USA off to a strong start In France—Sailing News from the U.S.

One of the most interesting events going on right now is the Semaine Olympique Francais, which is taking place in Hyeres, France. This event, which runs from April 24 to April 29, features racing in ten Olympic and three Paralympic classes. Thus far, US SAILING Team AlphaGraphics (USSTAG) has sailed well, placing in the top-ten in six classes after the first day of racing. Top performances include Erik Storck and Trevor Moore in the 49er class; George Szabo and Mark Strube, as well as Andrew Campbell and Ian Coleman, in the Star class; Team Barkow (Sally Barkow, Alana O’Reilly and Elizabeth Kratzig Burnham) and Team Tulloch (Genny Tulloch, Alice Manard Leonard and Jenn Chamberlin) in the Women’s Match Racing class; Mark LeBlanc in the 2.4mR class; Rick Doerr, Brad Kendell and Hugh Freund in the Sonar class; Erin Maxwell and Isabelle Kinsolving Farrar in the Women’s 470 class, and Stuart McNay and Graham Biehl in the Men’s 470 class.

US Sailing Team Alphagraphics Leading Around Mark 2 - day one - Semaine Olympique Française 2011

'When we went on the water this morning, our main goal was to try to use minimum-risk sailing to allow our speed and starts to do most of the work,' said Moore. 'We had good execution and great speed... This seems to be the first event were we aren’t trying to do anything fancy, but just go out racing and ‘keep it simple stupid,’ as our coach Dave Hughes likes to say. We are excited with our performance today, but we know there are four more days of racing and that requires that we stay positive and focus on each day as a new day.' More inside.

If big is your thing, you’ll be interested to hear that mega-yacht builder Wally has joined forces with the Financial Times to create a new maxi yacht racing series, the FT Wally Grand Prix Series. 'Wally DNA is based upon a passion for performance, for design and for the sea,' said Luca Bassani, Wally’s founder and president. 'Competition is what drives our research, development and innovation. It is the lifeblood of any sport and it is at the very heart of Wally.' Check out the article, as well as a calendar of the first year’s events, in this issue.

If speed is your thing, check out the coverage, inside this issue, about the newly minted U.S. 18 Footers League, an organization with a multi-year game plan for growing the level of competition amongst U.S. 18-Footer sailors. According to the League’s recent press release: The long term goal is to get our boats up and on par to be competitive not only the St. Francis Yacht Club International Regatta, but also the Mark Foy Trophy Championship, which is scheduled to be hosted in San Francisco in 2013. We also want to increase the participation of U.S. sailors and boats in the JJ Giltinan Regatta.

Forum Maritim Catala arrives in Barcelona - Barcelona World Race
© MMedir/FNOB

In the double-handed, nonstop Barcelona World Race, Hugo Boss (Andy Meiklejohn and Wouter Verbraak) and Fòrum Marítim Català (Gerard Marín and Ludovic Aglaor) have now finished racing and are safely ashore in Barcelona. 'It is great to be back. It has been a while. I was meant to step off at the Cape Verde Islands but I had to make the phone call home and say I was going to be 90 days late,' said Verbraak, referring to a last-minute crew change due to a health issue that original skipper Alex Thomson suffered just before the race’s start. 'So now here we are, it has been a fantastic challenge and I have to thank Andy for letting me in and teaching me a few tricks in the Med before we got out into the Atlantic, it was an amazing trip. We could not have done it without the support of our team.' Check out the complete stories, in this issue.

And finally, check out the regatta report from day one of sailing at Antigua Sailing Week, as well as Erik Simonson’s images from the OYRA Light Ship, a classic San Francisco regatta, in this issue.

May the four winds blow you safely home.