Archive | July, 2011

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Tom Slingsby dominates and wins the 2011 D-ONE GOLD CUP

Posted on 31 July 2011 by Valencia Sailing

Tom Slingsby, world Laser champion from Australia, wins Sunday’s double-point medal race with a formidable lead and claims overall victory in the second edition of the D-One Gold Cup in Fraglia Vela Riva del Garda. Second and third places go to two British skippers, Nick Thompson and Giles Scott, respectively. Andrea Casale finishes fourth overall and first among the Italian sailors while Fabbio Toccoli, ninth overall, is the best non-professional skipper.

Riva del Garda, July 31st: Tom Slingsby turned the closing race of the 2011 D-One Gold Cup into his own personal parade on the waters off Fraglia Vela Riva del Garda. Going into the medal race that carried double points with no possibility of being discarded the overall score table was still wide open and a few duels were expected within the fleet for the individual podium spots. The first attempt at running a race was short lived and had to be canceled towards the end of the first run when the early-morning northerly (Peler) died down. The intense duel between Thompson and Glinsby would have to be repeated. After a half-an-hour wait, the “Ora” (the southerly breeze on Lake Garda) kicked in earlier than expected and gave the race committee the opportunity to give a second start at 11am.

That race proved to be a non-event, even with a light breeze between 6 and 8 knots. The Australian had a conservative start but thanks to his boat speed and excellent helming, he managed to build a lead of more than 100 meters at the first weather mark over second-placed Giles Scott. Slingsby then extended the lead to over 200 meters at the finish line. A finish in ninth place for Andrea Casale meant Scott was victorious in his duel third podium spot as the Italian finished ninth in the medal race. Argentina’s Agustín Zabalua, winner of the 2010 Gold Cup, scored an excellent third place and finished eleventh overall.

Tom Slingsby, winner of the 2011 D-One Gold Cup. Fraglia Vela Del Riva, 31 July 2011. Photo copyright François Richard

As a result, Tom Slingsby wins the second edition of the D-One Gold Cup and proves that the dinghy designed by Luca Devoti, when helmed by Olympic champions, can reach excellent speed and provide an impressive show on water. It is important pointing out that the top five skippers in the overall leaderboard weighed between 80kg and 98kg in a windy venue like Riva del Garda, a very wide range for dinghies.

Slingsby dominates the leaderboard with 8 points (3-1-1-2-1-1-1), followed by Thompson (1-2-2-1-2-2-4) and Scott (2-4-4-3-5-5-2). Andrea Casale wraps up the Gold cup with a brilliant fourth place (4-3-3-4-3-4-9), showing that he still has all it takes to be competitive on a dinghy. Giorgio Poggi is eighth while Fabio Toccoli, with a ninth place is also the winner in the Corinthian division. Riccardo Pontremoli from Genoa closes the top ten. Nathalie Testa wins the title in the women’s division while German Eberhard Bieberitz is the best-performing Master.

“It’s been a real pleasure racing on the D-One here,” stated a clearly jubilant Tom Slingsby (three-time world Laser champion). “It’s a great boat, great people and great class. Having 36 yachts from 11 nations in the second edition of the D-One Gold Cup is a good result. I decided to come here and race because I was definitively intrigued by the potential of this dinghy. The D-One can have a great future and grow very fast. I will certainly train again and race on a D-One, this time bringing many of my friends, to whom I definitely suggest they tried it.”

The next edition of the D-One Gold Cup will take place in Tuscany, near the end of next year’s summer. The 2011 Volvo Cup D-One, after the events in Alassio, Bracciano, Cattolica and Riva del Garda, will proceed to Marina di Scarlino in conjunction with the National Championship (16-18 September) and the Barcolina of Trieste (1-2 October).

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Highlights from day 3 of the 2011 D-One Gold Cup

Posted on 30 July 2011 by Valencia Sailing

Highlights from day 3 of the 2011 D-One Gold Cup

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D-ONE GOLD CUP: Two bullets for Slingsby; last decisive race on Sunday

Posted on 30 July 2011 by Valencia Sailing

Riva del Garda, July 30th: Tom Slingsby lived up to his fame and won both of today’s races. The first one was truly a walk in the park for the current world Laser champion as he led from start to finish. In the second race he managed to stage a great recovery after an average start, showing a couple of amazing speed peaks upwind. It was another beautiful day on Lake Garda, with the local “Ora” blowing 16 knots in the first race and 13-14 in the second one.

The spectacular show of 36 D-One’s sailing upwind close to the west banks of the lake and downwind under their colorful spinnakers and with speeds reaching 16 knots was exciting. The D-One is a dinghy that, when put on the expert hands of Laser and Finn Olympic champions, shows that competitive yacht racing can also provide truly astonishing levels of show. Watching Tom Slingsby screaming ahead upwind (with amazing speed bursts in the first beat of the second race when he passed a couple of competitors with a speed at least 1 knot greater) is similar to reading a manual of competitive racing. The 27-year old Australian champion decided to take part in this Gold Cup after having heard about the potential of the D-One, a dinghy that combines skills and technicality upwind with pure fun downwind.

The day’s first race saw the absolute domination by Slingsby from the onset. Slingsby crossed the finish line more than 200 meters ahead of second-placed Nick Thompson. Andrea Casale had a fantastic race again and was third, ahead of Gaspic and Giles Scott. Among the Italians, Uberto Crivelli Visconti was eighth and Fabio Toccoli ninth.

The second race was marked by an exceptional recovery by Slingsby after an average start. At the first weather mark Slingsby was already leading, followed by, who else, Nick Thompson. Croatia’s Ivan Gaspic (current European Finn champion) was third, Andrea Casale fourth and Giorgio Poggi eighth. Nathalie Testa, the only woman racing in the regatta, had a remarkable performance and finished first among the fleet with the smaller 9.5 rig.

After 6 races with one discard, Tom Slingsby (3-1-1-2-1-1) is leading the Gold Cup, two points clear of Nick Thompson (1-2-2-1-2-2). Andrea Casale is now third (4-3-3-4-3-4), two points ahead of Giles Scott (2-4-4-3-5-5). Another British skipper, Charlie Cumbley is fifth. Among the Italians, Fabio Toccoli is eighth (10-8-12-8-9-14), Giorgio Poggi ninth (DNF-7-19-7-10-8). Riccardo Pontremoli from Genoa is eleventh (8-11-22-14-18-13). Reigning champion, Agustín Zabalua from Argentina, and light-wind specialist is currently 16th, penalized by his weight of just 72kg.

“It is a great regatta,” stated Luca Devoti, freshly arrived from Cascais, where he’s been busy as sailing manager of America’s Cup challenger Green Comm Racing. “Watching Tom Slingsby sailing is an exceptional opportunity. The fine-tuning of the D-One dinghy is continuous and now even heavyweight Finn sailors can be competitive. Riva del Garda is a notoriously windy place and maybe that scared the lighter skippers a little bit but being able to witness such a high level of racing with those guys makes it a unique spot for the sport of sailing. Next year’s Gold Cup will be in Tuscany and everybody will have their chance as well.”

The event’s last race is scheduled for tomorrow (Sunday) morning at 8:45am and will take place with a northerly breeze (Pelèr). The medal race carries double points and cannot be discarded, leaving the final result wide open. Two battles are expected, the first one between Slingsby and Thompson for the title and the other one between Casale and Scott for third place. Among the skippers racing with the smaller 9.5 rig, Spaniard Alvaro Maestro Garcia is holding the lead but Nathalie Testa still has some chances.

The Volvo Cup D-One, after the events in Alassio, Bracciano, Cattolica and Riva del Garda, will proceed to Marina di Scarlino in conjunction with the National Championship (16-18 September) and the Barcolina of Trieste (1-2 October).

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America’s Cup Uncovered – Episode 1

Posted on 30 July 2011 by Valencia Sailing

America’s Cup Uncovered – Episode 1

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Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing training off their Portuguese base

Posted on 30 July 2011 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing] Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing has completed all preparation work on its fully-functioning, 324m² training base in Portugal, as the Volvo Ocean Race 2011/12-contesting outfit begins Atlantic training ahead of the 39,000 nautical mile race’s Spanish start in October.

Housed in Cascais, Portugal, the purpose-built training facility includes six, 40-foot, custom-fit containers, two yacht build tents, two sail loft tents, turnkey temporary office and support housing, and two eight-metre support boats.

The base is a pivotal staging area for the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA)-backed team to put its recently launched Volvo Open 70 racing yacht, Azzam – which means determination in Arabic – through heavy weather training in the crashing waves off Southern Europe.

“This has been a truly international project from the beginning. From our global crew and world-wide training programme to Azzam’s multi-continent design and build process, we have traversed the planet in pursuit of excellence. With less than 100 days to go, we are making sure every second counts,” said Faisal Al Sheikh, Events Manager, ADTA.

With offshore gusts regularly blowing in excess of 25 knots, the team – which is skippered by double Olympic medallist, Ian Walker – is stress testing all design features of the state-of-the-art yacht, from bow to sails, as it readies to undertake the gruelling, nine-month round the world race, widely regarded as the ‘Everest of Sailing’.

“The next two months in Portugal are critical to our preparations and aspiration to challenge for podium honours. We are trying our hardest to push the yacht to its absolute limits and beyond, so we can determine any weaknesses now and fix them. The name of the game is to avoid time-sapping issues occurring under race conditions,” said Walker, who leads the 11-strong Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing crew – the most intercontinental assembled since the race began 38-years-ago.

“The weather in Portugal is perfect for sailing and it will good to let Azzam stretch her wings. It is also good for the team to be back training hard on the water; time is disappearing and we must ensure we’re at our best come the race start.”

Since arriving in the Portuguese sailing hotspot, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and its brilliant black Volvo Open 70 – which boasts, soaring across its bow and main sails, a striking falcon, the national emblem of the United Arab Emirates of which Abu Dhabi city is the capital – have been well received.

In addition to many fans and visitors, the Mayor of Cascais, Carlos Carreiras, made a VIP visit to welcome the Abu Dhabi crew and see Azzam in action.

“Premium teams select premium venues. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and Cascais is, therefore, a perfect match – one of the best yacht teams in the world chooses one of the most spectacular and renowned sailing waters on the planet. Because of our unique natural conditions; because sport and business are linked today as never before; and because sailing is part of our Atlantic DNA, we consider the development of yachting venues a strategic priority for Cascais. The presence of the Abu Dhabi team in Cascais is a strong signal that we are on the right path,” said Carreiras.

“As well as providing starting points for countless explorations and discoveries, our Atlantic shores tell a long history of welcoming different peoples from around the world. We are now proud to welcome Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing.”

The 2011/2012 Volvo Ocean Race will be contested around six continents and across four oceans before ending in Galway, Ireland, in summer 2012. Abu Dhabi will welcome teams this New Year after they complete a punishing leg from Cape Town.

In addition to making history as the first Arabian challenger in the Volvo Ocean Race, ADTA has committed to staging a fortnight-long, emirate-wide celebration to mark the Volvo Ocean Race arrival – from concerts and interactive race villages for the whole family, to great holiday packages across Abu Dhabi’s plethora of 4- and 5-star resorts.

The emirate is well progressed with plans for a specially-designed 55,000m² ‘Destination Village’ being built on Abu Dhabi’s picturesque Corniche breakwater. The ‘Destination Village’ – around the size of eight football pitches – will open free-of-charge to the public daily from December 30 this year to January 14, next year. ADTA anticipates welcoming more than 100,000 visitors through the gates.

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D-One Gold Cup: Day 2

Posted on 29 July 2011 by Valencia Sailing

D-One Gold Cup: Day 2

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D-ONE GOLD CUP: Incredible Tom Slingsby capsizes and then goes on to win

Posted on 29 July 2011 by Valencia Sailing

The second day of the 2011 D-One Gold Cup in Fraglia Vela Riva del Garda had in store yet another thrilling duel between Australian Tom Slingsby and Great Britain’s Nick Thompson. “Ora”, the local southerly breeze, started at 16 knots and dropped to 12 in the second race. Slingsby scored an incredible come-from-behind win in the first race after recovering from a capsize in the first run. Thompson took the second race and claimed overall leadership after 4 races. It was another excellent day for Abdrea Casale (3-4, fourth overall) while Fabio Toccoli was 8th overall and second among the Italian fleet.

Riva del Garda, July 29th: Spectators on the Garda lake on Friday afternoon were treated with an exceptional performance by Tom Slingsby. In the day’s first race (third in the 2011 D-One Gold Cup) and with the southerly breeze blowing 16 knots, the Australian, current world Laser champion, was able to recover from a capsize in the first run, while he was in the lead. His exceptional speed in the second beat and his perfect tactics in the final run allowed him to recover three spots and win the race. This was another proof of this top-notch sailor’s skills. When Slingsby capsized, Andrea Casale from Genoa took the leadership, only to be overtaken at the second weather mark. “These guys sail like crazy,” said Casale, “I gave my best but I have to admit that sailing against them is indeed a pleasure!” Casale finally was third, behind Slingsby and Thompson. Among the remaining Italian skippers, Giuseppe Pontremoli finished seventh.

In the second race, the “Ora” had dropped to 12 knots but this didn’t take away the excitement from the fight between Thompson and Slingsby. This time it was the British sailor that got the upper hand after he passed the Australian in the second beat. Third was another British, Giles Scott, current European Finn champion. Fourth place went to Andrea Casale and Croatia’s Ivan Gaspic finished fifth. Among the other Italian skippers, Giorgio Poggi and Fabio Tocolli were, respectively, seventh and eighth while ninth place went to Uberto Crivelli Visconti.

After four races with one discard, Nick Thompson is sitting at the top of the overall leaderboard (1-2-2-1) with 4 points, tied with Tom Slingsby (3-1-1-2). Giles Scott is third (2-4-4-3), Andrea Casale fourth (4-3-3-4) while fifth place goes to another British skipper, Charlie Cumbley. Among the Italians, Fabio Toccoli is eighth (10-8-12-8), Giorgio Poggi ninth (DNF-7-19-7) and Riccardo Pontremoli is tenth (8-11-22-14).

“It’s been a really tough day,” admitted Tom Slingsby, “I capsized halfway down the first run in a gybe close to the rocks. I was then able to recover thanks to my speed upwind with a strong breeze that today was clearly notable. It’s a pure pleasure racing on this dinghy that blends the abilities of a hiking boat upwind with the speed and fun downwind.”

The Volvo Cup D-One, after the events in Alassio, Bracciano, Cattolica and Riva del Garda, will proceed to Marina di Scarlino in conjunction with the National Championship (16-18 September) and the Barcolina of Trieste (1-2 October).

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D-One Gold Cup: Day 1

Posted on 29 July 2011 by Valencia Sailing

D-One Gold Cup: Day 1

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