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Torches and AC45-foiling Swedes—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond

by David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor on 12 Apr 2013
"Laser" racing during the Trofeo Princesa Sofia Mapfre Medal Race © MartinezStudio.es
The biggest racing-related news this week comes not from a racecourse but from a courtroom. No, the America’s Cup isn’t back in the New York Supreme Court-instead, Laser designer Bruce Kirby filed a complaint with the U.S. Federal Court District of Connecticut over a longstanding counterfeit dispute that he’s been having with LaserPerformance, which is one of the international Laser’s builders. To cut a long story short (but be sure to check out this issue for the longer-form version), Kirby has decided that the only solution is a name change and so here comes the 'Torch'.

According to reports, the Torch will be identical to the 'Laser', and Kirby hopes that the International Laser Class Association will give strong consideration to morphing itself into the International Torch Class Association. Kirby is also looking for Torch builders in order to quickly get dinghy stores stocked.

'The position now is that we have licensed builders,' said Kirby. 'The big thing now is to get tooling and get geared up and start building boats as fast as we can… Various groups have asked us to wait on the result of the court case, but that could be a year or two and that would be a disaster for the class.'

It will certainly be interesting to watch the Laser/Torch drama unfold, but hopefully for Laser/Torch sailors of all levels-from the occasional weekend warrior to the aspiring Olympic Medalist-the thorny details will get sorted out quickly so that world-class One Design sailing can seamlessly resume.



Meanwhile, in America’s Cup news, Artemis Racing, the Challenger of Record for the 34th Cup, has recently released a video of the team out foiling around on an AC45. This is a big step for the Swedish-flagged team as they are the only team competing in AC34 not to be up on foils on their 72-footer (according to the latest reports, Emirates Team New Zealand can now stay aloft on their foils during gybes, and Oracle Racing is supposedly really close to pulling off this feat). Check out the video report, inside.

Also AC-related, Max Sirena, skipper of Luna Rossa, recently sat down with Pierre Orphanidis of the top European sailing website vsail.info to talk about his team’s experience sailing and training on New Zealand’s Hauraki Gulf. 'I'm convinced the period we spent in Auckland has been very positive and in fact we might we have done and achieved a lot more than what we thought would be possible.'

'You should keep in mind we started more than a year later than the other teams and, given the complexity of the AC72's, we feared we wouldn't be able to achieve what we wanted,' continued Sirena. 'On the contrary, the team worked very well and this allowed us to advance greatly both on and off the water. We were able to do much more than what we had initially scheduled even if, on purpose, we decided to keep a very low-profile communication. We decided not to issue press releases every day, the way the other teams are doing.' Get the full story, inside.



And from the sun-kissed waters of the Caribbean, don’t miss the latest news from the ongoing Les Voiles de St Barth, where the fleet recently contended with some longer-course racing on the French West Indies gorgeous-looking water. 'I have been lucky enough to have sailed here a few times and it helps to know where the winds are more or less favorable,' said French solo sailor Marc Guillemot, who is sailing aboard the Swan 53 'Puffy' for the event. 'Personally, this week I am here to enjoy the racing and have some fun, and if we finish first or second, it is not going to make a huge difference…well, maybe for the crew it will!'



Also inside, be sure to check out the latest news from the ongoing Congressional Cup and from the Extreme Sailing Series, as well as the Clipper Round the World Race.



And finally, for fans of ocean racing, be sure to check out the archival report from Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s groundbreaking first non-stop, solo and unassisted circumnavigation, which he completed in 1968-1969. Enjoy!

May the four winds blow you safely home,

Bakewell-White Yacht DesignNorth Technology - Southern SparsNaiad

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