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Friday, April 29, 2011

Letter From Paul Cayard in Auckland - Team Artemis Update

© Gilles Martin- Raget/Americascup.com
29 April 2011
AC45 - Test Regatta - Auckland

A great day for Artemis Racing on the water here in New Zealand. Match racing in 15 knots from the East was on the menu and the team won three out of the four races to 'win' the day.

The racing a very demanding physically for the five crew onboard. The average heart rate for wing trimmer Sean Clarkson is 150 with peaks at 180 during the 30 minute heat.

No capsizes or collisions today, but it was very close racing.

There is just one maneuver in the three minute prestart but the lead/push game for the final minute and a half is very similar to what we are used to from monohulls.

Our team of 25 people from Artemis Racing have been working very hard for eight weeks on this AC45. AC45 Project Manager Phil Jameson has done an excellent job in preparing the boat not just for these trials but for the World Series which starts in August in Portugal.

I have been in Auckland for three days with the team and I am very pleased with how the entire team is working together.

Tonight, I am heading back to California and then onto Valencia on Sunday where another 40 people are doing great work designing and building our AC72 which will launch early next year.

This America's Cup is a very busy one indeed. No one is lacking something to do.

Paul Cayard

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Russians Expected To Add Excitement To RC44s

© Lulu Roseman
Team Nika are busy preparing for their debut in the RC44 Class in the second event of the 2011 season on Lake Traunsee, Austria in just under two weeks.

Racing onboard Beecom as the ninth man during the regatta in Portorož, Slovenia in 2009 sowed the seed for Team Nika's new owner Vladimir Prosikhin to further pursue racing one design. In 2010 he campaigned his Shipman 72 and also chartered the Volvo 70, Ericsson for the Rolex Middle Sea Race.
Vladimir Prosikhin © Team Nika
“I am very excited and happy about joining the RC44 class. I was thrilled by the way these boats raced, was very impressed by the event in Portorož, the atmosphere and the people involved. It was just a matter of time before I entered the class as I wanted a fair one-design race in one of the best modern boats.” Prosikhin said.

The core crew of Team Nika, previously called K-Challenge, include several of the Slovenian RC44 EKIPA 44 team, including dual Olympians Mitja Margon, Tomaz Copi and Tomislav Basic. 

Given the fiercely competitive nature of this class Team Nika are hungry for success and determined to make their presence felt.

“We  hope to build a strong competitive team and eventually win. I will be happy if we finish this season in the middle of the fleet,” Prosikin added.

Lulu Roseman

Italians Are Ready For Battle

© Azzurra/JRenedo
After taking out Mapfre PalmaVela, held in the Bay of Palma, Mallorca, on Sunday in their maiden regatta with five wins out of nine races, the TP52 Audi Azzurra Sailing Team is primed and race ready for some serious business as they count down the days until this year's first Audi MedCup regatta kicks off in Cascais on the 16th of May.

Victory was sweet as they stormed fellow MedCup competitors Quantum Racing, RAN and Bribon.
© Azzurra/JRenedo
It's a huge confience booster for Italian team, skippered and helmed by Guillermo Parada with Francesco Bruni doing tactics and strategist Vasco Vascotto, who are joined by a world class crew including Paul 'Flipper' Westlake (AUS) and Simon Fry (GBR) together with some of Italy's top sailors.

"Winning on the first outing is always a good sign," Guillermo said.
© Azzurra/JRenedo
"The crew were consistent and the boat, which was just launched a few days ago, hasn't shown any problems. We are still getting to know her and working on fine-tuning but winning while you are learning is always rewarding."

Tactician Vasco Vascotto underlined the need to stay focused before the TP52's official christening ceremony on16th May and the first event of the 2011 Audi MedCup circuit where they will compete against some of the world's best yachtsmen among the most competitive teams from Europe and the USA.
© Azzurra/JRenedo
"We need to work over the next few weeks in order to be ready for the regatta in Portugal. The boat responds well but this week it was the crew who really shone, the victory belongs to the guys on board and the shore team who made sure that the boat was ready before the others," Vascotto said.

Audi Azzurra Sailing Team from Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) will compete in all events on the 2011 Audi MedCup circuit.

Final results Mapfre PalmaVela - TP52 Class

1) Audi Azzurra Sailing Team pts. 11
2) RAN pts. 18
3) Bribon pts. 28
4) Quantum Racing pts. 29
5) Gladiator pts. 30

Lulu Roseman

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Azzurra, Inti, Alegre, Pace and Mapfre Grab The Gongs at Mapfre PalmaVela 2011

© María Muiña
Palma de Mallorca: There were few surprises at the opening regatta of the 2011 Mediterranean sailing season in Palma. Azzurra in TP52, Inti in Maxi Wally, Alegre in Maxi, and Mapfre in J80 took the Mapfre PalmaVela trophy home.

Competitors were treated to a wide range of conditions during the four days of racing on the Bay of Palma. Today in an 18-22 knot nor'easterly breeze the Mapfre PalmaVela regatta set up two coastal courses of 14,8 miles for the Maxis and Maxi Wally division and 12,3 for the Vintage and Classic, while the remaining divisions competed in windward-leeward races.
© María Muiña
Honours in the TP52 class went to Audi Azzurra Sailing Team, followed by Nikklas Zentrömm's RÀN and Bribón in third. RÀN won today's first race after nailing the start at the pin end of the line, followed by Audi Azzurra Sailing Team and Bribón in third. Azzurra's win in the second race was enough for them to clinch the TP25 trophy, followed by RÀN and Bribón.   RÀN's solid performance in Palma positions the new team well  for their debut Audi MedCup Circuit regatta in Cascais in May.

Unfortunately Quantum Racing was forced to withdraw from the event after two days due to an issue with her mast step.
© María Muiña
Itato lian Inti claimed first place in the Maxi Wally class after winning today's coastal race. Second was YK3, followed by Magic Carpet 2 who dropped from being second to third. Open Season could have finished in second if not for losing a protest won by Magic Carpet 2 that pushed her into sixth place.
© María Muiña
With an almost perfect score of five bullets and a second place, Andrés Soriano's Alegre dominate the Maxi class. The Monaco flagged Highland Flying XI owned by Irvine Laidlaw crossed the finish line first to place second in the overall point score, with  Jethou in third.

Carlos Martínez's J80 heavyweight, Carlos Martínez's Mapfre signal her domination to take out the one design class for the third consecutive year. Two bullets and a second place in today's three races gave the Spanish team a fifteen point advantage over Bufete Frau Abogados, who moved into second after a third and two fourth today. Third was Nextel Engineering  byowned Ignacio “Trucha” Camino.
© María Muiña
The Vintage class trophy went to Albert Kusak's Enterprise after finishing first in the coastal finish followed by Moonbeam IV skippered by Mikaël Creac'h and Tim Liesenhoff's Marigan took third. The Classic class was won by Xisco Pou's Merengue IV, followed by Antón de Llano's Margarita Estalindalamar and Miguel Rigo's Freda.

With five wins, Pace secured the honours in the IRC class after four races and a tight battle with Fernando León's CAM in today's first contest where they crossed the finish line together. Third was S.Y. Ace of Fred Stelle.

Lulu Roseman

Fòrum Marítim Català Cross The Finish In Barcelona - Barcelona World Race

  • Gerard Marín and Ludovic Aglaor cross the double-handed round the world finishing line at 21:17:24 local time. They took 112 days, 7 hours, 17 minutes and 24 seconds, at an average speed of 9.35 knots. 
  • Gerard's first circumnavigation of the globe and the second for Ludovic
© Manuel Medir/FNOB
Yesterday at 21 hours, 17 minutes and 24 seconds, Gerard Marín, 29  and Ludovic Aglaor , 44 were the eighth crew to cross the finishing line in the Barcelona World Race.

Fòrum Marítim Català took 112 days, 07 hours, 17 minutes and 24 seconds to complete the course, of some 25,200 miles, theoretically, at an average speed of 9.35 knots. In actual fact, the skippers sailed 28,662 miles, at an average speed of 10.63 knots.
© Manuel Medir/FNOB
This was the first double-handed round the world race for both Gerard Marín and Ludovic Aglaor. The Catalan skipper has also become the youngest skipper in this edition of the regatta to complete the course. This is the second global circumnavigation for Ludovic.

Barcelona turned on the excitement for the arrival of Fòrum Marítim Català.
© Manuel Medir/FNOB
Gerard Marín, from Figueras, Spain and Breton skipper Ludovic Aglaor both said how touched they were by how many people ventured out to meet them as they arrived into Portal de la Pau. Once across the finishing line, Marín highlighted that during the 112 days, 7 hours, 17 minutes and 24 seconds of the race “there were many good and bad moments". Among those he recalled was one of the first planes for the boat at the height of the Canaries. “We had lots of breeze and we were planning along fiercely". Then there was the departure from Wellington, New Zealand, where the team were forced to stop to repair the water purifying system.“It was an unfortunate stop, but we sailed well." Not to forget the moment they "crossed Cape Horn, of course, a Cape one dreams of."
© Manuel Medir/FNOB
Aglaor touched on three special moments: "The Pacific was really fantastic. The start was also great. The other great moment was ten days ago, because we didn't think we'd finish this early. We were in the Canaries and we saw the chance to accelerate and to reach Gibraltar sooner. We thought we'd be finishing at the beginning of May."

As the youngest skipper to finish this second edition of the Barcelona World Race Marín recognized the "big jump" he has made from sailing in a Mini to stepping up into an IMOCA Open 60 and going from going solo to sailing with another skipper:
© Manuel Medir/FNOB
“The jump from Mini to IMOCA is a tricky one. They are two completely different worlds. The Mini is more permissive, it lets you make more mistakes, whereas here mistakes come with a hefty cost. Breakages are different. Sailing double-handed is also a big change. I did exactly as I pleased on the Mini and here you have to share the experience and give and take where necessary." 
© Manuel Medir/FNOB
Aglaor also said that in that sense “some of the difficulty is getting used to each other's habits".
President of the Fundació Navegació Oceànica Barcelona, Pere Alcober, was there to welcome the crew back to the city. He was accompanied by Jesús Turró, President of Spain's Royal National Cruising Association, as well as José María Martín Puertas, Vice-President of the RFEV, Spain's sailing federation; Toni Tió, President of Fòrum Marítim Català, and Tomàs Gallart, President of the Cataln Ports Association.
© Manuel Medir/FNOB
Fòrum Marítim Catala is the former Kingfisher, known later as Educación Sin Fronteras with which Albert Bargués and Servane Escoffier completed the first edition of the Barcelona World Race, finishing in fifth place. In early 2010 the boat was completely overhauled and refitted with the latest IMOCA class innovations. It is an Owen-Clarke Design Studio model, built in 2000 in New Zealand, which Dame Ellen MacArthur skippered to victory in the EDS Challenge 2001 and the Route du Rhum 2002, finishing second in the Vendée Globe 2000-2001.

Barcelona World Race Media

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Mapfre PalmaVela Coastal Race Winners Confirmed

At Mapfre PalmaVela Alegre and Vell Marí are the winners in the Maxi and ORC2 class respectively. The overall results of the rest of the classes will be decided tomorrow.
© María Muiña
Palma de Mallorca: TheTP52's, Maxis, and IRC completed a coastal race of 41 miles today, while the Vintage and Classics completed a 18,4 miles coastal course. The Maxi Alegre added another feather to her cap making her the Mapfre PalmaVela Maxi winner this year, whereas German Y3K also won today in the Maxi Wally class. As far as the TP52's are concerned, RÀN scratched some points thanks to her win today.

The third day of racing in Palma started with a heavy early shower followed by almost clear skies for the rest of the day. At around 12:15 hours, Wally, Maxi, TP52, and IRC started the coastal races which explored the bay of Palma in southerly average winds of 12 knots. German Claus Peter Offen's Y3K was first and climbs up to the third overall position after crossing the line 25 minutes ahead of Lauro Buoro's Inti, which finished second and is now third in the scoring board. Sir Linday Owen-Jones' Magic Carpet was penalized with a 720º turn after a port-starboard incident at the windward mark and completed the course in the fifth place thus losing out their lead to Inti in the overall classification after five races.
© María Muiña
After another win today British Maxi Alegre clears out from the rest of the fleet and becomes the 2011 Mapfre PalmaVela winner with eight points advantage over second classified Xavier Mecoy's Highland Fling XI. The Monaco flagged Maxi was second and third was British Jethou of Sir Peter Odgen, equally placed in the overall classification after five races.
RAN © María Muiña
RÀN of Swedish boat owner Niklas Zennstrom moves up to second place after crossing the finish line two minutes ahead of Guillermo Parada's Audi Azzurra Sailing Team, inspite of the Italo-Argentinians rounding first the windward mark. The Yacht Club Costa Smeralda flagged brand new TP52 Azzurra remains on the lead with and advantage of six points upon also new build RÀN, but with three races to go the regatta hasn't been decided yet. Tony Langley's Gladiator was third in today's coastal race and is fourth in the overall scoring, whereas Bribón payed for their over the line and drops to the fifth place.
© María Muiña
Carlos Martinez's Mapfre enjoys a comfortable lead of seven points upon second classified. The Mapfre PalmaVela defending champion in the J80 division won today's first race and was second and fifth in the last two. Olympic medallist Jose María Van der Ploeg's Great Sailing made an impressive showing with two sixth places and two wins, which boosts them up to the second place in the scoring board after six races. Nextel Engineering of also Spanish Ignacio Camino was over the line in the first race and was third and second in the two last ones.
© María Muiña
Johnny Vincent British flagged Pace won the IRC coastal race after a tight contest with Fernando León's CAM, which was second, as he is in the overall classification after the three races.

A very even vintage class features a triple tie on four points between Tim Liesenhoff's Marigan, Monaco flagged Moonbeam IV steered by Mikaël Creach and Albert Kusak's Enterprise after two races. Marigan won today's coastal race, followed by Enterprise and Moonbeam IV. Classic Merengue IV won in her class thus holding to the lead, whereas Italian Margarita Estalindalamar is second, and Freda is third.

Lahana Takes Line Honours in Brisbane to Gladstone Race

Lahana © Lulu Roseman
In light air, calm seas and plenty of frustration, Peter Millard’s 30m maxi sloop Lahana has taken out line honours in the Qantaslink Brisbane to Gladstone race crossing the line ahead of Peter Harburg’s 20.2m Black Jack on Saturday morning.
Hooligan © Lulu Roseman
Marcus Blackmore's champion TP52 Hooligan has continued her winning streak to claim handicap honours.
Hooligan © Lulu Roseman
The Hooligan crew were always going to be the smoking hot team to beat with their corrected time of 1 day 21 hours 6 minutes 18 seconds. While they remained relatively confident their course time was threatened by several smaller and lower handicapped yachts as they surf sailed in the building south'easterly breeze.

Lulu Roseman

Bay Of Palma Host to Over 100 Yachts at PalmaVela

Palma de Mallorca: All classes joined the competition in the Mapfre PalmaVela Regatta 2011 today. Favourable conditions enabled the fleet of over a hundred yachts to compete in four courses on the Bay of Palma. Conditions were ideal after an early heavy storm  with the sun shining as the fleet left the dock. Races were held in a 15-20 knot south-easter that swung around to the west by the end of the day.
© María Muiña
Audi Azzurra in the TP52s, Alegre in Maxi, Magic Carpet 2 in Maxi Wally, and Pace in IRC were today's winners. 
© María Muiña
Guillermo Parada's Audi Azzurra Sailing Team hangs to the leader among the TP52 division with a second, a first and a third place. Niklas Zennström's RÀN won today's first race, followed by a third and a fourth position in subsequent races. These results position them second on the leaderboard after six races, tied on thirteen points with Quantum Sailing, who scored a fourth and two seconds. Bribón's performance improved throughout the day with a third place in the day's first race followed by a fourth and a win in the second and third races. That helps Bribón climb up to the fourth overall position after six races.
© María Muiña
The J80 class was won by defending champion Carlos Martínez at the helm of Mapfre, which seems very much in control of the fleet after signing a first, a second and a first place, thus opening a gap of five points upon second classified Nextel Engineering of world champion Ignacio “Trucha” Camino, who placed third in all three races. Third in the overall classification is Turismo do Algarve of Olympic medallist Hugo Rocha.

Andrés Soriano's Alegre grabbed two bullets and remains first and undefeated in regardless of a ripped spinnaker on the second downwind leg. The British boat enjoys a comfortable seven point advantage over Higtland Flying and Jethou.
© María Muiña
The British Wally Maxi, Magic Carpet 2 is leading her division after posting a second and fourth after being penalised by 1% of her total time for breaking the owner/driver rule. Magic Carpet 2 holds a one point advantage over Italian Inti de Lauro Buoro, who grabbed two bullets in as many races. Third is the British yacht, Open Season who finished with a fourth and a seventh, to finish tied on points with  British Jean Charles Decaux's SY J One, which got a fifth and a second.
© María Muiña
In IRC Johny Vincent's British Pace lead the day with two guns in two races. Fernando León's CAM finished second in both races followed by S.Y. Ace with two third places, which places them first, second and third on the score board respectively.

Lulu Roseman

Friday, April 22, 2011

What Wouter and Andy of Hugo Boss Said After Finishing Barcelona World Race

Andy Meiklejohn and Wouter Verbraak, Hugo Boss © Manuel Medir/FNOB
Wouter Verbraak (NED) Hugo Boss: "It is great to be back. It has been a while. I was meant to step off at the Cape Verde Islands but I had to make the phone call home and say I was going to be 90 days late. So now here we are, it has been a fantastic challenge and I have to thank Andy for letting me in and teaching me a few tricks in the Med before we got out into the Atlantic, it was an amazing trip. We could not have done it without the support of our team.”

Andy Meiklejohn (NZL): "It was not easy at the start in the Mediterranean. We were hoping for some light winds to learn the boat but that was a bit extreme. We would have liked to get going and be a bit more competitive, but we worked our way up through the fleet, and there were a lot of challenges after that and I think we dealt with all of those challenges. For both of the first goal was to get around the world and that was what drove us. We wanted to finish the race. We wanted to finish it non stop. And that is why when stopped in the Falklands we tried to fix everything ourselves, that was about the first goal. And then after that it was to just finish the race. Every boat faces challenges and we were no exception."

Wouter Verbraak (NED): “This was a great personal journey, you get to use all of your skills as well as all that the weather and the sea can throw at you. So it is a big character building thing. We have been great as a team. That has struck me, of you want to face these challenges it is better to do it as a team, as two, than alone."

Wouter Verbraak (NED) Hugo Boss: “It was an amazing challenge, without doubt the toughest racing I have done physically and mentally, and what it boiled down to was team work. You cannot do this by yourself. It is much better to be two. It was a great race with Andy.

"The race is a really all about managing the ups and downs, like life. Our tough moments were when we really could not race the boat as hard as we wanted to. When we had to stop in the Falklands was a really tough time for us, because our goal was always to make this a non stop race. By Doyle Sails sailmakers came in, fixed up the sails, and the goal after that was really to sail the boat really well to the end and we did that.

"The best moment for us was really rounding Cape Horn. After such a tough time in the Southern Ocean and breaking sails, to turn the corner and know we were going back home to our families was an amazing moment. And now, here we are back with our families.

“With the mainsail breaking like it did and being a real race stopper, very early and in a key moment of the race, we were really happy after a while that we had managed to do the repair with virtually no materials on the boat, we had to be very, very creative, things which had not been done before and it is now the strongest part of the mainsail. It never caused any problems, and that shows if you think well you don’t just fix things but you improve things. That was before Cape of Good Hope, and so to sail in the south with a repair like that is an amazing thing on its own. The generator repair just proved how you have to be on top of these things. If you don’t have energy you are out of the race. We had to work really hard to fix that and continue racing, and Andy did an outstanding job there. We managed it.

“As a navigator I was a real specialist before. Now having done this I have seen a lot of other sides of myself as a sailor. It took me back to my dinghy sailing days, just the pleasure or tuning a boat perfectly and steering down those big waves in the Southern Ocean, so it is definitely something I am keen to do more of, and mainly to use more of the overall big picture that you get sailing these boats double handed. And so absolutely it was also be great to do this with a full crew."

Andy Meiklejohn (NZL):"The southern ocean is what you do these things for. It took us a bit longer than we hoped for to get there. But it was exciting, it was exhilarating. It was great sailing. The second half of it we were behind a system and that made for some cold, windy sailing, big seas, ice on the rig, ice on the deck, snowstorms. Those are the stories which you come back with which you don’t get anywhere else. That is probably the highlight, the tough times in the south.

"The big goal really was to learn about the boat for the Vendée Globe and that was Alex’s goal from the beginning. And that was what I was there for and as a team we have worked through this problem. It is a very physical boat to sail and now we have some ideas how to make it easier, and making the boat even faster."

And highlights from the race:

Announced as substitute skipperWouter Verbraak, said: “The Barcelona World Race was a goal of mine, so I’m looking forward to this amazing opportunity to sail with long-time friend Andy Meiklejohn as Alex’s substitute until he can join the race.

“The Hugo Boss yacht is great to sail and Andy and I compliment each other well on board. The preparation for the race by the team has been amazing so we’re well equipped for the task ahead.”

Andy Meiklejohn, after the start: “It has been a tough week with Alex’s sudden illness, but having Wouter as the substitute skipper is the best possible solution to the situation. Having sailed together before we have a strong bond, which will help us overcome the initial challenge. We’re fully focused on the task ahead and look forward to Alex stepping on board the HUGO BOSS boat as soon as he’s fit to sail.”

Wouter Verbraak....on team spirit evident after 48 hours racing

“We have been good at cheering each other up. This is a team game and you have to make use of your partner. I think one thing in this race just now is to remind each other of the extreme length of the race.

"This boat was designed, built and developed to reach its potential in reaching in stronger winds in the major types of weather systems all around the globe. We always knew this is the light winds part of the race and the boat is not liking it, so we remind each other of that and keep the course distance clear in our heads, that is very important.

"There is not much positive about being behind. But the tradewinds south of the Canaries are well established and we have options there and from Gibraltar to the Canaries there are two options.

"The first 48 hours were tough. There were a lot of corners, changes and transitions. And then the last one and a half days have been hand steering, now we are trucking under pilot, so the routine is to make sure everything is ready for the stronger winds outside."

Wouter races on round the world: 14th Jan

From on board the boat, Wouter Verbraak reported to audio conference
“There have been 24 hours of mixed emotions. On the one hand we are very happy that the decision has been made. We are very happy that we can go on, but at same time we can see that Alex is going through a very tough time at home, and so our thoughts are with him. And we hope that it is all resolved for the best.

"We have discussed this a lot. We always had the focus on Alex joining the boat in Cape Verde. We have had to make a mental switch, and I have had to inform my family that I won’t be home but will probably be home in another 70 days. So it is all a bit surreal really.

"We got the message from our team yesterday around midday. And at that stage it came as a bit of a surprise to us. We have been taking this whole trip so far just living in the moment and doing the best we can, but we said ‘ well actually this has been working quite well, let us continue doing what we have been doing, and let us concentrate on being fast to the equator, and try to catch up with the group ahead of us.”

Andy Meiklejohn26th Jan (sail repair time) “And true to it all, the jobs are finished, we share a cup of tea, look at the weather that shows wind is coming. We know we have speed and skill, we know we have a dedicated and strong team willing us along from the shore, and our friends and families supporting us all the way.”

Wouter Verbraak: “When Andy gets up he proves himself again to be the best man you can have around you when things are tough. Somehow he has wrestled up the energy to make us each dinner! Exhausted, I sit myself down on the floor in the pod. I am dripping wet, but I don’t care. Gratefully I scoop in spoon after spoon of the best dinner you will ever have, and then fall immediately asleep again.”

Andy Meiklejohn: On not stopping at Wellington : “This race has long been one of my ambitions and sailing towards Wellington and God’s own country has to be a highlight for me. I will be passing my mother’s birthplace and look forward to seeing some friends and family cheer me through.

"Today however, despite being unable to fix the damaged track, the skippers have made the decision to carry on through the Strait without stopping.: “We know that we are currently disadvantaged without the ability to race under full sail, however we have weighed that up against the penalty for stopping. It’s a tough call to make but we have decided to continue in the hope that we can make the repair later. Each day in the competition brings new challenges, and with boats stopping and positions changing daily, anything can happen still.”

Andy Meiklejohn at Cook Strait

“......So it’s with real sadness that I sail up Cook Strait, in sight of home, its hard to feel excited when there are so many people feeling so much pain. Its great to celebrate what we do and getting to the halfway stage is an achievement in itself but it pales in comparison to what happens in the real world. It’s a real mix of emotions that’s hard to contain and harder to put down in words. Kiwi’s are brought up to be hard to tragedy and sadness but sometimes it doesn’t feel right, sometimes there’s a bigger picture.

Christchurch, our thoughts are with you. Look after each other, give those you don’t know a hug or a helping hand, it’s with that bond that you will once again pull through and, like the phoenix, rise again from the ashes.

I’ll be wearing a black arm band for you as I sail past New Zealand and will be thinking of you all the way.”

11th March after Cape Horn

Wouter Verbraak: “Andy and I myself are in good shape. One thing that has been really strong on our boat is that we’re a great team, we’re very balanced between ourselves and we have complementary skills that we learn from each other. And so we’re good in that sense, and I think that’s going to be a player in the way up the Atlantic.

[Fuel] 'The fuel situation is not that great, so we’ve had generator problems where a coolant part of the generator has stopped working. This happened well before New Zealand, and thanks to the support and creativity of our shore crew we have managed to find a solution using another part on the boat and plumbing that in, which wasn’t straightforward but we managed to do it. But that was a big up, and means we don’t have to stop for fuel, but we do have strict strict rations so unfortunately we haven’t been able to go into the videoconference, which is big shame but it’s good to be talking now.
[Rounding Horn] 'I was never meant to go past the Cape Verde island, here I am Cape Horn. Normally there would be a bottle of strong liquor on the boat, but I think on this occasion there will be a lot of candy, maybe an extra delve into the supplies of chocolate.”

16 March Falklands

Wouter Verbraak: "Exhausted and gutted, we have to face facts: we don't have enough materials to make seaworthy sail repairs - technical stop tomorrow
Difficult things take a long tim to solve,impossible things take a while longer! We R NOT racing-still working on repairs. Doing our very best."

Wouter Verbraak: "Over the last 75 days we have been fighting for every mile, and giving it our everything even when things looked very bleak and conditions were difficult, and so we are now overwhelmed with a feeling of unfairness that it was impossible to achieve the one objective we have held very high throughout the race: to finish without a technical stop.

"Today we have to face facts and go back to basics: we are not racing with light winds in the Mediterranean, ahead of us are 6000 nm through the Atlantic with already several strong low pressure systems forecasted to be on our way. It comes down to good seamanship, we have to do a proper job to make sure we are in good shape for the rest of the journey. This is not child play.

"Port Stanley, the capital of the Falkland Islands is only 50 miles away, but we will have to stay out for tonight as winds are too strong for a safe approach. Tomorrow afternoon winds are forecasted to drop, and through our support team, we have local guys ready to help us in. We are looking forward to a shave, dry warm bed and a beer.

"So recover and catching up with sleep until then, we so desperately need it. Suppress the thoughts of what could have been, the disappointment, and jet another hurdle on our way. Focus on making this stop as efficient as possible. Not just fix and repair, but improve and set ourselves up for a good run to the finish in the Barcelona World Race. Keep focusing on our values of precision and perfection, finding pride in every job we do, being creative at finding new faster ways, and work as a team, because that is our best strength."

22nd March Leaving Falklands

Wouter Verbraak: “What we also didn’t count on was the help of the locals, most of whom just happened to walk down the dock for a look and ask if they could help! We had Shane and Bobby the Tow boat drivers from FIC turning up at all hours to ferry us to the boat, tow us to a mooring or back again, Chris from Town taxi’s gave up two nights work to flake sails, Peter from the FIDF (Falkland Islands Defense Force) gave us the use of their Hall, 30m x 14m which meant we could unroll every sail and work efficiently. Diane Freeman rented us her sewing machine which was in-valuable and Jenny, known to everyone as “Mother” put us up in her house for the first two nights while there were no hotel rooms.

"These guys live on a barren flatland where they are born with the sea in their blood. Their usual work is servicing the fishing fleets who run the local quota, the Oil exploration vessels and the Antarctic research vessels. Ours was somewhat of a novelty! Their normal visitor has been Graham Dalton with his previous Velux entries and the odd Vendee competitor trying to find shelter to effect repairs and continue racing. It now seems that with the increase in bureaucracy in Ushuaia that Port Stanley is your most realistic choice for stopping in these round the world races."

Barcelona World Race Media

The Race of Hugo Boss

Wouter Verbraakand Andy Meiklejohn, Hugo Boss © Manuel Medir/FNOB
Cruelly for Alex Thomson (GBR), his second challenge to win the Barcelona World Race was over before it started. Admitted for surgery to remove his appendix less than 48 hours before the start gun, substitute skipper Wouter Verbraak (NED) had to step into Thomson’s shoes at the 11th hour.

When he took to the start line alongside Andy Meiklejohn (NZL) - who had prepared for the best part of a year with Thomson and was looking to better Thomson’s second place in 2007-8 and had sailed more than 15,000 training miles on the boat - Verbraak had only previously been on board the powerful IMOCA Open 60 for two hours.

Of that time 15 minutes had been spent on deck.

For the duo, who had sailed many times before in the past on various maxi and offshore programmes, the learning curve on Hugo Boss was extremely steep.

And the combination of their inexperience together, the powerful boat which is design optimised for strong winds and reaching conditions(they did not know how best to set up the autopilots, according to Thomson) and the light winds down the Mediterranean to Gibraltar really exacerbated their weaknesses. While the leaders sprinted away the duo were still taking babysteps together: five days after the start they were in 14th, 345 miles behind the leading boat and struggling to get clear of the Mediterranean.

“Recent days have been frustrating and a mix of emotions.”Reported Verbraak, who had had to say goodbye to his wife Kristine and six year old son, for what were expected to be just 10-12 days.

Four days later Thomson was declared medically fit to race after tests in the UK and a plan to have him join the boat in the Cabo Verde Islands was accepted.

But the changeover never happened.

Thomson’s baby son, who was only born on January 7th, was diagnosed with a heart problem, and the British skipper stayed home to be with his son and partner Kate. It was something of a shock for trained meteorologist Verbraak, a weather router, navigator who had sailed sections of the last Volvo Race on Team Russia and Team Delta Lloyd but who had been hand picked because his meteo and nav skills complemented Meiklejohn’s hands-on speed and all round skills.

And Verbraak had to call home and say that he did not now expect to be back for at least another 70 days.

“It really has been 24 hours of conflicting emotions. On the one hand we are both very pleased the decision has been taken and the uncertainty that has been hanging over us is removed, and we are happy to continue together. But on the other hand we know that Alex is having a tough time at home and our thoughts really are with him. We hope everything works out for him and our objective is to finish,”  Meiklejohn said at the time.

Verbraak reveals that so sudden was his substitution that he has only Thomson’s technical sailing clothing on board to wear, which is at least a size too big.

But progressively they fought back.

A rearguard action, see them initially tussling with Central Lechera Asturiana and FMC past the Canary Islands, 655 miles behind the leaders, and at the Cabo Verdes.

And on 17th January they are the fastest in the fleet and then with Central Lechera Asturiana stopping in Cape Town and, by 26th January on the retirement into Cape Town of Foncia, Hugo Boss is up to ninth.

After making mainsail repairs during which they have no mainsail for four days, they roll into great spell, sending theJuan Kouyoumdjian design close to the speeds expected of it. Fastest of the fleet at times again they start to hunt down Dee Caffari and Anna Corbella on GAES Centros Auditivos, the start of a duel which carries on to Cape Horn.

The high ice gates enforce a high percentage of upwind sailing early in the Indian Ocean, but thereafter Hugo Bossgradually pulls in GAES Centros Auditivos and Meiklejohn and Verbraak pass the female duo on 11th February to move up to eighth place.

Both are quick on the approach to and under Australia, making fast, direct miles, but on 16th February they confirm that they have been missing 1.5 metres of the top of their mainsail mast track since 28th January. They pass very close to the south of Tasmania seeking a solution, but go on to pass Wellington in eighth place.

The passage of Cook Strait, for the Barcelona World Race’s only New Zealander, Andy Meiklejohn was also suffused with different and difficult emotions as Hugo Boss traversed in between his native lands immediately after the devastating Christchurch earthquake.

After passing an area where Meiklejohn’s mother had grown up, there was the triumph of sailing past Wellington and electing not to stop, of seeing Alex Thomson and Operations Manager Ross Daniel rendezvous, but also the tough Kiwi admitted to a feeling of raw helplessness, being at sea when part of his home country was in trauma and he was so close to them.

No sooner had Hugo Boss emerged from the passage between New Zealand’s North and South Islands thanMeiklejohn and Verbraak had to deal with the ex tropical cyclone ATU. Their southerly routing took them through some tough conditions, big unruly, disorganised seas and 50-60 knot winds.

The remainder of the Pacific was a mix of strong, fast sailing but with extremely limited outside contact with the world. An electrical charging issue left them running on absolutely minimum power. Different innovative solutions for the faulty fresh water pump even saw their technical team mock up different plumbing ideas at their Gosport, England base to try and present them with a fix.

Their passage of Cape Horn was marked by the deterioration of their sails, a difficult mix of weather conditions and an approach from the south which saw them losing hard won miles to GAES Centros Auditivos. And between the 11th-12th March they passed Cape Horn locked together in a mini-match race only 1.5 miles apart, the two boats which are usually berthed in Gosport reunited at the most rugged outpost of round the world racing.

But one day later Meiklejohn and Verbraak had to take and deal with a decision which was to end their ascent of the leaderboard. Because of the decay of several key sails, not least their mainsail, the duo decided to stop in the Falkland Islands. At first their determination was to make the stop as short as possible and unaided, so as not to incur the 48 hours minimum duration. So they anchored in Adventure Bay in the east of East Falklands Island and set to work between 13th and 15th March on a soul destroying non-stop 36 hours marathon trying to repair the sails themselves. But it became clear that the magnitude and technical requirements were beyond their resources, and so they left and headed to Stanley, the Islands’ capital. Having called for help from Doyle Sails New Zealand’s representatives Hugo Boss was halted from 16th to 21st March.

After a stopover which through costly in time and distance proved memorable for the warmth of the Islanders’ hospitality and their willingness to help, eighth placed Forum Maritim Catala have caught up from being around 2100 miles behind before the first stop, to being just 120 miles behind.

Up the Atlantic the pleasure at having a boat ‘at close to 99%’ sustains Meiklejohn and Verbraak for many days, especially in the fast reaching conditions up the South American continent when they reel miles away from their pursuers. The north Atlantic offers them few strategic options after they cross the Equator on the same day that Virbac-Paprec 3 win the Barcelona World Race. Upwind for 3000 miles on starboard tack the duo ruminate over endless cups of afternoon tea. Unfortunate timing, for the Hugo Boss duo, sees FMC slash the lead of the British boat as the ride a low pressure system for five days and at Gibraltar there is just 140 miles between seventh and eighth.

But the duo’s incredible adventure ends with a highly creditable seventh place, half way up the fleet of 14 starters, a very commendable result for a duo thrown together at the last minute and which were resolutely last for the first weeks of the race.

Barcelona World Race Media

True Grit As Hugo Boss Finish Barcelona World Race

Andy Meiklejohn and Wouter Verbraak, Hugo Boss © Manuel Medir/FNOB
Gritty, hard battling Andy Meiklejohn (NZL) and Wouter Verbraak (NED) on Hugo Boss crossed the finish line during the very early hours of a breezy Barcelona night, breaking the line off the W Hotel at 00 49 23 hrs local time (22 49 23hrs UTC Thursday ) to secure seventh place overall from the field of 14 duos which started the Barcelona World Race on 31st December 2010.

Verbraak said: “It is great to be back. It has been a while. I was meant to step off at the Cape Verde Islands but I had to make the phone call home and say I was going to be 90 days late. So now here we are, it has been a fantastic challenge and I have to thank Andy for letting me in and teaching me a few tricks in the Med before we got out into the Atlantic, it was an amazing trip. We could not have done it without the support of our team.”
Andy Meiklejohn and Wouter Verbraak, Hugo Boss © Manuel Medir/FNOB
Hugo Boss' elapsed time for the 25,200 miles course is 111 days 10 hours 49 mins computed to have sailed at a theoretical average of 9,42 knots.

Hugo Boss sailed 29.246 actual miles at an average speed of 10,93 knots.

For the Kiwi-Dutch duo who were only teamed up 24 hours before the start, Verbraak as substitute for Alex Thomson who needed immediate surgery on his appendix with two days to the race start, seventh is an excellent result. They had never sailed alone on the fleet’s most powerful IMOCA 60 before starting, and struggled out of the Mediterranean and by the Canary Islands were in 14th place more than 650 miles behind the leaders.

Verbraak expected to get off Hugo Boss at the Cape Verde Islands to be replaced by Thomson, but the British skipper had to stay home to be with his new born infant son who was diagnosed with a heart problem. And so 100 days later than he should have been, the Dutch co-skipper was reunited with his family on the blustery dockside in Barcelona, while Meiklejohn was reunited with his five months pregnant wife.

The duo stuck to their strategy, learning the boat and gelling as duo but just when they we were getting into the race at the entry to the Southern Ocean a combination of a major repair which left them sailing without a mainsail for four days, effectively saw them lose touch completely with the leading boats, dropping more than 1000 miles to the leaders as a high pressure ridge compounded their losses.

And finally having fought their way up to seventh, the Hugo Boss pair had to stop in the Falkland Islands to make essential sail repairs which cost them eight days.

Barcelona World Race Media

Thursday, April 21, 2011

TP52 Audi Azzurra Sailing Team on Fire at Mapfre PalmaVela

The Italian Audi Azzurra Sailing Team from Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, one of three new builds in the TP52 fleet, had a smoking hot day with three bullets in three races.
Photo © Nico Martínez MAPFRE PalmaVela 2011
Skippered by Argentinian Guillermo Parada the Italians dominated all her rivals. Quantum Racing, skippered by Ed Baird, the 32rd America's Cup winner,  finished six points behind the Italians followed by British Gladiator in  third and Swedish newcomer RÀN who finished in fourth, both tied on eleven points.

In spite of an early start in the second race, Guillermo Parada took chances throughout three very good contests.

Quantum's lack of consistency saw their performance decrease as the day progressed notching up a second, third and fourth in race three. Niklas Zennström, RÀN's Skipper/Owner didn't finish the first  race but clawed their way back to a second and a third place in the second and third race respectively. 

José Cusí's Bribón with Gonzalo Araújo at the helm also had a shocker of a day with a fourth in the first race. They were forced to abandon the second race due to a spinnaker issue at the gate rounding and finished in in the last race of the day in fifth, placing the Spanish boat in fifth place overall.

Lulu Roseman

Letter From Terry Hutchinson in NZ - Artemis Team Update

© Giles Martin- Raget/Americascup.com

21 April 2011
AC45 - Training in Auckland

We have been on the ground for four days in preparation for the AC45 test events next week here in Auckland. Not unlike the sailing team, this version of the America's Cup is taking on an entire new look. TV, jet ski umpires and onboard lighting systems are all becoming part of the new world. It is quite a bit different, but something that we need to embrace as sailors to take our sport to the next level.

The training has been going well. We are rotating crew to give the whole sailing team an opportunity to experience the AC45 and the wing in particular. Once we start racing the AC45 later in the year, the of the five person crew limit will cut a number of our guys out. The time now gives us the opportunity to expose all of sailors to the 'beast'. When I look at Julien and Mango and see their bruises and bumps, it only reaffirms what we already know. The boat is going to eat a lot of people. The trick to it really is trying to figure out how to sail consistently while recognizing that it may not always be pretty.

The first two days of training were in moderately fresh breezes of 12-25 knots. Good physical conditions were inevitably followed by the full bow bury to remind those of us onboard how close to the edge we are occasionally living. The hardest part thus far is developing the comfort level to send it. Like anything new, we are choosing the conservative option as to avoid the major show stopper of a capsize and wing damage. At pace that will create lots of carnage and we need to avoid it like the plague.

Our days have consisted of time and distance drills followed by laps. Two days ago was a great reminder of what quality people sail and work on Artemis Racing. I know every team feels a certain amount of bravado about "their team" but Artemis Racing is new. We are really in our infancy of the program and so we are still developing our "team identity" or culture.

We have a group of people committed to winning the America's Cup but the puzzle is scattered all over the floor at this point and we have the picture in front of us to know what it is supposed to look like and now starts the process of putting together the pieces.

On this particular day, Michele Ivaldi (who along with Kevin Hall shares navigating duties and operates the performance and instruments department) was our 6th man onboard. Michele oversees the instrumentation and data collecting and manages the communications back to our Coach Dog and Brookie on the chase boat.

As we were getting ready to start our lap I asked; "Mick, which way should we go?" His response was very quick, "We want to go right just like in Race 9". It took me all of about 1 second to know exactly what Michele was talking about. Race 9 of the Louis Vuitton Cup Final in 2000 in which Luna Rossa beat us onboard America One. As we jabbed back and forth to each other, I got a great chuckle at how things have gone full circle. For the last ten years we have been competitors, and I know looking across the life lines at the Artemis TP52 or the Cereef RC 44 that Mick is a great competitor. Now we are teammates at something that is quite new and different much like 2000 was for me. It was yet one more reminder of how much effort it is going to take to become efficient at racing a multihull well. I see the problems and solutions that Michele and the P&I team face every day and I can't help but think, "Man I am glad we are on the same team."

On deck for the next two days is more whipping, I mean boat-handling practice. We will take Easter Sunday off and then get back into it on Monday. Our test racing starts Tuesday. Should be good fun and it will be great to have a peak at our new game.

Standing by in Auckland.

Terry Hutchinson
Helmsman
Artemis Racing

Hugo Boss on The Home Stretch in Barcelona World Race

Hugo Boss © Chris Cameron / DPPI
After more than 110 days of racing, Andy Meiklejohn and Wouter Verbraak were making steady progress this afternoon with less than 100 miles to the finish concentrating on bringing Hugo Boss home across the finish line after a slow, problematic period during yesterday evening and this morning when they were often slowed to just 5-6 knots.
Hugo Boss ©
The Kiwi-Dutch duo passed only six miles west of Dragonera, the west point of Mallorca, this afternoon and were sailing at just over 10 knots in a building easterly breeze.

In Barcelona the strong NE’lies have been blowing since last night and the duo are now expected between 2300hrs UTC tonight and 0100hrs on Friday morning, looking to cement seventh place from the 14 teams which started on December 31st.
© We Are Water
Just over 120 miles behind are Gerard Marin and Ludovic Aglaor on Forum Maritim Catala. The Catalan-French pairing are expected Friday afternoon in Barcelona, but are also nursing their IMOCA Open 60 which has some rigging complications.
© We Are Water
At just over 3000 miles from the finish, We Are Water ensured that when Hugo Boss finishes all of the remaining race fleet will be in the Northern Hemisphere after they crossed the Equator are 0845hrs UTC this morning.

“It was a time of great satisfaction and emotion after three months in the south, the East Indian, the Pacific and the big South and now every day feels like a day closer to home,” wrote Jaume Mumbrú and Cali Sanmartí this morning.

The finish of Hugo Boss will be streamed live on www.barcelonaworldrace.org as will subsequent post finish interviews with Andy Meiklejohn and Wouter Verbraak.

Barcelona World Race Media

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

One Final Investment in the East - Barcelona World Race

© Hugo Boss
Hugo Boss were pushing east this Wednesday afternoon investing in a route which took them some 20 miles off the Algerian coast where Wouter Verbraak and Andy Meiklejohn were intent on making their final 280 miles to Barcelona on something close to one long, brisk reach to finish their Barcelona World Race tomorrow night in seventh place.
© Hugo Boss
“If you look at where the guys where way back when they passed out of Gibraltar and just after that, and said to us then they would be seventh I’d have taken it there and then, and here we are. Andy and Wouter have done a really great job getting to where they have and hats off to them for that. When you consider what even the first two weeks must have been like, there are many, many things that only I know how to do on the boat, practical things and I was not even around really to help them with that, so overall I think they have done really well,” said Hugo Boss’ ‘usual’ skipper Alex Thomson this evening.
© FMC
While the Hugo Boss duo have taken every chance to get east fast to set up for what promises to be a brisk sprint finish, in gusty, strong ENE’lies and NE’lies which could top the high 20’s knots at Thursday evening’s finish off Barcelona, the FMC duo Gerard Marin and Ludovic Aglaor were pinned closer to the Spanish coast, close to Almeria with the Levant easterly due to build for them. A low pressure off Algeria is due to track NE and their final miles to Barcelona look set to be all the tougher, upwind on the west side of the low. While Hugo Boss is due in to Barcelona middle of Thursday evening it looks like FMC will take eighth place some 24 hours or more later.

In essence though the catch up for Marin and Aglaor – making more than 600 miles in six days – just redresses their losses in the South Atlantic to Hugo Boss, who left their Falklands stopover with lead of 120 miles on FMC who became mired on the South American coast in light upwind conditions for several days.

Speaking on today’s live Visio-Conference with Barcelona Marin, speaking with Anna Corbella said:

"I have reserves of stamina and drive still to come, but I'm counting the hours. Here, now it feels kind of like we started yesterday but then you realise it’s already been four months and here we are going back home. I really want to be there and share the magic moments with you all.

"We are quite tight on food, I still have some things but as usual the good things are finished and I have the things I don’t like left. But I have one dessert left but on Friday I hope I can eat the “buñuelos” (typical Easter pastry) that someone will bring me. A tortilla (potato omelette) would not be bad either. I miss homemade food a lot. I’m a bit tired of so much freeze dried and dehydrated stuff.

"This thing of going to the gym two days after finishing. Well, we will have to negotiate I think that three or four days of holiday are in order first. Okay, I did notice that my body is not working very much and you lose a lot of muscle tone but that was more or less clear before leaving, but in two or three months it will be like before. 

"We're doing 11 knots on course 60. Up the course we have 20 knots of wind and we are more or less 50 miles from Cabo de Gata. I believe that in 5-6 hours we can be there. Let’s see if the Levante holds a few hours more. The navigation routing says we will arrive on Friday at 4 am, but for sure we'll be delayed. If we arrive during the day on Friday. I’d take that immediately, where do I sign.

"We've really had a relatively easy passage through Gibraltar. We went in with Levante that shifted to the stern until half the Strait and then went forward and we sailed more in the south of the Strait, off the merchants channel. It was pretty easy, all the crossing of the Straits to Cabo de Gata. It is always stressful because the merchants are all lined up and go very fast, but this aspect it was easier than when we left.

“The last few days have been very good. The last four days before Gibraltar we were reaching pretty fast, it was a very good farewell to the Atlantic. The last surfs of 20 knots were great. And now we have a Mediterranean that seems to be OK. Easterly wind and if in two days we are in Barcelona it will be just great.

"The forecast says the wind will go up 25 to 35 knots this evening. Let’s see if it’s true. At first it will be levante, hopefully we will have an upwind a bit more open to Cabo de Palos. It can be fast and from the Nao and Ibiza it will drop again with a direct reach so it will be very quick. But in the Mediterranean you never know, things change fast. 

"With Ludovic we had some intense days but I learned many things from him because he spent many years sailing and that's always such a big plus. Yes, there has been tension and hard times, as in all professional and amateur relationships, but the outcome for me is a very positive one. To finish a round the world race is something to always celebrate. It is always an important moment and we must enjoy it. 

"The comeback has been so intense, every day we saw him closer. But you have to be realistic. In the same way they got away 600 miles on the Falklands with a different system and with more pressure, in this case it is reversed. With a depression and downwind we were able to recover what they took in two days."

Barcelona World Race Media

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Soto 40s Readying For Med Cup

The first Soto 40s have also been training in the Mediterranean waters in preparation for their Med Cup Series debut.
Image courtesy of Longitude Yachts
Excitement is building as 2011 is the first year the Soto 40 Series joins the Audi MedCup Circuit. The first two European boats to be launched, Iberdrola Team (ESP) and Ngoni (GBR), have been training in the waters off Valencia over recent weeks.  Noticia IV (ESP), Patagonia (ARG) and XXII (ESP) are expected to arrive in Spain very soon.

Built in Argentina by M Boats, the first Soto 40 was launched just two years ago and already 20 have boats have been built. The Soto 40, is the Circuit’s new strict one-design boat, 40 feet long with a weight displacement of 4200kgs.

Lulu Roseman

Cascais To Kick Off Med Cup In May

In a month's time the first start gun will fire in Cascais, Portugal for the 2011 Audi MedCup Circuit in followed by regattas in Marseille, Cagliari, Cartagena and Barcelona.
© Stefano Gattini_Studio Borlenghi/Audi MedCup
With the Kiwi's and Artemis out of the game, the fleet is now comprised of several new teams, boats and faces.

Quantum Racing (USA) and Synergy (RUS) will campaign very similar brand new Botín Partners designs built by Longitud Zero. Rolf Vrolijk has designed new TP52’s for Audi Sailing Team powered by All4ONE (FRA/GER), Audi Azzurra (ITA), RÀN (SWE/GBR) and Container( GER).
© Stefano Gattini_Studio Borlenghi/Audi MedCup
The transition to the 2011 TP52 box rule is complete with a new standardised 4800 kgs keel format comprising of a 1000kgs solid steel fin to support the 3800kgs bulb, that enables easier and more accurate measurement of the fin and bulb. The new 2011 rigs are no longer allowed high modulus carbon in the rig manufacture and since 2010 boats are built to the ISO Germanischer Lloyds classification, making for a slightly heavier, more robust hull and deck.
© Guido Trombetta_Studio Borlenghi/Audi MedCup
Quantum Racing have America’s Cup winner Ed Baird (USA) as skipper-helm, stepping into the shoes of Terry Hutchinson. The core afterguard of Adrian Stead (GBR) and Kevin Hall (USA) remain as tactician and navigator. Audi Azzurra features an all Italian afterguard of strategist VascoVascotto, tactician Francesco Bruni and navigator Bruno Zirilli.

Audi ALL4ONE is skippered by four time Olympic medalist, Jochen Schuemann and joined again by Frenchman Sebastian Col helming for the French-German team.
© Guido Trombetta_Studio Borlenghi/Audi MedCup
Synergy has young helmsman Evgeny Neugodnikov.

Skype co-founder Nikklas Zennstrom joins the TP52 Series guided by Tim Powell (GBR) who has many years of experience in the MedCup Circuit, Gavin Brady (NZL) as tactician and Steve Hayles (GBR) as navigator.

Also making her debut in Cascais is Rán´s sister-ship, Udo Schütz´s Container, with Markus Wieser on the helm and Hamish Pepper (formerly Artemis strategist/tactician) as tactician. Tony Langley´s new TP52 programme, Gladiator, also steps up to the Audi MedCup Circuit

Lulu Roseman