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US SAILING’s 2010 Rolex Miami OCR NOR Now Online

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

US SAILING’s Rolex Miami OCR will bring together the world’s top sailors for elite-level competition in the classes selected for the Olympic and Paralympic Games from January 24-30, 2010, US SAILING announced today. Held on picturesque Biscayne Bay in Coconut Grove, Fla., this prestigious event is the second stop on the International Sailing Federation’s (ISAF) Sailing World Cup 2009-2010 circuit. The Notice of Race is now available online at the newly-launched event web site, RMOCR.ussailing.org.

Starting November 13, 2009, competitors and coaches will be required to register online at RMOCR.ussailing.org. Online registration is mandatory, as on-site registration will not be available. Women’s Match Racers must register online prior to the December 1, 2009; the registration deadline for all other events is January 8, 2010.

“We’re very excited about the second year of the ISAF Sailing World Cup, and we expect a great turnout for US SAILING’s Rolex Miami OCR,” said Gary Bodie (Hampton, Va.), the co-organizer of the event.

Rolex Miami OCR is open to boats competing in events chosen for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Sailing Competitions. The 10 Olympic classes are: Laser Radial (women), Laser (men), Finn (men), Men’s RS:X, Women’s RS:X, 49er (men), Men’s 470, Women’s 470, Star (men) and Elliott 6m (women). The three Paralympic classes are: 2.4mR (open, able and disabled), SKUD18 (mixed, disabled) and Sonar (open, disabled). In addition to being a world-ranking event, it is also a US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics qualifier.

For fleet racing in the Olympic classes, the regatta will consist of a five-day opening series and a double-point medal race. The top ten finishers in the opening series of each event will advance to the medal race. Competitors in the Paralympic classes will have five days of fleet racing and no medal race. For match racing, which makes its debut in the 2012 Olympic Games, the regatta will consist of an opening series, a knockout series, and a sail-off for boats not advancing to the knockout series. Medals will be awarded to the top three boats in each Olympic and Paralympic event on Saturday, January 30.

Regatta Headquarters will be located at the US Sailing Center Miami, an official Olympic training center, in the Coconut Grove section of Miami, Fla. Event organizers have partnered with the city of Miami to provide world-class venues for competition. Additional hosts for the event include Coral Reef Yacht Club, Key Biscayne Yacht Club, Coconut Grove Sailing Club, Miami Rowing Club and Shake-a-Leg Miami. These sailing organizations host classes onshore, as well as help run the on-the-water racing. The Coral Reef Yacht Club also hosts the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

In addition to title sponsor Rolex Watch U.S.A., US SAILING’s 2010 Rolex Miami OCR is also sponsored by AlphaGraphics, Sperry Top-Sider, Harken and Team McLube.

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Flash Gordon 5 Wins 2009 Rolex Farr 40 North American Championship

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Flash Gordon 5, the Farr 40 owned by Helmut Jahn won the 2009 Rolex Farr 40 North American Championship, held September 24-27 in Chicago, Ill. Nine teams representing the best in North American one-design racing battled on Lake Michigan beneath the skyline that Jahn’s architecture firm Murphy/Jahn has helped to define over the past three decades. Racing was hosted at the Chicago Yacht Club (CYC), which provided race committee assistance under the leadership of Principal Race Officer Sue Reilly. At the awards ceremony held at the CYC, Jahn was presented with a specially engraved Rolex timepiece by Farr 40 Class Secretary Bunny Wayt.

“This title means a lot to the team because it is the culmination of a lot of hard work,” said Evan Jahn, Helmut Jahn’s son and co-helm of Flash Gordon 5. “With the achievement there now is the added responsibility of defending it and that requires continued effort so that we can stay at the front of the fleet. This victory solidifies us as one of the top Farr 40 teams in the country, and world, and we will use the upcoming winter events to prepare for the 2010 Rolex Farr 40 Worlds at Casa de Campo.”

The younger Jahn, who is pursuing a Masters Degree in environmental management and sustainability, alternates helm responsibilities with his father, driving the boat at the race start, upwind to the mark and then trading off for the downwind legs.

Personally, Evan Jahn was thrilled with the victory. “This is my first National and North American championship,” he said. “I know Helmut and a couple of the other crew members have won some world championships in other classes, but for me this is a big achievement. It is really reinvigorating to win something big, finally, as a testament to how much time, hard work, and energy our team has put in over the past three years towards not only this class, but the sport as well.

Conditions ranged from light to moderate wind over the four days of racing. Amazingly consistent, Flash Gordon 5 won five races in the 10-race series. “On day 2, in the first race, it became apparent that the ability to go to the left was very powerful, and in the first race Heartbreaker proved that by winning the pin end and eventually winning the race,” explained Evan Jahn. “We told ourselves that we needed the pin after that, and succeed in executing that plan in the following two races. Also that day was the first time during the regatta that the RC decided to put in a gate and identifying that allowed us to gain a slight advantage as it seemed we were one of the few boats to recognize that. The other races that we won were not due to great starts, but they were not bad starts either. Day 3 was really light and shifty so those victories came down to (tactician) Bill Hardesty’s patience and our boat speed. Our starts were not decisive that day, but we ducked some boats when we had to and were able to get in phase and arrive at the windward mark in contention, and then used good downwind speed and excellent crew work at mark roundings to pick our way to the front.”

Understandably the second day of competition, on Friday, stands out for the team aboard Flash Gordon 5. “Day 2 was nerve racking!” continued Jahn. “We put up our heavy, medium, and light (sails, in that order) and the result was a condition that we were never fully set-up for until the last race when conditions had stabilized. The light air combined with the chop and little feel with the wheel required a lot of attention from everyone. Weight placement was always changing, as was constant trimming on both the main and the jib. It was one of those conditions where you could lose a couple of boat lengths in a minute if you hit a bad set of waves or were not able accelerate out of a tack. After that day was over the whole team breathed a sigh of relief because they were conditions that anything could have happened with no real fault of our own, and to come out as well as we did was a big stress relief.”

Crew member David Gerber explained the feeling on board going into the final day of racing on Sunday. “Honestly, we felt very much in control of the regatta on Saturday evening,” he said. “I believe we had an 11-point lead. We knew there was wind in the forecast for Sunday and there would be no light air ‘stress.’”

On Sunday, in honor of the late sailor Tom Neill (Chicago), who campaigned many race boats including the Farr 40 Nitemare, the Flash Gordon 5 team donned red shirts with the initials ‘TN’ embroidered on the back.

“The last day of racing was fantastic” said Gerber. “It was a true Chicago pleasure – sailing in a strong, firm southwest breeze. We knew when we left the dock we had to sail clean, keep the crew and boat safe. There was no need to run any huge risks. Our first two starts were very conservative and we kept ourselves clean. I don’t think this worked well for us. We never have sailed from a spot in the lead and Race 9 was our worst race. We didn’t sail well and our crew work wasn’t polished. I think the team was too reserved. Fortunately, Helmut wanted to stay out for Race 10 and the crew wanted to go out with a win. I feel Race 10 was one of our better, if not, best races of the regatta. We were slightly behind, sailed fast, sailed smart and survived. We won a tacking duel on the final beat.”

Gerber went on to explain that the goal for Flash Gordon 5 was the North American title. “Not always an easy thing to do — say you want to win and do it,” he said. “These guys were awesome. We stayed positive, pushed hard and sailed well. Two other team members that deserve recognition are Kyle Kandt, the boat captain and Ed Adams, our coach. These two men did everything they could to help us go faster and sail smarter. Kyle had the boat in fantastic shape, the best boat in the fleet. And, Ed was his usual self of picking up strengths of the other teams and blending them into our strengths. There is no detail either one of these two miss. For Helmut and Evan — the fastest Father/Son tandem in the Farr 40 Class — I think this is awesome. For our team, I think this is awesome. For many months the North Americans was our bull’s eye and we hit it.”

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Clean Marina Certification

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

The Michigan Clean Marina Program had the pleasure of announcing six Michigan facilities that have been certified as “Michigan Clean Marinas” effective June 18, 2009. They are Algonac Harbour Club in Algonac; Lac La Belle State Harbor in Lac La Belle; Copper Harbor State Dock in Copper Harbor; Eagle Harbor State Dock in Eagle Harbor; Cedar River State Harbor in Cedar River; and Torresen Marine in Muskegon. With the additions of these six marinas, a total of 30 Michigan marinas have obtained this prestigious certification.

The clean marina certification begins with a pledge to participate in the program, followed by workshops where the marina management and staff receive a handbook, overview of the designation process and a review of best management practices. The facilities then conduct self-evaluations of their environmental practices to determine their strengths and weaknesses. After implementing improvements and reaching a level of competencies, the marina requests a visitation by a CMP consultant to evaluate the facility’s environmental stewardship. When the facility reaches established goals, they receive their designation.

“We are pleased that more Michigan marinas and harbors are working toward clean marina certification and thirty have already achieved this recognition,” said Van W. Snider, Jr., CAE, President of Michigan Boating Industries Association. “We are also encouraged that more boaters are becoming aware of the program and are searching out these facilities as places they want to utilize.” The Clean Marina designation is applicable for a three-year period at which time the facility must be re-designated.

The Michigan Clean Marina Program is a joint program between the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Michigan Sea Grant and Michigan Boating Industries Association. For more details on the program and to see which facilities are designated Michigan Clean Marinas, go to http://miseagrant.umich.edu/cmp/. For a full list of Michigan Clean Marinas visit www.mbia.org.

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American Sailors – A West Michigan Connection

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Torresen Marine’s vision of connecting people to the sport of sailing is something we take pride in. We are so pleased that West Michigan’s film production industry has taken a major step forward toward this when the visually stunning program American Sailors debuted to a national television audience.

Produced by Holland-based Grooters Productions, American Sailors takes a behind the scenes look at the stories of four West Michigan skippers racing in the 100th running of the Chicago to Mackinac sailing event. WGN America aired the primetime special on Saturday, July 4th and again on Sunday, July 26.

The show’s tag line is “The Wind Shows No Favorites – Anyone Can Win” and the debut episode of the program proved that to be true.The Chicago to Mackinac is the world’s longest and oldest freshwater race, and 2008 marked its historic 100th running. The tradition and drama of this celebrated event were beautifully captured in high definition by the producers of American Sailors as they followed four West Michigan skippers for the entire race. Three of the four skippers sail from the Muskegon Yacht Club and the other hails from Holland’s Macatawa Bay Yacht Club. “This was an amazing opportunity for us to tell the story of one of the most celebrated events in North American sailing,” said John Grooters who produced and directed the program. “The pictures and the stories behind them are an incredible part of our maritime legacy.

The Holland boat is the well-known 86’ Windquest, owned by Dick and Doug DeVos. Windquest, captained by Holland’s Tom Giesler, is one of the most decorated boats in freshwater racing history, and is fresh off a three flag victory in the prior week’s Queen’s Cup. Windquest also won the 2007 Chicago to Mackinac race by being first to finish, first in class, and first overall.

American Sailors also sails with Muskegon’s John Nedeau and his boat Windancer. Nedeau is the most experienced racer in Mac history, and is running the race for a record 61st time.

Also from Muskegon are skipper Brian Torresen of Torresen Marine who is at the helm of his own boat, Peerless, for the very first time and Muskegon middle school teacher Steve Schiller who races on the longtime family boat Souvenir.

American Sailors was shot in high definition from air, land and sea with nine cameras both on and off the featured boats. Shooting began in March 2008 and concluded in August. The finished show is sprinkled with graphics, slow-motion race footage, and original music and is narrated by John Grooters. American Sailors has already won a national award for production excellence and has been picked up for international distribution by Solid Entertainment, who is shopping the show overseas under the moniker Champion Sailors. Here’s what the website Sailing Anarchy had to say about the program:What a pleasant surprise it was then for us to hear today that Chicago-based national cable network WGN has picked up the Grooters Productions’ “American Sailors” documentary. The program has great production quality and awesome racing scenes, but more importantly, it focuses on four interesting characters and follows them for the entire race. SA’s own longtime member Brian Torresen and his heavily turboed Melges 30 ‘Peerless’ is one of those sailors, and anyone who knows BT knows that his appearance on the screen is guaranteed to be entertaining, at the very least. http://www.sailinganarchy.com/article.php?get=3904, 06/26/09 American Sailors is Grooters Productions’ first nationally broadcast prime-time special. John Grooters says his hope is to produce a full season of American Sailors, and to expand the program to cover other iconic races around the world.

“We are going to look for the interesting and passionate stories wherever we can find them in locations all over the world,” Grooters said.

Torresen Marine is the only source for the DVD of American Sailors. You will find it available at torresen.com or call us at 231-759-8596. To view the program trailer visit the show’s website at http://www.americansailors.tv/.

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Bliksem (USA) takes lead at Melges 32 Worlds

Monday, September 28th, 2009

Heading into the final day of racing and with just one windward-leeward race scheduled for tomorrow, Pieter Taselaar’s (New York, N.Y.) Bliksem (USA) has moved into the lead in a fleet of 30 boats competing at the Audi Melges 32 World Championship 2009, organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda. Bliksem has knocked Claudio Recchi’s Team 93 (ITA), leaders of the overall classification since day one, out of the top spot and now holds an 11 point lead. Third place is currently occupied by Uka Uka Racing (ITA), owned by Lorenzo Santini and Alessio Marinelli.

With almost two-thirds of the fleet hailing from Italy and many top names in Italian sailing present, Taselaar has achieved no mean feat; he is assisted of course by Australian 470 class star Nathan Wilmot, Olympic gold medal winner (2008) and three-time World Champion. Mathematically, victory is not assured, but after gaining two bullets and placing in the top ten in eight out of the nine races run, Taselaar is certainly looking healthy. Behind him sit three Italian teams separated by 13 points – Team 93, Uka Uka and Giovanni Maspero’s Joe Fly – that will be battling for podium finishes tomorrow.

“We had a pretty good day today,” affirmed Nathan Wilmot of Bliksem. “We fought our way back through the fleet in each of today’s races and now we lead by a fair bit. Hopefully we will be able to do enough tomorrow to win the first-ever Melges 32 Worlds. The conditions today were okay; the wind dropped off a bit but having said that, the last race, with light air, was our best of the day.”

Race seven, the first of the day, started on schedule in approximately 15 knots of northeasterly wind. At the first mark Bagua 753 led Teasing Machine (FRA), owned by Jean Francois Cruette, Francesco Martino’s Pilot Italia and Uka Uka Racing. At the leeward gate Bagua 753 (ITA), with America’s Cup tactician Vasco Vascotto, continued to lead while Uka Uka had climbed from fourth to second ahead of Teasing Machine. Bagua 753 and Uka Uka retained their position to cross the finish line ahead of Jason Carroll’s Argo (USA) and Bliksem.

Red (GBR), owned by Joe Woods, led throughout Race Eight, which was set at 025° and later adjusted to 40° as the wind shifted right. The English boat led Teasing Machine and Pilot Italia around the leeward mark. Pilot Italia moved up to second place during the downwind leg ahead of the French boat. During the remaining two legs Uka Uka Racing tore up through the fleet to arrive second behind Red and ahead of Filippo Pacinotti’s Brontolo (ITA).

The final race of the day, the ninth of the series, saw Joe Fly, with America’s Cup sailor Francesco Bruni on tactics, lead at the first windward mark ahead of Carlo Alberini’s Calvi Network (ITA) and Brontolo. At the leeward gate Joe Fly led Brontolo with Matrix Cortina D’Ampezzo – tactician Ray Davies – in third. Joe Fly crossed the finish line victorious ahead of Bliksem and Argo.

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Bliksem (USA) takes Melges 32 World Title

Monday, September 28th, 2009

Pieter Taselaar’s (Mamaroneck, N.Y.) Bliksem (USA) has taken victory in the Audi Melges 32 World Championship 2009, the first edition of the Worlds for the class, organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in Porto Cervo. Taselaar’s team included Jeremy Wilmot (Newport, R.I.) as tactician and his brother Nathan (Sydney, Australia), who is a 470 Men’s Olympic Gold medalist (2008). Other crew members were Americans Willem van Waay (San Diego, Calif.), George Peet (Detroit, Mich.), Alex Clegg (East Greenwich, R.I.) and Australians Paul Atkins, and Michael Coxon.

Bliksem’s victory became a reality late yesterday evening when its protest against Claudio Recchi’s Team 93 (ITA), then sitting in second place, was upheld, leaving them untouchable at the head of the overall classification. A fight for second and third place took place today which saw Giovanni Maspero’s Joe Fly (ITA) just managing to sneak into second place ahead of, but on equal points with, Uka Uka Racing (ITA) owned by Lorenzo Santini and Alessio Marinelli with Armando Giulietti at the helm. Team 93, which had dominated the event for the first three days of racing, finished fourth overall, one point behind.

Taselaar was understandably happy with his victory: “It was a very tough week; the other competitors were of a very high standard. We have been working hard for a year and a half now. You never know if it’s going to work, but it would seem it has. I have a great team. We are absolutely delighted to have won this World Championship and there is absolutely no better place to do it than in Porto Cervo.”

One race was held today, bringing the fleet to the maximum of 10 scheduled, in light breezes of approximately 5-6 knots from the northeast. Opus One (GER), owned by Wolfgang Stolz, led the fleet from the start with Joe Fly hot on its heels. The German boat led around the first two marks, but Maspero’s team, with Francesco Bruni calling tactics, managed to overtake them to finish first ahead of Luigi Melegari’s Matrix Cortina D’Ampezzo (ITA), with Ray Davies calling tactics, and Opus One.

The event concluded with a prize giving ceremony at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda’s Clubhouse. The Audi Melges 32 World Championship brings the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda’s sailing season to a close.

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No Action on Penultimate Day

Monday, September 28th, 2009

There could hardly have been a more perfect fall day in the “City By The Sea” – unless you were racing in the 2009 12 Metre World Championship in which case you would have appreciated less wind than that which accompanied a cold front that swept through the area overnight. The brisk northerly whipping the flags into a frenzy on Bannister’s and Bowen’s Wharves also kept the “AP” or “postpone” flag flying prominently as the Race Committee headed out of the harbor to take wind readings north of the Newport Bridge. With gusts over 25 knots giving credence to the marine forecast for “a period of northeasterly winds gusting to near gale force” the decision was made to cancel all racing for the day. The bonus for competitors was the opportunity to enjoy more of the class reunion that has been the back story of the event, as well as take in one of the many tourist attractions in Newport.

Four races have been completed thus far by all four divisions – Grand Prix, Modern, Traditional and Vintage – which constitutes a series. However, the Race Committee has moved the first warning signal from 11:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. for the final day of racing, Saturday, September 26, in hopes of getting in two races, plus a second attempt at the Candy Store Cup which was abandoned yesterday when the Twelves did not make the time limit for the race.

Last night the second of the Legends Forums brought together notables from the 12 Metre era of America’s Cup competition, including NYYC Commodore Dyer Jones (Newport), designer Bruce Kirby (Rowayton, Conn.), journalist Tony Chamberlain (Duxbury, Mass.), Halsey Herreshoff (Bristol, R.I.), Dawn Riley (St. Clair Shores, Mich.), and photographer Dan Nerney (Portsmouth, R.I.). Almost 200 people listened as Gary Jobson (Annapolis, Md.) briefed the audience on the background and relevance of each Legend and prompted questions that referenced, among other things, 1983 (when the Cup competition was last held in Newport) and the future of the Cup that’s gone “a courting.” The audience perked up when Jones, who was Regatta Director for the 32nd America’s Cup, gave his view of the current state of affairs for the proposed 33rd contest between Oracle and Alinghi. Riley added her own two cents’ worth: “Hopefully Oracle will win, and – as Larry Ellison has promised –put some rules into play that won’t allow someone to hijack the America’s Cup like Ernesto (Berterelli) has.”

The audience agreed with Jobson that the Cup needs to return to an “even keel” and be sailed in monohulls rather than multihulls, and with that, a contest began to determine the most efficient grinder at the grinding pedestal brought in to add some laughs to the tent party. Tonight the teams and their families will participate in a giant “wharf party” with music by the popular local band The Ravers.

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Team 93 (ITA) and Bliksem (USA) lead at Melges 32 Worlds

Friday, September 25th, 2009

Sunshine and blue skies finally returned to the sailing paradise of Porto Cervo today, and the one-design fleet of 30 boats competing in the Melges 32 World Championship managed to fit in the maximum three daily races for the first time in the series. With six races now completed, a discard permitted and four more races scheduled, the leader board of the Audi Melges 32 World Championship, organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, has begun to take a more definite shape. Caludio Recchi’s Team 93 (ITA), overall leaders since day one, took a third place and a bullet today and discarded an 11th in the final race to increase their lead over second-place Bliksem (USA) to nine points. Pieter Taselaar’s (New York, N.Y.) Bliksem in turn sits 13 points ahead of Giovanni Maspero’s Joe Fly (ITA) while a battle for third place is assured with only 3 points separating the boats in the third through eighth place.

Race Four, the first of the day, started at 12.05 in approximately 10-12 degrees of breeze from 025° with well formed waves. Joe Fly,with Francesco Bruni on tactics, took a good start and rounded the first windward mark ahead of Red (GBR), owned by Joe Woods and Pilot Italia (ITA), owned by Francesco Martino. By the leeward mark Pilot Italia had moved up to lead the fleet with Joe Fly in second place ahead of Team 93 and Bliksem. The American boat continued to make up ground on the last two legs to cross the finish line in first place ahead of Pilot Italia and Team 93. 2009 Audi Melges 32 sailing series winner Calvi Network appeared to return to form, gaining a fourth place ahead of Joe Fly.

Wind and sea conditions remained unchanged for the start of Race Five which saw Bagua 753, owned by Andrea Cechetti and with Vasco Vascotto on tactics, lead the fleet for the first time in the series. Cecchetti’s team was followed around the first windward mark by Team 93 with Joe Fly in third. Rush Diletta (ITA) with Ray Davies of Emirates New Zealand fame on tactics, rounded in fourth. The top three boats held their positions around the leeward mark but by the finish line it was Team 93 that took its second bullet of the series ahead of Joe Fly and Bagua 753.

For the start of the third and final race of the day the course was shifted to 030° and then adjusted to 040° while wind speeds remained constant at approximately 13-14 knots. Calvi Network was out in front this time round and was followed around the windward mark by Vincenzo Onorato’s Mascalzone Latino and Bagua 753. Calvi Network held her lead throughout the race and was chased across the finish line by Filippo Paccinotti’s Brontolo, with Frederik Loof calling tactics, and Uka Uka Racing, owned by Lorenzo Santini and Alessio Marinelli with Lorenzo Bressani on tactics.

Gabriele Benussi, tactician on Calvi Network and winner of the Audi Melges 32 Series in 2008 and 2009, was understandably pleased today, “It was a positive day for us; it was important to break the negative cycle. We have good spirit and today we raced with the determination and ability which allowed us to win the Audi Melges 32 series. Today’s racing was great, very challenging for all of the tacticians. The course was very open and the wind continued to jump which allowed us to use pre-tactics. Today the right side was on, and so when we were on that side downwind we were able to gain important places.”

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No Surprises On Day Two – 12 Metre Worlds In Newport

Friday, September 25th, 2009

There were no surprises in the finishes posted by the 17 Twelves who completed only a single race today at the 2009 12 Metre World Championship. After sailing out to the old America’s Cup racecourse off Brenton Point, the wind speed took a nosedive as it changed direction from WSW to NNW, leaving the competitors drifting for close to two hours. With one race completed, the four divisions were given a combined start for the Candy Store Cup, sending them on a course back into Newport Harbor to the finish line at Bannister’s Wharf. The wind, however, continued to be uncooperative and the race was abandoned when the Twelves were unable to make the time limit for the race.

Yesterday, racing in the Modern division was quite contentious, with the outcome of numerous protests resulting in Challenge 12 and Courageous each picking up a DSQ when the jury decisions did not go in their favor and causing a complete shake up in the results for that division. Unscathed by the protests, Dennis Williams (Mashpee, Mass.) at the helm of Victory ’83 is reaping the benefit of having assembled a crew that includes several who have sailed together for close to 30 years, including Heart of America veterans Wally Henry (San Diego, Calif.) and Jim Gretzky (Storrs, Conn.), along with three father and son pairs – Jerry and Rome Kirby, Bill and Randy Shore (all Newport, R.I.) and Larry and Matt Mialik (both Madison, Wisc.), making for a well-oiled effort as evidenced by the 1-1-2 they posted on day one.

Peter Stalkus (Newport, R.I.), navigator aboard Victory ’83, has the distinction of having been navigator with four America’s Cup campaigns (’80 Clipper, ’83 Defender, ’87 USA 61 and ’97 Young America). His take on Victory ‘83’s impressive performance here is that Dennis Williams, its owner, has been meticulous in his approach. “The boat is well prepared and it shows,” said Stalkus after the team picked up their third win in four races. “It has good speed and we’ve practiced ahead of time.”

While the fallout from the protest decisions catapulted Intrepid from fifth into second and Freedom from fourth to third, today’s result did not do much to help either. Intrepid added a fifth-place finish today and dropped back to fourth overall, while the Freedom’s fourth-place finish held them in place. For Courageous, who had slipped from third to fourth overall after the protest, their second-place finish today moved them up to second overall. Challenge 12, dropping from second place to fifth after the protest results, was third in today’s race and did not move in the overall standings.

Bill Koch (Palm Beach, Fla./Osterville, Mass.), on Kiwi Magic, leads the Grand Prix division, while tied on points – six each – with Lexi Gahagan (Wilmington, Del.) on Wright on White. In the Traditional division, Clay Deutsch (Newport, R.I.) on Weatherly leads with six points, three ahead of American Eagle being driven by Charlie Millikin and Carol Swift (both Newport, R.I.). Kip Curren (Middletown, R.I.) on Northern Light is leading by one point over Gleam, driven by Einar Sissener (Oslo, NOR), in the Vintage division.

Legends Forums – The Legends Forums are a unique sidebar to the 2009 12 Metre Worlds, bringing together the biggest names of the America’s Cup 12 Metre era for question-and-answer sessions moderated by Gary Jobson (Annapolis, Md.), who won the America’s Cup with Ted Turner in 1977 and went on to become the voice of sailing for television. Held after racing each day dockside at Bannister’s and Bowen’s Wharves, with a finale forum planned for Sunday, as well, at the awards ceremony at Harbour Court, the forums are designed to include representation from a varied – and knowledgeable – group of personalities in the categories of Syndicate Representative, Crew, Design, Journalist and Other Notables. On opening day, the panel included Skip Lissiman (AUS), Gianfranco Alberini (ITA), Russell Coutts (NZL), and Americans Charlie Hovey, Harry Anderson, Dave Pedrick, Andy MacGowan, Bill Koch and Dick Enerson. The questions ran the gamut from “Who was the best 12 Metre skipper?” (all of them who won, it was decided in consensus) and “What was the best Twelve ever?” (Intrepid for being the biggest departure, changing all future designs) to “What will win the next America’s Cup, a trimaran or a catamaran?” (that one was a toss-up). Clearly, the audience was enjoying the up close-and-personal encounter, and they lingered to talk about the exchanges long after the luminaries had left, some even discussing what questions would be best to ask a different group tonight.

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Melges 32 Worlds: Team 93 holds lead, Bliksem Moves to Second

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

Claudio Recchi’s Team 93 (ITA) remains in first place overall with three races having been run in the Audi Melges 32 World Championsip 2009, organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda. Pieter Taselaar’s (New York, N.Y.) Bliksem (USA) took a bullet in today’s only race and climbed from yesterday’s third place to sit in second place overall ahead of Stefano di Properzio’s Mataran (ITA). Red (GBR), owned by James Woods, slipped from second overall to fourth after taking sixth place in today’s race. Recchi, who is one of the most experienced Melges 32 owners, also has aboard with him former Melges 24 World Champion Federico Michetti and American two-time Olympic medalist (’84 gold in the FD, ’00 bronze in the 49er) Jonathan McKee (Seattle, Wash.). Victory, however, is by no means assured to any of the current leaders, since there are three more days of racing to go and a possible seven more races to be held with a discard coming into play after race six. (more…)

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