Yacht Racing World Newsletter – Issue 35
J Class – Svea wins Superyacht Cup Palma
With a second place in today's final short coastal race, the Swedish flagged Svea are overall winners of the J Class at Superyacht Cup Palma after four days of racing. Following Ranger's debut victory for her new owner at the Saint Barth's Bucket in March, Svea's maiden triumph under her new Swedish co-owners maintains a remarkable winning record for new owners' teams winning their first J Class regattas.
"This is something really special," smiled Svea's winning tactician Bouwe Bekking. " The heritage of this boat in Sweden is huge and of course the Swedish owners have this Swedish designed boat and win here. It is massive. Everyone has done a great job. We came here with no expectations at all. Nothing. But here we are on par with the other boats, sometimes maybe even a little better."
Ranger took victory in the last race of the regatta today, thereby ensuring that all four J Class teams competing won at least one race. Three of the four also counted one fourth in their scoreline, the exception being today's race winner whose hard-earned victory ended a run of all third places and elevated Ranger to third overall behind Topaz.
The key battle of the showdown race was actually between a modest thermal sea breeze and the gradient wind which was blowing from just north of east. For the second successive day the first windward leg was towards the shoreline at Arenal. Off the start line, Ranger, with John Kostecki and Jordi Calafat on tactics and strategy, tacked off early and came in to round first with a handy lead from Svea.
44Cup Marstrand – Two in a row for Poons and Charisma
A miserable day weather-wise off the west coast of Sweden turned magnificent, like the fortunes of Nico Poons’ Charisma which after three races today claimed the 44Cup Marstrand over Igor Lah’s Ceeref powered by Hrastnik 1860 and Chris Bake’s Team Aqua. This was the Dutchman’s second consecutive 44Cup win following his massive 12 point Cascais victory in May.
“I am absolutely happy that we won this and the last one too - we are in a good stream,” said a beaming Poons, soaked after his traditional victor’s dunking. “It is not about winning. It is about keeping the damage from the bad ones under control.”
Ceeref powered by Hrastnik 1860 started the day led by a point. At this stage six teams could still win. However in today’s first two races, with the southerly gusting to 20 knots in the squalls and the sky for the first time grey and overcast, bringing occasional rain, it was Charisma and Team Aqua that were strongly on the ascent.
In the first race Team Aqua did well to windward of the starboard tackers and later, approaching the top mark, bounced Artemis Racing off to the right and then, on port, crossed clear ahead to lead onto the run, never looking back. Chris Bake and his team followed this with a second in today’s penultimate race.
“We joined the dots a lot better today than we did yesterday,” said Bake. “It was really shifty, but a much flatter sea state [than yesterday]. Once you got the boat going, it was really great sailing.”
Meanwhile Charisma had finished the first race third astern of Hugues Lepic’s Aleph Racing and went on to win the second. Mainsheet trimmer Chris Hosking described it:
“We got off the line nicely at the pin and went left, the way Pepsi [tactician Hamish Pepper] wanted to go. We got to the top mark in good shape and sailed away.”
Out on the left they had found more pressure and a good shift.
Shirley Robertson’s Sailing Podcast – Tom Whidden
This month on Shirley Robertson's Sailing Podcast America's Cup Hall of Famer Tom Whidden recounts one of the most important eras in competitive sailing as he sits down with double Olympic gold medallist Shirley Robertson.
After a childhood spent learning to sail on the East Coast of the United States, a teenage Tom Whidden made two bold declarations. He would become a sail maker, and he would compete in the America's Cup. Decades later he's still a pivotal figure at sailing industry powerhouse North Sails, and he's raced an incredible eight America's Cup campaigns, having won the illusive trophy three times.
But in this fascinating two-episode chat with Robertson, it's Whidden's memories of the historic 1983 loss to Alan Bond's Australia II that are the most revealing. Whidden partnered up with Cup legend Dennis Connor for the 1980 Freedom Syndicate campaign, and was tactician for the 1983 Defence, but it was a Defence that would finally see the end to the New York Yacht Club's one hundred and thirty two year winning streak.
Unsurprisingly, Whidden's memory of each and every race is near flawless, as he talks Robertson through the historic loss.
"I'm looking back and I'm going, they're about to tack, and the bow comes up, comes up, comes up and I go 'they're actually not tacking' and they get this big humongous left shift and they go up, and slowly but surely they sail away. They beat us by two minutes in that race. So now it's the race of the century."
The 'race of the century' was of course that deciding match of the 1983 Cup, a match that Whidden and his team onboard Liberty famously lost. It was the end of an era, Alan Bond's Australia II finally prised the Cup out of the one hundred and thirty two year grip of the New York Yacht Club. But despite the implications of the famous defeat, as Whidden reveals, somehow there was still room for humour...
Cup Insider – Answering the call – part two
The second part of our exclusive interview with Silvio Arrivabene co-general manager and head of technical operations at the Swiss America’s Cup challenger Alinghi Red Bull Racing.
Although not yet at full capacity the Swiss Alinghi Red Bull Racing America’s Cup team is nevertheless a complex organisation. Arrivabene expects it to end up similar in scale to previous Alinghi campaigns, but says the syndicate’s configuration will be quite different because of the complex nature of the AC75 class.
“Typically an America's Cup team these days ends up somewhere between a 100 and 110 or so – that is always a scale,” he says. “But although the crew has been reduced, the number of designers and other members of the shore crew has increased.
“These boats are really high-precision machines that require a lot of maintenance and constant development. It takes a lot of manpower just to get them on the water in the morning and once they come back you typically need a lot of maintenance.
“A great example is the appendages – rudders and foils. At the speeds they go the foils can get – damaged is not the right word – but abused puts it better. So every day you need to give them some love and you have a few guys looking after that.
“Plus the systems, hydraulics, electronics, also require a lot of maintenance – the one design foil can’t system is demanding as well.’
Under the new rules for the 37th America’s Cup teams are allowed to design and build only one AC75 – one less than in the 36th edition. With less opportunity to try out new ideas there is fierce pressure on all the teams’ designers to get it right first time.
“They only have one shot,” Arrivabene observed. “ But it is going to be the same for everyone, so at least we're all in the same ….. boat. And of course we have the AC40s that we can use to some extent to test ideas at about half scale.”
Yacht Racing Forum 2022 to be held at the Intercontinental Hotel in Malta
The international yacht racing community will meet in Malta on November 21 - 22 for two days of networking, business and an exciting social calendar.
Members of the yacht racing community and sailing industry from all over the world can look forward to an exceptional edition of the Yacht Racing Forum at the Hotel Intercontinental on November 21-22 in Malta.
Registration is open for the leading annual conference dedicated to the business of sailing and yacht racing. Organised by MaxComm and hosted by Yachting Malta, the event will reassemble the sports’ key personalities from all over the world for two days of conferences, debates and business, not to mention an attractive social calendar.
The draft conference programme and speakers list are available online and nearing completion.
There are different opportunities to join the Yacht Racing Forum as a delegate, speaker, exhibitor or sponsor. Feel free to contact us to discuss participation options.
A preferential rate will be available for booking rooms at the Intercontinental on our website by mid next week.
Sailing World – Dave Ullman: How to Ensure A Good Start
Following a few basic steps and implementing a pre-start routine ensures consistently good starts. Here's your go-to primer.
Sailing is a simple sport. It’s easy to get caught up overthinking it, but if you want to do well, just remember there’s a basic way to do everything, from starts to boat handling and straight-line boatspeed. However, getting a good start is the first step to getting good results, so let’s get to the basics of getting off the line and then take it from there.
First things first: Get out to the racecourse at least an hour early. In the half-hour or so before the start, do a number of head-to-wind checks. I do them in a timed sequence, not randomly, which is important. It could be every five minutes or every two minutes, but absolutely do your checks in the same time sequence so that what you record isn’t random.
If the wind oscillates through a specific time period, you can better identify the timing of the shifts. If you do your checks at random, you could miss an oscillation. You’re looking for a pattern, so keep doing it until you recognize one. Then go off and sail upwind on both tacks. Record your headings relative to your head-to-wind readings—just write them on the deck or wherever is easiest.
The next thing I’ll do is ping the line once it’s set. One thing we see people do wrong is they ping the line going head-to-wind. You don’t start head-to-wind, so you want to ping it on your normal upwind angle; otherwise, whatever device you’re using will be inaccurate.