High-end racing news is being driven this weekend by the Argo Group Gold Cup (October 8-13), which is currently taking place in Bermuda. Here, the world’s best match racers have gathered to practice their art on the beautiful waters of Hamilton Harbor. This weekend, however, saw a low-pressure system sweep over the island, delivering heavy rains and big wind shifts, so the RC was only able to get off the first round of the Semi Finals.
Racing at the Argo Group Gold Cup
Still, Sir Ben Ainslie defeated Adam Minoprio in the first round of the Semi Finals, while Francesco Bruni beat Taylor Canfield. 'Normally light wind races are boring, but today was anything but boring!' said Bruni. 'We were ahead and they passed us and then we were head to head and then we got a penalty. But we picked up a couple of good shifts down the final run and we were head to head again and in the end I think we won by maybe [eight inches]. We were very excited when we crossed the line!'
At the time of this writing, the RC was planning to conduct the rest of the Semi Finals today before then rolling into the Finals this afternoon. Be sure to stay tuned to the website for more on this high-profile event, as it unfurls.
Across the Pond in France, the racecourse action has been intense at the Semaine Olympique Francaise, where many of the world’s fastest Olympic hopefuls have gathered to compete. 'It’s the first bullet we’ve got in to our life on this boat,' said Franck Cammas, the winner of last year’s Volvo Ocean Race and the skipper of a NACRA 17 multihull in this event.
'It’s good to learn how to win,' continued Cammas after earning a bullet in yesterday’s racing. 'It’s like the Volvo Ocean Race, there will be a new match with ['Telefonica' skipper] Iker Martinez and I intend to win. If we win the race we win the week, it’s easy to understand.'
Get the full scoop on the Semaine Olympique Francaise, inside, and be sure to spend some time checking out photographer Thom Touw’s great image galleries.
Also in France, the start of the Mini Transat Race was postponed due to rough weather that’s supposed to batter the Spanish coast in a few days’ time, and which would have pummeled the fleet. As the sailors wait for a good weather window, some took the time to reflect on how much the race has evolved from its earlier days.
'This is my second participation in the race after a first experience in 1989,' said François Lamy. 'That was 24 years ago and I am impressed to see how high the level is now. In 1989, I left with the toolbox still on deck. I hope in any case that my participation will encourage vocations among young Guadeloupe.' More, inside, and be sure to stay tuned for more news from this important offshore event, as it becomes known.
And in Cup news, Russell Coutts, Oracle Team USA’s CEO, has started to share his thoughts about AC34, as well as his insights on AC35. 'We obviously had our challenges throughout the series,' said Coutts during an interview with SportsPro. 'We’d have liked to have had more teams competing and we had difficulties earlier on with, obviously, the Artemis tragedy and other complications.'
'But at the end the final turned out to be a great series and was a snapshot of what it could be like in the future,' said Coutts. 'It was a nice outcome.' Be sure to check out the full interview, inside this issue.
And in big-boat offshore news, don’t miss the latest reports of 'Virbac-Paprec’s' capsize during a training session ahead of the upcoming Transat Jacques Vabre race. The crew sailing the powerful MOD70 consisted of Jean-Pierre Dick and Roland Jourdain (both offshore heavyweights). Unfortunately, the mast snapped in three places, but luckily the boat has already been towed ashore. Crew-wise, Jourdain was uninjured but Dick was flown to a hospital and was later diagnosed with a compressed vertebrae.
'I'm still in shock,' said Dick. 'Everything changed quickly, I fell from a great height, and I hit something and before falling into the water. It was violent. Fortunately, I was able to reach the hull very quickly. I could soon feel that I had back pain. We waited for rescue in sadness.'
Also inside, catch up with the 18-foot skiff class, check out the latest reports from the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race and don’t miss the coverage of the Campbell Cup.
May the four winds blow you safely home,