Yacht Racing World Newsletter – Issue 41
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The Ocean Race – Mission Possible
Dutch sailor Rosalin Kuiper has come a long way in the sport of sailing since she first ventured afloat as a six-year-old in an Optimist on her local lake near Zoetermeer in the Netherlands. Back then she was a little bit scared of water so she took her dog Takkie along for some company.
Fast forward twenty years and Kuiper is preparing to fulfil her long term dream by racing around the world as a member of Boris Herrmann’s German Team Malizia IMOCA entry in The Ocean Race 2022-23. It’s a dream, however, that she admits to giving up on when last year the COVID-19 pandemic brought the sport of sailing to a sudden and unexpected halt.
Kuiper remembers riding her bike to the lake after school and on weekends to rig her Optimist, before her mother would arrive with Takkie and the pair would go sailing.
“I was always a bit afraid of water so I was very happy that he accompanied me,” she says.
As she grew into a teenage Kuiper split her time between sailing, athletics, and field hockey, but it was on a solo trip to Australia at the age of 18 that she found her passion for offshore sailing as a deckhand on a charter boat in the Whitsunday Islands.
“I had told my parents that I wanted to go travelling and I had saved up enough money to go to Australia,” she recalls. “As I travelled around the country I found myself constantly drawn to harbours and marinas and I became fascinated with the sailboats I saw.”
Kuiper remembers the feeling she got on her first weekend trip out to sea on the charter boat.
“It was like a fire had started burning in my chest. This was the most amazing thing I had ever done and I knew then that this was what I wanted to do with my life.”
Back home in the Netherlands Kuiper first joined a sailing school to improve her skills, before applying to join the Team Heiner Youth Academy, a programme created by legendary Dutch skipper Roy Heiner – a veteran of three Volvo Ocean Race campaigns.
Despite applying well after the programme’s deadline had passed Kuiper was determined to find a way of getting on the list for the try out session.
“I was too late with my application but I knew that if I wanted to continue sailing and to one day do races then I had to get in. I knew this was my only way into the sailing world so I pushed so hard. I called them, and I called them, and I called them. The selection was just two days away and my plan was just to turn up anyway.”
Cup Insider – Dean Barker and Pietro Sibello on hand as Swiss syndicate prepares for first sail after AC75 christening in Barcelona
Swiss syndicate Alinghi Red Bull Racing is within days of becoming the first team in the 37th cycle of the America’s Cup to take to the water following the christening yesterday in Barcelona of the team’s AC75 training boat.
Code named Boat Zero and freshly branded in Alinghi Red Bull Racing livery, the Swiss AC75 – formerly Emirates Team New Zealand’s first boat designed and built in 2019 in the run up to the AC36 event – was ceremonially launched yesterday at the ARBR base in Barcelona’s Port Vell.
The boat will serve as a training platform for the team’s 15-strong crew of young Swiss sailors who have never set foot on an AC75 previously. To help the crew get to grips with their new beast the ARBR management have drafted in some expert coaching resource in the form of Kiwi veteran America’s Cup helmsman and past winner Dean Barker and AC36 finalist with Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli, Pietro Sibello from Italy.
The Swiss team bought the Kiwi AC75 last spring from the current America’s Cup holders Emirates Team New Zealand and in recent weeks the syndicate’s technical shore team has painstakingly recommissioned the boat ready for sailing for the first time in the Mediterranean waters off Barcelona – venue of the 37th edition of America’s Cup in the Autumn of 2024.
Autoevolution – Red Bull Racing plunges into America's Cup design and tech competition
Red Bull Racing began its campaign in earnest on August 8th to challenge for America's Cup by splashing their AC75 racing boat into the waters of Port Vell in Barcelona, Spain. The city will host the 37th America's Cup, set to kick off in September of 2024.
That's right, the team will compete for a trophy, known as the Auld Mug, which is awarded to the winner of the oldest still operating competition in international sports.
The competition was first held in 1851 and hosted by the Royal Yacht Club of Britain with a race around the Isle of Wright. The 53-mile race was won by a 101-foot (31 meters) Schooner called 'America' owned by syndicate members from the New York Yacht Club. The Auld Mug would later be named after the first winner of the competition.
As I read the 130-plus words I had just written, it dawned on me that I did not use the term 'sailing'....and that's the point. America's Cup competition is not a sailing competition by any stretch. It is simply a design and technology get-together at sea where the winner is determined by the best-designed watercraft and the team's ability to use technology to finish a course ahead of all other competitors.
Beginning with the last Cup competition in 2021, the crafts used are no longer referred to as sailboats, but 'foiling monohulls'.
SailGP – The Russell Report
SailGP CEO Russell Coutts gives his debrief on all the racing action from last month’s Great Britain Sail Grand Prix | Plymouth.
Plymouth was a fantastic event with plenty of tight racing. It was the first time we’ve had six teams in contention for a place in the Final and you can really see dramatic improvement across the fleet now. For me, the U.S. and Spain are the underperforming teams. Switzerland is a brand-new team so in some ways that team’s performance is to be expected...and acceptable for now.
Spain’s performance in Plymouth was not impressive, especially when you look at the rest of the fleet and see how much the other teams are improving. Obviously the team has a new driver and it’s always going to take time.
But if the performance doesn’t improve over the next few events, it’s got to be a consideration for the team to move Diego Botin into the driver role and Jordi into flight control. Diego has just won the European 49er Championships with Florian Trittel and while Jordi is an excellent sailor and has won an Olympic bronze medal, his pedigree is in the 470 which is not really considered a high performance boat in my opinion.
The team should be open-minded about the future arrangement of their crew because if you were any other team and you had the current 49er European Champions, you’d need rocks in your head to not be considering them for the primary afterguard positions on the boat.
Round Britain & Ireland Race – Joy & pain on assent to Muckle Flugga
After nine days of racing 21 teams are still competing in the Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race. All bar three of those teams have rounded St Kilda, the isolated Scottish archipelago in the North Atlantic.
Pip Hare’s IMOCA Medallia has rounded Muckle Flugga, the most northern extremity of the course. The international fleet is forecast to experience low pressure for the first time in the race; a building northerly wind is expected to arrive shortly.
After nine days and nights of sweltering heat and little wind the teams are preparing themselves for stronger winds to come. The majority of the teams are past the midway 900-mile waypoint and there is optimism for a faster second half of the race.
At 1000 BST on Monday 15 August, Stuart Greenfield’s S&S 34 Morning After was ranked as the overall leader after IRC time correction. Richard Palmer’s JPK 1010 Jangada was ranked second and Rob Craigie’s Sun Fast 3600 Bellino ranked third.
Pip Hare’s IMOCA Medallia was the first boat to round Muckle Flugga on the eighth day of the Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race (14th August 17:09:33:31). Described by Medallia’s watch leader Paul Larsen as the ‘Cape of the North’. The crew of Medallia were elated to be finally turning south and looking forward to the possibility of fast downwind conditions in the North Sea.
Joy at rounding Muckle Flugga - Listen to Pip as she talks about the complicated weather systems and life on board:
“We are very, very happy to see that bit of land!” commented Pip Hare shortly after rounding Muckle Flugga. “We never would have imagined it would take so long to get up here. It has been challenge after challenge and meteorologically it’s still very complex for the rest of the race. We are looking forward to hooking into low pressure and getting some miles underneath us but the weather is still looking really complicated. This has always been a challenging race and that is why I entered it, but this weather takes it to another level.”
Royal Yachting Association – Watch Chasing Tokyo now
The hidden story of the most successful Olympic sailing team as they head to one of the most uncertain Olympic Games in history
Every four years the world’s best athletes congregate for the ultimate test of skill, strength and stamina: the Olympic Games.
Medals are won, medals are lost. For two weeks the eyes of audiences around the planet are transfixed on the fortunes and misfortunes of these elite sportsmen and women as they experience soaring highs and devastating lows.
But what goes on outside of Games time? What do athletes think and feel as they compete just to be picked for the Olympics? What goes on behind closed doors when competition is over and the cameras are switched off?
For the first time, the British Sailing Team is baring all in a feature documentary, Chasing Tokyo. Follow a handful of athletes selected to represent Team GB at Tokyo 2020 through some of their most intimate moments.
Chasing Tokyo is also available to stream at Olympics.com