Archive | January, 2009

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Barker Beats Coutts in Waitemata Racing

Posted on 31 January 2009 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: LV Pacific Series] Russell Coutts was gracious in defeat today after losing a race in the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series to Dean Barker, his old crew mate from Emirates Team New Zealand. Sailing the BMW Oracle Racing boat USA 87, Barker beat the Coutts-led American crew in USA 98 by 28 seconds in the first race of the day.

At a press conference in the Race Village afterwards and in front of a big public gallery, Coutts was asked what it felt like when the apprentice beat the master. Coutts answered dryly and with a smile: “It’s happened before!” He added, “We would have been happier with a different result but they won that one pretty convincingly.”

After eight races over the first two days, Emirates Team New Zealand has two points in Pool A, while Pataugas K-Challenge from France and Damiani Italia Challenge each have one point. In Pool B, Switzerland’s Alinghi is the leader with two points while Britain’s TEAMORIGIN has one point.

A shifty, gusty southwest breeze averaging 16 knots delivered challenging racing conditions as the boats raced twice-around 1.7-mile legs from a start line off Rangitoto to a windward mark just off the Orakei Basin. The racers took a break after the third race while commercial ships and a barge moved through the area.

In the first race the promise inherent in the series was realized with a tough, tight race between old rivals Emirates Team New Zealand and BMW Oracle Racing. The Kiwis got the right after a pre-start battle and Coutts fought back, rounding the first leeward mark only two seconds behind. Coutts enjoyed a brief lead, only to see Barker use the leverage of the favored right hand side and kill any chances of an American victory.

The apprentice beats his master. In the second half of the race BMW Oracle committed a number of small errors that allowed Emirates Team NZ to hold on to their lead. Auckland, 31 January 2009. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Gavin Brady, the Kiwi skipper of the Greek Challenge, and his mixed Greco-Kiwi crew had something to prove after suffering a penalty from a collision yesterday that put them in minus scoring territory. In the second race Brady pounced on the South African boat Shosholoza in the pre-start and the umpires had landed a penalty on his opponents before the start gun had fired. Brady started in frront and worked to a clear 56 second win over South Africa’s Italian skipper and helmsman Paolo Cian.

It was without any doubt the upset of the day. Newcomers Greek Challenge had a convincing victory over Paolo Cian’s Shosholoza. Auckland, 31 January 2009. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

In similar fashion Francesco Bruni at the helm of the new Italian team Damiani Italia Challenge put his stamp early on the third race. He shut out two-time World Match Racing Tour champion Ian Williams aboard China Team, forcing him above the start boat just before the gun. The Italians won by 1 min 17 sec in a race when the deltas were never less than one minute and the lead at times as much as 500 metres.

In the last race of the day, Alinghi won handsomely by 50 seconds over Virgin Islands match racer Peter Holmberg at the wheel of the Italian boat Luna Rossa. Holmberg mis-timed his last minute manoeuvres approaching the start line and in an effort to win clear air he conceded 40 metres to Ed Baird on Alinghi as they crossed. The Swiss were never threatened again.

Ed Baird really nails down his former Alinghi teammate Peter Holmberg, now on the helm of Luna Rossa. It was impossible for the Italian team to overcome such a bad start. Auckland, 31 January 2009. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

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Sequence of the Greek Challenge – Alinghi incident

Posted on 30 January 2009 by Valencia Sailing

Here’s the sequence of the collision between Greek Challenge and Alinghi on the opening day of the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series, courtesy of Juerg Kaufmann

Greek Challenge hits Alinghi boat. Auckland, 30 January 2009. Photo copyright Juerg Kaufmann

Greek Challenge hits Alinghi boat. Auckland, 30 January 2009. Photo copyright Juerg Kaufmann

Greek Challenge hits Alinghi boat. Auckland, 30 January 2009. Photo copyright Juerg Kaufmann

Greek Challenge hits Alinghi boat. Auckland, 30 January 2009. Photo copyright Juerg Kaufmann

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Sequence of the Greek Challenge – Alinghi incident

Posted on 30 January 2009 by Valencia Sailing

Here’s the sequence of the collision between Greek Challenge and Alinghi on the opening day of the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series, courtesy of Juerg Kaufmann

Greek Challenge hits Alinghi boat. Auckland, 30 January 2009. Photo copyright Juerg Kaufmann

Greek Challenge hits Alinghi boat. Auckland, 30 January 2009. Photo copyright Juerg Kaufmann

Greek Challenge hits Alinghi boat. Auckland, 30 January 2009. Photo copyright Juerg Kaufmann

Greek Challenge hits Alinghi boat. Auckland, 30 January 2009. Photo copyright Juerg Kaufmann

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AC33: The new America’s Cup yacht design rule goes live

Posted on 30 January 2009 by Valencia Sailing

Related PDF documents

- The AC33 Rule

[Source: Alinghi] The AC33 has been designed through consultation between the Defender, the Challenger of Record and the 17 other entered teams and the process was headed by Tom Schnackenberg as the class rule and competition regulations consultant for AC Management. Designers and team managers from the 19 America’s Cup syndicates met regularly in Geneva, Switzerland, and Valencia, Spain, since the design process began in early November 2008.

This group agreed to develop a boat similar in cost to the America’s Cup Class Version 5.0 boat, but with a more exciting performance. The AC33 Rule evolved to a race yacht of 26m maximum length overall, with 5m of draft and a displacement of 17.5tonnes.

The sail plan area is greater than with the ACC Version 5.0 but without overlapping headsails, and as with the AC90 Rule contemplated in 2007, the boat has a bowsprit and the spinnaker area is limited only by sheeting constraints, not by measurement of dimensions. Given the lighter displacement, the AC33 will be more demanding to sail upwind, and will provide sparkling performance on the runs. Maximum beam is 4.8m, which will seem wide to people used to the appearance of the Version 5.0 yachts, where the last generation of yachts had a beam not much more than 3m in many cases.

Tom Schnackenberg, class rule and competition regulations consultant for ACM, on how the process worked and what to expect of the new class: “We have had a very active 10 weeks pursuing this new AC33 Class Rule. The process was very similar to that of the initial AC90, and we deliberately used many of the clauses already developed for it 12 months ago. Because of our previous experience, this process seemed familiar and ran smoothly, in spite of the interruption caused by the Christmas holidays.

“The boat was originally suggested as one with overhangs, and girth restrictions, (a sort of mini J-class) but as different designers got into the act, it quickly evolved into a boat defined only by the length overall, weight, max beam and draft. This allows simple measurement processes for the hull itself, and each change seemed to make the boat go faster!

“As it turned out, the boat is slightly longer than the ACC Version 5.0 boats and several tonnes lighter, with similar sail area and righting moment. It promises to have similar upwind speed and to have sparkling downwind performance.

“We think it will be a boat which the America’s Cup community will really enjoy; a worthy successor to all the wonderful boats that have gone before.”

America’s Cup Defender Alinghi’s principal designer Rolf Vrolijk on the new class: “For designers it is always more exciting to be involved in a new class or with a new type of boat than the highly evolved existing class where we can only focus on very detailed optimisation . It is quite challenging because it means starting from zero and this is a class like nothing we have seen before so if you do your homework right, you would be competitive. Some teams might be very competitive in some corners of the rule, so that will be very interesting.”

John Cutler, technical director for the Challenger of Record, Desafío Español, on how the new class can level the playing field: “It is a clean sheet of paper and therefore everybody has a good opportunity to come up with and design a fast boat or possibly the fastest boat, so we think that this is a good opportunity for all challengers and it will work well for Desafío Español.”

Andy Claughton, design team coordinator for TeamOrigin, the British challenger, says: “Creating the new AC33 Class Rule has been a terrific combined effort from Alinghi and the challengers. The vision of the boat was clearly established; it had to be fast, up to date and challenging to sail, whilst not being prohibitively expensive to build and campaign.

The rule development was done at a series of round the table meetings chaired by Tom Schnackenberg who brought all his experience to bear in guiding the writing of the rule text.

All the challengers were able to make their voice heard, and the experienced members of the group have worked towards a rule that has many fewer constraints than the old Version 5.0 boats.”

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AC33: The new America’s Cup yacht design rule goes live

Posted on 30 January 2009 by Valencia Sailing

Related PDF documents

- The AC33 Rule

[Source: Alinghi] The AC33 has been designed through consultation between the Defender, the Challenger of Record and the 17 other entered teams and the process was headed by Tom Schnackenberg as the class rule and competition regulations consultant for AC Management. Designers and team managers from the 19 America’s Cup syndicates met regularly in Geneva, Switzerland, and Valencia, Spain, since the design process began in early November 2008.

This group agreed to develop a boat similar in cost to the America’s Cup Class Version 5.0 boat, but with a more exciting performance. The AC33 Rule evolved to a race yacht of 26m maximum length overall, with 5m of draft and a displacement of 17.5tonnes.

The sail plan area is greater than with the ACC Version 5.0 but without overlapping headsails, and as with the AC90 Rule contemplated in 2007, the boat has a bowsprit and the spinnaker area is limited only by sheeting constraints, not by measurement of dimensions. Given the lighter displacement, the AC33 will be more demanding to sail upwind, and will provide sparkling performance on the runs. Maximum beam is 4.8m, which will seem wide to people used to the appearance of the Version 5.0 yachts, where the last generation of yachts had a beam not much more than 3m in many cases.

Tom Schnackenberg, class rule and competition regulations consultant for ACM, on how the process worked and what to expect of the new class: “We have had a very active 10 weeks pursuing this new AC33 Class Rule. The process was very similar to that of the initial AC90, and we deliberately used many of the clauses already developed for it 12 months ago. Because of our previous experience, this process seemed familiar and ran smoothly, in spite of the interruption caused by the Christmas holidays.

“The boat was originally suggested as one with overhangs, and girth restrictions, (a sort of mini J-class) but as different designers got into the act, it quickly evolved into a boat defined only by the length overall, weight, max beam and draft. This allows simple measurement processes for the hull itself, and each change seemed to make the boat go faster!

“As it turned out, the boat is slightly longer than the ACC Version 5.0 boats and several tonnes lighter, with similar sail area and righting moment. It promises to have similar upwind speed and to have sparkling downwind performance.

“We think it will be a boat which the America’s Cup community will really enjoy; a worthy successor to all the wonderful boats that have gone before.”

America’s Cup Defender Alinghi’s principal designer Rolf Vrolijk on the new class: “For designers it is always more exciting to be involved in a new class or with a new type of boat than the highly evolved existing class where we can only focus on very detailed optimisation . It is quite challenging because it means starting from zero and this is a class like nothing we have seen before so if you do your homework right, you would be competitive. Some teams might be very competitive in some corners of the rule, so that will be very interesting.”

John Cutler, technical director for the Challenger of Record, Desafío Español, on how the new class can level the playing field: “It is a clean sheet of paper and therefore everybody has a good opportunity to come up with and design a fast boat or possibly the fastest boat, so we think that this is a good opportunity for all challengers and it will work well for Desafío Español.”

Andy Claughton, design team coordinator for TeamOrigin, the British challenger, says: “Creating the new AC33 Class Rule has been a terrific combined effort from Alinghi and the challengers. The vision of the boat was clearly established; it had to be fast, up to date and challenging to sail, whilst not being prohibitively expensive to build and campaign.

The rule development was done at a series of round the table meetings chaired by Tom Schnackenberg who brought all his experience to bear in guiding the writing of the rule text.

All the challengers were able to make their voice heard, and the experienced members of the group have worked towards a rule that has many fewer constraints than the old Version 5.0 boats.”

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Gusty, Shifty Conditions Test Crew Skills at LV Pacific Series

Posted on 30 January 2009 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: LV Pacific Series] The hint of upsets to come were in the air today off Auckland’s North Head as contestants in the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series completed four races in building gusty, shifty conditions that tested the skills of crews.

The French team Pataugas K-Challenge won the opening match, defeating China Team by 1m 2s in a shifty and gusty 14-16 knot southwesterly breeze. Under gray skies K-Challenge made a strong start on port at the pin end of the line. China Team made a late start on starboard at the committee boat end but skipper Ian Williams made big gains up the first weather leg. A gybe early on the spinnaker run resulted in a broken spinnaker pole on the Chinese boat, a situation compounded by a penalty after a leeward mark incident. The Chinese did well to finish just over one minute astern after taking their penalty.

With the wind strength increasing, the new crew of the British TEAMORIGIN syndicate was in total control from the start of its encounter with Italian’s Luna Rossa. With two Olympic gold medallists in the afterguard – Ben Ainslie at the helm, and Iain Percy calling tactics – TEAMORIGIN won the start and after a spirited tacking duel up the middle of the course, established a 22s lead around the first mark. Despite efforts by Luna Rossa helmsman Peter Holmberg, the British team pulled away to win by 1m 11s.

Team Origin and Luna Rossa during their first race. Auckland, 30 January 2009. Photo copyright Paul Todd / www.outsideimages.co.nz

In the third race, sailing on home waters, Emirate Team New Zealand’s skipper/helmsman Dean Barker led from start to finish against Damiani Italia Challenge. Francesco Bruni on the helm of the Italian boat started in synch with the Kiwis with a safe leeward berth, only to see the home team boat inch slowly away. At the end the Kiwi margin was 19s.

In 18-20 knot gusts, Greek Challenge made their mark, literally, in their maiden appearance, racing against top seed Alinghi. Gavin Brady, the Kiwi skipper of the Greek boat, had no hesitation in testing his mettle against Ed Baird, Alinghi’s skipper in the pre-start. He paid a heavy penalty when he lost control momentarily and his bow hit the stern of Alinghi. It cost the feisty Brady one penalty point for “hard contact.” Unperturbed, Brady made a good recovery and led Baird out towards the port layline before the Swiss boat settled down and began to sail steadily away. The umpires awarded the requisite one point to Alinghi for their victory and docked the Greek Challenge one point, leaving them in negative territory. The margin was 2m 2s.

Greek Challenge and Alinghi during their first race. Auckland, 30 January 2009. Photo copyright Paul Todd / www.outsideimages.co.nz

At a press conférence on the Village plaza in front of the big screen, the teams racing tomorrow drew for the boats they’ll sail. The first race of the day, starting at 11 AM, will see BMW Oracle Racing aboard USA 98, racing against Emirates Team New Zealand in USA 87. The second race features Shosholoza aboard NZL 84 versus Greek Challenge in NZL 92. China Team on USA 87 meets Damiani Italia Challenge sailing USA 98 while Luna Rossa will race NZL 84 against Alinghi in NZL 92.

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Training concludes in Auckland; racing starts on Friday

Posted on 29 January 2009 by Valencia Sailing

It’s been almost impossible to follow the action here in Auckland due to my obligations with Greek Challenge and unfortunately this is reflected on the quality of coverage by Valencia Sailing.

I’ll take off my Greek Challenge hat and put the usual Valencia Sailing one, trying to report as fairly as possible. First of all, it’s without any doubt nice and encouraging to see all America’s Cup sailors back in action, engaged in high-level racing after more than 18 months. All 10 teams have been now practicing for a week and crews are vying for the real stuff, a little bit more than 15 hours away.

Wind conditions have been quite erratic in the last days. On Tuesday teams didn’t practice because there was too much wind. As a result, Wednesday was not the closing practice day but and Thursday teams alternated aboard the BMW Oracle and Emirates Team NZ boats, trying to squeeze in as much training as possible. Unfortunately, there was no fresh breeze and, especially on Thursday, the crews had to make do with very little wind.

The only race I followed was Greek Challenge against BMW Oracle. Similarly to what has been taking place so far, the two teams had one test start and then a full race, both won by Greek Challenge. The Greeks were sailing on USA-87 while the Americans were on USA-98. How important are the results? Do they mean anything? As it can be seen by the pictures, conditions were at time excruciatingly light. The race course was set right off the Auckland harbor with the weather mark set almost off the harbor beach. Greek Challenge hit the starting line with a small advantage but lost it during the first beat as Gavin Brady opted for the left hand side of the course and helmed the boat close to the shoreline. BMW Oracle instead gained an advantage by staying in the center and rounded the top mark several boatlengths ahead of the Greeks.

Nevertheless, Greek Challenge staged a remarkable recovery in the first run by opting for the right side while Coutts helmed close to the shore. Greek Challenge rounded the leeward mark clearly in the lead but halfway up the second beat the two teams abandoned racing since the breeze had completely died.

I wasn’t present when BMW Oracle and Team Origin practiced on Wednesday but according to the reports from that race, Ben Ainslie beat Russell Coutts convincingly. Is Coutts taking the practice races easy or has he lost his magical touch? We’ll know in less than a week.

Greek challenge and BMW Oracle train together in the last practice day. Auckland, 29 January 2009. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Greek challenge and BMW Oracle train together in the last practice day. Auckland, 29 January 2009. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Greek challenge and BMW Oracle train together in the last practice day. Auckland, 29 January 2009. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

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Meanwhile in San Diego… BMW Oracle’s BOR90 resumes sailing

Posted on 28 January 2009 by Valencia Sailing

BMW Oracle’s BOR90 monster trimaran is back on the water and sailing in San Diego. Our on the spot friend, Goli, spotted them on Tuesday the first day they managed to sail. As per the official press release, seas were rough on Monday and the initially scheduled first sail was abandoned. Conditions were quite lighter on Tuesday and the trimaran sailed under approximately 10 knots of wind, going as far south as Mexico.

Sorry for the quality of the picture, but it was taken from a distance. As Goli jokingly states, unless you have a really fast tender, trying to follow the trimaran allows you some great whale watching. There is no way you can keep up with that.

BMW Oracle’s trimaran resumes sailing. San Diego, 27 January 2009. Photo copyright Goli

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