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Porto Cervo to host the 2011 Audi TP52 World Championship

April 12, 2011

The 2011 Audi TP52 World Championships will be hosted by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda on the famous waters of Sardinia’s Porto Cervo.

Porto Cervo to host the 2011 Audi TP52 World Championship © Stefano Gattini

Porto Cervo to host the 2011 Audi TP52 World Championship © Stefano Gattini

The world renowned waters of Sardinia’s Porto Cervo will be the venue for the 2011 Audi TP52 World Championships as the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) hosts to the regatta from the 2nd to the 8th of October. The last time that the TP52 World Championships were hosted on these waters was the 2007 edition, won by Sweden’s Torbjorn Tornqvist ‘s Artemis.

Once again the event is expected to attract a high level of sailors including the defending champions Quantum Racing (USA) who won the title in Valencia last year. And for the Audi Azzurra Sailing Team, the crew which together won the 2009 world title in Palma ahead of Quantum Racing, will be racing on home waters under the flag of the host club.

The racing will comprise five days of windward-leeward racing including one coastal race.

Nacho Postigo, Technical Director of the Audi MedCup Circuit, says “this year the worlds will take place at Azzurra’s home club and those guys know those waters very well. But I think that we have seen in recent years that the result will stay open till the very end. And the difference with the worlds is that we start from zero, the Audi MedCup will be just finished. As Americans say, it will be a “one shot” week, winner takes the title. In my opinion anything’s possible”.

Les Voiles de St. Barth 2011: Maxi sailing Yachts Genuine Risk and Rambler tied

April 08, 2011

Following two spectacular days of racing punctuated by strong breezes sweeping across the Caribbean, the Les Voiles de St. Barth shifted into “lay day” gear today. Understandably, the approximately 400 owners, skippers and crew competing here — on 48 boats from 17 countries — wanted to make the most of their stay on St. Barth, so some took advantage of the rest, relaxation and entertainment (including a remote-control sailboat regatta) offered at Nikki Beach resort on St. Jean Bay while others went off packing to enjoy some of the wonders the island has to offer.

Les Voiles de St. Barth 2011- Photo Credit Christophe Jouany - Les Voiles de Saint-Barth

Les Voiles de St. Barth 2011- Photo Credit Christophe Jouany - Les Voiles de Saint-Barth

This second edition of Les Voiles de St. Barth is quickly growing into an event that looks to blend the competition with the natural surroundings to be enjoyed, and this rest day will give all teams a chance to recharge and start fresh for the last two days of racing, which start tomorrow.  There is a certain hierarchy, however, that has been established across the five classes over the first two days of the regatta.

Class standings to date

Maxis: Genuine Risk and Rambler tied

These super yachts are impressive and Rambler 100, described by skipper Ken Read as a “beast,” has set the lead.  Immaculate starts, well-executed maneuvers, and seamless tacks and gybes have been leading the huge Juan Kouyoumdjian design across the finish line first on elapsed time.  Ken Read and George David’s crew are taking it somewhat cautiously, as they are aware of just how powerful the boat is.  “It’s a different game altogether, and we’re still learning,” affirms Read.  Despite Rambler 100′s overall superiority, there is a real threat with Genuine Risk, the Dubois-designed 97-footer handled by Swedish America’s Cup specialist Hugo Stenback. While it’s near impossible to match speed with the Juan K rocket ship, Stenbeck plans to stick close to Rambler’s wake in order to make the most in terms of points overall.  The two boats are currently tied on three points.

Sailing Yacht Rambler at - Les Voiles de St. Barth 2011- Photo Credit Christophe Jouany - Les Voiles de Saint-Barth

Sailing Yacht Rambler at - Les Voiles de St. Barth 2011- Photo Credit Christophe Jouany - Les Voiles de Saint-Barth

Sailing Yacht Genuine Risk at Les Voiles de Saint-Barth 2011 - Credit Christophe Jouany - Les Voiles de Saint-Barth

Sailing Yacht Genuine Risk at Les Voiles de Saint-Barth 2011 - Credit Christophe Jouany - Les Voiles de Saint-Barth

Racing: Status quo

The highly competitive 50-foot class really shined in the big swell on the first days of racing.  The fleet held tight around the marks and upwind with Jim Swartz’s TP52 Vesper, under Gavin Brady’s (NZL) careful direction, leading overall. Tied on points is Dutchman Willem Wester’s Grand Soleil 43 Antilope, which has managed several top podium finishes at Caribbean regattas this season. Peter Cunningham’s Venomousand his all-star crew, led by tactician Tony Rey, are sailing on the powerful Farr 60, which they’re using until they move on to their “new” TP52: the ex-Russian Team Synergy.

Sailing Yacht Puffy at - Les Voiles de St. Barth 2011- Photo Credit Christophe Jouany - Les Voiles de Saint-Barth

Sailing Yacht Puffy at - Les Voiles de St. Barth 2011- Photo Credit Christophe Jouany - Les Voiles de Saint-Barth

Local entries Raymond Magras’ Speedy Nemo (last year’s winner) and Patrick Demarchelier’s Swan 45Puffy are both sailing with locals and are attempting to limit their losses against the professionally crewed class leaders.

Racing Cruising: Nix and Black Hole Tied

The largest class in the fleet is the Racing Cruising, with 24 yachts. Wins in this class are hard-fought.  Two Dutch boats, Nico Cortlever’s Nix and Jeroen Min’s Black Hole, share the lead, each with a first and second place.  This leaves James Dobbs and his speedy J/122 Lost Horizon in third, with his immediate pursuer, Bobby Velasquez’s L’espérance, trailing in fourth.

Multis: first you have to finish

Class leader, John Winter’s 80-foot Morelli/Miller-designed Fat Cat, has suffered the least in the big and often crossed seas found on the northern areas of the courses. Blanca was dismasted yesterday and is out of the regatta, while the Gunboat Phaedo suffered damage to the boom on the first day and retired from the regatta as well.

Classics: Spritely for 80

What they lack in numbers they make up for in beauty. The Bermudian yawl Mariella, designed by Mylne, built by Fife and launched in 1938, has reveled in the strong, steady breeze off St Barth. Italian owner Carlo Falcone has enjoyed the opportunity of grabbing the lead over Donald Tofias’ classically styled W76 White Wings.  The majesty and elegance of these yachts grabs the attention of even the most modern sailor and is what gives Les Voiles de St. Barth a special element of charm.

Social Scene

Last night Les Voiles de St. Barth skippers and guests enjoyed a cocktail party hosted by the luxurious Guanahani & Spa hotel. The event included an auction to raise awareness and funds for Bay Kout Men Haïti, a non-profit organization set up in 1901 by people in the construction business to help rebuild the devasted Caribbean island.

François Tolède, event organizer of Les Voiles de St. Barth

“We feel that the idea that we offer here is the right recipe:  a mix of serious racing on the water and fun on shore, for the fleet of modern and classic boats of all sizes, on a really great sailing area with fantastic conditions, a dream for every sailor.  This event format is working and the word is spreading among competitors all over the world. We are going to have to be prepared for growing pains and keep a cool head as we build on our successes thus far.  We must maintain cohesion among the classes, maintain a balance between the competitive and fun aspects, as well as carefully consider our hosting capacity ashore and on-the-water. We must carefully consider all of these key points.”

Anne Lisa Gee, co-organiser of Les Voiles de St. Barth

“Everyone looks forward to a rest day, as much as they do to the perfect sailing conditions – it is in keeping with the spirit of what the owners and yachtsmen have come to look for in St Barth.  Everyone has been complimenting race organizers Luc Poupon’s and Jean Coadou’s choice of courses and we are getting the positive feedback from the sailors and owners who foresee a good future for the event.”

SCHEDULE

Racing continues on Friday and Saturday with a first warning signal at 1100. The closing ceremony and fireworks will follow the awards ceremony on Saturday, April 9.

Audi MedCup Circuit 2011: Azzurra to represent Italy

April 07, 2011

The prestigious Yacht Club Costa Smeralda have confirmed that they will compete on the Audi MedCup Circuit 2011 in the colours of the new Audi Azzurra Sailing Team with a crew built around a core group of sailors from the 2009 TP52 World Champions Matador. Guillermo Parada, Francesco Bruni and Vasco Vascotto will lead the team.                 

 A large media congretation convened Wednesday morning in the beautiful Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnica in Milan to enjoy the presentation of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda 2011 ambitious sailing program.

Audi MedCup Circuit 2011 Azzurra to represent Italy © Stefano Gattini

Audi MedCup Circuit 2011 Azzurra to represent Italy © Stefano Gattini

The project’s key strand is the Audi Azzura Sailing Team which marks the return to top level racing again this year of the legendary Azzurra colours, which will compete on the Audi MedCup Circuit 2011 for the first time, under the guidance of Riccardo Bonadeo, the Yacht Club’s commodore, who said:

“At this stage this is the most exciting sailing you can find in Europe, and Azzurra just could not miss out on being part of it. We’ve had the chance to join again with a perfect partner in Alberto Roemmers, Matador’s owner, with whom this partnership already worked well before, with Maspero. We hope that the same succes can be achieved by Azzurra.”

Audi MedCup Circuit 2011 Azzurra to represent Italy © Stefano Gattini

Audi MedCup Circuit 2011 Azzurra to represent Italy © Stefano Gattini

Audi Azzurra Sailing Team’s project is a collaboration between the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and Audi, who are Official Automotive Partner of the yacht club. Michael Frisch, Audi Italy’s General Manager: 
“ This is big and prestigious collaboration showing the perfect relationship between two very important entities. Both Audi and the YCCS always have and continue to display a passion for excellence, class and elegance, a showcase of dynamism and fair and clean competition.”

The crew for the 2011 Audi MedCup Circuit campaign will include some of Italy’s most important sailors, such as tactician Francesco Bruni (Azzurra’s helmsman since 2009), and strategist Vasco Vascotto who won the inaugural MedCup Circuit season in 2005 and has been a key player each year since, accumulating considerable knowledge of the class, the circuit and the venues: 
“ We’ve got one only goal: to sail well. This has always been our mentality, and the one that has helped us up to were we are now. We are true sportsmen, who go on the water to perform at the maximum, and in each regatta we will try to bring home the best result. We are proud of being here and to wear these colors, and we want to represent such an important  sponsor and the colours of the Yacht Club through our professionality. We’ve worked hard throughout the winter, and we are very motivated because we know this project means everything.”

Nacho Postigo, Audi MedCup Circuit Technical Director,  echoes  the enthusiasm about the team joining the Circuit

“For the circuit, the participation of Azzurra and the Yacht Club Costa Esmeralda is very important, and we are happy to welcome them. It is a nice mix, carrying on the strong Argentinian core but infused with the Azzurra’s soul and spirit. I believe they will be able to have good results, thanks to a strong crew and a new boat, which are some of the foundations needed to win. That doesn’t mean it will be easy, since they’ll have to beat the best sailors in the world, on a Circuit with so many competitive boats”.

Audi Azzurra Sailing Team’s new boat has been designed by Rolf Vrolijk and is being completed currently at King Marine in Valencia, due to be launched Sunday April 10th. The boat will be baptized on the first day of the first regatta trophy, planned for May 16th.

It will be skipperd by Argentinian Guillermo Parada, which has been involved in the Matador project for many years, guiding Matador to third place on the podium in 2008 and 2010 and fourth in 2009 . “Our mentality will be the same as last year, but this is a very important step forward for the team. Having the support of two sponsors like Audi and Azzurra is a big responsability, which we assume with pleasure. We consider it the reward to all the things we’ve achieved in the  past years, and we hope that our commitment will show in the results. For the team this is the beginning of a new era”.

Besides Parada, Vascotto and Bruni, the other members of the crew will be Italian Bruno Zirilli (navigator), Juan Pablo Cadario (pit), Mariano Caputo (bowman), Alejandro Colla (grinder), Pedro Rossi (mid bow), and the trimmers Maciel Cichetti, Paul Westlake, Simon Fry and Mariano Parada.

The Audi MedCup Circuit is the world’s leading regatta circuit.

The Circuit is made up of five events that take place over five months in four countries over southern Europe.

Trophy 1 : Tuesday 17th – Sunday 22nd May

Trophy 2 : Tuesday 14th – Sunday 19th June

Trophy 3 : Tuesday 19th – Sunday 24th July

Trophy 4 : Tuesday 23nd – Sunday 28th August

Trophy 5 : Monday 12th – Saturday 17th September

Les Voiles de St. Barth 2011: Day 2 Déja vu all over again

April 07, 2011

The warm tropical breeze and clear blue sky is not lost on the sailors here at Les Voiles de St. Barth – especially those from the colder climes of the U.S. where spring has not quite yet sprung. Even normally jaded professional sailors were waxing on about the conditions here. Today offered 15 – 16 knots of breeze and a much reduced sea from yesterday, when many boats returned to the quay to lick their wounds and effect repairs, which included torn sails, broken head foils, and damaged rigging.

Les Voiles de St. Barth 2011 Day 2  - Credit Christophe Jouany - Les Voiles de Saint-Barth

Les Voiles de St. Barth 2011 Day 2 - Credit Christophe Jouany - Les Voiles de Saint-Barth

Ken Read, skipper of Rambler 100, said, “I was here last week sailing in the Bucket, and now here we are again: same weather, same conditions, it’s like Groundhog Day. You just come back here, and it blows hard and it’s beautiful weather. I haven’t worn a jacket yet, and I think I’ve been wearing this shirt for about a month now. You can’t find any better conditions to go sailing in.”

Yacht Rambler at Les Voiles de Saint-Barth 2011 - Credit Christophe Jouany - Les Voiles de Saint-Barth

Yacht Rambler at Les Voiles de Saint-Barth 2011 - Credit Christophe Jouany - Les Voiles de Saint-Barth

At all four race starts, the groupings were much tighter as crews ramped up their performances and rivalries reared their heads: Rambler 100 versus Genuine Risk, Vesper versus Venomous, Black Hole versus Nix (versus Affinity today). Make no mistake, with the dock lines cast off, and the prior nights’ dustiness cleared away, whether amateur or professional, most sailors here are keen to win.

Sailing Yacht Vesper at Les Voiles de Saint-Barth 2011 - Credit Christophe Jouany - Les Voiles de Saint-Barth

Sailing Yacht Vesper at Les Voiles de Saint-Barth 2011 - Credit Christophe Jouany - Les Voiles de Saint-Barth

The Racing Cruising class, the largest at Les Voiles with 24 entries, today was again sent on a 16 nautical mile course, which was much less punishing than yesterday’s opening race. “Today was less windy, less wavy, so we weren’t crashing into 10 foot waves,” said Jack Desmond (Marion, Massachusetts), owner of the Swan 48 Affinity. “We sailed a little more conservatively today, a little smarter. We only have nine crew and we’re pretty well organized being short-handed. Yesterday we ripped the number three jib and the spinnaker. We didn’t rip anything today, so all in all a good day, and not very expensive.”

Desmond went on to count off Black Hole, Nix and Fenix, as his primary competition. Fenix is a 14-year old Swan 60 from Guernsey, in the Channel Islands, whose prior event this season was the RORC Caribbean 600 where they were third in class. Skipper Mortiz Burmester felt the coastal courses suited the crew well, as they are a mix of amateurs and professionals. “So it’s nice to have some slow bear-aways around the rocks.”

Of the original five entries in the Multihull class, only Fat Cat and Bordelo are still competing. Today, Blanca, a 30-foot Seacart catamaran, lost its mast, while the 40-foot trimaran Dauphine Telecom and the 66-foot Gunboat Phaedo did not start.

Thursday, April 7 is a lay day, which will give the crews a chance to relax and enjoy themselves with a full and varied program of events planned at St. Jean Beach, including an RC (radio control) model boat regatta and lunch with music. Racing continues on Friday and Saturday with a first warning signal at 1100. The closing ceremony and fireworks will follow the awards ceremony on Saturday, April 9.

Les Voiles de St. Barth 2011 Day 2  - Credit Christophe Jouany - Les Voiles de Saint-Barth.

Les Voiles de St. Barth 2011 Day 2 - Credit Christophe Jouany - Les Voiles de Saint-Barth.

What they said

Peter Holmberg, Sojana

“We have a big boat and our priority is to sail cleanly, and not make any mistakes while getting the most out of Sojana. This requires a real team effort on board. The crew needs to remain focused. So we’re talking about remaining focused and sailing as a team. The results will depend on our ability to sail as intensely as we can.”

Ken Read, Rambler 100

“This Rambler is clearly an animal…it’s a beast. The old Rambler was a 90-footer, water- ballasted, a big, powerful boat. This boat is a whole new step. It’s really cool to sail the boat how we sailed it yesterday, really like a normal 50-footer, around the track. Every day is a new experience. You’re looking at the loads on a boat like this, the speeds and its’ potential, and the amount of water coming over the bow yesterday. It’s a dangerous boat, it’s a big powerful boat.

“Rambler 100 was made to sail out in the ocean, so sailing these quick little legs around here, it’s a whole new thing. It’s a different mentality, there’s actually some different equipment. We had a couple sails built for inshore, but the sail system broke in trials so we couldn’t even use it. It’s a whole new way of thinking on a boat like this. You have to have the best sailors you can find from bow to stern. Without that, you really could get in trouble fast. And when you get in trouble, somebody gets hurt. It’s a different mentality, it’s a different game altogether, and we’re still learning. We’re not perfect out there right now, but we’re still learning.”

It’s interesting, the bigger the boat, the fewer the sails you carry. Yesterday we went around the course with a mainsail, two jibs, one reaching spinnaker, and one running spinnaker, and that was it. And the main reason is it’s really hard to change sails on a boat like that. So each sail has a very, very wide range.”

School’s Out:

For one hundred elementary students from the islands’ schools in Gustavia, Columbier, and Lorient, today was a sanctioned day off to enjoy the races. Les Voiles de St. Barth committee organizers arranged for the children to go out on the Scoobidoo 75′ and 60′ catamarans to enjoy the sailing spectacle.

Social Scene:

Tonight the owners, skippers and friends are invited to a cocktail party hosted by the Hotel Guanahahi & Spa. The evening will also feature an auction of the original painting by artist Pati Guyot used for the official 2011 Les Voiles de St. Barth poster, with the proceeds going to benefit a school in Haiti.

St. Barth Facts:

The island is located over 5,000 miles from Paris and over 1,500 miles from New York. It’s small, just eight square miles. St. Barth’s fauna has an unusual diversity: iguanas, land and sea turtles, marine birds – the pelican is the mascot of the island – and hummingbirds.

Key information:

This is the second edition of Les Voiles de St. Barth. The event is hosted from April 4 – 9, 2011 by the St. Barth Yacht Club, which is affiliated with the French Sailing Federation and the Caribbean Sailing Association.

RESULTS:
Place, Boat Name, Skipper, Race 1-2, Total Points

MAXI
1) Genuine Risk, Hugo Stenbeck (USA), 2-1, 3.0 points
2) Rambler 100, Ken Read (USA), 1-2, 3.0
3) Sojana, Marc Fitzgerald (GBR), 3-3, 6.0

RACING
1) Vesper, Jim Swartz (USA), 2-1, 3.0 points
2) Antilope, Willem Wester (NED), 1-2, 3.0
3) Venemous, Peter Cunningham (CAY), 3-3, 6.0

RACING CRUISING
1) Nix, Nico Cortlever (NED), 2-1, 3.0 points
2) Black Hole, Jeroen Min (GBR), 1-2, 3.0
3) Lost Horizon, James Dobbs, (Antigua, W.I.), 4-3, 7.0

CLASSIC
1) Mariella, Carlo Falcone (ITA), 1-1, 2.0 points
2) White Wings, Faraday Rosenberg (USA), 2-2, 4.0
3) Kate Dutch Sailing Team, Philip Walwyn (St. Kitt’s, W.I.), 3-3, 6.0

MULTIHULL
1) Fat Cat, John Winter (USA), 1-1, 2.0 points
2) Bordelo, Stephane Penigaud (St. Barth, FWI), 2-2, 4.0
3) Dauphin Telecom, Erick Clement (FRA), 6-3, 9.0

Les Voiles de Saint Barth 2011: Day 1

April 07, 2011

The first day of racing at the 2nd edition of Les Voiles de St. Barth dawned with 25 knots of tropical tradewind breeze and showers sweeping over the picturesque French island located midway down the Caribbean chain. The regatta’s fleet of maxis, racing and cruising yachts, multi-hulls and classics – 48 confirmed on race day – set off on a race course around the nearby archipelago, and met with plenty of wind and bumpy seas, especially on the islands’ exposed eastern side.

You certainly couldn’t have asked for a prettier race course, which today sent fleets on jaunts of either 16-, 22-, or 25-nautical mile jaunts.  Most intriguing was the trip around the northern tip of St. Barth and through the nearby archipelago, which in a typically French way makes one ready for a meal with names such as Ile Chevreau (baby goat), Ile Fregate (bird), Ile le Boulanger (the baker), Ile Fourchue (fork), Grouper et Petite Groupers (fish), Le Boeuf (beef), and Le Pain du Sucre (sugarloaf).

Sailing Yacht Rambler at Les Voiles de Saint-Barth 2011 - Credit Christophe Jouany - Les Voiles de Saint-Barth

Sailing Yacht Rambler at Les Voiles de Saint-Barth 2011 - Credit Christophe Jouany - Les Voiles de Saint-Barth

Today’s later start at 1300 did nothing to diminish the wind and sea, as the first two classes off – Maxis and Multihulls – with eleven boats, started in 22 knots and encountered two meter seas and were sent on a 25-nautical mile course. George David’s Rambler 100 with Ken Read as skipper, got away at the pin end of the starting line and lead Hugo Stenbeck on Genuine Risk up into the outer harbor to an offset turning mark. Once around, Rambler set a huge asymmetric spinnaker and was on her way for the day.

On the eastern, and windward, side of the island the big boats reveled in the conditions which eventually topped out above 30 knots – Genuine Risk, with their combined crew Swedish/ American crew, recorded 30 knots of boat speed surfing downwind through the islands.

Sailing Yacht Genuine Risk at Les Voiles de Saint-Barth 2011 - Credit Christophe Jouany - Les Voiles de Saint-Barth

Sailing Yacht Genuine Risk at Les Voiles de Saint-Barth 2011 - Credit Christophe Jouany - Les Voiles de Saint-Barth

Also racing in the Maxi class was the 86′ CNB sloop Spiip, owned by Robin de Jong, who is making his way westward to Tahiti with the boat. Onboard Spiip is Bruno Trouble, well known for creating and overseeing the Louis Vuitton Challenger Series (for the America’s Cup) that originated in 1983. Trouble is racing at the regatta for the first time, and he said,”Les Voiles de St. Barth reminds me a lot of the early days of the Nioulargue with boats from all over the place taking part.  Things are going to really build and it is just great, it really reminds me of the first Nioulargue!”

Sailing Yacht Vesper at Les Voiles de Saint-Barth 2011 - Credit Christophe Jouany - Les Voiles de Saint-Barth

Sailing Yacht Vesper at Les Voiles de Saint-Barth 2011 - Credit Christophe Jouany - Les Voiles de Saint-Barth

In the Racing Class, the crew work aboard Jim Swartz’s Vesper looked well-honed as the team traded tacks with Peter Cunningham’s Farr 60 Venomous (CAY) up the first short beat. Back on the quay, Venomous’ tactician Tony Rey recounted the day,”We had some great sailing   – St. Barth’s is such an awesome place to sail, every time you turn around an island, or a piece of land, the view just gets better and better. It’s just that the race course is a minefield because the wind twists and turns up the corners and the crevices – but it’s a fascinating place to sail! We also had the added challenge that our instruments went down, so we were guessing on our wind speed and direction, and guessing at our boat speed for part of it too, which turned us into good seat-of-the-pants sailors.”


Before scores were tabulated, though Rey suspects,”We think we were probably 2nd or 3rd, we’re pretty sure Vesper beat us handily, because downwind you just can’t stay with a boat like that.  We could have sailed better for sure, we left a few seconds on the race track, but generally we’re thrilled, it was a great day of sailing!”


In the 24-boat Racing Cruising class, the Swan 60 Fenix closely led Jereon Hin’s First 50 Black Hole (NED) after the first upwind beat. This class has a gamut of boats including two all-women entries, Annie O’Sullivan’s Diamonds Are Forever (UK), and Henneke Stegweg’s iLost (NED). As well, there are two Moorings 50.5 charter boats with two crews from Oakville, Ontario, Canada, headed up by Andre Beese and Patrick Festing. Both crews are comprised of friends and fellow Etchells sailors, who were originally headed to Antigua to race when a friend suggested they race at Les Voiles de St. Barth.


The Classics class, while low on numbers with just five boats, were high on style points with the 76′ W-class White Wings, the 80′ Fife yawl, Mariella, the 60′ dark-hulled gaff-rigged yawl Kate from St Kitt’s, and the 26′ Friendship sloop La Sirene, gracing the line.
Carlo Falcone, from Antigua, is a frequent competitor with Mariella in both classic and offshore races around the world, which he, more often than not, wins. He enjoys sailing in St Barts because it has, he says,”more European style than other parts of the Caribbean.”

The yacht was designed by American naval architect Alfred Mylne, and built by Fife in Scotland in 1938. As Falcone says,”The beauty of this boat is the mix of the two. Mariella is well sailed and immaculately maintained, and Falcone says, “I believe the more you use the boat the better it is. But it’s never-ending work – not buying the boat, but keeping it. They say, ‘the owners are just taking care of the boat until the next one.’” His regular crew is a mix of family and friends including his daughter Sylvia, his long-time navigator, 89-year old Henry Pepper (Marblehead, Mass), and crew from Italy, Australia and Dominica. Les Voiles de St.Barth is a way to prepare the boat for this summer’s classic yacht series in New England.

Sailing Yacht Highland Breeze at Les Voiles de Saint-Barth 2011 - Credit Christophe Jouany - Les Voiles de Saint-Barth

Sailing Yacht Highland Breeze at Les Voiles de Saint-Barth 2011 - Credit Christophe Jouany - Les Voiles de Saint-Barth

With a relatively new event, one may wonder what goes into the thinking for the course on day one. Following this morning’s skipper’s briefing, the, Les Voiles Race Committee Principal Race Officer, Jean Coadou offered some insight,”There were three main elements: the weather forecast, looking at the strength and direction of the wind around all of the islands. Also it was important with such a large fleet to avoid any boats crossing paths. And first and foremost, the enjoyment of sailing was a key factor. We try to ensure that the competitors encounter all the different points of sail, upwind, downwind and reaching. The idea is to come up with three hours of exciting racing each day; that is why the courses are around 30 miles in length for the fastest boats and 16 miles for the smaller craft.”


Key information: Les Voiles de St. Barth is being hosted from April 4 – 9 2011 by the St. Barth Yacht Club, which is affiliated with the French Sailing Federation and the Caribbean Sailing Association.

Racing will continue tomorrow, with a first warning signal at 1100. Thursday, April 7 will be a lay day, which will give the crews a chance to relax and enjoy themselves with a full and varied program of events planned at St Jean Beach.

Racing continues on Friday and Saturday with a first warning signal at 1100.


The closing ceremony and fireworks will follow the awards ceremony on Saturday, April 9.



RESULTS
Place, Boat Name, Skipper, Points

MAXI
1) Rambler 100, Ken Read (USA), 1.0 points
2) Genuine Risk, Hugo Stenbeck (USA), 2.0
3) Sojana, Marc Fitzgerald (UK), 3.0

RACING
1) Antilope, Willem Wester (NED), 1.0 points

2) Vesper, Jim Swartz (USA), 2.0 

3) Venemous, Peter Cunningham (US), 3.0 



RACING CRUISING
1) Black Hole, Jeroen Min (UK), 1.0 points
2) Nix, Nico Cortlever (NED), 2.0
3) L’esperance, Bobby Velasquez (St Maarten, West Indies), 3.0

CLASSIC 

1) Mariella, Carlo Falcone (ITA), 1.0 points

2) White Wings, Faraday Rosenberg (USA), 2.0
3) Kate Dutch Sailing Team, Philip Walwyn (St. Kitt’s, West Indies), 3.0

MULTIHULL
1) Fat Cat, John Winter, 1.0 points
2) Bordelo, Stephane Penigaud (St. Barth, FWI), 2.0

34th America’s Cup: Stan Honey appointed to Director of Technology

April 07, 2011

 Bay Area resident Stan Honey (USA), a two-time Emmy Winner for Technical Innovations in Sports TV Broadcast and the Rolex Yachtsman of the Year for 2010, has been appointed Director of Technology for the 34th America’s Cup by the America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA).

34th America’s Cup Stan Honey appointed to Director of Technology - Photo credit Claude Breton

34th America’s Cup Stan Honey appointed to Director of Technology - Photo credit Claude Breton

Honey is developing a system to track the America’s Cup catamarans to within 2cm, 10 times per second, and superimpose graphics elements such as ahead-behind lines on the live helicopter footage of the race. Previously America’s Cup broadcasts have only featured graphics visible in an animated view of the race.

The new graphics package is designed to help viewers follow the intense action of the AC45s and AC72s as they scream around the race course, all in live action. Opportunities to utilize the detailed data from the races are also being reviewed for internet viewers, mobile viewers, and real-time game applications.

“We are making an enormous investment in technology to engage a new generation of fans worldwide, as well as make the coverage compelling for experienced sailors,” said Richard Worth, Chairman, ACEA.  “We are appointing a very well known name in TV technology and in sailing to drive this innovation and really revolutionize the coverage of the sport.”

A major figure in technological innovation in sports television, Honey co-founded Sportvision in 1998, where he led the development of the yellow first-down line widely used in the broadcast of American football, the ESPN  “K-Zone” baseball pitch tracking and highlighting system, and the Race/FX tracking and highlighting system used in NASCAR. 

Honey also is recognized as one of the most successful professional navigators in sailing, having navigated ABN AMRO to victory in the 2005-2006 Volvo Ocean Race and having navigated Groupama 3 in setting the Jules Verne record for the fastest circumnavigation of the world under sail in 2010.  Honey was recently awarded the US Sailing Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Award for 2010, one of the highest individual honors in sailing in the U.S.

“I’ve had two careers up until now, one as an electrical engineer developing navigation, tracking, and TV special effects, and the other as a navigator in professional offshore sailing,” said Honey.  “Working for ACEA combines my two careers as I will be using both my sailing and technology backgrounds.”

In addition to use for broadcast, this tracking system will also be used by the America’s Cup Race Management team to revolutionize the on the water management of the sport.

“We are leading the way in technology for sailing – and the change will be dramatic,” said Iain Murray, CEO, America’s Cup Race Management. “John Craig, our Principal Race Officer, is working with Stan’s team to allow John to rapidly move marks and control the course limits, telemetering all of the course and mark data to the race boats, mark boats, and course marshal boats.  Our chief umpire, Mike Martin, is working with Stan’s team to make real time overlap and zone-entry determinations using the 2cm tracking data.  The America’s Cup will be one of the leading sports in the incorporation of technology.”

Prior to co-founding Sportvision in 1998, Stan Honey worked as Executive VP Technology for News Corporation from 1993 through 1998.  Honey co-founded Etak Inc., the company that pioneered vehicle navigation systems, in 1983, which was sold to News Corporation in 1989 and is now part of TomTom.  Honey is also an inventor on 8 patents in navigation technology and 21 patents in tracking and television special effects.

34th America’s Cup: Team Korea is an official challenger

April 07, 2011

For the first time in its 160-year history, a challenge has been made by a South Korean Yacht Club for the America’s Cup, the oldest trophy in international sports. The Sail Korea Yacht Club, represented by Team Korea, has been officially accepted as a challenger for the 34th America’s Cup.

34th America’s Cup Team Korea is an official challenger

34th America’s Cup Team Korea is an official challenger

Team Korea will be known as the ‘White Tiger Challenge’. The White Tiger, or ‘Baekho’ in Korean, is one of the revered ancient guardian gods in Korean mythology, ferocious and potent, a fitting image for a team from one of the world’s major industrial nations with long term America’s Cup ambitions.

Founder of Team Korea is Dong Young-Kim, an accomplished sailor and the organizer of one of the biggest prize money sailing events in the world, The Korea Match Cup. In launching Team Korea, he intends to boost public interest and knowledge of the America’s Cup and hopes to attract new people to take up sailing as their support for the team grows.

In announcing the team he said, ‘’The America’s Cup is not only the world’s oldest sporting trophy, it is one of the most celebrated, with a tradition, glamour and attraction like no other. Some of the most famous people in world history have competed in this event trying to win this coveted trophy, enjoying the honor of taking part and representing both club and country.”

“Now it is Korea’s turn to enter this famous competition for the first time, at the start of what will prove to be one of the biggest changes the Cup has ever seen, with these new high speed, radical, wing-sailed catamarans, designed to appeal beyond those already interested in sailing. This is a unique opportunity for us to create excitement around the sport in Korea, and introduce newcomers to the events through the awe-inspiring TV images we expect to see.’’

He continued, ‘’As a new team we do not have the experience and legacy of others involved, and so we are realistic about building together a group of people for this challenge, and setting ourselves sensible targets with our first competitive challenge.  We see this America’s Cup campaign as a learning experience which we can build on for the future, while improving through the regatta series this year. We have discussions ongoing presently which we hope will provide the necessary resources, sponsorships and long-lasting commitments we desire, and aim to make more announcements shortly in what is proving to be a very exciting time in the ongoing evolution of the America’s Cup.’’

The inaugural 2011/12 America’s Cup World Series begins this summer with three regattas to be staged in Portugal, UK and USA. A further series is planned for 2012/13, before the Louis Vuitton Cup for all the Challengers in San Francisco in 2013, followed by the 34th America’s Cup match itself. Racing begins in new AC45 catamarans, which are then replaced by giant 72 foot wing sailed ‘monsters’, potentially  capable of over 40 knots speed, competing in a combination of both fleet and match racing.

“One of our major goals for the new America’s Cup is to enable teams to be sustainable sports franchises, so we’re excited to see Korea enter the America’s Cup for the first time, with sights set on building a team for the future,” Chairman of the America’s Cup Event Authority, Richard Worth said.

‘’Having a country such as Korea enter the America’s Cup adds to the global impact of our event, so we’re very pleased to welcome Team Korea to our growing field of international competitors.”

Team Korea becomes the ninth Challenger accepted, together with two teams each from France and Italy, one each from China, Sweden, Australia, and New Zealand, plus the Defender from the USA. There are three additional challengers who have yet to announce and two more are in the process of having their challenges vetted, making a total of 15 teams set to compete in the 34th America’s Cup

Perini Navi Cup 2011

April 06, 2011

The Perini Navi Group is pleased to announce that the fourth edition of the Perini Navi Cup, a regatta dedicated exclusively to sailing yachts built by Perini Navi, will be held from September 1 – 4 in Porto Cervo, Sardinia.

Perini Navi Group the fourth edition of the Perini Navi Cup will be held from September 1st to 4th 2011

Perini Navi Group the fourth edition of the Perini Navi Cup will be held from September 1st to 4th 2011

This year’s edition will differ from previous editions held in 2004, 2006 and 2009 in that there will be an extra day of racing. The numerous yachts already enrolled will race for three days in the marvelous waters around Porto Cervo, giving life to challenges that will thrill aficionados of yachting and in particular those who like Perini Navi’s unmistakable style. The Perini Navi Group, in fact, is the world leader in the construction and design of large sailing and motor yachts, vessels which combine technological innovation with performance and comfort.

The regatta, organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, will also be supported by collaborations with Italian and international companies that work in the luxury goods sector such as Rolex, Marina Yachting, Axa Yachting Solutions, Champagne Pommery, Icet and Audi.

The Perini Navi Cup is an inshore regatta for sailing yachts built by Perini Navi. It is a wonderful chance for owners and crew to get to know each other and their yachts and is also a unique occasion for these exceptional yachts to challenge each other for sport and fun and in safe conditions.

The Perini Navi Group with a fleet of 50 yachts on the water- 49 sailing yachts and 1 motor yacht- is the world leader in the design and construction of large sailing yachts. In 2007 the Group also began to build motor yachts with the brand name Picchiotti and the series name Vitruvius, thus re-launching the historic Picchiotti shipyard acquired in the early 1990’s. The Group is made up of the Perini Navi shipyard in Viareggio, founded in the 1980’s by Fabio Perini who invented and developed a revolutionary automatic sail control system. Another division of the Group is the Picchiotti shipyard in La Spezia where the Group constructs its motor yachts and concentrates most of it refitting work, and the Perini Istanbul shipyard in Yildiz, Turkey where its hulls and deck structures are produced. Perini Navi USA is a commercial division of the Group through whom owners of Perini Navi Group yachts can arrange charters and which also provides brokerage services for both new and previously owned Perini Navi Group yachts.

Les Voiles de St. Barth 2011: 53 Sailing Yachts Ready for Event

April 05, 2011

The Carl Gustaf Hotel, high on the hill overlooking the main port of Gustavia, provided a great vantage point to watch the Les Voiles de St. Barth fleet slowly filling up the anchorage and quays in the main harbor of this idyllic French island. Boats continued to arrive throughout the day, while others took advantage of the day’s fresh easterly breeze to go through some crew manoeuvres and test sails.

View of Gustavia - Les Voiles de St. Barth 2011 - Photo Credit Susan Maffei Plowden

View of Gustavia - Les Voiles de St. Barth 2011 - Photo Credit Susan Maffei Plowden

The luxury hotel was host to a press briefing where Michel Magras, Senator of the St. Barth Collectivity and Francois Paul Tolede, general manager of Les Voiles de St Barth organizing committee, welcomed the media. Tolede said, “For the second edition of the event we are really happy to see such a healthy entry list. We must congratulate ourselves for having been able to position ourselves amongst the great sailing events in the Caribbean.”

While the Caribbean has seen a resurgence of new yachting events, Les Voiles de St. Barth seems to have struck a chord among sailors – the regatta has seen entries rise from 23 boats last year, to 53 for 2011. The island turns on its charm easily, what with Jimmy Buffet as the event’s Godfather, and festive dockside entertainment each day for the 500 or so sailors on hand.

As for the racing, tomorrows forecast calls for easterly trade winds of 22 knots, providing a great start to the week. The island and surrounding archipelago offer a variety of courses from 14 – 37 nautical miles, something for all classes.

Racing begins tomorrow and continues through Saturday, with a lay day on Thursday. The international fleet includes over 50 boats – from 17 countries – entered in five classes: Maxi, Racing, Racing/Cruising, Classic, Multihull.

In the Maxi class, Peter Harrison’s (UK) 115-foot Farr designed ketch, sailing yacht Sojana  – a frequent competitor on the Caribbean circuit – will have a solid afterguard on board with Peter Holmberg at the helm, and French sailing legend Lionel Pean on tactics and navigation. Pean, who made his name in more solitary pursuits of singlehanded and around the world racing, has traded up to the comfort and camaraderie of a fully-fitted out boat such as Sojana. As for his return to Les Voiles, Pean said, “St Barth’s is very singular, you don’t have to move a mark, there are natural marks everywhere. You can design a very nice race course along the shore. It’s very exciting for the crew, and exciting for the viewing, and makes this event unique.”

More than a few competitors have made the regatta into a vacation, Pean included, “Last year I brought my family, it’s great, we spend a perfect week. There are beaches everywhere.”

The Maxi Class also includes Rambler 100 (US), chartered by George David, with Ken Read as skipper; the Swan 112 Highland Breeze  (NED) which has Volvo Ocean Race veteran Bouwe Bekking on board; the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy’s Dubois 97’; Genuine Risk which has a mix of US and Swedish crew headed by Hugo Stenbeck; and the 86-foot CNB sloop, yacht Spiip.

The Racing class includes Jim Swartz’ (Park City, Utah) Vesper, returning for the 2nd edition of Les Voiles de St. Barth.  A frequent visitor to the island with his wife, he said, “I’ve always loved coming to St. Barth’s – I think it’s the single best place in the Caribbean.  It’s a great island, great people, great food, great sailing and when I heard about a regatta here, I said count me in!” Swartz’s “new” boat this year is the TP 52 Vesper, named – as all of his boats are – after James Bond movie characters. (Note to Trivial Pursuit players: Vesper Lynd was Bond’s one true love). Swartz has enlisted a formidable crew including Gavin Brady as tactician and Chris Larson on mainsheet.

Asked what draws him to Les Voiles, Swartz said, “It’s very much at the top of my list. It comes at a very good time, the transition from winter to summer, for those of us in the U.S.; it’s not overly crowded, the weather is spectacular, and it’s a great location.”

The Racing class includes Peter Cunningham’s Farr 60 Venomous (USA), with Tony Rey calling tactics, and Wilem Wester’s Grand Soleil 43 Antilope (NED) and James Dobbs’ J/122 Lost Horizon (ANT), both fresh from class wins in St. Thomas.

Nico Cortlever is the skipper of Nix (NED), a 60 footer from St Maarten, that is in the Racing Cruising class. Cortlever spends half the year racing in regattas throughout the Caribbean and spends his summers on the boat in the Mediterranean. The genial Dutchman has commandeered friends from his sailing club in Loosdrecht, a small lake south of Amsterdam, where they race Star boats and other small one-designs. He sails Nix with a crew of 12 friends, though he says, “They’re not all experienced, so we have to train and sort out positions. We’ve always raced in the BVI (British Virgin Islands), but it’s a long way to sail from St. Maarten; this is closer by, it’s a nice island, and everyone likes to come here.”

Key information:

Les Voiles de St. Barth will be hosted from April 4 – 9 2011 by the St. Barth Yacht Club, which is affiliated with the French Sailing Federation and the Caribbean Sailing Association.

Les Voiles de St. Barth officially begins on Monday April 4, 2011 with the registration and the official opening of the Race Village on Quai du Général De Gaulle in Gustavia.

The Race Committee, led once again by principal race officer, Luc Poupon, will signal the start of the first race at 1300 (local time) on Tuesday, April 5. Racing for the rest of the week (Wednesday – Saturday) will begin at 1100. Thursday, April 7 will be a lay day, which will give the crews a chance to relax and enjoy themselves with a full and varied program of events planned at St Jean Beach. The closing ceremony and fireworks will follow the awards ceremony on Saturday, April 9.

More than 50 yachts have registered for the Les Voiles de St. Barth 2011 and they will be split into five classes:

SUPER / MAXI YACHT: a prototype or boat produced in limited numbers measuring at least 21 metres (69’) in length.

CLASSIC: referred to as classic or traditional yachts, these boats must be at least 35 years old.

RACING: racing monohulls, designed specifically for coastal or offshore racing.

RACING/CRUISING: mostly series boats, which are designed for cruising and for racing.

RACING-MULTIHULLS: Racing multihulls, including trimarans and catamarans, between 30 – 60 feet in length, which are very light and fast.

A new Transatlantic Maxi Yacht Cup

April 05, 2011

The International Maxi Association (IMA) is pleased to announce some news about the Transatlantic Maxi Yacht Cup, the transoceanic crossing of the Atlantic for maxi yachts leaving towards Caribbean at the end of the Mediterranean sailing season.

Transatlantic Maxi Yacht Cup from Tenerif 2010

Transatlantic Maxi Yacht Cup from Tenerif 2010

As usual (the first edition was run in 2007) the Transatlantic Maxi Yacht Cup will start by the end of November from Tenerife, but in agreement with the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda the finishing line has been moved from St. Maarten, Antilles, to British Virgin Islands, more precisely to British Virgin Gorda, where is actually under construction a new clubhouse – and marina – of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda. The arrival of the fleet and the prizegiving should match with the opening and inauguration of the new YCCS clubhouse.

The Transatlantic Maxi Yacht Cup will be open to all IMA maxi categories. Real Club Nautico Tenerife has already confirmed his support for starting operation.

Simultaneously to the Transatlantic Maxi Yacht Cup, the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda will organize a new event leaving as well from Tenerife on the same day: the Transatlantic Superyacht Regatta, reserved to maxi boats with LOA upper than 30.51, boats more cruising than racing-oriented. Royal British Virgin Islands Yacht Club will support the arrival operations.

The two events will therefore gather both in Tenerife and later in Virgin Gorda a spectacular maxi fleet, while the coordination among the two O.A. will ensure an excellent level of logistic and technical assistance. Prizes and special trophies will be awarded both to the winner of the IMA scorings and to participants among the Superyacht fleet.

With still many months to the event, several maxi yachts have already confirmed their entry to the IMA, like the Wally Y3K belonging to Claus Peter Offen, IMA president, the new supermaxi Hetairos, owner Otto Happel – IMA vice president – Will Apold’s Valkyrie, sailing yacht Sojana – owner Peter Harris; Sojana is the winner of 2010 edition – and Karl C.

Kwok’s Beau Geste, winner of 2009 regatta and record holder. New entry at the event, the Volvo 60 AmberSail.

The Notice of Race of the Transatlantic Maxi Yacht Cup 2011 will be available soon on the IMA website