Friday, October 10, 2008

Bermuda Gold Cup Day Two

A dramatic day on the water today saw us finish the day with just 1 win from 3 matches, leaving us on 3 wins and 3 losses. We had three very close races, and were displaying some spectacular boat handling, but with some umpire calls not going our way it just wasn’t enough to ensure a spot in the top 4.

Once again small mistakes mean that we are facing a must win match tomorrow against Areva skipper Sebastian Col who has already qualified into the quarters with 4 wins under his belt. Although Col is sailing well, today’s matches proved that we are moving in the right direction to make it through to the next round, so we will be able to approach tomorrow’s race with confidence.

Our 3rd match of the day against Johnnie Berntesson from Sweden was an exciting match which saw three penalties given. We lead around the track, but had to clear a penalty after Berntesson had luffed us at the starting line, so slowed down at the final top mark to try and suck him into a trap. We managed to pull the manoeuvre off, wiping our penalty and still maintaining a marginal lead. We then gybed onto starboard and attacked Berntesson again, however during the manoeuvre Torvar slipped and dislocated his knee cap. With nobody steering we rounded up into his stern and were given another penalty. We still had control of Berntesson, but were then given a second penalty after the umpires deemed us to be sailing above our proper course, which allowed him to sail freely to the finish line.

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

Kinley Fowler

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Bermuda Gold Cup Day One

After a training day of lapping up the sunshine in next to no wind, today we were treated with the polar opposite as a cold front moved through the area, bringing with it gusts above 20 knots. As we were in the third group, we had the morning off to get our heads around the new conditions, but started well in the afternoon finishing the day on 2 wins and 1 loss.

The IOD boats are very different to any others on the match racing circuit, so we knew that we were going to have some difficulties with the manoeuvring when we first stepped on. It didn’t help that we were up against the local wildcard, Blythe Walker who has been in the Gold Cup semi finals a number of times. However we had good pace and despite losing the start managed to fight back to overtake him at the first top mark which was a good confidence boost which we managed to carry on into the next race to defeat American Donald Wilson.

This momentum didn’t carry on into our next match against Eric Monnin from Switzerland, as we gave away the start and had to follow his transom around the track. The course was very shifty with big gains to be made when on the correct side; however Monnin sailed smart and didn’t give us any opportunities to pass.

Tomorrow we are facing some tough opponents, so we will have to step up our performance in order to qualify. Our group is very tight, so every race will mean vital points to make it through.

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

Kinley Fowler

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Numbers Stack Up - 77 boats and still counting

[source: Event Media]
With only a matter of days until the start of the 29th Rolex Middle Sea Race, organisers the Royal Malta Yacht club are rubbing their hands together at the prospect of an entry exceeding seventy boats for the first time ever. Not only that, but the yachts are drawn from most corners of the sailing world with the fleet flying no less than eighteen different national flags. Entries close on 11th October and the race itself starts from Marsamxett Harbour on the 18th October - so there is still time to be part of an historic contest that marks the 40th anniversary of this 607 nautical mile adventure.

The race is open to yachts from 9-metres to 30.5 metres and this year will see the full range. Currently, the 100-foot Farr designed Rapture (MAR) takes pole position in the size stake. This is not something that particularly troubles Jeff Hanlon, Rapture's captain, who explains "this will be the first of four planned offshore races for Rapture. We chose the Rolex Middle Sea Race because it is one of the most famous races you can do and we enjoy this style of offshore distance racing. We have an international crew joining us for the race, all good experienced offshore racers, a crew of good, well-humoured blokes that know what they're doing."

Hanlon has heard all about Malta's hospitality and the scenery around the course. Hanlon has also heard the race can be difficult, but again this is not an overriding concern, "I have known about the race for years. I was even told recently not to do it due to its tough reputation for bad weather, but that's yacht racing. It's as much against the weather sometimes as it is against the other boats." And with the Rolex Middle Sea Race tending to blow hot or cold and rarely in between, Hanlon is perceptive in this judgement.

Other big boats, over seventy-feet, include Stormvogel (GBR) 39-years after her last participation, Steinlager II (NZL) and Michael Cotter's Whisper (IRL), hoping to complete the course this time after retiring in the face of the storm last year. The newcomer is the Nauta 80 Acaia Cube (ITA) owned by Italian filmstar, Claudio Amendola.

Much has been written already about the battle royal shaping up in the 50 - 70 foot range, where the IRC race boats - Rosebud/Team DYT (STP65/USA) and Andres Soriano's Allegre (Mills 68/GBR) - have just been joined by a second STP 65, Jim Swartz's Moneypenny (USA). And the participation of the 60-foot, Veolia Oceans, Boogaloo (FRA) could add another twist to the tale. Those that represent shape of things today will find themselves up again some of the former workhorses of the oceans - the VO60, Big One (CRO) makes a welcome return and is joined by a trio of 2000 vintage Open 50s, 13 (ITA), Regione Piedmont (ITA) and Vento di Sardegna (ITA). The 50-foot Rolex Fastnet 2007 winner Chieftain is back under new ownership, Adrian Lee, and a new name, Lee Overlay Partners (IRL), but still sports her canting keel. The sole TP52 is the IRC optimized RAN (GBR) owned by Skype co-founder Niklas Zennström.
Read on...

Monday, October 06, 2008

2008 Heaven Can Wait Regatta

[source: Rob Kothe, Sail-World]
There was smiles all round at the end of the 2008 Heaven Can Wait Regatta. The Royal Motor Yacht Club was packed with tired but happy sailors yesterday afternoon for the Presentation ceremony. The Heaven Can Wait club has been the recipient of some wonderful hand crafted brass perpetual trophies, made by Balmain Sailing Club member Steve Prince.

Balmain Sailing Club President David Stenhouse was proud of the effort of his Club in supporting the 2008 event.

He said 'All eight of our boats sailed up from Sydney over the last week. There was a little excitement in that, my boat Umbakumba, ran ahead of a 40 knot southerly while Aqualogic had 35 knots on the nose the day before.

'Balmain encourages boats to sail in other Clubs events, by giving average points for sailing in other major regattas. The Heaven Can Wait regatta is high on that list.

'It's a rapidly growing regatta; it provides some unique experiences (overnight sailing) in a very safe environment and it's a great charity cause.'

Commodore Shaun Lewecki, the cancer survivor who dreamed up the event and organised the 2006 and 2007 races, was much more relaxed this year with the Heaven Can Wait Yacht Club committee shouldering much of the organisational load.

'This year's race was like sailing in a little bit of heaven; just being out there was wonderful for me. Read Full Article

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Real-time tracking for Heaven Can Wait 24 hr race

[source: Rob Kothe, Sail-World]
A unique real-time tracking system for yacht racing will be used during the 2008 Heaven Can Wait 24-hour yacht race, to be held on Lake Macquarie, south of Newcastle, NSW, which starts at 12 noon tomorrow October 4th and finishs at 1300 on Sunday, October 5th.

The system, based on the EziTrak(r) boat, car and mobile equipment tracking system developed by the Australian-based Rojone, will allow real-time tracking of all yachts participating in the race.
The race can be viewed in REAL TIME on the Internet. Race positions will be shown along with buoys; the link is

Rojone's EziTrak(r) system uses a combination of GPS and GPRS (mobile phone) technology to accurately track a yacht's (or vehicle's) course, reporting back to a central computer with positioning data every few minutes, with accuracies to within a few metres. Full article

Big winds cancel racing again; the spotlight falls on André Mauric

[source: Event Media]

At 1100 this morning racing was cancelled in Saint-Tropez for the second consecutive day. With waves as big as 2.5 metres and gusts of wind rising sharply from 18 to 40 knots outside the bay, all fleets were kept in port to assure the safety of the participants and spectators. Pierre Lasnier, a well-known local meteorologist, explained that Saint-Tropez is experiencing a typical weather pattern for the region where sharp winds set in but just as suddenly disappear. The overriding hope on the dock is for the wind to abate sufficiently tomorrow to allow one more day of racing before the prize giving ceremony scheduled for Sunday. In the meantime it is status quo for the Rolex Trophy, until the formal announcement Saturday night of the 2008 winner.

Today we take a look at French designer André Mauric, famous for designing Pen Duick VI and remembered, among many other achievements, as the first French designer to draw a 12-Metre that would go on to be seriously involved in the America's Cup. Read full article

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Les voiles arm wrestle the Mistral; Camper & Nicholsons classic collection

[source: Event Media]
Bright sun and fresh gusts welcomed the crews this morning in the bay of Saint-Tropez. Today the 300 participating yachts in this year's Voiles de Saint-Tropez were given the chance to truly test themselves for the first time this week. No more twiddling thumbs while waiting for the wind; with the Mistral in full effect since sunrise, the crews of the Classic Yachts had to put real muscle into their work in order to keep control of their vessels' massive sails, which can often exceed 200 m2.

Today was a welcome change from yesterday, when the race committee was forced to shorten the racecourse due to capricious winds. In yesterday's conditions Agneta, winner of the Rolex Trophy in 2007, finished second in the Marconi division just behind Rowdy but in front of Oiseau de Feu who finished third. In the Schooner category Mariquita finished ahead of Lulworth, Moonbeam III, Moonbeam IV and Thendara.
Read full article

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Close Classic Racing and a Scotsman's designs in Saint Tropez

[Source: Event Media]
Racing at the 10th edition of Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez began this morning under bright sun and almost summer conditions. With a promising breeze at the start that later fell still, today was the first race for the Classics who enjoyed the chance to hoist their sails and race one another over a 24-mile coastal course. Leading the fleet home were Altair and Rowdy within a hair's breadth of one another.

Today was also the first day of the Rolex Trophy, which is open to classic yachts over 16 metres in length. The winner of this trophy will only be known for certain when the overall scores are revealed on Saturday evening, adding to the suspense of what is sure to be an enthralling series. Whoever proves to be the winner, we may be confident that she will have been the most sure-footed of those competing this week.

With more than 300 monohulls on the water today, crowds onshore, spectator boats, the media and the numerous photographers on site, Organisers' the Societe Nautique de Saint-Tropez will be pleased with both their course planning and crowd control went so remarkably smoothly at this grand spectacle that is one of the sailing world's greatest annual gatherings.
Read full article

MOONBEAM IV, designed by FIFE & SON
Photo by: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

Start in black and white
Photo by: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

Still waters for Tuesday's racing
Photo by: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

Les Voiles de St-Tropez from underwater
Photo by: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi