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Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race: Day 2 – First night at sea

April 16, 2012

Following two weeks ashore in Oakland, some of the crew competing in the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race, after being settled into first night at sea, have been laid low by sea sickness.

Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race fleet

Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race fleet Credit: Abner Kingman/onEdition

It can affect new joiners and hardened round the worlders alike but soon passes – although at the time it might feel like it will never end – and the crews will be back up to full strength for the race from Oakland, California, to Panama.

A close-fought and lively start under the Golden Gate Bridge saw three of the yachts cross the start line ahead of the gun and, judged to be OCS (On Course Side) were told to round the end of the line and cross the start line again to exonerate themselves.

Since their departure from San Francisco Bay two distinct sets of tactics have opened up with New York hugging the Californian coast line while the other nine teams head offshore. New York’s tactic of staying close to the coast of North Africa in Race 2, way back at the start of Clipper 11-12, earned them third place in that stage. Will the coastal strategy pay off a second time?

“After our best start to a race, hitting the pin end of the line at full speed with full main, stay sail and Yankee 2, we ran into the shore line and tacked for the Golden Gate Bridge and just managed to pass in front of Qingdao before we tacked over. They just got under the bridge before us by half a boat length but as we raced out into the bay we took the lead. But this was not for too long; as the wind lightened and began to come from the stern we dropped back behind De Lage Landen and Qingdao,” reports skipper, Gareth Glover.

Gareth also explains that after their strong start an error when they were getting the heavyweight kite ready to hoist saw the sail go overboard. Fortunately it was recovered and in the meantime the team poled out the Yankee 2 – but not before the rest of the fleet had sped by, taking a good five miles from them.

By contrast, on one of the three yachts deemed OCS, skipper Flavio Zamboni, who took command of Edinburgh Inspiring Capital in Oakland, reports, “The situation on board is really good. We’re currently sailing under poled out headsail and enjoying it! After a pretty lively start, the crew is settling in the watch system again. The other boats are all around so the on-watch crew is keeping focused to match their speed.”

With the exception of New York, the other nine yachts are very tightly packed  as they race south, enjoying the north westerly winds that should be with them for the next three days, according to fleet meteorologist, Simon Rowell.

Visit Finland, furthest to the east, is currently leading Welcome to Yorkshire, De Lage Landen and Qingdao who are progressively further west, with just six miles between them at this very early stage of what is likely to be a highly tactical race to Panama.

Rupert Dean, leading the English entry which is currently in second place, says, “Welcome to Yorkshire had a great start, timing the run to the line perfectly. All 17 crew played important roles in this, with Chris Leivers (helm) and Jim Stamp (mainsheet) putting great input into the tactical decision making. With winds gusting up to 30 knots apparent, our ‘Pink Lady’ was well and truly powered up, flying full main, staysail and Yankee2.

“Racing, therefore, required slick teamwork as we tacked swiftly onto port, then starboard on approaching the northern leg of the Golden Gate Bridge. From there the challenge was to clear the tower at Mile Rocks without tacking again, which was pretty close, but fully achieved.

“Since exiting San Francisco Bay, the fleet has been power-reaching south east on starboard tack, making good speed. We elected to bear away south first to hoist the heavyweight spinnaker, a strategy later adopted by competitors to the east.”

De Lage Landen’s skipper, Stuart Jackson, echoes many of the skippers’ comments this morning, saying, “We would like to extend our thanks to all those involved in giving us a great reception and hosting us so well in Oakland.”

Stuart continues, “After a great break ashore we are under way again heading down the west coast of the US to Panama. With the crew fully rested we enjoyed perfect conditions for the race start, so swiftly made our way out under the Golden Gate Bridge. We were given a rousing send off from a large boat full of De Lage Landen members who came down to support us.

“Everyone has quickly adjusted back in to life at sea and the watch system. Thankfully the weather is looking like it may be kind to us for a few days as we are already enjoying a spinnaker run in around 20 knots of wind and enough swell to enjoy a little surfing.”

Qingdao’s crew are also enjoying the surfing and few more canvas than the other yachts at the race start, before being among the first teams to hoist their spinnaker shortly after the start, and skipper Ian Conchie thinks it paid off.

“We decided to take a gamble with our sail selection and go with the Yankee 1 and were the only boat to risk it,” he says, adding, “The start was great fun with all ten boats close as we approached the line. We tacked soon after the line and headed for the bridge in close company with De Lage Landen and Welcome to Yorkshire.

“The beat up to the bridge and out of the bay was interesting as our sail selection meant we were slightly over powered. But once we started to bear away it came into its own and we started to make some gains. As we reached down the coast the wind continued to veer, allowing us to hoist the kite and we powered south.”

The other two teams who were OCS at the start, Singapore and Gold Coast Australia, recovered and are neck and neck in the middle order.

“If anyone thought that the start of this leg would be an easy cruise down the coast then they had another think coming!” comments Ben Bowley, skipper of Singapore. “Having started a few seconds early (if one is not occasionally OCS then one is not trying hard enough, so I hear) we had to round the only available end of the line to exonerate our little transgression. This still did not have much of a detrimental effect on our performance as by the time the rest fleet passed under the bridge we were back with the pack. The whole Bay Area looked picture postcard stunning in the crisp clean air and bright sunshine. I was sad to be leaving California and all her welcoming residents so soon (although, it does feel fantastic to be back on the water!).

“Once under the bridge the conditions became really rather lumpy and confused with a large amount of residual swell that was threatening to turn into big surf even a couple of miles offshore.  With all the extra weight of over 50 days’ food and an extra five crew and associated kit, the boat took to her new classification of submarine very well.  We punched straight through several waves that swept the boat from stem to stern with a ruthless, bubbling efficiency, leaving some of the new crew a little wide eyed.

“We have now lost a few members to sea-sickness but with conditions due to abate over the next few days, I’m sure we shall be up to full strength before too long. For now though, we are straight back into it with Vicky [spinnaker] up, no moon, big swell, no Windex and new crew to contend with.  I am happy with our current position within the fleet and hope that if we can keep everything together for this first 24 hours under spinnaker then we shall see ourselves well placed by daybreak.”

Gold Coast Australia has a few crew down with sea sickness as well and opted not to take the spinnaker option straight away.

“At the first change of watch more of the team were feeling fit and we were able to hoist our heavyweight spinnaker and sail a more southerly course,” reports Richard Hewson, the skipper. “There is a bit of a swell running in from the north west making helming difficult but the boat feels a lot more stable with the kite up.  The wind has already started to moderate, though there is the occasional gust of 30 knots which makes life a bit more exciting. Hopefully this wind will stay with us for the next few days so we can make some good ground to the south.

“The fleet remains relatively close and at the moment we are battling it out for first place amongst a number of other yachts. It is fantastic to be in eyesight and VHF range as we all charge down the coast towards Panama. This race has some interesting tactics ahead, and it will be interesting to see who plays the shore and who heads to sea as the information from local sailors shows advantages at different times to support each theory. At this stage I will keep the tactics of Gold Coast Australia under wraps, so keep checking the race viewer for regular updates!”

While Richard wonders which of the two options will be more favourable in the sprint south, New York is occupying the inside lane while Geraldton Western Australia has opted for the outside and is currently the back marker.

Neck and neck with the fleet approximately half way between San Francisco Bay and Los Angeles, Derry-Londonderry and Edinburgh Inspiring Capital are matching each other and, says Mark Light, skipper of the Northern Ireland entry, “It’s good to be racing again.”

He adds, “At the start there were some tremendous swells heading into the bay as the mass of water was squeezed up and over Four Fathom Bank and thrown into the bay. At times our boat was more like a submarine than a racing yacht! We made good speeds and once clear of the land found that the conditions settled and the wind moved aft.

“We are pretty deep downwind right now, flying our full mainsail and poled out Yankee 2 with 20 knots of wind coming from the north west. Unfortunately we have the usual few crew partially down with mal de mer and so the sensible choice through this first night at sea has to be a poled out headsail instead of spinnaker. It is a pretty dark night, without moon and, as normal, the temperatures are still rather chilly so layers are still the order of the day. We know this will not last and expect things to change fairly quickly as we head ever further south.”

From a northern California spring the teams will find the temperatures rapidly warming up and the winds becoming flukier the closer they get to Panama, a few degrees north of the Equator, during the course of the next few weeks.

Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race: Day 1 – Fleet in San Francisco Bay for the start line

April 16, 2012

Hundreds of fans cheered the ten powerful fleet racing in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race as they were leaving Jack London Square in Oakland on Sunday, April 14, in the warm spring sunshine, before leaving for San Francisco Bay for the start line escorted by US Coast Guard cutter Sockeye.

the ten powerful fleet racing in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race in San Francisco Bay

The ten strong fleet racing in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race in San Francisco Bay Credit: Abner Kingman/onEdition

The Clipper Race is the world’s longest at 40,000 miles. This stage is the tenth of 15 races. Ahead lies a 5,500 mile leg from California on the US West Coast to New York on the East Coast via the Panama Canal.

Friends, family members and supporters gathered to watch from the Golden Gate Yacht Club, home of the 34th America’s Cup, which kindly provided facilities to start the race from their deck at 1400 local time (2100 UTC).

There was a highly charged competitive atmosphere out on the water in the shadow of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. So much so that Gold Coast Australia, Singapore and Edinburgh Inspiring Capital crossed the line prematurely and were ordered to circle back to cross it again to avoid a time penalty.

This gave Visit Finland an early lead, crossing the start line first. Before departing skipper Olly Osborne said, “We need to do our best to push ourselves as hard as we can. The earlier part of the race will be quite exciting with a real sleigh ride down the west coast and then beyond that we will see. It will be a coastal race which is interesting will all the currents and then we of course hope that we can keep racing until that finish line and we don’t see too dramatic a wind drop.

“It is always easier to start in the lead and maintaining it, which is what we are hoping for rather than constantly playing catch-up. Some of racing is down to the luck of the draw and some of it is down to some good sailing, so we are aiming to do the latter.

“Going through the Panama Canal they are really looking forward to, as it’s quite a big landmark and quite big part of the journey. It is certainly more home-bound once you are back into the Atlantic before shaping up for the home run from New York.”

Second over the starting line was New York, the only US entry who are on route to their home port, as Leg 7 has begun. Skipper Gareth Glover said, “It is going to quite a tough leg, especially when we get to the lighter breezes when we get further south. Weight is a key component on how we do well in this race, as it has a huge effect in light wind conditions.

“The next leg for us is all about the gate points. We have such a short leg ahead and it is definitely the thing to concentrate on. We have to make sure that we finish in the top three in these legs ahead, but it’s a tough challenge, as we also historically don’t do that well in light winds on the New York entry.

“There are more than 60 points for grabs between here and the UK, so there is no way that this race is over. We will be pushing very hard to at least get a top three finish overall.”

Also in the competitive spirit is Qingdao who started Race 10 in third place over the start line. Ahead of leaving, skipper Ian Conchie said, “After the chills of the Pacific Ocean and no sunlight for weeks, it will be nice to sail in some sunshine. It’s fun and amazing to be sailing underneath the Golden Gate Bridge and then we turn left, head south and follow the smell the mojitos!

“The Panama Canal is listed as one of the seven industrial wonders of the world, so it will be an amazing experience just seeing the size of the locks, as we could go in alone, along with some of the other yachts or end up going through with a super tanker, which will be very interesting and something most people will never do again.”

The race down to Panama is quite a contrast to the challenges faced in the North Pacific. Race Director, Joff Bailey explains, “The Californian current flows south but the helping hand this gives the fleet can be counteracted by heating effects from the North American land mass which might change the winds unfavourably. This race down to Panama starts of fast and furious but as the temperature rises the wind start to drop as changeable conditions along the coast of Central America and as the fleet near the ITCZ (Inter Tropical Convergence Zone or Doldrums) take effect. The last thousand miles will be sailed in light and fickle winds potentially requiring a shortened course as the Clipper Race fleet head towards a date with the Panama Canal.”

Welcome to Yorkshire skipper Rupert Dean reflects this, saying, “This will be a very different race with lots of different winds. We are still going to be influenced by the lows sweeping across the North Pacific at the moment and the first 72 hours we should have plenty of breeze and then they will start tailing off. We just have to see how much we can keep the wind and how far inshore we have to race to keep the breeze, once winds start to drop. I’ve been through to the canal two times before, and it’s an interesting journey that I’m sure the crew will very much enjoy.”

Back on the water today was Geraldton Western Australia crossing the start line in seventh place. After being hit by a large rogue wave just 400 nautical miles from the finish in San Francisco Bay two weeks ago, the Australian entry was pleased to have his boat repaired and be back racing.

Before leaving the marina skipper Juan Coetzer said, “The sail is back on the boom, we have our steerage back in and we are all ready to go. The whole crew are very excited to get back to sea and focus on racing again.

“The next few days I’m expecting some nice downwind sailing. It is a race of two halves and we are going to try to be at the top of the runnings, definitely on the downwind part, and then try and get any points we can get.”

Singapore reached their highest position ever in the previous race and is keen to continue their climb of the leader board, as Race 10 gets underway. Skipper, Ben Bowley said, “It is going to be quite a contrast to the last race that we’ve had crossing the Pacific. We are expecting a few good days of breeze to keep us moving down the American coast and then try and keep the boat moving in whatever winds we can get, once we ITCZ again for the third time since we started the race in July last year.”

And as the overall leader board is close, Ben continued, “We had an excellent result in the last race and we hope to keep up the drive and keep everyone moving and motivated especially when the wind starts to go light then we should be good. We are feeling confident and are going to keep on pushing.

“We only have three points between us and Visit Finland, so we need to keep the consistency going and keep putting in the good results, so we can remain at the top of the leader board.”

Fourth over the start line was Derry-Londonderry. The Northern Irish entry is keen to ensure they can a podium on this race, after being beaten to it by New York coming into Oakland, San Francisco Bay.

Skipper, Mark Light said, “This leg will be quite a contrast to the rough Pacific. We are expecting a fair bit of wind when we leave San Francisco Bay, but then it will get hotter and lighter winds.

“We’ve improved massively in the second half on this race and we are turning our noses towards our home port and the team are coming together will and I’m expecting another good result. It’s very exciting and things are building up – there are a lot of points on offer and we need to get ourselves onto that podium a few more times. We will do what we can and hopefully won’t let anyone down.”

De Lage Landen, currently in second place on the overall leader board, crossed the start line by the Golden Gate Yacht Club in sixth place. Ahead of leaving, skipper Stuart Jackson said, “It is going to be very much an inshore race, hugging the coast on the way down and trying to stay in the current and hopefully not run out of the wind too early. Everyone is very excited to go through the Panama Canal, which is a huge piece of engineering with a lot of history. I’ve been to it before, so it should be one of those great experiences.

“We are very happy with how we have been performing so  far, but it it’s all very close between second, third and fourth, so we have to keep driving really hard and hopefully get a few more decent results under our belts.”

Meanwhile on Edinburgh Inspiring Capital after crossing the starting line early, the Scottish entry ended up starting Race 10 in last position. New interim skipper, Flavio Zamboni is excited about taking his new team said, “It’s really exciting to be here and I think that that the guys are really willing to work and sail the boat, so I will try and make the most of the potential on board. We hope to be able to lead in the strong breezes and be in the top half of the fleet. I am very excited to be part of the team and it’s great to be on board.”

Gold Coast Australia was in the same position as Edinburgh Inspiring Capital and Singapore, but still managed to cross the start line in eighth place. Ahead of leaving, skipper Richard Hewson said, “It’s going to be quite interesting at the start, as San Francisco Bay is renowned for gusty winds coming through the hills and pretty extreme tides, so everyone is going to be playing a pretty conservative start and once we get outside the bay we will be heading south.

“I think this race will be won in the first couple of days with the stronger breezes, but saying that you never knows who can catch up on you, once you start hitting lighter winds.

“It is going to be an interesting race with filled with spinnakers, high wind, low wind and a lot of drifting and the Panama Canal is just an unbelievable experience, so I’m sure the crew will have a fantastic time.”

The first yachts are expected to arrive in Panama around 7 May after which they will transit the Panama Canal before commencing Race 11, for the final 2,100 miles to New York.

Naples AC World Series: Strong winds and heavy seas suspended Saturday´s racing

April 14, 2012

Naples America´s Cup World Series race was suspended on Saturday. This suspension was caused by heavy seas present in the Bay of Naples on Saturday morning, as well as strong winds that could exceed 30 knots as predicted by a forecast.

Heavy seas and strong winds in Naples on Saturday morning

Heavy seas and strong winds in Naples on Saturday morning © ACEA 2012/ Photo Gilles Martin-Raget

The match race semi finals and finals will now be sailed on Sunday. Fleet races seven and eight have been abandoned and won’t be sailed, shortening the Fleet Racing Championship to seven races.

“Racing has been suspended today because of the wind as well as the big seas coming in from very strong winds in the Mediterranean,” said Regatta Director Iain Murray. “The expectation is for the breeze to build up near 30 knots and the waves will go up as well… The potential for damage to people and boats is too high today… My heart says we should be out sailing, but my head says that we need to wait until tomorrow.”

The sailors, while disappointed to lose a day of racing, agreed.

“They made the right decision,” said Paul Campbell-James, the helmsman of Luna Rossa Swordfish. “Really strong wind and massive waves, which could have damaged the boats. So it was the right decision but it’s a massive disappointment.”

This is the first time racing has been suspended at the America’s Cup World Series in 25 race days.

The racing program for Sunday becomes busier now, with the Match Racing Semi-Finals scheduled to start at 1250 CEST. The AC500 Speed Trial will begin at 1350 and the final fleet race, where the winner earns a whopping 50 points (all the finishing positions are heavily weighted compared with previous races) has a start time of 1455.

Given the poor weather, many of the sailors settled for some virtual racing in the AC45 Club, where Team Korea trimmer Mark Bulkeley posted the best time down the track in the America’s Cup Speed Trials game, earning a bottle of Moët et Chandon champagne.

ORACLE Racing’s Ian Burns, who was instrumental in developing the game, said that it had been downloaded more than 25,000 times in its first week in Apple’s App Store.

“It’s been great to see the response to the game, from old and new sailing fans alike,” he said. “While it’s an easy game for beginners to play, as you can see when these guys take it on, it still gets their competitive fires burning.”

Fleet Racing Championship – Provisional Standings (after six races):

1. Emirates Team New Zealand (Skipper: Dean Barker); 52 points
2. ORACLE Racing – Spithill (Skipper: James Spithill); 47 points
3. Luna Rossa – Piranha (Helmsman: Chris Draper); 42 points
4. Team Korea (Skipper: Nathan Outteridge); 39 points
5. Energy Team (Skipper: Yann Guichard); 39 points
6. Luna Rossa – Swordfish (Helmsman: Paul Campbell-James); 35 points
7. ORACLE Racing – Bundock (Skipper: Darren Bundock); 28 points
8. Artemis Racing (Skipper: Terry Hutchinson); 20 points
9. China Team (Skipper: Fred Le Peutrec); 8 points

Match Racing Championship – Sunday’s races

SF1 – Artemis Racing vs. Luna Rossa Swordfish
SF2 – Team Korea vs. Luna Rossa Piranha

The winners advance to a one race Final.

America’s Cup World Series: Friday in Naples offered new challenges

April 14, 2012

On Friday, Naples in Italy was providing new challenges to the nine crews taking part in the America’s Cup World Series, with light, shifty offshore winds battling an onshore swell, ending up in a race course where gains and losses were often measured in the hundreds of yards.

© ACEA 2012 - Photo Gilles Martin Raget

© ACEA 2012 - Photo Gilles Martin Raget

ORACLE Racing Spithill had the best day across the two fleet races, posting two second-place finishes. In contrast, each race winner (Energy Team, Emirates Team New Zealand) also carried a seventh place score on the day. As a result, Jimmy Spithill’s American team gained four points on the leading Kiwis, nearly cutting their lead in half over the course of the day.

“It was really hard,” said Chris Draper, the helmsman of Luna Rossa Piranha, who led his team to a consistent 3-4 performance. “The swell made it hard, surfing upwind and then straight into the waves downwind… So to get the results we did, I’m really pleased with our guys, they did a great job.”

© ACEA 2012 - Photo Gilles Martin-Raget

Luna Rossa sailing yacht © ACEA 2012 - Photo Gilles Martin-Raget

China Team, struggling to this point, also stood out on the day. Although skipper Fred Le Peutrec’s team has yet to finish out of ninth place, on Friday their starts were outstanding and the team was among the early leaders in both races. After that however, the quality of the fleet was simply too strong for the new Chinese squad.

“Good starts, yes, but not good races,” he said after racing. “We are a bit frustrated by the wind shifts, but anyway, two good starts… Unlucky with the wind, but that’s the game.”

Following the two fleet races, the remaining two Match Racing Quarterfinals were completed. Emirates Team New Zealand found itself pushed deep into the standings by Terry Hutchinson’s Artemis Racing, who found the right shifts in the tricky conditions to earn a lopsided victory. While Artemis advances to the Semi Finals, the Kiwis are forced to settle for a disappointing eighth place.

© ACEA 2012- Photo Gilles Martin-Raget

America's Cup World Series - Naples - © ACEA 2012- Photo Gilles Martin-Raget

“It is nice to be able to gain some points on them for the overall World Series,” Hutchinson said. “But looking at the big picture, we still have a lot of work to do.”

In the other Quarter Final, Luna Rossa Swordfish won a close match over Energy Team, becoming the second Italian crew to qualify for the Semi Finals.

“For the team, it’s a great result for both boats to be in the top four,” said Manuel Modena, the trimmer on Luna Rossa Swordfish. “I hope we can both make it to the Final. Both our crews have the ability, but I would like to win if we both make it.”

The program for Saturday starts with the Match Racing Semi Finals and Final followed by two Fleet Races. The start of the first match is scheduled for 1330 CEST.

Oracle Racing - © ACEA 2012 - Photo Gilles Martin-Raget

Oracle Racing - © ACEA 2012 - Photo Gilles Martin-Raget

Fleet Racing Championship – Provisional Standings Day Three (after six races):

1. Emirates Team New Zealand (Skipper: Dean Barker); 52 points
2. ORACLE Racing – Spithill (Skipper: James Spithill); 47 points
3. Luna Rossa – Piranha (Helmsman: Chris Draper); 42 points
4. Team Korea (Skipper: Nathan Outteridge); 39 points
5. Energy Team (Skipper: Yann Guichard); 39 points
6. Luna Rossa – Swordfish (Helmsman: Paul Campbell-James); 35 points
7. ORACLE Racing – Bundock (Skipper: Darren Bundock); 28 points
8. Artemis Racing (Skipper: Terry Hutchinson); 20 points
9. China Team (Skipper: Fred Le Peutrec); 8 points

Match Racing Championship – Provisional Results:

QF3 – Artemis Racing beat Emirates Team New Zealand
QF4 – Luna Rossa Swordfish beat Energy Team
Emirates Team New Zealand finishes eighth in the Match Racing Championship; Artemis Racing advances to SF1.

Energy Team finishes fifth in the Match Racing Championship; Luna Rossa Swordfish advances to SF1

Moët & Chandon – the official champagne of the 34th America’s Cup

April 13, 2012

Moët & Chandon announced today its partnership as the official champagne of the 34th America’s Cup, strenghtening the Maison’s long-standing history of sportsmanship as well as savoir-faire in the fascinating world of sailing. The 34th America’s Cup is a dynamic and world-class international sailing race that motivates the best sailors in the world in both match and fleet racing skills. Moët & Chandon will be present at all key moments throughout the unparalleled race, from the starting signals to the closing ceremony.

Moët & Chandon - the official champagne of the 34th America’s Cup

Moët & Chandon - the official champagne of the 34th America’s Cup © 2012 ACEA/ Photo Ricardo Pinto

Since 1987, Moët & Chandon has been the life and soul of every America’s Cup and Louis Vuitton Cup reception: christening legendary sailing crafts, creating dazzling champagne cascades which rise in an elegant pyramid of crystal clear champagne flutes, and toasting the daring victories of the athletes. Moët & Chandon closely reflects the sailing world’s bold, modern spirit and dedication to the pursuit of victory. The Maison’s presence at these sporting events demonstrates its commitment to a race that tests the extraordinary skills of athletes as they wrestle with the forces of wind and sea.

Unlike nearly any other sport, America’s Cup sailing represents an unparalleled competitive thrill and success based on both mental expertise and physical finesse. The sport embodies grandeur and freedom on an exhilarating scale, with a global appeal that traverses international territory in terms of athletes, fans and worldwide competition. As the world’s leading – and most loved – champagne, Moët & Chandon shares a pioneering vision with this iconic sport.

“Moët & Chandon has been associated with the America’s Cup for nearly 25 years. This year, as the official champagne, we raise a glass to this most prestigious event in the world’s grandest setting: the iconic San Francisco Bay,” said Stephane Baschiera, President & CEO of Moët & Chandon. “The America’s Cup is the epitome of stylish achievement and the thrilling pursuit of victory. In combination with our longtime involvement in glamorous sailing, tennis and cinema events around the world, the America’s Cup is a perfect reflection of Moët & Chandon’s own spirit of success.”

“As we celebrate a new era for the America’s Cup, we are extremely pleased to announce our continued partnership with Moët & Chandon,” said Iain Murray, America’s Cup Regatta Director. “The America’s Cup builds upon an acclaimed history of innovation so we’re proud to have a partner like Moët & Chandon who has helped us recognize these successes of our history, as well as those of our future.”

During the entire summer of 2013, San Francisco Bay will be home to the 34th America’s Cup events. At 161 years old, the America’s Cup is the hardest title in sport to claim, with only four countries ever having been successful in winning the Cup. San Francisco will shine on the world stage, with the 34th America’s Cup being the only major international sporting event to be hosted in 2013. A thrilling spectacle with a rich tradition, the 34th America’s Cup features the best sailors on the world’s fastest boats, and consists of three main stages – the America’s Cup World Series, now currently underway in Naples, Italy; the Louis Vuitton Cup (July 4 – September 1, 2013); and the America’s Cup Match (September 7-22, 2013).

The Moët & Chandon tradition of supporting the grandest achievements lives on as a ‘grand prize,’ where a bottle of the House’s iconic champagne becomes the award itself for champions. Victorious athletes celebrate their exceptional triumph on the winners’ podium, such as at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, by accepting a well-deserved bottle of Moët & Chandon – a symbol of the overflowing joy of success.

About Moët & Chandon
Moët & Chandon is the champagne of success and glamour since 1743. Renowned for its achievements, firsts and legendary pioneering spirit, Moët & Chandon is the Maison that introduced champagne to the world. Synonymous with the most venerable of traditions and the most modern of pleasures, Moët & Chandon has celebrated life’s most triumphant moments with grandeur and generosity for nearly 270 years.

Moët & Chandon’s heritage is rooted in an appreciation for shared celebratory moments, the pursuit of success and quality, and a taste for challenge. Whether celebrating personal athletic accomplishments or sponsoring the world’s most glamorous athletic competitions, Moët & Chandon is an icon of victorious achievement in sports.

Team Synergy/Heesen wins first and third place at the recent Cascais Cup

April 13, 2012

Heesen Yachts, one of the best shipyards when it comes to engineering as well as building of luxury superyachts, is delighted to announce that team Synergy/Heesen won first place in the match race along with third place overall at the RC44 – Cascais Cup, that just took place in Cascais, Portugal from 28th March to 1st April.

The recent RC44 - Cascais Cup

The recent RC44 - Cascais Cup Photo credit: Guido Trombetta/Studio Borlenghi

Fifteen teams – team Aegir UK joined so there was one more racing yacht in the fleet than in Puerto Calero – raced over five days in a range of differing weather conditions; from a potentially boat-breaking situation with gusts of 28 knots, to light breezes and sun, followed by a storm and a couple of hours of torrential rain!

Valentin Zavadnikov and Leonid Lebedev’s team Synergy was led by America’s Cup skipper Ed Baird, their new tactician for the 2012 circuit. This is the first time the team have gained a place on the podium in the fleet race since they joined the RC44 back in 2010. The races at Cascais were the second event for the team’s new tactician, who had already led Synergy team to bronze in the match race at the Puerto Calero Cup in February.

Team Synergy/Heesen competing in the Cascais Cup

Team Synergy/Heesen competing in the Cascais Cup Photo credit: Guido Trombetta/Studio Borlenghi

Fabio Ermetto, Sales and Marketing Director at Heesen Yachts, comments: “We are very excited to see that team Synergy is progressing up the rankings. Congratulations to the Owners, the tactician and their great crew who led our yacht to this incredible success!”

The next stop in the 2012 RC44 Championship Tour is the RC44 Austria Cup on Lake Traunsee from 30th May to 2nd of June.

After that the races move on across Europe:
18th – 22nd July Marstrand – Sweden
3rd – 7th October RovinjCroatia

Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS 13) races on hull number 24, launched in 2010. Boat Owners and helmsmen Valentin Zavadnikov and Leonid Lebedev together with American tactician Ed Baird led team Synergy to 12th place overall in both the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Having also run successful TP52 and Louis Vuitton Series campaigns, Synergy’s goal is to develop top level yacht racing in Russia by creating professional crew capable of competing against the world’s best sailors.

The ninth Edition of PalmaVela, April 18-22, 2012

April 13, 2012

After 9 years of existence of PalmaVela the Maxi yachts come back once again to be one of the main protagonists of this International regatta. The International Maxi Association, IMA has comprised PalmaVela in its annual Racing calendar for 2012 as well as for the Wally class.


The IMA also has designated PalmaVela 2012 as the Mediterranean Championship for the “Mini Maxi”, boats with boat lengths from 18 to 22 metres. This designation is certain to attract a nice number of owners and may increase the number of entries up to 7 to 8 Mini Maxis turning up for PalmaVela.


PalmaVela, is the event chosen year after year, by many yacht owners or event organisers to present their new yacht or their new Racing circuits. Such is the case of the TP 52 fleet, now that the Med Cup circuit has been cancelled for this year, will be coordinated by the Class Manager, Rob Weiland in a new circuit.

PalmaVela will be the first meeting for this fleet which gathers: Container, RAN, Synergy, Matador and Quantum, although some more teams are expected to join. Guillermo Roemmers, the legendary Argentinian owner of the Matador saga, will take its’ debut with his new TP52, who will compete the whole season under the colours of Audi, Azzurra and the Costa Esmeralda Yacht club.

Another novelty for this years PalmaVela Edition is the one design class, Soto 40 will take PalmaVela as a training event for the European circuit. 5 yachts already have registered for the event, amongst of which, the latest winner of the now extinct Med Cup, the boat IBERDROLA of Agustin Zulueta, and the debut of Andres Soriano who has already participated in other editions of PalmaVela with his Mini Maxi, Allegre.

J-Class sailing yacht LIONHEART

J-Class sailing yacht LIONHEART

Another important debut in PalmaVela, is the first participation of a J-Class sailing yacht Lionheart, for the first time to sail in the bay of Palma. The J80 one design class counts on six entered yachts at present, amongst which, the latest winner of the 30 Copa del Rey Audi Mapfre, Jose Maria Van der Ploeg. The classic fleet counts on one of the most beautiful boats, the 35m superyacht Moonbeam IV.

The dinghy classes, always present in PalmaVela, count on 6 Dragons at present and 12 to 15 Flying Fifteens are expected to enter. The disabled sailing sponsored by the Obra Social La Caixa and Handisport, will provide the competition with two different classes this year, Dam 5.5 and Access.


PalmaVela is a qualifying event for the Spanish Championship for Classic and Vintage yachts and for the Northern Mediterranean National Championship for the Cruisers in ORC rating.


Four racing areas will be laid in the bay of Palma for all the entered yachts in PalmaVela. The moorings will be distributed by boat lengths; the big boats such as Maxis, Mini Maxis, Wallys and TP 52 will be allocated in the N00, (gas station pier in the RCNP). The rest of the fleet will be moored around the club house.

WALLY CLASS performance yachts confirm 2012 racing calendar

April 13, 2012
The Wally Class, the largest fleet of performance yachts over 24 metres, has revealed the final racing calendar for the 2012 season, taking in five of the world’s most important yacht regattas in the Mediterranean’s most fabulous locations.

PalmaVela 2011

PalmaVela 2011

PalmavelaPalma de Mallorca, 18 – 22 April

Trofeo Conde de Godó – Barcelona, 23 – 27 May

Loro Piana SuperYacht Regatta – Porto Cervo, 4 – 9 June

Maxi Yacht Rolex CupPorto Cervo, 2 – 8 September

Voiles de St-TropezSt-Tropez, 29 September – 6 October

In addition to this calendar, Wallys also competitively race in other renowned regattas against yachts of other types: a strong performance was seen in March in the British Virgin Islands, with the Wally 101 sailing yacht Indio winning the Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta and Rendezvous at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda Virgin Gorda. Further events include two of the most important offshore races in the Mediterranean, the Rolex Volcano Race, 18– 26 May and the Giraglia Rolex Cup, 8-16 June.

Speaking from Wally’s headquarters in Monaco, Luca Bassani Antivari, Founder and President said, “We are looking forward to a fantastic 2012 season with great sailing and great competition. During the second half of the season we will also welcome the debut of the sailing yacht Wallycento, the brand new high-performance 100-foot racer-cruiser built in compliance with a box-rule.”

100ft sailing yacht Wallycento

100ft sailing yacht Wallycento

Paolo Massarini, Wally Class Manager continued, “The Wally fleet will participate in the Trofeo Conde de Godó in Barcelona for the first time; taking in a new city-based location with excellent sailing conditions, we will see excitement and close racing.”

Due to the exceptional performance of Wally yachts and their resulting competitive advantage, the Wally Class is part of the IMA (International Maxi Association) and is recognised internationally as a division of the world’s most important Superyacht regattas.

Naples AC World Series: Day 2 – ORACLE Racing Bundock wins face off against stable mate

April 13, 2012
Racing on Day 2 of the ACWS Naples Match Racing Championship, in a rather calm Bay of Naples, ORACLE Racing Bundock advanced to the semifinal round by defeating stable mate ORACLE Racing Spithill.

Relatively calm Bay of Naples on Day 2 of the Naples AC World Series

Relatively calm Bay of Naples on Day 2 of the Naples AC World Series Photo: Guilain GRENIER/ORACLE TEAM USA

The two crews have spent hours training and testing against each other on San Francisco Bay, where the America’s Cup will be staged in 2013. Yesterday, the friendly rivalry turned fierce with the added dimension of points for the ACWS Overall Championship at stake.

“I suppose we can thank the shore crew for the victory against Jimmy,” said skipper Darren Bundock. “We’re very happy to walk away with the win from that one. I guess it’s all that training they’ve given us the past couple months.”

That Bundock’s boat No. 5 even made the start was a testament to the ORACLE Racing Shore Team. On day 1 racing the No. 5 boat was damaged in the rough seaway when a crack developed around a deck hatch.

ORACLE Racing Bundock advanced to the semifinal round by defeating stable mate ORACLE Racing Spithill

ORACLE Racing Bundock advanced to the semifinal round by defeating stable mate ORACLE Racing Spithill Photo: Guilain GRENIER/ORACLE TEAM USA

The shore team, led by Andrew Henderson and including “The Three A’s” – Andrew Walker, Aaron Hunter and Andrew Rhodes – pulled an all-nighter to complete the repair job, which required grinding, new core sections and laminating.

No one was quite certain if the boat would be ready until the heat guns were turned up at full blast about an hour before the start of the race to accelerate the laminate curing process.

“Lucky for us the shore crew did a fantastic job overnight. They had four repairs to make: two cracks in the hull and a little damage from a RIB when we came dockside,” said Bundock.

“Probably an hour before the race start they still had the heat guns going to set the carbon off. It was all touch and go, but lucky for us they got us out there.”

ORACLE Team racing on Day 2 of the Naples AC World Series

ORACLE Team racing on Day 2 of the Naples AC World Series Photo: Guilain GRENIER/ORACLE TEAM USA

Besides the four cracks on ORACLE Racing Bundock, the shore crew also had to repair some broken frames in Spithill’s wingsail.

“It just wasn’t an issue,” said Spithill. “It goes to show, I think we have best shore team here. It gives you confidence knowing they can get both boats out there, full credit to them.”

The victory puts ORACLE Racing Bundock into the match racing semifinals where the crew will race Luna Rossa Piranha, steered by Chris Draper, with the winner advancing to the match racing final. ORACLE Racing Spithill is assigned seventh place for the match racing championship. Under the new regatta format, you must win to advance.

Team ORACLE Racing

Team ORACLE Racing Bundock Photo: Guilain GRENIER/ORACLE TEAM USA

The match racing was followed by two fleet races of 30 to 40 minutes. ORACLE Racing Spithill placed 7-4 and holds second for the fleet racing championship behind Emirates Team New Zealand. ORACLE Racing Bundock placed 4-8 and holds seventh in the standings after having to sit out day 1 second fleet race due to the hull damage.

Spithill said the crew battled all day: “We really want to pride ourselves on being consistent, and today we really weren’t. That is sport, but we have to learn from it and move forward. There’s plenty of racing left, we just have to come out tomorrow firing.”

Naples AC World Series: Day 2 – Emirates Team New Zealand dominates with Luna Rossa performing well

April 13, 2012
America’s Cup World Series leading skipper Dean Barker demonstrated his Emirates Team New Zealand stays the class of the fleet by winning both fleet races on Thursday. In scoring two victories, Barker now sits clear ahead of his rival James Spithill by a whopping 9 points on the Naples leaderboard.

Naples AC World Series - Day 2

Naples AC World Series - Day 2 © ACEA 2012/ Photo Gilles Martin-Raget

The local favourites, the two Luna Rossa Challenge crews, also had a good afternoon in the beautiful sea breeze conditions just off the sea front of Naples, with each crew earning a second place finish.

“That’s more like what we prepared for. The boys sailed awesomely today, the boat handling was epic,” said Chris Draper, the helmsman on Luna Rossa Piranha, who scored a 2-3 this afternoon. “We’re really pleased.”

Crowds lined the waterfront on yesterday´s sunny afternoon to watch the racing, with the finish line just meters from the shore.

Team Luna Rossa Pirhana

Team Luna Rossa Pirhana © ACEA 2012/ Photo Gilles Martin-Raget

“The people of Naples are really turning out in force to support us,” Barker said, as he and his crew saluted the crowd after finishing. “If this is what happens on Thursday, I can only imagine what we’ll see on the weekend.”

Before the fleet races, three matches were sailed, one of which pitted the two ORACLE Racing teams against each other. Yesterday, it was Bundock winning over Spithill, an upset of the form guide.

“We were up against the winner of the America’s Cup, so to walk away with his scalp was great,” skipper Darren Bundock said with enthusiasm. “It pushes us straight through to the semi finals, so we’re looking good in the match racing.”

Team Artemis Racing

Team Artemis Racing © ACEA 2012/ Photo Gilles Martin-Raget

Artemis Racing and Luna Rossa Piranha were the other match race winners and both will advance to the next stage of the competition; the losers in each match have been knocked out and assigned a final finishing position.

The teams also completed the ‘spare’ race on Thursday afternoon. This fleet race will only be scored if there is no racing on Sunday. In that case, the race will be broadcast on Sunday afternoon and reported on at that time.

The program for today starts with Match Racing followed by two Fleet Races. The start of the first match is scheduled for 1330 CEST.

Fleet Racing Championship – Provisional Standings Day Two (after four races):

1. Emirates Team New Zealand (Skipper: Dean Barker); 38 points

2. ORACLE Racing – Spithill (Skipper: James Spithill); 29 points

3. Luna Rossa – Piranha (Helmsman: Chris Draper); 27 points

4. Team Korea (Skipper: Nathan Outteridge); 27 points

5. Energy Team (Skipper: Yann Guichard); 25 points

6. Luna Rossa – Swordfish (Helmsman: Paul Campbell-James); 24 points

7. ORACLE Racing – Bundock (Skipper: Darren Bundock); 16 points

8. Artemis Racing (Skipper: Terry Hutchinson); 12 points

9. China Team (Skipper: Fred Le Peutrec); 4 points

Match Racing Championship – Provisional Results:

Q1 – Artemis Racing beat China Team

QF1 – ORACLE Racing Bundock beat ORACLE Racing Spithill

QF2 – Luna Rossa Piranha beat Team Korea

China Team finishes ninth in the Match Racing Championship; Artemis Racing advances to QF3.

ORACLE Racing Spithill finishes seventh in the Match Racing Championship; ORACLE Racing Bundock advances to SF2.

Team Korea finishes sixth in the Match Racing Championship; Luna Rossa Piranha advances to SF2.