Archive | September, 2012

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Sandro Montefusco defends Platu 25 World Championship title

Posted on 29 September 2012 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Platu 25] After nine races and an exciting final match race, the Italian “EUZ II Monella Vagabonda” owned by Francesco Lanera and helmed by Sandro Montefusco is again, for two consecutive years, Platu 25 World Champion.

Between the Italian “Euz II Monella Vagabonda” helmed by Sandro Montefusco (2011 Platu 25 World Champion in Gmunden and 2012 Platu 25 Platu Italian Champion) and the Spanish “Mar de Frades” helmed by Carlos Paz a very exciting head to head took place. This World Championship became a match race between them. “We know that the last race would be decisive. With the second discard, just two point would separate us from Mar de Frades. We started very well in the last race and we could keep them behind all over the race. On the start line we closed the gate between us and the Commitee boat, so we got a good advantage that we maintained in the next two sides. We got i t, I’m happy” remarked Francesco Lanera, “Euz II Monella Vagabonda”’s owner.

So, the Spanish “Mar de Frades” is on the second step of the podium after having fighted until the end. “It was an hard-fought World Championship and we struggle until the end for the title” Anton Paz said. “Until the last race we attempted and we went really near to the goal. We found a very high level in the Platu 25 class . In these days there were bad meteo conditions, with strong wind or no wind and wave. Unfortunatly for two days crews couldn’t race. By the way, at the end, we had to surrender to the Montefusco’s superiority. For us it’s strange to arrive second in a World Championship. We’ll try again the next year, possibly at Portosin in Spain, near our Yacht Club ”.

“Mar de Frades” is followed by an other Italian boat, a boat from Puglia exactly like the new World Champions. It’s “Fight for fighting 3″ owned by Tommaso De Bellis and helmed by Andrea Casale. For them it was an incredible ricovery and today they got an other fantastic first place in the last race. So, on the podium, there are two Italian boats coming from Monopoli, Puglia.

“In the first races we had to learn working well together, because we don’t know well each other. The first races results confirm this “settlement” phase. Then, after the sixth race, we start believing in our possibilities” Andrea Casale, “Fight for Fighting 3”’s helmsman said. “Yes, it was a a great recovery” underlined Tommaso De Bellis, the owner. “We are on the podium and we are satisfied. That’s a good point from which to go ahead and do better”

The Austrian “La Burra” owned by Thomas Laherstorfer with the expert Markus Sigrist as a tactitian, managed very well during this Worlds and finished fourth in the provisional final ranking list followed by the Spanish “Sori” helmed by Ramon Oreja who got a great first in the second today race and performed well all World long. At sixth place there is the real discovery of this World Championship. It’s the Italian “Hurrà” helmed by Francesco Lagirti and with Angelo Costa as a tactician A team from Tuscany that gathered just a few months ago, that sailed together during the last act of Coppa Italia here in Cala de’ Medici and that in small time was able to grow and become a strong and competitive crew. The strong Spanish “Sperry Coppel Dental” had to be content in the provision ranking list with a seventh place. They started very well in the first races, then they payed a dnf in the fourth races.

With 50 boats participants, the 2012 Platu 25 World Championship that took place in Cala De’ Medici from the 23 to the 29 of September was a success. The warm welcome by the Yacht Club of Cala De’ Medici and the perfect organisation made this event a special occasion. Furthermore for Platu 25 crews it was the occasion to meet and face competitors in a fleet that is getting more and more competitive and tecnic.

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Williams Takes ALPARI World Match Racing Tour lead at Match Race France

Posted on 29 September 2012 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: ALPARI World Match Racing Tour] Reigning ISAF Match Racing World Champion Ian Williams overcame a spirited performance by young Kiwi William Tiller and torrential conditions to win the Final of Match Race France. It was Williams’ fourth podium finish in five events this season which propels his GAC Pindar team to the top of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour (AWMRT) standings as the Tour heads into its penultimate event next week.

Williams arrived in the Final off the back of a hard-fought Semi-Final victory against Keith Swinton. Light conditions delayed the race start, eventually forcing the Race Committee to shorten the Final to a ‘first to two points’ format. When the breeze finally kicked in for the first match, Williams’ team had clearly recovered from their epic Semi-Final, winning the start and gaining an almost immediate two boat length lead up to the first windward mark. From there on, Williams’ team closed the door on Tiller, maintaining enough of a lead to not get sucked into a tactical battle. 1-0 and Tiller was already facing sudden death.

Tiller regrouped for the next match, the rain now beating down and the wind constantly picking up. Despite another poor start, a spirited Tiller managed to edge a lead over Williams round the first lap. Williams was not about to let this one slip though, and ground Tillers lead down on the second windward leg to round the final mark a boat length ahead. On the final downwind, Tiller had to attack but Williams’ boat speed, helped by some hard hiking from his crew, carried him to the line to take the victory by just over a boat length.

Ian Williams takes Match Race France and is now leading the ALPARI World Match Racing Tour. Marseille, 29 September 2012. Photo copyright Gilles Martin-Raget

“We’re super happy to get the win,” said Williams. “It was one of those days where everything was changing very, very fast, especially the wind shifts. We got a few more of the important things right than he did today. In those conditions, if you can’t concentrate on the details, you need to get the big stuff right. It was good for us that we didn’t have to go out and win another one but I think we would have if we’d had to.”

Asked if it was a ‘perfect win’, Williams said: “Not quite. We could have been dry. That would have been perfect!

“That win has put us firmly in the hunt now and that’s what we wanted. Every year it seems the guy that gets the early lead in the Tour tends to drop out towards the end. One year we had a 30 point lead and ended up going to Malaysia in 2nd place. Same for [Francesco] Bruni last year and this year it’s happened to Bjorn [Hansen]. He had a strong lead but dropped off his form in the last two regattas. It’ll be interesting to see who else is in the mix in December but you suspect whoever wins between us and Bjorn’s team in Malaysia will take the season title.”

It was Tiller’s first Tour Final which left the defeated Kiwi with mixed emotions: “We were happy to make it to the Final but disappointed not to make more of it. We felt we got things together as the week progressed but couldn’t keep it going into the Final.

“Well done to Ian and his team. He got two good starts and, although we took the lead in the second race, we made a few errors to let him back into it. Trailing in the second match of a first to two point Final, you’d like another chance but the conditions dictated otherwise.

“We’ll look to take this form into Bermuda where we’ll have another shot at beating Ian.”

In the day’s Petit Final, the winner of the previous stage at the St. Moritz Match Race, Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing, went up against Laurie Jury (NZL) Kiwi Match in a first to one point format.

Jury carried a penalty from pre-start but lead throughout the encounter and elected to take his turn as he approached the top mark for a second time. A slight mistake was all Swinton needed to pass his opponent and hoist his spinnaker for the final downwind, taking a comfortable victory.

After taking third place and 19 Championship points which have pushed him up to 3rd place in the overall standings, Swinton said: “Those were tricky conditions but we managed to put the early pressure on with a penalty. We took the lead on the downwind and once we were ahead, we pushed on.

“We’re pretty happy with third and I think it’s well deserved. We pushed Ian [Williams] hard in the Semis and were maybe unlucky not to get to the Final.”

As for Jury, he felt the defeat was much his team’s own fault: “We’re obviously disappointed but more so because we kept making stupid mistakes. We decided to go left only to find the right was paying more and then the penalty in the pre-start. It is what it is, we can’t change anything now. We have sailed well this week but we’ve got some bits to work on.”

The Argo Group Gold Cup gets underway in Hamilton Harbour, Bermuda next week with the first Qualifying Session taking place on Tuesday 2 October.

Alpari World Match Racing Tour Standings – After 6 Stages:
Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar – 102
Björn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team – 93
Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing – 79
Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing – 71
Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) Vannes Agglo Sailing Team – 71
Laurie Jury (NZL) Kiwi Match Sailing – 65
Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing Team – 56
William Tiller (NZL) Full Metal Jacket Racing – 37
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team – 35
Simone Ferrarese (ITA) Ferrarese Racing Team – 29

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Luna Rossa announce crews for upcoming America’s Cup event in San Francisco

Posted on 28 September 2012 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Luna Rossa] In the scheduled crew rotation foreseen by the training programme for the 34th America’s Cup, and in order to give to the new sailing team members Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernadez the opportunity to familiarize rapidly with this new class of boats, the two AC 45 Luna Rossa catamarans will race the coming San Francisco event with the following crew:

LUNA ROSSA SWORDFISH
Iker Martinez – Helmsman
Max Sirena – Skipper / Trimmer
Alister Richardson – Wing Trimmer
Manuel Modena – Trimmer
Emanuele Marino – Freestyler

LUNA ROSSA PIRANHA
Chris Draper – Helmsman
Francesco Bruni – Tactician / Wing Trimmer
Xabi Fernandez – Trimmer
Nick Hutton – Trimmer
Dave Carr – Freestyler

Iker Martinez will take the helm of Luna Rossa Swordfish while his Oylmpic teammate Xabi Fernandez will trim onboard Luna Rossa Piranha. Photo copyright Guilain Grenier

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Italy’s Pozzi now in control of Melges 32 Worlds

Posted on 27 September 2012 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Melges 32] PRO Hank Stuart fired off three more great races at the 2012 MELGES 32 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP, hosted by the NEW YORK YACHT CLUB (NYYC) on Thursday. With two more days left to race, the pressure to do well is extremely intense as Bombarda’s Andrea Pozzi with tactician Gabriele Benussi sit atop the leaderboard ahead by two. In second overall, is John Kilroy Jr. on Samba Pa Ti who felt the full effects of a great day of successful racing with Paul Goodison on tactics. Ben Schwartz on Pisces with Chris Rast as tactician is now third. Tied in points with Schwartz, seated fourth and fifth respectively is Steve Howe’s Warpath and Alec Cutler’s Hedgehog.

The day started out with light, challenging and very shifty conditions. With the breeze at only 5-7 knots, every mark rounding meant that the NYYC Race Committee had to work just that much harder to keep up with the ever shifting wind. Japan’s Keisuke Suzuki with tactician Jesper Radich on Swing played the shifts just right enabling him to turn up the heat in Race One and establish a massive lead from the get-go. Suzuki lead, then extended throughout the race securing an almost 10-boat length advantage to win over second place finisher Schwartz on Pisces. Pozzi was third.

Kilroy claimed an event milestone as his team currently is the first challenger at Worlds to carry three bullets in their scoreline. With Goodison on tactics, Kilroy came on strong and focused in the second and third race of the day taking both wins, landing him an impressive second place overall, up from yesterday’s eighth position.

Pozzi had a great first two races, which ultimately helped him sustain the lead, finishing third and second. Roberto Tomasini Grinover on Robertissima had a nice day to take third in Race Two. Finally, Jason Carroll’s Argo Team looked to be back on track as they finished second in Race Six of the championship, followed by Howe in third.

Italians are now in command of the Melges 32 Worlds. Photo copyright Max Ranchi

SPECTACLE OF THE DAY GOES TO…
Defending Melges 32 World Champion William Douglass on Goombay Smash showed up on the course today with the most unusual of sailing attire – complete head-to-toe, day-glow orange, skin-tight body suits (with matching shoes nonetheless). Thanks to modern technology, images were quickly posted of the glow-in-the-dark sailors on the class’ Facebook page. As one can only imagine, the comment meter went off the chart with thoughts and feedback.

Two more races, with the option for a third, are scheduled for Friday, September 28 with a start of 11.00.

TOP TEN RESULTS (After six races, one discard)

1.) Andre Pozzi/Gabriele Benussi, Bombarda; 1-6-9-3-2-[26] = 21
2.) John Kilroy/Paul Goodison, Samba Pa Ti; [20]-8-1-12-1-1 = 23
3.) Benjamin Schwartz/Chris Rast, Pisces; 4-1-[19]-2-4-13 = 24
4.) Steve Howe/Morgan Larson, Warpath; 2-[15]-4-7-8-3 = 24
5.) Alec Cutler/Richard Clarke, Hedgehog; 5-[7]-2-4-7-6 = 24
6.) William Douglass/Chris Larson, Goombay Smash; 3-3-12-[29]-9-9 = 36
7.) Pieter Taselaar/Nick Thompson, Bliksem; 7-[16]-6-11-5-11 = 40
8.) Andy Lovell/Steve Benjamin, Rougarou; 14-5-[16]-13-6-4 = 42
9.) Edoardo Lupi/Branko Brcin, Torpyone; 8-4-3-6-[22]-22 = 43
10.) Roberto Tomasini Grinover/Vasco Vascotto, Robertissima; 6-[21]-5-20-3-14 = 48

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Knut Frostad, CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race, talks to VSail.info (part I)

Posted on 27 September 2012 by Valencia Sailing

We catch up with the CEO of the premiere round-the-world race and talk about the current situation and, most importantly, the major change in adopting a one-design boat for the entire fleet. Even if we didn’t entirely agree with Frostad’s point of view, it was interesting to have such an in-depth and exhaustive discussion. Time will tell whether the decision was successful or not. This is the first installment of the interview, the second one will be published next week:

VSail.info: Before talking about the present and future of the Volvo Ocean Race let’s briefly turn to the very recent past. How would you assess the edition of the race that just finished? Did it live up to the expectations you had?
Knut Frostad: Yes, it did. The final conclusion for us is that we are happy with the race especially considering the situation we started from. To start with the negative points, I would say we weren’t happy to have such a big percentage of the fleet suffering from technical problems at the beginning. Obviously, that was not an ideal situation for us. At the same time, we started in a different economic environment and we managed to have six very good teams, five of which were definitely competing to win the race. We had a fantastic race with these five teams, until the very end, so considering that situation, we are very happy. Of course, there are always a hundred things we would like to improve and for that reason we are currently working on the next edition, trying to learn from the past races and improve the way we do things. To cut a long story short, we feel we definitely had a good event event and our global media numbers, corporate guests and impact in the stopovers increased substantially from 2008-09.

VSail.info: I remember that in April 2010, in a previous interview, you had stated you were expecting ten entries. Would you say you were overly optimistic back then?
Knut Frostad: Well, in hindsight probably yes but it is always very difficult to make a prediction. At that stage we had a lot of interest but at the same time the economy kept deteriorating as we were getting closer to the race. In any case, you always make your predictions based on the current situation and forecasts and at that stage I can say we had good reasons to be optimistic.

VSail.info: Without any doubt, the most important news since the end of the 2011-12 race was the announcement you made concerning the future boat. This has been covered, discussed and analyzed at length throughout the summer. My own unscientific poll, based on the information gathered by talking to various people, suggests opinions are split. What was the main reason, the drive behind taking that decision?
Knut Frostad: The main objective for the Volvo Ocean Race is to increase the fleet of the race in a difficult environment. This is the starting point and our main objective. One-design doesn’t only affect costs, it affects many other aspects of the race and under the current situation we believe it’s the right decision and the right thing to do.

We understand a lot of the criticism and the fact people are in favor of open classes or the arguments they are more interesting to race or develop but our primary, our only objective, is to consider the situation the race is in, the situation the sponsorship market is currently in and try to make it as attractive to potential teams and sponsors as possible. This is the main objective for us. It’s not about singling out one element. It’s not just about saying the one-design lowers costs. One-design does a lot more than simply reduce costs…

Start of the Alicante in-port race in the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race. Alicante, 29 October 2011. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

VSail.info: Such as?
Knut Frostad: First of all, it completely changes the timing for potential teams, when they actually have to find the money because we managed to finance the construction of the boats. This is probably the most essential aspect of the one-design idea, the fact we are now able to produce the boats, to finance their construction. That means the teams now have more time to find the necessary funding. In a difficult economic environment such as the one today, this is ABSOLUTELY essential.

Take for example the America’s Cup World Series. Why did the ACWS happen? The only reason it happened so quickly was because Larry Ellison built enough boats on time. It wasn’t only because people liked the idea of catamaran racing. Somebody had to build the boats and make this possible. The reason it was possible was because someone had the necessary financing to design and build the boats and suddenly 8-10 boats were available. Even if a team entered very, very late they had a boat.

A lot of people don’t realize how important that element is. In every single Volvo Ocean Race I have been part of, even when I was racing myself, you were heading to a deadline which was when you had time to design, book a slot and build your boat. This deadline comes, normally, at least a year and a half before the start. If you miss that deadline, your only option left to do the race is to buy an old boat. Obviously, nobody’s strategy was to do that. When you reach that point it’s your only option but not your preferred one.

This is very important for us because what we looked at was how to reach the size of fleet we want in a very difficult environment. We analyzed the problems and bottlenecks teams encounter when they want to join. Cost is one but not just the boat, it’s the cost of the entire campaign. Another extremely important element is the time you have available to find the funding.

There is another aspect as well. Some teams look at the Volvo Ocean Race and consider it too difficult to be competitive because they lack the experience with the race. The one-design will not entirely eliminate this because an experienced team will, and should, always have an advantage but at least it guarantees that all teams start on the same platform. They will be more competitive in the sense they will not start from behind, they will not have to learn how to design a boat, find the right designer, build it and end up with a boat that is potentially slower than the rest of the fleet.

VSail.info: So, it seems that for you it is very important to try to level the playing field and lower the barriers of entry, make the entry easier.
Knut Frostad: Yes, in particular for teams with less Volvo Ocean Race experience or new teams. We looked at the three-four last editions and for us to grow the race, we need new teams to come in. Teams that come from outside, that might be competitive in other events or classes or even completely new to our offshore sailing. For them it’s important to see how they can enter the race and how it can be attractive to them and their sponsors and what time it will take them to get up to speed.

We also see that the cost side of the one-design is, obviously, extremely important. A one-design boat will always be cheaper than a one-off boat when you look at the total package over time. Time will tell how much cheaper but there are some elements of the one-design boat that you simply cannot compete with. For example, in regards to the spare parts and all the maintenance of the boat it’s not comparable with an open environment where everybody has different masts, booms, daggerboards, rudders and systems. In addition, since we will do two races with these boats, the second-hand value will always be higher. If you compare apples with apples, there is no doubt the one-design boat is more economically efficient.

Another element, equally important to us, is the reliability of the boats.  It’s an incredibly important part for us because you can always argue that the VO70 boat was a development class but it was also a  locked class inside the box. If you really want free development, then you shouldn’t have any rules. Without any doubt, if you take the money the teams spent on developing their VO70′s and you spend it on boats with no rules then you would certainly have faster boats. You could probably even have better boats because the rule doesn’t always drive you in a good way, it drives you to work inside the box and you spend a lot of money pushing the walls of the box even if it’s not efficient.  You spend a lot of money chasing small gains. You end up spending money in places that don’t make sense.

The same challenge we have with reliability is that in order to really change it, substantially, you would need to rewrite the rules completely. Of course there are a lot of things we learned from the VO70 which were positive developments we would like to carry forward but there are also many things we will like not to repeat or do things we didn’t do with the VO70. We now have a completely new book with the new class and the new boat that will be launched in 2013 will be much more developed in some key areas for the race than the VO70′s.

Abu Dhabi’s Azzam was designed by Farr Yacht Design and built by Persico, both heavily involved in the design and construction of the new one-design VO65. Alicante, 29 October 2011. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

VSail.info: I see your arguments even if I don’t share entirely your point of view. You own the race so you set the rules, that’s obvious, but since you took the decision to opt for a new one-design boat why didn’t you go with Juan Kouyoumdjian, the designer of the winning boats in the last three editions, instead of Farr Yacht Design?
Knut Frostad: This question has been asked a lot. I don’t like to go into the details of why we didn’t go with one designer or another. We had a short time frame to make a viable project working and for us it was critical to select partners, not only in the design, but also in the yards and the systems, that firstly really wanted to do this project, because we only wanted partners who shared our vision and were determined to make it work. It’s a complex and challenging projects and we needed to work with designers, boatyards and suppliers that wanted to do it and had a good experience in one-design classes. We also wanted them to meet all the objectives we had. In some cases we ran tender processes while in other cases we started very early the selection of our partners that we felt we would be happy with. We are very happy working with Farr Yacht Design in this project and we have a very good collaboration from the beginning. They are currently working with quite a few sailors and key people from the previous race that are involved in the design of the boat and this is very positive.

For us, it’s not an issue of why we selected someone instead of somebody else. We had to define what the key elements were for us and needed to find partners in all the areas that worked very well with those elements.

VSail.info: Yes, but two of your main partners, Farr Yacht Design and Persico, were involved in the design and constructions of Abu Dhabi’s Azzam, the only boat to have suffered from delamination.
Knut Frostad: We know quite a lot about what went wrong with the boats. We have a long log with all the damages and a lot of them are not reported to the media. We know them because we manage our race control with all the information from the boats. We know exactly what damage each boat has suffered from. We believe we know why Abu Dhabi suffered delamination on leg 5 but I don’t want to go into the details of what exactly happened. The rig problem they had was completely unrelated to the designer and the boatyard. It was very important when we went through the damage in the last Volvo Ocean Race to separate rig from boat problems because these two are not necessarily related at all, they are two different problems. I would like to add that delamination was experienced with more boats than Abu Dhabi.

VSail.info: Once the decision was taken to go for a one-design boat by Farr what was the general philosophy of the design? What were the main elements and your priorities?
Knut Frostad: There are many elements and priorities in the design brief but the key for us is to have an exciting boat that is a high performance boat and at the same time substantially increasing its reliability. We looked at the reliability side and at the performance side that can, at times, be conflicting. We set a level of the strength of the boat we want and then tried to push performance as much as we could within the constraints.

We also wanted an attractive boat and the reason we went for a smaller one was driven by cost reduction but also because we wanted it to be slightly less physically demanding so it could be operated by smaller crews physically. However, it’s not a substantially different boat from the VO70. It’s still powerful and it will be interesting to see how fast it will be. Still, we don’t think it will be much slower than the VO70′s.

To design a boat around content production and television rather than retro-fitting TV equipment is also an important part of our brief which opens up a whole new world for us and the teams.

Telefonica was one of the three Juan Kouyoumdjian designs in the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race. Alicante, 29 October 2011. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

VSail.info: I do understand that you want to make it easier for the new or potential teams to enter but don’t you think that by going to a one-design boat you take out from the Volvo Ocean Race the technology, development and design aspects, reducing its attractiveness?
Knut Frostad: It’s obvious that when you have an open class you have more development between the teams, there is no question about that. You can always discuss this in complete isolation from reality and say “OK, let’s forget the fact it was challenging to get six boats on the starting line, let’s forget Spain’s deep financial problems, let’s forget Europe’s problems, let’s forget the financial crisis and see what the nicest design we can have is.” We can always have this discussion and I will agree with you that developing your own boat is interesting.

We have also made an interesting observation of the past when you have reached the end of a life cycle of an open box rule class, the boats become very close, in fact almost one design. This was the case with the Whitbread 60’s and the Volvo Open 70’s, and that is when everyone think the event works better. However you still struggle with the challenge of timing your funding, etc. which only a one-design class can change.

However, we can never forget the reality we live in and neither do all the potential teams that want to race. In addition, right now in the sailing world there are a lot of very successful one-design projects, such as the AC45, the RC44, the Soto 40 and many more. There is a reason why these classes are working well at this moment, mainly because you don’t have to build a boat all the time, you don’t have to spend money on design and that saves you from a lot of money, very early in your project. We believe that right now this is the most important thing we have to consider.

Let me give you an example. I asked the skippers of the 2008-9 edition, before the start, what boat they would like to have. Pretty much everyone was very happy with his own boat. However, when I asked them the same question after the end of the race in Saint Petersburg, everybody said they wanted to have Ericsson 4. This is something very frequent in a development class. Yes, it’s fantastic to have development and everybody wants to spend his sponsor’s money on R&D and design until realize someone else has the fastest boat.

Although the technology story is interesting, it’s a paradox that until now we have never really been able to tell the outside world the story of how these boats are designed and built, and now with the new one design boat we can and will do that. We never ever got access to film inside the new boats before the start before and certainly not anything worth showing from design and construction. So in fact it is for us now easier to show the technology behind the boats than before.

VSail.info: Do you think you could alienate the sponsors that want to associate their image to the technology aspect in the sense that their message could have been “we won because our technology was the best”?
Knut Frostad: No. I have worked with many sponsors in this race for many, many years and since we launched this project not a single sponsor has come to us telling us we committed an error and that they would prefer a development class. Not a single one! This might be because the sponsors we have are not particularly focused on boat technology but the reality is that we have had very positive feedback from all the sponsors from the last race and all the new, potential sponsors we are in discussion with for this race.

This shouldn’t seem strange at all because they also live in the same world where you have to be cost-efficient and achieve your goals with less money. For them it makes sense to know that we eliminated the risk of having a boat that is either slow or with problems or that they have to start early with their financing in design and R&D. This makes sense for any company.

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Williams Back to His Best in France

Posted on 27 September 2012 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: ALPARI World Mathc Racing Tour] Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar put in a dominating performance to beat the reigning 2011 event Champion, Damien Iehl (FRA) Wind 2 Win in three straight matches. In the absence of Tour challenger Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team in the latter stages, Williams sees the regatta as an opportunity take top spot on the overall Alpari World Match Racing Tour (AWMRT) leaderboard.

He said: “It’s a great win today for GAC Pindar and adds to our set of results which we can take to Malaysia for the Monsoon Cup. We’re really pleased and now we’ll look to score big at this regatta. If we can make the Final of Match Race France, we’ll definitely be in with a shot at taking the Tour title.”

The Quarter Final win wasn’t as clear cut as the 3-0 scoreline suggested and Williams suggested that he had to be on top of his game to knock out the Frenchman at his home event, saying: “It was fantastic to beat someone as strong as Damien Iehl, it might not have looked that close but it was a tough battle out there where the starts were critical and the umpire calls that went our way today.

“We were a bit ragged for the first couple of days after the practice session was cancelled but as we go through the event we’re feeling more and more comfortable. If we carry on like we are, we’ll be in good shape.”

Iehl remained happy after the defeat in his first Tour event this season, having competed as a Tour Card Holder last year. He said: “I’m very happy to come back on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour and I knew it wasn’t going to be easy because I am competing with a new team. A lot of the guys I was with last year are on different boats and my tactician [Fred Guilmin] is even competing at this event with Peter [Gilmour].

“There is a big difference not sailing all the events compared to sailing with the same crew for six years. That makes it much easier to work together so this wasn’t as easy for just one event.”

French hopes were extinguished as Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) Vannes Agglo Sailing Team also failed to progress at the hands of William Tiller (NZL) Full Metal Jacket Racing, who features in the Semi Final as one of two New Zealand teams remaining. Morvan, said: “We’re disappointed after coming second in Qualifying yesterday. It’s an event we expected to do well at and I thought we had a good chance to win.

“The team were all agreeing on taking the left or the right in the starts and we won the side of the course we’d hoped for in most of the matches. I just think we were a bit unlucky with some of the pressure today and a few times our choices turned out to be wrong.”

Reflecting on his season ambitions following the exit at Match Race France, Morvan said: “We started the season looking for a top 5 overall but coming into this event I think we had a chance to podium. It’s not over yet but we’ll have to do well in Malaysia.”

Laurie Jury (NZL) Kiwi Match continued his good run of results from the opening two days of the event, beating Simone Ferrarese (ITA) Ferrarese Racing Team, who was showing some of his best form of the Tour season in Qualifying. Jury, said: “I think once you’ve qualified for the knockout stages, the picks don’t really matter to be honest. Coming top in Qualifying, the best thing is that you’re finishing at least fifth. These guys all know what they’re doing out there and showed that to get to the knockout stages. Whoever we go up against now in the Semi Final, it’ll be a tough match. It’ll be down to who sails best on the day.”

In one of the most exciting and tightly fought matches of the day, a to and fro affair between fellow Perth skippers Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing and Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing eventually went the way of the youngster. Swinton, said: “The thing is, when you’re sailing against Gilly [Gilmour] it is so hard to get rid of him. He just won’t go away!

“It was really tight throughout that match and we felt like he was always right on our heels. In that last one, we took the right hand side on the last upwind and it paid off for us.

“At this event we’ve had a little bit of a different feeling to St. Moritz, where we were improving all the time. Here I think we’ve hit a really good level quite early. We’re in the Semi’s and that’s a good step so far.”

Gilmour could have felt unfortunate not to get the better of his compatriot, but feels that on his current form, he could be one to watch out for in the latter stages: “They won the last event and they’re sailing really well. They could go all the way again.

“We’ve chosen to race Keith and his guys a couple of times this season and gone on and beaten them so I guess it was likely that they’d come back and wack us one at some point.

“That final race was a bit disappointing but the frustrating thing was that we let it get to that situation in the first place. In the last match, we really just wanted to put him under a bit of pressure at the end there. We were a little bit behind so tried to get him in a difficult situation. Unfortunately it worked out perfectly for him and he managed to jump us.”

The teams will be back on the water from 1115AM local time (GMT+2) tomorrow for the Semi Final at Match Race France (24 – 29 September) in Marseille, the sixth stage of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour. Semi Final picks will be made in the morning, before racing.

Match Race France – Quarter Finals:
Laurie Jury (NZL) Kiwi Match vs. Simone Ferrarese (ITA) Ferrarese Racing Team 3-1
William Tiller (NZL) Full Metal Jacket Racing vs. Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) Vannes Agglo Sailing Team 3-1
Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing vs. Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing 3-2
Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar vs. Damien Iehl (FRA) Wind 2 Win 3-0

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Sandro Montefusco holds on to lead at Platu 25 Worlds

Posted on 27 September 2012 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Platu 25] Rain and bad weather didn’t stop crews and the Platu 25 World Championship in Rosignano Solvay (23-29 September) re-started with wind blowing in the sails, after the forced pause of Wednesday. Three races were competed yesterday in tough condition. It has been raining all day long but wind was generous and constant (10-15 knots).

Sandro Montefusco is still leading the general ranking list, followed by “Mar de Frades”, 4 points distance. “EUZ II Monella Vagabonda”, instead, got three second places and Carlos Paz a sixth, a second and a third place. So, they are very closed and together are taking more and more distance on the rest of the fleet. This World is getting a match race competition between them, with a separate part of the fleet fighting for the third place.

“La Burra” today placed a brilliant third place in the second race and reached the third position in the general ranking list (25 points). The Austrian “La Burra” helmed by Thomas Laherstorfer, has Markus Sigrist as a tactician. We shouldn’t forget that Markus Sigrist was on board of “Euz II” just as a tactitian last year during the 2011 Worlds in Gmunden and that he conquered the highest step of the podium together with Sandro Montefusco.

Montefusco holds on to his lead. Photo copyright Ainhoa Sanchez

The Italian “Hurrà” helmed by Francesco Lagirti is revealing also all its talent and is defending the fourth position in the general ranking lis, same point with the Spanish “Sori” helmed by Ramon Oeja. Brilliant performance also for the Swiss “Superbusi” helmed by Mathias Bermejo who placed a third and a fourth place in the first and in the second race (unfortunatly an Ocs in the last one) and for “Guen Farrbar 2” helmed by Jens Ahgrimm who conquered a fourth in the first race.

Good performance also for the Italian “Fight for Fighting 3″ owned by Tommaso De Bellis and helmed by Andrea Casale who is replacing Alberto La Tegola, the very talented official “Fight for Fighting 3″’s helmsman who had to go abroad for job. This crew from Puglia today managed very well They gained a fifth, a seventh and a first and they jumped in fifth position in the overall.

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Ian Williams holds on to top spot in world match racing rankings

Posted on 27 September 2012 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: ISAF] Despite coming eighth at St. Moritz Match Race, Great Britain’s Ian Williams continues to top the Open Rankings. The British match racer has been the man to beat and doesn’t look like losing the top spot with a string of strong results behind him.

Keith Swinton (AUS) has moved to a personal best of World #3 following his victory at the St. Moritz Match Race. The Australian overcame Mathieu Richard in an epic 3-2 final in Switzerland to take his first Alpari World Match Racing Tour event win.

The result in Switzerland resulted in former World #1 Richard moving from World #23 to World #10. As the runner up in Switzerland the Frenchman had a major points boost and having recently won the ISAF Grade 1 Internationaux de France de Match Racing Manu Minard Trophy in Pornichet, France he is on a good run of form.

Robert Nyberg (FIN) has enjoyed a successful run of period as of late which has seen him move from World #95 to World #57. Although he is several places shy of his best ranking position of #33 achieved in May 2012 a regatta victory at the ISAF Grade 3 Icebreaker Cup in Pirita, Estonia in August saw his run of form begin. He followed the victory up with a second at the Grade 3 Finnish Open Match Racing Championship and a fourth at the Grade 2 WASA Match which ensured a considerable climb for the Finnish sailor.

19-year-old Jakob Klitte (SWE) is another big mover following a busy August and September of match racing. With six top ten finishes from ISAF Grade 2-5 regattas the young Swede moves into the top 100 for the first time at world #78.

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