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Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race: Day 16 – The race course shortened

April 29, 2012

The tension has increased over the last 24 hours of the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race as some of the ten yacht entries are still closer to each other. Futhermore, as anticipated, the Race Committee has shortened the race course.

Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race Credit: Abner Kingman/onEdition

Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race Credit: Abner Kingman/onEdition

Race Director Joff Bailey explains, “The Clipper Race Committee, chaired by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, has shortened the course for Race 10 by selecting one of the pre-existing gates within the Course Instructions as the new finish line. This line is perpendicular to the route and is long enough so that it does not adversely affect any team tactics, it is currently (at 0900GMT) 220nm ahead of Gold Coast Australia.

“The Race Committee has taken this decision after it was advised of maintenance work that is being undertaken on the Panama Canal locks over the coming weeks, the lighter than expected wind strengths on this section of the race and the need to maintain the overall race schedule.”

Over half of the fleet is now in Stealth Mode, meaning they are only visible to the Race Office, while they can work out tactics. Qingdao, New York and Visit Finland have been added to the “invisible” list since yesterday.

Winds are still very fluky, but the fleet closest to coast can expect some bad weather this afternoon. Renowned fleet meteorologist Simon Rowell says, “As you get further east you should get some pretty energetic convective activity in the afternoons along the coast.  This will include thunder, lightning and if you’re really lucky hail too.”

In the 0600 report to the Race Office, skipper Gareth Glover from the New York entry explains how packed the fleet is.

“Well the last few days we have had a few other Clipper Race yachts around us – Qingdao, Edinburgh Inspiring Capital and now Singapore who have flown in from behind us and are around 8 miles to our north. We have had a good boat speed over the last 24 hours with the wind we have been having making around 3 to 7 knots at times which is more than a few days ago were we had lower boat speed.

“Our tactics have been revised for the next part of this race and head towards the new gates the Clipper Race Committee has added as we were working on distance to finish in which we were mid fleet and now find ourselves further back than other yachts.

“The crew were so happy that we had won the Ocean Sprint as they have been working hard in the heat of the day and getting the bonus point makes it feel that it was all worth it.  We just need to keep the wind now over the next 48 hour so we can get back a few lost places.”

Being surrounded by other Clipper Race yachts has made Edinburgh Inspiring Capital even more competitive. Skipper Flavio Zamboni says, “The last 24 hours saw us making good progress. Having New York in sight first and then Qingdao made us try really hard to get as much speed as possible out of the breeze we’ve had.

“With Qingdao in particular we were in sight of each other for many hours, the two boats doing very similar speeds. We now seem to have opted for different tactics, us going for the shortest distance to the gates and them looking for better breeze inshore, and we will know soon which one pays off.”

The Chinese entry went into Stealth Mode at 0600UTC this morning. Qingdao’s skipper Ian Conchie says, “Today has been an interesting day in terms of tactics.  With the Race Committee activating the revised sailing instructions we have the choice to focus on the gates or to focus on overall distance to finish.

“We decided to focus on distance to finish; this meant in the short term that Edinburgh Inspiring Capital gained a place as we positioned the boat to try and get the best wind for the next few days only time will tell which was the right call.”

Happy with the Race Committee’s decision is English entry Welcome to Yorkshire. In his morning report, skipper Rupert Dean writes, “It was with great relief today that we received notice of the additional mandatory gates and shortened course instructions from the Race Committee. Whilst all on Welcome to Yorkshire have enjoyed Race 10, we’ve been enduring light winds and searing temperatures for some time and this update enables us to refocus for a tangible finish.

“You may have guessed through our offshore position, sailing the shortest distance to scoring gates has long been our priority, over distance to finish at Panama. Once we got offshore over a week ago, opportunities to sail back in to take advantage of sea breezes close inshore have been extremely limited, without losing serious miles to the opposition. That Gold Coast Australia managed this whilst retaining their lead, is a huge testament to them.”

Adding to boat positioning, Rupert continues, “Now, with the new gates announced, sailing the shortest line at an angle of 130°T (perpendicular to the gate at 220°T), is ever more crucial. It’s not so simple than that however. If you can increase the apparent wind, through sailing 10, 20 or even 30 degrees off 130°T, boat speed goes up accordingly, often more than compensating for extra distance to sail. It’s basic trigonometry which will see all the teams crunching the numbers to work out.”

Singapore skipper Ben Bowley today debates the same dilemma, “We are likely to sail more miles to the new finish line by taking the inshore route but if I were to liken it to driving, I would rather do more miles cross country but remain moving than crawl through traffic by taking the direct route.  It is a little bit of a gamble as if the boats to the south get enough wind to keep moving we may miss out.  However, with little to lose we are willing to throw a bit of caution to the wind.”

On board Singapore they have had a good 24 hours. Ben continues, “We’ve had an excellent day today for a change! At sunrise this morning we gybed over and an hour later had faint speck of a spinnaker on the horizon. The blob of white slowly grew throughout the course of the day and we later established that we had made some excellent miles on New York during the night.

“Seeing another yacht on the horizon spurned the crew on during a day of changeable conditions to ensure that we narrowed the gap as best we could over the course of 12 hours.  We have elected to remain a little nearer the coast over the coming 24 hours as we hope that this shall keep us in a band of stronger breeze.”

Back in the lead is still Gold Coast Australia. Skipper Richard Hewson says, “The sunrise for Gold Coast Australia brought a beautiful sight as the large equatorial sun beamed through the volcanic ash suspended in the air displaying indescribable brilliance of colours.  As many as six turtles swam around the boat as we coasted along in light unpredictable winds.

“As the winds died off completely after sunrise I feared that we had sailed too far into the bay, and in doing so had sailed into the lee of the mountains while searching for wind that was predicted for that location. Gradually the wind began to pick up again, and to our relief by the morning schedule it was revealed that we were not the only yacht to have parked up through the morning, though Visit Finland had made some good mileage on us, De Lage Landen was still in the same relative position as they were 12 hours before.”

Richard continues, “The announcement by the Race Committee that the sailing Instructions had been changed to move the finish line forward to Remedious Gate is no doubt a relief to the becalmed fleet.

“Throughout the day the wind picked up and by mid-afternoon we had enough wind to make six knots towards the next gate, and at sunset we saw a maximum of 11 knots of wind before the wind gradually began to decrease again. At 14:06:01UTC yesterday we crossed the compulsory Santa Cruz gate. I believe we crossed this gate in first place however we will have to wait for the next schedule to confirm this.  The crew have worked very hard maximise boat speed in light airs and should be very proud of their achievement.”

Meanwhile an action-filled 0600 report has been received from the other Australian entry. Skipper Juan Coetzer says, “There are currently high levels of focus and concentration on board Geraldton Western Australia. What can we do to make the boat go faster? Weight on the high side counter-act the rocking of caused by the un-wanted swell. Nope, it didn’t work. Okay! How about a gybe then? Hmm… the angle now is not doing us any favours. With the race being shorted, it’s all to play for still, and we are pulling out all the stops, just to keep the boat moving.”

Meanwhile the Derry-Londonderry skipper Mark Light reports the delight of the Northern Irish entry’s speeds achieved. He says, “We have had a great last 24 hours making some really good progress. After having good wind last night we were fully expecting the breeze to reduce dramatically as the beautiful orange morning sun rose in the east (just like any other day). But today was different – the wind didn’t only stay with us, but also increased a little.

“We embraced this unusual happening with open arms and continued to make good speeds towards our destination. The instruments actually registered 10.2 knots Speed Over Ground (SOG), figures not seen since race day 1. Due to a lovely constant flow of air over the deck, the day didn’t feel too hot.

“Late afternoon, news came through from the Race Committee that the race was to be shortened and we now have a maximum of 360 miles left to race. This news helped us to solidify our tactics and put our battle plan into action. So a quick gybe, followed by a peel up to the medium spinnaker and we were off on a new course. Let’s hope the wind Gods are kind and we can hold these conditions all the way to the finish line.”

The first teams are expected to reach Panama between 9 and 10 May, where they will await their slot to pass through the canal before commencing Race 11 to New York.

Dramatic Yachting World Round Antigua Race 2012

April 28, 2012

The 2012 Yachting World Round Antigua Race, held on Saturday, April 28, was very dramatic from the very beginning, with strong winds creating waves of more than three metres, and at least two retirements due to gear failure.

Start of CSA3 in the Yachting World Round Antigua Trophy

Start of CSA3 in the Yachting World Round Antigua Trophy Credit: T. Wright/photoaction.com

Allyn Salomon’s Beneteau Oceanis 473 sailing yacht Hermosita suffered a damaged rudder and South African Jan Rupert entry, Tripp 75 Blackbird yacht was another casualty. The Mini Maxi suffered a ripped mainsail as the mighty yacht pounded through the surf. This was much to the frustration of the crew including David Glenn, Editor of Yachting World who had joined Blackbird for the day.

In CSA 3 two Antiguan yachts came to the fore. Stephen Carson’s Dehler 34 Hightide  was the eventual winner, but the smallest yacht in the entire fleet, Tanner Jones’ J/30 Blue Peter raced with great aplomb in difficult conditions to claim second. Rick Gormley’s First 38, Elethea was third.

In CSA 2 First 40, Smile and Wave, skippered by Mario Martinez won by less than two minutes on corrected time from Nick Burns’ First 40, Lancelot II. Matthew Shafer’s First 40.7 Cheeki Rafiki was third.

Tripp 56 sailing yacht Passion 4 C

Tripp 56 sailing yacht Passion 4 C - winner of the CSA Overall in the Yachting World Round Antigua Race Credit: P. Wyeth/pwpictures.com

The Yachting World Round Antigua Race was quite an experience for the crew of Smile and Wave, as Jaime Torres explains: “Mario Martinez is skipper for the week and our only real preparation for this race was to sail to the start line, but the team did exceptionally well. However, I didn’t take into account Sunken Rock off Indian Creek and as a result we hit. Nobody was hurt and we continued racing, but the error let Lancelot get away and we could only match them for speed downwind around the windward side. However, we played the shifts well on the beat to finish and managed to make a big gain. I have to say I am really looking forward to Sailing Week, I am sure we are going to have a great battle with Lancelot.”

In CSA 1, Peter Harrison’s Farr 115 charter yacht Sojana got a great start and powered away upwind as a torrent of spray engulfed the magnificent ketch’s bow. Working the maneuvers on Sojana is a skillful and hugely energetic team effort, which is fraught with danger and later in the race that peril was to manifest itself in no uncertain terms.

Sojana had a cracking race and claimed the Yachting World Trophy for fastest monohull

Luxury charter yacht Sojana had a cracking race and claimed the Yachting World Trophy for fastest monohull Credit: T. Martin/photofantasyantigua.com

Sojana superyacht had a cracking race, touching close to 20 knots of boat speed down the windward side of Antigua. Crew work had to be slick, even on a long race, corners come up alarmingly fast and with pressure loads measured in tens of tons, even a small error can be a real problem. One hyper gust sent Sojana’s enormous spinnaker bellowing to leeward, the main sail boom perilously close to digging a sizeable whirlpool into the hissing blue water, the big ketch was pushing hard.

With just nine miles to go, the Farr 115 luxury yacht Sojana needed to average 10 knots to break the record when foredeck crew Maurice Belgrave fell off the bow to leeward. With Pol Ho-Jensen at the helm, Sojana pulled off a text book recovery. Without using the engine, Maurice was in the water for less than five minutes before the bow crew plucked him to safety, pulling Maurice out of the water and up a full three metres of freeboard. Apart from a small gash, he was unharmed in the incident, which is a credit to the entire crew of Sojana.

Farr 115 superyacht Sojana

Farr 115 superyacht Sojana retains the Yachting World Trophy for the fastest monohull around the course, completing the race in 4 hours 50mins 46 seconds. Credit: Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com

“Maurice usually dives the boat so it was no big surprise!” Joked Sojana’s skipper Marc Fitzgerald after the race. “To be fair, I don’t think we would have broken our record even if Maurice hadn’t gone for a swim. That time set in 2009 was a very good one and today, the square beat to finish meant a lot of tacking to stay out of the tide and I think that is where we fell behind, but we are delighted that Maurice is fine and it is great to start the week by winning the Yachting World Trophy.”

Despite Sojana’s excellent efforts, on corrected time the German Tripp 56 yacht Passion 4C steered by Admiral’s Cup winner, Stefan Lehnert corrected out to win CSA 1 by just over two minutes with Sojana second. Hector Velarde’s Peruvian NM92, Locura was third. Peter Aschenbrenner’s 63ft trimaran yacht Paradox blistered around the 55 mile course in 4hrs 15mins 39 seconds.

Peter Aschenbrenner's 63ft Paradox yacht takes line honours Credit: T. Martin/photofantasyantigua.com

Peter Aschenbrenner's 63ft Paradox yacht takes line honours Credit: T. Martin/photofantasyantigua.com

After the prizegiving for the Yachting World Round Antigua Race, the Antigua Sailing Week Welcome Party kicked off in Nelson’s Dockyard. Hon. John Maginley MP, Minister of Tourism joined the Antigua Sailing Week organisers in welcoming competitors to the 45th regatta. With the official English Harbour Rum caps being distributed and entertainment courtesy of the Vision Band and DJ Prebble, a fantastic night was is store of all. It is sure to be a great night in historic surroundings.

Tomorrow marks the start of Antigua Sailing Week with racing for all classes. The forecast conditions are for a full on foam up for the first day of the Caribbean‘s most famous regatta.

Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race: Day 15 – New York wins Ocean Sprint

April 28, 2012

The Ocean Sprint phase of Race 10 to Panama has been won by New York – gaining the extra bonus point for the shortest elapsed time – and successfully finished by all ten teams participating at the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race.

Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race Credit: Abner Kingman/onEdition

Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race Credit: Abner Kingman/onEdition

Finishing the sprint in 31 hours 57 minutes and 56 seconds at 13:20:22 UTC yesterday, The American entry outplayed Geraldton Western Australia’s time to beat by 44 minutes and 4 seconds.

Overall Race10 front runners, Gold Coast Australia, De Lage Landen and Visit Finland remain unchanged since yesterday with Gold Coast Australia lengthening the gap between them and De Lage Landen by 8 miles compared to the 0900 UTC position yesterday.

As the majority of the fleet continue to endure the rising temperatures and fluky airs that have stinted their progress in the second phase of this race, the Clipper Race Committee has provision for four additional finish lines.

With current winds forecast to diminish further, there could be a potential need to shorten the course, in order to ensure the fleet traverse through the Panama Canal to allow the fleet to reach the scheduled canal transit time in advance of the canal’s planned maintenance.

Meanwhile, in the last 24 hours, Derry-Londonderry , Welcome to Yorkshire, Edinburgh Inspiring Capital and Geraldton Western Australia have thrown their tactical dice and activated their Stealth Mode cards, where they will sail under the cloak of invisibility. In this race, the teams have the opportunity to play this card for a period of 48 hours, or two periods of 24 hours.

Emerging from Stealth Mode today Welcome to Yorkshire has maintained its position in fourth, and is struggling to keep moving as it breaks away from the rest of the fleet on a far offshore, southerly course. Skipper, Rupert Dean reports, “As I write this Welcome to Yorkshire is bobbing about in less than three knots of true wind, making no progress through the water. Our light weight spinnaker is down for a minor repair and we are flying the wind seeker, which seems the safest option at present.

“It’s been another stifling day with the maximum temperature recorded at 38.4 degrees Celsius this afternoon. Needless to say, operating in this environment is a major test of endurance and patience. Fortunately there is a two knot current pushing us in the right direction at present, for which we are extremely grateful. Now all we need is some wind, air conditioning, cold beers and ice creams.”

Reflecting on the race ahead and hoping for a place higher up the leader board is Edinburgh Inspiring Capital who will race in Stealth Mode until 0600 UTC tomorrow.

Skipper Flavio Zamboni, says, “Last night was unusually uneventful and the start of the day was a bit slow, once again characterised by very light airs. As the day progressed, though, the breeze filled in and sailing became less frustrating and more enjoyable.

“After receiving a couple of position reports showing we were slowly but steadily losing ground to most of the fleet we have decided to change mode and sail tighter angles to the breeze. This decision is now paying dividends and we seem to have now regained some of the ground we had lost.

“Lots of thought and speculation is now going on trying to figure out where and when the race will be shortened. With the first three boats well established in the lead some of the positions are, in fact, still quite open and a good run to the finish could mean a significant difference in the final standings.”

If you look at the Race Viewer you will see that the teams occupying the bottom half of the leader board have less than 12 miles between them taking a similar course. Hoping to make gains on its rivals is Derry-Londonderry who is racing under its second period of Stealth in this race until 0600 UTC tomorrow.

Describing the conditions of racing, skipper Mark Light reports, “On board, it’s the same as day 13 and the same as day 12 before that. There is a definite pattern evolving here,”

“We have decent breeze through the night and make good steady progress, with a nice cooling breeze over the deck. By sunrise the breeze reduced and we were treated to a spectacular sunrise. Within the first hour the temperature rises and any small scudding clouds on the eastern horizon disappear to reveal a perfectly clear blue sky.

“By mid-morning, typically about 1100 local time, any small swell has gone leaving just ripples on the water, the breeze has died off almost completely leaving just a breath of wind. The extreme heat of the day is upon us now and will stay for about three to four hours. This is the time when it is very hard to concentrate yet concentration needs to be at its highest the wind is at its lightest and is very fluky – good trimming and accurate helming is essential.  Come 1700 local time the day is cooling and the sun lowering in the western sky. Now we feel the wind filling gradually and making the deck crew’s job much easier!

Mark adds, “The ocean’s appearance has changed also with more ripples and very small waves beginning to form It is such a relief to have a cooler deck and better progress along our route. The wind builds to a steady eight to ten knots and our boat starts to glide majestically onwards. We hold this happy state of affairs until about 0600 local time when the wind begins to show signs of deserting us, a new sunrise appears, and the heat of the day begins to show form.”

Cashing in both opportunities to race in Stealth is Geraldton Western Australia who will remain invisible until 1155 UTC tomorrow. In the 0600 report to the Race Office skipper Juan Coetzer describes the mood on board.

“”Morning ‘Skip’ – here is a coffee; I think we need to gybe.” The sun was just starting to peek above the horizon, and the boat was set up, ready for action. As I took the helm to help with the gybe, about 50 dolphins came to play. This is how my day started at the office. The crew are in high spirits as we began our Stealth Mode today, all clean and showered.”

Winners of the Ocean Sprint, New York skipper Gareth Glover explains that the American entry  is working hard to eke out extra miles over their competitors despite the flagging winds.

“The forecast for more wind has not come true and we find ourselves searching for more, we are making better speed then last few days but not what we were hoping to make and the lead yachts are now over 150 miles away from us and still pulling away. We are still racing close to Qingdao and was join by Edinburgh Inspiring Capital, at the moment it is hard to stick to one tactic as we are not sure when this race will end  and it is very unlikely we will make it to the end without having to motor so we get to Panama in time.

Gareth adds, “Keeping boat speed up as be very difficult for us as we sail near other yachts in the same wind they always seem to have more boat speed and all we can do is watch them sail away. There is still places to be won and loss over the next few days and we are trying to put ourselves in the best place to get more boat speed and pull into the top five yachts as there only a 50 miles DTF (Distance to Finish) in it, so our focus is on that.”

Currently leading the pack with less than 1000 miles separating them from the finish line Gold Coast Australia, has been  enjoying their more favourable inshore conditions at sea, despite a hick-up with local fishing apparatus.

Skipper Richard Hewson says, “Gold Coast Australia’s day began with a fantastic feeding frenzy display of big fish vs. bigger fish.  Sharks rounded up a large school of fish and attacked them with vigour as the school of fish jumped, darted, and swam away from their predators.  It was a fascinating display of nature’s pecking orders.

“The wind picked up beautifully throughout the day as we raced down wind without our medium weight spinnaker up.  Assisted by up to three knots of current at times gave us some fantastic speed over ground towards Panama .

“A beautiful sunset took most of the wind away, but the current remains and helps us drive our apparent wind to maintain our boat speed.  Just after watch change a strange sound in our wake attracted our attention and it was not long before I realised that we had snagged a fishing apparatus called a long line.

“Long lines can be hundreds of metres long and float on the surface with large baited hooks left to drift through the ocean catching sharks, big fish and unfortunately sometimes birds as well. All hands on deck was called to drop the spinnaker and try to deal with the line now trailing behind, and after trying to untangle it from the boat we found that there was no option but to cut the line and re-join it so it did not drift aimlessly around the ocean.  The entire process took almost an hour and cost us valuable time.

“It seems amazing that we have travelled so far around the world, and through so many fishing grounds in Asia and this is only the second line we have caught.  We managed to get away this time, but the fish, shark and birds may not be so lucky.”

Chasing the Australian entry is De Lage Landen, who has re-established their IT communications in the last 24 hours. On board, skipper Stuart Jackson reports that the team has decided to gybe away from Gold Coast Australia in search of a better breeze.

As the teams draw ever closer to Panama, Stuart says, “There is still everything to play for and they are confident of catching Gold Coast Australia up and winning.”

Also concentrating on holding on to their podium position is Visit Finland as they evaluate the possibilities in the next stage of the race. Skipper Olly Osborne, explains, “The temperature is becoming noticeably hotter day by day now as we continue to follow the Mexican coastline southward, but it is good to be into some more consistent breeze and we are remaining focussed on a podium finish. The next stage in the race for us will be fairly important tactically as the coastline drops way from the Rhumb Line and leaves the choice between sailing fewer miles in a straight line, or hunting the elusive sea breezes inshore.

“For us the different choices of the two boats ahead will be a good gauge, and with any luck there will be an opportunity to pull back a few miles and keep in touch with the leaders. For the meantime however it is all about calling gybes at the right time and enjoying the sailing.”

After yesterday’s frustrations, Singapore skipper Ben Bowley reports that the team have had some wind up their sails in the last 24 hours.

“Today has been a little more positive as we have seen our distance to the boats in front slowly begin to fall.  Focus and a little bit of luck have helped us to maintain a slightly stronger band of wind over the last 24 hours and we are keen to ensure that we do not finish the race in tenth position.

“I cannot even begin to describe the heat presently being experienced below decks at the moment.  I would be fascinated to have a set of scales aboard to weigh each of the mothers before and after their turn in the ‘Black Hole of Calcutta’ (the galley) on days like today.  With the fridge working hard, two ovens on and a couple of pans on gas hobs the temperatures must easily be exceeding 40 degrees with fairly high levels of humidity; the result is two very sweaty crew members trapped below for most of the day!  The blessed reward for slaving over a hot stove all day is a cold shower after sunset.

“This allows the mothers to return on deck feeling cleansed of their sweaty penance and ready to get sailing again! For the moment we are making good progress and hope that we can continue to erode into our rivals’ lead and with a bit of luck claw back a place or two before the race is called.”

Sharing the Singaporeans speculations and working hard to make better ground is Qingdao. Skipper Ian Conchie, says, “The only question on everyone’s lips at the moment is when will  the Race Committee call the race.  Not because we want the race to finish but depending on what happens decides our strategy.  Today for example Edinburgh Inspiring Capital came reaching down from the north giving them good boat speed and heading for the southern end of the next gate and if the race is called there they will be in a good position if it is not then they will lose distance in the overall.

“We have decided to just press on and assume it is not going to be called at the next gate so have sailed deeper heading for the finish. The light winds have continued all day and this morning we had to watch Derry- Londonderry slowly sail past as they has better wind than us for most of the
day.  We keeping trimming and working to maintain our speed so hopefully we will get some lucky with the wind and make some ground back.”

The first teams are expected to reach Panama between 9 and 10 May, where they will await their slot to pass through the canal before commencing Race 11 to New York.

Antigua Sailing Week 2012: The forecasted big breeze arrives

April 28, 2012

Hosting yachts coming from all over the world to enjoy the last yacht regatta of the Caribbean season, the Antigua Sailing Week 2012 is also expected to host strong winds present over the entire race, arriving this morning. With competing to be kicked off on Sunday, 29th April, the Antigua Yacht Club is busy with crews registering for the 45th Anniversary of the Caribbean’s oldest as well as most prominent sailing regatta.

Ross Applebey's Oyster 48 yacht Scarlet Oyster

Ross Applebey's Oyster 48 yacht Scarlet Oyster Credit: T.Wright/photoaction.com

Today’s Guadeloupe to Antigua Race took place in strong winds gusting close to 30 knots at times. The traditional feeder race from Guadeloupe has been running for over 40 years. Line Honours went to Hector Verlarde’s NM92 sailing yacht Locura completing the 42-mile course in just over three and a half hours. Stephen Schmidt’s Santa Cruz 70 yacht Hotel California Too was second home and the Dufour 45 yacht Triskell finished third.

Ross Applebey’s Oyster 48 yacht Scarlet Oyster has been racing in the Caribbean all season after crossing the Atlantic in fine style by winning the Racing Division of the ARC. For Antigua Sailing Week, Scarlet Oyster will be racing in CSA 2, which has a number of heavy displacement yachts that will revel in breezy conditions.

“It has been a dream of a season,” smiled Appleby dockside in English Harbour. “Best British Boat in the Nelson’s Pursuit Race and a class win in the RORC Caribbean 600, so Antigua has been a great race venue for us, but to be honest I have really been looking forward to this year’s Antigua Sailing Week. Ever since I was a child it is a regatta that I have always wanted to do and although I have been here before, it has never been with my own boat. For the regatta I have guests on board from Guernsey who are all experienced racers and I understand they are also highly likely to make full use of the shoreside entertainment so it looks like it is going to be a fun week!”

Andy Middleton’s First 47.7 sailing yacht Global Yacht Racing, which has a Russian crew on board as well as Andy’s wife, Claire who has left the kids at home with grand parents to enjoy the last regatta of the Caribbean season had these words: “The crew is full of enthusiasm,” commented Andy. “However, out practising today we realise that the language barrier is a bit of an issue, but with a few hand signals sorted out we will be fine. Claire has done a lot of racing including a Round Britain and Ireland and it’s looking like a great regatta, I can’t wait for the racing to start.”

San Francisco shows great excitement for the America’s Cup 2013

April 27, 2012

Great excitement for the 2013 America’s Cup in San Francisco was quite clear, when hundreds of fans and dignitaries met up to celebrate the ceremonial signing of the agreement for the City to host the America’s Cup in 2013. The celebration was complete with popping champagne corks, the America’s Cup itself and a digital competition between Mayor Ed Lee and four time America’s Cup winner Sir Russell Coutts.

Construction at Pier 27 for Spectator Village Begins with Mayoral Welcome, Crowds, Digital Sailing Competition - Image  courtesy of the 34th America's Cup

Construction at Pier 27 for Spectator Village Begins with Mayoral Welcome, Crowds, Digital Sailing Competition - Image courtesy of the 34th America's Cup

The event celebrated the start of construction on Pier 27, which will serve as the heart of the spectator village for the America’s Cup as well as the start and finish line for the Louis Vuitton Cup race from July 4 to Sept. 1, 2013, and the America’s Cup Match Finals from Sept. 7 to 22, 2013.

“The America’s Cup will bring new life, new amenities and new excitement to San Francisco’s waterfront,” said Mayor Lee. “This great race, this grand tradition, this remarkable 161-year-old competition is part of the revitalization and refurbishment of this pier and our City’s waterfront.”

Mayor Lee signed the agreement for San Francisco to host the America’s Cup in front of hundreds of people gathered together to celebrate the momentous occasion that makes way for this world-renowned competitive sailing event to be held in the natural sailing amphitheater of the San Francisco Bay and be broadcast worldwide by NBC Sports and a host of international television networks.

“Never in the history of the sport has there been such an extraordinary opportunity to bring competitive sailing to the people,” said Sir Russell, head of ORACLE TEAM USA. “This venue will be transformed into the starting and finish line, an amphitheater and a racing village highlighting the excitement of the America’s Cup. This is where the action and magic of the America’s Cup will come alive.”

Construction at Pier 27 is now under way and will be completed in February 2013. The Racing Village will feature an amphitheater for 10,000 fans, entertainment including live music and dance, exhibitions of past America’s Cup winners, and other exciting celebrations of the America’s Cup festival.

In addition, Pier 30/32 will provide a real “pit row” experience for fans to see the sailors, boats and international teams up close and personal.

After signing the agreement, Mayor Lee and Sir Russell competed in a friendly ‘digital sail-off’ on “The America’s Cup: Speed Trials” app available free on iPhones and iPads via the Apple App Store.

“I might have a hard time keeping up with Russell in a real race, but with this game I feel like I have a chance,” joked Mayor Lee. “But he’s still pretty good and I think I need some more practice.”

Also featured at the celebration was the America’s Cup itself, which is the oldest trophy in international sport, and is affectionately known as the “Auld Mug.” It was on display for public viewing after the event, one of a number of stops throughout the world leading up to the America’s Cup in 2013.

San Francisco will begin to experience America’s Cup racing later this year as part of the 2012-2013 America’s Cup World Series. The World Series brings the best sailors in the fastest boats to cities around the world. The next event will take place next month in Venice, Italy, May 15 to 20 before moving to Newport, R.I. in June and then coming to San Francisco in the Fall.

Third Caribbean regatta won by Sailing Yacht DORADE

April 27, 2012

Sailing Yacht DORADE is the winner of its Vintage CLass in the 2012 Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta, after the overall class victories in the St Maarten Heineken Regatta and Les Voiles de St Barth.  In addition, DORADE yacht won the Concours d’Elegance for Vintage Yacht and Overall.

DORADE performing close by schooner ELENA in the 2012 Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta - Photo credit Tim Wright - photoaction

sailing yacht DORADE performing close by schooner ELENA in the 2012 Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta - Photo credit Tim Wright - photoaction

Matt Brooks, owner of DORADE, says: “Team Dorade was thrilled to win the Vintage Class at Antigua Classics. This was our third victory out of three Caribbean regattas but, for me, Antigua was the sweetest. I feel confident that Dorade is in good shape to take on the elements in the Newport-Bermuda Race starting on 15 June and that the crew is in equally good shape, with good chemistry between us all having bonded in these fun regattas!  Winning the Concours d’Elegance overall was the icing on the cake.  We hope to win a Panerai watch too one day!”

DORADE yacht in the 2012 Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta - Photo credit Tim Wright - photoaction

DORADE yacht in the 2012 Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta - Photo credit Tim Wright - photoaction

The 1929-built, Olin Stephens-designed DORADE – recently appointed S&S flagship after an extensive restoration – was a hugely successful racer, winning the 1930 and 1932 Bermuda races, 1931 Transatlantic race – both line honors and overall – and the 1931 and 1933 Fastnet races overall. Dorade is the only yacht to win the triple crown of ocean racing: the Transatlantic Race, Fastnet Race and the TransPac Race, a record that stands unbroken to this day.

Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race: Day 14 – Half of the fleet completed the Ocean Sprint

April 27, 2012

Day 14 of the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race saw half of the racing fleet finishing the Ocean Sprint as they head to Panama.

Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race Credit: Abner Kingman/onEdition

Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race Credit: Abner Kingman/onEdition

Since Welcome to Yorkshire set the time to beat yesterday, Geraldton Western Australia, Gold Coast Australia, De Lage Landen and Visit Finland have crossed the line respectively. Currently Geraldton Western Australia has the advantage to take the bonus point on offer, completing the sprint in 32 hours and 42 minutes, beating De Lage Landens time by just 30 minutes and 50 seconds.

Gold Coast Australia is currently in the lead in their three way dog fight with De Lage Landen and Visit Finland, overtaking the Dutch entry by a whisker of six miles, narrowing the distance between the three teams by 23 miles.

In the 0600 report to the Race Office skipper, Richard Hewson, reports, “Gold Coast Australia worked very hard to make up ground on the leading yachts last night in very light and unpredictable winds.  At first light we had the leading yacht De Lage Landen in our sights.

“Light winds tending north during the morning allowed us to sail tighter angles and make ground to the north east and overtake De Lage Landen.  Whilst the distance between the start and end of the sprint was officially only 90 miles, Gold Coast Australia travelled just short of 300 miles as most of the time we were trying to make ground to the northern side of the course by sailing east.  Our time for the Ocean Sprint is unlikely to turn any heads as we had earlier decided to forgo the possibility of one point for the sprint in exchange for a better overall result.

“Throughout the day the wind began to fill in and we sailed downwind to make the most of the fresh breeze, placing a loose cover on De Lage Landen and experiencing some fantastic sailing conditions as we sailed down the Mexican coast, with the breeze cooling the boat nicely.”

De Lage Landen is currently reporting to the Race Office twice daily due to incurring several IT problems over the past few days, which means they don’t have any functional laptops to send blogs and videos back. This is set to be resolved in Panama.

Advising the Race Office by telephone this morning, skipper Stuart Jackson says, “It’s getting extremely hot, but we intend on keeping our concentration and regaining the miles lost to Gold Coast Australia.  It will be difficult as we both seem to be making the same speed but there is still time to gain the top spot.”

Describing the close knit racing between the three teams, Visit Finland skipper, Olly Osborne, says, “We had a good run today and a chance to chase down the two boats ahead. Sailing in the same airs as them will make the miles hard to regain, but we are feeling positive, and there are still a number of tactical options that could make the difference. The afternoon breeze is becoming more of a regular feature now, and this afternoon treated us to some great spinnaker sailing. At night however it is often tricky with the breeze being frustratingly variable and inconsistent.

“The heat is now a big factor and it is a conscious effort to stay hydrated and to avoid sunburn. This will become more and more of a challenge as we head south, and trying to maintain focus on light airs spinnaker trim under the beating sun is not easy. But the racing is still as exciting as ever and we will be hot on the heels of the teams ahead during the coming days.”

Meanwhile, in the middle of the fleet Geraldton Western Australia have set a new time to beat in the Ocean Sprint. Determined to maintain this lead and move further up the leader board, skipper Juan Coetzer, reports, “This morning we finished our Ocean Sprint and now we have sailed through our first mandatory gate.

“Today we have had another day of gybing and sailing the best angles for the next gate. We peeled from the medium kite to the light weight as it was not holding its shape that well, and a butterfly was over taking us, and this was unacceptable.

“Dehydration and the sure heat is a big issue, as the crew are consume large amounts of liquids. On deck, the quest for shade is an on-going battle as crew are rotated every 30 minutes.Below decks, the fans are continuously running in the ‘Ghetto’ as crew try and get some sleep. Sun set is welcomed by crew as the temperature drops to something bearable.”

With wind speeds increasing for the more southerly positioned yachts, there is still frustration over lack of wind for the more inshore part of the fleet. Singapore’s skipper Ben Bowley, reports, “Today has been one of quiet reflection aboard the ‘Big Red Bus’.

“The heat has been truly stifling and this has done nothing ease our frustration at being in a weaker band of wind than our competitors over that last 24 hours.

“Once again, last night we were forced to sail fairly high on the wind to keep the boat moving and although we now have a steady breeze to move us further down the track; we have waited a long time to get it.  This has allowed the boats ahead to pull away from us opening up a lead that will be tricky to assault given the fact that the race will inevitably be called short in the coming few days.

“The crew are in good spirits however and laughter and banter still abounds on deck.  We are still striving hard to make up the lost ground as we know all too well that kite wraps can happen at any time and there is always the chance to leap-frog one of the back markers before the race is called!”

The second phase of this race is heating up in more than one way, and as the teams vie for supremacy grappling with the varying conditions to eke out every last knot they can, the temperatures are starting to soar with sees the teams taking on a second challenge competing with the heat.

“Today has been the hottest day of the race so far, here on Welcome to Yorkshire.” Reports skipper, Rupert Dean.

“Our electronic barometer, which also measures temperature, recorded 37.4 degrees Celsius at 1415 hours local time this afternoon. Needless to say conditions feel rather uncomfortable during daylight hours, with all of us looking forward to cooler more pleasant temperatures at night.

“To race competitively in an environment like this requires considerable self-discipline. Every fine adjustment to the helm and trim has major ramifications on boat speed, making total concentration essential. To facilitate this, our athletes are ensuring they wear plenty of sunblock, covering up and drinking plenty of water. Wherever possible, the active watch on deck are racing the boat from areas shaded by sails from the sun.”

“So, as we dream of air-conditioned rooms, ice creams and cold beers, we soldier on in this intense heat, battling to the finish wherever that turns out to be.”

Derry-Londonderry skipper Mark Light, agrees with the English entry, announcing, “ “The combination of perfectly clear skies, long days of sunshine and very little wind is proving to be very frustrating! When the wind fills in, the whole situation changes for the better and attitudes on board fully reflect this.  To be gliding along under lightweight spinnaker at around eight knots SOG (Speed Over Ground) on a flat azure blue sea is lovely, and to be doing this in the right direction is fantastic!

“Something else that has changed on this race has been the quantity of food being consumed per day. We are not eating anywhere near as much as we first thought and there is much more call for our fresh food stuffs. Canned drinks have also become a very high source bargaining amongst some crew and with a ration of six apples and four oranges there is a large amount of inter crew trading going on. I have five apples and four oranges still remaining so im just beginning to be seen in a position of power due to the fact that my fruit trade relations are very good at the moment!”

On board Edinburgh Inspiring Capital, skipper Flavio Zamboni reports that despite seeing their position drop ninth in the crippling conditions, the team is in good spirits.

“After yesterday’s good few hours sailing, today has seen a much slower progress trying to make the most of the light airs we’ve had.

“The weather is glorious although, by now, it has become seriously hot. Coping with dehydration and the heat, above and below deck, has become such an important factor that it will greatly affect the team’s performance overall and will reflect in the final results.

“Morale on board is high. Everybody is enjoying the sailing, is working together really well and, since racing is so tight and conditions variable, we still feel we can improve our position in the standings. It’s a really long race and keeping up the pace at all times is a big challenge.”

Also hoping to improve their position in the standings is Qingdao, and the Chinese entry has forfeited the opportunity of the Ocean Sprint bonus point in a bid to glean back miles lost.

Skipper Ian Conchie, explains, “As we continue heading down the coast towards the finish we are trying to keep our speed as high as possible.  The next question will be where will the wind fill in from next and will the boats to the south get the advantage or not?  We decided to focus on race strategy rather than going for the sprint as have a chance we would have needed to head much more south which could have cost us in the overall race.

“In the meantime there is a lot so debate as to how far will the wind last will we make the finish in time and when will we arrive in Panama?

“Today has also been the hottest so far with the crew trying to hide from the sun and all patches of shade on deck being at a premium!  Despite this we have serviced some winches and repaired a spinnaker all the normal jobs to keep the boat in the best condition we can.”

The Race Committee is keeping an eye on the current progress of the fleet in the light airs in order to ensure it traverses through the Panama Canal in advance of the canal’s planned maintenance.

Race 10 has provision for four additional finish lines to accommodate the potential need to shorten the course and reach the scheduled canal transit time.

The inaugural MOD70 trans-oceanic KRYS OCEAN RACE set for July 7, 2012

April 27, 2012

The inaugural MOD70 class’ first ever trans-oceanic race will be kicked off from New York on Saturday July 7th, with attendance of Race for Water (Steve Ravussin), Foncia (Michel Desjoyeaux), Edmond de Rothschild Group (Sebastien Josse), Spindrift Racing (Yann Guichard) as well as Oman Sail (Sidney Gavignet). The MOD 70 KRYS OCEAN RACE will host the new one design, high speed 70ft trimaran yachts, facing the 2950-mile race course. Skippers Ravussin, Desjoyeaux, Josse, Guichard and Gavignet will be in the lead of their five professional crews across the North Atlantic to the finish line in Brest, France.

The official launch of the KRYS OCEAN RACE at the French Consulate in New York

The official launch of the KRYS OCEAN RACE at the French Consulate in New York

Officially launched at the French Consulate in New York, yesterday Thursday 26th April in the presence of the Consul M Philippe Lalliot and renowned American sailor Dawn Riley, the American program which forms the prelude to the MOD 70 KRYS OCEAN RACE promises a full complement of activities between June 28 and July 7 shared between Newport and New York.

From Newport to New York City

Ahead of this first true ocean challenge, a short prologue from Newport to New York should prove an exciting initial taster of what is to come, followed in New York by an afternoon of all-out sprints, the Speed Match. A full menu of action and excitement is promised for the class’ inaugural visit to the USA, where the fleet musters in strength for the first time ever.

History in the making in Newport and New York

Though the MOD 70 KRYS OCEAN RACE will start from New York, the fleet will first establish itself in historic Newport, Rhode Island where the MOD70’s will be based at the Newport Shipyard marina between June 28th and July 2nd, not far from where the AC World Series finale runs 26th June to July 1st.

While based in Newport, the boats will be put through all their safety and technical scrutineering, vital checks which are all the more important given that once they are docked at New York’s North Cove Marina, the MOD70’s will be in full race mode, with no further work allowed to the boats beyond stocking them for the passage.


For the five high speed trimarans, the 120 miles prologue races starts on Monday July 2nd from Newport – the world renowned sailing centre synonymous with America’s Cup – to a finish line off New York’s iconic Statue of Liberty where they would be due to finish July 3rd.

From the eve of the USA’s Independence Day, through the July 4th festivities, the fleet will have their home at Manhattan’s tranquil North Cove Marina.

Then on the afternoon of July 5th the fantastic five match up to see who will be New York’s sprint kings on the Hudson River, when Race for Water, Foncia, Spindrift Racing, Edmond de Rothschild Group and Oman Sail will take part in a speed match virtually at the foot of the Statue of Liberty. Race Director Jacques Caraës will be supported by the very active Manhattan Sailing Club under Commodore and Race Committee Chairman Michael Fortenbaugh.

The Race is On

But the excitement will peak for sure on July 7th at 1100hrs (LOCAL) when the French Consul in New York, Philippe Lalliot will be joined by the Mayor of Brest François Cuillandre to fire the start gun which will set off the KRYS OCEAN RACE across the Atlantic to Brest.

The gun marks the start of the first great oceanic adventure for the MOD 70’s and the 30 crewmembers, making history as the world’s first fleet of identically matched ocean racing one design multihulls goes head to head.

Over a course measured at 2950 miles, some of the world’s best ocean racers – some who are already winners of the biggest offshore races and records in the world – will finally compete at thrilling high speeds, on even terms over the ensuing six or seven days, fighting to be first across Brest’s finish line, into the very heart of the historic Tonnerres de Brest nautical festival.

Philippe Lalliot, Consul General of France in New York City: “The world of sailing, synonymous with epic journeys, but also with perseverance and endurance, is certainly one of those worlds that fire your imagination the most. Suspense and emotions will no doubt be part of this new, nautical adventure. I look forward to its opening impatiently and wish it the greatest success.”

Dawn Riley, Chief Executive Officer Oakcliff Sailing New York: “The MOD70 class already is full of French Rockstars and I hope that we will see an American Team joining them shortly. We are all very excited that these multihull machines will be in New York.”

Michael Fortenbaugh, Commodore Manhattan Sailing Club: “We have this incredible symbol which is the Statue of Liberty, a gift from the French.  We always dreamed that someday there would be a race that would start from beneath it and connect with France, which New Yorkers are so closely linked to.  This has great symbolic meaning and is the benchmark for future races.”

Franck David, Chief Executive Officer Multi One Design S.A.: “Multi One Design’s ambition is to build the ultimate sailing class of reference in the world…To start the MOD70 story with the KRYS OCEAN RACE in New York City is the exact representation of what we want to buil : an international circuit, with exiting host venues, combination of City Races and Offshore sailing adventures!”

The U.S. program for the KRYS OCEAN RACE 2012:

June 28: Deadline for arrival of MOD70
July 2: Start of the prologue

New York City:
July 3: Finish of the prologue
July 5: Speed Match
July 7 11:00 local: Official start of the first edition of the KRYS OCEAN RACE

Estimated arrival at Brest between 13 and 14 July 2012.

Swan yachts attended the Mapfre PalmaVela yacht regatta

April 27, 2012

The winners of the 7th edition of the Mapfre PalmaVela yacht regatta were encouraged by four days of ideal sailing conditions. 115 yachts coming from countries such as Spain, Italy, Ireland, Russia, Virgin Islands, England and Sweden were hosted by the Real Club Náutico de Palma. With this event officially starts the Mediterranean sailing season.

Luxury sailing yacht SWAN 80

Luxury sailing yacht SWAN 80

The fourth and last day of the races of the 2012 Mapfre PalmaVela regatta started in tactically demanding conditions of 6 to 8 knots of Northeasterly wind and light overcast skies which prevented the breeze from pushing through until 14:00 hours, when a nice Southerly breeze stabilised in the bay of Palma.

The magnificent Maxi fleet had its coastal race on the last day which was shortened from 24 down to 12 miles due to the shifty and light winds which prevailed in the morning. Johan Killinger’s owned and helmed Emma finished third thus claiming the same position in the overall classification.

The Swan 60 team aboard the newly launched sailing yacht Bronenosec, sponsored by Gazprom finished their first international regatta in 7th place within the Maxi class. With a combined style of racing required for their first regatta requiring both tight inshore racing and longer distance coastal racing within a range of wind conditions, the event has proven to be an ideal season opener for the team.

A steep learning curve for all of the crew working from testing breezy conditions at the beginning of the week to lighter shiftier conditions over the last 2 days of racing, Mapfre PalmaVela has been an excellent test bed for the Yacht Club of St. Petersburg’s competitive campaign.

The prize-giving ceremony took place at the facilities of the RCNP, which has once more been able to gather some of the best sailors and yachts in the world.

3rd – Emma, Swan 60, Dr. Johann Killinger
7th – Bronenosec, Swan 60, Alpenberg S.A
9th – Alpina, Swan 80, Alpina by Finimmo

Yachting World Round Antigua Race to kick off on Saturday 28 April

April 27, 2012

Besides some realy awesome sailing conditions, crew of the Yachting World Round Antigua Race will experience some magnificent views of Antigua‘s fascinating coastline, with more than 20 knots of warm trade winds forecast for this Saturday’s competing. 43 yachts will battle with the 55 nautical mile course and crews from more than 20 different countries are ready for the Caribbean thrill of a lifetime.

The Devil's Bridge, just one of the stunning vistas for the Yachting World Round Antigua Race Credit: Louay Habib/Antigua Sailing Week

The Devil's Bridge, just one of the stunning vistas for the Yachting World Round Antigua Race Credit: Louay Habib/Antigua Sailing Week

Peter Aschenbrenner’s 63-foot trimaran yacht Paradox, completed the circumnavigation in less than four hours back in January. Since then the ballistic multihull has been ripping it up at several Caribbean sailing events and the crew and yacht are fully tuned up for the Yachting World Round Antigua Race. Paradox will have America’s Cup and round the world legend Cam Lewis on board for Antigua Sailing Week and Paradox is odds-on to take line honours in the Yachting World Round Antigua Race.

“Given the current forecast, I think that Paradox is capable of going around Antigua in three hours, it is achievable but heavily dependent on sea state,” commented Cam Lewis. “The reach around the windward side will be a blast; Paradox just loves trade wind conditions and should be able to really get up and go. Most of the course is off the wind but the last few miles should be upwind, which will also be a factor in the elapsed time.”

Peter Harrison’s Farr 115 charter yacht Sojana will be hoping to secure line honours for the monohulls and also has the potential to set a new record. Sojana completed the race in 4 hours, 37 minutes and 43 seconds in 2009 at an average speed of just over 12 knots. Since then Sojana has been modified with a retractable bowsprit flying an enormous 800 square metre spinnaker with 25% more sail area than before.

“Given the current weather forecast, Sojana is capable of surfing at up to 20 knots on the windward side of Antigua – that’s a lot of inertia for a yacht of well over 100 tons,” explained Skipper Marc Fitzgerald. “On board we have an international crew from Denmark, Antigua, France, Great Britain and New Zealand including: Poul Hoj-Jensen, Karl James, Mo Gray, Luc Poupon, Jonny Malbon, Ian Budgen and Fraser Campbell. Our primary goal is to take line honours but given the forecast we could well break our own record for the course.”

Farr 115 superyacht Sojana may well be in the reckoning for the overall win on corrected time, however several other yachts may well be in the running including: German skipper Stefan Lehnert helming his Tripp 53, Passion 4C and American Jan Rupert, skipper of Tripp 75 yacht Blackbird.

The first warning signal to start the Yachting World Round Antigua Race will fire at 0800 local time on Saturday 28 April.