Archive | Featured

New America’s Cup Class voted

Posted on 01 April 2015 by Reporter

[Source: America's Cup] The America’s Cup teams have agreed to make changes aimed at significantly reducing costs for the 2017 America’s Cup. Central to these changes is the introduction of an exciting new America’s Cup Class – a wing-sailed, foiling catamaran between 45 and 50 feet.

“The move to the new America’s Cup Class is a major step forward for the America’s Cup,” said Commercial Commissioner Harvey Schiller, following the vote.

“Collectively, the teams have agreed current costs are neither justified, nor sustainable, and a majority have together taken a sensible course of action to cut costs. I believe this puts the America’s Cup on a firm foundation for today and for the future.”

Crucially, the new class will cost much less over the life of a campaign, with potential savings across design, build and operations, making it a revolutionary cost-saving measure for the sport in both the short and long term.

“The changes being made are to reduce the current costs and complexity which are barriers to new teams wishing to enter the America’s Cup,” said Iain Percy, the team manager for Artemis Racing.

A majority of the current teams favored the new class, with the expectation it will be used in the next edition of the America’s Cup as well, in order to lower the barrier to entry – both technological and financial – to new teams.

Looking towards the future, the new America’s Cup Class will put the event on a path towards economic sustainability. Numerous one-design components will focus the design effort on areas that have an impact on performance, cutting costs significantly, but not diminishing the design challenge.

“The America’s Cup – like Formula One – has to be a design race as well as a race on the water,” noted Ben Ainslie, the team principal at Ben Ainslie Racing. “That has always been part of the Cup’s appeal. That is what attracts some of the world’s best engineers – people like Adrian Newey, who has shown a real passion for the design challenge of the America’s Cup.”

“This wasn’t an easy process,” admitted ORACLE TEAM USA skipper Jimmy Spithill. “The established teams, ourselves included, were well down the path of designing an AC62. But there is a bigger picture to consider. We needed to bring the costs down, but we had to respect the design component of the event as that’s always been one of the biggest challenges in winning the America’s Cup.”

The savings the competitors will realize in this edition of the Cup may spark additional entries, with at least one potential team from Asia expected to challenge and other international teams considering their options.

“To be a global success, the America’s Cup needs to be accessible to the best teams, not just the biggest and wealthiest ones,” said Franck Cammas, the skipper of Team France. “So we must change in this way.”

“While it’s true there are a few critics of this move, we have to adjust to the time. This is a rule that provides the essential of the America’s Cup – the design challenge, the sport, the athletic spectacle – without such a prohibitive cost,” said Olympic medalist Roland Gaebler who has been working to establish a German Challenge. “My focus had been on the next America’s Cup but with these changes we may be able to accelerate that.”

The rule changes were passed by a majority vote of the Competitor Forum, comprising the six teams currently entered in the America’s Cup. An updated Protocol and a new Class Rule will be published this week.

A majority of the teams has also now indicated a preference that all of the racing in 2017 be conducted at a single venue, Bermuda. The America’s Cup Event Authority will consider this in nominating a venue for the America’s Cup Qualifiers.

Comments (0)

Chris Nicholson reports from Bergamo

Posted on 31 March 2015 by Reporter

[Source: Team Vestas Wind] Team Vestas Wind skipper Chris Nicholson gives an update on the Team’s building progress:

In what feels like a bittersweet time for the Teams, it’s fantastic to see the boats round Cape Horn safely, but frustrating for those of us on shore and the DongFeng sailors who were forced to abandon Leg 5 due to a broken mast. Again we can see just how brutal the Southern Ocean can be. In the modern history of the race the fleet as whole have never gotten through the Southern Ocean without a major issue. The fleet almost got through but we can again see just how unforgiving it is. We wish our friends a speedy recovery and look forward to rejoining the race with them soon.

Meanwhile on land, we are now approximately half way through the repair process of the Team Vestas Wind boat, and we are also on the way to bringing the team back together.

I think we are right in the most difficult time of the rebuild. The boat is fully underway, but essentially the sailing team are spread out throughout the world. In our own way, we are individually preparing to come back for Lisbon, but we will not regroup as a full team until the end of April. With the one-design rule, we are not allowed to contribute to the structural repair process, so as you can imagine, it’s a frustrating time for a group of motivated sailors that want to get back in the race.

We are working on our lists and procedures to try and speed up the process for when we get our boat in Lisbon, and Trae, Tom Johnson and Nicolai have been at Persico Marine for the last 2 weeks sorting out the sails and safety gear. Brian Carlin has also been present to capture the process on film and stills.

It feels like we are almost over the hump, and we can see with Coxy’s updates that the boat is rapidly moving forward. We now have real traction in regards to trying to make our re-start in Lisbon.

We have said before that the rebuild is ambitious, but in the end, the Volvo Ocean Race is an ambitious undertaking, and no matter how difficult the last months have been, we are far better off than if our race had finished on the reef. The team is extremely grateful for the help and good wishes and we are all looking forward to finishing what we started.

Comments (0)

Team Alvimedica is First to Cape Horn

Posted on 30 March 2015 by Reporter

[Source: Team Alvimedica] Team Alvimedica, the youngest crew in the Volvo Ocean Race, rounded the iconic Cape Horn first today just after 1400 UTC and only 15 minutes ahead of Abu Dhabi Racing, in a hotly contested battle at the front of the fleet.

While the 6,776- nautical mile stage from Auckland, New Zealand to Itajai, Brazil, is far from over and there are no race points for reaching the iconic landmark first, a Cape Horn passage is what offshore ocean racers dream about. It was the first rounding of the legendary landmark for American skipper Charlie Enright, 30, of Bristol, RI, and five others of the eight-member race crew. The young team has thrived in the downwind conditions that the big breeze and big waves have produced and they are having their best leg performance yet of the around-the-world race.

“It’s the Everest of the race, it’s a personal proving ground, so this is pretty special for us,” Enright said from the boat in a live interview to Volvo Ocean Race headquarters in the final approach to the Horn. “The squad’s done an amazing job. Everybody really stepped up and we looked to the leadership of the guys who have been here before. The team has been absolutely amazing – I don’t think anyone would have picked us to get here first,” Enright said of the young crew’s underdog status in the battle to Cape Horn.

March 30, 2015. Team Alvimedica leading the fleet around Cape Horn.

March 30, 2015. Team Alvimedica leading the fleet around Cape Horn. Rick Tomlinson / Volvo Ocean Race

Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad said he was proud of the improvement the young team has shown since they started the race from Spain in October. “They are big role models for a lot of young sailors.”

The teams have been sailing at breakneck speed with the top four competitors in close quarters. Team Alvimedica executed multiple gybe maneuvers to skirt the ice limits set along the southern edge of the racecourse, leaving the crew exhausted but exhilarated as they rounded the Horn today.

Last week, the crews were sailing in the most remote part of the planet yet they were racing within boat lengths of each other during some of the closest competition the Volvo Ocean Race has ever seen. In a single day of racing, there were 14 gybes while skirting the ice limits, with Abu Dhabi Racing closing in at rapid pace. In the 24 hours before Cape Horn, Abu Dhabi set a new 24-hour speed record for this race with 551 miles. One of the race leaders, Dongfeng Race Team, suffered a setback when they broke their mast before reaching Cape Horn today. No injuries were reported.

March 30, 2013. Team Alvimedica leads the Volvo Ocean 65 fleet around Cape Horn. Rick Tomlinson / Volvo Ocean Race

March 30, 2013. Team Alvimedica leads the Volvo Ocean 65 fleet around Cape Horn. Rick Tomlinson / Volvo Ocean Race

Enright is one of the six – along with fellow Americans Mark Towill and Nick Dana, Italian Alberto Bolzan, and Kiwis Dave Swete and Ryan Houston – who today successfully completed their first passage around Cape Horn, the bottom of South America where the Southern and South Atlantic oceans meet. They have earned the bragging rights that come with rounding the Horn as well as leading the Volvo Ocean Race fleet through this treacherous patch of ocean.

For New Zealander Ryan Houston this was his third attempt at completing a Cape Horn passage. “I’ve tried to do it twice now and it’s always something I wanted to do since I started sailing. It’s surreal to be the first around.”

The crew is bolstered on Leg 5 with the addition of Stu Bannatyne, a three-time round-the-world winner, achieving his seventh Cape Horn rounding today. Team Alvimedica navigator Will Oxley is also steeped in round-the-world racing experience and a veteran of multiple Horn roundings. OnBoard Reporter Amory Ross completed the Cape Horn passage in the last edition of the race, making this his second time.

Comments (0)

Dongfeng Race Team breaks mast, crew safe

Posted on 30 March 2015 by Reporter

[Source: Dongfeng Race Team] Volvo Ocean Race can confirm that Dongfeng Race Team broke its mast early on Monday (GMT, March 30) but fortunately nobody has been injured and there is no immediate danger to the crew. The incident happened 240 nautical miles west of Cape Horn at 0315 UTC on Monday, in the final hours of the night onboard Dongfeng.

The crew reported that the mast broke above the third spreader. They are not planning to continue racing on this leg and are heading towards Ushuaia, Argentina, under their own sail.

Reached via Inmarsat, a disappointed Caudrelier said “I’m gutted. As you’ve seen from the position reports we have been on purpose backed off a bit, not attacking in any way. The mast broke without warning, in about 30 knots of wind. We are unable to sail safely on starboard tack, but we are able to make reasonable speed on port tack. We will head towards Ushuaia and assess our options for getting to Itajai”

The Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) is aware of the situation and is on standby to help if necessary.

We are in constant contact with skipper Charles Caudrelier and are establishing the full extent of the damage to ensure we give him the support he needs to deal with the situation.

Comments (0)

Southern Ocean rollercoaster

Posted on 29 March 2015 by Reporter

[Source: Volvo Ocean Race] The Volvo Ocean Race fleet reached the halfway point of their nine-month marathon – midway through the fifth leg of nine – on Friday and were still glued together in some of the closest racing in the event’s 41-year history.

For those on shore, the day offered the chance to take stock following a dramatic week in which three boats suffered Chinese gybes, but for the crews it was business as usual as they tussled head-to-head approaching the key landmark of Cape Horn.

At 1240 UTC, just 7.7 nautical miles separated the first five boats with Team SCA bringing up the rear, some 80nm further adrift. Dongfeng Race Team must think they are on some kind of Southern Ocean crazy rollercoaster. On Tuesday, they were part of the trio of boats – MAPFRE and Team SCA were the others – to crash over on their sides in a so-called Chinese gybe.

March 28, 2015. Leg 5 onboard Dongfeng Race Team. Batten car toggle broken. We had to put the main down. Sam Greenfield/Dongfeng Race Team/Volvo Ocean Race

March 28, 2015. Leg 5 onboard Dongfeng Race Team. Batten car toggle broken. We had to put the main down. Sam Greenfield/Dongfeng Race Team/Volvo Ocean Race

But, remarkably, all the crews managed to right themselves without overly serious damage to either sailor or boat and within 48 hours of the incidents, Dongfeng Race Team found themselves at the head of the fleet. This was no time to take it easy, however, for anyone.

The 1240 UTC position report on Friday showed the Chinese boat had lost pressure again and slipped back to fifth place behind new leaders, MAPFRE, with Team Alvimedica, Team Brunel and Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing sandwiched in between. All was certainly not lost for Caudrelier and his crew, however, with MAPFRE virtually within view.

For Dongfeng’s helmsman, Damian Foxall (IRL), it has already been a memorable ride, after being called up to sail just this 6,779nm leg. “It is hard to describe the stress on board after the Chinese gybe – ‘is everyone here, is anything damaged?’ Yet three hours later, incredibly, we were back on track,” he wrote in a blog.

March 28, 2015. Leg 5 to Itajai onboard Team SCA. Day 10. Liz Wardley at the helm. Anna-Lena Elled / Team SCA / Volvo Ocean Race

March 28, 2015. Leg 5 to Itajai onboard Team SCA. Day 10. Liz Wardley at the helm. Anna-Lena Elled / Team SCA / Volvo Ocean Race

Sam Davies, skipper of Team SCA, was also in a reflective mood early on Friday. “It has been a hard few days; full of emotion, stress, adrenaline,” she wrote in her blog. As skipper it is hard to find the balance between pushing the boat and crew, but making sure we stay safe and keeping our boat in one piece. Out here, there is little margin for error. I feel like we have found our limits, and proved to ourselves that we are pushing hard. We suffered from our wipeout with the damage we sustained and it is frustrating to lose the miles like that, but we are slowly getting back to as near 100 per cent as possible.”

The fleet is expected to reach Cape Horn on Sunday, and then their Leg 5 destination, Itajaí in south-eastern Brazil, around April 4.

The race, with four and a half legs still to negotiate and six more ports to visit, remains too close to call, with the two overall leaders, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and Dongfeng Race Team, fighting it on a level eight points apiece, and currently just 4.8nm apart.

Comments (0)

Luna Rossa issues statement regarding the proposal of boat change for the 35th Americas cup

Posted on 27 March 2015 by Reporter

[Source: Luna Rossa Challenge] Team Luna Rossa Challenge is distinctly opposed to the proposal – announced today on the official web site of the America’s Cup – to change the Class Rule for the 35th America’s Cup and therefore the boat that was previously accepted by all challengers on June 5th 2014.

Luna Rossa does not believe that a sporting event should be disputed in a courtroom and does not intend to initiate a lengthy litigation process that would only bring prejudice to the event.

If the principle of unanimity of all challengers required to change the Class Rule were not to be respected Luna Rossa will be obliged to withdraw from the 35th America’s Cup.

Team Luna Rossa trusts that the Defender will quickly announce a public clarification, also to avoid jeopardizing the organization of the America’s Cup World Series – Cagliari – Sardinia event planned to take place from June 4 to June 7, 2015.

Comments (0)

Significant cost saving measures planned for 2017 America’s Cup

Posted on 26 March 2015 by Reporter

[Source: America's Cup] The competitors and organizers of the 2017 America’s Cup are planning to implement a series of rule changes to dramatically reduce team operational costs, primarily by racing in a smaller boat.

“After reviewing prototypes of the new AC45 sports boats being tested on the water over the past several months, it is clear that if we raced smaller boats in 2017, we could dramatically reduce costs without sacrificing any of the spectacle or the design, engineering and athletic challenge fundamental to the America’s Cup,” said Commercial Commissioner Harvey Schiller.

“We have a responsibility to think of what is best for the long term health of the America’s Cup as well as improving the value equation for team principals and partners. Racing a smaller boat in 2017 and beyond is a big step in the right direction.

“The existing operational costs of teams is much too high with a boat like the AC62. We discussed making this change early last year at a Competitors meeting in London but at that stage only ORACLE TEAM USA and Emirates Team New Zealand were in favor of using a smaller boat.

“But now that the teams have seen these new boats in action there is a clear majority of competitors who support the idea. I’d like to be able to say we have unanimous support from all the teams but that is not the case.”

Boat speed in the new boat is expected to be similar to what was achieved in the last America’s Cup through increased time foiling and advances in design and engineering.

“This will be a big change, but it is a necessary one if we are to create a sustainable America’s Cup for the future,” said Sir Ben Ainslie, the skipper and team principal of Ben Ainslie Racing. “These boats will create a significant cost saving whilst still providing a real challenge for sailors and designers alike.”

“For Team France this will be a game-changer,” said skipper Franck Cammas. “We will be able to have a very competitive team for about half the budget. With the smaller boat we can imagine that a budget between €15-20 million would be enough to win the America’s Cup.”

To lock in the cost saving measures over the long-term several competitors, including Artemis Racing, have committed to using the new smaller class in the next edition of the America’s Cup should they prevail in this one.

“These changes may help some current teams be more competitive, but this is clearly also about building the future of the America’s Cup,” said Iain Percy, the team manager of Artemis Racing.

“By making a commitment now to using the smaller boat next time, it will be that much easier for new teams to join as they’ll have access to existing boats and technology. So this has required us to look a little bit beyond the scope of ‘what’s in it for us?’.”

The rule changes are being drafted and teams will be asked to vote on these changes before the end of March.

Comments (0)

Cheminées Poujoulat winners of the Barcelona World Race 2014-2015

Posted on 25 March 2015 by Reporter

[Source: Barcelona World Race] Cheminées Poujoulat, co-skippered by Bernard Stamm, 51, (Switzerland) and Jean Le Cam, 55 (France), sailed to victory today, winning the third edition of the Barcelona World Race, the non stop, round the world race for two crew, crossing the finish line at 17:50:25hrs UTC in light winds, 10-15kts SE and smooth seas. The Swiss-French IMOCA 60 completed theoretical course 23.321,76 nautical miles (43.191,9 Kilometres) of the theoretical course non stop (stops are penalized in this race) at an average of 11.53kts.

The elapsed time for Stamm and Le Cam, since the start from Barcelona on 31st December 2014 at midday UTC, is 84 days, 5 hours, 50 minutes and 25 seconds. The actual distance over ground covered by them is 27950 miles, at an average speed of 13.82 knots.

Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam have established the reference time for the race, which followed a different course for this edition: from Barcelona to Barcelona, passing all three great capes Good Hope, Leeuwin and Horn, leaving Antarctica to starboard. But for the first time the course went direct under New Zealand rather than diverting north to pass through the Cook Straits between North and South Island. This reduced the course distance by about 1280 miles compared with previous editions.


Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam: two established ocean racing stars with long, established track records is a happy man this evening. Just before Christmas 2013, in fact during the night between 23rd and 24th December, he had to be rescued after his IMOCA 60 completely split in two in force 9 winds and 10 metre waves when he was delivering his boat back to Brest from Brasil after racing in the Transat Jacques Vabre. Stamm made global headlines, describing later how he knew that in order to survive he had to take to the icy waters of the Western Approaches 170 miles from the Scilly Isles to ‘swim for my life’

A year later he started this round the world race, and now, today Stamm has achieved his third victory in a round the world race, the first one non stop and two handed. The 51 year old Swiss had already won the Around Alone 2002/03 solo; and again in 2006/07, under the most recent name of Velux 5 Oceans.

25/03/2015, Barcelona World Race 2014-Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam (Cheminées Poujoulat) arrival. Photo Gilles Martin-Raget / Barcelona World Race

25/03/2015, Barcelona World Race 2014-Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam (Cheminées Poujoulat) arrival. Photo Gilles Martin-Raget / Barcelona World Race

Theirs has proven a remarkable part nership of close equals, a pair who have delivered victory thanks to their many, many years experiences, good and bad. They had never sailed together as a duo before this race, but had both achieved notable successes, racing two handed. Le Cam wins the 2013-2014 IMOCA Ocean Masters World Championship, Stamm is runner up.

In turn, in his fifth round the world race , French legend Jean Le Cam, 55, known by some in his native France as “Le Roi Jean” (King Jean), adds his first ever outright victory in a round the world race to an extensive ocean racing record which stretches back 31 years, including second in the solo Vendée Globe in 2004-5 behind Vincent Riou.

In fact after winning 2013′s Transat Jacques Vabre to Brazil with Riou,Le Cam has now won the two biggest IMOCA two-handed races back to back.

A winning boat. An IMOCA legend
They have made a very similar time including two Gibraltar Straits crossings and two Mediterranean legs. In the Barcelona World Race 2010/2011, this IMOCA 60 was second with Spain’s Íker Martínez and Xabi Fernandez as co-skippers. It made the start of Vendée Globe 2012/2013 with Jérémie Beyou. The boat has been modified several times to adjust to the rules evolution and improve its performance in big waves. With two victories and a second place in round the world races, this boat is established as a legend of he IMOCA class.

Comments (0)


Sailing Calendar