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Marine Resource 2017

VOR, Caribbean and PNW racing—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond


29 Mar 2017

VOR, Caribbean and PNW racing—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond

Charlie Enright (left) and Mark Towill (right)  © Amory Ross / Team Alvimedica
Fans of offshore sailing, the time has officially come to raise a glass to Charlie Enright (32) and Mark Towill (28) and the rest of the yet-to-be-named Team Vestas 11th Hour Racing, who will be flying both American and Danish flags as they race around the world as part of the 2017/2018 Volvo Ocean Race, which starts on October 22, 2017 in Alicante, Spain, and which is set to conclude in late June of 2018 in The Hague. As of this writing, Team Vestas 11th Hour Racing is the only entrant that will be flying the Stars and Stripes, and they are joining Team AkzoNobel (NED), Dongfeng Race Team (FRA), and Mapfre (ESP) as the four officially named race entrants.

A little backstory for anyone who didn't follow the 2014/2015 Volvo Ocean Race (VOR): Americans Charlie Enright and Mark Towill first crossed tacks in 2006 during Disney's Morning Light project and have been close mates ever since. Both sailors attended Brown University, in Providence, Rhode Island, and both sailors were active on Oakcliff Sailing's All-American Offshore Team before landing the Turkish medical-technologies company Alvimedica as title sponsor for their 2014/2015 VOR adventure, where the team finished in fifth place out of a total of seven teams.

Onboard Team Alvimedica – Watch partners Mark Towill (driving) and Alberto Bolzan (sitting) sailing downwind near sunset - Volvo Ocean Race 2015  © Amory Ross / Team Alvimedica

Now, two years later, Enright and Towill are back in the VOR hunt with a new team and new horizons. While Team Vestas 11th Hour Racing has yet to name their afterguard or the rest of their crew, odds are good that the cast of characters will include some of North America's best offshore sailors.

Under the new VOR rules, a team can sail with seven men, or they can sail with seven men and one or two females; additionally, teams could opt to sail with five men and five women, or an all-female team of eleven women can enter, and Enright made clear at the team's March 21, 2017 press conference that the team is considering all crew options and is interested in drafting the best talent, irrespective of sex.

April 22,2015. Leg 6 to Newport onboard Team Alvimedica. Day 03. Dave Swete,Alberto Bolzan,Mark Towill,and Charlie Enright sit in the cockpit as night approaches,shielded by the sail stack during naggingly wet upwind sailing conditions. Conditions remain largely the same for the third consecutive day of upwind sailing east and away from a chasing cold front.   © Amory Ross / Team Alvimedica

Team Vestas 11th Hour Racing has announced that they will be taking charge of their rebranded steed and sailing her home to Newport from Lisbon, Portugal, in April, and will be using Newport as a training base for a few weeks before they crisscross the Pond again prior to the VOR's October 22, 2017 starting date. [N.B., Newport, Rhode Island is an official VOR stopover, with the fleet set to arrive in early May of 2018.)

While Enright and Towill are quick to say that they cut their teeth on VOR sailing during their previous “lap”, they are even faster to say that this time, one of their prime objectives is to be highly competitive and, ideally, to win this storied race. Another of the campaign's key objectives is to help spread the gospel of sustainable energy. (N.B., Vestas builds wind turbines, and 11th Hour Racing is a Schmidt Family Foundation [Ed note: no relation to your humble scribe] program aimed at promoting “systemic change for the health of our marine environment”.)

Skipper Charlie Enright - June 19, 2015. Arrivals to the Pitstop in The Hague during Leg 9 to Gothenburg; Team Alvimedica  Victor Fraile/Volvo Ocean Race ©

Stay tuned to this space for more on Team Vestas 11th Hour Racing, as it becomes known.

Meanwhile, for anyone whose idea of great sailing involves tradewinds conditions, crystal-clear, bathtub-warm water and killer onshore parties, rather than dodging icebergs in the Southern Ocean while sailing at night at 25 knots, don't miss our coverage of the recently concluded St. Thomas International Regatta (March 24-26), as well as the upcoming BVI Spring Regatta (March 27-April 2).

St. Thomas International Regatta  St Thomas Int Regatta/Ingrid Abery

Here in Seattle, however, we have long since learned to swap-out our palm-tree dreams for the reality of temperate rainforests and old-growth trees, Orcas and wild-caught salmon, not to mention “sometimes-chilly” conditions (read: habitually cold), and we're rather proud of our year-round sailing calendar. Sure, we regularly see rain, frost, occasional outbursts of snow and my personal (least) favorite meteorological condition, “snain” (read: Pacific Northwest snow meets rain; trust me when I describe it as misery incarnate), but we get after it while boats in other regions of the country lay dormant.

Puget-Sound - U.S. Editorial 30 December 2012  David Schmidt

Last weekend's Three Tree Point race marked the final (of three) of the Corinthian Yacht Club's Center Sound Series races, and next weekend marks the Sloop Tavern's annual Blakely Rock Benefit Race (proceeds go to The Sailing Foundation). True, our big-boat fleet will be transitioning to cruising mode come the summer months when the rest of the country enjoys reliable summer breezes, but we'll take a break from the rain, even if it does make for some “cerebral” Wednesday night racing on evenings when the anemometer fails to crack ten knots.

But did I mention that it (probably) won't be raining come July?

May the four winds blow you safely home,

David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor

Meet Clipper 2017-18 Race skipper Tristan Brooks
Clipper Round the World,
Tristan Brooks first took to the water at the age of ten, spending his childhood fine tuning his dinghy skills on the Menai Strait in North Wales, and has spent the past 13 years working as a professional skipper, mate and engineer.... [more]

Hydrofoil Pro Tour 2017 - Registration and Day 1
Playa Central Kiteboarding,
Registration took place at Casa Tara Retreat on March 25th with a sunset view and steamy jacuzzi, a different venue to kick off the event. Riders and manufacturers have flown in from various corners of the world to attend. At times, there are half a dozen languages being spoken at the breakfast table.... [more]

Roster announced - 2017 US Sailing Team
Will Ricketson,
US Sailing, the national governing body for the sport, has named 18 Olympic-class athletes to the 2017 US Sailing Team. The national team is selected annually and is comprised of the top sailors competing in the events selected for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.... [more]

An Int'l fleet race ready for BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival
BVI Spring Regatta,
Many of this year's participants in the BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival made their way ashore today to register for a week of world-class racing out of Nanny Cay, Tortola. The Marina is alive with activity - old friends catching up and first-timers partaking of the infamous Mount Gay rum drinks at the beach bar. With the breeze looking light for Tuesday's annual Round Tortola Race... [more]

America's Cup - Talbot Wilson reports from the Practice Series
Talbot Wilson looks at the first five day practice racing session just concluded in Bermuda. All five America's Cup teams training in Bermuda have wrapped up the first of six “practice racing periods” allowed under the latest changes to the 2017 America's Cup protocol. The protocol changes were approved March 16 by the defender, Oracle Team USA and signed by the four challengers in Bermuda.... [more]

Single-handed Sailing Society Corinthian images by,
Single-handed Sailing Society Corinthian Race images... [more]

Single Handed Sailing Society Corinthian Race – Great day on the bay,
Greg Nelsen, fresh off a Double Handed Farallones race win, adds another pickle dish to his collection, winning Singlehanded Sportboat Division with an elapsed time of 03:20:37 on his Azzura 1000 Outsider. A pending protest should render that the fastest monohull around the track.... [more]

Princesa Sofía Iberostar – New wave of passion in Palma
Andi Robertson,
For many of the 833 sailors racing at the opening day of what is effectively the start of the new four year Olympic cycle of European regattas brings a unique excitement.... [more]

Princesa Sofia Iberostar – Karpak consistent as format test begins
Robert Deaves,
Karpak got away to the best start at with a 3, 2 scoreline, leaving him at the top of the fleet, on a day when many sailors picked up wildly different scores as the wind played tricks with the fleet in the second race.... [more]

Volvo Ocean Race - Team AkzoNobel leaves Persico NZ,
The Simeon Tienpont skippered Team AkzoNobel Volvo65 has left the building facility at Persico Marine in Bergamo, Italy to The Boatyard in Lisbon under the custodianship of GAC Pindar. Before she left the yard at Persico the team had a celebration to mark the end of the build phase.... [more]

Princess Sofia Trophy – Park's pride as he prepares for Palma finale
Anisha Walkerley / RYA,
‘Sparky', as Park is commonly known, will preside over some 63 British Sailing Team athletes at the first major European event of the year, before moving on to a new role at British Cycling next month after over 20 years with the RYA.... [more]

America's Cup - First five day round of practice racing concludes
America's Cup Media,
The latest round of America's Cup Class (ACC) practice racing ahead of the 35th America's Cup concluded on a beautiful spring Sunday on the Great Sound. All five America's Cup teams now based in Bermuda took part in a series of match races in varied conditions, racing each other on a course that closely mirrors that to be used in May and June 2017... [more]

2018 Zhik 29er World Championship - NOR and entry open
Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club today announced the release of the Notice of Race for the Zhik 29er World Championship 2018. Eligible skippers are invited to apply for entry to this premier event.... [more]

O'pen BIC brings X-Games to youth sailing
Nevin Sayre,
Eighty O'pen BICs participated in the North Americans hosted by Sarasota Youth Sailing, March 17-19. Beautiful conditions allowed the completion of 14 races and the O'pen BIC Freestyle Challenge with 32 teams.... [more]

J/22 Midwinter Champs - Sunday's action-shots by Christopher Howell
Christopher Howell,
Photographer Christopher Howell was on water at J/22 Midwinter Championship 2017 and provided this gallery of images from Sunday action.... [more]

Kevin Doyle's Mo' Money Earns J/22 Midwinter Championship
Julie and Christopher Howell,
Kevin Doyle, Vic Snyder and Aaron Snyder's Mo' Money mastered the light conditions on Sunday to win their first J/22 Midwinter Championship. The Youngstown, New York-based team tallied a four, three, one for eight points in the three-race series. No racing took place on Friday and Saturday due to high winds and storms. Travis Odenbach's Sea Bags Sailing Team secured second place with 16 points... [more]

New boats and old favourites prepare for BVI Spring Regatta
BVI Spring Regatta,
Always offering up something new and different, the BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival 2017 is pleased to welcome the C&C 30 Sportboat and Gunboat fleets to this year's event which kicks off on Monday with registration at noon and opening party at 6pm.... [more]

Australian National Championship – Team Beau Geste comes out on top
Paul Cayard,
Gavin Brady, who runs the Beau Geste Team, invite me to be the helmsman for two series down here in Oz. Gavin and I sailed together on AmericaOne in the 2000 America's Cup and again on Money Penny in 2008.... [more]

St. Thomas International Regatta 2017 - Day 2
Carol Bareuther,
The St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR) proved its reputation as the 'Crown Jewel of Caribbean Yacht Racing' by superbly delivering on its signature mix of round the rocks and round the buoy courses on the event's second day of competition. What's more, six to eight foot seas off the island's east end, gusts blowing to 20 to 25 knots and a mix of rain and sun all added to the fun.... [more]

St. Thomas International Regatta - Day 2 action-shots by Dean Barnes
St. Thomas International Regatta,
Photographer Dean Barnes was on water at St. Thomas International Regatta 2017 and provided this gallery of images from Day 2 action.... [more]

Meet Clipper 2017-18 Race skipper Gaëtan Thomas
Clipper Round the World,
This summer Gaëtan Thomas will make history as the first Belgian Skipper to lead a team around the world in the Clipper Race.... [more]

St. Thomas International Regatta – Day 1 – Wind was the word
Carol Bareuther,
These polar-opposite conditions plus the challenge of round the islands rather than strictly buoy racing proved the talk of why some of the best sailors in the Caribbean, U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand put STIR on their list of must-do' regattas each year.... [more]

World Match Racing Tour - Images from Perth
Ian Roman/WMRT,
Image gallery from the first round of the World Match Racing Tour sailed in Perth, Western Australia... [more]

World Match Racing Tour - Phil Robertson shows how it is done in Perth
World Match Racing Tour,
New Zealand's Phil Robertson, the reigning world champion, made it look easy as he cruised to a 3–0 victory in the final of the Match Cup Australia, beating local skipper Matt Jerwood. “It was a very, very good day for us,” was Robertson's description of the final.... [more]

America's Cup - Oracle picks up some bow protection for docking
Bangin' the Corner,
The Bangin' the Corner team talk Jimmy and the boys on Oracle Team USA through the process of getting some bow protection for their new AC50, before they dock after a long day on the Great Sound, and don't dock like Ben did.... [more]

Bureau Vallée 2 back in the water in Brittany
Bureau Vallée,
The former Banque Populaire VIII aboard which Armel Le Cléac'h won the last Vendée Globe was put back in the water on Friday in Lorient (Brittany), with her new decoration in the colours of Bureau Vallée.... [more]

German cycling great gets to ride in 16ft skiffs
Michael Chittenden,
Jens Voight has twice won stages of the Tour de France and once held the world record time for distance ridden in an hour, but nothing prepared him for jumping on a 16ft skiff last Saturday. Voight was a guest aboard leading Manly skiff Fluid Building after accepting an invite from skipper Clint Bowen.... [more]

America's Cup - Bermuda practice racing videos March 24, 2017
MyislandhomeBDA is videoing the Practice racing and training with the five teams who are based in the venue for the 2017 America's Cup. Here's the set from March 24,2017... [more]

America's Cup - Coutts hits back at critics over Protocol change
Russell Coutts, CEO ACEA,
Five times America's Cup winner and CEO of the America's Cup Events Authority, Russell Coutts, has responded to criticism over the recent changes to the 35th America's Cup Protocol, allowing testing and racing between Challengers and the Defender in Bermuda ahead of the start of the Qualifiers.... [more]

Coast Guard joins Arctic stakeholders in historic forum
Coast Guard First District Northeast News,
U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft joined leaders representing eight coast guards of Arctic nations in signing a joint statement Friday. The statement adopts doctrine, tactics, procedures and information-sharing protocols for emergency maritime response and combined operations in the Arctic. The Arctic Coast Guard Forum is an operationally-focused, consensus-based organisation...... [more]

Match Cup Australia – Home town bonanza
John Roberson,
Local skipper Matt Jerwood certainly overplayed the anxiety card on his way to becoming the third Western Australian skipper to make it through to the semi-finals... [more]

Meet Clipper 2017-18 Race skipper Wendy Tuck
Clipper Round the World,
For Wendy ‘Wendo' Tuck, one race around the world was never going to be enough. And as a result, she's set to make history in the Clipper 2017-18 Race as the first Australian skipper to complete the arduous ocean challenge twice.... [more]

America's Cup - Groupama Team France's AC50 sailing in Bermuda - Video
Groupama Team France,
Groupama Team France has had her first sail in Bermuda with the AC50 looking impressive in the video shot by the team.... [more]

Round the Rocks kick's off St. Thomas International Regatta
Carol Bareuther,
Nearly 60 sleek sailing yachts from the Caribbean, U.S., Canada and Europe will race in the 44th St. Thomas International Regatta. Set for March 24 to 26, this three-day regatta known as the ‘Crown Jewel of Caribbean Yacht Racing' will be prefaced by the second Round the Rocks Race on March 23, which features a circumnavigation of the 19-square-mile neighbouring U.S. Virgin Island of St. John.... [more]

America's Cup - Images of Emirates Team NZ flypast Devonport
Richard Gladwell,
Image gallery shot as Emirates Team New Zealand returned in the late afternoon from another four hour race training session on the Waitemata harbour. Our cameras were on Devonport Wharf to catch the sequence - and for the first time a wide angle lens had to be used.... [more]

America's Cup – Get to know Iain Murray and the ACRM
America's Cup,
Throughout its 166 year history the rivalries between owners, skippers, crews, yacht clubs, fans and nations have been some of the most intriguing facets of the competition for the world's oldest sporting trophy.... [more]

Vendée Globe – A hugely popular event and media success
Vendée Globe,
The results show huge increases everywhere: many more people attending the event, unprecedented media coverage and feedback, a record level of international coverage without talking about the very positive race outcome in terms of the rankings.... [more]

RC44 Championship Tour heads to Lanzarote for final regatta
RC44 Class Association,
The Calero Marinas have been a regular winter destination for the RC44 fleet over the years having hosted four regattas and three World Championships between 2010 and 2013.... [more]

OK Dinghy World Ranking List – No change at top
Robert Deaves,
For the first time in the history of the OK Dinghy World Ranking List, not only are the top three three unchanged, but the entire top 20 of the March 2017 release are unchanged from the previous release.... [more]

Match Cup Australia – Mirsky completes the local line up
John Roberson,
Earlier in the day Steve Thomas, also of Royal Perth, had become a giant killer, eliminating Tour Card holder Nicolai Sehested in three straight races, to join yesterday's local qualifiers David Gilmour and Matt Jerwood.... [more]

America's Cup - Images of Emirates Team NZ two-up on the Waitemata
Richard Gladwell, NZ,
Emirates Team NZ were sailing on the Waitemata yesterday with just a couple of weeks left before they head for Bermuda and the 35th America's Cup. The cycle-grinders were two per side for the trip down the harbour making the transitions from gybe to gybe very interesting - and almost imperceptible.... [more]

America's Cup - Late Protocol change further stacks deck against Kiwis
Richard Gladwell, NZ,
Five America's Cup teams have dealt themselves a new hand with a new Protocol Change published three days ago. On the face of it, the change - to allow 23 days training against each other repairs an omission by the Commissioner for the America's Cup. But it is the timing of the move that is surprising... [more]

A QandA with Charles Pessler, the regatta director of the legendary STIR
David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor,
I recently corresponded via email with Charles “Chuck” Pessler, who is serving as the regatta director of the legendary STIR, to learn more about the changes and evolutions that have taken place at the event since my 2010 trip to racing paradise.... [more]

One great challenge for Transatlantic Race 2019
New York Yacht Club,
A virtual gate off Lizard Point will enable teams to challenge the course record for this historic passage, but the official finish will take place off the Royal Yacht Squadron's waterfront castle in Cowes, England.... [more]

Less than a month to go to 8th edition of Les Voiles de St. Barth
Barby MacGowan,
Péan will be casting an expert eye over the event that occurs 10-15 April. A seasoned and talented sailor, he boasts one of the most prestigious track records in French sailing, with victories logged in the Solitaire du Figaro in 1983, then the Whitbread (a crewed around-the-world race with stopovers) in 1986.... [more]

Transat Jaques Vabre – Oman Sail takes on Class 40 challenge
Oman Sail,
Oman Sail has revealed a new adventure for 2017 as the pioneering national initiative takes on a double-handed Class 40 challenge pairing up mentor and long-term skipper of various Oman Sail projects, Frenchman Sidney Gavignet, with his protégé and Oman Sail's most successful offshore sailor, Fahad Al Hasni.... [more]

Upsets continue on Day 3 of Match Cup Australia
John Roberson,
The tightest match of the day was between Denmark's Jonas Warrer and Kiwi Chris Steele, which went to a fifth and deciding race, Warrer had gone 2 – 0 up, but Steele clawed his way back to level the score. In the decider it was all over on the starting line, with Steele sailing away unopposed.... [more]

RORC Easter Challenge – Free expert coaching
James Boyd,
If you want to do better out on the race course, you could buy yourself a newer, more competitive boat. Or sail with a better crew. Or could buy some new sails. Or put in some practice. But keelboat crews frequently forget that one of the best value methods is to employ a coach.... [more]

Preparations start for the XXXI edition of Trofeo Marco Rizzotti
Giacomo Barbaro,
Spring is nearly here and in Venice “Rizzoni time” is approaching - the international team race regatta for young Optimist sailors (10-15 years old) organized by Diporto Velico Veneziano and Compagnia della Vela from 18-21 May.... [more]


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