Archive | May, 2012

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Three seasons in one day at RC44 Austria Cup

Posted on 31 May 2012 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: RC44 Class] Lake Traunsee, Austria threw everything at the RC44 fleet today for the first day of fleet racing at the RC44 Austria Cup. The day started with a glassy lake that delayed proceeding. A light westerly breeze emerged and the 12 competing boats were sent afloat, only for the breeze to shut off just as the fleet arrived. After a drift in the sun the skies suddenly darkened and 25 knots of breeze filled the lake with white horses.

Just after 14:00 the first race got underway in a perfect 13-15 knots. Everyone seemed to want to head into the shoreline, it was Katusha (RUS) who won the pin-end of the line and seemed to get the longest lift ever before having to call for water on CEEREF and the fleet packed above. Only Aleph (FRA) and Peninsula Petroleum (GBR) had headed right into the lake, and at the first top mark it was Steve Howe steering Katusha with Brad Butterworth calling the shots who rounding just ahead of the Slovenian Team CEEREF.

Katusha hugged the coast line again down the first run to maintain their lead at the leeward gate, but there was more wind in the middle of the lake and out nowhere came the Dutch No Way Back, who finished third in Lake Traunsee last year, and the new Italian team AFX Capital who rounded third and fourth respectively.

Tough conditions on day 2 of the RC44 Austria Cup. Gmunden, 31 May 2012. Photo copyright Nico Martinez / RC44 Class Association

Katusha headed back inshore, but it was No Way Back and Synergy who seemed to get the best from the lake, both gaining places on each leg to finish first and second in race one.

Race two swiftly followed, Katusha were on a charge once again picking a nice lane in the middle of the pack. They rounded the windward mark ahead again and maintained their lead until the last gybe into the leeward gate when their spinnaker spectacularly exploded.

It was Vladimir Prosikhin’s turn to take charge; the team from Russia rounded the leeward gate and looked in control before the wind did a 180 shift on the final beat. AFX Capital had to hoist their kite to make the mark, but it was the home team, AEZ, who made it round the top mark first and continued to beat to the finish line. The Austrian team finished just ahead of Torbjorn Tornqvist and the Swedish Artemis Racing with Igor Lah’s CEEREF taking third.

As the thunder and lightning struck and the rain poured, the fleet headed ashore. The home team were sitting at the top of the leaderboard, one-point ahead of the Slovenian Team CEEREF.

For AEZ’s owner and helmsman Rene Mangold it was an excellent end to a very tricky day. “The second race was tough; the wind kept changing on the last leg. You always have to watch the clouds here to try and predict what’s going to happen. We saw it coming on the last upwind under the big black clouds. The two boats ahead hoisted their kites and we saw that the breeze coming was good for us rather than them. The feeling on-board when we rounded the mark in front of everyone was very good, I was very nervous it was a lot of pressure to stay ahead. I hope we can continue.”

What the lake will throw at the fleet tomorrow is anyone’s guess but the last word has to go to race officer Peter Reggio who’s analysis of the day was “For years I felt this lake was trying to kill me but today it was just trying to make me look really stupid.”

AEZ leads the overall leaderboard on day 2 of the RC44 Austria Cup. Gmunden, 31 May 2012. Photo copyright Nico Martinez / RC44 Class Association

Racing continues Friday at 11.30 (CET) through to Sunday 3rd June.

Quotes from the day

Markus Wieser (GER) tactician, AEZ RC44 Team (AUT): For the guys on the boat it’s a big deal to do well here, we came out and sailed well, we were lucky in the second race with the big wind shift, but we were in the top of the fleet the whole race, we just had to play the wind shifts to get a good results. We had a lot of luck today too but we sailed well, much better than yesterday.

There was a big thunderstorm come through at lunchtime and the breeze went up to nearly thirty knots so we had a delay until it passed and went down to under twenty knots and Peter was able to start the racing. We had a really nice first race between 13-15 knots and in the second race it dropped down to 10 – 14 knots until the rain came through were the breeze turned 180° and after that the wind was a messy 5 knots and tailing off.

Michele Ivaldi (ITA) tactician, Team CEEREF (SLO): It was a very tricky day, on the edge of being unpredictable especially in the last race when the wind basically shut down and filled in from the other side. We just had to race head down and work hard with what we had to get the most out of the boat. All the guys onboard did a fantastic job they kept the boat going fast all around the track and we were spot on in all of the manoeuvres, with a bit of luck today was our day.

Brad Butterworth (NZL) tactician, Katusha: Today was the same for everybody, its vey random and there’s a lot of luck involved with sailing here. It makes it difficult but i think we sailed very well today, Steve is helming the boat and so he’s been a pleasure to sail with, he steers the boat incredibly well and got two brilliant starts to lead around both top marks and then were a little bit unfortunate, we broke a shoot in the second race as we were going for the lead at the bottom mark, most of the fleet went around us there and we got a penalty which just compounded on it, then the beat turned in to a run and the run turned in to a beat so we got everything.

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Ian Williams takes command of Korea Match Cup

Posted on 31 May 2012 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Alpari World Match Racing Tour] Current Tour Champion Ian Williams looks set to progress to the knockout rounds after taking pole position after the second Qualifying Session at the Korea Match Cup 2012, recording 6 wins and 1 loss so far.

Williams took a confidence-boosting victory over Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing, whose record four World Championships he is chasing down this season. “We always have an exciting race against Peter! Sometimes he doesn’t feel that he’s been in the race unless he’s had a couple contacts between the boats. He used the new rules well by forcing a collision and managing to wipe his penalty straight away.”

His only loss of the event came against Laurie Jury (NZL) Kiwi Match in controversial circumstances, Williams claiming that the starting boat had dragged its anchor and skewed the line. The subsequent request for redress was unsuccessful and Williams, said: “We were disappointed with the loss against Laurie [Jury]. When the race committee boat drifts like that and moves the line, it’s frustrating not to get a redress but that’s how it goes.”

“Today’s results should take us to the Quarter Finals, which was the first challenge. We’re sailing well and we’re getting used to the new rules.”

Ian Williams leads the Korea Match Cup. Gyeonggi-do, 31 May 2012. Photo copyright Andrew Carter / Alpari World Match Racing Tour

Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing and Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Team Korea are heading the chasing pack in the qualification table, ending the day 6-2. Robertson continues his hot run of form, having taken a victory at the first event of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour season, Match Race Germany.

Mirsky competes with a crew who haven’t done a lot of sailing together previously, but he doesn’t think that’ll harm his chances: “We’ve not sailed together that much before but we’re gelling on well as a team and all the guys are successful sailors so we feel competitive and positive about our chances.

“If we get everything right, we’ve got a team strong enough to finish at the pointy end in the next few days. It’s refreshing to be back at a Tour event. I’m not a Tour Card Holder this year but it’s great representing Team Korea, in Korea. I’m loving it so far.”

Winner of the 2011 Korea Match Cup, Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team went into an all-Swedish match up with Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team in flight 9 as one of three skippers who finished the first day’s qualifying unbeaten. After picking up a penalty in the pre-start, Berntsson looked on the back foot but managed to pass his compatriot with an aggressive move around the mark on his last lap. Berntsson, said: “We know Bjorn [Hansen] had a good day yesterday but it’s not so much about being leader at this stage. We just want to get points on the board to get us qualified.”

“We always have fun racing him and this was a particularly exciting one. We did well to turn around the penalty that we got early on, when approaching the finish line.”

Hansen went on to finish the day 5-2 and will know that he only needs one more victory in the last Qualifying Session tomorrow to progress to the knockout rounds and stay in with a chance of holding on to his Korea Match Cup crown from last year.

The final Qualifying Session takes place on Friday 1 June from 1000 local time (KST). Live TV will be broadcast 1400 – 1600 local time on Saturday 2 June and Sunday 3 June.

Results after the Second Qualifying Session:
Ian Williams (GBR) – GAC Pindar 6-1
Phil Robertson (NZ) – WAKA Racing 6-2
Torvar Mirsky (AUS) – Team Korea 6-2
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) – Mekonomen Sailing  Team 5-2
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) –Berntsson Sailing Team 4-3
Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) – Vannes Agglo Sailing Team 4-4
Laurie Jury (NZ) – Kiwi Match 4-4
Peter Gilmour (AUS) – YANMAR Racing 3*-2
William Tiller (NZ) – Full Metal Jacket Racing 3-4
Simone Ferrarese (ITA) – Ferrarese Racing Team 3-5
Byeong-Ki Park (KOR) – Geoje City 0-7
Tae-Jung Kim (KOR) – Gyeonggi 0-8
* Deducted 1 point for causing damage

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Match Racing Highlights – RC44 Austria Cup 2012

Posted on 31 May 2012 by Valencia Sailing

Match Racing Highlights – RC44 Austria Cup 2012

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Synergy stay on top in RC44 Austria Cup

Posted on 30 May 2012 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: RC44 Class] Best tactics for sailing on a lake surrounded by snow topped mountains “follow Markus Weiser” was Synergy’s tactician Ed Baird’s answer in this morning’s press conference. However there was no following to be done by the Russian team who lost just one race to No Way Back, and that was down to a ripped spinnaker.

It is the fifth year the RC44 class have visited Lake Traunsee. The fleet seem to relish the challenge of conquering the lake, and today was certainly a challenge as the wind shifted 90 degrees, changing in velocity from 5-12 knots regularly. But on the one day of match racing at the RC44 Austria Cup, it was not only your opponent you needed to look out for as Ed Baird (USA) explained. “The competition is fantastic but here there is another competitor and that is the lake, the lake really decides a lot of what happens in the matches, you can get very far ahead, sail out of the wind and then it fills from the other side and they can pass you. You’re not just fighting the other boats, it’s a tricky lake.”

No one managed to finished the day undefeated, the French Aleph Sailing Team with Mathieu Richard at the helm came closest, winning their first four flights – including a crucial win against Team Aqua – only to lose the final match of the day to Peninsula Petroleum.

Synergy remain stay on top at RC44 Austria Cup. Traunsee, 30 May 2012. Photo copyright Nico Martinez / RC44 Class

It was enough to move Aleph up to second in the overall match race ranking after three events. Mathieu Richard enjoyed his second visit to Lake Traunsee. “It was a very good day for us beating some strong teams like Artemis and Team Aqua. It very tricky sailing, sometimes you have a consistent wind but it doesn’t stay for long, maybe only five minutes and then it changes, so it means you need some luck on your side for sure and have to look everywhere to catch the good wind shifts, it’s very tough racing.”

Team Aqua (GBR) and Artemis Racing (SWE) were the other two teams to lose just one race, moving them both up the overall RC44 match race rankings. Although the conditions were tough, Team Aqua’s tactician Cameron Appleton (NZL) wasn’t attributing anything to a unlucky shift. “At the end of the day there was still the match racing fundamentals that came into play today, the difference between one extra win for us was a bad start, Mathieu (Aleph) managed to time it perfectly and we didn’t so and they were able to extend the lead but overall we are happy, the guys did a great job, we sailed well and achieved our goals.”

Second overall coming into Austria, just two points off the leader, was Team Katusha (RUS). Brad Butterworth was back on-board swapping with his old sailing partner Russell Coutts. Their day didn’t go exactly to plan, losing to Team Aqua, No Way Back and CEEREF. They drop back to fourth overall in the match race rankings.

Thursday see’s the start of the fleet racing phase of the as the RC44 Championships as the Tour enters its halfway stage. Oracle Racing took the win last year in Lake Traunsee, Austria, Team Aqua were second in their newly christened boat and Laser World Champion Tom Slingsby helped Pieter Heerema’s No Way Back into third.

Synergy remain stay on top at RC44 Austria Cup. Traunsee, 30 May 2012. Photo copyright Nico Martinez / RC44 Class

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Highlights from Qualifying Session 1 at the Korea Match Cup

Posted on 30 May 2012 by Valencia Sailing

Highlights from Qualifying Session 1 at the Korea Match Cup

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Emirates Team New Zealand AC72 arrival now only a few weeks away

Posted on 30 May 2012 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Emirates Team New Zealand] Emirates Team New Zealand will take delivery of its first AC72 catamaran by the middle of next month.

The mammoth cat will then be assembled – it will arrive at the base as components – and undergo a rigorous testing regime before an official launch planned for late July.

The team started work on design and engineering in October 2010. Building started on November 9 last year. In July the sailing team – which has been heavily involved in the design process – will begin the process of evaluating the yacht’s performance and learning how to sail it fast and safely.

The AC72 is a massive leap for designers, boatbuilders and sailing team. More than 50,000 design hours have gone into the project as designers and engineers pushed the boundaries in design and technology. They have designed more than 500 parts to be manufactured locally in aluminium, titanium and composites. Seven Auckland machine shops have engineered the metal components. Only deck gear and winches could be bought off the shelf.

Nothing like it has been built previously in New Zealand. Yacht composite components have been built at Cookson Boats at Glenfield, Southern Spars at Avondale, and three other boatbuilding companies. About 40,000 hours have gone into the build.

Components for the wingsail have been built at both Southern Spars and Cooksons. Wing assembly has been underway at the Emirates Team New Zealand Viaduct Harbour base for the past two months. That’s a further 25,000 hours.

Emirates Team New Zealand managing director Grant Dalton said the race yacht will be delivered on budget and on time. “That’s remarkable considering the complexity of the design and build process and speaks volumes for the capability of the New Zealand marine industry.”

Part of Emirates Team New Zealand's AC72 hull. Auckland, 30 May 2012. Photo copyright Richard Gladwell / Sail World

Major parts of the Italian Luna Rossa AC72 are also being built in New Zealand.

The Emirates Team New Zealand base is being prepared for the new arrival. As big as the base building is, it’s too small to house the cat. A massive structure – built from 12 40ft shipping containers with a tent roof – has been assembled on the base forecourt to house the 40m wings.

The original Team New Zealand building on Halsey Street from which the team defended the America’s Cup in 2000 and mounted the 2003 defence has been demolished to make way for a second structure of shipping containers and tent structure to house the platform.

The AC72’s size and speed potential has forced a re-think of the chase boat fleet. A catamaran chase boat capable of 50knots and with enough power to right the catamaran should it capsize is being built at Salthouse Boatbuilders.

It will join the fleet of monohull Protectors that have been a familiar part of Emirates Team New Zealand for many years.

Dalton said: “A lot of people have worked long hours for more than 18 months to get to this point. A lot more work has to be done as we evaluate performance and learn about the AC72 and prepare to start building the second boat.”

For the time being, the AC72 will stay under wraps. “Just like us, the other teams are thinking about the design of their second boat so security is critical over the next couple of months.

“You can bet that as soon as the boat hits the water in July we will be in the spotlight – from the media and other teams.”

Even with the addition of the AC72 to the fleet, the team will continue with the AC45 regatta programme (three more regattas will be held this year) and the development and training programme with the twin SL33s will continue.

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Three ahead after Korea Match Cup qualifying session 1

Posted on 30 May 2012 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Alpari World Match Racing Tour] As a Tour Card Holder, Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Team Korea White Tiger Challenge finished 4thin the final Tour standings last season and comes to the Korea Match Cup as skipper of hosts Team Korea. Racking up three victories in the first day’s sailing, Mirsky showed that he hasn’t lost his ability amongst the top international match racing field, “I was feeling a bit rusty this morning, it’s been a few months since I’ve been out match racing and we knew there was going to be a bit of pressure on us sailing in the team’s home country.”

“We had a bit of a crash with Peter [Gilmour] but it went our way and I think that the team will get better and better as the event goes on.”

Reigning ISAF Match Racing World Champion Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar carried his impressive form from last season in his first event of the 2012 Tour season, joining Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen and Torvar Mirsky on three wins from three on the first day of qualifying.

Williams, said: “It was a tricky session for us today as we hadn’t had a morning practice with the boat and the conditions were a bit shifty but we settled into it after the first one against Johnie [Berntsson]. They were all close races but I feel we controlled them.

“The local team Gyeonggi and their skipper [Tae-Jung] Kim beat us last year so he was the one we were actually looking out for most. We’ve had a bit of a crew change but all the guys have done a great job today and we’ll look to keep getting stronger as the event progresses.”

Bjorn Hansen also made the most of changeable wind conditions to come through his first three matches undefeated, in the process beating Laurie Jury (NZ) Kiwi Match who was hot off the back of a second place finish at last week’s Match Race Germany. Hansen, said: “We’re looking to make our mark on the Tour this year. We know it’s going to be hard but we should be able to achieve a top three finish.”

“We had a frustrating time in Germany but Korea is a completely different feeling. We’ve always done well here, whereas we’ve never done well in Germany!”

“We won Korea Match Cup last year and finished third the year before so we are confident and to get off to such a good start is great for confidence.”

The second Qualifying Session takes place on Thursday 31 May at 1000 local time (KST).

Results after the First Qualifying Session:

Johnie Berntsson (SWE) –Berntsson Sailing Team 1-2
Simone Ferrarese (ITA) – Ferrarese Racing Team 0-3
Peter Gilmour (AUS) – YANMAR Racing 1-2
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) – Mekonomen Sailing  Team 3-0
Tae-Jung Kim (KOR) – Gyeonggi 0-3
Laurie Jury (NZ) – Kiwi Match 2-1
Byeong-Ki Park (KOR) – Geoje City 0-3
Torvar Mirsky (AUS) – Team Korea 3-0
Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) – Vannes Agglo Sailing Team 2-1
Phil Robertson (NZ) – WAKA Racing 2-1
William Tiller (NZ) – Full Metal Jacket Racing 1-2
Ian Williams (GBR) – GAC Pindar 3-0

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No room to breathe for Abu Dhabi

Posted on 30 May 2012 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Volvo Ocean Race] The lead, which Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR) has built up in Leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race from Miami to Lisbon, Portugal, is approaching the critical time, with just 467 nautical miles to run to the finish. Will it be enough of a buffer to hold off PUMA Ocean Racing powered by Berg (Ken Read/USA) and Groupama (Franck Cammas/FRA), both of whom have a shot at winning the race overall?

In the three-hour period to 0700 GMT today, PUMA had reeled in another six miles to close to within 22 nm, while Groupama (Franck Cammas/FRA) had taken eight miles to lie just three miles astern of Ken Read and his PUMA crew.

On the upside, Ian Walker and his men have seen the breeze drop and head, which has allowed them to sail a slightly lower and faster course. “Hopefully, our tighter angle can give us an advantage,” commented bowman Wade Morgan. But although the team morale still burns strong, navigator Jules Salter and skipper Ian Walker have been analysing performance and weather updates nonstop according to Media Crew Member Nick Dana. “It feels like we are being chased by a pack of dogs, and one cat,” he said today.

By midnight tonight, the fleet is expecting to be becalmed in a ridge off Portugal’s coast and Thursday will be tortuous. “Should make for some nail-biting hours in the sun,” said Abu Dhabi helmsman/trimmer Anthony Nossiter, as the crew prepared for what could be a ‘mind-bending’ experience in the last few miles to the finish.

A slow day yesterday led the crew of second-placed PUMA to re-appraise the setup of the boat, dropping the daggerboard lower, putting water back in the stern ballast and changing staysail combinations. “Thankfully the boat responded,” wrote MCM Amory Ross today. The team, who is looking for its third consecutive win, is more concerned with their nearest rivals for the overall lead; Telefónica (Iker Martínez/ESP), Groupama (Franck Cammas/FRA) and CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand (Chris Nicholson/AUS). “There is more to lose against them than there is to gain against Abu Dhabi,” explained Ross today.

Meanwhile, the crew of CAMPER are smarting about their fifth position, having a tough time against Groupama and Telefónica who are now ahead of them. “These hard reaching conditions are right in their sweet spot,” said MCM Hamish Hooper. “They are like rockets in this stuff. Unfortunately for us, we are quite the opposite. It’s our Achilles heel and, as a result, we are bleeding miles, unable to stop them,” he added. “It feels wrong for us to still end up in the fifth spot, so we need to pull something out of the bag,” declared skipper Chris Nicholson.

Mike Sanderson and Team Sanya are still in touch and sailing fast enough to take six miles out of the lead. Although in sixth position, they are now within 60 nm of the lead and planning to try to ride the front for as long as they can.

With the breeze progressively easing between noon today and midnight tonight, the leading boat is expected to cross the finish in Lisbon late on Thursday night.

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