Rán Racing claimed the Royal Cup and their first overall victory in the inaugural 52 Super Series in a testing day’s racing at Palma, Mallorca on Saturday that victorious skipper Niklas Zennström described as being “as good as it gets”.
Zennstroms’s team surged to victory in a 30-plus northeaster at speeds in excess of 24 knots, finishing second across the line in the final race of the day to clinch the overall win.
World champions Quantum Racing finished second in the cup after they were forced to retire from the first of two races on Saturday, when they broke their headstay ram, headfoil and jib in the near gale force conditions.
The team’s shore crew sent an urgent dispatch of supplies to effect on water repairs between the two races. The crew successfully raced the clock and returned Quantum to the second race, but it just wasn’t their day.
Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One rounded out the Royal Cup’s podium, a result that pleased four-time Olympic medallist and twice America’s Cup winner skipper Jochen Schümann despite having entered the final race with a one-point lead.
Having won the first race today, All4One entered the final race at the top of the leaderboard with a total of 20 points, while both Quantum and Rán were just one point behind on 21.
Each team had crunched the numbers and knew exactly where they needed to place to clinch the coveted Royal Cup Challenge Trophy, but only Rán were able to execute their plan with success.
Zennström said the conditions in Palma Bay were challenging but very rewarding.
“These conditions are fantastic, you’re going downwind doing 24 knots, you’re doing nine knots upwind and still you’re doing boat on boat racing,” he said.
“Crossing the finish line and seeing Quantum ahead of All4One was just awesome, it’s as good as it gets. Quantum are really the class act, beating them today was really, really awesome. They’re hard to beat and that makes winning even sweeter.”
It was more a bittersweet day for Quantum’s crew, having entered the final day’s racing with a six point buffer and a lead they had held since the four day regatta started on Wednesday.
Tactician Andy Horton said the crew knew that their chances of clinging to their lead was compromised the minute they heard a massive “bang” when their headstay ram broke and they saw their jib tear in the opening nine minutes of the day’s first race.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,’’ Horton said. “But this is a great group of guys, there wasn’t anything said, it was just a freak accident. This is tight racing. You have to be good enough to win despite something like this happening.”
There was a surprise of a different kind for the crew on board Audi All4One, who exceeded even their own expectations to score third in the Royal Cup.
Schümann said being the “underdogs” helped his crew race under the radar, uninfluenced by the other teams’ intentions.
“We’re quite happy, finishing third is more than we expected coming here, but that’s what we dreamed of,’’ he said. “This is our first regatta together as a team. We really enjoy racing together and I think when you see the results getting better and better that reflects it.”
Audi Azzurra Sailing Team finished fourth in the Royal Cup, followed by PowerPlay, Gladiator, Provezza and Aquila.
In the overall 52 Super Series Quantum Racing leads with 53.5 points, followed by Audi Azzurra Sailing Team, 59.5, Rán Racing, 69.5, Gladiator, 93, Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One, 111.5, PowerPlay, 121.2, Provezza, 131.5, Aquila, 140.5 and Paprec, 150.5.
The teams are now turning their sights on 31st Copa del Rey where eight 52 teams will have a chance to race their grand prix yachts in a highly competitive event that won’t count towards the 52 Super Series points.
The next 52 Super Series point scoring event is the Valencia Cup, from September 19-22.
- Rán Racing 23pts
- Quantum Racing 24pts
- Audi All4One 24pts
- Audi Azzurra Sailing Team 27pts
- PowerPlay 41.4pts
- Gladiator 44pts
- Provezza 47pts
- Aquila 56pts
It has been a busy 24 hours at the Antigua Yacht Club. At dawn on the fifth day of the RORC Caribbean 600, only three yachts were still at sea vying to complete the course before tonight’s Prizegiving celebrations and all of the class winners are now provisionally decided. The bar at the Antigua Yacht Club has been in full swing, buzzing with stories between the crews and songs in a myriad of different languages.
Team Selene skippered by Benjamin Davitt finished yesterday morning. The Swan 80 sailed an excellent race to claim third place overall and will lift the prestigious Swan Caribbean Challenge Trophy later this evening.
Without doubt, the closest racing for this year’s event was in IRC One. Colin Buffin’s Swan 62, Uxorious IV, was first to finish, but the team did not celebrate a class win. Buffin and his young team knew that Amanda Hartley’s Swan 56, Clem, was extremely close to eclipsing their corrected time. Just over three and half hours passed before Clem crossed the finish line to win the class by just 21 seconds on corrected time. There were ecstatic scenes dockside as the Spanish crew of Clem celebrated their class win. The entire crew of Uxorious IV including Colin Buffin sportingly applauded their rivals. Amanda Hartley spoke of their win.
“‘We had no idea until we crossed the line and turned on our phones which went crazy with people calling in from Spain. By our calculation we thought we had lost out by five minutes. We got stuck at Guadeloupe for four hours and we could only sit and watch Uxorious get away. We are obviously extremely delighted and really appreciate Colin and his team coming over to give us such a lovely welcome back to Antigua.”
Jaime Torres’ Puerto Rican First 40, Smile And Wave, finished shortly after midnight last night to claim third in IRC One.
Scarlet Logic, co-skippered by Ross Applebey and Tim Thubron, finished the RORC Caribbean 600 shortly after 2300 last night. The Oyster 48 has been vying for the overall win for the last two days. In the end Scarlet Logic missed out, but the team had put in an incredible effort and have been rewarded with a convincing win in IRC Two. Scarlet Logic has the best corrected time in IRC One, Two and Three and as a result will be awarded the fantastic prize of a week’s accommodation at the luxurious Inn at English Harbour.
“Fantastic, elated but bloody tired,” admitted Tim Thubron, co-skipper of Scarlet Logic. The weather lined up nicely for us and we were aware that we were in with a chance of beating the big, well funded professional teams and that really spurred us on and made us push even harder. A lot of credit must go to the whole team, especially Ross Applebey. Scarlet was immaculately prepared and we hardly had a single breakage, however we did need to drop the main to replace a sail slide. The job was done and the main back up in eight minutes, that to me says it all.”
There was joy and pain for both IRC Canting Keel and the Class40s. Ernesto Cortina’s Volvo 70 Gran Jotiti finished the race in just over two days. The Spanish team is racing the yacht formerly known as Telefonica Black in the last Volvo Ocean Race. Ernesto spoke about his team shortly after finishing. “This has been a great experience, even though our result was badly affected by a lot of sail damage. Many of the sails are tired from thousands of miles of racing. However, the crew have been a joy to sail with and this race is helping us build for the future. Gran Jotiti’s aim is to create a world class amateur Spanish offshore sailing team and we have learnt a lot through this race.
Ron O’Hanley’s Cookson 50, Privateer, showed exceptional pace and boat handling throughout. Unfortunately the American team failed to start correctly and accepted a 10% penalty from the race organisers resulting in Gran Jotiti being declared winner of IRC Canting Keel.
The Class40s turned into a battle royale between Christophe Coatnoan’s Partouche and Christof Petter’s Vaquita. The two Class40s were locked in a heroic tacking duel for the final push to the finish line, a 40-mile beat from Redonda to the finish in Antigua.
Vaquita crossed the line just after sunset beating Partouche by a slender margin, just 15 minutes in a race lasting over 3 days. However, Vaquita failed to start the race correctly and to the Austrian crew’s disappointment, the class win was awarded to Partouche: “It was a tough race and we had a couple of moments that really slowed us down,” commented Christophe Coatnoan who raced two-handed with Eric Calmard. “We picked up a fishing float after Nevis without realising and we probably lost 8 miles before we knew it was there. Later at Guadeloupe, I had to dive into the water to free Partouche from yet another fishing buoy. The race was an excellent test for our new design especially for our sails as I think we used every one of them during the race.”
Vaquita’s Andreas Hanakamp commented: “Obviously we are disappointed to have been penalised but we were delighted with our performance. Partouche is a brand new Finot design, whilst Vaquita is a 2006 Akilaria. The RORC Caribbean 600 is a testing race course and a very tough race, exactly what we needed to prepare for our main competition of the season, The Atlantic Cup later this year.”
The latest competitor to finish the RORC Caribbean 600 is Bernie Evan-Wong’s Mumm 36, High Tension. Falmouth Harbour exploded with noise as the smallest yacht in the race tied up right outside the Antigua Yacht Club. Thunderous blasts from megayachts, superyachts and foghorns literally shook the dock as the whole of the sailing community in Falmouth heralded the arrival of local hero Bernie and his crew.
“I said we would be here tonight but I always like to be early for appointments,” joked the Antiguan dentist. “It was a hard but satisfying race and the beat from Redonda to the finish seemed to take forever. We could see Antigua but it just didn’t seem to be getting any bigger, however a few miles out a massive rain squall hit and veered the wind favourably for us to speed our way to Antigua. After last year’s dismasting, I think maybe someone was looking out for us!”
Tonight the RORC Caribbean 600 Prizegiving Ceremony will take place at the Antigua Yacht Club. The two yachts still racing are Igor Zaretskiy’s, First 40.7 Coyote II and the RACYC Offshore Racing Team – White Knight’s Spirit of Venus. Both are expected to make tonight’s party, which should be a momentous occasion.
The 4th RORC Caribbean 600, starts at 1100 on Monday 20th February. There isn’t a single hotel room left near Antigua Yacht Club, as competitors fly in to the magical island of Antigua from all four corners of the world – Falmouth Harbour is filled to the brim with astounding yachts.
Niklas Zennström’s JV72, Rán, and George David’s RP90, Rambler, are the hot favourites for the RORC Caribbean Trophy, but the two highly impressive yachts are almost hidden in Falmouth Harbour. Rán were out practicing today and Navigator Steve Hayles reports that conditions were a bit lighter than usual, but he expects 15-20 knots of trade winds for the race with their weather routing predicting that they could finish the race in 48 hours, may be less.
RORC member, Stan Pearson has lived and sailed the sublime waters around Antigua for over 20 years. He was one of the creators of the RORC Caribbean 600 and will be racing this year on Adela, the 181′ twin masted schooner:
“I can’t remember ever seeing Nelson’s Dockyard and Falmouth Harbour with so many impressive yachts but I know why they are here; there is nowhere in the world quite like Antigua and the ’600 is a real celebration of all that the Caribbean has to offer. The sailing is just fantastic; constant trade winds, warm water and air temperature in the high 20′s provides brilliant sailing, but this is a tough race. The course has a lot of corners and there is a lot of activity for the crews. Looking at the fleet, there are going to be some great duels going on, it is going to be a very competitive race.”
For the first time, a Volvo Open 70 will be competing in the RORC Caribbean 600. Some might suggest that the canting keel carbon fibre flyer could have been designed for this course. Ernesto Cortina’s Gran Jotiti has a highly talented Spanish crew and could well be a contender for line honours and an overall win.
IRC Zero has 16 entries and may well be the class to watch for the overall winner. George David’s Rambler 100 is the trophy holder and George David’s all-star crew will not be giving it up without a fight.
With a combined water line length that would soar 500ft above the Eiffel Tower, there are some truly amazing yachts in IRC Zero. The 214′ ketch Hetairos is an impressive sight. The crew of 36 have been out practicing all this week and on board there are enough sails to cover a full size football pitch. Sojana is expected to have a Superyacht duel with 124′ Pernini Navi, P2, owned by businessman and philanthropist, Gerhard Andlinger. Sojana was on mark laying duty today. The only laid mark of the course is the North Sails mark, off Barbuda. No doubt the crew, will be using the exercise to practice the first 45 miles of racing.
In the Spirit of Tradition class Adela will line up against Windrose. This will be the first time these magnificent yachts have raced against each other offshore, however Adela did get the better of Windrose in The Superyacht Challenge inshore regatta. A close battle with these two powerful yachts fully off the leash is a mouth-watering prospect. Past RORC Commodore, Andrew McIrvine and a team of 11 RORC members including current Commodore, Mike Greville, have chartered the 145ft Windrose.
The multihull record for the RORC Caribbean 600 has not been beaten since the inaugural race in 2009. The 63′ Trimaran, Paradox, skippered by Olivier Vigoureux says the six crew on board are out to ‘beat the current record’. The American, French and British crew members have raced in the Figaro Race, Transat Jacques Vabres, America’s Cup and Mini Transat.
Anders Nordquist’s Swan 90, Nefertiti, has an international crew including Rolex Middle Sea Race winner, Christian Ripard from Malta. They should have a close battle with Wendy Schmidt’s Swan 80, Selene, and Irish entry, RP78, Whisper.
There are a huge variety of yachts racing in IRC One, including Hound, skippered by Hound from Maine USA. The 60′ classic will be competing in the Caribbean 600 for the first time with a family crew of avid racers. Hound has competed in the last 8 Newport-Bermuda races, winning her class twice.
Ondeck’s 40.7 Spirit of Venus is chartered to the Royal Armoured Corp Offshore Racing Team. The majority of the 11 strong crew are part of the Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank Regiment which returned from Afghanistan last spring.
Lt Col Paul Macro RTR: “Soldiers have to work together as a team, under time pressure, when cold, wet and tired, in difficult and even dangerous conditions. The adventurous team spirit required by a successful offshore racing crew is the same as that required by the crew of a tank or any other armoured vehicle.”
There are four Class40s competing. Close duels are expected right through the fleet, but a hard fought and close encounter is expected in this class. Trade wind sailing provides perfect conditions for Class40s, with long reaches and downwind legs, these pocket rockets are capable of surfing at speeds of up to 25 knots. Class40s from America, Austria, France and Great Britain are taking on the 600 mile Caribbean odyssey; Tim Fetch’s Icarus Racing, Christophe Coatnoan’s Partouche, Andreas Hanakamp’s Vaquita and Peter Harding’s 40 Degrees, co-skippered by Hannah Jenner. The Class40s will be level-racing under their own rules. First to finish will claim the Concise Trophy; a full barrel of English Harbour rum.
IRC Two includes the smallest yacht in the fleet, Bernie Evan-Wong’s Mumm 36, High Tension. Antiguan dentist, Bernie has competed in all four RORC Caribbean 600 races, however last year, High Tension did not finish the race.
“It is definitely a case of unfinished business,” said Bernie. “We have actually used our downfall to modify the rig, so we have made something good out of the incident. Like many Antiguans, I am amazed how this race has developed since 2009, I have been sailing in the Caribbean for over 50 years and what has been really missing is a well-run, exciting offshore race. The RORC Caribbean 600 has provided that and made my dreams come true.”
What has been touted as one of the toughest Rolex Sydney Hobart Races in recent years, saw the first finisher arrive in Hobart early this evening. The 100-foot super maxi Wild Oats XI blazed up the Derwent River and crossed the finish line off Constitution Wharf at 2037 AEDT with an elapsed time of two days, seven hours, 37 minutes, 20 seconds — since leaving Sydney Harbour at 1300 on 26 December, Boxing Day.
This year’s 66th edition was one of Wild Oats Xl physically most difficult but also one of her more hard fought finishes, with sustained periods of headwinds along the way and crushing gale-force conditions through the notorious Bass Strait. In an interview as he stepped off the winning vessel, skipper Mark Richards said,” “It was a tough race, no doubt about that. The boat Wild Oats, the boys, and the team did a fantastic job.”
The Reichel-Pugh design was the provisional line honours winner pending the decision of the International Jury over a protest by the Race Committee regarding the use of her HF radio. The jury will convene Tuesday afternoon at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania to arrive at a decision.
After sailing a near perfect tactical race in extremely difficult conditions, with extremes ranging from a hair-removing 25-40 knot southerly and a mountainous seaway during the first night, race favourite Wild Oats XI didn’t disappoint followers. This was Wild Oats XI fifth win after participating in six Rolex Sydney Hobart Races.
Wild Oats XI skipper Mark Richards was happy with the race and said, “We couldn’t have asked for a better result. To arrive here, first, in Hobart, is the most amazing feeling.” Referring to Oats’ second place finish of last year, Richards said, “First is hell of a lot better than second. We’re back and we’re just very happy to be here.”
Dockside after the race finish, Adrienne Cahalan co-navigator aboard Wild Oats XI and a veteran of now her 19th Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, commented on the extreme sea and wind, “I do think it’s one of the toughest races I’ve ever done. We did our best to make sure we didn’t break anything.”
A seasoned offshore sailor, Cahalan told of encountering 20 – 30 knot headwinds across the Bass Strait. As to how the boat managed, she said, “The boat held together really well…it was a technically sound race for us.” She continued, “To get there in one piece and in first place — it’s one of the greatest victories we’ve had.”
The remaining 70 boats in the Rolex Sydney Hobart fleet are spread across from the southeast corner of the NSW coast, across the Bass Strait down towards the finish in Hobart — pushed along by a 20-knot north-northeasterly. The fleet includes six international entries from the USA, UK, Italy, France, as well as two partly crewed Russian boats, and entries from seven of the eight Australian states and territories.
Next boat expected across the finish line is Sean Langman’s 100-foot Investec Loyal at approximately 2230 tonight. However, breeze looks to be shutting down in the Derwent River, so their exact arrival is now anyone’s guess.
In a phone interview earlier today, Investec Loyal’s Sean Langman explained about his boats’ troubles during the last two days, “The damage we sustained was to the reef lines earlier and some tack lines on the headsail which, running without a headsail, put us an hour back. Also, a fuel tank broke lose. These tanks carry so much fuel that you’ve got a quarter of a ton to manhandle which is difficult.”
On the final race day, Langman and crew discovered flooding in a forward hold, “We didn’t realize that we had a substantial leak in the bow and carried on with a ton and a half of water, which we only detected this morning. We have a watertight bulkhead up there and when we opened it, water came pouring out.” Langman believed that the leak was not a puncture in the hull but due to loose deck fittings.
The 2010 Rolex Sydney Hobart race may well go down as one of the roughest in recent years and has certainly lived up to its reputation as one of the world’s toughest ocean going races.
To date, 16 yachts have been forced to retire due to issues including a broken mast, damaged booms, rigging and engine problems. Almost all racers have their share of minor injuries due to the high seas and associated gale force winds.
It is hard to imagine that a race conceived some 65 years ago by a bunch of adventurous yachtsmen in a Sydney yacht club, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, would become one of the world’s most famous and challenging ocean races: the Rolex Sydney Hobart. Today, the race ranks among the top headline grabbing events of the year and kicks off on Boxing Day, December 26th.
The widely known Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race draws high-profile entrants each year—from tycoons and media moguls to Internet and telecom entrepreneurs— and this year’s race is proving to be no exception. The race also attracts competitors from around the globe. The 2010 edition will see competitors from the US, UK, Russia, Italy and France.
One high-profile, international entrant is Niklas Zennström, co-founder of the Internet telephony company Skype, who will be sailing on his 72-foot mini maxi Ràn. Even before becoming a successful entrepreneur, Zennström has always been a keen sailor. He started sailing at the age of seven and as a teenager raced dinghies in his native Sweden. However, as the founder and CEO of fast growing tech companies that “took up all his time,” sailing was often put aside. It was not until after the sale of Skype that Zennström took up racing once more: “Sailing has always been a big passion of mine. So in 2005, I decided to take the time to sail again,” says the mild mannered sailor/entrepreneur. And since his return to the water, Zennström’s been very successful, bagging prestigious trophies like the 2009 Rolex Fastnet Race and the 2010 Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship. Last year, he was also a contender in the Rolex Sydney Hobart, placing in the top ten.
Despite the considerable distance involved in shipping the boat from the Mediterranean, Ràn will be back on the Rolex Sydney Hobart start line for a second go round. Asked why he is attracted to this race, the savvy, 44-year old Swede replied, “It’s one of the famous or infamous offshore races that one just has to do.” He adds, “Besides it’s really nice to come down to Sydney this time of year.”
Last year, Ràn seemed to shoot out of Sydney Harbour and was tipped to win the Rolex Sydney Hobart early on. However, the yacht encountered problems as the race progressed and finally ended up in sixth place overall. Still, it was not a bad result for Ràn, considering that it was her first time participating in the famously challenging race. As Zennström sees it, “We sailed very well last year. We won the big racing class, so we did what we could.”
As to why the boat lost her position later in the race, Zennström said, “We got beaten by two Beneteau 40-foot production boats. That’s offshore handicap racing for you—fast and slow boats sail differently in different conditions. Last year turned out to be a small boat race.”
In last year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart, the cargo ship carrying the custom-built 72-foot Ràn faced delays and arrived just in time for the race. That meant Ràn’s crew did not have a lot of time to prepare for the race. “This year is different,” says Zennström, “We won’t be doing any pre-Hobart racing but will focus on preparing the boat for the offshore race.”
Besides Zennström’s hunger for competition and adventure— and as if to prove he is just as colourful on the sea and out of the boardroom— he does what few married yachtsmen would ever contemplate: he sails with his wife. “Catherine rarely misses a race, specifically the offshores. She enjoys it very much. I think the fact that we race as a couple adds to the team spirit.”
When asked if he has any predictions for the 2010 Rolex Sydney Hobart, Zennström reflects for a moment and then says, “If it turns out to be a big boat race, we will fight extremely hard to win overall. But it also just might be a 40-footer from the 1970s that wins— that’s the beauty of this race.”
While most competitors are in the final stages of preparing their boats for the Boxing Day start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart, Frenchman Jacques Pelletier is biting his nails. Facing a similar situation that plagued Niklas Zennström and his team last year, Pelletier’s boat, L’Ange de Milon has been seriously delayed by shipping complications.
The ETA, Pelletier has now been told, is 21 December. Unfortunately, the 13-metre X-43 yacht will be offloaded in Newcastle, and then has a 12-hour sail to the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia docks, and that is after the boat has been reassembled.
The late arrival will give Pelletier and his French crew only three days to get L’Ange de Milon ready for one of the most demanding ocean races in the world. “Originally I had thought we could slip the boat and put on some antifouling,” Pelletier says. “Now I think that will be impossible.”
While the French team sorts out the logistics of getting their boat to the starting line, the US entry Dawn Star is set to go, having arrived in Australia with plenty of time to prepare, following a delivery from San Diego, Calif., to Australia in February. Dawn Star is a Baltic 46 co-skippered by the only father and son team in this year’s race. Bill and William Hubbard are keen sailors and competitors racing side by side in numerous competitions around the world.
The elder Hubbard is 76, and his son William is 26 years old. “Racing in the Rolex Sydney Hobart has been a life long dream for us,” says William. The two New Yorkers are looking forward to the challenge. When asked if he is prepared for the sometimes-treacherous conditions that the race can belt out, William says, “We’re ready and think we’ll be able to handle whatever is thrown at us.” Their ten-man crew is composed of three Americans, six British, and one Canadian.
The Swan 68, Tatania of Cowes (GBR), is notable for two reasons: the yacht was sailed 17,000 nautical miles from Newport, Rhode Island to reach Sydney in time for the 26 December start. Sailing onboard will be Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, competing in his first Rolex Sydney Hobart. In 1969, Sir Robin became the first person to sail single-handed, non-stop around the world. He also won the Jules Verne Trophy in 1994 for the fastest circumnavigation of the world, co-skippering with Sir Peter Blake on Enza New Zealand. Still an active international big boat racer, Knox-Johnston will join owner Richard Dobbs, Olympic medallist Mark Covell, and British match racer/commentator Andy Green. The boat, formerly Chippewa, was successfully campaigned throughout the USA, Caribbean and Europe.
A fleet of 90 yachts will compete in this year’s race, which starts at 1300 AEDT, 26 December 2010. The Rolex Sydney Hobart fleet will include six international entries from the USA, UK, Italy, France, and Russia, as well as every Australian state.
The grande finale of the yachting season – certainly for the classic yachts that all summer-long prowl the Mediterranean in search of competition and camaraderie – began today. Close to 300 yachts filled the Vieux Port and nearby marinas for the weeklong Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez, a ‘don’t miss’ stop on the yachting circuit. Spectacular fall weather conditions, a brisk mistral from the north with clear blue skies, prevailed on the first day to please competitors and photographers alike.
The Tradition class boats, which start racing tomorrow, don’t have the stage to themselves however; there is a impressive grand-prix fleet of “moderns” from maxi yachts such as the Judel Vrolik 72-footer Rán, straight from a win at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup in Porto Cervo, the Wally class’ towering 44 metre Tripp-designed Esense, to the Tofinu class, most of which at 9.5metres are just below the official minimum length, but this local fleet have been grandfathered in and seemingly up to the challenge of sailing on the same body of water as these comparative behemoths.
But it is the solely the Traditional class and, within this grouping, only boats 16 meters and over, that can compete for the Rolex Trophy – this year there are 50 entries eligible. The winner will be the boat with the overall low point score after the week of racing. The winning boat and skipper will be awarded the Trophy and a Rolex Submariner timepiece.
Racing for the Rolex Trophy is the 25-meter cutter-rigged, Hallowe’en, created by the renowned Scottish yacht designer, William Fife III, from whose drafting table many famous, head-turning, and seakindly lines came, from the turn of the 19th century through the early 1900s.
Hallowe’en was launched in 1926 and was a new type of design for Fife, sort of a cruising version of the successful 15-Metre class, which included Tuiga and Lady Ann. With her original rig, Hallowe’en was – and in fact still is – a powerful boat: shortly after her launch, she won the Fastnet Race and set a course record of 93 hrs, 13 mins (with the start/finish off Cowes).
The boat changed hands and names several times over the years; as the yawl-rigged Cotton Blossom IV she was a force to be reckoned with, winning many races in the 1950s and ‘60s. She spent a decade in the Caribbean as a charter yacht, and was re-fit in the late 1980s in Newport, RI. Then, sold again and taken to the Med, Hallowe’en was returned to her original name and cutter rig, as per Fife’s original design. In a subsequent re-fit her mast was lengthened and boom shortened to allow for a more easier to manage permanent backstay.
Hallowe’en newest owners bought her in 2006. Two of them, Michael Cotter and Dan O’Connor, were racing Dragons in the Med where they were told the 83-foot classic was for sale, and what started as an innocent inquiry ended up as an addition to the fleet.
The owners, in fact, include five keen Irish sailors, from around Dublin, who have known one another for over 20 years, many of them active in the Dragon fleet and other classes as well. One of them, Michael Cotter, also owns a similar sized Reichel/Pugh-designed modern maxi yacht that he’s actively campaigned at the Rolex Fastnet Race, Rolex Middle Sea Race, and Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, where he won class in 2009. But that carbon fibre and Kevlar-built boat is light years from the likes of Hallowe’en’s teak planking on oak frames, yet Cotter and his happy-go-lucky band of friends seem to enjoy the best of both modern and classic sailing worlds.
While the boat is regularly used, and shared, by all owners in a seemingly easy-going arrangement, it is also chartered for cruising and racing. Only a few classics with such a rich history as Hallowe’en offer an opportunity to compete in an event such as Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez.
The Rolex Trophy
The Rolex Trophy will be awarded during Sunday’s prize giving ceremony at the Citadelle.The very first winner of the Rolex Trophy in 2006 was the 25 metre Marconi-rigged schooner, So Fong. Designed by the renowned naval architecture firm, Sparkman & Stephens, So Fong was built in Hong Kong in 1937.
The 25 metre yawl, Agneta, built in 1951, won the Rolex Trophy in 2007. Agneta’s beautiful varnished mahogany hull and tanbark sails are unmistakable on the water.
But it is the Herreshoff-designed NY 40 class Rowdy, that all eyes are on this year. Rowdy won the Rolex Trophy two years in a row – 2008 and 2009 – and is back to defend her title for a 3rd time!
Rowdy is one of the New York Yacht Club 40 class, so named because the design was commissioned by the New York Yacht Club and is 40 feet on the waterline. Of the approximately 14 boats constructed, Rowdy is one of the few left. In addition to having a major refit, the boat has been optimized more recently, under owner Graham Walker’s care. Walker’s crew, including boat captain Jonathan Greenwood, have left nothing to chance, carefully tweaking and improving both the boat and how they sail her. Rowdy has enjoyed an impressive record on the classic circuit and she’ll be a formidable boat to beat.
Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez 2010 Event Programme
Sunday, 26 September: Welcome for yachts
Monday, 27 September: Welcome for yachts; Racing in Modern division
Tuesday, 28 September: Coastal race for all
Wednesday, 29 September: Coastal race for all
Thursday, 30 September: Challenge Day (match racing)
Friday, 1 October: Coastal race for all
Saturday, 2 October, Coastal race for all
Sunday, 3 October: 11am, Prizegiving Ceremony at La Citadelle
Bermuda executive Mark Watson made his first race to Bermuda memorable with a corrected time win in Genuine Risk in the Open Division for cant-keel boats. Speedboat, owned by Alex Jackson, took line honors for the race, finishing just before dawn at 3:47:56 with an elapsed time of 59:17:56, well off the course record. Rán, the Fastnet and Sydney Hobart race winner, finished first in Class 10 and is a strong contender for the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse trophy.
Il Mostro (Puma) skippered by Ken Read, crossed the line second and corrected just behind Genuine Risk. “We were ahead of Il Mostro and Speedboat after we all came out of the Gulf Stream west of the rhumb line,” Watson said. “We decided to take a more easterly angle to avoid a cold eddy with negative current, but that let Speedboat separate from us.” Ralph Steitz, Sailing Director for the US Merchant Marine Academy (owner of Genuine Risk, which Watson sponsored), was one of many sailors who said how much they had enjoyed the race. “This was the easiest Bermuda Race I’ve ever done and I’ve done a few.”
Photos of Bermuda Race Start By George Bekris HERE
Rán, Niklas Zennstrom’s JV 72, is the provisional winner in Class 10 for big professional boats in the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division after being pushed hard by Tom Hill’s Titan XV for more than 600 miles. George David’s Rambler matched up with Karl Kwok’s Beau Geste and took line honors for these fixed-keel boats. “I’ve never sailed a Bermuda Race when you’re head to head with another boat for so long,” said Rambler’s tactician, Jerry Kirby. “It came down to the last tack to St. David’s Light.”
Vanquish, co-skippered by Bermudian Buddy Rego and Americans Russell Lucas and Jamie Hilton, crossed the line first in Class 8 for the big boats in the amateur St. David’s Lighthouse Division, but Gus Carlson’s Aurora is the provisional class winner. Some smaller boats have a good shot at winning the division. Carina, skippered by Rives Potts, has a 60-mile lead over her Class 3 competition. In the highly competitive Class 1, Sinn Fein, Peter Rebovich’s Cal 40 and the two-time defending St. David’s winner, has sailed farther west than anybody and is fighting for the lead with David Dickerson’s Lindy.
In the Double-Handed Division, iBoattrack showed Michael Hennessy’s Dragon at the head of the pack, 160 miles from the finish, with the four-time winner Lora Ann not far behind. The Cruising Division’s leader, Clover III, was about 70 miles out on Saturday afternoon with a healthy lead on the 80-footer Nirvana.
It was a slow race, with Speedboat making the 635-mile course in just over 59 hours after the start at Newport on Friday. The crew of 25 never reefed the boat. In the light to moderate conditions that prevailed through most of the race, Speedboat was hard pressed by Il Mostro, Rambler, and several boats in the mini-maxi 70-80 foot range over the first third of the course. “We really didn’t get away from them until we were in the Stream,” navigator Stan Honey said after Speedboat tied up at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club’s marina early Monday morning. “Then they gained a lot in the light stuff as we came into the finish.”
At 5 AM EDT the mini-maxi Rán on its blog reported less than 10 knots as she beat to windward toward the buoys guarding Bermuda’s reef. “Titan is downwind from us and is not a threat. Rambler and Beau Geste are upwind and in front as we thought they would. We are still in a strong position although it now looks like Beau Geste is the biggest threat. Just a few more hours to go.”
At 6:30 the blog reported, “As we are approaching the finish slowly but surely, we are all on deck, no more watches, all are on duty for the final stretch. Coffee and tea served on the rail – black only as no more milk powder onboard. Very calm water. Wind speed of 9 knots –
just over – and land in sight.”