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AC news and a tough Vendee break—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond


14 Feb 2017

AC news and a tough Vendee break—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond

The LandRover BAR Race yacht "Rita" shown here being christened and launched today at the teams base in Bermuda.  Lloyd Images ©
These are heady days for fans of the America's Cup, as most teams will be unveiling their brand-new, 50-foot America's Cup Class (ACC) catamarans this week, following several years of training and racing on the smaller AC45 and the fully foiling AC45F. For fans who have been waiting years to see the new designs, the dry period is officially over, starting with Sir Ben Ainslie's Land Rover BAR team and followed this week by the Defender, Oracle Team USA.

Sir Ben has a fine, long-established tradition of naming his 19 previous boats Rita, a naming scheme that served him well as he collected his five Olympic medals (four of them gold), and now he and his team are carrying this winning tradition forward with the 35th America's Cup (AC35).

Land Rover BAR launch of the first AC50, February 6, 2017  Americas Cup Media

The team unveiled their wingsail-powered, fully foiling Rita on February 6, 2017 in a ceremony at their base on the island nation of Bermuda, where AC35 will unfurl this coming spring, using a bottle of Nyetimber (English sparkling wine).

“The launch represents the sum of all the team's efforts to bring the America's Cup home, and we're delighted to get her in the water here in Bermuda,” said Sir Ben. “There are just a few short months before the racing starts at the end of May, and we will be working very hard now on the final development and testing of this boat to make sure we are ready for the racing.”

Land Rover BAR Team Principal & Skipper Sir Ben Ainslie ?(c) Fabien Nissels - Zenith watches  

This last comment is likely especially exciting news to fans that have had to go a long time sans an AC fix. And while June's finals feel a long ways off on a cold mid-February morn, the calendar doesn't lie-time is short, especially for any teams that might need to make unexpected further developments to their boat before it's ready for the prime time.

Other teams are clearly aware of the calendar and the need to launch their boats ASAP and start the development curve that will ultimately lead to a victory come June. For example, Oracle Team USA plans to launch their boat on Valentines Day (February 14) to celebrate seven years since they won the 33rd America's Cup in a Deed of Gift Challenge on the waters off of Valencia, Spain.

USA-17 on her way to winning the 33rd America's cup  BMW Oracle Racing © Photo Gilles Martin-Raget

Be sure to stay tuned to the website in the coming days for the latest Cup news and images of the new boats being launched, as they unfurl.

Meanwhile in offshore racing news, sailors are still crossing the finishing line in the singlehanded, non-stop around-the-world Vendee Globe Race, which was won by Armel Le Cleach (FRA), sailing aboard Banque Populaire VIII, on January 19, 2017. Most recently, Nandor Fa (HUN), sailing aboard the Spirit of Hungary, crossed the finishing line on February 8 to become the eighth boat back to the barn, however, calamity struck Conrad Colman, who holds both U.S. and New Zealand passports and who is sailing aboard Foresight Natural Energy, when he lost his rig just over 700 miles from the goal post.

Hungarian solo skipper Nandor Fa - Vendée Globe  © Olivier Blanchet / DPPI / Vendee Globe

According to reports, Colman was sailing in 35-40 knot winds on Saturday, February 11, at around 2200 hours UTC when his rig came tumbling down. While this was understandably terrible news for the young skipper, he has vowed to fight on and is currently sailing for the Les Sables d'Olonne, France finishing line under jury rig using his boom and remnants of his rig.

Conrad Colman aboard a dismasted Foresight Natural Energy the day after she was dismasted in the Vendee Globe Race - February 11, 2017  © Conrad Colman / Foresight Energy / Vendée Globe

Hopefully the gods of the Vendee Globe Race will grant him safe passage back home, and hopefully prospective sponsors are also witnessing Colman's grit, gumption and dedication to pressing on and finishing under his own steam (hint: the next Vendee Globe starts in November of 2020, and it's never too early to start considering the next campaign).

May the four winds blow you safely home,

David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor

A QandA with Shawn Macking about the StPYC's Sailing Center and OD fleet
David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor,
I caught up with Shawn Macking, waterfront director of the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, via email to learn more about the club's Sailing Center, its hefty investment in a new fleet of ten J/70s, and how the StPYC is using this infrastructure to expose more people to the sport we all love.... [more]

Phil Robertson to skipper Oman Air in 2017 Extreme Sailing Series
Oman Sail,
Sailing competitively since the age of 10, Robertson is known as a steely competitor and with his own team, Phil Robertson Racing, he won the World Match Racing Championships in 2016.... [more]

Vendee Globe - Last roll of the dice for Conrad Colman NZ,
Dismasted sole sailor, Conrad Colman (NZL/FRA/USA) has repaired his main boom, and will attempt to hoist the boom into position to form the main spar in his jury rig. 'Conrad finished the repairs on the boom during the night. The composite is cooking with heating pads and a survival blanket. He'll put it up this morning if he thinks that it is dry and strong enough. '... [more]

Seventeen O'pen BIC sailors now selected for the America's Cup
Nevin Sayre,
Seventeen O'pen BIC sailors have now been selected to participate in the America's Cup Endeavour O'pen, held in conjunction with the America's Cup Finals, June 15-18 in Bermuda.... [more]

Miami Star Winter Series - Levin Memorial - Final
Paul Cayard,
The wind had difficulty materializing this morning but we finally got one race going around 12:40 in six knots of wind from the southeast.... [more]

Mike Ingham's Tarheel takes J/24 Midwinter Championship
Julie and Christopher Howell,
Just a few days after being named US Sailing's 2016 National Coach of the Year, Mike Ingham earned his first J/24 Midwinter Championship, helming Tarheel. The Rochester, NY-based skipper posted a line of one, three, (sixteen), one, two, two, nine, five for 23 points over eight races at Eau Gallie Yacht Club in Indian Harbour Beach, FL in the 31-boat fleet.... [more]

Vendee Globe - Repair and Jury Rig process underway for Conrad Colman
Richard Gladwell, NZ,
Dismasted Vendee Globe competitor, Conrad Colman has started the repair and Jury rig process in an attempt to cover the remaining 700nm to the finish in France. The latest social media message from the sailor aboard Foresight Natural Energy reads: 'Busy program: get sails out to prop the boom, work on repairs, wait for it to dry. Install a system to lift the 85kg boom & rig'... [more]

18ft Skiffs - Thurlow Fisher throws down the gauntlet with big win
Kimberley Wilmott,
It was a day of thrills and spills for the 18 Footers as they battled across Sydney Harbour in a 22-28knot Southerly today. The conditions tested even the best of sailors as they completed three windward/leewards for the President's Trophy. Michael Coxon, Dave O'Connor and Trent Barnabas, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers won the race by over five minutes after a flawless performance... [more]

Homecoming celebrations for former Clipper Race skipper
Clipper Round the World,
Former Clipper Race skipper Alex Thomson received a hero's welcome today when he returned to his hometown of Gosport after beating the British Vendée Globe record.... [more]

Miami Star Winter Series - Levin Memorial - Overall report
Paul Cayard,
Three races were held today on Biscayne Bay for the Star class. A relatively large fleet of 33 boats were on the race track this morning ready to take on the mild easterly winds.... [more]

J/24 Midwinter Championship - Day 2 action-shots by Christopher Howell
Christopher Howell,
Photographer Christopher Howell was on water at 2017 J/24 Midwinter Championship and provided this gallery of images from Day 2 action.... [more]

Mike Ingham and Travis Odenbach tied on points at J/24 Midwinters
Julie and Christopher Howell,
Another four races were completed Saturday at the J/24 Midwinter Championship at Eau Gallie Yacht Club in Indian Harbour Beach.... [more]

Pineapple Cup – Montego Bay Race – Winners awarded
Julianna Barbieri,
Over 120 attendees including Acting Custos Rotolorum Claudette Bryan, Montego Bay Mayor Homer Davis, MBYC Commodore Nigel Knowles and Royal Jamaican Yacht Club Past Commodore Andrew Thwaites were on hand for the awarding of the Governo General's Trophy, also known as the Pineapple Cup.... [more]

Vendée Globe – Crowds gather to welcome Alex Thomson
Alex Thomson Racing,
Alex Thomson was welcomed home today by crowds of people who gathered to celebrate the sailor's record breaking effort in the prestigious Vendée Globe, widely renowned as one of sport's toughest challenges.... [more]

Vendee Globe - Conrad Colman Update - Dismasted but still motivated
Conrad Colman and Sail-World NZ,
New Zealand sailor Conrad Colman who was dismasted just 790nm from the finish of the Vendee Globe solo round the world race is expecting to spend two days working on the options to try and finish. The latest update from his Foresight Natural Energy team reports that Colman had spent a very uncomfortable night in big swells with the stricken yacht rolling heavily.... [more]

Dismasted Colman evaluates, Bellion upwind, Heerema at Equator
Vendee Globe,
Conrad Colman was waiting for first light this morning to make a full evaluation of his situation this morning after being cruelly dismasted last around 2200hrs UTC last night.... [more]

The Queen of Post-War yachting photography dies at the age of 101
Barry Pickthall,
Eileen Ramsay, the Queen of British yachting photography during the post war years, recorded the explosion in small boat sailing during the 1950s and 60s, capturing not only the boats but sailing pioneers like Francis Chichester, Alec Rose, Col Blondie Hasler and French legend Eric Tabarly, then pressing the frontiers of solo passage making across the Atlantic and around the world.... [more]

J/24 Midwinter Championship - Day 1 action-shots by Christopher Howell
Christopher Howell,
Photographer Christopher Howell was on water at 2017 J/24 Midwinter Championship and provided this gallery of images from Day 1 action.... [more]

J/24 Midwinter Champs - Consistency pays for Sea Bags Sailing Team
Julie and Christopher Howell,
The J/24 Midwinter Championship kicked off at Eau Gallie Yacht Club in Indian Harbour Beach, FL under clear blue skies with breeze between 10-15 knots over four races. Keeping all his scores in the top six (six, five, two, four) put Carter White's Sea Bags Sailing Team at top of the 31-boat fleet. Mike Ingham's Tarheel won two races, but added a 16 to give him 21 overall points for second place.... [more]

Vendee Globe - Foresight Natural Energy dismasted
Vendee Globe,
At 2300 French time this Friday the 10th February, Conrad Colman called his team to inform them that Imoca Foresight Natural Energy dismasted. The skipper is unharmed, and was calm during the call. He freed the rigging (mast and mainsail) and he managed to save the boom.... [more]

World Sailing invites bids for 2018-2020 Match Racing Championships
Daniel Smith - World Sailing,
Bids are now open for the 2018, 2019 and 2020 editions and must be received by the given dates and times.... [more]

Island Flyer perseveres to win 2017 Conch Republic Cup
Barby MacGowan,
Denny Manrique (Tonka Bay, Minnesota) and the crew aboard his Wauquiez Centurion 40 Island Flyer have won the Conch Republic Cup (CRC) with a best-overall performance in the four-part series that comprised this year's Key West Cuba Race Week. Hosted by Key West Community Sailing Center and Cuba's Hemingway International Yacht Club, the event took place January 22 – February 3.... [more]

Ingham, McBride and Becker honored as U.S. Coaches of the Year
US Sailing,
After receiving nominations from the public in the final months of 2016, US Sailing's Olympic Sailing Committee (OSC) today announced three winners of national coaching awards. Mike Ingham (Rochester, N.Y.) has been named US Sailing's 2016 National Coach of the Year, with Willie McBride as 2016 Development Coach of the Year and Peter Becker (Rye, N.Y.) as 2016 Volunteer Coach of the Year.... [more]

Unique Transatlantic Sailing Event - Building friendship across oceans
Sailing in the wake of the great explorers, international friendship and understanding is at the core of this once in a lifetime adventure - The Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta, organised to celebrate Canada 150, the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation.... [more]

Gold Medalists Burling and Tuke named NZ Team of the Year
Yachting NZ| NZ,
Peter Burling and Blair Tuke have won the Team of the Year Award at the 54th Halberg Awards, held at Vector Arena in Auckland last night. Named after Olympic champion Sir Murray Halberg (ONZ) the Halberg Awards is the country's pre-eminent event to honour and celebrate New Zealand sporting excellence.... [more]

Frigid flying – Coast Guard aircrews take on New England Winter
Petty Officer 3rd Class Nicole J. Groll,
Freezing rain? Teeth-chattering temperatures? Limited visibility? Coast Guard aircrews are still ready to fly. At Air Station Cape Cod, aviation maintenance and electronic technicians work around the clock to ensure the MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters are prepared and ready to launch. There is one thing the maintenance crews and pilots cannot control: winter weather.... [more]

Big guns for Antigua 360º Race
Antigua 360º Race,
In last year's inaugural race, Lloyd Thornburg's American trimaran Phaedo3 set the race record for the multihulls (four Hours 12 Mins 56 Secs).... [more]

Maserati to compete in RORC Caribbean 600 and Transpacific Yacht Race,
The Italian multihull Maserati Multi70 skippered by Giovanni Soldini will this year race in two classic offshore races - the 600-mile RORC Caribbean 600 and the 2,225-mile Transpacific Yacht Race.... [more]

Sea change for RYA Racing as Derbyshire announces retirement
Lindsey Bell – RYA,
John Derbyshire OBE, whose involvement with the RYA's Racing programmes spans some 32 years as a coach, Olympic Manager and as latterly Director of Racing, is to retire from the organisation in late 2017.... [more]

Extreme Sailing Series – New-look SAP Team returns with podium goals
Extreme Sailing Series,
In preparation for what will be its sixth season in the world's leading Stadium Racing Series, the team has undergone a major reshuffle in its crew line-up.... [more]

Protectors make big splash in Australia
Mike Rose,
The Rayglass Protector range is now proving increasingly popular in Australia. Rayglass CEO Dave Larsen says the substantial increase in Australian sales has been driven largely by the Protector's reputation for the highest quality. The buyers were all looking for a high end RIB that could travel a fair way offshore quickly, safely and with a high degree of comfort for those on board.... [more]

Vendee Globe - And then there were ten...
Vendee Globe,
After the arrival of Nandor Fa back in Les Sables d'Olonne, there are now ten skippers left at sea. The next to finish should be Eric Bellion (Comme Un Seul Homme) and Conrad Colman (Foresight Natural Energy).... [more]

Jules Verne Trophy - IDEC Sport's record ratified
IDEC Sport Sailing,
The World Speed Sailing Record Council, the organisation in charge of sailing records has confirmed the extraordinary performance achieved by the Maxi Trimaran IDEC-Sport sailed by Francis Joyon, Alex Pella, Bernard Stamm, Clément Surtel, Gwénolé Gahinet and Sébastien Audigane.... [more]

America's Cup - Video of Brits AC50 launch and team base construction
Ber Memes was invited to the launch of Land Rover BAR's AC50 on Monday, and took along a drone for the occasion capturing some interesting video of the launch ceremony, the French and Kiwi base construction on 'The Island' can be seen, along with still images Also clearly visible are the French and New Zealand bases still under construction on land apparently still being reclaimed... [more]

A spirited swansong, Hungary's Nandor Fa eighth in the Vendée Globe
Vendée Globe,
Hungarian solo skipper Nandor Fa brought his Spirit of Hungary across the finish line at 10 hrs 54 m nine seconds UTC this Wednesday morning to earn an excellent eighth place overall.... [more]

Melges 24 World Championship in Helsinki – Six months to go
The attractions for the sailors will be that the racing area is just outside Helsinki (the capital city of Finland) on open waters. Coming from the race area in to the race harbour both to west and east is unique archipelago.... [more]

Treasures of the sailing scene united in 'hidden class connection'
Magic Marine,
Joining the hidden class connection means getting connected with a Magic Marine store nearby the home base of the class.... [more]

Nandor Fa (Spirit of Hungary), eighth in the Vendée Globe
Vendée Globe,
His elapsed time on Spirit of Hungary, which he designed himself, is 93 days 22 hrs, 52 mins, and 9 secs.... [more]

Pineapple Cup – Montego Bay Race – Renegade first across finish line
Julianna Barbieri,
Tom Slade's Santa Cruz 52, Renegade, was first across the finish line in the PHRF division. 29 minutes 47 seconds later the Class40, Amhas, skippered by Micah Davis crossed the line. And in a flurry of finishes, Dragon, White Rhino and Hermie Louise all crossed within 10 minutes and 16 seconds of each other.... [more]

Richard Vs Barack; Foiler Vs Kiteboard at Necker Island, BVI
Richard Branson,,
It was a huge honour to be able to invite President Barack and Michelle Obama down to the British Virgin Islands for a complete break after Barack finished his second term as President. It was tremendous to offer him the chance to learn to kitesurf. The sport has really taken off in the past decade and we have the perfect conditions and team to help anyone learn.... [more]

On board interview with Lisa Blair - solo Antartica circumnavigation
John Curnow,
So far, Lisa is tracking very well in her attempt to become the first woman to sail solo around Antartica. After the setbacks of a delayed departure due to gremlins in the electronics, we are delighted to have these answers from her on board. She is well and enjoying her time. Climate Action Now, her Hick 50, left Albany in Western Australia on January 22, 2017.... [more]

Optimist sailors check out the foiling WASZP - Video
Nick Olson and Jon Bilger,
The Predictwind team took their foiling WASZPs out to Auckland's Eastern Beach to the Optimist training camp during the school holidays. The intention was to film the kids having a go in the WASZPs, but after the Optimists returned from their training session to have a sail on the single handed foiler, it was a bit breezy for the kids. So Jon and Nick went out anyway and produced this video.... [more]

Excitement builds with one week to go to EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour
Oman Sail,
Crews are assembling in Muscat, Oman, and boats are being prepped as the countdown to the start of the 2017 edition of EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour, the only annual event in the world that offers a mix of inshore and offshore competition, sets nautical nerves jangling with one week to go.... [more]

M32 World – Crew member escapes as result of safety licence training
M32 World,
The M32 catamaran is at the forefront of the worldwide move towards “thrill seeker sailing”. It is therefore with good reason that the builders and class organisers require those that sail on them on the World Match Racing Tour have a licence. The reason for the safety requirement was demonstrated last week when an Australian crew member is cut out from beneath trampoline of capsized catamaran.... [more]

Parade of Sail for Alex Thomson as he returns to his homebase
Alex Thomson Racing,
A parade of sail and celebratory event will be held in Alex's hometown of Gosport this weekend to celebrate the solo skipper's incredible race and podium finish in the prestigious Vendee Globe, a solo, non-stop, race around the world.... [more]

Classics in the RORC Caribbean 600
Louay Habib,
The RORC Caribbean 600 attracts the world's fastest racing yachts, magnificent superyachts and corinthian production cruisers. Gathered in Antigua for the start of the 600-mile blast around 11 Caribbean islands, the fleet is a phenomenal sight.... [more]

33rd Pineapple Cup – Montego Bay Race – Wizard takes line honors
Julianna Barbieri,
Peter and David Askew's Wizard crossed the finish line in Montego Bay at 9:00:15 ET this morning to capture line honors... [more]

Etchells Florida State Championship – Day 2
Saskia Clark,
Steve Benjamin enjoyed a near perfect day on Saturday's shifty conditions, taking his 'Terrapin' team clear from the pack to pick up the trophy on the same day as the New England Patriots picked up the 51st Super Bowl in Texas.... [more]

Block Island Race Week – Notice of race amended
Storm Trysail Club,
The most significant change with this amendment is that the Plus One crew limit has been separated from the Performance Cruising classes.... [more]

America's Cup - Land Rover BAR Supporters newsletter - February 2017
Land Rover BAR,
The year of the 35th America's Cup is upon us and so far January has flown by and we now have less than four months to go before racing kicks off, the team are heads down and focussed on bringing the Cup home. The reveal of our America's Cup Class boat this week – code-named R1, but now christened Rita – was a huge milestone and showcased the combined efforts across three years of the whole Lan... [more]

America's Cup - Endeavour above and below decks on 34 Cup Challenger
Video: Yachting World| Text: Sail-World,
Yachting World's Toby Hodges takes us for a ride on the J Class yacht, and 1934 America's Cup Challenger designed by Charles Nicholson and Owned/skippered by T.O.M Sopwith. Have a look above and below decks on one of the most famous J Class built.... [more]

America's Cup - Reflections 30 years on from Fremantle
America's Cup Media|Compiled by Sail-World NZ,
It's been 30 years since Dennis Conner cemented his legacy as Mr. America's Cup, winning back the trophy he lost in 1983 to the Australians. The 1983 upset marked the first time the America's Cup had been won by a challenger in 132-years. Conner was devastated and immediately set about putting a plan in place to win it back.... [more]

A QandA with Ed Furry about Sail22 and regatta support
David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor,
I first crossed tacks with Ed Furry at the 2008 Antigua Race Week, and it was instantly obvious that the guy loves sailing, sailing culture and the opportunity to help his fellow sailors become faster. So, I wasn't surprised to start seeing him at a variety of regattas and industry events with his Sail22 sailing concierge business. I caught up with him at the 2016 J/70 Worlds to learn more.... [more]

Southern Spars - world beaters in 40-foot performance masts +Video
Ben Gladwell,
Southern Spars builds world beating masts for yachts from 11-foot foiling moths to 280-foot superyachts and everything in between. Southern Spars passion, technology, design and performance give you the results.... [more]

America's Cup - Olympic multihull Gold medalist revisits Artemis,
Santiago Lange, skipper of the Gold Medal winning Nacra 17 at the 2016 Rio Olympic Regatta dropped into his former America's Cup team, Artemis Racing in Bermuda. The purpose of the visit was twofold - to experience sailing one of the fully foiling AC45S test boats owned by the Swedish America's Cup team, and also to give an independent view of where the team is at in terms of its development.... [more]

America's Cup - Land Rover BAR become first to launch AC50 in Bermuda
Land Rover BAR and Sail-World,
The ambitions of Land Rover BAR to win the 35th America's Cup – and finally bring the trophy back home to Britain after 166 years – took solid form today, with the launch and christening of their America's Cup Class race boat in Bermuda. The menacing, matt black boat represents the combined efforts across three years of the now 120-strong team and their partners.... [more]

Superyacht Challenge Antigua – A flying finish – Final report
Superyacht Challenge Antigua,
The fourth and final encounter was a magical affair, sparkling Caribbean sunshine, 20 knots of breeze and the added delight of Caribbean swell.... [more]

Fast new boats rouse racing excitement at BVI Spring Regatta
Michelle Slade,
It's simply hard to beat racing in the Caribbean and a week competing in the BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival is no exception.... [more]

Michas wins overall Melges 20 Winter Regatta title
International Melges 20 Class Association,
No wind for last day of racing on Biscayne Bay, Saturday results stand as final, first Melges 20 World League event complete.... [more]


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