A helicopter rescue team has saved the life of a couple who were sailing from San Diego, California to Bundaberg in Australia on their private yacht.

It was Saturday night, when the 45-year-old man and 30-year-old woman intended to land the vessel in Bundaberg noticed that their yacht was torn and it started drifting off-course considerably. They tried a lot to avoid the reef, but because of the sea current, they were pushed onto it. As soon as the mast of the yacht broke, it hit the reef and started sinking.

The couple sailors had all the relevant safety equipment and were well aware about the measures to be taken in such circumstances. And this helped them save their own lives.

They somehow notified the authorities and when the rescue team reached their, they found the couple sailing on a lifeboat 2 km away from the vessel. Presently, they are out of danger and have been given a clean bill of health from medical staff.

According to RACQ Capricorn crewman Matthew Brandon the sailors were happy to see their rescuers on Sunday morning, but even then they managed to remain calm in the trying circumstances. He told “They said they’d been out there for two hours by that stage and I think the gravity of the situation had really started to sink in”.

Womens Match Racing

Womens Match Racing sailing by Chris Davies / WMRT

Some of the world’s top female match racers have been sailing on the waters of Sweden’s Marstrand Fjord at an event known as the Stena Match Cup Sweden, the fifth stage of the World Match Racing Tour.

The women’s class racing kicked off the event with a showcase of skill and talent as the teams went head to head in the identical Elliot 6m yachts, the same boat that will be sailed at the London 2012 Olympics. The women’s division at Stena Match Cup Sweden provides the Olympic hopefuls with one of the most important opportunities to hone their skills in the run-up to the Olympic selection trials.

Today’s Semi Finals saw American Olympic gold medallist Anna Tunnicliffe overcome Great Britain’s world number one female match racer Lucy Macgregor 3-0 in tricky, shifting conditions.

“We had a great day of racing today,” Tunnicliffe said. “Conditions out there were pretty tough, racing was tight and a lot of fun. We have been sailing really well and we hope we can keep up our form going into the final tomorrow.”

Macgregor, who along with sister Kate and crew Annie Lush are currently the number one choice to represent Team GBR at the London Games, added: “It is disappointing to lose in the Semis to Anna but it is all great training for the Olympics. Everything is very much on course for London 2012.”

Tunnicliffe will face world number two Claire Leroy from France in the Final tomorrow, after Leroy defeated last year’s women’s division winner Ekaterina Skudina from Russia in the other Semi Final match.

Following the action from the women’s class it was time for the men’s teams to hit the water for a practice session ahead of the first qualifying session tomorrow. Fourteen teams – including all nine Tour Card Holders – will clash over 23 flights of four matches to determine which eight crews will progress through to the next stage of Stena Match Cup Sweden.

Having made the finals of the last three Tour events and with a 23-point buffer at the top of the World Match Racing Tour standings, Francesco Bruni (ITA) Bruni Racing is among the favourites for glory in Marstrand. Bruni has been the standout skipper on the Tour so far this season with impressive consistency and strike rate. However, life at the top is by no means easy.

“With three good results under our belt I think there is now quite a bit of pressure on us to win here in Sweden,” Bruni admitted. “At the same time, the feeling that we are sailing well eases that pressure.  It’s a good feeling to be ahead in the Tour, it was our goal but we didn’t expect to be this far ahead. We’re really excited about racing here in Marstrand, we want to do well and we’re putting all our energy into it.”

Among those looking to upset Bruni’s crusade will undoubtedly be the Swedish contingent of Tour Card Holder Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing, Tour regular Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team and Matthias Rahm (SWE) Stena Bulk Sailing Team. Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar comes to Marstrand off the back of a win at the Portimao Portugal Match Cup but the double match racing world champion has had no time to rest, travelling straight to Sweden from the American stage of the Extreme Sailing Series.


Women’s class Semi Final results:
Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) Team Tunnicliffe beat Lucy Macgregor (GBR) Match Race Girls 3-0
Claire Leroy (FRA) Mermaid Sailing Team beat Ekatherina Skudina (RUS) Yacht Russia 3-2

Women’s class Qualifying results:
1 Ekatherina Skudina (RUS) Yacht Russia 7-2
2 Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) Team Tunnicliffe 7-2
3 Claire Leroy (FRA) Mermaid Sailing Team 6-3
4 Lucy Macgregor (GBR) Match Race Girls 6-3
5 Anna Kjellberg (SWE) Team Anna 5-4
6 Nicky Souter (AUS) 5-4
7 Mandy Mulder (NED) 5-4
8 Trine Abrahamsen (DEN) 2-7
9 Lotte Melgaard Pedersen (DEN) Match Race Team 2-9
10 Caroline Sylvan (SWE) 0-9


transatlantic race

Transatlantic Race

The yachts that started sailing on July 3rd from Newport, Rhode Island to The Lizard in southeast England have been making good progress in the Transatlantic Race.  Little in the way of tactics have come into play thus far, as all the yachts in IRC Class One have been taking the direct route, coaxing every knot of speed out of their powerful yachts.

Rambler 100 has been averaging close to 20 knots and with just under 2000 miles to go is predicted to finish on the 10th of June.  The Juan Kouyoumdjian-designed 100’ canting keel maxi is on course to set an exceptional benchmark for a transatlantic.

“Great sailing, so far, aboard Rambler 100,” said navigator Peter Isler (San Diego, Calif.), confirming by satellite link that Rambler 100 is fully in the groove.  “By our calculations we did a 464-mile 24-hour run from the start.  That’s a 19.3 knot average!  Great sailing for sure.  We’ve had basically the same sail combination up since turning the corner at Nantucket Shoals.”

On the water Rambler 100’s nearest competitor is PUMA’s mar mostro, skippered by Ken Read (Newport, R.I.).  PUMA has taken up a slightly more northerly position and is in good breeze, however, the Point Alpha ice gate is looming and the Volvo 70 may need to alter course towards the east to leave the mark of the course to port.  Nearly one hundred miles behind Rambler 100, ICAP Leopard, skippered by Clarke Murphy (New York, N.Y.), is south of the rhumb line and enjoying better breeze than the two rivals in front.  Even at this early stage in the race, it looks as though Rambler 100 will take the spoils — as long as they do not suffer any major gear failure.

The Oakcliff All American Offshore Team, racing aboard the Reichel Pugh-designed Vanquish, is under no illusions about the quality of the opposition, but the experience is a massive education for the young team, as they explained in their blog:

“We obviously have our work cut out for us, but morale is great and everyone’s just happy to be out here.  Winds and waves are forecasted to build over the next 24 hours as the low we left Newport in slides further to the North and compresses with the Atlantic High to the Southwest.  Twenty-five knots on the quarter should make things a little more interesting!”

Meanwhile in IRC Class Two, front-runner Jazz, skippered by Nigel King (Lymington, U.K.), is trying to hit a moving target.  The Cookson 50 has altered course north, aiming for a low-pressure system, and, if Jazz can connect with it, this will result in high wind speeds from a very favorable direction.  This move north also avoids an area of little wind to the south of Jazz.  The German Rogers 46s, Shakti and Varuna, have been unable to take this northerly route as they have remained south to pass the ice gate, and it will be interesting to see if they follow Jazz.

In IRC Class Three, Zaraffa, skippered by Huntington Sheldon (Shelburne, Vt.) is still the class leader.  Ambersail’s move south saw the Lithuanian crew make up good ground, however, the advance was short lived.  Ahead of Ambersail lies an area of little wind and they should make the move north, effectively sideways, to get into pressure.

In IRC Class Four, Carina, skippered by Rives Potts, Jr. (Essex, Conn.), has been the star of the show.  In the last 24 hours, however, their competition has most definitely caught up some miles.  Carina chose a southerly route, while the Army Sailing Association’s British Soldier, among others, stayed to the north.  British Soldier has advanced 30 miles on Carina, but the American team is still over 170 miles ahead.

Ned Collier-Wakefield’s (Oxford, U.K.) Concise 2 is currently 60 miles ahead of Dragon, skippered by Mike Hennessy (Mystic, Conn.).  The two Class 40s have been enjoying some fast-reaching conditions and are now fully offshore many miles from land.

Dragon passed the longitude of Point Alpha and now the next mark of the course is Lizard Point, a mere 1800 miles down the road,” reported Hennessy in a message revealing his thoughts as they head out into the Atlantic.  “Funny enough, our entire race thus far has been within about 100 miles of land.  Now we are heading off into that big open space in between, the wild blue yonder.  See you on the other side.”

There are some highly amusing blogs and uplifting commentary coming from the racecourse.  Crossing the Atlantic on sail power is a life-changing experience and the race blogs bring those feelings to life for a worldwide audience.

“Life onboard is going well and the boat is looking tidy and shipshape which makes all the difference,” said Christian Ripard (Valetta, Malta), explaining by satellite link what life is like for the crew on Jazz.  “Our food is good, considering it’s freeze-dried, but already, after six days, I look forward to eating some fresh salad or something with a bit more crunch to it.  WOW!  Just got a call on deck, we just missed a huge whale by 50 feet.  Last night was pretty crazy too….bombing down waves at 20 knots in thick fog with NO visibility is pushing one’s fate.  My wife Jackie is probably right in thinking that anyone in his right mind doing this is fit for the loony bin.  Sometimes I think she’s right…..but, actually experiencing this sort of stuff is somewhat overwhelming and beautiful.

“Hearing the snoring of the off-watch crew is also something which I come out here time after time to find comforting….knowing that you can go to sleep and truly trust that the guys on deck will keep you safe…. that’s something we sailor’s have…. a bond very difficult to find when one is on dry land…..  So back to my call of duty on deck, Mike Broughton wants to get back on his nav table to check our progress and work on our next move… bring it on!”


More Sailing News

Sailing through driving rain and 32 knots of wind, the trimaran sailboat Sodebo rounded the Cape of Good Hope on Tuesday at after more than 17 days at sea. Thomas Coville sailed the 8,405 miles at an average speed of 20.31 knots and has now broken through into the Indian Ocean.  Will he make a new around the world sailing record, only time will tell, but the going is surely tough.

“Closing in on the Cape of Good Hope making peak speeds of over 30 knots in confused seas, the trimaran surfed off a wave in a gust reaching nearly 50 knots. At the bottom of the wave, all three hulls came to a halt and the boat was lifted up at the back until she was up standing upright on her bows. “Next to that, the ‘bow-burying antics’ at the start of the trip were a joke,” said the skipper, who went on to explain how he found himself in the cockpit with the trimaran on the point of pitchpoling: “My quick reactions meant that I dumped the sheet rather than using it to hold onto. When you actually go into a wave it’s like a dream!” It’ll soon be four days that I’ve been in winds of over 30 knots with speeds which don’t allow you to put a foot wrong. In conditions like that it’s a different ball game sailing single-handed on a big boat like Sodebo. This morning there was too much wind to take in a third reef. As a front rolled through, the sea was white and dazzling. The rain and wind were bouncing off the water creating steam above the surface of the sea. When the boat surfs she generates such a disturbed flow that the leeward rudder ends up in the froth where I can no longer control it. I’m heading off into surfs, the likes of which I’ve never experienced before”,  explained Thomas Coville.

Reminder of the around the world sailing record attempt passage times from Brest – Cape of Good Hope
IDEC in December 2007: 15 days, 7 hours, 13 minutes, 7,400 miles at 20.12 kts
SODEB’O on 05/12/08: 16 days, 13 hours, 31 minutes, 8,147 miles at 20.50 kts
SODEB’O Deficit: 1 day, 6 hours, 18 minutes


Read more and see awesome video of Thomas Coville sailing his trimaran at the brink of disaster here: Sailing at its Most Extreme – Thomas Coville on Sodeb’O


Read More Sailing News

Barcelona by World Race wave Neutrogena

In the Barcelona World Race Virbac-Paprec 3 leads, while second and third placed Mapfre and Estrella Damm are now enduring their most challenging sea conditions during their final miles in the Indian Ocean, at the back of the fleet, almost 90 degrees of longitude behind, We Are Water’s Cali Sanmarti and Jaume Mumbru were facing up to a long spell with very light breezes and very slow speeds.

Contacted by their shore team this morning, the Olympic medals winning duo Iker Fernandez and Xabi Martinez, spoke of ‘waves like mountains’. Pepe Ribes from third placed Estrella Damm, a veteran of three Volvo Ocean Races told his team ashore:

“We have had spectacular weather. The wind has dropped a bit now but the waves are huge and every one we have watch. Inside the boat you can only be in the bunk, and when you are outside you have to take great care, and really take care of the boat because it makes huge jumps.”

Reported Ribes:  “It happened quickly. The boat is fine. We are exhausted. The waves were monsters. We cannot put up more sail yet”

Martinez and Fernandez said they sailed through the morning with no headsails to try and look after the boat and themselves, but the duo were still quickest through the morning whilst Estrella Damm.

The wind was expected to ease for the second and third placed duo, 444 miles behind and 570 miles respectively behind long time race leader Virbac-Paprec 3,  but in fact the sea state was out of proportion to the wind, both teams reporting back in 20-25 knots of wind, but Ribes’ report detailed gusts of up to 50 knots.

The contrast with the back of the Barcelona World Race fleet could not be more stark. Cali Sanmarti and Jaume Mumbru remain resolute and focused on their ten year old We Are Water, which stared its life as Bernard Stamm’s first IMOCA Open 60.

The Barcelona duo had around 10 knots of wind when they spoke with this morning’s Visio-Conference live with Barcelona. But the We Are Water duo, along with FMC and Central Lechera Asturiana have an expanding, east moving high pressure which will make life slow for them for the next 48 hours at least. We Are Water made less than 29 miles in the five hours to 1400hrs this afternoon. We Are Water’s Jaume Mumbrú noted that they will almost inevitably be slower having lost their second gennaker overboard since the start of the race during their first big storm a few days ago:

“Some days ago we lost the big gennaker, so along with the big spinnaker, we lost the two medium sails. The pilot gybed the boat and the water pulled out two stanchions and the gennaker blew. Now we lack the appropriate sails for medium winds. “said Mumbrú

“I only hope the weather forecasts are wrong.” Smiled FMC’s Gerard Marín from a grey south Indian Ocean day this morning, north west of the Kerguelens.

Several days ago Girona’s Marín, 27, confirmed that he had six books with him, including texts on Meteorology, Chemistry and Astronomy.

From an inky black night, now into the Pacific Jean-Pierre Dick on Virbac-Paprec 3 reported that it was not the wind strength which was causing them the most stress, but the very gusty unsettled pressure which was making it difficult to set an optimum sail area.

“It is a bit distressing with all these gusts around. The boat rattles and shakes. At night you can see nothing by the glow from inside and the lights of the instruments. When a 35 knots gust hits it is a worry and all you are concentrating on is trying not to break anything. That is the key thing. So it is hard not to set too much sail for the squalls, or too little for the quieter spells. And so that can be a little bit frustrating because it feels like you are always searching for the right balance.”

Barcelona World Race Quotes:

Jean-Pierre Dick (FRA) Virbac-Paprec 3: “ I have not really discussed our lead with Loïck but our view is to just stay on guard and to make the boat go as well as we can but to hold some safety margin. We are a bit more careful now for sure, taking fewer risks than when we were in the fight with Foncia. And MAPFRE behind are certainly quick, the sailing champions and they show that every day, so we are absolutely in race mode.”

Wouter Verbraak (NED) Hugo Boss:“ We are well in phase with the front, we should be able to hang to this front until at least the second Australian Barrier, after that I think things look a little more uncertain.”

Jaume Mumbrú (ESP) We Are Water: “Right now we are going at about 5 to 7 knots, we are trapped by the high that attacks from behind. We try to find a way out. We made a choice to the north, we have less wind but we have the gate to deal with. ”
“Some days ago we lost the big gennaker, so along with the big spinnaker, we lost the two medium sails. The pilot gybed the boat and the water pulled out two stanchions and the gennaker blew. Now we lack the right sails for medium winds. ”
“These lows in the Great South require a lot of  respect, I am not used to winds of  40 to 50 knots. I think we had a good preparation  perhaps we should have done more sail changes, but we go step by step, learning a lot. This is our battle, we had always reaching or upwind conditions, and the sea coming from the front. No downwind sailing. It’s a little frustrating to go through storms and then be becalmed ”
“Now we’re here you do not understand how smalerl boats  navigate in these latitudes. Seeing the temperature of the water, the sea, the wind … it’s amazing to think that there are people who dare to sail  around here with small boats. With an IMOCA you feel secure because it is a big boat and it goes fast.. We feel safe on board. ”
“We must anticipate a lot, if not the problems can be tremendous. This is as big as we expected. The force of nature has had a lot of impact on me.”
“The problem here is the sea and the waves, especially those that break in different directions. You need speed and the sea can cause problems. The wind is manageable by reducing sail. ”
“Now we are more confident in tackling the storms, we know that we can pass them. The only thing we want is to get out of these calms and take the downwind allures that we still have not seen.”

Barcelona World Race Rankings

1              VIRBAC-PAPREC at 12575,7 miles to finish

2              MAPFRE at 444 miles to leader

3              ESTRELLA DAMM Sailing Team at 520 miles

4              GROUPE BEL at  812,2 miles

5              RENAULT Z.E at  1319,1 miles

6              MIRABAUD at 1716 miles

7              NEUTROGENA at 1773,7 miles

8              GAES CENTROS AUDITIVOS at 2115,4 miles

9              HUGO BOSS at  2171,6 miles

10            FORUM MARITIM CATALA at 3402,6 miles

11            CENTRAL LECHERA ASTURIANA at 3702,3 miles

12            WE ARE WATER at 3767,2 miles

RTD         FONCIA




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