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LVC meltdown and offshore news—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond

by David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor on 8 Jul 2013
Emirates Team New Zealand cross the finish line for the first point after Luna Rossa decide to boycott the first race of the Louis Vuitton Cup 2013. 7/7/2013 Chris Cameron/ETNZ©
This weekend’s sailing news was dominated by San Francisco, where the 'Summer of Racing' was supposed to have started in grand fashion. According to reports, the opening ceremonies were spectacular, with doves released to the sounds of Beethoven’s 'Ode to Joy' and special appearances by the Maori performing arts group Te Waka Huia, the tenor Pasquale Esposito, the Voices of Sweden Choir and the Recycle Percussion troupe (visitor head count, however, was a different story). The wheels started to come off the bus when the breeze (reported to be 'over 20 knots') was deemed too high to conduct the much-anticipated time trials, but the bombshell exploded when Luna Rossa announced their boycott of Sunday’s racing in light of their pending protest.

'I want to clarify the reason for which we are not racing today,' said Luna Rossa’s skipper Max Sirena in a press release. 'As everybody knows we have protested the introduction of new Class Rules without the unanimous agreement of the competing teams. By racing under these rules, enforced by the Regatta Director with Race Notices 185 and 189, we would somehow silently approve them.'

'This is not the case,' continued Sirena. 'Therefore, we have no choice but to stay ashore until the International Jury has reached a decision on the matter. We have been forced into this position. We did not come to San Francisco to watch races, but to race.'

Not everyone sees the situation as being cut and dry. 'We find it hard to believe that someone wouldn’t want to sail, because we so much want to sail, and we are working so hard to do so,' said Artemis Racing’s boss, Paul Cayard. 'So we find it hard to understand.'

The net result was that Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) sailed the course alone, picking up the first points of this edition of the Louis Vuitton Cup. According to reports, the team tagged a top speed of 42.8 knots and managed to sail the 16.05 nautical-mile course in just 46 minutes and 27 seconds.

'We actually enjoy it when it’s windier, then you really start ripping downwind and can pull off some slick jibes,' said ETNZ skipper Barker. 'You never finish a race in one of these boats and think it’s all gone perfect. We made a couple of mistakes today, but it was good to get out and go through the paces.'

Inside, get the full LVC debriefing, including reports from luminary sailing scribes such as Bob Fisher and Richard Gladwell, and image galleries from top international photographers, and stay tuned for the latest news from the LVC racecourse-and from the International Jury-as it unfurls.

Meanwhile, in offshore-sailing circles, French skipper Marc Guillemot broke the singlehanded transatlantic record aboard his IMOCA 60 'Safran', establishing a new monohull reference time of eight days, five hours, 20 minutes and 20 seconds. Guillemot’s effort shaves nearly 16 hours off of the previous record and yielded the Frenchman an average pace of 14.59 knots.

'I set off at good speed from New York and the first part of the crossing was very tricky along the coast of Newfoundland, where we had to watch out for a lot of shipping, floating rubbish, whales,' said Guillemot. 'I moved along with one low-pressure area then another. I always had plenty of wind with one particular exception: the final 24 hours, when I was seriously slowed down with an area of calms associated with the Azores High. With wind right up to the finish, I would have got a better time, but for now, I’m just enjoying this great performance.'

Also inside, get the latest news from the Marblehead to Halifax Race, the International Optimist Dinghy Association North American Championship and the Stena Match Cup.

And finally, check out Joshua and Natsuko Shaffer’s image gallery from the Great Schooner Race. Enjoy!

May the four winds blow you safely home,

Mariners Museum

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