Saturday, 30 January 2010

Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta: 1st February 2010

More than Messing About in Boats: 170th Oceanbridge Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta

All Go! Supplied image.

by Susan Robinson-Derus

Auckland’s maritime history will come alive on the Waitemata Harbour on Monday, 1 February with a fleet of vintage, classic and modern please, racing and work boats vying for line honours in the 170th Oceanbridge Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta.

Tall ships, gaff riggers, sloops, racing keelers, sailing dinghies, radio controlled boats, elegant classic yachts and grunty tugboats, all under the gaze of the flagship, the navy frigate HMNZS Te Mana, will be out on the water competing in a full day of racing and displays.

Among the contenders in the classic yacht division will be Jason Prew who owns two classics and is looking after another two as he continues his love affair with these beautiful craft.

“I love the look of the classic and the way they sail,” says Jason who manages a computer store in Newmarket when he is not restoring his boats. “They sit low in the water, look so nice under sail and cut through the water instead of skimming across like a modern boat.”

He will be racing restored beauty, Rawene, competing against some of Auckland’s legendary racing yachts for line honours on the Waitemata Harbour including Thelma, Rainbow, Ranger, Gloriana, Tawera and Little Jim. Many of these beautiful vessels will be lit on Sunday evening at their moorings in Viaduct Harbour.

A7 and A2. Supplied image.

Two Australian classic yachts, Wraith of Odin and Fair Winds, will also race in the 170th regatta and then compete in the four day Southern Trust Classic Yacht Regatta starting on 12 February.

A highlight of the day will again be the tugboat race with some 30 tugs and towing launches, many of them vintage vessels, from around Auckland, Northland and Bay of Plenty, joining the line up.

It will be a real family affair for the seafaring Thompson clan, headed by Jimmy Thompson, founder of Thompson Towing, who is described by son, Mike “as mental about tugs”. The extended family includes members of the legendary Lidgard Bros boatbuilding family and the Browns, well known as coastal tugboat and tender skippers.

Three generations will be racing in the tug and workboat race with the Thompsons entering three of the five tugs they own.

A new course has been set with the finish line off the southern end of Devonport Wharf, providing great vantage points for landlubbers to enjoy the action. At 11.30 am following the race, there will be a display and parade of tugs through the ages around Viaduct Harbour. Many of the tugboats will then berth at the Viaduct to allow closer inspection by enthusiasts.

“We’re expecting the best fleet yet with hard competition and a feast for the eyes,” says tugboat race organiser, Baden Pascoe.

The Royal New Zealand Navy frigate HMNZS Te Mana is the regatta flagship for the day to provide additional pomp and spectacle to the Anniversary Day Regatta which is now known as the Oceanbridge Anniversary Day Regatta to acknowledge the long term sponsorship of North Shore based shipping company and sailing supporter, Oceanbridge.

HMNZS Taupo, one of the new inshore navy patrol vessels, will be the official race committee boat for the 2010 event and will be positioned on the race start line off the end of Princess Wharf enabling spectators on shore to get up close to the action. There will be excellent vantage points around the harbour shoreline and North Head, Bastion Point and Orakei.

Onshore, there will be a lively programme of entertainment all weekend including the Auckland Buskers Festival, the Auckland Seafood Festival and free entry to Voyager National Maritime Museum.

“This really will be a wonderful birthday to celebrate Auckland,” Mr Mahoney said.

“This is a unique event for sailors and for spectators on shore to see our maritime heritage in action on the Waitemata Harbour,” said Regatta Organising Committee Chairman, Eric Mahoney. “This year we also have interest from across the Tasman with two classic beauties entered to compete for line honours against some of Auckland’s legendary classic racing yachts and there will also be a great to watch tussle on the water with the vintage tugboats and workboats racing to the finish line off Devonport.”

Bean Rock. Supplied image.

On the Sunday evening, 31 January, some of the stars of the classic yacht fleet, fresh from a day’s racing, will be berthed and lit up at the Viaduct Harbour at O’Hagan’s Landing (by Simunovich Fisheries).

Around 11.30am on the Monday after the tugboat race and a parade and display to show off their power and agility, some of these old-timers will be berthed at the same place and members of the public are welcome to look them over.

There will be a lot of activity around the viaduct as the regatta fleet heads to the race grounds in the harbour under the watch of the Royal New Zealand Navy frigate HMNZS Te Mana, the regatta flagship for the day. HMNZS Taupo, one of the new inshore navy patrol vessels, will be the official race committee boat for the 2010 event and will be positioned on the race start line off the end of Princess Wharf enabling spectators on shore to get up close to the action. There will be excellent vantage points around the harbour shoreline and North Head, Bastion Point and Orakei.

Onshore, there will be a lively programme of entertainment all weekend including the Auckland Buskers Festival, the Auckland Seafood Festival and free entry to Voyager National Maritime Museum.

The family of regatta sponsors headed by Oceanbridge Shipping Limited also includes Auckland City Council, Ports of Auckland Limited, Classic Hits 97.4FM, Southern Trust, Lion Foundation and the Spirit of Adventure Trust with generous support from the Royal New Zealand Navy.

Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta

America's Cup: Statementby Tom Ehman, GGYC Spokesperson

by Tom Ehman

The New York Supreme Court said today that, due to its busy schedule, the hearing on the "constructed-in-country" issue could not be expedited. Therefore, it appears unlikely that a hearing will take place before the America's Cup match begins on February 8th.

It is unfortunate that the legality of Alinghi's American-made sails probably will not be decided before the Match. However, it will be decided eventually.

Golden Gate Yacht Club

America's Cup: New York Supreme Court confirms America's Cup Match for 8 February

Justice Kornreich tells teams to go racing; no decision or hearing will take place before the Match

by Daphne Morgan Barnicoat

Justice Kornreich of the New York Supreme Court informed the America's Cup defending yacht club, Société Nautique de Genève, and the challenging Golden Gate Yacht Club today via telephone conference that she will not hear the American challenger's complaint regarding the ‘constructed in country' requirement of the Deed of Gift before the 33rd America's Cup Match which is scheduled to begin on 8 February.

This means the 33rd America's Cup is free to proceed as ordered by previous New York rulings: in Valencia on the 8, 10 and 12 February.

“This is excellent news. We are delighted that BMW Oracle's attempts to disqualify Alinghi and to win the America's Cup in court have been denied. We look forward to meeting them on the start line here in Valencia on 8 February to race for the Cup; something they can no longer try to avoid,” said Ernesto Bertarelli – two-time America's Cup winner – on hearing the news when returning ashore after today's race training session.

The America's Cup trophy arrives at the Alinghi base in Valencia

Sport's oldest active trophy arrives at the Alinghi base, the America's Cup Defender's home, in Valencia

The sterling silver ewer once known as the ‘£100 Cup' and named the ‘America's Cup' after America, the yacht of the same country that fought off the British fleet around the Isle of Wight in 1851, is the most sought after trophy in the sport of sailing.

[Note from SailRaceWin: The America's Cup was originally known as the 'hundred guinea cup', actually slightly more than £100, in the currency pre-dating decimalisation in England.]

It has resided at the Société Nautique de Genève (SNG) in Switzerland since 2003 when the representing team, Alinghi – a first time challenger – wrestled it from the two-time winner, Team New Zealand, and returned it to Europe for the first time since the original race.

Alinghi successfully defended the America's Cup for SNG in 2007 securing the trophy's Swiss residency until today when the Cup arrived at the Defender's base in Port America's Cup, Valencia, where it will be exhibited to the public in the house of the America's Cup at the Alinghi base.

On site to welcome the trophy's arrival were Ernesto Bertarelli, Alinghi team president, who had just completed a day's race training on Alinghi 5; Rita Barberá, the Mayoress of Valencia; Ricardo Peralta, Spanish government delegate and Vicente Rambla, vice president Valencia regional government.

“It is fantastic to see the Cup back in Valencia and in its home at the Alinghi base; I very much hope that visitors will enjoy the America's Cup during its stay,” said Ernesto Bertarelli, team president.

Rita Barberá invited the public to come and see the America's Cup at the Alinghi base and said: “I feel very touched to see the Auld Mug again. It's back home! This is going to be a unique edition of the Cup. Common sense has prevailed. This America's Cup has to be decided on the water. The 8 February is round the corner and there is going to be an event!”

For those in Valencia:

* Alinghi is hosting a Public Open Day on Sunday 31 January from 09:00-18:00 – All are welcome!
* America's Cup visiting times are: 11:00-18:00 seven days a week


America's Cup: Profile of Dirk de Ridder (NED), BMW ORACLE Racing

Dirk de Ridder. Image copyright Gilles Martin-Raget/BMW ORACLE Racing.

by Peter Rusch

Dirk de Ridder (NED), known by his nickname of 'Cheese' on the team, has one of the coolest jobs on board the USA.

"My role on the boat is as wing sail trimmer. I operate the functions and the sheet on the wing sail, and make sure it has the correct shape. To do that, I work closely with helmsman James Spithill to make sure we have the right balance and loading on the boat," he explains.

Trimming the largest wing sail ever built is a long way from the family keelboat he used to go on sailing holidays with in the Netherlands with his parents.

"I started sailing very young with my parents on a 33-foot keelboat, and then started sailing small dinghies. That turned into sailing at national level in keelboats and I went on to sail around the world three times - getting two seconds and a first place. Then, the Olympics in Sydney and several European and World titles in anything from a Maxi yacht to a small keelboat."

Dirk de Ridder racing on board an Extreme 40. Image copyright Gilles Martin-Raget/BMW ORACLE Racing.

The round the world win came with illbruck in the 2001 Volvo Ocean Race, the Olympic Games experience with Roy Heiner, who proved to be something of a mentor to de Ridder.

"I've had the pleasure to sail with a lot of the big names in the sport, but the guy who really took me out of Holland was Roy Heiner, who helped me a lot."

So how does sailing with the wing sail differ from sailing the trimaran with soft sails?

"The biggest change is that there is no load involved with the wing sail. With a traditional mainsail, you're really involved in the loading of the whole boat and it's very easy to overload these types of boats. But that whole aspect has gone away, which makes my job much easier. It's almost like going back to sailing a small catamaran - that's how easy the whole wing sail operation is."

Dirk de Ridder. Image copyright Gilles Martin-Raget/BMW ORACLE Racing.

"The surprise came when we started speaking about the initial design with the designers. They tell you the difference, but it's hard to comprehend how different it is. But then we started sailing small boats, the C-Class and A-Class and it's really impressive. The similarity between the small wing on those boats and the big one is they are basically identical. We have a better control system on the big wing sail, so we can do more with this than the small ones, but the way the air flows over it and the way it works is much the same."

And now, after sailing on board USA with the wing sail, will it be difficult to go back to sailing more conservative monohull designs.

"The difference between this and one of the old America's Cup boats is the difference between driving a lawnmower and a Ferrari. You can't even compare the two. These boats are so extreme, the speeds are extreme, the loads are extreme and there's an endless ability to go fast.

"So it will never feel the same, but it would be nice to have some competition because we are sailing around alone. The boats are impressive, but you get used to the speed, to the loads, to flying on one hull. I think it would be nice to have 10 or 15 boats next to you competing. That's something we've all missed."


Warren Jones International Youth Regatta: An Official World Tour Qualifier Event

"One of the best youth match racing regattas in the world"

by Adele Jackson, Swan River Sailing

This exciting international match racing regatta was established in memory of yachting legend, Warren Jones through the Western Australian Yachting Foundation (Inc.) and the Warren Jones Foundation (Inc.).

It has been held annually in Western Australia since 2003 and has grown into a highly regarded event on the international yachting calendar from which many young competitors have launched their match racing careers.

The event is hosted alternately between the Royal Perth Yacht Club in odd years and Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club in even years and competitors sail in the Western Australian Yachting Foundation's matched fleet of Foundation 36 yachts which were designed specifically for match racing, providing a challenging platform for young sailors to develop and showcase their skills.

Both Clubs provide a natural theatre with vantage points from which racing can be viewed and the onwater opportunities are magnificent for sponsors and spectators alike to be right in amongst the excitement of the yachting action.

As part of the co-operation with other international events, the winner of the Warren Jones International Youth Regatta receives automatic invitations to the Open de España in Spain, the Australia Cup at the Royal Perth Yacht Club and to a World Match Racing Tour event.

Terri Platell, Warren Jones' eldest daughter said of the event, "Our family is thrilled that this regatta has so quickly developed a reputation as one of the best youth match racing events in the world. My father would have been absolutely delighted that it has become an eagerly awaited international competition that provides so many future champions with the opportunity to participate in an international regatta of this calibre.

"We thank the many people who have come together to make the regatta a world class event, in honour of our father."

The timing and format of the annual event makes it appealing for both competitors and spectators, drawing the best -of-the-best of the World's youth match racing competitors for what has become known simply as 'The Warren Jones'.

Past Travellers Trophy Winners (for overseas entrants)

2009: Phil Robertson - RNZYS (NZL) - also Warren Jones Regatta winner
2008: Adam Minoprio - RNZYS (NZL)
2007: Alastair Hall - RYA (GBR)
2006: Adam Minoprio - RNZYS (NZL) - also Warren Jones Regatta winner
2005: Simon Minoprio - RNZYS (NZL) - also Warren Jones Regatta winner
2004: Simon Minoprio - RNZYS (NZL) - also Warren Jones Regatta winner

Official Warren Jones International Youth Regatta Programme

Warren Jones International Youth Regatta

Colin Mullins Regatta: Tiller (NZL) Steers his way into Warren Jones Regatta

by John Roberson

Young New Zealand skipper William Tiller from Auckland’s Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, built on a steady performance on the first day of the Colin Mullins Regatta, to assure his team a place in next week’s Warren Jones International Youth Regatta, by topping the scoreboard at the end of the round robin series.

He shares the top spot with Sydney’s Kyle Langford and crew, representing the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, while early contender David Gilmour of the host club sacrificed his chance of heading the scoreboard with a half point penalty following a collision with Langford in their match.

Two flights have now been sailed in the first-to-three-points semi-final, with Langford 2 – 0 up against Gilmour, while Tiller has a half point advantage over Perth skipper Peter Nicholas, of Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club, who are hosting the regatta.

David Gilmour’s father, Peter, one of the world’s greatest match racers has a knack to coming back from seemingly impossible situations to win regattas, Saturday will tell whether David has inherited this ability.

In the meantime, the bottom half of the scoreboard is already confirmed, with Royal Perth Yacht Club’s Robert Gibbs 5th, the host club’s Tristan Brown 6th and Jordan Reece of the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron 7th. The northern hemisphere teams of Dane, Martin Boidin, Yosaku Yoshida from Japan and Britain’s Mark Lees filled 8th, 9th and 10th places respectively.

However Martin Boidin from the Royal Danish Yacht Squadron is certain of a place in the Warren Jones Regatta, having been guaranteed a wild card entry before he made the journey to Australia. Other places in the prestigious Warren Jones event will be decided on merit after the Collin Mullins Regatta final on Saturday evening.

Results to date:

Semi-finals - first to three points:

A: Tiller 1.5pts - Nicholas 0.5pts
B: Langford 2pts - Gilmour 0 pts

Positions 5 to 10:

5. Robert Gibbs - Royal Perth Yacht Club
6. Tristan Brown - Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club
7. Jordan Reece - Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron
8. Martin Boidin - Royal Danish Yacht Squadron
9. Kosaku Yoshida - Japan Yacht Matchrace Association
10. Mark Lees - Poole Yacht Club

And in glorious technicolor:

Western Australian Yachting Foundation

America's Cup: Images of Alinghi 5 off Valencia

Alinghi 5 sail change. Look at the size of the HP on the outboards of the RIB (2x225HP)! Image copyright George Johns/Alinghi.

Simon Daubney (NZL) on board Alinghi 5. Image copyright George Johns/Alinghi.

Alinghi 5. Image copyright George Johns/Alinghi.

Loick Peyron at the helm of Alinghi 5. Image copyright George Johns/Alinghi.

Alinghi 5 sail change forward. Image copyright George Johns/Alinghi.

Alinghi 5 sail change. Image copyright George Johns/Alinghi.

Alinghi 5. Image copyright George Johns/Alinghi.

Alinghi 5. Image copyright Luca Butto'/Alinghi.

Alinghi 5. Image copyright Luca Butto'/Alinghi.

Alinghi 5. Image copyright Luca Butto'/Alinghi.

Alinghi 5. Image copyright Luca Butto'/Alinghi.

Alinghi 5. Image copyright Luca Butto'/Alinghi.


Rolex Miami OCR: Wright extends lead in Finns at Miami

Clsoe racing in the Finns at the Rolex Miami OCR, with Ed Wright (GBR 11) in the lead. Image copyright Rolex/Dan Nerney.

by Robert Deaves

Some clear gaps are beginning to emerge in the Finn class after day four at the 2010 Rolex Miami OCR. Another win, along with a third for Ed Wright (GBR) extended his lead at the top, while Zach Railey (USA) had another consistent top five day to move within two points of second placed Giles Scott (GBR).

Both races had restarts with a subsequent black flag start. Three were disqualified in race seven, while four were pulled out of race eight, including three of the top 10 hopefuls: Brendan Casey (AUS), Mark Andrews (GBR) and Andrew Mills (GBR). However, two more testing races were sailed in 8 to 12 knots.

Rafa Trujillo (ESP) briefly led race seven before being yellow flagged and dropping back to 5th. A similar fate also befell Wright and Scott, though Wright recovered to win while Scot fell to 8th. In race eight Trujillo was also in a good position but dropped to 7th to end the day in 6th overall. He said, “Today it seemed that things were going well after the start of the first race. I was sailing well and confident. I sailed better compared to yesterday but at the moment it will be hard to get a medal.”

The second race of the day was won by Gasper Vincec (SLO) with Jonathan Lobert (FRA) posting his best result of the series with a second and Wright ending the day with a third, after Mills - who crossed the line third - was black flagged. The win moves Vincec up two places to 4th overall, while Bryan Boyd (USA) sits on equal points in 5th overall.

After a 4-5 on Thursday, Railey said, “It was another tough day, patchy and shifty, but I'm staying consistent.” In fact Railey has now posted eight top 5 placings, and has built a comfortable 13 point cushion on the rest of the fleet. Wright however has a 19th lurking in his score so needs to be careful in Friday's final qualification races not to pick up another high score.

After eight races, the sole Polish entry Piotr Kula (POL) is in 17th place. He was one of those black flagged in the first race of the day. He said, “Conditions were really tricky as previous days. The wind was unstable in velocity and direction. Locals are saying, that it is because it blows from Key Biscayne which makes it so unstable. The Race Committee abandoned first start by posting the AP flag, because most of the fleet was over the line. The second attempt went with the black flag and three Finns was caught over, including myself.”

Wright's fourth race win has a built him a useful gap of 12 points on Scott and 14 from Railey and these three are expected to be fighting for the medals come Saturday. As usual the fight to make the cut for the medal race placings is also looking interesting, though three of the sailors black flagged today are sitting in 11th, 12th, and 13th, and have a lot of catching up to do.

The final two qualifications races are scheduled for Friday, with the medal race for the top 10 on Saturday.

Standings after 8 races:

1 GBR 11 Wright, Edward GBR 1 2 [19] 1 4 1 1 3 13.00
2 GBR 41 Scott, Giles GBR 2 7 1 3 3 3 [8] 6 25.00
3 USA 4 Railey, Zach USA 4 [5] 4 4 1 5 4 5 27.00
4 SLO 5 Vincec, Gasper SLO 5 12 5 8 [19] 2 7 1 40.00
5 USA 14 Boyd, Bryan USA 12 4 [18] 2 2 6 10 4 40.00
6 ESP 100 Trujillo, Rafael ESP [14] 6 3 6 7 7 5 7 41.00
7 FRA 115 Le Breton, Thomas FRA 11 9 2 5 5 [20] 11 9 52.00
8 NOR 1 Moberg, Peer NOR 7 8 6 9 6 8 [13] 11 55.00
9 RUS 9 Eduard, Skornyakov RUS 6 3 [13] 12 13 4 9 10 57.00
10 FRA 112 Lobert, Jonathan FRA 8 [25] 8 7 15 14 6 2 60.00

Finn Class
Rolex Miami OCR

America's Cup: Alinghi's Sailing Team

Alinghi 5 training in Ras Al Khaimah. Ernesto Bertarelli helming, Warwick Fleury and trimmer, Pierre-Yves Jorand. Image copyright Carlo Borlenghi/Alinghi.

Alinghi training on FONCIA 60' trimaran (1st day). Alain Gautier at the helm. Image copyright Jacques Vapillon/Alinghi.

by Alinghi media

Peter Evans (NZL)

Peter Evans. Image copyright Carlo Borlenghi/Alinghi.

America's Cup tactician Peter Evans joined the Swiss Defender for the start of the 2006 sailing season. Evans brings a wealth of experience with four Cups - three with Team New Zealand (including two wins) and one with the Japanese challenge. He is a very accomplished dinghy sailor too, having twice represented New Zealand at the Olympics in the competitive 470 double handed class.

Evans manages the movements of the mast, both side to side and fore and aft. “Both positions get changed depending on which sail you have up. When you change sails you have to move the mast around and make big adjustments, so I work closely with the mainsheet and headsail trimmers.”

There are no experts in this game because everyone is learning how to use the cutting edge technology on Alinghi 5, but Evans has an array of instruments to help him work out where to position the mast. “We have some guidelines that we work to, and then we just test everything all the time until we find something that works.”

Evans is a good “seat of the pants” sailor, thanks to his days campaigning in competitive dinghy classes such as the 470. In recent years he has been spending his spare time sailing a Bladerider, a hydrofoiling International Moth dinghy which flies above the surface of the water at many times the speed of the wind.

“The way this America’s Cup has worked out, it has actually proved very useful training sailing the Bladerider because it gives you an insight into how boats respond to the wind when they’re travelling at twice or even three times the speed of the wind. So even though it’s not much more than three metres long, it is probably more relevant experience for sailing the big multihull than sailing on the Version 5 America’s Cup boats.”

The Moth sailing is also very good for sharpening reaction times, something else that is proving useful for sailing on board Alinghi 5. Asked whether he finds sailing Alinghi 5 to be enjoyable or stressful, Evans replies, “Both, because you can’t ever really relax on this boat because of the huge loads. You need to be aware of everything you do, because there’s quite a high risk involved in what you’re doing and there’s a high potential for damage. In the Version 5 boats, you had some more time to think and you could stay a little more relaxed and looking around and thinking about other things outside of the boat.”

Looking forward to racing in the America’s Cup match itself, Evans comments: “I think it’s going to be enjoyable. It’s going to be fantastic just to, finally, see the two boats come together and witness the technology involved, and just see what the outcome is. It’s going to be very interesting.”

Yves Detrey (SUI)

Yves Detrey at the launch of the Alinghi D35 in Villeneuve. Image copyright Carlo Borlenghi/Alinghi.

Yves Detrey started sailing with Ernesto Bertarelli more than 10 years ago. In 1999, he joined the Swiss Maxi One Design, Alinghimax and for two years he dealt with technical matters on board, taking part in races and winning the Bol d'Or in 2000 and 2001. His break into America’s Cup sailing came about in Auckland, when he was asked to stand in for an injured crew member on the Fast 2000 team during the Louis Vuitton Cup. Three years later he joined Alinghi and has been with the team ever since.

Detrey’s job onboard is a continuation of the same job that he used to have on the Version 5 monohulls – floater/pitman – except that now there are no spinnakers, however there are still different headsails to get up and down for each leg of the course, and the loads are immense. “You need to be careful because compared with the Version 5 boats, the loads can be double, triple, sometimes even more. With stronger winds come bigger loads, so you’ve got to be really careful. Now after a few months of sailing we are getting used to it and it’s getting better, but the first time you just take everything slowly to make sure you are not doing something wrong.”

Nils Frei on board Alinghi 5 in Genoa. Image copyright Carlo Borlenghi/Alinghi.

The speed of Alinghi 5 places a lot of emphasis on good communication and thinking ahead. “It’s all about anticipating what is going to happen next, trying to be just a step ahead of what’s going to happen and what’s going to be the next manoeuvre, what the tactician wants. But obviously, because it goes really fast, you need a lot of distance and also because everything is heavy; you can’t just muscle up a sail like you do on a Version 5! It takes time to hoist the sails we have on this boat and we are always trying to work out ways of speeding up these processes.”

After such a long build-up, Detrey is keen for battle to commence. “I think the most exciting thing is having the two boats line up together and finally seeing which boat is faster. It is going to be a different type of race, a different course, but it is going to be a big thrill.”

Nils Frei (SUI)

Nils Frei. Image copyright Carlo Borlenghi/Alinghi.

While some of his teammates stress the differences between sailing a monohull keelboat and a fast multihull, Nils Frei says his job has fundamentally stayed the same. “Trimming is always trimming; the principles stay the same regardless of what speed you are doing. You need to be very focused, always aware of the wind direction and wind speed, and you need good understanding with the helmsman and other trimmers.”

Frei has been enjoying the rapid learning process with Alinghi 5. “It’s a big boat with huge loads, and it’s a lot of fun to sail. It is a unique experience being on board this boat. I mean, who knows, maybe we are sailing on the fastest boat in the world and we’re all very excited about that. After gaining so much experience on the smaller boats like the Extreme 40s and Alinghi 41, it is good to be putting our new skills to practice on this boat.”

As a sailor who grew up around the Swiss lakes, Frei was already well aware of fast catamaran technology. After his high school exams he threw himself at an Olympic 49er campaign but that fell apart when he went to study in a different town than his sailing partner. Furthering his studies at the University of Geneva with a degree in Geography he then worked for the Berne Economic Development Agency promoting economic activity in Berne before joining Alinghi in 2003.

Joining Alinghi has been particularly memorable. “To win the America's Cup was by far the best I had ever done in sports and I'm really proud to be part of the Alinghi crew, where team spirit and respect are key to success. I'm also proud to be representing my country and to show through Alinghi, a multicultural, international and open minded Switzerland."

For the final run in to the 33rd America’s Cup, Frei believes it is important for the team to stay fit but not to work too hard in the final weeks leading up to the match. “When the Cup comes we really need to be focused, so we want to make sure that we are rested and ready. The most important thing at this stage is not to take too many risks. We must be careful with ourselves and with the boat because time is just too short to be able to break anything significant. Provided we are sensible, we will be in very good shape for the 33rd America’s Cup.”

Alain Gautier (FRA)

Alain Gautier. Image copyright Carlo Borlenghi/Alinghi.

Alain Gautier joined Alinghi in 2008 and has been working with both the design and the sailing team on the Alinghi multihull project. "I am really enjoying working with Alinghi. It was a relationship that grew out of the mutual respect from competing against each other during the last few seasons of the Julius Baer Challenge on Lake Geneva.”

Gautier, a father of five, first came to prominence as the winner of the challenging singlehanded offshore circuit in France, the Solitaire du Figaro in 1989. He went on to win the most challenging singlehanded race of all, the around-the-world non-stop Vendée Globe in 1992.

He is also a big fan of Formula One motor racing, so it was no surprise when in the late 90s Gautier turned his focus on the fast and dangerous world of multihull racing, competing for many years on the ORMA 60 tri circuit. Now with the advent of 90ft multihulls for the America's Cup, the French speed-seeker is right in his element.

Gautier lent Alinghi the use of his 60-foot trimaran Foncia as part of the learning process of getting a group of monohull sailors up to speed with the principles of fast multihull sailing. It wasn’t an auspicious start, as the team accidentally capsized the boat during training, breaking the mast and injuring some of the crew, albeit not badly.

Asked whether or not he had forgiven the team, Gautier laughs, replying: “I was not at the helm, but I was on board as the skipper of the boat. When you are the skipper and the boat capsizes, then you have to take a big share of the responsibility. It was an experience for everybody. We were lucky that none of the guys were too badly injured. It took two months to repair the boat and then we were back in training again.”

Like many professional sportsmen, Gautier sees lessons in everything. “The capsize was a good lesson, for sure. Sometimes you learn more from your bad experiences and you learn more when you lose a race than when you win the race, and the same is true of situations like this.”

Working with Alinghi has given Gautier a chance to work with a big team, something which he has enjoyed greatly. “I have been sailing on multihulls since 1983, I’ve sailed singlehanded, and with crew on the 60 foot multihulls, but I have never worked on a project of this scale before. For me this has been a wonderful experience because these boats are really incredible, and the calibre of the sailors and the design team makes it a privilege to be part of Alinghi.”

Dean Phipps (NZL)

Dean Phipps. Image copyright Carlo Borlenghi/Alinghi.

Dean Phipps has competed in seven America’s Cups, and he has won four. No doubt that experience will prove useful in this, his eighth America’s Cup, but Phipps is also aware just how much the game has changed. The Kiwi made his name as one of the best bowmen on the keelboat scene, although he has moved further to the back of the boat as he has got older. “I made the decision a long time ago to step back from doing the job on the bow, but you know, this is a great project; it’s a great team and a great boat to be part of because you learn so much everyday. Everything that we do, the way we test and the way we go about improving things, all of it is part of the game. Sailing the multihull is a big change from what we’re used to but it’s just great to be involved in it.”

Phipps has a lot of respect for the power and the loads involved with sailing Alinghi 5. “The thing is so heavily loaded that it really gets a little bit, well ‘scary’ is not quite the right word, but there are dangers involved in sailing one of these boats in big waves and big breeze, and that’s something we could easily encounter in Valencia. The boat is fully loaded in just 5 knots of breeze, and as the wind increases the loads just get bigger and bigger, and there is a risk that if you try to sail in too much wind someone is just going to turn the boat over. So I hope it doesn’t get to that point.”

There is a competitive bunch of sailors on board Alinghi, and in the heat of competition it will be difficult to hold back from pushing the boat to its limits, and possibly beyond. “We have just got to be sensible about it,” says Phipps. “You have just got to get round the course without breaking anything major, the same as you do in any yacht race. The difference is that with these big multihulls you reach that point much earlier.”

Phipps has experienced the “moment of truth” at the beginning of every America’s Cup match many times before, that moment when you line up against the opposition to find out who is quicker. There has been a lot of speculation about which multihull is going to be faster, although Phipps hasn’t paid much attention to the predictions. “It’s not until you line up on the same piece of ocean at the same venue in the same conditions that you start seeing who has the edge. It’s a reality check. It’s a great feeling when you line up in the first race to find that you’re just a little bit higher and handle a little bit faster than the other boat, and you just kind of get this fuzzy feeling through your body that everything you’ve been doing these last two years, has been a good thing.”

Then again, Phipps acknowledges that the 2007 match against Emirates Team New Zealand was a much closer competition, and that fuzzy feeling didn’t surface quite as quickly as it had in the previous three America’s Cup matches, each of which were won 5-0. This time, with a maximum three races at stake, no one is going to win 5-0 and nor is the team likely to get complacent about victory if Alinghi wins the first race. “You’ve always got the possibility of breakage with these boats, so it’s not just about having the fastest boat. But hopefully we have a boat that is both fast and reliable.”

Franck Profitt (FRA)

Franck Profitt. Image copyright Jose Delgado/Alinghi.

The 45 year-old Frenchman, with over 100,000 nautical miles of multihull racing to his name, brings decades of multihull experience to the team; he is a two-time Transat Jacques Vabre winner, four-time Tour de l'Europe winner, and winner of The Race aboard the giant catamaran Club Med. More recently he clocked up a lot of big multihull experience as a watch leader and helmsman aboard Groupama 3 during its record breaking 2007-08 season.

Profitt was delighted to be asked to help Alinghi with its multihull campaign. "It's a great opportunity. Being part of the design and sailing team is something exceptional. It's a great adventure. This is a great chance to apply all the knowledge and experience that I’ve gained in multihulls over the past 25 years. Basically my job is to try to help make the boat as fast as possible and to see how we can make ongoing improvements.”

His time sailing on board the large multihull Groupama 3 is certainly relevant, although Profitt highlights some obvious differences. “Groupama 3 is like a rally car, designed to be able to sail anywhere, around the world, with a lot of wind and waves. Alinghi 5 is more like a Formula One car, designed for day racing in light to medium wind. In France we are not used to having these kinds of budget and resources available, and we have a huge design team compared with any of the projects I have been involved with before. So really they are two completely different projects.”

For the America’s Cup itself, Profitt does not expect to be on board the boat. But this does not concern him, he says. “The exciting thing is to share this project with the design team and the sailing team, because I have been working closely with both of them. Ernesto is very passionate about this project, and all the people working on this team are extremely good at what they do. It will be great to watch Alinghi 5 cross the start line in race one.”

Nicolas Texier (FRA)

Nicolas Texier. Image copyright Bruno Cocozza/Alinghi.

Nicolas Texier was a specialist grinder on the keelboats, but on board Alinghi 5 the French sailor is operating in more of a floating position. “If I am onboard I go forward when they need an extra hand at the front of the boat, and then to the back of the boat when they need an extra and there, so basically helping out what wherever an extra set of hands is required. And then my shore jobs are helping look after the winches, keeping them maintained, and I’m on the diving rota for cleaning the hulls.”

In a past life Texier was a very accomplished rugby player, so what parallels does he see between the two team sports? “I don’t see much similarity, because technology is such a big part of the sailing world. Physically it’s completely different. Obviously in sailing strength and fitness are still important, but there are so many other technical aspects to the sport too.”

Perhaps of more relevance to sailing on Alinghi 5 are the two seasons that he spent racing on board the 60 foot ORMA multihull, Géant, in 2003 and 2004. Not that Texier feels there was much he could pass on to the rest of the team. “There is such big experience on this team. They learn very quickly and there’s not much you can teach those guys. So I try to be as helpful wherever possible, but really they figured it all out for themselves very quickly.”

Texier is looking forward to that first moment alongside BMW Oracle. “It will be interesting to see if all the work we have done is as good as we think it is. We will soon find out how well prepared we are and it will be interesting to see how two such different boats compare.”

Although the America’s Cup was not a childhood obsession like it was for some of his team mates, Texier is now as passionate about the Cup as anyone. He has no regrets about having joined Alinghi back in 2003. “In your life if you have this kind of opportunity you have to take it. There is a big melting pot on this team, an international team with many professional people.

“In the beginning of my sailing life the Cup was not important but now it is, with experience and seeing what sacrifices you have to do to win this Cup and be on a big team. With sailing I learn many things especially from the different cultures, from the sea. You can learn every day and all your life, and not just about the technical side but about people too.”

Simon Daubney (NZL)

Simon Daubney aboard Alinghi 5 off Ras Al Khaimah. Image copyright Carlo Borlenghi/Alinghi.

“We’re just loving it,” enthuses Simon Daubney about getting to grips with sailing Alinghi 5. “We’re energised by the whole challenge of it.” Daubney is one of the original Kiwis, the ‘tight five’ who have sailed together seemingly for an eternity. But the trimmer is keen to play down any special connection between him and his compatriots. “Alinghi has been going for 10 years so there is a much wider group of people who have been working together as a team for a very long time now. We enjoy the challenge of trying to find ways of getting the best out of the boat at all times, both on and off the water.”

Despite the significant differences between Alinghi 5 and the Version 5 monohulls that preceded it, Daubney claims that fundamentally his job as trimmer hasn’t changed all that much. “What is different is that as a team we were very good at the tinkering with the Version 5 boats and just getting tiny little gains and making two or three incremental gains here and there. Some of the gains were so small you could hardly measure them; sometimes you just went with what you thought felt best.

“Whereas with this boat, we wake up in the morning and we just can’t wait to get on it and go sailing, and when we learn something, it’s a big thing we learn. You’re making leaps and bounds rather than small increments so that part of it is way more enjoyable.”

That implies that Alinghi has still got a long way to go before the guys really understand what they’re dealing with, but Daubney says they have been learning quickly. “You know, the fact of the matter is it’s not that different. You know the wind’s always coming from in front, the apparent wind is always forward, and once you’ve got used to that, it’s just sailing. Sail trimming is about reacting to changes in the wind and the mode required, and while the first week on the boat was a huge learning process, jaw-dropping at times, after a while it begins to feel like any other boat and our jobs on board are basically what we are used to.”

Daubney has a wealth of experience from three decades of racing, starting in trapeze dinghies such as Cherubs on his home waters of Auckland before moving into the match racing scene. He is an eight-time world champion, has competed in three Olympic Games in the Soling, and has been on the winning team for the past four America’s Cups.

The way it’s come about is a huge team effort so everybody has a big role to play. You just can’t break it down as either a ‘design race or a ‘sailors’ race’. It’s just like in Formula One, where you can’t say it’s the driver or the car that’s important, because it’s the whole package.”

Whether they are sailors, designers or any other part of the team, Daubney has huge respect for everyone in Alinghi. "The people are the most important thing, there's a sort of unwritten code that makes everyone look out for each other, everyone moves in the same direction. It's a really satisfying thing being involved with good people.”

Warwick Fleury (NZL)

Alinghi testing in Ras Al Khaimah: Warwick Fleury. Image copyirght Carlo Borlenghi/Alinghi.

What is it about match racing? "I enjoy the fact that it's one on one, win or lose. At the end of a race or regatta it's pretty clear how you have done, how your team stacks up.”

The 2010 America's Cup will be Warwick’s eighth; his first was in 1987 when he joined New Zealand's first America's Cup entry in Fremantle, Australia. He thought it was competitive back then, but: “The America's Cup keeps evolving and the bar keeps getting raised. You've just got to do better than you did last time.”

As Alinghi's mainsail trimmer, he says: It's a boat speed role. I work closely with the helmsman and the other trimmers, getting the maximum performance out of the boat. This is fundamentally the same role on any sailing boat; finding the right balance between the sails and the boat itself, relative to the wind and sea conditions, so that the boat can be steered at its optimum."

One thing that has surprised Warwick is how lively Alinghi 5 feels. “Usually, at least with a keelboat, the larger the boat is that you sail, the less sensation of speed you experience. Because of the greater mass of the boat things happen a lot slower and sometimes it’s almost like you are sailing in slow motion. Even though the boat may still be going very fast you just don’t feel it. I was expecting a bit of that with the catamaran just because of the scale of it but in reality it actually feels very much like a smaller boat. It’s surprisingly responsive so you have to be really, really quick and alert.”

Warwick Fleury. Image copyright Carlo Borlenghi/Alinghi.

As the man controlling the most powerful sail on the boat, Warwick is well aware of his responsibilities on a boat as frisky as Alinghi 5. “You just have to be switched on all the time. This is one of the differences between multihulls and keelboats. A keel under the boat will get you out of trouble a lot of the time, whereas with a multihull you just have to be aware one hundred percent of the time when you’re sailing. Many of the mishaps that occur on multihulls happen before or often after a race when the natural tendency is to relax and to let your guard down. On this boat, we can’t afford a big mistake and so from the moment we hoist the sails we just have to be focused.”

Despite the big learning curve they’ve all gone through, Warwick has a lot of faith in his teammates. “I think Alinghi’s biggest asset is its people. Alinghi has been around as an America's Cup team for ten years now which is a lot longer than any other team. I think it’s almost a unique team in that we have had so few personnel changes over the years. As a result the team is very strong and it runs very efficiently.”

Pierre-Yves Jorand (SUI)

Pierre-Yves Jorand. Image copyright Carlo Borlenghi/Alinghi.

If there’s anyone in the team who is not that impressed by the speed of Alinghi 5 it should probably be Pierre-Yves Jorand. A former European champion in speed skiing, Jorand represented Switzerland in the 1992 Olympic Games in Albertville, France. Having achieved speeds of up to 225 km/h, he decided to give up the dangers of speed skiing after the birth of his daughter.

If there are any similarities between speed skiing and sailing, Jorand says that balance is something that is important in both sports. “When you’re trying to fly a hull, there is a lot of balance involved, with the way that you trim the boat. Also, aerodynamics is an important factor in both sports where you are trying to reduce the effect of drag as much as possible.”

Even in the 32nd America’s Cup, where the boats were rarely moving faster than 10 knots, sailing teams became very obsessed with the notion of reducing windage. Now, on a boat that is capable of exceeding 30 knots, reducing windage is absolutely critical - something else that Jorand knows a lot about. “If you see my haircut, you will understand how seriously I take the idea of reducing windage,” jokes Jorand, who is bald. “I expect my team mates to do the same with their hair, if they are serious about winning the America’s Cup! But, you know, in Valencia in February it might be cold enough that we need to wear some hats if the wind is strong.”

Having spent the 32nd America’s Cup working as a coach from a chase boat, Jorand has been working as part of the sailing team, operating the mainsheet traveller. For a speed merchant like Jorand, the move from monohull to multihull has been very welcome. “It is fantastic. For me it is the best job in the world, actually. Sailing the most powerful sailing boat in the world, working in a great team, I enjoy every single day. When I was younger and I was doing all the speed skiing, I was always looking for the best performance, for that feeling of ultimate speed. In sailing, you get that feeling of ultimate speed from sailing a multihull, which is why I became a fan of multihull sailing more than 20 years ago. So I am glad that multihull sailing has come to the America’s Cup.”

Lorenzo Mazza (ITA)

Alinghi 5 in Genoa Alinghi training in Genoa: Lorenzo Mazza. Image copyright Guido Trombetta/Alinghi.

"I like match racing, I like the focus of a team. I just enjoy what I do. I like sport." Lorenzo Mazza started sailing during his summer holidays with his father and sister and started racing when he was 16 years old. Since 1981 he has sailed professionally on IOR/IMS yachts, winning several World Championships, the Admiral's Cup and the Sardinia Cup.

Between 1987 and 1989 he studied yacht and boat design at the Southampton Institute of Higher Education. Interested in the technical element of America's Cup campaigns, he likes to get involved with the construction of the boat, the deck layout, the system specifications, testing of structural components and the optimisation of sail shapes. As an Alinghi trimmer he says he enjoys his role onboard, "...because it requires full time action. As soon as the boat starts sailing it never stops.”

Joining Alinghi for the 2003 campaign he says; "I was honoured to be invited. Since joining the team I've discovered a lot of talented people here which is good because although I'd been involved in the Cup before, I realised I had never actually been in a position to win it. It was interesting to see close-up the differences to my previous experiences, to work with a group of people that knows what it's like to win and to be able to contribute to that winning formula was an opportunity that meant a great deal to me."

Mazza says trimming the headsail on Alinghi 5 is nothing like trimming on a Version 5 monohull. “You need to have much quicker reactions, more movement, it’s much more dynamic. The understanding between trimmers and helmsman is different too. We are more related to finding a good balance, and then you get the speed. When you get the balance you need to make sure that you are in sync with the other people on board, on mainsheet and traveller. The interaction between the team is the most critical thing.”

Mazza has enjoyed the transition from being a specialist keelboat trimmer to understanding what makes multihulls tick. “One of the things I've most enjoyed is the racing on the Extreme 40 circuit even if the racing was very peculiar. It was not very technical sailing but very good competition, and I've been missing the competition, which is why I look forward to racing Alinghi 5. There are always more developments that could be done, but I just want to get on with the racing.”

Juan Vila (ESP)

Juan Vila. Image copyirght Carlo Borlenghi/Alinghi.

Having studied Civil Engineering at the Polytechnic University of Barcelona, Vila did his first round-the-world race. While serving in the army for a year from 1989-1990 he sailed in his first Whitbread and with his technical background the obvious role for the Spaniard was to become the navigator.

Since then, he has alternated Whitbread (Volvo) campaigns with America's Cup campaigns. Just weeks after winning the 2001-2002 Volvo Ocean Race he joined Alinghi to help with the electronics and navigation systems.

Vila enjoys the cosmopolitan make-up of the team, and believes it is one of Alinghi’s strengths. “I think the international team is one of the great strengths of Alinghi, you see different ways of doing things.” This has been particularly useful with the development of the multihull, which has required more free-thinking and fresh ideas than ever before.

With Alinghi 5 capable of travelling up to four times the speed of a Version 5 keelboat, Vila knows that he has less time to extract all the information from the navigation systems. “It’s a challenge with the speed of the boat because everything happens quicker. The difference is that you have to anticipate more and just keep on relying on time rather than distance, because distance comes up very quickly. Also because the course is so long and you’re maybe many, many miles away from the next turning mark, you won’t be able to see it most of the time.

“Having good weather predictions will be more important than in any other America’s Cup, because if the boats go in opposite directions they could be in completely different wind. It’s going to be important to know which side of the course to go and also how you want to get there.”

As to what has interested Vila most about this campaign, he doesn’t even need to think about the answer. “Definitely it’s the chance to sail on this boat, which is a dream. This is a once in a life opportunity to be able to sail on a boat like this.”

The chance to play with cutting-edge technology is also very exciting for an electronics expert like Vila. “The control systems are very impressive, and also the fibre optics that we are using to help understand the huge loads on this boat, and which hopefully will make sure that we always sail the boat within its designed structural limits.”

Does does he feel any additional kind of stress or pressure sailing such a highly strung boat as Alinghi 5? “Well it’s pretty much like any other race. You are going to have your ups and downs but basically you just need to keep to your normal routines and make sure that all your preparation is done properly before the race so that you get there in the best possible shape.”

Loïck Peyron (FRA)

Alinghi 5 training in Ras Al Khaimah: Loick Peyron. Image copyright George Johns/Alinghi.

Loïck Peyron is one of the world's most renowned multihull sailors. The charismatic Frenchman has crossed the Atlantic 43 times, 18 of them singlehanded. He has raced around the world twice, holds three Transat titles and two Transat Jacques Vabres. The America’s Cup opens a new chapter in his career. "In every sailor's mind, the America's Cup is part of life. I have been following it for many years and now to be working for a team like Alinghi makes me proud," says Peyron.
"There is a tremendous amount of work for sure, but it's a big challenge. An impressive strength of Alinghi is that it has a lot of knowledge from a lot of areas of the sport: monohulls, offshore sailing, multihulls; especially from Switzerland. The way the team works is based on team spirit and the method works really well; they have proved it many times.

“For me it is really fascinating to see such a big family with a lot of ways of doing things which are quite impressive. It is really professional for sure. And there are a lot of people, that’s the main difference between this and other projects I’ve done.

“The few French here, myself, Alain and Franck, to name a few, have spent many years trying to do things with few people and small budgets. So it is very interesting to be part of something with more resources. It means that you can explore many areas of technology. The result is a boat that is very elegant and efficient. Often boats that look elegant are efficient, and that is certainly the case with Alinghi 5.”

Even with all his long experience in multihull sailing, Peyron has found himself on a massive learning curve. “In terms of sailing, we are learning every day. We are learning a lot of things about big boats for sure because there is a lot of power and some special things really linked to the size itself which are very interesting to discover or to confirm. But also this has been a chance for me and the other French multihull veterans to test our experiences from other types of multihull and see how they apply to a boat of this kind.

“It has also been interesting to compare what was supposed to work in theory on paper, and what actually works on the water in reality.”

More to come...


Friday, 29 January 2010

Rolex Miami OCR: Day 4 - Women's Match Racing QuarterFinals report from Anna Tunnicliffe

Anna getting Debbie wet. Image copyright Dave Hein, Miami OCR, January 2010.

by Anna Tunnicliffe

Racing was tight Thursday at the 2010 Rolex Miami OCR. We finished up the Gold fleet races and went 1-1. With this added to Wednesday's 2-0, we finished the round in second with a 3-2 record. Then, it was on to the Quarter finals round, against Lucinda Whitty from Australia. At the end of the day, we were up 2-0 in a first-to-three-point series.

Sally BARKOW, Katie Pettibone, Nicole Breault (USA) vs Anna Tunnicliffe, Molly O'Bryan Vandemoer and Debbie Capozzi (USA) in the Women's Match Racing. Image copyright Rolex/Dan Nerney.

Our first Gold fleet race Thursday was against the reigning ISAF Women's Match Racing champion, Nicky Souter. We led her off the line, but made a small mistake upwind, put ourselves behind, and were unable to catch up.

Anna Tunnicliffe, Molly O'Bryan Vandemoer and Debbie Capozzi (USA) in the Women's Match Racing. Image copyright Rolex/Dan Nerney.

In the second and final race of the Gold fleet, we were matched up against our fellow Americans, Sally Barkow and team. It was a great race all around the race course. At the second windward mark, we got into a luffing situation that ran into the press boats. Luckily they got out of the way just in time so they didn't intefere with the race.

Sally BARKOW, Katie Pettibone, Nicole Breault (USA) vs Anna Tunnicliffe, Molly O'Bryan Vandemoer and Debbie Capozzi (USA) in the Women's Match Racing. Image copyright Rolex/Dan Nerney.

On the downwind leg, we got into a short gybing duel. We gybed away and managed to hold her off by about half a boat length at the finish to take the win. That win put us in second overall in the round behind GBR's, Lucy MacGregor. Because we finished second in the Gold fleet, for the Quarter finals round (now a knock-out format), we are matched up against the winner of the repecharge, Lucinda Whitty (AUS).

Anna Tunnicliffe, Molly O'Bryan Vandemoer and Debbie Capozzi (USA) in the Women's Match Racing. Image copyright Rolex/Dan Nerney.

We had some really good races with the Aussies. The first race started with us ahead, but them passing us downwind. We had room on them at the leeward mark, but were not given it, so they were given a penalty. They spun their penalty, and we extended on them to take the win. The second race was much closer all around the course, but we held them off to the end and took the second race. The series is first-to-three-points, so we need to win one more Friday morning to advance to the Semi finals round.

Anna Tunnicliffe
Rolex Miami OCR

Rolex Miami OCR: NZL Sailing Team results update from Miami

Samantha OSBORNE, Jenna Hansen and Raynor Smeal (NZL). Image copyright Rolex/Dan Nerney.

by Jodie Bakewell-White

Racing continued at Rolex Miami Olympic Classes Regatta 2010 Thursday with the kiwi crews now looking in solid standing to round out the regatta with good results. It was another beautiful day on Biscayne Bay with flat water and 8-10 knots of shifty breeze.

Two days of racing remain with medals set to be decided on Saturday in Florida.

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke hold onto 6th place overall after sailing another three races today. The kiwis started the day with a 2nd place, followed that with a 6th, but discard their most recent race where they were judged over at the start.

“Peter and Blair are having a roller coaster ride with their individual race results in the 49er class,” reports Richard Burling, Peter’s father.

“Scores of 2nd and 6th in the first two races today had Peter and Blair up to 2nd overall by just three points. But an OCS disqualification (over start line early) in the last race of the day sees them drop to 6th overall after twelve races and now having to carry a 26 score. But still only 15 points from a medal.”

The schedule allows for another three races tomorrow to wrap up qualifying before the top ten placed crews advance to the medal race on the final day of the regatta. Going into the penultimate day Burling and Tuke look in good shape to secure a spot in the double-points medal race finale.

Completion of the Women’s Match-Racing gold fleet round robin this morning in Miami saw theNZL Sailing Team crew helmed by Samantha Osborne draw Australia’s Nicky Souter for the knock-out quarter finals racing. After winning one race a piece in the two quarter-final races sailed this afternoon, the remaining three races will determine who advances to the semi-finals.

In the other quarter finals match-ups MacGregor (GBR), Tunnicliffe (USA) and Leroy (FRA) are all two – nil up on their opponents.

New Zealand’s Joshua McKenzie-Brown improved his standing in the 2.4 Metre class moving up to 19th place overall after finishing 24th, 15th and 20th in today’s races.

The next major international regatta to feature the members of the NZL Sailing Team is Trofeo SAR Princess Sofia Regatta on in Mallorca, Spain starting 27th March.

Yachting New Zealand
Rolex Miami OCR

Rolex Miami OCR: Competition Heats Up for Final Stretch

At the start of racing in the 49er class on day 4. Image copyright Rolex/Dan Nerney.

by Marni Lane

Today was a critical day for sailors competing in US SAILING’s 2010 Rolex Miami OCR, the second of seven stops of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Sailing World Cup 2009-2010. Highlighted by both lead changes and consolidations, it raised the heat for tomorrow’s final stretch: where medal winners in three Paralympic sailors will be named and top-ten sailors in ten Olympic classes will be determined for entry into Saturday’s medal races. Representing 45 nations, 448 teams (633 athletes) are competing on Biscayne Bay for this annual event, which is one of the most important preparation regattas for sailors gunning for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

49er fleet downwind on day 4 of racing. Image copyright Rolex/Dan Nerney.

US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics’ Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) finished the day with an 18-point lead overall in the Laser Radial class, followed by Spain’s Alicia Cebrian. While it seemed like it was going to be the steadiest day of the week, it ended up being another day of difficult racing for the 57-boat fleet. Railey said she fought through both of today’s races, from start to finish, and made quick changes due to continually shifting wind.

“We had crazy wind from all different sides,” said Railey, the 2006 US SAILING Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year and ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year. “I saw some big comebacks and huge losses. You could go from last to top-five in one shift.”

Samantha OSBORNE, Jenna Hansen and Raynor Smeal, NZL Women's Match Racing, and Nicole SOUTER, Stacey Jackson and Ray Martin, AUS Women's Match Racing. Image copyright Rolex/Dan Nerney.

In the first race, Railey said she played it conservative but got stuck in the middle of two big shifts. She rounded deep, but then made a comeback on the first run and grabbed the lead. The same thing happened in the second race: she sailed conservatively, covered her bases sailing down the middle but ended up lodged between the shifts. In the last downwind leg, she broke free and took a commanding lead.

“Racing was incredibly hard today,” she said. “It was easy to get disheartened, but I kept fighting the whole time. Patience was key.”

The UK’s Nick Thompson, who yesterday trailed leader Bruno Fontes by seven points in the Laser class, today soared past the Brazilian to take a 26-point lead. Such was Thompson’s fortune on the merit of posting two victories in as many races today while Fontes suffered a 20-44, setting him back to second place and tied on points with third-place finisher Jean-Baptiste Bernaz (FRA).

Tense moments in the Laser class on day 4. Image copyright Rolex/Dan Nerney.

“It was a tough day, real shifty, like yesterday,” said Thompson, “and you had to get in sync with those shifts. When you’re in sync and you know you’re sailing well, sometimes it’s easy to go off your own way and sometimes you’re able to pull well away to extend your lead, but once I got ahead I just decided to be conservative and consolidate, so my leads were not huge. There are three more races, so this certainly isn’t over.”

In the high performance dinghy event, racing among the top 49ers in the world has been especially competitive. The point spread tightened at the top today, with only nine points separating the first- and fifth-place teams. France’s Manu Dyen and Stephane Christidis maintained their lead in the 26-boat fleet after 12 races overall, five points ahead of Denmark’s duo of Simon Karstoft and Jonathan Bay who posted a consistent 3-3-3 today.

“I think it was a really tricky day out there,” said Karstoff, adding that positions over the 1.1-mile course “could change so much, so it’s a challenge to keep your cool.”

Kartsoff said he and Bay kept it simple and didn’t panic on the race course. “We had good speed and good starts and that allowed us to get to the good places early, which was key for us.”

In the first race of the day, the Phillips brothers from Australia had a good start off the line, maintained their lane to the left and were the first to tack on the left side of the course. They owned the middle for the rest of the beat and rounded ahead of the fleet. From there, they continued their lead through to the finish. The Finnish team of Lauri Lehtinen and Kalle Bask won the second and third races.

The 49er class started in 1995 and parachuted into the Olympic Games in 2000. The fleet has grown substantially over the last 10 years, attracting sailors from other classes who seek fast and exhilarating racing. Their races are only 30 minutes long, so they can squeeze in up to four races a day in perfect conditions. “It’s the F1 Ferrari of sailboat racing,” said USSTAG’s Trevor Moore (S. Burlington, Vt.). “Every aspect of the game is an adrenaline rush. There’s never a dull moment on the race course. There’s always a split-second reaction needed: the longer you wait, the more costly it is.”

The Star class head to the mark. Image copyright Rolex/Dan Nerney.

US SAILING’s 2010 Rolex Miami OCR
Top-three Finishes: Day Four

2.4mR (28 boats) – 8 races
1. Thierry Schmitter (NED), 1-3-(6)-3-2-4-6-2, 21
2. John Ruf (Pewaukee, Wis.,USA), 2-1-2-10-3-6-1-(11), 25
3. Paul Tingley (CAN), 5-5-7-2-1-1-1-4-(9), 25

49er (36 boats) – 12 races
1. Manu Dyen/Stephane Christidis (FRA), 2-6-3-7-9-1-(15)-6-1-10-(10/OCS/RDG)-10, 65
2. Simon Karstoft/Jonathon Bay (DEN), 10-(23)-2-5-6-3-12-14-9-3-3-3, 70
3. Allan Norregaard/Peter Lang (DEN), 6-11-6-11-8-2-10-4-3-7-(25)-7, 75

Star (26 boats) – 8 races
1. Andy Horton/James Lyne (Burlington, Vt., USA/Granville, Vt., USA), 2-1-3-1-4-5-(25/OCS)-1, 17
2. Eivind Melleby/Petter Morland Pederson (NOR), 1-11-2-(20)-1-1-2-2, 20
3. Mark Mendelblatt/John Von Schwarz (St. Petersburg, Fla., USA/Annapolis, Md., USA), 8-8-1-11-(25/OCS)-2-1-5, 36

RS:X Women (25 boats) – 6 races
1. Blanca Manchon (ESP), 1-1-(10)-3-2-1, 8
2. Charline Picon (FRA), 3-3-1-(5)-1-4, 12
3. Marina Alabau (ESP), 2-2-(4)-2-4-2, 10

RS:X Men (37 boats) – 6 races
1. Dorian Rijsselberghe (NED), 1-1-2-(7)-1-5, 10
2. Ivan Pastor (ESP), (6)-5-4-1-2-3, 15
3. Nicolas Huguet (FRA), 8-7-8-4-(9)-2, 29

Claire LEROY, Elodie Bertrand, Marie Riou (FRA) vs. Claire LEROY, Elodie Bertrand, Marie Riou (FRA) in the Women's Match Racing. Image copyright Rolex/Dan Nerney.

Finn (37 boats) – 8 races
1. Edward Wright (GBR), 1-2-(19)-1-4-1-1-3, 13
2. Giles Scott (GBR), 2-7-1-3-3-3-(8)-6, 25
3. Zach Railey (Clearwater, Fla., USA), 4-(5)-4-4-1-5-4-5, 27

Laser Radial (57 boats) – 8 races
1. Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla., USA), 1-1-4-(10)-3-9-3-1, 22
2. Alicia Cebrian (ESP), (58/BFD)-2-19-5-1-4-4-5, 40
3. Alison Young (GBR), 3-11-16-1-8-(25)-11-9, 59

Laser (104 boats)-8 races
1. Nick Thompson (GBR), 1-6-1-1-(23)-13-1-1, 22
2. Bruno Fontes (BRA), 5-1-4-3-15-2-20-(44), 50
3. Jean-Baptiste Bernaz (FRA), 2-11-14-11-1-3-8-(25), 50

Lucy MacGREGOR, Annie Lush, Ally Martin (GBR) in the Women's Match Racing. Image copyright Rolex/Dan Nerney.

Elliott 6m - (24 boats)
Quarter-final 1:
Lucy Macgregor/Annie Lush/Ally Martin (GBR) leads Lotte Meldgaard/Susanne Boidin/Tina Schmidt Gramkov (DEN), 2-0

Quarter-final 2:
Anna Tunnicliffe(/Molly Vandemoer/Debbie Capozzi (Plantation, Fla., USA/Palo Alto, Calif., USA/(Bayport, N.Y., USA) leads Lucinda Whitty/Amanda Scrivenor/Jessica Eastwell(AUS), 2-0

Quarter-final 3:
Nicky Souter/Stacey Jackson/Ray Martin (AUS) and Samantha Osborne/Jenna Hansen/Raynor Smeal (NZL), tied 1-1

Quarter-final 4:
Claire Leroy/Marie Riou/Elodie Bertrand (FRA) leads Sally Barkow/Katie Pettibone/Nicole Breault (Nashotah, Wis.,USA)/ Sacramento, Calif., USA/ Old Lyme, Conn. USA)

John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas (GBR) in the Sonar. Image copyright Rolex/Dan Nerney.

470 Women (26 boats) – 8 races
1. Ingrid Petitjean/Nadege Douroux (FRA), 10-2-1-(11)-5-2-1-2, 23
2. Amanda Clark/Sarah Chin (Shelter Island Heights, N.Y..,USA/Hoboken N.J., USA), 7-6-2-1-3-1-(13)-3, 23
3. Camille Lecointre/Mathilde Geron (FRA), 1-(8)-6-2-2-3-5-7, 26

470 Men (34 boats) – 8 races
1. Anton Dahlberg/Sebastian A-stling (SWE), 7-4-2-8-11-(19)-4-4, 40
2. Nic Asher/Elliot Willis (GBR), 8-9-14-1-4-1-(16)-5, 42
3. Gideon Kliger/Eran Sela (ISR), 2-6-4-6-12-(13)-2-13, 45

Scott Whitman and Julia Dorsett (USA) followed by Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell (GBR) in the Skud 18. Image copyright Rolex/Dan Nerney.

SKUD-18 (7 boats)-8 races
1. Scott Whitman/Julia Dorsett (Brick, N.J., USA/Boca Raton, Fl., USA), 1-(3)-1-1-1-2-2-2, 10
2. French/Jean-Paul Creignou (St. Petersburg, Fla., USA/St. Petersburg, Fla., USA), 2-2-3-4-(6)-1-1-1, 14
3. Alexandra Rickham/Niki Birrell (GBR), (4)-1-4-3-2-3-3-3, 19

Sonar (9 boats) – 8 races
1. Aleksander Wang-Hansen/Per Eugen Kristiansen/Marie Solberg (NOR), 1-(4)-1-1-1-1-3, 11
2. John Robertson/Hannah Stodel/Steve Thomas (GBR), 4-3-2-(6)-1-2-2-1, 15
3. Bruno Jourdren/Eric Flageul/Nicolas Vimont-Vicary (FRA), (7)-1-3-2-2-5-6-4, 23

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