Wednesday, March 18, 2009


[source: Volvo Ocean Race]

Magnus Olsson and his team of Nordic sailors onboard Ericsson 3 rounded the legendary Cape Horn at 1222 GMT today in pole position and in daylight, gaining maximum points at the scoring gate.

Ericsson 4 (Torben Grael/BRA) will be the next boat to round the Cape, which marks the border between the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans. At the time of Ericsson 3’s rounding, Ericsson 4 was 36 miles astern, a gap that has now closed to 18nm.

“It looks like the Ericsson 3 boys have managed to hold us off – and fair play to them – they played a good move early after the last scoring gate, a move which none of the rest of us were brave enough to play,” said Ericsson 4’s MCM Guy Salter.

For every sailor, the achievement of rounding this notorious Cape, which is the tip of one small island with a lighthouse, situated in one of the most remote areas in the world, is never diminished, no matter how many times they do it.

Spain’s Guillermo Altadill, who has rounded the Cape six times, describes the experience:

“I can only imagine it must be similar to a marathon runner on arrival at the stadium, with only 400 metres left after his epic 26 miles, to look up and see the public awaiting him. Except that, on that rock there is no public. And when you are lucky enough to get close enough, and on a clear day, you look up at that black rock with its lighthouse and all the legends that surround it, and it makes you think that whatever happens from that moment onwards, you have fulfilled your objective: to arrive in one piece.”

For Ericsson 3, Cape Horn almost lived up to its notorious reputation, producing 25 knot winds and massive seas, but Ericsson 4 is expecting full storm conditions when they round next in line. The crew is looking forward to it.

“There has been a chat about rights earned for passing the Horn: earrings, feet on the table at meal times, and tattoos of tall ships under full sail,” says Salter in anticipation.

All Ericsson 3 has to do now is to turn north and keep the fleet at bay. No easy task, when the skipper of the chasing Ericsson 4, Torben Grael, is one the golden boys in Olympic sailing and close quarter, tactical racing is what he excels at. They now face a long battle of over 2,000 nm to the finish in Rio.

Cape Horn Scoring Gate
(boat/rounding time/gate points)

Ericsson 3: 1222 GMT: 4 points

Distance to Cape Horn at 1222 GMT
Ericsson 4 - 36.91nm
PUMA - 141.21 nm
Green Dragon - 229.49 nm
Telefónica Blue- 766.86 nm

Leg Five Day 32: 1300 GMT Volvo Ocean Race Positions
(boat name/country/skipper/nationality/distance to finish)
Ericsson 3 SWE (Magnus Olsson/SWE) DTF 2264 nm
Ericsson 4 SWE (Torben Grael/BRA) +18
PUMA Racing Team USA (Ken Read/USA) +119
Green Dragon IRL/CHI (Ian Walker/GBR) +210
Telefónica Blue ESP (Bouwe Bekking/NED) +746

Delta Lloyd IRL (Roberto Bermudez/ESP) DNS
Telefónica Black ESP (Fernando Echávarri/ESP) DNS
Team Russia RUS (Andreas Hanakamp/AUT) DNS

Volvo Ocean Race

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

MRT Brings Home Bronze - Marseilles International

MRT in Semi Finals

Adam Minoprio of Blackmatch Racing took out the Marseilles International title over France’s Mathiu Richard. Although going down in the semi finals, MRT managed to win the petit finals convincingly to secure 3rd place in the first event on the 2009 World Match Racing Tour.

“We are slightly disappointed, but the field was really strong so we are happy to have come such a long way. Adam and his team performed really well throughout the series, and they rightly deserved to win… It’s a great start to our season, and hopefully we will only get better as the year goes on”.

The next event of the World Match Racing Tour is in Germany this May. MRT will be returning to Australia to continue their training program, and continue preparations for the rest of the 2009 season.

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

Kinley Fowler

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Audi Etchells Worlds final race abandoned – top three announced

Day 6 - the race course area today - Andrea Francolini

Day 6 - Port Phillip just before abandonment of the final race - Andrea Francolini

[Source: Di Pearson, Audi Etchells Worlds media manager]

Ross Wilson, the principal race officer of the 2009 Audi Etchells World Championship hosted by Royal Brighton Yacht Club in Victoria, was forced to abandon Race 6, the last of the nine race series on Port Phillip today when thunderstorms and unstable conditions pervaded the course, meaning the overall placings from yesterday’s overall scores stand.

The Championship was won yesterday, by Queensland’s Jason Muir and crew members, as their score could not be beaten. Second and third places have gone to two local Melbourne entries; Damien King/Simon Cunnington/James Ware/Andrew Butler who finished just two points ahead of John Bertrand/Ben Ainslie/Andrew Palfrey.

It was a fairly relieved Simon Cunnington that came off the water this afternoon. “We’re not that sorry the last race was abandoned. Thinking about having to go head to head with Ben Ainslie was a bit daunting,” he said laughing.

Cunnington, who co-owns his boat ‘Barry’ with skipper King, said the crew were rapt with their second place. “Realistically, to finish anywhere in the top 10 would have made us happy. We haven’t done much racing – we didn’t do the Nationals or the States. As I said before, we had Adrian Finglas (Olympic coach) coaching us and that made all the difference.

The Sandringham sailor named tactician Andy Butler as a major factor to their second place: “He was great at picking the pressure up the first beat and from there you are well on your way.”

Cunnington said the crew used ‘Predict Wind’, a fairly new product being used by America’s Cup crews as their weather model.

On the competition coming into the Championship: “John Bertrand’s crew were obviously favoured and we always thought Jason (Muir) would be strong. They were the smartest sailors out there and I reckon we’re 18 months or so behind them in terms of Etchells sailing.

“It was a pretty humbling experience to beat John Bertrand’s crew – we all (on Barry) feel that way. Everyone who finished in the top eight are amazing sailors; Chris Busch, Jud Smith – so to finish second is special.

Busch and Smith finished fourth and fifth overall.

And how did they settle on ‘Barry’ for the name of the boat: “It was the worst nautical name we could think of!”

Obviously John Bertrand was disappointed the final race had to be abandoned, but as he said: “that’s yacht racing.”

Bertrand described their worst day of the series, yesterday, in which they scored 12th and 32nd placings in Races 7 and 8 respectively: “It was very different in terms of unstable winds. Local knowledge became irrelevant. If you weren’t on the right side of the shift, you were gone - the shifts were long.

“We got good starts and went left, but the breeze freshened from the right and we were stuck in the boondocks. Once you get buried, that’s it, and with one drop, there’s no way back.

Ainslie: “The changes in wind happened at different times of the day. It has been extraordinary conditions over the last week, but I’ve enjoyed having the opportunity to sail an Etchells and sailing with John and Dog.”

Bertrand had high praise for his crew: “Ben and Andrew – sailing with these guys – they were a joy to be involved with. It was a fabulous experience to be plugged into the latest Olympic thinking and technology – there was so much knowledge on our boat.”

“These guys are so on top of everything, so the boat was remarkably quiet, we didn’t need to talk much. Ben ran the tactics, while Dog (Palfrey) ran the mechanics. They have such a great sense of awareness around them. My job was to concentrate on steering the boat, and I was able to do that.

“The three of us were like well-oiled machinery, which is a very rare thing. I have only felt this once before, and that was with the Australia II team – that’s the last time it’s happened until now. Some people never know the pleasure – it’s a rare and real privilege.

Ainslie, who now heads off to contest the Congressional Cup and rejoin his Team Origin America’s Cup crew, said of the Audi Etchells Worlds: “It’s been fantastic racing, especially with 85 boats on the start line.”

Competitors could not say enough about the organisers, Jake Gunther (who also sailed the event and finished 27th) event-coordinator, Amanda Coates (who worked long hard hours and kept the smile on her face the entire time) and the on-water race management team, headed by Ross Wilson.

Coates had this to say: “I think it’s gone remarkably well. Everyone feels the racing has been good – I’ve had no negative comments at all, so that’s really pleasing.

“We are very lucky to have the Wilsons (brothers Ross and Kevin) and their team; Bill Bell and Paul and Danielle Pascoe. They are all locals and just get on with their jobs and the Etchells guys are a great bunch, it’s been a great event.”

The 2009 Audi Etchells World Championship was organised by the Melbourne Etchells Fleet in conjunction with the Royal Brighton Yacht Club.

Top 5 results:

1 MUIR, Jason, AUS874 - 43 points

2 KING, Damien AUS924 - 63

3 BERTRAND, John AUS1383 - 65 (Masters Seniors)

4 BUSCH, Chris USA969 - 73

5 SMITH, Jud AUS1377 - 79 Masters

Audi Etchell Worlds 2009

MRT Scrapes Through - Marseilles International Day 3

MRT Upwind in Marseilles

After a long day out on the water, the round robin has been completed and the Quarterfinals pairing have been decided. MRT managed to just scrape through, winning the final race of the round robin to put them on 6 wins, finishing in 7th position.

The higher qualifying teams were given the power to choose who to race in tomorrow’s do or die quarterfinals, and reigning two time world champion Ian Williams of Bahrain Team Pindar chose to race the Mirsky Racing Team. The choice doesn’t come as much of a surprise as Williams managed to beat MRT in the round robin stage, however with the scores so close after the first stage, anything could happen.“We’re looking forward to building up the momentum that we had today in tomorrow’s quarterfinals. We always aim to peak on the final day, and our performance has picked throughout the regatta, so we hope to continue it on right through to the end.”

Ed Baird – 8 wins
Paolo Cian – 7 wins
Damien Iehl – 7 wins
Ian Williams – 6 wins
Sebastien Col – 6 wins
Adam Minoprio – 6 wins
Torvar Mirsky – 6 wins
Mathiu Richard – 6 wins
Pierre Morvan – 3 wins
Bjorn Hansen – 3 wins
Ian Ainslie – 3 wins

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Kinley Fowler

Audi Etchell World Day 5 Photos: Andrea Francolini

Check out thesse great images of the Audi Etchell Worlds today by Andrea Francolini.

Audi Etchells Worlds Day 5: Team Muir crowned new world champions

Photo credit: Andrea Francolini, Skipper Jason Muir second from right

[source: Di Pearson, Audi Etchells Worlds media manager]

Jason Muir and his crew of Paul Wyatt, Matthew Chew and Bucky Smith (AUS) have outclassed the rest of the 85-strong field at the 2009 Audi Etchells World Championship to win the title a day before the Championship finishes.

Heading into today’s two races, the Queensland friends were five points behind America’s Cup hero John Bertrand and his Olympic crew of Ben Ainslie (British four time medallist) and Australian Olympian and coach Andrew Palfrey (AUS).

With no disrespect to this crew, Muir and co. were not named among the Championship favourites pre-event. However, Fellow Queenslander, Mark Bradford, did say the four “were more than capable of winning a couple of races.”

Ironically, Muir did not win a single race, but what his crew did do, was to sail consistently at the top of the fleet throughout, their worst result a 10th place in Race 1. From there, the four did not finish outside ninth place. Their best result was a trio of fifth places.

In Races 7 and 8, Muir scored ninth and eighth places, while Victorian Bertrand and his crew had their worst day on the course with 12th and 32nd placings, dropping them down the board to third overall with only one race remaining.

“I don’t think our win has quite sunk in yet; it’s unbelievable,” said Muir whose crew will not sail tomorrow’s final race, choosing instead to watch the race.

On beating Bertrand and his crew, Muir said: “These are the three guys you really look up to. I’ve always looked up to John Bertrand since I was a kid and he won the America’s Cup – and we’re all big Ben Ainslie fans. Bucky used to sail a Finn and he’s always been a big fan. They were such a great crew – three Olympians on one boat.”

On their two races: “We didn’t have good starts today. We had to duck 30 odd bows each time to find a lane and get into clear air.

“We didn’t have it easy, believe me, it was a difficult day. We made a mistake in Race 7. We were in fourth place at the top mark the first time and should have followed the guys in front, but we broke away. Our race plan went out of whack a bit there – we thought the breeze would flick back to the right – but it didn’t, so we had to take our medicine.

“After that race, we discussed that tomorrow was supposed to be a big breeze and we looked at whether we should attack John, but we looked at their record and thought we would probably lose if we match raced them or we’d end up in the protest room so we decided to sail our own race.”

On when they realised they had won: “Once we crossed the finish line, we counted back to where John finished (he was 32nd) and realised we’d won,” said the 36 year-old Brisbane sailor.

Twenty-five year old Matthew Chew from Wellington Point joked: “I’m giving up sailing.” The reality is, Chew is also a gun triathlete and is aiming at that world championship. “I’m stoked with our win – I still can’t quite believe it.”

Paul Wyatt, a 39 year-old from Grange said: “This is the top level; there are multiple Olympic champions, America’s Cup sailors, you name it, they’re here. To beat them is massive. We were pretty low profile here. We won the Nationals in 2008, but we haven’t been to many of the other regattas.”

For Maroochydore’s 32 year-old Bucky Smith, whom Muir has the hugest amount of respect and praise for, it was a dream come true. “It hasn’t sunk in for any of us really, but to go out and race against and beat someone the standard of Ben Ainslie is a big deal.”

A second Melbourne crew is now in second place. Damien King/Simon Cunnington/James Ware/Andrew Butler have moved up the board into second place following their seventh and fourth placings in Races 7 and 8.

Said Cunnington this afternoon: “We fell out of contention when we scored a 38th place in Race 4. We learnt a lot from that 38th! We changed our strategy a bit after that.

“We have been lucky to have Adrian Finglas (Australian Olympic coach) coaching us the last six weeks. Roughly we thought we would be in the mix, but Adrian has made all the difference in every way you can imagine: nutrition, preparation, course management, crew optimisation – everything. We can’t say enough.”

Both he and King are talented sailors though. King was one of Australia’s top 470 sailors during the ‘90’s and prior to that, a 420 champion, while Cunnington has represented at the America’s Cup, Whitbread Race and contested many Sydney-Hobart races.

The Melbourne crew is just two points ahead of Bertrand, so will have to remember all that Finglas’ has taught them tomorrow.

Not only do they face Bertrand, but there are two other crews within reach of King’s crew; Chris Busch/Chad Hough/Chuck Sinks/David Hughes (USA) are 10 points behind them and Jud Smith/Mark Johnson/Nik Burfoot (AUS) are16 points behind. And as we saw today, anything could happen.

Only two crews here have won two races, both of them clocking up their second wins today. Robert Goddard (GBR) won Race 4 and then Race 7 today. Due to an inconsistent series, they are 42nd overall. The British skipper went from a rooster to a feather duster when he broke the start in Race 8, having to fight his way back to the line and re-start to finish 80.

Graeme Taylor/Grant Wharington/Ben Morrison Jack won Race 6 and today won Race 8, but are 13th overall and like Goddard, cannot finish on the podium. Taylor’s crew struggled early in the series, but found their form yesterday.

“Shame we left it this late to come good,” said Taylor’s crew Wharington tonight. “We did much better in the heavier breeze yesterday and I think the flat water helped us today. We haven’t been sailing well in the chop on Port Phillip.”

Wharington also admitted: “We got a couple of lucky breaks today. We went right at once stage and the breeze went right with us and we lifted right up. Starting mid-line, we were in a good position, but then a couple of boats spat us out, but then a couple of other boats let us through and we were able to sail in clear air.”

Race officials had another tough day. Winds arrived late again, as they can do in March. Eventually the wind filled in to around 8-10 knots and shifted between 160-175 degrees throughout the day, so moving marks became part and parcel of the game and racing got underway after 1.30pm.

As Principal Race Officer Ross Wilson has said every day at the Audi Etchells Worlds, “we have to give them good and fair racing. All of us have to have our heads out of the boat at all times and be vigilant.” And they were.

The final race, to decide second and third places overall, will be sailed tomorrow on Port Phillip starting from 12.00pm, weather permitting.

The 2009 Audi Etchells World Championship is organised by the Melbourne Etchells Fleet in conjunction with the Royal Brighton Yacht Club.

Audi Etchell Worlds 2009

Friday, March 13, 2009

Cian Leads the Way in Marseilles

Paolo Cian of Team Shosholoza is leading the pack after day one with 7 wins under his belt. The rest of the field however remains tight as yesterday’s Mistral faded into next to nothing.

MRT performed well throughout the day despite only managing to get 2 wins from 5 races. The team was able to find speed throughout the day; however some minor tactical errors caused them to be on the back foot, and in some incidents races were put in the umpire’s hands. “We felt comfortable in all 5 races today, but with some small shifts not going our way we unfortunately didn’t come away with as many wins as we would have liked, but tomorrow is a new day and the field is extremely tight so we will just keep focused on improving as a team”.

Paolo Cian – 7 wins 0 losses
Matthiu Richard – 4 wins 2 losses
Ed Baird – 3 wins 0 losses
Phillipe Presti – 3 wins 2 losses
Sebastien Col – 2 wins 2 losses
Pierre Morvan – 2 wins 2 losses
Torvar Mirsky – 2 wins 3 losses
Adam Minoprio – 2 wins 3 losses
Ian Williams – 2 wins 3 losses
Damien Iehl – 1 win 4 losses
Ian Ainslie – 1 win 4 losses
Bjorn Hansen – 1 win 5 losses

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Kinley Fowler

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Omega confirmed as Official Timekeeper to the iShares Cup

Omega bow, Day 1, Amsterdam, iShares Cup© Vincent Curutchet/DPPI/OC Events

OC Events, organisers of the award-winning iShares Cup Extreme 40 Sailing Series, has announced that prestige watch company Omega is to renew its association as the Official Timekeeper to the series for the next three years. This is a real stamp of approval for a sports entertainment product which is providing strong commercial returns for team and event sponsors, at a level of budget very much appropriate for these tougher economic times.

Omega has worked with parent company OC Group since 2001, when it began its support of a young Ellen MacArthur. Omega has also been a key partner in other events belonging to OC, including as the main partner to The Transat in 2004, and as official timekeeper to the 2008 edition, The Artemis Transat. It was the first partner to sign up to the iShares Cup in 2007 when it was created. Read on…


Green Dragon See Icebergs in the Southern Ocean, photo credit: Guo Chuan/Green Dragon Racing/Volvo Ocean Race

Volvo Ocean Race]
Down at 50 degrees south, Green Dragon has seen ice. Three bergs, that skipper Ian Walker estimated were 100 metres across and the size of a football pitch, were spotted shining in the darkness.

The boat passed two bergs to windward and one to leeward. “I noticed this morning that a few more people are now wearing survival suits and we have made a point of closing all the water tight doors,” Ian noted.

Daylight came as a relief to the crew who have now gybed north towards the safety of the gate that was supposed to keep the fleet away from ice.

“Whilst I would love to see an iceberg in the daylight, I will be more than happy not to see any more ice in this race,” reported Ian.

Along with rounding Cape Horn, the sighting of an iceberg is something of a highlight of the Southern Ocean. Onboard Telefónica Blue, Spaniard Jordi Calafat is longing to see a berg.

“Cape Horn and seeing an iceberg will make this trip around world complete for him,” said skipper Bouwe Bekking.

For rookery New Zealander Chris Main, a helmsman on Green Dragon, the marathon leg five of the Volvo Ocean Race has been something of an adventure. Having never sailed a Volvo Open 70, Main arrived in Qingdao two days before the start, hoping, at least, to have two days sailing before the start of the 12,300 leg to Rio, but it was either too foggy or too windy.

“The start day turned out to be just right for my first ever sail on a Volvo Open 70, and with 40 days to Rio, the boys reckoned I’d have plenty of time to learn the ropes and be well and truly ready to get off,” Main says.

Life onboard the Green Dragon has been full of ‘extremes’. “Beforehand you think about the sailing, the speed of the boats big waves and night time sail changes, but the real extreme experience is living in one of these ocean racing beasts while hurtling around the world’s oceans,” he explains.

On PUMA, skipper Ken Read reports that the crew are commenting on how thin each is looking. “It is interesting how you can especially feel your legs getting weaker, being in such a confined space for days and weeks on end,” he said.

According to Rick Deppe, PUMA’s MCM, the crew are devouring all the food he can put in front of them, but still disappearing before his eyes.

“No sooner are the day snacks put out than they disappear up on deck never to be seen again. I’ve witnessed people using a finger to get the last of the spaghetti sauce out of the bottom of the serving cooler,” he observed.

Meanwhile, in the drag race to the ice gate, Ericsson 3 - the freight train at the head of the fleet - is beginning to slow as she too drops off the weather system that abandoned the chasing pack yesterday.

Her average speed is down to 13 knots allowing small gains to be made by Ericsson 4, PUMA and Green Dragon.

“The next week of sailing has the potential to be the most exciting of the whole race,” says Ken Read. “We are in a neck and neck race with Ericsson 4, and, as for Ericsson 3, well anything might happen.”

Read reports that PUMA is blasting along between 18 and 24 knots and that the boat is jumping around and banging in the most violent way imaginable.

Not so for Telefónica Blue who is trapped by light airs in the south. “Another day in paradise. It could have been so nice if we had some boats around us,” said Bouwe Bekking.

Helmsman Simon Fisher adds, “Sadly, it has been another slow day for us and things seem to be set to stay that way as a ridge of high pressure is extending out in front of us, putting up a wall between us and the leaders.”

Telefónica Blue continues her fight, but is averaging only 10 knots and is now nearly 800 nm adrift of the leaders. “Even with all the optimism in the world, it is starting to get a little frustrating now,” Fisher said.

As soon as the leading pack are clear of the ice gate, the race south will begin and with it, for them, will come some tactical options.

Leg Five Day 26: 1300 GMT Volvo Ocean Race Positions
(boat name/country/skipper/nationality/distance to finish)

Ericsson 3 SWE (Magnus Olsson/SWE) DTF 4,326 nm
Ericsson 4 SWE (Torben Grael/BRA) +259
PUMA USA (Ken Read/USA) +287
Green Dragon IRL/CHI (Ian Walker/GBR) +565
Telefónica Blue ESP (Bouwe Bekking/NED) +799

Delta Lloyd IRL (Roberto Bermudez/ESP) DNS
Telefónica Black ESP (Fernando Echávarri/ESP) DNS
Team Russia RUS (Andreas Hanakamp/AUT) DNS

Day One Blown Away

Strong winds have delayed the start of the Marseilles International as racing was postponed, scheduled to start tomorrow when the winds are forecast to die down.

The line up to this year’s first World Tour is outstanding, with 9 of the top 10 ranked skippers competing, along with the two qualifying skippers - Ainslie and Morvan who are ranked 12th and 13th respectively. Then of course, who could forget the America’s Cup champion Ed Baird who has committed to the 2009 World Match Racing Tour.

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Kinley Fowler

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Audi Etchells Worlds Day 1: Bertrand in control after hard day at the office

[source: Audi Etchells Worlds 2009]

John Bertrand and his crew of Ben Ainslie and Andrew Palfrey (AUS) have lived up to their ‘race favourites’ tag, taking the Day 1 lead of the Audi Etchells World Championship following two light and shifty races being sailed on Port Phillip today.

Hosted by Royal Brighton Yacht Club in Victoria, racing on the two lap windward/leeward course was delayed until winds finally filled in, finally getting underway shortly before 3.30pm after a general recall, which was repeated in Race 2.

Sailing on his home turf, Bertrand, and his crew placed third in Race 1 and 11th in Race 2, enough to give them a one point lead over Brisbane’s Jason Muir/Matthew Chew/Paul Wyatt (AUS) with a further four points to a second Melbourne crew, Damien King/Simon Cunnington/James Ware/Andrew Butler (AUS). Read on…

Training in Marseilles

In true Marseilles fashion, gale force winds plagued the team’s first scheduled training session, and the team was forced to move down the coast to Antibes where shelter from the Bora wind allowed for a solid day’s sailing. With the winds easing off in Marseilles, the team was able to return to the original training schedule in the J80s.

The event has an all star line up with Ian Williams trying to defend his World Championship, a number of America’s Cup teams, including the current holder of the world’s oldest trophy – Ed Baird from Alinghi, and some newcomers who are set to cause some upsets.

The first day of racing commences on the 11th. Follow the action either on or

Kinley Fowler

Friday, March 06, 2009

Skippers Invited To 2009 ISAF Women's Match Racing Worlds

[source: ISAF]
The 12 top skippers in the world have been invited to the 2009 ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship in Lysekil, Sweden held during Lysekil Women's Match from 27 July-1 August.

With women’s match racing on the Olympic programme for the first time at the London Games in 2012, the World Championships this summer in Lysekil, on the west coast of Sweden, will be a key event in the sailing world. The world’s top teams will battle for the World Champion title and the biggest prize money in women’s match racing, 50,000 Euro, during the fifth edition of Lysekil Women’s Match, previously a world cup race.

Today, the invites to the prestigious event will be sent out to the top 12 teams in the world. The skippers will be invited according to the ISAF World Match Race Ranking list, which was updated yesterday, 4 March. The reigning World Champion and #1 on the ISAF World Match Race Ranking list, Claire LEROY (FRA), will be invited along with the 10 following skippers on the ranking list. The last spot will be awarded by the Swedish Sailing Federation and the organizing yacht club Lysekil Yacht Club Gullmar.

French skipper LEROY and her Team Ideactor will be defending the World Champion title for the second time in a row. Sweden’s Linda RAHM is ranked second in the world and is familiar with her home waters. She will also gain confidence from her victory at last year’s Lysekil Women’s Match.

Britain’s Lucy MACGREGOR, is definitely the top rookie among the invited skippers. MACGREGOR, previously a crew member on several successful teams, has as skipper climbed the ranking list at impressive speed and is now placed third on the World Ranking. MACGREGOR will be a name to watch out for, especially with the goals of representing her nation on home waters at the 2012 London Olympic Games in mind.

ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship 2009 - Lysekil Women's MatchInvited skippers
1. Claire LEROY (FRA)
2. Linda RAHM (SWE)
9. Sally BARKOW (USA)
10. Nicole SOUTER (AUS)
Plus one wild card to be confirmed
Lysekil Women's Match -
Editors Note: Great to see two Aussie girls on the list. Lets hope they can put together the funding to complete the season.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The World Match Racing Tour Begins

The Stage Is Set For the 2009 WMRT

The stage is set for a vicious battle on this year’s World MatchRacing Tour as a number of heavyweights in the sailing world have beengiven the chance to compete for the championship- including Alinghiskipper and America’s Cup champion Ed Baird, 3 time gold medallist BenAinslie, and 2 times defending World Champion Ian Williams, along witha number of America’s Cup teams and young up and comers.

It all kicks off next week in Marseilles as the Tour’s newest eventgives 12 teams a chance to get some early points in the fight for theworld title. With 5 months intense physical preparation in the lead upto the 2009 season and a good record in the event’s J80 boats, MRTlooks to be in good shape to perform. The team will be travelling toFrance for some final training with defending champion Ian Williamsand Alinghi’s Ed Baird in the J80’s. “It is exciting for us to becompeting together again” said Torvar as the dates for the MarseillesInternational Match Race close in. “We feel like we have had a goodlead up to the event with two physios working closely with our teamand getting us in good shape for this year’s Tour. We have never felt better!”

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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Australian Sailing Team begins preparation for London 2012

2008 Australian Sailing Gold Medalists
[source: Craig Heydon, Yachting Australia, Thursday, 26 February 2009]

Gold medals are on the minds of Australia’s top sailors as they begin the long campaign towards Olympic glory in London with the announcement of the 2009 Australian/AIS Sailing Team.

Reigning Olympic champions, silver medallists and new pairings headline the 2009 Australian/AIS Sailing Team.

Beijing champion Malcolm Page begins his third Olympic campaign with a new skipper, as Mathew Belcher joins him in the 470 class. The new pairing has gelled instantly with Page and Belcher winning the recent Australian 470 National Championship.

“The time Mat and I have spent together so far has been phenomenal and the level we’re at has exceeded our plans,” said Malcolm.

“Mat and I are focused on this year’s World Championships and we’re after a medal. We’re not too concerned about the colour but Gold always looks good. We’re both looking forward to going up against the best 470 crews in the world,” he said.

Darren Bundock, who claimed a silver medal in Beijing, has put the demise of the Tornado class behind him, seeking a new challenge in a 49er with Ben Austin.

“After three Olympic campaigns in a Tornado, the change to a 49er for London 2012 is a refreshing and exciting change,” he said. “The 49er is just like sailing a Tornado on ice! I’m fortunate enough to be sailing with the current 49er World Champion crew to make me look good.”

“Our new campaign is just like Dancing with the Stars, I’m now the clumsy new comer with two left feet and Ben is the star teaching me all the steps,” said Darren.

Australia’s other Gold pairing of Elise Rechichi and Tessa Parkinson begin their London 470 campaign refreshed and ready to hit the waters of Europe in a few months time.

Australian Sailing Team head coach Victor Kovalenko sees a lot of potential in the 2009 Australian Sailing Team.

“This is a transition year for us but we still have a number of goals to achieve,” he said. “Goal number one is to gain experience and goal number two is to be a leading squad in our sport at the various World Championships.”

Laser sailor Tom Slingsby has put his Beijing disappointments behind him as he looks to return to the form that took him to victory at the 2007 and 2008 World Championships and finish 2008 ranked number one in the world.

Australia’s leading R:SX competitor Jessica Crisp will hit the water again after a strong fifth placing in Beijing as she heads towards her fourth Olympic Games.

In 2009 the Australian/AIS Sailing Team will feature a second 49er crew and a third new pairing with Nathan Outteridge set to compete with Australian Sailing Development Squad member Iain Jensen.

The Australian/AIS Sailing Team will maximise the benefits and expertise available through the world renowned AIS scholarship program. These AIS sailing athletes will continue to be well supported through the sophisticated AIS coaching, training and competition program as well as individualised sport science and medicine support.

As recently as this week the Team returned from a successful training camp at the AIS Canberra campus where they undertook intensive off water physical performance education and training sessions.

In the coming months team members will begin heading to Europe to contest a number of major international championships in their classes.

In 2009 the team will also have their first hit-out on the Olympic course at Weymouth in the Sail for Gold Regatta this September.

The Australian Sailing Team is proudly supported by major co-sponsors Audi and Hamilton Island.

2009 Australian/AIS Sailing Team
Mathew Belcher & Malcolm Page – 470 Mens
Elise Rechichi & Tessa Parkinson – 470 Womens
Darren Bundock & Ben Austin – 49er
Tom Slingsby – Laser
Jessica Crisp – R:SXNathan Outteridge & Iain Jensen (Development) – 49er

2009 Australian/AIS Sailing Team – selected but deferring until 2010
Iain Murray
Andrew Palfrey
Nathan Wilmot
Glenn Ashby
Sarah Blanck
Angela Farrell
Karyn Gojnich
Krystal Weir

Acuity wins Line 7 Sydney 38 Australian Championships

Tony Walls and his 'Acuity' team of Mal Page, Roger Perret, Paul Gudmunson, Andrew Toon, Sam Davidson, Jason Greenway, Justin Lambeth and Chris Dawson have won the Line 7 Australian Sydney 38 Championships held off Sydney heads last weekend.

'Acuity' won five of the eight races with their worst place being a fourth. Chris Way's 'Easy Tiger' finished second and Alan & Thomas Quick’s 'Outlaw' finished third.

Sydney 38 Class Association

Sunday, March 01, 2009

NSW Team of the Year

Congratulations to Nathan Wilmot OAM and Malcolm Page OAM who won the award for the NSW Team of the Year for the second year in a row at the NSW Sports Federation Awards. Nathan and Malcolm won the Gold medal in the 470 class at the 2008 Olympics in Qingdao, China.

Nathan and Malcolm's Coach Victor Kovalenko won Coach of the Year.