Offshore leapfrog—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond
Remember the old childhood game of leapfrog? The six-strong fleet that's contesting this year's Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) is getting a great refresher in this timeless playground diversion as the leader board seems to swing with each passing cloud.
|Groupama Sailing Team during leg 3 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Abu Dhabi, UAE to Sanya, China. (Credit: Yann Riou/Groupama Sailing Team/Volvo Ocean Race) Yann Riou/Groupama Sailing Team © /Volvo Ocean Race|
For several days, Kenny Read and his Puma Ocean Racing Team commanded the top spot, only to see Chris Nicholson and his Emirates Team New Zealand slip ahead in the light airs. Now, according to the latest reports, overall race leader Iker Martinez and his Team Telefonica are looking to be the quickest boat to reach the waypoint at the Mallaca Straits—a geographical bottleneck that will likely see a few more 'restarts' as the sailors seek pressure and fast angles.
Factor in heavy commercial traffic and hazardous navigation work, and the plot will thicken substantially as the boats punch towards Sanya, China. Fortunately, the wind machine seems to be switching back on, according to the latest reports from Puma Ocean Racing. 'It's still hot as hell below, though the breeze has been building steadily (now at 17 knots), which means it's getting a little wet on deck,' wrote Media Crew Member Amory Ross. 'A refreshing wave in the face helps to keep things cool, but with now-closed hatches, the moisture only makes things more humid and unlivable downstairs.' Get the full VOR media blast, inside this issue.
|Maserati Yacht |
Also offshore related, skipper Giovanni Soldini and his sponsor, Maserati, have announced a go at the Cadiz-San Salvador speed record, sailing some 3884 miles aboard what appears to be a modified Volvo Open 70. The eight-man crew will include American ocean-racing great Brad Van Liew, as well as a cadre of European sailing legends; according to press releases, the team's attempt is expected to get underway in early February. 'It is exciting to be working with my old friend Giovanni,' said Van Liew. 'It is a wonderful collaborative effort and a fresh, new type of sailing for me. It takes me back to my crewed racing roots, which is an exciting departure from my solo-sailing competitions. I welcome the race against time.'
|In first place, Day Three, Zach Railey (USA), Finn - Rolex Miami OCR © Rolex/Daniel Forster|
Stateside and ashore, One Design action has been intense at this year's Rolex Miami Olympic Class Regatta (OCR), where sailors have enjoyed a mixed bag of conditions throughout the week. So far, US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics have been realizing a strong regatta, with particularly strong showings from Zach Railey (Finn class), Erik Storck and Trevor Moore (49er class) and Farrah Hall (Women's RS:X class).
American Paralympic sailors have also been kicking some serious butt at the Miami OCR, which serves as the official trials for sailors seeking a berth on the US Paralympic Team. Jen French and JP Creignou are looking red-hot in the Skud-18 class, while Mark LeBlanc and 2008 Paralympic bronze medalist John Ruf continue to exchange tactical fisticuffs in the 2.4mR class. Get the full scoop inside, including some great video interviews and spectacular, caught-on-camera aerial footage of a collision between a 49er skipper and a competitor's bowsprit. Racing concludes today, so be sure to check the website frequently for information uploads, as they become available.
And finally, get the latest America's Cup Beta from Artemis Racing, the Challenger of Record for AC34. According to Paul Cayard, the team's CEO, Artemis Racing recently acquired a second AC45 catamaran, to be used in pre-Cup events, and construction is well underway on their first AC72 class cat. '2012 will be a defining year for the AC teams,' said Cayard. 'Most of the important activities of the campaigns will take place this year. The first AC72s will launch on July 1st and each team has a limit of 30 days to spend training. It will be interesting to see the different strategies on how to use the 30 days.'
May the four winds blow you safely home,
David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor
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