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Rolex Volcano Race 2012: Volcanic Contest Awaits International Fleet

May 19, 2012

The preparations for the Rolex Volcano Race 2012, held in the town of Gaeta, just north of Naples, are well underway. The scheduled windward/leeward yacht race will allow the 19 international crews to test tactics as well as hone preparations ahead of an intriguing two-part offshore race starting on Sunday 20 May.

Ambiance at the Yacht Club Gaeta Photo by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

Ambiance at the Yacht Club Gaeta Photo by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

Leg One of the offshore race comprises a 100-nautical mile journey through the Pontine Islands from Gaeta to Capri. There, the fleet will berth for the evening of Monday 21 May before, the following morning, tackling the most challenging and rewarding part of the event, the 300-nautical mile Leg Two around the volcanic Aeolian Islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea, beginning and ending in Capri.

“The event has grown considerably from the first edition (held in 2011) both in terms of the number and quality of entrants,” explains Luca Simeone, Vice President of the Yacht Club Gaeta. “There are a number of larger boats and a representation from twelve nations. The event is newborn and has immediately assumed an international character.”

“The fascination of this event come from the boats,” continues Simeone. “The very best technology, in terms of construction, materials and sails, is represented together with the great appeal of having crews from many nations who have gone to great lengths to prepare these Maxis.”

Race course chart

Race course chart

Yachts from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Portugal, Russia, Spain, the UK and the USA as well as seven entrants from Italy make up the fleet. Two impressive winners from last year’s Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and the largest craft on show – Claus-Peter Offen’s 100-ft sailing yacht Y3K (GER) and Filip Balcaen’s 112-ft superyacht Nilaya (BEL) – are widely expected to be amongst the frontrunners.

“The forecast is quite different from last year when the race was characterised by light winds,” concludes Simeone. “We are expecting harder conditions, especially for Leg Two of the offshore race, an additional reason for celebrating the performance of these great yachts.”

The Rolex Volcano Race is organised by the International Maxi Association (IMA) and is open to Maxi yachts (measuring over 18.29 metres/60-ft in length). The overall winner of Leg Two will receive the coveted Rolex Trophy and timepiece during the traditional Rolex party at the iconic La Canzone del Mare, held on Friday 25 May.

Venice AC World Series: Local heroes lead the way

May 18, 2012

The Venice America’s Cup World Series hosted some of the best sailors competing on the Grand Canal of Venice on Friday. Pleasing the local spectators who gathered both on shore as well as on the water, each of the two Luna Rossa crews rose to the occasion, recording a race victory.

America's Cup World Series Venice 2012 - Racing Day 2 Credit: ACEA 2012/ Photo : Gilles Martin-Raget

America's Cup World Series Venice 2012 - Racing Day 2 Credit: ACEA 2012/ Photo : Gilles Martin-Raget

“Today has been a great day for us, with two victories,” said team skipper Max Sirena. “But we want to keep our feet on the ground and look ahead to the next two days. There are still many points to be gained and we need to approach it in the right way.”

While conditions were perfect for racing, with moderate 8-10 knot sea breezes, the challenge came from the narrow, restricted race course, which was shoe-horned into the canal. This forced the boats close together and the crews were obliged to execute an unprecedented number of tacks and gybes as they zigzagged up and down the track.

“The boats are so physically taxing on the guys, it is literally a flogging,” said Kiwi skipper Dean Barker, who agrees that the helmsman has the ‘easy’ job on board. His team sits in fourth place on a tight leaderboard. “You can’t but help but feel sorry for the other guys. At the end of the race their tongues are hanging out and they’re completely spent.”

Loick Peyron’s Energy Team retained their position at the top of the Fleet Racing leaderboard, but not without some nervous moments. The team was in last place at the first two marks of the second race, before making a spectacular comeback on the next leg of the course to round in second place, a position they protected all the way to the finish, maintaining their consistent finishes to date.

The race course, at its narrowest, was only 140 meters, meaning at times crews would barely have trimmed on a sail before they had to make another manoeuver. But the smaller field of play made for incredible spectator opportunities, with hundreds of boats lining the course, and thousands more taking in the action from the shore.

Venice America's Cup World Series - Day 2 ACEA 2012/ Photo Gilles Martin-Raget

Venice America's Cup World Series - Day 2 ACEA 2012/ Photo Gilles Martin-Raget

“The Italian people love sailing, they love the America’s Cup, and they love Luna Rossa,” Sirena said. “It was amazing how many people there were and how many boats we had on the water. And on Saturday there will be even more!”

Today’s Match Racing did not take place as scheduled. The Semi Finals are rescheduled to Saturday, and will take place following the Fleet Races 5 and 6.

Fleet Racing Championship – Provisional Leaderboard (after four races)
1.    Energy Team…35 points
2.    Luna Rossa Swordfish…31 points
3.    Luna Rossa Piranha…29 points
4.    Emirates Team New Zealand…29 points
5.    Team Korea…26 points
6.    ORACLE TEAM USA Spithill…21 points
7.    Artemis Racing…21 points
8.    ORACLE TEAM USA Bundock…16 points
9.    China Team…8 points

Match Racing Championship – Semi Final Results
The winners of the Quarter Finals advanced to the ‘best of three’ Semi Finals. No match races were sailed on Friday. The losers of the Quarter Final have been assigned final finishing positions (5th to 9th) in the Match Racing Championship as per the Sailing Instructions.

5. Emirates Team New Zealand
6. Team Korea
7. Luna Rossa Swordfish
8. ORACLE TEAM USA Bundock
9. China Team

Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race: Race 11 – Day 4: A game of cat and mouse

May 18, 2012

Day 4 of Race 11 saw the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race fleet competing for victory as if playing a game of cat and mouse. The Gold Coast Australia was first to go through the Scoring Gate, obtaining the maximum three points, but has also surrendered its victory to Visit Finland.

Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race

Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race

This morning also sees a number of teams make either a quick dash for the remaining points up for grabs at the Scoring Gate or choose to concentrate on the overall race to New York.

The ten-strong fleet taking part in the Clipper Race has been continually tested by fickle wind conditions over the last 24 hours and a range of tactics have played out by the skippers and crew members.

“We are ecstatic about our victory that came after a frustrating day of light and unpredictable wind,” explains Gold Coast Australia skipper, Richard Hewson.

“The team worked very hard to pick the shifts and optimise boat speed throughout the day and managed to beat De Lage Landen, Derry-Londonderry and Singapore to the gate amongst some very tight competition.”

Dutch entry, De Lage Landen secured two extra points as they crossed the line just an hour after the Australian entry.

11th Samui Regatta, May 26-June 2, 2012

May 18, 2012

Fabulous yacht charter paradise, Samui Island, will host a good number of sailors at this year’s Samui Regatta, with over 500 people from all over the world participating in a week of high-octane sailing race from May 26th to June 2nd. Organised by Regattas Asia, Samui Regatta is headquartered at Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui, with competing held off the Island’s west coast.

11th Samui Regatta, May 26-June 2, 2012

11th Samui Regatta, May 26-June 2, 2012

Also known as the ‘Tropical Island Regatta’, sailors descend on Samui’s shores each year to enjoy idyllic tropical sailing and Samui hospitality. 2012 sees crews from Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and as far away as Australia and the United Kingdom taking part, with more than 20 nationalities expected.

Entries for 2012 are looking strong. Many top boats from Hong Kong are taking part, including sports wear manufacturer Neil Pryde and his crew on the sailing yacht HiFi, as well as the largest racing boat to compete in Thai waters, the superyacht Genuine Risk. At 90-foot, her twenty plus crew will be taking part for the first time. They will line-up next to a large international contingent and a growing fleet of Thailand-based boats and crews.

Simon James, Race Director of Samui Regatta said: “The line-up of boats is looking very strong this year with many international participants and regulars returning, as well as a number of new boats and crews. We are also happy to welcome a good turnout of locally-based boats and are looking forward to giving them a regatta week to remember.”

The 2012 programme includes five days of racing with a reserve day, and six parties, concluding with a lavish beach-side Gala Dinner at Host Sponsor, Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui. The Regatta is the final event in the 011/12 Asian Yachting Grand Prix Championship, a series of 5-star racing events held throughout Asia, with trophies being presented to the Grand Prix winners on the closing night.

Samui Regatta continues to go from strength to strength. Eleven years since inception, the Regatta has established itself as a leading sports event on Samui, with a strong track record of contributing to the Island. A 2011 survey found that Regatta participants’ spend on accommodation and food and beverage on the Island during the regatta week was over THB13 million. Further expenditure on inbound travel and organisation on the Island pushes the net benefit to Samui in excess of THB30 million.

Local community support is integral to the Regatta’s success, and the organisers provide Thai youngsters with education scholarships and continue to support grass roots youth sailing.

“Since the Regatta’s inception, the event has received strong support from organisations and businesses on the Island. We work closely with our partners and continue to support and develop community initiatives,” commented Kae Wattana, Samui Regatta Event Director.

The 2012 Samui Regatta is organised by leading regatta services provider, Regattas Asia, with strong support from Samui businesses and staff.

K&M Cup 2012 attended by 11 K&M yachts

May 18, 2012

Following the Open Day of K&M Yachtbuilders closed down with a great success a day before, Sunday 22 April saw the K&M Cup 2012, held in Makkum and attended by 11 K&M-built yachts prepared to sail towards IJsselmeer.  After the pre-race meeting organised by Dykstra & Partners, the race was set and a while after 12:30 hours the first yacht crossed the starting line.

K&M Cup 2012

K&M Cup 2012

Dykstra & Partners were represented by the Bestevaer 56ST sailing yacht HannaH, the Bestevaer 55ST yacht Pilgrim, the Bestevaer 53ST Zeerover yacht, the Bestevaer 45ST luxury yacht Africa and by 3 Bestewind 50, being the Kooi Aap, Abel T. and the latest Bestewind 50 Olivia.

Van de Stadt Design had three ships in the field, being the Stadtship 70 sailing yacht Red Rooster, the Stadtship 56 luxury yacht Merrimac and the Stadtship 47 Josephine yacht, whilst Satellite Yacht Design was represented by the Icon 48 yacht Leeloo.

Bestevaer 56ST sailing yacht HannaH

Bestevaer 56ST sailing yacht HannaH - the overall winner of the K&M Cup 2012

The HannaH proved to be the fastest, followed by the smallest ship in the field, the 45-foot yacht Africa. The polyester Bestewind 50 Kooi Aap finished third. It goes without saying that the ships crossed the finishing line in a different order, but the final fair result was calculated on the basis of a handicap system.

Eeuwe Kooi, owner of K&M, commented “The weather conditions were ideal on the day – spring sunshine and 20 to 25 knots of wind. Simply a perfect sailing day!”

Bestevaer 45ST luxury yacht Africa

Bestevaer 45ST luxury yacht Africa

When might we look forward to the next edition of the K&M Cup? “That is difficult to say”, continued Eeuwe. “It is not easy to bring so many of this type of custom-built yacht together. Usually these sea-going ships leave the Netherlands fairly soon after completion and then they disperse over the seven seas. That made the sight of all those beautiful ships together so special for me.”

Venice AC World Series: Day 1 – Energy Team in the lead

May 18, 2012

Day 1 of the Venice AC World Series saw Loïck Peyron back at the helm of Energy Team, demonstrating all his skill on what was an amazing day for this French team, becoming the overall winner on Day 1 ahead of the Italians on Luna Rossa Swordfish led by Chris Draper as well as Team Korea led by the rising star Nathan Outteridge. The French Energy Team came third in the first race, and subsequently won the second race.

Venice AC World Series 2012 Day 1 © Gilles Martin-Raget / ACEA

Venice AC World Series 2012 Day 1 © Gilles Martin-Raget / ACEA

Race 1: Energy Team make it to the podium
It was at 1415hrs yesterday (Thursday, May 17) that the fleet of nine AC45 yachts set off on the race course outside of the lagoon in Venice. Team New Zealand and Energy Team crossed the starting line too soon and the French were back in sixth place at the first mark, before they headed off to the left-hand side of the race course.

At the third mark, Energy Team were still sixth, while Team Korea grabbed the lead, and the two overall leaders in the rankings, Team New Zealand and Oracle Spithill were still back at the rear. Energy Team overtook Luna Rossa Piranha to move up to fifth place. As they rounded mark 4, Energy Team still fifth, set off on the upwind leg chasing the Swedish Artemis Racing team leading to a gybing battle.

At mark 5, Energy Team was just behind Artemis, as they were attacking Luna Rossa Swordfish for third place. Nathan Outteridge and Team Korea extended their gains at the front to be the clear leader in the race.

It was after mark 6 that Energy Team in fifth place, right behind Oracle Bundock, started to move up, when the latter had a problem unfurling their gennaker in the downwind leg. Energy Team managed to move into fourth place chasing Luna Rossa Swordfish, skippered by Chris Draper, whom they were then able to catch on the final downwind run to finish in third place.

The French Energy Team © Stéphanie Billarant / Energy team

The French Energy Team © Stéphanie Billarant / Energy team

Race 2: Energy Team wins
The fleet got off to a good start with Energy Team in fourth place at the first mark. They had already made it to third position by the second mark, before grabbing second place ahead of Team New Zealand. The Italians on Luna Rossa Swordfish were at the front and the battle began with the French, while TNZ and Oracle Spithill were having their own little fight making gains on the frontrunners.

At Mark 4, Energy Team were still in second place ahead of Dean Barker (TNZ), who was 10 seconds behind the French, who were only just ten seconds behind the leader, Luna Rossa. At mark 4, Energy Team held on to second place, still ten seconds behind the Italians and ahead of TNZ et Oracle Spithill.

As they rounded mark 5, Energy lost a little ground to Luna Rossa, who headed off to the right-hand side of the race course, while Loïck Peyron’s team went left on this downwind leg to be followed by Team New Zealand and Oracle Spithill.

A major upset occurred at mark 6 after an excellent downwind leg from the French, which enabled them to cross in front of Luna Rossa Swordfish with a lead of 5 seconds at the gate. It looked like it was going to be a closely fought duel between the two leaders. Energy Team remained in front keeping their Italian opponent in check, with the gap between the two boats across the race course reaching 90 metres.

The final upwind leg would be the decider for the French. As they passed through Gate 7, Energy managed to extend their lead and the French found themselves out in front some 28 seconds ahead of the Italians on Luna Rossa, while the Kiwis were rapidly narrowing the gap from behind. The French took off ahead of Luna Rossa to finish with a lead of 26 seconds.

Loïck Peyron’s reactions: “Energy Team made it to the top of the mountain today. We’re extremely pleased about this result. We’ve been out there training hard all week. I’m delighted to be back at the helm and to be able to consolidate on the results obtained by Yann Guichard in Naples. We’ve got a great crew and I’d like to congratulate the lads. These boats are fantastic to sail.”

Overall rankings – Day 1 (Thursday 17th May 2012)

1. Energy Team : 18 pts
2. Luna Rossa Swordfish : 16 pts
3. Team Korea : 15 pts
4. ETNZ : 13 pts
5. Artemis : 13 pts
6. Luna Rossa Piranha : 12 pts
7. Oracle Spithill : 10 pts
8. Oracle Bundock : 7 pts
9. China Team : 4 pts

Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race: Race 11 – Day 3: Tactics heat up

May 18, 2012

The ten international crews sailing in the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race with the steady Caribbean trade winds concentrate on the crucial Scoring Gate points, when passing through the Windward Passage.

Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race

Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race

The fleet remains closely matched, Gold Coast Australia is in poll position while Singapore has moved up a notch overnight into second place with only four miles currently separating the two rivals. Maintaining its place in the middle of the fleet, Edinburgh Inspiring Capital skipper Flavio Zamboni says, “Everybody is now focused on the weather conditions through the Windward Passage and what the best tactics are going to be once we get through it.”

With less than 300 miles to go to the Scoring Gate, the Clipper Race fleet is battling for the crucial additional points.

As the competition heats up in the penultimate leg of the series, the Race Committee  yesterday issued the penalty points  for sail repairs and equipment damage following Leg 6 with 12 points being given to just over half of the teams competing. The overall leader board is not affected, but Geraldton Western Australia took their first penalty point  while Qingdao and Singapore remain the only entries without penalties so far.

To glean back points lost, the teams will be eager to employ varying strategies to re-energise their position on the overall race standings for the remaining 5,550 miles to Race Finish in Southampton on 22 July.

Launch of the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup

May 17, 2012

For the first time in the history of the America’s Cup, young, talented sailors have a unique opportunity to win one of the most prominent trophies in sport. Launched today with ceremonies in Venice, Italy as well as San Francisco, USA, the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup welcomes young sailors, providing them with possibility to obtain the experience they need to contribute to a Cup team.

Launch of the Red Bull Youth America's Cup in Venice, Italy

Launch of the Red Bull Youth America's Cup in Venice, Italy © Guilain GRENIER / ORACLE TEAM USA

“I think this is one of the most exciting developments in the America’s Cup in a very long time,” said ORACLE TEAM USA skipper Jimmy Spithill, who became the youngest skipper to win the America’s Cup at age 30 in 2010.

“Breaking into the America’s Cup is hard. I was very fortunate when I was 19 to get a break with the Young Australia team, which allowed me to get into the game and get noticed. But this is going to give many more young sailors the same type of opportunity. We are talking about literally turning tradition on its head by opening up the America’s Cup to younger sailors, rather than it being closed off and difficult to get a foot in the door.”

Racing will take place in the same high performance, wing-sailed AC45 catamarans currently used in the America’s Cup World Series. The Red Bull Youth America’s Cup is scheduled for August/September 2013, in San Francisco, during the heart of the 34th America’s Cup racing season.

Venice, Italy © Guilain GRENIER / ORACLE TEAM USA

Venice, Italy © Guilain GRENIER / ORACLE TEAM USA

Red Bull has a long tradition in giving wings to young talent, athletes or even whole disciplines. The Red Bull Youth America’s Cup is opening up the highest level of sailing to young people  – on new catamarans that are extreme performance machines.

The Red Bull Youth America’s Cup is open to up to 10 national teams of six sailors, aged 19 to 23 in 2013. Teams can apply for entry to America’s Cup Race Management beginning this summer. One team per country will be accepted and each crew member must conform to nationality requirement.

The event will benefit from the global attention the existing platform receives, including television, web and mobile coverage. The sailing stars of tomorrow will be born in the spotlight in San Francisco next summer.

Equipment, including the AC45 platform and wing, will be supplied to teams who have their entry accepted. More details about the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup are available in the Event Notice.

Quotes:

Ben Ainslie, skipper, BAR: “The Red Bull Youth America’s Cup is a great new initiative. When I was a kid I had two aims, to win an Olympic medal and the America’s Cup. The route into the Cup has always been tough, but this will give a whole new generation of sailors the opportunity to get into the America’s Cup early in their sailing careers.”

Nathan Outteridge, skipper, Team Korea: “I think the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup is a great chance for younger sailors to explore the avenue of the America’s Cup. Up until now, it’s something that’s been so difficult to get in to. I feel lucky that I was in the right place at the right time to be approached to be here with Team Korea. To get on to one of these teams has been nearly impossible until you’re in your late 20s or early 30s, so this gives young sailors that chance. I think you’ll see a lot of talented sailors come out of this.

Chris Draper, helmsman, Luna Rossa: “I wish I was younger! This is really good news for youth sailors. The change to catamarans means the teams are already looking for younger people, with skill on fast boats. The Red Bull Youth America’s Cup will bring the best young sailors from around the world to one place – San Francisco – where they’ll be able to show us all what they can do.”

Ocean Village Marina to host four J Class yachts

May 17, 2012

This summer, the MDL’s Ocean Village Marina will be hosting four world-class yachts racing in the Solent Regatta as well as the Hundred Guinea Cup this July.

MDL´s Ocean Village Marina

MDL´s Ocean Village Marina

Four J Class yachts will be berthed at Ocean Village for the duration of the racing, allowing them easy access to the host club, Royal Southampton, where the race office will be located. Having the fleet so close will make communications between the Club and competitors much easier, and enables owners, skippers and crew to enjoy Club facilities whilst also providing up-close views for spectators wanting to get closer to the yachts.

Debbie Burns, Manager at Ocean Village Marina, commented: “We are delighted to be able to welcome the J Class yachts to Ocean Village for what is sure to be a very exciting regatta. Ocean Village prides itself on providing specialist berthing facilities for large yachts when they visit the Solent and take part in these fantastic events. We are very proud to be able to offer all the marina’s facilities for both crew and spectators to be so close to the racing action.”

The Solent Regatta will take place from 18 – 21 July 2012, with three races planned, – one starting in the western Solent and around Christchurch Bay, one starting in the eastern Solent and into Hayling Bay, and a third in the central Solent. The Hundred Guinea Cup Race will take place on 21 July, starting on the RYS line off Cowes, and taking the original clockwise course around the Isle of Wight.

Current 2011-12 AC World Series overall leaderboard tight

May 17, 2012

Ahead of the Venice AC World Series as the penultimate event of the 2011-12 AC World Series, ORACLE TEAM USA skipper Jimmy Spithill leads by one point, followed by Dean Barker’s Emirates Team New Zealand. The overall winner will be decided in Newport, Rhode Island, next month.

ACWS Trophy © ACEA 2012/ Photo Gilles Martin-Raget
ACWS Trophy © ACEA 2012/ Photo Gilles Martin-Raget

At the skippers’ press conference on Tuesday in Venice, the sailors were shown, for the first time, the newly commissioned AC World Series Trophy. The topic of conversation was the parity of the fleet, and how difficult it would be to post a consistent scoreline in the racing this week.

“Every single person here wants to win this Series,” Spithill said. “But Venice is going to be very, very challenging. I think the key is to be consistent. Now the level is such that everyone can win. We’ve seen that, and in Venice there will be a lot more opportunities for passing. It will never be over until you get across the finish line. For the spectators it will be fantastic and for the sailors it will be a real test.”

“The battle for consistency is pretty difficult…” agreed Terry Hutchinson, skipper of the third place Artemis Racing. “The challenge is dealing with the conditions and the other competitors and trying to get through some situations that appear quite random at times to get that consistency. The good news is that it’s not a big mystery, the difficult part is in executing.”

Luna Rossa team training in San Marco Channel in Venice
Luna Rossa team training in San Marco Channel in Venice © ACEA 2012/ Photo Gilles Martin-Raget

The newly commissioned AC World Series Trophy is polished silver, similar to the America’s Cup itself. The nine wing sails supporting the globe represent the nine teams competing in the 2011-12 AC World Series. The globe reflects the international nature of the competing teams and venues, while the overall design is a tribute to the precision of technology that is such an important aspect of the sport.

America’s Cup World Series racing in Venice starts on Thursday at 1415 CEST. Two fleet races along with the first Quarter Final match races are on the schedule for the first day.

On Tuesday afternoon, the teams are scheduled to participate in the first official training day. Practice is also scheduled for Wednesday, but a forecast for poor conditions means Tuesday’s time on the water becomes even more valuable.

ACWS trophy discolsed at skippers press conference
ACWS trophy disclosed at skippers press conference © ACEA 2012/ Photo Gilles Martin-Raget

Quotes:

Dean Barker, skipper Emirates Team New Zealand, on the challenge of switching to multihulls: “It’s been a case of having to re-learn a lot of instincts. A lot of the natural reactions have been wrong, but slowly we’re improving on that. It’s one of those things that we know that even when we get to the Louis Vuitton Cup in San Francisco next year we’ll still be learning every day. It’s just one of those processes. You see in each event that one team tends to have stepped up relative to the rest. It’s going to be a case of who steps up the best right at the end. It’s a fantastic challenge…”

Loick Peyron, skipper Energy Team, on how his team has developed over the past year: “Yann (Guichard) and the team have done a very good job in San Diego and in Naples and improved a lot. So it’s much easier now on the helm. I can push or pull and the guys are just working as they should. We’ve been sailing for a few days here and it’s maybe one of the best places to train. The weather conditions are great.”

Darren Bundock, skipper, ORACLE TEAM USA Bundock, on having Russell Coutts join his crew: “I wouldn’t say it’s pressure. Russell is a true legend in the America’s Cup and a great addition to our boat tactically. Russell has been thrown in at the deep end. He’s up front, pulling ropes and seeing how physical he’s made these boats! We think it’s great. How often do you get to boss the boss around?!?”

Nathan Outteridge, skipper Team Korea, on getting back into the AC World Series after winning his fourth 49er World Championship last week: “I’m pretty excited to be back here and racing with the best guys in the world. It’s a great chance to get back into it. I went for a quick sail yesterday… And I’m looking forward to getting out there again today and gearing up for the event. It’s an amazing place to sail here in Venice and hopefully we can build on what we did in Naples.”

Phil Robertson, skipper, China Team, on the youth of his team (at 25, he’s the youngest skipper in the fleet): “It’s a big step for us. We’re the youngest team. Our average age is about 26 on board, so for us it’s all about focusing on boat handling and trying to take the small steps to get to the level of these guys. All of these teams have been together for a while and sailing these boats for over a year, so it’s just a matter of trying to catch up to their level.”

Chris Draper, helmsman, Luna Rossa Piranha, on feeling the pressure to perform: “(Skipper) Max Sirena and the team have been very quick to make sure we don’t get ahead of ourselves. We still have some massive weak areas we can improve upon. If we keep focusing on ourselves and making sure that we’re improving, the results will take care of themselves.”

Paul Campbell-James, helmsman, Luna Rossa Swordfish, on why they’ve been able to catch up to the rest of the fleet so quickly: “Having the two boats allows us to get the most we can out of the training sessions and every day we go out on the water. Our team sailed together last year in the X40s and Chris did so well with Team Korea, so we’re learning a lot from each other.”

2011-12 AC World Series, overall leaderboard

1. ORACLE TEAM USA – Spithill… 67 points
2. Emirates Team New Zealand… 66 points
3. Artemis Racing… 54 points
4. Energy Team… 48 points
5. ORACLE TEAM USA – Bundock… 47 points
5.Team Korea… 47 points
7. China Team… 26 points
8. Luna Rossa Piranha… 19 points
9. Luna Rossa Swordfish… 12 points