Archive | March, 2011

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Another record breaking year ahead for the Finn class

Posted on 31 March 2011 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Finn Class] With the European sailing season about to begin in earnest with the 42 SAR Princesa Sofia MAPFRE Sailing World Cup event in Palma, the Finn class is looking forward to another record breaking year in 2011 as pre-entries outstrip previous years after a ongoing period of growth within the class.

For Palma, entries even had to be turned down as the class received 92 against a quota of 80. Eventually the organisers settled on 85 entries from 25 nations making it the joint second largest class at the regatta. These figures are unprecedented and show the positive result of worldwide development programmes within the class as well as increased interest in the Finn at all levels of competition. There is a similar ‘problem’ for Hyeres with 88 entries so far, and no doubt more to follow.

The class at Palma will include both the current Olympic champion Ben Ainslie (GBR) and the current World Champion Ed Wright (GBR), but not the world number one Ivan Klakovic Gaspic (CRO), as the Croatian team have decided to start their season in Hyeres. Apart from the Croatians, all the top 20 world ranked will be present and it will be the most competitive regatta since last year’s world championships in San Francisco, and for many the start of a long road for Olympic qualification.

Also in contention in Palma will be the winner of the Rolex Miami OCR, Giles Scott (GBR), the 2008 Olympic silver medalist Zach Railey (USA), and the 2007 World Champion and the runner up at the worlds last year Rafa Trujillo (ESP), and the winner at the Perth International Regatta Jonathan Lobert (FRA). Other names to watch for include Brendan Casey (AUS), Thomas Le Breton (FRA), Dan Slater (NZL) and the two other British sailors Andrew Mills (GBR) and Mark Andrews (GBR).  All of these are capable of winning races and gaining top 10 placings overall.

The fleet in Palma includes a notably large Italian team, which is  starting its selection process for 2012, as well as new faces from Lithuania and Slovakia. There is also an impressive 12 boat team from Russia, highlighting the exponential growth there in recent years. An interview feature on the Russian situation will be released shortly. Come Hyeres, the fleet will be joined by a four strong Chinese team, the first time a Chinese sailor has competed at a Finn major since the Olympics.

Looking further afield the World Masters are heading to Italy in June for what is expected to be the largest Finn event off all time. Two years ago the event broke all records with 268 entries. To date 234 entries have been made for 2011, with the organisers expecting closer to 300 Finns to finally turn up at the PuntAla Camping Resort in Tuscany, for a week of idyllic off the beach racing on the warm waters of the Mediterranean.

In early July, the senior fleet heads to Helsinki for the Open Europeans, closely followed by the world junior championship for the Silver Cup in Moscow at the end of July. The year ends with the Finn Gold Cup in Perth, Australia, at the 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships where the first country places for the 2012 Olympics will be decided. It will be a long hard season of racing for many, and a crucial one as well.

International Class President Balazs Hajdu commented on growth of the class and the large numbers sailing the boat, “These figures are self explanatory and show the strength and depth of the international Finn fleet. To our satisfaction the fleet is not only large but includes a number of new athletes in the class as well as new countries and a strong junior / young senior fleet which are all inevitable ingredients for a healthy Olympic class. There are also new and promising challenges ahead. Support requests came in recently from Argentina, Israel, Macedonia and the Philippines and the opportunity to bring Finn sailing to these countries is a big asset to our class.”

Once again the Finn class will provide in-depth media reports from all the events, bringing the battles and the struggles of the sailors to life through interviews, photographs and videos on every step of their journey.

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No change in the top 6 of match racing rankings

Posted on 31 March 2011 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: ISAF] In the Open Match Race Rankings there has been plenty of movement in the top 25 following a busy few weeks of match racing. The sailors competing in the 2011 Congressional Cup have seen the most movement but Ben Ainslie (GBR) retains a strong lead.

Since the last release of the Open Rankings there has been no change in the top six with Ben Ainslie (GBR) leading Adam Minoprio (NZL) by 945 points.

Mathieu Richard (FRA), who finished third at the Congressional Cup, is #3 in the Open Rankings followed by Torvar Mirsky (AUS) and the 2011 Congressional Cup winner Ian Williams (GBR) with Sweden’s Bjorn Hansen at #6.

Eugeniy Neugodnikov (RUS) climbed five places to #9 when the last rankings were announced and he moves further up the rankings to #7 this month after an eighth place finish at the Congressional Cup.

The Russian leaps ahead of Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) and Francesco Bruni (ITA).

William Tiller (NZL) has had a busy couple of months of match racing winning the ISAF Grade 3 Hardy Cup and California Dreamin Long Beach Stop and placing second at the ISAF Grade 2 Ficker Cup. As a result, the New Zealander climbs from #35 to a personal best ranking of #26.

Evan Walker (AUS) came second in the Hardy Cup and is the biggest climber moving from #84 to #43 in the Open Rankings. His best ranking so far is #33.

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ISAF Sailing World Cup Set To Heat Up In Palma

Posted on 30 March 2011 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: ISAF] The 2011 Trofeo SAR Princess Sofia MAPFRE marks the start of the European sailing season and many of the early leaders in the ISAF Sailing World Cup Standings are making the trip to Palma.

The British trio of Ben Ainslie, Giles Scott and Andrew Mills currently occupy the top of the Finn ISAF Sailing World Cup standings.

Ainslie, who won Sail Melbourne and finished second to Scott at the Rolex Miami OCR, leads the standings on 39 points. But Scott is only a point behind after he finished third behind Ainslie and 2009-10 World Cup champion Edward Wright (GBR) at Sail Melbourne.

All four of the Brits will make the trip to Palma as they look to stamp their authority on the Standings, but with Zach Railey (USA) and Brendan Casey (AUS) also set to compete, the competition is wide open.

In the Laser Radial the top three in the ISAF Sailing World Cup Standings of Marit Bouwmeester (NED), 34 points, Nathalie Brugger (SUI), on 29 points and Krystal Weir on 24 points are heading to Palma.

The current leaders are yet to pick up a gold medal so will be out to win their first ISAF Sailing World Cup regatta of the 2010-11 seven regatta series.

Bouwmeester, current world #1 and last year’s Laser Radial ISAF Sailing World Cup Champion, will be the favourite coming into Palma but with a field that features Evi Van acker (BEL), Tatiana Drozdovskaya (BLR), Veronika Fenclova (CZE), Sari Multala (FIN) and Paige Railey (USA) the competition will be fierce.

At Sail Melbourne there was no Star action but the Trofeo SAR Princess Sofia MAPFRE has received 42 entries including the current ISAF Sailing World Cup Star Standings leaders Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada (BRA)

The experienced Brazilians won the Rolex Miami OCR by a convincing 49 points over Fredrik Loof and Max Salminen (SWE) who are ranked #2 behind the Brazilians in the world. But the margin of victory counts for nothing as they lead the ISAF Sailing World Cup Standings by one point after one regatta.

Nick Thompson (GBR) has a commanding 12 point lead in the ISAF Sailing World Cup Laser Standings. Thompson has amassed 37 points out of a possible 40 after claiming gold at Sail Melbourne and finishing fourth at the Rolex Miami OCR.

His nearest rival is 2009-10 Champion Javier Hernandez (ESP) who has 25 points. But Thompson will not be competing in Palma meaning a victory from Hernandez, Rasmus Myrgren (SWE), Julio Alsogaray (ARG), Tom Burton (AUS) or Tom Slingsby (AUS), ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year, would see a new sailor lead the ISAF Sailing World Cup Laser Standings ahead of the fourth regatta at Hyeres.

The Trofeo SAR Princess Sofia regatta is in its 42nd year and is sponsored by MAPFRE and is organized by Club Nàutic S’Arenal, Real Club Náutico de Palma, Club Marítimo San Antonio de la Playa, Escuela de Vela Calanova and the Balearic and Spanish sailing federations. The institutional sponsors are the Govern de les Illes Balears, Palma City Council and the collaborators are Consejo Superior de Deportes, the Spanish Sports Federation for people with Physical disabilities, Ports de les Illes Balears, the Ministry of Environment, Baleares Ports Authority and Acciona.

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Ian Walker updates on Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing

Posted on 30 March 2011 by Valencia Sailing

Ian Walker updates on Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing

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Venezia Challenge officially challenges for the 34th America’s Cup

Posted on 30 March 2011 by Valencia Sailing

According to a brief statement on the team’s website, Venezia Challenge presented on Tuesday its official challenge for the 34th America’s Cup, representing Circolo Canottieri Roggero di Lauria.

A one-page article on the team appeared on the print version of today’s Corriere della Sera. According to the article, Cesare Pasotti will be the team manager, a position he held in Valencia in the 32nd America’s Cup with +39 Challenge.

We have contacted the team and will most probably talk to Carlo Magna, founder of Venezia Challenge, later on Wednesday or Thursday. There is no official confirmation by either the Golden Gate Yacht Club or America’s Cup Event Authority that he challenge has been accepted.

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Terry Hutchinson talks about the AC45 and Artemis Racing

Posted on 30 March 2011 by Valencia Sailing

Who better to talk to about the AC45 than Terry Hutchinson, the helmsman of Artemis Racing, by far the challenger most advanced in their quest to win the America’s Cup. We briefly caught up we Terry who gave us his first assessment on the brand new AC45 after 7 days of sailing in Auckland.

VSail.info: What are you general impressions from the first days of sailing on the AC45?
Terry Hutchinson: The boat is powerful, difficult to boat handle, yet quite controllable with the wing. We have been out in 25+ knots and the wing adds quite a bit of performance over the soft sail, but also gives you quite a bit more control.

VSail.info: How does it compare to the Extreme40?
Terry Hutchinson: A lot safer or should I say the wing, balanced with a much more refined hull shape, makes the boat different. The Extreme 40 is a great boat for the audience that it was designed for, but the AC 45 is quite a step up in terms of technology.

VSail.info: What do you think are the strongest and weakest points of the AC45?
Terry Hutchinson: It’s difficult to comment at this stage as we have only been sailing it for seven days.

Artemis Racing sailing in Auckland on their brand new AC45. Photo copyright Gilles Martin-Raget / America's Cup

VSail.info: How would you rate its maneuverability? Does it tack fast?
Terry Hutchinson: The maneuverability of the AC45 seems to be pretty good. We are in tight quarters getting in and out of the Viaduct in Auckland (NZ) and that is as good of a gauge as any.

We have done such limited racing that it is really premature to say. I would say the more difficult maneuver is tacking up range with the wing alone. Like any multihull, you have to be really careful with getting the boat up to pace before the tack. Getting stuck head-to-wind can be catastrophic as we learned last month.

VSail.info: Is it a physical boat? Does the crew work harder?
Terry Hutchinson: Yes. It’s very physical. The demands will be quite high on the crew and there will be injuries. With the large spine running down the middle of the boat for structural purposes, there is limited room for the crew to get underneath the wing. We have already seen other teams come off the water with cracked ribs, stitches and lots of skin gashing. It is the nature of the beast. The boats will eat people if we are not careful.

VSail.info: Have you had the time to match race? Do you think the AC45 will provide exciting match racing?
Terry Hutchinson: We have not had a chance yet. We hope to do so later in our first session but it is low priority right now. I think that we all have to get our heads around the fact that match racing these boats will be quite a bit different. We could see big separation only to have the boats come together at pace and be two boat-lengths behind at the top mark. Too early to tell.

VSail.info: You are a Louis Vuitton Cup winner on ACC, a World Champion on a TP52. If you had to choose between the ACC, TP52, X40 or AC45 just for the sailing pleasure it provides which one would it be?
Terry Hutchinson: None of the above as I would opt for pleasure sailing with my family however, it probably would involve a multi-hull as they are good fun. For pleasure racing (now that is a contradiction of terms if I have ever heard one) I would say that the TP 52 is still pretty good fun. The boats are very refined and the best teams succeed. The 34th America’s Cup is going to provide sailors and fans with something that we have never seen before. It is hard to know just yet how good the actual racing will be as we have not done any, but it will be a sailing experience that I know I have not yet experienced in my life.

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SIS LIVE to supply on-board cameras for 34th America’s Cup

Posted on 29 March 2011 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: SIS Live] SIS LIVE, Europe’s largest outside broadcast (OB) and uplink supplier, has won the prestigious contract to design, build and deliver High Definition (HD) agile cameras and digital RF microwave links for the 34th America’s Cup. The multi-million pound contract will see SIS LIVE supply the on-board camera systems over a three-year period to the America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA).

David Meynell, Managing Director, SIS LIVE, says: “This is a very important strategic contract that allows SIS LIVE to develop cutting-edge solutions for the America’s Cup Event Authority. We have already started the process, having been to New Zealand to look at the boats. SIS LIVE is unique in its ability to offer a complete solution including the design, build and delivery of the highest specification HD agile cameras and RF microwave links. We also have the technical and operational personnel to operate the cameras in race conditions. SIS LIVE has extensive experience of designing and operating small on-board HD camera systems and RF links for motorsports, sailing in Beijing and other sporting events, and we are bringing all that expertise to the America’s Cup.”

SIS LIVE will provide a fully managed integrated technical solution for HD agile cameras and RF microwave links. This includes the remote cameras on-board yachts, camera feeds and audio from yachts to shore, chase boats, umpire boats and helicopters’ camera feeds. The systems are being specially designed to be as ergonomic and lightweight as possible to minimise their impact on the racing yachts, while generating the high quality HD pictures needed for the global television and online coverage.

Gary Lovejoy, Head of Media Production, ACEA, says: “We are transforming the television coverage of the 34th America’s Cup to make it more comprehensive, more dynamic and more engaging for our viewing audience. We want to enable viewers to feel like they are on the boats – feeling the power of the waves, seeing the split-second decisions being made, seeing these athletes in action – so on-board cameras are a key part of our strategy.”

The three-year contract covers two America’s Cup World Series, which begin this summer and include 16 regattas around the globe; the Louis Vuitton Cup, the America’s Cup Challengers Series held July 13 – September 1, 2013 in San Francisco; and the America’s Cup Match to be held September 7 – 22, 2013 in San Francisco.

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No sailing for the third day running at 2011 SAP 505 World Championship

Posted on 29 March 2011 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: 2011 SAP 505 World Championship] The weather gods are not playing ball with the 2011 SAP 505 World Championship at Hamilton Island this week; for the third day running, Race Officer Kevin Wilson has had to announce that gusty winds and big seas have dictated no racing.

Wilson and his crew made a number of trips to the course area, but came back with the same answer each time, “It’s just not safe.”

Mike Martin (USA) the 2009 505 world champion, and his crew Geoff Ewenson, decided to test the waters for themselves, so took their boat for a sail. While the heavy weather specialists were able to keep the boat afloat, it became blatantly obvious that it was not a day for the fleet to race.

Everyone else watched from the safety and warmth of shore as the Americans mastered the waves and big gusts, which reached 40 knots at times.

Ian Pinnell, the 2008 world champion from Britain, along with some others, chose to take a dip in the pool in the teeming rain as all waited for news of what tomorrow would bring.

Kevin Wilson said, “We’ll try to hold two races tomorrow and may move the course to the Whitsunday Passage.” That decision would be made tomorrow morning, but Wilson plans to get racing underway from 10.00am.

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