Yacht Racing World Newsletter – Issue 16
Monday December 6
Tip & Shaft – Jean Le Cam reveals plan to race sixth consecutive Vendée Globe
Fourth in the last Vendée Globe, Jean Le Cam's ambition is to set off again on a sixth consecutive Vendée Globe - he will then be 65 years old – sailing aboard a “simple and accessible” Imoca which he hopes to start building as soon as possible if he can find supporting partners. At the same time, Le Cam is helping manage the projects of young sailors Benjamin Ferré and Violette Dorange.
He wants to go back once again! After five consecutive Vendée Globe, finishing four, unstoppable Jean le Cam is not content to hang up his sea boots and instead he is aiming to take the start of the 2024 race. But it will not be aboard his faithful Hubert (the former Foncia of Michel Desjoyeaux which is the Farr designed winner of the 2008 edition).
"The desire to do the race again came quickly for me, something like only two months after the finish," he tells Tip & Shaft. “On the other hand, I told myself that if I go back, it would be a different project with a new boat. I am not going to do a fourth round-the-world race on Hubert."
So what would this new boat look like? "With today's modern boats we are heading towards non-accessibility of the Vendée Globe, towards a level of elitism and that has never been my philosophy. So this project is about making a simple, reliable, accessible boat, with less technical complexity, fewer problems docking in ports, and less effort that cannot really be mastered. So an Imoca with daggerboards, light and easy to handle solo, a boat which would be between 1 and 1.5 knots faster than Hubert over a day."
Several architects have been contacted, Jean Le Cam has a fairly precise idea of what he wants: "The objective is to take inspiration from the new hulls you see in Class40. There is a real evolution on the last generation of 40 footers that I want to apply to a 60 footer."
Now the objective is to find partners, "who share the philosophy of the project", who would join in an adventure that "King Jean" wishes to be a collective as he would like to launch several boats off the same project. "To have an economic model which makes sense the ideal option would be to build three boats. This would make it possible to create a little dynamic, a kind of event within the event, to pool costs and to therefore make the Vendée Globe financially accessible to SMEs and keep it achievable for young people with a simple boat. This is a path we are proposing."
America’s Cup – Entry period for AC37 opens up
The entry period for the 37th America’s Cup is now open.
As of 12am 1st December 2021 Challengers can now officially enter the next edition of the oldest trophy in international sport.
Kevin Shoebridge, COO of Emirates Team New Zealand said, “The Defender, RNZYS & Emirates Team New Zealand, have had very positive initial interest since the release of the Protocol of the 37th America’s Cup, feedback and interest from prospective teams, both existing and new has been very encouraging.”
Soon after the entry period opening several challengers were received by the RNZYS and Emirates Team New Zealand.
The period for Challengers to enter runs until 31st July 2022, but late entries for the 37th America’s Cup may be accepted until 31st May 2023.
The order of entry determines the allocation of their AC40 yachts and team bases at the venue of the 37th America’s Cup.
Aaron Young, Commodore of the RNZYS said, “Certainly this is a really positive indication and start to the 37th America’s Cup, which I think is a reflection on all of the incredible work that has been going on over the past 8 months by ETNZ and the RNZYS which has set a solid foundation for a successful 37th America’s Cup.”
Yachting World – Is Alinghi making an America’s Cup comeback?
Is Alinghi making an America’s Cup comeback? Bertarelli's famous team aren't giving anything away – writes Helen Fretter.
Entries opened for the 37th America’s Cup today, December 1 2021. Despite the oldest trophy in sport having neither a confirmed date, nor an agreed venue, the Cup holders reported that multiple challenges were received on the first day.
Kevin Shoebridge, COO of Emirates Team New Zealand commented: “The Defender, RNZYS & Emirates Team New Zealand, have had very positive initial interest since the release of the Protocol of the 37th America’s Cup, feedback and interest from prospective teams, both existing and new has been very encouraging.”
The official release goes on to say: “Soon after the entry period opening several challengers were received by the RNZYS and Emirates Team New Zealand.”
Rumour, naturally, is rife as to who those challengers might be. Who is throwing their hat into the ring to take on Defenders Emirates New Zealand, and the Challenger of Record, Ben Ainslie and Jim Ratcliffe’s INEOS Britannia?
Alinghi’s name has been back in circulation for a few months in connection with a comeback for the 37th Cup, and the New Zealand Herald today reported that they were among the first two teams to pay the initial $1.47 million entry fee.
The Herald also reported that the Swiss team is trying to secure the purchase of a previous generation AC75 as a practice boat – although that would be true of any team, apart from those which already have them, namely American Magic and Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli.
Alinghi is neither confirming nor denying the report. A team spokesperson told Yachting World that they had an official statement on the matter. Amusingly, it simply says:
“The America’s Cup remains as exciting as ever when it comes to secrets and speculations. The Alinghi Sailing Team is following closely all developments with the 37th America’s Cup. We will be in touch soon with further news.”
Stuff – 2024 America's Cup goes next level
The 2024 America’s Cup just got real. Forget the ongoing issue of where the regatta will be held, it now has credible teams willing to contest it, none more so than Alinghi, the double champions from Switzerland who are back for more after sitting out the last three editions – writes Duncan Johnstone.
Their backer Ernesto Bertarelli obviously likes what he sees with the foiling monohulls and the decision that they will be retained for the next two editions makes him believe it can be won again from Team New Zealand.
Alinghi’s return amongst “several challenges” received when entries opened on December 1, puts to bed the ridiculous claims from several leading international yachting commentators that the protocol for the next America's Cup had got so lopsided that it could become a two-team contest between the Kiwis and challenger of record Britannia.
Look to see the big three from last time - Britannia, American Magic, and Luna Rossa - back in the challenging fleet but tempting Alinghi back is a coup.
Alinghi’s presence adds some much-needed power to a regatta that has had its credibility questioned and is still fighting questionable forces trying to derail its planning.
Sail-World – America's Cup: Encouraging level of entries for AC37 exceeds expectations
The number of early entries for the 37th America's Cup has given the lie to predictions that the cost of competing, coupled with no venue being named, would work against entries for the 37th America's Cup – writes Richard Gladwell.
Entries opened at 0000hrs on December 1, 2021, and had to be made to Emirates Team New Zealand in the first instance, copied to the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, with the two page Notice of Challenge being addressed to the Commodore at RNZYS.
There is a list of five or six teams who are serious potential entrants.
On Wednesday December 1 (NZT), the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and Emirates Team New Zealand announced in a media statement that "Several challenges [had been received] soon after the entry period opened".
Excluded from that count is INEOS Britannia, who is already entered as Challenger of Record through Royal Yacht Squadron. It has a strong technology alliance with Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 through INEOS Sport.
Former Cup winner Alinghi is widely reported to have challenged, and via Italian sources are reported to have a 40 strong design team, currently working, and have picked up key personnel from other teams.
The Swiss-owned team has backed itself into the Red Bull F1 racing team, and with new budget cap rules in F1, may have been forced to re-deploy people into the America's Cup team. Former Emirates Team NZ and INEOS Team UK chief designer, Nick Holroyd has joined Alinghi in a class rule interpretation role. A former Alinghi staffer from the 2007 America's Cup is understood to have been engaged as Executive Director.
Alinghi have been developing a strong, young sailing team of Swiss Nationals, and will be expected to have challenged under a Swiss Club. One of their sailing team Arnaud Psarofaghis was loaned to NZSailGP as a helmsman in the absence of regular, Peter Burling. Psarofaghis, notable for making several very good starts, was able to chalk up the team's first race win.
Stuff – Luna Rossa confirm entry for another shot at America's Cup
Luna Rossa is returning for another crack at the Auld Mug after confirming their registration for the next America's Cup.
Skipper Max Sirena made the announcement during the launch of the Italian syndicate's book, Luna Rossa - The Unforgettable Challenge, in Milan.
"We have sent the 'notice of challenge', which includes the dossier with the documentation necessary to formalise registration for the event," Sirena was quoted as saying in multiple Italian news outlets.
"Now Team New Zealand and the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron will verify the validity of the documents: if everything is in order, the challenge will be accepted ".
Sailing World – Mates of the Mac
Two complete strangers set off doublehanded in the Chicago YC’s Race to Mackinac seeking adventure and enlightenment.
Story by Dave Reed.
Ahead, through bleary eyes, the lights of the Mackinac Bridge float on the horizon like a mirage. The twinkling blob is a distant target in the pitch-black night, the next waypoint on our 280-mile race from boisterous Chicago to sleepy Mackinac Island. All around us are blinking lights: reds, greens and whites of channel markers and the slower boats we’re creaming past at what sure feels like 15 knots. My co-skipper and I are sleep-deprived, hungry and thirsty for beer, and while we can’t yet smell the horse piss, we’re closing in on the finish at a wicked pace.
My concentration flicks between the bow, its angle to the waves, and the tightly curled luff of our bone-white masthead spinnaker. Standing so I can see better, my left foot is braced against the foot chock, tingling and numb. My right knee is bent, pressed against the side deck and the coaming, and my waist is wedged against the lifeline padding. When the load on the rudder lightens, I allow the tiller to glide away. The boat turns toward the wind, the luff flicks as the boat accelerates, and water jets across the foredeck.
The boat begins to surf, and the rudders howl like a banshee and then go quiet as froth tumbles out from the transom. A stronger gust tickles the hair on the back of my neck. I exhale deeply to calm my nerves and say to myself, Don’t wipe out…don’t wipe out…
My mate for this blitz through the Straits of Mackinac is Andraž Mihelin. He’s behind me, sitting wedged into the pushpit while navigating through a maze of markers using only his iPhone. He knows we’re pushing the boat and its runnerless carbon rig to a redline. This boat is his baby, and he knows better than anyone what will trigger a tantrum.
“Careful,” I hear him say to me. “You’re on the edge.”
Huh? On the edge? I ponder that for a split second, afraid to ask what he means. Does my steering suck?
We’ve turned off the cockpit displays to save power, so I have no idea how fast we’re going or what direction the apparent wind is coming from, but it doesn’t matter. I’m sailing the 27-footer by feel, and I’m chuffed that I actually feel fully in control. The leeward rudder has a firm grip, and the boat, as the saying goes, feels as if it’s on rails. Tugging on the tiller keeps everything in balance.
RNZ – Demand for special meeting over America's Cup venue dropped
The group trying to force the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and Team New Zealand to defend the America's Cup in Auckland has dropped its demand for a special club meeting.
Former Team New Zealand director Jim Farmer, QC, gathered the required numbers to force the club to hold a meeting to vote on a motion that the America's Cup be defended in Auckland.
The meeting was scheduled for Thursday.
The Kiwi Home Defence campaign of businessman Mark Dunphy maintains an America's Cup defence is financially viable in Auckland.
The 37th edition of the America's Cup has gone to an international bidding process, after Team New Zealand, the government and Auckland City failed to agree to terms for the next regatta earlier this year.
Team New Zealand and the RNZYS maintain the budget for the event is $200 million - made up of $120m for Team New Zealand's campaign and $80m to run the event.
Cork in Ireland, Jeddah in Saudi Arabia and a multi-city bid from Spain are in the running alongside Auckland's fading hopes, with a decision to be made by the end of March.
In November, RNZYS Commodore Aaron Young said "it is the RNZYS's preference for AC37 to be held in New Zealand, however it needs to be viable to allow this to happen."
Yacht Racing Life – Hannah Mills/Eilidh McIntyre and Tom Slingsby win 2021 Rolex World Sailor of the Year awards
Olympic gold medalists Hannah Mills MBE (GBR) and Eilidh McIntyre (GBR) were voted female 2021 Rolex World Sailor of the Year on Thursday 2 December in a virtual ceremony streamed live from the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes, UK.
Australia’s Tom Slingsby has won the male 2021 Rolex World Sailor of the Year in celebration of his achievements in three competitive classes over the past two years.
Mills and McIntyre claimed gold in Tokyo in the 470 class, a victory which made Mills the most successful female Olympic sailor of all time. This was her second Olympic gold, repeating her victory from Rio 2016 with her new partner. McIntyre won her first gold medal in Tokyo and followed in the footsteps of her father, Michael, who won gold at the 1988 Games in Seoul. The pair received 37% of the votes, making them the clear choice for this year’s female Rolex World Sailor of the Year award.
Slingsby secured 29% of the votes after defending his Moth World Championship, winning 13 of the 14 races, securing back-to-back 2019 and 2021 title wins. He has also set the standard in the global SailGP circuit, earning the season 1 title as Team CEO and Skipper of TeamAustralia, which is also currently top of the series leaderboard with just two events remaining in season 2. He capped a fantastic year on the water by being part of the crew of ‘Comanche’, winners of the 2021 Rolex Middle Sea Race.
A record-breaking 40,000 votes were cast this year to honour the achievements of sailors across all disciplines.