Please select your home edition
Edition
T Clewring - Cruising

Final Shakedown - iShares Cup practice races

by Helen Fretter on 19 Sep 2008
The iShares Cup Extreme 40s in Amsterdam will be up close and personal, racing in the IJ-Haven right next to the seawall Vincent Curutchet/DPPI/OC Events

The iShares Cup fleet had their final shakedown before the final of the 2008 series today, with three practice races before the serious business of deciding the overall champions begins tomorrow.

The 10 Extreme 40s took to the IJ-Haven canal, a narrow strip of water just a few minutes away from Amsterdam city centre, off Java Island. Cheered on by scores of school children who lined the dockside to marvel at the Extreme 40s whizzing past just inches away, the iShares Cup skippers all put on a show by flying a hull and waving to the cheering spectators.

The home crowd had plenty of local sailing stars to cheer for — with ten Dutch sailors on board the Extreme 40s, a quarter of the top quality fleet are from the host nation. Herbert Dercksen skippers the all-Dutch Volvo Ocean Race crew, and helped develop the Extreme 40 class specifically for this kind of sailing in the city. 'It’s great that you can fly a hull in such a small space, it’s really good, just what the boats are designed for. It’s all excitement, we had an entire school on the side of the canal cheering for you and they even know the team names — what more you could you want!'

'We hope to do really well here, and put in a good performance. It’s going to be a great venue, a lot can happen. If you’re last then you could still be first, and if you’re first then you could suddenly be last, so a lot could happen!' he added.

The iShares Cup fleet were joined today by four Dutch Olympic medalists for the informal afternoon of racing. Marcelien de Koning, silver medalist in the 470 class crewed onboard iShares, whilst Herbert Dercksen stepped aside from his usual position on the helm of the Volvo Ocean Race Extreme 40, as the team were joined by Mandy Mulder, Annemieke Bes and Merel Witteveen, who have just returned from winning silver in the Yngling sailing class at Beijing.
'I had to do the hard job!' joked Herb, as he moved from the tiller onto the mainsheet winch. 'I had two of the Yngling girls who won a silver medal at the Olympic Games, they steered the whole day and did a fantastic job. Mandy’s ready for helming one of the 40s that’s for sure.'

'It was really, really cool! We weren’t the fastest, we have to practice a little, but we need a girls’ boat next time!' said Merel after racing. 'It was wonderful sailing,' added Mandy, who helmed for the day — including a tricky spinnaker start. 'The downwind start was a bit difficult to begin with – there were boats everywhere and Herbert was saying ‘Go between them!’ and we were saying ‘No, we can’t!’.'

There was plenty more Dutch interest in the fleet as Olympic sailor Marcelien de Koning joined the iShares catamaran for the day’s racing, having won a silver medal at Beijing in the 470 class. 'What an awesome experience. I’ve heard a lot about these boats, but have never been on one, so to have the chance to sail today with iShares in Amsterdam was too good an opportunity to miss. I’ve had such a great time, I hope to come back over the weekend and cheer the team on.'

The bright orange Holmatro catamaran is also flying the flag for the home country. Skipper Andreas Hagara was looking forward to having plenty of supporters at the iShares Cup final: 'We are going to be really busy with a lot of guests because Holmatro is a Dutch company and half our crew is Dutch.

'Amsterdam is a fantastic place to have the final. Racing this close to the harbour walls will be exhilarating for both the teams and the spectators. I can’t wait for the first start tomorrow.'

Tommy Hilfiger skipper Randy Smyth and his team got things off to a good start today by winning the final practice race, while Shirley Robertson on JPMorgan Asset Management again showed her skill in light and shifty winds to take the first of today’s races.

The Amsterdam venue could well be one of the trickiest so far, with light winds, sudden puffs and shifts, and an ultra-small racecourse to contend with, but it didn’t phase Randy Smyth. 'Actually we kind of like this stuff, it’s like we have a really short attention span!' he joked about the continually changing places.

'It’s funny, last year we had eight boats and it was kind of crowded, but this year there’s 10 boats on the same sized body of water but what you can really see is that we’re all sailing the boats better. All the teams are experienced and they can predict each others’ moves, so it’s not as hair-raising.'

Racing takes place tomorrow from 1.00pm, with a parade of sail along Java Island before races in the IJ-Haven, Amsterdam.

http://www.isharescup.com
Barz Optics - Melanin LensesWildwind 2016 660x82Bakewell-White Yacht Design

Related Articles

America's Cup - Emirates Team New Zealand foiled in Portsmouth
Super Sunday saw more breeze in Portsmouth today, giving all the teams the opportunity for fast racing up on their foils Super Sunday saw more breeze in Portsmouth today, giving all the teams the opportunity for fast racing up on their foils. For Emirates Team New Zealand the regatta finished as realistically expected when lining up to race against an exceptionally strong fleet with with a almost entirely rejigged crew due to Blair Tuke and Peter Burling’s absence in their build up to the Rio Olympics in the 49e
Posted today at 9:53 pm
America’s Cup World Series – Ben Ainslie Racing images by Ingrid Abery
Ingrid Abery provided this gallery of images of Ben Ainslie from America’s Cup World Series Portsmouth Race Day 2. Ingrid Abery provided this gallery of images of Land Rover Ben Ainslie Racing from America’s Cup World Series Portsmouth Race Day 2.
Posted today at 9:07 pm
LV America’s Cup World Series – Big Ben takes a big win in Portsmouth
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were on hand to present the awards and it was a fitting end to an amazing weekend. It really was Super Sunday for Ben Ainslie and Land Rover BAR whose second place in the last of Sunday’s three races gave them the overall regatta win at the Portsmouth event.
Posted today at 7:36 pm
America's Cup World Series – Two win day closes the gap on leaderboard
Oracle Team USA opened Super Sunday with a second place finish and followed it up with two race victories Oracle Team USA opened Super Sunday with a second place finish and followed it up with two race victories to close within just one point of the winning home team.
Posted today at 7:15 pm
Transat Québec Saint-Malo – A battle from start to finish
After a quick transatlantic race time of 12 days, two hours and 24 minutes, team Imerys crossed the St Malo finish line. The 3000nm downwind adventure from Quebec City to St Malo proved seven days faster than May's 3000nm upwind Transat bakerly from Plymouth to New York.
Posted today at 6:59 pm
Den Helder Northern Seas Challenge - Race 13 arrivals complete
Den Helder Northern Seas Challenge, arrivals are now complete following arrival of IchorCoal at 2300 local time As Visit Seattle, PSP Logistics and Da Nang – Viet Nam celebrated their podium finishes in race 13, the Den Helder Northern Seas Challenge, arrivals are now complete following the arrival of IchorCoal at 2300 local time this evening.
Posted today at 7:48 am
America’s Cup World Series – More Day 1 images by Carlo Borlenghi
Photographer Carlo Borlenghi has provided this gallery of images from the first day of racing Photographer Carlo Borlenghi has provided this gallery of images from the first day of racing
Posted on 23 Jul
America’s Cup World Series – Race Day 1 images by Carlo Borlenghi
Photographer Carlo Borlenghi has provided this gallery of images from the first day of racing in Portsmouth Photographer Carlo Borlenghi has provided this gallery of images from the first day of racing in Portsmouth
Posted on 23 Jul
America’s Cup World Series – Sir Ben jumps into the lead in Portsmouth
Hot, sunny conditions and thousands of fans lining the Portsmouth seafront was the backdrop to crowd-pleasing action. The home team, Land Rover BAR, led by skipper Sir Ben Ainslie, recovered from a poor first race result to win the second two contests and complete the day at the top of the leaderboard, much to the delight of the tens of thousands of cheering fans lining the shorefront.
Posted on 23 Jul
LV America's Cup World Series – Poised to pounce for Super Sunday
Oracle Team USA showed determination and fightback in claiming two second place finishes from the first two races Unfortunately, in the third race, the team was pushed right to the back of the pack and couldn't recover. The results leave the team on equal points for third place with SoftBank Team Japan, just three points behind the leaders, Land Rover BAR and Groupama Team France.
Posted on 23 Jul