Sunday, February 17, 2019

Asko Crowned 2018-2019 Australian 18ft Skiff Champions

18ft Skiffs - Australian Championship, Races 8 & 9
Sunday, 17 February 2019 - Sydney Harbour

The Asko Appliances team of James Dorron, Harry Bethwaite and Trent Barnabas became the 2018-2019 Australian 18ft Skiff champions after a wonderful day of action-packed racing on Sydney Harbour today.
Photo: Frank Quealey
Going into today's final two races, only four points separated the top five teams.With a 13-15-knot North East wind, and a brilliant, sunny Sydney day, the conditions were perfect for a spectacular finale to the championship.
Photo: Frank Quealey
Asko Appliances revelled in the conditions for the first race (Race 8) and the team quickly went to the lead on the windward leg from the start off Clark Island to the windward mark off Nielsen Park.
Photo: Frank Quealey
Asko's domination was soon evident and the team held a 35 second lead over Winning Group (John Winning Jr., Sam Newton and Euan McNicol) as spinnakers were set for the run back down the harbour to the bottom mark.
Photo: Frank Quealey
The first casualty of the day happened at the start when defending champion, Smeg was recalled for being over the start line too early.On the short 2-lap windward-return course, this spelt the end of Smeg's chances of retaining the title.
Photo: Frank Quealey
Asko continued to lead throughout the race and finally crossed the finish line a 20 second winner over Winning Group, which had pushed the winner all the way around the course.
Photo: Frank Quealey
As the wind freshened a little over the latter half of the course, Finport Finance (Keagan York, Matt Stenta and Charlie Gundy) began to make a move and reduced the margin from the leaders to just 21 seconds at the finish.
Photo: Frank Quealey
The Kitchen Maker-Caesarstone (Jordan Girdis) and Bing Lee (Micah Lane) could do no better than 8th and 14th respectively, and lost too much ground on the points table to be likely winners of the championship.
Photo: Frank Quealey
As the fleet began Race 9, Asko Appliances held a net two points lead over Winning Group for the title and they were the only real contenders for victory. Finport Finance confirmed the finishing burst of Race 8 and led for most of the first windward leg to the mark off Nielsen Park.
Photo: Frank Quealey
Yandoo (John Winning) was also strong in the conditions and trailed the leader by just 12 seconds as the fleet raced downwind, back to the bottom mark off Clark Island.
Photo: Frank Quealey
Two large ships leaving the harbour made conditions difficult as the teams battled to avoid the wind damage they would cause, but Finport Finance had little trouble retaining her lead over Asko Appliances and Winning Group.
Photo: Frank Quealey
Yandoo lost time on the run (one of the departing ships certainly didn't help the team's chances) and she fell back into the clutches of Bing Lee and Noakesailing (Sean Langman), with The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines (Aron Everett), R Marine Pittwater (Simon Nearn) and Rag & Famish Hotel (Bryce Edwards).

Finport Finance was unstoppable on the following windward leg and maintained a comfortable lead over the final lap of the course to win by 55s from Asko Appliances, with Winning Group a further 32 seconds back in third place.

The final points in the championship were: Asko Appliances (17 points), Winning Group (20), The Kitchen Maker-Caesarstone (31), Bing Lee (35), Smeg (36), The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines (39).

Frank Quealey

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Australia Wins Inaugural SailGP in Sydney

SYDNEY – February 16, 2019 – The first ever SailGP was witnessed by more than 20,000 people who took to the water on the spectacular Sydney Harbour, providing the perfect amphitheater for the season kick off.
Photo supplied
Two intense days of racing saw six national teams do battle in the world’s most technologically advanced catamarans, competing to get the first points on the leaderboard and closer to the $1 million Season 1 prize.
Photo: Sam Greenfield / SailGP
In front of cheering crowds, the green and gold F50 race boat of the Australia SailGP Team, helmed by local hero Tom Slingsby, won the final race of the day to earn the title in the opening event over Japan.
Photo: Chris Cameron / SailGP
The Olympic gold medallist and his crew of flight controller and tactician Jason Waterhouse, wing trimmer Kyle Langford, grinders Sam Newton and Ky Hurst, and Kinley Fowler gave a masterclass to the rest of the fleet.
Photo: Chris Cameron / SailGP
Though it was pre-race favourite Nathan Outteridge and his Japanese team who were leading going into the final day and looked set to upset the home crowd, Slingsby and his team were quick off the block on the second day, winning the first race and shortly following it up with another race win.
Photo: David Gray / SailGP
A second and a third for Outteridge’s Japan team guaranteed their place in the final match race and a chance to go head to head against the home team and line up against a close friend and fierce rival. The Australian team’s practice over the last few weeks paid off, and they lead the Japanese off the start and never looked back.
Photo: Lloyd Images / SailGP
“We don’t take losing lightly and that first race of the event really shot us into gear,” Slingsby said. “I couldn’t be happier with how today went. I hold my team to a high standard and they really over delivered.

“I don’t know which day had more spectators but it looked unbelievable again today, amazing the turnout for the first event of its kind in Sydney.”

Japan finished the first event with 45 points, three behind the Australians.

“Compared to the Australians, we’ve only done five days as a sailing team and I think that was what showed against them. But the fact we were even racing was incredible and to make the match race was just awesome. I am really proud of the whole team and what we have achieved in such a short time,” said Outteridge.

Third overall on the leaderboard with 36 points is Great Britain skippered by Dylan Fletcher. The British team under the command of Olympian Chris Draper was quick off the start and showed moments of promise but admitted they would be studying the data to ensure they were faster and more polished for San Francisco.

SailGP CEO Russell Coutts concluded, “A huge congratulations to Tom, Nathan and their teams. It has been a fantastic event and I want to say thank you to Sydney for supporting the event. It has been a great venue to launch SailGP."

Next stop for SailGP is San Francisco, May 4-5, 2019, when the young guns of the United States Team will be hoping to emulate Slingsby’s success and score a victory on home waters.

Overall Leaderboard Sydney

1st // Australia // 48pts
2nd // Japan // 45pts
3rd // Great Britain // 36pts
4th // China // 33pts
5th // France // 33pts
6th // United States // 31pts

Day 2 Results

Race 4
1st // Australia // 10pts
2nd // Japan // 9pts
3rd // Great Britain // 8pts
4th // France // 7pts
5th // United States // 6pts
6th // China // 5pts

Race 5
1st // Australia // 10pts
2nd // China // 9pts
3rd // Japan // 8pts
4th // France // 7pts
5th // Great Britain // 6pts
6th // United States // 5pts

Race 6
1st // Australia // 1pt
2nd // Japan // 0pts

SailGP Media

Friday, February 15, 2019

Japan Take Early Lead On Opening Day of SailGP Sydney

SYDNEY – February 15, 2019 – Sydney Harbour provided a spectacular backdrop for the historic global launch of SailGP. In front of thousands of spectators, pre-favourite Japan SailGP Team capitalized on slick crew work and prior big foiling catamaran experience on day one of the world premiere of SailGP.
Photo supplied
The Japanese team, helmed by Nathan Outteridge, posted a huge victory in race one. They followed it up with two second-place finishes, a performance that has them leading the hometown favourites by one point midway through the championship’s opening event.
Photo supplied
With adrenaline coursing through the veins and cool heads, Slingsby’s Australian team rallied for two commanding comeback wins, in races two and three. Their surprise fourth in the opening race pulled the local team in behind the overall leader Japan when the day’s points were counted.
Photo supplied
“Our team did really well,” said Outteridge. “That was the first time we’ve ever done a race together as a group. We made some errors but obviously we made less errors than everyone else. For the first day of SailGP and the first day for our team I couldn’t ask for more.
Photo supplied
“It was an incredible day. The breeze came in at the perfect moment and it was fantastic to see so many people out watching. There were some really good battles on the water; we loved every moment of it.”
Photo supplied
Slingsby attributed Australia’s race one result to poor boat handling on the revolutionary F50, and failing to pick the right side of the course in tricky easterlies, between 6 and 10 knots. Although he did hit the top speed of the day, reaching 34 knots in under 10 knots of breeze.

“It wasn’t the start we wanted,” Slingsby admitted. “We had a list of things to go through after that and we got better starts and got away from the pack. When we sailed by ourselves it was pretty obvious to see we are fast. We just have to get out of the pack and get free.

“But that was an unbelievable a day. The atmosphere was incredible. At the end of the race we sailed over to the spectator fleet and there were thousands of people everywhere. There were Australian flags and people chanting, it was incredible.”

The rivalry between the six national teams was strong but at the top of the fleet the fight between the Australian and Japanese team is heating up.

“It’s out of Nathan’s hands; if we perform we’ll beat him,” said Slingsby, who finished the day on 27 points to Japan’s 28s.

Outteridge shot back with, “The Australians are easily beatable – they beat us today because we made mistakes.”

Day one of the two-day championship drew overwhelming support from thousands of people on spectator vessels, those enjoying the front row fan seats on Shark Island and a global broadcast audience.

The British team skippered by Dylan Fletcher, started strong in all three races, finishing the day third overall on the leaderboard. Racing continues on Saturday, February 16 before the championship moves to Event 2, in San Francisco.

Leaderboard Sydney – Day 1
1st // Japan // 28pts
2nd // Australia // 27pts
3rd // Great Britain // 22pts
4th // United States // 20pts
5th // France // 19pts
6th // China // 19pts

Race 1
1st // Japan // 10pts
2nd // China // 9pts
3rd // Great Britain // 8pts
4th // Australia // 7pts
5th // United States // 6pts
6th // France // DNF

Race 2
1st // Australia // 10pts
2nd // Japan // 9pts
3rd // United States // 8pts
4th // Great Britain // 7pts
5th // France // 6pts
6th // China // 5pts

Race 3
1st // Australia // 10pts
2nd // Japan // 9pts
3rd // France // 8pts
4th // Great Britain // 7pts
5th // United States // 6pts
6th // China // 5pts

For full details on how to watch, visit SailGP.com/watch.

Final Countdown to First Ever SailGP

Later today the world’s most technologically advanced race boats, crewed by some of the world’s best sailors, will go head to head in the ultimate nation-versus-nation battle on Sydney Harbour.
Photo supplied
All six teams grabbed the chance for some final training on the cutting edge F50s when they took flight in light winds on the final practise day before SailGP Season 1 gets underway tomorrow.

Giving a glimpse of how close the championship will be, each of the four races saw a different nation triumph. Race wins were shared between Australia, Great Britain, Japan and United States, proving that the final $1 million prize could be won by any of the six competing nations.

Ahead of the final practise day, SailGP CEO Russell Coutts and the six helmsmen representing Australia, China, France, Great Britain, Japan and the United States delivered their final thoughts on SailGP’s impending lift-off.

“I used to represent Australia at the Olympic Games and now I’m back here with an all-Australian team in the green and gold,” said Tom Slingsby, CEO and helmsman of the Australia SailGP Team. “We’ve got a kangaroo on the boat and we are out sailing on Sydney Harbour with the Harbour Bridge in the background.”

Japan SailGP Team CEO/helmsman Nathan Outteridge has spent the most time at the wheel of the 2,400 kg. high-tech foiling catamaran, making him a pre-favourite among the other skippers.

“We aren’t getting ahead of ourselves,” said the double Olympic medallist. “Our goal is to have a good event in Sydney and be one of the top two teams at the end of Marseille, so we can challenge for that $1 million season prize.”

After feeling the full force of Sydney Harbour earlier this week, the teams will expect some lighter conditions over the next few days. Hungry to hit the elusive 50-knot speed barrier that the boats are capable of, the teams might have to wait until the second event in San Francisco.

“We have six really competitive teams from six different nations, five fantastic venues, iconic and all of them fantastic locations. It’s a bit surreal we are here on the eve of the first event. I don’t think we could have picked a better venue than Sydney to kick this off,” said SailGP CEO Russell Coutts.

Sydney SailGP’s first race is scheduled to start at 4:00pm AEDT on Friday 14 February. With broadcast agreements in place that span 90 countries across five continents, fans will be able to tune in around the world to watch the fast and thrilling action.

An innovative mobile application was also launched this week. The next generation SailGP APP, as advanced as the supercharged F50 boats, puts fans in full control of the way they consume the world’s fastest on-water racing, with the ability to watch live racing, personalize the boats, camera angles and data that feature in their feeds. The SailGP APP is available on all Apple iOS devices via the App Store. An Android version will be available later in the season.

SailGP Media

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Winning Group Leads After Four Races in 18ft Skiffs Australian Championship

18ft Skiffs, Australian Championship, Races 3 and 4
Sunday 27 January, 2019 - Sydney Harbour

In contrast to the almost non-existant wind which ruined the first day's racing in the Australian 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour last Sunday, a southerly wind of more than 25-knots today provided excellent conditions for some fast, action-packed racing on Day Two.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Winds were so strong that every team had problems during the two windward-return races staged in Rose Bay. The strong Smeg team of Michael Coxon, Ricky Bridge and Mike McKensey handled the conditions brilliantly while many others around them floundered or capsized.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
After trailing Bing Lee (Micah Lane) at the windward mark early in the race, Smeg's downwind speed enabled her to grab the lead and the skiff was not headed over the rest of the course.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
At the end of the three laps, Smeg crossed the finish line one minute 58 seconds ahead of second placed The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines (Aron Everett, Tom Clout, Reece Goldsmith), with Appliancesonline.com.au (Brett Van Munster, Phil Marshall, Kurt Fatouris0 another 35 seconds back in third place.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Winning Group (John Winning Jr) was an impressive fourth after recovering from an earlier capsize, followed by Vintec (Kirk Mitchell) and Bing Lee.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
As the battered fleet regrouped for the second race of the day, four of the original 18 starters were missing. Once again, Bing Lee and Smeg led the fleet to the first windward mark but an unexpected capsize by the Smeg crew left Bing Lee to try and fend off the challenge by the Winning Group skiff.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
The experience of John Winning Jr., Sam Newton and Seve Jarvin was clearly on display and the Winning Group was soon in front, then led the fleet over the next two laps of the course.With victory in sight the Winning Group's crew prepared for the final gybe only to capsize and leave Micah Lane, Peter Harris and Scott Babbage to take the honours in Bing Lee.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
The consistent The Kitchen Maker-Caesarstone (Jordan Girdis, Tom Quigley, Lachlan Doyle) were rewarded for their efforts when the young team finished second, 4m5s behind Bing Lee. Winning Group recovered from their capsize to come home in third place, 35s behing The Kitchen Maker-Caesarstone.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Asko Appliances (James Dorron) was fourth, followed by Dal Zotto (Jack Sprague) and Smeg.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Despite the mishap in Race 4, Winning Group leads the points on 8, followed by Bing Lee on 11, The Kitchen Maker-Caesarstone on 12 Smeg 13, The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines 18 and Appliancesonline.com.au on 21.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Frank Quealey

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Asko Appliances Crowned 18ft Skiffs 2018-2019 NSW Champions

18ft Skiffs NSW Championship, Final
Sunday, 13 January 2019 - Sydney Harbour

The Asko Appliances 18ft Skiff team became the 2018-2019 NSW champions after scoring a win and a second placing in the final two races of the championship which were sailed in a 15K SSE wind on Sydney Harbour today.
Photo: Frank Quealey
Skipper James Dorron and his crew of Harry Bethwaite and Steve Thomas proved too consistent on the day for their main challengers for the title and Asko Appliances deserved the win as the team was the only two race winner of the five-race championship.
Photo: Frank Quealey
Asko Appliances finished the championship with a total of nine points. Finport Finance (Keagan York, Matt Stenta, Charlie Gundy) was runner-up on 13 points, followed by Smeg (Michael coxon, Ricky Bridge, Mike McKensey) on 14 points.John Winning's Yandoo was fourth on 20 points, followed by Bing Lee (Micah Lane) on 27 and Vintec (Kirk Mitchell) on 30 points.
Photo: Frank Quealey
In the first of today's two races, (re-sail of Race 2) Finport Finance took an early lead over Smeg on the first windward leg, but Smeg's speed took that skiff to the lead on the downwind leg to the bottom mark. Triple M (Tom Anderson) was in third place with Winning Group (John Winning Jr.) fourth, ahead of Noakesailing (Sean Langman) and Asko Appliances
Photo: Frank Quealey
The secong lap of the course saw a change come over the leading group when Asko's team elected to go to the LHS side of the course on the spinnaker run and the move was a winner. It was this leg which brought the Asko Appliances back into contention and enabled the skiff to go on and win the race from Finport Finance and Smeg.
Photo: Frank Quealey
At the finish, Asko Appliances defeated Finport Finance by nine seconds, with Smeg another eight seconds back in third place. R Marine Pittwater (Rob Greenhalgh) finished fourth, ahead of Triple M and Noakesailing. Going into the final race, Smeg and Asko Appliances were equal on seven points (net).
Photo: Frank Quealey
Finport Finance, on 12 points (net) was the only other team with a realistic chance of winning the title, but it would be a slim chance.The expected match race between Smeg and Asko Appliances never eventuated as Smeg lost all hope with a disasterous start while Asko was up close to the lead.
Photo: Frank Quealey
Finport Finance's crew quickly had their skiff in the lead and, with some great boat handling skills in the southerly wind, were able to retain the lead over the entire three laps of the windward-return course.
Photo: Frank Quealey
Asko Appliances was in second place behind Finport, and with Smeg well back, her crew seemed intent to safety rather than risk losing the big 'championship win' prize.The action in both races was spectacular and non-stop.
Photo: Frank Quealey
While the top three teams dominated much of the racing there were some very good efforts throughout the fleet. Finport Finance's winning margin over Asko Appliances in Race 5 was 45 seconds, with third placed Vintec a further one minute and 10 seconds back.Appliancesonline.com.au (Brett Van Munster) finished fourth, ahead of Yandoo and Noakesailing.
Frank Quealey

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Awesome Venues Announced for 2019 M32 European Series

(London, 19th December, 2018) - For 2019, the M32 European Series will see teams in the high performance one design catamaran class competing in five events across Italy, Sweden and the Netherlands culminating in the M32 World Championship on Lake Garda.
Photo: © M32 European Series
In late March teams get the opportunity to blow the cobwebs away at a warm-up and training event in San Remo, close to the French border in Italy. Two months later the season starts up in earnest with the first scoring event taking place in Marina di Pisa, Italy in late May. The circuit then visits Holland before arriving in Sweden. 2019 will be the second season of racing for the combined Mediterranean and Scandinavian M32 fleets in the M32 European Series.
Photo: © M32 European Series
The first event in Sweden will take place near Gothenburg, close to the island of Hönö where the high tech catamarans are manufactured by Aston Harald. The boats will then head up the Swedish coast to Stenungsund, just north of Marstrand, for two days of inshore racing, prior to their competing in the Tjörn Runt. 
Photo: © M32 European Series
Organised by the Stenungsunds Segelsällskap, this annual race anti-clockwise around the island of Tjörn is 28 nautical miles long. Typically it attracts several hundred entries, making it one of the highest participation sailing events in Sweden. This year an M32 claimed the course record, held for many years before by a substantially larger ORMA 60 trimaran.
Photo: Anton Klock / © M32 European Series
After this the pace of the season intensifies with the M32 fleet returning south to Riva del Garda at the sailing mecca of Lake Garda, for their Pre-Worlds and World Championship at the end of August. 
Photo: © M32 European Series
The Pre-Worlds will be the last scoring event of the 2019 M32 European Series and will be the prelude to the World Sailing-sanctioned M32 World Championship. For these events, the fleet is set to be joined by teams from the M32 North American Series, making the journey to compete in the class' premier event.

Richard Davies, former class President and owner-driver on Section 16, which ended the 2018 M32 European Series fourth overall, commented: “I'm delighted with the new 2019 M32 European Series. We are anticipating new owners and key teams from the US fleet to join us as we race through the summer in the build-up to the World Championship in Riva del Garda in August. No doubt racing will be as thrilling as usual and the Series very enjoyable for owners and crews.”

With circuits now well-established in Europe and North America, M32 events follow a familiar format - taking place over three days with up to eight races per day. These are held on windward-leeward courses with reaching starts and finishes and top and bottom gates. Races typically are of 15-20 minutes duration.

Run by Class Manager and PRO Mattias Dahlstrom, competition on the water is held to the top international standards of race management, umpiring and safety.

Two extra M32s to be made available

New for the 2019 season is that over and above the existing entries in the M32 European Series, the M32’s manufacturer Aston Harald, is offering two boats free of charge to teams wishing to compete on the circuit. The intention is for one of these top be a ‘development team’, while the other will be to entice new owners into the circuit.

Other M32s are available for charter and the organisers can offer turnkey campaigns, complete with experienced crew for those wishing to join the circuit and who are short on time. Capable of speeds approaching 30 knots, M32s offer unrivalled 'performance for your buck'.

“We are extremely excited to announce the 2019 M32 European Series. The ease with which the boats are transported, built, and launched helps us go to amazing venues and I believe we will have six incredible events leading up to what will be a spectacular World Championship in Riva del Garda, one of the best yacht racing venues in the World. With Aston Harald’s generous donation of boats, and events from Pisa to Gothenburg, there is now no excuse for teams interested in the M32 not to come and join in the fun,” said Ian Williams, skipper of GAC Pindar, winner of the 2018 M32 Series, and M32 Class Vice President.

2019 M32 European Series

San Remo, Italy - 22-24 March (non-scoring warm-up event)
Marina di Pisa, Italy - 24-26 May
Holland - 21-23 June (host venue to be confirmed)
Gothenburg, Sweden - 19-21 July
Stenungsund, Sweden - 15-17 August (two days inshore racing followed by the Tjörn Runt)
Pre-Worlds, Riva del Garda, Italy - 24-25 August
M32 World Championship, Riva del Garda, Italy - 26-30 August

M32 Media