Barcelona World Race Winners: Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam
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It was just at sunset, in the end, when Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam broke the finish line off Barcelona's iconic W-Hotel to complete their victory in the Barcelona World Race. They punched the air with delight as the gun sounded after 84 days and 5 hours of racing, a joyous release of elation and relief. Within seconds they had their technical team and family aboard on board Cheminees Poujoulat to share the moments.
Both Stamm and Le Cam have endured more than enough of their own histories of disappointments racing round the world to ensure that those seconds after the gun meant so much more.
Stamm was disqualified from the last Vendee Globe for inadvertently receiving outside assistance and in four campaigns has yet to be placed in the pinnacle solo round the world race.
Le Cam once had to abandon the Vendee Globe, in 2008, when his boat capsized off Cape Horn. He also had to retire from the last edition of this race in 2011 when the mast of President, the IMOCA 60 he raced with Bruno Garcia, crashed down just north of the Cape Verde islands. So their success together was as much cathartic as it was a time for celebration.
Volvo Ocean Race's fleet passed over Point Nemo on Wednesday - the furthest spot in the oceans from land - on the day that a new ice limit was introduced by organisers to keep the boats clear of icebergs.
The race has been using the services of a Toulouse-based company, CLS, to advise on the placing of the ice limits.
Leg 5, which routes the fleet through the Southern Ocean on a 6,776-nautical mile (nm) stage from Auckland to Itajaí, Brazil, has kept the race advisers particularly busy.
Leg 5 Sailing Instructions Amendment 8 has been posted and communicated to the fleet - waypoints 11 and 12 have been moved further north after the detection of a new iceberg close to the ice limit line had been confirmed, between 95 W and 100 W.
Meanwhile, MAPFRE (Iker Martínez/ESP) led the fleet over Point Nemo on Wednesday after an amazing recovery from their Chinese gybe just 24 hours earlier.
They were one of three boats - Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA) and Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR) were the others - to crash over on their side as the fleet struggled through a heinous sea state and 40 knots of wind (75kph) in the Southern Ocean.
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The competitors and organizers of the 2017 America's Cup are planning to implement a series of rule changes to dramatically reduce team operational costs, primarily by racing in a smaller boat.
"After reviewing prototypes of the new AC45 sports boats being tested on the water over the past several months, it is clear that if we raced smaller boats in 2017, we could dramatically reduce costs without sacrificing any of the spectacle or the design, engineering and athletic challenge fundamental to the America's Cup," said Commercial Commissioner Harvey Schiller.
"We have a responsibility to think of what is best for the long term health of the America's Cup as well as improving the value equation for team principals and partners. Racing a smaller boat in 2017 and beyond is a big step in the right direction.
"The existing operational costs of teams is much too high with a boat like the AC62. We discussed making this change early last year at a Competitors meeting in London but at that stage only ORACLE TEAM USA and Emirates Team New Zealand were in favor of using a smaller boat.
"But now that the teams have seen these new boats in action there is a clear majority of competitors who support the idea. I'd like to be able to say we have unanimous support from all the teams but that is not the case."
Boat speed in the new boat is expected to be similar to what was achieved in the last America's Cup through increased time foiling and advances in design and engineering.
The rule changes are being drafted and teams will be asked to vote on these changes before the end of March.
Cowes Week Ltd Seeks New Sailing Director
The organisers of the world famous Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week regatta are seeking a new Sailing Director to replace Stuart Quarrie, who will retire following this year's regatta in August.
The Sailing Director role is a full time post, and carries a responsibility to retain and further develop Cowes Week's position as a "must-do" regatta on the global sailing calendar. The organisers are looking for someone who is well-known on the yachting and racing circuit, has the vision to take the regatta forward and can work with existing and potential entrants, class associations and organising clubs to ensure the event offers the best possible racing experience.
The new Sailing Director will work as part of a small executive team and also with the member clubs of Cowes Combined Clubs through the regatta's Sailing Committee. An attractive package is available to the right person, with a salary of c£50k, depending on experience. The closing date for applications is 7th April 2015 and it is anticipated that interviews will be held during the week commencing 20th April. The successful candidate will start in July 2015, gaining some experience of this year's regatta, before taking over from Stuart in August.
Florence Arthaud: The French Woman Who Held Solo Trans-Atlantic Record In Both Directions
French yachting star Florence Arthaud, who broke into solo ocean racing in the 1980's and became a sailing legend by winning the 1990 Route dy Rhum, died recently in a collision between two helicopters in Argentina during the filming of a wilderness survival TV series. She was one of three French sporting stars who died in the crash, which killed all ten people in both aircraft.
This tragic accident was seen as another national disaster in France, after the Charlie Hebdo killings. Arthuad was twice the age of her rivals on this ill-fated trip, but achieved national fame for her skill and daring as a singlehanded sailor in the 1980's and early 90's. (This was well before the internet age, which is why she is barely known to English-speaking sailors and why I have researched and written this memorial to her remarkable life.)
She was born in 1957 to a father who was a successful publisher. She began sailing with her him and her brother in the Mediterranean at an early age: "The first time I went sailing it was with my father, destination Marseille ; I was six and a half. I learned sailing in the Mediterranean." This would have been the summer swhen Eric Tabarly galvanized French sailors with his victory over Francis Chichester in the 1964 OSTAR.
In a remarkable coincidence, the Arthaud publishing house won the rights to publish the book Victoire en Solitaire (Solitary Victory) by Tabarly, and after him the long-distance cruiser Bernard Moitessier. But at the age of 17, Florence she was involved in a car crash which left her in a coma and paralyzed. She also had serious injuries to her face, and spent six months in hospital. It took two years before she recovered completely, but was left with visible scarring on her face. Nonetheless, the next year,1975, she made her first Atlantic crossing at the age of 18.
Read Peter Marsh's full obituary for Arthaud: scuttlebutteurope.com/articles
Ocean Safety's Alistair Hackett caught up with Tony Rae- renowned New Zealand sailor and member of Team Vestas Wind, for the 2014-2015 Volvo Ocean Race, during the latest Auckland stopover.
Alistair Hackett: Tony, the incident onboard Team Vestas was obviously once in a lifetime for all of you onboard. Can you talk us through how the safety kit performed and how you were able to relate the safety equipment onboard, to the training that you had up in Newcastle prior to departure?
Tony Rae: I hope it's a once in a lifetime event, thank goodness we all survived it. In a situation like that all of a sudden the training comes back to you pretty quickly. The training was very recent which certainly worked in our favour and you can certainly see why a refresher course is so important.
When it comes to getting the safety gear out to use it, you are much more confident as to what you've got onboard, knowing what equipment you need to get out and more importantly how you're going to use it. Obviously on reflection there are always things you would change about what you did in that moment, but generally we could access the equipment and the flares were ready to go, which of course we set off. I guess one thing that we didn't get to try on the course was a parachute flare, because of course you're not allowed to. I think it would be good to try setting one off as a blank of some sort, as it's like a shotgun going off, which I wasn't quite ready for. Slicing my thumb open on the tag was probably the worst injury I got.
Full interview: www.oceansafety.com/latest-news/300-vestas-tony-rae
Figaro Curtain Raiser
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And they're off…nearly. Just two days now stand between Artemis Offshore Academy Rookies Rob Bunce (Artemis 37), Robin Elsey (Artemis 43), Andrew Baker (Artemis 23) and the first race of their solo offshore careers - the 196 mile Solo Basse Normandie starting 1430 CET on Friday 27th March.
For Academy Alumni sailors Sam Matson (Chatham) and Alan Roberts (Magma Structures), the Solo Basse Normandie marks their first race as bona fide Figaro sailors, stepping out of the Rookie division and into the field after racing their first Solitaire du Figaro in 2014. For Jack Bouttell (GAC Concise), the race is the start of his third Classe Figaro Bénéteau season, while Nick Cherry (Redshift) and Henry Bomby (Rockfish Red) are preparing to kick start their fourth.
For the British solo Figaro team, supported by the Artemis Offshore Academy, the future couldn't look brighter - the Academy's five Alumni skippers all securing promising partnerships with top UK businesses ahead of the season.
At just under 200 miles the Solo Basse Normandie looks set to be a short, but not so sweet race through some of the world's most tidal areas.
There are now 26 Figaro skippers signed up for the Solo Basse Normandie, ranging from top Solitaire du Figaro competitors Yann Elies, Paul Meilhat, Charlie Dalin and Vendée Globe winner Alain Gautier, to six ambitious Rookies including Rob, Robin and Andrew in the Academy's blue 'Bizuth' boats
The Solo Basse Normandie starts on Friday 27th March from Granville, France with the competitors expected to arrive in Cherbourg, France on Saturday 28th March.
Or is it? Jocelyn Bleriot discusses Francois Gabart's new 100ft trimaran with Gabart and VPLP lead designer Xavier Guilbaud
The ultimate red hat party
And the thoroughly excellent Mount Gay Round Barbados race series is on the up once again
Andy Rice discusses technical development with the winners - and the winning designers, sailmakers and builders - at the International Moth and 14 championships in Australia...
Les Ultimes, a fast saucepan and the Waszp
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Glamour Day On Grand Harbour
Today Malta laid on possibly the best ever beginning to a RC44 Championship Tour. The RC44 Valletta Cup kicked off on Malta's Grand Harbour with a day of match racing within one of sailing's most spectacular settings: The 500 year old Maltese capital of Valletta on one side and the city's giant forts on the other.
Within the confines of the bustling natural harbour, racing started for the eleven RC44s at 11:30 local time, the wind fortunately blowing from the southeast enabling the race committee to set the weather mark deep within the harbour.
For the opening rounds there were 15 knots of wind, but over the course of the day the wind dropped. Despite a delay waiting for a giant cruise ship to dock, six flights were held before Principal Race Officer Peter Reggio stopped proceedings.
Fleet racing sets sail Thursday at 11:30 local time but on this occasion the courses will be set in open water, outside of Valletta's magnificent harbour.
RC44 Valletta Cup Match Racing Results
1. Bronenosec Sailing Team - 4
2. Team Nika - 4
3. Charisma - 4
4. Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team - 4
5. Artemis Racing - 3
6. Katusha - 2
7. Team Aqua - 2
8. Team CEEREF - 2 (2 penalty points)
9. RUS-7 Anywayanyday - 2
10. MAG Racing - 0
11. Artemis Racing Youth - -2 (3 penalty points)
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* From Euan Ross: Once again the Volvo fleet is in the Southern Ocean sending back tales of "Chinese gybes". So it's time to clarify once again that what is happening when the mainsail ends up against the backstays after an accidental gybe is a gybe 'all-standing'. A Chinese gybe occurs when the upper and lower sections of the sail end up on different sides, and for this to happen, the kicking strap has to let go. It is called a Chinese gybe just because it looks a chaotic, as Westerners considered junk rigged boats to look. It's not any easier to Chinese gybe a junk rig than it is a Volvo 65. The Volvo fleet are a heroic bunch but there is nothing Chinese about their gybing, not even Dongfeng, if anything, its 'occidental'.
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Probably the most beautiful series yacht in the world with many updates including new rig for the Jubilee, an interior refresh in Finland and recent refits on both sides of the Atlantic - she is spectacular.
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The Last Word
You've been assigned an identity since birth. Then you spend the rest of your life walking around in it to see if it really fits. -- Libba Bray