Vendee, Cupdate and Read's news—Sailing News from the U.S. and Beyond
The plot is thickening in the non-stop-around-the-world-alone Vendee Globe Race as a changing weather system breaks-up previously established packs of boats. A fast-moving low-pressure system is powering Francois Gabert ('MACIF') and Armel Le Cleac'h ('Banque Populaire') along at full pace, while Jean-Pierre Dick ('Virbac Paprec 3'), currently in third place, is already experiencing the same light airs that recently cost Alex Thomson ('Hugo Boss') and Bernard Stamm ('Cheminees Poujoulat') so dearly compared to the leaders earlier this week.
|Francois Gabart, Macif - 2012 Vendee Globe © Alexis Courcoux / Macif |
'These are the conditions we have,' reported Dick. '[Gabert and Le Cleac'h] have more wind than me. That's the way it is and I have to accept it. But I fear the high-pressure bubble coming behind me, as according to the files there's no wind in this ridge. I'm trying to get away from it as fast as possible. If it catches me, I could lose hundreds of miles, even some days on the leaders. And they won't be easy to catch.'
Meanwhile, in Cup news, Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) has officially 'clocked-out' of their 30 allotted 2012/2013 training days (the only team to do so by a wide margin) and are in the process of decommissioning their first-generation AC72. The next challenge for the team will be to finish fitting out their next-generation AC72, which they plan to launch in early February (which, 'coincidentally', is when restrictions on the number of permitted training days ends).
|Grant Dalton and Nick Holroyd |
Inside, Sail-World's Richard Gladwell has put together two must-see multi-media interviews, the first with ETNZ's team boss Grant Dalton and the second with the team's Technical Director, Nick Holroyd. 'The idea is to give the sailors more control and keep the boat close to optimum,' said Holroyd about ETNZ's design approach to their second-generation catamaran. 'The boards are another big area of gain. We've learned a lot with control of the boards in this boat, and the next generation of boards will be a big step again.'
And in sailing-industry news, Ken Read, the infamous skipper of Puma Ocean Racing's entries in the last two editions of the Volvo Ocean Race (as well as other high-profile campaigns), has been named President of North Sails. Read, who is taking over the helm from Gary Weisman in early 2013, has been a professional sailmaker (and sailor) his entire career and served as North's longtime VP prior to taking several sailing-related sabbaticals (including his recent VOR stints).
|Ken Read at the helm. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Alicante, Spain to Cape Town, South Africa. Amory Ross/Puma Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race© |
'Sailing has been my lifeblood since I was very young and it's such an honor to return to what I consider the marine industry's top brand' said Read. 'I've been the largest North Sails customer in North America for the past six years so I have a unique perspective on how North Sails works from the inside and outside, and where there are possibilities for improvement.' Get the full story, inside.
|RS Elite - 2013 Antigua Sailing Week Nonsuch Bay Resort |
Also inside, get the wrap-up report from the fifth World Yacht Racing Forum, and check out the preview report for next year's Antigua Sailing Week, especially if your Vitamin D levels are headed southbound (caveat emptor: this could be a pricey-but-worthy 'quick look', especially if you live somewhere dark, stormy and cold).
May the four winds blow you safely home,
David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor
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