Cupdate and new solo records set—Sailing News from the U.S. and Beyond

The biggest news in the Grand Prix sailing world comes from Artemis Racing’s camp, as the Swedish-flagged, San Francisco-based Challenger of Record for the 34th America’s Cup recently appointed Iain Percy, Nathan Outteridge, Santiago Lange, and Loïck Peyron to full-time positions, while announcing that their former tiller talent, Terry Hutchinson, would be 'pursuing other career opportunities'. According to reports, it’s expected that Peyron will take up 'Hutch’s' driving duties while Percy will act as sailing team director; one can only assume that Lange and Outteridge will both have key afterguard positions.

'Terry has made a huge contribution to the team since we started our quest for the America’s Cup,' said Artemis’ CEO, Paul Cayard. 'Terry’s leadership and match racing expertise led Artemis Racing to win the 2012 ACWS Match Racing Championships and has brought the team to where we are today. We appreciate all of his efforts and dedication. We wish him the very best for the future.'

Also in Cup news, there’s been a big comeuppance in espionage circles as the binoculars (or consumer-level camera gear-yes, you read that correctly) come out of dry bags on RIBs that are half a world away from the rest of their team. For example, Oracle Racing has been accused of coming too close to their competition (read: within a 200-meter circle of other team’s AC72s) on New Zealand’s Hauraki Gulf, thanks to some creative interpretations of the word 'navigating' from the Defender’s camp. According to reports, inside, the Italian-flagged team Luna Rossa has appealed to the International Jury for a ruling (and maybe a slap-on-the-wrist penalty against Oracle Racing, at least or their first-time infraction).

Another burning issue within the Cup world, which has landed another protest with the International Jury, has to do with the cancellation of certain pre-Cup 2013 events, including Venice America’s Cup Word Series act, which had been planned for the spring of 2013. Be sure to get the full Cup report, inside this issue.

JP on top this morning - Vendee Globe 2012
© Jean-Pierre Dick / Virbac-Paprec / Vendée Globe

Meanwhile, offshore in the Vendee Globe Race, the alone-and-unassisted non-stop-around-the-world race for IMOCA 60s, French skipper Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac Paprec) established two new (and still to be ratified) 24-hour distance records for solo sailors, the first for 498.8 miles, the second for a whopping 502.53 miles. To offer a point of comparison, Dick’s new record beats fellow Vendee skipper Alex Thomson’s 2003 World Sailing Speed Record Council’s ratified record of 468.72 miles sailed in 24 hours. Talk about forcing yourself to stay awake and coherent, despite an obvious lack of sleep…

At the time of this writing, Francois Gabart ('Macif') was leading the fleet, followed by Dick and Armel Le Cleac’h ('Banque Populaire'). According to the latest reports, the leading sailors have now hit a big high-pressure path, slowing down their progress and likely thwarting any additional attempts to snatch away Dick’s new prize, at least for now. Get the full Vendee report, inside.

Also inside, be sure to get the latest reports from the ongoing 2012 Melges Gold Cup, check out the preview of the Moonson Cup, which starts this Monday, and finally, learn about the changing face of the infamous Phuket King’s Cup. Enjoy!

May the four winds blow you safely home,