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2012 Landmark Year for Wally – Wally//Cento, Wally/50m and Wally//Ace Yachts scheduled for launch this year

January 23, 2012

2012 will be a landmark year for Wally Yachts with the launches of three important new classes of vessel: Wally’s first ever displacement motor yacht Wally//Ace, the first ever mega sailing yacht Wally//50m and two of the Wally’s newest and highest performing cruiser-racer sailing yachts, the Wally//Cento.

26.23m Motor Yacht Wally//Ace

26.23m Motor Yacht Wally//Ace - Image courtesy of Wally

Motor yacht Wally//Ace is a vessel like no other, with huge open spaces and a degree of light and quality of design unmatched by any yacht in her class. The unique owner’s suite aft has direct access to a terrace on the sea, while the social spaces blur the lines between indoor and outdoor living.

A huge onboard garage stores a 6m yacht tender plus all the usual water toys and an unusually spacious galley and crew quarters mean that the guests can be pampered in the greatest style. Whisper-quiet, fuel-efficient diesel engines can take them non-stop from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean, while an exceptional hull design and gyroscopic stabilisation ensure a smooth and stable ride.

Sailing Yacht Wally//50

Sailing Yacht Wally//50

Sailing yacht Wally//50 is the first megayacht of her size built entirely in advanced composites. This stunning sloop is designed to combine Wally’s trademark performance and ease of handling with all the modern comforts and amenities of a luxury megayacht. In order to boost performance she features a lifting keel that increases the draft from 4.2m to 6m when sailing, PBO rigging, and water tanks that double as water ballasts.

100ft sailing yacht Wallycento

100ft sailing yacht Wally//Cento

The 100ft sailing yacht Wally Cento combines high-tech racing performance with spacious and comfortable interiors. The Wally//Cento superyacht, which is based around a lightweight carbon composite hull, was designed by naval architect firm Judel Vrolijk.

Additionally, the 2012 edition of the FT Wally Grand Prix Series will feature five yacht regattas packed with action and excitement, showcasing the world’s largest fleet of maxi-yachts crewed by talent from the America’s Cup and Olympics.

6th Extreme Sailing Series held in Muscat, Oman to start on 28 February

January 23, 2012

With the sixth edition of the Extreme Sailing Series™ kicking off in just five weeks in Muscat, Oman, a top quality team line-up has been announced from the Dusseldorf Boat Show where Marinepool, official clothing partner to the Series, launched their very cool new range of merchandise.

Feet racing, Muscat, Act 1, Extreme Sailing Series 2011

Feet racing, Muscat, Act 1, Extreme Sailing Series 2011

An impressive set of sailors from all over the globe with an extraordinary set of CVs including skippers Ian Williams (GBR), Roman Hagara (AUT), Pierre Pennec (FRA), Ernesto Bertarelli (SUI) and Morgan Larson (USA) and a host of strong commercial brands, will set out on their quest to win the Extreme Sailing Series. Eight pro teams, meeting the objective of organisers OC ThirdPole for 2012, will be on the starting grid in Muscat on 28 February. An impressive high level fleet that will face additional strong competition event by event from several wildcard entries during the year, including Artemis Racing, and local ‘home’ teams, meaning the grid will be full with 8 to 10 yachts at all the Acts.

Whilst the economic situation inevitably makes it harder to raise sponsorship funds for new and existing teams, the interest in the award-winning stadium sailing global circuit has never been stronger with many potential teams for 2013 already working actively to kick off their campaigns during the 2012 season – a mark of the maturity of the event as a high quality commercial sports property.

Sailing yacht Oman Air, Act 1 Muscat 2011

Sailing yacht Oman Air, Act 1 Muscat 2011

Seven of the teams on the start line in Muscat are returning teams – Alinghi, Oman Air, The Wave Muscat, Red Bull Sailing Team, Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, ZouLou and GAC Pindar have competed in one or more seasons already. “It is a very positive indication of the sporting integrity and commercial value of the circuit to see so many of the highly competitive and high-profile teams sign-up again for 2012,” said Mark Turner, Executive Chairman of OC ThirdPole, the organising company and creators of the Extreme Sailing Series.

“Going into our sixth year, the level of competition will step up yet another gear, and we can expect the racing to once again be incredibly tight with Act winners only known in the closing minutes at each venue. As organisers, our mission will be to also continue to increase the commercial return for all the stakeholders, and whilst ensuring the very best racing, develop further the fan entertainment package and media value which already stepped up markedly in 2011.”

Team New Zealand racing in Muscat, Oman 2011

Team New Zealand racing in Muscat, Oman 2011

A new name for 2012 is ZouLou, headed up by Frenchman Erik Maris. It is not Maris’ first Extreme 40 experience though as he competed in the same yacht as ‘Luna’ in the 2009 series, and this time will be ably supported by an experienced multihull crew with the added caché of French sailing superstar Loick Peyron, recently returned from setting a new Jules Verne round the world record, as helmsman for at least the first two events in Muscat and Qingdao.

The all French team of Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, runners-up in both 2011 and 2010, will return for a fourth season of competition, and will again be led by skipper and helmsman Pierre Pennec, “We finished last season 2nd overall and we missed victory by a whisker,” said Pennec who is a seasoned campaigner and a skilled multihull sailor. “We are coming back to the circuit more motivated than ever and with the objective of winning the championship. This is not going to be easy considering the line-up announced for 2012 and to be able to do it we must keep improving. This season will also mark the arrival of a new talented crew member on board Groupe Edmond de Rothschild.”

Fleet racing from onboard The Wave yacht, Act 1, Muscat, 2011

Fleet racing from onboard The Wave yacht, Act 1, Muscat, 2011

Two teams will be representing Oman – The Wave, Muscat and Oman Air – at the helm of The Wave, Muscat is Olympic Tornado sailor Leigh McMillan whilst newcomer American Morgan Larson, with three America’s Cup campaigns under his belt, will take the helm of Oman Air. “This year I have had the chance to put my own team together which is a great opportunity,” said McMillan who took over the helm of The Wave, Muscat from Torvar Mirsky after Act 3 last year, to finish in 4th place overall with Omani sailor Khamis Al Anbouri on bow. “It is exciting to be sailing with a new team, and I think we definitely have the potential to get some good results. Our aim is to try and win the Series this year. We are looking forward to some great racing this year, and in some really exciting new venues – it’s going to be a fantastic year.”

The Swiss team of Alinghi return again for a third season (winners in 2008) after finishing in 5th place overall last year, but this time there will be a new man at the helm. Ernesto Bertarelli will be both skipper and helmsman in his first full season of Extreme 40 competition.

The Austrian duo of Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher, the successful Olympic Tornado partnership that brought home two Olympic gold medals to Austria, will once again be leading Red Bull Sailing Team, “We are looking forward to the new season,” said skipper Roman Hagara. “It was a short break and we have just been training in the gym. Our shore crew will work hard on the set up of our Extreme 40 in the next weeks to get ready for the first Act in Oman.”  The team finished 6th overall in 2011 and will be happy to repeat their opening performance of 2011 that saw them take the 3rd spot on the Muscat podium.

British skipper, Ian Williams, and three-times ISAF World Match Racing Champion (2007, 2008 and 2011) will lead his team for a second season on GAC Pindar.  Williams came to the Extreme 40 circuit fresh last year, swapping one hull for two, and was on a fast and sharp learning curve from capsizing in Act 2 in China to leading Act 8 in Almeria up until the penultimate day. The British team will be out to prove they can cut it with the ‘big boys’ this season.

In addition to the strong line-up above, an eighth entry will be announced separately by the team sponsor early February, and a number of wildcard entries will also be accepted in 2012 as per the Notice of Race, which allowed for up to 8 teams for the season plus a maximum of 4 wildcards at each Act. At all the Acts, there will also be local ‘home team’ entries, meaning that each Act will have a minimum of 8 to 10 top teams competing to win.

Five weeks and counting – the 2012 Extreme 40 battle will commence…

2012 NZ Millennium Cup: Inshore courses will ensure close-up views of spectacular Superyacht fleet

January 20, 2012

Members of the public, even those on shore, will this year be able to enjoy close-up views of an impressive fleet of luxury superyachts as they race in the 2012 NZ Millennium Cup, held in February 16-18.

New Zealand Millennium Cup

New Zealand Millennium Cup

Racing on the three days of this prestigious event will take place close to shore, in the Waitemata Harbour and inner Hauraki Gulf. This means those on vantage points at Devonport, North Head, Bastion Point, on the East Coast Bays and Whanagaparoa Peninsula, as well as along the Motutapu and Rangitoto shorelines, will be able to see all of the action as these luxurious 30-metre-plus vessels battle for supremacy.

NZ Millennium Cup organisers have designed courses that start and finish off Viaduct Harbour, ensuring there will also be good viewing at both ends of the races for those working in the CBD.

“Those watching, wherever they are, will be treated to a real spectacle,” says organising committee chairman, Stuart Robinson. “These are some of the world’s most spectacular yachts and, when they fly their spinnakers, some will be carrying more than 1000 square metres of sail!

“Most people will never have seen anything like this before!”

Racing in this year’s NZ Millennium Cup will get underway on Thursday, February 16 with a harbour race. This will be followed on Friday and Saturday with races from Viaduct Harbour to the inner Hauraki Gulf islands and back. Racing on the three days gets underway at 11am.

While the NZ Millennium Cup does have an active social component, Robinson stresses that the racing is taken very seriously by the vessels’ owners, their guests and crews, and by the organisers.

“All of the races in the 2012 NZ Millennium Cup will be run by race management experts such as Ross Marwick and Hal Wagstaff from the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.

“These are the same race management teams that will be in charge a few weeks later, when the Volvo 70 Fleet arrive in Auckland, compete in their inshore race and then head away on the next leg of their race around the world.”

When not racing, the superyacht owners and their guests will be given the chance to experience some of New Zealand’s finest food and wine in a mixture of casual and formal settings. These will range from a “Kiwi bach” themed post-race function in the Floating Pavilion to a formal gala dinner and prizegiving in The Cloud on Princes Wharf, complete with a charity auction to raise money for Coastguard.

Entries Open for the 2012 J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race

January 20, 2012

The Island Sailing Club (ISC) is pleased to confirm that the first entry registered by the Race Entries team at 12.04am for this year’s J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race is the Bavaria 46 sailing yacht Inseyandra,  owned and skippered by Martin Thomas from Kings Langley in Hertfordshire.  Martin is a Yachtmaster Instructor and Principal of Solent Sail Ltd, an RYA sailing school, and he will be competing on 30th June with an amateur crew of ten on board.

The triple Olympic Gold medallist Ben Ainslie

The triple Olympic Gold medallist Ben Ainslie

In what has become an annual tradition at the ISC, Lea Bennett, Club Secretary, telephoned Martin Thomas this morning to congratulate him on being the first entry and also revealed to him that he had in fact just pipped the triple Olympic Gold medallist Ben Ainslie CBE to the post with his Race entry which was filed just two minutes later!

Martin Thomas said, “I am extremely happy and very proud to be the first entry in but also feel incredibly privileged to be racing against an Olympic champion in surely one of the only yacht races where this is actually possible!”

As it commences an eighth year as Race Title Sponsor, J.P. Morgan Asset Management confirms that Ben, whom the company also Title sponsors, has indeed entered this year’s Race and, furthermore, it’s the only time when he will be competing outside of the Finn class before the Olympics. In this most historic of sporting years for Great Britain and one in which Ben, GB’s most successful Olympic sailor ever, is hoping to make history, he will skipper J.P. Morgan Asset Management Winston (GBR 2806L), a very competitive Beneteau First 40 yacht.

The first Race start is scheduled for 0700 on Saturday 30th June.

Les Voiles de Saint-Barth 2011: Revving up for a Best-Ever Edition

January 20, 2012

The Les Voiles de Saint-Barth is just three years young and is already preparing for its third annual running, held in April 2-7. Taking place on the beautiful French island in the northeastern Caribbean, the yacht regatta continues to show signs of healthy growth and popularity with a roster that promises not only to expand by almost a third over last years 47 entrants but also to showcase the best sailing talent as well as some of sailings most fantastic racing machines.

Les Voiles de Saint-Barth 2011 - Day 6 Christophe Jouany Les Voiles de Saint-Barth

Les Voiles de Saint-Barth 2011 - Day 6 Credit: Christophe Jouany/Les Voiles de Saint-Barth

With more entries, we are able to have more classes, making the racing tighter in each, said LVSB Competition Manager Annelisa Gee, who pointed out that robust numbers in spinnaker racing have already allowed for a split into two classes for that division. The event also will be appending its Notice of Race to accommodate IRC racing for a class of 52 footers that will include Peter Cunninghams (Georgetown, Grand Cayman) Powerplay, Jim Swartzs (Park City, Utah, USA) Vesper, Irvine Laidlaws (Monaco) Highland Fling, and Ashley Wolfes (Calgary, AB, Canada) Mayhem.

The news of the collapse of the MedCup (official international competition of the TP52 and Soto 40 classes) is bad for the grand prix corporate-sponsored end of the sport but okay for the rest of us said Powerplay project manager and crew member Tony Rey (Middletown, R.I.), a three-time Americas Cup veteran, as all the existing TP52s will race together under IRC in 2012 at several fantastic Mediterranean venues. With eight IRC 52s, including Powerplay, currently competing in Key West, Rey knows that having four already signed up for Les Voiles de Saint Barth insures yet another worthy contest right before the yacht is scheduled to ship overseas.

Les Voiles de Saint-Barth 2011 - Christophe Jouany Les Voiles de Saint-Barth

Les Voiles de Saint-Barth 2011 - Photo by: Christophe Jouany/Les Voiles de Saint-Barth

“We’ve had a great year developing the Powerplay team”, said Rey, explaining that Powerplay Racing was founded in 2011 even before Cunninghams acquisition of the TP52 yacht (formerly named Synergy), which has been admirably representing the Cayman Islands in regattas mostly on the East and West Coasts of the U.S. Peter is really excited to get back down to the Caribbean with this yacht.

Not the least of Powerplays worries, Vesper will be sporting much of the same crew that helped Jim Swartz win Les Voiles de Saint-Barth last year and has been sailing with him since he took the boat over from Quantum Racing about a year ago. While Swartz drives, Gavin Brady will call tactics and Francesco Mongelli will navigate. Mongelli navigated the TP52 Quantum Racing to a TP52 Worlds victory in 2011.

Sailing Yacht Vesper Christophe Jouany Les Voiles de Saint-Barth

Sailing Yacht Vesper Credit: Christophe Jouany/Les Voiles de Saint-Barth

Sailing under CSA (Caribbean Sailing Association) measurement rules will be additional classes for maxi yachts (75 feet/22.86 meters and longer), racing yachts (spinnaker and non-spinnaker), classic yachts and multihulls.

Peter Harrisons 115´ charter yacht Sojana, the 35m Farr design that has been participating for years in grand prix racing events around the world, will serve as the events flag ship, of sorts, as Harrison has been tapped as the 2012 events ceremonial Godfather, a distinction that last year was bestowed upon singer Jimmy Buffet.

Les Voiles de Saint-Barth 2011 - DAY 5 Christophe Jouany Les Voiles de Saint-Barth

Les Voiles de Saint-Barth 2011 - DAY 5 Credit: Christophe Jouany/Les Voiles de Saint-Barth

Though Harrison is not expected to perform on the music stage, the famous philanthropist will no doubt aspire to make the awards platform after sailing against such other power house entries in the super maxi class as the 112´ (34m) Baltic sailing yacht Nilaya, the 112´ (34m) Nautor Swan charter yacht Highland Breeze, the 115´ (35m) Classen Yachtbouw super yacht Firefly and the 90´ (27.4m) Reichel/Pugh Rambler superyacht.

This is obviously a very strong competitor group and it will be difficult for the luxury yacht Sojana and crew to retain or improve on its third (finish) position in 2011, said Harrison, who counts this as his third time competing in the Les Voiles de Saint-Barth and senses that it is his strong sense of adventure and competitiveness that helped gain him the honor of being named its Godfather.

112´ super yacht Highland Breeze by Swan Nautor Christophe Jouany Les Voiles de Saint-Barth

112´ super yacht Highland Breeze by Swan Nautor Credit: Christophe Jouany/Les Voiles de Saint-Barth

Among the reasons Harrison gives for the yacht regattas success are its location, the impressive organization, the strength and quality of the competitiors, and of course the concomitant social and fun part of meeting the other crew.

“Nilaya is a relatively new boat, which in its first year won the Super Yacht Cup in Palma and the Super Maxi division in the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup in Sardinia. We have a great team, which has been sailing together for several years on the owner’s (Filip Balcaen) previous boats”, said Bouwe Bekking, who will serve as tactician after having competed last year here aboard Highland Breeze. The crew is predominantly from Belgium and Holland and the owner will drive.

“Speaking to the competition he expects”, Bekking explained, “We are a cruiser/racer, with all the luxuries you can have onboard, but we will sail flat out. Sojana and Highland Breeze are the real competition, as it is apples to oranges to compare us to Rambler and Firefly. They are flat-out racers with no interiors, but we might be in for a surprise, as we have beaten many racers during the Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez.”

Peter Harrisons 115´ super yacht Sojana Christophe Jouany  Les Voiles de Saint-Barth

Peter Harrisons 115´ super yacht Sojana Credit: Christophe Jouany/Les Voiles de Saint-Barth

While last year the luxury yacht Highland Breezes owner Ben Kolff hosted his employees on board for a chance to experience the exciting and – in this location, anyway – exotic world of grand prix sailboat racing, this year he has a crew of “hard core yachties. Bekking noted, however, that the crew is comprised predominantly of amateur sailors in combination with a few professionals.

Rambler yacht is quite the opposite with a largely professional crew. It won the inaugural Les Voiles de Saint-Barth with George David (Hartford, Conn.) steering, and last year, David won again at the helm of Rambler 100, a distance racer purpose-built for breaking records. The latter yacht lost its keel and capsized, however, in the 2011 Rolex Fastnet Race and was deemed unrecoverable for racing purposes. Reverting back to his 90-footer for the 2012 season, David has already won the Ft. Lauderdale to Key West Race and plans to defend his 2011 RORC Caribbean 600 title (where he broke the monohull race record) before heading to Saint-Barth.

90´ ReichelPugh Rambler SuperyachtChristophe Jouany Les Voiles de Saint-Barth

90´ Reichel/Pugh Rambler Superyacht Photo by: Christophe Jouany/Les Voiles de Saint-Barth

With a Tuesday through Saturday schedule that includes four days of intense racing, the Les Voiles de Saint-Barth will kick off on Monday, April 2, with opening ceremonies and cocktails at the festive Race Village on the Quai General de Gaulle overlooking Gustavia Harbor, where the event is headquartered. One lay day has been reserved for competitors and friends to discover this quaint little collectivity of France, with events planned at Nikki Beach that include lunch and a surprise sporting challenge for all crews. Evening activities include off-site parties as well as post-racing bands and entertainment in the Race Village.

Superyacht Challenge Antigua, January 27-29, 2012

January 19, 2012

Simply unique in the Caribbean, Nelson’s Dockyard in English Harbour Antigua is a holy place for sailors young and old. The extraordinary streets and celebrated Georgian buildings illustrate over 300 years of maritime history.

English Harbour Antigua

English Harbour Antigua

The dockyard is a unique setting, which commands admiration and this January, a fitting yachting regatta will take place in these esteemed surroundings. A dazzling array of the world’s most prestigious sailing yachts will attend The Superyacht Challenge Antigua.

A rare occasion to celebrate sailing, for a truly impressive guest list, which is now fully committed to the event.

The 181´ sailing yacht Adela – Twin Masted Schooner incorporating every conceivable modern yacht system with a graceful and classic profile both on deck and throughout a sumptuous interior. A predecessor of the J-class America’s Cup, combining exceptional performance with the charm and elegance of a golden era.

The 80´ super yacht Drumfire – Bermudan Sloop, which won the 2011 Superyacht Cup Palma. A classic design with exceptional performance both inshore and offshore. The smallest yacht at the regatta can punch well above its weight. Superb craftsmanship throughout with flush decks and the latest in sail control systems, offer exceptional sail-handling ability.

The 100´ luxury yacht Marama – Ketch with a unique personality, starting life as an abandoned project before being transformed into a distinctive yacht of functional rather than fashionable design. The interior has the feel of a modern penthouse, the deck and rig lay out are honed for speed. A truly individual endeavour.

100´ sailing yacht Marama

100´ sailing yacht Marama

The 180´ Marie superyacht – Ketch nominated for the 2011 Robb Report ‘Best of the Best’ custom megayachts, combining classic aesthetics and contemporary design. The hull and exterior styling is reminiscent of the Golden Age of Yachting, yet offering all the spacious comforts and amenities of a 21st century yacht, a real downwind flyer.

180´ Sailing Yacht Marie by Vitters - Image credit Tom Nitsch Image

180´ Sailing Yacht Marie by Vitters - Image credit Tom Nitsch Image

The 140´ sailing yacht Rebecca – the largest ketch to be built at Pendennis to date and without doubt one of the finest looking, modern sailing yachts in the world. Stylish, eye-catching with power and grace under sail with a light and elegant interior including a sole made from antique Heart Pine salvaged from a mill built in 1711.

The 115´ charter yacht Sojana – the holder of the Round Antigua Record and the Lord Nelson Trophy, the magnificent yacht is as luxurious cruising as it is speedy on the racecourse. Below decks, there is a wealth of dark mahogany paneling, with gold-plated fittings and lavish fabrics. The latest in hi-tech sails, push-button winches and sleek lines have made Sojana a highly successful racing yacht of unquestionable pedigree.

The 141´ charter yacht This Is Us – Twin Masted Schooner, a glorious creation with low freeboard and dramatic overhangs, designed to offer an exhilarating ride. Full of power and beauty, this head-turning yacht is a truly modern classic with a sumptuous interior. However, carbon spars and rigging deliver exceptional sailing performance. A contemporary yacht of immense character intended to deliver awe-inspiring Caribbean adventures.

141´ luxury charter yacht This Is Us - Under Sail

141´ luxury charter yacht This Is Us - Under Sail

The 147´ Timoneer superyacht – a Ketch offering complete comfort for ocean cruising. A classic profile with balanced overhangs and a sweet sheer. The beautifully designed award-winning interior boasts a wealth of hand-polished cherry wood, contributing to a relaxed and traditional atmosphere. An exceptional conception, offering passion, creativity and craftsmanship designed for remote seafaring adventures.

The 100´ charter yacht Virago – the winner of the 2011 St. Barths Bucket Regatta. Built by Nautor’s Swan, as a high performance racer cruiser, Virago competes at grand prix sailing events the world over. The undoubtedly luxurious design is complimented by sophisticated engineering to provide an extraordinary power to weight ratio. Given the fine fayre of warm trade winds with an accompanying seas state, the yacht is capable of speeds in excess of 20 knots. In the right conditions, probably the fastest yacht at the regatta.

100´ luxury charter yacht Virago

100´ luxury charter yacht Virago

The 152´ charter yacht Windrose – Schooner making headlines around the world after breaking the Transatlantic crossing record twice. With low freeboards, dashing sheer and long sweet overhangs, Windrose is a favourite among classic connoisseurs. However, her traditional appearance belies hidden technological advancements. This magnificent schooner captures the spirit of the early 20th century’s Golden Age of Sail, whilst sacrificing little in the way of speed, sail handling and luxury.

A significant number of highly prestigious yachts have strongly expressed their interest to take up the invitation to compete including; the 55m charter yacht Elena, the 47.42m charter yacht Hyperion, the 27.70m charter yacht Nefertiti, the 38m charter yacht P2 and the 33.60m sailing yacht Thalima.

The Superyacht Challenge Antigua will strive to deliver an exceedingly enjoyable occasion for all of the participants. Promoting fair sailing, good companionship and life-long memories.

In time-honoured tradition, the victor will simply receive a keg of rum and the kind-hearted admiration from an astonishing selection of yacht owners and their crew.

Cardiff to host UK Extreme Sailing Series™

January 18, 2012

The UK round of the award-winning Extreme Sailing Series™, now in its sixth year, will be hosted by Cardiff, the capital of Wales in August 24-27, 2012. In a three-year deal, Cardiff won the bid to host the UK event of this global sailing circuit that is only one of four events with ISAF (International Sailing Federation) Special Event status, positioning the city alongside the other seven premium international sporting venues hosting an Extreme Sailing Series Act in 2012. The host venue agreement with Cardiff City is backed by a Welsh Government grant for 2012-2014.

Extreme Sailing Series 2011

Extreme Sailing Series 2011

The Extreme 40 catamaran yachts, raced by many of the world’s best sailors, will race on Cardiff Bay over four days with the event open to the public between the 25-27 August as the Extreme 40 fleet race in the circuit’s action packed ‘stadium’ format.

Executive chairman of the organising company behind the series, Mark Turner of OC ThirdPole, said: “The circuit continues to represent perfectly the developments in the world at large, with its balance of east and west, different cultures and languages and variety of conditions.”

“Year on year the commercial value to the host cities of securing this event for the host venues has steadily increased, and this is reflected in 2012 developments. A pro-active and innovative host venue is critical to the success of the event, and we are very excited in this respect by the partnership with Cardiff and the Welsh Government.”

Cardiff Council’s Executive Member for Sport, Culture and Leisure Cllr, Nigel Howells commented: “It’s great news that Cardiff has secured the Extreme Sailing series for the next three years, as a council we will do all that we can to support the event.

“Cardiff has proved time and time again that it can play host to a variety of world class sporting events. From top class football and rugby to newer events like Extreme Sailing. Since the opening of Cardiff International White Water (CIWW) in 2010 more and more watersport events are coming to Cardiff, which is helping to attract a new audience to Cardiff and Wales.”

The 2012 Extreme Sailing Series will be staged at 8 different international venues across three continents, attracting hundreds of thousands of spectators.  Alongside other significant media exposure, once again a dedicated TV series will be produced and broadcast on up to 40 channels around the world, including CNBC, Bloomberg, Channel 4 (UK), Sky (UK), Al Jazeera, Fox (Latin America, Australia Middle East), ESPN, Sport+ (France), RAI (Italy).

As entering the final countdown to the first Act in Oman, the 2012 team line-up will be revealed this coming weekend at the Dusseldorf Boat Show.

2012 Calendar & Host Venues:
Act 1 : Muscat, Oman 28th February-2nd March
Act 2 : Qingdao, China 17th-20th April
Act 3 : Istanbul, Turkey 7th-10th June
Act 4 : Porto, Portugal 5th-8th July
Act 5:  Cardiff, UK 24th-27th August
Act 6 : Trapani, Italy 13th-16th September
Act 7 : Nice, France 18th-21st October
Act 8 : Brazil 29th November-2nd December

Due to official Chinese naval activities in the port of Qingdao, Act 2 will now be staged between 17th-20th April instead of the 19th-22nd April.

Wight Vodka RS Elite Nationals at Royal Yacht Squadron

January 18, 2012

It is not only 12 Metres, 8 Metres and Super Yachts that have attractive events planned at the Royal Yacht Squadron in this British Olympic Year. The RS Elite National Championships will round up this year’s prominent RYS summer programme when the Class descends on the home of yachting, from 30th August to 2nd September, to race for their major annual title.

Wight Vodka

If a championship hosted in the hallowed Yacht Squadron Castle with the fleet berthed on its very own doorstep were not enough to whet the appetite, then headline sponsorship from premium brand Wight Vodka certainly completes the sensory picture. One-design RS Elites always deliver adrenalin-pumping races at their championships, so add to that the picture of Wight Vodka cocktails on the pristine RYS lawn before the big Class Dinner in the Castle and one has an idea of what this yacht regatta is all about!

No wonder, then, that a record RS Elite fleet looks certain to take to the Solent for this championship, including a strong contingent from Ireland who have already committed to the trip, guaranteeing some of the strongest contenders for the title as well as a lively atmosphere ashore.

Top Elite sailors, including defending 2011 champions the Brown family and 2010 victor Crauford McKeon, will also be out to lift the trophy. As the RYS Yachting Secretary Chris Mason (himself no stranger to top level sailboat racing) says, “The Royal Yacht Squadron is delighted to be hosting the Wight Vodka RS Elite National Championships. The regatta will come at the end of a very busy season for us, and will be a fitting finish to what is going to be a spectacular year at the RYS and in the UK. The Solent will provide varied and exciting racing; throw in tide, weather and a large fleet of competitive one design boats, and whoever comes out on top will be a worthy National Champion. With strong fleets of RS Elites on the South Coast we hope that this regatta on the Isle of Wight will spark a continued development of the Cowes fleet. Personally, I’m really looking forward to watching high class fleet racing from the Royal Yacht Squadron“.

RS is thought to be the world’s fastest growing sailboat brand and the 24’ RS Elite keelboat is the flagship of the company’s range, with fleets in Belfast, Edinburgh, Lymington, Burnham, Hayling Island and even a holiday charter fleet at Nonsuch Bay, Antigua (stand by for news of the first Elite Class regatta there in early 2013!).

The RS Elite Class Association is delighted to have secured sponsorship from the increasingly popular Wight Vodka brand during these tough economic times. Its Island ethos, prominent nautical slogan (“Tack and Gybe Responsibly”), admirable bottle design, and premium quality perfectly complement what is bound to be an exhilarating four days of close quarter RS Elite racing off the impressive Royal Yacht Squadron battlements.

Ritu Manocha, joint owner of 50 Degrees North yacht (so named after the Isle of Wight latitude, and the company behind Wight Vodka), is understandably enthusiastic about their commitment to British sailing and island life.

“I’m very proud to be working so closely with RS Sailing and the Royal Yacht Squadron to support the RS Elite Nationals. Being an Olympic year, Wight Vodka is involved in many great events, but we’re certainly looking forward to the end of August and to participating in a fantastic four days of highly competitive RS racing coupled with many fabulous social events!“

J Class Regatta 2012

January 17, 2012

The J Class Association is happy to announce outline plans for a series of amazing yacht regattas in England during 2012 – the Olympic Year. This will be the first time in history that more than four of these excellent yachts will compete together in a fleet.


The outline plan has received a positive response from J Class owners and event planning is now proceeding. Many yachts in the fleet are now preparing to be on the start line for these 2012 events.


The first regatta will be based in Falmouth, Cornwall, hosted by the The Royal Cornwall Yacht Club. Races will be held in the bay and along the coastline.

Falmouth, Cornwall, UK

Falmouth, Cornwall, UK

The second regatta will be based in the Solent, hosted by the The Royal Southampton Yacht Club (RSYC). The Solent is the traditional home of J Class racing in the UK during the 1930s.

Solent, UK

Solent, UK

The last race, again hosted by RSYC will be held over the original course around the Isle of Wight, for the 1851 Hundred Guinea Cup Race, which is now known as the “America’s Cup”.

The Isle of Wight, UK

The Isle of Wight, UK

These J Class events will attract many thousands of spectators. There are numerous headlands and vantage points close to the race courses for viewing this spectacular fleet.


Nine is probably a dream too far, but five yachts sailing together would be magnificent.

An event of this magnitude could have a profound effect on yacht racing worldwide.

37m charter yacht SHAMROCK V – Sir Thomas Lipton’s last yacht to compete for the America’s Cup. 1930

37m luxury charter yacht SHAMROCK V

37m luxury charter yacht SHAMROCK V

39m sailing yacht VELSHEDA – Built by W.Stephenson to compete alongside Endeavour. 1933

39m sailing yacht VELSHEDA

39m sailing yacht VELSHEDA

130´ charter yacht ENDEAVOUR – T.O.M Sopwith’s first America’s Cup challenger. 1934

130´ luxury charter yacht Endeavour

130´ luxury charter yacht Endeavour

41.55m charter yacht RANGER – Replica of H. Vanderbildt’s 1936 America’s Cup defender. 2002

41.55m luxury charter yacht Ranger

41.55m luxury charter yacht Ranger

42m super yacht HANUMAN – Replica of T.O.M. Sopwith’s second challenger Endeavour II. 2009

Sailing yacht HANUMAN in Newport - Photo Credit George Bekris

Sailing yacht HANUMAN in Newport - Photo Credit George Bekris

43m luxury yacht LIONHEART – An original build of a 1936 Ranger design. 2010

Super yacht Lionheart

Super yacht Lionheart

40m sailing yacht RAINBOW – Replica of Rainbow built in 1934 to defend the America’s Cup. 2011

Sailing yacht RAINBOW

Sailing yacht RAINBOW

41.50 SVEA superyacht – An original build of a 1937 Swedish design by Tore Holm. 2011

Sailing yacht SVEA

Sailing yacht SVEA

47m super yacht ATLANTIS – An original build of a 1936 Frank Paine design. 2011

Sailing yacht ATLANTIS

Sailing yacht ATLANTIS

Thailand – the best sailing superyacht destination in Asia

January 16, 2012

Thailand was chosen as the favourite sailing venue and best yacht regatta destination in Asia in a survey conducted at the 2011 Phuket King’s Cup Regatta of international sailors from around the world.

Phuket King´s Cup Regatta 2011

Phuket King´s Cup Regatta 2011

Thailand was voted as having the best sailing grounds and destinations due to an ideal geography, good weather conditions and beautiful scenery.

The sailing survey was undertaken by the Top of the Gulf Regatta in co-operation with the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta, with the aim to find out sailing trends in the region, provide useful information in helping to attract more sailors to the region, and to improve facilities and services in the region.

The survey found that of the sailors who came to the 25th Phuket King’s Cup Regatta, 53% were resident in Asia and 47% lived outside of Asia. Over 27% of the survey respondents were found to have been sailing in Thailand for more than 10 years, while 53% are relative newcomers – sailing in Thailand for only 1-3 years.

Thailand - the best sailing destination in Asia

Thailand - the best sailing destination in Asia

The survey found that Thailand is a popular sailing destination for international sailors, with many returning numerous times to enjoy the cruising grounds and sailing events Thailand has to offer. There are five major regattas in Thailand that local and international sailors are aware of and have participated in, including the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta, Top of the Gulf Regatta, Phuket Raceweek, Samui Regatta and the Bay Regatta – Phuket, Phang Nga, Krabi.

Thailand’s Andaman Coast, home of the Phuket King’s Cup, Phuket Raceweek and Bay Regatta is well established as a cruising and regatta destination. On the opposite coast, the Gulf of Thailand, the Top of the Gulf Regatta continues to grow attracting a large mixed fleet of 200+ yachts each year from youths sailing in dinghy classes, to beach catamarans, multihulls and the big boat monohull fleet.

Of those surveyed, 62% have, at some point, brought their boat to Thailand from another country. The most popular ports of entry were found to be (in order of popularity): Phuket, Samui and Pattaya. Of those yachts coming to Thailand from overseas, 60% stayed approximately one month while 40% stayed approximately six months.

Asia continues to be a popular sailing area with 32% of the respondents saying they have been sailing in Asia for more than 10 years, 14% for 4-6 years and 40% were newcomers (having sailed in Asia for only 1-3 years).

When asked how they found out about regatta’s/sailing events in Asia, 74% of respondents said “Friend/ Sailing community”, followed by 54% who said “specific event website”.

One of the aims of the survey was to find out what kind of people, and from where, attend the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta, and other sailing events in Thailand. It was found that participants in the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta are truly international with 32% from Europe, 23% from Australia and New Zealand, and 20% from Asia, as well as strong participation from US, and Russia.