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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Audi Hamilton Island Race Week and..... the IRC Trophy goes to.......Loki

Loki Crowned Hammo Champion
Morgan White on Loki Photo: Andrea Francolini
The final race of the week long regatta might have been won by Geoff Ross's Yendys, but Loki finished on top of the leaderboard to win the IRC Grand Prix Division at Hamilton Island yesterday.
Gordon Maguire (left) and Wild Oats X skipper Iain Murray Photo: Lulu Roseman
It is the first time the winner of the Audi Sydney to Gold Coast Race has also gone on to win Audi Hamilton Island Race Week in the same year.

Stephen Ainsworth's RP63 has dominated the Audi IRC Series so far this year.

"Over the last 12 months we have been improving everything on the boat and we are starting to see how those little improvements are impacting our results," said Tactician and Boat Manager Gordon Maguire.

Lulu Roseman

Spanish Charisma is the Classic with the best cuisine, cutest crew....and best coffee

Peppered among the Aussie crews at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week were a number of foreign campaigners but one very special team stood out.

In 2007 the 1970 built Stephens-designed 57 footer Charisma left Real Club Náutico de Barcelona to complete in a round the world cruise starting with the Rolex Fastnet Race that year, followed by all the classic races including the Newport to Bermuda, the Transpac and the Rolex Sydney Hobart last year.
Photo: Andrea Francolini/AUDI
As part of their series of southern hemisphere stop-overs, Charisma joined in at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week as the only Spanish entry on the starting list of 200 plus boats enjoying the Whitsunday Islands playground for this annual winter regatta which draws boats and sailors from around the globe.

Nine Spanish crew plus three Australians, including two Cruising Yacht Club of Australia Youth Sailing Academy sailors, are racing the forty year old S & S in IRC Passage division 1 and are currently fourth on the ladder at the half way mark of the regatta which wraps up this Saturday.

Rather than helming, the owner, venture capitalist Alejandro Perez Calzada, is the electronics boffin. For the boat’s first Race Week Calzada has opted to navigate the waters of the Whitsundays, the two metre tides, variable morning winds and tricky back eddies providing plenty of food for thought.

“Alejandro likes the currents and tidal movements and the strategies that go with them, he’s really into his electronics,” said mainsheet hand Frank Sticovich, who speaks fluent Spanish so was called upon to assist with communication when Charisma first arrived in Sydney last September and has stayed with the crew ever since.

Apart from the wonderful Spanish food Sticovich and the crew enjoy, he reckons the Espresso coffee machine is by far the best piece of equipment on the boat.

“The coffee machine goes all day when we are out racing; and a shot of Spanish brandy makes it taste that little bit better.”
Charisma was one of the first designs from the pen of Olin J. IOR Stephens, one half of the famous Sparkman and Stephens design duo. Built from aluminium by Palmer Johnson in 1970 in USA, the boat participated in the 1973 Admiral's Cup representing Team USA.

In 2003 it was acquired by the current owner who restored the deck to original condition and optimised the boat’s performance with a new carbon fibre rig.

Charisma’s schedule currently has them completing their world cruise in 2012 with the Ocean Regatta Buenos Aires however Sticovich says it’s likely the boat will continue on to the Caribbean and Mediterranean.

Editors note: After racing on another S&S, Melibea IV during the Trofeo Almirante Conde De Barcelona in Palma last week where food and coffee also reigned supreme, racing in this manner was one of my most enjoyable yacht racing experiences.

Lulu Roseman

Cold and Windy at Hamilton Island

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Loki Leads The Pack at Hammo

Photo: Andrea Francolini/AUDI
After the second day of racing Loki is leading the IRC Grand Prix division pointscore after achieving another two wins today on the windward/leeward course making her record this regatta three guns from three starts.

But it’s only early days in this event which is more like a marathon than a sprint where the punishing social schedule has caused some Skippers a few headaches in the past when it comes to managing the crew and their partying schedule. But it’s all in good fun and keeping with the spirit of the event provides sailors of all experience levels to have fun, network and talk shop.

Rumour has it that a couple of the pros on one of the the IRC Grand Prix entries have taking their partying to a whole new level and are the last to leave to Bohemes nightclub every morning. The question is how will it affect their performance as the two fellas in question both have integral positions on the boat. If they can get away with it and still do well good on them, but somehow I don't think that will be the case.

Lulu Roseman

Whales Going All Warm and Fuzzy

Photos: Andrea Francolini/AUDIjpg
There were a few complications for the fleet at Hammo today when a mother whale and her new calf chose to splash about right in the middle of the race course.
Photo: Andrea Francolini/AUDI
Photo: Andrea Francolini/AUDI
Photo: Andrea Francolini/AUDI

Photo: Andrea Francolini/AUDI
Lulu Roseman

Trofeo Almirante Conde De Barcelona in Palma - The Wrap Up

An amazing week racing in the Bay of Palma...we can't re live it but lets try to...let's give it a go...
Classic all the way Photo: Lulu Roseman
And the yacht racing was OK too.....
Malibea IV Photo: Lulu Roseman
Crews relax after racing Photo: Lulu Roseman
Photo: Nico Martinez

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Diesel creates very Dusty Sailors

Hamilton Island, Australia - Saturday 21 August, 2010

Hamilton Island Race Week kicked off today with the race across Whitsunday Passage and around North and South Molle Islands.

Last night Diesel and his band played at the opening street fiesta where crews went hard, letting their hair down and partying well into the wee hours.
Photo: Andrea Francolini
A few naughty sailors weren’t so bright eyed this morning. But the race across the Whitsunday Passage wasn’t too taxing in a sou’east breeze that averaged 12 knots.
Photo: Andrea Francolini
Loki dominated the IRC Grand Prix fleet pipping Living Doll by just a minute. Loki’s owner, Stephen Ainsworth puts their win down to a conservative start by helmsman Gordon Maguire and not taking any risks.

“We hung up there with the 66 footers, ground out a result and so far, so good,” Ainsworth said.

The America’s Cup boys of Gavin Brady, Craig Monk and Jamie Gale onboard Black Jack RP66 are set for a showdown declaring war with Iain Murray who is helming sister-ship, Wild Oats X.

Racing will heat up manana (no guys, this ain’t Palma, where hotties on the bow is the norm) when the IRC fleet heads to the windward/leeward course.


Light Winds, Classic Yacht Racing, Stunning Day

The breeze was light but the classics still managed to race around the Bay of Palma in what was an absolutely stunning day on the water.
Photo: Nico Martinez

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Classics Descend on Palma de Mallorca

The Bay of Palma will again host the XXVI ALMIRANTE CONDE DE BARCELONA TROPHY from the 16th-22nd of August 2010. The event has kicked off today with a Skipper's Briefing followed by an elegant cocktail party to welcome all the crews to Mallorca's sailing community.

The sun has been shining all day as final preparations and finishing touches were made to one of the most stunning fleets to grace this gorgeous city's historic waterfront. The friendly ambiance is evident all around as sailors and their supporters joined Aina Calvo Sastre, the Mayoress Of Palma, to clink glasses and salute what is expected to be a fantastic regatta.Thanks to King Juan Carlos this event has become a dream come true to many lovers of classic yachting.

Lulu Roseman

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Benteaus no longer so Beneasleau...oops I meant... Bene-slow

Darryl Hodgkinson is on fire with Victoire at the Airlie Beach regatta.

Day two had it's frustrations. Light winds from the south west that then it swung around to the north west, a delayed start and no code zero caused Victoire a few problems but tomorrow is a new day and brings new hope and possibly some more breeze...
But no one was too concerned about it so early in the piece.

Cracklin' Rosie, the Farr 40 rumoured to line up with the international fleet at the Farr 40 World's in Sydney in February is having a cracker of a time.
But Living Doll, the Cookson 50 that copped a beating by Yendys in the Audi Sydney to Gold Coast Race last month is currently at the top of the leader board.

"The weather is beautiful but the wind is quite light, under 10 knots, and without the right kite we didn't quite get the desired result," Danny McConville explained down the wire from dinner the Whitsunday Sailing Club. "Tomorrow is a new day with two leeward/winward races we expect a better outcome."

Lulu Roseman

Monday, August 9, 2010

Copa Del Rey Rocks

Vasco is very happy Photo: Lulu Roseman
Congratulations to Vasco Vascotto and all the crew of Matador... Plus big cheers to Chris and RAN who took out the Maxi division... And a huge thanks to my amazing crew, the four hot blondes (below) and Van Dutch for the coolest boat on the race course.
Marcus, Andrea, Regina & Cat - Ready About Media boat crew

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Simon, Tahiti Sounds Nice.....for some killer waves

Aussie surfers are ripping it up in Tahiti where nine Australian surfers are among an elite field of 32 internationals who have been invited to contest the prestigious Air Tahiti Nui VonZipper Trials scheduled to take place at the notorious break of “Teahupo’o” in Tahiti over four days beginning August 16th.

The Air Tahiti Nui VonZipper Trials is a precursor to stop 5 on the ASP Men’s World Tour, the Billabong Pro, Tahiti and only the winner is guaranteed a wildcard seed direct into the Billabong Pro’s elite main event. A second position is open to the highest placed local Tahitian surfer.
The field of invited Australian surfers includes: Wade Goodall (Sunshine Coast, QLD), Ryan Callinan (Merewether, NSW), Laurie Towner (Yamba, NSW), Nick Vasicek (Gold Coast, QLD), Anthony Walsh (Lennox Head, NSW), Koby Abberton (Maroubra, NSW), Mark Matthews (Maroubra, NSW), Damien Wills (Sth Coast, NSW) and Ryan Hipwood (Gold Coast, QLD).

All have been chosen based on previous performances at either Teahupo’o or abroad, and for their dedication to riding the world’s most intimidating surf spots.

The nature of the Teahupo’o break and the intensity of competition make the competition like no other. In surfing circles, the trials winner is lauded as a minor hero – required to put his life on the line inside the huge barrels that break across dangerously shallow, tropical reef - and the respect earned from his peers is on par with the eventual champion of the main event.

From there, further glory lies in overcoming one of the Billabong Pro’s top three seeds in Round 1 of the main event. In 2010 those seeds include current world ranked no. 1, Jordy Smith (Durban, ZAF), world ranked no. 2 Taj Burrow (WA, AUS) and world ranked no. 3 Kelly Slater (Fl, USA).

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Yendys Keeps The Edge

The Audi Sydney Gold Coast Race saw an extremely competitive group of 50-something footers from Sydney and Melbourne; including six TP52´s, a new Farr 55 Living Doll, two Cookson 50s, a new Reichel Pugh 50, Secret Mens Business and Yendys a RP55, battle it out for handicap honours.
Yendys on the start line Photo: Andrea Francolini/AUDI
This group of high performance racing yachts participate in all Australia´s major ocean races and regattas and after their performance over the last few days, Yendys has emerged as leader of this pack resulting in a second place.

Yendys and overall handicap winner, Loki RP63, launched in 2008, are slugging it out for the position of Australia´s leading IRC boat. Now that Loki has succeeded in staking her claim in this race, Yendys owner Geoff Ross, whose last victory in an ocean race was in 2009 in the Sydney to Newcastle race has declared game on as both yachts are set for a showdown in Hamilton Island later this month. Ross won the event in 2007.
Photo: Andrea Francolini/AUDI
¨Yendys has undergone continuous refinement since she was launched in 2006.By working closely with Reichel Pugh the boat is now quicker through the water and has significantly improved our IRC rated performance. Recently the fin, bulb and rudder were replaced. Southern spars upgraded the rig and our sail development program is with North Sails,¨ said Geoff Ross.

It also helps that his crew of a very high calibre including world renowned ocean racer, Chris Nicholson, who was recently named as the Skipper of the ETNZ Volvo Ocean Race campaign.

The IRC rating rule strongly supports evolutionary improvement and keeps racing boats competitive for longer much to the delight of Ross.

¨The reality is that a three and a half year old boat is still on the leading edge of ocean racing in Australia compared to one year when I was racing grand prix IMS boats,¨ he said.

According to Ross, Velocity Prediction Program (VPP) based rules like IMS or ORC traditionally keep boats current and competitive for only one year. He has supported IMS with four boats and now firmly believes that the IRC rule produces the best boats and creates the best ocean racing that he has ever experienced since he began racing offshore.

¨Nothing is perfect in handicapping but overall the IRC rule has been managed and developed very effectively and fairly by the RORC. I will never return to racing under a VPP rule.¨

Lulu Roseman

Monday, August 2, 2010

Wild Oats XI wins line honours and baby Wild Oats X is 2nd overall on handicap

A clean sweep for the Reichel Pugh designed racing weapons

Not long after finishing the Sydney to Southport Race a few hours ago,Yendys owner Geoff Ross, was racing to the airport to catch his flight back to Sydney, and when I spoke with him a few moments ago he was clearly delighted with the results.
Photos: Andrea Francolini/AUDI
“By lunchtime yesterday we were racing neck and neck with Loki. We have got the boat going faster and we smoked out all the other 50-55 footers to finish third overall which I am pretty happy about. We’ve also got Chris Nicholson sailing with us onboard so that has got to help,” Ross said.
Photos: Andrea Francolini/AUDI
The crew were no doubt still shooting the breeze at the bar over a few rumbos with the crews off both Wild Oats yachts XI and X and overall handicap winner, Stephen Ainswoth’s Reichel Pugh 63, Loki. All yachts were designed by Reichel Pugh and built by McConaghy Yachts.

Lulu Roseman

Team Aqua Win Valencia Cup

Congratulations to Chris Bake and Cameron Appleton and their Team Aqua crew for an incredible performance. Artemis finished in second place and Jimmy Spithill´s 17 was third on the podium with his Australian/Kiwi/Danish crew.
Team Aqua´s owner Chris Bake shares the limelight with tactician Cameron Appleton
The last three days of racing in near perfect 18-21 knot conditions in Valencia was some of the best and tightest fleet racing around.
The very cool 17 crew accept their third place trophy
Fleet head to the dock Photo: Lulu Roseman
Lulu Roseman

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Team 17 slipped by the two A Teams

At the RC44 Valencia Cup, the southeasterly breeze came up in the early afternoon, to peak at 20 knots and the Saturday sun worshippers on Malvarossa Beach where treated to one spectacular day of close yacht racing that was challenging for many of the crews, pushing their skills to the absolute limit.
Beachcombers have a ringside seat at RC44s Photo: Lulu Roseman
Team Aqua and Artemis both got two wins and have leapfrogged to first and second respectively, leaving James Spithill and his young crew on 17 scratching their heads and vowing to make a comeback today. Peter Heerema's No Way Back with Ray Davies onboard scored two seconds followed by eighth and a ninth to secure fourth position on the leader board and as current tour leaders, are looking for a strong finish tomorrow.
Team Aqua lead Artemis at windward mark in Race 7 Photo: Lulu Roseman
Kyle Langford, who is racing in his first RC44 regatta onboard 17, explains what happened in the second day fleet racing after such an amazing result of three wins out of four on Friday.

"The main difference today was there was a bit more breeze and the sea state was a bit more lumpy and we did have good starts and clear air but we just couldn't quite hold our lane and pinch the guys to windward. In the first race we overlaid the top mark by quite a bit and came in mid fleet. In the second race it was a similar story, we got bounced out to the left and we forced duck a few sterns, but in the last run we made some really good gains downwind to finish fourth. We rounded the mark seventh so got three boats on the run. We struggled to hold our height in that wind and chop but we didn't get the boat in tune with the wind conditions like we did on Friday," Langford said.
17 Photo: Lulu Roseman
Racing will resume on Sunday at 12:00pm.

RC 44 VALENCIA CUP
(Fleet racing provisional results)
1. Team Aqua / Chris Bake (UAE) 2-3-5-4-3-1-1-4, 23 points
2. Artemis / Torbjorn Tornqvist (SWE) 5-7-2-6-1-3-2-1, 27 points
3. 17 / Anders Myralf (USA) 1-4-1-1-5-4-5-10, 32 points*
4. No Way Back / Pieter Heerema (NED) 8-2-7-5-2-8-9-2, 43 points
5. BMW ORACLE Racing / Maxim Logutenko (USA) 10-6-4-2-4-6-6-5, 43 points
6. Katusha / Guennadi Timtchenko (RUS) 9-1-8-3-10-9-3-6, 49 points
7. Team Sea Dubai / Harm Mueller-Speer (UAE) 7-8-11-9-7-2-7-3, 54 points
8. Ceeref / Igor Lah (SLO) 6-11-3-7-8-10-4-7, 56 points
9. Islas Canarias Puerto Calero / Daniel Calero (ESP) 3-9-9-10-6-5-8-8, 58 points
10. AEZ RC44 Sailing Team / Rene Mangold (AUT) 4-10-10-8-11-7-11-9, 70 points
11. Mascalzone Latino Audi Team / Vincenzo Onorato (ITA) 11-5-6-11-9-11-10-11, 74 points
(* includes 1 point penalty by International Jury)

Lulu Roseman