yacht racing Luxury Yacht & Superyacht News

Extreme Sailing Series Act 1 – French Favourites on Target for Victory

March 01, 2012

There are at least five teams in contention for the podium at tomorrow’s finale of the Act 1 of the Extreme Sailing Series, with Groupe Edmond de Rotschchild leading and yacht Oman Air just one point behind …

Groupe Edmond de Rothschild rounding a mark - Credit Lloyds Images

Groupe Edmond de Rothschild rounding a mark - Credit Lloyds Images

The penultimate day of the Extreme Sailing Series, Act 1 in Muscat, Oman saw the wind speed ratchet up a few knots, as did the competition. The intense head to head between sailing yacht Groupe Edmond de Rothschild and the impressive new team on Oman Air continued unabated and, once again, only 1 point separates these two teams going into the final day of Act 1, in favour of the French favourites.

“Radical!” said Morgan Larson back on the dockside. “It was an entertaining day definitely. We knew we might struggle a bit when the breeze came up… Today has tightened the field up a lot with Red Bull, GAC Pindar and The Wave right on our heels…” There could not be two more contrasting skippers in the laid-back, stocky, surf-loving Californian and the intense, focused, slightly built Pierre Pennec. It’s going to make for an outstanding final day tomorrow with three other teams in the hunt for the podium snapping at their heels. All the action will be streamed live online, starting earlier than usual at 1030GMT.

The Extreme 40 racing started in around 9 knots of wind that increased to 12 then 14 knots delivering plenty of hull-flying action and close combat at the top mark. Reaching start, 100m sprint to the top mark, 6 Extreme 40s screaming into the mark got the adrenalin pumping for the sailors and spectators. It made the racing full-on for the 8 Extreme 40 teams on the short, sharp stadium race courses with reaching starts that caught out the new and less experienced skippers where timing the fast approach to the start line demands accuracy and skill, punishing those who get it wrong. The tight stadium action resulted in numerous penalties and a few scrapes, whilst Alinghi found themselves entangled with the race mark on two occasions.

Oman Air protesting during a race on day 3  - Credit Lloyds Images

Oman Air protesting during a race on day 3 - Credit Lloyds Images

Getting a taste of the Extreme 40 action was Omani footballer, Saad al-Mukhaini, who was celebrating his team’s win against Thailand the night before to continue on their World Cup qualifying journey. Al-Mukhaini, who is taking part in the Arsenal selection trials, went racing with Oman Air and watching the racing was His Highness Sayyid Tariq bin Shabib Al Said, of the Sultanate of Oman royal family.

Pierre Pennec’s team scored the first win of the day but could only claim one more race win out of the 8 races today, as the other teams jostled for places at the front. Loick Peyron’s team on Zoulou won the second race, Alinghi the third, then GAC Pindar who are showing bursts of fantastic form in their second season of racing. In the next race GAC Pindar crewman Mark Bulkeley suffered a minor head injury, diverting the crew’s attention as Pennec claimed the win: “Coming in for a hoist, the spinnaker gets thrown round the shroud to keep it out of the way,” explained Bulkeley. “And the furling unit just caught me on the side of the head – there was a bit of blood but nothing too serious.”

With Bulkeley’s head injury attended to the British team bounced back to win the next race. Leigh McMillan’s team on The Wave, Muscat did enough to maintain their 3rd position on the leaderboard: “We managed to keep it quite clean,” said Brit McMillan. “We only get 1 penalty today – we got too close to Red Bull and took a penalty but that’s what the racing was like today. We’re getting into a good place and we’re hoping to go out tomorrow and finish it off.” Roman Hagara’s Red Bull Sailing Team also managed to hold on to their 4th place ahead of GAC Pindar going into the final day of Act 1 tomorrow. As always, plenty of points to play for and a double-points final race decider.

Omani footballer, Saad al-Mukhaini enjoying the ride on Oman Air on day 3 - Credi Lloyds Images

Omani footballer, Saad al-Mukhaini enjoying the ride on Oman Air on day 3 - Credi Lloyds Images

Racing will start an hour earlier than scheduled tomorrow at 0900 GMT (1300 local time) to take advantage of the good winds forecast and the live streaming will start at 1030 GMT so you can follow the action all the way to the end.

Extreme Sailing Series 2012 Act 1, Muscat, Oman standings after Day 3, 22 races (1.3.12)
Position / Team / Points

1st Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA) Pierre Pennec / Jean-Christophe Mourniac / Hervé Cunningham / Bernard Labro / Adeline Chatenet 121 points

2nd Oman Air (OMA) Morgan Larson / Will Howden / Charlie Ogletree, Nasser Al Mashari, Max Bulger 120 points

3rd The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Ed Smyth, Pete Greenhalgh, Hashim Al Rashdi, Rachel Williamson 116 points

4th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans Peter Steinacher, Matthew Adams, Graeme Spence, Pierre Le Clainche 110 points

5th GAC Pindar (GBR) Ian Williams / Mark Ivey / Mark Bulkeley, Adam Piggot / Andrew Walsh 102 points

6th ZouLou (FRA) Loick Peyron, Philippe Mourniac, Jean-Sébastien Ponce, Bruno Jeanjean, Antoine Joubert 85 points

7th Alinghi (SUI), Ernesto Bertarelli, Tanguy Cariou, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey, Pierre-Yves Jorand 74 points

8th Team Trifork (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Kostner, Pete Cumming, Simon Hiscocks, Jonas Hviid 64 points

Loick Peyron at the helm of ZouLou with The Wave, Muscat chasing hard - Credit Lloyds Images

Loick Peyron at the helm of ZouLou with The Wave, Muscat chasing hard - Credit Lloyds Images

Quotes from the sailors:

Morgan Larson, skipper, Oman Air: “Radical! It was an entertaining day definitely. We knew we might struggle a bit when the breeze came up with me and my timing, mainly it was the starting as I didn’t have any training on the reaching starts and I need a lot! I guess when you go out there and do 8 races, you can some practice, and finally in the last race I got it. It’s a challenge, there’s a lot of team pushing hard and it can go either way on the start if you get it one second wrong you get shot out the back or over early. Today has tightened the field up a lot with Red Bull and Pindar, and The Wave who had an awesome day, are right on our heels and anyone can still win this one.”

Tanguy Cariou, tactician, Alinghi: “It was tough and too many marks too round! It was the first ‘real’ Extreme stadium day as yesterday was quite light and longer races. Today was a lot more intense with the course and the reaching starts. From the start full-speed on 16-17 knots boat speed and it was a tough day for us. As a team we have so many things to learn to be efficient.”

Leigh McMillan, skipper, The Wave, Muscat: “The firsts reach was only about 100m long so we always came to the first mark, 3 or 4 boats wide, gennakers unfurling, lots of close contact manoeuvres, full on! We managed to keep it quite clean, only get 1 penalty today – we got to close to Red Bull and took a penalty but that’s what the racing was like today. We’re getting into a good place and we’re hoping to go out tomorrow and finish it off.”

Mark Bulkeley, mainsheet, GAC Pindar: “Coming in for a hoist, the spinnaker gets thrown round the shroud to keep it out of the way and the furling unit just caught me on the side of the head – there was a bit of blood but nothing too serious. We had four good races and four not so good races today – it was a hard race course to get back in if you got it wrong.”

J Class replica sailing yacht Savannah to compete at the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race

March 01, 2012

90ft J Class sailing yacht Savannah has been announced to compete at the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race, together with the new vessels, such as Outrageous, Falcon and Shenanigans entering the race. There are also some fabulous goodies to be won in the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race Draw if you attend one of their free South Coast, UK, Race Seminars in March:

• A Volvo XC90 for the weekend, donated by Volvo Car UK

• Raymarine Handheld 101E Radio, donated by Raymarine

• £250 worth of Henri Lloyd Ainslie GBR3 products, donated by Henri Lloyd

• Two signed books from Dame Ellen MacArthur, donated by the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust

• A large Henri Lloyd Jacket, donated by Haven Knox-Johnston

To secure your place on either Saturday 17th March 2pm at the Royal Southampton Yacht Club or Saturday 24th March 6pm at the Royal Lymington Yacht Club, register here without delay.

ENTRY NEWS

There was an influx of Early Bird entries for this year’s Race and the tally currently stands at 655 with hundreds more to come. Standard Entry closes at midnight on 2nd June.

The J Class replica sailing yacht Savannah is competing on June 30th - Photo Courtesy of owner Hugh Morrison

The J Class replica sailing yacht Savannah is competing on June 30th - Photo Courtesy of owner Hugh Morrison

J Class replica sailing yacht ‘Savannah’

In 1995, yachtsman Hugh Morrison hired J Class Management to help him create a modern classic. He was inspired by the J Class sloops, William Fife and a number of other beautiful old yachts, but wanted a boat under 100ft long.  J Class Management selected Pedrick Yacht Designs in Newport, Rhode Island, for hull and rig design, and John Munford Design in Southampton for interior styling. J Class, Pedrick, Munford and Hugh worked as a team to create the 90ft Savannah.  Shortly after her launch in 1997, Savannah won ShowBoats International’s “Best Sailing Yacht” award. Savannah has sailed and triumphed in many regattas since then. We can’t wait to see her in action on June 30th.

First time round

It is always exciting to see new faces and names entering the Race and there is a noticeable number of international first timers already in the system this year including Outrageous, a Swan 47 from Switzerland, Falcon a 1930s classic crewed by first timers from the Netherlands and Robert Holden and the team on Shenanigans competing in their first ever race and hoping to scoop up the JPMAM Family Trophy into the bargain.

Windhover, an Arcona 430, is a brand new fast performance cruiser, launched in January 2012. The crew is made up of sailing friends from England, Ireland, Canada and the Netherlands.

Also racing for the first time is Lulubelle, a 1973 Macwester, still in refit at present. Owner Steve Harvey, from Leatherhead in Surrey, says he is “feeling very apprehensive, but excited at the same time!”

Music while you work

If you’re racing this year and are anywhere in the vicinity of Black Diamond yacht, owned by Greg Dunn, you may just think you’ve turned up in France instead of Cowes. One of the crew is an Accordian player who is aiming to play his way around the Island.

Richard Wagner’s sailing yacht Whistling Maid is one of the last in a series of 32 Carbineers to be built. The Laurent Giles design won acclaim when it first appeared in 1969 as a deck saloon ketch rigged motor sailer with aft cockpit and internal steering. Whistling Maid has recently undergone an extensive refit and restoration having been left ashore in Rhode Island unattended for many years. Her new home will be Poole in Dorset where the refit was carried out.

High seas for High Sheriffs?

Hampshire High Sheriff Hallam Mills has challenged Nick Hayward, the High Sheriff of the Isle of Wight, to a race-within-a race whereby the slowest of the pair on corrected time must pay a fine to the other’s charity.  Hallam is racing on board the well-rated Nordic Folkboat Ayesha, whilst Nick is currently looking for something ‘larger’ to compete in.

Going around again!

David Aisher’s sailing yacht Thalia and Gipsy Moth V are returning to compete in the Race this year, as are three boats racing for the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, the official Race charity.

Past winner (and past capsizer!) Harvey Bowden is back on his Firebird 8M Orion and Tim Cork, who has entered a staggering 30 times is racing on Catch 22, hoping to beat his own 3rd place record

HENRI LLOYD CHALLENGE TROPHY

Henri Lloyd is proud to be associated with Britain’s favourite yacht race. In recognition of Henri Lloyd’s Race Partnership and commitment, the company has bestowed upon the Island Sailing Club a new Henri Lloyd Challenge Trophy for the competitor that takes Line Honours within the ISCRS Class. This striking hand-made open sail sculpture, presented on a mahogany base, will be awarded together with £400 worth of Henri Lloyd vouchers.

Sail 4 Cancer Charity as Official Partner for Cowes Superyacht Cup 2012

March 01, 2012

Cancer respite and sailing charity, Sail 4 Cancer, has been chosen as Official Partner for the Cowes Superyacht Cup regatta, taking place from 22 to 25 July, 2012. Organised in partnership with the Royal Yacht Squadron, the Superyacht Cup Cowes is a four-day event, which includes sailing in the waters of the Solent and around the Isle of Wight. The Superyacht Cup Palma regatta will take place a month before in Palma, Mallorca from 20-23 June, 2012.

S4C LOGO

“We are honoured to be selected as the official charity for this very prestigious event which is coming to the UK for the first time. The event will enable us to raise much-need funds for cancer-affected families on our waiting list. Each year we can only help 1 in 6 of the families who apply to us for respite breaks but this partnership will enable us to help more this year. We are simply delighted and know that sailors and non-sailors alike will enjoy watching these magnificent yachts compete”, remarked Lizette van Niekerk, Fundraising Manager for Sail 4 Cancer.

James Pleasance, Event Director for the Superyacht Cup commented “Each year at our Palma edition of the Superyacht Cup, participants of the regatta have generously helped raise money for a local charity – the Joves Navegants Foundation which promotes a Youth Sail Training Scheme for underprivileged children in the Balearic Islands. For our first ever UK edition of the regatta, we are very pleased to be working alongside Sail 4 Cancer in a similar way to help raise funds for the valuable support they provide to families and individuals affected by cancer”.

Sail 4 Cancer sponsors more than 400 people each year to get away from the stress of living with cancer. Its main aim is to improve the quality of life for those living with cancer. This is achieved mainly through the provision of respite opportunities for cancer patients, their families and those who have been recently bereaved through cancer. Since its inception in 2001 Sail 4 Cancer has provided opportunities for more than 2000 cancer patients and their families.

Extreme Sailing Series – Morgan Larson’s impressive debut

February 29, 2012

First ever day for the new skipper Morgan Larson on the Extreme Sailing Series ended yesterday, where he was tied in first place with tour favourites, Group Edmond de Rothschild. Today, his spectacular performance continued as Pierre Pennec’s team clung on to the top spot by just 1 point. Five different race winners out of 8 races on day 2, keeps the competition close …

Alinghi skippered by Ernesto Bertarelli Credit: Lloyd Images

Alinghi skippered by Ernesto Bertarelli Credit: Lloyd Images

It was a game of cat and mouse on day 2, Act 1, Muscat as Oman Air’s new skipper, Morgan Larson, continued his impressive form to keep the pressure fully on the all-French team Groupe Edmond de Rothschild. Oman Air won the first race of day, the French team the next two, then another Oman Air victory – as the two teams traded places at the top of the Extreme Sailing Series leaderboard, now only separated by 1 point. It was not until the fifth race of the day by which time the breeze was starting to go light, that another team got a look in – this time, Leigh McMillan and his team on The Wave, Muscat.

“We did a really nice job on the more traditional windward/leewards,” said Larson after racing. “Then when the reaching starts came into play I didn’t really have the timing to well and made a few errors that cost us a couple of points. But all in all the guys are doing a great job, we would be really happy with a podium finish and that’s our goal.”

Hashim Al Rashidi on the bow of The Wave, Muscat Credit: Lloyd Images

Hashim Al Rashidi on the bow of The Wave, Muscat Credit: Lloyd Images

The Wave’s win broke the dominance of these two front-runners and both Roman Hagara, driving Red Bull Sailing Team and Ernesto Bertarelli, new skipper on Alinghi, each scoring their first race win of Act 1 – for Bertarelli, his first win in his Extreme 40 debut: “We’re happy with the last race and winning it – to be positive in the debrief and look forward to tomorrow. I think everyone is going to win a race, I mean, the boats are fairly equal, everyone is quite good at what they do and the question is to be better than everyone else on average and we’re not quite there yet.” The Swiss team only just 1 point adrift of ZouLou driven by Loick Peyron in 6th place. But five different race winners out of eight races on the second day, keeps the competition close.

On the short stadium courses, there was plenty of close racing and some boat to boat contact between the teams, which made for great online viewing from the multi-camera live race coverage that started today: “Sailing inside the harbour is very tricky especially in the downwind starts,” said Roman Hagara, skipper, Red Bull Sailing Team. “And the next days will be the same – it’s easier with a little bit more breeze but we have to deal with the lights winds also.” In the final race of the day, led by Bertarelli from start to finish, Groupe Edmond de Rothschild were penalized for not giving room to The Wave, Muscat at the downwind gate which, ultimately, cost the French the chance to extend their lead over Oman Air going into the halfway stage of Act 1.

Although this is only the first Act out of eight international events this year, James Boyd’s form guide reveals a more than close resemblance to the current form here in Muscat. “For 2012 we feel there is one stand-out crew, but with little to choose between the remainder of the teams,” said Daily Sail editor James Boyd. “Any of them are capable of getting on the podium this season. In short the fight for the podium is likely to be the tightest we have ever seen in the Extreme Sailing Series.”

Team Trifork flying a hull during racing - Image credit to Lloyds Images

Team Trifork flying a hull during racing - Image credit to Lloyds Images

Extreme Sailing Series 2012 Act 1, Muscat, Oman standings after Day 2, 14 races (29.2.12)

Position / Team / Points

1st Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA) Pierre Pennec / Jean-Christophe Mourniac / Hervé Cunningham / Bernard Labro / Adeline Chatenet 85 points

2nd Oman Air (OMA) Morgan Larson / Will Howden / Charlie Ogletree, Nasser Al Mashari, Max Bulger 84 points

3rd The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Ed Smyth, Pete Greenhalgh, Hashim Al Rashdi, Rachel Williamson 72 points

4th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans Peter Steinacher, Matthew Adams, Graeme Spence, Pierre Le Clainche 65 points

5th GAC Pindar (GBR) Ian Williams / Mark Ivey / Mark Bulkeley, Adam Piggot / Andrew Walsh 62 points

6th ZouLou (FRA) Loick Peyron, Philippe Mourniac, Jean-Sébastien Ponce, Bruno Jeanjean, Antoine Joubert 51 points

7th Alinghi (SUI), Ernesto Bertarelli, Tanguy Cariou, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey, Pierre-Yves Jorand 150 points

8th Team Trifork (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Kostner, Pete Cumming, Simon Hiscocks, Jonas Hviid 35 points

Skipper quotes

Morgan Larson, skipper, Oman Air: “We did a really nice job on the more traditional windward/leewards, then when the reaching starts came into play I didn’t really have the timing to well and made a few errors that cost us a couple of points. But all in all the guys are doing a great job. It’s a challenge, when you can’t really see the wind and it comes and goes, to be consistent and do all the little things right. We would be really happy with a podium finish and that’s our goal.”

Ernesto Bertarelli, skipper, Alinghi: “I think everyone is going to win a race, I mean, the boats are fairly equal, everyone is quite good at what they do and the question is to be better than everyone else on average and we’re not quite there yet. We’re happy with the last race and winning it – it’s a good way to go home – to be positive in the debrief and look forward to tomorrow.”

Roman Hagara, skipper, Red Bull Sailing Team: “For sure, we were trying hard today but we also had a last place which is not so good. In the end we were quite happy with the 2nd place in the last race so overall a pretty good day. Sailing inside the harbour is very tricky especially in the downwind starts and the next days will be the same – easier with a little bit more breeze but we have to deal with the lights winds also.”

Royal Southern Yacht Club’s Biscay 2012 Offshore Race: ´Sign Up´ Open Day, March 24

February 29, 2012

Around 20 entries have already signed up for the inaugural Royal Southern Yacht Club’s Biscay 2012 Offshore Race, starting in the Solent on September 16. The Race will be run under ISAF CAT 2 coding.

Peter Rutter and his Trustmarque Quokka yacht´s crew Photo by P. Wyeth/pwpictures

Peter Rutter and his Trustmarque Quokka yacht´s crew Photo by P. Wyeth/pwpictures

The Southern announced its technical partnership with Sunsail Racing last August and has access to its fleet of Beneteau F40 cruiser/racing yachts that can be chartered by Club members and other interested crews. As part of this relationship, the Royal Southern and Sunsail Racing are holding a ‘Sign Up’ Open Day on March 24th for anyone wishing to enter and to have a look over the F40, or to learn more about this new Race.

There is no need to be a Club member to come along and everyone is welcome to meet the Royal Southern’s and Sunsail Racing’s representatives, ask questions about Biscay 2012 and have a look over the yacht that will be moored on the Club pontoon between 10am-4pm.

Created as a legacy to members from the Royal Southern in its 175th Anniversary year, the Race will be run as a biennial and an international event. This year’s start line will include crews representing several European and international yacht clubs.

Closer to home, the former RORC Commodore Peter Rutter and 2011 IRC National Championship title winner, his Grand Soleil 43 yacht Quokka, will be racing in Biscay 2012 as part of their training programme for the ARC 2012.

Peter commented: “After many years of racing in the Solent and with RORC we have decided to set Trustmarque Quokka loose on wider seas. As members of the Royal Southern we were very excited to see the Biscay Race announced and immediately wanted to put it into our program. In addition for us, it will give us great training on our way to take part in the ARC racing division. We look forward to a competitive race with good company and as an extra incentive it will be my first time racing around the western end of Brittany as against just cruising. Come and join us.”

The Match 35 sailing yacht Erik the Barbarian, owned by Southern member Derek Blancke, has also signed up as has Andrew Hewett, with his Archambault A35 yacht Archibeau.

Entry details:
Competitors for Biscay 2012 are able to build their racing miles in the F40s in the Sunsail Racing Programme in the UK this year. The four Regattas in the Royal Southern Yacht Club’s 2012 summer racing programme and the Cowes-Deauville Race will also count towards crew familiarisation and in the latter case, part of crew qualification, for the Biscay 2012 Race.

The Notice of Races is also available to view and download on the Biscay 2012 website.

Extreme Sailing Series yacht race successfully started by Extreme 40 Debut Skipper Morgan Larson

February 29, 2012

New skipper of the sailing yacht Oman Air, American Morgan Larson had an amazing start to his Extreme Sailing Series career on the opening day of Act 1 of this popular yacht race held in Muscat, Oman.

Extreme Sailing Series 2012. Act 1. The Wave Muscat. Oman Credit: Lloyd Images

Extreme Sailing Series 2012. Act 1. The sailing yacht Oman Air Credit: Lloyd Images

The forty-year-old, a passionate surfer, who lives in Oregon, USA, has an outstanding sporting CV including 3 America’s Cup campaigns and 6 World Championship titles but few pundits would have predicted the outcome today which resulted in the Oman Air yacht sharing the top of the leaderboard after 6 races alongside pre-season favourites Groupe Edmond de Rothschild: “I didn’t really know what to expect to be honest. I know there are a lot of talented teams but I think the format of the sailing suits my style.” Modest on the day but when pushed there is an underlying confidence: “I believe we can win this, but we need podium positions at every event.”

Groupe Edmond de Rothschild take victory on the first day of racing in Muscat Credit: Lloyd Images

Groupe Edmond de Rothschild takes victory on the first day of racing in Muscat Credit: Lloyd Images

Tomorrow the 8-yacht Extreme 40 fleet will race in stadium mode inside the breakwater, surrounded by the outstanding residential development known as The Wave and home to Oman Sail. Watch the racing live online from 1130 GMT for the next 3 days.

The question everyone is asking here – who will win this season? The French team skippered by Pierre Pennec is renowned for their form and have been overall runners-up for the past two years. “We won the event last year and it’s always good to ‘mark’ your territory so to be competitive 100% on day one is good,” said trimmer Hervé Cunningham. On paper, this is the team to watch. Daily Sail editor, James Boyd’s, 2012 form guide will be available online tomorrow.

Extreme 40 yachts racing on the first day of racing in Muscat Credit: Lloyd Images

Extreme 40 yachts racing on the first day of racing in Muscat Credit: Lloyd Images

It was Leigh McMillan and his crew on The Wave, Muscat yacht who scored first blood in the first race of the day. The conditions may not have been challenging with the breeze ranging from 6-10 knots throughout the afternoon and it wasn’t long before Pennec’s team took control to win the next 2 races. Race 4 delivered the drama of the day when Oman Air 5th crew member Max Bulger went over the side.

Alinghi on day 1 at Muscat Credit: Lloyd Images

The trimaran yacht Alinghi on day 1 at Muscat Credit: Lloyd Images

“He somehow hung on to the rudder! I have seen a lot of people fall over board but I have never seen anyone hang on the way he hung on, it was quite impressive,” said Larson. He was quickly retrieved and Larson’s team of Will Howden, Charlie Ogletree and Nasser Al Mashari managed to regain their lead to win the race.

Antoine Joubert on board the sailing yacht ZouLou on day 1 at Muscat Credit: Lloyd Images

Antoine Joubert on board the sailing yacht ZouLou on day 1 at Muscat Credit: Lloyd Images

The new team on the Extreme Sailing Series circuit, Team Trifork, had their taste of their first real Extreme 40 competition and the Danish-led team loved it: “Difficult, lot of learning but lot of fun! We finished 3rd in one of the races and we were in the fight all the time,” said co-skipper Jes Gram-Hansen.

GAC Pindar, skippered by match racing supremo Ian Williams, were the new kids on the block last year but a year on and they are now contenders, ending the first day 3rd on the leaderboard.

GAC Pindar finish day 1 on the podium

GAC Pindar finishes day 1 on the podium

Extreme Sailing Series 2012 Act 1, Muscat, Oman standings after Day 1, 6 races (28.2.12)
Position / Team / Points

1st Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA) Pierre Pennec / Jean-Christophe Mourniac / Hervé Cunningham / Bernard Labro / Adeline Chatenet 36 points
2nd Oman Air (OMA) Morgan Larson / Will Howden / Charlie Ogletree, Nasser Al Mashari, Max Bulger 36 points
3rd GAC Pindar (GBR) Ian Williams / Mark Ivey / Mark Bulkeley, Adam Piggot / Andrew Walsh 34 points
4th The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Ed Smyth, Pete Greenhalgh, Hashim Al Rashdi, Rachel Williamson 30 points
5th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans Peter Steinacher, Matthew Adams, Graeme Spence, Pierre Le Clainche 26 points
6th ZouLou (FRA) Loick Peyron, Philippe Mourniac, Jean-Sébastien Ponce, Bruno Jeanjean, Antoine Joubert 22 points
7th Alinghi (SUI), Ernesto Bertarelli, Tanguy Cariou, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey, Pierre-Yves Jorand 17 points
8th Team Trifork (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Kostner, Pete Cumming, Simon Hiscocks, Jonas Hviid 15 points

Ernesto Bertarelli, skipper of the Alinghi yacht on board on the first day of racing in Muscat

Ernesto Bertarelli, skipper of the Alinghi yacht, on board on the first day of racing in Muscat

More skipper quotes:
Ian Williams, skipper, GAC Pindar: “We really targeted trying to get the boat in the top 3 so it’s a great start and we’re in 3rd place not too far behind the leaders. The preparation this year has been much better, the boat is in better condition and the crew have been in training leading up to this so we’re feeling much more settled. The goal is to be inside the top 5 all the time and that’s what we’ve got to do going forward.”

Hervé Cunningham, trimmer, Groupe Edmond de Rothschild: “We’re pretty happy, we didn’t know where we were this morning in terms of performance of the boat and some crew changes so at the end of the day we are tied first with Oman Air so we’re pretty happy. Oman Air did a really, really good job. I know Morgan Larson and his crew and they are really good, so no surprises. We won the event last year and it’s always good to ‘mark’ your territory so to be competitive 100% on day one is good.”

Jes Gram-Hansen, co-skipper, Team Trifork: “Difficult, lot of learning but lot of fun! We finished 3rd in one of the races and we were in the fight all the time. The starting is the hardest point right as it’s quite different from the monohulls I have raced in my life.”

Morgan Larson, skipper, Oman Air: “I didn’t really know what to expect to be honest. I knew there are a lot of talented teams but I think the format of the sailing suits my style so I knew that would help a little but we have a long way to go that’s for sure. The race we won Max slipped off at the bottom mark, and he somehow hung on to the rudder! I have seen a lot of people fall over board but I have never seen anyone hang on the way he hung on, it was quite impressive. That was key to the day really, otherwise we could have been an eight point swing and wouldn’t be in the position we are in at the end of today.”

Morgan Larson at the helm of the sailing yacht Oman Air on day 1 Credit: Lloyd Images

Morgan Larson at the helm of the sailing yacht Oman Air on day 1 Credit: Lloyd Images

Dockwise transports 130´ charter yacht Endeavour to the Caribbean

February 29, 2012

Following the 18-month refit at Yachting Developments and sea trials completed with success, the 130´ sailing yacht Endeavour is now being transported to the Caribbean aboard Dockwise. Coming to Florida, the luxury charter yacht Endeavour will sail to participate at the Antigua St Barths Bucket regatta held in March, together with the 36m charter yacht Bliss and the 29.3m Symmetry superyacht, both built by Yachting Developments.

130´ charter yacht Endeavour leaving for the Caribbean

130´ charter yacht Endeavour heading for the Caribbean

It has been an honor for Yachting Developments to have been able to undertake the superyacht Endeavour’s refit in New Zealand, preserving as much of the vessel as practical while taking advantage of twenty first century sailing systems, enhanced performance and improved functionality. More than 100,000 man hours have gone into the project and in excess of 40 tonnes of material was removed and replaced on the vessel during the refit.

130´ sailing yacht Endeavour aboard Dockwise

130´ sailing yacht Endeavour

Endeavour Superyacht aboard Dockwise

Endeavour Superyacht aboard Dockwise

Sailing Yacht SELENE winner of the Swan Caribbean Challenge Trophy

February 28, 2012

Swan 80 sailing yacht Selene, has won the Swan Caribbean Challenge Trophy following her race in the one-of-a-kind 600 nautical mile race, ‘the RORC Caribbean 600’ in an elapsed time of 2 days, 18 hours and 22 minutes. Having circumnavigated 11 Caribbean Islands along with 4 other competing Swan yachts, superyacht Selene sailed by Benjamin Davitt finished 3rd place in the IRC Overall rankings. The yachts were sailing from Fort Charlotte, English Harbour, Antigua and heading as far north as St Maarten and south to Guadeloupe, taking in Barbuda, Nevis, St Kitts, Saba and St Barths.

Team Selene Winners of the Swan Caribbean Challenge © Photoaction 2012

Team Selene Winners of the Swan Caribbean Challenge © Photoaction 2012

Team Selene, Skipper, Benjamin Davitt:

“Team Selene is delighted to be honoured with the Swan Caribbean Challenge Trophy. We feel that we have really fused as a team in what was a challenging but thoroughly enjoyable race. Selene celebrates her twelfth year in 2012 and it is great to see that she is still competitive in a mixed fleet and we had a few good battles on several of the legs. We would really like to thank everyone involved in the organizing the event and look forward to the next one”.

The closest racing out of all of this year’s RORC Caribbean 600 also went to the Swan fleet, with another two competitive Swans also finishing in the top 10 overall.  Colin Buffin’s Swan 62 Uxorious IV was first to finish, but the team did not celebrate a class win.  Buffin and his young team know that Amanda Hartley’s Swan 56, Clem was extremely close to eclipsing their corrected time.  Just over 3 and a half hours passed before Clem crossed the finish line to win the class by only 21 seconds on corrected time.

There were ecstatic scenes dockside which saw the Spanish crew from Clem celebrate their class win in style, with Clem finishing in 8th and Uxorious IV in 9th overall.  The entire crew of Uxorious IV including Colin Buffin very sportingly applauded their rivals.

Amanda Hartley, Swan 56 Clem:

“We had no idea until we crossed the line and turned on our phones which went crazy with people calling in from Spain.  By our calculation we thought we had lost out by five minutes.  We got stuck at Guadeloupe for four hours and we could only sit and watch Uxorious get away.  We are obviously extremely delighted and really appreciate Colin and his team coming over to give us such a lovely welcome back to Antigua.”

Swan 51, Northern Child, chartered for this event by Merkle, the American IT company, had an interesting start to the race after turning back and giving up over half an hour to the opposition.  Christian Reynolds however, made a remarkable recovery finishing in 13th spot after 3 days and 15 hours regaining places.  Swan 90 charter yacht Nefertiti, then finished the Swan contingent in 17th place, with all Swan entries keeping within the overall top 20.

The stunning Swan Caribbean Challenge Trophy was awarded to Team Selene at the official ceremony held in Antigua.

IRC Overall Results

3          Selene              Swan 80

8          Clem                 Swan 56

9          Uxorious IV       Swan 62

13         Northern Child   Swan 51

17         Nefertiti Swan 90

2012 RORC CARIBBEAN 600 yacht race: A Sensational Success

February 27, 2012

The 2012 RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy and a myriad of trophies, medals as well as prizes for class winners were present at the prizegiving party taking place at Antigua Yacht Club.

The RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy and an array of trophies, medals and prizes Credit Tim Wright Photoaction

The RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy and an array of trophies, medals and prizes Credit: Tim Wright/Photoaction

The fourth edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 hosted by the Antigua Yacht Club was a sensational success. The Caribbean‘s only offshore yacht race attracted some of the world’s most fabulous yachts as well as corinthian entries. 578 sailors from 36 different countries took part in a memorable race. This year, the race attracted a truly international field including a number of world-class Spanish sailors racing on Volvo 70 sailing yacht Gran Jotiti and Swan 56 yacht Clem.

There were also a significant number of Russian sailors, no doubt enjoying getting away from the cold Russian winter. Oscar Konyukhov’s 90ft Maxi yacht Med Spirit crewed by amateur Russian and French sailors, put in a great performance against fully professional competition. Anders Nordquist, owner of Swan 90 yacht Nefertiti was taking part in his first ever offshore race and loved every minute of it.

This year, the sailing conditions were more complex than usual and there were epic battles between competing yachts throughout the fleet. During winter, Antigua is home to some of the world’s most extraordinary yachts and five yachts over 100 ft entered this year’s race. The glorious 214ft Baltic superyacht Hetairos skippered by Vincent Fauquenoy was destined to take line honours, crossing the finish line in Antigua in an elapsed time of 2 days 2 hours 39 minutes and 32 seconds. The monumental ketch was well outside the record time set by Rambler 100 last year, however the international team aboard Hetairos were all smiles as they were greeted by well-wishers and a cacophony of horns from megayachts in Falmouth Harbour.

Dijkstra sailing yacht Adela Credit: Tim Wright/Photoaction

Dijkstra sailing yacht Adela Credit: Tim Wright/Photoaction

Hetairos navigator, South African Marc Lagesse modestly admitted to being somewhat surprised to be the first yacht to finish: “I have to say, I am genuinely surprised. I honestly thought that we wouldn’t take line honours. From a navigators point of view, I got a few calls not quite right. However, we did have a few decisions work out for us by chance and I would always say it is better to be lucky than good! I really enjoyed this race, an illustrious fleet with great people and a big atmosphere.”

The luxury yacht Hetairos were pushed hard all the way by George David’s 90ft maxi superyacht Rambler. It was not until half way through the race that Hetairos managed to pass Rambler. The all star American team put in a fantastic performance but could not match the pace of an opponent over twice their size.

George David spoke candidly shortly after the race: “It was great to get back in the saddle for a 600-mile race after the Fastnet and to hold out so long against Hetairos. Mick (Harvey) is a great project manager and Norm (David Petersen) is a great Boat Captain and all the Rambler team are just so much fun to sail with.”

Niklas Zennstrom’s JV72 yacht Rán was the next yacht home, less than an hour behind Rambler to claim the overall win after time correction. Rán’s owner and principle helmsman, Niklas Zennstrom looked tired but full of joy after completing a race that he has wanted to do for some time: “The whole of Team Rán have been looking forward to this race for a while. A few of the crew have done the race before but it has been somewhat new territory for us, which is always exciting. It is a complex course, more like a series of coastal races. I think the reason I was attracted to the race so much was that we enjoyed Antigua Sailing Week and the idea of an offshore race in the Caribbean is very appealing. Any 600-mile yacht race is hard but the fantastic conditions make this one even more satisfying. The close reach down to Guadeloupe from St. Barths was very memorable, fast reaching conditions in beautiful surroundings, some of the best sailing you can imagine.”

Wendy Schmidt, owner of Swan 80 yacht Team Selene and skipper Benjamin Davitt proudly hold the Swan Caribbean Challenge Trophy for Best Swan in IRC Overall. They were also 3rd in IRC Zero  Credit: Tim Wright/Photoaction

Wendy Schmidt, owner of Swan 80 yacht Team Selene and skipper Benjamin Davitt proudly hold the Swan Caribbean Challenge Trophy for Best Swan in IRC Overall. They were also 3rd in IRC Zero Credit: Tim Wright/Photoaction

The multihull record for the RORC Caribbean 600 has not been beaten since the inaugural race in 2009. The 63′ Trimaran yacht Paradox, skippered by Olivier Vigoureux won this year’s race in the multihull class but failed to better Region Guadeloupe’s course record. However, Paradox did set an unofficial speed record with a ballistic 30 minutes run at night past Montserrat, close to 30 knots of boat speed!

Jules Verne record holder, Brian Thompson was racing with old friends on Spirit of Juno, Ondeck’s Farr 65 but he suggested that giant multihull Banque Populaire V could complete this course in about 30 hours. The MOD 70s would also be able to achieve that and it would be great to see a bigger multihull class next year.

Two Superyachts enjoyed an incredible battle around the course, Peter Harrison’s 115ft charter yacht Sojana and Gerhard Andlinger’s 124ft superyacht Team P2 have never done battle before in an offshore race. The two magnificent superyachts had a 600-mile match race around the entire course. P2 were the first home by just over 13 minutes in a race lasting over two and a half days. However, the charter yacht Sojana was well over an hour quicker than P2 after time correction. The two skippers, Marc Fitzgerald and Jonathan Kline spoke dockside as the two yachts finally came to rest in Falmouth Marina.

“P2 has done lots of bucket racing and superyacht events but what attracted the charter yacht P2′s owner Mr A to the race was that we could sail long legs and let P2 do what she was designed to do,” commented P2′s Kline. “The RORC Caribbean 600 gave P2 a chance to shine and give the owner the experience of long distance sailing offshore but still in the vicinity of great islands and magnificent views.”

“We don’t often have a match race on Sojana, we try an avoid it to be honest, especially when you are up against someone as good as Peter Holmberg who was at the wheel of P2,” admitted Sojana’s Fitzgerald. “P2 got away at the start but we reeled them in on the reach to Barbuda.  All credit to P2, they came back at us at Guadeloupe and we didn’t pass them until after the Barbuda mark. We had our problems on the beat to finish, which slowed us down but P2 sailed extremely well and made it a great race.”

The RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy for the sailing yacht RAN Credit: Tim Wright/Photoaction

The RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy for the sailing yacht RAN Credit: Tim Wright/Photoaction

Both the luxury yacht Adela and the Windrose of Amsterdam superyacht capture the imagination of years gone by. In spectacular surroundings the golden age of the schooners was recreated in an epic battle between two magnificent yachts and just before dawn on the fourth day of the RORC Caribbean 600, the gentlemanly duel was settled.

The wondrous 180ft schooner Adela crossed the finish line to take the gun just 1 hour and 42 minutes ahead of great rival, the 154ft schooner, Windrose of Amsterdam. The two schooners had enjoyed an intense battle around the 600-mile course with the two yachts trading places for the lead on eight separate occasions, Adela counted 51 energy sapping sail changes during the race.

Windrose of Amsterdam was chartered for the second year running by members of the Royal Ocean Racing Club, including past RORC Commodore, Andrew McIrvine and current RORC Commodore, Mike Greville. Windrose skipper, Alex Howard said dockside: “It was a tiring race with only 5 hours sleep and an interesting battle with Adela, but they got away from us and after Desirade. It’s a shame we didn’t do better, but there is always a next time. It was a great race and it is good to get five big Superyachts and Spirit of Tradition boats in this event for sure.”

Adela’s skipper, Greg Perkins spoke after the race: “This season, Adela races Windrose at three regattas and we have a barrel of rum on each event and I am two up at the moment, so I think Alex will be fuming! The boats are evenly matched; we have had tacking duels, luffing matches and all great fun. I would love to say that Adela will do the race next year if there is a schooner class, I say bring them down.”

Without doubt, the closest racing for this year’s event was in IRC One. Colin Buffin’s Swan 62 yacht Uxorious IV, was first to finish, but the team did not celebrate a class win. Buffin and his young team knew that Amanda Hartley’s Swan 56, Clem was extremely close to eclipsing their corrected time. Just over three and a half hours passed before Clem crossed the finish line to win the class by just 21 seconds on corrected time. There were euphoric scenes dockside as the Spanish crew of Clem celebrated. The entire crew of Uxorious IV including Colin Buffin sportingly applauded their rivals. Amanda Hartley spoke of their win.

“We had no idea until we crossed the line and turned on our phones which went crazy. We got stuck at Guadeloupe for four hours and we could only sit and watch Uxorious get away. We are obviously extremely delighted and really appreciate Colin and his team coming over to give us such a lovely welcome back to Antigua.”

Scarlet Logic came close to a fairy tale finish, the Oyster 48, co-skippered by Ross Applebey and Tim Thubron had been vying for the overall. In the end Scarlet Logic missed out, but the team had put in an incredible effort to take a convincing win in IRC Two. Scarlet Logic also recorded best corrected time in IRC One, Two and Three and as a result were awarded the fantastic prize of a week’s accommodation generously donated by race sponsor, The Inn at English Harbour.

“Fantastic, elated but bloody tired,” admitted Tim Thubron, co-skipper of Scarlet Logic. We were aware that we were in with a chance of beating the big, well funded professional teams and that really spurred us on. A lot of credit must go to the whole team, especially Ross Applebey. Scarlet was immaculately prepared, however we did need to drop the main to replace a sail slide. The main back up in eight minutes, that to me says it all about the crew work on board.”

The Class40s division produced a battle royale between Christophe Coatnoan’s French Partouche and Christof Petter’s Austrian Vaquita. The two Class40s were locked in a heroic tacking duel for the final push to the finish line. Vaquita crossed the line just 15 minutes ahead of Partouche. However, Vaquita failed to start the race correctly and to the Austrian crews disappointment, the class win was awarded to Partouche: “It was a tough race and we had a couple of moments that really slowed us down,” commented Christophe Coatnoan who raced two-handed with Eric Calmard. “We picked up a fishing float after Nevis without realising and we probably lost 8 miles before we knew it was there. Later at Guadeloupe, I had to dive into the water to free Partouche from yet another fishing buoy. The race was an excellent test for our new design especially for our sails as I think we used every one of them during the race.”

Without doubt the biggest reception for any of the yachts was reserved for Bernie Evan-Wong’s Mumm 36 yacht High Tension. Falmouth Harbour exploded with noise as the smallest yacht in the race tied up right outside the Antigua Yacht Club. Thunderous blasts from megayachts, superyachts and foghorns literally shook the dock as the whole of the sailing community in Falmouth heralded the arrival of local hero Bernie and his crew.

“I said we would be here by tonight but I always like to be early for appointments,” joked the Antiguan dentist. “It was a hard but satisfying race and the beat from Redonda to the finish seemed to take forever. We could see Antigua but it just didn’t seem to be getting any bigger, however a few miles out a massive rain squall hit and veered the wind favourably. After last year’s dismasting, I think maybe someone was looking out for us!”

The RORC Caribbean 600 now attracts some of the world’s best professional offshore sailors but they are not the only ones. Corinthian crews such as the Lloyd’s of London Yacht Club took on the professionals in Class Zero and the vast majority of the hundreds of sailors were sailing for pleasure not for pay. Probably the most noteworthy entry was the Spirit Of Venus yacht. The First 40.7 was chartered from Ondeck by the Royal Armoured Corps Offshore Racing Team, many of whom were returning from a tour of duty in Afghanistan. A ripped mainsail before the start was heroically replaced by local charter skipper Chris Jackson. The Royal Armoured Corps was late on parade by nearly half an hour however, Spirit of Venus charged out of Falmouth Harbour. The British Army team may have been the last yacht to finish but their valour and determination was nothing short of commendable.

2012 RORC Caribbean 600: Day 5 – Winners revealed

February 27, 2012

It was a busy day at the Antigua Yacht Club last Friday. At dawn on the fifth day of the RORC Caribbean 600 yacht race, only three yachts were still at sea finishing the course before the Prizegiving celebrations and all of the class winners are now provisionally known. The bar at the Antigua Yacht Club was in full swing, buzzing with stories between the crews as well as songs in a wide variety of different languages.

Sailing yacht Scarlet Logic win IRC Two Credit: Tim Wright/Photoaction

Sailing yacht Scarlet Logic win IRC Two Credit: Tim Wright/Photoaction

Team Selene skippered by Benjamin Davitt finished yesterday morning. The Swan 80 yacht Selene sailed an excellent race to claim third place overall and will lift the prestigious Swan Caribbean Challenge Trophy later this evening.

Without doubt, the closest racing for this year’s event was in IRC One. Colin Buffin’s Swan 62 yacht Uxorious IV, was first to finish, but the team did not celebrate a class win. Buffin and his young team knew that Amanda Hartley’s Swan 56 yacht Clem, was extremely close to eclipsing their corrected time. Just over three and half hours passed before Clem crossed the finish line to win the class by just 21 seconds on corrected time. There were ecstatic scenes dockside as the Spanish crew of Clem celebrated their class win. The entire crew of Uxorious IV including Colin Buffin sportingly applauded their rivals. Amanda Hartley spoke of their win.

“We had no idea until we crossed the line and turned on our phones which went crazy with people calling in from Spain. By our calculation we thought we had lost out by five minutes. We got stuck at Guadeloupe for four hours and we could only sit and watch Uxorious get away. We are obviously extremely delighted and really appreciate Colin and his team coming over to give us such a lovely welcome back to Antigua.”

Niklas Zennstrom´s yacht RAN wins 2012 RORC Caribbean 600 Overall Trophy and Class Zero Credit Tim Wright Photoaction

Niklas Zennstrom´s yacht RAN wins 2012 RORC Caribbean 600 Overall Trophy and Class Zero Credit: Tim Wright/Photoaction

Jaime Torres’ Puerto Rican First 40 yacht Smile And Wave, finished shortly after midnight last night to claim third in IRC One.

Scarlet Logic, co-skippered by Ross Applebey and Tim Thubron, finished the RORC Caribbean 600 shortly after 2300 last night. The Oyster 48 yacht Scarlet Logic has been vying for the overall win for the last two days. In the end Scarlet Logic missed out, but the team had put in an incredible effort and have been rewarded with a convincing win in IRC Two. Scarlet Logic has the best corrected time in IRC One, Two and Three and as a result will be awarded the fantastic prize of a week’s accommodation at the luxurious Inn at English Harbour.

“Fantastic, elated but bloody tired,” admitted Tim Thubron, co-skipper of Scarlet Logic. The weather lined up nicely for us and we were aware that we were in with a chance of beating the big, well funded professional teams and that really spurred us on and made us push even harder. A lot of credit must go to the whole team, especially Ross Applebey. Scarlet was immaculately prepared and we hardly had a single breakage, however we did need to drop the main to replace a sail slide. The job was done and the main back up in eight minutes, that to me says it all.”

There was joy and pain for both IRC Canting Keel and the Class40s. Ernesto Cortina’s Volvo 70 Gran Jotiti finished the race in just over two days. The Spanish team is racing the yacht formerly known as Telefonica Black in the last Volvo Ocean Race. Ernesto spoke about his team shortly after finishing. “This has been a great experience, even though our result was badly affected by a lot of sail damage. Many of the sails are tired from thousands of miles of racing. However, the crew have been a joy to sail with and this race is helping us build for the future. Gran Jotiti’s aim is to create a world class amateur Spanish offshore sailing team and we have learnt a lot through this race.

Mumm 36 sailing yacht High Tension crew celebrating arrival Credit Tim Wright Photoaction

Mumm 36 sailing yacht High Tension crew celebrating arrival Credit: Tim Wright/Photoaction

Ron O’Hanley’s Cookson 50 yacht Privateer, showed exceptional pace and boat handling throughout. Unfortunately the American team failed to start correctly and accepted a 10% penalty from the race organisers resulting in Gran Jotiti being declared winner of IRC Canting Keel.

The Class40s turned into a battle royale between Christophe Coatnoan’s Partouche and Christof Petter’s Vaquita. The two Class40s were locked in a heroic tacking duel for the final push to the finish line, a 40-mile beat from Redonda to the finish in Antigua.

Vaquita crossed the line just after sunset beating Partouche by a slender margin, just 15 minutes in a race lasting over 3 days. However, the Vaquita yacht failed to start the race correctly and to the Austrian crew’s disappointment, the class win was awarded to Partouche: “It was a tough race and we had a couple of moments that really slowed us down,” commented Christophe Coatnoan who raced two-handed with Eric Calmard. “We picked up a fishing float after Nevis without realising and we probably lost 8 miles before we knew it was there. Later at Guadeloupe, I had to dive into the water to free Partouche from yet another fishing buoy. The race was an excellent test for our new design especially for our sails as I think we used every one of them during the race.”

Vaquita’s Andreas Hanakamp commented: “Obviously we are disappointed to have been penalised but we were delighted with our performance. Partouche is a brand new Finot design, whilst Vaquita is a 2006 Akilaria. The RORC Caribbean 600 is a testing race course and a very tough race, exactly what we needed to prepare for our main competition of the season, The Atlantic Cup later this year.”

The latest competitor to finish the RORC Caribbean 600 is Bernie Evan-Wong’s Mumm 36 sailing yacht High Tension. Falmouth Harbour exploded with noise as the smallest yacht in the race tied up right outside the Antigua Yacht Club. Thunderous blasts from megayachts, superyachts and foghorns literally shook the dock as the whole of the sailing community in Falmouth heralded the arrival of local hero Bernie and his crew.

“I said we would be here tonight but I always like to be early for appointments,” joked the Antiguan dentist. “It was a hard but satisfying race and the beat from Redonda to the finish seemed to take forever. We could see Antigua but it just didn’t seem to be getting any bigger, however a few miles out a massive rain squall hit and veered the wind favourably for us to speed our way to Antigua. After last year’s dismasting, I think maybe someone was looking out for us!”