Twelve of the world's top match racing teams are getting ready for action at the Monsoon Cup in Malaysia, the season finale of the World Match Racing Tour. Now in its eleventh year, the final event of the World Championship takes place from 26 to 30 January, and sees the top three almost tied on points at the top of the Tour leaderboard.
After four Championships events around the world, just five points separate Ian Williams (GBR), Bjorn Hansen (SWE) and Taylor Canfield (ISV) as they arrive in Malaysia for a thrilling battle on the fluky Straits of Johor, the narrow stretch of water that divides Malaysia and Singapore.
Having only raced in Johor last year for the first time, the tricky winds are still somewhat of an unknown quantity. The weapon of choice for this regatta, the FarEast 28, has never been raced on the Tour before, so getting to grips with these lightweight four-crew boats will be a challenge in itself. Williams acknowledges that arch-rival Canfield and his US One team could have a slight edge in the smaller-than-usual keelboat. "Generally the younger guys are more suited to the smaller teams and smaller boats," admitted the five-time World Champion from Great Britain. "But saying that, we've won plenty of four-man regattas in the past and I'm sure we can do it again."
The opening ceremony takes place at 2.00pm on 25 January followed by a Pro-Am race. The racing will be streamed live each day from 1000-1700 with commentary from Simon Shaw and Tucker Thompson, and short daily reviews will be available on the Internet. There will be a two-hour live television broadcast covering the finals on 30 January.
From a Tour Bonus of US$ 440,000 - the largest across the breadth of professional sailing - the World Champion and winner of the 2015 World Match Racing Tour receives US$80,000, the second placed finisher US$70,000, with prize money on a diminishing scale to all eight Tour Card skippers.
There is also big prize money on offer for the Monsoon Cup itself with a prize purse of MYR 1,475,000 (US$340,000) up for grabs and with the winner receiving MYR 310,000 (US$71,000).
Sailors Tried And Tested In Light World Cup Miami Breeze
The first big hit out of Olympic and Paralympic sailing in 2016, Sailing World Cup Miami presented by Sunbrella, opened up with the 711 sailors being tried and tested in a light Miami breeze.
It was a 'head out the boat' kind of day with sailors looking to play the shifts and read the current to advance in large packs of racers. The morning opened with 4-6 knots from the north that slowly swung to the east, coming in at 7 knots and peaking at 10.
Only the Laser fleet completed the scheduled number of races in what was a challenging day for sailors and officials alike. Four days of fleet racing remain ensuring adequate time to catch up on races lost ahead of Saturday's live Medal Races that will be available to view on YouTube worldwide and on ESPN3 in the USA.
Live sailing will be available from 11:00 EST on Saturday on ESPN3
Racing resumes on Tuesday 26 January at 10:00 local time. Having lost races on Monday, the Race Committee will use the day to catch up on the schedule. -- Daniel Smith and Stuart Streuli, Sailing World Cup Miami
2.4 Meter (1 race sailed): Bruce Millar, CAN
470 Men (1): Asenathi Jim / Roger Hudson, RSA
470 Women (1): Fernanndo Oliveria / Ana Luiza Barbachan, BRA
49er Men (2): Jorge Lima / Jose Costa, POR
49er FX Women (2): Ragna Agerup / Maia Agerup, NOR
Finn (1): Jonas Hogh-Christensen, DEN
Laser Men (2): Rutger van Schaardenburg, NED
Laser Radial Women (1): Lijia Xu, CHN
Nacra 17 (2): Mandy Mulder / Coen de Koning, NED
RS:X Men (1): Chunzhuang Liu, CHN
RS:X Women (1): Lillan De Geus, NED
SKUD 18: no results posted
Sonar (1): Bruno Jourdren / Eric Flageul / Nicolas Vimont-Vicary, FRA
Full results: www.sailing.org/worldcup/results
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
Seahorse Sailor Of The Month
This month's nominees:
Randy Draftz (USA)
One of the unsung heroes of the US scene... As many other big regattas struggle, both in the US and elsewhere, Draftz has worked away tackling the issue from the ground up, rather than the other way around. All of this effort has been focussed on developing Sperry Charleston Race Week, which has very quietly now grown into perhaps the biggest and most successful event of its kind
Shane Kearns (AUS)
Kearns's S&S 34 Azzurro had already been sailed around the world when he bought her as a rotting wreck for AUS$23,000 (on a credit card) a few years back. Now fully restored, for several hours Azzurro looked the likely overall winner of the 2015 Sydney Hobart before parking up a few miles from the finish. Still, Kearns did win ORCi overall as well as the Corinthian Division. Plus of course 3rd overall under IRC... so not too bad
Last month's winner:
Brian Thompson (GBR)
'For the Olympics give me Ainslie, for the Vendée, Desjoyeaux; but heading offshore in a big tri, get on the phone and beg for Brian,' - Matt Cowpe; 'Total star'- Sam Goodchild; 'A kind, gentle legend,' - Clemency Ives; 'A superlative sailor,' - Owen McKenzie; 'Unassuming modesty allied with epic achievement, that great British understatement!' - Andrew McIrvine; 'most unassuming and fastest pro sailor ever,' - Polly Dawson; 'Legend' - Robo; 'And he has done so much for injured serviceman charities,' - Ian Finlay
Seahorse Sailor of the Month is sponsored by Musto, Harken McLube & Dubarry. Who needs silverware, our prizes are usable!
Cast your vote, submit comments, even suggest a candidate for next month at seahorsemagazine.com/sailor-of-the-month/vote-for-sailor-of-the-month
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Hayling Island Sailing Club's 95th Anniversary
Image of HISC regatta 1930 - the first season from the clubhouse at Sandy Point. Click on image for photo gallery.
Hayling Island Sailing Club will be welcoming back former members and current members to celebrate the club's 95th Anniversary in May 2016. The club is organising a weekend of sailing and social events for 7th & 8th May 2016, including Club Pennant racing, a 95th Anniversary tea party and Commodore's Drinks Reception.
Hayling Island Sailing Club was formed in 1921 with 120 members on a site at Mengeham Rythe; the first subscription was set at one guinea. The club moved to its present site at Sandy Point in 1936, and in 2003 HRH Princess Anne opened its current modern clubhouse.
Since its formation, the club has hosted numerous National, European and World class championships as well as maintaining an exceptionally high caliber of club racing and open events. The club has played a leading role in British sailing encouraging innovation and development and nurturing many generations of sailing champions.
In 2016 HISC will be celebrating its 95th Anniversary with a weekend of celebrations taking place 7th & 8th May 2016.
18ft Skiffs: Australian Championship, Race 3
The Smeg team, of Lee Knapton, Ricky Bridge and Mike McKensey, has strengthened its grip on the Australian 18ft Skiff Championship after coming from behind to win Race 3 in a nail-biting finish on Sydney Harbour.
After a disappointing first windward leg from the start in Taylor Bay across the harbour to Rose Bay, the Smeg crew worked their way back to score a dramatic 4s win from the NSW champion Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon, Trent Barnabas, Dave O'Connor).
The Kitchen Maker (Andrew Chapman, Ewan Duckworth, Charlie Gundy) was an impressive third, a further 1m8s behind Thurlow Fisher Lawyers, with Yandoo (John Winning) fourth, ahead of Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin) and Alcatel One Touch (Stephen Quigley).
The win gives Smeg a total of four points from the three races of the championship sailed to date, and a lead of six points over Thurlow Fisher Lawyers on 10 points.
In the very light South-East wind (1-8 knots), the heavy weather specialists Appliancesonline.com.au (David Witt) struggled and could do no better than 16th today, but still holds third place on 20 points.
Race 4 of the Australian Championship will be sailed on Tuesday at midday. -- Frank Quealey, Australian 18 Footers League
Race 5 will be sailed next Sunday, 31st January
James Spithill Rates Next Year's America's Cup 'Most Winnable'
The 35th cup will be held on Great Sound at Hamilton, Bermuda, in June next year with Oracle-Team USA to race the best of the five challengers: Artemis Racing (Sweden), Emirates team New Zealand (New Zealand), Land Rover Ben Ainslie Racing (Great Britain), Groupama Team France (France) and SoftBank (Japan).
"We have six teams in the competition [including Oracle-Team USA] but the fact is that they can all win," Spithill told Fairfax Media.
"Everyone has got the technology. Everyone has the money, resources and the weight of the budgets have come down. This is the most winnable America's Cup I think ... definitely the most competitive.
"The challenger that comes out of that group will be at a level I don't think we have ever seen before. But that's motivating for us. That's what drives the team and we are going to have one hell of a fight come June 2017. That's for sure."
With Spithill, nine Australians are on Oracle-Team USA: Grant Simmer as general manager and chief operating officer, while from the 14-strong sailing team there is Tom Slingsby (helmsman, tactician, sailing team manager), Kinley Fowler (trimmer), Ky Hurst (grinder), Tom Johnson (wing trimmer), Kyle Langford (wing trimmer), Joey Newton (trimmer), Sam Newton (grinder) and Graeme Spence (grinder). -- Rupert Guinness in the Sydney Morning Herald
Jennifer Guinness 1937-2016
It’s a cold wet night in May 1986, but the big catamaran is on track to a new Round Ireland Record, the helmsman has the boat going sweetly, and in the tiny cabin Jenny Guinnness decides that the watch below need a little whiskey as a warmer, and Josh Hall and Robin Knox-Johnston agree. Photo: W M Nixon. Click on image to enlarge.
Jennifer Guinness was one of the most accomplished Irish amateur sailors of her generation. Her death at the age of 78, after a gallant battle with cancer, brings to an end an extraordinary life in which she was sometimes unwillingly in the full glare of public attention, yet she was never happier than with a few friends and family in an informal and private setting, whether at home or on a boat.
She was of a very maritime family - her father Colonel J B Hollwey was a leading figure in Dublin Bay sailing and also a noted pioneer in shipping.
With marriage to merchant banker John Guinness of Howth, she moved across Dublin Bay to live on the Baily and sail from Howth Harbour, and their shared love of sailing found fulfillment in the Folkboat Sharavoge, the McGruer 43ft yawl Sule Skerry, and then their final boat together - the Hood 50 ketch Deerhound.
Her competitive instincts were also taken offshore - in 1975 she was a member of the Irish Admirals Cup team as crew on board Clayton Love Jnr's Swan 44 Assiduous, and in 1986 she was a crewmember on Robin Knox-Johnston's 60ft catamaran British Airways in a successful challenge for the Round Ireland Record.
She and John also occasionally raced Deerhound offshore, though the big ketch was essentially a cruising boat. But this didn't restrain them from hard-driving of the ship, and a classic memory of Jenny Guinness is of a stormy cross-channel race from Howth to Holyhead in 1977. As was usual when the boat was racing, she was on the helm, but it was the crew's decision to set the mizzen staysail.
She faced the final challenge of terminal cancer with the same gallantry. She was determined to see Christmas 2015 despite medical expectations to the contrary, and she did it in style for a "truly magical" Christmas in the midst of a large party of extended family and close friends, most of them shipmates too. This well-lived life has now come to an end, and our heartfelt condolences go to Jennifer Guinness's husband Alex Booth, her family and her many friends. -- WM Nixon
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* From David Evans: Alistair Skinner's letter (25 Jan) clearly demonstrates what is wrong with ISAF/World Sailing and international sport in general.
He seems to be saying that the issues around ISAF/World Sailing accepting that Israeli competitors being banned from attending the Youth Championships in Malaysia are OK, because they wouldn't have won anyway.
He says that doesn't excuse the use of children in politics, but hey this isn't politics its sport!
As for it taking 4 years to organise a World Championship, the 1st World War only lasted that long, and I am sure there are many venues available at short notice, I am certain the RYA would be delighted to hold them at Portland. After all it's only rolling out an existing plan with a few minor modifications.
If ISAF/World Sailing cannot get guarantees from OMAN and the UAE, that all eligible competitors will be treated completely equally, then either the event must be moved or if that proves impossible, better not to hold the events at all rather that than pander to racism and bigots.
After all a sailing championship is not that important and if some countries entries are refused or treated differently then it cannot claim to be a World Championship!
* From Zvi Ziblat: May I answer Alistair Skinner statement "I always start to doubt the veracity of someone's argument when they start to exaggerate, overly-embellish or make clearly inaccurate claims about the disadvantage that has been suffered, as I am sure would any judge or jury."
Alas, Mr. Skinner "forgot" maybe a more important fact i.e.. Yoav Omer (boy) and Noy Drian (girl) were the Israeli team to Malaysia and these two were the RSX Youth class 2015 world champions, which I am sure, even in Mr. Skinners' logic, gave them more than a fair chance to be the Youth champions, bearing in mind that only one competitor from a country is admitted.
So maybe "exaggerate, overly-embellish or make clearly inaccurate claims" is the real exaggeration here. And Mayan competing under the ISAF flag is an Israeli entry? Just saying.
TRITIUM is a modified ORMA Trimaran - stretched to 73 feet. Originally built by offshore veteran, Jean Le Cam, the boat was updated by Artemis Racing for testing of AC wing and dagger foils. The boat was heavily modified - with floats lengthened to 73 feet - the addition of hydraulically manipulated lifting "C" foils, hydraulic canting rig, and cross beams reinforced, for the new loads.
TRITIUM competed in the 2013 Transpac, where it was First-to-Finish and had the fastest elapsed time. Currently located in California - its design enhancements produce one of the fastest offshore vessels in the Pacific.
Morrelli & Melvin
See the RaceboatsOnly.com collection at seahorsemagazine.com/brokerage/
Shameless Nepotism Tin Cup...
My daughter is pursuing a career in public health / medicine and is headed to Nicaragua in March for work with ORPHANetwork in the area of the Managua city dump, La Chureca... to help abandoned, orphaned and at risk children. She's fundraising to help offset the cost (the vast majority of it borne by your humble narrator). A few coins in the bucket would be appreciated by all: www.gofundme.com/buky7mwk and I also strongly encourage donations to ORPHANetwork. Thank you.
The Last Word
The wages of pedantry is pain. -- Carroll O'Connor