What a week it's been on the international sailing scene, where do we begin! A short review of our canadian sailors successes seems appropriate; congratulations to Bruce Galley, the first Canadian in history to sail the the Charente-Maritime / Bahia Transat 6.50. Bruce completed the second leg of the race in 23 days for a total Atlantic crossing time of 33 days from France to Brazil; over a month on Black Mamba, his 21 foot sailboat. His feat earned him a very respectable 24th place for a newcomer. Bruce proudly sailed across the finish line in Salvador the Bahia flying the Canadian ensign on the stern, the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club flag on his port shrouds and the Brazilian flag on starboard. Well done Bruce!
Many of the Canadian Sailing Team members barely had time to rest following the Pan-Am games before they found themselves down under at the Sail Melbourne ISAF World Cup event; best results so far by Zac Plavsic, third on the RSX surfboard. Next stop is the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships, the principal qualification regatta for the 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition; Sail-World will be following the action closely. Canadian Star team Clarke and Bjorn also just recently captured fourth place at the 2011 Southern Hemisphere Championships in Brazil.
In the Transat Jacques-Vabre, Belgan-Canadian Bruno Dubois, head of North Sails France is not only the sailmaker on Mike Golding's new IMOCA Gamesa, but he's board as co-skipper to make sure the sail perform as expected. Gamesa is leading the second pack that has formed behind the forerunners Virbac Paprec 3 and Hugo Boss. Earlier this week, Stamm and Cuzon had to abandon ship on Cheminées Poujoulat when their Open 60 started taking on water; the yacht has just now been located and is slowly being towed back to the Azores by a fishing boat. Light conditions have plagued the fleet earlier in the week, hindering progress towards the Antilles but the trade winds are back on today.
The Clipper Round the World fleet is back in the Roaring Forties for Leg 4 as they dip south from Geraldtown, on the western coast of Australia, to Tauranga. New Zealand. The teams are currently engaged in tight racing as they seek additional through the scoring gates; Singapore had to revert to emergency to their tiller emergency steering system earlier today, this will certainly slow them down.
Only four yachts remain in the Volvo Ocean Race following the hull damage on Sanya and the ealry dismasting on Abu Dhabi; extreme conditions on the way to Gibraltar have certainly not been easy on the crew and the yachts. While Ian Walker's crew put on a formidable effort to replace the mast and actually restart the race; timing and logistics is against the team and they have opted to stop in Portugal and ship the yacht to Cape Town for the start of Leg 2. Mike Sanderson had already reached the same conclusion for Team Sanya earlier in the week. The remainder of the fleet is carrying on, Puma Ocean Racing, Telefonica and Camper sailing the traditional westerly route toward Brazil while the French team on Groupama is in the lead, hugging the African coastline against everyone's expectations, but is this a dead-end route. The next few days look interesting!
Reasons for celebrations on Telefonica earlier this week as Spaniards Iker Martinez and Xabier Fernandez were announced as winners of the Rolex ISAF Sailor of the Year recipients; a well earned awards for the former 49er Olympic medalists turned offshore racers. American Anna Tunnicliffe, the 2010-2011 ISAF Sailing World Cup Champion in Women's Match Racing, was awarded the female Rolex ISAF Sailor of the Year.
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