Archive for the ‘boating’ Category

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

 

At 12:00 GMT on December 31st, record breaking British yachtswoman Dee Caffari and her Spanish co-skipper, Anna Corbella, crossed the start line of the 25,000 mile Barcelona World Race onboard the IMOCA 60 yacht GAES Centros Auditivos. This is Caffari’s first round the world race since the epic Vendée Globe which saw Caffari finish sixth out of 30 starters to become the first woman to sail solo, non-stop, both ways around the world.

As the only all-female crew in the competition, both Caffari and Corbella are keen to put in a consistent and competitive performance and showed their enthusiasm as they rounded the North buoy in third position 26 minutes after crossing the start line. Before leaving the dock, Caffari spoke about the first stage of the race:

“The Mediterranean is complicated and we’ve practised here a lot but we’ve got 500 miles of it to start and finish with and honestly this is the part I dread the most. In stark contrast, Anna knows the Med well but has never sailed in the Southern Ocean so hopefully we can support each other and draw on our strengths in each area.”

After Alex Thomson’s forced retirement from the race due to an emergency appendectomy on Wednesday, Dee Caffari will be the only one flying the flag for Great Britain in the race.

Good luck ladies!

 

Read more at:  Barcelona World Race

atlantic rally for cruisers

Atlantic Rally for Cruisers Sailing Across the Atlantic

The 25th Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) started in spectacular style on Sunday as 233 yachts from 26 nations sailed across the start line off Las Palmas de Gran Canaria heading for their final destination, 2,700 nautical miles away in Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia.

The early morning rain and dark clouds cleared away, to be replaced by bright sunshine and the light NE wind filled to provide a reaching start. For the thousands of spectators ashore and afloat it was a picture perfect start to the 25th ARC. After crossing the start line in 8-10 knots and light swell, a colourful display of spinnakers were hoisted to help the yachts on their way. The forecast is for the light north easterlies to continue for the next few days.

Racing Yachts Start First
19 yachts competing in the IRC Racing Division, run under the auspices of the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC), were first to start, crossing the line towards the south west. The start made for great viewing for spectators ashore, as the yachts passed between committee boat, Spanish naval ship Vancedora, and a laid mark inshore.

The racers made the most of the reaching conditions, and all flew spinnakers for the start. First across the line was Beneteau First 47.7, Alcor V (ITA), followed by Caro (GER), Marisja (NED), We Sail for the Whale (AUT) and Nibani (ITA).

Starting 10 minutes later were the larger boats competing in the 8 strong Invitation Racing Division, also under IRC, and the 6 yachts in the Open Divisions. The Invitation Racing and Open Divisions are for vessels longer than 18.3m (60 feet). Classic 1920s schooner Texel (GBR) crossed the line in stately fashion with multiple sails set, followed by Invitation Racing Division yachts Hagar II (ITA), Venonmous (GBR), Berenice (ITA), Fenix (GBR) and round-the-world veteran Steinlager II (GBR).

arc

ARC

Cruising Fleet Make Spectacular Sight
At 1300, the cruising yachts, forming the majority of the fleet, created the now familiar ARC spectacle as 200 boats set off towards Saint Lucia. Almost every popular boatbuilder of the last 40 years is represented in the Cruising Division, including the smallest yacht in ARC 2010, Honningpupp II (NOR) a Comfort 32.

Catamaran First Across the Line
The Cruising Division made a conservative start, hanging back and ensuring each boat had room to manoeuvre. The first yacht to cross the line was catamaran Galop I (FRA), followed by Swan 55 Rita (GER) under spinnaker, Flying Swan (NED), Derbisolar (BEL), Mariposa (GBR) also under spinnaker.

Excitement and Emotion
There was an air of excitement and celebration throughout the marina this morning, as crowds of spectators waved off the fleet. The days of preparations, lists and decisions were finally over, and the crews were ready to do what they came to do; sail across the Atlantic.

The dock was full of well-wishers in carnival mode, cheering and dancing to the loud music blaring out in celebration from Don Pedro’s Texaco dock. Yachts were bid farewell from Las Palmas via loud speakers around the port and Banda Guayadra provided by the Ayuntamiento de Las Palmas (City Hall) marched around the marina serenading every pontoon to add to the festival atmosphere.

Before making their way to the start line the yachts passed through a ‘gate’ so each could be identified. To the delight of the thousands of spectators along the shore, some crews provided entertainment – a Mexican wave from Albatros (GER), bagpipes on Caduceus (GBR), and most popular of all, Croatian yacht Dora left the marina and passed through the ‘gate’ in reverse, while singing Croatian songs accompanied by guitars and maracas.

homemade sailboat

Homemade sailboat by storm crypt

Handmade sailboat on the beach at Pandan island’s northwest side. Pandan Island is a  private island with a small resort on the West coast of Occidental Mindoro, Central Philippines. After the island was ‘discovered’ and the resort established in 1986 by a French adventurer, this tropical island retreat has been voted time and again as one of the top resorts in the Philippines.

The mountains in the distance are from Palawan mainland, Philippines

470

470

With the great mosques of Istanbul providing the most dramatic of backdrops, the outcome of the 2010 Open 470 European Championships remained in the balance until the final leg of the men’s Medal Race.

Just five points separated the top six men’s 470 teams going into the Medal Race, and it was going to take an outstanding performance to secure gold. The Greeks were greeted with their favourite conditions – strong and gusty winds – and Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis took up the early running just ahead of Israel, represented by Gideon Kliger and Eran Sela.

Israel seized the advantage a short way into the three-lap windward/leeward course, although with the wind shifting wildly from side to side, no lead was every secure. On the final leg the Greeks pounced on a couple of small tactical errors by Israel and Mantis and Kagialis powered across the finish line just seconds ahead of Kliger and Sela.

Mantis explained his strategy after losing the early lead: “I focused on staying close, we got the lucky gust, and we moved to the front again.” Kliger, twice the runner-up in past European Championships, said he was “happy and disappointed” to have won a third silver in his long 470 career. “Gold was in my hands, so I’m a little bit disappointed, but I missed the layline at the last windward mark and gybed too late compared with the Greeks, we didn’t stay enough between him and the finish.”

Still, Kliger was happy to have come away with silver after a challenging week. “This is the hardest medal I ever won, you were never in control at any point in any race.” Istanbul marks the conclusion of a successful season sailing with his new crew Eran Sela. While for Kliger this was a bitter-sweet moment, for the younger and less experienced Sela it was unbridled joy. “My first senior medal in the 470, so I am very happy.”

The British team – Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell – had gone out with the gold spot on their mainsail, signifying them as the series leaders. They elected to start on port tack behind the fleet to be first into the middle of the race course, as Patience explained: “Before the start we’d been watching the wind, and it was always coming down the middle of the course, never at the edges. But then – sod’s law – the breeze died in the middle and we got wrapped round on either size, and before we knew it we were 9th or 10th, scraping the bottom of the barrel.”

>From sitting in gold medal position suddenly Patience and Bithell were facing the prospect of coming away with nothing. “But we kept our heads cool and just chipped away,” said Patience, whose climb to 5th place gave them the bronze medal. “We would like to have won but we’re still happy to come away with a medal.”

The women’s leaderboard may not have been as tight as the men’s, although there was still plenty of drama and uncertainty on the race course, with capsizes and boats hitting marks keeping the finishing order uncertain until the last. While the Danes had fallen out of medal contention after an unsteady outing the previous day, Henriette Koch and Lene Sommer gave themselves the consolation of winning the Medal Race. They nearly threw it away on an unforced error, hitting the final windward mark, but managed to take their 360 penalty turn in a strong gust and still stay ahead of the British boat sailed by Sophie Weguelin and Sophie Ainsworth.

Series leaders Emmanuelle Rol and Helene Defrance also struck a windward mark and took a penalty, but apart from that sailed a controlled race ahead of their chief medal rivals. In the end the French won gold by 18 points, a dominant performance for such a tricky week’s sailing. “The conditions were a little bit tough,” said Rol, “but we enjoy racing in these conditions. I don’t know if we understood the wind but we enjoyed it. Istanbul has been great. After Holland and Great Britain it’s nice to sail in a sunny place!”

Camille Lecointre and Mathilde Geron had been lying in silver medal position at the beginning of the day, but a poor first beat left them way back in last, and they only managed to overtake the Israeli team who retired after a prolonged capsize. This relegated the French team to 4th overall, with last year’s European Champions Giulia Conti and Giovanna Micol taking silver and another French duo, Ingrid Petitjean and Nadege Douroux taking bronze.

Conti, who had looked so furious the previous day after letting any serious prospect of gold slip away, was all smiles again today having at least salvaged a silver from Istanbul. “Finally some success again, after a couple of days of blackout,” she said. “It has been a really tough race course, very tricky, but the French seemed to sail perfectly. They deserved this win, they made fewer mistakes than the others, and they have won this event by far. For us the silver medal is a very good result after a very good season. We have finished in the top three in almost every event, and now we go home for the winter to work out what we need to improve on for next year.”

Earlier in the day the remainder of the 92 competing teams who had not qualified for the Medal Races, completed one final fleet race. Reigning Junior World and European Champions Sofian Bouvet and Jeremie Mion of France secured victory in the men’s Silver fleet.

This evening the prizegiving took place at Istanbul Sailing Club, before the sailors embarked on the long drive back to whichever corner of Europe they have come from. As for the new men’s 470 European Champion, Panagiotis Mantis predicted a night that would involve too much alcohol and not enough sleep. “And maybe when we get back to Greece we will break some plates!”

The 2010 Open 470 European Championships were organised by The Istanbul Sailing Club in co-operation with the International 470 Class Association and the Turkish Sailing Federation.

470

470


470 Men/Mixed – Final Top 10 (after 13 races)
Pos – SailNo – Crew

1. GRE 1 – Panagiotis MANTIS, Pavlos KAGIALIS
2. ISR 7 – Gideon KLIGER, Eran SELA
3. GBR 844 – Luke PATIENCE, Stuart BITHELL
4. GRE 165 – Panagiotis KAMPOURIDIS, Theodoros POLYCHRONIDIS
5. FRA 44 – Pierre LEBOUCHER, Vincent GAROS
6. CRO 83 – Sime FANTELA, Igor MARENIC
7. ESP 9 – Onán BARREIROS RODRÍGUEZ, Aarón SARMIENTO PADILLA
8. FRA 7 – Nicolas CHARBONNIER, Baptiste MEYER-DIEU
9. RUS 2 – Mikhail SHEREMETYEV, Maxim SHEREMETYEV
10. NED 77 – Steven LEFEVRE, Steven KROL

470 Women – Final Top 10 (after 13 races)
Pos – SailNo – Crew

1. FRA 12 – Emmanuelle ROL, Hélène DEFRANCE
2. ITA 23 – Giulia CONTI, Giovanna MICOL
3. FRA 4 – Ingrid PETITJEAN, Nadege DOUROUX
4. FRA 9 – Camille LECOINTRE, Mathilde GERON
5. DEN 143 – Henriette KOCH, Lene SOMMER
6. AUT 431 – Sylvia VOGL, Carolina FLATSCHER
7. EST 20 – Marjaliisa UMB, Elise UMB
8. GBR 840 – Sophie WEGUELIN, Sophie AINSWORTH
9. GBR 847 – Hannah MILLS, Claire CUMMING
10. ISR 311 – Gil COHEN, Dana MAMRIEV

Maxi Yacht

Maxi Yacht Rolex by Carlo Borlenghi

Day 2 of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup had epic written all over it from the break of dawn. The promised southeasterly winds were on schedule; a building sea-state, plenty of sunshine and forty-seven maxi yachts champing at the bit to enjoy Porto Cervo at its best. Racing started as programmed at 1130 CEST in 18 knots from the southeast. Some crews were forced into unplanned pit stops as conditions took their toll; others kept their focus on the sought-after appointment with destiny scheduled for the end of the week. Winners for the day comprised: Highland Fling (MON) in Maxi, Hetairos (CAY) in Supermaxi with Ranger (CAY) winning the J match, and, Magic Carpet (GBR) in Wally. In the Mini Maxi Rolex Worlds, British yacht Rán’s score line of 1,2,2 made her top dog, but Alegre’s (GBR) 4,1,1 keeps her in overall control.

Peter Craig, the Principal Race Officer of the week is ex-Navy. There was a touch of the swashbuckler in his efforts today. Three windward-leeward races in four hours for the Mini Maxis looked a tall order at the best of times; with the breeze hovering around 20 knots and upwards during the afternoon added to a lumpy seaway, it took a herculean effort on the part of the race committee to keep it clean and fair.  The three races were similar in length: 8.8-nautical miles for the first and 8-nm for the second and third, all over four-legs.

Rán’s results from the day looked excellent to an outsider. On board the feeling was ‘could do better, must do better’. Andres Soriano’s Alegre is on fire. Rán’s strategist, Tim Powell, emphasized though that there is plenty of racing left in the Mini Maxi Rolex Worlds, after dissecting today’s endeavours, “the conditions were challenging. We had twenty knots most of the day, piping up to 24 knots for the last race. The sea state got progressively bumpier; the races were short and, to be honest, it was pretty frantic. We had a reasonable day; we won the first race and then had two seconds. I think the feeling on the boat is that we would have liked to have done a bit better, but to be boat of the day is always good.”

Rán is one of the biggest Racing mini maxis competing here; only the Bill Koch chartered Titan XV (USA) is longer. Powell feels short sharp windward-leeward courses are harder on boats of her size than some of her smaller sisters, “it is tough on the crew and quite demanding on a boat like Rán with the sail hoists and changes. We used the same jib and spinnaker all day, but we are talking big bits of gear to get up and down at each mark rounding.” A coastal course is scheduled for tomorrow and Powell is hopeful that that will advantage Rán in her quest to reel in Alegre, “we are looking at anything between 10 and 30 knots tomorrow according to the forecasts, but we’ll be going up through the islands, I expect. That will give us a chance to stretch her legs a little bit and boat speed may pay out for us.” Given Alegre has proved herself previously over long distances (she was overall winner at Rolex Middle Sea Race in 2009) and clearly has the bit between her teeth this week that may be wishful thinking.

The best of the Cruiser/Racer mini maxis looks to have been Adriano Calvini’s Felci 61 Itacentodue (ITA), whose score line of 9,10,7 in the Worlds fleet was by far the most aggressive of the day amongst the less race-oriented group of contenders. With a 9, 6 in the second and third races, Allsmoke (MLT) might reasonably have hoped for better things had a damaged mainsail ahead of the start not wrecked their first race and led to a trip back to the marina for a replacement. Allsmoke were not alone in having problems. Michael Cotter, division winner here in 2009, had his racing curtailed completely, also before the off, with a forestay problem. Work is underway to get Whisper (IRL) back out on the course for tomorrow. Idea (ITA) had a crew injury during the first race that cut short their day. H20 (ITA) and Lupa of London (ITA) failed to finish the last race of the day.

On the coastal course, it was screecher. 36-nautical miles are meat and drink to the maxi yachts. Igor Simcic’s Esimit Europa 2 (SLO) was fastest around the track, which took them to a windward mark, followed by a run to Monaci and a fast reach past alongside Caprera as they dived into the channel. It was downwind all the way to Barrettinelli di Fuori, where the fleet barrelled out of the ‘Alley’ into the building seaway and an upwind slog to the finish off Porto Cervo.

Slog is a relative term. Esimit completed the course in 2 hours 52 minutes. Whilst skipper Flavio Favini was happy enough with that, it was not enough to hold off the relentless challenge of Irvine Laidlaw’s Highland Fling that levelled the series with a four-minute corrected time victory. Favini’s view of the day: “I think we have had a good race. Our manoeuvres were good, but I think we could have done a bit better on the run downwind from Secca di Tre Monti to Palau. We may have made some mistakes regarding wind shifts, but this aside I think we have sailed the boat well today.” Favini is no greenhorn and knows full well that he has a weapon of extraordinary power in his hands, which occasionally reflects in the approach, “considering that the boat is very big and goes very fast, sometimes we may be a bit conservative and try not to take risks in the narrow passages.” Experience shows time and again in these waters that knowing when to reign back can avert a rig loss or worse still, an encounter with the many rocks hidden beneath the surface.

In the Wally Division it was Lindsay Owen Jones’ Magic Carpet’s turn to shine. Second home on the water, a mere thirty seconds behind Y3K (GER), converted to a fourteen second win. Amongst Owen Jones’ crew is Tom Whidden, a veteran of this racing area, having first sailed here in the early 1980s, “of all the venues that I race in, this is probably the best. It is really pretty going through the islands. The sea conditions were nice and the wind strength was really good today. We do not get to sail in a southerly very often here and that was fun, something new. We won today, but only won by 14 seconds. Y3K was nipping at our heels the whole way and actually at the last mark (in Pevero Bay), they just got ahead of us. We had a little better spinnaker set and maybe got a little puff right at the end to beat them by 14 seconds [on corrected]. It doesn’t get any closer than that and never gets much more exciting than that!”

The Supermaxi Division saw two of the largest yachts on the course – Hasso Plattner’s Visione (GER) and Albert Buell’s Saudade (MLT) engage in a Teutonic match-race both inside and outside the Maddalena archipelago. Suggesting that the crews threw their 40-plus-metre steeds into tack after tack and gybe after gybe would be to exaggerate. But two owners prepared to race such magnificent craft head-to-head in confined waters deserve some hyperbole. Buell was certainly invigorated by the experience, “it was a great race. We started very well and were first to the windward mark in our class. We were very fast down through the islands and then the leg back was 12-nautical miles upwind. Here we lost our first place to our competitor, Hasso Plattner, but it was an enjoyable and hard race. It is certainly very exciting to match race these two boats through the islands. We enjoy sailing here very, very much.”

Results did not favour the mighty moderns though. Salperton posted a fourth place that will have cheered owner, Barry Houghton, but it was not enough to prevent a classic looking one-two-three. The ketch, Hetairos (CAY), made hay from the conditions to correct into second, splitting the two J-Class yachts. But it was Ranger’s day once again, as America’s Cup legend Brad Butterworth explained, “we managed to get quite a good start below the big boats. Velsheda was in between, got rolled over quite quickly and so dropped back. That gave us an advantage around the top mark. Then it was a bit of a procession from there on, as Velsheda broke a jib [halfway up the initial beat]. Even though they were not quite in contention to get to us, they stayed close enough to do so if we had a problem.”

Butterworth, who helped with the helming, thought today’s conditions were good for the heavy displacement boats, “[Ranger] is a big heavy boat. I don’t think it’s that easy to steer all the way around the course, but it’s fun to sail. 1936 is when this boat was designed and it is pretty difficult to push it any harder than we did today. Everything is loaded to the max, but we have some good crew on board, who’ve been with the boat for a long time now.”

Tomorrow will see coastal racing for all divisions. The weather forecast has a degree of uncertainty about it with wind predictions varying from the dull to the unnerving. The racing will never be dull and even if it is at times unnerving, it will always be a thrill to witness the crews at work and these craft in full flight. Racing commences at 1130 CEST.

The 2010 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in conjunction with the International Maxi Association (IMA), runs from 5 to 11 September. Racing continues tomorrow, Wednesday, and with races scheduled for each following day, save Thursday, the prize giving on Saturday will be the culmination of an intense week of big boat competition. From the most luxurious, through the most traditional, to the most advanced monohulls afloat today, the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup is nothing if not an astonishing line up of sailing power.

Results after Day Two

Place, Boat Name, Owner, R1-R2, Total Points

Maxi Racing & Racing/Cruising
1) Highland Fling, Irvine Laidlaw, 2-1, 3.0 points
2) Esimit Europa 2, Igor Simcic, 1-2, 3.0
3) Singularity, Deniy Yacht Mngmt, 4-3, 7.0

Wally
1) Y3k, Claus Peter Offen, 2-2, 4.0
2) Magic Carpet 2, Lindsay Owen Jones, 5-1, 6.0
3) J One, Jean-Charles Decaux, 1-5, 6.0

SuperMaxi/J Boats
1) Ranger, R.S.V. Ltd, 1-1, 2.0
2) Velsheda, Tarbat Investment, 2-3, 5.0
3) Hamilton II, Lockstock Ltd, 3-6, 9.0

Place, Boat Name, Owner, Country, R1-R2-R3-R4-R5, Points

Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship
1) Alegre (GBR), Andy Soriano, 1-1-(4)-1-1, 4.0
2) Ran, Niklas Zennstrom (GBR), (6)-2-1-2-2, 7.0
3) Shockwave (NZL), Neville Crichton, 2-3-2-(5)-5, 12.0

Extreme 40 crash

Extreme 40 crash

Catamarans Crash at Cowes Week

There was plenty of dramatic sailing action on Sunday in the Extreme Sailing Series at Cowes Week. With 18-20 knots of breeze, gusting over 20 at times, the nine teams were racing right on the edge, demanding 100% concentration and a constant rush of adrenalin for both the sailors and the spectators from the near capsizes, near misses and some not so near misses…

In race 11 (the fourth inshore race of today), approaching the windward mark Yann Guichard’s Groupe Edmond de Rothschild hit Franck Cammas’ Groupama 40 wiping out both rudders, leaving Groupama with no steerage whatsoever. Groupama 40 were heading straight for the shore at speed and for safety the crew leapt into the water to avoid the impact of hitting the sea wall – deciding they would prefer getting wet than being thrown forward on the boat and potentially injuring themselves. Groupama 40 has sustained both rudder and daggerboard damage and it would be a long night for the shore team to get them back racing on Monday. Groupe Edmond de Rothschild lodged a protest which the jury would hear and award redress if relevant.

Paul Campbell-James, the youngest skipper on the circuit at just 28, ensured The Wave, Muscat finished inside the top four in Sunday’s races including the morning offshore race and the five inshore races this afternoon held off Egypt Point. Two wins in the afternoon, two seconds and two third places put them top of the Extreme Sailing Series leaderboard on 85 points: “We got good starts which is a big part of today and we were pushing really hard downwind when we needed to. Sometimes we were so close to capsizing but you have to push it hard at times and back off at others.”

Saturday, British skipper Mike Golding said he didn’t mind if they didn’t score any ‘bullets’ today, stating finishing inside the top four was more important. But his helm Leigh McMillan and the crew had other ideas – posting a win in the offshore race in the morning, then two further bullets in the penultimate and ultimate race of the day to finish in second place with 80 points. This kept the home crowd, who packed into the Extreme Bar and along the shoreline, happy as they cheered Golding’s crew all the way.

All the skippers talk about the importance of consistency but yesterday’s leader Loick Peyron on Oman Sail Masirah found his top form elusive today, only posting a third place in the second race this afternoon which leaves Peyron’s team in third place overall with 74 points – 7 points ahead of Guichard’s team in 4th.

Double Olympic Gold Medalist Roman Hagara had another day of mixed fortunes on Sunday – one race win and a second place in the penultimate race, keeps them in contention in the middle of the leaderboard in 6th place, five points behind Mitch Booth’s The Ocean Racing Club who did well in the morning’s offshore finishing in second. Another frustrating day for Roland Jourdain’s Veolia Environnement who had rudder problems before the start of the first race then had to drop the mainsail between races to sort out another problem. The team unpracticed in the art of Extreme 40 racing, put a reef in early and raced cautiously throughout the afternoon, although the 1989 Formula 40 World Champion demonstrated why he clinched that title with a couple of great starts.

On Monday the sea breeze literally kicked in 60 seconds before the start of the first inshore race and the Extreme 40s sprang to life in the 8-10 knot breeze that increased rapidly to 12-14 knots and topping 18 for a couple of races. More than enough for these light catamarans to fly their hulls upwind and for the spray to soak the crew on the downwind legs at 20 knots (23mph) of boat speed keeping the spectators enthralled.

Not surprisingly, Yann Guichard and his men on Groupe Edmond de Rothschild excelled in the less frenetic conditions, after struggling in the stronger winds of the first two days, and have moved into third place on the leaderboard with 112 points just one point behind Loick Peyron’s Oman Sail Masirah. Peyron scored a win in the morning offshore race and posted two second places this afternoon but they lacked consistency, and this has put them dangerously within reach of Guichard.

Paul Campbell-James has kept The Wave, Muscat at the top of the leaderboard on 127 points. They may not be nailing every race but finishing inside the top four in five of today’s seven races was enough: “We loved it today, we actually tried to tone it down a bit and step back slightly from all the action but you just can’t do it! We had a couple of really, really close ducks today… We ducked behind on port with the guys on Groupama on starboard and the front of our hull literally flew over the back of his boat and our centerboard missed his hull by about 20 centimeters!”

Britain’s Mike Golding was initially having another good day – scoring third place in the first two races. But then came a sixth place and although they were leading in the next race, a penalty on the first leg cost them four crucial places. Ecover have now dropped from second to fourth on the leaderboard sharing the same number of points as Groupe Edmond de Rothschild. However, Mike’s helmsman Leigh McMillan continues to impress and the team will be fighting back hard tomorrow.

Roman Hagara and the Red Bull Extreme Sailing team had a cracking day with three bullets and Hagara was clearly delighted when he chatted with the crowds afterwards. At the halfway stage of this UK round his team are back in the fight, just six points behind Ecover.

Franck Cammas’ shore team worked until 0500 this morning to ensure Groupama 40 was back racing after their crash yesterday that caused extensive damage to their daggerboards and rudders. Franck and his crew repaid their hard work with a couple of second places today. The team has also been rewarded redress after yesterday’s incident (a total of 10 points) and Groupama 40 now have 97 points which puts them in sixth place on the leaderboard, 15 points ahead of Team GAC Pindar. Mitch Booth had a frustrating day, not really reaping the rewards of some very aggressive tactics and then suffering a broken furling system which meant they had to sit out race 17.
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Roland Jourdain’s Veolia Environnement struggled with their gennaker handling at times which cost them dearly, but they are starting to find their feet amongst their more experienced Extreme 40 counterparts. Although, there would have been plenty of French cursing on board when leading the last race, they went the wrong way going from hero to zero… Welcome to the world of Extreme Sailing!

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