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Ericsson 3 Officially Named in Barcelona

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

Barcelona – The Ericsson 3, the first of Ericsson’s two race yachts, has been given its name in an event that lit up the Barcelona night sky. The ceremony invited key guests from the telecom industry and sailing community to get on board the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-2009, with 235 days to go before the racing yachts set sail round the world.
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Veolia Environnement Rejoins Barcelona Race

Monday, December 17th, 2007

In the wee hours this morning, Veolia Environnement departed from the Kerguelen Islands to rejoin the Barcelona World Race. It was 00:50 GMT when skipper Roland Jourdain slipped his mooring in Port aux Français, to sail out again into the Southern Ocean.
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Estrella Damm Retires from Barcelona Race

Friday, December 14th, 2007

Estrella Damm skippers Guillermo Altadill and Jonathan McKee have made the difficult decision to retire from the Barcelona World Race. Although it has been possible to repair the rudder system, it has become evident to the team that it will not be possible to test the rudder system fully and get Estrella Damm back in the race to stay in contention with the remainder of the fleet within a reasonable timeframe. In addition, the serious consideration of safety for the skippers and the boat rejoining the race at its most perilous stage has to be taken into account. (more…)

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Day 6: Into the Atlantic

Friday, November 16th, 2007

By tonight, the entire Barcelona World Race fleet is expected to be sailing on the Atlantic Ocean – Educación sin Fronteras will pass through the Strait of Gibraltar shortly – but the conditions aren’t necessarily as any of the skippers would have anticipated or hoped. (more…)

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Paprec-Virbac 2 First to Gibraltar

Friday, November 16th, 2007

Paprec-Virbac 2 led the Barcelona World Race fleet into the Atlantic overnight on Wednesday night, winning the first stage of the race in the process. (more…)

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Estrella Damm – Barcelona World Race Update

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

With less than a week to go to the start of the Barcelona World Race (11 November), the atmosphere amongst the Estrella Damm Sailing Team is changing. There is a blanket of clam overlaying an air of tension as the final preparations are made to the IMOCA Open 60. Work continues and while the shore crew continue to press on in good humour, there is less talk and the banter has dropped to a quiet mumble as all become aware that in under a week the boat and her two skippers Guillermo Altadill and Jonathan McKee will disappear over the horizon, tackling the 25,000-mile non-stop round the world race. (more…)

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US Olympic Sailing Chair Brenner to Stay Until 2012

Friday, October 26th, 2007

Phoenix, Arizona – US SAILING, national governing body for the sport, has announced today that its Board of Directors has voted to extend the term of its Olympic Sailing Committee Chair Dean Brenner (Wallingford, Conn.) through 2012. US SAILING President Jim Capron (Annapolis, Md.) made the announcement today at the organization’s Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Ariz. (more…)

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Team U.S.A. Wins Canada’s Cup in Closest Ever Finish

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

TORONTO, Canada – In the most dramatic finish ever seen in Canada’s Cup competition, U.S. Challenger Robert Hughes and Heartbreaker came from behind on the final leg of the final match race on Monday to cross the finish line less than half a boatlength ahead of Defending team Honour. The win brought the final score of the championship to 5-4 and finally gave Hughes the victory that has eluded him in two prior Cup challenges in 2001 and 2003. Team Heartbreaker could not contain their enthusiasm as they loaded the Cup into their inflatable tender, racing from the Royal Canadian Yacht Club’s island headquarters to the mainland, hoping to catch their flights back to Michigan. “We can’t wait to bring the Cup to her new home at Macatawa Bay Yacht Club,” said Team Manager Mary DeVries. “This means so much to us – we’ve all been brought along by Bob Hughes’ vision, and now we’ve succeeded at what he started years ago.” (more…)

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Canada’s Cup Defender Takes 2-1 Lead by Inches

Monday, October 15th, 2007

TORONTO, CANADA – Canada’s Cup Defender Honour, helmed by RCYC member Alec Krstajic, thrilled dozens of spectator boats off Toronto today, beating U.S. Challenger Team Heartbreaker in two of three matches sailed on the waters of Lake Ontario. While forecasted strong winds never materialized, shifty breeze between 7 and 18 knots tested the abilities of the yachts’ highly skilled crews as they battled for sailing supremacy on the Great Lakes.

Thousands of fans followed the drama from the internet, though a satellite issue delayed the live tracking of the races until late in the afternoon. Jerry Miller, President of telemetry provider IonEarth, assured fans that they wouldn’t miss a second of the races for the rest of the weekend. “We had a glitch that prevented browsers from opening the data sent from the boats”, Miller said. “Fortunately the units recorded the data, and tomorrow, fans will be able to watch the live racing feeds as well as the recorded races from today.” The race viewer is available at www.ionearth.com, and Miller is extremely excited to show fans the extensive upgrades that IonEarth has made specifically for close-quarters racing. “We’re happy to make this coverage available to fans of yacht racing everywhere, and we hope to see it become a bigger part of future events”, Miller said.
Racers Show Unexpected Strengths…and Weaknesses

Bob Hughes, the owner and driver of Heartbreaker, has long been one of the faster helms on the competitive Farr 40 fleet racing circuit. In his past two attempts to win the Canada’s Cup, Hughes has shown some weakness in match racing starts, which require completely different skills than the fleet starts that Hughes is so good at. Surprisingly, today’s racing saw a reversal of what many expected from this match: The U.S. team won the starts handily, while the Canadians had blinding speed around the course. Hughes attributes his improvement in starting to a short but intensely focused training program. “We spent 3 weeks working on starting, both in Denmark with [match racing specialist and America’s Cup skipper] Jes Gram-Hansen and in Detroit with Dave Dellenbaugh and the crew of Victrix” Hughes explained. Despite Hughes’ solid starting technique, Heartbreaker lost the first race convincingly, and lost the second by just a few yards. “We saw the pressure in Alec’s sails, but it never reached us, and we had nowhere to go. That’s just sailboat racing.” Heartbreaker came back strongly in a windier race 3, leading wire to wire to bring the series to 2-1.

A quick look at Honour’s crew list helps explain some of their speed – top level professional sail trimmers Cameron Dunn and Jon Ziskind seemed to add another gear to the yacht. Pure speed can’t explain Honour’s victories though – it was perseverance and communication that gave the defender her lead. “We all are able to talk together so well”, Ziskind said. “[Olympic Finn sailor] Chris Cook has a great ability to see wind, and the communication between Gavin, Alec, and the rest of the crew is just awesome.” Gavin Brady had a different take on Honour’s ability to gain on most of the big shifts throughout the day. “Last week, I asked Alec if he minded if we took the wind instruments off the mast”, the former BMW/Oracle helmsman said. “They only tell you what’s already happened anyway, and without all the blinking lights it’s easier for us to see the shifts as they happen, rather than afterwards.”

Perhaps most importantly, the skippers and crews are in good spirits, enjoying a solid rivalry. Krstajic explained it best: “So much was said about whether we should even race for the Cup this year – should we, shouldn’t we, who should lead the team – but whether we win or lose, how great is it to just get out there and do what we love; racing with and against people we respect?
There’s a lot at stake tomorrow. Victory for Canada in the two scheduled races would bring them to the brink of a successful defense of the Canada’s Cup, while Hughes is hoping to tip the scales in his favor with a pair of wins in this best of 9 series.

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Stormy Conditions for Canada Cup Day One

Friday, October 12th, 2007

Toronto, Canada – Angry grey clouds over downtown Toronto announced the deepening of a nearby low pressure system today, forcing Canadian authorities to issue a Small Craft Warning valid all day Friday on Lake Ontario. Some weather models predict 25 knots of breeze or stronger, and both teams – Defender Honour and Challenger Heartbreaker – had a day of trying practices and last-minute preparation for what is likely to be a brutally physical few days on the water. Tactics will lose some of their importance in heavier air, and boathandling will become a bigger factor.
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