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Maybe Friday... But Not Until Noon
Friday should see a third attempt to get Race 1 of the 33rd America's Cup away. The prospect of a window of suitable weather to allow the windward-leeward course comprising two 20-miles legs is anticipated tomorrow although Valencia has been subjected to some brisk, chilly northerly winds through today Thursday.
A postponement was signalled in the early evening which means no start sequence will be before 1154hrs (LOCAL) Friday.
Even around the Marina Juan Carlos 1 the flags were stiffened by the wind through most of the day. The cool February breezes reached more than 30 knots at times.
Sir Richard Branson, the British entrepreneur who last year made an attempt at the Transatlantic Record was a visitor to the America's Cup site, touring the Alinghi base, meeting up with Mike Sanderson:
" I have just had lunch with Mike who is team captain for the British team and he is a great friend. And fortunately they seem to have funding for a British attempt. And so hopefully after this we will see eight nine ten teams particiapating and we will get the America's Cup team back to how it should be with lots of different nations participating.
We are not at this moment planning to be involved in the America's Cup. We are here as interested bystanders. It would be good, of course it would. But the British team have got funding drops out who's to know?" -- americascup.com
* Bob Fisher, bless him, as usual pulling no punches in an editorial in Sail-World.com
I've said it before and I'll say it again - the decision making around the 33rd America's Cup sucks. The twisted thinking that underpins this excruciating morass of verbiage began its foment of disaster before the last America's Cup was completed. We were destined to a miserable existence long before the handsome silver ewer was replaced in its glass-fronted cabinet at the SNG...
...No one would want PRO Harold Bennett's job. He is in an invidious position, shackled by the very frailty of these giant multihulls. Their commissioning teams should not have gone down the frailty line knowing that the Deed requires: 'races shall be on ocean courses, free from headlands.' Instead they should have designed and built boats suitable for ocean courses and not hidden behind a safety belt.
And this could go on forever. The requirement of a clear day between scheduled races, due to end on Sunday, has been the subject of another foot-shooting exercise. The teams, for some inexplicably crazy reason have decided to continue to nominate scheduled race days. That decision does nothing but extend the boredom that currently surrounds the 33rd America's Cup.
As I said, I have said this before, and until common sense is reached I shall be guilty of repeating myself. Get out and race and prepare yourselves for every eventuality. This is meant to be the pinnacle of our sport - stop behaving like a bunch of silly wusses.
* The betting line: PaddyPower.com has quoted Larry Ellison's BMW Oracle as the favourite in the three race series at 4/6.
Sailing two boats this size and speed close together could also cause some serious fireworks and Paddy Power quotes 6/1 that there will be a collision between the two. The cutting edge technology could also let the teams down as they will push the limits of the high tech rigs with 5/2 quoted that a boat is dismasted.
America's Cup Outright Betting
* So, if it wasn't the wind, maybe it was the swell, observed by one of the racing teams at around four feet? In Mr. Bennett's view, it was "pretty rugged."
We respect any decision made to protect sailors, absolutely. Everyone does.
But what else are we protecting here?
Boats that aren't designed and built for the course they must sail over?
One boat in particular that can't handle ocean conditions?
One team in particular that is afraid of any ocean state over three feet?
If design parameters for one - or both - these vessels are preventing them from competing on an ocean course that behaves like an ocean course, maybe this isn't the America's Cup.
Maybe it's lake racing.
Like they have on Lake Geneva.
From America's Cup View, americascupview.blogspot.com
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Currently approaching the Roaring Forties, from Friday morning Franck Cammas and his nine crew are likely to reach some very light, problematic conditions, however the analysis remains very positive. Indeed Groupama 3 always manages to maintain sufficient speed to get through the tricky zones before the small zones of high pressure succeed in catching up with her.
"We had to make a decision two days ago: we opted for the riskier route, that's to say traversing zones of flat calm, and we're doing better than if we'd taken a big detour to get around them! We're fairly happy with our decision because we've gone faster than the wind holes, which are forming behind us..."
As soon as the giant trimaran has caught up with the low moving along 60 degrees South (sic!), the tempo will dramatically increase and Franck Cammas and his men are likely to be just as fast as Bruno Peyron and his crew along this section of the course. As such the deficit amassed over the past few hours will stabilise and the passage around the Cape of Good Hope just a few hours behind the reference time won't prove too disadvantageous! -- Translated by Kate Jennings
Day 8 (8th February 1400 UTC): 305 miles (lead = 456 miles)
Best passage time to the equator from Ushant
Final Day of OK World Championships
Confirmed series results will be available shortly but barring recourse, protest or recount, we have a new World Champion for 2010 ... Karl Purdie from Worser Bay Boating Club, Wellington, with Michael Williams (AUS73) 2nd and local (junior) Matt Steven NZL519 3rd
Evan Walker Wins Hardy Cup For Second Time
Young Australian sailors have regained the prestigious Hardy Cup ISAF under 25 grade 3 match-racing title from the New Zealanders, with Evan Walker from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia Youth Sailing Academy today winning a hard-fought final against Josh Junior from Wellington's Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club.
The final, sailed in a building 10-12-knot north-easterly seabreeze, went to four flights as the two young sailors and their crews used all their helming, sail-trimming and tactical match-racing skills in a bid to out-manoeuvre each other in the Elliott 6 sports boats.
Walker is only the second skipper to have won the Hardy Cup more than once, an event conceived by eminent Australian yachtsman Sir James Hardy to promote match-racing skills, who has watching the regatta this week. The success of his concept can be judged by the ongoing international success of Adam Minoprio (NZL), three-time winner Michael Dunstan (AUS), Laurie Jury (NZL) and Mark Campbell-Jones (GBR).
Many of the competitors in this year's Hardy Cup can be expected to go further in match-racing and other yachting pursuits - Evan Walker tomorrow will be skippering an 18-footer in the JJ Giltanan international regatta on Sydney Harbour; Josh Junior will soon return to campaigning a single-handed Laser for the London 2012 Olympics.
Walker won the Hardy Cup for the first time in 2008 and finished a rather luckless third last year.
In the Short versus Junior semi-final, the first encounter saw the two Kiwi sailors twice split tacks, contrary to copybook match-racing tactics, with the Junior's winning margin just 9 seconds. In the second flights, Junior won the start and sailed faster and higher, picking the wind shifts well for a convincing 18 second victory. -- Peter Campbell
J/95 Saving Sailing In Florida
This week, Florida J Dealer Craig Crossley from CrossCurrent Marine took author Nick Hayes, renowned for his recently published book SAVING SAILING, for an afternoon sail aboard the J/95 from the Hamilton Harbor YC off Naples, FL, where J/95 One Design Fleet #1 is forming. The sail among the shallows and sandbars in the narrow channels between Gordon Pass and downtown Naples demonstrated the extraordinary flexibility of how one can use a J/95 for shoal-draft cruising and sailing in regions with a lot of shallow water like Florida.
As Nick commented to Craig, "Coming from snowy Wisconsin, it was a pleasure to sail in the Naples inter-coastal. The highlight, of course, was short tacking the J/95 between narrow channel markers, with 11-year old Drew at the helm, and his dad John sheeting the jib for him. The J/95 seems like a perfect boat for the shallow water areas in Florida, and it is clear that it is a great family boat too. Thanks to Craig for the invitation!"
Offshore Training Sessions on the Eco 60 Spirit of Canada
The training sessions are planned in 3 separate duration categories; 15 day, 7 day and 3 day periods and are for individuals of all levels of sailing skills. Crewmembers can expect to learn about aspects of preparing for shorthanded cruising and racing including the setup of the boat, nutrition, sleep patterns, weather analysis, safety at sea, shorthanded sail selection, medical emergency procedures, navigation and communications.
Spirit of Canada Ocean Challenges Offshore Training Schedule 2010
1. France to Halifax - May 1st to May 15th - 15 days
Full day and half day sailing sessions on the ECO 60 are also available in France and in Halifax, contact us for more details.
The Question Of Power vs Weight
What do you think about recent decisions taken in the IMOCA class about changes to class rules?
First of all, as a designer, we can never be that pleased about rules limiting what we would like to explore. But having said that, we can fully understand what the IMOCA is trying to do by limiting the power of the boats... On the other hand, the further the technology advances the more the sailors are able to deal with larger sail surfaces. The debate concerning power and weight was a bit excessive in my opinion: for me designing a winning boat requires you to come up with a boat that is powerful and light at the same time!
That perfect compromise is something rather elusive though, isn't it?
Let's not forget either that the ideal boat needs to be powerful, light ... and solid. We should remember that the Vendee Globe, which remains the highlight of the racing circuit, is a non-stop single-handed round the world race without external assistance. It's relatively easy to come up with a boat that is light and powerful. But one that is sturdy too is something else. In a sense we can say that the rules governing the Vendee Globe are the best we can imagine, as they force those involved to consider all of the parameters that make a boat a good performer and safe at the same time... The fact that this framework has been defined in a very simple way is one of the best things that could happen to ocean racing.
Full interview at www.vendeeglobe.org
* From Euan Ross: "Beware the Fury of a Patient Man"
The reaction of the Yachting Press, bloggers and correspondents to the second postponement of the first race of the 33rd America's Cup leaves me almost speechless. Who are these people who, after years of declaiming the absolute precedent of fair play, now have no interest in a 'sporting' contest? It seems everyone is now gunning for a lottery or a demolition derby and doesn't really care which?
Holding yacht races in any conditions, no matter how unfavorable, has already gone too far: over the past few years, the champions of our sport have already been consigned to perform at windless, tidal venues in Asia for the Olympics, the finals of the World Match Racing Championships and the Volvo; and we have already endured the oily calms of Valencia through the prelims to the last America's Cup.
Of course, and in stark contrast to the players, our favorite hacks have not invested an eye-watering slab of their own resources in this historic quest; they are merely inconvenienced by the cost of another round among good company in the yacht club bar.
The one thing all the principal stakeholders do seem to agree on is the good judgment of the Principal Race Officer, who is duty bound to give both teams a sporting chance on the day. With the stakes this high, and after years of being freely entertained by arcane sparring in the courts, let's be patient shall we? The protagonists are not in any case going to be bullied into throwing a munera at the Coliseum to safeguard a few airline reservations.
* From Daniel Charles: Digby Fox reprimands me for being "a little rough on Race Officer Harold Bennett", and I deserved the reprimand -but for being too kind!
I'm certain that Mr Bennett is a nice person, but his decisions and explanations show that he's mistaken about which century he's acting in: he believes that he's organizing a XXIth century race when he was asked to organize a XIXth century DoG ocean race. When Mr Bennett explains his cancellation of the second race by : "I think you have to use a little bit of discretion as to whether you are doing a smart thing, a safe thing", he goes beyond his rôle. Safety is NOT his problem, it is the problem of the skippers, whose responsability it is to decide whether the conditions are suitable for their boats. This is the rule of the sea, and Mr Bennett has absolutely no duty to susbtitute to this rule its own opinion of what is safe or not. The idea of a Race Officer playing Benevolent God to protect the skippers from themselves would certainly have incensed the Donor of the Cup, who demanded that the challenger reach the event "on its own bottom". In the Donor's time, the Cup aimed not just at being a test of sport and speed, but of seaworthiness -model of both contestants were then requested by the Secretary of the US Navy!
Mr Bennet's misguided decisions show that our sport becomes like most communities: needing less, not more, government!
* From Butch Dalrymple-Smith: There was a certain degree of questioning about limiting the America's Cup racing to days when the waves are less than 1m high. The questioners generally suggested that 90ft multihulls should be able to cope with seas that would not bother a Finn (or even a Tornado). However I have considerable sympathy for Harold Bennett and especially the Judges. It may be okay on BOR or Alinghi, but judging from a small motorboat doing 35+ knots in 1m waves? Not me mate.
* From David Brunskill : Yesterday Matthew Syed in the Times decried sailing in the Times 2 section.
My counter to this is junior sailing at the Royal Lymington YC - open for £2 a pop to any local child; the sailing programmes in Surrey Docks in London, open to Southwark school children - and the profusion of schemes for disadvantaged children to go sailing in sail training vessels and via their schools. None of these need memberships, boats or equipment. The council estate children of Bermondsey and Peckham can and do get access to low cost or free sailing. Two medal winning stars of the last Olympics started their sailing in the Lymington junior sailing programme.
Some years ago Matthew Syed was directed to Queen Mary Sailing Club - which is one of the top dinghy sailing clubs in the country. That is one way to go sailing and yes, to join that club and own your own dinghy you might have to spend rather less than might be required for a clapped out second hand car and its annual running costs to participate in the sport there.
But sailing isn't just about elite racing. It's about the thousand plus RYA affiliated clubs round the country on lakes, rivers, estuaries, harbours and sometimes ponds that have hundreds of thousands of members getting fresh air, exercise and membership of a sporting environment. It's a sport that seeks down into the community and develops links with schools to get people into the sport. It's a sport where crew don't need to own a boat or spend money on the activity but are the vital component of sailing endeavour - whether racing at top level or pottering, cruising. Sailing takes people from all walks of life, but for disadvantaged children in particular it offers freedom, an exit route from the ghetto and a chance to excel.
Yet time and time again articles like Matthew Syed's try to portray the sport as posh. And the totality of the sport just isn't
Yes - at the top level of Olympic racing it is unashamedly elitist. Yes billionaires find expensive outlets for their hubris in the America's Cup. Yes there are social events such as Cowes week which have a strong upper crust social component.
But I learned my sailing on the River Alt, which leads into the river Mersey and at the time was not far off from being a sewage outfall. Don't fall in. I did join the club as a cadet for a trifling amount. I couldn't initially afford a boat so I helped people launch and recover their boats. My reward was to be taught how to race dinghies. I went on to crew for people, and represented both Britain and Belgium, racing in ocean racing yachts. I retain my passion.
It's all too easy to denigrate the sport of sailing.
The success of the sport, through the love of the sea and sailing is a quiet, less flamboyant but wonderful, clean, fresh air, liberating pastime which is much more than Olympic or posh.
* From Alistair Skinner: Gordon Bennett!! (No relation to Harold) Whatever happened ISAF RRS 4? I stood and watched the Finns and even the girlies in the Yinglings from the Qingdao breakwater 18 months ago, the Tornados and Stars also had their medal race in strong winds, cross seas and rain thrown in for good measure. After all the talk about this being all about the Deed of Gift where has it gone now? Whether AC or VOR did the most for our sport used to be a good bar room discussion, now it wouldn't get you past your first G&T.
From the interviews yesterday Spithill obviously wanted to hit the race track so what happened? Somebody needs a Rule 69 slapped on them. It's a joke.
Built for Peter De Savery in 1982 as the British contender for the America's Cup in 1983 and designed by Ed Dubois. A newer Ian Howlett design with wings, 'Victory 83', was eventually used in the 1983 America's Cup even though it was considered that K21 'Victory of Burnham' was the faster boat. 'Victory of Burnham' last raced in the Jubilee Regatta in 2001 in the 'Modern Division' and came 3rd in class. She has a current International Twelve Metre Class Appendix E Rating Certificate which is valid until Feb 2008. She is still a stunning yacht and this is a real opportunity to join a limited edition racing class at a bargain price.
Brokerage through Clarke & Carter Interyacht Ltd.: www.yachtworld.com/clarkeandcarter/
Complete listing details and seller contact information at uk.yachtworld.com
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