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Dongfeng Team announces Leg1 crew

Posted on 01 October 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Dongfeng Race Team] It has been an interesting journey so far for the Chinese team in the Volvo Ocean Race, Dongfeng Race Team. Approximately 10 months ago this team set out on a mission to select and train Chinese recruits in the hope that they would be ‘race ready’ for the start of leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15.

No secrets, it is a game changing ambition that has brought on challenges of epic proportions but as the start line draws closer, after 10,000 nautical training miles taking in five countries, and some newly created unbreakable friendships later, the final race crew of Dongfeng Race Team for Leg 1 has been announced.

Racing onboard for Leg 1:
Charles Caudrelier (Skipper/Helmsman)
Pascal Bidégorry (Navigator/Helmsman/Trimmer)
Martin Strömberg (Watch Leader/Helmsman/Pit)
‘Wolf’ Yang Jiru (Pit/Trimmer)
Thomas Rouxel (Watch Leader/Helsman/Trimmer)
Kévin Escoffier (Bowman/Helmsman)
‘Horace’ Chen Jin Hao (Bowman/Trimmer)
Eric Peron (Trimmer/Helmsman)
Yann Riou (Onboard Reporter)

When the Dongfeng Race Team was launched back in October 2013, the ambitions of the project were clear – to have the interests of Chinese sailing at its core, with a significant number of Chinese in both its on-water and support teams – to race for China, and for the future of Chinese sailing. A year on and those ambitions remain but the learning curve has been steep, steeper than anyone could have foreseen when it comes to taking rookie, Mandarin only speaking Chinese sailors and transforming them into ‘race ready’ offshore sailors in an international team, able to take on the most extreme and demanding offshore crewed round the world race.

Nonetheless, six Chinese sailors made it through the intense training programme and are now part of the Dongfeng Race Team final race squad, alongside six professional Western offshore sailors.

Charles Caudrelier has now chosen the crew who will be on board Dongfeng for Leg 1. Charles has many factors to consider when selecting his crew – the ultimate one is safety – and the Chinese sailors who race will be the ones most capable of dealing with the extreme nature of life on board, whilst at the same time ensuring that Dongfeng can deliver as competitive a performance as possible against the other highly-qualified and fully professional racing crews.

“I’m counting down the days. I still cannot believe that in six days my dream will come true. We have worked so hard for this from the moment I saw the recruitment advert I knew I had to do this,” said Yang Jiru (Wolf). His counterpart Chen Jin Hao (Horace) is equally honoured to have been awarded a place onboard for Leg 1, “I thank everyone for their support, especially the crew and the shore crew. I know that they have put their trust in us and I really hope I don’t let them down. I have some photos of my family, I will look at the photos whenever I miss them during the race.”

“The number of Chinese guys racing onboard on leg 1 will be two – we had a goal of 3 when we began this mission,” said Dubois. “But some of the guys need more training – they themselves admit they are not ready – and that training will continue in parallel to the race. The particular challenge with the new Volvo Ocean 65 is that with two watches of 3 sailors, the big step we’ve not managed for leg 1, but hope to still achieve, is having a watch with two less experienced Chinese rookies with just one more experienced sailor as helm and watchleader – for now this particular scenario on a safety perspective is not reasonable – but we believe we can get there still as these dedicated 6 Chinese sailors continue to go up the learning curve. We just ran out of time for leg 1 to get to the minimum level of safety.”

“We are so proud of what the Chinese guys have achieved so far – not just in the sailing team but in our support team as well. Our mission was not just training the sailors but also teaching the shore team members how to run a professional offshore campaign from logistics through to commercial account management, so that one day there can be a 100% Chinese team both on and off the water.”

With the extreme demands that the Volvo Ocean Race will impose on the crew, the six Chinese sailors will rotate between set positions on the boat, and key positions in the shore team, throughout the race. On some legs, for example the leg into Sanya, the goal is to have 3 Chinese sailors amongst the eight-strong crew as traditionally this leg is in lighter winds, and less stressful, conditions; whereas on the legs known for their extreme nature both in terms of weather and intensity, like the leg from New Zealand to Brazil through the fearsome Southern Ocean, only two Chinese sailors are likely to race. Its not out of the question that we could get to 4 sailors on one of the shorter legs in Europe. The learning curve will continue to be steep throughout the race for our rookies – and the aim is to finish this race with an experienced squad of sailors and shore team support that can help take Chinese offshore sailing forward in the future. In the words of Charles Caudrelier this mission isn’t over yet “We will continually fight throughout the race to have more Chinese onboard when it’s possible, this is just the beginning.”

It’s been a tough road for Bruno Dubois but there’s no hiding the excitement on the Team Director’s face as he helps the crew with the final preparations. “I’ve had sleepless nights, I’m not going to lie, but in reality I know what a huge achievement it is to have Horace and Wolf onboard. I think we have come a long way since the first day we tested the guys in Sanya. I am also pleased with the non-Chinese sailors who kept their focus on what is our primary objective – to launch properly Chinese offshore sailing. I now can let the guys go on this first leg with the feeling that we have made a major step forward for China.”

The Dongfeng Race Team is the first real attempt to create a Chinese offshore racing team and, if by the end of the race, we manage to finish on the podium for a leg we will have really done something to be proud of.

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Canfield Wins First Dutch Match Cup

Posted on 29 September 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source:WMRT] Taylor Canfield and US One have won the inaugural Dutch Match Cup after a thrilling final against arch-rival Ian Williams and GAC Pindar. The breeze was very light and patchy, creating multiple opportunities for lead changes. No race lead, however big, was ever safe.

Matches between the world’s top two match racing skippers are always aggressive affairs on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour (AWMRT). In the pre-start of the first match, Canfield stuck two penalties on Williams, leaving the British boat playing catch-up. However on the downwind leg, Williams found a sliver of stronger breeze by the harbour shore close to the cheering crowds in Lelystad. The British came close to rolling over the top of US One but failed to keep clear from a Canfield luff. Another penalty for Williams, then another penalty towards the leeward gate, and Canfield was uncatchable. 1-0.
In the second match, Williams got the slightly better start and converted that into a five-length lead by the first windward mark. Canfield sailed over to the shore on the second beat and used the cheers of the crowd to waft him closer to Williams. GAC Pindar was still in the lead at the final turning mark, but US One again went shoreside and managed to sneak ahead of their opponent just before the finish. 2-0, and the Dutch Match Cup went to Canfield.

In the Petit Final to determine 3rd overall, Mathieu Richard took the first match but David Gilmour bounced back to win the next two and secure his first podium finish at a Tour event. The LunaJets skipper will be kicking himself for some unforced errors earlier in the day, particularly at the finish of match 4 in his Semi Final against Williams. Richard had to offload a penalty at the finish, although he had a huge lead and was not under too much pressure. When the crew went to lower the spinnaker before turning up to begin their 270-degree penalty turn, the sail dropped in the water and started trawling behind the boat like a fishing net. In just 4 knots of wind, the boat’s all-important momentum was lost, the French boat hit the finish mark as they took their penalty around it, and Williams breezed past to secure his spot in the Final.

It was that kind of day – very, very easy to make mistakes or to fall into a hole as you watched your opponent sail on by. Gilmour took an easy win in his first Semi Final match against Canfield and was showing the kind of form that could have yielded overall victory. However in another match Gilmour seemed to have an unassailable lead but allowed too much separation on the final run. So often the chasing boat would take its chances by the shore, and would be frequently rewarded for doing so. You can’t give Canfield too much rope. Give him an inch, and he’ll take a mile, all done with an assassin’s smile.

Canfield’s laid-back demeanour serves him well when the conditions get squirly. “It was never-say-die out there,” said Canfield, “and I have to pay tribute to my crew, Rod Dawson, Mike Rehe and Hayden Goodrick, for keeping at it, however we were doing in the race.” It was a vital win for the reigning World Champions who have a lot of work on to defend their crown against the frighteningly consistent GAC Pindar.

Williams might have lost the battle, but the four-time World Champion is still winning the war. “Of course we’re disappointed not to have won here today, but we’re pleased to have made this the sixth final in a row that we’ve reached on the Tour, stretching back to Monsoon Cup last year. Congratulations to Taylor and US One, they sailed extremely well, and we look forward to the next one.” That ‘next one’ is the Argo Group Gold Cup in Bermuda in three weeks’ time. After the light and responsive Maxfun25s used in Lelystad, the larger and heavier International One Designs present a different kind of challenge.

This was the first time that Holland has been represented on the Tour, and Canfield paid tribute to the organisers and people of Lelystad. “This has been a fantastic event, great people, great racing, and we can’t wait to come back next year.”

Overall results of Stage 5 Dutch Match Cup, Alpari World Match Racing Tour
1 Taylor Canfield (ISV) US One
2 Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar
3 David Gilmour (AUS) Team Gilmour
4 Mathieu Richard (FRA) LunaJets
5 Keith Swinton (AUS) Team Alpari
6 Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing
7 Arthur Herreman (FRA) Team Herreman
8 Björn Hansen (SWE) Hansen Sailing Team
9 Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN) Aschenbrenner Racing Team
10 Dirk-Jan Korpershoek (NLD) Opportunity Team
11 Philip Bendon (IRL) Glenmar Racing Team
12 Klaartje Zuiderbaan (NLD) Team BSC

Taylor Canfield (ISV) US One beat Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar 2-1

David Gilmour (AUS) Team Gilmour beat Mathieu Richard (FRA) LunaJets 2-1

Semi Finals
Taylor Canfield (ISV) US One beat David Gilmour (AUS) Team Gilmour 3-1
Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar beat Mathieu Richard (FRA) LunaJets 3-1

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MAPFRE joins the big adventure

Posted on 26 September 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Volvo Ocean Race] MAPFRE, the global insurance giant, will be backing the Spanish challenge in the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 to complete the fleet’s line-up of title sponsors with just over a week to go before the event’s launch.

The company is already well known as leading supporters of sailing and confirmed its support of skipper Iker Martínez’s challengers on Friday ahead of the Race’s opening event, the Alicante in-port race on October 4.

“Being the main sponsor of a campaign like this is an exceptional opportunity,” said MAPFRE vice-president Antonio Núñez.

“The experience of the team and its excellent crew are great to represent a brand like MAPFRE all round the world. We thank them for their effort to compete in this adventure and we wish them all the best.”

The Madrid-based company’s timely announcement has delighted the Spanish team’s CEO Pedro Campos who has worked with them on several previous campaigns in other events.

“We are pleased and grateful to MAPFRE for its support in this new great adventure competing in the Volvo Ocean Race representing Spain,” he said.

“MAPFRE has been supporting sailing for years and we have already worked together in big campaigns. Without a doubt, we will do our best to get MAPFRE and Spain in the highest place we possibly can,” said Campos.

Although the Spanish team was only announced in the middle of the year, most expect them to be competitive in the one-design Volvo Ocean 65 boat with Martínez and long-term sailing partner and best friend Xabi Fernández spearheading their challenge.

The crew is mainly formed by Spaniards but it also boasts some leading international sailors including André Fonseca, the only Brazilian in the fleet, and Frenchman Michel Desjoyeaux, rated one of the leading single-handed sailors in the world.

With just over a week before the event starts, Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad was equally pleased to welcome the final title sponsor of a highly competitive seven-strong fleet.

“This is great news for the race and we’re delighted to see MAPFRE join our family of title sponsors,” he said.

“We know this global company has a love of sailing and shares many common values with us, putting people at the heart of everything it does. It is backing a very strong crew which has already shown it will be competitive in what I believe will be another extremely closely contested race.”

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High winds on day 2 at the Dutch Match Cup

Posted on 25 September 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: WMRT] High winds tested the 12 teams to the edge of physical and mental control on day two of the Dutch Match Cup in Lelystad. A new event on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour (AWMRT), the event in Lelystad presents the crews with a new challenge, of mastering the small, light Maxfun25s with ridiculously big asymmetric spinnakers.Every time the teams hoisted, gybed or dropped their gennakers in the strong breeze was a heart-in-mouth moment and led to frequent broaches and wipe-outs, even for sailors of the calibre of four-time World Champion Ian Williams.

Alpari World Match Racing Tour - Dutch Match Cup 2014-09-25, Netherlands © Copyright 2014 Robert Hajduk - AWMRT

Alpari World Match Racing Tour – Dutch Match Cup 2014-09-25, Netherlands © Copyright 2014 Robert Hajduk – AWMRT

With just six of the 22 Qualifying flights to be sailed tomorrow, the scoreboard is taking shape. Topping the leaderboard with just one loss are Taylor Canfield/US One from the US Virgin Islands along with Mathieu Richard’s LunaJets from France. There’s a lot of work to be done by the bottom half if they’re to make it through to the Quarter Final. Klaartje Zuiderbaan and the all-female Team BSC have yet to get a score on the board so have no prospect of moving through to the next stage. However, the Dutch skipper was still upbeat. “Of course you hate to lose, but the Dutch Match Cup is still a great opportunity for us to compete against the world’s best,” she said. However, she is not relishing the idea of another windy day in Lelystad. Asked if she had seen the weather forecast she replied: “I don’t dare. I don’t want another day like today.” She might be disappointed, as some forecasts point to the wind being even stronger tomorrow.

Alpari World Match Racing Tour - Dutch Match Cup 2014-09-25, Netherlands © Copyright 2014 Robert Hajduk - AWMRT

Alpari World Match Racing Tour – Dutch Match Cup 2014-09-25, Netherlands © Copyright 2014 Robert Hajduk – AWMRT

The other Dutch crew, Opportunity Team skippered by Dirk-Jan Korpershoek, have also enjoyed having the cream of the match racing world coming to compete in Holland. “We’ve learned a lot,” said Korpershoek. “Today we made some boathandling errors. In every race there was something that went wrong. In every race we were close to the winners but there was always something that we could see that needed to be done better. It’s a fast way to improve, racing against the top guys in the world. Being so close to them at the finish line makes us happy, even if we lost all our races today.” Two qualifier teams that could yet make it through to the Quarter Final are Arthur Herreman/ Team Herreman and Philip Bendon/ Glenmar Racing Team. Today the Irish crew took a big scalp, that of Bjorn Hansen from Sweden. “Our race with Bjorn was pretty cool,” said Bendon. “We got a bit lucky at the top. He nudged the back of us and got a penalty. Really good racing against all these top guys. Good to have all our Tour Card holder matches out the way, so we’re hoping we might still get through to the Quarter Final.” Resize of AWMRT14DMC_0925_0215_RH Yann Rigal, sailing with Team Herreman, commented: “For us it’s a great opportunity to be on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour, even just for one regatta. It was a dream for us four years ago, so we worked hard to get from 340th on the world rankings to 20th where we are now. It’s a great chance to sail against the best people in the world. We are in the game, but we still make mistakes. We hope to be in the quarter final and to go as far as we can in this competition.” There was controversy today with a number of collisions. Matches between Williams and Hansen always have an extra frisson of danger about them, and today didn’t disappoint the spectators, with both teams racing within inches of the unyielding harbour wall to try and gain the upper hand on their rival. At start time Hansen controlled the favoured committee boat end of the line and suckered Williams into going for a gap. Williams took the bait, hit the committee boat, and was given a double penalty for barging. Hansen took a vital win, and Williams wasn’t happy. “He’s not allowed to luff us into the committee boat, which is what I thought he did, but the umpires had a different view. So that’s the race.” Williams was later docked a half-point from his score due to boat damage, although Hansen also copped a half-point deduction later in the day after sailing into Bendon. It’s rough out there. It will be rough again tomorrow. AWMRT14DMC_0925_0229_RH Qualifying Results after Flight 16

1 Taylor Canfield (ISV) US One 7-1
2 Mathieu Richard (FRA) LunaJets 7-1
3 David Gilmour (AUS) Team Gilmour 6-2
4 Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar 5.5-2
5 Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing 5-3
6 Keith Swinton (AUS) Team Alpari FX 5-3
7 Björn Hansen (SWE) Hansen Sailing Team 3.5-4
8 Arthur Herreman (FRA) Team Herreman 3-5
9 Philip Bendon (IRL) Glenmar Racing Team 2-6
10 Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN) Aschenbrenner Racing Team 2-6
11 Dirk-Jan Korpershoek (NLD) Opportunity Team 1-7
12 Klaartje Zuiderbaan (NLD) Team BSC 0-8

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Three leading lights keep a perfect score in Lelystad

Posted on 24 September 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: WMRT] The top three teams in the Alpari World Match Racing Tour (AWMRT) were the only teams to keep a perfect score on day one of the inaugural Dutch Match Cup in Lelystad. Ian Williams, Taylor Canfield and Mathieu Richard all returned from the opening salvo of Qualifying with a 3-0 scoreline. However, not all the Tour Card holders got to grips with the Maxfun25 keelboats straight away, with Bjorn Hansen failing to get off the mark in his three matches. 

Of the Wild Card and Qualifier entries, Arthur Herreman was particularly impressive, winning two of his three matches, beating Hansen and Joachim Aschenbrenner but losing to Williams. “These boats are a bit special,” smiled the young Frenchman, who won the qualifying regatta in Lelystad and gained some valuable experience in these same boats a month earlier.

Alpari World Match Racing Tour - Stage 5 - Dutch Match Cup © Copyright 2014 Robert Hajduk - AWMRT

Alpari World Match Racing Tour – Stage 5 – Dutch Match Cup © Copyright 2014 Robert Hajduk – AWMRT

Williams, the four-time ISAF World Champion, loves the challenge of learning the quirks and peculiarities of a new class, and he made a good job of mastering the Maxfun25 for the first time today. “They’re the smallest we sail on the Tour, the most sensitive to crew weight and position,” he said. “It’s about remembering your dinghy sailing days, focusing on your crew weight and kinetics. It has worked well for us so far, but a long way to go.”

The wind was always good today, gusting up quite strongly at times and shifting through 60 degrees during the course of today’s six flights of competition. The rain came through in pulses, with the sunshine making brief appearances, although the 12 teams were too focussed on their own battles, often engaging in aggressive pre-start manoeuvring close to the harbour wall. Canfield enjoyed the fight. “It’s a bonus to have such great breeze here, in such small boats. They’re really physical, which makes the whole crew work really hard.”

Alpari World Match Racing Tour - Stage 5 - Dutch Match Cup © Copyright 2014 Robert Hajduk - AWMRT

Alpari World Match Racing Tour – Stage 5 – Dutch Match Cup © Copyright 2014 Robert Hajduk – AWMRT

Talking about working hard, there hasn’t been much time for the Tour Card holders to recover from Chicago Match Cup, the previous event on the Tour which finished just a few days ago. “We finished racing last Sunday in Chicago,” said Richard, “jumped on the plane on Sunday night and arrived on Monday afternoon, so we don’t have much time for anything other than travelling. We’re not completely ready for the competition, but it’s the same for all the teams, so we have to adapt as quickly as we can.”

For Hansen and his fellow Swedes, it’s adapt or die. “It can’t be worse than today,” smiled Hansen philosophically. “Definitely I think we’re going to go in the right direction and get some points on the scoreboard in the coming days. It’s quite a learning day for us and we had some problems during the day. Mostly I tried to do things that were not possible with this boat, so I have to apologise to the crew for that. We’ve talked it through and feel quite positive about tomorrow.”

David Gilmour comes to Lelystad fresh from finishing 7th in the 49er World Championships in Spain last week as he pursues a twin-track career in Olympic campaigning and match racing. Meanwhile two of his crew, Pete Nicholas and Luke Payne borrowed a 505 dinghy to finish 2nd overall in a 173-boat fleet at the 505 World Championships in Germany a month ago. The change of sailing seems to have done Team Gilmour’s match racing no harm, with two wins and one loss from today. “Here we’re sailing a new boat that’s similar to a skiff, so it’s quite fun out there,” said Gilmour after racing the asymmetrically-rigged Maxfun25 for the first time. “I think all the different styles of sailing make you a better all-round sailor.”

Alpari World Match Racing Tour - Stage 5 - Dutch Match Cup © Copyright 2014 Robert Hajduk - AWMRT

Alpari World Match Racing Tour – Stage 5 – Dutch Match Cup © Copyright 2014 Robert Hajduk – AWMRT

Klaartje Zuiderbaan, skipper of the only all-female team at the event, may not have won any matches today, although she gave a few of the more experienced teams a few scares along the way. “We’re happy to be part of this regatta,” she said. “At the beginning of this year we weren’t even a match racing team, but somehow we managed to get an invite to this event. It’s great to race against the top guys in the world, and I think we didn’t make it that easy for them. We learn from them every time, and that’s great.”

Stage 5 Dutch Match Cup, Alpari World Match Racing Tour
Qualifying Results after Flight 6

1 Mathieu Richard (FRA) LunaJets 3-0
2 Taylor Canfield (ISV) US One 3-0
3 Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar 3-0
4 Arthur Herreman (FRA) Team Herreman 2-1
5 David Gilmour (AUS) Team Gilmour 2-1
6 Keith Swinton (AUS) Team Alpari FX 2-1
7 Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing 1-2
8 Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN) Aschenbrenner Racing Team 1-2
9 Dirk-Jan Korpershoek (NLD) Opportunity Team 1-2
10 Björn Hansen (SWE) Hansen Sailing Team 0-3
11 Philip Bendon (IRL) Glenmar Racing Team 0-3
12 Klaartje Zuiderbaan (NLD) Team BSC 0-3

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Quantum Racing clinch 2014 Barclays 52 SUPER SERIES title

Posted on 21 September 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Barclays 52 Super Series] The American flagged team of Doug DeVos came to Ibiza with a healthy points lead in the four event circuit which attracted 12 TP52s from ten different nations. They remained steadily consistent to close out their second 52 SUPER SERIES championship win in a row with a margin of 15 points over Azzurra and 19 points over Rán Racing.

Quantum Racing, skippered by America’s Cup winner Ed Baird with Terry Hutchinson as tactician also won the US 52 SUPER SERIES in the early Spring and were crowned TP52 World Champions in Sardinia in June.

Their 2014 title win reflects a high level of experience, their crew containing more America’s Cup winners than any other on the Circuit, but their continual drive for perfection was sometimes further spurred by disappointment or frustration. After winning in the USA they only managed third at the first regatta of the Barclays 52 SUPER SERIES in Capri, some six points behind regatta winners Azzurra.

But a comprehensive, soul-baring debrief followed and at the World Championship on Sardinia the next month they started like out like lions and were ultimately unstoppable.

Similarly two days ago, with the season’s championship within touching distance, they faltered on the Coastal Course. They de-briefed and regrouped. Today, when they started the first race in light breezes, there was no mistaking their clarity of focus and purpose, going on to a decisive win. That was the race which put them on the top step of the 2014 podium, out of reach of nearest challengers Azzurra and Rán Racing.

Skipper Baird paid tribute to the team’s skill and fighting spirit: “One of the super strengths of this team is that everyone on this team comes down here every day saying ‘how can I do it better today than yesterday ? ’ When you fight with that kind of mentality on your side, you just never allow yourself to back up, to do your job any less well than before. When you start with great guys, you have that fighting instinct on your side through good and bad it is wonderful.”

Smiling on the Marina Ibiza dockside Hutchinson noted, “Every now and then we had a good thrashing and we had one again the other day on the coastal race. And it was good to bounce back from that in the first race today which we won, and it was good to bounce back from Capri and won the world championship and that started the ball rolling in the right direction again. But everyone here is so very good and we have the ultimate respect for them and so when they beat you you have to take a good look at what they did and what we did. We had a good evaluation after Capri and that helped us for sure.”

“ One of our biggest strengths is that we sail the boat really well in compromised positions. And so when from a tactical point of view when we are not in the best spot then the boat is always going fast through the water.

Azzurra, with Guillermo Parada skipper-helm and Vasco Vascotto as tactician, got the better of Rán Racing here with second overall at the regatta to finish runners up to Quantum Racing on the championship table again. Rán Racing won the final race of the season to squeeze Sled out of third place at the ZENITH Royal Cup Marina Ibiza regatta. The middle of the fleet was much closer than ever before, only four points separating Rán Racing from fourth placed Sled and fifth placed Marc Blees and the Gaastra Pro team.

Vascotto concluded: “I feel very happy. I think that from a sports point of view the team which won deserved to win. I think we need to be happy about that. They did a very, very good job. And they are the dream team in the boat, but they are very good in preparation, speedwise, they are a fantastic benchmark. It is easy for us for us sometimes to try to copy them, what they did to close the gap with them. I think this week we changed a lot of things and we are a lot more competitive.”

Final Standings: 2014 BARCLAYS 52 SUPER SERIES – 2014 Season Overall after 4 Regattas (Top 6)
1. Quantum Racing, USA, (Doug De Vos USA) 81pts
2. Azzurra, ITA, (Alberto Roemmers ARG) 96pts
3. Rán Racing, SWE, (Niklas Zennström SWE) 100pts
4. Phoenix, BRA, (Eduardo de Souza Ramos BRA) 124pts
5. Gladiator, GBR, (Tony Langley GBR) 147pts
6. Provezza 7, TUR, (Ergin Imre TUR) 170pts

Final Standings: ZENITH Royal Cup Marina Ibiza – Overall after 8 races
1. Quantum Racing, USA, (Doug DeVos USA) (1,2,3,2,1,6,1,7) 23pts
2. Azzurra, ITA, (Alberto Roemmers ARG) (3,5,2,1,6,2,4,3) 26pts
3. Rán Racing, SWE, (Niklas Zennström SWE) (2,4,4,4,5,7,7,1) 34pts
4. Sled, USA, (Takashi Okura USA) (4,1,6,3,4,DNF/9,3,6) 36pts
5. Gaastra Pro, NED (Marc Blees NED) (6,6,1,8,2,5,6,4) 38pts
6. Provezza 7, TUR, (Ergin Imre TUR) (7,3,7,6,7,3,5,2) 40pts
7. Gladiator, GBR, (Tony Langley GBR) (5,7,8,5,3,4,8,5) 45pts
8. Phoenix, BRA, (Eduardo de Souza Ramos BRA) (8,8,5,7,8,1,2,8) 47pts

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The future is foiling

Posted on 17 September 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: America's Cup] AC45s to be modified; America’s Cup World Series to continue into 2018.

The six America’s Cup teams have agreed to a project that will see the existing fleet of AC45 catamarans modified into fully foiling catamarans for racing in the America’s Cup World Series (ACWS).

Importantly, the teams have also committed to continue to race the foiling AC45s on the America’s Cup World Series circuit in 2018, following the conclusion of the 35th America’s Cup in 2017.

“I’m pleased all of the competitors have agreed on a way forward, beyond the current America’s Cup cycle,” said Harvey Schiller, the Commercial Commissioner for the 35th America’s Cup.

“To have the teams give certainty to all stakeholders as to what will happen following the racing in 2017, regardless of who wins, is a huge step forward for all involved.”

The teams have undertaken the project to modify the one-design AC45s into fully foiling catamarans with a view to racing the foiling versions as early as the 2015 ACWS season.

A feasibility study has been commissioned to determine whether the mods will need to wait until the 2016 season as the timeline to make changes to the entire fleet ahead of racing in 2015 is extremely tight.

The competitors have also appointed a working group to select a Regatta Director, as required by the Protocol.

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Barcelona World Race: the countdown has begun

Posted on 16 September 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Barcelona World Race] With just three and a half months to go until the start of the Barcelona World Race, the countdown has begun for the teams taking part in the double-handed, non-stop, round the world challenge. Getting ‘back to school’  has been even more intense this year for the teams, after a summer that left little time for relaxing as the skippers followed their regatta preparation schedules both on shore and out on the water.

Cheminées Poujoulat

These summer months have seen the French-Swiss team Cheminées Poujoulat stick to their plan, focussing on making adjustments to the boat under the watchful supervision of skippers Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam and adapting the yacht to their requirements. The boat has undergone a refit in Brest (France). From September 19th, Cheminées Poujoulat will launch into an intensive schedule of training.


For Neutrogena, with Spain’s Guillermo Altadill and Chile’s José Muñoz, it has been a busy summer, as the Catalan skipper explains: “We’ve been doing a bit of everything; training, sailing and a boat refit and we’ve also taken some time off, although we’ve been racing on other boats. There are always more regattas during the summer, so I like to take part in as many as I can, on any type of boat and with different people. It gives you a lot of knowledge and experience”.

Altadill is happy with the boat preparation: “It’s ready. We have a new keel, a new bulb, new rigging and sails. The boat has been improved as far as possible for the team, so it’s ready. We could even load on the food and set off tomorrow!”.

The Spaniard said that the crew preparation was covering “all areas”, to boost skills and get to grips with the onboard systems. “Personally I’m very focussed right now on physical training and getting a better understanding of the meteorology”, he said.

The motivation displayed by Altadill comes as no surprise. Despite his immense ocean sailing experience, the Barcelona World Race is still unfinished business for the skipper: “I’ve taken part in many round the world regattas, but I have never finished a Barcelona World Race. I want to finish it and in a good position. I always forget about what I’ve done before and focus completely on the next competition, as if it were the most important race of my career”.

Hereon the team’s plans are clear: “We’re going to do our final test run of 2,000 miles, we’ll take the boat to Barcelona and we’ll wait for the start. Whilst we’re there we’ll meet with the sponsors, continue our physical and mental training and we’ll relax a bit”, explained the skipper from Barcelona.

One Planet One Ocean

For Aleix Gelabert and Dídac Costa there has been no time for a holiday. “For us every minute is worth its weight in gold”, said Gelabert.

The boat was put back on the water on the 25th of June after an extensive refit. “We spent the month of July doing short runs on the boat to get to grips with the onboard systems and to continue getting to know the boat. In August we did the qualifying run for the Barcelona World Race: 2,800 miles via the Canaries and Madeira. We had 15 days of intensive sailing, which was really useful for us to draw some conclusions”, explained Gelabert.

Costa also commented: “After three months of working on shore with the boat and doing physical training we’re now in the phase of notching up as many hours on the water as we can. The aim is to really get to see how the boat handles in different conditions and to maximise the dynamic between us”.

Gelabert said: “We’re really excited and happy to see how we are burning through the different stages leading to the start of this round the world regatta”.

The plan for the coming months is to “try out the new sails, fine-tune the boat’s polars, polish off some of our manoeuvres, square up the energy consumption and lots of other things”, said Costa. “And to sail as much as possible”, added Gelabert. “So, we’ve haven’t got time to hang around!”, said Costa.

There’s no doubt that the team’s schedule leaves no room for resting: “At the end of September we’ll sail to Sanxenxo in Galicia, where we’ll spend the entire month of October, sailing in ocean conditions, which are difficult to come across in the Mediterranean. That will be the last big test for us to really try out the boat and as a crew ahead of the Barcelona World Race”.

The team are also fine-tuning the instruments they’ll be carrying on board One Planet One Ocean as part of the collaboration between the FNOB and the UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanic Commission, that sees them taking part in various scientific projects during the regatta. “Right now the technicians are working on the data recording system (temperature, salinity and microplastics concentration) so that the levels are sent directly to land every team we link up via satellite, so that we can minimise the impact of the experiments on our sailing routine”, said Dídac Costa.

GAES Centros Auditivos

The GAES Centros Auditivos team with Anna Corbella and Gerard Marín did stop to enjoy some well-deserved holiday time, however.  The IMOCA Ocean Masters New York to Barcelona Race and all of the preparation in the run-up to the regatta “meant five very intense months” so the crew needed “a little break to enable us to take on the final stretch to the start of the Barcelona World Race with our batteries recharged”, said Corbella.

The boat itself has been undergoing the final refit ahead of the Barcelona World Race. “As well as carrying out improvements that we skippers felt were necessary after the New York to Barcelona Race”, says Marín. “The entire boat has been given a new coat of paint, the new keel has been put in and the boat and mast have been thoroughly checked to guarantee that they are ready for sailing round the world, among other jobs”.

“We’re heading into the final strait. The boat is almost ready and we’re following the scheduled plan on a number of fronts: physical preparation, meteorology and training sessions for different boat systems, such as the electronics and upperworks and electrics and hydraulics”, adds the Catalan sailor, who said that both skippers were “very happy with the potential and the performance of the boat and were very hopeful ahead of this latest challenge with GAES Centros Auditivos”.

With three and a half months to go to the start, the team is back in action to test out the changes to the boat carried out during the most recent refit, testing out new sails and fine-tuning polars, as well as training on the water and boosting their physical condition with training. At the end of September the crew will sail to Galicia (Spain) to take on the final test with the definitive boat configuration for the Barcelona World Race, trying out all of the onboard systems in ocean sailing conditions.

“We’ll return to Barcelona at the beginning of November. Thereon until the start we won’t be pushing the boat, so as not to take any unnecessary risks and we’ll focus on our own personal preparation”, the skippers said.

Hugo Boss

Hugo Boss has had a very busy summer indeed, including training on the water with Alex Thomson and Pepe Ribes sailing together to Poland and Denmark. However, the British skipper did manage to take a couple of weeks off to enjoy some time with his family and to relax. Pepe Ribes also managed to spend time with his wife and son.

Right now the boat is in the shipyard, in refit mode. “When Hugo Boss gets back on the water I think the priority will be continuing to train together. We’ve planned the coming months in great detail and there’s always a lot to do, because each day brings new challenges and solutions”, explained the Spanish skipper.

“Are we ready for the Barcelona World Race?” Thomson asks himself. “We’re getting there. We’re training and doing what we need to do to compete successfully. So I don’t think we need to get nervous or stressed, because we’ve been preparing well. We’re really excited about the start”.

Alex Thomson doesn’t think there are any favourites: “There are lots of teams with the potential to win. The experience of Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam is enormous, Neutrogena has demonstrated it can go up against the latest generation yachts and GAES Centros Auditivos has been training really hard… The competition will be tough and I think Pepe and I are in a good position and we’ve got a good boat, so we’ll see. I’m really looking forward to it!”.

Jörg Riechers and Sébastien Audigane

The team with Jörg Riechers and Sébastien Audigane suffered a setback when the German publishers Mare abandoned their project in April this year. The pair have spent the past few months on the lookout for a new boat for the Barcelona World Race, as the yacht they had been set to race on went to Bernard Stamm.

The German French duo will soon be ready with news of their new boat and sponsor.

Zbigniew Gutkowski and Maciej Marczewski (pre-registered)

The team with Zbigniew “Gutek” Gutkowski and Maciej “Magic” Marczewski have recently pre-registered for the Barcelona World Race. The two Polish skippers are set to complete their registration in the coming weeks, when they will also announce the name of their sponsor and the name of their boat, POL 53, the yacht Alex Thomson and Andrew Cape sailed to second place in the Barcelona World Race 2007/08.

Gutek and Magic have already tested out their boat, sailing almost daily for the past four months to test out and make modifications to the boat configuration, mast and rigging. The boat is currently undergoing a refit at the Sunreef shipyard in Gdansk (Poland), including paintwork, changes to the electronics, lines, rigging, new sails and a general inspection. Meanwhile, the duo have begun an intensive physical training programme including cycling, crossfit and running.


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