Thursday, May 24, 2018

Sled Rack Up Victory in the Coastal Race - 52 Super Series - Day 2 - Croatia

Thursday 24th May, Sibenik
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
After a beautifully scenic 30-nautical-mile coastal race tour of the islands off Sibenik, third place across the finish line sees reigning TP52 World Champions Platoon step up to lead the hotly contested first regatta of the 2018 52 Super Series season, the Sibenik 52 Super Series Sailing Week.
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
While there was an extremely satisfying runaway victory for Takashi Okura’s mainly Kiwi crew on Sled, a team now comprising almost all past or present Team New Zealand America’s Cup sailors, it was the third place of Harm Müller-Spreer’s team with rivals and team-mates Quantum Racing in eighth that now means the German-flagged crew lead by five points after eight races.

Quantum Racing’s long-standing love-hate relationship with the coastal race concept was in no way enhanced by today’s outing. Picturesque it may have been but they were judged to be over the start line early and after re-crossing the line they were always trying to fight back along a track that did not have any real passing lanes.

Their one divergent choice, staying right up the long beat – closer to the mainland shore – yielded no long-term profit. With many spirited boat on boat tussles going on ahead of them that was the best they could manage under the circumstances.

Sled started well, dealt an early blow to Azzurra off the start line and from there were quickly able to control the right side of the short, 1.2 mile opening windward leg. By the top mark there was already an ominous look to their 60-metre lead over Jean Luc Petithuguenin’s Paprec, which had also found themselves a nice, clean lane of breeze on the right.

The jump made early on by this duo proved conclusive. Sled were over 600 metres clear of second by the turn at the top of the first island and something of a distant speck for the last placed chasers.

There was a welcome measure of satisfaction for the Sled team that has worked diligently to a strategic programme that saw the boat beautifully built at Core Composites at ‘home’ in New Zealand, launched and sea trialled first of the nine new boats, and up to speed at PalmaVela. But for the passionate team on Paprec, second was like a win for them, ebullient owner Petithuguenin promising a few bottles of champagne for his team.

“We are here to enjoy ourselves!” laughed the delighted French owner as he stepped on to the dock.

Sled’s winning tactician Team New Zealand’s Ray Davies was a little more reserved:

“The key was the start. We got a piece of Azzurra of the start line and then we were able to control the right hand side. And from there it was a leader’s course. Everyone else was dicing with each other and we were just able to sail away. In these conditions it is relatively easy, sailing our own modes in clear air.” 
He added, 
“We are thrilled with the win and the way it went today. It is a big boost for the team. We have all sailed a lot with each other so much before it is really working well.”

Platoon’s Victor Marino was delighted with their steady gains on Platoon, typical of their step by step low risk strategy worked by John Kostekci and strategist Jordi Calafat.

“We knew that it would be a very complicated, challenging race and we needed to be solid in every department, in the start, in the boat handling and everything. We got ourselves into a solid position in the middle of the fleet and then picked our time to attack step by step. The goal in this kind of racing is to stay safe and solid in each area and be able to take your opportunities as they come to you.”

There was little joy for the Quantum Racing team or indeed the reigning 52 SUPER SERIES champions, Azzurra, though both might be disappointed for different reasons. Azzurra were fourth, overlapped with Gladiator at the first top mark but faded to cross the finish in 10th. Quantum Racing looked to have rallied on the long beat, staying right – towards the mainland shore – but it appeared that the breeze continued to lift inside them. But at least they were making places, chipping away to eighth.

Quantum Racing still lie second overall but are five points behind Platoon while the Quantum trifecta remains intact with Eduardo de Souza Ramos’s Onda still holding on to third, just one point behind Quantum Racing. Tactician Robert Scheidt explained:

“Today it was a bit like we were trying to hold off the boats behind and we had some really challenging moments, but I think the crew is coming together really nicely in the last few days so we’re really happy to get fifth. We still need to improve a lot, but since Palma, which was our first regatta, we’ve made a big step, we’re already more confident to sail boat-on-boat situations, we had a good start today, and we’re changing gears better than we were before but still a long way to go.”

Standings after three races:

1. Platoon (GER) (Harm Müller-Spreer) (1,4,3) 8 p.
2. Quantum Racing (USA) (Doug DeVos) (4,1,8) 13 p.
3. Onda (BRA) (Eduardo de Souza Ramos) (2,7,5) 14 p.
4. Sled (USA) (Takashi Okura) (12,3,1) 16 p.
5. Provezza (TUR) (Ergin Imre) (5,9,4) 18 p.
6. Paprec Recyclage (FRA) (Jean Luc Petithuguenin) (6,12,2) 20 p.
7. Gladiator (GBR) (Tony Langley) (10(+2 PEN),2,7) 21 p.
8. Luna Rossa (ITA) (Patrizio Bertelli) (7,5,9) 21 p.
9. Azzurra (ARG/ITA) (Alberto Roemmers) (3,10,10) 23 p.
10. Alegre (USA/GBR) (Andrés Soriano) (9,8,6) 23 p.
11. Phoenix (RSA) (Hasso/Tina Plattner) (8,6,11) 25 p.
12. XIO Hurakan (ITA) (Marco Serafini) (11,11,12) 34 p.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

It's All Green On Day One of 52 Super Series in Croatia

Wednesday 23rd May, Sibenik
Photo: Nico Martinez
From the high tension and great expectations that prevailed amongst the crews of the 12 TP52s, who contested an exciting first day of the 2018 52 Super Series, it is three-time champions, Quantum Racing who have emerged with the tiniest possible lead at the Sibenik 52 Super Series Sailing Week in Croatia.
Photo: Nico Martinez
With nine shiny, brand new boats competing on a race arena that is completely new to the 52 Super Series, the de-facto leading grand prix monohull circuit in the world, it was the Quantum Racing crew, marshalled by afterguard Terry Hutchinson; tactician, Dean Barker; and helm and navigator Ian Moore, that finish the day ahead, but only on countback by virtue of their victory in the second race of the day.
Photo: Nico Martinez
It proved to be a dream start to the season for the Quantum-powered crews as Harm Müller-Spreer’s Platoon mirrored their counterparts’ score with a 1,4 to lie second – on the same points aggregate – and Brazilian Eduardo de Souza Ramos crew on Onda, the third team in the Quantum stable, lie third after a strong opening second and seventh places.
Photo: Max Ranchi
The tactical key to the first race was recognising the wind shift generated on the right side of the course by the effect of an island upwind to the right of the course, and in the second race when there was a thunderstorm lurking out to the right of the course area there was a series of shifts totalling more than 50 degrees from the start.
Photo: Nico Martinez
After the Race 1 start, World Champions Platoon took the lead on the first downwind, when early pacemakers Provezza appeared to suffer a technical problem with their kite halyard. Onda, with five-time Olympic medallist Robert Scheidt as tactician, stuck to their pre-start game plan and benefited from their early choice to go right, moving up to second on the downwind behind Platoon. That was the order through the finish line but the last run witnessed several exciting place changes in the 8-10 knot seabreeze, and the finishes behind the runaway top two were some of the closest yet.
Photo: Max Ranchi
Quantum Racing’s was the sharpest start of the day when they leapt off the line in the second race, that allowed them to take early control of the right side and by the top mark they were sixty metres, or more, clear of second-placed Gladiator. Once more the top two were able to hold their positions through the finish line with Takashi Okura’s Sled placing third with Platoon fourth.

It proved to be a fascinating opening to the season. The surprise package were Onda who have made significant gains since finishing tenth at PalmaVela, but tactician Scheidt pointed out they had stuck with their game plans, but the hugely experienced Brazilians positioned their boat shrewdly, keeping away from the traffic and any tussles with the top teams. 

On successive first beats, XIO Hurakan, the Italian team lead by Tomasso Chieffi, were top four, only fading on the second round. So too Gladiator – with Morgan Larson as tactician – proved a new boat is not a pre-requisite to win a podium place. And right now race wins are shared evenly between the Botin (Quantum Racing) and the Vrolijlk (Platoon) design studios.

“The difference between the two designers’ boats was greater last year. I know we are closer this year in terms of performance. You can win races with either boats. But this is such a long season it is hard to guess what will happen,” said Harm Müller-Spreer owner-driver of Platoon.

“The conditions were tough and both boats Quantum Racing and Platoon executed one race well. There were some big shifts and so Terry [Hutchinson, Quantum tactician] played that nicely in the second race,” explains the Quantum team coach James Lyne. “The level is higher than ever. There are more coaches, there are more analysts, there are better sailors on board. The level keeps going up,” said James Lyne, the Quantum coach.

“We had a plan. We stuck to our plan, and it worked. Sometimes you can be a little bit lucky and I think we got a nice shift on the first beat and that put us up the front at the top mark of the first race. If you can be in the top three at the first mark you can have your own race, you can use your speed and sail your own race,” said Robert Scheidt from Onda and back in the TP52 class for the first time since 2010.

Circuit champions Azzurra, reckoned to be the best prepared team and winners of PalmaVela training regatta in early May did not have the start they wanted. Their opening third was strong enough but they were on the wrong side of the first big shift during the second race and could not recover, resulting in a weighty tenth. So too it was something of a baptism of fire for the Luna Rossa crew, which lies just one place ahead of their training partners Azzurra after a 7,5 start to their campaign.

Regatta standings at the end of Day 1

1. Quantum Racing (USA) (Doug DeVos) (4,1) 5 p.
2. Platoon (GER) (Harm Müller-Spreer) (1,4) 5 p.
3. Onda (BRA) (Eduardo de Souza Ramos) (2,7) 9 p.
4. Luna Rossa (ITA) (Patrizio Bertelli) (7,5) 12 p.
5. Azzurra (ARG/ITA) (Alberto Roemmers) (3,10) 13 p.
6. Gladiator (GBR) (Tony Langley) (10(+2 PEN PTS),2) 14 p.
7. Provezza (TUR) (Ergin Imre) (5,9) 14 p.

8. Phoenix (RSA) (Hasso/Tina Plattner) (8,6) 14 p.
9. Sled (USA) (Takashi Okura) (12,3) 15 p.
10. Alegre (USA/GBR) (Andrés Soriano) (9,8) 17 p.
11. Paprec Recyclage (FRA) (Jean Luc Petithuguenin) (6,12) 18 p.
12. XIO Hurakan (ITA) (Marco Serafini) (11,11) 22p.

Andi Robertson 52 Super Series Media Director

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

New TP52 Luna Rossa Set to Make her Debut in 52 Super Series i Croatia This Week

Šibenik, Croatia, 22 May 2018
Photo supplied by Luna Rossa 
The first stage of the TP52 Super Series will start tomorrow in Croatia. This will be the first test for the Luna Rossa TP52 in what is expected to be the most competitive TP52 Super Series championship of the coming race season. Starting tomorrow, 12 teams from 8 different nations will compete in the first of five race days in Šibenik.

The teams met on the water today in the official Practice Race scheduled by the race committee. The wind conditions were 20 knots in a heavy sea state. After months of hard work, the new TP Luna Rossa is competitive and will be fighting tooth and nail against many strong and seasoned teams.

"We haven’t had much time to train together so the outcome of this first event is unpredictable. We feel we are in good shape even if we haven’t been training together for very long. Above all it will be an important season that will allow us to understand how to work together, how to manage on-board dynamics and to grow together as both a sailing crew and a great group that makes an America's Cup team," said Luna Rossa tactician Vasco Vascotto.

Francesco Bruni, Luna Rossa TP52 helmsman: "The conditions for the first Practice Race in Sibenik were spectacular and the fleet was very close. We’re very happy with everything we learned and are learning from this training period. We’re looking forward to a great championship series.”

Lulu Roseman with Luna Rossa Media

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Luna Rossa Launches New TP52 in Trieste

Trieste, 13th of May, 2018

"I baptise you Luna Rossa" - with these words the launch of the new TP52 was officially celebrated in Piazza Unita’ d’Italia in Trieste in front of thousands of people. The city of Trieste enthusiastically welcomed the Luna Rossa Challenge team who will compete on this new yacht in the 52 Super Series from May to September this year. 
Photo: Carlo Borlenghi 
The TP52 Super Series is the first series of races in which the crew will be able to test their skills and strategies prior to the next edition of the America's Cup  tube hosted by Emirates Team New Zealand in Auckland in 2021.
Photo: Carlo Borlenghi 
Hosting the event was Mitja Gialuz, president of the yacht club of Barcola and Grignano and organizer of Barcolana, the largest sailing regatta in the world, who before the launch during the press conference at the Salone della Prefettura, said: "Luna Rossa Challenge faces a very important objective: before the America's Cup its mission will be to inspire all of our sports enthusiasts to excel and do their best."
Photo: Carlo Borlenghi 
Attending the meeting with Italian and international press were Patrizio Bertelli - Team Principal of Luna Rossa Challenge - and Max Sirena - Luna Rossa's Team Director and Skipper - who pointed out that among the goals of Luna Rossa there is the wish to promote sailing culture and to train new generations of sailors. 
Photo: Carlo Borlenghi 
This is the goal of the New Generation program, initiated this year with seven young acquisitions; this same goal has been behind the activities carried out during the days prior to the launch in the schools of Trieste. Attending the conference were also Gilberto Nobili, introducing the new projects of Luna Rossa and on-board technologies, and Francesco Bruni – helmsmen of the new TP52. 
Photo: Carlo Borlenghi 
A highly enthusiastic Vasco Vascotto was also called to comment his new participation in a campaign that will also include two young sailors also from Trieste: Andrea Tesei and Nicolas Brezzi. In his role as tactician Vascotto will participate in the next races and, alongside equally experienced sailors, will work with the younger athletes to initiate their a journey towards the America's Cup in the best way possible.
Photo: Carlo Borlenghi 
After the press conference all participants moved down to the plaza for the launch ceremony. Godmother of the launch was Luisa Penso, a 17-year old sailor from Trieste and a promising athlete in the 420 class, who following the sailing tradition, symbolically christened the yacht by breaking a bottle of champagne on the bow.
Max Sirena with Luisa Penso Photo: Carlo Borlenghi 
It was a beautiful Sunday of celebration for all sailing enthusiasts, who flocked to the San Giusto dock and near the Scala Reale. The talented pianist from Friuli Remo Anzovino accompanied the background images on the big screen as they narrated the Luna Rossa story from its beginnings in 1997 until today. It was a very evocative moment, with comments from the team and several videos, including the final moments of assembly and testing of the new TP52, just few days before the launch. 
Photo: Carlo Borlenghi 
On the stage set-up for the ceremony the sailing team was officially presented for the first time, including Davide Cannata, born in Cagliari and 24 years old, new entry in the Luna Rossa team thanks to the New Generation project.
Photo: Carlo Borlenghi 
Together with Max Sirena, Gilberto Nobili, Vasco Vascotto and Francesco Bruni the sailing team is completed by Pietro Sibello, Francesco Mongelli, Shannon Falcone, Pietro Mantovani, Pierluigi De Felice, Giuseppe Acquafredda, James Spithill, Michele Cannoni, Jacopo Plazzi, Matteo Celon, Andrea Tesei, Enrico Voltolini, Umberto Molineris and Nicholas Brezzi. A very positive Max Sirena declared: “I see in them the same passion and enthusiasm of when we started”.
Photo: Carlo Borlenghi 
The first test for Luna Rossa is scheduled for next May 23rd in Sibenik (Croatia), where the 52 Super Series commences for the year with a five regattas circuit of the TP52 class, with a race every month until September in European locations including Zadar, Cascais, Mallorca and Valencia.
Photo: Carlo Borlenghi 
Please note the TP52 Luna Rossa is not the AC75 yacht that will race in the 36th America’s Cup. The AC75 is still being designed and will be launched, as per the Protocol, after March 31st 2019.

Luna Rossa Media

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Podium Finish for Hometown Team Vestas 11th Hour Racing in Volvo Ocean Race

NEWPORT, USA - (8 May 2018) After over 5,000 nautical miles of racing from Itajaí, Brazil, the Volvo Ocean Race fleet experienced a complete restart in the early hours of Tuesday when, in the final approach into Narragansett Bay, the wind died and the distances between the top four boats decreased at one point to less than a mile.
Photo: Jesus Renedo/Volvo Ocean Race
“We knew it was going to be a close finish as soon as we left Brazil. For a foggy morning at 6:00am, it was amazing to see how many people turned out. It’s great just to finish and great to be back on the podium.”,” said skipper Charlie Enright on the dock after crossing the Inmarsat Finish Line at 759 EST (1059 UTC) just 15 minutes behind the top two finishers.
Photo: Jesus Renedo/Volvo Ocean Race
The Newport stopover is a homecoming for the blue boat with multiple connections to the Ocean State for the team and shore crew. Enright is from nearby Bristol, Rhode Island, boat captain Nick Dana is a Newport native, and team director and co-founder, Mark Towill, attended Brown University in Providence with Enright. Furthermore, team partner, 11th Hour Racing, is also headquartered in the historic sailing town.
Dana, Enright and Henry Winthrop, Mayor of Newport Photo: Jesus Renedo/Volvo Ocean Race
“It’s special to sail into my home,” said Nick Dana. “Not many ocean races end here so it is amazing to see all the family, friends, and fans who came out on the water and down to Fort Adams on this foggy, cold spring morning to welcome us.”
Photo: Jesus Renedo/Volvo Ocean Race
“It’s great to be in Newport again,” Towill added. “We did some training here last year, so it feels like sailing home. The team at Sail Newport always put together an amazing stopover and we look forward to making the most of our stay here.”
Photo: Ainhoa Sanchez / Volvo Ocean Race
Enright, Dana, and Towill may have the local connections, but the entire crew was looking forward to this particular arrival.

“I have heard so much about the Newport stopover. Nick has told me all the places I must go to get some lobster rolls and local oysters this week,” said Jena Hansen, the Danish Olympic bronze medalist competing in her first Volvo Ocean Race.

Looking back on the leg, British navigator Simon Fisher called it “all about the subtleties.”

“The transitions were the hardest part of this leg. We sailed a little too high out the Doldrums, so we lost some gauge on the fleet. The last 200 miles were tough because we saw 40 knots of wind go down to nearly zero in a matter of a few hours. Coming into the Bay, we relied on our local knowledge onboard with Charlie and Nick and knew how to the play the current which I think definitely helped us get on the podium,” Fisher said.

Moreover, the USA is a strategic market for the co-title sponsor, Vestas. As well as hosting guests from the North American energy sector, the Danish leader in wind energy will also provide the team with key meteorological data ahead of the In-Port Race and Leg 9 to Cardiff, Wales.

Now in Newport, the sailors and shore crew will be resting and preparing for the upcoming double-points transatlantic leg to Cardiff which begins on May 20. During the stopover, sailors will also be participating in the scheduled inshore racing, as well as a number of events including, the Ocean Summit, and a visit to a local marsh with non-profit “Save the Bay” to learn about their coastal restoration work, as part of 11th Hour Racing’s legacy project with the team.

Vestas 11th Hour Media

Monday, May 7, 2018


As World Sailing revises the events program for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, Australian Sailing (AS) wishes to reaffirm its support for policies that seek to expand and develop the sport in Australia and elsewhere.

AS believes it necessary to strike a balance between the history and traditions of our sport and the reality that we need to adapt and modernise. We recognise that sailing, as a sport and community, must remain agile and innovative if it is to retain its place in Olympic competition and avoid being marginalised. The right decisions taken now should ensure sailing has a bright and healthy future.

Consistent with these beliefs, AS supports options within submissions from Member National Authorities and others that pursue the following goals:

  • Gender equality in terms of number of events and total athlete numbers competing at the Olympic Games
  • An increase in the number of mixed gender events in the Olympic sailing program
  • Events that display the diversity of skills, equipment, format and athletes within sailing
  • Events that perpetuate the traditions of sailing
  • Events that are innovative and exciting for sailors and non-sailors
  • Events that require and demonstrate the tactical and technical elements required in sailing

AS’s stance is derived from recommendations within two vital documents: the IOC's Gender Equality Report and Agenda 2020. Agenda 2020 is the roadmap for the future of the Olympic movement, a goal of which is for the Games to move from a sport-based program to an events-based program. The IOC is also focused on improving the appeal of the Olympic Games to a younger audience.

Consistent with the IOC’s gender equality recommendations for 2024, World Sailing policy requires gender equality in athlete numbers and events. This gives men and women the same number of events in which to compete, either as separate gender or mixed events. World Sailing policy also requires the number of mixed events for 2024 to increase to either two or four.

The Olympic Sailing event program does not currently meet the requirement for equal medal opportunities for men and women. The sailing community is aware that the additional men’s event is the only event that currently caters for men at the upper end of weight range and World Sailing policy also requires that different physiques are accommodated in the event program.

With these factors in mind, the World Sailing Council, on February 19, 2018, placed the following events under review:
  • ​Men's Windsurfer
  • Women's Windsurfer
  • Men's One Person Dinghy Heavyweight
  • Men's Two Person Dinghy
  • Women's Two Person Dinghy
The following events were retained with their current equipment for 2024 (subject to a separate anti-trust review of the single-handed equipment):
  • ​Men's One Person Dinghy
  • Women's One Person Dinghy
  • Men's Skiff
  • Women's Skiff 
  • Mixed Two Person Multihull
With no additional medals available at this stage to add events to the current 10-event program, at least one of the current events must change to meet the key requirements for the 2024 Olympic sailing program. There are a number of options that will be debated and, unfortunately, there is no single option that accommodates the interests of all stakeholders.

AS appreciates this is a highly-charged environment and we will work hard to achieve a positive result for our sailors and for the Australian sailing community.

AS, represented by myself as President and Sarah Kenny as Vice President and Chair of the World Sailing Events Committee, will participate in upcoming discussions and deliberations. It is our goal to ensure we get the right balance by achieving the goals set out above.