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Transatlantic Race 2011: Final Start
A weather front arrived as if by magic, and with the wind speed at the top of the rigs approaching 15 knots, the six yachts cruised the starting area like reef sharks ready to attack. As the starting gun sounded from Castle Hill Light, the Maxi fleet powered up and the sound of immense loads echoed across the water as sheets were pulled on and rigs raked back to propel the high-performance racing machines out towards the open ocean. The sheer power on display was awe-inspiring, as the fastest yachts in the Transatlantic Race 2011, searing through the water, foam hissing at the rail, started on their one-way ride across the untamed Atlantic Ocean.
Beau Geste, the Farr 80 skippered by Karl Kwok (Hong Kong), got the best start and sped away toward Brenton Point. Puma Mar Mostro, skippered by Ken Read (Newport, R.I.), was next to cross the line followed by Rambler 100 and ICAP Leopard. Vanquish was caught up in the Maxi mêlée and was stalled as the two 100-footers powered up on either side of the 65' yacht crewed by the Oakcliff All American Offshore Team. For the young crew aboard Vanquish, this is a ride of their life, lining up against the best in the world.
Beau Geste and PUMA Mar Mostro continued up the right-hand side of the course, playing touch and go with the rocky shoreline, while Rambler 100 and ICAP Leopard seemed locked in their own private tussle as the fleet headed offshore. The magnificent 115' ketch, Sojana, with a mahogany interior, is far heavier than her sporting rivals and skipper Peter Harrison (Reigate, U.K.) will surely be hoping for more wind.
All of the 24 yachts competing in the Transatlantic Race will be carefully planning their next move as they can never fully work out what lies ahead of them. The yachts that have already settled into the race know one thing for certain, the magnificent yachts in IRC One will be coming on fast and almost certainly Rambler 100 or ICAP Leopard will overtake them before long: just four hours into the race, Rambler 100 was exceeding 18 knots boatspeed.
Team Aqua Rule In Cagliari
A three point lead when you can't discard a bad race is slim to say the least, that was the margin Team Aqua had over Islas Canarias Puerto Calero, with Artemis Racing just another eight points behind in third.
As the teams were released from the dock the wind was still north-westerly, but due to fade and be replaced by a southerly sea breeze at some point in the day, the problem was no-one knew when.
The first race started in 8 knots, but as the fleet were half way up the first beat the wind started to shift to the right, Team Aqua (GBR) were on the left hand side of the track and rounded the windward mark in 10th place, their main opposition Artemis Racing (SWE) and Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP) rounding second and fifth respectively.
As the sea breeze kicked in, Cagliari produced some stunning sailing conditions, 12-14 knots and beautiful blue sea and skies. Team Aqua were never worst than second in the penultimate race of the series, passing CEEREF (SLO) on the second beat to take the win. It was then Islas Canarias Puerto Calero's turn to struggle, their 12th place put them down to third overall, one point behind Artemis Racing.
The win in Sardinia moves Team Aqua to the top of the 2011 RC44 Championship Tour leader board. Adding to their win here, they also count a third from San Diego and second on Lake Traunsee, Austria. They sit one point ahead of Team ORACLE who finished second from San Diego and first in Austria but fourth here in Cagliari.
The fourth event of 2011 RC44 Championship Tour will be held in Marstrand, Sweden from 17-21st August where the teams will race for the RC44 Sweden Cup, a venue the class have never visited before. The competition for who will be crowned 2011 RC44 Champions is hotting up.
Seahorse Sailor Of The Month
Brad Van Liew (USA)
This month's nominees:
Seahorse Sailor of the Month is sponsored by Harken McLube, Dubarry & Musto. Who needs silverware, our prizes are usable!
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Dubarry Lahinch - Inspired By Design
Dubarry Lahinch - performance perfected.
Rolex Baltic Week
In the Robbe & Berking 12mR World Championships the Danish 1936-built Vanity V, owned and helmed by Patrick Howaldt from Copenhagen, triumphed after scoring another second and first place on the last day of a remarkable regatta which saw them finish no worse than runner-up in any race.
Two bullets on the final day also secured the victory of the Dutch-based modern Eight Hollandia, owned by Ruud van Hilst and steered by Tim van Rootselaar, while Andreas Krause's Sleipnir II from Kiel, Germany won the Robbe & Berking 6mR Sterling Cup. Each of the three winning owners was awarded a Rolex Oyster Perpetual Explorer chronometer by Peter Streit, CEO of Rolex Germany.
Discarding a second place in the 12-Metre results, Patrick Howaldt and his team were clear winners on 10 points after winning four of the eight races – with loud celebrations on board Vanity V as they crossed the final finish line.
Their nearest rival, the German Trivia, went into the final day in a strong second overall, but two fourths put paid to their chances, finishing six points adrift.
Also racing for their Robbe & Berking World Championships, the 8-Metres witnessed an equally superior performance by Hollandia (NED) who, having been pushed hard by Lafayette (GBR) and YQuem II (SUI) all week, secured the title emphatically with two wins in the final day's two races. Able to discard a DSQ for an infringement earlier in the week, Ruud van Hilst and Jos Fruytier's 2005-built 8-Metre won five of the nine races to take first overall.
Final overall rankings, Sunday (3 July)
Robbe & Berking 12-Metre World Championship (after 8 races)
Robbe & Berking 8-Metre World Championship (after 9 races)
Robbe & Berking 6mR Sterling Cup (after 5 races)
Echegoyen Wins European Women's Match Racing
The conditions at Hernesaari were challenging due to a fickle wind. Early into the day the wind completely died near the shore, which is why the start of Match Racing had to be pushed back until 12:30 from the original 11 o'clock.
Once the finals eventually got underway, it was Echegoyen who had the better start, winning the first match. Skudina came back in the second race but couldn't keep it up in the next two matches. Thus the Spanish team won best-of-five series 3-1.
Meanwhile, Silvia Roca Mata of Spain and Mandi Mulder of the Netherlands faced each other in the petit final. Mulder's team first took the lead, but Roca Mata and her crew evened the score in the second match. In the third and deciding race Mulder came out on top to grab the bronze.
Over 250 boats in the Laser starts
Laser Standard and Laser Radial also got their sailing underway on Sunday. They are by far the most popular classes at the Open Europeans: in total there are 251 Lasers competing, 140 Standards and 111 Radials.
Austria's Andreas Geritzer is leading the men's competition after two races, whereas Zhang Dong Shuang of China is in charge of the women's event. Hometown's biggest favourite Sari Multala is currently 20th (Radial).
Star class had its second competition day at the Open Europeans. Greece's Emilios Papathanasiou and Alexandros Dragoutsis continue in the lead after three races.
Women's Match Racing Results
For gold medal, best-of-five series
For bronze medal, best-of-three series
1. Echegoyen (ESP)
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Running The Rhumblines
Merit launched in 1997 to contest the Volvo around the World race and now owned and successfully raced by Whitsunday Sailing Club's Leo Rodriguez will contest the 384 n/ml Audi Sydney to Gold Coast race starting on Saturday July 30.
Skipper Leo Rodriguez believes the now 14 year old Volvo race challenger is better suited to the longer coastal passage races and promises to become a distinct challenger for the Performance Handicap class trophy following his success in winning the prestigious trophy in the 2008 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race.
The tropical water racing crew who have proved their combined skill and seamanship over the longer Sydney-Hobart Race are hopeful of racing in a cold blast provided by the mid-winter South Westerlies.
They are aware that Merit Stratco Racing has the proven pedigree to produce her best performance in fresh and frightening spinnaker sailing winds and will need these conditions to outpace her handicap rating against their more modern rivals.
As expected the crew of Whitsunday sailors are hoping for a strong wind forecast and wave surfing conditions to prevail when they set their personal escape from experiencing the Sydney Chill Factor.
However while life on deck will become particularly cold at night the crew will remain focused of logging the fastest passage towards the warmer climate.
They will not be alone in what promises to be the most interesting race since the George Snow skippered Brindabella set the present race record of 27 hours 35 minutes 3 seconds in 1999. If there is any hint of strong southerlies blowing then the Bob Oatley owned and Mark Richards's skippered Sydney Hobart race record holder Wild Oats X1 will be chased by the Peter Millard skippered Brisbane to Gladstone race line honours champion Lahana to seriously challenge Brindabella's 13.92 knot benchmark.
This race presents Wild Oats X1 with the first opportunity to test the recent hull modifications to upgrade her speed potential in preparation for the Sydney Hobart Race starting on Boxing Day. While interest will also focus on the pace setting performance of the Marcus Blackmore skippered TP 52 Hooligan which has dominated the results over short courses to currently lead the Audi Australian championship.
Hooligan the former Team New Zealand Merit Cup champion and overall winner of the Brisbane to Gladstone Race over the Easter weekend has been the star performer winning regattas in Victorian and New South Wales.
However her crew will need to repeat this form to head off the challenge from the 2010 Audi Australian champion Loki and the 2010 Meridien Marinas Airlie Beach Race Week champion Living Doll to remain as the crew to beat when the finals are decided during the Audi Hamilton Race Week in late August. -- Ian Grant
He pings that twice a day so his friends can see he is OK.
He was awarded the Contessa 26 Association seamanship prize last year for his expolits and his story has been covered on the Association site and in its newsletter at www.contessa26.net -- Paul Wells
* Editor: As of July 3 Guy was halfway to the States. One wonders if he'll see any of the Transatlantic Race fleet headed the other way.
Dragon European Championship Has Been Opened
Then came the CHILDHOOD Race in which 62 dragons crossed the starting line in similar conditions. The CHILDHOOD Race traditionally marks the start of this sailing event. The World CHILDHOOD Foundation, founded by her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden, is charity partner of the dragon class. Dozens of companies, including automobile partner BMW pledged their support for CHILDHOOD on colourful spinnakers.
The winner was RUS 90 – Igor Goihkberg who made the most of the ever shifting conditions and course changes. Igors tactician made some fantastic decisions which resulted in the first place. In second place was RUS 27 – Anatoly Loginov showing once again why he is the number one ranked Dragon sailor in the world. Taking the last podium spot was RUS – 98 Mikhail Muratov who was delighted to finish in third place due to a few OCS boats probably due to the fact this was only a practice race. During the opening ceremony representatives of 15 nations were given models of a dragon depicting their national flags.
The first race for the title of the European Champion will start on Monday, July 4, 12.00 hrs.
The 46th on the 4th
The first start goes off tomorrow, ready or not. Eight cruisers in the Aloha Division. Ten racers 32-feet to 43-feet in Division 6. One catamaran, Santiago Becerra's 57-foot Esperitu Santi. The boat looks quick and possibly should be in the July 8 start, but this is what the man wanted, and this is what he gets. "We won't be the first boat to Honolulu," Becerra said. "We'll be dragging four lines, and the marlin will slow us down."
The Skippers' Meeting in the Long Beach Aquarium brought skippers and navigators up to speed on the latest developments, including meteorologist Lee Chesneau's upbeat assessment of a favorable weather pattern developing in the Eastern Pacific. Compared to the outlook a week ago, it was happy news. (Very happy news.) Chesneau said something about winds to 20 knots out on the ocean, coming down the coast and bending toward the islands.
After Transpacific Yacht Club Commodore Bill Lee and PRO Dave Cort dismissed the Skippers' Meeting, all repaired to Gladstone's for what was surely the best Transpac sendoff party in 46 tries. It kicked off with Mayor Bob Foster's Reception in a private room.
Oracle Racing's Tom Ehman (the hardest working man in America's Cup show business) came down from San Francisco to spread a little America's Cup religion in the spot that has the best seabreeze in Southern California. Say, John Sangmeister, AC veteran, do you think Long Beach would make a dandy spot for AC45s on the World Series Tour?
Just a thought... -- Kimball Livingston
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The Last Word
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