Wild Oats XI near finish (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)
|DOUBLE TRIPLE WITH ICING ON THE TOP
|Robert Oatley’s Wild Oats XI was announced this morning as the Overall Winner of the 68th Rolex Sydney Hobart. It had become clear overnight that none of the yachts still at sea could better the corrected time established by the 30.48m (100 foot) maxi skippered by Mark Richards. Wild Oats XI has repeated its historic performance of 2005, when it secured the treble of Line Honours, Overall Winner and Race Record.
Aside from Rani, in the very first race, Wild Oats XI is the only yacht ever to have achieved this impressive display of dominance. She has now done it twice. Bob Oatley was understandably impressed: “The main aim was the fastest time. To get the handicap too was fantastic, a real bonus. Getting the record trip was really the icing on the cake.”
By 15:00 AEDT on 29 December, 13 yachts had finished the 2012 Rolex Sydney Hobart including two of the international entries: KLC Bengal from Japan and Ambersail from Lithuania. Last year’s winner, Loki, has so far come closest to unseating Wild Oats XI. Finishing last night at just before 21:00 even she was two hours adrift on corrected time. Black Jack, which arrived an hour before Loki, lies in third overall. Chris Bull’s Jazz holds fourth.
Victorian yacht Calm had appeared to have the best opportunity of the yachts destined to arrive before dawn today. Needing to finish before 01:31, she was behind schedule yesterday afternoon. Owner Jason Van der Slot believed they would pick up pace but had not counted on stalling close to the finish: “We parked for two hours off Tasman Island and for an hour in the Derwent. We were aiming to finish in time to win and up to Tasman Island we were on track. It had all gone according to plan until then.” She eventually finished at 06:06 this morning and holds fifth place.
Five yachts have retired so far and, for the 58 yachts still racing, a difficult evening lies ahead. In the lee of northeastern Tasmania there is a substantial wind shadow. From midway down the eastern seaboard to Tasman Island spindrift is flying off 3 metre waves in a 26 – 36 knot west-southwesterly. These conditions are forecast to prevail through much of 30 December too.
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Wild Oats approaching the Hobart finish for 2012 Line Honors (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)
|On the morning of 28 December 2012, Wild Oats XI once again stamped her name in the Rolex Sydney Hobart history books. From the moment the start gun fired on Boxing Day the silver wraith seemed intent on condemning her rivals for line honours to the position of also-rans. Wild Oats XI’s finish time of 1 day 18 hours 23 minutes and 12 seconds sliced 16 minutes 58 seconds off her own record. Another commanding performance in a race she has begun to treat as her own.
Without doubt skipper Mark Richard’s crew of thoroughbred racers had some luck, but their race was not without problems. The first night saw the wind drop in the scheduled transition and her opponents close down the lead she had worked to establish during the afternoon. The crew held their nerve and once the northeasterly settled in they were off.
Ragamuffin-Loyal’s endeavours to stay in touch with Wild Oats XI were hampered by a headsail gear failure from which the 100-foot maxi never recovered; Syd Fischer’s equally accomplished crew forced to accept the unwelcome role of bridesmaid. Ragamuffin-Loyal finished almost five hours behind Wild Oats XI. Had the apparent error of starting the race too early been converted to a penalty, her crew’s sense of disappointment would have been complete. Fortunately, the International Jury found that race officials failed to notify Ragamuffin-Loyal after five minutes that they had jumped the start, leaving the crew unaware that they should have returned and restarted.
By 20:30 AEDT only four yachts had completed the 628 nm course. Lahana rounded out the maxi contingent just before 19:00, while Black Jack was the first mini maxi some 40 minutes later. Loki and Ichi Ban will be next home. None have so far been capable of posting a time that knocks Wild Oats XI off the overall podium position. The door may be open for a smaller yacht if the weather obliges. Calm, Jazz, Quest and Shogun look best placed to foil a second triple crown. They need the wind to shift substantially in their favour, something it has singularly failed to do so far.
Wild Oats XI near finish (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)
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MALUKA OF KERMANDIE the smallest yacht in the fleet (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)
The 68th Rolex Sydney Hobart got underway in exceptional conditions. The forecast southerly breeze providing the perfect angle for a spinnaker start and run down the harbour. The angle would prove less kind as the yachts exited the Sydney Heads and made their turn towards Hobart, finding the 20 – 25 knots now firmly on the nose. Mark Richards and Wild Oats XI looked to be in no mood to be interrupted in her bid to claim a sixth line honours, blasting off the line and showing Syd Fischer’s Ragamuffin Loyal a clean pair of heels before popping out of the Heads comfortably in the lead.
An interesting night lies ahead. The decision how far to head out to sea was the first conundrum facing the crews. So far the bulk of yachts appear firm in the belief that staying inshore, and inside the rhumb line will pay better. Only, one or two boats have shown a determination to head offshore for any length of time. Mike Broughton, navigator on Chris Bull’s Jazz, felt ahead of the start that the fleet would do well to stay inshore for the initial section of the race, certainly until the major swing in wind direction expected during the night. This transition should see the wind back to the northeast and will have the yachts running under spinnaker for an extended period.
Start of the 2012 Rolex Sydney Hobart
Earlier this morning, Gordon Maguire, tactician on Stephen Ainsworth’s Loki, indicated some of their pre-race routing suggested the bigger yachts could profit enormously from the predicted northeasterly. If it arrives on cue, they could bite a huge chunk out of the course during the hours of darkness and be lying off Green Cape by mid-morning on the second day, 27 December. The small boats, meanwhile, such as race veteran Roger Hickman’s Wild Rose, might only find themselves parallel with Jervis Bay as dawn breaks. The difference in power between segments of the fleet will be all too apparent at this juncture.
Wild Oats XI leads out of Sydney Harbor (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)
WILD OATS XI, after the start
At 17:30 AEDT Wild Oats XI was 8 nautical miles north east of Kiama travelling at 12 knots, with some 50 nm under her belt after 4.5 hours of sailing. Any thought of setting a new record seemed to be on hold as navigator Adrienne Cahalan called in to report the wind speed dropping as evening arrives. Ragamuffin Loyal lies within striking distance just astern. Lahana, Ichi Ban and Black Jack round out the top five on the water. Conditions have been wet and hard on crews during these first few hours and the measure of performance differential between front-runners and back markers is clearly demonstrated by Charlie’s Dream. Averaging just 3.4 knots, Peter Lewis and crew were parallel with Botany Bay having knocked a mere 13 nm off the 628nm course distance.
Black Jack charges down the harbor (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)
The start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart is like few other yacht races. The natural amphitheatre formed by the deep-water harbour offers great viewing potential from the water, at water level from the beaches and coves, and grandstand opportunities from higher ground. Every Sydney-sider has a favourite location, and South Head must be one of the most popular and dramatic. A huge crowd always assembles to watch the fleet barrel down the harbour and make the sharp out into open water. This year’s spectacle was worth the effort involved. After a dreadful Christmas Day, when rain and wind battered Sydney, Boxing Day has been a joy. Blue sky and reasonably warm temperatures brought the locals out in their thousands to cheer the determined and enthusiastic crews off on their compelling adventure.
Crowds on the South End enjoy the spectacle. (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)
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Syd Fischer and Tony Ellis (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)
The 68th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race promises to be one for the true believers; if you admire people who constantly challenge your values, fire your imagination, refuse to quit when the going gets tough, can’t be told that they are too old, are too stubborn to give it away and who keep coming back for more, then this year’s race is a Christmas present you’ll never forget.
At centre stage of the race, again run by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, is Sydney yachtsman Syd Fischer, a national living treasure who is still in the grip of finish line fever. At the age of 85, when most men of his age might be shuffling around a retirement village in their slippers with their trousers braced up around their chest, Fischer wants to win line honours in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht race – again.
He’s taken over the boat to do it, Investec Loyal, last year’s first across the line. The 100-foot super maxi becomes the latest iteration of Fischer’s Ragamuffin series, Ragamuffin Loyal.
Syd – lean, leather-skinned, laconic, highly competitive and still the subject of discussion for his exploits on and off the water – personifies Sydney: he won’t lie down.
The challenge he mounts at the front of the 80-boat fleet caps off an indifferent year for Australian sport internationally, a disastrous year for world cycling, but a great year for Australian sailing.
We had success at the Olympics with Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page in the 470 Men’s, Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen in the 49er, Tom Slingsby in the Laser and Olivia Price, Nina Curtis, and Lucinda Whitty in the Women’s Match Racing in the Elliott 6. The TV coverage at the superb Weymouth venue has reinvigorated interest in sailing and helped to demystify it for non-sailors.
Fischer will be on his 44th Sydney-Hobart. He has already won line honours wins with Ragamuffin in 1988 and 1990, with an overall win in 1992 aboard an updated Ragamuffin.
This year he is leasing Investec Loyal with a view to knocking off five-time line honours winner and race record holder (1:18:40:10 set in 2005) Wild Oats XI, whose skipper, Mark Richards, is just young enough to be his grandson.
Last year Loyal, skippered by owner Anthony Bell, beat Wild Oats XI in the fourth closest finish in the race’s history; three minutes and eight seconds.
This month Richards and Wild Oats XI recaptured a psychological advantage over Fischer by taking line honours in the 180 nautical mile Cabbage Tree Island Race, when Ragamuffin Loyal had to drop her mainsail after a pin dropped out of the port runner block. Sailing with a scratch crew, Fischer made repairs, but was unwilling to risk the rig. It must be noted she was eight miles behind Oats at the time and contesting her first ocean race with Fischer.
Prior to winning last year’s race, Loyal was second across the line in 2010 and fourth in 2009. Not only has Fischer leased Loyal for the next two Hobart races, he will buy it outright when the lease runs out.
For this year’s Hobart race, Fischer will have right-hand man, Tony Ellis, and David Witt as boat captain. Ellis will sail his 46th race (one behind the record), but will sail his 40 together with Fischer, while Witt was one of Australia’s best known 18ft skiff sailors in the 90s. He made the transition to ocean racing, via the great events: the Rolex Sydney Hobart, Melbourne-Osaka double-handed race and the Volvo Ocean Race.
Asked at today’s official launch if there are many arguments between him and Fischer on the boat, Ellis said: “We’ve had plenty of cross words over the years – but it stays on the boat.” Does Ellis win any of the arguments? “Syd’s won a few arguments with me,” Ellis quipped.
When asked about the crew that will be onboard for the Hobart race, Ellis said, “We’re going to have a pretty well rounded crew by the time we get to the start line… Andrew Cape (multiple Volvo Ocean Race and Rolex Sydney Hobart yachtsman) is going to come and navigate for us. The last time we sailed together (the 1992 Hobart), we won the race overall.
Geoff Huegill, the Aussie swimming legend and former butterfly world record holder, is back, sailing aboard the same boat he did his first race on in 2010; Ragamuffin Loyal. “To be part of a crew that has such great experience behind them is something that I am really looking forward to,” he said.
“Once you’ve got the bug for sailing it really gets you – the teamwork aspect is an opportunity that I really enjoy,” Huegill commented.
The hardest part of his first race, the retired swimmer said, was “Sleep deprivation – but I’m used to it now, because I have a 10 month old baby,” he said.
Owner, Bob Oatley, has gone back to the drawing board with Wild Oats XI after her defeat in the Derwent last year. Oats had been no match for Loyal in light weather. She keeps her retractable daggerboards that were fitted before last year’s race, but she has a new retractable, centreline fin, three metres aft of the bow.
The aim of all three is to reduce leeway, but they are each used in different phases of light weather sailing, the forward fin being used first before being retracted. In addition, there is a new fitting on the bulb of the keel, whose role is to minimise ‘tip vortex’, curling water at the tip of the bulb that can reduce lift.
Skipper, Mark Richards said at the official Rolex Sydney Hobart launch today, “Last year’s race was a great race all the way until the finish, but Loyal was quicker in light air – and we’ve made some radical modifications to rectify that. We’ve tested the new set-up and it’s
This then is the battle royale to which we can look forward to at the front of the fleet, the old bull versus the young bull for the fastest boat at sea, but there will be other contenders.
Peter Millard and John Honan’s 98ft maxi Lahana is back after finishing third across the line in 2010 and 2011. Also on the front row of the grid is Grant Wharington’s Wild Thing, which took line honours in 2003, when she was named Skandia. The 98 footer has undergone modifications ahead of the race, including being lengthened to 100 feet.
Last year’s overall race winner, Stephen Ainsworth’s Reichel/Pugh 63 Loki, is back to defend her title and still appears to be the boat to beat. In August, the CYCA boat broke the 13 year-old record for a conventional yacht in the Audi Sydney Gold Coast Race and won the race outright. This month she won the CYCA’s Cabbage Tree Island Race and she goes in to the Rolex Sydney Hobart as the pre-race favourite.
On board again are sailing master Gordon Maguire and navigator Michael Bellingham. Ainsworth has also declared this is his last. He will be selling Loki and spending future Christmases with his family (unless he suffers the Fischer Syndrome at some stage).
Fischer first took line honours in 1988 in a gale-strewn race that ended with one of the smallest boats in the fleet, the Davidson 34, Illusion, win the race outright. Illusion is back as well this year, this time in the hands of Kim Jaggar and Travis Read.
The two bought the boat in April and, according to Jaggar, have spent more on its reconfiguration than the actual purchase. They are seeking to reduce the boat’s rating by going to a masthead kite, smaller headsails and a longer spinnaker pole. It will sail with a crew of eight.
“We’d like to beat Hicko (Roger Hickman’s Wild Rose) and Simon (Simon Kurts’ Love & War),” Jaggar said, “but it has to be right race for us.”
Love & War is always a sentimental favourite for handicap honours in the race. Peter Kurts won the race in 1974 and 1978 and, after his death in January 2005, son Simon gave the nod for his navigator Lindsay May to sail the wooden boat to Hobart the following year.
May sailed her to an emotional third win in 2006 and is back in his role as navigator, while Peter’s son Simon will skipper the yacht with his 21-year-old son Phillip having his second crack at the race.
Bob ‘Robbo’ Robertson’s top performing Queensland yacht Lunchtime Legend is on a mission, coming off a win in the Magnetic Island Race Week series and second in both the Audi Hamilton Island and Airlie Beach Race Weeks.
“This is our year; we have to do it this year,” Robertson said, having built and launched the Beneteau 40 in time for the 2011 Rolex Sydney Hobart race and scoring a highly creditable third in IRC Division 4 after scoring the exact same overall time as Andrew Saies’ same design Two True (SA) and in the company of pacesetters of the calibre of Hickman’s Wild Rose (NSW) and David Rees’ Whistler from Tasmania.
This time, Lunchtime Legend has a younger crew fired up, Robertson says, after the Australian successes at the London Olympics: “That has done so much to get young people involved again in sailing. I reckon our average age will be 20 years lower than in the 2011 race.”
This is a strong fleet of 80 boats: four maxis and nine previous winners of the major trophy, the Tattersall’s Cup, presented to the overall winner.
Joining Illusion, Loki, Love & War, Wild Rose and Wild Oats XI in the previous winners’ club are Geoff Boettcher’s 2010 winner Secret Men’s Business 3.5, Andrew Saies’ 2009 winner Two True, which is one of four South Australian entries, Bob Steel’s 2008 winner Quest and Luna Sea, which won the nightmare 1998 race as AFR Midnight Rambler, which is now in the hands of James Cameron.
Anthony Lyall’s Cougar II, which was second overall in 2008 in the hands of Victorian Alan Whiteley, leads the Tasmanian contingent in this year’s race. She has just won the Maria Island Race in record time and claimed the treble of record, line honours and overall win.
All states and the ACT have boats in the fleet with the NSW fleet numbering 43, Victoria 13, Queensland nine, Tasmania and South Australia four each, WA two, the ACT one and there are four overseas entries.
The overseas boats include the first Lithuanian entry, Ambersail (Simonas Steponavicius), a Volvo 60 that had been the Assa Abloy training boat for the 2001/2 Volvo Ocean Race.
Beneteaus make up the biggest design contingent, 12 of them, all in the 40-foot range. Two True and Lunchtime Legend will be up against the other form boat, the reigning Blue Water Point Score champion, Darryl Hodgkinson’s Victoire and the chartered Balance, now known as Peugeot Surfrider, which will feature a mostly French crew headed by Sebastien Guyot.
Once again, David Kellett will lead an experienced team on the Radio Relay Vessel (RRV), JBW, which accompanies the fleet to Hobart each year, generously loaned again by John Winning. Young Endeavour will act in the role of Communications Support Vessel to the RRV this year, under command of LCDR Michael Gough, Commanding Officer STS Young Endeavour.
The CYCA’s annual race starts at 1pm AEDT on Boxing Day, December 26 on Sydney Harbour. The fleet will sail from two start lines off Nielsen Park. The start will be broadcast live on the Seven Network throughout Australia, webcast live to a global audience on Yahoo!7 and the Australia Network throughout the Asia Pacific Region.
By Bruce Montgomery, Rolex Sydney Hobart media team
THE 2012 RACE
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INVESTEC LOYAL (Photo by Daniel Forster)
The serious countdown to the start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race has officially begun, with the SOLAS Big Boat Challenge taking place on Sydney Harbour today.
The SOLAS Big Boat Challenge is traditionally one of the busier days on the Harbour for spectator vessels. This year the 15 or so entrants, ranging in size from 100 foot super maxis to 50 foot grand prix racers can expect less traffic around them, but a ton of on board action.
“It’ll be an exciting race,” said Wild Oats XI skipper Mark Richards yesterday as he and Wild Oats XI’s race crew were preparing to don wet weather gear and complete a practice run around the 14 nautical mile SOLAS Big Boat Challenge track, which today takes them two and a half times around Sydney Harbour to the finish off the Opera House.
For the sailing novices on Anthony Bell’s 100 foot INVESTEC LOYAL, today’s challenge will provide some insight into what might be around the corner come Boxing Day. Olympic wheelchair racer Kurt Fearnley, Roosters five-eighth Anthony Minichiello and Channel 9’s Karl Stefanovic will taste plenty of salt water and better understand the rigours of ocean racing when they join rugby legends and past participants, Phil Waugh and Phil Kearns, and the rest of the professional race crew for today’s SOLAS Big Boat Challenge. Former racing great and record breaking winner Neville Crichton will also join Anthony Bell’s loyal for SOLAS big boat race.
Peter Millard, co-owner of the 98 foot Lahana arrived back on a flight from the US yesterday and when told of today’s forecast, said, “Then we definitely need to go out training today.”
Two of Lahana’s 21-strong crew have flown in from Europe and a handful more have arrived from interstate to take part in the annual Harbour spectacle, with the largest yachts in town preparing for the 12.30pm start off Steele Point, Vaucluse.
“It’ll be good to have testing conditions today, but we won’t be taking any risks that might put a speed bump in our Rolex Sydney Hobart preparations,” said Millard. “We want to see a lot of pressure today and for the great race. We’re hoping for a southerly all the way to Hobart.”
Making her Australian debut in the race will be Victorian Rob Hanna’s recent acquisition, theTP52 Shogun. Hanna purchased the near-new former Audi Azzurra from Europe, where it has been successfully competing on the MedCup circuit. Hanna’s main intention is to beat the other Australian ownedTP52’s at major events, including Marcus Blackmore’s Hooligan, which is also contesting the SOLAS Big Boat Challenge.
List of Entries
||Bakewell White 30m
||Reichel Pugh 63
||WILD OATS XI
||Reichel Pugh 100
||Jones 98 Maxi
To view the course maps go to http://www.cyca.com.au/editorial.asp?key=760
By Lisa Ratcliff/CYCA media
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Voiles de Saint Barths ( Photo by Christophe Jouany/Voiles de Saint Barths)
- Squalls and a race around the whole island of St. Barts to mark the end of an exciting week
- Rambler in homage to Peter
- Wild Horses by 4 seconds!
- The joy of the sailors from St Maarten
After three days of racing on various courses, which were physically and tactically demanding, Luc Poupon and the race directors scheduled a race all the way around the island of St. Barts to close this first highly successful edition of the Voiles de Saint-Barth. A 22-mile long race between the rocks in a trade wind that remained strong throughout the week. In order to ensure that the festive atmosphere of the event was respected, the 23 yachts taking part all lined up on the same starting line at the same time at 1100 hrs to be given the off.
Voiles de Saint Barths (Photo by Christophe Jouany/Voiles de Saint Barths)
Rambler, thinking of Peter Doriean
As soon as the start procedures got underway, a huge tropical squall meant that the race area and the crews were drenched. A few minutes later, the skies brightened and as is often the case it suddenly went flat calm in the entrance to Gustavia harbour and on the start line. The yachts waited for a while with their sails flapping and the race directors launched the start procedures again, as the trade wind made its presence felt again with an 18-knot easterly blowing. The final clearance buoy set up less than a mile from the start saw a huge traffic jam build up, with the two giants deciding to come in on different tacks, Sojana on starboard and Rambler on the port tack. The tone was set, and this final race of the Voiles de Saint-Barth was underway with the same thrilling competition as on the previous races this week. O, just two hours, the impressive Reichel/Pugh-designed Rambler completed the course that was very tactical because of all the marks. Dominating throughout winning four times in four races, George David’s men remained modest in their triumph, and as they crossed the finishing line they were thinking of the Australian, Peter Doriean, their friend, who recently died in a tragic accident. As the boat’s tactician, the American Ken Read, explained earlier, the best way for the twenty men that make up the crew could pay homage to their team mate was to do their best throughout this event. The big ketch Sojana tried every day to keep up with the fast pace set by the American Maxi. The trade wind also helped her to show her full amazing potential. In vain. The speed difference with the Farr designed boat was simply too great for Peter Holmberg’s men, who included the French sailors Loïck Peyron, Lionel Péan and Jacques Vincent, to hope to achieve a win. However, the gap between the boats was not that huge and today only ten points separated them.
Wild Horses At Voiles de Saint Barths (Photo by Christophe Jouany/Voiles de Saint Barths)(Photo by
Wild Horses… by 4 seconds!
It was today’s big match after the huge success yesterday of the women on the W 76 White Wings. The one all the crews and spectators at the Voiles de Saint Barth were looking forward to. Would Faraday Rosenberg and her 15 ladies repeat their performance, winning today’s race and in so doing win the event against the sistership, Wild Horses sailed by Donald Tofias and his boys? Everything remained uncertain throughout the 22 theoretical miles of the course around St. Barts. Clearly more and more at ease in their precise choice of route, White Wings once again showed their determination at the start and passed the clearance buoy way out in front of Wild Horses. The two big W 76 boats sped along leeward of the island, and it was in the long tacks in seas that were building that the all-female crew would ease off a little. Enough in any case to allow Tofias to get back in the race. He made a final dash for the finish on the downwind stretch and won by four tiny seconds. So victory went to Wild Horses in this particularly exciting Classic division, which was extremely fascinating to watch with such elegant racing, and with the presence of Kate, the gaff rigger recently built based on designs by Mylne, on the starting line to offer inspiration.
The sailors from St Maarten were just too much!
Robert Velasquez came to the Voiles de Saint-Barth confident in his crew from the Dutch Antilles and in the intrinsic quality of his First 45, having acquired decades of experience sailing around the West Indies. With four wins in four races, he was beaming with joy this evening and he made his pleasure felt, not finding the words to express his sheer enthusiasm, when talking about how kind the wind gods were this week. He triumphs at the top of the rankings in this group which included the largest number of participants at the “Voiles”, not and he never left the slightest chance for Raymond Magras’s valiant Dufour 34 “Speedy Nemo”, which had to make do with being runner up leaving David Cullen’s J 109 “Pocket Rocket” take third place.
The amazing J 122
Battling throughout the week against the splendid Swan 45 “Puffy”, belonging to the event’s godfather Patrick Demarchelier, the fast and daring “little” J 122 “Lost Horizon” skippered by the sailor from Antigua, James Dobbs triumphed this evening by achieving a fourth victory. Neither the strong breeze, not the heavy swell, which was sometimes very messy, nor the squally interludes seem to have affected Dobbs and his men, who found just the right tactics to overcome the power of the Swan and to see the name of their racing machine on the list of winners at this first edition of the “Voiles de Saint-Barth”.
Voiles de Saint Barths (Photo by Christophe Jouany/Voiles de Saint Barths)
What they said:
Robert Velasquez (L’espérance) : ”Great week! great races! We’ll be back next year! My lads were fantastic and we’re really pleased to have won this first edition of the “Voiles de Saint-Barth”, by in fact winning all the races…”
Karl James (Sojana) : “We had a great fight with Rambler. There were some tough encounters as we rounded the marks. We really enjoyed this week of sailing, with a very fine crew, who enabled us to get the most out of Sojana. Now, I’m moving on to another giant, Ranger, the big J Class boat that will be racing in Antigua against her eternal rival Velsheda…”
Some choice words from Loïck Peyron (Sojana): “2009 was a strange year; for the first time in thirty years, I didn’t sail across the Atlantic! I was awarded the “Red Cap, I’ve been anointed. Now I’m a real sailor!”
Ken Read (Rambler): “This great week of racing does not mean of course that we have forgotten about the loss of our dear friend, Peter Doriean. All the crew showed how professional they were throughout the races. We shan’t forget Peter. Life goes on. Rambler will be continuing to race in the States. As for me, I’ve got a lot of work waiting with the wonderful “Puma Ocean Racing” project.
Marlies Sanders, White Wings : “Our crew was deliberately made up of women. There are sixteen of us in all under the control of our skipper Faraday Rosenberg. There is a fantastic atmosphere on board, with a great team spirit. Everyone helps each other all the time. We have been sailing rather like in a match race against Wild Horses, which is a W76 class that is absolutely identical to ours, except that she is in the hands of the men. So there is real rivalry between us. Our first day was not that great, as we were using it really to train, but we soon found our marks, finishing second in race N°2, and winning yesterday. The final day was therefore decisive, as if we had won it, we would have been on equal points with the boys and we would have won the event because of winning the final race. It almost happened! There’s an extraordinary atmosphere ashore, as it seems that everyone was supporting us and wanted to see us win. This was a fantastic week and we’re already making plans to come back next year.”
Voiles de Saint Barths (Photo by Christophe Jouany/Voiles de Saint Barths)
They were at the “Voiles de Saint-Barth” :
Loïck Peyron France – Sojana, Oman Sail
Lionel Péan France – Sojana
Jacques Vincent France – Sojana, L’Hydroptère
Peter Holmberg US Virgin Islands – Sojana
Gavin Brady – New Zealand Moneypenny, Malcazone Latino
Frazer Brown – New Zealand – Sojana – Extreme 40 Ecover
Ken Keefe – USA – Moneypenny, America’s Cup
Kimo Worthington – USA Moneypenny, America’s Cup
Ken Read - USA – Rambler, Puma Ocean Racing
Tim Dawson -USA – Rambler
Justin Juggy Clougher – USA – Rambler, Volvo Ocean Race
Craig Alexander- Australia – Duende – Classe 40 Kazimir partner
Justin Slattery – UK – Sojana – Volvo Ocean race
Tania Thevenaz -Switzerland- White wings, Tuiga
Overall rankings at the first edition of the Voiles de Saint-Barth
Classic (CLA) division after four races
1: “Wild Horses”, Donald Tofias ( (Classic / US) 5 points (Race results: 1,1,2,1,)
2: “White Wings”, Faraday Rosenberg ( (Classic / US) 7 points (Race results: 2,2,1,2,)
3: “Duende”, Randy West ( (Classic / Saint Barthelemy Yacht Club) 14 points (Race results : 3,3,3,DNC ,)
4: “Kate”, Philippe Walwyn ( (Classic / Great Britain) 16 points (Race results: 4,DNS ,4,3,)
Multihull division (M2K) after 4 races
1: “Escapade”, Greg Dorland ( / US) 5 points (Race results: 1,1,DNS ,1,)
Racing division (RAC) after 4 races
1: “Lost Horizon”, James Dobbs ( (J 122 / Antigua) 4 points (Race results: 1,1,1,1,)
2: “Puffy”, Patrick de Marchelier ( (Swan 45 / Saint Barthelemy Yacht Club) 8 points (Race results: 2,2,2,2,)
3: “Black Hole”, Jeroen Hin ( (First 40.7 / Great Britain) 15 points (Race results: 3,HTP ,3,3,)
4: “Malachite”, Pierre Mancy ( (A 40 / St Quentin Sailing Club) 17 points (Race results: 5,3,4,5,)
5: “Lancelot”, John Shanholt ( (First 40.7 / US) 20 points (Race results: 4,HTP ,DNS ,4,)
RACING CRUISING (R_C) division after 4 races
1: “L’esperance”, Robert Velasquez ( (First 45 F5 / Antilles Hollan) 4 points (Race results: 1,1,1,1,)
2: “Speedy Nemo”, Raymond Magras ( (Dufour 34 / Saint Barthelemy Yacht Club) 8 points (Race results: 2,2,2,2,)
3: “Pocket Rocket”, David Cullen ( (J 109 / Ireland) 12 points (Race results: 3,3,3,3,)
4: “Lil’e”, Tanguy Fox ( (Requin / Saint Barthelemy Yacht Club) 18 points (Race results: 6,4,4,4,)
5: “Thula”, Max Imrie ( (Baltic 39 / US) 19 points (Race results: 4,5,5,5,)
6: “Corban”, Daniel Harper ( (Swann 42 / United States) 23 points (Race results: 5,6,6,6,)
7: “Baladin”, Raphael Magras ( (Feeling 30 / Saint Barthelemy Yacht Club) 30 points (Race results : 7,9,7,7,)
8: “Ormeau”, Alain Charlot ( (Oceanis 473 / Club de Voile du Lac D’orient) 33 points (Race results: 9,8,8,8,)
9: “Iznogoud”, Christophe Baudoin ( (Surprise / Ctre Nautique de St Barthelemy) 35 points (Race results: 8,7,DNS ,HTP ,)
SUPER YACHT (SUP) division after 4 races
1: “Rambler”, George David ( (Maxi / US) 5 points (Race results: 1,1,1,2,)
2: “Sojana”, Marc Fitzgerald ( (Farr 115 / Great Britain) 8 points (Race results: 2,2,3,1,)
3: “Moneypenny”, James Swartz ( (Swan 601 / United States) 11 points (Race results: 3,3,2,3,)
4: “Nix”, Nico Cortlever ( (X 612 / Switzerland) 17 points (Race results: 4,4,DNS ,4,)
Nix Voiles de Saint Barths (Photo by Christophe Jouany/Voiles de Saint Barths)
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Les Voiles de Saint Barth Fleet (Photo by Christophe Jouany / Les Voiles de Saint-Barth)
They wanted it and they got it! After the pleasure of the strong contrasts of the first day of the very first edition of the Voiles de Saint Barth, where they found the wind they were looking for and some demanding conditions, the 23 crews taking part really wanted to get going again this morning. They quite simply wanted to be out on the water as soon as possible to line up at the start between the Sugar Loaf and Saint-Jean Island, so they might enjoy another day of sailing, which they knew would prove to be exceptional.
With the promise of a well-established easterly trade wind blowing at twenty knots or more being fulfilled, as soon as the starting gun was fired a little after eleven this morning local time, the tone was set and the crews had to do their best with the sail choices they had made to get the most out of their boat in the breeze. The final buoy in the harbour entrance in Gustavia saw some real acrobatics out on the water, when the wind strengthened from the nearby hillsides to send some off course and others to come to a sudden standstill. With everyone hiking out, and with the seaspray flying, the whole fleet soon disappeared, moving well away from the coast heading for Nègre Point. The sea was whipped up by the powerful trade wind into a choppy mess, and as they approached Coco Island and the Soube Rocks, the waves built to reach almost three metres in some places. Nothing could disturb however the serenity of the big boats racing, led over this first stretch of the 35-mile long course by the amazing all-woman crew of the Class W 76 “White Wings”. “Rambler” and “Sojana”, were fully satisfied in these conditions, which were able to reveal their full potential. They kept within a few lengths of each other, accompanied by “Puffy”, the Swan 45 belonging to Patrick Demarchelier, which could really take advantage of these conditions and the incredible J 122 “Lost Horizon” which came here from Antigua. Today’s course led the fleet in what were spectacular conditions around the whole island and its rocky isles, before finishing in beauty with a long downwind run windward of Forked Island…
Sojana (Photo by Christophe Jouany / Les Voiles de Saint-Barth)
Interview with Loïck Peyron:
Why did you decide to come and sail here?
You can’t explain it. It just seemed the obvious thing to do; St. Barts is a picture postcard location. I usually only end up in the West Indies at the finish of a transatlantic race, and with all the tiredness that has built up, I normally want just one thing and that is to go home as soon as I can. This week, I can really enjoy my stay. There’s the wind, blue seas, and some fine boats… Hardly anything has in fact changed since the last time I was here ten years or more ago. Just a few more big boats. It’s a fantastic place. We’re really fortunate to be able to sail in the Caribbean.
Does this event, the Voiles de Saint-Barth offer you a break in your calendar?
The timing is just perfect for me. I’ve just had a really great time and have been through a great adventure. It was a fabulous period in my life being with one of the best sailing teams in the world with Alinghi just a few weeks ago. This week I’m taking a little break. And I’ll soon be starting the new season on small, very fast catamarans with the Oman Sail team in the framework of the Extreme 40 Championship in Europe, and on the D35s on the Swiss lakes.
Oman Sail seems to be very dynamic?
There’s a lot going on with Oman Sail. I’m lucky to have been with them for over a year now. Oman has a real maritime history and it’s interesting to see them finding this past again with their nautical traditions. The Oman sailors are keen to learn. It’s time for me to share my modest experience.
So here you’re taking part aboard Sojana…
Sojana is a very elegant monohull, which belongs to a very elegant gentleman with a nice personality.
I’d already seen the boat in Saint-Tropez and now I’m discovering her from the inside; I like the way she sails so smoothly without any pressure. Peter Holmberg is at the helm. He was also a helmsman for Alinghi. So there are two former helmsmen from Alinghi aboard Sojana. Everything is very serious on board, as with such a big boat any mistake is serious. You really need to pay attention to every little detail. I’m in charge of trimming at the mizzen mast, and I work in close collaboration with the helmsman. The whole crew has a very high level. We’re battling it out with a real racing boat, Rambler, and it’s a huge challenge. With a little more wind, 20 knots, we hope to be able to get up there with them.
What do you think about the Voiles de Saint-Barth?
The setting is magnificent. If the Voiles de Saint-Barth didn’t exist, someone would have to invent it. It’s in place now and they have intelligently brought together all sorts of boats. It’s fascinating watching them all sailing together. Everything that makes sailing so interesting can be found here and the concept has a great future ahead of it.
What they said:
Jacques Vincent (Sojana): “The English speakers on board and there are a lot of them, were amazed by the course, which was much more varied and interesting than during the Bucket regatta. The boats are able to show what they can do in the strong trade wind, and Sojana has shown off her superb qualities in every point of sail. We were up to eighteen knots under gennaker. The heavy swell on the windward side of the island did not worry us at all, as our hull seems to cope very well with these conditions. The atmosphere on board is very calm. It’s one of the characteristics of the boat’s owner, Peter Harrison. We have a top class guest on board, a certain Loïck Peyron, who is in charge of trimming at the mizzen mast…”
White Wings With An All Women Crew (Photo by Christophe Jouany / Les Voiles de Saint-Barth)
Tania Thevenaz (White Wings): There are three French speakers in this all-woman crew aboard the big classic yacht, White Wings, one from Quebec and one from Switzerland, and the blonde sailor Tania Thevenaz: “We are very close in terms of performance and quality to our sistership Wild Horses. Yesterday we did not make any mistakes in wind conditions that were at the limit for us. It was a challenge that the girls rose to, in spite of manoeuvres being tough in the powerful trade wind. We really enjoyed ourselves on these varied courses, which enable us to visit all the hidden secrets of the island. We’ve really got into the “Voiles de Saint-Barth” and we’re going to continue to improve throughout the week…”
Peter Holmberg (Sojana): I was one of the first skippers that Luc Poupon contacted to take part in the Voiles de Saint-Barth. It seemed like an interesting concept to me. I wanted to lend a hand to get the event going. I’m pleased to be here.
Each island has its own race and St. Barts seems to me to be a major sailing festival, an occasion, which brings together all sorts of different yachts, which is a very good thing for our sport.
We selected a very fine team with Peyron and some top notch racers. Yesterday we didn’t make any mistakes. The longer the race, the more chance we have. We’re in a pattern of strong trade winds, which is good for Sojana.
The Voiles de Saint-Barth seems to have found its footing. The Committee has come up with some great courses. The starts were clear and safety came first out on the water… I’ll give them a very high score. Back on the island, there was a very relaxed atmosphere last night with some nice music. Once again it was a great success.
St. Barts has grown very wisely. It has kept its personality. St. Barts is unique, a special place. It is magnificent here with some really friendly people. I’ve seen a lot of changes on some islands, as these islands are where I come from, and I can say that the development of St. Barts has been carried out very intelligently.
Richard Mille, Headline partner to the Voiles de Saint Barth commented . “The organisers of the Voiles de Saint-Barth can be proud of many things, not least the fact that they managed to convince and charm Richard Mille to join up as a partner to this first edition. Designed in Brittany, it is in Breuleux, near la Chaux-de-Fonds in Switzerland that the designs by this technical enthusiast come to life. Bringing together efficiency, artistic design and manufactured using a process and materials that are really special, Richard Mille watches, which are all finished by hand, enabled high class watchmaking to enter the 21st Century. Richard Mille watches are rare objects, the result of careful work to reach the absolute peak of excellence and to achieve the total perfection that their designer is looking for. Objects which you live, and you feel sensually, they bring along in harmony the latest hi-tech materials to satisfy not only a quest for beauty but also absolute comfort, offering a very light feel. Work on the shapes, the choice of materials and showing patience and taking his time, Richard Mille inspects them himself to approve them, refusing the slightest blemish to ensure these unique watches please a demanding and knowledgeable clientele. Far removed from the industrial processes, Richard Mille, who chose to name one of his creations “Les Voiles de Saint-Barth”, occupies a niche market for exceptional timepieces. ”
Rambler (Photo by Christophe Jouany / Les Voiles de Saint-Barth)
Groupe Classic (CLA) après 2 courses
1: “Wild Horses”, Donald Tofias ( (Classic / Etats Unis D’am) 2 points
2: “White Wings”, Faraday Rosenberg ( (Classic / Etats Unis D’am) 4 points
3: “Duende”, Randy West ( (Classic / Saint Barthelemy Yacht Club) 6 points
4: “Kate”, Philippe Walwyn ( (Classic / Grande-Bretagne) 9 points
Groupe Multicoques (M2K) après 2 courses
1: “Escapade”, Greg Dorland ( / Etats Unis D’am) 2 points
Groupe Racing (RAC) après 2 courses
1: “Lost Horizon”, James Dobbs ( (J 122 / Antigua) 2 points
2: “Puffy”, Patrick de Marchelier ( (Swann 45 / Saint Barthelemy Yacht Club) 4 points
3: “Malachite”, Pierre Mancy ( (A 40 / C V de St Quentin) 8 points
4: “Black Hole”, Jeroen Hin ( (First 40.7 / Great Britain) 9 points
5: “Lancelot”, John Shanholt ( (First 40.7 / Etats Unis D’am) 10 points
Groupe RACING CRUISING (R_C) après 2 courses
1: “L’esperance”, Robert Velasquez ( (First 45 F5 / Antilles Hollan) 2 points
2: “Speedy Nemo”, Raymond Magras ( (Dufour 34 / Saint Barthelemy Yacht Club) 4 points
3: “Pocket Rocket”, David Cullen ( (J 109 / Irlande) 6 points
4: “Thula”, Max Imrie ( (Baltic 39 / Etats Unis D’am) 9 points
5: “Lil’e”, Tanguy Fox ( (Requin / Saint Barthelemy Yacht Club) 10 points
6: “Corban”, Daniel Harper ( (Swann 42 / United States O) 11 points
7: “Iznogoud”, Christophe Baudoin ( (Surprise / Ctre Nautique de St Barthelemy) 15 points
8: “Baladin”, Raphael Magras ( (Feeling 30 / Saint Barthelemy Yacht Club) 16 points
9: “Ormeau”, Alain Charlot ( (Oceanis 473 / Club de Voile du Lac D’orient) 17 points
Groupe SUPER YACHT (SUP) après 2 courses
1: “Rambler”, George David ( (Maxi / Etats Unis D’am) 2 points
2: “Sojana”, Marc Fitzgerald ( (Farr 115 / Great Britain) 4 points
3: “Moneypenny”, James Schwartz ( (Swann 601 / United States O) 6 points
4: “Nix”, Nico Cortlever ( (X 612 / Suisse) 8 points
Puffy (Photo by Christophe Jouany / Les Voiles de Saint-Barth)
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Wild Horses (Photo by Christophe Jouany / Les Voiles de Saint-Barth)
A date on the calendar that is designed to last….
They were waiting for this and the St. Barts Yacht Club has done it. “They” are all those, who love elegant boats, who come to this place, where the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean come together, offering ideal sailing conditions with steady, strong breezes, turquoise seas and brilliant, warm sunshine. The friendly welcome and hospitality of St. Barts are well known. All that needed to be done was to offer a sporting challenge to encourage racers to turn up in large numbers from North America, but also from Europe, New Zealand and Australia. A challenge, which would allow those who love sailing an opportunity to enjoy the privilege of weaving their way around in the magic waters of the island of St. Barts.
Patron of this first edition of the “Voiles”, the photographer Patrick Demarchelier, who lives on the island, is forgetting for one moment the world of fashion to escape aboard his Swan: “I’ve been enjoying sailing in these waters for a long time. I am of course delighted that is now possible to organise an event, bringing together all the attractions of the island and the surrounding waters. “The Voiles de Saint-Barth” is clearly a wish come true, a dream being fulfilled you might say, for those, who sail in the waters of Newport, Antigua and even the Solent, who are coming here to do battle in the sunny trade winds. This first edition looks like being a huge success in every way and I do not doubt for a moment that the “Voiles de Saint Barth” will become a regular date in amongst the leading events and unmissable regattas of the international yachting calendar.”
For many years, the French sailor, Lionel Péan has been at the helm of Sojana, belonging to the British owner Peter Harrison. The big Farr-designed ketch has been a regular at yachting events in the Mediterranean and in Central America since 2003 and Lionel Péan is pleased to be in charge of Sojana this week in these waters that he knows so well and that he considers to be the most attractive you can find anywhere in the yachting world. “When the trade wind is blowing steadily in strength and direction, which looks like being the case this week, there are many possibilities open to the Race Committee for setting up tactically interesting races. There’s going to be some fine racing and that is something I enjoy…especially when we’re in warm waters,” Lionel concluded with a smile.
Sojana and Moneypenny (Photo by Christophe Jouany / Les Voiles de Saint-Barth)
Various courses in the trade wind
“The high-pressure area will guarantee that we’ll be in a trade wind that is steady in strength and direction” Luc Poupon, race director, appears to be very relaxed as he knows the island and the moods of the wind gods well. Indeed, the trade wind has been blowing strongly from the north east since the start of the week and looks like lasting throughout the regatta, “veering a little bit easterly in the middle of the week”. So we can look forward to everything going without a hitch and the race directors have already drawn up no fewer than twenty different courses along the coast and around St. Barts, with the aim of ensuring a fair fight between the five classes taking part. Their choice will determine what sort of challenge the thirty crews will face this week. “There aren’t really any traps in the courses we have chosen” added Luc Poupon. “It takes a very long period of trade winds for any current phenomena to appear around the points. Our races are based around the islands and rocks. The sailors know the local phenomena in our waters, with wind shadows and acceleration around the headlands. However, they will have to be careful to avoid the shallows, and therefore keep away from the temptation of getting close to the beaches.” The longest course is 32 miles and the shortest 15. It will of course be the strength of the wind that will determine each morning the course for that day. Luc Poupon and his team reserve the right to send the smaller boats on a shorter course, if the bigger boats are able to keep up high averages and cover the course at high speed.
Peter "Spike" Doriean (Photo by Movistar / Volvo Ocean Race)
The American, Kenny Reed, skipper of the Maxi Puma turned up this morning aboard Rambler, but was clearly shocked by the tragic loss of Peter ‘Spike’ Doriean, who died in an accident Monday 5th April, apparently after slipping over and falling to the floor in his bathroom in Saint-Martin. The 90-foot Reichel-Pugh designed Rambler (ex-Alfa Romeo I) is one of the stars that people are looking forward to seeing at the Voiles de Saint-Barth. Kenny Reed stated that his crew were very distressed, but that it was the will of Spike’s close ones that his memory should be honoured by them taking part in the event. So it is with great sadness and with their friend and fellow crewman on their minds that the sailors on Rambler will be taking part in this first edition of the “Voiles de Saint Barth”.
Peter “Spike” Doriean, a well known Australian sailor and extremely talented professional crewman died in an accident yesterday in his hotel in Saint-Martin. Aged 38, he had taken part in many top class international races. Trimmer on Movistar in the 2005-2006 Volvo Ocean Race and member of the News Corp team in 2001-2002, he was also a regular in the TP 52 circuit on Audi Q8, in the America’s Cup and took part in several Sydney-Hobart races.
Saint Barths (Photo by Christophe Jouany / Les Voiles de Saint-Barth)
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