Yacht Racing World Newsletter – Issue 30
International Maxi Association – Les Voiles de Saint Barth Richard Mille: Vesper tops third event in IMA Caribbean Maxi Challenge
Les Voiles de St Barth Richard Mille, the penultimate event of the International Maxi Association new Caribbean Maxi Challenge concluded with an impressive 'victory with a day to spare' in the Maxi class for Jim Swartz’s Judel Vrolijk 72 Vesper. Jim Madden’s Swan 601 Stark Raving Mad VII managed a similar result among the remaining maxis in the CSA 3 class.
Big winds, large waves and an Atlantic swell made the start of the week challenging, but conditions have got gradually lighter during the week. Today the forecast was for 12-15 knots from the east-northeast. In fact the wind was lighter at start time off Gustavia and as the maxis circled the western lee of St Barts. However as soon as they ventured out to the more exposed north shore, conditions built. Today the Maxi class sailed a 36 mile clockwise lap of St Barts, with a long leeward-windward dogleg northeast of St Barts. CSA 3 sailed a similar 29 mile course with a shorter dogleg.
In the Maxi class order was restored after yesterday with Vesper beating Hap Fauth’s Botin Partners 74 Bella Mente on IRC corrected time by five and a half minutes, the biggest margin to date. Having won every race but one here, the peppermint coloured Maxi 72 ended the week on six points to Bella Mente’s 12, giving her maximum points for this third event in the IMA’s Caribbean Maxi Challenge. Bella Mente comfortably retained second, while a third place for yesterday's winner, Wendy Schmidt's Botin Partners 85 Deep Blue, caused them to claim third overall in a tiebreak with George David's Rambler 88.
This week’s result confirmed several changes made to the Vesper team for this season, including bringing on veteran America’s Cup trimmers Warwick Fleury and Simon Daubney.
World Match Racing Tour – Williams triumphs with fifth Congressional Cup win
Ian Williams (GBR) and Team Gladstone’s Long Beach have won the 57th Congressional Cup – and a fifth iconic Crimson Blazer – toppling defending champion Taylor Canfield (USA) and Stars+Stripes Team USA 3-1 in the final matches of this thrilling five-day regatta. Sailing with Williams were Matt Cornwell, Andrew Estcourt, Jon Gunderson, Steve Mitchell and Richard Sydenham.
The final stage of the regatta took place beneath sunny skies with moderate breeze that built throughout the afternoon, unlike the previous four days that had seen a brisk westerly sweep through the Congressional Cup Stadium.
In the first-to-three points final, Canfield and crew captured the first match with Williams levelling out the score 1-1 in the second race. In the last downwind leg of the race, Canfield was leading and needing to shake a penalty before reaching the line. Slowing his boat to lure Williams into an error, Canfield went to execute their penalty turn right at the finish line but Williams was able to stay clear and cross the line ahead.
In race 3, the tables turned and it was Williams that found himself needing to shake a penalty which he had been given by the umpires for being too aggressive at the start. Williams left it until the very last minute to clear his penalty by planning his penalty turn at the finish line. Calculating just enough lead to do their turn, it was a photo finish with Williams just able to cross the line ahead of Canfield.
Yacht Racing Life – Paul Meilhat’s Biotherm team announces The Ocean Race and Vendee Globe participation
French skipper Paul Meilhat will fulfil a lifelong dream in January 2023 when he leads Biotherm across the starting line of The Ocean Race on the waters off Alicante, Spain.
Meilhat and his team will be racing one of the newest IMOCA boats in the fleet, a Verdier design that is expected to compete for the title in The Ocean Race 2022-23, before Meilhat will go on to sail in the next edition of the single-handed Vendée Globe.
“I am very happy to officially announce our participation in The Ocean Race with Biotherm,” said Meilhat. “I have been working to be at the start of this event for the last three years.
“Everything about The Ocean Race excites me. It’s about the sport, but it’s also about travelling around the world and being able to discover other countries and create links with new people; all of this is great and I’m keen to feel the full story of one of the great events in our sport.
“We are lucky to have a great boat to participate in the entire IMOCA GLOBE SERIES programme. I am thrilled that we have secured our participation in The Ocean Race, which adds a new, even more international dimension to our campaign.
“This opportunity is important to both the sporting side of the project, with the sailing team hungering to take on this incredible challenge, as well as for our title sponsor Biotherm, an international skincare brand in the L’Oréal Group. Biotherm has been dedicated to ocean protection for over 10 years and the brand’s values are very much in line with The Ocean Race, committed to bringing people together to protect the health of the ocean.”
Yacht Racing Life – Canada SailGP Team athletes announced
When SailGP Season 3 commences on May 14 in Bermuda, it will mark an historic moment for Canadian sailing. Canada’s first-ever fully professional sailing team will be on the start line with an all-star crew onboard the leading-edge F50 foiling catamaran.
Since the beginning of the year, Phil Robertson, Driver for the Canada SailGP Team, has been trialing and training a curated selection of Canada’s top sailors at the F50 simulator in Belfast and onboard the team’s training foiling catamaran in Portugal. F50 safety training followed soon thereafter in San Francisco, in the lead up to the SailGP Season 2 grand final.
“Phil knows what it takes to bring a new team up to speed and has done it successfully twice. Canada won’t be an exception – we have amazingly talented sailors, yet very little foiling experience. It’s the team’s vision that the Canada SailGP Team changes this and that it truly is the catalyst for sailing across the country,” said Jean-Sébastien Chénier Proteau, CEO of the Canada SailGP Team.
The impressive lineup for the Canada SailGP Team for the start of SailGP Season 3 includes Olympians Tom Ramshaw (Toronto, ON) (Finn and ICLA 7) as a grinder and tactician, Luke Ramsay (Vancouver, BC) (470 and Nacra 17) as a flight controller, as well as Tim Hornsby (Dartmouth, NS) (Sprint canoeist) as a grinder, who brings his foiling experience from 36th America’s Cup Challenger American Magic.
Stuff – America's Cup: The hidden gems for NZ in Barcelona 2024
As the dust settles on Team New Zealand’s controversial decision to take the next America’s Cup to Barcelona, there are a few hidden gems worth considering on the move to go offshore.
There’s been a predictable outcry over the lost opportunity for Auckland and New Zealand to host consecutive Cup regattas after the exciting defence in 2021, albeit financially stymied by the restrictions of the global Covid pandemic.
Auckland was still the envy of the sporting world as local crowds were able to gather to witness the wizardry of the AC75 foiling monohulls.
In a world slowly but surely freeing up, Barcelona should be able to make a far better return on its investment as one of Europe’s hot-spots showcases yachting’s greatest spectacle.
But the $128m deal Team New Zealand managed to squeeze out of their new Spanish hosts will have major flow-on effects to the Kiwi economy.
The champion syndicate will still spend the vast majority of their buildup in New Zealand and estimate that 90% of their budget will be spent in New Zealand.
That’s millions and millions of foreign money coming into the country by the way of investment, expenditure, wages and taxes.
Add it to the knock-on effects the Cup always has to New Zealand’s marine industry, and it's a goldmine for the bean counters in Wellington to dig into.
If Auckland and New Zealand really are so upset about seeing the Auld Mug sail away, there is still a budget way of getting involved in some of the sporting action.
Afloat – Royal Malta YC announces Middle Sea Race changes after 2021 controversy
The Royal Malta Yacht Club (RMYC) has confirmed that the Notice of Race for the 43rd Rolex Middle Sea Race is now available and yachts may already register their participation.
Last year’s race attracted 114 yachts, a remarkable achievement given the ongoing backdrop of a global pandemic. This year looks no less difficult with the situation in the Ukraine creating further uncertainty, but the RMYC is hopeful another impressive fleet will gather. The 2022 race is scheduled to start on Saturday, 22 October 2022.
In issuing this release, the RMYC acknowledges the unfortunate controversy surrounding the implementation of the alternative finish line for safety reasons, and the impact on the overall results of the 42nd Rolex Middle Sea Race. Following an internal review, the RMYC has taken and continues to take steps to ensure the rules and regulations surrounding the 43rd race are fit for purpose. In parallel with the internal review, the club has sought feedback from competitors and guidance from the RMYC’s longstanding race partners, including the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC).
As a result of these actions, the Race Organisation has been strengthened, with the most significant change comprising the appointment of Chris Stone, the RORC’s Racing Manager, as Race Director. A proven professional sailing administrator, he has 20 years of experience managing events such as the Rolex Fastnet Race, RORC Caribbean 600, the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, and Volvo Ocean Race and Clipper Round the World stopovers.
“The Rolex Middle Sea Race is a major event in the international sailing calendar. It attracts a diverse fleet from around the world which expects and deserves the very best in race management,” said Stone. “The primary objective is supporting the RMYC and its people in making race management robust and keeping the reputation and standing of this great race in good stead.”
69F Sailing – FIN1RACING win both stages of 69F Cup event in Valencia
The 69F Cup – Valencia Mar Sailing Week, first event of the European circuit of the 69F Cup, ended one day early, on Friday April 22nd, due to the strong wind on Saturday 23rd. 12 races were sailed in the two day competition by the nine teams with sailors coming from as nine countries, for a very balanced and heterogeneous fleet, made up of young and not-so-young sailors, some professionals and others amateurs, for a very intense and close competition.
Three teams took part in both Grand Prix, among them the winners of GP1.1, Fin1Racing, who reconfirmed themselves the best of the week winning also GP1.2.
“It was very nice, we had a new flight controller onboard for this weekend, Cas Van Dongen, who supported us in our winter training,” said Allan Norregaard – Fin1Racing “he is normally at the helm, but he was outstanding in his new role. We were able to win again, and we are really happy about that!”
Fin1Racing has a nice background story. They bought a slot at the last three GPs of the 2021 European season, in Torbole and Puntaldia, thanks to the easy Pay-Per-Play option they just had to show up at the location a few days in advance, follow the training session with one of the Team 69F coaches in order to get ready to compete in the regatta. After those events came the decision to participate in the entire 2022 season, which began with two consecutive wins for them.
In second place was another confirmation from last weekend, the French of Groupe Atlantic, while in third place were the Swiss of CER Ville de Geneve.
“It was a fantastic event, a good regatta, we have noticed a big improvement, but for many small mistakes we didn’t make the top yet. We are very happy nonetheless with our second place this week,” said Louise Chambet of Groupe Atlantic.
“Great event, we definitely made too many mistakes, also because it was the first time I sailed on the 69F” confessed Guillaume Rol of CER Ville de Geneve, “we are happy to have gained a place on the podium, even if it is on the third step”.