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Transat Jacques Vabre : Start On Hold But The Show Goes On
A series of bad Atlantic low pressure systems put paid to the scheduled start of the tenth edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre, the biennial double handed race from Le Havre to Puerto Limon, Costa Rica. The race start has been postponed and will not go before Wednesday.
A decision to hold the start was taken this morning. After a meeting with the skippers of all three divisions, Class 40, Multi 50 and the IMOCA Open 60's, the race organisers and race direction, Race Director Jean Maurel confirmed the decision to postpone the start until the outlook improves.
While the forecasts which will hold the fleet in the Paul Vatine Basin at least until Wednesday predict a very deep depression which will generate stormy conditions for at least 48 hours mid-week in the Atlantic, the weather around the Bay of Le Havre could scarcely have been better for a substitute 13 miles prologue race which was contested for the tens of thousands of spectators featuring all 35 boats from the 3 racing divisions.
Under a watery Autumn sunshine, powered by a light breeze of 7-12kts, it was the reigning Transat Jacques Vabre IMOCA Open 60 title holders Safran with Marc Guillemot and Yann Elies which won, Lionel Lemonchois and Matthieu Souben on Prince de Bretagne triumphed in the Multi 50's. In Class 40 there was a very encouraging win by the young British duo on Concise 2, Sam Goodchild - the race's youngest skipper - and Ned Collier Wakefield. It is not the first time in the history of short handed oceanic races that the start has been delayed by forecasted bad weather. In 2003 the start of this Transat Jacques Vabre's ORMA Multihull fleet was held in port for five days, while the 2000 Vendee Globe solo round the world race kept the skippers back from starting for four days,
The large very deep depression is forecast to generate stormy conditions for 48 hours: with sustained 45 knots, gusting to 55/60 knots and with heavy seas (at least 8 to 10 m) behind the cold front.
Imoca Open 60 (French unless stated)
First Blood to Abu Dhabi
The crew, led by British skipper and double Olympic silver medallist Ian Walker, romped home to a massive 14-minute win over their closest rivals in the Iberdrola In-Port Race in Alicante, Spain.
PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG were second, ahead of CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand in third. Team Sanya edged Groupama sailing team for fourth, with Team Telefónica coming home sixth.
Immediately on finishing, Groupama informed the race committee they were making a protest against CAMPER. Details of the protest were not immediately available.
Strong winds and pelting rain greeted the teams as they left the dock in Alicante, Spain, but by the time the start gun fired at 1400 local time (1200 UTC-GMT) the weather cleared with a 10-15-knot breeze blowing down the race course.
A dwindling breeze in Alicante Bay confounded the situation on the water as the teams struggled to keep their boats moving. The instability of the breeze led to the race committee shortening the course, and with a substantial lead over their opponents, victory was assured for Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing.
With the race's first ever Emirati, 22-year-old Adil Khalid, waving the flag of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's yacht Azzam crossed the line to claim the first points of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12.
The six teams now have one week to make the final tweaks to their yachts before they set off from Alicante bound for Cape Town, South Africa, the first of nine offshore legs. Leg one starts at 1300 UTC (1400 local time) on November 5 and is expected to take around 21 days to complete.
Iberdrola In-Port Race provisional results:
Position / Team / Time / Points
1. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing / 53 minutes 44 seconds/ 6
David Raison wins the Transat 6.50 Onboard Teamwork Evolution
David Raison took the lead soon after the Cape Verde Islands. He sailed superbly and kept the lead since crossing the Doldrums. He crossed the arrival line 130 miles ahead of his direct opponent, Thomas Normand, and 330 miles ahead of the pack.
David's boat, with her strange looking round nose, has proved to be excellent on this difficult course, and especially when sailing between 60 and 90 degrees from the true wind, where she was simply unbeatable, achieving speeds up to one knot superior to her opponents.
David's victory is in line with the history of the Mini Class, who has seen innovations such as canting keels, ballasts or carbon masts, used today on all race boats. Nobody knows yet whether this type of boats will be seen on other, bigger classes in the future; yet one thing is sure: everyone is going to have to think about it.
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Australian Victory On Home Soil
The team finished Race 4 of the 40,000-mile circumnavigation, the world's longest ocean race, at 0704 local time this morning (2304UTC Saturday), under clear blue skies, racing in towards the finish line off the Geraldton shore at more than 11 knots.
In addition to the ten points for winning this race Gold Coast Australia also secured three bonus points for being the first team to reach the Scoring Gate. Visit Finland denied them a clean sweep by beating them in the Ocean Sprint.
Their arrival in Geraldton marks the end of a gruelling, three-and-a-half-week, 4,800-mile (7,680-kilometre) race across one of the planet's most feared and forbidding expanses of ocean during which they had to dodge icebergs and deal with mountainous waves whipped up by winds of up to 70 knots.
The yachts will spend the week in Geraldton before setting sail for Tauranga in New Zealand. It is a much anticipated return visit to the West Australian port that became an instant hit with the crews when the city hosted its inaugural stopover during the last edition of the event, Clipper 09-10.
Dutch entry, De Lage Landen, is expected to arrive in Geraldton tomorrow, with six more of the teams, including the home yacht, Geraldton Western Australia, anticipated on Tuesday and the final two on Wednesday morning.
Race 5 from Geraldton to Tauranga, New Zealand, will begin on Sunday 6 November.
Standings after Race 3 - including Race 4 bonus points
The Fields and BSL Take First Place in GOR Leg 1
At 05:13:25 GMT on Friday 28 October, Ross and Campbell Field took first place in Leg 1 of the double-handed, Class40 Global Ocean Race (GOR) crossing the finish line in Cape Town after 32 days 17 hours 13 minutes and 25 seconds and 7,300 miles of racing from Palma, Mallorca, on their Verdier-design Class40 BSL averaging 9.3 knots and finishing 89 miles ahead of Halvard Mabire and Miranda Merron on Campagne de France.
Following a final sail change off Lion's Head, swapping from spinnaker to jib, BSL beat on port tack passed Signal Hill and across the finish line off Cape Town shortly after sunrise. GOR Race Organisation officials boarded the Class40 to congratulate the duo and check that the engine seals installed pre-start were in place before the Fields dropped their sails and motored into Victoria Basin, through Alfred Basin and into the GOR Race Base at North Wharf in the V&A Waterfront Marina.
Clearly exhausted, showing signs of significant weight loss, but on characteristically good form, Ross and Campbell Field admitted that they had little left to give: "We're absolutely stuffed, I'll be honest," said Ross shortly after berthing at North Wharf. "It's all due to Halvard and Miranda as they're clever sailors and know where to position their boat," he continues. "We knew that we'd have a chance to peg them back once we got into the Southern Hemisphere and the reaching conditions suited our boat, but we had to push really hard - it's absolutely crucial. If you don't push 120 per cent, you're gone and - fortunately - Campbell did excellent work on the weather." Campbell Field reckons that if Campagne de France had extended over 40 miles ahead, the door would have shut: "There's always more pressure when you're chasing," he believes. "At times we were hanging on by our fingernails."
BSL has scored a total of 35 points for Leg 1 (5 points for crossing the Fastnet Marine Insurance Scoring Gate in 2nd place + 30 points for 1st place in Leg 1).
The second Class40, Campagne de France was 71 miles from Cape Town at 09:00 GMT with a finish line ETA of Friday evening. -- Oliver Dewar
Spanish Castle to White Night - Now an Ebook
Eighty eight men set off from beneath the ramparts of Alicante's Castle of Santa Barbara, but only 36 would journey the full 37,000 miles to finish in the White Nights of St Petersburg. Japan's Black Tide, brutal weather, injuries and even the credit crunch all took their toll.
This is the story of the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09, ripping and roaring through the seven seas - from Spain, past Africa and on to Asia, round the Americas and back to Europe. It's a story of endurance, deprivation and adventure, a story of winners and losers, those who made it and those who did not.
Available now on the Amazon Kindle:
Hempel 38th Gosford to Lord Howe Island Yacht Race
Three yachts entered for this year's Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, The Stick, Wild Oats and Quetzalcoatl, are tonight leading heading the line honours, IRC and PHS handicap standings in the Hempel 38th Gosford to Lord Howe Island Race across the Tasman Sea.
The modified Open 66 The Stick, skippered by Richard Christian, at 2030 hours tonight (8.30pm) was only 113 nautical miles from the finish of the 414 nautical mile race which started from Broken Bay at 1300 hours (1pm) on Saturday.
The Stick won't break the race record of 34 hours 52 minutes set by Getaway Sailing in 2006, but the 21m sloop is on course to set the fastest time since then.
The satellite tracker on each of the eight yachts indicates that while The Stick's boatspeed has slowed down since passing the halfway mark early this afternoon, she is still making 9.6 knots on a north-easterly course towards Lord Howe Island.
The Stick has sailed 130 nautical miles between 0900 hours this morning and 2030 hours this evening, close reaching in a north-westerly breeze. She is more than 50nm ahead of the next boat in the fleet, Peter Tucker's Mummery 45 Icefire. Ten miles astern of Icefire is Quetzalcoatl, skippered by Antony Sweetapple, followed closely by Frantic (Michael Martin).
On corrected times, Roger Hickman's 1993 Sydney Hobart winner Wild Rose heads the IRC division from Greg Zyner's Copernicus and Icefire.
Quetzalcoatl is leading the PHS division on handicap from The Stick and the 40-year-old Cole 43 Polaris of Belmont, skippered by Chris Dawe from the Gosford Sailing Club.
The Stick, Wildfire and Quetzalcoatl are all from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, Copernicus from Manly Yacht Club. -- Peter Campbell
Ardnamurchan Viking Boat Burial Discovery 'A First'
The site, at Ardnamurchan, is thought to be more than 1,000 years old.
Artefacts buried alongside the Viking in his boat suggest he was a high-ranking warrior.
The term "fully-intact", used to describe the find, means the remains of the body along with objects buried with it and evidence of the boat used were found and recovered.
The Ardnamurchan Viking was found buried with an axe, a sword with a decorated hilt, a spear, a shield boss and a bronze ring pin.
About 200 rivets - the remains of the boat he was laid in - were also found.
Previously, boat burials in such a condition have been excavated at sites on Orkney.
Other finds in the 5m-long (16ft) grave in Ardnamurchan included a knife, what could be the tip of a bronze drinking horn, a whetstone from Norway, a ring pin from Ireland and Viking pottery.
Viking specialist Dr Colleen Batey, from the University of Glasgow, has said the boat was likely to be from the 10th Century AD.
OK Dinghy World Ranking List
This release includes the World Championships, as well as National Championships in Denmark, Belgium, Poland, Sweden, Great Britain and France. The previous dominant nation, New Zealand, failed to show up in any numbers in Largs, so many have largely dropped out of the all important top 20. They will have to up their game and send a good fleet of boats to the 2012 World Championship in Denmark to get some ranking sailors back in the top 20.
Despite winning the World Championship and the British nationals, Nick Craig (GBR) drops from first to fourth, mainly because he has to count other low scoring regattas compared with Thomas Hansson Mild (SWE) in second and Alistair Deaves (NZL) in third. -- Robert Deaves
Top 10 (out of 416)
1. Greg Wilcox, NZL
Running The Rhumblines
During the past year Klaus Lorenz sailing the singlehanded Optimist dinghy finished third in the Australian championship contested on the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club courses on the Pittwater (North of Sydney).
Since then he and his good mate Ollie Annear have made the career decision to focus their careers on the 420 Class and possible future selection in the Australian Youth Team. This represents a huge challenge for the teenage Airlie Beach crew who stand alone as the only 420 crew currently racing in North Queensland.
However they have shown the personal commitment to practice at every available opportunity including after school sessions on Pioneer Bay to make sure they will be competitive.
Practice time is important and while they face a tough task the crew understand that top fleet results are achieved by the crews who spend the endless hours on the training track.
When Klaus Lorenz announced that he and Ollie Annear were stepping up to race in the 420 class there were no promises or misconception about their results.
"We will face a total new learning curve however Ollie and I have been good sailing mates and that is a good start". Klaus Lorenz said.
They will face a supreme test of tactical racing skill when they line up for the 2011-12 Australian championship on the Moreton Bay Boat Club courses over the open waters of Deception Bay. But both sailors who spent their Optimist dinghy careers racing in similar conditions on Pioneer Bay will be aware that most of their rivals will also be racing on unfamiliar waters.
However Klaus understands the importance of achieving smart starts in clear wind and sea space and this will be a tactical priority when they test their boat speed against the best crews in the Nation.
The teenage Whitsunday sailors have already been welcomed into the friendly fellowship of the 420 class sailing family and will not be alone when the battle lines are drawn to decide the new National champion.
They will have access to advice from the Queensland Academy of Sport coach Adrian Finglas who as a former Australian 420 champion has helped to guide the Queensland team to achieve outstanding results at the national championships. -- Ian Grant
Pearson Books Place in RYA National Match Racing Series Grand Final
In near perfect match racing conditions of a steady eight knots on the Saturday, increasing on the Sunday to a testing 16-18 knots for the deciding battles, the 24-year-old skipper from Poole demonstrated his match racing experience over the course of the weekend to book his spot in the Series grand final next month (18-20 November), which is to be held at the same venue, Queen Mary Sailing Club.
The final was fiercely contested on Sunday with gusts of up to 18 knots adding to an exhilarating climax.
The RYA National Match Racing Series Final will take place at Queen Mary Sailing Club on 18-20 November. Pearson will join skippers Robbie Allam, James French, Lucy Macgregor, Nick Cherry, Rob Gullan, Mark Campbell-James, Tom Phipps and Charlotte Lawrence.
2011 RYA National Match Racing Qualifier 1 (QMSC) results:
1. Sam Pearson
For further information on this event and for the RYA National Match Racing Series Final visit www.rya.org.uk/racing and follow the links to 'Keelboat Match Racing'.
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