On the eve of the third running of Les Voiles de St. Barth, April 2-7, the palm-fringed port of Gustavia, St.Barthlemy quickly filled with an impressive array of race boats: ocean-racing maxis including the 90-foot Rambler and the Swan 112, Highland Breeze; classic beauties such the Olin Stephen-designed Dorade and the Fife-built yawl Mariella; a trio of IRC 52s, multi-hulls including the 66 Gunboat Phaedo, and two large racing classes with a mix of Melges, J/boats, and a mix of 40-footers, including the hot-off-the-press Carkeek 40, Decision.
Over 60 boats are registered for this years edition, up fromwith a large number of returning entries, proof that the regatta has filled the need for spirited competition towards the end of the winter season a time when tourism typically begins to wind down in the Caribbean. Though that was hard to tell yesterday, at the islands tiny airport, as the steady stream of small commuter planes landing were filled with a duffle bag-wielding collection of sailors from the ranks of the Americas Cup, round-the-world-ocean races, and Olympic competition, that included Gavin Brady (Vesper), Scott Vogel (Rambler), Bouwe Bekking (Nilaya), Cam Lewis (Paradox), Charlie McKee and Ross MacDonald (Mayhem), Tony Rey, Jeff Madrigali, and Nacho Postigo (Powerplay), and Dee Smith (Decision).
But its not just the professionals that flock to Les Voiles de St. Barth, the regattas program and mix of courses also appeals to a competitive group of amateur and family racers that hone their skills on the growing circuit of Caribbean regattas that take advantage of this sailing paradise.
While not the easiest of destinations to reach some U.S. west coast sailors logged 16+ hours in transit, while others from Europe only slightly less the island of St Barths itself is a welcome reward at the end of the road: a turquoise blue, crystal-clear sea, pristine white sand beaches, and an array of fabulous restaurants just payoff for a long days journey.
Francesco Mongelli, navigator onboard Jim Swartz IRC52 Vesper, is here racing in St Barths for the first time. The Italian sailor, who sails primarily in Europe, has been racing with the Vesper crew since last October, and was clearly keen to have touched down in this French paradise, Its a mix of all the best sailing places, together with perfect weather and good food. Having spent the afternoon in a tender carefully checking out the coastline and charted (and uncharted) rock outcroppings, Mongelli added, Its pretty similar to Porto Cervo, the difference is that there you more or less know where everything is, and the charts are accurate. You cannot take the same risk here that wed take in Porto Cervo.
Racing will run from Tuesday, April 3 Saturday, April 7 and will feature a mix of Olympic triangles, short coastal courses, and a 20-30 nautical mile round-the island race. The fleet will be split into seven classes: Maxi (> 21 meters), IRC52 (former TP52s that have been optimized for the IRC rule), Spinnaker I + II, Non-Spinnaker (racer/cruiser), Classic (vintage/traditional), and Multihull. Thursday is a layday at Nikki Beach, with lunch and a full afternoon of activities, including a paddleboard competition.
New this year, Les Voiles will offer real-time race tracking with 2D visualization via the internet. Waypoint-Tracking (www.waypoint-tracking.com) developed the system in close collaboration with ISAF. The site will allow enthusiasts to follow the daily racing action live or to replay at a later time.
Many of the competing boats are moored stern-to at the Quai General de Gaulle, site of the Race Village, where all of the daily breakfast and post-race activities and music take place. This evening, skippers and tacticians were on hand for the Skippers Briefing led by Loic Ponceau, Race Committee Chairman, and organizers Francois Tolede, Luc Poupon, and Annelisa Gee. Following that was Les Voiles St. Barth Opening Ceremony, where Bruno Magras, President of the Collectivit of St. Barth, welcomed more than 500 sailors to the weeklong event.
A regular and enthusiastic competitor in the Caribbean, Sir Peter Harrison was named the godfather or patron of this years Les Voiles. Harrison, owner of the 115-foot Farr-designed Sojana, told the crowd, As a visitor from England to this beautiful French island, one of the most beautiful in the West Indies, Im thrilled to be asked to the patron of Les Voiles. Bon vent Les Voiles de St. Barth, and good luck, everyone!
Also sailing on Sojana is Lionel Pan, who is also back for his third Les Voiles. He said, Obviously there are plenty of good reasons to be here, and to come back every year with the same enthusiasm: this place is made for sailing. In a very short time, Les Voiles de St. Barth has become the place to be, very much like Saint Tropez in the Mediterranean. And the word is spreading around. Shortly there will be a waiting list to be a part of the event!
The weather forecast for the next few days calls for light winds, though the breeze is expected to increase throughout the week. Racing is scheduled to start tomorrow, Tuesday, April 3, two miles northwest of Sugarloaf Rock off Gustavia; one race is scheduled with a start time of 12noon.
When the third annual Les Voiles des St. Barth gets underway this April 2-7, there will be more that meets the eye than the simply stunning panoramic views of the colorful French West Indies island that hosts the event and the expansive blue Caribbean ocean that surrounds it. Competitive sailors and, for that matter, local residents and visitors alike will have the privilege of also indulging in the indelible impressions left by the aesthetically unmatched designs of some of the world’s finest yachts participating as well as the passion of their owners.
Among the 60+ entrants registered to date is what many call the world’s most famous yacht of all time: the 52’ (15.8 metre) yawl Dorade. Purchased in 2010 by Matt Brooks (San Francisco, Calif.), Dorade was designed by the late Olin Stephens and originally launched in 1930. She influenced nearly all developments in yacht design for the next three decades and was hugely successful in distance racing, taking overall victory in the 1931 Transatlantic race and the 1931 and 1933 Fastnet races, among others. Now, Brooks, who has spent the last year overseeing a refit and major restoration of Dorade, is utilizing Les Voiles de St. Barth as a platform for both yacht and crew preparation, with the goal of entering Dorade in her first major modern ocean race this summer: the Newport to Bermuda Race, in which she finished second in both 1930 and 1932.
“We are assembling and training a crew with the right skills, chemistry and experience to race Dorade and win,” said Brooks, who is a world champion in the Six Meter class as well as an accomplished mountain climber and world record-holding jet pilot. “We also are toughening up Dorade herself, readying her for the kind of long-range sailing she hasn’t seen in decades, keeping in mind that while she may be game, she is also an 80-year-old lady.”
Dorade will sail in the Classics division against such other standouts as Kate, an Intel 60 (18.2 metre); Cruinneag III, a 63’ (19.4 metre) ketch, and Marie Des Isles, a Gran Shpountz 65 (20 metre). Among Dorade’s crew will be John Burnham, an IOD World Champion and Shields ClassNational Champion; legendary Bermudian sailor Buddy Rego; Jesse Sweeney, Dorade’s navigator and a member of the Camper Emirates Team New Zealand’s meteorology team for the Volvo Ocean Race; and Jamie Hilton, a two-time 12 Meter World and North American Champion, who also was a member of Brooks’s team when it won the 2011 Six Meter World Cup.
“St. Barth is a legendary destination and a beautiful place to sail, and we are expecting great wind, great camaraderie among the competitors, and a good test of the new and improved Dorade,” said Brooks.
Another remarkable yacht that will be seen in St. Barth is the Hoek 115’ (35.2 metre) Firefly, the recently launched prototype for the new one-design F Class. The superyacht was designed to hold her own against larger (130’/39.7 metre) J Class yachts and sports some similarities such as a towering rig and long bow and stern overhangs to those massive yachts, which were built in the 1930s and have experienced a rebirth.
According to her designers, Firefly is a perfect mix of classic lines and retro-design details, optimizing her for the Spirit of Tradition classes hosted by some regattas, but at Les Voiles de St. Barth she will depend on her high-performance racing characteristics to prevail against eight other yachts thus far signed up in Maxi class (yachts 75’/22.86 metres and longer).
“The concept is to have a beautiful, classic-looking boat with a modern underbody, using the latest technologies in deck gear and rigging solely for use as a racing boat and/or daysailer,” said Mark van Gelderen, who supervised Fireflys nine-month building process and has been the captain since she splashed in June of 2011. Having headed straight to the Med to compete in a handful of maxi events, Firefly was further optimized to improve performance before heading to the Caribbean.
“We have a relatively young crew combined of professional sailors, very good amateurs and friends of the owner,” added van Gelderen, who will be skippering and driving together with the owner. “Within the crew we have Olympic, Volvo Ocean Race, big boat and dinghy experienced sailors a great combination of very motivated guys!”
Van Gelderen also explained that St. Barth will offer a great place for guests and crew to be entertained when not participating in racing. “There are beaches, great restaurants, shopping and peace and tranquility, all within close proximity,” van Gelderen said. “It’s the perfect combination.”
While three other Maxi Class boats — the 112′/34 metre Baltic Nilaya, the 112′/34 metre Swan Highland Breeze, and the 115’/35 metre Farr Sojana — are nicely matched size-wise to Firefly, no one is quite sure how they or five smaller Maxis in the class are going to compare speed-wise. Certainly all eyes will be on the 90′ (27.4 metre) Reichel/Pugh Rambler, which won the inaugural Les Voiles de St. Barth and has been brought out of retirement by its owner George David (Hartford, Conn.) after its successor, Rambler 100 (which won last years Les Voiles de St. Barth with David steering) lost its keel and capsized in the 2011 Fastnet.
“These races invariably start a mile or two off Gustavia (the main harbor and capital of St. Barth), which means in any kind of a northeasterly trade it is a shifty first leg to a weather mark just outside the harbor,” said David, who most recently finished second overall and second in class with Rambler at the 2012 RORC Caribbean 600. “Then there are a couple of miles reaching either way across the south side of the island, so it’s a parade after that first weather mark, and you don’t want to get there second. Our ride last year, Rambler 100, got us there first every time with boat lengths to spare. It wont be so easy in the 90 footer.”
David noted that 15 of Ramblers crew sailing in the Les Voiles de St. Barth were present at the now-famous Fastnet incident, and a majority of them have sailed in the last two runnings of this regatta.
In addition to the Classic and Maxi classes at Les Voiles de St. Barth, there will also be a Racing Class with divisions for Spinnaker, Non-Spinnaker, 52-Footers, and Multihulls. Other notable entries include the Tripp 75 Blackbird, the Carkeek 40 Decision, the X 65 Karuba 5, and the Irens 63 trimaran Paradox.
With a Tuesday (April 3) through Saturday (April 7) schedule that includes four days of intense racing and a lay day on Thursday (April 5), the regatta kicks off on Monday, April 2, with opening ceremonies and cocktails at the festive Race Village on the Quai General de Gaulle overlooking Gustavia Harbor, where the event is headquartered. Lay day events planned for Nikki Beach include lunch and a surprise sporting challenge for all crews. Evening activities include off-site parties as well as post-racing bands and entertainment in the Race Village.
Organizers unveiled the official limited edition Les Voiles de St. Barth 2012 poster by well-known St. Barth artist Antoine Heckly. Only 300 posters will be printed, with the original artwork to be auctioned off during the crew party –hosted by the real estate agency, Sibarth — at Shell Beach on Wednesday, April 4. Proceeds from this auction will be donated to FEMUR (Foundation for Emergency Medical Equipment) to fund the purchase of a CT scanner to be installed in the new Radiation Center in the island’s Hopital de Bruyn.
- 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.
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… 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”.
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.”
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,)
- Official launch of the 2009 iShares Cup staged today in Sèvres – Paris.
- Extreme 40s sailing on the River Seine for the first time ever!
- Ten top teams, legendary skippers, and six premier European venues.
Today in Paris the 2009 iShares Cup Extreme 40 Sailing Series was officially launched with the top line-up of skippers and sailors in attendance alongside Rick Andrews, Head of iShares Marketing Europe at the Parc Nautique de l’île de Monsieur, Sèvres. And for the first time ever the Extreme 40s actually sailed on the River Seine, stopping passers by i n their tracks as the 40-foot catamarans raced by!
Nick Moloney (BT), Mike Golding (Ecover), Yann Guichard (Gitana Extreme – Groupe LCF Rothschild), Franck Cammas (Groupama), Loick Peyron (Oman Sail’s Renaissance), Carolijn Brouwer (Holmatro), Shirley Robertson (iShares), Erik Maris (LUNA), Pete Cumming (Oman Sail’s Masirah) and John Kostecki, representing skipper James Spithill, from BMW ORACLE Racing gave their impressions of the iShares Cup season ahead. Over 150 media and guests gathered at the Parc Nautique de l’île de Monsieur.
Gilles Chiorri, OC Events Director : “It has been great to officially launch the iShares Cup 2009 and we extend thanks to Voiles de Seine and very much appreciate the presence of François Kosciusko-Morizet Mayor of Sèvres, Deputy Mayor of Boulogne Billancourt, Pierre-Christophe Baguet and Jean-Pierre Champion President of the French Sailing Federation (FFV).”
Rick Andrews, Head of iShares Marketing, Europe said, “As the title partner to the iShares Cup, we have had a great two years so far and are looking forward to the third season of the Extreme 40 Series which we are sure will go to another level in terms of sporting competiveness and reaching an even wider audience. It’s a great experience; for our clients to go out racing on the boats is really exceptional experience, the media coverage provides a great return – we even have a 60-foot billboard out racing on the water, so we are very happy. The iShares Cup is about teamwork, strategy and passion – that’s what we believe in at iShares. To lead from the front, promoting cutting edge competition and a global presence – this sport and our business are well-matched.”
The award-winning iShares Cup pan-European series will visit six major European destinations this season in Italy, France, UK, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain between May and October. Each regatta is made of up three days of competition with a media day held on the preceding day of each event. Up to 24 short and adrenalin-pumping races can be staged at each round, each race lasting just 15-20 minutes.
Attending the press conference today at the Parc Nautique de l’île de Monsieur, Sèvres, Francois Kosciukso-Morizet, the Mayor of Sèvres welcomed the skippers and international media, “I’m really glad to welcome the iShares Cup today at this fantastic venue dedicated to sailing in the heart of Paris. It’s a great pleasure to have all these talented sailors and world champions with us today. I wish a great success to all of you for the season.”
Forty sailors across 10 teams are now officially confirmed for the 2009 iShares Cup Extreme 40 Sailing Series. The World’s best sailors, who between them hav e over 50 World Championship titles, 27 America’s Cup participations, 17 Round the World navigations and 14 Olympic campaigns will be aspiring to lift the iShares Cup Overall Trophy at the end of the season in Andalucia.
Also announced today were the final two venues on the 2009 circuit. The iShares Cup at Cowes Week (1-3 August) will host the UK round and Amsterdam, will see the penultimate event when the series returns for the third year to the IJ Haven Canal.
Quotes from the iShares Cup Skippers:
Franck Cammas, Groupama 40:
I first discovered the iShares Cup in Marseille two years ago. I find it amazing straight away. The boats are fast and extreme, the venues are amazing and you can share all that with the public which is just a couple of meters away from the race course. We all have a lot of fun and I’m really glad that Groupama wanted to get involved.
Yann Guichard, Gitana Extreme 40 – Groupe LCF Rothschild:Gitana Team is involved since a very long time with sailing and they participate in almost all the greatest oceanic race with multihulls, big or small. When we proposed the iShares Cup project to the Baron de Rothschild he was really enthusiastic and we just decide to do it and join this amazing event and line up.Loick Peyron, Renaissance (Oman Sail):
I’m really glad to participate in the iShares Cup this season. The format of mixing the sport of sailing and the public is fantastic. The Extreme 40, well, it’s a perfect name for the boat! They are perfect to deliver a close and crazy show to the public.
Nick Moloney, BT:
It’s obviously difficult to pick out the two strongest teams especially from this line-up of skippers we have here today. I have a huge admiration for many sailors especially on the extreme side of the sport. But I guess for me, Loick Peyron and Franck Cammas are the two biggest threats on the circuit this season down to their pure knowledge of racing multihulls.
Pete Cumming, Masirah (Oman Sail):
We’ve spent the last six months training in Oman this winter with our Omani squad from Oman Sail. One of the key objectives of Oman Sail is to reignite the country’s maritime heritage and to inspire Omanis to take up the sport of sailing. We will have some of the Omani squad shadowing us for the 2009 iShares Cup season, taking the 5th man spots when they can as we continue their Extreme 40 training with the aim of having an Omani racing onboard the Extreme 40 full-time next season.
Carolijn Brouwer, Holmatro:
I competed in the circuit in 2007 but not in 2008 as I was competing in the Olympic Tornado class but, for sure, the level has sky-rocketed since I started in the Extreme 40 class.
Shirley Robertson, iShares:
I’m really looking forward to this season. Racing for iShares this season, I have a new crew includ ing Hugh Styles who raced the boat last year and he is really my right-hand man and a veteran Tornado sailor so he is teaching me! The calibre of sailors just gets better and the venues just get smaller – it’s going to be an interesting iShares Cup this year!
Mike Golding, Ecover:
Well, I definitely like a challenge and the iShares Cup will be one, for sure. I’ve watched the circuit grow and there really is not other circuit that exists in our sport like this one with such an eclectic mix of sailors on one race course. It’s the perfect fit for Ecover and it goes to every target market so a great corporate fit. On a personal level, I thought it would be a great thing to do and I get a lot of pleasure sailing with a crew. Really looking forward to the iShares Cup Venice – I think it will be a sensory overload!
John Kostecki, BMW ORACLE Racing:
It’s important to be the best we can be and we’ll be racing against the top field here. It will be the best experience in the short period of time we have [Note to Ed: until the start of the next America's Cup] and we definitely want to win the iShares Cup!
2009 Venues iShares Cup Extreme 40 Sailing Series:
Event 1 – Venice, Italy, 15th to 17th May
Event 2 – Hyères-TPM, France, 3rd to 5th July
Event 3 – Cowes, United Kingdom, 1st to 3rd August
Event 4 – Kiel, Germany, 28th to 30th August
Event 5 – Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 25th to 27th September
Event 6 – Almería, Andalucía, 10th to 12th October
2009 Entries iShares Cup Extreme 40 Sailing Series:
BMW ORACLE Racing (USA) – James Spithill (AUS)
BT – Nick Moloney (AUS)
Ecover (EUR) – Mike Golding (GBR)
Gitana Extreme – Groupe LCF Rothschild (FRA) – Yann Guichard (FRA)
Groupama 40 (FRA) – Franck Cammas (FRA)
Oman Sail’s Renaissance (OMA) – Loïck Peyron (FRA)
Holmatro (NED) – Carolijn Brouwer (NED)
iShares (EUR) – Shirley Robertson (GBR)
LUNA (FRA) – Erik Maris (FRA)
Oman Sail’s Masirah (OMA) – Pete Cumming (GBR)
Follow all the action from the iShares Cup at www.iSharesCup.com