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Yacht ‘Timoneer’ wins Dubois Cup 2011 Yacht Race

June 08, 2011

Sailing yacht Timoneer wins light-airs gybing duel at Dubois Cup 2011 Luck, judgement and light airs conspired to create classic competition during Race 2 of the 2011 Dubois Cup. Veteran cruising yacht Timoneer took full advantage of contrary conditions and fickle breezes that ought not to have favoured the heavier boats, and took both line honours and the overall prize.

Timoneer wins Dubois Cup - Image by Rick Tomlinson

Timoneer wins Dubois Cup - Image by Rick Tomlinson

“You’ve got to be either clever or lucky to do what we did, and today we were both,” said her jubilant skipper and helmsman, Phil Wade.

Off to a prompt midday start off Sardinia’s Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, the eight-yacht fleet of Dubois-designed superyachts made an awe-inspiring spectacle as they set off on the pursuit event at three-minute intervals. Competition to windward was intense. Nostromo, second to start, was first to round the Monaci lighthouse, followed by the 50-metre Zefira, making up five places. Third to round the rocks was Ganesha, 39 metres, then the 41-metre Inmocean and Timoneer, 45 metres. The 57-metre Twizzle, the largest yacht in the fleet, led Drumbeat, 53 metres, and the 40-metre Tenaz.

Dubois-Cup 2011 - Image by Rick Tomlinson - Yachts Ganesha Zefira and Twizzle finishing the race

Dubois-Cup 2011 - Image by Rick Tomlinson - Yachts Ganesha Zefira and Twizzle finishing the race

As the wind began to fail tacticians had crucial decisions to make. Timoneer gybed and took an inshore course that was to prove decisive as the rest of the superyacht fleet stood well out to sea as the wind began to falter.

Sailing Yacht Nostromo’s owner Andrew Cook admitted he was disappointed with the outcome. “We should have won this race,” he said. “Conditions favoured the lighter boats.” S/Y Twizzle was rewarded with fifth overall. “With hindsight, we might have made a few tactical errors,” her captain, Gordon Percy, conceded. ” The boss is disappointed. But this is only our third regatta – we’re still learning.”

The ultra-competitive sailing yacht Ganesha, 2009 Dubois Cup winner, sustained a five-minute penalty for crossing the start a few seconds early. “We put in ten gybes on the downwind leg, and missed third place by two minutes, including the penalty. So we learned a lot today,” said tactician Matt Humphries.”

“Events like this can be very educational and useful for the crew, as well as fun,” said the captain of sixth-placed Drumbeat, Michel Personnic. “But everybody wanted to beat Timoneer today.”

Dubois Cup 2011 Regatta results:

Race 1, Sunday 5 June: abandoned.
Race 2, Monday 6 June. Start time 12.00. YCCS course no. 3, 17 nautical miles

1st Timoneer
2nd Nostromo
3rd Zefira
4th Ganesha
5th Twizzle
6th Drumbeat
DNF Tenaz
DNF Inmocean

Trophies all round at the Dubois Cup Yacht Race:

Glittering prizes close ‘best ever’ Dubois Cup A glittering poolside prizegiving and dinner dance, complete with live jazz band, brought the curtain down on the 2011 Dubois Cup last night. Hailed as the most successful Cup so far, the superyacht regatta was hosted by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda.

Presenting the trophies to participants – 14 magnificent craft, including two Dubois-designed motor yachts – Ed Dubois paid tribute to owners and crew for taking part and making the event one of the most relaxed, stylish and friendly on the superyacht circuit.

Every yacht received a hand-engraved black crystal bowl as a memento of the third Dubois Cup, in the superb sailing waters off Sardinia’s yachting capital, Porto Cervo. Those placed first, second and third in the racing were also presented with trophies from the YCCS. Overall winner and 2011 Cup holder was Timoneer, who received the Dubois Cup, a sculpted carbon-fibre sail designed by Dubois Naval Architects. The beautifully-sailed Nostromo was second while the sleek and powerful Zefira took third place.

The competitive sloop Ganesha was awarded for her participation in all three Dubois Cups so far, and after inviting all owners and captains aboard to an impromptu cocktail party after the first race was abandoned, Twizzle was recognised for her hospitality. The new motor yacht Turquoise, easily the largest spectator craft, was singled out for being the latest addition to the Dubois fleet.

The 2011 Dubois Cup was also the launch platform for the Dubois Child Cancer Fund, a charity set up with the support of yacht owners in recognition of Minna Dubois, now aged ten and doing well, who was diagnosed in 2005 with neuroblastoma, a rare but invariably serious type of childhood cancer.

The fourth Dubois Cup will take place at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda Sardinia in 2013.

Sailing Yacht FIREFLY a Hoek 115 F-Class Classic

June 07, 2011

The Hoek 115 sailing yacht Firefly, the first F-class yacht to be built, was launched in Holland’s North Sea Channel by builder Claasen Jachtbouw BV. Accompanying the yacht’s owner and his crew for sea trials were Hall Commercial Manager Andre Vermeulen, Hall technicians Freddy Franssens and Henk van Zweden, the builders, and designer Andre Hoek and his team.

F-Class Sailing Yacht Firefly

F-Class Sailing Yacht Firefly

An elegant superyacht fully equipped for racing, sailing yacht Firefly has a high-modulus Hall Seamless carbon spar with four sets of spreaders. Hall also supplied a double-tapered racing boom and a full set of performance running rigging and halyard locks. Sailing yacht Firefly is the prototype for the new F-Class one-design, and is fully optimized to race in the Spirit of Tradition Class. The yacht’s hull was constructed by the shipyard Bloemsma Aluminiumbouw which has built four J-class yacht hulls. S/Y Firefly was then fitted out and completed by Claasen Shipyards which built the recently launched J-class Lionheart yacht. Negotiations are also under way for two sister vessels.

Following the successful sail trials, Andre Vermeulen reported, “The result of Firefly is great: it’s a perfect mix of classic lines and retro-design details. The boat is, without question, an eye-catcher.” Firefly is on its way to Palma de Mallorca and her first yacht races are planned for end of June. There she will make her racing debut at the Superyacht Cup in Palma (June 23-26).

Firefly is the prototype of a new one-design race-classic of the F-class. She is developed as a high-performance racer, optimised to race in the Spirit of Tradition class. The design brief called “for a yacht to be fast on all points of sail, both in light- and heavy wind”. With a displacement of just below 60 ton and a draft of 5,2 meter, the design is extremely powerful. The one-design class that is developed under the auspiciën of the F-Class Association also allows a lifting keel to be used, but the first prototype will be built with a fixed keel. The deck layout can be customised. The interior, for the first yacht, is minimal, although a regular interior layout is possible and accepted in the Class.

Model of the 115 classic race yacht FIREFLY

Model of the 115 classic race yacht FIREFLY

The first F-class yacht FireFly is rigged by SmartRigging with PBO. Sailing yacht FireFly is a Hoek Design, she is being built by Claassen Jachtbouw, the mast will be supplied by Hall Spars and the rigging by SmartRigging.  Sails will be supplied by North Sails.

Specification for the F-Class Classic Yacht Firefly:

Claasen Jachtbouw | 35 mtr (114.8 ft) | 2011 Sailing Yacht
Type: Schooner
Builder: Claasen Jachtbouw
Interior designers: HOEK DESIGN NAVAL ARCHITECTS
Built: 2011
L.O.A.: 35 mtr (114.8 ft
Year Built: 2011
Classification:
Hull construction: Aluminium

Dubois Cup Superyacht Sailing Regatta 2011

June 05, 2011

In the matchless surroundings of “the best yacht club in the world” the stage is set for a classic superyachting event. The regatta village at Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (Sardinia) is buzzing, the yachts have assembled, and registration is under way for the third Dubois Cup.

“We’re really looking forward to it,” says Amy Galloway, captain of the 40-metre sloop Tenaz – a seasoned campaigner in previous superyacht meetings but making her first appearance at the Dubois Cup.

The Dubois Cup

The Dubois Cup - a superyacht sailing regatta

The intricate coastline around Port Cervo, Sardinia, is a favourite among racing skippers, for its dramatic scenery and unpredictable wind shifts.  The sound between the Maddalena islands and the Sardinian mainland has a reputation for blowing hard – although the forecast for the weekend is currently for light conditions.

The 30-metre Pendennis-built Nostromo is another Cup debutante. “We’ve hired Harold Cudmore as tactician,” says her owner, Andrew Cook. “After all, you’ve got to make an effort. I’ve brought my son along and four of his friends as extra crew. But mainly it’s a bit of fun.”

With no more than 10 knots of wind currently promised by the met men over the next two days, the racing will be a test of tactics. “These yachts get going in about eight knots of breeze,” says Malcolm McKeon of Dubois Naval Architects. “Upwind at that speed they start to generate their own wind.”

Dubois Cup 2011

Dubois Cup 2011

A total of nine yachts have registered for the racing, with current cup-holder Ganesha expected to defend her title tenaciously.  Perhaps the most eagerly-awaited contest will be between the two giant ketches.   The 53-metre Drumbeat won the Rolex Transatlantic in 2005, and Twizzle, 57.5 metres overall and launched last year, is just back from competing in the Caribbean Superyacht Regatta and St Barth’s Bucket.

Richard Hollis, captain of Inmocean, the classically-styled 41-metre sloop, is taking a more relaxed view: “We haven’t brought  a spinnaker – we’re treating it as a fun family event. We might even put a fishing pole out if there’s no wind!”

Dubois Cup - photo by Jeff Brown and SuperYacht Media

Dubois Cup - photo by Jeff Brown and SuperYacht Media

Three sailing superyachts have joined the event but will not race, including the 53-metre Nirvana, while Turquoise and Ad Lib, two Dubois-designed motor yachts of 44 and 55 metres, will also help ensure that the spectator fleet is as impressive as the racing.

The first race takes place on Sunday 5 June, starting off Porto Cervo at 13.00.

With one day to go before the official start of the third Dubois Cup, the atmosphere at Porto Cervo’s chic Yacht Club Costa Smeralda is building to fever pitch. An awe-inspiring line-up of Dubois-designed superyachts has been assembling throughout the day.

Dubois Cup

Dubois Cup

Sailing yachts Drumbeat and Twizzle – two giant ketches measuring over 110 metres between them – brought the fleet total to ten so far, joining Nostromo, Ganesha, Zefira and Nirvana. The well-travelled 40-metre sloop Tenaz and the classically-styled Timoneer and Inmocean had already claimed their berths on Molo C, alongside the New Zealand-built Sovereign, and late entry Imagine.

Two Dubois-designed motor yachts, the magnificent 55m Turquoise and the sleek Alloy Yachts-constructed Ad Lib, have also joined in the festivities.

Registration and final arrivals will take place on Saturday, before an evening Welcome Reception on the terrace of the YCCS.

Mike Sanderson joins forces with Doyle Sails New Zealand

June 02, 2011

Doyle Sails NZ is pleased to announce the appointment of renowned world class sailing professional Mike Sanderson. Mike will be joining the team at the beginning of June 2011 as Director of Sales and Partner for the New Zealand and Australia operations.

Mike Sanderson

Mike Sanderson

Managing Director Chris McMaster comments:

“We have achieved considerable growth in recent times which puts us in an ideal position now to join forces with one of the most influential professionals in the world of sailboat racing. Mike’s experience and personality perfectly complement our business; this development will allow us to increase the pace of our expansion into the Grand Prix sailboat racing market”.

Mike Sanderson was ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year in 2006, a veteran of three America’s Cup campaigns and two times Whitbread/Volvo Ocean Race winner.

Mike brings with him a wealth of experience having been involved on the technical side of sail programmes and as part of the design and build teams for both Team ABN AMRO boats, as well as Skippering ABN AMRO One to one of the most convincing Volvo victories in the race’s history. In addition, Mike has extensive Superyacht experience including the high profile race boats Mari Cha III and IV which between them have dominated the Trans Atlantic Monohull record over the last twelve years.

Mike Sanderson and Head of Design, Richard Bouzaid, together present a formidable team with a huge amount of knowledge, skill and contacts in this field. Between them they have been involved at the premier level of America’s Cup, Volvo Ocean Race, Grand Prix racing, as well as local campaigns on both the technical side as well as in sailing capacities.

The knowledge base at Doyle NZ with respect to design and sail making is now second to none, and combined with the high performance results being achieved by Stratis laminates, Doyle NZ can continue to offer their customers the optimum sail product.

Doyle NZ’s increasing share of the market can be credited to the success of the Stratis facility and the company’s continual commitment to innovation and advancing design. Doyle NZ is the exclusive supplier of Stratis laminates to a network of 81 Doyle lofts around the world.

The size and scope of the company gives Mike and the team the ability to work with race boat owners and projects from the World’s largest superyachts and Grand Prix racing yachts through to local Club racing customers.

Green Revolution in Cascais: Quantum Racing and Iberdrola Team win the Cascais Trophy

May 23, 2011

A new chapter of their green revolution was completed on the fierce blue waters of the Atlantic off Cascais, Portugal when Quantum Racing and Iberdrola won the Cascais Trophy for the TP52 and the Soto 40 series respectively, the opening event of the 2011 Audi MedCup Circuit.              

Green flashed hulls and sails are not the only common theme which the winning crews have in common.

Cascais Trophy, 22 05 2011 © Stefano Gattini_Studio BorlenghiAudi MedCup

Cascais Trophy, 22 05 2011 © Stefano Gattini_Studio BorlenghiAudi MedCup

Cascais Trophy, 22 05 2011 © Nico MartinezAudi MedCup

Cascais Trophy, 22 05 2011 © Nico MartinezAudi MedCup

Both successful programmes roll forwards from a previous iteration. For Quantum Racing (USA), who won five races from nine starts, it is the first victory in the class for the America’s Cup winner Ed Baird (USA) and for a brand new Botin Partners designed boat which is a successor to their 2008 circuit winner, while for Iberdrola Team (ESP) who win the first ever Soto 40 regatta in Europe – their success takes up the reins from previous campaigns at America’s Cup, TP52 and GP42 circuits.

Quantum Racing came into the regatta well behind their desired schedule but were soon able to reveal excellent upwind speed in the brisk winds which prevailed through the nine races, a strong foundation on which to build success on the windward-leeward track which more often than not favoured one side of the courses and also in the high points value 38 miles coastal race in which they finished second.

Though they made several crew changes since last season, continuity at the back of the Quantum Racing line up was ensured with world championship winners Kevin Hall (USA), navigator, Ado Stead (GBR), tactician and mainsail trimmer Skip Baxter (NZL) able to give valuable support to Baird, whose confidence grew noticeably through the regatta.

They finished with two wins Sunday, again proving solid in the strong NW’ly winds.

In the first race of the day Quantum Racing were quickly able to dominate on the right side of the upwind getting around the WW1 mark with a tiny lead over Markus Wieser (GER) and the crew of Container (GER)

The German flagged crew made the better set and gained more wind pressure offshore, to the right side of the downwind but Quantum Racing were able to take the preferred inshore, right buoy which allowed them to get back to the right again and lead to the finish.

Cascais Trophy, 22 05 2011 © Ian RomanAudi MedCup

Cascais Trophy, 22 05 2011 © Ian RomanAudi MedCup

Second place for Container kept them in the hunt in their tussle for second with Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA) who were compromised by snaring a fishing buoy and line which slowed them on the first upwind, while Ràn (SWE) took third.

The final race of the regatta was something close to a repeat performance by Quantum Racing who, having clinched the regatta title, were able to start conservatively and use their upwind edge in the 19-24kts breeze to be able to earn that favoured berth again and lead from first mark to the finish. If they were under pressure from Audi Azzurra Sailing Team it evaporated when the Italian team were forced to leave their kite in the water when the take-down line tangled, leaving them with the spinnaker dragging alongside them.

From second Audi Azzurra Sailing Team dropped places but fought back to a spirited fourth. Synergy Russian Sailing Team, winners of the first race of the regatta and the season took a well earned second behind their sister-ship with which they shares an identical sail programme and a lot of performance intelligence.

While Audi Azzurra Sailing Team could not make their promising starts stick, so Container were able to finish their first Audi MedCup Circuit regatta with a fifth place, just enough to give second overall, by one point from Audi Azzurra Sailing Team.

Ed Baird, winning skipper helm said: “The guys have done a great job figuring out how to make this boat go and obviously it worked out pretty nicely. We have a lot to talk about now and find a way to sail faster, there are plenty of things to do before the next event. We don´t know how the boat is going to act in light weather conditions, we haven’t experienced them and we don´t know how the rest of the boats are going to sail in such conditions, we´ll have to learn how to handle the boat as quick as we can. When it´s windy like that you have to be in the hunt at the first top mark, you have to be going fast down there, the other boats showed over and over again that of you got tangled up with other boats downwind, someone is going to come down from behind. It´s important to find that lane Adrian and Kevin Hall did great guiding us in the racecourse, gave us great confidence and it worked out great”.

Consistency was the watchword in the Soto 40 fleet where the British boat Ngoni of Tony Buckingham scored their first win of the regatta when they comfortably lead Iberdrola across the finish line of the first race, while in the second – with the regatta win already secured it was Iberdrola which proved supreme in the strong winds and big downwind conditions.

“The truth is that we sailed great,” smiled Iberdrola’s skipper helm Jose Maria Torcida, “The conditions have been good and pretty similar every day, with lots of wind. We sailed well downwind, reaching peak speeds of 20-22 knots, which was absolutely sensational. The crew´s work has been outstanding; I think that it was due to the training that we did before the competition started.”

“The conditions have been perfect, it´s a perfect spot for sailing, no wonder so many great sailors have come out of here. It really is a spectacular place”.

Cascais Trophy, 22 05 2011 © Nico MartinezAudi MedCup

Cascais Trophy, 22 05 2011 © Nico MartinezAudi MedCup

Cascais has proven consistently windy, with the reliable NW’ly Portuguese trade winds regularly building to more than 20 kts, peaking at 22-24 kts for the second race today – to offer fabulous sailing conditions for both classes, once again enhancing its reputation as a premier venue in Europe.

Cascais Trophy

52 Series

Final results

1. Quantum Racing (USA), 3+3+5+1+1+1+3+1+1= 19 points

2. Container (GER), 2+2+4+3+3+3+7,5+2+5= 31,5 points

3. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA), 5+1+2+2+6+2+4,5+6+4= 32,5 points

4. Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS), 1+6+3+4+4+6+6+5+2= 37 points

5. Ràn (SUE), 6+4+6+5+7+5+1,5+3+3= 40,5 points

6. Bribón (ESP), 4+7+1+6+2+7+10,5+4+6= 47,5 points

7. Audi Sailing Team Powered by All4One (EUR), 7+5+7+7+5+4+9+7+7= 58 points

8. Gladiator (GBR), 9DNC+9DNC+9DNC+9DNC+9DNC+9DNC+13,5 DNC+9DNC+9DNC=85,5 points

Owner driver trophy: RÀN

40 Series

Final results

1. Iberdrola Team (ESP), 1+1+2+2+3+1+2+1=13

2. XXII Portuguese Sailing Team (POR), 3+2+4+3+2+2+4+3=23

3. Bigamist (POR), 2+4+3+1+1+5+3+6 DNF=25

4. Patagonia (ARG), 4+3+1+4+5+4+5+2=28

5. Ngoni (GBR), 5+5+5+6DNF+4+3+1+4=33

Owner driver trophy: Patagonia

Cascais Trophy, 22 05 2011 © Ian RomanAudi MedCup

Cascais Trophy, 22 05 2011 © Ian RomanAudi MedCup

Quotes:

Ed Baird (USA), skipper, Quantum Racing (USA):

”It was a very exciting week of racing, terrific, I never imagined that these boats could be that exciting going downwind. The guys have done a great job figuring out how to make this boat go and obviously it worked out pretty nicely. We have a lot to talk about now and find a way to sail faster, there are plenty of things to do before the next event. We don´t know how the boat is going to act in light weather conditions, we haven’t experienced them and we don´t know how the rest of the boats are going to sail in such conditions, we´ll have to learn how to handle the boat as quick as we can. When it´s windy like that you have to be in the hunt at the first top mark, you have to be going fast down there, the other boats showed over and over again that of you got tangled up with other boats downwind, someone is going to come down from behind. It´s important to find that lane Adrian and Kevin Hall did great guiding us in the racecourse, gave us great confidence and it worked out great”

Adrian Stead (GBR), tactician, Quantum Racing (USA):

“It was a fantastic event for us, phenomenal, we are very pleased with how things have been going so far. At the beginning of the week our goal was to stay in touch because we were a little behind in our preparation.  We´ve learned every day, improved our sailing and found the chemistry that made the team work very well. Technically, we´ve been trying to work in every area of the boat, in our communication, trying to understand everything that´s happening out there in the water, with the current, with the breeze… I think that we made the best we could out of the wind. We sailed quite well upwind, it´s very easy to not be in the front row at the top mark, in this fleet you need every inch and we maximized that”.

José María Torcida (ESP), skipper, Iberdrola Team (ESP):

“The truth is that we sailed great, the conditions have been good and pretty similar every day, with lots of wind. We started well in the first race but went a bit to the left, after that the current didn´t let us be upfront at the top mark. We had to recover and later, after the leeward gate, we were already second. We almost reached Bigamist but couldn´t do it at the end.  In the second race we had a problem at the starting line, we rushed and had to slow down, so it was hard to speed up again. We sailed well downwind , reaching peaks of 20-22 knots, which was sensational. The crew´s work has been outstanding, I think that it was due to the training that we did before the competition started. The conditions have been perfect, it´s a perfect spot for sailing, no wonder so many great sailors have come out of here. It´s a spectacular place”.

Vasco Vascotto (ITA), skipper, Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA):

“We sailed poorly, and with this fleet, if you make mistakes you pay. Now we have to rest a bit in order to be in the best possible shape in Marseille, that´s the key for us now. The result is not bad, but we leave with a bittersweet feeling. We got tangled up with a fisherman´s buoy in the first race, but we were behind and the result would´ve been the same if we didn´t. In the second one, we had a bit of bad luck, because the gennaker´s bag got tangled up in the spinnaker´s retriever system and we couldn´t bring down the gennaker downwind. We have to congratulate Quantum Racing, next time we´ll try to be stronger”.

Marc Lagesse (SOU), navigator, Container (GER):

“It´s been a very tricky venue and the rest of the boats are all tough, but we delivered. The level´s so high that we could easily be last at the next regatta. We are very happy with how the boat sails in strong wind. Consistency´s been the key for us. We didn´t want to start very aggressively and we sailed in a conservative way, staying with the fleet. We didn´t win a race, most teams did and we still got a second place, so we are very happy”.

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.

Cascais Trophy: Tuesday 17th – Sunday 22nd May

Marseille: Tuesday 14th – Sunday 19th June

Cagliari: Tuesday 19th – Sunday 24th July

Cartagena: Tuesday 23nd – Sunday 28th August

Barcelona: Monday 12th – Saturday 17th September

Rolex Fastnet Race 2011: Tortoises and Hares

May 20, 2011

The Rolex Fastnet is more than just a race. When the British Isles weather conspires to deliver conditions typical of the time of year it becomes a true test of human endeavour. It is for this reason that the 608-nautical mile race consistently attracts a large and varied fleet: man and machine set against the elements. The 44th edition, which starts from Cowes on Sunday, 14 August 2011, is no exception. The entry list opened in early January and within ten days was closed. The 300-boat limit reached with record speed.

Spectators at the Royal Yacht Squadron Photo credit Rolex  Carlo Borlenghi

Spectators at the Royal Yacht Squadron Photo credit Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

The fateful 1979 race still holds the record for most yachts to start: 303. That number may well be broken this year. Organiser, the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC), inundated with requests from the ‘professional’ classes such as the Volvo Open 70s, the IMOCA 60s, Class 40s and Multihulls, has determined that these entrants will be counted above the 300-boat limit: an excellent decision for all those with an ambition to take on one of the biggest, offshore classics in the world of yacht racing.

Sailing yacht RAMBLER, George David Rolex Fastnet Race 2007 Credit - ROLEX Carlo Borlenghi

Sailing yacht RAMBLER, George David Rolex Fastnet Race 2007 Credit - ROLEX Carlo Borlenghi

Speed Machine

The Rolex Fastnet traces its history back to 1925. Held biennially since 1931 (except for a break between 1939 and 1947) the race to the Fastnet Rock, off the southwestern tip of Ireland has attracted a mix of sailing’s royalty – the stars of the sport, and, a huge number of more Corinthian of participants, all ready to test themselves over the course. Little surprise that two of the fastest, most advanced yachts of the age headline the entry-list. Course record holder Mike Slade and the 100-foot (30.5-metre) ICAP Leopard sailing yacht  (GBR) are scheduled to go head-to-head with 2007 rival, American, George David. This year the odds may not favour Slade so much as they did four years ago when he set the benchmark monohull time of 44 hours 18 minutes. David has a new Rambler. Rambler 100 to be precise, the former Speedboat, and generally regarded as the Maxi of her generation … potentially. She has yet to be tested properly against the elite of Europe or the Southern Hemisphere. There are no guarantees in yacht racing, but if the winds are favourable, expect a dramatic dogfight all the way to the finish in Plymouth.

George David, owner of RAMBLER & Mike Slade, owner of ICAP LEOPARD, second and first boats across the finish line Rolex Fastnet Race 2007 ©PhotoROLEX Carlo Borlenghi

George David, owner of RAMBLER & Mike Slade, owner of ICAP LEOPARD, second and first boats across the finish line Rolex Fastnet Race 2007 ©PhotoROLEX Carlo Borlenghi

Winning Machine

After a truly memorable first race in 2009, when they won overall, Niklas and Catherine Zennstrom are returning with their all-conquering 72-foot Rán 2 (GBR). The mostly British crew of the Judel/Vrolijk design have proved her ability on both long and short courses, wrapping up the inaugural Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship in 2010. The Rolex Fastnet, though, is a race that allows powerful legs to be stretched. “We’ve now done quite a lot of offshore races,” remarks Zennstrom, “the Rolex Fastnet is probably the top race together with Rolex Sydney Hobart. As one of the world’s oldest offshore races it has such a pedigree.” Zennstrom believes the fact that it is held every second year is one of its key attractions along with the sheer number of participating yachts.

Niklas and Catherine Zennstrom, RAN, overall winner 2009 Credit Rolex  Daniel Forster

Niklas and Catherine Zennstrom, RAN, overall winner 2009 Credit Rolex Daniel Forster

Winning in 2009 was understandably a “dream come true” for Zennstrom. With the disappointment of pulling out in the storm-ridden 2007 race still fresh, he is not assuming a second win will come easily. “Winning two races in a row is extremely unlikely. However when we planned this year’s races [the Rolex Fastnet] was an obvious choice. We love the challenge and we know the boat is still very competitive in the right conditions. But will we get the right conditions? Last time it was a big boat race, this time it may not and you may end up with a 40-foot cruising boat winning. That’s the nature of the offshore handicap races.”

As the founder of Skype, Zennstrom is one of a myriad of famous names to have taken on the Rolex Fastnet. Not all have been successful in their efforts, but like Zennstrom, many have returned time and again relishing all that the race entails. The list of well-known names from the world of business and commerce who have competed over the 86 year history of the race includes, Charles Dunstone (founder of Carphone Warehouse), media mogul Ted Turner, marketer Ludde Ingvall, Noel Lister (founder of MFI), Sir Maurice Laing (former CEO of Laings), libel lawyer Peter Carter Ruck, Ron Amey (former CEO of Amey) and newspaper magnate Sir Max Aitken. The race has been touched by politics with former Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Edward Heath and in popular culture by Simon Le Bon of Duran Duran.

Measured Machine

The Rolex Fastnet is not just about big yachts and big names. Reaching 300 entrants relies on participation of a considerable number of small, lesser known, yachts and crews for whom the taking part really is more important than the winning, even if deep down they harbour secret ambitions of the glory. With over one third of the fleet represented by boats of 40-foot or less, there are plenty of stories and rivalries to focus on.

One of the lowest rated, and therefore slowest, boats is the Contessa 32 Rainbow (GBR), skippered by Lee Egan. “There are four of us, all in our forties. I have been racing since my early twenties, working my way back from the bow. Chris Dunkerley has been sailing with me for the last three years and is inexperienced enough to enjoy frequenting the foredeck!” says Egan, who has done the race once before and is looking forward to skippering a boat for the first time. Whilst Slade, David and Zennstrom will contemplate a fast ride, Egan expects to be at sea for five to six days.” To be honest we just want to complete the race knowing that we have done everything we can to sail as fast as we can all of the time. If we have some long, windy beats then we should do pretty well but if it’s a light airs race then we’ll be happy to arrive in Plymouth before they have run out of Guinness.”

The main trophy for overall victory in the Rolex Fastnet is the Fastnet Challenge Cup. In addition, there are more than thirty additional trophies that will be awarded at the prize giving on Friday, 19 August at the historic Royal Citadel, home of the 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, overlooking Plymouth Sound and Sutton Harbour, where the majority of the fleet will berth.

The first signal for the start of the 2011 Rolex Fastnet Race sounds at 10:50 BST on Sunday, 14 August.

Mount Gay Rum sponsors Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week

May 20, 2011

Mount Gay Rum will be back to support Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week as the official ‘Regatta Rum’. Around 8,500 competitors sailing in nearly 1,000 boats and many more visitors will be able to enjoy ‘the rum that invented rum’ which has a heritage dating back to 1705.

Mount Gay Rum sponsors Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week . Credit Owen Buggy - Plugphotography.com

Mount Gay Rum sponsors Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week . Credit Owen Buggy - Plugphotography.com

Alvin Saal, Brand Manager for Mount Gay Rum, comments: “We are happy to be associated with one of the UK’s longest running and most successful sporting events as it is the ideal platform for us to promote the world’s oldest rum. Our connection with the sailing community has helped cement the brand’s position in the golden rum category and after a highly successful regatta as Supporting Sponsor last year, Mount Gay Rum’s status and popularity has increased even more.”

Mount Gay Eclipse and the premium Extra Old variants will be sampled at a variety of events and functions throughout the Week and the sailor’s favourite tipple will also be available in bars, yachts clubs and venues throughout the town. With its official Regatta Rum status, Mount Gay will also be supporting a number of special events and functions including the largest and oldest fleet racing in the regatta, the XOD Class who are celebrating their centenary and Toe in the Water, the event’s official charity.

One social function not to be missed will be the infamous Mount Gay Red Cap party on Wednesday 10th August. There will be a chance to gain one of the most cherished mementoes of any regatta – the coveted Mount Gay Red Cap! Tickets will sell out fast and will be available at the Mount Gay Rum Cocktail Bar on Town Quay, Cowes.

Mount Gay Rum:

• Mount Gay supports over 120 regattas worldwide.

• Mount Gay Rum is distributed in the UK by leading drinks distributor First Drinks Brands.

•Mount Gay Rum, the finest, oldest brand of rum in existence, has been produced in Barbados with passion and unparalleled excellence since 1703. Expertly fashioned from rich sugar cane and with the pristine, coral-filtered water native to the Island, Mount Gay Rum is a sumptuous, inimitable expression of the Barbadian art of living.

Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week – 6th-13th August 2011:

• Cowes Week is one of the longest running events in UK sporting history having first taken place in 1826.

• Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week is an inclusive, aspirational sailing regatta; the largest of its kind in the world.

• Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week attracts around 1,000 yachts in up to 40 classes, and 8,500 competitors ranging from weekend sailors through to Olympic medallists and World Champions.

• Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week has a lively festival atmosphere ashore with a broad range of social activities that provide an exciting and varied “après-sail” programme.

• Supporting Sponsors for Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week include: BOSS Watches, Gill, Liz Earle, Isle of Wight Council, Mount Gay, Piper-Heidsieck, Sperry Top-Sider, Talisker, and Wightcable.

Karpaz Gate Marina, Northern Cyprus to welcome Eastern Mediterranean Yacht Rally

May 17, 2011

Karpaz Gate Marina (KGM), the new luxury marina in northern Cyprus, is approximately 90% complete and will be launched, on schedule, at the beginning of June. Ahead of its official launch, the marina management team have announced that it will be welcoming yachts which are participating in the Eastern Mediterranean Yacht Rally (EMYR) – an annual rally which involves approximately 60 sailing yachts travelling around the highlights of the Eastern Mediterranean.

Karpaz Gate Marina, Northern Cyprus to welcome Eastern Mediterranean Yacht Rally

Karpaz Gate Marina, Northern Cyprus to welcome Eastern Mediterranean Yacht Rally

The yacht owners and guests participating in the rally will be the very first official visitors to the marina. During the stopover at Karpaz Gate Marina they will be offered exclusive access to the facilities, weeks ahead of its official launch. All will be provided with designated berthing free of charge, and entertainment is being arranged including a welcoming party which will be attended by VIPs and local dignitaries.

The build of the marina is in the final stages and when complete, the marina will be the most luxurious in the Eastern Mediterranean. At the current time the marina breakwaters and the main marina elements of dry dock, promenade, and marina buildings are being completed.

Karpaz Gate Marina 2

Karpaz Gate Marina 2

Karpaz Gate Marina recently ran an introductory free berth offer which has generated an unprecedented level of interest from sailing and motor-yacht owners from around the world. As a result, approximately 100 berths have now been allocated. All the winners have been informed and they will enjoy complimentary berthing privileges from until 31st March 2012. Two hundred further berths are available at Karpaz Gate Marina with both short-term and long-term availability.

Roy Klajman, Director of Sea-Alliance Group,the marina management company,said: “The investment by Karpaz Bay Resort Ltd and the relentless efforts of all who have worked on the project, and their combined years of expertise and a sensible degree of flexibility, means that Karpaz Gate Marina will open on time and is expected to become one of the most popular marina destinations in the eastern Mediterranean. We are looking forward to welcoming our first guests to the marina, and to being part of this established yachting event!”

The Karpaz Gate Marina Under Construction

Karpaz Gate Marina is the country’s first-ever luxury marina and is part of the all-new Karpaz Bay Resort (KBR). Located on the stunning KarpazPeninsulain the north-eastern tip of the Turkish Republic of  Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Karpaz Gate Marina has 300 berths available including 12 berths for super yachts and mega yachts up to a maximum of 55 metres in length.

Every detail of the marina has been designed with yacht owners and visitors in mind, and Karpaz will be an attractive destination for day and weekend trips, and where both large and small boats, and long- and short-term visitors, will be equally welcome.  The management has recently announced the addition of a beach club to the facilities, which is set to be open later in the year.

The resort will also include a children’s playground, gym, as well as restaurants, hotel, a mini supermarket and a range of services such as yacht brokerage, ship chandlery, a sailing school, and a diving centre as well as dining facilities. Sea-Alliance Group, the marina management company, has already secured a number of international companies to have a presence at Karpaz Gate Marina, and is currently in negotiations with others who are interested in taking the remaining available spaces within the marina buildings.

About Karpaz Gate Marina

Karpaz Bay Resort Ltd. (KBR), owned by an international group of investors, is developing a first class tourist destination, which will allow guests to enjoy the range of activities of the local “Karpaz” Peninsula.

Following the completion of the marina, development will continue with a lively commercial promenade with shops, restaurants and bars, and the first stage of a hotel complex.

2011 Audi MedCup season launches with Cascais Trophy

May 16, 2011

The Atlantic waters off Cascais were sparkling in the Spring sunshine today Sunday as the majority of the fleets of TP52’s and new Soto 40’s took advantage of the near perfect training conditions to continue their work-up to the start of racing for the Cascais Trophy.

Cascais Trophy 15 05 2011 © Carmen HidalgoAudi MedCup

Cascais Trophy 15 05 2011 © Carmen HidalgoAudi MedCup

A glittering start to the season is assured when two of the newest TP52’s are formally launched on Monday at midday.

Italy’s Audi Azzura Sailing Team will have Princess Zahra Aga Khan as godmother, while model Eva Padberg and actor Jean Reno will share duties naming the Franco-German TP52 Audi A1 Team powered by ALL4ONE

Princess Zahra Aga Khan is President of the Board of Directors of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda which the Audi Azzurra Sailing Team represent and will be present to act as godmother.

Eva Padberg was voted sexiest woman in the world in 2005 by readers of FHM and featured on the cover of GQ in 2006, while actor Jean Reno – Hollywood star of Mission Impossible, The Da Vinci Code, Léon, – is no stranger to the Audi MedCup Circuit after sailing as a guest in Cagliari, Sardinia last year.

Cascais Trophy 15 05 2011 © Carmen HidalgoAudi MedCup

Cascais Trophy 15 05 2011 © Carmen HidalgoAudi MedCup

Both Vrolijk designed Audi supported boats will fly distinctive spinnakers carrying the message ‘Audi Ultra-Lightweight Technology.’

After sailing on Monday, leading TP52 designer Rolf Vrolijk (NED) and a prominent designer from Audi will give an informal seminar on design trends, similarities and comparisons between the different marine and car technologies.

Cascais Trophy, 15 05 2011 © Pedro MartnezAudi MedCup

Cascais Trophy, 15 05 2011 © Pedro MartnezAudi MedCup

A break in training?

With no limitations on training days pre-regatta this season, some of the TP52 teams in particular have been training off Cascais now for several days and the brisk conditions have seen several breakages on the newly launched boats.

“Of course it is better to learn what will break now before the regatta starts rather than once on the race course.” Comments Nacho Postigo (ESP) Audi MedCup director,

“It is difficult to predict what the weather conditions will be like for the week, certainly a bit light and weak for the start of the week, then seeing more wind and maybe some rain for Thursday and Friday and then into sea breeze for the weekend.”

“Training has been very good so far, but people have been breaking things and that has been good for them, learning about the boats before the start of racing. But it has been very changeable with wind from the north, and now today the wind has been coming from the east.”

Cascais Trophy, 15 05 2011 © Pedro MartnezAudi MedCup

Cascais Trophy, 15 05 2011 © Pedro MartnezAudi MedCup

Double Olympic silver medallist Ross MacDonald (CAN) returns this season as tactician for José Cusí’s (ESP) iconic Bríbon (ESP) team which has a boat which is new to them, the former world championship winning Matador in the team’s 40th anniversary year:

“It has not been an easy year to get boats together on to the start line, but for sure we can say the overall standard is up a step, it is just phenomenal. There will be little to choose between the boats and the new boats. It will be very interesting to see the Soto 40’s start training in earnest Monday.”

“We have had a few days of good training since Wednesday. The conditions have been really typical of Cascais. Offshore it is breezy with good waves, very shifty and gusty. It is such a great spot.”

“I could not really tell you the differences between the new boats and this boat which is new to us, but is an ‘older’ boat. If there are any then it is very small. But I guess we will find out as time goes on, but if there is anything it is very minor.”

Cascais Trophy, 15 05 2011 © Pedro MartnezAudi MedCup

Cascais Trophy, 15 05 2011 © Pedro MartnezAudi MedCup

“What is going to be critical here is day in day out there will be the potential for breakages and so we will be just looking to keep it all together, boat, equipment and the team itself.”

“It is the 40th anniversary of the Bríbon team, so a big year for us, and for me and the guys on the boat we just want to do a quality job and keep our heads up all the way through the season.”

The Audi MedCup Open Village opens Monday morning adjacent to the regatta site, by the Club Navale Cascais.

The official practice race for the TP52’s is on Tuesday with racing for that fleet starting Wednesday and the Soto 40’s start racing Thursday.

Programme, Cascais, Monday 16th May.

12:00 – boat christenings Audi Azzurra Sailing Team and Audi A1 Team Powered by ALL4ONE
13:00 – sailing: Audi Azzurra Sailing Team and Audi A1 Team Powered by ALL4ONE 
16:30 – Audi Sailing Talk – VIP area with Rolf Vrolijk and Audi design team.

2011 Rolex Big Boat Series in San Francisco

May 12, 2011

With San Francisco receiving extra attention from sailing fans courtesy of the America’s Cup, it comes as no surprise that the Bay will be bustling with additional activity this fall when the 2011 Rolex Big Boat Series gets underway. Scheduled for September 8-11 and hosted by St. Francis Yacht Club, the event is in its 47th year and shows no signs of slowing down. With the Farr 30s having designated the event as their world championship and the sport boat division returning for its second year, the Rolex Big Boat Series is perfectly positioned to give serious racers their chance to shine at the West Coast’s premier event.

J 105 sailing yachts pass Alcatraz -Rolex Big Boat Series San Francisco, CA, USA -Photo credit Rolex Daniel Forster

J 105 sailing yachts pass Alcatraz -Rolex Big Boat Series San Francisco, CA, USA -Photo credit Rolex Daniel Forster

“With the America’s Cup now coming to town, there is a whole new energy on the water and people are more eager to sail in the same venue,” said Chairman Norman Davant. “We are forecasting an excellent turnout.”

The Rolex Big Boat Series will also be the focal point of a newly created four-regatta series for IRC 52s and 40s, providing a venue for East and West Coast competitors to continue their established rivalries, or begin new ones. The Rolex Big Boat Series will be the second race of the series which starts with the Aldo Alessio Ocean Race (August 26-28. The third and fourth events in the series are the new West Coast Shootout (September 24-25) and the Great Pumpkin Regatta (October 29-30), considered a San Francisco classic.

“We announced the four-regatta series back in March 2011, and it promises to be a great way to bring even more enthusiasm to the Bay and attract East Coast competitors,” added Davant.

One of the movers and shakers in the Southern California IRC 52 fleet is Manouch Moshayedi (Newport Beach, Calif.), owner of Rio.  “It’s a great regatta, with consistent wind, and both the city and St. Francis Yacht Club are fantastic,” said Moshayedi, whose fleet is expecting about 12 boats come September. No stranger to the regatta, Moshayedi previously competed on his IMS 50 M-Project; this will be the first Rolex Big Boat Series in which Moshayedi will race on Rio. “The IRC 52 is a new boat for me, and as far as I can see it’s the most fun boat on the water today but also very technical; therefore, training and practice are crucial.”

Sailing yacht DAYENU J 120 class winner -Rolex Big Boat Series San Francisco, CA, USA -Photo credit Rolex Daniel Forster

Sailing yacht DAYENU J 120 class winner -Rolex Big Boat Series San Francisco, CA, USA -Photo credit Rolex Daniel Forster

Having raced as a class at the Rolex Big Boat Series for over a decade, the J/120 fleet will also be back to continue its tradition of making the event a final hurrah of the sailing season.  “We are a very competitive fleet, and there are superb sailors that come to this event,” said Donald Payan (Hillsborough, Calif.), who has been attending the regatta since the 1980s and was the J/120 class winner in 2010 on Dayenu.  “It’s all about consistency. Any little slip can drop you from first to fourth in the blink of an eye.  There is a premium on execution, and like a tango, every step has to be right.”

Many sailors return year after year for not only the strong competition but also the overall atmosphere of the event.  “The Rolex Big Boat Series is a fun regatta to be a part of,” said Payan.  “It’s a family reunion for the sailing community, and with the America’s Cup activity coming to the Bay we are going to see more people showing up to sail and view.”

The local J/105 fleet has also brought some serious talent in previous years, including Bruce Stone (San Francisco, Calif.), president of the San Francisco Marina Harbor Association and class winner in 2010 aboard Arbitrage.  Stone predicts that like most years, weather is everything, and an early September date can dish up anything from gales to zephyrs.   “The past few years have had some interesting conditions with either foggy days or some lighter winds, which made the tide calls quite significant,” said Stone, who has been participating in the regatta since 1985 and looks forward to another spirited year of racing. “It’s a wonderful event, with great race management and a perfect venue, which brings out more competitors so we have a full line-up of the best J/105s on the San Francisco Bay.”

More about Rolex Big Boat Series

The Rolex Big Boat Series annually attracts many world-caliber sailors, all of whom are eager to win one of the six specially engraved Rolex timepieces given to winners of the St. Francis Yacht Club’s Perpetual Trophies. From its inception, the Rolex Big Boat Series has showcased top sailing talent and boats. From the glory days of SORC, IOR and IMS to today’s Grand Prix and One Design classes, the Rolex Big Boat Series has continued to be the West Coast’s premier regatta where the best of the best meet for four days of challenging racing.