Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez, tall masts and passionate designers

[source: Event Media]

Les Voiles de Saint Tropez is known for bringing together the most beautiful of both modern and classic racing boats - making a tour around the docks like looking into a magnificent show window of both the latest technology and architectural genius of centuries past. One looks from Esense to Senso One, which showcase all details of the modern, to the docks filled with the astounding cathedrals of sails belonging to Créole, Altair, Lulworth and Thendara. It is almost impossible to focus on a single yacht with all of the beauties that crowd the dock and transport this old fishing port back to historic times. Brought together these yachts arouse a curiosity and desire to learn more about the passionate men who were behind the drawing pen of these jewels. As of Tuesday, the Classic Yachts over 16 meters will join in the races to try their chances at taking home the Rolex Trophy.

Since Monday night the port of Saint-Tropez has been filled to capacity as the Yacht Club de France's Autumn Cup came to a close and the yachts made their way here for the 2008 Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez. The division winners of the Autumn Cup are Shamrock V (Spirit of Tradition), Kookabura (12 MJI), Moonbeam IV (Classic Yachts), Nan of Fife (Gaffs) and Rowdy (Marconis).

The journey from Cannes to Saint-Tropez finished with the classic yachts berthed alongside the participating modern yachts, finally completing the collection of exceptional masts, that are almost all over 40 metres high, for this year's edition of Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez. Last night was the official Welcome Cocktail and all of the teams came together in the race village to inaugurate the opening of the social programme that is an essential part of this world-renowned regatta marking the end of the Mediterranean sailing season. Read full article

Monday's racing just off St-Tropez
Photo by: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

Les voiles, les voiles, Les Voiles de St-Tropez
Photo by: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

ATALANTA III, Les Voiles de St-Tropez
Photo by: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

Ambiance at the docks
Photo by: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

Sunday, September 28, 2008

MRT One Win Away From Semi Finals at the Portugal Match Cup

Unfortunately for most involved, today’s wind was not cooperating. Only four matches were completed in very fickle winds and strong tide. Despite not racing today, our situation still remains the same, with tomorrow morning’s race, and the last race of the round robin against Paolo Cian, being a must win to qualify for the semi finals.
A special thanks to Line7, Harken and the Royal Perth Yacht Club for their support.
Kinley Fowler

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Troia Portugal Match Cup Day Three

The laziest day so far saw the wind fill in late in the afternoon, and the race committee pushed hard to get through as many flights as possible in order to keep the full format. However only 4 flights were completed, and with 5 races left, the chance of holding the quarterfinals is slimming rapidly. We are sitting in 4th now after losing both matches today, and with one race left, things are getting tight to hold on to the top 4 spot.
We had two tough matches against Sebastian Col and Magnus Holmburg, and in the tricky tidal conditions, it wasn’t easy to jump into it after the whole day off. However, we were sailing well and if it weren’t for two unforced penalties upon entering we could have been singing a different tune. We are still very confident in our speed and tactics at this event, and all we need to do is keep sailing how we have been sailing and we will be able to post a good result. With 7 teams still in contention for the top 4 spots, tomorrow’s racing is going to be tight.
A special thanks to Line7, Harken and the Royal Perth Yacht Club for their support.
Kinley Fowler

Friday, September 26, 2008

Hot fleet for 2009 Docklands Invitational

[Skandia Geelong Week media]
Competition for the 2009 Skandia Docklands Invitational will be fierce as some of Australia’s best performed IRC yachts prepare to contest the invitation only series.

“We are thrilled to have such a strong fleet contest the Skandia Docklands Invitational. The Victorian public will see some of Australia’s fastest yachts compete on Port Phillip in what is a great warm up to the Audi IRC Australian Championship,” says Regatta Chairman John Kint.

In a first, six states will be represented at the event in January, the vast majority of which will be competing in the Rolex Sydney Hobart. The impressive fleet, includes: Andrew Short Marine (NSW), Black Jack (QLD), Loki III (NSW), Limit (WA), Living Doll II (VIC), Georgia (VIC), Goldfinger (VIC), Quest (NSW), Cougar II (VIC), Shortwave (NSW), Shogun (VIC), Audi Centre Melbourne (VIC), Optimus Prime (WA), Secret Men’s Business III (SA), Extasea (VIC), Dekadence (VIC), XLR8 (VIC), Chutzpah (VIC), and Voodoo Chile (TAS).

Royal Geelong Yacht Club has left the final position vacant in the fleet. "A number of New Zealand owners are still planning their 2009 sailing programs and we want to ensure there is a place left should they wish to compete with Australia's best," Kint added.

The yachts will gather at Waterfront City over two days for a five race series on the waters of Port Phillip on Wednesday 21st and Thursday 22nd January, immediately prior to Skandia Geelong Week, Australia’s largest sailing regatta.

The response has been overwhelming with many owners expressing genuine excitement to be selected. In 2008 the Docklands Invitational trophy was won by Beau Geste, a Hong Kong yacht with a talented crew of America’s Cup sailors. Missing out on next year’s event, owner Karl Kwok said, "Unfortunately we will not be defending our title in 2009. We are currently building a new yacht and we hope to be invited back in 2010. The Invitational is a unique concept that will continue to build momentum and to receive an invitation is a privilege”.

Skandia Docklands Invitational will be held in conjunction with the King of the Docklands which made a successful debut this year and was won by the Australian Olympic Sailing Team. In 2009, the knock out competition will be developed further with an exciting new component to be revealed in the coming weeks.

Skandia Docklands Invitational is organised by the Royal Geelong Yacht Club as part of an expanded Skandia Geelong Week program. The event is proudly supported by Skandia, the Victorian State Government, City of Melbourne and Fairfax Media.
Skandia Docklands Invitational

Troia Portugal Match Cup Day Two

The day’s racing started leisurely, with the westerly seabreeze filling in about midday to a perfect 8-10 knots which lasted until late in the evening, allowing the race committee to complete 7 more flights of the round robin. We dropped only one race, putting us on 7 wins and 2 losses, just one point off Matthiu Richard in first.

We only lost one race against Swedish Sailor of the year Bjorn Hansen in an intensive battle which saw 2 lead changes and 2 penalties. Unfortunately, both penalties were against us, firstly for hitting the top mark, and the second for gibing in Hansen’s water on the final run. We managed to bounce back however, and defeat the UK’s Nick Cherry as the wind strengthened to a shifty 15 knots as the sun began to sink.

We have three more races left of the round robin and are quite eager to add a few more wins to the tally as the possibility of scrapping the quarterfinals is looming. At the moment we are sitting in 2nd, however we have done more races than most, so anything could happen.

A Special thanks to Line7, Harken and the Royal Perth Yacht Club for their support.

Kinley Fowler

Thursday, September 25, 2008

'Lou Abrahams onboard Challenge' Steb Fisher ©Photo
[source: Rowan Simpson - Class Secretary]
Seven Sydney 38’s participated in the Morris Finance Short Course Regatta hosted by Royal Geelong Yacht Club over the weekend of the 20th and 21st September. The event is the traditional season opener for the Victorian fleet and is designed to provide owners and their crews the opportunity to have coaching, close short course racing and enjoy some social time together.

Unfortunately, a 30 knot south westerly prevented on water activity on Saturday but the time was well spent by conducting a clinic utilizing a panel of sailmakers headed by North Sails, Alby Pratt. Alby, a past National Champion sailing on 'Cydon', had travelled from Sydney specifically to assist crews set up their rigs and to pass on his Sydney 38 knowledge. He was ably assisted by the local Quantum sailmaker, Tony Bull and Sam Haines from Ulman sails.

Alby detailed the finer points of setting up a Sydney 38 rig using the North Sails tuning guide and fielded questions from the floor regarding trimming. Tony spoke about heavy weather spinnaker trim whilst Sam, who sailed with Bruce Taylor on the Sydney 38 'Chutzpah’ for many years, emphasized the importance of practice.

In the afternoon, the Race Officer, Greg Sinclair, provided insight into Race Management and Geoff Searle, a National Judge, conducted a rules session.

An owner’s meeting reappointed Lou Abrahams as their Victorian Representative on the Class Executive. An enjoyable spit roast completed the day’s activities.

On Sunday the weather had moderated to 16 knots, gusting to 23 knots. With the flat water on Corio Bay, the conditions were ideal for racing. At 0930 hours, the fleet was sent on their way on a two lap windward leeward course. 'Challenge' (Lou Abrahams), with Scotty Walton on the helm and former World OK champion Peter Milne trimming the main, started well to led from start to finish with 'Cinquante' (Ian Murray) second and 'Scarlett Runner' (Robert Date) third. After winning the next two races 'Challenge' was the boat to beat with 'Cinquante' also doing well. However, an OCS in race 4, put the pressure on 'Challenge' which did well to recover to finish 3rd. The winner of this race and the big improver of the day was 'Sierra Chainsaw' (Andrew and Mel Mollison) which held out the consistent 'Cinquante'. The fifth and final race of the day was again won by 'Sierra Chainsaw' with 'Challenge' holding out 'Cinquante' to finish second and third respectively.

The highlight of the series was the close racing throughout the fleet. 'Clockwork Orange' (Gordon Mather & Frank McDermott) racing for the first time showing good form at times whilst 'Audacious' (Greg Clinnick & Paul Holden) also improved their position in the results.

Overall results without drops were as follows:-

1st 'Challenge' Lou Abrahams 8 points
2nd 'Sierra Chainsaw' Andrew and Mel Mollison 12 points (Count back)
3rd ' Cinquante' Ian Murray 12 points
4th 'Scarlett Runner' Robert Date' 19 points
5th ' Audacious' Greg Clinnick & Paul Holden 27 points
6th ' 38 Degrees South' John Chatham 31 points
7th 'Clockwork Orange' Gordon Mather & Frank McDermott 33 points

Troia Portugal Match Cup

You couldn’t ask for better conditions than those delivered to us on the first day of racing here in Portugal. Flat waters and 12 knots of breeze settled in just after midday and stayed through until late in the evening. We finished the day on 4 wins from 5 races, and are looking to be in a fairly comfortable position for the Quarter Finals.

We started the day paired up against current world number 1 Matthiu Richard, and after being beaten off the line, we were forced to follow on his tail around the race track. We then managed to step up our game, and go on to do to our opponents what Richard had done to us, and won the next four races consecutively.

After doing four regattas in a row, our team is starting to click, and it couldn’t come at a better time. The 2008 World Tour is coming to a close, with only one more event left before the final in Malaysia at the Monsoon Cup. We had a really good feeling on the boat today, and hopefully we can continue the momentum on to get some much needed Tour points to finish the season off on a high.

A special thanks to Line7, Harken and the Royal Perth Yacht Club for their support.

Kinley Fowler
Mirsky Racing Team

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Aussie Golden Girls Nominated for ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year

[source: Regatta News]

Congratulations to Elise RECHICHI & Tessa PARKINSON who have been nominated for the Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award (Female).

The 2008 nominees are:

Sarah AYTON, Sarah WEBB & Pippa WILSON (GBR)
Claire LEROY (FRA)
Alessandra SENSINI (ITA)

Francis JOYON (FRA)
Vincenzo ONORATO (ITA)


Well known faces from the ISAF Youth Worlds, this young team showed their intent at the 2008 470 World Championships in Melbourne, Australia, where they picked up their first bronze medal of the year. Hitting the European graded event circuit, they posted some mixed results before once again making the results count where it mattered with another bronze at the ISAF Grade C1 European Championships in Italy.

But it wasn't bronze that this team was after when they got to Qingdao for the Olympic Sailing Competition. Gold was the colour they dreamed of and their win was convincing. One of just four crews who won a gold medal with no previous Olympic experience, RECHICHI and PARKINSON went into their Medal Race with an 18 point lead over their nearest rivals, the three time World Champions from the Netherlands.

They sailed a tactical Medal Race to ensure the Dutch team could not steal their gold medal away and crossed the finish line to secure an Australian 470 double for coach Victor KOVALENKO. At just 21 years old RECHICHI and PARKINSON were the youngest gold medallists at the Olympic Sailing Competition and look set for a bright future.

24 - Sail Melbourne International Regatta, Melbourne, AUS - ISAF Grade 1 - Jan 2008
3 - 470 World Championships, Melbourne, AUS - ISAF Grade W - Jan 2008
15 - Semaine Olympique Française, Hyères, FRA - ISAF Grade 1 - Apr 2008
9 - Delta Lloyd Regatta, Medemblik, NED - ISAF Grade 1 - May 2008
3 - 470 European Championships, Riva del Garda, ITA - ISAF Grade C1 - Jun 2008
1 - 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition, Qingdao, CHN - ISAF Grade W - Aug 2008

ISAF World Sailing Rankings position at the end of the nomination period (3 September 2008) - # 6

International Sailing Federation (ISAF)

European 18 footers : Pindar keeps the european title

Report by Andy Richards, pictures by Christophe Favreau

Pindar won the Italian Grand Prix and the whole title

The final round of the European 18ft Skiff Grand Prix rocked up to Lake Como, and although a smaller fleet than usual, the skiff teams were treated to outstanding conditions. Three days of competition were held resulting in a closely fought competition at the front of the fleet between Pindar (GBR) and GP Covers (DEN), who also were fighting for podium positions for the overall 2008 Grand Prix.

Day 1 kicked in with a steady 12-15 knot breeze once the cloud had lifted and the sun left to do its thermal thing. GP Covers showed the fleet a clean pair of heels in the first two races in the stronger breeze while Pindar took up the reigns for the next two races. Elcotec (ITA) kept the local supporters happy with some consistent results while the ever improving Liberty Sailing Team from Hungary popped in some worthwhile results in the top three.

Day 2 looked like would be repeat of the first day and big rigs all round, however the sun had been around all morning to kick up a stiff breeze from the prevailing South. This built steadily during the day, and with all the teams caught out with their No1 rigs in an average of 20knots, gusting up to 25knots, it proved to be a day of survival with only one race run by the time all the pitchpole capsizes were recovered! Not one team failed to stick their noses in so it was a case of whoever did the least capsizes who took the points. Elcotec (ITA) showed that their practice in the Como conditions paid off by taking the single bullet of the day, while PICA (GBR) showed off their heavy air boathandling to just get in in front of Pindar.

The final day dawned a bit misty, and this lulled the teams again to go out in their No1 rigs. The breeze built during the day, however this time the race officer, who did a great job all weekend, managed to fire off three races in quick succession in conditions that will go down as some of the best ever on an Italian lake. GP Covers put pressure on Pindar's overall lead from the start with a race win, with Liberty Sailing and Wet Protect (GER) taking 2nd and 3rd. In the next race Pindar found their big air form again (after a vicious pitchpole in the first race) taking the gun from GP Covers and so it was all down to the last race. By this time the breeze had built to a steady 20-22 knots, proving to be a handful for all the teams. FIRAT however had popped ashore to change down to their No2 rig during race 2, and then through great boathandling (ie keeping it upright!) managed to steal the show to the delight of the partisan crowds. Pindar sneaked into second place while GP Covers struggled to finish in 5th place.

So overall Pindar took the event and with it the overall European Grand Prix for 2008. Andy Richards and his team of Andrew Fairley and brother Dave Richards were delighted with the win and paid tribute to the fantastic organisations and great conditions over the circuit this year.

Final Round Results (8 races, 1 discard)
1. Pindar (GBR) 9pts
2. GP Covers (DEN) 12pts
3. Elcotec (ITA) 19pts
4. PICA (GBR) 19pts
5. Liberty Sailing Team (Hun) 31pts
6. Wet Protect (GER) 32pts
7. FIRAT (ITA) 36pts
8. Space Models (GER) 52pts
9. 4US (SUI) 62 pts
10. Marin (SUI) 66pts

Photo credit Christophe Favreau

Sunday, September 21, 2008

ACI Match Cup Day Four

The Bura wind kicked in as strong as promised, but the race committee still managed to fit in the full format to complete the event. We had an intense finals series, but our French competitors outshone us, and we ended the regatta in 4th place. Congratulations to Paolo Cian and his team for taking out the title for the second year running.

After qualifying for the semi finals in 2nd place, it was a case of the young gun against the old fox as we faced up against French match racing veteran Bertrand Pace, and the hunt was on. Despite winning the first race and showing promise in the next two heated matches, Pace was cunning enough and managed to take out the series 2-1, putting us up against Sebastian Col in the petit final.

Once again, we won the first race convincingly, and the next two matches saw a number of lead changes and penalties. However the feisty Frenchman managed to get the better of the tricky conditions and won the last race to get 3rd place behind Pace and Paolo Cian.

This regatta has been an excellent warm up for the upcoming World Tour event in Troia, Portugal which is the third last Tour event of this year. This is the second time we have sailed as a full team and hopefully we will be able to go a few better next week and climb into the top 3 on the leader board.

A special thanks to Line7, Harken and the Royal Perth Yacht Club for their support.

Kinley Fowler
Mirsky Racing Team

Audi MedCup - A full Quantum Quota: Quantum Racing win Portugal Trophy.

Crew of "QUANTUM RACING" (USA) , celebrating overall victory of Audi MedCup 2008.© Th.Martinez/AUDI MEDCUP. Portugal, Portimão. 20/09/08.

[Source: Event Media]
Terry Hutchinson and the crew of Quantum Racing today added the Portugal Trophy to the regatta wins in Mallorca and Sardinia which contributed to their overall victory in the Audi MedCup Circuit 2008.

After winning the Audi MedCup Circuit 2008 title with a day to spare, Quantum Racing added victory in the Trophy of Portugal to cap their triumphant five months long season over which they won three of the six Audi MedCup Circuit regattas.

Steered by skipper Terry Hutchinson (USA), who started putting the winning campaign together just less than one year ago and has raced on the circuit over each of the three previous years, Quantum Racing won in Cagliari on Sardinia in Italy, at the Breitling Regatta on Mallorca, Spain and now in Portimao on Portugal’s Algarve coast.

As well as their three regatta wins Quantum Racing finished third at the first regatta of the season in Alicante. Fifth in Marseille in June was acall to raise their game, according to Hutchinson, and their fourth place last month in Cartagena, Murcia, Spain was enough to keep them firmly on course for the championship title they clinched yesterday.

A first and a fourth placed today for Quantum Racing pushed them to the top of the overall Portugal Trophy standings, winning by four points from Matador (ARG) who were let down by a disappointing 11th in the first race.
Read Full Story

Outright Speed Sailing World Record for Rob Douglas: 49.84 knots

www.Sail-Search.com: www.Sail-Search.com: With a run of 49.84 knots, American kitesurfer Rob Douglas beat the outright World Speed Sailing Record over 500 metres today at the speed strip at Luderitz in Namibia. Frenchman Sebastien Cattelan reached 49,59 knots, also a great performance, to record the second fastest speed of all time. The "Luderitz Speed Challenge" has kicked off with a set of impressive performances, with the riders still having 25 days left to better the mythical 50 knots barrier. And why not?

The "Luderitz Speed Challenge" reached escape velocity today in Namibia as Rob Douglas smashed the record of Antoine Albeau (49.09 knots) with a run timed at 49.84 knots. Rob Douglas, 37, a former windsurfer who started kitesurfing in June, blew it away in Namibia. He had already beaten the previous US record earlier this week.

Sebastian Cattelan, alias "Catman", was not far off the pace. The Toulouse-born Frenchman, living in South Africa and an organiser of the event with Fred Dasse, clocked a run at 49.59 knots. He was initially credited with an unratified speed of 50.10 knots, but this speed was revised down by the WSSRC Commissioner after careful examination of timing data.

These two kitesurfers are definitely on the road towards the 50 knot challenge!

A record never falls alone, and several other great performances were established during today. Sjoukje Bredenkamp (South Africa) improved her existing world record with a speed of 45.20 knots: a new Women’s Outright World Record over 500 metres. The young South African has set the bar very high. Hennie Bredenkamp takes the African outright record with 47.59 knots, while David Williams and Jurgen Geiger respectively clocked at 43.32 and 44.90 knots to take the British Kitesurf record and the Outright Namibian record.

Performances of the day:
Day 4 – 19 Sept (WSSRC ratified)
Rob Douglas 49.84
Sebastian Cattelan 49.59
Alex Caizergues 48.69
Sjoukje Bredenkamp 45.20 (new women’s record)
Hennie Bredenkamp 47.59 (new Africa record)
David Williams 43.32 (new UK kite record)
Jurgen Geiger 44.90 (new Namibia record)

Lüderitz Speed Challenge 2008

Saturday, September 20, 2008

ACI Match Cup Day Three

Once again the competitors of the ACI Match Race Cup were left becalmed, only this time the race committee just managed to get away one flight in the fickle winds. We managed to win our race against local Frane Barbieri, taking our total score to 11 wins and 2 losses, putting us in 2nd place just behind Sebastian Col.

Tomorrow is forecast for 30+ knots, and with 5 more flights left in the round robin as well as a full final series, the race committee has a lot of work to do in order to get through the full format. Although we are sitting in 2nd place, we are very eager to improve our result as the season is coming to a close, so hopefully the Bura won’t come in so strong.

In the lengthy time ashore today, we were able to check the new ISAF rankings out yesterday and were greeted with great news, as we jumped from 7th to 4th place. Our win in France and the 4th place at the Danish Open added some extra points to our already strengthening list of achievements. Now with the top 3 teams of Paolo Cian, Ian Williams and world number one Matthiu Richard so close in reach, every race is becoming more and more of a fight for the top spot.

A special thanks to Line7, Harken and the Royal Perth Yacht Club for their support.

Kinley Fowler
Mirsky Racing Team


Audi MedCup - Job Done. Quantum Won.

Quantum in Race 6 of the Audi MedCup in Portimão© Th.Martinez/AUDI MEDCUP. Portugal, Portimão. 19/09/08. Race 6

[Source: Event Media]
The Quantum Racing crew came
ashore today at the Marina of Portimao having secured the overall Audi MedCup Circuit 2008 title.

And, finally pure simple arithmetic took over from Quantum theory. No more number crunching. No more evangelising on the simple Quantum quest for consistency through a long, gruelling season.

Terry Hutchinson and the crew of the American boat Quantum Racing won the Audi MedCup Circuit 2008 with a day to spare in Portimao, Portugal when only one race could be completed on the penultimate day of the Portugal Trophy Regatta.

As the breeze fell away to force the abandonment of the second race today, Race 7, and then precluded any further competition it meant Quantum Racing had built a n unassaibale lead of 52.2 points over second placed Bribon with no more than three races possible Saturday for the 15 boat fleet. Read Full Story

Friday, September 19, 2008

ACI Match Cup Day Two

With the Bora mountain wind settled down, Split was transformed into a tranquil bay with dicey winds that caused some delays. The race committee only managed to get 4 flights away before the breeze completely shut off at 4.30 this afternoon, putting pressure on them tomorrow to get through the big format.

We started the day with a tough match against the Kiwi team, Blackmatch Racing to finish off the first round robin. Our start was almost textbook, coming off the line with pace in a strong lee bow position which forced Minoprio to tack off. We pushed out to a distant left pressure which never came, giving Minoprio the upper hand. We rounded the top mark on his tail, and kept the game close downwind. After nailing the bottom mark rounding, we split tacked off to the right. This time we came out with the upper hand, and finished just in front to end the round on 7 wins and 2 losses.

So far the second round has run smoothly, winning 3 races straight. However after the second match our pitman had to sit out due to a head injury. We were forced to sail with a local star crew who happened to be out sailing at the time. This put the pressure on the four of us to pick up our game and fill in for our lost man, and it showed with a lot of mistakes being made around the course. However we managed to keep a tight lead into the finish line and ended the day with 4 wins from 4 races.

A special thanks to Line7, Harken and the Royal Perth Yacht Club for their support.

Kinley Fowler

Audi MedCup, Portugal - Day 3

[source: Event Media]
No wind, Coastal race cancelled in Portimao, Portugal.

Without leaving the dock in Marina Portimao Quantum Racing took a big step closer to the endgame, winning the Audi MedCup Circuit 2008, when the double points Coastal Race was cancelled due to the lack of wind. Audi MedCup

Thursday, September 18, 2008

El Desafío leads the Portugal Trophy

First top mark.© Th.Martinez/AUDI MEDCUP. Portugal, Portimão. 17/09/08. Race5

El Desafío (ESP)© Ian Roman/AUDI MEDCUP. Portugal, Portimão. 17/09/08. Race 4

MATADOR (ARG)© Th.Martinez/AUDI MEDCUP. Portugal, Portimão. 17/09/08. Race4

[source: Event Media]
Quantum Racing saw their Circuit lead eroded slightly while Matador won one race and finished second to take over third place on the overall Audi MedCup Circuit standings, while El Desafío leads the Portugal Trophy.

Leaving the Portimao race course having dropped six points off their Circuit lead it was hardly crisis time for Quantum Racing when they finished 10th in Race 6 of the Portugal Trophy Regatta - only their third double points score of 50 races so far of the Audi MedCup season - but the American boat did cede the regatta lead to Paul Cayard and the Spanish America’s Cup team on the green hulled El Desafio.

In light and shifty winds, between five and eight knots, Desafio posted a seventh and a second place to lead the second placed Argentinian boat Matador by a single point on the Portugal Trophy regatta leaderboard.

Alberto Roemmers’ Matador crew not only had the best day in the fifteen boat fleet, winning the first race and finishing second to Platoon powered by Team Germany in the second contest, but they overtook Torbjorn Tornqvist’s Artemis, to now hold third place on the overall Audi MedCup Circuit standings going in to Thursday’s crucial double points coastal race. Read on…

Portugal Trophy Standings after five races
Placing, Boat Name, Nationality, R1, R2, R3, R4, R5, Total
1 El Desafío ESP (10,2,3,7,3, 25)
2 Matador ESP (8,5,10,1,2, 26)
3 Quantum Racing USA (4,8,1,6,10, 29)
4 Platoon poweredby Team Germany GER (11,10,8,2,1, 32)
5 Synergy RUS (9,1,4,14,5, 33)
6 Bribón ESP (1,11,12,5,4, 33)
7 Audi Q8 ITA (2,9,2,15,4, 34)
8 CXG Corporación Caixa Galicia ESP (7,3,9,3,13,35)

9 Mutua Madrileña ESP (12,4,5,8,9, 38)
10 Artemis SWE (5,7,13,11,8, 44)

ACI Match Cup Day One

After experiencing a different side to match racing in Trieste, it is refreshing to step back into the more familiar 5 man boats. This time we find ourselves once again in Split, Croatia at one of the longest running match racing events (which is celebrating its 25th year) the ACI Match Cup.

Today saw an unexpected 20 knot Bora mountain wind reign supreme through to dusk, and with 10 teams in 10 boats meaning no breaks, it was a case of separating the boys from the men. We stepped it up from the start and despite some close matches, only lost to the two French teams of Bertrand Pace and Sebastian Col putting us in 4th place.

We came so close to winning this event last year, going down 3-2 to Paolo Cian in the finals, so we are as hungry as ever to get a another shot at the title. Although we motored through the racing today, it is far from over, with another whole round robin to be completed over the next two days. We are in a good position to build on our performance tomorrow which is steadily moving in the right direction.

A special thanks to Line7, Harken and the Royal Perth Yacht Club for their support.

Kinley Fowler

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Western Australia To Host Sailing Qualification For 2012 London Olympic Games

[source: ISAF]
Following Beijing, sailors with Olympic dreams are shifting their focus to Western Australia as it prepares to host the 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships, the principal qualification regatta for the 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition.

Western Australia bid against seven other nations to win the rights to host Olympic sailing’s most prestigious regatta outside of the Olympic Games.

In announcing the decision to award the next event to Western Australia, ISAF noted sailing conditions and venue facilities as top priorities in selecting the host city and highlighted Perth and Fremantle’s strength in these areas with the infamous winds affectionately known as the ‘Fremantle Doctor’ providing ideal sailing conditions and a high level of existing sailing infrastructure.

ISAF also commended Western Australia’s bid on the strength of financial and political support it had secured from both the Western Australian and Commonwealth Governments.

The 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships will be a key qualification event for the 2012 Olympic Games in London and will once again showcase Western Australia as a premier international sailing location.

More than 5,000 visitors, including 1,500 sailors, are expected to visit Western Australia for the two week competition to determine the world champion for each of the ten Olympic sailing classes.

Combined with its natural beauty, Western Australia’s summer will ensure that ideal wind and weather conditions will provide a worthy test for sailors and guarantee a world-class display for spectators.

In a program that is central to ISAF’s long-term objectives, the event will also assist emerging and developing sailing nations through a program that will offer assistance to athletes from less affluent nations to attend pre-event training and the main event.

The program will boost the number of participating nations at the World Championships and provide emerging nations with an opportunity to gain qualification for the 2012 London Olympic Games.

ISAF Sailing World Championships - www.sailing.org/isafworlds

54 days to go to the start of yachting’s Everest

[source: Event Media]
Today (Tuesday 16th September) in the presence of the thirty solo skippers who will be setting out from Les Sables d’Olonne on 9th November for the sixth edition of the Vendée Globe, Philippe de Villiers, President of the Vendée public-private partnership, the event organiser, presented the main features characterising this exceptional edition.

This year’s Vendée Globe is outstanding because of the number taking part and the quality of the line-up. Seven nationalities are represented: 17 French yachtsmen, 7 from Britain, 1 American, 2 Swiss sailors, 1 Canadian, 1 Spaniard and 1 Austrian.
Read full press release here

Audi MedCup, Portugal - Day 1

The Fleet unde Spinnaker© Ian Roman/AUDI MEDCUP. Portugal, Portimão.
16/09/08. Race 1

Quantum Racing in the first Race in PORTUGAL© Ian Roman/AUDI MEDCUP. Portugal, Portimão.
16/09/08. Race 1

Tau Ceramica-Andalucia and Audi Q8© Ian Roman/AUDI MEDCUP. Portugal, Portimão.
16/09/08. Race 1

Two surprises on the podium. Quantum Racing stock is still rising.

[source: Event Media]
The American boat Quantum Racing moved 11 points closer to winning the Audi MedCup Circuit today as Audi Q8 and Synergy had their best set of races of the season so far, Audi Q8 lie second on the same points as regatta leaders Quantum Racing.

After the first three races of the Portugal Trophy off Portimao, the final regatta of the Audi MedCup Circuit, there may be a pair of new names making a late season challenge, lying in second and third, but leading the regatta it is the American boat Quantum Racing whose stock is still rising as they extend their overall hold on the overall title to more than 50 points with just four days left of the 2008 season’s competition.

As the Russian crew on Synergy became the 12th different team to take a winning gun on the Circuit this season, triumphing in Race 2 in fine style, so too Riccardo Simoneschi’s Audi Sailing Team powered by Q8 (ITA) came good with their best day yet, scoring a ninth then two second places to lie second sharing the same overall points as Quantum Racing. And if Synergy had not let slip their third place which they held until the final 400 metres of the last race of the day, they too would have been on 13 points.
Read on…

Portugal Trophy Standings after three races:
Place, Boat name, Nationality, R1 R2 R3, Points
1. Quantum USA (4,8,1) 13
2. Audi Q8 ITA(2,9,2) 13
3. Synergy RUS (9,1,4) 14
4. El Desafio ESP (10,2,3) 15
5. CXG Corporación Caixa Galicia ESP (7,3,9) 19
6. Mutua Madrileña ESP (12,4,5) 21
7. Tau Andalucía ESP(3,14,6) 238. Matador ARG (8,5,10) 23
9. Bribón ESP (1,11,12) 24
10. Artemis SUE (5,7,13) 25

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Audi MedCup Portugal Trophy starts today

Audi TP52 Powered by Q8 heads downwind© Ian Roman/AUDI MEDCUP. Portugal, Portimão. 15/09/08. Practice Race

The TP52 fleet head downwind© Ian Roman/AUDI MEDCUP. Portugal, Portimão. 15/09/08. Practice Race

After an interesting, exacting and even-sided practice race in perfect light wind conditions and warm sunshine on the Algarves Atlantic waters off Portimao, Portugal the stage is set for the final regatta of the Audi MedCup Circuit, the Portugal Trophy regatta. Audi MedCup

Portugal Trophy, Practice race.
1. Audi Q8, ITA
2.El Desafío, ESP, + 35 seconds
3. Cristabella, GBR, +1 min 02 sec
4. Bribón, ESP, + 1 min 20 sec
5. Artemis, SWE, + 1 min 22 sec

Monday, September 15, 2008

Rolex Big Boat Series

Final Day on San Francisco Bay; Six Perpetual Trophies Awarded

[source: Event Media]
There's a saying in sailboat racing that if there's wind, then everyone is happy. It's safe to say that the competitors in the Rolex Big Boat Series were ecstatic with today's conditions of 8-10 knots in the morning, building to 15+ knots by early afternoon for the regatta's final race - known as the Bay Tour. The St. Francis Yacht Club (StFYC) Race Committee sent the 10 competing classes on courses ranging from 15.44 to 21.01 nautical miles. When it was all over, six of the 10 class winners were awarded one of the StFYC's Perpetual Trophies as well as a Steel Submariner Rolex timepiece in recognition of their accomplishments.

Earlier this morning, as a tribute to the late Olin J. Stephens, each boat motored past the yacht club, through the 'A' and 'B' marks which would later serve as the finish line, and tossed one single white rose into the Bay before heading out to the race course.

In IRC A class, Bill Turpin's (Santa Cruz, CA) Reichel/Pugh 78 Akela took line honors in the final race; however it was John Kilroy Jr's (Los Angeles, CA) TP52 Samba Pa Ti that won the race on corrected time and with it the St. Francis Perpetual Trophy. Dedicated in 1964, it is the only one that does not rotate among the classes each year. It was deeded to the premier handicap division, the IRC A class in this 44th annual regatta.

Vinctore, the Reichel/Pugh IRC 52 chartered by Jim Mitchell (Zurich, SUI) finished second overall, while Akela was third in the 9-boat class.

IRC A (9 boats)
1. Samba Pa Ti, John Kilroy, Jr, San Francisco, CA, 4-1-3-1-4-1-1, 15
2. Vincitore, Jim Mitchell, Zurich, SUI, 3-4-1-2-2-2-2, 16
3. Akela, Bill Turpin, Santa Cruz, CA, 2-3-4-4-1-5-4, 23, 5

IRC B (9 boats)
1. TNT, Brad Copper, Pt. Richmond, CA, 1-2-2-2-1-2-1, 11
2. Rancho Deluxe, Michael Diepenbrock, Newport, RI, 2-3-3-1-2-3-2, 16
3. Swiftsure, Sy Kleinman, Saratoga, CA, 5-1-6-3-4-1-3, 23

IRC C (8 boats)
1. TKO, Dave Kirby, Manhattan Beach, CA, 1-3-1-1-1-2-1, 10
2. Scorpio, John Siegel, San Francisco, CA, 2-1-3-3-5-1-4, 19
3. BustinLoose, Jeff Pulford, Monterey, CA, 5-2-4-2-2-3-5, 23

IRC D (13 boats)
1. White Dove, Mike Garl, San Francisco, CA, 2-1-5-1-2-1-1, 13
2. Tupelo Honey, Gerard Sheridan, San Francisco, CA, 1-4-6-2-1-2-3, 19
3. Inspired Environments, Timothy Ballard, Sausalito, CA, 5-6-4-7-6-5-5, 38

Rolex Swan Cup - Day 6


[source: Event Media]
The final day of the Rolex Swan Cup 2008 dawned with an overcast sky and a moderate southwesterly of 15 knots. With the forecast yesterday warning that the wind would build during the day, the start time had been brought forward to 1030. The weather played ball for three of the divisions to complete one race apiece and for the Swan 45s to complete two. At the end of a difficult week with wind at both ends of the scale, the Rolex Swan Cup overall division winners were: Roel Pieper's Swan 80 Favonius (BVI) in Swan Maxi, Hendrik Brandis & Christian Nagel's Earlybird (GER) in Swan 45, Enrico Scerni's Kora (ITA) in Club Swan 42 and John Bainbridge's Swan 48 Zen (GBR) in the Classics. Read on…

Silver & Bronze for Australia in the Paralympic Games 2008

[Laura Baldwin, Yachting Australia, Sunday, 14 September 2008]

SKUD 18 - Two Person Keelboat - AUS Team: Dan Fitzgibbon & Rachael Cox (QLD)

2008 Paralympic Silver Medallists

The Australian SKUD 18 crew of Dan Fitzgibbon and Rachael Cox won the first race on the final day and finished 2nd in the last race of the series to win the 2008 Paralympic Silver Medal. The American crew of Nick Scandone and Maureen Mckinnon-Tucker won Gold with a day to spare so the battle on the final day was for Silver and Bronze with the Canada crew of John Scott McRoberts and Stacie Louttit taking home the bronze.

Leader Board:
1st - USA - 11 points
2nd - AUS - 18 points
3rd - CAN - 21 points

Sonar - Three Person Keelboat - AUS Team: Colin Harrison, Graeme Martin & Russell Boaden (WA) - BRONZE!!

2008 Paralympic Bronze Medallists

The Australian Sonar Team of Colin Harrison, Graeme Martin & Russell Boaden won the 2008 Paralympic Bronze Medal, missing Silver on coutback as they tied on 36 points with the French Team.

After leading the Sonar three man keelboat thoughout the Paralympic Regatta, France have missed taking the Gold Medal by one point from the German crew. Australia has taken the Bronze.

Leader Board:
1st - GER - 35 points
2nd - FRA - 36 points
3rd - AUS - 36 points

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Rolex Big Boat Series - Day 3

IRC A class start in the shadow of the Bay Bridge
Photo by: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

R/P 45 Criminal Mischief, Chip Megeath
Photo by: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

Taboo, Stephen Pugh
Photo by: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

Pinta, Michael Illbruck
Photo by: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

Hold on, it's going to get windy!

[source: Event Media]
Despite a light wind start to the third day of racing at Rolex Big Boat Series, the St. Francis Yacht Club's (StFYC) race committee completed two races for the 1,000-plus sailors competing. The wind built to a suitable 6-8 knots while racers waited on San Francisco Bay for the 11am start of race one. However by mid-day the wind picked up to the more typical 15-18 knot range and with a strong 3-knot ebb current to battle, race two was where fortunes were decided. The StFYC will award its six Perpetual Trophies after tomorrow's final Bay Tour Race, the traditional end for the seven-race, four-day regatta.

In IRC A, the class with the largest boats, Bill Turpin's (Santa Cruz, CA) Reichel/Pugh 78 Akela took line honors in the first race, followed closely by Vinctore, the Reichel/Pugh IRC 52 chartered by Jim Mitchell (Zurich, SUI) with tactician Gavin Brady onboard. However, John Kilroy's (Los Angeles, CA) TP52 Samba Pa Ti crossed the finish line ahead of Vincitore in race two and with it moved to the top of the 9-boat class.

"I think our position right now, after the last race, is that we're tied for first," said Kilroy. Indeed, Samba Pa Ti and Vincitore are tied on points; however Samba has won three races to Vincitore's one win, giving them the temporary tie break. "Hopefully it will come down to the last race tomorrow between us." Read on…

Rolex Swan Cup - Day 5


[source: Event Media]
You have to hand it to the Costa Smeralda, when the wind blows it blows. The breeze desert of yesterday morning is well and truly forgotten today, with over 25 knots in the harbour setting the rigging and halyards of the assembled Swan fleet a rattlin' and a whistlin'.

One of the easiest decisions I've made," said Peter Craig stepping off the Committee Boat as he returned from the race area. Few on shore would envy the Race Committee's trip outside this morning. The Mistral settled in last night. Gusts in the Straits of Bonifacio were already exceeding 40 knots at sunrise and whilst it was lighter round the corner off Porto Cervo, it was only relatively so.
Read on…

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Trieste Challenge Day Three

A steady breeze saw the 52 footers come to life today as the second round robin got underway. In only 6 knots of breeze the carbon fibre canting keel yachts took off reaching 7 knots comfortably on the downwinds, making for some exciting racing.

Today was a real chance for us to get used to the big boat side of match racing with a steadier and stronger breeze than the previous two days. We learnt exponentially as the day progressed through watching the other three teams, in particular Saville and his Mascalzone Latino team, who displayed dominant boathandling, and are now sitting in first place.

The four teams are extremely close, but it was clear that experience was the key today, as we lost all three of our matches. Despite this, we are still very happy with our performance and are getting what we want out of the event.

Tomorrow we are racing Damien Iehl for third place in the notorious “Bora mountain wind” which is forecast to reach up to 35 knots. Hopefully it is not deemed too strong, as the chance for us to sail boats like these is rare to come by, and it would be an opportunity sorely missed.

A special thanks to Line7, Harken and the Royal Perth Yacht Club for their support.

Kinley Fowler

Rolex Big Boat Series - Day 2

Criminal Mischief, Chip Megeath, downwind under the Golden Gate Bridge
Photo by: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

J105 and J120 fleets along the city front
Photo by: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

Fleet tested by course and conditions
[source: Event Media]
Although the grey fogged-over conditions around the St. Francis Yacht Club seemed to deter spectators from gathering along the shore, building 10-15 knot breezes on San Francisco Bay were the only thing on the minds of competitors in the 111-boat fleet racing in the Rolex Big Boat Series. Principal Race Officers Kevin Reeds (Annapolis, MD) and Jim Taylor (San Francisco) started the fleet on time at 11am for the first of the day's two races. By the end of racing, some six hours later, each competing boat had accumulated close to 30 miles under its keel.

In IRC C, Dave Kirby's (Manhattan Beach, CA) J/122 TKO took the lead from John Siegel (San Francisco) and his Wylie 42 Scorpio. "So far, so good," said Kirby of racing to date. Noting that the boat excels in conditions similar
to today's wind range, Kirby explained that when it gets fluky, local knowledge comes in handy. "Norman Davant is the best tactician on this body of water," he said. "He nailed it. We port tacked the fleet at the first start and stayed in front and led for the whole race." Read on…

Rolex Swan Cup - Day 4

Photo by: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo


[source: Event Media]
Playing water polo in the still waters off Porto Cervo was an odd way to prepare for the winds to come. But no one had predicted the speed and severity of the conditions that would end the day, prematurely for some. The scheduled earlier start of 10 AM came and went without any sign of the wind that had been forecast yesterday. The Yacht Club Costa Smeralda Race Committee kept everyone ashore for an hour and a half, before heading out in the hope of finding the promised breeze. It came, eventually, at three o'clock. A gentle 10 knots from the north-northwest stirring a ripple in the calm. Nothing too special and certainly no great warning.

The Swan Maxi Division started first and raced a 25 nm course that took them to a windward mark, before heading into the channel and a right turn north at Secca di Tre Monti off to the rocks at Monaci. Here they swung southeast for a fast reach down to Mortoriotto, where they turned back on themselves, upwind, to the finish off Porto Cervo. The Classics and Club Swan 42s raced 17 nm and, roughly speaking, a shorter version of the Swan Maxi course, returning direct to Pevero Bay and the finish after the turn at Monaci. The Swan 45s had elected to race windward/leewards today, and managed to complete one race of 8 nm that started in 15 knots and finished in a steady 25 - great conditions. They attempted to complete a second that started in 25 knots and ended, abandoned, in 40 - not so great conditions, especially when driving rain, thunder and lightening were thrown in. Very un-PC. Winners today were the Swan 112 Highland Breeze in the Swan Maxis, WISC in the Swan 45s, Kora in the Club Swan 42s and the Swan 53 Crilia in the Classics. Read on…

Friday, September 12, 2008

Rolex Swan Cup - Day 3


Flat calm left a flat mood at the third day of the Rolex Swan Cup 2008. The Yacht Club Costa Smeralda Race Committee finally called a halt to the waiting at 1230, after a patient but fruitless delay to see if forecast light winds would arrive soon enough and stabilize sufficiently for the scheduled Long Island Race to be held. The breeze did not play ball and racing was abandoned for the day. Rolex Swan Cup

Trieste Challenge Day Two

[source: Kinley Fowler]
Once again light winds prevailed today as we only just managed to finish the first round robin. We finished on 2 wins, losing only to Mascalzone Latino’s Jes Gram Hansen after some small tactical errors.

Three of the 4 teams are on 2 wins, with French Sailing Team’s Damien Iehl losing all of his matches. Despite his scorecard, Iehl and his team are sailing impressively and all of the races have been tight. Although we had a significant lead in our race against him, he managed to close up the gap on the final run to mere inches which would have put us in last.

The Race Committee is hoping to complete the second round robin tomorrow, which may be a bit ambitious if the wind stays the same. However, we are on the losing side of the 3 way tie and would have to race Gram Hansen in the semi finals if it is bypassed. We feel that he has the strongest team here, so as far as we are concerned, the more racing the better!

A special thanks to Line7, Harken and the Royal Perth Yacht Club for their support.

Kinley Fowler

Rolex Big Boat Series - Day 1

Mayhem, Ashley Wolfe and Vincitore Jim Mitchell
Photo by: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

Leaders revel in classic Bay conditions

[source: Event Media]

San Francisco, CA, USA - The 44th annual Rolex Big Boat Series kicked off with classic San Francisco Bay conditions of early fog
and building breeze. Over 1,000 sailors on 111 boats completed the first of four days of racing in nine classes -- four for IRC-rated boats and five one-designs, 1D35, Beneteau 36.7, J/105, J/120 and Melges 32. Highlighting a number of regatta improvements, regatta host St. Francis Yacht Club unveiled a new web cam where fans around the world can go to view racing live at www.stfyc.org.

In IRC A, where the largest boats are racing, the Reichel/Pugh 45 Criminal Mischief is leading. Owned by Chip Megeath (Tiburon, CA), the boat was last seen on San Francisco Bay as Sjambok when Larry Ellison chartered it for the 2007 Rolex Big Boat Series and finished third. John Kilroy's (Los Angeles/San Francisco) TP52 Samba Pa Ti is in second, with Bill Turpin's (Santa Cruz, CA) Reichel/Pugh 78 Akela - the largest boat entered -in third.

For Jim Mitchell (Zurich, SUI), who chartered the Reichel/Pugh IRC 52 Vincitore, being in fourth place in IRC A is fine with him. "It was an awesome day," he said moments after returning to the dock. "It was my first day sailing in San Francisco. Our first race was really competitive with Samba. It was great." He went on to explain that although they finished third in the first race, the second race was more challenging. "We had some dramas as the Kiwi boys onboard would say. We cleaned the boat bottom with the spinnaker. If we would've gotten it onboard we would have been the second boat to finish." They finished fourth.
Read on.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Rolex Swan Cup - Day 2

Photo by: Rolex / Daniel Forster

Photo by: Rolex / Daniel Forster

Swan 45 Class fleet after the start
Photo by: Rolex / Daniel Forster


[source: Event Media]
Day two of the Rolex Swan Cup was reminiscent of a family day at the park where different age groups take part in different activities. The Swan Maxis went on a hefty 30 nautical mile hike up and down Bomb Alley using the Island of Spargi as an oversized leeward turning mark, whereas the Classics undertook a shorter, 24 nm stroll only venturing into the channel as far as Secca di Tre Monti, but featuring a long beat to Mortoriotto. Meanwhile, the sprightlier Swan 45s and Club Swan 42s were given their own part of the park to play in and tackled two four-leg windward/leewards of 8 & 7.2 nm.

Continuing the park analogy, in the Swan Maxis the Swan 80, Favonius (BVI) played everyone off it once again winning both on the water and on handicap. The Swan 48 Zen (GBR) conceded her waterline length to finish third on the water, but still came first on handicap in the Classics. Swan 45, Earlybird (GER), was later to finish in her fleet than yesterday posting a 6, 5, but sufficiently good to still lead overall. Equally, Kora (ITA), the Club Swan 42, had a drop in performance to score two seconds, but again held onto first overall. So, no change at the top after the day's proceedings. All fleets face the prospect of the Long Island Race tomorrow, which will be designed to last 6 to 9 hours. Certainly time enough for someone in each division to have a tilt at the leaders, and stop them putting more distance between themselves and the pack. Read on…

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Rolex Swan Cup - Day 1


[source: regattanews.com]
Racing started at the Rolex Swan Cup 2008 bright and breezy, and bang on time at 1135. Conditions for a first day could not have been gentler. All four divisions will have come off the water having had a very satisfactory day's racing in winds that peaked in the early-teens in the channel, but stayed below ten knots elsewhere on the various courses. Some will be delighted with proceedings and some will not, but that is yacht racing and tomorrow is another day. The standings at the end of Day One, see Favonius heading the Swan Maxi Division, Zen leading the Classics and Earlybird and Kora respectively top guns in the Swan 45s and Club Swan 42s. One day down. Plenty left to play for. Read on…

Swan 45 fleet in close racing at the offset mark
Photo by: Rolex / Daniel Forster

CHARISMA, on her way upwind
Photo by: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Zoe wins Sunferries Magnetic Island IRC series

[by Al Constable]
Today's triangular course out on Cleveland Bay was always going to decide the winner of the second Sunferries Magnetic Island Race Week Grand Prix division.

Townsville's Zoe, Wayne Millar's Sydney 41 and Guilty Pleasures, Leon Thomas' 7 metre Sportsboat were tied on points going into today's deciding race, Zoe ahead on a count back, courtesy of her three wins.

Although Guilty Pleasures was first to put up their kite, she soaked down quickly and had to come up towards the mark. After the initial spinnaker run, Zoe lit up and her brand new kite filled, she gapped Guilty Pleasures.

Rob Bassett's Bakewell-White Marley Wired took line honours and the IRC handicap win in today's race, ahead of Zoe and Guilty Pleasures.

71 seconds ahead of her smaller rival on corrected time today, Zoe has won the IRC division overall, of the second Sunferries Magnetic Island Race Week. Guilty Pleasures was second overall and Marley Wired third.

Wayne Millar was confronted by a media scrum dockside. He commented, 'We are pretty happy... last year we just missed out in the final race by only a few seconds.

'It was tough today. Leon and his guys are punching well above their weight. Leon is fiercely competitive, when he pulled out that A sail, he was really pushing us. We were set up to hoist, we did not want to do it but we had no choice, we had to stay with them. We had a slightly dodgy pole extension and we thought at any second it was going to break. We kept saying 'Its going to break, its going to break! It was bending and it was ugly.'

Leon Thomas. 'We were first up with a kite and it hurt us, we were expecting the wind to curve up and it did not.

'We got back in the race, we had our time on Zoe at Middle Reef but then it was the long reach, the lightness in pressure and the chop that hurt us and Zoe had the water line length. Coming up to the finish line it was close but we fell short. However the result was way beyond our expectation, next year we expect to see a bunch of sports boats here ... it's a great location for them.

Rob Bassett was pleased with his third place and commented 'A very enjoyable regatta, very relaxed, great sailing. Would love to see another half dozen Kiwi boats here enjoying the sunshine and breeze. The Around the Island Race was the highlight for us.'

In the Cruising with Spinnaker division today Savanna, Murray Whitehead's Adam Radford won on handicap from Barbarella, Mal Tynan's Schionning Signature 14. Don Algie who sailed up from Airlie Beach with his elegant Warwick 66, Storm 2 finished third.

Overall Barbarella took the prize with Two Shea, Ian Johnson's Lightwave Catamaran second. Savanna was third.

Mal Tynan commented 'We had a blast - once we were off the breeze in 15 knots we flew.'

In today's race in the Cruising Non Spinnaker Division Buccaneer Too, the Adams 12 sloop of Nick Doran from Magnetic Island, won on handicap from Jimmie Blacksmith, Campbell Corbett's Adams 12. Vantage, Robert Kimlin's Adams/Mottle was third.

Dick Cerny won the Cruising Non-spinnaker. A Tasmanian who spent 30 years in Canada, Cerny sailed his Beneteau Oceanis 500 back from Canada in 2004.

Cerny commented dockside 'Aussie Rules is a heavy boat; we had a bit of wind this year.

'The plastic cooler (esky) on the back of the boat, I've had it for 38 years, its been 18 years on the back of Aussie Rules. But its falling apart, its definitely not UV stabilised, I reckon with the prize money I might be able to afford to buy a new one.'

In second place overall was Ngak Ngak, Michelle and Hamish Petrie's Beneteau 57. Kevin Shanks Farr 1104, Bushwacker 11 finished third.

The smallest boat in the fleet Spyderman, Bryan Lewthwaite's Spyder 22, Mk11 won on handicap in the PHS Division, with The Boat, Graeme Etherton's Crowther Windspeed 32 and Apollo V1, Paul Stuart's Lexcen 1 Tonner, filling the minor placings.

Overall in the PHS division Townsville's The Boat won from Kachina, Phillip McGuire's McGuire 11.3m with Rob Bassett's Marley Wired third.

The full and final results are available at www.magneticislandraceweek.com.au

Locked & Loaded. Rolex Swan Cup Starts Tomorrow

[source: Event Media]
Racing at 15th edition of the biennial Rolex Swan Cup starts tomorrow, Tuesday, with 100 yachts, divided into four divisions, all gunning for glory and the much sought after trophies - the mythical Swan Cup and the Rolex Chronometer. There is more than this at stake, of course. The Swan family is like any other family. Competitive rivalries exist. On shore these are forgotten in the midst of the post-race celebrations, but on the water expect every start, every mark rounding and every finish to be intense, nail-biting and no place for the faint hearted.

Nautor's Swan is not the most famous brand name in yachting for nothing. The company builds beautiful looking, powerful boats and one could be mistaken for thinking that Costa Smeralda was created to be their playground. With entries from 16 nations including Australia, Japan, the USA, Canada and Lithuania as well as the usual spread of Mediterranean and Northern European countries, plus representation throughout the model range stretching from the 11.23 metre, Swan 371 of Tanu-Matti Tuominer, Rosinante (FIN) up to the gargantuan 35.5 metre Swan 112 Highland Breeze (SPA), Nautor's Marketing Director Enrico Chieffi is understandably delighted. Chieffi also is impressed, "the strength of this event is that it is held every two years and people come from all over the world to take part. The key pointers to its success include, for sure, the number of countries represented. But, in my opinion, two elements stand out: one is the Swan Maxi Class with over thirty entries of boats over 60-feet, this is incredible for one company; the second is that this event incorporates the ISAF recognized Swan 45 World Championship with twenty-three entrants. Not only will the best Swan 45 win its division, it will be World Champion. Otherwise, the overall number boats and number of models represented also stands out for me. I think this will be the second highest level of participation ever."

High participation and a wide range of competing yachts will make for a fabulous spectacle during racing as the fleet races on the waters off the incomparable Porto Cervo. But does the number of entrants pose a headache for Principal Race Officer, Peter Craig and his team from the event organizers, the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda? It seems no, certainly according to the consummate professional Craig, "I'd never want to call the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup a tune-up regatta, but having to deal with forty big boats and four starts last week has certainly helped the team prepare for this one. I'm confident we will have another quality event this week."

Will the diversity of yachts racing, including two one-design divisions (the Swan 45 and the ClubSwan 42) create problems on the start line? Again the answer is no, Craig and his team have thought this one through too, "it's a difficult one. When you do a proper starting line for thirty-plus boats averaging 70-80 feet long in the Swan Maxi fleet, you are looking at a line close to a nautical mile. As such, we're going to implement a two-part line, with a mid-line boat so, importantly, we can help the competitors and also we can be confident on calling boats over and keep the peace during the start. It also allows us to give the World Championship fleet of Swan 45s a proper size line of 500-metres or so."

Is there anything Craig is not so confident on? "The weather," he laughs. Just as last week, Craig will be taking it a day at a time fully aware he has a lot of racing to get through with the Swan Maxi and Classic Swan classes scheduled to do mainly coastal races each day of competition and the Swan 45s hoping to complete twelve races comprising up to eleven windward/leewards and one long island course. Local meteorological expert Major Filippo Petrucci is assisting with this the wind prediction and forecasts high pressure and light thermal breezes from the east for the early part of the week. The second half the week will see a rotation towards the west and an intensification in the wind strength.

Where does one look for winners this week? Well, all four divisions have their form boats that have been successful at regattas around the world, but there is only one returning champion - Danilo Salsi's DSK Comifin (ITA) is back to defend his 2006 title in the Swan 45 Class. Salsi will have his work cut out this year. Glynn Williams and WISC showed at Rolex Capri Sailing Week that success in the colder waters of the UK will translate into success in the warmer Med. Marco Salvi's Vertigo (ITA) with Vasco Vascotto calling his usual mercurial tactics snapped at the heels of WISC that week and will be looking to reverse the result. And, undoubtedly, there are dark horses afloat. One of which may be the only female owner/helm in the fleet, Tea Ekengren-Sauren who has Jeff Madrigali whispering in her ear. For Ekengren and Blue Nights (FIN), this regatta is the culmination of three year's planning and preparation, "it's really great to be here, since we have had it as our aim for some time. Hopefully we will do our best, and when we do our best we could finish in the top five." Ekengren is not fazed at all by being the only woman, commenting that "two years ago we stood out, but now the others take us for what we are, just another part of the class. There is a very nice spirit throughout the 45s and when we did really well in Palma this year coming third, our competitors were very nice and complimentary about how well we sailed. The great thing is that you meet people from all over the world and the common thing is sailing, so you have always something together. My big hope is that beautiful weather we have today will stay as long as possible!"

And beautiful it is with blue skies and 15 knots of warm breeze encouraging the fleet to go out and practice. Smallest boat in the Swan Maxi fleet is the all-black carbon Spirit of Jethou (GBR). Being the smallest at 60-feet is an irony not lost on Ogden. Nor is the importance of this event being underestimated. Spirit leads the Swan Maxi circuit by one-point from Roel Pieper's 80-foot, Favonius (BVI). Winner of that circuit will also take home a Rolex Chronometer. "We're looking forward to the week. We've come from the UK where it has rained for a month, so it nice to see some sunshine and the weather ahead looks reasonable, there's no sign of any 30-knotters coming in, but we'll find out as we go along" said Ogden, smiling as he continues, "we're the small boat in the fleet at 60-feet, but I think we'll do OK. We've got the usual crew of amateurs and have been doing well. First in Portofino, second in Capri and first at the Giraglia." So expect a battle royal amongst the big boats too.

In the Classic Division, for yachts under 60-feet, at least eighteen different models will be featured, including the Swan 46 that helped forge the reputation of the Nautor brand, and the Swan 51, the first model designed by German Frers. The two other house designers over the forty-year history of the company, Sparkman & Stephens and Ron Holland, also have boats participating. And, with thirteen different national flags in the thirty-seven boat division there is plenty of pride at stake. The Classics will race under NSR (Nautor's Swan Rating), a hybrid version of IRC Rating that takes into account the adherence to and retention of original design features. It also incorporates a liveaboard allowance for those crews where members will be staying aboard their yacht throughout the week.

The ClubSwan 42 one-design comprises eight boats. Small will beautiful, but no less competitive than the other divisions. Leonardo Ferragamo, President of Nautor's Swan, has nailed his colours to the mast of this Division and will be looking to record his first success at the Rolex Swan Cup. With yachts journeying from the USA, Greece, The Netherlands, Lithuania and France to compete, Ferragamo and his Italian compatriot, Enrico Scerni, should expect a fight on their hands if either is to prevent the Swan Cup for this class traveling overseas.

The Rolex Swan Cup is well-regarded not just for the activities on the water, but also those ashore. The week starts with an aperitif in the Piazza Azzurra in front of the clubhouse. Later in the week crews will have a party of all parties to look forward to, whilst the owners and guests will also be entertained at the Rolex Gala Dinner at the Colonna Pevero Hotel. All in all a fabulous week ahead.

The 2008 Rolex Swan Cup will end with the Final Prizegiving Ceremony on Sunday September 14th. The Swan Cup Trophy and a Rolex timepiece will be presented to each of the four Division winners at the event. Each Division will race for individual honours and, in addition, daily prizes will be awarded for the first classified Swan in each race for each class and to the overall leader of each class.

For more information about the Rolex Swan Cup 2008 including entry lists and results please visit www.yccs.it