Ran Brief

Ran Luxury Yacht Charter & Superyacht News

33rd Rolex Middle Sea Race, October 20 – 27, 2012

July 24, 2012

Running from October 20 to 27, Malta will once again host the challenging, enchanting as well as historic Rolex Middle Sea Race, supported by Rolex since 2002. One of Europe’s most popular and respected offshore races, the 33rd editon of the event provides a 606-nautical-mile racecourse – a rigorous and scenic anticlockwise loop around Sicily, including plenty of “corners” that represent changing and complex meteorological shifts.

72ft mini maxi yacht Ran Photo Credit: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

72ft mini maxi yacht Ran Photo Credit: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

Last year’s event proved to be an emotional affair and one that the passionate Maltese sailing community cherished. Lee Satariano’s J/122 sailing yacht Artie ended a near decade-long run without a local victory by claiming the overall prize on handicap, following a dogged performance. Although it retains a strong Maltese and Italian presence, which is natural given the geography of the course, the event always attracts strong crews from across the globe. Last year, half the 70-strong fleet was drawn from outside these two countries.

Although the start of the event is still some three months away, a competitive fleet is forecast. A heavyweight in Niklas Zennström’s 72-foot Mini Maxi yacht Rán 2 (GBR) – a two-time Rolex Fastnet Race and twice Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship winner – was one of the first yachts to confirm her participation. Another Maxi entry – the 78-ft Reichel/Pugh luxury yacht Idea, now owned by Darren Wright – twice won the Giraglia Rolex Cup on line honours in the early 2000s.

100ft maxi superyacht Esimit Europa 2 rounding Stromboli Photo Credit: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

100ft maxi superyacht Esimit Europa 2 rounding Stromboli Photo Credit: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

The current race record was set by George David’s 90-ft Maxi yacht Rambler (USA) in 2007 and has not been threatened since. Her winning time was 47 hours, 55 minutes and 3 seconds. Line honours for the last two years have been the privilege of Igor Simčič’s 100-ft Maxi superyacht Esimit Europa 2 (SLO), which recently smashed the race record at the Giraglia Rolex Cup. Last year, she finished some 14 hours outside Rambler’s time – a measure of how difficult the record is to beat.

The Rolex Middle Sea Race is organized by the Royal Malta Yacht Club, whose members were instrumental in the foundation of the event back in 1968, when their desire was to map a demanding and exciting racecourse. They fully succeeded – navigators and tacticians are drawn to the event each year precisely due to the unique obstacles posed.

Azzurra shares overall lead with Ran at the 52 Super Series

May 25, 2012

On the second day of the 52 Super Series racing, the Audi Azzurra Sailing Team finishes second and third and shares the overall leadership with sailing yacht Ran.

52 Super Series racing - the Audi Azzurra Sailing Team - Photo Jesus Renedo / Azzurra

52 Super Series racing - the Audi Azzurra Sailing Team - Photo Jesus Renedo / Azzurra

The 39th Trofeo Conde de Godó, first event of the newly- formed 52 Super Series, wasable to take advantage of good conditions in the second day, with a southwesterly breeze between 17 and 20 knots and slightly choppy seas. The day began with a minute of silence in memory of John Cook, owner of Cristabella and former president of the TP52 class, recently passed away. In memory of his contribution to the development of the class, the TP52 fleet will  carry the namesof Cook and Cristabella on the quarters of the boats until the Copa del Rey in Palma.

The day’s two races were spectacular and close: Sailing yacht Azzurra always staged a tough fight with Quantum at the start, but the Americans were never successful in their efforts to shut the door on the yacht flying the YCCS burgee.  The American team had the upper hand in the first race, taking the victory while Azzurra finished second after a nail-biting final run that saw the entire fleet storming at the finish line and crossing within seconds of each other.

The second race of the day was much tougher and yacht Ran prevailed over Quantum and Azzurra thanks to a perfect race. The Swedes are now tied on points with Azzurra but their victory in the last race puts them at the top of the leaderboard. Azzurra’s skipper Guillermo Parada said: “The final result will be known on Sunday, we are all very close together in terms of performance and results, so just a minor hiccup can prevent you from being at the top.”

This is Vasco Vascotto’s, strategist onboard sailing yacht Azzurra, take on the day: “Compared to yesterday we had a slightly more complicated day, with a a few errors equally spread on all areas. It seems evident that the key to this season will be the tight coverage by Quantum, but then it can happen that Ran, always on top form, manages, deservedly, to take advantage of that  situation”.

52 Super Series Trofeo de Vela Conde de Godo’ after 5 Races:

1 Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA)  9pts

2 Rán (SWE) 9pts,

3 Quantum Racing (USA)  12pts

4 Gladiator (GBR)  12pts

5 Audi Sailing Team by ALL4ONE 18pts

52 SUPER SERIES 2012

Barcelona, Trofeo Conde de Godò                         May 23rd – 27th

Porto Cervo, Audi Sardinia Cup                             June 11th – 17th

Palma de Majorca, Royal Cup                               July 11th – 14th

Palma de Majorca, Copa del Rey                          July 16th – 21st (IRC scoring, not part of the Series)

Valencia Cup                                                              September 18th – 22nd

AUDI AZZURRA SAILING TEAM

Guillermo Parada – Skipper and Helmsman

Vasco Vascotto – Strategist

Francesco Bruni – Tactician

Bruno Zirilli – Navigator

Paul Westlake – Mainsail

Mariano Caputo – Bowman

Juan Pablo Marcos -  Midbow

David Vera – Pitman

Maciel Cichetti – Trimmer

Mariano Parada – Trimmer

Simon Fry – Trimmer

Gabriel Marino – Grinder

Alejandro Colla – Grinder

Boat Captain: Pedro Rossi

Owner: Alberto Roemmers

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.

The sterling silver RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy for JV72 yacht Rán

February 24, 2012

At noon on the fourth day of the RORC Caribbean 600, Niklas Zennström’s JV72 sailing yacht Rán seemed to have confirmed the overall win, receiving the sterling silver RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy at tomorrow night’s Prizegiving ceremony. This morning the Oyster 48 yacht Scarlet Logic, co-skippered by Ross Applebey and Tim Thubron, was the only vessel which represented any sort of threat, but realistically the Oyster 48 Scarlet Logic will not cover the last 70 miles of the course by 17:40 local time.

Niklas Zennström's JV72 sailing yacht Rán

Niklas Zennström's JV72 sailing yacht Rán

All of the yachts racing in IRC Zero are now accounted for. The yacht Rán is among the class winners with George David’s RP90 yacht Rambler, in second place. The Swan 80 yacht Selene, skippered by Benjamin Davitt, finished the race this morning to secure third place in class and possibly lay claim to the Swan Caribbean Challenge Trophy.

By noon, none of the yachts racing in IRC One had finished. Colin Buffin’s Swan 62 yacht Uxorious IV is expected to finish the race in a few hours and looks like the strongest contender to win the class after time correction. Amanda Hartley’s Swan 56 yacht Clem is currently correcting out as the leader, but the beat back from Redonda to the finish may see them fall behind Uxorious IV. Jaime Torres’ First 40 yacht Smile and Wave rounded the North Sails mark at Barbuda shortly after noon today and are currently lying third in class.

The Oyster 48 yacht Scarlet Logic Photo by T. Wright/photoaction

The Oyster 48 yacht Scarlet Logic Photo by T. Wright/photoaction

Oyster 48 yacht Scarlet Logic, have put in a sensational performance and look almost certain to win their class. The racing school Sailing Logic chartered the yacht from Ross Applebey which is co-skippered by the highly experienced Tim Thubron. It is unlikely they know exactly how close they have come to winning the ultimate prize. However, if Scarlet Logic continue their fine form, the team could well be a contender for the prize of a week of luxurious accommodation, generously donated by race sponsor, The Inn at English Harbour, Antigua. Christian Reynolds’ Swan 51 Northern Child sailed by Team Merkle are currently second after time correction with Bernie Evan-Wong’s Mumm 36 yacht High Tension in third place.

There is a fantastic battle in the Class40 Division on the water between Christophe Coatnoan’s Partouche and Christof Petter’s Vaquita. However Vaquita will be receiving a penalty after the finish for not starting the race correctly. Both yachts are neck and neck heading for the solitary island of Redonda. Partouche skipper Coatnoan is sailing two-handed with fellow countryman Eric Calmard. Vaquita is fully crewed with six on board. The run to Redonda may well have favoured Partouche as with just two on board, the French yacht will have been significantly lighter than their rivals. However for the 40-mile beat to finish Vaquita will be able to stack the rail and have six crew hiking out, which will surely be an advantage.

The RORC Caribbean 600 attracts a wide variety of people from all over the world to the sparkling conditions in the warm breezy central Caribbean. In January, Brian Thompson became one of Britain’s most famous sailors, winning the Jules Verne Trophy aboard Banque Populaire V, skippered by Loick Peyron. Brian and his French team mates did a lap of the planet in an astonishing 45 days.

Brian is racing Ondeck’s Spirit of Juno for the RORC Caribbean 600 and sent this message from the Farr 65: “I remember passing by Antigua during the Jules Verne attempt and thinking how nice it would be to come and compete in the RORC Caribbean 600. Ondeck very kindly invited me out and here I am! All going well on board Spirit of Juno, really enjoying this great RORC race as we weave our way through the green Caribbean islands. Though this is an all-amateur team, we have had to work hard. The spinnaker was up and down like a yo-yo to get through the calms and fluky breezes. We saw a whale just 30 miles away on our approach to Guadeloupe, a great sight to go with the soaring frigate birds off St Martin and the beautiful and varied landscapes of each island. I am really enjoying seeing some land when sailing after virtually none in my last trip.”

“There is a great group of people on the boat, few of them had met before the start and we are fast forming a solid team. I am so pleased to see how hard everyone worked to press on through to the south side of Guadeloupe. Roll on Antigua.” Spirit of Juno are currently 10nm from the finish at 1400 local.

16 yachts had finished the RORC Caribbean 600 by 1200 on 23rd February 2012.

8 yachts have retired over the last couple of days:
Rayon Vert – steering failure
Blackbird – jib damage
Super Rose – damage to mainsail battens
Hassebas – damaged mainsail
Safara – broken main halyard
40 Degrees – furling gear broken
Lancelot – run out of time
Sleeper VIII – backstay pressure and engine gone

RORC CARIBBEAN 600: Superyacht Hetairos wins line honours

February 23, 2012

The 214ft superyacht Hetairos skippered by Vincent Fauquenoy, crossed the finish line in Antigua on Wednesday 22nd February 2012, completing the RORC Caribbean 600 in an elapsed time of 2 days 2 hours 39 minutes and 32 seconds to claim Line Honours. The monumental ketch Hetairos was well outside the record time set by sailing yacht Rambler 100 last year; however the international team aboard the Hetairos yacht were all smiles as they were greeted by well-wishers and a cacophony of horns from megayachts in Falmouth Harbour, Antigua.

RORC Caribbean 600, 2012. Sailing yacht Hetairos finishes on Wednesday 22nd February. Photo CreditTim Wright/Photoaction

RORC Caribbean 600, 2012. Sailing yacht Hetairos finishes on Wednesday 22nd February. Photo CreditTim Wright/Photoaction

Hetairos navigator, South African Marc Lagesse modestly admitted to being somewhat taken aback with their achievement:

“I have to say, I am genuinely surprised that we were the first yacht home. I honestly thought that we wouldn’t take Line Honours before the race. Hetairos and especially her sails are not optimized for racing on a course like the ’600. Also I thought that 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! For example, we went inshore behind Guadeloupe, to change a sail in flat water and by chance we got a big lift in there. Last year I did this race on a Class40 in a lot of wind, so I have experienced some big contrasts but I really enjoyed this race, an illustrious fleet with great people and a big atmosphere.”

RORC Caribbean 600, 2012. Hetairos' crew after finishing on Wednesday 22nd February - Tim Wright/Photoaction

RORC Caribbean 600, 2012. Hetairos' crew after finishing on Wednesday 22nd February - Tim Wright/Photoaction

Sailing yacht Hetairos were pushed hard all the way by George David’s 90ft maxi, 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.

RORC Caribbean 600, 2012. Yacht Rambler finishes on Wednesday 22nd February - Credit Tim Wright/Photoaction

RORC Caribbean 600, 2012. Yacht Rambler finishes on Wednesday 22nd February - Credit Tim Wright/Photoaction

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 on that course against Hetairos required a magnificent effort. On corrected time, it was never going be easy to win. Rambler 90 was launched in 2002 and hull design and stability has improved significantly since then so it was not just the size that we were up against. However, Mick (Harvey) is a great project manager and Norm (David Petersen) is a great Boat Captain and all the guys are just so much fun to sail with.”

Niklas Zennstrom’s JV72, sail yacht Rán was the next yacht home, less than an hour behind Rambler to claim the overall lead after time correction in the 2012 RORC Caribbean 600. Rán know that there can be no celebration yet, but Rán has set the bar very high indeed. As the remaining yachts battle it out on the course, Team Rán must wait until this fascinating race plays out. Several yachts are very much in contention to beat Rán’s corrected time.

S/Y 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. We have wanted to do this race since 2009. A few of the crew have done the race before, Jeremy Robinson on Leopard for example and he was able to give a lot of input before the race. But Ado (Stead) and Steve (Hayles) have not competed in the ’600 before, so it has been somewhat new territory for us, which is always exciting. It is a complex course, more like a series of coastal races. However, 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 was very appealing. Any 600-mile yacht race is hard but the fantastic conditions and beautifully weather makes 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.

RORC Caribbean 600, 2012. Trimaran Paradox approaching the finish on Wednesday 22nd February - Credit Tim Wright/Photoaction

RORC Caribbean 600, 2012. Trimaran Paradox approaching the finish on Wednesday 22nd February - Credit Tim Wright/Photoaction

Just after sunset, Olivier Vigoureux’s one-off trimaran Paradox came to rest after over two days of blasting around the Caribbean. The weather-gods did not smile on the team and Region Guadeloupe’s multihull record was never really in doubt, but the crew of Paradox should be delighted to claim the winner’s trophy for the Multihull Class this year. Hopefully their exploits will encourage a bigger fleet of multihulls next year, spearing through the Caribbean at break neck speed is surely every multihull sailor’s dream.

About the RORC CARIBBEAN 600 2012
•             39 yachts took the start
•             Start: The RORC Caribbean 600 started at 1100 (local) from Antigua on Monday February 20th 2012.
•            Prizegiving: Friday 24th February 2012, Antigua Yacht Club.
•             The 600nm course circumnavigates 11 Caribbean Islands starting from Fort Charlotte, English Harbour, Antigua and heads north as far as St Martin and south to Guadeloupe taking in Barbuda, Nevis, St Kitts, Saba and St Barth’s.

Past Results:
RORC CARIBBEAN 600 TROPHY – IRC OVERALL
2011 – George David, Rambler 100, JK 100 (USA)
2010 – Karl C L Kwok, Beau Geste, Farr 80 (HKG)
2009 – Adrian Lee, Lee Overlay Partners, Cookson 50 (IRL)

Records:
Multihull record holder – Region Guadeloupe in 40 hours 11 mins 5 secs (2009)
Monohull record held by Rambler 100 in 40 hours 20 mins 02 secs (2011)

RORC Caribbean 600 – Yacht Hetairos reaches Guadeloupe as first

February 22, 2012

Leading yachts in the RORC Caribbean 600 were moving towards Guadeloupe last night, rising to 1,467m (4,813 feet) above sea level. The island generates the most significant wind shadow on the 600-mile racecourse. First to reach the island at sunset was the 214ft Baltic ketch Hetairos, powering thought the crystal clear waters at 18knots.

Sailing Yacht Hetairos

Sailing Yacht Hetairos

George David’s RP90 superyacht Rambler were just over a mile behind; the crew fully hiked with the big gear up, blast reaching after their monumental competitor. With no moon and substantial cloud cover, the two yachts were sparring for line honours in the pitch-black dark of night as they passed the Soufrière volcano. At first Rambler followed the leaders line but after passing Les Saintes, Hetairos tacked offshore and Rambler did not follow. The defining moment came as Rambler lost speed at La Desirade. Hetairos escaped into the open air of the Atlantic and gained 16 miles on Rambler, a lead that Hetairos is unlikely to give up. Rambler and Hetairos are expected to finish the race early this afternoon.

Handicap race leader and third on the water, Niklas Zennstrom’s JV72 Rán made it through the wind shadow of Guadeloupe with some precision last night. The wind in this region is subject to massive changes in direction and Team Rán went through a myriad of moves and sail changes.

Super Maxi Sailing Yacht Rambler

Super Maxi Sailing Yacht Rambler

By midnight, Peter Harrison’s 115ft charter yacht Sojana and Gerhard Andlinger’s 124ft Perini Navi, charter yacht P2 arrived at Guadeloupe and came close to a complete standstill for over two hours, however P2 managed to keep going and pass Sojana:”P2 did well to read the conditions,” conceded Sojana crewman, John Burnie by satellite phone. “They stayed just a little further offshore but made a big gain by remaining offshore, which is traditionally not the best route. We have some catching up to do but the long reach to Barbuda should suit Sojana more than P2 and we expect to overtake her once again.”

Last night, Olivier Vigoureux’s 63ft trimaran, Paradox may well have claimed a speed record for the RORC Caribbean 600. Screaming past Montserrat like a bat out of hell, the French trimaran took on a ballistic surge for half an hour, hitting close to 30 knots of boat speed.

Charter Yacht Sojana

Charter Yacht Sojana

Sad news for two yachts came to light this morning, Christof Petter’s Austrian Class 40, Vaquita failed to start correctly and as a result the provisional leader of the Class40 division is Christopher Coatnoan’s Partouche, which is also the only Class40 racing Two-Handed.

The Class40s are taxiing for take off at the top of the course for the long reach down to Guadeloupe. These pocket rockets are capable of speeds well in excess of 20 knots and the 150-mile leg to the south will give them ideal conditions top let loose. Ron O’Hanley’s Cookson 50, Privateer also failed to start correctly which is gutting for the American team on Privateer as they have sailed a great race so far.

Perini Navi Charter Yacht P2

Perini Navi Charter Yacht P2

Amanda Hartley’s Swan 56, Clem has regained the lead on time correction in IRC One with Colin Buffin’s Swan 62, Uxorious IV lying second. Both Swans are now on a tight reach south. Jaime Torres’ First 40.7, Smile and Wave should come into contention; the Puerto Rican First 40.7 is set to round Tintamarre later this morning.

IRC Two has Ross Applebey’s Scarlet Logic leading after time correction, however Christian Reynolds’ Swan 51 Northern Child is second, having made a marvelous recovery after turning back at the start and giving up over half an hour to the opposition.

Northern Child is chartered to Merkle, the American IT company has five employees on board, expenses all paid for by Merkle after one crew member chose the RORC Caribbean 600 as their dream vacation after winning an employee prize. Third after time correction in IRC Two is the smallest yacht in the race, Bernie Evan-Wong’s Mumm 36, High Tension. Bernie and his team are south west of St.Martin preparing themselves for a beat to the top of the course.

Just after 2200 last night, Alain Delhumeau’s 50ft trimaran, Rayon Vert reported in with steering problems and retired safely into Falmouth Harbour. A carbon fibre steering rod gave up in dramatic fashion near Rodonda. Taking just four hours to sail 80 miles from St.Barths to Redonda, the multihull was virtually airborne exceeding 25 knots of boat speed. Alain and his crew were understandably disappointed but vowed to return next year.

Quantum Racing wins 2011 World 2011 Audi TP52 World Championships

October 10, 2011

With a second and first on the final day of racing at the Audi TP52 World Championship off the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda Ed Baird and the crew of sailing yacht Quantum Racing lifted their third world TP52 world title from four challenges.

Quantum Racing 08 10 2011, Audi TP52 World Championship © Nico Martinez WSM

Quantum Racing 08 10 2011, Audi TP52 World Championship © Nico Martinez WSM

They added to worlds wins in 2008 in Lanzarote and defended the title they won last year Valencia.  Emerging with a four points margin over Germany’s sailing yacht Container, the American flagged Quantum team complete the same ‘double’ as they did in 2008, winning both the Audi MedCup Circuit title as well as the World Championship.

Sailing yacht Quatum Racing wins Audi TP52 World Championship © Nico Martinez WSM

Sailing yacht Quatum Racing wins Audi TP52 World Championship © Nico Martinez WSM

With tactician Adrian Stead (GBR) combining with new navigator Francesco Mongelli (ITA) Quantum Racing were consistent across the very different wind conditions, from the very light sub 10kts conditions of the first three days of racing to a useful fourth in the strong early morning Mistral of Friday, to their final flourish in today’s moderate 7-11kts.

In paying tribute to team owner Doug De Vos, who was on hand to enjoy their success, Quantum Racing’s inspirational project manager Ed Reynolds, architect behind each of their wins, commented:

“Each of these world titles has been about a quintessential team performance, with two different teams of different characteristics and styles with no major, standout star names in either but unified in the level of results, and that is really down to Doug De Vos for putting the resources to give us good solid teams.”

Tactician Stead who called the shots successfully last season in Valencia, smiled:

“ It is splendid.”

” It is a great way to finish the season. We had a tense Audi MedCup, we have been really pleased with the way that we have sailed here against boats which have been in their conditions in the form of Gladiator and Paramount Park. Everyone has been pushing pretty hard.”

Udo Schuetz’ Container with skipper-helm Markus Wieser (GER) and his crew, augmented at this regatta by Kiwi mainsheet trimmer Don Cowie, came out on the final day with their strongest finishes of the late season.

Sailing yacht Container 08 10 2011, Audi TP52 World Championship © Nico MartinezWSM

Sailing yacht Container 08 10 2011, Audi TP52 World Championship © Nico MartinezWSM

Their 2,1,2 over the last three races of the season a secured them second place overall and shook off some of the disappointment of their lacklustre finishes in Cartagena and Barcelona.

Wieser attributed a large measure of their success to completely changing their rig set up under the advice of Cowie who won the Audi MedCup Circuit title twice as mainsheet trimmer with Emirates Team New Zealand. Wieser said:

“We are happy that it finished up like this, it was a long season and the last two regattas we hard with no boatspeed. But here we changed everything, a complete new set up with Don Cowie, and we had boat speed again and could be more aggressive in the way we sailed. We were so slow in Cartagena. But second here is good.”

Tony Langley’s British crew on Gladiator, surprise early leaders of these world championship, held on to third place overall with their third place in what  proved to be the final race, completing the podium by virtue of a better tie-break than the Spanish Paramount Park Murcia.

Langley commended the approach of their tactician, Melges 32 world title winning Chris Larson:

“What was great was the attitude he came with. He came to me and said ‘I really think we can win this’ and that mental attitude was really refreshing and we really set out to try and do that. So that was a big change really. Nacho (Postigo) stepped in and did a really nice job with us too.”

Three different boats lead the world championship over different days, but Quantum Racing were on solid form in the light-moderate conditions and today’s leftover sloppy seas. The breeze was shifting up to 30 degrees and there were big changes in wind pressure, between 5 and 11kts. Although there was breeze mid to later afternoon it proved too unsettled to run a third race, leaving Quantum Racing to enjoy their celebrations.

Container won the first race after starting close to the right hand committee boat end of the start line, showing good speed in the testing conditions Quantum Racing were unable to catch them with Audi Azzurra Sailing Team taking third.

In the second race Container led at the top windward mark with a beautiful layline call from the top left of the course by navigator Marc Lagesse (RSA) and tactician Hamish Pepper (NZL) until the leeward gate when Quantum Racing took the right hand gate mark and split to the right and gained 1 minute and 17 secs on Container on the second beat.

For Gladiator, third in the final race proved critical as it gave them the superior tie break over Ignacio Triay (ESP) and the Paramount Park Murcia (ESP) crew.  Langley wins the Owner-Driver trophy.

Sail Yacht Gladiator 08 10 2011, Audi TP52 World Championship © Nico MartinezWSM

Sail Yacht Gladiator 08 10 2011, Audi TP52 World Championship © Nico MartinezWSM

Audi TP52 World Championship, Yacht Club Costa Smerelda, Sardinia

FINAL RESULTS

1. Quantum Racing (USA) 1+3+5+1+4+2+1= 17 points

2. Container (GER) 2+7+3+4+2+1+2= 21 points

3. Gladiator (GBR) 3+1+4+2+6+5+3= 24 points

4. Paramount Park Murcia (ESP) 4+2+1+3+5+4+5= 24 points

5. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (IT) 5+4+7+6+1+3+7= 33 points

6. RÁN (SWE) 6+5+2+5+ 8 (DNF)+6+6= 38 points

7. Audi ALL4ONE (GER/FRA) 7+6+6+7+3+7+4= 40 points

Owner Driver trophy for Tony Langley, Gladiator.

Sailing yacht fleet 08 10 2011, Audi TP52 World Championship © Nico MartinezWSM

Sailing yacht fleet 08 10 2011, Audi TP52 World Championship © Nico MartinezWSM

Quotes:

Adrian Stead (GBR) tactician Quantum Racing (USA):

“It is splendid, a really good day to finish on. It was pretty tricky with the breeze moving between 20 to 30 degrees, puffy and we made the best out of it. Container got away in the first race a little and so we made sure we got a good second place. In the second race we split with Container at the gate and we managed to extend on the second beat which was great.

It is a great way to finish the season. We had a tense Audi MedCup, we have been really pleased with the way that we have sailed here against boats which really have been in their conditions in the form of Gladiator and Paramount Park. Everyone has been pushing pretty hard. Container have been lurking there all week, their OCS in race 2 there was no way back and that was costly, but that just goes to show how tight the fleet is.

If there had been a bit more breeze this week Audi Azzurra Sailing Team and Audi ALL4ONE would have been in the frame too.

I think it is great that we have come and defended. In a couple of the light races we were definitely on the back foot, especially race 3. We had to be strong after our fifth. It was a tense MedCup.We overachieved in Cascais, we missed a few tricks with our sails, with our communication which meant we narrowly lost in Marseille. The game moved on in Cagliari definitely.

And there was always the potential of not knowing if it would be a four or five race series or an eight or nine race series. There was pretty of looking out for each other, but for me the turning point of the regatta was the light air race in bomb alley, being able to beat Gladiator and Parmount Park Murica in that really light stuff really made the difference.”

Markus Wieser (GER) skipper-helm Container (GER):

“We are happy that it finished up like this, it was a long season and the last two regattas we hard with no boatspeed. But here we changed everything, a complete new set up with Don Cowie, and we had boat speed again and could be more aggressive in the way we sailed. We were so slow in Cartagena. But second here is good. We knew we could do better than we did in the past and had the better boat speed to do it. The only shock was the OCS which pushed us back but we finished the regattas with 2,1,2 and proved that Quantum Racing are beatable. With more preparation we can get there. Don will be back with us next year with some new sail designs planned, we will back fully motivated. Quantum have shown they are the team to beat.”

Tony Langley (GBR), owner-helm Gladiator (GBR):

“We are really pleased with third. If you had told me at the start of the week we would be third I would never have believed you. But here we are. We are pleased because we sailed well. We took some real steps backwards during the season at Palma Vela and in Barcelona. But we made some changes and I think they have really paid off. It really sets us up for next year.

Chris (Larson) really was good for us. What was great was the attitude he came with. He came to me and said ‘I really think we can win this’ and that mental attitude was really refreshing and we really set out to try and do that. So that was a big change really. Nacho (Postigo) stepped in and did a really nice job with us too.”

“I feel like we are just so far ahead of where we were at the beginning of the season at Palma Vela. So I’m looking forward to next season.”

Ed Reynolds (USA) project manager Quantum Racing (USA):

“What can I say. With fewer boats you would think it would get easier but it always gets more difficult. This really was not easy in the conditions, but I think the team sailed an awesome regatta. They did what they had to do, focusing most of all on being fast all the time. They were good at setting the modes in the different conditions and moving between them. Ado Stead sailed brilliantly with some good start and really following the plans we talked about.

Each of these world titles have been about a quintessential team performance, with two different teams of different characteristics and styles with no major, standout star names  in either but unified in the level of results, and that is really down to Doug De Vos for putting the resources to give us good solid teams.

Francesco Mongelli has been a fantastic addition to the team here. In fact both tall Francesco (coach De Angelis) and short Francesco (Mongelli, navigator) have been great here. Little Francesco added a whole different dynamic, visibly excited to be with the team and his energy was infectious, he was so proud to be with the team that it was infectious.”

2011 Audi TP52 World Championships – Day 4

October 10, 2011

Azzurra ride the Mistral to win Race 5 – Quantum Racing lead into final day.

When the Mistral whistled in to break the deadlock at the top of the Audi TP52 World Championship off Costa Smeralda early on the fourth day of racing it was the local team on Azzurra which won, but fourth place for Quantum Racing allows the current world champions to move one point clear in the title race which will be decided Saturday.

Sailing yacht Azzura, Audi TP52 World Championship © Nico Martinez WSM

Sailing yacht Azzura, Audi TP52 World Championship © Nico Martinez WSM

Audi Azzurra Sailing Team lead at the windward mark on the first round, with already more than 25kts of wind blowing and more threatening. The team which sails under the colours of the host club, the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, were first to break to the right on the upwind and were able to lead Container with Audi ALL4ONE and Quantum Racing overlapped for third and fourth.

Sailing yacht Azzura, 07 10 2011, Audi TP52 World Championship © Nico Martinez WSM

Sailing yacht Azzura, 07 10 2011, Audi TP52 World Championship © Nico Martinez WSM

A small problem on the kite drop on Azzurra at the end of the testing downwind allowed Container through to lead up the second beat. Paramount Park Murcia gybed early on the rollercoaster ride of a run and picked up a huge gust which they rode down the left side of the run and were challenging for second before they lost control. After suffering mainsail problems pre-start RAN started late and retired after the first run.

Azzurra’s tactician Vasco Vascotto managed to fight back to get control of the right in the very muscular conditions, with good speed and power in the strong conditions, and were just able to cross Container at the top of the second beat. With the wind gusting over 35kts the race team shortened the course at the top mark.

Yacht Container 07 10 2011, Audi TP52 World Championship © Nico MartinezWSM

Yacht Container 07 10 2011, Audi TP52 World Championship © Nico MartinezWSM

With Container second Audi ALL4ONE took third and Quantum Racing fourth, all four top boats finished within 20 seconds. Key for the Audi backed boats was their choice of smaller code 4 jibs.

In the overall standings going into the final day of racing Quantum Racing lead by one point ahead of Paramount Park Murcia on 15pts after they finished fifth today, with Gladiator now dropped to third on 16pts.

Yacht Gladiator 07 10 2011, Audi TP52 World Championship © Nico MartinezWSM

Yacht Gladiator 07 10 2011, Audi TP52 World Championship © Nico MartinezWSM

After starting at 0900hrs the fleet reached the dock by 1010hrs with no further racing for the day with the Mistral hitting nearly 40kts at times.

Audi TP52 World Championship Yacht Club Costa Smeralda

Results after 5 races:

1. Quantum Racing (USA) 1+3+5+1+4= 14 points

2. Paramount Park Murcia (ESP) 4+2+1+3+5= 15 points

3. Gladiator (GBR) 3+1+4+2+6= 16 points

4. Container (GER) 2+7+3+4+2= 18 points

5. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (IT) 5+4+7+6+1= 23 points

6. RÁN (SWE) 6+5+2+5+ 8 (DNF)= 26 points

7. Audi ALL4ONE (GER/FR) 7+6+6+7+3= 29 points

Sailing yacht fleet 07 10 2011, Audi TP52 World Championship © Nico MartinezWSM

Sailing yacht fleet 07 10 2011, Audi TP52 World Championship © Nico MartinezWSM

Quotes:

Ed Reynolds (USA) project manager Quantum Racing (USA):

“It really was a day for getting the boat around the course. The light airs boats really struggled and there were a couple of sail handling things out there. It is always worrisome in these conditions, can you outlast everybody. It sounds boring but to be average today and get the boat around the course was good. We would really have liked that one more run because we might have been able to get another point or two, but you can never, ever question Maria the race officer. In all the years I have done this if she says you can’t sail in this then you can’t sail in it.

Vasco Vascotto, (ITA) tactician Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA):

“It was important to win, for all the crew and the people here at the club, It was pretty windy really.

The retrieval system did not work first time and in these winds at these speeds if it does not work you are in trouble quickly. We had a good recovery – it was not an ideal manoeuvre but it worked and we got around the mark, staying close to Container and Jochen Schuemann on Audi ALL4ONE and that allowed us to get back on the second beat and go on to win.

We are very happy, the first three days were very, very light breeze and even if we sailed well and did not make many mistakes, the boat is not so fast to help us in the light winds.”

Hamish Pepper (NZL) tactician Container (GER):

“Azzurra sailed pretty well, they made only that one mistake at the bottom mark, we managed to get around them, but they were going quicker up that beat. It has been an interesting regatta, all very close with the top three and we are nipping at their heels and so the last day will be fun.”

Adrian Stead (GBR) tactician Quantum Racing (USA):

“It was a great decision to get out and race early and get a race in which puts less pressure on the last day. It is still very open and even Container with their second today are only four points behind us. For the light winds boats Gladiator and Paramount Park today’s conditions were more detrimental for them.

We nearly changed to the number 4 jib and might have been better for us, but the key thing for us was at the top mark first time up when we were not rolling the red boat (Audi ALL4ONE) at the windward mark and that meant they really controlled us down the run. But we were right in there to finish. As we approached the line we were bow to bow with Container, but there was just no room to do anything, it would have been pretty punchy in these conditions.”

2011 Audi TP52 World Championships – Day 3

October 06, 2011

Patience may have been a key virtue around the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda as the early lack of breeze again imposed a delay to the start of the third racing day at the Audi TP52 World Championships, but defending world champions Quantum Racing lost no time in establishing themselves at the front of Race 4 which they lead from start to finish.

06 10 2011, Audi TP52 World Championship © Nico Martinez/WSM

06 10 2011, Audi TP52 World Championship © Nico Martinez/WSM

Their win, with Tony Langleys Gladiator (GBR) taking second and Ignacio Triays Paramount Park Murcia team stealing a third, leaves all three locked on the same 10points aggregate. By virtue of their second race win in these very gentle conditions, consistently lighter than anything else experienced through the Audi MedCup season, Quantum Racing lead on tie-break, on track to defend the world title they won last year in Valencia, Spain.

Our goal was to get through these light airs days leading the regatta, three of us are tied and we win the tie breaker right now, so we are pretty much where we want to be right now. Confirmed Quantum Racings project manager Ed Reynolds (USA), Hopefully the averages kind of work out for us. That is our focus.

Again there was only one race sailed today. The race committee made a perfect call to take the race area to the north in the Secca dei Tre Monti, Bomb Alley’s confines of the Arzachena Gulf, for the first time this regatta and were rewarded with the only race-able breeze to be found.

Even is, it was something of a repetition of Wednesday’s exacting race – reading and using the puffs and lanes of pressure better.

Quantum Racing lead by the first windward mark ahead of Container (GER), Gladiator and RAN (SWE).

After a lacklustre start Langley’s Gladiator showed good speed in the light, rising from sixth early on the first beat to round the top mark third.

After the fleet all gybed set at the WW1 mark, Container – the German flagged team -  chose to gybe back earlier on the run and lost wind pressure compared to Gladiator.

And Paramount Park Murcia, with Ross MacDonald (CAN) calling tactics, improved to a third with a good final run, pipping Container on the final approach to the finish, so keeping them in the three way tie.

After three days of benign, fluky breezes the muscular Mistral is expected for Friday with winds over 30 knots anticipated, perhaps dropping to a difficult 10-15kts with an awkward residual choppy sea for Saturday’s final day of racing.

06 10 2011, Audi TP52 World Championship © Nico Martinez/WSM

06 10 2011, Audi TP52 World Championship © Nico Martinez/WSM

Audi TP52 World Championship

Yacht Club Costa Smeralda

Results after 4 races

1. Quantum Racing (USA) 1+3+5+1= 10 points

2. Gladiator (GBR) 3+1+4+2= 10 points

3. Paramount Park Murcia (ESP) 4+2+1+3= 10 points

4. Container (GER) 2+7+3+4= 16 points

5. RÁN (SWE) 6+5+2+5= 18 points

6. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (IT) 5+4+7+6= 22 points

7. Audi ALL4ONE (GER/FR) 7+6+6+7= 26 points

06 10 2011, Audi TP52 World Championship © Nico Martinez/WSM

06 10 2011, Audi TP52 World Championship © Nico Martinez/WSM

Adrian Stead (GBR) tactician Quantum Racing (USA):

It was very tricky out there today. There weas only two and a half hours of breeze in the whole Porto Cervo region today and we were racing up in Bomb Alley where it is quite narrow with the mountain on one side and the island on the other. We had quite a good start and it felt like the right would work. As soon as Gladiator tacked to the right we took the opportunity to get round her. The boat was going pretty well but there were certainly plenty of potholes out there to watch, as light as four knots at times and as much as seven knots. The finishing times at the end the front four boats were all within 30 seconds of each other, but the back markers were some minutes behind and so that shows just how extreme it was racing out there today.

We have four races in light winds so far with big winds tomorrow- we might race, we might not, but Saturday is looking very sailable, but with a very lumpy, leftover sea. There is a lot more of this regatta left and if we got out there tomorrow, we would be really pleased.

I think we will have a good two to three more races at this regatta, maybe even three races on Saturday so we might only be half way through this regatta. Gladiator and Paramount Park are both grandfathered boats with slightly smaller rudders and they are going well downwind, and upwind in fact, so we have been happy with how we have gone. Great work today, very pleased with the win.

Chris Larson (USA) tactician Gladiator (GBR):

I gave the start up a little bit, trying to be a little too fancy with too many downspeed manoeuvres, and that cost us so we had to bale out get right by taking a few sterns, it was how to get there. We found a little lane to get us there and the boat is quick in this stuff and that helped us out. Our speed helps, we were too leeward of a couple of boats and by the time we got to the windward mark it started evening out. We hit a perfect layline, we tacked 15 degrees short of layline and got a shift, 15 degrees with a puff and that got us around, it was fantastic. Nacho (Postigo, navigator) and Tony (Langley, owner-helm) both did a great job and that helped us out from my bad start.

It will be a different day tomorrow, we dont have to win the race we just need to make sure we have a decent finish.

06 10 2011, Audi TP52 World Championship © Nico Martinez/WSM

06 10 2011, Audi TP52 World Championship © Nico Martinez/WSM

Ross MacDonald (CAN) tactician Paramount Park Murcia (ESP):

It was a tricky day out there with the geographical influences in the bay, and so you try not to get caught out too much there. We got off to not a great start, kind of playing second row a bit. It was quite interesting but really as everyone can see the boat goes quite well in these light conditions, you just have to hang in there. It is very close, the next few days will be interesting for sure.

Ed Reynolds (USA) project manager Quantum Racing (USA):

We think we are more of a moderate airs boat and so I think that over the piece we dont suffer as much in the breeze as the light airs boats do and in the light airs as the breeze boats do, so it is a little bit nerve racking, but we will not change anything specific. We have changed our mode a little bit for the wavy conditions which showed a great dividend in Barcelona, we are interested in that. But I think if the big breeze comes in then the Audi boats Audi Azzurra Sailing Team and Audi ALL4ONE are going to be pretty quick. If you had to bet I dont think we will sail tomorrow. Everything we have heard suggests that it will come in early and be mid to upper 30kts, all day. Our weather reports change every hour, but Saturday looks 10-16kts, lumpy. We are full on, coming out tomorrow expecting to sail.

For us one of things we have really focused on here is how do we go relative to the rest of the fleet, who do we need to focus on and cover. In the light stuff there are two boats definitely faster and in the heavier air there are two boats definitely fast. At either ends of the winds spectrum it does not change our strategy a lot. But in the medium airs we feel really strong. Our goal was to get through these light air days leading the regatta, three of us are tied and we win the tie breaker right now, so we are pretty much where we want to be right now. Hopefully the averages kind of work out for us. That is our focus.