No Jules Verne Record
As we have said over the past few days, the Jules Verne Trophy record is not going to be beaten this year. The small areas of low pressure and the large highs spread across the Pacific and South Atlantic in particular, have dashed the hopes and ambitions of the two contenders, IDEC SPORT and Spindrift 2, in spite of their determination and hard work.
However, the sporting spirit remains with the desire to get the most out of the racing machine right up to the end of this voyage. There is also the desire to share the friendship that has developed between six world-class sailors over all the miles they have sailed together. There is also the competitive spirit which can be seen as they try to find the best way to get to the finish with the various obstacles that lie along the route.
Aboard IDEC SPORT, after 43 days of intensive sailing, they have the same desire to sail the final 2700 miles of the theoretical route, as they had back on the first day, as they are determined to get the best time possible off Ushant.
"They don't know how to play it cool and take things easy," Francis Joyon joked looking at the stubbornness of each of the five members of his crew, as they continue to push the IDEC SPORT maxi trimaran as hard as they can. "During the night we had some very chaotic conditions," he added. This was not something we could see in the figures that appeared during the night as the boat speed was rarely below 30 knots. IDEC SPORT is continuing at high speed, but on a route that is far from being direct. "The Azores high is forcing us to head towards the NW and the continent of America. This morning we were less than 950 miles from the Caribbean," explained Francis. This meant that they were not making very efficient gains towards the finish, but based on the latest forecasts, that will suddenly all change when Joyon and his men pass the western edge of this large area of calms to go straight into the strong westerly air stream. "After that our performance will depend on the sea state," continued Joyon. "But we should be able to stay on the edge of the deep lows in a wind range that we can deal with."
As for their ETA, that still remains vague. IDEC SPORT has often proven her ability to surprise everyone exceeding the forecast routing times. We are currently looking forward to seeing the boat finish off Ushant sometime on Friday 8th January.
* Situated just 2,600 nautical miles away from the finish line off Ushant and about to start her 43rd day at sea, Spindrift 2 is now only 266 miles off the pace, but will no longer be able to improve on the Jules Verne Trophy record time of 45d 13h 42m 53s, set in 2012. Although the crew have battled incessantly, closing the gap by more than 700 miles in three days, the weather has sealed their fate. The Azores High has blocked the direct route, while violent storms lie ahead, making the sea unnavigable, so the conditions in the Atlantic make it impossible for the crew to finish the circumnavigation on time. From today, Spindrift 2's crew have been forced to take their foot off the gas and leave off record-attempt mode.
To beat the record, the black and gold trimaran would need to average 26 knots all the way to the finish line, but the weather is not being compliant. Until yesterday (Saturday), there was still a very slim chance of crossing the finish line next to Creac'h lighthouse on Ushant on time, albeit with only a few minutes to spare. But late in the day, the situation changed, and weather conditions blocked all possible routes to the line before the cut-off point on January 6th at 5:43 pm UTC. The Azores High had taken up position right in the middle of the direct route to the finish line, forcing Spindrift 2 to make a huge detour to the north-west, following the same path taken by the current record holder. Not only that, but by Sunday night the high-pressure conditions, with little wind, will stretch north all the way to Newfoundland.
It will therefore be impossible for Yann Guichard, Dona Bertarelli and their twelve-man crew to "cut the corner" by heading towards the Azores.
Youth Sailing World Championships
The final day of the 45th Youth Sailing World Championships produced some tense finishes as medal places were mixed about on the waters of Langkawi, Malaysia.
Lighter winds awaited the record 425 sailors from 76 nations to end a regatta that has seen a constant 20 knots throughout. With the wind halved, tactics and surprises were in store and that proved to be the case with several shake ups having big bearings on who left with a medal.
The gold medal in the boy's Laser Radial and 420 were already decided, with some of the sailors in other fleets knowing they had a medal, just not what colour it would be. There were also some who had a medal in their grasp, but just couldn't quite hold on at the last.
The Nations Trophy was won by Australia with boy's Laser Radial sailor Alistair Young leading the charge for the team from Down Under.
With a total of 303 points, the Australian team beat New Zealand in to second on 279 and France in third on 245.
This is Australia's fourth Nations Trophy and it ties them in second place historically with Great Britain. France are still out in front on 11 wins.
List of Winners
Gold - Will Logue and Bram Brakman (USA)
Silver - Leonardo Lombardi and Rodrigo Luz (BRA)
Bronze - Douglas Elmes and Colin O'Sullivan (IRL)
Gold - Julia Szmit and Hanna Dzik (POL)
Silver - Nia Jerwood and Lisa Smith (AUS)
Bronze - Maria Caba and Carla Diaz (ESP)
Gold - Peter Lin Janezic and Anze Podlogar (SLO)
Silver - Jackson Keon and Nick Egnot Johnson (NZL)
Bronze - Tomas Mathisen and Mads Mathisen (NOR)
Gold - Sirre Kronlof and Veera Hokka (FIN)
Silver - Laerke Graversen and Iben Nielsby Christensen (DEN)
Bronze - Greta Stewart and Kate Stewart (NZL)
Gold - Louis Flament and Charles Dorange (FRA)
Silver - Shaun Connor and Sophie Renouf (AUS)
Bronze - Tamryn Lindsay and William McKenzie (NZL)
Laser Radial Boys
Gold - Alistair Young (AUS)
Silver - George Gautrey (NZL)
Bronze - Daniel Whiteley (GBR)
Laser Radial Girls
Gold - Maria Erdi (HUN)
Silver - Hannah Anderssohn (GER)
Bronze - Magdalena Kwasna (POL)
Gold - Titouan le Bosq (FRA)
Silver - Francisco Saubidet Birkner (ARG)
Bronze - Brenno Francioli (BRA)
Gold - Stefania Elfutina (RUS)
Silver - Emma Wilson (GBR)
Bronze - Xian Ting Huang (CHN)
45th BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival: Register Now, Drink Free Later
The 45th BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival has officially opened its online registration, which will be held March 28- April 3, 2016.
To celebrate the regatta's milestone anniversary, organizers will reward one crew (registered by Dec. 31), with free drink tickets in the amount of the regatta registration fee.
Warm Water, Hot Racing And Cool Parties capture the essence of the event. On the water, sailors compete in idyllic conditions with windward/ leeward courses and use the stunning islands to race around as well. On land, they are treated to nightly entertainment with dancing on the beach and delicious food vendors all in one location: Nanny Cay Resort and Marina. As part of the anniversary celebrations, fireworks will bring the 2016 regatta to a close after the award ceremony.
The VX One Class has already confirmed 12 boats will be here for their inaugural VX One Caribbean Cup Racing on the One Design Course area. Bare boats and competitive spinnaker race boats have their own course area on the water.
For more information about the BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival or to register, visit: www.bvispringregatta.org
World Sailing Statement On Withdrawal By Israel Of Its Sailors From Youth Worlds
The World Sailing executive has now received the interim report on the situation concerning the participation and conditions placed on Israeli sailors for the Youth Sailing World Championships in Malaysia.
World Sailing has demanded an immediate full explanation from both the Malaysian and Israeli Sailing Organisations (Member National Authorities) on this issue.
World Sailing stands by its commitment to both the Olympic ideals and ensuring that competitions taking place under the auspices of World Sailing permit all sailors to represent their country and to compete fully and equally. World Sailing has always taken this issue very seriously and undertakes to clarify and strengthen this requirement of all future World Sailing event organisers, if required, once the full report is concluded.
With regards to the current situation with Israel and Malaysia, World Sailing whilst adamant that the situation is not acceptable under the above principles, acknowledges that delays in communication by both Israeli and Malaysian officials in the lead up to the regatta have contributed to the situation spiralling into the current controversy. This is something that could have been prevented and will be actively managed in the future. World Sailing only learnt of Israel's withdrawal on 24 December, with immediate action taken to obtain factual information on the ground in Malaysia and to respond appropriately to this challenging situation.
These diplomatic issues are faced by all sports of this nature. World Sailing cannot solve all such problems, but as an organisation it, and its members can work towards acceptance of all nations and towards finding suitable solutions within the current political arena. As a result of this, World Sailing shall strengthen its processes to prevent discrimination within the sport.
World Sailing had the full support of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) during the build up to the Youth Worlds and will continue to enlist their help and expertise in this matter.
Further information on the report and the proposed actions will be provided after the emergency Executive Committee meeting on the 8 January.
* Editor: We've received credible reports citing many sources that state that the visa issue may be more complex than initially thought. It is common knowledge that Israeli athletes are accompanied by armed bodyguards at sporting events. Including sailing events. And have been, quite understandably, since the 1972 Olympics in Munich.
Reports from Malaysia are that visas were requested for up to nine bodyguards, and that the Malaysians were not inclined to oblige the presence of so many armed foreigners at the event... and may have used this as part of a planned exclusion of two Israeli RS:X youth world champions and likely Gold medal winners.
Clipper Race Heads For Whitsundays
The sixth stage of the Clipper 2015-16 Round the World Yacht Race got underway Saturday following the fleet's successful Sydney-Hobart campaign.
The Henri Lloyd Hobart to Whitsundays Race is the sixth of 14 races which make up the 11-month global series which started from London at the end of August last year.
The 1,631 nautical mile race to Abell Point Marina, Airlie Beach is expected to take around ten days to complete.
First across the line was Chinese entry Qingdao followed closely by Northern Ireland's Derry~Londonderry~Doire second and LMAX Exchange third.
During Race 6, the fleet will cross the Bass Strait for the third time to race up the east coast.
Greg Miller, Skipper of Mission Performance, said: "There is a buzz round the whole fleet still from competing in the Sydney Hobart, so it is good to get racing again so quickly.
"The wind will be behind us for most of the way, then we are expecting it to come round half way, then come round again so it will be a long kite run. Team wise, we always start races well and go hard for the first half of the race before things fall apart a little towards the end so we need to push up a few gears," he added.
The start followed a parade of sail in the Derwent River in front of spectators and spectator boats with support and logistics provided by the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania.
The fleet is anticipated to arrive into Abell Point Marina, Airlie Beach, between 13-14 January.
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Club Marine Pittwater To Coffs
From the bulk of white coloured yachts contesting the 35th edition of the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club's key offshore event, the Club Marine Pittwater to Coffs yacht race, the charcoal coloured Beau Geste won the monohull line honours contest and the black-hulled Morticia easily took out the multihull race.
A final fast reach to the finish line in morning sou'west breeze swept Karl Kwok's maxi Beau Geste to its second consecutive line honours win, this time tantalisingly within 16 minutes of the 2003 race record.
Their official finish time of 0745hrs on January 3, 2016 gave them an elapsed time of 18hrs, 45mins 17 seconds.
First multihull was Shaun Carroll's 9.2m trimaran Morticia at 0855hrs. The four crew on board worked around the clock to keep the boat powered up and well in front of the two larger catamarans.
Now the nervous wait begins for the Hong Kong and New Zealand crew of the Botin 80 Beau Geste to see if the gap back to the threatening 40 and 50 footers is wide enough for them to maintain their IRC overall handicap lead. The outcome is one they have no control over as it depends how quickly the others in with a chance take to complete the 226 nautical mile ocean passage that began yesterday at 1pm from Broken Bay.
Follow the fleet here www.pittwatertocoffs.com.au/live/yacht-tracking
73rd Sharpie Australian National Championship
Sandy Bay Sailing Club, Hobart, Tasmania: Former International Cadet Australian champion Alec Bailey yesterday led a strong Tasmanian challenge to regain the State' status in the iconic Sharpie class.
Bailey, a newcomer to the class, sailed Gentlemen's Relish to victory in the opening race in the 73rd Sharpie nationals on the River Derwent, representing the host club, Sandy Bay Sailing Club.
The young Tasmanian picked a 60 degree windshift late in the 15 nautical race to come from 10th in the 35 boat fleet to score a 46 second win from two veterans of the high performance, mainly adult three-crew centreboard class.
Second place went class veteran Derek Milligan from the ACT, sailing Zulu and an entrant in the Over 50 class of the regatta. A close third was wellknown South Australian Sharpie sailor Tony Turton (nominated in the Over 40 class) sailing Don't Poke the Bear.
Two races are scheduled to be sailed tomorrow, 4 January. -- Peter Campbell
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* From Henry L. Menin: There has been an incredible amount of indignation expressed in the press, blogs and social media of all kinds regarding the tragic situation at the World Sailing World Youth Championships. That is all very laudable.
But, there has been no action.
World Sailing is "investigating" this "delicate political issue". But with regard to the Malaysia Yachting Association, no investigation is really necessary. In fact, it smacks a bit of "sweeping the whole thing under the rug".
With regard to the Malaysia Yachting Association (MAS), the facts are clear, unambiguous and well established. MAS, as required by the Malaysian government, imposed atrocious and outrageous restrictions on the Israeli competitors that were not imposed on any other participants and therefore MAS discriminated against those athletes from Israel.
Such discrimination is clearly a gross violation of MAS' obligations not to discriminate as proscribed in the World Sailing Constitution (section 7) as well as the World Sailing Code of Ethics. What is worse is that MAS cannot in the future fulfill their constitutional obligations, so long as the policies of the Malaysian government remain as they are.
The appropriate action is for any MNA to challenge the status of MAS as a member of World Sailing under sections 15.1 and 15.3 of the World Sailing Constitution. Such a challenge would trigger a hearing where MAS would have the opportunity to defend themselves, and if they cannot, they must be dismissed as an MNA of World Sailing.
Which MNA has the courage and fortitude to take that action? I hope there are many. Words are not enough. Action is needed.
This is not a "delicate political issue". This is blatant discrimination. Whose ox has to be gored before an MNA takes action? Would USSailing tolerate this action if they were the victims? Would the RYA, the China Yachting Association, the Russian Yachting Federation? Is there no MNA willing to step up and challenge the status of MAS?
What message are we sending to the youthful sailors at this event; that blatant discrimination is permissible if the victims are only a small percentage of the total entrants?
I await the action of a courageous MNA, one with integrity and fortitude.
* From Craig Leweck: re: Roger Marshall's letter on the "Super 12s"
Only difference is that Ehman's boat has, from his illustrations, no apparent likeness to the 12 meter. He seems to only like to pull on people's memory of the 12 meter era, and not so much the boat itself.
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The Last Word
Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow" -- Winston Churchill