Archive | September, 2011

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Team Aqua leads Adris RC44 Croatia Cup

Posted on 30 September 2011 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: RC44 Class Association] The early sea breeze came in off the north Adriatic Sea this morning allowing the RC44 fleet to complete another four races at the Adris RC44 Cup. It was Team Aqua who put the pedal to the metal ending the day in a familiar place, at top of the leader-board.

The wind started at a moderate 8 knots and reached 17 at its peak. There was always more wind at the top of the course, away from the Rovinj shore-line and surrounding Islands, making sail choices difficult for the fourteen teams. “On the water it was certainly more challenging than yesterday, to stay ahead of the small oscillations and pressure differences from one side of the course to the other was tough,” was Cameron Appleton’s synopsis of the day’s racing.

Team Aqua (GBR) started their assent of the leader-board in race one, finishing second. The next race didn’t go completely to plan. They arrived at the windward mark on port, tried to squeeze in, only to be penalised. Luckily they had space to complete their penalty without losing any places, as a left hand shift had split the pack in two. Despite playing catch up Chris Bake and his team took two further places to finish fourth.

From there on in the British team didn’t put a foot wrong, finishing with two race wins and a seven point cushion to second placed Islas Canarias Puerto Calero. The Spanish team’s consistency for a second day moved them up the leader-board into second, their best result of the day a third, their worst a sixth.

Team CEEREF (SLO) also seemed to master the conditions adding just ten points to their score-line in what owner Igor Lah called a “brilliant day, there were no mistakes, somehow everything worked perfectly.” Their three thirds and a first moved them into fourth, on equal points with Torbjorn Tornqvist’s Artemis Racing (SWE), who couldn’t match their performance from yesterday scoring two fourth and eighth places.

For the French Aleph Sailing Team who joined the RC44 Tour in Austria this year “Everything seems to be coming together nicely, we had some decent starts and good boat speed, so it turned out ok,” was owner Hugues Lepic summary of their performance. The won the opening race and followed up with a second. They couldn’t quite match the same form for the final two races, but their 12th and 4th was enough to move them up to sixth overall, seven points adrift of overnight leaders ORACLE Racing.

Russell Coutts and Stuart Hebb also struggled to find the form that had showed on the first two days. ORACLE Racing’s score-line read 8, 10, 2, 7, one they will be looking to improve on tomorrow.

The fleet also welcomed 70 young school children from Rovinj today, who spent the morning testing their grinding skills on the RC44’s and producing some fantastic sail murals to take back to their schools. Racing continues at the Adris RC44 Cup until Sunday 2nd October with the first start at 11.30 CET daily.

Quotes of the day:

Igor Lah – owner and match race helm – Team CEEREF
It was a brilliant day. There were no mistakes, somehow everything worked perfectly. All the guys onboard did a perfect job so I hope we can continue like this. The conditions were the same as yesterday until the last race where it got a little shiftier but it was a really nice day and we enjoyed the sailing. Today’s results put us in a good position for the regatta, which is what we were looking for.

José Maria Ponce – tactician – Islas Canarias Puerto Calero
We are happy with today’s results, we were aiming to be top five (each race) in racing this week but today was more difficult than yesterday, our boat speed today wasn’t as good and we had some pretty choppy shifty conditions which was very tough but it was good sailing. We are happy we are close to all the top five boats now so we need fight hard to keep a good position. We aim to be top three but we know it’s going to be very difficult and we will just take it one race at a time.

Cameron Appleton – tactician – Team Aqua
The guys onboard have done a great job the last few days because there has been a lot of gear changing and tricky conditions but they’ve been all over the adjustments and the right timings for it. Chris (Bake) did a really good job today he steered the boat well, because we were really hard on him, so we’re pleased to have a great finish today with two firsts.

On the water it was certainly more challenging than yesterday, to stay ahead of the small oscillations and pressure differences from one side of the course to the other.

You’ve got to get away clean at the start, which made the difference for us today, yesterday we had a couple of bad starts and you never quite know how you’re going to shape up after that, but we put a lot of focus on it today, to get in a good lane off the line.

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Adris RC44 Cup Croatia – Day 3 – Fleet Racing

Posted on 30 September 2011 by Valencia Sailing

Adris RC44 Cup Croatia – Day 3 – Fleet Racing

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Adris RC44 Cup Croatia – Day 2 – Fleet Racing

Posted on 30 September 2011 by Valencia Sailing

Adris RC44 Cup Croatia – Day 2 – Fleet Racing

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Stellar line-up assemble in Alicante

Posted on 30 September 2011 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Volvo Ocean Race] After many months of preparation and training at their respective bases around the globe, six teams featuring the world’s best sailors have converged on the Spanish port in the final countdown to the 39,000 nautical mile round the world race.

With five of the Volvo Open 70 yachts already in Alicante, the arrival of PUMA Ocean Racing’s Mar Mostro tomorrow completes the cast list for the 11th edition of professional sailing’s toughest challenge.

The six teams poised to battle it out for the honour of lifting the Volvo Ocean Race trophy are Team Telefónica, Team Sanya, Groupama sailing team, CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG Propulsion.

Made up of Olympic stars, world champions and round the world veterans, the six crews boast between them eight Olympic medals – four gold and four silver – and 106 circumnavigations in the Volvo Ocean Race/Whitbread Round the World Race alone.

Time has run out for a possible seventh team to enter the race, which begins with an In-Port Race on October 29 before the first leg to Cape Town sets off on November 5.

Knut Frostad, Chief Executive of the Volvo Ocean Race, said: “The arrival of all the boats in Alicante is a major milestone for the Volvo Ocean Race and it’s great to see them all in port.

“Having the teams here next to each other really brings home the enormity of the challenge that lies ahead.

“Personally I think it is a big achievement to have the most competitive fleet ever on the start line considering the crisis Europe is in.

“The six teams who will compete for the Volvo Ocean Race trophy represent the very best of the world’s sailing talent and I have no doubt this edition of the race will be the greatest the Volvo Ocean Race has seen in its 38 years.

“I would not like to predict the winner.”

As the final preparation phase starts the atmosphere in Alicante is heating up with the teams shifting gears from training to full-on race mode.

A section of the port has been turned into a temporary boatshed for the teams as they make last-minute adjustments to their cutting-edge 70ft racing yachts.

Their immediate focus will be a short qualification race, starting from Alicante on October 7.

The 600-nautical mile passage will allow the teams – and race organisers – to iron out any 11th-hour problems and will be the first opportunity for each team to compare their performance with that of their rivals ahead of the first In-Port Race.

The exhilaration on the water will be rivalled by the excitement of the Alicante Race Village, which opens on October 14.

The Race Village will feature a host of attractions including a 3D cinema, a simulator recreating the feeling of sailing a Volvo Open 70 at 25 knots, a winch grinding challenge and a zone dedicated to entertaining children.

Following the In-Port Race, the Legends Regatta and Reunion will see representatives from 61 former Volvo Ocean Race/Whitbread Round the World Race yachts converge in Alicante with up to 15 yachts from past editions racing from November 1 to 5

The six teams will then face their biggest challenge – 6,500 nautical miles of gruelling racing from Alicante through the Atlantic to Cape Town, South Africa.

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Three Semi Finalists Emerge In Wet And Wild Chicago Match Cup

Posted on 30 September 2011 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Chicago Match Cup] A strong cold front coming through Chicago created gale-force winds and huge seas on Lake Michigan, postponing racing at Navy Pier until the wind abated to a sailable 20-25 knots by mid-afternoon.

Event managers decided to sail the top eight teams in a first-to-three point Quarter-Final round, with the TOM 28′s providing exciting action for sailors and spectators alike under reefed mains and spinnakers stretched to their limits.

The first pairing was between Pierre Morvan and Don Wilson, with Morvan taking the first two in a decisive style that showed why he’s the top seed in the event and winner of the Round Robin. Match 3 looked as though it was going to go the same way until Morvan hooked and towed the leeward mark and tackle with his keel just off the start. Unable to free his boat from the mark for several minutes, Wilson sailed around the course virtually alone to take the win. But the top-seeded French team came back strong in the fourth match to take the win and their place in tomorrow’s Semi-Finals.

The next pairing has not yet yielded a winner, as Phil Robertson initially had Bill Hardesty against the ropes by winning the first two matches. But Hardesty came back strong in the next two to tie the series and remain as the last hope for a US team to get to the Semi’s. But before a fifth deciding match could be sailed, a squall packing 50 knots and hail descended on the course area, scattering sailors, umpires, race managers and spectators for the day.

The third pairing of Reuben Corbett and Keith Swinton was, like the first pairing, decided in only three matches, with Swinton earning his place in the final four.

And the last pairing of Taylor Canfield and Alvaro Marinho went to four matches in a hotly-contested series featuring numerous lead changes and penalties as Canfield fought back hard from a 2-0 deficit to win the third after a very close start. In the fourth match, Canfield’s penalty in the pre-start was quickly offset by one levied at Marinho, and the two fought hard throughout the remainder of the match, never separated by more than two lengths in one of the most exciting matches of the series.

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Artemis trimaran just launched in Valencia

Posted on 30 September 2011 by Valencia Sailing

This is an update from our previous post, thanks to local photographer Guillermo Baixauli who was in the yacht club for the Spanish cruiser championship that starts today.

The modified ORMA trimaran has just been launched.

The modified Artemis trimaran is launched. Valencia, 30 September 2011. Photo copyright Guillermo Baixauli

The modified Artemis trimaran is launched. Valencia, 30 September 2011. Photo copyright Guillermo Baixauli

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Artemis trimaran to be launched on Friday in Valencia

Posted on 30 September 2011 by Valencia Sailing

The modified ORMA trimaran of Artemis is ready to be launched today at the Valencia yacht club. According to our sources in the club (and as seen in the photo), the shore crew was preparing the yacht for her imminent launch. It appears the yacht will have conventional rigging as no wing was in sight. It is not clear whether, once launched, the yacht will remain in the yacht club or be towed to the team’s base in Port America’s Cup, a few miles north.

The Artemis trimaran ready to be launched. Valencia, 30 September 2011

My apologies for the lack of more, and better, photos or more extensive reports but there is a very simple reason. Yacht clubs in Spain are real fortresses. Unless you are a member, you are not allowed to enter. I’m not a member of the club and as a result I simply can’t take any pictures, let alone get inside! I guess it’s easier to enter the Pentagon than the Valencia yacht club. I have to thank our friend Juan, member of the club, reader of VSail and improvised “reporter”.

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Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing arrives in Alicante

Posted on 29 September 2011 by Valencia Sailing

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing has completed a gruelling 600 mile nautical journey from its training base in Cascais, Portugal to the Volvo Ocean Race 2011/12 home port in Alicante, Spain, as the record-breaking team begins final preparations for the race start on October 29th.

Battling heavy 40 knot winds to arrive in the Spanish port city by October 1st for scheduled rigging and keel work, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and its state-of-the-art Volvo Open 70 racing yacht, Azzam (determination), negotiated the Straights of Gibraltar in a testing three day trip.

The journey also provided a crucial final training session and data collection opportunity on a route which it will navigate under race conditions in five weeks time on the way to Cape Town.

“Nobody likes bashing upwind in these yachts but it is good to test everything one last time before the start. It is important to stress Azzam in these training sessions whilst we still have time to make refinements and it’s been so far so good. We had up to 40 knots of wind and a short, steep seaway at the Straits but we never had to back off. We have definitely improved our sail changes and refined our upwind data,” said Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing skipper, Ian Walker.

“We will be back out on these waters in the opposite direction for the first leg of the race, so it has been a critical journey for us, and our navigator Jules Salter has been taking notes every step of the way. Every bit of training we do can make the difference come race time; this is a race about seconds, and every one counts.”

For the team’s Emirati sailor, Butti Al Muhairi, who was making the final journey with the team as part of his ongoing training schedule alongside fellow countryman, Adil Khalid, it was his first sighting of the iconic Rock of Gibraltar.

“It was amazing! We sailed right up close to the rock and then tacked out from under its shadows; it reminded me of sailing through the Straits of Hormuz near home in Abu Dhabi.”

After more than a year of training, the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA)-backed outfit and its record-breaking crew, the most intercontinental ever assembled for this ‘Everest of Sailing’, will now have two-weeks on-shore as Azzam undergoes final optimisation and measuring.

According to Walker, a double Olympic medallist and Volvo Ocean Race veteran, preparation is well on-track but stressed that work done between now and the start can still make the difference between success and failure.

“This will be a busy few weeks for our shore team. For the sailors it is crucial to make final preparations in each of our areas but also to try and take a few days off to recharge the batteries before a long and tough nine months ahead. Everyone is excited to be getting to the start, to see our oppositions’ boats for the first time and to see old friends. The race is nearly upon us.”

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