Yann Guichard and Léo Lucet appreciate the results all the more because a year and a half ago, the Spindrift racing project was a sporting, technical and logistical idea jotted down on a blank sheet of paper. The boat is solid and reliable, the technical team is competent and expert, and the pure talent of the heavyweight sailing team are the ingredients of certain success. The sleek black and white trimaran showed its mettle throughout the different exercises, from the transatlantic race to the long coastal races, through speed runs and inshore courses. Léo Lucet, executive director of Spindrift racing and Yann Guichard are more than satisfied with this resoundingly successful entry into a class that they sincerely hope will develop and grow internationally.
Victors of two of the five legs, two City Race victories, Speed Match victories and bonus points at the departure of each leg, as well as a New York-Brest transatlantic crossing that was achieved in a record time… the whole team on sea and land can be complimented on a remarkable job. “The human aspect of the project is amazing,” states Yann Guichard. “It was a collective adventure, gathering together competencies on the water and logistical talent on land, and it all worked according to the high standards I set. No individual egos or guest stars in this group. I have built a story with people who are engaged and committed to the project, who share my drive and motivation and way of working.”
The program for this first MOD70 season was ambitious, with the Krys Ocean Race and the European tour, made to measure for the international potential of a new class of boats that must seduce a host of new partners. “This format is fantastic,” claims Léo Lucet. “It’s an exceptional international communications tool which worked wonderfully in New York and at every European tour city stopover. VIPs and journalists alike were able to sail with us, and the general public, a stone’s throw away from the boats, really enjoyed the show. The objective, which we reached, was to make the discipline spectacular to demonstrate the excellent visibility it offers to sponsors and partners.”
“It was a real sporting pleasure,” adds Guichard. “Exhausting, demanding – exactly what we, sailors, want.” Guichard, Lucet and the whole sailing team on the black and white catamaran, Pascal Bidégorry, Yann Eliès, Erwan Tabarly, Jacques Guichard, Sébastien Marsset, Jean-Baptiste Levaillant, Devan Le Bihan, Thierry Douillard, Kévin Escoffier, Christophe André, Frédéric Brousse, Nicolas Charbonnier as well as the team on land, Philippe Echassoux, Tim Carrie, Florent Le Gal, Nicolas Débordès and Astrid van den Hove rose to the 2012 challenge.
With its solid team, proven knowhow and indisputable talent on the water, Spindrift racing has climbed the charts in record time. The most immediate next challenge for the young company is to find a partner for MOD70 Nr 05, in order to share strong and motivating values. “Given our results, our media successes and the public’s enthusiasm for this new class, we hope to succeed in this too,” comments an optimistic Guichard.
The five trimarans all finished the races brilliantly, with no more serious incidents than the usual encounters with unidentified floating objects. This year Spindrift racing will have sailed some 15,000 miles, with an astounding mean speed of 28 knots last summer. No small feat and quite a reference in terms of dependability.
“We still aim to progress further”, concludes Guichard, “in all areas – sports, technical, human. We are optimistically and impatiently looking forward to 2013.”
General classification Multi One Championship 2012
1 – Spindrift racing EUR (Yann Guichard, FRA)
2 – FONCIA, FRA, (Michel Desjoyeaux, FRA)
3 – Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, FRA (Sébastien Josse, FRA)
4 – Race For Water, SUI (Stève Ravussin, SUI)
5 – Musandam, Oman Sail OMA (Sidney Gavignet FRA)
Rank Krys Ocean Race 2012
1- Spindrift racing (Yann Guichard)
2- Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (Sébastien Josse)
3- FONCIA (Michel Desjoyeaux)
4- Musandam, Oman Sail (Sidney Gavignet) a
5- Race For Water (Steve Ravussin)
Rank MOD70 European Tour 2012
1- FONCIA avec 284 points
2- Spindrift racing avec 282 points
3- Race For Water avec 244 points
4- Musandam-Oman Sail avec 242 points
5- Groupe Edmond de Rothschild avec 228 points
The Newport Bermuda Race Safety at Sea Seminar on March 17-18 introduces a new approach to safety education. The seminar serves sailors in the 2012 Newport Bermuda Race as well as delivery and crews returning from Bermuda and other offshore sailors. It is also perfect for skippers and crews on coastal racers plus ocean and coastal cruisers, too. This Cruising Club of America seminar is at the Newport (RI) Hyatt Regency Hotel on Goat Island.
Register at http://www.bermudarace.com/EntryProcess/SafetyatSea/tabid/190/Default.aspx in advance. Or for those who choose to register at the door in Newport, walk-ins are welcome
On Saturday, March 17, the seminar offers two tracks. The morning �refresher course� is for anybody who has attended two or more US SAILING certified safety seminars since 2002. Participants may then do hands-on, in-water survival training in the afternoon. They will earn an ISAF Approved Certificate in one day. The other track is the All-day Safety at Sea seminar for people who have not attended a safety seminar recently.
On Sunday, there are two all-day courses� the Practical, Hands on Training Safety Seminar that combines with Saturday’s all day Safety at Sea Seminar to award the ISAF Approved Offshore Personal Survival Course certificate and a Red Cross First Aid and CPR training course. In addition, a Newport Bermuda Race Preparation Seminar aimed specifically at Bermuda Race sailors will be held in the morning.
More information about the CCA Safety at Sea Seminar and a link to direct registration and details about the Newport Bermuda Race are at www.BermudaRace.com.
Every offshore sailor worth his or her salt dreams of doing the Newport Bermuda Race. Sheila McCurdy has sailed 15 of them and will do number 16 in 2012. McCurdy, from Middletown, RI, is the immediate past Commodore of the Cruising Club of America (CCA), co-organizer of the race with the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club (RBYC). She has sailed nine of her Bermuda Races on Selkie.
Her first three Newport Bermuda Races— 1986, 1988 and 1990— were as navigator for her dad, James A. (Jim) McCurdy, chief designer at McCurdy & Rhodes, Naval Architects. In 1985 he designed the 38’6” Selkie for his family. Sheila has sailed six other Newport Bermuda Races as Selkie’s skipper and navigator, as well as four races in other boats including a stint as advisor aboard a US Naval Academy entry.
The only recent races McCurdy missed were in 2004, when she sailed trans-Atlantic with a crew of Navy midshipmen, and in 2010, when as Commodore of the CCA, she and RBYC Commodore Peter Shrubb had to stay ashore, prepared to address emergencies. Unable to stay away from Bermuda, she sailed Selkie to Bermuda in 2011 for the CCA cruise in the waters of the archipelago.
Her best Bermuda Races were in 1994 and 2008. In both races Selkie finished 2nd in Class and 2nd in the St. David’s Lighthouse (amateur) Division. In 1994, CCA Commodore Kaighn Smith’s Swan 38 Gaylark snatched the Lighthouse Trophy out of her grasp, winning by a mere 15-minute margin after 635 rhumb line miles of hard ocean racing.
After 15 races, with two as bridesmaids, Sheila has high hopes for 2012 and her 10th race on Selkie— “I keep doing the Newport Bermuda Race because I love the rhythm of sailing at sea for days.” Sheila said in a recent interview. “I love the fun of being with friends and family, pushing hard to get top performance from the boat.”
A true seafarer, Sheila added, “I love the complexity of developing a strategy and tactics based on the boat, the crew, the weather, the Gulf Stream and the boats in our class. I love seeing old and new friends in Newport and Bermuda. I love the elegance of the prize giving ceremony at Government House and the bugler at the ‘Sunset and Colours’ routine. I love the relaxed sail home and introducing the ocean to coastal sailors.”
When asked what was special to her about this particular ocean race, one that has been such an important part of her life, she replied, “The Cruising Club of America and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club have kept Newport Bermuda Race as a race designed mostly for very good amateurs, one that is organized by experienced volunteers who have had a connection to the race over the decades. The race has history and tradition at its core.”
“It is a race that generally rewards good all-around sea boats more than the boats specialized for around-the-buoys.” McCurdy added, “It is a family race for me. Between Dad, my brothers Jim and Ian, my husband Dave, and me, we probably have sailed 50 races. Dad was the Race Chairman in 1982 and CCA Commodore from 1986 to 1987. The race is a family habit or maybe you could better describe it as a chronic condition.”
John Rousmaniere, Newport Bermuda Race Historian and a top offshore sailor in his own right, was a watch captain on Selkie in 2008. He has also sailed with Sheila to the Azores. Rousmaniere has high praise for McCurdy, “She was the person in charge, no doubt about it, and quiet about it. She’s exceptionally well prepared and knowledgeable, a talented racing sailor with a very good feel for a boat, a terrific leader, and also extremely experienced with well over 100,000 miles behind her. I’d sail anywhere with her on a moment’s notice.”
With those 100,000 miles of salt water in her wake, McCurdy is highly experienced and knowledgeable. She is one of five authorized moderators for US SAILING certified safety at sea seminars. She served on the panel for US SAILING’s inquiry into a fatal accident in the 2011 Chicago Yacht Club’s race to Mackinac Island on Lake Michigan.
At the March 17-18 Cruising Club of America Safety at Sea Seminar in Newport RI on March 17-18, Sheila will make the presentation on the crucial topic of damage control. This seminar has an imaginative new curriculum option, a new schedule, and a new seminar attendance rule, plus special hotel room rates for attendees. For more information go to www.BermudaRace.com.
The 2012 Newport Bermuda Race starts Friday afternoon June 15th just off of Castle Hill in Newport RI. Applications for Entry into this invitational adventure are being taken under <Entry Process> on the race website at http://www.bermudarace.com. The classic 635-mile race offers racing in five divisions— The St. David’s Lighthouse (amateur) Division, The Cruiser (amateur) Division, the Double Handed Division, the Gibbs Hill (professional) Division and the Open (professional) division. There is great competition for all levels of commitment and experience.
About 40 of the two Lighthouse Division entries are expected to sail the Onion Patch series, a tough triathlon of offshore racing. Boats compete in the New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta in Newport, then race to Bermuda, and finally sail in the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Anniversary Regatta. Information is online at www.onionpatchseries.com.
The race website— www.BermudaRace.com— carries Newport Bermuda Race rules, news, videos, photos, race history, and expert advice on inspections, the Gulf Stream, and preparing for the classic 635-mile race across the Gulf Stream to St. David’s Light. Race news is also posted on the Newport Bermuda Race 2012 Facebook page and on Twitter at @BdaRace.
Newport Bermuda 2012 entries on pace with past fleets
Three weeks into the entry process for the 48th Newport Bermuda Race®, applications for entry for the 2012 race continue to roll in at a rapid rate for the 106-year-old biennial ocean-racing classic, with expectations of another large fleet.
Brin Ford, Database Chairman for the Bermuda Race Organizing Committee, commented, “As of February 3rd, the rate of entries was exactly on pace with the 2010 race with 105 boats having submitted Applications for Entry (AFE).” The Newport Bermuda Race is an invitational event, so skippers must submit an application and receive an invitation before completing the registration process. The 2010 race was the third largest ever, with 183 boats. The only bigger fleets were 264 in the 2006 Centennial Race and 198 in 2008.
“Of the 105 AFE’s submitted,” Ford continued, “77 are now approved for their invitation, 35 need to provide Experience Forms, and the rest are pending. Thirty-three skippers say their boat has not done the race before. We’re still missing many of our old friends, but they have time to enter before the April 15th deadline without paying an extra late fee. An additional 17 captains have begun the registration process, but have yet to file an AFE.”
Newport Bermuda Race Chairman and a multi-race veteran, Dr. John Osmond, is enthusiastic about the prospects for another successful race with a large fleet: “The Bermuda Race Organizing Committee is gratified by this early response which shadows the very successful 2010 experience. The Organizing Committee, the Race Ambassadors (mentors for newcomers), and the Inspectors – some 140 volunteers in all – are deeply interested in presenting for our sailing friends an unparalleled racing and social experience. That is the tradition of this wonderful event.”
Some experienced Bermuda Race skippers are coming back. Among the returning boats is Rives Potts’ McCurdy & Rhodes 48 Carina (Westbrook, CT). She was the St. David’s Lighthouse Trophy winner in 2010 and also 1970, and is a veteran of 16 Bermuda Races over 40 years. Carina is now sailing home from Australia under the command of Potts’ son and nephew after competing in December’s Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race. Prior to that, she sailed in the Transatlantic Race 2011 from Newport to England and the 2011 Rolex Fastnet Race before sailing to Australia. Carina will have sailed more than 30,000 miles in less than a year by the start of the 2012 Bermuda Race.
So far, other returning Lighthouse winners are Sinn Fein, Peter Rebovich’s Cal 40 (Metuchen, NJ) winner of the St. David’s Lighthouse Trophy in 2006 and 2008 and Llwyd Ecclestone’s Frers 68 Kodiak (West Palm Beach, FL).
The classic S&S yawl Dorade, which did her first Bermuda Race under the command of Olin Stephens in 1930, will be sailed by new owner Matt Brooks from San Francisco, CA. Charlie Robertson (Old Saybrook, CT) is returning after a 15-year absence with his Frers Mini-Maxi Cannonball. This is the big yellow boat he sailed back in 1988 to win first place in IMS.
Jimmy Sykes has sailed two yachts named Bombardino, a J130 once and his current Santa Cruz 52 seven times. He notes, “I have skippered all eight races and approximately half the crew have been on board for all of the races. Our best finish in class was first in 2008 and worst in class was thirteenth. Fleetwise, in 2006 we were sixth in fleet and third in class. I have done this many races because two of my three children were on board for all of the races and all three children were aboard on two. They keep me coming back.”
Among stock boat builders, currently J Boats has 21 entries, Swan has 12 and Beneteau has 8. Designer/builders with two or more entries include Peterson, McCurdy & Rhodes, S&S, Santa Cruz, Tartan, Hinckley, C&C, Cal, Baltic, IMX, Ker, Morris, Sabre and Hallberg Rassey. Gold Digger, Jim Bishop’s J44 (New York, NY) and Robert Foreman’s Hinkley SW 42 Jacqueline IV (Bay Shore, NY) will be back for their twelfth races. Gracie, Steve and Simon Frank’s McCurdy & Rhodes 69 (Darien, CT) will make her eleventh race.
Many entries are expected to sail the triathlon of offshore racing by entering the Onion Patch Series, a three-event series in which boats and crews first compete in the New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta in Newport, then race to Bermuda, and finally participate in the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Anniversary Regatta. Information is online at www.onionpatchseries.com.
The race website, www.BermudaRace.com, carries Newport Bermuda Race rules, news, videos, photos, race history, and expert advice on inspections, the Gulf Stream, and preparing for the classic 635-mile race across the Gulf Stream to St. David’s Light. Race news is also posted on the Newport Bermuda Race 2012 Facebook page and on Twitter at @BdaRace.
The Cruising Club of America Newport Bermuda Race Safety at Sea Seminar will be held at Newport on March 17-18 with a new curriculum option, a new schedule, and a new seminar attendance rule, plus special hotel room rates for attendees. For more information go to www.BermudaRace.com.
The UK round of the award-winning Extreme Sailing Series™ now in its sixth year will be staged in Cardiff the capital of Wales between the 24-27 August, 2012. In a three-year deal, Cardiff won the bid to host the UK event of this global sailing circuit that is only one of four events with ISAF (International Sailing Federation) Special Event status, positioning the city alongside the other seven premium international sporting venues hosting an Extreme Sailing Series Act in 2012. The host venue agreement with Cardiff City is backed by a Welsh Government grant for 2012-2014.
The Extreme 40 catamarans, raced by many of the world’s best sailors, will race on Cardiff Bay over four days with the event open to the public between the 25-27 August as the Extreme 40 fleet race in the circuit’s action packed ‘stadium’ format.
Executive chairman of the organising company behind the series, Mark Turner of OC ThirdPole, said: “The circuit continues to represent perfectly the developments in the world at large, with its balance of east and west, different cultures and languages and variety of conditions.
“Year on year the commercial value to the host cities of securing this event for the host venues has steadily increased, and this is reflected in 2012 developments. A pro-active and innovative host venue is critical to the success of the event, and we are very excited in this respect by the partnership with Cardiff and the Welsh Government.”
Cardiff Council’s Executive Member for Sport, Culture and Leisure Cllr, Nigel Howells commented: “It’s great news that Cardiff has secured the Extreme Sailing series for the next three years, as a council we will do all that we can to support the event.
“Cardiff has proved time and time again that it can play host to a variety of world class sporting events. From top class football and rugby to newer events like Extreme Sailing. Since the opening of Cardiff International White Water (CIWW) in 2010 more and more watersport events are coming to Cardiff, which is helping to attract a new audience to Cardiff and Wales.”
The 2012 Extreme Sailing Series will be staged at 8 different international venues across three continents, attracting hundreds of thousands of spectators. Alongside other significant media exposure, once again a dedicated TV series will be produced and broadcast on up to 40 channels around the world, including CNBC, Bloomberg, Channel 4 (UK), Sky (UK), Al Jazeera, Fox (Latin America, Australia Middle East), ESPN, Sport+ (France), RAI (Italy).
As we enter the final countdown to the first Act in Oman, the 2012 team line-up will be revealed this coming weekend at the Dusseldorf Boat Show.
2012 Calendar & Host Venues:
Act 1 : Muscat, Oman 28th February-2nd March
Act 2 : Qingdao, China 17th-20th April*
Act 3 : Istanbul, Turkey 7th-10th June
Act 4 : Porto, Portugal 5th-8th July
Act 5: Cardiff, UK 24th-27th August
Act 6 : Trapani, Italy 13th-16th September
Act 7 : Nice, France 18th-21st October
Act 8 : Brazil 29th November-2nd December
Due to official Chinese naval activities in the port of Qingdao, Act 2 will now be staged between 17th-20th April instead of the 19th-22nd April as previously communicated
It came down to the wire in the final double points race to determine the podium places of Act 8 in Almeria. Going into the final race the Swiss team of Alinghi were in a strong position to claim overall victory, only a major faux pas would have prevented what was rightfully theirs after such a strong performance over the last five days and 32 races. In the end, Tanguy Cariou’s team on Alinghi secured victory by one of the biggest points margins of 22 points over Italy’s Luna Rossa in 2nd place: “We are really happy to have at least one win this year,” said Alinghi skipper, Tanguy Cariou. “We tried to manage the risks today, we had good boat speed and good team work. It is great for us to have a win here, I am really happy for Yann and the whole crew. It is really good to show the teams that we can make it.”
However, the fight for second was by the closest of margins with Luna Rossa holding off Ben Ainslie’s Oman Air by just one point: “For me it was my first experience of multihull racing and I have learnt a huge amount, which for me is probably more important to me personally than the end result,” said Ainslie. “To finish on the podium for the second time in three events is a great team effort. It is a very high level of competition and when you look at the people on board the other boats, they are all extremely accomplished sailors. They are fighting for every inch and with the type of racing that we do it ends up being very tight as the races are so short, and invariably you end up with collisions and action creating some exciting racing! It’s been fantastic sailing with the team. Now it’s time for me to get focused on the Olympics.”
Almeria has for the last two years hosted the final of the Extreme Sailing Series championship. This year the Spanish round, attended by an estimated audience just shy of 70,000 spectators, has set the stage for the final in Singapore between the 7th-11th December. And it is Max Sirena’s team who now lead the overall 2011 rankings by just one point: “We now have a month before the boats get to Singapore and to be in the lead for that month is fantastic,” said Luna Rossa helmsman, Britain’s Paul Campbell-James. “It’s good to have the mental advantage of being in the lead going into the final Act.”
Ian Williams’ Team GAC Pindar scored their best ever result of 2011 with a 4th place here in Almeria, stealing it from Groupe Edmond de Rothschild on the final upwind beat in the final race. It was a tough day for the French team on Groupe Edmond de Rothschild who had been in contention for the podium throughout the event. But Pierre Pennec’s team is still in the game for the Extreme Sailing Series ultimate victory – on 68 points for the season with Luna Rossa on 69. Emirates Team New Zealand was given redress after yesterday’s crash and maintained 6th place ahead of double-Act winner The Wave, Muscat. Leigh McMillan’s team were struggling to find their form in the light air Acts. Red Bull Extreme Sailing also had a tough end of regatta – Roman Hagara’s crew still had everything to play for, lying in 8th overall, going into the final race but it was not to be.
The points have never been tighter and the final positions can be harsher looking than the reality of the competition. Whilst the frontrunners held their own private battle for the podium, it allowed others to shine through here on the final day. Alex Schneiter’s debut in the Extreme 40 circuit was rewarded with two race wins today, and they ended Act 8 in a respectable 9th place, four points ahead of Roland Gaebler’s Team Extreme and Alberto Barovier’s Niceforyou team on 135 points, his team enjoying a morale-boosting race win in the penultimate race.
But the applause goes to skipper Tanguy Cariou, helmsman Yann Guichard, trimmer Nils Frei and bowman Yves Detrey for Alinghi’s victory in Almeria – their first win of the season. Luna Rossa is now top the season’s leaderboard and Groupe Edmond de Rothschild will push them to the limit in Singapore. And there will be a very tight fight behind them for third place, with six teams able to fill that podium place for the 2011 season. Singapore will be a great battle!
Extreme Sailing Series Act 8, Almeria, Andalucia (Spain) standings after 32 races (16.10.11)
Position / Team / Points
1st Alinghi (SUI), Tanguy Cariou / Yann Guichard / Nils Frei / Yves Detrey 254 points
2nd Luna Rossa (ITA), Max Sirena / Paul Campbell-James / Alister Richardson / Manuel Modena 233 points
3rd Oman Air (OMA), Ben Ainslie / Kinley Fowler / David Carr / Nasser Al Mashari 232 points
4th Team GAC Pindar (GBR), Ian Williams / Mischa Heemrskerk / Andrew Walsh / Brad Webb 218 points
5th Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA), Pierre Pennec / Christophe Espagnon / Thierry Fouchier / Hervé Cunningham 216 points
6th Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Adam Beashel / Ray Davies / Jeremy Lomas / Derek Seward 213.5 points
7th The Wave, Muscat (OMA), Leigh McMillan / Kyle Langford / Nick Hutton / Khamis Al Anbouri 209points
8th Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT), Roman Hagara / Hans Peter Steinacher / Matt Adams / Craig Monk 202 points
9th Team TILT (SUI), Alex Schneiter / Boet Brinkgreve / Charles Favre / Nicolas Heintz 155 points
10th Team Extreme (EUR), Roland Gaebler / Nahid Gaebler / Antón Paz / Tom Buggy 151 points
11th Niceforyou (ITA), Alberto Barovier / Stefano Rizzi / Daniele De Luca / Simone de Mari 135 points
Extreme Sailing Series 2011
Overall standings after 8 Acts
Position / Team / Points
1st Luna Rossa 69 points
2nd Groupe Edmond de Rothschild 68 points
3rd Emirates Team New Zealand 60 points
4th Alinghi 59 points
5th The Wave, Muscat 57 points
6th Red Bull Extreme Sailing 53 points
7th Artemis Racing 48 points
8th Oman Air 47 points
9th Team GAC Pindar 29 points
10th Niceforyou 18 points
11th Team Extreme 18 points
ISAF World Match Racing Champion, Ian Williams, has helmed Team GAC Pindar to the top of the leaderboard at the halfway stage of Act 8 in Almeria. This is the first time his team has ever led the overall standings in the 2011 Extreme Sailing Series global tour. The third day of the penultimate round in Spain, ahead of the final in Singapore, saw three different teams take the lead throughout the afternoon. Five races were completed today – two in open water and three inside the port of Almeria in stadium mode. Ben Ainslie helming Oman Air went into day 3 leading but nothing seemed to go there way today, and Emirates Team New Zealand pounced with Adam Beashel’s team taking the top spot after the first race held in open water in a reasonable sea breeze. The Kiwis fended their position, despite not scoring a race win and losing a crew overboard in the second race, whilst Alinghi and Groupe Edmond de Rothschild dominated at the front with two wins for the Swiss team and a victory for the French. But always in the background was Team GAC Pindar sailing strongly – a 4th, 5th, then a second, gaining their momentum until they were on equal points with Emirates Team New Zealand at the top. Tanguy Cariou’s team, driven by Yann Guichard, won the second stadium race in light airs and leap-frogged into the lead. Going into the final stadium race of the day, Alinghi and Team GAC Pindar were on 89 points each and further down the leaderboard the points situation could not have been closer with only 1 or 2 points separating the top 8 boats in a tactical game of snakes and ladders throughout the afternoon. The faltering sea breeze seemed to recognize the importance of the final day’s race and revived itself to allow the boats to show a good turn of speed on the short course. The Wave, Muscat and Team Tilt got a flying start ahead of Team GAC Pindar whilst Alinghi got stuck mid-fleet off the start, and that was that. Wiliams’ team was away and never looked back, 3rd place enough to take the lead going into the penultimate day of Act 8 tomorrow: “It was a really good day for us and we finished on the top half of every single race today,” said Williams. “For sure we will be fighting to try to retain the lead. Looking at the points it’s almost like a restart. We were 20 points behind last night and now we are 2 points ahead the second boat. It’s extremely tight, we will going down to the wire!” The weekend crowd is in for a treat as the forecast is showing a significant turning up of the wind speed dial for tomorrow and on Sunday the final battle will be played out to determine who wins in Almeria, and who will lead the 2011 Championship rankings going into the final Act. “Obviously with only two days to go we know by experience that anything can happen,” said Alinghi skipper, Tanguy Cariou. “We’re happy with that position tonight but we know that it will be even harder to keep it than to get it…” He is right about that – the all-French team of Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, the Italians on Luna Rossa, the Kiwis on Emirates Team New Zealand and the Brits on Team GAC Pindar will be fighting them all the way…
Extreme Sailing Series Act 8, Almeria, Andalucia (Spain) standings after 14 races (14.10.11) Position / Team / Points
1st Team GAC Pindar (GBR), Ian Williams / Mischa Heemrskerk / Andrew Walsh / Brad Webb 98 points
2nd Alinghi (SUI), Tanguy Cariou / Yann Guichard / Nils Frei / Yves Detrey 95 points
3rd The Wave, Muscat (OMA), Leigh McMillan / Kyle Langford / Nick Hutton / Khamis Al Anbouri 93 points
4th Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Adam Beashel / Ray Davies / Jeremy Lomas / Derek Seward 90 points
5th Luna Rossa (ITA), Max Sirena / Paul Campbell-James / Alister Richardson / Manuel Modena 88 points
6th Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA), Pierre Pennec / Christophe Espagnon / Thierry Fouchier / Hervé Cunningham 85 points
7th Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT), Roman Hagara / Hans Peter Steinacher / Matt Adams / Craig Monk 84 points
8th Oman Air (OMA), Ben Ainslie / Kinley Fowler / David Carr / Nasser Al Mashari 80 points
9th Team Extreme (EUR), Roland Gaebler / Nahid Gaebler / Antón Paz / Tom Buggy 70 points
10th Team TILT (SUI), Alex Schneiter / Boet Brinkgreve / Charles Favre / Nicolas Heintz 62 points
11th Niceforyou (ITA), Alberto Barovier / Stefano Rizzi / Daniele De Luca / Simone de Mari 59 points
Despite winds gusting into the 30s and a grim sky suggesting the onset of winter, so in the late afternoon the wind dropped below 20 knots and the turning tide flattened out the sea to allow racing to begin on the penultimate day of the Extreme Sailing Series Act 5 at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week. Perhaps the greatest surprise given the damp overcast weather was the huge turn-out of spectators crowding to Egypt Point, and the beach surrounding the Extreme Sailing Series Race Village.
The Extreme 40 crews have been tested to the limit in the breezy conditions that have dominated Act 5, and it has been a case of ‘taming the 40-foot beast’ to the best of their abilities. Asked to compare their Extreme 40s to an animal, the skippers came up with some surprising answers!
By the time racing started later than usual at 1640 BST the wind had dropped to the teens. “It was quite windy, gusting to almost 20 knots so it wasn’t nearly as ‘extreme’ as we have had for the rest of this week: nice and flat water as well which made the tacking and boat handling a little easier, so you didn’t see too many rudders out of the water today, but still a windy day and a hard day to battle a boat around the course,” described Luna Rossa helmsman Paul Campbell-James.
Alinghi helmsman Tanguy Cariou said that in the conditions it was still hard work on board: “It was really physical, really tough for us especially at the end as you had to come in so close to the shore before tacking it was quite difficult, but I think we were quite solid and I think anything could happen tomorrow.”
The 11 Extreme 40s were divided into groups as the conditions on the penultimate day were still on the limit to race the fleet in one group with reefed mainsails but gennakers permitted after the first two races much to the publics delight. With half of the fleet racing at a time, the tactical objective for the crews was to get as far into the shore as possible on the beat to make the best of the favourable eddy off Eygpt Point and definitely out of the 2.5 knot counter current offshore. As Campbell-James put it: “There was one way to do it – to come off the line, hit the beach and push your luck on the rocks. Whoever nailed that strategy was the guy who usually came up in first at the windward mark.”
The most tense moments came on the first beat of each race when the Extreme 40s would get as close as possible into shore and occasionally not get enough room to tack. But despite some hair-raising moments none of the boats went aground.
In fact it was the strong tide that proved the major stumbling block with several crews underestimating the angle of the rope tethering the weather mark. As a result several snagged it on their rudders causing them to pop up, perhaps the most dramatic being when Luna Rossa careered off downwind seeming to gybe twice accidently before they got their Extreme 40 under control.
Campbell-James described it: “We just skimmed the windward mark on the way round and that popped the leeward rudder up. It was pretty dangerous in the big breeze with the one rudder in and one out, so we got to the leeward marks and we stuck it head to wind, did our penalty while putting the rudder back down. It was all a bit of a drama, but we managed it. Alister [Richardson] hurt his back a little bit a bit in the process.”
Team Extreme suffered the same fate in the third race and crewman Benedikt Wenk cut his hand as he attempted to get the rudder back down. Wenk required a couple of stitches and Roland Gaebler’s team had to retire from racing for the day.
Star of today’s competition was ex-Tornado sailor Pierre Pennec and the crew of Groupe Edmond de Rothschild who won three of their four races. Their third race was the tightest of the day with Leigh McMillian at the helm of The Wave, Muscat first to the top mark with the French team on their transom. There were whoops from the crowd ashore as the French crew came close to rolling past their Omani rivals. However, the real coup for the French team came on the second run when The Wave, Muscat crew thought they had crossed the finish line only to find that the race had been extended to finish on the next upwind leg. This wavering allowed the French team to overhaul them and to take their third bullet of their day by a matter of centimetres.
Groupe Edmond de Rothschild skippered by Pierre Pennec tearaway and the bows dig in, spray everywhere © Lloyd Images
Alinghi won their third race of the day and Tanguy Cariou was satisfied with their performance. “Today it was quite good, quite solid team work and good manoeuvres. We fought well against the other opponents.” In contrast it wasn’t such a good day for the Italian team on Luna Rossa who prior to their rudder incident at the top mark had suffered a broken outhaul shortly after the start of the first race.
At the close of play The Wave, Muscat continues to lead with a margin of 10 points on Luna Rossa, Alinghi third with Groupe Edmond de Rothschild fourth, now just six point shy of the podium. But as Paul Campbell-James points out it could inevitably once again come to tomorrow’s double points-scoring final race. “Leigh is in front of us as he had a really good day today, so we’ve just got to put in a solid day tomorrow and see what happens in the double points last race,” said Campbell-James. “Basically it will be man against man with Leigh which I have been doing since I was nine years old!”
The weather forecast for tomorrow is looking good – 11-15 knots and sunshine, which will mean the Extreme 40s can, once again, race as one fleet for the for the final day of Act 5.
Extreme Sailing Series Act 5 at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week
Current overall standings, day 6 (11.8.11)
Position / Team / Skipper & crew / Points
1st The Wave, Muscat (OMA), Leigh McMillan / Kyle Langford / Nick Hutton / Khamis Al Anbouri 138 points
2nd Luna Rossa (ITA), Max Sirena / Paul Campbell-James / Alister Richardson / Manuel Modena 128 points
3rd Alinghi (SUI), Tanguy Cariou / Yann Guichard / Nils Frei / Yves Detrey 117 points
4th Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA), Pierre Pennec / Christophe Espagnon / Thierry Fouchier / Hervé Cunningham 111 points*
5th Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT), Roman Hagara / Hans Peter Steinacher / Will Howden / Luke Cross 104 points
6th Oman Air (OMA), Sidney Gavignet / Kinley Fowler / David Carr / Nasser Al Mashari 101 points
7th Team GAC Pindar (GBR), Ian Williams / Mischa Heemskerk / Andrew Walsh / Jono Macbeth 93 points*
8th Niceforyou (ITA), Alberto Barovier / Stefano Rizzi / Daniele de Luca / Simone de Mari 81 points
9th Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Adam Beashel / Richard Meacham / Andrew McLean / Chris Ward 73 points
10th Aberdeen Asset Management (GBR), John Pink / Rick Peacock / Greg Homann / John Gimson 69 points
11th Team Extreme (EUR), Roland Gaebler / Nahid Gaebler / Benedikt Wenk / Dan Morris 51 points
12th Artemis Racing (SWE), Santiago Lange / Andy Fethers / Michele Ivaldi / Phil Jameson 23 points*