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The world of sailing is in mourning following the death of Sweden's Magnus Olsson at the age of 64. Olsson was one of the most loved and admired figures to grace the sport, with an immense track record in the Volvo Ocean Race.
Olsson competed in the Whitbread/Volvo Ocean Race in six editions from 1985-86 to 2008-09, tasting victory with EF Language in 1997-98. He was named a Volvo Ocean Race Legends Ambassador in recognition of his enormous contribution to the event in 2011.
One of the most popular and recognisable sailors in the world, he maintained links with the round-the-world race to the end, and was working as a coach with the all-female Team SCA in Lanzarote when he suffered a stroke. He was surrounded by his family as he died on Saturday.
A statement from Team SCA read: "Magnus Olsson, one of the greatest sportsmen in the world of sailing, has passed away at a hospital in Spain. His family and friends were by his side. Magnus suffered a stroke during the week and despite initial positive signs, deteriorated over the next days."
Olsson was born on January 4 in 1949 and grew up in Bromma, Stockholm. He starting sailing on Lake Mälaren aged eight and learned his trade in OK Dinghy, Trapez and then 505s. He won three Swedish National Sailing Championships in 505s.
Known among friends and colleagues as 'Mange', he participated in the America's Cup on Sverige in 1976 before gaining his first taste of the Whitbread/Volvo Ocean Race in 1985 with Drum. It was the start of a long and historic collaboration.
Richard Brisius, Managing Director of Team SCA, said: "Mange was the greatest person I have ever met, one of my very best friends, and one of the greatest sailors ever. He was a unique man who brought energy, humour and love to everyone around him. Our thoughts are with his family at this very sad time.
America's Cup World Series
Photo by Luna Rossa / Carlo Borlenghi. Click on image for photo gallery.
Bruni posted a thrilling win in the fleet racing finale, coming from behind on the final run in a race that saw the lead change hands three times.
The win was cathartic for the emotional Italian helmsman. Earlier in the day Luna Rossa Swordfish lost the match racing championship to ORACLE TEAM USA SLINGSBY. Bruni was critical of his performance in the loss after leading the match early on.
"This win was the only way to forget our mistake in the match racing," said Bruni, who will be the tactician aboard Luna Rossa Challenge's AC72 in the upcoming Louis Vuitton Cup, America's Cup Challenger Series (July 4-Aug. 30).
"The fleet race win really means a lot to me. We had an opportunity for the double win, but just missed out. I can't thank my crew enough, Paul Campbell-James, Max Sirena, Xabi Fernandez and Manuel Modena. They did a great job today."
Slingsby delivered on his stated goal: to secure the overall 2012-2013 America's Cup World Series season championship for ORACLE TEAM USA, the defense team in the upcoming 34th America's Cup (Sept. 7-21). He wrapped up that championship yesterday and today added the match racing title as well.
The second America's Cup World Series Naples surpassed last year's event in terms of spectators. Local event officials estimate that more than 1 million people have turned out along the Naples waterfront and in the Race Village to enjoy the week-long event.
America's Cup World Series Naples wraps up the 2012-13 America's Cup World Series season. The focus now shifts to the "Summer of Racing" planned for San Francisco. It begins in July with the Louis Vuitton Cup, the America's Cup Challenger Series, and concludes in September with the America's Cup Finals.
America's Cup World Series Naples Championship Standings
1. Luna Rossa Swordfish, Francesco Bruni, 80 points
2. ORACLE Team USA, Tom Slingsby, 80
3. Emirates Team New Zealand, Dean Barker, 71
4. Luna Rossa Piranha, Chris Draper, 70
5. J.P. Morgan BAR, Ben Ainslie, 65
6. Energy Team, Yann Guichard, 58
7. Artemis Racing White, Charlie Ekberg, 40
8. HS Racing, R. Hagara/H.S. Steinacher, 36
9. China Team, Mitch Booth, 30
2012-2013 America's Cup World Series Season Championship
1. ORACLE Team USA, Spithill / Slingsby, 245 points
2. Luna Rossa Piranha, 191
3. J.P. Morgan BAR, 181
4. Emirates Team New Zealand, 171
5. Energy Team, 160
6. Artemis Racing White, 160
7. Luna Rossa Swordfish, 151
8. Team Korea, 105
9. ORACLE Team USA Coutts, 98
10. Artemis Racing Red, 90
11. China Team, 73
12. HS Racing, 36
ORACLE Team USA Completes Load Test of New AC72
Photo by Erik Simonson, www.pressure-drop.us. Click on image for photo gallery.
"We were able to push the new boat out of the shed today and successfully complete a round of load testing. It's a tribute to quality work and dedication of the shore and build teams, together with the input and efforts from the sailing, design and performance teams, to complete the boat on schedule. We're looking forward to the launch this week."
Tests commenced shortly after the America's Cup World Series regatta concluded in Naples, Italy.
"A big day for Oracle Team USA," said skipper Jimmy Spithill. "Tom Slingsby and team won the match racing, and finished second in the fleet racing, meaning OTUSA wins a second consecutive ACWS championship - still the only team to hold the trophy since its inception in 2011. At the same time in San Francisco, the team rolled out our second AC72 and stepped the wing. A huge effort by the designers and shore/build teams. Great to see the depth and talent across the team in action."
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ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres
Hyeres, France: ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres will bring the 2012-2013 World Cup series to a close with over 800 of the world's top sailors across ten Olympic and two Paralympic events ready for action.
Touching down in Australia, USA, Spain and finally Hyeres, France from 22-27 April the 2012-13 series has welcomed sailors campaigning for the Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition to set an early marker at the beginning of a new quadrennial.
A 35-boat Nacra 17 fleet will line up in Hyeres after ISAF Sailing World Cup Palma acted as a learning curve for many of the new crews.
Experienced multihull sailors stole the headlines in Palma, most notably the French and Dutch teams, as they controlled and dominated the fleet throughout the week.
Many of the teams who have taken to the Nacra 17 include converts from other Olympic events. Austria's Thomas Zajac and Thomas Czajka have adapted to new classes having originally teamed up in 2000. The pair campaigned for Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 in the Tornado before switching to a 49er campaign for London 2012 but there heart was always in multihulls.
"Our goal was to compete in the Olympic Games and fight together for a medal in the multihull," said Zajac. "When the Tornado was dropped our only chance was to change into the 49er, but we always said we wanted to go back into the multihull as soon as it became Olympic again."
Zajac and Czajka have both stepped back into the multihull but with mixed crews they have gone their separate ways. Zajac has teamed up with Tanja Frank whilst Czajka has joined forces with Sylvia Vogl and they are currently the only Austrian crews on the circuit. Zajac added, "One of us will probably have the chance to go to Rio. After almost 12 years we aren't together anymore but we haven't gone our separate ways. We are in a good relationship and are sparring partners. We hope this constellation is successful for both teams."
Racing is scheduled to start at 11:00 local time on 22 April with the climax of racing on 27 April.
Big Winds Strike at Antigua Classics
Strong winds, rain squalls and big ocean seas gave the grand old ladies racing at Antigua Classics a beating yesterday, and saw several crews limp home with serious damage to rig or sails. But winds of 25-30 knots, with stronger gusts rolling down off the hills, also gave crews what many said was one of the most memorable and exciting races in years, pounding offshore with torrents of water coursing down the sidedecks.
The worst casualty was The Blue Peter, a 64ft Alfred Mylne design from 1930. A chainplate reportedly pulled out of the deck, bringing down the mast. It splintered at around the mid point, pulling shrouds through the stump of the mast. The mast seems beyond repair and the strain of it giving way also appeared to have caused stress cracks to open up between some of the planks.
Elsewhere, the 51ft Saphaedra broke off the tip of her alloy mizzen mast, while the 60ft ketch Peter von Seestermühe's wooden mizzen mast broke at the spreaders. Owner and skipper Christoph von Reibnitz said that the crew had been moving aft to take down the mizzen staysail when it broke.
Gaff cutter Chloe May was another casualty. Her topmast splintered. There were also a number of reports of sail damage. The costliest was probably the shredded foremain and heasail on Kairos, a giant 124ft schooner.
Fortunately no-one was injured in any of these incidents. -- Elaine Bunting in her blog:
ANZACS on Thursday, TP52 Challengers on Friday
A tough contingent of Australians will meet a brilliant but lone majority New Zealand crew for the ANZAC long weekend running of stage two of the TP52 Southern Cross Cup at Sandringham Yacht Club, April 26-28.
Australian and New Zealand comrades will be honoured this coming ANZAC Day for fighting side-by-side, a tradition which began on the bloody shores of Gallipoli during WWI. In keeping with the modern day rivalry between the two great sporting nations eight TP52s will square off on the waters of Port Phillip in Victoria the following day to begin the quest for the series' perpetual trophy.
Team Beau Geste, owned by Hong Kong based businessman Karl Kwok and skippered by leading Kiwi match racer Gavin Brady, took stage one from Marcus Blackmore's Sydney based TP52 Hooligan by four points back in February.
The predominant autumn weather cycle could mean five knots of nothing or a gradient NW-SW breeze and not much in between says Shogun V's skipper Rob Hanna, who hails from across the Bay. The local forecast has cool north-west breezes easing over the coming four days as a high pressure system moves slowly east.
The remaining two stages of the inaugural four-part TP52 series will be held in Sydney, the dates and host club are yet to be announced.
The Aussies are determined to even the score. -- Lisa Ratcliff
Royal Southern Saturday Series
Hamble, Hampshire: The first of the new Harken-sponsored Saturday Series on May 4 kick starts the racing season at the Royal Southern. Starting at 1430hrs at the end of the River Hamble and back in time for tea, the new Series will also mark the Club's first use of the new RYA National Handicap for Cruisers (NHC) handicapping system.
Like the recently announced Gaastra Friday Series, the intention behind the Harken Saturday Series is to provide the maximum amount of sailing in the minimum time away from home and family, and acknowledges and acts on the findings of the Club's surveys and Seminar feedback over the winter.
In addition to the IRC Classes, NHC handicaps will also be used for Club Class handicapping in the first passage race, Hamble - Yarmouth - Hamble on 27 - 28 April, and in the Club's May Regatta on 11-12 May. For the Saturday of the May Regatta, the IRC Classes will race with the Royal Southampton YC's Clarkson Cup, so for the first time building the fleet sizes for that IRC Solent Series event.
The 51st Cowes Deauville Race on 24 May will also feature NHC for Club Class as well as IRC. At 1830hrs that same day, the Gaastra Friday Series commences with more short sharp racing under NHC, around the cans and back in the bar for a beer and banter. -- Peta Stuart-Hunt
Pleiad Racing Enters The Atlantic Cup
The competition is rising with the late entry of Ed Cesare and Chad Corning who are teaming up to race on Pleiad Racing. Between the two of them they have impressive resumes: Ed Cesare placed third in the IRC 0 Class in the 2011 Fastnet and Chad Corning is the current European and North American Melges 32 Champion. However, racing together as a team and in a Class 40, they have yet to be tested.
The two have raced against each other in various boats raging from ICs to 50 footers. Recently, Ed has been sailing offshore primarily as a navigator and some of Chads noted stregnths are trimming and helming. The two are hoping to race Pleiad Racing with a respectible time during their first and last minute entry in the Atlantic Cup. Both accomplished sailors bring their complementary skills together to test their shorthanded talents.
The Atlantic Cup presented by 11th Hour Racing is the United States' premier and only dedicated Class 40 sailing race. The 2013 race will kick off in Charleston, South Carolina May 11th. From Charleston competitors will race double-handed to New York City. There will be approximately a 4-5 day stop-over in New York before the race restarts and competitors sprint to Newport, Rhode Island. Once in Newport, skippers will race an inshore grand prix with a maximum crew of six.
Two Doctors Charged With Stealing America's Cup Items
Naples, Italy: Two 30-year-old doctors have been charged with stealing America's Cup items in Naples after being found aboard an ambulance just after the robbery with rucksacks containing jackets, tee shirts and caps belonging to the crew of one of the competing teams. The robbery itself took place in the "China Team" container. Police officers from the San Ferdinando squad identified the men and charged them with aggravated robbery.
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