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Ericsson Racing Team Finishes Leg 3 In 3rd and 4th

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

SINGAPORE – Ericsson Racing Team’s two yachts in the Volvo Ocean Race placed third and fourth on Leg 3 to Singapore, finishing within seconds of each other. (more…)

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Ericsson Racing Team Takes 1st and 3rd at Scoring Gate

Friday, December 19th, 2008

STOCKHOLM, Sweden – Ericsson Racing Team strengthened its overall lead in the Volvo Ocean Race today when Ericsson 4 claimed 4 points for being first boat past the Leg 3 scoring gate north of the island Pulau We.

The International crew, skippered by Brazilian Olympic medalist Torben Grael, passed the gate at 1409:30 GMT. The feat increased their total to 30 points, but it didn’t come easily.

“It’s taken a while to get here,” said Ericsson 4 media crewman Guy Salter. “My media desk sounds like a box of Lego every time we go over a wave, but it’s still working so I won’t open it, just incase it acts like a jack in the box when I get the lid off!”

A couple of hours later, teammate Ericsson 3 cleared the gate in third place. Last night Anders Lewander’s Nordic crew consolidated their position by sailing down and in front of Puma, and then covering their every move. Ericsson 3 cleared the gate within sight of Puma.

This past week has illustrated the competitiveness of the fleet. Although this is a circumnavigation race, the close boat-for-boat tactics resemble an inshore race among one-designs.

The fleet is very evenly matched in terms of boatspeed but, more importantly, the skippers and navigators plotting the courses also seem evenly matched.

Ericsson 4 moved into the lead last night when it pulled even with Telefónica Blue in terms of longitude, but was placed about 14 nautical miles to windward.

“Ericsson 4 grabbed the lead over Telefónica Blue in convincing fashion. This has been possible by hard and skilled sailing, superior management of the racecourse geometry and, to be truthful, a little help from the weather gods,” said team meteorologist Chris Bedford.

With the scoring gate behind them, the finish line in Singapore is some 500 nautical miles ahead. But the passage through Malacca Strait won’t be easy.

“Although reasonably good moderate east/northeasterly pressure is expected to hold for about 170 nautical miles or so beyond the gate, the wind will eventually ease off and much more variable conditions are expected,” Bedford said.

“Just this morning, there was a nice batch of thunderstorms over the central Malacca Strait. Similar storms are there at some point nearly every day. There is little doubt clouds and squalls will be a randomizing factor on the final approach to the finish. Because the final 300+nm of Leg 3 has the potential of being so very random, it makes the scoring gate points to be won tonight and tomorrow morning even more important,” said the meteorologist.

(Dec. 19, 2008, 1859 GMT)
1. Ericsson 4, 553 nautical miles to finish
2. Telefónica Blue, +8 NM
3. Ericsson 3, +15 NM
4. Puma, +17 NM
5. Telefónica Black, +33 NM
6. Green Dragon, +40 NM
7. Kosatka, +71 NM
8. Delta Lloyd, +160 NM

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Tall Ship Oliver Hazard Receives 25,000 Grant

Friday, December 19th, 2008

NEWPORT, R.I. – BankNewport today presented a $25,000 grant from its Rhode Island Foundation Charitable Fund to the non-profit organization Tall Ships Rhode Island, Inc (TSRI). The grant, presented by BankNewport President and CEO Thomas Kelly to TSRI Chairman Bart Dunbar, supports Phase I project development expenses for the new Ocean State-based sail training ship Oliver Hazard Perry.

“BankNewport is proud of its long partnership with Tall Ships Rhode Island,” said Kelly, referencing the many successful Tall Ships Festivals that TSRI has brought to Rhode Island shores since its inception in 1992, “and we commend your unwavering commitment to construct the Oliver Hazard Perry, a significant economic development, educational, and cultural benefit for Newport and the State of Rhode Island.”

Since its August acquisition of a 132-foot steel hull (that arrived at Bowen’s Wharf in Newport at the end of October), TSRI has generated $1.6 million in financial support and contributed value toward the Oliver Hazard Perry project, which is a $5.3 million endeavor.

“We are very appreciative of the timely support of many private donors and now welcome BankNewport as an important donor to this project,” said Dunbar.

Anticipating that other business leaders will take note, Dunbar explained that TSRI has established an ambitious, but necessary, 18-month $2.2 million charitable contributions goal so that the ship can be completed in 2011. The expeditious timetable includes significant shipyard work to be completed at Blount Boats in Warren, R.I., and the utilization of many more Rhode Island marine trades businesses to fit out what will become the largest privately-owned sail training vessel in the United States.

Tom Goddard, chairman of the TSRI Fundraising Committee, said, “In the immediate economic climate, the Oliver Hazard Perry is, first and foremost, a job-retention project for Rhode Island’s marine trades and is perfectly aligned with the government’s response plans to stimulate our economy. Our hope is that the private sector in Newport and throughout Rhode Island will also be attracted to a triple bottom line of economic, cultural and educational benefits. This is obviously the case with BankNewport’s generous grant.”

Once it is sailing in 2011, the Oliver Hazard Perry will measure in at 207 feet in length and boast a majestic three-masted, square rig that stands 13 stories tall. It will be a working vessel, supporting itself with educational and sail training programs, with an office, staff and crew that has a budget of $1 million each year.

BankNewport, founded in 1819 and currently holding $1 billion in assets, is an FDIC-insured savings bank and is a subsidiary of the Mutual Holding Company, OceanPoint Financial Partners, MHC. Along with its other OceanPoint Financial Partners – OceanPoint Insurance Agency, Inc., Smith Mack & Associates, Meredith & Clarke, and Narragansett Underwriting Group – BankNewport is proud to serve the financial needs of customers from banking and insurance offices located throughout southeastern New England.

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Hearty Sendoff for Ericsson Racing Team as Leg 3 Begins

Monday, December 15th, 2008

COCHIN, India – The Volvo Ocean Race returned to the high seas today for Leg 3. Ericsson Racing Team’s Ericsson 4 began the leg as the overall race leader with 26 points, and Ericsson 3 is placed fifth, 11.5 points behind.

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12-Volt Mast Wiring: Common Issues

Monday, December 15th, 2008

In my last article I discussed some of the more common failure issues with mast light fixtures. Associated with this 12-volt system is the wire run in the mast. Common problems here are improper wire types, their age, and their terminations. If we think in terms of the average age of the recreational sailing vessel we will find; original wiring, aged wiring, corroded wire connections, and improperly replaced wiring. If the vessel is twenty years old for example, we can find that the wiring system is original from the mast manufacturer. The following issues may be problematic.

The insulation protecting the wires is usually found to be in poor condition. Cracks or worn areas obviously contribute to a short circuit. Depending upon the sophistication of the mast, the wiring may be loosely run in the mast. This condition exposes the wiring to chafe from halyards and failures at the wire exits especially at the upper connection where the weight of the wire is connected to the masthead. This weight of the wire should be supported by some anchoring system at the top of the mast. This takes the load off of the wire connections in the light fixture itself. A good installation will have some extra protection at the wire exit such as a rubber grommet. The wire then can be secured to the mast head with a “zip” tie that can be affixed with a stainless fastener. Higher quality installations will incorporate a conduit system inside the mast that not only adds protection from internal mast issues but also controls the “slapping” of wires making for less wear and a quiet mast while sitting at anchor. With the mast in the down position a conduit system can be easily installed in older masts.

The connections usually suffer from a corrosive environment causing interruptions in the conductivity of the circuit. In our last discussion we recommended cleaning connections with a Scotch-brite pad and coating then with electrical grease to thwart the effects of moisture. If at all possible the wire connections in the boat should be located on a bulkhead near the base of the mast. Use an actual electrical “dry” box. This offers protection from moisture and a suitable connection component to securely connect the circuitry. This box can be mounted in a way that the wiring is protected from outside forces. Inside the box is a buss-bar with screw clamps. This is the connection of choice rather than a friction fit plug.

VHF antenna connectors are a notorious issue regarding the quality of reception and transmission. Quick-connects or press fittings are a no-no. This connection should be a “solder” type fitting. The soldering technique itself needs to be proper. It takes plenty of time and heat to get all the surfaces to a temperature that allows the solder and surfaces to mate. Usually solder guns are useless in this area. Micro butane torches allow for an accurate aim and proper heating of the connector’s surfaces.

Replacing mast wiring involves selecting proper marine grade 12-volt wire. Be it for lights or the VHF system. This sounds obvious enough but you would be surprised at what we are finding inside masts. Everything from household speaker wire to wires whose insulation mysteriously changes color from the top to the bottom of the circuit. For most mast lights and VHF circuits, marine grade 18 gauge wire and RG6-8X VHF cable are recommended.

Though this all sounds fundamental, most circuits that we test have some issue related to this discussion. In the next article we will discuss the proper use of mast lights as signals to others. If you have issues with your mast circuitry, please contact Torresen Marine to discuss a solution.

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Yachtsman & Yachtswoman of the Year Nominees Announced

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

PORTSMOUTH, R.I. – Joining the year-end “best of” lists is US SAILING’s short list of nominees for the 2008 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year awards. Established in 1961 by US SAILING and sponsored by Rolex Watch, U.S.A. since 1980, the annual presentation of US SAILING’s Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year awards are widely regarded as the sport’s ultimate recognition of an individual’s outstanding on-the-water achievements for the calendar year. Over its history the coveted award has been presented to 36 men and 32 women, including these notable sailors who have claimed the honor multiple times: Ed Adams, Betsy Alison, Sally Barkow, Dennis Conner, JJ Isler, Allison Jolly, John Kostecki, Buddy Melges, Ken Read, Lynne Shore, Jody Swanson and Ted Turner.

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Kullman and Carroll – ’08 Melges 32 Gold Cup Champions

Monday, December 8th, 2008

A massive congratulations is extended to Marty Kullman and Mike Carroll (Clearwater, Fla.) on USA-131 New Wave. From early class beginnings, Marty and Mike have always been at the forefront of Melges 32 sailing. Today, they captured yet another major championship title, that of 2008 Melges 32 Gold Cup Regatta Champions! On board, making up this almost completely amateur team is Judah Rubin, Jay Kuebel, Steve Liebel, Ron Hyatt, Alex Shaffer and calling tactics was Scott Nixon. Nixon is no stranger to success as he just came off a victorious Melges 24 North American Championship with Terry Hutchinson a month or so ago in Annapolis, Md.

The day consisted of two dynamic races in which International Melges 32 Class President and reigning 2008 U.S. National Champion Jeff Ecklund (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) on USA-32 STAR really nailed the first. Overcast skies greeted the fleet down on the dock and again, it had everyone worried that gloomy conditions would prevail. Instead sunshine, warmth and most importantly breeze arrived even if it was short lived. The first start was clean with the exception of the big shift within a minute of the gun, jamming the pin end. Joe Woods (Torquay, UK) on GBR-700 Red took full advantage of room at the committee boat jetting out to the right. Peter Rogers (London, UK) GBR-121 Highlife went alongside, but the shifty conditions found John Kilroy USA-13131 Samba Pa Ti rounding the top mark in first, followed by Ecklund who had some serious speed. Gradually, Ecklund pulled away from the fleet, ever increasing his margin for the win. The battle for second was interesting between Stephen Pugh (Sausalito, Calif.) on USA-158 Taboo, Kilroy, Jim Swartz (Edgartown, N.Y) on USA-007 Q and Kullman/Carroll. Kilroy slipped further back to settle for sixth, while Pugh went on to take second, Swartz finished in third. One of two Italian entries Carlo Alberini (Pesaro, Italy) on ITA-186 Calvi Network took fourth while Kullman/Carroll were fifth.

Going into the last race of the day Kullman/Carroll and Swartz were dead even in the points. For Swartz, to win his first major Melges 32 championship title would be grand, but for the Kullman/Carroll team a victory would serve as a fixed reminder of just how strong a competitor the New Wave team really is, especially considering their last significant win was the 2008 Miami Grand Prix last March. A little after noon, the five leg race was conducted on comfortable seas and breeze pumping around 10-15 mph. From the start Kullman/Carroll punched the left side rounding the first windward mark in second behind Jason Carroll (New York, N.Y) on USA-128 Argo in first. Ecklund was determined still rounding third. It was tough but Kullman/Carroll worked their way to the front to edge the lead from Carroll; Kilroy and Ecklund followed closely. It was tight no doubt as Carroll and Kullman/Carroll split the difference at the first leeward gate. From there, Kullman/Carroll gained ownership of a solid lead, while Swartz suffered some six to seven spots deeper in the fleet with his hopes of a win fading fast. Carroll, although regularly challenged by Kilroy and Ecklund managed to hang on considering that at the last leeward gate Kilroy did occupy the second position, if only for a moment. Back upwind, Carroll regained his positioning and took the second place spot while Kullman/Carroll cruised across the finish line. Kilroy landed third, in fourth was John Taylor (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla,) on USA-1313 Ninkasi and in fifth was Ecklund.

01.) Marty Kullman/Mike Carroll, New Wave; 3-13-1-2-[17]-4-5-1 = 28
02.) Jim Swartz, Q; 1-6-7-1-[11]-9-3-8 = 35
03.) John Kilroy, Samba Pa Ti; 9-2-3-5-[10]-7-6-3 = 35
04.) Carlo Alberini, CALVI Network; 10-3-2-6-3-13-4-[14] = 41
05.) Jeff Ecklund, STAR; [14]-1-10-10-[21/DSQ]-1-5 = 42
06.) John Taylor, Ninkasi; 11-12-5-[18]-7-1-8-4 = 48
07.) Kip Meadows, roXanne; 2-14-11-[21/DSQ]-4-2-15-7 = 55
08.) Joe Woods, Red; [15]-7-4-7-6-12-10-11 = 57
09.) Edward Tillinghast, Dark n’Stormy; 4-4-19-3-[16]-8-14-16 = 65
10.) Pieter Taselaar, Bliksem; 7-[17]-6-4-14-11-7-17 = 66
Full Results

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Chicago to Mackinac to Feature Double Handed Division in ’09

Friday, December 5th, 2008

Chicago – Today, Chicago Yacht Club announced that it will offer a Double Handed Division in the 2009 Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac. 2009 marks the 101st running of ‘the Mac,’ the world’s longest annual freshwater sailing distance race. The 101st Mac will start off Chicago’s lakefront on Friday, July 17, 2009 and Saturday, July 18, 2009.

“We are committed to finding new and innovative ways to deliver great sailing events to as many people as possible,” Greg Miarecki, chair of the 101st Mac, commented. “Our Double Handed Division will give sailors who enjoy shorthanded events the opportunity to experience the thrill of the Mac,” Miarecki added.

Skippers and crews experienced in shorthanded sailing will be eligible to compete in the Double Handed Division, which will be limited to monohulls. Double Handed Division sailors will race under the Offshore Racing Rule (“ORR”) and compete for the prestigious Harold L. Ashton Memorial Trophy, which is on display at Chicago Yacht Club’s Monroe Street Station. Boats competing in the 101st Mac’s Double Handed Division will start on Saturday, July 18, 2009 along with boats in the Chicago-Mackinac Trophy Division, Mackinac Cup Division, and Multihull Division. Cruising Division entrants will start on the afternoon of Friday, July 17.

Participation in the 333 statute mile race from Chicago Yacht Club to Mackinac Island, Michigan is by invitation only. Generally, if a sailor has competed in one of the last four Macs as a ‘person in charge,’ he or she will automatically receive an invitation to compete in the 101st Race.

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BT Leading Way Toward Ice Gate

Monday, December 1st, 2008

The capricious Saint Helena High Pressure System had considerably reduced tactical options for the frontrunners during the past 8 days, and predicting the fleet’s movements from one position update to the next was a full-time job. On the water, it took determination and confidence in these troubled times, and in hindsight the comments Sébastien Josse made on Wednesday take their full meaning today: “I’m happy to be where I am now, but I won’t say more.” Obviously, the man had a plan, and it was the right one!

Having spent too much time upwind – a point of sailing where IMOCA monohulls are particularly uncomfortbale and suffer when they hit waves – Sébastien has finally been able to ease the sheets, benefiting from the long-awaited westerlies, and is now going towards the ice gate at 13 knots. Loick Peyron is very close behind, and one can only be amazed by the intensity of the fight these two have been putting on since… Madeira! Often threatened, as it has been the case in the Doldrums notably, under tremendous pressure, Josse and Peyron never failed and displayed an incredible level of tactical lucidity, holding on to their lead even in the most twisted situations.

If the leading duet managed to break away from its pursuers, third-placed Yann Elies being some 40 miles behind, BT as well as Gitana Eighty have to remain cautious since in the North, weak winds still prevail. The same lazy breeze caught Jean Le Cam, who lost a whopping 80 miles in 24 hours. As the 10:00 GMT position report showed, Sébastien gybed to the South East to keep his boatspeed up, and it would not be surprising to see him and Loick engage in a gybing battle in the coming hours. It was crucial to be the first to put the Saint Helena side effects behind, and Sébastien did just that, placing BT exactly where he wanted thanks to an amazing strategic finesse. It’s probably safe to assume that his Wednesday comment is also valid for today: happy where you are, Seb? Yes, we thought so…

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Ericsson Racing Team Hunting for Zephyrs off India

Monday, December 1st, 2008

Ericsson 4 went into Stealth mode this morning, opting to hide itself from the fleet as it crawled towards the Leg 2 finish of the Volvo Ocean Race in Cochin, India.Torben Grael and the International crew were back on the leaderboard at 1603 GMT this afternoon, approximately 36 nautical miles from the finish. They were expected to finish between 0000 and 0200 local time. Cochin is five and a half hours ahead of GMT.Second-placed Telefónica Blue, however, was in Stealth mode and its position unknown. Earlier today, Telefónica Blue was an estimated 60 nautical miles behind Grael and crew. Ericsson 4 has led the fleet since Wednesday when it scampered through the Indian Ocean Doldrums and then benefited from stronger than predicted winds across the Equator. The crew, however, has watched its once comfortable advantage over the fleet dwindle.”This time last night I couldn’t type as the boat was bouncing around, sitting on 26 knots in 30 knots of wind and I was watching us take 40nm per three-hour sked out of boats,” Ericsson 4 navigator Jules Salter said earlier today. “Tonight we are doing 3 knots and losing 40nm a sked. The tension is mounting amongst the crew that all our hard work on the leg will end with us being overtaken at the finishing post. So there are some hard night hours ahead trimming the sails and the boat.”Salter listed Ericsson 4′s position within a couple of miles of the India coastline.”We are currently approaching Kochi in very light winds, two miles offshore of the sub-continent trying to find some night breeze to get us to the finish line,” Salter said. “The air smells damp, earthy and of woodsmoke, which is generally a good sign that we may get a few zephyrs to move us on our way.”The day has been frustrating and we have been slowed by clouds, rain and a peak of 5.6 knots of wind speed. This leg has ended like the lamb rather than the first week of lion-like conditions,” said Salter.With Telefónica Blue in Stealth, Anders Lewander’s Ericsson 3 at 1603 GMT was listed as holding second place, 242 miles from the finsh.

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