Archive for the ‘yachts’ Category

Sailing Sydney

Sailing Sydney

Word around Sydney Australia is that Oprah may alter the SOLAS Big Boat Challenge sailing course.  The annual SOLAS Big Boat Challenge maxi yacht fleet may for the first time in 17 years have to shift their finish line from off the Opera House if a sizable fleet of spectator craft hoping to catch a glimpse of the talk show Queen, Oprah Winfrey, creates a traffic jam on the water.

Tuesday December 14 is Oprah’s filming day at the Opera House in Sydney and also the Rolex Sydney Hobart lead-in race around Sydney Harbour when the line honours hopefuls get to show off their might to the public, and perhaps gain the mental edge with a race win.

CYCA sailing manager Justine Kirkjian says “with the huge interest in Oprah we’ve made an allowance for the race committee to shorten the course if the big boats don’t have enough running room amongst the spectator fleet to finish at speed and then drop their sails off the Opera House.

“After the 12.30pm race start from Steele Point we’ll monitor the number of vessels in and around Farm Cove and make the call mid-race,” Kirkjian added.

Entries for the SOLAS Big Boat Challenge stand at 17 with today the final day for skippers to accept entry to the invitation-only event.

Headline acts Wild Oats XI and Investec Loyal are the biggest of the bunch at 100 feet with Lahana and Wild Thing coming in a shade under at 98 feet.

In the grand prix 60 foot range, Stephen Ainsworth’s all-conquering RP63 Loki will once again be in the ring with Alan Brierty’s near sistership Limit. The pair has each achieved success this year, Loki locally and Limit abroad and Tuesday will reveal the results of their separate preparations. Both are amongst Kirkjian’s top picks for potential Rolex Sydney Hobart overall winner.

The tight 14 nautical mile course will start off Steele Point at 12.30pm and will take the fleet around the harbour two and a half times passing many of Sydney’s famous landmarks including Fort Denison, Mrs Macquarie’s Chair and the Sydney Opera House, which usually backdrops the finish line.

Last year some skippers expressed concern at having to navigate their way through the flotilla of pleasure and commercial craft generated by the popular pre-Christmas harbour event. Responding to their concerns, and with the added on-water traffic due to Oprah-mania, mariners are asked to be cautious and remain well clear.

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Sailing in Phuket Thailand

Sailing in Phuket Thailand

With high winds bringing the 2010 Phuket King’s Cup Regatta to a slightly premature end participants were left toasting what has been one of the most competitive series of races in Thailand sailing regatta history.

The global financial downturn did not stop an incredible 108 boats from entering the 24th Phuket King’s Cup Regatta. The fleet featured entrants from all over the world with Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Japan, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Denmark, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey, Switzerland, Russia, England, Holland, Spain and Canada all represented.

The last day’s racing had to be abandoned in the interests of safety. Some unusually high winds created dangerous sailing conditions but fortunately the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta series had already been concluded the previous day. Unfortunately it means the IRC and OMR Challenge Trophies, new for this year, were unable to be sailed.

The Racing Class tends to dominate the headlines and once again Ray Robert’s Evolution Racing and Neil Pryde’s Hi Fi went head-to-head. The competition between the two boats was so intense that race six actually ended in a dead heat once the times had been adjusted. In the end, however, it was Evolution Racing which prevailed but competition throughout the class was competitive with a number of new entrants including Song Xia Qun and her all Chinese crew on Jelik V. They have only been sailing together for a few months and as they gain valuable race experience are sure to be even more competitive in future regattas.

The IRC 2 Class is always guaranteed to provide plenty of thrills and spills and this year was no exception. Once again Peter Dyer’s Madame Butterfly, racing as Sea Bees, and CPO.1 Wiwat Poonpat’s Royal Thai Navy 1 went head-to-head. Last year Royal Thai Navy 1 took the series after a dramatic final day but this time around it was Sea Bee’s turn to taste victory courtesy of a first place finish in the penultimate race.

The Phuket King’s Cup also provides a much needed boost to the local economy and gives tourists a unique opportunity to enjoy a week’s competitive sailing off the coast of the beautiful Andaman island. The bareboat charter class continues to grow from strength-to-strength and this year attracted an impressive 22 entrants. Ilya Ermakov’s Sarawadee, one of a number of boats in the class chartered by Russians, was the overall winner.

While no expense is spared in optimizing the performance of many of the ultra modern boats the classic class featured some more old fashioned and elegant entrants. Richard Macfarlane’s Aida was the series winner finishing ahead of Barry Elsbury’s Apsara courtesy of a bullet in the final race.

Veteran journalist Peter Cummins has covered all 24 Phuket King’s Cup Regattas and his reports this week have been appearing every day in the Bangkok Post. He is amazed by how quickly the event has grown, “I remember the first regatta. There were only a handful of entries and they were almost all local, I don’t think anyone could have imagined that this event would one day grow to become the biggest and best regatta in all of Asia. The racing seems to get more exciting every year and this year’s parties were some of the best in memory. The sailing has barely finished and I am already looking forward to next year’s regatta and the 25th anniversary,” he said.


Sailing RC 44 by Nico Martinez

Larry Ellison and his BMW Oracle Racing crew wrapped up the 2010 RC 44 Season Championship with a second-place finish sailing in the fleet racing portion of the RC 44 Cup Miami.


Coupled with the team’s sixth place in the match racing portion of the regatta, BMW ORACLE Racing placed fourth overall in the Miami regatta, which equated to a 2-point victory over Artemis Racing for the season championship.

“We were up and down. We’ve had good regattas and sometimes things didn’t go so well, but overall the team did a great job sailing,” said Ellison. “We came first in fleet racing and first overall. We had a rough match racing regatta here in Miami, but the fleet was good enough and we’re happy with the result.”

Ellison and crew, including tactician Russell Coutts, finished 3-4-3 today but had to pull a few rabbits out of their collective hat.

They started one race early and found themselves constantly battling back on a day with very shifty winds. In particular they gained a few places in the last half of the runs to the finish that kept their score low enough for the championship.

“We do better when it’s breezy,” said Ellison. “There are more opportunities to pass downwind. I’ve got a lot of experience sailing on San Francisco Bay and we love the breeze.”

While Ellison got the spoils for the season championship, Vincenzo Onorato’s Mascalzone Latino won the ORACLE RC 44 Cup Miami title.

Mascalzone Latino showed great improvement at this regatta after rejoining the class in July. The Italian crew placed third in both the match and fleet racing for the overall victory with the low score of 6 points.

“Winning this event is special meaning for me because the past three years have been difficult for me in my life and in sailing,” said Onorato, a six-time world champion in yacht racing.

“Russell asked us to come back to the class and we couldn’t be happier with this result. We’ve worked hard to regain our form and we will do our best in the future to perform in this class,” Onorato said.

Yet a third winner today was William “Doug” Douglass aboard the RC 44 World Champion yacht 17. Douglass, sailing with Australian James Spithill as tactician, won the fleet racing portion of the ORACLE RC 44 Cup Miami with the low score of 39 points.

“The class seems extremely well organized. It was good, we had a lot of fun out there,” said Douglass, a veteran of the Farr 40 and Melges 32 classes. “Today was a little windy and we saw how the boats could get wicked up and go.”

The 2011 RC 44 Season Championship begins in March in San Diego, California.

RC 44 2010 Season Championship
1. BMW ORACLE Racing (USA) Larry Ellison/Russell Coutts – (8)-1-1-4-2-4 – 12 points
2. Artemis Racing (SWE) Torbjorn Tornqvist/Terry Hutchinson – 1-(8)-4-2-5-2 – 14 points
3. 17 (USA) William Douglass/James Spithill – (11)-3-5-3-1-3 – 15 points
4. No Way Back (NED) Pieter Heerema/Ray Davies – 2-2-3-5-3-(6) – 15 points
5. Team Aqua (UAE) Chris Bake/Cameron Appleton – 4-6-2-1-(8)-5 – 18 points
6. Team Sea Dubai (UAE) Harm Müller-Spreer/Markus Wieser – 3-4-6-7-6-(9) – 26 points
7. Katusha (RUS) Guennadi Timtchenko/Paul Cayard – 6-5-(8)-6-4-8 – 29 points
8. Ceeref (SLO) Igor Lah/Rod Davis – 5-7-7-(9)-7-7 – 33 points
9. Mascalzone Latino (ITA) Vincenzo Onorato/Francesco Bruni – 11-(12)-12-11-9-1 – 44 points
10. Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP) Daniel Calero/Jose Maria Ponce – 7-9-10-8-(11)-11 – 45 points
11. AEZ RC 44 Sailing Team (AUT) René Mangold/Christian Binder – 9-10-9-10-10-(14) – 48 points
12. Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS) Maxim Logutenko/Evgeniy Neugodnikov – 11-12-12-(13)-13-10 – 58 points
13. Peninsula Petroleum (ESP) John Bassadone/Inaki Castaner – 11-12-12-(13)-12-12 – 59 points
14. Ironbound (USA) David Murphy/Ian Williams – 11-12-12-13-(15)-13 – 61 points

ORACLE RC 44 Cup Final Standings
(Boat, match racing-fleet racing – total)
1. Mascalzone Latino, 3-3 – 6 points
2. Artemis Racing, 2-5 – 7 points
3. Yacht 17, 7-1 – 8 points
4. BMW ORACLE Racing, 6-2 – 8 points
5. Team Aqua, 1-9 – 10 points
6. No Way Back, 8-4 – 12 points
7. Ceeref, 10-6 – 16 points
8. Katusha, 9-7 – 16 points
9. Sea Dubai, 5-11 – 16 points
10. Synergy Russian Sailing Team, 4-12 – 16 points
11. Islas Canarias Puerto Calero, 13-8 – 21 points
12. Peninsula Petroleum, 12-10 – 22 points
13. Ironbound, 11-13 – 24 points
14. AEZ RC 44 Sailing Team, 14-14 – 28 points

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).



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.

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

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.

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!

About Cowes Week

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whale crash into sailboat

Whale Crashes into Sailboat

Whale Lands on Sailboat – Real or Hoax?

Whale watching sailors off the South African coast may have gotten more than they bargained for, or did they?  Various media outlets are reporting that a whale breached the surface of the ocean crashing into the sailboat of a couple near Cape Town.  Paloma Werner and her sailing partner say they were watching the huge whale from a distance on Sunday when it slid closer to their 35 foot sailboat then, CRASH!

Werner said she expected the whale to swim under the boat, but the whale had other plans. She claims the whale crashed into the boat, snapping the mast in two, but neither Werner nor Mothes were hurt.

“I just saw this huge whale come out of the water and crash against the mast of our yacht,” Werner said, according to an Australian Broadcasting Corp. report. “He ducked behind the steering wheel and we saw the whale go back into the water and the mast and the rigging all came flying towards us. It was quite a scary experience.”

Southern right whales have small eyes and poor sight and rely on hearing to avoid danger, but it seems pretty unlikely that one wouldn’t notice a yacht.  Werner told the press that this odd whale behavior happened because her boat’s engine was off, so the whale probably couldn’t hear them and took the leap not knowing they were there. Sounds kind of fishy to us – pun intended.

Whale Damaged Sailboat

Whale Damaged Sailboat?

The woman said the whale didn’t appear to be hurt in the accident, but the couple’s boat wasn’t so lucky, she estimates it will cost $13,000, to repair.

The sailing academy which is gaining publicity from the whale photo says a passenger on a nearby boat took the unbelievable photo of the event, just prior to the whale smashing into the boat.  They say the other photos of the boat damage below prove their story.

sailboat damage from whale

Sailboats damage from whale?

sailboats damage from whale

Yacht damage from whale?

We wonder if this is all just a big publicity stunt.

What do you think, does the whale crashing into the boat photo look real, or is it just a good Photoshop job?  Leave your comments below.

Report by Emily of Sailboats and Sailing the World

Real photos of whales with sailboats can be found here, along with tips for sailing near whales: Whales and Sailboats