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Olympics update, AC news, Bobby G—Sailing news from the U.S. & beyond

2/6/2017 4

07 Feb 2017

Olympics update, AC news, Bobby G—Sailing news from the U.S. & beyond

Stuart Mcnay and David Hughes took home gold at the 2017 World Cup Series Miami in the Men's 470 class  © Pedro Martinez / Sailing Energy / World Sailing
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics might seem like a long ways off, but the reality for Olympic hopefuls is that the next quadrennial officially began with the Sailing World Cup Miami (January 22-29), which recently wrapped-up racing. The great news for North American fans of Olympic sailing is that our sailors performed well, especially the US Sailing crew, with numerous Top Ten finishes and one proud win in the Men's 470 class.

Some backstory for anyone who is just tuning in to Olympic sailing: At the London 2012 Olympics, American sailors received their first Olympic medal ceremony shutout since the Berlin 1936 Olympics, and since then the U.S. team has been significantly reorganized, with a significant amount of effort invested in the youth development pipeline and overall team leadership.

Come the Rio 2016 Olympics, however, the Star Spangled Banner was only played during a single medal ceremony during the sailing portion of the event for Caleb Paine (USA) when he received his bronze medal in the Finn class. While this marked improvement over London's shutout, it was still a far cry from America's halcyon days as a sailing powerhouse.

Malcolm Page (left) addresses US Sailing Team athletes for the first time as head of the program.  Jen Edney

More leadership changes took place at US Sailing last fall, with Malcolm Paige, a two-time gold medalist one of Australia's most successful Olympic sailors, coming onboard at US Sailing in the role of Chief of Olympic Sailing. Additionally, Page brings a deep understanding of high-performance sailing to the table.

While the U.S. team did well at the Sailing World Cup Miami, word broke last week that Charlie McKee, a two-time bronze medalist and one of the USA's absolute best sailors and coaches, is stepping down from his role as High Performance Director.

“As part of the team's ongoing evolution and push for more efficiency, we have decided to change the way our leadership team is structured,” said Page. “The performance management of the team will fall under my position going forward.”

Malcolm Page 2012 Olympic Regatta, Weymouth  onEdition ©

McKee, it should be noted, was instrumental in establishing the team's new Olympic Development Program, which helps funnel promising young sailors to the Olympic sailing pipeline, and for helping six U.S. flagged teams to qualify for their medal races at the Rio Games.

“It has been an honor to work with the team during the Rio quadrennium” said McKee. “There are so many dedicated and talented athletes, staff, and coaches who really came together in a cooperative spirit. I felt proud to be a part of it, and take particular pride in helping to get the ODP to where it is today in such a short period of time. I wish everyone great success going forward in trying to build from here for the future.”

Charlie McKee tries the solid wing - Zhik Moth Australian Championships 2011 /AUS ©

Stay tuned for more from U.S. Sailing, as it becomes known.

Meanwhile, in America's Cup news, teams have now finished their practice-race sessions on Bermuda's Great Sound. These races were a critical dress rehearsal for the teams, and for the event itself, and were sailed in the smaller, fully foiling AC45Fs. Four teams took place in the practice sessions, with Oracle Team USA beating out Artemis Racing, SoftBank Team Japan and Land Rover BAR for on-island bragging rights.

“There was some great, close racing between ourselves and Artemis Racing and SoftBank Team Japan,” said Jimmy Spithill, Oracle Team USA's skipper. “All three teams won and lost their share of races and we all learned a lot I think.”

Jimmy Spithill, 'possibly the most over-qualified grinder' according to his skipper Ken Read,ahead of the 2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race  Crosbie Lorimer

“Unfortunately, the British seemed to be having issues and weren't competitive which was a bit of surprise,” continued Spithill. Additionally, Emirates Team New Zealand and Groupama Team France did not participate in the practice races.

Looking ahead, the teams are all expected to start sailing their brand new, 50-foot America's Cup Class boats, which will be used to contest the 35th America's Cup this coming spring, in the near future. According to Oracle Team USA, their new boat will be unveiled on February 14, to mark the seventh anniversary of their first America's Cup win over Alinghi in the 33rd America's Cup.

Oracle Team USA and Softbank Team Japan are two of the four teams that competed in the Practice Racing  © America's Cup

Be sure to stay tuned to the website for more news on these exciting launches, as they unfurl.

Finally, the sailing world shed some tears at the news that Bobby Grieser (AKA Bobby G), one of the absolute best photographers to have ever shot the sport of sailing, passed away on January 31 after a four-month battle with a series of health issues. Grieser was only 70 years old, but he leaves behind a mind-blowing portfolio of sailing imagery that stretches from the America's Cup to the Olympics to offshore events to the Caribbean racing circuit and beyond.

I was personally lucky to have been sent on several assignments with Grieser as my lensman for various magazine articles, but none will compare to a 2010 trip aboard a Gunboat 66 in Hawaii that involved tagging almost 22 knots in the Molokai Channel with the autopilot set and perfectly chilled glasses of Chardonnay set out with fresh fish tacos for lunch, or taking a pre-dawn swim to listen to whale songs (while really hoping the sharks were off feeding elsewhere).

One of his favourite shots, Bobby G aboard his camera boat in San Diego  Paul Todd©

Bobby, you are sorely missed, mate, but your laughter, your smile and your amazing perspective on life will live on in the memories of the myriad lives that you touched.

May the four winds blow you safely home,

David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor

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]

The price of legacy
John Curnow,
Malcolm Page OAM, two-time Olympic Gold Medallist (470) with Nathan Wilmot in 2008 and Mat Belcher in 2012, became the Chief of Olympic Sailing for the USA on January 1 this year. In and of itself it is hardly the freshest news, and well and truly yesterday's fish wrapper. It was also a wise choice on behalf of Team USA, for he has succeeded in both the physical and commercial arms of our sport.... [more]

Superyacht Challenge Antigua – Tactical battle on the south side
Superyacht Challenge Antigua,
The second race of the regatta was about 12 miles, along the stunning South Coast of Antigua.... [more]

Etchells Florida State Championship 2017 - Day 1
Simon Butterworth,
Steve Benjamin's Terrapin team sailed a clean day and have a commanding lead on the chasing pack, all of whom will be looking forward to the discard coming into play.... [more]

18ft skiffs - Thurlow Fisher wins 2017 Australian title - Race 5
Kimberley Wilmot/Australian 18 Footers League,
Michael Coxon, Dave O'Conner and Trent Barnabas of Thurlow Fisher Lawyers were crowned 18ft Skiff Australian Champions today after sailing a faultless race on Sydney Harbour. The trio led the final heat of the championship from the start line and finished almost four minutes ahead of second place.... [more]

Melges 20 Miami Winter Regatta – Michas surges on Day 2
International Melges 20 Class Association,
With a gradient 'left' northerly wind and a seabreeze 'right' wind battling each other all day, it was a constant game of hedging bets on which breeze would win without many visible indications on the course.... [more]

33rd Pineapple Cup – Montego Bay Race – Tight battle on Day 1
Julianna Barbieri,
The first 29 hours of the race has been a tightly contested battle between Wizard and Prospector in the IRC class, while Renegade and White Rhino are at the front of the pack in the PHRF division.... [more]

Primo Cup – Trophee Credit Suisse – Day 2 images by Studio Borlenghi
Studio Borlenghi,
Studio Borlenghi provided this gallery of images from Day 2... [more]

America's Cup - Oracle wins Practice Racing in Bermuda, Brits off pace
Oracle Team USA and Sail-World,
An extended series of practice racing has concluded in Bermuda with Oracle Team USA skipper Jimmy Spithill saying the team has added to its knowledge base through competition against the other Bermuda based teams. “Unfortunately, the British seemed to be having issues and weren't competitive which was a bit of surprise.”... [more]

America's Cup - 30 year anniversary of win in Fremantle
30 years ago this week that Dennis Conner and the crew of Stars & Stripes (San Diego Yacht Club) won the America's Cup in Fremantle, after beating the Australian Defender Kookaburra III (Iain Murray) 4-0. The Stars & Stripes win marked the end of the best ever America's Cup regatta from the perspective of the racing, the incidents on and off the water, the characters and the media conferences.... [more]

Vendée Globe – A sting in the tail
Vendée Globe,
Spirit of Hungary skipper reported winds of 48-50kts with big seas, encountering random strong squalls and gusts of more.... [more]

Superyacht Challenge Antigua – Spectacular opener
Superyacht Challenge Antigua,
With solid trade winds piping up to twenty knots and a three metre sea state, the south coast of Antigua delivered a memorable day of racing, for the first day.... [more]

2017-18 Clipper Race - Wendy Tuck re-joins Clipper Race Australia
Clipper Round the World,
We are very pleased to welcome back former skipper Wendy ‘Wendo' Tuck to the Clipper Race family, after being appointed to the role of Chief Instructor and Principal of our Australian base.... [more]

Titolo 33rd Primo Cup - Trophee Credit Suisse - Day 1 action-shots
Studio Borlenghi,
Studio Borlenghi provided this gallery of images from Titolo 33rd Primo Cup - Trophee Credit Suisse 2017 - Day 1 action.... [more]

2017 Pineapple Cup - Montego Bay Race underway
Julianna Barbieri,
11 teams started the Pineapple Cup – Montego Bay Race at 2:05 ET today under sunny skies in very light three to five knots of breeze. The R/P 74 Wizard was first across in the IRC division just edging out the Mills 68 Prospector and TP 52 Heartbreaker, while Frers 62 Merrythought slipped across slightly ahead of Santa Cruz 52 Renegade.... [more]

Melges 20 Miami Winter Regatta - No wind, no racing for opening day
Melges 20,
Opening day at the 2017 Melges 20 Miami Winter Regatta, Event No. 2 on the Miami Winter Series circuit came to a quick close with not enough breeze ideal for racing, so the super-charged fleet representing five nations will try again tomorrow.... [more]

Superyacht Challenge Antigua – High spirits and fair winds
Superyacht Challenge Antigua,
Held at the Boom Bar and Restaurant in the grounds of the Gunpowder House, the magnificent fleet was in view as the party started with sundowners around the pool. Paul Deeth welcomed all of the guests to the party and the atmosphere was laid back but buzzing with excitement.... [more]

Legends Race to celebrate Volvo Ocean Race history in 2017-18
Volvo Ocean Race,
The Volvo Ocean Race will celebrate 45 years of history with a Legends Race on the final leg of the 2017-18 edition from Gothenburg to The Hague.... [more]

Marion Bermuda Race focuses on youth and safety
Talbot Wilson,
To qualify as an Offshore Youth Challenge boat, the crew must have at least four youth sailors between 16 and 23 years of age and have aboard at least one mentor. Five youth class boats participated in the 2015 race. ‘Swift' from the U.S. Naval Academy won the inaugural prize.... [more]

Kitewing cruising on Lake Sunapee
Annie Tuthill,
Always happy to have something a bit different to feature and this one does not involve a moving sea, tropical sun, bathers (swimmers) or anything quite like that. Kiting cruising on skis and skates! Annie Tuthill had a beautiful first day of 2017 on Big Lake Sunapee with the Kitewing.... [more]

CQS - above and below decks tour of the foiling supermaxi - Video
Crosbie Lorimer takes a look above and below decks on the radical foiling supermaxi CQS ahead of the 2016 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race.... [more]

Rio Olympic medal winners to participate in Delta Lloyd Regatta
Delta Lloyd Regatta,
Based on the world ranking dated 13 March, we will be inviting the top five of every class.... [more]

Vendée Globe – Good judgement, good pace – Burton's ‘lucky' seventh
Vendée Globe,
Louis Burton secured seventh place this Thursday morning when he crossed the finish line off Les Sables d'Olonne at 07hrs, 47 mins, 49 seconds. For the young solo skipper who lives in Saint Malo, completing the legendary solo non stop round the world race today represents a major triumph.... [more]

Bobby Grieser - the sailing photog who barked - dies at 70 + Images NZ,
Robert Grieser, a legendary marine photographer, passed away on January 31 in San Diego, Calif., after a four month long series of illnesses and other health issues. He was 70 years young. “Bobby G,” as he was known to all, was perhaps best known for his America's Cup images, beginning with the Big Boat Challenge in 1988 and continuing for the next six Cups until the last in San Francisco.... [more]

Zhik becomes Official Clothing Partner to the Extreme Sailing Series
Extreme Sailing Series™,
As it enters the 2017 season, the Extreme Sailing Series™ has established an exciting new partnership with the high-performance clothing brand, Zhik.... [more]

Sailing World Cup Miami – Nacra duo Saxton and Groves to part ways
Groves has been offered a ‘not-to-be-missed' career opportunity of a six-month internship at a London investment bank, so will be taking a break from the Olympic campaign trail while she gains new skills and experiences.... [more]

Sehested brings Danish Dynamite to World Match Racing Tour
World Match Racing Tour,
When Sehested throws his hat in the ring, the rest of the teams can be sure that they will have to prepare for an opponent who will stop at nothing in order to reach his goals.... [more]

America's Cup - Fremantle - celebrating 30 years since the best ever
David Allan-Petale, WA Today,
In 1983, the 12-metre racing yacht Australia II crossed the finish line off Newport, Rhode Island ahead of US contender Liberty. For the first time, Australia had won the America's Cup. Then, when the hangovers subsided, a sobering realisation crept in. Australia was to defend the Cup in 1987. This photo-video story looks at the events of 30 years ago in Fremantle.... [more]

Experience a wonderful climate for watersports in Mauritius-
In the midst of the cold, dark winter days we thought we'd give you some inspiration for that much sought after tropical holiday with some weather facts from our Mauritius centre.... [more]

World Sailing headquarters to relocate to London
Daniel Smith,
World Sailing's headquarters will relocate from Southampton to central London, UK in late summer 2017. The selection of London as the new home for the International Federation comes after an extensive evaluation process of possible locations undertaken since the election of a new President and Board of Directors in November 2016.... [more]

Thompson named 2016 'Virgin Islands Sailor of the Year' by VISA
Carol Bareuther,
Two-time Olympic Laser sailor, Cy Thompson, has been awarded the coveted title of 'Virgin Islands Sailor of the Year' for 2016 by the Virgin Islands Sailing Association (VISA).... [more]

Henri Lloyd join forces with FAST40+ Class
FAST40 Class,
Premium British marine and lifestyle clothing brand, Henri Lloyd is delighted to announce their three year partnership with the FAST40+ Class.... [more]

Tawera takes the NZ Millennium Cup 2017
Isla McKechnie,
The Ron Holland designed and impeccably sailed, Tawera, again dominated a lengthier 27nm course on Day 3 of racing, taking line honours for a third consecutive day, bringing home the NZ Millennium Cup 2017. Coming into the final day of racing, Pacific Division competitors, Antaeus and Steinlager 2, were tied on points. Rumours of an extensive tactical defence strategy to retain the Pacific... [more]

A helping hand for Invisible Hand from GAC Pindar
Richard Thorpe and,
TNL GAC Pindar's Australasian Manager, Richard Thorpe didn't get a break over the holiday weekend, being on hand to personally supervise the loading of the new Pac52 Invisible Hand in Tauranga. The new Pac52 - a reduced cost 52ft class, orginating in the West Coast of USA is designed to be a managed class, with owner drivers and capable of doing extended offshore races such as the TransPac and... [more]

Clagett Oakcliff Match Race regatta announces 2017 dates
Sam Crichton,
The inaugural event, which was hailed an enormous success by the sailors who participated, had eight teams in attendance. Coaching was provided by world recognized match racer Dave Perry (Southport, CT), and he will again be returning to coach the sailors in 2017.... [more]

Early discount entry deadlines loom ahead for ORC World Championship
ORC Media,
And for the 2017 ORC European Championship held in Gdansk, Poland over 24-29 July, the event is nearly sold out already, with 73 entries from 13 countries signed up, promising this to be the most popular European Championship yet. The event has been planning a target entry count of 75 yachts.... [more]

MAPFRE back for another Volvo Ocean Race challenge in 2017-18
Volvo Ocean Race,
MAPFRE , backed by the Madrid-based global insurance company, are the third confirmed entry for sailing's toughest team event, which starts from Alicante on Sunday, 22 October and will take the teams on a 45,000-nautical mile route around the world. Dongfeng Race Team and team AkzoNobel announced their campaigns last year.... [more]

Hall Spars NZ rig all three new Pac 52's with next generation mast
Annaleis Shearer,
Hall Spars & Rigging New Zealand has been selected by three of the four founders of the new USA-based Pac 52 racing class to design and manufacture the rigs for their new builds; Invisible Hand, Rio, and Bad Pak. The masts represent the next generation in mast design from Hall Spars & Rigging New Zealand and result in improved performance.... [more]

Quantum Key West Race Week dishes out great fun for the CandC 30 Class
C&C 30 Class Association,
Key West - with its azure waters, sunny skies and consistent winds - provided the perfect venue for the opening event... [more]

Volvo Ocean Race - Mapfre confirms they will be back for upcoming race and Sail-World,
Mapfre will take part in the Volvo Ocean Race, the round-the-world race leaving Alicante on 22nd October. The Spanish team is the third team to confirm their presence on the start line of the 2017-2018 edition of the offshore race. No details of her skipper or crew were mentioned in the official media release.... [more]

Four days until the 33rd Pineapple Cup - Montego Bay Race
Julianna Barbieri,
With four days to the start of the 33rd edition of the Pineapple Cup – Montego Bay Race, the Montego Bay Yacht Club is delighted to announce JetBlue as a Gold Level sponsor. The field of eleven including former Olympian and Volvo Ocean Race Sailors are arriving into South Florida to making final preparations in the 811-nautical mile race departing from Miami on February 3rd.... [more]

A warm welcome awaits in Bermuda - America's Cup viewing selling fast
Louay Habib,
A fantastic welcome is awaiting the magnificent fleet taking part in the inaugural Antigua Bermuda Race. As host for the 35th America's Cup, Bermuda will be buzzing with excitement.... [more]

Volvo Ocean Race scheduled for Christmas stop in Melbourne
Jane Gordon,
The Volvo Ocean Race fleet will be welcome visitors to Melbourne this Christmas with the 2017-18 Race coming to Australia for the eighth time. The stop-over, announced on Friday, is scheduled to have the sailors arriving in Melbourne around Christmas Day.... [more]

2017 SSS 3 Bridge Fiasco overall
Erik Simonson,
It seems like since forever that the sun has exposed itself for an entire weekend on San Francisco Bay, and no better a weekend to redeem itself than the largest boat volume regatta of the year.... [more]

Olympic and Paralympic Gold medalists in Australia Day Honours List
Australian Sailing,
Rio 2016 Sailing Gold Medallist, Tom Burton has been recognised with a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in this year's Australia Day Honours List. Burton, who won Gold in the Laser Class in Rio, sailed the race of his life to pull off a stunning victory on the final day of racing.... [more]

World Cup Series - McNay and Hughes (USA) claim third Miami Gold
Will Ricketson,
The final five medal races were held at World Cup Series Miami 2017, Presented by Sunbrella (January 22-29, 2017) on Sunday, capping off a successful 28th year of North America's premier Olympic classes regatta. U.S. Olympians Stu McNay (Providence, R.I.) and Dave Hughes (Miami, Fla.) won their fourth Miami medal in the last five years, with three of those medals being gold.... [more]

World Series Cup - Hitting the right notes in Miami
Stuart Streuli,
A classically trained concert pianist, Afrodite Zegers (NED) is no stranger to the big stage. So when the pressure was at fever pitch in the final race of the 2017 World Series Cup Miami presented by Sunbrella, and the proverbial lights of a live worldwide broadcast at its brightest, Zegers and teammate Annaloes van Veen displayed incredible poise to grab the Women's 470 title.... [more]


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