Yacht Racing World Newsletter – Issue 39
Duchess of Cambridge races aboard Great Britain SailGP Team F50 catamaran in Plymouth
The Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton has experienced the power and speed of Great Britain's cutting-edge F50 first hand after taking the wheel in Plymouth.
Her Royal Highness stepped on board Ben Ainslie’s electric blue F50 ahead of official racing for a friendly Commonwealth race against UN Patron from the Ocean Lewis Pugh on board New Zealand.
And the presence of Her Royal Highness on board paid off for the British team, which soundly beat New Zealand on the iconic waters of Plymouth Sound.
11th Hour Racing IMOCA 60 sets off from Newport, Rhode Island to Concarneau, France
11th Hour Racing Team has set off from its homeport of Newport, Rhode Island bound for France, after two months of community engagement and racing in the State.
Next stop for the team is Concarneau, France to complete a final training program in Europe ahead of the start of the 36,500-mile around the world race starting from Alicante, Spain on January 15, 2023.
Onboard the 60-foot IMOCA race boat Malama for the 10-day transatlantic journey is skipper Charlie Enright (USA), joined by newcomer to the team Jack Bouttell (GBR/AUS), Francesca Clapcich (ITA), Navigator Simon Fisher (GBR) and media crew member Amory Ross (USA).
The Team has been based in Newport for two months, the home of title sponsor, 11th Hour Racing, supporting a range of activities, and sharing their experiences on ocean health and sustainable boat building practices with the local community.
Activities during June's #OceanHourWeek included an Ocean Hologram Exhibit, creative educational sessions around ocean health in collaboration with The Ocean Race Learning Program, and an on-site premiere with NewportFILM of 11th Hour Racing Team's new documentary, Under the Hull.
This was followed by the Team's successful participation in the Newport Bermuda Race, arriving into Bermuda second overall, the first monohulll and first in the Open Division.
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SGP Insider – Elated Kiwis pull off first event victory in style in Plymouth
There was an audible sigh of relief from fans of the New Zealand SailGP Team around the world yesterday as Peter Burling and Blair Tukes men and women finally found top gear on their F50 to dominate the racing at Great Britain Sail Grand Prix in Plymouth to claim their first regatta win since joining the international league back in 2020.
With Kiwi triple Olympian Jo Aleh in the strategist's role at the back of the boat for the first time – only her third outing on an F50 – the New Zealand squad barely put a foot wrong on the opening day in Plymouth.
Sailing with noticeable new confidence and aplomb considering the unpredictable wind conditions the team finished second in the first two races before winning the last race in style to top the leaderboard by six points from event favourites Tom Slingsby’s Australia SailGP Team overnight.
Yacht Racing Life – Sam Davies: Still getting better and ready for challenge of her first new boat
She has waited a long time for a new boat, but now she has it – a gleaming bright red Sam Manuard-designed flying machine, in the livery of Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque, and paid for by the same team of sponsors who funded her old one – writes Ed Gorman.
So well known in France, yet still struggling for recognition in her native Britain, Sam Davies can’t wait to get to grips with the first new boat she has had in an epic IMOCA career that started back in 2003.
At the age of 47 – she will be 50 when she takes the start of the next Vendée Globe in 2024 – she believes the long wait has not only been worth it, it has been a vital learning experience.
“I don’t feel like I’ve been waiting for ages and should have had this years ago, because I probably wouldn’t have done it justice or have the team around me I now have,” she told the Class, as the new Initiatives-Cœur slowly emerged from its shed in Lorient for the first time.
“I feel like now I can do it justice and with everything I’ve learnt, I am getting better and better. That’s the cool thing about this sport, you never stop learning, you just keep getting better and better,” she added.
Some IMOCA skippers think of their boats as impersonal machines, with no personality or spirit. Others are more sentimental and Davies is definitely one of those. As she watched her new thoroughbred, which is based on the molds of L’Occitane En Provence (now Bureau Vallée), being wheeled into the Breton sunshine she remarked: “It will sleep outside for the first time in its life tonight.”
Hannah Mills & Ben Ainslie launch gender equal Athena Pathway Programme
Hannah Mills OBE and Sir Ben Ainslie, the most successful female and male Olympic sailors of all time, have today announced the formation of the Athena Pathway Programme, a new pathway for female and youth sailors which aims to level the playing field in high-performance foiling sailing and bring diversity into the professional sport, with sustainability embedded in its core.
Speaking from the launch event at the Royal Yacht Squadron during Cowes Week, one of the world’s oldest regattas, Hannah Mills set out her vision for the future of high-performance sailing:
“Sailing has made great strides forward in gender equality in recent decades, led by the Olympic side of the sport where gender equality has now been reached on the water, but the professional side, particularly in high-performance foiling sailing, is far behind where it needs to be.
“We as a sport are uniquely placed to drive huge global change when it comes to gender equality. High-performance sailing has no major barriers to physical entry and through the Athena Pathway we will create a gender equal pathway for all, with sustainability at its heart.
“I am incredibly excited to be teaming up with Ben on this project to change the landscape of professional sailing in the UK. Young girls are already coming up to me excited by the potential opportunities within the America’s Cup, SailGP and beyond as they get older, which is amazing to see. Equally, however, the knock-on effect this could have in terms of growth within our sport as more females see career opportunities within the marine industry could be huge”.
Superyacht News – Bluegame to build America’s Cup 37 hydrogen powered chase boat
American Magic has partnered with Sanlorenzo and Bluegame to design and build its zero emissions chase boat for Barcelona 2024.
Bluegame, a Sanlorenzo Group brand, and New York Yacht Club American Magic, challenger for the 37th America’s Cup to be held in Barcelona in 2024, sign an agreement for the design and construction of the team hydrogen-powered chase boat.
For the first time, the 37th America’s Cup protocol requires each challenging team to build and operate two hydrogen- powered foiling chase boats that must be a minimum of 10 meters in length, reach a maximum speed of 50 knots, and possess a range of 180 miles.
Less than a year ago, Bluegame parent company, Sanlorenzo, signed a strategic agreement with Siemens Energy to build the first 50-meter Superyacht with electricity generation using hydrogen and Fuel Cells, which will be launched in 2024.
Luca Santella, head of product strategy of Bluegame, comments: "I can hardly contain the emotion that arises from the recognition of Bluegame's design value, from the confirmation of the unconventional DNA of the brand, and the fascination exercised by this legendary competition on a former professional sailor like I was."
INEOS Britannia – Meet chief technical director, Geoff Willis
After 33 years in Formula One, and 24 World Championships under his belt, Geoff Willis returns to sailing to join INEOS Britannia as Technical Director with the goal of bringing the America’s Cup back to England.
“To win the America’s Cup for Britain would be incredibly special. I've been very fortunate to be part of winning many World Championships in Formula One which has given me a huge reward. To be part of winning the America's Cup for Britain for the first time ever would be a very big cherry on top of that cake.”
Geoff grew up on the South Coast of England, in Southampton, as many who find themselves in the sailing industry do. His first memory of sailing was out on the Solent, on a family friend’s classic cruising yacht. His next sailing memory was 20 years later when he worked on the 1987 America’s Cup Campaign, his first foray into the world of the America’s Cup.
As a child, Geoff found himself fascinated across multiple subjects: at school he enjoyed the traditional maths, physics, chemistry but also very keen on geography and Latin An avid Airix kit builder and tinkerer with all things mechanical as he grew into his later teens, electronics captured his attention, and a lot of time was spent working on motorbikes. Before university, Geoff spent a year working as a consultant for a civil engineer design firm. “It taught me I didn't want to be a civil engineer, but it confirmed that engineering was what I wanted to do.”
Geoff therefore completed his undergraduate degree at Cambridge University, studying Engineering, specializing in the more mathematical subjects of aerodynamics and thermodynamics. Although accepted there for a PhD, he decided to leave the academic world and took a post at the National Physical Laboratory.
The PhD turned out to be merely postponed and not abandoned as he used his work in hydrodynamics to complete an external PhD with Exeter University. Always interested in maths because, “it's the language of a lot of science his PhD work took him into the world of mathematical and numerical modelling.
Having a rational, analytical approach and understanding, as well as an interest in trying to understand how to do things is key.”