After an extremely intense regatta, Bora Gulari and his New England Ropes team have won the U.S. Melges 24 Nationals, a heady title to Gulari's already heady trophy case. 'This feels pretty good. Not often does it come down to the last gybe as to whether or not you win a championship or not,' reported Gulari. 'Needless to say, there was a lot of tension in the one and only race today. The last time I was this close was in 2008, when Brian Porter stole the win on the last leg of the last race, so it feels really good to have held on to win.' History didn't quite invert itself (Porter's Full Throttle finished in third place, with Nathan Wilmot and Conor Clarke's Embarr taking second-place honors) this time, but given the razor-think point margins, you can bet that stress levels were running high for all sailors throughout the event. Get the full report, inside this issue.
Meanwhile, the rest of this week's headlines are dominated by Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) news and previews. Emirates Team New Zealand's (ETNZ) Camper has now passed its official measurement procedure, a milestone that skipper Chris Nicholson is relieved to have put astern. 'The build tolerance with our boat was one millimeter on every single component,' said Nicholson. 'For instance the designed draft of our boat was exactly 4.5 metres and it came out at 4.499 metres. To deliver that sort of accuracy across such a complex boat as a Volvo Open 70 is not a simple task. If you don't have the right guys involved from the very beginning then it's not going to happen.' For ENTZ, the 'right guy' was Marcelino Botín, as well as ENTZ's in-house design group. Botín, it will be remembered, drew Puma Ocean Racing's il mostro their slippery steed which they rode to a second-place finish in the 2008/2009 edition.
The Volvo 70 'Il Mostro' skippered by Ken Reed and his Puma crew, cross the St David's Lighthouse finish line to take 2nd place on elapsed time behind Alex Jackson's 'Speedboat'
PHOTO CREDIT: Talbot Wilson/PPL
www.pplmedia.com Newport Bermuda Race Media
And speaking of Puma Ocean Racing, skipper Ken Read and his crew recently arrived in Alicante, to what Read described as a sobering sight: Other highly strung VO70 in the stable, just chapping at the bit to start racing. This obviously introduces a psychological factor for the team, but Read—as usual—is on top of it. 'The bar talk is not going to determine our destiny, sometimes it's easy to fall into that trap,' said Read. 'So let's keep the blinders on keep focusing on our specific jobs and things will turn out just fine.' VOR fans can expect a sneak preview of things to come when ENTZ, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Puma, Team Sanya, Telefónica and Groupama line up for a 360-mile qualification race, from Alicante to Palma de Mallorca and back, on October 7. Stay tuned!
Also in this issue, be sure to check out the coverage of the Argo Group Gold Cup, which kicked off yesterday, as well as the Heaven Can Wait yacht race, and the latest edition of Oracle Racing News (for the Cup junkies who just can't quite get enough...you are not alone!). And for anyone looking for an offshore-racing fix, make a point of checking out the ongoing drama in the Global Ocean Race, where sailors have been dealing with everything from breeze, to the light stuff to nerve-wrecking encounters with fishing gear and small boats off the coast of Africa.
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