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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Abu Dhabi Wins Volvo In-Port Race in Alicante

Alicante, Spain

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, led by British skipper and double Olympic silver medallist Ian Walker, have picked up the first points of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 by winning the inaugural in-port race.
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing Photo: IAN ROMAN/Volvo Ocean Race
They crossed the finish line14-minutes  ahead of PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG followed by CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand in third. Team Sanya edged Groupama sailing team for fourth, with Team Telefónica coming home sixth.
Photo: PAUL TODD/Volvo Ocean Race
Groupama lodged a protest against CAMPER as soon as the race finished.

“It’s a great win, I feel fantastic,” Walker said. “It’s a great start for Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing. I don’t think it means too much but I said before we left the dock that whoever wins today’s race can go home with a spring in their step and look forward to the week ahead.”
Photo: IAN ROMAN/Volvo Ocean Race
The in-port race marked the start of the epic 39,000 nautical mile round the world race, tipped to be the most competitive edition in the event´s 38-year history. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing go into the first offshore leg with a six point advantage.

All 10 Host Ports around the world will stage in-port racing during the Volvo Ocean Race where crews will be able to test their skills in close-quarter manoeuvres and tactics. More than 20 per cent of all points are up for grabs in the in-port racing, which could prove vital when overall positions are decided.
Photo: PAUL TODD/Volvo Ocean Race
Strong winds and pelting rain greeted the teams as they left the dock in Alicante but by the time the start gun fired at 1400 local time the weather had cleared and a 10-15-knot breeze blew down the race course.
Photo: IAN ROMAN/Volvo Ocean Race
An incredibly close start saw Abu Dhabi, CAMPER and Groupama lined up and equally matched, each looking for the slight advantage over their rivals. After a weak start, Telefónica and Sanya were left playing catch up.

As the yachts approached the first mark it was PUMA's Mar Mostro with the inside track but sailing’s ‘rules of the road’ meant Ken Read’s team had to give way to Ian Walker’s crew and the United Arab Emirates’ first ever entry in the Volvo Ocean Race took the lead.
Photo: PAUL TODD/Volvo Ocean Race
Slick crew work from Walker’s team saw them extend their lead during leg two. A nightmare rounding at the second mark saw CAMPER slip from second to fifth, a perfect example of how one mistake can cost dearly.
Camper with ETNZ Photo: IAN ROMAN/Volvo Ocean Race
A dwindling breeze in Alicante Bay confounded the situation on the water as the teams struggled to keep their boats moving. The instability of the breeze led to the race committee shortening the course, and with a substantial lead over their opponents, victory was assured for Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing.

With the race’s first ever Emirati, 22-year-old Adil Khalid, waving the flag of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s yacht Azzam crossed the line to claim the first points of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12.
Photo: PAUL TODD/Volvo Ocean Race
Walker said a slick sail change at the second mark was the key moment. “We had practised it in training and we pulled it off,” he said. “It was a credit to everyone.”
Photo: PAUL TODD/Volvo Ocean Race
Just one week remains for all six teams to make their final preparations before setting sail from Alicante to Cape Town, South Africa, in the first of nine offshore legs. Leg one starts at 1300 UTC (1400 local time) on November 5 and is expected to take approximately 21 days.

Iberdrola In-Port Race provisional results:
Position / Team / Time / Points

1. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing / 53 minutes 44 seconds/ 6
2. Puma Ocean Racing powered by BERG / 1 hour 07:58 / 5
3. CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand / 1:10:11 / 4
4. Team Sanya / 1:10:43 / 3
5. Groupama sailing team / 1:11:11 / 2
6. Team Telefónica / 1:12:08 / 1

Lulu Roseman

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Volvo Ocean Race Buzz Building in Alicante

All six Volvo Ocean Race entries will line up in Alicante, Spain on Saturday to compete in an inshore sprint race  as a prelude to the start of the around the world race on November 5. The Iberdrola In-Port Race marks the beginning of the intense rivalry and extreme competition expected between the six teams to be staged on the world's wildest oceans during the next eight months.
 Camper with ETNZ Photo: Camper/Pedro Martinez
“There’s a lot riding on the in-port races. They are going to be intense,” said Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand helmsman/trimmer Adam Minoprio. While the 26-year-old Kiwi is a newcomer to ocean racing he will be in his element inshore, having won the 2009 World Match Racing Tour.

“Emirates Team New Zealand has a great background with inshore racing and the skillset of the crew makes us a very strong team,” he added.

“This week we sailed the in-port race course which took us an hour and everyone on board was exhausted after it. It works out we have to do a sail change every eight minutes so there will be a lot of hard work on board.”
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing Photo: Ainhoa Sanchez/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing
The teams: Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand, Groupama sailing team, PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG, Team Sanya and Team Telefónica; feature many of world's best, toughest and legendary yachtsmen.
Team Telefónica Photo: Maria Muina
The in-port races take place in all 10 host ports along the 39,000 nautical mile route and deliver over 20 percent of the points. Sailed close to the shore, they provide a spectacle for local spectators and the millions of people who follow the race worldwide, while also providing opportunities for the teams to climb further up the leader board.

Lulu Roseman

Maltese Boat Wins Overall Victory - Rolex Middle Sea Race

Putting an end a nine year drought of Maltese winners, the J/122 Artie, co-skippered by Lee Satariano and Christian Ripard, was today named the overall winner of the 2011 Rolex Middle Sea Race.
Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
Artie completed the 606-nautical mile course in an elapsed time of 4 days, 4 hours, 22 minutes, 54 seconds.After finishing second overall in both 2006 and 2010, owner Lee Satariano was ecstatic with his first overall win,

“It’s a moment to enjoy. It is a dream come true. Since 2002 the fleet has grown bigger and the competition is tremendous. The Rolex Middle Sea Race is a beautiful track. The race is one you can never forget and every year something challenges you to go back out and enjoy another race,” Satariano said.
Artie Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
He was full of praise for his co-skipper Christian Ripard and his entire crew.

“They have been preparing the boat the whole year and have been dedicated to all the local races. The preparation for this race was even more intense and a lot of effort went into optimising the boat and sails. During the race the crew worked around the clock, sometimes there were five or seven sail changes in ten minutes and they worked fast in any conditions. It was very nice for them to do so well in such a race,” he said.

Lulu Roseman

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

First Maltese Boat Home in Rolex Middle Sea Race

The J/122 Artie was the first Matese boat to cross the finish line at 15.22 CEST today and currently leads Rán as overall handicap leader.
Artie Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
But the crew will have to wait it out on the Royal Malta Yacht Club terrace to see if any boat still racing might be able to beat them on handicap. A formal announcement of the overall winner will be made tomorrow.
Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
“It was very achievable because we worked very hard. The crew has been preparing the boat for several months and we even have a new sail wardrobe. Being the first Maltese boat gives us a big satisfaction because the local competition is very, very big. The competition is growing every year. In the past we’ve had two second place finishes and we hope this third time it is even better,” said owner Lee Satariano.
Lee Satariano and Christian Ripard Photos: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
“It’s a great feeling. We ended up doing most of the race alongside or crossing tacks with Jaru; it’s nearly a rerun of last year, though this time we managed to beat them," co-skipper Christian Ripard said.

“We were sailing the boat as well as we can. We knew if we had the same conditions as the rest of the competition, we’d do well. The boat is going exceptionally well, and it’s a very good crew. This was a very enjoyable one. When you race on a maxi you tend to be on your own, but when you’re with the smaller boats, then you really have a race on, there are different dynamics. You’re crossing tacks with foreign boats, with local boats and  that makes it one of the most enjoyable races for me," Ripard said.

Lulu Roseman

Handicap Overall Results Up In The Air - Race Update - Rolex Middle Sea Race

During the night and into this morning, a dozen boats crossed the finish line in Marsamxett Harbour in the 2011 Rolex Middle Sea Race, after struggling on the ten-mile leg from Comino to the finish line. The breeze had been solid on the leg from Lampedusa, and then dropped off dramatically as yachts reached the Maltese archipelago.
Alegre Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
The 606-nautical mile race has dished out it's fair share of wind peppered with a few ‘parking lots’ and these extremely light conditions requires all crew, not just the tactician and navigator, to be vigilant about their positioning on their boat and spotting breeze on the water.

The bigger boats such as Esimit Europa 2, managed to get around the course with the breeze as did Rán  and Alegre, and Med Spirit, which arrived yesterday. But after dark, the wind became light and stayed that way until midday today.
Alegre Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
Rán has a Class 1 win sewn up, but their current status as overall handicap leader may only be temporary. For now they are forced to play the waiting game to see if any other contenders can top her on the leader board. According to rounding times at Lampedusa, that would be down to AOC Rockall and local Maltese J/122, Artie co-skippered by Lee Satariano and Christian Ripard. Artie is currently 23 nautical miles from the finish, doing 6.5 knots and must cross by 18.28 while Rockall is 33 nautical miles away, making 6.5 knots and needs to finish by 2041. While both finishes are mathematically possible it depends upon the wind holding up.

Alexis De Cenival, main trimmer on board the Marten 49, Speedy (GER), described various weather conditions over the course of the race.
Alegre Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
“We stopped for six hours around Stromboli, with no wind, and after we had big clouds and 25 knots. It was a tricky race. The weather was not what was expected at all. The forecasts we had before the race were all wrong, so we had to figure it out during the race. The weather was mostly light and you needed to be on deck to try to find the wind. We were on the wind for 120 miles, and you need all the crew on the rail to get the weight. So we didn’t sleep much, we tried to do a watch system, but you really need the weight outside – you can see 0.3 of a knot faster when you have the guys on the rail," De Cenival said.

“It was very light from between the islands (Comino and Malta) to here with big waves against the wind, so it was difficult. It took us 45 minutes to get the last half-mile, so there was a little tension on the deck this morning,” he added.

The first Maltese boat – defined as a boat having a Maltese resident as skipper and the majority of the crew being Maltese - is expected to arrive this afternoon, as currently looks to be a drag race between the J/133, Oiltanking Juno and Artie.

Apart from the Russian entry, the 43-foot Skipperclub, which is currently off San Vito lo Capo, the last of the fleet has reached Pantelleria with 190 nautical miles still to sail.

Regatta News

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Still Out On The Race Course - Rolex Middle Sea Race

At midday today, Chris Opielok’s Corby 36, AOC Rockall was leading Class 4 and still in contention for the overall handicap prize.
AOC Rockall Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
“We are on the way to Lampedusa, having had a very interesting night getting through a big hole off San Vito lo Capo (NW tip of Sicily). We chose the 'go out to sea' option, and it initially looked great – but then the breeze filled in from the land so we lost a little bit. But hey ho, thems the breaks," reported crew member John Brinkers.

“We are now sailing upwind in 10 -12 knots with our main opposition six miles ahead (the local Maltese boat J/122, Artie). We realise a 40 minute lead on corrected is nice, but it can be taken away in a heartbeat in the massively variable and sometimes illogical conditions found out here. The battle continues.”
AOC Rockall Skipper Chris Opielok Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
Sandro Musu emailed from onboard his Maltese entry, the Grand Soleil 40, Aziza. “Three days in, and all is well on Aziza. We've enjoyed every wind condition from zero to thirty-two knots, from every direction, rain and now sunshine. Spirits are high on board. We're eating well and keeping hydrated in the warm wind. As I write this we are passing Pantelleria. We are looking forward to sitting in the Royal Malta Yacht Club with our rivals in a few days to recount the many funny and exciting stories from the arena of competition.”

On Saturday 22 October 70 yachts started the 32nd Rolex Middle Sea Race and so far three boats have been forced to retire. They are: Class 40 Pogo 1 (GER), Comanche Raider II Gasan Mamo (MLT), and Ali Raja Bluorange (ITA).

Lulu Roseman

Rán Still in Race for Handicap - Rolex Middle Sea Race

While Rán was the second boat over the line this morning they behind Esimit Europa 2 they will have to sweat it out until tomorrow to find out how they have fared in the overall handicap results. Several boats who are still racing pose a threat.
Rán Photo By: Rolex / Rene Rossignaud
“We wanted to do well, so we made sure we planned as much as we could. We studied the different weather models that were available to us, and really tried to understand the racecourse as well as possible. I think we handled it well. We didn’t make a lot of mistakes which is what it’s all about in this kind of race. Though it was pretty light conditions; you didn’t have the tough conditions where you really have to handle the boat. It’s a fun race because there are always different corners to go around, different islands and it’s very tactical, ” said Niklas Zennstrom, Rán's owner/helmsman.
Rán Photo: Rolex/Rene Rossignaud
Rán’s tactician Adrian Stead agreed adding it was a pretty challenging race that was alive the entireway around the course.

"For us, we sailed a very good race, we sailed a tactical and a fairly risk-free race. We controlled everything we could and now it’s down to whether it turns out to be a mini-maxi race or a small boat race. But once again, a great racecourse, you can’t beat it," Stead said.
Rán Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
“Even at the start, one of our biggest gains on Alegre was out of the harbour and (during) the first two legs. We recognized it was quite squirrelly at the time. The breeze was shifting around and everyone was thinking of a relatively light-ish start. As we went down to the turning mark off St Julian’s, the breeze felt well in the right, so we elected to gybe-set and took off doing 15-18 knots and that gave us a really good jump on Alegre. There were enough shifts in the first two hours and we probably put two to three miles on them, which was really good, in terms of laying down your marker. The opportunities were there to do it,” Stead added.
Adrian Stead, Tactician Rán Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
Rán maximised their opportunities during the passage through Messina, known as the make or break turning point of the course.

“Off Catania we knew we wanted to be in the middle of the bottom of the Strait, and if we could get to the right-hand side, we would. We were conscious when we went in there that Esimit was going to go through with favourable current, and that we were probably going to plug it. We got most of the way down the eastern side in the back eddy and had just three knots against us when we crossed the entrance and enough breeze to do it. So we managed to escape in reasonable shape whereas a lot of the boats behind us came through on the next tide," he said.
Rán Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
“We were relieved to have gotten through Messina in the shape we did. And going through there with a three-hour, 30-mile lead on our arch rival was pretty satisfying. But they sailed well, coming back into us in the light (wind), but there really weren’t very many ways around us."

The weather conditions continued to confound even the race leaders right until to the end, a reminder of what may lie ahead for the rest of the fleet still at sea.

“The last 50 miles to the finish were incredibly tricky. Originally we were pointing straight at Malta, then we were slowly headed and effectively faced with a 30-mile beat to the Comino Channel. Coming in here a midday the breeze started to get very fickle off the shore with very big shifts. The last nine miles saw 40 degree shifts and breeze as light as five knots to as much as 11 knots. You had to keep your wits about you the whole way,” Stead said.
Alegre Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
At 17.16 this evening, Alegre crossed the finish line. Twelve nautical miles behind them, Med Sprit was approaching the South Comino Channel. Between Gozo and Lampedusa there are a half dozen yachts close reaching in a light 5-10 knot easterly. Further up the track between Lampedusa and Pantelleria, the majority of the fleet (approximately 40 yachts) are beating into a headwind and hope to finish on Wednesday.

Lulu Roseman

Maxi Victory in Rolex Middle Sea Race

Esimit Europa 2 has taken out line honours in the 2011 Rolex Middle Sea Race, crossing the finish line at 0054 CEST this morning in Marsamxett Harbour, Valetta, Malta. The Slovenian maxi completed the course in an elapsed time of 61 hours, 24 minutes and 35 seconds.
Photo: Rolex / René Rossignud
Previously known as Alfa Romeo II, the Reichel/Pugh 100 design built by McConaghy Yachts in Sydney was also the 2010 line honours winner, with an elapsed time of 54 hours, 52 minutes, 32 seconds. Since Igor Simcic took ownership of the boat in 2010 the100-footer has dominated the European circuit with her line honours wins including the Giraglia Rolex Cup.

Included in the crew of 20 is America's Cup sailors, Jochen Schümann, Skipper and Navigator Juan Vila, who both raced with Alinghi in 2007 and were competing in their first Rolex Middle Sea Race.

“The start was interesting, a squall came through, so there was more breeze than expected. It was good speed from the beginning. They (Rán) gybed away at the first mark so we had a big split. We had a different scenario planned. Even though they are smaller, they were the real competition for us, so we didn’t allow too much separation. We sailed towards them and gybed in front to windward. If we were to take a little more risk, we should have play more our side, because it proved later to be the best way. We played a little bit maybe too safe, but on a long race you have tactics and you look for your direct opponents,” Schümann said about the early part of the race where they got away from Rán,

“It’s one race I’ve always wanted to do. It’s a different kind of distance race. I was a bit nervous because everyone told me how difficult it was getting around Sicily. There are many high points where you have to be very careful,” Juan Vila said.

“We kept some land breeze longer and we stretched there. Everyone on the boat did a good job of keeping the boat going and we probably managed to keep going with the little bit of wind that was going north. To keep the boat moving in these light airs, we knew it would be tricky -- as the Rolex Middle Sea Race is -- especially the first night. We thought it would be a deciding point of the race, getting by the eastern coast of Sicily and through Messina. From Stromboli it was light, but we managed to find some clouds, so we were jumping from cloud to cloud,” Vila recapped on the early part of the race as they approached Sicily got a good jump on the fleet.

From Messina, Esimit Europa 2 had a spinnaker run from Stromboli, then a slow approach to the tip of Sicily where the wind died. 

“We struggled to keep the boat going and then we put our nose into the southeasterly and kept stretching slowly. There were three or four thunderstorms, very violent with rain and breeze. These huge clouds were changing the wind pattern dramatically, from no wind to really big puffs, and the direction shifting more than 90 degrees. It wasn’t easy to handle it, but I think we passed all those things quite nicely,” Schümann said.

From Trapani, they had a close reach to Pantelleria, rounding early Monday morning, then sailed upwind to Lampedusa, where they met a rough sea state. 

“There were lumpy seas, where the current was pushing from behind and making waves that were very short and very high, a little bit boat-breaking stuff. Actually we broke a runner there, which was difficult because we had to replace it with a halyard and sail with a Solent only, instead of a jib," Schümann said.
Line Honours Presentation, l-r: Georges Bonello DuPuis, Commodore RMYC, Igor Simcic, Owner Esimit, Jochen Schümann, Skipper Esimit; Malcolm Lowell Jr. (Edwards Lowell Co. Ltd) Photo: Rolex / René Rossignud
After Esimit Europa 2 crossed the finish line, just off the Royal Malta Yacht Club in the early hours of Tuesday, the boat was brought alongside the yacht club pontoon for a dockside presentation. Owner and project manager Igor Simcic was presented with a Rolex Yacht-Master timepiece by Malcolm Lowell Jr. from Edwards’ Lowell, as well as the R.L.R. Line Honours Trophy by Royal Malta Yacht Club Commodore, Georges Bonello DuPuis.
Rán   Photo By: Rolex / René Rossignud
Five hours later this morning, Niklas Zennstrom’s Rán, was the second boat to finish, crossing the line at 11:10 CEST, with an elapsed time of 2 days, 23 hours, 40 minutes.

Alegre is the next boat expected to cross the finish line this afternoon followed by Med Spirit. The majority of the fleet is now in a line between Pantelleria and Lampedusa, sailing in a 12-15 knot south-southeasterly and if the wind holds the should finish from this evening.

Lulu Roseman

Esimit Europa 2 Wins Line Honours in 2011 Rolex Middle Sea Race

Just before 0100 CEST on Tuesday, 24 October, Igor Simcic’s Esimit Europa 2 crossed the finish line in Marsamxett Harbour in Malta to claim the line honours win at the 2011 Rolex Middle Sea Race. The Slovenian boat finished at 00 hours, 54 minutes, 35 seconds.
Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
Esimit Europa 2 completed the course in an elapsed time of 61 hours, 24 minutes and 35 seconds.

Dockside at the Royal Malta Yacht Club, owner and project manager Igor Simcic was presented with a Rolex Yacht-Master timepiece by Malcolm Lowell Jr. from Edwards’ Lowell, as well as the R.L.R. Line Honours Trophy by Royal Malta Yacht Club Commodore, Georges Bonello DuPuis.
Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
In 2010, Esimit Europa2 was also the line honours winner, with an elapsed time of 54 hours, 52 minutes, 32 seconds.

As Esimit Europa 2 crossed the line in Malta, the nearest yacht, Rán (GBR), was approximately 90 nautical miles behind, and was expected at the finish in Malta Tuesday afternoon.

Regatta News

Monday, October 24, 2011

Bring On The Breeze - Rolex Middle Sea Race

The weather has so far served up two completely different scenarios for the Rolex Middle Sea Race fleet. By Monday afternoon the leaders who earlier rounded the western tip of Sicily were powering along in 20 plus knots of southeasterly breeze while the rest of the fleet lingered the lee along the north coast of Sicily in just five to ten knots of wind.
Esimit Europa 2....running their own race Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
By 1730 several squalls swept through and a few boats were caught out and forced to quickly douse spinnakers and run through sail changes, as the wind swung around from southeast to northwest.

Esimit Europa 2 hooked into the solid southeasterly breeze on Sunday night and was ahead of the 72-foot mini maxi, Rán. By 1800 today, Esimit was clocking 11 knots of easterly breeze on the leg from Lampedusa towards the finish in Malta and had increased their lead ahead of of Rán to 95 nautical miles. Esimit is expecting to cross the finish line off the Royal Malta Yacht Club in Marsamxett Harbour by midnight tonight.
Rán Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
At 1400 this afternoon Rán's navigator Steve Hayles reported a lumpy sea state down past Trapani.

“We’ve been cracked sheets reaching today in up to 25 knots and it’s down to 15 knots now, and I think that trend will continue. We’re going to be upwind in 10-13 knots on the way to Lampedusa, and beyond that it’s looking potentially quite a bit lighter on the leg back to Malta," Hayles said.
Alegre Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
“It’s frustrating to have watched Esimit sail away to a bigger lead than we would have liked, but the conditions have suited her – it’s been a bit of a leader’s race. Our aim, leaving the dock, was to focus on what was controllable, and to that end we’ve got to be reasonably happy. We’ve managed to hold or extend on the group behind us and obviously we’re pretty focused on boats like Alegre, who we’ve put back probably 35 miles or so behind us.”
Berenice Bis Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
Behind Rán, the 90-footer Med Spirit and Mills 68 Alegre were approaching Pantelleria, about 15 nautical miles out. The rest of the fleet was stretched out from the Egadi Islands and north around to Palermo. Class 1 competitors E1, Nikata , Wild Joe, and Berenice Bis were the next boats to reach the corner at the Egadis. At 1700, the Swan 80 Berenice Bis, with all crew on the rail, was approaching Favignana in a 14-knot easterly breeze as a rain squall came though, gusting up to 20 knots, before clocking southeast without any loss of speed.
Dralion Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
Class 2 leaders Nikata, Dralion, and Cantankerous followed. On the Swan 66, Lot 66, skipper Andrew Duff reported that the crew were in good spirits, pushing the boat as hard as they could.  

“We seem to be catching a few boats up, but then they get away from us. We’re 40 miles from Favignana, and hoping to get around before midnight,” Duff said.
E1 Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
Vikesha II, co-skippered by Russian Oleg Evdokimenko and Maltese Timmy Camilleri, (who has won the race overall three times), with Jochem Visser as tactician, is currently leading Class 3. Evdokimenko is a Dragon sailor and his crew includes other Russian Dragon, TP52, and Olympic sailors.

Leading Class 4 are two J/122s from the Maltese fleet: the Lee Satariano and Christian Ripard co-skippered Artie and Otra Vez, co-skippered by brothers Aaron and Edward Gatt Floridia. 
 Moonshine Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
“It’s not a long passage race, you have a lot of corners, a lot of changing winds when you go around a corner. You get becalmed, you run away; you get becalmed, they catch you up, it really keeps you on your toes, the whole way around. That’s why it’s so much fun, but it’s so hard doing it,” Ripard said before the start of the race.
Speedy  Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
Ian Knight and Beppe Bisotto, are double-handers racing on the Fast 42 Atame. 

“Ian is sleeping; he deserves a full night after a fast leg to Stromboli. I am back again admiring Stromboli by night, it has become a regular habit. Every year sailing, keeping it port side, puffs of incandescent ashes and smokes. Lou Reed on the player and streams of thinking, not only about sailing. This you can do if racing double-handed, with a crew there is little time for yourself,” said Bisotto in an email while enjoying his solitary watch.

Lulu Roseman

Luna Rossa Set to Compete in 34th America's Cup

The Italian luxury fashion company Prada has announced it intends to sponsor Luna Rossa in the 34th America's Cup in a deal worth 40 Million Euros.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
Prada SA is currently negotiating the sponsorship agreement with Maestrale Holding S.r.l., a company that is indirectly controlled by the Company’s President, Ms. Miuccia Prada Bianchi, and the Company’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Patrizio Bertelli, in connection with the Luna Rossa Sponsorship.
Photo: © Lloyd Images, 
Luna Rossa is the current leader in the 2011 Extreme Sailing Series and since the AC32 in Valencia has also competed in the Louis Vuitton World Series and the Audi MedCup Circuit.

Lulu Roseman

Aussie Assault - Bundy Takes The AC45 Wheel with Slingsby

Two leading Aussie sailors have hi-jacked Russell Coutts' ride at the the next AC45 World Series event in San Diego next month.
Darren 'Bundy' Bundock Photo: Guilain Grenier/ORACLE Racing
Darren Bundock will take the helm of ORACLE Racing Coutts at the third ACWS event while fellow Australian Olympic sailor Tom Slingsby also comes aboard for the first time as tactician. Russell Coutts ORACLE Racing’s CEO, will attend the San Diego event but won’t be racing.
Tom Slingsby Photo: Guilain Grenier/ORACLE Racing
Bundock is a two time Olympic silver medalist in the Olympic Tornado catamaran class while Slingsby is the current World No.1-ranked competitor in the Olympic single-handed Laser class and Rolex Yachtsman of the Year.
Slingsby in action on the AC45 Photo: Guilain Grenier/ORACLE Racing
ORACLE Racing’s second crew headed by fellow Australian James Spithill will compete in San Diego with the same crew that raced at the ACWS-Cascais and last month’s ACWS-Plymouth regatta.

The ACWS-San Diego is scheduled for November 12-20 with racing will be staged right in heart of San Diego Bay between Broadway Pier and Harbor Island.

Lulu Roseman

America's Cup Uncovered - Episode 13

At The Halfway Mark - Rolex Middle Sea Race

It's just forty-eight hours into the Rolex Middle Sea Race and already the fleet has encountered plenty of challenges. The 606-nautical mile course around Sicily is infamous for its flukey conditions and local anomalies in wind, current and weather conditions.
Alegre passing Favignana Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
While the first 24 hours was faster than expected, the frontrunners suffered on the stretch of the course along the north coast of Sicily where lighter air slowed them to a crawl. But once they stuck their bows around the northwest corner of Sicily, past San Vito lo Capo, they were back into the breeze and off and running again.
Rán Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
Esimit Europa 2 made their way around the corner, passing between the Egadi Islands of Favignana, to port, and Marettimo, to starboard, at 2300 last night. The southerly kicked in and after a few tacks they were able to lay Pantelleria, 70 nautical miles distant, to round the island at 0630 this morning.
Rán Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
At that same time Rán was rounding the northwest point at San Vito lo Capo where the breeze had increased.

“After experiencing very little wind during the night in our downwind sailing, we are now back upwind in 16.5 knots of wind and we are sailing at a speed of 13.5 knots. If you were driving a car, this would compare to about 25 km per hour approx. Slow you might think? Well, with a carbon floating machine like this one and her heel angle when going upwind, you better hold on and forget about your nice hair-do. Rocky and fast is the description of the experience; Hold on and strap yourself in. Still no rain instead a beautiful sunrise behind the hilly landscape of Sicily,” a Rán crew member reported.
Alegre Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
At approximately 1000 this morning Alegre and Med Spirit rounded the northwest corner. Behind them was Class 2 leader Nikata just south of Isola Ustica along with Dralion and Wild Joe.
Med Spirit passing Favignana Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
“Looking ahead we expect our world to change when we round the western tip of Sicily and enter the southerly winds. The strength will increase and be more on the nose. At the moment we are peeling between the code zero and headsails, but we will just be using headsails shortly. We’re happy with that; it gives us a chance to extend on Dralion, one of our major competitors. We made a good decision last night to stay north, away from the wind shadows of Sicily and the Aeolian Islands. Dralion did the same, and we owe them time unfortunately,” said navigator Mike Broughton from onboard Nikata
Nikata Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
“Further ahead we think that Lampedusa could be a problem and another park-up. There is a low tracking over Malta on Tuesday that could bring really light winds, changing the picture all over again and really changing the shape of the race,” Broughton said.
Wild Joe at sunset on Day 2 Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo 
The majority of the fleet, including all of Classes 3 and 4, is packed closely along the rhumbline off the northern coast of Sicily. Abeam of the island of Alicudi (one of the Aeolian Islands) this morning, skipper Arthur Podesta onboard the Class 3 Maltese boat Elusive St. Regis said they had a visual sighting of 34-35 boats around them.

“It was a tough night, we rounded Stromboli with good breeze at around 2300 with its usual eruptions and a very nice view. About an hour later, the breeze started to die, and then it was just a big swell with sails flapping, shock loading the boat. We are now sailing in six knots of wind, making 6.3 knots of boat speed, with the apparent wind just forward of the beam. We anticipate the wind to increase by midday, though forecasts have been mostly inaccurate. Anyway, that’s the name of game. Right now we have bright sunshine some cloud cover,” Podesta said.

Lulu Roseman