Perth 2011 - The Action Starts Soon—Sailing News from U.S. and Beyond
by David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor on 1 Dec 2011
For Olympic and One Design sailors, the 2011 ISAF World Championships, to be held from 3-18 December in Perth, Australia, is the regatta of the year.
For USA SAILING Team AlphaGraphics (USSTAG) sailors, this event serves as the second—and final—U.S. Olympic Team Selection Event; serious business for dedicated athletes who have devoted years of their lives to their Olympic dreams. 'All of the training and preparation done by USSTAG athletes over the past three and a half years will come together in Perth,' said Dean Brenner, Olympic Sailing Committee Chairman. 'The Olympic Sailing Committee structured the U.S. Olympic Team selection process to align with our primary mission of fielding a team that gives the U.S. the best possible chances of success at the Games. And international competition at the highest level is what will best prepare America’s athletes for the Olympic Games.'
Sail-World has Los Angeles sailor Shauna McGee Kinney and Publisher Rob Kothe reporting from Perth. Today we are running an interview with the USTAG 470 coach Romain Boussaid and another with Paige and Zach Railey.
We are following the USTAG team closely, as we will in Weymouth with the largest sailing media team at the 2012 Olympic venue and I will be there following the fortunes of our team.
By the end of the Perth event, we will know the names of 13 of the total 16 U.S. Olympic Team members who will be representing the States at Weymouth, England next summer. Stay tuned for more news from Perth as it develops, and check out this issue for more info on the USSTAG sailors competing in Australia from this weekend.
Meanwhile, the maxi trimaran Banque Populaire V, under the steady hand of skipper Loick Peyron, is making serious progress towards the team’s goal of establishing a new Jules Verne Trophy (JVT) record. The team has now crossed the equator, setting a new standard for this patch of ocean for JVT chasers and making the necessary offerings to Poseidon. 'We were lucky to get a special party organized by Xavier Revil,' reported crewmember Jean-Baptiste Le Vaillant. 'It was mainly for Ronan Lucas’ 'Noddy', a small toy given to him by his son before leaving and was not yet inducted. It was finally the only rookie on board! We were a bit nervous to try to break down the record and conditions as the routings helped us a lot. Even the clouds did not stop us much.' While sea state conditions sound a bit rough onboard, the sailors are no doubt focusing on the next few days when the wind and wave angles will become user-friendlier.
Also offshore, Groupama crossed the finishing line of Leg One of the Volvo Ocean Race (VOR), arriving in Cape Town, South Africa in third place. 'Third is not that bad, some others are in a much worse position,' said Groupama skipper Franck Cammas. 'But we are disappointed because especially at the end of the leg, we didn’t get to come back on the others.'
Amongst the teams to have suffered serious breakage, progress is being made. Puma Ocean Racing’s new mast is en route to Cape Town, and the team is scrambling (and hitting a few golf balls in the middle of nowhere) to get their stricken Mar Mostro to Cape Town for the start of the in-port racing. Be sure to check out the various reports from Puma’s camp.
Speaking of Cape Town, Leg Two of the Global Ocean Race has begun, taking racers from the storied waters below Table Mountain to Wellington, New Zealand. The six-strong fleet will tackle some 7,000 miles of ocean, with an ETA in New Zealand of sometime after Christmas. The father-and-son duo of Ross and Campbell Field, aboard their Class 40 BSL, quickly resumed the lead position, and are solidly looking to be the boat to beat after winning Leg One. More, inside.
And finally, check out the third-generation Clipper Around the World Race boats, which are currently emerging from their molds. While sea trials are still a ways off, the new breed looks sportier and more interesting than the race’s current offshore workhorses.
May the four winds blow you safely home,
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