Archive | June, 2011

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Onboard the Farr400 in Valencia

Posted on 30 June 2011 by Valencia Sailing

Onboard the Farr400 in Valencia

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Sailing on the brand new Farr400 in Valencia

Posted on 30 June 2011 by Valencia Sailing

When the opportunity arrises to sail on board the brand new Farr400 one doesn’t think twice, especially if it’s right in your own backyard. The latest one-design yacht to come from the drawing boards of Farr Yacht Design is in Valencia in order to take part in the 13th edition of the Trofeo de la Reina, freshly-arrived from a bright performance in the Giraglia Rolex Cup.

Helming the Farr400 in the Trofeo de la Reina is none other than Matt Allen, former Commodore of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia and owner of the 70-foot Ichi Ban (former Brunel Volvo Ocean Race 70). Calling tactics is another Australian, Grant Simmer, and former Alinghi director and Team Origin CEO that can probably boast about his knowledge of local conditions, having raced two America’s Cups in Valencia. Finally, The mainail trimmer is another former Team Origin member, Mike Mottl.

The overnight passage of a front over the Valencia region produced overcast skies and light rain in the morning but this didn’t stop the sea breeze from building up in the afternoon. The clouds eventually gave way to blue skies as the day progressed but the breeze didn’t reach its maximum potential, usual in this time of the year. As a result, the 5-hour test took place with winds between 10 and 12 knots and quite lumpy seas. With Allen and Simmer having seen the Farr400 just a couple of hours before sailing the day’s schedule was to get a feeling of the boat, carry out sail tests and calibrate the instruments.

Here’s what Grant Simmer had to say at the end of the first training session: “My first impression is very good and it’s nice to have a big sail downwind. The boat accelerates well both upwind and downwind. I think it will be a difficult boat to sail fast because it’s light with a lot of righting moment and therefore it’s twitchy to trim. This is our very first sail but we already feel we have improved in that short amount of time. The boat responds a lot to the trim so that means it will be sensitive and quite difficult to sail well which is challenging and good. It is quite sensitive to steer and to trim and without doubt it will be exciting and fast to sail downwind. Being a complciated boat to sail, I think a good crew will make the difference. It’s faster than a Farr40 upwind and especially downwind because it’s much lighter.”

For Simmer the key in the success of the Farr400 will be the establishment of a critical mass of boats that will allow its owners to have competitive racing. The existence of at least 10 boats in each of the world’s main sailing regions, Europe, Australia/New Zealand and the US will probably be a turning point for this new one-design boat.

Matt Allen at the helm of Farr400 with Grant Simmer calling tactics. Valencia, 30 June 2011. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis /

Onboard the brand new Farr400. Valencia, 30 June 2011. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis /

Onboard the brand new Farr400. Valencia, 30 June 2011. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis /

From left, Mike Mottl, mainsail trimmer, Matt Allen, helmsman, and Grant Simmer, tactician. Valencia, 30 June 2011. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis /

Onboard the brand new Farr400. Valencia, 30 June 2011. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis /

Onboard the brand new Farr400. Valencia, 30 June 2011. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis /

Onboard the brand new Farr400. Valencia, 30 June 2011. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis /

Onboard the brand new Farr400. Valencia, 30 June 2011. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis /

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What is this?

Posted on 30 June 2011 by Valencia Sailing

Valencia, 30 June 2011. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis /

Valencia, 30 June 2011. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis /

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Highlights from Day 1 of the RC44 Cagliari Cup

Posted on 30 June 2011 by Valencia Sailing

Highlights from Day 1 of the RC44 Cagliari Cup

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Russell Coutts: “I hope the other teams perceive us as being impossible to beat”

Posted on 30 June 2011 by Valencia Sailing

The four-time, and most probably five-time two years from now, America’s Cup winner talked to our colleague Michele Tognozzi from FareVela Net about the 34th America’s Cup and his team. Russell Coutts is currently in Cagliari, racing on his team’s RC44 yacht.

FareVela Net: One month to go until the first AC World Series in Cascais. What are your expectations?
Russell Coutts: It’s very exciting. Now, with the new rules more teams will have possibilities, the big teams… and some of the new teams that are interesting. The Korean Team, for example, they are choosing good sailors. I know who they are but I cannot say their names because they have not already announced them. China Team will have a real challenge this time, not as in 2007. We hope in one french, people say that in the multi french guys are always very good. On the AC45 sailors will be very important. It’s really physical, the more athletic boat I have ever seen. Good sailors will make the difference.

FareVela Net: Talking about athletic guys, what do you think of Luca Devoti’s choice to call the super fit guys from the Finn Class?
Russell Coutts: Well, it’s a nice idea but I would have opted for a more balanced team: two or three from the Finn, a couple from the 49er, ex multihull and Tornado sailors. I can say that on the AC45 all the crew hike like damned men, the only one that doesn’t hike is the helmsman. The boat is very fast, hard to sail and spectacular. The AC45 is a very athletic boat. People are going to be surprised, it’s a big physical challenge and I think the 72 will be more so…

FareVela Net: If we need to hike hard, nobody can do it better than the finn sailors, you won a gold medal in the Finn class and I think you know it…
Russell Coutts: Yes, I do, but this is only my opinion, I would have preferred more balance. This is for me one of the good things of the new format. Open the America’s Cup up for some of the sailors. In the old format they didn’t have a chance of coming in but now I think that it is much more open.

FareVela Net: You have changed the Protocol from an A version, hard to enter, to a B version, easier.
Russell Coutts: It was an idea from Team New Zealand, so they pushed to have the World Series on the AC45. I think it’s a good idea. We probably got more teams because of that, maybe some later entries. So for this economy I think it’s a very good result. We have a good series and I think it’s going to be very competitive.

Russell Coutts at the helm of Oracle Racing AC45. San Francisco, 11 June 2011. Photo copyright Guilain Grenier / Oracle Racing

FareVela Net: What will happen with the AC72 in 2013. Can all these teams achieve the final goal?
Russell Coutts: No, I don’t think all of them, but I think many of them could make it. Because of the changes you can’t launch the 72 before July next year and you are restricted on the amount of time, and that saves a lot of money. So I believe that somebody that is… smart with the money, sensible, could have a competitive campaign for 40, 50 million euros. I believe that this is the case. Even though some of the big teams are just saying it’s “impossible”, I think they say impossible for the “owner” reason… You know…

FareVela Net: That means…
Russell Coutts: Their budget is so high so they can not justify to the owners if they spend less money…

FareVela Net: There is a question I have to make now. Do you think that at this point of the game it is possible for any team to beat Oracle Racing? And what about your technical advantage looking at 2013?
Russell Coutts: I think the good teams, not just with money, with the “smart” approach could be very good.

FareVela Net: You mean new ideas?
Russell Coutts: Yes… but I hope we win.

FareVela Net: That’s for sure, but we think that a good competition is important for the sport…
Russell Coutts: For sure, but I hope we can win and I hope the other teams perceive us as being impossible to beat. You know what I mean?

FareVela Net: I see that you are laughing…
Russell Coutts: Of course I hope they believe that, if I were them I would not believe it, but I hope they believe it.

FareVela Net: Let’s speak about something that our readers will find very interesting: your capsize. How was that?
Russell Coutts: I made a mistake and when you make a mistake in these boats you’re going to be in trouble. A stupid mistake. Really, but I am learning where the limits are. To sail these boats fast you need to know where the limits are, you need to push to the limits.

FareVela Net: But it looks dangerous, maybe more dangerous on the AC72…
Russell Coutts: Yeah, it can be… in the 72 for sure, yes it is definitely part of the game, because I think the more risk you take the faster you go. So, for sure you’re going to see people pushing too far… I am sure that I would capsize again, I am sure because I like to win, you know, so I am going to push it hard…

FareVela Net: The first word you said after the capsize?
Russell Coutts: Shit… just shit.

Shit... Russell Coutts capsizes. San Francisco, 13 June 2011. Photo copyright Guilain Grenier / Oracle Racing

FareVela Net: What about your programs?
Russell Coutts: One boat has been shipped to Europe now so we’ll arrive just before the regatta and we have been doing a lot of training in San Francisco, in strong winds. We feel well prepared for the first event, hopefully we win, that’s our goal, you know. Each race we race we’re going to be trying to win.

FareVela Net: Last September in Valencia you said that the sport needed to be changed. Are you really changing the game? You feel that what you are doing is the right thing? Some people are complaining about that. Your “Facebook” sailing generation will really be the future?
Russell Coutts: I think so, the real answer is… many of the big television broadcasters now want to cover AC racing, that was not the case before. The sport needed to change, to become more exciting, more athletic, younger, faster, more challenging, and these boats are just tactical as the old boats, just happening at high speed. The match racing is still a very good match race, with similar tactics to before. It is still the same chess on the water, still like that but much more action, much higher speed. I think that it is better for the sailors and the fans that watch the sport.

FareVela Net: So, you don’t feel to have done something against the international sailing community…
Russell Coutts: If we manage… let’s say… 500 hundred million more viewers looking at our sport it’s a good or a bad thing? That’s the answer, of course it’s a good thing. The Youth America’s Cup… it’s been developing to bring young sailors to race at the pinnacle of the sport. Some of the old sailors are complaining because they have no job anymore.

FareVela Net: For sure, this is an important aspect…
Russell Coutts: …but eventually we have to make way for the young people. The young guys come through and start winning in this format. On the old format we had a lot of grey here on the boat, I still have grey here but you won’t see much grey here on the new boats.

FareVela Net: Last question, what is your favorite boat to sail?
Russell Coutts: The AC45, right now. Fantastic, really fantastic, it is such a machine… you get that feeling…

FareVela Net: But the AC45 still needs sailors or engineers?
Russell Coutts: The good sailors are going to be the good sailors. I think even more so, because the sailors would need to be more athletic. You need to be smart, to be an athlete, to be a good tactician. I think this is making the sport more interesting.

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Sizzling start for the RC44’s in Cagliari

Posted on 29 June 2011 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: RC44 Class Association] Clear skies and a gentle breeze welcomed the 15 teams competing in the RC44 Cagliari Cup in Sardinia. With one day of match racing scheduled into the event, the fleet raced six flights with four teams coming away undefeated; Team CEEREF, Oracle Racing, Katusha and Team Aqua.

Cameron Appleton was at the helm of Team Aqua and seemed to cruise to victory in each of their four races. Leading the match race ranking coming into Cagliari, their form today cemented their place at the top of the leaderboard, two points ahead of Paul Cayard on Katusha and Russell Coutts steering Oracle Racing.

Oracle Racing were also undefeated despite a sometimes eventful day. “The first race we lost one of our crew members overboard (Matt Coutts) at the windward mark and had to circle round and go back for him. Our second race was really close with No Way Back they were ahead of us but we managed to pass them. There was some good racing out there.” Explained Russell Coutts after racing.

On a day where the professional skippers are allowed to steer, Igor Lah, at the helm of his own boat, Team CEEREF, put in a stand out performance taking three straight wins from Ironbound (USA), Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP) and Aleph (FRA) helmed by 2010 World Match Racing runner up, Mathieu Richard.

Team CEEREF sit fourth in the overall match racing standing on nine points, after three events. On equal points is Artemis Racing who had good fortune on their side in their match against David Murphy’s Ironbound (USA). “We had an interesting race with Ironbound where we both went around the mark the wrong way. We managed to unwind ourselves, so even though they beat us on the water they didn’t sail the correct course, so didn’t get a result. Torbjorn (Tornqvist owner of Artemis) was the only one on the boat that noticed the mistake which was key to us doing well.” Explained a relieved Morgan Larson after racing.

The two new teams who have joined the Tour in Cagliari also added points to their scoreline with Poland’s MAG Racing winning two out of their four races with team tactician Piotr Przybylski, at the helm. “We are very happy with our performance today, we finished with good results in my debut on the helm and although I have sailed on these boats for a few years before but it has always been in different positions from front trim to back trim but never on the helm so for me it was a really great day. It was so important for us to have won two races; it allows us to push forward for the future.”

RUS 7 Racing team powered by picked up their only race win against fellow Russian’s Team Nika, whose owner Vladimir Prosikhin described their day as “Unlucky, but very enjoyable”.

Tomorrow marks the start of the fleet racing phase of the event and with more new teams arriving on the circuit Team Aqua’s Cameron Appleton, a veteran of the class is contemplating how it’s going to pan out. “It’s going be great racing against 14 teams; it will be hard in the fleet racing. All of a sudden a 10th result might look pretty good. Its early days, I’m interested to see how mixed up the results will be at the end of it. It’s great to see the class growing and the new teams means it’s going to be harder on the race track.”

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GAMESA to sponsor and partner with Mike Golding’s offshore solo programme

Posted on 29 June 2011 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Mike Golding Yacht Racing] Gamesa, a global wind power technology leader and a world reference in the development and sale of wind farms, and Mike Golding, OBE, have today announced their intention to be on the start line of the 2012 Vendee Globe in Les Sables d’Olonne, France, on 10 November 2012 with the IMOCA Open 60 Gamesa. The race emerges as this new partnership’s most important challenge, Gamesa having revealed its sponsorship of the Gamesa Sailing Team, led by Mike Golding, to 135 of its top global executives at their annual convention in Windsor, England.

Billed as ‘the Everest of yacht racing’, this will be the fourth start for the Hampshire, UK, based skipper; something he himself describes as ‘unfinished business’.

“This sponsorship comes at an important time for Gamesa and our planned programme of expansion into the offshore market in UK,” Jorge Calvet, Chairman and Chief Executive of Gamesa announced. “The sea and the wind are similarly part of the Gamesa challenge and there are synergies between Mike’s Vendée Globe campaign and our own activities in the wind power market in the UK and globally. We have a vigorous business plan over the coming years with many common values, including innovation, teamwork, leadership and passion for our customers, and we look forward to working with Mike and his team to achieve both our goals and his,” he concluded.

Gamesa is ready to play a significant role in the offshore market. The company is working to launch two offshore platforms (the G11X-5.0 MW and G14X-6/7 MW) and it has also announced that the UK will be the centre of its offshore wind business. It plans to invest over €150 million there by 2014. It will establish an offshore technology centre in Glasgow and will analyse the development of manufacturing, port logistics and O&M capabilities in several UK ports (England and Scotland). Gamesa’s offshore business will be headquartered in London.

Mike Golding is one of the world’s most accomplished solo ocean sailors. With over 250,000 racing miles and some 25 equator crossings, he has competed in three previous Vendée Globes, held three world championship titles and created a reputation for being “King of the South”, setting the fastest speed record in the Southern Ocean.

Golding commented, “This is obviously fantastic for us to be able to formally announce our partnership with Gamesa. With Gamesa’s support and our existing infrastructure we are now certain to be able to mount a very competitive campaign for the 2012 Vendée Globe – which is simply wonderful news. Having enjoyed enormous success in the sport of sailing, the Vendee Globe remains ‘the event’ I would most love to win.”

“Furthermore, having spent the past decade championing environmental products and issues, it is really exiting that Gamesa’s core business is in renewable energy – an area increasingly critical to performance in competitive round the world yacht racing.”

Mike Golding’s Owen Clark-designed Open 60 is currently undergoing some major optimisation work in the UK, with a view to being on the water again later this summer. The first major event for the team will be the double-handed Transat Jacques Vabre from France to Costa Rica in October 2011.

During May 2012 the Gamesa IMOCA 60 will race fully crewed in the Europa Race (a tour of Europe) before the team makes final preparations for the non-stop solo around the world race, the Vendée Globe.

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Team Sanya picks Stratis GPx from Doyle Sails

Posted on 29 June 2011 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Doyle Sails] Stratis GPx sails from Doyle Sails New Zealand have been chosen to power Team Sanya around the globe in the next edition of the Volvo Ocean Race.

Mike Sanderson, skipper of Team Sanya and director of Doyle Sails New Zealand;

“It was an easy decision for Team Sanya to make, notwithstanding the fact that I have a boot in both camps!

“The tremendous results that we are achieving with Stratis sails now in terms of both performance and durability certainly give me a lot of confidence and comfort going into the race. The Team and I will be working with Richard Bouzaid and the rest of the Doyle Sails design team in New Zealand to develop the optimum wardrobe for the race. The sail programme has been made all that much harder for this lap compared to any of my others because the boats will be carrying so few sails on board and they get replaced less frequently as well!

Mike Sanderson’s sailing CV certainly makes him very well qualified to make a rational decision on sails to match the task ahead. Being a sailmaker by trade, having wins in two previous Volvo Ocean races as well as transatlantic and 24 hr speed records under his belt, Mike knows that as well as being fast, the sails have to be engineered and built with an extreme level of durability, particularly as sail wardrobes are so limited for the race.

“I think that the properties of Stratis make it ideal for the application, and with the practical expertise of the design team behind us, we are very excited about taking delivery of our first set of sails”

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