Sunday, October 31, 2010

Big seas force six yachts out of Lord Howe Island Race

Heavy seas and strong winds in the northern Tasman Sea have forced six of the 17 yachts to retire from the Hempel Paints 37th Gosford to Lord Howe Island Race. While all but one boat has returned safely to ports on the New South Wales coast, and that boat has a long sail back from the front of the fleet, nothing has been heard from one yacht since the start on Saturday.
The 414 nautical mile race across the Tasman started on Saturday afternoon in a nor’easter that built to more than 30 knots, with 5-6m seas overnight, as the fleet pounded to windward.

Fleet leader The Stick, Rick Christian’s 66-footer, pulled out last night after taking water through a stern gland, while the classic yawl Veolia Maris, skippered by Tiare Tomaszewski, retired after the crew failed to stem water coming through a hatch. “We are making no headway with the strong wind and big seas right on the nose,” reported the skipper.
Late this morning, the new fleet leader Santana, Nick Johnston’s 15m Lidgard/Dovell sloop, also retired and headed for Broken Bay. At the time, she was more than 150 nautical miles east of the Australian coastline but gave no reason for retiring from the race. Also retired are Kerisma, Grant Dawson and Brent Lawson’s Ker 11.3, apparently because of seasickness, She, Peter Rodgers’ Olson 40 with a broken traveller, and Stampede, an Inglis 11.8 co-skippered by Rob Francis and Corinne Feldmann. She is reported to have reached Broken Bay.

However, Gosford Sailing Club has heard nothing since the start of the race from Frantic, a Sayer-designed 11.9m sloop, either on the ‘skeds’ (radio position reports) or from the tracker with which she has been fitted. Other yachts have called Frantic, skippered by Michael Martin from the Lake Macquarie Yacht Club, on VHF radio during today’s ‘skeds’ with no answer.
If the yacht fails to respond to calls from Lord Howe Island Radio at tonight’s midnight safety ‘sked’ she will be asked to indicate her position by firing a white emergency flare at 0036 hours tomorrow morning.
However, the fleet is widely spread and it is doubtful if any other yachts will sight a flare.

As conditions eased tonight in the Tasman, positions reported at the 1805 ‘sked’ place the Queensland yacht Ocean Affinity, Stewart Lewis’ Martens 49 leading the fleet with 210 nautical miles still to sail.
She is about 15 miles ahead of Paul Clitheroe’s Beneteau 45 Balance which is estimated as the overall IRC leader on progressive corrected times.
The classic yacht Ray White Spirit of Koomooloo, skippered by another Queenslander, Mike Freebairn, is sailing exceptionally well in the heavy weather and is third in the fleet and second on IRC corrected time. Quetzalcoatl, Antony Sweetapple’s Jones 12, is fourth in the fleet and heading the diminished PHS division of the race, but still with 250 nautical miles to sail.

With winds and seas easing but remaining on the nose, it is unlikely the first boats will reach Lord Howe Island until late Monday or early Tuesday after one of the toughest races in recent years.

Peter Campbell

Transfusion Clean Up At Farr 40 Regatta

Transfusion wins 2010 Pittwater Farr 40 regatta

After two days of racing off Palm Beach in Sydney’s north Guido Belgiorno Nettis’ Transfusion  has taken out the 2010 Pittwater Farr 40 regatta  The fleet, which had two new teams lining up for this event, raced six races over the two days and the weather gods provided plenty of breeze and swell giving the six boat fleet a taste of what’s to come over this season for the Farr 40’s.

Joining the fleet from Sydney was Ivan Resnekov’s Impi and from New Zealand Brett Neill’s White Cloud. The fleet recently raced at Port Stephens and this regatta has again been utilised by teams in preparation for the 2011 Rolex Farr 40 Worlds being held in Sydney in February.

“We played out what we thought was the best strategic race in the final race and it went our way”, said a satisfied Belgiorno Nettis. He continued “I want to thank Lisa and Martin and the Estate Master team for pushing us all the way and helping us work on our worlds plans and preparation for next year”.

Day one of racing for the fleet and things were kicked off with a consistent nor'east breeze that ranged between 13 to 20 knots for the three races of the day. Winners of the 2010 Peppers F40 regatta, Lisa and Martin Hill’s Estate Master started off the regatta with a win in the first race and the New Zealanders made their presence felt shadowing Transfusion for the entire race. A protest resulted in White Cloud being scored DSQ for this race and gave second place to Transfusion and maximum points to the New Zealanders.

An over zealous fleet were given a general recall for race two and once they restarted Estate Master replicated their first result with their second win while White Cloud again held onto second and Transfusion in third.

Both Estate Master and Transfusion were called over early in race three and the New Zealanders took full advantage of the situation taking the gun with Transfusion making up ground over the course and sliding into second in a photo finish with Estate Master who recorded their first third place for the regatta.

The second day of racing provided a similar breeze but a greatly increased sea way and swell which stretched the fleet out across the race course. Race four and it was Transfusion’s turn to take the gun with Estate Master in second and White Cloud in third. The swell provided plenty of challenges and teams had to gybe on the back of a large seaway on both runs downwind.

Race five was taken again by Transfusion and White Cloud took second. An extremely close finish between Jeff Carter’s Twin Edake and Estate Master resulted in Twin Edake being awarded third and Estate Master in fourth which set the scene for a very tactical final race.

The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club race committee got the fleet away for the final race of the regatta and White Cloud showed the fleet a clean set of heels and extended on their lead for the two laps around the course. A game of cat and mouse and a gybeing duel between Estate Master and Transfusion provided Chris Way’s Easy Tiger II with the opportunity to capitalise on the situation and manoeuvre through to second place over the line with Estate Master finishing third and Transfusion fourth. These places gave Transfusion a one point separation in the final points and the regatta win.

The entire regatta has given the teams an opportunity to gain valuable team time on the water and improve on crew work as they aim for the ultimate class title in 2011, the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship.

The next regatta on the 2010-2011 Australian Farr 40 circuit is the Middle Harbour SSORC regatta November 27-28.

Final Results:

Corinthian Division Winner – Twin Edake Jeff Carter MHYC

1 Transfusion Guido Belgiorno Nettis MHYC 13

2 Estate Master Lisa and Martin Hill MHYC 14

3 White Cloud Brett Neill RNZYS 16

4 Twin Edake Jeff Carter MHYC 24

5 Easy Tiger II Chris Way RPAYC 25

6 iMpi Ivan Resnekov RSYS 35

Lord Howe Island Race Fleet Cop A Beating

The fleet in the Hempel Paints 37th Gosford to Lord Howe Island Yacht Race has taken a pounding overnight out in the Tasman Sea, with four yachts, including line honours leader The Stick and the classic yawl Veolia Maris, forced to retire.
Also out of the race this morning are Kerisma and She but all boats are reported back safely in port Sydney or Pittwater,

The 414 nautical mile race started from Broken Bay at 1:00pm yesterday in a freshening nor’easterly breeze that by mid-evening had increased to 30 knot headwinds with steep offshore seas.
Gosford Sailing Club officials have not been advised of the reason for the retirement of the 66-footer The Stick, owned by Rick Christianson from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia.

However, Veolia Maris, skippered by Sydney Amateur Sailing Club’s Tiare Tomaszewski , the IRC winner of the last two Lord Howe Island Races, reported that she had been taking water through a hatch. The 52 year old boat was also making little progress against the strong nor’easter.

Peter Rodgers’ Olsen 40, She, from the CYCA, was forced out with a broken mainsheet traveller while Grant Dawson and Brent Lawson’s Kerisma pulled out because of crew sickness in the heavy conditions.
All other yachts reported at midnight that they were continuing to race, but the Newcastle marine base was unable to make any ‘satisfactory contacts’ with the fleet during this morning’s 6:05am ‘sked’ with the fleet.

However, up the track Nick Johnston’s 15m Lidgard/Dovell from the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club had opened up a substantial lead over the fleet. She is sailing in a long port tack that has placed her south-east of Sydney, well below the rhumbline course to Lord Howe Island.
Second in the fleet was last year’s line honours winner Ocean Infinity, Stewart Lewis’ Marten 49 from the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron followed by Paul Clitheroe’s Beneteau 45 Balance and the classic ocean racer Ray White Spirit of Koomooloo, skippered by Mike Freebairn, also from RQYS.

The next official ‘sked’ with the fleet is at 6.05pm this evening.

Peter Campbell

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Stick Got Stuck

The Stick was forced to retire from the Lord Howe Island Race yesterday after getting a great start and leading the 17 strong fleet up the New South Wales coastline. Perfect conditions and a solid nor'westerly of 15-20 knots.

Awaiting an update from the Race Committee.

Sanatana are leading by a long way.

Santana nearly crunch Ocean Affinity on the Start line

Nick Johnson's 50 footer, Santana, caused a few hearts to race on the start line for the 37th Hempel Lord Howe Island Race yesterday and it wasn't because of his popular bowman.
Santana power ed off the start line almost taking out Ocean Affinity
Santana Rail Bunnies discussing their footwear options

Friday, October 29, 2010

Hutch Exits Quantum Racing

Ed Baird has been appointed as the new Skipper of Quantum Racing now that Terry Hutchinson is ramping up his campaign to challenge for the 34th America's Cup in 2013.

Final Results from Rolex Middle Sea Race


If the early miles of the Rolex Middle Sea Race were a test of patience, the latter miles were a true test of endurance. A strong mistral of up to 40+ knots helped push the fleet homeward to the finish in Malta. The last two yachts, Zizanie andAmethyst Abroad, were around the island of Lampedusa and racing towards the finish line off the Royal Malta Yacht Club. The two boats showed heaps of perseverance for hanging in, even if the northwesterly breeze had subsided to a ‘mere’ 25+ knots.

Meanwhile the bulk of the fleet were safely secured in either Marsamxett Harbour or around the corner in Grand Harbour Marina, and the overall class standings were sorted as the last boats trickled in.

IRC Overall – Lucky (USA)

IRC 1 – Esimit Europa 2 (SLO)

IRC 2 – Lucky (USA)

IRC 3 – Jaru (MLT)

IRC 4 – Artie (MLT)

ORC Overall – Jaru (MLT)

ORC 1 – E1 (RUS)

ORC 2 – Varuna (GER)

ORC 3 – Jaru (MLT)

ORC 4 – Three Sisters (CZK)

Double Handed – BOV Plain Sailing (MLT)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

37th Hempel Lord Howe Island Race - Ready to Rock

In a six degrees of separation moment, Queensland's Andy Turton, who just won the RMSR, competed in this race last year onboard Ocean Affinity, the stunning Marten 49 owned by Stewart Lewis from Brisbane's RQYS.

But Turton's fellow Queenslanders are putting in a good showing with four yachts from the RQYS competing among the 17 strong fleet.

Sydney based Paul Clitheroe with his Beneteau 45, Balance (CYCA) is after a win but he is going to have a tough fight on his hands.

Nick Johnston's 50 footer, Santana (RPAYC),  has some of Pittwater's top yachtsmen onboard who reckon they will sail the boats as hard as they can without destroying it.

Peter Gregg, of Boatmate, who has been responsible for preparing the L designed yacht originally built for the Melbourne to Osaka Race for her debut Lord Howe Island campaign.

"We are a bunch of one design sailors who love our Sydney 38's and Farr 40's, but we are all really keen ocean racers.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Australia's Andy Turton got Lucky in Rolex Middle Sea Race

The crew arrived across the finish line on Tuesday night but went to bed not knowing if they had taken out the overall handicap honours or not. Lucky we had Andrea Moegling on the spot to catch up with an exhausted but happy Andy Turton before his head hit the pillow.
Lucky approaches the finish line in Malta Photos: Kurt Arrigo/Rolex 
And they have done it.

The USA TP52 Lucky has won the Rolex Middle Sea Race with a little help from a man from downunder.

There is no doubt that this year’s kamikaze weather race created many challenges but Australian yachtsman, Andy Turton knew from the onset that the conditions would favour his ride, a TP52 modified for oceam racing reather than for light air.

"The first part was a bit quicker than we expected and we sailed right up to the bigger boats. Further up the race track we met the anticipated tidal gate at the Messina Strais and our timing was perfect. Thanks to our navigator, Ian "Irish" Moore, (VOR/AC sailor on loan from BMW Oracle Racing) who made the right call to hang onto the spinnaker and wait for the breeze to lift us. That’s were we got away from the other 50 footers boats. Later of course they caught up with us again. The course offered so many tactical choices to be made. It had plenty to offer and we were able to make the most out of the conditions handed to us," Turton said.
Andy Turton on the helm: cool control and unwavering concentration Photo: Kurt Arrigo/Rolex 
"We have great mix of people amongst our crew all with individual talent. Everybody was pushed to limit in using their skills from navigation to steering and looking after the boat through the sail changes, and being strict in keeping to the watch schedule. It is tough being on the rail for the whole day or night and Bryon Erhard, our owner ,played an integral role in putting this great crew together," he said

The question many want answered (if our mailbag is anything to go by - Ed) and is rarely asked to those that endure these longer ocean races is, 'Did you actually have fun?'

"Yep it was a whole lot of fun. F****g awesome and very exciting. We had some fantastic long downwind runs with over 30 knot winds. The sky went from being pitch black with lightening bolts and then we'd get hammered with torrential rain and massive hail stones.
Photo: Kurt Arrigo/Rolex
"When you're crossing over busy shipping lanes with 17 knots on the nose with the jib top on and trying to get across the bow of the big guys, there is always something happening. Everybody wanted to do their best and pull their weight. Really, the toughest part was going off watch and actually trying to sleep because I wanted to give more and help out my mates so we achieve a good result."

The boat has been enhanced for offshore racing and over the past six months has undergone some significant modifications in Valencia to refine it’s IRC rating, including dual steering wheels for easier steerage in heavier seas.
Photo: Kurt Arrigo/Rolex
When Turton and his crew woke up this morning they learnt what hand they had been dealt and as it turned out their provisional results status stayed firm and they were announced the overall winners after a count back on corrected time. The potential upset was from E1, the champion Volvo 70 known as Erricsson 1, owned by Russian Vladimir Prosikhin, who also has an Australia crew member, Simon Rosier. He was one of the first to congratulate his fellow countryman, who looks more like a laid back surfer dude than a rockstar yacht racer.

Lulu Roseman

Lucky Gets Very Lucky - Winners are Grinners

The TP52 Lucky is the overall winner of the Rolex Middle Sea Race.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

37th Hempel Lord Howe Island Race

Half a century between Lord Howe Island race favourites

Half a century in design and hull construction separates race handicap favourites Veolia Maris and Balance going into next Saturday’s Hempel Paints 37th Gosford to Lord Howe Island Yacht Race, 414 nautical miles across the Tasman Sea.

Veolia Maris, designed by the late Alan Payne and built of timber in Hobart by the famous Jock Muir in 1958, will be in line to win the IRC rating division for an unprecedented third consecutive year. Skippering the classic yawl will be Tiare Tomaszewski, a grand daughter of the original owner, marine artist Jack Earl.
Balance is looking for a win in Lord Howe Island
Balance is French-designed Beneteau First 45 built to the latest composite construction methods, owned and skippered by television financial commentator Paul Clitheroe, and launched in 2008. She jumped to equal favouritism with Veolia Maris with an impressive overall win last Saturday in the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron’s historic Gascoigne Cup off Sydney Heads.

A fleet of 17 yachts, including four from Queensland, will be flagged away from Broken Bay, north of Sydney, at 1.00pm this Saturday, 30 October. The start line will be set between Barrenjoey headland and Lion Island.
From there, the fleet will sail close inshore up the New South Wales Central Coast for about six nautical miles before rounding a mark off Terrigal and then setting a north-easterly course to World Heritage-listed Lord Island Island, a tiny, semi-tropical island across the northern Tasman Sea.

Adding colour to the start of Gosford Sailing Club’s biggest annual ocean race, another fleet will set sail soon after the Lord Howe Island Race start, racing north to Terrigal and return, while the club’s Etchells fleet will race in Broken Bay and Laser, Fireball and catamaran fleets will race off Terrigal.

Balance won the Gascoigne Cup, the 102nd running of this historic annual short ocean race, from a fleet of 37 of Sydney’s top racing yachts.

The Gascoigne Cup was decided under PHS handicaps, but Balance’s Lord Howe Island prospects in the IRC division were also enhanced by its close second in the IRC division of the Gascoigne Cup.

Clitheroe prides his ‘corinthian’ approach to ocean racing and having a long-term regular crew. This is certainly paying dividends and will see the boat start equal favourite for IRC honours in the Lord Howe Island Race, the only annual category one ocean race in Australia outside of the Rolex Sydney Hobart.

However, the competition will be keen in the Lord Howe Island Race, with much depending on the weather during the two to three-day race which, in the past two years, has favoured Maris, the lowest rating (handicapped) boat in the fleet. Stronger winds will favour the bigger and newer boats.

The three IRC division placegetters are competing again – Veolia Maris, representing the Sydney Amateur Sailing Club and the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, Amante (Dennis Cooper) from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, and Copernicus (Greg Zyner) from Manly Yacht Club.

Last year’s PHS winner, the Queensland yacht Charlie’s Dream, skippered by Peter Lewis from the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, is back again as is third placegetter, the Gosford Sailing Club entrant Polaris of Belmont (Chris Dawe).

Another strong contender in the PHS division will be Peter Rodgers’ Olsen 40 which was overall PHS winner of last year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Race. Rodgers has been a regular competitor in the Lord Howe Island Race, winning the PHS division in 1997.

Last year’s line honours winner, Stewart Lewis’ Ocean Affinity, also from RQYS, is racing ageing but a strong favourite for line honours The Stick, Rick Christianson 66-footer from the CYCA.

Peter Campbell

Monday, October 25, 2010

Lucky Might Get lucky

Isimit Europa 2 have been powering downwind around Lampedusa, rounding at 12.40, with ICAP Leopard approximately two hours behind. With the finish line looming only 25 miles distant, barring any breakdowns, Esimit should have sewn up a line honours victory. The Slovenian entry is due over the finish line off the Royal Malta Yacht Club in Marsamxett Harbour around 18.30. But it's never over until the fat lady sings.
ICAP Leopard has been snapping at their heels from the start and have picked up some ground on Esimit and was only 40 miles behind at 17.00 but was quickly running out of racecourse to  reel in the big blue maxi that beat them in the 2009 Roles Sydney to Hobart when known as Alfa Romeo owned by Kiwi Neville "Croaky" Crichton
The last of the fleet has just rounded the volcano of Stromboli and are all making their way to Favignana then around Pantelleria, Lampedusa, and through the South Comino channel to the finish in Marsamxett Harbour, Valletta.
With nine boats around the ‘mark’ of Favignana, current overall leader, based on this group, is Bryon Ehrhart’s TP52 Lucky. Ehrhart is a veteran of the Transpac, Newport Bermuda Race, and Bayview Mackinac Race and also actively campaigns an Etchells 22. On board TP52 Lucky, the crew include some of Ehrhart’s Etchells crew, as well as Irishman, Ian Moore (crew member, BMW Oracle America’s Cup team) and New Zealander, Dave Swete (2010 World Match Racing champion).
Tonight could well be a tough one for many of the yachts that have not yet reached the northwest corner of Sicily. A cold front is due to arrive from the northwest, bringing rain and wind speeds in excess of twenty knots, and lumpy seas, hampering their progress to Favignana.

Beating into strong headwinds can take its’ toll on the crew and the equipment, as Steinlager 2 have already found out. Steinlager 2 is part of offshore racing folklore, winning the 1989-90 Whitbread Round the World Race with legendary Skipper, Sir Peter Blake.
Giles Pearman, crewmember onboard said, “All sorts of problems changing to the number four headsail. We almost lost the number three (headsail) over the side when it ripped out of the foil. It took eight of us on the foredeck to get it under control. The decision on deck is that for now lifejackets and harnesses are mandatory. My Russian teammates are acting like nothing just happened but I can’t hide the fact that I am exhausted.”

Further back in the fleet, Elusive 2 Medbank crew member Maya Podesta emailed earlier today,.
“Monday morning started with eggs and bacon on Elusive, after an unpleasant second night. Lots of starting and stopping and 'no wind' games. Keeps you awake with lots of sail changes and trimming. It must be scenes such as a glowing eruption of Stromboli on one side, and baby dolphins on the other side of the boat at 2:00am that make this race special, and keeps you going.

“It’s amazing how close the boats on either side can just sail by you and those behind keep catching up, while you never quite manage to catch those ahead of you. We've had a lot of drizzle all through the night, but nothing like the rain we hear they had back home. So no rainbows to find a pot of luck at the end. But hey, it’s a long race, and we're here to keep pushing, no matter how nasty the wind can be.”

Additional boats that have retired today include the Class 40 Pogo 1 (GER), which is headed to Messina, the Cookson 50, Calipso IV (ITA) currently in Palermo, and the Vismara 42 Nautilus QQ7 (ITA).

Lulu Roseman

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Latest Update - Middle Sea Race

Alegre sneaking around Stromboli
With the frontrunner, Esimit Europa 2 halfway down the track to Favignana and Maretimo, at around 13.30 ICAP Leopard made a bold move, heating up about 45 degrees off the rhumb line to avoid a windless area, and in a bid for speed. Alegre and the following pack of a dozen or so over 50-footers – E1, Pace, Lucky, Wild Joe, Cantankerous, Latetia, Dralian, Brave, Ambersail, and Altair 3 – are now around Stromboli. Behind them a steady procession of the fleet continues straight back to Messina.
TP52 Lucky
The Slovenian maxi, Esimit, may be in pole position for line honours but there is a tense battle for the overall lead on corrected time. Yachts from three different classes occupy the podium positions at the Messina checkpoint. The Rolex Middle Sea Race is a truly international affair with yachts from six different countries battling for the overall lead.
ICAP Leopard is going for it
Lee Satariano and Christian Ripard’s J/122, Artie, from the Royal Malta Yacht Club, is leading on corrected time at Messina. Ripard has won the race before and is recognised as one of the finest yachtsmen in Malta.
Isimit Europa 2
Just over an hour behind the overall leader is American Bryon Ehrhart’s TP52, Lucky, from the New York Yacht Club, which is very much in contention. There are three boats scrapping for third place overall: Royal Malta Yacht Club member Soenke Stein’s J/133, Juno, Martino Orambelli’s Italian Swan 45, Mandolino and Spanish Swan 56, La Floresta del Mar, skippered by Jaime Olazabal. Johnny Vincent’s British TP52, Pace is also vying for honours and is lying in fifth place overall.
The Gun Goes off...for the start of the 2010 Rolex Middle Sea Race
ICAP Leopard hits the start line...keen to defend their 2009 line honours title
The fleet lines up  . for what is expected to be a fast race to the Stromboli Rock
Ed Broadway with his Farr 40 Hooligan VI is back fro another crack at it

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Middle Sea Race is Underway

The canons of the Saluting Battery were on fire yesterday signaling each of the five starts for the 31st edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race. An impressive fleet of 76 yachts – just two shy of the record of 78 in 2008 – hit the start line between the Saluting Battery mast and a Rolex mark off Fort St. Angelo. The southeasterly breeze enabled the well-positioned yachts – those that managed a pin end start near the mouth of Galley Creek – to lay the harbour entrance.

Dockside ICAP Leopard’s navigator Hugh Agnew shared his thoughts regrading the race,

“We’re going to have a challenge on our hands, because it will be a race of two halves; very light and difficult from here up to and through Messina and then even lighter and more difficult across the top of Sicily around Stromboli. There’s just a vacuum up there as far as we can see with lots of rain. So the whole game is who can get out west in time to get into the new weather.

“There’s new weather due in on Monday, southwest switching to a northwesterly. There’s a strong mistral with 20-25 knots, developing in the Gulf of Lyon that will roll down through Sicily by Monday afternoon and that should blow us home fairly quickly, so the second half will just be a drag race back.”
ICAP Leopard was the line honours winner in 2009; this year they are up against the likes of Esimit Europa 2, which they’ve raced against in her former life as Alfa Romeo. Agnew said, “We know from racing againstAlfa Romeo that she’s quicker than us in the light. So it’s a question of who can hang on to whom and then what happens in the second half of the drag race. Anyway it’s going or be a very interesting race, it’s certainly a race that’s going to depend on the afterguard: Jerry Robinson, Rob Greenhalgh…and I just provide the data.

“It’s one of those strange races. It could either be a biggish boat race; I mean obviously you’d have to look atAlegre at being a favorite, if it ends up being a big boat race. It could be the big boats punch out west, get into it and get home, and the smaller boats get bailed up for longer and longer, up by Stromboli.

“The second scenario is that because the small boats take longer, they’ll spend much more of their race in the windy conditions, so it could well be a small boat race. Because the clock’s ticking for the big boats all the way around. So you’d be looking at a well-sailed 40-foot boat if it turns out to be a small boat race.” Sounds like it’s still anyone’s game. As Agnew said, “There’s all to play for.”

Agnew’s observation of Alegre (GBR) is not without reason as the well-sailed mini maxi was the Rolex Middle Sea Race overall winner last year. Owner/skipper Andres Soriano and his crew are back to defend, but also enjoy coming to Malta to race. Soriano said “Most of these offshore races are point to point; this is point to point but going around a few things and the scenery is spectacular, the islands are great, Sicily is super, and Messina straits are tricky because there is a lot of current and different winds. You have mountains on one side and high mountains on the other, and at the end you have Messina with lots of the Mediterranean current just funneling through there. And Stromboli again is spectacular no matter how many times you’ve seen a volcano erupt. The last few times we’ve done it, we’ve had a good show.
“You get a bit of everything, which is what I guess most people say about the race, but it’s absolutely true. You will have a squall or a storm, and you will have no wind. You’ve got current and corners to go around, so it’s an extremely interesting race. And Malta itself is an extremely interesting place, so it all sort of works together.”

The southeast tip of Sicily, approximately 50 miles from Valletta, is the first key point of the race. Initially a sea breeze can develop, enticing the yachts to get closer and closer to the coast of Sicily. However, further up the coast, the weather in this area is heavily influenced by Mount Etna, which casts a wind shadow offshore. In this sense, the sea breeze can act as a honey-trap; enticing the boats in but then shutting down as the wind shadow takes over, leaving boats caught in the trap.

At 17.00 local Malta time, sailing in ten knots of wind from the southeast, Esimit Europa 2, was only a mile ahead of ICAP Leopard, both boats doing just over seven knots. Six miles behind were Alegre leading E1 (Ericsson the Volvo70), and the TP52 Pace. The race fleet was fairly compacted around the rhumbline to the southeastern corner of Sicily, about 20 miles distant.

While it’s too early to predict ETA’s for first boat home, some of the frontrunners were estimating a Monday night/Tuesday morning arrival at the finish.

AC 34 News

The America's Cup saga continues and we have waited so long what's another few months or weeks, if Russell Coutts has his way. San Francisco is looking like the likely venue but best not to assume until it's officially announced.

Friday, October 22, 2010

50 Knots Whipping up the Maltese Fleet

Reports from earlier in the week weren't pretty.

One mate was not happy with the 30+ knot conditions that battered her beautiful blonde tresses and ego, not to even mention the white knuckles from hanging on for dear life or massive arse bruises that she acquired while on board a mini maxi for the pre regatta inshore racing.
The mixed bag of weather this area is renowned for delivering in October is what this is all about and when the start gun is fired tomorrow at 1:00pm, the spectators can expect plenty of thrills and spills and hopefully no carnage.

Both of the 2009 winners will be back to defend their titles. Overall winner, Andres Soriano on his 21m mini-maxi Alegre and Brit Mike Slade on the 30.5m ICAP Leopard.

On Monday, a low pressure system swept through southern Sicily, with winds of 50 knots and 3-4m seas that delayed the arrival of some of the foreign fleet. Esimit Europa 2 and the ex Australian champion, Wild Joe now owned by Hungarian Marton Jozsa were already committed to crossing and had to endure the conditions enroute.

The 30m Esimit had a lightening strike that took out the wind instruments at the top of its 44-metre mast. Meanwhile, Wild Joe, a Reichel Pugh 60, which set out from Croatia on Friday, and then from Sicily Monday morning, had a tough crossing, ripping both their mainsail and jib.

The 30m Esimit had a lightening strike that took out the wind instruments at the top of its 44-metre mast.

AC72 America's Cup catamaran now complete

From concept to completed Class Rule in less than four months, full details of the new high-performance AC72 wingsailed catamaran to be used in the 34th America's Cup, have now been published.
The AC72 Class Rule moves America’s Cup racing to catamarans with a speed potential of three times the wind speed, putting the venerable competition back at the forefront of technology.

The finalised class rule represents a tireless effort by Pete Melvin and his team at Morrelli & Melvin Design & Engineering Inc to create a new boat on behalf of the America’s Cup community.

AC72 catamaran key features:

Hull Length 22.00 m (72 feet)
Length Overall 26.20 m (85 feet)
Beam 14.00 m (46 feet)
Weight (w/o crew) 5900 kg (13,000 pounds)
Crew 11
Maximum Draft 4.40 m (14 feet)
Wingsail Height 40.00 m (131 feet)
Tall Wingsail Area 260.0 m2 (2,800 square feet)
Short Wingsail Area 230.0 m2 (2,475 square feet)
Projected Top Speed 32 knots
On board cameramen 2 maximum
Cameramen positions 3 (1 aft, 1 forward in each hull)
Remote TV cameras 7
High quality audio microphones 18 (including 11 crew)
Easy assembly/disassembly Under 48 hours

Cost Reductions compared to 32nd America’s Cup:
• 11-person crews (reduced from 17 on ACC class monohulls)
• Boat lengths reduced to 72 feet from 82 feet
• No-sailing periods enforced
• Simple crane lift in/lift out – no special hoists or docks required
• Shipping and centralized logistics paid for by event
• Liberalized design rules encouraging non-exclusive design
• Consolidated competitor facilities at World Series: sail lofts, workshop etc
• World Series negates need for permanent team fixed-bases
• Centralised meteorological service and ban on weather boats

Monday, October 18, 2010

RC44 - RC44 Worlds Championsio 2010 - Fleet Race Day 6

Ray Davies: Reflects on the RC44 Worlds

Photo: Lulu Roseman
No Way Back Skipper Ray Davies is heading back to Kiwi-land after spending the last week in Lanzarote, Canary Islands at the RC44 Worlds. His team finished in third place overall behind Jimmy Spithill (17) and Russell Coutts (BMWOracle Racing).

"The last day was a little disappointing as we were tied going into the last race and we were happy to have given ourselves a chance of winning. However it didn't pan out that way. Still a third in the overall results slides us into second place for the tour with just Miami to go. So again we have given ourselves the chance of winning and we will work hard to convert this one," he said.
Trae, Dean and Ray talk tactics at MedCup, Barcelona Photo: Lulu Roseman
He remains tight lipped about his future within the Emirates Team New Zealand camp and with Dean Barker training on multihulls and the final Louis Vuitton World Trophy Series regatta kicking off in Dubai between 12-27th November 2010, there is plenty of time to be had with Dalts to chat about his future involvement in ETNZ's 34th America's Cup Campaign.

The final RC 44 event for 2010 is in Miami from the 7-12th of December and it will be game on. Davis is looking forward to spending Christmas at home in Auckland this year given he has no plans to race in the 2010 Rolex Sydney to Hobart.

Lulu Roseman

18 Foot Skiffs Life Members Trophy

The 18 foot skiff fleet took advantage of Sydney's sunshine yesterday to compete in the Life Members Trophy on the Harbour.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Paul Cayard's Final Report from Lanzarote

RC44 Worlds - Lanzarote

Saturday, 16 October, 2010
A fantastic day for Katusha today with scores of 5, 5, 1. In the last race, we played the shifts to stretch out to a massive 200 meter lead on the second place boat.

Unfortunately, that boat was Sea Dubai and by finishing second, they beat us by one point in the fleet racing so that put us in a three way tie for third overall in the Championship. Unfortunately, we will lose that tie breaker to No Way Back, but we will beat Artemis as the fleet racing score is determinant for tie breaks.
In any case, it could not have gone better nor could it have ended on a higher note for Katusha. On the way back to the dock, we counted up the days that Guenaddi has been sailing in his life and it came up to 14.

Next stop for the RC44 fleet is Miami, December 7-12.
My next sailing will be in Virgin Gorda in two weeks time for the Bitter End Yacht Club Regatta where my friend Russell Coutts and I will fight it out with a few other friends...haha. Rum punches will be the only punches we will be throwing and "down" is the direction they will be going.

For final results go to


Aussies Do It and Become RC44 World Champs

LANZAROTE, Canary Islands (16 October 2010) – Australian Jimmy Spithill, Anders Myralf of Denmark and the international crew of the yacht 17 finished a fantastic week in the Canary Islands by taking out the inaugural RC 44 World Championship.
After three days of match racing at the start of the week, the regatta finished today with the conclusion of the fleet racing where 10 races were completed in total.  17 won the match racing and finished second in the fleet racing behind Russell Coutts on BMW ORacle Racing.
Spithill, Myralf and the 17 crew entered the day in the lead, but an early start in one race and penalties in the other two almost shattered their regatta and chance of the title.

“We’re feeling great,” said Spithill, 31, the youngest skipper ever to win an America's Cup. “It was a tough day on the water for us. We tried to stay clean but got tangled up a couple of times. It was really unpredictable on the water, but at the end of day we hung in there, toughed it out and got the job done.”

Heading into the final heat of the fleet racing portion of the regatta the top three boats – No Way Back, BMW ORACLE Racing and 17 – were within 1 point of the title.

No Way Back and 17 each had to perform penalty turns in the race, which allowed BMW ORACLE Racing, led by tactician Russell Coutts and local helmsman Jose Juan Calero to claim the win.

RC44 - RC44 World Championship 2010 - Fleet Race Day 5

RC44 - RC44 World Championship 2010 - Fleet Race Day 4

Final Day Of RC44 Worlds and Racing Scheduled To Commence Soon

The wind is up and the teams are getting ready to leave the dock.

Farr 40's stay Tucked into Their Berths on Day 2

Port Stephens, Australia, Saturday  October 16, 2010:

Too Breezy at Peppers Anchorage for the Farr40 regatta

It was blowing dogs off chains at Port Stephens today when the forecast 30+ knot westerly arrived in the early hours of the morning and hung around for the entire day. Crews remained onshore and kept a close eye on the boats as they strained on their bow and stern lines.
The race committee hoisted the postponement flag at 9:00 am today and have been observing multiple forecasts all day and with the breeze consistently above 28 knots with gusts of 40+ knots PRO Dennis Thompson regatta cancelled all races in the regatta scheduled for today.

“After waiting all day for the wind to abate we have cancelled racing. The westerly is really piping in Port Stephens. It’s looking good for racing tomorrow and we hope to get two or three races done to wrap up the event," Thompson said.

Unfortunately Estate Master's stern mooring line loosened and the boat ploughed into Transfussion causing damage. According to bowman Mitch White the damage could have been a lot worse, however the boat was repaired this afternoon and is expected back out on the racecourse when racing resumes tomorrow. 

Tomorrow's forecast is for westerly winds between 20 to 25 knots tending southwesterly 10 to 20 knots during the morning then tending southeasterly up to 10 knots later in the evening. Seas are expected to reach two metres with a southerly swell of approximately two metres.

Provisional Results after three races:

1. Transfusion Guido Belgiorno Nettis MHYC 5
2. Estate Master Lisa & Martin Hill MHYC 5
3. Easy Tiger II Chris Way RPAYC 11
4. Kokomo Lang Walker YCCS/NYYC 12
5. Twin Edake Jeff Carter MHYC 14
6. Anger Management Phil Arnall NCYC 20

Lulu Roseman

Farr 40's Regatta at Port Stephens - Day One

Port Stephens, Australia

Friday 15th October, 2010

Transfusion are currently leading the regatta after three races were sailed today in breezy conditions that peaked at over 27 knots.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Spithill Smokes BMW Oracle For top Spot

LANZAROTE, Canary Islands (15 October 2010)
James Spithill is the  new leader at the RC 44 Fleet Race Worlds after stronger winds shuffle the standings and make the docks resemble pit lane. BMW ORACLE Racing skipper Jimmy Spithill and amateur helmsman Anders Myralf of Denmark rode the strength of all single-digit finishes to push their yacht 17 into the top of the RC 44 Fleet Race World Championship at the Islas Canarias Puerto Calero Cup.

Spithill, who today was named Australian Male Sailor of the Year by the Australian Yachting Federation, and Myralf posted finishes of 1-7-3-2 to overtake the previous leader, BMW ORACLE Racing, with local sailor Jose Juan Calero helming and Russell Coutts calling tactics.

On a day when good winds – southwesterlies between 8 and 16 knots – returned to the racecourse, there were four different winners of today’s heats: 17, Harm Müller Spreer and Sea Dubai, Pieter Heerema’s No Way Back from The Netherlands and Rene Mangold’s AEZ RC 44 Racing of Austria.

Myralf guided 17 to victory in the first race of the day, Race 4 of the series.

“It was quite hard to find the right lanes today, but Jimmy and the crew did a fantastic job finding those lanes,” said Myralf of Denmark. “We were leading that race at the first top mark, but then lost out on the finish line and placed seventh. It only shows how close this racing is; it’s so close.”


Fleet Racing (after 7 races)
1. 17 (USA) Anders Myralf/Jimmy Spithill – 3-11-1-1-7-3-2 – 28 points
2. BMW ORACLE Racing (USA) Juan Jose Calero/Russell Coutts – 2-5-2-3-5-4-11 – 32
3. No Way Back (NED) Pieter Heerema/Ray Davies – 5-6-8-2-4-1-10 – 36
4. Team Sea Dubai (UAE) Harm Müller-Spreer/Markus Wieser – 4-1-12-10-1-9-7 – 44
5. Ceeref (SLO) Igor Lah/Rod Davis – 11-8-3-6-3-10-4 – 45
6. Artemis (SWE) Torbjorn Tornqvist/Terry Hutchinson – 10-3-5-4-8-8-6 – 46*
7. Katusha (RUS) Guennadi Timtchenko/Paul Cayard – 13-7-10-5-2-7-3 – 47
8. AEZ RC 44 Sailing Team (AUT) René Mangold/Christian Binder – 8-13-4-11-6-13-1 – 56
9. Peninsula Petroleum (ESP) John Bassadone/Inaki Castaner – 12-4-6-7-12-2-14 – 57
10. Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP) Daniel Calero/Jose Maria Ponce – 7-2-13-13-9-6-8 – 58
11. Mascalzone Latino (ITA) Vincenzo Onorato/Francesco Bruni – 1-9-9-9-10-5-14 – 59*
12. Team Aqua (UAE) Chris Bake/Cameron Appleton – 6-10-7-8-13-12-9 – 67*
13. Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS) Maxim Logutenko/Evgeniy Neugodnikov – 9-12-11-12-11-11-5 – 71
(*Points total includes 2-point penalty for on-water infraction)

Patrice Six with a Bullet and the Winners Trophy

With gun tactician DSquared aka Dave Davies onboard calling the shifts and bowman Alex Cooke, just recently returned from Big Boat in San Francisco, Patrice Six was on fire today. A third in the day's first race and a bullet in the second race was enough on a count back to secure popular owner, Tony Kirby, with the silver wear and French champagne.
The after guard: Dave Davies,  on Patrice Six with Skipper Tony Kirby
"Our strategy today was to try and get two bullets but ToyBox was a little bit better than than us in the first race. They got  a good shift upwind and got their bow in front and then it was very hard to beat them as they are a bigger boat," Kirby said dockside.

"We needed to tidy up our crew work and limit our mistakes. At the bottom mark we just didn't quite get the spinnaker down in time. That's what sailing is about, learning from your mistakes.
Ian Box's ToyBox in the hunt
The second race was even better. We got our nose in front after  a good start and picked up some nice shifts in the corner of the harbour on the right and sailed away from them. It was a great fun day that was social as well. We had a few guests and spectators onboard and everyone had a good time. the wind was nice an brisk and pushed us around the course nice a quickly.

Lulu Roseman