Volvo Open 70s, Olympic class updates and a Grand Prix roundup—Sailing
In the fully crewed, around-the-world Volvo Ocean Race (VOR), action is tight as can be at the front of the pack, where—at the time of this writing—Puma Ocean Racing commanded a narrow margin over Telefonica and Emirates Team New Zealand (ENTZ). A look at the leaderboard reveals a separation of less than five miles between the top boats, with a hair's width under three thousand miles of racing left before the fleet arrives in Miami, Florida.
|Nice sailing conditions on deck at sunrise. Onboard PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Itajai, Brazil, to Miami, USA. (Credit: Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race) Amory Ross/Puma Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race© |
The real outlier, however, has been the usually quick Groupama 4, who has seemed off the pace ever since leaving Itajai, Brazil for Miami. Currently, Groupama 4 are lagging behind Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's usually sticky Azzam by some 80 miles, raising the question as to if this is a tactical problem or a boatspeed issue (the later hypothesis spurned by the team's unfortunate dismasting on Leg Five, coupled with comments from the team about the boat 'feeling slow').
'The breeze has picked up to six knots again so we're happy!' reported Groupama's Charles Caudrelier. 'The leaders are escaping this rather inactive zone and are set to accelerate. As such, we're expecting them to extend their lead even more... It's a severe punishment for us, even though we messed-up the start of the leg a bit, and since then we haven't had a solution for making a comeback. It's very frustrating because it's going to be a very long race and we can see that there's a fine match going on ahead of us and we're not part of it... Beyond the points we may lose in the overall standing, it's not much fun on a day-to-day basis.'
|Ken Read keeps an eye on CAMPER with a hand bearing compass. Onboard PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Itajai, Brazil, to Miami, USA. (Credit: Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race) Amory Ross/Puma Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race© |
At the front of the fleet, however, the VOR is already working its elusive magic on the sailors, treating them to Champaign sailing, the variety of which entices men to 're-enlist' for 'another lap'. For us landlubber viewers, the footage coming off the boats might not be as dramatic as the Southern Ocean slam machine that the teams tangoed with a few weeks ago, but, tactically speaking, these are some of the more interesting miles of the race. Get the full story, inside.
Meanwhile, in One Design circles, the Semaine Olympique Francaise wrapped up last week, with some impressive final results posted by US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider. In the Women's Match Racing event, Anna Tunnicliffe's 'Team Maclaren' (Tunnicliffe, plus Molly Vandemoer and Debbie Capozzi) proved untouchable, which is a fantastic boost going into next weekend's Olympic trials. Interestingly, Tunnicliffe's chief competition for an Olympic Berth—Sally Barkow and her 'Team 7' (Barkow, plus Alana O'Reilly and Elizabeth Kratzig Burnham)—earned a silver medal, thus upping next weekend's stakes. 'We're very happy with how the racing went,' said Tunnicliffe. 'It was a lot of races, 16 races, and unfortunately we couldn't go into the finals, but you can't control the weather. We're psyched with where we're at (with racing), so far, going into the Trials.'
And in the SKUD-18 class, Jen French and JP Creignou won a bronze medal, rounding out a 'virtual podium' of gold, silver and bronze finishes. Also, Amanda Clark and crewmate Sarah Lihan finished in second place in the Women's 470 event, thus adding another great data point prior to this summer's Games. 'We're really excited; it's been a great week of strong wind,' said Clark. 'We've been practicing a lot in strong wind and it shows. To finish up second here really helps our confidence as we go into the Games this summer. Turning it up for this event and the Worlds, that's our main goal.'
BTW the Laser Radial Youth and Laser Radial Mens World Championships NOR and online entry is now live on the International Laser site.
|Aegean after start of Newport to Ensenda Yacht Race Newport Beach Patch .|
Tragically, reports are in that three sailors died and another went missing in the Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race after Aegean, a Hunter 376, it seems must have collided with a large vessel in the main shipping channel, just south of the Mexican border. 'The 37-foot Redondo Beach-based Aegean was skippered by its owner, Theo Mavromatis, and had its regular crew,' reported Ray Pollock of Marina Sailing, which is involved with Mavromatis and Aegean. 'We don't have any details of what happened to the boat,' Pollock said. 'The boat was very seaworthy and had all the instruments you need to avoid collisions. I'd probably rule out operator error.' Get the latest report, inside.
|Melges 32 East Coast Championship - West Palm Beach Regatta 2012 JOY - International Melges 32 Class Association ©|
Also inside, be sure to get the latest from the Melges 32 East Coast Championships; check-out the report from the Clipper Around the World Yacht Race, and check-in with the Global Ocean Race fleet as they push towards Charleston, South Carolina. And finally, stay tuned to the latest happenings from Antigua Sailing Week, which starts Monday and runs through this Friday.
May the four winds blow you safely home,
David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor
|Melges 32's locked and loaded for East Coast Championships |
West Palm Beach Regatta - Melges 32 Class is sporting 16 high-powered machines, locked and loaded, amidst the towering mega yachts of Rybovich Marina in West Palm Beach, Florida, which are ready to race just off the shore. Rybovich's south dock is a star-studded sailing walk of fame populated with the likes of Jonathan McKee, Cameron Appleton, Eric Doyle, Dave Armitage, Andy Horton, Bill Hardesty... [more]
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