Saturday, 14 November 2009

LVT: Match Race Observers are Top Womens Match Racers

Four top international women's matchers are on board each of the boats as 'umpire observers'

Umpire observer on the back of an AC boat. Image copyright Louis Vuitton Trophy.

by Chloe Daycard

In addition to the sailing team on the ACV5 boats being used at the Louis Vuitton Trophy Nice Côte d’Azur, there is often an ‘18th man’, a VIP guest passenger on board who stands near the back of the boat and is able to get a unique close-up perspective of the racing. But for the first time at this regatta, at the back of each of the boats is also a young woman...

With women’s match racing becoming an Olympic discipline for London 2012, so the umpire team, led by Bill Edgerton, decided to invite down to Nice four of the world’s top women match racers, placing them on board the boats during racing to act as the on the water umpires’ on board observers. This would help the umpires make their rulings, help the women learn about how the rulings are made and provide each sailing team with a link to the jury - effectively a win-win-win for all involved.

The lucky four in Nice this week, each hooked up to the umpire team via radios and earpieces, are world’s women no1 match racer from France, Claire Leroy the soon to be world no1 from the UK, Lucy MacGregor, one of her crew, Annie Lush, and also from the UK, Nicky Muller.

“I am an observer, so I help the umpires to call an overlap or no overlap and we relay some information to the competitors and if they want to ask some questions about a case then we can relay that to the umpires,” explains Claire Leroy. They also keep an eye on the instruments on board and can call this data through to the umpires if it is required – she gives the example of the angles on a downwind leg.

“It is really interesting for us to see how they communicate together and it is interesting to watch the cases too. I’ve learned a lot of things,” continues Leroy.

For LeRoy it is also her first time on an ACC v5, as used in the America’s Cup two years ago in Valencia. Today she was on ITA99. Compared to the smaller production boats she is used to racing at match racing events around the world, the sailboats being used at the Louis Vuitton Trophy are monsters.

“They are so different to the boats I am used to,” admits Leroy. “I was ready for it, but it was still cool. The noise is incredible and when you have waves there is all this vibration. It is interesting. It is not a small boat, so you have to anticipate more. You have to manage every discipline of the sailing, so it is good.”

LeRoy is also impressed by the teams themselves. Generally she sails with four, or six maximum. ACC boats require 17 people to sail them. This afternoon she was on with TEAMORIGIN. “It is interesting to watch how they do it. I was with them when they beat Oracle and every time they make good tacks, everything was avery calm. They can anticipate a lot. It was interesting.”

Louis Vuitton Trophy

Brad Butterworth at the Royal Port Nicholson YC, Wellington

Brad Butterworth with Dean Stanley at the RPNYC in Wellington. Image copyright Mark Hill.

by Mark Hill

On Thursday, 12th November, Brad Butterworth, Alinghi's Skipper, visited the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club in Wellington as guest lunch speaker.

Butterworth commented that although the legal issues are still being discussed, both BMW ORACLE Racing and Alinghi had started designing their multihulls for the 33rd America's Cup back in 2007. The whole of Alinghi 5 is full of hydraulics, and sensors which change colour according to the loads. The bowsprit has a 32 tonne threshold on it, and if it goes over 32 tonnes, there's an alarm that goes off in the back of the boat. The width of the boat gives it a huge righting moment. The winches on the boat are the biggest winches that could be obtained.

Brad Butterworth addressed a large audience at RPNYC on 12th November. Image copyright Mark Hill.

In about 7.5 knots of breeze, Alinghi 5 is doing 28 knots. When Alinghi 5 is doing over 30 knots, this means that the chase boats can't keep up and they are over the horizon pretty quickly!

Butterworth dismissed the suggestion that an organisation like FIFA should be instituted for the America's Cup. He said he felt that the Cup should be left alone and one should be able to go to a body like the world Court for Arbitration in Sport to resolve issues. [Note from SailRaceWin: The Deed of Gift specifies that the New York courts be used to resolve issues with the America's Cup. Whereas it could be argued that the Court for Arbitration in Sport, based in Lausanne, Switzerland, did not exist at the time that the Deed was written, in practice the Court for Arbitration in Sport mainly deals with issues such as drug use by athletes. SailRaceWin applauds Justice Kornreich's use of a sailor advisory panel to assist the Court with technical decisions under the Deed of Gift.]

Brad Butterworth said that he was looking forward to racing in the 33rd America's Cup in February.

Spirit of Wellington initiative

Dean Stanley, Wellington Yachting Association. Image copyright Mark Hill.

by SailRaceWin

Dean Stanley also made a brief presentation re. The Wellington Yachting Talent Development Programme. Its aims are:

* Sailors from Wellington consistently achieving podium finishes in the Asia/Pacific youth match racing circuit

* Sailors from Wellington consistently gaining 10% of the places in the New Zealand youth squad and the New Zealand youth team and going on to compete and achieve internationally

* Sailors from Wellington consistently gaining 10% of the top ten percent of places at the National Championships of the youth classes supported by the programme

There is a more general plan for the Wellington Spirit Yacht Racing team, which includes the highly ambitious aim of development of a New Zealand Match Racing Cup as one of the events on the World Match Racing Tour. Further information on this is available.

Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club. Image copyright Mark Hill.

Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club

TJV: Artemis Ocean Racing Takes a Pounding but Decides Against Pit-Stop

Sidney Gavignet on board Artemis earlier in the race. Image copyright Sam Davies/Artemis Ocean Racing.

by Tim Kelly and Camilla Green

The storm-force conditions (55 knots of wind and boat breaking seas overnight) have inflicted further damage to Artemis Ocean Racing.

Sam called the shore team at 1030 GMT this morning to report: “We have lost a mainsail batten (third down from the top) which flew out of the sail, the third reef pin on the boom has gone and our main Iridium satellite phone handset is broken – either water-logged or from the shock of the boat pounding through the waves.”

None of the damage is terminal but the loss of the mainsail batten will compromise their race performance, and with 75% of the race remaining, Sam and Sidney considered making a pit stop at either the Azores (300nm upwind) or Madeira, 400nm to the south-east. However, Sam called the shore team at 1700 GMT this afternoon and confirmed Artemis Ocean Racing would not stop:

“We did consider a pitstop either in the Azores or Madeira as now we have a list of problems and we know we are not going to sail the rest of the race at 100% all the time because of that. But we’ve now had a look at it and think we can do a better repair at sea and although we will lose some time, we won’t lose as much as if we deviate to Azores or Madeira. So we’ve taken the decision to carry on - a little bit handicapped but knowing that we are probably not the only ones in the fleet who are struggling a little bit.

"Right now, we’re still in 40+ knots of wind so we can’t do anything to start the repairs but the wind should ease off quite quickly tonight. So we’re eating and sleeping so we’re ready to attack the repairs as soon as the conditions will let us do that and we should be up and running and back on the right route tomorrow morning.”

Artemis Ocean Racing is in 11th place having covered nearly 1,000 miles of the 4,730-mile race to Costa Rica. Sam continues: “It’s been a full Atlantic winter storm and the size of the waves are absolutely massive. You couldn’t see that last night because it was pitch black and you couldn’t see anything because of the spray. It was only this morning when you realised how mountainous the waves were. The wind strength in itself is impressive when you have over 50 knots because it’s not something you see very often but the thing that is really dangerous is the waves.”

Others in the IMOCA 60 fleet are not faring well either with the worst news coming from the BT IMOCA monohull which activated its distress beacon having suffered major damage to the coachroof following a night battling it out in fierce seas and winds reaching 60 knots at times. The skippers, Sébastien Josse and Jean-Francois Cuzon, are in regular contact with the Race Direction team as a rescue operation gets underway. Sam commented: “It’s always the same when you hear that another competitor is in serious trouble and especially when we heard this morning about BT and although we’re having our own problems, they suddenly seemed insignificant compared to what Jo Jo and Jeff [Sébastien Josse and Jeff Cuzon] are having to go through. You fear for their safety as even if they are fine their boat is dangerous, and we’re in the right place to know what they are going through. It’s pretty heinous even when your boat is in one piece, as Artemis is, and going along safely, it still feels dangerous.”

It has also been confirmed that Veolia Environnment (Roland Jourdain and Jean-Luc Nelias) are also heading to the Azores to try and repair damage to their mast track – the same damage incurred by Brit Air in the opening stages of the race that resulted in their retirement. Damage to other boats is expected to be revealed over the coming hours as well.

Once the IMOCA fleet has got through this latest storm, conditions will moderate a little. The fleet is starting to converge again, with all the southern fleet heading west now, and the middle pack heading south-west. The middle group has got into some north-west winds which means they are reaching along, and rather than doing 11 knots they are doing 16-18 knots in the right direction! This is where these boats can press an advantage today. Currently it looks like the middle route has been the way to go, with the extreme northern or southern boats not making an impact.

Artemis Ocean Racing
Transat Jacques Vabre

TJV: Caffari and Thompson ready to race Aviva in the Transat Jacques Vabre

Aviva. Image copyright Aviva Ocean Racing.

by Kelly Russell

With the worst of the demanding conditions that have tested the IMOCA Open 60 fleet behind them, Dee Caffari and Brian Thompson, onboard Aviva are relieved to be changing their tactics from survival to racing in the 4800 mile Transat Jacques Vabre.

The dramatic rescue of Seb Josse and Jean François Curzon on board BT, highlighted the severity of the conditions the Open 60 sailors have had to contend with over the past three days. As the northerly group of the fleet passes the Azores they will be expecting more comfortable sailing with useful breezes and warmer temperatures. Caffari and Thompson will use this opportunity to ensure that everything is in order on board Aviva and to turn their focus to racing in an attempt to close the gap on the race leaders.

The 10h00 race ranking on Saturday, 14th November, positioned Dee Caffari and Brian Thompson, onboard Aviva, in seventh place, 190 miles behind race leader Safran.

Dee Caffari and Brian Thompson’s latest diary entry received on 14 November 2009 at 0720 GMT:

“For those that have seen our boats from the dockside, they look pretty big and for those that have taken a look onboard, you realise that much of the 60 feet is cavernous space filled with nothing, sails or water ballast. The reality is we live in a very small area of the yacht, normally centred around the navigation station and the hatch. On Aviva this started a neat minimalist area with everything in its place and a place for everything. Now after a few days bouncing around suffering drama after drama whilst still trying to either race or survive depending what position to the weather you are, this space has turned into a dark tardis.

"We have lost stuff into this tardis maybe forever or at the very least until the next dry comfortable sailing that allows household chores to be done. So I would have loved to have sent you wonderful photographs from our time onboard but unfortunately I last saw the camera when we had breakfast with Groupe Bel at the beginning of the week. We shall keep looking!”

Dee Caffari Racing
Transat Jacques Vabre

TJV: Cuzon and Josse in the Helicopter

by Régis Lerat

At approx 1800hrs GMT news came through that the BT co-skippers Sébastien Josse and Jean-François Cuzon had been successfully lifted off their stricken boat by a Portuguese Air Force helicopter heading for the American Lajes Field air base on the Azores island of Terceiera.

Transat Jacques Vabre

TJV: Images of the Rescue of Actual off Cherbourg

Image copyright Marcel Mochet/AFP.

Image copyright Marcel Mochet/AFP.

Image copyright Marcel Mochet/AFP.

Image copyright Marcel Mochet/AFP.

Transat Jacques Vabre

TJV: Superstition or the Power of Nature?

1876. Image copyright Marcel Mochet/AFP.

by Régis Lerat

As the Transat Jacques Vabre competitors looked set to emerge from the worst weather so far a mission to secure BT co-skippers Sébastien Josse and Jean Francois Curzon after their IMOCA Open 60 was badly damaged this morning in big seas and winds which other competitors reported to be in excess of 55 knots at times.

The pair were reported to have set off their EIPRB beacon at around 10:20hrs this morning while 200 miles north of the Azores after the coachroof was badly damaged by the pounding waves. They said that the boat was taking water and required immediate assistance. At one point to a depth of nearly two thirds of hull was filled with water. The two co-skippers are fully equipped with their safety gear awaiting the arrival of assistance.

The co-skippers have remained in regular contact with Race Director Jean Maurel in Paris and the BT shore team as the MRCC moved into action to co-ordinate operations.

Curzon spoke early this morning to the radio session with Paris Race HQ, telling of winds of more than 50 knots and the huge, confused seas, his voice revealing his concerns. A matter of hours later a huge wave is understood to have torn off part of the coach roof.

Immediately, they informed Race HQ and the MRCC set in train the assistance operation. Race direction alerted Safran co-skippers Marc Guillemot and Charles Caudrelier as well as Veolia Environnnement to be aware that they could need to be diverted. A helicopter and an aeroplane were scrambled to fly over the zone, whilst a scientific oceanographic research vessel which was operating close to the area was dispatched to BT.

W Hotels. Image copyright Marcel Mochet/AFP.

Compared with the BT duo's situation, other problems reported from the race course have been thankfully relatively straightforward. And the leaders were expecting to emerge into improving conditions by this evening. Roland Jourdain confirmed to the radio session that he and Jean Luc Nelias will make a pitstop in the Azores to repair their mainsail mast-track which was damaged when they were taking in a reef and the mainsail cars flew off the track.

According to Artemis' press service Sam Davies and Sidney Gavignet are contemplating a stop to make repairs, possibly in the Azores but more likely in 400 miles down the track in Madeira, but that now seems unlikely.

Meantime repairs at sea included Brian Thompson who went to the top of Aviva's mast yesterday during a calmer spell to replace a wind wand. That option will not be open to Mike Golding who, after fixing the autopilot problems on Mike Golding Yacht Racing was dismayed to discover that both of their wind indicators had been ripped from the top of the mast during last night's storm.

At the front of the fleet Guillemot and Caudrelier have a lead of 35 miles over Mike Golding Yacht Racing.

Quotes :

Alex Thomson (GBR), Hugo Boss:

“ All is well on board. We had a bit on an issue with the J3 which unfurled itself in 50 knots of wind but Rossco dealt with it and furled it away. Ross banged his wrist on the first night out but he has been battling on through the pain, he is a real trooper.

“It is incredible on board. You cannot move around anywhere or do anything, you can't go to the toilet. In fact we have not even managed to make a cup of tea since the start and both Ross and I are avid tea drinkers.

“But we are moving up the rankings OK, which is nice, but at the moment survival is the most important thing, but as soon as the wind eases off we will be able to really put the hammer down the more miles we get south.”

Mike Golding (GBR), Mike Golding Yacht Racing:

“It was a rough night really and now we are hoping in the next hour or so to see the back of the squalls which have been coming through up to 65 knots, and just horrendous seas but I am sure that all the boats are struggling in these conditions. It is not an easy time.

“We are both fine. Javier has just gone for some rest. We have both been up all night with just such extreme conditions. We are just trying to push through them and not break anything.

“I think at the moment we are just pleased to be still on the race course, we are having to squeeze up a little to try and find a line through, but I have always been quite happy tactically where are, to the south of this group.

“And I'll be pleased to be the first out of the worst.

“ We are lining up to pass the Azores in 12 hours of so, and we'll see what happens there.”

Michel Desjoyeaux, (FRA), Foncia:

“It is a bit wet here. We had a front pass over then a rough night with the wind increasing and a shift around daybreak and since then it has gone SSW'ly. It is bumpy, everything shaking. It is quite impressive but it passes and that is the way it is. We are getting along between 12 and 14 knots all the time and mostly the wind has been low 30's. The most we've seen is 48 knots. And in a few hours we should see some calmer conditions. The seas will remain for a bit, but the winds will abate steadily.”

Roland Jourdain (FRA) Foncia:

“We tore off the cars at the head of the mainsail when we were taking a reef in. The winds have been between 40 and 45 knots, we took a first reef, then a second and then we had the problem. We realized the problem and immediately dropped the mainsail. We can't sail with more than two reefs, which is fine for the moment. But if we want to be competitive to the end of the race then we need to stop to repair it.

“We will stop in Horta in the Azores to make a repair as quickly as possible. If everything is OK it should be done quickly. We should get into the port relatively easily and the repair is not complicated and it is not a big thing to repair.

“What is costly to us though is changing course, we were very happy with our option.

"Anway we don't want to give up, we want to stay in the race and we will do everything to get to Costa Rica. We have had better times but that is the way it goes.”

Transat Jacques Vabre

LVT: Tough loss for Artemis due to gear failure

Paul Cayard up the mast on Artemis. Image copyright Frank Socha.

by Paul Cayard

We had one race Friday and it was important. We raced BMW Oracle and if we had won, it would have put us in fourth place after Round Robin 1.

We knew the importance of this race and we were doing a great job half way through. Terry had gotten another great start and Morgan and Kevin did a great job of controlling the race. We rounded the first windward mark with a 20 second lead.

On the first run we suffered a hydraulic failure and lost all of our hydraulic controls. So we sailed up the second windward leg at about 93% of full speed. They got ahead of us and rounded the second windward mark about 2 boat lengths in front of us. We closed a bit on the run but they managed to hang on.

That was very frustrating to lose a race we had in hand through equipment failure. Did anyone else notice that it was Friday the 13th?

Now the Race Management Committee has decided to modify the format of the event. There will not be a complete 2nd round robin. Rather they had decided to pit the top four boats against the bottom four boats. So this will result in each team only sailing 4 matches over the next four days rather than the 7 we were supposed to sail. This is because the committee thinks it is unlikely that we could complete the full round robin give the current weather forecast.

So there is now a huge difference between being 4th or 5th after round robin 1. If you are 4th you race only 5-8. If you are 5th you race only 1-4.

There is one more match to finish from round robin 1 and that is between Synergy and BMW Oracle. If Synergy wins that race, Artemis will end up fourth. All three teams, Synergy, BMW Oracle and Artemis will be tied on 3 wins, an unbreakable tie, so it will go to the team who beat the highest placing team not involved in the tie. And that is us because we beat TeamOrigin.

So let's keep our fingers crossed for our Russian friends Saturday morning!

Artemis Racing
Louis Vuitton Trophy

LVT: Emirates Team New Zealand Top of the Leaderboard after Round Robin One in Nice

Emirates Team New Zealand on the wind off Nice. Image copyright Chris Cameron.

by Warren Douglas

Emirates Team New Zealand has finished at the top of the leader board after the first round robin of the Louis Vuitton Trophy regatta in the south of France.

Audio: Dean Barker (skipper) on Friday's race for Emirates Team New Zealand

Audio: Ray Davies (tactician) on Friday's race for ETNZ

With a six-win, one-loss record for the round, ETNZ finished on six points, with the Italian entry Azzurra also on six points second. ETNZ won on the countback, having beaten Azzura.

Third was TEAMORIGIN (UK) on five point (5 wins, 2 Losses). Artemis fourth (3-4) BMW Oracle fifth (3-3) followed by Synergy, ALL4ONE and Team French Spirit.

TeamOrigin leads Emirates Team New Zealand downwind. Image copyright Chris Cameron.

The final match of the round between BMW Oracle and Synergy was abandoned when the time limit was exceeded.

The format for the rest of the regatta will be changed to make up for time lost in the light conditions.

Emirates Team New Zealand
Louis Vuitton Trophy

TJV: Visual and VHF Contact Made with BT

BT. Image copyright Th. Martinez/Sea&Co/OC Events.

by Régis Lerat

The Ocean Explorer, an oceanographic vessel present in the area, has gained visual and VHF contact with the team on BT. The crew of the vessel and the two sailors are now arranging the best method of rescue...

Transat Jacques Vabre

LVT: Azzurra and ETNZ top first Round Robin

Francesco Bruni at the helm of Azzurra. Image copyright Bob Grieser/

by Jill Campbell

Italy’s team Azzurra will certainly be celebrating at the party hosted by the title sponsor for participants in the Louis Vuitton Trophy tonight in Nice. The young Italian team took a breathtaking victory over British Team Origin this morning to conclude Round Robin 1 in second place, on equal points with the mighty Emirates Team New Zealand.

Today’s race, although held in light breezes of approximately 6 to 8 knots was one of the most exciting to date, highly technical and close-fought right up to the finish line. Team Origin took the lead towards the start of the upwind leg as Azzurra completed an immediate penalty turn for failing to keep clear. The British team skippered by triple gold-medallist Ben Ainslie covered the Italians closely up to the mark and rounded with 37 seconds to spare.

The Italians made a spectacular comeback on the downwind run and went through the bottom gate with a lead of just under one minute (56 seconds). Team Origin fought back on the final downwind leg, coming within 40 metres of Azzurra but failed to get past the Italians led by skipper Francesco Bruni and with America’s Cup veteran Tomasso Chieffi on tactics. Azzurra crossed the line 1 minute exactly ahead of TeamOrigin.

“Today was a tense and thrilling regatta, I have to thank the crew who are calm and professional in all conditions.” Said skipper and helmsman Francesco Bruni. I didn’t expect the team to be on equal points with ETNZ at the end of this round, that’s a great result but there is still a long way to go, we have to stay calm and concentrated as we have been up until now.

Azzurra closes Round Robin with 6 wins and one defeat at the hands of Emirates Team New Zealand.

Friday's Races
1: BMW Oracle beat Artemis
2: Team Origin beat ETNZ
3: Azzurra beat Team Origin

Provisional Rankings RR1 Wins/Losses
ALL4ONE (Host Team) 2/5

Louis Vuitton Trophy

TJV: Into Survival Mode on Hugo Boss

Hugo Boss. Image copyright Alex Thomson Racing.

by Lucy Harwood

The fleet has been once again been battered by storm force 9 conditions (over 50 mph) in the North Atlantic, and face another tough 24 hours ahead before conditions will ease and the racing can begin once more.

As Alex said from onboard today, “it’s horrific out there, just horrific, I have no other words to describe it. These are boat-breaking conditions. You can’t do anything on the boat right now.” HUGO BOSS has gone into survival mode as the IMOCA class battles the 50 knot winds and squalls.

There has been damage across the fleet. Veolia Environment has reported mast track damage, Mike Golding Yacht Racing is still without major instruments and Artemis have sustained damaged to their sail battens and boom. For HUGO BOSS, Alex and Ross are doing a great job to keep the boat in one piece, “we have storm jib and 3 reefs in, but the boat is not liking these conditions, we need to head south as quickly as possible, the quicker we get south the quicker this wind is going to drop.” It was BT who suffered the worst damage today after reporting the coach roof was torn and the boat was two thirds full of water. They set off their emergency EPIRB and are currently awaiting rescue 200 miles from the Azores.

The fleet will be hoping to survive the night and make the turn south west towards the Azores High. HUGO BOSS remain the most northerly boat in the fleet still, with a massive 700 mile north south split between HUGO BOSS and the most southerly boat Foncia. The mood onboard remains as up beat as possible, “All onboard is ok, we did have a bit of a problem with our J3 unfurling in 50 knots of wind, and Ross was on watch so he managed to get it furled away with no damage. Ross is suffering a little bit, he banged his wrist on the first night he has been a real trooper onboard.” This is the first IMOCA race for Ross who has been long term boat captain to Alex over the last 8 years. “Do you know we haven’t had a cup of tea since we left port, and Ross and I are avid tea drinkers!” joked Alex this afternoon from the live broadcast onboard.

1600 GMT positions
Speed: 10.8 knots
Position: 45 33.78 N – 29 53.10 W
Miles to leader: 70 miles
Miles to finish: 3501 miles

Alex Thomson Racing
Transat Jacques Vabre

LVT: TeamOrigin Ends the Kiwi Run

TeamOrigin leads Emirates Team New Zealand downwind. Image copyright Ian Roman/TeamOrigin.

by Leslie Ryan

TEAMORIGIN beat Emirates Team New Zealand in a classic match race, ending the Kiwis’ unbeaten record at the Louis Vuitton Trophy Nice regatta.

It was always going to be a good match and half way through it almost didn’t matter who won because it had already been a great match. The opponent, Emirates Team New Zealand, is a team that two members of the British afterguard, navigator Ian Moore and skipper Ben Ainslie, know well. The pair had been members of the Kiwi training team afterguard for three years in the lead up to the 32nd America’s Cup, where the New Zealand team eventually became the Challenger and gave the Cup Defenders the hardest defence match in recent times.

It was a tight pre-start, Kiwi skipper Dean Barker, entering from the starboard end and winning the left of the course, lead for the first part of the beat. The right started to show some favour allowing the British team to move into the advantage as the pair approached the top mark. It was really close the Kiwis approaching the top mark on the port tack layline TEAMORIGIN, on starboard tack dialled-down forcing the Kiwis to bear away significantly making them unable to lay the weather mark once the British boat had crossed and tacked.

A slow, long luff followed with the British boat to weather needing to keep clear. The result saw both boats head to wind and almost stopped. Boat handling, slow speed trimming and timing, skill sets the Kiwis have in heaps were going to be required to get the advantage. The British crew chose their moment and managed to accelerate the boat on starboard tack sufficiently to move clear ahead of their stalled opponent, tack in front and round the first mark with a 22 second lead, controlling the match from then on.

TeamOrigin leads Emirates Team New Zealand into the windward mark. Image copyright Ian Roman/TeamOrigin.

TEAMORIGIN Team Principal Sir Keith Mills was on board as 18th man for the match. Minutes after the race ended he had this to say: “We were well matched, there was nothing between us up the first beat. We could see the situation developing.

It was really close. Ben brillliantly shut them out. The luff, the slow speed sailing, the escape, that was classic Ben Ainslie. The team were faultless, text book good. It has to be text book good against the New Zealanders. They are the reference.”

The second race of the day and the last of Round Robin One for TEAMORIGIN was the match against the Italian team Azzurra. The Italians had the same score line as TEAMORIGIN up to this point and winning the match would take TEAMORIGIN into the lead of the regatta.

The British team started at the left end of the line and sailed in the light winds upwind, in touch but not in control of the race. Two thirds of the way up the beat skipper Ben Ainslie team tacked over towards the centre of the course, the Italians crossed ahead and tacked to cover. The pair was now overlapped and a luff by TEAMORIGIN and a lack of sufficient response from Azzurra saw the Italian team collect a red-flag penalty, a 360 degree turn, that needed to be taken straight away.

This gave TEAMORIGIN the lead. But with the dying Northerly wind and a split on the course on the first run, the role of ‘leader of the match’ swapped again and Azzurra rounded the gate with a significant lead. The British team, smarting from losing the lead, battled on around the course and in spite of big distance gains on the last leg the finish line came before the passing move was possible.

Team Director Mike Sanderson commented on the second race against Azzurra: “We did a nice job to get back into them on the first beat, got the red flag penalty on them which maybe should have been a double penalty. That was a slick move from Ben. We led around the top mark and the wind got pretty light. We had to pick a side and it went the wrong way for us. But if we’d had to chose which race we wanted to win today we’d definitely be happy with this morning’s one against Emirates Team New Zealand.”

Ben Ainslie explains what hindsight says they should have done on the first run against the Italian Azzurra team: “We should have matched them right at the beginning of the run and gybed over. But we didn’t and the opportunity never arose after that to come back. We knew we were in trouble quite soon after they gybed away but there wasn’t a lot we could do about it.

When you make those decisions you have to stick with them but as a team we are making more right decisions than wrong , and we’ve just got to keep working at it.”

Ben Ainslie summarised the first Round Robin of the Louis Vuitton Trophy thus: “The team work is good, everyone is getting on well. We just need to eliminate a few small mistakes and keep working at it. We’ve had a good round, we’ve had some good races, we’ve improved a lot through the round which is really important with these boats and when moving forwards from here. We’re looking forward to the next round and trying to maintain that top four position so as to qualify for the semis.”

Mike Sanderson smiles for the camera at the back of the boat on TeamOrigin. Image copyright Ian Roman/TeamOrigin.

Louis Vuitton Trophy Nice Cote d’Azur

Round Robin One - Current Standings
Competing teams - Country - Skipper - Record (W-L)

Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) - Dean Barker, 6-1
Azzurra (ITA) - Francesco Bruni, 6-1
TEAMORIGIN (GBR) - Ben Ainslie, 5-2
Artemis (SWE) - Paul Cayard, 3-4
BMW ORACLE Racing (USA) - Gavin Brady, 3-3
ALL4ONE (FRA/GER) - Jochen Schuemann, 2-5
Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS) - Karol Jablonski, 2-4
Team French Spirit (FRA) - Bertrand Pacé, 0-7

Louis Vuitton Trophy

LVT: All to Play For for BMW ORACLE Racing

BMW ORACLE Racing sails upwind on the hip of Artemis. Image copyright Paul Todd/

by Peter Rusch

BMW ORACLE Racing has one match remaining in Round Robin 1 of the Louis Vuitton Trophy-Nice and it's a very important race, with a big impact on the scoreboard.
For a time, it appeared it would be a banner day for the American squad. The team earned a come-from-behind win over Artemis early this morning and held a nice advantage over the Russian Synergy team in their second match. But the wind failed on the first downwind leg, and the time limit expired, forcing Race Officer Peter Reggio to abandon the match. It was disappointing, but came as no surprise to the crew.

"The wind shut down but it was expected. The breeze has been dying out around mid-day typically," said grinder Brian MacInnes (CAN).

The race will be re-sailed on Saturday morning.

This final match is of critical importance to BMW ORACLE Racing as the format for Round Robin 2 has been modified. A win puts the team in the top four, while a loss drops them into the second tier of teams. The changed format now sees the top four teams each race against every one of the bottom four teams in the shortened second round of the regatta. (This means each team has four matches instead of seven).

So finishing in the top four brings the promise of easier races in round two, after which the leading four teams advance to a Semi Final and Final, while the bottom half of the fleet sail for the minor placings.

The regatta organisers have decided to change the event format after time has been lost due to the fickle winds on the Bay of Angels.

"We'd like to be in the top four at the end of the Round Robin," MacInnes said. "It would set us up in a much stronger position the rest of the way."

Round Robin 1 Standings (Synergy and BMW ORACLE Racing have one match still to sail)

1. Emirates Team New Zealand; 6-1
2. Azzurra; 6-1
3. TeamOrigin; 5-2
4. BMW ORACLE Racing; 3-3
5. Artemis; 3-4
6. Synergy; 2-4
7. ALL4ONE; 2-5
8. TFS - Pages Jaunes; 0-7

Louis Vuitton Trophy

Jules Verne Trophy: Checkpoint

by Vincent Borde and Caroline Muller

After eight days at sea, Groupama 3 is currently in a transition phase, which is causing her to lose part of her lead over the reference time in the Jules Verne Trophy. However, this passage across a ridge of high pressure is only set to last a little less than 24 hours and Franck Cammas and his crew are still managing an average speed in excess of 23 knots...

Getting around the Saint Helena High is always a key moment during the Jules Verne Trophy as it's not easy to know, just a matter of hours away, how the gusts of hot Brazilian air will transform into a stormy depression system and head off towards South Africa. This is especially true when you have to set out from Ushant, nearly 5,000 miles away! In fact, the weather window heralding the start of this particular record attempt on 5th November, collectively chosen by the onshore weather router Sylvain Mondon from Météo France, Groupama 3's navigator Stan Honey and in the final instance by skipper Franck Cammas, forecast a series of disturbances forming off Brazil. However, there is clearly a margin of error in knowing exactly where the point of impact will be. In reality, this margin of error has proved to be fairly slim since the encounter is due to take place from Saturday morning off Rio de Janeiro...

Beneath the Southern Cross

This Friday lunchtime, Lionel Lemonchois indicated at the radio link-up that this short Brazilian detour wasn't spoiling the atmosphere onboard in the slightest, as it only amounted to a few tens of miles lost, which were going to simply modify the manner in which they sail.

"We have discussions on a daily basis about what's going to happen over the coming hours: in a nutshell, it's already been three or four days that we've known how the weather conditions in the Southern Atlantic are going to pan out. As such we're not surprised that we're losing ground this Friday, even though we're still sailing well this lunchtime. On a circumnavigation of the globe, you can't make up ground everyday. There are transition phases like this one today, but the next stage is shaping up to be pretty good... We also have a little room for manoeuvre in relation to Orange 2! However, we'll soon be getting out our boots and fleeces: we're losing a little heat every night. At the moment, we're carrying all the sail aloft with full mainsail, staysail and large gennaker. We're slipping along nicely with fourteen knots of wind beneath a glorious sun. At night, the canopy of heaven is dotted with stars, while the Southern Cross is getting ever higher in the sky!"

Just minutes later, Groupama 3 was beginning to bend her trajectory southward, and then progressively SE, whilst still maintaining an average speed of over 22 knots. Clearly, in accounting terms, the overall performance figures are less flattering since this course 60° off the direct route since the latitude of Recife, has seen them lose ground: 380 miles VMG over 24 hours along the Jules Verne Trophy course, but still a daily total of 550 miles across the water! In short, the reduction in terms of bankable mileage is going unnoticed on board, it's only in relation to Bruno Peyron's course that there is some discrepancy. Indeed, it is worth noting here that Franck Cammas and his nine crew have been on a route which is virtually parallel to that of Orange 2 since crossing the equator; the latter of which was achieved nearly 5° further out to the West. Between now and Saturday lunchtime, the slow haemorrhage (30 mile deficit in 48 hours or a differential of 0.6 knots) will be totally cauterised by the powerful N'ly winds forecast...

Cammas - Groupama

LVT: Emirates Team New Zealand wins first round robin at Louis Vuitton Trophy Nice Côte d'Azur

TeamOrigin leads Emirates Team New Zealand downwind. Image copyright Ian Roman/TeamOrigin.

Tacking duel for Emirates Team New Zealand and TeamOrigin. Image copyright Bob Grieser/

by Chloe Daycard

One match remains to complete the round and it has significant implications for the standings.

Emirates Team New Zealand won the first round robin at the Louis Vuitton Trophy Nice Côte d’Azur despite losing the anticipated showdown match against England’s TEAMORIGIN.

Emirates Team New Zealand keeps it close with TeamOrigin. Image copyright Bob Grieser/

TeamOrigin, with founder and CEO Sir Keith Mills riding as 18th man, won the thrilling race by 32 seconds. That gave the British team an opportunity to win the round robin outright, but it dropped to third when it lost to Italy’s Azzurra in its second match of the day.

Azzurra’s 1-minute triumph put it tied with Team New Zealand for the lead at 6-1, but the Kiwis won by beating Azzurra in Flight 5. TeamOrigin placed third with a 5-2 record.

TeamOrigin and Emirates Team New Zealand enjoyed an incident-packed match. Image copyright Bob Grieser/

“It was always going to be a tough match against TeamOrigin,” said Emirates Team New Zealand skipper, Dean Barker. “It was disappointing to lose the race, but you always learn more in your losses than your wins. We’re pleased with the way we’re sailing and we can do better.”

While the top three spots on the leaderboard are set, fourth through sixth remain up for grabs. There’s one match outstanding to complete the round, between BMW ORACLE Racing and Synergy, and it is tomorrow’s scheduled first match. It was abandoned today when the 20-minute leg time limit ran out on the first run.

The match has significant implications for the standings. If BMW Oracle wins it places fourth and Synergy finishes sixth behind Sweden’s Artemis. But if Synergy wins the three teams become tied at 3-4. The tiebreaker would place Artemis fourth, Synergy fifth and BMW Oracle sixth.

The French/German team ALL4ONE is seventh with a 2-5 record and TFS – Pages Jaunes is eighth at 0-7.

The standings are important because the second half of the regatta has been changed. Due to time constraints a half round robin will be conducted with the top four teams racing the bottom four teams. Each team has four matches scheduled before the semifinals and knock-out rounds begin next Thursday.

Today’s few matches showcased aggressive match racing with afterguards frequently seeking penalties on their opponent.

The afterguard on TeamOrigin: Iain Percy calls to the umpires, Ian Moore is navigating and Ben Ainslie driving. Image copyright Ian Roman/TeamOrigin.

Team New Zealand and TeamOrigin took split tacks onto the racecourse. The key moment came at their third meeting near the top of the 1.3-nautical-mile leg. Approaching on opposite tacks, TeamOrigin held the starboard advantage and used it to dial down Team New Zealand. When the Kiwis got to the right TeamOrigin made a slam-dunk tack and pinned the Kiwis to leeward.

Moments later both boats were luffing head-to-wind with Team New Zealand to the right. TeamOrigin fell off onto starboard tack, built speed, tacked to port and sailed over the bow of Team New Zealand to round in the lead by 21 seconds en route to the victory.

“We have a huge amount of respect for Dean and all the guys at Team New Zealand,” said Ben Ainslie, TeamOrigin skipper. “Having spent a lot of time there sailing with those guys in the last America’s Cup, it’s always nice to have a good race with them, and to come away with a win was good. It was a very tight race.”

TeamOrigin draws and penalty on Azzurra up the first beat. Image copyright Bob Grieser/

After the big win TeamOrigin had to take on Azzurra to win the round. Origin had the lead at the first mark by 37 seconds after getting a red-flag penalty on the Italian crew. But the Italians, having performed the penalty, found a nice wind shift with pressure on the run and turned the deficit into an advantage they wouldn’t relinquish.

“I don’t disagree with the penalty, but I don’t think it should have been a red flag,” said Azzurra skipper Francesco Bruni. “My brother (Gabriele) has been doing a great job calling the wind from up the rig.”

Round Robin 1 : Flights 14, 7 summaries
Azzurra denies TeamOrigin round robin victory in Flight 7


M1: BMW ORACLE Racing d. Artemis – Delta: 16 seconds

BMW Oracle scored a badly need victory, snatching it from the jaws of defeat near the top of the second beat. Artemis led around the first lap, holding an advantage of 9 seconds at the leeward gate. But the Swedish-flagged team seemed to have troubles with its genoa coming out of the mark. BMW Oracle Racing worked the left side of the beat and near the top took port tack across Artemis. BMW Oracle tacked to port to cover and led by 16 seconds beginning the run to the finish. The win was just the third of the regatta for BMW Oracle, whose primary focus lies elsewhere around the world.

M2: TeamOrigin d. Emirates Team New Zealand – Delta: 32 seconds

TeamOrigin, with founder and CEO Sir Keith Mills riding as 18th man, handed Team New Zealand its first loss of the regatta, a 32-second decision. This was a fascinating match as the two teams are loaded with talent.

New Zealand skipper Dean Barker won the start at the pin end once again. During the pre-starts all week he’s lured his competition into his windward quarter and then forced them to tack away. But TeamOrigin’s Ben Ainslie was able to use starboard tack to his advantage and protect the right side of the course, twice leebowing the Kiwis back to the left. The key moment came at the top of the first beat.

Ray Davies raises the Y flag on Emirates Team New Zealand's boat. Image copyright Bob Grieser/

The two crews approached bow-to-bow at their third meeting, with TeamOrigin holding starboard. Ainslie used that advantage to dial down Barker and TNZ. Ainslie got Barker to commit to passing to leeward and then tacked to port, effectively putting a slam dunk on the Kiwis. The pair began a luffing match that saw it drift closer to the windward mark. Moments later, with the Kiwis to the right of the Brits and both nearly dead in the water, Ainslie bore off onto starboard, built speed and tacked to port, crossing the Kiwis and rounding the mark in the lead. The Kiwis were slow to build speed and trailed by 21 seconds.

Team New Zealand closed a bit on the run to the leeward gate, taking 10 seconds out of the Brits’ lead, but Ainslie and tactician Iain Percy put the clamps on Team New Zealand up the second beat and on the run to the finish.

One of the Mascalzone Latino boats is hoisted out of the water after racing. Image copyright Bob Grieser/


M2: Azzurra d. TeamOrigin – Delta: 1 minute

Despite the delta, this was another exciting match that was in play until the Italian crew crossed the finish line. TeamOrigin took the early lead on the first leg, winning the pin end in the split-tack start. Azzurra started on port at the boat end and then tacked to starboard about 2 minutes into the race. With both boats on starboard, Azzurra lifted up inside of the Brits, which were to leeward by about 10 boatlengths.

TeamOrigin gained the lead at the first meeting, but not by crossing. Azzurra had starboard rights and slam-dunked TeamOrigin. British skipper Ben Ainslie luffed twice and the on-water umpires deemed Azzurra did not keep clear. The umps gave the Italians a red-flag penalty for the incident. When Azzurra completed its jibe onto starboard tack, TeamOrigin tacked to windward and into a covering position and led by 37 seconds at the windward mark.

Azzurra, however, has had great luck on the runs during this regatta and that luck came through again. Azzurra jibed to starboard early on the run while TeamOrigin held port. When Azzurra jibed back to port, with more than 1,100 metres of separation, it was headed down to the mark in pressure while TeamOrigin was wallowing when it completed its jibe to starboard. Azzurra took a 56-second lead through the leeward gate.

Azzurra led by 49 seconds at the second windward mark and its lead was threatened late on the run to the finish when TeamOrigin closed up to within two boatlengths, but there wasn’t enough racecourse left and Azzurra held on for the win in dying winds.

The victory gave Azzurra second for the round robin at 6-1 and dropped TeamOrigin to third at 5-2. Emirates Team New Zealand won the round at 6-1, having beaten Azzurra in their head-to-head match.

Louis Vuitton Trophy Nice. Image copyright Frank Socha.

Louis Vuitton Trophy

TJV: BT Update at 1530 CET 13th November 2009

Seb Josse and Jeff Curzon on board BT. Image copyright Th. Martinez/Sea&Co/OC Events.

by Régis Lerat

BT co-skipper Jeff Cuzon spoke to Race Director Jean Maurel at 13:25 GMT approximately, saying that the situation has been stabilised on board BT and both men are secure, calmly waiting for the rescue operation to unfold.

A helicopter is currently refuelling and will depart to locate BT as soon as possible. Due to the conditions it might not be possible to recover the skippers by air.

A rescue boat was reported to be 30 miles away from BT and making best speed towards BT. The crew still have their handheld Iridium satellite phone, and the EPIRB beacon is functioning properly, reporting BT's position.

Transat Jacques Vabre

X40s: Six Top Flight Teams Announced for Extreme Sailing Series Asia

X40s in Hyères earlier this year. Image copyright Th. Martinez/Sea&Co/OC Events.

by Lou Newlands

Twenty-four of the World’s top professional sailors will converge on Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong next week for the first round of the new Extreme Sailing Series Asia. The six top teams include the host nation’s, China Team, as well as the Skipper of the Green Dragon entry in the last Volvo Ocean Race, Ian Walker . The sailors have a myriad of sailing accolades amongst them including three double Olympic Gold Medals, 23 World and 28 European Championship titles, 8 Round the World navigations, 19 Olympic Games attended, and from 7 different nations. Also announced today is that Austrian double Olympic champions Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher join as a new challenger with the Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team on the Asian Circuit.

The award winning European series has been running for three years and has revolutionised the way sailing is seen. This inaugural Asian series will focus on sharing this exciting new facet of sailing with local stakeholders, VIPs and the media – with the aim of returning in the future with a fully public orientated event.

The first round of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia will run from 20 – 24 November, based out of the prestigious Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club right at the heart of this iconic city. Five days of racing will see the Extreme 40s, a dynamic 40-foot catamaran that can reach speeds of up to 73km per hour and “fly” a hull in just eight knots of wind. The sailors compete in a series of the short, sharp races over the five days, as well as the famous Around the Island Race on Sunday 22 November. The event will also host a youth sailing day when youngsters will be given the chance of a lifetime to sail onboard the catamarans, alongside the top professional crews.

Ian Walker, one of the most diverse sailors in the Series having skippered Green Dragon in the Volvo Ocean Race, been an America’s Cup skipper and double Olympic Silver Medallist said, “It’s going to be great to be back racing in China. The last time I was in the region, we were fighting atrocious conditions to bring our team home to Qingdao. To be back racing in such a spectacular location on these awesome Extreme 40s will be great and I’m looking forward to teaming up with Shirley Robertson again. The last time we were together was when I coached her in Athens when she won her second Gold medal – so I’m expecting another top ranking performance from her and the team!”

The China Team entry will be helmed by Wearn Haw Tan from Singapore, joined by Mark Stopforth, a former Olympian from South Africa now based in Hong Kong, Wang Jue from China and skippered by Thierry Barot, a Hong Kong based Frenchman with immense expertise and experience from America’s Cup, Round the World Races and other world class big boat campaigns. These sailors all raced together in the 2007 China America’s Cup team but new to Extreme 40 racing so will be joined by experienced Extreme 40 sailors and British Olympian Hugh Styles and Adam Piggott.

Thierry Barot, Skipper of China Team commented, “Since the last America’s Cup in Valencia, Wearn Haw and myself have been sailing together to find new Asian talent with the objective of creating a new group, a ‘new generation’ of Chinese/Asian sailors that are able to race in all the most valuable and high performance races in the world of yachting, like the Volvo Ocean Race, the America’s Cup, match racing, TP52s and of course the Extreme 40s. Our participation in the Extreme Sailing Series Asia will be the launch of this team. Although we have not had a lot of time to get the team together we see it as part of the plan to give young Asian sailors the opportunity to get experience in one of the top class events in the international sailing calendar.”

The Extreme Sailing Series Asia fleet includes old and newcomers to the Grand Prix sailing format. Oman Sail’s Masirah skipper Pete Cumming, who won the European Series in October, will be back and few will be surprised to hear the team are now looking to also claim the Asia title. There are a few changes to the line up from the successful European team including the promotion of Omani squad member Khamis Al Ambouri to a full time member of the four man team. Hot on their heels will be the second Omani team, The Wave, Muscat, skippered by double World Champion Paul Campbell-James and including the Omani powerhouse, Nasser Al Mashari.

Double Olympic Gold Medallist Shirley Robertson will be the only woman competing in the fleet on Rumbo Almería, with Ian Walker, and joined by another double Olympic Gold Medallist, Austrian Roman Hagara who will be joined by his Tornado crewman from Athens and Sydney Hans Peter Steinacher onboard new entry to the Extreme 40 scene, Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team. Round the World sailor, Nick Moloney will complete the Skippers’ line-up onboard BT.

Roman Hagara, Skipper of Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team said, “We are expecting a very strong field at the Asia Tour, including both the winning and the third-placed boat from the European circuit, who both sail for Oman, nevertheless, I am still expecting us to achieve some top results in the individual races.” His tactician, Hans Peter Steinacher agreed. “Our aim for the season is to finish in the top three on the Asia Tour, but the biggest challenge will of course be the boat’s huge dimensions. After all, apart from the Around the Island Race, we aren’t competing in long-distance regattas, but instead coming to towns and harbours with our “machine” to get close to the shoreline.”

The award-winning Extreme Sailing Series, organised by OC Events, has been an outstanding success in Europe. In 2009, over 200,000 spectators watched the racing in such prestigious locations as Venice (Italy), Amsterdam (The Netherlands), Almería (Spain) and the home of yacht racing, Cowes on the Isle of Wight (England). This inaugural Asian series is an opportunity to showcase the Extreme Sailing Series and demonstrate to VIPs and future stakeholders the potential of a full public-orientated event in future years.

The racing in Hong Kong will take place 20 – 24 November, before the boats are packed up into their 40ft containers and shipped to Singapore (11 – 15 December) and then on to Muscat, Sultanate of Oman for the third event (1 – 5 February).

Entry List:
BT – Nick Moloney (AUS)
China Team – Thierry Barot (FRA)
Oman Sail Masirah – Pete Cumming (GBR)
Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team – Roman Hagara (AUT)
Rumbo Almeria – Shirley Robertson (GBR)
The Wave, Muscat – Paul Campbell-James (GBR)

Extreme Sailing Series Asia

position - boat name - distance to finish

1 SAFRAN 3430.8
3 GROUPE BEL 3472.8
4 HUGO BOSS 3501.6
6 1876 3542.5
7 AVIVA 3582.2
8 W HOTELS 3680.2
9 FONCIA 3692.5
11 ARTEMIS 3785.0
12 DCNS 3796.3

position - boat name - distance to finish


Transat Jacques Vabre

TJV: A Blockbuster

Note from SailRaceWin: The information below pre-dates the distress signal activation on BT

Veolia Environnement. Image copyright B. Stichelbaut.

by Régis Lerat

It's as if the scriptwriters have a hot line to the weather gods. Friday 13th and the Transat Jacques Vabre fleet have their toughest conditions yet, with storm force gusts, mean windspeeds for those in the north of around 50 knots, huge seas and the boats down to tiny sail areas as they live out what promises to be the most difficult period.

True to the plot-line the winds built at around midnight, and skippers spoken to early this morning say they expect to have seen the worst of it by they time they get into Saturday.

Conditions on deck are close to impossible and below decks the duos try to stop themselves from being flung around the inside of their boats like pinballs.

As record breaking British skipper Dee Caffari – the only woman to have circumnavigated the planet non-stop solo in opposite directions – reported from Aviva: “It's survival conditions. We are just working to get through it, looking after the boat and ourselves.”

Kito de Pavant, from Groupe Bel, summed it up: “It's a war!”

Jeff Cuzon on second placed BT: ‘It's horrible.”

Conditions for the group in the south are marginally better but it is the Safran of Marc Guillemot and Charles Caudrelier, in the northern vanguard, which still heads the rankings by 18.7 miles from Seb Josse and Curzon on BT.
In the south Michel Desjoyeaux and Jérémie Beyou on Foncia are in a SW'ly wind on port tack and have pulled back around 20 miles since last night but still have a deficit of some 245 miles on the leading pack, an seem set to continue into lighter headwinds.

Somewhat ominously perhaps, the boat in the furthest north remains Alex Thomson's black hulled Hugo Boss, was the quickest this morning, with the best VMG of the fleet.

Mike Golding and Javier Sanso retain their third place on the IMOCA Open 60 standings on Mike Golding Yacht Racing just less than 40 miles in arrears to Safran, while Caffari and Brian Thompson and seventh, behind Alex Thomson and Ross Daniel on Hugo Boss whose distance behind the leaders is very little changed since the same time yesterday morning.

Deliverance, in some form, should come at the Azores where the fleet seems set to compact again a little with some lighter breezes, although there are still small systems around to be negotiated or utilised to best effect.

In the Multi50 fleet Crepes Whaou! have been sticking to the survival recipe in their new boat but are emerging with a lead of 184 miles.

With Prince de Bretagne safely in Vigo, Galicia for assessment and repairs, only three multi's are actively racing just now.

JF Cuzon (FRA) BT:
“The conditions are very difficult. Since midnight we have had between 35 and 60 knots. It's tough, it's horrible, it's impressive. You try to preserve the boat as much as you can. The swell is powerful but the most impressive thing is the gusts of wind. It goes up so quickly and that is what makes it so difficult.

"Then today maybe round midday it should start to drop..... there, we have 53 knots of wind, I need to go....”

In his message sent shortly after he confirmed that they were sailing only under deep reef mainsail.

Dee Caffari (GBR), Aviva: “Things are a bit messy. We have 40-50 knots squalls. It has been like this for the last three hours. We took the staysail down and put out the storm jib but did not unfurl it because we are just overpowered. It is consistently 35, gusting to 40 and 50.

"It is definitely on for the next 12 hours. It is uncomfortable and there is nothing we can do about it. We just have to survive it and so we are in survival mode which is a bit frustrating, but it is about getting through this and coming out the other side and get back to sailing. The boat seems to handling it well, Brian is a cool, calm cucumber and is having a good effect on me. We've had our fair share of issues and problems but so far we seem to be surviving.”

Transat Jacques Vabre

TJV: Caffari and Thompson make repairs to Aviva in the Transat Jacques Vabre

Aviva. Image copyright Dee Caffari Ltd.

by Kelly Russell

Despite another night of storm force gusts and big seas in the Transat Jacques Vabre, Dee Caffari and Brian Thompson, onboard Aviva, have safely replaced the wind instruments lost in the previous day’s storm.

With the testing conditions forecast to last for another 24 hours, the British duo took advantage of a brief becalmed period to send co-skipper Brian Thompson up the mast to replace the wind wand. As a result of the repair, Aviva has lost miles within the northerly pack of the IMOCA Open 60 fleet, but with the instruments now fully functioning, Caffari and Thompson will be looking to battle through the elements in an attempt to claw back some miles.

The 10h00 race ranking positioned Dee Caffari and Brian Thompson, onboard Aviva, in seventh place, 131.7 miles behind race leader Safran. Groupe Bel, positioned fourth at 07h00, did not register a position in the latest polling.

Dee Caffari and Brian Thompson’s latest diary entry received on 13 November 2009 at 0830 GMT:

“Brian descended the mast like an angel from heaven yesterday having put up a new wind wand that we lost in the last storm. We could now enjoy sailing knowing how much wind we have and also where it was coming from, a novel concept. This took place during a patch of being becalmed. We may have lost some miles to our cohorts but we were able to fix jobs that had arisen before the mother of all storms was to hit.

“I know it always happens at night but being caught out with two reefs in your mainsail in a fifty knot squall is no joke. I completely lost my sense of humour and by way of recovery my angel onboard made me a survival cup of tea before he got his head down for some zzzz's.”

Aviva Ocean Racing
Transat Jacques Vabre

TJV: Further damage to Artemis Ocean Racing may force pitstop (1300GMT 13/11/09)

Artemis. Image copyright Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images.

by Tim Kelly and Camilla Green

The storm-force conditions (55 knots overnight) have inflicted further damage to Artemis Ocean Racing. Sam called the shore team at 1030 GMT this morning to report: “We have lost a mainsail batten (third down from the top) which flew out of the sail, the third reef pin on the boom has gone and our main Iridium handset is broken, either water-logged or from the shock of the boat pounding through the waves.”

None of the damage is terminal but the loss of the mainsail batten will compromise their race performance, and with 75% of the race remaining, Sam and Sidney are considering a pit stop either at the Azores, but that is 300nm upwind, or Madeira 400nm south-west which is a more comfortable course but further from the optimum race route. It has also been confirmed that Veolia Environnment (Roland Joursain and Jean-Luc Nelias) are also heading to the Azores to try and repair damage to their mast track, the same damage incurred by Brit Air in the opening stages of the race that resulted in their retirement. Further news to come once the Artemis skippers and the shore team have considered all options.

Artemis Ocean Racing
Transat Jacques Vabre

TJV: BT activates distress beacon, rescue process is activated

BT. Image copyright Th.Martinez/Sea and Co.

by Régis Lerat

At approximately 10:20hrs GMT today, BT crew Sébastien Josse and Jean-François Cuzon who are racing in the IMOCA Open 60 class in the Transat Jacques Vabre two handed race from Le Havre to Costa Rica, activated their EPIRB distress beacon after having suffered major damage following a night battling it out in fierce seas and winds reaching 60 knots at times.

The skippers are in regular contact with Race Director Jean Maurel, and have reported significant damage to the coachroof, and water entering the boat.

Sébastien Josse and Jean-François Cuzon. Image copyright Alexis Courcoux.

The MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) are coordinating operations with the Transat Jacques Vabre Race Direction and the BT shore team, to ensure the safe recovery of the skippers.

MRCC Falmouth confirmed that the RCC Azores had sent a helicopter and a Navy vessel in the direction of BT, also emitting a satellite broadcast alert to shipping in the area.

BT was positioned 210 miles North of the Azores at position 42 10º N - 27 50º W.

Transat Jacques Vabre

Telecom New Zealand National Match Racing Championships - Dickson and Jury Climb the table

Laurie Jury (left) luffs Josh Junior on Club Marine (right). Image copyright RNZYS.

Dickson and Jury climb up the points table as five teams contest the four semi final berths

by Barry Davies

Chris Dickson and Laurie Jury both won their five races today to boost their overall points to 13 each as five teams battle it out for the four semi final berths.

Dickson had a flawless day on the water after only winning five races in Round Robin One, his young crew worked hard with their legendary skipper in Round Robin Two to take eight wins out of nine races. With just one more race to sail tomorrow, will 13 or 14 points be enough to grab a semi finals spot?

Graeme Sutherland and crew still hold the overall lead with a total of 15 points and his spot is safe, but chasing hard on his heels is Jury, Dickson, Reuben Corbett & William Tiller.

Jury with his 5 wins today and 13 points overall is tied with Dickson, but has 2 races to sail tomorrow and surely will take a semi-finals spot.

Jury’s most spectacular win of the day was against Josh Junior and his young Wellington team who were bow to bow off the start line and rounded the top mark with Jury just in front. Both boats hoisted their spinnakers and Junior gybed to try and roll-over the top of Jury. Jury luffed slowly and Junior reacted but not enough according to the match umpires, who gave Junior a penalty for not keeping clear. In the process of luffing, Jury ripped his spinnaker and would be unable to use it for the final run.

As they rounded the bottom mark Jury was again in front but needed a spectacular upwind beat to gain enough of a lead to stay in front of Junior on a downwind leg without a spinnaker. The two boats rounded the top mark, Jury had about a 5 boat length lead, but Junior with the bonus sail area of a spinnaker quickly caught up. Jury keep the race close and managed to stay inside of Junior, who he luffed again and Junior received another penality. Jury was able to then coast home to the finish.

Reuben Corbett had another steady day on the water winning four out of his five races, only losing to Sutherland. Corbett and his crew have remained consistently in the top four, with fourteen points overall, but is his spot safe as he faces rivals Junior and Jury on the water tomorrow?

The youth team helmed by William Tiller had a tough day on the water only winning one race against the all female crew helmed by Jess Smyth. Tiller and his young crew are still a chance to make the top four but go up against Jury and Junior tomorrow morning.

Graeme Sutherland (Harken - left) versus Wataru Sakamoto (KPMG - right). Image copyright RNZYS.

In the women’s crews, Samantha Osborne was the big mover today with a total of 3 wins out of 5 races but it wasn’t enough to catch Stephanie Hazard who holds a 1 point lead over Osborne.

Racing begins at 10am tomorrow (Saturday) morning, with Flight Ten of Round Robin Two, just two flights to sail and the top four will be decided.

Friday's Results

Flight Five
Osborne beat Kroening by 21s
Jury beat Hazard by 45s
Dickson beat Tiller by 42s
Sutherland beat Smyth by 19s
Corbett beat Sakamoto by 20s

Flight Six
Dickson beat Junior by 27s
Corbett beat Hazard by 1m3s
Osborne beat Smyth DNF
Sutherland beat Kroening by 6s
Jury beat Sakamoto by 19s

Flight Seven
Corbett beat Osborne by 2m12s
Jury beat Sutherland by 29
Dickson beat Hazard by 58s
Tiller beat Smyth by 40s
Kroening beat Junior by 21s

Flight Eight
Dickson beat Sakamoto by 1m10s
Jury beat Osborne by 55s
Sutherland beat Corbett 1m19s
Junior beat Smyth by 37s
Kroening beat Tiller by 30s

Flight Nine
Jury beat Junior by 29s
Sutherland beat Sakamoto by 34s
Corbett beat Tiller by 22s
Osborne beat Hazard by 30s
Dickson beat Smyth by 1m

Points Table
Sutherland 15 wins / 3 losses / 15.0 points
Corbett 14 / 4 / 14.0
Jury 13 / 5 / 13.0
Dickson 13 / 6 / 13.0
Tiller 12 / 6 / 12.0
Junior 9 / 8 / 9.5 *
Kroening 7 / 11 / 7.0
Hazard 6 / 12 / 6.0
Osborne 5 / 13 / 5.0
Sakamoto 4 / 14 / 4.0
Smyth 1 / 18 / 1.0
*0.5 points deducted for damage

Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron