Vanishing Act—Sailing News from the U.S. and Beyond
As the leaders of the nonstop, double-handed Barcelona World Race (BWR) approach the finishing line, the final opportunities for tactical tomfoolery are here. Jean Pierre Dick and Loïck Peyron, aboard Virbac-Paprec 3, have dominated this race for months and the two are only too keenly aware of the threat poised by double Spanish Olympians Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernández aboard Mapfre, some two hundred miles astern. Given the importance of the next few days, Dick and Peyron have entered into a 36-hour 'ghost' mode, and have been dark since Thursday, thus robbing their pursuers of the chance to watch their progress, at least for a small while. 'Let's play' was the comment offered by the leading Frenchmen. It will be interesting to see how this maneuver plays out. More inside.
For BWR skippers Jaume Mumbru and Cali Sanmarti, aboard We Are Water, some 2,500 miles astern, the situation is more sober as they are about to encounter a serious drubbing, weather-wise, that could see Force 12 conditions. 'The barometer has gone down to 956mb, we are preparing for the worst-possible scenario,' said Mumbru. As of their latest report, Mumbru and Sanmarti were running away from the storm under a storm jib only (mainsail fully dropped), making roughly eleven knots. Check out the report inside and stay tuned for more BWR updates, as they become known.
In nascent offshore sailing circles, the All-American Offshore Team (AAOT) has announced their 2011 roster. This fledgling team plans to race the STP65 Vanquish in a series of high-profile offshore events in order to train tomorrow's offshore racing leaders. This year's team includes some names you've probably heard of and some you probably haven't, at least yet. Much like the Volvo Ocean Race, the AAOT chooses members aged 18-30; this year's team boats an mean average age of 23, with no sailor older than 27. Also like the VOR, each AAOT member brings crucial offshore skills to the table besides knowing how to make a boat go fast. 'In just four weeks we received over 250 applications,' said Mark Towill, the AAOT's general manager. 'What it really came down to was offshore sailing experience and the diversity of additional qualifications. Our schedule doesn't allow for much training and it's vital that we put our best foot forward.' Read more about the AAOT and find out who made the cut, inside this issue.
And in California, action is hot at the Congressional Cup, where Italy's Francesco Bruni currently leads the standings. American interests are well represented by Dave Perry and Taylor Canfield (USVI), two of the country's better-known match racers. The total take-home purse for this event is $40,000, with $10,000 for the winner. Read more inside, be sure to check out Rich Robert's image gallery and stay tuned for more as this event unfolds.
Lastly, Cup fans take note: the March 31 deadline to enter the 34th America's Cup is fast approaching and there are now two additional and unnamed teams in the mix, bringing the total number of participating teams to ten. These two new teams will be making their formal announcements soon, perhaps as early as next week. 'With the deadline for entries coming at the end of this month, it's fantastic to have two more competitors in the line-up this week,' said Iain Murray, Regatta Director for the 34th America's Cup. 'This brings us up to 10 teams in the competition with a little over a week remaining before the deadline for entries.' Stay tuned for more on these developments, as they become known.
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