OC Events, organisers of the award winning iShares Cup, the European Extreme 40 Sailing Series, has announced today the creation of the inaugural Extreme Sailing Series Asia to be staged between November 2009 and March 2010. The first year of the Asian series will include events in Hong Kong, Singapore and Oman with the possibility of a fourth venue to be confirmed, and with a plan to grow this to a six-event series by 2011/12. Bids have already been received for the future series from a number of other venues across Asia.
After the spectacular finale of the six-stage European iShares Cup circuit last weekend in Almería (Spain), five of the boats were packed up to be shipped directly to Hong Kong. Mark Turner, CEO of OC Group, which includes the Series’ organisers OC Events, declared: “The iShares Cup has been running very successfully for three years now in Europe and the Extreme Sailing Series Asia is the next step in the evolution of this exciting sailing format – a format which has become a benchmark in terms of changing the way sailing is seen. Our aim is to build this series each year on the same foundations on which the European iShares Cup has been built – a comprehensive sailing entertainment event that packages the sport to appeal to the public, media and provide experiential VIP client hospitality. For this inaugural series in Asia we won’t be focused on the public side directly, instead we will work hard on the VIP and media aspects, as we did in the early iShares Cup years. But, of course, our aspiration is to build this circuit up over the coming years to match the award-winning iShares Cup format including a strong public element.”
Each event will consist of five days of racing, combining the established format of short, easy to understand races, a media day, VIP sailing days and special events. The Extreme Sailing Series Asia Notice of Race has been issued today and the announcement of the first of the competing teams will follow imminently. Five boats have already committed to the Asian circuit, as in the first year of the iShares Cup series in Europe.
The first event in the Extreme Sailing Series Asia will take place over the 20th-24th November in Hong Kong, supported by the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, to coincide with their annual ‘Around the Island Race’ on the 22nd November. With over 200 entries the Around the Island Race is Hong Kong’s largest and most inclusive sailing event. The RHKYC is well equipped to support the series given its long time presence in Hong Kong waters as the premier sailing club.
The circuit will then move on to Singapore from 11th-15th December where sailing has become synonymous with sporting excellence in the region, after multiple medal success at the Asian Games and the ISAF Youth World Championships. One of the country’s key objectives is to make Singapore a key hub for sailing competitions.
Muscat, Oman will host the third event over the 1st to 5th February just before the America’s Cup in the neighbouring United Arab Emirates, subject to the current legal dispute. The Sultanate of Oman, home to the legend of Sindbad, is known throughout the Gulf for its spectacular beauty and hospitality. The two Oman Sail boats that finished in 1st and 3rd place in the European 2009 iShares Cup, will return to the Extreme Sailing Series Asia this time with two Omani recruits from the Oman Sail Academy on board as part of the crew.
The inaugural Extreme Sailing Series Asia will see the same high calibre of competitors currently competing in the European circuit with Olympians, World Champions and Record Holders battling it out for victory in this new territory.
The Rolex Middle Sea Race, which this year starts on Saturday, 17 October, has witnessed many changes and challenges over its forty-one year history and 2009 is no exception. For the first time ever the race will start from Malta’s most famous natural harbour – Grand Harbour – a significant change to past routine. Perhaps more exceptional, though, is the change that has taken place over the past year to the Royal Malta Yacht Club’s premises, the headquarters for the race.
For those taking part in the Rolex Middle Sea Race for the first time, the enormity of the change may well be lost. The remarkable atmosphere created by the surroundings of eighteenth century Fort Manoel has been swept away and replaced by a stunning, modern enterprise that looks as though it has been operating for a number years. Nothing could be further from the truth. When the horn sounded as last boat home, Squibs, crossed the finish line of the Rolex Middle Sea Race last year, one chapter in the history of the Royal Malta Yacht Club and its flagship event closed and a new one was just beginning. One that was by no means certain with its ending.
John Ripard, President of the Royal Malta Yacht Club, sheds some light on the extraordinary events that have unfolded and seen the club shift its operation from Manoel Island across Msida Creek to Ta’ Xbiex, “sitting in this building today it is hard to imagine that twelve months ago we did not have title or really even the idea that we would be coming here. It has been a tremendous undertaking. I have to acknowledge that a great deal of the merit for having achieved all this: the acceptance that we had to move, dealing with the trauma connected with the move after so long in Fort Manoel, to actually creating a clubhouse such as this one in a very short space of time; we have to attribute to the indefatigable effort, time and energy that our present commodore Georges Bonello Dupuis has devoted to the whole project.”
It has been some achievement. Most clubs running a 600 nautical-mile offshore race attracting some of the world’s top offshore race boats and more spend a good eight months preparing for it. Very few contemplate or even execute during that same period a move of premises, especially to ones that need gutting and rebuilding. The move required verve and nerve. Negotiations with the Maltese Government were not finalised until two weeks ago when the lease was formally signed. In the meantime, the RMYC Committee pushed ahead with the design and refurbishment of the former Yachting Centre that used to house Customs, Immigration and Malta Maritime Authority services. The deadline for completion was always the 2009 Rolex Middle Sea Race, the thirtieth edition of this internationally acclaimed distance race.
The deadline was a real one. The Rolex Middle Sea Race now typically attracts over 70 yachts to Malta from all around the world – this year’s list currently stands at 77, the record fleet is 78. The need to make excuses for the RMYC’s archaic former premises was always lost in the bewilderment of the newly arrived foreign crews taking in the history of the place. Seasoned participants grew to enjoy the eclectic charm that formed part of the attraction of the race. Inviting these same well-travelled crews to a half-built club, even one with a magnificent view of Valletta, did not bear thinking about. Not for a club as proud as this one.
Chief Architect to the project, Godwin Zammit, is also Rear Commodore Racing and Chairman of the Rolex Middle Sea Race Committee. Initially he was sceptical that everything could be achieved in the time available, “I had my doubts initially, it was a big job. We had to move into a building before we had renovated it so we have had to move around within it, while we gutted and remodelled it, knocked parts of it down and rebuilt it. Once we committed to it we pulled our socks up and did what we had to do to finish.” What we see today would be enough for many clubs, with large open spaces housing offices, committee rooms, briefing rooms and a bar area overlooking the water. According to Zammit, though, this is only the end of phase one.
This is not the first time in its long history that the Royal Malta Yacht Club has moved premises. The club is reputed to date back to 1835, but its first true clubhouse was built in 1930 at Floriana. This building was demolished by a bomb in 1942, during World World II. The St Rocco Baths were used as temporary facilities in the immediate aftermath, until a new clubhouse could be built at Hay Wharf, Floriana, in 1951. In 1972, the RMYC moved house again to the Couvre Port of Fort Manoel, where it remained until last year, an official squatter. The RMYC’s position at Fort Manoel was at times as precarious as the building itself. The Club had never been able to acquire formal ownership rights and after more than ten years of negotiation with the Maltese Government and the owners of Manoel Island, suitable permanent premises at Ta’ Xbiex Wharf were eventually identified late in 2008.
As noted by John Ripard, whose experiences with the Club date back to the late 1950s, one of the prime movers behind the successful change has been Commodore Georges Bonello Dupuis. For Bonello Dupuis this was a move brought about by force of circumstance, but one that the Club needed to embrace positively. ” Staying where we were would have meant probable death for the Club. By contrast, this is an incredible opportunity for us, but it has not been easy. There were huge emotional ties to Fort Manoel; the start of the Rolex Middle Sea Race has always been conducted from the terrace in front of the old Club,” he says; continuing, “as Godwin says, once the decision was made we always had a target date to meet. The start of the Rolex Middle Sea Race has served to focus the minds of all those behind the move. It was unconscionable that we would greet the entrants to this great event from anything less than a fully functioning clubhouse.”
To say the Royal Malta Yacht Club has been successful is an under-statement, as any of the participating crews would testify. With the start of the 30th Rolex Middle Sea Race only four days away, the organisation is safely housed and the competitors being welcomed as only is possible in Malta.
Tomorrow, Wednesday 14 October, sees a warm-up Coastal Race starting from Marsamxett Harbour at 10.00 CEST. The 2009 Rolex Middle Sea Race starts from Grand Harbour at 11.00 CEST on Saturday, 17 October.
The final prize giving is at noon on 24th October.
George David’s Rambler (USA) established the current Course Record of 47 hours 55 minutes and 3 seconds in 2007.
Claudio Recchi’s Team 93 (ITA) remains in first place overall with three races having been run in the Audi Melges 32 World Championsip 2009, organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda. Pieter Taselaar’s (New York, N.Y.) Bliksem (USA) took a bullet in today’s only race and climbed from yesterday’s third place to sit in second place overall ahead of Stefano di Properzio’s Mataran (ITA). Red (GBR), owned by James Woods, slipped from second overall to fourth after taking sixth place in today’s race. Recchi, who is one of the most experienced Melges 32 owners, also has aboard with him former Melges 24 World Champion Federico Michetti and American two-time Olympic medalist (’84 gold in the FD, ’00 bronze in the 49er) Jonathan McKee (Seattle, Wash.). Victory, however, is by no means assured to any of the current leaders, since there are three more days of racing to go and a possible seven more races to be held with a discard coming into play after race six.
The start of racing today was delayed as the Race Committee headed to the regatta course to see whether this morning’s rain storm would pass over Porto Cervo and allow the games to commence. After recording winds of 15-17 knots accompanied by widely spaced swells coming in from the southeast and wind-driven waves coming in from the northeast, the Committee, headed by Principal Race Officer Peter “Luigi” Reggio deemed that racing would be challenging but secure, and the first warning signal was given at 12.30 p.m.
“It was blowing at around 18 knots at the start; the seas were a bit messy but the conditions were not a problem for this class,” said Reggio on his return to Porto Cervo Marina. “As the race went on, the wind picked up to 25-26 knots and the seas were building. This is an owner-driver class and these conditions are tiring, and we decided that for the safety of all, it was better to send the fleet home. We still have three more days of racing left.”
The windward-leeward course set today was again approximately 7 nautical miles and it was Taselaar, with Australian brothers Jeremy (tactician) and Nathan (the 470 Men’s 2008 Olympic Gold medalist and three-time world champion) Wilmot on board, who led the fleet across the finish line ahead of Team 93 and Mataran. Francesco Martino’s Pilot Italia (ITA) took fourth place ahead of Vincenzo Onorato’s Mascalzone Latino (ITA).
Racing is scheduled to continue tomorrow, Friday 25th September, at 12 midday with a maximum of three races to be held on each race day. According to the forecast, conditions should improve tomorrow with light rain in the morning giving way to sunshine and northerly winds of approximately 14-18 knots.
Audi Melges 32 World Championship 2009
Melges 32 – Summary Results – as of 09/24/09 at 15:47
Place, Boat Name, Helmsman, Owner, Nation, R1-R2-R3-Points
1. TEAM 93 Claudio Recchi Claudio Recchi, ITA,2,1,2, 5.00
2. BLIKSEM Pieter Taselaar Pieter Taselaar, USA,6,2,1, 9.00
3. MATARAN Stefano Di Properzio Stefano Di Properzio, ITA,7,4,3, 14.00
4. RED Joe Woods Joe Woods, GBR,1,6,11, 18.00
5. MASCALZONE LATINO Vincenzo Onorato Vincenzo Onorato, ITA,12,3,5, 20.00
6. PILOT ITALIA Francesco Martino Francesco Martino, ITA,8,8,4, 20.00
7. ARGO Jason Carroll Jason Carroll, USA,10,10,6, 26.00
8. FANTASTICAAA Lanfranco Cirillo Lanfranco Cirillo, ITA,9,5,13, 27.00
9. BAGUA Andrea Cecchetti Andrea Cecchetti, ITA,5,7,18, 30.00
10. UKA UKA RACING Armando Giulietti L. Santini & A. Marinelli, ITA,4,11,19, 34.00
11. JOE FLY Giovanni Maspero Giovanni Maspero, ITA,3,12,20, 35.00
12. BITIPI Savino Formentini Savino Formentini, MON,11,17,9, 37.00
13. SEI TU 32 Antonello Morina Antonello Morina, ITA,15,14,15, 44.00
14. CALVI NETWORK Carlo Alberini Carlo Alberini, ITA,13,20,14, 47.00
15. MATRIX Luigi Melegari Luigi Amedeo Melegari, ITA,21,13,16, 50.00
16. OPUS ONE Wolfgang Stolz Wolfgang Stolz, GER,20,9,22, 51.00
17. JANAS Pietro Fois Roberto Pardini, ITA,16,30(DSQ),8, 54.00
18. TORPYONE Edoardo Lupi E.Lupi & M.Pessina, ITA,23,21,10, 54.00
19. RUSH DILETTA Mauro Moccheggiani Mauro Moccheggiani, ITA,17,16,23, 56.00
20. TEASING MACHINE Jean Francois Cruette Jean Francois Cruette, FRA,26,24,7,57.00
21. HIGHLIFE Dave Cowell Peter Rogers, GBR,19,26,12, 57.00
22. BRONTOLO Filippo Pacinotti Filippo Pacinotti, ITA,14,15,30(DNF), 59.00
23. TEAM BARBARIANS Fred Kemp Stuart Simpson, GBR,18,19,24, 61.00
24. BLACK MAMBA Martin Knetig Martin Knetig, CZE,27,22,17, 66.00
25. BIG BANG HUBLOT Cesare Curtis Battistella & Curtis, ITA,22,18,26, 66.00
26. SHAKEDOWN Geoffrey Pierini Geoffrey Pierini, USA,24,23,25, 72.00
27. FRA MARTINA Edoardo Pavesio Edoardo & Vanni Pavesio, ITA,25,28,21, 74.00
28. I.NOVA2 Carlo Pesenti Carlo Pesenti, ITA,28,25,28, 81.00
29. LEA Ernesto Faraco Aamalia De Lana, ITA,29,27,27, 83.00
The Yacht Club Costa Smeralda’s sailing season in Porto Cervo is about to close in style with the twelfth and final event of the season being an inaugural ISAF World Championship for one of the most exciting and rapidly expanding one-design classes around. The Audi Melges 32 World Championship 2009 began officially on Sunday 20th September with registrations, measurements and official checks on the 30 participating boats and crews, but the tension will truly rise when racing starts tomorrow, Wednesday 23rd at 12 midday. Racing will continue through Sunday 27th September with a maximum of ten races scheduled.
Although approximately two-thirds of the fleet is Italian, seven other nationalities – Australia, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Monaco and the USA – are also represented. The teams to watch are numerous and no one boat is seen as a favourite for the championship, so competition is sure to be fierce.
Carlo Alberini’s Calvi Network (ITA) has performed well this season, winning the Audi Melges 32 Sailing Series after four legs in Italian waters. Peter Taselaar’s (New York, N.Y.) U.S. entrant Bliksem showed excellent form in the final two legs of the Sailing Series gaining three bullets and four second-place finishes over 13 races and boasts four-time 470 World Champion Nathan Wilmot of Australia aboard. With three professional sailors allowed on each crew, sailing superstars are not in shorMatrix Cortina t supply. America’s Cup Sailor Ray Davies is calling tactics on Luigi Melegari’s D’Ampezzo (ITA) while Pietro D’Alì, 2007 winner of the Transat Jacques Vabre, is sailing on Rush Diletta (ITA) and Adrian Stead is tactician aboard Vincenzo Onorato’s Mascalzone Latino (ITA). Onorato is a former World Champion in the Farr 40 and Mumm 30 classes and will be looking to establish a name for himself in the Melges 32 class.
The fleet completed a practice race in light winds of approximately 11 knots and lumpy seas today, but many boats were clearly keeping their tactics under wraps until racing starts in earnest tomorrow. Normally sunny Porto Cervo has been experiencing unsettled and stormy weather over the past few days, and conditions look to remain variable for the first few days of racing. Principal Race Officer Peter Reggio is confident, however, that the YCCS Race Committee will manage to fit in the full quota of 10 races, or close to it.
The first signal is scheduled for 12 midday tomorrow, Wednesday 23rd September, and the forecast predicts east to northeasterly winds of 8 to 10 knots.
The Royal Canadian Yacht Club (RCYC) won today’s opening race in the New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup and was pre-empted from showing its prowess in a second race when sailing had to be abandoned due to wind and technical difficulties. The race, sailed in lumpy seas and an 18-knot easterly on Rhode Island Sound, started the regatta off with lots of action, as the Canadian boat, helmed by Terry McLaughlin, battled most closely with the New York Yacht Club, Royal Cork Yacht Club (IRL) and Japan Sailing Federation for best position between the start and the first mark two miles to windward.
“Japan (with Makoto Uematsu steering) had the best start,” said McLaughlin “and we had a good lane, but a huge left shift made us overstand the mark. There were boats farther to our left, but the Japanese were not as affected and rounded first.” The Canadians passed the Japanese team on the run to round the bottom mark first and carried their lead to the finish. New York (Phil Lotz of New Canaan, Conn./Newport, R.I., skippering), Royal Cork (Anthony O’Leary skippering), and the Japan Sailing Federation finished second, third, and fourth, respectively, with the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club (Mark Watson skippering) rounding out the top five.
L-R, 10, Royal Yacht Squadron, Oscar Strugstad; Mutiny, Yacht Club Italiano, Carlo A. Puri Negri;
16, Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, Mark Watson; 06, Royal Thames Yacht Club, John Greenland, and
15, Real Club Nautico de Barcelona, Jordi Tarré. Dan Nerney photo.
The Yacht Club Italiano’s skipper Carlo Puri Negri could have been happier at the end of the day. As it was, shortly after the start, the stitching at the head of his jib failed, causing the webbing to pull from the sail and render it useless. He was sitting in fourth, he said, at the time of the mishap. “We sailed the rest of the race with just a mainsail,” said Puri Negri. The same thing happened to the Nylandska Jaktklubben team (FIN), with Leonardo Ferragamo at the helm, and the jibs were promptly rushed to shore and repaired while the fleet moved from “outside” on the Sound to an “inside” course on northern Narragansett Bay where the waters are more protected.
“While the fleet waited for the second race to start, the wind increased to 22 knots,” said Swan 42 Class President Paul Zabetakis, explaining that this is the limit for constant winds in this regatta in accordance with the NOR, “Another jib had failed in the meantime, and that, coupled with the sustained wind strength, made it clear the racing needed to be abandoned.
“To North’s credit, they jumped right on the situation to fix the first two jibs, and tonight they will rework all the jibs so that racing can get underway again tomorrow,” said Zabetakis.
The regatta continues through Saturday (Sept. 19) when a Parade of Nations through Newport Harbor will precede the final races to determine the winner and will showcase the 19 teams from 14 countries competing here.
Challenge and Adventure’s Colin Merry attended a talk by Pete last night at the Royal Victoria yacht club. It was billed as ”Talisker Tales”. It turned out to be four separate talks taking in most if not all of his sailing life leading up to arriving in Spirit of Mystery. There was a hilarious section when in the Royal Marines he was told that he was doing the double handed race to New York from England. Both he and his partner didn’t have a clue how to navigate to America so they followed the sunsets and the vapour trails of the jets flying overhead! The second part was about the Vendee in which he rescued fellow competitor Rapheal Dinelli’. I don’t remember anyone moving so much as a muscle during this narrative! Team Philips got her own slot with video to back up the fact that she worked and worked well. Then came the story of ’”Spirit of’Mystery” from her inception through the build period and finally the voyage with all it’s highs and lows! All in all an evening of pure sailing pleasure listening to a man who can capture and carry an audience! An evening that this reporter would thoroughly recommend to anyone who has the slightest interest in sailing or adventure!
A good sunny autumn days sunshine greeted the ”Gallant little ship” as she made her way through ”The Heads” across Port Philip bay to the Royal Victoria yacht club’s landing pontoon. Having last been on her over four and a half months ago my eye could pick up the wear and tear that had occurred over nearly twelve thousand NM. of sailing. More obvious though was the damage sustained during the knock down. The beautifully crafted rowing boat no longer there and just torn wood where the chocks to hold her should have been! A piece of the gunwale planking on the port side and with it some sponsors names that were engraved seemingly for all time torn away as if by some angry hand! In spite of this she looked positively magnificent and the crew tried to harness what little breeze there was with the tan sails making a nice contrast to the backdrop of blue sky. Pulling alongside in our press boat we shouted a few hello’s. I could see that the guys were so much leaner than I remembered. Tired looking but smiles all round as they threaded through the flotilla of boats that had come out to greet them. A small delay whilst they dropped the sails and stowed them before motoring into the club landing stage. On the pontoon Mark, the crew member who a few days earlier had had the misfortune to be on deck when that rogue wave struck. His leg now pinned and bolted and obviously still giving him severe grief waited. I had the pleasure of taking the stern line from Pete’s hand, an honour that I was promised way back all those months ago in cold wet England! On the club front lawn a cornish band took up a song as the crew, Mark now being pushed in his wheelchair by Pete made their way to the veranda clutching Cornish pasties and glasses of beer! The welcome speeches were made and acknowlegement to the tenacity of the guys who had done this all those years ago. All in all a fitting end to a voyage that had started in England last October in the teeth of a Channel gale to come to it’s climax here on the lawn of the Royal Victoria yacht club in beautiful sunshine.
Article and Photos By Colin Merry, Challenge and Adventure
Pete Goss speaks of their arrival “Yesterday was an amazing day for it saw Spirit of Mystery moor up at the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria. Having dropped Mark off in Portland we borrowed safety gear to replace that which was lost in the storm and went straight back to sea. It was so good to see Mark off in safe hands and to have some fresh food which had been dropped on board. Breakfast the next day consisted of bacon and egg sandwiches and the fruit was out of this world. The melon was particularly evocative both to the taste buds and nose. We could smell it on deck.
With the weather being very light, on the nose and with a horrible slop running it would have taken anything up to five days to make Melbourne. We had a good old chat about it and decided to motor for a while for as far as we were concerned the Spirit of the original voyage had been served and it was time to get in. We were terribly tired having had about two hours sleep a day for a week and I didn’t want to give the next depression a chance to start chasing us down. Apart from anything our schedule had slipped to the point that we might miss some people who had flown out to meet us.
On rounding Cape Otway the wind freshened and we were off on a fetch for Melbourne under a bright sky and lovely warm sun. It was perfect and we took some time out from working on Spirit of Mystery to enjoy. We put some popcorn on the stove, had a Coke and enjoyed the coast slipping by for it was beautiful. Particularly as we have had nothing but grey, grey, grey for the last two months. A lovely evening rolled into a bright moonlight night and being ahead of the tidal gate at the entrance to Port Philip we hove too and just enjoyed the atmosphere. In fact I had a quiet moment on deck reflecting on the last year and a half and how lucky we all are to have had such an amazing experience. In fact there was a hint of sadness under the excitement of arriving that it was all about to come to an end.
Just before sunup we entered Port Philip and were met by a Coutta Boat which is a traditional boat which reminded me of a Falmouth work boat. Fortunately for us the yacht ‘Secretary’ was just ahead of us and hearing us on the VHF to port control offered to hang back and take us through the western channel. Just as we cleared this Mark Lloyd turned up on a helicopter and we did a photoshoot which included putting up St Pirans – they are stunning. A welcome fleet soon started to build up as we closed Melbourne and the sense of anticipation built. As we closed the marina we noticed a crowd and on closing them realised that they were all dressed in traditional Cornish clothes and waving St Pirans flags.
Mark was there in his wheelchair so we were reunited and it just felt right to have him there as we brought the trip to conclusion. It’s all a blur; at the top of the gangway we were met by Derek Trewarne of the Cornish association of Victoria with a pint and a Pasty. There was a wall of press, Eliot gave his first interview and we moved up to the club to be officially welcomed. Commodore Tony Spencer opened the proceedings with the Mayor and Derek Trewarne speaking. It was the loveliest atmosphere, I can’t remember what I said but it concluded with thanks to Peter Harris, the Mayor, Tony Spencer, Janet Dawes, David Seaman, Lindsay Chapman and the Rescue services. I then asked asking the Mayor to sign our inflatable globe and had a Talisker.
From there it was off to a shower, lovely meal and a load of interviews with the UK and the deepest of sleeps. I woke up in the same position as I lay down.”