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Man and sail overboard as Leg 0 serves up drama galore

Posted on 14 September 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Volvo Ocean Race] Leg 0 of the Volvo Ocean Race served up drama galore including a man – and sail – overboard plus a surprise winner today in Team Vestas Wind to give a mouth-watering taste of things to come when the real event starts in just three under weeks.

The dress rehearsal, which does not count towards Volvo Ocean Race points, climaxed with a thrilling finish just before day-break on Sunday morning with five of the seven boats arriving within 20 minutes of each other and the sixth completing the two-day return trip from Alicante to Palma, Majorca a further 16 minutes later.

Denmark’s Team Vestas Wind finished just 10 seconds ahead of Team Brunel of The Netherlands for victory.

The seventh member of the fleet, Team España, completed the course several hours behind the rest of the fleet after making a navigational decision which backfired badly.

Sixth-placed Dongfeng Race Team experienced more than their fair share of excitement when they were forced to rescue a fore sail after it slipped overboard on Friday and then Chinese sailor Jin Hao Chen (Horace) was forced to hold on to a halyard line after falling off the boat at around midnight on the same day while working on an outrigger.

He was swiftly rescued by his crew-mates, suffering nothing more serious than a hand injury and a sharp lesson in the inherent dangers of the world’s leading offshore crewed professional race.

Horace added: “I fell in the water and I was hanging on by holding the wire. I was helped back on the boat very fast. A lot of skin came off my hand and it hurt badly but I was able to continue just using one hand.”

His skipper Charles Caudrelier underlined that this was a lesson for everyone in the Dongfeng Race Team. “He’s young and he’s learning that he has to take care of himself. It could have been a lot worse in race conditions. It’s not very funny to lose someone in the water, in the middle of the night.”

Team Vestas Wind, skippered by Australian Chris Nicholson, were surprised and delighted in equal measure after securing victory by such a slim margin. The campaign was only launched last month and this was their first competitive sail against the six other members of the Race fleet.

“If you’d have told me a couple of days ago that I would finish this way, I would have said it would have to take some luck but there was no luck. I couldn’t be happier. We learned so much about ourselves and the boat in this race – but there’s still a long way to go,” said Nicholson.

The teams will now take stock and prepare both themselves and their boats ahead of the Volvo Ocean Race’s opening on Saturday, October 4 with the Alicante in-port race.

Arrival times 
1. Team Vestas – 06:34 local (04:34 UTC) 
2. Team Brunel – 06:34:10 local (04:34:10 UTC) 
3. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing – 06:46:25 local (04:46:25 UTC) 
4. Alvimedica – 06:50:58 local (04:50:58 UTC) 
5. Team SCA – 06:53:56 local (04:53:56 UTC) 
6. Dongfeng Race Team – 07:09:20 local (05:09:20 UTC) 
7. Team España – still at sea / estimated time of arrival around 1400 CEST (1600 UTC)

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Leg Zero signals start of the significant racing

Posted on 13 September 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Volvo Ocean Race] An empty Race Village. The odd laugh and joke between rival sailors. A few necessary pre-race emergency procedures to be tested and tightened-up. There were a few signs that this wasn’t the real start of the Volvo Ocean Race. At just 400 nautical miles, this weekend jaunt to Majorca and back might pale into insignificance at the side of some of the marathon slogs of the real race. 

But ask the sailors, and they’ll tell you that it’s anything but insignificant. 

Of course, those preparations differ wildly. To some, like Team SCA, the first boat to enter this 12th edition of the race over two years ago, this weekend marks the culmination of those sustained efforts. 

A final chance to iron out the mistakes – and the nerves – before they begin to count double, on an unforgiving racetrack. 

‘I think we all are feeling a bit nervous,’ smiled Team SCA’s Sam Davies. ‘When we do this next time, the next stop is Cape Town!’ 

‘It’s really nice to have a trial run, because it gets rid of some of the more annoying nerves, and then when we go for the real leg hopefully it will just be the good nerves!’ 

At the other end of the preparation spectrum sits Team Vestas Wind. To them, announced as the seventh and final team just one month ago, this is about playing catch up. 

‘It’s not a race that we have to win – but it’s a race that we have to learn,’ said Nicolai Sehested. ‘We have to make sure that we get the maximum out of it.’ 

His skipper, Chris Nicholson, agrees. ‘It’s nice to finally square up against the other guys,’ he smiled, on the dock. ‘They’re all well-prepared, but at the end of the day I don’t think that matters.’ 

‘We’ve got a good team, and we’ll give it our best shot.’ 

Printed on the back of their electric blue boat, in eye-catching arctic white, are the words ‘Wind. It means the world to us’. 

Today was a day when the Danish boat – and their six rivals – would have been craving that essential element more than most. 

As 34 degrees of blazing sun shone, uninterrupted, down onto a sparsely populated Race Village, the wind gusted softly at just 14 knots, from a southwesterly direction. Where the fans were missing, so was the wind. 

‘That’s the biggest problem,’ sighed Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s Simon Fisher, looking at the forecast on the pontoon. ‘It’s potentially going to be a pretty slow race.’ 

‘It’s going to be difficult because we’ll have sea breeze today, and then, in a lot of light wind, we have to get past Ibiza. The race is all about who gets the wind first, and who gets stuck in a hole. You need a bit of luck, so we’ll wait and see!’ 

On Team España, French navigator and Volvo virgin Nico Lunven agrees. 

‘Training with the other boats is perfect, even if the weather is a little complicated to understand!’ 

‘It’s only three months since the beginning of this project,’ he adds. ‘Now we have our routine on board, I feel much more complete, even if we still have a lot of things to improve.’ 

As the teams docked out one by one and completed their man overboard and emergency rudder procedures, anticipation began to slowly flood the veins. 
This is real. Finally. All seven of these incredible boats, and too many world-class sailors to mention, in the same waters. 

Alicante, the star of the show – its famous castle sitting proud, with a front row seat. 

The one-minute warning signal echoed around the bay, and the teams stepped up a gear. 

For Team Alvimedica’s Charlie Enright, that pressure to produce is key. ‘It’s imperative to perform well,’ he says. ‘That’s what competitive people like to do.’ 

‘We’re trying to learn as much as we can from these guys and refine our manoeuvres. A fun two days ahead!’ 

The boats powered through the start line – a brave move by Team Vestas Wind seeing them clinch first place during the opening exchanges as a rainbow of sails and hulls stretched across the Costa Blanca coastline. 

Then, a massive setback for Team Brunel. Their front sail, designed to help the boat accelerate quickly, became unfurled, and they fell a long way behind the rest of the fleet. 

‘That was the worst possible start we could’ve had,’ said skipper Bouwe Bekking, his boat at the back of the group. ‘It shouldn’t happen, but it did happen.’ 

His team mate, Gerd-Jan Poortman, agrees – but remains positive. There is a long way to go and many twists and turns to come in this battle yet. 

‘We were late to start but we’re already catching up, so it’s good,’ he smiles. ‘It’s a race where the wind will drop and come back. You never know.’ 

Hurtling towards the first marker, it was Team SCA, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and Dongfeng Race Team which led the fleet – and the experience of Pascal Bidégorry and skipper Charles Caudrelier saw the Franco-Chinese crew grab the lead during the turn.

It was a tight and high-pressure manoeuvre which tested the wits of the French pair to the limit, but as the red boat rounded the second and third marker, they were firmly in front position – the first of the fleet to disappear into the sparkling horizon. 

‘This is a phase when you usually don’t feel ready at all, and when all of the sudden, things come into place,’ said Charles. 

‘At this point, you know if you have succeeded in your preparation or not. We’ve sailed, we’ve trained, we are comfortable.’ 

‘We are where we want to be.’ The question is, how long will they remain there? 

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Unprecedented day with two dismastings at Act6 Extreme Sailing Series

Posted on 12 September 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Extreme Sailing Series] In an unprecedented opening day at the Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 6 in Istanbul, the public and national media witnessed some extraordinary adrenaline fueled racing, with every team pushing hard – and at times too hard, with two boats dismasting; first Groupama sailing team and then Alinghi. In near perfect sailing conditions that topped out at 20 knots, the French, with too much load on their rig at the windward mark, were the first to lose their new mast during race four, which disappointingly for the French came after their best start to an event this year. In a completely unrelated incident in the seventh and final race of the day, Alinghi suffered the same fate, with both boats now out of the water and with a long night in the pitlane to be back on the water tomorrow.

Alinghi’s helmsman Morgan Larson explained what happened: “In that last race we were leading at the mark, we unfurled the gennaker, got the bear away and then the rig broke in two spots. We pushed a little too hard in that puff, and then it just went. It’s the first time I’ve broken the rig in these boats so it’s probably a lesson I’ve learnt there. There is a limit and we found it.” There were no guest sailors onboard when either of the incidents happened, with Race Management closely monitoring the conditions all day.

With a steady north easterly breeze of 15 knots, and gusts up to 20, the fleet relished the chance to flex their seafaring muscles and stretch their legs in the open water format on the Marmara Sea, racing at the entrance to the Bosphorus, with the iconic Blue Mosque and its landmark six minarets in the background.

Emirates Team New Zealand showed a return to form after their last place in Cardiff just two weeks ago, hitting the accelerator as both the fastest average boat downwind at 16.27 knots, and upwind at 11.80, to finish the day tied on points at the top of the leaderboard with the defending Series champions, The Wave, Muscat. The Kiwi team’s skipper Dean Barker remained cool and measured after racing. “There’s still a lot of racing to go, but we had a good solid day. It wasn’t anything flashy, there is still a lot of things we can improve on and I’m sure everyone will be feeling the same way. It’s a difficult racecourse, it’s hard to get your plan right all the time and you make some gains and some looses. I think today we managed the racecourse pretty well and took the opportunities when they were there.”

Just one point behind them is the Danish SAP Extreme Sailing Team who took maximum points in two of the seven races sailed, with co-skippers Jes Gram-Hansen and Rasmus Kostner gunning for their first podium position of 2014. With just three Acts left this year, all the teams have turned it up a notch as they look to secure their positions ahead of the penultimate event in Nice, France. Red Bull Sailing Team, with Austrian double Olympic gold medallist Roman Hagara at the helm, have been relatively slow starters this year by their own accounts, but had their best start to an event, with a string of results in the top half of the fleet, leaving them in fourth place with 40 points.“We had really tricky conditions – shifty with a few gusts which mixed up throughout the day. You had to be good at the starts but there was a lot to lose and a lot to gain. We know that we can handle this breeze and our crew work today was fantastic – the boys just did a great job. We over-took people on manoeuvres and around marks which was really good,” summarised Hagara.

Two points behind the Austrians are Gazprom Team Russia, who were the fastest off the startline according to the SAP analytics, with GAC Pindar just one point behind them. For skipper and Olympic champion Nathan Wilmot, this is only his second Act at the helm, and after a steep learning the curve, the team are on an upward trend, as Wilmot elaborated: “It was good out there – we had some good starts, some good races I think we’re just learning how to sail the boat a bit more now, we’re getting better and better each time. We’ve tried different things each day and we seem to be getting the boat reasonably fast – so it’s all about putting it in the right spot and getting the team around the course. Today it was great out there actually, it was beautiful sailing.”

The event was officially opened with the skippers press conference, attended by Turkey’s top media as well as country and city officials, and co-Host Venue Partners Yandex and Palmarina. Tomorrow the event officially opens to the public, with three days of Stadium Racing, and the live video starting from 1530 local time (GMT+3) tomorrow. If today’s racing is anything to go by, you don’t want to miss it!

Full day results here

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Michel Desjoyeaux joins Team España

Posted on 10 September 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Volvo Ocean Race] Michel Desjoyeaux is France’s best-known sailor and has won many of the sport’s biggest prizes but the lure of joining Team España in the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 has brought him back to compete for a fourth time aged 49.

It is nearly 30 years since he made his Race debut (1985-86) and 20 (1993-94) after he last took part, but Desjoyeaux said he was bursting with anticipation for another challenge and the opportunity to learn new skills in the 12th edition that starts in just over three weeks’ time on October 4 in Alicante.

“I’ve known Iker (skipper Martínez) and Xabi Fernández (watch captain) since they rented my old boat for the Barcelona World Race. I really like both their personalities,” he explains.

 “I’ve had plenty of offers in the past to go and sail in the Volvo Ocean Race in one or more stages but it’s never been possible because of the timing. To be at the start of the project, was the deciding factor. This one fell perfectly for me, it’s a great opportunity.”

He says he’s particularly looking forward to racing on board the new one-design Volvo Ocean 65. “I’m learning all the time, I never stop,” he says.

Desjoyeaux’s name is the biggest but Martínez also announced three more sailors in his final race crew plus the onboard reporter, Francisco Vignale from Argentina.

Among them is André Fonseca, another extremely experienced sailor who will, like Desjoyeaux, take one of the important watch captain’s roles. The 36-year-old Brazilian competed on Brasil 1 and Delta Lloyd in the 2005-06 and 2008-09 races.

Frenchman Anthony Marchand, Spain’s Carlos Hernández and Briton Sam Goodchild complete the line-up.

The Race begins with the Alicante in-port race on October 4 before the fleet departs for Cape Town on the first leg a week later.

All seven teams competing have now announced their race crews.

Crew for Team España in the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15

1. Iker Martinez (ESP), skipper

2. Nicolas Lunven (FRA), navigator

3. Xabi Fernández (ESP), watch captain

4. Michel Desjoyeaux (FRA), watch captain

5. André Fonseca (BRA), watch captain

6. Rafa Trujillo (ESP), trimmer/helmsman

7. Anthony Marchant (FRA), timmer/helmsman – under 30 crew member

8. Antonio Cuervas-Mons (ESP), bowman

9. Carlos Hernández (ESP), trimmer/bowman – under 30 crew member

10. Sam Goodchild (GBR), trimmer/bowman – under 30 crew members

11. Francisco Vignale (ARG), onboard reporter

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America’s Cup: London media conference full replay

Posted on 09 September 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Sail-World NZ] In fact of the expected hour of coverage, the broadcast did not start until 17 minutes before the end. 

Six skippers fronted the media group and others. Jimmy Spithill represented the Defender, Oracle Team USA. the five Challengers on stage were Max Sirena (Luna Rossa), Dean Barker (Emirates Team NZ), Franck Cammas (Team France), Ben Ainslie (Ben Ainslie Racing), and Nathan Outteridge (Artemis racing).

35th America's Cup, Skippers presentation press conference, London (UK), 09 Sept. 2014. ACEA/Gilles MARTIN-RAGET

35th America’s Cup, Skippers presentation press conference, London (UK), 09 Sept. 2014. ACEA/Gilles MARTIN-RAGET

Media interest in the event seemed to be muted with questions being extracted with difficulty from the assembled media audience. 

Instead it was left to MC Peter Rusch to fudge his way through session, held at St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, and ask many of the questions of the six skippers. 

Despite the very impressive group of sailing talent on stage, the teams appeared to lack focus due too the uncertainties surrounding the event, and from what was seen online, the event failed to to deliver on the key questions. 

Only real point of interest from the very limited online broadcast was the new Challenger of Record, Luna Rossa, responding to a question as to who the new Challenger of Record would be. 

Oracle Team USA’s Jimmy Spithill, ducked the question, deferring to Luna Rossa Skipper Max Sirena, who in turn would not confirm that his team was Challenger of Record, being the next Challenger after Team Australia withdrew in late July. 

Instead Sirena said that the Challengers were instead trying to form a Challenger of Record Committee to work with the Defender on aspects of the America’s Cup organization to make a better event. 

The teams had been advised of the formal appointment of Luna Rossa (or more properly their yacht club) as CoR a couple of weeks ago by letter from the America’s Cup events Authority. 

The CORC concept is not new and was run in the 1992 and 1995 America’s Cups in San Diego and was successful largely due to the efforts of the late Ernie Taylor (AUS). Certainly it shifted the organizational distraction from the Club and Team involved. 

Held a year after the conclusion of the 34th Match, there appeared to have been little organisational progress made.

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Argo Group Gold Cup – Artemis Racing adds America’s Cup flavor

Posted on 08 September 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Artemis Racing] Artemis Racing has entered the 2014 Argo Group Gold Cup. It will be a first for helmsman Nathan Outteridge, who will sail alongside team manager Iain Percy — main and tactics, and with teammates Iain Jensen and Christian Kamp. Percy and Kamp previously crewed with Sir Ben Ainslie in 2013, losing in the final to Francesco Bruni, (ITA) of Team Luna Rossa.

The Team will join a 20-team fleet in the next battle for the King Edward VII Gold Cup.

“Artemis Racing will be an exciting addition to the 2014 Argo Group Gold Cup,” said event Chairman Brian Billings. “With the addition of Artemis Racing, we will have two promising America’s Cup challengers represented in Bermuda. Francesco Bruni, Team Luna Rossa helmsman, will return to defend his 2013 Argo Group Gold Cup title. We hope to see some exciting matches between these two teams.”

Iain Percy and Nathan Outteridge spoke to Talbot Wilson ahead of the Argo Group Gold Cup. You have sailed in Bermuda before with your friend but AC rival Ben Ainslie. How will this event be different without him? IP— Ben, myself and the rest of the Origin team enjoyed a lot of success on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour, especially in Bermuda, where we always felt at home. The reality though was it took our team, and my partnership with Ben, almost a year to develop before we found success in this style of racing. Artemis are lucky to also have Christian Kamp, who was another consistent member of Origin match race squad with us, and between Christian and myself we will have to try and remember how we used to sail the classic IODs! Your recent decision for Artemis Racing to enter the Argo Group Gold Cup is exciting for the event and the Tour. Do you think match racing on the Tour and in Bermuda is good training for AC35? IP— At the end of the day the America’s Cup is a match race. As a team, we are relatively inexperienced on the match racing side and so the Gold Cup is a great opportunity to practice. Nathan Outteridge is a fantastic sailor… 49ers, Moths, Olympics, world championships, and more. How do you think the team members who are new to the Gold Cup will adapt to the Bermuda IODs? IP— I imagine he will ask us when the IODs will start foiling a few times… that is one he normally asks us “slow boat sailors”!  What do you think of another match-up with Francesco Bruni who defeated your team last year in the finals? IP— Bruni and the Luna Rossa boys sailed really excellently in last year’s final, and we were comprehensively beaten. We had been out of the match racing game for a while and were impressed by the improvement not only of Bruni but the rest of the Tour teams. It will be extremely difficult for Nathan in his first match race competition and for us as a new team, but I know we will all enjoy the challenge and take a lot from the lessons. To Nathan Outteridge, Nathan, this is your first Argo Group Gold Cup. How do you think you will adapt to the classic IOD style of racing? NO— Obviously it will be very different from what I am used to. The classic IOD style of boats is nothing like the foiling machines that I am used to sailing. Having said this Iain has sailed this style of boat quite a bit. I’m sure with his guidance I will do just fine. Will you and the team be getting to Bermuda early for practice? NO— We plan to come over a few days before the event to get some training in on the boats and also learn the waters. It will be the first time the four of us, Iain, Goobs (Iain Jensen), Christian and myself, would have ever raced together. It will be important for us to make the most of the training time. What do you think of the potential competition against the defending champion Francesco Bruni who is now Team Luna Rossa’s Skipper? NO— Francesco is a great sailor and I am sure he will be difficult to beat. Given the lack of experience I have in Match Racing I think I will be on a steep learning curve and hopefully we can make it through the rounds and into the finals. 

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New class champions crowned at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup

Posted on 07 September 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Maxi yacht Rolex Cup] The final verdicts on the water were delivered during the final day’s pulsating and decisive racing, marking the conclusion of the 25th edition of the sailing spectacular organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) and the International Maxi Association (IMA) and sponsored by Rolex since 1985

Andres Soriano’s Alegre claimed a first Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship following a final day head to head with Roberto Tomasini Grinover’s resilient Robertissima III. In the Wally Class, Magic Carpet 3 sealed the title after a week of numerous twists and turns; Lionheart is the new J-Class champion; in Supermaxi Fireflyconfirmed her domination of the regatta; Lupa of London claimed Maxi racing/cruising. At the final prizegiving, class winners received a Rolex timepiece and Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup trophy.

LIONHEART (NED), overall winner in J-Class division. Photo Credit:Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

LIONHEART (NED), overall winner in J-Class division. Photo Credit: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

Alegre: Joy Unconfined

Tension on the docks was palpable in the morning. Crews desperately sought to maintain a sense of composure ahead of an intense day’s racing; tactical plans were clarified, sail choices defined. In the Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship, Alegre had twice gone into the final day (2010, 2013) with destiny in her own hands. On both occasions she lost out to Niklas Zennström’s Rán 2. This year Zennström and his new Rán 5were out of the running, beginning the day in third place and over ten points behind the leader. Alegre would still have to defeat Zennström’s all-conquering boat – the former Rán 2 is now in the capable hands of Grinover. Three points separated the two teams. Two windward/leeward races remained. All to play for.

We can’t let them [Robertissima] get away. We need to be cautious and keep it close,” confirmed Alegre’s Olly Cameron pre-race. On Robertissima, the atmosphere was disteso. “We are lucky to have this opportunity and we should be proud of what we have achieved until now,” said tactician Vasco Vascotto. “We just need to focus on sailing well. We said to the crew this morning treat it like it’s a Saturday race with your local club, pretend there’s not something important at stake. If we give our all it’s enough.

In a gustier day than expected – winds averaged 18-20 knots – it was Rán who enjoyed a typically impressive final fling claiming bullets in both races to finish third overall; more importantly Alegre’s third and fourth places were enough to curtail Robertissima’s dreams of success and in the process seal that elusive title.

It’s a great achievement for the team to be World Champion,” said Soriano. “I’m relieved, it’s something we strove for, we’ve been (in this position) twice already and we finally were able to get over the last hurdle. We sailed our own race; loose, relaxed, confident like we have all week. This year the level of the competition has been raised, more than any of us could have imagined.” The dockside congratulations reserved for Soriano from fellow Mini Maxi owners demonstrated that while the Class is about tough, competitive racing on the water, a gentlemanly spirit punctuates rivalries.

Irvine Laidlaw's HIGHLAND FLING (MON), overall winner in Mini Maxi Racing/Crusing division. Photo Credit:Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

Irvine Laidlaw’s HIGHLAND FLING (MON), overall winner in Mini Maxi Racing/Crusing division. Photo Credit: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi


The only certainty in the J-Class is that a new champion will be crowned. Velsheda has failed to finish higher than third all week, leaving a three-way battle between Rainbow, Lionheart and Ranger for the title. The week’s largest boat, the 43.7m Lionheart holds a slender one-point advantage over Rainbow, three-time winnerRanger is a further point adrift.

Magic Carpet: Flying

In the Wally class, there was no obvious favourite going into today’s racing. The three leading crews were separated by just one point, all had winning Porto Cervo pedigree, all had led at some point during the week. Frenchman Jean-Charles Decaux’s defending champion J One began the day level on terms with Claus-Peter Offen’s four-time winner Y3K. Stalking just one point behind was Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones, five-time winner at the event, and his Magic Carpet 3

A third bullet of the week enabled Magic Carpet 3 to take the first windward/leeward race; Y3K stumbled early suffering from a poor start; J One could not match Magic Carpet’s mastery of the conditions and had to settle for third. Magic Carpet’s supremacy was confirmed in the final race as her rivals fell by the wayside; J One had to retire; equipment issues led to Y3K failing to finish; survival of the fittest and third place was enough for Owen-Jones to claim a first success with his 2013-launched Wally Cento.

It was a close week,” reflected Owen-Jones, “J-One sails well, I know it well having been a boat of mine. We’ve been coming here a long time, it is the one we all want to win.”

Eric Bijlsma's FIREFLY (NED), winner in Supermaxi class. Photo Credit:Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

Eric Bijlsma’s FIREFLY (NED), winner in Supermaxi class. Photo Credit: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

Lionheart: Valiant

Sleek lines, tall masts and decks gleaming with polished winches and varnished woodwork, mean the J-Class boats have caught many admiring glances. The four-strong fleet swapped positions throughout the week, magnified during racing on the final day. With defending champion Velsheda out of the running after a poor week by her standards it was left to Lionheart, Rainbow and Ranger to compete for the title.

Lionheart’s day did not start well. Last place in the first windward/leeward race following a jib problem handed the initiative to her rivals; Rainbow faired little better, penalised for crossing the start line too early and finishing in third; Velsheda took the bullet, Ranger claimed second place.

Going into the final race, Lionheart, Rainbow and Ranger were tied at the top on ten points. Winner would take all. “It was pretty tough out there today,” explained Lionheart tactician Bouwe Bekking. “In the last race we didn’t make a brilliant start, but then we had a good run and got right back into it, Rainbow lost their spinnaker, and we had to tack off to clear it; they then had a tussle with Velsheda.” It was a tussle which finished in the Protest Room and saw Rainbow, winners on the water, disqualified. “Sometimes that’s how yacht racing goes,” reflected Bekking. “It has been really close, better racing you can’t get. The crew won us the regatta.”

A full review of the 25th Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup will be available on Tuesday 9 September.

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

Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship
1. Alegre (GBR), Alegre Yachting Ltd., 18 pts
2. Robertissima (CAY), Roberto Tomasini, 22 pts
3. Rán 5 (GBR), Niklas Zennstrom 22.5 pts

Mini Maxi R/C
1. Lupa of London (GBR), Jeremy Pilkington, 5
2. Bronenosec (RUS), Alpenberg S.A., 8
3. Arobas (FRA), Gerard Logel, 12

Maxi Racing
1. Highland Fling XI (MON), Irvine Laidlaw, 4
2. Odin (CAY), Tom Siebel, 8
3. Bristolian (GBR), Bristolian Marine Ltd., 13

1. Lionheart (GBR), Stichting Lionheart Syndicate, 12
2. Rainbow (NED), SPF JH2, 13
3. Ranger (CAY), R.S.V. Ltd., 14

1. Firefly (NED), Eric Bijlsma, 4
2. Inoui (SUI), Marco Vögele, 7
3. Viriella (ITA), Vittorio Moretti, 12

1. Magic Carpet 3 (GBR), Sir Lindsey Owen Jones, 13
2. J One (GBR), Jean Charles Decaux, 14
3. Y3K (GER), Claus Peter Offen, 15

Complete results may be found here

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Maxi yacht Rolex Cup: pressure point

Posted on 05 September 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup] Dramatic showdowns have been set up for the final races at the 2014 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. Verdicts in three classes will be decided during tomorrow’s decisive day: true proof of the close nature of the racing. All classes sailed a coastal course today with around seven knots from the north at the start, building to a 12-15 knot north-easterly midway through the race.

The Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship is living up to its pre-event billing as the tightest and most competitive in its five-year history. Heading into today’s critical coastal race, just two points separated the leading three teams.

Consistency, sound decision-making and taking only calculated risks are credited as the determining factors in such a tight championship. Andres Soriano’s Alegre, three-time runner-up, is proving the most reliable performer. “It’s going to be a very competitive week. One mistake and that’s that,” promised Soriano ahead of the competition. Today Alegre assumed impressive control of the 25-nm long coastal race after rounding the first mark well ahead of her rivals. Her lead remained unthreatened for the remainder of the race, which took yachts south to Mortoriotto, back up the coast into the Maddalena Archipelago and a brief glimpse of Bomb Alley, before turning north to Monaci and the run home.

Andres Soriano's ALEGRE (GBR) sailing to win the coastal race. Photo Credit:Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

Andres Soriano’s ALEGRE (GBR) sailing to win the coastal race. Photo Credit: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

Robertissima III, the Italian-crewed boat (and formerRán 2, last year’s winning yacht), has enjoyed a terrific week and today claimed second place. She trailsAlegre by three points ahead of tomorrow’s two scheduled windward/leeward races, and Alegre’s crew know from bitter experience that such a margin is vulnerable. “We’ve been playing averages. It would have been nice to have put more points between ourselves and Robertissima ahead of the final day, but these two boats now have a jump on the fleet,” saidAlegre’s Olly Cameron. “We can’t let them [Robertissima] get away. We need to be cautious [tomorrow] and keep it close.”

The learning curve for Robertissima owner Roberto Tomasini Grinover and his crew has been steep but one they are mounting at impressive velocity. “We are an inexperienced team in this class. Less than a year ago, we were here looking at the 72-ft boats and said how wonderful they were,” explains tactician Vasco Vascotto. “It’s a dream to be part of this class – it is not only about great boats but top class teams. We want to be very competitive.”

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Sir Lindsay Owen Jones’ Wally Cento MAGIC CARPET CUBED (GBR). Photo Credit: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

Niklas Zennström’s Rán crew started the week as the defending champion and have experience in making dramatic comebacks in Porto Cervo, but today’s sixth place on his new Rán 5 has all but ended the crew’s chances of a fourth title in five years. A new champion is all but guaranteed after 2012 victor Bella Mente also struggled in today’s coastal race, leaving Hap Fauth’s crew in fourth.

Wally Form
Engaging competition and a dramatic final day is also offered by the Wally class. Four-time winner, Claus-Peter Offen and Y3K are tied on points with defending champion Jean-Charles Decaux and his J One crew. And one point behind lies Magic Carpet 3Y3K performed better of the three teams today, finishing in third while J One claimed fourth and Owen-Jones’s Magic Carpet 3 had to settle for sixth.

“The Wally class is very strong,” explains Offen, President of the International Maxi Association, “with the two Wally Centos (Magic Carpet 3 and Open Season) and many other well-sailed yachts, it will not be easy for Y3K to win the Wally title back, but we are working on it.”


Irvine Laidlaw's HIGHLAND FLING (MON) sailing to protect her leadership in the Maxi class. Photo Credit:Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

Irvine Laidlaw’s HIGHLAND FLING (MON) sailing to protect her leadership in the Maxi class. Photo Credit: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

J-Class report
The only certainty in the J-Class is that a new champion will be crowned. Velsheda has failed to finish higher than third all week, leaving a three-way battle between RainbowLionheart and Rangerfor the title. The week’s largest boat, the 43.7m Lionheart holds a slender one-point advantage overRainbow, three-time winner Ranger is a further point adrift.

Elsewhere, bullets today have handed Firefly (Supermaxi), Lupa of London (Mini Maxi Racing/Cruising) and Highland Fling (Maxi) insurmountable leads in their respective classes.

Racing ends tomorrow. Up to two windward/leeward races are scheduled for the Mini Maxi Rolex Worlds fleet, the J-Class and Wally, while the remaining classes will sail a coastal course.

A full review of the 25th edition of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup will be available tomorrow.

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup
The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup is organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) and the International Maxi Association (IMA). Rolex has been title sponsor since 1985.

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

Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship

1. ALEGRE (GBR), Alegre Yachting Ltd., 1.5-1-3-4-(5)-1.5; 11
2. ROBERTISSIMA (CAY), Roberto Tomasini, 6-2-1-(5)-2-3; 14
3. RÁN 5 (GBR), Niklas Zennstrom 4.5-3-2-2-(7)-9; 20.5

Mini Maxi R/C
1. LUPA OF LONDON (GBR), Jeremy Pilkington, 1-1-2-1; 5
2. BRONENOSEC (RUS), Alpenberg S.A., 4-2-1-2; 9
3. AROBAS (FRA), Gerard Logel, 2-4-3-3; 12

Maxi Racing
1. HIGHLAND FLING XI (MON), Irvine Laidlaw, 1-1-1-1; 4
2. ODIN (CAY), Tom Siebel, 2-2-2-2; 8
3. BRISTOLIAN (GBR), Bristolian Marine Ltd., 4-4-3-3; 14

1. LIONHEART (GBR), Stichting Lionheart Syndicate, (4)-1-2-2-1; 6
2. RAINBOW (NED), SPF JH2, 2-3-1-1-(4); 7

3. RANGER (CAY), R.S.V. Ltd., 1-2-(4)-3-2; 8


1. FIREFLY (NED), Eric Bijlsma, 1-1-2-1; 5
2. INOUI (SUI), Marco Vögele, 2-2-1-2; 7
3. VIRIELLA (ITA), Vittorio Moretti, 3-3-3-3; 12

1. Y3K (GER), Claus Peter Offen, (3)-2-1-3-2; 8
2. J ONE (GBR), Jean Charles Decaux, 1-(3)-2-2-3; 8
3. MAGIC CARPET 3 (GBR), Sir Lindsey Owen Jones, 2-1-(5)-1-5; 9

Complete results may be found here

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