Monday, April 23, 2018

Mecca Awaits For Volvo Ocean Race Crews

It was a familiar sight on Sunday afternoon in Itajaí, where the two red boats at the top of the Volvo Ocean Race leaderboard set the pace at the start of Leg 8 to Newport, Rhode Island on the east coast of the United States.
Photo: Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race
MAPFRE, in second place overall, led throughout the inshore portion of the leg start, with overall race leader Dongfeng Race Team giving chase just boatlengths behind. Team Brunel and Turn the Tide on Plastic were up amongst the leaders as well, pushing the frontrunners as they headed out to sea for the 5,700 nautical mile leg north.
Photo: Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race
Team AkzoNobel held down fifth place out of Itajaí while Team SHK/Scallywag and Vestas 11th Hour Racing were close to three minutes behind the leader at the final inshore gate. The Scallywag team was sporting a new logo on both boat and uniform honouring their lost teammate John Fisher.
Photo: Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race
The forecast is for generally light winds, making for tricky conditions to start Leg 8. The fleet is likely to push out to the east to get further offshore before making a turn to the north.After falling behind Dongfeng Race Team by one point on the leaderboard, MAPFRE skipper Xabi Fernández says his team needs to battle hard to regain the lead.
Photo: Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race
“We need to step up again and use all our strength to try to win this leg,” he said.
Photo: Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race
His counterpart on Dongfeng Race Team, Charles Caudrelier says the leg is complicated with tradewind sailing as well as a fourth and final doldrums crossing for the race.

“It’s a nice leg. We have to cross the doldrums again, but it should be in the easy part, further to the west, which is good,” said Caudrelier.
Photo: Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race
Then, it’s the Newport stopover, which is popular with the sailors, as the town is renowned as a sailing mecca.
Photo: Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race
“I love Newport,” said Team Brunel’s Bouwe Bekking. “It’s a sailing destination, with so much heritage with the America’s Cup there for so many years and of course all the locals know what our race is about. It’s one of the best stopovers.”
Photo: Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race
As the teams left Itajaí, Brazil, they were seen off by a large, enthusiastic crowd dockside as well as a generous spectator fleet on the water for the leg start.
Photo: Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race
Leg 8 Positions as at 1800 UTC on Sunday 22 April:

1. MAPFRE (Xabi Fernández)
2. Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier)
3. Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking)
4. Team AkzoNobel (Simeon Tienpont)
5. Turn The Tide on Plastic (Dee Caffari)
6. Sun Hung Kai Scallywag (David Witt)
7. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (Charlie Enright)

Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18 --- Overall Leaderboard after Leg 7:

1. Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier), 46 points
2. MAPFRE (Xabi Fernández), 45 points
3. Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking), 36 points
4. Team AkzoNobel (Simeon Tienpont), 33 points
5. Sun Hung Kai Scallywag (David Witt), 26 points
6. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (Charlie Enright), 23 points
7. Turn The Tide on Plastic (Dee Caffari), 20 points

Volvo Ocean Race Media

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Luna Rossa Announce Matteo Celon, Enrico Voltolini & Andrea Tesei as New Gen Project Crew

Cagliari, 11April 2018

Luna Rossa has completed the first sessions dedicated to the selection and training of young talent from the world of Italian sailing and is pleased to announce the names of the first three sailors who will be part of the team and race in the upcoming regattas.
Photo: Luna Rossa Challenge
Matteo Celon, age 22, is a Laser-class sailor from Lake Garda who has also competed in the Extreme40, M32 and Melges circuits. 

“These sessions have given us a unique opportunity to sail closely with top sailors and to gain experience that we could not have achieved on our own. I believe that this project truly reflects the start of a new generation in Italian sailing,” Celon said.

Enrico Voltolini, age 31, is a naval engineer. His sailing career starts in the Star class with a European and two Italian championship titles. From 2013 to 2016 he raced with excellent results in the Finn circuit representing the Fiamme Gialle military team. 

 “The New Generation project has allowed us to approach a world that is apparently distant from the Olympic classes but that actually shares several aspects. It is an exceptional opportunity for us to learn and grow,” Voltolini added.

Andrea Tesei, age 26 from Trieste, has sailed in the Olympic 49er class for the past five years, placing top10 in the world ranking and runner-up for the world title in 2015. He won a bronze medal in the 2017 European championships and obtained several titles and medals in national championships. Andrea has also raced in the main professional circuits such as in the Extreme Sailing Series, World Match Racing Tour and Melges World League. 

“These weeks of training have given us a real feel of what it means to work in an America’s Cup team. It has been an incredible learning experience also thanks to the humility, enthusiasm and will to share of the sailors working with us. It’s hard to describe how I feel at being be part of team Luna Rossa. I can’t wait to go out there and prove my gratitude by giving my absolute best to the team!”

The New Generation project has proved to be an excellent platform in identifying a pool of young quality athletes and will continue throughout 2018.

Luna Rossa Media

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Black Jack and Ichi Ban Win QantasLink 70th Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race

The QantasLink 70th Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race, organised by the Queensland Cruising Yacht Club, was one to remember for many reasons other than just the historic landmark it reached.
Photo: Shoebox Images
The race started in near perfect conditions in Moreton Bay on Good Friday with the help of multiple low-level flypasts by an RAAF C-17 over the start line. Following on from the success of the LiveStreaming of the race last year, QCYC increased the number of camera and included a drone for the 70th race.
Photo: Shoebox Images
The whole fleet rounded the first mark off Redcliffe in under 50 minutes; a clear signal of a fast race ahead. Unsurprising, leading the fleet was the 100’ Black Jack who quickly stretched her legs and thundered up the coast intent on one thing only, beating the 14 year old record for the race set by Skandia of 20 hours, 24 minutes and 50 seconds.
Photo: Shoebox Images
The winds gradually increased during the race and importantly didn’t drop during the darkness hours. Boats were reporting constant 30 knot winds and confused seas. Most boats experienced some level of sail damage but despite the hard and very wet conditions only three boats retired not making it to the finish.
Photo: Shoebox Images
With such a fast boat and good pressure most felt that Black Jack was finally going to beat the record but as she powered into Gladstone harbour under the cover of night it became clear that the record was not only beaten, it was smashed by three and a half hours with a time of 16 hours, 53 minutes and 57 seconds.
Photo: Shoebox Images
Behind the 100 footer, the two 52 footers of Ichi Ban and Envy Scooters (ex Ichi Ban) duelled it out for the entire race with Matt Allen’s rocket ship only really getting away from Envy as the two boats crossed ‘the paddock’ to Gladstone. As Ichi Ban crossed the line the realisation that not only one but two boats had beaten the 2004 record dawned. Ichi Ban now holds the record for the fastest time for a conventionally ballasted boat of 19 hours, 36 minutes and 42 seconds.
Photo: Shoebox Images
With the first three boats in, eyes turned back to the main pack which was still incredibly tightly packed; fourth over the line was Ray Roberts new toy Team Hollywood followed by the every competitive Kerumba and then there was no stopping them, the fleet streamed in.
Photo: Shoebox Images
In general, it was a big boat race. Matt Allen and Ichi Ban took the overall prize and coveted Courier Mail Cup and in doing so achieved a historic Sydney Hobart/Brisbane to Gladstone double. The boat also managed a haul of other prizes including winner of the ORCi division, Four Cities Cup and the Federation Cup, the Club team event, with fellow CYCA boats Team Hollywood and Sail Exchange.
Photo: Shoebox Images
There were some exceptions to the big boat domination. Fusion took the PHRF division and there were good showings by Mayfair and Matrix but the real trend bucker was Wistari who was competing in her 50th edition of the historic race, an achievement of its own. The little home built boat featured heavily in the prize giving taking out a number of the divisions including the Vintage Division.
Photo: Shoebox Images
Second place in this division was Laurabada who incredibly, kept just ahead of Wistari in the records books by notching up her 51st race. How many races in the world can boast not one but two such long running competitors?
Photo: Shoebox Images
Also, of special mention was Marriah. The crew on this yacht stopped racing for almost five hours to give assistance to another competitor who suffers rudder damage. The efforts were immense and demonstrated the bond that exists between all sailors.
Photo: Shoebox Images
Full results can be found at