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Displaying items by tag: Offshore
Nine solo offshore sailing hopefuls, from across the UK,  have today been selected as the first Development Squad of the Artemis Offshore Academy.  The Academy, sponsored by the investment management company Artemis, was set up earlier this year to nurture British offshore sailing talent.  The long-term aspiration of the Academy is to put a British sailor in a position to win the solo Vendée Globe in 2016 or 2020.

From an original list of over 50 applicants, those who made it to the shortlist were put through a grueling mental and physical selection process.  They were pushed well beyond their comfort zones with nine ultimately chosen to be part of the Development Squad:

•    Oliver Bond (30, Southampton)
•    Nick Cherry (25, Birmingham/Southampton)
•    Sam Goodchild (20, Southampton)
•    Simon Hiscocks (37, Surrey/Portland)
•    Nick Houchin (26, Tadley, Hampshire)
•    Nigel King (41, Lymington)
•    Becky Scott (24, Scotland/Fleet)
•    Phil Sharp (29, Jersey)
•    Oliver Young (22, Saltash)

As part of the Squad, they will begin a winter-long programme where they will develop the skills needed to perform as a world class offshore sailor.  The Academy will be based from the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy until the end of November when they will relocate to La Grande Motte Figaro School (CEM).  From here CEM Director Franck Citeau will manage a full programme for the sailors through to the end of March.  At that point one of the Squad will be selected for the scholarship which will enable them to race in the 2011 French Figaro circuit in one of the Artemis Figaro boats.  The remaining Squad will continue to train and take part in a series of races throughout 2011, including Royal Ocean Racing Club's most famous race the Rolex Fastnet Race, and the Tour du Bretagne at the end of September.

The group will be bolstered by two associate members, 36 year old Pip Hare (Felixstowe) and 37 year old Conrad Humphreys (Plymouth) who, instead of being provided with equipment and costs, will bring their own campaign to train with the Academy.  As the project develops, the aim is that more people will move on from the Development Squad to become associate members and keep training with the Academy.

Sailors will remain in the Development Squad for as long as they are attaining pre-agreed training goals.  The aim is to allow sailors the time in the Figaro boats to develop their skills before moving into other classes or finding their own funding for a campaign.  Further selections to top up the squad will be held in April and September 2011.

Conrad Humphreys commented: "When the Artemis Offshore Academy was announced earlier this year, I immediately thought it was not only a great idea but also the missing link for UK aspiring and seasoned solo sailors.  No one would argue that when compared to our French counterparts, we simply do not do enough collaborative training or development in between the major events. The Figaro championship is one of the best programmes for short-handed development and there is no secret to the fact that every Vendée Globe winner maintains close links with the class. I hope the Artemis Offshore Academy will become a place to nurture new talent and provide Associate sailors like myself with support to compete at the top level. I will be looking for a sponsor to do the Solitaire du Figaro in 2011 and the Transat in 2012 and I look forward to working with the rest of the squad over the coming 12 months."

Simon Hiscocks commented: "The British success in the Olympics is a direct result of a very long programme that the RYA has run right from the grass roots getting people learning to sail up to winning Olympic gold medals. And that whole thing has a massive structure behind it - you name it they are on it.  Hopefully we can transfer that success into this field through this programme. The Artemis Offshore Academy opens up a whole new world of opportunities, not least of which is potentially being able to do the Vendée Globe, and I am really excited to be part of it."

John Thorn, Artemis Offshore Academy Performance Director commented:
"From their application and CVs, we knew we had the sailors.  It was then more a question of trying to identify some of the other traits that we felt were an important part of success in short sailing and offshore sailing.  There were lots of elements that we were looking for.

The nine development squad members that we have chosen have got tremendous potential – and we looked at that potential over short, medium and long term.  But they are experienced sailors, they are technical competent sailors and they have the desire to win.

We will identify what the sailors need and we will deliver that, using the best coaches, the best venues, the best resources we can. We'll give them everything they need in order to be successful.

I am tremendously optimistic and truly believe, because we are building a foundation for long term success, that we will see an Artemis Offshore Academy sailor on the podium for the Vendée Globe. It is an incredibly exciting time and this is just the beginning."

Published in Offshore

Boats were returning to Cowes Yacht Haven throughout yesterday, back from the offshore race of the 2010 Rolex Commodores' Cup. With a 2.5x point co-efficient this race had the potential to provide a major upset in the results, but after four days of competition the Irish team hold an even more commanding lead, now up to 29.5 points. Hong Kong has regained second place, this time with a 25-point cushion over the leading French team, which in turn is just 5 points ahead of GBR Red and 15 points ahead of France Yellow in fifth.

Dave Dwyer’s marinerscove.ie was overall winner of Class 2 while team captain Anthony O’Leary’s Antix scored second place.  Rob Davies Roxy 6 skippered by Andrew Creighton was fourth in Class 3.

“We’re feeling quite positive as we’ve just had one of the best offshore results ever – the lads all worked their socks off,” commented Barry Rose, Commodore of ICRA.  “We’ve strengthened our lead so we’re in a good, solid position and looking forward to the rest of the regatta.”
The team had all returned to Cowes by mid-afternoon to prepare the three boats for tomorrow’s (Thursday) Rolex Trophy race on a long-inshore race that is expected to last three hours.  Friday will also feature a single race as the fleet competes for bonus points in the Round Isle of Wight course.

Saturday’s single race finale counts for double-points and strong challenges from Hong Kong, France Blue and Britain’s GBR Red are expected.
“Its still all to play for. Hong Kong are looking very strong and there are a lot of points still to be earned,” cautioned Rose.  “There’ll be no change in our strategy – we have a plan and we’re going to stick to it.  Its about grind out the results day by day.”

Hong Kong and Ireland scored equal points in the offshore race with the former's Rockall III winning the small boat class while the latter's marinerscove.ie claimed the mid-sized class.
On the water Rockall III was first home in the whole fleet, crossing the line just to the west of the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour at 10:40:41 BST, winning her class by almost one hour on corrected time. While racing for Hong Kong, where he used to live, Rockall III's owner Christopher Opielok is German. His crew is largely from Hong Kong but also includes two Dutch, one Irishman and three Australians. According to Opielok he bought his Corby 36 specifically to compete in the Rolex Commodores' Cup, "we have been preparing for this for a long time. The boat clocked since delivery to us last year, 4,000 miles. We did a lot of offshore racing. We have four very good helmsmen. The navigation was very well prepared. We had a good tactician and I believe altogether with a very good boat, ended up with this result."
Opielok said they faced stiff competition from the Irish team's small boat, Roxy 6, "we focussed on sail trim and sailed extremely hard without any rest. We knew we could only beat Roxy upwind. We put all our effort into the 60-mile beat and then we tried to control them downwind. Luckily the tide went with us and pushed us even further than expected." The tide was particularly beneficial on the final run into the finish.
Simon Henning, owner of the Alice II from GBR White was delighted to have won the big boat division. His Farr 45, the biggest yacht in this year's Rolex Commodores' Cup does not have a favourable rating and they have not performed well in the inshore racing so far. Having to continue past Anvil Point and on to the East Shambles mark in Weymouth Bay, the Class 1 course at 191-nautical-miles was some 35 nm longer than the Class 3 version, which simply did an about-turn at Poole. Yet Alice II reached the finish line just under four minutes astern of Rockall III.
Alice led the 30-boat fleet out of the Solent in the strongest conditions of the race and enjoyed a fantastic blast down to the Owers, the easternmost mark of the course, to the southeast of Selsey Bill. "We saw 24-25 knots [of wind] and we were surfing up to 17 several times – it was lovely," commented Henning. Thanks to this they caught the tide turning at the Owers and from there never looked back. Despite the wind dropping to five knots this morning, they claimed the big boat class by a margin of 1 hour 20 minutes on corrected time.
Aside from torrential rain yesterday afternoon, conditions were not as bad as had been forecast. In the southwesterly breeze the sea was being kicked up by the wind-against-tide on the first beat out of The Solent and apart from the overfalls off St Catherine's Point, the southern tip of the Isle of Wight, it was generally considered a pleasant race.
"It was great fun - the course had a fabulous variety," commented Anthony O'Leary, who's Ker 39 Antix corrected out to be second amongst the big boats. "Every corner we went around it seemed that the tide was against us, but that was part of plan to give us a varied course with all the options and all the challenges - and there were plenty. Going into Poole Bar in the middle of the night and the Anvil in the dark is a challenge but thankfully we got away and managed to hold the thing together."
O'Leary was thankful that the Irish team had cumulatively posted a solid result in this high scoring race. "You could easily lose the regatta if you had a disaster and in that respect it is certainly satisfying. But there is still plenty to do and there are still plenty of points available. We'll keep on chipping away."
David Dwyer's marinerscove.ie maintained the impeccable Irish performance, first home in the mid-sized class, although by the slender margin of three and a half minutes over Anthony Day's Blondie IV. Tactician on the Irish boat, Andy Beadsworth, commented that, "it was a really good race and it was nice to finish relatively early today." The team enjoyed spending most of the night racing in company with the big boats. "It wasn't that lumpy. We hardly had any water over the deck!" said Beadsworth, adding that he had tried to get some sleep only to be awoken when he overheard the rest of the crew about to make decisions on deck.
Finishing behind Rockall III in the small boat class was Bernard Moureau's JND 35 Gaia in France White. Tactician Alex Mercier said that they are improving with every race aboard their new boat. "The start was a bit improvised but we were able to place ourselves well and to maintain a good position during the entire night and this morning as well." They are still discovering Gaia but have found it goes well under spinnaker.
Behind them in third was Jim Macgregor's Elan 410 Premier Flair, which posted the best result for GBR Red, with another crew who had thought they would perform better inshore than off. The line-up includes British Olympic-squad 470 sailor Ben Saxton as tactician. "It was long but enjoyable, different. It was nice weather because it was windy enough and we made good progress and we finished close to other boats so that kept it fun the whole way around," said Saxton who admits he only slept for about five minutes. Saxton reckons they made their biggest tactical gains with the tide on the beat up to Poole.
Tomorrow the Rolex Commodores' Cup returns to racing on The Solent with one inshore course scheduled for Rolex Trophy Day. Crews get a well-earned rest following their efforts of the past 24 hours or so, with the start scheduled for noon BST. With two high scoring races to follow on Friday (the x1.5 Round the Isle of Wight Race) and Saturday (a double-points inshore race) the teams at the top know this event is far from over. The Irish will sleep more comfortably tonight having cruised through the major test of the week, but undoubtedly will be on alert tomorrow to avoid the pitfalls encountered by previous compatriot teams.
Top Five Teams - Provisional Positions after completion of 5 races
Team / Points / Place
Ireland / 42 / 1
Hong Kong / 71.5 / 2
France Blue / 84 / 3
GBR Red / 89 / 4
France Yellow /99 / 5

 

Published in Commodores Cup

Ireland has performed strongly in the decisive offshore race in the Commodores' Cup. The first boats are expected back by 11am. ICRA Commodore Barry Rose gives a 9am dockside podcast update below but it's 'no comment' from Team Ireland on the penalty imposed on GBR Red's Quokka 8.

 

 

 

Published in Commodores Cup

Most of the news at the moment, save the Round-the-World antics of the Clipper fleet, is small boat stuff, close to shore. But there's one story drawing to a close that mixes both. Franco-Italian sailor Alessandro DiBenedetto is nearing completino of his solo, unassisted non-stop circumnavigation in a customised Mini Transat boat. He left Les Sables D'Olonne in November last year and is just shy of 1,000 miles from home, parallel with the coast of Portugal.

Like a true Frenchman he somehow has a herb garden on board his 21-foot boat, and his missive from yesterday, having caught a bream with a crossbow, read: 'Meanwhile, at noon, sea bream filets with olive oil, parsley from the garden and freeze-dried vegetables'.

Di Bennedetto's website is HERE, and while the updates are brief, they give a good insight into the mind of a single-minded, food-obsessed solo sailor.

Some gems:

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010
No wind for 48 hours. Dolphins keep me company

Wednesday 9 June 
Alessandro has lengthened the bowsprit.

Sunday, April 18th, 2010     09:38 pm
To celebrate my passage round the Cape Horn this evening it is a party on board: Champagne very freshly, with "foie gras" and pastas with mushrooms and cream!

Monday, March 22, 2010 02:15 am
Beautiful sunshine these days in the vastness of the Pacific Ocean.   Not a single ship in sight   from the South Atlantic ... Even the birds are rare. Sometimes a solitary albatross comes to visit me. The nearest point of earth is: Easter Island 1000 miles farther north.

 

Published in Solo Sailing
Tagged under
Oman Sail show their spirit.
After a fine start in the Tour de France á la Voile, Oman Sail-Renaissance were lying in third place prior to the first offshore leg to Calais, however there were dramatic scenes at the start of the 25 mile race, as skipper Rob Greenhalgh explains.
“Unfortunately, shortly after the start we hit a sand back and got stuck aground for about six minutes as we watched the fleet sail away. Eventually, we got free but we then hit the top of an unmarked wreck, coming to a grinding halt from a boat speed of about seven knots!
We knew we had damage, we could see some of it internally, but we were not taking in water and pressed on. The boat speed was still impressive and we managed to pull ourselves back up to 10th, as we crossed the finish line in Calais.
Getting the boat repaired was a big job, the whole team was up all night, everybody dug in deep and that was a big plus from the incident. Great solidarity, everybody was resolved to get the job done. The organisers are happy with our repair and although we have had to take a penalty for working on the boat, we are back in the race and determined as ever. Today, we have three inshore races. It looks like we will be in 12-16 knots, good wind conditions for us.
Everybody makes mistakes and yesterday was a true test of the spirit in this team. What doesn’t break you makes you stronger. Today, Oman Sail Renaissance is still very much in this race and the team spirit is even stronger. Yesterday is just part of this great adventure.
The Tour de France à la Voile is a true offshore racing school for newcomers measuring up to the sailors of the pro series. Oman Sail Renaissance is a Farr30 on the 2010 Tour with five Omani sailors alongside 5 other European sailors, led by skipper, Rob Greenhalgh. 10 ports are visited along the French coast.
The 'Tour' is a tough race taking a month to complete, their is a huge variety of racing. Playing the tides in the English Channel, extreme conditions surfing downwind in the Atlantic Ocean, the fickle winds of the Mediterranean require a huge range of skills from the crew.
There is a fantastic atmosphere at the ports of call but make no mistake, the Tour is a real test of skill, endurance and determination.
“The Tour is the opportunity to discover crewed offshore racing” emphasises Nicolas Honor, Project manager of the Oman Sail team for the Tour. “It is the only deep-sea project that allows five Omani sailors to sail with the best of the series and to train in the throes of the action. After the experience of one month around the french coasts, they will be able to bring their experience back to Oman to benefit the students of the sailing schools in Oman who will soon sail on the Farr30, once the 2010 Tour is over.”

After a fine start in the Tour de France á la Voile, Oman Sail-Renaissance were lying in third place prior to the first offshore leg to Calais, however there were dramatic scenes at the start of the 25 mile race, as skipper Rob Greenhalgh explains. 

“Unfortunately, shortly after the start we hit a sand back and got stuck aground for about six minutes as we watched the fleet sail away. Eventually, we got free but we then hit the top of an unmarked wreck, coming to a grinding halt from a boat speed of about seven knots! We knew we had damage, we could see some of it internally, but we were not taking in water and pressed on. The boat speed was still impressive and we managed to pull ourselves back up to 10th, as we crossed the finish line in Calais. 

"Getting the boat repaired was a big job, the whole team was up all night, everybody dug in deep and that was a big plus from the incident. Great solidarity, everybody was resolved to get the job done. The organisers are happy with our repair and although we have had to take a penalty for working on the boat, we are back in the race and determined as ever. Today, we have three inshore races. It looks like we will be in 12-16 knots, good wind conditions for us.  

"Everybody makes mistakes and yesterday was a true test of the spirit in this team. What doesn’t break you makes you stronger. Today, Oman Sail Renaissance is still very much in this race and the team spirit is even stronger. Yesterday is just part of this great adventure."

The Tour de France à la Voile is a true offshore racing school for newcomers measuring up to the sailors of the pro series. Oman Sail Renaissance is a Farr30 on the 2010 Tour with five Omani sailors alongside 5 other European sailors, led by skipper, Rob Greenhalgh.

10 ports are visited along the French coast. The 'Tour' is a tough race taking a month to complete, their is a huge variety of racing. Playing the tides in the English Channel, extreme conditions surfing downwind in the Atlantic Ocean, the fickle winds of the Mediterranean require a huge range of skills from the crew.  There is a fantastic atmosphere at the ports of call but make no mistake, the Tour is a real test of skill, endurance and determination.  

“The Tour is the opportunity to discover crewed offshore racing” emphasises Nicolas Honor, Project manager of the Oman Sail team for the Tour. “It is the only deep-sea project that allows five Omani sailors to sail with the best of the series and to train in the throes of the action. After the experience of one month around the french coasts, they will be able to bring their experience back to Oman to benefit the students of the sailing schools in Oman who will soon sail on the Farr30, once the 2010 Tour is over.”

Published in Racing
Tagged under

The 164 mile race to St. Malo from Cowes has always been popular and with 123 boats already in, it is the biggest entry for a RORC offshore race so far this season. Unfortunately a glance at the entry list reveals there are no Irish entires to date but the size of this fleet reflects the potential Interest in offshore sailing, a shot in the arm for organisers of Irish offshore fixtures if UK and French fleets are targeted.

Mike Slade's Farr 100 Maxi, ICAP Leopard, will be hot favourite for line honours for this weekend's race to St. Malo and make no mistake; the world record breaking yacht will be attempting to break their own course record, set in 2008.

"We have held the record in four different boats, Ocean Leopard took about 19 hours, in Longabarda we took about 16 hours, Leopard of London about 15 hours and racing ICAP Leopard we got it down to about 11 hours. We will be hoping to get a good westerly wind so that we can lay the Casquets and then charge off towards St.Malo under spinnaker.

I have been doing this race for about 20 years and we are running out of restaurants that will have us! Hopefully we will be in by Saturday morning and have an enormous celebration!" commented Mike Slade.

There are sixteen RORC trophies up for grabs and there will be some intense battles right through the fleet. Four Class 40s will also be racing including World Champion, Concise, skippered by young aspiring yachtsman Tom Gall.

No less than nine A 35s will undoubtedly be swapping tacks throughout the race, including French Rolex Commodores' Cup representative, Marc Alperovitch and Jerome Huillard's, Prime Time. However, last year's IRC Two winners Franck-Yves Esco-Voiles' A 35, Ame-Hasle, will certainly be looking to retain the Yacht Club de Dinard Trophy.

Twenty six Beneteau yachts will be racing, many from France but also making the trip to St. Malo is RORC Commodore Andrew McIrvine, who will be racing his First 40, La Réponse, against three other sister ships.

Andrew McIrvine commented: "La Réponse is a new boat and a new design, so we are getting used to it and the new sails, there are a lot of tweaks to be done but we are learning more every race. It is the first boat that I have had with a fridge which is a bit of a novelty for me! So far we are pretty happy with the boat speed but there is more to come, I am sure."

Hugues Riché's Grand Soleil 44R, Spineck, was the overall winner of the prestigious King Edward VII Cup for best yacht overall in IRC. Riché has strong associations with the Yacht Club de France and after winning last year, he let the Club put the Cup on display. Spineck is back again this year and will be highly motivated to retain it.

Cowes – Dinard – St Malo Race

Organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club in association with UNCL, Yacht Club de Dinard, Société Nautique de la Baie de St. Malo and the Royal Yacht Squadron.

Start: Friday 2nd July from the RYS, to the West.
First warning signal: 1450
Course: Cowes – Casquets - Les Hanois – St Malo. Approx. 164 miles.

Full details including on-line entry at www.rorc.org

Published in RORC
Tagged under

Teen solo sailor Abby Sunderland has been located alive and well, but dismasted, in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Sunderland was dismasted in heavy weather 2,000 miles east of Madagascar and 2,000 miles west of Australia. 

Communications were lost with the 16-year-old as she sailed in heavy weather on Thursday. Her EPIRB went off just hours after her parents last spoke to her from California. Sunderland's emergency signal sparked emergency callouts from Australia and the French island of Reunion, and she was located in the early hours of this morning by a chartered Airbus A330 that set off from Australia to search the area of the EPIRB this morning, arriving on site at first light.

Sunderland was attempting to wrest the title of youngest solo circumnavigator from Jessica Watson, who finished her round-the-world voyage in Sydney last month. The previous record holder was Sunderland's older brother.

The title of youngest circumnavigator has raised serious questions in recent years. A young Dutch sailor, whose parents were keen for her to challenge for the title, were prevented from letting her do so by a children's court in Holland. 

Published in News Update
Tagged under

A new offshore race will set a fleet of boats on a sprint to Rockall, a lonely rock around 270 miles north-west of Donegal. The 750-mile race will be timed to coincide with the arrival of boats in the Volvo Ocean Race in Galway. The Round Rockall Race is the brainchild of Larry Hynes, who sailed around Ireland solo in 2005. 

"We originally wanted to do it last in 2011," he said,  "which was the 200th anniversary of the first landing on Rockall."

However, Hynes said that when he heard the VOR was coming back to Galway, it made sense to postpone the event to make it more palatable to travelling boats from France and elsewhere.

Hynes says he wants to keep the race 'fairly Corinthian' and is welcoming all comers. With Galway being twinned with Lorient in France, Hynes hopes to tap into the offshore sailing spirit of the French and tempt some French offshore boats north with the Volvo Ocean Race Fleet for the finish and a race in Irish waters. 

The site already has a web presence, which puts many of the more established races to shame. He is working with former Round Ireland winner Aodhan Fitzgerald on a Notice of Race and says that he is steadfastly committed to running the event, whether he gets two or two hundred entries.

The Round Rockall website is at www.roundrockallrace.com

Published in Galway Stop

The Cal 40 crew of Sinn Féin are looking for their third consecutive Newport-Bermuda scalp this year, with a hat-trick a very real prospect.   In 46 races since 1906, just three boats have won the major prize, the St. David’s Lighthouse Trophy, at least two times.  A pair of these boats won consecutive races – Carleton Mitchell’s fabled Finisterre in 1956-60 and, in the two most recent races in 2006 and 2008, Peter S. Rebovich’s Sinn Fein, from New Jersey’s Raritan Yacht Club. Rebovich and his usual crew will be back again this year with the gleam of a third St. David’s Lighthouse Trophy in their eyes.

How does this 45-year old stock Cal 40 sloop do so well, so often against much newer and more sophisticated custom boats?  The explanation is that this is a happy marriage of a good boat to an able amateur crew that has been racing her for decades.  During Finisterre’s glory days half a century ago, one of her regular crew credited Mitchell’s “good admiralship” – meaning his cheerful but firm, detail-driven, open-minded command of a deeply loyal crew.  The same can be said of Pete Rebovich and his guys.

One thing that cannot be said about them is that they’re riding a brief lucky streak. When Sinn Fein first raced offshore in the Marion to Bermuda Cruising Yacht Race in the 1980s, she won class and family prizes. She’s sailed six Newport Bermuda Races, paying her dues with low finishes before winning her class in 2002 and 2004 and then taking the St. David’s Lighthouse Trophy, first in a drifter in a glassy sea in 2006 followed by a classic upwind thrash to the Onion Patch in 2008.  Over Memorial Day weekend, she won her class in the 2010 Block Island Race, the major tune-up for the Bermuda Race.

Sinn Fein has also won the Olin J. Stephens Ocean Racing Trophy three straight times – in fact, the only times it has been presented – for the best combined performance in successive Newport Bermuda Races and Marblehead to Halifax Ocean Races. Rebovich has a special memory of winning the first Stephens Trophy because the presentation of the award to the 70-year-old winning skipper was made by 99-year-old Olin Stephens himself. “We won, and while I was hobbling to the stage to meet him and receive the trophy, he commented, ‘Isn't it nice to see an old guy, like me, still out there racing – and winning.’”

Full article on the official race website, HERE.

Published in Racing

Having tacked down the southern seaboard of Ireland after rounding Tuskar Rock, all boats in the Normandy Channel Race have now rounded the Fastnet and are heading east on the homeward leg. The Normandy Channel Race is one of many that visit Irish waters without stopping, with the Mini Fastnet and others dipping into our territory to find a high-profile rock before fleeing again.

The 8 competitors  are making for the Scilly Isles, a string of rocks scattered about the South-West tip of England. To the great delight of these sailors, the fog, which has been tenaciously clinging onto them for the past three days, is gradually dissipating the further South the Class 40s sail. However, little else has changed and they’re still canted over against the wind as they make headway towards the English Channel and Normandy.

"Destination Dunkerque" skippered by Thomas Ruyant-Tanguy Leglatin is continuing what can only be described as a faultless race, admirably optimising their course. No pointless tacks for Tom and Tang then, who are just 300 miles from the finish this morning. Last night’s SE’ly breeze is likely to ease as day breaks and shift further round to the East. As such the ETAs don’t see the fleet crossing the line in Hermanville sur Mer before Sunday morning. In the wake of these solid leaders, the Dutch-Belgian duo Roelland Frannssens-Michel Kleinjans (Moonpalace) were still battling it out for second place with Halvard Mabire and Peter Harding yesterday. However, since then the two boats have split apart with a massive 20 mile lead going to “40 Degrees”. "Moonpalace” must now keep an eye on what’s going on around her and in particular the ‘miraculous’ performance by "Appart City" skippered by Yvon Noblet and David Taboré, which we can recall came close to dismasting two days ago and has since been sailing with a patched-up rig.
Night message from Halvard Mabire, co- skipper to Peter Harding in the Class 40 “40 Degrees”, currently second in the Normandy Channel Race:
"We can’t really say that we saw a lot of Ireland! The Fastnet? We barely saw the base of the rock when we went round it. We didn’t even see the base of the lighthouse. Nothing. You have to wonder a little about how, long ago, you could have managed to sail this course, almost constantly skimming past the rocks without ever seeing them. However the GPS doesn’t date back that long ago. It became fairly commonplace in the early nineties. In 91 we began to have them on the Figaro, which shook things up a bit. ‘Long ago’, which does seems a long time ago now (it has to be said that it was during the last century, in the period of black and white and silent films!), even before you knew where you were going, you already had to know where you were. Today we know perfectly well where we are, even if we can’t see a thing! When you think about it it’s funny to know exactly where you are on a map, or on a computer screen, whilst in fact you’re nowhere because you can’t see anything! Where does the reality end and the virtual begin? What’s staggering is the speed at which things become part of everyday life on a cultural level. Today nobody wonders about the very recent problems of positioning because we’re surrounded by GPS systems, which are constantly telling us not just where we are, but can also track anything or anyone. Anybody can position any object or any person on a map, without even knowing which way is North, or without having the slightest idea about basic orientation in relation to the sun. Once the great mystery of positioning is no longer there, it becomes more difficult to do something sensational. Everyone remembers Tabarly looming up out of the fog in Newport to take victory in the Transat in ‘76. Probably an element of the media success of this victory stemmed from the fact that it was unexpected and that it came out of the fog like a divine apparition.
Now you all know where we are and the ranking, which is constantly displayed, no longer allows you to fill pages with suppositions and forecasts. I’m under the impression that everyone wonders a bit about what they’re going to be able to talk about. That’s why they ask us if we have a ‘strategy’. At the risk of disappointing a lot of people, I can tell you that strategy, that’s to say deciding in advance what you’re going to do, is a load of hot air for boats like the Class40s. Solely the big multihulls vying for transoceanic records can really play with the weather, otherwise, as a general rule, it’s the weather that plays around with the boats. We find ourselves in a particular place at a particular time and there are not really any choices to be made. Or rather, if you can choose, it comes down to trying not to do something silly or avoiding doing something you mustn’t do on any account and that’s how you ‘give up’ up places to others. When you’re making virtually no headway at all, you can’t ‘traverse’ the race zone to hunt down a miracle. That’s why you notice that more and more the “fleet is right” (which is par for the course with the rising standards) and that ultimately the winner has rarely strayed far from the most direct course. The positioning of the race boats really comes down to a series of reactions in relation to an instantaneous situation, rather than a strategy decided in advance. All that to say, on 40 Degrees the strategy is not to have one and instead it’s all about adapting as best you can to the situations which present themselves."
Follow the race online with their tracker map.

 

Published in News Update
Page 29 of 30

The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.

Competitions

The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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