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Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race: Race 11 – Day 6: A tactical gamble pays off for Visit Finland

May 20, 2012

Written by zuzana

Yet more challenging weather conditions waited for the 10 crews participating in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race over the last 24 hours, with sparse wind as well as intense heat influencing their position and mood.

Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race

Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race

However, for Visit Finland a tactical gamble overnight has seen the yacht regain its lead and secure first place in Race 11.

After entering into stealth mode overnight, which allows the team to hide its position from the rest of the fleet for a period of 24 hours, Visit Finland has regained its lead and is currently in first place, around 40 miles ahead of its nearest rival Gold Coast Australia.

With only three miles separating second place Gold Coast Australia and third place De Lage Landen, the Australian entry’s skipper Richard Hewson describes his tactical approach to catch even the smallest advantage to help reclaim the team’s former glory, “In the last 24 hours we have had no less than thirty sail changes as the wind picks up to a few knots, changes direction and then drops back off again.

“Changing between wind seeker, Yankee 1, Staysail and light weight spinnaker is a full time job throughout the watch, and the deck regularly resembles a the floor at the end of an Italian dinner party, covered in a spaghetti of sheets, lines, halyards and sails.”

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Sailing Yacht Bronenosec’s consistent day at Leg One of the Rolex Volcano Race

May 20, 2012

Written by Eva Belanyiova

The second part of the Rolex Volcano Race started today, not long after 15:00 local time. The fleet, including sailing yacht Bronenosec of Saint Petersburg Yacht Club was tacking the Leg One of the regatta – a race of 100 miles from Gaeta to the island of Capri, passing through the Pontine Islands, Italy.

Sailing yacht Bronenosec - RUS - Photo By- Rolex  Kurt Arrigo

Sailing yacht Bronenosec - RUS - Photo By- Rolex Kurt Arrigo

As the fleet progress and approach the half-way mark the route thus far has been full of pitfalls and the tacticians have had their work cut out as the conditions have proved particularly tricky and the weather has been characterised by weak and unstable winds. This afternoon, in fact, the lack of wind delayed the race start by 40 minutes. The absence of the wind God, Aelous had the merit at least of being the same for all competitors; as the yachts now approach the Pontine Islands, they all have to deal with the calm conditions.

In addition to the unknown weather, Bronenosec will have to deal with some of the fastest and more established Maxi yachts on the international scene. However, the excellent steering of Vladimir Liubomirov also Commodore at the Yacht Club of Saint-Petersburg, always committed to the helm, has pulled in a steady performance in the 5-6 knots and Bronenosec currently sits mid-fleet as night-time falls off the Italian coast.

As the breeze sets to build slightly overnight to 10-13 knots with little gust variation the Swan 60 yacht, engineered for performance with a hull designed solely for racing, will spend the night pursuing and recovering the miles on the leader whilst countering attacks by opponents before the fleet arrive in Capri tomorrow morning.

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Venice AC World Series: Leaderboard closes up with one race to go in Venice

May 19, 2012

Written by zuzana

The spectators of the Venice AC World Series enjoyed very close, tight, as well as tactically difficult competing on Saturday afternoon. Cheering on the AC45 sailors from the Gran Canal, the Venetian crowds lined the waterfront.

America's Cup World Series Venice 2012 - Racing Day 3 © ACEA 2012/ Photo Gilles Martin-Raget

America's Cup World Series Venice 2012 - Racing Day 3 © ACEA 2012/ Photo Gilles Martin-Raget

Winds were light, but the race course was very short and demanding on the teams. Luna Rossa Swordfish pleased the local crowds by winning the first fleet race and momentarily grabbing the overall lead in the regatta. But the early heroes fell to the back of the fleet in race two, allowing Loick Peyron’s Energy Team to retain overall leadership heading into Sunday’s final race.

Artemis Racing had a very strong showing on Saturday, with skipper Terry Hutchinson grinding out a fifth place finish in the first contest before winning the second.

“It was hard work,” a relieved Hutchinson said following the race. “The guys on board today have done really good work. It was a tough night’s sleep last night because I knew I’d let us down yesterday, so it’s nice to get it right today. It was an absolute fight the entire time, but the guys did their work really well.”

Phil Robertson, at 25 the youngest skipper in the fleet, had a good day for China Team, with fourth and eighth place finishes. It was the first time in the event China Team was able to hold a good early position through to the race finish. And the day could have been better as Robertson and crew were in second place early in the second contest, before falling back to eighth.

Venice Ac World Series Day 3 © ACEA 2012/ Photo Gilles Martin-Raget

Venice Ac World Series Day 3 © ACEA 2012/ Photo Gilles Martin-Raget

Later in the afternoon, Artemis Racing and Luna Rossa – Piranha advanced to the Final of the Match Racing Championship. Both teams are now in position to ‘win the double’ if they can capture both the Fleet and Match Racing Championships on Sunday.

The AC500 Speed Trials are scheduled for 1350 CEST. Racing starts at 1440 CEST on Sunday with the Match Racing Final – a one race duel for the title, followed by the seventh and final fleet race (1510 CEST), where the winner earns a whopping 30 points, enough for anyone in the top seven in the standings to have a chance of winning the title.

“The way the points work in the fleet racing it’s all about tomorrow,” confirmed Team Korea’s Nathan Outteridge, currently in seventh place, but still with a chance winning overall on Sunday. “We’ve learned a lot this week and it’s all about going high risk tomorrow. I think everyone will have the same attitude. We haven’t been dialing up the risk enough yet. You dial it up, and you’re either going to get it right or wrong… that’s what we’ve got to do tomorrow.”

Fleet Racing Championship – Provisional Leaderboard (after six races)
1.    Energy Team…44 points
2.    Luna Rossa Piranha…43 points
3.    Luna Rossa Swordfish…43 points
4.    Emirates Team New Zealand…42 points
5.    ORACLE TEAM USA Spithill…38 points
6.    Artemis Racing…37 points
7.    Team Korea…37 points
8.    ORACLE TEAM USA Bundock…22 points
9.    China Team…18 points

Match Racing Championship – Semi Final Results
Semi Final 1: Artemis Racing defeated Energy Team; 2-0
Semi Final 2: Luna Rossa – Piranha defeated ORACLE TEAM USA – Spithill; 2-1

The losers of the Semi Final and Quarter Final matches have been assigned final finishing positions (3rd through 9th) in the Match Racing Championship as per the Sailing Instructions.

3. ORACLE TEAM USA – Spithill
4. Energy Team
5. Emirates Team New Zealand
6. Team Korea
7. Luna Rossa Swordfish
8. ORACLE TEAM USA Bundock
9. China Team

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Rolex Volcano Race 2012: 60ft sailing yacht Mini Maxi Jethou wins today’s windward/leeward race

May 19, 2012

Written by zuzana

The winner of today’s windward/leeward race at the 2012 Rolex Volcano Race has become Sir Peter Ogden’s 60ft sailing yacht Mini Maxi Jethou (GBR). Taking place in Gaeta, Italy fourteen of the 19 entered Maxi yachts competed in the race which marked the first segment of this year’s event.

JETHOU yacht crosses in front of NILAYA superyacht during windward-leeward race Photo RolexKurt arrigo

JETHOU yacht crosses in front of NILAYA superyacht during windward-leeward race Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

Jethou yacht triumphed on handicap having finished second on the water to Claus-Peter Offen’s 100-ft superyacht Y3K (GER), who attacked the 8.8-nautical mile course in a time of one hour, five minutes and 39 seconds. Ian Budgen, longstanding part of the Jethou afterguard, was delighted at winning a highly competitive race, commenting: “It was lovely out there, nice and warm. We had 9-13 knots of breeze, so great sailing conditions. Over the last six months a lot of changes have been made to the boat and on a light air day like today the modifications make a big difference.”

Whilst Jethou will take confidence from today’s victory, the hard work begins tomorrow with the first leg of the 400-nautical mile offshore race, commencing at 15:00 CEST. Running from Gaeta to Capri, the initial 100-nautical mile leg serves as an enticing appetiser to the more significant 300-nautical mile Leg Two, starting from Capri on Tuesday 22 May and comprising a voyage around the UNESCO-protected Aeolian Islands, geological wonders in the Tyrrhenian Sea.

Today’s skipper’s briefing held at the Club Nautico Gaeta, attended by noted tacticians including Jethou’s Brad Butterworth sailing yacht Berenice Bis’s (ITA) Tiziano Nava and Tommaso Chieffi of the sole Russian entry Bronenosec yacht, provided the international crews with the latest information regarding the conditions forecast for the offshore race.

Ambiance in Gaeta Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

Ambiance in Gaeta Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

Official race meteorologist Filippo Petrucci predicts relatively rough conditions as the week develops, revealing: “Sunday evening will be characterised by a low pressure system which will arrive over the central western part of the Mediterranean so we expect rain and unsettling conditions for the conclusion of Leg One on Monday.”

Petrucci continued: “Regarding the outlook for the rest of the week the low pressure system will continue into Tuesday, with mostly cloudy skies and a risk of isolated thunderstorms bringing changeable winds. This may lead to very strong offshore winds between Tuesday and Wednesday of 25-30 knots with even stronger gusts.” In short, and compared to last year’s feeble conditions, the crews should be braced for a relatively quick dash around the majestic islands.

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Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race: Race 11 – Day 5: Unstable wind continues

May 19, 2012

Written by zuzana

The ten-strong fleet competing in the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race experienced another difficult day of racing. Today’s skipper reports to the Race Office are full of curses to the wind gods and a number of tactical gambles as each team tries to win over its closest rivals.

Clipper Round the World Yacht Race

Clipper Round the World Yacht Race

Visit Finland along with Geraldton Western Australia and Welcome to Yorkshire have entered Stealth Mode over the last 24 hours, which has allowed Gold Coast Australia to retake the lead of Race 11, a day after it claimed maximum points at the Scoring Gate.

Geraldton Western Australia skipper, Juan Coetzer, explains his team’s tactical decision. “Last night we saw that we were not going to make the Scoring Gate as one of the first three teams to cross. So we opted for a different tactic by playing our Stealth Mode card.

“The wind has been kind to us but we had to work rather hard to keep on moving through the wind holes.” Geraldton Western Australia’s position will be hidden from the Race Viewer and the rest of the fleet until 1400 UTC today, while Visit Finland’s and Welcome to Yorkshire’s positions will not be reported until 0000 UTC and 0600 UTC tomorrow respectively.

Stealth Mode allows the teams to hide their positions from the rest of the fleet for a period of 24 hours, enabling them to spring some tactical surprises. The Race Office still tracks their positions every hour.

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Rolex Volcano Race 2012: Volcanic Contest Awaits International Fleet

May 19, 2012

Written by zuzana

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.

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Venice AC World Series: Local heroes lead the way

May 18, 2012

Written by zuzana

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

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

May 18, 2012

Written by zuzana

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.

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

May 18, 2012

Written by zuzana

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.

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

May 18, 2012

Written by zuzana

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.”

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