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.
In breathtaking style the giant A100 Trimaran ‘Majan’ shot across the Capes Race just off Table Bay harbour’s breakwater at exactly midday (12:00 Local time) today to track a course down south to the treacherous seas of the Southern Ocean for her next stop in Fremantle, Australia.start line of the third leg of the 5
With skipper Paul Standbridge, one of the world’s top sailors and the former manager of noon day gun from Cape Town’s landmark Signal Hill, the magnificent speed machine, which has utterly captivated Capetonians during her brief stay in the city, quickly built pace of over 23 knots in a brisk 14 knot south westerly breeze and dark rain threatening skies.’s America’s Cup Team Shosholoza, at the helm, and the start perfectly timed to coincide with the daily firing of the
On the crew is world famous French round the world sailor Sidney Gavignet,crack French America’s Cup sailor Thierry Douillard, former Team Shosholoza sailor Michael Giles from Port Elizabeth, Omani sailor Mohsin Al Busaidi who became the first Arab to sail non-stop around the world last year, Mohammed Al Ghailani a young Omani trainee sailorand Olympic sailor Mark Covell who is the media crew on board.
Earlier the crew of Majan were given a rousing dockside farewell from family, newly made local friends and young sailors from the Izivunguvungu Foundation for Youth in Simonstown who were thrilled to tour the yacht and meet the crew just minutes before they cast off.
Cape Town is a designated as the first stopover for the race which is planned in 2012. Conceived by OC Events and campaigned by Oman Sail, the Indian Ocean 5 Capes Race will be the first ever yacht race to link the Middle East, Africa, Australia and Asia and the first ever race of its kind in the Indian Ocean.
It will feature “city start lines” in Muscat, Cape Town, Fremantle (Australia) and Singapore and five “Cape” finish lines – Cape Ras Al Hadd off Oman, southernmost point of Mainland Asia, just west of Singapore and Cape Comorin on the southern tip of India. This next leg to Fremantle which will involve racing across the frozen and treacherous Southern Ocean will be one of the most exhilarating and dangerous of the course, before reaching the warmth of Cape Leeuwin and Australia’s west coast., the most southerly point of Africa, on South West Australia, Cape Piai, the
For sailors, the Southern Ocean is the vague term for the Southern Seas and the underworld where no land separates the oceans.
Below 40 degrees of latitude, a series of low pressure systems continuously ‘roar’ and move towards the east without being blocked by any land mass. Down there, the crew of Majan will find themselves in the Grey World – one of the most remote and dangerous parts of the planet.
Writing on his blog while at sea soon after the start Mohsin Al Busaidi said: “As we waved goodbye to the new friends we made in Cape Town, it was time to mentally prepare ourselves for the toughest leg yet to Fremantle, Australia. It’s an overcast, warm day. The wind is light, around 8 knots. We’re heading south out of Table Bay. The mood onboard is a mixture of excitement to be back on Majan and anticipation about entering the Southern Ocean – we have a great team and a great boat, it’s going to be an amazing adventure.”
The A100 trimaran ‘Majan’left Muscat, Oman, last month on 6th February and stopped briefly in the Maldives while en route to Cape Town to traces out this new course via 5 great Capes. She crossed the proposed new race finish line at Cape Agulhas – the second cape on the course – at 16:02:57 GMT, 13 days, 6 hours and 57 seconds after leaving the Maldives.
One of the best things about the Indian Ocean 5 Capes Race route is that each individual leg provides its own unique challenges whether it be extreme temperatures, strong currents or gale force winds.
Either way you can guarantee that Musandam and the crew on board are going to tackle these challenges head on and with a bit of old fashioned grit and determination and come out the other side as better people and sailors for it. The first leg from Muscat to the Maldives certainly did this. With an unpleasant first night at sea to the unpredictable high pressure dominating the northern stretches of the Indian Ocean we certainly had our fair share of varying challenges. “The first challenge for me was allowing my mind and body to adapt the routine at sea”, Haitham tells me, “Once I had got used to the three hours sleeping followed by three hours on deck it became a lot smoother for me”.
For Haitham and Nawaf this is all new to them. Six months ago they both knew very little about the sailing world and as their team mate I can vouch for the excellent way they are improving and learning new things about maintaining and sailing of these powerful trimarans. Upon arrival to the Maldives, Musandam was met by an armada of support boats waving and shouting their support as the crossed the finish line off the island of Male. “Seeing all the boats welcome us here all waving the Omani flag was overwhelming and it struck home how significant our role is”. It is clear chatting with Haitham and Nawaf that the tone in their voice is one of excitement and its evident that they are thriving in the ambassadorial role that they are playing.
Since arriving in the Maldives the past few days have been spent preparing and restocking Musandam whilst also allowing some time for some rest before the next leg. Although we would all love to stay in this beautiful place, we are all itching to get back out on the water and take on the challenges that they next leg will throw at us. Next stop….Cape Town!
Blog entry by Nick Houchin aboard Musandam
VELUX 5 OCEANS’ The Ultimate Solo Challenge
The VELUX 5 OCEANS is the oldest single-handed round the world yacht race. Run every 4 years since 1982, the race is the longest and toughest event for any individual in any sport. The VELUX 5 OCEANS is a series of five high-pressure ocean sprints within a marathon circumnavigation. In the course of the 30,000 mile race, the skippers cross five oceans alone.
Only nine months remain until the start of the VELUX 5 OCEANS and the various pieces of the jigsaw continue to come together. All the ingredients are being put in place for the eighth edition of the classic singlehanded round the world race, which should create one of the most successful events in the prestigious twenty eight year history of The Ultimate Solo Challenge. To date, Clipper Ventures, in close partnership with title sponsor VELUX, have announced a number of positive and innovative key elements of the race:
•5 ocean sprints within a 30,000 marathon around the planet, departing La Rochelle (France) on October 17th 2010 and bringing solo offshore racing directly to audiences in Cape Town (South Africa), Wellington (New Zealand), Salvador (Brazil) and Charleston (USA), before returning to La Rochelle in May 2011
•The start dates for each ocean sprint will be announced in the coming weeks, with world class services provided to skippers in each port
•The race prizegiving in La Rochelle will take place on June 6th 2011
•Nine confirmed international entries from seven different countries in the promising Eco 60 Class, with four already announced from Canada, USA, Belgium and Poland, and with more entries to come soon
•The Eco 60 Class is an exciting new class in the Open 60 range for boats built before 2003 to open the race to adventurers without big budgets and embracing sustainability
•Strong interest in the Open 60 Class, which remains open to all skippers with Open 60s built after January 2003
•€500,000 prizemoney for skippers, to be split across the fleets and 5 ocean sprints, including awards for media work, seamanship and sustainability actions
•€21,000 investment per team in accommodation for the stopovers around the world
•€15,000 minimum per team to be invested in onboard communications and logistics, with details to be announced in the coming months
•€2.6 million to be invested in media activities for skippers, including audio-visual production and distribution, photography, cutting edge digital activation and press relations in key territories around the world, with a target to deliver in excess of €80 million of media value for teams and partners
•The launch of TAKING ON THE ELEMENTS, the race sustainability agenda which will see stakeholders (organisers, partners, ports and skippers) making a commitment to promote sustainable living through the race platform (communication, race village, Eco 60 Class)
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Chairman of Clipper Ventures and the VELUX 5 OCEANS, concluded, “Our vision for the VELUX 5 OCEANS is to offer the most challenging single handed ocean racing format. The VELUX 5 OCEANS in 2010 aims to support new talent, encourage global participation and bring ocean racing to large audiences around the world, embracing and promoting the shared value of sustainability. We are offering outstanding support to skippers and teams, as well as sponsors, covering five continents and spanning nine months, with significant investments across team budgets and communications.”
“The VELUX 5 OCEANS has a unique heritage and a special place in the solo ocean racing calendar. Only 90 people have so far completed the challenge and it has always attracted an internationally diverse group of skippers, many of whom have become star names in sailing, including Philippe Jeantot, Bernard Stamm, Giovanni Soldini and Kojiro Shiraishi. The promising Eco 60 Class has brought a new dimension to the race and the interest in the Open 60 Class for the latest generation of racing yachts remains strong. Clipper Ventures and VELUX look forward to welcoming everyone to La Rochelle in October to celebrate the spirit of singlehanded offshore racing”
Expected to make landfall in Lorient early yesterday evening, in the end it took Groupama 3 until 2330 hours to tie up in her home port in an absolute downpour. Soaked to the skin but happy, the crew of the maxi trimaran took 16 and a half days to make it back from Cape Town, South Africa. Welcomed home by Franck Cammas and his team, the ten crew will now be able to enjoy a much deserved break as the technicians take over to prepare Groupama 3 for a fresh attempt to conquer the Jules Verne Trophy the minute the weather conditions are favourable at the start of 2010.
Wearing a beard, the features slightly drawn despite a big, telling smile of pleasure on making landfall, Fred Le Peutrec is a fulfilled skipper: “The delivery trip went very smoothly with a crew made up of some excellent sailors, half of which were on Groupama 3 for the first time. We’ve sailed well and I really appreciated the role of skipper, which requires you to shoulder a large amount of responsibility and to make decisions in view of what were difficult weather forecasts at times, particularly over recent days”. However, Fred is also a happy man: “We’re all delighted about making it home and seeing our families and children again to celebrate Christmas, which will certainly be joyful albeit a little late”.
Seated at the table despite the late hour (thank you to the team at La Base restaurant), the sailors and landlubbers didn’t waste any time exchanging their impressions of the voyage, giving their opinion about Groupama 3 and about the work which will ensue: “It really is a superb boat, that is very pleasant to helm. She never stops but she does require a great deal of attention” says Ludovic Aglaor, the current holder of the Jules Verne Trophy, who came along especially to see his friends Jacques Caraës and Ronan Le Goff.
Alongside him, Clément Surtel continues: “Each time it was my turn at the helm, the first ten minutes were stressful as I was only just finding my feet on Groupama 3, which is very sensitive. The following fifty minutes were a pure delight, to the extent that I found it hard to give up my position to the next person. I really appreciated the atmosphere onboard too. It was fantastic”.
As for Eric Lamy, a full-time member of the Groupama team for a number of years, he will shoulder the role of Boat Captain at the end of the Jules Verne Trophy. The pleasure he experienced when sailing was only equalled by seeing his two daughters and his wife again: “The climb up the Atlantic was really great and I now know my way around Groupama 3 really well. She goes very quickly. When you’re helming and you see the number 37 indicating the boat speed, you tell yourself how lucky you are to be where you are. It’s magical” concludes the very talented sailor and cook.
Passing from group to group, Franck Cammas thanks the crew which have returned Groupama 3 safely back to port. Already the list of work to be carried out over the next few days is taking shape in the skipper’s mind: “We’re going to change the standing rigging as it’s already covered over half a circumnavigation of the globe and it would be risky to keep it. We’re also going to reinforce the centreline on the aft edge of the floats where the engineers have identified a weak point. The rest of the work will now focus on the smaller details due to the normal wear and tear after 16,000 miles on the water”.
Happy to see his men and his trimaran again, Cammas hasn’t lost sight of his objective, the Jules Verne Trophy: “We’re closely monitoring the evolution in the weather with Sylvain Mondon from Météo France. For the time being there is no weather window. As such Fred (Le Peutrec), Ronan (Le Goff) and Jacco (Caraës), who all made the delivery trip aboard Groupama 3, will be able to get some rest before setting off around the world with the same crew as during our last attempt”.
With the lateness of the hour, the crew gradually leave La Base to get home to a dry, motionless bed. On the pontoon, it’s now over to the technicians to be on watch.
The crew of Groupama 3 for this delivery trip were:
1. Fred Le Peutrec
2. Ronan Le Goff
3. Jacques Caraës
4. Eric Lamy
5. François Salabert
6. Clément Surtel
7. Ludovic Aglaor
8. Thierry Duprés du Vorsent
9. Mayeul Riflet
10. Nick Legatt
It was this Saturday morning at 0600 UTC that the trimaran Groupama 3 cast off from the port of Cape Town, South Africa, bound for Brest some 6,000 miles (11,000 kms) away, where she will begin her second period of stand-by for the Jules Verne Trophy.
Skippered by Fred Le Peutrec and sailed by a total crew of 10, Groupama 3 has thus completed her South Africa stopover. In all it has taken no less than three weeks for the maxi trimaran to be operational once again after suffering damage in the Southern Atlantic, at a point where the crew were ahead of the reference time for the Jules Verne Trophy set by Orange in 2005.
Indeed once the float bulkhead was repaired and then reinforced by the Groupama team’s shore crew, with the assistance of a handful of South African’s from Team Shosholoza, it was the generator which was to give up the ghost. Forced to order a new unit from France and have it transported down to Cape Town by plane, the crew of Groupama 3 had no option but to wait patiently in Cape Town and attend the live draw for the World Cup football.
“All that is behind us today and all ten of us are delighted to be at sea again. We had to get free of the coast to find the wind, which has enabled us to retension the rig. We’ve done that and we’re now sailing under two reef mainsail and staysail in a 25 to 28 knot SE’ly making the equivalent boat speed” explains Fred Le Peutrec, who in the absence of Franck Cammas, has taken on responsibility for Groupama 3.
Of the ten crew who were aboard for the Jules Verne Trophy attempt, three are onboard for this delivery trip with Ronan Le Goff and Jacques Caraës accompanying Fred: “At the moment Ludovic Aglaor is at the helm with Ronan and Clément Surtel alongside. He’s just finding his way around Groupama 3 after a successful Jules Verne back in 2005 on Orange 2. We also have some new faces aboard including Mayeul Rifflet, who is replacing Lionel Lemonchois, as well as Nick Legatt and Thierry Duprey du Vorsent. The others are already familiar with Groupama 3 having been responsible for preparing her: Eric Lamy and François Salabert, who is in charge of the navigation” adds Fred.
“We’re going to be sailing in fairly strong downwind conditions for 36 hours. After that, the wind should ease to around fifteen knots, enabling us to make the equator in nine days. As such we won’t be back in time for the Christmas festivities, but no matter, we’re here to get Groupama 3 safely back into port. Today the boat is more solid than ever. We’ll just have to watch out for whales. On leaving Cape Town this morning we came across seven or eight, which was fantastic” concludes Fred Le Peutrec.