XS Sailing http://www.xssailing.com Sun, 29 Mar 2015 21:32:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 America’s Cup: Bet on self-interest http://www.xssailing.com/news/americas-cup-bet-on-self-interest-2/ http://www.xssailing.com/news/americas-cup-bet-on-self-interest-2/#comments Sun, 29 Mar 2015 21:32:26 +0000 http://www.xssailing.com/?p=18771 It’s times like this when we reflect on what Dennis Conner said. As four-time winner of the America’s Cup, Dennis has seen all forms of finagling when it comes to the event. And when trying to sort out the motivation of others, Dennis cuts to core.

“Bet on self-interest,” he observes. “It’s always running.”

Last week it was announced that the competitors and organizers of the 2017 America’s Cup were planning to implement a series of rule changes to dramatically reduce team operational costs, primarily by racing in a smaller boat than the previously announced AC62.

But reducing the boat size was not a new proposal. In fact, this was voted on last year. It failed.

Only two teams, believed to be Team New Zealand and Oracle Team USA, supported it then. Why? Kiwis lacked money and Oracle needed entries.

So why is this proposal being floated again?

In February, both Oracle and Artemis Racing launched custom 45-foot test platforms to validate design ideas for their AC62s, and these boats (which look remarkably similar – wink, wink) posted performance numbers close to the AC72s used in the 2013 America’s Cup.

And while speed is important, so is the commercial component, and the test boats looked hot on camera. Little sister had speed and sex appeal. Why pay for Porterhouse when Filet will do?

There are five official challengers, and three of them need money: Brits, French, Kiwis. There is also one team, and possibly two teams, whose entries may be accepted if the budget to compete gets lowered.

But this proposal is still not fully supported.

The Italians don’t want it because they don’t need it. They have money, and are already down the design road toward the AC62. A change now shifts any advantage they have back to the field.

The Kiwis are saying they don’t want it either, a result of a crafty amendment that connects reducing the boat size to simplifying the event schedule.

The first round of qualifying racing was to be held at a separate location from Bermuda. This was likely to be held in Auckland, which had motivated the local government to financially support the Kiwi team. But the two venue plan was expensive in money and training time… not great for the field.

The only challenger without obvious self-interest is Artemis Racing, backed by billionaire Torbjörn Törnqvist, which doesn’t need a discount. But the Swedish team is chummy with Oracle and the Brits, so that alliance may offer equity in the future.

The phones were busy this past weekend to get everyone on the same page. The Italians have already threatened to withdraw if the proposal is passed, and the Kiwis may not be far behind.

Teams are being asked to vote on the proposals this week. A simple majority is all that’s needed. Standing by for the count…

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Charisma claims the golden wheels http://www.xssailing.com/inshore/charisma-claims-the-golden-wheels/ http://www.xssailing.com/inshore/charisma-claims-the-golden-wheels/#comments Sun, 29 Mar 2015 21:31:02 +0000 http://www.xssailing.com/?p=18776 Conditions came good for the final races of the RC44 Valletta Cup in Malta with the wind well into the 20s and substantial waves once again, but today with the welcome addition of Mediterranean sun

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One reason why R.I. jobless rate is dropping http://www.xssailing.com/news/one-reason-why-r-i-jobless-rate-is-dropping/ http://www.xssailing.com/news/one-reason-why-r-i-jobless-rate-is-dropping/#comments Sun, 29 Mar 2015 21:25:38 +0000 http://www.xssailing.com/?p=18780 Scuttlebutt World Headquarters is exceedingly proud of the elite roster of companies that support our publication, and we love it when their local communities recognize them too. In this report by the Providence Journal, Mark Patinkin gives props to one of the top builders in the game…

I saw that Rhode Island’s unemployment rate is down, so I asked which companies are hiring, got some names, picked one and drove to Portsmouth to see what they’re up to.

It’s called New England Boatworks and I’ll be honest why I chose them.

What they do sounded totally cool.

They build some of the world’s most high-performance crafts — including past America’s Cup contenders, and currently, the prototype of an aluminum “chase boat” that can go fast enough to get a ticket on Route 95.

I assumed the company would be under one big roof, but it turns out they have a campus — 15 hangar-sized buildings on 30 acres. I guess it takes a lot of room to make serious boats.

They’re not far from Portsmouth Abbey, right on the Bay overlooking an enormous marina of 360 slips, which New England Boatworks also runs.

I met an exec named Harry Hallgring at their central office. He’s a good example of job opportunity there. Hallgring spent a career as Newport’s fire chief, retired four years ago on a Wednesday, and then, the next Monday, came out of retirement to begin work as NEB’s safety director.

He’s a deferential guy but takes his job seriously — first he said hello, then he asked me to put on safety goggles.

I told him I wanted to see the sexiest part of the operation. A lot of what they do, he said, qualified for that, but he felt we should start in “The Oven.”

I figured that meant a kiln for parts. In fact, it’s a whole heatable hangar. If you’re in the business of high-tech carbon-composite sailboats — some more than 100 feet long — you need a big oven.

We had to walk a few minutes outside to reach it. Inside, I saw that “the oven” doubles as a windowless assembly space. There were 15 or so skilled craftsmen in there making a 44-foot carbon-composite racing sailboat. It sat in two pieces — half the guys were moving around the unattached deck, the other half inside the hull.

Like many boats they build here, this one will likely be an event, almost certainly getting acclaim in yachting media.

I was also escorted by Barry Steinberg, the company’s sales manager, and I told him the workers seemed to be moving pretty fast. The boat’s launch is set for May to make the summer racing season, he explained, so the pressure’s on.

He half-joked: “These guys basically don’t go home.”

Much more… click here

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Cape Horn To Port http://www.xssailing.com/article/cape-horn-to-port/ http://www.xssailing.com/article/cape-horn-to-port/#comments Sun, 29 Mar 2015 21:25:36 +0000 http://www.xssailing.com/?p=18781
image ©Stefan Coppers/Team Brunel/Volvo Ocean Race

In the midst of the freezing southern ocean night, if you looked up out of the hatch right now,

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Holt & Smit Show No Rust http://www.xssailing.com/article/holt-smit-show-no-rust/ http://www.xssailing.com/article/holt-smit-show-no-rust/#comments Sun, 29 Mar 2015 21:25:34 +0000 http://www.xssailing.com/?p=18782

Mike Holt and Carl Smit put the hammer down on day one of the SAP 505 World Championships to nail the first two races in sunny Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

The first race, held in steady, 15-knot easterly winds on a lumpy Algoa Bay, saw a four-way battle develop between some of the hot favourites. Australians Sandy Higgins/Paul Marsh and Michael Quirk/ Luke Payne were up at the front from early on, with double 505 World Champion from Denmark, Jan Saugmann/ Jakob Karbo and Holt/Smit not far back.


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Terry Flynn wins J/22 Midwinter Championship http://www.xssailing.com/news/terry-flynn-wins-j22-midwinter-championship/ http://www.xssailing.com/news/terry-flynn-wins-j22-midwinter-championship/#comments Sun, 29 Mar 2015 21:25:32 +0000 http://www.xssailing.com/?p=18783 Ridgeland, MS (March 29, 2015) – Terry Flynn, with crew Mark Foster and Matt Romberg, earned the J/22 Midwinter Championship at Jackson Yacht Club. All nine races were completed, and the League City, Texas helmsman on Tejas scored a (14),3,2,5,1,3,2,3,3 for 22 points. Flynn is no stranger to J/22 Championship trophies, including the World Championship, North American Championship and Midwinter Championship. Allan Terhune’s Dazzler came in second with 36 points, and John Dyer’s Aquavit third with 49 points. Click headline for full report.

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Speed or survival? http://www.xssailing.com/article/speed-or-survival/ http://www.xssailing.com/article/speed-or-survival/#comments Sun, 29 Mar 2015 21:25:26 +0000 http://www.xssailing.com/?p=18784

“The girls broke their FR0 about 3 days ago. At this stage it’s been deemed unrepairable, they haven’t been able to fix it,” explains Team SCA Shore Manager Richard Mason, voice crackling down the phone line from Sweden.

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BWR video update in 3D http://www.xssailing.com/article/bwr-video-update-3d/ http://www.xssailing.com/article/bwr-video-update-3d/#comments Sun, 29 Mar 2015 15:51:59 +0000 http://www.xssailing.com/?p=18767

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Southern Ocean rollercoaster http://www.xssailing.com/volvo-ocean-race/southern-ocean-rollercoaster/ http://www.xssailing.com/volvo-ocean-race/southern-ocean-rollercoaster/#comments Sun, 29 Mar 2015 15:47:20 +0000 http://www.xssailing.com/?p=18761 [Source: Volvo Ocean Race] The Volvo Ocean Race fleet reached the halfway point of their nine-month marathon – midway through the fifth leg of nine – on Friday and were still glued together in some of the closest racing in the event’s 41-year history.

For those on shore, the day offered the chance to take stock following a dramatic week in which three boats suffered Chinese gybes, but for the crews it was business as usual as they tussled head-to-head approaching the key landmark of Cape Horn.

At 1240 UTC, just 7.7 nautical miles separated the first five boats with Team SCA bringing up the rear, some 80nm further adrift. Dongfeng Race Team must think they are on some kind of Southern Ocean crazy rollercoaster. On Tuesday, they were part of the trio of boats – MAPFRE and Team SCA were the others – to crash over on their sides in a so-called Chinese gybe.

March 28, 2015. Leg 5 onboard Dongfeng Race Team. Batten car toggle broken. We had to put the main down. Sam Greenfield/Dongfeng Race Team/Volvo Ocean Race

March 28, 2015. Leg 5 onboard Dongfeng Race Team. Batten car toggle broken. We had to put the main down. Sam Greenfield/Dongfeng Race Team/Volvo Ocean Race

But, remarkably, all the crews managed to right themselves without overly serious damage to either sailor or boat and within 48 hours of the incidents, Dongfeng Race Team found themselves at the head of the fleet. This was no time to take it easy, however, for anyone.

The 1240 UTC position report on Friday showed the Chinese boat had lost pressure again and slipped back to fifth place behind new leaders, MAPFRE, with Team Alvimedica, Team Brunel and Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing sandwiched in between. All was certainly not lost for Caudrelier and his crew, however, with MAPFRE virtually within view.

For Dongfeng’s helmsman, Damian Foxall (IRL), it has already been a memorable ride, after being called up to sail just this 6,779nm leg. “It is hard to describe the stress on board after the Chinese gybe – ‘is everyone here, is anything damaged?’ Yet three hours later, incredibly, we were back on track,” he wrote in a blog.

March 28, 2015. Leg 5 to Itajai onboard Team SCA. Day 10. Liz Wardley at the helm. Anna-Lena Elled / Team SCA / Volvo Ocean Race

March 28, 2015. Leg 5 to Itajai onboard Team SCA. Day 10. Liz Wardley at the helm. Anna-Lena Elled / Team SCA / Volvo Ocean Race

Sam Davies, skipper of Team SCA, was also in a reflective mood early on Friday. “It has been a hard few days; full of emotion, stress, adrenaline,” she wrote in her blog. As skipper it is hard to find the balance between pushing the boat and crew, but making sure we stay safe and keeping our boat in one piece. Out here, there is little margin for error. I feel like we have found our limits, and proved to ourselves that we are pushing hard. We suffered from our wipeout with the damage we sustained and it is frustrating to lose the miles like that, but we are slowly getting back to as near 100 per cent as possible.”

The fleet is expected to reach Cape Horn on Sunday, and then their Leg 5 destination, Itajaí in south-eastern Brazil, around April 4.

The race, with four and a half legs still to negotiate and six more ports to visit, remains too close to call, with the two overall leaders, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and Dongfeng Race Team, fighting it on a level eight points apiece, and currently just 4.8nm apart.

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Two bullets fire Holt into early lead http://www.xssailing.com/dinghy/two-bullets-fire-holt-into-early-lead/ http://www.xssailing.com/dinghy/two-bullets-fire-holt-into-early-lead/#comments Sun, 29 Mar 2015 15:46:25 +0000 http://www.xssailing.com/?p=18760 Mike Holt and Carl Smit put the hammer down on day one of the SAP 505 World Championship to nail the first two races in sunny Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

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STIR: Round the buoys, Round the rocks http://www.xssailing.com/news/stir-round-the-buoys-round-the-rocks/ http://www.xssailing.com/news/stir-round-the-buoys-round-the-rocks/#comments Sun, 29 Mar 2015 15:46:20 +0000 http://www.xssailing.com/?p=18763 St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands (March 28, 2015) – Round-the-buoy and round-the-rock courses tested the talents of seasoned sailors and weekend warriors alike on the second day of racing in the 42nd St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR), presented by TAG Heuer.

The 62 yacht fleet split onto two different courses that maximized the enjoyment for crews of varying skill levels as well as the performance of assorted yacht makes and models. The result was a whole lot of racing going on and a ton of fun.

The IC-24 and Beach Cat classes sailed around the buoys in Great Bay, which fronts the Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas resort.

“The ICs were a tough class today with some really close competition,” says Michael Royer, a native of Peabody, Massachusetts, who moved to Puerto Rico three years ago, took up sailboat racing and is now getting his feet wet by competing on other islands. “This is the first time our crew has sailed together. So, we’ve been working the kinks out and should have it all figured out by the last day.”

Puerto Rico’s Cachondo, Sembrador and Porfin 7, respectively, are in first through third in the IC-24 class.

Meanwhile, St. Thomas, USVI, sailors ranked at the top of the scoreboard in the Beach Cats. Flight Risk is first, followed by Island Sol and Whiplash.

The remaining six of the STIR’s eight classes sailed a course that wound around Great St. James to St. John and its offshore islands. This, combined with yesterday’s route to Charlotte Amalie and back, gave racers a chance to see the islands by sea as well as test themselves against the currents and wind patterns provided by rocks they rounded.

This type of course was perfect for entries such as Marcus Cholerton-Brown’s Sunset Child, a J/120 racing in the CSA 2 class that is owned and chartered by his US- and UK-based company, Performance Yacht Charter.

“Today was totally awesome. We have crew from the US, UK, Russia, Italy, Columbia and Portugal. Some have never raced before. Everyone gravitated to the position on the boat they were most comfortable with and it all worked out well,” says Cholerton-Brown, who is on the helm.

Corr’s Light Racing/Southern Child and El Ocaso, two other yachts chartered by Performance Yacht Charter, finished the day first and third, respectively, in CSA 2 followed by Dunder in second.

In CSA 3, the BVI’s Chris Haycraft, who is on the helm of his Sirena 38, Pipedream, found himself the odd man out in the class.

“All of the courses today favored asymmetrical spinnaker boats and we were the only non-asymmetrical. It’s a tough class, but we had some great racing,” says Haycraft, whose family has sailed in the STIR all 42 years.

Dark Star, which won the CSA 3 in the past, is in first, followed by Boogaloo and Solstice.

The four-member crew aboard Tony Sanpere’s Catalina 30, Nauticayenne, boasted over 150 years of sailing experience. What’s more, this CSA Non-Spinnaker entrant represents the VI Disabled Sailing Team and has both physically- and visually-challenged crew.

“Our goal is Rio 2016,” says Sanpere. “If we get there, and there is an 80 percent chance we’ll make it, we’ll set a record for being the oldest Paralympic team in history.”

Nauticayenne is third in the class, with Hotel California Too first and Avanti second.

A new class to the STIR this year is Non-Rated Cruising.

“This class is an opportunity for non-racing competitive boats with no professional crew to get an introduction and be part of the racing,” says the USVI’s Brian Emerich, who is helming his Beneteau 40, Augura, and is currently in third. “The long race around the islands gave us a chance to get trimmed out and enjoy the sailing too.”

Odyssey leads the Non-Rated Cruising class followed by Dawn Treader.

One of the winningest sailors in the Caribbean, Antigua’s Bernie Evan-Wong, sailed from Antigua to race in the STIR and is in the CSA 2 class.

“We had a good day, but we weren’t able to get the boat sailing up to its handicap,” says Evan-Wong, whose TAZ is a high-performance Reichel-Pugh 37. “Even so, what I liked best was a mix of round-the-buoy and round-the-island racing that this regatta offers. It’s the best of both worlds.”

In the remaining two classes, Spookie leads CSA 1, while Lazy Dog has taken over the frontrunner position in the one-design Melges 32 Class.

Racing continues and concludes on Sunday.

Event websiteResultsWeather forecastFacebook

Report by event media. Photo by Dean Barnes.

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VIDEO: A four day trip http://www.xssailing.com/article/video-a-four-day-trip/ http://www.xssailing.com/article/video-a-four-day-trip/#comments Sun, 29 Mar 2015 15:46:18 +0000 http://www.xssailing.com/?p=18764 The 46th Trofeo Princesa Sofía (March 28-April 4, 2015) is one of the most enduring and prestigious Olympic-class regattas in the world. The event is held in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, a venue with a rich sailing history, and this year approximately 1,000 sailors from over 50 nations are expected to compete.

One of those nations is Australia… a serious commute for those sailors.

Here’s a short film documenting the four day trip from Sydney, Australia to Palma, Spain by some Australian Sailing Team sailors. They flew 22 hours from Australia to Germany to pick up their Olympic equipment in Rotterdam and drove 27 hours to Barcelona to catch the overnight ferry to Palma. The time to recover from the four day adventure takes about a week.

Video published March 28, 2015.

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A crusade to get rid of New Zealand’s look-alike flag http://www.xssailing.com/news/a-crusade-to-get-rid-of-new-zealands-look-alike-flag/ http://www.xssailing.com/news/a-crusade-to-get-rid-of-new-zealands-look-alike-flag/#comments Sun, 29 Mar 2015 15:46:16 +0000 http://www.xssailing.com/?p=18765 Forty years of frustration has resulted in Tauranga pensioner Ken Campbell mounting a personal crusade to get rid of New Zealand’s look-alike flag.

The issue has bugged him since the 1970s when he was driving in a transtasman speedway test and seeing two near-identical flags fluttering above the stadium.

“It’s confusing – it’s time for a change.”

Mr Campbell’s decision to take his campaign to the media could not have been better timed with the two countries battling it out for cricketing supremacy yesterday.

He said New Zealanders weren’t driving around in “Tin Lizzie” Model T Fords any more, so why should they be stuck with a flag that dated back to 1902.

The 71-year-old has designed two flags, one reminiscent of the current flag and the other more akin to the design favoured by Prime Minister John Key.

Mr Campbell said it was embarrassing when Americans mistook New Zealand’s flag for Australia’s at the successful 1995 America’s Cup challenge by the Sir Peter Blake-led team off San Diego.

He remembers Americans saying “what are you Aussies doing here” when they spotted the flag.

The memory spurred him to fly an alternative flag in Shed 10 on Auckland’s waterfront during the successful challenge by Oracle for the America’s Cup in 2013.

Changing the flag did not mean New Zealanders would forget the past and how they fought under the Union Jack and Southern Cross flag.

“It is about getting our own identity. Look at how many changes there have been in New Zealand. It’s time we supported our champion athletes with a new flag.”

Source: NZ Herald, full story



NATIONAL PRIDE: Ken Campbell of Ohauiti with flags he has designed to encourage more debate on changing New Zealand’s national flag.PHOTO/REBECCA SAVORY


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The golden ticket http://www.xssailing.com/article/the-golden-ticket/ http://www.xssailing.com/article/the-golden-ticket/#comments Sun, 29 Mar 2015 15:46:10 +0000 http://www.xssailing.com/?p=18766

Rounding Cape Horn isn’t easy – and neither is covering boats rounding Cape Horn. Here, Volvo Ocean Race’s Rick Deppe tells us about his mission south…

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Get your World Sailing News here! http://www.xssailing.com/racing/xs-world-sailing-news/ http://www.xssailing.com/racing/xs-world-sailing-news/#comments Sun, 29 Mar 2015 07:01:41 +0000 http://www.xssailing.com/?p=13349 xs blowhard600

XS WORLD NEWS -  Stay updated! Go to our XS World Sailing News page for sailing news from 40 different Sailing News websites. We keep adding links, RSS feeds and forums so you can get sailing news and events from around the world. The page is constantly being updated everyday and every hour thru RSS feeds. Check back a couple of times daily for up to minute news. XS Sailing -Where Sailing Lives!


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Volvo 65 Volvo Ocean Race 2014/15 Auckland NZL Leg 5 Day 12 http://www.xssailing.com/article/volvo-65-volvo-ocean-race-201415-auckland-nzl-leg-5-day-12/ http://www.xssailing.com/article/volvo-65-volvo-ocean-race-201415-auckland-nzl-leg-5-day-12/#comments Sun, 29 Mar 2015 05:25:36 +0000 http://www.xssailing.com/?p=18758 The fleet is chasing in westerly winds around 20 kn direction Cape Horn, that they will pass by tomorrow Monday already. The ranks 15 are still separated by 13 miles only, and Mapfre and Alvimedica crossed within two boat …

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Laser Europacup 2015 Lugano SUI Day 2 http://www.xssailing.com/article/laser-europacup-2015-lugano-sui-day-2/ http://www.xssailing.com/article/laser-europacup-2015-lugano-sui-day-2/#comments Sun, 29 Mar 2015 05:25:30 +0000 http://www.xssailing.com/?p=18759 Best conditions with a 1012 kn South wind prevailed yesterday and the Europacup 2015 season was opened with the full program, i.e. three races by class. The boats on top are within small point ranges. Guillaume Rol SUI leads …

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BWR video update! http://www.xssailing.com/article/bwr-video-update-18/ http://www.xssailing.com/article/bwr-video-update-18/#comments Sun, 29 Mar 2015 02:34:43 +0000 http://www.xssailing.com/?p=18757

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A-Class: Jacek Noetzel flying @Sopot http://www.xssailing.com/article/a-class-jacek-noetzel-flying-sopot-2/ http://www.xssailing.com/article/a-class-jacek-noetzel-flying-sopot-2/#comments Sun, 29 Mar 2015 02:14:53 +0000 http://www.xssailing.com/?p=18756 Great little video by Jacek. 1:49 mins with some good stable foiling and an even better capsize.  Waiting for latest foils to arrive, hope to be flying like Jacek soon… though I need plenty of hours (Years) to match his skills on the A.
The video I made was on a lent Gopro with super wide angle, really good for this helmet shots.

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Opposite end of the meteorological spectrum http://www.xssailing.com/news/opposite-end-of-the-meteorological-spectrum-2/ http://www.xssailing.com/news/opposite-end-of-the-meteorological-spectrum-2/#comments Sun, 29 Mar 2015 02:14:28 +0000 http://www.xssailing.com/?p=18750 Valetta, Malta (March 27, 2015) – If the Mediterranean conjures up images of balmy sun drenched days and wearing shorts and T-shirts, today it was at the opposite end of the meteorological spectrum, challenging RC44 Valletta Cup competitors to the maximum.

A gale passed across Malta last night and while conditions had abated it wasn’t until 1400 local that the wind momentarily dipped below the statutory 25 knots allowing Principal Race Officer Peter Reggio to fire the start gun. Even then a mighty seaway was still running and with the wind piping up mid-race, the penultimate day of competition here was one that the 11 crews will remember for some time, coming ashore soaked to the bone, but with Cheshire cat grins.


Artemis ​Racing p​lows thr​ough a g​iant wav​e downwi​nd (c) M​artinezS​tudio.es

Torbjörn Törnqvist’s Artemis Racing, with British two time Olympic gold medallist Iain Percy calling tactics, led after a bouncy first beat. The Swedish crew kept its cool, hoisting the spinnaker without incident in the big conditions; a feat that some crews further back in the fleet didn’t manage.

Even Artemis Racing didn’t come away unscathed. Törnqvist explained: “Unfortunately just after the hoist, we slammed into a huge wave and the bow came off – slowing us down. Obviously that affected our sailing.” (The RC44s are fitted with a sacrificial bow – that is removed for shipping, and isn’t integral to the boat’s structure).

Artemis Racing led into the leeward gate, but Nico Poons’ Charisma had caught up. Tactician Ray Davies recounted: “We had a good first run and we got a nice layline into the bottom mark where we had a really good rounding. We dropped [the kite] while we were surfing down a wave, gybed, rounded up and gained a lot.”

Charisma had overhauled the compromised Artemis Racing on a second lively upwind leg to lead at the weather mark and managed to hang on for a final downhill sleighride to take her first win of the 2015 RC44 Championship Tour. Going into the final day Charisma is up to second having podiumed in five out of the six races to date leaving her five points off Katusha in the lead.


Nico Poo​n’s Char​isma cru​ises int​o the fi​nish, ta​king the​ race wi​n (c) Ma​rtinezSt​udio.es

Charisma’s owner Nico Poons described his day: “You start a race like this, you survive. It may have looked scary on the downwinds, but I did feel like I had it perfectly under control. As the breeze started picking up more, we were a bit uncomfortable, but only because we were getting so wet.”

His Emirates Team New Zealand navigator Ray Davies added: “It was epic, cool sailing in the nice big waves. We’d been looking forward to it all day. We are excited to sail in that stuff. Our set-up was fantastic, we boned everything up and Nico kept it in the groove.”

Unfortunately even some of the top teams suffered. Team CEEREF scored a DNF due to an issue with her steering, while John Bassadone’s Peninsula Petroleum broached on the first run.

“When we wiped out one of the guys fell in the water. We picked him back up, but he had also hurt himself but he is alright now which is good news,” recounted the Gibraltar-based skipper, adding that he had been hoping for more races to allow Peninsula Petroleum to improve on the eighth place where she stands overall at present. “We’ve raced in tougher conditions and performed quite well, but today we didn’t,” continued Bassadone. “We were a little bit hesitant. Normally we thrive in these conditions.”

The overwhelming memory of the day will certainly be the conditions that verged on ‘survival’, but proved how robust the RC44s are even in big wind and waves. “They are fantastic – that is the beauty of these boats. They are not easy, but even today they were very sailable,” said Bassadone.

“They were great conditions and very challenging,” agreed Torbjörn Törnqvist. “It was on the edge but Luigi [PRO Peter Reggio] made a good call and there were no issues around the course and no blow outs. All the boats handled it very well. It was pretty hairy out there, we couldn’t sail downwind as we wanted because of our bow problem, but we had moments of 22 knots of boat speed.”

Only one race was sailed today before the wind picked up and the fleet was sent home. The aim is to get three races in tomorrow, the final day of the RC44 Valletta Cup, with the first start at 10:30 CET.

RC44 Valletta Cup Fleet Racing Results
1. Katusha – 17
2. Charisma – 22
3. Bronenosec Sailing Team – 28
4. Team Nika – 29
5. RUS – 7 Anywayanyday – 31
6. Team Aqua – 34
7. Team CEEREF – 36
8. Peninsula Petroleum – 41
9. Artemis Racing – 45
10. Artemis Racing Youth – 52
11. MAG Racing – 62

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Malta at the maxi http://www.xssailing.com/inshore/malta-at-the-maxi/ http://www.xssailing.com/inshore/malta-at-the-maxi/#comments Sun, 29 Mar 2015 02:06:40 +0000 http://www.xssailing.com/?p=18748 If the Mediterranean conjures up images of balmy sun drenched days and wearing shorts and T-shirts, today it was at the opposite end of the meteorological spectrum, challenging RC44 Valletta C

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Climbing up the Mediterranean to the Barcelona World Race finish http://www.xssailing.com/news/climbing-up-the-mediterranean-to-the-barcelona-world-race-finish/ http://www.xssailing.com/news/climbing-up-the-mediterranean-to-the-barcelona-world-race-finish/#comments Sun, 29 Mar 2015 02:06:35 +0000 http://www.xssailing.com/?p=18752 (March 28, 2015; Day 88) – It’s small Cape, a local Spanish landmark, but it could be argued that it’s the most definitive one of the Barcelona World Race. Cape Horn may be the biggest challenge of the two handed round the world race, but if you are not passing Cabo de Gata on the SE corner of Spain you are not finishing.

Cabo de Gata is the last mainland toehold on the climb up the Mediterranean to the finish line, quite often heralding a weather transition zone.

After passing Gibraltar (Tarifa 5 deg 37 W) last night at 1740hrs UTC Guillermo Altadill and José Munoz had a good passage making four gybes downwind in breezes up to 15kts. A slow-down before dawn this morning proved temporary as they worked the Andalusian coast and refused to stray east into the clutches of the Alboaran Sea.

And so the Catalan-Chilean duo, who are set to take second place – will pass Cabo de Gata later this afternoon and start the last ascent for home. Neutrogena are now forecast to cross the finish line in Barcelona at around 1730hrs UTC Monday evening. Barcelona will no doubt lay on an emotional welcome for one of its favourite, most successful and well known round the world racers, who will complete his seventh circumnavigation.

For Altadill second place would complete his unfinished business with this race as well as being one of the standout results of a career which has mostly spanned full crewed challenges of all types. He started the inaugural edition of the race, sailing this same boat which was originally built for him as Estrella Damm, but had to retire into South Africa. For the Chilean José Muñoz, this will be his second circumnavigation,following the Global Ocean Race with his friend the late Felipe Cubillos.

Meantim at over four hundred miles astern there must be an acceptance on board GAES Centros Auditivos that second is now well beyond their reach. Anna Corbella and Gerard Marin were 230 miles to the Gibraltar Straits this afternoon, making 13.2kts, and should return to their home Mediterranean Sunday afternoon, arriving Barcelona on the morning of Thursday 2nd April.

Relentless struggle
One Planet, One Ocean & Pharmaton battle on, trying to protect their leverage to the east of We Are Water. Aleix Gelabert and Didac Costa have done a good job so far, 20 miles forwards in terms of latitude, though the separation east west to the Garcia brothers is still over 130 miles. And over the morning to afternoon schedule report they have been making 11.9 knots, compared with 10.2 for the Garcia brothers. But over 24 hours their averages are almost identical: 10.7 and 10.8 knots.

Back in their half of the world
On Renault Captur Jörg Riechers and Sébastien Audigane are back in the northern hemisphere. The German and French pairing have crossed the Equator at 0553hrs UTC only having a small loss of speed through the Doldrums thanks to their very westerly passage. And now they are in to the NE’ly trade winds.

Only Spirit of Hungary remain in the South Atlantic. Nandor Fa and Conrad Colman continue to work hard in the middle of a very complicated weather scenario, as Colman explained:

“We have been caught for days now in a bubbling mess of troughs and ridges, a turbulent transition zone without clean wind extending eastwards from the coast for over a thousand miles. With our route thus barred, we have had no choice but to slowly fight our way through, like aqua jogging through molasses.

“Even as the boat has slowed our pace on board has increased. The “calms” we have encountered are actually a slow moving dance between warring parcels of air, a dynamic equilibrium between opposing forces. As these systems butt heads, ground won or lost by either side sends the wind spinning in circles so we tack and gybe, furl and unfurl ad infinitum under starry skies or blistering hot days.

“I am sporting a wide brimmed hat and coats of sunscreen whereas Nandor has ripped up an old t-shirt and is now sporting a rather fetching Laurence of Arabia look. We have been busy on the maintenance side too, first with our key hole surgery on the winch pedestal, followed 36 hours later by a complete rebuild. The charger for the engine starting battery fell victim to humidity from our previous problem with the keel bolts but we rigged a up the power cable from the bilge pump in its place. We mainly get 100% clean energy from the boat’s movement through the water via our hydrogenerators but with speeds slowing we need the engine to charge the batteries. This is essential, as we need to power the instruments but also the water maker! With sweat pouring off us we are incredibly dependent on this alchemy of diesel into fresh water.

“Keep in mind that all these maneuvers have been done with one hand on my part. During my most recent watch I was still able to furl the solent jib, set the J1/ Genoa, gybe the boat and grind on the backstays…all with my right arm. When we do jobs together, I step in on the pedestal winch with Nandor but I feel terrible that by only contributing one side I am asking him to do half of my share too. Still, he says that this solo training has been incredibly useful for his future sailing.

“The pain in my shoulder has reduced to a dull ache and while I have recovered most of my range of movement I fear that I have certainly damaged either the inner cup of the joint, the labrum, or stretched the tendons somewhat. My joint now feels like a small hand in a large glove. It works, but you can’t help feeling that there’s a little more room than you need.”

Ranking at 14:00 UTC:
1. Cheminées Poujoulat (Bernard Stamm – Jean Le Cam) finished Mar 25 (84:05:50:25)
2. Neutrogena (Guillermo Altadill – Jose Muñoz) 374 nm Distance to Finish
3. GAES Centros Auditivos (Anna Corbella – Gerard Marin) 406 nm Distance to Lead
4. We Are Water (Bruno Garcia – Willy Garcia) 1797 nm DTL
5. One Planet One Ocean / Pharmaton (Aleix Gelabert – Didac Costa) 1528 nm DTL
6. Renault Captur (Jörg Riechers – Sebastien Audigane) 2795 nm DTL
7. Spirit of Hungary (Nandor Fa – Conrad Colman) 3641 nm DTL
Hugo Boss (Alex Thomson – Pepe Ribes) Abandon

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Background: The third edition of the Barcelona World Race is the only double-handed, non-stop, round the world race. Eight IMOCA 60 teams started December 31, 2014, with the intent to cover 23,450 nautical miles in a circumnavigation from Barcelona to Barcelona, putting the capes of Good Hope (South Africa), Leeuwin (Australia) and Horn (Chile) to port and the Antarctic to starboard.

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Terry Flynn takes lead at J/22 Midwinter Championship http://www.xssailing.com/news/terry-flynn-takes-lead-at-j22-midwinter-championship/ http://www.xssailing.com/news/terry-flynn-takes-lead-at-j22-midwinter-championship/#comments Sun, 29 Mar 2015 02:06:32 +0000 http://www.xssailing.com/?p=18753 Ridgeland, MS (March 28, 2015) – With seven races now completed at the J/22 Midwinter Championship at Jackson Yacht Club, a new leader has emerged: Terry Flynn on Tejas. Notching a 1,3,2 in Saturday’s three contests, the Texan has launched to a 10-point lead heading into the final two races on Sunday. Allan Terhune’s Dazzler remained in the silver position with 26 points, while Benz Faget’s Fats dropped to third with 27 points.

As the throw-out race came into effect, Flynn was able to drop a 14 in the regatta’s opening race. Day 1 leader Faget wasn’t able to match his prior dominance and lodged a 6,14,8 today (dropping the 14).

The 37 teams were postponed on the water during the morning hours, waiting for the breeze to settle in. When Saturday’s racing got underway in winds around 4 knots, Flynn took the bullet, trailed by Sean Clare’s White Trash and Terhune. John Dyer’s Aquavit won the next duel as the breeze increased up to 12 knots. Macho Slavich on Bad Dog placed second, and Flynn third. By the day’s final battle, winds backed off to 7-9 knots. Dyer again snagged victory as Flynn and Chris Wientjes rounded out the top three.

Racing continues through Sunday. This event marks the highest J/22 Midwinters attendance since 2010.

Day Two Results (Top 10 of 37; 7 races, 1 discard)
1. 25 / USA 707, Tejas, Terry Flynn, GBCA, [14]-3-2-5-1-3-2- ; 16
2. 30 / USA 539, Dazzler, Allan Terhune, Jr, Annapolis Yacht Club, 3-1-3-[10]-3-10-6- ; 26
3. 15 / 954, Fats, Benz Faget, SYC/NOYC, 1-10-1-1-6-[14]-8- ; 27
4. 37 / 810, Aquavit, John Dyer, Wayzata Yacht Club, [38/OCS]-6-4-15-5-1-1- ; 32
5. 24 / 1586, Bad News, Michael Marshall, CYC, 5-7-5-8-12-9-[18]- ; 46
6. 26 / 1532, Axe Wound, RJ Moon, RYC, 6-16-[28]-2-15-4-4- ; 47
7. 7 / 1646, Baby Lips, Keith Zars, Lake Canyon Yacht Club, 4-12-13-3-[25]-6-13- ; 51
8. 40 / 754, , Chris Wientjes, NOYC, [38/DSQ]-4-7-11-16-16-3- ; 57
9. 5 / USA 489, Mo’ Money, Kevin Doyle, Youngstown Yacht Club, 17-9-6-4-17-[25]-5- ; 58
10. 2 / USA 669, Call The Ball, Robert Muller, Jackson Yacht Club, 2-14-9-20-[22]-12-15- ; 72

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Volvo Ocean Race: Fast and Furious to Cape Horn http://www.xssailing.com/news/volvo-ocean-race-fast-and-furious-to-cape-horn/ http://www.xssailing.com/news/volvo-ocean-race-fast-and-furious-to-cape-horn/#comments Sun, 29 Mar 2015 02:06:28 +0000 http://www.xssailing.com/?p=18754 (March 27, 2015; Day 12) – “It’s going to be fast and furious between now and Cape Horn,” says Race Meteorologist Gonzalo Infante, scanning the Volvo Ocean Race routing on the screen. Ahead of him, yellow turns to gold turns to orange turns to red. And where there’s red, there’s reason to be nervous.

“From a safety point of view this is concerning,” he continues. “The sea state is rough, and tonight, the boats will be hit by a cold front. These fronts travel very fast, faster than the fleet in fact. So as it blows over, they will experience a change of wind direction from northwesterly to westerly. It will be rough for the leading pack.”

At the moment, the boats are travelling fast, surfing with the help of a generous 20 knot breeze from the west. But as the hours tick by, that wind could ramp up and shift, gusting in from the northwest at 30 or even 35 knots. There will be a point where the sailors stop focusing on speed, and start concentrating on survival.

“It’s going to be downwind all the way to Cape Horn for us,” explains navigator Libby Greenhalgh in the dark of the Team SCA computer station.

“Essentially we’re riding the low pressure system there, and we’ve got a building breeze so strategically for us it’s about getting our sail changes at the right point. The breeze is going to pick up to a good 30 knots solid and we’re looking at some squalls with gusts of 45 to 50 knots at times.”

At the moment, the magenta boat sits in sixth place, and if they’re not careful, they could get caught by an angry weather system, according to Gonzalo.

“This system is 1000 miles across in diameter,” he points out. “It’s been travelling for a while and it is a bit like a snowball. Although it probably started small, as it goes it drags other lows along with it. There will be a heinous sea state, and they will need to be fast in order to keep safe – they need to out run it. If they can keep ahead with a moderate 4 or 5 metre sea state, then they might be okay.”

Libby is well aware that the next 48 hours could be more about survival than speed.

“At points it’s probably going to be a bit about battening down the hatches,” she admits. “For us, it’s about getting to Cape Horn with all of our sails. We are technically minus one at the moment which changes some of the angles we can do and with the breeze picking up I think we’ll be on some of our smaller sails anyway.”

The closeness of the top five boats, and the desire to skip along the ice limit, has led to constant gybes and crossings.

“Every hour and a half we have to move 2,000 kilos of equipment,” laughs Simon Fisher, onboard Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing. He rubs his tired face with calloused hands. “And we’ve been doing it for two or three days now!”

Cape Horn veteran Stu Bannatyne on Team Alvimedica comments on the situation.

“The weather is such that we’re kind of forced to sail right down the edge of the ice limit, and that means we’re basically having to gybe every hour to stay on the right side of the shift,” he says. “We’re hoping at some stage the breeze will shift so that we can stay on one gybe for a bit longer.”

They had a chance meeting with one of their opponents this morning, in an unbelievable match racing-style cross some 1,200nm from land.

“It’s crazy that we have to think about these things out here in the middle of nowhere,” laughs skipper Charlie Enright. “The boats are coming together and ridiculous speeds. Everyone’s eyes were wide open, and I’m glad we made it!

He pauses. “I think everyone will remember today for the rest of their lives. It was completely insane swapping gybes with not only MAPFRE, but a number of other boats. It was a fight to be in the same place at the same time, and that’s the result.”

Leg 5 (6,776 nm) Position Report (21:40 UTC)
1. Dongfeng Race Team, Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 2812.2 Distance to Finish
2. Team Alvimedica, Charlie Enright (USA), 2.0 nm Distance to Lead
3. MAPFRE, Xabi Fernandez (ESP), 9.4 nm DTL
4. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR), 14.9 nm DTL
5. Team Brunel, Bouwe Bekking (NED), 16.5 nm DTL
6. Team SCA, Sam Davies (GBR), 186.8 nm DTL
7. Team Vestas Wind, Chris Nicholson (AUS), Did not start

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Background: The 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race began in Alicante, Spain on Oct. 11 with the final finish on June 27 in Gothenburg, Sweden. Racing the new one design Volvo Ocean 65, seven teams will be scoring points in 9 offshore legs to determine the overall Volvo Ocean Race winner. Additionally, the teams will compete in 10 In-Port races at each stopover for a separate competition – the Volvo Ocean Race In-Port Series. The fifth leg, from Auckland, NZL to Itajaí, Brazil (6,776 nm), began March 18 with an ETA of approximately April 4.

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Brutal Conditions Lie Ahead http://www.xssailing.com/article/brutal-conditions-lie-ahead/ http://www.xssailing.com/article/brutal-conditions-lie-ahead/#comments Sat, 28 Mar 2015 17:04:44 +0000 http://www.xssailing.com/?p=18747

ALICANTE, Spain, March 28 (Reuters) – The Volvo Ocean Race fleet, battered but unbroken as they battle through the Southern Ocean, face the toughest 48 hours of the nine-month marathon as they approach Cape Horn on Monday.

The region is the only time in the 38,738-nautical mile race where the boats are likely to see icebergs, despite the ice limits set by organisers, and a huge storm is building up behind to chase them on their way (see details here).

Early on Saturday (0640 UTC), the Chinese boat Dongfeng

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