Nervous Moments for the TJV Fleet—the hottest sailing news
For sailors racing in this year's Transat Jacques Vabre transatlantic race, these are busy and nervous days. The storied biennial event begins this Sunday off of Le Havre, France, not long before a massive weather system is forecast to cross the fleet's bows, whistling 35-40 knots and delivering a huge-and-confused seaway that will certainly slow down each boat's VMG and likely make life rather unpleasant for sometime. The double-handed race is contested in Class 40s and Open 60s, and will bring the sailors from France to Puerto Limon, Costa Rica.
American sailing interests are being well-represented by Jesse Naimak-Rowse, aboard 40 Degrees, as well as Nicolas Halmos, who is racing aboard 11th Hour Racing. 'We are looking to get through the first big hit and then be able to take advantage of the better conditions,' said Rowse. 'The first 1000 miles set up the rest of the course.' Stay tuned for more the Transat Jacques Vabre as it becomes known.
CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand - Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 Pedro Martinez
Also unfurling this weekend is the first of the in-port races for the 2011/2012 Volvo Ocean Race, which takes place on Saturday in Alicante, Spain. Six offshore-thoroughbred Volvo Open 70s will be toeing the starting line, waiting anxiously and aggressively to see who will take first blood in this storied event. While there's no doubt that the race's heart and soul is offshore, deep in the Southern Ocean, the in-shore races are a source of valuable points, and also make a big impact, psychologically, on all crews.
While the wisdom stands that the first boat to Cape Town wins the entire race, it will be interesting to see what teams will shine in the inshore setting. 'It's very clear how good everybody is so I guess I feel a little trepidation knowing that,' said Ken read, skipper of Puma Ocean Racing's Mar Mostro. 'But we're as good as we're going to be and it's time to get out there and put our money where our mouth is. Every point counts, and if you took the six teams right now and had a tiddlywinks contest, it would be a blood match. Every point is huge.'
Meanwhile, in Olympic sailing circles, the U.S. Olympic Qualifying Regatta is currently taking place in Key Biscayne, Florida, with serious pressure on the top of the leaderboard of the Women's Match Racing after two days of sailing. Anna Tunnicliffe ( Team Maclaren) and Genny Tulloch are currently locking horns for first-place, with Sally Barkow and her crew close behind. Racing continues through this Sunday, and will determine one of four slots in the second (and final) qualifying race, the 2012 Olympic Team Qualifying Regatta. Also at stake is an immediate qualification to the ISAF Combined World Championships, which take place in Perth, Australia in December. Get the full details inside.
Also Olympic related, ahead of the ISAF World Championships in Perth 2011, be sure to check out Rob Kothe's in-depth look at the current state of the Finn class, and the ever-looming question: Can anyone beat the great Ben Ainslie, one of the most decorated Olympic sailors of all time? 'Ben is an incredibly talented sailor.' said American Finn sailor Zach Railey (himself a silver medalist in the 2008 Olympics, finishing astern of Ainslie). 'I expect to see the British Finn Team leaders Ainslie, (Giles) Scott and (Ed) Wright, but the Finn fleet is getting deeper and deeper and such a very talented fleet for sure and there are big challenges ahead.'
Also inside, get the wrap-up on the Pan American Games, the latest from Paul Larsen's now-damaged Sail Rocket2, and also be sure to check-in with the Global Ocean Race fleet as they charge towards Cape Town, led by the father-and-son team of Ross and Campbell Field aboard BSL. Enjoy.
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