Archive | April, 2012

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Volvo Ocean Race – Leg 6 – Day 8: A battle of strategy

Posted on 30 April 2012 by Valencia Sailing

Volvo Ocean Race – Leg 6 – Day 8: A battle of strategy

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City of Venice Trophy puts €50,000 in prize money on the line

Posted on 30 April 2012 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: America’s Cup] AC World Series crews have the opportunity to compete for €50,000 in prize money in the City of Venice Trophy on May 12-13. The invitational regatta, organized and announced today by the yacht club Venice Compagnia della Vela, marks the opening of a nine-day celebration of the America’s Cup World Series in the historic Italian city.

With €50,000 at stake, the City of Venice Trophy becomes an important prologue to the AC World Series championship. The new, two-day event consists of five, 30-minute fleet races, to be sailed on a course just outside Lido Island.

But the highlight will be Sunday’s long fleet race, which starts outside Lido Island and finishes just off St. Marks Square. The first team to finish at St. Marks Square will receive the City of Venice Trophy presented by Arzanà Navi as well as a cash prize of €30,000. The remaining €20,000 in prize money is distributed to the top three crews from the five 30-minute fleet races.

The results of City of Venice Trophy will not count towards the overall AC World Series rankings, but the generous prize money is sure to stoke competitive fires among the teams.

“This is a great opportunity for us to get in some meaningful racing against the other teams,” said Luna Rossa Challenge skipper Max Sirena. “We were always planning on sailing as early as possible in Venice, and now the City of Venice Trophy represents a great opportunity to participate in an additional very exciting and spectacular race.”

“The debut of the AC45s racing in Venice will certainly be very interesting,” said Mayor Giorgio Orsoni. “To have the teams competing for a trophy that bears the name of the city adds prestige to an already important event. Special thanks for this must go to Arzanà Navi, which has chosen to support us.

“This two-day regatta, with the grand finale a unique point to point race from Lido to St. Marks Square, is a first step towards seeing Compagnia della Vela as a host for high level sailing. This is a beautiful way to begin this nine day event, which we hope will be memorable, both for Venetians and for those who want to discover a new face of Venice – one linked to its traditions and the sea, but also to technology and a lesser known part of the city, the Arsenale, where the catamarans berth after racing for the City of Venice Trophy.”

The weekend of May 12-13 also marks the opening of the public event village for the full nine-day festival, highlighted by the championship races of the America’s Cup World Series Venice.

Championship Racing in the AC World Series Venice runs from May 17-20 and here, every race matters. Venice is the penultimate event in the 2011-12 World Series and James Spithill’s ORACLE Racing crew holds the overall lead by just one point over Dean Barker’s Emirates Team New Zealand.

Nine crews from seven countries are competing in the AC World Series in Venice, including: Artemis Racing (Sweden), skipper Terry Hutchinson; China Team (China), skipper Fred Le Peutrec; Emirates Team New Zealand (New Zealand), skipper Dean Barker; Energy Team (France), helmsman Loïck Peyron; Luna Rossa Challenge (Italy), with two boats, helmsmen Chris Draper and Paul Campbell-James; ORACLE Racing (USA) with two boats, skippers James Spithill and Darren Bundock; and Team Korea (Korea) with skipper Nathan Outteridge.

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Puma Ocean Racing extends lead

Posted on 30 April 2012 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Puma Ocean Racing] Our time along Brazilian shores has not been brief – it’s an enormous coastline – and we continue to have chance encounters with other maritime vessels of all shapes and sizes. Oil rigs, oil ships, oil rig supply ships, oil ship supply ships, container ships, large fishing boats, small fishing boats, and boats that we know nothing of.

Early yesterday evening our course took us directly across the transom of a tiny wooden fishing boat, anchored no less than 50 miles from shore, and as we went by waving hello to four surprised locals at 18 knots, it’s impossible not to wonder if our new spectators have any comprehension of what they’ve witnessed. They have likely never laid eyes on a boat like ours, and likely never will again. A giant black jumping cat emblazoned on a tentacle-covered sailboat, a fast sailboat, faster than many powerboats. It must be bizarre but exhilarating, if only for a brief moment before we’re gone again, like a mysterious UFO just passing through.

Looking back on the six prior legs of this race, I wonder if the countless mariners we randomly intersect, lives we intermittently traverse in the middle of the worlds ocean: what did they do when they returned to land? Are they new PUMA Ocean Racing Facebook fans? Are they reading this update, avid followers of our plight like the sailors of the ZIM MONACO? Did they Instagram a photo of us from their fancy smart phone? Or not. Are we just an intense flash of a story on an otherwise typical workday for some seafarer that knows nothing of Volvo cars, PUMA clothing, carbon fiber, or the World Wide Web?

Puma' Mar Mostro putting miles under the sails towards Miami. Photo copyright Amor Ross / Puma Ocean Racing

There was the ship of long liners off Sri Lanka, forcing us into a hard preventative bear away and a close race mark like rounding (I don’t know what was more impressive, the stench from their hold or Tony’s reaction on the helm). There were the countless unlit dinghies in the Malacca Straits, clueless as to the danger a night in our path could present. There was the teeming port of Singapore; an evening spent dodging and weaving through hundreds (maybe thousands) of anchored 300-meter ships. There were the fishing boats off Japan and the fishing boats off the Solomons. There was the fleet of halogen-lit squidders near Chile and then the busy trans-South Atlantic shipping lanes, the very one that brought us to our ZIM MONACO friends and eventual Tristan salvation.

As we sail north through the Caribbean and finally arrive to very modern civilization in Florida, it’s hard not feeling a tinge of admiration for the simpler sailors we meet out here. Our brief exposure to their world on the sea is as much a surprise to us as we must be to them.

But I still wonder…do they have any idea what they’ve seen?? And where are they now…what have they done with their cell phone photos or word-of-mouth tall tales? Just how far in the world has the story of our Mar Mostro reached?

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Puma holds on to slim lead in Volvo Ocean Race leg to Miami

Posted on 29 April 2012 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Puma Ocean Racing] CAMPER first appeared on the horizon two days ago and we managed to keep them there. But yesterday they kept coming, they kept getting bigger, and it seemed like there was nothing we could do to stop them. We were hemorrhaging miles and we knew it, losing bearing and range all the time.

So what do you do to stop the bleeding? You hit reset. We went back to pre-race training mentality and established a baseline setting for the boat, began treating our speed in relative terms, using CAMPER’s close proximity as anyone in a two-boat testing program would. We’d make a small change here, another there, and we’d monitor their vitals on our radar. If results were positive, we’d adjust our “base,” and if they showed no improvement, we’d advance to the next variable on the list.

This kind of testing is simple in theory but complex in execution. Boats are changing speeds all the time and it’s impossible to know if differences in performance are due to setup changes or things like wind and waves, conditions one might have that another does not. It can be hard to realize the effectiveness of modifications when you can’t regulate certain parameters, like weather.

Puma leads the Volvo Ocea Race fleet but can see Camper and Telefonica on their back. Photo copyright Amory Ross / Puma Ocean Racing

But we needed to try, and try we did. We started with simple mode changes: high and slow, low and fast, then somewhere in between. Nothing helped; they were always gaining. So we turned to our downwind sails and their trim. We compared our A5/GS (genoa staysail) combination to our A5/J4 (small jib) setup. Small gain found. Next we tried over-sheeting, then we tried over-easing, we tried a narrow slot, we tried a super-twisted setup. We played with daggerboard settings. We played with ballast location. If we could move it, it was moved. If we could adjust it, it was adjusted. And gradually, over the course of a day, we lessened the losses.

Finally, by the time they were abeam of us at a range of about five miles, we matched their speed. Coincidentally, about this time, wind speeds grew substantially. Whether our successes were the by-product of many small alterations or whether it was something as simple as getting the stronger winds they enjoyed all day…well, we’ll never know. But we do know that on day six of Leg 6, after more than a year of sailing Mar Mostro, we continue to learn about our boat. The education process never ends!

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Boatfeed – Puma Ocean Racing – 27 Apr 2012

Posted on 28 April 2012 by Valencia Sailing

Boatfeed – Puma Ocean Racing – 27 Apr 2012

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Camper is closing in on Puma

Posted on 28 April 2012 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Emirates Team New Zealand] CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand has closed in on leg leader Puma overnight more than halving their lead to just over eight nautical miles.

As the fleet heads for the north eastern tip of Brazil both CAMPER and Telefonica have placed Puma under sustained pressure in the light conditions and narrowed up the game considerably.

The consistent trade winds are still yet to kick in and are not predicted to become reliable until after Recife meaning that the consolidation of the fleet is likely to continue.

Despite a charge from Telefonica overnight CAMPER has fought hard to hold onto its second place and is looking well positioned to make further gains on Puma over the next 24 hours.

It's all concentration aboard the kiwi boat. Photo copyright Hamish Hooper / Camper

CAMPER navigator Will Oxley says that the in the light conditions the smallest of details could determine who leads around the north east corner of Brazil.

“It’s going to be very interesting to see how all this plays out. It’s beautiful conditions but some very subtle differences could make a big difference.

“It’s going to be the smallest of details whether it’s a cloud or whatever and a bit of luck that will determine who gets around the corner first.

“Once we’re past Recife the breeze will go behind us and we should be sailing deeper angles which is really our strong point so we should be in good shape.

“All in all we’re quite nicely positioned at the moment. Conventionally being to the west like we are is far from idea but these aren’t conventional conditions, so we are sailing to what we have around us.”

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Windy Semaine Olympique Française sets trend for Olympic Games

Posted on 27 April 2012 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Semaine Olympique Française] Event and class leader Tom Slingsby (AUS) had mastered the gruelling conditions all week, but the 30 minutes Medal race was the starw that broke the camel’s back! His mast snapped while in the lead, cutting short his medal chance in an event he had been dominating all week. German Philipp Buhl raced one of his best event to date to win the medal race and the Semaine Olympique Française on the last day. The 22 years old wins in Hyères his first World Cup event. “I love to come here, some years ago I won the laser Youth World here. This place brings me good luck!”

“I sailed fast and strong this week. We train in these sort of conditions many times a year. It was great fun in the downwind but to be honest my back hurts a bit from that challenge,” joked Buhl.

“Tom Slingsby broke his mast in the lead so that’s why it’s Gold and not Silver for me, so I would have been happy with silver medal. Winning Gold because someone breaks a mast is not nice.”

Silver and Bronze go to New Zealanders Andy Maloney and Andrew Murdoch.

In the Radial, Beijing Bronze medallist Lijia Xu (CHN), collected regular top four results during the qualification stage to steadily climb the result ladder. A third place in the Medal race was enough for the Chinese to take the title from Bouwmeester who race to seventh place in the Medal race. She is taking Bronze with Silver for World #1 Evi van Acker (BEL).

“My objective here was to sail well in the breeze. I used to be a light wind sailor but I have practiced a lot in the windier conditions to be ready for Weymouth. Of course I am happy to have won this event, especially in these conditions!” says Lijia Xu.

Another surprise winner is Brendan Casey in the Finn class, the Australian have steadily climbed up the results ladder to place third yesterday after a victory in the last race. A win in today’s medal race and with earlier leader Trujillo (ESP) seventh, Casey (AUS) wins the event by less than half of a point. By taking the event Brendan Casey is also winning his ticket for London! “I am so excited about my selection! I had to prove good results, and that’s done!” Olympic Silver Medallist Rafa Trujillo (ESP) couldn’t hide his disappointment at the finish, realising that he had lost the first place by a whisker! Third place goes to Vasiliy Zbogar (SLO). The Slovene wins in Hyères his fourth Olympic selection and the first in the Finn class after winning Bronze and Silver in the Laser.

The medal race changed the game in the RS:X.

Moana Delle (GER) takes the title from Maja Dziarnwoska (POL) after winning the Medal race. The Polish places second with French Charline Picon third.

“I love Hyères! I am very excited with my week, I had lots of fun racing in these conditions.” said the enthusiastic young German. “I am going to the Olympic Games for the first time and I am happy to see I can win this event and have good speed in the breeze.”

After leading for most of the week, Piotr Myska (POL) dropped from the podium after a disqualification at the start of the RS:X Medal race. World Champion Julien Bontemps wins the race and the title. Przemek “Pont” Miarczynski (POL) is taking Silver and Toni Wilhelm the Bronze.

“I was tired after the windy conditions at the Worlds in Cadiz. So it was tough to start again with a windy event! Especially with the Polish who are fast in the breeze, I needed to give my best!” explained Bontemps.

With the title already in their pocket, Lisa Westerhof and Lobke Berkhout (NED) enjoyed a stress free medal race, to add another win to their already impressive score. American pair Amanda Clark and Sarah Lihan took second in the race and the event. For Camille Lecointre and Mathilde Géron, the conclusion of the Semaine Olympique Française meant more than a Bronze medal! This event concludes one long year of selections among the top three French 470 teams and a first Olympic qualification for Lecointre and Géron.

“Hyères was one of the event we had not won yet” said Page. The 470 World champions Belcher/Page have added a third successive Sailing World Cup victory after taking Gold in Miami and Palma. They lead the SWC standings by a large margin. “It was an important event to test ourselves and our material in the breeze. We had some problems when we broke the rig and Malcolm was sick all week.” explains Belcher. “It is the right time to face these problems so we know how to handle them if they happen during the Olympic Games.” The Croatians Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic win the race and the Silver medal. The Coster brothers take the Bronze.

After braking their mast yesterday, the Olympic champions Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson (GBR) won the medal race and the event. Bacardi Cup winners Xavier Rohart and Pierre-Alexis Ponsot take second in the Medal race and the second position, consistent with their Palma results. Fredrik Loof and Max Salminen (SWE) place third. The Stars are staying in Hyères to train ahead of their World Championship next week.

With the strong wind and rolling waves, the 49ers were the only class to miss out on the Medal race.

Manu Dyen and Stéphane Christidis (FRA) were happy to stay ashore, protecting their earlier lead. “We sailed well this week despite the strong conditions. We took the lead when the wind was more moderate and were able to keep it in the breeze.” say Christidis. The title was won last year by Italians Pietro and Giancarlo Sibello, while the French skipper suffered an injury and had to retire from the regatta. “We want to dedicate this victory to Pietro Sibello. We are sorry that he didn’t get the OK from his country to keep racing after his health problem in Perth! We are missing a great team on the circuit.” added Manu Dyen.

Anna Tunnicliffe and team are well prepared to go into their Olympic selection trial in Weymouth next week. The team remains undefeated with 16 victories and take Gold at the end of the round robin. Sally Barkow (USA) and team Skudina wins 12 matches and take Silver and Bronze.

The paralympic classes could not race today due to the strong winds and high seas. Damien Seguin (FRA) is adding another SOF title and is this week in Hyères the only sailor to retain his title. Helena Lucas (GBR) is placed second with Thierry Schmitter (NED) third.

The British John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas win the event. Bruno Jourdren, Nicolas Vimont-Vicary et Eric Flageul take Silver. Aleksander Wang Hansen, Per Eugen Kristiansen and Marie Solberg (NOR) are in third position to get the Bronze.

Miami OCR winners Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch (AUS) take Gold with Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell (GBR) in second position. Americans Jennifer French and Jean-Paul Creignou are taking Bronze.

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Bad choice!!!

Posted on 27 April 2012 by Valencia Sailing

The cards have been dealt and Groupama 4 hasn’t picked up a good hand! Within the space of a matter of miles, when Telefonica was still within sight on Wednesday, Franck Cammas and his crew saw the Spanish boat head off beneath a cloud and inexorably make good their escape over the horizon. Over on the shores of Brazil, Camper and Abu Dhabi have finally benefited from a more regular breeze to make up ground on the American leader. In the space of 36 hours, the separation as regards Puma has climbed from 30 miles to 100 miles…

Off All Saints Bay!

This Friday afternoon, Groupama 4 was sailing offshore of Salvador de Bahia, 175 miles to the East of the famous All Saints Bay: the tradewinds are in position but are only generating around ten knots of breeze. This breeze is rolling in from the ENE for the French boat, whilst it has already nearly clocked right round to the East for the leading group, hence the difference in speed of nearly a knot, which is further extending the deficit in terms of longitude… However, nothing can be done about it, as the route northwards is a direct one for getting up around the Brazilian coast and there are no options in sight for a number of days.

As a result, Franck Cammas and his men are having to ‘make do with it’ and are focusing on boat speed, as this easterly breeze hasn’t yet stabilised properly: clouds, light patches and wind shifts translate as constant trimming for those on deck, as well as some headsail changes ranging between the Code 0 and the G-1 genoa. As such, playing the waiting game and focusing on the next stage of the course is the current game plan aboard Groupama 4. This is especially true given that the frontrunners are set to be further favoured by the rotation of the tradewinds to the South-East, from tonight (local time), and their subsequent increase in strength as they approach Recife.

A major asset

Seemingly the situation isn’t a positive one for Groupama 4 then, which will continue to lose ground until at least as far as the equator, which is the equivalent of the next 600 miles and hence the end of the weekend. Indeed off Recife, the frontrunners will hit around a dozen knots of breeze, which will pick up to over 18 knots offshore of Natal (North-East tip of Brazil), where the equatorial oceanic current will push the boats along to the North-West at one to two knots quicker. As such there really aren’t any opportunities on the horizon prior to the Doldrums, which are situated from 2° South to 2° North. However, aside from very thick cloud cover, which may generate squalls and calm conditions, the Doldrums isn’t really developed or very active. For this reason, it will only cause the leaders to stall briefly, before they manage to hook onto the tradewinds in the northern hemisphere.

However, Franck Cammas and his men do have one thing on their side: Groupama 4 is the fastest boat of the fleet on a reach in over fifteen knots of breeze, and this card can be played once the French boat approaches the Brazilian coast offshore of Recife. However, we shouldn’t delude ourselves: their deficit in relation to the frontrunner will further increase over the coming hours and isn’t likely to begin to stabilise until the weekend. As far as closing this gap is concerned, we’ll have to wait until early next week for the effect of the ‘reaching performance’ to kick in…

Standing in the sixth leg between Itajai and Miami, on 27 April at 1300 UTC

1 – Puma 3,555.5 from the finish
2 – Camper 14.7 miles from the leader
3 – Telefonica 27.8 miles from the leader
4 – Abu Dhabi 42.8 miles from the leader
5 – Groupama 104.1 miles from the leader

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