And They're Off...
The 45th edition of La Solitaire du Figaro - Eric Bompard Cachemire got underway at 1200BST Sunday June 8th after the fleet had been moored for several hours off Deauville. Anthony Marchand (Ovimpex Secours Populaire) was first around the two inshore marks followed by Erwan Tabarly (Armor Lux) and David Kenefick (Full Irish) - a great start by the young Irishman who celebrates his 23rd birthday tomorrow.
The race didn't get off to the best start for two of the pre-race favourites. Yann Elies (Groupe Queguiner) and Charlie Dalin (Normandy Elite Team) were both recalled after being over the start line as were British sailors, Nick Cherry (Redshift) and Ed Hill (Macmillan Cancer Support). Yann, who is chasing a third consecutive Solitaire win was in last place as the fleet rounded the windward buoy.
In the rookie class, Artemis Offshore Academy member, Rich Mason (Artemis 77) made the best of the inshore course, rounding both marks in 12th place.
The latest weather briefings suggest the sailors are going to hit a transition in the wind when they reach the English coast, particularly between the Owers mark off the Isle of Wight and Start Point. Big splits in the fleet may occur at this point.
Stage one: Deauville to Plymouth, 484 nm.
Top Ten General Rankings as of 15:30BST Sunday (38 total skippers)
1. Erwan Tabarly (Armor Lux)
2. Anthony Marchand (Ovimpex)
3. Sam Goodchild (Team Plymouth)
4. Fabien Delahaye (Skipper Macif 2012)
5. Corentin Horeau (Bretagne - Credit Mutuel Performance
6. David Kenefick (Full Irish)
7. Alexis Loison (Groupe Fiva)
8. Adrien Hardy (Agir Recouvrement)
9. Jeremie Beyou (Maitre Coq)
10 Gildas Morvan (Cercle Vert)
At press time, only 2.36 miles separated the entire fleet.
First Blood To Swinton And Williams In The Semis
Langenargen, Germany: Ian Williams took another step towards repeating last year's victory at Match Race Germany after beating Mathieu Richard in the first of their Semi-Final matches on Lake Constance. GAC Pindar dominated the pre-start, forcing LunaJets over the line early, handing a commanding lead to the British crew who never looked threatened after that.
The second match was much harder fought with a number of lead changes until it was the French team's to seize the lead and move ahead of Williams. Richard moved tantalisingly close to the finish, but the wind completely shut down as the current carried him past the line. Meanwhile, Williams had misinterpreted some flags on the committee boat. "We thought we'd been abandoned, and started our engine," he said. "Then it became clear that we hadn't been abandoned and we stopped the engine. But then I thought about it - and we had put the engine in forward gear - and you can't finish a race when you've used the engine so we had to retire at that point. That was all our mistake."
Fortunately for Williams it was a mistake that didn't matter as the race was indeed eventually abandoned, letting the four-time World Champion off the hook, his 1-0 lead intact going into tomorrow's continuation of the Semi-Finals. In the other half of the draw, Keith Swinton beat Phil Robertson in match one of the battle of the Antipodes.
Williams' free pass to the Semis meant he could avoid a very stressful afternoon's Quarter-Finals which saw the exit of some big beasts of the Tour. The Swedish veteran Bjorn Hansen was dispatched 2-0 by Richard's LunaJets, while Swinton's Team Alpari FX caused an even bigger upset with their 2-0 defeat of the reigning World Champions Taylor Canfield and USone. New Tour Card holder David Gilmour gave Phil Robertson a scare, running the WAKA Racing team close for a Semi-Final spot before the more experienced Kiwis prevailed in the third and final match.
Match Race Germany concludes Monday with the completion of the Semi-Finals at 0900 followed by the Petit Final and the Final.
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Anna Kjellberg Crowned ISAF Women's Match Race World Champion
Olympic sailor and World #2 Anna Kjellberg of the Royal Gothenburg Yacht Club is the 2014 ISAF Women's Match Racing World Champion. Together with her crew - Karin Almquist, Vanja Lundberg and Annika Carlunger - the Swede defeated Danish World #1 Camilla Ulrikkeholm (DEN) 3 - 1 in their Scandinavian battle in Cork Harbour, Ireland.
Kjellberg's bowman Annika Carlunger had no less than seven World Championship silver medals before this regatta, sailing with different helmsmen over the years. Now she got her eagerly awaited gold medal and shouted after having passed the finish line, "Finally, after all these years."
In the Petit Final Caroline Sylvan (SWE) put up a tough fight against Stephanie Roble (USA), but the American crew proved to be strongest at the end. With two straight wins they secured the bronze in the 2014 ISAF
June 8th, 2014Women's Match Racing World Championship, the first event out of five on the 2014 Women's International Match Racing Series.
Final: Anna Kjellberg, SWE, defeated Camilla Ulrikkeholm, DEN, 3 - 1
Petit final: Stephanie Roble, USA, defeated Caroline Sylvan, SWE, 2 - 0
1. Anna Kjellberg, SWE
2. Camilla Ulrikkeholm, DEN
3. Stephanie Roble, USA
4. Caroline Sylvan, SWE
5. Anne-Claire Le Berre, FRA
6. Klaartje Zuiderbaan, NED
7. Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen, DEN
8. Claudia Pierce, NZL
9. Annabel Vose, GBR
10. Mary O'Loughlin, IRL
11. Laura Dillon, IRL
12. Lucie Scheiwiller, FRA
13. Anne-Christianne Kentgens, NED
Guest Editorial: Digby Fox
Reaction to the America's Cup protocol has been interesting. James Spithill did a bravura interview on New Zealand TV winding up the Kiwis and having a pop at ETNZ's "management". Jimmy is great value in my book. Mrs Fox was a Deano fan, but she switched to Jimmy on the back of his press conference chat. So fickle... not like all of us in TV...
The NZ Herald is pushing for a No Entry, which is strange, but there are a lot of bloggers in New Zealand bleating full blaaaaaaast about how terrible everything is to do with the Cup and their involvement.
I don't think Kiwis have a brilliant self view. Through this event, the rest of the world sees them as amazing sailors, cutting edge boatbuilders (Core Builders), technical innovators (an Emmy for the awesome Animated Research Limited), great sportsmen (Dean Barker)... I could go on. But by God they beat themselves up in their own press.
Surely such a hard earned image, such positive qualities, must help the credibility of anyone from NZ trying to flog anything to businesses in any of the 122 countries above them on the global population chart? (123rd is a bona fide Wikipedia number by the way, USA is third after China and India - lovin' Wikipedia today).
Meanwhile, Grant Dalton is in a bind because he's trying to raise cash now and he says commercial sponsors won't sign with a "it could be here, or it could be there, so we'll wait and see". Tricky. Dalts did a phenomenal job getting his team better prepared with a better boat at the start of the AC match last year. And raising all that elusive sponsorship when corporations were tightening their belts. He's an amazing manager. What's Jimmy on about? Historic needle perhaps - expect more.
Talking of leadership, I love the fact that ETNZ employed the AC72 rule designer, Pete Melvin, who somehow figured out how to work round his own non-foiling rule to give the Kiwis a massive foiling edge. I never got my head around that one. Add cunning to the list above.
There's been a load of criticism of the Defenders lavishing themselves with two boats, while allowing just one for the Challengers. Seems justified. Iain Murray, decent bloke, regatta director in San Francisco and now Challenger rep, says it's to do with the Defender being able to continue racing in the final if their boat breaks, while the winning Challenger could always be replaced by, er, a not winning Challenger.
The Challengers can team up to tune, and they will, but "stacked" is a word that'll be used a lot more over the next three years. I know, the America's Cup, favouring the Defender?! No freakin' way!
But I don't think it's quite as stacked as so many of the bloggers say. The tighter rule elements point to close racing. The competition should be good. Wickedly fast machines designed to foil with more control by the crews and so, in theory, less dangerous. First to seven, with one point already on the board from the prelims... if ETNZ had raced that format last year, they'd have blown Oracle out of San Francisco Bay.
Talking of San Francisco, how could Russell Coutts even think of holding it somewhere else? Every TV image had a jaw dropping backdrop - Alcatraz, Golden Gate Bridge, the city's razor sharp skyline, super clean light... San Francisco was TV gold.
Coutts is more cunning than a fleet of foxes though. I guess he has his reasons. They're still talking about his AC34 in my pub, which is in deepest, landlocked Somerset. The last sailing event they chatted about here was in 1805 (Wiki's getting hammered today - Battle of Trafalgar).
And frankly, the Defenders are people just as beatable as they were last year. I'm sure the Kiwis will be there - let's hope so. And the Italians. And the Aussies. And the funky sort-of-Swedes... As will Sir Ben... to kick all their arses. Oh yeah. You don't win four sailing gold medals without being able to kick some sailing arse. That's my reaction. Let's ave 'em!!!
*Editor: Digby was part of the host TV team for the past three Cups, is a producer and cameraman, and in the distant past was a fine sailing journalist and magazine editor. And he's British... Some samples of Kiwi press reports in tomorrow's Eurobutt...
Digby's bio and efforts at www.livethestory.com
Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta
Photo by Ingrid Abery. Click on image for photo gallery.
Porto Cervo, Italy: The final day of the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta, organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and Boat International Media in Porto Cervo, brought lights winds and several surprises for the 19 superyachts competing in the event. Overall winners of the seventh edition of the regatta were the Dutch yacht Firefly (Division A), the 34-metre Unfurled (Division B) and Italy's Grande Orazio (Division C), flying the YCCS burgee.
After a long and patient wait on the starting line for the easterly breeze to fill in, the YCCS Race Committee was able to sound the first signal for Race 4 at 2 p.m. Accompanied by 6/7 knots, the superyachts headed north to round Monaci Island before racing back towards the coast of Sardinia, through the channel at Capo Ferro and on to the finish line off Porto Cervo.
Firefly could not have been beaten in Division A heading into today's race, but a fourth and final bullet left her with a perfect record of victories.
The Royal Huisman sloop Unfurled claimed her second consecutive win today to seize victory from Moonbird, the Dubois yacht steered by double Olympic gold-medal winner Shirley Robertson which had held the top spot in Division B all week.
As the superyachts leave Porto Cervo Marina they will make way for a fleet of TP52 yachts lining up in front of the YCCS in preparation for the Audi TP52 World Championship, taking place from Monday 9th to Saturday 14th June 2014.
Full results on www.loropianasuperyachtregatta.com
Onion Patch Deadline Monday
Entries close Monday, June 9 at 5PM EDT for the New York Yacht Club 160th Annual Regatta presented by Rolex, Stage 1 of the Onion Patch Series. The first IRC division race on Saturday June 14th and the first IRC division race on Sunday June 15th count as the first stage of the traditional Onion Patch Series. The new Navigator's Division races sailed under ORR in the New York Yacht Club Regatta are part of the new Navigator's Division in the 2014 Onion Patch Series
2014 marks the 50th year since the Onion Patch Series was founded. This is the 25th biennial celebration of the series, now offering exceptional racing in three world class events... the New York Yacht Club 160th Annual Regatta presented by Rolex, the 49th Newport Bermuda Race organized by the Cruising Club of America and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, now celebrating 170 years as a Royal Yacht Club, and the RBYC Anniversary Regatta.
All boats racing in the combined St. David's Lighthouse or Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Divisions of the 2014 Newport Bermuda Race that are scored under IRC are eligible to race in the traditional Onion Patch Series.
Other Newport Bermuda boats not scored under IRC may now race in NEW Navigators Division of each of the three events. They will compete in less rigid, flexi-course sailing scored under the ORR system, the main rule for the Newport Bermuda Race. All Onion Patch Series competitors must qualify for all three events that comprise the series on either level.
Deadline for Entry in the York Yacht Club annual Regatta is 1700 on Monday, June 9, 2014. Late entries may be accepted at the discretion of the New York Yacht Club Organizing Authority. Late fees will apply as described in the 160th Annual Regatta NOR 5.3.
The Onion Patch Series Notice of Series, and results, photos, and news will be posted at www.onionpatchseries.com
Dobbs Davis looks at some of the rigging innovations on Niklas Zennstrom’s latest mini maxi
Dave Hollom took some time out from designing foils to have a crack at a new International 14... and things have worked out rather well
Off the shelf
Magnus Clarke and his skipper Fred Eaton are taking a break from C-Class racing but not before putting in place a brilliant new initiative to encourage wider growth in the fleet
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Spindrift Racing On Standby In Newport
Following eight days of delivery from La Trinite-sur-Mer (France), the maxi trimaran Spindrift 2, arrived at the famous Rhode Island harbour on Tuesday late afternoon. Co-skippers Dona Bertarelli and Yann Guichard and their crew now enter the critical phase of meticulously monitoring the weather. They must wait for the best window to launch their attempt to break the crewed North Atlantic record between New York and Lizard Point (England). With 3 days, 15 hours and 25 minutes (at an average of 32.94 knots) to beat, the challenge is daunting and will require optimal sailing conditions. If the weather permits, the team will also go for the 'Zenith by Spindrift racing 24-hour record', aiming to improve on the existing record of 908 miles, itself an impressive distance, equivalent to two Marseille-Carthage (Tunisia) crossings in 24 hours.
Before leaving their French base last Monday, the crew decided to take a southerly route to seek the downwind conditions that they will need for the record attempt as well as test the new configuration of the boat, including the modified rig. "We made the right choice by heading south," said Yann Guichard. "We came very close to the Canaries before heading west, but it was worth it. We were able to collect valuable data with the same angles and wind strength that we hope to see during the record. On the climb to Newport, we encountered a significant depression from the north with 35-40 knots of winds, combined with messy 5-metre waves. It was ferocious on the boat, I can tell you, but we negotiated the conditions with more flexibility
Record holder since August 2009: maxi-trimaran Banque Populaire V (now Spindrift 2); held by Pascal Bidegorry and his crew.
Route: 2,880 miles (5,333 km) between Ambrose Light in New York and Lizard Point, on the southwest tip of Cornwall, England.
Standby dates: June 3 to mid-august, 2014.
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* From David Munge: A comment on the "Fun in sailing discussion" would it be a too broad a brush stroke to relate this to the poor turnout in the "Sail for Gold" regatta this week.
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The Last Word
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