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Escape From Guadeloupe - RORC Caribbean 600
Last night, the leading yachts in the RORC Caribbean 600 were approaching Guadeloupe, rising to 1,467 m (4,813 ft) above sea-level, the island produces the most significant wind shadow on the 600-mile racecourse.
The 214ft Baltic ketch Hetairos was the first yacht to Guadeloupe at sunset, powering through the crystal blue waters at 18 knots. George David's RP90, Rambler were just over a mile behind; the crew fully hiked with the big gear up, blast reaching after their monumental competitor. With no moon and substantial cloud cover, the two yachts were sparring for line honours in the pitch-black dark of night as they passed the Soufriere volcano. At first Rambler followed the leaders line but after passing Les Saintes, Hetairos tacked offshore and Rambler did not follow. The defining moment came as Rambler lost speed at La Desirade. Hetairos escaped into the open air of the Atlantic and gained 16 miles on Rambler, a lead that Hetairos is unlikely to give up. Rambler and Hetairos are expected to finish the race early this afternoon.
Handicap race leader and third on the water, Niklas Zennstrom's JV72 Ran made it through the wind shadow of Guadeloupe with some precision last night. The wind in this region is subject to massive changes in direction and Team Ran went through a myriad of moves and sail changes.
Last night, Olivier Vigoureux's 63ft trimaran, Paradox may well have claimed a speed record for the RORC Caribbean 600. Screaming past Montserrat, the French trimaran took on a ballistic surge for half an hour, hitting close to 30 knots of boat speed.
Sad news for two yachts came to light this morning, Christof Petter's Austrian Class 40, Vaquita failed to start correctly and as a result the provisional leader of the Class40 division is Christopher Coatnoan's Partouche, which is also the only Class40 racing Two-Handed. Ron O'Hanley's Cookson 50, Privateer also failed to start correctly which is gutting for the American team on Privateer as they have sailed a great race so far.
Race Tracker: caribbean600.rorc.org/2012-fleet-tracking.html
Event site: caribbean600.rorc.org
Class40 Cessna Citation Rounds Cape Horn
The 28 year-old Kiwi, Colman, and his 41 year-old South African co-skipper, Kuttel, now join the ranks of Cape Horners and take the Felipe Cubillos Trophy in memory of the late Chilean yachtsman and skipper of the first Class40 to round Cape Horn in the 2008-09 GOR.
Colman and Kuttel had pushed hard throughout Tuesday hitting 14-knot averages to beat the gale forecast to hit Cape Horn. They crossed the Felipe Cubillos Cape Horn Gate at 57S, 87 miles south of Horn Island, clipping the southern tip of Latin America's continental shelf and wisely avoiding the shallower water closer to the cape.
In the 15:00 GMT position poll on Wednesday, Cessna Citation was 69 miles south-east of Cape Horn, climbing north-east steeply as the gale approached. "The sea state is still well established, but the wind has moderated for now before building again significantly for a time," says Colman who is already looking beyond Isla de los Estados. "Current routing is unequivocally around the east side of the Falklands," predicts Colman of the obstacle positioned 330 miles down the track.
Meanwhile, 300 miles west of Cessna Citation on Wednesday afternoon in second place on Financial Crisis, the Cape Horn ETA of mid-evening GMT on Wednesday submitted by Marco Nannini and Hugo Ramon became unachievable as the Italian-Spanish duo hove-to at 57S, south-west of the cape to avoid intercepting gale force winds sweeping up from Antarctica.
GOR leaderboard at 15:00 GMT 22/2/12:
1. Cessna Citation, 1363 nm to leg finish, 10.4kts
Volvo Fleet Leaves Luzon Strait
CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand (Chris Nicholson/AUS) led the fleet through the Luzon Strait, passing within a mile of the lighthouse marking the southern tip of Taiwan at 1830 UTC tonight. Groupama 4 (Franck Cammas/FRA) and Telefonica (Iker Martínez/ESP) followed. But, at 2200 UTC tonight a new leader had emerged and Telefonica was in back their customary position as leader of the pack.
The shake up on the leaderboard is due to decisions taken immediately after clearing the Luzon Strait. CAMPER chose the high road north, while Telefonica is 45 nautical miles to their south. Between the two is Groupama 4. PUMA's Mar Mostro (Ken Read/USA) rounded the point in fourth place with Ian Walker and Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing less than a mile behind. At the last position report Team Sanya still had four miles to go.
Progress through the Luzon Strait was slow but at least possible and not the total glass off that the crews feared and speeds have been building out in the Philippine Sea. For the past three hours, CAMPER has averaged 19.3 knots, while those further south have been sailing progressively slower.
"The next part of the leg is about how far east you can get before you dive south towards the Equator," explained Team Sanya's skipper Mike Sanderson/NZL. "How much distance to the finish are you prepared to pay to sail east and how far does that take you?"
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On Friday 17th February, a large crowd of workers, guests, fans, and admirers gathered at Holland Jachtbouw under a sunny sky to see Florine Gongriep, the owner's daughter, smash the Champagne bottle over the keel and "Rainbow" lowered gently into the water. The replica re-build of this original design by William Starling Burgess has been constructed for Chris Gongriep, famous for his race winning "Windrose of Amsterdam". He will campaign the yacht with his experienced, semi-professional crew.
The clean superstructure features brushed stainless steel deck hardware and teak, white-caulked decks. The carbon rig will be stepped in the next few days, in preparation for initial sail trials. Below deck the interior will represent 1930s styling, yet with all modern comforts for 8 guests and 8 crew.
This launch follows a long line of high calibre yachts emenating from the HJB shipyard, such as "Athos", "Calliope" and "Whisper". "Rainbow" has a well respected pedigree. The original W. Starling Burgess design was launched in 1934, at the Herreshoff Yard in Bristol, Rhode Island, USA. She was built to defend the America's Cup against "Endeavour". The first 2 races were tough for "Rainbow", yet she beat "Endeavour" in the last four races to win the series. In 1937 she was sold and then challenged as a contender for the Cup defence. Sadly for her, "Ranger" won and "Rainbow" was sold for scrap in 1940.
"Rainbow's" launch is another big step forward for the J Class: she is the seventh J on the water, with projects still to follow. J Class enthusiasts and fans of these iconic racing yachts can look forward to seeing her on the water this summer when she is expected to line up with five other famous J Class yachts at regattas in Falmouth and the Solent.
Fans relish the prospect of a potential re-run of the 1934 America's Cup races between the original 1934 "Endeavour", fresh from a recent rebuild in New Zealand, and the new "Rainbow".
Clipper 11-12 Race 8: Singapore to Qingdao, China
Line honours were taken by Geraldton Western Australia who crossed the line at 2328 UTC on Tuesday 21 February. They were followed by De Lage Landen just 23 minutes later at 2351 UTC. However, because the Race Committee granted a request from De Lage Landen for redress after suspending racing to assist Gold Coast Australia during a medical emergency, their adjusted elapsed race time was six hours 37 minutes shorter than that of Geraldton Western Australia.
Gold Coast Australia will receive no compensation for the delay during the medevac of two injured crew members and the crew put on a valiant effort to stay on the podium and clawed their way back third place, crossing the finish line at 0143 UTC today.
The fourth and final boat to arrive in Qingdao today was Singapore, the crew still jubilant from winning the Race 8 Ocean Sprint.
Geraldton Western Australia's second place is the team's best result in Clipper 11-12.
With a third place in the last stage and line honours and second place in this one, the crew are really beginning to show their potential. This result is likely to shoot them two places up the leader board to sixth overall.
Positions at 1500 UTC, Wednesday 22 February
1. De Lage Landen, Finished 1651 21 February (elapsed time adjusted for redress)
34th America's Cup Race Course Revealed
The race course area for the 34th America's Cup in San Francisco has been revealed. Stretching across the city shoreline from Piers 27/29 out to near the Golden Gate Bridge, the course will bring the action closer to shore than ever before in the 160 year history of the Cup.
"The input and cooperation we've received from Bay stakeholders and users has been invaluable in allowing us to reach this point," says John Craig, the Principal Race Officer for the America's Cup. "Now we can focus on setting up a race course that will allow the teams to compete and perform in a way that I think will really energize and excite this city."
Tucked between Alcatraz and the city shoreline, the race course offers up-close viewing from any number of locations along the city front, with the Marina Green and Crissy Field among the prime locations. The exact location of the race course area will change slightly on any given day depending on weather conditions.
Environmental buffers and small boat access areas were prime considerations in setting up the racing box. A transit channel has been set up along the shore to allow ferry traffic, boats needing to transit in and out of the marinas as well as commercial fishing boats and other craft, to still operate safely during racing. The restricted area box is expected to be in place for three to four hours a day on scheduled race days.
"Following consultation with numerous Bay users, the Coast Guard have issued a draft Special Local Regulation (now in the 90-day public comment phase), that defines a restricted area where we can safely set up our race course area," Craig says.
Racing in 2013 will take place in the AC72 class; a new breed of America's Cup boats, these wing-sailed catamarans are on the cutting edge of design, engineering and technology. Outrageously fast and requiring a crew with great athleticism as well as vast reserves of courage to sail, the AC72 is designed for thrills… and spills.
The 2013 racing season starts on July 4th, with the Louis Vuitton Cup, the America's Cup Challenger Series, leading up to the America's Cup Finals from September 7th-22nd.
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Etchells Worlds 2012: Home Town Team Lead Internationals
Tom King stamped his name on Sydney back in September 2000 and it seems like he intends doing it again in 2012 as he steered his Iron Lotus team to overall lead on day three of the Etchells World Championship.
Australian skipper King and crew of Ivan Wheen, David Edwards and Owen McMahon have delivered consistent results in the first four races of the championship with a second, sixth, third and second.
Into second place overall comes the Roulette team of USA skipper Jud Smith and Australian crew of Mark Johnson and Nik Burfoot. After a rollercoaster first race day, then no racing yesterday, Smith grabbed a confident first in race one of today and then a third in the shifty second race. His scorecard reads 3, 19, 1 and 3.
Into third overall is Australian Graeme Taylor with crew Steve Jarvin and Grant Simmer. Taylor seemed to have struggled with the heavier breeze today after finishing in 12th and then 10th place. This has given him total points of 27, just one behind Smith. With lighter breezes expected tomorrow, Taylor will be back on pace as long as he can handle the pressure on the start line.
The weather was far more kindly today for the 74-boat fleet contesting the Etchells World Championship 2012. The sea had calmed considerably and the wind was in the range that suited small boat, offshore racing.
There are seven protests being heard tonight. None should affect the top 10 placings.
Top ten after four races:
1. Tom King , AUS, 13
Pier 80 In Stealth Mode
Oracle Racing operates out of a base south of AT&T Park in San Francisco that can be described as spartan at best. Identified as Pier 80 only if you know what you're looking for, there are no indications that this is a base occupied by the current America's Cup defender -- no signage, no flags. Only a healthy array of razor wire gives the uninitiated visitor a clue that something serious is going on behind the gates.
On a foggy Tuesday, Oracle Racing hosted local media at the base for tours, a press conference, and a ride aboard the historic USS Potomac, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's "floating White House".
In a couple of rare instances, Oracle Racing CEO Russell Coutts, helmsman James Spithill, tactician John Kostecki (who grew up in San Francisco and learned to sail here), and designer Dirk Kramers revealed their views about racing in local waters, the dangers of the AC72, and how quickly the rest of their America's Cup competitors might get up to speed on the nuances the 2013 Cup venue.
Four-time America's Cup winner Russell Coutts asserts that the new Cup boats and the current Cup venue will showcase all that is right with the America's Cup world.
"I think the Cup here on San Francisco Bay will be just spectacular," Coutts said. "We've seen the AC45, and the AC72 wings will be twice as high as those boats and will go somewhere between two and three times the wind speed."
Coutts didn't miss the chance to lobby the City of San Francisco, reminding them of the impact the America's Cup made on the city and port areas of Fremantle, Auckland, and Valencia -- just in case there are still a couple of members of the SF Board of Supervisors that needed any more convincing.
"Fremantle was a quiet, sort of rundown fishing port before the America's Cup went there. The same thing happened in Auckland, but on an even bigger scale. I even look back on my past life as an Olympian," says Coutts. Today it's hard to imagine what Barcelona gained in the legacy of the Olympics, but, says Coutts: "It really transformed the city into one of the most popular destinations in the world. It reconnected the waterfront with the old city. So this is much more than a sailing event.
Full article in Cup Info:
* From John Slight: I have to say the contrast between the Global Ocean Race & the Volvo Ocean Race is getting bigger.
Reading Nannini and Ramon's story of slowing down Financial Crisis to allow for searoom in an approaching storm at Cape Horn, is a fine example of seamanship that perhaps the VOR bosses should be reading. The skippers are responsible for their actions not some committee sitting in air conditioned offices miles away from the action & ocean.
The VOR Committee has already shipped the boats on two legs, & now has called the boats back because of a "bit of a blow". This is supposed to be the worlds premier race with the worlds' pros in 70 foot VOR boats.
Just what has happened to the VOR?
I remember looking at those amazing pictures from Rick Tomlinson of Drum surfing down monster waves in the southern ocean with awe & amazement.
Now I hardly am bothered to read the next story of the PR machines best effort to sell us the in port sponsor tour that the race has turned into.
Bring back the southern ocean, not tropical layovers.
Make the boats stronger, so that they dont have to endure "Boat Breaking conditions" which will be about half of what the GOR teams are currently dealing with with pride & good old fashioned seamanship. People will watch that, people will follow that, the pictures & videos will be amazing.
So I will award my Seamanship Award to the guys out there in what are quite small boats to be racing round Cape Horn, making tough but sensible decisions, but getting on & doing it - well done to all you skippers in the GOR!
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