Archive | November, 2011

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Kevin Shoebridge reflects on 2011

Posted on 30 November 2011 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Emirates Team New Zealand] January 2011 now seems like a long time ago. In fact, Emirates Team New Zealand’s very busy year has become something of a blur.

As the year started, The Volvo Ocean Race 70ft yacht CAMPER was being built at Cookson Boats on Auckland’s North Shore.

The design team was busy working on concepts for the AC72 cat even though the team had not confirmed its entry in the 2013 America’s Cup. The sailing team had sailed its last race in a monohull (the VOR excepted) and was deep into learning about multihull racing.

So America’s Cup entry confirmed or not – that depended on the team being sure it had sufficient funding to be credible) we were on the path of what the media often described as the “transformation of the world’s best monohull sailing team to the best multihull sailing team”.

That’s a big call. Around here we like to be a bit more modest – our aim is to be a very competitive multihull sailing team. Results over the past few months show we seem to be achieving that.

Back to the monohulls….. this past weekend CAMPER arrived at Cape Town to finish the first leg of the race with a further 6500 sea miles behind it to add to the 9000 sailed before the start.

The launch was in mid-April, before the month was out the crew was sailing around New Zealand and by early May had completed a 2000-mile qualifying voyage.

Three months of intensive training followed before Maersk Line shipped the yacht, containerised workshops, shore base and chase boats to Europe for an extensive sponsor tour and the race start at Alicante.

Now the sailing crew is taking some precious time off at Cape Town while the shore crew goes over the yacht in minute detail to prepare for the next leg to Abu Dhabi

The sailing team’s progress has been remarkable. The team’s first multihull regatta was in October 2010, at Almeria, Spain, the last Extreme 40 regatta of 2010. We were dead last on the points table. Four Extreme regattas later (May – June 2011) and we were winners at Boston and also leading the 2011 series. So progress was being made.

By this time, the AC45 we had been sailing hard since mid-March was on a ship to Europe for the first America’s Cup World Series regatta in Portugal. After three regattas we are leading on points.

All through the Auckland winter we were on the water in our SL33s, twin catamarans used for sailing team development and design team testing. That’s still going on.

Right now, the AC45 which we raced at Cascais, Plymouth and San Diego is on its way back to Auckland where we will do some training with Luna Rossa in January and February.

As the AC72 cat molds take shape at Cookson Boats, the aim we had as recently as January of a strong Emirates Team New Zealand competing in the 34th America’s Cup at San Francisco in 2013, is fast becoming a reality.

Not forgetting the Volvo Ocean Race.

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Groupama finish 3rd in Cape Town

Posted on 30 November 2011 by Valencia Sailing

Groupama finish 3rd in Cape Town

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Groupama 4, third in Cape Town

Posted on 30 November 2011 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Groupama Sailing Team] Finally, after more than 48 hours of light airs, Groupama 4 was able to sail along smoothly this afternoon (Tuesday) towards South Africa to complete this first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race in third place at 1728hrs UTC (1825hrs CET). This first ocean race enables Franck Cammas and his men to reach the podium in the overall rankings.

It took quite some time to cross the St Helena high, which blocked the route for Groupama 4, while her two predecessors were able to take advantage of a steady southerly air stream right up to the finish. There was therefore a huge gap between the boats arriving in Cape Town, but this does not affect the overall rankings, as Franck Cammas and his crew’s goal was above all to judge how they measured up in the round the world race while avoiding spoiling their chances of completing the race in Galway next July. The results are therefore encouraging, even if they are weighed down somewhat by the big gap between the boats at the finish in South Africa.

Groupama cross the finish line in third palce. Cape Town, 29 November 2011. Photo copyright Yvan Zedda / Groupama

Looking ahead

It is true that they feel a certain frustration in seeing the gap widen after the Cape Verde Islands, but the men aboard Groupama 4 can feel pleased for several reasons, apart from the final outcome: 3rd in Cape Town. Firstly, the boat that is more or less her sistership, Telefonica, won this leg, which means there are no worries about the design choices. Secondly, Franck Cammas and his crew showed that they were not simply going to follow others, but were willing to take strategic initiatives and they stuck with them. While with hindsight, the option on leaving the Straits of Gibraltar did not pay off, it is important in this type of race to leave your mark and Groupama 4 managed to lead the fleet for three whole days (with a lead of up to 241 miles) thus raising doubts in the minds of their rivals, who could only breathe a sigh of relief, when they took advantage of a front in the middle of the Atlantic.

We can also see that the weather conditions always favoured the leaders and penalized those chasing them, whether we are talking about the passage through the Doldrums, in the trade winds in the southern hemisphere, on the southern edge of the St. Helena high or over the final 500 miles of the race course. As proof of that, the New-Zealanders on Camper, who were around a hundred miles behind Telefonica, or in other words 5-6 hours of racing, ended up finishing some 16 hours later … For Groupama 4, the punishment was even more severe with a gap that went from 275 miles to 825 miles over the last four days.

The good points

If we look at the performance of the boats in the same weather situations (wind strength and direction, point of sail, sea state…), it can be seen that the Juan Kouyoumdjian designed boats are slightly faster than the Marcelino Botin designed Camper in all downwind conditions (between 60° and 110° apparent wind) and it seems that Groupama 4 has an advantage over her sisterships (Telefonica, Puma) when the breeze is above 18 knots. Apart from that, Groupama 4 has finished in Cape Town in perfect condition and did not suffer any damage.

But the most positive aspect remains the experience they have built up over these 6500 miles of ocean racing: Franck Cammas and his men have clearly carried out more manoeuvres than the other crews and know how to handle their boat better in the sort of light winds that will dominate the next two legs… In any case, once they have shaved, showered and eaten, the sailors will soon be back racing again, as from next week, training begins in earnest. In a marathon, you have to keep up your strength right to the finish.

Rankings after the first two races (in-port race in Alicante and Alicante-Cape Town)
1-Team Telefonica (Iker Martinez) 1+30 = 31 points
2-Camper with Emirates Team NZ (Chris Nicholson) 4+25 = 29 points
3-Groupama 4 (Franck Cammas) 2+20 = 22 points
4-Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker) 6+0 = 6 points
5-Puma Ocean Racing by BERG (Ken Read) 5+0 = 5 points
6-Team Sanya (Mike Sanderson) 3+0 = 3 points

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Finn focus at the 2011 Finn Gold Cup, Perth

Posted on 29 November 2011 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Finn Class] In just under a week the 2011 Finn Gold Cup will start at the ISAF Sailing World Championships in Perth, Australia.

For many sailors, as is the case with most classes, this will be their main trials for Olympic selection. Some sailors have already been given the nod, but for others, the battle continues, while also of course keeping an eye on the more important country selection. Seventy-five per cent of the country spaces for 2012 will be decided in Perth.

Though the final entry list has not yet been confirmed, the Finns have 77 expected entries from 33 nations, with the strongest and deepest fleet assembled in recent years. In all the are 22 former Olympians, four Olympic medalists and four former world champions.

The 2010 world champion, Ed Wright (GBR), is determined to put on a serious defence of the title he dominated and won in San Francisco 15 months ago. However, it won’t be easy for him, with most sailors having upped their game for this important regatta and also because he – along with several other Finn sailors – has been spending a lot of time with the Green Comm Racing AC45 campaign.

The main challenger and probably the favourite for the title has to be the five times winner Ben Ainslie (GBR). Having been in Perth for about a month before the first race he will certainly be well prepared and it will be interesting to see how he performs. Remember, he has never lost a Finn Gold Cup.

Ainslie revealed, “The training has been going well. We have had a good mix of conditions and good training with the British squad. The focus for me was getting back into the boat after quite a long break after the Pre-Olympics. Getting the hiking legs going has been the main focus. Conditions have been a little variable but on the whole we have had medium to fresh winds which is what you expect from Fremantle.”

Ed Wright, current Finn World Champion

Now that he has secured his place in Weymouth in 2012, is there less pressure on him for this event? “Well, there were only two goals for me with this campaign, firstly to qualify and then to try and win the Olympics. Having said that when you are at a world championships of course you want to be successful.”

And looking ahead? “We will take a break in January and then it will be pretty intense all the way up until the Games. We have quite a lot of equipment to test and then the next Finn Gold Cup in Falmouth, in the UK, will be a big one for me as that is where I grew up.”

Of course Ainslie is only one part of the Skandia Team GBR that, even without him, had four boats in the top 10 at last year’s Gold Cup. Bronze medallist from last year and the 2011 European Champion Giles Scott (GBR) is sure to put in a strong challenge, as are Andrew Mills (GBR) and Mark Andrews (GBR), and they all excel in windy conditions.

As well as winning the 2010 Perth International Regatta, Jonathan Lobert (FRA) picked up the silver medal at the Olympic test event in Weymouth. He is fighting it out with training partner Thomas Le Breton (FRA) for the French place in Weymouth.

“It’s the last event of the year for selection and we should know who has been selected at the beginning of January. Anyway I don’t think about it. I am here to give my best and we will see at the end. I will be very pleased to do great with Tom.”

What has he been up to since the test event? “With Tom we have been training quite a lot. We have been on Garda in September and then we spent 15 days in Quiberon in Brittany with PJ [Postma] and Tapio [Nirkko]. Then we when to the French Nationals in Maubuisson, and another training camp in La Rochelle.”

We tried to get some strong winds to be working on the upwind speed but with the weather you never know. We had actually a lot of very different conditions during the training, which is good because when you focus too much on some condition you lose a bit in the other kind of wind and waves. I remember last year in Perth, training three weeks in 25 knots of wind and for the regatta something happened and we had very tricky weather. I am more relaxed and confident with this large range of wind training and I feel ready for anything.”

I am happy that I feel good in the boat and I am looking forward to competing with the best guys. Last year I really enjoyed Perth. The weather is usually beautiful. I also remember all the volunteers were very helpful and pleased to see us. I am sure that this year will be really exciting.”

The racing format in Perth will be different to usual Finn Gold Cups, with the fleet split into two and sailing on outer and inner loops, as happened at the last ISAF World Sailing Championships in Cascais in 2007. The silver medallist in Cascais was Pieter-Jan Postma (NED), who after a few years in the wilderness is back stronger than ever and picked up the bronze at the test event this summer.

He commented on the Perth conditions so far. “Perth so far has been quite diverse. Whereas the last Worlds in San Francisco was mainly decided on upwind speed, here it will come down to good fitness, with more strategy and tactics in play. The wind is often quite patchy and winning is decided on being able to see the shifts.”

Since test event, I have had training in Weymouth, Garda and Quiberon, always trying to push the level. And also now there is a great training group here, with races at the end of each day, where all the Finn sailors join in. It’s mainly organised by the Brits who do this superbly. There is good cooperation and a great atmosphere.”

Other favourites in Perth include:

Rafa Trujillo (ESP) – world champion in 2007 and silver medal last year. 2012 would be his fourth Olympics, third in the Finn, after silver in Athens.

Zach Railey (USA) – silver in Qingdao. Up against young Caleb Paine (USA), but Railey is expected to take the slot. Best Finn Gold Cup place was silver medal in 2009, narrowly missing out on the gold.

Dan Slater (NZL) – Runner up the last time the Finn Gold Cup was in Australia in 2008.

Jonas Høgh Christensen (DEN) – the world champion from 2006 and 2009, is making a comeback, training full time since November and could put in a serious challenge.

Ivan Kjlakovic Gaspic (CRO) – European Champion in 2009 and 2010 and one of the fastest in light winds.

Daniel Birgmark (SWE) – fourth in Qingdao and bronze at the 2010 Europeans. Will probably be head to head with Johan Tillander (SWE) for the Swedish place in 2012.

Other names to look for would include Deniss Karpak (EST), Gasper Vincec (SLO), Vasilij Zbogar (SLO), Brendan Casey (AUS), Anthony Nossiter (AUS), Tapio Nirkko (FIN) and the fast improving Greg Douglas (CAN). Interestingly, Chris Cook (CAN), Olympian in 2008, is also on the entry list. Though he hasn’t raced competitively since 2008, he has been coaching the young Canadian team, including Douglas.

Cook revealed, “I’ve been sailing full time since the beginning of September to prepare for the event, but I haven’t sailed a Finn regatta in three years so I have managed expectations, but still hope to sail well. Ken Dool has committed his time to the Canadian Finn Team to ensure it’s continued success moving forward to the games and beyond. We’ll see what kind of a job I’ve done coaching these boys up to now, and I think it will be a great fight for the Olympic berth.”

Racing starts on Monday 5 December, with 10 races through to Saturday 10 December, with the medal race for the top 10 on Sunday 11 December. The Finn class will be there to report on all the action. Stay tuned on the new Finn Gold Cup website at www.finngoldcup.org, sign up for the Twitter and Facebook feeds to receive up to the minute action as it happens.

Ainslie summed up, “The Fremantle SC has been a great help with facilitating container unloading and training. Everyone has been very welcoming and I’m sure it will be a great event here.”

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Camper secure second place in leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race

Posted on 27 November 2011 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Camper] CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand secures second place on Leg one of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, the team arrived into Cape Town on Sunday lunchtime, crossing the finish line at 10:48:04 UTC (27.11.11). CAMPER now hold 29 points on the scoreboard as they remain in second place overall two points from the lead. A solid performance in the Cape Town In Port race could mean the potential to leading the race as the fleet departs for the second leg to Abu Dhabi on December 11th.

A silver lining to the leg came with news that CAMPER posted the biggest distance of the leg so far in the 24 hours from 1755 UTC on Wednesday as they blasted east through the South Atlantic riding a cold front. CAMPER’s 24-hour run of 554.16 nautical miles may have fallen short of the world record but it could be good enough to take the first IWC Speed Record Challenge trophy. Their distance puts them in contention for the award, which cannot be confirmed until Groupama complete leg one this week.

For skipper Chris Nicholson it was a clear indication of the performance of CAMPER and that there is more to come. “On that day we were in the same breeze, the same weather pattern as Telefonica. We were able to beat them sched for sched, and to me that’s by far the highlight of this leg. The boat is pretty robust in these (fast) conditions. We don’t have a massive job list, touch wood we should get to Cape Town in one pieces, good foundation to be second and we have 8 months or racing left to go.”

Camper cross the finish line of leg 1 in second place. Cape Town, 27 November 2011. Photo copyright Chris Cameron / Camper Emirates Team New Zealand

It’s been one of the most unusual first legs of the Volvo Ocean Race, the weather systems have proved anything but conventional and for some of the teams it has been a war of attrition. From a dismasting in the first 24 hours onboard Abu Dhabi and major structural damage to Sanya, the fleet suffered a final casualty as Puma dismasted in the south Atlantic hundreds of miles from the finish in Cape Town. Three teams now face a race against time to make it to the start line for Cape Town’s In Port Race.

The shore team now have six days to prepare CAMPER for the first practice sail ahead of the Pro Am race on 9th December. Shore manager Neil Cox, “Considering the situation some of the other teams are in, we are lucky to have a straight forward job list. We have some basic maintenance, which is always expected after the boat has been at sea for this many miles, but we feel happy that we’re in good shape and that we’ll be ready to sail from the beginning of next week. The boys have done a fantastic job on this leg and all credit to the designers, the guys at Cookson’s, Southern’s and to the shore team for doing such a great job in the preparation ahead of the start. We can be proud that we have come through the other side and will be ready to go for leg 2″.

For skipper Chris Nicholson, this leg has been frustrating but there are many positives both for him and the crew
“I guess at the end of this leg as I sit back at look at it the majority of things went right. We have good reliability and I’m pretty sure we had really good speed at times. We made a tactical error on the second day out, and we’ve been playing catch up ever since. I think it’s kind of a new experience for most of us normally you have opportunities to correct your mistakes at some stage, and this it just hasn’t been like that on this leg. Reliability wise, unfortunately Sanya broke their bow, and Abu Dhabi and Puma both dropped their rig, so touch wood we’ll still make it to Cape Town without any major structural problems”.

“I was trying to judge it today, last race I came in Cape Town in second, and I was ecstatic, I was over the moon for where we were in the program. For us I don’t think it’s in the same magnitude I think we should have been first, or at least neck and neck pushing for first with the leading boat. We haven’t been in the battle with them, but we tried our best to catch up. It was ‘the rich get richer race’ and we weren’t able to have another go at them. But we have to be content with second. At the end of the day I’m really happy with the points and we will live to fight another day”.

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Ian Williams wins Monsoon Cup

Posted on 27 November 2011 by Valencia Sailing

If there was any doubt at all about Ian Williams’ form in the Monsoon Cup it was immediately dissipated in Sunday’s four races of the finals against Sweden’s Johnie Bertsson. A combination of excellent match racing skills, good tactics and flawless crew work resulted in a second Monsoon Cup title for Williams, closing a brilliant season with the proverbial icing on the cake.

Like the petite final a few hours earlier, the key was to take the right side of the course. Once you hit the starting line at the committee boat with greater speed than your opponent you were practically guaranteed to reach the right-hand current first and then take the highway to the weather mark. Once in the lead, unless a crew error or penalty was involved, it was impossible to lose the lead and that was my only disappointment in what was a picture-perfect day.

Unlike the couple of previous years, we were spoiled on Sunday with sunshine and a constant breeze between 10 and 15 knots, all day, racing was taking place literally centimeters from the pontoons but there were simply no passing lanes. The start, on the closing day day of the 2011 Monsoon Cup, and the right side were the keys to each race. If you got both right, you got the race. Williams mastered both in three out of four races and even in the one he lost, he was always close behind Berntsson, waiting for the slightest error to pass ahead.

However, Williams’ brilliant performance shouldn’t overshadow Berntsson’s equally remarkable achievement. Not only did the Swedish skipper finish second in the Monsoon Cup, he clinched third place overall in the 2011 World Match Racing Tour, reaching a podium place in the very first year of his initial 3-year goal.

Final Monsoon Cup Standings
1 Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar
2 Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team
3 Jesper Radich (DEN) Adrian Lee & Partners
4 Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing
5 Will Tiller (NZL) Full Metal Jacket Racing
6 Phil Robertson (NZL) Team China powered by WAKA Racing
7 Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team
8 Francesco Bruni (ITA) Bruni Racing
9 Torvar Mirsky (AUS) The Wave Muscat
10 Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team
11 Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team
12 Jeremy Koo (MAS) Abdullah Chan / KRT

Final World Championship Standings
1 Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar – 144pts
2 Francesco Bruni (ITA) Bruni Racing – 112pts
3 Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team – 106.2pts
4 Torvar Mirsky (AUS) The Wave Muscat – 105.8pts
5 Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing – 102.8pts
6 Jesper Radich (DEN) Adrian Lee & Partners – 99.2pts
7 Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team – 90pts
8 Phil Robertson (NZL) Team China powered by WAKA Racing – 74.4pts
9 Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team – 74pts
10 Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team – 72.6pts

Race 1
The curtain-raising race of the finals was a one-sided story for Ian Williams. The two skippers battled in a very intense prestart, at times a couple of meters from the pontoon, but despite the aggressiveness no penalties were given by the umpires. Berntsson got the right at the starting line but Williams had definitely better speed. As a result, he got to the current first, tacked and was in the lead in the first weather mark. Berntsson tried hard to push him in the runs but was unable to pass. Williams extended his lead in all legs and crossed the finish line well ahead of Berntsson.

Prestart action in the first race of the finals. Racing on Sunday was taking place literally less than a meter from the pontoons. Kuala Terengganu, 27 November 2011. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

Prestart action in the first race of the finals. Kuala Terengganu, 27 November 2011. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

Berntsson gets the right but Williams has much better pace off the starting line. Kuala Terengganu, 27 November 2011. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

Williams leads the race at the approach to the leeward gate. Kuala Terengganu, 27 November 2011. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

Williams leads the race in the second beat. Kuala Terengganu, 27 November 2011. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

Williams crosses the finish line and bags the first point. Kuala Terengganu, 27 November 2011. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

Race 2
The second race was an exact copy of the first one, with just the number of laps increased from two to three. There was an intense prestart fight with no penalties, Berntsson got the right but, again, Williams hit the middle of the starting line with much better speed and reached the right-hand current first. He took the lead and held on to it until the finish, bringing the score to 2-0.

Prestart action in the secondrace of the finals. Kuala Terengganu, 27 November 2011. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

Berntsson gets the right but Williams has much better pace off the starting line, just like the first race. Kuala Terengganu, 27 November 2011. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

Ian Williams rounds the first leeward gate in the lead. Kuala Terengganu, 27 November 2011. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

Ian Williams rounds the second leeward gate in the lead. Kuala Terengganu, 27 November 2011. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

Ian Williams bags another point and moves closer to lifting the Monsoon Cup. Kuala Terengganu, 27 November 2011. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

Race 3
It was a must-win race for Berntsson if he wanted to keep his hopes of winning alive. As a result, we had the chance to watch another extraordinary exhibition of match racing with Berntsson’s yacht a few centimeters away from hitting the pontoons. The Swede got the upper hand and pushed Williams to the starting line who in turn failed to keep clear, resulting into a three-way collision with the committee boat. Williams got out of the incident with a clearly controlling position and the umpires red-flagged him. By the time he offloaded the penalty, Berntsson had gained the lead and never gave it back, bringing the score to 2-1.

Prestart action in the third race. Can it get any closer than that? Kuala Terengganu, 27 November 2011. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

Prestart action in the third race. Kuala Terengganu, 27 November 2011. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

Williams collide with Berntsson who in turn collides with the committee boat. Kuala Terengganu, 27 November 2011. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

Williams offloads his penalty and hands Berntsson the race. Kuala Terengganu, 27 November 2011. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

Berntsson is in the lead in the second leeward gate. Kuala Terengganu, 27 November 2011. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

Berntsson crosses the finish line and revives his hopes. Kuala Terengganu, 27 November 2011. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

Race 4
The tables turned in the final race of the day, and the Monsoon Cup, with Williams forcing the penalty on Berntsson on the starting line and gaining the lead. Williams got the right and Berntsson gambled on the left, hoping for a miracle. He tried again in the second beat but it didn’t pay. Williams won the race, his second Monsoon Cup and his third ISAF World Match Racing Championship.

Prestart action in the final race. Kuala Terengganu, 27 November 2011. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

Berntsson gets the penalty and shatters his hopes. Kuala Terengganu, 27 November 2011. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

Williams leads in the leeward gate. Kuala Terengganu, 27 November 2011. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

A great finish to a remarkable 2011 season. Kuala Terengganu, 27 November 2011. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

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Jesper Radich takes bronze in the Monsoon Cup

Posted on 27 November 2011 by Valencia Sailing

Jesper Radich clearly dominated Peter Gilmour in the best-of-three Petite Final and took the bronze in the 2011 Monsoon Cup. It was a well-deserved victory for the Danish skipper as he held the lead from start to finish throughout the two races, even when he hit the starting line of the second race with a penalty.

The first race didn’t stand out for what happened on but rather off the water and in particular the balcony of the impressive marina. The World Match Racing Tour introduced in the 2011 Monsoon Cup an innovation, allowing teams to have off-the-water coaches or observers that can interact with the crews during the race and communicate with them through radio, providing their insight and advice from a much higher vantage point.

The only skipper to have brought his own coach prior to the start of the event was Ian Williams. However, as more skippers were eliminated in the quarterfinals and semifinals, they became available, and allowed, to act as the eye in the sky for the ones that advanced through the competition. After failing to make it to the quarterfinals, France’s Mathieu Richard became Peter Gilmour’s coach.

Jesper Radich crosses the finish line ahead of Peter Gilmour and takes the bronze in the Monsoon Cup. Kuala Terengganu, 27 November 2011. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

Despite his poor results in the races, his insight is always much sought-after, if it is obviously followed… In the first race of the Petite Finale, Richard’s advice was for Gilmour to stick on the right-hand side of the course, as it paid handsomely throughout the day. However, the Australian skipper and his crew decided to go the opposite way and paid the price… Radich won with a margin of several boatlengths.

The second race was much more contested with a close fight in the prestart. The race committee had set the committee boat and pin end a stone’s throw from the pontoon, promising exciting racing, and that’s what we got. Both skippers were penalized for going over the exclusion zone after pushing each other a few meters from the berths and then Radich got another flag for tacking too close to Gilmour at the committee boat. Nevertheless, he got the much favored right, in the lead and with greater speed. Not only did he keep the lead, he managed to stretch his advantage enough to offload his penalty halfway up the second beat and remain ahead. In the final run, Gilmour tried to find something on the left but to no avail. Radich scored a second well-deserved victory and finished third overall in the Monsoon Cup.

The fourth place in the Monsoon Cup puts Gilmour definitely out of the WMRT podium. Whatever the result of the final between Williams and Berntsoon might be Gilmour will finish the 2011 season fifth overall.

Mathieu Richard, the eye in the sky for Peter Gilomur, ready to radio his advice to the Australian skipper. If only Gilmour had followed it... Kuala Terengganu, 27 November 2011. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

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Telefonica arrive in Cape Town and win leg 1 of the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race

Posted on 27 November 2011 by Valencia Sailing

Telefonica arrive in Cape Town and win leg 1 of the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race

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