2013 marks the first edition of the Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean, held at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda’s new clubhouse in the sailing paradise of the British Virgin Islands. The event is organized by Rolex, Nautor’s Swan and the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, who have established close ties through organizing the Rolex Swan Cup in Porto Cervo, Sardinia since the early 1980s.
A full fleet of Swan yachts, an alluring playground and four days of intense racing: all hallmarks of the upcoming Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean. Commencing today, Monday 11 March, the event will be held over the next 5 days at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda’s recently launched base on Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands.
Swan yachts ranging from 12.98 metres (42 foot) to 30.20m (100 ft) and representing countries including Belgium, Italy, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States make up the entry list. Competing Swans will be divided into two groups: Class A (Maxi), measuring upwards of 18.29m/60-ft; and, Class B, reserved for yachts measuring less than 18.29m.
Registration took place today, followed by the opening reception on the spectacular terrace of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda. Competition on the water starts tomorrow, Tuesday 12 March, and the round Virgin Gorda race is scheduled for Wednesday 13 March. Ideal sailing conditions are forecast.
A range of Swans will grace the event: from historic Sparkman & Stephens models including Hokusai (FIN), Lianda (BEL) and Swan Lake (USA) through to more modern designs from German Frers including the Swan 90 Freya (USA) which is also taking part and was the 2,000th yacht to be built by Nautor in Finland.
Other Class A entries include Varsovie, the largest competing yacht, the Swan 80 Selene and Stark Raving Mad a Swan 601, whose crew has enjoyed a successful last twelve months. In Class B, the week’s smallest entrant – the Club Swan 42 Arethusa (USA) – is using the waters of the Caribbean to continue preparations for September’s New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup presented by Rolex.
Crews will need to marry sharp tactics and cohesive teamwork to prevail in a fleet renowned for sportsmanship and graceful sailing. The week’s standout performers will be rewarded at the final prizegiving, on Friday 15 March, where the Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean Trophy will be presented.
The eagerly anticipated event marks a continuation of the long-standing relationship between Nautor’s Swan, Rolex and the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, which commenced in 1984 with the first edition of the now biennial Rolex Swan Cup in Porto Cervo, Sardinia.
The second edition of the Rolex Volcano Race concluded in true Caprese style as fifteen international crews toasted a week’s enthralling sailing during the Rolex party and prizegiving at La Canzone del Mare on Friday 25 May. A combination of envious views of Capri’s Faraglioni rock formations and a famous venue once owned by Anglo-Italian singer Gracie Fields, and treasured over the years by glitterati and thespians alike, provided a fitting finale to a magnificent week.
During the ceremony, the crew of Sir Peter Ogden’s Mini Maxi Jethou (GBR) received the week’s most coveted prize – the Rolex Trophy and timepiece – awarded to the overall winner of Leg Two of the 400-nautical mile offshore race which started and finished in Capri and comprised a pulsating journey through the Aeolian Islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea. The fastest boat on the water over Leg Two – Filip Balcaen’s 112-foot Supermaxi Nilaya – was awarded a Rolex timepiece after claiming line honours in a time of one day, two hours and five minutes.
The two celebrating crews have much in common: both are formed by an enthusiastic owner and a group of friends who have sailed together for a number of years, comprising mainly amateurs in addition to handpicked and highly-skilled professional sailors. Their respective paths to victory are the result of hard work and perseverance.
Ogden’s 60-ft Jethou has frequently been the bridesmaid at Rolex yachting events, missing out on the prizes with luck deserting her at key junctures, from crew members falling overboard to split-second defeats. It seems this team of predominantly Corinthian sailors may have finally found the winning formula. Ogden commissioned an upgrade to his Mini Maxi over the winter, drawing on the advice of professional tactician Brad Butterworth. Jethou is now more powerful following a slight lengthening and the development of a new mast and sail plan. While the yacht’s enhanced prowess has rendered her faster and more responsive in light airs, the crew’s obvious bond and unity is an equally key component in this long overdue success.
The bulk of the Jethou crew is made up of Ogden’s friends and family, the professionals onboard playing a key role in helping develop the team’s confidence and skills. America’s Cup legend Butterworth brings a wealth of experience. “I’ve sailed with other famous sailors and he is one of the guys,” reveals Ogden. “He encourages the crew, shouts at them, but they love him. It is great to have someone who really knows what he is doing. He sees things in 3D that nobody else sees.” Ogden also pointed to the contribution of professional navigator Mike Broughton; “he got us round very safely and was excellent on weather predictions.”
The sailing was a riveting affair. Jethou reached consistent speeds of 26 knots around the Aeolian Islands, the crew knee deep in water as the Mini Maxi flew past these ancient geological wonders almost like an aeroplane. At one stage, incredibly, she was ahead of two titans in Nilaya and Claus-Peter Offen’s 100-ft Wally Y3K (GER). Eventually, on the home stretch and as the wind speed picked up, these two larger yachts gained a narrow advantage over Jethou by virtue of their superior waterline length. However, Ogden’s Mini Maxi finished an impressive 41 minutes behind the first boat home, enough to help her triumph on handicap, marking an impressive week which saw the crew claim the windward/leeward race in Gaeta and second place overall in Leg One of the offshore race, which ran 100-nm from Gaeta to Capri. In the combined scoring for the three events of the week, Jethou also came out on top. An emphatic winner.
For Ogden victory crowned a memorable week, which he concluded by celebrating his 65th birthday: “It is not a professional crew. I sail for sixty days a year, and they can’t all commit to this, so we have a roster and rotate, although they’ve all been with me a long time.” According to Broughton, who steps down as navigator for the forthcoming Giraglia Rolex Cup: “They are a great bunch to sail with, there’s lots of banter and they’re very happy as we’ve now won our last two races.” With her recent success, Jethou has thrown down the gauntlet to her Maxi rivals ahead of a competitive summer.
Sir Peter Ogden, owner Jethou
Terrific team spirit
Onboard the largest, heaviest and arguably most complicated yacht – the 112-ft Nilaya – the workings of the 16-man team are down to a tee. Cajoled by Volvo Ocean Race veteran Bouwe Bekking, who calls the shots and acts as the team’s commander-in-chief, the crew of predominantly Belgian and Dutch sailors are on an upward learning curve.
Owner Filip Balcaen is proud of the progress his largely amateur crew of friends have made over the past 15 years, having started out with little or no sailing experience. “Everything we have learnt and do today comes from the professional sailors,” admits Balcaen. The crew now almost function on autopilot. “A good crew should not talk a lot when something is happening as it is used to working together and in the case of an unexpected event should know what to do. This is the advantage we have of sailing a long time.”
Balcaen and Bekking’s relationship began back in 2003 during a successful Swan European regatta in Cowes. Ever since, Bekking has been the sounding board and inspiration for the crew, which includes four other professional sailors, all Volvo Ocean Race veterans. “The crew has progressed from a 56-ft yacht to an 80-ft yacht, and now this 112-ft yacht, and we know how to communicate,” adds Bekking. “Furthermore, it is a different relationship than that often found on other boats; we call each other up in between races and talk about a lot of things aside from sailing. We have a lot of respect for each other. If people make a mistake, we speak about it calmly and nine out of ten times it doesn’t happen again. It is about giving everyone self-confidence.”
The crew’s approach to sailing Nilaya has been marked by a gradual evolution and a lack of fear at sailing such a large yacht. Bekking concludes: “A lot of people are impressed by size but the good thing about these guys is that they still approach their sailing as if on a small boat – that way they get the most fun out of it.” In a thrilling tussle during Leg Two of the offshore race, Nilaya pulled clear of Y3K and Jethou to claim a hard-fought and deserved line honours title. The entire crew stayed awake for the 26-hour journey, tired eyes and warm smiles greeted the sunset finish in Capri. Enjoyment clearly breeds success. And vice versa.
* A dedicated feature story provides further details about how the team onboard Nilaya operates.
Boat Sail No.
Sir Peter Ogden GBR 74 1
Claus-Peter Offen GER 6060 3 3.00 4 6.00 3 6.00 15.00 2
Marco Rodolfi ITA 18989 4
Filip Balcaen GBR 112 8
Alex Shaerer USA 60666 9
Vladimir Liubonirov RUS 2460 2
TWIN SOUL 6
Luciano Gandini ITA 19951 6
Escuela Mediterranea de Vela ESP 9933
Giuseppe Puttini ITA 13993 12
Michele Galli ITA 88888 10
Loïck Peyron continued to demonstrate the form he has shown all week, leading his Energy Team to a spectacular win on the final day of America’s Cup World Series racing in Venice. Peyron and his French crew have been perched atop the leaderboard all four days this week, demonstrating an impressive command of the Grand Canal race area.
“I think the lighter conditions were good for us,” Peyron, the veteran multihull sailor, said. “I’m used to this kind of tricky game, trying to be as cool as possible. The pressure was in the red zone, but it made for an exciting race for sure. This was a big victory for us. We are a small team, and hopefully this is just the beginning.”
Winds were exceptionally light on Sunday, turning the San Marco race course into perhaps the most challenging one the teams have faced in the World Series to date. The smallest puffs of wind were rewarded with dramatic bursts of speed, leading to teams quickly moving up and down the race leaderboard on the first lap of the course, the positions changing from minute to minute.
Early in the race, on the first long downwind leg, Peyron proved to be the best at finding a clear lane and escaped clear ahead of the fleet, with ORACLE TEAM USA Spithill following suit a few moments later.
While the French built what seemed to be an insurmountable lead, Spithill kept the pressure on, closing the gap right down to the point where the result wasn’t secure until the final gybe on the finishing line. As the horn sounded to signal victory, Peyron collapsed on the trampoline of his boat in dramatic relief, while his crew celebrated around him.
In contrast to the leaders, the bulk of the fleet had trouble separating themselves and at one point became trapped in a very slow pile-up at one of the turning marks, with too many boats trying to squeeze between the mark and the nearby shoreline at the same time.
Terry Hutchinson’s Artemis Racing popped out of that incident in third place, with Emirates Team New Zealand chasing them around the race course – even closing enough to incur a penalty for a slow motion collision – before Artemis regained the advantage to lead the Kiwis across the line.
Meanwhile the rest of the fleet was too far back to finish within the time limit and were scored as ‘did not finish’, earning no points on the day.
Earlier in the afternoon, and for the second consecutive event, Artemis Racing defeated Chris Draper’s Luna Rossa-Piranha to win the Match Racing Championship. In the light, shifty, and tricky conditions, Hutchinson and his crew won the start and protected a narrow lead early before stretching away in the middle of the race for a hard-earned victory.
“We’ve had a good result in Naples and now here, in quite different conditions,” Hutchinson said. “The nice thing about the match racing at these regattas is we’ve executed on our game plan. We’re starting to feel with the training in the boat that it’s paying off for us.”
The results in Venice see ORACLE TEAM USA Spithill gain some breathing room on the overall AC World Series leaderboard over Emirates Team New Zealand. The Kiwis will also now be looking over their shoulders, with Artemis Racing closing in as well, nine points further back.
“We came here with a one-point lead over Emirates Team New Zealand. We’re leaving with a four-point lead,” said Spithill as he looked ahead to Newport. “That’s the important thing. I’m happy with how the team did. Obviously we’ve got a lot to work on but there’s no question we’ll be ready for Newport.”
The final event of the 2011-12 AC World Series will take place next month in Newport, Rhode Island from June 26 through July 1, 2012. At the conclusion of racing in Newport, the 2011-12 AC World Series champion will be crowned.
2011-12 AC World Series Overall Championship Leaderboard (after five of six events)
1. ORACLE TEAM USA Spithill…84 points
2. Emirates Team New Zealand…80 points
3. Artemis Racing…71 points
4. Energy Team…65 points
5. Team Korea…56 points
6. ORACLE TEAM USA Bundock…53 points
7. Luna Rossa Piranha…34 points
8. China Team…31 points
9. Luna Rossa Swordfish…21 points
AC World Series Venice Fleet Racing Championship – Final Leaderboard
1. Energy Team…74 points
2. ORACLE TEAM USA Spithill…58 points
3. Emirates Team New Zealand…54 points
4. Artemis Racing…52 points
5. Luna Rossa Piranha…43 points
6. Luna Rossa Swordfish…43 points
7. Team Korea…37 points
8. ORACLE TEAM USA Bundock…22 points
9. China Team…18 points
AC World Series Venice Match Racing Championship
Final Match: Artemis Racing defeated Luna Rossa – Piranha; 1-0
1. Artemis Racing
2. Luna Rossa Piranha
3. ORACLE TEAM USA Spithill
4. Energy Team
5. Emirates Team New Zealand
6. Team Korea
7. Luna Rossa Swordfish
8. ORACLE TEAM USA Bundock
9. China Team
*The losers of the Semi Final and Quarter Final matches have been assigned final finishing positions (3rd through 9th) in the Match Racing Championship as per the Sailing Instructions.
Sir Peter Ogden’s 60-ft Mini Maxi Jethou (GBR) won today’s windward/leeward race at the 2012 Rolex Volcano Race, held in Gaeta, Italy. Fourteen of the 19 entered Maxi yachts contested the race which marked the first segment of this year’s event.
Jethou triumphed on handicap having finished second on the water to Claus-Peter Offen’s 100-ft Y3K (GER), who attacked the 8.8-nautical mile course in a time of one hour, five minutes and 39 seconds. Ian Budgen, longstanding part of the Jethou afterguard, was delighted at winning a highly competitive race, commenting: “It was lovely out there, nice and warm. We had 9-13 knots of breeze, so great sailing conditions. Over the last six months a lot of changes have been made to the boat and on a light air day like today the modifications make a big difference.”
Whilst Jethou will take confidence from today’s victory, the hard work begins tomorrow with the first leg of the 400-nautical mile offshore race, commencing at 15:00 CEST. Running from Gaeta to Capri, the initial 100-nautical mile leg serves as an enticing appetiser to the more significant 300-nautical mile Leg Two, starting from Capri on Tuesday 22 May and comprising a voyage around the UNESCO-protected Aeolian Islands, geological wonders in the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Today’s skipper’s briefing held at the Club Nautico Gaeta, attended by noted tacticians including Jethou’s Brad Butterworth, Berenice Bis’s (ITA) Tiziano Nava and Tommaso Chieffi of the sole Russian entry Bronenosec, provided the international crews with the latest information regarding the conditions forecast for the offshore race.
Official race meteorologist Filippo Petrucci predicts relatively rough conditions as the week develops, revealing: “Sunday evening will be characterised by a low pressure system which will arrive over the central western part of the Mediterranean so we expect rain and unsettling conditions for the conclusion of Leg One on Monday.”
Petrucci continued: “Regarding the outlook for the rest of the week the low pressure system will continue into Tuesday, with mostly cloudy skies and a risk of isolated thunderstorms bringing changeable winds. This may lead to very strong offshore winds between Tuesday and Wednesday of 25-30 knots with even stronger gusts.” In short, and compared to last year’s feeble conditions, the crews should be braced for a relatively quick dash around the majestic islands.
Boat Race 1
Builder Sail No. Pl Pts Total Place
Sir Peter Ogden GBR 74 1 1.00 1.00 1
Vladimir Liubonirov RUS 2460 2 2.00 2.00 2
Claus-Peter Offen GER 6060 3 3.00 3.00 3
Marco Rodolfi ITA 18989 4 4.00 4.00 4
Marton Jozsa HUN 7002 5 5.00 5.00 5
TWIN SOUL 6
Luciano Gandini ITA 19951 6 6.00 6.00 6
Gerard Logel FRA 60101 7 7.00 7.00 7
Filip Balcaen GBR 112 8 8.00 8.00 8
Alex Shaerer USA 60666 9 9.00 9.00 9
Michele Galli ITA 88888 10 10.00 10.00 10
Escuela Mediterranea de Vela ESP 9933 11 11.00 11.00 11
Giuseppe Puttini ITA 13993 12 12.00 12.00 12
Aegyd Pengg AUT 1876 13 13.00 13.00 13
Giulio Simeone ITA 16719 14 14.00 14.00 14
Antonio Mesa Cervigon POR 7070 DNC 20.00 20.00 15
GOOD JOB GUYS
Enrico Gorziglia ITA 18000 DNC 20.00 20.00 15
Edoardo Lanzavecchia ESP 8182 DNC 20.00 20.00 15
Peter Lerbrandt DEN 1 DNC 20.00 20.00 15
Mario Beomonte ITA 38510 DNC 20.00 20.00 15
ORACLE TEAM USA SPITHILL heads into Thursday’s start of the ACWS – Venice looking to extend its overall lead at the penultimate event of the 2011-12 ACWS season.
ORACLE TEAM USA SPITHILL leads the overall standings by 1 point after placing second last month in Naples. That helped skipper Jimmy Spithill and his four-man crew leap Emirates Team New Zealand into the top spot. Teams have been accumulating points in the two formats since the first regatta last August in Portugal.
Venice figures to be more than just a change of scenery. The 14th century Gothic architecture of the historic city will provide a photogenic backdrop for the speedy AC45 wingsail catamarans, and a tight racecourse will keep crews jumping more than normal on the athletic cats.
“I think it’s going to be a fantastic event from an iconic picture – racing in the canals of Venice is gonna be cool,” said Spithill, who at 30 years of age in 2010 became the youngest skipper to ever win the America’s Cup.
At today’s opening press conference Spithill recognized Italian soccer
star Gianluigi “Gigi” Buffon by wearing a jersey of the Italian national
team. Buffon was goalkeeper for Italy when it won the World Cup in 2006 and also stars for Serie A club Juventus F.C. Spithill and Buffon traded jerseys yesterday after Buffon sailed on the canals with ORACLE TEAM USA.
“Gigi is a legend,” Spithill said. “He sailed with us yesterday. It’s great to be able to show athletes from other codes how athletic our sport is. These guys are blown away by what they see.”
ORACLE TEAM USA BUNDOCK holds fifth in the overall standings,
20 points behind Spithill and crew. Skipper Darren Bundock will welcome a new tactician to his crew: Russell Coutts, the team CEO and four-time America’s Cup winner. Coutts steps in for Tom Slingsby, who is taking time to focus on his Laser campaign for the London Olympics.
“Russell is a true legend in the America’s Cup and a great addition to our boat tactically. Russell has been thrown in at the deep end. He’s up front, pulling ropes and seeing how physical he’s made these boats! How often do you get to boss the boss around? Normally he’s used to be being at the back of the boat giving orders. Now he’s at the front coping with them.”
Racing in Venice will be a mixture of fleet and match racing. The final fleet race on Sunday, May 20, will award more points than the first six races – 30 points for first as opposed to 10 points – which should afford many in the fleet an opportunity to shake-up the standings.
“Most of the teams in Naples put in a lot of practice time. We’re seeing a bit of equalization going on where anyone can win a race,” said Team USA Spithill tactician John Kostecki. “It’s becoming tougher to get an advantage and be at the very top. That’s a good evolution and I’m sure we’ll see more of that to come in Venice.”
“I think the racecourse could be really tricky,” Spithill said. “The racing will be inshore, flat water, narrow lanes…the boundary will be the shoreline. That’ll be great for the spectators and I think we’ll see a lot of people.”
ACWS – Venice is the fifth of six stops on the inaugural America’s Cup World Series. The final event is scheduled for Newport, R.I., home to the Cup for 25 years, in late June.
2011-12 America’s Cup World Series Overall Standings
Team (Country) Match – Fleet — Total
1. ORACLE TEAM USA SPITHILL (USA) 30 – 37 — 67
2. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) 30 – 36 — 66
3. Artemis Racing (SWE) 33 – 21 — 54
4. Energy Team (FRA) 25 – 23 — 48
5. ORACLE TEAM USA BUNDOCK (USA) 26 – 21 — 47
5. Team Korea (KOR) 25 – 22 — 47
7. China Team (CHN) 11 – 13 — 24
8. Green Comm Racing (ESP) 11 – 12 — 23
9. Luna Rossa Piranha 9 – 10 — 19
10. Luna Rossa Swordfish 7 – 5 — 12
(After four of six scheduled events)
The America’s Cup World Series has moved north. After the excitement of Naples, the next stop is Venice and this past week has seen the build out of the AC Village and team bases, as well as the first test sailing by one of the teams.
Within a week of the ship containing all of the AC World Series ‘materiel’ arriving in Venice, team bases were sprouting up, the AC Village in the Arsenale was taking shape, the television compound on Lido Island was being erected and the Italian team, Luna Rossa Challenge, had gone for its first sail with both crews.
With just one World Series regatta under its belt in Naples, Luna Rossa is out of contention for the 2011-12 AC World Series title. But that hasn’t made the team any less keen to be at the top of its game performing on home waters. It’s ‘Piranha’ crew, led by Chris Draper, won the Fleet Racing Championship in Naples – a sparkling debut. Now the team is hoping these early practice sessions will pay dividends in Venice.
At the top of the overall leaderboard, ORACLE Racing’s James Sptihill holds the slimmest of leads – one point – over Dean Barker’s Emirates Team New Zealand. Artemis Racing, with an impressive Match Racing win in Naples, has closed the gap in third place.
So it’s all to play for when the Championship Racing starts in Venice on May 17, in the penultimate event in the opening circuit. The 2011-12 AC World Series will then conclude in Newport, Rhode Island, home of the Cup from 1930 to 1987, at the end of June. And preparations are already ramping up there. It’s going to be an exciting few weeks in the 34th America’s Cup.
AC World Series crews have the opportunity to compete for €50,000 in prize money in the City of Venice Trophy on May 12-13. The invitational regatta, organized and announced today by the yacht club Venice Compagnia della Vela, marks the opening of a nine-day celebration of the America’s Cup World Series in the historic Italian city.
With €50,000 at stake, the City of Venice Trophy becomes an important prologue to the AC World Series championship. The new, two-day event consists of five, 30-minute fleet races, to be sailed on a course just outside Lido Island.
But the highlight will be Sunday’s long fleet race, which starts outside Lido Island and finishes just off St. Marks Square. The first team to finish at St. Marks Square will receive the City of Venice Trophy presented by Arzanà Navi as well as a cash prize of €30,000. The remaining €20,000 in prize money is distributed to the top three crews from the five 30-minute fleet races.
The results of City of Venice Trophy will not count towards the overall AC World Series rankings, but the generous prize money is sure to stoke competitive fires among the teams.
“This is a great opportunity for us to get in some meaningful racing against the other teams,” said Luna Rossa Challenge skipper Max Sirena. “We were always planning on sailing as early as possible in Venice, and now the City of Venice Trophy represents a great opportunity to participate in an additional very exciting and spectacular race.”
“The debut of the AC45s racing in Venice will certainly be very interesting,” said Mayor Giorgio Orsoni. “To have the teams competing for a trophy that bears the name of the city adds prestige to an already important event. Special thanks for this must go to Arzanà Navi, which has chosen to support us.
“This two-day regatta, with the grand finale a unique point to point race from Lido to St. Marks Square, is a first step towards seeing Compagnia della Vela as a host for high level sailing. This is a beautiful way to begin this nine day event, which we hope will be memorable, both for Venetians and for those who want to discover a new face of Venice – one linked to its traditions and the sea, but also to technology and a lesser known part of the city, the Arsenale, where the catamarans berth after racing for the City of Venice Trophy.”
The weekend of May 12-13 also marks the opening of the public event village for the full nine-day festival, highlighted by the championship races of the America’s Cup World Series Venice.
Championship Racing in the AC World Series Venice runs from May 17-20 and here, every race matters. Venice is the penultimate event in the 2011-12 World Series and James Spithill’s ORACLE Racing crew holds the overall lead by just one point over Dean Barker’s Emirates Team New Zealand.
Nine crews from seven countries are competing in the AC World Series in Venice, including: Artemis Racing (Sweden), skipper Terry Hutchinson; China Team (China), skipper Fred Le Peutrec; Emirates Team New Zealand (New Zealand), skipper Dean Barker; Energy Team (France), helmsman Loïck Peyron; Luna Rossa Challenge (Italy), with two boats, helmsmen Chris Draper and Paul Campbell-James; ORACLE Racing (USA) with two boats, skippers James Spithill and Darren Bundock; and Team Korea (Korea) with skipper Nathan Outteridge.
Fresh from record crowds and success in Naples, Italy, the America’s Cup World Series heads to Venice, Italy, for the penultimate regatta in the inaugural AC World Series. Racing takes place from May 15 to 20 and is part of a festival of sailing over nine days from May 12 to 20. The race course is one of the narrowest and most challenging in competitive sailing.
Having just won their first regatta in front of home country fans, first-time competitor Luna Rossa Challenge (Italy) anticipates tough competition in Venice. “Naples showed us that any of the teams can win on any given day,” said Luna Rossa’s skipper Max Sirena. “The racing is so close that you can’t afford to be off the pace for even one race or you will fall down the leader-board. Venice will be exceptionally tight putting a premium on boat-handling.”
More than 500,000 fans turned out during the week’s racing in Naples to watch the regatta. 70 hours of live coverage was broadcast globally, while over 350 media were accredited on site to cover the event, resulting in coverage in more than 850 media outlets.
Although Luna Rossa Challenge won the fleet racing competition, and Artemis Racing prevailed in the match racing in Naples, ORACLE Racing Spithill is now the AC World Series overall point leader overtaking Emirates Team New Zealand by just 1 point.
Venice will produce the narrowest race course yet at any AC World Series venue, and the backdrop to the racing will be the entrance to the Grand Canal, the Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s Square.
“The magnificent waterways of Venice and its stunning Grand Canal will provide an exceptional arena for the AC45s,” said Regatta Director Iain Murray. “The mix of courses and the tricky winds will provide more challenging racing than ever.”
Event preparations are well underway in what will be a spectacular venue. “Venice has a great maritime heritage and we look forward to welcoming the world’s best sailors to our waters,” said Venice Mayor Giorgio Orsoni.
The racing area includes spectator access along numerous points on the waterfront, including the team bases in the Venetian Arsenal. Dating back to the 1100s, Arsenale di Venezia was originally a shipyard and naval depot, providing a uniquely historic home base for the world’s top sailors throughout the event.
The innovative regatta format includes a mix of speed trials, head-to-head match racing, and all-out fleet racing with identical AC45s on the line. The forerunner to the next generation of America’s Cup boats, the AC45 wing-sailed catamaran is the official boat of the AC World Series. While capable of closing speeds more than 35 mph, the AC45 remains nimble enough to handle the tight, tactical race course.
Racing Program and Schedule
The ACWS Venice Race Village opens to the public on Saturday May 12. The City of Venice will host an invitational event “the City of Venice Regatta” over the opening weekend. America’s Cup teams are invited to compete, but the results will not count toward the ACWS Venice scoring.
America’s Cup World Series racing begins on Tuesday, May 15, and runs through Sunday, May 20.
Racing will be held from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. alternatively on two courses: one in the open sea, in front of San Nicolo del Lido (the Lido Race Course), and one in the lagoon (the San Marco Race Course), between the island of Lido, the basin San Marco and Punta della Dogana.
The event will feature nine boats from seven countries, including: Artemis Racing (Sweden), skipper Terry Hutchinson; China Team (China), skipper Fred Le Peutrec; Emirates Team New Zealand (New Zealand), skipper Dean Barker; Energy Team (France), helmsman Loïck Peyron; Luna Rossa Challenge (Italy), with two boats, helmsmen Chris Draper and Paul Campbell-James; ORACLE Racing (USA) with two boats, skippers James Spithill and Darren Bundock; and Team Korea (Korea) with skipper Nathan Outteridge.
One lone sailboat with a mix of curves and fluid lettering against hard concrete and sharp angles of the New York City skyline. Like the her sister automobiles she commands attention of the North Cove passerbys and probably more than one armchair sailor gazing down from the multitude of windows sitting just above her mast.
She looks hot on this chilly damp spring day. Having lost weight since her last big apple showing. A couple thousand pounds of weight says Brad Van Liew. Extra weight, needless weight, weight that did nothing but slow her down from her purpose. She was given a tuck before Giovanni Soldini, skipper and Italian sailing legend set out to break new records. Souped up and ready to rumble. She is souped up in her nether regions as well.
Maserati has been outfitted with a lighter and deeper keel to further reduce weight and give her team the best possible odds at breaking the ever harder to break monohull sailing records. Having already set the bar for the Cadiz-San Salvado record for future attempts she is now in New York awaiting a chance at the 24 hour record and the North Atlantic record from New York to Lizard off the United Kingdom.
Maserati will challege the north atlantic record between New York and Cape Lizard (UK) a route of 2925 nautical miles passing south of the Terranova Island.
The record that Maserati must break is currently held by Robert Miller who, back in 2003, sailed the route in 6 days, 17 hours, 52 minutes, 39 seconds on board of the monohull Mary Cha IV (with an average speed of 18,5 knots).
Giovanni Soldini and his team of truly seasoned veterans of the ocean racing circuit have a difficult but not unsurmountable task ahead of them. Catch the most favorable system and hope they can ride it across the atlantic at breakneck speeds, that would leave most with shaky knees and a queasy stomach, for a few thousand miles.
Now add the fact that you know you can’t slow down. This boat has to be pushed right up to her top end and held there. Hovering on the brink….. . All for the glory that is saying you are the one team that at that moment in time and forever to be known as the fastest, above all others on the earth. A heady endeavour.
Backing for this challenge is provided by Maserati, the main partner in the endeavour, which gives its name to the boat. It is flanked by the Swiss bank BSI (Generali Group), and by Generali, which are co-sponsors.
The maserati crew includes German Boris Herrmann (navigator), American Brad Van Liew (watch leader) and Spaniard David Vera (watch leader) and four Italians: Gabriele Olivo (trimmer), Guido Broggi (boat captain), Gerardo Siciliano (second bowman), and Corrado Rossignoli (first bowman).
Brad Van Liew is the first American to ever officially finish three races around the globe and the first person worldwide to win the race twice sweeping all legs of the event. Palmares: Third Place in the Around Alone Race in 1998-99, Winner in the Around Alone Race in 2002-03, Winner in the Velux 5 Oceans in 2010-11.
As a warm up the Maserati sailing team will set their sights on the 24 hour speed record. A record is currently held by the VOR 70 Ericsson 4 for monohulls. Between October 28 and October 29 2008, during the first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race, Brasilian sailor Torben Grael and a crew of ten people on board of Ericsson 4 sailed 596,6 miles in 24 hours at an average speed of 24,85 knots.
Giovanni Soldini and the Maserati team’s progress can be followed at Maserati Sailing.