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Spindrift and IDEC Both Round Cape Horn
Alex Pella, Boris Herrmann, Bernard Stamm and of course Francis Joyon knew the place before, but this was a new experience for Gwenole Gahinet and Clement Surtel. In any case, the six members of the crew of the maxi trimaran IDEC SPORT could not hide their pleasure this morning, when they crossed the longitude of Cape Horn within sight of the famous rock.
In a light, the like of which you don't find anywhere else, surrounded by albatrosses, the big, red multihull made her way back into the Atlantic, leaving the desolate Southern Ocean in her wake and in so doing was very close to the intermediate time for the Jules Verne Trophy record set in December 2011 by Loick Peyron and his crew of 13 on the maxi-trimaran, Banque Populaire V.
Rather like in the Indian Ocean, in the huge Pacific, IDEC SPORT switched between long periods of high speed sailing and time-consuming transition zones, often far away from the most direct route. It is almost as if the counter has been reset to zero as they start this final chapter in the Atlantic. Joyon and his friends are still in with every chance of rivaling the Jules Verne record to the finish, meaning that the crew is determined to fight hard all the way to the end.
As a reward after this hard work, the wind, which was blocked by the mountains for so long, finally appeared to greet the troops. So it was that in spite of the nasty choppy seas, IDEC SPORT left Staten Island to port at thirty knots. The race against the clock continues with the battle raging. In this part of the voyage, their virtual rival, Banque Populaire V, was fast, so aboard Idec Sport they are reacting with a daring strategy between the St Helena high and the areas of low pressure moving away from Argentina. "We have given IDEC SPORT the nickname of '30 knots or nothing' " joked Joyon, because the former Groupama 3, fitted with her short mast designed for solo sailing, is proving to be efficient in strong winds, but less at ease in light airs. IDEC SPORT is therefore heading east to look for more pressure, while trying to avoid having to sail too many extra miles. "Before the start, we would have been pleased with the time it took us to reach the Horn," Francis reminded us. "It means we are still in with every chance of beating the record."
* Since Spindrift 2 rounded the third great cape in her circumnavigation, wind speeds and directions have been unstable. The weather situation in the South Atlantic is as complex as it is unpredictable. The black and gold trimaran will have to permanently adapt to constant changes of pace at least all the way to Cabo Frio, at the latitude of Rio de Janeiro.
Day 32 - 15h00 GMT
199.92 nm ahead the current record holder Banque Populaire V
Distance covered from the start: 20,158.4 milles
Average speed over 24 hours: 14 knots
Distance over 24 hours: 336.9 nm
Tracking for both boats and the historical track of Banque Populaire V: volodiaja.net/Tracking
His 50th Race South
On Boxing Day a bloke by the name of Tony Cable will start his 50th Hobart - nobody has ever done that before. It is a landmark for the Rolex Sydney Hobart; another colour to add to the tapestry of this extraordinary event that, like the Boxing Day Test, is as much about Australian culture as Australian sport.
And no, Tony Cable isn't the owner of a famous yacht, nor is he a globetrotting sailing superstar, flitting from regatta to regatta. Glark (think Clark Gable), as they call him, is just a guy who loves ocean racing. He is a crew member, one of the hundreds, no thousands, who have been the engine room of this great race for 70 years.
Crews don't get their berths by right of wallet or lineage, they are there because an owner reckons they are good enough, and bring enough to the boat to help it win. Hobart boats don't take passengers; Tony Cable has been good enough, has earned his place, for 50 years.
The Sydney yachtsman has sailed with an astonishing 306 fellow crew. No wonder he can't go unnoticed at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, which organises the race.
This will be Cable's fifth trip to Hobart and his fifth on Damien Parkes' Judel/Vrolijk 52, Duende.
"Duende is 52 feet, so she's got enough speed to give us a respectable trip to Hobart. Three days, not five or six," Cable says.
"Not too long, but not too short either. The maxis do it in a day and a half. Why would you want to do a Hobart in one and a half days?"
The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race starts on Boxing Day, December 26, at 1pm AEDT
Jim Gale in Sail-World.com
Loick Peyron feels safe (at 30kt), Frederic Denis in his Mini cave, the strong views of Luca Devoti, (Maxi) kit of parts and Key West 2016. Ivor Wilkins, Blue Robinson, Patrice Carpentier, Dobbs Davis
A driver of innovation
Maritime chess... John Rousmaniere looks ahead to the 50th Anniversary Bermuda Race
It will soon be 10 years since we first experienced the 'boosted' string-drop. Mark Wiss
Happy 10th birthday
Merf Owen looks back on 10 years of success for one of the most important offshore classes
Shaun Carkeek and Dobbs Davis
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World's Best Heading To Antigua
The glitterati of the sailing world will be in Antigua to compete in the 2016 RORC Caribbean 600. Well over 100 Olympians, World Champions, America's Cup and Volvo Ocean Race sailors will join hundreds of passionate corinthian sailors for the exhilarating 600-mile race around 11 Caribbean islands.
A record fleet for the 8th edition is expected, with a 20% increase in pre-Christmas entries compared to last year, making a fleet of 80 yachts highly likely.
The Caribbean's premier offshore race will feature two of the world's fastest multihulls. Lloyd Thornburg's MOD 70, Phaedo3 set the course record for multihulls last year and is back, but will have hot competition from Tony Lawson's MOD 70, Concise 10. Phaedo3 won their latest duel by under two hours, in a six-day, high-speed match race for the RORC Transatlantic Race. Concise 10 and Phaedo3 will be competing for the Multihull Line Honours Trophy.
The RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy is awarded to the monohull with the best corrected time under the IRC rating rule. Jim & Kristy Hinze Clark's American Maxi, Comanche will be making its RORC Caribbean 600 debut. The 100ft Maxi, skippered by Kenny Read, holds the World Sailing Speed Council monohull 24 hour record (618.01 nautical miles) and is very capable of beating the RORC Caribbean 600 monohull course record, which was set by George David's Rambler 100 in 2011 (40 hours 20 mins 02 secs).
Joining Comanche in IRC Canting Keel will be Donnybrook, James Muldoon's Andrews 80, racing with a corinthian crew from the Annapolis Yacht Club, Maryland, USA and Bouwe Bekking's Dutch Volvo Ocean 65, Team Brunel. Lee Overlay Partners, skippered by Irishman, Adrian Lee is the minnow of the pack, but the Cookson 50 won the first race in 2009. Also heading to the Caribbean is Jens Kellinghusen's brand new German Ker 56 Varuna VI. The canting keelers will be hoping for strong breeze and reaching conditions to maximize their performance against the fleet.
IRC Zero has a powder-keg for an entry list with four Maxi 72s; three TP52s; Ker 51 Tonnerre 4; RP63 Lucky; RP82 Highland Fling XI; RP90 La Bête (former Rambler 90) and Southern Wind 102 Farfalla. The overall winner of last year's race was Hap Fauth's Bella Mente. This year Bella Mente will need to get the better of three other equally matched Maxi 72s to retain the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy, which has not been accomplished before.
Dispute Resolution In The 34th America's Cup
David Tillett, John Doerr, Josje Hofland, Graham McKenzie, Hamish Ross, Bryan Willis and myself as editor have thought that it would be of interest for the international sailing community to collect, save and make available all judicial and arbitral decisions issued in relation to the 34th edition of the America's Cup, in the same manner as has been done following the 31st, 32nd and 33rd America's Cup editions.
That book just came out under the title "Dispute Resolution in the 34th America's Cup" (Henry Peter (ed.); David Tillett; John Doerr; Josje Hofland; Graham McKenzie; Hamish Ross; Bryan Willis; Kluwer Law International, 2015).
This book - continuing the tradition of Kluwer Law International's earlier publications on the 31st, 32nd, and 33rd America's Cup - offers richly detailed expert commentary (along with the decision texts themselves) on the judgments of various courts and other dispute resolution bodies delivered during the tumultuous 34th America's Cup. Since there is no official record of many of these documents, this book is the only source that presents them together in a single volume, with the added benefit of commentary. -- Prof. Henry Peter
The book can be purchased online through the internet website of Kluwer Law International: www.kluwerlaw.com
Plymouth's Royal Western Yacht Club To Host First West Country J/70 National Championships
The J/70 UK Class Association is delighted that their 2016 Nationals will be hosted by the Royal Western Yacht Club in Plymouth, a popular venue amongst J Boats sailors. Racing will take place from Friday 2nd September to Sunday 4th September with a total of 11 races planned for the Championship. As long as weather conditions are suitable, sailing will be outside (south) of the Plymouth breakwater which is only a short sail from the RWYC and marina base.
Entry for the J/70 UK Nationals is open to all members of the J/70 UK Class Association.
Formed in 2013, the aim of the Class is to promote the J/70 in the UK and provide support to boat owners and crew and also to organise one design racing and social events.
Morgan Lagraviere Qualifies For The Vendee Globe
On Wednesday morning at 05:32min (French time) Morgan Lagraviere crossed the finish line of the Transat Saint-Barth - Port-la-Foret in 4th position. Dantesque conditions, keel actuator damage, a stopover in the Azores and resuming in a storm: it has been a tumultuous first solo transat in an IMOCA 60 for the skipper of Safran. But Morgan fought hard and showed the tenacity that enabled him to finish the race in time to secure his qualification for the Vendee Globe.
After leaving the Caribbean island of St Barts on Sunday, December 6 on board a boat rented for the event (Nicolas Boidevezi's Adopteunskipper.net), the skipper of Safran suffered damage to his keel actuator rod. "I had two goals at the beginning of the race: to qualify for the Vendee Globe and if possible get a good result," Lagraviere, who made a makeshift repair to travel the 600 miles separating him from the Azores, said. "The second goal was quickly put on one side. The chance for qualification remained and I've finally secured that."
After a three-day technical stopover in the Portuguese archipelago, Lagraviere was able to resume the race, but with a keel locked in the upright position and a boat which he could only use at 60-70% of the potential
To secure qualification for the next edition of the solo, unassisted, non-stop round-the-world race, which will start on November 6, Lagraviere had to finish within a maximum of nine days of the winner of the Transat Saint-Barth - Port-la-Foret, Sebastien Josse, who finished last Wednesday. Lagraviere accomplished this mission but he will, however, still need to qualify his boat .
Lagraviere has qualified for the Vendee Globe but his boat has not. After the boatyard work this winter, he will have to complete a solo journey of 1,500 miles on Safran.
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* From Don Street: The 2016 Bermuda Antigua race will not be the first Antigua Bermuda race.
The first one was in 1980 about a week after the end of Antigua Sailing Week The boats took off and enjoyed about two days of glorious trades. Then the wind began to die, then went to what in West Long Island sound would be described as "hairy ass flatters" -- no wind at all.
Everyone turned on their engines expecting to pick up wind at about 30 north but no wind all the way to Bermuda. Most boats ran out of fuel and had a very slow passage to Bermuda.
The 1980 race destroyed interest in the Antigua Bermuda race.
Hopefully they will have better luck in 2016.
* From Malcolm McKeag. My friend (still, I hope) and sometime colleague Bob Fisher stands in awe of the achievement of my other friend (still, I hope) Tom Ehman in conceiving the San Francisco Sailing Challenge (or, to give it another and no less apposite name, the Sour Grapes Cup) to be sailed in Super (or should that be Pseudo?) Twelves as some sort of worthy alternative to the America's Cup that has now gone to multihulls and Bermuda.
Leaving aside the sweetly delicious irony that it was my friend (still, I hope) Tom 'we'll-jimmy-the-rules' Ehman who first introduced multihulls to the America's Cup I wonder who is trying to kid whom here? I hold no especial brief for what Sir Russell Coutts and his business manager have done and appear to be determined to do with the AC (apart from proving that Formula One it is not) and agree with anyone who thinks it is presently lies somewhere between a mockery and a travesty of what it could be and probably once was but let's not suggest that some sort of nostalgia-fest in long, lean old-fashioned boats, better suited to the Spirit of Tradition class in a Classics Regatta, is any sort of substitute. The America's Cup has always been about the ultimate in yacht racing technology and, leaving aside a brief (Butch Dalrymple-Smith perceptively dubbed it 'aberrant') period in the Twelve Metre era, has always been about rich men spending eye-watering amounts of money to indulge their private vanities.
True, the Fremantle summer of '86/ '87 was a glorious spectacle and contest, probably the first truly popular America's Cup regatta of the Twentieth century. But trying to go back to it is a bit like suggesting Formula One goes back to being raced in front-engined cars with the drivers wearing polo shirts and resin-baked cloth hats. And oddly, that (if I may indulge a particularly British analogy) has been done. It's called the Goodwood Revival where every September fabulously expensive and wonderfully restored 'Fifties and 'Sixties race cars dice round a circuit serendipitously maintained as it was (save for the miles of cleverly disguised tyre walls and run-off areas) when it closed in 1964. Spectators are encouraged to wear 'Fifties and 'Sixties-style clothing (the local charity shops do a roaring trade). It's great fun - but it is no world championship event.
Alastair Skinner suggests a readers' poll. I wonder how many readers under the age of 70 - or even 50 - see this new Sour Grapes Cup as anything other than just another regatta and how many see it as a worthy successor - or alternative - to the America's Cup? I'm sure it will be very nice - but let's not pretend it's the real thing.
* From Bob Fisher: I hope Alistair Skinner understands that I do not see the America's Cup and the Super 12s in competition. They are two very separate issues. I hope to be at both.. My flights are already booked for the Oman, New York and Chicago ACWS regattas and it is too soon to book for the Super 12s.. Each has its place, but I still believe that sailor/spectators will understand more about what is happening with the 12s than they will with the foiling catamarans.
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The Last Word
He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree. -- Roy L. Smith