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Perth 2011 Sailing World Championships´ Silver for Luke Patience

December 13, 2011

Scottish sailor, Luke Patience has become the winner of the silver medal at the Perth 2011 Sailing World Championships. Together with Stuart Bithell, Luke Patience run the medal race from start to finish in the men’s 470 class out in Australia to reach their second place overall in style at the championships. The winners of the gold medal were Australia’s Mat Belcher and Malcolm Page.

Luke Patience - Silver Winner of the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships - Credit Richard Langdon/Skandia Team GB

Luke Patience - Credit Richard Langdon/Skandia Team GB

The pair teamed up in 2009 and has been training extremely hard to prepare for what was a very important World Championship ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games. Selection has not yet been made for the men’s 470 class for the GB Olympic Team but Patience and Bithell will be hoping that their silver medal will help their cause.

“It’s been a really long week and me and Stuart have worked so hard for this regatta. So much of our training for the last three or four months has been towards this week”.

“I know we’re not standing on the gold position on the podium, and that’s what we intended to be, but it’s been a hard week and the Australians have sailed fantastically, so we’re happy to be stood on the podium with a silver medal” said Patience.

It has been a tricky week of racing for all of the competitors with various reported shark sightings and also race cancellations due to electrical storms. Both Luke and Stuart did not let any of these upsets stand in their way of delivering a fantastic result.

Charlotte Dobson is another Scottish sailor who was competing at the World Championships and is also looking to secure a place in the GB Team for London 2012 in the Women’s Laser Radial class. Charlotte finished 16th overall and would have been a little disappointed not to have made the final medal race.

“Sensational” southerly to test SOLAS Big Boat Challenge crews in Sydney Harbour

December 13, 2011

The serious countdown to the start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race has officially begun, with the SOLAS Big Boat Challenge taking place on Sydney Harbour in Australia today.

Sailing yacht Wild Oats XI is going for her fifth line honours victory in the SOLAS Big Boat Challenge. Credit Andrea Francolini

Sailing yacht Wild Oats XI is going for her fifth line honours victory in the SOLAS Big Boat Challenge. Credit Andrea Francolini

The SOLAS Big Boat Challenge is traditionally one of the busier days on the Sydney Harbour for spectator vessels. This year the 15 or so entrants, ranging in size from 100 foot super maxis to 50 foot grand prix racers can expect less traffic around them, but a ton of on board action.

“It’ll be an exciting race,” said sailing yacht Wild Oats XI skipper Mark Richards yesterday as he and Wild Oats XI’s race crew were preparing to don wet weather gear and complete a practice run around the 14 nautical mile SOLAS Big Boat Challenge track, which today takes them two and a half times around Sydney Harbour to the finish off the Opera House.

For the sailing novices on Anthony Bell’s 100 foot yacht INVESTEC LOYAL, today’s challenge will provide some insight into what might be around the corner come Boxing Day. Olympic wheelchair racer Kurt Fearnley, Roosters five-eighth Anthony Minichiello and Channel 9’s Karl Stefanovic will taste plenty of salt water and better understand the rigours of ocean racing when they join rugby legends and past participants, Phil Waugh and Phil Kearns, and the rest of the professional race crew for today’s SOLAS Big Boat Challenge. Former racing great and record breaking winner Neville Crichton will also join Anthony Bell’s loyal for SOLAS big boat race.

Peter Millard, co-owner of the 98 foot Lahana yacht arrived back on a flight from the US yesterday and when told of today’s forecast, said, “Then we definitely need to go out training today.”

Two of Lahana’s 21-strong crew have flown in from Europe and a handful more have arrived from interstate to take part in the annual Harbour spectacle, with the largest yachts in town preparing for the 12.30pm start off Steele Point, Vaucluse.

“It’ll be good to have testing conditions today, but we won’t be taking any risks that might put a speed bump in our Rolex Sydney Hobart preparations,” said Millard. “We want to see a lot of pressure today and for the great race. We’re hoping for a southerly all the way to Hobart.”

Making her Australian debut in the race will be Victorian Rob Hanna’s recent acquisition, theTP52 S/Y Shogun. Hanna purchased the near-new former Audi Azzurra from Europe, where it has been successfully competing on the MedCup circuit. Hanna’s main intention is to beat the other Australian ownedTP52’s at major events, including Marcus Blackmore’s Hooligan, which is also contesting the SOLAS Big Boat Challenge.

Royal Southern Yacht Club’s inaugural Biscay 2012 Offshore Race open for entries

December 12, 2011

Entries are now officially open till 1st March 2012 for the Royal Southern Yacht Club’s inaugural Biscay 2012 Offshore Race held from 16th – 29th September 2012.

La Rochelle Port hosting the Biscay 2012 Offshore Race

Port of La Rochelle hosting the Biscay 2012 Offshore Race

The Race, created as a legacy to members from the Royal Southern in its 175th Anniversary year and to be run as a biennial event, looks set to be a truly international event with expressions of interest already received from some 20 entries including crews from several overseas yacht clubs from Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Norway, Sweden and the USA.

The Club has teamed up with Sunsail Racing and has access to its fleet of Beneteau F40 cruiser/racing yachts, which may be chartered by Members and other interested crews.

Biscay 2012 Course Map

Biscay 2012 Course Map

Biscay 2012’s Race Ambassador is the British yachtswoman Samantha Davies who, having recently announced her newly sponsored Vendée Globe campaign for 2012, commented “The Biscay 2012 Race is the perfect offshore race for amateurs and I would recommend anyone interested in offshore racing to participate. The Race provides a challenging opportunity for taking in the wonderful ports of La Rochelle and Brest and allowing for a competitive offshore race.”

Members of the Race organising committee at the Royal Southern in Hamble, Hampshire, are working closely with the Société des Régates Rochelaises in La Rochelle and the Société des Régates de Brest to plan the shoreside and logistical details required to accommodate a fleet of up to 50 yachts when in port, co-ordinate the Race finishes and re-starts and plan a schedule of social and media functions.

The Race:
The Biscay 2012 Race is divided into three legs, over 950 nautical miles, allowing for challenging and competitive racing, with crews racing from the Solent, UK to La Rochelle, France, onwards to Brest, France and back to the Solent with stopovers in La Rochelle and Brest.

• Leg 1 takes the fleet from a Solent start line to La Rochelle and competitors will navigate their way down The Solent towards the Needles and cross the challenging waters of the Bay of Biscay towards the charming, fortified port of La Rochelle.

• Leg 2 is from La Rochelle to Brest giving crews a race up the stunning west coast of France to arrive in the historic port of Brest.

• Leg 3 returns the fleet from Brest to Hamble, sailing past Bembridge Ledge off the east coast of the Isle of Wight and back across The Solent to the Royal Southern’s Clubhouse in Hamble for the prizegiving.

A supplementary race for Cruisers, both IRC and Club Class White Sail, will run concurrently with Leg 3 of the Biscay 2012, over a distance of approximately 265 nautical miles, between Brest and the Solent, carrying its own unique classification.

Entry details:
Crew qualification for the Biscay 2012 Race will include Sunsail Racing events and the Royal Southern Yacht Club’s 2012 summer race regattas.

Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy at World Yacht Racing Forum

December 12, 2011

Chief Executive of the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA), John Tweed, will be present at the 2011 World Yacht Racing Forum and Yacht Racing Design & Technology Symposium this month to speak about some of the main topics from the world of yacht racing.

2010 World Yacht Racing Forum

2010 World Yacht Racing Forum Networking and exhibition lounge inside the Estoril Congress Center

Mr Tweed is amongst the highly distinguished international speaker panel invited to Estoril, Portugal for two days of discussing key topics from the world of yacht racing, as well as presenting many new initiatives and ideas. The WPNSA is part of a series of talks from high profile yachting experts including; Knut Frostad, CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race – Mark Turner, Executive Chairman of Offshore Challenges Thirdpole so instrumental in Ellen MacArthur’s successes – Global Ocean Racer, Dee Caafari MBE and Jim O’Toole, CEO at the World Match Racing Tour, as well as Jerome Pells, International Sailing Federation, Secretary General.

John Tweed will share with the Forum delegates a personal insight into the UK venue which will host the sailing disciplines of world’s largest sporting event on the planet during 2012. This will cover the history of the 2012 sailing venue, logistical processes undertaken to host the Olympic and Paralympic sailing competitions, sustainable projects to boost interest in sailing on site, the unique opportunities the venue offers for arena style sailing events and a lasting positive legacy on the local area post Games such as the economy, internet services and transport links.

John Tweed, Chief Executive of the WPNSA “Having previously sat in the audience at the World Yacht Racing Forum and listened to both past and current greats of the sailing world debate the merits of industry, it came as a great honour this year to be a member of the high profile speaker panel. I am very much looking forward to sharing our story of the Academy’s success, development and on-going opportunities for post Games with the Forum delegates and value my role as an ambassador for UK yacht racing to the international audience”.

Lord Dholakia presents Barbados Cruising Club Event

December 09, 2011

A ray of Barbados sunshine, entered the UK November gloom when Lord Dholakia presented an event promoting connections between the two countries and launching the ‘2012 76th Anniversary Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Race’ and the ‘1st Classic Transatlantic Race to Barbados.’

Baroness Harris of Richmond, His Excellency Hugh Arthur, Barbados High Commissioner to the UK, and Lord Dholakia with the Barbados Tourism Authority’s Carnival Girls. Credit The Barbados Tourism Authority

Baroness Harris of Richmond, His Excellency Hugh Arthur, Barbados High Commissioner to the UK, and Lord Dholakia with the Barbados Tourism Authority’s Carnival Girls. Credit: The Barbados Tourism Authority

The event was held on 30th November, Barbados Independence Day. Guests included His Excellency Hugh Arthur the High Commissioner of Barbados, Jean-Jacques Ollu, President of The Atlantic Yacht Club, Jose Sotto Mayor Matoso, President of the Clube Naval de Cascais, Senator Peter Gilkes of the Barbados Government and representatives from other Caribbean and Commonwealth countries and Sailing Clubs from around the world. The evening was arranged by the Barbados Cruising Club and Lord Dholakia thanked the sponsors Mount Gay Rum, The Barbados Tourism Authority, Miele, Camper Nicholson Marinas, The Loomba Foundation, The Beach House and Indigo Island.

Lord Dholakia, likening Barbados to the Garden of Eden, invited Dr. Mike Krimholtz, Commodore of the Barbados Cruising Club to talk about the ’Round Barbados’ race. Dr Krimholtz explained the significance of the race that officially began in 1936, and is held annually by The Barbados Cruising Club.  He explained the purpose of the race is to break the record for the fastest time sailing around the island of Barbados, a distance of approximately 60 miles.  The current absolute records stand at 5 hours 20 minutes 30 seconds (mono-hull) and 4 hours 40 minutes 33 seconds (multi-hull).

The Race will start and finish off the Barbados Cruising Club on January 21st 2012, a national holiday to mark the birthday of The Right Excellent Errol Walton Barrow, a founder member of the Club and Barbados’ first Prime Minister. Competing yachts will be allowed to moor within the inner basin of the Careenage in the historic centre of Bridgetown.

The race is not for the faint-hearted offering some challenging sailing off the East Coast of Barbados. It is followed by an after race party that promises to restore and rejuvenate in equal measures; even if these happen to be measures of Mount Gay Rum. This will be especially true of the crew of the boat that breaks an existing record time whose prize will be the weight of their skipper in Mount Gay Rum.

The famous Classic Transatlantic race, will set sail from Cascais, Portugal on 2nd December 2012, bound for Barbados. These magnificent traditional sailing vessels will arrive in Barbados in time to compete in the 2013 Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Race. Jean-Jaques Ollu, President of The Atlantic Yacht Club spoke about the race to the guests, saying that competitors were really excited to be bringing the race to Barbados for the first time.

These two events make Barbados a ‘must go’ destination for those who love sailing whether taking part in the races or watching from the safety of the shore. The Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Race can be viewed from a number of beaches around the island and tracked online.

Contact our friendly team to get more information about this unique possibility to enjoy your Caribbean yacht charter vacation watching the unforgettable Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Race or the 1st Classic Transatlantic Race to Barbados.

Boat Works hosts Clipper 68′ sailing yacht Gold Coast Australia

December 08, 2011

The Boat Works facility is busy getting ready for the arrival of the prominent 68´ Clipper yacht Gold Coast Australia currently sprinting from Tauranga, New Zealand, to the Gold Coast, in Australia,  for Race Six of the great Clipper Round The World Yacht Race.

Gold Coast Australia at the start of Race 5 from Geraldton, Western Australia to Tauranga, NZ, in the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race

Gold Coast Australia yacht at the start of Race 5 from Geraldton, Western Australia to Tauranga, NZ, in the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race - Credit: Karl Monaghan/onEdition

The ten international stripped down racing yachts are expected to reach the finish line on the Gold Coast Broadwater between 11-13 December, having departed the North Island of New Zealand on 4 December, and will be slipped and repaired onsite The Boat Works’ 9.2 hectare Coomera facility.

Clipper 68´ sailing yacht Gold Coast Australia - Picture by onEdition

Clipper 68´ sailing yacht Gold Coast Australia - Picture by onEdition

“The race is a very prestigious international event. We are delighted to have been selected as the exclusive marine service operation on the Gold Coast to provide maintenance and repair services to the fleet of high performance yachts during their Australian stopover,” says David Whyte, General Manager of The Boat Works.”

“The stripped down Clippers are incredible racing craft, something any boating enthusiast can get excited about. They certainly have had a workout so far during the race having travelled halfway around the world to arrive on the Gold Coast later this month.”

The Boat Works´ impressive 9.2 hectare site at Coomera has recently undergona a major expansion

The Boat Works´ impressive 9.2 hectare site at Coomera has recently undergone a major expansion

The yachts will undergo hardstand maintenance during the stopover with use of a 70 tonne Travel Lift that works in tandem with a 45 tonne Sea Lift; the first of its kind in the southern hemisphere. Hull cleaning, sail repair and other general maintenance will be required to enable the yachts to continue the world’s longest yacht race.

The race was founded and is now chaired by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail non-stop and solo around the world in 1969. The race route circumnavigates the globe and will take 11 months to complete.

The crew members aren’t professional sailors either; people from all walks of life apply and participate, all seeking adventure out of this grueling race. The journey is divided into eight legs, the crew can sign up for a combination of legs or complete the full circumnavigation.

Named after sponsoring cities and countries, the identical fleet each has a professional skipper and 18 crewmembers onboard. Gold Coast Australia yacht’s team, skippered by 31-year- old Richard Hewson from Tasmania, has startled the international audience by pursuing and maintaining the lead for the last five races. Team supporters will be watching to see if they can continue to hold their winning streak on arrival to their hometown.

Local enthusiasts have the opportunity to meet the crew of the Gold Coast Australia and view the yacht during a ‘Signing of the Keel’ event at The Boat Works, 1 Boat Works Drive, Coomera next Wednesday 14 December, from 8 am to 6 pm and on Thursday 15 December from 8 to 11 am. The Queensland Premier Anna Bligh will visit the keel signing and the Boat Works around 10 am on Thursday. Gold coin donations from the keel-signing event will go to Sailability – the disabled persons’ sailing initiative.

The public is welcome to view the yachts being removed from the water and receiving out-of-the-water maintenance during the yachts’ stopover at The Boat Works up until their departure for Race Seven on the 24 December 2011.

The former Gold Coast Marine Centre, recently re-launched as The Boat Works to reflect the considerable growth and investment in industry leading marine facilities, offers an innovative boatyard, marina, storage operation and marine business leasing opportunities. The Boat Works site is located on the sheltered Coomera riverfront, and now maintains a professional marine village with a vast array of specialist marine trades and local businesses operating in one modern and efficient complex.

4th World Yacht Racing Forum and Design Technology Symposium

December 07, 2011

Over 200 delegates and more than 50 speakers are getting ready to leave for Estoril next week for the fourth edition of the annual World Yacht Racing Forum, December 13-14, co-located with the Yacht Racing Design & Technology Symposium. The two conferences have again attracted the main figures, experts and sailing personalities to take part in the discussions and debates over the two day period.

World Yacht Racing Forum logo

The event will start on Tuesday 13th December with presentations and sessions focusing on yacht racing sponsorship, digital technologies and new media. Running parallel to the Forum, Day 1 of the Yacht Racing Design & Technology Symposium will focus on the future of yacht design with a keynote presentation by Pat Shaughnessy of Farr Yacht Design, followed by presentations and panel discussions on non-destructive testing, thin ply technology, and developments within the TP 52 Class and the America’s Cup class.

Wednesday’s Forum sessions will focus on the role of yacht clubs within the sport of sailing, a look at plans for the 2012 Olympics, the place of women in the sport, and the planning for the 2013 America’s Cup. Day 2 of the Design & Technology Symposium will discuss composite technologies, and advances in sailmaking and offshore multihull racing.

James Pleasance, Event Director, commented “for an industry that traditionally never meets in one place together, the annual World Yacht Racing Forum and Design & Technology Symposium are the ideal platform to do just this, meet with fellow industry leaders and make new business introductions. The co-location of the Forum with the Design & Technology Symposium is something we started in 2009 and has also been very successful in bringing together the commercial and design world of yacht racing to share common interests.”

The 2011 Yacht Racing Image of the Year, presented by financial group Mirabaud, will also be selected by the delegates of the Forum during the event and the winner will be announced during the conference. Mirabaud is a Gold Sponsor of the event together with Multi One Design. Associate Sponsors include North Sails and Gaastra Clothing and lunch sponsor for the conference is Peters & May. The event is kindly hosted by Estoril Tourism who will sponsor the cocktail reception on Tuesday 13th December with the Hotel Palacio, one of Estoril’s most luxurious hotels.

Overall Winner of the 2011 Transatlantic Superyacht Race – 20m sailing yacht Karuba V by X-Yachts

December 06, 2011

The Transatlantic Superyacht Regatta & Transatlantic Maxi Yacht Cup finished with the arrival of the final participant and the official prize giving ceremony, held at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda’s Caribbean base in Virgin Gorda. The 20m X-Yachts X65 Karuba 5 superyacht (CRO) took overall victory on corrected time ahead of the 66m Baltic Yachts sailing yacht Hetairos in second place. Tobias Koenig’s Swan 82 Grey Goose of Rorc yacht (GBR) took third place overall.

20m sailing yacht Karuba 5 - the Overall Winner of the 2011 Transatlantic Superyacht Race

20m sailing yacht Karuba 5 - the Overall Winner of the 2011 Transatlantic Superyacht Race

The amazing luxury yacht Hetairos, which was launched in July of this year, claimed line honours having completed her 3069 mile crossing from Tenerife in 8 days, 10 hours, 58 minutes and 30 seconds at an average speed of just over 15 knots. The event was organized by the YCCS in collaboration with the International Maxi Association and saw eight superyachts and maxi yachts participate.

66m luxury yacht HETAIROS by Baltic Yachts

66m luxury yacht HETAIROS by Baltic Yachts

Vincent Fauquenoy, captain and racing manager aboard Hetairos yacht, was understandably pleased with his crew’s result: “It is certainly with great pride that we secured line honours in the race and even who knows, maybe a new speed record for this particular route. On a personal note, having been involved for the last two years in the very complex building process of Hetairos, managing to race her fresh out of the box across the Atlantic also brings me a sense of achievement. Hetairos performed admirably and we all enjoyed very much sailing her. We did not have the perfect wind and had to chase it most of the time but it has been a good training test for the boat and her crew for the next regattas of the season.”

During the prize giving dinner hosted by the YCCS prizes were also awarded to super yacht Hetairos as the first IMA member to cross the finish line and to Andrea Recordati’s Wally 101 sailing yacht Indio as the first YCCS member to finish. Peter Harrison’s charter yacht Sojana also received a special prize for having participated in all four editions of the transatlantic race organized since 2007.

Luxury charter yacht SOJANA

Luxury charter yacht SOJANA

“I am delighted to see this beautiful fleet of sailing giants lined up at YCCS Marina and their owners and crews enjoying a ‘sneak preview’ of our new Clubhouse which will be officially inaugurated in January.” commented YCCS Commodore Riccardo Bonadeo during the final ceremony. “The level of participants in the event was extremely high and my sincere congratulations go to Hetairos: it not often that a boat fresh from the shipyard wins a transatlantic crossing by such an impressive margin on her first regatta outing. I hope to see her back here, together with the rest of the fleet, in March for our next superyacht regatta.”

“I am very pleased with the level of participation of IMA members – six out of the eight yachts – in this regatta.” declared Gianfranco Alberini, Secretary General of the International Maxi Association. “I was very impressed by Heitaros’ performance but all of the boats raced in a very competitive way. I am sure that with the cooperation of the YCCS and thanks to the Club’s outstanding facilities here in BVI the regatta will further grow in the near future.”

2012 Caribbean Superyacht Regatta & Rendezvous open for entries

December 05, 2011

The new Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) clubhouse and superyacht marina located in the idyllic surroundings of North Sound, Virgin Gorda will host the Caribbean Superyacht Regatta & Rendezvuos taking place in March, 2011.  The event will see a stellar fleet of sailing and motor superyachts taking part in four days of racing, cruising and fabulous parties and receptions.

Caribbean Superyacht Regatta and Rendezvous 2012

Caribbean Superyacht Regatta and Rendezvous 2012

The event looks set to be a highlight of the Caribbean season, with over 20 of the world’s largest, loveliest, and fastest yachts already registered to participate.

British Virgin Islands 2011 - Image courtesy of Caribbean Superyacht Regatta & Rendezvuos

British Virgin Islands 2011 - Image courtesy of Caribbean Superyacht Regatta & Rendezvuos

The racing will be divided into three classes: performance, cruising and catamaran, with the fleet competing to win the perpetual silver cup made by Garrard of London – the Boat International Media Trophy.

Entries are currently being accepted for sail and motor yachts of over 80ft LOA.

The Caribbean Superyacht Regatta & Rendezvous is open to motor and sailing yachts with a LOA of over 80 feet and catamarans with a LOA of over 60 feet.

Entry fee for yachts under 148ft LOA:
$6,500 USD to include

• 12 event access* passes
• 6 Full Moon Party tickets
• 2 Owners’ Dinner VIP tickets

Entry fee for yachts above 148ft LOA and all catamarans**:
$7,500 USD to include

• 16 event access* passes
• 8 Full Moon Party tickets
• 2 Owners’ Dinner VIP tickets

*access passes valid for all dockside, cocktail and crew events
**catamaran mooring on the dock subject to availability

Mooring from 12:00 hours on 13th March until 12:00 hours on 18th March at the YCCS Marina, Virgin Gorda is included for all participating yachts.

The cost of electricity and water charges (as well as mooring fees for late entries or additional periods) are not included in the entry fee and must be paid directly to the Marina Office.

2011 British Virgin Islands - Image Courtesy of Caribbean Superyacht Regatta & Rendezvuos

2011 British Virgin Islands - Image Courtesy of Caribbean Superyacht Regatta & Rendezvuos



Bliss 120ft Yachting Developments

Firefly 115ft Claasen Shipyards

Ganesha 128ft Fitzroy Yachts

Hanuman 138ft Royal Huisman

Indio 100ft Wally Yachts

Lady B 145ft Vitters Shipyard

Marie 179ft Vitters Shipyard

Moonbird 122ft Fitzroy Yachts

P2 125ft Perini Navi

Ravenous II82ft Oyster Marine

Salperton 174ft Fitzroy Yachts

Saudade 148ft Wally Yachts

Unfurled 112ft Royal Huisman

White Wings 77ft W-Class Yacht Co / Rockport Marine

Zefira 163ft Fitzroy Yachts

Zefiro 99ft Southern Wind

British Virgin Islands - Photo courtesy of Caribbean Superyacht Regatta & Rendezvuos

British Virgin Islands - Photo courtesy of Caribbean Superyacht Regatta & Rendezvuos


Chanticleer 110ft Burger

Marama 124ft Delta

Migration 86ft Hatteras

Resolute 130ft Westport

Stellar 130ft Westport

Moonbird -  Cruising

Moonbird - Cruising

Please,  contact our friendly team to get information about the unique possibility to enjoy your luxury yacht charter vacation in the beautiful Caribbean Virgin Gorda location, watching the spectacular 2012 Caribbean Superyacht Regatta & Rendezvous.

Cook Islander and Guatemalan Women at the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships

December 05, 2011

Amongst the 102-yacht Laser Radial fleet at the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships is Andrea Aldana (GUA) and Helema Williams (COK). The Guatemalan and Cook Islander are aiming to become the first female sailor from their nation to participate at an Olympic Sailing Competition.

Andrea Aldana from Guatemala

Andrea Aldana from Guatemala

Six years ago, Aldana was reading the newspaper in Guatemala, when she saw a Laser Radial international competitor in the news section. After turning the page an advertisement for a sailing course appeared. It inspired her and six years on she is at her first ISAF Worlds.

“I started in a Laser on a lake in Guatemala because of the course,” said Aldana. “There aren’t too many people sailing in Guatemala but the federation is good and supports us a lot. They help us travel and compete and we have good sailors and we also have Juan Maegli competing in the Laser Standard in Perth as well.”

Helema Williams from Cook Islands

Helema Williams from the Cook Islands

Aldana has been a part of the Perth 2011 Emerging Nations Programme which enabled emerging nation’s sailors to train and prepare in Fremantle in advance of the ISAF Worlds. Aldana said, “I’ve been at Perth two times before to train as part of the Perth 2011 Emerging Nations Programme. It’s helped me a lot because I know the place and think I have an advantage. They helped me improve my fitness.”

After the opening day the Guatemalan is 75th overall following a 40th place finish in Race 1 and coming back with a 33rd in Race 2. But a podium, or even top ten finish isn’t the aim for Aldana, “I am trying to qualify for London 2012. If I qualify I am going to be the first woman from Guatemala to sail at an Olympic Games.

“It would mean a lot to me as I would be making a little part of Guatemalan sailing history so I would be happy and proud. I want to push Guatemalan sailing forward.”

Guatemala was represented at the 2007 ISAF Worlds in Cascais, but ISAF welcomes the Cook Islands to the championships for the first time in Perth. Williams is part of a three person Cook Islands team at Perth 2011 with Peter Henry and Grand Junior Charlie Poiri sailing in the Laser. And for the Cook Islands team, they are aiming for an Olympic spot.

Their coach, Laura Baldwin (GBR), knows exactly what it takes to qualify and compete at an Olympic Sailing Competition. Baldwin sailed at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games placing 24th in the Europe. And now she is leading the Cook Islands teams to new territories, and Williams has noticed an improvement in her racing, “She has been great. She has improved me a lot. I’ve learnt heaps from her and like everyone else here my aim is to qualify for the Olympics.”

After the opening day of racing Williams currently sits in 92nd position on 87 points after finishing 39th in Race 1 and 48th in Race 2. But the 20-year-old is relatively new to Olympic sailing having sailed recreationally up until recently, “I started sailing the Optimist on a little Island where I live which has a big lagoon. Most of the time we sailed for fun, but nothing big like the ISAF Worlds.”

“It was only a few years ago that we started taking sailing seriously so this is pretty exciting and will be a new experience.”

At such a young age Williams has a long career ahead of her and was bestowed with the honour of carrying the Cook Islands flag at the Opening Ceremony. Williams added, “It was a real honour to carry our flag. It was really exciting to be walking through Perth’s city for the opening ceremony with everyone really excited and showing their support.”

The duo will continue their quest to qualify their nation tomorrow in Perth with the continuation of racing. The Laser Radials commence sailing at 12:00 local time with the Women’s Match Racers opening the day at 10:00. The Men’s 470, Women’s RS:X and Finn follow soon after.