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Strong winds for the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup start

Posted on 01 September 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Maxi yacht Rolex Cup] The 25th edition of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup commenced with gusto today as the 35 competing Maxi yachts completed a coastal course through Sardinia’s Maddalena archipelago. Strong winds ensured conditions were exacting for the five classes of Maxi yacht contesting the event, among them the beguiling J-Class yachts, where competition offers competitive racing and a compelling insight into sailing heritage.

RAINBOW and RANGER, battle for the first J-Class victory of the week. Photo: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

RAINBOW and RANGER, battle for the first J-Class victory of the week. Photo: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

Restoring glories   
Owing to their sleek lines, tall masts and decks gleaming with polished winches and varnished woodwork, the five attending J-Class boats catch many admiring glances on the docks of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda. The America’s Cup boat of choice in the 1930s, victim of the steel shortage during World War 2 when a number of its kind were destroyed, has enjoyed a revival since the turn of the century. In 2000, the J-Class Association was formed encouraging the construction of replicas of the perished originals. Lionheart, Rainbow, Ranger, Shamrock V and Velsheda are the five J-Class boats on show in Porto Cervo for the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. The former three are replicas of original designs; the latter two restorations. Graceful to watch, captivating and fun to sail, the Class is equally defined by the Corinthian spirit of its competition.

Jeroen de Vos designed the replica of the original Rainbow for Dykstra & Naval Architects. It was launched in 2012 after two years of intense work between the design studio and shipbuilders Holland Jachtbouw. The great challenge for a latter-day J-Class designer is creating a finished yacht which is aesthetically loyal to its original design, complies with class rules, includes a full, luxury interior and is capable of high performance.

ROBERTISSIMA III (GBR), BELLA MENTE (USA) and JETHOU (GBR) fighting for the best start. Photo: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

ROBERTISSIMA III (GBR), BELLA MENTE (USA) and JETHOU (GBR) fighting for the best start. Photo: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

In order to compete on racecourses as demanding as those at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, the contemporary take on the J-Class requires 21st century engineering musts. “We worked with the original line span from 1934 – it’s the one fixed factor in the design,” explains de Vos, “the boat now has an engine and there are an extra ten centremetres of freeboard to allow for all the systems and interior – all the stuff that they didn’t have in the ‘30s. Additionally, there are powered winches, there is a little deck house, the rig is taller and there is more sail area so while it looks the same from a distance, the way the boats are sailed is completely different from the old days.”

Bouwe Bekking is a professional sailor of considerable expertise, drawing on a career competing on boats as varied as Farr 40s, Volvo 70s and Supermaxis. At the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, he is a key decision maker on Lionheart, a restoration completed in 2010. “I’ve been sailing with Lionheartfor about three years,” explains Bekking. “All the boats are pretty similar that’s the nice thing about the J’s. Sailing them goes back to heritage of the America’s Cup, the roots of offshore racing, they are magnificent to view, great to sail.”

RAINBOW, Sail n: JH2. Photo: Carlo Borlenghi

RAINBOW, Sail n: JH2. Photo: Carlo Borlenghi

The similarities in design of the J-Class yachts ensures close competition in the Class, rewarding who sails best on a given day. They are challenging boats to manoeuvre – loads are enormous, they weigh in excess of 170 tonnes, the sail area can cover up to 1,000m². The crew of 35 skilled sailors onboard need to plan and execute manoeuvres effortlessly, communicate efficiently. “Every manoeuvre has its time and point to make a decision. The tactician and the navigator know those cut off times and they have to make a decision at a certain point,” explains de Vos. “We have departments onboard; the foredeck, mast, middeck and trimmers and back of the boat and a crew boss who needs to reach a couple of people. Then there are the radios, so communication is quick.” “It’s practice, practice, practice,” adds Bekking, “so you can get in a routine that allows the guys can do a good job. However, we approach it like sailing a Farr 40, sometimes jibing every 2-3 minutes. The pressure is on but its great fun when you can pull manoeuvres off in such short distances.”

In parallel with the yesteryear elegance is fierce competition and a will to win as intense as the all out racers contesting the Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship. “They all want to win, the owners are competitive, the atmosphere is nice. It’s great competition, everyone can win,” says Bekking.

Day 1 – On The Water
Velsheda is the defending J-Class champion, however today it was three-time Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup winner Ranger who claimed the first bullet. Defeating Rainbow by only five seconds on corrected time further demonstrates the close nature of the competition.

The eagerly anticipated first race of the Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship was dominated by Andres Soriano’s Alegre, particularly important as today’s coastal race is doublescored.  American Hap Fauth’s Bella Mente claimed second place while Niklas Zennström’s Rán 5, on its competition debut, finished in third.

Elsewhere, defending champion J One won the Wally class, pursued by Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones’s Wally Cento Magic Carpet Cubed. Firefly won Supermaxi, Lord Irvine Laidlaw’s Highland Flingprevailed in Maxi Racing and Lupa of London triumphed in Mini Maxi racing/cruising.


Place, Boat Name, Boat Owner, Races- Total Points

Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship
1. ALEGRE (GBR), Alegre Yachting Ltd., 1.5; 1.5
2. BELLA MENTE (USA), John Fauth, 3; 3
3. RÁN 5 (GBR), Niklas Zennström 4,5; 4,5

Mini Maxi R/C
1. LUPA OF LONDON (GBR), Jeremy Pilkington, 1; 1
2. AROBAS (FRA), Gerard Logel, 2; 2
3. WALLYNO (LUX), Benoit de Froidmont, 3; 3

Maxi Racing
1. HIGHLAND FLING XI (MON), Irvine Laidlaw, 1; 1
2. ODIN (CAY), Tom Siebel, 2; 2
3. BRISTOLIAN (GBR), Bristolian Marine Ltd., 4; 4

1. RANGER (CAY), R.S.V. Ltd., 1; 1
2. RAINBOW (NED), Chris Gongriep, 2; 2
3. VELSHEDA (GBR), Tarbat Investment Ltd, 3; 3

1. FIREFLY (NED), Eric Bijlsma, 1; 1
2. INOUI (SUI), Marco Vögele, 2; 2
3. VIRIELLA (ITA), Vittorio Moretti, 3; 3

1. J ONE (GBR), Jean Charles Decaux, 1; 1
2. MAGIC CARPET 3 (GBR), Sir Lindsey Owen Jones, 2; 2
3. Y3K (GER), Claus Peter Offen, 3; 3

Complete results may be found here

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Alex Thomson Racing announces the build of the new HUGO BOSS IMOCA 60

Posted on 01 September 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Alex Thomson Racing] Alex Thomson Racing is announcing the build of the new HUGO BOSS IMOCA 60 to be launched in summer 2015, with the aim of winning the 2016 Vendee Globe.

The plans the Alex Thomson Racing Team are making in this period will have a significant effect on the competitiveness of the skipper and the boat years in advance of races such as the Vendee Globe. The Team aims to put Alex Thomson on the start line of the Vendee Globe with a boat that is good enough to win.

Financially, building a new race boat is a considerable investment and Alex Thomson Racing are privileged to have the support of their sponsors and financial backing to announce this boat build.  Whilst the IMOCA class have made a number of rule changes to increase the reliability and reduce the costs of the class, the investment is still upwards of €3million. The Alex Thomson Racing Team have been sponsored by HUGO BOSS since 2003 and have secured continued sponsorship until 2018.  “We have a great sponsor in HUGO BOSS. Our team has developed into not only being capable of delivering our sponsors marketing objectives, but also putting a winning campaign together.  Today, we take a big step forward in our ambition to be a winning part of the Ocean Masters circuit and delivering on our shared ambition” said Team CEO, Stewart Hosford.

The Team have chosen Guillaume Verdier and the VPLP Team to design the new HUGO BOSS. Technical Lead from Alex Thomson Racing, Ross Daniel said “To date we have had an incredible experience with working together with Guillaume and Vincent at VPLP/Verdier. These guys are incredibly down to earth, extremely talented, and have a passion for creating winning IMOCA boats.” Aware of the importance of delivering the project on time, on budget & to quality, the Alex Thomson Racing Team understand the significance of having the right project manager and the right builder to lead the project. The Team are currently in negotiations with Hythe based Green Marine to complete the build. Simon McGoldrick, the Team’s Naval Architect said “We hope and believe that the team at Green Marine are the right partner for this project, they are experienced and capable in building custom composites on time and on budget.  Given the choice we would always chose to build the boat in the UK as we are a British Team and want to support the industry and local suppliers that we rely on day to day”. The boat will be launched in summer 2015, withthe objective to be race ready to compete in the Transat Jacques Vabre in late October 2015.

With the IMOCA rule still essentially an open rule, where aside from the one design mast and keel, the designers and the teams are still able to seek competitive advantage through design and build.  A key element in producing a successful build is to be willing to take some risks and innovate.  The hull shapes of the 2016 Vendee Globe IMOCA 60s are likely to be an evolution of the current boats, but one area that has seen significant R&D is the new types of appendages.  The IMOCA class has always led in the development of new concepts in offshore racing and will again push the boundaries during the 2016 cycle. McGoldrick said; “This Vendèe Globe cycle will be particularly exciting as we will almost certainly see the use of foils not too dissimilar to those used in the Americas Cup.  The foils should significantly increase the performance of the boats, an increase we have not seen since the canting keel was invented.  Today all the simulations are theory based and of course theory can be very different to reality, so it is going to be a fascinating next 12 months to see what emerges”.

Lastly, the Alex Thomson Racing Team believes it is crucial to ensure the build is in phase with the competition.  There are four new boats that have already been announced- Safran, Banque Populaire, Groupe Edmond de Rothschild and Saint-Michel-Virbac.  These teams are in various stages of design and build and will be hitting the water from January through to late summer 2015to compete in theOcean Masters circuit and the Vendee Globe 2016.

“We want to take advantage of the very latest design thinking, but also get the boat in the water early enough to ensure reliability.  We have a simple objective and that is to put Alex Thomson on the start line, with a boat that is as good, if not better, than all the other boats that will line up on the Ocean Masters circuit” said Hosford.

In the meantime, Alex Thomson is preparing to take on the Barcelona World Race, the double handed, non-stop, round the world race, on December 31st 2014 together with co-skipper Pepe Ribes. Alex’s perspective: “We have worked hard to put together the right combination to make a successful project. We feel that we have put ourselves in-phase with the right designers and the right team internally and externally to be fully competitive through this cycle. I feel honored and privileged to have this opportunity – I cant wait!”

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John Kilroy’s ‘Samba Pa Ti’ crowned Audi Melges 20 World champion

Posted on 30 August 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Audi Melges20 class Association] After one final race, John Kilroy at the helm of Samba Pa Ti, tactician Paul Goodison and crew Jeff Reynolds proved they were more than deserving of the 2014 Audi Melges 20 World Champion title. Four days of racing and no worse than a fourteenth in a fleet of fifty-seven entries, the Samba Pa Ti team excelled in almost every condition and under a wide variety of pressure.

“All we wanted to do for the start of the race today was to control Mascalzone as they were the only ones that could possibly win the event other than us. So, we did a little match racing on the start,” commented a very happy Kilroy. “Things just went our way. Everything just went right for us. We’ve trained a lot and we have a great team.”

Kilroy attributes much of this week’s success to the training he has been doing in his home town of San Francisco, California with his son, 11-year old Liam Kilroy who helms Wildman. “The training we did against and with Wildman made me a much better small boat driver. We did a lot of match racing, practiced straight-line speed work and crew kinetics so, hats off to Wildman as they really made us a better team.”

In second overall is Achille Onorato helming Mascalzone Latino, Jr. with tactician Malcolm Page and Stefano Campialini as crew. Rounding out the top three is Guido Miani on Monaco Racing Fleet with tactician Gabriele Benussi and crew member Massimo Gherarducci who are the only other team other than Samba Pa Ti to hold three race wins in Riva.

In the all-amatuer Corinthian division (all ISAF Group 1 on board), Marco Gambarella’s Chimera edged out American John Brown’s Blind Squirrel for the overall title. From Canada, Paul Currie’s Wild Deuces finished third.

For now the World Championship title remains in the hands of the Americans.

A huge congratulations to the 2014 Audi Melges 20 Sailing Series Champion Miani. Over the last few months, since the start of the Series in Naples, which then traveled onward to Porto Ercole, Talamone and Riva Del Garda, Miani has been challenged by Dario Levi’s Fremito D’Arja all season long – until today. Onorato placed second in the series, while Levi finished in third overall. Pasquale Orofino’s Raffica and Mirko De Falco’s Peccere completed the Series in fourth and fifth respectively.

In 2015, the next World Championship will take place in San Francisco, California hosted by the San Francisco Yacht Club on September 30-October 3.

TOP TEN RESULTS (FINAL – After Ten Races, One Discard)
1.) John Kilroy/Paul Goodison, Samba Pa Ti; 13-4-4-2-1-2-[14]-12-1-1 = 40
2.) Achille Onorate/Malcolm Page, Mascalzone Latino, Jr.; [18]-9-3-4-8-9-6-1-4-12 = 56
3.) Guido Miani/Gabriele Benussi, Monaco Racing Fleet; 27-5-17-1-3-1-1-[30]-3-2 = 60
4.) Naofumi Kamei/Manu Weiller, Mamma Aiuto!; 17-21-[30]-13-11-5-13-8-2-7 = 97
5.) Russ Lucas/Harry Melges III, Shimmer; 5-6-16-12-17-15-[22]-3-11-35 = 107
6.) Dario Levi/Niccolo Bianchi, Fremito D’Arja; 6-17-8-3-4-6-21-15-30-[45] = 110
7.) Paul Reilly/Andy Burdick, Red Sky Sailing Team; 12-22-[27]-9-5-8-8-14-24-21 = 123
8.) John Taylor/Bill Hardesty, Ninkasi; 8-8-[36]-35-10-10-4-20-5-25 = 125
9.) Wes Whitmyer/Max Fraser, Slingshot; [45]-24-9-14-12-13-16-18-7-16 = 129
10.) Alessandro Rombelli/Daniele Cassinari, STIG; 11-1-2-23-9-[43]-10-41-14-20 = 131
View Full Results

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America’s Cup appoints Dr.Harvey Schiller appointed as commercial commissioner

Posted on 29 August 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: America's Cup] The America’s Cup organizers have appointed Dr. Harvey Schiller as Commercial Commissioner for the 35th America’s Cup. The role of Commercial Commissioner is new to the America’s Cup. Dr. Schiller will be responsible for supervising, managing and protecting the commercial interests of the America’s Cup. He will work closely with all of the competitors, the Regatta Director and the America’s Cup Event Authority.

“This is an exciting time to be involved in the America’s Cup,” Dr. Schiller said. “Following the thrilling event we saw last summer, when ORACLE TEAM USA came from behind to win the Cup, interest in the event is as high as it’s ever been. Our job now is to translate those opportunities into growth of the event for the benefit of all participants. As such, I’m extremely gratified to see how the teams have started working together with such a high level of cooperation over the past few months.”

Schiller has had one of the most legendary careers in public service and sports business, having served as Commissioner of the Southeastern Conference, the Executive Director of the US Olympic Committee and President of Turner Sports as well as Chairman and CEO of YankeeNets and President of the International Baseball Federation.

His personal accomplishments away from sport include a Distinguished Flying Cross for his service in the United States Air Force (where he retired as Brigadier General), and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Michigan. He also currently serves on the board of the World Baseball Classic and the Baseball Hall of Fame. Dr. Schiller has also served on the America’s Cup Advisory Board since 2010.

Dr. Schiller starts the role with immediate effect. Items on the to-do list include finalizing the America’s Cup World Series schedule, format and venues, and securing international broadcast agreements.

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2014 Audi Melges 20 Worlds fleet embraces classic Garda conditions on day two

Posted on 28 August 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Melges20 class Association] Three additional races were added to the scoreboard on Thursday, Day Two of the 2014 Audi Melges 20 World Championship hosted by Fraglia Della Vela Riva. With a substantial 14-point lead, American John Kilroy on Samba Pa Ti is in first place overall.

Monaco’s Guido Miani aboard Monaco Racing Fleet had a phenomenal day, winning two of the three daily races. “We had a fantastic day — beautiful conditions. The lake is always amazing. Our tactician, Gabriele Benussi made some great calls. It was really tough racing against Samba and Section 16,” said Miani. “This boat is just amazing. I’ve been around, sailing for more than 40 years and this is clearly the best fleet, with the best people and a lot of fun.”

Tied with points and seated in third on countback is current Audi Sailing Series leader Dario Levi on Fremito D’Arja. Achille Onorato’s Mascalzone Latino Jr. is fourth, and overnight leader Alessandro Rombelli on STIG had a very disappointing day falling to fifth overall.

The first race of the day, Race Four got underway around 9 o’clock with overcast skies and a nice 10-12 knots of breeze, which slowly dissipated as the race completed. Fifty-seven teams rocked the starting line with Miani launching ahead to round the weathermark in first, followed by Mirko De Falco’s Peccere , Denmark’s Bo Boje Pedersen’s UpUpUp and Levi, with Kilroy, Onorato and Richard Davies on Section 16 very close behind. With a course change at the gate, Miani continued to lead the fleet with Levi and Kilroy gaining positions to occupy second and third. Kilroy gained again upwind to follow Miani around the final top mark of the race in second place. On the final run to the finish, the top five boats put some distance between themselves and the rest of the fleet blasting downwind in the diminishing and shifty breeze. Miani took the win, Kilroy was second and Levi came third. Onorato finished fourth and Pedersen was fifth — his best finish ever since debuting in the fleet at the Worlds in Ocean Reef, FL.

The Race Committee was hoping for a quick reset of the course and getting Race Five started right away. However, the breeze was shifting 30 to 50 degrees at times prompting the AP Flag, hence sending teams back to the docks until better breeze appeared.

While on shore, teams enjoyed lunch in local cafe’s and restaurants. The sun appeared and more breeze arrived just before 1 o’clock — perfect for two more races.

Stellar conditions were in store for the fleet in Races Five and Six. A beautiful 13-15 knots, a 2-3 foot chop and 57 breeze-hungry Audi Melges 20s enjoyed afternoon racing in Garda to the fullest. An over-anxious fleet resulted in the first general recall of the regatta in Race Five. Once back in order and off the line, it was a full on, outright battle between Miani (first) and Kilroy (second) and Paul Reilly’s Red Sky Sailing Team (third) around the top mark. Miani passed through the gates with Kilroy chasing. Davies took advantage of great breeze to be third, followed by Reilly. For the final mark, Kilroy edged out Miani upwind. Once outfront Kilroy never looked back, taking the win. Davies took second with Miani accepting third.

The final race of the day was equally exciting and all smiles. This is what teams signed up for and Garda delivered — unsurpassed competition, premium racing and incredible downwind planing conditions. Miani punched out again to lead Race six, this time he established a nice lead leaving Kilroy, Reilly, Levi and Japan’s Naofumi Kamei on Mamma Aiuto! to battle for position. At the gate, Kilroy advanced into second, followed by Kamei and Davies who worked the left side for pressure moving up several positions. Back upwind, Kilroy challenged but Miani was not about to relinquish his lead. Kamei, Davies, Levi, Franceso Farnetti on ITA-157 and Monaco’s Corado Agusta on Customly charged forward. Miani easily took the win while the race was still very much on for the remaining top five positions. Right at the finish line, Kamei foiled the jibe allowing for Davies to take third, Agusta was fourth. Kamei came fifth.

Friday marks the third day of racing in Riva with a 1 o’clock start, which is perfect since teams will be enjoying a Championship dinner tonight.

TOP TEN RESULTS (Preliminary – After Six Races, One Discard)
1.) John Kilroy/Paul Goodison, Samba Pa Ti; [13]-4-4-2-1-2 = 13
2.) Guido Miani/Gabriele Benussi, Monaco Racing Fleet; [27]-5-17-1-3-1 = 27
3.) Dario Levi/Niccolo Bianchi, Fremito D’Arja; 6-[17]-8-3-4-6 = 27
4.) Achille Onorate/Malcolm Page, Mascalzone Latino, Jr.; [18]-9-3-4-8-9 = 33
5.) Alessandro Rombelli/Daniele Cassinari, STIG; 11-1-2-23-9-[43] = 46
6.) Richard Davies/Charlie McKee, Section 16; 20-16-22-6-2-3 = 47
7.) Liam Kilroy/Steve Hunt, Wildman; 3-2-20 = 25
8.) Russ Lucas/Harry Melges III, Shimmer; 5-6-16 = 27
9.) Paul Reilly/Andy Burdick, Red Sky Sailing Team; 12-22-[27]-9-5-8 = 56
10.) Naofumi Kamei/Manu Weiller, Mamma Aiuto!; 17-21-[30]-13-11-5 = 67

View Full Results

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Opening day at Melges20 Worlds puts ‘STIG’ in charge

Posted on 28 August 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Melges20 class Association] After Garda’s past rainy days and a short morning postponement, the 57-strong Audi Melges 20 World Championship fleet welcomed plentiful sunshine and a nice 8-10 knots of breeze to the Lake Garda racing arena. Three races are now complete in the 10-part racing series with former Gold Cup Champion and Audi Sailing Series Champion Alessandro Rombelli aboard STIG ahead by 7 points.

In second and third overall are the Kilroy’s from California, USA. John Kilroy’s Samba Pa Ti finished deep in Race One, but had nice fourth place finishes in Races Two and Three to currently sit in second place. Eleven year-old Liam Kilroy onWildman was by far the story of the day. Fresh off the starting line, he came on strong early to score a 3-2 in the first two races. Despite a deep 20th place finish in Race Three, Liam’s initial great performances helped him preserve his top three position.

The breeze shifted all day starting at 170 for Race One to 190 by days end. Yuriy Morozov aboard Russotrans progressively chased Liam Kilroy around the track in the first race, as did Oleg Evdokimenko on Kotyara. It was on the last run with the best pressure out on the right, Morozov took advantage of clear air getting ahead and the win. Evdokimenko followed suit to overtake for second. Kilroy, who steered a little better than center of the course came third.

The youthful Kilroy kept up the pace to take the top mark in Race Two, this time with Rombelli on his heels. Claudio Dutto’sAsante Sana and Achille Onorato’s Mascalzone Latino Jr. followed closely. Liam held his position through the gate, with Rombelli challenging for the lead. Rombelli was fast upwind eventually taking command and claiming the win at the line. Liam remained in second. Evdokimenko, again came from behind on the last run out on the right side to finish third.

The final race of the day welcomed Aloha, the one and only entry from the Czech Republic helmed by Jan Kuchar around the top in first, Dario Levi’s Fremito D’Arja in second, and Roberto Martinez on Audi e-Tron in third. As the race unfolded, Martinez shifted his Audi Melges 20 into high gear on the first run to take the lead by a couple of boat lengths ahead of Mirko De Falco’s Peccere, now in second and Rombelli in third — all three headed for shoreline speed on the left, then right again as the breeze continued to move. Martinez rounded the final top mark of the race in first, followed by Rombelli and Onorato. The breeze got even lighter for the finish, around 6 knots with Martinez taking the win, Rombelli was second and Onorato took third.

Tomorrow, Championship racing continues with an earlier than previously scheduled 09.00 warning to take advantage of some variations on the breeze.

TOP TEN RESULTS (After Three Races)
1.) Alessandro Rombelli/Daniele Cassinari, STIG; 11-1-2 = 14
2.) John Kilroy/Paul Goodison, Samba Pa Ti; 13-4-4 = 21
3.) Liam Kilroy/Steve Hunt, Wildman; 3-2-20 = 25
4.) Russ Lucas/Harry Melges III, Shimmer; 5-6-16 = 27
5.) Achille Onorate/Malcolm Page, Mascalzone Latino, Jr.; 18-9-3 = 30
6.) Dario Levi/Niccolo Bianchi, Fremito D’Arja; 6-17-8 = 31
7.) Oleg Evdokimenko/Maxim Semerkhanov, Kotyara; 2-3-28 = 33
8.) Matteo Marenghi Vaselli/Leonardo Chiarugi, Lucifer; 16-10-10 = 36
9.) Jan Kuchar/Martin Trcka, Aloha; 25-11-7 = 43
10.) Claudio Dutto/Gianmarco Togni, Asante Sana Sailing Team; 9-7-31 = 47

View full results

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2014 Audi Melges 20 World Championship Is Open

Posted on 27 August 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Melges20 Class Association] Riva Del Garda, Italy – Registration, measurement and practice day are officially complete at the 2014 Audi Melges 20 World Championship, hosted by Fraglia Della Vela Riva. An unprecedented 57 entries will take to the starting line on Wednesday, 27 August for the first of four competitive days of premium performance racing.

The weather pattern in Garda over the last few days has been a bit on the light and rainy side. Even today, teams waited for several hours before leaving the docks to practice due to no breeze. They tinkered with the boats, walked the docks, had lunch at some of Riva’s beautiful outdoor cafe’s, while others relaxed in the Audi hospitality area and caught-up up on sleep due to jetlag. The breeze came up around 3 p.m. and teams rushed off the docks to practice. Unfortunately, no practice race was held as a storm developed with incredible wind forcing everyone back to shore.

The entry list is star-studded, not to mention loaded from top to bottom with some of the very best amatuer drivers in the world.

“It is impossible to predict what will happen on Lake Garda over the next few days and with 57 teams on the line it will surely will be a spectacular event,” said International Audi Melges 20 Class Chairman, Manfredi Vianini Tolomei. “So much work has gone into making the next four days unforgettable. From the Melges organization, to the International Class Association as well as the regional fleets, everyone has worked very hard to make it the greatest regatta ever. We are happy to have so many entries and among them, two lady helms as well as three youth sailors – one of them also a helm.”

“The Audi Melges 20 is fitting for sailors of every age, gender and level of experience. I am very proud to chair this class and think that on Lake Garda, our owners will race hard with great sportsmanship, honesty and through many friendships,” concluded Vianini Tolomei.

Racing commences at 12:30 p.m. with a maximum of three races scheduled.

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Three-way shoot out at the top as Oman fly the flag on British waters

Posted on 25 August 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Extreme Sailing Series] Cardiff Bay saved the best for last for the 11-boat Extreme 40 fleet, where Alinghi, The Wave, Muscat and J.P. Morgan BAR battled it out until the bitter end for the top positions, in one of the closest – and most exciting – three-horse fights seen in the Series, which resulted in a three way collision and three consecutive penalties too boot in the final race. You couldn’t have scripted a better final, with the three leaders leaning on each other hard as they tried to gain the upper hand and The Wave, Muscat took advantage of the tussle to sail away with the win at Act 5 presented by Land Rover – and importantly homing in on Alinghi on the overall 2014 Series leaderboard as a relieved McMillan commented: “We’re on track this season, there’s nothing more we can do that’s for sure. The competition is very tight and Alinghi have been really slick this year and have brought in some unbelievable performances. To get one over on them here kind of brings it back down by a point and if we are going to keep pushing them hard, and they do the same to us it’s going to go down to the crunch.”

That left Ben Ainslie and Morgan Larson in a straight shoot out for second, but the British skipper couldn’t break the domination of Switzerland’s Alinghi, with Larson snatching it from the grasps of J.P. Morgan BAR. Alinghi’s Olympic champion tactician Anna Tunnicliffe talked through the final race: “We were waiting for Leigh to tack and he drove us right into the boats rounding the mark and boats started coming at us head first. We ended up above the mark so we couldn’t bear away and at the same time, Ben (Ainslie) was coming round into the side of us and it all turned into a mess. All three boats were tangled on each other. It’s very frustrating, but hopefully we can learn from our mistakes, we’re still on top which is good – the damage could have been worse. We need to move on to Istanbul and refocus for that event.”

Ben Ainslie’s J.P. Morgan BAR were on fire and threatening all day, posting a steady stream of consistent results and slowly chipping away at the leading pack to put themselves in the running. Despite just missing out on second place, the team’s four-times Olympic champion skipper Ainslie was satisfied with the final position, who this week were joined by local lad, Bleddyn Mon. “It has been a great improvement to see us on the podium and great to challenge with the top teams today. It’s a big step forwards and hopefully we can continue this for the rest of the Series. Sailing with Paul Campbell-James was fantastic, he has taught us a lot about these boats and Bleddyn was a great addition, he worked incredibly hard. We are looking forward to sailing with Paul Goodison in Istanbul and as we develop further in the event.”

In traditional UK Bank Holiday style, the day started with an onslaught of rain, before the clouds lifted, the breeze picked up and the fleet played out the final races in a beautiful 15 knots of breeze, with lots of ducking and weaving, hitting top speeds of 20 knots. In a programme of eight races on the final day, Red Bull Sailing Team made a late surge with their best results of the week, including a pair of wins on the tight racecourse, to upgrade their overnight position from eighth, to fourth at the close of play. Their double Olympic champion skipper Roman Hagara commented: “We found out how to start well on the racecourse which was key. We had good boat work and were good at approaching the marks; we did almost everything right. We finished the Act in fourth so that’s a really good result for us, and looking ahead to Istanbul, we need to start the first day as we finished it here.”

A further four points back in fifth place is the Swiss Realteam – and significantly for them, a disappointing 11th place for Emirates Team New Zealand, has seen Jerome Clerc and his Swiss team leapfrog up the Series leaderboard, to third place.

The battle in the bottom half of the leaderboard was just as fierce, with only three points separating eighth placed Gazprom Team Russia to 11th placed Emirates Team New Zealand – and with Act 6, Istanbul less than three weeks away, you can bet that the there will be some stern locker room debriefs, before the teams meet again.

Cardiff has once again delivered an outstanding event, with 90,000 spectators getting front row seats to the action, as part of the Cardiff Harbour Festival. Act 6 Istanbul takes place from the 11-14 September, and with news of a local team entry in the coming days, it will be a packed startline of 12 teams, as the fleet head to the city where East meets West.

Cardiff Harbour Festival hosts Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 5 Cardiff, presented by Land Rover standings after Day 4, 33 races
Position / Team / Points
1st The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan 210 points.
2nd Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, 205 points.
3rd J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) Ben Ainslie, 203 points.
4th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, 186 points.
5th Realteam by Realstone (SUI) Jérôme Clerc, 182 points.
6th Oman Air (OMA) Rob Greenhalgh, Ted Hackney, 175 points.
7th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner,  174 points.
8th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, 154 points.
9th Groupama sailing team (FRA) Franck Cammas, 154 points.
10th GAC Pindar (AUS) Nathan Wilmot, 153 points.
11th Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) Dean Barker, 151 points.

Extreme Sailing Series™ 2014 overall standings
Position / Team / Points
1st Alinghi (SUI) 47 points.
2nd The Wave, Muscat (OMA) 45 points.
3rd Realteam by Realstone (SUI) 34 points.
4th Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) 33 points.
5th J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) 25 points.
6th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) 22 points.
7th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 20 points.
8th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 18 points.
9th Oman Air (OMA) 16 points.
10th Groupama sailing team (FRA) 15 points.
11th GAC Pindar (AUS) 5 points.

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