Yacht Racing World Newsletter – Issue 11

Monday October 25

The Transat Jacques Vabre 2021 – A tough challenge to end a great IMOCA season

The IMOCA Class has enjoyed a vintage and innovative year in 2021 and now it is time for the finale – one of the classics in the repertoire – the 15th edition of the two-handed Transat Jacques Vabre – writes Ed Gorman.

Despite the fact that several boats have changed hands since the Vendée Globe finish, and there are new launches ahead for several high profile skippers, this transatlantic race is going to be highly competitive.

Over the past few weeks the IMOCA bases in Brittany have been a hive of intense activity as crews have prepared for the longest two-handed race in the sport in what in many cases are now finely-optimised boats, with or without foils.

No less than 23 IMOCAs will take the start from Le Havre on November 7th, for this classic test when co-skippers will look to push hard 24 hours-a-day for up to 17 days on a 5,800-nautical mile course, finishing at Fort-de-France on Martinique in the Caribbean.

In addition to foiling front-runners like Charlie Dalin and Paul Meilhat on APIVIA, Thomas Ruyant and Morgan Lagraviere on LinkedOut and Jérémie Beyou and Christopher Pratt on Charal, the fleet includes five mixed male-female crews. Among them are Simon Fisher and Justine Mettraux on 11th Hour Racing Team-Alaka’i, Isabelle Joschke and Fabien Delahaye on MACSF and Louis Duc and Marie Tabarly – making her debut in the IMOCA Class – on Kostum-Lantana Paysage.

This race also sees the return to competition of Vendée Globe winner Yannick Bestaven sailing with Jean-Marie Dauris on Maitre CoQ IV which was forced to retire from the Rolex Fastnet Race after a collision at the start. Another closely-watched performer will be the new 11th Hour Racing Team IMOCA, Mãlama, co-skippered by Charlie Enright and Pascal Bidégorry, which had to retire from the Défi Azimut 48-Hours with steering failure.


Vendée Globe – NOR published for 2024 edition

The SAEM Vendée, the organising entity behind the Vendée Globe, has just published the Notice of Race which details the rules for competing in the 10th edition of the Vendée Globe.

Applications for the Vendée Globe 2024 will open on Monday February 14, 2022, at D - 1000 before the Start day, scheduled for November 10, 2024. The qualification pathway to the Vendée Globe is reinforced. The maximum number of racers for the 2024 Vendée Globe is set at 40.

- Rules of participation are put in place three years before the Start

Since the finish of the last edition, the SAEM Vendée has observed unprecedented enthusiasm from the skippers and their sponsors, many of whom are known to want to take the Start of the next edition.

The Notice of Race is unveiled today, so at six months in advance of the previous edition’s NoR publication and some three years before the Start, in order to provide visibility and transparency on the rules of participation to all contenders.

Applications open at D - 1000 before Departure

Applications for the 10th Vendée Globe will open on February 14, 2022, so at D - 1000 from the Start which is set for November 10, 2024.

In the previous edition, 37 candidates officially applied. This record might well be broken again by October 2, 2023 which is the closing date for applications.

A reinforced qualification pathway

There is no race more demanding than the Vendée Globe and the first duty of the SAEM Vendée, as organiser, is to ensure the safety of the sailors but also to allow as many people as possible to finish the race.

The Vendée Globe is once again fully involved in the IMOCA Globe Series Championship, the primary objective of which is to allow skippers to accumulate experience and increase the reliability of their boats by completing miles in the various races of the Championship.

2020 was first success in that direction, with three quarters of the fleet arriving at the finish, compared to the ‘normal’ of around half, an historic first.

In order to maintain this impetus it is important to strengthen the qualifying criteria for the race:

- 1st rule: Qualify the boat that will do the Vendée Globe.

- 2nd rule: Start 2 solo qualifying races for the Globe Series Championship, including one before the end of 2023 and one in 2024.

- 3rd rule: Finish one of these qualifying races within the allotted time (race time less than or equal to that of the first finisher in the race plus 50%).


Sailing World – How to do a late-main jibe

The technique is simple, but the perfection of a late main jibe comes all comes down to timing – explains Andy Horton.

The problem with conventional jibes, where the main and spinnaker cross the boat simultaneously, is that the mainsail acts like a big wall, pushing air the wrong way across the spinnaker. That makes it harder to fill the spinnaker on the new jibe. And the longer it takes to fill, the longer you’ll be sailing slowly.

Picture this: You’re about to execute a conventional jibe, from starboard to port. The wind is flowing from right to left across the spinnaker—from luff to leech. Jibe to port and the wind now flows from left to right, still from luff to leech.

Now let’s consider the mainsail. While on starboard jibe, the wind flows across the main from right to left—again, from luff to leech. But as you jibe, the main starts pushing air ahead of it as it crosses the boat. That pushed air hits the spinnaker, which is also trying to fill at that moment, from luff to leech—in this case, from left to right.

That means that, until you settle onto the new jibe, the flow moving across the spinnaker is countered by the flow created by the main. The net result? It becomes much harder to fill the spinnaker—no flow, no drive—meaning the sail is not working at its potential through the jibe.

Enter the late-main jibe. As its name suggests, you jibe the spinnaker first, then the main. Done right, the spinnaker is not affected by the main and can keep you on a faster track downwind.

Here’s how it’s done. As the boat bears away into the jibe, ease the active sheet so the spinnaker is just curling. Typically, that ease is a little ahead of the turn. Keep the sheet tensioned until the clew of the spinnaker is at the forestay. Simultaneously trim the new sheet.

For a few seconds, the new sheet will be pulling slightly against the old sheet. The idea is to create a direct load transfer from the old sheet to the new, so don’t just let the old sheet go before the clew reaches the headstay. Do that and the spinnaker will go out in front of the boat, luff, and you’ll lose speed.


Yacht Racing Life – New Canadian syndicate completes 10 team line up for SailGP Season 3

SailGP has announced that the line-up for Season 3 – starting May 2022 – will be further enhanced with the addition of Canada joining the global league for Season 3.

This is the league’s second expansion franchise to be announced, with Canada joining Switzerland on the start-line for next season, and confirms the expansion of the league from eight teams in Season 2 to ten in Season 3.

The franchise of the Canada SailGP Team is owned by innovative businessman and investment entrepreneur and lifelong sailor, Fred Pye.

The ethos behind the team will be twofold; to expand the sport in Canada and promote a pathway into high performance sailing in Canada.

Pye said: “My vision is to create a catalyst for the growth of sailing in Canada that makes a generational impact on our community and provides an aspirational goal for our athletes to represent our country internationally.”

“I invested in SailGP because I believe it represents the future of the sport – with its commitment to environmental sustainability, clean-energy and social impact – and the racing is incredibly entertaining and accessible.”

Featuring the sport’s best athletes, Canada will join teams from Australia, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland and the United States in Season 3 – spanning 2022-2023 – and expected to comprise ten events.


Cup Insider – The New York Yacht Club backs out of 37th America’s Cup involvement

The New York Yacht Club’s increasingly uneasy involvement in the 37th America’s Cup has officially come to an end – writes Justin Chisholm.

Yesterday the renowned club confirmed in a press statement that it was “pausing its pursuit of the America’s Cup”, citing uncertainty over the venue and timing of the next edition.

“There are few private clubs that enjoy a stronger bond with a single competition than the New York Yacht Club does with the America’s Cup, which we founded and held for 132 years,” said NYYC Commodore Christopher J. Culver.

“However, we ultimately have a responsibility to act in the best interests of our membership. Given the continued uncertainty regarding the 37th America’s Cup, we have decided to pause our challenge for this edition.”

“For more than six months, the New York Yacht Club along with other potential challengers have waited for clarity regarding the venue, timing, and rules for the 37th America’s Cup. Time is never on the side of new teams in this great contest, but at some point, we must recognize when there simply isn’t enough of it left to build a competitive challenge.”

This final comment is an undisguised sideswipe at the leadership of America’s Cup Defender Emirates Team New Zealand, who the NYYC commodore clearly feels have been unnecessarily dragging their feet over securing a host city agreement for the 37th cycle of the Cup.


Stuff – America's Cup: Little logic as New York throw their toys out of the cot

There a few holes in New York Yacht Club's arguments as big as the gouge in their American Magic boat's hull in Auckland. | Image © COR36/Studio Borlenghi

OPINION: The New York Yacht Club’s impatience with the processes around the next America’s Cup has little justification – writes Duncan Johnstone.

The famous club has decided against contesting the next edition, citing frustrations around a lack of “clarity” from Team New Zealand over crucial structures for the 37th edition of yachting’s pinnacle event.

In reality, Team New Zealand have missed one deadline - the September 17 date to announce the next venue, a diary entry that always looked ambitious given the desire by the defenders to take the event offshore and the complications of finding a suitable host under their demanding requirements.

Recent history shows finding a venue hasn’t always been a simple process.

After Alinghi beat Team New Zealand in 2003, they took 10 months to sort out Valencia for the 2007 regatta.

Defenders Oracle’s controversial decision to use a neutral venue for the 2017 Cup, saw them put the challenging fleet on wait for 15 months before announcing Bermuda on the back of their 2013 triumph in San Francisco.

Team New Zealand’s subsequent victory in Bermuda seemingly made Auckland an easy choice for 2021. Yet that process dragged out 14 months and almost saw a late switch to Italy before an 11th hour reprieve saved the Kiwi hosting rights.


New Zealand Herald – America's Cup: Stars+Stripes USA confirm commitment to America's Cup challenge

Stars+Stripes USA have confirmed their commitment to mounting a challenge for the America's Cup, despite the New York Yacht Club deciding to "pause their involvement" in the 37th edition of the regatta – writes Christopher Reive.

After being represented by American Magic in Auckland for the 36th America's Cup, the New York Yacht Club appeared to be set to instead link up with the second US challenge in Stars+Stripes USA for the next edition.

However, the club has since decided against moving forward with mounting a challenge, leaving the syndicate in limbo.

"We are disappointed that NYYC reversed its decision to participate in the next cycle of the America's Cup," Stars+Stripes USA co-chief executive Mike Buckley said.


Afloat – Maybe Cork itself would pay for staging the America’s Cup?

According to one usually reliable line of information, yesterday was to be the day in Auckland when Team New Zealand and the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, as Trustees and Holders of the America's Cup, were due to confirm the location for the AC37 series in 2024 – writes WM Nixon.

But it seems to be on hold in light of the New York Yacht Club withdrawing its team on Wednesday, and the revelation on Thursday that the defending Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron would actually prefer to stage their third iteration at home if the resources could be raised, despite having put it out to international tender.

It's of considerable interest in Ireland, or would be if any announcement had been made, as Cork Harbour had been hailed by enthusiasts as being the preferred overseas bidder. But the small though powerful group of project promoters in and around the Southern Capital were so bedazzled by their own vision that it seemed they'd done insufficient groundwork with the rest of the country. Thus Ireland was somewhat bemused to find that the Rebel County assumed that the rest of Ireland would joyfully join them in divvying up at least €150 million in hitherto unplanned infrastructural spend in order to accommodate the event.

All this is at a time when the gap between rich and poor in Ireland is conspicuously increasing by the day in an era when our economy is so dominated by multinationals that we don't really know for sure how much Irish national wealth and income is expanding, if indeed – with inflation moving back in – it is genuinely expanding at all, other than in a few very favoured sectors.

Thus the optics were not good – in fact, they were terrible - in launching a project in which the government was given first one, and then another impossible deadline to commit to, when they'd very reasonably asked for six months, which to many observers seemed little enough.

We'd got to the stage on 17th September when it was revealed there'd be no further announcements until October 22nd. But in the meantime, other aspects of the supposed four bids emerged. Valencia in Spain – despite having the infrastructure in place from staging the 2007 America's Cup – withdrew from the fray, but the Spanish Government took up their option on a "maybe" basis.


Francesca Clapcich and Giulia Conti launch Equal Sailing

Equal Sailing is a global initiative founded by Olympic athletes and world champions Giulia Conti and Francesca Clapcich, aimed at inspiring an equal, competitive playing field for male and female sailors.

The project provides opportunities for some of the top female sailors from across the world to take part in expert training courses and compete in high-tier regattas aimed at developing key technical and professional skills to further their sailing careers and significantly reduce the gender gap across the world of sailing.

The career-defining opportunities that Equal Sailing provides include the chance to take part in the initiative’s own 69F Academy, where a selection of the world’s top performing female sailors (20% of whom are selected from among the most promising U25 Youth Sailors) can develop fundamental skills onboard the high-tech high-performance 69F, the only flying monohull besides the AC75.

69F Academy training courses last 6 days and take place prior to each Persico 69F Cup Event and will also be tied to other regattas including the Youth Foiling Gold Cup.

“I am thrilled and deeply proud to see how far we have come. It feels like only yesterday when Francesca and I were sat down discussing how we could try to make a difference,” commented co-founder Giulia Conti – World and European champion, four-time Olympic athlete in three classes and US FX team coach for Tokyo 2020.

“Now we already have a full roster of exceptional female sailors and two events just around the corner: the 69F Youth Foiling Gold Cup in Cagliari (Sardinia – Italy) and the 69F Foil Cup, a pro sailor event, in Sferracavallo (Palermo – Sicily). It is really exciting to be able to create opportunities and involve so many female sailors of this calibre from all over the world.”

“It is a dream come true to start this project with Giulia”, continued Francesca Clapcich – co-founder, World Champion, Olympic athlete, The Ocean Race sailor and first Italian female sailor to finish the Solitaire du Figaro.

“The two of us are good friends and close teammates. We have both experienced first-hand how hard it can be to transition from being a successful dinghy sailor to developing a career in a sport we love. It should not be this difficult, which is why, with Equal Sailing, we want to create defining opportunities for top performing sailors looking to develop a career in professional sailing and make it easier for future generations to reach their potential. In order to do so we need partners who want to support our project and help make a difference in our sport.”

The first event for Equal Sailing will be the 69F Youth Foiling Gold Cup, scheduled to take place from 21st to 31st October in Cagliari.

Team members will be:

Silvia Mas (ESP) - 2021 470W World Champion and Tokyo 2020 Olympic athlete
Paula Barcelo (ESP) - 2020 49erFX World Champion and Tokyo 2020 Olympic athlete
Sena Takano (JPN) - 49erFX Tokyo 2020 Olympic athlete and Japan SailGP Team member
Jana Germani (ITA) - 2021 49erFX Youth World Champion
Eugenia Bosco (ARG) - silver medallist at the Pan Am Games in Lima 2019 (Nacra 17) and currently training for Paris 2024

While for the 69F Foil Cup event, scheduled to take place from 10th to 12th November in Sferracavallo, Sicily, team members will include Tamara Echegoyen (ESP) - gold medallist in London 2012 (match race), twice 49erFX World Champion and team member of MAPFRE during the latest edition of the Ocean Race, and Paula Barcelo - Tamara’s 49erFX teammate.