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8th Six Senses Phuket Raceweek 2011 begins

July 21, 2011

Over the years Image Asia Events Co. Ltd. in conjunction with Evason Phuket & Six Senses Spa have created an event that today rivals the best in the region. Now in its 8th year Phuket Raceweek’s reputation has grown in stature, for delivering four days of world-class yacht racing from the superb 5 star Evason Phuket onshore venue to be recently voted ‘Best Asian Regatta 2011’ at the annual Asia Boating Awards in Hong Kong .

8th Six Senses Phuket Raceweek 2011 begins

8th Six Senses Phuket Raceweek 2011 begins

This year, Raceweek has the distinction of being the opening round of the newly expanded 2011-12 AsianYachting Grand Prix (AYGP) Championship. Now everyone entering the regatta will score points towards ultimately becoming crowned the AYGP Skipper and Yacht of the Year. This incentive is aimed at getting more boats to compete at the 12 selected five star events that make up the AYGP family.

Thirty eight yachts will be divided into three IRC divisions, Performance Multihull, Firefly One Design and Classic classes. The serious racers are getting ready for some high-octane racing on challenging courses laid just offshore from the Evason and the less serious racers on fun filled courses around the of lying islands.

Top billing in the IRC Racing class is Neil Pryde’s professional racing team, apparently out to test run the TP52 Team Premier with a view of purchasing her. David Ross’ brand new Ker 40 KukuKERchu is making her regatta debut and judging by the design shape is expected to raise a few eyebrows. Locally based Ben Copley’s Swan 42 Katsu and Rick Pointon’s J130 Jingjing from the Beijing Sailing Club have recently secured podium places at Pattaya and Koh Samui and as the same crew of heavyweights are fronting up again they could prove to be a handful. Although the two Phuket 8′s, Scott Duncanson’s Quantum Fusion M and Ray Waldron’s Surf Patrol might seem to be outclassed with the bigger boats, given enough wind where the 8m (26ft) yacht can get up and plane, they have been known to pack a punch way above their weight.

Video of the 2011 Six Senses Phuket Raceweek – Registration Day

Seven evenly matched performance yachts ranging from 25 to 42 feet are lining up in the IRC 2 class. Bryan Gauson’s refitted 1976 Sydney Hobart Race winning Farr 1104 Piccolo and John Vause’s Young 11 Ruby Tuesday have both won here before and returning to repeat the dose. Peter Dyer’s IOR 1/2 tonner Team Sea Bees have been the bridesmaid on two occasions and Co. Pornprom Sakultem skippering the Platu 25 Royal Thai Navy 4 have come through a school of hard knocks to be here. Stuart Williamson’s Beneteau 34.7 WDB Endeavour of Whitby ended up on the bricks last year and are eager to carry on with the performance before their early exit.

Nine heavy displacement cruising yachts are contesting the IRC 3 Class. A gaggle of relatively new Beneteau, Jeanneau and Bavaria yachts will be taking on the age old pedigree Horst Lakits Swan 55 Big A and Jim Ellis S & S 12.8 Remington that have both won King’s Cups and many major titles in the Asian region.

An interesting battle in the Performance Multihull Class is coming together. A couple of well-known ‘yachting personalities’, Dee Caffari and Paul Larsen will be racing against each other. Dee became the first woman to sail solo, non stop, around the world in both directions (against and with the prevailing winds and currents) and was awarded an MBE in recognition of her achievement.

She will be helming Grenville Fordham’s Andaman Cabriolet Niña while the World Sailing Speed Record contender Paul Larsen is skippering the newer Andaman Cabriolet Da Vinci, may have the edge as he arrived early and has nearly two weeks to acclimatize and get used to the tricky sailing conditions. However they won’t have it all their own way as David Liddell’s Corsair C37RS Miss Saigon is hot after winning the SEA Property Multihull Championship last weekend and Alan Carwardine’s Stealth 12.5 Sidewinder is eager to get back into the winners circle.

Five of the most competitive Firefly 850 One-Design catamarans will be battling it out and are getting closer to ending Voodoo’s dominance over the last two years. Coming into the final day of the SEA Property Multihull Championship last weekend three boats The Frog, Moto Inzi and Voodoo were holding a three way tie for the lead. Given the right conditions this class is fast and furious making the close racing very exciting for the sailors and spectators alike.

Although there is only two boats in the Classic Class, Mark Myking’s William Garden Idiom and Tom Howard’s North Sea Fishing Boat Seraph, they will be level pegging with the top racing classes and scoring valuable points towards the 2011-12 AYGP Skipper and Yacht of the Year awards.

Another first in Thailand, Mount Gay Rum – the oldest brand of rum in the world and sponsor of 120 regattas worldwide – has chosen Six Senses Phuket Raceweek as the launch platform for the brand in Thailand. The launch will take place at the regatta’s opening party tonight, with a Caribbean buffet and entertainment – and plenty of Mount Gay rum.

2011 Panerai British Classic Week: Lighter Conditions For Day 3

July 21, 2011

Although somewhat grey and dank conditions prevailed for much of Day 3 of the 2011 Panerai British Classic Week in Cowes, the fleet of vintage and classic sailing yachts were able to successfully complete Race 2 of the regatta in winds which eventually ranged from 6 – 12 knots. With the earlier morning breeze evaporating at just about exactly the scheduled start time, a wait of a couple of hours out on the water was necessary before Race Officer Tony Lovell was able to take advantage of an afternoon Solent sea breeze to get racing underway.

Despite the unseasonal weather, which at times comprised rain, mist, torrential rain and only occasional short lived spells of sunshine, nevertheless returning to the dock after racing most of the competitors appeared to have enjoyed their day of classic yachting. Some had fared worse than others however; in an unfortunate incident, seemingly caused by a period of poor visibility, a port and starboard collision between the Class 3 yacht ‘Maybird’ and the leading Class 4 yacht ‘Caritana’ saw ‘Caritana’ dismasted. Although boat boats retired, happily there were no reported injuries.

2011 Panerai British Classic Week Lighter Conditions For Day 3  © Mark Lloyd  www.lloyd-images.com

2011 Panerai British Classic Week Lighter Conditions For Day 3 © Mark Lloyd www.lloyd-images.com

With the third day of the regatta designated as Ladies’ Day, ranging across Classes 2 – 4, no less than 16 lady helmsman took up the challenge to skipper their respective boats during racing. In Class 4, Fiona Davies aboard ‘Mitten’ was the first lady helm on corrected time, finishing in seventh place in the overall Class 4 fleet. In the 20 boat Class 3 fleet, Alice Bellamy was the first lady, steering ‘St David’s Light’ to a fifth in class finish. Meanwhile, in Class 2, first lady helm Angela Matheson brought ‘Opposition’ home in fourth place in the 10 boat fleet, and was also awarded the overall Ladies’ Day prize.

The match racing between the two 12 Metres at the front of the Class 1 fleet continued unabated, with R A Rankin’s 1985 ‘Italia’ evening the series score with a win over Richard Matthew’s 1985 ‘Crusader’. Stephen Jones, helming his own self-designed Spirit of Tradition ‘Meteor’, took third place.

In Class 2, a close race-long battle between the Earl of Cork and Orerry and David Glasgow’s 1939 International 8 Metre ‘Athena’ and David Murrin’s Laurent Giles 1957 sloop ‘Cetawayo’, finally went in favour of ‘Athena’ by just 20 seconds on the water and an even narrower margin of 11 seconds on corrected time. Taking third was Richard Bond’s 1938, Olin Stephens designed, ‘Tomahawk’.

In Class 3, Sir Michael Briggs aboard his 1904 William Fife ‘Mikado’ claimed his second race win of the regatta beating France’s Yvon Nicolas’s 1963 Illingworth Bermudan Cutter ‘Mirella’ by 28 seconds on corrected time. Coming home in third on the day was Andy King’s 1929 Ramussen designed, International 30 ‘Gluckauf’.

First across the line on the water in Class 4 was David Myatt’s 1948 Bjarne Aas designed Bermudan sloop, ‘Marguerite’, who also secured a corrected time victory over Robert Veale’s 1958 built ‘Danegeld’ in second. Finishing in third place was the 1938 ‘Cereste’ owned by Jonathan & Scilla Dyke.

Panerai British Classic Week in Cowes © Mark Lloyd  www.lloyd-images.com

Panerai British Classic Week in Cowes © Mark Lloyd www.lloyd-images.com

The Six Metre Class managed to complete their first race of the regatta, with Avea Willment’s 1986 ‘Blade Runner’ taking a comprehensive line honours and corrected time win, ahead of second placed Robin Richardson on the 1987 ‘St. Kitts’. Tom Richardson’s 1990 ‘Georgia’ took third place.

After a wet day on the water for all concerned, the luxurious Panerai hosted hospitality facilities were a welcoming refuge for the sailors to debrief the day over a warming coffee. For those requiring something stronger, the nearby beer tent with excellent live music fitted the bill perfectly.

 View a list of luxury classic sailing yachts available for yacht charters here.

Audi MedCup – Region of Sardinia Trophy practice race won by sailing yacht Ran

July 20, 2011

When they won today’s 52 Series Practice Race Niklas and Catherine Zennström and their Ràn team enjoyed a morale boosting reminder that they are just one of several 52 Series teams which are in shape to leave the capital city of Sardinia next Sunday with the Region of Sardinia Trophy in their possession.          

Sailing yacht RAN Region of Sardinia Trophy, 19 07 2011 © Ian RomanAudi MedCup

Sailing yacht RAN Region of Sardinia Trophy, 19 07 2011 © Ian RomanAudi MedCup

Their positive momentum took a dent in Marseille last month when their shiny new Vrolijk designed, English built boat was hit and their transom damaged in an unfortunate joust with the British boat Gladiator.

But today the mainly British crew, with renowned Kiwi tactician Gavin Brady, kept the current TP52 world champions Quantum Racing (USA) astern to the finish line, taking first gun in today’s exciting practice race.

“It doesn’t really mean that much, but winning certainly puts a smile on your face and puts everyone in a good mood. And it is reminder to us all that we can do it.” was navigator Steve Hayles’ (GBR) evaluation of the importance of today’s first gun. It sets them up well for tomorrow’s first points scoring races at the Audi MedCup Circuit’s third regatta of the five which constitute the 2011 season long championship.

The 2011 racing campaign for the couple’s crew spans not just this, their debut this season on the Audi MedCup Circuit, but also continues their successful racing with their larger IRC 72 footer, almost all offshore.

In their native Sweden they took line honours in last week’s 400 miles Gotland Runt and just lost out on winning overall by a matter of minutes whilst their next major offshore target with their ‘big boat’ will be defending their Fastnet Race overall title which they won in 2009 with a race strategy which several described as ‘near perfect’

By comparison to the long offshores the Audi MedCup Circuit is about short, supercharged sprints and tight boat-for-boat tactics.

Region of Sardinia Trophy, 19 07 2011 © Ian RomanAudi MedCup..

Region of Sardinia Trophy, 19 07 2011 © Ian RomanAudi MedCup..

Today’s practice race, contested in a brisk southerly sea breeze which reached 20kts, proved that Ràn have the legs to win races, and if they can slightly raise their level of consistency they can surely be among the regatta title challengers here.

The 52 Series’ only owner driver at this regatta, Zennstrom made an accomplished start and Ràn was in position to pass Quantum Racing down the first run. The American flagged team charged down the last leg and were in Ràn ’s wake on the finish line with Marseille Trophy victors Container (GER) skippered by Markus Wieser (GER) finishing third.

Conditions are expected to be brisk for this regatta’s first two planned windward-leeward races tomorrow, though forecasts suggest it will be the NW’ly Mistral, which accelerates down the long, flat and dusty valley upwind of the race area

The practice race was also a reminder how close the racing is expected to be here. Jose Cusi’s Bribon (ESP) were among the early contenders as were Audi Azzurra Sailing Team, who are a Sardinian team which would deliver a huge boost if they could return stronger results off the island which is home to the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda whose burgee they race under.

Tomorrow the 40 Series have their practice race.

Onboard Synergy - Region of Sardinia Trophy, 19 07 2011 © Nico MartinezAudi MedCup

Onboard Synergy - Region of Sardinia Trophy, 19 07 2011 © Nico MartinezAudi MedCup

Quotes:

Steve Hayles (GBR) Ràn(SWE-GBR): “The fleet is so very close Obviously you have good and bad races to be honest, we got a clear start and a good lane and were just in it enough and were just close enough to Quantum Racing to roll them on a gybe which happens all the time, one way or another. I think that everyone has really come together, even the boats which two regattas ago we thought were maybe not as quick are in there now. It really is very even.

Region of Sardinia Trophy, 19 07 2011 © Guido Trombetta_Studio BorlenghiAudi MedCup

Region of Sardinia Trophy, 19 07 2011 © Guido Trombetta_Studio BorlenghiAudi MedCup

It is a nice thing for us today, a plus and puts everyone in a good mood. We have always known the boat is quick and so far have not performed to the level that we would have liked to. There are reasons for that and this is a tough fleet. So it is nice today to remind yourself that we can do it.

We have won a lot of stuff so far by having a good boat (the 72 footer), which is well prepared, being in the right place at the right time, no question, but it really is nice to come here and really get everything really tested.”

Markus Wieser (GER), Skipper, Container (GER):

“It´s going to be fast here, it´s quite shifty, the winds has gone up 25 knots here today, we all had our sails up today and had to be careful with them.  It looks like we are going to have Mistral this week so it´ll be fun”.

Ado Stead (GBR), Tactician, Quantum Racing (USA):

“We are pretty pleased about today, stayed first for most part of the race. We used an old spinnaker at the last run of the race. We got caught by RÀN but we were right there with them at the finish, which is good. I think that everybody, including us, is bringing new sails, the ones that they´d wish they´d have used in Marseille, so I think it´s going to be the most competitive regatta so far, because everyone has been able to build the stuff that they realise they needed after Cascais. Audi Sailing Team is faster, Bribón is a really quick boat, RÀN, Container, Azzurra, Synergy… Actually, any of the seven boats has a chance to win in here.”

2011 Panerai British Classic Week: Tough Conditions on Day Two

July 20, 2011

The crews of the 71 classic yachts competing at Panerai British Classic Week 2011 were delighted when they awoke this morning to discover that yesterday’s strong winds had abated somewhat.  Race Officer Tony Lovell confirmed his intention to start today’s single race at noon and set up his course to the east of Cowes with a start line off Osborne Bay.  Although conditions had improved overnight the wind was still quite strong ranging from around 18-25 knots from the west-southwest. Throughout the day a steady stream of rain squalls swept down the Solent bringing stronger winds with them and drenching the sailors into the bargain.

Panerai British Classic Week 2011 Day 1 of racing, The Solent, UK -  Lloyd Images ©

Panerai British Classic Week 2011 Day 1 of racing, The Solent, UK - Lloyd Images ©

Despite the rain it was clear that both the sailors and the boats were revelling in the conditions and the fleet made a fantastic sight criss-crossing the Solent.  The course featured a series of windward/leeward legs and one short reaching leg with a lovely long final beat to finish off Cowes.  Despite the enormous range in size of boats there were close tacking and gybing duels going on throughout the fleets and a number of very close finishes on the line.

Fortunately the strong winds brought only a couple of significant cases of gear failure. The first happened only a few moments after the start for Classes 1 and 2 when David Murrin’s 1957 Laurent Giles Sloop ‘Cetawayo’, tipped to be one of the top performers in this regatta, was forced to pull up with a broken lower starboard spreader.  Back ashore David confirmed that they hoped to have a new wooden spreader made and fitted overnight and that they had every intention of being on the race course again tomorrow, joking that it “helps relax everyone if you get the discard out of the way early in the regatta”.

The other casualty was Roddy Steel and Eric Newman’s delightful little ‘Stren’, a 1948 Spidsgatter 19½ Square Meter designed by Jac M Iversen, which broke a rudder fitting.  Thanks must go to the crew aboard Richard Matthew’s tender to 12m Crusader who kindly came to the rescue and towed them home to effect repairs.

Back ashore the crew of Corinthian International One Design ‘Marguerite’, owned by David Myatt, declared, “It was good racing.  It blew the cobwebs out although we wouldn’t have wanted much more breeze.”  They were very happy with their third place performance in Class 4 but felt they still have more to give joking, “We get better as the week goes on and the beer starts to take effect!”.  Class 4 was won by ‘Erida’, the 30 Square Meter owned by Bob Gatehouse and designed and built by Abeking & Rasmussen in 1937.  Second place went to ‘Cereste’ a 1938 Limited Design 10 Tonner designed by Robert Clark, built by the Sussex Yacht Works Shoreham and now owned by Jonathan & Scilla Dyke.

For Scotsman Jamie Matheson of the Sparkman & Stephens designed and Lallows built ‘Opposition’, formerly Ted Heath’s 1971 Admiral’s Cup winning ‘Morning Cloud’, the weather was “Just like home.”  They were extremely happy with their second place in Class 2 finishing one minute and three seconds behind Brian Smullen’s 1970 McGruer Ketch ‘Cuilaun’ and two minutes and thirty seven seconds ahead of third placed ‘Wings’ the 1937 Nicholson 12 Meter. 

Class 1 featured the battle of the 12 Meters with Richard Matthew’s 1985 Ian Howlett designed ‘Crusader’ and Richard Rankin’s 1985 Georgietti & Mygrini designed ‘Italia’ commencing battle with a match racing style start before going head to head all the way around the course.  On the line it was ‘Crusader’ who had gained both line honours and the overall victory with ‘Italia’ second.  In third place was Stephen Jones’s ‘Meteor’ a Spirit of Tradition yacht designed by Stephen himself and built in 2006 by Farrow & Chambers.

A wonderful example of how there are races within a race going on throughout the fleet are the three 22 Square Meters ‘Caritana’, ‘Vigilant’ and ‘Chadrak’.  All three boats are owned by Andrew Thornhill and crewed by a mix of family and friends, and its clear from the banter on the dock that there is plenty of friendly rivalry between them.  ‘Caritana’ won today’s battle with ‘Vigilant’ second and ‘Chadrak’ third.  Whilst none of these boats made the podium in Class 4 they none they nonetheless enjoyed a fabulous day’s racing and are keen to get back out for more tomorrow.

In Class 3 Michael and Beverly Briggs’ William Fife designed 1904 Clyde Linear 30 ‘Mikado’ was boat of the day beating ‘Mirella’, a 1963 Illingworth Bermudan Cutter owned by Yvon Nicholas from Cherbourg by three minutes and nine seconds on corrected time.  Third place went to Andy King’s Rasmussen 30 Square Meter ‘Gluckauf’ whose joke about the boats ‘submarine’ tendencies yesterday was clearly intended to hide their talent for heavy airs sailing.

After racing the competitors enjoyed an official opening party for the fabulous new Panerai Lounge.  Fitted out in the style of a classic yacht, the Panerai Lounge was a welcome post racing haven for the sailors who enjoyed a selection of fine wines and delicious canapés as the prizes for today’s racing were awarded.

Tuesday’s two races are scheduled with a first start at 10.30.  The forecast is for much lighter airs, which will appeal to boats like Richard Bond’s ‘Tomahawk’ who will be hoping to improve on today’s fifth place in Class 1.

4th RIVA TROPHY 2011 in Monaco and St Tropez

July 19, 2011

The fourth Riva Trophy, an annual event reserved for Riva owners organised by Monaco Boat Service, Riva’s Monaco based dealer, was held from 8th to 10th of July 2011 in the beautiful setting of Monaco and St. Tropez.

The fourth edition of the prestigious RIVA TROPHY 2011

The fourth edition of the prestigious RIVA TROPHY 2011

Taking part in this exclusive RIVA TROPHY 2011 event were Owners from all over Europe who have made Riva yachts their greatest passion. As always, this three day event full of style, elegance, amusement and fun, featured both sports competitions and unique events, such as the première of the shipyard’s latest model, the new Riva Iseo motor yacht, a 27 footer runabout, heir to a long history of excellence and craftsmanship.

Classical models, ‘living’ proof of the shipyard’s long history were, as always, on display throughout the event, together with the brand’s latest product range.

The Reliability Trial was held after the opening of the event at the Monaco Yacht Club and the arrival point was located along the elegant beaches of St. Tropez.

In the evening, the new Riva Iseo was presented and displayed in Place de la Mairie, St. Tropez, in front of the Monaco Boat Service boutique.

The photographic exhibition “Immagini nei cantieri Riva” (“The Riva Shipyard in Pictures”) by international photographers Gabriele Basilico and Mario Cresci was on show inside the town council building. The exhibition presented some of the most beautiful images featured in the book edited by the cultural branch of the Italian publishing house Il Sole 24 Ore.

The event’s main sponsor was apparel brand Cains Moore that gave all participants an exclusive technical jacket, the inside of which features the reproduction of a work of art by Renato Missaglia, specifically designed to celebrate the entire event.

Dinner and musical entertainment took place on the striking St. Tropez dike.

During the evening, besides music and dancing, a charity auction in favour of the Kings of Kibera association, which sustains the project “Street kids care” providing houses and education of street children in Kenya, was held.

For this prestigious event Vhernier jewellers donated one of their extraordinary creations to be sold during the charity auction, together with a work of art which represents the new Riva Iseo by Renato Missaglia. This image was also featured on the bottle labels of Pasqua wines. Once again Pasqua wineries and Riva enjoy an ongoing relationship on occasion of their most important events.

Other important sponsors included RADIO MONTECARLO, featuring the special participation of Maurizio di Maggio who was the special auctioneer and presenter of the soirèes.

During the picnics, aperitifs and dinners of these three days devoted to the Riva’s gems, the guests toasted with Italian cocktail Bellini produced by Casa Vinicola Canella as well as prestigious Veuve Cliquot champagnes.

Transatlantic Race 2011: Force 10 Atlantic Finale

July 18, 2011

Newport, R.I. USA (July 18, 2011) – Experiencing the roughest weather conditions of any yacht in the Transatlantic Race 2011, Sasha, skippered by Albrecht and Erika Peters (Munich, Germany), crossed the finish line at The Lizard at 20:10 UTC on 17 July.  At sea for over 22 days, the husband and wife team sailed their 1970Sparkman & Stephens-designed wooden yacht with another couple, Christine Beech and Ron Melton of Picton, New Zealand.  With Sasha’s finish, all 26 of the yachts which left Newport, R.I. over the course of three staggered starts have now successfully completed the Transatlantic Race 2011.

Transatlantic Race 2011 Sailing yacht Sasha crossed the finish line at The Lizard at 2010 UTC on 17 July. (photo credit TR2011Amory Ross)

Transatlantic Race 2011 Sailing yacht Sasha crossed the finish line at The Lizard at 2010 UTC on 17 July. (photo credit TR2011Amory Ross)

As Sasha approached the finish, a storm took hold in the Western Approaches generating very high waves with overhanging crests; large patches of foam turning the sea white with rage; and large amounts of airborne spray that dramatically reduced visibility.

“The spray coming over the bow was more like that from a Volvo Ocean Race yacht than an S&S 42 and the severe weather conditions came upon us, somewhat unexpectedly,” reported Albrecht.  “We had over 55 knots of wind and 40’ breaking waves.  At times we were hit at 90 degrees by these waves and it was a case of survival.  With all three reefs in the main and just a storm jib up, we were still unable to slow the boat down and we were often achieving speeds of over 14 knots.  We had also broken the goose-neck fitting between the boom and the mast and we were taking in water, possibly through the keel bolts.  But the boat is fine and so is the crew.  We are now heading to Cowes and hopefully to Lallows Yard were the boat was built over 40 years ago.”

Despite Sasha’s wild finish the team were unable to eclipse the corrected time of Jacqueline IV, which means that the McCurdy and Rhodes 42’ skippered by Robert Forman (Bay Shore, N.Y.) retains third place in IRC Class Four.

Transatlantic Race 2011 Jacqueline IV, skippered by Robert Forman retains third place in IRC Class Four.(photo credit TR2011Amory Ross)

Transatlantic Race 2011 Jacqueline IV, skippered by Robert Forman retains third place in IRC Class Four.(photo credit TR2011Amory Ross)

Sponsors of the TR 2011 are Rolex, Thomson Reuters, Newport Shipyard, Perini Navi and Peters & May, with additional support by apparel sponsor Atlantis Weathergear.

More about the Transatlantic Race 2011

The Transatlantic Race 2011 charts a 2,975 nautical mile course from Newport, R.I., to Lizard Point, South Cornwall, England. Pre-start activities will take place at the New York Yacht Club’s Harbour Court clubhouse in Newport, while awards will be presented at the Royal Yacht Squadron’s Cowes Castle clubhouse on the Isle of Wight. Three separate starts – June 26, June 29 and July 3 – featured 26 boats ranging from 40 to 289 feet in length. In addition to winners in seven classes (IRC Class 1 Racer, IRC Class 2 Racer, IRC Class 3 Racer/Cruiser, IRC Class 4 Racer/Cruiser, Classic, Class 40, and Open), whichever yacht finishes the course with the fastest elapsed time will set the benchmark for a new racing record from Newport to Lizard Point, to be ratified by the World Speed Sailing Council. Rolex watches will be awarded to the record holder and the overall winner (on corrected time) under IRC.

The Transatlantic Race 2011 is also the centerpiece of the Atlantic Ocean Racing Series (AORS), which includes the Pineapple Cup – Montego Bay Race, RORC Caribbean 600, the Annapolis to Newport Race, Rolex Fastnet Race, Biscay Race and the Rolex Middle Sea Race. Of the seven races in the AORS, three races, including the TR 2011 must be completed to qualify for a series victory. Each race is weighted equally in overall series scoring with the exception of TR 2011, which is weighted 1.5 times. All entered yachts are scored using their two best finishes in addition to the TR 2011. Awards for the AORS will be presented in November, 2011, at the New York Yacht Club’s Annual Awards Dinner in Manhattan.

Swan European Regatta 2011: All four Class winners decided on final race

July 18, 2011

The fifth and final day of the Swan European Regatta got underway again in bright sunshine. There was a simmer of tension detected on the dock as crews were preparing for their ultimate day of racing. A lack of wind early this morning meant it was touch and go but a full 11 knots West South Westerly kicked in right on cue to allow the first race to start on time.

Swan European Regatta 2011 - Class B sailing downwind © Kurt Arrigo & Nautor’s Swan - Swan Europeans 2011

Swan European Regatta 2011 - Class B sailing downwind © Kurt Arrigo & Nautor’s Swan - Swan Europeans 2011

All the courses sent the Swan’s West off the Squadron Line providing them with further Solent waters not yet sailed. By the second race the wind was up to gusts of 25 knots and in all Classes winners of the Swan European Regatta 2011 were down to the wire on the last race. The Solent has certainly lived up to expectations this week, throwing a mixture of weather conditions and wind speeds at the crews.

The Swan 45 Class, as expected, did not disappoint spectators on their first start of the day. Peter de Ridder’s Checkmate took their position on the line early as did Philippe Moortgat and Patrick van Heurck’s Samantaga. Unfortunately Samantaga pushed the line just that little bit too hard and was individually recalled.

Meanwhile, huge amounts of shouting between crews could be heard from the starting platform as close tacking was going on upwind, reflecting the pressure on today. Glynn Williams’ WISC demonstrated some superb helming as did Van Uden owned by Harm and Lionel Miller and Rob Reigwein’s Hawkeye who were all causing fans on the green to gasp. With all the initial manoeuvres for clear air and water performed, the fleet set off in their clear lanes up the first leg of the course to Salt Mead before taking them to East Lepe, West Lepe and back to the Squadron Line to finish. The first race was taken by Hawkeye, followed by Richard Cotter’s Nemo of Cowes and WISC leaving the final race as all to play for.

The second race saw a building breeze of 17-20 knots gusting 25 knots at the start. Wind on a strong tide resulted in choppy water to be negotiated. Approaching the line was done at speed but from a distance. WISC had a great start with her nose ahead of the rest, maintaining this extension by tacking on Hawkeye as she tacked straight off the line. But Hawkeye was on fire and finished with their second bullet of the day. WISC came in fourth in the final race of the Regatta but it was just enough to maintain their much deserved first place position overall.

On the downwind leg from Gurnard Ledge to South Bramble the fleet were still within 10 boat lengths of each other, all taking the direct route except Motion owned by Mr Von Oeveren who broke away from the fleet to get out of the tide. Checkmate was chasing WISC’s tail for the leading position downwind.

Class A, set to sail on the same course as the Swan 45 Class were also showing over excitement at the line. Three boats were individually recalled although there seemed to be some delay in returning to the line. Club Swan 42 Baraka GP sailed by the De Graaf Family timed their start to perfection which certainly gave them the advantage at the start, while defending winners Club Swan 42 Magical Mystery Tour sailed by the Leask Family was early, throwing the race wide open. Baraka GP won the first race on corrected time and Magical Mystery Tour managed to sail their way up into third position from their individual recall.

Swan European Regatta 2011 - Carte Blanche, Swan 36 and Antares, Swan 41 downwind © Kurt Arrigo & Nautor’s Swan

Swan European Regatta 2011 - Carte Blanche, Swan 36 and Antares, Swan 41 downwind © Kurt Arrigo & Nautor’s Swan

Race Two of the day for Class A was close for many as most of the fleet were nearly over having to duck back to the line in order to stay behind. Those who were on course side struggled to get back against the tide. Baraka GP put in a sterling performance achieving a third place in race two and securing second position overall at the end of the final day, just missing the pole position, which was taken by Magical Mystery Tour after a win in the final race of the Regatta.

Edward Leask owner of Magical Mystery Tour added, “We put ourselves under real pressure by a premature start in the first race and then not only had to win the next race but rely on boats behind us finishing in a theoretical order. Sometimes God is on your side!”

Class B upped the ante with their start today, a few shouts could be heard between the boats as Swan 391 Delnic owned by Benoit Rousselion and Mr Holm’s Swan 46 Taika fought hard to get their bows in front. Mr Segel’s Swan 40 Christina made the decision to tack early in a bid for clean air. Harald Baum’s Swan 48 Elan certainly left tacking to the last minute as shouts for water could be heard from the starting platform. Christina’s earlier decisions clearly paid off as they came in second while Elan scored a respectable fourth place for Race Seven of the Regatta.

The second start for Class B saw the majority of the fleet over the line so were individually recalled. Similarly to Class A, those who were over struggled back to the Squadron Line against the tide. Elan pulled it out the bag with a win for the final race of the Regatta. Harald Baum added, “The race was very close with two other boats, Christina and Sloop John T. We fought the whole week against them, it was great fun. And I think it was very good that Sloop John won overall, we won the race today and we did our utmost.” Sloop John T joint owned by Iain and Graham Tomson scored a second spot securing First Place position of the European Regatta.

Class C also piled the pressure on as Stephen James’ Swan 38 Jacobite pushed the line considerably achieving a well-timed start. Swan 43 sailing yacht Cisne joint owned by David Collins and Tony Thorpe also got caught up in the excitement of the start and were individually recalled. Once Class C had all started cleanly they set off to Gurnard Ledge, Quinnel, then Cowes Radio before finishing back at the Squadron Line. Despite Cisne’s return to the line they won the race with Alvine XV in second and Jacobite coming in third.

Class C had observed previous class’s mistakes and started without a second gun. Swan 38 Tangoroa owned by Christopher Vickery was first over the line gaining an advantage on the rest of the fleet. Alvine XV won the second race securing their position at the top of the leader board. Alastair Evans owner of Alvine XV said, “I’m over the moon, it’s been a brilliant regatta. One of the best I’ve done for a long time.” Cisne also had a fantastic second race coming in second taking second place overall in Class C.

This marks the end of the 15th edition of the Swan European Regatta which has provided an incredible week of race action which everyone has thoroughly enjoyed with Nautor’s Swan.

Daily Winners

Day 1

Classes:

A – The Leask Family, Magical Mystery Tour, CS 42
B – I and G Thomson, Sloop John T, Swan 40
C – Stephen James, Jacobite, Swan 38

45 – Philippe Moortgat / Patrick van Heurck, Samantaga

Day 2

Classes:

A – The de Graaf Family, Baraka GP, Club Swan 42
B – Harald Baum, Elan, Swan 48
C – Stephen James, Jacobite, Swan 38

45 – Peter de Ridder, Checkmate

Day 3

Classes:

A – de Graaf Family, Baraka GP, Club Swan 42
B – Harald Baum, Elan, Swan 48
C – David Collins and Tony Thorpe, Cisne, Swan 43

45 – Harm Tiddens, Van Uden

Day 4

Classes:

A – The Leask Family, Magical Mystery Tour, CS 42
B – A Lower, Selene, Swan 44
C – Alistair Evans, Alvine XV, Swan 37

Swan 45 – Peter de Ridder, Checkmate

Day 5

Classes:

A – The Leask Family, Magical Mystery Tour, CS 42
B – Harald Baum, Elan, Swan 48
C – Alistair Evans, Alvine XV, Swan 37

Swan 45 – Rob and Martine Reigwein, Hawkeye

Final Results

Class A

1st GBR Magical Mystery Tour-Club Swan 42, The Leask Family
2nd NED Baraka GP- Club Swan 42, The De Graff family
3rd NED Silveren Swaen- Swan 53, Piet Hein Bakker

Class B

1st GBR Sloop John T- Swan 40, Iain and Graham Thomson
2nd GER Elan- Swan 48, Harald Baum
3rd GBR Selene- Swan 44, Adrian Lower

 Class C

1st GBR Alvine XV- Swan 37, Alistair Evans
2nd NED Cisne- 43, David Collins and Tony Thorpe
3rd GBR Jacobite- Swan 38, Stephen James

Swan 45

1st GBR WISC, Glynn Williams
2nd NED Checkmate, Peter de Ridder
3rd BEL Samantaga, Philippe Moortgat and Patrick van Heurck

ClubSwan Award: Best Dressed Crew

Sigrid, Swan 56

Lewmar Trophy: Best Turned out Swan

Swan Galiana, Swan 55, Patrick Green and Nick Orme

Camper and Nicholson Trophy: Oldest Swan

Jem and George Tetley, Carte Blanche, Swan 38

Pantaenius Award- Farthest Travelled Swan

Jamshyd Godrej, Raika, Swan 53

 Highland Fling Trophy – Owner Driver

Alistair Evans, Alvine XV-Swan 37

Source Trophy – Best Team

Silvern Swaen- Swan 53, Piet Hein Bakker
Elan- Swan 48, Harald Baum
Jacobite, Swan 38, Stephen James
WISC- Swan 45, Glynn Williams
Gaastra Youngest Crew Award
Henry Segel, Christina Swan 40

Transatlantic Race 2011: Fight to the Finish

July 14, 2011

Newport, R.I. USA (July 14, 2011) – After racing nearly 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean, the two Class 40s in the Transatlantic Race 2011 are set to provide a dramatic finish as they approach The Lizard on the south coast of England.  Sailing yacht Concise 2, skippered by Ned Collier-Wakefield (Oxford, U.K.), is just a few miles ahead of S/Y Dragon, skippered by Mike Hennessy (Mystic, Conn.), and after 16 days of racing the outcome of this duel is too close to call, even with just 100 miles to the finish line.

View from onboard Sailing yacht Vanquish - Photo credit Amory Ross

View from onboard Sailing yacht Vanquish - Photo credit Amory Ross

Concise 2 set a blistering pace in the early part of the race and left Dragon trailing by hundreds of miles.  However, mid-Atlantic, as the wind evaporated around Concise 2, the six sailors making up the British youth team were helpless as Dragon came back with a fresh westerly breeze to not only catch but also overtake them.  In light airs it seems that the lighter Dragon – which Hennessy is racing doublehanded with Rob Windsor (East Northport, N.Y.) – has the advantage and it could be a very close finish late tonight or in the early hours of Friday morning.

“We just passed 130 miles to go and are in the home stretch,” said Hennessy by satellite link this morning.  “As expected, Concise is making us fight every inch of the way.  The northern pack they are part of got a bit more wind in the early morning hours and picked up some incremental speed.  As a result, Concise sits six miles in front of us on the tracker.  This is going to be a fight all the way to the final gun.  Racing 3,000 miles and finishing within sight of one another is what racing should be all about.”

Class 40 Sailing Yacht Concise 2 during the Transatlantic Race 2011 - © Amory Ross

Class 40 Sailing Yacht Concise 2 during the Transatlantic Race 2011 - © Amory Ross

For the last four years, Tony Lawson (Haslemere, U.K.), owner of Concise 2, has used his Class 40 as a highly successful platform for young British sailors to gain experience in prestigious offshore events.  Lawson believes that the yachts still racing are crewed by the real heroes of this race.

“The superyachts in this race are too exciting for words,” said Lawson.  “However, personally, the heroes of this piece have to be the amateur sailors who have left families behind, dropped classes, even given up jobs to fulfill their dream of ‘doing a transatlantic.’  On Concise 2 the physical hardship that is a Class 40, and the torment of these last few windless days, has only brought the crew closer together…made the conversation deeper, the wit sharper, and no doubt the fish and chips and that first pint in Cowes taste better.  After 2,900 miles of racing there is just a few miles between us and our sister ship Dragon, it is just too close to call.  There is only one certainty; there are no losers left out there.  They are all winners in the Transatlantic Race 2011.”

The next yacht to finish the Transatlantic Race 2011 could well be the Volvo 60, Ambersail, whose Lithuanian team made a break well south of the chasing pack, which seems to have paid off handsomely.   However, a few miles behind and with a better wind angle coming into the finish, Beau Geste, skippered by Karl Kwok (Hong Kong), and Vanquish, crewed by the Oakcliff All-American Offshore Team, are also locked in a close duel.  Ambersail look to have the advantage, but they could still be caught.

In IRC Class Four, which were the yachts to take the first start the Transatlantic Race 2011 on June 26, there is another close battle brewing.  Rives Potts, Jr. (Essex, Conn.), skipper of Carina, the McCurdy and Rhodes 48, currently has a five-mile lead on the Army Sailing Association’s Archambaud 40, British Soldier, crewed by active duty members of the British Army. 

Sponsors of the TR 2011 are Rolex, Thomson Reuters, Newport Shipyard, Perini Navi and Peters & May, with additional support by apparel sponsor Atlantis Weathergear.

Transatlantic Race 2011: Superyacht Maltese Falcon and sailing yacht ICAP Leopard finish

July 14, 2011

Newport, R.I. USA (July 13, 2011) – Yesterday, as the sun was setting on the Cornish coast, ICAP Leopard, skippered by Clarke Murphy (New York, N.Y.), passed The Lizard to finish the Transatlantic Race 2011 at 20:42 UTC. Since the 4th of July when ICAP Leopard snapped its bowsprit, there has been no whinging from on board. Sailing yacht ICAP Leopard did not even report the breakage until several days after the incident. After the finish, Clarke Murphy was quick to praise the crew.

ICAP Leopard (shown at start) sailed the majority of the Transatlantic Race 2011 with a broken bow sprit.  It has now finished. (photo credit TR2011Billy Black)

ICAP Leopard (shown at start) sailed the majority of the Transatlantic Race 2011 with a broken bow sprit. It has now finished. (photo credit TR2011Billy Black)

“To break the sprit 36 hours into the race was a shock and incredibly frustrating. The first focus was to make sure we were still safe and then to keep us in the race. The sprit was bouncing into the hull, hanging off the bobstay, but after having recovered it and checked the hull, we were back racing again in 40 minutes. We had to change our strategy, think on our feet, and to cross the Atlantic in nine days was a great achievement from the position we were in. The crew has been outstanding in every department, and there has been no lack of humour in this crowd, or lack of ribbing. We still had a good time, and the chocolate thieves were caught eventually! This is an incredibly experienced group of people with great character who could adapt and keep us going.”

Superyacht Maltese Falcon during hte Transatlantic Race 2011. Image copyright Billy Black.

Superyacht Maltese Falcon during hte Transatlantic Race 2011. Image copyright Billy Black.

The superyacht Maltese Falcon received high praise from other competing yachts, and rightly so. The skill of the crew was there for all to see right from the start when the immense superyacht tacked in confined quarters to perfection, casting an enormous shadow on the spectator fleet. Later in the race, the crew on the Cookson 50 Jazz was aghast as the Maltese Falcon gybed their enormous three-masted rig time after time to stay in the pressure.

Last night, just after 0100 UTC, the Maltese Falcon arrived at The Lizard, and the magnificent 289’ Perini Navi sent a heartwarming message back from the racecourse, written by crewmember Sean Truscott.

Sunset from onboard sailing yacht Maltese Falcon, which has now finished the Transatlantic Race 2011

Sunset from onboard sailing yacht Maltese Falcon, which has now finished the Transatlantic Race 2011

 “A jubilant crew brings the Big Bird to the line at The Lizard, and the race has ended for us. This is no time to mourn our loss to Phaedo, which has our sincerest congratulations for their outstanding victory. With Maltese Falcon built not as a race boat but a large sailing super yacht, we are proud of our performance and proud to have been part of this spectacular event with all her challenges. Thank you to all the organisers, sponsors and participants. It was wicked!

“The remaining hours of our race presented us with an awe-inspiring seascape view of the setting sun over Bishops Rock. Tonight, as the props turn for their first time since the start, the moon sets to our stern, a large yellow orb. Sadly we cannot linger to enjoy the festivities and the camaraderie with the other crew, as our purpose and business hails us back to the Med, but we wish we were able to, and the fleet still at sea we wish the best.”

ICAP Leopard and Maltese Falcon may not have tasted victory at The Lizard, but their performance and attitude has been commendable and a credit to the sport.

Keep Calm and Carry On

For the remaining 19 boats yet to finish the Transatlantic Race 2011, progress is agonisingly slow. Most of the yachts out on the racecourse are approximately 250 miles from the finish, and looking at the tracker, it resembles the start line for a foot race, with the competitors waiting for the starting pistol.

Fair winds still elude the yachts; however, more wind is expected to arrive from the south or southwest in about 24 hours’ time, which should increase in strength, giving the yachts a roaring finish into The Lizard. Most of the yachts should finish the Transatlantic Race over the coming weekend.

The big decision at the moment is whether to try to make it to the southern coast of the island and pick up breeze from the land or to stay to the south, where the breeze should fill in first. Tony Lawson’s Class 40, Concise 2, skippered by Ned Collier-Wakefield (Oxford, U.K.) is heading for the Irish coast.  The young British team have seen their substantial lead over class rival Dragon, skippered by Mike Hennessy (Mystic, Conn.), evaporate to just a few miles. Similar anguish must be present on Carina, skippered by Rives Potts (Essex, Conn.). Their main rival, British Soldier, skippered by Nick Bate (Falmouth, Cornwall, U.K.) is now in a threatening position, but the British Army team does owe Carina a considerable amount of time in IRC Class Four.

The morale on board the yachts still racing will have become a very important factor towards their performance. After many days at sea, living in close quarters with the same people, tempers can and do get tested. Sleep deprivation and dwindling food supplies adds tension to the mix. “Keep calm and carry on” is an old phrase that has become popular again, especially with relevance to the late-2000 recession. These would be wise words for the competitors in the Transatlantic Race 2011 to cogitate, if they want to get the result that their performance deserves.

Sponsors of the TR 2011 are Rolex, Thomson Reuters, Newport Shipyard, Perini Navi and Peters & May, with additional support by apparel sponsor Atlantis Weathergear.

Transatlantic Race 2011: Magical Moments

July 12, 2011

Newport, R.I. USA (July 12, 2011) – Dreams — of deep sleep and wholesome food — have come true, as three more Transatlantic Race 2011 class winners arrived at The Lizard in the south of England today.  While the sailors have put to an end the days of going without, memories of the adventure will linger forever.

Zaraffa Reichel Pugh 66-footer at the start of Transatlantic Race 2011 Newport RI  Photo Credit TR2011 ©Billy Black

Zaraffa Reichel Pugh 66-footer at the start of Transatlantic Race 2011 Newport RI Photo Credit TR2011 ©Billy Black

Just after sunrise sailing yacht Zaraffa, a Reichel Pugh 65, passed The Lizard to finish the Transatlantic Race 2011 with skipper Huntington Sheldon (Shelburne, Vt.), who, at age 80, is believed to be the oldest competitor in the race.  S/Y Zaraffa completed the 2,975 nautical mile course in less than 12 days and was over 400 miles ahead of any other yacht in Class IRC Three, winning the class by a handsome margin.  Notably, on Zaraffa, Sheldon took both line honors and the overall win of the 2003 Daimler Chrysler North Atlantic Challenge, which also started in Newport, but finished in Hamburg, Germany [with a course time of 13 days, 15 hours, 7 minutes and 28 seconds].  He subsequently donated the yacht to the U.S. Naval Academy (Annapolis, Md.) and chartered it back for this event.

The Gunboat 66 Phaedo finishing the Transatlantic Race 2011 - Photo by Richard Langdon Ocean Images

The Gunboat 66 Phaedo finishing the Transatlantic Race 2011 - Photo by Richard Langdon Ocean Images

In the two-boat Open Class, Lloyd Thornburg (St. Barthelemy), skipper of the Gunboat 66 Phaedo, was ecstatic when the Lamborghini-orange multihull crossed the finish line in light air.  With a 100-mile lead, Phaedo was the victor in a David and Goliath battle with the magnificent 289’ superyacht Maltese Falcon.  

“It has been an epic adventure,” said Thornburg of the race via satellite phone.  “We enjoyed the RORC Caribbean 600 so much and it [the Transatlantic Race 2011] just seemed like the next step.  During the windy part of this race, we were screaming along in big seas.  That was pretty exciting and sometimes hair-raising, especially when flying a hull at night!  The last few days, however, were slow.  Fortunately, Phaedo has plenty of onboard entertainment — I think our movie count was 25 films.

“It has been a wild and amazing experience with some incredible memories.  The highlights for me were seeing water so clean it was the color of blue Gatorade; and, when we were becalmed, we had a shark circling the boat which was very eerie.  Crossing the Atlantic, you lose track of time and it gives you the feeling like you have gone into space.  Now we are heading back to life on land; we are all looking forward to sleeping through the night and we are all tired of freeze-dried food.  I think that we will all be tucking into a full English breakfast when we hit the dock at Southampton.  Our hearts really go out to the boats that are still out there, some of them must be having a real rough time of it, knowing that it will be days before they get in.”

Jazz, Chris Bull’s Cookson 50 which is being skippered by Nigel King (Lymington, U.K.), was the fifth yacht to finish the Transatlantic Race 2011 and appears to have won IRC Class Two.  “We set out with a clear goal to deliver a top sailing performance worthy of this team, regardless of the final result,” said King.  “The guys have never wavered from the challenge and have done so with smiles all the way.  Once again ocean racing shows to me why it is the ultimate challenge – it’s a total privilege to be the skipper of this team.”

As Jazz approached the finish, several of the crew reflected on the best moments of the race across the Atlantic.

Navigator Mike Broughton (Hamble, U.K.) described “a marvelous minute of offshore racing” in his first sighting of a blue whale and the sight of dolphins riding a bow wave.  “Uncharacteristically, I saw two of these magical mammals slightly misjudge their flight paths and tap the bobstay with their tails.”

Australian Brendan Garner (Victoria) felt privileged to have been given the opportunity to race across the North Atlantic.  “A new experience for me was helming at 20 knots of boat speed, pitch black at night, heavy fog, three degrees of water temperature and the crew on iceberg watch.  High adrenalin sailing.”

For Anthony “Ski” Haines (Cowes, U.K.), ocean racing at its very best was launching downwind in the mid-Atlantic at 20+ knots and “seeing the whole boat and crew working so well, to the point where we did not have to think about anything …except going as fast as possible.”

And, for a sailor making his first transatlantic crossing, it was a defining experience.  “I have climbed my mountain,” said Christian Ripard (Valetta, Malta) after sailing almost 3,000 miles.

There remain 21 yachts out racing on the North Atlantic Ocean, including the S&S 42, Sasha. With over 800 miles to the finish, the beautiful, sleek yacht likely has a week more at sea.  Skipper Albrecht Peters and his wife Erika (Hamburg, Germany) have owned and raced Sasha for over 30 years and have just two other crew onboard, Christine Beech and Ron Melton both from New Zealand.  For many people three weeks at sea is a long time; the Albrecht’s, however, have sailed Sasha through more than 110,000 miles of ocean and are very much at home.