Kontides Steals Gold Again | Chris Bake Grabs Victory From Jaws Of Defeat | Radial Around The World | Tricky Penultimate Day of Extreme Sailing Series Act 2 | Dongfeng Wins Tour De Belle-Ile | Thriller Round Antigua | Tomes Cup | RYA Announces New Olympic Performance Manager | Letters to the Editor | Featured Brokerage
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Kontides Steals Gold Again
It was a case of deja vu on the final day of racing at Sailing's World Cup Series in Hyeres, France as Cypriot Laser sailor Pavlos Kontides once again stole gold from underneath the nose of his rival.
On the second day of live Medal Racing from the south coast of France, it was the turn of the One and Two Person Dinghies to have their day. And the action didn't disappoint.
A colder, overcast day with a steady 8-12 knot breeze did nothing to dampen the spirits of the final few lucky World Cup Series medallists.
Pavlos Kontides (CYP) must have been sitting on the start line of the Laser Medal Race thinking, 'I've been here before'.
At the 2016 World Cup Final in Melbourne, Kontides went in to the final race in second overall fighting for a gold against Australia's Matt Wearn. He won that battle and the gold. This time around, the job at hand was the same, the only difference was Italy's Francesco Marrai was now in his way. The result? Well that was the same, gold for Kontides.
The Cypriot may walk away from Hyeres, France with the Laser title, but it couldn't have been closer. Kontides and Marrai finish the regatta level on 63 points. In the end it came down to the Medal Race result.
When the going gets tough, some teams have the ability to just get the job done. Rio 2016 Men's 470 silver medallists, Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) rose to the top when others around them were struggling. With a string of four race wins in a row handing them the gold with a day to spare, the Aussies could have sat back and basked in the glory. Instead they went for the jugular and claimed a fifth straight race win in the Medal Race.
As all the winners spray the champagne, wave to the crowd and collect their medals, focus will now shift to the 2017 World Cup Series Final in Santander, Spain this coming June. -- Richard Aspland - World Sailing
Top three results:
1. Damien Seguin, FRA, 10
2. Antonio Squizzato, ITA, 27
3. Xavier Dagault, FRA, 30
1. Mathew Belcher / William Ryan, AUS, 18
2. Carl-Fredrik Fock / Marcus Dackhammar, SWE, 52
3. Panagiotis Mantis / Pavlos Kagialis, GRE, 73
1. Afrodite Zegers / Anneloes van Veen, NED, 30
2. Silvia Mas Depares / Patricia Cantero Reina, ESP, 55
3. Linda Fahrni / Maja Siegenthaler, SUI, 55
1. Diego Botín le Chever / Iago Lopez Marra, ESP, 57
2. Dylan Fletcher-Scott / Stuart Bithell, GBR, 82
3. Carl P Sylvan / Marcus Anjemark, SWE, 88
1. Martine Soffiatti Grael / Kahena Kunze, BRA, 34
2. Victoria Jurczok / Anika Lorenz, GER, 50
3. Charlotte Dobson / Saskia Tidey, GBR, 63
1. Alican Kaynar, TUR, 52
2. Nicholas Heiner, NED, 60
3. Jonathan Lobert, FRA, 68
IKA - Formula Kite
1. Nicolas Parlier, FRA, 17
2. Axel Mazella, FRA, 23
3. Maxime Nocher, MON, 45
1. Pavlos Kontides, CYP, 63
2. Francesco Marrai, ITA, 63
3. Matthew Wearn, AUS, 78
Laser Radial Women
1. Evi Van Acker, BEL, 67
2. Tuula Tenkanen, FIN, 87
3. Mathilde de Kerangat, FRA, 93
1. Fernando Echavarri Erasun / Tara Pacheco van Rijnsoever, ESP, 36
2. Moana Vaireaux / Manon Audinet, FRA, 51
3. Lin Ea Cenholt / Christian Peter Lubeck, DEN, 56
1. Louis Giard, FRA, 63
2. Piotr Myszka, POL, 78
3. Kiran Badloe, NED, 80
1. Zofia Noceti-Klepacka, POL, 49
2. Yunxlu Lu, CHN, 72
3. Noga Geller, ISR, 81
Full results: www.sailing.org/worldcup/results/index.php
Chris Bake Grabs Victory From Jaws Of Defeat
After two severe days, Sotogrande and the Andalucian coastline laid on perfect conditions for the final day of competition at the RC44 Sotogrande Cup. Mountainous seas gave way to a short chop, torrential rain gave way to brilliant sunshine and a stiff but shifty 20 knot, westerly offshore wind, to provide the tacticians with some welcome head scratching.
Ahead going into today, Chris Bake's team increased increased their lead to five points after the first race. Then in the second, they were on track to consolidate their position, leading round the top mark. But soon after it all fell apart, as Bake recounted: "We set the spinnaker and everything was going great. The stern got picked up on a fairly decent sized wave and buried the bow at the same moment as there was a massive puff and it was white water all the way back to the wheels, which is very unusual. I was drenched - it was full on. Soon after there was this nasty crunch from the bowsprit and that was it."
With the bowsprit broken they managed to recover the kite and then spent half of the leg unpicking pieces of severed carbon. Unfortunately they had to sail the remainder of the leg under jib but on the following run jury rigged their A3 spinnaker to fly from the bow.
Team Aqua crew and shore crew rallied to fit a replacement bowsprit just before the shut-off for the final race of the day. In this, amazingly, the three frontrunners were last to the weather mark, but after the leeward gate Team Nika and Team Aqua split tacks with Peninsula Petroleum following Team Nika. This proved the wrong choice, as John Bassadone observed: "We couldn't cover them both. Aqua was behind us and went to the other side and got a massive lift." Team Aqua recovered fourth place at the weather mark which they hung on to the finish while Peninsula Petroleum came home last.
And so Team Aqua claimed the RC44 Sotogrande Cup.
After such an action-packed day, it is with great anticipation that we look forward to the RC44 Porto Cervo Cup taking place over 29 June - 2 July.
RC44 Sotogrande Cup - Results after ten races
1. Team Aqua, Chris Bake, 37
2. Peninsula Petroleum, John Bassadone, 40
3. Bronenosec, Vladimir Liubomirov & Kirill Frolov, 40
4. Team Nika, Vladimir Prosikhin, 41
5. Katusha, Alexander Novoselov, 46
6. Artemis Racing, Torbjorn Tornqvist, 51
7. Team CEEREF, Igor Lah, 54
8. Charisma, Nico Poons, 54
Radial Around The World
The Vendee Globe 2016 is about to come to an end, and for Incidence Sails - the first French sailmakers, now returning to offshore racing - this record-breaking round-the-world race was a resounding success. Six competitors were equipped with Incidence sails: Eric Bellion (Comme Un Seul Homme), Arnaud Boissieres (La Mie Caline), Bertrand de Broc (MACSF), Morgan Lagraviere (Safran), Paul Meilhat (SMA) and Rich Wilson (Great America IV) - and no one had problems with any of their sails. Three of the boats, SMA, Safran and Comme un Seul Homme, had foresails made in DFi and were very happy with them.
'The results from this Vendee Globe and indeed from the whole 2016 season are very positive, at all levels, as far as my sails are concerned,' explains Paul Meilhat, who had a superb race. Always in the top five, he was in the top three at one point, until his forced retirement two-thirds of the way through the race.
Tricky Penultimate Day of Extreme Sailing Series Act 2
Extreme Sailing Series young guns Land Rover BAR Academy stole the show on the penultimate day of Act 2 in Qingdao, China, jumping from last place to second with a masterclass of consistency.
Skipper Rob Bunce's team of talented under 24s enjoyed their most successful outing since joining the global Stadium Racing tour at the start of 2016, only missing the podium once in seven races on Fushan Bay.
The British team, the youth wing of Sir Ben Ainslie's America's Cup challenger, went into the action at the bottom of the Act leaderboard following three disappointing results on the opening day.
But they turned their fortunes round in style, excelling in the punishing conditions that built from almost non-existent puffs to 20 knots of full-on breeze, notching up two race wins, three seconds and a third in the process.
The final race of the Act will carry double points, offering teams a last-minute opportunity to boost themselves up the rankings.
Racing will begin at 14:00 local time (UTC+8), and all the action will be streamed live to the Extreme Sailing Series' Facebook and Youtube channels.
Standings after Day 3, 10 races (30.04.17)
1. Alinghi (SUI) Arnaud Psarofaghis, Nicolas Charbonnier, Timothe Lapauw, Bryan Mettraux, Yves Detrey,102 points
2. Land Rover BAR Academy (GBR) Rob Bunce, Chris Taylor, Will Alloway, Adam Kay, Sam Batten, 98
3. NZ Extreme Sailing Team (NZL) Chris Steele, Graeme Sutherland, Shane Diviney, Leonard Takahashi Fry, Josh Salthouse 96
4. SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Kostner, Mads Emil Stephensen, Pierluigi de Felice, Richard Mason 90
5. Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans Peter Steinacher, Stewart Dodson, Adam Piggott, Will Tiller, 89
6. Oman Air (OMA) Phil Robertson, Pete Greenhalgh, James Wierzbowski, Ed Smyth, Nasser Al Mashari, 86
7. Team Extreme (CHN) Liu Xue (Black), Bernardo Freitas, Martin Evans, Rob Partridge, Tom Buggy, 68
Dongfeng Wins Tour De Belle-Ile
Dongfeng Race Team finished first in the Tour de Belle-Ile this weekend - with a little help from some very special guests onboard.
Skipper Charles Caudrelier lined up with his full squad for the 2017-18 edition, plus Vendee Globe 2016-17 winner as skipper of Banque Populaire Armel Le Cleac'h and Thomas Coville, skipper of Sodebo Ultim' and solo round the world record holder on a multihull.
The international crew featuring the likes of Daryl Wislang, Marie Riou, Carolijn Brouwer, Kevin Escoffier and Jack Bouttell, set sail in the sunshine and began a perfect day of racing in strong winds, crossing the line as the leading monohull entry.
Armel Le Cleac'h, who recently won the Vendee Globe - the most extreme single-handed race around the world - added: "It's the first time I've been sailing in competition mode again since the finish of the Vendee Globe and it was a friendly way to get back into it, in ideal conditions with no pressure.
Coville, who knows the Volvo Ocean Race well having lifted the trophy as part of the victorious Groupama crew in 2011-12, added: "Charles and I have some very fond memories of the Volvo Ocean Race, which we won with Franck Cammas. I was right back in that atmosphere today. It's hard work, but after the manoeuveres there's always time for a little joke.
"I'm impressed by the pairing made up of Marie Riou and Carolijn Brouwer, who hold interesting and important positions in the crew. For his part, Charles is the number cruncher and taps them out perfectly. On top of that you have the rigour of the Anglo-Saxons, who work with the same clockwork precision on the Tour de Belle-Ile as they will at the start of the Volvo Ocean Race. They're real pros and I'm a fan of this attitude. Thanks for the invitation Charles!"
Thriller Round Antigua
The Peters & May Round Antigua Race produced a spectacular match race between two magnificent ocean greyhounds with an unbelievable finish. Sir Peter Harrison's British ketch Sojana and Jean-Paul Riviere's French sloop, Nomad IV battled it out for the 52 miles, just a few minutes apart for the duration of the race. The Peters & May Round Antigua Race produced a battle for line honours that Lord Nelson and Vice Admiral Villeneuve would have been proud of. However, it was Ross Applebey's Oyster 48, Scarlet Oyster which stole the limelight, coming from behind to win the race overall after CSA time correction and the Peters & May Trophy.
Sojana got a better start than Nomad IV and after cracking sheets at York Island, the two yachts hoisted reaching sails, surfing through the ocean swell at 20 knots. Downwind across the top of Antigua, Nomad IV was quicker than Sojana, at one stage, getting within a few hundred metres of their opponents, but as the pair turned the corner for the reach down the west coast, Sojana's ketch configuration and longer hull reaped the rewards. As the pair made the southwest corner of Antigua, the race was won. Sojana was just too powerful upwind, but crossing the line to take the gun was a bittersweet moment. Sojana had won the battle but failed in their attempt to break the race record by an agonising single second!
It was Sir Peter Harrison's 80th birthday and you would have thought the narrow miss would have spoiled the party, but he would have none of it: "To be racing at the 50th Antigua Sailing Week on my 80th birthday is really special. Last night we had a party at Clarence House (restored by the Peter Harrison Foundation) and we stayed up until after midnight, but the crew were on good form today. I am just so happy to be here, so to miss the record by one second is not so bad. Don't get me wrong though, I am very competitive and nothing would be better than winning Antigua Sailing Week again. I have been coming here for over 20 years, Antigua is my second home."
Ross Applebey's Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster corrected out to win the Peters & May Round Antigua Race by less than a minute from Adrian Lee's Irish Cookson 50, Lee Overlay Partners, with Sojana claiming third after CSA time correction.
After almost a week of rain, sailors were relieived to see blue skies for the final race in the Top Dog Trophy Series. Race Officer Gareth Williams was first on the race course finding a moderate easterly breeze affecting Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour, however by the time the first warning signal was sounded at 1355hrs, the breeze of 10 to 12 knots had filled in.
The Pandora fleet was first off, followed by Ruffians, Dragons and Flying Fifteen classes. Chasing them down to the projected target finish time of 1630hrs, were the Impala, J/80 and Etchells fleets, and the Magic's with the six Big Boats bringing up the rear. Sailors were sent on a Port Rounding Course 10 which took them up to Shau Kei Wan, down to Dock Buoy and then onto PWD with the fleet completing five laps and finishing at Gate Buoy.
An excellent effort was made by Solstice which saw her hold on to her lead for the first lap and half of the course, albeit the Dragons and Flying Fifteens swiftly taking ground out of her as they approached. Multihull Flying Phantom, skippered by Mark Thornburrow, started 1 hour and 12 minutes after the first start and finished first at 1630hrs at Gate Buoy.
The Tomes Cup was also the fourth constituent event of the Top Dog Trophy Series which is designed to identify the most successful boat over a variety of pursuit race courses and conditions. The series includes the results for the Around the Island Race (27 November 2016), the Lipton Trophy (3 December 2016), the HKRNVR Memorial Vase (14 January 2017) and of course the Tomes Cup. After today's event, Florence Kan / Dennis Chien's Impala, Taxi, has emerged as Top Dog.
Full results of the Tomes Cup:
RYA Announces New Olympic Performance Manager
The RYA is delighted to complete its World Class Programme management team with the appointment of Mark Robinson as its new Olympic Performance Manager.
Robinson, who joins the British Sailing Team in June from a Performance Manager role at Australian Sailing, takes on the post vacated by Stephen Park OBE and will lead the world's leading Olympic sailing nation as it continues its quest for medal success in Tokyo 2020 and beyond.
The 42-year-old has extensive coaching and programme management experience, having led Australia's Paralympic sailors to the top of the medal table at Rio 2016, where they delivered an historic two gold and one silver medals from the three events.
He also managed Australian Sailing's State Institute of Sport programmes, the National Youth Team, Performance Coach development and the Performance Pathway, and previously guided Singapore Sailing's national programme as their Head of High Performance in addition to a spell as National Head Coach for Thailand.
Robinson, who has over 30 years' sailing experience at both national and international level, including in the Olympic classes and professional keelboat racing, will have the day-to-day responsibility of driving the world-leading British Sailing Team programme strategy and delivery, supported by newly-appointed Director of Racing Ian Walker.
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* From Rich Hayes
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