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Rolex Fastnet Race
At midnight, Monday 15 August, Eddie Warden Owen, Chief Executive of the Royal Ocean Racing Club received a call from Mick Harvey, Project Manager of George David's Rambler 100 (USA). Harvey spoke about the harrowing incident when the 100' Maxi Rambler 100 capsized in the Celtic Sea during the Rolex Fastnet Race.
The incident happened just after Rambler 100 rounded the Fastnet Rock at 17:25 BST. At the time, Rambler 100 were leading the monohull fleet and vying for monohull line honours in the Rolex Fastnet Race which started on Sunday 14th.
Mick Harvey's account of the incident was charged with emotion. The tough Australian, who now lives in Newport, Rhode Island (USA), is a seasoned veteran, but he was understandably shaken by the incident:
"Soon after rounding the Fastnet Rock, the wind went southwest, right on the nose. We were beating into big seas, launching Rambler off the top of full size waves. I was down below with navigator, Peter Isler when we heard the sickening sound of the keel breaking off. It was instantaneous; there was no time to react. The boat turned turtle, just like a dinghy capsizing. Peter Isler issued a Mayday and we got out of there as quickly as we could."
The EPIRB had been activated and a number of crew climbed over the guardrails and onto the hull as the boat capsized and helped those swimming to safety. The Atlantic swell made it difficult for the crew to get out of the water however, working together, 16 of the crew managed to scale the upturned hull.
Five of the crew were swept away by the waves out of reach of the stricken Maxi and these included Skipper, George David and partner Wendy Touton who were in the water for two and a half hours. This group linked arms, forming a circle. Valencia Coastguard diverted a local fishing boat, Wave Chieftain to assist, which winched the crew on board. Earlier a helicopter had been scrambled from Shannon Airport helicopter, Wendy Touton was airlifted for medical attention due to the effects of hypothermia and the four remaining crew were taken to Baltimore Harbour where they were re-united with the 16 crew rescued by the Baltimore Lifeboat.
"It was a scary moment. One that I will never forget," admitted Mick Harvey. "I can't begin to tell you how relieved I am that all of the crew are safe. The town of Baltimore has given us a wonderful welcome. I can not thank our rescuers and the people of this lovely village enough. Wendy is in Kerry Hospital and doing fine, I am just so relieved that everybody is okay."
Baltimore RNLI in Major Rescue Operation off the Cork Coast
Baltimore RNLI lifeboat crew were involved in a major rescue operation this evening (Monday 15 August 2011) when a 100 ft yacht capsized during the famous Fastnet race with a crew of 21 onboard. Five of the crew were missing when the lifeboat arrived on scene while the remaining sixteen were huddled together on the upturned hull.
The Baltimore RNLI lifeboat was out on exercise near the Fastnet rock when they were alerted by Valentia Coast Guard that an emergency signal had been picked up. The lifeboat volunteer crew under Coxswain Keiron Cotter proceeded to the area and started a search.
About sixteen miles southwest of Baltimore and five miles south of the Fastnet the lifeboat crew spotted the upturned yacht with the sixteen crewmembers on the hull. They told the lifeboat volunteers that five of their crew had drifted away from the yacht. After a short search the Coxswain returned to the scene and recovered the casualties onboard. They had been there for approximately three hours since their yacht capsized shortly after 5.30pm.
The other five crewmembers who were missing had managed to tether themselves together and were spotted in the water by the Baltimore deputy mechanic Jerry Smith who had taken out his own Dive boat to join in the search. One of the five was airlifted by the Irish Coast Guard helicopter to receive medical attention.
The remaining twenty were brought ashore at Balimore Harbour and taken to the local sailing club to be assessed. Baltimore RNLI Coxswain Keiron Cotter said, "We had no idea what we were looking for and it was extremely hard to spot the upturned yacht in the water. They had been there for about three hours with other vessels in the race passing nearby but not being able to see them.
We were out on exercise in the area where they capsized and we must have just missed them by minutes. We saw a light in the distance and did not know what it was so we went closer to investigate it. When we got nearer we saw that it was a torch the casualties were flashing to attract attention. Our priority was to get them back to shore as quickly as possible." -- Niamh Stephenson, Divisional Media Relations Manager
RAN Looking Good For Second Victory
Following the arrival of the 100 foot supermaxi ICAP Leopard (GBR) this morning, so the first of the Mini Maxis arrived in Plymouth this afternoon in the form of 2009 Rolex Fastnet Race winner, Ran (GBR).
The Judel Vrolijk 72 campaigned by Skype co-founder Niklas Zennstrom crossed the line off Plymouth at 12:53:44 BST, in an elapsed time of 2 days 3 minutes, and 44 seconds.
Ran benefitted from the retirements yesterday of 80-foot Beau Geste (HKG) and 68-foot Alegre (GBR). According to Gavin Brady, Beau Geste was forced to pull out when some cracking developed in her deck and with conditions set to build around the Fastnet Rock and the onset of night, they chose to err on the side of prudence, the boat this afternoon was back in Gosport.
While they had been putting miles on Alegre behind them, Ran was on Beau Geste's tail when she retired. Navigator Steve Hayles says they would have had a tough time holding on to Beau Geste reaching back from the Rock; however, despite lively conditions with the wind peaking at 30 knots, their luck with the weather could not have been better for their rounding of the Rock.
According to Zennstrom, before the race start the forecast was indicating that this year's Rolex Fastnet Race would not just be a big boat race, but a 'very big' boat race, so they were looking ahead at Beau Geste, ICAP Leopard and Rambler 100, rather than at the smaller boats behind them. With two of these retired, Ran looks to be a strong contender for successfully defending her Rolex Fastnet Race title this year.
After the Volvo Open 70s arrival early this morning, later there was an equally close finish between the first three IMOCA Open 60s. This contest for the boats best known for being sailed singlehanded around the world in the Vendee Globe, was won by 2004-5 Vendee Globe winner Vincent Riou in his orange PRB (FRA). She was less than four minutes ahead of Virbac Paprec 3 (FRA) skippered by Jean-Pierre Dick, two-time winner of the Barcelona World Race, in turn less than two minutes ahead of two-time Velux 5 Oceans solo round-the-world race winner, Bernard Stamm on his Cheminees Poujoulat (SUI).
The next boats set to finish in Class Zero are the STP65 Vanquish (USA), while the Swiss TP52 Near Miss late this afternoon was off the Scilly Isles. But based on times taken at the Fastnet Rock, Ran remains ahead on corrected time. In IRC 1, the Swan 62 Uxorious IV (GBR) leads under IRC, while of the eight boats to have rounded in IRC 2, the A40 Vitaris Response (FRA) was in front.
With an area of high pressure encroaching over the Celtic Sea, the wind is forecast to continue veering into the north and then northeast tonight and lightening over the next 24 hours, with, in stark contrast to what the frontrunners experienced, precious little wind at the Fastnet Rock tomorrow afternoon.
As of 1900 BST, 13 boats have finished the race; approximately 273 were still racing, and 28 have retired.
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5.5 World Champions Decided After Six Races
This year edition of the 5.5 Metre World Championship marked the 50th Anniversary milestone of the Class. Nine nations were represented in the regatta hosted by the NJK yacht club.
The Finnish team took the lead the first day and kept leading the fleet the entire championship totalizing 12 points after six races allowing them to not compete in the last race.
This is the first ever victory of a Finnish boat in the 5.5 Worlds!
Finishing in second position: Norwegian and multiple-time world champion Kristian Nergaard with 16 points and in third place Swiss Jurg Menzi with 31 points.
In the Evolution division, Germany finished in first place and the winner in the Classic division is Italy.
International Canoe World Championships
The International Canoe World Championships were held as part of Travemunde week on the German Baltic coast. This is the first World Championship since the International Canoe class returned to the box rule format it has traditionally used. The International Canoes race in two divisions: the majority in the spinnaker free International Canoe, which comprises both boats built to the new development rule and the old one design rule set, and the Asymmetric Canoe (AC), carrying a large spinnaker and retaining the one design hull.
There has been little International racing between the strong International centres of the class since the new rules were adopted two years ago so there was little in the form book and a great deal of interest in what features would be fast. Sadly the strong Australian fleet was largely absent with budget problems and there was limited participation from Swedish canoes. The German fleet contained a strong contingent of female and younger sailors, all of which bodes well for the future.
Although Travemunde has a reputation for strong breeze three of the race days featured fairly light and shifty conditions. The other two more than made up for that though!
The box rules boats, with an all up weight of 50kg dominated, taking the first 8 places, with the first One design, sailed by Simon Allen from GBR taking 9th slot. Chris Maas (USA) clocked up 6 wins out of the 10 races in self-designed IC, but it was no walkover... Peter Ullman (GER) (also in a Maas design) won 2 races and was unlucky not to win more while Colin Brown (GBR), won one race in a Phil Morrison design and showed devastating downwind speed, but suffered from having sailed his boat only twice before the event.
Alistair Warren (GBR) sailing an almost untried boat to his own design was also consistently in the top 3 or 4. The strongest wind race was won by Chris Hampe (GBR) who led from start to finish following a pin end port tack start, clearly finding the stronger winds to his liking.
Others seen at the front were David Clark (USA), sailing a tortured ply/carbon design that resembled a dart, with an long and fine bow built to a design by his father (Steve Clark of C Class notoriety), Phil Robin in his Morrison design and David´s older brother, Willy, sailing a Josie design, who enjoyed the windier days.
The 7 ACs was dominated by British sailors, with Dave Timson winning 6 of the races and taking the title, but being challenged all the way by Arne Stahl from Germany who took second overall with other challenges from British sailors Steve Bowen and Rob Bell. The last race was spectacular with pitchpoles a plenty, with the race being won by Peter McLaren, who sensibly kept his spinnaker in its chute!
IC (OD) results
2011 Knickerbocker Cup
Teams that have been invited to this year's event, listed in order of their ISAF ranking:
Reuben Corbett, Aon Racing, NZL, ISAF ranking: 14
This year the Knickerbocker Cup is part of a series of four consecutive match races (last year it was a 3-series event called the Trifecta). Event organizers from Manhasset Bay YC (MBYC) along with Chicago Match Race Center (CMRC), Bayview YC (BYC) and Oakcliff Sailing Center (OSC) announced in early spring the inaugural North American GRAND SLAM Match Racing Series for 2011. The team with the best combined scores from match racing events raced at each venue will receive an invitation to the 2012 Congressional Cup at Long Beach YC, the oldest ISAF Grade 1 prize money event in the United States. Four competitors will race in all four events: Taylor Canfield (ISV), Laurie Jury (NZL), Nicholai Sehested (DEN) and William Tiller (NZL). Five teams have an outside shot at the Grand Slam as they are competing in two events: Robbie Allam (GBR), Mike Buckley (USA), Olli-Pekka Lumjarvi (FIN), Dave Perry (USA) and Shawn Ryan (USA).
The Knickerbocker Cup Foundation is happy to extend an invitation to the community again this year to watch the races on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 27-28. Boat tours are free and open to the public on a first come, first served basis.
Seahorse September 2011
Olympic and small boat news - Solid gold
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Sovereign Ski Topper World Championship
The first day of the 2011 Sovereign Ski Topper World Championship at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland dawned bright and sunny with a gentle south west F3-4, but forecast to build. Competitors had travelled from every corner of the UK, Ireland and as far as Korea and numbered 174. The plan was to race a round robin as three flights (Yellow, Blue and Red) for the first two qualifying days before being split into Gold, Silver and Bronze fleets for the final three championships days..
At 11:45 the first yellow flight was away under a black flag start after a general recall of the enthusiastic sailors. This was followed by the blue flight which had a few individual recalls and finally the red flight. Victory in the first race of the championships went to Yellow: Danielle Thomas (GBR), Blue: Calum Healy (GBR) and Red: Laura Gilmore (GBR).
With 8 knots from the south-west reported on the course, Race 2 got underway quickly. The promised stronger winds weren't materialising, though odd gusts swept across the race course with some big shifts to catch out the unwary. In general though, the effects of tide had to be uppermost in the sailors' minds both at the start and around the course. Race 2 winners were Yellow: Liam Glynn (IRL), Blue: Dan Venables (GBR) and Red: Matt Venables (GBR) - and yes, Matt and Dan are brothers...
The final race of the day, Race 3, was run in similar conditions, with race wins going to Yellow: Edward Higson (GBR), Blue: Danielle Rowe (GBR) and Red: Lawrence Logan (GBR).
With some shifty conditions and reasonable tide some sailors were delighted with excellent results whilst others may be looking for some better winds tomorrow.
Overnight the leaders were the two brothers: 1st place Matt Venables (GBR) posting a 2nd, 1st, and 2nd. In 2nd place Dan Venables (GBR) posting a 5th, 1st and 2nd. In 3rd place William Tarn-Chapman (GBR) posting a 4th, 2nd and 2nd. -- Phil Harland
Kiss In A Class Of Her Own
Pierre Gal has successfully raced in the Meridien Marinas Airlie Beach Race week before but yesterday's win was his most impressive result so far.
He stuck to a race plan to keep Kiss sailing fast inside the bow on current during the multi tacking long windward slog to the White Rock rounding mark.
"Having sailed this course before and paying the penalty for spending time sailing against current taught us a good lesson" Gal said.
As expected these tactics proved to provide the hard working Kiss crew with the winning edge which was extended on the thrilling 12 nautical mile spinnaker run to the finish.
Kiss which was steered to take full advantage of the Northerly current and the building South East trade wind left her major championship rivals Stealthy and Blokes World struggling to make any impression on her dominating down wind speed
The Kiss crew were in a class on their own stretching the lead to record their fifth consecutive line honours win while also leading the championship on corrected handicap with the consistent 1-3-1-2-2 score.
Blokes World, Stealthy and the smaller Geelong sports boat Monkey Business skippered by Cam Rae remain in contention however they will need to sail on the pace with the Kiss crew who appear to have the boat speed to win the series. -- Ian Grant
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