After recent weather fronts brought high winds and squalls to most of Italy, today the wind gods smiled on Porto Cervo and the first of four scheduled race days in the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship 2009 was held in near perfect conditions. The event, organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and taking place from June 24-27 hosts 25 teams featuring many of the world’s top racing sailors. West northwesterly breezes ranging from 15 to 20 knots allowed the YCCS Race Committee to set three races today which were won, respectively, by Jim Richardson (Boston, Mass./Newport, R.I.) on Barking Mad (USA), Massimo Mezzaroma on Nerone (ITA) and Guido Belgiorno-Nettis on Transfusion (AUS). The provisional overall classification now sees Barking Mad, with 2008 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Terry Hutchinson (Annapolis, Md.) calling tactics, in the lead on 11 points. Rounding out the crew is Morgan Trubovich (Middletown, R.I.), James Baxter and Derby Anderson (both Annapolis), Zach Hurst (NZL), Linda Lindquist-Bishop (Leeland, Mich.), Marty Kullman (St. Petersburg, Fla.), Matt McDonough (Jackson Hole, Wyo.) and Curtis Florence (Cleveland, Ohio). Owner Jim Richardson is President of the Farr 40 Class and has won the world championship twice (1998, 2004) over the course of its 12 editions. Reigning world champion Vincenzo Onorato’s Mascalzone Latino (ITA), which has Adrian Stead (Poole, Dorset, England) calling tactics, is second overall on 14 points with Giovanni Maspero’s Joe Fly (ITA), which placed second in last year’s world championship, in third – also on 14 points.
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Ericsson Racing Team has said goodbye to its homeport of Stockholm and begun the final leg of the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-’09.
Similar to the Stockholm In-Port Race last weekend, a large spectator fleet was on hand for the start of Leg 10 off Sandhamn. A 10- to 12-knot wind blew from the northeast. With flat water and glorious sunshine, the Volvo Open 70s completed a short lap in little time before setting off across the northern Baltic Sea.
The fleet will also cross the Gulf of Finland before arriving in St. Petersburg, Russia, sometime on Saturday morning. The leg is expected to last approximately 36 hours as the fleet sails into lighter winds towards the historical Russian city.
The leg looks to be fairly straightforward as the wind is expected to hold from the northeast. But if it dies near the finish, that could open some tactical opportunities.
“There are some general concepts in the forecast to pay attention to, but it’s hard to know exactly what to expect,” said Ericsson 3 navigator Aksel Magdahl. “Strategy-wise, we’ll just try to hang in there and wait for a good opportunity. It’ll pay to stay in contact rather than take a chance early because there’ll probably be some opportunities later.”
The team’s stay in Sweden’s capital city was both triumphant and busy. The International crew aboard Ericsson 4, led by Brazilian skipper Torben Grael, clinched the top spot when it finished third on Leg 9 into Stockholm. Magnus Olsson’s popular Nordic crew on Ericsson 3 cemented fourth place overall during the in-port race and were in demand by both media and the public throughout the whole stopover.
With the race mathematically in the bag, the International crew at one point joked about taking a barbeque and a stereo for the approximately 400-nautical mile leg. That plan never materialized, as the crew would like to add a final-leg victory to the five already in hand.
“It’s a short leg and the end beckons. We’ll be trying our hardest to win because don’t want to be beaten,” said Ericsson 4 navigator Jules Salter. “It’ll be nice sailing. The sun’s going to be out the whole leg. There’ll be plenty of ships to look at.”
VOLVO OCEAN RACE LEADERBOARD
(Through Stockholm In-Port Race)
1. Ericsson 4, 110.5 points
2. Puma, 98.5
3. Telefónica Blue, 92
4. Ericsson 3, 73.5
5. Green Dragon, 64
6. Telefónica Black, 50
7. Delta Lloyd, 39.5
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Ericsson Racing Team’s places on the leaderboard are secured, but the team’s two crews are still approaching Leg 10 of the Volvo Ocean Race with verve. (more…)
Representing 10 nations (AUS, DEN, FRA, GBR, GER, GRE, ITA, SUI, UKR, USA), 26 Farr 40s are ready and waiting for the start tomorrow of the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS). Racing will take place from June 24-27 with a maximum of 10 races scheduled for this highly competitive class in which victory often hangs on a team’s performance in the final race of the series.
The Notice of Race for the 2009 Rolex Osprey Cup has been posted by organizers St. Petersburg Yacht Club (St. Petersburg, Fla.) to the event website www.rolexwomensmatch.org. The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Grade 1 match racing regatta – scheduled for October 20-24 – annually attracts the world’s top women sailors such as world’s #1 ranked match racer and 2007 ISAF Rolex Sailor of the Year Claire Leroy (Nantes, FRA); US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics members Debbie Capozzi (Bayport, N.Y.), Katy Lovell (New Orleans, La.) and Genny Tulloch (Tiburon, Calif.); U.S. Women’s Match Racing champion Molly O’Brien-Vandemoer; and Eurosaf European Champion Lucy Macgregor (Poole, GBR). Women sailors interested in competing should apply for an invitation online through the event website by July 15.
One of three ISAF Grade 1 match race regattas in the United States (Boat U.S./Santa Maria Cup and Congressional Cup are the other two), the Rolex Osprey Cup is expected to receive quite a bit of attention as the match racing discipline for women will make its debut at the 2012 Olympics in England.
“Each year we see a very high level of competition,” said Pat Seidenspinner (St. Petersburg, Fla.), the event’s Principal Race Officer and co-chair with Tom Farquhar. “Increased interest in women’s match racing is being driven by its inclusion in the 2012 Olympics. We expect the competition to ramp up even higher as we get further into the Olympic quadrennium.”
Two competitors will receive invitations to this event based on their performance at the Rolex Women’s Match, a grade 3 event held this past April at the SPYC: winner Genny Tulloch and runner-up Debbie Capozzi.
The Rolex Osprey Cup schedule includes registration and practice sailing on Tuesday, October 20 with daily racing Wednesday, Oct. 21 through Saturday, Oct. 24 just off of the St. Petersburg Municipal Pier. The format consists of a double round robin, with knockout (first to win 3 points) semi-final and final rounds scheduled at the end of the round robins.
The Rolex Osprey Cup was founded in 1996 and in 2000 Rolex Watch U.S.A. became the title sponsor. The regatta was not held in 2000 in lieu of hosting the Rolex ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship.
Ericsson Racing Team yacht Ericsson 4, skippered by Torben Grael of Brazil, has captured overall honors in the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 on the penultimate leg.
When Newport’s local NBC affiliate aired a story this weekend about a recent run of foul weather affecting Southern New England’s tourism and commerce, the included coverage of the New York Yacht Club (NYYC) 155th Annual Regatta presented by Rolex served as a good-news sidebar to the piece. The three-day regatta, the longest running in this country’s history, attracted 105 boats, the most in a non-Bermuda Race year, and served up weather challenges that, while perhaps disappointing to beach-goers, delighted the 1000 plus sailors competing on Rhode Island Sound over three days. (more…)
Building upon a partnership established in 1994, the New York Yacht Club today announced that Rolex Watch U.S.A. has become an official sponsor of the New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup, to be held Sept. 15-19 in Newport, R.I. Rolex, the world’s most prestigious maker of timepieces and a long-time supporter of sailing, joins formerly announced sponsor Sperry Top-Sider, the iconic American brand best known for inventing the performance boat shoe, in presenting this unique regatta, which features world-class, Corinthian sailing among 18 teams representing premier yacht clubs from around the globe. The winning skipper of the Invitational Cup will receive a specially-engraved Rolex timepiece.
Two late entries, including a two-time former class winner, have boosted the competition to eight boats for this weekend’s biennial big boat Invitational Regatta for the Hoag Cup starting Friday.
As of noon on Wednesday (EDT), none of the boats competing in the seventh edition of this 777-mile race had reached the designated cut-off point (67 degrees west longitude) and the race committee pronounced the contest concluded. At that time, Dave and Shelly Warters’ Able Apogee 50 Cadence held the lead, having logged 498 nautical miles toward Bermuda after 120 hours at sea. By comparison, Ken Johnson’s C&C 40 Grateful Red had logged 485 n.m., while Jay Cook’s Beneteau 432 Tohidu logged 462. (more…)