which we have already covered.

Barbuda to Redonda is normally a very fast reach with yachts belting along going for line speed. It is worth keeping an eye out for squalls. Redonda is only a small island but it can throw out a significant wind shadow. I have seen races won and lost there so avoiding getting too close to Redonda. After rounding the last island of the course, no messing about, get right on the wind and head for Cades Reef on the north west coast of Antigua. There is a shelf extending out from Antigua some 16 miles and taking this route will be an advantage for less foul current, then work down the west coast of Antigua along the edge of the reef until the finish.”

The RORC Caribbean 600 starts 1100 local time – Monday 20th February 2012.

1930 Sailing yacht Dorade refitted and ready for the 2012 Caribbean regatta season

February 18, 2012

The famous Sparkman & Stephens 1930 yawl, sailing yact Dorade, has proudly entered the 2012 Caribbean regatta season after a major restoration in the USA. She will then returns to ocean racing – with yacht and crew in tune.

Sailing yacht DORADE credit Cory Silken

Sailing yacht DORADE credit Cory Silken

Dorade has emerged from a major restoration in the USA.

Expense was not spared as the yacht Dorade’s owner, Matt Brooks, pulled together a team of craftsmen sharing his values to do the best job after purchasing her in 2010. “Make her as near to perfect as you can!” was the brief given to Joe Loughborough, who oversaw the refit in Newport, Rhode Island throughout the best part of 2011.

Work was carried out on virtually every part and detail of Dorade from hull frames to engine, spars, rudder, electronics, sails, rigging, custom winches, headstay tang and the whole interior – full-size mock-ups being made of certain areas. The specialists involved in preparing the Dorade sailing yacht for ocean races were “unlike any she has sailed in the past 50 years”.

The 1930 refitted yacht DORADE - Photo credit Billy Black

The 1930 refitted yacht DORADE - Photo credit Billy Black

Dorade racing in the Caribbean regatta season to train crew.

The Heineken Regatta in St Maarten is followed by Les Voiles de St Barths and the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta. Sailing yacht Dorade will also be present at the St Barths Bucket superyacht event. As well as enjoying fun and camaraderie among the competitors, the regattas will provide an important step in the training program for the team who will race in the 2012 Newport-Bermuda Race, while testing Dorade.

Designed by the late Olin Stephens, S/Y Dorade was originally launched in 1930 and influenced nearly all developments in yacht design for the next three decades. She was a hugely successful racer, winning the 1931 Transatlantic race – both line honours and overall – and winning the 1931 (and 1933) Fastnet race overall.

1930 Sailing yacht Dorade refitted and ready for the 2012 Caribbean regatta season- Photo credit Cory Silken

1930 Sailing yacht Dorade refitted and ready for the 2012 Caribbean regatta season- Photo credit Cory Silken

Dorade returns to ocean racing on 15 June: Newport-Bermuda.

The Newport Bermuda race was one of classic yacht Dorade’s first ocean races and she came second in class in 1930 (and first in class in 1932). On 15 June 2012, with a crew that will have tested their chemistry and skills in the Caribbean, Dorade aims to beat that and win.

Matt Brooks on Dorade credit Pam Rorke Levy

Matt Brooks on Dorade credit Pam Rorke Levy

Sail yacht Dorade’s owner and team-leader, Matt Brooks, whose home waters are the Bay of San Francisco, is a world-renowned mountain guide and has racked up first ascents in the Sierra and French Alps. He also flew solo aged 13 and set a record time for circumnavigating the globe (westward) in a jet plane. He is the reigning 6-metre class, vintage division, world champion.

Other core members of Dorade’s crew include John Burnham, Buddy Rego, Pam Rorke Levy, Christopher Musler and James A. Hilton Sr.  Captain Alex Greenson joined Dorade in January and is preparing her for the regattas, with shore support from Mike Drake of MCM Newport. The final crew list is yet to be announced.

All-Star 9 Nation Cast for Extreme Sailing Series 2012

February 17, 2012

With less than two weeks left until the Extreme Sailing Series™ 2012 held in Muscat, Oman, the Act 1 team line-ups have been confirmed, presenting a stellar cast of the best professional sailors. After the final event of 2011 in Singapore last December, the team managers and skippers have passed the last two months trying to provide the best crews possible to help take them to overall victory in 2012.

Extreme Sailing Series Teams 2012

Extreme Sailing Series Teams 2012

Once again, the team rosters include world-renowned sailors from a multitude of backgrounds representing 9 different nationalities. French sailing superstar Loick Peyron, Britain’s three-times ISAF World Match Racing Champion Ian Williams, Austria’s double-Olympic Gold medalist Roman Hagara return to the circuit, whilst American double-Olympic Gold medalist Charlie Ogletree and five-times America’s Cup sailor, Bernard Labro from France are two new faces gracing the roll-call.

The teams boast an array of Olympic, America’s Cup, match racing and round the world credentials, as well as a sprinkling of ocean racing record setters. The two key cornerstones for success in this highly competitive circuit are experience and consistency and to this end 2011 runners-up Groupe Edmond de Rothschild from France and the Swiss team of Alinghi are keeping their crew changes to a minimum, whilst the two Oman Sail teams are sporting a near new line-up with only Leigh McMillan and Nasser Al Mashari retaining their places. And there are plenty of new team combinations for this season to spice up the competition!

Act 8, Almeria - Day 1 - Credit: Lloyd Images

Act 8, Almeria - Day 1 - Credit: Lloyd Images

Key Stats:
21 Olympians
4 Gold Medalists + 1 Silver
50 Trans-Atlantics
36 America’s Cup campaigns
47 World Championships
28 European Championships
11 records
7 round the world circumnavigations

A new team for the year is ZouLou who will have the current superstar of sailing, Loick Peyron at the helm for Acts 1–3 prior to team owner Erik Maris taking over. One of France’s most well-known sporting exports and a legendary multihull expert who recently shaved almost 3 days off the non-stop round the world Jules Verne record, Peyron will return to the Extreme Sailing Series. In 2010 he was the skipper and helm of 4th place Oman Sail Masirah.

Act 6, Trapani - Day 5 Credit Lloyd Images

Act 6, Trapani - Day 5 - Credit: Lloyd Images

Peyron contrasts his recent experiences: “I can’t wait to go back to the Extreme Sailing Series with ZouLou crew, and especially to Muscat where I already spent a few weeks with the local team in 2009 and 2010. After two round the world tours in one year [Barcelona World Race and Jules Verne] I am really looking forward to going back to this intense racing amongst these top level crews.“

Groupe Edmond de Rothschild has retained their core team of Pierre Pennec on helm and Hervé Cunningham introducing two new faces on bow in the form of Bernard Labro and Jean-Christophe Mourniac who raced for another team in Singapore last December. The Swiss team Alinghi will be helmed by Ernesto Bertarelli supported by the regular Extreme 40 Alinghi crew including Tanguy Cariou, Nils Frei and Yves Detrey.

Meanwhile, the renowned Austrian duo of Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher on the Red Bull Sailing Team have confirmed that Matthew Adams will be part of the regular racing crew and introduce ‘newbie’ Graeme Spence on bow who makes the step from shore team to race team.

Extreme Sailing Series 2011 - Act 7 - Trapani - Red Bull Sailing Team Omar Air Credit Lloyd Images

Act 7 - Trapani - Red Bull Sailing Team Omar Air - Credit: Lloyd Images

GAC Pindar skipper Ian Williams has gone the extra mile to secure a crew who can race with him for the season: “We have assembled a really strong team this year with a great mix of different skill sets. The only real opportunities to practice will be before the first event in Oman and before Act 5 in Cardiff so having a consistent team will be crucial to improving from event to event.”

His crew includes Mark Ivey, Mark Bulkeley, Adam Piggot and Andrew Walsh – all have raced with GAC Pindar for at least one event in 2011 – and this combination will be integral in continuing their upward trend on the leaderboard.

The Oman Sail teams of The Wave, Muscat and Oman Air return this year with only Olympic Tornado sailor Leigh McMillan and Nasser Al Mashari retaining their roles from last year. McMillan who skippered The Wave, Muscat into fourth place overall in 2011, has handpicked a team that includes previous Extreme 40 sailors Ed Smyth from the USA, Pete Greenhalgh who with his brother Rob won the inaugural 2007 Extreme Sailing Series, and they will be joined by newcomer Omani sailor Hashim Al Rashdi who has come up through the Oman Sail programme.

Muscat 2011 - Fleet racing - Credit: Lloyd Images

Muscat 2011 - Fleet racing - Credit: Lloyd Images

Oman Air, will be led by record setting America’s Cup sailor Morgan Larson: “I’ve followed the Extreme Sailing Series since its conception and to now be competing on the tour with such a talented group of competitors is a dream come true.” The team that last year had 3 different skippers including Britain’s Olympic star Ben Ainslie, will benefit from the Extreme 40 experience of Olympic sailor Will Howden and Omani sailor Nasser Al Mashari who raced in 2011 with Oman Air on bow, whilst double Olympic gold medalist Charlie Ogletree brings a fresh skill set.

In a test aimed at keeping opportunities open for new talent, the teams will race Act 1 with five sailors rather than four, plus a VIP guest or media person when appropriate. This additional 5th sailor must be either female or under 23, or be classified as an amateur by ISAF. Both The Wave and Groupe Edmond de Rothschild will sail with female sailors as a result – Rachel Williamson and Adeline Chatelet respectively – the first girls to race since Olympic gold medalist Shirley Robertson skippered ‘iShares’ in 2009.

An 8th team for Muscat is still to be announced.

High Performance Yacht Design Conference, 12 – 14 March 2012, Auckland

February 16, 2012

The Royal Institution of Naval Architects (NZ), New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and the University of Auckland will host the 4th High Performance Yacht Design Conference from 12 – 14 March 2012 at the Maritime Museum, Viaduct Harbour, Auckland, New Zealand.  The conference with coincide with the Volvo Ocean race – Auckland stopover.

High Performance Yacht Design Conference, 12 - 14 March 2012, Auckland

High Performance Yacht Design Conference, 12 - 14 March 2012, Auckland

With the Volvo Ocean Race yachts in town and AC45 catamarans training on the harbour this summer, Auckland, New Zealand is also playing host to an international group of scientists, designers and academics focused on what makes them go fast now – and how to make them go even faster in the future. The science of achieving speed under sail is at the heart of the fourth High Performance Yacht Design Conference from March 12 to 14 2012.

As the state of the art leaps forward with record-shattering circumnavigations and America’s Cup yachts capable of 35 knots under giant wings, the conference will bring together more than 100 international delegates and research experts across a wide range of disciplines from materials and structures to aero- and hydrodynamics.

Organised under the auspices of The Royal Institute of Naval Architects (NZ) and the University of Auckland, the conference will take place at the Maritime Museum in the Viaduct Harbour – where the Volvo Ocean Race fleet will be berthed.

For the first time, the conference will include a public session (on Monday, March 12), which will focus on the Volvo Ocean Race and will include a panel of skippers, competitors and designers talking about the current race and the performance aspects of these highly powerful canting-keel yachts.

“In some respects, we are approaching a point where performance may exceed human endurance on these long offshore races,” says conference chairman, David Le Pelley from the University of Auckland Yacht Research Unit. “These yachts are quite extreme and the demands on crew are enormous. In the pressure of competition, skippers have to make tough decisions about how close to the edge they can go before they start risking not just the boats, but the safety of their crew.”

Among the panel will be Chris Nicholson, skipper of the New Zealand CAMPER entry, Mike Sanderson, a previous winner of the race and current skipper of the Chinese Sanya team, Simon Fisher from the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team, Tony Mutter from the American PUMA crew along with technical experts Ian Campbell of the Wolfson Unit at Southampton University and Giovanni Belgrano, a world expert on composite structures.

Campbell and Belgrano will also deliver keynote addresses in their respective fields, along with Dr Len Imas, an international authority in Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) from the Stevens Institute of Technology in the USA.

With Belgrano and Imas both working on the Emirates Team New Zealand America’s Cup programme, much of their current attention will be on the design and development of the extraordinary new class of 72ft catamarans propelled by highly efficient articulating wings, which will debut in San Francisco next year.

The advent of wings is an exciting new field for high performance sailing, but they do not mean the demise of soft sails. Intensive research and development continues to take place in this area.

“Despite the huge resources that have gone into sail design programmes over the course of high profile America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race campaigns, there is still much to learn,” says Le Pelley, who will present a paper on aerodynamic force deduction techniques.

To offset the costs and practical difficulties involved in full-scale on-the-water testing, big advances have been made in computer modeling and CFD programs. While these have improved dramatically, the ultimate goal of perfectly dependable computer simulation and performance prediction design tools remains a long way off. “There will always be a place for experimental and numerical testing,” says Le Pelley.

And, he acknowledges, amidst all the science, there is also even still a place for some art and old-fashioned eyeballing in yacht design.

This is the fourth High Performance Yacht Design Conference to take place in New Zealand. The first was in 2002 during the lead-up to the America’s Cup.

The conferences have achieved a high reputation as a forum for some of the leading experts in various fields of yacht design and form an important part of New Zealand’s standing as a world leader in the marine industry.

Antigua filling up for the 4th RORC Caribbean 600 starting Monday 20th Feb 2012

February 16, 2012

The 4th RORC Caribbean 600 starts at 1100 on Monday 20th February 2012 and there isn’t a single hotel room left near the Antigua Yacht Club. Competitors are flying in to the magical island of Antigua from all four corners of the world and Falmouth Harbour is filled to the brim with astounding sailing yachts.

Falmouth Harbour at night. Photo Credit Tim Wright photoaction

Falmouth Harbour at night. Photo Credit Tim Wright photoaction

Niklas Zennström’s JV72, Rán and George David’s RP90 Rambler are the hot favourites for the RORC Caribbean Trophy, but the two highly impressive yachts are almost hidden in Falmouth Harbour. Rán were out practicing today and Navigator Steve Hayles reports that conditions were a bit lighter than usual, but he expects 15-20 knots of trade winds for the race with their weather routing predicting that they could finish the race in 48 hours, may be less.

RORC member, Stan Pearson has lived and sailed the sublime waters around Antigua for over 20 years. He was one of the creators of the RORC Caribbean 600 and will be racing this year on Adela, the 181′ twin masted schooner:

“I can’t remember ever seeing Nelson’s Dockyard and Falmouth Harbour with so many impressive yachts but I know why they are here; there is nowhere in the world quite like Antigua and the ‘600 is a real celebration of all that the Caribbean has to offer. The sailing is just fantastic; constant trade winds, warm water and air temperature in the high 20’s provides brilliant sailing, but this is a tough race. The course has a lot of corners and there is a lot of activity for the crews. Looking at the fleet, there are going to be some great duels going on, it is going to be a very competitive race.”

For the first time, a Volvo Open 70 will be competing in the RORC Caribbean 600. Some might suggest that the canting keel carbon fibre flyer could have been designed for this course. Ernesto Cortina’s Gran Jotiti has a highly talented Spanish crew and could well be a contender for line honours and an overall win.

Class Zero has 16 entries and may well be the class to watch for the overall winner. George David’s Rambler 100 is the trophy holder and George David’s all-star crew will not be giving it up without a fight.

With a combined water line length that would soar 500ft above the Eiffel Tower, there are some truly amazing yachts in Class Zero. The 214′ ketch Hetairos is an impressive sight. The crew of 36 have been out practicing all this week and on board there are enough sails to cover a full size football pitch. Sailing yacht Sojana is expected to have a Superyacht duel with 124′ Perini Navi, charter yacht P2 owned by businessman and philanthropist, Gerhard Andlinger. Sailing yacht Sojana was on mark laying duty today. The only laid mark of the course is the North Sails mark, off Barbuda. No doubt the crew, will be using the exercise to practice the first 45 miles of racing.

Sailing yacht Windrose of Amsterdam. Photo Credit  RORC Tim Wright photoaction

Sailing yacht Windrose of Amsterdam. Photo Credit RORC Tim Wright photoaction

In the Spirit of Tradition class S/Y Adela will line up against the classic charter yacht Windrose. This will be the first time these magnificent yachts have raced against each other offshore, however Adela did get the better of S/Y Windrose in The Superyacht Challenge inshore regatta. A close battle with these two powerful yachts fully off the leash is a mouth-watering prospect. Past RORC Commodore, Andrew McIrvine and a team of 11 RORC members including current Commodore, Mike Greville, have chartered the 145ft Windrose yacht.

The multihull record for the RORC Caribbean 600 has not been beaten since the inaugural race in 2009. The 63′ Trimaran, Paradox, skippered by Olivier Vigoureux says the six crew on board are out to ‘beat the current record’. The American, French and British crew members have raced in the Figaro Race, Transat Jacques Vabres, America’s Cup and Mini Transat.

Anders Nordquist’s Swan 90, yacht Nefertiti, has an international crew including Rolex Middle Sea Race winner, Christian Ripard from Malta. They should have a close battle with Wendy Schmidt’s Swan 80, Selene and Irish entry, RP78, Whisper.

There are a huge variety of yachts racing in IRC One, including Hound, skippered by Frank Eberhart from Maine USA. The 60′ classic will be competing in the Caribbean 600 for the first time with a family crew of avid racers. Hound has competed in the last 8 Newport-Bermuda races, winning her class twice.

Ondeck’s 40.7 Spirit of Venus is chartered to the Royal Armoured Corp Offshore Racing Team. The majority of the 11 strong crew are part of the Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank Regiment which returned from Afghanistan last spring.

Lt Col Paul Macro RTR: “Soldiers have to work together as a team, under time pressure, when cold, wet and tired, in difficult and even dangerous conditions. The adventurous team spirit required by a successful offshore racing crew is the same as that required by the crew of a tank or any other armoured vehicle.”

There are four Class40s competing. Close duels are expected right through the fleet, but a hard fought and close encounter is expected in this class. Trade wind sailing provides perfect conditions for Class40s, with long reaches and downwind legs, these pocket rockets are capable of surfing at speeds of up to 25 knots. Class40s from America, Austria, France and Great Britain are taking on the 600 mile Caribbean odyssey; Tim Fetch’s Icarus Racing, Christophe Coatnoan’s Partouche, Andreas Hanakamp’s Vaquita and Peter Harding’s 40 Degrees, co-skippered by Hannah Jenner. The Class40s will be level-racing under their own rules. First to finish will claim the Concise Trophy; a full barrel of English Harbour rum.

IRC Two includes the smallest yacht in the fleet, Bernie Evan-Wong’s Mumm 36, High Tension. Antiguan dentist, Bernie has competed in all four RORC Caribbean 600 races, however last year, High Tension did not finish the race.

“It is definitely a case of unfinished business,” said Bernie. “We have actually used our downfall to modify the rig, so we have made something good out of the incident. Like many Antiguans, I am amazed how this race has developed since 2009, I have been sailing in the Caribbean for over 50 years and what has been really missing is a well-run, exciting offshore race. The RORC Caribbean 600 has provided that and made my dreams come true.”

The 2012 edition of the RORC Caribbean 600, organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club and hosted by the Antigua Yacht Club, will start on Monday 20th February 2012.

RORC CARIBBEAN 600 TROPHY – IRC OVERALL

2011 – George David, Rambler 100, JK 100 (USA)

2010 – Karl C L Kwok, Beau Geste, Farr 80 (HKG)

2009 – Adrian Lee, Lee Overlay Partners, Cookson 50 (IRL)

Records:

Multihull record holder – Region Guadeloupe in 40 hours 11 mins 5 secs (2009)

Monohull record held by Rambler 100 in 40 hours 20 mins 02 secs (2011)

Alloy 48.5m charter yacht Georgia – Winner of the first race in 2012 Millennium Cup

February 16, 2012

The 48.5m sailing yacht Georgia, the largest yacht in the 2012 NZ Millennium Cup, has become today the comfortable winner of the first race in the international regatta for superyachts being held on Auckland harbour. The 48.5m charter yacht Georgia by Alloy Yachts was the first 2000 vessel, and at the time of her launch, also the largest sloop in the world.

The Luxury Charter Yacht GEORGIA by Alloy Yachts

The Luxury Charter Yacht GEORGIA by Alloy Yachts

The 48.5m luxury yacht Georgia, with top Kiwi sailor Chris Dickson, on the helm, crossed the finish line off Westhaven in front of current Millennium Cup holder the 33.8m superyacht Silvertip and the 39.6m Janice of Wyoming superyacht.

Built by Alloy Yachts in Henderson, Auckland, Georgia is a Scanu, Dalrymple-Smith, Johnson design and won acclaim in 2000 as the winner of the Showboats’ Most Innovative Sailing Yacht/Best Sailing Yacht Over 38 metres Award.

The 2012 NZ Millennium Cup regatta will continue tomorrow with two races and conclude with a final race on Saturday.

All races are sailed on the Waitemata Harbour and Hauraki Gulf and there are good vantage points for spectators at Devonport, North Head, Bastion Point, on the East Coast Bays and Whanagaparoa Peninsula.

The NZ Millennium Cup, which is now an annual event, is organised by NZ Marine Export Group, the industry association responsible for promoting the NZ Marine industry to the world.

The regatta is designed to showcase New Zealand’s impressive superyacht build and refit industry and facilities. It includes a strong mix of sailing races and social events and is expected to quickly become the premier event for superyachts in the South Pacific.

The 2012 NZ Millennium Cup is generously sponsored by Platinum Sponsors: Yachting Developments; Gold Sponsors: Alloy Yachts, Integrated Marine Group and Touch of Spice; Silver Sponsors: Dubois Yachts, Events Clothing and Doyle Sails, Fitzroy Yachts and Smuggler Marine, Corporate Sponsors:  Yard 37, ATEED, Waterfront Auckland; Media Partners: The Superyacht Group and Ocean Media and supported by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.

Millennium Cup 2012 to start today

February 16, 2012

The Millennium Cup 2012 started today at 11am in Auckland, with a harbour race. The three days of racing take place close to shore, in the Waitemata harbour and inner Hauraki Gulf. This means those on vantage points at Devonport, North Head, Bastion Point, on the East Coast Bays and Whanagaparoa Peninsula, as well as along the Motutapu and Rangitoto shorelines, have a chance to see all of the action as the participants battle for supremacy.

Auckland Fleet competing in the Millennium Cup

Auckland Fleet competing in the NZ Millennium Cup

NZ Millennium Cup organisers have designed courses that start and finish off Viaduct Harbour, ensuring there will also be good viewing at both ends of the races for those working in the Auckland CBD.

“Those watching, wherever they are, will be treated to a real spectacle,” says organising committee chairman, Stuart Robinson. “These are some of the world’s most spectacular yachts and, when they fly their spinnakers, some will be carrying more than 1000 square metres of sail!”

Racing in this year’s NZ Millennium Cup started today at 11am with a harbour race will be followed with 11am starts on Friday and Saturday with races from Viaduct Harbour to the inner Hauraki Gulf islands and back.

While the NZ Millennium Cup does have an active social component, Robinson stresses that the racing is taken very seriously by the vessels’ owners, their guests and crews and by the organisers.

“All of the races in the 2012 NZ Millennium Cup will be run by race management experts such as Ross Marwick and Hal Wagstaff from the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.

“These are the same race management teams that will be in charge a few weeks later, when the Volvo 70 Fleet arrive in Auckland, compete in their inshore race and then head away on the next leg of their race around the world.”

When not racing, the superyacht owners and their guests are given the chance to experience some of New Zealand’s finest food and wine in a mixture of casual and formal settings. These range from a “Kiwi bach” themed post-race function in the Floating Pavilion to a formal gala dinner and prizegiving in The Cloud on Princes Wharf, complete with a charity auction to raise money for Coastguard.