Archive | November, 2012

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Milestones passed in Volvo Ocean 65 build

Posted on 29 November 2012 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Volvo Ocean Race] A couple of significant milestones have been passed in the build process for the Volvo Ocean 65 at boatyards in Italy and France. At Persico in Italy, lamination of the outer skin of the first hull being produced has now begun, while at Multiplast in France the first carbon layer for the first deck has been completed.

“We have about 20 guys working on this,” said Mark Sommerville, operations manager for the work going on at Persico. “The final layer of the outer skin went down on Wednesday and we also have a team Thermoforming the foam core.”

The mould has been produced with an infusion system so that the laminate is less porous, takes in less air and is more stable over a long period of time. The steel structure that supports and strengthens the mould has also been calculated and tested to remain solid throughout the curing process. The 12.5mm thick mould, for which around 1,400 kilos of resin have been used, is cut longitudinally to facilitate the unplugging and includes removable flanges at the top sides that create the structure where the deck will be joined to the hull and the special recess for the keel ram.

“It will take eight weeks to produce a hull, fitted with the bulkheads provided by Decision SA that will make the structure stiffer and ready to be shipped to Green Marine,” said Marcello Persico managing director of Persico’s marine division.

“For the time being we have only built one mould but we would be able to make a second one, using the existing model, should the Volvo Ocean Race need to increase production as more teams order a boat. Also, we are committed for two editions of the race and that makes it vital to be able to use the mould on a long term span.”

The huge structure will be carefully cured with the help of several powerful burners that will take the inside temperature to 80-90°.

“The curing process has to be dealt with with extreme care,” says Sommerville, an expert from New Zealand who has been working with the international staff at Persico for several years. “The temperature inside the oven needs to increase and later decrease at a very steady and accurate pace, 12° per hour, because any sharp variation could compromise the process, the resin could go soft and not catalyse properly. It takes approximately six to sevenhours to get to the right temperature and back. During this phase we work on shifts in order to ensure the process is monitored constantly.”

Lamination of the first VO65 hull. Photo copyright Mark Sommerville / Persico

Lamination of the first VO65 hull. Photo copyright Mark Sommerville / Persico

Lamination of the first VO65 hull. Photo copyright Mark Sommerville / Persico

Lamination of the first VO65 hull. Photo copyright Mark Sommerville / Persico

Meanwhile at Multiplast in Vannes, France the Volvo Ocean 65 deck’s first carbon layer has just been finished. The first deck should be completed by mid-February and delivered to Green Marine to be assembled.

“We just finished cooking the first carbon skin of the first deck. Every deck will be cooked four times: the outer skin is cooked then a second time for the honeycomb and foam core and a third and fourth time for the inner skin,” confirmed director Yann Penfornis, whose enthusiasm for the project is obvious.

“We are therefore four weeks away from taking the first deck out of the mould. Then we will have six to seven weeks of pre-piercing the deck fittings for grinders, organisers and deck stiffeners. The first deck will be delivered mid-February to Green Marine and we will be working on the second deck by then. From then on a new deck will be produced every seven weeks.”

Multiplast is tackling this technical challenge with a 30-person dedicated team. Their 200°C oven also allows the carbon and core components of the deck to cook more efficiently.

“Making sure it’s a one-design product is a challenge,” explained Penfornis. “Here at Multiplast we know how to build 20-metre boats. But building eight identical boats with only a few kilos of difference does require a good traceability with processes and plans. Each piece of foam has to be weighed. The sailors won’t have any excuse; they need to race on equal terms. We don’t want to hear them saying the boat three is faster than boat five.

“The second challenge is delivering a deck every seven weeks. Such big pieces need good organisation and very detailed planning. We are working on it, but we cannot allow ourselves to fall asleep. We have to make eight boats in two years and that’s the power of the consortium: the four boatyards are strong ones and trust each other. We will get there, but we cannot afford to be late. We need the first one to be on time if we want to deliver the eighth one on time.”

The first boat off the production line is expected during late June 2013. After that the plan is to have each new boat sailing within three to four days of leaving the boatyard, but before passing this even bigger milestone, there are still a lot more deadlines to meet.

Construction of the first VO65 deck. Photo copyright Agathe Armand / Volvo Ocean Race

Construction of the first VO65 deck. Photo copyright Agathe Armand / Volvo Ocean Race

Construction of the first VO65 deck. Photo copyright Agathe Armand / Volvo Ocean Race

Construction of the first VO65 deck. Photo copyright Agathe Armand / Volvo Ocean Race

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Blown Away! VESTAS Sailrocket 2 truly smashes the Outright world speed record

Posted on 29 November 2012 by Valencia Sailing

Blown Away! VESTAS Sailrocket 2 truly smashes the Outright world speed record

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Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa, practice day 2

Posted on 29 November 2012 by Valencia Sailing

Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa were on the Hauraki Gulf on Tuesday and carried out their second day of practice racing. Emirates Team New Zealand photographer, Chris Cameron, was on site and shot a number of spectacular photos:

Second day of practice racing between Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa. Auckland, 27 November 2012. Photo copyright Chris Cameron / Emirates Team New Zealand

Second day of practice racing between Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa. Auckland, 27 November 2012. Photo copyright Chris Cameron / Emirates Team New Zealand

Second day of practice racing between Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa. Auckland, 27 November 2012. Photo copyright Chris Cameron / Emirates Team New Zealand

Second day of practice racing between Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa. Auckland, 27 November 2012. Photo copyright Chris Cameron / Emirates Team New Zealand

Second day of practice racing between Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa. Auckland, 27 November 2012. Photo copyright Chris Cameron / Emirates Team New Zealand

Second day of practice racing between Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa. Auckland, 27 November 2012. Photo copyright Chris Cameron / Emirates Team New Zealand

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ORACLE TEAM USA Selects Two Teams to Train for Red Bull Youth America’s Cup

Posted on 29 November 2012 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Oracle Team USA] Before the 34th America’s Cup gets underway, crews of youth sailors will have their chance in the spotlight. The Red Bull Youth America’s Cup begins Sept. 1, 2013, and today ORACLE TEAM USA announced two U.S.-based teams to earn a spot in the final. Team America Racing will represent the USA, and American Youth Sailing Force will represent San Francisco. Both will now spend the next nine months training for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup under the tutelage of ORACLE TEAM USA.

“It’s honestly the most amazing feeling ever,” said Team America Racing trimmer and team manager Jacob La Dow (San Diego, Calif./St. Mary’s College of Maryland). “It’s a dream come true, and at first I couldn’t really believe we had done it. In the beginning of this process, we weren’t as organized. But, with a lot of practice and communication we really came together as a team.”

Six crews entered the team selection trials, which included two-day training sessions at the ORACLE TEAM USA base in San Francisco. The trials featured physical training and instruction both on and off the water, and the teams sailed onboard an AC45 for the first time under the supervision of ORACLE TEAM USA sailors – the same class of wingsail catamarans raced in the America’s Cup World Series.

“It’s a massive stepping stone toward getting involved with the America’s Cup,” said ORACLE TEAM USA coach Darren Bundock. “We were looking for a variety of things – mainly potential – and finding those teams that gelled together and that we think can go forward and win the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup.”

American Youth Sailing Force during their AC45 trials. San Francisco, 12 November 2012. Photo copyright Guilain Grenier / Oracle Team USA

The teams were evaluated on several factors, such as boat handling, trimming skills and crew communication. All were mentored by ORACLE TEAM USA sailors and coaches, Philippe Presti along with Bundock, throughout the team selection process, and they will continue to receive coaching and guidance through to the finals.

“Our team is very honored – it means we performed well in the selection and are on the right track, and that they feel we have what it takes to do well in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup,” said Team America Racing skipper Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, Calif./graduated Georgetown University). “To be able to learn from ORACLE TEAM USA is going to be so huge for our team. Now we can keep getting better with some expert help.”

The youth sailors are ages 19-24 and hail from around the U.S., including many from the San Francisco Bay Area. The crews are made up of collegiate All-Americans, youth World medalists and members of US Sailing’s Development Team. Six sailors are onboard for each crew, one more than America’s Cup World Series teams as the youth sailors are, on average, 40-50 pounds lighter than a Cup sailor.

“I grew up sailing on the San Francisco Bay, so I feel very comfortable in the Bay and have sailed in pretty much any condition. Everyone on our team has sailed there at one point or another,” said American Youth Sailing Force skipper Michael Radziejowski (San Francisco, Calif./UC Santa Cruz). “Sailing a catamaran on the Bay is definitely going to be a huge challenge, but I feel confident with our team, and I think everyone has the same appreciation for the Bay.”

Many sailors on both Team America Racing and the American Youth Sailing Force will now balance training for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup with attending university and competing on their university sailing teams, while others will balance daily professional work schedules. They will make periodic trips to train with ORALCE TEAM USA in the coming months, with more extensive training to take place next summer.

“It’s a huge weight lifted off our shoulders to be selected,” said Ian Andrewes, American Youth Sailing Force team manager. “But, now going into this next step, it doesn’t mean it’s going to get easier. I think everyone on the team realizes how much we’ve all been working towards this goal, and we’ll continue to push hard through to the finals.”

The Red Bull Youth America’s Cup finals run September 1-4, 2013, in San Francisco Bay. Additional teams will be selected through the Selection Series to take place in February.

Charlie Buckingham, 23, Newport Beach, Calif., Georgetown University (graduated)
Jacob La Dow, 19, San Diego, Calif., St. Mary’s College of Maryland
Graham Landy, 19, Virginia Beach, Va., Yale University
Jake Reynolds, 19, San Diego, Calif., College of Charleston
Nevin Snow, 19, San Diego, Calif., Georgetown University
John Wallace, 20, St. Petersburg, Fla., St. Mary’s College of Maryland
Matthew Whitehead, 19, Tampa, Fla., University of South Florida

Ian Andrewes, 22, Seattle, Wash., Pacific Maritime Institute (graduated)
David Liebenberg, 21, San Francisco, Calif., Tufts University
Michael Menninger, 23, Newport Beach, Calif., St. Mary’s College of Maryland
Tomas Pastalka, 22, Tiburon, Calif., UC Santa Cruz
Matt Pistay, 22, Zenda, Wis.
Michael Radziejowski, 21, Alameda, Calif., UC Santa Cruz
Evan Sjostedt, 19, Long Beach, Calif., Seattle University

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Video: Grant Dalton updates on Emirates Team New Zealand

Posted on 28 November 2012 by Valencia Sailing

TV3 sailing reporter Greg Pearson had a day out on the AC72. On the tow out he got a few minutes to sit down and get an update on the Emirates Team New Zealand campaign with Grant Dalton

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Adam Minoprio: Monsoon Cup Will Be Our Statement of Intent

Posted on 27 November 2012 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: ALPARI World Match Racing Tour] Minoprio (NZL) Alpari Racing Team won the Tour in 2009 and has since embarked on a Volvo Ocean Race with CAMPER Team New Zealand, returning this year for two Tour events. An invite to compete at the Monsoon Cup was a welcome surprise for Minoprio, who has now reformed his old crew. He said: “It’s great for the guys to be back together and competing as the Alpari Racing team for the Monsoon Cup. We’ve all been apart for two years, fighting to make it at our own projects but it’s great to be back at an event we first cut our teeth at 7 years ago.

“Everyone has moved along in different directions in their sailing careers so whilst it’s a challenge to reunite, we’ll work hard to get back to the top level as quickly as possible and I’m sure we’ll have more fun out there than anybody. First and foremost we’re good friends and I’m stoked that we can get back together and take on the world’s best at the Monsoon Cup.”

One of the key factors in Minoprio’s previous Championship success, as is the case for so many teams, was a consistent crew. He was missing his full team at the recent Match Race France and ARGO Group Gold Cup in Bermuda, where he finished 11th and 5th respectively. Minoprio will welcome the return of “Tom Powrie trimming the jib, Dave Swete in the middle, Nick Blackman on the bow with Chris Main coming in for the first time” at the Monsoon Cup.

Adam Minoprio and Black Match Racing win the 2009 Monsoon Cup. Kuala Terengganu, 5 December 2012. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis /

Minoprio also believes that a successful Monsoon Cup will give him the perfect platform to launch another challenge for the ISAF Match Racing World Championship title, saying: “We need to perform in Malaysia because it would definitely help to put our case forward for a Tour Card next year. It’s a statement of intent to the Tour that we’re the guys they need to have on the series. We’ll give it everything to get a result.”

Referring to his ambitions to apply for a Tour card once again in 2013, he said: “The 2013 season is still a while away but I know that there is interest from the guys to sail together again and it’d be good to do another full season as a team. If we can pull together for a challenge on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour, that’s what we’ll do.”

The two New Zealanders on the Tour this season, Laurie Jury (NZL) Kiwi Match Sailing Team and Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing will set up a three-way national battle in Malaysia. Minoprio, commented: “It’s always extremely tough racing against other home nation skippers. It’s been a long time since I’ve raced against Laurie [Jury], who I used to do bow for in the Royal New Zealand Youth Training Programme. And the year after that, I was driving and I had Phil Robertson doing the bow for me. To race against these guys again right at the highest level is quite cool. It’s going to be a fantastic competition.”

The addition of Alpari as his team sponsor for the event is also something very pleasing to 260th ranked Minoprio and the former World No.1 hopes that a swift return to form will quickly raise his profile, and world ranking back to previous heights. He continued: “We’re really pleased to have this support from Alpari and it’ll help us to go to the event and do it properly. With some of the finance taken care of, we can focus on sailing.

“Hopefully we’ll get the opportunity to get involved with them onsite too as I’ve visited their Alpari Clubhouse before and it’s a great place to relax when we’re not on the water. I might even give the trading platforms a go. I’m pretty new to Forex but it looks interesting and I know they have tutorials for new traders.”

The Monsoon Cup, Malaysia’s second biggest sports event of the year, will take place on 3-8 December at the Ri-Yaz Heritage Marina Resort & Spa, Pulau Duyong, Kuala Terengganu.

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Ben Ainslie retires from Olympic sailing, to focus on the America’s Cup

Posted on 27 November 2012 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Ben Ainslie] Ben Ainslie today announced his retirement from Olympic sailing. At London 2012 Ainslie cemented his place in sporting history by securing his fourth consecutive gold medal, it was the culmination of an Olympic career spanning sixteen years. The final gold medal also entered Ainslie into the history books making the most successful Olympic sailor of all time.

For Ainslie the decision was not an easy one, “When I look back there are so many special memories; from that first medal in Atlanta 16 years ago to carrying the flag at the closing ceremony in London 2012. London was an incredibly special Olympics, competing on home waters and in front of a home crowd, I don’t think anything will be able to top that experience. But you have to move forwards and it is time to move onto the next challenge in my career.”

Ainslie has taken the bold move to setup a team to challenge for the 35th America’s Cup. This announcement marks the start of a new chapter in his career as he now shifts his focus to winning the America’s Cup and bringing the oldest trophy in sport back to Britain. Conceived by the British in 1851, the America’s Cup is the only international sporting trophy Great Britain has never won.

The team has taken the first steps on this road with J.P.Morgan who is title sponsor to the Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR) AC45 team, who are competing in the America’s Cup World Series (ACWS) 2012-13. The team has shown great promise finishing second at the last ACWS event in October.

No more Olympics for the best sailor ever. Ainslie will now solely focus on the America’s Cup. Weymouth, 5 August 2012. Photo copyright Daniel Forster /

“The America’s Cup has always been a goal for me. With the new format of the America’s Cup World Series and the increased commericalistaion of the event, I feel confident that we can continue to build towards creating a commercially viable team, with the ultimate goal of challenging for the 35th America’s Cup.”

“Stepping away from the Olympics was not an easy decision to make and I wanted to take some time after London to think about the future and what the next challenge would be. I’ve had an amazing Olympic sailing career and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the countless number of people who have been involved in my sailing career to date. Their support enabled me to achieve my dreams and I could not have done it without them.”

John Derbyshire, Royal Yachting Association Performance Director, commented:

“Ben has always made it clear that his two career goals have been to win Olympic gold, and to win the America’s Cup. With four Olympic golds and a silver across five Games, and now the most successful Olympic sailor of all time, he has nothing left to prove in Olympic terms and there can be no question that he’s more than achieved his first goal. It’s therefore entirely understandable that he should now want to turn his attentions to the second, and hopefully lead a British team to win the oldest trophy in sport for the very first time.

“The word ‘legend’ is often over-used in sport, but Ben really is one – a determined yet unassuming, modest, often under-recognised legend in this nation’s sporting history. He has been a talismanic figure in the RYA’s Olympic programme for over 16 years, through his successes inspiring new waves of sailors to get involved in the sport, and passing on his tireless work ethic and campaign skills to other young talents who will look to follow in his footsteps and take on the challenge of keeping GBR a leading light in Olympic sailing in the years to come.”

The next ten months will see Ainslie train and compete with the America’s Cup defenders ORACLE Team USA in San Francisco, where he will gain invaluable experience helming one of two AC72s in the build up to the 34th America’s Cup in September 2013.

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Vendée Globe: Vincent Riou forced to retire

Posted on 25 November 2012 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Vendée Globe] The news broke this morning that Vincent Riou, onboard his boat PRB, has retired from the race. Two days ago he collided with a large floating metal buoy and damaged his hull. After 48hrs of assessing whether a repair was possible, this morning, he reluctantly decided to retire from the race. He is the 7th boat to retire in the race in 15 days and there are now 13 boats remaining. It’s a shocking blow for Riou, who won the Vendée Globe in 2004.

Following the collision, Riou discovered that PRB had a 1m tear and significant delamination, three metres from the bow, the front of the boat, and later found there was damage to his carbon outrigger.

On Vendée Globe TV Live legendary Race Director, Denis Horeau explained the gravity of the situation. “The outrigger shroud is made of fibres, it is designed to resist 35-ton pressure. When he realizes that 50% of the fibres are damaged, Vincent Riou knows the boat won’t be reliable and is, therefore, unsafe. Riou is a great technician, he knows that.”

An emotional Riou said, “I thought really hard before making the decision, I wanted to make sure there was no other possibility for me to be able to continue in the race. But at one point you have to be resigned, I just couldn’t continue with a boat in that state. No matter how much energy you spend, it’s just not possible sometimes.

Yesterday, all day long, I was more optimistic because I hadn’t realized the outrigger shroud was damaged. It didn’t look that bad. But then I looked closer and saw the fibres were also damaged inside. Even though I had fixed the hull problem, the shroud was too much of a problem. So I finished fixing the hull, but I knew it was to sail to Brazil, not to continue the race.

The closest port is Salvador de Bahia, I know that place so I’m familiar with the pontoons. I know I’ll be able to find a dock to repair the outrigger. Because apart from that, PRB is perfectly fine so I’ll be able to sail back.

That’s what’s tough in a sailor’s life: Things are not always fate; but you must accept it, and live with it, otherwise it’s unbearable. But we have worked so hard and so I have to learn to live with it. Jean Le Cam called me last night.”

In his own press statement he talked of his remorse, “Even though there was nothing I could do to avoid the collision and the damage that resulted, I cannot help but feel guilty. I felt really good in the race. These boats have awesome potential and I know that the race in the South this year will take another turn. The bar is very high and I would have loved to be part of it. This game, I really wanted to participate in.”

This is the voice of broken dreams that have been unfairly snatched away. Riou’s retirement is not down to anything other than pure bad luck and very unlikely odds. It is the hidden dangers of the ocean that create the unforeseeable problems and the old adage rings true that in order to finish first, first you must finish.

Fleet news:
Armel Le Cléac’h continues to fashion the lead of the race. Today, Vendée Globe TV broadcast a video of him cruising along in shorts, a t-shirt sporting a pair of bright orange crocs. Le Cléac’h is quite the trendsetter and sales of bright orange crocs may well expect see a surge.

Gabart (MACIF) was also enjoying the clement, balmy conditions of the South Atlantic. He said, “I’m wearing my swimsuit, no top and barefoot. Very warm weather. I don’t know what happened to JP Dick, he surprised me, maybe my settings weren’t perfect. He just left me behind! But now I’m at 17 knots, I think I caught the wind he had caught before.” Clearly, this Jean-Pierre jolt was enough to spur the ‘goldenboy’ Gabart into gear and he grabbed back his second place position.

Alex Thomson on Hugo Boss has rocked into 4th place today. He is enjoying some downtime and being able to read messages from the supporters after a few days of intense DIY SOS. Thomson explained LIVE today on Vendée Globe TV what a morale boost it was to know that people are following the race, saying, “you sometimes feel quite removed from it all and so to know that 100,000s of people are watching you every move is very motivating.”

The buoyant Di Benedetto continues his enthusiastic track towards the Equator. Gathering rainwater from the squalls he has been experiencing the skipper, who is growing salad onboard, enjoyed a freshwater wash. He said today in a recorded interview for Vendée Gobe TV “There’s not much wind, but heavy rain, so I was able to collect water and take a shower. When I cross the Equator, I’ll share some of my good rum with Neptune. I’ll have some too! I won’t drink too much, though, because it’s such a small bottle!” It will take more than some rain to dampen this adventurers spirits, although he might use some to dilute his rum spirits when he toasts Neptune in the next few days.
There is a lot of empathy for remorseful Riou amongst our intrepid skippers many who know first hand about the agony of retirement.

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