The 2013 St Barths Bucket Regatta action starts on March 28. This annual yachting spectacular will feature the latest in superyacht designs along with true classics. Thirty-five yachts are ready to join the festivities and racing.
Racing begins on Thursday March 28 when five J Class yachts head for the starting line. This will be the first gathering of five or more J’s since 1937!
Three more races are planned, with all yachts racing in four separate classes -Les Mademoiselles des Mers, Les Grandes Dames des Mers, Les Gazelles des Mers, and the J Class.
The largest yacht is the 88m Perini Navi built schooner Maltese Falcon. Eleven of the current entries are 50 meters or larger. Among new boats to the St Barths Bucket is the 31m Dubois Naval Architects designed Sarafin and the 31m Newport Bucket winner Indio.
The around the island courses create spectacular opportunities to view these breathtaking vessels under sail. The racing format has been modified somewhat, with the start times set so that the classes should finish together. This change is designed to make the racing both more competitive and safer.
Now in their 27th year, the Bucket regattas attract the crème de la crème of yacht builders from every sailing nation, with several builders boasting multiple entries. The “Big Five” sailing yacht builders (Perini Navi, Royal Huisman, Holland Jachtbouw, Alloy Yachts and Vitters) have for many years supported the Bucket Regattas, playing a meaningful role in growing the Bucket and helping maintain the non-commercial atmosphere, another significant hallmark of Bucket races.
One of Executive Director Tim Laughridge’s goals is to ensure that the renowned Spirit of the Bucket is retained while providing participants with great class racing. He’ll be helming Parsifal III and racing to win, but reminds everyone that the overriding theme is to sail safe and win the party!
The four class winners of the 2013 St Barths Bucket will each receive a Ship’s Bell Clock from Chelsea Clock.
|Hanuman||42m||sloop||Royal Huisman||Dykstra Naval Architects|
|Lionheart||43m||sloop||Bloemsma/Claasen Jachtbouw||Hoek Design|
|Rainbow||40m||sloop||Holland Jachtbouw||Dykstra Naval Architects|
|Ranger||41m||sloop||Danish Yacht||Sparkman & Stephens|
|Velsheda||40m||sloop||Camper & Nicholson||Nicholson|
|les Gazelles des Mers|
|Baiurdo VI||35m||sloop||Abeking & Rasmussen||Gilles Vaton|
|Cape Arrow||30m||sloop||Southern Wind||Farr – Nauta|
|Indio||30m||sloop||Wally Yachts||Frers Naval Architecture|
|Leopard3||30m||sloop||McConaghy||Farr Yacht Design|
|P2||38m||sloop||Perini Navi||Philippe Briand|
|Rebecca||43m||ketch||Pendennis||Frers Naval Architecture|
|Unfurled||34m||sloop||Royal Huisman||Frers Naval Architecture|
|Visione||45m||sloop||Baltic Yachts||Reichel/Pugh Yacht Design|
|les Mademoiselles des Mers|
|Adela||55m||schooner||Pendennis||Dykstra Naval Architects|
|Athos||62m||schooner||Holland Jachtbouw||Hoek Design|
|Koo (non spin)||43m||sloop||Vitters Shipyard||Dubois Naval Architects|
|Lady B||45m||sloop||Vitters Shipyard||Dubois Naval Architects|
|Prana||52m||sloop||Alloy Yachts||Dubois Naval Architects|
|Salperton IV||45m||sloop||Fitzroy Yachts||Dubois Naval Architects|
|Sarafin’||31m||sloop||Oyster/RMK Marine||Dubois Naval Architects|
|Symmetry||29m||sloop||Yachting Developments||Frers Naval Architecture|
|Wild Horses||24m||sloop||Brooklin Boat Yard||Joel White|
|Zefira||50m||sloop||Fitzroy Yachts||Dubois Naval Architects|
|les Grandes Dames des Mers|
|Andromeda La Dea||48m||ketch||Perini Navi||Perini Navi|
|Axia||38m||ketch||Palmer Johnson||Sparkman & Stephens|
|Blue Too||34m||ketch||Alloy Yachts||Ron Holland Design|
|Georgia||48m||sloop||Alloy Yachts||Studio Scanu Sri Butch|
|Luna||52m||sloop||Perini Navi||Perini Navi|
|Maltese Falcon||88m||schooner||Perini Istanbul||Dykstra Naval Architects|
|Panthalassa||56m||ketch||Perini Navi||Ron Holland Design|
|Parsifal III||54m||ketch||Perini Navi||Ron Holland Design|
|Rosehearty||56m||ketch||Perini Navi||Ron Holland Design|
|Salute||56m||sloop||Perini Navi||Ron Holland Design|
|Silencio||50m||ketch||Perini Navi||Perini Navi|
|Zenji||56m||ketch||Perini Navi||Ron Holland Des|
Austrians Roman Hagara and Hans-Peter Steinacher, double Olympic Gold medalists in the Tornado catamaran, have entered the upcoming America’s Cup World Series Naples, scheduled Apr. 16-21.
The duo will sail under the banner HS Racing and race under the US flag in partnership with ORACLE TEAM USA.
HS Racing is one of nine crews entered in the regatta, which will also feature America’s Cup World Series leader ORACLE TEAM USA, second-placed Luna Rossa Piranha, third-placed Artemis Racing White, J.P. Morgan BAR, Energy Team, Emirates Team New Zealand, Luna Rossa Swordfish and China Team.
“It is a dream come true for us,” said Hagara, 46, whose aim, along with tactician Steinacher and their crew is a top placing at the final event of the 2012-13 AC World Series season.
HS Racing’s crew also includes trimmer Herve Cunningham of France, bowman Graeme Spence of Australia and floater David Swete of New Zealand.
“We trained on the AC45 back in February in San Francisco and felt very good from the start,” said Steinacher, 44. “The boat is extremely difficult to handle at strong winds and it develops unbelievable forces, but we are happy to take on the challenge.”
Hagara and Steinacher were Gold medalists at the Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 Olympics. They are also the sports directors for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup, scheduled Sept. 1-4 in San Francisco.
“It’s great to have Roman and Hans-Peter involved,” said ORACLE TEAM USA CEO Russell Coutts. “They aim to be serious competitors and this is a great platform to launch their America’s Cup aspirations.”
Familiar names are lining up for the final AC World Series event, with sailors such as Dean Barker of Emirates Team New Zealand, Francesco Bruni and Chris Draper of Luna Rossa, Yann Guichard of Energy Team and Tom Slingsby of ORACLE TEAM USA scheduled to compete. Sweden’s Artemis Racing will be helmed by 23-year-old Charlie Ekberg, Sweden’s top 49er sailor and skipper of Artemis Racing/Swedish Youth Challenge for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup. The Naples event will also feature the return of Mitch Booth to the helm of China Team, while Ben Ainslie will skipper his J.P. Morgan BAR team.
Team Korea, previously an America’s Cup World Series participant and Louis Vuitton Cup entrant, has withdrawn from further competition in the 34th America’s Cup. In a letter to the Golden Gate Yacht Club, the team indicated it has plans to enter the 35th America’s Cup.
Last year’s AC World Series Naples drew crowds estimated at 500,000, who were there in part to catch the debut of Luna Rossa Challenge 2013. Draper led his Luna Rossa Piranha crew to a thrilling win in the final fleet race. The victory kicked off celebrations among the tens of thousands of Italian America’s Cup fans lining the Naples waterfront to catch a glimpse of their heroes.
The conditions were as varied as any venue on the AC World Series. The fleet race finale was held in light wind and turned into a drifter at the finish. That occurred just two days after big wind and waves saw the AC45s powered up and leaping from the wave tops.
On Saturday 16th March, Artemis Offshore Academy Mini sailor Nikki Curwen finished her first solo race of her career, the Solo Roma-Solo Race in 7th overall, out of a fleet of 15, and also finished 5th in the Series boat rankings. It was a solid start to the Mini season for Nikki, as she pursues her place in the super competitive Mini Transat later this year. Crossing the finish line of the 120 mile race at around 1300 GMT, the only British and only female competitor in the race, Nikki was pleased with her performance and with her first experience racing on the Class Mini circuit: “It was a great race with varying conditions ranging from 0-28kts throughout, so it was really testing and I learned a lot. It is very different atmosphere when racing compared to training. I was very happy with my speed on the other boats and I am looking forward to the next race in April.”
Read Nikki’s Solo Roma-Solo Race report here.
“To finish top half of the fleet in her first race on the Mini Circuit was a great result for Nikki,” commented Academy Performance Director John Thorn. “As always with the Artemis Offshore Academy’s initial races in the year, the Solo Roma-Solo Race was above all a learning experience. This race was also the first race in the Italian Mini 6.50 Championships and the second in the 2013 Class Mini calendar, and was a great opportunity for Nikki to measure herself against experienced Mini sailors. Nikki’s result was a promising start to her season and one that should help her gain confidence going into her next race.”
Setting off from Fiumicino, Rome on Friday 15th March, the original 190-mile Solo Roma-Solo Race course was shortened due to bad weather and instead ran 120 miles around the local island of Palmarola and back again. The 15 competing Mini sailors started the race downwind at 1200 GMT in around 7 knots of breeze: “Downwind starts are always interesting and it certainly took me back to my dinghy days,” Nikki recalled. “Two or three boats, me included, managed to hoist on the gun and stormed ahead.”
Read Lizzy Foreman’s start line report here.
After propelling her to way to the front of the fleet, Nikki remained within the top five leading boats for the majority of the race, until on the final approach to the finish line, she made one final decision that didn’t quite pay off: “I tacked away from Jeffery McFarlane at the latter stage of the race and he went on to win. In hindsight, he definitely made the better decision but I didn’t think there would be much wind inshore and stayed offshore. My decision resulted in me sitting in a patch of no wind for two hours just sat looking my own reflection, ten miles from the finish line. It was quite painful watching everyone else sail by, but these things happen and I’ll learn from my mistakes.
“It was a great first race, but it was a challenging race demanding the use of all three spinnakers and despite a few minor errors, I enjoyed every minute of it! My strategy for this first race was to just get around the course safely and I managed this and I am happy with my result overall.”
With her first race under her belt and 120 miles in the bank, Nikki now continues with her objective to qualify for the 4020 mile Mini Transat 6.50 starting on 13th October. In order to qualify, Nikki needs to accumulate 1000 race miles (can be double-handed and solo) as well as completing a 1000-mile solo qualifying passage, which she hopes to do at the end of this week – sailing 1300nm from Rome to Genova, Italy. On arriving in Genova, Nikki will be ready for her second scheduled race of her season, the 540-mile double-handed Gran Premio d’Italia starting on the 13th April. Nikki will race with Academy graduate, Ollie Bond, an experienced Mini Transat 6.50 competitor who finished 10th overall in 2009.
For more on the Artemis Offshore Academy Mini 6.50 race programme, click here.
The Solo Roma-Solo Race overall results:
Skipper/Nationality/Boat name/Boat no./Boat type
1. Jeffery McFarlane/FRA/Jeffery McFarlane/716/Proto
2. Andrea Frassinetti/ITA/Moitouseul/721/Nacira
3. Andrea Pendibene/ITA/Marina Militare/520/Ginto
4. Ludovic Méchin/FRA/Paris Texas/5/Proto
5. Piero Platone/ITA/Big Jim/622/Pogo 2
6. Andrea Iacopini/ITA/Umpa Lumpa/682/Pogo 2
7. Nikki Curwen/GBR/Artemis/438/Pogo 2
8. Andrea Farina/ITA/MaVie Phyto Garda/Proto
9. Luca Sabui/ITA/Keylog/538/Pogo 2
10. Davide Lusso/ITA/Monster/600/Zero
11. Tanguy Le Turquais/FRA/Terreal Reve d’Enfance/599/Pogo 2
12. Federico Cuciuc/ITA/Your Sail/556/D1
13. Emanuele Grassi/ITA/Eureka/269/Pogo 1
14. Florian Mausy/FRA/Foksaglisee/633/Pogo 2
RTR Martino Verlato/ITA/Cimbra/798/Proto
The Solo Roma-Solo Race Series results:
Skipper/Nationality/Boat name/Boat no./Boat type
1. Andrea Frassinetti/ITA/Moitouseul/721/Nacira
2. Andrea Pendibene/ITA/Marina Militare/520/Ginto
3. Piero Platone/ITA/Big Jim/622/Pogo 2
4. Andrea Iacopini/ITA/Umpa Lumpa/682/Pogo 2
5. Nikki Curwen/GBR/Artemis/438/Pogo 2
6. Luca Sabui/ITA/Keylog/538/Pogo 2
7. Davide Lusso/ITA/Monster/600/Zero
8. Tanguy Le Turquais/FRA/Terreal Reve d’Enfance/599/Pogo 2
9. Federico Cuciuc/ITA/Your Sail/556/D1
10. Emanuele Grassi/ITA/Eureka/269/Pogo 1
11. Florian Mausy/FRA/Foksaglisee/633/Pogo 2
The Solo Roma-Solo Race Proto results:
Skipper/Nationality/Boat name/Boat no./Boat type
1. Jeffery McFarlane/FRA/Jeffery McFarlane/716/Proto
2. Ludovic Méchin/FRA/Paris Texas/5/Proto
3. Andrea Farina/ITA/MaVie Phyto Garda/Proto
RTR Martino Verlato/ITA/Cimbra/798/Proto
Artemis Offshore Academy
The Artemis Offshore Academy provides a structured UK training programme of excellence for British short-handed sailors, to bring talented sailors up through the ranks with the ultimate goal being to put a British sailor in a strong position to win the Vendée Globe in 2016 or 2020 and beyond. Launched in 2010 the Artemis Offshore Academy offers an annual fully funded Scholarship to the most promising member of the Development Squad to compete on the highly competitive Figaro circuit, including the famous Solitaire du Figaro. In addition, support is also granted to a UK sailor to compete in the Mini Transat.
2013 marks the first edition of the Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean, held at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda’s new clubhouse in the sailing paradise of the British Virgin Islands. The event is organized by Rolex, Nautor’s Swan and the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, who have established close ties through organizing the Rolex Swan Cup in Porto Cervo, Sardinia since the early 1980s.
A full fleet of Swan yachts, an alluring playground and four days of intense racing: all hallmarks of the upcoming Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean. Commencing today, Monday 11 March, the event will be held over the next 5 days at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda’s recently launched base on Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands.
Swan yachts ranging from 12.98 metres (42 foot) to 30.20m (100 ft) and representing countries including Belgium, Italy, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States make up the entry list. Competing Swans will be divided into two groups: Class A (Maxi), measuring upwards of 18.29m/60-ft; and, Class B, reserved for yachts measuring less than 18.29m.
Registration took place today, followed by the opening reception on the spectacular terrace of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda. Competition on the water starts tomorrow, Tuesday 12 March, and the round Virgin Gorda race is scheduled for Wednesday 13 March. Ideal sailing conditions are forecast.
A range of Swans will grace the event: from historic Sparkman & Stephens models including Hokusai (FIN), Lianda (BEL) and Swan Lake (USA) through to more modern designs from German Frers including the Swan 90 Freya (USA) which is also taking part and was the 2,000th yacht to be built by Nautor in Finland.
Other Class A entries include Varsovie, the largest competing yacht, the Swan 80 Selene and Stark Raving Mad a Swan 601, whose crew has enjoyed a successful last twelve months. In Class B, the week’s smallest entrant – the Club Swan 42 Arethusa (USA) – is using the waters of the Caribbean to continue preparations for September’s New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup presented by Rolex.
Crews will need to marry sharp tactics and cohesive teamwork to prevail in a fleet renowned for sportsmanship and graceful sailing. The week’s standout performers will be rewarded at the final prizegiving, on Friday 15 March, where the Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean Trophy will be presented.
The eagerly anticipated event marks a continuation of the long-standing relationship between Nautor’s Swan, Rolex and the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, which commenced in 1984 with the first edition of the now biennial Rolex Swan Cup in Porto Cervo, Sardinia.
One of the Caribbean’s most enjoyable sporting events will see skippers and crew from around the world arriving to take part in the fourth edition of Voiles de Saint Barth from the 8th to 14th April. All are keen to extend the sailing season in the paradise waters of Saint Barth. This little corner of France in the Caribbean offers so much to charm and please those looking for the best yachting with an added French touch.
A strong international line-up
Yachtsmen from around the world have known about the attraction of the Caribbean for a long time and the Voiles de Saint Barth has managed since it started in 2010 to pack into one week the true spirit of international yachting. The harbour in Gustavia buzzes with conversation in languages with sailors from around Europe mixed in with those from America, the Pacific and the Caribbean.
Early prediction make the Dutch crew on the Swan 45 Satori one of the serious contenders for a place on the podium, but the trimmer, Maurits van Oranje remains very modest, “We don’t take ourselves too seriously, but hope that one way or another, people will have a good opinion of us,” he declared. “Apart from our skipper Gerard Verduyn, who has raced with some of the top international crews and leading sailors from around the world, most of our crew are not professionals, but they have had a lot of experience. We’ve been sailing together for more than 20 years on a wide range of boats…”
For van Oranje and his crew, what makes the Voiles so attractive is the quality of the organisation, which ensures a perfect mix of leisure activities ashore and excellent racing out on the water. “The geography of the island prevents the event from expanding,” adds van Oranje, “so the Voiles can continue to offer great racing…”
The American, Alexandria Kilmon, skipper this year on French Kiss (Bénéteau 50) cannot praise enough the work done by the organisers, “who have found the perfect mix to ensure the success of the event.” An artist by profession, she is particularly thrilled by the “fantastic sailing conditions,” the extraordinary range of colours the sailors can enjoy with “all the different shades from sky blue to the deepest indigo with hints of pure turquoise, which are different wherever you look and change from race to race…”
High standards throughout and closely fought races
In the Classic Yachts group, Jaime Enos, skipper of the ketch Saphaedra which is 1965 vintage, will have just one other sailor aboard, Amanda Sparks. “We’re used to delivering Saphaedra with just the two of us on board,” explained Enos, “and since 2010, we have competed in classic races in Antigua and in New England. St. Barth is one our favourite events, and we’re really looking forward to racing against Wild Horses and The Blue Peter.”
Among the other entrants determined to defend their country’s colours, is the Puerto Rican Sergio Sagramoso on his J/122 Lazy Dog, and the elegant Ker 51 Varuna belonging to the German owner Jens Kellingshusen.
Jean Pierre Dreau is back again at the helm of his super-maxi Med Spirit with a 100% French crew. Completely won over last year by the Voiles de Saint Barth, he set up his schedule this year to ensure he could compete in the event.
Simonas Steponavicius and the Lithuanians on the Volvo 60 Ambersail are equally passionate about the event. They are returning to the Voiles with an experienced young crew, which has already clocked up more than 100,000 miles of ocean sailing and are even more motivated now, as they look forward to announcing shortly that they will be competing in the Volvo Ocean Race.
Dynamite Idea is another superyacht designed by the Farr team. This 80-foot boat has successfully competed in major races on both sides of the Atlantic. Her skipper, Tony McBride, is coming to Saint Barth with some serious ambitions in the spectacular Maxi Yacht class and is aiming to win, “in spite of the very high standard of racing we can expect here…”
57 entries currently recorded!
MAXI Racing – MAXI Racing Cruising
Design : MAXI 80
Skipper: Tony McBRIDE
Design : MAXI 92
Skipper: Jean Pierre DREAU
Design : Souther Wind 78
Skipper: Mark DICKER
Design : FARR 115
Skipper: Peter HARRISON
Design : FARR
Skipper: Jose DIEGO-AROZAMENA
Design : Swan 100
Skipper: Tomek ULATOWSKI
|Mussanah Race Week, in its third year, kicks off on 10 March and entries have surpassed all expectations as 250 sailors from a record 25 countries descend on Mussanah Sports City for the weeklong event. Many are using the event to get a feel for conditions ahead of the Laser World Championships that start in November of this year.|
|As the dawn of the third annual Mussanah Race Week approaches, Mussanah Sports City is a hive of activity, 250 sailors, coaches, boats, equipment and race committee are arriving from 25 different nations to participate in this growing event. Teams will have travelled from as far as the United States, Australia, Africa and all over Europe in order to showcase their talent and race for a podium position.Mussanah is the ideal sailing event venue for sailing: guaranteed sunshine, consistent wind averaging 14knots, and warm water. All of this coupled with the event’s high level of professionalism, now further endorsed by a prominent international race jury, two of whom were race officers at the London 2012 Olympics, guarantees that Mussanah Race Week 2013, is set to be a first class event. Mussanah will also be playing host to the Laser World Championships in November 2013, Paul Goodison, Olympic Laser Champion, sites the importance of local knowledge of sailing venues: “Previous experience and local knowledge is paramount when it comes to racing venues, it is of huge value to any sailor to feel comfortable and confident in the waters in which they race, and many of the Laser competitors will be using this event as a training opportunity for the upcoming World Championships.”
One aspect of this event which sets it apart from others, is the unique opportunity for the competitors to advance their skills in the lead up to, and throughout the event, as international coaches are offering specialist clinics in their respective disciplines, and will also be on hand to offer bespoke coaching and advice to the competitors throughout the competition period.
This year, the professional coaches include British Laser Coach and Olympic medallist Paul Goodison and Hugh Styles (UK), renowned coach across a wide spectrum of youth and professional classes. In the multihull arena the F18s and Hobie sailors will have the celebrated Coen de Koning, double F18 World Champion and Senior Coach with the Dutch Sailing Federation. The Optimist class is privileged to have the renowned coaching expertise of Chris Atkins from the UK who was lead coach and umpire for the Volvo Ocean Race, and has also coached a host of winning Optimist teams. Famous Turkish Windsurfing Champion Koray Ezer, National RSX Champion, top contestant in events around the world, and now a passionate full time coach in Oman will put the RSX Windsurfer class through their paces. With this array of talent and expertise on offer the competitors are guaranteed to advance their skills, whilst also enjoying racing in a world-class event.
Goodison states: “I am proud to have been invited to this incredible event as a both a sailor and a coach, I am looking forward to the opportunity to see and nurture the young talent which is being grown here in Oman, and to see how it compares on a global scale. I am certain that it will be a huge success and a fantastic chance for all the sailors to advance their skills in a competitive environment.”
The number of entries has grown year on year as has the number of visiting professionals, Oman Sail’s Events Director Issa Al Ismaili says that the aim is to have Mussanah Race Week recognised as an International Sailing Federation (ISAF) World Cup Event: “It has reached such a standard that it deserves international credibility and recognition as a top class event.”
Not only will the sailors have an active racing schedule but there is also an array of social events on offer, including the grand Opening Ceremony, a special interactive “Ask the Experts” dinner evening for contestants and visiting international coaches, and an exotic Arabian cultural dinner. These events will allow visiting competitors to sample local cuisine and experience the warm hospitality of this beautiful country.
Overall standings: Team AISM 1st, BAE Systems 2nd, EFG Bank (Monaco) 3rd – Short race leg brings drama in the dark for crews -
Dubai-based Team AISM has maintained the overall lead by claiming the fourth leg of the EFG Bank Sailing Arabia – The Tour following a night of drama for the world-class crews from around the world and the Gulf region competing between Dubai and northern Emirate Ras Al Khaimah.At only 53 miles up the coast from Dubai to Al Hamra is the second shortest leg on the bruising 15 day and 760 nautical mile EFG Bank Sailing Arabia – The Tour and should have been routine. But due to Custom’s procedures in Dubai taking longer than anticipated, the scheduled mid-morning start was delayed until 14:50, forcing crews to re-equip themselves and their boats ready for a night time finish.The result was a race of intense fighting in darkness with the wind ranging from zero to as much as 17 knots, with the boats reaching or sailing downwind with Bertrand Pace’s overall leader, AISM, continually a nose ahead. Following AISM into Al Hamra were the youthful Team Messe Frankfurt led by Marcel Herrera and in third team BAE Systems.Yet the finishing order does little to tell of the drama that unfolded for the teams at around 20 miles out from the finish and an hour and a half after it turned dark. Just at a time when the boats were being pushed to limit sailing high under their big spinnakers, the fleet came across an area densely populated with fishing boats and their nets.
As Cedric Pouligny, skipper of BAE Systems described the high jump manoeuvre they had to perform each time they ran into a net: “Basically you went from 10 knots of speed to zero, then you had to broach and make even more heel before the boat could get off again.” Broaching normally occurs when a boat is overpowered in a gust, the rudder loses control and the boat is forced over on its side, but was necessary on this occasion effectively to lift the keel over the net.Unfortunately the result on this leg was determined by those who got through the fishing nets the fastest.
Speaking following another action-packed leg and night of drama Issa Al Ismaili, Director of Events at the race’s organiser Oman Sail said:“Firstly congratulations to team ASIM who continue to prove best equipped to deal with every challenge the EFG Bank Sailing Arabia – The Tour offers including on this occasion fishing nets. Obviously such a test at night was not planned for. But that is sailing and this world-class regatta is having to overcome unique challenges on every single leg. Even this leg to Al Hamra at only 53 miles, the second shortest on the race schedules has pushed crews to face the unknown. We’re delighted all have made it safely to Ras Al Khaimah and our preparing themselves for the next round of in-port racing.” After their disappointing result on the Abu Dhabi to Dubai leg yesterday, Marcel Herrera’s University of Plymouth team on Messe Frankfurt had managed to get back in with the lead trio and were into fourth place when they encountered the nets. “I think we hit eight fishing nets – along with every other boat, but the other boats seemed to broach a bit more when they hit them,” said Herrera. “We ploughed through them and managed to get a good technique going so that we didn’t get caught.”Because of this Messe Frankfurt emerged in second place and as the wind dropped subsequently they were closing on first placed AISM as they crossed the finish line at 21:49 (local time), three and a half minutes after Pace’s team. “It makes up for yesterday,” said Herrera.AISM crewman Benoit Briand said that through the day their speed was good and being ahead they had been able to control their opponents before they encountered the fishing nets. “We were lucky that we got over them quite easily, our keel seemed to pass over the nets.”
The AISM team was also pleased that Messe Frankfurt came home second as it puts more distance between themselves and second placed BAE Systems in the overall results. “Bertrand is going to be even more difficult to beat. He is going to be hard to catch,” admitted BAE Systems skipper Cedric Pouligny.One of the most dramatic moments occurred when team BAE Systems and EFG Bank (Monaco) got caught on the same fishing net at the same time and started to get drawn into the middle of the net so that at one point they came very close to colliding, only 2m apart.
Mohsin al Busaidi’s Renaissance came home in fifth place. The Omani skipper, the first sailor from the Middle East to sail non-stop around the world, reckoned that his team had hit maybe seven nets. “We got stuck in the first one. It was a surprise because we were all together and only two boats got stuck and other boats got through.” Al Busaidi’s solution was speed: “If you are going more than 10 knots you can pass it. We stopped once for three or four minutes and at other times we were slowed down from 10 knots to 5 and then we were off again. Fortunately Mohammed in our team is a fisherman…”
Most disappointed last night when they got in was Dee Caffari’s women’s team on Al-Thuraya Bank Muscat and Kay Heemskerk’s Dutch team on TU Delft. Having been caught in nets and then further suffering after the wind went light, they finished outside of the time limit and have been scored ‘TLE’ (time limit expired) or seven points for this leg.“It was disappointing that we didn’t get to start until five hours late and then to sail through miles of fishing nets in the dark,” said Al-Thuraya Bank Muscat’s Liz Bayliss, one of two Americans in the all-female team that also includes four Omanis.Their race effectively came to a grinding halt when they got entangled in a fishing net and remained that way for more than an hour. “We hit something and then we got stuck – the fishing boat finally came over to us and cut the net but retrieved both ends of it. There were nets everywhere,” Bayliss continued.
After the late finish the two in-port races are being held today off Al Hamra with the first start attended by H.H Sheikh Mohammed bin Saud Al Qasimi, Crown prince of RAK and commencing at 11.00am.
Competing aboard identical Farr 30 yachts, the EFG Bank Sailing Arabia – The Tour has attracted nine crews representing five different nations, led locally by Oman’s Team Renaissance, Royal Navy of Oman, Team BAE Systems and the all – female Team Al-Thuraya Bank Muscat. Two teams will compete on behalf of the UAE, Team Abu Dhabi and Team AISM. International crews include EFG Bank (Monaco), Team Delft Challenge – TU Delft (Holland) and the Team Messe Frankfurt (EU).
Taking in four countries and eight ports of call, EFG Bank Sailing Arabia – The Tour is a showcase of everything that the Gulf has to offer in terms of state-of-the-art facilities and idyllic sailing conditions Leaving Manama on February 10th, EFG Bank Sailing Arabia – The Tour calls at Doha, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah, Dibba and Mussanah and ends February 25th in Muscat. The racing will include in-port racing at selected locations