Friday, March 14, 2008

World´s top ranked Women Match Racers compete in sydney

[Source: Lisa Ratcliff CYCA]
Starting Sunday 16 March, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia will host the Harken Women’s International Match Racing Regatta.

Ten women’s teams representing France, Denmark, Germany, UK, New Zealand and Australia will take to Sydney Harbour on board the CYCA’s Elliott 6 sports boats in the lead up event to the upcoming ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship (1-6 April).

The world’s top four ranked women match racers, Claire Leroy (FRA), Lotte Meldgaard Pederson (DEN), Katie Spithill (AUS) and Christelle Philippe (FRA) and the seventh ranked Silke Hahlbrock (GER) will headline the four-day event.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Team Wild Oats Chardonnay/Musto Finishes 3rd in NZ

Along with Katie Spithill´s Team Acuity we have another young group of Australian girls, lead by Nicky Souter battling away in the women’s match racing circuit. The girls are currently trying to qualify for the World Championship to be held in New Zealand April 1-6 and have just finished the New Zealand Women´s Match Racing Championship in 3rd place. Here is their report.

Team Wild Oats Chardonnay/Musto started their campaign to qualify for next month’s world in Auckland well by recording a third place at the recent New Zealand Women’s Match Racing Championships.

With several international teams competing this year, including World Number 1 and ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Claire Leroy, competition was certain to be fierce at the Grade 2 regatta. However, the event got off to a slow start with early delays thanks to a high pressure sitting over New Zealand. Day one got underway, but not as planned when we recorded our first loss to New Zealand’s Jan Dawson, the eventual regatta runner-up. After adjusting to the difficult tidal condition and light winds we recorded wins against Waugh, Osborne and Boyd, and a narrow loss to fellow Royal Prince Alfred member Katie Spithill. After an early conclusion to the days racing our first day tally was 3 wins and 2 losses, leaving us in equal 2nd place.

Slightly disappointed with our first day’s tally, we resolved to improve our results on the second day and secure a semi final berth. Once again racing was delayed and the race committee were forced to shorten the series to a single round robin. With only one round robin it was even more important for us to record good results. To this end we had four wins and an extremely close loss to Claire Leroy, which left us in 3rd position at the end of day two.

After successfully making it through to the semi finals, we were keen to race against our opponent Jan Dawson, however the light winds once again delayed the start of racing until 12:30pm. An inconsistent breeze built from the south and racing got underway. In the challenging conditions we recorded a decisive victory over Jan Dawson and were confident we would make it to the Final. Unfortunately, the wind did not settle and racing was called off at 4pm. Final positions were taken from the completed round robin results, leaving Claire Leroy the deserving New Zealand Women’s Match Racing Champion. Jan Dawson finished 2nd and Team Wild Oats Chardonnay/Musto finished 3rd. For their efforts, Jan Dawson (2nd) and Jess Smyth (4th) were rewarded with invitations to the ISAF World Women’s Match Racing Championships in April as New Zealand offered the top two New Zealand teams invites to the World Championship.

Happy with our result and the improvements made to our boat handling in the difficult Auckland conditions, we look forward to competing against some of the world’s best female match racers at the upcoming Harken International Women’s Match Racing Champs and, finally earning that elusive World Championship invite.

Nicky, Kylie, Lilly and I (Ray) would like to extend our sincerest thanks to our sponsors and supporters particularly Wild Oats Chardonnay, Musto, Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, and our parents and families, without their continued support our participation at these regattas would not be possible. If you would like any further information on how you too can support this team then please contact Nicky Souter at nickysouter(at)
by Rayshele Martin

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Harken Promotional Video

Here´s a video for all those Harken nuts out there! It is a promotional video with some great sailing footage and behind the scenes machine shop action. Very well edited and worth watching….enjoy!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Team Acuity Aims High for 2008

[Source: Team Acuity Media]
Team Acuity Women’s Match race Campaign is set to commence its toughest and hopefully most successful year in 2008.

Following a three month match race regatta break the girls hope to pick up where they left off. Semi finalists or finalists performances in every event since August, has seen Team Acuity’s World Ranking soar to #3.

This has been an enormous effort as all of their points earning events have occurred in the northern hemisphere.

Tomorrow the tables turn and the worlds best women match racers participate in three back to back events on our doorstep.

Starting with the Grade 2 New Zealand Women’s Match Racing Nationals, Auckland – 7th – 9th March.

Then the Grade 2 Harkens Women’s Match Race Regatta, Sydney – 15th – 19th March and the ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championships, Auckland – 1st – 6th April.

It will be a nice change to see our ranking competitors dealing with the logistical hassle and expense of world travel to compete. This is something we have learnt to deal with in getting to this point.

[Team Acuity Media] Whilst success at individual events is always nice, Team Acuity’s focus remains on achieving the #1 ranking which is based on 24 months of sustained performance.

Following the world championships, Team Acuity is planning an extensive international campaign with 14 events in 10 countries this year.

The recent announcement of Women’s Match Racing as a discipline for 2012 Olympic Games has provided us with a long term goal. We plan to start our campaign first if we want to finish first in five years time. Out team is expanding and we are talking with some exciting new athletes.

Team Acuity spent the Australian Summer cross training in dinghies, keel boats and offshore racing. Tomorrow the focus returns to match racing with a fresh and energetic resolve to finish what we have set out to do.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Australia dominates ISAF World Sailing Rankings

[source: ISAF] Australia holds on to its three world #1 spots (Men’s 470, Laser and Tornado) in the latest release of the ISAF World Sailing Rankings.

Men's One Person Dinghy – Laser

Tom SLINGSBY (AUS) remains well ahead in the latest Laser Rankings after successfully defending his title at the recent Laser Worlds in Terrigal. Paul GOODISON (GBR) stays put in the #2 position, with Andrew MURDOCH (NZL) moving up one place to #3, although neither skipper to mount as sustained challenge to SLINGSBY on his home waters.

Men's Two Person Dinghy – 470

Nathan WILMOT and Malcolm PAGE (AUS) remain top of the Men’s 470 Rankings, their sixth consecutive Ranking release in the world #1 spot. Just behind them the world top three is also unchanged, with Nicolas CHARBONNIER and Olivier BAUSSET (FRA) at #2 Gideon KLIGER and Udi GAL (ISR) at #3.

Multihull – Tornado

Newly crowned World Champions Darren BUNDOCK and Glenn ASHBY (AUS) stay top of the Tornado Rankings after a sparkling run of form down under which culminated in World Championship victory in last week. The Australian duo have simple been unbeatable since the start of the year, with their World Championship win their fifth consecutive victory at ISAF Graded events.

For BUNDOCK, victory in New Zealand gave him a sixth World Championship title and a second with ASHBY alongside him. After a poor first day at the Worlds in Takapuna, they fought back strongly to top the leaderboard by the time the final day of racing was abandoned because of heavy winds and rain.

Skiff - 49er

2008 World Champions Nathan OUTTERIDGE and Ben AUSTIN (AUS) are currently in 5th position and are reigning in the top 3.

Euro skiffs to host '09 JJ Gilitinan International Championship

Photo: Christophe Favreau

I have read an announcement from the 18ft Skiff European Class Association that the 2009 JJ Gilitinan International Championship will be held in Europe for the first time ever. The venue is to be Carnac, France which is on the Bay of Biscay. The Bay has a reputation for producing some very tough conditions and I think that if this does indeed go ahead, we will see some spectacular sailing.

But I am sure there are some old 18ft skiffies turning in their graves! And for the ones still around, well they´ll be throwing their hands in the air. How could the JJ, such an Australian & Sydney Harbour icon disappear overseas? I´d like to know who is responsible for this decision and hear their reasoning.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Inaugural Audi Sydney Offshore Newcastle Yacht Race Forecast

[source: CYCA] With less than four days to the start of the final event of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s offshore season for 2007-08, the Bureau of Meteorology has released its long range forecast for the inaugural Audi Sydney Offshore Newcastle Yacht Race.

The Bureau’s manager of weather services, Rob Webb, is anticipating a S/SE change will pass through Sydney during Friday, 7 March, creating the likelihood of a spinnaker start in Sydney Harbour at 6pm that evening in a 15-20 knot following breeze.

“This breeze should be maintained offshore through the night and 15-20 knot SE winds should see in the start of Saturday before an easing trend during the day.

“By late Friday a shower or two will have redeveloped in Sydney behind the change and these will extend north overnight. We're not expecting too much in the way of rainfall,” Webb added.

Moderate to fresh overnight offshore winds is exactly the sort of forecast that brings a wry smile to the faces of the TP52 crews. And there are two of them going head to head this Friday to determine who will be crowned CYCA Blue Water Pointscore (BWPS) Champion. Syd Fischer’s Ragamuffin is currently holding onto first place by three points while Graeme Wood’s Wot Yot is ready to apply plenty of heat as Wood vies for his first Championship title against Fischer’s eight.

“Normally heading north we try to stay between the beach and the current but if it’s blowing hard, it doesn’t really matter where you are,” said Fischer today when quizzed on his pre-race tactics.

Saturday’s easing trend is not good news for the smaller end of the Audi Sydney Offshore fleet as they will be retracing their path, having rounded the Crowdy Head laid mark, and will be pushing into a soft head wind as they head back south to Newcastle.

The Ocean Pointscore fleet, which will set sail from Sydney Harbour at 9am Saturday morning to join their Blue Water colleagues in Newcastle, look set for a leisurely ride north with the change well and truly through by Saturday. Based on the forecast, boats from boat fleets could be finishing in the Hunter River well into Saturday evening and possibly into Sunday morning.

Some movement in the Audi Sydney Offshore Newcastle Yacht Race list of entries has left a quality fleet of 18 to contest the last of the seven-race 2007-08 BWPS.

One of the withdrawals was Matt Allen’s Ichi Ban, which was reluctantly pulled from the starter’s list following a delay in the arrival of new mast fittings. The crew has run out of time to put the Jones 70’s rig back in and test the mast before heading offshore. The issue was compounded by the fact that most of Allen’s crew were in Dubai with him last week for the Maktoum Sailing Trophy, which they won sailing a Beneteau 44.7 also called Ichi Ban.

Based on the long range forecast, the first boat, likely to be ASM Brindabella, is expected to take line honours in the 213 nautical mile race early Saturday afternoon.

To follow the fleet during the Audi Sydney Offshore Newcastle Yacht Race go to Yacht Tracker. - Lisa Ratcliff

James Spithill’s Team Ceeref wins the Dubai RC 44 Cup match racing event

[Source: RC44 Class]
Despite local advice, Race Director Peter “Luigi” Regio sent the six strong RC 44 fleet out on the water for the second Round Robin of the Dubai RC 44 Cup. A wise choice as the teams could sail six matches, allowing the Committee to establish a final ranking based on 21 matches. “You won’t get anything if you don’t try”, he commented with a smile at the end of the day.
The winner of the event is Igor Lah’s Team Ceeref, with James Spithill at the helm. “It’s a great start to our season”, he commented. “Yesterday, we were not happy with our sailing. We made a lot of little mistakes and lost matches that we could have won. We all wanted to do better today and that’s what we did.”
Equally happy with his performance was Team Hiroshi – Città di Milano’s pro helmsman Sebastien Col: “It all goes down to a couple of meters at the right moment”, he explained. Yesterday, we could have won all our matches but we lost two of them because of tiny mistakes. We had a thorough de-brief in the evening and the difference was clear today. All the guys on board realised how important every single meter is. They were hiking better, our tacks were better, we focused well on what we were doing and the result is there: we had two excellent matches.
Russell Coutts’ Team ES Bankers completes the podium with victories against Cro-A-Sail and Team Sea Dubai this afternoon.
Four teams were sharing the lead after the first round robin. Team Sea Dubai, leader of the provisional ranking after day one, lost its advantage today, regressing to the fourth place. As for Team Aqua (Cameron Appleton), penalised by a collision yesterday and sailing below its usual level, it finishes fifth, ahead of Cro-A-Sail who only won one match.
The team owners will be back at the helm tomorrow for the fleet racing event. The weather forecast is good, with North-Westerly winds of up to 20 knots expected.

They said:

James Spithill, Team Ceeref: “We are all looking forward to starting the fleet racing event tomorrow. Igor Lah, the team’s owner, trained during two days and his progress is quite spectacular. I am very impressed by him: he has a good temperament; he is calm and has a good feeling. His results so far have been quite amazing considering that he had only sailed on power boats just a year ago…”

Sébastien Col, Team Hiroshi – Città di Milano: “The teams are very close. The fleet has definitely gained in consistency. Each mistake costs a lot but people throughout the fleet make less of them by the day. We are very pleased with our result, and particularly with our win against Russell’s team yesterday. It proves that we can win against any team and it is a good morale buster.”

Match-racing, final results

Note: half points have been awarded to teams who have competed against each other only once (in both round robins).

Ranking, number of victories/losses, points.

1) Team Ceeref (5/2) 3,5 points
2) Team Hiroshi (4/3) 3 points
3) Team ES Bankers Dubai (5/2) 3 points
4) Team Sea Dubay, (3/4) 2,5 points
5) Team Aqua (3/ 4 incl 1 penalty) 1 point
6) Cro-A-Sail (1/6) 1 point