Yacht Racing World Newsletter – Issue 42
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The Ocean Race – Kevin Escoffier announces 2022-23 IMOCA entry with Holcim-PRB
Kevin Escoffier, a previous winner of the event, will enter his new generation IMOCA, Holcim-PRB, in The Ocean Race beginning 15 January 2023 from Alicante, Spain.
Escoffier confirmed his entry as his re-branded IMOCA, in striking green and blue, was rolled out of the workshed in Lorient, France, and relaunched in a ceremony on Monday.
“I love racing, and The Ocean Race is an amazing race where you push 100% all the time,” said Escoffier. “And you share this life with your crew. In 2014-15 it was my first race with Dongfeng Race Team and Charles Caudrelier as the skipper. In 2017-18 I was very lucky he called me back to join a winning campaign!
“Now I’m very happy to come back with my own project. It’s a short timeline. We will have to work hard. But we have a great team.”
Olympic Rower Nico Stahlberg completes Alinghi Redbull Racing sailing team lineup
Two-time Olympic rower and 2017 FISA world rowing cup winner Nico Stahlberg is the 15th - and last - member to join Alinghi Red Bull Racing sailing team – writes Sophie Urban.
“I’m so excited”, confessed the 30 year old athlete that was born in Frauenfeld in 1991 and studied in Lucerne. “I handed in my thesis about Forest Engineering on Friday and was here, in Barcelona, three days after. Being part of Alinghi Red Bull Racing is amazing, I couldn’t ever have dreamed about this!”
Nico went through the selection tests in February, at the Hôpital de La Tour in Geneva, but only joined the team mid-August after finishing his studies. “I was really surprised when the phone rang and I was told I was selected. I pushed myself to the limits during the test! Being able to join a professional sports project after finishing my rowing career is fantastic. I’m very proud to be part of this team. The other sailors gave me a warm welcome and showed me around when I arrived : the boat, the base and the city.” A team that is not totally new to Nico, as he rowed with Augustin Maillefer and Barnabe Delarze to the highest level.
Nico knows well what team work mean, after many years competing on quadruple sculls. He competed for Switzerland in the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games and claimed the 2017 FISA World Rowing Cup title. He discovered sailing when he was 26-years-old, in Australia. “I was riding my bike along the beach to go to the Melbourne Rowing Club and watched the boats every day. I was offered the chance to help a team out as a grinder. I got totally passionate for this sport!”
The Ocean Race – Biotherm skipper Paul Meilhat unveils a multinational crew
Made up of five men and three women of three different nationalities – all well-known names with prestigious backgrounds – the Biotherm IMOCA crew that will line up for the start of The Ocean Race on 15 January 2023 in Alicante, Spain has the makings of a ‘dream team’.
Immediately after his partnership with Biotherm was announced in March, Paul Meilhat expressed a wish to take part in The Ocean Race – the crewed round the world race with stopovers widely recognised as the toughest test to a team in sport.
Indeed, The Ocean Race’s boasts a unique pedigree. Originally known as the Whitbread Round the World Race, before going on to become the Volvo Ocean Race, this legendary competition is regarded as one of the greatest challenges in professional yacht racing. Equally, with a course spanning seven stages this global marathon is the perfect way to prepare for the Vendée Globe. Last but not least, The Ocean Race through its ‘Racing with Purpose’ initiative is a strong advocate for environmental causes – a message which aligns perfectly with that of Meilhat and his partner Biotherm.
Today, with the new Biotherm IMOCA fresh out of the Persico yard in Italy after an eight-month build, the campaign has reached another key milestone with the announcement of the men and women Meilhat has chosen to support him for six months of intense racing around the planet.
This international mixed-sex crew is an experienced and highly motivated group made up of top names with impressive CVs and career paths and is sure to be a potent force.
Yachting World – Second hand boats: How to get an IRC winner
If you’re buying a second-hand racing yacht, how do you ensure you’ll be competitive? Rupert Holmes analyses what to look for when buying a used yacht for serious IRC racing fun.
If you want to participate in racing in the UK and much of the rest of the big sailing nations, you really need to look to IRC unless you are specifically looking for class racing. For many of us buying a new yacht is beyond our means, so what are the best second hand options top get an IRC winner?
A big factor in the success of classes as diverse as the former Fast 40 fleet and Quarter Tonners is that IRC is proven to be an extremely equitable rating system when used for boats of a similar style.
There are also plenty of examples of older designs – such as J/105s – notching up significant successes offshore, particularly in double-handed classes, while in last year’s Rolex Fastnet Race, an X-332 (designed in 1994) won Division 4. Equally, Ross Appleby’s Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster has an enviable long-term record and was 3rd overall in last year’s RORC Season’s Points.
But what makes a good choice for inshore IRC racing? To some extent the high end of this arm of the sport is increasingly dominated by lightweight asymmetric planing designs. However, other well prepared and well sailed boats have also demonstrated they are still competitive. They include Lena Having’s Corby 33 Mrs Freckles, which won class at this year’s RORC Easter Challenge.
Yacht Racing Life – Scott Shawyer launches Canada Ocean Racing campaign with backing of Alex Thomson
Canadian yachtsman Scott Shawyer has launched a new ocean racing campaign – Canada Ocean Racing – with the goal of competing in the the Vendée Globe solo non-stop around the world race and becoming the first Canadian to complete the pinnacle event in offshore sailing, widely regarded as the toughest sporting challenge on the planet.
Backed by renowned British sailor Alex Thomson, Shawyer’s campaign aims to lead and inspire the development of offshore sailing in Canada. A core team of Canadian sailors will manage the day to day running of the yacht’s technical performance while the team embarks on a rigorous schedule of offshore training and race preparation.
From youth engagement programs with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Foundation to gender equity and inclusion opportunities with The Magenta Project, the Canada Ocean Racing team will encourage the next generation to choose their own adventure and create a pathway for future athletes, helping them to build the necessary pathways and networks in performance sailing.
Understandably excited about the launch of the project Shawyer said that taking on the Vendée Globe would be the biggest challenge of his life.
“I’ve joined forces with one of the best in the business, Alex Thomson, and like him, I have always been competitive and driven,” Shawnee said. “With the launch of Canada Ocean Racing, we have three clear objectives: to become the first Canadian to complete the Vendée Globe, to develop the sport of offshore sailing within Canada, and to build a successful business in the sport. We are a proud and adventurous nation and it’s time for Canada to compete on the world stage in singlehanded offshore sailing.”
SGP Insider – Right place, right time
Capturing every bit of SailGP action – on and off the water – is no simple task, so it is no real surprise to find out it takes a large team of talented photographers and some complex behind-the-scenes coordination to make it all happen – writes Justin Chisholm.
Earlier this year in Chicago SGP Insider sat down with the man who leads the SailGP photography team – seasoned news and sports photographer Bob Martin – to find out how it all works.
As well as working with British broadsheet newspapers like The Times and the Daily Mail and as a Europe-based staff photographer for the American magazine Sports Illustrated, Martin’s thirty year professional career has taken him all around the globe to shoot the action at the world’s premiere sporting events – including the last fifteen Summer and Winter Olympic Games, as well as Grand Slam Tennis and Formula 1.
His images have been showcased in a swathe of the very best international publications, such as Time, Newsweek, Life Magazine, Stern, Paris Match, Bunte, L’Equipe, The Sunday Times, and the New York Times
Martin was appointed Photo Chief at the London 2012 Olympic Games and was a consultant on photographic issues to the Rio 2016 Olympic organising committee. He also consulted for the International Olympic Committee for Tokyo 2020 and now for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
So, all in all, it is safe to say that Bob Martin is something of a big hitter in the sports photography world. But when he first was asked to get involved with SailGP at the end of Season 1 he was at first worried that he didn’t know enough about the sport of sailing to do the job justice.
SailGP – New Zealand dominates in Copenhagen in back to back event victory
New Zealand has claimed its second win in a row after a near-perfect performance at the ROCKWOOL Denmark Sail Grand Prix saw the team triumph in all four races.
Driver Pete Burling delivered a starting masterclass against competitors, soaring into the Final with a hat-trick of fleet race victories and trouncing Quentin Delapierre’s France and home favorites Denmark with a 25 second lead over the finish line.
It was fast and furious racing, with all three boats picking up a 100% fly time throughout the Final race.
The win marks New Zealand’s second consecutive victory, after triumphing at the Great Britain Final Sail Grand Prix in Plymouth last month.
Speaking about the win, Burling said ‘good opportunities’ at the start of the race resulted in ‘all the time and space in the world’.
He pointed to the team’s exemplary starts as a key contributing factor to the team's dominance. “The race is easy when you’re leading at mark one,” he said, adding that it was ‘amazing to see the team come together and win four races in a row’.
Untold: The Race of the Century
“A little country like Australia had the audacity to believe we could do it” – Australia II skipper, John Bertrand
Directed by Chapman and Maclain Way, ‘The Race of the Century chronicles the thrilling 1983 America’s Cup. It is a classic underdog story that tells the tale of the scrappy group of Australians who band together to dethrone the New York Yacht Club and break the longest-running win streak in history— 132 years— in the most prestigious sailing competition in the world.
Key members of the 1983 U.S. and Australian crews sit down for interviews sharing their experience of this ultimate race to victory.
Airs September 6 on Netflix.