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St. Barths Bucket Regatta 2012: Day 1 – Natures Deck Wash

March 24, 2012

Written by Zuzana Bednarova

Today’s very rainy St. Barths Bucket yacht race featured unseasonable – even cold – all day´s rain falling in buckets that even brought wind. So Day One of the Saint Barths Bucket proved to be very interesting indeed, a dramatic start to an always amazing racing spectacle.

Beautiful Caribbean charter yacht location - St. Barths

Beautiful Caribbean yacht charter location - St. Barths

To begin with, this incredible fleet, featuring 47 of the world´s most impressive sailing yachts, hailing from every yacht building nation on earth, with a LOA of close to two kilometers in length total is mind boggling to any normal human being, even us hundreds of die-hard Bucketeers. Add in a new, fourth ratings class, and the ever-present discussions which surround the Bucket Ratings System, and the stage is set for a lot of excitement.

Day One as usual featured the ‘Round the Island Race’ clockwise. The races here are based on the pursuit racing theory which has yachts begin at staggered times based on predicted performance, which when figured correctly (as if this were possible with a fleet of this breathtaking diversity), and counting in slightly differing courses for some of the classes – could, or should result in all of the yachts coming across the finish line at the same time. Great concept, and there’s doubt that no one does it better that our ratings guru Jim Teeters, but can you imagine the fear factor in that amount enormous, and hugely valuable fleet of floating assets bearing on the same finish line at the same time? Needless to say, it rarely happens just that way.

Today´s Bucket racing proved about as good as it gets, despite the unseasonable weather. Most of the yachts had great starts, with many of them right on the money, or bare seconds behind their allotted times. Throughout the race, which was either 20.8 or 24.5 miles depending upon your class, there was some seriously thrilling sailing. The finishes – proving that the years of data crunching behind the Bucket Ratings system actually does produce results – were in a few cases almost too close. The final mark proved a bottle neck, which saw several encounters of the heart-stopping variety, including a couple of clusters of Perini Navis coming within drink-sharing distance of each other. A definitely too intimate meeting of the charter yacht Whisper, the superyacht Rebecca and the sailing yacht Salperton – which came very close to producing the seriously frowned-upon protest – was averted at the last minute by the usual gentlemanly discussion. No T-bones today!

Luxury charter yacht Parsifal III at the St Barth's Bucket

Luxury charter yacht Parsifal III at the St Barth's Bucket

These yachts, although increasingly built to perform on the race course, are still at heart cruising vessels, and invariably, the rarely seen stresses that racing places on the yachts can – and does – cause some damage. Depending on who you spoke to, there were anything from four to eight spinnaker sails shredded, including those on Barracuda and Meteor. Most seriously damaged was the largest yacht in the fleet, the very impressive 67m Baltic Yacht megayacht Hetairos, designed by one of hottest current yacht design collaborations possible, Dysktra and Reichel/Pugh. She unfortunately hit a submerged rock and did quite a bit of damage to her keel – yet finished the race to the bitter end.

This was a race where experience really counted. The gorgeous classic 43m ketch Rebecca, which was designed by German Frers, and built at Pendennis Shipyard, has participated in many yacht races worldwide. Their well-rehearsed team, composed of experienced former and current yacht skippers, has brought them onto the winners’ podium at numerous Buckets. They chose the conservative route, carrying up on deck and rigging three different spinnakers, and in the end, although they could have chosen a more aggressive approach, went with a heavier sail, but at least, brought it back on deck safe and sound. From my point of view riding on board as an ‘extra’, the swath she cut through the eleven vessel Elegantes de Mer class, with a start as second-to-last place, and finishing right in the middle provided a fantastic view of the entire fleet as we chased and caught up with most of the yachts on the course today.

The newly formed Mademoiselles de la Mer class, dominated by no less than ten Dubois designed beauties, saw a very excited Ed Dubois chortling over his very first ever Bucket race win on the sailing yacht Lady B, snagging both first in class and first over all. The charter yacht Ganesha and the charter yacht Salperton IV came in at 2nd and 3rd place respectively. With the vast quantity of yacht owners they make happy year after year – not to mention the aesthetic satisfaction they bring to their legion of fans worldwide – they deserve lots of prizes. Congrats to him and his great Dubois team!

Sailing yachts at St. Barths Bucket 2012

Sailing yachts at St. Barths Bucket 2012 - Photo: Mark Charlton of Real Media Travel

In Les Grandes Dames, a/k/a the Perini Navi class, there was a battle of titans, as two of the Bucket founder captains, Tim Laughridge and Ian Craddock did guest helmsman duty on the charter yacht Parsifal III and the charter yacht Antara. The light variable winds did not at all favor these elegant, stately beauties, yet that did not stop them from battling mightily all throughout the race course. Capt. Timmy snagged a First in class with some quite aggressive driving. The charter yacht Axia, with her multi-generation family team, their dogged hard work, and long-time Bucket participation, well merited their close 2nd in class. The sleek charter yacht Panthalassa rounded out 3rd place in Les Grandes.

Adela, another long-time favourite Bucket boat, swept to first in Les Elegantes, with the sailing yacht Blue Too and the charter yacht This Is Us chasing them closely. Overall winners were Lady B, the superyacht Adela, and the charter yacht Mari-Cha III. The newly instituted daily prize givings were well-attended by many still soggy Bucketeers.

The rain stopped just in time for the chamois to be wielded, the champagne popped, and hors d’oeuvres to be prepared for the Yacht Hop, which due to some serious security measures, remained very civilized. Very popular were the charter yacht Bliss, the sailing yacht Barracuda and the charter yacht Parsifal III, but as usual – the party winner favours always go to those dancing fools on Antara. Their theme this year was Motown, and they had the sound system, the tunes, the bling and the hairdos to carry it off in style.

The sun is out for Day Two of the Saint Barths Bucket 2012. Everybody is  looking forward to enjoying another great day out on the water.

2012 St Barths Bucket Regatta: Impressive first day win for the J Class sailing yacht Endeavour

March 23, 2012

Written by Eva Belanyiova

Luxury yacht builder of New Zealand, Yachting Developments, marks a historic day today. For the first time ever, the four J Class sailing yachts; Endeavour, Hanuman, charter yacht Ranger and sailing yacht Velsheda, lined up and competed against each other in the St Barths Bucket Regatta being held this week in the beautiful Caribbean.

Yachting Developments charter yacht Endeavour

Yachting Developments charter yacht Endeavour

Fresh off the ship from her mammoth two year refit at Yachting Developments yard in New Zealand, charter yacht Endeavour showed the fleet her pedigree with an impressive first race win.

J Class finishing order:

1st. Endeavour

2nd. Velsheda

3rd. Ranger

4th. Hanuman

Yachting Developments would like to congratulate the owners and crews for making this historical milestone possible.

St Barths Bucket Regatta 2012: Something Old, Something New, Something Refit, Something Blue — J Class yachts

March 23, 2012

Written by Zuzana Bednarova

When speaking about the ‘match race’ for J Class yachts today, St Barths Bucket Race Committee Chairman Peter Craig said it just right in but a few words: “it was quite a sight!” An understatement if there ever was one, for to see four of these simply amazing yachts out sailing on the fabulous Caribbean waters was probably closer to a holy experience for anyone who has any interest in the history of yachting. In this environment, with St. Barths packed with many magnificent yachts, and passionate yachtsmen as well as women thick on the water and the docks, there were plenty feeling that beautiful big J vibe.


St. Barths Bucket Regatta 2012 Photo by Tim Wright

J Class Yachts have a special place in yachting lore, which still resonates today thanks to the efforts both some dedicated yacht owners and the J Class Association which since 2000 has worked tirelessly to bring these floating legends back to life. Only ten of these graceful bohemoths were built to race in the America´s Cups during the 1930’s with several more designed and tank tested, but only three survived being scrapped during the WWII. There are now seven sailing today, with one more under construction, and three in design, including the recently announced “Super J” Cheveyo, a collaboration between S&S and Spirit Yachts, which will proudly carry the designation J 1.

On Wednesday, those of us fortunate enough to witness this incredible race were treated to seeing four J Class beauties racing together in an excitingly close race, carefully orchestrated the day before Bucket racing begins in earnest tomorrow. They will also be sailing again in days ahead as part of the Bucket  fleet– all leading up the much anticipated J Class races happening this summer on the Solent, to be held throughout  June and July, culminating in the new Hundred Guineas Cup (which would later become known as the America’s Cup, the oldest sporting trophy in existence). Today´s race is itself an historic occasion, bringing together four J’s for the first time in over 75 years.

Many of us have for many years already been enjoying watching the charter yacht Ranger in action, with her tight teamwork and a very loyal crew who have gathered at regattas worldwide since her launch several years ago as the first  new J, based on the plans of the original Ranger. Newport-based yachtswomen extraordinaire Elizabeth Myers rescued the hull of the charter yacht Endeavour in the 1980’s, and her re-launch in 1989, after a complete re-build by Royal Huisman helped spark renewed interest in these classic remnants of yachting days gone – but quite obviously not forgotten.

Sailing yacht LADY B

Sailing yacht LADY B

Endeavour has just returned to the Northern hemisphere after a total overhaul including new masts, decks and other major refit items in the sailing mecca of New Zealand – looking even more beautiful than ever. Black hulled sailing yacht Hanuman, built for another extremely serious yachtsman, Jim Clark, was also a new hull, built as required to conform to the original J Class designs. Truly spectacular J superyacht Velsheda, yet another of the rare remaining originals has also been totally refit, and re-launched in her full glory just in time to start this exciting J Class racing season.

It wasn’t just the sight of these historic phenomenons sailing together that raised the heart rates of the many observers out enjoying the show – for this was a real race. For those of us fortunate enough to be invited to view the spectacle in style from the deck of the committee boat Rena, just the sight of four Js coming across the starting line within seconds of each other was already incredible, but then for two hours, over a 19 mile course, they continued to battle in close formation, finishing again within bare minutes of each other, with the finish in winning order: Endeavour, Velsheda, Ranger, and not even one boat length behind, the Hanuman superyacht bringing in fourth place. A worthy and exciting race in any regatta, but this fleet obviously made a special day even more breath-taking.

Sadly, a serious injury one of the crew members of the luxury yacht Velsheda cast a sad spell over this festive day, but in true sporting style, he apparently insisted that Velsheda finish the race before he was whisked off the hospital. Our prayers go to this brave crewman for a speedy recovery, and to his fellow crew and owner to help him in this tough journey ahead.

Today, Friday is Bucket Day One. Everything has changed, for in a surprise move, the Bucket Committee, in consultation with the Big Five builders, skippers and owners, decided to add a fourth class.  So today the 47 vessel strong fleet will be broken up according to Jim Teeters Bucket Racing System as Grandes Dames, Les Gazelles, Les Elegantes or Les Mademoiselles de la Mer. So far, early in the morning, there’s not a puff of breeze, but hopefully along with the predicted rain, we’ll also see some wind.

The kick-off event on the docks last night attracted a couple of hundred sailors, ready to commune and celebrate with like-minded friends from near and far. The Owners Soiree, held for the first time at La Plage, was also extremely well attended – so everyone is properly lubricated for a great day of racing ahead!

As the Bucket co-founder, Hank Halsted says: “Let’s  call up the Wind Gods to bring us some breeze.”

BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival to start on Monday!

March 23, 2012

Written by Eva Belanyiova

With only three days to go, the BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival starts on Monday 26 March, with the competition organisers busy getting ready for a week of exciting racing and legendary parties. The Sailing Festival is celebrating her 10th anniversary this year and a record entry of yachts from all over the world will be taking part in the event. The British Virgin Islands are well known for the pristine blue waters and heavenly weather, as well as the stunning archipelago of islands, offering one of the most picturesque settings anywhere in the Caribbean.

The BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival starts on Monday 26 March Credit Todd VanSickle:BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival 

The BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival starts on Monday 26 March Credit Todd VanSickle: BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival

The BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival provides a myriad of fantastic sailing; breathtaking coastal racing, renowned buoy and round the islands racing. Undoubtedly the fastest yacht competing will be Paradox, skippered by Frenchman, Olivier Vigoureux. The 63′ multihull is capable of ballistic speed, hitting a mind boggling 38 knots during this year’s RORC Caribbean 600. Probably the fastest monohull will be American Bill Alcott’s STP65, Equation.

The Farr designed speed machine is a past winner of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race and Alcott has a highly accomplished team on board visiting from Miami. Bill Alcott won the first BVI Sailing Festival and he has been coming back ever since.

A huge variety of yachts will be competing including the legendary Whitbread Maxi, Rothmans. Bill Erixon and his Swedish team is celebrating a world sailing tour and chose the BVI Spring Regatta for their Caribbean adventure. From Los Angeles, California, a Wild West duel is likely between two one design Farr400s. Mick Shlens’ charter yacht Blade should be evenly matched with Dougie Baker’s Magnitude. From Trinidad, Peter Peake will be campaigning his new charge, Peake Yacht Services. The Reichel Pugh 37 is a real pocket rocket and a former winner of the Cape Town to Rio Race. British entry, sailing yacht Diamonds are Forever skippered by Annie O’Sullivan, should prove to be one of the more colourful entries. The all-girl sailing school has a reputation for consistent form at regattas, by partying as hard as they sail on the water!

The BVI Spring Regatta Race Village on Nanny Cay Beach - Credit Todd Van Sickle:BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival 

The BVI Spring Regatta Race Village on Nanny Cay Beach - Credit Todd Van Sickle: BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival

The Sailing Festival kicks off the week long festivities and starts with an awe-inspiring passage races from Nanny Cay to the Bitter End Yacht Club in beautiful Virgin Gorda. With small bays and hidden coves, the British Virgin Islands are a wondrous sight and winding through the pristine chain of islands is every sailors dream. Beyond doubt the BVIs are a tropical paradise and there is ample opportunity to explore the delights of Virgin Gorda on Lay Day. The return passage race down the channel, to Nanny Cay Marina will complete the Sailing Festival, bringing the fleet back to Tortola in time to join the party for the BVI Spring Regatta.

Nanny Cay Marina will already be buzzing with excitement; Wednesday and Thursday 28-29 March, Nanny Cay will play host to the GILL BVI International Match Racing Championships. Two days of exciting duels between IC24’s on tight windward leeward courses. Eight international teams will battle it out in an ISAF sanctioned Grade 3 match racing event. With expert race commentary, spectators can follow the drama as it unfolds from the shore of Nanny Cay.

The BVI Spring Regatta attracts the largest fleet at the event and runs from March 30 – April 1. With three days of world-class racing action and famous beach parties at Nanny Cay Marina, the regatta is not to be missed. The action off the water includes the annual bikini show on Saturday and stilt walking Moko Jumbies on Sunday night, so there’s plenty to entertain racers and spectators alike. Every evening,video footage from the day’s event will be broadcast in the Race Village and there will be daily results and race reports with awesome pictures of the sailing action and evening festivities.

Nautor’s Swan 100 charter yacht VIRAGO – Winner of the 2012 St. Maarten Heineken Regatta

March 23, 2012

Written by Zuzana Bednarova

On a beautiful, sun-splashed day with solid easterly tradewinds coursing over the deep blue seas surrounding the fabulous Caribbean island of St. Maarten, a spectacular fleet of 202 yachts in 15 separate divisions hoisted sail on Friday, March 2 to start the 32nd edition of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta.

Nautors Swan 100 charter yacht VIRAGO

Nautors Swan 100 charter yacht VIRAGO

On the first day the breeze was sharp and steady. On the second day of the annual Caribbean sailing festival, it blew harder still. On the third and final day of competition, the wind gods truly unleashed their power. And the result was one of the more stirring, sensational days of racing in the grand and storied legacy of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta.

When the racers crossed the finish for the third and final race of the 2012 running, a new roster of St. Maarten Heineken Regatta champions was crowned.

Winner on the final race day in CSA 2 was Klaas van Duuren, but in the overall standings, it was too little, too late, to overcome Bill and Carolyn Titus’s magnificent Swan 100 charter yacht Virago, which earned a second today—along with two firsts in the previous two contests—to record a comfortable win in the “Big Boat” division. Klaas even missed the post to 2nd place, narrowly beaten by Kip Curren’s Swan 90 charter yacht Nefertiti. And yet another Swan claimed 4th place; Tomek Ulatowski’s Swan 100 luxury yacht Varsovie.

CSA 5 was another back-and-forth affair, which came down to two boats: a local boat and Jack Desmond’s Swan 48 CR yacht Affinity. The windy weather, and a fair bit of local knowledge, favoured the local which wrapped up the division title with a victory in the deciding race. Affinity finished in an impressive 3rd place.

CSA7 saw one of the closest battles in this year’s event. Valerio Bardi’s Swan 46 yacht Milatno, was nipped to top position by just one point.

The 2012 International Rolex Regatta to start today

March 23, 2012

Written by Zuzana Bednarova

Hundreds of sailors on 68 teams are getting ready for the next three days of racing at the 39th International Rolex Regatta, starting today. The wind conditions, however, seem to be quite challenging.

The 2012 International Rolex Regatta starts today

The 2012 International Rolex Regatta starts today

Right out of the box will be Stephen Murray, Jr.’s Carkeek 40 yacht Decision, which has been designed to the newly developed HPR (High Performance Rule) and will headline in one of two CSA classes here that has no less than six other 40-footers “raring to compare.”

“There is no rating rule promoting the light (displacement) grand prix racing boats as a continuum between 30 and 70 feet,” said Sean Carkeek, the South African designer who has been working for a year on the rule as part of a technical committee developed specifically to fill this void.

According to Carkeek, the HPR will change all that when regattas eventually adopt dual scoring under the widely used IRC rule and HPR in classes where it needs to apply. At the International Rolex Regatta, the likes of Michael Shlens’ (Palos Verdes Estates, California) Blade and Doug Baker’s (Long Beach, California) Magnitude 400, both Farr 400 yachts, are sure to spice up the competition among the 40 footers.

In addition, two Class 40 yachts, which typically are outfitted for short-handed offshore sailing, are competing with accomplished skippers aboard. Andrew Fisher (Greenwich, Conn.) will take the helm of Icarus, while Berry Lewis (Mill Valley, California) will steer 40 Degrees.

In IRC, it will be a trio of 52 footers – Lord Irvine Laidlaw of Rothiemay’s (MON) Highland Fling XII, Ashley Wolfe’s (Calgary, AB, CAN) Mayhem, and Peter Cunningham’s (Georgetown, Cay) PowerPlay – and a Cookson 50, Ron O’Hanley’s (Newport, R.I.) Privateer, that are likely to stand out, while the reborn 65-foot Rosebud, now called Equation, will be out for a first showing since bought by Bill Alcott (St. Clair Shores, Mich.).

Among the power names onboard these boats are America’s Cup notables Peter Holmberg, Mike Toppa, Tony Rey, and George Skuodas. As well, Great Britain’s Brian Thompson, who layed to waste previous around-the-world speed records with his recent circumnavigation aboard the 130-foot trimaran yacht Banque Populaire V, will be skippering the Safe Passage company’s Andrews 72 Safara, which is the largest boat competing here.

Willem Wester (Zeeland, The Netherlands), with Volvo Ocean Race veteran Boewe Bekking (NED) calling tactics, will attempt to repeat his IRC class victory from last year, sailing the Grand Soleil 46 yacht Antilope. With today’s winds expected to be between 15 and 20 knots, Bekking says this may be hard to recreate, however. “When it’s windy the lighter displacement boats in our class this time should be going better,” said Bekking, “but if it’s light we can have a pretty fair race.”

For the USA’s Olympic medalist Charlie McKee (Seattle, Wash.), who is serving as tactician aboard Mayhem, it is mostly about the experience of being here for the first time that has him “expecting crazy, wild, mixed up racing that’s super fun!”

The International Rolex Regatta is a cornerstone of the spring Caribbean racing schedule, and as such attracts top programs from around the world for its mix of buoy and point-to-point races. It also distinguishes itself by having multiple races a day for all classes. “It’s all part of a unique mix of island-style fun and hard-core IRC, CSA and one design racing,” said Regatta Co-chair Bill Canfield, pointing out a massive, specially-constructed stage rising out of the water on the St. Thomas Yacht Club’s own beach. It is where a band will play today´s and Saturday´s nights and where the Rolex Awards will wrap up the event on Sunday, when winners in select classes win coveted Rolex watches.

Spectators will get a treat today when all classes sail to Charlotte Amalie Harbor for their first race, then return to St. Thomas Yacht Club for their second (and some classes may have a third race). On Saturday, spectators can watch IC 24s and Beach Cats sail as many as eight buoy races in Great Bay, while other classes sail longer courses on the south side of St. John. On Sunday, while the IC 24s sail up to six races in Jersey Bay, all other classes will sail two “Pillsbury Sound” races.

The Naples America’s Cup World Series to start on April 11, 2012

March 23, 2012

Written by Zuzana Bednarova

The first championship races in 2012 in the America’s Cup World Series are due to start in less than three weeks, on April 11, on the waters off Naples, Italy.

The America’s Cup World Series Naples, April 11, 2012

The America’s Cup World Series Naples, April 11, 2012

As the crews make their final preparations, ORACLE Racing skipper Jimmy Spithill, who has previously raced for the Italian Luna Rossa team from 2004-2007, says he thinks the Italian fans will be blown away by the new-look America’s Cup – with short course racing in exciting and fast wing-sailed catamaran yachts, all within shouting distance of the crowds on the shoreline.

“The Italian fans are some of the most passionate in the world. They are devoted, emotional, die-hard fans who really enjoy the competition,” he said. “I’m very excited about getting there and experiencing it again… I think people will really enjoy the show. It’s a new game, it’s a lot more exciting and I think the Italians will love it.”

Today, a revised format for the event has been issued which provides a balanced schedule of match racing, fleet racing and speed trials across the five days of competition that climaxes on Sunday April 15 when the winner of the Naples Fleet Race Championship is crowned.

Two things stand out in the new format – each fleet race, at 35 minutes, is longer than in prior events, and the Fleet Racing Championship will be determined by performance across all nine scheduled races, as opposed to the previous, winner-take-all race on the final Sunday.

With all of the fleet races counting towards the final score, teams will need to be at the top of their game from the first start gun. Each race is critical to remain in contention for the Championship heading into Sunday’s big finale.

Regatta Director Iain Murray issued the changes to the format: “The fleet race on the final Sunday (April 15) is the most valuable race on the schedule in terms of points, with the scoring heavily weighted to that last race. But now, all of the other fleet races will also count towards determining the overall Fleet Racing Champion in Naples. We think this strikes a good balance between rewarding consistently strong performances over the five days of racing, as well as energizing the crews and fans alike with a critical final race on Sunday.

“And although the individual fleet races are longer in duration, the race courses themselves will remain very tight, placing a premium on boat-handling and crew work,” Murray explained. “The race may last longer, but the pressure on the crews remains intense.”

The match races will remain short and sharp with a target time of 15-minutes. Teams will race for three days to advance through to Saturday’s one-race showdown for the Match Racing Championship. But here too, the format is unforgiving – crews must win to advance. With a single loss meaning elimination, upsets could be on the cards.

Meanwhile, the construction project necessary to accommodate the event in Naples is proceeding on schedule, with the infrastructure expected to be ready for the first week of April, when some of the teams will begin sailing ahead of ‘open training’ over the weekend of April 7-8. The Championship racing starts on Wednesday April 11th. Shore side, the public Race Village in Naples will be open from April 7 through 15, with public entertainment each night.

America’s Cup Receives Emmy Nomination for LiveLine Innovation

March 23, 2012

Written by Zuzana Bednarova

A new computer graphics as well as data technology that permits international television viewers to watch America’s Cup racing with a closeness and accuracy never before possible has received an Emmy nomination.

LiveLine Match Race Finish

LiveLine Match Race Finish

The backbone of the America’s Cup television broadcasting, the revolutionary LiveLine data and graphics system has been nominated for the George Wensel Outstanding Technical Achievement Award, which recognizes extraordinary technical innovation that enhances the broadcast for viewers.

With the goal of growing the sport of sailing internationally, the organizers of the 34th America’s Cup have made a significant investment in the spectator experience.

LiveLine Course Markings

LiveLine Course Markings

“The America’s Cup has always been at the forefront of innovation for technology,” said Jon Miller, President, Programming, NBC Sports and NBC Sports Network. “We want to congratulate LiveLine on their Emmy nomination and are excited to able to work with them to provide this kind of cutting edge technology into our upcoming America’s Cup broadcasts.”

Developed exclusively for America’s Cup broadcasts by the America’s Cup Event Authority and Sportvision, LiveLine does what was previously impossible: overlay geo-positioned lines and data streams at 2 cm accuracy on live racecourse video shot from rapidly moving helicopter and water-based platforms. The result? Understandable action for spectators and precise data for race management operations.

LiveLine Gate 3

LiveLine Gate 3

Led by Director of Technology Stan Honey and the same team that developed the yellow first-down line widely used in the broadcast of American football and the Race/FX tracking and highlighting system used in NASCAR, this revolutionary graphics system was designed to have a similar effect on the America’s Cup as with car racing and football – connect new audiences to the sport. The LiveLine superimposed graphic elements are used as technical aids for viewers, such as ahead-behind lines that enable audiences to clearly see who is leading the race.

“In an industry which throws the term ‘genius’ about with merry abandonment, Stan Honey is the real article,” said David Hill, Chairman and CEO, Fox Sports Media Group. “I’m absolutely thrilled that once again his genius is being recognized.”

Director of Technology Stan Honey Credit Gilles Martin Raget

Director of Technology Stan Honey Credit Gilles Martin Raget

Driven by a GPS system that can track the America’s Cup catamaran yachts to within a two-centimeter accuracy on the race course, event organizers quickly saw the opportunity to leverage the system for on-the-water management of the sport. Telemetering of the course is allowing for rapid movement of marks and controlling course limits, while use of real-time overlap and zone-entry determinations enable umpires to make the most accurate decisions ever possible. One of the greatest results has been that every race held to date has finished on time, something that had previously been impossible in a sport dependent upon wind.

“Stan Honey’s use of graphic technology to make sailing understandable for both the casual fan and the veteran racer is extraordinary, making sailing exciting and more fun to watch,” said America’s Cup Hall of Fame inductee and US Sailing President, Gary Jobson. “I believe this groundbreaking innovation has the power to truly connect new audiences to our sport.”

Marseille to welcome the 2012 MOD70 European Tour Fleet on the only French stop

March 23, 2012

Written by Zuzana Bednarova

Marseille will welcome the MOD70 fleet from 23rd to 30th of September on the only French stop over during the MOD70 European Tour. The world’s best skippers as well as their extraordinary new generation of one-design trimaran yachts will be based in the heart of the natural sailing arena of Roucas Blanc alongside one of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour events.

Marseille to host the 2012 MOD70 European Tour Fleet

Marseille to host the 2012 MOD70 European Tour Fleet

The fleet of MOD70 yachts will have raced to Marseille from Cascais in Portugal and will be set to race on Friday 28th and Saturday 29th in front of the famed corniche of Marseille, as the prelude to their final event of the Tour which will finish in Italy. Under the constraints of one design racing Stève Ravussin, Michel Desjoyeaux, Sébastien Josse, Sidney Gavignet and Yann Guichard and their star studded crews will therefore race on equal terms against each other on the highly competitive inshore races that will comprise city races and speed matches.

Marseille, capital of sailing
Marseille has chosen to welcome this exciting new MOD70 class alongside the World Match Racing Tour, which the city has hosted for the past four years running.  The Phoenician city, which has an historic outlook on the sea with its 57-kilometre coastline, will become a mecca for sailing for the week.

In the heart of the sailing arena of Roucas Blanc the MOD70 and J80 fleet will take turns to race close to the coastline to give fans the chance to follow the racing live from land or enjoying the ambience of the race village, providing entertainment, running commentary and large screen. It will be open access.

Franck David, Executive Director of Multi One Design S.A.: “Being welcomed in Marseilles, a large French city, and along with an event on the Alpari-World Match Racing Tour, is a real opportunity for our new MOD70 circuit.  Our aim is to showcase the fleet of MOD70s in the venues that host Multi One Design Championship events to as many people as possible, provide good entertainment and also allow our partners and competing team owners the opportunity to host quality public relations events. I think that all these elements will come together at the end of September thanks primarily to the town of Marseille, to whom I extend my appreciation.”

60th Giraglia Rolex Cup 2012: St. Tropez, France to San Remo, Italy

March 22, 2012

Written by Chelsea Smith

The Giraglia Rolex Cup is one of the most popular yachting events in the Mediterranean and has been a tradition for European sailors close to 60 years. The event is a pageant of sailing and runs over a full week each year in mid-June.

2012 marks the 60th edition of the Giraglia Rolex Cup, an event that came to life in 1953 in a show of camaraderie between Italian and French sailors wishing to prove that the rigours of World War II were behind them.

Sailing yacht JETHOU, GBR rounding the Giraglia Rock - Photo By Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Sailing yacht JETHOU, GBR rounding the Giraglia Rock - Photo By Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

The key dates this year are Friday, 8 June to Friday, 15 June. Inshore racing on the Bay of Saint-Tropez takes place from Sunday, 10 to Tuesday, 12 June, and, the offshore race starts on Wednesday, 13 June. The period in Saint-Tropez has a quintessential French Mediterranean feel, with the three days of inshore racing allowing competitors to enjoy the culinary highlights of an engaging port, before embarking on the more serious challenge of a 241-nautical mile race to San Remo, via the Giraglia, a rocky outcrop off the northern tip of Corsica.

Regularly attracting in excess of 200 yachts for the week of competition, the event is a kaleidoscope of nationalities. The French and Italians make up the bulk of entries, but frequently yachts from the USA, United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Nordic countries, Eastern Europe, Russia, and, even Asia and the Southern Hemisphere add richness to the occasion.

There are various notable moments for the participants. Certainly, the most memorable is the customary crew party featuring live music, exceptional food and drink, and, a spectacular firework display. Hosted by Rolex, it is set amid the grounds of La Citadelle, the 17th century fort that dominates the skyline on the landward side of Saint-Tropez. This year, the Giraglia Rolex Cup Crew Party will be held on Monday, 11 June.

The Rolex Crew Party goes on at the Citadelle - Photo By Rolex  Carlo Borlenghi

The Rolex Crew Party goes on at the Citadelle - Photo By Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Thereafter, for those on the offshore race, the rounding of the Giraglia marks the turning for the home. The rock itself is like many others, topped with a lighthouse to help navigators with their bearings. It lies less than one nautical mile off the coast of Corsica, rises 66-metres at its highest point and measures 600-metres in length. Yet, it has achieved mythic proportion in the minds of racing sailors, who view it in similar terms as the Fastnet Rock: somewhere small and uninhabitable, but crucial in the quest to complete the challenge of the race.

Start of the inshore race Photo By Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Start of the inshore race Photo By Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

The inshore series prize giving will take place on Tuesday, 12 June in Saint-Tropez, whilst the final prize giving will be held on Friday, 15 June in San Remo. The event is organised by the Yacht Club Italiano one of the oldest yacht clubs in the Mediterranean, with the assistance of the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez (with both of which clubs Rolex enjoys an exclusive partnership), and, in conjunction with the Yacht Club de France. Rolex has sponsored the event since 1997.