Archive | October, 2006

Portoroz Cup RC44: Team Beecom wins the fleet race whilst Cro-A-Sail is overall winner

Posted on 31 October 2006 by Valencia Sailing

The Portoroz Cup finished on Sunday with a big surprise: the Japanese team sailing on board Beecom won the fleet race after an excellent performance, with two wins, two second places and two fourth. They conclude the event with the same number of points as the local favourites from Team Cro-A-Sail, but get the title thanks to their higher number of victories. Magia, helmed by Fabio Apolonio, finishes third.

Despite the light winds, no less than seven races have been sailed by the five strong fleet. The organisers from the Yachting Club Portoroz couldn’t have dreamed of a better outcome, although a little bit more breeze wouldn’t have hurt. “The organisers have done a great job. They have proved that they are good enough to organise an international sailing event”, commented Russell Coutts after the last race.
Many interesting features have been tested during the event, proving the desire of the RC 44 class to be innovative and dynamic. The courses were very short, which guaranteed a permanent show for the public and a lot of action for the teams. The races were also judged directly on the water, avoiding long protests in the evening and bad feelings between the teams. “If a boat is penalised, the crew will be upset against themselves and the jury. But in the evening they will share a beer with their competitors rather than spending the evening working on their protest and arguing”, commented Coutts.

The races were very short and dynamic, and the situation within the fleet changed every minute. During most of the races, the five teams crossed the arrival line within less than 50 seconds. Before the last race, four teams were able to win the event. The suspense was constant and the event very interesting to follow for the numerous public and media, who were invited to sail as guests on board the RC 44’s.

The Portoroz Cup is the last event in the 2006 calendar for the RC 44 fleet. Six regattas will take place next year. The first one will again be the Portoroz Cup, in March, followed by regattas in Trieste (Italy), Lugano (Switzerland), Split (Croatia), Lisbon (Portugal) and Dubai.

Team Omega Russell Coutts racing in the Portoroz Cup. Photo copyright Heike Schwab

Mascalzone Latino Capitalia Team racing in the Portoroz Cup. Photo copyright Heike Schwab

Close races between Mascalzone Latino Capitalia Team and Team Omega Russell Coutts in the Portoroz Cup. Photo copyright Heike Schwab

Italian duel at the Portoroz Cup with Mascalzone Latino Capitalia Team and Magia Team. Photo copyright Heike Schwab

Mascalzone Latino Capitalia Team racing at the Portoroz Cup. Photo copyright Heike Schwab

Mascalzone Latino Capitalia Team racing at the Portoroz Cup. Photo copyright Heike Schwab

Mascalzone Latino Capitalia Team racing at the Portoroz Cup. Photo copyright Heike Schwab

Team Cro-A-Sail fighting the waves in the Biograd regatta. Photo copyright Heike Schwab

Close Racing in the Biograd Regatta, Team Omega Russell Coutts versus Team Cro-A-Sail. Photo copyright Heike Schwab

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Portoroz Cup RC44: Team Beecom wins the fleet race whilst Cro-A-Sail is overall winner

Posted on 31 October 2006 by Valencia Sailing

The Portoroz Cup finished on Sunday with a big surprise: the Japanese team sailing on board Beecom won the fleet race after an excellent performance, with two wins, two second places and two fourth. They conclude the event with the same number of points as the local favourites from Team Cro-A-Sail, but get the title thanks to their higher number of victories. Magia, helmed by Fabio Apolonio, finishes third.

Despite the light winds, no less than seven races have been sailed by the five strong fleet. The organisers from the Yachting Club Portoroz couldn’t have dreamed of a better outcome, although a little bit more breeze wouldn’t have hurt. “The organisers have done a great job. They have proved that they are good enough to organise an international sailing event”, commented Russell Coutts after the last race.
Many interesting features have been tested during the event, proving the desire of the RC 44 class to be innovative and dynamic. The courses were very short, which guaranteed a permanent show for the public and a lot of action for the teams. The races were also judged directly on the water, avoiding long protests in the evening and bad feelings between the teams. “If a boat is penalised, the crew will be upset against themselves and the jury. But in the evening they will share a beer with their competitors rather than spending the evening working on their protest and arguing”, commented Coutts.

The races were very short and dynamic, and the situation within the fleet changed every minute. During most of the races, the five teams crossed the arrival line within less than 50 seconds. Before the last race, four teams were able to win the event. The suspense was constant and the event very interesting to follow for the numerous public and media, who were invited to sail as guests on board the RC 44’s.

The Portoroz Cup is the last event in the 2006 calendar for the RC 44 fleet. Six regattas will take place next year. The first one will again be the Portoroz Cup, in March, followed by regattas in Trieste (Italy), Lugano (Switzerland), Split (Croatia), Lisbon (Portugal) and Dubai.

Team Omega Russell Coutts racing in the Portoroz Cup. Photo copyright Heike Schwab

Mascalzone Latino Capitalia Team racing in the Portoroz Cup. Photo copyright Heike Schwab

Close races between Mascalzone Latino Capitalia Team and Team Omega Russell Coutts in the Portoroz Cup. Photo copyright Heike Schwab

Italian duel at the Portoroz Cup with Mascalzone Latino Capitalia Team and Magia Team. Photo copyright Heike Schwab

Mascalzone Latino Capitalia Team racing at the Portoroz Cup. Photo copyright Heike Schwab

Mascalzone Latino Capitalia Team racing at the Portoroz Cup. Photo copyright Heike Schwab

Mascalzone Latino Capitalia Team racing at the Portoroz Cup. Photo copyright Heike Schwab

Team Cro-A-Sail fighting the waves in the Biograd regatta. Photo copyright Heike Schwab

Close Racing in the Biograd Regatta, Team Omega Russell Coutts versus Team Cro-A-Sail. Photo copyright Heike Schwab

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Inside an America’s Cup team: Keeping Alinghi’s crew fit

Posted on 30 October 2006 by Valencia Sailing

Just like in any other elite professional sport, physical fitness of the crew of an America’s Cup team is a key factor in its success. Not only do crew have to be excellent sailors they also have to be physically fit and strong in order to carry out their physically demanding duties. In this installment of the “Inside an America’s Cup team” series we visit the Defender of the 32dn America’s Cup in order to learn how the world’s top sailing team keeps fit. Otmar Keller and René De Vries, trainer and physiotherapist respectively of the Swiss America’s Cup team, give us the details.

Alinghi’s sailors training in Valencia. Photo copyright Ivo Rovira / Alinghi

Particularities of an America’s Cup team

The most important factor that determines the fitness program of an America’s Cup team is its sailing program. Sailing activity reaches its highest point, at least in the northern hemisphere, in summer and during that period the team’s sailors either take part in the America’s Cup official races, in the team’s two-boat training schedule or in various regattas throughout the world. As a result, physical training is fashioned in such a way as to provide top physical shape in the period when sailors have to focus on their sailing skills. Winter is usually the period of the year when physical training is more intense.

Unlike other sports, such as basketball, football or athletics, the average age of an America’s Cup team can be significantly higher. In the particular case of Alinghi it reaches 40 years, something unimaginable in a basketball team where the average is 25 years. Consequently, the task of the trainer is different as he has to deal with a group of very experienced athletes, some of whom have more than 2 decades of intense high-level sporting activity. In addition, not all sailors have the same physical needs and tasks on the boat and some degree of differentiation is needed.

The grinders are the “muscle” of the boat, they provide all the power needed to run the boat’s “engine”, the sails. They have to be very powerful, performant and even explosive as they must repeatedly deliver bursts of energy during a couple of minutes in a period of one or two hours. They usually weigh between 100 and 115kg.

The afterguard is situated at the other end of physical needs. They have to be at a very good shape and able to concentrate for long periods (more than 2 hours) under conditions that can be demanding at times.

In between you have the rest of the crew, such as trimmers or foredeck that still have physically demanding positions but not to the degree of the grinders.

Keller divides his sailors roughly into these three groups but stresses that there is also a lot of work done on an individual basis. Some sailors might be weaker in a particular area or come from a different background than the rest of the teams or they can be injured in which case special attention is needed.

Trimmer Claudio Celon is working on his pectorals under the watchful eyes of grinder Nicolas Texier in the team’s gym inside the base in Valencia. Photo copyright Ivo Rovira / Alinghi

Alinghi’s training goal: Balanced overall athletes

The foremost aim is not to transform Alinghi’s men into muscle powerhouses but achieve optimum core stability and physical endurance. The goal of the team’s training program is to achieve a balanced development of each athlete focusing on upper body stability. Not only does this strenghthen each sailor it also makes him less prone to injuries and helps him to better carry out his tasks on the boat. The trainer’s role is after all to provide sailors with a tool to better do their job.

A usual day at Alinghi’s base in Valencia would start at around 7:30am when the first sailors come to the gym to train but the bulk of the team trains at around 9am for approximately an hour and a half. Then all sailors will continue with the preparation of the boat for the day’s training session, usually scheduled at 12pm. If sailing takes place earlier at 10am, there is no prior gym session. As we mentioned, physical training is shaped according to the team’s sailing activities. The gym session doesn’t radically differ from that of any other sports team and mainly consists of the typical weight lifting and more specialized training with the use of sophisticated Tecnogym machines.

In addition to this general schedule, Keller and De Vries obviously pay attention to the particular needs of each sailor depending on his position. Some might need to reinforce their arms or legs while other positions require more endurance. Still, even when focusing on the needs of a position the balanced approach is necessary. For example, grinders don’t necessarily train their arms harder than others in the gym. According to De Vries there is a very realistic risk of injury when one overuses a certain muscle. During an ordinary off-season sailing day in Valencia, a grinder uses his arms extensively on the boat and as a result the trainer might want to rest them rather than exercise them even more in the gym.

Long bicycle rides also form part of the balanced fitness program for the Defender of the America’s Cup. Here a group of Alinghi sailors ride past the Albufera lake, 5km south of Valencia. Photo copyright Ivo Rovira / Alinghi

Injuries

A large part of the injuries are due to overuse of the muscles from repetitive movements, mainly in the back and the shoulders. Grinders are the ones to suffer more frequently but the afterguard as well can suffer such kind of injuries. Since sailing is not a contact sport you don’t see injuries such as pulled hamstring or ruptures, very common in football. On the contrary you can have a direct trauma when for example a sailor is hit by the boom, the spinnaker pole or any other part of the boat, although these are very rare, given Alinghi’s very experienced crew.

Ironically, most of the injuries take place outside of the boat, even if these are not frequent either, since an America’s Cup sailor spends a considerable part of his day working on the preparation of the boat. Sails are put on the boat by the same men that will later use them. A typical mainsail weighs 100kg and even if 4-5 men are needed to carry it, sailors can suffer back injuries from this effort.

It is of the uttermost importance that injuries be reported immediately after they take place. The physiotherapist insists on that issue even if sailors might be reticent due to the fear of losing their place on the boat. The recovery from an injury is the usual one that all athletes go through. Since most of the injuries are due to muscle overuse, one has to find the origin of this. Usually, the bigger muscles become very strong and as a result pull and stress the smaller muscles around them. If a muscle is overused then the rest of the muscles around it must become stronger and more productive.

Once again, both Keller and De Vries stressed the need for total trunk stability. If all muscles are equally developped there is much less risk of stress on the smaller ones. For this reason, they are very critical of sailors that focus on the big and impressive muscles while ignoring the more important small ones.

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Inside an America’s Cup team: Keeping Alinghi’s crew fit

Posted on 30 October 2006 by Valencia Sailing

Just like in any other elite professional sport, physical fitness of the crew of an America’s Cup team is a key factor in its success. Not only do crew have to be excellent sailors they also have to be physically fit and strong in order to carry out their physically demanding duties. In this installment of the “Inside an America’s Cup team” series we visit the Defender of the 32dn America’s Cup in order to learn how the world’s top sailing team keeps fit. Otmar Keller and René De Vries, trainer and physiotherapist respectively of the Swiss America’s Cup team, give us the details.

Alinghi’s sailors training in Valencia. Photo copyright Ivo Rovira / Alinghi

Particularities of an America’s Cup team

The most important factor that determines the fitness program of an America’s Cup team is its sailing program. Sailing activity reaches its highest point, at least in the northern hemisphere, in summer and during that period the team’s sailors either take part in the America’s Cup official races, in the team’s two-boat training schedule or in various regattas throughout the world. As a result, physical training is fashioned in such a way as to provide top physical shape in the period when sailors have to focus on their sailing skills. Winter is usually the period of the year when physical training is more intense.

Unlike other sports, such as basketball, football or athletics, the average age of an America’s Cup team can be significantly higher. In the particular case of Alinghi it reaches 40 years, something unimaginable in a basketball team where the average is 25 years. Consequently, the task of the trainer is different as he has to deal with a group of very experienced athletes, some of whom have more than 2 decades of intense high-level sporting activity. In addition, not all sailors have the same physical needs and tasks on the boat and some degree of differentiation is needed.

The grinders are the “muscle” of the boat, they provide all the power needed to run the boat’s “engine”, the sails. They have to be very powerful, performant and even explosive as they must repeatedly deliver bursts of energy during a couple of minutes in a period of one or two hours. They usually weigh between 100 and 115kg.

The afterguard is situated at the other end of physical needs. They have to be at a very good shape and able to concentrate for long periods (more than 2 hours) under conditions that can be demanding at times.

In between you have the rest of the crew, such as trimmers or foredeck that still have physically demanding positions but not to the degree of the grinders.

Keller divides his sailors roughly into these three groups but stresses that there is also a lot of work done on an individual basis. Some sailors might be weaker in a particular area or come from a different background than the rest of the teams or they can be injured in which case special attention is needed.

Trimmer Claudio Celon is working on his pectorals under the watchful eyes of grinder Nicolas Texier in the team’s gym inside the base in Valencia. Photo copyright Ivo Rovira / Alinghi

Alinghi’s training goal: Balanced overall athletes

The foremost aim is not to transform Alinghi’s men into muscle powerhouses but achieve optimum core stability and physical endurance. The goal of the team’s training program is to achieve a balanced development of each athlete focusing on upper body stability. Not only does this strenghthen each sailor it also makes him less prone to injuries and helps him to better carry out his tasks on the boat. The trainer’s role is after all to provide sailors with a tool to better do their job.

A usual day at Alinghi’s base in Valencia would start at around 7:30am when the first sailors come to the gym to train but the bulk of the team trains at around 9am for approximately an hour and a half. Then all sailors will continue with the preparation of the boat for the day’s training session, usually scheduled at 12pm. If sailing takes place earlier at 10am, there is no prior gym session. As we mentioned, physical training is shaped according to the team’s sailing activities. The gym session doesn’t radically differ from that of any other sports team and mainly consists of the typical weight lifting and more specialized training with the use of sophisticated Tecnogym machines.

In addition to this general schedule, Keller and De Vries obviously pay attention to the particular needs of each sailor depending on his position. Some might need to reinforce their arms or legs while other positions require more endurance. Still, even when focusing on the needs of a position the balanced approach is necessary. For example, grinders don’t necessarily train their arms harder than others in the gym. According to De Vries there is a very realistic risk of injury when one overuses a certain muscle. During an ordinary off-season sailing day in Valencia, a grinder uses his arms extensively on the boat and as a result the trainer might want to rest them rather than exercise them even more in the gym.

Long bicycle rides also form part of the balanced fitness program for the Defender of the America’s Cup. Here a group of Alinghi sailors ride past the Albufera lake, 5km south of Valencia. Photo copyright Ivo Rovira / Alinghi

Injuries

A large part of the injuries are due to overuse of the muscles from repetitive movements, mainly in the back and the shoulders. Grinders are the ones to suffer more frequently but the afterguard as well can suffer such kind of injuries. Since sailing is not a contact sport you don’t see injuries such as pulled hamstring or ruptures, very common in football. On the contrary you can have a direct trauma when for example a sailor is hit by the boom, the spinnaker pole or any other part of the boat, although these are very rare, given Alinghi’s very experienced crew.

Ironically, most of the injuries take place outside of the boat, even if these are not frequent either, since an America’s Cup sailor spends a considerable part of his day working on the preparation of the boat. Sails are put on the boat by the same men that will later use them. A typical mainsail weighs 100kg and even if 4-5 men are needed to carry it, sailors can suffer back injuries from this effort.

It is of the uttermost importance that injuries be reported immediately after they take place. The physiotherapist insists on that issue even if sailors might be reticent due to the fear of losing their place on the boat. The recovery from an injury is the usual one that all athletes go through. Since most of the injuries are due to muscle overuse, one has to find the origin of this. Usually, the bigger muscles become very strong and as a result pull and stress the smaller muscles around them. If a muscle is overused then the rest of the muscles around it must become stronger and more productive.

Once again, both Keller and De Vries stressed the need for total trunk stability. If all muscles are equally developped there is much less risk of stress on the smaller ones. For this reason, they are very critical of sailors that focus on the big and impressive muscles while ignoring the more important small ones.

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Ben Ainslie of Emirates Team New Zealand Wins the Allianz Cup

Posted on 30 October 2006 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: World Match Racing Tour] The immensely talented British sailor Ben Ainslie became the fifth first-time winner on the World Match Racing Tour when he won the Allianz Cup Presented by Oracle.

The 29-year-old Ainslie, a helmsman for Emirates Team New Zealand, defeated Ed Baird of Alinghi, 3-1, to win his first World Tour event. Ainslie’s crew included James Dagg, Terry Hutchinson, Jeremy Lomas and Tony Rae. They finished with a 14-5 record and won $25,000 of the $100,000 purse.

“It was a tough day, really windy and shifty, plus the tide, our team did a good job dealing with all the conditions,” said Ainslie. “The first start we didn’t have a great one to be honest, the next three we nailed them. Terry did a great job nailing the shifts.”

Baird sailed with Mike Drummond, Nils Frei, Craig Satterthwaite and Piet Van Nieuwenhuyzen. They finished with a 13-5 record and won $15,000. “I didn’t do a good job on the line,” said Baird. “Compared to the rest of the week I wasn’t as strong off the starts at all. That was the difference. You let him start ahead of you and it’s really hard to pass, especially on this type of racecourse.”

Video highlights of the Final of the Allianz Cup. Video copyright Sportshows Television/Narrowstep – Allianz Cup

In the Petite Final Jesper Bank defeated Ian Williams, 2-0, to place third. Williams finished fourth in the event, but it was good enough to keep him in the lead of the Match Racing World Championship standings. Williams leads Baird by 7 points.

“Our goal coming into the event was to be leading the tour going out, so we’re please with that,” said Williams. “That’ll be our goal at the Monsoon Cup, to come out that still leading the Toru and if we can put in another top four result that should be ok.”

After the first race of the Final it looked as if Baird was going to run away with the regatta. A fairly even start saw both boats come off the line on starboard tack with Baird to windward. The two rode starboard tack to the seawall at St. Francis Yacht Club before tacking. When they did, Baird opened a two-boatlength lead.

Ainslie made it close at the top of the leg and got positioned to leeward of Baird. He luffed Baird, but then the pair drifted into the two-boatlength zone at the windward mark and the umpires penalized Ainslie when he didn’t fall off soon enough to allow Baird buoy room.

Ainslie received a second penalty moments later when he tacked to port and fouled Baird on starboard tack. Baird regained control of the match as Ainslie did one of his penalty turns and went on for the 1-0 lead.

Then Baird’s troubles in the start box began. In the second race Ainslie shut Baird out at the committee boat end, taking a two-boatlength advantage onto the racecourse and sailing to a resounding win to even the score line, 1-1.

Ben Ainslie (foreground) and Ed Baird circle in pre-start maneuvers during the Final of the Allianz Cup. (Allianz Cup/Bob Grieser photo)

In Race 3 Ainslie started to leeward and ahead for another commanding win to go up 2-1.

Ainslie took another commanding lead onto the racecourse in the fourth and clinching race. With about 50 seconds to go Baird got a leeward hook on Ainslie. Ainslie tacked away to port with about 20 seconds to go, but Baird was stuck. He’d lost way and when he called for port tack to chase Ainslie couldn’t get the boat going immediately. When the start gun sounded Baird was crossing two lengths behind Ainslie on port tack.

“We probably were slightly slower than I thought,” said Baird. “When I called for port tack there was a little hesitation. If we had gone right on to port tack we probably would’ve been a little stronger, but not strong enough to win the start.

“Those guys have been sailing well,” said Baird. “They do a lot of practice in these size boats. I fully expected them to be tough and they were. The thing that surprised me was me. I was disappointed that I didn’t have stronger starts.”

“The last three starts we shut him out in one, got him late and the last one we wanted the left and got that,” Ainslie said. “Ed and his team are bloody good. It was a real challenge to us. It was great to beat someone of that caliber.”

Ben Ainslie sails to leeward of Ed Baird in Race 1 of the Allianz Cup Final. (Allianz Cup/Paul Todd photo)

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Alinghi’s Ed Baird unbeaten in Allianz Cup semifinals

Posted on 29 October 2006 by Valencia Sailing

America’s veteran match racer is up 2-0 and England’s wunderkinds are tied 1-1 in the Semifinal Round of the Allianz Cup Presented by Oracle, Stage 5 of the 2005-’06 World Match Racing Tour.

Ed Baird (St. Petersburg, Fla.) leads Denmark’s Jesper Bank 2-0 in one semifinal match. Baird staged a come from behind victory in their first race and then dominated the second race for the lead.

“We got an opportunity at the first windward mark,” Baird said of his first race. “He dialed us down hard on starboard. It was close whether we could cross behind him but were able to.”

Once around the windward mark, Baird’s crew snapped off a maneuver quicker than Bank’s. “We had a much better jibe and that was the race,” said Baird.

In the other half of the semifinal bracket 29-year-old Ian Williams, the match racing world championship points leader, is tied with triple Olympic medalist Ben Ainslie, also 29.

Williams won the first race after unloading a penalty. Ainslie won the second when he nipped Williams at the finish of a 5-minute run that saw the lead change hands three times.

“We were sailing nicely and fast,” said Williams. “But we made a mistake and gave him a get out of jail card. We had two opportunities to jump on him, but didn’t take advantage.”

The semifinals were suspended late this evening with the setting sun. The wind shifted to the west for the semifinal races and blew around 10 knots. The conditions were much more suitable for racing than the light northerlies that the quarterfinals were sailed in and have dominated the regatta, but there were still pratfalls on the racecourse.

“The breeze was more solid at the end,” said Williams. “We were sailing up and down with the current but it brings new challenges, like time and distance in the pre-start.”

Baird noticed differences in the ebb current from the shoreside to the middle of the bay.

“It was a little softer on the shore, we were surprised by that,” said Baird. “The beats were short so you had to start to the right.”

The quarterfinals were held earlier in the day. Baird defeated Chris Dickson, skipper and CEO of BMW ORACLE Racing, 3-1. Bank needed five races to defeat Peter Holmberg, Baird’s teammate at Alinghi.

Williams beat old nemesis Peter Gilmour, 3-1, to knock a chip off his shoulder. Williams has beaten Gilmour plenty in round robin racing on the tour, but has lost to him in three knockout rounds.

“It felt good to get that one,” said Williams. “He seems to be our nemesis in final rounds. For the tour standings it’s a big deal.”

Ainslie defeated Paolo Cian in the last quarterfinal match, also by 3-1. Ainslie won the first two, dropped the third and then won the fourth. Cian aided Ainslie by getting a penalty and being over the start line early. Despite all that Cian led towards the finish line, but saddled with the penalty Ainslie was able to steam past for the win.

In racing for 5th through 8th places this evening, Cian defeated Dickson and then Gilmour to place 5th and Gilmour 6th. Dickson placed 7th when he passed Holmberg on the final run to the finish, relegating Holmberg to 8th.

Racing is scheduled to resume on Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m. and will be broadcast live on the Internet at www.Sail.tv. The Webcast is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m., weather permitting.

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Alinghi’s Ed Baird wins Group B at Allianz Cup

Posted on 28 October 2006 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: World Match Racing Tour] Ed Baird, a helmsman for America’s Cup defense syndicate Alinghi, won the Group B round robin at the Allianz Cup Presented by Oracle, Stage 5 of the 2006-’07 World Match Racing Tour.

Baird (St. Petersburg, Fla.) won all three of his matches today and finished with a 6-1 record. Baird tied for the win with Italian Paolo Cian of Team Viano Mercedes Benz – Shosholoza. Cian led yesterday at 4-0, but his lone loss was to Baird in Flight 5 which gave Baird the win.

“It was pretty light,” said Baird, the only skipper to finish in the Championship 8 every Tour season. “There was some current. The current was changing, and each race was different. That was part of the difficulty, to be comfortable with that. Especially in the starting area, it seemed to be quite different than on the racecourse. My guys did a great job of reading that and timing to the line. It gave me a lot of confidence to be in right place in the starts. We got ahead and stayed there today.”

Baird’s timing was the difference in the pre-start against Cian in Flight 5.

“They did an incredible job of time and distance to the line and were able to push us up and out of the line,” said Cian. “So the race was probably over at the beginning. I think we were pretty happy with six wins out of seven races. It’s just the way you read it.”

Racing in the San Francisco bay in the third day of the Allianz Cup. Video copyright Sportshows Television/Narrowstep – Allianz Cup

Denmark’s Jesper Bank, skipper of United Internet Team Germany, finished third at 5-2 and Australian Peter Gilmour, the reigning match racing world champion, was fourth at 4-3.

They advance to tomorrow’s Quarterfinal Round, which features some very intriguing matches. Baird will face Chris Dickson, skipper and CEO of BMW ORACLE Racing. Cian races Ben Ainslie, a helmsman for Emirates Team New Zealand. Bank takes on Peter Holmberg, another helmsman for Alinghi, and Gilmour goes against Ian Williams, the current leader of the world championship standings.

The winner of each match is the first to 3 points. The quarterfinals will be broadcast live on the Internet on Saturady at www.sail.tv. The Webcast is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. , weather permitting.

The light winds from the north today inhibited the completion of more racing. The wind blew mostly between 6 and 8 knots, but died away in the afternoon which forced racing to be abandoned after Group B finished its round robin.

Paolo Cian (left) follows Ed Baird back to the start line in their Flight 5 match. Baird won the match and the Group B round robin. (Allianz Cup/Bob Grieser photo)

The event moves on to the quarterfinals without arguably its biggest attraction, Larry Ellison. The CEO of Oracle and founder of the BMW ORACLE Racing Team fell to 0-5 before closing out with two wins. He finished with a 2-5 record and in 6th place in the group.

“Actually, we’re kind of pleased with sixth place,” Ellison said to a packed press conference at the St. Francis Yacht Club. “Let’s here it for sixth place!”

Ellison said he hadn’t raced in J/105s before but enjoyed the regatta. He said that yesterday was a very humbling experience sailing in a cross current.

“It is very difficult and tricky sailing in a cross current,” Ellison said. “And sailing against this caliber of skipper and these quality teams, it’s quite astonishing how good they are at what they do. It was just an honor for me to be out amongst them.”

Cameron Dunn leads Brian Angel off the start line early in their Flight 5 match, which Angel would win. (Allianz Cup/Bob Grieser photo)

The Allianz Cup may not be Ellison’s last World Tour event. He received an impromptu invitation to Stage 6, the Monsoon Cup in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia, from Gilmour, the event’s technical director.

“Just yesterday I got word that Russell Coutts is unavailable to come because he doesn’t have a crew,” said Gilmour. “So Larry, there’s an opening for you. It’s known as the world’s richest event in sailing with a 1 million ringet ($275,000) prize money.”

“Are you serious?” replied Ellison. “I guess that’s a yes,” Gilmour concluded.

Saturday’s schedule calls for the quarterfinals to begin at 10:00 a.m. The race committee also hopes to sail the semifinals in the afternoon.

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First sail tests of ITA-85 prove positive

Posted on 27 October 2006 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: +39 Challenge] First miles and first tests for ITA-85.

“The first navigationa hours of ITA-85 were the most emotional for me since the beginning of this America’s Cup campaign with the +39 team”, commented Giovanni Ceccarelli, principal designer of the Italian challenger. ” – The boat’s hull line were immediately embraced by Valencia’s waters. Everything went as well as it could go. I had drawn a program of tests to be carried out on sea that was completed with a positive outcome, in fact we even pushed ourselves just a little bit with a small regatta. The program now calls for the continuation of testing and then we will move on to true training, probably against another America’s Cup team. The smile on Iain Percy’s face as well as the rest of the crew aboard during the first mile, was for me the congfirmation and gratification for the job done so far.”

Structural tests will continue during next week. The team’s crew lead by Iain Percy, coach Stig Westerggard and crew leader Luca Devoti will alternatively sail aboard ITA-85 and the two V1-Lutra 30, the team’s 9-meter carbon fiber yachts built in Dubai and used to finetune their match racing skills. This training combination of ITA-85 and the Lutra 30 boats will be the main feature of +39 Challenge’s autumn schedule in Valencia.

First test sail of ITA-85. Valencia, 26 October 2006. Photo copyright +39 Challenge

First test sail of ITA-85. Valencia, 26 October 2006. Photo copyright +39 Challenge

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