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Opening preliminary weekend of the America’s Cup World Series

November 14, 2011

San Diego on Sunday reported the return of the ideal racing conditions, with 6-10 knot westerlies and bright sunny skies. Visitors poured into the America’s Cup Village to be present at the racing which at time brought the yachts just a few yards from the viewing points along Broadway and Navy Piers.

Emirates Team New Zealand

Emirates Team New Zealand - Credit 2011 ACEA/Gilles Martin-Raget

Emirates Team New Zealand may have been the last crew to arrive in town on Friday and skipper Dean Barker had never sailed in San Diego ahead of Saturday’s first race. But his team didn’t miss a beat, winning the Port Cities Challenge on this opening preliminary weekend of the America’s Cup World Series.

“The teams are doing more and more sailing, so the standard is getting higher and higher,” said Dean Barker. “I think in a venue like this that’s quite tricky you’ll see a lot of place changes. So it’s going to be about staying consistent.”

French Energy Team catamaran yacht Corum

French Energy Team catamaran yacht Corum - Credit 2011 ACEA/Gilles Martin-Raget

The Kiwis were certainly that. Despite winning just one of the six races, they had five finishes in the top three to win by a comfortable seven points over ORACLE Racing Spithill. Artemis Racing was third, one point further back.

On Saturday, China Team won a race for the first time at AC World Series and on Sunday it was the French teams in the spotlight. First it was Aleph with new skipper Pierre Pennec at the helm, who took a win in race four. But not to be outdone, Energy Team sailed a flawless race six with skipper Yann Guichard to claim their first team win.

Visitors in the America´s Cup Village

Visitors in the America´s Cup Village - Credit 2011 ACEA/Gilles Martin-Raget

“It’s a fantastic day for Aleph,” said Pennec after racing. “The wind was very shifty, but it was sunny, there was enough wind to fly the hull and we won our first race so a great day for us.”

“By the fourth race the crew was very tired,” said Guichard, describing his winning race. “But we didn’t make any mistakes and to get a first bullet for our team is really perfect.”

Sunday´s winner the French Energy Team

Sunday´s winner the French Energy Team - Credit 2011 ACEA/Tom Kurtz

Representatives of the five Port Cities were onboard the race yachts during the first contest of the day. Coast Guard Commander Michael Leo Guerrero won bragging rights for the Port City of Chula Vista on ORACLE Racing Spithill, racing to a second place finish ahead of the other yachts representing Port Cities, to claim the ‘fastest Port City’ designation.

“It was awesome, just great,” said Commander Guerrero, who was representing Chula Vista for Mayor Cheryl Cox. “The yachts are phenomenal, and to go that fast, is really amazing. We hear a lot about the technology that’s behind these yachts, and now I can say I’ve seen it in action.”

America’s Cup Luna Rossa Challenge 2013 in San Diego as observer

November 10, 2011

Members of the team Luna Rossa Challenge 2013, challenger to the 34th America’s Cup, will follow the third round of the America’s Cup World Series, which will be sailed in San Diego, USA, November 12-20, on AC 45 catamaran yachts.

Team Luna Rossa Challenge 2013

Team Luna Rossa Challenge 2013 onboard Extreme 40´ catamaran yacht Luna Rossa

Max Sirena, skipper of Luna Rossa Challenge 2013 and of the Extreme 40’ catamaran yacht Luna Rossa, currently leading the Extreme Sailing Series will lead this group which includes a selection of team members from each relevant team’s department, as follows:

Sailing Team:
Paul Campbell James
David Carr
Ben Durham
Steve Erickson
Nick Hutton
Manuel Modena
Matteo Plazzi
Alister Richardson

Design Team:
Roberto Biscontini
Thomas Gavieraux
Giorgio Provinciali

Antonio Marrai

The team members competing in the Extreme Sailing Series will then proceed to Singapore for the last round of the championship.

B&G supports 2011 Volvo Ocean Race

November 10, 2011

Leading marine electronics manufacturer B&G is happy to announce that it is offering race support to both the organisers and participants of the 2011 Volvo Ocean Race, which began on the 5th November in Alicante, Spain.

B&G Zeus multifunction displays

B&G Zeus multifunction displays

Since the inception of the world-renowned Volvo Ocean Race, all Open 70 yachts taking part have relied on marine electronic equipment from leading manufacturer B&G to give them the knowledge to compete successfully in the race, and this is set to continue throughout the 2011 race.

This year, not only have all competing race teams got B&G equipment onboard, the Race Control Centre and committee boats are also fully fitted with an array of B&G electronic equipment ranging from the sailing-specific Zeus multifunction display unit, to the H3000 Hercules Data Processor and the ultra-bright HV 30/30 instrument display screens.

B&G will also be supplying onboard race support to entrants at all of the Race Ports from Abu Dhabi to Miami, ensuring that competitors are getting the most out of their B&G systems.

Alan Davis, Product Line Director for B&G, said: “We’re delighted to be supporting the Volvo Ocean Race. Both B&G and the race organisers have worked together for a number of years to ensure that participants have the knowledge they need at their fingertips.”

“In a race as high profile and dangerous as this one, it is essential that Race Control is up to date with conditions and the latest race information, which is why we have supplied a number of systems to provide race data and help with analysis – this also allows the world’s media to keep a finger on the pulse of the most exciting race in the calendar.”

America´s Cup first test sail in San Diego Bay

November 09, 2011

The wind conditions were ideal for America´s Cup first test sail in San Diego Bay on Monday. Stronger winds are expected beginning as early as tomorrow. But in whatever weather conditions, the wingsailed AC45 catamaran yachts are capable of generating breathtaking speeds, making for spectacular racing.

French Energy Team catamaran yacht Corum AC 45

French Energy Team catamaran yacht AC45

Among the five yachts training was the French Energy Team, with Yann Guichard taking over the skipper and helming duties for the racing in San Diego. The training sessions this week are critical for him and his crew to gel as a team.
“I’m feeling more and more comfortable. After all, it’s still a yacht, it’s a multihull and I know multihulls quite well. It’s more impressive with the wing, but we have a few days of training here so that’s good,” said Guichard. “It’s a small race area, quite narrow and with nine yachts competing, it’s going to be challenging. For the first weekend, there is a low pressure weather system coming so there could be strong winds. We’ll be training a lot to be ready for that.”

Racing in San Diego begins with the Port Cities Challenge on Saturday and Sunday (November 12-13). Representatives from the member cities will be aboard the race yachts on Sunday. The event culminates with a public prize-giving ceremony at the AC Village following racing.

The championship portion of the America’s Cup World Series – San Diego runs from Wednesday November 16 through Sunday November 20, and includes fleet and match racing, as well as AC500 Speed Trial drag races. The teams earn points from their final ranking in both the fleet and match racing events towards the 2011-2012 America’s Cup World Series.

Live, streaming video coverage of the racing runs from November 16-20 on the America’s Cup YouTube channel. And for the first time, there will also be live streaming to mobile devices through the America’s Cup YouTube channel.

Beginning on the opening weekend fans can enjoy the show from the America’s Cup Village, which features food, merchandise, exhibits and entertainment. The AC Village is housed on North Harbor Drive, between Broadway and Navy Piers. From November 16, the AC Village will feature live music each evening.

The races of the America’s Cup World Series will take place just off these Piers, within the tight confines of San Diego Bay. Spectators will be able to take advantage of a number of good shore-side viewing points, including a public spectator area at the end of Broadway Pier. In the AC Village there will be live video with expert commentary on the big screen from Wednesday through Sunday. Entrance to the AC Village is a suggested donation of $10 to help support ocean conservation efforts.

With racing now just days away, the sailors, the city and the Port of San Diego are looking forward to the start of the competition.

“San Diego Bay has a proven track record as a perfect venue for this type of action-packed sailing,” said Board of Port Commissioners Chairman Scott Peters. “The Port Cities Challenge is really a community celebration and a perfect way to encourage residents of San Diego County to come to the waterfront, and cheer on their representative teams as the racing event gets underway.”

Racing at the America’s Cup World Series – San Diego is scheduled to start with a warning signal at 1:05 pm each race day.

New sailing yacht Azzurra 52 Series for Audi Azzurra Sailing Team

November 08, 2011

With the preparations for the 2012 Audi MedCup Circuit, the Italian Audi Azzurra Sailing Team has just formally confirmed that they have begun the building of a new sailing yacht Azzurra 52 Series. Azzurra 52 Series superyacht is designed by Marcelino Botin and Adolfo Carrau of Botin Partners, the office which has designed all the Audi MedCup Circuit winning yachts since 2008, Quantum Racing in 2008 and 2011 and Emirates Team New Zealand in 2009 and 2010.

AudiMedCupAudi Azzurra Sailing Team – Credit Carmen HIdalgo/Audi MedCup

Audi Azzurra Sailing Team have made an important statement of intent for the 2012 Audi MedCup Circuit confirming that they are building a new Azzurra 52 Series yacht for what promises to be an exciting 2012 season. The build of the sailing yacht Azzura 52 Series has just started at King Marine in Valencia lead by Pablo Santarsiero.

The structural engineering side of the design has been undertaken by New Zealand’s Pure Design & Engineering under the vastly experienced Giovanni Belgrano, with CFD studies by Italian-Argentine Alberto Porto. Juan Garay of North Sails will be the sail designer, while the deck was designed by the crew in collaboration with Botin Partners. Project manager of the new Azzurra 52 Series yacht is Miguel Costa.

After a challenging 2011 season there is great enthusiasm among the Audi Azzurra Sailing Team for the news that the team will be armed with a new yacht for the coming season, as confirmed by the strategist Vasco Vascotto: “I want to thank personally the Roemmers family, the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and Audi, for supporting us with this challenge, behind us always with such passion and enthusiasm, showing such support for our team.”

“I am happy to know that we can take this project forward, building from the  good results we got this year. Having a new yacht represents a wonderful opportunity for us to continue the journey, to continue to improve, and to point to more and more important goals. ”

With the new Azzurra 52 Series yacht backed by Alberto Roemmers, a passionate member of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, Audi Azzurra Sailing Team underlines its commitment to the 52 Series of the Audi MedCup Circuit after taking third place overall.

America’s Cup Act of 2011 approved

November 07, 2011

The America’s Cup Event Authority today came with the following statement on the America’s Cup Act of 2011, “We applaud the members of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives who voted overwhelmingly in support of the America’s Cup Act of 2011,” said Craig Thompson, Chief Executive Officer, America’s Cup Event Authority. “This Act enables our international field of America’s Cup teams to participate in the only global sporting event currently committed to come to the United States in the next decade.”

34th America´s Cup - San Francisco Bay

34th America´s Cup - San Francisco Bay

The upcoming America’s Cup events in Newport, Rhode Island, San Francisco and San Diego, California are supposed to create thousands of jobs and over $1 billion in economic impact over the next two years. For the first time in its history, the America’s Cup will be able to be seen from shore, creating incredible public access for spectators as well as drawing a huge number of  spectators to profit from the port cities hosting America’s Cup events.

34th America´s Cup teams - Photo Ivor Wilkins

34th America´s Cup teams - Photo: Ivor Wilkins

“We are very proud that our host cities of San Diego, San Francisco, and Newport, Rhode Island will benefit greatly from hosting America’s Cup events,” said Thompson. “We are working closely with the cities of San Diego, San Francisco, and Newport, Rhode Island to maximize this economic impact.”

Third party sources estimate a $20-million economic impact to San Diego from the event to be staged November 12-20, 2011, with an estimated $72-million economic benefit to Newport, Rhode Island, which will be held in June 2012.  Additionally, the America’s Cup is predicted to deliver an estimated over $1 billion economic impact to the San Francisco Bay area, with more than 8,500 jobs that will be created due to the America’s Cup.

The 34th America’s Cup is the oldest trophy in modern sport and continues to build upon its rich heritage of leading-edge innovation with an event that is designed to showcase the best sailors in the world on the fastest yachts.

ISAF 2013-2014 Sailing World Cup Regattas Venues

November 07, 2011

The first two of the six venues hosted by ISAF Sailing World Cup Regattas 2013-2014 starting with European events have been announced today: Hyeres, France and Palma de Mallorca, Spain. Sailing conditions, venue infrastructure and facilities, organisation and financial resources have been criteria taking into consideration.

ISAF Sailing World Cup 2011 Palma

ISAF Sailing World Cup 2011 Palma

Göran Petersson, ISAF President, said, “Taking all the factors into consideration we have selected two strong events in this initial stage to take the ISAF Sailing World Cup forward.”

“We received strong bids from all the existing European events who have helped us grow the ISAF Sailing World Cup to what it is today. I am confident that both Hyeres and Palma will continue to develop, playing a key role in the future Cup circuit.”

Events in Asia, Africa/Middle East, USA, South America and Oceania will go on to make the full compliment of the six-regatta circuit and further announcements on these events will be made in due time.

Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012 with SAILOR on board

November 04, 2011

The six strong Volvo Open 70 fleet will start tommorow, November 5, in Alicante the first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012 to Cape Town, with a full complement of Thrane & Thrane SAILOR communication systems on board. The big start of tomorrow comes after an action packed opening week of in-port racing that saw the SAILOR domes aft of Team Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s Volvo Open 70 cross the line over 40 minutes ahead of second place Puma Ocean Racing in the first competitive racing of this campaign.

SAILOR 500 FleetBroadband

SAILOR 500 FleetBroadband

The scope of supply for the 2011-2012 race fleet includes SAILOR 500 FleetBroadband, SAILOR 150 FleetBroadband, two SAILOR mini-C systems and VHF radios. Race umpire ribs are equipped with SAILOR VHF fixed radios and organisers carry SAILOR handheld VHF radios during in-port races and the start of every leg. In addition, Volvo Ocean Race’s travelling media teams use EXPLORER 700 BGAN terminals for broadband back-up connections from various shore based spots along the race course.

The SAILOR 500 FleetBroadband will be the central communication hub for each Volvo Open 70 during the race. Its dual role will be to provide the means for navigators to download weather data, which is vital for competitive performance and for Media Crew Members (MCM) to upload race footage, reports and interviews for television and web, helping to grow support for ocean racing on a global basis. The SAILOR 6110 mini-Cs and SAILOR 150 FleetBroadband will also support the media efforts as the yacht telemetry they deliver will be used to create accurate, real-time 3D models for the VOR website and broadcasting.

“I will shoot nearly an hour’s footage a day and have to send between two to four minutes worth back to Volvo for use on the web and television. Once it’s compressed it will only take about 20 minutes to send, which isn’t bad considering it will take that long no matter where we are,” explains Yann Riou, the Team Groupama MCM. “The SAILOR 500 FleetBroadband handles it easily and we’ve been using it without any issues since last winter, so we’re confident that it’s going to perform reliably throughout the race. Having the SAILOR 150 FleetBroadband on board is a great help too. It’s always connected so I’m able to send photos, blogs and articles back to Volvo HQ with ease.”

“The Volvo Ocean Race is a truly global event so our coverage has to be as good in Asia as it is in Europe and North America,” adds Jordi Neves, Technical Director, Volvo Ocean Race. “With professional MCMs recording the action on board and the SAILOR systems used for submission into the content distribution network we’re confident that we can deliver a continuous flow of high quality action for the fans.”

Thrane & Thrane is the Official Sponsor of Satellite and Radio Communications Equipment for the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012. This is the third consecutive Volvo Ocean Race that the company has taken on responsibility for providing reliable satellite and radio communication systems to the cutting-edge fleet of Volvo Open 70s, race organisers and officials.

“The Volvo Ocean Race is a great place to demonstrate the kind of extreme environments that we design our equipment to operate in. You could say it’s the ultimate test of SAILOR equipment, but we know it’s already proven in some pretty tough environments and are more than happy for the teams and the oceans to put it through its paces. We’re confident it will just keep on working no matter what they throw at it,” concludes Lars Thrane, co-founder of Thrane & Thrane.

IMOCA Open 60 sailing yacht Akena Vérandas´ mast broken

November 04, 2011

Around 0330hrs (UTC/GMT) this Friday morning skipper Arnaud Boissières confirmed that the mast of their IMOCA Open 60 sailing yacht Akena Vérandas had broken some 270 miles WNW of the Breton peninsula. The duo had been in ninth place in the Transat Jacques Vabre double handed Transatlantic race which started at Le Havre, France on Wednesday.

IMOCA Open 60 sailing yacht Akena Veradas

IMOCA Open 60 sailing yacht Akena Vérandas

Arnaud Boissières reported that both he and Akena Vérandas yacht’s co-skipper Gérald Veniard were uninjured. The mast is said to have broken in several places and the duo have managed to retain only a deck spreader, the boom and a short piece of tube. They are making progress towards the French coast around 2.5 kts. “We are not hurt other than our pride. There was a very large crack. It was as if we had hit a cliff at ten knots. The mast is broken in several places.” Reported Boissieres to his team early this morning.

Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12: Nortek navigation capability to PUMA Ocean Racing Team

November 03, 2011

The Norwegian Nortek AS, a company developing, manufacturing and distributing acoustic Doppler products, communicated today that it has cooperated with the PUMA Ocean Racing team to create a modified compact Doppler Velocity Log (DVL) for PUMA’s sailing yacht Mar Mostro Volvo Open 70 competing in the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012. The project, which was finished the last year, has brought the successful integration of yacht speed, leeway and in-situ ocean current readings, a secret weapon in the battle to go as fast and efficiently as possible.

PUMA´s Mar Mostro Volvo Open 70 yacht

PUMA´s sailing yacht Mar Mostro Volvo Open 70 - Credit G. Bekris

“The collaboration between Nortek and the entire PUMA team has resulted in an tool that provides unique information to the sailing crew. They can now measure leeway, a first in sailing, and use it to measure ocean currents much more precisely than ever before,” said Atle Lohrmann, CTO of Nortek.

Nortek started developing this capability during the 2008 Star class Olympic trials with the Norwegian team skippered by Eivind Melleby, also a veteran of the Volvo Ocean Race. Nortek went on to work with the TP52 ocean racing team Caixa Galicia with a predecessor to the existing sensor with Caixa navigator Robert Hopkins.

“This is the biggest advancement in sailing instrumentation since the invention of the GPS,” said Hopkins, who runs performance testing for PUMA and worked with Nortek on the project. “Nortek adapted their new DVL technology to our sailing performance needs, to measure very high speeds along the yacht’s track and very low speeds across it. With Nortek’s history of deploying instruments on buoys in hostile Arctic conditions, we knew that we could trust the Nortek DVL in a race around the world.”

PUMA yacht Mar Mostro running

PUMA´s yacht Mar Mostro running

Leeway is the sideways skidding angle a yacht makes as it sails forward. Leeway can be changed on a Volvo Open 70 yacht by adjusting the daggerboard immersion and canting the keel. The adjustable daggeboards and keel act like wings underwater to counteract the force of the sails. The crew relies on Nortek DVL leeway measurements to optimize PUMA’s sailing yacht Mar Mostro performance at all times, providing the core data upon which every other performance measurement is based.

“I can’t tell you how important it is to finally know how fast the yacht is going in all conditions. We really feel this is the first time yacht speed has been accurately measured without using various types of cumbersome and complex tables within the yacht’s instrumentation. It’s a huge factor for something as simple as a sail change or as complex as routing,” said Ken Read, skipper of the PUMA Ocean Racing team. “Nortek and our entire team, especially the shore crew, worked diligently to make this project a reality. The technology already helped us to win the Transatlantic Race in July, and it will be a key component as we race around the world.”

The Nortek DVL uses acoustic techniques to measure water velocity along each of the four beams. The sensor is mounted in the bottom of the lead bulb of the keel. The acoustic beams are oriented forward, aft and abeam.  Data from each beam is streamed to the on board computer which also receives data from the inertial motion sensor and the keel cant angle sensor. Velocity and orientation measurements are then used to output true forward yacht speed and leeway. Real time currents can be directly estimated by differencing the GPS yacht speed over ground and the yacht speed through the water.

Similar systems were developed for the seismic survey fleet and Nortek recently delivered the first operational navigation system to Fugro-Geoteam in Oslo to be mounted on two Barovane seismic diverters. The diverters keep the towed acoustic streamers separated and like the Puma-DVL, the system measures the angle of attack, the through water speed and ocean currents near the surface. The difference was the space available for the acoustic transponder. “We worked very hard to miniaturize the DVL unit that was installed aboard PUMA’s Mar Mostro yacht,” stated Lohrmann.

The project is an important milestone for Nortek because it demonstrates how well the acoustic Doppler technology performs in very challenging conditions and that the system can be fully integrated into modern navigation systems. The fact that the PUMA Ocean Racing technology team was able to integrate the DVL with other sensors on the yacht is a testament to the quality and sophistication of modern yacht racing.

The PUMA Ocean Racing team sets out on the first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012 on Saturday, November 5, departing Alicante, Spain, for Cape Town, South Africa. The 11-member crew will travel 39,000 nautical miles over nine months, sailing from Alicante to Cape Town, and on to Abu Dhabi, UAE; Sanya, China; Auckland, New Zealand; around Cape Horn to Itajaí, Brazil; to Miami, Florida, USA; Lisbon, Portugal; Lorient, France, finishing in Galway, Ireland in July 2012.