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An Epic Day Of Racing
Three capsizes tell the story of an epic final race in the Plymouth AC Preliminaries with winds gusting close to 30 knots (35 mph; 55 kph) across Plymouth Sound. The race course was pushed up close to The Hoe, and once again, the crowds on the hill were rewarded with thrilling racing just meters from shore.
The blustery conditions pushed the crews and the boats to their limits, and in some cases beyond. Three teams capsized; the French Aleph, Team Korea and just meters from the finish, Spain's Green Comm Racing. In each case, the crews escaped unscathed, the boats, with minor damage to their wings.
During the race, the ORACLE Racing Spithill crew had many near misses and was lucky not to capsize as they passed the first mark with the lead. Other boats challenged them for their early advantage, with first Artemis Racing, then Emirates Team New Zealand taking their turn at the head of the fleet. But it was a game of least mistakes, a war of attrition that eventually went back in favor of James Spithill and his ORACLE team.
France's Energy Team sailed a strong race to finish fourth, after battling around the course with Russell Coutts for a podium spot. China Team too, sailed well in the conditions to finish in fifth place. Artemis Racing, meanwhile, was forced to retire, moments after relinquishing the lead on the second lap of the course, with equipment problems.
While Spithill won the race, his rival Dean Barker's second place was sufficient to give victory to the Kiwis in the Plymouth AC Preliminaries.
In Sunday's AC500 Speed Trials, it looked like the Kiwis had it in the bag with two great runs while others were spinning off the race track. James Spithill's words nearly came back to haunt him as the ORACLE AC45 flipped right on to its edge - there were a few moments of doubt as to whether it would capsize - before it slapped back down on its floats.
With Spithill out of contention in the speed trials, it was up to the remaining teams - and ORACLE Racing Coutts in particular - to take the fight to the Kiwis. Once again Russell Coutts had the bit between his teeth and turned in a scorching final run to post a winning time of 37:48 seconds.
Monday and Tuesday are off days at the America's Cup World Series - Plymouth allowing the teams a chance to rest and repair both man and machine. Racing resumes on Wednesday with qualifying races for the Plymouth AC Match Race Championship.
Results - Plymouth AC Preliminaries
All racing can be seen live on www.youtube.com/americascup
Countdown To Second Edition
Armchair sailors, whether on the other side of Newport harbor or the other side of the globe, can follow the racing this week by checking out the new event website - www.invitationalcup.org . Configured to be "mobile friendly," the event site includes information on the 22 competing yacht club teams, crew lists, photos and news. You can follow along on Twitter or "Like" the event on Facebook. Once racing begins, live race tracking via Kattack, blog posts and daily video will become available on the event website.
NYYC's Harbour Court will host 22 yacht clubs - representing 16 nations from six different continents - with racing on NYYC Swan 42s on Rhode Island Sound and Narragansett Bay from September 10-17, 2011.
The roster of participating teams is:
In addition to Rolex, which for 2011 and 2013 is the presenting sponsor, Sperry Top-Sider and Nautor's Swan have also returned, and are joined by Atlantis WeatherGear, as sponsors to enhance the experience of competitors as well as those who will be following the races.
An Absorbing Interest. The America's Cup A History: Available Once More
Take a look inside and read two chapters at www.wileynautical.com/americascup
As the world's leading regatta circuit reaches its climax the lead of Quantum Racing (USA) is a mere 3.5pts over Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA).
But with only 18 points separating the top four teams - Quantum Racing, Audi Azzurra Sailing Team, Container and Bribon - on the overall standings, the reality is that any one of these four teams harbour realistic hopes of winning the 2011 Audi MedCup Circuit title.
Second placed Audi Azzurra Sailing Team are not light on match racing talent. Tactician Francesco Bruni (ITA) until recently topped this season's World Match Racing rankings and has two America's Cup campaigns to his credit.
Beyond match racing, Container's skipper-helm Markus Wieser (GER) and trimmer Matti Paschen (GER) arrived in Barcelona buoyed by just having won the Dragon Gold Cup for the first time, whilst Bribon (ESP) prepare for their swansong regatta on owner's Jose Cusi's home waters unbeaten for the last two regattas, winners of the Copa del Rey and last month's Region of Murcia-Cartagena Trophy Regatta.
Those top teams field largely unchanged crew line ups but, in their bid to make their final regatta of the season their best, others have changed key roles.
Synergy Russian Sailing Team's management have brought 1988 Olympic gold medallist Thierry Peponnet (FRA) out of the coach boat in to the role of tactician to work with new navigator Johan Barne (SWE).
Barne was America's Cup navigator with Victory Challenge, but is an accomplished match race crew as well as a Soling Olympic crew who finished fifth in 1992 on these same waters. On Niklas Zennstrom's Ran (GBR/SWE), Morgan Larson (USA) steps on board as tactician replacing Gavin Brady (NZL).
Tony Langley's British flagged Gladiator return to the Audi MedCup Circuit with Tomasso Chieffi (ITA) as tactician.
The Soto 40 fleet has mustered a season maximum of six boats with a host of potential owners visiting Barcelona to sail, several lined up to order boats for next season.
Pedro Mendonca's Portuguese Bigamist crew raced in their native Cascais but return to Barcelona to race. They compete with the former XXII but the team which is skippered by Afonso Domingos (POR) have chosen not to carry forward XXII's points, but instead starting afresh. This is understood to be because of their investment in five new sails which maximises their potential to win here, but exceeds the sail button allowance for XXII. -- Andi Robertson
Tornado European Championship
Every day just in time for lunch the southern thermals came through and gave the Tornado sailors excellent sailing conditions. It was certainly one of the most beautiful championships the Tornado class has had for years. The competitors managed 10 races over the four day championships.
Many of the teams came to the Alps expecting it to be tactically better to go down one side as per usual. They were taught a lesson very quickly, almost every cross had different tactical options. Compared to neighbouring lakes; Lake of Como is tactically more interesting. The wind strength was certainly not as stable, but there is something for everyone. The wind conditions varied from 6 to 26 knots.
After 10 races it was the Greek Olympic veterans Iordanis Paschalidis and Konstantinos Trigonis who took the European victory for the fourth time in a row.
In the last few races, the mixed World Champions Roland and Nahid Gaebler had their chance to take the lead in the championships. After an excellent race start they were ahead of the Greeks, who after 9 races were only one point ahead in the series. One botched turn and then the Greeks went away to leeward and there was no chance to overtake them again.
Final results (top 10)
1. Iordanis Paschalidis, Konstantinos Trigonis, GRE
Clipper Race 3: Rio De Janeiro To Cape Town
After a first night of close racing in fluky winds in the 3,300-mile race from Rio de Janeiro to Cape Town, the ten internationally-backed teams are getting back into the routine of life at sea after a memorable stopover in Brazil.
In the group at the front of the fleet which has opted to close reach on a south south easterly course, Qingdao, Welcome to Yorkshire and De Lage Landen are racing in close quarters with just two nautical miles separating the three boats.
Despite a delayed start yesterday after a crew member was taken ill, Welcome to Yorkshire has managed to secure an enviable position at the front of the fleet. Rupert Dean's team was slightly delayed as they dropped their sails half an hour before the start and returned to the marina to drop off crew member Keith Pickering, who had fallen ill and needed medical treatment ashore.
The Race Committee held the start line open and the 15-and-a-half minute delay did not damage the English boat's chances in the second transatlantic race in Clipper 11-12 as the rest of the fleet had to change course to avoid a tanker entering the harbour.
Race 3 from Rio de Janeiro includes a Scoring Gate, with the boats crossing first, second and third winning three, two and one bonus points respectively, and an Ocean Sprint between five degrees west and two degrees east - approximately 420 miles as the albatross flies - with another bonus point available to the fastest crew to cover the distance.
The fleet is expected to arrive in Cape Town between 26 and 29 September where they will be berthed at the famous Victoria and Alfred Waterfront until the start of Leg 3 to Geraldton in Western Australia on 5 October.
Positions at 1200 UTC, Sunday 11 September
Boat - Distance to Finish
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Final Day Decisive at Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup
Porto Cervo, Italy: The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2011 concluded Saturday with the victory of Claus Peter Offen's Y3K (GER) in the Wally division, Danilo Salsi's DSK Pioneer Investments (ITA) in the Racing/Cruising division, Nilaya (GBR) in the Supermaxi division and Sir Irvine Laidlaw's Highland Fling (GBR) in the Maxi Racing fleet. The winner of the Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship, for the second year running, was Niklas Zennstrom with his 72 foot Ràn 2 (GBR).
Despite a second day of light and shifty winds, the YCCS Race Committee was able to fit in two windward-leeward races for the Mini Maxi and Wally divisions and a coastal race of 24 miles for the remaining divisions once the north-easterly breeze stabilized in the early afternoon.
George Sakellaris' Shockwave gained their second bullet of the series in the first Mini Maxi race of the day but Ràn 2 was right back on form in the second and final race to take their fourth victory of the series. Zennstrom's boat led the overall classification from day one and finished with a comfortable lead while Alegre (GBR), Shockwave (USA) and Jethou (GBR) fought it out for the rest of the silverware. A second and a third place today assured second place overall for Alegre ahead of Shockwave.
Elsewhere in the fleet, J One (GBR), owned by Jean Charles Decaux, took their first bullet of the week in the first windward-leeward for the Wally division while Thomas Bscher's (GER) Open season claimed their first victory in today's final race. Thanks to two bullets at the start of the week Claus Peter Offen's Y3K took the top spot overall.
The remaining divisions sailed their fourth coastal course around the islands of the La Maddalena archipelago.
In the Maxi Racing division everything came down to today's final confrontation between the two competing yachts. Highland Fling just managed to squeeze past Igor Simcic's Esimit Europa 2 on corrected time today to claim first place overall and the Rolex trophy.
In the Maxi Racing/Cruising division too, the final head-to-head between DSK and Aegir saw the Italian boat triumph today to climb back into the overall lead by just one point.
The Supermaxi division saw Albert Bull's 45.2 metre Saudade (GER) complete the course in the fastest time today but overall victory went to the 2010 custom sloop Nilaya which dominated the division from day one.
Wind Puts The "Big" In Rolex Series
San Francisco, California, USA: Sailors at the Rolex Big Boat Series sensed it was going to be a difficult day when they showed up at the St. Francis Yacht Club this morning and it was already blowing a hooley. For the last two days it had taken at least until an early fog lifted for the wind to reach its peaks in the 20s, but this morning it blew 20-25 right out of the box, with gusts nearing 28 even before the first race start at 11 a.m. The result of it never letting up was a good amount of carnage on the race course and some losers as well as winners in the battle between man and Mother Nature.
The first boat back to the dock with damage was Scooter Simmons' (Belvedere, Calif.) Blackhawk, which was leading the 21-boat J/105 fleet going into today; the boat was t-boned after a classic port/starboard crossing went awry. "Whisper (skippered by Marc Vayn of San Francisco) was on port and looked to be ducking us, but I guess his mainsheet got stuck or something and he couldn't avoid hitting us," said Simmons, nodding to the port-side gash in his hull topped by a tumble of stanchions. "Our goal is to seek redress for both of today's races and get this fixed before tomorrow." Redress was later granted, and Blackhawk added a 2-2 to its score, having turned in finish positions of 4-1-2-1 over the last two days. The team still sits atop the scoreboard with Jason Woodley/Scott Whitney's (Tiburon, Calif.) Risk in second, a full 12 points behind.
Bartz Schneider's (Crystal Bay, Nev.) team aboard Expeditious, which was four points out of first in the Express 37 class going into today, suffered a horrific spinnaker broach in race one and had to call it quits.
While riggers and sail makers had already been working serious hours over the last two days, they were sure to be burning the midnight oil this evening. Richard Courcier's (Tahoe City, Calif.) Farr 36 Wicked came back to the dock after it lost its spinnaker sheet as well as its control in 34 knots of breeze. "We are running out of sails," said Courcier, "but we hit 20.1 knots, a new boat speed record for us!" The crew aboard Bob Harford's Express 37 Stewball said it was a 30+ gust that caused them to break their spinnaker pole and lose a man overboard. "We did our man overboard drill, gathered our wits about us and finished," said crew member Pete Belghaus (Alameda, Calif.), adding that a torn main also helped force the decision to sit out the second race. Meanwhile, John Clauser's (Walnut Creek, Calif.) ID 48 Bodacious had bailed before the start of the first race.
Full results at www.rolexbigboatseries.com
Running The Rhumblines
The 2011 Optimist Australian championship Bronze Medallist who personally built his own career from an intense program of training and racing on Pioneer Bay to become one of the best in the Nation has the proven talent to pass this knowledge on to other members of the Whitsunday Sailing Club junior squad.
Heading the squad will be his younger sister Eva (12) already recognised among the best female Optimist skippers following her selection to represent Australia earlier this year.
Both Klaus and Eva have a unique bond with Eva who has measured her career on racing and training against her older brother as the important path towards improving her tactics and technique has now become a special student in the Klaus Lorenz trained Optimist dinghy racing team.
Klaus who turned 15 on May 22 has made the important career decision to step up into the Olympic 420 dinghy class racing program with his good mate and previous Optimist rival Ollie Annear (14) however he remains determined to help the young WSC Optimist team gain the knowledge to improve and enjoy their fleet racing.
The exceptionally dedicated self-taught sailor who has shown it is possible to develop a career from endless hours of mid-week sailing after school hours with his tenacious kid sister Eva has the proven experience to wear the title as the Optimist team coach.
Sure Klaus appreciates the support from his parents WSC Life Member Jim Hayes and Yachting Queensland Youth development coach Ben Callard but while there commitment has been important he has added the personal touch to become recognised among Queensland's best young dinghy sailors.
Later this month Klaus Lorenz and Ollie Annear will make their 420 class debut in the Yachting Queensland State Youth championships while Eva will contest the Optimist class series on the Keppel Bay Sailing Club courses off Yeppoon.
As expected they Whitsunday Sailing Club team will be racing against the best youth sailors in Queensland however they are physically and mentally prepared to retain their places in the youth development squad.
Racing in the 420 will be a new learning curve for skipper Klaus Lorenz and sail handler Ollie Annear however as they have learnt from the competitive Optimist fleet racing that the major results are only achieved from endless hours of practice.
"Ollie and I are close mates and understand what it will take to start our 420 career from being the "new boys' in the fleet but we are ready for the challenge". Klaus Lorenz said.
The Queensland Youth Championships will provide Klaus Lorenz and Ollie Annear with an important bench mark on their boat speed as they prepare to contest the open Australian championship on the Moreton Bay Boat Club courses in late December. -- Ian Grant
For The Record
Record: Singlehanded Around Australia
Comments: This is the initial Singlehanded Around Australia world record. There have been 2 previous unsuccessful attempts both involving stops and assistance, which removed them from the singlehanded category.
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