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21 Jan 2014

KWRW, 49erFXs and Cup news—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond

Quantum Key West Race Week 52 Super Series  Martinez Studio/52 Super Series
This week's big sailing news comes courtesy of Florida's Conch Republic, where Key West Race Week (January 19 to 24) is giving racing sailors of almost all stripes the opportunity to (temporarily) abandon their snow shovels and enjoy some high-quality racing in one of the country's best winter-sailing destinations. According to reports, the winds were light for the first day of racing, requiring that the RC postpone racing for 90 minutes, but, ultimately, the event organizers were able to rifle off between one and two races per class. Not surprisingly, given the regatta's standing as a midwinter destination regatta, racing proved competitive in all classes as sailors tried hard to establish good ground-up leaderboard results-crucial, considering the regatta's length and its impressive talent pool.

The 52 Super Series saw some particularly close action as 'Quantum Racing' fought off her competition to take the first two bullets of the regatta with owner Doug DeVos at the helm. While there are plenty of great sailors racing in this class, 'Quantum's' biggest challenge came from Niklas Zennström's 'Ran Racing', who is currently sitting in second place, and who will no doubt continue to pose a substantial threat to 'Quantum' for the rest of the week.

Quantum Key West Race Week 52 Super Series  Martinez Studio/52 Super Series

'We were a bit lucky,' reported 'Quantum's' tactician, Terry Hutchinson. 'The second race was a well-sailed race and we got away and then we had to gybe away because we were getting rolled by two maxi boats, which we really did not want to do. And 'Rán' was able to escape but when we came into the finish we were two lengths ahead of them, we had given up about 100 meters are that point and so it was good to win that race. But as we know it is a long series here, this is great first day for us, but it is no more and no less than that.'

Inside, get the full scoop on Key West Race Week's opening salvo, and stay tuned to the website all week as more news from the Conch Republic unfurls.

Speaking of Florida, the 49erFX North American Championships wrapped up yesterday, with Brazil's Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze sailing away with top honors. Inside, don't miss our video and written coverage of this international event.

San Francisco - 34th America's Cup Final - Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker  Carlo Borlenghi/Luna Rossa©

And while the 35th America's Cup is still a long ways off, with no date or class of yacht yet to be firmly established, teams are betting that AC35 will be contested in state-of-the-art catamarans and are therefor using 2014 accordingly. According to reports, Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) plans to rejoin the Extreme Sailing Series, with skipper Dean Barker taking the helm for five of the season's eight regattas, leaving helming duties to 49er great Peter Burling for the remaining three events.

'We can't wait around until Oracle releases the Protocol for the 35th America's Cup,' said Barker. 'We need to keep developing and take every available opportunity to compete in cats.' Besides the obvious reason of acquiring more high-end multi-hull experience, ETNZ's afterguard sees this circuit as an important way to keep the sailors sharp during these interim Cup years.

'Extreme 40 racing is unlike any other; the teams are very competitive, races are short, the action non-stop and split-second decisions are needed,' said Barker, who plans to rotate crewmembers through the various onboard jobs. 'Between the two of us [skippers] we will be able to field competitive crews through the year.'

Sir Ben Ainslie, Oracle Team USA  ACEA / Photo Abner Kingman ©

Also Cup-related, Gary Jobson recently sat down with five-time Olympic medalist Sir Ben Ainslie, the winning tactician aboard Oracle Team USA in the 34th America's Cup, to get his pulse on Oracle's stunning comeback during AC34.

'We were obviously in a pretty difficult situation as a team,' said Ainslie about Oracle's overall situation when the call was made for him to replace John Kostecki as the team's tactician. 'My goal was to be Mr. Positive even though things were looking just about as bad as they could be, to try and get some enthusiasm going. Of course this America's Cup, I think, was always going to be a development race with the new class of boat with the AC72 multihulls and foiling and everything that goes with that. There was always a chance that we could develop faster than any other team and build some confidence from that. Ultimately that is what happened.'

Get the full interview, inside, and stay tuned to the website for the rest of Jobson's interview with Sir Ben, later this week.

Thomas Colville - Round the World Record attempt January 2014  Yvan Zedda/Sodebo

Also inside, get the full scoop on next week's ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami (January 27-February 1), the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race and the upcoming Volvo Ocean Race. And finally, be sure to check out the report from Thomas Colville's latest solo circumnavigation project, and stay tuned for more news from this record-breaking passage attempt, as it becomes known.

May the four winds blow you safely home,

David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor

Quantum Key West Race Week - Cutler grabs two bullets in Melges 32
International Melges 32 Class Association,
At Quantum Key West Race Week, with two races complete, Alec Cutler's Hedgehog stands tall in the overall lead. Only three points behind in second, is Dalton DeVos on Delta, and Deneen Demourkas' Groovederci sits third.... [more]
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49er and 49erFX North Americans - Pressure rises on final day in Miami
Ben Remocker,
At the 49er and 49erFX North Americans, with a poor forecast, the prospects for racing were low, but enough wind filled in for an exciting three races in each class. Both the 49er and 49erFX fleets had clear leaders heading into the final day, with 11 and 14 point leads respectively, but first race blunders put each leader under pressure for the final two races.... [more]
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America's Cup: Jobson goes one on one with Ainslie (Part 2)
ISAF Media,
ISAF Vice-President Gary Jobson sat down previously with Oracle Team USA skipper Jimmy Spithill. He now continues in his series of interviews with Ben Ainslie who was drafted in to replace John Kostecki mid-way through the 34th America's Cup on-board Oracle Team USA and played a key part in one of the finest sporting comebacks of all time.... [more]
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Extreme Sailing Series - Emirates Team NZ confirmed as 10th team
Extreme Sailing Series,
The tenth team that will be on the Extreme Sailing Series starting blocks has now been confirmed to be Emirates Team NZ with legendary America's Cup skipper Dean Barker. With a further Series team announcement in the coming weeks, a full grid of 11 teams will embark on the eight stop global tour, which starts in Singapore in just over four weeks, with the first starting gun on the 20th February.... [more]
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CYC Midwinters - Sunshine and glory on the Bay
Erik Simonson,
At the Corinthian YC's Midwinter Party Circuit, it was all sunshine and glory as the gun fired in the Knox area for the first race on SF Bay. Chilly overnight readings gave way to temps in the 60's and a 8-10 northerly breeze, combined with the remnants of flood tide.... [more]
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Volvo Ocean Race - Eight selected for Dongfeng Race Team
Dongfeng Race Team,
For the upcoming Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15, Dongfeng Race Team will today announce the first Chinese sailors to join the team's Official Training Squad. Eight sailors from the first selection trials in December will now go forward into the training programme as the team announced the dates for the second round of selection trials taking place on the 8th-9th of February.... [more]
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Clipper Round the World Yacht Race fleet approach the Vitiaz Strait
Clipper Ventures,
In the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race 2013-14 it's been a challenging 24 hours as the fleet approach the Vitiaz Strait, leaving behind the Solomon Sea as it embarks on the Bismarck Sea.... [more]
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Quantum Key West - Flurry of activity on opening day
Bill Wagner,
At Quantum Key West, a warm and sunny Monday morning greeted the sailors. The light and shifty winds meant a 90 minute delay and time for more coffee and conversation. The voice of Race Officer Dick Neville announcing a planned start was a welcome relief as it meant there would be competition on opening day.... [more]
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US 52 Super Series at Quantum Key West Day 1 overall
52 Super Series,
In the 52 Super Series 2014 Quantum Racing, steered by team owner Doug DeVos, won both of the 2014 season's first races at Quantum Key West regatta making the best of the very light and difficult racing conditions, narrowly holding off the current world champions Rán Racing at each of the finishes... [more]
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Extreme Sailing Series: Emirates Team NZ get back into action + Video
Emirates Team New Zealand will return to the Extreme 40 circuit this year, skipper Dean Barker announced today. The first regatta will be held next month. Barker says the team needs to start developing the sailing team for the 35th America's Cup while integrating Peter Burling and Blair Tuke into the squad.... [more]
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ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami - Pressure mounts as start nears
The ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami is set to commence on January 27 and Australia's Mat Belcher and Will Ryan will look to extend their unbeaten streak in the Men's 470. Running through to 1 February, over 550 sailors from 50 nations will race at the third of five 2013-2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup regattas in Biscayne Bay, Miami, Florida, USA.... [more]
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America's Cup: Jobson goes one on one with Ainslie (Part 1)
ISAF Media,
Following his sit down with Oracle Team USA skipper Jimmy Spithill, ISAF Vice-President Gary Jobson met with Ben Ainslie (GBR) shortly afterwards. Ainslie was drafted in to replace John Kostecki mid-way through the 34th America's Cup on-board Oracle Team USA and played a key part in one of the finest sporting comebacks of all time.... [more]
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Mount Gay Round Barbados Race - Coastal Series overall
Sue Pelling,
In the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series 2014 sailing conditions on the third and final day of Coastal racing was spot on once again with a good breeze, sparkling sunshine, and courses set on the vibrant, turquoise waters of the south coast.... [more]
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Clipper Round the World Race - Great Britain hit by Tornado
Clipper Ventures,
In the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race it's been an eventful 24 hours with Old Pulteney determined to hold onto its lead in its title race - race 8 the Old Pulteney Navigator Cup. While Derry~Londondery~Doire and OneDLL continue its relentless chase of the scottish entry, Great Britain has faced one of its biggest tests so far in the clipper 2013-14 race - a tornado.... [more]
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52 Super Series - Action kicks off at Quantum Key West
52 Super Series,
For the US 52 Super Series fleet, unstable, unsettled breezes have marked the final days of practice on the azure blue water of Key West. Finding a pattern to the changes in wind pressure and direction has been equally difficult for the six TP52 teams whether they are the reigning champions or the newcomers to the circuit.... [more]
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Historic 18ft skiffs in action - Images by Andrea Francolini
Andrea Francolini,
Historic 18ft skiffs in action on Sydney Harbour - Images provided by photographer Andrea Francolini. A great day on the water with a scratch start gave the spectators a rare opportunity to see the fleet together on the harbour.... [more]
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Volvo Ocean Race: New Year round-up of Teams and Boats
To date, four teams have been announced for the 2014/15 Volvo Ocean Race which gets underway in early October. Volvo Ocean Race have commissioned seven of the new one design Volvo 65's designed to be used for this and the next edition of the 40,000nm race. Volvo Ocean race updates on the current state of play with the four announced teams:... [more]
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Sodebo chews off 1,000nm in first three days of solo circumnavigation
Two and a half days after leaving Brest, France, the maxi-trimaran Sodebo, already reached the latitude of Gibraltar and expected to be at Madeira 12 hours later. Skipper Thomas Coville has got away to the required fast start for a successful circumnavigation. This morning (January 19) he reported passing the 1,000nm mark. Includes on-board video from the maxi-trimaran.... [more]
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49erFX Seiko North Americans - Epic day for Grael and Kunze + Video
Ben Remocker,
At the 49erFX North American Championships, Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze, BRA 12, had an epic day on the water winning all four races. Brother Marco then went out and won his first ever international race! In fluky, shifty, and puffy conditions they had the magic to work through whatever the fleet and mother nature could throw at them.... [more]
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49er North Americans - Tricky first day on Biscayne Bay + Video
Ben Remocker,
At this year's North Americans, there are more 49ers racing in the continental USA than at any other time in the history of this class! With thirty 49er and thirty 49erFXs racing in the event, this year's regatta is a huge challenge to the teams looking to take home some silverware. Adding to the challenge were the conditions today on Biscayne Bay.... [more]
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Sail-World expands in Europe
Brendan Maxwell,
Sail-world.com, the World's largest sailing news network is expanding again, with five new marine sites soon to be launched in Europe, Sail-World publisher Rob Kothe announced in Copenhagen today.... [more]
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