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New Round the Island Record in the Artemis Challenge
The Artemis Challenge proved to be a record breaking* race around the Island for the MOD70s Foncia and Musandam-OmanSail today. Race management yesterday made a last minute change to the sailing instructions to allow the MOD70s to race for the record, due to the strong weather forecast. Starting at 10:00 BST, on Ladies Day at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week, it took Foncia only 2 hours, 21 minutes, 25 seconds to round the Isle of Wight, breaking the current record by over ten minutes. Close racing between the trimarans meant Musandam-OmanSail finished a mere 1 minute and 28 seconds behind their French competitor.
Foncia's legendary offshore skipper, Michel Desjoyeaux said post race, "That was good, the weather was sunny and also we had nice conditions with lots of wind all the way along. We had a few tacks to go to the Needles, which slowed us up, and Oman Sail were faster upwind, they tacked in front of us, but they missed their last tack so we were able to overtake, pick up speed and finish first. It's the first time I have raced around the Isle of Wight, the first but a good one!" he laughed.
Zara Phillips, Olympic silver medallist was on the water to watch the racing this morning while fellow Olympic Silver medallist windsurfer, Nick Dempsey joined the crew of Artemis Ocean Racing. Team one consisted of Musandam-OmanSail, skippered by Sidney Gavignet, who also had record setting sailors Brian Thompson and Dee Caffari onboard and Artemis Ocean Racing II, skippered by Team GB members Nick Dempsey and Lucy MacGregor. Team two saw Vendee Globe rivals Mike Golding, onboard his IMOCA 60 Gamesa and Michel Desjoyeaux with Sir Robin Knox Johnson and double silver medallist Ian Walker, pair up together.
It was also a battle up the line for the IMOCA 60s, with Mike Golding's IMOCA 60 Gamesa winning by just under two minutes at 14:46:56 BST.
The race was not only for the glory of winning and breaking records but also to raise money for worthy causes. The £12,000 prize fund charity was split this year, with the winning pair splitting £8000 and the fastest IMOCA 60 and MOD70 each winning £2000 for their charity.
Team two of Gamesa and Foncia also won the team prize as well as the individual prize, giving them a total of £6000 to donated their chosen charities. Gamesa's skipper Mike Golding has been a supporter of Save the Children charity for many years and donated his well earned prize pot to them, while Michel Desjoyeaux donated to a charity close to his heart, cancer research charity Institut Curie.
The previous multihull record was held by Maxi-catamaran Playstation's record set in November 2001 (2hours, 33 minutes and 55 seconds).
Russian Open Championships
The Dragon Challenge trophy, awarded to the winner of the Russian Open Championships, is one of the most prestigious and historic trophies in Russian yachting consisting of a rare semi-precious stone that was mined in the Badakhshan province of Afghanistan as early as the 3rd millennium BC. The stone known as Lapis lazuli has been prized since antiquity for its intense blue colour. It is a notoriously difficult prize to win and the 31 strong fleet assembled in Saint Petersburg for this year's Russian Open Championships, sponsored by Gazprom, is considered to be one of the most competitive ever.
The Russian boat RUS 22 has even gone as far as bringing in 17 times world champion Tommaso Chieffi. The Italian sailor has campaigned on numerous America's Cup and Volvo Ocean Race's as tactician and undoubtedly will raise the game of the Dragon fleet out on the water.
In light of the competitive class it was an even more remarkable achievement that out of today's three opening races, two were won by the same boat in an outstanding sailing performance. RUS 34 helmed by Vasily Senatorov scored a 1st position in the first and third race with the second race won by RUS 88 helmed by Yevgen Braslavets.
Tommaso Chieffi currently lies in 7th place, a great achievement considering it is his first experience of Dragon boat racing, a world away from the big boats he usually races.
Pirouelle / Sipan (FRA) On Form at 420 Junior Europeans
The wind then dropped to virtually nothing, before swinging round and heading in from the north, forcing the Race Committee to abandon race 10 for the silver and bronze fleets. The fleets were sent ashore with the hope that racing would resume, but it was not to be.
The one-hundred and thirteen boat 420 fleet go into Friday's final day with lots of opportunity to improve their scores or tumble further down the leader board.
Racing for the 420 fleets is scheduled to get underway on Friday 17 August at 1200 hours.
420 Gold Fleet - Top 10 Overall after 10 Races
Team Sperry Top-Sider Athlete Appearances at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week
Visitors to the Sperry stand at Cowes Yacht Haven on Saturday 18th August will have the rare opportunity to meet the athletes between 11:00am - 1:00pm.
Sperry Top-Sider, leading global nautical performance and lifestyle brand, is a proud advocate of the sport and for the second consecutive year is the official footwear sponsor of the Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week.
Keep up to date with all the Team Sperry News:
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Ben Ainslie In London
Crowds gathered on the banks of the Thames to watch him celebrate his historic achievement on the waters of Weymouth and Portland, which saw him secure his place in the record books as one of Britain's greatest Olympic athletes.
Ben was also pleased to announce that J.P. Morgan has today unveiled its commitment to support the Ben Ainslie Racing team (BAR) as Ainslie sets his sights on winning back the America's Cup for Britain.
The team will be known as the J.P Morgan BAR team and will first be in action in the America's Cup World Series event in San Francisco starting on 22 August, as Ainslie moves from the one-man Finn class to the fixed wing AC45.
Slingsby to Consider Olympic Change
Slingsby said he'd been thinking about making London his last Olympics, but wouldn't make a decision until finishing his campaign with defending America's Cup champion, Oracle Team USA.
"I'm going to do this America's Cup for a bit and see how I enjoy that and then make a decision when I finish with them in October 2013," Slingsby said.
"If I went again, I'm not sure if I would stick with the Laser, I might change to the Finn or another class.
"I don't think I'll sail the Laser anymore, I think the Australian Laser is in really good shape, with our young guys coming through.
"Tom Burton is leading that charge, he's top five in the world and I think he'll be top one or two very shortly."
Slingsby will be one of the first of the 2012 crop of Australian gold medallists to be back in competition.
He will head to Hamilton Island on Thursday for the annual race week, where he will be among the crew on the sloop Black Jack, contesting the IRC Australian championship Grand Prix division.
Cowes Week Junior Art Competition Winner Announced
The piece of artwork from 10 year old Izzy Shepard, a member of the Royal Southampton Yacht Club, successfully combined this year's 'Best of British' theme with sailing at Cowes and beat all of the other Under 16 entrants from sailing clubs across the UK, securing the £1,000 prize-money from Aberdeen for her sailing club.
Izzy said: "I'm really, really pleased, it's so exciting, I can't believe it. I got the idea for the picture from a photo taken by my Granny years ago, which is up in our living room and which I really like."
Izzy's artwork has been on display all week in the Aberdeen Asset Management marquee and her and her family are enjoying a day of hospitality in the marquee today, including a boat trip to watch the racing on the Solent.
Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup
Porto Cervo, Italy: Close to 40 international crews have registered for the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup that is open only to yachts of 18.29 metres (60 feet) or more. Running from 2-8 September, the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, held in Porto Cervo, Sardinia, has been supported by Rolex since 1985.
Five days of intense racing throughout the celebrated Maddalena Archipelago are scheduled. The fleet is divided into five size-dependent classes - Supermaxi, Maxi Racing, Maxi Racing/Cruising, Wally and Mini Maxi, which also comprises the third running of the Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship.
The Mini Maxis currently entered include two-time world champion Ran 2 (GBR), owned by Niklas Zennström and fielding a highly professional crew. The 21.91-metre (72-foot) Ran 2 will face determined opposition provided by the likes of the recent Rolex Volcano Race winner, Sir Peter Ogden's revamped 18.9-metre (62-ft) Jethou (GBR), as well as George Sakellaris' 21.8-metre (71-ft) Shockwave (USA) and the much-anticipated, newly-launched 21.94-metre (72-ft) Bella Mente (USA), owned by Hap Fauth.
In the Supermaxi class, Filip Balcaen's 34.13-metre (112-ft) Nilaya (GBR) is back to defend her title against Saudade 45.19-metres (148-ft) and two more goliaths, both of which are making their competitive debut at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup: Better Place (CAY) 47.64-metres (164-ft) and Heitairos (CAY) 66-metres (216-ft). In Maxi Racing, the 30.48-metre (100-ft) pan-European crew on Esimit Europa 2 (SLO) will seek to get the better of last year's class winner Highland Fling (MON). In Maxi Racing/Cruising, Brian Benjamin's 25.10-metre (82-ft) Aegir 2 (GBR) will be determined to avoid last year's final-race heartbreak when she lost the overall title by seconds. Meanwhile, the Wally class is set to crown a new winner. Claus-Peter Offen's four-time champion Y3K (GER) is not scheduled to take part, opening the door for the likes of seasoned Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup campaigner Magic Carpet 2 (GBR), owned by Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones, and debutante Hamilton, owned by Charles Dunstone.
Laura Dekker on Last Leg to New Zealand
Laura's long-held dream to desert The Netherlands out of distaste for how they treated her, in favor of her birth country of New Zealand, is about to come true.
After she circumnavigated the world long before her 17th birthday in January in 366 days, Laura has been sailing at a leisurely pace across the Pacific (her third crossing) and has finally left Tahiti for a direct leg to Whangarei, where she was born 16 years ago. Laura won't turn 17 until September this year, so on arrival in New Zealand, she won't be able to do such simple things as drive a car.
After finishing her circumnavigation, Laura took on one crew member, and has sundry friends visit in various ports. While Laura may not have remembered her first crossing of the Pacific (as she was a baby) she says she had come to love the islands of the South Pacific.
Trans Tasman Rivalry
Action packed Trans-Tasman sporting rivalry will again be featured when New Zealand and Australian sailors including Olympic Gold Medallists, Americas Cup and Rolex Sydney Hobart champions test their tactical reputations in the warm Whitsunday Islands.
There is little love lost when these two proud sporting nations meet and this intense rivalry including mate against mate match racing 'dog-fights' will highlight what promises to be a war on the water to win the prestigious Audi Hamilton Island Race Week trophy over the next seven days.
All the high performance ocean racing crews who proudly place their reputations on the line to race under the internationally respected Kiwi and Aussie 'Battle Flags' have focused their priority on winning the 2012 Audi Grand Prix IRC championship trophy.
Marcus Blackmore's TP52 Hooligan the defending Audi Australian IRC champion rated as the best in her class in the Southern Hemisphere in 2011 will be tactically hard pressed to win back to back titles.
However the Hooligan crew who will be forced to make up the leeway from losing their Olympic Gold Medal winning tactician Tom Slingsby will be provided with an important guide to their boat speed when they tension the sails against the equally impressive TP52 rivals Yendys, Shogun V representing Australia and classy New Zealand yachts Georgia and Kia Kaha.
London Olympic Laser Gold Medallist Tom Slingsby has added important tactical clout to the challenge of the Peter Harburg owned and Mark Bradford helmed Queensland champion Black Jack.
As expected with Tom Slingsby on board the speed sailing Black Jack has been linked with Stephen Ainsworth's 2011 Rolex Sydney Hobart champion Loki and the defending champion Hooligan as the pre-regatta favourites while Bob Oatley's Mark Richards helmed 30.5m super maxi Wild Oats XI should win the Gun Boat of the series with a perfect line honours score. -- Ian Grant at Hamilton Island
Event site: www.hamiltonislandraceweek.com.au
How Much Is A Sailing Gold Medal Worth?
According to UK Sport, Sailing received £GBP 22.9 million while preparing for the 2012 Olympics. Australia spends an estimated $AUD 5.4 million a year on sailing. But for all the money that is invested in the Olympic classes and the development of the sport, some athletes still struggle to compete, let alone make money. Others are highly paid professionals - so comparing medal success based on government funding doesn't explain the whole story.
In fact, London 2012 showed the stark difference between athletes who are backed by government funding and those who are full-time, professional sailors with significant salaries and corporate sponsorship.
In a pub conversation last week, a friend of mine commented that a gold medal in sailing should lead to a long term salary increase - more so than other sports because of the way the industry was structured.
David Fuller's full article in YachtRacing.biz:
Not Sailing But Very Cool
Best part is how we should build robots that can do this...
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